Friday, May 26, 2006

Do You Know What "Criminal" Means?

It means they're not likely to obey the law. As in, if New Jersey requires all guns sold in the state to be personalized - so they can only be fired by the owner - criminals might actually break the law. That is, while they're in the process of shooting someone, they might use a gun that's illegal.

Stupid, stupid, stupid...

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Europeans Didn't Kill the Aztecs

One of those things that 'everybody knows' appears to be coming under attack.

As readers may know, I a sucker for history and have an affinity for Mexico, so my interest here is no surprise. When the Spaniards came to Mexico and conquered the Aztecs, millions upon millions of natives died. Obviously, troops don't kill that many; it was disease. And perhaps because of the coincidence of timing (Spanish arrive, millions die), it's always been accepted that the killer was European diseases such as smallpox. Well, now a Mexican epidemiologist thinks that it may have been an indigenous hemorrhagic fever which killed in waves, and that could conceivably recur:

When Hernando Cortés and his Spanish army of fewer than a thousand men stormed into Mexico in 1519, the native population numbered about 22 million. By the end of the century, following a series of devastating epidemics, only 2 million people remained. Even compared with the casualties of the Black Death, the mortality rate was extraordinarily high. Mexican epidemiologist Rodolfo Acuña-Soto refers to it as the time of "megadeath." The toll forever altered the culture of Mesoamerica and branded the Spanish as the worst kind of conquerors, those from foreign lands who kill with their microbes as well as their swords.

...Spanish colonists wrote at the time that outbreaks of zahuatl [the Aztec word for smallpox] occurred in 1520 and 1531 and, typical of smallpox, lasted about a year. As many as 8 million people died from those outbreaks. But the epidemic that appeared in 1545, followed by another in 1576, seemed to be another disease altogether. The Aztecs called those outbreaks by a separate name, cocolitzli. "For them, cocolitzli was something completely different and far more virulent," Acuña-Soto says. "Cocolitzli brought incomparable devastation that passed readily from one region to the next and killed quickly."

...The fevers were contagious, burning, and continuous, all of them pestilential, in most part lethal. The tongue was dry and black. Enormous thirst. Urine of the colors of sea-green, vegetal green, and black, sometimes passing from the greenish color to the pale. Pulse was frequent, fast, small, and weak—sometimes even null. The eyes and the whole body were yellow. This stage was followed by delirium and seizures. Then, hard and painful nodules appeared behind one or both ears along with heartache, chest pain, abdominal pain, tremor, great anxiety, and dysentery. The blood that flowed when cutting a vein had a green color or was very pale, dry, and without serosity. . . . Blood flowed from the ears and in many cases blood truly gushed from the nose. . . . This epidemic attacked mainly young people and seldom the elder ones.

"This was certainly not smallpox," Acuña-Soto says. "If they described something real, then it appeared to be a hemorrhagic fever."

Hemorrhagic fevers are viral diseases with names that evoke justifiable dread—Ebola, Marburg, Lassa. They strike with sudden intensity, rarely respond to treatment, kill at high rates, then vanish as mysteriously as they came. They are called hemorrhagic because victims bleed, hemorrhaging in their capillaries, beneath the skin, often from the mouth, nose, and ears. The bleeding doesn't kill, but the breakdown of the nervous system does. At first there is fever, fatigue, and dizziness, but within a few days the person falls into delirium and finally a coma.

...With the climate data in place, Acuña-Soto could piece together a convincing explanation of those epidemic years. Cocolitzli had been caused by a hemorrhagic fever virus that had lain dormant in its animal hosts, most likely rodents. Severe drought would have contained the population of rodents, forcing them to hole up wherever they could find water. Initially, only a small percentage may have been infected, but when forced into close quarters the virus was transmitted during bloody fights. Infected mother rodents then passed the virus to their young during pregnancy. When the rains returned, the rodents bred quickly and spread the virus—through their urine and feces—as they came into contact with humans in fields and homes. Once infected, humans transmitted the virus to one another through contact with blood, sweat, and saliva.

Well, I find it interesting. And whose blog is this, anyway?

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House to Debate Iraq

The Chicago Tribune reports that the House of Representatives will soon hold a debate on the Iraq war. Apart from that, I think they get it all wrong. The debate is not by choice; it's been forced. And it probably poses as much of a challenge for Democrats as it does for Republicans. I covered this a while ago, and explained why it will make Democrats very uncomfortable.

Here's the Trib's take:

GOP to put war up for debate
House leaders gamble forum will aid election
By Jill Zuckman
Washington Bureau
Published May 25, 2006

WASHINGTON -- House Republican leaders, in a significant political gamble, are planning to hold a free-flowing debate over the Iraq war on the House floor in coming weeks, facing head-on what may be the most difficult issue to threaten pro-war incumbents in the fall election.

"We are the people's house, and serious issues of the day ought to be debated here in the House," said House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio). "And a lot of members on both sides of the aisle have concerns about where we are, what is going on. Others have concerns that the whole story in Iraq isn't being told in terms of all the good things that are happening there."

The decision to hold a public debate on an issue that has sent President Bush's approval ratings tumbling and put Democrats within striking distance of recapturing the House reflects the growing pressure facing Republicans from bad news about the war. GOP leaders hope the forum will give their endangered incumbents a chance to distance themselves from the war, argue that it is going better than most recognize, or both.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Boehner Summarizes GOP Achievements

This is the recess memo that John Boehner has sent to House Republicans:

To: House GOP Members
From: House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH)
Re: What Americans Should Know about the Republican Agenda for Prosperity & Security
Date: 25 May 06

Over the last five weeks, House Republicans have come together as a team and taken significant steps forward in advancing an ambitious agenda for the American people. we are on the right side of the issues that the American people care about.

For all of the Democrats' angry, divisive rhetoric that is designed to drive us apart and take the focus off their lack of an agenda, we have steadied ourselves and focused on the issues at hand: a commitment to fiscal discipline on behalf of taxpayers; strengthening our economy that is providing robust job creation; securing our borders and addressing illegal immigration; offering real solutions to help drive down gasoline prices; and responding to the ever-present threat posed by terrorism and the forces behind it seeking to do our nation harm.

