Gang of 18 Update

by: Chris Bowers

Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 16:52


Populista did some digging, and seems to have identified the "Gang of 18" Senators--aka, the Collins-Nelson group to strip tens of billions of dollars from the stimulus package. With some light editing, here is his list:

Confirmed (16)
Democratic Caucus (11)
Evan Bayh (IN)
Michael Bennett (CO)
Kent Conrad (ND)
Mary Landrieu (LA)
Joe Lieberman (CT)
Clarie McCaskill (MO)
Ben Nelson (NE)
Jeanne Shaheen (NH)
Mark Warner (VA)
Jim Webb (VA)
Mark Udall (CO)

Republican Caucus (5)
Susan Collins (ME)
Mel Martinez (FL)
Olympia Snowe (ME)
Arlen Specter (PA)
George Voinovich (OH)

Populista adds:

[T]he last story I posted said that their are 14 Democratic senators in the group so their is probably more then 18 in the group overall.

Great job, Populista! This list seems highly probable, especially the five Republicans.

If this group succeeds in stripping $80-$100 billion out of the stimulus, it will be extremely important to know who was involved, especially on the Democratic side. As much as some commenters and bloggers consider my failure to clap louder as somehow detrimental to the Obama administration, in reality those 11-14 Democratic Senators are one of the biggest obstacles we face to progressive governance.

Chris Bowers :: Gang of 18 Update

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Gang of 18 Update | 54 comments
Pretty damn depressing... (4.00 / 5)
...to see that 5 of the Dems are new to the Senate within the last month (either sworn in at the opening of the 111th or appointed since), and if you include McCaskill 6 of them are new from 2006 onward.

do we know what each of them (0.00 / 0)
is doing though? We can't just criticize without having the knowledge.

[ Parent ]
If they really vote to cut jobs (4.00 / 1)
then they have no idea of the shitstorm that will hit them. Not just from us, but from labor unions and state governors who need this money.

[ Parent ]
Yes, we can (4.00 / 4)
Removing spending from the bill, yet leaving in tax cuts that are far less effective, is a terrible idea. Anybody even considering doing that should be warned off in no uncertain terms. If we give out unnecessary warnings, that's slightly unfortunate but not a big deal.

If we let them carry on full steam ahead until it's too late to stop, that is a big deal.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog


[ Parent ]
Once again (4.00 / 2)
They are only participating.

Sen Claire McCaskill, D-MO, was more defensive, accusing some members of trying to kill the bill with "little tiny baby things." She warned, "All of those that are trying to take shots at some of the little stuff in this bill, they need to take a step back and think about what its going to feel like when if we start losing, instead of 500,000 jobs a month , what its going to feel like in June, July and August, whene we are losing a million jobs a month."

McCaskill is part of the Nelson-Collins effort, but she downplayed the group's efforts after today's events, saying, "If we need to take out the little stuff to remove some of those talking points, then we should do it."

http://www.openleft.com/showCo...

But yes, we are not always getting the most progressive Senators. We should get a better picture of how deep the gang was when the amendment comes up for a vote.  

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power


[ Parent ]
dsg (0.00 / 0)
It's good to know their names, but let's see what they actually do to the bill before we rip them though. Also, let's see what would have happened but for their acts.  That is to say, if they didn't do this, and we would have gotten no bill, then we should take that into consideration as well.

Call me pessimistic (4.00 / 2)
I have a hard time believing that all 11 of those Democrats would actually vote to cut funding for states, education, and transportation.

Bennett (D-CO) was the freakin' superintendent of the Denver school district! And he's gonna vote to cut funding for low income schools and special education? Yeah right. Are Warner and Webb gonna vote to cut a billion in defense funding? Do Udall and Shaheen want to be in the doghouse with the leadership in their first month in office?

I'm sure some of those folks are serious, but only Landrieu would have the guts to vote against cloture on the actual stimulus bill. Even then, I think Landrieu will be on board at the end of the day.

That said, anyone who lives in these states should make some phone calls.


Spelling error... (0.00 / 0)
Nitpickin' I know, but he's new so I just thought I'd put it out there that the junior Senator from Colorado spells his last name....

Bennet


[ Parent ]
Virginia Ain't Blue (4.00 / 1)
For those of you who think the last few elections show that Virginia has turned/is turning blue, note that BOTH Webb and Warner are on the list.

