Manic Monday Markup 9/9/13…
…And the World:
We begin today in Syria once again, where President Bashar al-Assad tells Charlie Rose that he did not order a chemical attack on his own people. German media, per The Guardian, is reporting that German Intelligence organizations suspect that Syria did use chemical weapons, but without Assad’s approval. Threats of a US strike has also emphasized the fault lines among the rebels. Meanwhile, in a seeming surprise out of Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that Russia would immediately begin pushing Syria to give up its chemical weapons if doing so would put off an attack, something that Secretary of State John Kerry is now demanding in order for Syria to avoid an attack. Syria seems to say yes, but White House isn’t buying it.
Are all politics local even in Russia? Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny has apparently lost Moscow’s mayoral race, despite claims of fraud, but win or lose he may have won anyway. Navalny’s run has long vexed the Kremlin as it struggled to figure out how to deal with the candidate especially since few actually thought he could beat the government’s preferred candidate, Sergei Sobyanin. Now Navalny has probably lost, but he gained a much higher share of the vote than anybody expected, weakening the Russian establishment. Even so he says he can still force a runoff.
Labor rule of Australia came to an end this weekend after six years when voters put in a majority of the Liberal-National coalition led by the at-times chauvinistic and, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, not too popular Tony Abbott. Kevin Rudd, who retook control of the party and the premiership earlier this year, did however, keep Labor losses to a minimum with the party retaining far more seats than had been expected even six months ago. Matt Siegel from The New York Times notes that Abbott, who long lobbed bombs at the Labor government may find his turn at the wheel no easier than Rudd or Julia Gillard did, especially without a majority in the Australian Senate.
As president Obama struggles to gain support for to punish Syria for its use of chemical weapons, The New York Times’ Charlie Savage has a must-read on how Obama, win or lose may be setting an important precedent on the president’s war-making powers by going to Congress. Meanwhile, House liberals are calling for a resolution that would require all diplomatic efforts to be exhausted. At The Washington Post, Greg Sargeant calls hooey on the claim that a loss for Obama would destroy what is left of his presidency.
In New York City, the once-expected long-shot candidacy of Bill de Blasio is gaining strength. Leading in new polls, some which suggest he may avoid a runoff, de Blasio is poised to take his party’s nomination and with it, possibly Gracie Mansion this November. This comes after a weekend where Mayor Michael Bloomberg cast a pall over the race when he called de Blasio’s campaign “racist” in a wide ranging interview with New York Magazine. That prompted a response from all quarters including Governor Andrew Cuomo.
In political potpourri: Some welcome news for embattled Arkansas Democratic Senator Mark Pryor who is leading the much ballyhooed Tom Cotton in a new poll. Rhode Island Public Radio contemplates the race for governor there now that incumbent Lincoln Chaffee has decided against seeking reelection. The Connecticut 4th District’s Jim Himes may face a familiar opponent next year. For good measure, here’s a bit on the Albany mayoral race because why not?
The State of Things:
Tomorrow is Election Day in Boston, Fall River and Worcester to fill open seats. The southeastern Boston-centered race, which also includes part of Milton, features Democrat Dan Cullinane and two independents. In Fall River, Democra Carla Fiola faces Republican Steinhof. The final race, in the “Heart of the Commonwealth” features Worcester mayoral aide Dan Donahue, a Democrat and a nurse, Carol Claros, a Republican. Worcester Magazine pithily endorsed Donahue while The Telegram & Gazette engaged in an oddly long genuflection to Claros.
But Western Mass isn’t missing out on all the fun tomorrow. West Springfield will vote on Hard Rock’s casino proposal near the Big E with details about the final push from Rob Rizzuto at Masslive.
The Times takes a look at the diversity of the Boston Mayoral race. Last week the Globe profiled Councilor Mike Ross and today David Bernstein has Ross’s new video of his about the diversity of his own family. Bill Walczak, profiled today in the Globe, puts casinos front and center in his new ad and John Connolly goes for education. The Globe profiles now include Felix Arroyo, John Barros, and Dan Conley. Marty Walsh’s was linked last week at the beginning of the series. And if you didn’t know other cities in Metro Boston are having mayoral elections, too, we forgive you.
Progressive Mass is holding their Fall Hampden & Hampshire organizing meeting in Holyoke tomorrow night at the Picknelly Adult & Family Education Center.
Former Springfield mayor Theodore DiMauro died over the weekend. The Republican has this remembrance.
Absurdity and more before the Springfield City Council. At-large Councilor Jimmy Ferrera has an unworkable residency ordinance. Another measure would give senior’s tax breaks if they work part-time. Also the Council will again look at raising the mayor’s pay.
And the Greenleaf Community Center is renamed for Clodo Concepcion. Missing from almost all news reports on this? Concepcion’s three way preliminary next Tuesdays.
The situation in Syria has gone on for quite some time and the number of skeptics on intervention has only grown. Our opinion is forthcoming, but one notable and indeed a bit surprising voice in favor of intervention has spoken, but faces the same resistance. Today we award the tweet prize to Nick Kristof, the New York Times columnist who has come out in favor of intervening in Syria. His tweet today highlights just how difficult it has been to convince skeptics and opponents of the virtue of action and his own acknowledgement of the task’s difficulty. Among those he may not have convinced? Family. And do read Kristof’s column from yesterday!
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) September 9, 2013