Archive for October, 2009
With about a year to go to the 2010 midterm Congressional elections, the odds are heavy that the Democrats will retain control of the House of Representatives.
A total of 41 seats would have to be gained by the Republicans for party control to switch, and the best estimates at this point are that the GOP might gain 15-20 seats at most in the next Congress.
The Senate is certainly going to see Democratic control with some chance of a Democratic gain to over 60 seats, but even if a few losses occur, certain to keep possession of at least a mid 50s number of seats, which would mean a few more Republicans.
IF the economy improves and the health care legislation succeeds in being passed, it seems unlikely that the Republicans would have much if any gain in Congress overall.
However, since only twice has the party in the White House gained seats in the midterm election, it is likely there might be some gain by the Republicans, but probably likely in a minor way.
It seems more and more likely that former California Governor Jerry Brown (1975-1983), who also ran for the Presidential nomination in 1976, 1980, and 1992, served as Oakland Mayor, and is now Attorney General, will be the next Governor of California at age 71, making him the oldest governor, as well as its youngest governor at age 35!
This is due to the fact that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has withdrawn from the race in which he was the only announced Democratic candidate! Brown is unlikely to have a divisive primary, and his chances of defeating former Ebay CEO Meg Whitman or two other GOP candidates seem excellent, particularly with Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger extremely unpopular as California struggles through the devastating effect of the recession on the nation’s largest state.
When the biography of Jerry Brown is finally written at some point in the future, it will be a long and fascinating story of how a man could accomplish all of the many roles that Jerry Brown has filled in his long career in politics!
Liz Cheney, the older daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is off base to criticize President Obama for visiting Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to honor the fallen soldiers coming home from Afghanistan.
The President was honoring the service and sacrifice of our warriors, something George W. Bush never did in public and did rarely at all, and something Dick Cheney NEVER did at any time, despite promoting a war policy that sent these and other soldiers to war.
The nation at large needs to be reminded, by viewing the caskets on television and cable, what we are doing overseas, something many Americans do not spend any time thinking about, due to the end of the military draft in 1973.
The President was very dignified and respectful, as he always tends to be. The daughter of Vice President Cheney owes the President an apology for her hypocritical statement, especially considering that her dad never served in the military and received multiple deferments.
Liz Cheney has become a clone of her dad, and it does not reflect well on him or on her!
It is good news that about 640,000 jobs, half of them in education, were created or saved by the first installment of the economic stimulus during the Obama Administration’s first nine months.
It is clear that without the economic stimulus, there would be even greater unemployment numbers and the economy would be in deeper recession.
As always is the case, patience is short in a time of recession, but the indications are that the Obama programs are creating hope for the future rise of employment in America. Certainly, it is a better strategy than the conservative view that nothing should have been done to stimulate the economy!
On this day, October 29, the 80th anniversary of the Great Crash on Wall Street that led to the Great Depression, we have good news: an increase of 3.5 percent in the Gross Domestic Product in the third quarter of this year, the first such increase in a year.
This officially marks the end of the worst recession since the Great Depression, and the growth rate for the quarter matches the normal rate of increase in the 80 years since the beginning of the Great Depression.
The problem is that much of the growth was probably due to the economic stimulus, so the question is whether the economy will continue to expand on its own in the coming months. Plus there is the issue of when will unemployment stop rising, and when will foreclosures start to recede.
So while happy at this development, it is obvious that we should not be overly optimistic at a permanent overcoming of the recession, because there is still danger that we could go right back into the recession in the future.
So we need to have our fingers crossed and hope for the best!
A new CNN poll shows that 71 percent of those asked believe Sarah Palin is not qualified to be President! This is no surprise!
Only 42 percent see her in a positive light, and her ratings in this poll are similar to the view of Vice President Dan Quayle, who served under the first President Bush from 1989-1993, but was always feared and ridiculed as a possible successor to the Presidency.
Sarah Palin is getting involved in the New York 23rd Congressional District race on the side of the Conservative candidate over the Republican nominee, and this is bound to reverberate on her unfavorably in the future.
