History turns in a moment: Harper’s Ferry, Trafalgar, Dien Bien Phu. The Democrats may have seen such a moment with Sen. Ben Nelson this week in Nebraska, so it might be worth marking that page. At year’s end it is worth looking forward to what is likely to rise ahead. These four will be key: Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and William Daley.
National Party News
We need to cut Michael Steele some slack. If someone is willing to pay him big bucks to make a speech, he'd be a fool to say no. True, he has gotten into trouble about some of the dopey things he's said, but he may as well make some money for them.
It's not that there's a conflict of interest; Democrats in particular should realize that. They constantly charge that Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Steele heads a party that always favors the wealthy — those who can afford to pay for his words of wisdom.
A.B. Stoddard and Republican strategist John Feehery discuss how the Republican Party could open itself up to a centrist base, and how the abortion amendment might be the downfall of the Democrats' healthcare bill.
Progressives who gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to celebrate the inauguration of the president to bring the change they thought they had won in election 2008 are asking: What kind of change did we win?
Now the House of Representatives has passed the healthcare bill, though the most transforming policy, a single-payer system, was not even brought to a vote! For the base of the Democratic Party, it was bad enough there was never a push for the most progressive policy, members were afraid to even vote on it!
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told us all we needed to know this week about the divide that threatens the Democratic Party's majorities in next year's midterm elections.
"We got walloped," said Warner, a former governor of Virginia, about Democrats losing both gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia, in his home state by 17 points.
“OK, we’ve intimidated the moderates in the Republican Party, and that hasn’t worked out very well, so let’s try to put the squeeze on the moderate Democrats!” Can they be serious?
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and other Republican operatives actually believe that they can pressure Democrats to join their “Party of No” and stop progress on healthcare, education, climate change, you name it.
Are Republicans drinking the Kool-Aid again? In the late 1970s they did their best to purge their party of the Ed Brookes, Jacob Javits, Clifford Cases, Chuck Percys. Strange how some of those hard-right heirs stood around to give Brooke the highest award the Senate bestows when an extreme conservative of their ilk named Ari Nelson challenged him in his own primary back in 1978. Stranger still that many of the moderates the party now wants to exorcise were preceded by good and decent members who actually got things done in government.
“Rockefeller Republican” became a swear word to the hard-line faithful. Well, here we go again. But now even Newt Gingrich is worried — he sees where this is headed.
From today's Washington Times:
House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) recently summed up his sanguine attitude when he wrote, "Republicans lost our way on fiscal responsibility when we held the majority in Congress. Since then, we have held firm to our commitment to show the American people we learned our lesson by offering better solutions to hold the line on spending, rein in red ink and get the nation's fiscal house in order."
After discussing healthcare longer than it took the Founding Fathers to form the republic, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) this week sanctioned an idea that could likewise have historic consequences: optional federal legislation, a provision with details yet undisclosed that allows the states to opt out of the public plan.