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Friday Governors Line

Politics is a funny business. A year ago Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R-Ky.) looked like he might not even get the chance to run for a second term as a series of scandals battered his Administration. Last month he won a three-way Republican primary with 50 percent of the vote to claim his party's nomination in the fall.

Fletcher's impressive win was matched by former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear who avoided an expected runoff by securing 41 percent of the vote.

In spite of Fletcher's surprisingly strong showing, Beshear should be considered the fall frontrunner. But, as Fletcher's back-from-the-dead win in the primary reveals, the powers of incumbency should not be underestimated.

With the primary out of the way does Kentucky move up to the number one spot on the Line? Scroll down for the answer. And remember the number one ranked race is the most likely to change parties.

To the Line!

5. Washington (2008): Former state Sen. Dino Rossi (R) is slowly emerging back into the public eye after his incredibly narrow loss to Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) in 2004. Rossi has spent more time on policy than politics since that defeat -- the latest example being his "Washington Idea Bank" where he is soliciting advice from residents about how to address the state's problems. But, Rossi has set December as his deadline for an expected decision, a late date in a race where Gregoire has already stockpiled more than $1.5 million. Rossi would be a formidable candidate if he runs (and we think he will) but much has changed since 2004, most notably the political environment that now strongly favors Democrats. (Previous ranking: 5)

4. Indiana (2008): It looks more and more like Democrats are headed for a contested primary between architect Jim Schellinger, who's already in the race, and former Rep. Jill Long Thompson, who is giving every indication she plans to get in. Despite the prospect of a primary, Democrats remain confident of their chances against Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) who has struggled to recover from his decision to privatize the Indiana Toll Road last year. Indiana turned away from its increasing Republican tendencies in 2006, handing defeats to three sitting GOP House Members. Were those gains a temporary blip or a sign of a changing political nature? (Previous ranking: 4)

3. Missouri (2008): You'd be hard-pressed to find a high-profile issue on which Gov. Matt Blunt (R) and state Attorney General Jay Nixon (D) agree. The duo's latest clash came over a higher education plan that Blunt insisted would expand facilities and opportunities at colleges and universities in the state and that Nixon argued would make low-cost tuition loans more rare. The policy differences between Nixon and Blunt provide Missouri voters with a clear choice next fall. Much depends on whether Nixon can recreate Sen. Claire McCaskill's (D-Mo.) successful rural outreach program against Blunt who hails from outstate Missouri. (Previous ranking: 3)

2. Kentucky (2007): The battle lines for the general election fight between Fletcher and Beshear are already set. Beshear will work to make the contest a referendum on Fletcher and the ethical problems in his administration, while Fletcher will continue to cast himself as a victim of a political witch hunt and paint Beshear as both yesterday's news (Beshear ran for governor in 1987 and Senate in 1996) and too liberal for the state. It's hard to see Fletcher winning over large numbers of voters outside of the Republican base who made sure he was their party's nominee. The race is Beshear's to lose. (Previous ranking: 2)

1. Louisiana (2007): Democrats insist things aren't as bad for their party in Louisiana as they at first appear. But Rep. Bobby Jindal (R) continues to look like a juggernaut, while the "leading" Democratic candidate -- state Sen. Walter Boasso -- was a Republican until a month ago. Democrats have started to publicly refer to Jindal by his given name -- Piyush -- a tactic likely aimed at reminding voters that Jindal is of Indian descent. Regardless, it's hard to see how anyone in the field -- Republican or Democrat -- can keep Jindal under 50 percent in the all-party primary on Oct. 20. If he crests that mark, you can start calling him Governor Bobby Jindal. (Previous ranking: 1)

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 8, 2007; 9:24 AM ET
 
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Comments

It's easy to see why Demos love this blog. It's all Beltway buzz with little substance aimed at GOPers. It's most likely Parker and his thugs teaming up with Dean and his allies, yapping about Mitch in the Post's receptive ear. I expect the same futile HOPING we saw in 2002, when Dems targeted Jeb. Mitch will most likely outraise and then rock his opponents just as he unsat a sitting governor in '04. The spinning you see now is mostly a juvenile hatred of Mitch emanating from 1 North Capitol, home of the juvenile haters.

Posted by: Not a Midwest Demo | June 12, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Birdy,

Your Realtors poll relied on a oversample of Central IN (Daniels base) and only provided his personal favorability, not job rating. Daniels is not beloved like you think.

Posted by: Midwest Demo | June 12, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Birdy -- CC doesn't generally cite polls for ANYONE in the Line. That's not a conspiracy, that's simply a formatting decision for that kind of column. Where polling information exists, it's obviously used.