After months of work and input from our members, we adopted a common "vision statement" that draws a clear contrast between the values that unite us as Republicans and those of the Democrats. It says:

For the Next American Century:

We will promote the dignity and future of every individual by building a free society under a limited, accountable government that protects our liberty, security, and prosperity for a brighter American Dream.

Consistent with our principles and our vision, we will move forward on our agenda. As we head back to our districts for the Memorial Day district work period, I wanted to share some thoughts about what Americans should know about our agenda and our accomplishments.

Fiscal Discipline and Our Growing Economy

As Republicans, we must continue to remind our constituents about our party's stewardship of economic growth in this country that has resulted in nearly 5.3 million new jobs since August 2003, 32 consecutive months of job creation, and a low 4.7 percent unemployment rate that is below the average of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.

This didn't just happen by chance, and Americans should know that. We have delivered tax relief to working families, seniors, and small businesses that have helped expand our economy to open the door for more Americans to enjoy economic prosperity and join the growing ownership society. Keeping taxes low, coupled with fiscal restraint and economic growth, is providing greater-than-expected tax revenues to the federal government and making real progress in driving down our deficit.

Americans should know that Nancy Pelosi and her tax-and-spend Democrats on Capitol Hill fought us every step of the way. When we prevented a massive Democrat tax hike and ensured working Americans could continue to keep more of their own money, the Democrats said "No, that money belongs in Washington, DC." When we passed a fiscally-responsible budget that spends taxpayer dollars wisely, Democrats demanded more reckless spending. While we exercise fiscal restraint in the appropriations process, Democrats have requested $26.1 billion in new spending so far this year above and beyond what is fiscally responsible, putting them squarely at odds with the interests of taxpayers. This is a fundamental difference between Republicans and Democrats. We want to protect the taxpayer's wallet; Democrats want to raid it.

We must always remember that protecting American taxpayers from the disastrous and just plain wrong Big Government philosophies of Nancy Pelosi and her Democrat friends on Capitol Hill is an important part of our jobs as we represent the interests of working families.

Border Security: Stopping Illegal Immigration and Open Border Policies

Americans should know that Republicans in Congress are serious about securing America's borders and shutting down the flow of illegal immigration into our cities and states. We've responded to the concerns of the American people by passing a tough border security bill that delivers resources where they are needed to make our borders safe and prevent sanctuaries for illegal immigrations in our border states and beyond.

The contrast between the two parties could not be greater on this issue. Democrats have constantly advocated troubling policies that encourage open borders and invite more and more illegal immigrants in addition to the estimated 10-12 million illegal immigrants that are already here. Nancy Pelosi and her Democrat friends in Washington, D.C. opposed the strong border security bill passed by the House in December and fought common-sense REAL ID legislation to prevent illegal immigrants and terrorists from obtaining state ID cards that would allow them to travel freely throughout the U.S.

With the Senate on the verge of passing a bill, it's important that we seek areas of common ground, while always stressing the most important priority for the American people is to secure our borders and stop illegal immigration. We can't underestimate the challenges that lie ahead of us. The American people want action, and we should be committed to working with our members of the Conference to see if we can find agreement on a responsible bill.

National Security: A Choice Between Resolve or Retreat

Americans should know that on the issue of national security, they have a choice between a Republican Party that understands the stakes and is dedicated to victory, and a Democrat Party with a non-existent national security policy that sheepishly dismisses the challenges of a post- 9/11 world and is all too willing to concede defeat on the battlefield in Iraq.

The American people are understandably concerned about our mission in a post-Saddam Iraq. As a nation, we have faced many challenges in Iraq since its liberation and transition to a sovereign democracy. But while Democrats are all too eager to seize upon the challenges we face as their rationale or motivation for retreat, as Republicans who understand the diplomatic and national security hazards of such a move, we must echo the American public's understanding of just how great the stakes are in Iraq to our long term efforts to win the War on Terrorism.

Building a democracy in a part of the world that has known nothing but tyranny and despotism is a hard thing to do. But achieving victory there and gaining a democratic ally in democracy in the region will be the best gift of security we can give to future generations of Americans.

Republican Action Vs. Democrat Negligence on Gas Prices

Americans should know just how much work Republicans have done to build a stronger energy future for America restructure our nation's energy policy so that we're no longer held hostage to foreign sources of energy production. We are on the verge of acting to authorize environmentally-safe energy production in ANWR, and we have supported expanding refinery capacity, banning price gouging, and establishing incentives to encourage development of breakthrough hydrogen technologies - all efforts that build on the Energy Policy Act signed into law last year.

Americans should also know about the chronic negligence of Nancy Pelosi and her Democrat colleagues in responding to the concerns of the American people. Democrats have opposed every responsible effort to increase America's energy supplies are directly responsible for the higher gasoline prices that working families are faced with today.

The choice between the two parties is clear: While House Republicans have a comprehensive energy strategy to help protect the pocketbooks of American consumers, the Democrat Party has been hijacked by left-wing environmentalists and stonewalled every responsible and common-sense proposal to help secure America's energy needs.

Our Republican Agenda: Looking Forward

From a fiscally-responsible budget to preventing a massive Democrat tax increase, from spending restraint to lobbying and earmark reform, from securing our ports to strengthening our intelligence capabilities, from supporting our troops with the funding, armor, and equipment to get the job done to honoring our veterans and assisting the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, House Republicans have accomplished a lot on behalf of the American people over the last five weeks.

In the coming weeks and months, we have much more to accomplish. We'll continue our work to hold the line on spending, we'll work on border security and pension security, and providing affordable health care to working families, and we'll work to help lower energy prices for working Americans. And that's just a start.

We have a tremendous opportunity ahead of us. United together behind a common vision that reflects our principles and values as Republicans, we will be successful in moving our ambitious agenda and responding to the concerns of the American people.

Politically, there's some useful stuff here for the House GOP. Undoubtedly, they need to focus on how strong the economy is, and how tax increases could damage the recovery.

I can't help but laugh though, at the statement that "Democrats have requested $26.1 billion in new spending so far this year above and beyond what is fiscally responsible." The President's budget calls for spending in 2007 of $2.77 trillion. So the additional funds requested by the Democrats amount to less than 1 percent of the total federal expenditure. How many conservatives are content that the 'fundamental difference' between the two parties is a grand total of 1 percent of federal spending?

