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Tags: Mike Huckabee

Vanden Heuvel Valiantly Defends Narrative From Inconvenient Facts



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Secret Service director Mark Sullivan, testifying before Congress last week: “The threats right now . . . is the same level as it has been for the previous two presidents at this point in their administrations.”

Katrina Vanden Heuvel, on This Week, yesterday: “Well, I mean, I think we have to be worried about egregious security lapses. This president, I believe, has received a record number of death threats.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Perhaps President Obama Would Like Some Cheese to Go With That Whine



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President Obama:

I mentioned that I was in Asia on this trip thinking about the economy, when I sat down for a round of interviews. Not one of them asked me about Asia. Not one of them asked me about the economy. I was asked several times about had I read Sarah Palin’s book. (Laughter.) True. But it’s an indication of how our political debate doesn’t match up with what we need to do and where we need to go.

Of course, Fox News’s Garrett asked about both the jobs bill Obama has proposed and the South Korean trade agreement. NBC’s Chuck Todd asked about the jobs summit and Chinese relations on human rights; perhaps the president simply chooses not to remember them.

Remember in 2007 and 2008, when all of Obama’s fans kept telling us about how great and cool and calm Obama’s temperament was? And how tough he was, and how under no circumstances would he turn into an insufferable self-pitying whiner eleven months into the job?

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Culture of Corruption, Part Fifty-One: Baucus Did a Bad, Bad Thing



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I’d just note that a lot of folks can probably understand, if not excuse, succumbing to the temptation of an extramarital affair. It’s wrong, but it happens, all too frequently.

However, trying to get your woman on the side a high-ranking job as one of the top 93 federal prosecutors in the country is probably not something most folks can relate to or understand:

In nominating his girlfriend for the job of U.S. attorney, Montana Sen. Max Baucus didn’t disclose the relationship to the White House, Montana’s other senator or a local attorney tapped to review potential candidates, several people involved in the process said Sunday.

Dana Christensen, a Montana lawyer who reviewed Mr. Baucus’s recommendations for the post, said in an interview Sunday that he didn’t know that one of the six applicants, Melodee Hanes, had a personal relationship with Mr. Baucus, a Democrat.

Does anyone know if under the Baucus health-care plan, “family coverage” extends to your mistress?

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Fake Job-Creation Statistics Go Well With Those Mythical House Districts



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Up in New Hampshire, Republican Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte catches likely Democratic rival Paul Hodes offering statistics about the stimulus creating jobs in the state that are . . . well, in all likelihood, made up, as Hodes offers no citations for these 16,000 jobs, gives no explanation as to how he came up with them, and yanked the numbers from his web site once questions were raised.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

What Can Recovery.gov Tell Us About the Stimulus in Allentown, Pennsylvania?



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So what can Recovery.gov tell us about the impact of the stimulus on Allentown, Pennsylvania, the first stop on President Obama’s jobs tour?

Examining zip code 18102 on Recovery.gov tells me that the “City of Allentown” was awarded $672,157 in total awards, and 0.00 jobs were created or saved from it.

Then another $2,258,098 was awarded to the “City of Allentown,” with another 0.00 jobs created or saved.

The “Allentown Housing Authority” was awarded $2,274,904, with another 0.00 jobs created or saved.

The “School District of the City of Allentown” was awarded $5,967,031, with the space for “jobs created/saved” left blank.

So there’s $10 million with no jobs created.

Then the “Roberto Clemente Charter School” was listed as “amount for location” of $100,560, with the space for “jobs created/saved” left blank.

“Allentown Art Museum Inc.” was listed as “amount for location” of $50,000, with the space for “jobs created/saved” left blank.

“Boys and Girls Club of Allentown”  was listed as “amount for location” of $42,500, with the space for “jobs created/saved” left blank.

“Valley Youth House Committee” was listed as “amount for location” of $85,111, with the space for “jobs created/saved” left blank.