As far as Daniels go, outside of the one poll you finally cited his approval numbers have been under 50% for more than a year. That's bad. Doesn't mean he'll lose, but incumbents with under 50% approval ratings are in trouble.

Do you dispute that that's true? Are you actually engaging in political analysis, or are you simply HOPING that your favorite will win? There actually is a difference.

Posted by: Colin | June 12, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

12:50 pm, so the READERS have to supply the polls? I'd have more respect for CC's column if he would use a poll once in a while. Isn't that what reporters do? Gather information rather than buzz? CC doesn't. How does he rank this race then? We all know how -- by the whispers of the Bayh D.C. people and Parker. Daniels, btw, will steamroll over Jill Long or Jim Schwhatshisname. Prove me wrong. Print a poll. By the way, some of you have lied about the Realtors poll. It was done in January. January was five months ago, not a year ago.

http://www.kpcnews.com/articles/2007/01/30/features/columnists/brian_howey/howey01.txt

You don't like it? You attack the messenger.

Posted by: Birdy | June 11, 2007 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Birdy -- you're right, CC definitely should rely on Daniels' internal polls rather than a consistent series of polls showing that he's in trouble.

Seriously, what are you talking about? Look, maybe Daniels will win. A lot can change before the election and I'm not stupid enough to believe that vulnerability in June 2007 guarantees anything. But pretending that it's somehow biased to note that an incumbent Governor with approval ratings consistently under 50% is in trouble is ridiculous.

If you have ANY polling data that refutes CC noting that Daniels is in rough shape, why don't you provide it? I would LOVE to see it. Otherwise, stop complaining about some imaginary "bias."

Posted by: Colin | June 11, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

The racist, dirty South and GOP.....Sure is funny that when Civil Rights was at its worst, the Dems were in control down in Dixie. Thats right, Democrats who still control many state houses and courthouses in the south.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 11, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

So you'e saying the parties have no internals? Nonsense. Daniels is far ahead of his two unknown opponents. AP just ran a story today on how he balanced the budget and added jobs, and it wasn't by Brian.

http://www2.indystar.com/articles/4/251207-8934-127.html

Mr. Cillizza needs to get his information from more than just one party, or the spinners at 1 North Capitol, or the Bayh-Parker folks in d.c.

Posted by: Birdy | June 11, 2007 1:34 AM | Report abuse

The Daniels people have been circulating a poll from a year ago done by the realtors association. The only person who has run with it is Brian Howey, and everyone in Indiana knows he can't be trusted to spell his own name right, let alone get facts straight.

Posted by: Anne | June 10, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, Daniels's approval rating hasn't topped 50% in over a year, but he's in good shape eh Birdy? Not sure what info you have access to, but it must be secret.

Seriously, keep drinking that kool-aid. It must be delicious.

Posted by: Colin | June 10, 2007 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Indiana? Apparently you have not been allowed to peak at Daniels' strong polls. You keep referring to a hot, Top 5 race, but it doesn't look like that now. My suggestion: Stop letting the Bayh people in D.C. slip you almost all the information you get on this one. OK?

Posted by: Birdy | June 9, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

JD - they were scrubbed from the voter rolls by our good friend Katherine Harris with Jeb's help. Surely you heard about this? Oh that's right, the American media were too scared to report this story and left it to the British.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,6903,409137,00.html

Of course the replublicans were keen to say it was a mistake (but you'd have to be very naive to think that when you delve deeper into the story), and that these voters would get their voting rights back...but that they'd have to wait until after the 2002 election...!

Posted by: Aussie view | June 9, 2007 3:15 AM | Report abuse

I want to leave an irrelevant comment too!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

drindl - It appears that the flights which took the bin laden family members and the royal Saudis out of the U. S. left late on the night of 09/14 and early on 09/15.

But it also appears there may have been internal U. S. flights on 09/13 ferrying those passengers to common departures points within the U. S. when all air traffic was supposedly still grounded, except for U. S. military flights. Why "may have been"? Apparently no documentation exists.

Nobody's made any aspersions yet that Bobby Jindal was involved.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

CC, I don't think anything about Indiana's political nature is changing, the state has been receptive to Democrats before: We had a Democratic Governor for 20 years before Mitch Daniels won, which was largely because of the Republican machine.

Posted by: Brendan | June 8, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Btw, CC -- I hope you won't be switching The Fix to the format you used for the religion question. Quite frankly, I hate it, it's really unwieldy and useless. Waay too much trouble and virtually unreadable.

What do others here think about it?

Posted by: drindl | June 8, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

The Saudis were flown out of the country on September 12, is this not so? And if it is, how throughly could the FBI have checked their backgrounds?

