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Friday House Line: Republican Retirements Galore

Over the past decade, House incumbents have grown close to unbeatable. The combination of a 2001 nationwide redistricting that largely sought to protect each party's current membership and the ever-more costly price of campaigns has made it damn near impossible to beat a sitting member of Congress.

From 1998 to 2004, 98 percent of all House incumbents who ran for re-election were victorious. That figure dropped to 94.5 percent in 2006 as 22 incumbents -- all Republicans -- were swept away by a national Democratic wave. Still, even in a nationalized election, better than nine in ten incumbents found their way back to Congress.

Given those powers of incumbency, each side has focused more and more of late on winning open seats where the sitting member is either retiring or running for some other office.

According to the Cook Political Report's indispensable "House Race Summary," 30 Republicans are calling it quits before the November elections compared to just six Democrats. And, remember, with nearly nine months to go before the elections, there is plenty of time for a few more members to bow out.

A quick glance at the historical record shows the uniqueness of the current House landscape. The last two elections (2006 and 2004) have seen 21 and 19 Republican incumbents, respectively, pass on re-election bids. In fact, not since 1958 were there more Republican retirements over the course of a cycle (27) than today on the GOP side.

As we've noted in this space before, it's not just the quantity of the House retirements but the quality of them that makes this a very dangerous cycle for Republicans. A conservative count reveals that half the seats held by retiring Republican incumbents will be hotly contested by both parties in November -- a large number of ripe targets for Democrats especially when considering their vast financial edge over their GOP rivals currently.

Given those numbers, it's no surprise that every seat on our Line this week is dominated by open seats; the retirements of Reps. Jim Walsh (R-N.Y.) and Tom Davis (R-Va.) in Democratic leaning seats mean that every seat on our Line is currently held by a Republican.

The line is meant to be a conversation-starter, not a conversation-ender. Agree or disagree with the Fix picks? Add your own thoughts in the comment section below.

Line Highlights

  • Moving On: New York's 25th, Virginia's 11th
  • Moving Off: Louisiana's 6th, California's 11th
  • Last race cut (D): Oregon's 5th district, Texas' 22nd district
  • Last race cut (R): Michigan's 7th district

To the Line!

10. Minnesota's 3rd district: Republicans are extremely high on the chances of state Sen. Erik Paulsen who has cleared the primary field in the race to replace Rep. Jim Ramstad (R). Democrats seem unlikely to do the same as state Sen. Terri Bonoff, Iraq war veteran Ashwin Madia and Edina Mayor Jim Hovland are all seeking their party's nomination. The district is a prime swing area -- President Bush won it with 51 percent in 2004 and 50 percent in 2000 -- and is dominated by the suburbs, a place where Democrats believe they can make serious gains in 2008. (Previous ranking: 8)

9. New Mexico's 1st district: In the decade that Rep. Heather Wilson (R) has held this Albuquerque area seat, we heard time and time again that she was the only Republican who could win it. So, with Wilson running for the Senate in 2008, why isn't this race ranked higher on the Line? Because of the seeming strength of Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White (R), who has quickly coalesced the party establishment -- including retiring Sen. Pete Domenici, the godfather of Republican politics in the state. State Sen. Joe Carraro is also running for the Republican nod, but he isn't given a serious chance. Democrats, on the other hand, are heading to a major intraparty skirmish with Albuquerque City Councilman Martin Heinrich, former secretary of state Rebecca Vigil-Giron and former New Mexico Health Secretary Michelle Lujan Grisham comprising the top tier. (Previous ranking: 7)

8. Ohio's 15th district: In 2006, Rep. Deborah Pryce (R) beat Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (D) by just over 1,000 votes. So, when Pryce announced she would vacate her seat in advance of the 2008 election and Kilroy cleared the primary field, it looked like this race was a slam dunk. But, after initially declining to run, state Sen. Steve Stivers (R) is in the race for Republicans, and early returns suggest he has a real chance to keep the seat in GOP control this fall. Stivers raised more than $400,000, according to his year end fundraising report with the Federal Election Commission -- although he still trails Kilroy in cash on hand by more than $200,000. (Previous ranking: 6)

7. New Jersey's 7th district: Rep. Mike Ferguson (R) never had a firm grasp on this north-central seat that was re-drawn following the 2000 Census to favor Republicans. Just how tenuous Ferguson's grip was became apparent in 2006 when he beat state Assemblywoman Linda Stender, 49 percent to 48 percent. Ferguson's retirement and Stender's return candidacy make this a major Democratic target. Republicans are headed for a primary. Kate Whitman, the daughter of former governor Christie Todd Whitman, and state Sen. Leonard Lance seem to be the top tier, with both enjoying real financial and establishment support. The district gave Bush 53 percent in 2004, so all hope should not be lost for Republicans. (Previous ranking: 5)

6. Illinois 11th district: Democrats were thrilled when state Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson decided to make the race for the seat being vacated by Rep. Jerry Weller (R). And, to date, that glee appears justified. Through mid-January, Halvorson had raised $428,000 and retained $394,000 on hand. Compare that to the anemic fundraising totals of New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann -- $104,000 raised in the same time frame -- and there is reason for Democrats to feel very good about their chances here. (Previous ranking: 4)

5. Arizona's 1st district: It's a testament to Democrats' opportunity this fall that the open seat race to replace retiring Rep. Rick Renzi (R) is this far down the Line. Democrats will have a primary, but former state Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is the clear frontrunner, having raised more than $400,000 for her candidacy and carrying nearly $300,000 in the bank. Republicans have struggled to find a candidate. Syney Hay, who ran and lost a primary to Renzi in 2002, is the lone declared GOPer. State Rep. Andy Tobin and Corporation Commisioner Kris Mayes are considering the race for Republicans. Still a very tough hold for the GOP. (Previous ranking: 3)

4. New Jersey's 3rd district: State Sen. John Adler (D) -- one of Democrats' most hyped recruits this cycle -- is living up to the publicity so far. He raised more than $400,000 in the final three months of 2007 and closed the year with more than $590,000 on hand. Rep. Jim Saxton (R), who is vacating the seat after twelve terms, is seeking to line up support behind Lockheed Martin vice president Chris Myers, but Ocean County Freeholder Jack Kelly is also in the race on the Republican side. The demographics of this district, located in south-central New Jersey, make it prime swing territory. President Bush carried it with 51 percent in 2004. (Previous ranking: 2)

3. Virginia's 11th district: The long wait to see what the future held for Rep. Tom Davis (R) is over. Late last month Davis announced he would leave this northern Virginia seat, a decision that creates another major target for Democrats. The district went only narrowly for President Bush in 2004 and demographic changes in the state over the last few years seem to suggest the area is growing more and more Democratic. Democrats seem headed for a primary for the ages with state Sen. Leslie Bryne, who held the seat from 1992 to 1994, preparing to face off against Gerry Connolly, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. In an attempt to preserve their chances of holding the seat, Republicans -- including Davis -- are uniting behind businessman Keith Fimian, who had already raised $700,000 by the end of 2007, a total that included a $327,000 personal loan. (Previous ranking: N/A)

2. Ohio's 16th district: Ohio has proven to be tough ground for Republicans of late and they are in very serious danger of losing this open seat in November. Democrats recruited state Sen. John Boccieri to challenge Rep. Ralph Regula (R), and the up-and-coming state legislator became the favorite in the contest when Regula decided not to seek a 19th term. Regula has endorsed state Sen. Kirk Schuring as his preferred replacement, but it seems unlikely that the primary field will clear for him. Republicans' saving grace in this seat may be the underlying demographics; Bush won the seat with 54 percent in 2004. (Previous ranking: 1)

1. New York's 25th district: Rep. Jim Walsh's (R) retirement gives Democrats a chance to continue to consolidate their death grip on the Northeast in the fall. Dan Maffei, a former Congressional staffer, came surprisingly close to beating Walsh in 2006 (the final margin was less than 2,500 votes) and is back again. It looks like Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll (D) won't run -- a classical political Hamlet -- and that decision should clear the Democratic field for Maffei. A wide variety of Republicans are looking at the race but this is an uphill climb as the Democratic presidential nominee carried in both of the last two elections. (Previous ranking: N/A)

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 15, 2008; 3:01 PM ET
Categories:  The Line  
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Comments

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Posted by: dusvqfp zjwxydch | April 16, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: dusvqfp zjwxydch | April 16, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: dusvqfp zjwxydch | April 16, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Hillary Rove Clinton needs Big Wins in TX, OH, and PN.

