maxomai: dog (dog)
The big news is that Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada), the current Senate Minority Leader, has announced that he will not run for re-election in 2016.

As usual, this comes with good, bad, and ugly sides.

THE GOOD, for Democrats anyway, is that the timing of the announcement couldn't be better. Nevada is a razor-edge purple state such that Reid would have lost his last election (in 2010) if not for his GOTV machine. 2016 is a much more favorable environment for Democrats, as long as Hillary Clinton runs and the usual groups (OFA, DFA, MoveOn, etc.) are firing on all cylinders. They also have a popular candidate in recently retired Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, whom Reid endorsed today.

THE BAD for Democrats is that this gives the GOP an opening to take this seat. Right now the GOP have a great candidate in the current Governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval. He's enormously well-liked, and if he runs, even with all the advantages Cortez Masto has, it's going to be a toss-up. If he doesn't run, Cortez Masto is an easy favorite. So the GOP is going to work very hard to recruit him.

THE UGLY is that Reid has already endorsed his pick for the next Senate Majority Leader as of 2017, Chuck "I Love War and Gun Control" Schumer. Even without this endorsement, Schumer has seniority and is the most likely pick. Elizabeth Warren, the progressive favorite, has less than four years of seniority, so you can forget about her having a shot as Leader for a while. Those groans you hear are partisan Democrats being forced to bite the bullet and swallow yet another move by their party to the neoconservative center-right.
maxomai: dog (dog)
The Washington Post posted this a few hours ago:

A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years — concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques.


In summary, the CIA told Congress that torture gave them critical information that couldn't be obtained any other way, that was vital to the fight against Al Qaeda. That was a lie.

We don't know all the details of what's in the Senate's report; it's still not complete, and it's classified. The Senate is going to vote Thursday on whether to submit it to President Obama for declassification. Even if the Senate decides to declassify the report, Obama's history on this suggests that he'll keep the report classified and continue to cover the asses of the criminals who shamed the United States.
maxomai: dog (dog)
AP has called it: Newark, NJ mayor Cory Booker is the new US Senator from the state of New Jersey.

He was an awesome mayor. Now let's see him be an awesome Senator.
maxomai: dog (dog)
Harry Reid has agreed that a vote on a ban on abortions after 20 weeks can go ahead in the United States Senate.

Realistically, this measure will never pass. There aren't enough Democratic votes in the Senate. If there were, Obama would never sign it.

But after Texas's battle over a similar ban, the GOP was effectively re-branding themselves as the Coat Hanger Party. At least, they were, until the Senate Majority Leader decided to give the GOP some cover.

Stupid move, Harry.
maxomai: dog (dog)
Quoting Politico:

“I’ve had at least five senators call me and say, ‘Can’t we do something about this?’” Biden said. “The calculus has changed, and so we’re in an effort to try to work out how we can provide another opportunity for those who voted no to change their vote. We all know that’s the hardest thing in politics, to change your vote. That’s why we’ve got to get a rationale, another reason why this could be done by changing the specifics of the legislation.”

Biden hasn’t conveyed which senators he’s spoken with or how the background checks bill might be altered.


I have my doubts that Biden actually has 60 votes, or that the calculus has changed that much since the first bill failed. The only major change, other than the declining support for new gun control measures, is Michael Bloomberg's willingness to buy elections. So, who could he buy in order to get them to switch their vote?

Read more... )

That said, all of this is idle speculation. Nobody is going to switch their vote to help pass a universal background check bill unless Bloomberg's money is an unqualified benefit for their re-election, and nobody on the list of "no" votes meets that criterion. The reason for this is simple: the vote in the Senate is purely symbolic. Whatever gun control measure passes the Senate is dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled House, which is likely to stay in Republican hands until 2023.

