Filling In The Gap: The Non-Existant Democratic Foreign Policy

This blog entry doesn’t mean very much for anyone who doesn’t agree with the ontological assumptions upon which its based. Assertions are cute, but if you don’t “impact” out your arguments then they don’t really mean much to me. For example, yes Obama is calling for supplemental money for Afghanistan. And this is bad because…(But that’s just a pet peeve of mine. You know thinking people should back up their arguments, yep, me being anal again.) That being said, this article highlights the biggest problem with the country’s foreign policy decisions.

As most of you know, I’m a democrat whose worked in democratic politics for a couple of years, so I’m hardly spouting off biased right wing bullshit. But it seems pretty clear that the democratic party doesn’t have and never really had a foreign policy strategy.

Yup, I said it.

Sure, we have very valid criticisms of Bush adminstration policy and arguments why the United States should do less of A and/or more of B. But at the core of the discussion, democrats have yet to supply a real world strategy outlining their goals in the Middle East and actions they should take to achieve them. Even the vocal and outspoken liberal wing of the party has yet to codify an alternative strategy, choosing to rely instead on constant calls of withdrawl of our military troops anytime they’re deployed, wherever they’re deployed.*

 * There’s nothing wrong with withdrawl per se, though I personally disagree with the idea. The problem lies in the fact that withdrawl is a tactic not a strategy. Same goes for diplomacy.

The Politics of Nope: The Democrats Democrat Problem

I know that personally, one of my biggest frustrations since Democrats took power has been their lack of party line discipline. When conservatives are in power they’ve proven much better at unifying around the agenda and using every tool at their discretion to accomplish it. Democrats on the other hand love to romanticize everything while clinging to lofty ideals about senate tradition and other unimportant crap.

And right as I sat down to type out a blog about this very subject, Jonathan Chait from TNR published an article addressing the same issue. I highly recommend you read it in its entirety. Don’t worry its not long.

Why the Democrats Can’t Govern

Senate to AIG: Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect Million Dollar Bonuses

After word broke that AIG executives would be getting millions of dollars in “performance” bonuses, I fully expected them to be paid despite the public uproar. So I was pleasantly surprised to see that democrats are taking a hardline stance on recouping/blocking the bonuses.

(h/t) to Ezra:

SENATE: AIG HAS 48 HOURS TO GIVE BACK THE GODDAMN MONEY.

Cuts in Stimulus Bill Will Cost 500,000 Jobs

This is why I love Dean Baker:

Let’s extend our congratulations to Senators Susan Collins and Ben Nelson for having negotiated a stimulus package that will produce 500,000 fewer jobs than the one passed by the House. Who knows, if the House had its way, the unemployment rate might never cross 10 percent.

There seems to be a real problem with how the folks in the Senate think about stimulus. We have an economy in free fall right now. The data show us losing almost 600,000 jobs in January and the true picture may be even worse.

To counteract this downturn, the federal government has to create demand by spending money, lots of it. The amount of money that we want to spend is a function of the weakness of the economy, which seems to deteriorate by the day.

Trying to save money on stimulus is like finding a short cut for your jogging route. We can do it, but it undermines the whole point of the effort.

Gregg to Commerce? 60 Seats Within Our Reach? Wait for it…

According to the Huffington Post, there’s a good chance the Obama adminstration will try to convince Judd Gregg to become the next Commerce Secretary.

Why is this important?

Well, because Gregg is a senator from New Hampshire. A REPUBLICAN senator from New Hampshire, a state that happens to have a very democratic Governor. Meaning that if Gregg were to leave his seat, the Govenor of New Hampshire would be free to appoint the 60th Democrat to the senate.

What a brilliant idea! Gosh gee Willis, I’m surprised no one suggested that idea earlier.

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November 19th bitches!

Cognitive Dissonance is…wait for it…required White House reading, what up?

CBO Analysis Refutes House GOP Talking Point

Another day, another talking point proven to be false. From the NYT:

Two weeks ago, a Congressional committee posted a table of numbers on its Web site that gave an early answer. The numbers came from the Congressional Budget Office and seemed to show that only 38 percent of the money in the bill would be spent by September 2010. That didn’t sound very stimulating, and the numbers soon caused a minor media sensation.

But anyone who looked closely would have seen something strange about the table. It suggested that the bill would cost only $355 billion in all, rather than its actual cost of about $800 billion.

Why? It turns out that the table was analyzing only certain parts of the bill, like new spending on highways, education and energy. It ignored the tax cuts, jobless benefits and Medicaid payments – the very money that will be spent the fastest.

On Monday evening, the Congressional Budget Office put out its analysis of the full bill, and it gave a very different picture. It estimated that about 64 percent of the money, or $526 billion, would be spent by next September

How The Democrats Will Get to 60 in the Senate

More free advice for the Obama camp…

With Democrats currently sitting at 58 Senators in the Senate, with two seats undecided, there’s still a good chance they could reach 60 seats.

But after survey the lay of the land, I think its highly likely Democrats WILL in fact reach 60 seats, minus a political blunder.

There’s a good chance both Al Franken and Jim Martin could win their respective recount in Minnesota and the runoff in Georgia.

Only 200 or so votes seperate Franken from incumbent Norm Coleman. One school of thought argues that recounts generaly help Democrats because areas which ballots are typical discounted tend to come from poorer inner city and minority areas, traditionally a democratic strong hold.

In Georgia, one would think that with the full Democratic apparatus and Obama’s coattails behind him, Jim Martin would be able to overcome incumbent Senator Chambliss.

Out of those two seats, I have to believe that Democrats will pick up at least one. (I lean toward Georgia.) This would leave Senate Democrats at 59.

Game over? Not quite. While Obama has done a great job reasserting the Clinton power structure in Washington, there’s been one area he’s been lacking in. Appointing standing Republican office holders to adminstration positions.

All it would take is one Republican Senator from a state with a Democratic Govenor, to tilt the scale to a 60 seat, Democratic majority. This would also fufill Obama’s promise to appoint a Republican to his adminstration.

Here’s a list of possible picks:

George Voinovich- OH
Jim Bunning – KY
Mike Enzi- WY
Olympia Snowe- ME
Jon Kyl- AZ
John McCain – AZ
Judd Gregg – NH
Kit Bond – M.O.
Arlen Specter- PA
Sam Brownback- KS
Pat Roberts- KS

I tried to omit Senators who were up for re-election in 2008. Now obviously some of those picks have no chance in hell, Sam Brownback, but there are some good possibilities.

I’d think that the top of the list would look something like Snowe, Gregg, Voinovich. All three have spent a good amount of time in the Senate, but are never going to take significant leadership positions in the Republican party, IE they’re not far right enough. But even more important, all three stand a good chance of losing in their next election due to the demographics of their state. I especially like the idea of Olympia Snowe in an Obama adminstration. She’s a well respected moderate, who is hardly a partisian. Even better, she comes from a state where Democrats would have a good chance to keep the seat blue for a very long time.

Snowe would also appease women groups who are going to start complaining pretty loudly if Obama doesn’t start appointing more women to his adminstration, with or without Clinton as SoS.