Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Political Hot Topics
LIEBERMAN LOSES, BUT CONTINUES CAMPAIGN: With the nation watching, Connecticut Democrats thronged to the polls in unexpectedly high numbers Tuesday to reject Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman and endorse his anti-war challenger, Ned Lamont. Lamont, a first-time candidate for statewide office, defeated a three-term incumbent who had come to be defined by his defense of the war in Iraq, despite a late advertising blitz begging voters to judge him on a progressive labor and environmental record. Lieberman, 64, his party's 2000 vice presidential nominee and a presidential hopeful only two years ago, conceded at 11:03 p.m. in a Hartford ballroom packed with national and international press. He then defiantly announced he would press on as a petitioning candidate, forcing a three-way race in November. Hartford Courant: Lieberman Defiant In Defeat

WORLDWIDE WEB, LOCAL SUPPORT BUOYED LAMONT: Almost no one saw it coming. Six months ago, Ned Lamont's name recognition was, within the margin of error, zero. He made campaign fliers on a copy machine. In a race against a Democratic senator with a national reputation, the political novice had two main things in his favor: substantial personal wealth and a potent issue. But while Lamont's success has been widely attributed to the rising power of the antiwar movement and liberal Internet bloggers, the 52-year-old upstart from Greenwich became a political giant-killer by blending both new- and old-style politics. Washington Post: Lamont Relied On Net and Grass Roots

TWO HOUSE INCUMBENTS BITE THE DUST: In the shadow of the Democratic Senate primary in Connecticut, angry voters in three states showed their discontent last night by unseating two incumbents and choosing a candidate who campaigned against his primary opponent's bipartisan past. The defeat of Georgia's outspoken Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D) and Michigan moderate Rep. John J.H. "Joe" Schwarz (R) appeared to confirm the strong headwinds that polls suggest members of Congress will face in November from an angry electorate looking for change. McKinney lost to former DeKalb County commissioner Hank Johnson in a runoff election. Schwarz was defeated in the Republican primary by a conservative challenger, Tim Walberg. Washington Post: House Incumbents McKinney, Schwarz Fall in Primaries

DID BLOGGERTYPES TAKE DOWN LIEBERMAN SITE?: When Senator Joseph I. Lieberman's campaign Web site crashed in the hours leading up to yesterday's Democratic primary election, it was hard not to read some deeper meaning into the problem. Was it a sign that Senator Lieberman was clumsy when it came to marshaling the technology that his opponents had used so well against him? Or had some shadowy, sinister bloggertypes who were championing his challenger, Ned Lamont, hacked into the site and shut it down, as the Lieberman campaign charged? New York Times: Charges of Dirty Tricks on Web Feed Speculation in the Blogosphere

HAWKS ON DEFENSIVE, ANTI-WAR CHALLENGERS CONFIDENT: In October 2002, lawmakers in Congress were presented with a preelection test about where they stood on Iraq, and most answered it by siding with President Bush, voting to authorize his use of force against Saddam Hussein and promising an anxious electorate that they would be protected against a potential threat from Iraq. Four years later, with nearly 2,600 US soldiers dead and no trace of the weapons of mass destruction that the White House said Hussein possessed, it is the Iraq war hawks who are on the defensive, ahead of midterm congressional elections that could tip the balance of power in one or both houses of Congress. Boston Globe: Vote of Confidence for Antiwar Challengers

McKINNEY ERA ENDS IN GEORGIA: It was once thought she had an invincible political machine that could turn out the masses on command. Late Tuesday night, that machine looked broken and her forces in disarray as six-term 4th District congresswoman and perennial firebrand Cynthia McKinney was soundly defeated by former DeKalb County Commissioner Hank Johnson. Political analysts said it could spell the end of a political era for McKinney in the DeKalb-centered district that includes portions of Rockdale and Gwinnett counties. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: McKinney’s Machine Breaks Down

