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Okay, so he's not actually my Congressman, I'll admit it. And he's not technically a rocket scientist, either, just a nuclear physicist who served for a few years as the head of the Nuclear and Scientific Division of the Office of Strategic Forces at the State Department.

But Rush Holt is pretty smart. And pretty experienced. And he'd make a damn good Chairman of the Intelligence Committee.

For those of you who haven't been following the drama, Congresswoman Pelosi has held back on revealing her choice for the position, long after she revealed her picks for other top posts. Her hesitancy, it seems likely, comes from the fact that she has a difficult decision to make. The most obvious choice (and current senior Democrat on the Committee), Jane Harman (D-CA) is an unlikely pick, given her poor relationship with Nancy Pelosi, as well as her general complacency when faced with Republican and White House demands over the past few years.

The next ranking Democrat-- Alcee Hastings (D-FL)-- is a similarly troubling nominee. Though he has served ably on the Intelligence Committee in recent years, he has more than a few skeletons in his closet. For a Democratic Party that was handed its majority based mostly on frustration with Republican corruptness, his indiscretions might simply be too much to overlook. Twenty-five years ago, then federal judge Hastings was impeached by the Democratic House on charges of perjury and bribery, and then removed from his office by the Democratic Senate. It is interesting to note that a younger Congresswoman Pelosi was one of the House Democrats who voted to impeach Mr. Hastings.

Given the two most senior choices are so ill-suited to chair the committee, I-- and many others in the liberal blogosphere-- feel it is time for some out of the box thinking.

The first name that comes to mind is Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ). He is exceedingly qualified, intelligent, and has a record of standing strong against Bush's Republican party. Perhaps more importantly, as David Corn points out on his blog at The Nation, "this would be a change for Pelosi to send a signal: the Democrats do regard national security seriously and are willing to put aside political concerns to do the right thing. She would be saying, merit matters most when it comes to protecting the United States."

That seems like a pretty good message to send.

So, personal opinions aside-- I am, admittedly, a big fan of Rush's-- Congressman Holt would be an excellent choice for the Chairmanship. He is both an exciting (the Rocket scientist joke never gets old) and responsible choice, and Congresswoman Pelosi should think long and hard before giving the job to anyone else.

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Ok, so I'm gonna update everyone here about Ann Coulter's weekly rants in what she calls her "column," because if we are to fight the right, we have to know how they rant.

So, Ann Coulter's latest shriek is about the absolute stupidity of Muslims believing that boycotting an airline for discriminating against their right to freely worship will do damage to the airline.

Six imams removed from a US Airways flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix are calling on Muslims to boycott the airline. If only we could get Muslims to boycott all airlines, we could dispense with airport security altogether.
What an intriguing notion! If we dispense of airport security, then white guys like Timothy McVeigh and Richard Reid can blow us up, and you know how safe I feel knowing that white guys kill little innocent babies.
Witnesses also said that the imams were talking about Saddam Hussein, and denouncing America and the war in Iraq. About the only scary preflight ritual the imams didn't perform was the signing of last wills and testaments.
Wow, what an indictment! Denouncing America and the War in Iraq, that must mean you're a terrorist. I mean, just how many people on Earth criticize this war. I mean, Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican of Nebraska, was calling for a pullout from Iraq yesterday in the Washington Post, and called the President "arrogant." He should pull out a last will and testament, start praising Allah, and set off his C4 on his belt already, that dastardly terrorist who served and bled in Vietnam.

More from Queen Anne:
One of the stunt-imams in US Airways' advertising scheme, Omar Shahin, complained about being removed from the plane, saying: "Six scholars in handcuffs. It's terrible."

Yes, especially when there was a whole conference of them! Six out of 150 is called "poor law enforcement." How did the other 144 "scholars" get off so easy?
Thank you, Anne, your enlightening insights into security policy have truly given me a whole new perspective on terrorism and homeland security. I mean, you've convinced me that we should allow torture, set up secret prisons in Eastern Europe to detain people who may have been suspected of stealing bubble gum in 4th grade, round up people who believe in their One, true God, eavesdrop on American citizens without a warrant, take library records with no legal authority, and start unnecessary wars that screw up the world.

