Wednesday Night Round-Up
Should we be expecting more Republican scandals in the coming months?
From the latest Evans-Novak Political Report: "The guilty plea of Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) adds to the lengthening list of Republican criminals. The allegations of Craig's homosexual liaisons in public restrooms, still simply hearsay and inference, strike some Senate leaders as unsurprising. This recalls the same questions that arose following the Mark Foley scandal: Why did Republicans let him stick around and give him leadership roles if they knew? What other surprises are Republicans keeping in the closet? Craig's potential un-resignation causes more headaches, but the GOP Senate leadership signals it will flex its muscle to force Craig out as soon as possible."With fourteen months until Election Day 2008, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that we should expect at least a couple more Republican scandals, indictments and/or arrests before then.
Idaho: Larry Craig is now saying that if he can get his guilty plea rescinded before the end of the month, he won't resign his Senate seat. Even if he didn't resign, odds are that he would still retire at the end of his current term. And, as much as they want him gone from the media spotlight, it appears that Senate Republican leadership may be begrudgingly accepting that Craig may not retire. Further, if Craig does still resign at the end of September as planned, Republican Idaho Governor Butch Otter appears willing to appoint a placeholder who will not run for Senate in 2008 to serve out the remainder of the term rather than just give the seat to Senate wannabe Lt. Gov. Jim Risch:
While all of Idaho is assuming that Lt. Gov. Jim Risch would be at the top of the list, Otter is now considering the recommendation of John Foster, executive director of the Idaho Dems, to appoint a place-holder in office, someone not interested in running for the open seat in 2008.For those that need the whole mess cleanly nutshelled, Talking Points Memo offers another thorough video summary of the situation.
Otter says he considering that because of the very long line of Republicans who've approached him to say they want to be Senator
South Dakota: Senator Tim Johnson was warmly welcomed back to the floor of the Senate today, and he cast his first roll call vote in almost nine months. WaPo's Cillizza also chronicles "Tim Johnson's Good Week." Welcome back, Senator Johnson!
Virginia: A Mark Warner for Senate campaign may be getting closer:
Democratic former Governor Mark Warner will announce next week whether he will run for the seat of retiring U.S. Senator John Warner next year. Leaning toward a Senate bid is what I like to hear. One result of the John Warner retirement and possible Mark Warner entry is that CQPolitics has moved the 2008 Virginia Senate race from the "Republican Favored" category all the way over to the "No Clear Favorite" category.
Several longtime Warner advisers told The Associated Press today that Mark Warner was leaning toward a 2008 Senate race, but still had some interest in a 2009 bid for a second term as governor.
Alaska: Another day, another potential Ted Stevens earmark scandal. The phrase "appearance of impropriety" being applied to Stevens is getting awfully worn out, it's being used so much.
Kentucky: Just as Virginia was deemed more competitive by CQPolitics, they also determined Mitch McConnell to be more vulnerable, moving Kentucky from "Safe Republican" to "Republican Favored," noting Democratic state Attorney General Greg Stumbo's Senate exploratory committee.
Arizona: Popular but term-limited Governor Janet Napolitano has established a federal political action committee, which many see as an early step toward a 2010 Senate bid. Early polling has Governor Napolitano handily defeating Republican John McCain by double digits in a hypothetical 2010 Senate match-up, 47-36.
Ha ha! The Club for Growth was fined six figures by the FEC for not playing by the rules. It's spelled schadenfreude.
Republicans are getting older and more conservative as Republican brand appeal continues to erode, particularly among young voters, Hispanics, and independent voters.
When George W. Bush first entered the White House, the National Debt stood at less than $5.75 trillion. This week, we stand on the brink of seeing the National Debt cross the $9 trillion mark. In other words, the National Debt has gone up $3.25 trillion, more than 56%, on George W. Bush's watch of just over six-and-a-half years. Just another indicator of the failure of Bush's policies.