Posted by: drindl | June 8, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

aussie, are you suggesting that the Florida ex felons were mistakenly barred from voting? Or that they were correctly, if unjustly, barred?

Posted by: JD | June 8, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Mark - Agreed for the most part.

However, I think that Clarke admitted involvement, but disavowed ownership.

Also, in looking at all of Clarke's testimony I don't necessarily think that Clarke had a "comfort level" with it. It was one of many things done in a crisis mode. He simply made a decision which had to be made, based on the best information which he had. I think that from his testimony it's obvious that he was depending on the FBI to find out if something wasn't right about it.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

If you wanted to compare, Rothenberg has his ratings up for free on his site

http://rothenbergpoliticalreport.blogspot.com/2007/05/2007-08-gubernatorial-ratings.html

Posted by: G. Sizemore | June 8, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

|, I recommend your citation

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A20349-2004Mar24.html

without your editing to anyone interested. Unedited, his testimony supported the following conclusion by the Commission:

Three questions have arisen with respect to the departure of Saudi nationals from the United States in the immediate aftermath of 9/11: (1) Did any flights of Saudi nationals take place before national airspace reopened on September 13, 2001? (2) Was there any political intervention to facilitate the departure of Saudi nationals? (3) Did the FBI screen Saudi nationals thoroughly before their departure?

First, we found no evidence that any flights of Saudi nationals, domestic or international, took place before the reopening of national airspace on the morning of September 13, 2001. To the contrary, every flight we have identified occurred after national airspace reopened.

Second, we found no evidence of political intervention. We found no evidence that anyone at the White House above the level of [National Security Council official] Richard Clarke participated in a decision on the departure of Saudi nationals ... The President and Vice President told us they were not aware of the issue at all until it surfaced much later in the media. None of the officials we interviewed recalled any intervention or direction on this matter from any political appointee.

Third, we believe that the FBI conducted a satisfactory screening of Saudi nationals who left the United State on charter flights. The Saudi government was advised of and agree to the FBI's requirements that passengers be identified and checked against various databases before the flights departed. The Federal Aviation Administration representative working in the FBI operations center made sure that the FBI was aware of the flights of Saudi nationals and was able to screen the passengers before they were allowed to depart.

The FBI interviewed all persons of interest on these flights prior to their departures. They concluded that none of the passengers was connected to the 9/11 attacks and have since found no evidence to change that conclusion. Our own independent review of the Saudi nationals involved confirms that no one with known links to terrorism departed on these flights.

Were your only point that Clarke asked the FBI for approval and authorization, I would agree. Were it that he did not get the request directly from the Saudi Embassy, I would agree. But the record supports his ownership of the decision and his comfort level with the FBI vetting.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | June 8, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Jim D - your analysis also forgets about the scrubbing of the voter rolls for more than 57,000 'ex-felons', the majority of them african americans, who as we know tend to vote 90:10 democrat.

Posted by: Aussie view | June 8, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

As a Kentucky Dem, I have come to believe that Beshear's nomination has guaranteed another defeat snatched from the jaws of victory, a la Bunning/Mongiardo.

Beshear is running as Las Vegas's man in Frankfort, supporting casino gambling no matter what the real net benefits might be.

Smart people think Kentuckians are no different from their peers in other Southern states in their willingness to forgive a truly penitent officeholder, especially one who has been so good to the people who write contribution checks.

If Fletcher can summon up the guts to shed some tears and some real Swaggart-like breast-beating before Election Day, he will keep his job.

Posted by: Briar2 | June 8, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

The Miami Herald and the New York Times paid for an analysis of rejected Florida ballots (analysing the chads according to the court standard) -they said Bush would still have won. The problem is with the notorious "butterfly ballot". Thousands of people in Palm Beach County intended to vote for Gore but instead cast their ballots for Buchanon. If everyone in Florida voted as they intended to vote, Gore would have carried the state. However, intentions do not matter, results do. This does explain the exit poll results for Florida.

Posted by: JimD in FL | June 8, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Funny how the person who bashes ignorant coward is also an ignorant coward.

Seems to be a slow news day today - don't know a lot about US governor races but if the Democrats are using Jindal's Indian name to appeal to the South's racist voters then that's very disappointing(yes Judge CC I do see what you're saying....BUT...the dems should be above this behaviour that is usually reserved for republican dirty tricksters)

Posted by: Aussie view | June 8, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

FH -- We don't always agree, but I feel like we understand one another. :) Makes me long for the days when there were more principled small government conservatives out there. Sigh.

Posted by: Colin | June 8, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

"It was Mr. Clarke, who is no fan of GWB, who arranged safe passage for Saudi royals out of the USA after 9-11, on his own initiative. They may well have needed safe passage. Clarke so testified to the 9-11 Commission.

