Yes, Virginia, the Democrats really did filibuster the cloture vote on Mr. Bush's pet FISA legislation on Monday -- why, Arlen Specter even joined them! But, as Glenn Greenwald suggests, they didn't do it because they suddenly got a backbone or suddenly started doing the people's will. Long story short, they did it mainly because the Republicans offended them by reaching for a cloture vote too quickly -- they've all got pet amendments, some good, some bad, which they all want the Senate to vote upon. I remember castigating Senator Enzi (R-WY) during the minimum wage debate for talking about "letting the Senate work its will," versus, I don't know, the Senate doing the people's will. Obviously I don't regret the result of Senatorial arrogance in the Monday cloture vote, but I still regret the cause.
Mike Huckabee talks a good game about enacting "compassionate" social policy because it's what Jesus wants us to do, but in case you were wondering how that really happens, Michael Kazin profiles William Jennings Bryan, one of America's greatest-ever citizens, and also my homey. True, Mr. Bryan lost three Presidential elections, but you can trace most of the progressive agenda during the early 20th century to his efforts -- and I don't think it's going out on a limb to say that Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt wouldn't have been half the progressives they were if it weren't for Mr. Bryan's pushing. And here's the hard part for a generation raised on Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell: he did it because Jesus told him to. Unfortunately, most Americans now remember Mr. Bryan as the fellow who fought evolution at the Scopes trial -- and not even (as the first two commenters to Mr. Kazin's article point out) as the fellow who had every reason to fear that folks would use evolution to justify eugenics.
I don't have a positive impression of Jim "Mad Money" Cramer generally, but his recent statements at the Bucknell Forum really impress the hell out of me. Why, he called deregulation "a covert attempt to eliminate the federal government's domestic responsibilities," which of course it is. And he even spoke of "the limits of what even the best of capitalism and the marketplace can do to promote the general welfare"! Unfortunately, he also said "this is who I really am," meaning that he's whiffing a big opportunity to use his CNN persona for good. Personally, I don't think defending the general welfare and being entertaining are mutually exclusive propositions at all. And I'm sure that's not just me.
Meanwhile, I see that my oblique prediction of a Giuliani/Edwards race will not come to pass. I've never thought Mrs. Clinton's nomination was inevitable, her support being about a mile wide and a foot deep, but Mr. Obama has done better than I expected, and that pile of finance money I thought was coming Mr. Edwards's way never materialized. I found Mr. Giuliani's lousy showing more surprising, since I never thought his putatively moderate social stands would be a hindrance to him (and I still don't think they were). Obviously I overestimated the willingness of 9.11 rageheads to vote for him -- I should have realized that they, of all people, would be straining to prove how independent they are. Already I hear them saying they'll hold their nose and vote for John McCain. They probably won't think whatever happens afterwards is their fault, either.