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Neb. Senate: Kerrey's Out, Who's Next?

New School University president and former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) removed himself from consideration for the open Senate seat in the Cornusker State, robbing Democrats of their first-choice candidate and handing them their first recruiting failure in recent memory.

Bob Kerrey
Former Sen. Bob Kerrey.

"I have decided that I will not leave the New School to become a candidate for the United States Senate in Nebraska," Kerrey said in a statement sent out via the Nebraska Democratic Party and first reported on by Fix alma mater Roll Call. "The reason is simple enough: For my family and me now is not the time for me to re-enter politics as a candidate."

Initially Kerrey promised a prompt decision soon after Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) made up his mind about running for a third term. But, after Hagel bowed out in early September Kerrey struggled to make a final decision -- torn between his clear desire to return to a job he held for most of the 90s and a young family and new life in New York City.

After taking over the presidency of the New School in 2001, Kerrey had largely disappeared from elective politics until he made clear that he would be interested in a return if Hagel stepped aside. Both Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) courted Kerrey to make a bid.

With Kerrey out, attention will turn to Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey (D) who is seen as a Kerrey protege. Those familiar with the recruiting process said this morning that the courtship of Fahey had largely been on hold until Kerrey made a decision. That decision made, Fahey's caller ID is going to start showing lots of 202 area codes in the coming days.

But, at least one insider suggested that Fahey isn't likely to run. Why? Because his interest was never as strong as some national strategists painted it, and he is currently embroiled in a fight over whether or not to use tax payer dollars to partially fund a new baseball park for the College World Series. Fahey's support for the proposal as led to considerable opposition from the community and complicates any thought of a Senate race.

If Fahey doesn't run, Democrats will likely turn to Scott Kleeb who ran a stronger than expected challenge to Rep. Adrian Smith (R) in the heavily Republican 3rd district in 2006. Kleeb is certainly an up and comer in Nebraska Democratic politics but he simply is not of the caliber of Kerrey (a former governor, Senator and presidential candidate) or even Fahey (an elected official with a base).

Republicans have a primary on their hands between former Gov. Mike Johanns and state Attorney General Jon Bruning that looks likely to be nasty and expensive. Johanns is the choice of much of the state and national party establishment but Bruning is hoping to turn the race into an ideological scrap -- arguing that he, not Johanns, is the true conservative

Regardless of the identity of the eventual Republican nominee, he will start off as the frontrunner in the general election -- especially if Kleeb is the nominee. Nebraska is among the most Republican states in the nation (President Bush won it by 33 points in 2004). It should perform that way in a presidential election that could well feature Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) at the top of the Democratic ticket.

Don't mistake Democrats' setback in Nebraska for some larger change of momentum, however. Given Nebraska's strong GOP nature, it was never going to be a top pick-up opportunity -- even with Kerrey in the race. As one national Democratic operative put it when informed of the Kerrey news: "Nebraska wasn't the icing on the cake, it was the cherry on the icing."

Democrats are still primed to make major gains in 2008 with Virginia's open seat looking less and less competitive by the day and races in New Hampshire, Colorado, New Mexico, Maine, Oregon and Minnesota all in play for takeovers by Democrats. (For the latest Friday Senate Line, click here.)

What Kerrey's decision -- coupled with a similar one by wealthy Texas Democrat Mikal Watts yesterday -- does mean is that the talk of a filibuster-proof 60 seat majority for Democrats in 2009 becomes more pipe dream than real possibility.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 24, 2007; 12:42 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Next: It's Official -- Davis Won't Run

Comments

why should we elect a senator who himself said My girlfiend is more welcome in the state house then i am. But definatly will be glad to see loose cannon Hagle GONE Johanns was a popular governor, will make and great senator.Washington beltway Wons we will call you, Don't call us

Posted by: silverfoxneb | October 26, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to the people who put in links (so far I've checked proudtobeGOP and judge.c.crater). But to Rufus et al. who paste in whole long quotations: do you realize how easy you make it for fast readers to skip? A short teaser phrase plus a link is more effective.

Posted by: iyenori | October 25, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Great post. Kerrey did the right thing. He has honorably served in Congress--and unlike the vast majority of the Republican leadership--has also served in the U.S. military. I agree that a victory in Nebraska would be the cherry on the icing. But you do the best you can and then move on.

Posted by: con_crusher | October 25, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

With or without Kerrey in the race, Johanns is definately the front-runner. There is, however, a tough race to be run for this seat...and it's called the Republican nomination. If Bruning wins, then he wins the seat. If Johanns win, he wins the seat. Well, Joahnns is likely to win and be the next US senator of Nebreska.

