Lawmaker News

Look at Lieberman's Entire Record

This post first appeared in The Hartford (Conn.) Courant.

I disagree with Joe Lieberman’s position on the Iraq war. I had serious doubts about the October 2002 war resolution. I think the U.S. needs to begin an immediate phased and responsible redeployment of most troops.

But I must admit I had some doubts about my opposition when the statue of that genocidal thug Saddam Hussein was pulled down to the cheers of Iraqis young and old. My heart sang as I watched on television.

I remember even stronger self-doubts when I saw the long lines of courageous Iraqis waiting under the hot sun enduring the danger of bombs and bullets to vote in their first free elections. The memory of those old Iraqi ladies proudly holding purple fingers in the air to show they had voted moves me to this day.

Ask A.B.

In the newest segment for the pundits blog, A.B. Stoddard answers questions this week on pardoning Scooter Libby and Jeb Bush running for president.

Submit your questions (along with first name, last name and state of residence) to


Republican Family Values

Talk about hypocrisy. Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, one of the leading “family values” Republicans, is caught keeping company with prostitutes — and fellow Republicans rush to his defense.

Vitter’s the first politician to appear in the not-so-little black book of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called “D.C. Madam.” But this wasn’t his first whorehouse walk. Jeanette Maier, known as New Orleans’s “Canal Street Madam,” revealed that Vitter had been one of her regular customers, too.

Vitter admits having committed “a very serious sin,” but insists that’s the end of the story. “Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there — with God and them.”

Wait a minute. That’s not what Vitter said about Bill Clinton.

Limping into the Break

As Congress limps into the July 4th break with its lowest approval ratings in history, a broken appropriations process bedeviled by allegations of corruption, an energy bill that Mike Burgess rightfully called a "lethargy bill," a failed attempt to reform our immigration laws and a lack of progress on ethics reform, most Americans have to wonder why they gave the reins to the Democrats.

The new Democratic majority has proven itself adept at breaking promises, entangling itself in knots and angering not only Republican partisans, but its own base.

What does it have to show for its efforts? A minimum wage increase that was stuck onto a war spending bill. Incredibly, it was the Democratic leaders who stuck that provision into the bill, causing their own top presidential candidates to vote against it. So, on their top accomplishment, their standard-bearers voted no. 

Bush's Evil I's

Republicans hate the immigration bill and are beginning to hate the war. Yesterday was another terrible day for President Bush, as Sen. Richard Lugar's (R-Ind.) criticism inspired other GOP critics and House Republicans closed the door on immigration reform. In a 114-23 vote of their conference House Republicans resolved that "we stand together in united opposition to any bill that rewards illegal behavior with amnesty." With only 23 Republican votes there isn't much House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) could do to help Bush push immigration through the House, even if she liked him.

There is no way for White House officials to rationalize what Lugar did. Lugar, ranking Republican and former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is likely the most credible voice on foreign policy in the Republican Party today, "unimpeachable," to use a favorite Washington word. He doesn't lower himself to partisan skirmishes, and his comments do not amount to a defection to the Democratic side of the debate. Listen to his plea: He is asking Bush to lead on this so the Democrats don't, and he wants a redeployment and a U.S. presence in Iraq, not a withdrawal. 

Bad News Times Two

Bad timing continues to infect the campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). As the former front-runner braces for another quarter of disappointing fundraising and all the inevitable political metaphors of life-support and death vigils that accompany bad news for him these days, he was blindsided by the Supreme Court. Besides an immigration signing ceremony, the last thing the McCain campaign needed this week was another spotlight on the campaign finance reform law that he championed and that is anathema to the very people he now so badly needs.

The ruling, which will once again permit last-minute advertising by interest groups that use names of candidates, isn't good news for any candidate but hits McCain twice.

A Victory By Any Other Name...

The Golden Tongue Quote of the Week goes to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) for trying to spin his way out of admitting Democratic defeat yesterday in the face of a GOP victory to oppose secret earmarks.

The Washington Times reports:

“Despite their minority status, Republicans this week used a series of procedural moves to stall the first of 12 spending bills to protest the Democrats' decision to only permit earmarks in Conference Committee.

"'The truth is, we controlled the floor this week,’ said House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican.

“But Mr. Hoyer said his party ‘had control of the floor at all times. We chose not to exercise that control.’” 

Subpoena Games

Here we go again. Just when you thought that congressional Democrats had overplayed their hand and failed to deliver on the promises they made to the American people, they’re back to playing partisan politics once again. At second blush, have they ever stopped since Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has wielded the Speaker’s gavel? (By the way, Six for ‘06 appears to be 0 for 6 in ’07, but I digress.)

An Indelible Stain on the Floor

This week finds House Democrats struggling to address their earmark problem, that perennial stain on the floor they thought they could finally scrub clean after all these years. What they had scrubbed along the way was their original promise to expose every special spending item, and now Republicans have their backs against the wall. It practically makes losing on Iraq war votes seem fun.

But there are other messes, too. I learned from listening to Rep. Mark Kirk's (R-Ill.) radio address over the weekend that there is an additional ethics matter the new majority has backed away from, and it isn't pretty.