Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Howard Dean

Strikes and Gutters, Ups and Downs

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Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes, well, he eats you. It was obviously a tough night for Democrats but on some level it was always going to be—with unemployment at 9.6% and millions of people underwater on their mortgages the Democrats were doomed to lose and lose big. On this the stimulus really was the original sin—if it had been bigger and better-targeted the economic situation could have been better, but it wasn’t and here we are. Unlike 2000 and 2004 I think this election stings, but it doesn’t hurt; a big loss like this has been baked in the cake for a while.

Remember that as the pundits play bad political commentary bingo all month.

As I mentioned last night, overs beat the unders, which means my more optimistic predictions were 2/3 wrong: Republicans overshot the House predictions and Sestak and Giannoulias both lost their close races in PA and IL. But I was right that young people can’t be trusted to vote even when marijuana legalization is on the ballot. Cynicism wins again! I’ll remember that for next time.

I was on Twitter for most of the night last night and most of my observations about last night have already been made there. A few highlights from the night:

* Who could have predicted: Democrats are already playing down the notion that they’ll get much done in a lame duck session. They’d rather punt to January particularly the big issues, like tax cuts. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? Don’t even bother. On taxes, the outline of a compromise is there, having been floated by Vice President Biden: the rates might stay in place for a larger number of wealthier Americans. The Estate Tax, which jumps up to 55% in January, will probably be restored at a lower rate. Capital gains taxes will also be higher, but not as high as they’re slated to be. Supporters of the START treaty are very worried. Gee, maybe Obama shouldn’t have appealed DADT after all.

* Last night’s big Dem winner: implausibly, Harry Reid. Second place (of a sort): Howard Dean, whose entire happy legacy as DNC chair was wiped out in one fell swoop last night—and then some. Fire Kaine, bring Dean back.

* Last night’s big Republican losers: the Tea Party, and Sarah Palin specifically. The crazies cost them the Senate.

* An upside: most of the losses last night were from bad Democrats, especially the Blue Dog caucus, which was nearly decimated. The progressive caucus only lost three seats and now constitutes 40% of the Democratic House caucus.

* Most of the progressive online left is saddest to see Feingold lose, I think.

* Personally happiest to see Tancredo lose in Colorado. That guy’s completely nuts.

* At least losing the House means we don’t have to deal with individual Senate egomaniacs anymore.

* Weird proposition watch: Denver votes down UFO commission. Missouri prevents a feared pupocalypse. Oklahoma bans Sharia law, thereby saving freedom forever.

* The most important proposition, and the most important victory for the left, was probably California’s Proposition 23 on climate change, which went down. Quoting the HuffPo article: “California is the world’s 12th largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and its global warming law, passed in 2006, mandates the largest legislated reductions in greenhouse gases in the world.” This was a big win.

* Sad statistic of the night: “Meg Whitman’s personal spending on her campaign: $163 mil. Natl Endowment for the Arts 2010 budget: $161.4 mil.”

* And Republican gains are bad news for higher education. This is probably especially true for state universities in North Carolina, where Republicans now control the state legislature for the first time in a century.

Anything I missed?

Just Another Friday Night in Jersey

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Since we got back I’ve been pretty busy playing catchup, and the blog as usual has suffered—but here are a few links for Friday night.

* Missives from Possible Futures #1: Alternate History Search Results.

* Possible Futures #2: When David Lynch Turned Down Return of the Jedi.

* “Higher education is an interest group like any other, and what it wants is a lot of money from the taxpayer and no oversight of how that money is spent,” said Kevin Carey of the think tank Education Sector. “And they’ve been very successful getting it for a long time.”

* An Open Letter to New Graduate Students.

* Howard Dean wants to explain why he backs a mosque “compromise.” When you’re in a hole…

* Superpatriotic Blackwater founder Erik Prince “needs a break from America”—in a nonextradition country.

* Ten Questions Nobody Ever Asked About George W. Bush.

* Sarah Silverman on her life as a chronic bedwetter.

* Jason Sanford thinks the next trend in science fiction is SciFi Strange. Via io9.

