New Burris Revelations Could be the Beginning of the End for Him
Appointed senator Roland Burris (D-IL) was approached by the brother of
impeached governor Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) for campaign contributions.
Burris never bothered to mention this before. If his response had been
"Get the hell out of here right now" and he had immediately called the
police, he might be OK. Now he is in
Republicans are already calling for his resignation from the Senate, which is an
incredibly stupid move.
Be careful what you wish for; you might get it.
Suppose Burris listens and resigns (unlikely so far). Then the new governor of Illinois,
Pat Quinn (D), who is untainted by this scandal, can appoint a squeaky clean
new senator who will be a much stronger candidate in 2010 than Burris.
If Burris hangs on, he is likely to face a tough primary in 2010, with the entire Illinois
Democratic Party opposing him. It is not likely he will be expelled from the Senate
(unless it is shown that he committed a felony--and talking to Blagojevich's brother was uncouth
but not felonious in itself). Still, his days in politics are probably numbered at this point.
He might survive until 2010, but very unlikely beyond that.
Already state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D), the son of Greek immigrants, is
at running the Democratic primary and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) hasn't ruled out a run either.
Various other Democrats, including Attorney General Lisa Madigan, are now also looking seriously at a primary run.
Conceivably Burris could get a plurality in a multiway primary, but the primary is in 2010 and we
still have most of 2009 to go.
The other appointed Democratic senators are in a much stronger position. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
is popular upstate and is a prodigious fundraiser. She will be very difficult to topple in a
primary and the strong favorite in the general election in blue New York. Michael Bennet (D-CO) is
a blank slate. He has never held elective office before, but being an incumbent in the majority
in a state trending blue, he has the edge, especially if the Republicans can't find a top-drawer
challenger--and there is no obvious challenger just waiting to jump in.
Ted Kaufman (D-DE) will not run in 2010, but everyone expects Joe Biden's son, Beau Biden (the state
attorney general), to run and win in this blue state.
Coleman Asks the Court to Reverse Itself
Yesterday former senator Norm Coleman
the judges in his election contest
to reverse a ruling they made Friday, namely, to not count 12 categories of absentee
ballots that did not conform to Minnesota law. It seems pretty unlikely the judges will
reverse their own decision that is only 3 days old, so apparently Coleman is counting on using
this decision as material for an appeal if he loses. Unlike Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry
in 2004, Coleman does not give up easily.
Two Senators from Maine Hold the Balance of Power
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) have become key players in Washington
as their votes are crucial to getting legislation through the Senate. Currently the Democrats are
two votes short of 60 and these two socially liberal but fiscally conservative senators are likely to
cast deciding votes on many upcoming bills. However, the two women are definitely not cut from
the same piece of cloth. If fact, they don't even like each other.
Snowe, the daughter of a Greek immigrant was orphaned at 9 but her second husband was a wealthy
businessman and she is now in the top 10% of all senators in wealth. She is known for her
well-tailored suits and expensive jewelry--not to mention her fairly liberal opinions on many issues.
Collins, who is rumpled and not wealthy at all, comes from the small town of Caribou in northern Maine, hard by
the Canadian border. But her political pedigree is deep: her father, grandfather, and great grandfather
all served in the Maine Senate and she cut her political teeth as a long-time staffer to Sen. William Cohen (R-ME).
While not as liberal as Snowe, she is still far to the left of the center of the Republican caucus.
The Washington Post has a good
on these two very different powerful women.
Historians Say Lincoln Was the Greatest President
of 65 historians concludes that Abraham Lincoln was the greatest President ever.
have also come to this conclusion.
But the historians have fallen prey to the common effect in "greatest ever" polls that recent people, movies,
songs, whatever, do better than old ones. It is hard to believe, for example, that John Kennedy (6) was a better
President than Thomas Jefferson (7). What did Kennedy actually do? He reduced the top tax rate from Eisenhower's
90% and he decided to go to the moon. He introduced civil rights legislation, but none of it passed until
that Master-of-the-Senate, Lyndon Johnson, took office. In contrast, Jefferson's accomplishments are too
numerous to mention, starting with the Louisiana purchase without which the U.S. would be
about a quarter its current size. Similarly, Ike's rating at #8 seems disputable.
He was a popular general who had just won WWII, but as President he spent a lot of time playing golf.
He did end the Korean war, although not with a victory, but with a tense truce that still stands 50 years later.
His only lasting accomplishment was building the Interstate highway system at the Pentagon's request
so it could move a tank
anywhere in the country at 50 miles/hour in the event of a Soviet invasion.
Basically, times were good as returning WWII veterans
started families, but the country was on autopilot for 8 years. Still the rankings are good material
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