Monday, May 16, 2005


Best of Elephant...

A Years Worth of Ranting...

May 14, 2004:

View from the Inside (The first posting!)
Hello World! Like many of you, I've decided to throw my virtual hat into the blog-ring. Why? First off, I'm tried of having insights and conversations about Washington DC happenings only to see them pop up in the press a week later. My insights? On May 24, 2004 I celebrate my first 10 years living and working in the alien world of Washington politics. This town's been good to me. Starting from scratch I've worked my way up to be, among other things, a lobbyist for the largest business trade association in town, Chief of Staff for a Mid-Western Republican Congressman and I now work as an attorney/lobbyist on issues related to freedom of association. I mingle with the decisions makers and hear the back room gossip and rumors (some juicy, some mundane) that can all be shared now with you! Also, I've been inspired by some of my favorite blogs, and to name a few. So, sit back and enjoy!The Elephant.

July 11, 2004

High Theater & Foregone Conclusions
FMA Debate in the Senate is Theater, GOP Needs and Wants It to FailIs it just me or is the debate over the FMA turning kind of lame. I mean today I was surprised to see Senator Orin Hatch say he supports legal rights for gay men and women for things such as insurance, inheritance, etc. Nice. But was left scratching my head when he claimed that the definition of marriage has been unchanged for thousands of years, then went on to talk about his Grandfather who had three wives. Doens't that imply that the definition of marriage does change? Anyway, none of this is important, because in order for the FMA to achieve its Rovian electoral strategy, it must fail. Passage would render impotent or at least weaken the need for any state level gay marriage ban initiatives which have been put on the ballot in a handful of swing states. The goal isn't to pass FMA, but to continue to manufacture a psuedo-marriage crisis to rally the troops for the fall election. For that reason, everything your seeing this week is high in drama, but low in susbtance. The GOP needs FMA to fail to scare social conservatives to the ballot box on election day because they have nothing else to offer in terms of accomplishments.Expect the crisis to be taken to the next level when FMA fails to pass the Senate and the social conservative wing of the GOP urges voters to go to the polls to pass initiatives in thier own states. This could have been an interesting debate over a fascinating issue of religious values, conservative principles, states rights and federalism...a chance for true leadership in finding a way to unite our country on a very divisive issue, unfortunately its merely machinations of the Bush re-election machine.

November 11, 2004

What about the values and traditions of our

Frist to dismantle the democratic tradition of the filibusterThe Senate is considered the greatest deliberative body in the World. It's a truly painful concept if you job, like mine, requires you to pay close attention to what's going on, but it's role is critical to the checks and balances that are fundamental to our democracy. All states are equal in the Senate, regardless of population, state GDP, or size. It ensures that the worst instincts of the majority are tempered by unlimited debate and the ability of any Senator to stop a bill by a non-stop oratory. Of course, no one does the Mr. Smith goes to Washington speeches anymore, they merely threaten a filibuster and that triggers a cloture vote. To end the 'debate' a 60 vote majority must agree. This is a strong incentive to encourage consensus. Unfortunately, Senator Frist doesn't think that the GOP's 55 seat majority is good enough, so he's looking to scrap this important tradition. That tells me two things, first is that there is no interest in bipartisanship in the new Senate, and second, Frist is preparing to launch an agenda that 49% of American's probably don't want. One of the reasons the US has had a long history of peaceful political progress is that the filibuster and power of individual Senators has served as a moderating factor on the urges of the majority. By eliminating it, Frist is telling 49% of the public to go to hell. We've heard alot about 'tradition' and 'values', but if Frist follows through with his threat, then he's really thumbing his nose at important traditions and values of our democracy. Besides, if his agenda is the will of the people, then mobilized voters should be able to peel off a mere five conservative democratic votes in the new senate on key issues.

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