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Rob Kailey is a working schmuck with no ties or affiliations to any governmental or political organizations, save those of sympathy.

Three strikes, and we're out of political will

by: Jay Stevens

Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 06:31:36 AM MST

The freefall has begun. The US Senate has abandoned any notion of passing any kind of meaningful reform, and seems to be content to sit tight and watch the 2010 elections. Over the past week, the Senate has punted on some major issues that essentially say they're done.

To wit:

The Cobell settlement was rejected by the US Senate. It was stripped from a war-funding bill. Harry Reid blamed Republicans, but as Indian Country Today's Rob Capriccioso pointed out, plenty of Democrats had to oppose the amendment for it to fail cloture, 46-51. Republicans - led by Wyoming's John Barrasso - do keep trying to "modify" the settlement in ways Cobell opposes, but it's unclear if the filibusterers here were voting against the settlement, or tacking on unrelated additional spending (there were other domestic measures in the bill besides the Cobell settlement) to the Afghanistan funding bill. So, it either failed because the Senate opposes the settlement, or because they're beholden to deficit hawks. Either way, it's a fail for the Senate.

Cobell is bringing the settlement back to the House. As Gwen Florio notes, the "most recent deadline - there have many, with many delays - for congressional approval of the settlement is Aug. 6."

From a planetary perspective, the Senate abandoning of a climate change bill is even worse. Harry Reid said simply he doesn't have the votes to pass a bill. Worse still, the abandonment of the climate in the Senate presages a complete collapse of any political will to work on climate issues:

The result is an undeniable defeat in stemming climate change in this country. It echoes overseas also with other countries wondering about American resolve on a global issue. The high-wire deal struck in a climate change conference last year in Copenhagen to reduce emissions by 17 percent by 2020 looks very far away.

But the wreckage isn't complete. California will face a challenge to its AB32 law cutting greenhouse emissions on the ballot in November. Also, GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman wants to hit the pause button on the law if elected. Keeping this law on the books becomes a higher priority than ever.

The Obama administration may also take an extra step in the battle by using existing federal laws to crack down on carbon emissions, a regulatory showdown it wanted to avoid with the legislative package that's now dead. Whether it has the will to do so, after the Senate defeat, remains in doubt.

Spectacular fail.

Finally, Republican Senators tried to block the US DoJ from challenging the recent Arizona immigration law. It failed, but the bad news here is that both Jon Tester and Max Baucus voted with Republicans on the issue. It's an astounding vote, frankly. For starters, the bill attempts to dictate to Justice what cases they should pursue. For another matter, while Tester has always been hawkish on immigration, the Arizona law is irreconcilable with the kind of individual civil liberties issues Jon's always championed in the past. How can you be an outspoken opponent of Real ID - and a supporter of Arizona's immigration law? Real ID at least has the benefit of being applied uniformly to all citizens, while Arizona's papers check would be haphazardly applied without document standards, and by local authorities with all of their biases and no oversight. And Tester, at least, has an election coming up and a history of drifting towards nativist positions on immigration. What's Baucus' excuse here?

As Netroots Nation friend Paul Hogarth blogged today, the Senate is where "progressive legislation goes to die."

If there's one major frustration leading into November, it's the U.S. Senate - where Republicans have obstructed practically everything that passed the House. Reid came to the Conference on July 24th - right after announcing we "don't have the votes" for comprehensive climate change reform this year, only adding insult to injury. One panel on filibuster reform suggested we're in a constitutional crisis, but Reid himself wouldn't commit to any specific solution.

And the solution?

But rather than give up, Al Franken reminded the netroots that Senators elected in 2006 and 2008 with their help are a "coalition of the impatient" - and represent a new generation of more progressive Democrats. Bloggers are needed this November to add to their ranks, in order to change the Senate.

Well...it's a nice thought. And I do think our progressive resurgence moved too quickly, allowing too many politicians from earlier eras of appeasement staff the chairs of vital Congressional committees. We do need better representatives.

But I'm still staggered - especially on climate change - how spectacular our political failures have been.  

