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Getting to 60 in the Senate

Controlling 60 seats is the holy grail in the Senate. It allows the majority party to block filibusters from the minority and truly run the chamber.

The last time a party held 60 or more seats was three decades ago when Democrats had 61 seats in the 95th Congress (1977-1979). But, the combination of a toxic political environment for Republicans and a relatively small number of Democratic vulnerabilities has skilled observers -- including Fix friend and Roll Call columnist Stu Rothenberg -- starting to talk about the possibility of Democrats getting to 60 in the next two or four years.

Let's examine the two scenarios that could propel Democrats from their current 51-seat majority to a filibuster-proof 60.

The One Cycle Scenario

There's no question that at this point in the 2008 cycle all signs point to Democratic gains. The American public long ago soured on both President Bush and the war in Iraq and there is little tangible evidence of a coming wholesale turnaround. Republicans have also been barraged by a series of troubling developments, from the mishandling of veterans care at Walter Reed to the ongoing investigation into the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys. Many Republican strategists thought their party had hit rock bottom on Election Day 2006, but the political reality is that things have gotten measurably worse since then.

The raw numbers also point to a strong Democratic year in 2008. Democrats have just 12 seats to defend as compared to 21 for Republicans -- by far the best ratio of the three Senate classes. (The 2010 class has 17 Democrats and 15 Republicans; the 2012 class has 19 Democrats and 15 Republicans.)

But, it is not just the raw numbers. There are five obvious pickup opportunities for Democrats even at this early stage of the cycle: the open seat in Colorado as well as seats currently held by Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Norm Coleman (Minn.), Gordon Smith (Ore.), and John Sununu (N.H.).

In Colorado, Republicans haven't yet settled on a candidate and Democrats have made considerable gains at the state and federal level in the past few elections. Collins, Coleman, Smith and Sununu all represent states carried by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) in the 2004 presidential race, and, given the tough political environment, may struggle to convince voters to re-elect them.

For Democrats to even ponder reaching 60, they need to win all five of these seats. Then, they need a bit of luck.

Right now four Republican Senators up for re-election are regularly mentioned as serious retirement possibilities: Sens. Pete Domenici (N.M.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Chuck Hagel (Neb.) and John Warner (Va.).

Of the four, New Mexico and Virginia are the most naturally competitive in an open seat scenario. New Mexico is one of the most closely divided states along partisan lines and Virginia has shown an increasing willingness to vote for Democrats. Plus, former Gov. Mark Warner (D-Va.) appears quite interested in running in for an open seat and would start such a race as the frontrunner. The field is less clear in New Mexico, although Rep. Tom Udall (D) might well run.

Mississippi and Nebraska are far less favorable ground for Democrats. But, if the seats came open and Democrats were able to convince former Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore and Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey to run, then winning both seats becomes a possibility. The good news for Democrats is that both men have expressed interest in a bid if a vacancy occurs.

But even if all four of the aforementioned Republicans retire and Democrats are able to recruit top-tier candidates who win at least three of those seats, that still only gives the party 59 seats heading into 2009.

To get to the magic 60, they really need a break -- a retirement, a super challenger for a GOP held seat, or a George Allen-like collapse that no one sees coming right now. The best possibilities? A retirement by Sen. Jim Inhofe (Okla.) and a candidacy by popular Gov. Brad Henry (D). Or a serious (read: well-financed) challenger emerging against either Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) or Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.).

Lastly, did we mention that in order to have a shot at 60 Senate seats in 2008 Democrats need to pull off everything outlined above, PLUS endangered Democratic Senators like Mary Landrieu (La.), Tim Johnson (S.D.) and Max Baucus (Mont.) need to win re-election?

The Two Cycle Scenario

Under this scenario, Democrats need to capitalize on the 21 GOP seats up for re-election in 2008 to put themselves in position to push the Senate majority to 60 seats in 2010.

As mentioned above, there are five good pickup opportunities already out there for Democrats in 2008: Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Oregon.

Let's say for the sake of argument they win four of those five.

And, let's guess that seats come open in Virginia, Nebraska and New Mexico. Assuming Warner runs, we'll put Virginia in the takeover category and New Mexico continues to trend Democratic so a pickup there isn't out of the question either.

That's a six seat gain. While Democrats didn't lose a single one of their seats in 2006, that seems unlikely to be repeated in 2008; Landrieu seems the most vulnerable. A loss by the Louisiana incumbent would leave Democrats' at 56 seats heading into 2009.