If we do all that, we'll be safe from the terrorists.

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You rarely see the name “Hillary Clinton” without the phrase “frontrunner for the 2008 Democratic nomination” surgically attached to it, and for good reason.

Or so it would seem, anyway.

Sen. Clinton certainly makes a good case for a possible presidential run. Supporters (and not a few detractors) point to two main talking points as to why the senator is the prohibitive favorite to win the nom: 1) Name recognition (undeniable) and 2) An insurmountable fundraising advantage (ditto). As if to prove it, Sen. Clinton spent a record $36 million to ensure a “blowout” reelection victory over her Republican opponent in New York. The money helped Sen. Clinton win by over 30 points—and also made the junior senator from New York the biggest campaign spender this cycle. (The #2 spender? Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who spent $24 mil to get his butt handed to him by Bob Casey.)

I want to direct you to a recent New York Times article on the subject. Since Sen. Clinton took office in 2001, she has spent at least 36 million smackaroos on her reelection, which she won with 67%. In contrast, her colleague Chuck Schumer spent less than half that—about $15.5 million—to get reelected in 2004, and won with 71% of the vote, four points more than Hillary did this year. Sen. Clinton also won a smaller percentage of the vote in New York this year than did Gov.-elect Eliot Spitzer, who won 69% in his successful campaign.

Sen. Clinton’s reckless spending has left more than a few Dems a little PO’d. Clinton spent heavily in an effort to win in a blowout that would showcase her nationwide as a candidate who can appeal do independents and Republicans as well as true blue Dems, setting her up for a White House run. But the strategy may have backfired on the good senator.

Netroots bloggers are criticizing Sen. Clinton of “blowing” an appalling $36 million to win what was always a shoo-in campaign, and many longtime supporters and fundraisers are criticizing campaign aides for a “lack of discipline” in spending.

All of this broohaha blows huge holes through the pro-Hillary arguments longtime advisors like James Carville and Mark Penn have been making in private and in the press for the past year and a half. One—that Hillary isn’t as divisive as she is stereotyped, and could win a large segment of moderates and independents—is immediately cast into doubt by the huge amount of money she spent in New York this cycle to create her landslide victory. It was smart strategy; Among other things, her 2006 reelection campaign created a convenient excuse to keep Hillary in New York and out of early primary and caucus states like Iowa and New Hampshire, continuing the aura of mystery that has surrounded Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 intentions for some time. (Don’t worry about her primary prospects too much, though—Bill was out there instead, doing more than a big of glad-handing in Cedar Rapids and Manchester—a worthy surrogate to be sure.) But the result—spending an absurd amount of money that could have been spent in battleground states like Tennessee—may come ‘round later to kick good ol’ Hil in the butt, should she ultimately decide to run.

But the other consequence of Sen. Clinton’s heavy-handed spending habits may be more problematic in the short term. One of Sen. Clinton’s strongest advantages among the field of possible Democratic contenders is her unsurpassed ability to fundraise and tap donor databases worth millions more than any other candidate. But Hil’s spending—which included $27,000 for valet parking and $13,000 worth of flowers—left her with a much-depleted war chest. As of mid-October (the last time her campaign filed a disclosure with the FEC), she had about $14 million CoH, far less than the $20-30 million her advisers predicted she’d have post-election. This puts the esteemed senator in the same ballpark as fellow '08 hopefuls John Kerry ($13.8 million as of 9/30) and Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana ($10.6 million).

Whether her 2006 spending will become an issue in the '08 primaries is certainly a big question (it's easy to forget that the Iowa caucuses are actually more than a year away), but it certainly warrants asking the question we've all been thinking anyway: How electable is Hillary Clinton?

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I don't have much time to write about this, but everyone should check out this frightening editorial from today's New York Times.

It's about the latest radical ideologue to be given a high-level appointment in the Bush administration, despite a complete lack of knowlege or experience in the field.