In other words, it's actually pretty likely that Biden is just spinning tales to keep the base enthusiastic.
maxomai: dog (Default)
Former US Senator Scott Brown, who recently lost badly to Harvard professor and current US Senator Elizabeth Warren, was, via PPP, the front runner to win the special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by John Kerry. On the other hand, he also stood a good chance to win the 2014 Massachusetts Gubernatorial election. It all basically came down to what he wants to do.

Today, Scott Brown made his choice.

"I was not at all certain that a third Senate campaign in less than four years, and the prospect of returning to a Congress even more partisan than the one I left, was really the best way for me to continue in public service at this time. And I know it’s not the only way for me to advance the ideals and causes that matter most to me," Brown said in a statement. "That is why I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for the United States Senate in the upcoming special election."


So, what does this mean?


  • The MAGOP doesn't really have a lot of other options to run for that seat, so whoever wins the Democratic Primary is automatically the front-runner. Right now, that person is likely to be Ed Markey, provided that he gets his shit together, fast. (Seriously, Markey, don't choke. Remember the lessons of 2010.)

  • This doesn't raise his chances to be Massachusetts's next Governor. We still have to see whether he decides to run for that seat, or to bow out of politics altogether. Honestly, I wouldn't put it past him to bow out, particularly if the conservative money just isn't there anymore.

  • Last but not least, another prediction bites the dust.

maxomai: dog (Default)
Earlier today I posted my prediction that the Democrats would barely hold on to the Senate. Ben Nelson of Nebraska must have seen my analysis, because he's hanging it up.

The 70-year-old conservative Democrat, whose seat is being heavily targeted by Republicans in 2012, said in a statement that “while I relish the opportunity to undertake the work that lies ahead, I also feel it’s time for me to step away from elective office, spend more time with my family, and look for new ways to serve our state and nation.”


Nelson is on the conservative fringe of the Democratic Party and not very well liked by progressives; in particular, while Republicans think his vote for the Affordable Care Act would have given them a weapon to use against him, it's also true that Nelson held out his vote for as long as he could to make the Affordable Care Act the shittiest deal possible. It wasn't until Scott Brown gave the Republicans enough votes to hold up a filibuster that he stopped the crap and got in line.

The bad news for Democrats is that they have nobody who can credibly run in Nelson's place (although I hold some hope out that Scott Kleeb might run). The GOP had a good shot of flipping this seat before, but it's a mortal lock now. The worse news is, this frees up Republican money to pursue seats elsewhere, such as Montana, Missouri, or North Dakota.

Update: For more reasons why I'm not sad to see Nelson go, click here.
maxomai: dog (Default)
Earlier today I posted my prediction that the Democrats would barely hold on to the Senate. Ben Nelson of Nebraska must have seen my analysis, because he's hanging it up.

The 70-year-old conservative Democrat, whose seat is being heavily targeted by Republicans in 2012, said in a statement that “while I relish the opportunity to undertake the work that lies ahead, I also feel it’s time for me to step away from elective office, spend more time with my family, and look for new ways to serve our state and nation.”


Nelson is on the conservative fringe of the Democratic Party and not very well liked by progressives; in particular, while Republicans think his vote for the Affordable Care Act would have given them a weapon to use against him, it's also true that Nelson held out his vote for as long as he could to make the Affordable Care Act the shittiest deal possible. It wasn't until Scott Brown gave the Republicans enough votes to hold up a filibuster that he stopped the crap and got in line.

The bad news for Democrats is that they have nobody who can credibly run in Nelson's place (although I hold some hope out that Scott Kleeb might run). The GOP had a good shot of flipping this seat before, but it's a mortal lock now. The worse news is, this frees up Republican money to pursue seats elsewhere, such as Montana, Missouri, or North Dakota.

Update: For more reasons why I'm not sad to see Nelson go, click here.
maxomai: dog (Default)

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) has decided not to run for re-election in 2012. More here.


If she ran, and won her primary, she would be a shoo-in. Unfortunately for her, the Tea Party hates Hutchison, and this is reflected in her approval rating among Republicans. Depending on how the primary goes, this could turn into an interesting pick-up opportunity for Democrats.








maxomai: dog (Default)

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) has decided not to run for re-election in 2012. More here.


