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House Republicans Make Attempt at Playing Offense

After spending the first seven months of the 2008 cycle in a defensive crouch, House Republicans are trying to regain momentum by launching radio ads against five Democratic incumbents.

The ads, funded by the National Republican Congressional Committee and timed to begin running when Congress adjourns for its summer recess, will target Reps. Paul Kanjorski (Pa.), Alan Mollohan (W.Va.), John Murtha (Pa.), Zack Space (Ohio) and Chris Murphy (Conn.).

The GOP message is that congressional Democrats are ethically challenged, practicing "business as usual" since taking over Congress next November. Sound familiar? It should. It was one of the main planks of the Democrats' messaging in the 2006 election, i.e. Republicans' had fomented a "culture of corruption" and the only way to clean house was to give Democrats a chance at control.

Kanjorski, Mollohan and Murtha have faced ethics questions before. Kanjorski came under fire when it was revealed he had secured $9 million in federal earmarks for a (now bankrupt) company partly owned by his nephews. Murtha, who has become a bogeyman among Republicans thanks to his outspoken opposition to the war in Iraq, has been criticized on and off for years for his earmarking habits. Mollohan was the subject of a series of stories that looked into real estate dealings and his personal wealth.

The ads against Space and Murphy will focus on the notion that in their first seven months of 2007 they have voted out of step with their districts. Space's 18th District went strongly for Bush in 2004; John Kerry narrowly carried Murphy's 5th District, and GOP strategists are now excited about state Sen. Dave Cappiello's (R) decision to challenge the freshman Democrat.

The radio ads are the leading edge of an onslaught organized by the NRCC in more than 50 congressional districts that will attempt to call Democrats out for raising taxes and cutting Medicare for seniors, according to a source with knowledge of the campaign. Republicans familiar with the radio ads say they are more than just a vanity buy, with the total cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. Still, radio ads are not television commercials, so don't overestimate the scope or impact of this particular buy.

At its root, this is a smart strategic move for House Republicans. They, along with their Senate counterparts, must find districts where they can play offense in 2008 in order to make Democrats spend down their fundraising edge on some of their own incumbents rather than expanding the playing field by targeting Republican seats.

The problem for House Republicans is (no surprise) the incredibly challenging political environment. Republicans tried to call into question the ethics and voting records of a number of Democratic incumbents and challengers in 2006, but voters simply didn't view GOPers as credible messengers due. The 2006 election revealed that the Republican brand is badly damaged in a number of areas of the country, making it tough for down-ballot candidates to get voters to pay attention to anything other than the "R" after their names.

The NRCC radio ads are a start. But much depends on whether or not the political atmospherics improve for Republicans between now and next November. If they do, these sorts of ads might be the foundation of a Republican upset or two; if not, they won't have much effect at all.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 2, 2007; 7:40 AM ET
Categories:  House  
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Next: Barack Obama: Putting Meat on the Bone

Comments

Chris Murphy won with a BIG majority in 2006, against a longtime, popular incumbent. Why would the people there suddenly turn against him?

Stupid decision to target him.

Posted by: Jon | August 3, 2007 5:31 AM | Report abuse

The only ones they have a real chance at winning back at this point are KS-02, CA-11, and FL-16. Space's seat is historically Democratic and the only Republicans running are third tier candidates.

Posted by: Max | August 2, 2007 9:34 PM | Report abuse

But, I believe House Republicans can take back Space's seat and other seats like Mahoney's because the former incumbent is gone and these seats are heavily republican

Posted by: Alex | August 2, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

House Republicans will have a hard time winning seats due to corruption problems and the war in Iraq. The republicans will struggl in 08 since Bush has low approval ratings and is the face of the republican party,

Posted by: Alex | August 2, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

If Republicans could not beat Kanjorski in 2002, a very good Republican year, with popular Hazleton Mayor Barletta, they won't even come close in 2008.

Mollohan is near impossible too. They came after him with a highly touted state Senator in 2006 and he still won by a 65-35 margin.

Posted by: Max | August 2, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

"I thought this case was dead in the water when Capt. Fogg told me her FBI ex-lover had intervened but Annie's little voting faux pas is not resolved yet. Fogg catches this item from the local news.

The Palm Beach Post reports today that FEC Case No. 07-211 is still alive and well and that Coulter is still under investigation. WPB campaign consultant Richard Giorgio has filed a complaint accusing her of false swearing and fraud to which Giorgio claims to have been an eye witness.


"This was willful. Anyone else would have been prosecuted."

Undoubtedly so and I have to remember how tens of thousands of people were turned away at the polls because they had been falsely added to the Felons list by the Florida Republican Machine. But this is a Red State and the law only applies to little people. Read more...

So you're sayin' there's a chance...
"

Posted by: if the gop can't win they will cheat | August 2, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"Actions speak louder than words."

and...

"We assume that politicians are without honor. We read their statements trying to crack the code. The scandals of their politics: not so much that men in high places lie, only that they do so with such indifference, so endlessly, still expecting to be believed. We are accustomed to the contempt inherent in the political lie." -- Adrienne Rich, U.S. poet., b. 1929

Posted by: Skeptic in CA | August 2, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

"PRIVATIZATION ALWAYS COSTS MORE. WE PAY $200,000 A YEAR FOR A MERCENARY. HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK A SOLDIER COSTS?"

Word is born. In terms of electricity health care, food and housing, what is it really worth. The only value is the value we give. All americans could have all these things. Imagine the growth this country would have if americans didn't stress over these simple things. We are not a third world country. If all americans had the basic there would be a lot less deaths, less theives, less drug addicts. The gop doesn't want that. Divide and conquer. That is their goal

Posted by: rufus | August 2, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

If an tree falls in a forest, does anyone hear?

If an ignorant coward types in all caps, are you now convinced?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

PRIVATIZATION ALWAYS COSTS MORE. WE PAY $200,000 A YEAR FOR A MERCENARY. HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK A SOLDIER COSTS?

AND PROFITS MEAN THAT PRIVATIZION WILL ALWAYS COST MORE. THE ADMINISTRATION COSTS FOR MEDICARE ARE 3%. NO CORPORATION COULD DELIVER ON THAT SMALL A MARGIN.

IT'S JUST MORE RIGHTWING LIES.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

NonP - that's my hometown and I can remember when the Sakonnet River Bridge was built - opened in '59 I think. I can even remember going over the Old Stone Bridge.

Posted by: JimD in FL | August 2, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

'To help pay for the SCHIP increase, Democrats dipped into federal payments to Medicare HMOs, which drive up premiums for the elderly in traditional Medicare by inflating the cost of care. Officials estimate the government pays an average of 12 percent more to these private plans than it does for traditional coverage.'

Here's the truth about government payments to private insurers -- they charge more to provide the same services than medicare does. it's a total ripoff.