Apart from that, the other problem I see is that no one perceives the House GOP to have been doing these things over the last few weeks. They need to focus on legislation to match the rhetoric, and a better focus on these issues.

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Obama Considering Presidential Run?

Why not? Everyone else is in.

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Marijuana Doesn't Cause Cancer

So smoking pot is better than smoking tobacco cigarettes? Can I call shenanigans?

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Wonder if There's a Military Application

Just kidding. The research team says that the cloaking device they're working on definitely could. And it could be ready in 18 months.

Maybe this is just the kick in the pants that those slowpokes working on the transporter need. Come on guys! Eighteen months, ok?

Hat tip Ace.

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Without Tom Davis...

Great catch by Rich Lowry over at National Review. You can bet the farm that whatever decision House Republicans ultimately make on immigration, Tom Davis will be on the 'winning' side. He is a bellwether Member among the 'moderately conservative,' and his views on Congressional campaigns are seen as gospel.

Look at it this way. There are 30-50 House Republicans who are guaranteed to vote against any amnesty bill. Probably all the rest of the House Republicans are people who could vote either way, depending on circumstance. Among those, Tom Davis is a major figure - one whose instinct is to be with the leadership, and to help the leadership look good - he is not a bomb thrower.

The upshot is that he will be looked to for counsel, and he will make every effort to back the decision of the leadership team. As negative as he sounds about an amnesty, it will be hard to swing a large group of GOP Members to back one. I can't imagine more than 50 Republicans would back an amnesty bill that Tom Davis opposes.

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WH Bails out House GOP

What do you suppose motivated the White House to seal the documents taken from Congressman Jefferson's office?

Glenn speculates that there might be something more here than meets the eye, but I don't think so. I think Captain Ed is probably right here.

I doubt there's anything mysterious about it. I just think that the White House saw that the House GOP had gone out on a limb, and risked political suicide. If there was no resolution now, then we would have spent the next few months watching the back-and-forth, and hearing about the lawsuit brought by the House to protect the documents of a criminal. (BTW, weren't these the same folks that wanted to take the teeth out of the exclusionary rule)?

Dennis Hastert and the House GOP were doing an homage to Cleavon Little in "Blazing Saddles;" they had essentially put a gun to their own heads, and threated to kill themselves. The White House figured it was better to save them from themselves, and help to preserve a Republican majority.

The sealing of the records will allow the House and the White House to negotiate something that saves face for the Congress - probably a bunch of House lawyers going to the Justice Department to review the documents with DoJ lawyers, make sure that they are all responsive to the subpoena, and that the search was not too far-ranging. I bet that will happen inside of 45 days, and the House will be able to say that no precedent was established for the Executive to execute lawful search warrants in the offices of the Legislative Branch.

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More Bipartisanship in the House

Roll Call (subscription required) reports that both Pete Hoekstra and Jane Harman - the Chairman and Ranking Democrat of the House Intelligence Committee - are unhappy with the desire of the FBI to interview lawmakers about leaks of NSA activities:

Hill Targeted on Leaks
May 25, 2006
By John Bresnahan and Paul Kane,
Roll Call Staff

The FBI is seeking interviews with top House Members from both parties to determine whether they leaked details of the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program to The New York Times, further fanning the flames of an already tense relationship between Capitol Hill and the Bush administration.
Those being targeted for interviews include GOP and Democratic leaders, as well as the chairmen and ranking member of the Intelligence committee. Altogether, 15 senior Members and Senators were briefed about the existence of the NSA program before the Times first disclosed it in a Dec. 16 article, according to briefing records released last week by John Negroponte, director of the Office of National Intelligence.

It is unclear what level of interest the FBI has at this time in speaking with Senators who were briefed about the NSA program, although one senior Senate Republican said he expects that the FBI will interview current and former Senators about the leak as well.

The request for FBI interviews has angered some in Congress who see it as yet another example of the increasingly aggressive tactics being used by the Justice Department and federal investigators in their dealings with lawmakers. Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) has vehemently denounced an FBI raid last weekend on Rep. William Jefferson’s (D-La.) office, and three House committees have objected to a request for documents and staffer interviews by the U.S. Attorney’s office in San Diego as part of the criminal probe into former Rep. Duke Cunningham’s (R-Calif.) activities.

When asked about her knowledge of the FBI inquiry into lawmakers’ contacts with the Times, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, would only say, “There is no credible claim that anyone in Congress leaked anything.”

“So far as I know, there has been no request in writing,” Harman added. “I urge the Justice Department to carefully consider separation-of-powers issues and the appearance of intimidation before proceeding any further.”

House Intelligence Chairman Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), who has retained his own personal lawyer in the case, said he was aware that the FBI wanted to talk to him about the NSA leak, but added he has not yet met with agents conducting the probe. Whether the interviews with lawmakers will actually occur, and what the ground rules for those sessions would be, is the subject of ongoing negotiations between the Justice Department and Congressional lawyers, said Hoekstra.

While acknowledging his support for rooting out those who leak classified information, Hoekstra expressed concerns over whether having the FBI question the lawmakers who oversee their agency would upset the balance of power between Congress and the administration.

“I am passionate about finding out who leaked what and who is breaking the law,” the Michigan Republican said. “With that in mind, we need to be very careful in protecting the prerogatives of the House.”

To their credit, both Mr. Hoekstra and Nancy Pelosi seem willing to be interviewed:

...“I’ve been interviewed before by [the FBI] on leak cases, so it’s not unprecedented,” said Hoekstra, who served on the 9/11 committee. “We have to make sure what is done now is in agreement with the privileges of the House.”

Hoekstra’s committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Thursday on the “on the role and responsibilities of the media in national security reporting.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who was one of the first lawmakers briefed on the existence of the NSA surveillance program back in October 2001, did not object to being interviewed by FBI agents.

“It’s not unusual that the investigation would extend to all who were aware of the [NSA] program,” Pelosi said in a statement from her office. “If an interview is requested, I intend to be interviewed.”

Whenever details of intelligence and national security programs appear in the papers, there is a hue and cry on the conservative side that the Justice Department should seek to enforce the laws against leaking. Now that they are trying to do that, I hope that the House will cooperate fully.

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Why are Voters so Angry?

When the economy is booming?

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Political Play of the Week

Goes to the first bipartisan pair of House Members to introduce a resolution calling upon the House not to fight the FBI over the raid on Congressman Jefferson's office.

