Thursday, November 18, 2010

More musings on Washington ...

-- House Democrats would have done themselves no favors by jettisoning Nancy Pelosi from their caucus leadership the way some suggested. She, of course, was blamed for the debacle of losing so many seats to the Republicans earlier this month. Here's the problem: She would never have been targeted had she not been so effective, especially with the health-care insurance bill that GOP conservatives did their level best to kill largely out of spite. Those more conservative members, especially Heath Shuler (N.C.), who opposed her to "prove" their independence from her were only playing politics.

Anyway, Newt Gingrich probably wished he had her luck in the mid-1990s, and I don't see John Boehner (R-Ohio), the incoming Speaker of the House, doing much better. Many of the freshman Republican congresspeople simply aren't in the mood to play the political game, working across the aisle on the "people's business"; they certainly weren't in 1995. Trouble was, they walked right into a Clintonian trap later that year in wrangling over the Federal budget that insured then-President Bill Clinton's reelection the following year. Take that for what you will.

-- Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D.-W.Va.) recently called for the Federal Communications Commission to revoke the broadcast licenses of the Fox News Channel and MSNBC for causing a toxic political climate. As a First Amendment devotee, I'm not sure such a move is feasible or even desirable, but I understand and sympathize with his frustration because these days it seems that you can broadcast anything you want regardless of consequences for the sake of ratings, which means $$. (For that matter and for that reason, I never watch cable TV news.)

Of course, many Fox apologists retort that the mainstream media are biased -- against them -- in their own right. Sorry, but that represents the height of hypocrisy, especially considering that Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum all draw a paycheck from Fox for serving as "political analysts." They would pillory any network that hired active Democratic candidates in the same fashion, and rightfully so.

-- Take note that Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) will apparently retain her U.S. Senate seat after a write-in vote, defeating tea-party candidate Joe Miller, who won the primary and was endorsed by Palin. I don't think that's a coincidence, as the two women have had a running feud for some time, and I also see that as a sign of Palin's political weakness in her own state.

-- I think that President Obama is making a mistake in not allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire. One, it will increase the deficit, which everyone understands is a major problem but that no one seriously wants to tackle because it will mean cutting popular programs. Two, the opposition has no agenda except to roll over him by any means necessary; Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) has said that the conservatives in the GOP want to make Obama into "a one-term president." Read: They respect nobody.

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