And as far as far as updating party positions--it's your party that has had exactly the same positions since the Nixon administration. It's even THE SAME PEOPLE. And they have only one position -- privatize everything and rip off middle class taxpayers. That's all they and you stand for.

You make me laugh, when you aren't making me sick.

Posted by: Jane | August 2, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

The GOP is offensive alright - they've offended more than 60% of the population and the number is growing daily!

It's time for their 40 years in the wilderness so they can think long and hard about what they've done to our country and whether it was really worth it.

Posted by: War4Sale | August 2, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Jane, when your party has had the same positions since the 60s and never bothers to update them in accordance with modern sensibilities, you open yourselves up to ridicule. the idea that more money into federal education will somehow finally cure the problem is not so mysterious to a clear thinker. the concept that bigger and bigger government leads to bigger inefficiences and higher cost with less productivity and accountability is still foreign to Libs. Except clinton I who declared that era over????

The idea that being weak on defense and wanting to lose a war is a viable option is still advanced by your party. SS is going broke but Nancy won't touch it.

Despite your desire to simply ignore these problems, thay are not going away. perhaps you prefer to talk about hair or cleavage, something much more akin to Lib thought.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 2, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Jane, he did in one of his free form posting names (12:18 pm post). Once again he failed to acknowledge that it's Speaker Pelosi.

Posted by: NonP | August 2, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Let's see -- zouk/trotsky/donald/ann has so far today hit on just about every one of his trollisms-obssessions. I don't think he's gotten to Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi yet, though, has he?

Posted by: Jane | August 2, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

How can the Right criticize Obama for the proposal to take the fight to the actual enemy, when that is what the Bush plan was until the NeoCons convinved him to go off on the Tenth Crusade?

Posted by: NonP | August 2, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Zouk, there's an ad currently running on TV where the lone character in it stops his pitch and reaches down to get a tin foil hat which he proceeds to don.

That's you discussing science and economics isn't it?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 2, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"the Lib solution, more and bigger. yeah, that will work."

iT WILL WORK. wITHOUT THE SABOTURS . wITHOUT THE GOP DIVDE AND CONQUER.

Posted by: RUFUS | August 2, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of undisclosed locations [Chris Horner]

A very embarassing chapter for our nation's scientific establishment has been unfolding, including on line and much or it at the new website, www.SurfaceStations.org run by Anthony Watts. Mr. Watt among others in the field had noticed a preponderance of ridiculously sited surface temperature measuring apparatuses such that an obvious warming bias must be reflected in ours, the world's most reliable network of surface measuring stations (see below for examples). It seems that siting thermometers in Arizona parking lots, amid California black asphalt, cell towers and air conditioning vents, next to trash burn barrels or, humorously, aattached to a chimney, overhanging a Weber grill in Hopkinsville, KY, corrupts the data upon which our policymakers desperately seek to base an energy scarcity regime.

In apparent response, the National Climatic Data Center suddenly pulled the location addresses from publicly available resources. We are not amused! Mr. Watts took them to task, and now the locations are again publicly available . There are fewer than 1000 left to photograph, so enterprising shutterbugs, snap-to. [BTW, let me be the first, so far as I know, to predict that the alarmists will do what they've done with other legitimate enterprises debunking their hysteria, and submit phony photos to the effort in order to discredit the entirety].

Posted by: Lib science | August 2, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

"but Libs never learn from katrina, walter reed, SS, medicare, medicaid, federal schools, etc."

Stayed tuned Trotsky, in about 15 months you'll see what they and the rest of the thinking part of the country has learned.

BTW - That you left out Iraq and the politicization of federal agencies wasn't an oversight, was it?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

THE GOP PHILOSOPHY -- SHRINK GOVERNMENT AND DROWN IT IN THE BATHTUB. THAT'S WHAT GAVE US KATRINA AND WALTER REED.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Of course, I meant the Minneapolis bridge collapse.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | August 2, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Of course, I meant the Minnespolis bridge collapse.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | August 2, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Zouk-

By your logic, George Bush is a liberal because government spending is higher than during the Clinton Years.

Just letting you know.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse


-What you get from big government. but Libs never learn from katrina, walter reed, SS, medicare, medicaid, federal schools, etc.'

WHAT YOU GET FROM INCOMPETENT GOP GOVERNMENT--FAILING ON PURPOSE -- TO SHOW GOVERNMENT CAN'T WORK.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Next to Iraq and immigration, government corruption will be a BIG issue in 2008, and hopefully come November heads will roll.

Let's start with "I paid every bill I received" Sen. Stevens of Alaska's "bridge to nowhere," earmark fame... a mere $223 million for a bridge from a tiny town to one with a population of 50.

This bridge collapse is the now silent canary of our infrastructure.... according to a government spokesman today, there are "hundreds just like it."

And, hello? Homeland Security or anyone... the 911 system failed. On the scale of disasters, the failure of a bridge isn't something that should have disabled this basic emergency communication.

Thanks to the smaller-government-is-better crowd... fewer inspectors, less oversight, more greedy earmarks... the rich corporations are getting richer, and the taxpayers are getting sick and dead.

Even if the political parties don't target the oppositions corrupt lawmakers and the gangsters in the White House... be sure that the voters will.
http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | August 2, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Poll Surprises Out-Of-Touch New York Times When a New York Times poll found that the number of Americans who think it was right for the United States to go to war in Iraq rose from 35 percent in May to percent 42 percent in mid-July, rather than promptly report the new poll findings, the paper conducted another poll

Posted by: can we rephrase so that it comes out how we want? | August 2, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

""Support for Initial Invasion Has Risen, Poll Shows," ran the headline in a major American newspaper. Support for the war, at 35 percent in May, now registers at 42 percent, a gain of 20 percent."

In the Sunday edition, they published a longer article talking about polling trends regarding the Iraq war. Like just about any trend line you see, there immediately adjacent data points often implied conflicting results. But when you step back and look at the chart as a whole, over time, you see a definite pattern - in this case, a long, slow drop in the level of support. It is certainly possible that the latest datapoint is the first uptick in renewed support for the Bush plan for stabilizing Iraq. But that's all it is: possible. It is not yet clear, from a statistical standpoint, that support has significantly changed from the last time, or that the trend has changed. When the question is again asked, in another several weeks, we'll have a better idea whether the last poll is an anomoly or an actual change in the trend. For what its worth, I work with this kind of data daily, though I do surveys, not polling.

Posted by: bsimon | August 2, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Ethanol Subsidies Boost Deforestation In Brazil The ethanol craze is creating a demand that is quickly transforming Brazil's wooded forest land - a demand for sugarcane, the raw material for Brazilian ethanol

Wait, you mean actions have consequences? somneone tell the Libs, thsy have yet to understand this.

