# Sotomayor Confirmation



Year in review: national politics in 2009 (part 1)

It took me a week longer than I anticipated, but I finally finished compiling links to Bleeding Heartland's coverage from last year. This post and part 2, coming later today, include stories on national politics, mostly relating to Congress and Barack Obama's administration. Diaries reviewing Iowa politics in 2009 will come soon.

One thing struck me while compiling this post: on all of the House bills I covered here during 2009, Democrats Leonard Boswell, Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack voted the same way. That was a big change from 2007 and 2008, when Blue Dog Boswell voted with Republicans and against the majority of the Democratic caucus on many key bills.

No federal policy issue inspired more posts last year than health care reform. Rereading my earlier, guardedly hopeful pieces was depressing in light of the mess the health care reform bill has become. I was never optimistic about getting a strong public health insurance option through Congress, but I thought we had a chance to pass a very good bill. If I had anticipated the magnitude of the Democratic sellout on so many aspects of reform in addition to the public option, I wouldn't have spent so many hours writing about this issue. I can't say I wasn't warned (and warned), though.

Links to stories from January through June 2009 are after the jump. Any thoughts about last year's political events are welcome in this thread.

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Grassley: Sotomayor not as "aggressive" and "obnoxious" as he expected

I found some unintentional comedy in this AP story on Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s one-on-one meetings with senators:

Sotomayor has managed to disarm even senators who came prepared not to like her. Sen. Charles E. Grassley, an Iowa Republican, went in thinking “she would be aggressive and maybe even a little obnoxious.”

“I would classify her as kind of much friendlier … more reserved, less aggressive,” than he expected, Grassley told reporters later.

I wonder why Grassley thought Sotomayor would be “aggressive and maybe even a little obnoxious.” Would he expect that of any high-achieving Puerto Rican woman from New York, or only one who had been on the receiving end of a hatchet job in The New Republic? Or maybe he was taken in by right-wing commentators’ caricatures of Sotomayor.

Anyway, it’s safe to say that Sotomayor’s personality wasn’t the reason Grassley voted against her confirmation to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. He’ll have to keep trying to remember why he cast that vote in 1998.

By the way, the Democrat who’s running against Grassley next year, Bob Krause, has his campaign website up and is on Twitter @KrauseForIowa. He plans to campaign hard against Grassley’s opposition to universal health care with a public option.

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