However, the Michael Moore type conspiracy theories are utter nonsense. Check your facts." - Mark

The other day I saw a post which claimed the spiriting of the Saudi royals out of the U. S. never happened. That this was simply a lie by Michael Moore. Maybe the Great Right Wing Conspiray machine is back.

Mark, you might do well to "check your facts." From the 9/11 Commission testimony by Clarke:

CLARKE: Someone -- and I wish I could tell you, but I don't know who -- someone brought to that (crisis management) group a proposal that we authorize a request from the Saudi embassy. The Saudi embassy had apparently said that they feared for the lives of Saudi citizens...The Saudi embassy therefore asked for these people to be evacuated; the same sort of thing that we do all the time in similar crises, evacuating Americans.

The request came to me and I refused to approve it. I suggested that it be routed to the FBI and that the FBI look at the names of the individuals who were going to be on the passenger manifest and that they approve it -- or not.

I spoke with at that time the number two person in the FBI, Dale Watson, and asked him to deal with this issue.

The FBI then approved.

ROEMER: ...I press you, again, to try to recall how this request originated. Who might have passed this on to you at the White House situation room? Or who might have originated that request for the United States government to fly out -- how many people in this plane?

CLARKE: I don't know.

ROEMER: We don't know how many people were on a plane that flew out of this country. Who gave the final approval, then, to say yes, you're clear to go, it's all right with the United States government to go to Saudi Arabia?

CLARKE: I believe, after the FBI came back and said it was all right with them, we ran it through the decision process...I would love to be able to tell you who did it, who brought this proposal to me, but I don't know. Since you pressed me, the two possibilities that are most likely are either the Department of State, or the White House Chief of Staff's Office. But I don't know.

Well, it appears that it wasn't Mr. Clarke on his own initiative.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A20349-2004Mar24.html

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

As a states rights guy yourself, do you feel differently?

Posted by: Colin | June 8, 2007 01:38 PM

Frankly, no. I think it was the wrong decision, especially since the people who voted for it should have been on the other-side of the issue. But since I could not in good conscience make that argument, I tried to supercede your argument. LOL

Posted by: FH | June 8, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

FH -- I think you miss my point. The Rehnquist Court's primary focus was on respecting the importance of Federalism. Given that, it was incredibly dishonest for the Court to step in and correct the State Supreme Court's interpretation of a purely state law issue. Whether you or I agree on the merits, State Supreme Courts get the final say on interpreting state laws. As a states rights guy yourself, do you feel differently?

Posted by: Colin | June 8, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Chris.

You forgot Illinois' Blago. Even if he gets through the chaos this week in Springfield, there's always Fitz circling overhead.

I'm no Illinois Republican, but if I were one of the seven dwarves who hold the reins of the Illinois Republican Party, I'd be setting up someone who had an even chance in an election with the Gov in Club Fed.

Posted by: chi town hustler | June 8, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Ancient history I know, but that opinion offended me more as an attorney than it did as a Democrat.

Posted by: Colin | June 8, 2007 11:58 AM

Colin, go back and look at what the dem. appointed state supreme court did in that case...talk about a partisan hatchet job. The original judge's decision should have never been overruled. This is a case that should have never reached the U.S. Supreme court.

Posted by: FH | June 8, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Mark as an attorney you should know better than to extrapolate to likely eventual outcomes.

The fact is that the Supreme Court is where the matter stopped. "Eventuals" are fine for conversation and speculation. But for historical fact purposes the Supreme Court decide the 2000 Presidential election.

That Federal Lawyer analysis simply provides a primer for the parties in the next such dispute.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Anon, it's an on-line poll. Bush has been a terrible president, but using an on-line poll (like the ones Ron Paul regularly wins) is ridiculous.

Posted by: Zach | June 8, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Mark -- you may very well be right about the outcome, although we'll never know what "the" result would have been if the recount had went forward. More than anything I disliked the S Crt inserting itself into the debate, irrespective of whether that decision changed anything.

Heck, it would have been better for BUSH if they'd stayed out of things and he'd still won. Oh well -- I suppose the best answer to such problems, unsurprisingly, is to simply win by a large enough margin that such issues never come up.

Posted by: Colin | June 8, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Colin, let me also add that I have participated in election contests, and from my experience, in a race that close, if they recounted 25 times the odds were against getting the same count twice.

Any statewide election in the tenth of one percent range would be well within the margin of error of the most accurate systems we have seen to date.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | June 8, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the S.Ct. should not have heard the case at all - that was the conclusion the analysis in Fed Lawyer reached, too.

