In This Edition: Abramoff, DeLay & CIA leak investigations; Alito; polls; signs Bush is radioactive; Grassley (R-IA) fears for GOP’s future; Iraq war is making GOP voters antsy; GOPer says overturning Roe v. Wade would make it harder for GOP to win the votes of suburbanites; and more…

Circle `Em On Your Calendar
* James Tobin goes on trial in phone-jamming case Dec. 6.

DeLay Effect, TRMPAC, Jim Ellis, Safavian Arrest, Jack Abramoff, etc.

CIA Leak Case: Treasongate
* Interesting

Legal experts said Fitzgerald’s decision to call upon a new grand jury is all but certainly because he is considering additional criminal charges in the case.

General RNC & Right Wing News, BS, Corruption & Flip Flop Links

General Democratic News & Notes
* Hotline excerpt:

Charlie Cook writes in National Journal that Dems chances for retaking the House “depend on the answers to” 2 questions. First, will the ’06 political enviro and issue agenda enable Dems to “win a large portion of the competitive races.” And, second, are there enough “reasonably strong” Dems running against vulnerable GOPers and for open seats to “take advantage of any climatic advantages that” Dems may have.
     For now, “the answer to the first question is easy: “Yes.” But will enough seats “be in play for them to seize control?” Dems face some “speed bumps” in their path to pick up open seats in that only 13 GOPrs have to date announced their retirement, and most of their districts lean” GOP. Despite talk about putting 50 districts in play, there are now only 32 GOP-held distrcits where Dems have “at least a second-or third-tier candidate.” And “in years when” the enviro is “slighty tilted, only top-tier, “A,” candidates win. When the…field tilts dramatically, “B” and “C” candidates” can win.
     “Today,” the GOP’s “structural edge looks strong. But that edge has never been tested by the high winds and rough seas that are now raging”

Election Issues, Voting Rights & Election Reform

Analyst Stu Rothenberg estimates that there are only 25 “truly competitive contests” in the House. Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter puts the number at 28. In CA, TX, and IL combined, there are only 5 competitive races in ’06.
     Rep. John Tanner (D-TN 08), who introduced legislation that would require each state to create an independent redistricting commis., says the question of redistricting “goes to the very essence of our democracy,” because as currently practiced it liberates ideological extremists on both the left and the right from the need to appeal to the political center. He says the the status quo “produces public officeholders who do not have a broad sense of the public welfare, because it’s all party politics that determines who comes here. As the middle shrinks, it becomes harder for Congress to respond to the real problems of the country.”
     Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA 16) “has just introduced a competing measure that is similar to Tanner’s but promotes plans that maximize minority representation” and recognizes that voters live in “communities of interest.” Indeed, part “of what makes the redistricting issue so tricky is that it is linked to the effort to boost minority representation in Congress.”

News, Notes, and Policy & Issue Discussion


Political Communication, Electoral Map, Voting Preferences, the Electorate

Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), “who helped guide the GOP to an expanded majority in the House three years ago,” said a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade “could hurt his party’s political prospects and cause a ‘sea change’ in suburban voting habits.”

“A lot of people want to say Republicans are having problems because of stands we take on specific issues. I’ve seen polls where that’s not the reason. The reason is we’re not governing,” he said in a conference call with reporters.

President Bush’s efforts to paint Democrats as hypocrites for criticizing the Iraq war after they once warned that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat could backfire on Republicans.

Polls show marked declines in support for the war, notably among moderate Republicans, especially Republican women, and independents – voting blocs that the GOP needs to woo or keep in their camp.

If Bush castigates Democrats for changing their minds on the war, he might wind up alienating Republicans who have done so, too.

* RollCall

While still relishing their contribution to the demise of former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) last year, leaders of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are resigned to the reality that they will have to take a much more defensive posture in the 2006 cycle.
“There are times to play offense and times to play defense,” Bill Miller, the group’s political director, said at a news conference Tuesday. “Protecting the gains we’ve made is of paramount importance [next year].”
“We’re not an arm of the Republican Party,” Miller insisted.

Most Democrats would not agree.

“Saying the U.S. chamber is non-partisan is like saying Tony Soprano is indifferent to changes in racketeering laws,” said one Democratic operative, who did not want to be identified. “No one doubts they have and will continue to help some Democrats but the number is pretty small.”
Looking ahead to next year, Miller said the most important criteria will be protecting what the chamber has already achieved under a Republican-controlled Congress. “Businesses should look at the success they’ve enjoyed in this Congress and whether those things would happen under Democratic control,” Miller said.

The Democratic operative said the chamber damaged its standing with Democrats last year, especially with its all-out effort to help President Bush.

Signs Bush is Radioactive to 2006 GOPers



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