That means they would need to find four more pickups in the 2010 cycle. A quick scan reveals a handful of likely targets including Sens. Kit Bond (Mo.), Jim Bunning (Ky.), Judd Gregg (N.H.), Arlen Specter (Pa.), George Voinovich (Ohio) and Mel Martinez (Fla.). It's also anyone's guess whether Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) is still around in 2010 when his seat comes up. If he isn't, Arizona will likely host a very competitive contest.

Democrats have a few concerns of their own -- Sens. Harry Reid (Nev.), Byron Dorgan (N.D.) and Ken Salazar (Colo.) all could face real races and Sens. Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) may or may not still be in the chamber -- but have less exposure than their Republican counterparts.

The likelihood of Democrats winning a filibuster-proof majority in 2008 is remote though not impossible. Their odds are considerably better in 2010 if -- if and that is a big "if" -- the national political environment continues to strongly favor Democrats. That dynamic that would allow the party to make mid to high single digit gains next November and could make 60 seats a real possibility for Senate Democrats in 2010.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 25, 2007; 4:58 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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I predict it being a long, long time to come, if ever, that either party controls 60 seats in the senate. No way is that happening in 08', for either party. There looks to be only a handful of senators in trouble: Liendreu (La.-D), Sununu (NH-R), Johnson (SD-D), Coleman (Minn.-R). Others are listed but I think Baucus, Collins and Smith are fairly safe. Now, if Rehberg runs in Montana or Henry runs in Okla., there could be some upsets. But I wouldn't bet on it. If Domenici or Warner retires, their seats would definately be up for grabs. But it looks like they are headed for re-election.

Posted by: reason | April 28, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

i wanted to leave an irrelevant comment 2.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

2004 was a resounding year for Republicans and things were looking very bright for the GOP with many dems running for reelection in states Bush won. I wouldn't be suprised if the GOP is back in the majority by 2008. Especially if Rudy is ont the ticket.

Posted by: Danny | April 27, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

The GOP will reach 60 senate seats before the Democrats do. LOL

Posted by: Jonathan | April 27, 2007 5:15 AM | Report abuse

I love the high level of arrogance that leads to even considering 60 Senate seats. Dream on. Pride goes before a fall. Ask the Republicans about that. In fact, having failed to learn the lessons of 1995's shut down of the gov't's advantage to President Clinton, the current Congress is intent upon handing the same advantage to the current WH over Iraq funding. I love that the dems are so over-confident. You heard it hear first: not only will they NOT get 60 seats, the Dems are the underdogs for the WH in '08. A minority or female candidate will cost 5-10% of the vote. Reality is reality and there are still bigots in this nation. That's can be compensated, by itself. Add the coming showdown over funding the troops and a Senate Minority Leader declaring our troops irrelevant to the outcome of a war, and you set the stage for too many obstacles for a Dem Presidential nominee to overcome. If the Dems want to reach 60, they need to give considerable pause to their current strategy of Viet Namming their own foreign policy. If you can't be trusted to be for America first, don't be surprise if America doesn't trust you.

Posted by: zash | April 26, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse

I actually think the dems getting to 60 in 2008 will be easy. The real question is will they get to 67 or even 71. The GOP is in historic collapse and it won't get any better from here. It is sort of like several years ago when the Canadian ruling party collapsed from a majority down to 2 seats. Since all independents are now democrats, at least for the next election cycle, it is more correct to ask the question of whether any republican can win a senate seat in any state.

Posted by: Andrew P | April 26, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Assuming the Democrat tsunami needed to produce such a result would also lead to a Democrat President: Why would you need a veto proof Democrat Congress with a Democrat President? Hmmm, I wonder.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chris, have you been watching your Democrats in action? If you think the 'Rats will reach 60 in '08 or '10 for that matter you are completely out of touch with those who live in flyover country! If you are able to "maintain" the seats you have it will be an accomplishment.

Posted by: I don't think so Chris! | April 26, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I want to leave an irrelevant comment too.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Message from New Hampshire -- John Sununu is toast. Personally, I believe Pete Domenici is toast as well.

Posted by: Jan | April 26, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

This just makes me want to have a circle-jerk with all my friends! I'm so excited.

Posted by: Bill Clinton | April 26, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

This just makes me want to have a circle-jerk with all my friends! I'm so excited.

Posted by: Bill Clinton | April 26, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

can you please compare these names to ones that may be under indictment? that may influence their campaigns, ay? then give me your chances.

can't wait for '08.

