» Jumping the gun? Harry Reid’s spokesman says that it “sounds like Sen. McConnell is getting a little ahead of himself.” Republicans’ chances of retaking the Senate got worse last month when Olympia Snowe unexpectedly announced her retirement, and worse still when Bob Kerrey decided to run for his old seat in Nebraska several weeks ago. Oh, and Elizabeth Warren is now polling ahead of Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Obviously, a lot can—and will—change between now and November, but McConnell’s comments should be probably be seen more as a PR move to invigorate the Republican base than anything else.
We feel really good. We’ve had some good fortune in North Dakota, in Massachusetts, in Nevada, in Arizona. We have some good candidates all over. I feel very comfortable where we’re going to wind up in November.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid • Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday about the chances of the Senate staying in Democratic hands. He cites the decision by Olympia Snowe to step down in Maine and the decision by Bob Kerrey to run in Nebraska as other signs that the party will retain power in the Senate come November.
We have reached a point where we do so little and waste so much time that it really does, I’m sure, weigh heavily on us all.Sen. Dick Durbin • Discussing the snarling issues that have turned the Senate into the most deadlocked part of Congress — an issue emphasized by the fact that, well, nothing gets done. Reuters’ piece on the legislative body notes a number of symbolic “message” votes that never get anywhere (such as a balanced budget amendment and the “Buffett rule”) and a toxic atmosphere which convinced Sen. Olympia Snowe to retire at the end of her term. Can the Senate be saved from itself?
Snowe’s retirement will have many lamenting the endangered moderate and wondering how we can turn back the clock. But we can’t. About that, Snowe is right. Polarization is with us now and will be with us for the foreseeable future. The question is whether we will permit it to paralyze our political system and undermine our country or whether we will accept it and make the necessary accommodations.Ezra Klein • Arguing that the problem with congress isn’t partisanship, or ideological polarization, but rather that the institutions and procedures codified in our political system aren’t well-equipped to handle a polarized congress. Klein’s prime example is the filibuster, which as we’ve seen the past couple of years, is absolutely crippling when the two parties in the Senate don’t agree on anything. “Our system, as any historian will tell you, was built by men who hated parties and anticipated their absence from American politics,” Klein says. “But as the two parties have polarized, we’ve learned that a system built for consensus is not able to properly function amid constant partisan competition.” source (via • follow)
I do find it frustrating…that an atmosphere of polarization and ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions.Sen. Olympia Snowe • Discussing why she’s not seeking re-election in 2012. Snowe, a fairly popular figure in her home state of Maine, was considered a shoo-in to win, but now the seat is more likely to go to a Democrat. She found herself in the middle of the polarization wars more than a few times, as a moderate Republican who once voted in favor of Obama’s health care bill while it was still in committee (though she voted against the final bill). We’re not saying her decision isn’t bad for her party (especially since it comes roughly two weeks before the filing deadline in Maine, putting her party in a bad spot) … but we understand why she’s dropping out. Snowe joins fellow moderates Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) in the retirement column.
Amazon’s promotion — paying consumers to visit small businesses and leave empty-handed — is an attack on Main Street businesses that employ workers in our communities. Small businesses are fighting everyday to compete with giant retailers, such as Amazon, and incentivizing consumers to spy on local shops is a bridge too far.Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) • Openly criticizing Amazon’s new price-check app, which allows users to go in stores, scan the barcodes and see if Amazon has lower prices than said shops do — for a discounted price at Amazon. With the location feature turned on, consumers effectively can let Amazon know what their brick-and-mortar competitors are selling something for. What do you all think? Clever or sketchy? Does it empower the consumer or hurt small businesses? source (via • follow)