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October 16, 2007

Comments

The Republicans are making the case for 60 Dems in the Senate. Should that happen after 2008, legislation even more unpalatable to Republicans would emerge.

This strikes me as an indication that the new kind of Republican party identity is tightly coupled to the idea of the "Party Figurehead;" despite the occasional distancing comment, the group's decisions seem to indicate that they really do buy into the "Support The Commander" view of governance.

Look at it from a perception-management perspective. Even though there's huge opposition to Bush, there's an inexplicable vibe of 'We're the winners, move aside' that the administration continues to radiate. At this point, that carefully maintained 'presence' is the only thing that the Bush administration has going for it. Putting it at risk means sacrificing a sense of Conservative/Republican momentum.

None of it makes sense when you step back and look at things from a policy/tactics standpoint. From a PR/marketing standpoint, though, it makes perfect sense. Rove's old playbook is all about this: never back down, never apologize, just power through and use every tool at your disposal.

Are they really filibustering? This is what I really blame the Dems for. MAKE them REALLY filibuster. Make them stand up there and read the dictionary for a week to stop SCHIP. The Dems seem to have made it very easy for the Repubs to filibuster without really doing the work and suffering the embarrassment. As far as I can tell, all they have to do is yell "filibuster" and you need 60 votes. This is a complete bastardization of representative government.

"They are the future of the party."

In that case, who the hell cares if the GOP has a future? Let them go the way of the Whigs so some other party can rise to take their place.

The only thing that bothers me about the prospect of the GOP going under is the likelihood that the Democratic party would take advantage of the short period of one party government to institute legal barriers to render that state permanent. Even that's worth risking, though, if the GOP isn't going to represent any kind of principled opposition to Democratic rule anyway.

Find one time in his entire life that Bush has let himself look worse for the benefit of a greater cause. I understand why Bush doesn't want to do this. He still thinks of himself as grand war preznit, to whom absolute fidelity is owed. Of course the only people who buy this these days are the gop congress critters. And what a bunch of spineless worms the gop has in the senate. But it's no mystery why Bush himself is doing this, given the last 7 years.

I suppose you could wonder why the white house/rove crew would let everything crash for 08. My guess is that they are just happy to not have to be bothered by the petty things. Their golden parachute is packed and ready.

You also have to keep in mind that the white house gang have not shown any great ability for long term planning or anticipating consequences.

I think they filibuster because voting on the stuff makes them even more vulnerable. Filibustering is like saying, "Nah nah nah, I can't hear you". You can obstruct as a group, but you can only vote as an individual. Plus, you have to make sure you don't have so many votes that the veto is overridden.

Is Nooner a type or an insult? (Fine either way by me.)

It's not really either -- it's more of an affectionate nickname tinged with insult. I actually like Noonan when she's not acting like a Hallmark Thinking of You card.

I'm with Jammer--make them actually pull a couple of all-nighters in front of the podium with the collected works of Ayn Rand being read into the Congressional Record.

But as far as Bush taking any heat for them is concerned, I think the others are right--it'll never happen, because Bush is concerned with his "legacy" before anything else. He's a selfish little boy.

I suspect that what worries the GOP establishment more than having Bush tied around their necks is the realization that if they do start to distance themselves, someone's going to ask them something like:

"If you think he's such a poor president, why don't you impeach him?"

And of course, that might actually spur a debate about how this administration's - and that of the current party leadership - approach to governance is just institutionalized sociopathy.

Why can't the GOP field sane candidates who believe in democracy and the rule of law? What happened to Republican statesmanship?

Jeff Eaton: From a PR/marketing standpoint, though, it makes perfect sense.

I think that's true only from the standpoint of the ancien regime keeping up appearances even as the rabble are tearing down the gates. It's myopic in terms of both time and reach.

It's also reflexive authoritarianism, and when you're on the ropes, sometimes reflex is all you have left. One might argue that it exposes a systemic flaw of authoritarianism: when the emperor finally is shown to have no clothes, they've got no fallback.

Or maybe an insect metaphor is better: kill the queen, and the rest of the hive dies wandering and witless. Hmm, Fascists or insects, Fascists or insects...

…escalating an issue that helps Dems every second it’s in the news.

Re: SCHIP, democracy, and reality.

We can’t afford SCHIP, or an expansion of SCHIP. We have $70 trillion in unfunded liabilities, growing by $3 trillion per year, if one uses accrual accounting. Greenspan has stated that taxes cannot fix our existing entitlement obligations. Greenspan is right. There are two choices: (1) drastically cut our entitlement obligations (impossible in a pure democracy), or (2) wait for our credit rating to go away and undergo a sudden and massive collapse of the welfare state. In 1928, Americans were relatively independent and social spending made up zero percent of the federal budget. In 2007, over half of Americans are on the government tit, and the majority of the federal budget goes to social programs.

Let the good times roll. Gold $764.

Foreign Investors Flee US Securities:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1ed4bb86-7bf8-11dc-be7e-0000779fd2ac.html

The Bush people don't seem to spend much time on loyalty to the party per se, only to their guy.

As I make it out, the problem that Republicans face right now is that over the last six and half years these two things have become synonymous. As long as Bush has been President, loyalty to the party and loyalty to Bush have been one and the same.

That worked great when Bush was riding high, and the R's in Congress couldn't sign up fast enough. Now that Bush has ratings in the sub-30 range, they suddenly find themselves having to pay the piper.

Iraq and torture. The convenient and baldly self-justifying interpretations of the Constitution offered by Gonzales and the President's legal counsel. More or less unconstrained domestic surveillance. Terry Schiavo and every other occasion of pimping "traditional values" for political gain. Pork galore.

Republicans have hitched their wagon to all of the above for six years, and in general they've done well with it. Now, not so much. They'll just have to suck it up.

They are the party of choices and consequences. This is what choices and consequences look like.

To me, the somewhat rueful comments of many Republicans these days resemble nothing so much as a guy with a hangover regretting the excesses of the night before.

Yes, guys, you were out of line. Yes, you were rude, obnoxious, and wrong. And yes, we are all pissed off. Now, it's time to try to clean up the mess you made. If you'd like to pitch in, fine. If not, please just get out of the way.

Thanks -

Bill, shortly after Bush came into office Greenspan gave his blessing to the tax cuts because Clinton's balanced budget was causing him to fear that the government would be able to pay off its debt, something he viewed as a disaster because the obvious next step would be for the government to accumulate vast quantities of money and invest it (apparently tax cuts would be unthinkable once we'd actually paid off the debt, so it was necessary to take action to prevent that from ever happening). Amazing how things have gone completely to hell in seven short years.

