Saturday, July 28, 2007

Department of Non-Sequiturs

From Think Progress:
LaHood: 110th Congress has been successful.Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL), who has a reputation for sometimes “tell[ing] the truth, unvarnished,” offered his assessment of the new Congressional leadership:

They’ve had a pretty strong quarter… They can send their members home crowing about their accomplishments, and they’ve done it in a bipartisan way, which is exactly what they promised to do.

LaHood also announced he will not be seeking re-election.

That prompted this comment from a reader:
I love that ending. Try your own: Start with a name, then the thing you’d least expect to hear, and end it with “also announced he will not be seeking re-election.” For example -

“Sensenbrenner surprised the press Thursday by announcing he had fathered a child with a space alien he called ‘Gertrude69-Omega’, and also announced he will not be seeking re-election.”
How about: "Sensenbrenner said he would co-sponsor new Disabilities Act legislation with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and also announced he would not seek re-election."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sensenbrenner opposes contempt move

The Hill reports:
The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday along straight partisan lines to hold White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers in contempt of Congress, the first concrete step toward a constitutional showdown between the two branches of government.
Party line means F. Jim Sensenbrenner voted no, but he did offer an alternative that at least sounds reasonable on its face:

“I think the White House is going to win in court,” asserted Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), the former chairman of the panel. “If we do bring the case to court and lose, then that is going to be viewed as a blank check by the current president and the future presidents to snub the Congress” in its oversight responsibilities.”

Instead of moving forward with the contempt citation, Sensenbrenner suggested the committee direct the House general counsel to file a civil suit challenging the president’s claim of executive privilege in the D.C. District Court, a move he said he would support. Conyers said he would consider filing the suit in addition to moving forward with the contempt citation.
There is, of course, this sticky little problem that the LA Times notes. The Bush administration would have to agree to file the contempt case:
If the House approves the resolution, the charges against Miers and Bolten will be referred to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, although the outlook for a prosecution there is unclear. The administration has said the Justice Department would not pursue the contempt charges because it believes the law does not provide for such a prosecution when presidential aides assert executive privilege.
As my mother used to say, "There's always something to take the joy out of life."

Democrats need a serious

candidate, not a sideshow

(DISCLAIMER: I am a contributor, not the operator, of this blog, so these opinions are not necessarily those of the management.)

Yesterday, we noted that two professors, one Democrat and one Republican, say they are going to run a joint campaign for Jim Sensenbrenner's Congressional seat. We called the idea wacky.

Today, The NY Times takes note, treating it semi-seriously.

But lest there was any doubt this is a gimmick, which will be good for some media attention but have nothing to do with any serious chance of defeating Sensenbrenner, here's some of the Times story:

In a show of bipartisan comity rarely, if ever, seen before in congressional politics, Burkee and Walz will launch a joint campaign Web site at and produce joint advertising, bumper stickers and yard signs...

Although only one of them can be elected to Congress, Burkee and Walz discuss their joint campaign in terms of what would happen if “we” win. They said they would continue teaching at Concordia as they served the district’s constituents, bringing back the idea of citizen legislators instead of career politicians...

Seniors from Concordia University and the University of Wisconsin will staff the campaigns...

Gary C. Jacobson, a professor of political science at the University of California San Diego and an expert in congressional elections, said he is not aware of such an arrangement in any past congressional elections, and gave the candidates slim chances in the general election.

“It’s a gimmick that will get them some attention but ... I don’t see how they could possibly expect to win,” Jacobson said..
Then there's this:
The idea for the run came out of a series of lectures Burkee and Walz undertook during the 2004 presidential campaign. The two professors, supporting their respective parties’ presidential candidates (Bush for Burkee and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry for Walz), conducted a series of self-moderated debates around the district to help educate voters about major issues.

Ah, yes, who can forget those exciting Burkee-Walz debates of 2004? Does anyone have any recollection of that, except the two participants?

Their first "debate" of the Congressional campaign may interest the news media, but after that they'll have to set their hair on fire to get any coverage.

If no other Democrat enters the race, Walz will be the Dem nominee. Burkee is not going to beat Sensenbrenner in a GOP primary. Come general election time, without his "running mate," what is Walz's plan to beat Sensenbrenner one-on-one? Do joint yard signs with Big Jim? Run joint TV commercials? Don't think so.

Here's hoping, once again, that a serious Democratic candidate -- one who wants to run a real campaign and try to win, even in this heavily Republican district -- gets into the race.

The voters deserve better than a sideshow.

UPDATE: I added a little more explanation and commentary on Daily Kos post.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sensenbrenner gets bipartisan opposition

This seems more than a little wacky, with two professors seemingly wanting to test their academic theories about what kind of campaign voters want.

Be that as it may, two professors -- one Dem, one Repub -- have announced they will run in tandem for Sensenbrenner's Congressional seat next year.


That may well be enough to keep out any serious challenger.

Ken Mobile has more.