Manic Monday Markup 12/10/12…
…And the World:
We begin today in Italy where over the weekend it was announced that Prime Minister Mario Monti will resign shortly after the country’s budget is passed. The announcement came only hours after former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced he will seek the office once again, although his chances of success are not terribly good. The news is something of a blow for Italy, which although it has endured recession under Monti, had in him a steady hand that recognized the need for reform, but rejected austerity alone as Germany’s Angela Merkel apparently supports. A return to a scandal-prone Berlusconi government is not likely to be welcome in European capitals or bond-trading floors. Monti says he has no plans to run in the election, which will now be held earlier than expected next year, but maybe we have not heard the last of Monti. Still, fears over the impact are already roiling the Eurozone.
Election results in Ghana show the incumbent John Dramani winning reelection. Opposition parties are contesting the election.
Elsewhere on the continent, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi endures continuing criticism over his decree, but now and more importantly over Saturday’s referendum on a new constitution. Also in the Arab world, the New York Times looks at the prospect of dimming democracy in Morocco.
Following Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s decision to back a right to work law in his state, political forces from the President on down appear prepared to fight back. Even the Detroit Free Press is fuming. Snyder proposed the measure last week, which would allow workers to refuse to pay for the cost of bargaining for wages and benefits that unions that have bargained for all workers in the bargaining unit. Workers are not obligated to join a union under federal law. Michigan’s Democratic Congressional delegation met with Snyder to pressure him to reverse himself or at least allow the measure to go to the people. Appearing in Michigan to campaign for his fiscal cliff negotiating position, President Obama, too, in no uncertain terms, condemned the effort to erode collective bargaining rights, which played a role in preserving jobs in the auto industry, an exercise in politics and not economics.
Last week’s announcement by South Carolina’s Republican Senator Jim DeMint that he was resigning certainly touched off a flurry of speculation. The decision to fill his seat will fall to the state’s unpopular Republican Governor Nikki Haley, who‘s own career is in flux especially after Mitt Romney‘s campaign lost Columbia‘s The State reported last month. However, Haley has also announced the replacement will not be a placeholder. In other words, the replacement will also run in the special election that will be held in 2014. Should that person be Cong. Tim Scott, a fight to replace him may be intense, though mostly among Republicans. South Carolinians, though, seem to want Stephen Colbert.
With a cadre of Democrats forming a coalition with New York State Senate Republicans, control of the chamber will not be in the hands of the erstwhile Democratic caucus. This has sparked protests and even the caucus’ leader has offered to resign if the Democrats come back.
And a profile of Eric Swalwell, Democrat of California who took down a longtime fellow Democratic congressman, Pete Stark.
The State of Things:
Governor Deval Patrick told WBUR news that he has been approached by Obama administration officials about joining the President’s team. Patrick says he intends to finish his term as governor. In gubernatorial policy, meanwhile, the governor has announced plans to eliminate toll-takers in the Commonwealth by 2015. The proposal will require negotiations with employee unions and will likely be implemented via attrition to minimize job losses. About 415 toll takers are employed in the state.
The Boston Globe also published an exit interview piece with Cong. Barney Frank. Frank, who has been in elective office for over forty years retired this year following redistricting. He outlined his post-congressional plans, but also landed a few jabs at his colleagues whom he said did not do enough to keep his district from shifting as much as it did and, in turn, prompting his retirement.
In Holyoke, City Council Brenna McGee will seek the position of City Clerk. The job, an elected one in Holyoke, carries a four year term.
In Boston, election season is already heating up. Elizabeth Warren staffer and recent law grad Michelle Wu confirmed her intent to run for at-large City Councilor eleven months before Election Day in the Boston Phoenix. She lives in the South End, but is declining a run in the South End-South Boston District 2 Council seat. Presently only one woman, Ayanna Pressley, serves on the Boston City Council.
Ward 8 Councilor John Lysak will propose a revised residency ordinance before his General Government Committee tomorrow at City Hall. It will require all new employees to be residents as of January 1st. Lysak is also locked in a battle with at-large Councilor Jimmy Ferrera for the Council’s presidency as explored by use last week.
As the casino debate grows stronger, it appears that Mayor Domenic Sarno has all but eschewed any regional cooperation on casinos in the region, at least for now. He rejected an offer of a meeting with Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse who recently changed his position on casinos as well. This comes as further casino meetings are expected Tuesday in the city.
The Council’s Planning and Economic Development Committee approved for referral to the whole council a proposal to build a new parking garage to facilitate the redevelopment of the Court Square building. Left unexplained if why the garage is actually needed.
— Adam Reilly (@reillyadam) December 10, 2012
The end of Jim DeMint’s Senate career was seen as a good thing for his fellow South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, who was expected to face a tough primary in 2014 when his regularly scheduled election is set. That primary could still happen as DeMint’s conservative purge has been rather unforgiving of politicians seeking repentance. Either way, the announcement encouraged polling of South Caorlina and as the modified tweet within today’s winning tweet shows, Graham’s stock has risen back home this past year. Today we award the tweet prize not to Adam Reilly, a reporter for WGBH’s Greater Boston. To be fair, the bulk of his winning tweet is not his, however, he combined PPP’s findings with an ironically declared fact about Graham. He has been pushing the Benghazi conspiracies as much as John McCain. However, for knitting the polling together with the facts on the ground (in Washington), Reilly completes the thought PPP’s ostensibly left hanging.