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The Friday Line: Corruption and the House Race Rankings

Corruption could well re-emerge as a central issue in the battle for the House this year, but The Fix has grown more skeptical about the issue's ability to influence the defeat of incumbent lawmakers by itself.

2006 Election -- Interactive Map
Interactive Campaign Map: More Election Data and Analysis.

The special election earlier this month in California's 50th District is a case in point. If there was any district in the country where the "culture of corruption" argument should have had saliency, it was in this San Diego-area district.

Ex-Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R) resigned the seat last fall and was later sentenced to jail time for accepting several million dollars worth of bribes from a defense contractor. In the race to fill out the remainder of Cunningham's term, Brian Bilbray won the GOP primary. A former member of Congress who turned Washington lobbyist, Bilbray had two HUGE strikes against him going into the special election given the current political environment.

Democrat Francine Busby centered her campaign on the need for a change from the business-as-usual politics that ultimately fed Cunningham's corruption. Despite some optimism from Democrats that Busby would win the June 6 election, she received just 45 percent of the vote -- essentially the same percentage of the vote that Democrat John Kerry took in the 2004 presidential race.

The spin flew fast and furious, but the one thing we learned for sure is that corruption is not a silver bullet that can be used to defeat incumbent lawmakers, whether they are Republicans or Democrats.

This month's Line reflects that less. California's 50th District and West Virginia's 1st District drop from the top 20 races most likely to change party control in the fall. And two seats in Ohio where corruption is likely to play a major role in the campaign -- the 18th and 6th districts -- slip down in the rankings.

Remember: The no. 1 is the one most likely to see the non-incumbent party win in the fall election. Your thoughts are welcome (and encouraged) in the comments section below.

20. Vermont's At-Large District: On its face, this is not a seat that should be competitive. John Kerry carried it by 20 points in 2004, and Rep. Bernie Sanders (I) appears well on his way to winning the state's open Senate seat. But national Republicans continue to push this race as a sleeper, largely because of their candidate -- Vermont Adjutant General Martha Rainville. Rainville is a strong candidate, but we remain skeptical that she can overcome the strong Democratic dynamic in the state. State Sen. Peter Welch is the Democratic nominee. (Previous ranking: N/A)

19. Pennsylvania's 7th District: For the majority of his 20 years in Congress, Rep. Curt Weldon (R) hasn't had to spend much time worrying about winning reelection. That will change this November, as retired Navy Vice Admiral Joe Sestak (D) continues to impress with his solid -- though not spectacular -- fundraising and aggressive campaigning skills. Weldon could be this cycle's Phil Crane -- a longtime incumbent who simply can't shake off the rust in time to win. (Previous ranking: N/A)

18. Illinois's 6th District: The open-seat race to succeed Rep. Henry Hyde (R) jumps back into the top 20 this month. A May poll conducted for Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth's (D) campaign showed her tied at 40 percent with state Sen. Peter Roskam (R) -- numbers that are hard to ignore in a district that's been reliably GOP for years. But Duckworth is still an untested candidate, and untested candidates tend to make mistakes. (Previous ranking: N/A)

17. Illinois's 8th District: Businessman David McSweeney has not gotten off to the running start that many Republicans had hoped he would following his primary victory. McSweeney cancelled a Texas fundraiser recently after it came to light that in 2001 he had planned to meet with ex-Enron Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow. Any connection to Enron doesn't reflect well on MCSweeney, who has spent considerable energy attempting to beat the story back. Rep. Melissa Bean must contend with the Republican nature of her district, but she continues to look strong. (Previous ranking: 16)

16. New York 24th District: This Upstate New York open-seat race drops a slot after former Seneca Falls Mayor Brad Jones removed himself from the GOP primary race against the establishment favorite, state Sen. Ray Meier (R. There's no question that the top-of-the-ticket Democratic candidates (Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and AG Eliot Spitzer) should help Oneida County District Attorney Michael Arcuri (D), but will it be enough to defeat a unified Republican Party in a seat that tilts toward the GOP? (Previous ranking: 15)

15. North Carolina's 11th District: Could Republicans underestimate Democrat Heath Shuler all the way to Congress? Maybe. Shuler, a former NFL quarterback, is a subject of considerable ridicule in Republican circles but has shown that he is a credible candidate (although somewhat vague on the issues). Rep. Charlie Taylor (R) has easily dispatched a series of "serious" opponents over the last few cycles, but Shuler represents perhaps the toughest test for the incumbent. (Previous ranking: 17)

14. Ohio's 6th District: This southern Ohio open-seat race continues to drop down the Friday Line rankings in the aftermath of state Sen. Charlie Wilson's (D) convincing write-in primary victory in May. We tend to agree with Democrats who say Republicans have already used most of their good opposition research against Wilson to no avail. Rep. Ted Strickland, who has held the 6th since 1997 (and one term prior in 1993-95), will need a big win here if he hopes to capture the governorship, a turnout dynamic that should help Wilson. Republicans are still high on state Rep. Chuck Blasdel, but this district is looking less and less competitive. (Previous ranking: 10)

13. Iowa's 3rd District: State Sen. Jeff Lamberti (R) is the strongest challenger Rep. Leonard Boswell (D) has faced during his five terms in Congress. Boswell appears to have recovered from health problems that slowed him for much of the latter part of 2005. Neither candidate will want for money, as ambitious politicians eyeing the 2008 presidential race are falling all over themselves to build up Iowa chits. Boswell has never been a perfect fit for this Des Moines-area district (which he ran for and won following the 2001 redistricting) and this is his toughest test. Still, the national environment should provide some wind at Boswell's back. (Previous ranking: 14)

12. Connecticut's 4th District: While the Iraq war will be part of the discussion in every competitive congressional contest this fall, it may be the only thing that voters hear about in this swing district. Westport First Selectwoman Dianne Farrell (D), who narrowly lost to Rep. Chris Shays (R) in 2004, is relentlessly attacking the incumbent for his support of the conflict -- an attempt to dispel the notion that Shays in an independent Republican. Will voters buy what Farrell is selling? (Previous ranking: 13)

11. Kentucky's 4th District: This race promises to be one of the nastiest of the cycle for one simple reason: Rep. Geoff Davis (R) and former Rep. Ken Lucas (D) plain don't like each other. Need proof? Davis recently attacked Lucas for taking a two-week vacation to Africa. If any Democrat can win this northern Kentucky district, it is Lucas, who held the seat from 1998 until his retirement in 2004. But it is a heavy lift given the demographics; President Bush won the seat with 63 percent of the vote in 2004. (Previous ranking: 12)

10. New Mexico's 1st District: Lately, The Fix has sensed a bit less enthusiasm from Democrats about state Attorney General Patricia Madrid's chances against Rep. Heather Wilson (R). Wilson received a fundraising lift -- $375,000 - from a visit by President Bush last week, even though she had to endure attacks from Madrid about her allegedly close relationship with the unpopular chief executive. This Albuquerque district is closely divided between the parties, but Wilson has shown an ability to win even districts even less friendly to Republicans (1998 and 2000). This seat remains a top-tier takeover chance, but we still give Wilson the benefit of the doubt. (Previous ranking: 9)

9. Indiana's 8th District: Vanderburgh County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth (D) seems content to wait before really engaging Rep. John Hostettler (R), an unusual strategy for a challenger. Why? Because Ellsworth has considerably more money to spend on the final weeks of the campaign than Hostettler, and he expects to benefit from a political climate that should favor his party, even in this GOP-tilting southern Indiana district. Hostettler has been an underdog for reelection before, but his odds are as long as they ever have been. (Previous ranking: 11)

