The Roundup

Honestly, I think I’m still running in molasses trying to catch up from the busy past week when I was over at the Prop 8 trial. So things will shake out a bit better tomorrow.

• By now you’ve all heard about that Citizens United ruling, and all the different permutations being considered by Democrats in response. You have hearings planned by Jerry Nadler. Russ Feingold is pissed. People for the American Way wants a Constitutional amendment restoring the ability for the Congress to regulate campaign money in federal elections. There’s also the Larson/Durbin bill to allow voluntary public financing in special elections. Less broadly, Democrats are considering a stand-by-your-ad provision for corporations (“I’m Bill Gates and I approved this message”), or laws to stop foreign-owned subsidiaries from participating in elections, or Alan Grayson’s bills calling for punitive taxes on corporations trying to buy elections. There’s a lot of sound and fury, but no set plan. Unlike what James Bopp has been successfully doing for decades – destroying the entire campaign finance regulatory apparatus in America.

• I never did a Martha Coakley wrap-up; frankly it was something I would rather forget. Plenty of groups have thrown out some compelling research suggesting that the problem for Coakley, aside from her own failings as a candidate, was the a demobilized Democratic base, frustrated with the pace of change and the limp actions taken with a large majority.

• There’s no question the election was a wake-up call; but a wake-up call to what? Nobody knows for sure right now. You have Democrats calling for extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, ferchrissakes. The Administration’s banking reforms appeared to be the right ones, but the initial enthusiasm has crashed into the reality of the proposals, which are loophole-ridden and unlikely to survive without further degredation, as we’ve seen throughout financial regulatory reform. If the Democrats actually stick to their guns and are willing to run on fixing the financial system properly, the events of the past week could be fruitful; but nobody’s too hopeful.

• While I was away, that Guantanamo closure deadline just came and went. It’s just one of many disappointments documented by the ACLU. Meanwhile, there continue to be rumblings about indefinite detentions in a post-Gitmo regime, and some federal judges want to know the deal before they continue with court cases from detainees challenging their confinement.

• Meanwhile, there’s that climate bill! John Kerry is still trying to cobble together consensus, but I’m dubious that they’re headed anywhere. Cap-and-dividend, where carbon would be taxed and the money delivered directly to consumers, is gaining some steam, but this is a Democratic party skittish about passing health care, let alone a divisive issue like climate change. Heck, several Dem Senators want to help Lisa Murkowski block EPA regulations on carbon. So regardless of the “enthusiasm,” I think we’ll be seeing “warmest decade on record” headlines for a good long while.

• So how’s Afghanistan? They did postpone the primaries for Parliament, a smart move since they were going to be tainted with corruption. And there are more signs that the endgame will include a political reconciliation with the Taliban, which is frankly unavoidable at this point. The rush of private security contractors into the country, however, is deeply troubling.

• Did the White House really think that Republicans would somehow get swept up in bipartisanship and feel inclined to tackle longstanding problems in a bipartisan way? What country did they think they were running?

• And now repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is looking like a pipe dream, delayed ever longer.

• That is one proud racist right there.

• Barney Frank called for abolishing Fannie and Freddie.

• Memo to the Washington Post – the housing bubble is still inflated, and government actions can’t prop it up forever.

• I haven’t done a deeper analysis of the Prop 8 trial, but here’s a couple good articles – MoDo with Gavin Newsom (and it’s somewhat decent, believe it or not), and this LA Times analysis.

• I’ve been talking about an automatic stabilizer for state budgets for a couple years now. It’s a necessary reform.

• Completely under the radar, Ned Lamont has become the favorite for Connecticut Governor. There simply aren’t a whole lot of progressive governors in America, so this is kind of a big deal, and the numbers are close enough that Lamont could use support from the progressive community to get him over the top.

• At least the shoes are being thrown at other world leaders, now.

• I might need to quit this job and just follow around Prince Frederic von Anhalt, Zsa Zsa’s ex-husband, and his quixotic independent campaign for California governor. I mean, that’s just going to be FUN.

• Rick Perry’s get-out-the-vote team? Paid felons. Classic.

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