Virginia Ain't Blue ... except for Blue Dogs.


Not sure about that (4.00 / 2)
Last I checked, Nye and Perrielo haven't joined the Blue Dogs. And Obama won the state by over 6 points.

Virginia isn't reliably blue yet, but it is going that way. The downside is that in the intervening period, Blue Dogs could use the electability argument and it's hard to shift them aside. Webb's unlikely to retire before 2018 and I can only see Warner leaving office due to scandal or election to the presidency.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog


[ Parent ]
Blue may not equal progressive (0.00 / 0)
Although I would concede it's too early to tell if that's true of not.


[ Parent ]
Some people have argued this (4.00 / 3)
As much as some commenters and bloggers consider my failure to clap louder as somehow detrimental to the Obama administration, in reality those 11-14 Democratic Senators are one of the biggest obstacles we face to progressive governance.

These Senators do not see a political risk in doing this...but historically they see that there HAS been a political risk in NOT doing it.

For the most part, these guys come from states where historically Democrats have won elections, only to fall to conservative challengers. Granted things have changed, but we don't have any real proof of that except for election results, which can or can not be proof of a real change in political belief in their constiuencies.

Meanwhile we're being bombared with poll numbers, albeit shady ones, showing people want a "change" in the stimulus.


Disappointing from the newbies (4.00 / 2)
Udall in particular is a disappointment. I knew he was more conservative than his cousin, and I knew he ran a fairly middle-of-the-road campaign, but I'd hoped he wouldn't have gone in for this kind of moronic showboating.

Bennett's being a dick, especially given the cuts to education funding, but I'm not that surprised.

McCaskill really needs to decide whether she wants to back Obama to the hilt or move full-time into being a waste of space. Her hemming and hawing is just getting irritating.

Shaheen is exactly as useless here as we all feared she might have been. She clearly wasn't the best candidate in that primary in retrospect.

I think we all knew that Mark Warner was a prime candidate to stab us in the back at times like this. The only saving grace is that when he runs for president we'll have enough evidence to prove that he's just an Evan Bayh clone (the appalling keynotes really give that one away).

And Jim Webb is right out in front when we need him on some issues, but this is a timely reminder that he isn't really one of us.

I suppose it's inevitable that with the big gains we've made in the past two cycles, often in very red territory, that we'd end up with a few dud DLC Senators. And we shouldn't overstate the case - it doesn't look like any of them are as corporate as Max Baucus, as concern-trolly as Joe Lieberman or as aggravating as Mary Landrieu. Still, this is disappointing. I don't want to see anybody on this list moving up the Senate leadership any time soon and I'd like to see them all get serious primaries. Not that I want them to lose primaries - I rather like Conrad and Webb and this issue alone wouldn't be enough for me to reflexively oppose any of them. Just to make them listen to people besides David Broder.

(On a more enthusiastic note, here are the Democratic Senators elected/appointed since 2006 who aren't in the Gang:

Sherrod Brown
Bob Casey
Sheldon Whitehouse
Ben Cardin
Amy Klobuchar
Bob Menendez
Mark Begich
Tom Udall
Kay Hagan
Jeff Merkley
Ted Kaufman
Kirsten Gillibrand
Roland Burris
Jon Tester - maybe)

I suspect Baucus must be member #17 of the gang. #18 could be one of several politicians. I can't decide whether to guess Carper, Kohl or Tester and there are other possibles.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog


Pleasantly surprised w/ Gillibrand (4.00 / 2)
G was house blue dog.  

Glad to see she's joining the herd with this. That's the best we can expect of her, I would guess.

I'll call her office to confirm that she's on board.


[ Parent ]
Gillibrand is very liberal (4.00 / 2)
on economic issues.

It's really just gun control and immigration where she tows a more conservative line. Much like Steve Israel and Patrick Murphy, her joining the Blue Dog Coalition was more of lip service to independents in her district who had voted Republican for decades.

She more of a mavericky type of person, but her district un Upstate New York is very pro-labor and very blue collar and VERY anti-Wall Street. Part of why she was chosen was because Upstate New Yorkers, in the wake of Wall Street's fucking of the country, were upset at the fact statewide offices were dominated by city politicians who, because of where they are from, are perceived to be more friendly to Wall Street.