Posted by: Doh | August 2, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Number of Democrats Falls to New Low During the month of July, the number of people identifying themselves as Democrats fell for the fifth straight month. Rasmussen Reports

Posted by: naturally after Reid and Pelosi | August 2, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

"One Third Of U.S. Bridges Structurally Deficient The U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has rated almost 200,000 bridges, or one of every three bridges in the U.S., as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete'

-What you get from big government. but Libs never learn from katrina, walter reed, SS, medicare, medicaid, federal schools, etc.

the Lib solution, more and bigger. yeah, that will work.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 2, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Leave it to the gop to always go back to high stock. YEah, employment is is high. People need to eat, that is true. But what are said jobs paying? Any gop'er toutign the economy is not in the real world. The working man's world. It's dirty out here.

The slaves are waking up though. Slavery will end soon. It starts with the elections. The people will take back our government. It's not about d's or r's. It's not about red and blue. WE ARE ONE. The people WILL take this government back from the r's and the d's that have sold out to them. As many parties as it takes. more choices equal a better government. More choices mean more competition. Like anywhere else more competition means better product.

Posted by: rufus | August 2, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

donald/zouk -- WHY AREN'T YOU IN IRAQ? JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

The polls for the Democratic Congress are bad, but the numbers on the actual issues show that Republicans have a long way to go before voters want to trust them again. Voters understand that it takes time - and one-party control of the WH and Congress - before anything can get done. They'll put a Dem at 1600 and sit back and wait.
http://political-buzz.com/

Posted by: mpp | August 2, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

AnnC/ZOUK -- Poor zouk. Born without a brain, a spine, a set of balls or a heart.

Poor deficient zouk.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

What's happening MikeB. How's life in your world Buddy? You are the man.

Posted by: rufus | August 2, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON -- The good news last week came from the economy growing at a robust 3.4 percent annual rate in the second quarter -- disproving the gloom-and-doomers who predicted that the United States was heading into a recession. But bad news came from House Democratic leaders who were trying to raise corporate taxes on a lot of businesses that have contributed to that strong growth rate. It was a stark reminder that their addiction to taxes would sandbag the economy if they won back the White House in 2008.

A closer look at the respective parts of the second quarter growth rate shows an economy -- despite its temporary housing illness -- running along at a healthy clip. Consumer spending grew at 1.3 percent. Exports grew by 6.4 percent. Nonresidential structure investment grew at 22.1 percent, federal spending was up by 6.7 percent and state and local government spending was up by 2.9 percent.

The numbers overall paint a brighter picture of the American economy than the negative picture we get on the nightly news shows. Yes, residential housing is in a slump, but nonresidential building is cruising right along at a hefty pace as businesses, plants, office buildings and the like continue their expansion. One of the most welcome economic forces spurring growth is the rise in U.S. exports and the narrowing trade deficit. The U.S. economy is being propelled in large part by a stronger global economy and, thanks to a number of free-trade agreements, we're making more and selling more in markets around the world. You don't hear very much about that on the nightly news, either.

Posted by: donald | August 2, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

You cannot silence those you disagree with bsimon. Beleive me, I have been trying to get fox/rush/hannity off the air for years to no avail.

I know the facsit thought police think so, after the last 7 years. Not yet. We still have a constitution. The gop hasn't burned that yet. Again simon. If you have a problem, move on. Stop the complaining. If I am wrong tell me how.

You people's constant complaining and whining get;s no respect from a soldier. If you want to say something, say it. I'm not stopping.

Posted by: rufus | August 2, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

JimD, be careful! That bridge on Rte 138 in Tiverton has been a candidate for collapse for years.

Posted by: NonP | August 2, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

More "bad" news.

"Support for Initial Invasion Has Risen, Poll Shows," ran the headline in a major American newspaper. Support for the war, at 35 percent in May, now registers at 42 percent, a gain of 20 percent. The next day, the newspaper explained on its website, "The war in Iraq is the single most important ongoing news story right now. Public opinion about the war is a critical part of that story. That's why when we had a poll finding about the war that we could not explain, we went back and did another poll on the very same subject. We wanted to make sure we had gotten it right."

But stunned by the poll results, the paper ran a second poll to confirm the results. Its explanation: "The July numbers represented a change. It was counterintuitive." Apparently, so counterintuitive that, after calling the Iraq war "the single most important ongoing news story," the paper reported the uptick in support for the war on page A-9

Larry elder

Posted by: good news for US is bad for Libs | August 2, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Administrators-

Stop listening to your advertisers and step down! The truth shall set you free!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Oh, right. That's really going to work when anyone reading the newspaper sees Bush vetoing healthcare for the children of the poor and the Republican's are certain to uphold his veto. Do these people really think that voters are such numbskulls that they haven't been paing attention to our lying Attorney General, our Preident In Charge Of Vice - Cheney - and the whole series of scandles surrounding him, the white washing of the Tillman fiasco, the Pentagon at long last admitting that they have been using trucks and other vehicles in Iraq that are little more than death traps due to lack of basic armor on the undercarriage, the poison pharmacuticals, toothpast, children's toys being produced offshore (translation: India and China). The idiots running these ads may succeed in painting the Democarts as crooks (and they are - also "do nothings", flip floppers, and as much in the pocket of big companies as any Republican - witness ratbag Senators Kennedy and CLinton in the "immigration reform" debate and their little addendum to DOUBLE the number of guest worker visas) but that isn't going to do anything other than drive voters away from BOTH parties. I can't wait for the election, to cast MY VOTE for someone other than the dweedle-dee dweedle-dum rats from both parties.

Posted by: MikeB | August 2, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I don't know what your talking about ANN. Do you have children. Who would send their kids to public shcools if they didnt' have to. The public school system is a mess. I know I went there.

Also, I think many of them did send their kids to public school;s. Did you wathc the last debate

Posted by: rufus | August 2, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Administrators- what happened to the anti-troll filters? The little beggars have slipped through the cracks.

Posted by: bsimon | August 2, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

pacman beat me to it...

Posted by: bsimon | August 2, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Zouk and all you sell outs-

It's over. You lost. America is crumbling because of you and you know it.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I keep telling them San jo, the WORD is going to eventually flow from the bay area like a great volcano. Incompassing the world. Freedom is the message. Compassion is the goal. understanding is the weapon.

You can only fight hate with love.

You can only fight intoleracne with understanding.

How's the bay doing?

Posted by: rufus | August 2, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

WE LOST THE WAR

ACCEPT IT

Posted by: tf | August 2, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I DON'T TO 'DEBATE' YOU - YOU AREN'T CAPABLE. I JUST WANT THE ANSWER TO A SIMPLE QUESTION? WHY AREN'T YOU IN IRAQ, ZOUK?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"where do you aggrandizing Libs get the idea that all americans should be paying for a bridge somewhere in NY or MN? Can't this be handled on the local level? who drives on this bridge?"

