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January 08, 2006


House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (Ill.) said Republicans will choose a new majority leader and other officers the week of Jan. 30, when members return for President Bush's State of the Union address.


The above is fyi.

Chris Cilliza at the WaPo lines up the players.

Another case in point, No Child Left Behind.

Inspired by the "Texas Miracle" that turned out to be a mammoth statistical fraud. Morphed from a voucher-heavy Christian right blitz attack on public schools to a test-heavy broad right attrition attack on public schools.

It doesn't work. It can't work. And this is becoming evident, all over America, one child at a time, one teacher at a time, one school at a time, one district at a time.

Democrats can use corruption and reform as a jumping-off point, but won't secure any long term gains unless they can illuminate the connection between Republican thinking, Republican performance and Republican corruption.

I've long been saying the Dems should have been making Medicare drug programs front and center. You can't win an election without seniors. Most seniors still have superb BS detectors, better than your average cynical 20-year old. And they can sniff out a shitty benefit program when they smell one. We need to make it clear that it is shitty--at least partly--because Bush wanted to give Pharma a big boondoggle on the backs of our seniors.

Interesting if true, in the DeLay successor derby: "House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., is reported to be vying for consideration, and more candidates are sure to come forward." (ABC News)

Is this "reported"? And by whom?

It would defer a possibly ugly contest for Leader, but create one for Speaker.

Leader is a GOP Caucus election. Speaker is a vote of the whole House ... and it has implications for the Presidential succession.

Still suffering from my New Year's cold/flu, I watched about 3 hours of old "Matlock" movies on the Hallmark Channel last night. Almost every ad that was not promoting upcoming shows dealt with the Medicare drug plan--from drug companies, insurers and Walgreen's. All offering to explain the program via phone or brochure and what would be the best deal. Over and over.

This really does give the Dems a good opening. They need a slogan that highlights the fact that the Dems can design workable programs to help people, from Social Security to Medicare. But when the R's get power, they just screw it up. "If you want government programs that work, vote for the party that believes that government CAN work--vote Democratic."

This is the perfect follow-on to the "Enough is Enough" campaign the Dems are now running via bumperstickers etc. You have to give people a reason to vote, and a reason to vote Dem. That's the only way to create a tsunami that will sweep the Congress.

If you want government programs that work, vote for the party that believes that government CAN work--vote Democratic.

this sentiment is perfect.

I agree with the idea of a short, positive program.

Maybe "the five planks" or "the six planks" whatever.

I would include (1) repeal tax cut to rich, (2) all troops out of Iraqi cities no later than June 2007, and no permanent bases, (3) something about health care.

The trick will be to get organized. And promptly.

Not sure who do call. Anyone have a dusty Batman lamp we could pull out of the closet and shine toward the nighttime clouds?

repeal tax cut to rich,

We need somehow to define - in the slogan itself - what we mean by 'rich'. Perhaps it should be 'super rich' or 'very rich'. As I believe Mimikatz has pointed out several times, $200k per year isn't what we're talking about - and the AMT is problem still isn't solved. The old 'everybody thinks they're going to get rich someday' phenomenon kicks in at relatively low levels of income. What we're talking about is people who are (for most of us) unimaginably rich - tens, hundreds of millions.

I liked John Edwards' approach on this: it is simply wrong, and in a way that everyone can immediately understand - for the janitor who cleans the office of the multi-millionaire to be taxed at a higher rate than that multi-millionaire. Edwards also talked about the difference between money and wealth (which I notice Chris Rock also riffed on in his latest HBO special). Whether or not Edwards himself is ever a contender for office again, it's worth taking some tips from his pres. campaign, which was pretty brilliant.


Sounds sesnible. This is the type of nuance that should be addressed.

But, of course, there is no one authortized to address it. Because the Dems in Congress do not have any party organization.

Whatever Dean and folks may be, they are not the leadership of the Dems in Congress.

And while the Dems in Congress have floor leaders, there is no formal, and no effective, organaization for determining a common electoral message or a common legislative agenda.

Oddly, such common sense organization is considered unnecessary and vaguely un-American.

"Most seniors still have superb BS detectors,..."

Oh wait. My sainted senior mother voted for Nixon (twice) Reagan (twice) and Bush1. (Also Tom Dewey).

If most seniors had superb BS detectors, Bush wouldn't be Prez, and Soc. Sec wouldn't be under attack, and there would be a decent drug and health plan in this country -- AARP, you know, supported the present chaotic Drug Deal, and of course the head of AARP went on to a cushy deal as a muckymuck for Big Pharm.

You need to divide what control of one or both houses can do, versus what a President can do -- and I might add, what they have to agree to do together. Pulling troops out of Iraq would require Presidential cooperation -- never forget, Congress does not give military orders, but what it does do is control the purse. It could reduce resources available, it could sink its teeth into Waste, Fraud and Abuse hearings about DOD vis a vis Iraq. It could do oversight on No Child Left Behind, and demonstrate the mess of the Drug Benefit-- But Bush is highly unlikely to agree to major changes in his signature accomplishments even if his polls are further in the tank. We need to have realistic expectations of what a Dem Control of one or both houses might make possible -- it would be a let down if a Dem House was elected, and it could fulfill few promises.

Sara, a Dem chamber has the power of the subpoena. Imagine investigating NSA instead of the leakers, for example.

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