If she ran, and won her primary, she would be a shoo-in. Unfortunately for her, the Tea Party hates Hutchison, and this is reflected in her approval rating among Republicans. Depending on how the primary goes, this could turn into an interesting pick-up opportunity for Democrats.








maxomai: dog (Default)

The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) is a monster of a bill that would have given the Department of Justice full power to kill web sites suspected of hosting materials in violation of copyright. (It wouldn’t take the sites offline — it would force domain registrars to stop directing traffic to the host, which, for most users, is pretty much the same thing.) I didn’t think this bill would go anywhere in a Congress that was chock full of discontent, so you can imagine my horror this morning when I found out that it sailed through committee, 19-0.


Enter Ron Wyden:


“Deploying this statute to combat online copyright infringement seems almost like using a bunker-busting cluster bomb, when what you need is a precision-guided missile,” Wyden said during a hearing on digital trade issues. “If you don’t think this thing through carefully, the collateral damage would be American innovation, American jobs, and a secure Internet.” — (PC World)


In other words, this bill is dead, and they start from square one next year. Hopefully with something not as severe.


Phew!








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) is a monster of a bill that would have given the Department of Justice full power to kill web sites suspected of hosting materials in violation of copyright. (It wouldn’t take the sites offline — it would force domain registrars to stop directing traffic to the host, which, for most users, is pretty much the same thing.) I didn’t think this bill would go anywhere in a Congress that was chock full of discontent, so you can imagine my horror this morning when I found out that it sailed through committee, 19-0.


Enter Ron Wyden:


“Deploying this statute to combat online copyright infringement seems almost like using a bunker-busting cluster bomb, when what you need is a precision-guided missile,” Wyden said during a hearing on digital trade issues. “If you don’t think this thing through carefully, the collateral damage would be American innovation, American jobs, and a secure Internet.” — (PC World)


In other words, this bill is dead, and they start from square one next year. Hopefully with something not as severe.


Phew!








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

Just when I thought the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was dead, the White House does the right thing in order to keep their hope of undoing DADT “the right way” alive:


“The White House opposes any effort to strip ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ (repeal) from the National Defense Authorization Act,” said Dan Pfeiffer, White House communications director.


This gives us a small window, rapidly closing, to push Congress to keep the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal alive. You (yes you) need to call your Senators now at 202-224-3121 and tell them that you oppose any attempt to strip Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell from the Defense Authorization Bill. If you don’t know who your Senators are, go to Congress.org and find them. It doesn’t matter what time it is — leave a message. If the voice mailbox is full, call one of their field offices. It doesn’t matter, either, if they’re screaming blue liberals or raging red conservatives — call them anyway.


In addition, make sure you call each of the following Senators, even if they aren’t yours:



  • In Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R)

  • In Arkansas, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D)
  • In Illinois, Sen. Mark Kirk (R) [He will be a Senator as of Thanksgiving. Details here.]

  • In Indiana, Sen. Richard Lugar (R)
  • In Maine, Republican Sen. Susan Collins

  • Also In Maine, Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe

  • In Ohio, Sen. George Voinovich (R)

  • In Virginia, Sen. Jim Webb (D)

  • In West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D)


You can get their contact information here. Don’t worry if they’re not yours — the faster their voice mail boxes fill up, the better.


Yes, I think the faster way to get rid of DADT is to let the 9th Circuit Court decision stand. But we need to advance on any front we have.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

Just when I thought the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was dead, the White House does the right thing in order to keep their hope of undoing DADT “the right way” alive:


“The White House opposes any effort to strip ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ (repeal) from the National Defense Authorization Act,” said Dan Pfeiffer, White House communications director.


