Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ted Stevens' Disastrous Editorial Board and Other News

  • Alaska: Ted Stevens sat down for an editorial board with the Anchorage Daily News. I'm still wincing minutes after reading it. Highlights include Stevens evidencing that he doesn't know the difference between Sunnis and Shiites when he suggests al Qaeda taking over Iraq:

    Q. Isn't al-Qaida a Sunni organization in a Shiite country? Are you suggesting the Sunnis are going to end up back in charge of Iraq?

    A. I'm not exactly certain who's going to be in charge of Iraq. I don't know if we pull out. And, by the way, I don't think it's necessarily a Sunni organization.
    Ummm, yeah, al Qaeda is a Sunni organization, Teddy Tubes. Then, Stevens contradicts himself in explaining why we do or don't simply have more troops to send to Iraq (emphasis added by me):

    Q. There's some suggestion that we don't have enough troops -- we've used up too many troops to stay there.

    A. We have a volunteer military. ... You could expand them ... The volunteers are there. ... The question is, how big a military do you want?

    The joint command wants more people. They want to increase. It remains to be seen whether we'll do that.

    The people who make these statements about, oh you could do it, just send more people -- where are you going to get them? We're sending people right here from this state over there for the third time. You know why? There's no one else to send.
    So are the volunteer troops there or not? Do you have any idea what you're talking about? Stevens then employs some circular logic in explaining the justification for war:

    Q. Were you surprised at the amount of time it's taken to patch back Iraq, with the number of people we had to put Iraq back together? Given that we only had that number of men to go, was it a good call to go?

    A. There was no alternative but to go. ... Would you rather see Saddam Hussein still there, is that what you're telling me?

    Q. Well, I don't think we've got a much better situation now. We've got people on their third rotation, we've got near anarchy there. You're saying we can't get out now. And the threat from Saddam was so imminent . ...

    A. I'm saying we can't get out now because of developments since the war. You know, al-Qaida wasn't there when we started. The money for that insurgency wasn't there until we started. That's an aftermath of the militant, Islamic terrorist world.
    So we had to go because things were bad with Saddam, but we have to stay because things are worse without Saddam because, during the Bush Administration's poor execution of the Iraq War, al Qaeda was able to set up camp in Iraq. Stevens then rambles incoherently and blames the editors of the Anchorage Daily News for his travails:

    Q. OK. What about your ability to be effective in Congress?

    A. What about it? You're destroying it. More people are repeating what you're writing in your paper than anything else in the country. This paper has caused me more difficulty, and I've told you that before, than anything else. You've created me as the senator-for-life. You've been hanging me weekly.

    You read any paper, the information -- most of it is not true -- started right here. And your guys just yesterday, they taunt me. They taunt me with statements that really no respectable reporter would ask a senator. It was already said I'm not going to answer your questions. They say, don't you have any concerns for your own integrity? Don't you have any conscience? That's what your reporters do to me. ...

    I've spent hours here with you here in the past, and I've never seen any result of it at all. ... This paper has done nothing but try to assassinate me.
    Is it safe to say yet that Ted Stevens is completely losing his mind?

  • Maine: In her flailing harangue against bloggers, Susan Collins accidentally (or intentionally?) lets slip a sexist, even misogynistic, slur. I'm not joking. Susan Collins demeaned a female blogger simply for speaking her mind. Heckuva role model you are, Susan.

  • Kentucky: Mitch McConnell's lame slurs against Democrats are getting a bit esoteric. McConnell takes a shot at Democrats for relying too heavily on "Old Europe" for policy ideas. I know! That whole habeas corpus fad has totally run its course.

  • If you're a Republican Senator up for re-election in 2008 and continuing to enable Bush's status quo on Iraq, you may face a dearth of support on Election Day. Just giving you a heads up.

  • It must be pretty demoralizing to the NRSC to see the steady stream of press lauding the Democrats' fundraising prowess and abasing their markedly reduced fundraising capacity.

  • Evans-Novak says that a small, yet-unnamed group of disenchanted Republican Senators are considering going public with their discontent with GOP leadership. Good times.

  • If you like charts, you may enjoy this rare mid-week post from the Guru on MyDD looking at the state of the 2008 Senate races featuring Democratic incumbents.


    Blogger The Sleep said...

    Re: Evans-Novak. I think it was Josh Marshall who said no one has ever lost money betting against congressional Republicans breaking with the President and the leadership in any meaningful public way. I think I'll keep my chips on "Restive Republicans decide to give President/leadership till [insert this week's latest deadline for progress on Iraq/meaningful reform at the Justice Department/progress on other domestic policy priorities/etc etc"

    12:00 AM, August 16, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    First, can someone point out the alleged slur that Collins (or more accurately, her Internet director and not the Senator herself) made? I've read the link three times and still can't find it.

    As for Al Qaeda being a "Sunni organization", that's like claiming the KKK is a "Christian organization". Al Qaeda's goals isn't to see a Sunni victory in Iraq, which is why they've targeted both Sunni and Shi'a in an attempt to increase sectarian violence. They also have a number of foreign nationals and secularists in their ranks, which muddle any claim to one faction or another.

    9:20 AM, August 16, 2007  
    Blogger Johnny C said...