Maybe we can just put health care under the Defense Department, since everyone knows Defense expenditures are free and we never have to think about how to afford them.

In 1928, Americans were relatively independent and social spending made up zero percent of the federal budget.

What happened in 1929 again? Seems we're about to have the anniversary of something that happened in 1929, can't quite put my finger on it... Oh yeah--huge stock market crash, destroyed the economy, and no social network. Yeah--I want to go back to that system.

In 1928, Americans were relatively independent and social spending made up zero percent of the federal budget.

Not for nothing, but in 1928 my old man got a pair of overalls and a tangerine for Christmas. His old overalls became his work clothes, and his new overalls where his dress clothes. His shoes, when he had them, were third or fourth hand.

He was relatively independent because he and his family raised or hunted everything they ate, and traded eggs or barter labor for whatever they couldn't grow.

If they couldn't grow it, make it, or trade for it, they did without. The list of things they did without is extraordinarily long.

If you think that's all just a little too quaint, I'll tell you the story about my mother-in-law, and how she and her brother took turns living on their uncle's farm because their parents couldn't afford to keep them.

They were relatively independent, too, because someone in the family was willing to take them in, even if it meant doing the crappiest chores, being reminded every day that you were an unwelcome charity case, and generally living like freaking Cinderella, only without the fairy godmother part.

They all got through it, but I can assure you that they hated every minute of it.

Speaking purely for myself, I'd rather pay taxes.

Thanks -

"What happened in 1929 again?"

Something that had happened several times before, but we got over it relatively quickly on the previous instances, because nobody had previously used it as an excuse to implement a "New Deal", and drag out the resulting depression for decades.

Riiiiiight, Brett. Keep telling yourself that, and pass what you're smoking to the dude on your left, because you're obviously messing up the rotation.

Brett is right that we did have economic downturns similar in scope to the Great Depression, most notably the Panics of 1837 and 1873. On the other hand, saying that we got over them relatively quickly is just delusional, just as much so as saying we would have gotten over the Great Depression relatively quickly (hint -- the New Deal could not have started for 3 1/2 years after the stock market crash, as Hoover's term did not end until March 1933. If the reaction is still going on, and even getting worse, that far along, it is not relatively quick).

As far as dragging out the Depression for decades, please look at GDP numbers and trend lines. If you took the trend line from 1880-1920 and used it to predict GDP in 1950, you would be amazingly close, Great Depression or not.

nobody had previously used it as an excuse to implement a "New Deal", and drag out the resulting depression for decades.

The Depression was still going on in 1953?

It's my feeling that in 1837 and 1873, more people were more or less self sufficient in food, given that agriculture was still the major employer at the time. (1/3rd of the population was living in urban areas from 1850-1900, now almost 80% live in urban areas) Ironically, the more connected nature of international society makes places that supply food and raw materials more susceptible to problems caused by economic downturns. (cf Australia and Canada during the Great Depression) The changes in society that have allowed us to create more and maintain contact make smaller downturns more dangerous I think.

lj,

I won't disagree with your comments, but note that our 19th century unregulated capitalism took the better part of a decade to get over each of those panics.

Publius: Given how many vulnerable Senators there are, I don’t understand why the White House won’t take one for the team.

It’s a mystery to me as well.

Bush still thinks he has some kind of legacy to protect. (Well, he certainly has as legacy, just not the one in his imagination.)

On the Senators: Maybe it’s truly just spite all around. Republicans are likely facing a filibuster-proof majority (D) in the Senate as well as a (D) president. They are probably facing irrelevance until 2016 or longer. Just look at the number who are just throwing in the towel and walking away (retiring), the House as well. It’s “no fun to be in the minority”. So I think that many are facing the music and acknowledging (at least to themselves) that Republicans are toast for years to come. Obstructionism and spitefulness are the only reason they have to get up in the morning for the next year.

Republicans are not anti-state, they are authoritarians who embrace a nationalistic right-wing-state,...they have been this way since Nixon. Goldwater was a fluke.

The whole anti-government and anti-state BS is a rhetorical tool to paint watercolor memories of the way we were for all of the delusional libertarians and crypto-fascists (who fancy themselves, neo-conservative and neo-libertarian) out there.

It occurs to me that I haven't seen a bunch of conservative writers and thinkers publicly rending their garments over how the Stalkin' Malkin brigade and Rush Limbaugh have hurt the GOP cause with their jihad against the SCHIP kids. Sure, there have been some mentions, as with this WSJ article, about "the controversy." But to the best of my knowledge, there have been zero long think pieces about how these extremists are going to alienate the Republican party from Real Americans or how they are dragging the party over the cliff with their impulsive and impolitic activities. I certainly haven't seen any calls from within the Republican establishment for the GOP to distance itself from their tactics or risk being tagged as captive to a radical political faction.

Odd, don't you think?

From:

Village X-Treme

by digby

None dare call them by their real name.

OCSteve,

"Maybe it’s truly just spite all around. Republicans are likely facing a filibuster-proof majority (D) in the Senate as well as a (D) president. They are probably facing irrelevance until 2016 or longer."

I doubt most, if not all of this. A filibuster-proof majority would mean the Democrats pick up at least 9 senate seats next fall, and even then they could be held captive to defections of Lieberman, Ben Nelson, etc. This seems unlikely to begin with, but to the contrary, I think the Republicans' actions are making such a swing more, not less, likely.

I also think that the Republicans will come back over time, and will hold at least 1 house no later than following the 2012 election (possibly small comfort to the R's out there).

The conservative parallel universe can be wondrous to behold. It's received wisdom that 9/11 was Clinton's fault, of course. And it's not uncommon for them to claim that the decline of our inner cities was entirely the fault of LBJ's War on Poverty (sometimes they allude to the inherent savagery of black people when making this point, sometimes not).

But it's a rare jewel indeed when one of them resurrects the claim that FDR was to blame for prolonging the Great Depression. The only appropriate reaction is to tip one's hat in wonderment. Astonishing, isn't it, that down through the ages there has not been a single Democrat who got anything right.

Astonishing, isn't it, that down through the ages there has not been a single Democrat who got anything right.

time for a refresher course in American Economics:

American Economics Rule #1: correlation = causation for positive outcomes when Republicans are in office.

American Economics Rule #2: correlation != causation for negative outcomes when Republicans are in office.

American Economics Rule #3: any positive outcomes which occur while Democrats are in office are caused by delayed effects of the last popular Republican administration.