Posted by: pre-Amerikkkan | April 26, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

If Arnold gets in Boxer will loose in 2010. Steele might win. Linda Lingle could win. Huckabee could win. The odds of those damn democrats getting sixty senators is probably out of the question-thank GOD!

Posted by: John B | April 26, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Wow Trotsky, you are awfully clever....


Posted by: Shaun | April 26, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

In December 2005, the Republicans were looking ahead to 60 seats, too.

Any party that is in that strong a position is going to do something to trigger a backlash. I think they should be content to hit something like 55 and govern there; it worked very well for the Republicans last time and in the 1990s.

Posted by: Brittain33 | April 26, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Chris, you have your numbers wrong. In 2012, 23 Democrats are up (24 with Lieberman) and only 9 Republicans.

Posted by: Commenter | April 26, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Your scenario for 2008 will obviously hinge on what happens in Iraq and the economy. If Iraq continues to be a quagmire and the economy starts to tank because of the housing implosion, then 2008 will be a bloodbath for the GOP with all of the seats mentioned in your article strong take over possibilities for the Dems. In addition, several other seats will probably also be in play in this environment, maybe even TX.

Posted by: LouisXIV | April 26, 2007 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Theocratic reactionaries, "We're an empire now" imperialist strutters, war profiteers, uber-patriotic demagogue-bullies, nutbars and loony-tunes of sundry stripe, the bellicose nerds at their basement keyboards, the functional illiterates over at Blogs for Bush and Renew America, deniers of evolution, believers in Satan, the Rapture-ready, and Tom DeLay: Ladies and gentlemen, the Republican Party.

To assist them, they have the services of exactly the kind of spokespersons such people deserve: the neighborhood saloon loudmouth Rush Limbaugh, Sean "The Boston Terrier of Indignation" Hannity, the self-parodying O'Reilly, the vile Coulter, with assorted nudniks like Glenn Beck and Dennis Prager to come in off the bench in case, against all odds, there's a shortfall of teh stoopid. Oh, and Fox News, as dependable as Pravda and easily as accurate, unswerving in its dedication to cheering on Chimpy.

This is what remains of the right after six years of the Bush-Cheney Follies. It's like the end of 'Salem's Lot, where everyone left in town is a vampire. If we must talk about "conservative humor," these are the "conservatives"--liars to a man, only in it for the money, the worst America has to offer. Just ask the world.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 7:34 AM | Report abuse

THE UNITED STATES SENATE OF AMERICA AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES **THE CONGRESS** AS WELL APROVED SUBPOENAS. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------**** LET THE GAMES CONTINUE ****---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------one down **Kyle Sampson** --- two down **MONICA GOODLING** --- three down **Michael J. Elston** --- FOUR down **JUSTICEDEPARTMENT ARCHIEF THOUSANDS OF FIRINGPAPERS AND EMAILS NOT HANDED OVER TO CONGRESS,GONZALES SUBPOENAED TO DELIVER BY MONDAY 2.00 HOURS** --- --- 5 DOWN William Moschella** --- 6 DOWN Scott Jennings _ to reveal their roles in the firings --- SEVEN DOWN **Rove's deputy, Sara Taylor** --- **GONZALES IS ABOUT TO RESIGN,AND OTHERWISE WILL BE SEND AWAY BEFOR MAY, BY CONGRESS SO WE MAY CONSIDER HIM DOW** --- AND MIERS*S VERTICAL SMILE WILL CHANGE IN A GRIME ONES SHES INDICTED ** OUR COMMANDER IN THEFT AND CHEAT WILL LEAVE US SOON **SOONER** NOW THAT WE HAVE DISCOVERED THE PHONY ANONIMOUS ITALIAN LETTER SPELLED IN FRENCH THAT CHEATED US IN AN UNNECESSARY WAR !! EARLY ELECTIONS ARE ON THE WAY...I.E. BEFORE THIS SUMMER. AND LET US BE CLEAR ALL PERSONS BELONG TO THE GROUP OF EXTREME CHRISTIAN REPUBLICAN TERRORISTS !!! Rep Specter says: **Gonzales is a problem by not remembering facts of the firings 72 times,he is hurting the justice department, no says Prez BU_ll_SH_it Gonzales is a good boy, yes says Gonzales I stay. No says the American people YOU GO AND STOP POLITICIZING THE AMERICAN JUSTICE SYSTEM!!