8. Connecticut's 2nd District: The gains made by businessman Ned Lamont in his Democratic primary challenge against Sen. Joe Lieberman could actually wind up helping Reps. Rob Simmons (R) and Chris Shays (R). Lamont's single-issue candidacy in opposition to the Iraq war brings the debate front and center in the state. Simmons has already begun asking Courtney whether he agrees with Lamont's position on the war and will likely continue to do so in the coming months. If President Bush's low approval numbers lead directly to the defeat of a single Republican incumbent, however, Simmons could be that one. (Previous ranking: 6)

7. Florida's 22nd District: Republicans acknowledge that state Sen. Ron Klein (D) is the strongest challenger Rep. Clay Shaw (R) has faced since winning this swing district in 1980. That's quite a statement given Shaw's 599-vote win over then state Rep. Elaine Bloom in 2000. Klein is taking the fight to Shaw on a variety of issues, including whether the incumbent supports allowing oil and gas drilling 100 miles or more off the coast -- a touchy issue in the tourist mecca that is Florida. (Previous ranking: 8)

6. Ohio's 18th District: For months we've heard the same mantra from Democrats: "When Ney gets indicted..." Well, it's June 23, and while there appears to be ample evidence that Rep. Bob Ney was knee-deep in the Jack Abramoff scandal, no indictment has been handed down. Attorney Zack Space (D) is a mediocre candidate at best, and Ney had engendered considerable loyalty on the local level for his constituent service work. If Ney is indicted, this seat will be very difficult for him to hold. If not, he has a decent chance of beating the odds and coming back to Washington for another term. (Previous ranking: 4)

5. Pennsylvania's 6th District: Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) this week for the House resolution expressing support for the Iraq war -- but he stood up to say that more and better oversight of the conflict is needed. The vote symbolized the delicate dance Gerlach must perform if he hopes to win a third term. He must simultaneously keep the Republican base energized behind him while painting himself as independent of President Bush, who is an unpopular figure in this southeastern Pennsylvania district. Lois Murphy, who narrowly lost to Gerlach in 2004, continues to raise money at a furious pace. (Previous ranking: 5)

4. Indiana's 9th District: The biggest mover on this month's Line is the southeastern Indiana seat held by freshman Rep. Mike Sodrel (R). Why? Privately, Republicans admit that Sodrel will be hard-pressed to recreate the math of his 2004 victory when President Bush and Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) carried the district easily. Many people in the district believe former Rep. Baron Hill (D), the party's 2006 candidate, is still their congressman, and his campaign will get a major boost when former President Bill Clinton stops in the district to raise cash. (Previous ranking: 7)

3. Arizona's 8th District: After meeting former newswoman Patty Weiss (D) recently, we are convinced that former state Sen. Gabrielle Giffords (D) is the stronger general-election candidate for Democrats in this southern Arizona open seat. EMILY's List, a group that provides financial support to Democratic women candidates who support abortion rights, apparently agrees, as it endorsed Giffords over Weiss last week. The Republican primary seems likely to come down to conservative former state Rep. Randy Graf and moderate state Rep. Steve Huffman. If Huffman wins the Sept. 12 primary, Republicans' chances of holding this seat increase dramatically. (Previous ranking: 3)

2. Colorado's 7th District: There's a case to be made that this contest should be ranked "1-a," but we here at The Fix like our lines drawn clearly. Democrats are hosting a competitive primary between former state Sen. Ed Perlmutter and former state Rep. Peggy Lamm, while Republicans continue to speak highly of former Higher Education Commissioner Rick O'Donnell. Whoever emerges from the Democratic primary should be the favorite simply because of the demographics of this suburban Denver seat, where Kerry won by a 51 percent to 48 percent margin in 2004. (Previous ranking: 1)

1. Iowa's 1st District: This open-seat contest takes over the top spot in the Line now that we have nominees for each party. Former Iowa Trial Lawyers Association president Bruce Braley is a solid candidate who proved in the primary that he can raise the money he will need to win. Restaurateur Mike Whalen, who had never run for political office before, is the Republican nominee. Whalen's personal wealth should help him, but fundamentally this district wants to elect a Democrat. (Previous ranking: 2)

-- Chris Cillizza

See The Fix's last ranking of top House races.

By washingtonpost.com Editors  |  June 23, 2006; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  House , The Line  
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Comments

You might want to consider putting Minnesota's 6th district on the Line. Child-safety advocate Patty Wetterling (D) did better than expected against incumbant Mark Kennedy in the 2004 election, garnering 46% of the vote. She is running again, and this time against an opponent with much less name recognition, Michele Bachman. And Ms. Bachman, a graduate of the Oral Roberts law school, is rather farther to the right than most Minnesota Republicans, even in the right-leaning 6th district.

Posted by: Tom | July 18, 2006 6:58 PM | Report abuse

The race for the NY 24th District is getting more interesting with Hillary Clinton sending an e-mail solicitation on behalf of Mike Arcuri, and Dick Cheney scheduled for a fundraiser for Ray Meier. There will be some big money spent in this race.

Posted by: NYKevin | June 28, 2006 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Greetings from the Neo Con fantasy land otherwise known as reality.

Hastert is not under investigation. Neither is Cheney. This just shows you're in left wing fantasy land. I don't have time to check the other household names you've listed... Gannon? If they're as solid as the ones I do recognize, I'm not too worried. Oh and the Dems never use dirty tricks like the "jamming" incident. I've got a tape accidentally recording a Newt Gingrich phone call and some voter vans with flat tires in Ohio that say otherwise.

OK I didn't consider that CA50 is up again so soon. Not terribly worried there. This one was Busby's best shot for incumbency and its pretty much over.

Unemployment at 4.6 is as low as it gets (lower is considered inflationary) without a fantasy bubble a la mid nineties. As the 99-00 pop showed, it doesn't last. Gulf oil and refining is slowly coming back on line and summer demand will be long gone by November. You can always hope for another direct hit.

Let's see, other democrats who have scandals to worry about... hmmm.. how about Reid's $68,000 of Abramoff money he refuses to give up? No big deal, 40/45 Senate Democrats took money from Abramoff, his associates or clients which are all under investigation. 40 >> 35 I say. Oh, I forgot that it can't be a scandal if it doesn't involve Republicans. There are others.

I am just trying to give you some practical advice. By the time the election rolls around, Dem scandal mongering will not buy them any more points than it did in CA50.

Gotta go. I'm having too much fun in neo-con fantasy land.

Todd

Posted by: Todd | June 27, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Chris--

Don't forget West Virginia First District.
Democrat Alan Mollohan is week in the knees and has never had to run a campaign. He has all kinds of corruption associated with him.
His challenger Chris Wakim is a West Point grad and state delegate who is running a mistake free campaign.

Posted by: Brent | June 27, 2006 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Todd,

You do realize that CA-50 will be on the ballot again in November right?? Bilbray v Busby round 2. Only this time the Republicans can't spend 5 million dollars in the district. In fact the republicans are split as the anti-tax at all costs wing (aka Club for Growth) is actually attacking Bilbray and may support the independent running, who is firmly anti-immigration and has the support of the minutemen and is anti-tax

Posted by: Rob Millette | June 27, 2006 12:21 AM | Report abuse

"Note that strong economy, low unemployment, rising expectations of victorious troop returns from Iraq, Rove's pass, Dem scandals (Jefferson and others), press leaks showing Bush fighting terror, and slowly dropping gas prices "

How's the weather over there in Neocon Fantasy Land Todd?