What happened to moving forward in a more sensible, bipartisan manner, President Bush?

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... a Democratic House, Senate, and the majority of state houses across the nation.

Plus, I have a class that let me color a hand turkey:

What are you thankful for? Leave a comment with your most thanks-worthy memories of the last year (politics-related, or not).

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People argue with me all the time about Iraq. I argue that we must shift our role in Iraq from policing a bloody and sectarian civil war to an advisory role that focuses on counterterrorism, border security, logistics, force protection, intelligence, and security forces training. I call for a strategic redeployment of our troops to the perimeter of Iraq, and away from the focal point of combat. People say to me that doing this will lead to more chaos. When we argue about Iraq, we talk about it as though this is a case study in International Relations. It is not. Take a long, hard look at the pictures from the field below, and you'll realize why this war is an important topic on which we should focus.

We won this election in 2006 because Americans were tired of seeing these pictures. We can't let those voters down. We can't accept this ludicrous idea from the Iraq Study Group or the Joint Chiefs or John McCain that if we just send more troops, we can win this. There is no definition of victory. There is no meaning to the word "win" here. If we continue to send our troops into the middle of this fight, we will only see more bloodshed. The smartest strategy here is to keep this situation contained, but to withdraw largely from the center of it. We can prevent this civil war from becoming an international headache, but we shouldn't spare another American soldier to make the Sunnis and Shia play nice.

In 2008, I'd like us to have a Presidential nominee who had the good sense to judge this war a mistake from the beginning. Being President of the United States is not something anyone can truly prepare for, but having good judgment on this war is a critical prerequisite for me. Senator Obama and Vice President Gore are the only two possible candidates who opposed this war from the beginning. If Senator Obama does not get in (I hope he does, and Gore is a pipedream to get in), I will have to choose who among the remaining candidates has the greatest judgment on this war, but it will not be easy. Senator Obama should get in, because he is the right person with the right judgment to be President of the United States at this time.

Now, here is what Hell on Earth looks like.
















Don't forget these pictures when you argue about this war in Iraq. This is not a case study, this is real life.

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I know what you thought when you read that: “But I thought the children were our future!?”

True enough.

Youth turnout this November was the highest it has been in twenty years, and it favored Democrats by a whopping 22 percent margin (60% to 38%). This is more than twice as favorable as any other age group.



People associate with a political party in their youth, and it usually sticks. Those who came of age during FDR’s (prolonged) tenure became New Deal Democrats. Many voters from Reagan’s era – now in their 40s or 50s – are reliably Republican. Bush seems to be having a similar effect, except he is driving people away from his party. Our generation is becoming politically conscience in the era of 9/11, Katrina, and Iraq, and the Republican Party is suffering for it.

Young voters believe that America is on the “wrong track” by a ratio of three-to-one.

In nine years, our generation will comprise a third of the total electorate.

The future looks bright. Pun intended.

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What makes us Democrats?

What makes them Republicans?

It's a fascinating question. Some argue that our socialization as children by our parents shapes our partisan affiliation. And certainly, this is part of it. But there are those who buck their parents and those who change party affiliation over their lifetime.

So for those of us who have been Democrats all of our lives and would rather move to China than become Republicans, what makes us fundamentally Democrats?

Yes, we support Democratic policies over Republican ones. And we may even support our candidates more because they're just better people.

We support raising the minimum wage, getting everyone health care, supporting better education, protecting the environment, supporting civil and equal rights, preserving our Constitutional liberties, building alliances and pursuing diplomacy outside our borders. But what joins these ideas? What is our Democratic philosophy that makes us believe in these policies?

I believe that we Democrats believe in two fundamental ideas. The first is the idea of the American Dream. We Democrats believe that at the very core of America lies an idea that if you are a good person, you help others, you work hard, and you play by the rules, it doesn't matter what your race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, age, or disability is, but you too, in this great, meritocratic, tolerant, generous, and forgiving society that is America, can succeed and give your children better than what you had. This fundamental idea is why we Democrats support a better education, health care for all, support immigrants, want to promote tolerance, respect, and diversity, oppose poverty, and want everyone to have a good-paying job.