I don't see it happening. The longer Obama is in each State, the smaller her projected "lead" gets. Remember, she was shown to be ahead in some polls in Wisconsin, but it sure didn't turn out that way.

If they split these three States, She's Done... and at this point, She'd be Lucky to do That.

It really doesn't look good for her. Did you see the rally in Houston? No wonder all the "rock star" talk.

Those people were, to borrow a phrase, "Fired Up and Ready to Go!"

The end is Nigh.

Posted by: LeftwithNochoice | February 20, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Chris, just for the record, and I have a time stamp to prove it, I publicly called NY-25 as the #1 race in the house. (I beat you by mere hours.)

My line goes like this:

10. TX-22
9. KS-02
8. WA-08
7. FL-16
6. Fl-13
5. VA-11
4. OH-15
3. AK-AL
2. MN-03
1. NY-25

http://www.realgm.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=755502&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=29


Posted by: pineapple96822 | February 20, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

The fact that a bunch of lame "cheeseheads" were foolish enough to vote for Obama, means ZERO. Hillary is ahead in TX, OH and PA...and she will win all three. Then the "Pro-Obama" media will be crying and sucking their thumbs, as Hillary accepts the nomination:)

Posted by: devin79 | February 20, 2008 4:40 AM | Report abuse

Like it or not John McCain is the man conservatives must work with this season. Showing support for anyone else is a boost for Hillary or Obama, high taxes, and a weak commander-in-chief in a time of war.

A McCain/Romney ticket would appease the talk show hosts, unite the GOP, and win the election in November.

http://mittromney.townhall.com/

Posted by: justamere10 | February 18, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I think that Democratic candidate Frank Kratovil deserves a place on the House line, especially now that 9 term Republican incumbent Wayne Gilchrest was ousted in the 1st district primary on Feb. 12th. Kratovil's moderate political views put him in a strong position to defeat neo-conservative state senator Andy Harris. While the district is considered conservative, Harris has been tarnished by an ugly primary campaign, and his extremist views will push former supporters of the moderate incumbent Gilchrest to Kratovil's side. I predict Kratovil will carry MD's 1st district in a not-so-close general election.

Posted by: atgeorge | February 18, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

May one assume, that these 30 republicans are retiring with benefits...how lucky for them. Imagine living off the public dole for 6-12-18 years and not having your retirement fund go south because of mismanagement or financial greed????

Posted by: olivia8080 | February 17, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Turnover in politics is good...we need 435 retirements.

Posted by: Digital_Voter | February 17, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Senators that voted for Telecom immunity may find themselves 'low-hanging fruit' if they are on the ballot in November.

Those of us that spent a few of our best years supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, do not take lightly to our elected officials not living up to their oath to uphold the Constitution.

Posted by: nancygertner | February 16, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 16, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

No one is going to miss most of these closet fascists. Their rubber stamping of the unconstitutional and internationally illegal acts of George W. Bush coated them all with a slime that stinks all the way to here. Anyone who voted for the Patriot Act, the War in Iraq, the illegal eavesdropping, the for-the-rich-only tax cuts, and assisted in the illegal invasion of this country by cheap foreign labor and the outsourcing of jobs to foreigners should go hang themselves, no matter what party they belong to. They are all criminals, and detestable backstabbers to the citizens of this nation.

Posted by: bong_jamesbong2001 | February 16, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse


ProudtobeGOP:

"comethead, No sense trying to take all the credit for the 9/11 Commission."

I never said that there weren't republicans like McCain who supported the commission, only that the democrats were a key part of putting it together and that Bush OPPOSED it initially.

"Some of them, like comethead here, are in perpetual Bush-bashing mode "

LOL! So says the guy who spends every post bashing 'liberals' and childishly twisting the names of posters and politicians he disagrees with! Tell me, are you ACTUALLY 10 years old or is that just how you behave when you're on-line?

FWIW I wasn't bashing Bush, but pointing out that his real issue here is not FISA, but his idea of a 'unitary executive' that is not accountable to congress or the judiciary. It's clear that he regards this as central to the entire issue of national security and that he's prepared to let this law expire to get his way. I suppose he might even be right, but doubt it. I just wish he'd be up front about this as opposed to pandering to fear. Not only is it obvious what he's doing, it's unseemly for a great power to appear quaking in its boots before the menace of a frail madman living in cave.

Posted by: cometboy | February 15, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

This is the source of our resident drug dealer proud, earlier. Just thought I would add the context to her propoganda. She writes it as if it is from a reputable news source. From a right-wing propoganda site with the title:

"Clinton and Obama are not fit to be president of the United States. Andy McCarthy, humanevents.com"

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=25017

And it starts with

"On Tuesday, we got a double-winner. First, the Senate voted to approve an overhaul of intelligence law which, though flawed, provides authority for American intelligence agencies to continue monitoring the savages trying to kill us. Second, we got inescapable confirmation that Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the two contenders to be the Democrats' nominee, are not fit to be president of the United States.

Understand: this was the most important vote on national security in years."

Andrew C. McCarthy

Criminals trying to talk their way out of crimes. Happens everyday. It's not news. What is news is the level of gop cover-up. The "vast right-wing conspiricy" has been exposed. They showed their face. Fascism. Just enough to render themselves irrelevant, but not quite enough to hold on to their power. What does that equal? Irrelevance until the democratic sell-outs gop's moderates do their thing again. Maybe we can throw them out of the party before the sabotuer. :)

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, I used about the most clearcut example to see if even claudia was against such reasonable measure to protect this country.

I hope not. Otherwise, can you imagine her family having to live with her?

Posted by: JD | February 15, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

CC,

Did you note Congressman Shadegg (AZ-3) is retiring also ?

The AZ Republican party is going to try to pick off Frosh Congress-persons Harry Mitchell and Gabby Gifford (hitting them when the incumbent shield is at its weakest)... both took Republican seats (Hayworth and Kolbe)... should make for an interesting fight...

If Gabby and Harry hold and The First falls under the weight of a Renzi corruption scandle ( I think Shadeggs 3rd is staying in the R camp)... could the bastion of Goldwater conservatism and the adopted homeland of Sen. Mc Cain, actually have a democratic majority in Congress?

I think the last time the Burros had the majority was late 60's (89th congress)when Senner and Udall had two seats and J.J. Rhodes had one.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Posted by: fearirony2060 | February 15, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I WANT to agree with bsimon on the surveillance - security bill, because I agree with him generally about constitutional liberty.

But I have not read the current statute nor the bill.

I spent a lot of time last night re-reading the Army Field Manual which is VERY LONG, so that I could understand that issue, after which I could see that CIA had legit reasons for not wanting to be subject to the Army Field Manual.

So I will not comment on this fight until I read both the current law and the bill, which I probably will not do, anytime soon.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 15, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

dave -

The venue chosen by the TV people is in an auxiliary gym. They passed over 2 theaters and two concert halls and two bigger gyms and the Erwin Center [17000] and the Stadium [88000] for the sake of their cameras and their audio equipment. They could have filled the Erwin Center, but I admit that while the squeak of basketball shoes is easily heard, the human voice, even with amplification, seems to get lost in there. I do not care about this at all.
This is an explanation, not an excuse.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 15, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

"Waterboarding leads Lieberman to lose his mind
By: Steve Benen @ 2:29 PM - PST Occasionally, we'll hear that Joe Lieberman is generally in line with Democrats, but makes an exception on the war in Iraq and a neocon worldview of foreign policy. When it comes to values and domestic policy, the argument usually goes, Lieberman is generally reliable.

Let's just erase that thought from our minds now, shall we?

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman reluctantly acknowledged Thursday that he does not believe waterboarding is torture, but believes the interrogation technique should be available only under the most extreme circumstances.

Lieberman was one of 45 senators who voted Wednesday in opposition to a bill that would limit the CIA to the 19 interrogation techniques outlined in the Army field manual. That manual prohibits waterboarding, a method where detainees typically are strapped to a bench and have water poured into their mouth and nose making them feel as if they will drown.

