Monday, October 20, 2008

Esquire Magazine Brutally Endorses Massive Democratic Majority In Senate

Lest any of you think I spend every day poring through the Congressional Record and crunching Senate roll-call votes, I do have other interests and information sources and one of the non-political publications I subscribe to is Esquire magazine. While I don’t agree with Esquire on everything, the magazine does do excellent political profiles and articles and I want to draw your attention today to the most recent issue which includes a ton of political endorsements.

Indeed, for the second federal election cycle in a row, the magazine makes endorsements for President -- they recommend Barack Obama -- all Senate races and every single House of Representatives contest.

It's not the height of wonkish analysis but, hey, what's not to like about endorsements that call Ted Stevens (R-AK) "Alaska's consummate pork farmer," label James Inhofe (R-OK) "like Jesse Helms, without the charm" and assail Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on the "shameful results" of his party's lack of oversight over the Bush White House.

Oh, they also endorse John Kerry (D-MA) while saying "the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, meanwhile, continue to be lying sacks of shit."

Out of 35 Senate races being decided on November 4th, Esquire endorsed Democrats in 27 of those races. Some of their comments are funny and some are just so pithy and well-written I found myself multiple times saying "damn, I wish I'd written that."

First we'll look at solid shots they took at some of our least-favorite schmucks from the wrong side of the Senate aisle:

Alaska Senate
Esquire endorses: Mark Begich (D)

Of Republican incumbent Ted Stevens, Esquire says: "For all its resource riches and talk of rugged individualism, Alaska is by far the welfare state of the Union, relying on Washington to support its economy more than any of the less ruggedly individualistic states. Stevens has always been Alaska's consummate pork farmer. Now, inevitably, he's under indictment for having a donor remodel his vacation 'chalet' to the tune of $250,000 or so."

Georgia Senate
Esquire endorses: Jim Martin (D)

Esquire featured the GOP's Saxby Chambliss very prominently in its list of "The 10 Worst Members of Congress" but I like how the editors take Chambliss specifically to task for his shameful campaign against Max Cleland in 2002.

"Chambliss is a senator today by sole virtue of the fact that in 2002 he attacked incumbent Max Cleland -- who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam and earned Silver and Bronze stars -- as soft on defense and lacking in patriotism. Where was ol' Saxby during the war? Home, of course, claiming a 'football injury.' How you get elected reflects your character, and Chambliss should never be allowed to live down the shame of what he did in 2002. Never."

Idaho Senate
Esquire endorses: Larry LaRocco (D)

The magazine cites the one sentence that should forever disqualify any candidate from holding public office, saying this of Republican Jim Risch, who's trying to take the place of retiring Larry "Wide-Stance" Craig: "Sadly, total heterosexual Larry Craig is retiring. His replacement will either be a man who believes 'President Bush is one of our greatest presidents,' or it won't."

Kansas Senate
Esquire endorses: Jim Slattery (D)

Perhaps no incumbent senator more deserves to be run out on a rail for enabling George W. Bush's shredding of our Constitution than Republican Pat Roberts. While serving for years as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Roberts gave the White House free reign while providing zero Congressional oversight. Here's Esquire:

"As then-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Roberts steadfastly defended the CIA as clean on torture and the NSA as clean on wiretapping--and just as steadfastly dragged his feet on investigating prewar intelligence failures for the tawdriest of reasons: to protect the White House. His opponent, a moderate former congressman, will do better."

Kentucky Senate
Esquire endorses: Bruce Lunsford (D)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has led Republican efforts to filibuster nearly every piece of legislation proposed in the current Congress and is almost single-handedly responsible for the two-year Senate stalemate. Esquire calls him on the major low points of his Senate career.

"McConnell, the Senate minority leader, has done a good job over the years shining a light on dark corners of the world where dictators abuse their people, but he was also Bill Frist's whip when the Republicans held the majority, and in that role was accessory to many decisions in which the Congress capitulated without a peep to the White House, with shameful results.

"Now in the minority, McConnell, a highly skilled negotiator, has been determined to obstruct the Senate, in the process killing a widely popular bipartisan bill to provide health care for ten million children. He has reflexively pushed obstruction to such a ridiculous degree that he has even found himself filibustering his own bills. There is simply too much at stake in the next Congress to put up with this nonsense."

Oklahoma Senate
Esquire endorses: Andrew Rice (D)

It has always been hard for me to pick a least-favorite Republican senator -- well, except for Joe Lieberman, maybe -- but James "Ice Age " Inhofe of Oklahoma is at the top of the list.

Here's Esquire: "Inhofe believes that 9/11 was divine retribution. He believes that our Middle East policy should be based on the text of the Bible. He denies the science behind global warming. Doesn't like students. Doesn't care for poor people. Hates government. Like Jesse Helms, without the charm. We made a mistake on our '10 Worst' list: Inhofe stands alone as the worst member of Congress."

Texas Senate
Esquire endorses: Rick Noriega (D)

Here's what Esquire says about John Cornyn, one of Bush's chief rubber-stamps in the Senate: "Cornyn has taken up Rick Santorum's cudgel on gay marriage, but whereas Santorum's dark visions were man-on-dog, Cornyn dreams of state-sanctioned unions between man and turtle, and of "a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife." Whoa. None of our business, senator. But you'll have to work it out on your own time."

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Esquire gave very positive endorsements of Democratic Senate candidates in Colorado and Massachusetts and took a wonderful shot at the Swift Boat Liars in endorsing John Kerry.

Colorado Senate
Esquire endorses: Mark Udall (D)

"The race for this open seat pits a party-line hack against one of the American West's true champions. Mark Udall is the son and philosophical heir of the late, great Mo Udall, and like his dad he balances pragmatic policies toward the region's resources with dedication to the protection of individual freedoms. Aside from his friendship with Jack Abramoff, Udall's opponent, a former congressman, is thoroughly undistinguished."

Massachusetts Senate
Esquire endorses: John Kerry (D)

"Since returning to the Senate after his defeat for the presidency in 2004, Kerry has continued to be a persistent leader on the issues that animate him most: health care, education, women's rights, reining in a reckless executive branch, and seeing to the needs of military families. The so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, meanwhile, continue to be lying sacks of shit."

* * * * *
And, as a parting shot and added bonus, take a look at what Esquire had to say about Joe "Turncoat" Lieberman who, while not up for reelection this year, was a central part of the magazine's "10 Worst Members of Congress."

"Inherent in politics is the fact that someone always loses. Some lose gracefully, some lose poorly, and, as in the case of Joe Lieberman, some lose their minds. Since being defeated by an antiwar candidate in the Democratic primary in 2006, Lieberman (who was subsequently reelected as an Independent) has pursued his campaign of revenge against his former party, thinly disguised as an act of principle, replete with the quavering sanctimony that no country should have to put up with from anyone, much less from this small man."