Posted by: bryant_flier2006 | October 25, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

"...it should be us that steps up and does the right thing."

Yep, but not with the current Administration.

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 25, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"The Chinese are going to engage in 50 years of foot dragging on this issue."

I'm not convinced. China is a pretty filthy place, thanks to their lax policies on pollution. They are starting to see huge costs associated with such pollution in terms of healthcare costs. They're already feeling pressure about the pollution & how the Olympic games in Beijing will be impacted. I think China can be convinced to clean up their act; unless we keep dragging our own feet based on the excuse that 'China and India aren't acting'. Its a chicken and egg problem; it should be us that steps up and does the right thing.

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

Just to add to the discussion, here is some reporting by BBC on the feasibility of shielding solutions:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4762720.stm

"Consider the notion of shading the planet with mirrors. The US National Academy of Sciences found that 55,000 orbiting mirrors would reflect enough sunlight to counter about half the doubling of carbon dioxide.

But each mirror must be 100 sq km; any larger and you would need a manufacturing plant on the Moon, says Dr MacCracken. The price tag of space-based fixes makes them prohibitive - for now."

So the total surface area of the mirrors should be 5.5 million sq km, roughly half of the area covered by the US!!!

Posted by: urban4 | October 25, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

"It's not responsible to hope that new technology will help us solve global warming without changing our lifestyles."

I agree, Blarg.

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 25, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

"Judge, do you view a space-deployed visor as more feasable - politcically and technically than conservation and alt-fuels?"

In terms of effectiveness, yes, bsimon. The Chinese are going to engage in 50 years of foot dragging on this issue. "We're too poor, we're still a developing country, blah, blah, blah!'

"I favor a multi-pronged attack, involving investing in tech solutions as well as promoting conservation, alt fuels, efficient technologies, etc."

Me, too.

"The sci-fi space-based solutions are the longest of long shots in terms of feasibility & viability, in my opinion."

So is a manned mission to Mars. In fact, such a mission might be even more difficult, time-consuming and expensive. Which project would you rather have NASA work on?

BTW, I'd be surprised if no one tests the sulfate idea within the next 10 years. Something temporary, on a very small scale, would be easy.

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 25, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I'm not saying we should fiddle while Rome burns. I'm saying we should fight the fire in a way that we know will work, instead of spending trillions of dollars on some new technology that will hopefully start the fire without hurting us in other ways.

My concern is that people will view these space-based solutions as the final answer to global warming, and then not change their lifestyles otherwise. Then if the space shield doesn't work, or has negative side-effects, we're out of luck. And even if the space shield does work, it's not a permanent solution to other problems caused by over-reliance on fossil fuels.

So I'm not entirely opposed to the space shield or a similar technological solution, but I think we should take care of the low-hanging fruit before building a rocket that takes us to the top of the tree. (Wow, I'm really going crazy with the metaphors here.) It's not responsible to hope that new technology will help us solve global warming without changing our lifestyles.

Posted by: Blarg | October 25, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"Replacing the IC, building a lot more nuclear power plants (yikes!), going to hydrogen etc all takes time, a lot of time, especially if these changes are to happen globally."

Judge, do you view a space-deployed visor as more feasable - politcically and technically than conservation and alt-fuels?

I concede that political will does not exist today, but that does not mean it is unachievable. I favor a multi-pronged attack, involving investing in tech solutions as well as promoting conservation, alt fuels, efficient technologies, etc. The sci-fi space-based solutions are the longest of long shots in terms of feasibility & viability, in my opinion.

Posted by: bsimon | October 25, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Blarg, bsimon: we lack the political will to stop increasing the Earth's CO2 emissions. Period. Even if CO2 emissions from the Hummer-driving US dropped to zero, China and India would continue increasing the CO2 content of the atmosphere. Would you rather fiddle while Rome burns or have the US-Europe take the lead in doing something about the problem that actually mitigates it?

Replacing the IC, building a lot more nuclear power plants (yikes!), going to hydrogen etc all takes time, a lot of time, especially if these changes are to happen globally.

And Blarg, at least a space-based shield could be "turned off." A sulfate-based atmospheric shield, which many are now talking about, would be less controllable in the event that the Law of Unintended Consequences is invoked.

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 25, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Also judged to be a minor inconvenience are Kerrey's admitted participation in war crimes as revealed in his autobiography.