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Paging Mr. Perot. Paging Mr. Ross Perot...

Everyone agrees that 2006 is starting to look like one of those big elections - a wave. We're all debating how BIG the wave will be. Will it be a wave that knocks off 10 Republicans, or 40?

Well, I've wondered before whether we've ever had a wave that knocks off both Republicans and Democrats. And I'm starting to think that this could be the year. I think if both parties continue the way they're headed, the only thing we're missing is a catalyst. And we may just have gotten that.

It's obvious that there is an anti-incumbent mood in the electorate. It appears to be more Republican than Democrat, but there are Democrats with weak numbers for re-election, and the overall numbers for Congressional Democrats are almost as abysmal as those of Congressional Republicans. Dennis Hastert, Bill Frist, and George Bush are being vilified by conservatives, and Nancy Pelosi is given terrible ratings by the Democratic base, and has apparently ignited a war with the Congressional Black Caucus by asking for Bill Jefferson's resignation. (Please read that article from the Hill; it includes the comment of a senior aide that Ms. Pelosi's actions guarantee the Democrats Minority status in the House). The Left seems to stand with Pelosi and against the CBC when she disciplines Jefferson, but at the same time those same folks think she's doing a terrible job. Oh, and at the same time she's opening herself to great criticism for trying to protect Jefferson from the FBI.

Why are voters so angry? And what will it lead to?

Well, I'll be very interested to hear the tone of folks like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, DailyKos, and Air America over the next few weeks. I think that both parties' bases are in near revolt - over ethics, spending, immigration, Iraq, 'standing up to the President,' etc. The opening is there for the media to focus on the arrogance and corruption of both parties in Washington. It won't take much before voters start to ask 'what's wrong in Congress?'

The only thing then missing is a large figure who can be 'above the fray' to call attention to the problem - the Ross Perot of this election year. A little national advertising, a few appearances on Larry King, and a short list of 'crooks' (real or imagined) on both sides, and voters could turn out 20-40 incumbents. If Pelosi and Hastert continue to stand united in defense of one apparent crook and dozens of others presumed crooks, I don't think it's that farfetched.

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House GOP Gives Rove an Earful on Immigration

As I noted yesterday, Karl Rove came to Capitol Hill yesterday largely to talk about immigration. Dennis Hastert's announcement of House Republican self-immolation to protect Bill Jefferson drowned out any reporting on the substance of the immigration debate, however.

The Hill clues us in to how it went. The short answer? Not much new to report. There is still a strong and vocal number of House Republicans willing to complain to the White House about an amnesty.

I'm not willing to bet whether Congress will pass a border security and amnesty bill before the elections, but this might wind up much like the DHS legislation in 2002. At that time, lawmakers could not agree prior to the election whether to extend labor protections to employees of the new DHS, and so the issue went unresolved before election day. When Democrats suffered surprising losses, they returned in the lame-duck session and passed the bill the President had wanted.

If no agreement is reached prior to the election, an immigration bill may be completed in December, in a lame-duck session. The substance of the bill could reflect the conventional wisdom established on election day. For example, if House Republicans suffer losses while Senate Republicans maintain their numbers, it might be seen as a defeat for a hard-line stance, and the immigration bill could contain an amnesty (or a more generous amnesty). If Democrats retake the House, then there might not be any bill, because an incoming Democratic majority might insist upon re-writing the bill to its own liking. Other outcomes are obviously possible as well.

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More News to Depress Republicans

Stu Rothenberg - not an analyst noted for exaggeration or piling on - sees a fall in polling for incumbents across the board - but Republicans especially. This is from Roll Call (subscription required):

Evidence Grows of Incumbent Vulnerability in House Races
May 25, 2006
By Stuart Rothenberg,
Roll Call Contributing Writer

While there is plenty of evidence that voters are dissatisfied with the president, Congress and the direction of the nation, I am finally seeing a significant amount of evidence at the local level — in polling data and in recent primary election results — that the national mood is having an impact on incumbents.

The anger has hit incumbents of both parties, but it hasn’t been distributed evenly between Republicans and Democrats. Incumbent GOPers are taking more of the heat, and they are likely to suffer far more in November.

Last week, voters in Oregon and Pennsylvania sent messages of dissatisfaction to incumbents. In Oregon, incumbent Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D) won renomination with just more than 54 percent of the votes in a three-way contest. While his 25-point win over former state Treasurer Jim Hill may seem substantial, it is a sign of weakness, not strength.

In Pennsylvania, state legislators who supported a pay raise for the three branches of state government, including themselves, fell like flies in the state’s May 16 primary. But the federal race that raised eyebrows involved the 10th Congressional district, where veteran Republican Rep. Don Sherwood (who admittedly has unique problems of a personal nature) squeezed out a 56 percent to 44 percent primary win over a prohibitive underdog.

A number of early polls now suggest greater vulnerability among Republican incumbents this cycle than I had previously assumed. (Even if you don’t accept all of the numbers in all of the polls, the surveys as a whole confirm that something is going on.)

Democratic polls in Republican-held districts such as California’s 11th (Richard Pombo), Indiana’s 8th and 9th (John Hostettler and Mike Sodrel), Pennsylvania’s 10th (Sherwood), Kentucky’s 4th (Geoff Davis), and North Carolina’s 8th and 11th (Robin Hayes and Charles Taylor) show Democrats running better against GOP incumbents than they should if this were a “normal” election cycle. In some of these districts, the Democrat is essentially unknown but running well ahead of his or her name identification.

...Anzalone, who is polling for Democratic House candidates in a number of states this cycle — including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, New Jersey and Illinois — says that what is happening in North Carolina isn’t unique.

“It’s all about the environment, not the challenger,” he says. “Every Congressional poll that we have done for months has been good for Democrats and bad for Republican incumbents. Now, merely because of the environment, Democratic candidates can be at 10 percent in name ID and still be sitting in the mid-30s in [ballot tests]. That’s a huge difference from past years.”

And that’s why Republicans in 2006 are starting to look like the Democrats in 1994.

Rothenberg looks in particular at the race between lousy Redskins QB Heath Shuler and GOP incumbent Charlie Taylor. He tracks a number of polls over a period of months, showing a drop in the President's generic favorability numbers, coincident with a fall for Taylor and a rise for Shuler. There's been no campaigning and no advertising so far, so Taylor's fall seems closely tied to that of the President.

