More Who's In and Who's Out
Montana: GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg, considered by many to be the Republicans' best chance to give popular incumbent Senator Max Baucus a competitive race in 2008, made it clear that he will not be a candidate for Senate next year. In what is yet another high profile recruiting failure for the NRSC, it seems that Republicans may be stuck with disgraced Mike Lange (in other words: this guy).
South Dakota: Republican state rep. Joel Dykstra has officially filed as a candidate for Senate in 2008 against popular, recovering incumbent Senator Tim Johnson. And, it turns out that Dykstra is either a radical right Republican or just wildly insensitive. Early in 2006, South Dakota passed a ban on all abortions that made no exceptions in the case of rape or incest. In response to the law's lack of exceptions for rape and incest, Dykstra incredulously said:
I think 'rape and incest' is a buzzword. It's a bit of a throwaway line and not everybody who says that really understands what that means. How are you going to define that?How are you going to define "rape" or "incest"? Seriously? I don't know many people from South Dakota, but I would imagine that many South Dakotan women, however socially conservative, would be a bit offended by somebody who suggests that "rape" is simply an indefinable buzzword. Surely, that statement will re-emerge in the South Dakota press. We'll see if Dykstra has found definitions for "rape" and "incest" in the last year-and-a-half.
New Mexico: It seems as though Pajamas Pete Domenici is ready to cut and run, as he joins Senators Dick Lugar and George Voinovich who recently called for a new strategy in Iraq. I'm sure that Domenici's plunging polls with a re-election campaign looming had nothing to do with it. CQPolitics notes, "Domenici, whose Iraq votes have followed administration policy thus far, said he won’t support an immediate withdrawal of troops or a reduction in funding." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid responded (emphasis added by me):
Senator Domenici is correct to assess that the Administration’s war strategy is misguided. But we will not see a much-needed change of course in Iraq until Republicans like Senators Domenici, Lugar and Voinovich are willing to stand up to President Bush and his stubborn clinging to a failed policy - and more importantly, back up their words with action. Beginning with the Defense Authorization bill next week, Republicans will have the opportunity to not just say the right things on Iraq, but vote the right way too so that we can bring the responsible end to this war that the American people demand and deserve.Domenici can't just walk the walk, suggest that a new strategy in Iraq is needed but continue to vote for the status quo; he must talk the talk, actually put his vote where his mouth is and hold the Bush Administration accountable. Until then, Domenici's statement is just the empty rhetoric of a tired, old politician disingenuously posturing himself to placate his constituents.
Republican hypocrisy alert: Bob Geiger notes that "of the 25 Republican Senators still in the Senate and who voted that day to convict [President Bill] Clinton on both articles of impeachment, not one of them has issued a public statement on the Libby sentence commutation in the three days since it occurred. Not one." Among those 25 Republican hypocrites are: Thad Cochran, Larry Craig, Pete Domenici, Mike Enzi, Chuck Hagel, Jim Inhofe, Mitch McConnell, Pat Roberts, Jeff Sessions, and Gordon Smith. It never ceases to shock and awe me how comfortable Republican Senators are with putting partisanship above the rule of law.
The NRSC is running a poll to gauge Presidential preference. It appears that Fred Thompson is the frontrunner, followed by Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, and Mitt Romney. Does anyone else find it hilariously ironic that the NRSC, whose sole purpose is to support Republican Senators and Senate candidates, is running a poll that declares that the two sitting Senators among the 2008 Republican Presidential field, John McCain and Sam Brownback, are not highly preferred by NRSC poll respondents? The National Republican Senatorial Committee is essentially running a poll that says that Republican Senators are not highly preferred by Republicans.