Posted by: msackett | October 25, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

"Anyway, that kind of massive technological project seems like it could be a disaster. The odds of something like that working without unintended consequences seem very low. There are many things we can do to reduce our CO2 emissions; until we actually start doing that, we shouldn't consider anything this bizarre."

Blarg, you can't fault the American ingenuity. Rather than modify personal behavior by conserving energy or replacing the beloved internal combustion engine, devise a technical solution that will allow us to continue behaving in unsustainable ways for a longer period of time. Surely it is cooler to deploy a space-based parasol hundreds of square miles in area than it is to stop driving the Hummer to work.

Posted by: bsimon | October 25, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Judge, I have some doubts about raising a giant shield to block the sun. Wouldn't that cross the line from regular villainry into cartoonish supervillainry? (Simpsons reference, "Who Shot Mr. Burns, Part 2". I also have some relevant Futurama references if anyone is interested.)

Anyway, that kind of massive technological project seems like it could be a disaster. The odds of something like that working without unintended consequences seem very low. There are many things we can do to reduce our CO2 emissions; until we actually start doing that, we shouldn't consider anything this bizarre.

Posted by: Blarg | October 25, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

"See lots of positive comments on MH for VP... doesn't it bother anyone that he doesn't "believe" in evolution?"

Sure it bothers me. But it bothers me a lot less than Giuliani & Romney. While I think Huckabee has a misplaced set of priorities in choosing faith over science, at least he's trustworthy. With Giuliani & Romney how do we know they'll believe tomorrow what they say they believe today?

Posted by: bsimon | October 25, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Found this link that discusses this idea along with a variety of options. Nothing about shading the poles, specifically, which should be easier.

http://www2.cnn.com/2007/TECH/science/07/24/solar.shield/index.html

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 25, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Nice discussion about MH's problems in the NYT
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/25/opinion/25collins.html?hp

I'll stick to my spreadsheet, Mark, and pass on the use of your slide rule (I threw mine out decades ago).

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 25, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I've been looking for something on NC, whether Senator Dole is in trouble there, I think she is, should she run. I have been trying for a long time and can't find anything about what she is expected to do. Hope someone has something on this one.

Posted by: lylepink | October 25, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

judge, by all means, do the calculation! I'll lend you my slide rule.

I do not think MH would consider a third party run for a millisecond. My slide rule will not read out in nano-anything, except by visual extrapolation.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 25, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Drindl: how about if we give NASA something useful to do (instead of frittering away resources on the ISS or sitting around planning for mythical manned missions to Mars) and ask them to develop space-based shields that decrease the solar radiation that Earth's poles receive? At least you could take the things down if you needed to. Haven't done a calculation about how far away and how big they would have to be.

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 25, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

"So far they are treating him like they are bacteria and he is penicillin."

Mark in Austin: yes, he's far too independent for them and actually practices what he preaches. The American Taliban need a candidate who'll suck up to them like GWB did.

Will they eventually see logic and support MH? Only piecemeal in my estimate. Unless MH gets tapped for that third party challenge that Dobson threatened (and then retracted, in typically spineless fashion) if RG gets the nomination.

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 25, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Because of Kerrey's close entanglement with the convicted criminal Norman Hsu, Kerrey had no chance of winning an election in Nebraska or any other state. Those of us in Nebraska know Kerrey too well to ever vote for him again.

Posted by: rcrathjen | October 25, 2007 7:58 AM | Report abuse

That NC poll is a PPP poll, which is a Democratic Robo-poll firm who has publically taken shots at Elizabeth Dole in the past. In addition to their questionable methodology, they've shown no ability to be unbiased, and therefore have no credibility.

Posted by: revfig | October 25, 2007 12:37 AM | Report abuse

The first poll of the NC Senate race shows Elizabeth Dole, ahead but below 50%:
http://www.campaigndiaries.com/2007/10/democrats-looking-for-some-good-news-in.html"

Posted by: campaigndiaries | October 25, 2007 12:16 AM | Report abuse

First recruitment failure in recent memory? Are you not thinking clearly?