Wow! Good thing that Hastert found a great cause like protecting Bill Jefferson to boost GOP prospects, huh?

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hastert Target of Investigation

According to ABC News. Or do they say that he's not?

I tend to doubt Dennis has done anything wrong here. It really doesn't sound like him. I think his protection of Congressional privilege in the Jefferson case is just that.

At the same time, it doesn't help in the PR department, and probably fuels anger at both parties in DC.

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Gephardt Endorses Minority Leader Pelosi

IE, he seems skeptical that she'll be promoted to Speaker.

There's not really any surprise here. It's still no better than an even bet that the Democrats retake control of the House. There are a number of reasons. First, there are ebbs and flows in politics. And House Republicans and the President are at more or less historic lows. Pure random chance is likely to see their numbers a little better by Novemeber. Second, there are very few competitive races - so Democrats have to draw the political equivalent of an inside straight to win the seats they need. There are other reasons as well. Third, it's already clear that Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, the MoveOn crowd et al, and the rest of the Democrats pushing for a House majority, are not the most skilled campaign strategists.

Gephardt is only stating the obvious. But still, it's nice to hear.

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With Friends Like This...

Hey look! Someone agrees with my skepticism about the value of a wall!

Can I pick a different ally?

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Modern Day High Noon

I'm fascinated at the drama playing out behind the scenes between Howard Dean and Joe Lieberman. It strikes me as something out of an old movie.

Joe Lieberman is in the race of his life, challenged from the left by a rich unknown named Ned Lamont. Lamont's roots are in the hard left, and one of his most prominent supporters is Jim Dean, head of Democracy for America, and brother of the DNC Chairman. And (Jim) Dean is not a late-comer, or someone who likes Lieberman but happens to prefer Lamont. Rather, he searched for months to find a challenger to Joe Lieberman, and was one of the people who drew Lamont into the race. Now, Democracy for America has endorsed Lamont.

Now obviously, Jim Dean would not be fighting with such determination to knock off Lieberman, if his brother Howard really thought it was a terrible idea. Howard realizes how important it is to preserve every Democratic Senate seat if they want to win the majority, and ought to be willing to pull out all the stops to prevent a serious challenge to a good incumbent like Joe Lieberman. So you know that the DNC Chairman must really not care for Senator Lieberman.

So you figure, 'well, as long as Howard Dean is doing a great job as DNC Chair, he can afford the luxury of sanctioning challenges to incumbents.' Let's look at that - because Howard Dean has critics of his own. In today's Roll Call (subscription required), there are some Congressional Democrats who are apparently very unhappy with the way Mr. Dean is running the DNC:

Dean: Mayors to Provide Boost
May 24, 2006
By David M. Drucker,
Roll Call Staff

As concerned Congressional strategists continue to question the ability of the Democratic National Committee to help their candidates financially, DNC Chairman Howard Dean today is hosting a series of meetings with the party’s mayors and leaders on Capitol Hill as part of his continuing effort to make Democrats competitive in all 50 states — both in this year’s midterm elections and beyond.

Dean wants to create a direct link between grass-roots voter sentiment on the ground and Democratic policy and political players in Washington, D.C., so that the party’s message is consistent and its organizational reach goes directly to the precinct level.

“We really are trying to create one Democratic Party,” Dean said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “We’re trying to create a seamless relationship between not just the DNC and the state parties, but between mayors, governors and Congress-folks.”

But Dean appeared to concede that his plan for supplementing the Democratic Congressional committees’ efforts in key House and Senate races did not include a financial boost as a part of what he envisions from the DNC.

The chairman talked of assisting the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee with mail and ground wars in select districts and states.

Dean’s long-term strategy — and the national committee’s inability to financially boost Democratic Congressional candidates this year — continue to be a sore point with certain Congressional Democrats.

Earlier Tuesday, DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) said in a sit-down interview that he doesn’t expect much help from the national committee — monetary or otherwise. At least, Emanuel said, he doesn’t expect the help from the DNC to approach anything the Republican Congressional committees will receive from the Republican National Committee.

“The Republicans have been clear. The Republicans have said basically that they’re going to flood the system with cash,” he said. “Our contingency plan is to work harder. There is no cavalry financially for us.”

The DNC trailed the RNC in cash on hand at the close of April by $35.3 million ($44.7 million to $9.4 million). Accordingly, Emanuel said the Democrats would have to work harder and smarter to take advantage of their opportunities for seat gains in November.

...The RNC is clearly gleeful over Emanuel’s and DSCC Chairman Charles Schumer’s (N.Y.) dissatisfaction with Dean, and is buoyed by its significant edge in fundraising and cash on hand. That advantage in particular is one the committee plans to exploit.

“The RNC is working more closely than ever with the NRCC, NRSC, state committees and targeted campaigns to ensure resources are invested effectively and efficiently,” said RNC spokesman Danny Diaz. “This is in direct contrast to the Democrats, where Rahm Emanuel and Chuck Schumer are questioning Howard Dean’s national strategy.”

Today, Dean is scheduled to host meetings with Democratic mayors and Congressional Democratic leaders — including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.).

The discussions are part of a DNC-organized conference of Democratic mayors being held this week in Washington.

Dean believes mayors are about as close to voters and their everyday concerns as an elected official gets, and he wants to use their knowledge to help inform political strategy and messaging. The chairman also wants to take advantage of mayors’ local political networks and put them to work for Democratic Congressional and presidential candidates.

I really want to read a serious reporter's look at what is going on behind the scenes here. You have Howard Dean, who Congressional Democrats believe is running the party into the ground. Meanwhile, Howard Dean's brother is spending scarce resources trying to take out one of their own, and giving Republicans hope in a seat where they would otherwise have no prayer.

You have to figure that if things continue this way, war is going to break out between Congressional Democrats and the Dean boys. Who will go down first? And will Howard last long enough for Jim to take out Joe? Or will Joe rally his townsfolk, and string the Dean brothers up from the nearest tree? And where will the liberal lions in the Democratic caucus come in? Will they back good old Joe, or will they stand aside and let Dean take him down? And what will Doc Holliday do?

You see what I mean? It's like a classic western.