The second idea in which we fundamentally believe is the Constitution. To us Democrats, we view this document as a sacred scroll, one that provides us with guidance, directs our moral compass, and provides a framework for how we interact with our fellow citizens in society. We take that preamble seriously, and believe in "form[ing] a more perfect union." We believe in that Bill of Rights, that tell us that generally people can say or practice or express whatever they want, unless they are harming someone else, without any interference from the government, and beyond that, with a great deal of respect and healthy discourse from those that oppose your ideas. This constitution, for which we as Democrats dedicate ourselves, charges us with a civic duty to protect the foundational ideas of our country from radical change from any ideology.

And what do the Republicans believe? I believe, and I can't say for sure because I am not a Republican, that they also support two fundamental ideas as well. Those two ideas are the free market and the Bible. Republicans fundamentally believe in the greatness of the free market and the power it possesses, which leads them to mistrust any government intervention in the economy, through taxes, regulations, or spending. But this idea of the free market extends to social life as well, and tells them that diversity, tolerance, and respect must be met by the forces of social supply and demand, and government should not try to promote liberty and tolerance in places where the political and social marketplace won't accept it. When you tie this belief to a fundamental belief in the divinity and infallibility of the Bible, you get a Republican who believes that the word of Adam Smith and God are the will that they must follow. Their mindset is a core adherence to these principles.

Now I am not trying to say that Republicans don't also support the American Dream and the Constitution. They surely do. And Democrats certainly take the free market and the Bible extremely seriously and follow them too. But the priority of Democrats is to follow the Constitution over the Bible in our political lives, and we believe fundamentally that the free market is a means to the American Dream, not the other way around.

What do you guys think?

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If you’ve walked through Red Square recently, you may have noticed flyers promoting the Georgetown chapter of America’s newest third party campaign, Unity ’08. Founded by former advisors to the Ford and Carter administrations and Maine’s former Independent governor Angus King, intends to run a third ticket in the upcoming presidential campaign, featuring a split ticket, or possible independents

Unity 08 is based on the conviction that the two major parties are corrupt, slaves to special interest dollars, and driven to extremism by the influence of their respective bases. The result: American government is paralyzed by partisanship, essentially ignoring the beliefs and issues that matter to the moderate majority of the nation.

Encouraged by the immense potential of the internet for grassroots mobilization, the campaign intends to hold a nominating convention online in early 2008 to select its ticket. The ‘primary’ will be open to all American voters. Although no one has officially declared candidacy yet, some names being thrown around include Sen. Lieberman, Rudy Guliani, Chuck Hagel, Michael Bloomberg, Mark Warner, Wes Clark, and—implausibly enough—John McCain, whom the media still insists on calling a moderate.

If Unity 08 supporters think that the government is unproductive now, they should wait until they put a split ticket in office. The last time this happened, during the election of 1796, which resulted in a Federalist President (Adams) and a Democratic-Republican VP (Jefferson), strife within the executive branch was disastrous, resulting in the 12th Amendment which ensured that such a situation wouldn’t occur again. Furthermore, they assume that there is some sort of parity between the two positions, which is obviously part of the truth. Unless two independents are nominated, the Unity ticket will inevitably represent the moderate wing of one of the two major parties.

Despite their claim that they represent the centrist majority of Americans, like all third parties in America’s winner-take-all electoral system, the Unity 08 ticket will, at most, play the role of spoiler (Perot in ’92, Nader in ’00, etc). Given its reformist mentality, general idealism, and emphasis on corruption, climate change, and dependence on foreign oil, it’s a safe bet to say that Unity will siphon most of its votes from the Democrats.

This is particularly evident when you consider that the controversial social issues it avoids addressing—abortion, gay marriage, and gun control, for example—are powerful wedge issues which drive Republicans, more than Democrats, to the polls.

