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The Line: Senate Dems Hold Early Advantage

Sen. Wayne Allard's (R-Colo.) announcement this week that he will not seek a third term gives Democrats an immediate boost in their effort to expand their razor-thin Senate majority in the 2008 elections.

Allard was sure to be a prime Democratic target next year, but beating an incumbent is always more difficult than winning an open seat. Their chances are made better by the fact that the party has made big strides over the last two election cycles.

Allard may not be the last GOP senator to pass on a reelection race. Watch the body language of Republican Sens. Thad Cochran (Miss.), Pete Domenici (N.M), John Warner (Va.) and Chuck Hagel (Neb.) over the next few months. All are rumored as potential retirees; if most of them decide to leave, it will make Republicans' fight to retake the majority all the more difficult. Remember that in 2004 Democrats were crippled by the retirements of five senators (Hollings, Edwards, Miller, Graham and Breaux), and went on to lose four seats in that election.

We're not ranking the Senate races by their level of vulnerability just yet. Without a go/no-go decision from incumbents and an unclear field of potential challengers, it's too early to decide who is the most endangered. So, for now, the races are listed alphabetically by state.

To the Line!

* Colorado: Allard's announcement jumps this race up to the top of Democrats' opportunity list. Despite the chatter about a candidacy by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, Rep. Mark Udall should have the Democratic field to himself. For Republicans, former Rep. Scott McInnis is in the race, and his former House colleague, Bob Schaffer, is actively considering it. If those two men comprise the top tier of GOP primary candidates, expect a nasty fight between fiscal conservatives (McInnis) and social conservatives (Schaffer) within the Colorado Republican Party. In 2004 that battle was won by the fiscal conservatives in the form of beer baron Pete Coors, who ran a less-than-stellar (and ultimately unsuccessful) general election race against Sen. Ken Salazar (D). Coors's opponent in that primary was none other than Bob Schaffer. Will Republicans reconsider and give him a shot to hold Allard's seat?

* Louisiana: One of the oldest adages in politics is that you don't beat something with nothing. At the moment, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) is the something and Republicans are the nothing. Landrieu, who hasn't topped 52 percent in either of her Senate races, is already running hard; she's raised $1.8 million since her reelection in 2002 and ended October with $725,000 in the bank. No Republican seems particularly keen on stepping up to challenge Landrieu; Rep. Jim McCrery took his name out of contention this week. The most often mentioned names are Secretary of State Jay Dardenne, Reps. Richard Baker and Charles Boustany, and state Treasurer John Kennedy (who is currently a Democrat). Given President Bush's 57 percent showing in the state in 2004 and the massive displacement of the African American community following Hurricane Katrina, it's incumbent upon national Republicans to seriously contest this race. But the "who" remains the biggest question.

* Maine: Sen. Susan Collins (R) knows that standing by President Bush when it comes to the war in Iraq isn't a sound strategy for a Northeastern Republican. She has said firmly and repeatedly that she opposes sending any more troops in Iraq. While Collins's positioning on the issue isn't likely to keep Democrats from attacking her ties to Bush, it does insulate her to an extent. Rep. Tom Allen is the assumed Democratic nominee, although rumors continue to persist that Allen may decide serving in the House majority is more enjoyable than running a 50-50 campaign (at best) against a tough incumbent. If Allen decides not to run, Democrats' chances for a pick-up would drop considerably.

* Minnesota: The news that comedian Al Franken has been reaching out to Democrats in the state's congressional delegation should warm the hearts of Republicans hoping to reelect Sen. Norm Coleman (R) in 2008. Franken is clearly serious about the race, but given his controversial profile and lack of political experience it's hard to imagine he could unseat a politician as skilled as Coleman. The problem for Senate Democrats is that because of Franken's high name identification, he'd be hard to beat in a primary. If Franken runs, Democrats' best option might be Mike Ciresi, a wealthy trial lawyer who could use his deep pockets to buy the name ID necessary to compete against Franken.

* Mississippi: Sen. Thad Cochran (R) appears content to wait until this fall to make a decision about running for a sixth term. Until then this race is on hold. On the day Cochran announces his decision, one of two things happens. If he decides to stay, this race disappears from the Line and stays gone. If he leaves, this race likely earns itself a permanent spot on the Line through 2008 -- especially if former state Attorney general Mike Moore (D) decides to run. Democratic insiders insist that Moore was interested in a race in 2006 if Sen. Trent Lott (R) had chosen to retire and could be made interested again if it means running for an open seat. Rep. Chip Pickering (R) has been waiting for an open Senate seat for several years and would likely run unless Gov. Haley Barbour (R) could be convinced to get in.

* Montana: A recent independent poll out of Montana confirmed our suspicions that Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) would give Sen. Max Baucus (D) a serious race in 2008. The survey, conducted by Mason-Dixon for Lee newspapers, showed Baucus (D) with a 48 percent to 44 percent lead over Rehberg (R). The problem is that it's hard to find a Republican strategist who thinks Rehberg will actually run. If Rehberg takes a pass, the only question is whether Baucus can exceed the 63 percent he won in 2002.

* Nebraska: We keep hearing rumors that Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) won't be seeking a third term in 2008. Hagel has been mum about his political future -- whether he'll run for the GOP nomination or opt for a reelection race -- but Republican strategists acknowledge that he is a wildcard. Democrats believe Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey would be their strongest candidate and could be convinced to run if the seat is open. A poll of GOP primary voters commissioned by a supporter of state Attorney General Jon Bruning (R) showed him leading all comers in a Republican primary. Pete Ricketts, the party's nominee in 2006 against Sen. Ben Nelson (D), gave Bruning the closest race in the survey.

* New Hampshire: No race in the country has as many candidates either running or openly considering a run as this one. The Democratic tide in New Hampshire, which led to the defeat of two Republican House incumbents, has Granite State Democrats ginned up about their chances of knocking off Sen. John Sununu (R) in 2008. Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand and former congressional candidate Katrina Swett are all but in the race, and Gary Hirschberg, the founder of Stonyfield Yogurt, is expected to make a decision by the end of the month. Democrats' strongest candidates are Gov. John Lynch and former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen -- neither of whom has shown much interest in running.

* New Mexico: Like Mississippi, the competitiveness of this race depends on whether or not it becomes an open seat. Sen. Pete Domenici (R) has repeatedly said he plans to run for reelection to a seventh term, but given his past health problems it's tough to leave him off the Line. An open seat would likely draw Reps. Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce on the Republican side; Gov. Bill Richardson, who is preparing a presidential bid, is Democrats' first choice if Domenici retires, but Rep. Tom Udall (cousin of Mark above) and Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez are also mentioned.

* South Dakota: Even as Sen. Tim Johnson> (D) continues to recover from brain surgery, his allies are working to ensure he is in position to run for reelection in 2008 if his health allows it. Steve Jarding, a South Dakota native and longtime campaign operative, has joined Johnson's staff as deputy chief of staff and will likely be charged with handling the senator's political operation as he recovers. Sen. Baucus of Montana has also planned a joint fundraising committee with Johnson to ensure the South Dakota senator is financially prepared for what could be a costly campaign. Republicans in the meantime have no choice but stand on the sidelines and watch. Gov. Mike Rounds (R) is the strongest candidate whether or not Johnson runs again, but he may find it nearly impossible to mount a campaign while Johnson remains hospitalized. If Johnson bows out, Rep. Stephanie Herseth is the next most obvious choice for Democrats.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 19, 2007; 12:01 AM ET
Categories:  Senate , The Line  
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I don't think it's likely though...but it would make a hell of a nationally spotlighted fight if he did.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | January 24, 2007 6:35 AM | Report abuse

sandwich I agree, i hope Cleland runs.

Posted by: steve | January 23, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Let me asure you, Coleman is not looking forward to debating a guy who got in and out of Harvard on his own.
The level of guests appearing on his radio show should give an idea of his high regard.

Posted by: Dick Nixon | January 23, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Unless Max Cleland is willing to run again, in which GA suddenly becomes a real race.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | January 23, 2007 1:54 AM | Report abuse


I'll acknowledge that the take on Wilder from 20 years ago was a take based on press notices of the day. Are you suggesting that Coleman was a strong Republican candidate?

On SD and MN and my view on those races, I live currently in ND, and have spents significant amounts of time in those two states, including in 2002, working as a regional co-ordinator for Tim Johnson.

On NE and CO, I lived in Omaha for five years, and there is no Dem. bench in the state to speak of. My brother has lived in Colorado for most of the last six years, and he's a junkie like me. He says that with Allard retiring, there's not much of a way for the Rs to hold that seat, and I'm inclined to agree.

As to the NE-- its mostly looking inside the last election for these folks. Sununu barely won in 2002, and both House seats went Dem in NH. While there is a possibility that the one Rep in ME could make that a competitive race, Collins seems more likely to bolt than to lose (call it a gut feeling).

As to the South, I've spent a fair amount of time there and have lots of friends down there, and short of a very shoddy candidate on the Repub side in MS, or an exceptional candidate on the Dem side, the playing field is so tilted against the Dems that I don't see the Dems investing the money necessary to win the MS or GA seats unless they have a significant advantage in candidates, and I don't see that happening unless there is a willingness to spend the money.

In 02, the Dems spent a ton to try to take or hold a bunch of Southern seats, TX, NC, SC, GA and got nothing for it... i'd guess that they make a strong run at MN, CO, OR, NH and ME before they invest much in NC, GA or MS. Just logic.

Heck, with the rumors about Larry Craig, I'd invest in ID before GA.

Posted by: Steve | January 22, 2007 7:44 PM | Report abuse

If anything, I would think Al Franken's support of the Iraq war in 2002 could be a liability.

I argued at length last year against the contention that Bush and/or Republicans were manipulating gas or oil prices. I've since learned more. Bush and his defenders on this point raised a good question in response to this theory: "If we could control gas prices, why would we have raised them in the first place?". I think the answer is they wouldn't have. It can't help them; it can only hurt them. I remain pretty strongly convinced that Republican politicians in the US cannot manipulate gas prices.

However, since I discussed this topic before, I read and learned more about it. There IS evidence that not Bush or Republicans, but Saudi Arabia, tried to reduce gas prices (by producing more oil) in order to benefit Republicans. This answers the Republicans' above question, because clearly higher oil and gas prices mean more profits for Saudi Arabia. It also is plausible given the cozy connections between Bush and the Republicans and Saudi Arabia's royal family; the latter doesn't really want to be called on its links to terrorism or draconian monarchy. Nor does it want to be forced to change, potentially cede power, or actually address domestic problems--they want to continue the status quo of blaming the US and Israel for their problems.

It's plausible, though I think a few other factors were and are much bigger and more important (whether it's driving season or not, dwindling supply worldwide, and rising demand both in the US and burgeoning economies like China and India), that the Saudis sliced their oil production to boost prices and thus profits last summer, later boosting their production when they decided the risk of losing Republican control outweighed the benefits of increased short term profits. Since the election, it's been fall and winter, which are not driving seasons, and gas prices have fallen in both the US and Canada. That's another feature of this theory that makes more sense to me than a direct Bush conspiracy--Bush would not be manipulating prices north of the border. I pointed out the parallel ebbs and flows in gas prices in the two countries, and never received a satisfactory response from a proponent of the Bush conspiracy theory. But if the culprit is Saudi Arabia and not Bush, then prices would be affected worldwide and not on a localized scale. (though America's #1 oil source is still Canada)

I know of no evidence that research, exploration, or production rose following the relatively higher gas prices we saw in 2006. Nor have I seen any evidence that the fall in gas prices since last summer has any connection to any of those things. The long term trend, though oil prices are down at the moment, is that oil and gas prices are going to keep skyrocketing. That is the macro trend. All the researching, exploring, and producing in the world are not going make more oil that simply doesn't exist or is extremely expensive to extract and refine. The dip in prices right now is a micro trend, a short term one, probably caused mostly because it's not driving season, and the mild El Nino winter has reduced demand for heating oil.