I am only strongly suggesting that the S.Ct. did not change the eventual outcome. Remember who was the chief election officer of FL, if you think the certification of a partial recount might have been a possibility.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | June 8, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

oh btw, you forgot to spell it 'ignoRANT coward' -- you must be off your game today -- and articles from the WSJ? That's what passes for 'utter nonsense' to you? oh i forgot, if it isn't on fox is can't be true.

just ignore the truth zoukie. it will hurt your brain.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

'I see ignorant coward is busy, busy with his cutting and pasting of utter nonsense again'

hi, zoukie, right on time. i think i'll start taking bets on exactly how close to noon you come on here and start ranting about EXACTLY the same crap as you do every day, all day.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, general chairman of the Republican National Committee, is facing fallout from a slew of irregularities related to his Senate campaign.

In his squeaker 2004 race, Martinez accepted contributions over the legal limit and failed to properly disclose information about donations, according to an audit released last week by the Federal Election Commission.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Mark -- Somewhat off-topic, but there are legitimate legal reasons to be upset with Bush v. Gore. For a Court that pushed the importance of federalism as forcefully as the Rehnquist Court to intervene in a case that was fundamentally about Fla state law was truly unprecedented. Which is why the "conservatives" on the Court essentially say in the decision that it's good for that day only.

Florida was an unfortunate situation for a whole host of reasons, but the conservatives on the Court deserved the criticism they received if for no other reason than the opinion they produced was incredibly intellectually dishonest. Also, we'll never know what would have happened if the S Crt hadn't stepped in -- so I think your overstating things a bit when you say the issue would have been decided by the House.

Ancient history I know, but that opinion offended me more as an attorney than it did as a Democrat.

Posted by: Colin | June 8, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I see ignorant coward is busy, busy with his cutting and pasting of utter nonsense again. do you really have no friends or relatives you can annoy instead of us? this has become pathological. seek help my moonbat friend.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Giuliani Has Most Lobbyist Bundlers
The Politico reports that Rudy Giuliani has accepted bundled contributions from 20 Washington lobbyists, despite campaigning as a Washington outsider. That is more than John McCain, who has 12, and Hillary Clinton, with 6.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0607/4370.html

_He is GWB2. Has all the same supporters, all the same policies. Except he would be more competent at running a police state.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Mark-
I tend to agree that Gates is just trying to find an effective solution & is unafraid to promote new policies that conflict with prior ones. I admire him for such & hope he is successful. I also enjoy sticking it to the 'war before diplomacy' types that haven't yet realized the solution to this problem cannot be achieved solely by the military. Fortunately the military is now run by someone who does.

Posted by: bsimon | June 8, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

bsimon and drindl -

My best guess is that Lute is simply telling his truth. SOD Gates is one of the good guys and while he does not get his way about everything we see that he has been forthright on every stand he has taken. And I think Lute is a Gates' approved hand.

Gates, you will recall, left the Iraq Study Group to serve as SOD. He believes in the diplomatic initiative. So does Lute. And so does Petraeus.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | June 8, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/06/internet_absurd.html

An Ohio man says he has located Osama bin Laden in the United States and wants to claim the U.S. government's $25 million reward.

Using an online person search built from phone directories and other public records, Thomas Potter of Olmsted Falls, Ohio, turned up three listings for "Usama bin Laden."
The first listing put the al Qaeda leader at the California headquarters of media giant FOX Entertainment Group. The second placed bin Laden in the office of a Bethesda, Md., Internet firm owned by the son of a former Defense Department official. And the third pinpointed bin Laden's secret hideout as an unidentified location in Hermitage, Tenn.

"Unfortunately, I don't" have Osama bin Laden on the payroll, Phil Schmitz of Bethesda Interactive Solutions told ABCNews.com. "I'm sure you wouldn't be the first person to call me if I did."

Schmitz confirmed his father, Joseph, was the top Pentagon watchdog from 2002 to 2005. Joseph Schmitz then joined the Prince Group, which owns the private security contractor Blackwater USA.

Posted by: teehee | June 8, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Two-Thirds in Online Poll Pick Bush As 'Worst President'

Two-thirds (67%) of those responding to an online AOL poll say President Bush will go down in history as the "worst president."

http://onthehillblog.blogspot.com/2007/06/two-thirds-in-online-poll-pick-bush-as.html

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse


A report from the Guardian: "British investigators were ordered by the attorney-general Lord Goldsmith to conceal from international anti-bribery watchdogs the existence of payments totalling more than £1bn to a Saudi prince, the Guardian can disclose. ... The Guardian has established that the attorney-general warned colleagues last year that 'government complicity' in the payment of the sums was in danger of being revealed if the SFO probe was allowed to continue. ...."