What about any of the following:

Artur Davis (AL)
Ron Sparks (AL)
Tony Knowles (AK)
Shirley Franklin (GA)
Jim Marshall (GA)
Cathy Cox (GA)
Max Cleland (GA)
Kathy Sebelius (KS)
Denny Moore (KS)
Ben Chandler (KY)
R.T. Ryback (MN)
Betty McCollum (MN)
Tim Walz (MN)
Mike Moore (MS)
Bill Richardson (NM)
Diana Dinesh (NM)
Tom Udall (NM)
Patricia Madrid (NM)
Mark Easley (NC)
Beverly Perdue (NC)
Richard Moore (NC)
Roy Cooper (NC)
Charles Meeker (NC)
Brad Miller (NC)
Kay Hagan (NC)
Grier Martin (NC)
Brad Henry (OK)
Dan Boren (OK)
Drew Edmondson (OK)
Kathy Taylor (OK)
Peter DeFazio (OR)
Earl Blumenauer (OR)
Darleene Hooley (OR)
David Wu (OR)
John Kitzhaber (OR)
Harold Ford (TN)
Phil Bredesen (TN)
Mikal Watts (TX)
Dave Freudenthal (WY)
Gary Trauner (WY)

I understand how such a *small* list of recruitment failures could slip your mind.

Posted by: revfig | October 24, 2007 11:51 PM | Report abuse

jaymills, My favorite D in the Senate was Bob Kerrey.

judge, it will be interesting to see if any of the big Christian ayatollahs support MH.
So far they are treating him like they are bacteria and he is penicillin.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 24, 2007 11:28 PM | Report abuse

"In a statement released by Baptist News, a Southern Baptist publication, Wilton said he made a "personal mistake".

odd."

I saw that too, drindl. I think that Wilton was intially impressed by Romney but probably succumbed to the blandishments of the religious bigots who need to believe that Mormonism is morally inferior to whatever splinter CINO (Christians In Name Only) (like the acronym?) group they belong to. Wilton's support for Romney probably stuck out like a sore thumb and so they went after him and he eventually caved.

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 24, 2007 11:03 PM | Report abuse

I was merely commenting on how if the R's retained the ability to filibuster a bill that this could be a good thing if used to enforce fiscal responsibility. True, a D congress and a D president is less divided than an R congress and a D president. However, we now have a D congress and an R president and that combination isn't working out particularly well. Perhaps in 2008 we'll elect a uniter (like Bill Clinton), not a divider (like Bush II), to the WH.

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 24, 2007 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Mark in austin-acutally i did, you know you can pretty sum up the entire hour in one phrase."missed opperunities" not that iran is trying to make things better,especially with im a dinnerjacket(i swear i should look up how that name is spelled) the worse part of it is, that some of the same people are actually helping rudy g's campagin. the attiude that some of the commentators had this"pollyanna" attitude that both their sides could win.

with all this saber rattling going on, its beginning to remind me of the period before world war 1 started. i wonder now with the news of turkey shelling kurdish positions in kurdistan. how is this going to play out in the next 3 months?

anyways on topic: shame about kerrey. someone commented about how the national parties keeps chosing there canidates. i would have to agree, its playing out in my neck of the woods but its still early what it comes down to is whether the people want their canidate or the national parties,they can decide that in the primary.

Posted by: jaymills1124 | October 24, 2007 8:21 PM | Report abuse

you see mark. You make the point. I don't even have to watch, I just need the headlines, and I know what the gop is TRYING to do. Try being the word. They only have the power we, as americans give our government. When did we become a dictatorship?

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 24, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Truth, the website is pretty complete, but here is a teaser:

A few weeks after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, a strange document arrived in Washington. It came as a fax, on plain paper, from the Swiss ambassador in Tehran.

The fax laid out the terms for a "grand bargain" -- in essence a peace treaty between the U.S. and Iran. It put everything on the table: Iran's support for terrorism, its nuclear program, even its hostility towards Israel. In exchange, Iran asked Washington for security guarantees, an end to sanctions and a promise never to push for regime change.

Iran's reformists were again trying to reach out to Washington, as they had after 9/11 (see Chapter 2 of the film). But the State Department thought Khatami's reformist government was politically weak and promising more than it could deliver. And the White House, newly victorious in Iraq, saw no need to negotiate with Iran. The fax never received a reply.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 24, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin, I missed Frontline last night, they usually have an insightful take on things. Guess I missed a good discussion.... on what?

