GOP Primed for Internal Battles
David Broder points out that while normally the secretary of transportation in not a
key cabinet member, the new one, Rep. Ray LaHood, may have a
on his hands. A large piece of the stimulus bill deals with roads, bridges, and other items that fall under
his department, so he is the point man for them. His problem is that the stimulus bill is likely to be
opposed by the (southern) congressional Republicans, which puts him in direct conflict with his former colleagues.
By reaching out to a moderate Republican like LaHood, President-elect Obama may have (inadvertently?) attempted
to drive a wedge between the few remaining congressional moderates and the southern core of the party.
History Repeats Itself
A formerly unknown young Democrat wins the White House with over 360 electoral votes while an
unpopular President Bush slinks off. Democrats have 58 seats in the Senate and over 250 seats in the House.
A solid majority of the governors are Democrats.
The country is in a recession. The Republicans are demoralized. Sound familiar?
If so, welcome to 1993
when Bill Clinton went to Washington. Two years later the Republicans came back in force.
However, there are a couple of key differences now with 1993. First, the Republican caucus in the House
and to a lesser extent in the Senate are dominated by conservative southerners, as Broder points out. Finding
a strategy that will appeal to the whole country but also to them will be a lot harder than in the 1990s
when the Republicans were a national party. Second, due to increased partisan bickering for the past 16 years,
a lot of people really want Obama to succeed and if the Republicans adopt the motto "obstruct, obstruct, obstruct"
it may not play well at all with independents. Third, Obama is a much shrewder politician than he is often given
credit for and has the benefit of hindsight. The new health care system is going to come from
Tom Daschle, the secretary of health and human services, not
Michelle. What Michelle is going to do all day is not yet clear, but hatching health care plans is not on her agenda.
Jeb Bush Moving Closer to a Senate Run
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is
to running for the Senate seat being
vacated by Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL). Despite the toxic name, the President's younger brother
remains fairly popular in Florida and would start the race as the favorite. In any event, an
announcement by him that he is running would clear the field of all other Republican wannabes.
The Democrats are trying to coax Florida's chief financial officer, Alex Sink, into running.
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