Unemployment is not low, economy is not strong, since when is someone NOT being indicted a positive????, what other Demscandals are there besides Jefferson (I see that you said "others" b/c you can't think of any), Bush has put himself into a corner by refusing to even listen to Democrats who say we need to start drawing down troops (stupid move, Karl Rove, especially since Gen. Casey just came out with a plan that sounds a lot like the Democrats' plan), and the last time I checked gas prices were still the same they have been for a long time.

One Democrat scandal you could think of is pretty pathetic. Want me to name every current republican I can who is either convicted of a crime, under indictment or under investigation? Let's see:

Abramoff, Scanlon, Safavian, Gannon, Volz, Ney, Burns, Frist, Fletcher, Taft, Cunningham, Lewis, Hastert, Pombo, Foggo, Wade, Wilkes, Ryun, Reed, Norquist Delay, Libby, Cheney, Noe, Rudy, Ellis, Tobin, McGee, Raymond, Lowery, Hicks, NH phone-jamming scandal, Ohio's coingate scandal, PalmeGate, defense contactor bribery, Bush campaign money-laundering scandals....

Well Toddd, can you name 35 Democratic scandals? No, I didn't think so. Face it - there is one category where republicans put democrats to shame and that is in the corruption and lack of ethics department.

Hat tip to Brad.

Posted by: Ohio guy | June 26, 2006 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Okay, somebody tell your readers that CA50 was decided weeks ago. A repub. hold like most of these will turn out.

I would suggest you note the incumbent party next to the district number.

That being said they seem 90% R from the ones that were clear. I doubt that's realistic. We'll See.

Note that strong economy, low unemployment, rising expectations of victorious troop returns from Iraq, Rove's pass, Dem scandals (Jefferson and others), press leaks showing Bush fighting terror, and slowly dropping gas prices will prove that the dems peaked too early... yet again! Try to enjoy the summer.

Posted by: Todd | June 26, 2006 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Its irresponsible not to list Washington State's 8th-CD on this list (Congressman Dave Reichert is ripe for defeat by Democrat Darcy Burner).

The district has voted Democratic in Presidential races since Clinton, and sends mostly Democrats to the State Capitol.

Darcy's fundraising is rivaled only by her turnout of grassroots volunteers.

In the meantime, Congressman Reichert has been weak on ethics, funding for police and troops, medical research and economic development. He's been a die-hard conservative in a moderate, common-sense district.

This is not only a top-20 race, I feel confident in saying it is a top-5 race.

Posted by: Aaron | June 26, 2006 7:29 PM | Report abuse

There is a simple solution to the problem of rigged voting machines. Don't use them... All states have absentee ballots and anyone who intends to vote for Democrats in November should request one be sent to thier home. Lets look at the advantages.

1. It is a paper ballot. No hacked computer program can change it. It can be counted and recounted forever.

2. You get it in the mail, at least a week before the election. If you don't receive it you have time to find out why, instead of standing in a long line to be told at the last minute that you can't vote.

3.You sit in comfort in your home and can seriously think about your decisions. No rain, no snow, no traffic jams. Enjoy a beer, a glass of wine or, a shot of Jack, and vote democrat.

Let take our government back. Tell all of you friends to vote by absentee ballot.

weseto

Posted by: wes wilburn | June 26, 2006 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I think Heath Shuler is a VERY interesting candidate.

Posted by: Toby | June 26, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

There are way too many issues that Clay Shaw has taken the wrong side on. The prescription drug plan, the social security privatization, and the recent fundraiser with President Bush should allow Ron Klein to really nail him on the airwaves. It's my district and I really like Klein's chances of winning this race.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Sorry coming in late. We had a death in the family and I will likely be off the board for most of the week.

I would move IL 8 up and switch with KY 4. Trade PA 7 for PA 8 and remove VT and include TX 17 or LA 2 or 3.

Others to watch-
MN 6
SC 5
GA 8,12
CO 3

Posted by: RMill | June 26, 2006 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Will and Nor'Easter

I'm sure as you've figured out from my views, I clearly don't fit the mold for a Club for Growth follower. Though right now, these guys are my favorite Republicans. Not only do they support Laffey, who will lose the RI senate general race in the event that he wins the primary, but they are attacking Bilbray, giving Busby a chance. I'll support these endevours whole heartedly as they clearly hurt Republican chances this fall.

Posted by: Rob Millette | June 25, 2006 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Will, I think that you're right on target about the Club for Growth being anti-Capitalist.

Not only would they not get the irony, I don't think that they would understand at all.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | June 25, 2006 5:26 PM | Report abuse

When I vote my shares, seeing a board member is a member of the anti-capitalist Club for Growth (aka Welfare for CEOs/CFOs) is an automatic No vote from me.

I think the beltway, with your lack of comprehension of how deep the feelings are in the West, will be surprised by how high the Wave will be when it comes crashing down on the House of Lies and the Senate of Lies to sweep it clean of those apostates who betray God's Commandments by Lying, Cheating, and Stealing.

Even spending massive amounts won't stop that. We're on to your lies and we're mad as all heck.

Well, gotta go grab brunch - it's 90s here in Seattle and sunny and bright.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | June 25, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I think CA-50 should still be on this list. The Club for Growth has put out some negative e-mails about Bilbray to its membership. If the club gets involved in the race against Bilbray, I see Busby walking away with this one in the bag.

Posted by: Rob Millette | June 25, 2006 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Maybe corruption made the CA-50 race more competitive than it would have been otherwise. Busby's bonehead move of even appearing before a group where the "mistatement" became an issue skewed analysis of the whole outcome for both sides.

If she would have been elected had she not been so stupid, then the "national trend" and "tidal wave" posters would be having a field day (until the next special election, if there were to be one). Notice how the tidal wave has smoothed back down to ripples.

Corruption may be an actual issue and the "trend" and "tidal wave" may still be true, but we'll never know from the CA-50 results due to Bonehead Busby.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | June 25, 2006 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Chris, echo David's comments above on CA-50. 2006 will be a lot different than 2004 and presidential vote isnt the only benchmark. You should examine the year to year improvement. Bilbray got under 50% of the vote.

Posted by: John Gordon | June 25, 2006 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Corruption is harmful to any democratic countries. But in China, it is different. Corrupted Chinese leaders usually hate terorists and love western countries because they like to live in western countries if Chinese Government wants to arrest them. That is why I encourage corrupted Chinese leaders.

Posted by: Huaichun Jiang | June 25, 2006 5:55 AM | Report abuse

On the June 23 Friday line, you write this about the recent special House election in California: "The spin flew fast and furious, but the one thing we learned for sure is that corruption is not a silver bullet that can be used to defeat incumbent lawmakers, whether they are Republicans or Democrats."

I disagree. I'd say the one thing we learned is that a congressional district that is pushing 60% Republican will re-elect a Republican. And besides, corruption as a general subject didn't qualify as a silver bullet in that race because it hasn't yet been nationalized as Topic A; maybe by November. A silver bullet now would have needed to have the winner Bilbray's name on it. "His predecessor is now in prison for being a crook" is NOT a silver bullet. You actually get paid for this analysis by the Post company? Huh.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 24, 2006 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Re: the San Diego Cunningham affair.
You have to remember that San Diego is where some of the most rabid ultra right-wingers reside. This is Pete Wilson country. These are the people of that want to blame all the ills of society on the Mexicans, and the same people that are members of the "border vigilantes." Their intransigent hate transcends the rest of the country's norm.