Loyal Democrats have no reason to fear, however—the Unity ticket is destined to play a minor role, if any at all, in 2008. Decrying the role that special interests play in electoral politics, Unity plans to run solely with private donations. The problem with this plan, though, is that moderates, lacking a strong ideological drive, are the least likely to donate.

Furthermore, while Americans and the media repeatedly disparage the politics of negativity and personal attacks, calling for a more substantive debate, they repeatedly reward these tactics at the voting booth.

Another problem with running an issue-based campaign is that Unity 08 doesn’t actually have concrete positions on them. Sure, they call for bipartisanship and attention to the ‘crucial issues’, but they don’t actually take a stand on any of them. Appealing to disillusioned, generally apathetic voters, Unity 08’s central platform seems to ask: Can’t we all just get along?

No.

We can’t.

Despite its trivial nature, politics deals with serious issues which many Americans passionately disagree on and cannot simply be ignored. It is a forum where people of different philosophies wage ideological warfare, and the means through which our nation comes to a consensus on its core values and priorities. Perhaps this is just the viewpoint of one bitter partisan, but I don’t see anything admirable about conciliatory centrism, particularly when the decisions of our government can mean the difference between life and death.

Our government is far from being truly democratic, and elections are often determined by the most superficial aspects of politics, a vague, warm-and-fuzzy call for harmony is no solution. Yet, while it is easy and fashionable to spout clich├ęs criticizing partisanship, negative campaigns, the overwhelming advantage of incumbency, and the inevitable influence of money on government, it is much harder to come up with constructive policies to improve health care & education, reduce the budget deficit, and make our democracy more representative. It’s even more difficult to do so without disagreement.

One of the reasons that money, incumbency, and superficiality frequently carries the day in politics is because so many people buy into the ignorant maxim, spouted by naysayers such as the Unity 08 crowd, that there’s no difference between the two major parties. Instead of issuing fruitless calls for unity and adding to the unproductive chorus of discontent, they should help voters see past the mudslinging by showing apathetic Americans that despite the medium, the government matters.

As a fellow partisan once said, “Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

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I'm going to go ahead and ramble on about Dean and his 50 State Plan again...

Sure, I am no Deaniac, but his 50-state plan is great (don't get me wrong, I love the Ragin' Cajun as much as anyone...). Reading DailyKos today allows me to remind you how important it is to keep Dean and how we lost the South in the first place. This is what not to do now:
"Now, this doesn't mean we need to abandon the South, belittle the South, mock the South, piss on the South, or ignore the South. A national party with a real mandate needs to be competitive in every corner of our great nation."

He's exactly right. I read What's the Matter with Kansas and hated it. But, I am (sort of) from the South and I understand exactly what Kos and Thomas Frank are saying. The people of the South have been mislead, just as much of the Midwest had been, by Republicans but the Democrats need only to step in. The South was written off bu all of us, especially after '04 with the maps detailing "JesusLand" (http://www.basetree.com/graphics/jesusland.jpg) as everything that was not California, New York, and Hawaii. If I considered myself a true Southerner and planned on living in the South forever, I would have become enraged and voted with the party that was accepting me. Clearly the left wanted nothing to do with the South!

Coming from Northern Kentucky, where a Democrat 2-term incumbent couldn't beat a one-term, Republican party liner, George Bush lover to win his Congressional seat back, I could very much say "Write it off, the South is done! It's finally over", but the Democratic party can not. This year, we picked up seats in the South, which should tell us that these people are just looking for the quality candidates they have not gotten in years. We finally have a chance to encourage good Democratic candidates to run and bring the South to the good side. Let's keep putting money (and faith) behind these Dems in the South and they might just win.

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Following up on yesterday's post, I will now go through each of the 21 Republican seats up in 2008 and how we can target and win in every single one. So here we go!