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.co

Posted by: Truth_Hunter | October 24, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

i ALmost watched it Mark. I'm all "War with Iran"ed out. Enough is enough, with the right wing lies and propoganda. Are you really scared of iran. I think we spend more in defense than they have in their entire economy. We could win a war with iran in a week. You people don't want to WIN wars. you just want wars, death and what? The Money $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

they are rotting your brian mark. Fear doesn't exist. It's only a sensor in your brain. Don't fear iran. Don't fear the media. Don't fear liberals. Don't fear who your avatars tell you to fear. Be your own man/woman.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 24, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Didn't anybody see "Frontline" last night?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 24, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

"Taking it To The Next Level

by digby

Speaking of fascists:


Today, Giuliani is a front-runner for the presidency of the United States. Since 9/11 the office he seeks has been radically remade. Led by Dick Cheney, the Bush administration has expanded White House powers to levels unseen since the Nixon years. Claiming an inherent authority to act outside the law, it has unilaterally set aside treaties, intercepted telephone calls between citizens without court warrants, detained individuals indefinitely without judicial review, ordered "enhanced interrogations," or torture, prohibited by law, and claimed the ability to disregard more than 1,000 parts of legislation that it has deemed to improperly restrict its authority. To thwart oversight and checks on its power, all spheres of executive branch operations have been fortified by heightened secrecy.

This expansion has warped policy decisions, undermined the country's authority abroad, and damaged the framework of laws, institutions, and processes that secure citizens against abuse by the state. It also prompts two of the most crucial, if as yet unasked, questions of the 2008 presidential race: Which contenders are most likely to relinquish some of these powers, or, at the very least, decline to fully use them? And, alternatively, which candidate is most likely to not only embrace the powers that Bush has claimed, but to seize more? The reply to the first question is complicated, but to the second it's simple: Rudy Giuliani.
"

Yes that is the word "FASCISTS". It's not just me. the gop as fascists not because anyone calls them this. they are, by their words and actions. Olberman called the Fox Business channel or FBN the "Fascist business channel." Priceless. Gold.

Like he said last night, "What's the good of having a platform if you are not using it?"

The same could be said of this blog. The fascists will never change or grow. That is not the goal. One faction is fighting for the future (liberals), the other are fighting for the past (the fascists). Who will win? Time will tell. do the elderly in your people's generation sabotage the growth of the next generation like this. Remember woodstock? remember elvis? How did the elderly feel about your FREEDOM's Back then? Did the old people listening to classical think elvis was a revolution and rock and roll the future of music? Or did they try and destroy rock and roll.

It never changes. Old people. release your fear. If you do not change and grow daily, you are dead already. Change is not to be feared or sabotaged. Don't hate your country. Remember your youth. Remember your hope. Remember your goals and the reason the old folk tried and stopped you. Think about the future. you can't force your fascism on a free people forever, can you. Please stop GOP. Enough is enough. FREEDOM. FREEDOM . Not just for you and yours. But for all. You people are fascist hypocrites. Your time is up. The future is NOW

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 24, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

See lots of positive comments on MH for VP... doesn't it bother anyone that he doesn't "believe" in evolution?

Haven't we had enough mixing religion and politics?

The Dem mover-doers may secretly be happy Kerrey is not running.... he was a bit of a loose cannon for them if I remember correctly. Therefore, probably just the guy Nebraska needed but didn't get.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth_Hunter | October 24, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

drindl, I checked out the link, and was shocked, absolutely shocked! that in 2004 private military contractors had begun advertising campaigns in El Salvador, Colombia and Nicaragua to recruit ex-soldiers to work in Iraq. Still no facts to back up your ridiculous assertions of actual "simulations going on of arresting American citizens and taking them to internment camps", or to "suspend elections and the Constiution and declare indefinite martial law and incarcerate anyone who disagrees with that."

If you disagree with using private contractors, just say so. But remember, the use of private military companies long predates the US involvement in Iraq.

The Center for Public Integrity reported that since 1994, the Defense Department entered into 3,601 contracts worth $300 billion with 12 U.S. based PMCs.

As the Washington Post editoralized:

"More than 130,000 contractors serve the U.S. mission in Iraq, including some 30,000 security guards, and without them it would be impossible for U.S. forces to function. For some time to come, Blackwater or other security companies will be needed to protect senior U.S. diplomats and other personnel."

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | October 24, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

mark,

'how that comes together with building temporary internment facilities for illegal aliens, one of which is about 35 mi. from Austin and is now a source of federal litigation.'

there's just so many of them -- and KBR is building them--they say they are for 'national emergencies'. it isn't like there aren't other companies who could do this. And what sort of national emergency requires detention centers? America has plenty of prisons. More of our population is behind bars than in any country on earth. There are detention centers for immigration in existence already.

In the best case scenario, this contract may be just the latest hand out to the welfare queen of corporate America. But we just don't know, and with this admin's record, do you really trust them?