The “Lehigh County Conference of Churches” was listed as “amount for location” of $225,000, with the space for “jobs created/saved” left blank.

Hey, I think I spotted the problem with the economy! All of this money is being thrown around, but nobody’s created any jobs with it!

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

It Will Take More Than TV Commercials to Save Harry Reid’s Job



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Here’s what six weeks of advertising, estimated at a cost of $1 million, have done for Harry Reid: “Just 38 percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of the Democratic Senate majority leader, the same percentage as in October and 1 point higher than in August.”

I have no dog in the Nevada GOP primary, which features nine candidates but only three major ones: businesswoman and former GOP official Sue Lowden, attorney and businessman Danny Tarkanian, and former Nevada assemblywoman Sharron Angle. In this Mason-Dixon poll, “Lowden and Tarkanian were in a statistical tie, with support from 25 percent and 24 percent of Republican respondents, respectively. Angle was supported by 13 percent.”

The top two candidates both match up well against Reid; I’ll let Nevada Republicans decide whether they think Lowden’s slightly larger lead is statistically significant:

In hypothetical general election matchups, respondents favored Lowden over Reid 51 percent to 41 percent, with 8 percent undecided. They favored Tarkanian over Reid 48 percent to 42 percent, with 10 percent undecided. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

I’m not surprised that a lot of television advertising has not really improved Reid’s numbers, just as it had limited impact for New Jersey governor Jon Corzine. It feels like at least once a day I see either the Geico lizard or the money with eyes, and sometimes they make me laugh, but I don’t have the insurance.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Sarah Palin, Birther? Not Quite.



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When a once-respected writer, editor and blogger wants to examine and reexamine her birth canal in excruciating detail like it’s the Zapruder film, and numbskulls like Alan Colmes offer the medically innovative theory that flying on a plane caused her son’s Down syndrome*, maybe it’s a bit much to expect Sarah Palin to come riding to Barack Obama’s defense on birth-certificate questions.

Talk-radio host Rusty Humphries asked three questions of Palin about Obama’s birth certificate, and none of her answers seemed to dismiss the issue; in fact she notes, “I think it’s a fair question, just like I think past associations and past voting record.”

In a subsequent post to Facebook, she wrote that ”at no point – not during the campaign, and not during recent interviews – have I asked the president to produce his birth certificate or suggested that he was not born in the United States.”

Is Sarah Palin a birther? No. Is she willing to lift a finger to dispel the beliefs of birthers? No, it appears she’ll leave that to President Obama and his supporters. Considering how frequently he came to the defense of her family when they were attacked by overzealous Obama supporters — none that I can recall** — I don’t think she has much particular obligation to strain herself in these circumstances.

By the way, I’ve notice a strange phenomenon whenever I make a sarcastic reference to Obama’s birth certificate. Usually I’ll get a couple of e-mails from birthers, going on at length about how I’m pooh-poohing legitimate concerns, sometimes polite, SOMETIMES WITH THE CAPS LOCK KEY STUCK.

But I’ll often get a rebuke or two from a lefty, who’s outraged that I treat the issue with any tone other than their thermonuclear outrage. A joke, like my one from last week that the doctoral thesis of Obama’s mother begins with her description of giving birth to him in Kenya, inevitably triggers some sort of huffy denunciation that I’m fanning the flames of conspiracy theories or legitimizing the argument that the Oval Office is occupied by a Kenyan secret agent.

I think this shows how psychologically intolerant some of these folks are; it matters not that I agree that the rumor is false; I must, upon every reference, react in the same emotional tone that they do, and denounce the rumor as the most outrageously outrageous outrage of all time.

** UPDATE: I was wrong; shortly after the news of Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy broke, Obama did say,

“I have said before and I will repeat again: People’s families are off limits,” Obama said. “And people’s children are especially off-limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin’s performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. So I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know my mother had me when she was 18 and how a family deals with issues and teenage children, that shouldn’t be a topic of our politics.”

