The Senate Republicans have filibustered the minimum-wage increase. You’ve got to hand it to them: they have no compunction in blocking something that they don’t like, regardless of whether someone says it is popular or not. They aren’t cowed like the Democrats were over habeas corpus.
But that doesn’t mean that concerted political action can’t help cow them. Take a look at the list of those GOP Senators who voted with the Democrats: Coleman, Collins, Warner, Specter. Notice something? Sure: three of the four are up in 2008, and two–Coleman and Collins–might have tough fights on their hands.
That means that Sununu of New Hampshire and Smith of Oregon, both of whom are up in 2008, and in blue states, might need to hear from their constituents in the next few days. And loudly. If Carper shows up and votes for cloture, and Johnson recovers and votes the same in a few months, that gets us to 58 votes if Sununu and Smith are effectively pressured.
Perhaps Moveon.org, which did a great attack ad on McCain in New Hampshire, might want to reserve some of their air time to let Granite Staters know how little Senator Sununu cares about their interests. Who knows? Maybe North Carolinians should know the same about Elizabeth Dole. Any other Senators who are up and who should be reminded whom they work for?
Author: Jonathan Zasloff
Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees.
Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses.
Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.
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