High Hopes for Obama
A new Gallup poll
shows that 68% of the people have a favorable opinion of President-elect Barack Obama.
Also, 65% think the country will be better off in 4 years.
Just after George W. Bush was elected the first time and also after Bill Clinton's first election about
50% were expecting things to be better in 4 years. Thus Obama enters the White House surfing on a wave of
good will. That has real consequences. Even if the Democrats end up with 57 or 58 seats in the
Senate, the Republicans will be very loathe to filibuster his initial legislation since they will
clearly be blamed for the consequences of not letting a popular President carry out his program.
DeMint Will Move to Eject Stevens from GOP Caucus
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), the most conservative member of the Senate, has
that he will move to eject convicted senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) from the Republican caucus when the caucus
meets next week. If the motion gets a simple majority, Stevens will still be a senator but will no longer
be a Republican and will lose all his committee assignments. DeMint's argument is simple: he doesn't think
the Republicans should tolerate having a convicted felon in their midst. Stevens' reelection is still up in
the air as over 70,000 absentee and provisional ballots are yet to be counted. Currently, he leads Anchorage
mayor Mark Begich (D) by 4000 votes. Counting is expected to begin tomorrow.
Lieberman's Fate Hangs in the Balance
While the Republicans are debating about what to do with Stevens, the Democrats will be
what to do about Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who actively campaigned for John McCain.
President-elect Obama has
that he wants Lieberman to remain in the caucus. Senate Democrats, however, are really ticked off at him,
and may try to find a compromise in which he remains in the caucus but is stripped of one or more of his
committee chairmanships. Minority leader Mitch McConnell has openly invited Lieberman to become a
Republican, but (1) McConnell has no goodies to offer him (juicy committee assignments, etc.) and (2) McConnell
knows very well that Lieberman disagrees with the Republican caucus on virtually everything except Iraq.
Most likely since Obama is willing to forgive and forget, the Democratic caucus will strip Lieberman of
some of his positions but not eject him from the caucus. Since the Republicans are thinking of booting
Stevens and the Democrats are thinking of booting Lieberman one might think the two caucuses could just
swap senators, but that won't happen since Stevens is totally toxic and the Democrats won't touch
him with a barge pole even though he is
not all that conservative
as Republicans go.
Fight over NRSC Chairmanship Looming
A complicated fight is
over who will take over the NRSC from Sen. John Ensign (R-NV).
Ensign lost at least six seats, as did his predecessor Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC). You would think nobody would
want the job, but Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) both want it. The problem for the
Republicans is that the meeting in which the leadership posts are chosen is next week and it won't be known
by then if Coleman will return to the Senate pending a manual recount of all the ballots in his Senate race.
At last count he led by
but there were 25,000 undervotes (no vote for senator), predominantly in Democratic counties. The
Republican caucus may be hesitant to pick a leader who may not be around in January, giving Cornyn a bit of an
edge. But they could delay the decision until later. While everyone is eager to start the 2010 campaign,
they might be able to tolerate waiting 3 weeks.
Palin is Running for President--Already
with Fox's Greta Van Susteren, Sarah Palin has said she is open to running for President in 2012 if God
shows her the way.
This remark demonstrates her inexperience. The protocol for running for President dictates that you do not
express any interest in the job before the midterms. The correct answer (which she didn't give) was:
"Greta, now that the election is over I am going back to Alaska and will be entirely focused on being the
best possible governor that I can be for the great and wonderful people of Alaska. My term expires in
2010, and with God's help, I will make a decision about my future in 2010." The problem with announcing now is that her
opponents (and she has plenty of them) will have ample time to carefully plot their strategy for
making her look bad before the primaries even start.
Obama Wants Cleaner Cars
Already one of the differences between the Obama administration and the Bush administration is coming into
focus. The $700 billion bailout bill Bush wanted and got just shovels money at the banks, without getting
much in return. Obama has now come out in favor of
the struggling auto industry--but contingent on their making cleaner, more energy-efficient cars.
Republicans believe in giving large amounts of money to companies that have made bad business decisions in
the past, but also believe that attaching some strings to this money would be socialism. Democrats
don't have a problem with this.
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