"We are at war," Lieberman said. "I know enough from public statements made by Osama bin Laden and others as well as classified information I see to know the terrorists are actively planning, plotting to attack us again. I want our government to be able to gather information again within both the law and Geneva Convention."

All of this is spectacularly and breathtakingly wrong.
"

Lieberman. Di fi. Rockafeller. Reid. Clinton. It's nto jsut lieberman. He is the most visable. I say give the gop their sell-outs. let's put it in the open and on the table. Without gop sabotage who knows what we can accomplish as a nation. The gop has very few of these sell-outs. One or two going agaisnt tehir party. I won't mention names. We know who I'm talking about. I think it's great on the other foot. Becauseit's so few. The rest of teh gop are clones. :)

I just want the sellout dems to go where they belong. (r) next to their names. What would teh gop do without their freinds on the other side? How could they possibly justify themselves? They can't. THat is the point. To put the power in the hands of the people that is the goal. It serves a few prposes. one is removing teh gop fascists (fascists in the gop party). How could they compete if the people's will was done? they can't. hence why they do what they do. We will be a fre country ran by the people one day. They can;t keep this up forever.

do not fear the fascists

the only power they have is the power WE give them. don't give them yoru power. Don't become a dittohead follower clone. Think for yourself. Break the chains that bind you. THEN LEAVE THE CAVE. Sitting in a cave with broke chains. how does that help you?

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

I guess usmc is conceding he, and teh gop, are full of it. No answer on what to do if given an unlawful order, you know is unlawful.

I will give the answer since the truth rips a whole in his credibility, and he's pleading the 5th. You cannot follow an un-lawful order. If you do, you do so like it is of your own accord. That is if you know it is illegal. You want to bring private business into the military (telecoms) and the military into politics (paetreus)? You can't. Not because I say so. But by law.

To say the telecom's were working for the government so they can break the law is a ridiculous arguement. USMC and the others here know that. To watch them try to show their face. Hopefully you give them the cred they deserve. Which is the cred of a propogandist.

You cannot follow an unlawful order. bush and the telecom's must face justice and their power MUST be held in check. We are no longer a monarchy. Ding dong teh which is dead. And the gop is done short of not holding elections. i wouldn't put it past teh fascists.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

"Let's start there, shall we?"

Simplistic was a poor choice of words. I should have said "JD, your example isn't representative of a real world example where there's doubt about what the right thing to do is."

Posted by: bsimon | February 15, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

JD, your example is a bit simplistic.

Posted by: bsimon | February 15, 2008 04:57 PM

As Borat might say, "Talk slow, she is woman"

Let's start there, shall we?

Posted by: JD | February 15, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh roger is pretty brave isn't he. For someone who is about to go to jail. Wait a second. He knows the bush's. He's not going to jail. I heard when the news broke bush 41 found clemens out there in texas and talked to him. "Don't talk." We got your back.

First enron, then oil now baseball. Man. Everything these guys touch turns into a criminal enterprise.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

"This isn't a partisan issue, its about core principles about what our constitution means & what powers we grant our government."

bsimon: to Republicans, everything is a partisan issue. Did you see the Roger Clemens hearing?

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 15, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

You people will never back down will you. Reality and the black and white in front of your face is never going to sink in is it? You people can (try) dfend anything can't you.

Sales people with old failed sales technics. The year is 2008. We have the internet now. Your lies and propoganda is for not. The creame (truth) rises to the top. Us weekly gossipist are about to get what they shoudl. No relevance. Fox and rush are going to be thoguht of like the papparzzi stalking celebs. that is where they belong. Bush relative working for fox and stealing the election in 2000, bought fox relevance. Tehy sold their souls to satan. you didn't think it could last forever did you?

"Thank God for Fox. what would we do without it. How would our lies possibly be able compeate wuth reality without them and rush. ""


hahahahhahahahahaha. Ease down progressives and "liberals". Do not fear these nazi's anymore. It's all out on the table and histroy will judge these traitors. Take it easy on these scared old people. They are americans. Give them every oppurtunity to rejoin america, but stand firm. Remember.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Geez, I called JD's example simplistic, then proudtobeGOP comes up with this doozy:
"We simply cannot allow intelligence collection to shut down while our soldiers are at war abroad. "

Nobody's talking about 'shutting down' our intelligence collection. People are talking about respecting the Constitutional rights of US citizens - in other words, obeying the law - while collecting intelligence data. FISA has an existing provision whereby intelligence services can collect data for 3 days -THREE DAYS- before they have to seek a warrant. But, somehow, this isn't good enough for the Bush administration. For some reason, they don't want any court oversight AT ALL to how our intelligence services collect data on our own citizens. This isn't a partisan issue, its about core principles about what our constitution means & what powers we grant our government. I, for one, am not so scared that I want to trust the government to do the right thing. History has proven that, given the chance, the fallible humans that run our government will abuse whatever powers we give them.

Posted by: bsimon | February 15, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

"The bottom line is that Barack Obama was one of 29 senators to vote against the Senate bill, aligning himself with a hard left prepared to leave America defenseless. The Senate bill attracted broad support from Ds, but Obama sought to politicize instead of doing what is right for the country."

Leave america defensless? HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHHHHHAHAHHHAHHAHAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHA

We're defensless? Serious. Man, rush and fox has you old folk terrified. Defensless?

Thanks for the laugh. With the gop irrelevant for a generation I can now appreciate your people's irony and sarcasism.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"oops, soap opera are over, Spectator and drindl are back.... You two need to get a job."

More from the misogynist.

"soap opera are over"?? what language is that?

Don't you have to change your diaper, old man?

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 15, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Enjoy the irrelevance and elementary school kids games you've earned mike.

you got an answer about taking unlawful orders, tough guy

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

JD asks
"Let's use an example: if the NSA picks up a cell phone call from a known Al Quaida leader in, say, Karachi, making a call to a suspected Al Quaida sleeper in, say, LA, do you think monitoring of this call should be subject to US privacy protections? Or does the current war on terror mean DOD (which NSA is a part of) is allowed to monitor what it considers an enemy communication?"

JD, your example is a bit simplistic. The concern is not when known aQ operatives are making the calls - in those cases, the warrants should already exist. Where the law gets a bit stickier is when a suspected aQ sleeper is observed talking to an unknown person. This happening in, say, Vancouver. If this unknown person then starts making calls into the US, should the calls be listened to?

Another, real world example. My wife lived overseas for a number of years, in Europe. While there, she was basically an immigrant. She took language classes with other immigrants, including refugees from Iraq and Iran. When we travelled back there a couple years ago, we made & received calls from some of these friends of hers. If our nat'l security agencies were observing Iranian and Iraqi refugees in Europe, should they have automatically listened to phone calls betwen these folks and the US? Might my wife and I have been subjected to unwarranted surveilance because we made & received such calls?

Or is it reasonable for me to expect that my government would seek a warrant before presuming my wife or I was part of some nefarious plot?

Posted by: bsimon | February 15, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

The bottom line is that Barack Obama was one of 29 senators to vote against the Senate bill, aligning himself with a hard left prepared to leave America defenseless. The Senate bill attracted broad support from Ds, but Obama sought to politicize instead of doing what is right for the country.

Hillary Clinton was one of three senators who did not even deign to show up for the most important votes of her Senate career. (She probably never read the bill either, much like the NIE she didn't read even though she's purportedly prepared 'on day one'.)

We simply cannot allow intelligence collection to shut down while our soldiers are at war abroad. Nor should we forget that Al-Qaeda has shadowy allies around the world, supported from abroad, whose fondest goal is to reprise 9/11 on an even more barbarous scale.

Yet House Dems -- doing the bidding of the MoveOn.org crowd -- are playing roulette with our security for no better reason than to preserve the ability of the ACLU, CAIR, and other anti-Bush activists to press their lawsuits.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 15, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Let us *change* the world together.

Let us *believe* in our shared destiny.

Let us *hope* for a better future.

Vote for change.

Vote for hope.

Vote for Obama.

*Change* we can *believe* in (and *hope* for).

Who's with me??

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 15, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

"An update on that brainchild of the Democrats, the last time they were in control of both the White House and Congress - the Clinton Years."

