According to Talking Points Memo, Senator Reid is planning on introducing some moderate Senate reforms, but will stop well short of requiring actual 'talking filibusters' (much less scrapping the practice altogether, as I believe should be done).
So why am I ok with the watered down approach? Because of how he's planning to implement the changes: through the infamous 'nuclear/constitutional option.'
They're busting out the old playbook... from the NYT:
WASHINGTON — In a direct attack on one of President Obama’s political strengths, a group of former special operations and C.I.A. officers started a campaign on Tuesday night accusing Mr. Obama of recklessly leaking information about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and other security matters to gain political advantage.
The new group, called the Special Operations Opsec Education Fund, using shorthand for “operational security,” describes itself as nonpartisan, but some of its leaders have been involved in Republican campaigns and Tea Party groups. A 22-minute video called “Dishonorable Disclosures” featured on its Web site appears to be aimed squarely at the president, echoing charges made previously by Mitt Romney and other Republicans.
As you may know Ryan Lizza has a well timed profile of Ryan in the most recent New Yorker... it's worth looking at, but that's not what I'm writing to recommend. For my money the article everyone needs to read is Jonathan Chait's profile in New York Magazine from a few months back. It is, quite simply, devastating.
As you are probably aware, Adam Yauch, better known as MCA of the Beastie Boys, passed away from cancer yesterday at the age of 47. I felt like he deserved a tribute here, especially since in addition to making incredible music with his two compadres, his contributions also extended to the political realm... most specifically in his efforts on behalf of the Tibetan people, but also for social and spiritual consciousness in general.
Here's a nice video tribute to MCA, featuring the song "A Year and a Day" from Paul's Boutique:
Reading the news from Zuccotti Park this morning I'm reminded of an aside within Matt Taibbi's latest column about the role of the police in this unfolding drama:
I originally was very uncomfortable with the way the protesters were focusing on the NYPD as symbols of the system. After all, I thought, these are just working-class guys from the Bronx and Staten Island who have never seen the inside of a Wall Street investment firm, much less had anything to do with the corruption of our financial system.
But I was wrong. The police in their own way are symbols of the problem. All over the country, thousands of armed cops have been deployed to stand around and surveil and even assault the polite crowds of Occupy protesters. This deployment of law-enforcement resources already dwarfs the amount of money and manpower that the government "committed" to fighting crime and corruption during the financial crisis. One OWS protester steps in the wrong place, and she immediately has police roping her off like wayward cattle. But in the skyscrapers above the protests, anything goes.
There's a lot of grousing around here today, for obvious reasons: this Debt Ceiling fiasco has been incredibly dispiriting... but what's done is (almost) done, and what's important now is what to take from this going forward.
The Republicans Ace in the Hole this time around was that they had a gun to the head of the American economy and they were perfectly willing to pull the trigger. Obama should never have agreed to negotiate with terrorists, but once he did he pretty much had to find a way to satisfy their demands.
The fight over the Bush Tax cuts will be different...
This "rebellion" stuff might help us let off some steam, but it's totally unproductive, and quite possibly counterproductive.
How has this become all about Obama? It's worth remembering that Obama asked Congressional Dems to pass middle class tax cuts before the election, but they balked because of nervousness about it within their own caucus. Those are the people, first and foremost, we should be pissed at. They are the ones who allowed Republicans to gain the upper hand in negotiations and force a crappy deal in order to salvage any hope for economic recovery.
This is about a lot more than whether Obama is "tough enough." This is more than political theatre. This is about doing as much as possible to help the economy. If all our other priorities are get anywhere, that must be the first and last priority between now and 2012.
While it may be true that Obama could have held out for a better deal, I do think he understands this, and that this is his prime motivation. We're all focused on the political debate, but while that's interesting and important in its way, what actually matters are the real world consequences. That's the essence of pragmatism, and that's what we voted for in 2008.
Karl Rove recently came to Durham to speak, and beforehand I wrote the moderator asking him to ask about Rove's recent comments that the Democratic Congress forced the war resolution to take place before the '02 election, which resulted in the Bush administration not having enough time to do adequate war planning and diplomatic work. You can check out this diary I wrote a couple of days ago that has Rove's exact words, along with a slew of quotes from the time which debunk his claims. I sent those quotes to the moderator in hopes that he might confront Mr. Rove's dishonesty.
Well, the moderator actually asked my question, and Rove gave more explanation to his creative interpretation of history, even having the gall to accuse Daschle of trying to rewrite history. I transcribed his remarks for you to judge for yourself.
Karl Rove will be coming to Durham to speak at Duke University's Page Auditorium Monday, Dec. 3. Our local weekly paper had an interview with Peter Feaver, who set up the event. Feaver used to serve in the Bush Administration himself, under National Security Adviser Steve Hadley. Here is an exchange from that interview that caught my eye:
As a conservative, you're in the minority in the Duke political science department. Can we count on you to ask Rove the tough questions?
I certainly hope to ask him tough and interesting questions. If people think there is a great and fair and reasonable question, I'm open to hearing it. People can send me e-mail. Now, I'm looking for a civil conversation, not a smack down. It's supposed to be educational. I'm not sure that it's educational when it's two guys shouting at each other.
I decided to take up this offer, and just sent an email with what I would like him to ask Rove.
I went and saw Barack Obama speak Thursday night in Durham. The rally came at an interesting time for me as I had just moved in my own mind from being an Obama supporter back to the 'undecided' column, mostly because of his comments on Social Security. But I was interested to see if he might win me back over.
When I think of all the people working so hard to change this country, and all the people digging so deep into their limited budgets to send money to politicians they believe in... well this just pisses me off royally.
The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that a man by the name of Emmett Cash III has been raising money under the name "Californians for Obama" and then pocketing the dough.