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God's Politics

the latest news on House leadership, McCain speeches, Iraq, India, minimum wage, civil rights, the Middle East, Darfur, and select op-eds

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House leadership. Democrats Pick Hoyer Over Murtha for Leader – “House Democrats elected Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) the new majority leader over strong opposition from Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), exposing a deep political divide even before the party takes control. The 149 to 86 vote for Hoyer over Rep. John P. Murtha (Pa.) was viewed by many in the party as a repudiation of Pelosi’s strong-arm tactics and a recognition of Hoyer’s tireless work to elect a Democratic majority.” Pelosi Rebuffed Over Her Choice for House Post– “Despite the internal acrimony that has clouded the Democratic victory celebration of last week, the leadership team that will take control of the House in January left their closed meeting in the Cannon House Office Building, joined hands and pledged to work together in the months ahead.” Pelosi’s early setback has her party on alert – “Rep. Nancy Pelosi was elevated to the pinnacle of congressional power Thursday as fellow Democrats formally made her their choice as the next House speaker. But the same colleagues gave Pelosi a brusque lesson in the limits of her power when they rejected her choice for second in command.” Party gets a rocky start – “But several admitted that the episode — which saw Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland defeat Rep. John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania for House majority leader — was a poor way to kick off their tenure as the party in control of the new Congress.”

McCain speeches. McCain Tells Conservatives G.O.P.’s Defeat Was Payback for Losing ‘Our Principles’ – “Senator John McCain said Thursday that Republicans had lost the midterm elections because “we abandoned our principles” on fiscal policy and government restraint, inviting a backlash from Americans over what they saw as widespread hypocrisy.” McCain Prepares for ’08 Bid With Appeal to Right – “McCain (R-Ariz.) took the first formal steps toward a 2008 presidential campaign and used a pair of speeches before Republican audiences to argue that his brand of conservative, reform-minded politics and hawkish foreign policy can restore the GOP to power.”

Iraq. Military may ask $127B for wars – “The Pentagon is considering $127 billion to $160 billion in requests from the armed services for the 2007 fiscal year, which began last month, several lawmakers and congressional staff members said. That’s on top of $70 billion already approved for 2007. Since 2001, Congress has approved $502 billion for the war on terror, roughly two-thirds for Iraq.” Democrats vow to stand in way of sending more troops – “The new majority leader in the US Senate, Harry Reid, said the Democrats would do everything they can to stop George Bush sending more troops to Iraq. Mr Reid believed the president would not be able to find 20,000 US reinforcements for “one last push” in Iraq.” Troop Levels in Iraq Debated – “The debate about how to proceed in Iraq, which in the past few months has focused on withdrawing U.S. troops, now includes serious discussion about adding more forces to the fight. Military officials and defense experts, however, said yesterday that significantly escalating the number of U.S. combat troops in Iraq is largely implausible…”

India. Senate Backs White House Plan for India Nuclear Deal – “The Bush administration won overwhelming Senate support for its plan to create a broad strategic partnership with India that reverses decades of U.S. nonproliferation policies and requires changes in laws aimed at limiting the spread of nuclear weapons.” Nuclear Deal With India Wins Senate Backing– “The vote expressed that a goal of nurturing India as an ally outweighed concerns over the risks of spreading nuclear know-how and bomb-making materials.”

Minimum wage. Minimum wage gets maximum priority – “After nearly a decade of inaction on the issue, Congress appears poised to consider legislation in the coming months that would raise the federal minimum wage. Democrats, who won control of Congress in last week’s elections, said that they intend to make raising the minimum wage one of their top priorities in the coming session.”

Civil rights. Democrats pledge to scrutinize Justice’s civil rights arm – “Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee vowed to impose intense oversight on the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division next year, telling a Bush administration official in charge of the agency that the next Congress will scrutinize whether civil rights laws are being properly enforced.”

Middle East. Blair Sees Chance For Progress on Middle East Conflict – “Prime Minister Tony Blair offered hope for progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying that “sensible Arab and Muslim countries” now see “strategic reasons” for finding a solution and that new initiatives could come within weeks.”

Darfur. UN-AU force gets Sudan OK – “Sudan accepts in principle UN and African Union forces in its war-ravaged Darfur region, but has yet to agree on the number of troops to be deployed, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said yesterday.” Nations plan Darfur peacekeeping force – “The force could be as large as 27,000, including the existing 7,000-member AU peacekeeping force in Darfur, but the leaders did not lay out a timetable for the force to begin work, partly because Sudan had some reservations.” Sudan closing off Darfur to outside world – “International observers, journalists, and humanitarian organizations are being forced out by the government.”

Op-Eds.

Christian conservative quandary (Cal Thomas, Washington Times)- “But defeat offers conservative Christians a good opportunity to take stock. They should ask themselves whether their short list of “moral issues” and “family values” has any hope of being imposed on Washington, as the broader culture continues to resist the approach many of them have taken. Could conservative Christians withstand another approach, one that reflects a more biblical strategy? Jim Wallis thinks so.”

Remember Who Sent You (E.J. Dionne, Jr, Washington Post) – “Democrats might usefully take a break from their inane round of back-stabbing and score-settling to focus, for a few moments, on why voters gave them their congressional majorities. A lot of Americans are hurting in the pocketbook, and if Democrats don’t use the next two years to help them, the party will squander the trust it has temporarily earned.”

Issues Front and Center – (David Ignatius, Washington Post) – “The Democrats now have the opportunity the Republicans spurned, which is to build a broad coalition in the center and become once again the nation’s governing party. But to achieve that, the Democrats must stand for values that connect with those of most Americans.”

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