And speaking in general regarding the elections, I have to agree with the "Diebold Factor" previously mentioned.
These are new times, that present new problems and will have to be dealt with in new ways. Remember 'guns and butter' from college? Well, forget the buttah!

Posted by: bo pena | June 24, 2006 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, che, for summarizing well. One additional note in response to
"When, in truth, if the Democrats regain control of one or both houses, it will have been the handiwork of the corporate powers behind the curtain that decided a change was better for their bottom lines":
I agree. However, it seems clearer every day, and The Fix falls right in line with this idea with today's Fix headline, that the MSM is wanting a "real dogfight" in November, so it's time to rehabilitate, or at least smooth over, the incompetence and corruption of the Republican candidates.
A single example serves: in the name of Bush conducting the War on Terror, his best-rated effort among the polled approval ratings, last night, CBS's Schieffer and other anchors all postulated whether we could shoot down North Koreas's missle should "it come our way" (Scheiffer): none of the anchors or correspondents EVER questioned whether N. Korea had ANY reason or desire to "nuke" us! Come on! Even when Schieffer showed a satellite photo of the missle "on the launch pad, ready to go," and was told that it had a satellite on its head, he asked how long it would take to intercept it if it came our way. Duh! Terror! Only the Repubs can protect us!
The MSM wants a great election fight, so now they will rehab the Rs from now till the election. The MSM is what is coming our way.

Posted by: Wants Out | June 24, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please bookmar:

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Why should the GOP worry, it controls the voting machines

By Bev Conover
Online Journal Editor & Publisher

With each passing day, the US slides further into some dark farce that would have us rolling in the aisles with laughter if the consequences weren't so monstrous and bloody.

Good poker players know when to fold 'em. But there are no good poker players in Washington. Not among the incompetents in the Bush administration. Not among the Republican dunderheads who control both houses of Congress and very few among the so-called opposition -- a.k.a. Democrats.

It's bad enough when the imbecilic Decider in Chief makes a fool of himself, as he did this week in Vienna. First, by making like a "girlie-man" by stomping his feet and telling Iran not to test his patience over its perfectly legal nuclear program. Who in hell does he think he is? Oops, he's the Decider.

Then Decider Bush stupidly says it's "absurd" for Europeans to suggest that the US is the greatest threat to world stability. Right, just don't glance over at the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And, in all his infantile insolence, he couldn't resist lashing out at the third leg of his "axis of evil," the North Korean, warning them if they test fired their long-range missile, he would pick up his joystick and launch his (non-existent) missile defense whatevers to shoot them down.

Then he goes to Hungary and tells the Iraqis they should be inspired by the 1956 Hungarian Uprising, which the Soviets crushed in 12 days. It only took the Hungarians 33 more years to rid themselves of tyranny. Some inspiration for the Iraqis or was Bush telling them they would be under Corporate America's boot for three more decades?

Meanwhile back in Washington, the GOP leadership in the House and Senate, taking their orders from the Decider and his controller, Dark Side Cheney -- and armed with the Pentagon's illegal political talking points -- instead of folding 'em on Iraq, buckled under and decreed the Republicans would "stay the course."

Never mind that the majority of Americans want us to leave. Never mind that the majority of Iraqis want us to leave. Never mind that US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, former Unocal adviser and our current puppet in Iraq, is busy having documents shredded in preparation for the Green Zone being overrun by the Iraqi resistance, which the Bushies and the corporate media insist upon calling "insurgents."

Despite all the nonsense about the gains being made in Iraq that is spewed daily by the administration and dutifully reported by the corporate media, plus Cheney's repeated pronouncements that the "insurgency" is in its "last throes," Khalilzad's leaked confidential memo paints a grim picture of the stark reality that life in Iraq worsens daily.

But Khalilzad's revelations are meaningless to the congressional Republicans who reject the wimpy Democrats paltry proposals for withdrawal and accuse them of being "defeatists" who want to "cut and run."

Now why do you suppose the Republicans, who claim to be so worried that the Democrats will retake Congress in November, think that continuing the killing of Americans and Iraqis is their key to victory? Because their worries are a sham; they make cheap for copy to fill the spaces between the ads in newspapers and the commercials on so-called TV and radio "news." It's all a game, a sick, sick game that can't get much sicker.

The Republicans control the easily rigged touch screens and optical scanners most Americans will use to cast their votes on.

The GOP is utterly contemptuous of the American people and what the people thought was their democratic republic. And the Democrats are not much better. Do American have to have feces rubbed in their faces before they grasp what is going on?
An even more frightening scenario is ff the Democrats should emerge victorious in November, voters, especially Democrats, will think they have prevailed and they will pat themselves on the back and promptly go back to sleep, allowing the Dems to play their phased withdrawal and redeployment games. When, in truth, if the Democrats regain control of one or both houses, it will have been the handiwork of the corporate powers behind the curtain that decided a change was better for their bottom lines. Rigged computerized voting machines can go both ways.

Posted by: che | June 24, 2006 4:40 AM | Report abuse

"I am wondering why the Democrats can't seem to see that illegal immigration support is hurting them."

Barb-You have a point here. But now that it looks like the Republicans will not pass any immigration reform legislation, it might actually come back to hurt them.

Posted by: Sean | June 24, 2006 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Corruption is an issue that softens up incumbents. It doesn't deliver the final blow, but it does everything short of that.

Posted by: Adam | June 23, 2006 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

Talk about looking at the glass as half full! In an ordinary year the Republicans would have won Cunningham's district walking away. Until this special election, the notion of a competitive race in this district would have been considered absurd, but this time the Republicans had to pull out the stops to barely hang on to the seat. Will they be able to outspend the Democrats 5 to 1 in every close race in the general election? I think not. I suspect that Republican strategists are very worried about the close outcome of this race, even though they held on to Cunningham's seat.

Posted by: Andrew | June 23, 2006 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Dear Chris,
I just went back and reread my remarks and they sound a little harsh. Good! Please print those remarks, wrap them around a good heavy rock, and beat your editoial staff over the head with them until they get the message. We are OUTRAGED that you have the gaul to even think you have any business determining what we deserve to know what our government is up to. Our government IS corrupt, we know that. It is also out of control and well along the road to becoming a police state. We would to understand the extent of it.

Posted by: Mike Brooks | June 23, 2006 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I gotta wonder abut all this corruption you keep talking about. I mean, we all know that there are a bunch of Republican's who have taken bribes and money from lobbiests and connected businessmen. The Democrats, in their time, did exactly the same thing. What concerns me is the press' not doing anything about it. I mean, with todays report that (again) the New York Times even allowed operatives of the Whitehouse to have a say in what they would report is pretty outrageous. In the past, the Post has done exactly the same thing. So, what aren't you telling us for our own good? Huh? Corruption is a funny thing. A major newspaper that doesn't tell the truth, the whole unvarnished truth, in exchange for "inside" stories and interviews, isn't all that much different than some scumbag politician taking a bribe. It isn't your job to determine what we deserve or need to know, or barter off some government skullduggery for a fat interview with the First Lady or some other hack representing the current Administration. Almost no one is foolish enough to believe anything they say. What bothers me is most of ytour readers don't believe what YOU have to say either....and for good reason. Amercia, the AMERICAN PEOPLE, deserve better.

Posted by: Mike Brooks | June 23, 2006 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Nor'easter. Such 'us' is not extensive to all the people living in America, you know.
But we are living well.

Best wishes.

Posted by: What_crisis | June 23, 2006 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Last one. My mother is out so Bible out. Let's speak about important things. Congress is not the correct place for these important matters. They have been resolved always in the Civil Society, you know. And the civil society doesn't need any government, congress nor court. Civil society is a group of angels not needing any supervision. On the other hand government, congress and courts are the real evil inside USA. Only when any angel turns to the evil is when we need courts to assure the correct punishment he deserves. It's our way.

