May 4, 2009

Political Diagnosis: Confirmation, Nomination, Resignation and Party Switching

All in one week, Kathleen Sebelius was approved as HHS secretary, we learned Supreme Court Justice David Souter is retiring, Sen. Arlen Specter switched parties and President Obama hit his 100-day mark, causing some furor over his comments on the Freedom of Choice Act. Moving right along …

Who Will Fill Souter’s Chair?: The New York Times looks at the type of justice Obama might nominate. The story features photos and short bios of the people whose names we’ve been hearing mentioned a lot lately — mostly women in high-level government, academic or legal positions. The Washington Post has a list of contenders.

NPR’s Nina Totenberg said Sunday on “Weekend Edition” that some of the names “are kind of a shout-out with no real chance that they’re going to be picked.” She wasn’t pressed on which ones. She also said this is Obama’s best shot to nominate someone who is very liberal.

Obama Picks Goosby For Global AIDS Position: Obama last week announced he would nominate Dr. Eric Goosby as head of the Office of Global AIDS Coordinator and Ambassador at Large. Goosby, CEO and chief medical officer of the Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation, was director of the Office of HIV/AIDS Policy in the Clinton administration. He is also a medical professor at the University of California, San Francisco. Jodi Jacobson has more.

Earlier this year, we noted the brouhaha surrounding Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision to request the resignation of Mark Dybul, who held the position as Global AIDS Coordinator during the Bush administration. Goosby was first mentioned as a successor back then.

Budget Blueprint Gets Stamp of Approval: Congress on Wednesday approved a $3.4 trillion spending plan, “setting the stage for President Obama to pursue the first major overhaul of the nation’s health-care system in a generation along with other far-reaching domestic initiatives,” reports the Washington Post. Democrats also reached agreement on using budget reconciliation to advance health care reform, which ensures Republicans won’t be able to filibuster the legislation.

Tough Times Ahead: “How hard is it to remake the nation’s health care system? It’s so hard that even if policymakers do everything right, most observers still don’t give them more than a 50-50 chance of getting a bill passed,” reports NPR.

Then there’s a shortage of doctors, which only complicates matters.

Arlen Specter on Health Care: Ezra Klein on what Specter The Democrat means for health care reform.

Take Action
DFA/MoveOn: Take part in an emergency online briefing Monday, May 4 at 9 p.m. ET with Dr. Howard Dean.  Click to follow the briefing, “What We All Need to Know to Win on Health Care This Year,” Monday night.

National Women’s Law Center: One woman on the highest court in the land is not enough. Urge President Obama to nominate a woman committed to upholding and enforcing women’s legal rights and protections.


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