EEEAAASSSYYY mikeb. That was republican control. not dems. thsoe sell-out liberman di fi moderates are republcains now. :)

What if the gop didn't have clinton to point to. They are republicans. look at teh big picture

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

dave writes
"I have not felt like I have been living in a police state and I have seen zero evidence that I have been living in a police state. News stories on the police state of America have been amazingly lacking also. Again, examples of where this particular law has been shown to rip the rights out of an actual person would be beneficial to this argument that it's the end of the world as we know it."

Well... There is that example of the FBI over stepping the boundaries setup that were supposed to limit their use of 'national security letters'. Of course, when they were given approval to use these letters, the kooky liberals said "this power will be abused" and the overconfident GOP said "You should learn to trust government, like we do" until, sure enough, as it turns out the FBI sent out these letters for a whole host of infractions unrelated to national security, and without the requisite approvals.

The real irony, of course - for those that didn't detect it above - is that the so-called small government party is now clamoring to expand the powers of government & ignore the constitutional protections that we enjoy as citizens. Oh, how I long for the days when conservatives actually respected the Constitution.

Posted by: bsimon | February 15, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

""The version I'm familiar with would retroactively grant immunity to private businesses that facilitate... surveillance..."

So you think it's fair for phone companies, who cooperated with the government, should be sued now?

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 15, 2008 03:34 PM
"

iF THEY BROKE THE LAW YES. You were a military man were you not, if you want private companies to take unlawful orders from the government? What do you do if your given an un-lawful order? Speaking as a past government citizen? Do you obey and say, "He told me to jump off that bridge." In what court in america is that the defense? they have lawyers. They know they were violating the law, which is why some companies refused. Not because they were un patriotic. But because THEY WERE patriotic. They put the laws and me and you above government profits. I say reward the companies that followed the law by bankrupting those who did not.

Do I feel sorry for the telecom's that broke the law and spied on americans, with their high paid lawyers who knew better. NAh.

All they needed is a warrent. someone else looking at them. Even after teh fact is fine with me. It's this no oversite the gop likes, that I have a problem with. We are a nation of laws governed by the people after all. If not you are not an american. But what are you then? Red coats? Zoukites? :) Rush-ons.

If your not americans who love freedom gop, who and what are you? Aliens? I got on my trusty alien sun glasses.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Let us *change* the world together.

Let us *believ*e in our shared destiny.

Let us *hope* for a better future.

Vote for change.

Vote for hope.

Vote for Obama.

*Change* we can *believe* in (and *hope* for).

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 15, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

PS if you can make an eloquent argument based on facts and not emotion, I may just agree with you.

Posted by: JD | February 15, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

you've clearly never read the legislation proud so there's no point discussing it.

Posted by: claudialong | February 15, 2008 04:38 PM


OK Claudia, put up or shut up. Have you read the bill? What specifically is your problem with it?

Let's use an example: if the NSA picks up a cell phone call from a known Al Quaida leader in, say, Karachi, making a call to a suspected Al Quaida sleeper in, say, LA, do you think monitoring of this call should be subject to US privacy protections? Or does the current war on terror mean DOD (which NSA is a part of) is allowed to monitor what it considers an enemy communication?

Extra points if you can respond without bashing Bush, Cheney, or the 'repugs'.

Posted by: JD | February 15, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"a terrorist in Pakistan gives directions to a terrorist in Afghanistan..."

I thought this bill only applied to monitoring communications between US citizens and terrorists overseas. Or is that Pakistan/Afghanistan call routed through New York?

Posted by: Blarg | February 15, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

claudialong - "they were never immune from lawsuits and they did everything that was asked from them and more."

I'll let ABC know they are in error. But they probably got their information from the WhiteHouse:

"The House's failure to act will also raise risks with respect to current intelligence activities. This is because the PAA provides liability protection for our private sector partners assisting in current activities, but those partners are likely to raise questions about whether the liability protection they currently enjoy expires with the PAA. Similar questions could arise regarding whether the PAA's provisions authorizing courts to compel cooperation by the private sector also expire with the Act. At a minimum, the private sector would become less willing to help our efforts to defend the country because of this uncertainty; at worst, they would cease helping us at all. And if we don't have their cooperation, we don't have a program."

Posted by: dave | February 15, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

you've clearly never read the legislation proud so there's no point discussing it.

Posted by: drindl | February 15, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

oops, soap opera are over, Spectator and drindl are back.... You two need to get a job.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 15, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

"what bush wants is the ability to march into your home and seize 'evidence'"

If he wants to come over, that's fine with me. Heck, I'd offer him a beer anytime. And bring Dick along too! Maybe he can shoot that wayward satellite down with his shotgun off the top of my roof. ;-)

You're being overly dramatic and quite ridiculous drindl. The 2007 ruling
required the intelligence community to seek court permission before monitoring terrorists operating outside our country -- that is, outside the jurisdiction of United States courts.

So preposterous was the notion that the NSA should need a warrant from a judge in Washington in order to listen as, say, a terrorist in Pakistan gives directions to a terrorist in Afghanistan that even some Democrats relented -- or at least enough of them to enact last August's "Protect Act." This stopgap measure (the Left would not agree to more than six months of common sense) enabled our spies to continue spying outside the U.S. without court interference, just as FISA intended.

This is what the Dems have now walked away from. Shame, shame on them.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 15, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

"News stories on the police state of America have been amazingly lacking also. Again, examples of where this particular law has been shown to rip the rights out of an actual person would be beneficial to this argument that it's the end of the world as we know it."

Look for them alongside the stories about Democrats and "Liberals" calling for socialism and communism.

Thank you for your support.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 15, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

ABC's Jake Tapper notes the "Helter-Skelter cult-ish qualities" of "Obama worshipers,"

that's right. all obama supporters are insane murderers.

Jake Tapper who periodically misquotes and lies? You mean that Jake Tapper? That hack?

Posted by: drindl | February 15, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"hey spec-- ever met anyone who hates women as much as this guy?"

Since that was from USMC_Mike, my answer would have to be mibrooks, who Mike is now emulating.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 15, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

claudialong - "what bush wants is the ability to march into your home and seize 'evidence' without a warrant or probable cause, just a fishing expedition. well maybe that's fine with you but how is it different than a police state?"

Well we have had this up till tonight and I have not felt like I have been living in a police state and I have seen zero evidence that I have been living in a police state. News stories on the police state of America have been amazingly lacking also. Again, examples of where this particular law has been shown to rip the rights out of an actual person would be beneficial to this argument that it's the end of the world as we know it.

Posted by: dave | February 15, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

'You feminazis are all the same. Stick together, hate men, and pull the victim woman card every time you've lost an argument.'

hey spec-- ever met anyone who hates women as much as this guy?

Posted by: drindl | February 15, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

You know, I made the mistake (I think it was earlier this week) of talking about how good the discussion was on this blog.

Posted by: rpy1 | February 15, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

yum, spectator. can't tell you what a pleasure it's going to be to have a veto-proof majority. oh yes...

Posted by: drindl | February 15, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

claudia: The sad thing about this tidal wave of retirements is that many of those leaving are from the fast-shrinking moderate wing of the GOP. But oh well, why would those people want to be a minority in a minority?

and I'll answer the question I just posed: all ten of the seats on the Line are open. That makes for some delicious, low-hanging fruit for sure.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 15, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Because the past is history

And the future is yet to come

Vote for the future

Vote Obama.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 15, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

JD, you're so right. Some of them, like comethead here, are in perpetual Bush-bashing mode and apparently are only now persuaded by their new savior Barry the Obamanator. It's getting a little creepy.

ABC's Jake Tapper notes the "Helter-Skelter cult-ish qualities" of "Obama worshipers," what Joel Stein of the Los Angeles Times calls "the Cult of Obama."

His Super Tuesday victory speech was a classic of the genre. Its effect was electric, eliciting a rhythmic fervor in the audience -- to such rhetorical nonsense as "We are the ones we've been waiting for. (Cheers, applause.) We are the change that we seek."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/14/AR2008021403105.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

There's a sucker born every minute, and the freshman Senator is convincing all of them with his salvational fervor.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 15, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

rub your hands, spectator, we're going to wipe the floor with them this election... i think this is a record for retirements. they see the handwriting on the wall.