Best wishes.

Posted by: What_crisis | June 23, 2006 7:11 PM | Report abuse

What Crisis - It's rather presumptive to speak for all of "us", isn't it?

Such as "...we are living well?"

Speak for thine self! No more, no less.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | June 23, 2006 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Yes. Liberal democracy (Republic or equivalent) claims for an ethic and independent Congress. But this is not our way. 'Liberal' democracy! It sounds bad! Sure it is not our way. See ya, man. I have to read my Holy Bible right now.

Best wishes.

Posted by: What_crisis | June 23, 2006 6:50 PM | Report abuse

It's our way. Why to change while we are living well? Future? Only God knows our future. God blesses us.

Best wishes.

Posted by: What_crisis | June 23, 2006 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with you on CA-50. You're comparing apples and oranges. You're comparing the percentage that KERRY got in 2004, to the percentage Busby got in 2006 (special election in June). Instead, you should be comparing what BUSBY got in 2004, to what Cunningham got in 2004.

In 2004, Cunningham beat Busby by 21 points (58 to 37). In the 2006 special election, Bilbray beat Busby by 4 (49 to 45). That is a 17 point improvement.

However, in politics, its wins v. losses, so hopefully, she'll pull off a victory in November.

Posted by: David | June 23, 2006 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I would like echo Mr. Turtle - he seems to have a handle on the NY 29th. Indeed, from everything that I have heard - "missed opportunity" - will be the phrase to describe this race on election night, at the DCCC.

Posted by: Kell Varnson | June 23, 2006 5:28 PM | Report abuse

What I don't see on this list in the crucial New York 29th District race. We have Randy Kuhl (R), who has a very questioned background running against Eric Massa (D). This district seems like a great opportunity for the Democrats. I guess the way you see it is a little like the DCCC. Massa really doesn't have the money, organization, fire power or brains to get the job done. One would think the Democrats would have put somebody better in this sopt. Missed opportunity, Rahm.

Posted by: Joseph Turtle | June 23, 2006 5:23 PM | Report abuse

playing up,

Eek! You caught me using "liberal" ambiguously, which I try never to do. In the case of Lawless's RI-2 campaign, I mean individual rights issues (she's pro-choice, pro-"marriage equity," for example).

Posted by: rkb | June 23, 2006 5:18 PM | Report abuse

California's 50th District is one of the most insanely Republican spots in the country. The GOP candidate's narrow victory there has no bearing on anything. Voters in the 50th will never elect a representative who isn't Republican. Cunningham could have been caught murdering someone on video, the 50th voters would not penalize the party for it.

Posted by: frank maraschino | June 23, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

San Diego is a conservative Navy town. In the special election, 8% of the vote shifted from Republican to Democrat. On a national scale, that would move about thirty seats to the Democratic side, just about exactly reversing the current standing in the house. Maybe the Friday Line needs to get a little longer.

Posted by: lart from above | June 23, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Jason - I used to think exactly as you do. Around 1995 I happened to be at a social function and had a conversation with somebody who worked for DeLay. I posed to him that the difficulty of governing with the slimmest of margins made it easier to be a backbencher and lob grenades to disrupt the majority.

"Not so,..." he told me; and then proceeded to describe how control of the committees, the agenda on the floor and the setting of the rules was the power which you needed to be able to push your agenda. Slim margin or not.

By the time bills get to the floor the ruling party has shaped them the way they want them to be. And, of course, they can prevent many from ever making it to the floor for a vote.

If the last 12 years has been any indication, he was right on the money. Most of the time the Republicans have had only slim margins, but have been able to push their agenda as if they had significant majorities.

Political consultants Cassidy & Associates had a radio ad right after the 2000 election which said "In a town where one vote can change an entire industry..." The ad meant the Supreme Court ruling on the Florida vote; but it could be applied equally as well to the voting margins in the House and Senate.

One Man, One Vote! One Vote, Absolute Majority!

Posted by: Nor'Easter | June 23, 2006 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone out there have a sense of how the Democratic primary is shaping up in RI-2? Incumbent James Langevin is being challenged by Jennifer Lawless, a Political Science professor at Brown. The race has never been listed on the Line, so I'm assuming CC doesn't think Lawless has much of a chance. She's definitely running to the left of Langevin and is playing up pretty liberal issues on her website. Can anyone from the area comment on how this race is playing out among likely Rhode Island primary voters?

Posted by: rkb | June 23, 2006 4:43 PM | Report abuse

My only comment:

Ney, Burns, Frist, Fletcher, Taft, Noe, Cunningham, Lewis, Hastert, Pombo, Foggo, Wade, Wilkes, Abramoff, Ryun, Reed, Norquist, DeLay, Ellis, Colyandro, RoBold, Buckham, Kidan, Scanlon, Rudy, Volz, Safavian, Young, Rohrabacher, Lowery, White, Shocky, Libby, Rove, Cheney, Tobin, McGee, Raymond, Turbyfill, Hicks, Moorman, and Talbott. Kentucky Fletcher political corruption scandal, Ohio Coingate, Cunningham bribery, DeLay ARMPAC money laundering, Abramoff scandal, Plame investigation, the NH phone jamming scandal, Congressional earmarking scandal.

Posted by: Brad Johnson | June 23, 2006 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Finally, someone sets everyone straight. Ned Lamont is not a one-issue candidate. The extremely unpopular Iraq war is just the issue that has broken the camel's back in Connecticut.

People don't realize that Joe Lieberman has never been very popular in CT, and as a man he has always had tepid support. Sure, he wins 65%+, but that's because the Republican Party in CT is close to dead. (Joe's 2000 opponent is in jail for molesting young girls, if that indicates the quality of his challengers.)

People here realize Joe has simply used this state in his quest for national prominence and power, and now that he has no chance to move up, he's simply gliding on his diminished name and figures he has the right to hold the seat forever. He is never in the state, has not helped the state, but yet still tries to claim successes for his own benefit. He claims to have saved the Groton Sub base, but that was really Chris Dodd (who is much more popular than Joe) and Gov. Rell, along with every admiral in the Navy. (Simmons said if he was elected the base would never be on the closing list...) Joe is running on fumes, and Connecticuters finally have a decent candidate to support, one who actually has been around the state listening to people and who has articulated that he holds the same left-of-center views of most people in the state.

If Joe loses in August and doesn't bolt the Party, then Simmons, Shays, and even Johnson are in big trouble, because conservative turnout will be severely depressed, while liberal Democrats will turn out in droves to elect Lamont in a landslide over an almost nonexistent GOP candidate.

Posted by: Dan | June 23, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

You're correct Nor'Easter that the majority controlls the agenda and that is important. My point is that when you have a tiny, tiny majority it makes it very difficult to act on that agenda because you have to get the support of all sides in order for bills to pass. This, in my view, makes it difficult to govern effectively unless you compromise with the moderates and I think if they did, enough of their base would abandon them and not turn out at election time which is why I think there would be a tidal wave in 2008.
I'm not saying it would be bad for the Democrats if they took over now, just that it isn't that bad if they only came very close in the House and Senate.

Posted by: Jason | June 23, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Jason - All a party needs is a one vote majority to control the committees and the agenda, and set the rules. This begs the old line, "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades!"