This gives us a small window, rapidly closing, to push Congress to keep the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal alive. You (yes you) need to call your Senators now at 202-224-3121 and tell them that you oppose any attempt to strip Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell from the Defense Authorization Bill. If you don’t know who your Senators are, go to Congress.org and find them. It doesn’t matter what time it is — leave a message. If the voice mailbox is full, call one of their field offices. It doesn’t matter, either, if they’re screaming blue liberals or raging red conservatives — call them anyway.


In addition, make sure you call each of the following Senators, even if they aren’t yours:



  • In Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R)

  • In Arkansas, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D)
  • In Illinois, Sen. Mark Kirk (R) [He will be a Senator as of Thanksgiving. Details here.]

  • In Indiana, Sen. Richard Lugar (R)
  • In Maine, Republican Sen. Susan Collins

  • Also In Maine, Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe

  • In Ohio, Sen. George Voinovich (R)

  • In Virginia, Sen. Jim Webb (D)

  • In West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D)


You can get their contact information here. Don’t worry if they’re not yours — the faster their voice mail boxes fill up, the better.


Yes, I think the faster way to get rid of DADT is to let the 9th Circuit Court decision stand. But we need to advance on any front we have.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

If you’re a Democrat and a political junkie like I am, then you were no doubt intensely disappointed, if not disgusted, by the Senate’s retreat on what should have been a pure slam-dunk for the Democratic party: bringing up the extension of middle class tax cuts for a vote on the Senate floor. (More here.) Hearing about that prompted me to call both my Senators — both of whom are Democrats — and tell them that I did not work my ass off for all these election cycles to elect Democrats only for those same Democrats to piss away our hard work by passing up on low-hanging fruit.


Perhaps recognizing that this was the last straw for a lot of activists, Reid is now reportedly going to try playing hardball again — this time by forcing a live quorum call for a debate on bill to punish outsourcing.


Reid announced Friday he will hold a rare live quorum call Monday at 7 p.m. — meaning that all members will need to come to the floor for a mandatory head count — followed by procedural vote Tuesday morning on an anti-outsourcing jobs bill, which does not have the votes to clear a GOP filibuster but gives Democrats a chance to talk about overseas jobs and tax loopholes and slam the Republican economic agenda.


Good for him. Forcing the Republicans to go on the record as favoring outshoring is a winning move, and it could generate some good campaign ads. It won’t be in time to close the “enthusiasm gap” and bring Democratic voters to the polls in November, and it certainly won’t be enough for me to give to the DNC, DSCC or DCCC again, instead of MoveOn.org, any time soon. But it might generate just enough attention to keep a few House seats, and that would make the difference.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

If you’re a Democrat and a political junkie like I am, then you were no doubt intensely disappointed, if not disgusted, by the Senate’s retreat on what should have been a pure slam-dunk for the Democratic party: bringing up the extension of middle class tax cuts for a vote on the Senate floor. (More here.) Hearing about that prompted me to call both my Senators — both of whom are Democrats — and tell them that I did not work my ass off for all these election cycles to elect Democrats only for those same Democrats to piss away our hard work by passing up on low-hanging fruit.


Perhaps recognizing that this was the last straw for a lot of activists, Reid is now reportedly going to try playing hardball again — this time by forcing a live quorum call for a debate on bill to punish outsourcing.


Reid announced Friday he will hold a rare live quorum call Monday at 7 p.m. — meaning that all members will need to come to the floor for a mandatory head count — followed by procedural vote Tuesday morning on an anti-outsourcing jobs bill, which does not have the votes to clear a GOP filibuster but gives Democrats a chance to talk about overseas jobs and tax loopholes and slam the Republican economic agenda.


Good for him. Forcing the Republicans to go on the record as favoring outshoring is a winning move, and it could generate some good campaign ads. It won’t be in time to close the “enthusiasm gap” and bring Democratic voters to the polls in November, and it certainly won’t be enough for me to give to the DNC, DSCC or DCCC again, instead of MoveOn.org, any time soon. But it might generate just enough attention to keep a few House seats, and that would make the difference.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

Bill Maher’s latest clip of Christine O’Donnell, hot on the heels of the clip of her claims of dabbling in witchcraft, is this whopper:



O’DONNELL: You know what, evolution is a myth. And even Darwin himself –


MAHER: Evolution is a myth?!? Have you ever looked at a monkey?