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

drindl asks
"Is the Lute appointment about the administration shrugging off the legacy of Iraq to the uniformed military?"

Who can say? Its likely about passing the buck to whomever is enough of a sucker to take it - if that's the uniformed military, so be it. The Bush administration has flip-flopped on Baker-Hamilton & is now engaging diplomatically with regional players. Their war-mongering, bloodthirsty supporters aren't sure what to think of such an approach. Perhaps it is designed to create a policy shift that opens the door for the 'nuke Iran' GOP presidential candidates to both differ from Bush policy and appeal to the red-meat conservatives that have thus far been unswerving in their support for the Bush team's foreign policy.

Posted by: bsimon | June 8, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Hey GOOP Analyst: Maybe Piyush Jindal can bring in Barack Hussein Osama -- I mean Obama, how silly of me -- for a joint campaign appearance?

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | June 8, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Further clarification for the conspiracy-theorist-on-the-left:

Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are and were opposed to the Saudi royal family.

They have many allies among the wahabbist islamists in Saudi Arabia, whose schools are [ironically] funded by the Saudi royals based on a 70+ year old deal-with-the-devil Ibn Saud made.

America has parallel interests with the Saudi royal family - stability in the Middle East and access to Gulf oil being the two that come to mind. It is not against American interests for the Bush family to have oil ties to the Saudi royals, or for Exxon to drill in Saudi Arabia.

It was Mr. Clarke, who is no fan of GWB, who arranged safe passage for Saudi royals out of the USA after 9-11, on his own initiative. They may well have needed safe passage. Clarke so testified to the 9-11 Commission.
-------------------------------
And neither the FL nor the US S. Ct. gave GWB FL in 2000. FL's vote margin was too close to accurately count - which was unfortunate - but b/c the electoral college vote is determined from statewide voting, Gore's decision to demand urban but not rural recounts was doomed to be dismissed as insufficient. If the S.Ct. had allowed the process to continue until the Constitutional deadline, nothing would have been resolved and the FL electoral vote would have been cast by the House of Representatives, then a Rep. body. A detailed analysis appears in the March-April 2001 issue of "The Federal Lawyer", if you are actually interested.

I think GWB's presidency has been a conspicuous failure. However, the Michael Moore type conspiracy theories are utter nonsense. Check your facts.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | June 8, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

'LAT: "'War czar' duties may signal policy shift: Many are surprised when Lute testifies he'd report directly to Bush on Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving the national security advisor out of the loop. ... 'Appointing a general outside the chain of command to run an ongoing war? I don't think that's ever been done in precisely this way,' [David] Rothkopf said. 'Talk about rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.'"

Is the Lute appointment about the administration shrugging off the legacy of Iraq to the uniformed military? '

http://warandpiece.com/

What do you think, JimD?

Posted by: drindl | June 8, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, everyone. We slept well last night - no bed head! - and now we're ready for your questions. Yes, from CNN... No, not really. I don't "sleep" per se - Mitt does, and I just relax and think about the plan for the following day - I'm sorry, once again? ... No, not usually. Most hair gets pressed into funny shapes at night, but it's nothing a wash and a comb doesn't fix. Yes, in the back... What? I think I can speak for both of us when I say that no flakes - what? Left shoulder? It's... yes, of course I see it. The question is what exactly it is. Of course, it's common to see flakes on someone's shoulders and immediately think "dandruff," but I assure you that our diet, our hygiene, our shampoos make that impossible. ... No, no more questions, sorry. We've, uh, we have a phone call to make. Yes, a private call. We'll be back in, uh, about half an hour.

Posted by: Mitt Romney's Hair | June 8, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I heard that George Allen offered his services in campaigning for Jindal, but was politely refused.

Posted by: bsimon | June 8, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Work for what is planned to be the largest, most fortified US embassy in the world was quietly awarded last summer to a controversial Kuwait-based construction firm accused of exploiting employees and coercing low-paid laborers to work in war-torn Iraq against their will.

More than a few U.S. contractors competing for the $592-million Baghdad project express bewilderment over why the U.S. State Department gave the work to First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting (FKTC). They claim that some competing contractors possessed far stronger experience in such work and that at least one award-winning company offered to perform all but the most classified work for $60 million to $70 million less than FKTC.

"It's stunning what First Kuwaiti has been able to get from the State Department," one contractor said.

Several other contractors that competed for the embassy contracts shared similar reactions and believe that a high-level decision at the State Department was made to favor a Kuwait-based firm in appreciation for Kuwait's support of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

"It was political," said one contractor.