The Bush conspiracy theorists on this are flat out wrong. But they are closer to the truth than KOZ, whose arguments on this post are laughable (and ignorantly Pollyanaish) on their faces. Oil prices today, even at $50/bbl, are double what they were earlier this decade. Every day we are using up more oil, and every day there is less of it anywhere on or in the planet to use. Sure, oil and gas prices can fluctuate in the short term, but in the long term they are going nowhere but up. Oil at $100-200 a barrel and gas at $4-8 a gallon are coming much sooner than you think. How can we keep gas prices down? Stop using it.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | January 22, 2007 2:48 AM | Report abuse

Steve has a strong point on Oregon. Smith faced a fairly weak challenger in 2002, which also turned out to be a Republican year. John Kitzhaber could've wiped the floor with him, and would do so in 2008 if he had any interest in running, being a senator, or moving to DC, none of which were the case in 2002 or now. Smith breaks ranks occasionally (he's the GOP leader on hate crimes), but OR is a blue or at least blue-leaning state (like WA, one of the Dukakis states and hasn't had a Republican Governor in a generation). I think it depends who opposes him. I've heard some rumblings about Rep. Earl Blumenauer wanting to run, and I think he could be quite a strong candidate. He's from Portland, but thoughtful and original--hardly a knee-jerk liberal or party line Democrat.

Fun fact: MN has elected 3 Jewish guys in a row, in 5 elections, to that Senate seat. If Franken is the DFL nominee, it will be the 4th consecutive race for that seat in which both main candidates are Jewish men.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | January 22, 2007 2:07 AM | Report abuse

MS: Gov. Barbour would run for re-election in 2007 and then turn right around and run for Senate in 2008? Seems unlikely to me to say the least.

Can't beat something with nothing: Well, Mel Carnahan did unseat John Ashcroft in 2000. And Jim DeMint's far inferior campaign beat Inez Tennenbaum in SC in 2004.

SD: I think the Republicans are going to have a hard time running against Johnson at all with his health issues. Paradoxically, they make it hard for both him and them to campaign. Look for the GOP to try and emulate next door Norm Coleman's 2002 playbook and avoid Ashcroft's 2000 fate.

VA: Rep. Tom Davis (R) is a moderate, suburban Republican who would be a very strong candidate.

A blogger on Swing State project is reporting that Chris Dodd filed with the FEC declaring that he is not a candidate for reelection in 2010. With a small child and 30 years under his belt as a senator, I can see why he'd decide it's time to go. Unless his 2-4 years as Banking Committee chairman are REALLY exciting/rewarding for him.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | January 22, 2007 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Rothenberg doesn't give Democrats even a slim chance of knocking off CHambliss

Posted by: DBrees | January 22, 2007 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Any chance that Congresswoman McCollum would run for the US Senate in Minnesota?

Posted by: Conan The Librarian | January 21, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the poster that says that VA is a top tier race in 08 if John Warner retires. That is of course assuming that Ex Gov. Warner doesn't take a VP slot on the Dem ticket. But the Dem candidate wouldn't be a shoo-in though, as Tom Davis would be expected to run on the GOP side.

Posted by: Andrewp111 | January 21, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse


Here in Kansas, there were many "marginal" oil wells cappedback in the early 70's, ostensibly to jack-up the price of a barrel of crude.

Now with oil over $50 a barrel, those marginal wells are real moneypits, even a 3 barrel-a-day well adds up to over $50,000 a year in revenue, so they've all been re-opened, "acidized" (yes, it is as nasty to the environment as it sounds) and once again, they're pumping 24-7-365.

Anyone who doubts there's been a monumental conspiracy in the energy business just needs to consider what Lyle tells us about capping those natural gas wells. It takes a conspiracy (at least two individuals agreeing on some scam) to accomplish that sort of mutual act.

Which brings up a point that our Bushco. defenders seem to forget, or just ignore, When I say "conspiracy", it doesn't always mean a conspiracy of many, it only takes two greedy individuals to form a conspiracy, and if they are people of power, then all their subordinates, willing or not, become part of that conspiracy.

SO, while the rank and file energy industry "operatives" may not be overtly guilty of "conspiracy" when they fulfill the directives handed down to them, it makes them part of the conspiracy none-the-less.

So don't imagine we "paranoid" conspiracy theorists believe there's some massive, wide-spread conspiracy, many of us know those conspiracies may only include two or three individuals sitting around Dick Cheney's "energy task force" table.

To paraphraze a phraze, it "only" takes two to tango.

Which makes the term "conspiracy" much more believable than the grand expanse of evil agreement you naysayers MISTAKENLY ASSUME ONE OF US MEANS WHEN WE POINT TO EVIDENCE OF CORPORATE CONSPIRACY!

While a conspiracy might have tentacles reaching well beyond the boardroom, it is more likely that it will be a closely guarded secret, shared by as few individuals as possible, who depend on the silence (and blissful, complicit ignorance) of their employees and agents to perpetrate and perpetuate the secrets and lies.

Anyone who still doubts there is an energy-industry conspiracy "out there", of historic and monstrous proportions, is either naive or complicit.

PS Ohio Guy, Drindl made an astute observation recently, that the only time "Sand Flea" appears is when our pulchritudinous pachyderm Zooky is blogging. We know he's passed himself off as a young, disgruntled Dem voter who threatened to stay at home on election day, so I would guess Drindl's right, Zook really is Sand Flea, in one of his numerous blog manifestations.

Does this suggest a Republican pattern of willingness to lie and deceive about anything, to promote themselves? I think it is just more good evidence that the rank and file R's remaining who still defend their party right or wrong, represent that sort of desperation.

Those who have admitted their party's arrogant errors might just help save it, but as long as the Zookies and the Roves of the world manage the Republican Party, we will never be free of perpetual Republican secrets and lies.

Posted by: JEP | January 20, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

"Dear American Senators.
Thank you for pulling the rug out from under your president. Most of my fellow fighters have been killed by US marines or have fled back to Iran. we are running low on money, food and virgins. the brave action you Yankee senators are taking is our only hope for success. We are confined to only four neighborhoods in Baghdad. If you americans go home soon, we will be able to expand back and include all of Iraq into our empire. please continue reporting only death and destruction. Make sure you ignore any positive actions. If it were not for the US press and us Democrats in congress, we would have to consider going back across the border." - Sand flea

Who is the nitwitted retard who posted this idiotic BS?

SERIOUSLY - be a man (or woman) and admit it. Then go apply for a job at Faux News. They love propaganda-spewing neocons at that network. You'd fit right in with Bill O'Falafel.

Posted by: Ohio guy | January 19, 2007 8:10 PM | Report abuse

The Dems will no doubt keep Congress as long as the GOP keeps up their suicidal infoghting. The talk of a Dem split has quickly been replaced by the sounds of Duncan Hunter and Chuck Hagel screaming at each other.

Posted by: wallace | January 19, 2007 7:39 PM | Report abuse

'Zouk, you didn't paste in the dictionary entry that my friend was capable of comprehending.'

because he doesn't really know what it meams...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 7:10 PM | Report abuse

IA Dem,JEP,Blarg and others on fuel issue: The natural gas supply is quite good and something I know a little bit about. In the area I live there are so many capped wells that were producing 250 to 350 thousand back in the 1950's and were capped simply to raise the price, and over time some of them have been brought back on line only to be capped again. The bottom line is what it is "The Bottom Line". When we are able to get cheaper gas from other places it only makes sense to do so and save what we do have. At present there are many ways being tried including extracting oil from shale, or shell. The cost is what is holding us back.

Posted by: lylepink | January 19, 2007 6:45 PM | Report abuse

thing of it is...

Make OIL INDEPENDENCE a National Security ISSUE... a substitute or set of substitute will be found so quickly that oil will cease to have any economic impact on the World Economic situation...

except of course to those that have oil as a commodity to sell...

IN Fact I would urge that we as a nation begin to think seriously about Nationalizing OIL in order to take the corporate influence out of Congress...

plus I like to see fat white men scream and poop themselves..

Posted by: solve the | January 19, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

think zouk is into the nambla thing...

you know with...

thats just what I hear...

Posted by: I personally | January 19, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Zouk, you didn't paste in the dictionary entry that my friend was capable of comprehending. This only shows how you have sunk to your level, etc. Anyone who had a grain of brain cell would have picked a different entry so intermediate English users could have a shot at understanding. Not everyone got a perfect score on the verbal SAT you know YOU REPUBLICAN ELITIST!!

"Nice try colin, move the goal posts and make even the most profligate ideas seem median."


2. situated in or pertaining to the middle; medial.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 6:22 PM | Report abuse


If we had spent the last decade FEEDING Iraqi children, instead of enabling their starvation right along with Saddam's palace-building (thanks to our convoluted international corporate sanctions), they might have actually welcomed us with those "open arms." Then we might have been in a position to help the Iraqis find a peaceful resolution to their ideologocal differences.

But we didn't feed them, we became their enemy in abstentia. We screwed up, the ultimate superpower posturing with war instead of peace, and we will be paying a very dear for it, for a long time to come.

Maybe when we start talking more about how to feed the world's poor rather than control the world's oil, we might see a brighter future, where our presence could prevent, rather than promote, a civil war.

What made the Irish decide to end their old vendetta?

What forces and influences for peace and non-violence won out against that violent conflict? If we could find that key again, to seek peace instead of war, with all of our adversaries, we might be able to stop this civil war.

But what are the odds that any of this "moonbat" idealism might ever actually happen? Not good, from the looks of the daily news.

Too bad, because it really is the only answer to your question. But it may be all futility, it may be in the very nature of our species to fight against ourselves, until, as you so succinctly put it, there's no one left to fight.

So, I say, lets feed em', not fight em'. Then some of us might just survive.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

'It might keep our troops from dying, but its unclear how our situation improves by letting a full scale civil war erupt under our noses.'

OK, have you listened PM Maliki lately? He wants us to FUND a full scale civil war and help the Shiite side. Exclusively. D'oh!

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | January 19, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

'It might keep our troops from dying, but its unclear how our situation improves by letting a full scale civil war erupt under our noses.'

How do we stop a civil war? I'm not being facetious, Tell everyone to just get along? Most such conflicts end with one side slaughtering the other. it's usually over when there's no one left to fight.

Posted by: drindl | January 19, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse


How can you say I do not believe in the law of supply and demand? The problem is you do not understand the law of supply and demand with your simplistic logic (jeans vs oil). Jeans are a far different product than oil and the demand side is somewhat different than oil as has been pointed out by myself and Blarg (you never addressed our points). Actually the need for jeans is more created, whereas, the need for energy (fossil or renewable) is very real. Oil is a commodity such as sugar or corn. Oil has the same laws of supply and demand as corn, sugar and other commodities. When I buy corn I do not care if comes from IA or if it originates from SD. I buy it to produce ethanol or to feed my animals.

I partially agree with one of your points that the number of players in the oil market is limited; however, when a market matures there is always a contraction in that market. Look at the railroad industry as a better comparison. In recent times, the number of cell phone providers has decline due to a maturing market and lowering of profits, and the same holds for the computer industry (look at Dell compare to others). The reason no one enters the oil market is due to the cost of entering the market. What cost? How about cost of exploration, refining, market outlet, etc. The cost inputs are too enormous especially in a volatile market of oil.

I will make a prediction for you once the biofuels industries begins to mature they too will see lessening of players entering the market. However, currently the biofuels industry is a growth area so the players in the market are growing since profits are easy to obtain. The laws of supply and demand will hold, but how that law works is different for each industry.

Posted by: IA-Dem | January 19, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Since we have completely changed the subject. Why arent we advancing more in the alternative fuels? Being in transportation I was and am excited to see Biodiesel. Hopefully MN will step up to the plate, although mandated legislation was defeated hopefully they can work it out. This renewable resource is valuable and ecological. I also believe it would provide international leverage that we need.

