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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:17 pm 
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Well, it seems to me that for the last eight years we've tried massive tax cuts to the wealthiest and less regulation of the industry. Now we are in the worst in a quarter-century recession (at least). Now many conservatives doubt the cause-and-effect of these two things, but to my mind it's time to try some new strategies. Those strategies happen to be the ones espoused by Democrats.

I don't think its ridiculous that we try these new, Democrat-linked strategies now.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:16 pm 
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Ellienor wrote:
Well, it seems to me that for the last eight years we've tried massive tax cuts to the wealthiest and less regulation of the industry. Now we are in the worst in a quarter-century recession (at least). Now many conservatives doubt the cause-and-effect of these two things, but to my mind it's time to try some new strategies. Those strategies happen to be the ones espoused by Democrats.

I don't think its ridiculous that we try these new, Democrat-linked strategies now.


Except for that bit about less regulation you're completely right.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:25 pm 
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If this proves to be true, President Obama is establishing himself as one of the most politically astute and cleverest Presidents in a long long time.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/art ... wD961JDN80

a short selection


Quote:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire said Friday that he's being considered by President Barack Obama for a Cabinet appointment as head of the Commerce Department.


"I am aware that my name is one of those being considered by the White House for secretary of commerce, and am honored to be considered, along with others, for the position," Gregg said in a statement. "Beyond that there is nothing more I can say at this time."

A Capitol Hill leadership aide said Thursday evening that Obama had talked with his party's leaders about the move to appoint Gregg, which could put Democrats within reach of a 60-person, filibuster-proof majority in the Senate if New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch were to name a fellow Democrat.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:37 pm 
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I heard that, too, which is interesting because a few days ago it was being reported that current (but soon to be former) Symantec CEO John Thompson (the only major African-American company head in Silicon Valley, I believe) was likely to be named. I'm still betting on Thompson, as I seriously doubt that the Gregg will take the post even if offered, if it means a 60-vote super-majority. But I wouldn't be surprised if Gov. Lynch agreed to appoint a moderate Republican to replace him, as part of the deal.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:42 pm 
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What would be the point of that?

This from the LA Times

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Gregg, a third-term senator, is conservative on trade and tax issues, which has won him strong marks from the business community.

He is also a conservative on social issues, which could prove an obstacle in confirmation hearings. He fought legislation in the last Congress to outlaw job discrimination against gay people.

Gregg is considered a tough legislative player who provided reliable support for President Bush, though he once admitted to doubts about Bush's troop buildup in Iraq.

There is no ambiguity about his business record. He received a 100% score from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for his votes in 2006, while earning just 7% from the AFL-CIO.


Gregg seems not the person I would want in that job in Commerce. If a deal puts a Republican in his seat in the Senate, how does this benefit anybody except Republicans? Why make this deal?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:03 pm 
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As Reuters says:

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Obama would be able to seek elusive agreements with Republicans on an economic stimulus package and on other matters with one of the Republican Party's most respected voices and accomplished negotiators. In fact, Gregg, a former Senate Budget Committee chairman, helped both parties reach a deal last year on a Wall Street bailout.


http://uk.reuters.com/article/marketsNewsUS/idUKN3037548620090130

Even if Lynch (who himself is a moderate centrist who has a tendency to buck his party) were to appoint a Republican, he or she is likely to be more moderate than Gregg, and to side with the administration more often than Gregg.

If Gregg were appointed as Commerce Secretary, that would mean that Obama would have included three prominent Republicans in his cabinet, giving further support to his claim to govern in a bipartisan manner. Has any recent President included that many members of the other party in their cabinet?

Obama looks at things in a very different way than you do, sf. As do I.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:22 pm 
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If sf is right, this is an incredibly cynical move on Obama's part. If Voronwë is right, it's a wise move.

It rather reminds me of when Bush tried to elinst Sen. Breaux (D-LA) into his cabinet, when Gov. Blanco (R) would appoint the replacement.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:17 pm 
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from Voronwë

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Obama looks at things in a very different way than you do, sf. As I do


Maybe yes - maybe not so much different. We both voted for the same man. And once elected, Obama appointed Rahm Emanuel as his right hand in the White House. Emanuel and I are like brothers from different mothers.

from CG

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If sf is right, this is an incredibly cynical move on Obama's part. If Voronwë is right, it's a wise move.



I will go for pragmatic, practical winning cyncism every single day of the week.

Let me see... on the one hand I could have a filibuster proof Senate with 60 votes allowing me to pass things like the laws to foster unions.... on the other hand I increase my claim to be governing in a bi-partisan manner while House Republicans line up against me to the last man and woman.

Easy choice my friends. Easy choice. At least for me. But I will take a cup of tepid water in an unwashed cup over the desert mirage any day of the week. And I think President Obama realizes the reality of that.

In the final analysis, history will not judge Barack Obama by the details and motivations he employs. Like all previous and future Presidents, he will be judged on what he actually got done in office. If he can get his program passed by a political move - cynical - calculated - pragmatic or otherwise - which gives him his 60 votes to prevent a filibuster - then that is something he will do. If he can convince a couple of Republican Senators to vote against a filibuster - then that is what he will do. But those will be footnotes in the istory book and not the main story.

Barack Obama knows that.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:18 pm 
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Here's a very interesting development regarding the stimulus package and bipartisanship:

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Most Republican governors have broken with their GOP colleagues in Congress and are pushing for passage of President Barack Obama's economic aid plan that would send billions to states for education, public works and health care.


