Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Saturday Rundown

  • These are George W. Bush's advisors: General David Petraeus declares that "success" in Iraq would require a decade-long military presence; and, "War Czar" Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute informs us that a military draft "has always been an option on the table." I'm sure that Republicans running for Senate and House seats will be thrilled when their constituents hear that.

  • Oregon: It seems pretty clear that Gordon Smith's support for Bush's Iraq War has not been tied to personal convictions or a belief in what is in America's and Oregon's best interests; but, rather, Smith's support for Bush's Iraq War has been tied simply to public support for the war. When the war is popular, Smith is all for it. When the war is unpopular, Smith gets skeptical. That would be the exact opposite of leadership. Also, Smith gleefully admits how unaware he is to the travails of some Oregonians:

    "When a USDA survey (in 2002) found that Oregon had the highest hunger rate in the nation, I was thunderstruck," Smith told a crowd of about 100 people. "I could hardly believe it was the case that in a place like Oregon, the Eden in which we live, that there were people who were going hungry."
    In 2002, Smith had already been a Senator for over half a decade! Yet he was blissfully unaware that his state had the highest hunger rate in the nation. I suppose when a problem affects people that are unable to max out their contributions to his political campaigns, Gordon Smith doesn't pay close attention to their problems. At least, that's what Gordon Smith himself appears to be saying.

  • Maine: Good for the media in Maine to finally be highlighting the difference in Susan Collins' and Olympia Snowe's clearly different positions on Iraq:

    By contrast, several people on Thursday who thanked Snowe for her war stand quickly added that they want Maine's other senator, Republican Susan Collins, to either join Snowe in calling for a withdrawal of troops or lose her seat next year. Collins is being challenged for re-election in 2008 by Democratic Rep. Tom Allen, who opposes the war.
    It would be nice if that paragraph was a little higher up in the article, but it's a start. Make no mistake, Collins will do everything she can to muddy the difference between her position and Snowe's and try to continue basking in Snowe's reflected popularity. But for all of Collins' rhetoric about the need for a change in Iraq, she continues to vote the way George W. Bush wants her to. If you live in Maine, don't be shy about writing letters to the editor of your local paper discussing the difference in positions between the Bush-Collins "stay the course" stance and the Snowe-Tom Allen "bring the troops home safely" stance.

  • Virginia: Former Governor and now-former Presidential candidate Jim Gilmore is considering a 2008 Senate bid if/when John Warner retires. Tom Davis must be less than thrilled about this. Given how poorly regarded Gilmore's term as Governor was, I wouldn't terribly mind his entry into the race.

  • Louisiana: For anybody who may be confused, Daily Kingfish clarifies what currently-Democratic Treasurer John N. Kennedy running for re-election in 2007 means (or doesn't mean) for a 2008 Senate challenge to Senator Mary Landrieu.

  • Idaho: Larry Craig is one frighteningly Orwellian word-parser (watch both YouTube clips!).

  • Texas: Democrats in Texas are getting aggressive. John Cornyn is taking it on the chin for his votes against health care for sick children and against ethics reform legislation. (HT: Stop Cornyn)

  • New Jersey: With the withdrawal from the 2008 Republican Senate primary, and subsequent endorsement, of conservative assemblyman Michael Doherty, assemblyman Joe Pennacchio sounds like he is moving closer to formally announcing a bid. (HT: Blue Jersey) PoliticsNJ profiles the two likely Republican combatants in the primary: Pennacchio and Anne Evans Estabrook. The profile notes that the Assembly's Republican whip Jon Bramnick has not ruled out a bid.

  • Kentucky: A bad omen for Mitch McConnell? Republican voter registration in Kentucky is at its lowest level in nearly a decade. Also, a movement has arisen to draft Lieutenant Colonel and Democrat Andrew Horne to enter the 2008 Senate race. Lt. Col. Horne has been suggested as a possible candidate.

  • How long until "Republicans for None of the Above" has its own PAC?

  • Isn't it a little, what's the word?, unpatriotic (and, well, criminal, too?) to leak classified information? I only ask because Republican elected officials are getting awfully comfortable doing just that lately.

  • Kos and SusanG of Daily Kos have a terrific op-ed in the Washington Post today on "How We Won the Mainstream." Look for Markos to debate Harold Ford tomorrow on Meet the Press regarding the future of the Democratic Party. Should be very interesting.


    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    The last time I checked, Oregon had two Senators. If you're blasting Gordon Smith for not knowing the status of his state until a survey in 2002 told him so, wouldn't Ron Wyden be guilty of the same exact charge?

    6:40 PM, August 11, 2007  
    Blogger Josh said...

    VA Blogger,

    You seem to have a fascination with posting contrary (and usually bizarre) things everywhere the Guru goes.

    "When a USDA survey (in 2002) found that Oregon had the highest hunger rate in the nation, I was thunderstruck," Smith told a crowd of about 100 people. "I could hardly believe it was the case that in a place like Oregon, the Eden in which we live, that there were people who were going hungry."