Posted by: Chicagoan | January 19, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

More input on Minnesota. Coleman has a tough race ahead of him. I suspect, like others, that a Franken nomination would make the race closer. Personally, I'd rather see someone else run against Coleman, but will probably vote for the Independence Party candidate, who'll get another 5 to 10% of the vote.

In other news, I see the Krauthammer piece has been referenced here. Interestingly enough, at the Minneapolis Star Tribune website, there's a blog discussion on Coleman's confusing Iraq position. I mention these together because they seem to have some parallels. i.e. get our troops out of the crossfire & let the iraqis fight it out amongst themselves. I call this 'being the cage in an Iraqi on Iraqi cage match.' It might keep our troops from dying, but its unclear how our situation improves by letting a full scale civil war erupt under our noses.

Strib politics blog:

Posted by: bsimon | January 19, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"I suspect it was the government school you attended.."

Zouk, how many times do you have to tell us you went to private schools?

Which means you are either a Catholic or a rich kid, because those are the only people I knew who went to private schools.

If you are a Catholic, I would wager the good-hearted nuns would be whacking you good with a hickory stick if they read some of the things you write.

Intelligence isn't determined by the quality of the institution, it is determined by the willingness of the individual to learn.

And, if we public-school misfits are so ignorant, how could we have been so right about this last election?

Really, get serious for a moment and consider: If historic results actually dictate what we consider reality, then Zooky, you shoulda stayed in USD 123, you might not be so wrong about such important and obvious issues like THE TRUTH.

And to Lylepink and all the rest of the serious bloggers on board, my apologies for muckraking, I will cease immediately and will try to remain on-thread. But within these arguments is a seed of reason, especially the part about free enterprise and its floating definition.

Posted by: JEP | January 19, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I didn't mention supply and demand. I described the many reasons why you might be able to get a discount on a product like pants. None of those reasons were about supply and demand. They were about the fact that there's a difference between types of pants, and a difference in the initial cost of the product to the store. All gas is pretty much the same, and gas costs pretty much the same to all gas station owners, so the economics are different.

Now, when you bring in gas alternatives, that makes it more interesting. But it's not really an issue, because those alternatives aren't really available yet. If you have a biodiesel-capable car and can choose between regular diesel, 15% biodiesel, and 100% biodiesel you keep in barrels in the garage, that's different. Then you have enough choices that you can talk about which product you prefer. But for almost all cars on the road, gas is gas.

Or maybe I'm just part of the conspiracy.

Posted by: Blarg | January 19, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"None of those factors apply to gas"

Sheer nonsense.

Supply and demand are the same with any commodity or product. And remember, we aren't just talking about gas versus gas but gas versus alternatives.

These self-appointed economic experts never cease to amaze me with their floating definition for "free enterprise."

They just keep changing it until it fits their political confusion.

Posted by: JEP | January 19, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Political Junkie: The best way for us to have a discussion is to ignore the loonies that appear from time to time. By giving them any attention at all only brings out how silly they really are and will come back to get the attention they are not getting at home or elsewhere.

Posted by: lylepink | January 19, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

IA Dem;

So you are suggesting the laws of supply and demand only apply to certain products?

Have you pondered even for a moment that demand for fuel should have, decades ago, spawned alternative-energy options, but for some mysterious reason(a conspiracy of existing energy-industry interests) that research and development has been stifled both in the market place and in the halls of Congress?

Your vehement and strained defense of the free market oil industry's right to control prices suggests either naivety or complicity.

Since you seem somewhat literate compared to your Zooky compadre, I do believe you are actually from Ia, but I also suspect that you aren't a Dem, because most of the Iowa Dems I know are well aware of the historic conspiracies that you deny with such certitude. I suppose you also think that hog factory up in Hamilton County with 10,000 head represents "farming?"

And this was a great piece of doublespeak; "Profit on gasoline is also limited to what the market will allow."

Don't call me stupid when you post drivel like this. Profit on gasoline is only limited by the power of the corporations to squeeze out any competition and keep their corporate profits up while diminishing, virtually eliminating the small businessmen who once pumped our gasoline for us.

If you really believe in free enterprise and capitalism, then open your eyes and ears and especially your mind, because you are contradicting yourself with your defense of a monopolist industry.

Free enterprise isn't just a matter of buying gas cheaper at a different station, it is also represented by new and better types of fuels, like ethanol, biobutanol and other alternatives, outside the fossil-fuel monopoly.

Do you get it, IA Dem?

You are just plain wrong about this one, the oil industry is, without a doubt, one of the biggest conspiracies in the history of corporate entities. It is second only to weapons manufacture and sales as our nation's greatest shame.

And calling us "conspiracy nuts" for recognizing these obvious facts that you are blind to doesn't improve your vision one bit.

Like I said before, it only enables the monopolists.

And Zouk, you need to be careful, too, the word coward carries a lot of baggage for anyone who uses it against another. It is an easy word to use on a blog, I would suggest you might be a bit more restrained if you were face-to-face.

As far as you know, some of these cowards may be martial arts instructors. Stick to "moonbats", it is funny and not offensive. But when you callously call peace advocates "cowards," you invite some serious bad karma.

From what I've read today, I would think whoever claims to be "Sand Flea" is the only coward on this blog.

Posted by: JEP | January 19, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Trying to school JEP is not going to be very fulfilling. Unless you can come up some new outlandish conspiracy that has not been aired yet. did you know the WTC was blown up by Bush-Cheny operatives to raise the stock price of Halliburton.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 19, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"Riddle me this... why can I buy a pair of pants in one styore for 20$ and go to another store and get a deal for $10 on the same plants? Its called competition. When was the last time you could go buy gasoline at one station for half the price of another station?"

There are a lot of reasons why a pair of pants might be discounted. Maybe they're knockoffs, made to look like those made by a more expensive manufacturer. Maybe they look similar but are slightly different in some way that makes them cheaper to produce or less fashionable. Maybe they're from last year's line, so they're on clearance. Maybe it's a second-hand clothes store and they're used pants. Maybe this store just got a good deal from the manufacturer somehow.

None of those factors apply to gas. Not because there's a monopoly, but because gas is very different from pants. It's the same product at every gas station in a state. (Some states have different laws, so there are some variants across the country.) Independent gas stations buy from whoever's cheapest at the time, but the product is indistinguishable.

So of course you can't get a good deal on gas. Some stations are reliably cheaper than others, and some are more expensive. But those price variations are smaller than you'd get with most other products, because gas is very different from pants.

Posted by: Blarg | January 19, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

you are an ignorant fraud.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Senator Al Franken?

That would certainly liven up CSpan...

If a lousy actor like Ronald Reagan can be President, and an even lousier actor like Ahnold can be a guvernotor, then a top notch comedian ought to be able to make it to the Senate.

Show-Biz and politics have so much in common, no one should be surprised if Franken wins in a walk.

Posted by: JEP | January 19, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Ignorant coward, what is wrong about using a noun that means the average when referring to relative idealogical positions on a continuum between left and right. I am amused that you need a dictionary to read my stuff, but I assure you I write contemporaneously. I suspect it was the government school you attended or perhaps simply a low IQ - that is - below the median.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 19, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse


Your jean analogue is as stupid as your conspiracy stories. When I buy gas I go to wherever the gas is cheapest knowing my engine will burn that material the same. Profit on gasoline is also limited to what the market will allow. Why would I go out and buy gasoline for twice the price as someone else. When people go out and buy jeans they may be looking for a name brand or they many go to their favorite store for a pair of jeans. People do not go out and buy jeans just because they are jeans. In addition, a Walmart will sell jeans at a different price than a Gap because the cost structure and source of the jean are different adding different prices to the final product. Most gas stations are very similar and the pumps used to deliver the product are similar thus there is no great differences in prices. I dare say people go to Exxon for the ambiance. I would also add that I can add value to a pair of jeans (extra pockets, rhinestones, etc) and people will pay extra money for, whereas, gas is hard to add value too.

Posted by: IA-Dem | January 19, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Some of you, and I emphasize some, are ruining this chat. Blame is directed to both sides. These rants are what give blogs the "wacko nut jobs" reputation. Conspiracy theories should be left to those sites that welcome them. I have not seen a reasonable discussion on here in quite some time.

Posted by: Political Junkie | January 19, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't mean to sound crass but don't voters usually vote for Senators who have been ill because they don't want to be disrespectful? It is hard for someone to run against a man who has recovered from a stroke...I think Johnson will beOK

Posted by: Matt Ahrens | January 19, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

drindl, why are you always watching Fox news, reading Rush and otherwise paying heed to your enemy. Afraid they might talk about you?
I don't know much about Al Franken since I have never listened to him. all I know is his high salary demands (at non-market price given his talant and experience) were a significant factor in that odysseys failure. I also know he is not funny and his book was just dumb. If he advocates public financing of elections and universal health care (at no cost to anyone except the "rich") then I am certainly not a fan. I would suggest he stay with comedy, despite his shortcomings.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 19, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

zouk -- we KNOW you have a thesaurus. you still didn't use the word properly.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Umm, Minnesota elected, and re-elected Paul Wellstone, one of the most unabashedly lefty-liberal Senators in the last twenty years. Why exactly would Franken be so far-fetched?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

It is not baseless to point out that there were many screaming wackos stating without reservation that George Bush had personally delivered low gas prices in an effort to sway the election. I argued at the time that this was silly and paranoid. now the data is in and the predictions are clearly false.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 19, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

'This morning, Fox News featured a segment highlighting a right-wing report that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) attended an Islamic "madrassa" school as a 6-year-old child.

Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy pointed out that madrassas are "financed by Saudis" and "teach this Wahhabism which pretty much hates us," then declared, "The big question is: was that on the curriculum back then?" Later, a caller to the show questioned whether Obama's schooling means that "maybe he doesn't consider terrorists the enemy." Fox anchor Brian Kilmeade responded, "Well, we'll see about that."'

Obama is Christian, a member of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ since 1988.

Exactly the same lie Pammy the Ho over at AtlasShrugged had to say yesterday. The slander campaign has officially began. Expect all the media to pick it up.

If you don't think they're scared of him, think again.

By the way, funny how Doocy mentions that the Saudis finance madrassas..I wonder if he has any problem when bush holds hands with the princes and kisses them on the lips [i have lots of photos of you want to see]

Posted by: drindl | January 19, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

KOZ -- Al Franken is extremely PARTISAN. I don't dispute that. But ideologically, he's a mainstream Democrat. Now, of course YOU think that ALL democrats short of Zell Miller are "liberal," what ever that means. But given that Democrats today are generally far LESS liberal than their pre-1994 counterparts (exempting dixiecrats), and Franken is in the mainstream of today's group, I don't really understand labeling Al as far left.

Ultimately, this conversation proves more about how silly labels are than anything else. I seriously doubt KOZ and I could agree how to label ANY of the 2008 contenders.

Posted by: Colin | January 19, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else have a problem with John Solomon's hit piece on Edwards? I'm no Edwards fan, but the level of shoddiness in Solomon's reporting (which has been well documented in the past by on this non-issue, combined with a clearly anti-Democratic slant, makes you scratch your head and wonder what the Post was thinking. Perhaps he should join Harris and vandeHei at their new non-gig.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

coward do you ever get tired of showing off your ignorance:

Main Entry: 1me·di·an
Pronunciation: 'mE-dE-&n
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English mediane, from Late Latin mediana (vena) median (vein), from feminine of Latin medianus in the middle, central, from medius middle -- more at MID
1 : a medial part (as a vein or nerve)
2 a : a value in an ordered set of values below and above which there is an equal number of values or which is the arithmetic mean of the two middle values if there is no one middle number b : a vertical line that divides the histogram of a frequency distribution into two parts of equal area c : a value of a random variable for which all greater values make the cumulative distribution function greater than one half and all lesser values make it less than one half
3 a : a line from a vertex of a triangle to the midpoint of the opposite side b : a line joining the midpoints of the nonparallel sides of a trapezoid

Notice how easy it is to demonstrate what fools the moonbats are - they operate with no convention, no logic, no reason. the internet is slowly eliminating all the useless ideas they used to spout before information wasn't so easy to grab. sorry for the big words dimwit.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 19, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

drindl, thanks a bunch--the old mans memory comes in handy at times. I was sure one of the regulars would have the info. again well done.

