Archives for January 15, 2013

John Callahan Should Run for Lehigh County Exec Instead of Northampton

Rich’s post on the sorry state of Democratic political competition in Lehigh County is depressing me. But his observation that there are zero top tier Democratic candidates being mentioned for Lehigh County Executive has got me thinking about why John Callahan wants to run for Northampton County Exec instead of Lehigh County Exec.

Lehigh County really has the more interesting County issues. It contains the state’s third largest city, and it’s also been the center of the fights over open space and sprawl development.

The policy stakes are also much higher in that race, since the Lehigh Republicans are completely insane and well organized. A Tea Person taking over as Executive there would have more far-reaching consequences than one of the Northampton County Republicans taking the NorCo office. NorCo Republicans are just your run-of-the-mill fiscal tightwads, much less threatening than the aggressively ignorant species of Republican they have in Lehigh. It would be much more dangerous if Scott Ott won the Executive race than somebody like John Cusick.

It’s also much more likely. Northampton County at least has a bench of Democratic politicians to run for that office. If Callahan didn’t run, it would just open the door for somebody like a Jeff Warren or Sal Panto.

As Rich points out, Lehigh County’s got very little in the way of a bench. A top-tier (shudder..) Republican candidate like Scott Ott will have an easier time winning that seat against a second-tier Democrat than he would against somebody like John Callahan.

del datetime=”2013-01-15T14:23:04+00:00″>Callahan should really reconsider which County he wants to run. The Lehigh issue space is more interesting, and there’s a real chance that lunatics could take over if the Dems don’t put up an impressive candidate.

DERP: This whole post is moot since I’ve just been reminded there’s a residency requirement of one year before the election. Not that the lack of residency would’ve mattered in terms of votes. Callahan’s been governing the Lehigh side of Bethlehem too for two terms.

Pat Toomey’s Slow Motion Default Plan a Non-Starter in Senate

Brian Beutler says Pat Toomey’s plan to default on non-bond, non-military obligations is going nowhere:

Since there’s no precedent for the government running out of borrowing authority, some leading Republicans even want to revisit an idea first proposed by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) during the 2011 debt limit fight, to require the Treasury to prioritize debt service over other federal obligations.

“We should pass a bill out of the House saying there will be certain priorities attached to certain things, namely payment of debt services and payment of our military,” Toomey said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show last week.

That creates an opening for Democrats to remind the public how extreme the consequences of a debt limit breach would be, and how prioritizing creditors would make the crunch for ordinary Americans even worse.

“This proposal to prioritize payments to foreign creditors over those to seniors, families, and veterans is the wrong way to go and it’s an absolute nonstarter in the Senate,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) in a statement to TPM. “Anyone concerned about the devastating impact hitting the debt ceiling would have on our economy and our credit rating should work with Democrats to do the responsible thing and raise the debt limit so the government can pay the bills we’ve already accrued.”

But as experts at the Bipartisan Policy Center have noted, prioritization isn’t technically straightforward, and may not even be possible, if debt service obligations exceed revenues on any given day.