Archive for the ‘Senate’ Category

Obama’s Lieberman support angers bloggers

November 20, 2008

Far left Democrats who named George W. Bush “the chimp” are watching Barack Obama to see if he is tough enough for them…

By Jon Ward
The Washington Times

The liberal blogosphere that helped elect President-elect Barack Obama has erupted in fury over his successful push to let Sen. Joe Lieberman stay as chairman of a key committee despite the Connecticut independent’s active support for Mr. Obama’s opponent during the presidential campaign.

Many in the “netroots” — the Web-based movement of progressive bloggers and activists — had insisted that Senate Democrats strip Mr. Lieberman of his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and howled in protest when he was not.

“Apparently, the American people didn’t vote for change,” complained Markos Moulitsas, founder of dailykos.com, in an entry posted on his site that was laced with angry sarcasm.

Sen. Joe Lieberman addressed this year's Republican National Convention. Barbara L. Salisbury / The Washington Times

Above: Sen. Joe Lieberman addressed this year’s Republican National Convention. Barbara L. Salisbury / The Washington Times

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov
/20/obamas-lieberman-support-angers-bloggers/

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Obama Attorney General Pick: Eric Holder?

November 18, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama’s aides have privately asked senators whether Washington attorney Eric Holder would be confirmed as the next attorney general, according to a person involved in the talks.

The talks suggest that Obama is deeply interested in Holder, who served as the No. 2 official in the Justice Department under President Clinton.

Eric Holder, former Deputy Attorney General at the U.S. Department ... 
Above: eric Holder (Win McNamee/Reuters)
Newsweek, quoting unidentified legal sources close to the presidential transition team, reported Tuesday that Obama offered Holder the job and he accepted. Newsweek said Holder still has to undergo a formal “vetting” review by the Obama transition team before the selection is final.

One person involved in the talks told The Associated Press that the Obama team has received some assurances that, while the Rich pardon would certainly come up during hearings, the nomination likely wouldn’t be held up over that. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private conversations.

On the last day of Clinton’s term, Holder was asked whether the president should pardon Rich, a wealthy commodities dealer who had been spent years running from tax charges. Holder said he was “neutral, leaning towards favorable” on the pardon. Clinton later cited that as among the factors that persuaded him to issue the pardon.

In the past week, Obama aides have asked Senate Republicans whether they would support Holder. In particular, the aides questioned whether Holder’s confirmation would be delayed because of his involvement in the 2001 pardon of fugitive Marc Rich by President Bill Clinton.

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http://www.newsweek.com/id/169694

Mitch McConnell: Washington’s most important Republican and second-most consequential elected official

November 13, 2008

“I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.

Abraham Lincoln

Which is how discerning conservatives felt while waiting to see if, in Election Day’s second-most important voting, Kentuckians would grant a fifth term to Mitch McConnell, leader of the Senate Republicans. They did, making him Washington’s most important Republican and second-most consequential elected official. This apotheosis has happened even though he is handicapped by, as National Review rather cruelly says, “an owlish, tight-lipped public demeanor reminiscent of George Will.”

Mitch McConnell

That disability is, however, a strength because it precludes an occupational hazard of senators — presidential ambition. Besides, McConnell, 66, is completely a man of the Senate. At 22, he was an intern for Sen. John Sherman Cooper and went from law school to the staff of Sen. Marlow Cook. Because McConnell has been so thoroughly marinated in the institution’s subtle mores and complex rules, he will wring maximum leverage from probably 43 Republican votes.

Which is why Democrats spared no expense in attempting to unhorse him, recruiting a rich opponent and supplementing his spending with $6 million from the national party. McConnell, to his great credit, had made himself vulnerable by opposing the “Millionaires’ Amendment” to the McCain-Feingold law restricting political speech. That amendment punished wealthy, self-financing candidates by allowing their opponents to spend much more than the law otherwise allows. Last summer, the Supreme Court struck down the amendment for the reasons McConnell opposed it, including this one: Government has no business fine-tuning electoral competition by equalizing candidates’ abilities to speak.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/1
2/AR2008111202543.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Say it Isn’t So, Joe: Lieberman May Join GOP Senate Caucus

November 7, 2008

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is talking to Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman about the possibility of Lieberman caucusing with the GOP.

Lieberman’s affiliation with Democrats is up in the air. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, angered by Lieberman’s support of Republican John McCain for president, is considering yanking Lieberman’s chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee as punishment.

By ANDREW MIGA, Associated Press Writer

Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman makes a statement following ... 
Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman makes a statement following a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Capitol Hill in Washinton, DC. Emboldened by their electoral triumph, Democratic lawmakers look set to launch into a mountain of urgent business pushing ahead with new legislation including a fresh economic stimulus bill.(AFP/Getty Images/Brendan Hoffman)

Lieberman and Reid met Thursday to discuss Lieberman’s options, including possible committee and subcommittee posts for him. Those talks are ongoing.

