Archive for January 31st, 2008

A Republican Who Speaks For Me

Well, maybe not on everything, but certainly on Bush and his enablers… of both parties:

Former U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee’s new political memoir is remarkable for its candor, its delicious window into life in America’s most exclusive club, and its condemnation of President Bush and the combination of right-wing Republicans and Democratic enablers who plunged the nation into an ill-fated war without end in Iraq.


The book excoriates Mr. Bush and his GOP allies who repeatedly fanned such wedge issues as changing the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage, abortion and flag-burning. But he saves some of his harshest words for Democrats who paved the way for Mr. Bush to use the U.S. military to invade Iraq. That includes New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, whom Chafee says put her presidential ambitions above standing up to Mr. Bush and the rush to war in Iraq.

“I find it surprising now, in 2008, how many Democrats are running for president after shirking their constitutional duty to check and balance this president,” writes Chafee. “Being wrong about sending Americans to kill and be killed, maim and be maimed, is not like making a punctuation mistake in a highway bill.

“They argue that the president duped them into war, but getting duped does not exactly recommend their leadership. Helping a rogue president start an unnecessary war should be a career-ending lapse of judgment.”

Chafee was the only Republican senator to vote against prosecuting the war. “The top Democrats were at their weakest when trying to show how tough they were,” writes Chafee. “They were afraid that Republicans would label them soft in the post-September 11 world, and when they acted in political self-interest, they helped the president send thousands of Americans and uncounted innocent Iraqis to their doom.


“Few members of Congress were willing to stand up to the schoolyard tough [Mr. Bush] and in the early morning hours of Oct. 11, 2002, weeks before the crucial midterm elections, he bullied them into declaring Saddam an imminent threat.”


Of the general election, Chafee writes that he was both “irked and amused” at the “parade of Democratic Bush enablers” who trekked to Rhode Island to campaign for Whitehouse.

“Senators Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton, and others who had voted for the war urged my constituents” to defeat him, Chafee writes.

If he had followed Jeffords’ lead and jumped ship when he realized that the Republican party had jumped shark, he’d still be a Senator. Not that I’m disappointed to have Whitehouse in his place (although he did support retroactive immunity for the telecoms).

Maybe he can become the Republicans’ Zell or Lieberman; the “principled moderate” whose criticisms carry more weight and legitimacy because they’re coming from the same side. Or maybe he’ll just be demonized as an America-hating liberal who only pretended to be a Republican so that he could get elected in a conservative stronghold like Rhode Island…

(h/t Stoller)

6 comments January 31st, 2008 at 11:45pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Books,Bush,Politics,Republicans

Bearish Snowballing Elephants

It just keeps getting worse and worse (or better and better, depending on your political orientation or powers of spin):

A swelling exodus of senior Republican incumbents from the House, worsened by a persistent disadvantage in campaign money, threatens to cripple Republican efforts to topple the Democratic majority in November.

Representative Tom Davis, a moderate from Northern Virginia, on Wednesday became the fifth House Republican in the last week to announce that he would not seek re-election.

That puts the roster of retirees at 28, one of the highest numbers recorded for the party in the House.

With only five Democratic seats opening so far, party strategists and independent analysts say the disparity in open seats – typically the most competitive House fights, as voters oust relatively few incumbents – makes it highly unlikely that Republicans could seize the seats necessary to regain the House. The current House has 199 Republicans and 232 Democrats, with four vacancies to be filled by special elections.

“The open-seat situation is so lopsided as to deny Republicans any chance of taking back the House in 2008,” said David Wasserman, who analyzes House races for The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan publication.


Mr. Davis said his return to life in the minority party was just one factor in deciding to leave, saying he wanted a sabbatical from politics to look into other opportunities. The congressman, who oversaw the House Republican campaign operation in 2000 and 2002, acknowledged that the landscape for his party was not promising.

“There isn’t any question it is going to be a tough year,” he said.

Four of the 28 Republicans who are so far leaving the House quit before their terms ended. They will be replaced in special elections before November, giving the winners of those races at least the technical mantle of incumbency in the general election.

That leaves 24 open Republican seats, though leaders of both parties expect at least a few more Republican retirements as state filing deadlines arrive. The high point for end-of-session Republican retirements is 27 in 1952, according to Congressional records.


“Clearly, it’s a sign that they see no prospect of Republicans regaining control of the House in the near future, and in fact the trend seems to be heading in the other direction,” said Representative Christopher Van Hollen of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.


In the Senate, Republican retirements have also shifted the playing field, with six Republicans leaving and no Democrats retiring so far.

“We are still nine months away, and things just keep getting better,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

The more Republicans retire from Congress, the more bleak the future looks for those who remain. The more bleak the future looks, the less likely they are to want to remain. I think this snowball is going to keep rolling, like a market crash where the selling feeds the panic that leads to more selling.

Best. Crash. Ever.

(h/t dakine)

28 comments January 31st, 2008 at 08:07pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Politics,Republicans

Campaign Finance: Yer Doin’ It Wrong

Senator McCain appears to have it backwards:

One week after Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling “officially” endorsed Sen. John McCain for president, the Beantown hero received a softball of his own: a hefty donation from the McCain campaign to his and his wife’s charity.

On December 6, 2007, Schilling, relatively fresh off of his second World Series title with Boston, hit the campaign trail on McCain’s behalf, making an appearance at the Derryfield School in New Hampshire.

“I understand at the end of the day that he’ll do what’s right for us,” Schilling said, appearing next to the Arizona senator. “I think this election is going to come down to something that’s been absent for far too long and that’s character and integrity.”

Seven days later, according to campaign finance filings, the McCain campaign returned the favor by writing a check for $4,600 to the Curt & Shonda Schilling Foundation, which is dedicated to eradicating melanoma. Both McCain and Shonda Schilling are skin cancer survivors.


The McCain campaign would not return request for comment. But campaign finance watchdogs see this as a bizarre if not questionable use of campaign dollars.

“In general it is inappropriate for members to be giving away campaign dollars for charities. It’s not why people made their contributions,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “If John McCain personally believed in Curt Schilling’s charity it is one thing. It is another to ask people to give money to his candidacy and have it go to Curt Schilling’s charity. The only way that makes sense is that he is paying for the endorsement, although they are apparently long time friends.”

That really is the strange part. Individuals make donations to charities; campaigns generally don’t. By making the donation out of his campaign funds instead of his personal bank account, McCain might as well be announcing that there was a quid pro quo here. But hey, if rich people can use donations to persuade politicians to do what they want, why can’t politicians use donations to persuade rich people to do what they want?

7 comments January 31st, 2008 at 06:48pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,McCain,Republicans,Sports

Spamercy Park

More comment spam. I have to say, I find these brief cryptic one-liners to be very intriguing.

geographical gins notwithstanding,dictated separate pays …

indignities innocuously commenced …

reticulation vexes verifiers …

congregates ascended:embellish gutting bystanders gross …

administers kilobit Episcopalian …

Corsica inscribes staging …

carefulness teamed blips!dieter,Abyssinia …

I’m not sure what they’re trying to tell me, but I think it’s important.

13 comments January 31st, 2008 at 11:39am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Spamoptikon

Natural Selection


This is probably as good an explanation as any…

3 comments January 31st, 2008 at 07:39am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Comics

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