Mohammad I. H. Marafie, chairman and co-owner of FKTC, is a member of one of the most powerful mercantile families in Kuwait.

Empire Building

Most of the 900 FKTC workers living and working on the construction site of the massive embassy project have been pulled from ranks of low-paid laborers flooding into Iraq from Asia's poorest countries to work under U.S. military projects.

http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=13258

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

From the WSJ:

'WASHINGTON -- Federal prosecutors are investigating the Kuwaiti company building the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, probing allegations that foreign employees were brought to work on the massive project against their will and prevented from leaving the country.

The Department of Justice launched the probe of First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting Co. after former employees alleged that workers at the company were told they were being sent to Dubai, only to wind up in Iraq instead, people familiar with the matter said. According to the allegations, First Kuwaiti confiscated the workers' passports, so they were unable to depart Baghdad.'

Posted by: bringing 'freedom' to the middle east | June 8, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

'Robert Bork , the one-time U.S. Supreme Court nominee, has sued the Yale Club for negligence. He is seeking $1 million in damages for injuries he sustained from a fall at the club last year.'

one of those R's who's always screaming about 'tort reform' and 'frivolous lawsuits' and evil 'trial lawyers' ... LOL

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

If the immigration bill has been killed, then the collateral damage is the coalition between conservatives and other people who are what you might call right-of-center. What we have had is one portion of the Republican coalition loudly tell another portion of the coalition "(Screw) you".... Personally, I'm not terribly motivated to do much for the GOP that seems to treat folks like me as second-class Republicans. I certainly have lost confidence in conservatism as well.

Posted by: macsmind | June 8, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Rudy Giuliani 2007 when running for the GOP nomination on lawyer and high-level official Scooter Libby's sentencing to 30 months for Perjury & Obstruction:

"I think what the judge did today [to Scooter Libby] argues more in favor of a pardon because this is excessive punishment," Giuliani said.

Rudy Giuliani on a One-Year jail term given to a State Court Judge -- September 11, 1987 (irony no?):

The United States Attorney in Manhattan, Rudolph W. Giuliani, declared yesterday that the one-year prison sentence that a Queens judge received for perjury was ''somewhat shocking.''

''A sentence of one year seemed to me to be very lenient,'' Mr. Giuliani said, when asked to comment on the sentence imposed Wednesday on Justice Francis X. Smith, the former Queens administrative judge.

Mr. Giuliani made a similar comment earlier in the day in response to a caller's question on the Ted Brown program on WNEW-AM.

Justice Smith was convicted of committing perjury before a grand jury investigating corruption in the city, Mr. Giuliani said later, adding that ''he could have helped root out corruption'' by cooperating with the grand jury.

Posted by: another rudy flipflop | June 8, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

more G8. bush and angela party.

http://rising-hegemon.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20070607/capt.d13c6cc2994a4213affd4fc94bf1d53b.germany_g8_summit_hld384.jpg?x=380&y=270&sig=gh_AOJHdWlzVZtX7wH_hBw--

--check out this picture of bush that ran alongside his 'stomach ailment' G8 story. how drunk does he look to you?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

In case you've wondered what a $27 million tribute to ignorance looks like, tech website Ars Technica has taken a field trip to the Creation Museum outside Cincinnati.

There were posters explaining just how coal could be formed in a few weeks as opposed to over millions of years, and how rapidly the biblical flood would cover the earth, drowning all but a handful of living creatures. The flood plays a big part in the museum's attempt to explain away what we see as millions of years of natural processes. There was also an explanation as to why, with only one progenitor family, it wasn't considered incest for Adam and Eve's children to marry each other. Apparently there was less sin back then, and therefore fewer mutations in their DNA. Evidently sin, and not two copies of the same recessive trait, gives rise to congenital birth defects.

Oh, and they have an example of a Triceratops with a genuine saddle and blanket on it, just like Adam and Eve use to ride. Not kidding.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

This week, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's top political adviser said "he doubts the prime minister will be able to win passage of key legislation ardently sought by U.S. officials, including a law governing the oil industry and one that would allow more Sunni Arabs to gain government jobs.

And as for military benchmarks, a few days ago al-Maliki said, "I have to watch the army, because those still loyal to the previous regime may start planning coups. Those people don't believe in democracy, and for that reason we are monitoring the status of the army very closely." A military coup - by the army we're training!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

BAGHDAD -- The four-year U.S. military death toll in Iraq passed 3,500 after a soldier was reported killed in a roadside bombing in Baghdad. A British soldier was also shot to death Thursday in southern Iraq, as Western forces find themselves increasingly vulnerable under a new strategy.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

We never had a base in Mecca - in fact, "infidels" are not allowed in Mecca. The base was elsewhere in Saudi Arabia. There were also problems with the situation for American forces in Saudi Arabia - extreme restrictions were placed on our troops to avoid upsetting Saudi sensibilities.

