Tag Archives: harry reid

Reid caved, America suffers

Last month, I was temporarily impressed with Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid, when he vowed to use the Senate’s power to hold up the confirmation of Roland Burris, appointed by former Governor Blagoevich. But Reid, as those who thought less of Reid than I did expected, caved to identity politics and made Burris the junior Senator from Illinoise. Burris’s vote became critical for the Obama stimulus. And now, everyone is regretting it:

Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) must go. – washingtonpost.com
From the moment that Mr. Burris was selected, he strove to portray himself as a blameless public servant. The sad pictures of Mr. Burris being cast out into the rain by the Democratic leadership of the Senate, which initially refused to seat him, turned public opinion in his favor. Mr. Burris got his seat. But this latest revelation makes a mockery of his professions of no quid pro quo. It is a violation of the public trust. The people of Illinois have suffered enough. Mr. Burris should resign.

If Reid had kept his word, Burris would not be a Senator, Illinois would not be embarrassed again, and the Obama Stimulus would not have passed in its current form.

As I said, Tammy Duckworth would have been a better choice.

A Home Investment Visa Program?

There are already investment visas for people who want to buy factories or ethanol plants, so the legal structure for a Home Investment Visa program is largely written. While the flurry of activity a Home Investment Visa program would cause would require some extra workers at the Internal Revenue Service (to collect the extra income in taxes), Homeland Security (to process the visa paperwork), and elsewhere in the government’s bureaucracy, even this spending would be directly tied to jobs and help stimulate the economy.

Note that the multiplier on the “buy a house, get a visa” strategy would be much larger than any possible domestic multiplier since the money would come from outside the economy (and efficiency would improve as well.)

I think there would be considerable support among economists that immigration (buy a house, get a visa), a payroll tax cut and maintaining state and local funding would be reasonably good policies in this recession (albeit not necessarily sufficient) yet these policies seem to be the ones that the political system rejects out of hand.  (See also Matt Yglesias here and here).  Now, I can understand rejecting these policies as compared to doing nothing, ala a precautionary principle, but why these policies are rejected compared to taking a trillion dollar gamble is puzzling even to someone like myself schooled in public choice. 

via Marginal Revolution: Buy a House, Get a Visa.

Alternatively, we could nationalize Citi, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JP Morgan, or give tens of billions in subsidies to the shareholders in these companies until they’ve recuperated their losses from the federal balance sheet.

It is the call of two men and one woman: Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi.

What will be their decision? What would be yours?

Props to Reid

I realize it’s fashionable among conservative bloggers to bash Harry Reid (D-NV, the Senate Majority Leader) for whatever reason, but the recent attacks on him for refusing to seat Roland Burris (D-IL) are inane.

The Constitution gives each House of Congress the authority to judge its own members. From Article I, Section V, of the US Constitution:

Section 5: Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties as each House may provide.
Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member.
Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either House on any question shall, at the desire of one fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.
Neither House, during the session of Congress, shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

That some “conservatives” are now criticizing Reid by relying on an activist decision by the Warren Court should be a warming that many so-called “conservatives” are just Republican Party hacks who jump at any opportunity to embarrass the Democrats.

Hopefully after Governor Blagoevich (D-IL) is impeached, the next Governor can appoint someone appropriate to the seat. I have previously suggested that Tammy Duckworth is sufficiently Obamariffic for our age, and his scathing review of her by Firedoglake emphasizes my view. Anyone Firedoglake despises can’t be all bad!

Fiddling for Health Care

Waiting for C.E.O.’s to Go ‘Nuclear’,” by Matt Miller, New York Times, 18 May 2005, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/18/opinion/18miller.html?.

This New York Times article on CEOs is a good springboard for a health care post

The consuming Senate slugfest over judges (vital as they are) proves how Washington remains determined to fiddle while our biggest problem burns: a broken health care system that threatens working families and national competitiveness.

The “consuming Senate slugfest” is Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)’s shut-down of the Senate. Not allowing committees to meet — effectively saying “No!” to every issue – is typical of the Democrats since Daschle’s (D-formerly of SD) leadership. Republicans like Newt Gingrich have plans for health care. Democrats like Hillary Clinton also have ideas.

But does the Senate Democrat leadership? Of course not.

They are determined to fiddle while a great problem burns.

David Brooks Wrong on Reid’s Deal for Frist

Let’s Make a Deal,” by David Brooks, New York Times, 1 May 2005, http://nytimes.com/2005/05/01/opinion/01brooks.html.

David Brooks describes a deal Democrat Minority Leader Harry Reid supposedly gave Republican Majority Leader Bill First

Last week, the Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid, made an offer to head off a nuclear exchange over judicial nominations. Reid offered to allow votes on a few of the judges stuck in limbo if the Republicans would withdraw a few of the others.

But there was another part of the offer that hasn’t been publicized. I’ve been reliably informed that Reid also vowed to prevent a filibuster on the next Supreme Court nominee. Reid said that if liberals tried to filibuster President Bush’s pick, he’d come up with five or six Democratic votes to help Republicans close off debate. In other words, barring a scandal or some other exceptional circumstance, Reid would enable Bush’s nominee to get a vote and probably be confirmed.

Good deal? Brooks seems to think so

But Frist should have grabbed Reid’s offer. He should have done it, first, because while the air is thick with confident predictions about what will happen if the nuclear trigger is pulled, nobody really knows. There is a very good chance that as the battle escalates, passions will surge, the tattered fabric of professionalism will dissolve, and public revulsion for both parties will explode.

If you are leading one of the greatest democratic institutions in history, it’s irresponsible to lead it into this bloody unknown if a deal on the table will give you much of what you want. As one senator who supports changing the filibuster rules says, “Is this what you want on your obit?”

Judicial filibusters are new. My former Senator, Tom Daschle, basically invented them. There is no reason for Frist to allow the minority party this new weapon.

I recognize this fight started out with how Daschle was stressing the personal and professional lives of some Bush appointees for political gain. A native of Sioux Falls, because he cared about his family more than Tom’s games, left the process early. Doubtless countless more good men will never get a vote, because the Senate Opposition’s slow torture was oto much for them. However, there is a larger principal involved.

This is a fight to reclaim the last branch of government from “liberals.” This is an attempt by a fourth generation political movement to cement its hold on power. As Ma Jones and dKos reported, by 2009 all but 2 of the 13 federal district courts could have Republican majorities. This goal is too important and too central to the Conservative cause to risk one more election cycle than need be.

Now let’s look at Brooks’ other reason

Second, Frist should have grabbed this offer because it’s time for senators to re-establish the principle that they, not the outside interest groups, run the Senate. Right now, most senators want to avoid a meltdown. It’s the outside interest groups that are goading them into the fight.

Of course the groups want a fight. The activists get up every morning hoping to change the judiciary, dreaming of total victory. Of course they’re willing to sacrifice everything else for that cause. But senators are supposed to know that serving the interest groups is not the same as serving the people: it is serving a passionate but unrepresentative minority of the people. At some point, leaders are supposed to stand up to maximalists, even the ones they mostly agree with.

David Brooks is either a fellow traveler or behind-the-times. Brooks’ assertion that the Senate should not be factional rejects the reality of fourth generation politics. It also rejects the logic behind the federalists papers. The Constitution was actually designed for factional politics more than for partisan politics.

David Brooks, a columnist for the New York Times, should know this.

Update: Apparently I’m psychic. Completely by coincidence, this entry channeled a Matt Margolis post at Blogs for Bush.