GOP DOESN'T DELAY IN SEEKING DeLAY WRITE-IN REPLACEMENT: Former House majority leader Tom DeLay announced yesterday that he will make whatever moves are necessary to remove his name from the ballot in November, leaving the Texas Republican Party with no name on the ticket in his district but allowing GOP leaders to back a write-in candidate. DeLay's decision leaves his party with a difficult write-in campaign, in which it will seek to hold the retired politician's Houston area district in a year when Democrats have a chance to seize control of the House. Washington Post: GOP Searches for Write-In Candidate To Replace DeLay

W.H. TRIES TO WORK-AROUND GENEVA CONVENTIONS ACT: The Bush administration has drafted amendments to a war crimes law that would eliminate the risk of prosecution for political appointees, CIA officers and former military personnel for humiliating or degrading war prisoners, according to U.S. officials and a copy of the amendments. Officials say the amendments would alter a U.S. law passed in the mid-1990s that criminalized violations of the Geneva Conventions, a set of international treaties governing military conduct in wartime. The conventions generally bar the cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment of wartime prisoners without spelling out what all those terms mean. Washington Post: War Crimes Act Changes Would Reduce Threat Of Prosecution

ISRAEL SET TO EXPAND WAR: Israel's Security Cabinet convened Wednesday to likely approve a broader ground offensive in Lebanon, with key ministers arguing that the military must deal more blows to Hezbollah and score quick battlefield victories before a Mideast cease-fire is imposed. However, a decision to send troops deeper into Lebanon is fraught with considerable risk. Israel would set itself up for new criticism that it is sabotaging diplomatic efforts, particularly after Lebanon offered to deploy its own troops in the border area. AP via Yahoo! News: Israel likely to OK broader offensive

U.S., FRANCE AT ODDS OVER MIDEAST RESOLUTION: The United States and France appeared at odds Wednesday over Arab demands to change a U.N. resolution to call for a complete cessation of Israeli-Hezbollah hostilities and withdrawal of Israeli forces, diplomats said. France proposed new language on a total cease-fire and Israeli pullout, but the Americans rejected it out of concern that without a robust international force, a vacuum would be created in southern Lebanon, a Hezbollah stronghold, the diplomats said. AP via Yahoo! News: France's changes to draft rankle U.S.

SHIITES DISCUSSING DIVIDING IRAQ: They have a new constitution, a new government and a new military. But faced with incessant sectarian bloodshed, Iraqis for the first time have begun openly discussing whether the only way to stop the violence is to remake the country they have just built. Leaders of Iraq's powerful Shiite Muslim political bloc have begun aggressively promoting a radical plan to partition the country as a way of separating the warring sects. Some Iraqis are even talking about dividing the capital, with the Tigris River as a kind of Berlin Wall.
Los Angeles Times: Shiites Press for a Partition of Iraq

HOUSE GOP UNSURE ABOUT BOARDING STRAIGHT-TALK EXPRESS: There may not be a secret handshake or a club T-shirt, but members of the Don't-Want-To-Talk-About-McCain Caucus in the House wear signature facial expressions, the slight knowing smile or the near wince of dread, and issue uniform responses when asked about the presidential prospects of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) Fellow Arizona Republican Rep. J.D. Hayworth said, "We are focused on ways in which we can maintain and grow our majority and that is the one point of agreement that supersedes whatever disagreement there might be. I haven't thought about that and I will leave it to John to comment." In the words of one influential House GOP lawmaker, "[Republicans in the House] are quietly hoping another option will emerge." Concerned that McCain cannot afford to wait until November, supporters recently asked him to step up efforts to better engage House Republicans. The Hill: McCain Courts House Republicans for '08 Race

PORK ON THE MENU FOR FALL?: Fiscal conservatives in Congress fear the Senate's failure to get a handle on appropriation bills will lead to a pork-barrel spending spree this fall, undermining repeated promises for fiscal reform. The Senate left for summer recess after completing one of 12 spending bills needed to keep government agencies operating next year, all but assuring the need for an omnibus package, which are typically laden with pet projects never discussed or voted on. Washington Times: Slow Senate Likely to Force Omnibus Bill
Posted By Julie Hofler, CNN Washington Bureau: 8/09/2006 11:02:00 AM ET | Permalink
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