Posted by: Nor'Easter | June 23, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Now let me see;
special election in June favoring a list voters;
such voters are 65% GOP or conservative.
Safe GOP seat.
Democratic challenger too liberal for district.
Salient local issue brings out conservatives in droves.... yet the GOP fails to win a majority of the vote in CA 50.
I'd say the culture of corruption is pretty potent.

Robert Chapman
Lansing, New York

Posted by: robert chapman | June 23, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Time for Lyndon LaRouche to run against Frank Wolf again.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | June 23, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Manny C. wrote:
===========================================
"Chris is right: corruption can remove individuals, but isn't providing the impetus to change seats from R to D - and it won't."
===========================================
Yep. The only way to change the seats from a R to a D is to get a local that doesn't hold views straight out of Hollyweird. The reason it's R in the first place is the pickings are for some Maoist.

Radical change looks good in the movies, in books, and rah rahing on blogs, but come vote time, the majority will vote for the candidate who can bring in the pork, can look and talk like the voters, and who doesn't alienate that very voter base.

Until the Dems figure out that logic, R seats will remain R. The country is looking for good moderate candidates, and Hilary in 2008 looks very good, but unfortunately the Democrat party will sacrifice her for some two-bit ultra-lefty, giving the Republicans yet another win.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 23, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Just a note to those who think that if the Democrats come close but don't take the House or Senate that it will be a big political loss for the Democrats. I don't think so. Anytime you have a tiny majority, (1 or 2 votes in Senate; 10 or less votes in the House) it makes it extremely difficult to govern. I personally think it might be best for the Democrats to come very close in both legislative bodies this cycle and then I believe there's an excellent chance for a Democratic party tidal wave to come in 2008. What do others think on this?

Posted by: Jason | June 23, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe that OH-06 is still on this list at all. Whoever Ted Strickland wraps his arm around in this election will win the seat in a walk, and that man is Charlie Wilson. Throw in the fact money will not be a problem as Charlie Wilson can fund his own race. The Hotline's Chuck Todd dosen't even have this race ranked in the top 20 - it has fallen to 23 on his list, and next time it may not be in the top 30. This race should be replaced on your list with OH-15, a district that actually does have a good chance of switching parties.

Posted by: Ohio guy | June 23, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I see 17 Republican and 3 Democratic-held seats on this list. That's a net gain of 14 seats for the Democrats.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 23, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

>>>Put your hate aside

What are we supposed to do, just laugh and dance around like idiots while Bush and Co destroy all that is good about our country? We are PISSED OFF at the GOP and rightfully so. A majority of Americans feel the same way, as does the vast majority of the world (and no im not talking abt The French or Germany, im talking abt countries you have probably never heard of).

And talk abt TALKING POINTS, the GOP is nothing BUT. For example, the TP that the liberal/progressive movement is based HATE. Yeah, we're so filled with hate. That's why we have the vote of basically ALL minorities, why we stand up against the "drown the government in the bathtub" neocons, avidly protect civil liberties for ALL AMERICANS and why we believe in DIPLOMACY around the world is a show of our PATRIOTISM and VALUES.

Give it up. Your "hate" message just makes you look really f'ing stupid.

But thanks for playing.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | June 23, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Chick Schumer thinks De,ocrats only want oversioght and no plan put forward.

Chuck Schumer doesn't deserve his job anymore.

DEMOCRATS GET OFF YOUR BUTTS AND GIVE US A DETAILED ALTERNATIVE PROGRAM NOW!

Posted by: Long Beach, CA | June 23, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Sue F,
Congratulations. You have taken the liberal progressive press release and re-written it in a blog! How thoughtful. Put your hate aside and think for yourself. It's much healthier for actual adult intelligent conversation. Besides, reading something other than the Post might be good for you!!

Posted by: Dave | June 23, 2006 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I would watch closely Arizona 5. Corruption (including Abramoff ties) + immigration (extreme conservative stance) = Hayworth losing his seat. This district is ready for change and that change is Harry Mitchell!

Posted by: David | June 23, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I would watch closely Arizona 5. Corruption (including Abramoff ties) + immigration (extreme conservative stance) = Hayworth losing his seat. This district is ready for change and that change is Harry Mithcell!

Posted by: David | June 23, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I have a moniker which describes the GOP,
Gullible Obtuse Potentiaries, they fit all three descriptions. Money, power, lying, cheating, it doesn't matter as long as they get reelected their flock seems to be happy! Oh yes and last but not least RELIGIOUS, at least that's the way they play it.Anything goes with this crowd, including our soilders lives, people with a brain get it, Cheney and Bush want permanent American oversight in IRAQ so they can control the OIL! It surly doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that's why the large bases are being built over there. So what if it bankrupts America, if 2500+ military die, it's just a number as Tony Snow says, so what if nearly 20,000.00 soilders have been injured some so severaly maimed they will be fighting the VA the rest of their lives for benefits. Not to worry they will errect some wall with the names on it and have a ceremony every year, that should be enough to satisy the masses. And by the way I'm sick to death of the media and Republicans saying the Democrates have no plan, in my book this is Bush's WAR, his Daddy cleaned up all his other messes so now it's up to the Democrates to clean up this one? Exactly what is the Republican Plan, "Stand up, so we can Stand down", that's not a plan it's a bumper sticker! Thanks Sue F

Posted by: Sue F | June 23, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

You will never need to report on VA 8. Its drawn so that no one will ever beat the D incumbent, no matter what he does, and he has done so much its hard to believe. The stories are endless. When he's done, he'll just hand it to his chosen successor. 8 term incumbent with no position of leadership, on only one committee. As far as Frank Wolf is concerned, there is no one who has been working harder for Darfur to get on the map. He was on this issue long before celebs showed up to get on TV. He has also been the leader in working to stop gang violence and get the region working together to find solutions to local gang activity. Keep Frank, make a change in the 8th!

Posted by: Dave | June 23, 2006 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Ohio Guy. That needed to be said. It bears repeating that Ned Lamont is NOT a one-trick pony. Jeez.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | June 23, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

You have neglected to mention Democratic corruption has been uncovered in Illinois' 9th Congressional District where the husband of Rep. Jan Schakowsky is in prison for check kiting and income tax evasion. Jan is on record for only voting against a social services oriented spending bill if it doesn't spend enough. That sure is easy to do when it was not her taxes that were being spent. Her husband, Robert Creamer, didn't stop drawing his 6 figure salary when the non profit he ran was short of cash, even though he had a lucrative political consulting business on the side.

Posted by: Robert | June 23, 2006 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Jordan, I've heard enough about Bilbray to believe he's corrupt also. But as an earlier poster suggested, I think the rpublicans in that district simply aren't bother by corruption, as long as they get to stay in power.

Also, earlier poster about outsourcing -- actually our government is not neutral on companies moving their operations overseas. We help them! That's right, our government gives TAX BREAKS to companies that outsource.

So rather than say, putting up some obstacle, or giving some incentive for companies to stay here, we reward them for taking jobs elsewhere. That goes to show you exactly how much this administration cares about jobs for American citizens.

Posted by: Drindl | June 23, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Busby's corruption argument was not going to work in a heavily R district because her opponent was not corrupt, it was her former opponent that was corrupt. Trying to smear opponents with the corruption brush based on party affiliation is weak.

