Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

Keeping a close eye on developments in the 2008 U.S. Senate races

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Thursday Tidbits

  • Maine: Not only is Susan Collins the only member of the Maine Congressional delegation (Olympia Snowe included) that does not think that Iraq is the top priority of Mainers, but now, as Collins Watch points out, "the word 'Iraq' cannot be found in Sen. Collins' eNewsletter dated June 22, 2007." Something tells me that Susan Collins is hoping that Mainers simply forget about Iraq before Election Day 2008.

  • Texas: State Representative Rick Noriega offers a statement on his intent to form a Senate exploratory committee, through the prism of a Fourth of July call to duty. If there is one thing Representative Noriega knows, it's how to answer a call to duty in public service.

  • Kentucky: Ditch Mitch KY offers footage of Kentuckyians exercising their right to protest on the Fourth of July near the home of Senate Republican Leader and Senior Bush Enabler Mitch McConnell.

  • George W. Bush is just one percentage point behind Richard Nixon for the title of most unfavorably viewed President ever. (Although, the poll combines both "somewhat unfavorable" and "very unfavorable" to determine total unfavorability - and George W. Bush's "very unfavorable" crushes Nixon's 40% to 25%.)


    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    The Senate hasn't done anything concerning Iraq in several weeks. Why would Collins' newsletter about her job as a Senator include an issue that the Senate hasn't addressed in the span that the newsletter was released for?

    I'll bet you that a Collins newsletter from March or earlier of this year didn't talk about immigration. I guess she doesn't consider immigration to be an issue.

    Do you ever stop and objectively think about how far some of these "attacks" are stretching? Or, as Dave from SSP admitted, are you just using any possible partisan attack you can think of, regardless of merit?

    11:34 AM, July 05, 2007  
    Blogger Scott said...

    VA Blogger - Are you serious? It's consistently rated in public opinion polls as the #1 issue in the country, and in those polls around 2/3's of the country says it doesn't like the way the war is being handled.

    How is it a partisan attack to suggest that the senator might want to address the #1 issue in the land? To not do so is ... well hardly responding to the people's wishes, which you'd think a senator would want to do.

    12:15 PM, July 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Conveinently, there's no link to the Senator's newsletter provided, so I can't check it for myself. However, if the newsletter is (as most newsletters are) a recap of events that have happened in the last several weeks, then why would something which the Senate hasn't approached make its pages?

    12:38 PM, July 05, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Because, while the Senate may not have formally voted on Iraq-related issues in the last few weeks, it is still (as Olympia Snowe seems to think) the top issue on the minds of Mainers. And Susan Collins, at the moment, represents Maine in the Senate. So Susan Collins might just want to address the top issue on the minds of her constituents. You see, va blogger, one aspect of leadership is raising an issue even when it's not prominent. In Collins' case, however, it's not that Iraq isn't prominent, it's just not being voted on at the moment. But with increasing violence in Iraq and increasing pessimism about Iraq, you'd think a Senator might want to demonstrate a little wherewithal and address the issue with her constituents. Susan Collins thinks otherwise - that it's not worth mentioning in her eNewsletter to constituents. I think that's awfully suspect, like she's trying her best to sweep Iraq under the rug for as long as she can when she can. So I raise the point. It's not an "attack" - it's an "observation." I'm having trouble understanding how you don't see the difference, va blogger.

    12:56 PM, July 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    You see it difficult how I interpret your decidedly negative observation about Senator Collins while you're doing everything you can to oust her out of office as an attack? Don't pull the "I'm only making observations" card--its painfully obvious what your angle is in every single piece. That's why your credibility is so low--because you attack Republicans with the same ferocity on little, inconsequential nothings of a story as you do legitimate complaints.

    Maybe Susan Collin's newsletter is meant to inform voters what's happening in the Senate, not to be a national primer on current events. Sounds reasonable, given that any Maine voter who is conscientious enough to seek out her newsletter would undoubtedly have access to regular national and international news.