Posted by: lylepink | January 19, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse


Your point was the same that it has always been: to baselessly attack Democrats.

And as ever, you were betrayed by the facts.

Posted by: Thin Man | January 19, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

'median'? -- go back to the thesaurus zouk, you got yer usage wrong. as you often do.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Nice try colin, move the goal posts and make even the most profligate ideas seem median.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 19, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

'Democratic leaders in Congress vowed today to push forward with legislative efforts to combat global warming and promote energy independence, issues that they said have not been adequately addressed by President Bush because his administration has been "overwhelmed" by the war in Iraq.'

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

go back under your rock sand flea... i hear the helicopters coming..

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

go back under your rock sand flea... i hear the helicopters coming..

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

'Terrorist arms cache uncovered in the U.S.

But don't expect to hear about it on the evening news -- it was a terrorist arms cache intended to be used against Cuba:

An ally of Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles turned over a stockpile of illegal machine guns, dynamite and a grenade launcher to federal agents this week in a bid to reduce his prison sentence, several sources familiar with the arms surrender said.

The Alvarez stash consisted of dozens of machine guns, rifles, C-4 explosive, dynamite, detonators, a grenade launcher and ammunition, sources said.

elishastephens's diary :: ::
Needless to say, in this article from the corporate media, the word "terrorist" doesn't appear. As opposed to, say, those notorious "terrorists" the "Liberty City 7," who were (at least briefly) all over the news, despite having had no weapons at all, and having had to be given a camera (not to mention their alleged "plot" itself) by a government agent.

Yesterday, by the way, one of the key witnesses against Posada (who is being tried not for terrorism, naturally, but for immigration violations) found a pipe bomb under his car. Yet another act of terrorism the corporate press outside of Miami considers unworthy of reporting.

Update: Just as a reminder, the case of Robert Ferro, another anti-Cuban terrorist, caught in southern California with the largest arms cache ever uncovered in the United States (more than 1500 weapons, including 35 machine guns, 130 silencers, two short-barreled rifles, a live hand grenade, a rocket launcher tube and about 89,000 rounds of ammunition), and whose name has still not appeared in the national media.'

Carriles blew up a plane full of innocent people, but he has been protected by the bush administration for years. Terrorists covering for terrorists.

Posted by: terrorist--in the eye of the beholder | January 19, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

coward, you and JEP are being observed right this moment by the black helicopters. Better adjust your blocking frequency on your tin foil hat.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 19, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

funny how 'sand flea' never appears except when zouky is on

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse


looked under your rock lately?

Posted by: JEP | January 19, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Get used to saying it, Chris: "Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota."

Posted by: TheReporter | January 19, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

'Dear American Senators.
Thank you for pulling the rug out from under your president. '

LOL -- you are a moron.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

JEP, looked under your bed lately?

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 19, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Mike B meant "Coleman" not "Wellstone," it was just a slip of the keyboard I'm sure...

Posted by: JEP | January 19, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

One last word on conspiracies and paranoia:

Back at the turn of the 20th century, the farmers and civic leaders in the upper plains states were very paranoid about the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce setting the price of grain for the world market. So they formed the non-partisan league and then they booted almost all of their state legislatures out of office in a single election, replacing them with a host of "paranoid" people who made the changes to overcome the obvious conspiracy.

History is full of tales about the common folk rising up to overcome a conspiracy of greed perpetrated and perpetuated by a greedy class of self-imposed superiors.

While they tended to lose their heads(literally) in ages past, these days, conspirators tend to just lose their political offices or, in so many recent cases, go to prison for conspiring to make lots of easy money at the expense of the American people.

The powerful people I consistently call conspirators are no different than the ones who lost their heads during the French Revolution. And in this last election, they got their "heads" handed to them on a platter.

And there's a lot more of these "heads" to to roll. And that's no conspiracy theory, it is just a statement of fact. That is what this thread is really all about.

Posted by: JEP | January 19, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Good god, advocating for universal health care and public funding of elections! Franken must be INSANELY liberal.

Oh wait, that's right, those are things that aren't really ideological at all. You know, what with republicans like Arnold and Romney pushing versions of universal coverage. I'd love to know what some people consider "moderate." Yikes.

Posted by: Colin | January 19, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

How can you not call Bob Schaffer a fiscal conservative? It would appear that you believe that someone who is a 'social conservative' cannot be a 'fiscal conservative'. Schaffer's 3 terms in the US House cemented his rock-solid fiscally conservative credentials. Heck, he lived out of his office to save on housing costs. I would go so far as to say that Schaffer is a tight-wad. I wish we had more like him in the House & Senate.

Posted by: GrantR | January 19, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Dear American Senators.
Thank you for pulling the rug out from under your president. Most of my fellow fighters have been killed by US marines or have fled back to Iran. we are running low on money, food and virgins. the brave action you Yankee senators are taking is our only hope for success. We are confined to only four neighborhoods in Baghdad. If you americans go home soon, we will be able to expand back and include all of Iraq into our empire. please continue reporting only death and destruction. Make sure you ignore any positive actions. If it were not for the US press and us Democrats in congress, we would have to consider going back across the border.

Posted by: Sand flea | January 19, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse


'Paul Wellstone is nuts, a looney right wing Bush S.O.B who wont be electable as dog catcher after two more years of this disaster'

paul wellstone was a left-leaning populist in MN, beloved by many. a genuinely decent man, which was admitted even by his political enemies. he was killed a plane crash along with his family a few days before the election that was was favored to win over norm coleman.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

zouk is a corporate lackey. he's either on a payroll, or incredibly gullible.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Dave! - Just to correct a feew factual errors. (1) Paul Wellstone is nuts, a looney right wing Bush S.O.B who wont be electable as dog catcher after two more years of this disaster you inflicted on us as "president", (2) Rush Limbaught IS a fat slob. He also is entirely unconcerned about the truth, orality, family, or dignity, (3) Ari Fleischer is more of a chump, but chimp is good enough. And...everyone connected with the Bush White House is a criminal, ought to be in prison, and are a menace to the world. Decent conservatives and are questioning the integrity of the Bush Administration - from President Ford to Colin Powell. If Reagan were alive today, I have no doubt he would rain all over the GOP's parade.

Posted by: MikeB | January 19, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse


IA Dem really put Zook in his place, rejecting the ridiculous notion that more drilling has led to lower gas prices.

Is the warm weather on the east coast that IA Dem mentioned to Zook in their mutual mastication the actual reason the gas companies can't raise their prices???

At least in their mutual agreement, one of them actually acknowledges the "real reason" for current low pump prices.

Judge, I'll check out the site you posted, but you can bet there'll be at least one zook among em'.

Anyone want to place any bets on when the pump price hits $3 a gallon again? Golly, we need a couple real bad hurricanes, that would surely help the bottom line of all these oil companies.

Now with Iraqi oil hitting the open market, at the hands of the same rogues from the past, shouldn't we all expect gas prices to drop even more, because there is such a boost in supplies???

Fat chance...

As for reality checks and reasonable assumptions, a lot of us "paranoid" people believe many of our "leaders" are involved in big-money subterfuge, and we tend to entertain some very interesting conspiracy theories.

But there are many more naive, brainwashed "know-it-alls" who know nothing at all, and would never recognize a conspiracy even if they paid $3 a gallon for it.

Riddle me this... why can I buy a pair of pants in one styore for 20$ and go to another store and get a deal for $10 on the same plants?

Its called competition. When was the last time you could go buy gasoline at one station for half the price of another station?

I've said before, these folks aren't capitalists, they are monopolists, which is, by its own definition, a conspiracy.

Zook and IA Dem, you are both naive, at best, ignorant at worst, and dangerous to all the rest of us because people like you enable the conspirators. You represent that "some of the people all of the time" they depend on to fool, so the rest of us have to pay the price right along with your complacent herd. And you not only complacently pay the price, you defend their lie as if it is just the standard course of supply and demand.

And don't forget those $10 pants, by the way. If you want to rely on a supply and demand defense for the price of gasoline, you'd better consider all commodities, not just oil and gas. When you do, the conspiracy in that industry just becomes more and more obvious.

Posted by: JEP | January 19, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

And of course the reason no one can find a Montana Republican strategist who thinks Denny Rehberg will challenge Max Baucus is that it's a suicide run that will not be likely to unseat Baucus and would also put the state's GOP at-large congressional seat in jeopardy.

Off-season polls are just so much thumb-sucking. Rehberg, on the important house appropriations committee, probably has a safe congressional seat in Montana, though there are three term-limited Democrats with statewide election experience who might seriously challenge him in 2008, Attorney General Mike McGrath, State Auditor John Morrison (who ran an unsuccessful primary race against enventual Senator Jon Tester),and Linda McCulloch, State Superintendant of Schools.

Morrison is probably still too damaged by a scandal that surfaced in his race with Tester, Superintendant of Schools has not been traditionally a sucessful platform from which to seek higher office, so McCulloch would be the weaker candidate of the three. That leaves tough-on-crime McGrath who wouldn't carry the usual Western Montana lawyer liability (a big deal in Eastern Montana) because he is a career prosecutor. Though he's more in the traditional Democratic mold on the issues, his hardened crimefighter stance would allow him to be cast as a strong moderate Democrat. He does have the fundraising capability to mount a serious challenge to Rehberg. In fact, he's tough enough on several fronts to keep Rehberg at home in his congressional district.

Rehberg's run againt the powerful Baucus is a long shot at best that would throw the state's at-large seat wide open, with three prominent Democrats likely to battle for it.

But, should Rehberg jump to the Senate race, the GOP's only other winner of a statewide race, non-term-limited Secretary of State Brad Johnson, would likely jump into the congressional race and make contest of it.

One thing to remember about Baucus is that not all of those who answered short of his 48 percent in that poll are likely to be Republicans. Baucus is a moderate who hasn't been shy about cutting deals with the GOP majority in the last two sessions of congress. He has already angered some Democrats for siding with a GOP tax incentive they want to tie to the federal minimum wage. The lefties in Montana like him better than a GOP alternative, but they dont like him all the same.

So more than a few of those polled who are not enthusiastic about Baucus are from the left, not the right. Baucus also has a lukewarm relationship with the greens in his party, who consider him insufficiently supportive of wilderness issues. They may hold their nose when they vote for Baucus, but they certainly aren't voting for Rehberg who protested the recent closing of the Rocky Mountain Front to oil exploration, something even former GOP Senator Conrad Burns supported (cynics may believe Burns' change of heart on the Rocky Mountain Front had more to do with the 2006 election).
There is going to be a big and bitter battle between the Democratic Governor, Brian Schweitzer, and a split Legislature this 2007 session. GOP has the House by one vote, Democrats have the Senate by one vote. Expect one of the GOP legislative leaders to appear as a major challenger to the Governor for reelection in 2008. That will be the marquee race in Montana in 2008 that will most likely draw national money into the state, not the Senate and Congressional seats.

Posted by: Alan in Missoula | January 19, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

The likely answer is that for the first time the administration is really worried about where corruption investigations might lead...

For a long time the administration nonetheless seemed untouchable, protected both by Republican control of Congress and by its ability to justify anything and everything as necessary for the war on terror. Now, however, the investigations are closing in on the Oval Office. The latest news is that J. Steven Griles, the former deputy secretary of the Interior Department and the poster child for the administration's systematic policy of putting foxes in charge of henhouses, is finally facing possible indictment.

'And the purge of U.S. attorneys looks like a pre-emptive strike against the gathering forces of justice...

