Thursday, March 16, 2006

Graduation Madness.

Ok, so it isn't the most pressing public polciy argument of our time, but it makes sense, combines politics, basketball, and school, so ... Just do it.

Check it out here ... Graduation Madness.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Russ is Wrong.

Calling for censure of President Bush (or for impeachment) is a fools errand that will only do the Democrats who choose to pursue it more political harm, than good.

I admire Senator Feingold. He's a committed progressive, a principled leader, and he's shown he can win in a state that's increasingly unfriendly to Democrats. And while I think a little bit much has been made of his "only Senator to vote against the Patriot Act and Iraq War standing" (remember, there were 37 members of the House of Representatives who did the same), he certainly has a voting record that more often resembles someone "sailing against the wind" than someone who's chief hobby is sailing with the wind. But on this count he has sorely miscalculated the public will, the political climate, and the pitfalls of his actions.

In eight months, Americans will go to the polls. Up for election will be every member of the House and many of Feingold's fellow Senators. Despite some stumbles, DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel and DSCC Chair Chuck Schumer have managed to field an impressive slate of candidates that very well could capitalize on the public's desire for change, progress and reform. However, the call for censure does nothing to help their efforts, and may in fact hinder it. Take for example Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE). Mr. Nelson's home state gave President Bush 33% more support than Senator Kerry. No one will claim Sen. Nelson is progressive, but he is one vote closer to a Democratic majority. So how does the call for censure affect him? It's probably too early to tell and Nelson has largely inoculated himself from the national party in the past, but still, it's another hurdle to clear. Sen. Nelson is facing a well financed challenger, why jeopardize his success? Why force candidates in Florida, Ohio, Montana, Arizona, and West Virginia, to take about a procedural, Beltway maneuver, when they should be talking about raising the minimum wage, expanding health care coverage, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil? And perhaps more importantly, why feed the conservative noise machine?

Leadership and principle are important. Sen. Feingold has shown both in the past, but in this case he has shown the same type of tone deafness that the Bush administration has exhibited in recent months. The American people don't want their Congress engaged in "blame games" (as the censure is bound to be framed), but they do want them doing something about the budget, the debt, and the growing costs of living and declining quality of life.

Sen. Feingold would do well to remember one of my personal favorites: What do you call a leader with no one following him? A guy taking a walk.

UPDATE: Kevin Drum of Political Animal probably does better at saying what I was getting at in the above post. And for the pro-censure argument, Andy and Charley at BMG have that covered in a thoughtful and thorough manner.

UPDATE II: Just one last thing on all this ... the "Senator X voted to censure President Clinton, so he/she should have no problem voting to censure President Bush on an issue of national security" argument ignores absolutely everything else that was going on in 1997/1998 and now. The censure of Clinton was a (successful) attempt to derail the impeachment crusade that Gingrich, et. al. were leading. Censure now, would be a step up in the intensity, not a dial down as it was then. Apples and oranges friends.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Three Musketeers

If there is one positive to the 24/7/365 circus the mass media has become, its that public officials rarely escape scrutiny. While there is plenty of room to debate how scrutinized one politician or group may be in comparison to another, nobody gets away without what Chuck Schumer would refer to as a "cursory review." Accepting this, it's somewhat surprising that the local media has yet to raise any commotion over the refusal by three candidates for the highest office in the state to release their income tax records.

Let me state this clearly, I am by no means alleging any wrongdoing by Mr. Patrick, Mr. Mihos, or LG Healey. However, by refusing to make their records public, they cast a needless shadow of doubt over their respective candidacies. What's to hide? Refusing to release something as innocuous as income tax records only perpetuates the idea that office seekers are calculating and self-interested, instead of good-willed and public spirited. The Three Musketeers would do well to follow the lead of AG Reilly, release their records and dispel any notion that this campaign will be waged behind closed doors, as opposed to out in the open, where the people deserve.

