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February 10, 2008

All the process/political news that's fit to print

Today's New York Times has three very interesting articles about the legislative process and modern political dynamics that have lots of connections to topics we've discussed throughout the semester.  Berman bonus points go to any and everyone who can spotlight in the comments direct links from these article to materials in the readings and/or ideas developed in class discussions:

February 10, 2008 in Learning from Campaign 2008 | Permalink


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In the third Article, this was said about the possibility of the superdelegates deciding which democratic candidate to go for:

“I don’t think we want to go back to those wheeling-dealing, smoke-filled back-room days.”

So Scott was right! There is something about back-room deals that causes smoke to be a necessity. What will they do about the smoking ban?

Posted by: Amanda McNeil | Feb 10, 2008 9:05:01 PM

I just ran into an article on the Washington Post about Congress explaining the loopholes to its own anti-lobbying bills. Thought it was fun...

The first paragraph reads:
"Congress is a very special place. Not only does it write the laws, it also instructs people about how to get around them."



Posted by: Alexios | Feb 12, 2008 10:54:56 AM

First article: "And even falling short, supporters say, [Harry Reid] advanced Democratic priorities and lifted the party’s chances of widening its control of the Senate to a filibuster-proof 60 seats in the November elections."

So the article was talking about how Sen. Reid tried to increase the amount of the economic stimulus package to $200 billion, which is significantly more than what the House voted for. Although he failed, he did get the package increased, essentially handing out money to soon-to-be voters. If this isn't a lesson in structure affecting politics I don't know what is. Basically, Reid wants to "filibuster-proof" the Senate and that he's not above buying votes to get it done. Lesson 2 from this article: this economic stimulus package is $170 billion - with a B. It dwarfs the Presidential election and the Twinkie market combined. Reid wanted to make it over 30 BILLION more. That's like the cost of all the presidential elections for the next century.

Second article:"One thing Mr. Bush can do is attract donors; he remains a prolific party fund-raiser. Late last month, he traveled to California, Colorado and Missouri, raising $5.2 million at five events in three days. He will headline another Republican fund-raiser in Washington this week."

So Pres. Bush is just in the way, unless he's raising money. That $5.2 million sounds quite similar to the money that Hillary loaned her campaign, which we discussed in class. Basically Bush did the same thing, using his time and influence to garner support for his party's soon to be candidate. So keep Pres. Bush out of the headlines, get him to bring in big donations and a commander-in-chief can be in an extraordinary position to influence politics even when he is personally unpopular. Would it have been bribery for McCain to have promised Bush something in exchange for that money if he wins?

Third article: “The superdelegates include all Democratic governors and members of Congress, as well as officials and other prominent members of the party. In interviews, some said they were grappling with how to use their power if it comes into play, especially if their judgment does not match the will of a majority of voters.
Should they ratify the decision by regular delegates and vote for the candidate who is ahead in June, no matter how small the lead? Are they obligated to follow the vote of their constituents in primaries or caucuses? Or should they simply follow their conscience and vote for whoever they think is the best nominee?”

This is a classic political/legislative question which was noted in the reading and in class. Should representatives be delegates or trustees? Should they vote for who they think is best or follow constitutents? Why have voters elect representatives if they are beholden to their constituents? On the other hand, in 2008 do we really want candidates chosen by who is on Ickes call list? When the voters have studied and made their choice, is it fair to let the candidate decision come down to political deal-making? Haven’t we gotten past the days of Tammany Hall? Hmmmm....

Posted by: Scott Rowley | Feb 12, 2008 1:58:53 PM

Hi, i want read more about that.

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