The broader context is this: defeat in the midterm elections hasn't led the Bush administration to scale back its imperial view of presidential power.

The next two years, in other words, are going to be a rolling constitutional crisis.'

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

fyi--lyle. The Mighty Wurlitzer, the great republican echo chamber --Fox, Murdoch, Limbaugh.. all connected.

(born May 15, 1940) is the president of Fox News Channel and chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group, and the only head of a major news-gathering organization in the United States with a background as a paid political consultant.
In 1967, that he had a spirited discussion about television in politics with one of the show's guests, Richard Nixon, who took the view that television was a gimmick. Later, Nixon called on Ailes to serve as his executive producer of TV. Nixon's election victory was only Ailes' first venture into political spotlight.

Ailes carried out Republican political consulting for many candidates during the 1970s and 1980s, but returned to presidential campaigning as a consultant to Ronald Reagan in 1984. He is widely credited with having coached Reagan to victory in the second presidential debate with Walter Mondale after Reagan had disappointed his partisans with what some call a lackluster effort in the first debate. In 1984, Ailes won an Emmy Award as executive producer and director of a television special, Television and the Presidency. In 1988 Ailes was credited (along with Lee Atwater) with guiding George H. W. Bush to a come-from-behind [1] victory over Michael Dukakis.

In 1991, Ailes convinced a syndicator to bring Rush Limbaugh from radio to television and became executive producer of the late-night show. He announced his withdrawal from political consulting in 1992.

After the announcement of Microsoft and NBC's partnership to create an online and cable news outlet, MSNBC, taking the place of America's Talking, Ailes left the network in February 1996 and was hired by Rupert Murdoch to create Fox News Channel for News Corporation. In addition, 89 additional employees of the NBC networks left with Ailes to help with the new channel's creation.

Posted by: drndl | January 19, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

These races will go back and forth a dozen times in the next two years.

The bottom line is that Republicans face a structural deficit in the Senate because of the number and types of seats they have to defend. Redistricting does the same thing for the House side of the Hill. The GOP might be able to come back in 2010, but 2008 is entirely a Presidential race.

Posted by: Cavalier829 | January 19, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Heads up, everyone. Paul Kane has a Capitol Briefing blog over at

Can't tell where his biases are yet but check it out as an alternative to Cillizza.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | January 19, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

On Al Franken "He has been painted as a left wing nutcase by the Rove's of the GOP, but he is very much a moderate."
Al Franken may be many things but a moderate is not one of them. He is very left wing. Visiting the troops does not make him honest or decent or moderate (nor does calling former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer a "chimp" and numerous people in addition to Rush "fat"). He is for:
- Moving toward universal health care
- publicly funded elections
- and hopes to carry on Paul Wellstone's legacy (for those who forget, Wellstone was a true liberal in the conservative sense of the word).
I'm sure Reagan thanks you for giving him reason to spin in his grave.

Posted by: Dave! | January 19, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

'Anyway not all D spin stupid ideas like Drindl and JEP.'

You have no idea what I said, do you? Do you think you could limit your criticism to things you've actually seen? In any case, the Saudis have stated publicly that they exert a considerable control over oil prices. Are they lying?

--Thin Man -- the guy who wrote the Edward piece is an R oppo research hit man the wapo got from AP. He's well known for his similar baseless attacks on Dems...

'Hmmm. Seems John Solomon's work isn't necessarily getting rave reviews inside WaPo either. Last night we noted the S-man's deeply lame article on John Edwards' house sale. The gist of the article is that the Edwards sold their DC house actually below the original asking price to a couple that is no friend of unions. And remember, Edwards isn't even in government. The piece breaks new ground in journalistic lameness even in the context of Solomon's already impressive record in that regard.'

Posted by: drindl | January 19, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Several comments about Fox News today. For those of us that don't know, a man by the name of Ailes, not sure of the spelling, is the person that mainly runs the network. If my info is correct, he is the same man that was behind Limbaugh from the start and others of that same persona. My memory is a little vague on this, but I seem to recall that he is considered one of the top political minds in the country. If anyone has any info on this please respond.

Posted by: lylepink | January 19, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

' Democrats, still riding high from their election sweep, were celebrating successes with House completion of their "100 hour" legislative blitz and Senate passage of major ethics and lobbying reform.

House Democrats, eager to get going after 12 years in the minority, wrapped up their two-week, must-do agenda Thursday by voting to recoup billions of dollars in lost royalties from oil and gas companies and roll back some industry tax breaks.

The bill, passed 264-163, also sets a conservation fee on oil and gas from the Gulf of Mexico.

Also finished in the "100 hour" stretch, which took 87 hours in real legislative time, were bills to raise the federal minimum wage, implement port security measures and other recommendations of the 9/11 commission, expand embryonic stem cell research, give Medicare authority to negotiate lower prescription drug costs and cut interest rates on student loans.

"Today, Democrats stood united to say that we have kept our promise to the American people," said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California.'

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

thin man, I can only guess that you are like Hillary and have made hundreds of thousands in the oil futures since you seem to know how simplistic ths market is. My main point was verified by your analysis. that economics was at fault for differences in gas prices - NOT George Bush. I am afraid we will now have to drum thinman out of the moonbat brigade and into private life.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 19, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse


I agree with your sentiment about the supply and demand in terms of oil prices and why Drindl and JEP conspiracy theories were well off the mark. But the increase exploration and development had little to do with the price drop (those supplies will not be seen for some time into the future). Actually warmer temperatures, over production by OPEC (I think it's called the greed factor), relative stability in oil producing regions, not to mention the lack of disruptions in Gulf oil have had a bigger impact on oil prices. Anyway not all D spin stupid ideas like Drindl and JEP.

Posted by: IA-Dem | January 19, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Quel surprise, zouk has no clue what he is talking about.

Petroleum prices tend to lag about four months behind supply, so the increases had everything to do with post-Katrina supply issues, and the recent decreases have everything to do with supply catching up to say nothing of recent stories indicating that demand has gone down a bit.

Those economics simple enough for you, zouk?

P.S. Dindl is quite correct that the Edwards story in today's paper is totall bullsh*t.

Posted by: Thin Man | January 19, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Just saw the first campaign ad of 2008 - the McCain ad - I know this is playing in Iowa and NH, but MD?

Posted by: star11 | January 19, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Another retirement that we need to keep our eye on is Tom Harkin in Iowa. If he does not run, this open seat could flip. If he does run, Rep. King could jump in to take a swing at him. Chances are Harkin will run, but he is the only Deomcratic up for reelection that has not declared his plans.

Posted by: geoff | January 19, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Krauthammer states the obvious:

"What is missing is a fourth alternative, both as a threat to Maliki and as an actual fallback if the surge fails. The Pentagon should be working on a sustainable Plan B whose major element would be not so much a drawdown of troops as a drawdown of risk to our troops. If we had zero American casualties a day, there would be as little need to withdraw from Iraq as there is to withdraw from the Balkans.

We need to find a redeployment strategy that maintains as much latent American strength as possible, but with minimal exposure. We say to Maliki: Let us down, and we dismantle the Green Zone, leave Baghdad and let you fend for yourself; we keep the airport and certain strategic bases in the area; we redeploy most of our forces to Kurdistan; we maintain a significant presence in Anbar province, where we are having success in our one-front war against al-Qaeda and the Baathists. Then we watch. You can have your Baghdad civil war without us. We will be around to pick up the pieces as best we can."

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey conspiracy nuts, you know who you are (hint JEP, drindl) what happened to gas prices going up right after the election. You thought Bush called in favors from his friends. What really happened: (Stay with me, I know econ is not your best subject)
Prices went up, more profit was used to increase exploration and development, more gas, lower prices. See how it works, very nicely absent soviet...I mean Dem price fixing. Strip these moonbats of this nonsense and there is little left of their contribution.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 19, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I keep reading how people think CC is against Dems or against Republicans. This is what I dislike about blogs. It brings out the angry people who try to interpret any word as a conclusion that they are in favor with the opposing side. CC has written balanced stories from the beginning. I am a moderate Dem, and I have yet to see any favoring toward Republicans or Democrats in his writings. Stop with the conspiracy theories people.

Posted by: Political Junkie | January 19, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I bet Franken still has all that airhead America money he stole before they went belly up for lack of entertainment value. so you wish a non-funnny comic to change into a non-thinking poll. Is that really the best you can do?

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 19, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Today, this Committee holds an important hearing to examine the operations of the Department of Justice - the federal agency entrusted with ensuring the fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans. I take our oversight responsibility very seriously.

Restoring Privacy and Civil Liberties

'In the 32 years since I first came to the Senate - during the era of Watergate and Vietnam - I have never seen a time when our Constitution and fundamental rights as Americans were more threatened by their own government. Just this last weekend, the President and Vice President indicated that they intended to override the will of the American people, as expressed in the most recent national elections, and ignore actions of Congress in order to escalate the war in Iraq. This Administration has circumvented express congressional prohibitions on creating databanks of information on law-abiding Americans over the last five years.

The President has issued signing statement after signing statement declaring the law to be not what Congress passed and he has signed, but what he finds convenient. And, regrettably, the Administration has all too often refused to answer the legitimate oversight questions of the duly-elected representatives of the American people. Unfortunately, this Justice Department has been complicit in advancing these government policies which threaten our basic liberties and overstep the bounds of our Constitution.'

Posted by: god bless patrick leahy..god bless the consitution | January 19, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

The Blood for Oil banquet is still on the table; one more good explanation why the Democrats will continue to take power back from the Republicans:

From Tom Paine today," ...For more than four years, the Bush administration and its oil company cohorts have worked toward the passage of a new oil law for Iraq that would turn its nationalized oil system over to private foreign corporate control. On Thursday, January 18, this dream came one step closer to reality when an Iraqi negotiating committee of "national and regional leaders" approved a new hydrocarbon law. The committee chair, Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, told Reuters that the draft will go to the Iraqi cabinet next week and, if approved, to the parliament immediately thereafter."

Posted by: JEP | January 19, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse


I remember a poll a few years ago that found a majority of Fox News viewers believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. As one TV executive noted about 40 years ago, "No one has ever gone broke underestimating the taste of the American public". Substitute intelligence for taste and it certainly applies to viewers of Fox News.

Posted by: JimD in FL | January 19, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

You're completely wrong about Franken. Celeberties who run for office as far as I have seen tend to do very well. Furthermore, any quote that the opposition digs up will be dismissed as satire that is out of context by those in the middle of the road.

You are always talking about money. Doesn't Franken hold the money advantage being he can get national money for his local campaign?

Posted by: David Lerner | January 19, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

'AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Hours after Gov. Rick Perry kicked off his second full term in office, Ted Nugent helped him celebrate at a black-tie gala, but not all attendees were pleased by the rocker's performance.

Using machine guns as props, Nugent, 58, appeared onstage as the final act of the inaugural ball wearing a cutoff T-shirt emblazoned with the Confederate flag and shouting offensive remarks about non-English speakers, according to people who were in attendance.

Perry's spokesman, Robert Black, downplayed the Tuesday-night incident.

"Ted Nugent is a good friend of the governor's. He asked him if he would play at the inaugural. He didn't put any stipulation of what he would play," Black said.

Others said the appearance was inappropriate.

"I think it was a horrible choice," GOP strategist Royal Masset said. "I hope nobody approved it."

Classy, Mr. Perry, very classy. Alienate every black and hispanic person in a state heavily populated by blacks and hispanics. I'm sure someone had a video camera...probably up on UTube already.

Way to go, republicans! Way to stay permanently in the minority!

Posted by: drindl | January 19, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

where's the oregon senate race? gordon smith has never been that popular in a liberal state like oregon and there are dozens of dems who could give him a race

Posted by: Adam | January 19, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

'The giant transport planes unload their sad cargo at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, the first stop home for the most seriously injured Americans of the Iraq war. Arriving virtually every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday nights for the past four years, the parade of wounded warriors may be one of the most predictable events in an otherwise unruly conflict.

