I’m behind-the-curve on this, but in an apparent effort to demonstrate that his commitment to bipartisanship is fake as quickly as possible, George W. Bush has decided to try to get the lame duck Senate to confirm John Bolton as UN Ambassador. By all accounts, this plan is DOA and will be blocked by Lincoln Chaffee.
Once it dies, Bush should consider the possibility of following the Robert Gates nomination with a non-crazy choice for this slot. Former Rep. Jim Leach from Iowa, who just lost his seat, would be a good choice.
with the same awe and reverence that we now give to Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima.” — President Bush, 11/10/06
or you’re happy that Donald Rumsfeld resigned today,” Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines said to a cheering concert crowd on Wednesday. “It was one of several pokes at Bush by Maines.” The new Dixie Chicks movie “Shut Up And Sing” opens in wide release today.
newly elected to Congress.
Since it’s apparently acceptable to argue that Democrats rode to victory on a wave of conservative nominees in the South based entirely on the fact that Health Schuler won, I suppose I can vastly overgeneralize from the case of Carol Shea-Porter, the sort of woman who never in a million years would have secured a nomination in a seat the party thought was in play but who nonethelss won her race in New Hampshire. Here’s her website. Note that in the “on the issues” section of the site, “civil liberties” is the first issue listed and if you click the link you’ll see a full-throated denunciation of the Bush surveillance policies. Her economic agenda consists more-or-less entirely of tax hikes:
I will push to eliminate the tax cuts for the top 1% of income earners (individuals earning $400,000, couples making $800,000), raise the minimum wage, and invest in our children, families and seniors. In Congress, I will work to guarantee Social Security’s long-term health by voting to put a Social Security tax on someone’s full income, not just the first $90,000.
On education, she’s against vouchers, against NCLB, and basically just wants to throw money at public schools and teachers. She wants us to fight global warming, and on national security leads with the observation that “Terrorists will only be defeated if there is goodwill and cooperation among various governments, so that all nations will aid in hunting them down. There are certainly a few rogue nations, but by invading Iraq, we have lost credibility with many other nations who could be helpful.” She takes a shockingly unnuanced stance on abortion: “Women have a right to make their own reproductive decisions, and families have a right to make end of life decisions.”
Just saying — lotsa liberals in the new crew.
As Kevin Drum notes (and then again) one of the striking things about the Democrats’ victory is that it has very little in the way of a specific demographic basis. After the 2004 election, there was a lot of slicing and talk about finding ways to do better with, say, married women or the white working class or exurbanites or religious people or what have you. What wound up happening, however, was that Democratic performance improved modestly pretty much across the board. The two notably exceptions to this are Latinos, where recentish GOP gains were reversed thanks to their embrace of immigrant-bashing, and . . . Jews.
This last result is interesting because there’s been an awful lot of hand-wringing since 9/11 about how the Bush administration’s embrace of right-wing Israeli nationalism might push Jews into the Republican camp. Meanwhile, the rightwing Jews have spent a lot of time suggesting that critics of the Bush administration’s policies are anti-semites. But for whatever reason, American Jews are still living like Episcopalians and voting like Puerto Ricans (an old New York political joke, nowadays Episcopalians increasingly vote like Puerto Ricans).
At any rate, as Daniel Levy argues here and here some congressional Democrats are going to try and implement a strategy of somehow getting to Bush’s right on Israel policy. There’s precedent for this in Tom Lantos’ psychotic Lebanon aid bill and Chuck Schumer’s brain-dead attacks on Nouri al-Maliki, but it’s no good.
Something Democrats are going to have to increasingly grapple with as they try to actually influence the direction of American foreign policy is that topics relating to Israel are genuinely central to American interests and national policy. It’s simply not viable to try and construct a coherent liberal approach to the world that’s consistent with saying “how high?” every time AIPAC tells you to jump.
Number of House races that are still without winners. In Ohio, “elections officials are delaying the count of more than 9,000 provisional ballots by one day so it doesn’t disrupt the much-vaulted Ohio State-Michigan football game on Nov. 18.”
Rainer Maria is breaking up.
They’ll be missed. As a general matter, though, I approve of bands breaking up while they’re still making really good albums that I like. Groups should leave the stage with their fans still wanting more rather than limping on long past their prime.
Unnamed White House officials say that President Bush is aware of Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates’ “critique of current policy and understood that Mr. Gates planned to clear the ‘E Ring’ of the Pentagon, where many of Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s senior political appointees have plotted Iraq strategy.”
Meanwhile, “Rumsfeld’s abrupt resignation from the Pentagon the day after Republicans lost both chambers of Congress has infuriated some GOP officials on and off Capitol Hill,” the Hill reports.
Twenty-three U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq in the first ten days of November.
During his press conference yesterday, President Bush “made it clear that, for now, his idea of how to ‘put the elections behind us’ is to use the Republicans’ last two months in control of Congress to try to push through one of [his administration's] worst ideas…: a bill that would legalize his illegal wiretapping program and gut the law that limits a president’s ability to abuse his power in this way.”
The election “only spells more trouble for politicians under federal investigation” who were voted out of office — including Sen. Condrad Burns (R-MT) and Reps. Curt Weldon (R-PA) and Katherine Harris (R-FL) — since it prompts prosecutors “to pursue more aggressively a case since the potential defendant no longer has the institution of Congress defending him or her.” Read more