Posted by: jwh | April 25, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

The governmental deceit is so immense that those members that see the truth now think that is the deceit. When it has come this far that members of government have indeed become schizophrene, the American governmental system is likely to collapse soon because of lack of reality. This collapse will induce a civil war in the U.S..One could say that the U.S. has started sneezing and the rest of the world catches a horrendous cold. And because no one likes to catch a cold they all support the deceit. I was just wondering how long one could keep this upright ??

Posted by: jwh | April 25, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Keep flogging that dead horse, Colorado Chris. To repeat, no serious political observer in Colorado believes the Republicans are likely to retain Allard's Senate seat. Cizzilla correctly ranks it as the Dems top pickup opportunity.

The only realistic scenario in which it even gets back into play is if still popular former gov Bill Owen decides he's gotten over his family issues (his wife has moved back in with him) and decides to run. He'd have a good chance because he's still well thought of by independents (a full third of Colorado voters) for his support of Proposition C (the five-year TABOR time-out that passed only because he bucked the anti-gummit wing of his party).

So CChris, please come up with something besides wishful thinking...I need to hear what you know that nobody else in Colorado knows, before I can take you seriously.

Posted by: malis | April 25, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse


I doubt the Democrats can take Colorado. The Democrats in Colorado has squandered most of their political capital and they're running the liberal Udall in a conservative state. It will be a close race and Udall's got a shot--but in a conservative state I'll go with the conservative candidate.

Posted by: Chris | April 25, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

to be quite honest, this is a totally useless article. The truth is that democrats are highly likely to take the white house in 2008 anyways. If (and probably when) they do take the white house, the dynamics for 2010 will probably shift slightly in favor of republicans, since it will be a midterm election with a democratic president.

The american electorate has pretty much shown its disposition towards keeping the balance of power squarely near the center. Even through the GOP's amazing electoral run which ended in 2006, they never got to 60 in the senate and never seriously expanded their majority in the house beyond striking distance. I think its a safe bet to say that the times of single-party dominance of Congress for decades at a time is probably dead.

Posted by: politicaljunky | April 25, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

If the Democrats are able to occupy 60 seats in the Senate, I hope that the will be committed to reforming our government's policies. They have done a lot of talking and promising to do this and that, but I have yet to see action and a hard-line approach to those issues, such as health care, education and poverty.

I fully expect them to follow through by have the foresight to redistribute the war budget to issues that really matter rather than pork barreling. According to the Borgen Project, just $19 billion annually can end starvation and malnutrition. We have spent $340 billion+ on the Iraq war. The democrats need to be responsible if they gain that type of advantage. Use the funds to support the Millennium Development Goals to end global poverty.

Posted by: anna k | April 25, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

With the exception of the last four posts, the commentary is a joke. Why bother reading when the most of the comments are just whatever the hell someone wants to say, regardless of the thread?

But if that is the M.O. here, I'll submit this, Mao isn't dead, he is just waiting for his chance to arise.

Posted by: Captain Obvious | April 25, 2007 7:29 PM | Report abuse

How nice! And who is the front runner for the Republican nomination in 2032?

At what point do you consider projections so uncertain as to be entirely meaningless?

I'd love to see the dems pick up some seats, but trying to estimate the probability of a 60 seat majority in 2010 is a bit silly.

How many of your detailed predictions of political trends from four years ago have turned out to be true now?

Posted by: Cali49 | April 25, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

jeez, agree on all points.

i think new mexico is a good opportunity as well. maybe better if richardson is on the vp ticket. a udall udall combo would be awesome. to all others, stop cutting and pasting and comment on the post

Posted by: str8talk | April 25, 2007 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Isn't there a single relevant comment on this post? Don't your nerds have anything better to do than to spam CC's board?

To CC - thanks for this great report! Personally, I think Dems will pick up several seats in 2008, but will not get anywhere close to 60. Best bets: CO, MN, NH, ME, and maybe OR (if a serious challenger, like Gov. Kitzhaber, runs). VA is a possibility as well, but the other states you mentioned are definitely long shots.

Posted by: Jeez | April 25, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Unless the Administration so totally alientates the voting public that they'll voter for the proverbial Yellow Dog rather than a Republican, I don't see a 60-member Democrat majority happening.

It may be possible, but it is highly remote. There's too much opportunity for a "George Allen-like collapse that no one sees coming right now." Look at Biden, he already has an Allen-like track record. Who else might there be? I'm sure that there are other Democrats equally capable of that.

So, unless Bush totally drives the Party off the tracks, 60 Democratic Senators by 2011 is amost impossible.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | April 25, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse

w that Senator John McCain has retired the Straight Talk Express, retired general Barry McCaffrey, a veteran of the Gulf War, has taken up the mantle. McCaffrey has recently carried out a study of the situation in Iraq. Highlights (not in original order):

"We're in trouble."