American Economics Rule #4: any negative outcomes which occur while Republicans are in office are caused by delayed effects of the last Democratic administration.

American Economics Rule #5: when outcomes are positive, and the president is a Republican, the primary factor on the economy is the president and his policies.

American Economics Rule #6: when outcomes are negative, and the president is a Republican, the presidency has minimal effect on the economy.

American Economics Rule #7: when outcomes are negative, and the president is a Democrat, the primary factor on the economy is the president and his policies.

American Economics Rule #8: when outcomes are positive, and the president is a Democrat, the presidency has minimal effect on the economy.

American Economics Rule #9: Democrats always control spending, even if they have no power to pass spending bills.

American Economics Rule #10: if more than one Rule is applied during a conversation and the Rules appear to contradict or conflict with each other, that is the fault of the listener, not of the person applying the Rules.

Astonishing, isn't it, that down through the ages there has not been a single Democrat who got anything right.

And not a single Republican got anything wrong.

Hmmm, now we're predicting the future AND predicting what might have happened in the past had different policies been followed.

Let's assume Bill is correct about our credit rating going down the shute, leading to a total collapse of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc., and the resulting crash in markets around the world, further destroying pensions, 401ks, etc.

I've been in the stock market long enough to know no one knows squat about the future in any useful detail and what they think they know about the past is largely made up to support their useless predictions about the future.

If you're Jim Cramer, you can influence the very near future by screaming your predictions all over the place, but few of us are offered the venue to do the same.

Me? I don't know.

But, since we're playing the prediction game, I predict Tom Tancredo or worse would be elected President, and a total collapse of trade would ensue as a result of Americans' need to blame the Other for the situation. I further predict 70 million aging baby boomer zombies roving the countryside eating their neighbors, immigrants first, and I predict that their children and grandchildren will greet their baby boomer parents and grandparents as they are turned away at hospitals and nursing homes with pillows over the face in the middle of the night and arsenic in their catfood casseroles.

I'm going to eat Michelle Malkin first. Coulter's a little stringy for my taste.

The proof in the pudding of predicting the future is have you prepared for your predicted events. In this case, have you sold all of your Treasury securities, stocks, and homes (if you have a mortgage)? Are you hoarding gold and heavy weaponry? Have you planted mines in the front yard and three years' worth of toilet paper and water in the basement.

With the exception of the mines in the front yard, my father-in-law did all of this 25 years ago but, alas, he didn't live long enough to enjoy the Apocalypse. We still use his freeze-dried food on camping trips and think about what might have been.

If YOU haven't taken all these precautions, you don't really believe your own dire predictions about the future. So, why should we?

As to the New Deal lengthening the Great Depression, I'm an agnostic on the question, but only because I admit I can't predict what DIDN'T happen.

I will say that Hoover, Mellon, and the rest had three years from the date of the Crash to let the free market restore equilibrium to the economy. Wasn't three years enough, given the assumed magic efficiency of the free market to bounce back in all situations?

But since we're predicting what didn't happen, I predict that had Roosevelt not instituted the New Deal and used his Office as a bully pulpit to rally the spirit of the American people, Father Coughlin's candidate, probably Charles Lindburgh, would have been elected by 1936, and roving bands of the starving would go door-to-door eating the Jews, Hitler's successor would be waving from the Reichstag in London, and a trip to Hawaii wouldn't so much be a vacation, but rather a reenactment of the Bataan Death March.

Since we're predicting.

Hey, I want to predict some more.

I predict the coming crash and cannibalism will start in China when their stock market, currently in a parabolic spike (which I will sell 10 seconds before the very tippy top), collapses. As a result, 200 million starving Chinese will be drafted into their armed forces to make origami battleships from worthless U.S. Treasury Bonds, which will all be dropped simultaneously into the South China Sea, causing a colossal tsunami which will engulf the west coast of the United States, thereby solving our real estate crisis by eliminating the overhang of housing inventory.

Unless that doesn't happen. Then, what didn't happen will happen, unless that doesn't happen either. But what happens happens and I predict that what didn't happen, if it happened, would have been preferable, if only those who made what happened happen had stopped for a moment and let what didn't happen, happen, which I predicted beforehand would happen because history reveals that all happenings are happenstance.

Don't say Nostradomos and I didn't warn you.

Well, W. just called a press conference chiding the Democrats to stop dragging their feet rather than apologizing for the GOP preventing meaningful legistlation from going to the floor.

I won't disagree with your comments, but note that our 19th century unregulated capitalism took the better part of a decade to get over each of those panics

And, over the course of the 19th C, there were five of them.

russell,

"And, over the course of the 19th C, there were five of them [panics]."

True, but several of them were significantly milder and took less time to recover from, especially 1819.

Has anyone called 911? John T. is on fire.

I only hope he's burning in a sustainable fashion. Otherwise we could be experiencing peak Thullen, and it's all downhill from here.

True, but several of them were significantly milder and took less time to recover from, especially 1819.

I'm neither an economist nor a historian. All I know is what I find on Google. In other words, the more salient points.

So, I'll defer to your judgement that the panic of 1819 was, relatively speaking, mild.

That said, from the Wikipedia page on the Panic of 1819:

Small, local ups and downs had occurred in the market since the 1790s, but never to this magnitude. Businesses went bankrupt when they could not meet their debts, and hundreds of thousands of wage workers lost their jobs. For example unemployment reached 75 percent in the American city of Philadelphia, and 1,800 workers were imprisoned for debt. In Baltimore, the unemployed set up a city of tents on the outskirts of the city.

Later in the century and early into this one, economic disruptions resulted in riots, the use of private armies, and bloodshed. In comparison, the above is relatively tame.

As the mildest of five such events in 100 years, however, it sounds sufficiently dire to me.

And yeah, I think Thullen was born on fire.

Thanks -

Dantheman: I doubt most, if not all of this. A filibuster-proof majority would mean the Democrats pick up at least 9 senate seats next fall, and even then they could be held captive to defections of Lieberman, Ben Nelson, etc.

You’re a little more optimistic than most Republican pundits I’m reading these days. ;)
I had to refresh my memory on the specifics here.

There are 22 Republican Senate seats up for reelection (vs. only 12 Democrats). 8 of the R incumbents are freshmen vs. only 1 D freshman. 5 R’s are retiring (no incumbent advantage) vs. no D retirements (Biden is a possible but so is Stevens which would make 6 R’s.)

You can’t see Republicans losing 9 seats (net) out of all that with everything else that is going on? I certainly can. I think Democrats could pick up 10 seats.

cleek: Brilliant. Brilliant. May I suggest two more?