Last Tuesday marked another grim milestone: the arrival of the 500th amputee. Army officials said the victim, a 24-year-old corporal, lost both legs in a roadside bomb explosion on January 12. '

Posted by: Bush's Legacy | January 19, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Dude, He's "Stewart Frikkin Smalley"..

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

i agree with those who have commented on "institutional bias against Democrats," although i think it is a little much to slam Cillizza... whether or not its true, doesn't do much good, distracts from exploring the real issues, and not too many here are in danger of buying it anyway. However, it will be interesting to see what happens - someone mentioned a Fox news poll which said that even those who prefer their news pre-digested and viewed thru red white blue and green - for money - glasses can only be spun so far before they realize that the news they are hearing does not comport with the lives they are living.
it also occurs to me that political coverage is only as smart as the stupidest viewer or demographic who watches it, so to some extent we are getting what at least some of us are asking for. cannot fix that absent campaign reform that refocuses the election squarely on the issues and proposed solutions.

Posted by: meuphys | January 19, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Steve, you speak with metaphysical certitude about local politics all over the country. Although you noted that you've lived in the Far West most of your life. How did you develop this expertise?

A number of regular posters identify themselves as consultants, worked for politicians and other things of that nature.

I ask because you were 180 degrees off on Doug Wilder, Marshall Coleman and Virginia yesterday and Cillizza made it worse by highlighting it without doing any fact checking - but then he's from Connecticut, so what does he know about Virginia politics from 20 years ago.

If we are to give your posts any credence, what credentials do you have beyond simply being a junkie like many of us?

Posted by: Vienna Voter | January 19, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

'Jonathan Weisman: Two weeks from now, Henry Waxman's committee swings into gear, hauling up Jerry Bremer to talk about waste and fraud in Iraq.'

Posted by: pass the popcorn... | January 19, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

you know why influence peddling, paying to get a product moved to the front of the line or protected w/o examination?

WE get inferior is _BAD_ PLANNING... It has nothing to do with morals..

Would you buy a car that didnt deliver and needed money constantly poured into it before it would drive you from place to place?

NO, then demand that your Congress work for you too...

if it doesnt replace it with a new one....and create laws that protect you from having to help the selfish make laws that only help them and exempt you from the benefits of being a citizen...

Thanks... crush them... eat them and sh*t them out....then burn them...

Posted by: dont be easy.. | January 19, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

you know why influence peddling, paying to get a product moved to the front of the line or protected w/o examination?

WE get inferior is _BAD_ PLANNING... It has nothing to do with morals..

Would you buy a car that didnt deliver and needed money constantly poured into it before it would drive you from place to place?

NO, then demand that your Congress work for you too...

if it doesnt replace it with a new one....and create laws that protect you from having to help the selfish make laws that only help them and exempt you from the benefits of being a citizen...

Thanks... crush them... eat them and sh*t them out....then burn them...

Posted by: dont be easy.. | January 19, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

you know why influence peddling, paying to get a product moved to the front of the line or protected w/o examination?

WE get inferior is _BAD_ PLANNING... It has nothing to do with morals..

Would you buy a car that didnt deliver and needed money constantly poured into it before it would drive you from place to place?

NO, then demand that your Congress work for you too...

if it doesnt replace it with a new one....and create laws that protect you from having to help the selfish make laws that only help them and exempt you from the benefits of being a citizen...

Thanks... crush them... eat them and sh*t them out....then burn them...

Posted by: dont be easy.. | January 19, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Don't write off Al Franken so easily. He has been painted as a left wing nutcase by the Rove's of the GOP, but he is very much a moderate. He has undertaken annual and unpublicised visits to troops ala Bob Hope for years, even in Iraq. He is a decent and very honest guy, too, not above calling for the heads of Democrats when stray from his strict ethical standards. If Mr. Frankin's genuine character was made known, I would imagine he would beat just about anyone. He might not like the charcerization, but he's a Ronald Reagan sort of guy - honest, decent, foksey, a good communicator, a good family man, and with lots of friends and admirers from the opposite side of the politcial aisle. He'd make a very good U.S. Senator.

Posted by: MikeB | January 19, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Having once lived in Minnesota for 18 years, I can assure you that the population of that state is indeed myopic enough to elect someone like Al Franken to the U.S. Senate.

Remember, this is the same state where Ventura, Wellstone, Mondale, Durenberger, and Dayton were able to win statewide - many of them more than once. Two-term governors Rudy Perpich and Arne Carlson were a bit flakey at times as well.

Franken fits right in with that circus of clowns.

Posted by: KY-6 Guy | January 19, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

'senator Paul Wellstone died 10 days before the election.'

3rd democratic candidate to die in a small plane crash just before an election they were almost sure of winning...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

'LONDON, England (CNN) -- When we reported the unprecedented suicide bombings of the London underground trains and buses in 2005, we were shocked beyond words that young British Muslims, born and bred here, would go to that extreme.

We could not understand what would drive them to kill themselves and their fellow citizens.

And so we started to investigate what we call "The War Within."

What struck us most was how deeply the Iraq war has radicalized today's generation of young Muslims in Britain. Whether extreme or mainstream, they are angry about the war, angry that their country so devotedly follows U.S. foreign policy, angry at what they see as a worldwide war against Muslims and Islam.'

Posted by: GOT YOUR LEGACY RIGHT HERE | January 19, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Chris, you mention MS, MT & NE but you leave out Oregon? Are you serious? Gordon Smith is going to be on the Democrat pickup list along with CO, NH, ME & especially MN. Norm Coleman in MN knowns he is on borrowed time, the only reason he won his seat in 2002 was it was a big year for the GOP & incumbent senator Paul Wellstone died 10 days before the election. I do agree that Coleman's reelection changes will increase if MN dems nominate Al Franken. Franken would be the Democrat version of Katherine Harris.

Posted by: Andrew | January 19, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I have something that could be considered a ? or comment. Reading the posts and newspapers, magazines and other print media over several weeks I have found that many are coming around to the fact "The Liberal Media" that the real fact is that it does not exist. I once jokingly made a comment about watching the news on my refridgeator and when I think about it, I can see how so many people can be made to believe anything when it goes on and on without anyone pointing out just how wrong it really is. This has been pointed out today by several posts.

Posted by: lylepink | January 19, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I have something that could be considered a ? or comment. Reading the posts and newspapers, magazines and other print media over several weeks I have found that many are coming around to the fact "The Liberal Media" that the real fact is that it does not exist. I once jokingly made a comment about watching the news on my refridgeator and when I think about it, I can see how so many people can be made to believe anything when it goes on and on without anyone pointing out just how wrong it really is. This has been pointed out today by several posts.

Posted by: lylepink | January 19, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

When did the comments section on this blog turn into a "copy-and-paste from other articles and add your personal zippy one liner at the end" kind of thing?

Quite aggrevating and off-putting.

To actually be ON TOPIC, its sounding from the other comments that are also on ON TOPIC, that you've pegged the good people of Minnesota wrong, Chris. Sounds to me, from the few that have commented here, that Franken could easily win because so few actually like Coleman. Are there any approval numbers out there for Coleman?

Posted by: corbett | January 19, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Not much acumen required to unseat Coleman in Minnesota; he's a bonafide lighweight and a great example of how far untalented folks can go with the help of wealthy benefactors, though obviously not the best example. It will be hard for anyone to ever surpass the present chief in that regard.

Posted by: seemlessweb | January 19, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

When they've lost the Krauthammer, they've lost everyone.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Krauthammer states the obvious:

"What is missing is a fourth alternative, both as a threat to Maliki and as an actual fallback if the surge fails. The Pentagon should be working on a sustainable Plan B whose major element would be not so much a drawdown of troops as a drawdown of risk to our troops. If we had zero American casualties a day, there would be as little need to withdraw from Iraq as there is to withdraw from the Balkans.

We need to find a redeployment strategy that maintains as much latent American strength as possible, but with minimal exposure. We say to Maliki: Let us down, and we dismantle the Green Zone, leave Baghdad and let you fend for yourself; we keep the airport and certain strategic bases in the area; we redeploy most of our forces to Kurdistan; we maintain a significant presence in Anbar province, where we are having success in our one-front war against al-Qaeda and the Baathists. Then we watch. You can have your Baghdad civil war without us. We will be around to pick up the pieces as best we can."

If asked to choose between intelligence and being stubborn Bush, unfortunately for our troops, always seems to choose the latter. Next President, please.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | January 19, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"The administration believes that the Saudis had an epiphany, that Iran is the lens through which they now view all their security concerns," says Patrick Clawson, an Iran expert and the deputy director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.'

you see, bush wants to attack iran because the saudis feel endangered by it. Yes, he wants our soldiers to die for the saudis. the ones who attacked us on 9/11. funny world, huh?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Mary Landrieu needs to decide who she wants to represent, Big Oil or Louisiana. DRILL DRILL DRILL is clearly not helping anyone but multinational oil/gas companies. Yes, Shell is a huge employer, but let's face it, other than the entertainment industry Big Oil/Big Chem is IT in Louisiana, and that shows a catastrophic failure of imagination.

Now that idiot Joe Lieberman has decided to give idiot Chimp-in-Chief a TOTAL PASS on Katrina, it is up to us to pressure Landrieu to demand accountability.

If we have to FORCE her to do her job, she clearly needs to go.

Probe of White House response to Katrina dropped
Lieberman doesn't want 'a witch hunt'
Saturday, January 13, 2007

Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman blasted the Bush administration last spring for failing to cooperate in the Senate's investigation of Hurricane Katrina. But now that he is in a key position to press the investigation, he is refusing to do so.


Contact Mary and please ask her to hold people, ANYONE, accountable for inappropriate or ILLEGAL activity related to Katrina.

Posted by: F&B | January 19, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

'Conservative activists have been screaming bloody murder about a provision in the Senate ethics bill that would require grassroots groups to report on their fundraising activities. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who previously had championed a similar measure, has heard their call and is switching his position on the matter.

So-called "grassroots" groups spend millions of unregulated dollars trying to change public opinion each year -- money that often comes not from individuals but from corporate coffers. McCain, as The Hill reports, "sponsored legislation last Congress that included an even broader requirement for grassroots lobbying coalitions to reveal their financial donors."

But conservative figures as powerful as Richard Viguerie and James Dobson have weighed in hard on the measure in the current bill. Viguerie is calling it "the biggest threat to free speech ever," and Dobson's Focus on the Family is circulating a petition against it.

Now, as The Hill reports, McCain, who recently said he wanted to have a "dialogue" with Dobson, "has told conservative activists that he will vote to strip a key provision on grassroots lobbying from the reform package he previously supported."

Posted by: MCCAIN THE PUPPET gets his strings pulled | January 19, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

'When do people wake up to the fact that John McCain is going nowhere in the 2008 presidential race? A new ARG poll shows that over the past year, McCain's support among New Hampshire independents has dropped from 49% to 29%. And ARG President Dick Bennett says those numbers are in line with what he's seeing in other states too.

One suspects (and this may be borne out in more detailed poll data) that the two big reasons for the collapse in independent support for McCain are his status as an Iraq war dead-ender and the fact that he's spent the last three years making nice with right-wingers and right-wing policy initiaitives that independents don't like. Remember too that, despite all the kowtowing, there are big leaders on the religious right who say they'll never support his candidacy for president.

I know a lot of people are saying McCain's a hypocrite and a flipflopper. And, sure, I agree, that's a big reason why his popularity has diminished so dramatically. But isn't it time people start asking whether he'd be a strong presidential candidate or whether he can even win the nomination? His claim to fame, what supposedly makes him such a strong contender is his support among independent voters. But they don't like him anymore.'

Posted by: got that, CC? | January 19, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse


Okay, so we have a new feature for you here at The Horse's Mouth: The Peter Pan Press Award for the most outstanding examples of childish, silly, we'll-never-grow-up political coverage. And today's winner is...The Washington Post's Dana Milbank!