As we saw, however, that good note of dignity and decorum was largely ignored by the more furious corners of the liberal world. Perhaps some readers will conclude I’m being a little unfair to the president, but I feel he could have, and should have, returned to this type of comment later in the campaign, and perhaps rebuked folks like liberal talk-show host Ed Schultz, who asked Larry King on September 2, “What kind of mother is she?” These days, Schultz gets front-row seats for prime-time White House press conferences . . .

*ANOTHER UPDATE: Alan Colmes reaches out to NR, arguing he never said that Palin’s flight caused her son’s Downs Syndrome.

Back on August 30, Colmes wrote on his web site, a post entitled, “Did Palin Take Proper Pre-Natal Care“:

Rogers Cadenhead gives the timeline associated with the birth of her newest child. She had a speech in Dallas and, even after the water broke, continued with her activities, and then boarded a plane for home. She did consult by phone with her doctor.

Still, a Sacramento, Calif., obstetrician who is active in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said when a pregnant woman’s water breaks, she should go right to the hospital because of the risk of infection. That’s true even if the amniotic fluid simply leaks out, said Dr. Laurie Gregg.

Many, many, many, many, many readers on both sides of the aisle interpreted the remark as insinuating that Palin’s decisions prompted Trig’s Downs Syndrome. Colmes later concluded his words were being misconstrued, said that he never meant that, and pulled the post entirely, because conservatives were leaving “vile comments.” (Poor guy.)

Anyway, readers deserve to have all the facts, including Colmes’ defense that he never meant to suggest that the plane flight caused the Downs’ Syndrome, and that he simply wished to inform readers, trying to decide whether the next Vice President of the United States should be Joe Biden or Sarah Palin, about her decision to get on a plane after consulting with her doctor and the potential that that she didn’t take proper pre-natal care while carrying Trig. He wasn’t accusing her of causing the Downs; he just accused her of recklessly endangering her unborn child.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Two 2008 GOP Rivals, Showing Some Brotherly Love



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Mike Huckabee has a defender some folks might not have expected:

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney defended Mike Huckabee’s clemency decision that allegedly led to the shooting death of four police officers in Washington state.

During an interview Thursday night with CNN’s Larry King Live, Romney, who in his four years as governor says he did not pardon or commute a single sentence, empathized with his former political rival in the last battle for the Republican presidential nomination, saying the focus is on the tragedy that struck the lives of Washington state residents.

I’m sure Huckabee appreciates the kind words at this moment, but aren’t suspected multiple cop-killer Maurice Clemmons and Satan brothers?

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Tim Kaine Closes His Eyes and Shares His Vision



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This is rich: DNC Chairman Tim Kaine contends the future for the opposing party is dark because “the tea party movement is devouring the GOP.”

Kaine, the departing governor of Virginia, wanted to offer supporting arguments from Democrats like incoming governor Creigh Deeds, incoming lieutenant governor Jody Wagner, incoming attorney general Steve Shannon, and state legislators Margi Vanderhye, Joe Bouchard, Dan Bowling, Paul Nichols, Shannon Valentine, Chuck Caputo, and David Poisson, but they couldn’t attend Kaine’s speech, since they are all out looking for new jobs.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

This Choice Isn’t as Easy as Campaigning in 2006 and 2008



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Over on the home page, a look at Virginia senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb, two Democrats caught between their constituents and the president on Obamacare.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Sorta Kinda Maybe Almost Good News on the Economic Front



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This morning brings actual . . . kinda, sorta, almost good news on the economy. The unemployment rate is 10 percent, down from 10.2 percent last month; the number of unemployed actually grew, but by 11,000, which is much smaller than the usual six-figure numbers we’ve had this year and much of last. Perhaps we’ve hit bottom.

However, if you hear any fool on the left contending that the Obama administration can be credited with turning the economy around, the BLS release gives us a lot of reasons to point out that our economy has steadily deteriorated during this year: “Last month, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) rose by 293,000 to 5.9 million. The percentage of unemployed persons jobless for 27 weeks or more increased by 2.7 percentage points to 38.3 percent.”

