Invitations declined : In her role as the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) is getting less than stellar results in both her main tasks: Raising money for GOP senatorial candidates and recruiting Republican candidates out in the states.
The Senate Democrats, headed by Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, are well ahead of Dole and her group in fundraising, and there has been a string of lost recruitment opportunities on the Republican side. Most recently, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-VW)
opted out of running against Sen. Robert Byrd, the venerable West Virginia Democrat:
Capito’s decision comes on the heels of North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven’s decision to pass on a race against Dem Kent Conrad. Vermont’s Republican Governor Jim Douglas refused to take on Bernie Sanders. And so on. In fact, the NRSC’s only high-profile challenger is one they wish would go away — Florida’s Katherine Harris. (The GOP has a strong candidate in the open Minnesota seat.)
Maybe it’s the national mood — we’re seeing strong Democratic challengers arise in the House as well as Democrats sense a change in fortune. Or perhaps Dole is completely clueless. Or both. But in any case, we can rest assured that in the early going, our Chuck Schumer has beat the crap out of Dole — in both money and candidate recruitment.
Straining credulity: Yesterday, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and declared that his indictment last week “is politics at its sleaziest, and people will recognize that and see it for what it is.” But a Newsweek poll released Saturday indicates that a significant portion of the public does not share his opinion.
A 39-percent plurality said the Texas Republican likely “engaged in serious wrongdoing,” while 28 percent said the indictment on charges of conspiracy to violate state election law probably stemmed from political rivals out to “embarrass” him. Less than a quarter weren’t sure, and 10 percent weren’t aware of the charges. Predictably, 60 percent of Democrats doubted DeLay’s innocence, as compared to 21 percent of Republicans.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents said DeLay should return to his leadership post if found not guilty, while 22 percent said he should step down permanently.
Overall, respondents seemed disillusioned with both parties. More than half — 56 percent — said the current Congress will be as equally subject to corruption as previous Democratic-controlled bodies. In addition, 44 percent said the number of ethical lapses in the Bush administration would be the same as previous administrations, while 28 percent said it would be more corrupt and 25 percent said less corrupt.
Respondents gave Bush a 40 percent job approval rating, with 53 percent disapproving. Congress’ numbers were worse, with just 32 percent approving and 56 percent frowning on their work.
Newsweek pollsters also asked the public about the government’s failings following Hurricane Katrina. Twenty-nine percent said the biggest reason for the botched response was “bad management,” while 28 percent blamed the selection of unqualified “political cronies” for leadership posts. Fewer than two in 10 put the onus on government cutbacks during Bush’s tenure.
“In the White House that hero worshipped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met.”
— David Frum, former speech writer for George W. Bush
New York Times reporter Judith Miller tried a year ago to make a deal with the prosecutor investigating the leak of a CIA operative’s identity but the prosecutor would not agree then to limit her testimony to Vice President Dick Cheney’s top aide, her lawyer said on Sunday.
Some lawyers involved in the case said prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s decision to reject the deal a year ago — only to agree last week to limit the scope of Miller’s testimony to the subject of Cheney’s chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby — suggested Libby may have become increasingly important to wrapping up Fitzgerald’s case…
Floyd Abrams, one of Miller’s lawyers, told CNN: “I tried to get a deal a year ago.”
But Abrams said that when he spoke to Fitzgerald about it at the time, he would not agree to limit his questions “to assure that the only source he would effectively be asking about was Mr. Libby.”…
One lawyer involved in the case said Fitzgerald’s change of mind “suggests that he doesn’t think he needs to hear about anybody else” but Libby.
GOP endangers species: Aren’t conservatives supposed to conserve? There is no limit to the depravity of the rightwing extremists in the Republican Party’s leadership:
Landowners would get major new rights and the federal government would have a smaller role in protecting plant and animal habitat under a House-passed overhaul of the 1973 Endangered Species Act. But Senate approval is far from assured.“The act has been a failure at recovering species. We have to respond to that and step in and reauthorize the bill, put the focus on recovery and protect private property owners.”
— Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA)
The bill would require payments to property owners if species protection measures foil their development plans, put political appointees in charge of making some scientific determinations and stop the government from designating “critical habitat” for species where development is limited.
The Endangered Species Act, signed into law by President Nixon in 1973, requires the government to ensure its actions don’t jeopardize the survival of 1,268 U.S. species of plants and animals now considered “endangered” or “threatened” by extinction. Those actions can include setting aside habitat for dwindling species that need protected areas to survive and recover; currently, critical habitat has been designated for 466 U.S. species.
The law has helped 16 species — including alligators, deer, falcons and gray whales — recover enough to be removed from the government’s watch list, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Fifteen were removed because the data used to justify government protections were later found faulty; nine were taken off because the species went extinct.
“The act has been a failure at recovering species,” said House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Calif., the bill’s author. “We have to respond to that and step in and reauthorize the bill, put the focus on recovery and protect private property owners.”
Or too liberal? Funny:
Reporters were asking the openly gay congressman Barney Frank if David Dreier was denied DeLay’s leadership position because he was too moderate – or because he was gay. Frank said it was because Dreier was too moderate, and then quipped, “And I’m going to a moderate bar after work tonight.”
The AP is reporting that President Bush will nominate one of his cronies – White House Counsel Harriet Miers – to serve on the Supreme Court:
After graduating from law school, Miers worked at Locke, Purnell, Rain & Harrell (1972-99), eventually becoming president of that company. In 1999 she was named co-managing partner at Locke Liddell & Sapp, LLP. In 1992, she became the first woman President of the Texas State Bar. Formerly George W. Bush’s personal attorney, Miers worked as counsel to Bush’s campaign for governor in 1994, and after his win was appointed chair of the Texas Lottery Commission (1995-2000). After Bush was elected President, she became his staff secretary (2001-03), and then deputy chief of staff (2003-04). She replaced Alberto Gonzales as White House counsel in 2005.
Apparently, Miers was running the White House vetting operation for prospective Supreme Court nominees. If so, by selecting her for the position she was vetting, Bush repeats his pattern from 1999 when he chose the man runnning his vice presidential vetting process to be his VP.