O’DONNELL: Well then, why they — why aren’t monkeys still evolving into humans?


It might be acceptable for a United States Senator to disagree with evolution in this day and age; but a United States Senator should at least understand evolution. Just saying.


UPDATE Oh look .. she’s teaming up with the genius who came up with that Demon Sheep ad for Carly Fiorina. That should be entertaining!








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

Bill Maher’s latest clip of Christine O’Donnell, hot on the heels of the clip of her claims of dabbling in witchcraft, is this whopper:



O’DONNELL: You know what, evolution is a myth. And even Darwin himself –


MAHER: Evolution is a myth?!? Have you ever looked at a monkey?


O’DONNELL: Well then, why they — why aren’t monkeys still evolving into humans?


It might be acceptable for a United States Senator to disagree with evolution in this day and age; but a United States Senator should at least understand evolution. Just saying.


UPDATE Oh look .. she’s teaming up with the genius who came up with that Demon Sheep ad for Carly Fiorina. That should be entertaining!








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

Now that the primaries are shaken out, Nate Silver gives the GOP at 15% chance to take over the US Senate — down from 25% last week. Quoting:


The main reason for the decline is the outcome of Tuesday’s Republican primary in Delaware, in which the insurgent candidate, Christine O’Donnell, defeated Michael N. Castle. Two recent polls, including one completed after the primary, show her trailing her Democratic opponent, Chris Coons, by margins of 11 percent and 16 percent.


Although Ms. O’Donnell and Mr. Coons remain relatively unknown to some Delaware voters, and a comeback by Ms. O’Donnell is not impossible, the forecasting model gives it only a 6 percent likelihood of happening — and has established Mr. Coons, therefore, as a 94 percent favorite. Had Republican voters selected Mr. Castle instead, the numbers would be exactly the opposite: Mr. Castle would be the 94 percent favorite to win the seat, leaving Mr. Coons with just a 6 percent chance of an upset.


Democrats are giddy (2) about this reversal of fortunes in the Senate — perhaps too giddy. Perhaps they need reminding that the GOP, the Koch Brothers, and their other corporate allies are outspending the Democrats nearly ten-to-one on ad buys. That kind of money can buy a lot of swiftboats, as I am now personally seeing in Oregon’s Governor’s race and in Washington’s third district.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

Now that the primaries are shaken out, Nate Silver gives the GOP at 15% chance to take over the US Senate — down from 25% last week. Quoting:


The main reason for the decline is the outcome of Tuesday’s Republican primary in Delaware, in which the insurgent candidate, Christine O’Donnell, defeated Michael N. Castle. Two recent polls, including one completed after the primary, show her trailing her Democratic opponent, Chris Coons, by margins of 11 percent and 16 percent.


Although Ms. O’Donnell and Mr. Coons remain relatively unknown to some Delaware voters, and a comeback by Ms. O’Donnell is not impossible, the forecasting model gives it only a 6 percent likelihood of happening — and has established Mr. Coons, therefore, as a 94 percent favorite. Had Republican voters selected Mr. Castle instead, the numbers would be exactly the opposite: Mr. Castle would be the 94 percent favorite to win the seat, leaving Mr. Coons with just a 6 percent chance of an upset.


Democrats are giddy (2) about this reversal of fortunes in the Senate — perhaps too giddy. Perhaps they need reminding that the GOP, the Koch Brothers, and their other corporate allies are outspending the Democrats nearly ten-to-one on ad buys. That kind of money can buy a lot of swiftboats, as I am now personally seeing in Oregon’s Governor’s race and in Washington’s third district.








Originally published at maxomai.org

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