The Spectacle Blog

House Repub Tussle

By on 11.17.05 | 9:30AM

Before newbies to the leadership ladder start campaigning, there remain some big dogs to push out of the way. Biggest is Rep. John Boehner, who has been waiting for his shot at the leader's chair now for several election cycles.

Boehner has been doggedly fundraising, working K Street and helping his colleagues for years and isn't because he enjoys the hustle of it all. He will be a tough competitor. But the more the merrier.

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Coup Time

By on 11.17.05 | 8:51AM

Rep. Tom Reynolds mean anything to you? Pat Hynes's thinks he will soon enough. The current chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee wants to move up -- way up -- in the GOP House leadership. He's from Buffalo, so there's a lot more to him than there was, say, from Rick Lazio. But how do he and, say, Mike Pence, mesh?

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On the Air

By on 11.17.05 | 7:20AM

I'll be subbing for Mark Larson on KOGO (600 am) in San Diego today, 3-6 pm EST. For those not lucky enough to be living in SD, you can listen live on the net on the KOGO website. We'll be talking about the latest on the Senate Roundheels, Judge Alito, and lots more.

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GOGs Retake the Field

By on 11.16.05 | 5:33PM

Well, now we have a small lesson in leadership. From, unsurprisingly, the Vice President. Striking back at Dems for their "Bush lied us into war" campaign, Mr. Cheney said:

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Alaska’s Bridges to Nowhere Slain

By on 11.16.05 | 3:13PM

Or defunded. But conservatives are rejoicing at the victory over the two transportation projects that amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars in Congressional earmark spending. Andrew Roth has the round up of news and commentary. Next up: parking garages and bike paths.

UPDATE: Readers note that while the bridges are gone, the funds are still flowing to Alaska, probably as a concession to please Ted Stevens. Still, it's a sizable victory.

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Happy Beaujolais Nouveau Week

By on 11.16.05 | 2:42PM

The French wine is officially in season tonight at midnight. The Boston Globe has a terrific dispatch from the Beaujolais region of France. Of course, Wikipedia has a complete entry.

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Sunset Provisions

By on 11.16.05 | 1:25PM

Merging the topics of my previous two posts, here's a classic Sarbanes Banking Committee moment, as recounted by Bill Bradford in 1997:

[Alan] Greenspan ... recommended to a Senate committee that economic regulations all should be sunsetted. Senator Paul Sarbanes accused him of "playing with fire, or indeed throwing gasoline on the fire," and asked him whether he favored a sunset provision in the authorization of the Fed.

Greenspan coolly answered that he did. Do you actually mean, demanded the senator, that the Fed "should cease to function unless affirmatively continued"? "That is correct, sir," Greenspan responded. "All right," the senator came back. "The Defense Department?" "Yes."

The Senator could scarcely believe his ears.

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By on 11.16.05 | 1:19PM

Is it really that bad to have sunset provisions on laws that expand government power during wartime? The Patriot Act is a big, complicated law, and while some of its provisions are necessary and useful, others aren't (for example, the way the Patriot Act expanded the already nigh-useless data-collection that started with the Bank Secrecy Act). A periodic reassessment seems entirely appropriate.

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Batchelor Show Tonight

By on 11.16.05 | 1:17PM

I'll be on again with John Batchelor (WABC radio in NY and nationally-syndicated) tonight about 10:35 EST talking about the latest on the Fitzgerald/Plame/Wilson/Libby saga. Bob Woodward's statement raises some new and interesting points about the Fitzgerald investigation. We'll be talking about that and more.

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Educating Paul Sarbanes

By on 11.16.05 | 1:01PM

Western Illinois University econ professor William J. Polley notes this exchange from the Bernanke hearings last night:

Sen. Sarbanes held up a chart showing how our unemployement rate is so much lower than Europe's...and of course he reminded us that the European Central Bank has an inflation target. Mr. Bernanke's response: "Senator, it was below that rate 20 years ago before the ECB was even created. I believe there are other factors that contribute to that difference."
Bernanke was too polite to expound on those factors -- i.e., policies that Sarbanes has spent his political career fighting for.
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