And you say we have to move away from the paramilitary model? Not if Rudy gets the nod. He is making a ton of money on contracts providing 'security; in Iraq, so he won't be changing a thing

Posted by: drindl | October 24, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

'COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) -- Dr. Don Wilton, the former head of the South Carolina Baptist convention, recanted his endorsement of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney Wednesday, just days after announcing his support.

The Romney campaign has touted Wilton's endorsement, along with that of Bob Jones University president Bob Jones III, as signs that evangelical leaders in South Carolina were putting aside reservations over Romney's Mormon faith and siding with the candidate based on his family values.

In a statement released by Baptist News, a Southern Baptist publication, Wilton said he made a "personal mistake".

odd.

Posted by: drindl | October 24, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

drindl, Are you talking about the weird EO declaring the national emergency of Americans supporting Syrians in Lebanon?

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/08/20070802-1.html

There was another weird EO about Iraq, too, but I do not know how that comes together with building temporary internment facilities for illegal aliens, one of which is about 35 mi. from Austin and is now a source of federal litigation.

We are going to have to move away from the paramilitary contractor model and back to the notion that if we can pay folks well enough to get them to volunteer for these assignments they should be in the uniformed military getting good pay.

My D operative acquaintance of 40 years has no abiding interest in good government. Like all operatives, it is a win-lose game for him. He snickers at me for giving money to McCain and Biden because they are the most dedicated to collegial transparent government in their parties. He points out that I gave money to McCain and Bradley in 2000; always for the lean and clean government proponents and never getting any of my choices nominated.

He is an operative.

proud, McCain could say he was going to do three things and do them well: eliminate pork/earmarks, secure the borders, and encourage non-fossil fuel use to make us independent of the Middle East, and he would probably get the D Senate behind him on all three if he chose a one term option.
He couldprobably get the strengthening of
military and veteran services he wants and he might even get expanded volunteer service programs like he and Bayh pushed for so long.

I do think he would have to agree to disagree on most other stuff, but he would still have more ability to lead in his little finger than my former Gov. His strongest VP choice would seem to me to be MH.

It was an interesting opinion article - thanx.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 24, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

funny timing, huh?

'WASHINGTON - The State Department's security chief announced his resignation on Wednesday in the wake of last month's deadly Blackwater USA shooting incident in Baghdad and growing questions about the use of private contractors in Iraq.

Richard Griffin, the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, announced his decision to resign at a weekly staff meeting, according to an internal informational e-mail sent to colleagues.

"He read his letter of resignation at the weekly Diplomatic Security staff meeting," said the e-mail, which was read to The Associated Press by one of its recipients. "There was no reason provided.'

Posted by: drindl | October 24, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

'I suppose it depends on what means with the term 'fiscal conservatism'...'

whatever it is they personally beleive in. i've never met anyone yet who doesn't think they are a 'fiscal conservative'

Posted by: drindl | October 24, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Dave quotes Judge C
""Certainly one result would be a return to fiscal conservatism that has been completely absent for the past 7 years." How is that? I will grant you it has been absent for 7 years."

I'm with you dave, a Dem president and Dem congress would NOT reverse the spending binge seen under the Bush admin/GOP Congress. Spending priorities would be different, and tax cuts would be allowed to expire, at least. But I'm not sure that it is reasonable to predict that 'fiscal conservatism' will break out under one-party rule - under either party.

I suppose it depends on what means with the term 'fiscal conservatism'...

Posted by: bsimon | October 24, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Outrageous? Ever hear of Blackwater, 'proud' an enormous private army, can't be tried either here or in Iraq for their crimes --immunity. There's approx 35 such contractors. They recruit cheifly from El Salvador and Chile, were well-trained paramilitary death squads are readily available.

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/12/23/1541224

pix of the civilian detention operation

Posted by: drindl | October 24, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

judge.c.crater,
"Certainly one result would be a return to fiscal conservatism that has been completely absent for the past 7 years." How is that? I will grant you it has been absent for 7 years. But if by fiscal conservatism you mean raising taxes to pay for all the great programs and grand ideas that legislators come up with, we have different definitions of fiscal conservativism. Do you mean more fiscally responsible in a balanced budget sort of way?

Posted by: dave | October 24, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

gee drindl, I'd sure be interested in reading some proof of your outrageous allegations: "simulat[ing] arresting American citizens and taking them to internment camps", "a huge private and well-equipped and funded [and apparently answerable to no one but the president] para-military private army has been raised".


Posted by: proudtobeGOP | October 24, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Mark - Here's an interesting POV on an option for McCain. I think it has merit.