Trotsky - This bridge was part of the Federal government's D. D. Eisenhower Interstate Highway system, designed to faciliate the movement of troops and materiel in times of need. The Federal Government paid for 90% of it; therefore, shouldn't the federal government be 90% responsible?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

It was fun to hear the Democratic candidates give heart-rending reasons for not sending their own kids to public schools. Except John Edwards. He got a "woo" for sending his kids to public schools from all those "young, hip" Democrats whose greatest concern is how to transfer more money to public schoolteachers while reducing their workload.

The candidates all managed to come up with good reasons for sending their kids to private schools -- with extra points for reasons that involved a family tragedy or emergency -- but it didn't seem to occur to any of them that ordinary families might have good reasons, too.

In her first risible lie of the debate, Hillary said Chelsea went to public schools in Arkansas. But when they moved to Washington, they were advised that "if she were to go to a public school, the press would never leave her alone, because it's a public school. So I had to make a very difficult decision."

"Unfortunately," she said, it was "good advice."

Was it really that difficult a decision not to send Chelsea to public schools in Washington, D.C.?

This is how The New York Times recently described the schools in Washington, which it called "arguably the nation's most dysfunctional school system."

"Though it is one of the country's highest-spending districts, most of the money goes to central administration, not to classrooms, according to a recent series of articles in The Washington Post. Its 55,000 mostly poor students score far worse than comparable children anywhere else in reading and math, with nearly 74 percent of the district's low-income eighth-graders lacking basic math skills, compared with the national average of 49 percent."

So Hillary was dying to send Chelsea to the D.C. public schools, but "unfortunately" did not do so only because of the press? Did she also agonize over whether to allow Chelsea to play in traffic?

She was not dying to send Chelsea to D.C. public schools. And no Democrat cares about "education" or "the poor."

Democrats care about social service bureaucrats who make their living allegedly working on behalf of the poor -- the famed "public service" the Democrats always drone on about -- jobs that would disappear if we ever eliminated poverty. That's why Democrats keep coming up with policies designed to create millions and millions more poor people.

Democrats fight tooth and nail against any measures that would actually help the poor, such as allowing schools to fire bad teachers. They refuse to allow parents with children in the rotten D.C. public schools to take money out of the public school system so their kids could go to Sidwell Friends like Chelsea.

Most important, Democrats resolutely refuse to tell the poor the secret to not being poor: Keep your knees together until marriage.

That's it. Not class size, not preschool, not even vouchers, though vouchers would obviously improve the education of all students. You could have lunatics running the schools -- and often do -- and if the kids live with married parents, they will end up at good colleges and will lead happy, productive lives 99 percent of the time.

But Democrats don't care about the poor. They don't care about the children. They care about government teachers and other government bureaucrats -- grimy, dowdy women who "woo" at political debates. Or as CNN calls them, the "young," "hip" crowd.

Posted by: Ann C. | August 2, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

San jose. What's up partner? how's the weather in my old stomping ground?

Posted by: rufus | August 2, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"Mr. Ailes was the media consultant to Mr. Giuliani's first mayoral campaign in 1989. Mr. Giuliani, as mayor, officiated at Mr. Ailes's wedding and intervened on his behalf when Mr. Ailes's company, Fox News Channel, was blocked from securing a cable station in the city."

you would think that would be a conflict of interest for "news". Just like the media stream media (and FOx's) being sponsered by big oil, big medicine, and boeing/lockheed

Posted by: rufus | August 2, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Zouk: The bridge was part of the Interstate highway system so it's under federal authority.

Posted by: pacman | August 2, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

That question is not only for zouk, it's for all bush defenders. If you believe so much, sign up.

aS to the "evil dems wantign to tax you. They are making plans to tax income over a million. I don't have a problem. I think it is desgined to have the big fish pay the little fish mor emoney. If you are a business owner and you don't want to ge huge taxes, how about pay your employee's more than slave wage. What a novil concept. Actuallt paying your employee's more than the basement amount to keep them their. Capitalism is slavery. money is nothing but paper. We could run an economy on wood if we were so inclined. Money is nothing. The things money buys is important. As long as more people get that i'm not concerned.

To open I will add, I believe health care, electricity, food and water and housing should be universal for all american citizens and in time world citizens. I think that is not as hard as the gop let's on. The gop loves to say governmetn can do nothing because they are greedy pigs. Divide and conquer is their game. We can do so much better. First we must remove the gop mafia from the picture. Then we can build a better future for our children without their misguided values and lies. Divide and conquer, discredit, lie and spin. That is their game

Posted by: rufus | August 2, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

for the last time ignorant coward and rufas: I don't debate imbeciles like you. If you ever grow a brain or a spine or whatever it is that makes you so intolerable, I will reconsider. Until then, don't bother with me, I'll be ignoring you. If there are any intelligent posters who wish to debate, I am happy to engage. however if you think your lack of hair can be blamed on Bush, don't even try.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 2, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse


'Breitbart reports: The U.S. military said Tuesday that a Marine was killed in fighting west of the capital, pushing the American death toll for July to at least 75. This is cause for optimism. Let's hope things continue to progress.'

Tom DeLay's blog. He has a very strange idea of progress -- At least 75 young americans killed in a month, and that's good news. But of course, he doesn't have any chldren over there.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

'Limbaugh loses it: Far-right blowhard gets unhinged, blasts Democrats as "PR spokespeople for Al Qaeda" '

This man is clearly demented, and getting more so as he gets more desperate. Just like zouk.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

HILLARY CLINTON

Hillary Clinton: I Actually Opposed Going Into Pakistan, Before I Supported It

Hillary Clinton: FLIP...

July 27 : US Democratic presidential candidate and New York Senator Hillary Clinton has rejected suggestions of a unilateral US strike in Pakistan's tribal region, American troops should accompany Pakistan troops.

Addressing a fund-raising dinner organised by the National Association of Pakistani-Americans, Hillary said a unilateral US strike would not produce the desired results, but would create fresh problems.

Only a combined effort could destroy militant hideouts in the area, she added.


...FLOP:

But she did not rule out U.S. attacks inside Pakistan, citing the missile attacks her husband, then-President Bill Clinton, ordered against Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1998.

"If we had actionable intelligence that Osama bin Laden or other high-value targets were in Pakistan I would ensure that they were targeted and killed or captured," she said.

The first comment is from July 27, the second from August 1. Way to go, Senator.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

By now many of you are aware of the2005 report card from the AmericanSociety of Civil Engineers (ASCE), a report that gave our nations infrastructure an overall grade of D. The ASCE rated such things as "Bridges" (which was given a grade of C) and reported that:

Between 2000 and 2003, the percentage of the nation's 590,750 bridges rated structurally deficient or functionally obsolete decreased slightly from 28.5% to 27.1%. However, it will cost $9.4 billion a year for 20 years to eliminate all bridge deficiencies. Long-term underinvestment is compounded by the lack of a Federal transportation program.