* io9 celebrates the postal stamps of progress.

His heartbroken parents were told he would only live six weeks. But Liam Derbyshire has defied all the odds to make it to 11—despite stopping breathing every time he falls asleep.

* “Jazz” is the best word to use in Hangman. Or it was. Via MetaFilter.

* And you had me at “the CIA’s obsession with LSD in the water supply.”

Jetlag Links

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* Before you stop admitting Ph.D. students, please, read Marc Bousquet. The typically annoying discussion about this can be found at MetaFilter.

* Nonissue watch: The new Siena Poll finds that New Yorkers (everyone in the state) oppose the mosque by a 63-27 margin; they defend the constitutional right to build it by a 64-28 margin. Very sad to see Howard Dean of all people joining the wrong side of history on this:

I believe that the people who are trying to build the mosque are trying to do something that’s good, but there’s no point in starting off and trying to do something that’s good if it’s going to meet with an enormous resistance from a lot of folks.

I want my country back! But not, you know, if it’s going to be a whole big thing.

* At least someone has finally identified the real terrorists: people with COEXIST bumper stickers on their cars.

* Mission accomplished: The last combat troops left Iraq today. But don’t get too excited; 50,000 noncombat troops remain.

* Deconstructing the Twinkie. At left: FD&C Yellow #5.

* Save the words.

* In the future, all teenagers are deaf.

* Change we can believe in: the Obama administration is quietly making it easier to visit Cuba.

* And not exactly the direction we were hoping things would go: Call centre workers are becoming as cheap to hire in the US as they are in India, according to the head of the country’s largest business process outsourcing company.

Tea Partiers, Jersey, Cheney, Scalia, Guns, 2010, RNC

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* Tea Party supporters in New Jersey try to recall Robert Menendez despite the fact that no recall procedure exists for federal legislators under the Constitution. New Jersey Democratic Chairman John Wisniewski is angry about it:

“The attempt to recall Senator Menendez is an affront to the voters of New Jersey and has no standing in law. One day these folks are trying to disprove human evolution, the next day they are challenging the constitutionality of the Constitution. These are radical people who chose Menendez off of a list of Democrats because of the sound of his last name.”

Via Daily Kos.

* Inside the RNC’s secret fundraising strategy memo.

The small donors who are the targets of direct marketing are described under the heading “Visceral Giving.” Their motivations are listed as “fear;” “Extreme negative feelings toward existing Administration;” and “Reactionary.”

Major donors, by contrast, are treated in a column headed “Calculated Giving.” Their motivations include: “Peer to Peer Pressure”; “access”; and “Ego-Driven.”

And yet it’s the Left that’s supposed to be condescending and arrogant. Conor Friedersdorf is pretty unhappy about all this.

* Former DNC Chair Howard Dean says the pundits are misreading 2010: the mood is anti-incumbent, not anti-Democrat.

* Firedoglake gets nostalgic for the Cheney doctrine, which says we should invade other countries at the slightest probability of danger but apparently doesn’t apply to protecting the only planet we will ever have.

* And The Wall Street Journal, of all places: So Where’s Your Originalism Now, Justice Scalia?

Justice Scalia insisted that the right to keep and bear arms is right there in the text, which of course is true. But so too is the Privileges or Immunities Clause, which, unlike the Court’s due process jurisprudence, has a historical meaning that helps define and limit the rights it was meant to protect.

At the McDonald argument, it seemed obvious that five or more justices will vote to apply the Second Amendment to the states. . . . But it was also obvious that most were deeply afraid of following a text whose original meaning might lead them where they do not want to go.

Via MyDD. More on the Chicago gun case at SCOTUSblog.

Health Care Reform and Other Late Night Sunday Links

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* The health care bill has now cleared the first of three filibuster hurdles. Would-be bill-killers like Howard Dean are dialing back, with the new line being that there was never any such thing as a bill-killer in the first place. The other current talking point is that the manager’s amendment magically fixes everything. Feingold still says Obama is to blame for the loss of the public option, and Webb’s not happy either. Republican obstructionism has somehow turned Evan Bayh into a diehard Democratic partisan. The father of the public option says it’s all all right. With final passage looking assured—Schumer, weirdly ominously, declares “the die is cast”—Kevin Drum has one last post about the late implementation date for many of these programs, while (via Vu) Kuttner and Taibbi discuss health care reform on Bill Moyers. The filibuster, of course, is still the biggest problem.