Rule #11: When a Democratic President does anything that appears on the surface to have been successful, there is always a true counterfactual substantiating that the Democrat, in fact, made things far worse than they would have been otherwise (e.g., FDR prolonged the Great Depression).

Rule #12: When a Republican President takes any action that seems to have resulted in failure or disappointment, there is always a true counterfactual substantiating that the Republican, in fact, improved things greatly over what they would have been otherwise (e.g., if Bush had not invaded Iraq, the terrorists would have attacked us again).

All depends on your perspective, OCS. A lot of Republicans take comfort from Congress' low approval ratings and conclude that voters hate both parties and there won't be a major shift. (Funny thing, prior to the Democratic takeover, I don't recall Congress' approval ratings ever being an issue for anyone.)

I think your view is more realistic, personally, but what do I know.

russell,

I am relying on memories of college courses over 2 decades ago, but 1819 was short as such things go and largely limited to city dwellers, which was a very small minority at the time. It and 1857 were the "small" Panics of the 1800's. 1873 was roughly as bad as the Great Depression, possibly worse, and 1837 not much worse. 1893 was in the middle as to severity.

Oddly enough, all of the other Panics led to significant political changes, with the ruling party thrown out*, even though the next Presidential election was not for 3 years after. This did not happen in 1819, where Monroe was relected the next year, and his natural successor, John Quincy Adams, held off Andrew Jackson in 1824.

* I am including as throwing out the ruling party the 1876 Presidential election, where the Republicans only held on to the Presidency by overriding the results of the election in states where the Army was still in control, and avoiding a popular revolt by agreeing to end Reconstruction.

OCSteve,

A change of 9 seats would be the largest since 1980, IIRC. I think the Democrats have good chances of picking up CO, VA, NH, ME, MN, NM and maybe OR. After that, the going gets tough, plus I think they are going to have problems keeping LA and SD. If I had to make a prediction today, I'd say the Democrats gain a net 6 seats, not 9.

Dole's looking a little shakey in NC, too. now if the stupid Dems could just find someone to challenge her...

"I think Democrats could pick up 10 seats."

Generic numbers are relatively useless. Seat-by-seat analysis is less so. Which specific contests do you point to to get to 10?

Off-hand, I'll guess that Colorado and Virginia will go Democratic, a good chance of New Hampshire, perhaps Minnesota, and maybe Nebraska. (Things in Colorado will have to change drastically for us not to have Senator Mark Udal elected next year, I think.)

That gets me to 5. Let's guess that a Democratic incumbent loses. It could be 2, or even 3, but we'll be cautious, and call it at only one loss. We're down to 4 Democratic seats gained.

Which other 6 wins do you think we may get?

I could see New Mexico as quite possible, but I'm not savvy enough about the state's politics for my impressions to be worth much.

But I have trouble seeing another likely flip, though it's certainly entirely possible both that I'm simply not seeing it, or perhaps that I'm insufficiently optimistic.

But all the remaining Republican Senate seats look pretty safe: is Mississippi apt to go Democratic, tossing Cochran, even in 2008? Roberts in Kansas? Graham in South Carolina? McConnell in Kentucky? Cornyn in Texas? (There are rumors Hutchison may quit to run for Governor, which would make a Democratic Texas win more likely, though.)

Etc. It would be delightful to me, and not inconceivable, for some Democrats to get elected to these seats, but it doesn't seem all that likely to me, no matter the generally dreadful Republican environment. Eight seats, maybe, is about as optimistic as I can see, at this point (which is early, to be sure).

But if you can plausibly point to ten seats, I'm all ears. (And that really makes keeping my hair trimmed a problem, let me tell you.)

"(Biden is a possible but so is Stevens which would make 6 R’s.)"

Sure, but what leads you to see a Democrat getting elected, rather than a successor Republican?

It's not out of the question, but which specific Alaska Democrat would plausibly be electable, exactly?

dantheman: "I think the Democrats have good chances of picking up CO, VA, NH, ME, MN, NM and maybe OR."

Maine? Where Susan Collins has approval ratings in the mid-seventies, and Olympia Snowe had, as that Wikipedia entry notes, "the largest margin of victory of any GOP Senate candidate (besides the largely unopposed Indiana Republican Dick Lugar) in the 2006 election cycle"?

That seems unlikely, doesn't it? (Not impossible; but people vote for individuals, not for trends.)

Oregon, I could see Gordon Smith possibly losing, but I'm pretty out of date on any detailed sense of Oregon politics, as well, so won't offer more comment on that for now.

Welp, let's not forget the panic of 1907 in which J.P. Morgan was called into Teddy Roosevelt's office for a swift tongue-lashing and a demand that bankers form a consortium to bail out the free markets, which had stopped clearing.

Then came the Federal Reserve Bank in 1913, which is to blame for every financial catastrophe since, except the ones that didn't happen, which I can count on 22 hands.

The Federal Reserve Bank is also to blame for all of the financial panics before it existed, because the markets, in their infinite, omniscient, collective (how did that word get in there?) wisdom knew what was coming as early 243 BC or the date of Larry Kudlow's grandmother's birth, whichever came first ... or last. Who can predict the past?

Market absolutists like to say the pessimists among us have predicted nine of the last five recessions. To which I counter the optimists have predicted 731 of the last dozen recoveries.

That kinda puts me in Bill's camp, not something I would have predicted. If you wait two minutes, I'll be back with a different prediction.

Incidentally, today's Federal Reserve and the Treasury are working behind the scenes in similar ways as Teddy did to ameliorate the subprime and commercial paper crisis. The big banks yesterday announced a consortium of sorts to soak up all of the bad paper.

Bill Gross, the bond maven at PIMCO and well-known Communist, claims it is a sham.

We'll see. But we won't believe.

P.S. My sources tell me the Earth will fall into the Sun next Tuesday, just after the market closes. The human race is kaputnik.
If I were you, I would go long the shares of Sunglass Hut, sunblock futures, and out-of-the money asbestos calls, which have been depressed in recent years.

You'll be rolling in it by Monday, so when you die on Tuesday, you're grandchildren will inherit a fortune and won't need to worry about the future of Social Security.

On the other hand, estate taxes will take a big chunk of that, so what's the point in anything?

Gary,

This far out, I'd rather follow the experts cited in the wikipedia article, all 5 of whom put the Maine race in the Leans/Narrow Advantage Republican category (or only 1 step above toss-up).

