Tag Archives: Chuck Schumer

Actually, Top 2 Doesn’t Make Government Better

Sweaty Senator SchumerSenator called for nationwide adoption of the failing electoral system

by Brian Leubitz

A few days ago, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had something to say about

California, which probably mirrors the diversity of America more than any other state, was racked by polarization until voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2010 that adopted a “top-two” primary system.  … While there are no guarantees, it seems likely that a top-two primary system would encourage more participation in primaries and undo tendencies toward default extremism. It would remove the incentive that pushes our politicians to kowtow to the factions of their party that are most driven by fear and anger. For those of us who are in despair over partisanship and polarization in Congress, reform of the primary system is a start. (NYT Op-ed / Sen. Chuck Schumer)

Quickly I’ll say this: Chuck Schumer hasn’t actually looked at how Top-2 has worked here in California. If he had, he would know just how much of a disaster it was. Yes, our polarization decreased after 2010, but you know what else happened in 2010? We elected a Democratic Governor and huge majorities in the Legislature, culminating in supermajorities in both houses. Oh, and we got rid of the 2/3 requirement for our budget.

I was going to write a lot more about this subject, but then friend of Calitics Paul Hogarth wrote an in depth post that is now appearing on the front page of Daily Kos.

But the “top-two” primary also created a whole new host of problems that has led to abysmal voter turnout, Republican-vs-Republican general elections and the rise of corporate Democrats in the state legislature. Oh, and the Tea Party is still a relevant factor in the state.

So no thanks, Chuck. Please don’t export the Golden State’s dysfunction.(Dkos / Paul Hogarth)

Paul goes on to point out a number of good examples of just how badly Top 2 performs in real life. If you are a regular reader, you can probably recall most of them, but his post is a great primer whenever somebody speaks fondly of Top 2. Share it abundantly.

DiFi Hearts Torture

Make no mistake, at this point, a vote for Judge Mukasey is a vote for torture.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer of New York and Dianne Feinstein of California say the will support Michael Mukasey’s nomination to be attorney general. Both are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

They did the old Friday-afternoon get-out-of-Dodge news dump on it, too.  Guess DiFi learned a lot on that Air Force One ride with George.

Michael Mukasey has refused to explain whether waterboarding is torture.  Allowing him to be the nation’s highest law enforcement official means sanctioning that opinion at the highest levels.  Worse, Mukasey’s views on executive power – believing that the President has unenumerated powers in wartime – sanction official lawbreaking at the highest levels, and emasculate Congress in their attempts to do anything about it.  DiFi just eliminated her need to show up at the office.

UPDATE: A bit more here.

In announcing her support for Mukasey, Feinstein, D-Calif., said “first and foremost, Michael Mukasey is not Alberto Gonzales,” referring to the former attorney general who resigned in September after months of questions about his honesty.


Wow, the standards of government have gone completely into the toilet.

Carol Lam Should be Retained in Corruption Case

On Monday, McClatchy’s Marisa Taylor reported that San Diego U.S. Attorney Carol Lam had been removed by the Bush Justice Department despite a positive job performance review:

Lam, another U.S. attorney who was told to resign, was described in her 2005 evaluation as “well respected” by law enforcement officials, judges and her staff. Overall, the review was positive, according to another Justice Department official who has seen the evaluation.

“We’re not aware of any significant issues, ” said the official, who also asked not to be identified. Lam is leaving office Feb 15.

Now, House Democrats are demanding Lam preside over the California Republican corruption case as outside counsel. In the Senate, Chuck Schumer has vowed to get to the bottom of the purge (video here).

In short, it appears that the non-political players in the Justice Department thought Lam was doing a good job. But the accused declared:

There’s no need to remind the San Diego community that these are the same prosecutors routinely accused of prosecutorial misconduct. The office has been led by a dismissed U.S. Attorney who has shown bad judgment, has previously pursued vendettas, and has set the tone at the top of an organization accused of witness tampering and manufacturing evidence. It is no accident, nor is it a surprise, that the indictments were rushed to the press 48 hours before her forced departure.

It appears that there are pursued vendettas, but unlike as Wilkes says, the target was those who had the gall to investigate corrupt Republicans and the vendettas were pursued by those at the top of the Bush Administration.

This has cover-up written all over it. Of course, one can easily see why the Bush Administration would want to cover-up a bribery, corruption, and war profiteering scandal that involved hookers, yachts, and multiple California Republicans.