Saturday, December 11, 2010

What Mattered This Week?

OK, this feature is not really needed this time around: I certainly do believe that the tax cut deal mattered.  Anyone want to argue the other way? 

I don't think that any of yesterday's festivities (Bernie Sanders holding forth on the Senate floor, Bill Clinton in the White House briefing room) were all that important, although they were good fun for political junkies.  But the overall deal -- yup, that's a big deal.

We also had action on DADT, DREAM, and to a lesser degree on New START, although I don't believe that any of the shuffling this week either killed those measures or put them over the top.  Hard to believe that all three will survive at this point, but there should be time for at least one of them -- more than one, and perhaps three, if Harry Reid and the Democrats use every possible hour remaining.  And if they have the votes -- DADT certainly does, but I'm not sure about the other two.

What else?  What do you think mattered this week?


  1. Maybe not just this week, but the most remarkable thing about the last month or so is Herbert Hoover becoming a Democratic idol.

  2. The tax cut deal is obviously the big thing, and I would say that's true whether it passes or not.

    But what Sanders did yesterday--which was of course directly connected to the tax cut debate--was important too, at least for some of us. If you're a liberal Democrat (or further to the left) then Sanders' speech was incredibly heartening and in striking contrast to Obama's remarks earlier this week. It was major red meat, but it didn't come from a Democratic leader, interestingly. Sanders expressed, at length, what I lot of us have been thinking. He's always been pretty good at getting media attention, but the pseudo-filibuster was a minor coup in that regard.

    Sanders has now staked out a general domestic policy position well to the left of Obama, while at the same time making it clear he wants to work with Obama. He might well have set himself up as a rallying point for the disgruntled progressive activists over the course of the next two years, much more so than he has been up to this point (and he was already pretty beloved). We'll have to see how it plays out, but that definitely has the potential to "matter" in the weeks ahead and in the 112th congress.

  3. And if I may make a suggestion Jonathan, you really ought to tag/label these weekly queries to readers, particularly the "what mattered this week" ones but also probably the Sunday questions. If you just add the tag "what mattered," for example, to this and all previous posts and continue to do that in the future, you and your readers will have an easy way to look back at what in the end could be many, many weeks worth of discussion as to "what mattered."

    Assuming you continue to blog regularly and ask the "what mattered" question, you should end up with a pretty interesting database of comments, and I have to assume looking back on late 2010 from the perspective of late 2012, for example, would be pretty interesting. The Blogger label-thingies are totally your friend that way.

  4. I join in Geoff's request. Why, just last week I was wishing you had an Oy, Bai tag. But a What Mattered tag would be even more important for the historical record, IMHO.

    I think you nailed it this week. I'll also add, this was the week the blogospheric liberals jumped the shark, with the high operatic emotional meltdown over the tax deal. Sheesh.

  5. It is a bit under the radar, but the EPA's decision to delay new air pollution standards for smog and for controlling emissions from industrial boilers was an important and bad sign. There are a whole series of regulations that US EPA is expected to issue in the next two years in order to reduce emissions of air pollution from coal-fired power plants (which kills 13,200 people every year) and hazardous air pollutants like mercury, limit water quality impacts of power plants, and require that coal combustion waste (which contains toxic chemicals like cadmium, lead, and mercury be disposed of more safely. These rules are facing a huge industry and Republican backlash, and EPA's delay this week suggests that the agency may not stand up to that backlash as much as needed. Clearly, we progressives have work to do to fight the backlash and stiffen the agency's spine.

  6. Tax cuts deal, but what's interesting to me is how quickly it became a Christmas tree. Makes me wonder if a little of the old Senate is coming back.

  7. Winning's EPA thing makes me think- there's been a few stories, but none getting that much attention, of agencies trimming their sails in the face of a Republican House coming in. This of course has more real-world implications than most of Sarah Palin's tweets, but moreover, I think it'd be very interesting for a blog/blogger focused on executive power.

  8. Pretty sure that Sanders' beautiful performance on the Senate floor was all for naught. The NYT article on the US homepage today, instead of dealing with the substance of the 8.5 hr speech, focused on how it was top in the country's Twitter feed... deep stuff, I tell ya.


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