Also note that ”construction employment declined by 27,000 over the month.” Every month since the stimulus passed, employment in the construction field has dropped, confirming the president’s admission that the “shovel ready” slogan of the stimulus package was bunk.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Obama: Okay, All That ‘Shovel-Ready’ Talk Was a Load of You-Know-What



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Now he tells us:

“The tension we’ve been seeing is that what is good for the longer term may not work as an immediate short-term stimulus. We’re still getting slapped around in the Recovery Act for this,” Obama said. “The term ’shovel-ready’ — let’s be honest, it doesn’t always live up to its billing.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Gallup: Majority of Democrats and Republicans Supporting Obama Afghanistan Plan



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We’ve come to one of those rare circumstances where you hear me saying, “good for you, Mr. President.”

Gallup reports:

President Obama has managed to thread the needle with his newly announced Afghanistan strategy, with his approach winning the approval of a majority of both Democrats (58%) and Republicans (55%) in a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted Wednesday night. At the same time, less than a majority of independents approve (45%). Among Americans overall, 51% approve of the strategy while 40% disapprove.

Imagine if it had been one of his usual soaring speeches and well-delivered.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Any Way You Slice It, Lincoln’s In Trouble



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Both Rasmussen and Daily Kos have released polls looking at Arkansas’s Senate race next year. Incumbent Democrat Blanche Lincoln is in rough shape in both, with a favorable rating at 43 percent in Rasmussen and 41 percent in Kos.

Rasmussen has Lincoln losing to all GOP challengers, by margins ranging from 3 to 7 percentage points; Kos has her leading narrowly against two challengers and by healthy margins against two others, topping out at 46 percent.

Unsurprisingly, Kos thinks supporting the public option would help Lincoln. I can’t help but notice that unemployment in Arkansas is 7.6 percent, which looks pretty good compared to many other states, but is still the highest since 1988.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

The GOP Incumbent’s Support Is a Little Chilly, but Not Enough to Say, “Burr”



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We are told North Carolina Democrats are quite excited that a former state senator who fought in Iraq, Cal Cunningham, has changed his mind and will now run for U.S. Senate against Republican Richard Burr.

I’m not quite sure they should be. Burr’s numbers are pretty “meh” for an incumbent, but the highest Cunningham has gotten in any head-to-head matchup is 31 percent. Would Republicans feel better if Burr were above 50 percent instead of in the mid-40s? Sure. But Obama’s victory in the state, driving up high Democratic turnout numbers, had a big impact on Kay Hagen’s Senate win last year. Cunningham is going to have to drive turnout himself, in what will probably be a much tougher environment for Democrats this coming year.

Could Cunningham win? Sure, but so far, 2010 doesn’t really feel like the cycle in which a not-well-known Democrat knocks off a Republican incumbent in a state like North Carolina.

UPDATE: A Republican following this race closely offers some more thoughts:

Cunningham has a lot to do between now and the May 4 primary. He is virtually unknown statewide and enters a three way Dem primary against Elaine Marshall (the first woman to win elected office statewide in NC) and Ken Lewis, who happens to be African American in a state where the AA turnout will probably be 35-40%.

Cunningham also has no money. The DSCC will help, but they are stretched pretty thin in other states as is, and Bob Menendez is no Chuck Schumer when it comes to money. Cunningham is getting in at a tough time fundraising wise, with the holidays upcoming.

Lastly, Richard Burr is no Liddy Dole. Erskine Bowles has repeatedly praised Burr for all he does for NC, and as I’m sure you recall from 04, their race was not exactly civil.

If Burr were as vulnerable as Dems claim, why would so many other potential candidates pass on the race?

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Joe Biden’s Pep Talk at Jobs Summit: ‘The Economy Is in a Depression.’



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Mark Knoller of CBS News informs us that Vice President Joe Biden – you know, the guy who was put in charge of the stimulus because “no one messes with him” — just told the attendees at the White House jobs summit that “the economy is in a depression.”

