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pipe dreams
December 13, 2018

Vox's Matthew Yglesias appears to have something of a political crush on Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and he certainly isn't alone. AOC, as she's known, "is the biggest star in the Democratic Party," with "incredible wit, charisma, social media savvy, and basic political smarts," Yglesias writes, and she "constantly dominates the conversation — living rent-free in the heads of conservatives, racking up magazine profiles and Twitter followers, engaging supporters on Instagram in a heretofore unprecedented way."

In fact, Yglesias writes, "I kind of think she should run for president." AOC is 29, of course, and therefore ineligible to be president. But the "completely ridiculous constitutional provision" that you have to be 35 is "just one of these weird lacuna that was handed down to us from the 18th century but that nobody would seriously propose creating today if not for status quo bias," he argues. He laid out his case. AOC took a pass.

Yglesias suggests amending the Constitution, not that AOC run and "dare the Supreme Court to stop her," but it doesn't seem unreasonable to let her start her first job in government before tackling the biggest job in government. Yglesias has an answer for that, too: Yes, "she's too left-wing for some and would need to demonstrate an ability to staff up and run a big operation while getting up to speed on the dozens of random issues that get tossed your way over the course of a national campaign. But that’s what campaigns are for!" You can read his entire argument — including: "One good sign that AOC should run for president is that she has a nickname — AOC" — at Vox. Peter Weber

November 12, 2015

When President Obama appointed Republican Congressman Ray LaHood to his cabinet in 2009, he intended it as the first step toward achieving "that bipartisan spirit" he hoped would define his presidency. Seven years later, LaHood, Obama's first-term transportation secretary, is saying that goal ended up being nothing more than a pipe dream.

"I do not believe the White House ever committed fully to a genuine bipartisan approach to policymaking, despite the president's words to the contrary," LaHood wrote in his new memoir, Seeking Bipartisanship: My Life in Politics. While LaHood doesn't shield his own party from carrying some responsibility — nor does he doubt Obama's sincerity — he says the failure to achieve bipartisanship rests largely on Obama's "mistakes in judgment and political calculation that prevented cooperation between the political parties and sacrificed vision too easily for short-term gain."

LaHood traces the beginning of this dream's end back to Democrats' push to pass an economic stimulus package that didn't receive much Republican support. Ever since then, LaHood said, Obama has become more and more "isolated" and "insulated."

"Obama depended almost exclusively on a handful of folks situated in the White House," LaHood wrote. "He rarely sought counsel outside that group. He did not, as other presidents have done, place a high value on consulting with members of Congress."

The White House had no comment. Becca Stanek

January 9, 2015

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 266-153 to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline Friday, Bloomberg News reports.

The bill goes to the Senate next, where Republicans now hold a majority. In November, the last Senate came up one vote shy of approval on a similar bill. Should the bill make it to President Barack Obama's desk, he's vowed to veto it.

The vote comes immediately after the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled in favor of the pipeline's legality. Julie Kliegman

January 9, 2015

The Nebraska Supreme Court just paved the way for the Keystone XL pipeline construction by upholding the route's legality, Reuters reports.

Pipeline opponents had argued in lower court Gov. Dave Heinemann improperly approved the route through Nebraska, but only four of seven Supreme Court judges agreed Friday, one shy of the threshold needed.

Meanwhile, House and Senate Republicans are working on bills to approve the pipeline project. The White House has said President Barack Obama would veto the bills. Julie Kliegman

June 23, 2014

This weekend, a group that wants to see California split into six separate states hit the streets in an attempt to gather enough signatures to make it on the 2016 ballot. The Six Californias organization needs to get 808,000 valid signatures by July 18.

The idea for Six Californias came from a venture capitalist named Timothy Draper, the Los Angeles Times reports. He has spent $2 million on the proposal, which he believes will make it easier for businesses to thrive and for the governments of each state to run smoothly. "California has become the worst-managed state in the country," he said earlier this year. "It just is too big and too ungovernable."

Draper said he has support from people living in every one of the proposed states (including northern California near the Oregon border, which would become Jefferson, and San Diego, which would morph into South California), but experts say the effort is extremely unlikely to succeed. It has done the near-impossible, though: Both Democrats and Republicans alike have derided the plan. Catherine Garcia

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