"The Iraqi government in power is dysfunctional."

"There is essentially no province in Iraq where the central government holds sway."

" . . . collectively the American people have said that the conduct of the war has been so incompetent that we've come to disbelieve the administration has the ability to carry this off."

"The next president, unless the situation in Iraq is dramatically turned around, is pulling the plug."

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

You have got to be kidding me. Check out this pure-propaganda pronouncement, from the Pentagon's official news organ, the "American Forces Press Service": Extended overseas deployments affecting soldiers serving in Afghanistan and other locales overseen by U.S. Central Command should help to alleviate the stress on the Army, a senior U.S. officer in Afghanistan told Pentagon reporters today. Yeah, yeah. Water is dry, ice is warm, and up is down, too.

Posted by: unbelievable | April 25, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

wow, koz, you're so honest about your desires. i admire that. only you're not a liberal, as far as I can tell. see, we don't want to be s*dmized by jackboots, the way you cons do.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse

BTW - the reason I play on this blog night and day without rest is not because I don't have a life. It is because as a Liberal, I love the idea of submission so much, I can't stop pressing that button on my computer - 'Submit'.

I am still hoping some large guy named Abdul comes over and forces me to actually submit. It is a Dem dream come true. we are not weak. It takes guts to take whatever your adversary hands you.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

So what if we Libs like to surrender. sometimes when my boyfriend plays meanie, I offer to surrender. It always turns out kinda nice at the end.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Your friend Chris!!!!!!!!

For uncensored news please bookmark:

Giuliani warns of 'new 9/11' if Dems win

MANCHESTER, N.H. --- Rudy Giuliani said if a Democrat is elected president in 2008, America will be at risk for another terrorist attack on the scale of Sept. 11, 2001.

But if a Republican is elected, he said, especially if it is him, terrorist attacks can be anticipated and stopped.

"If any Republican is elected president --- and I think obviously I would be the best at this --- we will remain on offense and will anticipate what [the terrorists] will do and try to stop them before they do it," Giuliani said.

The former New York City mayor, currently leading in all national polls for the Republican nomination for president, said Tuesday night that America would ultimately defeat terrorism no matter which party gains the White House.

"But the question is how long will it take and how many casualties will we have?" Giuliani said. "If we are on defense [with a Democratic president], we will have more losses and it will go on longer."

"I listen a little to the Democrats and if one of them gets elected, we are going on defense," Giuliani continued. "We will wave the white flag on Iraq. We will cut back on the Patriot Act, electronic surveillance, interrogation and we will be back to our pre-Sept. 11 attitude of defense."

He added: "The Democrats do not understand the full nature and scope of the terrorist war against us." is co-host of the Republican presidential debate on May 3rd, and candidates will be answering our readers' favorite questions.
Click here to submit yours.

Question The Candidates

After his speech to the Rockingham County Lincoln Day Dinner, I asked him about his statements and Giuliani said flatly: "America will be safer with a Republican president."

Giuliani, whose past positions on abortion, gun control and gay rights have made him anathema to some in his party, believes his tough stance on national defense and his post-Sept. 11 reputation as a fighter of terrorism will be his trump card with doubting Republicans.

"This war ends when they stop coming here to kill us!" Giuliani said in his speech. "Never, ever again will this country ever be on defense waiting for [terrorists] to attack us if I have anything to say about it. And make no mistake, the Democrats want to put us back on defense!"

Giuliani said terrorists "hate us and not because of anything bad we have done; it has nothing to do with Israel and Palestine. They hate us for the freedoms we have and the freedoms we want to share with the world."

Giuliani continued: "The freedoms we have are in conflict with the perverted, maniacal interpretation of their religion." He said Americans would fight for "freedom for women, the freedom of elections, freedom of religion and the freedom of our economy."

Addressing the terrorists directly, Giuliani said: "We are not giving that up, and you are not going to take it from us!"
The Politics of Immigration

* Giuliani 9/11 remark draws angry Dem reply

The crowd thundered its approval.

Giuliani also said that America had been naive about terrorism in the past and had missed obvious signals.

"They were at war with us before we realized it, going back to '90s with all the Americans killed by the PLO and Hezbollah and Hamas," he said. "They came here and killed us in 1993 [with the first attack on New York's World Trade Center, in which six people died], and we didn't get it. We didn't get it that this was a war. Then Sept. 11, 2001, happened, and we got it."