    Va every now and then you make some valid points. Trying to pretend that dismissing a blog as a "foul mouthed fem-blog" is not sexist is not one of them. The language is clear: it is not a blog but a fem-blog that is something less deserving of respect because it is produced by women. Please don't pretend you can't grasp that.

    10:07 AM, August 16, 2007  
    Blogger Anthony_Distler said...

    Ted Stevens sounds like a crazy person. I think we should convince Mike Gravel to drop out of the presidental race and run for senate in Alaska. Can you just PICTURE those debates?!

    10:46 AM, August 16, 2007  
    Blogger Matthew Worner said...

    The Guru is right on target... Stevens is pretty close to, but not quite as incapacitated, as John "Weekend at Burnie's" Warner... this is one of the best election blogs on that 'Net... it rivals The Fix... good work.

    11:17 AM, August 16, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Johnny, I honestly didn't see where the slur was. Thanks for pointing it out. Now that I've seen it, I think people are being intentionally over-sensative, but whatever.

    Matthew Worner, this is now the second time I've seen you refer to John Warner as senile. Can you please explain your basis for this type of slander? You are literally the first person I've ever encountered who is claiming this, and you seem quite zealous about driving the point home.

    12:26 PM, August 16, 2007  
    Blogger jak said...

    I have the utmost respect for John Warner and his service to this country. He's one of the last of a dying breed - the thoughtful Republican - who places principle, integrity, and honor above blind faith, venality, and ideology. (va blogger, are you listening?)

    John Warner retains one of the crispest and sharpest minds in the Senate, not unlike Sen. Byrd, and he's one of the few Republicans whom I can still stomach listening to these days. In all fairness, he's infinitely less senile than Sens. Bunning, Domenici, and Stevens. He lends a mix of gentility and gravitas to an increasingly rancorous and uncivil Senate. Despite my intense disagreement with his politics, I fully recognize that his departure from public service is a loss for the Senate and indeed the entire country.

    That said, he does represent yet another Republican party-line vote in favor of Bush's "stay-the-course, fuck-the-middle-class" policies that have bankrupted and demoralized the nation. Sen. Mark Warner would be an improvement, but wouldn't that all Republicans were like John?

    1:40 PM, August 16, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Well said, jak.

    1:55 PM, August 16, 2007  
    Blogger Johnny C said...

    Va Blogger I think it is very hard to defend Lance on this one and I really don't think that people are being overly sensitive. Anyone, who dismissed the content of a blog authored by a black person as simply a "afro-blog" to imply that the content is inherently less worthy than a real blog would be rightly condemened.

    At the least Lance made an offensive and extremely poor choice of words: if that is all it is he should have no trouble apologizing. At the worst he reveals himself to be a sexist. I do not believe the response to such an offensive post should simply be dismissed as intentionally over sensitive. No this is not the worst thing anyone has ever posted but it still is worthy of comment.

    Lastly, let me just say that you are correct to point out that the statement was made by Collin's internet director and not by the Senator. However, the Senator employs a hothead given to such offensive rants at her own risk and could arguably be seen to endorse the statement by not making a comment on it.

    3:23 PM, August 16, 2007  
    Blogger Matthew Worner said...

    VA Blogger, There are many, many videos of John Warner falling asleep during hearings (do you want me to find these?)... we need a Senator in Virginia who won't fall asleep for the people of Virginia... now, I know you're going to say that "falling asleep" is not the same is incapacitated... but I believe it's the first step for someone his age... maybe he's worried that he will be a punchline on the Daily Show... which could be why he has literally shut down his fundraising apparatus... I'm sure he doesn't want to risk these types of questions if he does indeed run again... because these questions will come up... you are in denial if you think the questions will not... it would be a good idea if he had prepared answers to these questions sooner rather than later...

    3:37 PM, August 16, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Johnny, I'm not defending Lance. I think the outrage that people are exhibiting (especially trying to say that Collins doesn't think women should be able to speak in public) is a bit manufactured, but yes, there is no excuse for it.

    Matthew Worner, I refer you to Jak's post above. Senator Warner is one of the most esteemed and premiere statesmen in this country, and the day John Warner leaves the Senate, no matter who his replacement is, will be a sad day for Virginia and for the U.S. Your pathetic attempts to slander him aside, if John Warner runs for re-election, you better be prepared to throw more at him than that, especially to people who live in Virginia and who respect John Warner for the institution that he is.

    3:45 PM, August 16, 2007  
    Blogger Matthew Worner said...

    VA Blogger, John Warner = George W. Bush...

    4:39 PM, August 16, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Actually, Matthew, George W. Bush = George W. Bush, and John Warner = John Warner.

    4:45 PM, August 16, 2007  
    Blogger Matthew Worner said...

    "John McCain, John Warner and Lindsey Graham say it's okay for foreign governments to nearly drown US troops"

    4:46 PM, August 16, 2007  
    Blogger Peter said...


    Instead of coming on here to disagree with every point we and the Guru make, why don't you go out there and actually try and save some of these fools from getting booted out of Congress?

    Yours is the party of child molesters, sexual deviants, racists, and sexists. Your party is in shambles with a leader experiencing Nixonian approval ratings, not to mention he has effectively created the strongest grassroots desire for change in this country since the Vietnam War.

    All I can say is, keep it up, and there will be even more of us for you to gripe about in 2008 ;)

    3:55 PM, August 17, 2007  

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