Some Political News

There have been one or two interesting developments in politics this week. First, there was an upset in the Nebraska primary.

Upstart state Sen. Deb Fischer triumphed in Nebraska’s bitterly contested Republican primary for U.S. Senate on Tuesday night, winning the right to face Democrat Bob Kerrey in November.

The race had become a high-profile showdown among tea party leaders, who split their support among three candidates. The seat being vacated by Democrat Ben Nelson is considered the GOP’s best opportunity for a Senate pickup this fall.

Former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin had endorsed Fischer last week, giving the little-known rancher from the Sandhills region a boost. “The Palins are in your corner,” the endorsement said. This week, former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain followed suit.

Fischer’s two main opponents, state Atty. Gen. Jon Bruning and state Treasurer Don Stenberg, had spent months battering each other.

Like the Mourdock victory here in Indiana, this is being played as a Tea Party victory, but really it is a sign of how tired voters are of an increasingly dysfunctional and unresponsive political class.

Speaking of which, the federal government still doesn’t have a budget after three years. President Obama submitted one but Congress rejected it unanimously. According to the Washington Times,

President Obama’s budget suffered a second embarrassing defeat Wednesday, when senators voted 99-0 to reject it.

Coupled with the House’s rejection in March, 414-0, that means Mr. Obama’s budget has failed to win a single vote in support this year.

Republicans forced the vote by offering the president’s plan on the Senate floor.

Democrats disputed that it was actually the president’s plan, arguing that the slim amendment didn’t actually match Mr. Obama’s budget document, which ran thousands of pages. But Republicans said they used all of the president’s numbers in the proposal, so it faithfully represented his plan.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, even challenged Democrats to point out any errors in the numbers and he would correct them — a challenge no Democrats took up.

“A stunning development for the president of the United States in his fourth year in office,” Mr. Sessions said of the unanimous opposition.

The White House has held its proposal out as a “balanced approach” to beginning to rein in deficits. It calls for tax increases to begin to offset higher spending, and would begin to level off debt as a percentage of the economy by 2022. It would produce $6.4 trillion in new deficits over that time.

By contrast the chief Republican alternative from the House GOP would notch just $3.1 trillion in deficits, and three Senate Republican alternatives would all come in below $2 trillion.

The Senate is holding votes Wednesday on Mr. Obama’s budget, the House GOP’s budget and the three Senate Republican alternatives. None was expected to gain the 50 votes needed to pass the chamber.

I gather that the president’s budget was not really a serious attempt to control spending but  more of a political gimmick.

I have been pessimistic about the Republican’s chances of defeating Obama in the coming election, especially after it was clear that Romney would be the nominee. I am beginning to think, however, that Obama’s days in the White House are numbered.

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