* ‘No climate justice without gender justice.’

* ‘Earth on track for epic die-off, scientists say.’

* This headline hit me unexpectedly hard: ‘Could ocean acidification deafen dolphins?’ Perhaps I’ve always had a soft spot for dolphins, but the idea that potentially sapient species might go collectively deaf as a side effect of human action strikes me as unbearably sad.

* An early clip from Toy Story 3.

* The most important comic events of the decade.

* Is the Secret Service responsible for keeping the president from getting drunk?

* Dale Beran, creator of the sorely missed A Lesson Is Learned but the Damage is Irreversible, has started a new web comic series, The Nerds of Paradise.

* And Jezebel has what could be the Internet’s only remotely thoughtful post about the death of Brittany Murphy.

Thursday News Roundup

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* Spider-Man 4 apparently on hold after the shocking discovery that its villains suck.

* The CBO has scored the climate bill:

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office today released an analysis finding that the major climate and energy bill the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved in November would reduce the budget deficit by $21 billion over the next decade.

* Now Ben Nelson wants a pony too. Fantastic.

* Somebody tell Ezra Klein to keep his mouth shut about this.

And aside from all that, if you think we can get these pieces in reconciliation, why not pass the bill and then go back and get these pieces in reconciliation? If reconciliation is a good strategy, it’s a good “and” strategy, not a good “or” strategy.

More on the merits of passing an imperfect bill now and improving it later here.

* The Matt Yglesias theory of politics:

Just like I think the evidence is pretty overwhelming that campaign tactics don’t determine who wins presidential elections. But even though neither of those propositions is especially controversial among political scientists, both are hugely unpopular with political junkies. So people are bound to be mad about how casually the White House accepted the view that its job was to (a) discern what Nelson/Lieberman would vote for and then (b) sell everyone to the left of Nelson/Lieberman on voting for it.

Of course he’s right, this is how it works.

* Howard Dean: progressive hero or necessary sacrificial lamb?

* To put it bluntly, we had won the campaign, but were lied to by a small number of Senators. In particular, we were lied to by Joe Lieberman. If you have a post-mortem that could have prevented the lying, I’d love to hear it. For, were it not for the lying, the public option campaign would have been won. But this is why exactly reconciliation should always have been Plan B.

* And over there: Insurgents hack U.S. drones with $26 software.

Health Care Watch (Vermont Is Angry and So Am I)

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Potentially seismic news tonight as Bernie Sanders (backing me up on reconciliation) now says he currently can’t support the health care bill. This comes amidst his fellow Vermonter, Howard Dean, continuing to argue that the bill in its current form is worse than nothing and Joe Lieberman, history’s most absurd villain, actually threatening to join the GOP.

Kevin Drum, Steve Benen, Scott Lemieux, Think Progress, and Nate Silver all say Dean is wrong, and on the policy merits he probably is—I don’t think the bill is actually worse than nothing and if I were in the Senate I’d have to swallow my rage and vote for it. But politically I just don’t know; continuing to be “responsible” and “realistic” when even our allies habitually betray us is starting to look like a mug’s game. (I think the official term for the progressive caucus is “useful idiots.”) Why shouldn’t Obama and Reid have to beg for Bernie’s support? Why should only centrist tantrums count?

Robert Gibbs says Howard Dean is being irrational, and Jane is absolutely right: he didn’t say anything like that about Holy Joe, even when it was actually true. Why not? Russ Feingold says it’s because the Liebermanized bill is what the White House has really wanted all along. If that’s so, they’re the only ones; without a public option support for health care tanks, with good reason to think (as Kos does) that the individual mandate (however necessary) will prove politically toxic without a public option on the table.

Chris Bowers says there are no more happy endings. Probably not.