Good morning, family. Today is a beautiful day. Yesterday, New Jersey elected its first African American U.S. Senator and the federal government is open for business. As reported in the Star Ledger,
Cory Booker’s star-quality and his skill at surviving the roughhouse politics of New Jersey’s biggest city took him from the mayor’s office to the U.S. Senate today in a hard-fought victory over Republican iconoclast Steve Lonegan.
With his special-election win, Booker will become the first African-American to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate, and is the first Newark mayor to win higher office in more than a century. He also extended the Democratic Party’s U.S. Senate race winning streak to 14 elections in New Jersey, dating back to 1976.
The Newark mayor will serve the remaining 15 months of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s term after a two-month campaign marked by bizarre turns, wild accusations, erratic polling numbers and blistering attacks.
Booker won by double digits, but it wasn’t the landslide many had predicted at the beginning of the campaign. With 94 percent of the precincts reporting, he had about 55 percent of the vote to Lonegan’s 44 percent.
From the outset, the 44-year-old, two-term mayor had one advantage his conservative firebrand opponent could never hope to match: name recognition. From city hall to the morning talk shows, Booker’s good looks, big smile and his championing of his beleaguered city won him plenty of big name fans — and evidently the approval of Jersey voters who elected him in a rare October election with light turnout.Hopefully, Cory Booker's election is a sign that new possibilities are on the horizon for African Americans. I hope that the people are not simply pacified by the power of symbolism. We must be agenda focused and results oriented. As black politicians rise, we must ensure that our agenda and interests are not marginalized.
Speaking of being marginalized, President Obama and the Democrats soundly defeated the idiotic Tea Party fanatics in the U.S. House of Representatives, at least for now. As reported in the Washington Post,
Federal agencies, parks, museums and monuments began to reopen Thursday morning, after a chastened Congress ended a bitter funding standoff that triggered a 16-day government closure and drove the nation toward the brink of default.
The agreement struck by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) funds agencies through mid-January, calls hundreds of thousands of civil servants back to work and raises the $16.7 trillion debt limit...
The bill passed late Wednesday ended a stalemate created last month, when hard-line conservatives pushed Republican leaders to use the threat of shutdown to block a landmark expansion of federally funded health coverage.
That campaign, however, succeeded mainly in undermining popular support for the Republican Party. By the end, dozens of anxious GOP lawmakers were ready to give Obama almost exactly what he requested months ago: a bill to fund the government and increase the Treasury Department’s borrowing power with no strings attached.
The Senate overwhelmingly ratified the deal Wednesday evening, 81 to 18, with more than half of Senate Republicans voting yes. A few hours later, the House followed suit, approving the measure 285 to 144. Eighty-seven Republicans joined a united Democratic caucus in approving the measure, allowing Congress to meet a critical Treasury Department deadline with one day to spare.
Obama signed the measure into law shortly after midnight,reopening parks and monuments across the nation, restoring government services and putting furloughed federal employees back on the job, many of them in the Washington region.
The measure guarantees those workers back pay for time spent at home, aid flood-ravaged Colorado and provide extra cash for fighting wildfires out West. And it would grant the D.C. government, which relies on Congress to approve its budget, authority to manage its own affairs through the 2014 fiscal year.I commend the President and the Democrats for standing up to those no good, hostage takers. President Obama must continue to stand strong. No surrender on entitlements!