Wayne Allard is our best pickup opportunity in 2008. Allard has made hints that he will retire after two terms in the Senate. If he does retire, expect either ex-Rep. Bob Beauprez (who just lost a race for governor by double digits) or Reps. Tom Tancredo or Marilyn Musgrave to run for the Republican nomination. Expect all of them to lose as Rep. Mark Udall is already planning to run, regardless of Wayne Allard's plans. Udall's raised over $1 million and will be formidable as Colorado is a blue state rising, with a Democratic governor, both houses of the state legislature, a majority in the Congressional delegation and one Democratic US Senator in Ken Salazar. Plus, Allard has only a 43% approval rating in the state and has only raised $100,000 for his reelection. This should be our Pennsylvania of 2008.

Oklahoma should be a prime pickup opportunity for us as well. Sen. Jim Inhofe is a crazy anti-gay bigot who claimed that never in his family's history had their been a gay member, proudly proclaiming this fact on the Senate floor with a picture of his family in the background. He is unpopular at home, with only a 43% approval rating and only a half a million dollars raised for reelection. If popular Democratic governor Brad Henry runs for this seat, he will easily beat Inhofe, as Henry has a 69% approval rating and just won his reelection with 67% of the vote against Republican congressman Ernest Istook. If Gov. Henry doesn't run, Democrats hold 7 of the other 8 statewide offices in Oklahoma, where Attorney General Drew Edmondson and Superintendent of Public Instruction Sandy Garrett each received over 60% of the vote this year as Democrats. If Democrats run anyone of these three candidates against Inhofe, they'll be elected to the US Senate.

Though many think it will be difficult to defeat Saxby Chambliss in Georgia in 2008, he is not a popular Senator, with only 47% approval. He barely won election in 2002, after he smeared triple amputee ex-Sen. Max Cleland. If Sen. Cleland returned to fight for his old seat, I think he could beat Chambliss, who has raised over $2 million. It clearly will take a lot of money to dislodge him, but it's possible. Democrats hold three statewide offices in Georgia, including Attorney General Thurbert Baker, who won 57% of the vote this year, and Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin, who won 56% of the vote this year, and Labor Commissioner Mike Thurmond, who won 55% of the vote this year. If any of those three run, they could certainly upset Chambliss with a bunch of money, and none of them would have to give up their jobs if they lost.

Jon Cornyn is one of the most sinister Republicans in the US Senate. If we could take him down, we'd have scored a major victory. His approval rating is 47% and he's raised nearly $3 million. If Congressman Lloyd Doggett, a conservative Democrat from Austin, challenges Cornyn, it could be a race, considering that Doggett has raised nearly $2 million. Austin Mayor Will Wynn is a Democrat who has deep pockets and could make a race out of it. Dallas Mayor Laura Miller could also make a run of it, as could Houston Mayor Bill White or El Paso Mayor John Cook or San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger. Winning in Texas will never be easy for a Democrat, but running the right campaign and raising enough money, could put Cornyn out of a job.

John Sununu is a very vulnerable Senator. Barely elected in 2002 over ex-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, he is not wildly popular, with only a 50% approval rating. He's only raised $500,000 and New Hampshire is a blue state rising, with Democrats having just taken over the State House and State Senate for the first time since 1911. If you look back to the last time Democrats controlled the Governorship and both Houses of the legislature, you have to go back to 1874. Having also picked up both New Hampshire congressional seats this year, New Hampshire Democrats are poised for a comeback. Considering the state will still play a huge role in the Democratic Presidential primaries in 2008, the Democratic Party here will be very strong. Democratic Gov. John Lynch is wildly popular, with a 74% approval rating, and having just won reelection with the same percentage. I doubt Lynch would be willing to give up the Governorship (New Hampshire Governors run every two years), but if he did, he would cream Sununu. The races for State Senate President and House Speaker in New Hampshire are underway, but whoever the winners are, they should seriously consider taking on Sununu if Lynch decides against a run. A smart and talented in New Hampshire with a lot of money should easily be able to beat Sununu in this blue and getting bluer state.

