1. BULK OF PROPOSED ADDITIONAL POSITIONS IN HEALTH AND HUMAN RESOURCES
2. GOV. BOB MCDONNELL FLIP-FLOPS ON STATE EMPLOYEES PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS
3. MCDONNELL SAYS STATE WILL PAY $3.3M FOR SLAVE BURIAL GROUND
8. VIRGINIANS REACT TO SIGNING OF 'DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL' REPEAL
9. CANTOR'S PAYROLL UP 81% SINCE 2001
11. N.C. SENATORS PUT UP ROADBLOCK TO NAVY'S OLF PLANS
17. ON TARGET ON HEALTH CARE
18. AGAIN, THE GOVERNOR HAS PBS IN HIS SIGHTS
21. JEFF E. SCHAPIRO: GOP CAN'T IGNORE MARSHALL
22. STILL A GOOD CHANCE OF SNOW ON CHRISTMAS
24. UNLESS HRT IS FIXED, BEACH WARY OF EXTENDED LIGHT RAIL
27. FIRST WATER CLAIMS AGAINST FALLS CHURCH FILED IN COURT
Pfeiffer: On election day 2010, nobody would have predicted the successes we've had in this lame duck session. Tax package. DADT repeal -- that signing ceremony was a very emotional event for all involved. When the history is written of this admin, DADT repeal will be seen as a very significant moment. We also got the START Treaty ratified and the 911 firefighters bill. The latter was the right thing to do, had been caught up in senseless politics. All in all, it was a great month for the causes we all care about. We now have the wind at our backs as we head into next year. The toughest fights on the most difficult issues are ahead of us, but we have some momentum going into next year.
David Dayen of FDL: Concern over continuing resolution ending in March, move to increase debt limit. Will the President commit to not signing any budget related legislation that hurts the economy by reducing aggregate demand?
Pfeiffer: The President was disappointed that we didn't get the DREAM Act done. Also, the budget needs to be resolved, that's a problem. We're going to have some real debates on spending, the deficits. Republicans ran on cutting spending, reducing deficits, but never explained how they'd do it. Now, they're going to have to explain how. For instance, are they going to cut education funding? That would be a disaster. This will be a big fight. Some in the Republican base are agitating for a fight on the debt limit. John Boehner said he didn't want to make that a political issue, but we'll see what happens. There will be some compromise, some significant confrontation on spending issues; we have very different philosophies on what's best for the country. The President will draw clear lines in the sand, not let the Republicans take the country in wrong direction.
I couldn't agree more with 9500 Liberty co-director Eric Byler's commentary on Prince William County Board chair Corey Stewart's "rule of law" video:
Corey Stewart, Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, won reelection in 2007 by fomenting a culture war over immigration. The policy that resulted from this election strategy cost the county millions of dollars, hurt its economy, and caused crime to go up (after it had been falling for 15 years). An "Arizona" style police mandate was quickly repealed over Stewart's objection after only 8 weeks as these realities, and most importantly, the fact that it put the county in legal jeopardy, became clear.
Now, it's election season again. Stewart has a Republican primary challenger for his Chairman's seat, and he wants to run for the U.S. Senate in 2012. He seems to feel that a statewide culture war over immigration is his only hope, but can the Commonwealth of Virginia afford to be saddled with the fiscal and pubic safety impacts of such a culture war, with or without the policy that comes with it?
So...since we seem to be on a roll here, how about putting a national, renewable energy standard up for a vote? One more try on the DREAM Act? Hey, you never know!
By the way, all this productivity seems to be helping President Obama politically. According to a new poll for CNN, Americans by a 59%-37% margin say that Obama's "doing enough to cooperate with Republicans in Congress." In contrast, by a 68%-28% margin, Americans say that Republicans are not doing enough to cooperate with President Obama. Also, by a 46%-28% margin, Americans blame Republicans more than Democrats "for the lack of cooperation between the two parties in Washington." Finally, Americans view Democrats equally (47%-47%) in terms of favorable/unfavorable, while Republicans are at 42%-50% (-8 points) favorable/unfavorable. All in all, it looks like Republican obstructionism isn't paying off for them right now, while Democrats appear to be reaping the rewards for actually getting s*** done for America. What a concept! :)
Dedicated to Bob Marshall, Eugene Delgaudio, Dick Black, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and of course Ken Cuccinelli. Come to the Arlington Artisphere, I hear they've got lots of "Holiday Hugs & Kisses" for you guys! LOL
I agree with much of what Mark Warner's saying here. Yes, we needed more "stimulus" in the short run, due to the still-wobbly economic recovery. Yes, we did add hundreds of billions more dollars to the national debt by extending the Bush tax cuts another two years. Yes, we absolutely do need to deal with our nation's long-term, structural deficit. Yes, our country should have a simpler, fairer, broader tax code, also a more progressive one. Yes, 2011 is the time to work on this, before the 2012 presidential year kicks in and makes it essentially impossible. And yes, the president's budget commission offers some interesting ideas/possible starting points for tackling the deficit.
The question is, will any of this happen, or will the new Teapublican majority in House of Representatives - not to mention the expanded Jim DeMint caucus in the Senate - make reasonable compromise completely impossible? I'm betting on the latter, but hoping that Mark Warner et al. can figure out a way to prove me wrong. We'll see.
