Friday, November 17, 2006

The Friday Political Grab Bag

If it's Friday, it's time to take a look at what's been floating around the political world this week and that I haven't commented on, might have slipped under your radar or just flat-out been too silly for you to notice…

Nancy's Got Guts - House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi’s choice of John Murtha to be the new House Majority Leader, her steadfast support of his candidacy and Murtha's loss to Steny Hoyer, hardly spell an initial political defeat for the most powerful person in the new House of Representatives. If anything, it bodes well for the kind of true leadership we can expect from Pelosi, who had to know Hoyer would win and, accepting the political consequences, stuck by Murtha right up until the vote yesterday.

We may not always like everything Pelosi does over the next two years, but I'd bet anything she sticks to her guns in the face of even tougher stuff from the other side of the aisle.

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In addition to being a great guy and one of our favorite editorial cartoonists, the Houston Chronicle's Nick Anderson is also getting into doing animated political cartoons. His latest is a snarky take on how the GOP politicized the entire immigration issue leading up to the midterm elections.

Please go to Nick's site to check it out.

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Following Bush's Bad Act - Which Republican will be the standard bearer -- lack-of-standard bearer? -- for the GOP in the 2008 presidential race? We're pretty damn sure that two former governors are running: Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and George Pataki of New York.

If one of them makes it all the way to the nomination and begins trying to act like a moderate, let's not forget the e-mails they sent out in the final week of the midterm-election campaign this year.

Here's Romney:
"My administration said 'no' to the Democrats' favorite revenue-raising tool: higher taxes.

"President Bush faced similar opposition from the Democrats when he cut taxes in 2001 and 2003 for all taxpayers. In fact , more than 90% of congressional Democrats voted against cutting federal income tax rates. Now some Democrats are calling for the tax cuts to be rolled back if they win control of Congress in November.

"That's why it is absolutely critical we elect Republican majorities to the U.S. House and U.S. Senate so taxes aren't raised and our economic growth isn't stifled through overregulation.

"We are fortunate to have a President who has made clear that he will give terrorism no quarter. President Bush and the Republican Congress are unwavering in the War on Terror and defending our country from future attacks. Despite the successes we've had apprehending terrorist operatives and preventing another strike on our homeland, some Democrats are now calling for President Bush to be impeached for his efforts to protect America from further terrorist attacks."
And George Pataki:
"When RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman asked me to help make sure our Party's Get-Out-The-Vote programs are fully funded, I jumped at the chance.

"Maintaining control of the U.S. Congress is crucial to helping President Bush finish the job he started six years ago. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are poised to lead a Democrat House and Senate that will stop our agenda cold in its tracks.

"If we fail to win, liberal Democrats will take over every committee in Congress and undo everything President Bush and the GOP Congress have accomplished -- including rolling back the landmark tax cuts and reducing our commitment to winning the War against Terror."
It's pretty routine stuff: Democrats will raise your taxes -- despite the fact that no Democrat running for Congress in 2006 ever advocated across-the-board tax increases. So, in other words, Romney and Pataki lied by omission at the very least.

Oh, and they also go with the usual smears, implying that electing Democrats means we get overrun by terrorists.

File this stuff away for 2008.

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For sheer stupid fun, GSN, the Network for Games, gives us a Flash game called Foley's Follies, in which disgraced Republican Mark Foley chases young Congressional Pages around the corridors of power ala Pac-Man. Players guide the former Congressman through a maze while trying to chase down the Pages and, whenever the Foley head hits an IM bubble and he catches a Page, actual Foley quotes from the infamous IM transcripts appear at the bottom of the screen.

You can play here. Go on… You know you want to.

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Sometimes I Get More Than Hate Mail - Earlier this year, I did a dumb story about a live, two-headed snake that was discovered and made wise-guy comments about naming the two heads 'McClellan' and 'Mehlman.'

Almost a year later, Mr. Vishwanath Maddhukuri, from somewhere in India made me an offer I'm going to have to refuse:

My relatives have found Two headed snake in India. It is there in India, if you are interested to buy, let me know

Besides, Vishwa admitted that the two heads are already named Coulter and Malkin.

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As if Fox News didn’t do enough damage to itself this week, here they are reinforcing their ongoing, McCarthyite question -- "Are liberal blogs sending the same message as terrorists?"

Could be… I think even nutcase religious fanatics also think the people at Fox are idiots.

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Knucklehead Corporate Media Person of the Week - It's "Lester" who asked White House Spokesman Tony Snow the question that was obviously on everyone's mind Monday:

"In the primary election in Connecticut, the Democratic Party, as you know, repudiated Senator Lieberman who went on to be the winner as an independent. And the Democratic Party did not even have a nominee for the U.S. Senate in Vermont. Yet, they are claiming these two winners helped them constitute a majority in the Senate. And my question, doesn't the -- doesn't the President believe this Democrats-claim- everybody theory should and could be tested in court?"

But Snow set him straight: "Lester, as you know, when it comes to the organization of Congress, people get to decide with whom they will caucus. And the indications are that Bernard Sanders and Joe Lieberman would caucus with Democrats. This is not something subject to court order, it is their personal choice."

Note to Lester: Go to and pick up a copy of 'Congress for Dummies' before the next press briefing.

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Hypocrites r' Us: The Republican Superstore - Here's outgoing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on the Senate floor Monday talking about the need to heal wounds and work across the aisle:
"But as we move forward -- and that really does officially begin today -- we begin with finishing the business of the 109th Congress, and we must work together to overcome that partisanship we have seen in the past, that crippling partisanship that has plagued us in the recent past.

"America wants results and America wants solutions, and it is with that focus we enter the waning days of the 109th Congress. We must return to an era of working together in a civil, bipartisan fashion. It is my hope both parties, Republicans and Democrats, will work toward governing together to produce those solutions, to produce those tangible results for the American people. That begins here, and it begins now."
Excuse me… I'm a little misty-eyed.

OK. This would be fine and dandy if Frist didn’t say this after two years of making Harry Reid's life hell, threatening to kill the filibuster -- one of the few procedural tools available to the minority party -- and shutting down almost every Democratic initiative, regardless of merit, on purely political grounds.

Spare us the histrionics, Billy, and just clear out Harry Reid's new office.

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Wyden Hamstrings EPA on Unacceptable Benzene Levels - Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden has had enough of Bush administration environmental rules that actually hurt people and the earth -- go figure! Specifically, Wyden objects to a proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruling on the amount of the cancer-causing chemical benzene that can be in gasoline and he's willing to put a Senatorial hold on the confirmation of EPA General Counsel nominee Roger Martella unless the rule is changed to protect people in his state.

Any Senator can place a long-term hold on a nomination and, while it can be done in secret, Wyden always announces his holds publicly along with his reasons. You can read about it here.

Come January, Wyden will just be able to round up the Democratic caucus and vote Bush's nominees down if the EPA doesn’t want to do the right thing.

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Bush Eats The Young - Yes, I know this is just so wrong…

And yet it feels so right…

Eat well this weekend!