It's a good thing that Howard Dean is popular with the grassroots, because he's starting to look like the Isaiah Thomas of the Democratic Party.

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Hastert Raises the Stakes

Well, I've commented that the White House and the Congressional GOP need to improve their working relationship to help themselves in the midterm elections. And I've noted that Rove was coming to Capitol Hill to meet with the House GOP and talk about immigration (I surmised). So how do these two trends come together? House Speaker Hastert has come out of the Rove meeting and held an improptu press conference where he insisted that the DoJ return the documents seized from William Jefferson's office, and that those involved in the raid be 'frozen out' of the process from here forward.

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Rove Meeting Again With House Republicans


Obviously immigration will be a major topic. I've said that the White House will press the Congress to finish the immigration bill as quickly as possible. I'll be interested to hear what he has to say.

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What's John McCain's Plan?

As long as I've been watching politics, there's been a fundamental strategy for any Republican who wants to win the Presidency: lock up the conservative vote during the primaries, then tack to the middle. John McCain seems to be ignoring this.

In the last few months, what actions and decisions have gained McCain widespread attention? He helped avert a 'nuclear showdown' through his role in the Gang of 14. He's spoken at the New School Commencement, and the commencement at Liberty University. He's criticized Limbaugh, Dobbs, and Michael Savage. He's announced against the Federal Marriage Amendment. He's told Imus that he would rather have clean government than free speech. He's prominently worked with Ted Kennedy to pass an amnesty for illegal immigrants in the US.

John McCain doesn't look to me like someone whose trying to win conservatives.

Some of his prominent actions attract support from conservatives. In this brief list, they are the two commencement addresses. But they don't seem to be part of a 'strategy,' since McCain follows them up immediately by angering conservatives (FMA and immigration). John McCain appears still to be a candidate who wants to be who he is, even if it doesn't win conservatives.

Now first off, no one says he has to. If McCain would rather be right than be popular (with conservatives), that's great. I can respect that. We've always known that he believes things very deeply, and has a hard time 'trimming his sails.'

But that's probably not consistent with winning the GOP nomination in 2008. Now I'll add a caveat: it's early. Primary season doesn't heat up for more than a year. Maybe he plans to wait until the new Congress to more prominently feature his conservative views: cutting spending, fighting terrorism, and supporting right-to-life causes.

But if McCain seems committed to seeking the Presidency, and he doesn't seem constrained by a goal of winning the Republican nomination, then what are his plans? To the extent that there is a unifying strategy behind McCain's actions today, he looks to me like someone content not to get the Republican nomination. If that's the case, is he preparing to seek the White House as an Independent?

If you find this interesting, check out my look back at the 2008 Presidential campaign, or just look around.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What Goes Around, Comes Around

It seems that many of us on the Right have been expressing skepticism for some time about the ability of Democrats to get much traction on the ethics issue. I've noted frequently that the list of Democratic offenders is, well.. it's longer than my arm.

The Democrats seem convinced though, that this will have to resonate with the voters. That our corruption is worse than their corruption.

It reminds me of Republican disbelief at the failure of voters to respond to campaign finance violations in the Clinton years. No matter how many times Republicans talked about the Lincoln Bedroom, the Buddhist Temple, John Huang, Charlie Trie, Marc Rich, White House coffees and the rest, the voters seemed disinterested. They seemed to conclude that everyone does it.

Now Democrats are surprised that at a time when each Republican scandal is matched by one or more Democratic ones, that the Republicans are not being blamed? We've seen this before. You may as well move on to the next arrow in the quiver.

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Happy Days are Here Again

The media have no interest in reporting just how good things are today - so you have to read Michael Barone.

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GOP Politically Tone Deaf

Congressional Republicans and Democrats agree on one thing: the FBI has no business raiding Congressional offices in pursuit of lawbreakers.

Given the 'throw the bums out' mood prevalent today, I wouldn't want to be an incumbent standing between law enforcement and criminals who happen to have been elected to office. Whatever their concerns about separation of powers, the GOP better find a way to make it clear that they want to see criminals caught and prosecuted.

Here's a political playbook with some useful suggestions:

Like Lincoln, our first Republican president, we intend to act "with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right." To restore accountability to Congress. To end its cycle of scandal and disgrace. To make us all proud again of the way free people govern themselves.

...FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress

I don't want this to seem like a cheap shot; it's not that simple. But the GOP has got to realize that their tone is not winning them any fans.

Update: Welcome, readers of Captain's Quarters, and thanks Captain, for the traffic. While you're here, check out some of my earlier speculation on ethics - or just browse.

Lieberman: Bring it On

The man who gave us Joementum is ready to take on the unknown who won a third of the vote against him over the weekend.

Some interesting stuff in here. I was not aware that Ned LaMont had in excess of $90 million. That's more than enough to fund his entire campaign, without a single donation. So Lieberman has got to respect his resources. Also, Lieberman seems not to have figured out how to talk about the undercurrent against him. He says that delegates were sending him a message, but he can't articulate it. He says that they must respect his principles. Well, sure. But knowing that someone is sticking to his principle doesn't say anything about whether you'll vote for him.

Also, Lieberman mentions someone named Paul Krugman. I know there was a NYTimes columnist that lots of people used to read, back before the Times did us the service of withholding his dreck from most readers. Does anyone know if this is the same guy?

Lastly, people who have been watching this race have heard several times that there is a Quinnipiac poll showing Lieberman with a 65-19 percent lead over LaMont. That poll is here. A quick glance shows that the 65-19 lead means almost nothing, since it's among registered Democratic voters - not likely primary voters. There's no way to tell how those primary voters will view Lieberman.

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Arguing Against a Wall

Jonah Goldberg endorses the idea of a wall between the USA and Mexico. He ignores the important question though: will it work? It's funny that he perceives wall opponents as being disingenuous, but what evidence does he offer that the wall will 'work?' He assumes it:

It's funny, even the most liberal advocates of “comprehensive” immigration reform — Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, et al. — insist they're for “securing the border” in principle. It just seems they oppose it in practice. They may start by arguing that it can't be done, but when it is demonstrated that it can be done — somehow, putting men on the moon can't really be easier than something even poor nations do every day — they quickly fall back to the only argument that has any traction: symbolism.