Milbank wins for his column today, because it omits a key fact and mischaracterizes quotes in order to make the startling case that the proliferation of Democratic bills against escalation is...good for President Bush. As noted here below, Milbank's effort yesterday was pretty eye-opening, but today's is even more unsightly.

Milbank states his thesis as follows:

If anything, the competing proposals could strengthen Bush's hand. Though largely united in opposition to Bush's plan, members of Congress, carved up by the presidential ambitions of Clinton, Obama, Dodd, Biden and others, can't unite around an alternative.
Let's check out some of what Milbank does in order to make the case that Dems "can't unite around an alternative." First he tosses off a bunch of meaningless snark -- Joe Biden accidentally referred to Senator Levin as Senator Lugar! What a fool! Then, in reporting on Hillary Clinton's comments about the Biden-Hagel-Levin-Snowe resolution -- which declares that escalation is against our national interest -- Milbank completely misrepresents her remarks and even omits a key fact that would have gotten in the way of his effort to portray Democratic disunity. Milbank writes:

Biden's group vacated the room at 3:01 p.m. because the Clinton entourage had booked the studio. The New York senator wasted little time dismissing the Biden plan.
"I certainly will support that," she said. "But from what I've heard out of the administration thus far, I think we will eventually have to move to tougher requirements on the administration to get their attention."

But wait -- how on earth is that "dismissing" the Biden plan? Clinton said she will currently support this resolution, and added that it may "eventually" be necessary to move on to other measures. No "dismissing" at all. What's more, Milbank omits a rather critical detail: Clinton has already agreed to co-sponsor the Biden measure. From Clinton's release on the Biden bill yesterday:

I will co-sponsor the Biden-Hagel-Levin-Snowe resolution and look forward to supporting this legislation when it reaches the Senate floor.
So Clinton is "co-sponsoring" the legislation and "looks forward to supporting" it. Yet Milbank wants you to believe that Clinton was "dismissing" the legislation -- more proof that Presidential ambitions are keeping those squabbling, ambitious Dems from backing each other's measures.

Look, are Dems in perfectly unanimous agreement on what to do about Iraq? No -- nor should one expect them to be. And will Presidential ambitions lead to some dueling for attention among Dems? Of course -- and they should. This is known as debate. Have these debates produced divisions that are getting so bad that they're hobbling Dem efforts to take on Bush? There's absolutely no evidence yet that such divisions -- rather than the institutional difficulties Congress faces in confronting the President on such matters -- are the thing that's preventing Dems from blocking Bush's war policies.

If anything, the obvious conclusion from these events for now is that such dueling -- rather than helping Bush -- is leading Dems to be more aggressive as a body in opposition to Bush's war policies than they might otherwise have been. This zeal to prove otherwise -- to the point where a reporter is willing to mischaracterize quotes and omit key info -- is just deeply inane and childish. Stop it.'

THIS IS SO SICKENINGLY OBVIOUS. Can't you at least try to be a little more subtle for you don't insult our intelligence so much?

Posted by: MORE POST LYING/DEM BASHING | January 19, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

To JimD in FL: I agree completely with your analysis about considering who will be on the top of the ticket in '08. I disagree that Clark is the strongest Dem possibility, though. Either way, Democratic Primary voters will need to think about what happens in Congressional districts, Senate races, State Houses and Senates, and gov. races with Clinton as the nominee.

Posted by: radical centrist | January 19, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

'This has to be a milestone: A new poll has found that the American people dislike President Bush more than they dislike ... Dick Cheney. The poll -- by Fox News, of all people -- finds that President Bush's unfavorable rating is 58%, while Cheney's unpopularity rating is five points lower at 53%. Bush can, however, still take some small solace from the fact that his approval rating is one point higher than Cheney's; the President's is 38%, while the VP's is 37%.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of other numbers that are striking for a Fox poll: Only 39% of Americans view the GOP favorably, and 49% view them unfavorably. Meanwhile, a majority of respondents -- 51% -- have a favorable view of Dems, compared to only 35% who have an unfavorable view of what Fox likes to call the "Democrat Party."

LOL -- even Fox viewers dislike repugs... put a form in them.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse


'When former North Carolina senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards finally succeeded last month in selling his imposing Georgetown mansion for $5.2 million after it had languished on the market, the names of the buyers were not publicly disclosed.

At the time, Edwards's spokeswoman told reporters that the house had been sold to a corporation. In reality, the buyers were Paul and Terry Klaassen, according to several sources and confirmed by Edwards's spokeswoman yesterday.

Edwards, a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, sold his Georgetown house in December to a couple cooperating with an SEC inquiry. '

Shame on Edwards for not having the FBI or the CIA conduct an investigation into the buyers of his house! After all, we're all responsible for the behavior of people who buy stuff from us..

This is exactly the same kind of crap the media pulled on Clinton. Years and years of hysterical ranting coverage of -- nothing.

I'm keeping track this time... anyone care to join me? Let's put to rest this old canard about the liberal media one last time. Let's watch as the media systematically builds up Dems and then tears them down as soon as the election season really starts.


Looks like Democratic hunting season has officially opened.

Posted by: drindl | January 19, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Chris. The comment you made in regards to Al Franken not having enough political experience to defeat Norm Coleman is so absurd. Political experience seems to be the criteria that actually harms a candidate the most when running against a newcomer to the scene if the challenger iw well financed. See: W. Mondale v. Norm Co leman, A. Gore v. G.W.Bush, G.W. Bush v. Ann Richards, Skip Humphrey v. Jesse Ventura, James Webb v. George (Makaka) Allen. There are so many others. You need to become real Chris and get out of the D.C. salons.

As a note. I lived in DC for almost 20 years and was a senior advisor to over 100 campaings including the Clinton/Gore vistories. I was like you Chris but I grew up and got my head out of my butt.

Here is the thing about Franken. Too much talk show banter could back to haunt him. Too critical in general and too Hollywood perhaps. I would think it is a 50/50 race and Dems may do better with someone else.

By the way. Joe Turtle and Larry Frogg are on vacation this week.

Posted by: William Pond | January 19, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Some observations:

MS is likely to stay in Repub hands no matter Cochran's decision. I recognize that MS is not monolithically Repub, as evidenced by the congressional delegation being split, and the occasional Dem governor, but its also a Presidential year, and either Obama or Clinton at the top of the ticket would doom the Dem.

NE is seemingly institutionally biased towards Repubs in statewide races and the Dem bench is almost shockingly thin for a state that had two Dem senators as recently as 1998. Not going to switch if the Rs put up a decent candidate, and if Hagel retires don't be shocked if former Rep. Osborne retires with a term in the Senate.

SD will stay Dem regardless of Johnson's outcome. Thune was the only statewide candidate who could beat Tim or Herseth, and he ran against Daschle and won, all the talk about how popular Mike Rounds is, neglects the fundamentals of SD politics. And Rounds leaving would open Thune's seat because John Thune wanted to be Governor not a US Senator, it was only heavy duty arm twisting by Bushco that got him to run two races for the Senate.

MN- Coleman is toast and he knows it. He wins a statewide race in MN only with the perfect storm, he got it in 2002, he won't in 2008. Franken can win but the larger point is that Norm Coleman can't.

CO- is going blue no matter the Republican candidate.

NH- Shaheen would win given a do-over, and Lynch would walk away with it. Past that, it all depends on how early Dems coalesce behind a candidate, and how much skill Sununu actually has.

ME- I see Sue Collins bolting the Repub. party easier than I see Dems taking this seat. ME Dems aren't like the rest of the NE, and their bench isn't real deep. She might be safe for a lack of a quality opponent.

Posted by: Steve | January 19, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

'A Miami Herald roundup of verbatim reaction to the Pentagon's new manual for prosecuting suspected terrorists as alleged war criminals at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba:

• Martin S. Pinales, president, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers:

'Hearsay, double hearsay, and coerced confessions are all admissible, including statements extracted from witnesses by torture. Given the shaky constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act, the detainees' habeas corpus right to challenge their detention -- and the validity of any conviction -- is more important than ever.''

• Colonel Dwight H. Sullivan, U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, Chief Defense Counsel:

``The rules appear carefully crafted to ensure than an accused can be convicted -- and possibly executed -- based on nothing but a coerced confession.'

Welcome to the concentration camp.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

- Lawyers in the perjury trial of former White House official Lewis "Scooter" Libby failed to finish jury selection on Thursday as many potential jurors said their disapproval of the Bush administration would prevent them from judging the case objectively.'

They can't even find 12 people who approve of bush...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

'LONDON, Jan. 18 -- Two years from the end of his second term, President Bush -- perhaps with his legacy in mind -- sent his secretary of state to try to restart moribund peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians and to create a foundation of Muslim support for the administration's new strategy in Iraq.'

jeezus, what is it with the press and trying to prop up this limp you know what of a president? they did everything they could to destroy clinton, and yet he will be remembered as a figure of international stature. but no matter how hard the corporate media tries, there is nothing they can do to create any 'legacy' for bush except bloodsoaked lies.

Posted by: drindl | January 19, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

"whose searing satire of President Bush and the White House press corps fell flat and apparently touched too many nerves."

Flat out hilarious...

Touched too many egos...

Colbert's rapport was an historic asterisk, and the proof of it is that they went out and got a softball comedian to protect Bush's delusions, er, I mean legacy.

Drindl may be absolutely right about that "legacy" factor, it won't be judged on this mortal plane. And those jurors won't be the American public, they may just be the dead victims of this war, sitting in judgement over the man who would be king, whose minions fought lie by lie to send those troops to their deaths.

I wonder, how will he account for all the death and deception to them? He's got the MSM to twist and spin it for him here, but in that "great courtroom in the sky", truth is the only evidence allowed.

But without the lies and cover-ups, what is left as his defense, but the sad truth that stronger, more evil men than himself determined his bad choices, and he was "just taking orders".

The Predident, just taking orders...

From Cheney?

Posted by: JEP | January 19, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

' The Armed Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives was convened on April 6 in a stately room in the Rayburn office building to consider the progress of the war in Iraq; much of the testimony was barely more animated than the paintings of deceased legislators adorning the walls. Richard Perle, a former Pentagon adviser and one of the war's principal architects, had taken the witness chair. He was serene and unflappable as he answered questions about the Pentagon budget, oil prices, and the training of Iraqi troops.

Then the chairman called on Rep. Walter B. Jones. Glaring at the witness, Jones quoted a statement from Perle's testimony suggesting that the administration had been misled in its assessment of Iraq by "double agents planted by the regime." The congressman's voice quavered as he demanded an apology to the country. "It is just amazing to me how we as a Congress were told we had to remove this man, but the reason we were given was not accurate."

"I went to a Marine's funeral that left a wife and three children, twins he never saw," Jones said, his voice cracking as his eyes began to water. "And I'll tell you--I apologize, Mr. Chairman, but I am just incensed at this statement." He continued, "When you make a decision as a member of Congress and you know that decision is going to lead to the death of American boys and girls, some of us take that pretty seriously, and it's very heavy on our hearts."

This was the same guy who was so gungho about invading Iraq and cheesed at France that he coined the term 'freedom fries' ok?

And this is how he feels now...

'In recent weeks President Bush attacked Iran in a speech announcing his escalation in Iraq, deployed a second naval battleship to the Persian Gulf and ordered the raid of an Iranian consulate in northern Iran, along with the arrests of six Iranians. The current march to war sounds eerily familiar.

Now members of Congress have launched their own pre-emptive strike on the Administration, introducing legislation requiring the President to gain Congressional approval for any attack on Iran. The effort is spearheaded by Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican who's emerged as a leading critic of the war in Iraq and a harsh opponent of confrontation with Iran. Jones has assembled a diverse coalition of lawmakers, ranging from conservative Republicans to liberal Democrats, who believe it's time to teach the Administration a lesson in government 101.