'the companies providing them are no longer immune from lawsuits and probably won't be willing to continue them.'

they were never immune from lawsuits and they did everything that was asked from them and more. they will continue to do because no court is going to punish them for it because the bush administration will simply call 'national security' as they do for everything else and everyone will fall in line, just like always.

'intelligence community's foreign operations are beyond court supervision' it's not refering to upstate NY.

what do you mean it's not referring to upstate NY? of course it is. this is DOMESTIC spying and wiretapping we're talking about here, not just foreign. and i don't have a problem with that. i'd like to stop the timothy mcveighs as well as the osama bin ladins. but i'd like to see it done within the boundaries of the Constitution, tht's all.

what bush wants is the ability to march into your home and seize 'evidence' without a warrant or probable cause, just a fishing expedition. well maybe that's fine with you but how is it different than a police state?

Posted by: drindl | February 15, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I believe Obama believes in hope for a future filled with hope.

A vote for Obama is a vote for hope.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 15, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"However the fact that CC lists several districts with 50+ % vote for Bush as favorable Dem territory indicates that most of the low hanging fruit has already been plucked in 2006."

How many of those districts have retiring GOP incumbents? Legislative fruit hangs lower when the incumbent steps down.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 15, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

proud, you may as well argue with my 6 yr old. All your target knows how to do is call names and throw bombs, not debate logically.

mibrooks, you're right that the trade deficit w/China is problematic, but the reasons are more complicated than you describe. They have a highly protectionist government policy, starting with the games they play with their currency, the yuan.

I don't think you can blame the standard liberal cannard here, 'evil greedy corporations', entirely.

Posted by: JD | February 15, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

claudialong - "In the words of House intelligence committee Chair Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), "Things will be fine.""

God forbid anything happens and he has to explain what his definition of "fine" is to friends and relatives of dead Americans. And no, previously authorized ones won't necessarily stick for a year because the companies providing them are no longer immune from lawsuits and probably won't be willing to continue them.

Posted by: dave | February 15, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

literio- Remember that even in a 98% incumbancy year there will be at least 9 turnovers in congress. A list of ten is the most likely and if accurate almost all of them must be viewed as pretty sure turnovers. Of course there are some races that just sneak up and surprise everybody. This will be a high turnover rate and the frosh might be in the grouping from 11 on. The fact that the top ten are all D pick-ups bodes well in the less certain races though.

mainetimes- I think CC is still right to use the 2004 numbers because that reflects the last year with presidential level turnout. However the fact that CC lists several districts with 50+ % vote for Bush as favorable Dem territory indicates that most of the low hanging fruit has already been plucked in 2006.

Posted by: cmsore | February 15, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I meant Lieberman and McCain. woops.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 15, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

comethead, No sense trying to take all the credit for the 9/11 Commission.

Everyone knows that it was John McCain who co-proposed the bipartisan 9/11 commission along with Sen Salazar.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 15, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin,

Any thoughts on the following?

"...So ever since it was announced that Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would hold a presidential debate on the campus of the University of Texas on February 21, the city has been abuzz with anticipation and excitement. That infectious enthusiasm, however, quickly turned to disappointment after debate organizers announced the event would be closed to the public.

But with many now arguing that Hillary Clinton's chance at the nomination hangs in the balance, Texas Democrats are enjoying the limelight and energized after years of enduring Republican dominance at the statehouse. The cry for tickets went up within minutes of the announcement on February 11, but organizers initially responded that there would be no general admission seats and tickets would be reserved for the University of Texas, the Texas Democratic Party, the Obama and Clinton campaigns, and debate broadcasters CNN and Spanish language network Univision

The not-so-public debate prompted local media blogs to explode with angry and dismayed postings. A history teacher declared her disappointment since she had hoped her high school students might be able to attend the historic event. A University of Texas student wrote that this was why many young people were estranged from the political process, Obama's huge crowds notwithstanding. Why call it a "public" debate at all, another poster asked?

Anyone who does not score a debate ticket is welcome to pay $50 to attend a screening party hosted by the Texas Democratic Party at the Austin Hyatt Hotel, state party officials said, and they have dangled the possibility that the candidates might drop by after the debate. But many grassroot supporters say they cannot afford the $50 admission fee. "I don't understand the mentality to charge money like that - I mean we are the party of the people"."

Posted by: dave | February 15, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

An update on that brainchild of the Democrats, the last time they were in control of both the White House and Congress - the Clinton Years.
The New York Times is reporting that China's trade surplus grew by 47.7% last year. It was up by 27.7% just last month. Of that surplus, totalling $262.2 billion, the U.S. was in hock for $256.3 billion. China and India's current prosperity is almost entirely due to the U.S.'s exporting jobs and technology and production capacity. It is funded by U.S. investment money. Every bit of this is tax payer subsidized and this entire sick joke got it's start by the Clinton's and the Democratic Congress. Both McCain and Obama have made it clear they want to "change" this. Clinton, numbskull that she is, doesn't see anything wrong!

ttp://www.nytimes.com/aponline/business/AP-China-Trade-Surplus.html

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 15, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

drindl, when it says that the 'intelligence community's foreign operations are beyond court supervision' it's not refering to upstate NY.

It's called intelligence gathering. According to some posts earlier this week, libs support this notion. I guess not.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 15, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

bsimon: You might see a parade of right-wing talking heads -- Limbaugh, Coulter, Malkin -- heading for the nearest bridge to leap from if Al Franken gets elected to the US Senate.

It's their worst nightmare.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 15, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"The version I'm familiar with would retroactively grant immunity to private businesses that facilitate... surveillance..."

So you think it's fair for phone companies, who cooperated with the government, should be sued now?

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 15, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

More MN news: Franken & Coleman are in a statistical tie for the Senate race. Franken doesn't have the DFL endorsement yet, much less a primary win that would make him the DFL candidate for the seat. However, these poll results certainly solidify him as the front-runner for that nomination.

Posted by: bsimon | February 15, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

well said, cometboy. but the wingers won't listen. they just put their hands over there ears and chant, buhbuhbuh. they can't comprehend anything that can't be reduced to a kindergarten slogan featuring the word 'Lib"

Posted by: drindl | February 15, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

'1) Democrat view on Islamic Extremism - What, me worry?'

The Saudis are the wahhibists-- the most extreme and the ones whose radical conservative views are polluting the rest of the region. And they attacked us on 9/11. I'm all for bombing them myself. How about you? Pakistan too, for that matter. That's where bin Ladin is.

I'm thrilled the Dems stood up to the phony fear-mongering little tin cowboy and called his bluff.

The lapsing of the Protect America Act (PAA) won't substantially affect things at all. The old FISA law will kick back into effect. And authorizations granted under the PAA in the last six months to wiretap entire terrorist groups will stick for an entire year. In the words of House intelligence committee Chair Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), "Things will be fine."

'And most importantly, it solidifies the Protect Act's reaffirmation that the American intelligence community's foreign operations are beyond court supervision'

and you think that's a GOOD THING? to let your government spy on you with any overight? are you nuts?!!

'-- that is, Osama bin Laden is not protected by FISA or the Fourth Amendment.'
yes, but we are. we're talking about DOMESTIC SURVEILLANCE on american citizens here so what you are admitting is that this acts guts the Fourth Amendment. Which it clearly does.

Posted by: drindl | February 15, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

In order for the movements meesage to be fufilled (obama is part of the movement not heading it), the road must run both ways.

that is the action behind the words, you gop'ers are always talking about. There cannot just be talk. Patriotic americans must put things in motion, with action. We are not slave cult robots like the gop. We do not march to the beat of any one master. This is why you cannot stop america. It's not about obama. Or edwards. It's about the people. it's obama's supporters that give him hsi power. you didn't knwo that?

Dittoheads do think think like normal clear thinking americans. You people ahve been lied to and misled for decades now. you will see what time it is eventually. You can't hide in rush's and ailes's caves forever.

Make no mistake dave. I made my deal. You and yoru peopel will not recipracate. The deal is, you (the gop) get fox rush savage coulter hannity malkin ingram bortz and on and on, off the air. You get them off the air, so the road runs both ways, and I'm gone.