I suppose this is better than out-of-touch happy talk, but heck of a pep talk, coach. Tell us again about how the stimulus is working better than your “wildest dreams,” which, it is now clear, mostly consist of post-apocalyptic nightmares.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

House Democratic Retirement Watch: 29 Members Are Age 70 or Older



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In an era that has seen Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, Robert Byrd and Ted Kennedy, a lawmaker’s retirement should never be assumed. But most members of Congress eventually decide to hang it up at some point.

Until recently, Democrats felt reassurance from the fact that they had no announced retirements in their House caucus, but in the part two weeks, two members have surprised their districts by announcing they’re riding off into the sunset: Dennis Moore of Kansas, age 64, and John Tanner of Tennessee, age 65. It seems safe to conclude that age is a factor in the decision to retire from Congress, and so let’s presume that members of Congress usually begin thinking about retirement sometime in their mid-60s.

There are a lot of House in their mid-60s or older:

John Dingell, Michigan, age 83.
Dale Kildee, Michigan, age 80.
John Conyers, Michigan, age 80.
Louise Slaughter, New York, age 80.
Charles Rangel, New York, age 79.
Sander Levin, Michigan, age 78.
Pete Stark, California, age 78.
Ike Skelton, Missouri, age 77.
John Murtha, Pennsylvania, age 77.
Diane Watson, California, age 76.
Leonard Boswell, Iowa, age 75.
Jim Oberstar, Minnesota, age 75.
Donald Payne, New Jersey, age 75.
Edolphus Towns, New York, age 75.
John Olver, Massachusetts, age 73.
Eddie Bernice Johnson, Texas, age 73.
Lynn Woolsey, California, age 72.
Grace Napolitano, California, age 72.
Bill Pascrell, New Jersey, age 72.
Nita Lowey, New York, age 72.
Paul Kanjorski, Pennsylvania, age 72.
Soloman Ortiz, Texas, age 72.
Jim McDermott, Washington, age 72.
Lois Capps, Califorina, age 71.
Maxine waters, California, age 71.
Maurice Hinchey, New York, age 71.
David Obey, Wisconsin, age 71.
Henry Waxman, California, age 70.
Steny Hoyer, Maryland, age 70.

By my count, there are 29 House Democrats age 70 or older, and another 39 are between 64 and 69.

Barney Frank, Massachusetts, age 69.
David Price, North Carolina, age 69.
James Clyburn, South Carolina, age 69.
Ruben Hinojosa, Texas, age 69.
Mike Honda, California, age 68.
Sam Farr, California, age 68.
Howard Berman, California, age 68.
Lucille Roybal-Allard, California, age 68.
Danny Davis, Illinois, age 68.
William Delahunt, Massachusetts, age 68.
Bob Etheridge, North Carolina, age 68.
Norman Dicks, Washington, age 68.
Bob Filner, California, age 67.
Marion Berry, Arkansas: age 67.
Parker Griffith, Alabama: age 67.
Walt Minnick, Idaho, age 67.
Gary Ackerman, New York, age 67.
John Spratt, South Carolina, age 67.
Anna Eshoo, California, age 66.
Rosa DeLauro, Connecticut, age 66.
Jose Serrano, New York, age 66.
Charlie Wilson, Ohio, age 66.
Lincoln Davis, Tennessee, age 66.
Alan Mollohan, West Virginia, age 66.
Susan A. Davis, California, age 65.
Doris Matsui, California, age 65.
Janice Schakowsky, Illinois, age 65.
Collin Peterson, Minnesota, age 65.
Emanuel Cleaver, Missouri, age 65.
Carolyn McCarthy, New York, age 65.
Silvestre Reyes, Texas, age 65.
George Miller, California, age 64.
Jane Harman, California, age 64.
Allen Boyd, Florida, age 64.
Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Michigan, age 64.
Melvin Watt, North Carolina, age 64.
Robert Brady, Pennsylvania, age 64.
Charlie Gonzalez, Texas, age 64.
Jim Moran, Virginia, age 64.