Like Mayor Richard daley said, "Good government is good politics"

Monday, March 06, 2006

Numbers Don't Lie

Here's the new CBS4/SurveyUSA Poll. Blue Mass Group has a good general breakdown of the numbers, although I'd beg to differ on their lumping of AG Reilly and Patrick together. Like I've said before, and we're all entitled to our opinions, but it seems to me that the Reilly ship has been righted, and these numbers would bear that out. AG Reilly beats LG Healey by 5% and Mr. Patrick loses to LG Healey by 5% (although I think we'd all agree that Mihos numbers will come down, specifically as he continues to open his mouth and insert his foot). Thats a 10% swing, no matter how you cut it.

There were a couple of numbers within the polling that are extremely interesting, with implications for both the Democratic primary and the general. First, with AG Reilly wins 54% of the African American vote in the general, while Deval Patrick wins only 46%. This suggests the AG has been able to garner support in a community that was supposed to be a strength for Mr. Patrick (admittedly, it is not a comparison of how African American voters would act in the Democratic primary, but it is still informative for the general election prospects of the candidates). Second, in both scenarios Independent voters favor LG Healey, but the difference between Healey and Reilly is only 3% (32-29), as opposed to the 16% (35-19) difference between Healey and Patrick. In both cases, Mihos wins 28% of the Independent vote. Finally, when broken down based on ideology, AG Reilly defeats Mr. Patrick in all categories (conservative, moderate, and note sure) accept for voters who identify themselves as "liberal" and in this case Mr. Patrick only wins by 1% (49-48).

Overall the poll is good news for the Reilly Campaign, should be somewhat troubling (although by no means alarming) to the Patrick campaign, and Christy Mihos should enjoy it while he can and before people realize just who he is and what he stands for. As for Lt. Gov. Healey, she might want to tell the current Chairman of the RGA to focus on the race in his "home state," otherwise it could get ugly for the Republican Party real fast.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Millionaires Only

Unfortunately, Attorney General Tom Reilly was not allowed to sit at the exclusive "Millionaires Only" Table at Wednesday's Mass BioTech Council Forum. (Great idea Adam)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Laziest Congress Money Can Buy

Starting today, each week Congress is "in session" we'll be posting a run down for what the "people's body" has scheduled for floor debate. Knowing full well members of both parties are busy with fundraising (ahem), committee hearings, and re-election efforts, the floor schedule is the best measure available to the general public to determine what the House of Representatives (or as Republicans should call it, "The House the Hammer Built") is doing with their time. So, without further adu:

Monday - February 27 - The House is not in session

Tuesday - February 28 - The House meets at 2PM for legislative business, votes will be held on 7 suspension bills (non controversial bills supported by at least 3/4 of the House) including: the French Colonial National Historic Site Study Act and An Act Commemorating LITE (Lifetime Innovations of Thomas Edison)

Wednesday - March 1 - The House will meet at 10AM for legislative business, including votes of 4 suspension bills (including one which establishes January 2006, a month passed already, as "National Stalking Awareness Month") and consideration of HR 4167 - the National Uniformity for Food Act (NOTE: House is also in a Joint Session to hear Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi speak)

Thursday - March 2 - Whatever they don't get around to from Wednesday (really).

Friday - March 3 - The House is not in session.

So, the current government spends more than any other, does less than any other, and shows no signs of changing course. Where's Harry Truman when you need him.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Moving Massachusetts Forward

After a quiet couple of weeks, it looks like the Reilly campaign has regrouped, rebounded, and is ready to answer alot of the questions that have been asked of it. One recurring question I've heard from some is "what's Attorney General Reilly's vision for the Commonwealth?" Fair question, and it looks like the answer is here.

Thus far, the AG had been fairly quiet on policy proposals, but thats no longer the case. The S.M.A.R.T. Initiative seems like the level headed, pragmatic proposal we'd expect from Reilly (further highlighting that January and February were an aberration). Before Patrick supporters jump, I know Deval Patrick has his own education plan, and it's just fine too. The point here, is that, in a rush to pile on in previous months, many have wrongly claimed that AG Reilly was running for the Corner Office just to run, and not because he had new ideas to get Massachusetts moving in the right direction ... forward. This plan, and the others that are to follow show thats not the case at all. Personally, it seems pretty S.M.A.R.T. to me.