Posted by: JimD in FL | June 8, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

'Prince Bandar has endured controversy over allegations in the book 'Plan of Attack' by Bob Woodward that President George W. Bush informed him of the decision to invade Iraq ahead of Secretary of State Colin Powell. Also, evidence exists that a deal had been worked out to reduce oil prices just ahead of the November 2004 election. Bandar publicly endorsed President Bush.'

Well of course he told Bandar about invading Iraq. Or rather Bandar told him -- it was Bandar's idea after all. Do you really think George W. Bush has this country's interests at stake? Dream on. They don't call his father G. H. Bush -- the 'Saudi connection' for nothing.

Don't you find it interesting that the Bush family has been so tight with the Saudis for so very many many years, and that the Saudis attacked us on 9/11? And the next day, our government flew all of the Saudi royal famly out of this country, in fear for their safety? And that Bush immediately and permanently shut down and evacuated our base in Mecca, to appease bin Ladin and his family, who were Bush's business partners in the Carlyle Corporation?

Interesting coincidence, eh?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

'LONDON, England (CNN) -- The former Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, may have received up to $2 billion in confidential payments from a British defense firm, BAE Systems, over a period of nearly 20 years, according to two British media reports.'

This guy is the blood brother to George W Bush, so close to the family for so many years he's known as 'Bandar Bush' --

From Wikipedia: Prince Bandar has formed close relationships with several American presidents, notably George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, who gave him the affectionate nickname "Bandar Bush".[2] His friendship with Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne Cheney, extends to the years before Cheney took office as the United States Vice President. Prince Bandar invited the Cheney family to his daughter's wedding in the 1990s.'

And you know Bandar has gotten wads of taxpayer cash from this country too, from fat secret no-bid 'defense' contracts. And so we pour money into the pockets of Saudis and what we get in return is state-funded madrassas and 9/11.

And in response to that, we take out the Saudi's chief enemy, Saddam Hussein, who had nothing to do with 9/11--but now, the Saudi and US and Brit investors will be splitting up Iraq's oil. It's a tidy little game that's working well for everyone except we american citizens.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that "GOP Analyst" (an oxymoron?) hasn't corrected you already: it's Barack HUSSEIN Obama. As in Saddam HUSSEIN. HUSSEIN, HUSSEIN, HUSSEIN, HUSSEIN! Rhymes with pain, black rain, criminally insane. Get it? Obama is obviously an Islamic terrorist in the form of a Manchurian Candidate. It's so obvious! Watch Faux News, turn off your brain and be prepared for enlightenment.

On a more serious note, CC leaves out the fact that Democrats refer to Jindal by his given name to remind REPUBLICAN voters that Jindal is of Indian descent. In other words, they know this is guaranteed to soften his support among Faux News viewers. In some circles this is known as being "hoist by your own petard." The R's pioneered racist tactics against D's, Faux News integrated them into its broadcasting and now the chickens have come home to roost. Bwaak!

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | June 8, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

CC, Indiana isn't undergoing some massive political change. It's not like the three Dems that won were raging liberals. Heck, Ellsworth might be the most conservative of the freshman Dems.

Posted by: Zach | June 8, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Oh no, Democrats are referring to Jindal by his name. Doesn't get much dirtier than that, does it? Next thing you know, republicans will start referring to Barack Obama as Barack Obama.

Posted by: Cassandra | June 8, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Despotism vs. Democracy

Eliminating habeas vests the power of determining guilt or innocence solely with the executive branch, creating an executive office that has the powers of a despot rather than the elected president of one of the world's oldest democracy. It gives the president the sole power of life and death, freedom and captivity, over citizens.

Imprisoning the Innocent

Without access to due process guarantees enshrined in the Constitution, Americans can be imprisoned indefinitely, without any hope of a fair trial or hearing, or even an opportunity to respond to the charges against them.

National Character

Eliminating habeas turns our back on what it means to be an American, and advances a policy that makes us less secure rather than more secure. If the United States cannot guarantee rights to the citizens of other countries, what guarantee do Americans have that their rights will be respected by the rest of the world? We live in a country of laws, not of men, and in order to stand up for that tradition, due process must be restored.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure Barack Obama is quite used to having his name used in a 'racist' way. The republican party, and the confederacy for which it stands, is/was very fond of that particular tactic, along with lynching.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

So Louisiana democrats are now using Rep. Jindal's name in a racist way...so sad...I wonder what Barak Obama has to say about this.

Posted by: GOP Analyst | June 8, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

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