The grades for many other critical infrastructure areas were given, for the most part, lower grades in 2005 then in 2001. Waste water, roads and our national Energy Power Grid continue to fall apart with little or no funding being allocated to address their dire condition.

The amount of money needed to bring our infrastructure up to a passing grade has been estimated at about $1.6 trillion. The fact of the matter is that the GOP would rather cut taxes for the wealthiest of our citizens then spend money to ensure our nation has a safe and strong infrastructure. Additionally we have squandered billions in Iraq, and by the time we are done in that country we will have spent over a trillion dollars, billions of which are unaccounted for, billions more being spent on corruption, and billions being wasted on projects that are substandard and incomplete.

Over and over we have seen and suffered from the inept and corrupt GOP. Yesterday we lost more lives, but, as many of you know, the GOP isn't satisfied with just destroying our nations infrastructure, they have also been successful in making our food supplies less safe, their policies have also resulted in massive recalls for things such as toys that contain unacceptable levels of lead paint. Over and over we see the results of the mantra of the GOP which is that government can't be trusted with your money, but the reality is that when the GOP takes AWAY the ability of the government to do its job through reduced funding of essential services, our whole nation suffers, and people end up dead.

Posted by: San Jose | August 2, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

If you were running for the Republican presidential nomination, whose support would be worth the equivalent of many millions in campaign dollars? Newt? Nah. Bush? Ha. Try Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News and former media adviser to Richard Nixon.

Mr. Ailes was the media consultant to Mr. Giuliani's first mayoral campaign in 1989. Mr. Giuliani, as mayor, officiated at Mr. Ailes's wedding and intervened on his behalf when Mr. Ailes's company, Fox News Channel, was blocked from securing a cable station in the city.

This year, they were tablemates at the White House correspondents dinner, which Mr. Giuliani attended as a guest of Fox's parent company, the News Corporation.

The festival of back-scratching continues with Giuliani's presidential campaign. Despite Fox claims of impartiality, Giuliani has certainly been getting his turn as the scratchee.

So far this year, one political journal found, Mr. Giuliani has logged more time on Fox interview programs than all other candidates together. Most of the time has been spent with Sean Hannity, an acknowledged admirer of the former mayor, according to the data compiled by the journal, known as The Hotline.

Should Rudy ever get the opportunity, I'm sure Roger -- and Rupert -- have a few ideas about how he might pay them back for their favoritism.

With all the rope that Ailes is tossing Giuliani, the wonder is not that the Democratic presidential candidates won't conduct a debate on Fox, the wonder is that the Republican candidates will agree to debate on a network that already has it's champion.

Posted by: haha | August 2, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

The king of trolls is here, right on time. Always just a bit before noon. Must have a time clock over the RNC.

Why aren't you in IRAQ, zouk? Why do you spend your day typing, shilling for multinational corporations, when you could be fighting a war you beleive so dearly in?

'should I be paying for the health insurance for someone who makes over $80K per year.' More straw men. Pulls figures out of the air -- makes sh*t up. Indeed, why should anyone pay for the health care of poor American children? Why shouldn't we just let them die? Only the strong and the rich should survive. World would be a better place if the weak and helpless died, wouldn't it koz?

Cancer is a death sentence here too -- for the 40% of people who don't have health insurance. Ever been in a children's cancer ward? I have. But I'm sure it wouldn't move you, zouk. So called 'conservatives' lack a brain, a soul, AND a heart -- not to mention courage.

ANSWER -WHY AREN'T YOU IN IRAQ?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"Spoke to soon. I see ignorant coward is right back to his old tricks. too bad. this blog is now ruined for the day again."

yEAH ZOUK IS A PROBLEM :).

Either leave or not. it is your choice. Bill O'Reilly/sean hannity's defense of their station and propoganda: "If you don't like it change the cahnnel"

Posted by: rufus | August 2, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

ALL POWER BACK TO THE PEOPLE

ONE WORLD ONE PEOPLE

Posted by: RUFUS | August 2, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

you don't scare me with the "s" word zouk. you know me. I want more or our tax dollars going back to he people, as opposed to overseas or back in the leaders pockets. I beleive that money is our's as americans, not george bush's.

As Kusinich said, "You are paying for national healthcare now, your just not getting it."

Rather than divide and conquer let's put that money back into the county and it's citizens. 1 trillon dollars. That's how the iraq war will cost us.

Posted by: rufus | August 2, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Congress has been asking whether anyone in the administration had concerns about the White House bypassing the FISA court in authorizing warrantless domestic spying and indeed, as it turned out, there had been such grave concerns that a dozen of the top Justice Department and FBI officials had been prepared to resign over it. But Gonzales answered there had not been any concerns at all, everyone was so convinced of its legality.

Now the administration is rushing to produce letters that cryptically reference lots of other activities involved in the warrantless domestic spying program which apparently no one in Congress still understands, including the chairs and vice chairs of the Senate committee that authorizes the Patriot Act and is being asked to blindly expand the powers once again--including the ability to tap telecommunications switches without warrants--that the administration is seeking.The letter is apparently an attempt to absolve Gonzales of charges of misleading Congress.'

'Tap communication switches' means the ability to listen to any phone call, anywhere, anytime.

Is there anyone out there who trusts this administration not to abuse that tremendous power?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Spoke to soon. I see ignorant coward is right back to his old tricks. too bad. this blog is now ruined for the day again.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

The state of the nation is both depressing and frustrating. Corruption and arrogance rule,not since Nixon has a sordid administration and willing cadre of yes-men so debased our government. There must be a cleansing in 2008 of the Republicans currently in Congress,in order to restore democracy and decency to America.

Posted by: Kay | August 2, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

cillizza,
here's another ad for the republican offense:
http://campaignads.org/video.php?videoid=123

also playing on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVV3thFVOK8

Posted by: laura crawford | August 2, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

where do you aggrandizing Libs get the idea that all americans should be paying for a bridge somewhere in NY or MN? Can't this be handled on the local level? who drives on this bridge? this is just so typical Dem/Lib mentality. I broke a fingernail - alert the congress.

As for schips - should I be paying for the health insurance for someone who makes over $80K per year. this is not a sensible program -= it is creeping socialism and it is costing lots. government run health care rations the services to obtain the cost point. Other countries let people die and wait in line. Cancer in the UK is a death sentence.

Yesterday was very pleasant on this blog. I think either the censor was effective or the usual gang of idiots has left for the Kossack convention.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 2, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

ppearing May 13 on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Obama suggested that he is prepared to consider a major alteration of affirmative action policy to make it less racially based and more economically rooted:

"My daughters should probably be treated by any admissions officer as folks who are pretty advantaged," he said. "I think that we should take into account white kids who have been disadvantaged and have grown up in poverty and shown themselves to have what it takes to succeed."

