Last week was dominated by one news story – the Marathon bombing in Boston. And although that story gripped much of the attention of the media, we have yet to see the people who will shape up as the winners or losers in the political world from the tragic events. So far, Democrats are largely calling for arrested suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to be tried by civilian courts, which would allow him to be represented by counsel, but could lead to the death penalty. Republicans, meanwhile, are mostly in favor of having him tried as an enemy combatant, which could allow for indefinite detention without representation.
However, there were a few other stories which flew under the radar while the attention of the nation was centered on New England’s largest city.
One of these was a triple-loss of of the Democratic-sponsored gun control measures in the Senate. Despite receiving over 50 votes in the 100-member body, each bill still lost on a procedural basis due to legislative filibusters (as opposed to the old-fashioned talking variety). The bills each needed 60 Senators in favor before heading to a final vote.
Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey – Losers – The pair came from opposite sides of the aisle to expand the background check requirements beyond what is currently mandated. Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, and Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, saw their measure lose, despite winning majorities in the upper body of legislature.
Harry Reid – Loser – The loss on the gun control front caused Reid to announce that he is going to be de-prioritizing gun control measures. Considering the degree that Reid has become entwined with this drive, this hat-trick of losses has to cost the Nevada Senator politically.
Joe Biden, Chris Christie, Tom Coburn, Kamala Harris, Susana Martinez, Barack Obama, Rand Paul – Winners – These people were chosen by Time magazine last week as the seven American politicians to make their list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. These leaders included leaders from the Vice President (Biden) down to the California DA (Martinez). The issue, having five different full-color covers, only featured one amongst these for a cover – Rand Paul, Senator from Kentucky.
Patrick Leahy and Chuck Grassley – Losers – The two began to snarl in the press last week like an old married couple, with each of them “not” accusing the other of using tragedies including the Newtown shooting and the Boston bombing for political gain, in a passive-aggressive manner. At one point, Grassley (pictured) interrupted Chuck Schumer by shouting “I never said that!” while the Democrat from New York spoke. Nobody is coming out of this situation looking good.
With the loss of the gun control measure in the Senate, the chances of a similarly-styled bill passing in the House, currently controlled by Republicans, is virtually nil. This is also likely to stall immigration reform.
This was not a good week to be a politician – unless you made it onto the annual Time list.
(U.S. Senate photo)