Posted by: Jordan | June 23, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Barbara, by supporting a Reform to immigration the Democrats (and the republicans in the Senate) are supporting Americans all of us. The far right and Lou Dobbs of the world would like you to think of this debate in a very simple view "illegal immigrants take your job". The only problem with this is that it is much more complicated then that.
First, due to the power of Labor unions most manufactoring jobs are well protected from illegal immigrants in this country. That however, is not the case if the company wants to move say to Mexico. Now with NAFTA and CAFTA in effect the companies lose NOTHING by moving a factory to Mexico. So the argument that these people are taking manufactoring jobs is just wrong.
Now there is the effect immigrants have on say service industry jobs, and construction. It is true that a lot of jobs in these two sectors are filled by immigrants (and illegals). However this is partly due to the lack of Union oversite. Also at least the Housing market has been exploding in recent years due Mainly to the availabiltiy of cheap labor. Now we all benefit from a booming housing market since the value of your home increases accordingly, and by increasing higher paying jobs in the real estate industry, mortgage industry, landscaping, etc..
Third, is that there are an estimated 20 million illegal immigrants in this country. Our unemployment rate is approx 4% give or take. Now if we consider that the workforce of the US is say 200mil, that means that at any given time about 8 million people in this country are unemployed. If we sent back all 20 million people we would have a vacancy of about 10-12 million jobs with no one to fill them. Our economy could not withstand that type of change.
Lastly, our country is not making enough people on its own. The economic models that our whole government and economy is based on are growth based. Essentially our buisness (and our government spending) need a somewhat constant increase in market to make profits. Now there are two ways to do that 1)Expand your global market, which we try to do on a regular basis (ie India and China), 2) Expand your domestic market (ie have more babies or immigration). Now we don't have enough babies (negative population growth in most demographics other then hispanics) so we must allow more immigrants. By doing this we all make more money as a whole.
Does our immigration system need fixing? Yes of course it does, but the idea that throwing out all illegals in this coutry, and then building a giant wall is just not a well thought out plan.

Posted by: Andy R | June 23, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

The reason corruption won't work against the Republicans is because Republicans (and not just the members of Congress) are okay with corruption. Doesn't bother them a'tall!
Winning and profit at all costs on the Party level and below.

Posted by: Sane Texan | June 23, 2006 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Are there any actual Democrats who 'support illegal immigration', or is this just another repuplican straw man? Please provide documentation of this..

Posted by: Drindl | June 23, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I am wondering why the Democrats can't seem to see that illegal immigration support is hurting them. They need the support of Americans, not corportations and illegals. I personally think it may cost them more than they are willing to see from their little bubble in the Capital.

Posted by: Barbara Snider | June 23, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

When you have the foxes in charge of the henhouse it's only natural that they are going to rob, lie and cheat! A good majority of the members of this administration and house and senate have long lists of scandals, yet they get reelected year after year, I guess their constitutients enjoy being screwed over.
And when you have a White House that claims to be above the law,and shows utter contempt for the law and the constitution, well that just gives these guys more incentive to abuse. They figure even if they get caught, they will get off. I mean you really think the Republicans are going to investigate themselves. They gave up checks and balances on the White House and thus surrendered their soles to the almight dollar and power. The american public needs to step up to the plate now, take this country back from the good ol boys club and start holding people accountable, that starts at the top. Will it happen, who knows, with Rove involved and people like the rightous Ralph Reed, who by the way is in the middle of the Abranoff scandal, I highly doubt anyone will go to jail or be charged. Besides George can simply pardon them. Our country looks alot now like some of those other countries that have corrupt leaders, except these guys hide behind the american flag and "being patriots", I guess that gives them a pass. Too bad you can't elect them a conscience when their put into office, most of them simply check that at the door.
Fed up, thanks Sue F

Posted by: Sue F | June 23, 2006 11:45 AM | Report abuse

When you have the foxes in charge of the henhouse it's only natural that they are going to rob, lie and cheat! A good majority of the members of this administration and house and senate have long lists of scandals, yet they get reelected year after year, I guess their constitutients enjoy being screwed over.
And when you have a White House that claims to be above the law,and shows utter contempt for the law and the constitution, well that just gives these guys more incentive to abuse. They figure even if they get caught, they will get off. I mean you really think the Republicans are going to investigate themselves. They gave up checks and balances on the White House and thus surrendered their soles to the almight dollar and power. The american public needs to step up to the plate now, take this country back from the good ol boys club and start holding people accountable, that starts at the top. Will it happen, who knows, with Rove involved and people like the rightous Ralph Reed, who by the way is in the middle of the Abranoff scandal, I highly doubt anyone will go to jail or be charged. Besides George can simply pardon them. Our country looks alot now like some of those other countries that have corrupt leaders, except these guys hide behind the american flag and "being patriots", I guess that gives them a pass. Too bad you can't elect them a conscience when their put into office, most of them simply check that at the door.
Fed up, thanks Sue F

Posted by: Sue F | June 23, 2006 11:45 AM | Report abuse

'regarding cunningham' person -- you have some good points to make -- specifically, this time about the voting machines. How many people know that the machines used in the CA-50 race were controversial and decertified because they had been stored in unlocked warehouses and taken home by employees?

It has gotten no national coverage whatsoever. As have none of the numerous other scandals and 'malfunctions' involving Diebold [and other e-voting] machines. It is a huge story -- the real elephant in the room-- which the national press is simply ignoring.

Back to you, though, the way you post your thoughts is difficult to read, and therefore, most people probably don't.

Oh, and thank you Dick Pierce for that piece of info on the Hastert scandal.

Posted by: Drindl | June 23, 2006 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Another point you need to add about the Bibray race is the 5 million that the GOP spent to keep the seat.

Posted by: Andy R | June 23, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

IL-14: Dennis Hastert's endless list of corruption have elected Republicans now assisting John Laesch. With Hastert's staff circulating resumes on the Hill, Hastert's in-your-face decisions making things difficult for fellow Republican Congressmen, and Hastert's wild spending on personally enriching projects, locally people believe he may drop out of the race.

The spending spree includes lots of promises of local pork, but those who might benefit are now afraid they will get caught up in all of Denny's "troubles". Those on the Republican far right are on the war path over the budget deficits and aren't even getting lip service from Hastert's staff - let alone Hastert, himself.

Hastert wanted to retire and Rove twisted his arm to stay. We hear there is someone currently working at the White House who will be chosen to step in for Denny - but haven't figured out who.

It's getting wild out here.

The Fix needs to tune in.

Posted by: Dick Pierce | June 23, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Have you look at all at the VA-10th; Judy Feder vs. Frank Wolf. I understand that Wolf has a 40% re-elect number in the latest poll; not too good for a 20+ year incumbant in a district that voted for Kerry and Kaine.

Posted by: Matt | June 23, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

The two Ohio districts you mentioned are ripe for
turnover, but I would also include the First in western Cincinnati/Hamilton County.
City Councilman John Cranley is running a strong
race against Steve Chabot, who has 12 years of
pro-Bush votes that John is using against him.

John is also a west-side, anti-choice Catholic,
so that eliminates the "hometown boy" advantage
Steve used to have. It's going to be a barn-burner!

Posted by: Kathy Helmbock | June 23, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

What about Nebraska's 3rd?

Posted by: Nate Bouray | June 23, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Chris, you rather conveniently left out a crucial incident and issue that may well have cost Busby the election-- something which also points to the primacy of local issues over party. I'm talking about immigratiom, and racism.

California, and southern California particularly, has an enormous population of immigrants from Mexico, both legal and not, and there is a lot of anger in some quarters about this. Business and farmers, of course, benefit but many taxpayers feel the burden of social services, etc, is too heavily borne by them. And of course, some people are simply racist and fear that 'brown people are taking over'.

Busby's district, which is home to many large government contractors, is no stranger to corruption. In fact, local government is San Diego is pretty much characterized by corrution and incompetence. So perhaps Duke is viewed as not much different than most other politicians there. But Busby made a verbal slip at a rally attended by latinos where it appeared she was encouraging illegal immigrants to vote for her.