Jay Stevens :: Three strikes, and we're out of political will
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Very depressing (0.00 / 0)
Just at a time when "we . . . need better representatives," the Republican upsurge of 2010 and 2012 will burden our country with a lot of far worse ones.

I think everyone underrated the power of White Backlash against the election of a black president.

And the power of big corporations in the Senate to buy off or intimidate Democrats who might toy with the idea of real change. I mean guys like Tester.

Very depressing.


on the other hand... (0.00 / 0)
The House has actually been pretty good. I think we overlook the work that Pelosi and the House Democrats have done because it all gets killed in the Senate.  

[ Parent ]
I'm not so convinced of that. (0.00 / 0)
Just at a time when "we . . . need better representatives," the Republican upsurge of 2010 and 2012 will burden our country with a lot of far worse ones.

So far, through this primary cycle, the rabid nativists, secessionists, xenophobes and deficit hawks (you know, the Tea Party favored) have fared very poorly.  And where they have had success, they are actually helping the candidates who face them, more's the pity.  Gov. Rick Perry might actually lose to a Democrat because of his crazy, though a D in the Texas Governor's mansion doesn't help progressives much.  J.D. Hayworth's primary run against John McCain has virtually assured McCain's return to the Senate, and his rightward crawl.  And you can thank Sharron Angle for giving us more fabulous years of Harry Reid's 'leadership'.

For me, it goes back to what the Great Orange Satan has been preaching since 2002.  More and Better Democrats.  We got the more, but it does appear that a lot of folks want to ignore the latter need just because the former didn't give us ponies all by itself.  That seems to be what my favorite senator EVAR, Al Franken, was saying at NN.  Improvement is a long slog.  Yes, the Senate is a clown circus tasked with passing (or not) legislation by arcane rules that border on a Monty Python skit.  But it's our job to be the represented, and elect those we want to represent us.  That's a far harder task, and it doesn't end with the somnolence imparted by "more".  We need better.  You don't get that by giving up when you've just scored some victories.  

[ Parent ]
Consolation? (0.00 / 0)
A friend and I were talking the other day about "the forces of history."  He has stopped being politically active and now prefers to stand aside and let these mysterious forces play out.

I can understand the sentiment though I can't follow him all the way to his conclusion.

For most of human history, the powerful have dominated and oppressed the masses.  We're lived mainly under tyrants and oligarchs.  Social injustice has been accepted as normal.  Life has gone on.

Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Dante lived and thrived under more or less fascist systems.  Is that some sort of consolation?

In an age of corporate control of the masses through political propaganda and mindless entertainment ("bread and circuses"), those interested in positive social change have been increasingly marginalized. To most people, they're just nuisances.

So we got a brief opportunity to move in a progressive direction.  Apparently it has passed and the forces of wealth and privilege have reasserted themselves.


If Matthew's heart can handle the shock ... (0.00 / 0)
I completely agree with him.  ;-)

[ Parent ]
Failures? (0.00 / 0)

Actually, the spectacular failure of this congress/administration was the 'stimulus' bill, which was supposed to keep unemployment in check, at 8%, and start 'shovel ready' jobs everywhere. The last figure I heard was 6,000,000 jobs lost since The Great Leader signed it.

NOT passing liberal legislation cannot be considered a failure - LOL

And where did you hear this? (0.00 / 0)
You Republicans are always pulling numbers out of your ass. How many jobs were lost in the month Obama took office?  How many are being lost per month now?

You guys lit the house on fire and now you're throwing rocks at the fire fighters.

[ Parent ]
throwing lawsuits? (0.00 / 0)

Great source Rob - a link to the blog of a paid Dennis McDonald supporter - LOL

[ Parent ]
Firefighters? (0.00 / 0)

Let me guess Turner - you blame President Bush right?

Reid & Pelosi have been running Washington since January of 2007, but the steady decline in our economy, and skyrocketing of the debt isn't their fault, or the fault of The Messiah, President Obama, right?

[ Parent ]

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Purely Hypothetical, of course, but - The best candidate for the Republicans for US Senate is:
Corey Stapleton
Dennis Rehberg
Marc Racicot
Champ Edmunds
Steve Daines
Harris Himes
Kreyton Kerns


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