    If you think that Susan Collins should make her E-newsletter something more than that, then perhaps you should write her a letter saying as such; or better yet, go to Washington D.C. and join her staff as a press aide, and lobby for an expansion of the e-newsletter to include topics even when the Senate isn't doing anything about them.

    Mostly, though, you seem really disingenuous when you try to paint this as a deliberate attempt to "hide" or run from any discussion on the Iraq War. These newsletters are produced by her staff; its not like Collins herself pours through it with a black Sharpie, eliminating anything that she thinks shouldn't be talked about. To be frank, ignoring her voting record and public statements about Iraq, and instead focusing on something as insiginficant as an e-newsletter, is one of the most dishonest tactics you've displayed thus far. There's absolutely no chance you actually believe the shit you're saying: that Collins is actively doing everything she can to not make Iraq the issue. So why post it at all?

    1:14 PM, July 05, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Huh? I kind of lost track of everything you were trying to communicate in that last unnecessarily obscene rant.

    What don't I believe, according to you? What's a dishonest tactic? Pointing out that even Collins' GOP Senate colleague from Maine considers Iraq to be Mainers' top concern, but Collins doesn't; and then, even with Iraq getting worse, Collins makes no mention of it in her newsletter to her constituents? But that's all true. The facts are correct, and my observations are genuine.

    I don't get what you're complaining about here. Are you complaining that my assessment of Collins is negative? It is. One of the many reasons it is negative is that she hasn't, in my opinion, done enough to bring Bush's Iraq War to an end. Her ignoring the issue just feeds into that. And I haven't ignored her public statements and voting record on Iraq - it has been very muddled and ultimately enabling of the status quo, which is another problem I have with her. If you like the status quo, then we simply disagree here. Though, whether or not it's her intent, it is my belief, based on all of these facts, that she is trying to avoid the Iraq issue as much as possible. I don't know what to tell you if that bothers you. Maybe you should e-mail Collins' office and suggest they be more proactive on Iraq.

    2:43 PM, July 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    It wasn't a rant. I can break it down into smaller words for you if you had trouble keeping up with me.

    You simply cannot believe that the lack of a mention of Iraq in her e-newsletter was a concious decision on the part of Senator Collins, let alone believe that the purpose of such a decision was to "sweep Iraq under the rug". Its absolutely absurd. Constituent newsletters are prepared by press aides, and they're given a pretty precise guideline on what goes in it: primarily, recent action in the Senate, recent local developments in Congress, and upcoming events with the Senator. They're meant to be an update on what the Senator is doing, not an outlet for world news.

    You've pointed out Collins earlier quote about Iraq being a top issue. That is something that she said and can be quoted on, and is on the public record. This isn't about that statement, its about the incredible stretch of the imagination it takes to think that she's trying to avoid Iraq as an issue, based on what isn't in a constituent e-newsletter. The fact that it is not in there is correct; the assertion that you make is no less than preposterous, and is incredibly dishonest. You can tell the difference between facts and conclusions you reach from facts, right?

    And that's what I'm complaining about here, S2G. You're willing to pick up on the most minute, un-newsworthy item, which is based on a complete lack of understanding of the purpose of Collins' newsletter, and extrapolate great and overriding truths about her position on a major public policy issue. The fact that you consider that a credible attack at all diminishes any legitimate complaint you may have about her, because it shows that you don't really care about the merits of the attacks you use against her, as long as it contributes to her defeat.

    3:30 PM, July 05, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    It is relatively minute. So what? We can't raise a point that isn't terribly obvious to everybody? Does it make you think too much?

    Among the purposes of blogs are to give an outlet to discuss things that are not discussed enough in the mainstream media and to highlight events that the mainstream media might not consider newsworthy, even though others might.

    You have it backwards when you say "You're willing to pick up on the most minute, un-newsworthy item, which is based on a complete lack of understanding of the purpose of Collins' newsletter, and extrapolate great and overriding truths about her position on a major public policy issue."