She was recorded and the smear machine went crazy. That snippet was played everywhere. If you don't think that had a huge effect in a xenophobic white community, you're very mistaken

Posted by: Drindl | June 23, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

CC says:

"Lamont's single-issue candidacy in opposition to the Iraq war brings the debate front and center in the state."

Here we go again. Single-issue candidacy?? For anyone else who suffers from such a violent denial of reality as our good friend Chris does, here's a small list of the many reasons Ned Lamont is running against Joe Lie-bear-man.

1) Lieberman voted yes on the enery bill that conatained billions of dollars in subsidies for huge oil companies at times of record profits, and was one of the few Dems to do so.

2) Lieberman sided with the religious wackos in his opinion that private hospitals should not be required to offer contraception to rape victims.

3) Lieberman sided yet again with the fundies in Congress over the Terri Schiavo case and even hinted that those who disagreed with him do not value human life.

4)Liberman regularly goes on Sean hannity's show on Fox News and ridicules other Democrats who disagree with him even as they represent the mainstream Democratic party and he does not.

5) Liberman prevented an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib torture scandal even as the Republicasn who sat on the same panel were ready to authorize an investigation, and he emerged as the premier Democratic apologist on torture.

6) Lieberman voted to confirm Alberto Gonzales, the only Dem from a blue state to do so, and since then we have found out that Gonzales blatantly lied to the Senate during his confirmation about the illegal NSA wiretapping program. Lieberman remains a Gonzales supporter.

7) Lieberman was the absolute last Democrat to get on board in the effort to stop Bush from privatizing Social Security.

8) Lieberman unflinchingly continues the idiotic "stay-the-course" non-strategy in Iraq. His stubborn (some Washington insiders would call it "principle", lol) refusal to see that Iraq needs a new plan not only hurts democrats but leads to the continued deaths of our men and women in uniform. On top of this, he ridicules any Democrat even military veterans such as Murtha and Kerry who put forth a new plan.

9) Lieberman voted Yes on Alito cloture.

10)Lieberman is a pharmacuetical lobby special interest addict. Lieberman took $400,000 in big drug money and then voted against a bipartisan plan to force drug companies to offer drugs (drugs developed with the use of taxpayers' money) at " a fair and reasonable" price.

Posted by: Ohio guy | June 23, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Better not count out Herb Rubenstein in Colorado's 7th District. Herb was the first to do direct mail and has a top flight media team headed by Deno Seder. Rubenstein will make this a three way primary by election day. Herb's strong anti-war message plays well with Democrats and independent voters who are the key to winning in November

Posted by: JoJoDancer | June 23, 2006 10:02 AM | Report abuse

>>>"Notice that Duke Cunningham wasn't on the ballot? Hmmmmmm, wonder why?<<<

But in the big scheme of things, this is irrelevant. The seat remained Republican and will likely stay that way in the fall. Chris is right: corruption can remove individuals, but isn't providing the impetus to change seats from R to D - and it won't.

Posted by: Manny C. | June 23, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse

In regards to the comment "The spin flew fast and furious, but the one thing we learned for sure is that corruption is not a silver bullet that can be used to defeat incumbent lawmakers, whether they are Republicans or Democrats."

"for sure?" Yes and no. Corruption of a candidate probably IS "a silver bullet that can be used to defeat incumbent lawmakers." Notice that Duke Cunningham wasn't on the ballot? Hmmmmmm, wonder why? Surely he could submit his votes via videoconference from prison?

It would be more accurate to state that corruption cannot necessarily be used to tar and feather an entire party. This is only fair; guess what? Politicians are in fact individuals and there is no way of assessing morality a priori (at least not yet) so bad (and good) apples end up in both parties. It isn't the party's fault.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | June 23, 2006 9:17 AM | Report abuse

So Chris,

How do you rate the election chances of Ohio Republican Bob Ney, and California's GOP congressmen-for-hire, Reps. Doolittle and Lewis?

Corruption will only become a big enough issue by itself if they are:

indicted?
convicted?

Where do you put the bar for acceptance of GOP corruption?

Just asking.

Posted by: x | June 23, 2006 9:11 AM | Report abuse

By the way Shuler was ahead of Taylor by four points in a Public Policy Poll done in the end of May.

Posted by: Andy R | June 23, 2006 8:42 AM | Report abuse

First, I don't care how much the Republican's talk about Vermont they are NOT going to win that seat. Thinking otherwise is a pipedream.

The NY 24th I think also has a strong chance for a take over strictly on the power of Spitzer. People can't wait to vote this guy into office in Albany. The complete lack of GOP presence on the NY ticket will keep the republican's home in droves. If all the HRC and Spitzer folks come out to show support then Arcuri wins in a walk.

I also find it interesting that Heath Shuler is getting "ridiculed" by republicans when they tried to recruit him a few years back. He's a new face and people seem to really like him in that area.

And how does taking a trip to Africa hurt a candidate? Is something wrong with Africa? If I were Lucas I would run an ad about AIDS in africa and shove it right back in Davis's face.

And CC your own paper had an article this morning about how Ney lied to investigators. If they do vote him back he will serve at least one year of his term in the Big House, and I don't mean the white one on Penn Ave.

Posted by: Andy R | June 23, 2006 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I think Hayes has been able to get 55% before...I apologize for such sloppiness. :)

Posted by: The Southern Dem | June 23, 2006 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I think you should take a closer look at NC-08. There are a lot of reasons why Larry Kissell can beat Robin Hayes.

The most important is that Kissell is an 8th District Democrat - 27 yrs in textile industry/deacon at his church/man of strong moral values, etc. In this, he's different from the younger, more progressive opponents Hayes as faced in the past.

Also, there is no top of ticket race to pull voters out. This is the first time Hayes will face an opponent without a presidential or senatorial candidate to help him.

Then, there are his votes for CAFTA and Fast-track trade authorization. It seems everyone has heard of these two votes and every time a mill closes anywhere in NC or SC this gets brought up again.

Larry is a great candidate for this district and he does need to raise more money, but Hayes always outspends his opponents by over a million dollars and he never can get more than 54% of the vote.

This is the year. Give it another look.

Posted by: The Southern Dem | June 23, 2006 8:06 AM | Report abuse

This is all very nice except you omit the largest factor that will decide who goes to Washington this fall - rigged elections.

Take Ohio for instance one of the most corrupt States politically ever seen since the inception of our country. Bob Ney is as corrupt as they come and worked very hard to stop the use of paper ballots for electronic voting machines, which is the only way a recount could be done. In Ohio and elsewhere voters will push the buttons on those democracy destroying machines, political operatives, mostly Republican, will count the votes in a dark room behind locked doors, and announce that all the corrupt incumbants have miraculously been reelcted, forget the exit polls. I want to thank major media for doing your part in destroying our democracy by not reporting on election fraud.

Posted by: Pete Ewing | June 23, 2006 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Corruption is a useful means for the Dems to indict the status quo and the GOP is in trouble. But the party needs to unabashedly offer progressive policy alternatives on issues such as health care and rewriting the malicious bankruptcy legislation from last year. Otherwise this will simply be an apathy election. This is not 1946 and "had enough" will not be enough. It's a good starting point but more is required.

http://intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | June 23, 2006 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Ken Lucas's correct website is WeNeedKenLucas.com -- the Post has an incorrect link.

Posted by: Charley | June 23, 2006 6:49 AM | Report abuse

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