Tamara Hilmes's blog
Sen. Bernie Sanders has already started organizing and raising money for his re-election campaign in 2012. Meanwhile, State Auditor Tom Salmon has told reporters and Republican activists that he is likely to announce in early March that he will be a candidate for the U.S. Senate next year. Sanders will file petitions to appear on the ballot as an independent, but he could also win the Democratic primary on write-in votes.
As America greets the New Year, we wonder if this nation has the collective resolve to true our wayward ship, to shake off the doldrums, renew our spirit of individual responsibility and regain our status as the inspirational leader in the world of new ideas.
To do that, we would first need to pay less heed to the naysayers, to honor those who seek to improve their communities and the common good — not those who benefit at the expense of others to the detriment of the national character and strength.
Did President Barack Obama cave in to Republican leaders when he didn’t need to? Would it not have been better for Democrats to let the tax cuts expire on Dec. 31 — along with unemployment insurance for 2 million jobless Americans — and then watch to see if House Republicans would continue to push tax cuts for millionaires, while the unemployed went hungry and tens of millions of middle-class Americans contemplate tax increases?
If you’re wondering why a few Republican leaders are pouncing on President Obama’s alleged dismissal of “American exceptionalism,” it’s mostly politics, not substance. These would-be presidential hopefuls are suggesting that Obama is undermining American values in an attempt to smear his reputation among voters. The hope is that Americans will turn against the president not because of what he will have accomplished or believes, but by how Republicans characterize his views as “un-American.”
It is, in short, another shameful episode of the ‘culture wars’ waged by the Republican Party.
Four weeks after a hard-fought election, Governor-elect Peter Shumlin continues to surprise and impress with his choice of department heads and the speed with which he is assembling a very capable cabinet.
The recent appointment of political rival Doug Racine, a state senator in Chittenden County for 14 years (along with six years as lieutenant governor) who lost the gubernatorial primary race to Shumlin by a razor-thin 203 votes, not only demonstrates Shumlin’s willingness to mend fences but also to reach out to the best leaders available.
Gov.-elect Peter Shumlin’s selection of his inner circle early this week set an important tone for the upcoming session: one of fiscal restraint and pragmatism. That’s particularly true of his selection of State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding as secretary of administration and Susan Bartlett as special assistant to the governor — both moderate Democrats known for their conservative approach on fiscal matters.
The news Tuesday that Congress will place a ban on earmarks — spending items by lawmakers directed to their home states, also known as ‘pork’ — must be taken as a misguided blow against practices that inflate the national deficit by naive Tea Party activists, and those who fear them.
David Stockman, the boy-wonder budget director in the first Reagan administration and the brains behind the supply-side economics in 1981, is making waves within the Republican Party by adamantly proclaiming that the Bush tax cuts should not be extended — not for the rich and not for the middle class. He’s also suggesting cuts in the military. Those two recommendations are direct opposites of the policies he championed during Reagan’s first term.