Setting our potential “retirement watch” age a bit lower, to 61, we find another 30 House Democrats:

Barbara Lee, California, age 63.
Corrine Brown, Florida, age 63.
Bobby Rush, Illinois, age 63.
David Scott, Georgia, age 63.
Niki Tsongas, Massachusetts, age 63.
Dutch Ruppersberger, Maryland, age 63.
Ed Markey, Massachusetts, age 63.
Carolyn Maloney, New York, age 63.
Marcy Kaptur, Ohio, age 63.
Dennis Kucinich, Ohio, age 63.
Lloyd Doggett, Texas, age 63.
Rick Boucher, Virginia, age 63.
Vic Snyder, Arkansas, age 62.
Mazie Hirono, Hawaii, age 62.
John Yarmuth, Kentucky, age 62.
Jerrold Nadler, New York, age 62.
Eliot Engel, New York, age 62.
G.K. Butterfield, North Carolina, age 62.
Peter DeFazio, Oregon, age 62.
Al Green, Texas, age 62.
Ciro Rodriguez, Texas, age 62.
Gene Green, Texas, age 62.
Peter Welch, Vermont, age 62.
Robert Scott, Virginia, age 62.
John Larson, Connecticut, age 61.
Jim Marshall, Georgia, age 61.
Bennie Thompson, Mississippi, age 61.
Rush Holt, New Jersey, age 61.
John Hall, New York, age 61.
Earl Blumenauer, Oregon, age 61.
Allyson Schwartz, Pennsylvania, age 61.

Obviously, a lot of these members come from safely Democratic districts, and probably a good chunk of them intend to serve until they die or are physically unable to any longer. But there are a lot of House Democrats getting long in the tooth, who may be thinking about spending their golden years in a more relaxed pace… to say nothing of the possibility of some of these members getting suddenly called to that Big District Office in the Sky. We’ll see in the coming months how many decide there are other things they want to do besides run for reelection in an angry, anti-incumbent year.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

That Stupid American Public!



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New York magazine’s latest cover piece, on the troubles of the Obama administration, laments the “American public, with its chronic impatience and a collective attention span measured in angstroms.”

(A couple of readers point out that an “angstrom” is a unit of length, not time, so isn’t appropriate in the measurement of attention spans.)

UPDATE: Now they tell us: “Obama’s was not a candidacy, to put it mildly, in which substance played a starring role.”

I like John Heilemann, his articles and perspective are always interesting, but if you’re going to say something like that, you probably ought to acknowledge whether you’re just noticing this now, or whether you noticed it then and just ignored it because you liked the candidate so much.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Why I like Heilemann: His ability to get quotes like this one:

For Obama, the problem is less acute than it is for congressional Democrats up for reelection in the coming mid-terms. But a problem it still is – not only for his own reelection effort three years from now, when the effects of reform will still be minimal, but because of the atmosphere the entire health-care endeavor has engendered in his party on the Hill. “The House is angry at the Senate, the Senate thinks the House is crazy, and they’re all pissed at the White House for not exerting adequate leadership over the process and for taking its eye off the ball on the economy,” says the Democratic strategist. “I don’t think the White House understands what’s going on or how bad it is.”

Had Emanuel or Axelrod been present two weeks ago when the members of the House Democratic caucus held their weekly meeting in a windowless room in the Capitol, the picture would have been all too clear. The frustration with Obama’s perceived fecklessness on unemployment was simmering, with open attacks on his economic team and emotional calls for a second stimulus. The next day, Pelosi announced she intended to introduce a jobs bill before year’s end, while across the Hill, Reid signaled his interest in doing the same in early 2010 – although congressional aides noted tartly that the White House had “yet to get onboard.”

