Yay politics

1 – It appears that Carol Browner, the President’s top climate adviser and Clinton’s EPA chief is out. This is to be expected – many senior staff are leaving or shifting roles as the Administration moves into a campaign footing. The timing is unfortunate as Republicans are gearing up to attempt to gut the Clean Air Act and investigate the Administrations response to the Deep Water Horizon oil spill.

While the President has clearly decided that Congress isn’t as important as he begins to tack to the center and travel the country to spread his moderate message, it will be vital for the Administration to not allow the Republicans in Congress to set the tone on environmental matters. Carol Browner is a veteran bureaucrat who knows how to navigate the convoluted system we govern ourselves with and find solutions.    This may not be the best Congress to work with on the environment, but the Administration needs to have someone prominent on point or the Republicans will control the story on climate issues.

2 – This happened yesterday.  All of us who don’t live in Chicago only know the caricature of a corrupt and venal political establishment.  We like the stories of Richard Daley and his friends.  Not allowing Rahm on the ballot blows a hole in the established history, right?  There are issues with the ruling.  First, it does seem that the judges in this case have disenfranchised the voters of Chicago.  Second, this case against Emanual is being led by a lawyer who seems to like the spotlight when it comes to Chicago’s elections.  Finally, Chicago is going to print the ballots anyway (early voting begins on Jan 30th) and deal with the repercussions if Emanual’s appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court is heard and won.  I’m not quite sure how a city deals with a candidate who is deemed eligible, but not on the ballot at the start of early voting.  Do you ignore those votes or ask people to come back?

Maybe the stories about Chicago are true after all.  No wonder the Cubs are cursed.

3- It’s the State of the Union tonight!  What’s the President going to say?  Is he going to disappoint people?  Probably.  He’ll also inspire people.  President Obama is brilliant at times like these.  He’s shown that he can lift us up and push us forward as a nation.

What will be almost as interesting as the President’s speech will be the new “let’s play nice” seating arrangement for Congress.  I like when the President’s party cheers while the opposition party boos.  It’s fun and a really quick way to find out how much support or lack there-of there is for a policy.  While some may lament that Woodrow Wilson ruined everything when he actually read his State of the Union in front of Congress and not want the speech to be political – it is political.  The President is laying out a policy agenda, a political act.  And yes, George Will, top military brass and the Judiciary should be there.  The State of the Union visibly brings our Government together.  It might be stagecraft, but it’s important.

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