"Our constitution states that--while the Commander in Chief has the power to conduct wars--only Congress has the power to authorize war," Jones said at a press conference today. "It's time for Congress to meet its Constitutional responsibility...This legislation makes it crystal clear that no previous resolution passed by Congress authorizes such a use of force [against Iran]."

'only Congress has the power to authorize war' -- oooh, like music to my ears...

Posted by: thank GOD the grownups are in charge again.. | January 19, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

"They worship St, John, but he's looking pretty damaged by tying himself to the sinking ship that is Bush. Think it'll be Mitt or Rudy?"

Got me, drindl. Those choices run the gamut from bad to worse. I'm thinking dark horse at this point. You know the usual suspects: Huckabee, Hagel, etc.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | January 19, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

LouisXIV: I tend to agree with you about Franken, although I have not heard him on radio I've seen him several times on TV. The guy is very well informed and appears to be liked by most folk. Coleman has a trait, noticed and commented on by several folks, that is seen as putting off to people, no matter what the subject and whether you agree with him or not. The folks in Minn. are about the most diverse in the country. One only has to look at their elected officials over many years to see how hard it will be to predict how the 08 election will turn out.

Posted by: lylepink | January 19, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

More instututional bias against Dems:

'Mike Allen:

[T]here's probably not many people who watched that clip of Senator Obama saying at the convention, "We worship an awesome God in the blue states, too," who know that Senator Obama had 100 percent from Planned Parenthood when he was in the state legislature.'

True. Only atheists support family planning and reproductive health.'

Yeah, people who believe in God don't use birth control, right?
See what Obama's up against?

The media will never allow him to be elected.

Wonder which republican they'll start building up now, now that the race is really on? They worship St, John, but he's looking pretty damaged by tying himself to the sinking ship that is Bush. Think it'll be Mitt or Rudy?

Posted by: drindl | January 19, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

High five, Judge...

This is for you, CC...

'Look, we realize that the White House Correspondents Association dinner is a "fun" event, and it would be nice, in theory, to free it from the shackles of the supposed adversarial relationship between the press corps and the president it covers.

But sometimes, life and art imitate each other just a little too closely. When we saw earlier this week that the WHCA had chosen Rich Little -- who we used to watch imitate Richard Nixon and Bob Hope on Johnny Carson in the early 1970s, if we were allowed to stay up that late -- to follow last year's ruckus over in-your-face funny Stephen Colbert as the main entertainer, we were willing to let it go.

But then we read this (huge h/t to occasional reader Phoenix Woman). The cowardice of these people -- who sat there on mute for months while the president made plans to start a war under false pretenses -- is astounding. Little now says he has an understanding not to bash Bush or mention the war:

Little said organizers of the event made it clear they don't want a repeat of last year's controversial appearance by Stephen Colbert, whose searing satire of President Bush and the White House press corps fell flat and apparently touched too many nerves.
"They got a lot of letters," Little said Tuesday. "I won't even mention the word 'Iraq.'"

Little, who hasn't been to the White House since he was a favorite of the Reagan administration, said he'll stick with his usual schtick -- the impersonations of the past six presidents.

"They don't want anyone knocking the president. He's really over the coals right now, and he's worried about his legacy," added Little, a longtime Las Vegas resident.

OK, free speech means you also have a right NOT to say anything or criticize anybody. But for the White House press corps to instruct Little not to "knock" the president smacks of a kind of censorship, from the very people that we've placed in the front line trenches of free speech.

We won't belabor the point, because it's too obvious, but America desperately needs a press corps that's more eager to offend the White House, not less eager. It was funny when Basil Fawlty said "don't mention the war."

We're not laughing now.'

American kids are dying every day, and bushieboy is worried about his 'legacy' -- and the press, little lap puppies that they are, is afraid to offend him?

His friggin 'legacy'? jezuus christ. too late, folks. His 'legacy' is to be worse than Nixon.

His 'legacy' is in hell.

Posted by: drindl | January 19, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse


"Senate Passes Democrats' Ethics Bill
Published: January 19, 2007"

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | January 19, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

'The NYT fronts a look at recent signs that seem to show Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is under increased pressure to stop getting so involved in his country's nuclear program. Two newspapers in Iran, including one owned by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's supreme leader, said the president should stay out of the country's nuclear efforts. It seems to be a sign the supreme leader is getting tired of the president's frequent outbursts against the West and might be trying to diminish his power.'

now, if we could just leave this alone instead of putting our foot in it...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

'but given his controversial profile and lack of political experience'


Controversial profile? He's a moderate democrat. That 'too far to the left' for you, Chris?

And he knows far more about national issues than most politicians I've heard, and he has a brain, unlike many of our republican legislators and integrity -- ditto. He also understands the deep regard and seems to share, that many of us felt for Paul Wellstone.

Posted by: drindl | January 19, 2007 8:42 AM | Report abuse

The national media really doesn't understand MN at all, and the comments in this post about a possible Franken/Coleman race reflect that. Minnesota isn't so much liberal or conservative as it is populist with a strong contrarian streak. Coleman, the consumate flip-flopping professional politician, really isn't a good fit for the state -- even if he is "skilled" in some objective manner.

Franken isn't really a perfect fit either, but he's a native and has the kind of personality that folks in Minnesota actually do respond to. Honestly, I think whatever Dem runs against Coleman in '08 will win. The guy just really doesn't represent the State at all.

Posted by: Colin | January 19, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

The Senate races in 2008 cannot be considered divorced from the presidential candidates. Democrats in states like Nebraska, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Colorado will have a much more difficult challenge if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee. As the regulars know, my preference is for Wesley Clark - a decidedly second tier candidate at this point. He is a retired 4 star general from Arkansas, a Rhodes scholar, speaks several languages and opposed the Iraq invasion from the start. He has executive experience and, as US Southern Command Commander and NATO Supreme Allied Commander, high level diplomatic experience. As a retired officer who has served at an international headquarters, I can tell you that the job of those commanders is as much diplomatic as military. He has become much more polished as a campaigner since his abortive 2004 run. I cannot think of a single potential Democratic candidate who can both appeal to the base (the blogosphere generally loves him) and the "red" states. I can also think of no better way for the Demcorats to underscore the incompetence of the Republican administration on national security than to nominate someone with absolutely unassailable national security credentials.

Posted by: JimD in FL | January 19, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

'scuse me, I meant 1 1/2 months.

Sure is easier posting today than yesterday, for the first time since macaca, I got rejected, consistently, by whoever was administrating the blog, while trying to post something about McCain.

Posted by: JEP | January 19, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I have to disagree with what you said about MN. By doing his radio talk show Franken is probably more versed on all the political issues of the day than most politicians. Second, why does a trial attorney have more experience than Franken? You slam Franken for not having political experience but then mention that his strongest opponent might be a trial attorney but then don't mention "who also lacks political experience." Why is that?

Posted by: LouisXIV | January 19, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

"repeal tax breaks and subsidies to oil companies that total approximately $14 billion"

And that's more than enough to pay for 1 1/2 days of chaos in Iraq.

Posted by: JEP | January 19, 2007 8:23 AM | Report abuse

'The WP gives the most detail of the behind-the-scenes action, which could have some interesting repercussions. The ethics bill almost didn't go to vote yesterday because Republicans threatened to filibuster it if an amendment that would give the president a sort of line-item veto authority wasn't included. But Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia single-handedly blocked these efforts. In the end, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reached a compromise and said Republicans could add their desired provision to the minimum-wage bill next week if they have the votes.

Also on Capitol Hill, House members voted to repeal tax breaks and subsidies to oil companies that total approximately $14 billion. And with that, Democrats managed to complete their "100 hours" agenda, and they even had some time to spare. '


Posted by: GO DEMS | January 19, 2007 7:54 AM | Report abuse

' The Wall Street Journal tops its worldwide newsbox with testimony before the House budget panel that shows the Pentagon thinks the 2007 cost for the Iraq war will be approximately $8.4 billion a month.'

And we're borrowing that from -- China!

'The New York Times and Los Angeles Times lead with news that China shot down one of its satellites with a ground-based missile last week. The move demonstrated China's ability to target objects in space and sparked concern and condemnation from several countries that have satellite programs. '

Posted by: train wreck | January 19, 2007 7:51 AM | Report abuse

In all probability, Dems will strengthen their Senate majority in 2008. One impact of such a result will be the marginalization of Joe Lieberman. Right now Lieberman is in the catbird seat. But his willingness to give Bush a pass on Katrina as the Chairman of the Government Services Committee as well as his other sins will not be forgotten. If Lieberman should try shift with the center of political gravity that can also result in a Democratic president he'll lose support among the conservative nuts who have become his allies. Lieberman's looking at a very different political world in January 2009.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | January 19, 2007 7:18 AM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please bookmark:

Bush administration gets secret court's sanction for illegal spying operation

By Bill Van Auken

Faced with imminent Congressional and judicial review of an illegal warrantless wiretapping operation conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA) for more than five years, the Bush administration has sought and received approval from a secret court for continued eavesdropping.

The legal maneuver was revealed in a letter sent Wednesday by US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The letter announced that the Justice Department had obtained from a single unnamed judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) orders allowing the continuation of the government's domestic spying operation.

"As a result of these orders, any electronic surveillance that was occurring as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program will now be conducted subject to the approval of the Federal Intelligence Court," Gonzales wrote.

Gonzales's letter came on the eve of his appearance at an oversight hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday. Moreover, in just two weeks a federal appeals court in Cleveland, Ohio is set to hear the government's appeal of a federal judge's ruling that its "Terrorist Surveillance Program" violated fundamental constitutional rights, represented an arrogation of unconstitutional powers by the president and was flatly illegal.

In announcing the FISC orders sanctioning the spying program, Gonzales reiterated the government's position that its previous warrantless wiretapping was perfectly legal.

The attorney general described the court's orders as "innovative" and "complex," while providing the "speed and agility that was provided by the Terrorist Surveillance Program."

During his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, Gonzales refused to divulge any further information about these orders. And, while the chief judge of the secret intelligence court said that she was willing to provide Congress with copies of the orders, Gonzales told the Senate panel that he would block any such disclosure in the name of national security.

"There is going to be information about operational details about how we're doing this that we want keep confidential," he said. He refused to

For the rest of this article please go to:

Posted by: che | January 19, 2007 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Gee, if you're going to do a video analysis of the news, why not have a more professional video production? I could hardly concentrate on what you four had to say.

The woman was swallowed by the table, and my eyes kept finding the extraneous coffee cups, and the briefcase behind you, Cillizza, not to mention the various and bad pieces of art hanging in your conference room, chopped off above the bottom of the frames. Visual distractions galore, message almost completely lost.

Until you can improve the production values of the video, I suggest that you hold on to your day jobs. You may also want to have Robin Givhans dress you in spiffier duds or give you a fashion critique. D minus.

Posted by: Media consultant | January 19, 2007 5:55 AM | Report abuse

If CC understood anything about MN politics, he'd know that Franken is a force to be reckoned with. He's a Harvard graduate, wealth, popular, and lastly, people HATE Coleman. Franken would be a natural choice for Dems, especially in a presidential election year.

Posted by: cc doesn't get MN | January 19, 2007 12:46 AM | Report abuse

Keep an eye on Sen. Lindsay Graham in South Carolina. He is not particularly liked by the conservative wing there (because he's a moderate conservative and not a hardliner), but he could be a potential 2008 VP nominee, thus freeing up his seat.

Posted by: Zzonkmiles | January 19, 2007 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Where is the post for Virginia? Recent trends suggest that if John Warner decides to retire, Virginia is a likely place for another switch. Especially if Mark Warner decides to run.

Posted by: Chris | January 19, 2007 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Kerry should announce his retirement from the Senate and leave public life altogether. He is a delusional buffoon.

Posted by: Sandy | January 18, 2007 11:48 PM | Report abuse

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