A month later, in a June 7 talk at a Spartanburg, South Carolina Baptist Church, Obama pointedly challenged black men who abandon their children:

"There are a lot of men out there who need to stop acting like boys; who need to realize that responsibility does not end at conception; you need to know that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one,"

And in Philadelphia, at a July 5 National Education Association meeting, Obama endorsed merit pay -- anathema to teachers' unions. "If you excel at helping your students achieve success, your success will be valued and rewarded as well," Obama said, careful to add, "I want to work with teachers. I'm not going to do it to you, I'm going to do it with you."

Posted by: the real maverick | August 2, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Barack Obama's August 1 speech outlining an aggressive anti-terrorist policy is part of the Illinois Senator's larger campaign strategy, demonstrating his willingness to break from liberal orthodoxy -- defying teachers' unions, proponents of racially based affirmative action, and Democratic constituencies wary of the use of force.

Obama, the first African American with a serious shot at winning the Democratic presidential nomination, warned in his Washington address today at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars that as president he would be willing to unilaterally attack al Qaeda targets in Pakistan.

"If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will.... There must be no safe-haven for terrorists who threaten America. We cannot fail to act because action is hard."

In his speech Obama sought to affirm his credentials as a prospective Commander in Chief who would not only end the war in Iraq, but who would also aggressively mount an offensive against Islamic terrorists.

Posted by: obama! | August 2, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

well said hating congress. But people like me and you are the bad guys for calling them on it. I am the problem with the country. Everything is MY fault and liberal bloggers.

I guess they have to have someone to point to. Like AL said in scarface." You need to point at someone and say, look there's the bad guy."

Anonymous posters? Let's talk about real issues and REAL government. Not sabotage, divide and conquer, misdierction.

As to the bridge collaspe. I'm sorry to all effects. God works in misterious ways though. don't hate God's will. Sometimes you just have to soldier through the tragedy. Fear and pain doesn't exist.

God bless all those effected. Be strong. Realize God has a bigger plan. He/she doesn't hate you. He loves you. Somtimes he/she just needs to get your attention.

Posted by: rufus | August 2, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

The WP and WSJ front officials from Chiquita International Brands saying the Justice Department failed to make it clear the company shouldn't make payments to a Colombian paramilitary group, even though company officials were perfectly aware that they were a violation of anti-terrorism laws.

The LAT had the story a few weeks ago but focused on whether government officials were more lenient toward important companies who paid money to Colombian terrorist groups rather than al-Qaida.

Posted by: terrorism is terrorism | August 2, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

test test.

"I'll put a spell on yoooouuuu

You better stop the the things you dooo. I said watch out. I'm not lyyyyyin.
". :)

Posted by: rufus1133 | August 2, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

The WP fronts a look at the bonuses that FDA officials have been paid over the last few years as part of a program designed to prevent officials from jumping to the private sector. The cash bonuses have quadrupled since 2002 and lawmakers are complaining that some of these bonuses are going to the highest-paid officials. Although it seems to make sense that those making the most money would also receive the largest bonuses, it is strange that they were awarded at a time when the FDA was under intense criticism.

Posted by: small government-- LOL | August 2, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

'The NYT fronts a look at how the almost 20-year friendship between Rudolph Giuliani and republican strategist Roger Ailes, the president of Fox News, has raised questions about whether the channel will cover all the Republican presidential candidates fairly. Giuliani has been on Fox News more than any other candidate.'

Expect Fox News to be Rudy 24/7. They've already picked their candidate. Fair and balanced, just like always.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

The LAT fronts, and everyone mentions, news that Iraq's main Sunni political bloc withdrew from the government yesterday, dealing a huge blow to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Any remaining chance of political progress before the September report is even more unlikely now since any agreements reached without the Iraqi Consensus Front "would be virtually meaningless," says the NYT. Six of the bloc's Cabinet members (the WP says five) resigned, but the group announced that its 44 parliament members would remain.

The withdrawal came on a particularly violent day in Baghdad, where a string of bombings killed at least 75 people. And, according to the LAT, the U.S. military announced the deaths of six soldiers.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Why not politicize the bridge collapse? Hell, America is dying, people. Don't you get it? Are your eyes not open? Why do we even have a government or politicians if they don't give a crap? If they really cared, they would have tried to do something about real problems. Health care, education, infrastructure, and so on: All of which have been "ameliorated" by some empty rhetoric and thin veil of subconscious racism and pointless self-centered interests to the benefit of 1% of the nation. Are you enjoying your lifestyle of Wal-Mart and Hummers and flat screens? Are you really happy? Well screw all of you. If you really cared about the well being of America, transportation and infrastructure would be a huge priority. But now, it just gets token coverage from the corporate media. And all you isolated Washingtonians don't have a damn clue. And now 4 people in Minneapolis are dead. So, why not blame Norm Coleman? He's a sorry sack of a Senator who used to have ideals but sold out big time. He had a choice: fix the domestic policy or waste time in lockstep on Iraq. Smooth move, Norm! You people will never get it. America HATES Washington. I go on this blog and am shocked about how god damn SELFISH some of you people are. And whats worse is the fact that you know it too!

Posted by: Hating Congress | August 2, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

JimD-- have a good time in New England visiting your parents. Your comments re the bridge were my thoughts exactly.You probably read too about the explosion of the 90 year old steam pipe in New York last week that sent a column of 200 degree steam 20 stories high-- literally boiling a few people.

It's true that both parties have been irresponsible in terms of infrastructure, but honestly-- don't you think the 'small government-no taxes' mantra/mentality of the 'conservatives' has more than anything contributed to the infrastructure crisis we now face?

As I've mentioned, I live in the New York, and several terms of a republican governor [the now loathed Pataki] has resulted in a serious decline in the condition of our MANY bridges -- some of them are visibly crumbling and truly scary to drive over.

Judge or Mark -- whoever said it -- it needs to be sold as a national security issue -- because it is. You are far more likely to be killed by a bridge collapse as a terrorist attack -- and you will be just as dead.

Posted by: drindl | August 2, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

JimD, what you propose is intriguing, though I have to say, may be a bit of a pipe dream. This AM public radio interviewed Rep Oberstar, who happens to run the transportation committee & represent MN (far north, not the metro - the bridge is in Ellison's district). He's holding meetings this AM to release something north of $200 million for short-term handling of the collapse - traffic rerouting, cleanup, etc. Given his long service, and resulting power in Congress, and the immediacy of the need for a replacement structure in Minneapolis, is there really any chance that there won't be a fancy, top-of-the-line Oberstar Bridge on the fast track for approval?

Posted by: bsimon | August 2, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

The Washington Post leads with the House passing an expansion of the Children's Health Insurance Program with a 225-204 vote that was mostly along party lines. The bill, which Bush has vowed to veto, would expand insurance coverage to about 5 million more children.

