Thursday, December 11, 2008

Obama/Dems Need to Be More Aggressive

This whole Blagojevich thing has not been handled well at all by the Obama transition team. Journalists are trying to figure out what the President-elect knew and when he knew it, which is never a good thing to have journalists asking about you. And, as discussed previously, the transition team's response has not done much to assuage concerns.

Obviously it would have been much better if, upon first hearing Blagojevich's ridiculous demands, the Obama team would have called up U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald's office, which was publicly investigating the Governor for months, to inform Fitzgerald of Blagojevich's corruption. That would have kept any of Blagojevich's stink from being passed on to the transition.

Similarly, Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress need to be more aggressive and publicly confrontational in fighting Senate Republicans over the auto bailout. Yesterday, the bailout passed the House mainly due to Democrat support. Its fate in the Senate, where 60% of Senators must support the bill (or at least support a vote on the bill), is murky, with Republicans led by Richard Selby (R-AL) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) threatening a filibuster even though the bailout is supported by the GOP White House.

I say, let 'em filibuster, and make 'em actually keep talking on the floor of the Senate; in recent years when a cloture vote fails to end debate, the Senate just moves on to something else, instead of making Senators actually filibuster, which is a shame. Such drama on the Senate floor would lay bare the clear conflicts of interest at play on this issue.

Alabama is home to three Honda and Hyundai plants, which the state attracted by giving the Japanese manufacturer's a bunch of tax breaks and subsidies. So Sens. Selby and Sessions are more than happy to abandon their apparent love for the removing government influence over the free market when it benefits their own state, but not when it helps save millions (or hundreds of thousands, depending on whose analysis you believe) of American manufacturing jobs. Republicans would also benefit from a weakened United Auto Workers, which reliably supports Democratic candidates all over the country.

By drawing attention to Republican opposition to the bailout, Democrats can either a) generate enough public support to get the bill passed, or b) clearly establish that it is Republicans who killed the bill and allowed the companies to fail. Seems like a win-win.

1 comment:

Les Allen said...

Have to say thanks for doing your blog PolDoc - is nice to get a quick, 'at a glance' wrap up of what's actually going on over there...