Friday Night Round-Up
WaPo's Cillizza has his latest Senate Line up. Highlights include another 8-to-2 GOP-to-Dem ratio in the top 10 list, as well as the first appearance of Kentucky's Mitch McConnell, while South Dakota continues to sit in the ninth spot. If Senator Tim Johnson comes back strong in September and looks solid for re-election (and super-conservative GOP Gov. Mike Rounds publicly rules out a Senate bid), we could reasonably see a 9-to-1 GOP-to-Dem ratio in the Line this autumn.
One of the things I love most about America is the right of Americans to civilly voice their discontent with their elected officials.
Louisiana: At long last, a formal ethics complaint has been filed against prostitute-lovin' Republican David Vitter for breaking the law. Big-time conservatives are calling for Vitter to resign. In fact, here's the video of Hannity's statement. Meanwhile, the DC Madam is calling for Vitter to be a witness at her trial. Now, that would be the squirm-inducing event of the year! (TPM also mentions that Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani hasn't removed Vitter from his role with the Giuliani campaign. That's not a surprise since Giuliani is also an adulterer. Republicans of a feather...) Vitter's "sins" have led to the limerick of the year, courtesy of Senator John Kerry:
“There once was a man named Vitter/Who vowed that he wasn’t a quitter/But with stories of women/And all of his sinnin’/He knows his career’s in the — oh, never mind,” Kerry said.Hilarious. Almost as hilarious as David Vitter calling for other elected officials to resign following their marital infidelities, only to have Vitter admit to cheating on his wife with prostitutes, allegedly while wearing diapers. Almost that hilarious.
Kentucky: Republican Senate "Leader" Mitch McConnell is already lowering expectations for Election Day 2008, more than fifteen months out:
During a press conference today, Mitch McConnell said that the political map for 2008, with 22 Republican seats up for election compared to only 12 Democratic seats, means the odds are against the GOP getting back into the majority. "It would take an extraordinarily good day to get back up to 50," McConnell said. "So our goal is to stay roughly where we are."That's not too shocking. McConnell's unwavering support for Bush's Iraq debacle has taught us that if there's one thing Mitch McConnell can get behind, it's the status quo.
New Hampshire: Not only does the latest UNH poll see popular former Governor Jeanne Shaheen up 16 points on Sprintin' John Sununu, 54-38, but the poll also sees both Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand and activist Katrina Swett within the margin of error against Sununu, making for a statistical dead heat. So, even if Governor Shaheen decides against a 2008 Senate bid, there is no doubt that Sununu is in quite a bit of electoral hot water. Blue Hampshire comically catches the Chair of the NH-GOP blaming it all on the "national mood," as opposed to any of Sununu's many votes out of step with mainstream New Hampshire on Iraq, stem cells, and countless other issues.
Meanwhile, it looks like Bush's low approvals have Sununu's advisors skittish, as they must have coached him on this most recent turnaround. Four days ago:
In New Hampshire, Sununu eventually conceded that he would accept the president's help.Today's change of heart:
"Of course, I am hoping to accept any Republican support," he said, slipping through a members-only escape hatch, an emergency exit off the Senate floor.
New Hampshire Senator John Sununu said he wouldn't campaign with George W. Bush next year ``in this climate'' because of the president's low job-approval ratings.See John Run. Run John, Run.
Sununu, a Republican facing a tough re-election, said "the president's popularity, unfortunately, is at a fairly low level." He spoke in an interview with Bloomberg Television's "Political Capital with Al Hunt," scheduled to air today.
Bush campaigned for Sununu in New Hampshire twice during the 2002 election, when Sununu beat Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, a former governor, by about 20,000 votes. Shaheen, who hasn't declared her candidacy, led Sununu 56 percent to 34 percent in a Concord Monitor poll of likely voters conducted this month.
Oregon: Reports have Democratic polling showing that Oregon's Democratic state House Speaker Jeff Merkley is holding Republican Gordon Smith to "well below 50 percent in a head-to-head matchup" and that Merkley is "within six points of Smith." If confirmed, this would be very heartening news out of Oregon.
Maine: The Portland Press Herald offers the latest bad local press for Susan Collins (emphasis is added by me):
Rather than back Levin-Reed, which would require President Bush to withdraw all but a "limited presence" of troops to train Iraqis and secure U.S. interests in Iraq, Collins has co-authored a proposal with Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska.In other news, Collins apparently hates progressive bloggers.
That measure "would immediately require the President to change the mission of our troops away from combat and toward counter-terrorism operations, border security, and training Iraqi forces," Collins said in her news release.
What it wouldn't do, unlike Levin-Reed, is set a hard date by which the president must complete said change. The plan's March 30 date for "redeployment," Collins spokesman Kevin Kelley said, is more "a goal" than a hard deadline.
(Nor would Collins' proposal prevent Bush from declaring all of Operation Iraqi Freedom a "counterterrorism operation" and otherwise ignoring Congress' attempt to intervene.)
Collins also backs the Iraq Study Group's various political, economic and military proposals – but again, no deadlines.
In short, Collins' Iraq position is long on indignation about the Bush administration's bumbling of the war, but short on leverage that actually might force a change in course.
New Mexico: Could Pajamas Pete Domenici get a primary challenger?! It wouldn't be shocking given that Domenici continues to get thumped on Iraq, is still feeling the heat for his role in the Attorney Purge scandal, and is actually inviting Bush to come fundraise for him! Oh, in case you were wondering, Bush's approve-disapprove in New Mexico stands at a hideous 30-68. I hope Bush makes several high-profile trips to New Mexico for Domenici!
Minnesota: While he shouldn't be referring to people like Gordon Smith as "responsible," Al Franken does offer a very powerful ad in the Minnesota print media. Very powerful.
New Jersey: Senator Frank Lautenberg should have a MySpace page:
"I'm in excellent health," says 83-year-old Lautenberg, who still puts in 12-hour days, downhill skis and sneaks in a round of golf when his schedule allows.Lautenberg is more active than me and most New Jerseyans for crying out loud!
North Carolina: With North Carolinians overwhelmingly supporting a timetable for withdrawal in Iraq, the polling firm wonders when Elizabeth Dole will throw Bush under the bus.
Idaho: For Bush rubber-stamp Larry Craig, it's all about the oil.
The DSCC is soliciting input on a sneak preview of their new website. Check it out and offer your thoughts!
Bill Maher once again nails it. The analogy: Our Founding Fathers:Thoughtful::George W. Bush:Simple