We've been hibernating the last few days, as the holiday travel plans were iced out. Which leaves plenty of time for writing... except there's no actual news other than year/decade anthologies and the navel gazing over the latest steps on health care--which, lest we forget, still isn't done.
Democrats (have) redefined the playing field of American politics to ground that is inherently favorable to their team. When Americans complain about their health care in the future, are they going to look to the party that wants to do nothing to fix it? No, they’re going to go with the side of political activism and government involvement. The other side, after all, isn’t even in the game.
The modern Senate is a radically different institution than the Senate of the 1960s, and the dysfunction exhibited in its debate over health care -- the absence of bipartisanship, the use of the filibuster to obstruct progress rather than protect debate, the ability of any given senator to hold the bill hostage to his or her demands -- has convinced many, both inside and outside the chamber, that it needs to be fixed...
Arlen Specter's defection from the Republican Party earlier this year gave Democrats 60 votes in the Senate -- a larger majority than either party has had since the '70s. Democrats also controlled the House and the presidency, and were working in the aftermath of a financial crisis that occurred on a Republican president's watch. This was a test of whether a party could govern when everything was stacked in its favor.
The answer seems to be, well, not really.
Shoutouts to Tom Harkin included.
The first half of Obama's accomplishments above is mostly liberal stuff. The bottom half is all pretty dang conservative. Which brings us to The Problem With America Today: Blame it on the Internet, on partisan politics, on the economic crash, on the legacy of war or Fox News or Michael Moore, but our vital center is getting stiff — and it is starting to stink.
Liberals are upset because Obama didn't shut down Guantánamo or stop the wiretapping program or end all wars or support gay marriage and kill Don't Ask Don't Tell. Conservatives are pissed off because they hate health-care reform, family planning, ending any war at all, organic gardening at the White House, and government in general.
Not that I accept the David Broder "vital center" premise here; I'm firmly in the "Obama abandoning the left that elected him" qualified support camp. But it is a good list of what HAS gotten done, and anyone fretting that Obama's support has dipped to the low 50s has forgotten that W was in the 20s a year ago.
The political comeback that Branstad is now attempting would never had been possible had the entire bench of potential Republican gubernatorial candidates not been wiped out in 2006.
While many believe that Branstad’s remarkably high name ID is what allows him his instant credibility, it’s actually the void that was left unfilled after Jim Nussle lost to Culver in 2006.
Visions of an alternate universe with Governor Nussle and Congressman Dix...