John T.,

"You'll be rolling in it by Monday, so when you die on Tuesday, you're grandchildren will inherit a fortune and won't need to worry about the future of Social Security."

Or as Tom Lehrer wrote:

No one will have the endurance
To collect on his insurance
Lloyd's of London will be loaded when they go.

The good news is that the worry over the possibility that J Thullen might soon flame out was unwarranted.

The bad news is that we're all about to be consumed by the local celestial inferno.

"you're" should be "your".

Another upside of falling into the sun is that a'postro'phe's' will go the way of the dodo.

"This far out, I'd rather follow the experts cited in the wikipedia article"

Here I note the April 20-27, 2007 poll that puts Collins/Allen at 57%/30% for All Voters and 57%/32% for Likely Voters, but, to be sure, there's still a year to go.

Not reason to be optimistic, though, I'd say; if one is counting on general anti-Republican feeling, I wouldn't count on it getting worse than it is now, and right now Collins apparently wins in a landslide.

And Allen is already a popular Representative; he has no lack of name recognition in Maine, where there are only two darn House districts, anyway, and he's been in Congress since 1996.

So I see little reason, off-hand, to assume that he's suddenly going to get wildly more popular, or her less.

But, sure, it's possible. Things could change. And I know only a smattering about Maine's politics. I just tend to think it's more likely when there are some plausible visible reasons to consider that likely. I'd like to know what Stuart Rothenberg, or his people, think those reasons are. Just that he thinks something doesn't cut it for me. YMMV.

More from Allen's Wikipedia entry:

[...] Allen announced his Senate candidacy on May 8th, 2007, in a video on his campaign web site.[1][2] Critical Insights — an independent polling firm in Portland, Maine — released a poll the same day that showed Senator Susan Collins is a strong favorite. The poll of 600 likely voters, including 38% Democrats, showed 54% percent of Democrats supported Allen; 10% of those polled responded that they were undecided. Collins had the support of 85% of Republicans and 65% of independents.[2]
The Hill comments. Good luck to him.

(This wikipedia piece still has the delusion that Wayne Allard is running, apparently; Wikipedia still has a lot of flaws.)

It's not out of the question, but which specific Alaska Democrat would plausibly be electable, exactly?

Mark Begich is certainly "plausibly electable," at a minimum.

Everything Gary says is perfectly reasonable, but there's nothing wrong with postulating best-case scenarios for the Democrats. After all, what happened in last year's Senate election was pretty close to the best-case scenario; such things do happen, and the Republican Party hasn't exactly rebuilt its brand.

There are plausible Democratic pickup scenarios in AK, CO, KY, ME, MN, NE, NH, NM, OR, and VA. (I'll refrain from stretching to include states like ID, NC, and TX.) Will all these stars come into alignment? Surely it's unlikely. But if we're simply asking what is "plausible," I wouldn't be willing to take any of those states off the map.

Gary: I should have italicized could pick up 9-10. I’m going with the current conventional wisdom on what states are in play, or even marginally in play. I think they’ve all been mentioned.

The only D seats in danger: LA, possibly SD (depending on what Johnson does).

Possible D pickups: AK, CO, ME, MN, NE (if Kerry runs), NH, NM, OR, VA.

As cleek mentioned even NC could be in play.

So it could happen but it’s probably not likely. However I think there will be surprises in the year to come.

But it’s less about specific races than what I think (predict) will be general trends:

-In some states where the R gives up the incumbent advantage by retiring I think that the D will have the advantage. That is, I think some of those races would have been close anyway but the R is throwing away an advantage.

-I think that the Democrats are going to get a lot more voters out in 08. I think Republicans are going to have trouble with that this time around. There is the hardcore 20% who will get out and vote R no matter what. But then I think there is a rather large group feeling general political malaise and/or resignation that there is going to be a sea change anyway, so why bother. I think that a lot of these folks will sit it out. Finally, there is another group who feel that the Republican Party needs to be banished to the wilderness for a couple of cycles to rebuild the party into something a semi-ethical conservative might recognize. This last group may even actively vote against Republicans.

So I think Democrats will get more voters out, and those voters will all be voting D obviously.

There’s a long time to go and what do I know anyway? Just my thoughts at this point.

I'm not predicting anything; Both parties have proven capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and while the Republicans seem to have a firm grip on defeat right now, you just can't discount the ability of Democrats to reclaim it.

"Gary: I should have italicized could pick up 9-10."

Okay. No one could say it's impossible. Heck, a meteorite, or terrorist attack, or plague, could take out most of Congress, and really change things.

A Democratic pick-up of 9-10 is more likely than that, but I'll agree with you that's it's implausible. (Much as I would love to believe otherwise.)

"The only D seats in danger: LA, possibly SD (depending on what Johnson does)."

Mark Pryor of Arkansas is a first-termer; I wouldn't think him an absolute lock. And what if -- difficult to imagine as it may be -- Huckabee has to drop out of the presidential race, and looks around for something possibly more doable? Still think it wouldn't be a contest?

If Biden retires, Delaware would have an open seat. Okay, it's unlikely it would go to a Republican, but, hey, since the criteria is "not impossible."

Frank Lautenberg is 84, has had higher disapproval than approval ratings at times in the last couple of years, and New Jersey is hardly a Democratic lock state. This also is not a lock, if the Republicans can cough up a decent contender.

"Possible D pickups: AK, CO, ME, MN, NE (if Kerry runs), NH, NM, OR, VA."

Bob Kerrey; not John Kerry. :-)

I already gave my opinion on most of these, but Alaska seems pretty unlikely to me. Maybe Knowles could make a comeback, but I wouldn't count on it. The Republicans have a ton of leading candidates to succeed Stevens, and the Democrats: not so much. Sure, not impossible, but.

"As cleek mentioned even NC could be in play."

That would be nice, but I won't hold my breath. One might as well throw in the hypothetical about Hutchison resigning in Texas, and one out of two Democratic candidates winning there, as at least as likely.

"However I think there will be surprises in the year to come."

Going out on a real limb, eh? ;-)

I'll agree with this fantastic assertion. :-)

"But it’s less about specific races than what I think (predict) will be general trends"

I puzzled for a bit as to what this meant. I finally hypothesized that "it's less about" means something on the order of "what I want to talk about is...."

If you meant something else, please clarify for this dense and slow one.

Because I couldn't see it making sense as "the crucial element in best estimating the results in 2008," or a variant of that.

General U.S. trends are nice, but since we don't have a parliamentary/party electoral system, where people vote by party, it's pretty irrelevant to predicting U.S. Congressional results. I already specifically pointed out that it's the specific races and candidates that matter, not the general trends.