These rattlings presage the sort of conflict that’s likely to attend the critical, maybe seminal, hundred days that lie ahead for Obama. The White House may or may not climb aboard a jobs bill, but its enthusiasm for the prospect is roughly equivalent to that of a 6-year-old confronted with a plate of cauliflower. Obama and his budget chief, Peter Orszag, have been sending clear signals for weeks that the administration intends to focus in its upcoming budget on fiscal restraint “on at least mapping out the path it will take to wage an assault on Mount Deficit. But congressional liberals have close to zero appetite for such a hike. “If the White House comes out in January all deficit hawkish,” says the strategist, “House and Senate Democrats are going to have an anti-Obama tea party of their own.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Another “wow” quote: “One Democratic congressman predicts that fully half of his caucus will oppose the escalation. ‘Obama is going to get his ass kicked on this,’ the congressman says.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Some Perspective on Which House Democrats Are Vulnerable, and Why



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Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report notes that of the 60 House races he deems potentially competitive, 45 are in districts currently held by Democrats.

While I can’t begrudge a Republican for smiling at that news, it’s pretty much what one would expect in a Congress that has a lot more Democrats than Republicans. In 2006 and 2008, Democrats won just about every seat that could be considered “low-hanging fruit.” There are a few pickup opportunities left, but they mostly represent seats where a Republican won in unique circumstances (Joseph Cao in New Orleans) or open seats (Mike Castle’s seat in Delaware, Mark Kirk’s seat in Illinois, Jim Gerlach’s seat in Pennsylvania).

Meanwhile, the vulnerable Democratic seats come in bunches and can be classified in different categories. You have a couple of retirements and open seats created by folks running for higher office, like John Tanner in Tennessee, Dennis Moore in Kansas, Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania, and Paul Hodes in New Hampshire.

You’ve got your perennial at-risk Democrats who have hung on because of the party’s momentum in recent cycles, like Jim Marshall and John Barrow in Georgia, and Allan Mollohan in West Virginia.

You’ve got a couple of how-did-a-Democrat-win-that-Republican-leaning-seat outliers, like Walter Minnick in Idaho, Parker Griffith and Bobby Bright in Alabama, and Frank Kratovil in Maryland.

You’ve got states where the Democratic brand is rapidly being damaged, usually with an unpopular incumbent governor: New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Colorado.

You’ve got the-mouth-is-a-time-bomb incumbents like Alan Grayson in Florida, and perhaps Steve Kagen in Wisconsin and Carol Shea-Porter in New Hampshire. If Baron Hill keeps acting like his first name is a title, maybe he could be tossed on this pile, too; the reaction to the town meetings elicited a lot of “I don’t answer to you rabble” comments from Hill that could make good ad fodder next year.

The most dominant theme I’m seeing are states where Republicans did well in the first part of this decade, but where their candidates collapsed as President Bush’s popularity tumbled further and further: New Hampshire, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa. (Unsuprisingly, these are the states that have switched from red to blue between 2000 and 2008.) Anger, frustation, and exhaustion with Bush drove a lot of Democrats to victory in 2006 and 2008, making a lot of states look bluer than they really are, if this year’s elections are any indication.

What does this mean for Republican hopes for the House in 2010? A lot of the groundwork has been laid, but there’s still a long road ahead; getting anywhere near the 40 seats needed would require a big wave and almost everything bouncing their way.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

A Jobs Summit Hosted by Folks Who Have Never Hired Anybody



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Newt asks a valid question: Who in this White House has ever created a job? He notes the president’s cabinet has the least private-sector experience of any administration in more than a century.

By the way, I can’t help but notice that Obama is hosting a summit on creating jobs when there are some actual government jobs awaiting warm bodies:

Nearly 200 top jobs in the administration remain vacant a year after Obama began planning his ascension to power, the result of stalled nominations, new ethics rules, lengthy background checks and delays in Senate confirmations. More than half the vacancies are at five departments: Justice, State, Treasury, Defense and Homeland Security.

Some of that is Congress’s fault, but not the positions where there isn’t even a nominee
yet . . .

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

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