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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:42 pm 
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Here's the question vulnerable GOP Reps and Senators have to ask themselves: which helps me out more in 2010, sticking with my effectively powerless leadership, or co-operating with a very popular president during a worldwide crisis that is affecting most Americans directly?

It must be a very unhappy thing to be the GOP whip in either chamber right now. Party unity is easy when you have the WH, committee chairs, et al, to use as carrots and stick.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:18 pm 
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To put it all in perspective, he was inaugurated last Tuesday. :P

I think more and more that this is political, setting up Obama as trying to reach out and compromise and the Republicans as being shrill and dogmatic, demanding concessions and then still refusing to support this very popular package. Obama does not have to keep that up for long before he's essentially free to shrug them off—"I tried to work cooperatively with you and you refused, so we will simply implement what seems wisest to us. Oh, and neener neener."

I'd say it's not been a smart strategy by the Republicans, but playing to their rapidly shrinking base is about all they've got left.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:23 pm 
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from Ax

Quote:
Here's the question vulnerable GOP Reps and Senators have to ask themselves: which helps me out more in 2010, sticking with my effectively powerless leadership, or co-operating with a very popular president during a worldwide crisis that is affecting most Americans directly?


That is an excellent question which cuts right to the heart of much of the problem. I suspect there is not a single answer which can be applied to all Republicans.

Because so many states have congressional districts which are horribly gerrymandered to give a preset number of "safe seats" to both parties, it is in the narrow self interest of many Republicans to oppose President Obama, oppose his policies, and take a very visible position against him. If they are from a district where they are already getting 2/3 of the vote, its probably a safe stance.

However, there are others where this is not the case. The two Republican Senators from the state of Maine come to mind - Snowe and Collins. To win future elections they are going to need a solid number if independent votes and even some Democratic votes.

There are several ways this could play out but a lot of it is going to depend on the Democratic response to the first big effort which succeeds at obstructing part of the Obama program.

Will Harry Reed do something he has so far been hesitant to do and force the Republicans to play their ace card and actually carry out a long and divisive filibuster with the attendant political damage it could wreak? Will the Dems and Obama use that to go to the country and paint the Republicans as partisan obstructionists?

Time will tell.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:41 pm 
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Well, a version of the stimulus plan just passed the House without a single Republican voting aye. Eleven Democrats voted against it.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:44 pm 
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So much for bipartisanship, but not on President Obama's part.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:03 am 
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Exactly.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:05 am 
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So now if you are President Obama..... and the Democratic leadership in the House.... what is your response on the next major bill?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:12 am 
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I suspect that what will happen is that some Republicans House members will switch their votes after the Senate passes their version of the bill and the two houses hammer out a compromise between the two versions. Assuming the Senate does pass it.

The answer to your question is very clearcut, sf, at least to me. Keep on trying to work with the other side.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:19 am 
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Yes, he needs to persist in his efforts to reach across the aisle, but I suspect we'll see fewer actual concessions getting made, given how pointless it was this time.

Obama's actually hosting a cocktail party for some key legislators tonight.

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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: Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:35 am 
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I do understand that approach --- and agree that it is the path best followed now.

Eventually, if things do not change and this persists, there will be changes made.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:04 am 
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I think if the pattern continues, 2010 will make the changes for Obama.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:24 pm 
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I hope he keeps reaching out anyway, even if the GOP keeps swiping away with gotcha party politics.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:01 pm 
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My extremely Republican brother in law (an NRA type guy, hates Algore, etc. etc.) was laid off from his financial IT job in early December and is hoping for the passage of the stimulus. He thinks the healthcare IT provisions would really help him get a new job. :P He's visiting this weekend (we paid for his plane ticket) so it'll be interesting to see if he refrains from spouting off about Democrats, Pelosi, and Reid. :)

I am wondering how Republicans in general feel about their representatives completely turning their back on the PResident in the face of this economy. I would imagine the moderates may not be all that happy.

On another note, I listened to the Lilly Ledbetter story on NPR this morning. What a travesty of justice that was, that the Supreme Court completely changed the rules that the lower courts and regulatory agencies and took away her award for having 40% less pay than her male coworkers because she had to file within 180 days of the first discrimination. But what an inspirational figure Mrs. Ledbetter was. She just moved her fight to Congress. And she's a 70 year old southern gal. She knew what was right and kept fighting. It just feels SO good that ordinary folk are getting actual justice and protection from our government. :) :)

Here's a link from Gail Collins, NYT

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/29/opini ... ns.html?em

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:12 pm 
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So much of this depends on Harry Reed. In the House, it is no obstacle to passing new laws for the Republicans to vote as one and not support laws that President Obama advocates. The stark reality of the numbers and the House rules makes them unnecessary.

The Senate operates under far different rules and even with 59 votes, the Democrats can be frustrated by Republicans who stand together as 41. This is because of the filibuster.

In the past, Reed has been extremely reluctant - to be polite - in calling the Republican bluff to filibuster prospective laws. They take the early procedural vote and if the Dems do not get the needed level of 60, then Reed backs off without forcing the Republicans to actually take the floor, filibuster, stop the Senates other business and pay the price in the media and with the citizenry for the tactic. And there is plenty of criticism among Democrats for this reluctance.

Reed is the key to what happens in the Senate over the next two... possibly more year.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:23 pm 
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The Senate has more vulnerable GOP members than the House. You can't gerrymander a state to protect incumbents. :D

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:36 pm 
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That is a good point Ax. Here is something that fits right into that observation

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/01/ ... watch.html

It is a chart from 538.com which measures seven votes takes in the early days of the current term and how Republicans voted - for or against the Obama administration. It shows the Senators from very vunerable states such as Maine are with Obama more than they are against him. The most anti-Obama votes come from states where it would take an earthquake to shake the Republican seat free.

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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: Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:04 pm 
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Maybe in those states where "it would take an earthquake to chake the Republican seat free" the main concern of that Senator is the primary, and being taken down by somebody more conservative than him/her?

You can see the ads. "Senator So-and-So voted with Reid and Pelosi 50% of the time!!!" :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:26 pm 
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Quote:
Maybe in those states where "it would take an earthquake to shake the Republican seat free" the main concern of that Senator is the primary, and being taken down by somebody more conservative than him/her?


Precisely.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:59 pm 
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Padme wrote:
I hope he keeps reaching out anyway, even if the GOP keeps swiping away with gotcha party politics.

If 'keeps reaching out' means continuing to make more and more concessions to the failed policies that got us into this mess in order to get some Republican votes to cover the Dem backside, then I hope he will not.

I do hope he will continue to work with legislators from both sides in good faith discussions about what is best for the country.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:30 pm 
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That's what I hope, too, Cerin. As Rep. Peter DeFazio (my Congressman :love: ) more or less said on Rachel Maddow's show last night, maybe we can hope that the stimulus vote is a game-changer, that the Obama team will start putting as much effort into listening to Democrats as Republicans and will do what's best for the country (in their view) rather than pandering to lure votes that will never be given.

We know the infrastructure is failing and has been ever since Reagan decided it wasn't worth spending the money to maintain things properly (a policy Clinton continued; bad policy can be bipartisan). The latest report from the American Society of Civil Engineers said we need to spend $2.2 trillion on infrastructure over 5 years just to catch up. The stimulus package, large as it was, included only 5% of the total for infrastructure, a fraction of what is needed this year alone.

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


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