From Matt

Among the immediately tangible benefits of the failure of Bush’s domestic plan for his second term is the growing influence of a centrist bloc in Congress. Most of these people are guys I’d love to knock out of office in 2006, but I’d rather have rational opposition like McCain than our rabid friend Mr. Frist, even if it hurts our chances. It’s a purely visceral reaction: Frist, Delay, they just terrify me. I don’t want them managing my town’s McDonald’s, let alone our government – they’d spit in the fries.

The clearest recent example of the centrist bloc is the much-reported deal on judicial nominees. I have to say that this feels like a loss to me – not as disastrous as the elimination of filibuster rules, certainly, but the precedent of allowing groups to use political leverage to force up-or-down votes has been set.

That said, the <a href=”news’>http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7964239/”>news regarding stem cell research is nothing short of astonishing:

Ignoring President Bush’s veto threat, the House voted Tuesday to lift limits on embryonic stem cell research, a measure supporters said could accelerate cures for diseases but opponents viewed as akin to abortion.

I’m trying to be hopeful. It’s a mixed victory, but in a political climate like this people like Santorum are dead in the water.

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