Brent Budowsky: If a Democratic House and Senate are elected in 2014, it would re-empower Obama for one of the strongest closing two years of an eight-year presidency in modern history, which could avoid lame-duck status almost entirely with what historians would ultimately describe as “Obama’s third term.”
Brent Budowsky: As President Obama and Democrats battle during this holiday season to enact a tax cut for the 99 percent of Americans who constitute the heart of the nation, House Republicans are making a seismic political blunder reminiscent of the self-destructive overreaching of then-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia) that rejuvenated the Clinton presidency during the 1990s.
Brent Budowsky: Harry Reid led Senate Democrats to a large majority in historic elections, while Senate Republicans obstruct everything to negate those elections, which has never been done in the history of the republic. Voters who want more action to create more jobs should vote for more Harry Reids, and fewer Senate Republicans.
Mario Solis-Marich: As the pressure mounts around the country on the police state known as Arizona, eyes turn to Washington for comprehensive immigration reform. Top Senate aides informed me this morning that despite news stories to the contrary, Majority Leader Harry Reid has not backed off of the idea of pursing an immigration bill as the next order of Senate business. The clarification is one that may be too nuanced for some but is an indication of the balancing act the Leader feels he must make to hold the Democratic caucus together while trying to pursue legislative remedies to the huge problems left to fester during the days of the past Republican majority. The clarification however will probably not satisfy the Latino community as the disrespectful sting of the slap in the face delivered by Arizona lingers.
Robert Reich: If Washington knew what was good for it and the nation, it would sever its financial connections with the Street. Better yet, it would enact legislation seeking to limit the impact of private and corporate money in politics. That goal is made more difficult to achieve by the grotesque recent Supreme Court decision (Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission) holding that corporations, including financial firms, have the right to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigns. But there are ways around this, such as more generous public funding for candidates that choose not to take private contributions. Hopefully as well, the president will nominate Supreme Court justices who understand the importance of public trust in democratic institutions, and the difference between companies and people.
Paul Hogarth: The filibuster means that progressive legislation requires 72 Senate Democrats – but you only need 54 Republicans to ram through the most awful right-wing agenda. Why? Because “Democrats vote with Republicans significantly more often than Republicans vote with Democrats, making it much easier for Republicans to pass the kind of legislation they want.
Paul Hogarth: California desperately needs to abolish the two-thirds requirement to pass a state budget, and even an amendment that does not include taxes would be incremental progress. But unless labor unions start putting real money in this effort, and the Democratic Party makes it the priority it must be, it’s going to get lost in the shuffle – and we won’t have what it takes to run a winning campaign.
But with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel bullying the Senate to cut a deal – any deal – just to save face, the pressure proved too much. Those who hoped Obama would use Rahm to strong-arm a liberal agenda were wrong. If the President really cares about “change,” he wouldn’t have his henchman dampen progressive spirits.