Saturday, February 19, 2011

What Mattered This Week?

The various unrest and reaction to it around the Middle East, certainly. The president's budget.

I think I'll also say that the marathon amendment session in the House mattered, in a couple different ways. I'll do a post in a bit about the possibility of shutdown, but I think that it became more likely. In addition, it was certainly a full employment act for opposition researchers -- a lot of Members took votes this week that are going to turn up in TV ads next fall.

What else? Wisconsin? Other state budget battles? What do you think mattered this week?


  1. Agree re Middle East, not so much on the President's budget. It's a useful marker for the WH to contrast with what the House GOP is going to come up with, but it's hard to tell whether it will have much effect on where the main action will ultimately be, in the Senate.

    I expect that House GOP insanity is going to be relevant much sooner than 2012 oppo research - Dems now feel they're regaining the high ground when the government shutdown battle comes.

    Wisconsin (and Ohio, Indiana, etc) is a BFD. The Tea Partiers have been able to assert their narrative basically unchallenged for most of the past two years. That's changing, unfortunately for the Dems a few months too late for mid-term elections. But then, without the GOP winning and then over-reaching at both state and federal levels, it wasn't easy to mobilize the demoralized. So far, the GOP is doing most of the Dems' work for them, and there are few indications that that's going to change any time soon.

  2. It bothered me a bit that the Wisconsin Dems fled to Illinois to stop the state budget bill. I know quorom-busting tactics aren't new, but It's bad enough these days we have to work around supermajorities & filibusters already, and I didn't appreciate a state body taking it up to this next step. I'm not saying we'll see this all the time, since physical movement isn't easy; but I'm sure it'll happen again elsewhere, for far less controversial bills.

    And yeah, I read Yglesias' and Ezra Klein's posts on the matter, but to me it's still dereliction of duty. I hate what the Republicans are doing, but if the people of Wisconsin decided to elect those clowns, then they get to live with that decision.

  3. The President's budget didn't matter. (It will be forgotten within weeks.) Wisconsin most certainly mattered - if only because it may come to signify the moment when the nation's young liberals finally realize the consequences of sitting out an election.

  4. the planned parenthood vote is sending enormous shockwaves through my facebook network, which is made up of a few hundred fellow left-leaning 20- and 30- somethings. it is becoming very clear that the word "Republican" will be of the four-letter variety for folks in my demographic, perhaps even as we start making more money and start the stereotypical tilt to conservatism.

  5. See my post earlier this week on the president's budget. I do agree about the Planned Parenthood vote, for a number of reasons.

  6. I second Thomas. I think it's horrible, horrible policy, but they did indeed win the election. Let them enact their agenda; if the measures prove to be unpopular, as I suspect they will be given the visibility state workers have now given the issue, the tide will turn against the Republicans and Democrats can run on an agenda restoring their rights. Over the long run, simple majoritarianism would probably preserve their collective bargaining rights but the parties would do battle over how much or little to cut benefits while reaching a consensus that keeping the union structure in tact is vital enough to dissuade the Republicans from going to such extremes.

  7. I can see disliking Wisconsin Democrats abandoning their posts and from a moral or even policy standpoint its not a great stance. However, I think it's very good politics.

    If the vote went through, people would talk about it for a bit, then it would die down as it would be an individual state matter. Holding up the process is getting more attention on the protests, which in turn is tying the national GOP to the event rather than simply the state GOP.

  8. A couple of thoughts re: Wisconsin.

    @Chris - I agree, good politics for Democrats nationally and, I suspect, locally in Wisconsin. Anyone who complained over the past two years about national Democrats not fighting for what they believed in should, in my view, be happy about what Democratic legislators in Wisconsin are doing now.

    @Anonymous - Jonathan has regularly (and thoughtfully) written here and elsewhere about his view that election results are rarely if ever, "mandates" for the winning party---simply because of the great mix of reasons for which citizens vote for a particular candidate or party.

    I think it's highly unlikely most Wisconsin voters last November thought they were voting to strip state employees of collective-bargaining rights.

  9. The thing is, if the argument is that WI Republicans get to push their agenda (regardless of how stated that agenda was in the campaign) because they won the elections they ran in...well...14 Democrats won the elections THEY ran in, too. So they have every right to push their agenda just as hard as the Republicans push theirs. I just don't see how the Republicans winning different elections in different areas changes that.


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