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Friday, December 15, 2006


The Looming Spectre of Cheney the Tie Breaker

Friday Morning Charivari

South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson's medical condition threw an unexpected spanner in the works. To the consternation of Democrats and glee -- subdued, but certainly glee -- of Republicans there are uncertainties about his recovery. In the worst case scenario for Democrats, a Republican would be appointed by Mike Rounds, South Dakota's Republican Governor, thus removing their one vote majority and Vice President Cheney would be back to act as tie breaker. The vice president has been keeping a low profile after November 7th. The ISG report did not give him joy either.

  • If Johnson's or any other Democrat's seat switches to the GOP after the new Senate is underway, however, even Cheney's tie-breaking powers could leave Republicans facing a difficult-to-impossible battle to seize control. Barring an agreement to the contrary, Democrats could filibuster efforts to reorganize the chamber and proceed to assume committee chairmanships.

It is an uneasy time. If I were a praying man I'd be lighting candles for Senator Johnson.

The much anticipated ISG report landed with a thud but the president and those who are against an early withdrawl from Iraq found wiggle room. They are manoeuvring to continue, albeit with some cosmetic changes. The President is hooked to the war. The war and his macho talk made him popular back in 2003. He is unable to accept the fact that people no longer believe in the war or in him. Tom Toles' cartoon in the March 17th issue of the Washington Post is as true today as it was then.

March 17, 2006

Hendrik Hertzberg in The New Yorker :


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