Lawmaker News

The John Edwards Train Wreck

“Thank God he’s not the Democratic nominee!” That was my first thought when I learned that John Edwards had confessed to having the extramarital affair he’d been denying for the last year and half.

My second thought: “What an egotistical, irresponsible putz!” For somebody who’s supposed to be smart, how could he be so stupid?

Unbelievable! Edwards actually thought he could have an affair and get away with it. He thought he could lie about it and get away with it. Even more outrageous, he ran for president knowing he’d had this affair and lied to his staff, the Democratic Party and the American people about being a man of faith, a family man, a model of moral rectitude.

The Agony of Deceit

It galls me to be writing about John Edwards's "liaison," or whatever the hell he calls it, because, frankly, I don't really care that he was messing around.

What does outrage me is the sleazy way he, his supporters and public relations hacks tried to deceive. Their lying, their word-parsing, and, finally, the predictable attempts to minimize the coverage when they were cornered, left many of us doubting anything Edwards says.

After all their attempts at deflection, after their failed efforts to obscure, they didn't finally come clean, they came dirty.

The Sins John Edwards Did Not Commit

John Edwards did not lie to get America into a war that has cost more than 4,000 American lives.

John Edwards did not commit acts of torture that violate the Geneva Conventions, American laws and commonly accepted standards of decency.

John Edwards did not commit massive acts of violation of the FISA law that involve thousands of counts of spying on Americans in violation of federal law.

John Edwards did not slander war heroes such as John Kerry and Max Cleland in the mindless pursuit of power.

A Few Decent Members

I was recently in Alaska, where I witnessed firsthand the love most Alaskans have for their embattled elder statesman, Sen. Ted Stevens (R).

Since 1968, Stevens has committed just about all his time and energy to helping the great state get everything it deserves, and then some. And the citizens up there recognize that and are willing to give the recently indicted Republican the benefit of the doubt on this one. But Stevens’s behavior throughout the years is symptomatic of a larger problem that I fear is permeating American politics today, and certainly the Republican Party.

Where’s the Outrage from Democrats?

It takes a village. That’s what Hillary Clinton said, of course. But it applies to Barack Obama, too.

What I’m wondering is: Where’s the village of Democrats that should have been out there, defending him from attacks by John McCain last week?

Just look at what happened: McCain accused Obama of being more interested in winning an election than winning a war. McCain accused Obama of not caring for the troops. McCain said Obama was nothing but a ditzy celebrity like Paris Hilton. And McCain accused Obama of playing the race card.

GOP Sit-In on the House Floor

There may not have been any tie-dyed T-shirts, psychedelic mushrooms or tear gas, but House Republicans on Friday staged an end-of-day floor "sit-in" of sorts to protest the Democrats adjourning the body for the August break without taking up energy legislation.

Republicans (a few dozen, anyway), a full five hours after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) officially sent members off on their traditional month-long August recess, continued taking turns speaking in the chamber, without the benefit of lights, microphones or cameras capturing their words.

The Bungling Speaker

In my postings here at The Hill’s Pundits Blog I’ve tried not to be overly partisan while posting about conservative thoughts and ideas. There is a distinct difference. Instead, I’ve tried to offer some insight into the strategy, thinking and tactics that are being utilized on the Hill and in the campaigns.

So pardon me as I deviate from that and say that today I could not be more proud of the House Republicans. As The Hill’s Jackie Kucinich has reported, the Republicans in the House have taken over the floor to decry energy prices. This would not be so unusual until you realize that the Democrats — who run the House — voted to adjourn the body this morning and leave for the traditional August recess. By adjourning, it meant the Republicans who wanted to speak on the floor after official business was finished — something called Special Orders — were denied the opportunity. They lost their audience of hundreds of thousands or more on C-SPAN and the ability of reporters to cover their speeches by watching on television.

The Ted Stevens Indictments — Time for a Deep Breath

Having once, in a public setting and in front of my peers, been called a "smartass" by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), I suppose I should feel a certain amount of satisfac — er … let's just say I should be feeling "not sad" right about now. But, the truth is, I am quite sad …

I can probably count on one hand the numbers of times in my life when I have been accused of being the "voice of reason,” or a "moderating influence,” so it is with some amount of hesitancy that I suggest we all slow down a little bit, do some deep breathing, and not get too far ahead of ourselves here.

Insert here any one of my public, personal tirades about this kind of "thing" over the years (or insert your own, which would, no doubt, be much better) and you will get a good sense of my anger at those "public servants" who sometimes, indictable or not, develop a terminal case of what I call "creeping entitlement" after years of service.

Tom Coburn

When I worked in the House Republican leadership and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) was a member of the House, I didn’t like his style of politics. He seemed unreasonable. He held up legislation. He made us work weekends. He led revolts against the leadership time and time again. He was inconvenient.

Now that he is a member of the Senate and I am back in the private sector, paying taxes and worrying about the debt, my view of Coburn has changed. I love the guy.

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Over the last couple of days, evidence has piled up about how the Democrats would govern if they gained control of all the branches of government. They would put themselves first.

We started learning about Charlie Rangel’s living arrangements in Harlem. Rent-controlled apartments are hard to find in the Big Apple, but not for the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. He was able to get four of them in a sweetheart deal that saves him about $30,000. The abuse was so egregious that he was forced to complain about himself to the ethics committee.