"I think that the Democrats are going to get a lot more voters out in 08."

I don't think anyone is delusional enough to think otherwise.

"Just my thoughts at this point."

Whereas I offer the logic of the gods.

But I'll be surprised and pleased to do any better than to see the Democrats have a six-seat pick-up, and I wouldn't count on more than 4-5. I will certainly be disappointed if Democrats don't get at least that, but I'm usually sorely disappointed in American elections, so there you are.

(I'm 49 in just over two weeks, and I've voted for one winning U.S. president in my lifetime, having missed voting for Jimmy Carter in 1976 by three days.)

"I'm not predicting anything; Both parties have proven capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and while the Republicans seem to have a firm grip on defeat right now, you just can't discount the ability of Democrats to reclaim it."

At last, Brett and I find something to completely agree about.

It's worth noting that libertarian and really hard-core conservative scholarship does in fact blame Hoover and his administration for interfering with the market's operations between 1929 and the next election. No, I'm not making that up. The von Mises Institute is hosting a free PDF of the long-obscure (and still-obscure) historical anthology A New History of Leviathan, where this claim and many other remarkable claims are laid forth.

Rule #13: If a Democrat happens to espouse a position that a Republican would agree with, it is only evidence of their pandering, their slavish obeisance to opinion polls, their willingness to flip-flop, their cravenness and expediency.

"Rule #13: If a Democrat happens to espouse a position that a Republican would agree with, it is only evidence of their pandering, their slavish obeisance to opinion polls, their willingness to flip-flop, their cravenness and expediency."

Not quite in the same categories of things, but I was impressed by how quickly the utterly wacko-loon theory sprang up, and caught on within about two days, amongst many of the lunadoodle squad, that the real reason for the Armenian genocide resolution was that it is a crypto-Democratic plot to hurt the war, and, of course, therefore stab the troops in the back, yaddayadda.

Of course, these are folks who understand in their soul that when Democrats get out of bed in the morning, that constitutes a treasonous plot to slaughter our troops. (Our end goal being, of course, to slaughter U.S. troops, so as to help our enemies, because we Hate America So Very Very Much.)

Naturally, it couldn't possibly be that a lot of Democrats, right or wrong, care a lot about genocide. It's simply not conceivable.

My attitude concerning this is that it happened, so the Turks can shove their historical revisionism where the sun don't shine. The truth is reason enough to state the truth.

OTOH, one might inquire why this truth, at this time. The Armenian genocide has really happened for a long, long time... I am curious how this came up right now.

In all the speculation about longshot Democratic pickups, no one's mentioned that there are two Wyoming seats up in the Senate in 2008 (because of the special election following the death of Craig Thomas). Some of the everything-going-right scenarios for getting the Democrats to 60 have them picking up one of those. Not that I'm saying that's likely, but it might be not impossible. Then again, Wyoming hasn't had a Democratic senator since 1977, though it doesn't seem to mind Democratic governors.

"OTOH, one might inquire why this truth, at this time. The Armenian genocide has really happened for a long, long time... I am curious how this came up right now."

We had that conversation over here. It "came up right now" because people have been continously working on it every year for decades. And this is the first year since 1994 where Democrats controlled the House.

I, too, question the timing.

But only sort of.

I don't have any problem with calling a spade a spade, though, and the Armenian Genocide is black and pointy at one end, so I say spade!

If it were about undeclaring it a genocide, I'd be concerned. As it is, though, it is what it is with or without official Congressional recognition. Congress has elected to pay attention to so much trivia, though, that I don't think them granting this their attention is all that meaningful.

"Then again, Wyoming hasn't had a Democratic senator since 1977, though it doesn't seem to mind Democratic governors."

I think the right Democrat might be able to get elected in Wyoming to Barrasso's temporary seat, but there doesn't seem to be one actually running as yet.

But my impression is that Dick Cheney is still popular, and I know that "in the 2004 presidential election in the stat of Wyoming, George W. Bush won with 69% of the vote, while challenger John Kerry lagged behind with 29%."

So, yeah, we'll see, but I'm not optimistic as yet. It appears that no Democrat is running.

I've looked into this, and I've found that it often makes having the Democrat win somewhat more difficult than usual.

Oh, and I've been so busy, and so completely unable to comment in the daytime for so long that I completely missed the thread Gary linked to.

Ach.

Now that OCSteve has retreated from "likely" to "possible", or perhaps "conceivable", I don't think we have any real disagreement about reaching a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, Gary.

For what it's worth:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that she was reconsidering her pledge to force a vote on a resolution condemning as genocide the mass killing of Armenians starting in 1915, as President Bush intensified his push to derail the legislation.

“Whether it will come up or not and what the action will be remains to be seen,” Ms. Pelosi said in light of the decline in support for the proposal, which, though nonbinding, has angered Turkey and raised fears that the Turkish government could reduce its strategic cooperation with the United States.

Personally, I'm all for the Congress also passing resolutions condemning the genocide against the Native Americans, passing resolutions condemning every bad thing we've ever done as a nation, every good thing we've ever done as a nation, and for every legislature every where to pass resolutions condemning all the unjustified invasions and mass killings and ethnic cleansings and genocides they've engaged in, if they've engaged in any.

The more the merrier. Seems like a good thing, to me. Transparency, and as much moral clarity as possible about all things good and bad, as best as possible.

Won't upset me in the slightest, I promise. I'll cheer. Every country and land has both good and bad in its past: people should be aware of as much as possible of all of it.

"...for every legislature every where to pass resolutions condemning all the unjustified invasions and mass killings and ethnic cleansings and genocides they've engaged in, if they've engaged in any."

And for them all to pass resolutions condemning America for all the bad things our nation/government has done. (Resolutions on our good things are optional.)

I'll also be perfectly cheery about that, I promise, so long as they're at least vaguely accurate. The truth won't offend me in the slightest. Why should it? I didn't do it.

And any American who wants to deny the truth has a problem.

Well, the Americans got to see just what good allies they have in the Middle East.