[ Parent ]
Not so much (4.00 / 1)
It's an Upstate district, but it's a Hudson valley district. That's very different from a Rochester district.

It's not nearly as well off as NY-19, which includes Westchester, but other than that it's the second richest district upstate. There's a fair amount of blue collar voters, but the southern portions of the district are close enough to New York to attract a certain population of commuters. Hell, Gillibrand herself fell into that category.

I'd say she was a fairly standard cautious House member in a mildly red district. Now she gets to be a fairly standard cautious Senator in a very blue state. Which works out well for us.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog


[ Parent ]
I sorta felt (0.00 / 0)
she really tried to appeal to the northern half of her district; Saratoga/Glens Falls specifically. The southern part of her district is a lot less pro-gun too.

What I can't understand is considering how close this district is to the uber-liberal parts of Vermont and Massachusetts, why did the politics change so drastically once you crossed the border.

Maybe that changed with Gillibrand.  


[ Parent ]
Vermont wasn't always liberal (0.00 / 0)
Prior to 1992, Vermont was viewed as one of the most Republican states there was. Granted, it was a very progressive business Republicanism (hence they felt able to elect a socialist to the House) but it's only recently turned sharply left. Massachusett's 1st District, which borders NY-20, also had a liberal Republican up until the early 1990s. So it may be that change is only just crossing the border.

Also, I'd suggest it has something to do with the size of the states as well as geography. Northern New York State has more incentive to be conservative because New York City, then Western NY are both more likely to get the money and because there's a rural-urban relationship which can often manifest itself as low-level antipathy.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog


[ Parent ]
I had forgotten (0.00 / 0)
how much the Senate has changed in the last two years.  That's a lot of new senators.  

Hopefully, as time goes on, we'll find most of them becoming more progressive.

We did need big changes in the Senate really badly.  The Senate, IMHO, has been the biggest problem in this country, besides Bush and Cheney.  Now it remains to be seen how much better things will be with this new and very different Senate.


[ Parent ]
As I'm pointing out in other comments (4.00 / 1)
this doesn't mean they are all bad.

Sen Claire McCaskill, D-MO, was more defensive, accusing some members of trying to kill the bill with "little tiny baby things." She warned, "All of those that are trying to take shots at some of the little stuff in this bill, they need to take a step back and think about what its going to feel like when if we start losing, instead of 500,000 jobs a month , what its going to feel like in June, July and August, whene we are losing a million jobs a month."

McCaskill is part of the Nelson-Collins effort, but she downplayed the group's efforts after today's events, saying, "If we need to take out the little stuff to remove some of those talking points, then we should do it."

http://www.openleft.com/showCo...

The ones that we know have been vocally pushing for spending cuts are Nelson, Bayh, Landreiu, Lieberman, Conrad and Webb. The other ones are just on the record as participating.  

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power


[ Parent ]
How 'bout that Kay Hagan, huh? (4.00 / 2)
She ran as a relative nobody, beat the incumbent, and outperformed Obama by a good 8 points. Given her success in a rather conservative state, she could very easily have turned into a Landrieu or a Nelson, and yet here she is standing up for the stimulus. I'm impressed.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, I've been dreading seeing her name on this list. (0.00 / 0)
Even now, when I hear that this may not be a complete list, i think, "oh no, Hagan won't even come clean about it!"

But one observer of North Carolina politics notes that our senators tend to be more ideological - whether to the left or right - than our governors and legislators. (We don't mind sending folks like Jesse Helms to D.C., but we have a problem with them running things at home.) John Edwards wasn't a progressive, exactly, but I'm certain he wouldn't have been in this gang of 18 either.

Hagan didn't run as John Edwards, but maybe she's positioning herself more where he would be on this issue.


[ Parent ]
I think it's looking up... (4.00 / 3)
Reid says he has the votes. One Republican worth mentioning is Grassley, who said (per the quick hit) he'd support it if he gets his 4% mortgage thing (which I don't know enough about to say if it's good or bad). Probably at least one other will cave. Mel Martinez seems completely neutered lately and will probably go along with whatever. Voinovich doesn't want to go back to Ohio to campaign having to defend a no vote with the economy being doubly shitty in the rust belt.

I don't see these Democrats revolting over not getting these cuts, even Nelson. His office has been putting out conflicting information on whether or not he's gonna bolt.

