What's the one thing every Democratic New York State Senator who has voted against gay marriage has in common? They're all from New York City.
Tim Pawlenty's the most important sleeper in the race. He has good ties to all segments of conservatives and in the Republican party. He's bright, he's articulate, he doesn't have foot-in-mouth disease; last night he handled the most difficult questions, and he did it well. Pawlenty, who does have presidential presence, will begin to rise.
New Yorkers United for Marriage, the gay rights advocacy supergroup that formed last month to fight for marriage equality legislation in the state, has identified at least 12 Republican state senators that they're trying to turn into "yes" votes. (The State Assembly has never had trouble passing a gay marriage bill; still safely held by Democrats, consensus is that garnering votes in that chamber is a non-issue.) In the Senate, they'll need every single Democrat and as many members of the GOP as they can muster if a bill has any chance of surviving; similar efforts died on the Senate floor in 2007 and again in 2009, with every Republican voting against it.
Here's a quick look at four senators on the list, and why they're there.
After spending all year warning the government against failing to raise the debt ceiling, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner announced on Monday that the default deadline, originally scheduled for May 16th, could be pushed back to August 2nd. He'd already delayed his estimate once before, to land somewhere in July.
So why all the dilly dallying? Is the debt ceiling an impending problem, or not?
It was in fact the detainees who were interrogated without enhanced interrogation techniques who helped find the path to bin Laden. You can't have it both ways; members of the Bush administration have decided to revive the torture debate, and I find it quite distasteful and against the facts, yet it seems to be getting some traction.
— Karen Greenberg, executive director of the Center on Law and Security at NYU, on The Brian Lehrer Show.
A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows President Obama getting high marks following the death of Osama bin Laden, while a Quinnipiac survey has Mitt Romney leading the pack of 2012 GOP hopefuls.
It took less than 24 hours for "Osama's dead" merchandise to flood the internet. How can you cash in on the meme? Easy. Just follow these simple steps, and you'll be making money off the likeness of a dead person in no time.
The U.S. has known for a long time that Pakistan is playing a double game, but the U.S. doesn't have many options. We play the cards we're dealt. The ISI has very different priorities from the U.S., and the tricky game the CIA had to play is to try and get little pieces of genuine information in middle of a lot of fake information.
With Republicans now controlling most state legislatures, the GOP has the luxury of steering the process. That likely means packing newly-distributed black voters into strategically drawn borders, siphoning them from swing districts that would become more solidly Republican as a result.
Obviously, there are big implications for the next decade of elections. In post-census years, it's good to be the king.
A new Siena poll released this morning shows Republican Jane Corwin leading Democrat Kathy Hochul and the Tea Party's Jack Davis in a special election for New York's 26th congressional district.
The energy right now in the Republican party is over fiscal issues...this fear about America becoming more like Europe in terms of a social welfare state. That said, there are still a lot of conservatives who vote in primaries and participate in caucuses that are driven by a set of cultural issues. In a place like Iowa especially, we're talking about an electorate that is perhaps half or over half self-identified born again evangelical.
— Jonathan Martin, senior political writer at Politico, on The Brian Lehrer Show.
The irony is that we have congestion pricing in New York City, in that we pay, according to a study by the Partnership for New York, $13 billion a year in terms of time wasted in traffic, in terms of delayed delivery of goods, the fuel we just spend idling...But the joke is on us, because that $13 billion is not being used to improve the transit system, or for better infrastructure; it's going up in smoke.
— David Bragdon, director of New York City's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, on The Brian Lehrer Show.
It's almost off-to-the-races time! With only months to go before the first Republican presidential debate, the big question right now is who will run. Some front-runners are remaining coy while others are off filing for exploratory committees. It's A Free Country breaks down who's in the mix and their campaign status, from Romney and Huckabee to Palin and Trump
The real job here is for [Mayor Corey] Booker to be a Geronimo and convince people that he's not just going to apply what Zuckerberg wants him to do; that he's out there, he's listening to parents, that he wants to get their feedback and doesn't want to plow through reforms already thought out in his head or Christie's head.
— Barbara Martinez, The Wall Street Journal, reporter covering public education, on The Brian Lehrer Show
Back in 1987 he was flirting with the idea of running for president and saying, 'Of course, if I ran, I'd win.' And this is in the 1988 election, almost a quarter-century ago. Just as he's been bankrupt many times, Trump has flirted with running for president many times...If he dropped out, what would his excuse be? The boy can cry wolf only so many times.
— Kurt Andersen, host of WNYC's Studio 360 and founder and former editor-in-chief of Spy magazine, on The Brian Lehrer Show.
Public support for same sex marriage in New York state is at an unprecedented 58 percent. Only 36 percent of New Yorkers are opposed. Taking those numbers along with Governor Andrew Cuomo's recent insistence upon marriage equality legislation getting passed this year, it suddenly seems likely that the state could see another vote on the issue sooner rather than later.
But we've been down this road before, and same sex marriage can't seem to get past the State Senate. With the Assembly perennially in favor, and public support ever increasing, what seems to be the trouble?
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows President Obama getting better marks than the Congressional Republicans who have frustrated his agenda at every turn.
Yesterday Standard & Poor's downgraded the outlook for U.S. sovereign credit ratings from 'stable' to 'negative.' That prompted It's a Free Country readers to ask one question over and over again: after the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression, why do we even listen to credit rating agencies like S&P anymore?
Right now we don't have an incentive that is based appropriately in the consumer world. There are no incentives to bring those costs under control, and yet we are faced with a situation in which those restraints will be forced upon the public through mechanisms like [the Affordable Care Act].
[S&P doesn't] have a lot of credibility left after totally blowing all major calls of the past decade...The chance that the United States would not pay its debts after more than 200 years of being the best creditor in the world, that chance exists. It is quite remote in my assessment. But there's no question that S&P is trying to swing the other way and trying to get some attention from the left and right, and it's obviously working.
— Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund and professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, on The Brian Lehrer Show.