Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Democrats’ dilemma: How to replace Evan Bayh

Indiana Democrats stunned by Sen. Evan Bayh's decision not to seek a third term face the daunting task of finding a candidate for the November ballot to fill the shoes of the man who's long been the Republican-leaning state's most popular Democrat.

"There's no obvious replacement for him. Nobody immediately comes to mind because he's been such a towering presence," said Robert Dion, a professor of American politics at the University of Evansville.

Indiana's Republican leanings have long made the state tough ground for Democrats. Hoosiers had gone 44 years without choosing a Democrat for president before Barack Obama narrowly won the state in 2008.

And until Bayh entered politics in the 1980s, Republicans had long ruled the Statehouse.

Indiana remains a "very small-town rural kind of state" whose residents don't like new government programs, spending and taxes, said William Kubik, a professor of political science at Hanover College.

That climate poses a challenge to Democrats running for statewide office — with many having a conservative streak.

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Harry Reid: A casino bag man tries to survive

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid‘s poll numbers make him look like an easy mark, but casino owners who have a history of disregarding party and going with the winner in Nevada politics are putting their money on him winning re-election. While his leadership is under assault in Washington and the GOP has made him its No. 1 target in November’s election, Reid is counting on decades of close ties with the gambling industry and the nearly one in every three jobs it supports in the state to win over disapproving voters. On Friday, he’ll be joined in Las Vegas by
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Can GOP steal heath care show from Obama?

Congressional Republicans see a chance for political gain in President Barack Obama‘s televised health care summit next week, even though the president will be running the show. Obama and the Democrats are certain to highlight a crucial element of their health care plan — extending coverage to more than 30 million Americans — at the one-of-a-kind event. By comparison, a Republican plan would only help 3 million more. But during a time of ballooning deficits, the GOP figures reining in rising medical costs — not coverage — could resonate with voters in an election year. The Democratic health overhaul plan
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Bayh’s departure: Moderates, exit stage center

The moderate middle is disappearing from Congress. Evan Bayh is just the latest senator to forgo a re-election bid, joining a growing line of pragmatic, find-a-way politicians who are abandoning Washington. Still here: ever-more-polarized colleagues locked in gridlock — exactly what voters say they don’t like about politics in the nation’s capital. Politics runs in cycles, and the Senate has seen flights of self-styled centrists before. In 1996, for example, 10 senators who could boast strong bipartisan credentials chose to retire rather than re-up. Many of them complained how lonely a place the middle ground of American politics had become.
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Bitter partisanship drives Evan Bayh from Senate

Democratic Senator Evan Bayh says he's had enough of the bitter partisanship that defines government in Washington so he's quitting his Senate seat after just two terms.

"My passion for helping people is not highly valued in Congress," said in announcing his decision Monday He added that he would prefer to be in an environment that thrives on "solutions not slogans, progress not politics."

Bayh's announcement stunned fellow Democrats and added more problems to a party that is losing ground in Congress just four years after gaining control of both the House and Senate.
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McCain faces a tough re-election challenge

Defeated just two years ago as the Republican presidential candidate and with his bonafides as a true conservative again being challenged, John McCain finds himself in a struggle to get even his party's nomination for another term in the Senate.

Many conservatives and Tea Party activists are lining up behind Republican challenger and former talk radio host J.D. Hayworth, reflecting a rising tide of voter frustration with incumbent politicians. Only 40 percent of Arizonans have a favorable view of McCain's job performance.
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Democrats ax pork-bloated, lobbyist-crafted jobs bill

Senate Democrats pulled the plug Thursday on a so-called "bipartisan" jobs bill packed with pork and favors to lobbyists and replaced it with a leaner bill with just one goal -- putting Americans back to work.

The stripped-down proposal came in response to critics who said the original bill didn't really create jobs but did generate favors to and donations from special interests.

Republicans, outraged that their special interests would be ignored, yelped loudly, complaining that Democrats reneged on a deal.

Democrats responded by all but daring Republicans to vote against the new bill.
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Jobs bill: Long on promises, short on jobs

There's a problem with the bipartisan jobs bill emerging in the Senate: It won't create many jobs.

The bill includes tax cuts to please Republicans and its passage would hand President Barack Obama a badly needed political victory. But even the Obama administration acknowledges the legislation's centerpiece — a tax cut for businesses that hire unemployed workers — would work only on the margins.

Tax experts and business leaders said companies are unlikely to hire workers just to receive a tax break. Before businesses start hiring, they need increased demand for their products, more work for their employees and more revenue to pay those workers.
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