It will certainly be interesting to see what she has to say in her memoir, already a best seller before publication on November 17. It might give hints as to her future plans, but it is clear that a vast majority of Americans, while maybe finding her to be an interesting personality, do not want her to be President of the United States!
Former Massachusetts Republican Senator Edward Brooke, the first African American senator elected by popular vote, and serving from 1967-1979 in the upper chamber, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal on the occasion of his 90th birthday today.
The ceremony took place in Statuary Hall in the US Capitol, and President Obama presided over the honor being bestowed. The fact that Brooke was highly respected by public figures on the left and on the right, and that he placed himself in the moderate center in his years in the Senate, makes this honor particularly appropriate at a time when his party is far from moderate.
Brooke alluded to this by saying that working together across party lines was essential, but which unfortunately is not occurring during the Obama Presidency.
If we had more people like Edward Brooke in the Senate now, it would be a better institution!
Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman has declared that he will support bringing the Health Care bill to the floor of the Senate, but will vote to prevent the passage of any version of a “public option” because he has suddenly become a “deficit hawk”.
Interesting that here we have a senator well known for his advocacy of spending as much as it takes to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, but if one suggests that a “public option” be offered on health care, even with the right of states to reject it, then suddenly he is a “deficit hawk” who sounds, suspiciously, as if he should be a Republican. And after all, he DID support John McCain in last year’s presidential election.
As stated before, it is time for the Democrats to stop pussyfooting and invite Senator Lieberman, a very different man than when he agreed to run with Al Gore in the 2000 Presidential election, to leave the party caucus, as he has repudiated the party that invited him back in after his independent race in 2006 and his backing of Senator McCain over Senator Obama last year. And take away his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee! Goodbye and good riddance!
It is absolutely amazing to see more and more Republican leaders backing the Conservative party nominee in the 23rd congressional district in upstate New York, instead of the Republican nominee, to fill the seat of a Republican who left to serve as Army Secretary under President Obama.
Hard to believe, but now Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Fred Thompson, Rick Santorum, and Dick Armey have all abandoned the GOP nominee as “too liberal”, forgetting this is New York, not the deep South or Great Plains that is being contested.
What does this say for party loyalty and for the rightward swing of the Republican party? Soon, NO moderate Republican will be able to feel comfortable in the party, and the GOP will be so marginalized as to lose opposition party status.
This seems to be a warning to moderates to look elsewhere, and it may be that the Democrats will benefit, or that a new party may emerge which will make the Republican party a fringe group outside of the political mainstream. IF that was to happen, the Republican party would have committed suicide and destroyed the historical image it has gained with such leaders as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and even Ronald Reagan, who talked about the “11th Commandment”, which was NOT to attack any fellow Republican!
Only former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich so far has had the common sense to back the Republican nominee in this New York congressional race, asserting that the party cannot be just right wingers, but must accomodate moderates as well. For once, Gingrich is correct, and yet the party seems to be ignoring his entreaties to their detriment!
Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has announced that the Senate will consider a health care reform act with a public option, but allowing an “opt out” by states.
The politics of the Senate makes it difficult to accomplish a public option, since 60 senators are needed to avoid a filibuster, unless “reconciliation” is invoked, requiring only 50 or 51 senators, but provoking a lot more anger and partisanship.
Having said that, it is disappointing that the states will be allowed to “opt out”, as that will provide, inevitably, fewer choices on health care coverage in many states, particularly those that are poorer and more backward in social terms–particularly the South and Great Plains and some Mountain States. These are precisely the areas of less competition among health care plans, and should require the stiff competition of a public option.
The likelihood is that the Northeast and New England, the Upper Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, and California will participate, which will promote more inequities and unfairness and division within this nation, which already has too many elements of the above.
It will mean that where one lives will decide a person’s opportunity for a fair and reasonable cost health care system, and in that sense, this decision of the Senate Majority Leader is disappointing. It is really catering to conservative and anti government interests, the precisely wrong message to send.
Negotiations with the House of Representatives and Speaker Nancy Pelosi may yet change this situation, and it is hoped such an eventuality occurs.