Now, fast forward to today. Jim Webb has been in the U.S. Senate for nearly 4 years. In just 2 years, he's up for reelection -- and believe it or not, the guy we came to know and (not) love as "Felix Macacawitz" appears to be running again. In addition to "Felix," there are several others who may run for the Republican nomination from Allen's political right -- astounding, given that Allen voted 97% of the time with George W. Bush -- including Prince William County board chair and anti-immigrant zealot Corey Stewart, homophobe/anti-contraception/climate change denier/etc. "Sideshow Bob" Marshall, and Virginia Tea Party leader Jamie Radtke. To put it mildly, all of these candidates would be seriously flawed, and none of them exactly strike fear into Democrats' hearts, assuming Jim Webb runs for reelection.
Which brings us back to Webb, and specifically the question, will he run for reelection? So far, the indications have been mixed: Webb has raised very little money and has a miniscule "war chest" by incumbent U.S. Senator standards; Webb continues to "[eschew] the normal aspects of politics," as Gerry Connolly puts it; Webb has made it very clear, over and over again, that he hates campaigning (he described the end of the 2006 campaign as "like I was stepping out of a sewer"); Webb's frustrated that his criminal justice reform commission has gotten nowhere in the Senate; and he commented recently that "I've spent a majority of my life outside of government...I don't really have a game plan." All of that tells me that Webb is at best iffy (50/50? 40/60?) on whether he'll run for reelection in 2012.
Given Webb's reluctance, would a grassroots/netroots "draft" movement help persuade him, as it did in 2006, to run? Perhaps, but I'm highly skeptical that we could - or should - attempt to "draft" Jim Webb again. This flows from my understanding of the unique confluence of factors that resulted in the "draft" working in 2006.
A great day in American history. Thank you President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid, and everyone else - grassroots activists in particular - who fought for this moment. Today, we have moved one step closer to an America where every citizen is treated equally - not better, not worse - under the law. I only wish the process would move faster, but for now, let's celebrate this milestone.
1. NEW POLL SHOWS SOLID APPROVAL RATING FOR MCDONNELL BUT NOT OBAMA
2. MCDONNELL 'VERY TROUBLED' BY CLAIM ABOUT FORBES' LETTER
3. GOVERNOR'S COMMITTEE FINDS VIRGINIA HEALTH CARE 'MEDIOCRE'
4. MARSHALL SAID HE WORRIES ABOUT INTERACTIONS BETWEEN GAYS, STRAIGHT TROOPS IN MILITARY
5. ACLU THREATENS TO SUE OVER MARSHALL'S BILL BANNING GAYS FROM VA. NATIONAL GUARD
6. VA. GOVERNOR DOES NOT SUPPORT GAY BAN IN GUARD
8. WARNER CHALLENGES CONGRESS: TIME TO "PUT UP OR SHUT UP" ON DEBT...
9. VIRGINIA REP. GERRY CONNOLLY ON GOVERNMENT WORKERS UNDER POLITICAL FIRE
11. CONNOLLY: CONTRACTOR CUTS IN NOVA TO BE MUCH SMALLER THAN PREVIOUSLY FEARED
13. VA., N.C. POPULATIONS GROW, BUT NO POLITICAL POWER GAINED
16. VA. STATE POLICE, WITH 249 VACANCIES, AWAITS FUNDS
26. VDOT PREPARES FOR HOLIDAY TRAVEL, POSSIBLE SNOWY CHRISTMAS
UPDATE: Also see Harold Meyerson's take on Obama's presidency and legacy. According to Meyerson, "By the standards of his mid-20th-century predecessors, Obama's achievements, while substantial, are less far-reaching," but "When Obama's record is measured against those of his two most recent Democratic predecessors, however, he clearly comes out on top." So, more successful (from a progressive perspective) than Carter and Clinton, not quite up to FDR and LBJ standards in terms of progressive reforms accomplished. Could be better, could be worse, but overall, I'll take it - the most effective, progressive Democratic president since the early (pre-Vietnam War) days of LBJ. A great deal of credit also goes to Nancy Pelosi, one of the most important House Speakers in recent history. Also, Harry Reid doesn't get nearly enough credit for the work he's done in the (almost impossible to manage) Senate. Maybe I'm just in the holiday spirit right now, but unlike many in the "leftosphere," I'm overall feeling pretty good about what we've accomplished in Washington, DC the past 2 years.
Sure, I would have liked a lot more - comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation, a strong public option, immigration reform, the DREAM Act, etc. - but let's not scoff at DADT repeal, the economic recovery and reinvestment legislation (although certainly it should have been larger and configured more towards infrastructure investments), financial reform, consumer protection, healthier food protections, student loan reform, an expanded Children's Health Insurance Program, better care for wounded veterans, extended unemployment benefits (no thanks to Republicans), a new START treaty ratified, an economy saved from Great Depression II, the auto industry saved as well, the vast majority of TARP money recovered, and much more. Not too shabby.
Barrasso (WY), Bunning (KY), Burr (NC), Chambliss (GA), Coburn (OK), Cornyn (TX), Crapo (ID), DeMint (SC), Ensign (NV), Enzi (WY), Graham (SC), Grassley (IA), Hatch (UT), Hutchison (TX), Inhofe (OK), Johanns (NE), Kirk (IL), Kyl (AZ), LeMieux (FL), McCain (AZ), McConnell (KY), Risch (ID), Roberts (KS), Sessions (AL), Shelby (AL), Thune (SD), Vitter (LA), Wicker (MS)
They should all be very proud of themselves. True American patriots. Not.