The New York Times and CQ Today both offer looks at the upcoming continuation in the Senate of the Iraq debate, highlighting the growing schism between the Bush Administration and Republican Senators. While Bush might not have an Iraq exit strategy, GOP Senators certainly have an electoral exit strategy: cutting and running from their earlier, unquestioning support of Bush's "strategy." But regardless of how far from Bush they may try to run, ultimately, Bush's record is their record.
Minnesota: MN Publius and Minnesota Campaign Report are pegging Al Franken's Q2 take at $1.9 million, compared with $1.5 million for Republican Norm Coleman, the first instance in the 2008 cycle of a challenger outraising an incumbent seeking re-election. Add in Mike Ciresi's more than $700,000 and one sees much more financial support out there for MN-DFL than MN-GOP. The next most interesting number, once full details are reported, will be the number of individual Minnesotan donors the candidates can boast.
Alaska: The Anchorage Daily News offers another article turning the spotlight on Ted Stevens' growing ethics scandals capped by an FBI investigation.
Virginia: Is the Old Dominion turning blue? According to a new poll, the Democratic Party has better approvals in Virginia than the Republican Party, and more Virginian voters would consider voting for a Democrat than a Republican for President. MyDD's Singer offers deeper analysis and Raising Kaine has reactions from around the blogosphere. Virginia's blue streak will likely continue if/when John Warner announces his retirement and if/when Mark Warner announces his entry into the Senate race.
Oregon: Gordon Smith has found himself another, quite poignant critic: Jim Rassman, an Oregon Republican who served in Vietnam on John Kerry's swift boat:
Did Sen. Smith experience a genuine change of heart or is he a savvy politician trying to strengthen his bid for re-election?Scathing.
Many Oregonians surely hoped that the senator had truly changed his mind and wanted more than anything to see an end to the war. Unfortunately, over the past six months he's shown that it was more sleight-of-hand than change of heart. He hasn't lived up to his December comments, and his votes have spoken far more loudly than his words.
New Jersey: Some new poll numbers are out on Senator Frank Lautenberg:
According to a Quinnipiac University poll, 54 percent of New Jersey voters say the 83-year-old senior Senator is “too old to effectively serve another six-year term as U.S. Senator.” And while the Lautenberg’s approval remains favorable, 41 to 32 percent, only 31 percent of voters say that he “deserves to be reelected,” while 42% say he does not. I take two things from this: New Jersey voters are worried that Lautenberg is too old, and they still prefer the Democrat, regardless of overall approval, to a generic Republican. Lautenberg's task, then, is demonstrating that he is not too old and that he still has plenty of energy for the Senate. That shouldn't be difficult, since Lautenberg is showing as much hustle so far in 2007 as just about any member of the Senate. The more Lautenberg reports to the local media on all of his extensive committee work, and how his subcommittee chairmanships benefit New Jersey, worries about his age should be mitigated.
Nevertheless, Lautenberg still trumps an unnamed Republican opponent by 40 percent to 33 percent.
Kentucky: DMKY sees USA Today highlighting the heat on Mitch McConnell and even McConnell supporters shifting on Iraq.
In another example of shoddy reporting, Associated Press writer Julie Hirschfeld Davis presents cloture motions as shady-sounding political tactics meant to stifle debate rather than focusing entirely on Republicans' record filibustering, obstructing legislation that enjoys broad support from seeing an "up or down vote," something Republicans used to be in favor of.
Former Republican Senator Rick Santorum is doling out electoral advice. Too many punchlines... must resist.
MyDD's Stoller and Bowers, along with Mike Lux, have launched Open Left, "dedicated to building a sustainable, progressive governing majority." Check it out!