Tuesday, April 28, 2009
By Steven L. Taylor

Just because a party achieves 60 votes in the Senate (which will happen if Franken ever get the MN seat now that Specter is a D) doesn’t mean that they will always be able to end debate. Senators vote on an issue by issue basis, and they are not all of a sudden a robotic monolith controlled by Harry Reid as soon at the magic number of 60 is achieved.

It matters, yes, but is not quite the auto-magic circumstance that some seem to think that it is.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Forom Senator Specter’s statement today:

I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.

I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.

So in case anyone was wondering as to the bottom line here.

And, by the way, it is not an illegitimate position, as the people of Pennsylvania will have the last say on whether or not Specter does, in fact, represent them.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Oh, sure: leave the computer for a while and the intertubes get all clogged up with news about a party switch in the US Senate: Specter To Switch Parties While I expect a lot of conservatives to have a reaction similar to Michele Malkin’s (Michelle Malkin » Arlen Specter makes it official), it is worth wondering as to why.

There are some pretty straight-forward clues.

1) Being in the majority beats being in the minority. Ask, for example, Richard Shelby or Ben Nighthorse Campbell.1 or Jim Jeffords.

2) Even better: losing in the primary really stinks (especially for an incumbent): Election 2010: Pennsylvania Republican Senate Primary:

Incumbent Senator Arlen Specter trails former Congressman Pat Toomey by 21 points in an early look at Pennsylvania’s 2010 Republican Primary. Fifty-one percent (51%) of Republican voters statewide say they’d vote for Toomey while just 30% would support Specter.

Specter is viewed favorably by 42% of Pennsylvania Republicans and unfavorably by 55%,

3) PA is a solidly Democratic state (Obama won in 2008 55-44, Rendell won the governor’s race in 2006 60-40 and the last Republican Senate incumbent to run (Santorum) lost in 2006).

In terms of explaining his political behavior, this isn’t that hard to understand.

  1. Think: 1994 election aftermath []
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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the WSJ: Ecuador’s Correa Has 51.88% Of Vote With 77.81% Counted .

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By Steven L. Taylor

Regular readers may recall that last week a Venezuelan opposition leader took off to Peru.

The politician, Manuel Rosales, was granted asylum.

The Venezuelan government has now responded: Venezuela recalls envoy in Peru.

One thing is for sure: if one is an ambassador in the Chávez government, one probably needs to have a bag packed at all times.1

  1. Yes, a bit of snark, as in recent memory no government seems to yank their ambassadors home (or expel ones in country) as frequently as does Chávez. Note that in this situation, this is a legitimate move. []
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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AFP: Bolivia, Paraguay End Border Dispute With Accord

Bolivian President Evo Morales and Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo signed a historic accord here Monday, ending a boundary dispute that led to a catastrophic war in the last century.

In a solemn ceremony chaired by Argentine leader Cristina Kirchner, both presidents agreed that the dispute over the Chaco region – where a war between 1932 and 1935 left more than 100,000 people dead – was brought on by foreign interests.

The main focus of the several English-language accounts that I could find, and seem to have mostly been written from the same wire story, was that the two presidents agreed that the conflict was brought on by outside oil interests. The stories note (and in some cases just infer), but do not detail, that a definitive border was agreed upon.

In Bolivia’s La Prensa (Bolivia y Paraguay fijan límites tras 74 años de Guerra del Chaco), there is some discussion of the actual details (yet, sadly, no map. How can there be a story about borders and be no map?). On balance it would appear that this confirms borders agreed to in the 1938 peace treaty. The La Prensa piece also emphasizes that issue of blame. One presumes from all of this (and my knowledge of the Chaco War and its aftermath is rather limited) that the issue of blame has been a political sore spot.

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Monday, April 27, 2009
By Steven L. Taylor

Via El Comercio:

Correa logra el 51,69 por ciento de votos con 70,26 por ciento escrutado, dice CNE:

En votos, Correa, del movimiento Alianza País, ha logrado, hasta el momento, 2 525 446 votos, y Gutiérrez, del partido Sociedad Patriótica, 1 367 801.

En el tercer lugar de la votación figura el magnate bananero Álvaro Noboa, con el 11,62, seguido de la socialista Martha Roldós, que obtiene el 4,51 por ciento.

En el quinto lugar aparece el independiente Carlos Sagñay, con el 1,69 por ciento de los votos, seguido de la evangélica Melba Jácome, con el 1,34; el izquierdista Diego Delgado, con el 0,65; y el socialdemócrata Carlos González, con 0,50 por ciento.

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By Steven L. Taylor

VaV Released

365.117: Voting Amid Violence was officially released last week. I received my author’s copies today.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AP: GM to cut 21,000 US factory jobs, shed Pontiac.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AP: World Bank: Economic crisis turning into calamity

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