Lamar Alexander is waiting for a smackdown in Tennessee. With only a 51% approval rating and only $300,000 in the bank, he's not looking great for reelection. If popular Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen decides to run, he will be slightly favored in this race, and would not have to leave the Governorship if he loses. With a 62% approval rating and having just won reelection with 69%, he is very well positioned to beat Alexander. With Democrats controlling the State House and with only a one-seat deficit in the State Senate and half of the TN congressional delegation, there are plenty of candidates to choose from. While Bredesen would have a great time picking up this seat, there are plenty of Democrats who could beat Alexander too.

Norm Coleman is looking extremely vulnerable in a blue state like Minnesota. The only reason he won in 2002 was because Paul Wellstone's funeral was made into a media animal by the GOP. Had Sen. Wellstone lived, he would have easily beat Coleman. But it looks like Al Franken will make a run against Coleman, and if he does, look for him to score an upset and win. If Franken doesn't run, Democrats have a large bench in the state to beat Coleman, who has a 52% approval rating and almost $2 million in the bank. With Democrats now controlling the State Senate and the State House in Minnesota and a majority in the Congressional delegation, any Democratic candidate could have a great shot at picking up this seat. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, Attorney General Lori Swanson, and State Auditor Rebecca Otto could all make great candidates if Franken decides against a run.

Gordon Smith is a Red Senator in a blue state. Oregon has a deep Democratic bench and control of the Governorship, the State Senate and the State House, as well as five of six Congressional seats. Smith's approval rating is 51% and he has raised over $2 million, clearly afraid of a tough challenge. But Congressmen Wu, Blumenauer, DeFazio, and Hooley are all looking at challenging Smith, with Wu having raised the most with over $500,000 in the bank. Smith is very vulnerable and with a good Democratic candidate, he should be beaten.

Lindsay Graham will be very hard to beat in 2008. And it's not because he's so popular, with only a 53% approval rating and a hatred from SC's right, he could face serious primary opposition in 2008. But with over $2 million in the bank and no Democrat in the state who's popular and holds elective office, it seems difficult to consider beating him. The only Democrat to still hold statewide office in SC is Superintendent of Education Jim Rex, who won this year by 200 votes out of over 1 million cast. Unless there are some strong Democrats in SC that I don't know about, we have very little chance of picking this up, unless Inez Tennenbaum wants to come back and make a run of it.

Pat Roberts in Kansas only has a 53% approval rating and has only raised $700,000 in a run for reelection, signaling a possible retirement. If he retires, it looks like Rep. Moran or Tiahrt will run for the Republican nomination, having raised $1.3 million and $800,000 respectively. But either way, it looks like Democrats have a great chance to pick up this seat if popular Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius runs for the seat. With a 62% approval rating and having just won reelection with 58% of the vote, Sebelius looks well positioned to beat Roberts or take the open seat. But Democrats have a deep bench here, with former Republicans switching to the Democratic Party all over the place and taking a huge number of statewide elected offices. State Attorney General and former Republican Paul Morrison, who just won with 58% of the vote or Lieutenant Governor Mark Parkinson (a former Republican too) could also run, without having to give up their jobs, either, if Sebelius decides against a run. But either way, this looks like a prime pickup opportunity, with Republican defections everywhere.

Even though Chuck Hagel has a 55% approval rating, he has only raised $100,000 for reelection and is widely expected to retire, probably to run for President. If he retires, Congressional candidates Scott Kleeb, Jim Esch, and former Lt. Gov. Maxine Moul, who all did surprisingly well in their congressional races this year, all getting over 40% of the vote in this deep red state, could all run. Though they would have to raise quite a lot of money to combat Reps. Terry or Fortenberry, they could have a good shot at picking up this open seat if they can raise a couple of million dollars.

Larry Craig has been rumored to be retiring and very well could be, having only raised $300,000 and facing a primary challenge from the right in the form of Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vasquez. A grueling primary fight could leave Craig bloodied, and an open seat could give us the opportunity to run ID-01 Congressional Candidate Larry Grant, who came very close to beating crazy Republican Bill Sali. Though this is a longshot, and Idaho is a very Republican state, having voted down every Democrat running for statewide office this year, it's worth a shot. I'm sure Idaho Democrats could find someone credible to give Craig or the Republican nominee a run for his money.