    I'm not extrapolating from Collins' omission of Iraq in her newsletter that there is some overriding truth that she is trying to avoid Iraq as much as possible. I already believe, based on her muddled voting and rhetoric, that she is trying to avoid Iraq as much as possible. And her omission of any mention of Iraq from her newsletter, despite the issue's overwhelming salience, feeds into that belief, as does her disagreement with Olympia Snowe and Tom Allen that Iraq is Mainers' top concern. I'm not creating a narrative based on this one action. Rather, just the opposite - this one action (and many others) feed into this already-existing, larger narrative.

    4:03 PM, July 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    The "point" you're raising is incredibly specious, though, and relies exclusively on not knowing the purpose of a constitutent newsletter.

    The fact that you already believe that she is avoiding Iraq--that is, the fact that you just confirmed that you will approach any situation involving Senator Collins through a biased and skewed lens, and are therefore stretching the truth to neatly "fit" your pre-ordained conclusion--just shows even more how worthless of a news item this is, and how non-credible of a source for news you've become. The facts that you report are fine; the conclusions that you reach are absurd at best, and utterly dishonest at worst. And you just proved it.

    4:08 PM, July 05, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    I really don't know why I'm bothering to reply to this drivel, but I'll give you one more.

    Yeah, I think Collins is dodging Iraq based on her already muddled voting and rhetoric. It's not some random "pre-ordained conclusion" or "skewed lens" or any other ridiculous phrase you can come up with to attack the messenger since you can't argue with the factuality of the message - it's an established narrative, established by Susan Collins' own votes and rhetoric. I have never put words in her mouth. She's the one who disagreed with Olympia Snowe and Tom Allen regarding the importance of Iraq in the minds of Mainers. Her voting record on Iraq is hers. I didn't cast votes for her. She established this narrative, and her actions and inactions only serve to feed into that narrative. I'm entirely a bystander to the workings of Susan Collins' mind.

    I can only make conclusions based on her votes and her rhetoric and her actions or inactions. You can keep howling at the moon because you disagree with my conclusions. You can idiotically call my conclusion "dishonest" simply because you disagree with it. But none of that lends you the slightest bit of credence.

    I'm done with you on this string. Feel free to have the last word and call something "dishonest" simply because you disagree with it.

    4:58 PM, July 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    5:17 PM, July 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Its not a simple disagreement, which is why you've evaded my point time and time and time again.

    It is a fact that her latest newsletter doesn't mention the word "Iraq".

    To a rational and objective observer, what could we conclude about this? Probably that her newsletter covers recent Senate happenings, and since Iraq hasn't been an issue in the Senate for quite some time now, there was no reason to put it in the newsletter.

    To an irrational and/or biased observer, you concluded that she is clearly trying to sweep Iraq underneath the rug and avoid talking about the issue.

    That's what happens when you twist facts to fit into a pre-ordained conclusion. And by "pre-ordained conclusion", I mean that you couldn't care less the real reason why there was no mention of Iraq. You found a nifty way of explaining it, no matter how dishonest that explanation is.

    Which is why I stated in the post before mine:

    The fact that it is not in there is correct; the assertion that you make is no less than preposterous, and is incredibly dishonest. You can tell the difference between facts and conclusions you reach from facts, right?

    In yet another effort to not answer a point I raise, you conveinently ignored this part. Then you even more conveinently dismissed yourself from the thread.

    The reason why it is dishonest is because you know very little or nothing about constitutent newsletters. They're not written by the Senators themselves. As hard as this may be to believe, Senators have entire staffs dedicated towards working the press, including writing press releases and creating these newsletters. To believe that Collins herself handed out an ultimatum stating that "Iraq must not be talked about" is purely insane. Therefore, your conclusion that this is proof she's trying to avoid talking about Iraq cannot possibly be correct. In order to believe your conclusion, you must either be a) ignorant, or 2) dishonest. Either way, its plainly wrong.

    5:19 PM, July 05, 2007  

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