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=M2U5M2Y0MmFlOGI0Y2RiNjZlNGU1MWMzZmFjMzIyOTY=

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | October 24, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Tell him it's just too dangerous. Through some fluke [or more likely voter ignorance] rudy might be elected and that would be the worst that could happen to us.

Through various laws that have been passed these last few years, including domestic surveillance, the Patriot Act, and several others, a groundwork has been laid that would make it perfectly legal to suspend elections and the Constiution and declare indefinite martial law and incarcerate anyone who disagrees with that.

There was that curious development in January when the Army Corps of Engineers awarded Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root a $385 million contract to construct detention centers somewhere in the United States, to deal with "an emergency influx of immigrants into the US, or to support the rapid development of new programs," KBR said.

Numerous military urban warfare training drills across the US have been conducted where role players were used to simulate arresting American citizens and taking them to internment camps. And of course a huge private and well-equipped and funded [and apparently answerable to no one but the president] para-military private army has been raised.

This is not paranoia, it's well documented. And Rudy would be just the guy to set it all in motion.

Posted by: drindl | October 24, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

drindl, you misunderstood. He WANTS RG for an opponent b/c he thinks RG will just flat cause East TX to stay home or vote D - unless HRC is the D candidate.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 24, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Mark -- a piece that explains Fear of Guiliani:

'Many Giuliani watchers already understand that Rudy is a hothead and a grandstander, even a bit of a dictator at times. These qualities have dominated the story of his mayoralty that most people know. As that drama was unfolding, however, so was a quieter story, driven by Giuliani's instinct and capacity for manipulating the levers of government. His methods, like those of the current White House, included appointments of yes-men, aggressive tests of legal limits, strategic lawbreaking, resistance to oversight, and obsessive secrecy. As was also the case with the White House, the events of 9/11 solidified the mindset underlying his worst tendencies. Embedded in his operating style is a belief that rules don't apply to him, and a ruthless gift for exploiting the intrinsic weaknesses in the system of checks and balances. That's why, of all the presidential candidates, Giuliani is most likely to take the expansions of the executive branch made by the Bush administration and push them further still. The blueprint can be found in the often-overlooked corners of his mayoralty.'

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2007/0711.morris.html

Posted by: drindl | October 24, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse


'but admitted he was hoping for anyone else against RG.' -- my sentiments exactly. rudy is more dangerous than anyone else running.

Posted by: drindl | October 24, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Fellow junkies: Slate has some interesting/pretty/nicely interactive polling data at
http://www.slate.com/id/2175496/nav/ais/

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 24, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

One D operative friend in Austin thinks Noriega was always stronger than Watts despite Watts' cash. Thinks HRC and RG hurt their respective tix in TX. Told me after lunch today that he did not think HRC would continue her ride, but admitted he was hoping for anyone else against RG.

Said MH is too much of a real Christian to get the "big dogs"' support, but thought MH-McCain was a nightmare for Ds, certainly in TX.

Just another POV.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 24, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

You forgot Alaska. Your most recent Friday Line included it as a likely top tier race. With the other pick-ups you refer to here, that would get the Democrats to 59 in the Senate. Pretty darn close to that mark of 60.

A lot can happen in the next year. Maybe the board will improve for the Republicans. But there could very easily be some surprise lurking in one of the less competitive contests. What did you think of Webb vs. Allen at this point in the 2006 cycle?

My point being that calling a 60 seat finish for the Democrats a 'pipe dream' is not a smart way to describe the situation. I don't know that I would bet money on the Dems getting to 60, but it's far from a pipe dream.

Posted by: JacksonLanders | October 24, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Things might be turning around somewhat for the republicans. They win in Louisiana over the weekend, and dems lose their top choices in texas and nebraska. Its still too early to tell but I gotta think some Republicans are thinking this could all turn around in the next year.

Posted by: Normscoffee | October 24, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

PeixeGato, we were talking about this last month or so. With a few exceptions the general consensus (if I remember correctly) was 4-8 pickups in the Senate.

Can something be more of a pipedream? Isn't a pipe dream just always a pipedream regardless of degree?

Posted by: JasonL_in_MD | October 24, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"LONDON (Reuters) - The United States has entered a recession, according to highly-regarded investor Jim Rogers, who told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper on Wednesday he was switching out of the dollar and into yen, the yuan and the Swiss franc.

The veteran investor, who predicted the 1999 commodities rally, also said he was still bullish about surging Chinese stock markets despite worries over a bubble.

