Tardy Tuesday Takedown 1/22/13…
We took yesterday off for Martin Luther King Day, but it just so happens there was an Inauguration, too…
…And the World:
We begin today in Israel where, as the Washington Post had predicted, incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s electoral scheme has, indeed backfired. Right-wing parties are expected to win about 61-2 seats to the center-left’s 58-9. Haaretz, a left-leaning paper, had predicted the polls might be wrong and indeed, the left came in much stronger than expected. Netanyahu’s merged Likud-Beiteinu party got the most seats, but less than each party had separately in the current Knesset, a bad sign for the PM. Netanyahu is expected to be the next Prime minister, but he must form his government from parties that are, in some cases, diametrically opposed to each other, and he may try to do just that.
Yesh Atid’s, Yair Lapid, a former journalist came in second. His surge was unexpected, but not wholly a surprise to others. It is not even clear if Netanyahu can form a government, but either way a certain reelected American president is probably laughing right now. Haaretz’s Anshel Pfeffer has the winners and losers of this elections. The Guardian looks at the issues the new government will face.
Australia’s Julia Gillard, herself facing an uncertain election later this year, has appointed an Aborigine, the party’s first, to be a candidate for Senate from the Northern Territory. The seat is considered safe for Gillard’s Labor party, suggesting the candidate, Olympian Nova Peris, will join Parliament after this year’s elections. While the decision came at the expense of a sitting senator (who is also a supporter of Gillard’s intraparty rival, former PM Kevin Rudd), it is being hailed as a benchmark in Australia.
Rahul Gandhi scion of an Indian political dynasty says that political power in his country is concentrated in too few people. Gandhi, who recently moved into the number two spot of the Indian National Congress party (behind his mother, Italian-born Sonia), is positioned to take over the party soon, in what is generally seen as an opportunity for the next generation. While Sonia Gandhi leads the party, she is not Prime Minister. Manmohan Singh is, and he is not expected to seek another term as Prime Minister in 2014’s elections. However, it is unclear whether Rahul Gandhi could lead his party to victory. Rahul Gandhi, is the son of Rajiv (Sonia’s late husband), the grandson of Indira Gandhi, and the great-grandson of the country’s first PM Jawaharlal Nehru.
President Barack Obama offered some surprises in his Inaugural yesterday highlighting both gay rights and climate change unexpectedly. The Plum Line’s Happy Hour Roundup Yesterday goes into the details of the speech and here is the address as prepared for delivery. And is the speech too liberal? Well, MSNBC says majorities support Obama. Hardly a fringe.
On the issue of gay rights, the President favorably compared the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the starting point of the modern gay rights movement with Seneca Falls and Selma, Alabama. Politico noted that it was the first use of the word “gay” in an Inaugural address in reference to sexuality.
On Climate, environmentalists were equally happy.. NPR reports that the president is expected to act, probably through the Environmental Protection Agency to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The move on climate appears to be part of an emboldened president’s effort to use political pressure to pursue his agenda, even on issues that were scarcely discussed in the campaign, even as they were thrust forward by Super Storm Sandy.
And Virginia Republicans push through a gerrymander of the State Senate, set to take effect in 2015 while a tie-inducing Democratic State Senator was in Washignton attending Obama’s Inauguration. Republican Governor Bob McDonnell has not taken a position and may jeopardize the legislative agenda of his last year in office.
The State of Things:
Do Democrats have an issue to use against Scott Brown if he runs in the special Senate election? Some think that gun control could be an albatross around his neck, despite coming out for a federal ban on assault weapons following Sandy Hook. However, as recently as after the Aurora, Colo. shooting Brown opposed federal gun laws.
Meanwhile, the Republican Party in Massachusetts faces a contested race to lead the organization. Two individuals, Kirsten Hughes, a former Brown staffer, and Rick Green are racking up votes from the State Committee Members in an effort to give the party direction as it heads into the special election and next year’s state elections.
Holyoke government in flux again. The City Solicitor is resigning after little more than a year in office. Elizabeth Rodriquez-Ross had been caught in between Mayor Alex Morse and the City Council’s battles. Meanwhile, the City Clerk has been on leave for seven months, but as an elected official, she cannot be formally replaced. Councilors look at possibly appointing a temporary clerk until this year’s election for the post.
Good news for Springfield’s retail heart. The intersection of Boston Road and Parker Street is (finally) due for upgrades from the state, after being found to be one of the most dangerous in the Pioneer Valley.
Chris Maza at the Reminder looks at Council President Ferrera’s decision to create a Special Committee on Residency.
Meanwhile, Pete Goonan at the Republican updates us on Joseph Conant’s nomination as Fire Commissioner. Following the City Council’s vote to change the qualifications for the position last Monday, Conant is due to be formally installed on Thursday at 1 pm.
Tonight’s results in Israel proved to be a hell of a comeuppance for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Yes, he is poised to be Prime Minister again, but a terrible cost. He may either form a broad centrist coalition that will dilute his brand or he will be stuck with a super far-right government that actually won the election with the slimmest of majorities. Today we award this week’s tweet prize to Haaretz’s Chemi Shalev for capturing Netanyahu’s dilemma, and implying that this is all of his own making. Shalev tweeted that Netanyahu still has an option of forming a right-wing government, something made possible by his own political scheming. However, depending on how things shake out with government negotiations and final vote tallies, Netanyahu may not have an option. A right-wing government will be his only choice.
Netanyahu emerges with slim majority and will have option for right-wing ultra-Orthodox coalition. He may get stuck with that. #israelvotes
— Chemi Shalev (@ChemiShalev) January 22, 2013