Lawmaker News

What Are They Up to Now?

During a presidential election year, congressional majorities don’t have much of a chance to make an impression. The media is fixated on the horse-race for the White House, and if there are other things going on, Congress gets nary a mention.

These days, congressional Democrats have even less of a chance to make much of a positive impression. The presidential contest is wide open, there’s a war in Iraq, global warming panic is gripping the media, and the world seems to be collapsing in many other different places (like Pakistan and Burma).

That is why it is so curious that congressional Democrats are using their precious little time chasing after a partisan witch hunt that will yield little positive press for their side.
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Democrats Hand Bush Another Win

Use it or lose it. It’s true about many things, and it’s especially true about political power. Once you get power, if you don’t use it to help bring about the things you believe in, you might as well give it up.

But, sadly, that’s how it is with Democrats today.

They were elected to end the war, but when George Bush vetoed their timetable for bringing the troops home, Democrats gave him all the money he wanted for Iraq, no strings attached.
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Bore Crimes

If they are really serious about controlling torture, members of Congress should consider banning committee hearings. Forget waterboarding.

Nothing is more inhumane than witnessing the evasive answers to lame questions that characterize nearly every chairman's effort to get on TV.

It's not that they aren't dealing with the outrageous conduct of this government and the private companies that have become bloated by shameless favoritism. They are. That's the hook. But inevitably they deteriorate into a buffoonery that's hard to watch.
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GOP Do-Nothing Strategy Is Working

Trick or treat!

For House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), it’s a dirty trick. The latest California poll shows her, for the first time, with a negative approval rating: 40 percent disapproval to 30 percent approval, with 25 percent no opinion. Congress, overall, fares worse: Only 22 percent of California voters approve of the job Congress is doing; 64 percent disapprove.
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You Say Stark Deserves Notice

Quick Poll! respondents voted 60%-NO and 40%-YES when asked whether Rep. Pete Stark deserves to be insignificant. (He suggested that this was his rightful place during a speech on the House floor during which he apologized for suggesting that American soldiers in Iraq have their heads blown off for President Bush's amusement.) If he were insignificant, if what he said didn't matter, everyone who disapproved of his comment would have coughed and shuffled their feet with embarrassment and then moved on rather than pressing him to make a formal apology. As it was, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not like having her message hijacked, and Stark agreed to take one for the team.

He isn't insignificant and can't be expected to sink into obscurity any time soon.
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Fixing Washington

An interesting Reuters article today about the special election in Massachusetts, barely won by Niki Tsongas, concludes that the Democrats’ overconfidence may come back to haunt them in the next election.

According to the article, “Former President Bill Clinton and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi campaigned with Tsongas. For some voters, their presence reinforced her image as a Washington insider. Ogonowski downplayed his Republican ties and instead vowed to fix a ‘broken Congress’ and fight illegal immigration.”
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Pete Stark Apologizes

While often critical of the new Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, I feel compelled to speak out when these leaders step up and do the right thing. You’ll recall that Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) spoke on the floor of the House last week and said that the president was waiting for troops to get old enough to be sent over to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement. I was offended by the comment and spoke out about my thoughts on the Pundits Blog, accordingly:
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Rep. Pete Stark's Insignificance

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) apologized Tuesday for recent comments that included the suggestion that American soldiers in Iraq "get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement." During the course of his tearful speech to the House of Representatives, Stark said he hoped his mea culpa would allow him to "become as insignificant as [he] should be."

Does he deserve to be insignificant" Vote in our latest Quick Poll!
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Partisan Gunslinger

An extraordinary new poll in the Las Vegas Review-Journal shows that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) has lower approval ratings in his home state than President Bush. Reid gets the approval of only 32 percent of Nevada voters and has a 51 percent disapproval rating. President Bush gets a 34 percent approval rating.

Theories abound as to why Sen. Reid is so profoundly unpopular.
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Tiger Woods

The GOP can learn a few lessons from Tiger Woods.

Tiger is good because he intimidates his opponents even when he is off his game. But he is great because he is willing to make fundamental changes to his swing, even when he is playing pretty well — a long and arduous process.

The Republican Party is by no stretch playing well right now, but they are still intimidating their opponents, and the Democrats are making a lot of mistakes because of that intimidation factor.
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