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Today in Washington – May 11, 2010

Yesterday, President Obama rolled out Elena Kagan, the current Solicitor General and nominee to replace Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court.  The left wing noise machine distributed talking points to fight the argument that Kagan’s lacked necessary judicial and legal experience for the Supreme Court.  Nobody, right or left, really knows anything about Kagan’s judicial temperament or philosophy, because of her absence of a body of legal writings. 

The Senate will continue work on the financial regulatory reform bill and the House will vote on some low profile resolutions today.  Two Senate committees will conduct oversight hearings on the Gulf oil spill.

The issues to watch today:

  • Elena Kagan’s Noise Machine – There is a Vast Left Wing Conspiracy and it was exposed by Sam Stein of the Huffington Post yesterday.  The White House is quarterbacking a strategy to paper over Washington, D.C. with pro-Kagan talking points.  Stein writes “since President Obama introduced his Solicitor General as the choice to replace retired Justice John Paul Stevens, national airwaves and DC inboxes have been littered with a steady stream of material from Kagan backers. One party official compared it (favorably) to a presidential campaign war room, with caffeine-aided staffers shooting out ‘rapid response’ messages to Republican attacks and driving narratives either supportive of Kagan or mocking of the GOP.”  This left wing noise machine is being run out of the White House by “Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and run out of the office of the President’s Counsel.”  They have government paid for talking points of “the key arguments they want to dominate the Kagan conversation: her eminent scholarly qualifications, her consensus-driven leadership qualities, and her bipartisan support.”  Your tax dollars pay a high salary to this team that “includes Ron Klain and Cynthia Hogan on the Vice President’s staff, Susan Davies (an Associate Counsel to the President) and press officials Josh Earnest, Jesse Lee and Ben LaBolt – all of whom pitched stories and monitored media throughout the day.”  Time will tell if this propaganda effort works.
  • Kagan’s Lack of Experience – Conservatives have argued that Kagan does not have the experience necessary to handle the job.  Ed Whelan of National Review Online writes ” Kagan may well have less experience relevant to the work of being a justice than any justice in the last five decades or more.  In addition to zero judicial experience, she has only a few years of real-world legal experience.  Further, notwithstanding all her years in academia, she has only a scant record of legal scholarship.  Kagan flunks her own “threshold” test of the minimal qualifications needed for a Supreme Court nominee.”
  • Financial Services Reform – The Senate will continue work on amendments to S.3217 with the potential that Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-NV) may try to shut down debate by the end of the week.  In a bizarre twist, Senator Bernie Sanders (S-VT) cut a deal with the White House on a watered down version of his Fed Transparency language that limits the amount of information available to the pubic.  Senator David Vitter (R-LA) has adopted the Sanders language and will force a vote on the original Sanders Amendment as early as today.  With many amendments still pending, expect a series of votes on pending amendments today.  
  • Gulf Coast Oil Spill – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will have hearings on the Gulf Coast oil spill.  Executives of BP and Transocean are expected to be the recipient of some tough questioning by Senators all day.

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