Chatting With The Fix
I chatted online yesterday for the daily "Post Politics Hour" on washingtonpost.com. There were more questions submitted than my hunt-and-peck typing could get to, so I plucked out a few of the best leftovers and answered them below. Enjoy!
Boston: Isn't the GOP House shooting itself in the foot by putting up either Blunt or Boehner? As Shadegg himself said on FOX News, after the host detailed Blunt and Boehner's questionable dealings, (in an uncharacteristically honest moment for any politician) "I think my record, the level of taint is dramatically different than either of them."
The Fix: This question points to the interesting conundrum of House GOP leadership elections. In order to be considered truly viable, a lawmaker needs to have connections throughout Washington -- including on the K Street lobbying corridor. Lobbyists donate and help raise the dollars that fund the leadership PACs run by many senior lawmakers; those dollars are then doled out to vulnerable incumbents and up and coming candidates. Members of Congress who don't play that game find it hard to drum up support from their colleagues when these leadership slots come open. So Shadegg is right that he has less of a lobbyist "taint" than either Blunt or Boehner, but that also means he isn't likely to seriously challenge the two of them in next month's race.
Alexandria, Va.: Plenty of liberals think Hillary is a hack, a traitor to progressives for her "triangulation." Don't think liberals will get revved up for her the way so many will go all-out to stop her.
The Fix: There was a huge response to my "Parsing the Polls" post yesterday taking a look at whether Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) can win the presidency in 2008. There's no question that there is unhappiness toward Clinton among the Democratic Party's most liberal activists over her seeming slide to the center. Because of that there seems to be a slot to Clinton's left for an anti-Hillary candidate to emerge. That candidate could be Al Gore, John Edwards, Russ Feingold or someone else yet to emerge. Beating Clinton in a Democratic primary remains a difficult proposition given what is likely to be a massive fundraising edge and her status as the only woman in the field.
Indianapolis, Ind.: Wouldn't just a photo with Abramoff derail any chance of an incumbent being re-elected?
The Fix: I don't think so. The politicians who are in real trouble in connection with Abramoff are those that not just took money from him or had their picture taken with him but also had a former staffer closely aligned with the disgraced lobbyist or look to have performed a quid pro quo for the campaign cash. We'll see how Abramoff plays out in November but for now I don't think simply standing next to him means an incumbent will lose.
January 26, 2006; 12:47 PM ET
Categories: Fix Notes
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