Sunday Morning Items
With Jon Kyl having locked up the number two spot in the Republican Senate leadership, replacing the resigning Trent Lott, the battle to replace Kyl in the number three spot appears to be a tight race between Kay Bailey Hutchison (who currently holds the number four spot), Richard Burr (who appears to have Trent Lott's support), and Lamar Alexander (who would be significantly embarrassed by a loss, given that he lost the number two spot to Lott at the end of 2006 in a tight race due to last minute defections). A loss by Alexander could serve as yet another illustration to Tennesseeans of Lamar's political impotence. And if his Senate Republican colleagues don't see fit to give Lamar the leadership role he wants, maybe the Vanderbilt Chancellorship might start looking more attractive to him.
Virginia: Delegate Chris Saxman announced that he would not challenge Jim Gilmore to a Republican Senate primary in 2008. Delegate Robert Marshall, however, left open the possibility. That said, Gilmore reportedly received a very unenthusiastic response at a recent confab of Virginia Republicans.
Mississippi: In the event of a Senate appointment, Bob Novak says that there is zero chance that GOP Gov. Haley Barbour would appoint a seat warmer. Instead, he will definitely appoint someone who intends to run to keep the seat.
Alaska: When asked by the Anchorage Daily News what lessons Lisa Murkowski learned following her sweetheart land deal scandal and the ensuing bad press, Murkowski almost predictably gave the lame answer of a corrupt public official:
Everything you do is always in the public spotlight. And, yet, I guess I kinda thought that there were some things that you could do as a family. You could buy a piece of property that your family wanted to buy and be allowed to do that without the level of scrutiny that we got.Gosh, I can only sympathize with Murkowski as to how all that undue scrutiny of public officials prevented her from keeping her illegal gift of a sweetheart land deal "as a family." Awwwww. (HT: TPM)
Here's the latest Republican rationalization of the 2008 Senate picture, as a Republican strategist tries to convince
himself us that the huge rash of Senate Republican retirements is actually a good thing for the GOP:
"In some cases, having a new person run instead of a long-term incumbent is better," Republican strategist Rich Galen said. "Boosting the party's gene pool is a pretty healthy thing. You will have people with new and different ideas, as opposed to 20- or 25-year incumbents who have become captive of the House and Senate and forgot why they're there."Yeah, I'm sure that's exactly what they were thinking when they were trying to keep Senators like Thad Cochran and Lamar Alexander from retiring.