Fixing the Senate

In a column on Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, who–IF he gets re-elected to the Senate and IF Republicans win a majority on that body–could be the next Senate Majority Leader, George Will offers an explanation of why the Senate is paralyzed and how a Republican victory could fix things. [Read more...]

Senate fails to nullify Hobby Lobby ruling

As we blogged about, Democrats in the Senate, which they control, fast-tracked a bill that would nullify the Supreme Court’s ruling that Hobby Lobby and other privately-held companies could opt out of the Obamacare contraception mandate by citing their religious objections to abortifacients.  The bill would prevent the Religious Freedom Restoration Act from applying in such cases.  And since Republicans would probably oppose it, the bill would advance the Democrats’ narrative that Republicans are engaged in a “war against women.”  Well, the bill was defeated in the Senate, though House leadership says it may come up again. [Read more...]

Senate bill would reverse Hobby Lobby ruling

Democrats in the Senate are fast-tracking a bill to reverse the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.  The measure would say that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act would not apply to contraceptive coverage so that religious organizations would be forced to provide them.

Though the Republican-controlled House of Representatives would surely not pass the bill, the Democratic-controlled Senate probably will, giving more ammunition for the Democratic propaganda that Republicans are engaged in a “war on women.”   [Read more...]

Friend in the Senate

My friend Ben Sasse whom I’ve blogged about, won the Republican primary race for Senate in Nebraska.  Observers are saying he will be a shoo-in for election.  Pundits are calling this a “Tea Party” victory, but Ben is nothing like the angry-rabble of the stereotype.  He’s a scholar of public policy, the president of Midland University, and a former White House official.  (And, of interest to this blog, he is a Lutheran.)

Molly Ball, writing about Ben’s victory in the Atlantic, comments about the way the media keeps trying to make the elections fit the Procrustean bed of “Tea Party” vs. “Establishment.”  In reality, she points out, the best candidate tends to win against “rank incompetents” no matter who endorses them.  She calls Ben a “fusion” candidate that may be a herald of the future. [Read more...]

Move the nation’s capital to Nebraska

We talk about politics here at the Cranach blog, being careful to keep the two kingdoms distinguished, but we don’t do politicking, in the sense of agitating for one candidate or another.   But I wanted to show you this campaign video as a virtuoso example of the genre.

Ben Sasse is running for the senate in Nebraska.  I have known him personally for a long time in different capacities, and he’s a good guy.  He’s a Lutheran, and I’ve worshiped with him at  Immanuel in Alexandria, where he attended when he lived in the D.C. area.

I know at least one of you will cringe at the exaltation of rural midwestern values, and I admit that some of the conventions of the genre–brilliantly realized in this video–can get kind of cheesy (the waving flags, the obligatory interview with the wife and kids, etc.).  But Ben presents himself ridiculously well.   As for his signature issue here, I am pretty sure he is (mostly) being ironic and metaphorical, but he’s got himself a clever slogan, one that voters will remember and that sets him apart from the pack in the Republican primary.

We are certainly not endorsing him, knowing nothing of his competition or of the issues in the state of Nebraska.  But you’ve got to see this video, after the jump. [Read more...]

Nuking the Senate

Senate Democrats employed the so-called “nuclear option,” changing Senate rules so as to eliminate the possibility of a filibuster for presidential appointments (not including Supreme Court justices–nor does it apply to regular legislation, which may still be filibustered).  The threat of a filibuster–that is, unlimited debate, unless a supermajority shuts it down–has meant that Senators had to cobble together 60 votes to pass a bill or confirm a nominee.

Yes, the filibuster slowed things down, but, as (liberal) Dana Milbank points out, it also required the forging of bipartisan support.  For that reason, he says, today’s Senate has actually accomplished much more than the polarized House of Representatives has. “Now the Senate will be just as dysfunctional.”  See Mr. Milbank’s case for the filibuster after the jump. [Read more...]


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