Thursday, February 26, 2009

Partly Because I Wanted to Use the Word "Ute"

I'm not saying Jon Hunstman will be the 2012 or even the 2016 GOP nominee, but he will be an influential voice in the party for the next few years.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"Education Does Not Create Jobs"

Thank you, Rep. Andy Biggs for framing the debate for the 2010 legislative elections. Apparently, the AZ Democratic Party is not as grateful. Don't me wrong, the Party put out a press release on the House Ways & Means Committee's vote on the equalization tax repeal, but in doing so they somehow managed to leave out the money quote of the next two years. Perhaps the Party doesn't think the content of their press releases matters, and perhaps they're right. But neither the Republic nor the Tribune printed the Biggs quote as far as I can tell (who knows if either paper even had a reporter there?) and perhaps they would have had someone (anyone!) told them that it was probably the most significant thing that happened in the hearing yesterday. I mean, hell, Tedski just threw the quote up on RRR. Maybe he should be the new Comm Director downtown (he'd certainly be better than what we have now).

I'm not terribly surprised that the Party has dropped the ball so far on this one, but it's still disheartening. What would I have done? I'd be getting in the face of Jan Brewer, John McCain, Jeff Flake, Kirk Adams, and every legislator I could get my hands on asking if they agree with Biggs' sentiment. If we were REALLY lucky, we'd get somebody to agree with him and I'd put the quote on every hit piece of the 2010 campaign attributed to Republican majority. If not, I'd have a follow-up question: so if you agree with the Democrats that education creates jobs, then you'll restore the 2009 ed cuts back to the 2010 budget, right? If not then are you just against education, or are you agaisnt the jobs too? Then the mailer becomes: if the Republican majority really believes that EDUCATION CREATES JOBS, then why did they make such crippling cuts to our schools? The point is, Andy Biggs just offered to make the 2010 election at least largely a referendum on the notion that education creates jobs. I don't get why we're not accepting his offer.


Check it out.

Obama's Joshua Lyman

I want to be Jim Messina.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wherein Ambinder Compares Obama's Early Days to Clinton's

The Loyalists which it turns out was written by some other guy but posted on Ambinder's blog without mention of that fact. Weird.

Wherein My New RSS Feed Subscriptions Allow Me to Aggregate the Very Best of Ross Douthat

Douthat has had some great posts in the last couple weeks. Here are the highlights:

Roe and the Culture War

The Trouble With Centrism

Social Conservatism and the Coates Family


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Saucer that Cools the Coffee?

Of the many kooky aspects of the Senate and their many rationalizations, perhaps none is more celebrated that the six-year term. Six years in office is supposed to allow Senators to get to know one another and gain each other's respect, in addition to developing an area(s) of expertise. Consistency in membership is supposed to be one of the reasons the Senate is the "greatest deliberative body in the world." Staggered elections are supposed to contribute to that consistency, insulating the Senate from the "whims of the public."

Now, whether one still supports six-year terms and staggered elections for Senators, the current situation provides us a perfect opporunity to test some of the assumptions underlying their justifications. For one, in an era when the public's "whims" have tilted heavily in one direction, we should expect the Senate to have been slower at adapting to these whims than was the House. To test this hypothesis, I made some quick lists of 1) the seats in each body that have changed partisan hands since Jan. 1, 2005 and 2) seats that have different members since Jan.1, 2005 even if they are of the same party.

As it turns out, the 55 House seats we have gained between the 109th Congress (202 seats) and the 111th Congress (257 seats) is 12.6% of the House, actually less than the 14% gain - from 45 to 59 seats - in the Senate. Under the measure of seats that have new occupants, which would undermine the enhanced institutional knowledge that the staggered terms are said to ensure, the Senate does not fare much better. My calculations (it is important to know here that I count seats that do not yet have new members - Gregg, Gillibrand, Emanuel, Solis - as if they did, because they soon will and all as a direct result of the 2008 elections) are that 134 House seats have new members since the Jan. 1, 2005 (note that Jim Ryun (KS-2) is not included in this total as he lost his seat to Nancy Boyda (D) in 2006 and subsequently won it back in 2008. That
turns out to be 30.8% of the House. Over the same period 28 Senate seats have changed Senators.

Clearly, the Senate has experienced as much change as the House in these particularly turbulent times. Six-year terms and staggered terms cannot isolate the Senate from political waves.

The full list of Senate seats that have changed is below:

Mark Begich (D-AK) for Ted Stevens (R-AK)
Mark Udall (D-CO) for Wayne Allard (R-CO)
Michael Bennet (D-CO) for Ken Salazar (D-CO)
Ted Kaufman (D-DE) for Joe Biden (D-DE)
Jim Risch (R-ID) for Larry Craig (R-ID)
Roland Burris (D-IL) for Barack Obama (D-IL)
Ben Cardin (D-MD) for Paul Sarbanes (D-MD)
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) for Mark Dayton (D-MN)
Al Franken (D-MN) for Norm Coleman (R-MN)
Roger Wicker (R-MS) for Trent Lott (R-MS)
Claire McCaskill (D-MO) for Jim Talent (R-MO)
Jon Tester (D-MT) for Conrad Burns (R-MT)
Mike Johanns (R-NE) for Chuck Hagel (R-NE)
Bonnie Newman (R-NH) for Judd Gregg (R-NH)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) for John Sununu (R-NH)
Bob Menendez (D-NJ) for Jon Corzine (D-NJ)
Tom Udall (D-NM) for Pete Domenici (R-NM)
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) for Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
Kay Hagan (D-NC) for Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for Mike DeWine (R-OH)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR) for Gordon Smith (R-OH)
Bob Casey (D-PA) for Rick Santorum (R-PA)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) for Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)
Bob Corker (R-TN) for Bill Frist (R-TN)
Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for Jim Jeffords (I-VT)
Mark Warner (D-VA) for John Warner (R-VA)
Jim Webb (D-VA) for George Allen (R-VA)
John Barrasso (R-WY) for Craig Thomas (R-WY)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

America's Four Gods