Jonah also talks about opposition to the wall here. He notes that few people oppose the wall based on anything other than symbolism. On that, I can't disagree. I don't see any arguments being made that the wall won't work. So I will go ahead and make one:

It's currently estimated that 40% of the illegal immigrant population (4-5 million people) entered the US on a visa and overstayed (check here and here, for example). If you were to build a wall, you would continue to have a flow of illegal immigrants from visa overstays. All things being equal, these would tend to increase - as would-be illegal immigrants would now try to come here on visas. You'd also continue to have some flow of illegals who enter via tunnels and boats, as well as illegal crossings from Canada.

On that last point, it's currently easy to visit Canada from Mexico. You need a Mexican passport, a return ticket, a firm itinerary while in Canada, and proof of $100/day spending money during your stay, or a statement from a Canadian sponsor that he or she will pay your bills. You do not need a visa. (It's all here, in Spanish). Once in Canada, the only thing between you and the US is the world's longest undefended border. So if the wall is built and is effective, there will have to be tougher rules for Mexican citizens to visit Canada.

Of course, this assumes that there remains a job lure for illegals. But I don't see why there would not be one. As others have pointed out, if you have a totally-secure 'guestworker' card, you'll only force illegal workers to get forged documents indicating that they're citizens. And how hard is that?

All this is merely to point out that wall or not, if illegal workers continue to be lured by the offer of work, there are still ways to get here. You have to consider all of them. Will fewer immigrants come if we build a wall? Probably. Will Americans be satisfied if we manage to reduce the annual flow to just a few hundred thousand? Well... I'm not the one running for office.

Pick your movie quote for my argument: 'follow the money,' or 'life finds a way.'

Update: Welcome Corner readers, and thanks, Jonah, for the traffic. While you're here, look around, or check out something else that Jonah would be interested in.

Christ Backs Nephew in Florida Governor Race

See the Resemblance?

And he is picking Charlie Crist (photo at right).

In the spirit of the DaVinci code, I suggest that this is nepotism. Crist and his family are descendants of The Lord through Mary Magdalene and the Merovingians. They dropped the 'h' when they came to the US - probably because it sounded too 'ethnic.'

And isn't it just sketchy to put two people from the same family in such positions of power?

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2008 Race Gains Another Contender

Chris Dodd is thinking about running. And why not? The more the merrier.

More seriously, Chris Dodd's chances of getting elected President are only slightly better than those of his home-state colleague, Joe Lieberman. But there's not likely to be any better opportunity, and it won't cost him his Senate seat. The only effect I can imagine on the race at this point is that it will tend to divide the 'anti-Hillary liberal vote' a little more. I think it's unclear though, just how much of that there is.

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Democrats Lamely Try to Score Political Points

The New York Times talks about the reaction to the case of Bill Jefferson, and notes in particular how upset Members of Congress are that the FBI would raid a Congressional office. Amusing to me however, are the complaints from Democrats that Republicans may use this case to rebut Democratic charges that they've presided over a culture of corruption:

"There is no doubt that the charges, the conduct of any Democrat, is going to be raised by those who question our attacks on a culture of corruption as a way to divert attention from that," said Representative Lloyd Doggett, Democrat of Texas and a vocal critic of Representative Tom DeLay, the former majority leader.

Mr. DeLay stepped down from his leadership post and announced he would leave Congress after he was indicted in Texas on charges that he had used campaign contributions illegally and came under partisan fire for his ties to Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist who has pleaded guilty in a wide-ranging public corruption inquiry.

Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Mr. Jefferson's situation was that of an individual who had yet to be charged formally. The Democratic case against Republicans, he suggested, went to a pattern of trading influence for personal gain within an incestuous world of revolving-door staff members, lobbyists and campaign fund-raisers that Republicans helped establish.

"They are different scales," Mr. Emanuel said. "One is a party outlook and operation; the other is an individual's action. They have institutional corruption."

Even before the case against Mr. Jefferson became public, Republicans were pointing to ethical questions about the activities of another Democrat, Representative Alan B. Mollohan of West Virginia, who is under F.B.I. scrutiny for his personal finances and his efforts to steer millions of dollars to nonprofit organizations that he helped control.

Of course, this is only the start of the honor roll of Democrats currently accused of questionable ethics. The list includes the aforementioned Jefferson and Mollohan, as well as Cynthia McKinney, Joe Baca, Patrick Kennedy, Charlie Schumer, John Conyers, and Jim McDermott. Depending on how stringent you want to get, there are other names you could add to that list. For example, Harry Reid still hasn't had much to say about the donations he received from Jack Abramoff.

I guess that ultimately, I do have to agree with Congressional Democrats on one thing: when you have this many people behaving badly, you have to wonder what's wrong with the enforcement system. It's not encouraging that no one is proposing a change to the system - either establishing an indepedent panel, or some other new approach.
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Monday, May 22, 2006

Barry Bonds: Now 100% Steroid-Free!

Readers of this blog might guess that I am not a fan of Barry Bonds. True enough. However, I will give the man his due. He's clearly one of the greatest baseball players ever. ESPN makes the point well in its calculation of how many homeruns he would have hit if he had never used steroids. The best part of this piece is that they follow the rule used by lazy high-schoolers for generations: if you're going to make up your data, at least make sure it's precise. Thus, they conclude that he would have hit precisely 616 home runs.

Where would that place Bonds on the all-time homer list? Fifth - and within striking distance of the 'Say Hey Kid.' Pretty darn good for a cheater.

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Bush Rebounding?

Well, we've seen that our friends on the Left have a problem with Rasmussen polls - at least implicitly. But whether their poll inappropriately gives the President a higher number than warranted, I've not seen anyone suggest that they are off on the direction the President's numbers are headed. And Rasmussen has him climbing.

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Iraq Opponents Make Stuff Up

Some lefties apparently aren't content with presenting only their view of the facts on Iraq. Rather, they seem to want to make up slanderous attacks on US troops. Allahpundit found it, and collects the indictments at Hot Air.

Shades of John Kerry.

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Harris' Senate Campaign Taking on More Water

Katherine Harris' poor chances in her Senate race against Bill Nelson have been widely and frequently commented upon. Now there's another story about her accepting illegal gifts - meals - from Mitchell Wade.

If these hits keep coming, Harris will be toast in the primary. By now she probably has only two big backers - herself and Bill Nelson.

