– Dan Bertolet writes about why it would be a mistake to implement the “Vision Line”, the proposed routing of light-rail through Bellevue that bypasses the Bellevue Transit Center. As someone who works in that area, I strongly second Bertolet’s concerns. It just doesn’t make sense at all not to utilize the existing Transit Center as a light-rail station. Plus, Wallace claims it “brings all of Downtown Bellevue within a 10-minute walk from the station” at 114th and 6th. It would take a pretty brisk pace to make it to Bellevue Square from there in 10 minutes, not to mention that it’s a fairly steep uphill climb between 112th and 110th. I just don’t see people making that walk – especially during the Christmas season when the weather is crappy and the need for transit alternatives is greatest.
– Tom Schaller writes one of the most dead-on posts I’ve read so far this year regarding Obama and how his instincts hurt him on health care. Here’s a snippet:
One of the joys of reading The Audacity of Hope is also one of its repeated annoyances: Obama’s reasoned and reasonable mind almost always works through a problem or controversy by admitting the merits of arguments made by advocates on both sides of some issue, then confesses his preference for a more liberal solution, but admits he is open to alternative solutions that might take into account a broad range of views and values. The book was undoubtedly written with his own political future in mind, and he surely aimed to demonstrate both his intellectual faculties and his open-mindedness.
But the presidency is not an intellectual exercise. It is a not a law school class debate. And in this hyper-partisan age it damn sure isn’t a colloquium in which opponents try to find common ground with opponents uninterested in reaching accommodation, no matter how much good faith bargaining is done. Consider the filibustering tendencies of the past three years, with the Republicans in the Senate minority, compared to the six years prior with the Democrats in the minority and George W. Bush in office.
Based on data provided by the U.S. Senate, cloture activities have doubled since the GOP became the minority. The average annual filed cloture motions from 2001 through 2006 was 34, but jumped to 69 in the three years since; average votes on cloture grew from 27 to 50; and per annum invoked clotures ballooned from 13 to 33. Neither party plays well with the other, but the GOP is more likely to throw a tantrum in the sandbox.
Did Obama think his political philosophies or 2008 campaign rhetoric would be an antidote to this sort of obstructionism? Did he think that the hand he reached across the aisle would be shook rather than bitten? Did he think wishing for a post-partisan America would make it so?