If we do not do that the battel continues. Foerver. And my children have to fight the same battle in 15 years. I fight so my children don't have to. I DO want to shut the fascists down. I will admit that. Treason. Of course I am angered by treason. Escpiecally when people are making huge profits climbing on the dead backs of my brothers and sisters.

HAte me all you want. I am not your enemy. You are your own enemy. Fox is yoru enemy. Rush. I'm just trying to free you old man. :)

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

bsimin, there is already a law that provides immunity for telecom's if they are obeying a lawful court order. The new legislation, however, go's far beyond that and allows for "cooperation" between them and the government, allowing agencies to literally trawl through millions of private records, looking for *any* unlawful act (and, it might be assumed, just plain information on private citizens to add to some government database). This is new and frightening and clearly an Unconstitutional abuse, using "terrorism" as an excuse.

As for the glee by some Democrats of a lock on Congress, be careful what you wish for. The Republican's, when they had a lock, passed the diasterous bankruptcy laws, releived corporate officers and board members for being responsible for actions by the company, passed laws authorizing the invasion of Iraq (aided and abetted by certain numbskulls in the Democratic Party), etc. The Democrats, the last time they were in control, allowed a sitting President to get away with lying before a Grand Jury, aided his wife in hiding all manner of illegal activities (including obstructing justice), brought us NAFTA, the WTO, and "free trade". Our government works best when neither party has a clear majority, where bipartisanship is required to get things done. If the Democrats take control of borth the White House and COngress, we are in for a rough road, similar to what we have experienced under Bush's first term.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 15, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

ProudtoBeGOP:

As the saying goes. You're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

"Liberals have fought every sensible national-security improvement since 9/11."

Really?

1) The department of homeland security was PROPOSED by the democrats and initially OPPOSED by Bush. The only fight was when Bush wanted to use the new department's formation as a way to bust government unions.

2) The bipartisan 9-11 commission was PROPOSED by democrats and initially OPPOSED by Bush. He only agreed when it was weakened in terms of what it could request from the administration.

3) It is the democrats who have pushed to have the findings of the 9-11 commission broadly implemented. Bush is OPPOSED to this and they are currently being ignored except for a few cherry picked ideas. (Ditto the Iraq study group findings)

You might not like the democrats position that our liberties are worth a little risk and maybe even dying for, but they've been quite consistent in terms of what they want. They want the president to provide security, but with accountability and the right of congressional and judicial oversight. Bush doesn't. If we're less safe tomorrow, it will be because he can't live in a world where he doesn't get all the marbles.

For the record, the fear mongering from Bush is reaching the level of shrill and pathetic. A country with a state motto 'Live Free or Die' (New Hampshire), shouldn't be a shrinking violet about civil liberties. We've faced worse threats and kept the constitution intact.

Posted by: cometboy | February 15, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

They're getting a head start on the torch and pitchfork crowd. Those Republicans sure have a lot of 'splaining to do. What a disgrace.

Posted by: thebobbob | February 15, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Your a lost cuase proud. You ceased being a patriotic american fighting for your country, long ago. You are a propopgandist like your boy zouk, now.

You are a meat puppet being played with. think for yourself. Turn off rush. He lies to you daily to line his pokcets. Nothing more. Not only are you dittoheads a joke to yoru masters, but they hate you. they hate your gullibulity and the fact that you are sheep.

The goal is to bring you into the fold, and realize what they have been doing to do. If you cannot realize that after the last 10 years, you are a lost cause.

I wish you people would join reality. I wish you would stop the lies spin and discrediting. And doing as yoru told all day everyday. Think for yourself proud. your chains have already been cut. All you have to do is leave the cave. Leave it. Their is nothing but pain in that cave of willful ignorance.

Again proud, how did we exists for these centuries before bush became president and destroyed the constitutiona dn stole our rights? How did we ever exist without fisa?

Did we get attacked in the 70's when it was enacted? Ok, the 80's then? The 90's? only when your presidetnt stole this country in courtrooms did this line of thinking arise. Why? Fear. You are sacred and will do anything to be safe. We will never be "safe". Destroying the country you claim to love will not save it. Liek simon said, you people are destroying the country. The american people have shown you this for two years now at polls and ballot boxes. If you will not back down and join america what does that make you people? Traitors? Misled by propogandists? Eventually you must take responsiblity. Eventually, one day. You can't keep up this lie spin and discredit, while at teh same time destroying the nation and breaking all the laws, forever. Eventually criminals have to face the judge. In your case your judge is the american people.

Face the sentance of the judge or do not. But to not listen to the american people makes you something else. If you are not americans what country do you represent? The land of oz? the land of zouk? Re-join america please. Enough is enough.

Your president is risking lives for the telecom's being allowed to get away with federal crimes. Accomplice to federal crimes. Don't sign up for that proud. Stay with us instead. America that is

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Want to win the White House? Show superdelegates the money.

Superdelegates -- the party big shots and elected officials who could have final say over the D nominee -- have received almost $900,000 in campaign contributions from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during the past three years, a report from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics revealed Thursday.

The report finds Obama, and to a lesser extent Clinton, funneled money to superdelegates -- prompting her camp to unload on the new D front-runner.

"I guess the hope in Hope Fund stands for 'I hope you'll endorse me,'" said Jay Carson, a Clinton spokesman, referring to Obama's political action committee, Hope Fund, from which many of these donations were made.

"The Obama campaign had clearly launched a concerted plan to funnel money to superdelegates to get their endorsement."

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2008/02/15/2008-02-15_2008_candidates_are_super_generous_when_.html


On post, Obama has helped most of the House and Senate members who have competitive races, giving more than $694,000 from Hope Fund since 2005. Keep those $$ rolling in Senator! Despite what rufus thinks, money is the name of that game.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 15, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"But at some point there are no freedoms left."

Some real world examples or personal stories of American's freedoms being ripped from their being would be beneficial to this discussion.

"The version I'm familiar with would retroactively grant immunity to private businesses that facilitate the Govt's practice of unwarranted surveillance on US citizens. If I'm not mistaken, it would also limit the FISA court's oversight into such wiretapping practices - allowing future unwarranted surveiallance of US citizens by our government."

Actually, my understanding of what is expiring this PM is that govt surveiallance of communications that are currently going on (and are allowed to go for one year) continue but the companies can no longer continue to provide the information because the immunity from lawsuit expires tonight. These include communications, even if they begin and terminate outside the US. That is unless a warrent is issued based on probable cause which is really hard to obtain quickly as the info comes in snippets and the agencies need time to put enough snippets together to get to probable cause. By then in many cases, the trail and commuication has changed or vanished. At least that is how I heard it today on ABC (i think).

Posted by: dave | February 15, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"It provides immunity from suit for telecommunications providers which cooperated in the NSA's warrantless surveillance following the 9/11 attacks."

That's a problem. Neither the NSA nor the Executive Branch has the authority to order telecommunications providers to break the law and cooperate with warrantless surveilance.

Posted by: bsimon | February 15, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

It disgusts me that the gerrymandering of congressional districts is not given more coverage. This is, in my view, the number one reason why the parties are pulled more and more to the extreme, and why candidates are able to cater to special interests to the detriment of the general public as they know their seat will not be in jeopardy come election time. We either need term limits for congress or districts drawn by non-political appointees purely on the basis of numbers.

Disgusting.

Posted by: ChicagoIndependant | February 15, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

JKrishnamurti,
I've got an idea. Why don't you start listening to Obama and recognizing that you are part of the problem when you call anybody but far left-wing liberals "un-american", "traitors" and "facists". Obama calls for ending partisanship and reaching across the aisle. You would rather burn the other side of the aisle down or chop off the hands of those that don't have your sigularly myopic viewpoint. When people look up the phrase "pot calling the kettle black", they see the name "JKrishnamurti, aka RUFUS" under it. The meaness and acerbic partisanship cannot be hidden amongst the Yodaisms of your hate-filled tirades.

As Obama says "But I am running for President because I believe that to actually make change happen - to make this time different than all the rest - we need a leader who can finally move beyond the divisive politics of Washington and bring Democrats, Independents, and Republicans together to get things done. That's how we'll win this election, and that's how we'll change this country when I am President of the United States."

I'm not sure that there is any issue that I really agree with him on as he is one of the, if not the most, liberal Senator in Congress. But I do applaude his approach. I think I recall that you are a backer of his, my advice to you would be to listen to what he says and practice what he preaches.

