Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Daily Strike-4/29/10-Crist/Oil/Puerto Rico

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. It was a real mixed bag in politics today, and none of it involved the biggest current issue: financial regulation. The Senate will not vote on amendments to the bill until Tuesday.

CRIST: It's official. Florida Governor Charlie Crist will now run for the Senate as an independent, instead of a Republican. He was due to get his clocked cleaned in the Republican primary by Marco Rubio, the Cuban-American former State House Speaker. I'm not sure Crist's decision makes the race any more winnable for Democrat Kendrick Meek. Crist has completely alienated the Republican party. At this point, I don't think many Republicans in that state will vote for Crist. It's unclear how many true independents vote in Florida. In fact, if I were Kendrick Meek, I'd worry that Crist may eat into the Democratic vote, especially among some of the older Florida voters who may not be comfortable voting for an African American Senator.

The broader significance of Crist's decision is the continued purging of moderates in the Republican party. Crist is far more of an orthodox Republican, for example, than Ben Nelson is an orthodox Democrat. He harshly criticized the health care bill, and has generally governed as a conservative. That is not enough to be in today's Republican party. Bob Bennett, a very conservative Republican Senator from Utah, looks like he will lose his primary election next month to a challenger from the right, simply because he is somewhat moderate-tempered, and because he co-sponsored a health care bill with Democratic Senator Ron Wyden. If this sort of purging brings more moderate Democrats into the fold, then I'll be thrilled. I'm more worried, however, that the Republican party, one of the two major parties in this country, will be exclusively far, far-right.

I'm changing the rating for this seat to "toss-up" until I see some additional polling. If I were a betting man, I'd bet on Marco Rubio to win the race.

OIL: I don't have much to say about the oil spill in the Gulf Coast, but I will echo the words of comedian Bill Maher, who said that, "Every asshole who ever chanted 'Drill baby drill' should have to report to the Gulf coast today for cleanup duty." This includes President Obama, who as recently as a month ago, said that no oil spills today are caused by offshore oil rigs. Offshore drilling isn't the most outrageous policy in the world to me, but the benefits of getting a little more fossil fuel that won't be available for 10 years doesn't outweigh the cost of massive environmental damage.

THE HOUSE: The House today considered a bill that gives Puerto Rico the ability to choose its future relationship with the United States. The bill would mandate an election, where the Puerto Rican people could vote up or down on whether to maintain their current arrangement with our country. If the vote succeeded, another such vote would occur in 8 years. If the vote failed, the Puerto Rican people would be able to vote to sever ties with the U.S., or apply for statehood. The bill passed, though as of press time we dont' have the final tally. The House also took up a series of amendments to the bill.

The next votes in both the House and Senate will occur on Tuesday. This is our last entry for the week. Leave us some comments, and we'll see you on Monday!

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