ThinkFast: August 4, 2010

Missouri voters “overwhelmingly” voted in favor of Proposition C yesterday, which “seeks to exempt Missouri from the insurance mandate in the new health care law.” Legal scholars “question whether the vote will be binding.” Politico points out that Missouri had “more competitive Republican primaries than Democratic ones, likely skewing support.” Arizona, Florida, and Oklahoma will hold similar votes in November.

Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI) was defeated last night in her Democratic primary race by state senator Hansen Clarke, losing 41–47. “This is for the laid-off auto executive facing foreclosure, the single parent struggling all the time when others prosper, and the military vet who eats his meals out of a garbage dumpster,” Clarke, who “made curbing foreclosures the center of his campaign,” said in his victory speech.

Haitian-American superstar hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean announced that he will launch a “very serious” campaign to become president of his native country. “If I can’t take five years out to serve my country as President,” he argued, “then everything I’ve been singing about, like equal rights, doesn’t mean anything.”

RNC Chairman Michael Steele has been trying to set up meetings with foreign ambassadors, a courtship that is puzzling “diplomats as well as fellow Republicans.” “They can’t give any money and they can’t vote,” said former RNC Chairman Jim Nicholson of the ambassadors. “I don’t know why you’d take time to do it.”


Stymied by oil-fueled opposition, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has dropped an oil industry reform package. “We tried jujitsu, we tried yoga, we tried everything we can with Republicans to come along with us and be reasonable,” said Reid. The EPA will now begin regulating greenhouse gases in the absence of congressional action.

Campaign finance data shows that Reid is “blowing away [challenger Sharron] Angle in lobbyist money.” While Angle has claimed only $500 in funds from a single Washington lobbyist, Reid has, through the first quarter of 2010, “raised nearly $640,000 from the lobbying industry, making it the fourth biggest source of funds for his campaign coffers.”

Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, told Le Monde newspaper yesterday that NATO forces are losing the war in Afghanistan because they had “lost the battle to win hearts and minds” and that the Taliban will simply wait for coalition forces to withdraw. “The international community, to which Pakistan belongs, is losing the war against the Taliban,” Zardari said.

The federal government is expected to announce today that three-quarters of the oil from BP’s Deepwater Horizon leak “has already evaporated, dispersed, been captured or otherwise eliminated — and that much of the rest is so diluted that it does not seem to pose much additional risk of harm.” The report says that 26 percent of the oil could still cause new damage.

Senate Democrats delayed a vote on the New START nuclear arms treaty with Russia until the at least September, stalling “President Obama’s ambitious agenda to curb nuclear weapons.” The White House and Senate leaders remain “confident” that pact will be approved, possibly in a lame-duck session, but the vote was pushed back due to Republican obstruction.


And finally: Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) “tried out some street talk” while talking with reporters this week, saying he doesn’t want his kids’ school to “suck.” He went on compare the need for immigration enforcement to how New York City cleaned up its streets, noting, “If you allow people to pee on the sidewalks, next they’re snatching purses.”

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