Posted by: dave | February 15, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Better the devils you know....

If the current Democratic congress could actually accomplish something, I'd have reason to rejoice.

Who's the new talent? Are they smart? Can they get along with others? Got the basic kindergarten social skills? Are they a bunch of lambs awaiting Delay's return and their slaughter?

Perhaps we are going to finally see 3 parties. Rep/Dem/Ind..or maybe even more fracturing. A Evangelical party?
How is that even possible? Seems so.....anti-American. Not the multiple parties, but the notion of a religious political party.

Of course the real issue is the industrial/military complex...are we ready to sacrifice some creature comforts to regain our political and individual freedoms? Or are corporate profits and stock returns our true idols?

Can we fight the good fight? Or is this grand experiment failing its final proof?

Leadership. Inspiration. Direction.

Vote.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 15, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Understand: this was the most important vote on national security in years.

In 2007, a ruling of the court created by the ill-conceived 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) required the intelligence community to seek court permission before monitoring terrorists operating outside our country -- that is, outside the jurisdiction of United States courts.

The reprieve granted by the Protect Act expires at midnight tonight.. Hence, the intense pressure this week to get a FISA overhaul enacted.

The Senate Intelligence Committee proposed a bill which accomplishes three major improvements. It streamlines the arduous FISA application requirements.
It provides immunity from suit for telecommunications providers which cooperated in the NSA's warrantless surveillance following the 9/11 attacks.

And most importantly, it solidifies the Protect Act's reaffirmation that the American intelligence community's foreign operations are beyond court supervision -- that is, Osama bin Laden is not protected by FISA or the Fourth Amendment.

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=25017

I don't have a problem with that, or with surveillance of our enemies. Liberals have fought every sensible national-security improvement since 9/11.

It's difficult to imagine more vital legislation than this one, this week, and this dereliction of duty by our legislators will not go unnoticed.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 15, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

The gop is not about freedom. Since when have they been about anything other than money and abortion?

What is anti freedom? What is an authoritarian socitey with little or no freedom being watched by all? Held down by threats of terrorism or vioelnce?

If it's not fascism I don't know what is? Can only the nazi's be fascists, gop. Is that what a fascism is? Not an ideology but a past movement? Tsst tsst tsst.

Good thing we are smarter than our fathers and grandfathers.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

bsimon: exactly. the White House keeps telling us these infringements on our freedoms are necessary to protect other freedoms. But at some point there are no freedoms left.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 15, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

uckeleg, You are sorely misinformed. Sen McCain was completely exonerated during the Senate ethics probe of the Keating issue. He and Sen Glenn were both found to have commited no improper conduct.

He has since been a champion of ethics reform and campaign finance reform, which has made him many enemies in the Senate, proving that you can't please all the people all the time when you are a man of principle.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 15, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

"Yeah, Congress is doing such a fantastic job -at letting the most critical of bills lapse while going away on extended holiday as of today.

from the WaPo: "One of the most critical weapons in the fight against terrorists and other foreign intelligence threats -- the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) -- has not kept up with the technology revolution we have experienced over the past 30 years.

We are on the brink of bringing this 20th-century tool in line with 21st-century technology and threats. The Senate has passed a strong bill, by an overwhelmingly bipartisan margin, (although Obama voted against it, and Clinton was not present) that would modernize FISA and do the right thing for those companies that responded to their country's call for assistance in its hour of need."

It would also protect the civil liberties we Americans cherish. The bill is now before the House of Representatives, and they have chosen to leave town for a vacation instead of doing what we pay them to do. Obama and Clinton are unfit to be Commander in Chief.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 15, 2008 02:35 PM
"

You have no idea what you are talkign about proud. Research the issue and try again. It makes you wonder. How did america get by these centuries without doing what bush is doing, huh? how did we ever survive all these years without spying on our own people? You always spied didn't you gop, my bad.

If you reaserched the issue you would know this has nothing to do with terrorists over seas. The government already has that right. That bill is solely about immunity for the telecom's who spied on us. It is bush and the gop putting us in danger by risking all our lives to provide telecom immunity. So they are risking lives for money. Yep, that's the gop we know and love.

they track everything. I don't care about overseas tracking. Do it, nothing to do with me. It's the local to local. The email calls andtraces I have a problem with. But how do we get who and what they are doing from the government? Will bush and the gop show us the records? No. And he won't get a court order. So who do we see what the king is doing? HE's above the law after all. WE hold others tot eh rule of law. Ie the telecoms. That is the only way to find out who they are spying on. Who wants to bet me 1000 dollars they are spying on liberals? Take the bet gop. :)


If they are not doing that why not show us what's going on? They're doing the patritoic thing after all. They are jsut going after terrorists right? Prove it. Prove it to anybody.

Again, if your scared gop, bush and the gop are risking your security to save the telecoms from facing up for their crime.

Just like Clemens is getting pardoned. The gop is the lack of accountability and crediblity party. Keep it up. It's working gop. Keep it up :)

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

The proposed FISA law's 'protections' of our civil liberties reminds me of that classic Vietnamism, "We had to destroy the village, in order to save it."

Posted by: bsimon | February 15, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Leslie Byrne is not a State Senator, she used to represent the district in Congress (93-95) before being ousted by Rep. Davis.

Posted by: skdutta | February 15, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

proudtobeGOP writes
"[FISA] would also protect the civil liberties we Americans cherish."

Not the version I'm familiar with. The version I'm familiar with would retroactively grant immunity to private businesses that facilitate the Govt's practice of unwarranted surveillance on US citizens. If I'm not mistaken, it would also limit the FISA court's oversight into such wiretapping practices - allowing future unwarranted surveiallance of US citizens by our government.

Describe how, exactly, this is a 'protection' of our civil liberties?

Posted by: bsimon | February 15, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: MoreAndBetterPolls | February 15, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

spec2 writes
"until the past year or so, for decades you almost never heard of Republican pols becoming Democrats. That tide has definitely shifted"

Some, like NYT columnist Friedman, think the parties are headed towards a realignmnet / regrouping. He sees the protectionists/xenophobes lining up on one side, with the internationalists / free-traders on the other.

I think the GOP is well on its way to fracturing; a loss in the Pres this year would finish the job. The Dems aren't quite there yet; though I think an HRC nomination would be a nudge in that direction. While I see both parties strugging with their identities, I'm not yet in Friedman's camp.

As they say, we live in interesting times.

Posted by: bsimon | February 15, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"John McCain: One of only five senators to reject earmarks entirely, part of his long-standing view that such measures prompt needless spending."

Umm, Proud, that's probably too busy lining his own pockets with bribes a la Keating.

I'm really pumped for the House races this year. I think the Dems could pick up another 20-30 seats. Given that the NRCC is barely out of the red now, and the RNC is going to have to dump all of its money into Crazy Ol' John's campaign
(he'll be lucky if the Republican sheep donate the change in their couches), we'll be able to swamp them.

Posted by: uckeleg | February 15, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Congress is doing such a fantastic job -at letting the most critical of bills lapse while going away on extended holiday as of today.

from the WaPo: "One of the most critical weapons in the fight against terrorists and other foreign intelligence threats -- the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) -- has not kept up with the technology revolution we have experienced over the past 30 years.

We are on the brink of bringing this 20th-century tool in line with 21st-century technology and threats. The Senate has passed a strong bill, by an overwhelmingly bipartisan margin, (although Obama voted against it, and Clinton was not present) that would modernize FISA and do the right thing for those companies that responded to their country's call for assistance in its hour of need."

It would also protect the civil liberties we Americans cherish. The bill is now before the House of Representatives, and they have chosen to leave town for a vacation instead of doing what we pay them to do. Obama and Clinton are unfit to be Commander in Chief.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 15, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"2) I think that Obama needs to start his one on one meetings with those rational heads of state over in the middle east sooner rather than later because then at least we'd be talking while people are plotting to kill westerners. And there would be HOPE.

Posted by: dave | February 15, 2008 02:05 PM
"

they want to kill americans for revenge. Eye for an eye, that sort of thing. If your scared of them, that is your choice. I don't fear mule herders have way around the world.