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DaVinci Code Shows Republicans Outgunned in the Culture War

That's according to National Review's Stanley Kurtz. I tend to agree with him, which is one of the reasons that I would rather win than be right, this year.

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Bill Cosby Gets a Good Review

Bill Cosby has taken some criticism for his willingness in recent years to talk about the problems in the black community, and to call upon African-Americans to take better advantage of the opportunities won for them by the civil rights movement. Today USA Today compliments him for it, and calls attention to his national tour.

I can't find much info about the tour, but '' seems to suggest he's headed to Costa Mesa, Montreal, and Wiscosin.

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The War of the Branches

There is an inherent tenstion between the branches of government. I believe it is seen most often and most clearly between the Executive and the Judicial, but I don't doubt that the Judiciary feels it frequently as well.

In the handling of the Jefferson case - and the other criminal investigations into sitting Members of Congress - we're starting to see that tension rise. Now there is word that the FBI gave at best minimal notification to the House of Representatives before working with the Capitol Police to conduct a search that Roll Call (subscription required) reports is unprecedented: the raid of a Congressional office:

FBI Raid Angers Some on Hill; Feds Probe Additional Jefferson “Schemes”
Sunday, May 21; 5:17 pm
By John Bresnahan,
Roll Call Staffs

Saturday night’s FBI raid on the office of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) surprised and angered House officials, who were not told that the Rayburn House Office Building search was to take place until one hour beforehand, offering the latest sign that federal prosecutors are using increasingly aggressive tactics in their pursuit of allegedly corrupt lawmakers.
Documents filed in support of the search show that the Justice Department is assembling a wide-ranging case against the veteran Democratic lawmaker. At this time, Jefferson is being investigated for bribery, wire fraud, bribery of a foreign official and conspiracy to bribe foreign officials, according to an affidavit filed by an FBI agent in support of the search warrant.

But the Justice Department and FBI agents are also looking at “at least seven other schemes in which Congressman Jefferson sought things of value” in return for official acts, the affidavit states. That suggests that additional avenues for prosecuting Jefferson could be revealed soon.

The FBI has two confidential witnesses who are offering testimony against Jefferson, as well as undercover audio and videotapes of him allegedly asking for and receiving bribes worth potentially millions of dollars in exchange for his help in putting together African telecommunications deals for U.S. firms, according to the affidavit.

On one videotape, the FBI filmed Jefferson allegedly receiving $100,000 in cash from one of their cooperating witnesses. Most of the money was later recovered in a raid of Jefferson’s home.

Jefferson and his family members allegedly received payments from both sides of the telecom deals, with money coming from the American and Nigerian firms through companies controlled by the Jeffersons, his two brothers and son-in-law, according to the FBI affidavit.

This is believed to be the first-ever FBI raid on a Congressional office. Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia authorized the search on Thursday night, but it was not conducted until Saturday.

...The FBI called the chief of the Capitol Police on Saturday and asked him to go to Rayburn but would not tell him for what purpose his presence was sought, according to Congressional officials, and it is unclear whether the Speaker’s office was notified of the raid either.

“This is unbelievable,” said one Congressional leadership aide, who requested anonymity. “They don’t even tell us that the FBI is coming anymore. It’s really gotten out of hand.”

The FBI affidavit states that agents adopted “special procedures” to assure that “potentially politically sensitive, non-responsive items in the Office” would not be seized. The procedures included using FBI agents “who have no substantive role” in the investigation, referred to as “non-case agents.”

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Bush Focuses on Midterms

The Washington Post reports that the President and his team are looking to the midterms as a chance to revive his agenda and vindicate his Presidency. They give a preview of the issues the White House plans to use to boost the standing of Republican candidates: immigration, tax cuts, same-sex marriage, and a renewed effort to educate the voters on Iraq.

John at Powerline offers an analysis of this with which I largely agree. I would be remiss if I did not add however, that any appeal by the Congressional GOP to the base ought to include spending. Taxes and spending - and by extension the proper role of government in society - is the unifying force behind the Republican coaliton. Indeed, it is the unifying force behind both major parties. The GOP ignores spending at its own peril. And if the Republican majorities survive this election-year test, they will have addressed the symptoms - but not the problem - if they fail to deal with the problem of excess spending.

Finally, Churchill famously said "There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result." If the Democrats take their best shot at the GOP Majority and miss, this year, perhaps the GOP will learn a lesson: you can't be popular with Democrats by acting like Democrats, so you might as well do what you believe in.

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Jefferson Case Looking Worse and Worse

Bill Jefferson sounded last week like a man resigned to being indicted. This week it seems pretty clear why. All the major media cover Jefferson's being caught on tape accepting a $100,000 bribe.

The good news is that Jefferson is able to explain everything. He says to ignore the evidence, because he's done nothing wrong.

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hardly Counts, 'Cause It's the Washington Times

Well, the MSM has picked up on the fact that it seems that everyone in Washington is crooked. My joking headline is merely an acknowledgement that the Washington Times is the Fox News of major daily newspapers - it tends to report all the facts, rather than just those that help the Democrats.

Let's see how many others pick up on the story.

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The Joyless Celebration

Well, Barry Bonds has tied Babe Ruth for second place on the Major League Baseball career home run list. Soon he will push the Babe back into third. It says a lot about Babe Ruth that such attention is paid to this, when you remember the oft-quoted sports expression that 'nobody remembers second place.'

The wait for Bonds to tie the record had more the feel of a deathbed vigil than a celebration, since Bonds has become such a controversial figure. Bonds is personally unappealing and prone to playing the race card. And when it comes to allegations that he has used steroids, he is disingenuous to the point of disbelief - claiming that the trainer who gave other athletes steroids that were called 'the cream' and 'the clear,' would never have done such to him. No, when he gave Barry the cream and the clear, they really were flaxseed oil and vitamin supplements.

So now Barry has tied the Babe. He did it in two fewer seasons, but needed about a season's worth of games more than Ruth did. Major League Baseball will soon be able to catch its collective breath, and hope that Bonds retires before he has the chance to pass Hank Aaron for first place on the list.

It's only fitting that the 'fan' who caught the historic homerun ball is himself a Bonds hater. That's no surprise really; most fans seem to be. For his part, Barry says he can't imagine why someone who doesn't know him would express hatred for him.

Barry is reaping what he has sowed.

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