I could believe that some Dems see the opportunity to both "do good" (passing the genocide statement) and at the same time throw a spanner into the war machine. I do not believe that the second part is the driving one. While we are at "inconvenient" timing. What about the Dalai Lama? Is it just a good time to urinate* off the Chinese (following the German example again btw as with the genocide thing)? Where is the claim of nefarious conspiracy in that case? (and I would not put it past BushCo in general to make bad weather with the "future rival"**)

*don't know whether the p-word annoys workplace filters.
**though in this case this would have to be a co-conspiracy of Congress and WH

So, according to Brett, we're not allowed to have regulated market capitalism, which basically allows industry to do whatever the hell it wants, regardless of the impact on society, the environment, or the economy. We're also not allowed to have protection against any of these depredations or against the vicissitudes of the business cycle generally, via government, through pooling the resources of the tax structure to pay for national health care, retirement, higher education, etc. In other words, the New Deal is for chumps and don't-get-me-started-on-socialized-medicine.

Great plan you've got there, Brett. I hope you know how to make your own soap, because once the social structure falls apart and you find yourself on the wrong side of the tracks along with the rest of us peons, it'll be every man for himself and you're going to want to keep yourself clean.

I'll start thinking people like this--who are so concerned about the purpose of government--have any idea what they're talking about when I hear them asking why the U.S. spends more on "defense" than the rest of the world combined. How is it, they might ask, that the world's greatest economy has bridges that fall down and beggars in the streets? Don't get me started, indeed.

Bob Kerrey; not John Kerry. :-)

They’re all the same to me. ;)

Going out on a real limb, eh?

Well, my “out on a limb” prediction is where I started: Democrats pick up enough seats to reach a veto-proof majority.

Linked from that Wiki article:

If there are no more Senate retirements — and any additional incumbent withdrawals at this point would be a surprise — the partisan distribution of “open” Senate seats would be the most lopsided in half a century, according to a comprehensive CQPolitics.com analysis of elections over that period.

The last time either party had five more open Senate seats to defend than the other was 1958, a year in which Democrats won 13 seats that had been held by Republicans — including three open seats.

The 1958 campaign was also atypical for the large number of defeated incumbents. In typical election years, the vast majority of incumbents are re-elected, manifesting the advantages they have built with name recognition, superior campaign fundraising and records of delivering for their constituent

But when an incumbent steps aside, the nominee of his or her party doesn’t have those advantages. Thus, open seats, at least in politically competitive states and districts, can become much more vulnerable to takeover by the opposition party. That’s the problem Republicans face in 2008 as they try to reverse the 2006 result, when Democrats gained control of the Senate.

Yeah yeah - "Past performance is no guarantee of future results". But…

Another point I didn’t make is about the diffusion of assets. The Democrats have 12 seats to protect, and they really have to focus on only a couple. Republicans have 22 seats to protect with 8-10 being vulnerable. Democrats are raising more money at this point. The Democrats may have a larger war chest with only a couple of seats to really worry about vs. 4-5 times that many for Republicans to worry about.

Add that to (my predicted) better D turnout and the loss of incumbent advantage due to retirements all on one side and I’m comfortable making this prediction: Democrats have a better chance of picking up enough seats to create a veto-proof majority then Republicans have of picking up 2 seats to regain control of the Senate.

I have to bookmark this so I can find it again in 13 months. ;)

Democrats have a better chance of picking up enough seats to create a veto-proof majority then Republicans have of picking up 2 seats to regain control of the Senate.
Agreed. And I have a better chance of winning the lottery (well, if I bought a ticket) than being struck by a meteorite. I'm not betting on either possibility, though.

OCSteve,

"Democrats have a better chance of picking up enough seats to create a veto-proof majority then Republicans have of picking up 2 seats to regain control of the Senate."

Since a veto-proof majority means 67 seats, or a pickup of 16, I don't think so. Did you mean filibuster-proof, or 60 seats?

Dantheman: Right you are. My bad.

"So, according to Brett" an awful lot of things that liberals inexplicably demand be done at the federal level would be perfectly constitutional at the state level, because, well, the 10th amendment says,

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people."

IOW, while the federal government only has those power's it's specifically delegated, the states have every power which isn't specifically denied them.

I've never quite understood why liberals insist on interpreting "The federal government doesn't have that power" as "Government doesn't have that power".

All that discussion depends of course on the assumption that the election will not be the usuall tall ship, i.e. full(y) rigged.

All that discussion depends of course on the assumption that the election will not be the usuall tall ship, i.e. full(y) rigged.

Quite.

Rule #14.

Pathetic.

don't count the Republicans out! they're all but buying the shovels with which the Dems are going to bury them.

Rule #14

another! i should preserve these for posterity.

Can our political parties get any more pathetic in this country?

The only thing they have going for themselves is their woeful, clownish opponents.

"Can our political parties get any more pathetic in this country?"

Considering the possibilities, jeez, yes. We don't have Representatives beating each other in Congress these days. There aren't even any assassinations going on. We don't have frequent kidnappings of officials, as has often been the case in numerous countries in the past fifty years.

We don't have the constant splits and mergers and scandals of, say, the Italian or Israel parliaments of the last fifty years, or even a hundredth of their nonsense.

Neither do we even have governmental attempts to rewrite and suppress history as strongly and literally as rewriting our official national textbooks, the way, say, Japan does as a commonplace, and neither do we have the sort of one-party rule that the LDP had for decades, until relatively recently.

Neither do we have the sort of fragmentation or corruption of, say, Nigeria. Nor parties playing with breaking up the country, as has been so common around the world, and as was the situation here in the 1850s and 1860s.

Most of us here are pretty clear in our negative responses to Bush and Co. Would anyone actually prefer Vladimir Putin, and claim that the United Russia Party is better than Bush and the Republicans?

How about the Liberal Democratic Party? Better?

Is the Chinese Communist Party better?

I could keep going on and on and on, because the answer is very much: yes.

Woe, things are so rotten for us, is a common sentiment, but it's one that can only be held with little knowledge of the actual events of the rest of the world.

But I assume you were just indulging in a rhetorical expression, and do know better, and weren't serious.

I tend to have a let's reality-check reaction, I'm afraid, though, to that sort of thing, when it sufficiently contradicts reality.

Brett:

I've never quite understood why liberals insist on interpreting "The federal government doesn't have that power" as "Government doesn't have that power".
I'm entirely sympathetic to doing innumerable things at the State level.

The states are invaluable laboratories of democracy, as the saying goes, and there are innumerable things best done at the state, or the local level. I'm completely in agreement with that.

But it also doesn't apply to everything.

Simply put, the test should, it seems to me, be along the lines that things which a state can do that don't much affect people in other states, it should be left to do.

The problems arise when a State wants to pass a law that will be strongly affected by the behavior of people in other states, usually particularly neighboring states.

For instance, banning something from one state is problematic, given the freedom of movement, and lack of border controls. Supplying a benefit of some sort that will strongly attract people from another state that doesn't offer that benefit is another.