If someone killed my little boy with bombs I might be angry. If the same peopel had bases and drove tanks through america and took over the country, I might fight them, as you would.

Zero accountability and credibility is the downfall of the gop. But it is also the reason we are in the deep water we are in. Lack of accountability for the gop. over and over and over.

Get out of the middle east. That is what we must do. Support. Give them their countries back. I know it's scary for old people who are every sacred of tehir neighbors and their shadow. But the world is not ours to give them. Like freedom is not the gop's to take from americans here. You cannot force democracy at the barrel of a gun. To try is what got us here, in danger. As it would with any country. If someone else did to us what we do to them, they might have consequences to pay, as we do.

I know to a dittohead to fox viewer you cannot think this way. You can only think abou tyourselves and your money. But think about if from a troubleshooting point of view. Cause and effect. Risk and reward. Bush and the gop saw a reward in iraq and the middle east. It had nothign to do with terror, as the gop backs terror. They are terrorists. It's about money.

When you release teh dogs of war, be prepared for the american people to call you on it. Fascism will not win this day. Try as yo umight gop, you cannot win. The battle agaisnt fascism has already been fought. You lost. you showed yoru face over the last decade. We see you now. Join america or do not. Either way you are doing it in the light now. It's all on the table. that is the only way. Put it all on the table and let the american people choose. That is democracy. The fact that the gop does not do this, shows they are not americans. Just living here.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

CC - Thanks for these frequent updates on the rising Blue Tide in America. To better be able to portend what may happen in Nov, I feel you ought to be using the voting percentages from 2006, the most recent Congressional elections, rather than the 2004 numbers, when John Kerry ran a poor nationwide effort. CC, times have changed dramatically over the past four years, and the '06 election holds much greater predictability than the '04 results. Do you agree?

Posted by: mainetimes | February 15, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

bsimon: until the past year or so, for decades you almost never heard of Republican pols becoming Democrats. That tide has definitely shifted, as moderates are made to feel more and more unwelcome in the "Big Tent."

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 15, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Duh ... 98% of incumbents make it back because Congress is doing such a great job.

Posted by: bondjedi | February 15, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

proud. tsst tsst tsst.

You've made yoru bed, red coat gop party loyalists. Now sleep. Sleep (irrelevance)until you are americans again. Not republcains or conservatives. But americans.

You are irrelevant until you stop being traitors. Understand the concept?

It's not enough to point to clinton for yoru criminality. Or look years to the past to justify your treason. Just because a criminal got away with murder once does not mean the law against murder is alive and well. Theives? Same deal.

If we do not hold the gop accountable (and the moderate sell-out dem's who are slaves to them) then we do them all a diservice. We do the next generation a diservice, as they will point to these criminals not being held to account, as to why they should be.

I have a suggestion, gop. No more scotter libby justice. No more hiding everything from the american people. This is a nation governed by the people. If we don't know the facts, if teh gop criminals will hide all , then how can we govern ourselves. You don't want us to govern ourselves, do you gop. that is a recipe for the gop to not be around, right? What will the authoritarians do when no one listens to them. When others are free. When slavery (corporate or illegal immagration) no longer is permitted. What will you gop'ers do when all really are equal and justice is blind? When the laws apply to all and the street runs both ways. What will you do then? Whine cry complain? Hide in a nice safe cave?

Join reality gop. Join america. Stop being an accomplice to criminality. Hold your own to account and strive for credibility with people not like you (unlike the last 30 years). rejoin america and silence your fascist propoganda. Your choice gop. But please remember what led to yoru irrelevance. Rememebr what got you to this point. Rather than poitn the finger, internalize and come back with your minds right.

do not hate an blame all your problems on the left. They are just a choice. If teh right did it's job you would not have to worry about this, would you? You made yoru beds. You earned your irrelevacne. If you are not forced to sleep in yoru bed, you will nver learn. Like elementary school kids you will continue to want and have everything exactly your way, with zero compromise. That is a childish fantasy. You cannot control the world. This is a free nation. You fascists already lost this battle, many times over. Stop the charade. Join america or don't. Your choice. But you made yoru beds. No one pities you people for the fascist chocies you make anymore. Start with the propoganda. The left does not control this. GEt them off teh air and it's a major step. Or do not. But stand by your choices lies and spin.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"Does this mean that the Freshman Class of 06 is safe?"

Good question. We have 3 freshpeople from MN, in 1 (Walz,D), 5 (Ellison,D) and 6 (Bachmann,R). Of those three, only Walz is at risk, having won the seat from an R. He is, so far, popular, and does not appear to be at significant risk to losing his seat. The other two are very, very safe, though Ellison more so than Bachmann. The only thing that could threaten Bachmann's seat would be demographic changes in her district; its not yet clear that significant changes have occured.

Posted by: bsimon | February 15, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Minor trivia bit, that may or may not have an outcome on MN-3. Edina Mayor Jim Hovland, until entering this race for the DFL nomination, was a Republican. Must be something in the water here, as Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN), who's seat appears on the Senate Line, before running for that seat was a Democrat.

Posted by: bsimon | February 15, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Hey! Does this mean that the Freshman Class of 06 is safe? Forget about pick-ups, if the 2006 Frosh are safe, that is a seismic shift.

Posted by: litero | February 15, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

"COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danish Muslim preachers sought to soothe Muslim anger on Friday after newspapers reprinted a drawing of the Prophet Mohammad which caused outrage in Islamic countries two years ago.

Danish papers republished one of the drawings of Mohammad on Wednesday in protest against what they said was a plot to murder the cartoonist who drew it.

Several hundred Muslims gathered in central Copenhagen on Friday to protest the publication of the cartoon, shouting "God is great," as they marched.

Thousands of supporters of the Islamist group Hamas protested in the Gaza Strip against the reprinting.

A Danish citizen of Moroccan descent and two Tunisians were arrested earlier this week for planning to murder 73-year-old Kurt Westergaard, a cartoonist at Jyllands-Posten, the Danish paper that originally published the drawings in September 2005.

Dozens of Islamist students burned the Danish flag in southern Pakistan on Thursday, while in Kuwait, several parliamentarians called for a boycott of Danish goods."

My two thoughts on this.
1) Democrat view on Islamic Extremism - What, me worry?
2) I think that Obama needs to start his one on one meetings with those rational heads of state over in the middle east sooner rather than later because then at least we'd be talking while people are plotting to kill westerners. And there would be HOPE.

Posted by: dave | February 15, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I noticed the Colorado 5th was not on this list. While Musgrave is not retiring she may be forced into retirement. Angie Paconi came within 6,000 votes of beating her and would have if the Reform Candidate took 13% of the vote from her. Betsy Markley is running and the Reform candidate is not. It took the Republican's moving a million dollars from the Colorado 6th, a visit from George Bush and a lot of phone calls threatening Hispanic voters with visits from Immigration for Musgrave to squeak out a victory. While Musgrave is trying to move toward the center I doubt it will work. Put that seat on your top 10.

Posted by: bradcpa | February 15, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"MArginalize any traitors that would put money or a party over the will of the american people"

So, by your definition, Obama and Clinton are "traitors" by sneaking earmarks into legislation and forgoing the transparency that they each call for on the campagin trail. Let's see who is the biggest offender when it comes to sneaky earmark deals....


Hillary Clinton: ... $340 million worth of earmarks in last year's spending bills, placing her among the top 10 Senate recipients, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Barack Obama: ... $91 million total


John McCain: One of only five senators to reject earmarks entirely, part of his long-standing view that such measures prompt needless spending.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 15, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

:)

throw the establishment bums out. All power back to the people. Truth justice and teh american way. We're bringing those ideals back. MArginalize any traitors that would put money or a party over the will of the american people. Give the gop the irrelevance they've earned. To not do that does them, and this country, a huge disservice.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Great news. Even if McCain wins the White House, he won't have a complacent Congress to do his bidding like a lapdog.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 15, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

CC writes ..."damn near impossible to beat a sitting member of Congress."

Dang! What's up with the cuss word CC? Was it something we said?

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 15, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

It's nice to see that no matter who wins the White House in November, the Republicans are going to have to pay for the corruption, financial mismanagement and hostile politics they've been responsible for over the past seven years.

They're simply reaping what they sewed.

Posted by: thecrisis | February 15, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

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