Fears are growing over the health of the U.S. economy after the fallout from the subprime mortgage market crisis and the global credit crunch it triggered
"

http://www.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idUSL2474133320071024?feedType=RSS&feedName=businessNews&rpc=23&sp=true

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 24, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"It would have been a tough run for Kerrey, given that he has spent the past 6 years in New York City as president of an institution (The New School) with a "liberal" reputation."

It'd be difficult to tar and feather Kerrey on the NYC issue while supporting RG for POTUS at the same time. Of course, hypocrisy comes as naturally as breathing for some so maybe not.

"...a filibuster-proof 60 seat majority..."

I still support the principle of divided government and if a D is POTUS (as appears likely especially since the R's are now savaging each other so fiercely) and the Senate is only majority D and not filibuster-proof-D, that doesn't strike me as a bad thing. Certainly one result would be a return to fiscal conservatism that has been completely absent for the past 7 years.

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 24, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

"What Kerrey's decision -- coupled with a similar one by wealthy Texas Democrat Mikal Watts yesterday -- does mean is that the talk of a filibuster-proof 60 seat majority for Democrats in 2009 becomes more pipe dream than real possibility."

A pipe dream? I think that is unnecessarily dramatic in describing the chances. It was always a long shot.

I think the fact that the Dems stand a good chance of taking 8 Senate seats in one election cycle is pretty impressive. Why has the bar of success for the Dems been raised to needing to take over 9 seats? Has any party ever taken that many Senate seats in one election in the past? Just curious.

PG


Posted by: PeixeGato | October 24, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: novamatt | October 24, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Given that morons in other states elect other morons that pass laws (or stop laws from passing) that effect me profoundly, you can bet your tookus I would do what I can to effect who gets elected. That's called democracy, and we're one country here, not 50.

Posted by: Egilsson1 | October 24, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"The storyline portrays the fictional life of an anti-hero named Pink, who is hammered and beaten down by society from the earliest days of his life: having lost his father (killed in Anzio during World War II, as was Roger Waters' own), smothered by his over-protective mother, oppressed at school by tyrannical, abusive teachers who tried to mould him and the other pupils into the "right" shape for society (hence the recurring image of the meat grinder) and a cheating wife. Pink withdraws into his own fantasy world, building an imaginary wall, an allegory for being emotionally distant to protect himself from the rest of the world. Every bad experience in his life is "another brick in the wall". After heavily contemplating how to fill in the last few empty spaces in the wall, Pink puts off its construction for a while. He becomes a rock star and gets married, only to be cheated on by his wife due to his distance and coldness, as well as the life as a rock star. After this he resumes and eventually finishes building the wall.

Pink slowly goes insane behind his freshly completed wall. He is lost on the inside, but is forced to surface by his demanding lifestyle, and I.V. drug use distributed by his crew to "keep [him] going through the show". Hallucinating, Pink believes that he is a fascist dictator, and his concerts are like Neo-Nazi rallies where he sets his men on fans he considers unworthy, only to have his conscience rebel at this and put himself on trial, his inner judge ordering him to tear down his wall in order to open himself to the outside world. At this point the album's end runs into its beginning with the closing words "Isn't this where..."; the first song on the album, "In the Flesh?", begins with the words "...we came in?" - with a continuation of the melody of the last song, Outside the Wall - hinting at the cyclical nature of Waters' theme. Then Pink Floyd went on to say "I will force it underground."

The LP's custom picture labels tied in with the album's concept. Side one had a quarter of the wall erected and a sketch of the teacher. Side two saw half of the wall erected and a sketch of the wife. Side three had three-quarters of the wall erected and a sketch of the character of Pink, while side four had the wall completely erected and a sketch of the prosecutor.
"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wall

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 24, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"Senators (good ones anyway) do much more than "serve the needs" of their home state."

Nit-picking aside, the point stands. Why should Nebraskan voters let national party leaders determine who runs for the job?

Posted by: bsimon | October 24, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Senators (good ones anyway) do much more than "serve the needs" of their home state.

Posted by: Spectator2 | October 24, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

It would have been a tough run for Kerrey, given that he has spent the past 6 years in New York City as president of an institution (The New School) with a "liberal" reputation.

However, Nebraska is not as much of a one-party state as Idaho or Utah or Wyoming. Nebraska's moderate Democratic Senator, Ben Nelson, was re-elected easily in 2006.

Posted by: harlemboy | October 24, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

While it is touching that Schumer & Reid miss their old pal & want him to return to the Senate, it is sad that the national parties apparently think they know better who will best serve the needs of Nebraskans.

Posted by: bsimon | October 24, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

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