GOP governors press Congress to pass stimulus bill

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:55 pm 
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The recession isn't theoretical to them. Most of them have to balance their budgets, and without an infusion of federal help, that process is going to leave blood on the floor: criminals turned loose, people dying without medical help, schools shutting down a month early, public safety departments that can no longer keep people safe—pick any or all of these plus more. Reality usually trumps ideology if you're personally responsible for the outcome.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:06 am 
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from Prim

Quote:
Reality usually trumps ideology if you're personally responsible for the outcome.


You could carve that on the side of a building. :bow:

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:34 am 
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What Prim said.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:14 am 
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NPR's Robert Siegel asked Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa if the Republicans were going to try to filibuster the Stimulus Bill:

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/01/30/gop ... -recovery/


this article points to another Republican Senator saying much the same thing:

http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/a ... rcID=42754

If this is not a mere possibility but an actual plan, it is almost too good to be true for both President Obama and the Democrats.

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There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.... John Rogers


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:34 am 
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For heaven's sake, sf, no important legistlation ever passes the Senate without 60 votes. That's the way the system is designed. It would be foolish for the Republican leadership not to require that the administration/Democratic leadership garner sixty votes to allow it to pass.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:42 am 
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I suspect that what sf meant by "good news" was the prospect of extensive news coverage of Senate Republicans filibustering a major bill that a lopsided majority of voters want passed as soon as humanly possible. In other words, Republicans will be playing out political theater at the country's expense—or so the Democrats will easily portray it.

I happen to think that it's possible for something to be good for the Democratic Party and bad for the country. This is certainly an example.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:41 pm 
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Voronwë - that is simply not true. Over the years many bills have passed in the Senate with less than sixty votes. There is no hard and fast Constitutional language which demands this.

What you label as "important" is simply something that the minority party threatens to filibuster. A procedural vote is taken as a test to gauge support. The major problem over the last two years has been that Senator Harry Reed has allowed these procedural test votes to then be the substitute for a complete filibuster. Reed takes the bill off the floor and surrenders to the threat of a filibuster. The minority party then gets the effect of killing the bill without having to go through the hard work of a filibuster and all that comes with it.

A filibuster is a very divisive tactic to employ. It injects a very high level of partisanship into the body. It kills all other business before the body if it is done right. It grinds the Senate to a halt and puts the idea of party warfare right up front in the center of the entire nation. The 24/7 national media will fixate upon it.

The filibuster is the equal to the spoiled kid wanting so badly to get his way that he tells his parents he will go into the corner and hold his breath until he turns blue. Mom and Dad are so scared of what might happen that the little menace is allowed to carry the day and have his way without the attendant problems.

Let this play out as it should. Let both sides assume their proper Constitutionsl roles in this matter. Do not take a threat or a procedural vote as the last word and give in to the blackmail. Do not reward the threat.

And it will happen. It might be now with the Simulus Bill.... it might be months from now with the Employee Free Choice Act ... it might be a year from now on something else... but it will happen. If it does not happen now, the Republicans will continue to use it as a threat to kill or delay legislation. And that is pure blackmail that is allowed to continue without penalty.

It must stop and it must stop as soon as possible rather than later.

Today, President Obama has the support of 2/3 of the nation. Who can say where that support figure wil be a year from now?

Now is the time. Call the Republicans bluff. Make them stage a full blown knock-down, drag-out filibuster where everyone focuses on it. The price to pay on behalf of the Republicans will be high. This has to happen for the long range good of the country or good legislation will die without a vote simply beacuse of the timidty and reluctance of Harry Reed and the Democratic leadership.

This is a case where the good of the nation and the good of the Democratic Party are one in the same. In the past, something good for the Republican Party could have been also for the greater good of America as a whole. They two things - party interest and national interest - do nto have to be mutually exclusive.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:50 pm 
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If President Obama can't muster 60 votes, the bill shouldn't pass.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:53 pm 
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Is the 60-vote supermajority in the Constitution, Voronwë? I thought it was a simple majority that was supposed to be able to pass legislation.

Your saying that no one should be able to do anything if they can't muster 60 votes in the Senate is tantamount to saying that 41 Senators should run the country simply because they can. I honestly don't understand what's partisan about seeing a problem with this. Couldn't it be argued similarly that a party that can't win a majority in a legislative body doesn't deserve to control its legislative agenda?

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:58 pm 
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With all due respect Prim (and you know how much I mean that), I don't think you would be complaining if it were a Democratic minority in the Senate blocking a legislative initiative that you disagreed with.

The rule that it requires 60 votes to allow a vote to go through in the Senate has existed for a long time. It is really designed for exactly a situation like this, where one party has control of the Presidency and both houses of Congress, in order to ensure that the one party is not able to rule unimpeded. It really is not too much to ask to expect that Obama can win over as few as two Republican Senators for arguably the most important legislation of our time (assuming he can hold on to all of the Democratic senators), given his own popularity, and that of the stimulus package in general. The truth is that the bill passed by the House WAS loaded up with spending programs that have little to do with the stimulus, it was drafted by the House leadership with no input from their Republican colleagues, and changes to it could improve it (as Obama himself has acknowledged). I think that the fact that the rules of the Senate require that things be done on a more bipartisan basis is a good thing, not a bad thing.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:49 pm 
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And besides, whatever ends up on Obama's desk to sign will come out of the conference committee in any case. :D


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