Posted by: che | April 25, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

just thinking makes me get all confused... better to go back to cutting and pasting. As a Dem I don't need to think.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

..but that doesn't change the fact that you cons are dying for ab authoritarian strong man to put his boot on your neck. oooh just thinking about makes you get all confused...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

well yes, koz, you are a blinkered ideologue like trotsky, it's true.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

how to start a democratic party

1. Invoke a terrifying opposition party

2. Create a radio station, let it fail

3. Develop a talking head/pundit cast who make no sense

4. Set up an internal foreign policy

5. Harass soldiers

6. Engage in arbitrary green efforts

7. Target key politicians for smear campaigns

8. maintain Control of the press

9. Dissent equals treason - kick out Lieberman

10. Suspend the campaign promises

Posted by: Trotsky | April 25, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON, DC It began as brief hallway encounter between a soldier at DC's Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, but turned into an emotional exchange about the medical mistreatment of reservists. It was when Cummings and his staff were attempting an early exit from a special congressional field hearing at the Center that Sgt. Charles Eggleston introduced himself

IC: I served 14 months, in Mosul Iraq, I got blown up in by an IED and multiple mortar fire.

Sgt. Eggleston, an army reservist from Bowie, Maryland who walks with a cane and a noticeable limp, reminded Cummings that he was still waiting for a reply to the letters he had sent. Almost immediately Cummings insisted they talk in private.

IC: He doesn't want you to record him

But Sgt. Eggleston said he had no problem with talking on the record

IC: I don't care, listen

Cummings smiled and nodded his head but continued to edge away, but the soldier followed him and leant in close to speak...

IC: " Eggleston, we bounced into each other in the Safeway out there in Columbia.
CUMMINGS: I'll take a look at it. [inaudible].
The way the system is set up here, it takes us back to 40's and 50's with segregation. The active duty and reservists and guard get treated in two different deals. If you are active duty, they'll stick you in front. And if you are reservist and guard, they'll stick you in the back. And that was pushed down by the damn command.
CUMMINGS: No doubt about it. What the army tells us is that it's not on our dime that you went over there and got messed up. The VA is in place to take care of that. And that's not the way it goes."

Even with permanent injuries to his back, legs and jaw, Sgt. Eggleston planned to continue his military career, perhaps behind a desk. But the red tape and delays in receiving treatment have forced him toward premature retirement just so he can access medical care at Veterans Administration facilities.

Prior to his resignation, Lt. General Kevin C. Kiley, the Commander of Army medical acknowledged concerns like those of Sgt. Eggleston at a Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing...

IC: There clearly has been a concern among reservists and National Guard soldiers that they perceive they are not getting timely enough care quickly enough.

In response, Republican Senator John Warner of Virginia challenged military brass with a government report identifying a disparity of care between reserve and active duty soldiers....

IC: We have relied upon the guard and reserve to a greater extent than I suppose ever before in the contemporary history of our military. A wound is a wound, weather it is borne by a guardsman, reservist or regular army soldier.

Warner promises to investigate the matter further. For his part, Congressman Cummings said he would look into the Sgt.'s situation. Last week, Cummings visited The Baltimore Veteran's Affairs Medical Center. He told reporters that he was impressed with the facility and the quality of care in Baltimore. But he left with concern that greater numbers of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan could add pressure and crack apart the fault lines that the Walter Reed scandal has uncovered in the military medical system.

IC: I am going to be touring my own veteran's hospital in my district and] I am going to urge every member of Congress to do the same so we can figure out how systemic these problems are.

Back in the Hallway at Walter Reed, as Sgt. Eggleston and Congressman Cummings continued their discussion, Walter Reed staff wearing civilian clothing observed the two, listening carefully and conspicuously taking down notes...

IC: The Command constantly threatens you. You talk to a reporter and you say the wrong word, that means we'll take some money out of your pocket. I will speak up for the NCO corps. What the Generals decide to do, that's their personal thing.

I'm Ben Shaw, on Capitol Hill for 88-1, WYPR.

Our reports from Capitol News Connection in Washington are made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and PRI - Public Radio International.

© Copyright 2007, WYPR

This problem has not change at all

Contact this soldier at for more infor and interviews

Posted by: a real supporter | April 25, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

how to start a fascist state

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

2. Create a gulag

3. Develop a thug cast

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

5. Harass citizens' groups

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

7. Target key individuals

8. Control the press

9. Dissent equals treason

10. Suspend the rule of law

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

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