The health-care bill would also prevent cuts in Medicare reimbursements to doctors and increase the federal tobacco tax by 45 cents a pack to fund the measure. Republicans decried the bill as an expansion of a system that could be operated more efficiently by the private sector.

"Republicans fear, and Democrats hope, the bill will set a precedent for efforts to cover more of the 45 million Americans lacking health insurance," notes the NYT.'

Right -- it would certainly be far more efficient to hand the money over to 'the private sector' --cronies -- so they could charge more for the same services and refuse to cover you for any reason they felt like. Because that's been working so well.

Republicans hate and fear the idea of good government --they hate all government, which is why they constantly try to undermine it. Because they want every transaction to make a profit. For them to make a profit.

Why would they support a program that efficiently provides health care to children, when they could pocket the tax money themselves and then deny services?

That's why they love the idea of the 'old west' and lawlessness and anarchy. They can get away with more.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Well, I will not be around much until Tuesday - off to New England to visit my parents.

Anonymous 10:23 poster - I absolutely agree that absent a political settlement we are spinning our wheels. We do not seem to have a coherent political strategy even if we finally have a coherent anti-insurgency strategy. The estimates I have seen in the press about the composition of the forces fighting us in Iraq would indicate that 80-90% of the violence would be addressed by a comprehensive political settlement.

Posted by: JimD in FL | August 2, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

In 1975, Army Col. Harry Summers went to Hanoi as chief of the U.S. delegation's negotiation team for the four-party military talks that followed the collapse of the South Vietnamese government. While there, he spent some time chatting with his North Vietnamese counterpart, Col. Tu, an old soldier who had fought against the United States and lived to tell his tale. With a tinge of bitterness about the war's outcome, Summers told Tu, "You know, you never defeated us on the battlefield." Tu replied, in a phrase that perfectly captured the American misunderstanding of the Vietnam War, "That may be so, but it is also irrelevant."

Posted by: oops | August 2, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Excuse me, republicans accusing Democrats of cutting Medicare for seniors? Is this someone's idea of a joke? Anyone with a brain [altho this doesn't include talk radio listeners, obviously] knows that repubicans are the ones that want to get rid of ALL social programs -- to dismantle the ENTIRE safety net for the poor, the aged, and the disabled.

They're social darwinists--that's what all this talk of 'personal responsibility' is about. They belieive only the 'strong' i.e. the privileged, like themselves -- deserve to survive. That's why they despises FDR and tried to bring him down -- and have been trying to dismantle all social programs since then.

Posted by: Samantha | August 2, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Mark, Judge

I know that the Army Corps of Engineers has been politicized. They also have a definite prediliction for very high visibility, high dollar value projects and have not been very sensitive to environmental impact. I would try to assemble some independent, blue ribbon type commission to oversee the evaluation.

Both parties are to blame for the decades long neglect of critical infrastructure. I think the Democrats might be able to capitalize on the issue more easily than the Republicans. Large public works projects are more traditional with Democrats, although it was a Republcian president who pushed through the interstate highway system. Eisenhower had experience with the difficulties of moving equipment and troops around during war games before World War II and was determined to deal with the problem.

As for Congressmen "bringing home the bacon", polls have consistently shown that people tend to hate Congress in general and love their Congressperson in particular.

One of the problems with addressing infrastructure is that I don't believe the problems are at all evenly distributed among the states. The Northeast and Midwest have, in general, a lot more older infrastructure than the Sunbelt. Certainly, my neck of Florida is in much better shape than southern New England (where my parents live). Congress loves to "spread the wealth" in this regard. I would like to see (doubt it would ever happen) an independent blue ribbon panel develop a list of prioritized projects and Congress would appropriate funds to deal with those projects and only those projects. The model I have in mind is the base closure process - limit the discretion Congress has to add projects. The devil is in the details and I don't have a fully thought out proposal here. I would allow for the ability to fund lower priorities - if, for example, priority 4 would cost more than the next 5 priorities. I frequently dealt with trade offs like this in my military financial management positions. I would really like to avoid "bridges to nowhere" in this process.

Posted by: JimD in FL | August 2, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

hating congress writes
"Why not blame Norm Coleman for the bridge collapse?"

I'm no Coleman fan, but the bridge is not really something for which he should receive blame. If you want to politicize the bridge collapse, which may be a bit crass at this point, my prediction is that Gov Pawlenty will not veto a gas tax hike this year for infrastructure improvements.

Posted by: bsimon | August 2, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

ent to Hanoi as chief of the U.S. delegation's negotiation team for the four-party military talks that followed the collapse of the South Vietnamese government. While there, he spent some time chatting with his North Vietnamese counterpart, Col. Tu, an old soldier who had fought against the United States and lived to tell his tale. With a tinge of bitterness about the war's outcome, Summers told Tu, "You know, you never defeated us on the battlefield." Tu replied, in a phrase that perfectly captured the American misunderstanding of the Vietnam War, "That may be so, but it is also irrelevant."

Today, in Iraq, we face a similar conundrum. Our vaunted military has won every battle against insurgents and militias--from the march up to the "thunder runs" that took Baghdad; the assaults on Fallujah to the battles for Sadr City. And yet we still find ourselves stuck in the sands of Mesopotamia. In a New York Times op-ed published Monday, Brookings Institution scholars Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack argue that "[w]e are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms." They go on to describe the myriad ways the surge is succeeding on the security front. But in emphasizing this aspect of current operations, they downplay the more critical questions relating to political progress and the ability of Iraq's national government to actually govern. Security is not an end in itself. It is just one component, albeit an important one, of a comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy. Unless it is paired with a successful political strategy that consolidates military gains and translates increased security into support from the Iraqi people, these security improvements will, over time, be irrelevant.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Mark: bsimon left a comment on the Obama topic stating that he was fine. Whew.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | August 2, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

My last post ('til lunch, anyway):

Got it, Judge.

The House is losing a good R in LaHood, who announced his retirement.

I hope bsimon and his folks are well; and to the Minnesotans I do not know, who were affected by the tragedy, my sincere condolences.

I watched RG on Charlie Rose and he was engaging.

Did Obama actually suggest he was better equipped to handle foreign policy than any other candidate, as one poster on another thread suggested?

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 2, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Mark: the ';^)' was my disclaimer. I don't consider any of the three of us to be 'liberals' any more than I consider KOZ to be a liberal. Moderates, maybe. Of course, that entitles us to a free lifetime supply of hatred from both ends of the spectrum.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | August 2, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

What is moderate now is what was liberal then. Wake up, Washington. Do you people ever get outside the Beltway (and no, I don't mean so you can go back to your McMansion in Potomac)?

Posted by: truth | August 2, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Judge, If I, and arguably JimD, have descended into the "liberal ether", where do the moderates stand today? When did I cross the River Styx? What have I done?

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 2, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

THE UNITED STATES HAS LOST THE WAR IN IRAQ AND ITS A WASTE OF TIME AND LIVES TO LIVE IN DENIAL OF THIS REALITY.