A Lieberman aide, who requested anonymity because the talks are confidential, said Friday that Lieberman and McConnell, R-Ky., have spoken in recent days about the possibility of Lieberman joining the GOP conference. McConnell spokesman Don Stewart would only confirm that the two men have had recent discussions.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081107/ap_on_go_co/lieberman_
republicans;_ylt=ApFV9TdCaUvLK3fZ19m9SzCs0NUE

For Republicans: Could Have Been Worse

November 5, 2008

If Republicans are searching — Reagan-style — for the pony in the pile of manure, perhaps they can find it in this: The double-whammy wipeout many of them were expecting didn’t materialize on Election Night.
Yes, Barack Obama crushed John McCain in the presidential race. But Democrats seem destined to fall well short of the filibuster-proof, 60-vote majority they wanted in the Senate, and Republicans have won a slew of House races they were braced to lose. 

Jim VandeHei, Tim Grieve, Politico

While never quite predicting it, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chief Charles Schumer of New York said late last month that 60 was “possible.” In the House, Democratic operatives and leadership types had their hopes set on a 30-seat pickup and thought they might get to 40 if everything broke their way.

It didn’t.

The Senate road to 60 was supposed to run through Alaska, but the morning after found Republican Sen. Ted Stevens holding onto a slim lead over Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich — despite the fact that Stevens was convicted last week on seven federal felony counts.

Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman worried that his vote on the $700 billion bailout would cost him the election, but it hasn’t, yet; he claimed victory over Al Franken, but the margin was so small that a recount is mandated under state law. In Oregon, Gordon Smith — the quintessential endangered moderate Republican — may yet lose his seat, but he’s leading at the moment. Roger Wicker dodged the wave in Mississippi; Saxby Chambliss looks like a survivor in Georgia; and Mitch McConnell is not Tom Daschle.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., delivers remarks during an election ... 
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., delivers remarks during an election night rally in Phoenix Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. Looking on at right is wife Cindy McCain.(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

On the House side, Alaska Rep. Don Young — left for dead by just about everyone, including his governor, Sarah Palin — somehow managed to win reelection. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) saw roughly a million dollars pour into her opponent’s campaign after she went McCarthy on Chris Matthews and urged the news media to investigate whether members of Congress were “pro-American”; she won anyway. Seemingly vulnerable Republican Reps. Lee Terry of Nebraska, John Shadegg of Arizona and Mario Diaz-Balart and Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Florida all won new terms in Congress.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/15318

We Could Be In for a Lurch to the Left

November 4, 2008

There’s an old saying that politics in America is played between the 40 yard lines. What this means, for those unfamiliar with football, is that we’re a centrist country, never straying very far to the left or the right in elections or national policies. This has been true for decades. It probably won’t be after today’s election.

For the first time since the 1960s, liberal Democrats are dominant. They are all but certain to have a lopsided majority in the House, and either a filibuster-proof Senate or something close to it. If Barack Obama wins the presidency today, they’ll have an ideological ally in the White House.

A sharp lurch to the left and enactment of a liberal agenda, or major parts of it, are all but inevitable. The centrist limits in earlier eras of Democratic control are gone. In the short run, Democrats may be constrained by the weak economy and a large budget deficit. Tax hikes and massive spending programs, except those billed as job creation, may have to be delayed.

By Fred Barnes
The Wall Street Journal
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But much of their agenda — the “card check” proposal to end secret ballots in union elections, the Fairness Doctrine to stifle conservative talk radio, liberal judicial nominees, trade restrictions, retreat from Iraq, talks with Iran — doesn’t require spending. And after 14 years of Republican control of Congress, the presidency, or both, Democrats are impatient. They want to move quickly.

Democrats had large majorities when Jimmy Carter became president in 1977 (61-38 in the Senate, 292-143 in the House) and when Bill Clinton took office in 1993 (56-44, 258-176). So why are their prospects for legislative success so much better now?

The most significant change is in the ideological makeup of the Democratic majorities. In the Carter and Clinton eras, there were dozens of moderate and conservative Democrats in Congress, a disproportionate number of them committee chairs. Now the Democratic majorities in both houses are composed almost uniformly of liberals. Those few who aren’t, including the tiny but heralded gang of moderates elected to the House in 2006, usually knuckle under on liberal issues. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bosses them around like hired help.

In the past, senior Democrats intervened to prevent a liberal onslaught. Along with Republicans, they stopped President Carter from implementing his plan to pull American troops out of South Korea.

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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122576065024095511.html

Obama: ‘I Will Change The World’

November 2, 2008

With just three days to go he and his opponent John McCain are touring key states in an effort to woo undecided voters.

Senator Obama is still almost seven points ahead in the Real Clear Politics poll of polls, but the gap has narrowed slightly.

Don’t miss these other great pre-election treats:
Is The Maverick a Closer, or a Loser? Is Obama the Messiah? Tuesday We’ll Know!

Obama Says Election ‘Vindicated’ His Faith in America

From Sky News (UK)

At a rally in Henderson, Nevada, he warned his supporters against complacency.

“At this defining moment in history, you can give the country the change we need,” he said.

Sky News’ Michelle Clifford, who was at the rally, said Mr Obama was trying to leave nothing to chance.

