My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Not Fit To Govern

Lately, I have had a much easier time identifying with my friends on the Left. That is, it seems as though for every embarrasing statement by the likes of Ted Kennedy, Republicans are able to manage at least one of their own. Thursday gave us a gem of an example:

One, called by critics the "bridge to nowhere, would connect Ketchikan, Alaska, to an island where there is an airport and about 50 people. The highway bill allotted $223 million for that project and $229 million for another bridge near Anchorage.

"We find ourselves in significant difficulties as a nation," Coburn said, referring to the massive costs of hurricane relief and the mounting federal deficit. The Alaska bridges, he said, "are very low on the totem pole" of national priorities.

But in the tradition-bound Senate, Coburn was taking on an unwritten rule that one senator does not attack the projects sought by another.

"I've been here now almost 37 years," Stevens said. "This is the first time I have seen any attempt of any senator to treat my state in a way different from any other state."

"I don't kid people," he said. If the Senate decides ... to take money from our state, I will resign from this body."

Watching the coverage of this, I would swear Stevens was ready to break into tears at any moment. It was all very Voinovich-ian.

Perhaps such meltdowns in the Senate explain this:

. . .the money situation for the Republicans in the Senate is not quite as bad as the situation for the [House} Democrats. The DSCC narrowly outraised the NRSC last quarter, and currently holds about a 2-1 advantage in CoH [Cash on Hand]. These numbers are not devastating, but they are bad, and if they do not improve soon, could bode serious problems for the continued Republican control of the Senate.

Speaking of things that Elizabeth Dole does not do well, recruitment on the Republican side has been nothing short of atrocious. To recap briefly, Johanns (NE), Hoeven (ND), Giuliani (NY), Capito (WV) and Rossi (WA) all took a pass on running in 2006, instantly turning 5 elections that would have been "toss-ups" into either "lean Democrat" or "solid Democrat." When the scale of elections goes statewide, the money starts to matter progressively less, and the person running starts to matter more. The bottom line is that there are a lot of Senate seats that ought to be at the very least in play for Republicans that aren't right now.

Add to that the fact that Republicans are defending two very tough seats in PA and RI, and are facing a very stiff challenge from top-flight candidates in places like TN, and the picture for the Republicans in the Senate look considerably worse.

I gotta believe that the complete lack of discipline over the Miers nomination--REGARDLESS OF THE BASIS--will not add to the overall impression of competence among Senate Republicans--ALSO, REGARDLESS OF ACTUAL SOURCE OF MELTDOWN. Frankly, I'm not surprised the RSCC is having a hard time drafting candidates--would you want to be a junior member of THIS group?

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