    8:38 PM, August 11, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Saying I follow him whereever he goes is quite an overstatement, don't you think? I respond to only about a third of the posts on this blog, and only on a handful of occasions have we argued elsewhere.

    At any rate, here are the possible options concerning Oregon:


    1) Ron Wyden knew about the conditions well before the USDA survey, and did nothing about it and told no one about it, which is why the USDA found such conditions later in 2002.


    2) Ron Wyden found out at the same time Gordon Smith did--when the USDA released their survey--and therefore is guilty of whatever you want to ridiculously accuse Gordon Smith of.

    The truth is, as S2G would tell you if he ever allowed himself to be honest at least once on this blog, is that it has nothing to do with Smith's connection to his constituents, and that its, at best, a non-story cheap shot at Smith. The bitch of the situation is that there's no way to blame Smith without blaming Wyden as well, which is fine by me because I don't think either should be blamed.

    9:28 PM, August 11, 2007  
    Blogger Jake said...

    VA blogger,

    Why do you bother? Don't you get that most of us who read this do it because we appreciate the honest insights here? Do you really think anyone is going to buy your nonsense?

    12:11 AM, August 12, 2007  
    Blogger jak said...

    va blogger - I'm not usually apt to criticize your magnificent logic, but it should be observed here that you are presenting a false dichotomy with respect to Smith and Wyden's knowledge of Oregon's hunger rates. A third possibility exists: That Wyden was aware of the statistic, made some effort to remedy the situation, and presumably failed (as most would concede that solving hunger is probably beyond the capacity of any one man). Regardless, the evidence is insufficient to conclude that Wyden is "equally" guilty, which is exactly what you've done.

    Otherwise, while I agree that this particular indictment against Smith is rather frivolous, S2G has deftly highlighted a troubling pattern of behavior which strongly suggests that Senator Smith is out of touch with his constituents. Oregon is, after all, arguably the *most* liberal state with a Republican Senate incumbent up for re-election in 2008.

    P.S. I have no relation to jake.

    1:01 AM, August 12, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Thank you for agreeing that the complaint is frivolous. However, I imagine if he refrained from posting frivolous comments, his blog would be about half the size it currently is.

    Even if the third option is accurate (which, given Wyden and Smith's close working relationship, I don't know why they wouldn't be in communication about this issue), then Wyden's failure still deserves to be talked about, or at the very least, shows that there's little Gordon Smith could have done before the USDA survey.

    However, the fact that we're here guessing means that there is a possibility that the other two options are accurate, and that at least deserves a mention about Wyden's responsbility IF S2G was interested in being honest about the issue. A brief look at the content of this blog suggests that clearly isn't the case.

    Jake, are you suggesting I shouldn't raise valid criticism when I see it? If you disagree with something that I say, I'd love to hear it. Otherwise, "interupting a circle-jerk" isn't really a valid complaint in my book. Let me just say, however, that there is no such thing as an honest insight on this blog.

    Do you really believe that Republican Senators in D.C. have an agenda to keep sick kids sick, as S2G so frequently commented? Of course not; no rational person would believe that. You may find that kind of language in a loaded, one-sided special interest attack ad on an incumbent Senator near Election Day, and it is in that style (loaded, one-sided) that S2G presents just about every piece of "news" on this site. That may be "insightful" for somebody like you who cheers for everyone with a (D) next to their name and jeers anyone with an (R) next to theirs, but calling it "honest" is a farce.

    8:32 AM, August 12, 2007  
    Blogger Anthony_Distler said...

    I have to give VA Blogger the points here (even though, as a Democrat, I also like to rip into the Republican senators). There's no way one senator knew about this and the other didn't. Smith may be out of touch with the people of Oregon, but I don't think this is part of it.

    11:17 AM, August 12, 2007  
    Blogger Josh said...

    Okay, let me see if I can explain what I think is the case here:

    1) Too many people go hungry each day.
    2) Democrats, like Ron Wyden, are aware of this and try to do something about it.
    3) Republicans, or at least Gordon Smith, are too busy focused on cutting taxes on the rich, preventing the horrors of letting same-sex couples in committed relationships have their unions recognized legally, and on corporate profits to really pay much attention to those at the bottom (or if they, on some level do "know" it doesn't really sink in).
    4) Given their voting records on programs that will help those with the least versus those where the most, there is every reason to believe that Ron Wyden has a stronger grasp of the realities of poverty and hunger than does Smith.

    Seems pretty simple to me.

    And the fact that VA Blogger replies to A THIRD of the posts the Guru makes -- always with naysaying and usually with poorly reasoned naysing -- would lead me to believe you either 1) have it in for the Guru and feel the need to dispute EVERYTHING he or she says... or 2) you have a crush on the Guru.

    3:40 PM, August 12, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Josh, can you point to any evidence backing up numbers 2, 3, and 4, or is that just based on the sacrosant belief that all Republicans are evil and all Democrats are righteous?

    As for my responses, I think a more reasonable explanation would be that I make comments here when I disagree with them. I'm not sure why you're so determined to make it into something else.

    7:58 PM, August 12, 2007  

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