“He’ll be using every ounce of his resources to get the vote out,” she said.

At the same time Senator McCain was rallying his followers in Newport Beach, Virginia.

In a usually safe Republican state, which is threatening to go to the Democrats, he asked for help on the home stretch.

He said: “Let me state the obvious again, we need to win Virginia on the 4th of November and with your help we’re going to win and bring real change to Washington.

The campaigning has been tough for both men, but Sky News’ Robert Nisbet, who has been following the McCain bandwagon, says the toll is beginning to show on the older man.

“Being on the road at rally after rally is exhausting and Mr McCain appears to be tired,” he said.

Obama, McCain promise respect for Congress

November 2, 2008

Voters for the first time in almost five decades on Tuesday will send a sitting member of Congress to the White House, with Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain both promising to thaw the prickly relationship between the two branches of government.

But congressional experience is no guarantee the next president will have a cozy time with his former colleagues, as both candidates would likely face obstacles on Capitol Hill that could slow or sidetrack their political agendas.

By Sean Lengell
The Washington Times
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“With Obama, he was not in the Senate very long, and John McCain is not very well-liked in the Senate, so [their congressional experience] might cut the other way,” said Gene Healy, a vice president at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute and author of the 2008 book “The Cult of the Presidency.”

“I don’t know how much we can read into whether legislative experience at the federal level is going to lead to greater comity” between Capitol Hill and the White House.

With Democrats expected to make significant gains to their House and Senate majorities, a Democratic Obama administration would have a clear mandate to press ahead with his priorities, such as an expansion of government-subsidized health care, other spending programs, and a mix of tax increases and middle-class tax cuts.
Capitol Building Full View.jpg

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008
/nov/02/obama-mccain-promise-respect-for-congress/

Obama: As a Rising Political Star, Adopts a Low-Key Strategy

October 17, 2008

By Eli Saslow
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 17, 2008; Page A01

Early in 2005, Barack Obama met with half a dozen advisers in Washington to plot strategy. Some of those who participated remember that the group focused less on the details of Obama’s new job as the junior senator from Illinois than on managing his overall political image. He wanted to run for governor, maybe even president, someday, and preparing required a risky choice between two approaches to Washington.

Obama arrived as a celebrity, a best-selling author whose keynote speech was the only moment Democrats wanted to remember from their 2004 convention. He could capitalize on that reputation by speaking out against the Iraq war, scheduling prime-time television interviews and seizing control of high-profile bills. He could, as one Chicago friend suggested, “go in, do your thing and take the place by storm.”

Or, others advised, Obama could assume the typical role of a freshman senator, maneuvering with deference and humility. By endearing himself to Washington’s elite, he could build the foundation for his future.

“I think it’s important to take it slow,” Obama told his advisers. “I want to be liked.”

The result of those meetings was a kind of road map for the months ahead — a document his advisers called the “strategic plan.” Its creation testified to the focus and self-discipline that are part of Obama’s nature. While designed to outline Obama’s first 16 months in the U.S. Senate, its central tenets have delivered him to the brink of the presidency: Seek advice. Listen. Make cautious decisions. Strive for consensus.

But above all, the plan reminded Obama to manage his image and cultivate his political future. He came to the Senate with an inkling that he might seek the presidency, friends said, but his ambition and self-confidence compelled him to run much earlier than he had anticipated. By August 2006, a little more than 18 months after arriving in Washington, he began asking people he had barely met what they knew about New Hampshire and Iowa.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/10/1
6/AR2008101604277.html?hpid=topnews

McCain vows to fight for new direction for nation

October 13, 2008

By BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writer

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Republican John McCain pledged to fight for a new direction for the country in an energetic new campaign stump speech Monday that sought to distance him from the economic policies of President Bush. “We cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: waiting for our luck to change,” McCain said while campaigning with running mate Sarah Palin in this once reliably Republican state that has become a battleground this year.

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., ... 
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., give the thumbs-up as he speaks at a rally at the Virginia Beach Convention Center in Virginia Beach, Va., Monday, Oct. 13, 2008.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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“The hour is late; our troubles are getting worse; our enemies watch. We have to act immediately. We have to change direction now.”

The Arizona senator insisted he understood Americans’ concerns about the deepening financial crisis, even as fears about the meltdown have moved voters firmly in Democrat Barack Obama’s direction in recent weeks.

The repudiation of the Republican incumbent’s economic policies came as McCain has struggled to find a message that would reverse his sagging poll results nationally and in some battleground states. Yet, McCain echoed a line from President George H.W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush, about Democrats “measuring the drapes” that proved ineffectual for the GOP in 1992 and 2006.

Sen. Obama is measuring the drapes, and planning with Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi and Sen. (Harry) Reid to raise taxes, increase spending, take away your right to vote by secret ballot in labor elections, and concede defeat in Iraq,” McCain said, targeting the prospect of one-party government with references to the Democratic leaders of the House and Senate.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081013/ap_on_el_pr/
mccain;_ylt=Anter1ob47PUiognLPwJCEas0NUE