Those are the situations where coordination, at the least, may be necessary, and where sometimes uniformity -- i.e., a federal law -- may be necessary, if the majority agree.

But, as a "liberal," I have no desire to see federal law be federal if it isn't necessary, any more than I want to raise taxes for its own sake.

Before anyone starts pointing out the Bad Things About The Bush Administration, and the pathetic failures of the Democrats to me, as if I were unaware of them, let me point out that my previous comment wasn't to defend Bush, or the Republicans, or the Democrats.

It's simply that the line that was drawn was: are the two current U.S. political parties the worst they could possibly be?

And the answer to that is: no.

That's not a defense of any lesser criticism.

GF: If I elect a person to be a judge, I am going to criticize her based on how good a judge she is. I am going to evaluate her based on her performance of her official duties. What I am not going to do is give her points for not being a kidnapper or robber or murderer.

"What I am not going to do is give her points for not being a kidnapper or robber or murderer."

Me, too, but I'm afraid whatever point you have in mind is sailing over my tiny head. What are you talking about?

Were we talking about judges? Or crimes? Elections? Giving points? I have no idea what we're talking about now. Sorry for being dense.

Anybody have a good reason why I shouldn't decide to support Dodd?

Anybody have a good reason why I shouldn't decide to support Dodd?

i won't because his web donation form refuses to accept my donation - no matter what i try, it complains about my not filling-in the fields correctly.

f that guy!

i won't because his web donation form refuses to accept my donation

Mail him a check.

Or donate through here instead. The ActBlue form likely doesn't have whatever problem the Wired for Change form has.

"But, as a "liberal," I have no desire to see federal law be federal if it isn't necessary, any more than I want to raise taxes for its own sake."

For me, the problem arises when liberals make a policy decision that something really ought to be done at the federal level, (Because, say, a lot of the states have no interest in doing it...) for all the reasons you cite, and think that means more than what powers the federal government is actually delegated.

I don't think good policy arguments over-ride the Constitution.

"For instance, banning something from one state is problematic, given the freedom of movement, and lack of border controls. Supplying a benefit of some sort that will strongly attract people from another state that doesn't offer that benefit is another."

Banning something in one state is fine so long as you don't try to keep people from going outside. For example you can ban gambling, but you shouldn't be able to ban travelling to Vegas even if people are going to gamble there.

Supplying a benefit that is going to attract people to come to your state is fine. If you have a great public transportation system, why should that be federal run just because it might cause people to move there? Are you thinking health care? If great health care benefits are going to attract people to the state, good!

"I don't think good policy arguments over-ride the Constitution."

Neither do I, and the sticking points arise in the details and specfics which often reasonable people can disagree about.

Which is one reason I tend to prefer to discuss specifics, rather than airy generalities.

Principles only take one so far, especially when, as is almost always the case in the real world, it's necessary to balance conflicting principles.

You're relatively new around here -- by that, I mean, you've been around ObWi a few months, but not for discussions of years past -- but I don't believe the Commerce Clause, for instance, is a blank check. We likely disagree about various specifics as to what it might legitimately cover, but I'll agree that it's not unlimited.
I can live with Lopez, but I disagree with Raich, for instance.

Etc.

Sebastian, I hesitate to bring up examples, because then we inevitably get distracted into arguments about the merits, or lack, of the examples, which would be besides the point in this context.

But, for instance, although national Prohibition of alcohol is generally considered to have been a failure, individual states and counties and towns have even less success at preventing people from drinking alcohol, by passing "dry" laws, than national Prohibition did.

That sort of dynamic applies to any portable object, whatever its merits and virtues. Fireworks, for instance.

The point is that, setting aside for the moment the question of whether any given national law or ban is a good idea, the fact is, that if any are, most restrictions are easier to violate if all you have to do is travel a few miles to legally obtain what you need to violate them.

Pollution controls are a good example of something that can be problematic if only local laws are allowed. How much could a small town do to limit air pollution before a national, or at least state, law was passed? Or to keep their part of a river clean, when the huge factory filling it with poison is upstream a few miles -- or many miles -- in another state?

And so on and so forth.

"the fact is, that if any are, most restrictions are easier to violate if all you have to do is travel a few miles to legally obtain what you need to violate them."

True. In most instances I regard this as a feature, not a bug. In other instances?

If the federal government really needs a power it's not delegated by the Constitution, there IS Article V...

I don't see your alcohol example as a counterexample at all. If people want to travel to the next town or state to get alcohol I have no problem with it. It doesn't really say anything one way or the other about whether or not an individual state can ban the sale of alcohol.

Pollution is fine at the federal level. I'm certainly not arguing that nothing at all is appropriate at the federal level. I'm just arguing that your definition of what is and isn't, is not a very good indicator of what is and isn't.

I'm especially troubled by your idea that it becomes a federal matter if something might make one state more attractive than another, and might cause movement to or from a state. Since that pretty much covers any possible preference, that seems to invite federal regulation of everything--which rather defeats the purpose of bothering with states.

Dunno. Two headlines:
"Bush Blocks X"
or
"Congress Fails to Pass X"

I would say voters would blame Republicans for the first, but Democrats for the second.

"If people want to travel to the next town or state to get alcohol I have no problem with it."

This is precisely why I said I was reluctant to give examples: because inevitably, people would immediately respond with complete non-sequitur comments about the merits or demerits of the examples.

That's why I wrote: "Sebastian, I hesitate to bring up examples, because then we inevitably get distracted into arguments about the merits, or lack, of the examples, which would be besides the point in this context."

Sure enough, first response.

"I'm especially troubled by your idea that it becomes a federal matter if something might make one state more attractive than another, and might cause movement to or from a state."

That's, of course, not at all what I wrote. Although I should have been clearer that I meant that a positive done by a state or local authority can be problematic, rather than is problematic, which I certainly don't believe, of course.

Rules #15&16, aka election year rules A&B
Any positive developments in an election year are foreshadows of the Republican candidate winning (especially if the incumbent is a Dem).
Any negative developments in an election year are caused by fear that the Dem candidate could win, especially, if the incumbent is a highly unpopular Republican.

Btw, the first rule was also invoked by German chancellor candidate Edmund Stoiber who claimed that the economic up-swing was caused by the belief that he would inevitably win the election (he lost and had no successful Florida despite trying. Schröder won by promising to keep Germany out of the Iraq war)

Or donate through here instead.

that one worked.

and now that he says he's willing to do an actual filibuster over this, he really deserves it.

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