Various thoughts on current events with an emphasis on politics, legal issues, books, movies and whatever is on my mind. Emails can be sent to email@example.com; please put "blog comments" in the subject line.
And Also: I cite the lousy decision by Obama to follow in Bush's footsteps today regarding the states secrets doctrine in an extraordinary rendition lawsuit. One of ten cases a new Slatepiece ironically suggested he do the exact opposite. More here.
Publius at OB* has had a few good posts on the stimulus bill. This is one of those areas where I mostly am left with being inclined to trust the people who over time have seemed more right than not on issues, balancing the levels of possibility in a certain direction. That is, secondhand judgments, which is fine, since it is a common way of handling things outside of those few areas one might have some expertise over.
Anyway, this underlines the problem with a handful of "centrists" (e.g., those who often voted with simply wrong Republican leadership) have such an important role. It's like averaging out tests you take and having to deal with a 40. Which probably gives the Republicans too much credit -- more like a 25, matching Bush's approval ratings. Either way, a quick APpiece entitled "Obama executive order favors union labor" underlines why elections matter, even if we have to deal with imperfections. IOW, the "new boss, same as old boss" stuff is b.s. Your friend can be a pain (or simply, baldly, wrong); doesn't make him/her your enemy:
President Barack Obama has issued an executive order backing the use of union labor for large-scale federal construction projects.
The order encourages federal agencies to have construction contractors enter project labor agreements. Those agreements require contractors to negotiate with union officials, recognize union wages and benefits and abide by collective bargaining agreements.
Obama's order restores a Clinton administration rule that was rescinded by President George W. Bush.
It is the fourth union-friendly executive order that Obama has signed since he's been in office.
You build off that, re-frame the "center," and continue to push in part because they have the ability to listen to reason (and will need your fiscal and other support sometimes too). Seems about as easy as filling an inside straight, but so be it.
* Sometimes, I simply don't agree with Publius (Hilzoy is more consistently worthwhile), but he hits home other times, like his recent post noting tax "cuts" generally translates to burdens on the poor, police/school funds, etc., the money needing to come from somewhere. The net result is basically a "tax" on other people. As with the "death tax" stuff etc., framing helps prevent us from quite understanding the point. Obama has a responsibility to get people to truly understand this point. I think he has a shot.
Crooks and Liars also ala Glenn Greenwald in other contexts does a good job reminding us of how the past is different from the present, when the shoe's on the other foot. Bush in 2001, after getting a minority of the vote ("mandate"), pushed for a tax cut that over time would be bigger than this stimulus package. Without the emergency. He didn't feel compelled to have a "bipartisan" vote, though various Dems (not just two or three) helped him out. Remind remind!!