Big Thursday Morning Rundown
Lots of reading:Virginia: Felix Macaca Allen has the rumor mill churning, holding a meeting to gauge support for a 2008 Senate run if John Warner retires. Hmmm, a possible Mark Warner-George Allen match-up... who would win? The former Senator who lost his re-election bid after countless embarrassing gaffes and improprieties and had only a 50-46 approve-disapprove last November or the popular former Governor who left office with an approval rating over 80%?
Nebraska: The Daily Show made fun of Chuck Hagel's non-announcement. Now Hagel is getting ribbed by NPR of all places:
It was everything a political junkie could ask for. For weeks, Washington had been on tenterhooks, awaiting word from the senior senator from Nebraska about his political future. Would the conservative Republican, who opposes President Bush on the Iraq war, jump into the race for the White House? Would he run as an independent? Would he simply seek re-election to a third Senate term? Or would he retire from politics altogether? Hagel let it be known that he would address his future plans at an Omaha news conference. Dramatic stuff indeed. Gotta love a little NPR sarcasm.
And then came the magical moment. Chuck Hagel on March 12, 2007: "I'm here today to announce that my family and I will make a decision on my political future later this year."
Talk about flashbacks! It reminded many of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, or President Reagan's demand that Mikhail Gorbachev "tear down that wall." Dramatic stuff.
North Carolina: The News & Observer calls out Elizabeth "The Chair" Dole for waffling:
Champions of military airfields often call jet noise "the sound of freedom." The sound Tar Heels are hearing from their U.S. senators right now is the sound of hemming and hawing. Better that Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr would take a stand on the Navy's plan for an airfield in Eastern North Carolina.Heaven forbid Dole actually take a stand and show some leadership on something, anything. Hat tip: BlueNC, which offers further thoughts.
Idaho: mcjoan at DKos offers this tidbit on Larry Craig's increasingly loud retirement rumors:
Shoring up the retirement rumors is something I heard this week from a very well-connected Idaho politico, who heard it from an even more connected pol--one with inroads to the GOP. His sources say Craig is retiring and now it's just a matter of when: now, so that current Lt. Gov. Risch can be named to replace him, or at the end of his term. That would potentially create an intra-party fight for who gets to run for the seat. The two most often mentioned potentials are Rep. Mike Simpson (ID-02), and Risch who got a taste of glory filling in as state executive when former governor Dirk Kempthorne was named Interior Secretary, but is now back to second chair.mcjoan also references an upcoming Craig fundraiser, meaning that maybe Craig is just keeping his options open. Either way, the Craig whispers are getting louder. Maybe it's almost time for a Retirement Watch, Part 2.
New Hampshire: WaPo's Cillizza calls Sprintin' John Sununu out for political opportunism in his Gonzales announcement:
On Wednesday, Sen. John Sununu (N.H.) became the first Republican senator to call on President Bush to fire Attorney General Alberto Gonzales over the Justice Department's dismissal of eight U.S. Attorneys last year.These Senators should collectively be called the U.S. Senate's "third basemen" the way they dive to the left in election years.
It's no coincidence that Sununu is up for reelection next November in New Hampshire, a state that tossed out its two Republican congressmen in the 2006 election and went for Democrat John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.
Sununu knows that to win next year he must find ways to differentiate himself from President Bush and the Republican Party in the minds of voters. It's a task that faces not only Sununu but also Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Norm Coleman (Minn.) and Gordon Smith (Ore.) -- all of whom will stand for reelection in states Kerry won in 2004.
Texas: Kos lets loose that a Draft State Representative Rick Noriega for Senate effort will come underway soon. Hopefully this will spur other TX-Dems to activity as well. Meanwhile, Burnt Orange Report highlights John Cornyn's votes "Against a Safe America."
Minnesota: MN Campaign Report highlights more advocacy groups keeping a close eye on Smilin' Norm Coleman for his opposition to veterans and questionable positions on the Iraq War.