Posted by: mm | August 2, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

If Norm Coleman really cared about his constitents safety and really thought that being in Iraq was doing his people a favor, he can be assured now to know that HE IS WRONG AND HE WILL LOSE. There are real problems going on in the US, people. Washington never seems to remember that. Why not blame Norm Coleman for the bridge collapse? I mean, he could have done something about it if he paid attention to engineering studies and made a genuine effort to fix the nation's infrastructure. But no, he doesn't want to be educated on real things. Iraq just had so much more sex appeal at the time.

Posted by: Hating Congress Since the 50s | August 2, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Mark: the liberal ether is absolutely humming with similar ideas today ;^)

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | August 2, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

On subject, although Murtha is a "blue dog" whom I would normally be drawn to, his history of pork initiatives is plain to see. On the other hand, if most of his earmarks are visible in his district and he, like so many Congresspersons, is seen locally as "our tap into the pipeline", he will not be dethroned by calling attention to the local largesse.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 2, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Judge, you beat me to the identification of the Army Corps of Engineers as an example. Fine minds are working alike today.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 2, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

JimD, I had a similar reaction to the levees failing at New Orleans. You may recall that navigable waterways like the Mississippi River and Lake Ponchartrain are a federal responsibility. The Army Corps of Engineers has historical general oversight.

I thought the problems were all due to either cumulative funding failures or the local corruption of the "Levee Boards". Turns out that part of the blame falls on the Corps for silly schemes and poor oversight.

The pork temptation is great. The "objective" measures you desire would have to be the primary goal of a national security infrastructure initiative. I do see that it could be correlated to an expanded voluntary service program.

It would have to be packaged as part of national security, the way the interstate highway system was packaged as a defense issue.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 2, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Credibility is certainly key here and the R's currently don't have any. The rot emanating from the Executive branch colors everything any R says.

I'm amazed that they are still wasting their money going after Mollohan. He was targeted by a trumped up whispering campaign back when things didn't look as good for the D's. Now that they look much better for the D's, the R's are trying what didn't work the first time. Cue the cookoo clock.

The R's running against Murtha based on his earmarking habits: the pot calling the kettle 'black!' The Stevens fiasco puts them in a deep, dark hole on this issue.

Aside from the hoary old "raising taxes" chesnut the "cutting Medicare for seniors" angle looks like grasping at straws. Is that the best they can do?

Oh, JimD I'm sure you're well aware of the history of the Army Core of Engineers. Eliminating political influence would be a long-overdue yet monumental task.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | August 2, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

CC has blogged Alaska's corruption allegations.

Posted by: to poster posing as Stevens | August 2, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

A lot will depend on the political climate in the fall of 2008. Should the situation in Iraq actually improve, so will Republican chances. The identity of the presidential nominees will also impact the turnout. For example, if Giuliani is the nominee, you might see large numbers of normally Republican evangelicals sit the election out - or vote for a third party. Obviously, a key part of the base sitting out the election would hurt Republican congressional candidates.

Some months ago I discussed what I believed would be a winning platform for a Democratic presidential candidate. It included strengthening security measures for our infrastructure and uprgrading that infrastructure. The tragic bridge collapse in Minnesota underscores the urgency of that issue. News reports say that about 27% of our bridges are structurally deficient in some manner. If I were Speaker of the House, I would introduce legislation to conduct a comprehensive survey of key infrastructure along with recommendations for improvements. I would immediately push for funding the most critical projects that have already been identified and even dedicate a specific revenue source to underwrite a comprehensive infrastructure improvement project. Polls show that voters will overwhelmingly support a dedicated tax for a specific purpose that the voters like.

I can remember reading about crumbling infrastructure 15 to 20 years ago. Repairs and upgrades have seriously lagged the need. The problem in addressing this issue is that is tailor made for pork barrel spending and padding the appropriations with earmarks for various members' pet projects, which probably will not match the objective priorities. If I were "king", I would have a panel of engineers evaluate the most critical projects and then I would fund the projects in priority order. Congress would be smart to create some sort of mechanism to ensure that funding flows by some objective measure of importance as opposed to the "pull" of various members. I would go so far as to use some variation of the military base closure method.

Posted by: JimD in FL | August 2, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I notice you have avoided a post about the corruption allegations surrounding Senator Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young, both Republicans of Alaska. Why haven't you covered the potential election fallout in Alaska in 2008?

Posted by: Ted Stevens, R-AK | August 2, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

It's hard to sell anti-corruption when your longest-serving member a) has his house searched by the FBI and b) the next day votes against ethics reform. Senator Stevens is emblematic of the problem Republicans face in this quest to tar the Democrats as corrupt and fiscally unsound.

And I completely agree with Mary's take on the war funding. Simply unbelievable. Completely separate from whether you believe the war in Iraq to be just or stupid.

Posted by: librarian | August 2, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Much of this depends on who the GOP Presidential nominee is. Rudy Guiliani and Mitt Romney both have had the advantage of governing: Rudy in NYC where he balanced a budget with dems. representing the legislature and Romney as gov. of Mass. where he balanced a budget 4 years. Now, the Club for Growth has exposed Romney's balanced budget as nothing more than back door tax cuts and fee increases for living. They have praised Rudy for balancing a budget in NYC honestly, cutting taxes and giving more money to the people. Romney will have to defend his position, but none the less he can say he balanced the Mass. budget without raising taxes. Noone in the rest of the field, to my knowledge, can say they balanced a budget at all. Some have pushed for raising taxes, most of the dems. running and Huckabee, and McCain was originally against Bush's tax cuts. Besides Rudy and Romney, most these people have been in congress...which isn't positive any way you want to view it.

As for individual congressional districts, these ads can well work. Especially if good candidates step forth to run for election, there are a great plenty of house seats that can be won this cycle by Republican's who aren't corrupt. I believe the Republican's could re-claim many house seats this cycle. It could be a pretty decent year for Republicans in the House. The senate, however, will remain a tougher go.

Posted by: reason | August 2, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

"but voters simply didn't view GOPers as credible messengers due"... due to what? Is it due to their cut and borrow spending policy? Is it due to their bully boy floor tactics, which masks morally weak leadership in Congress? Is it due to their utter incompetence in waging war? Take your pick.

Posted by: Samsara | August 2, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

They won't have much effect at all.

We true fiscally conservative Republicans aren't listening anymore.

When the Bush Republicans support honestly placing the cost of the very war they supported IN the annual budget, and not hidden in supplementals, the fiscal base may find them credible again.

Until then, it's just political posturing, and will only work for the AM radio crowd who don't get it anyway.

The Silent Majority is angry at these Borrow and Spend, obstructionist Republicans selling our financial future to Communist China.

The more they posture with silly tantrums, the more this real base moves away from them.

Posted by: Mary | August 2, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

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