Here's my prediction for the outcome: At best, the gang's gonna get a few cuts around the edges, most of which will get stuck in other appropriation bills later this year. They'll declare victory and the bill will go to conference at mostly full size.

It's all over except the grandstanding.

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!


Voinovich is retiring... (4.00 / 1)
...but, unlike his compatriots in the Senate, he gives a damn about his state...

I'm still surprised, and pleased, that he will do some good...

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
Just as good (0.00 / 0)
How did I miss that? I guess that puts him more in the Martinez/neutered category.

Might make it harder to get him on board for EFCA though if he doesn't need to avoid a fight with labor.

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!


[ Parent ]
Geez, four new senators? (4.00 / 1)
Bennett and Udall,
Shaheen and Warner!  (these two hurt)

Man.  More and better Democrats?  When are we going to get to the "better Democrats" part?

My senators don't always vote the way I'd like them to, but they do most of the time, and they never break from the caucus on things as important as this.

It really pisses me off that these senators (I guess I can't count Bennett) won their elections on Obama's coattails and they are so willing to stab him (and the rest of us) in the back so quickly.


Well, he didn't help his cause much (4.00 / 4)
by effectively ordering them to drop certain spending provisions right at the start, because the GOP complained about them, in order to please the GOP and make friends with them. So that "stabbed in the back" idea doesn't really apply here, unless he also stabbed himself in the back. The tone from the start was one of "Can't we all get along with each other, so be nice to the GOP", and this is just the logical playing out of that. They didn't so much betray him as he opened the door to such "betrayal". So on this, I don't blame these senators as much as I blame Obama, who set the tone from the start.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
Yeah but I thought that no matter how this transpires (3.20 / 5)
Obama will ALWAYS be a brilliant politician who fooled everybody, got his way, and saved the onion...

Heads he wins, tails we lose--didn't everybody get the memo?

Or, I know I missed the bullseye by like 10 feet and hit the tree next to it--it's what I MEANT to hit, duh!

The only way we lose this is if we don't clap hard enough, or criticize Obama in any way, and make meta Obama cry.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


LOL!!! Perfect. (4.00 / 3)
If he wins, he's great.  If he loses, he's great, becuase he planned it that way.

No matter what the facts are, it's always Obama is great and planned it all out ahead of time.  


[ Parent ]
I'm convinced that these fanboys and girls (4.00 / 3)
are his worst enemy, because they simply encourage his already natural tendency to pat himself on the back, believe that he can work miracles, and just coast, and reinforce his public image as a bit of a lightweight (which the GOP and media will play up if he continues to stumble). His true supporters are his constructive and principled harshest critics who know what we're up against and that easy solutions are stupid and dangerous.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
Apparently not everyone gets or appreciate (0.00 / 0)
snark or realized that I was really poking fun at Obamabots, not Obama himself. Or, perhaps they got it quite well, and it hit a bit too close to home. Heh.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
The only thing that would scare some of them (0.00 / 0)
is a third party opponent in the general election.  That is the only way they will move left even a little and stop undercutting the Democratic Party and President.

No contributions ever to any of them.

If they cannot be primaried, we must be prepared to run others in the general election.  They must see risk or they will never change.  Or they must be defeated.

McCaskill always was a centrist.  She just liked a little grandstanding about CEO pay.  Cutting education is okay though, right, Claire?  


Doesn't work (4.00 / 2)
If you split the votes on the left, they'll move to the right because there will be fewer votes on the left to go for.

Primaries are about the best we can do.

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!


[ Parent ]
Or they would move left to avoid the chance of losing. (4.00 / 1)
Real hardball.  They need to decide which party they are in.

Primaries don't usually work with senators.  So they only threat is splitting the left vote.  In a close race, McCaskill needs every vote.  2% could mean losing.  Moving right could lose more votes.

They need to feel there could be a cost.  Risk.


[ Parent ]
She loses either way (0.00 / 0)
move to the left, lose 2% in the middle...Republican wins, move to the right, lose 2% on the right...Republican wins, did we learn nothing from 2000?

We're assuming the middle stays with us no matter what.  


[ Parent ]
It has the opposite effect (0.00 / 0)
They'd move to the center/right because there are more getable votes there. You can see this in previous elections (e.g. Specter-Toomey in 2004).

