Obama: Tough Times Ahead So We Need Bold Action
to a joint session of Congress last night, President Obama said the nation faces very serious
problems that require bold action. He specifically named health care, education, energy, and
the environment as areas where action is needed quickly. The speech was long on optimism,
short on details, but when his budget is released later this week, it will contain thousands of
pages of details.
For political junkies, perhaps more interesting than the speech was the rebuttal, given by
Louisiana governor and possible 2012 presidential candidate Bobby Jindal (R). Some Republicans
see him as a potential savior for the Republican party. At 37, the child of Indian immigrants,
and unquestionably very smart, he could represent a new image for the Republican party.
This was his national debut, a chance to show the country that Republicans have a different vision
than Obama. But his speech fell flat.
It was panned
by Democrats and Republicans alike. David Brooks, a solid Republican, said there was plenty to fault in
Obama's speech, but to say basically that government is the problem and what we need are more tax
cuts is not going to fly right now.
Even Fox News wasn't impressed.
But 2012 is a long ways away still, so Jindal has time to
sharpen his oratorical skills.
Another Setback for Coleman in Minnesota
In another ruling unfavorable to former senator Norm Coleman (R), the three-judge panel
overseeing his election contest for the Minnesota Senate seat
Coleman's attempt to eliminate ballots that he and challenger Al Franken (D) had previously
Coleman's argument is that the court had set a new standard on Feb. 13 and all ballots accepted
or rejected prior to that now had to be reexamined. The court didn't agree with him as the essence
of the Feb. 13 ruling was that legal ballots had to be counted and illegal ones had to be rejected.
Coleman is in trouble as the pool of ballots that might contain fresh votes for him keeps shrinking.
Race to Fill Solis' Seat Heats Up
Rep. Hilda Solis has now been confirmed by the Senate as the new Secretary of Labor, creating an
opening in CA-32, which will be filled by a special election. Since the district had a PVI of
D+17, there is little doubt that her successor will be another Democrat.
Ethnic politics play a big role there as the district is 62% Latino, 18% Asian, and 15% white.
There will be an open primary in June or July and if nobody gets 50% of the vote, there will be
a runoff. So far, two Democrats seem to be leading, a Latino, state senator Gil Cedillo,
and a Chinese-American, Judy Chu, chairwoman of the state Board of Equalization. No Republican
has announced yet.
DCCC Reveals Frontline Program
One consequence of the Democrats success in the House during the past two cycles
has been a lot of Democrats representing highly Republican districts. They will
all be in the NRCC's gunsights in 2010. The
means that the DCCC
will be spending a lot of money defending Democratic incumbents in 2010 rather than
going after Republicans. The NRCC, of course, will be on the offense this time, trying
to get back "their" districts.
Swing State Project has made a
of these districts showing who won the presidential election there and by how much.
By this metric, the most endangered House Democrat is Bobby Bright, who won by 1 point
in a district that McCain took by 27 points.
The safest in Martin Heinrich, who won his race by 11 points, although underperforming
Obama, who won it by 20.
Bunning Threatens to Sue NRSC
Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) is going to provide a lot of comic relief the next two years.
After first predicting Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg's death in 9 months, then retracting it,
he is now
threatening to sue
the NRSC if it supports a primary candidate against him in 2010.
He's not going to do that, of course, but just saying it makes him look desperate.
The Democrats' entry in the "least popular senator contest"
is Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL), who turned down the
of Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) that he resign from the Senate.
It's kind of in balance, with each party having one senator it hopes will die in 9 months from
pancreatic cancer (or any other available disease). Both of these guys are causing their respective
parties a lot of grief.
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