I've been meaning to do a write-up to show the math behind why third-party challenges don't work. Maybe I should set aside some time this weekend to do that.

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!


[ Parent ]
I just think (4.00 / 2)
we need better primary challengers...or we need to grow the base of the party.

There was absolutely no reason that Lieberman should have gotten 48% of the vote in the Democratic primary in a state so anti-war in 2006 as Connecticut. A lot of anti-war people voted for Lieberman...why?

That's just an example. Why thet hell was Dan Lipinski reelected by a huge margin in a primary in a district as Democratic as his?


[ Parent ]
Yeah I was going to say (0.00 / 0)
but it all but guarantees a Republican will win and either way, we're still screwed...we'd be even MORE screwed with Republicans in power...or we get Lieberman-like situations.

Primaries are the best we can do...also primaries pretty much show where we stand with the voters of the party. If we can't win primaries, then we really lack real influence with voters. If we want to take over the party and the country, we have to prove we can elect our own.

Plus whos to say we don't find the perfect progressive candidate, get him or her elected, then they become part of the Gang of 18?  


[ Parent ]
2000 pretty much proved that strategy fails (4.00 / 1)


[ Parent ]
Third parties only work (4.00 / 1)
If you are willing and anxious to play spoiler and enable a Republican to win in order to send a message.

Primaries are less so, because you have a chance of winning, but the template is the Club for Growth strategy of hammering people and putting their political life in serious jeopardy.  I would consider the model to be how Stephen Laffey helped bring down Lincoln Chafee with an unsuccessful primary challenge.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both


[ Parent ]
Depends on what state you're in (4.00 / 2)
Republicans running a right wing primary challenger in Rhode Island was fucking ridiculous. HELLO, IT'S FUCKING RHODE ISLAND!

If we ran a left wing primary challenge against Ben Nelson in Nebraska, we fucking deserve to lose the seat.

But running against someone like, just for arguments sake, Barbara Mikulski, would make more sense, if she's voting to the right of the state.  


[ Parent ]
Spoiler is even riskier than that (0.00 / 0)
There's no guarantee that the right lesson will be learned. If they lose in a spoiler situation they might well conclude that the electorate is more conservative than they thought.

Seriously, anyone considering the third party option after the 2000 fiasco needs a checkup from the neckup.

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!


[ Parent ]
No (4.00 / 2)
http://www.openleft.com/showCo...

Sen Claire McCaskill, D-MO, was more defensive, accusing some members of trying to kill the bill with "little tiny baby things." She warned, "All of those that are trying to take shots at some of the little stuff in this bill, they need to take a step back and think about what its going to feel like when if we start losing, instead of 500,000 jobs a month , what its going to feel like in June, July and August, whene we are losing a million jobs a month."

McCaskill is part of the Nelson-Collins effort, but she downplayed the group's efforts after today's events, saying, "If we need to take out the little stuff to remove some of those talking points, then we should do it."

She's involved, but not really one of the bad ones. Nelson, Corporate Joe, Bayh, Conrad, Landreiu and Webb are the ones most vocally involved in the effort.

Until third parties have proved they can win local elections and IRV has been passed it's a pointless, counterproductive strategy.  

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power


[ Parent ]
Bigger plan (0.00 / 0)
but I think we need coalition governments like Europe. Granted they're unstable and shaky, but we'd probably get more represenatation and we'd really know where the country stands politically.

Look at what happened with Gerhard Schroeder's coalition government early in the decade...the Minister of Foreign Affairs was a Green!  


[ Parent ]
It's always been about this group of Dems (4.00 / 1)
And it's always been about convincing centrists that center-left is better than center-right.  I'd argue that progressives haven't always done a good job at that.

There are a few tactics.  One can negotiate with them. I wonder if one can offer them concessions on a non-stimulus area in order to get more good stimulus.  One can threaten them.  One could, for example, threaten Landrieu that if she doesn't go along, New Orleans will be screwed over.  One can pursue mass assured destruction, sort of like Senate Republicans on the auto bailout, and refuse to cave to demands even if it means the stimulus package doesn't pass in any form.

These centrists aren't all going to go away no matter how many primary challenges are leveled at them, so there's no point in wishing they didn't exist, and the theory of democracy privileges the views of the median vote.  So, the challenge for progressives is how to convince, cajole, and coerce centrists.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both


Some surprising names *not* on the list... (4.00 / 2)
Like Baucus, Tester, Pryor, Lincoln, Tim Johnson, Bill Nelson, Carper, and Casey.  

It's actually sort of sad to think that as many names that are on that list, the number of "wobbly" Democratic senators is probably twice that, depending upon the given vote.  


We don't know that they are not on the list (4.00 / 1)
The Ark 2 did sound very good, but I suspect Baucus and Carper are the remaining two. Casey is a very good vote on economic issues.  

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

[ Parent ]
Baucus is managing half the bill. (0.00 / 0)
As Finance Committee chair, he's been helping steer the current version through the Senate. He's not likely to turn up in this group.

But Pryor and Carper are, based on past history and their voting on the amendments.

Shaheen is probably just along for the ride. She hasn't departed from voting with the majority of the Democratic caucus on any of the amendments so far.

Martinez is another odd inclusion. He's been a straight party line voter on all but one of the amendments, voting against Thune's amendment from Wednesday.


[ Parent ]
It is worth noting (0.00 / 0)
that not all these people necessarily support the stripping of education funding and other stuff, but they are down as participating in the groups meetings.  For instance, here's Clarie McCaskill.

Sen Claire McCaskill, D-MO, was more defensive, accusing some members of trying to kill the bill with "little tiny baby things." She warned, "All of those that are trying to take shots at some of the little stuff in this bill, they need to take a step back and think about what its going to feel like when if we start losing, instead of 500,000 jobs a month , what its going to feel like in June, July and August, whene we are losing a million jobs a month."

McCaskill is part of the Nelson-Collins effort, but she downplayed the group's efforts after today's events, saying, "If we need to take out the little stuff to remove some of those talking points, then we should do it."

So she probably doesn't really count as a bad egg. And all the freshmen are not necessarily trying to kill the bill. This is all we are relying on for that

Several freshman senators attended the meeting including Sens. Michael Bennett, D-Co., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Mark Warner, D-Va., and Mark Udall, D-Co.

So they are involved, but not necessary going to vote to cut education funding. They are part of the group, so it's worth pressing them but they are not leading the effort or necessarily supportive of all the cuts. Nelson, Bayh, Webb, Landrieu, Lieberman and Conrad are the worst offenders.  

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power


They could be (0.00 / 0)
trying to avoid massive cuts and trying to negotiate how to keep most of this stuff in.

Does anyone else find it coincidential than these names came out after the size of the cuts dropped dramatically?

You could have a situation where Shaheen, Udall, Bennet, McCaskill all came in and said "whoa, whoa, we can't cut ALL THAT...cut this crap instead"

It's a negotiation, which hints not everyone is in agreement.  


[ Parent ]
The "Gang" has a strong, if vain, incentive to do this (4.00 / 1)
Considering that the Senate seems wedded to the idea that we 60+ votes to pass anything but the budget, this is likely just the first viewing of what is likely to many painful reruns.  The threat of filibuster gives the "serious centrists" a lot of incentive to block progressive legislation while carrying the banner of High Broderism on all the cable news shows.  "The Gang" needs their collective ego massaged at all times.  Fawning words in a Washington Post editorial mean much than passing good and necessary legislation.  After all, what's an extra five-tenths of a percentage point tacked on to GDP compared to a pat on the back from David Broder?

This type of grandstanding in the name of "seriousness" from Nelson, Bayh, Conrad and the like will repeat itself on Health Care and Climate Change legislation, and may well defeat the EFCA.  It needs to be dealt with quickly and with force, or all the legislation we worked so hard for last year will turn into incrementalist half-measures.

Of course, there are a few ways around all this.  The first is a strong, loud, and sustained message from the White House (of which we're only starting to see).  The second is using the nuclear option to get rid of the filibuster.  The least we can hope for is far more of the first, but I'd love to see the second.

We're going to have to get used to Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh and the rest of "The Gang."  They're the Village's new favorite Democrats.  After all, they're the only ones that are "serious, centrist and responsible."


Disappointed in Shaheen (0.00 / 0)
Especially since I canvassed for her in NH.

Spelling.... (0.00 / 0)
The junior Senator from Colorado's name is...

Bennet


You cling to lost causes like a true liberal. (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
Gang of 18 Update | 54 comments
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