Mitch McConnell will be Senate Minority Leader and has a lot of money in the bank, $2.6 million to be exact. With a 53% approval rating, he is beatable, and with a good candidate, he could be beaten. If Congressman Ben Chandler, Attorney General Greg Stumbo, State Treasurer Jonathan Miller, State Auditor Crit Luallen, or State Senator Dan Mongiardo made a run for this seat, they all could have a great chance of winning it. It will be tough, and McConnell's fundraising prowess will make life difficult for a Democrat, but if McConnell makes himself look like an ass as Minority Leader in the next two years, KY Dems could beat him.

Sen. Elizabeth Dole could theoretically retire, after humiliating herself as NRSC chair this year and being very old, but is likely to run for reelection. If she does, term-limited Democratic Governor Mike Easley, with a 57% approval rating, should run against her. Dole's fundraising has been anemic, with only $200,000 in the bank. If Mike Easley can raise a lot of money, he could definitely beat Dole. If Easley decides against a run, ex-Sen. John Edwards could decide to return to the Senate if he loses the Democratic nomination for President. If both decide against a run, North Carolina has a huge bench of Democratic statewide elected officials who could run against Dole, though Easley is the clearest choice. Dole has a 58% approval rating, which is strong, but remember that Chafee had an approval rating in the low sixties two years out from his defeat this past Tuesday.

John Warner is expected to retire in 2008, having raised only $700,000 for reelection. With the strong possibility that popular former Governor Mark Warner will run for the seat, John Warner will probably retire to avoid a brutal defeat. With an open seat, and Reps. Tom Davis or Bob Goodlatte likely to run for the Republican nomination, it looks like the only thing that will change about the Senator from Virginia will be the first name, from John to Mark. John Warner has a 56% approval rating, while Mark Warner left the governorship with an 80% approval rating. Against Warner or Davis or Goodlatte, Mark Warner should have an easy time winning a seat in the United States Senate, and he would be foolish not to run. With huge popularity, a winning campaign apparatus, Virginia's turn to blue status, and deep pockets to pay for a run, Mark Warner should be our best pickup opportunity in 2008.

Jeff Sessions has a 60% approval rating, has $1.5 million in the bank, and is from Alabama. While it seems nearly impossible to beat him, conservative Democratic Congressman Bud Cramer has $1.7 million in the bank and could beat Sessions if he runs a good campaign. Rep. Artur Davis has also announced he plans to run for the Senate, though his $250,000 in the bank doesn't look like enough for a statewide race. If Bud Cramer runs, this will be a prime pickup opportunity in 2008. If he doesn't run, ex-Gov. and newly elected Lt. Gov (returning to another old job) Jim Folsom, Jr. could run a good campaign and beat Sessions too.

In Wyoming, Mike Enzi might retire, which could allow popular Democratic Governor Dave Freudenthal an easy path to the US Senate. With a 61% approval rating, however, Enzi is not unbeatable in a direct matchup against Freudenthal, who has a 71% approval rating. Enzi only has $200,000 in the bank, and if Freudenthal can raise a lot of money, he should be able to make this a prime pickup opportunity. Having just won 70% of the vote in his reelection, Freudenthal would be formidable as a challenger or in an open-seat race. If he doesn't run, Congressional Candidate Gary Trauner, who could theoretically still win the Congressional seat he's down in by less than a thousand votes after a recount, could run. Trauner would have far less of a chance than Freudenthal, who really should run.

Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens (approval of 59%) looks like he's finally ready to retire, frustrated by his lack of progress on ANWR and having raised less than $200,000 for his reelection. Though Alaska has looked good for us two cycles in a row, with little success, this year could be different. Tony Knowles could run for the third cycle in a row, though I don't think he has the stomach for it. Ethan Berkowitz, the State House Minority Leader, or State Rep. Eric Croft, could run. But Alaska doesn't have a great crop of Democrats in office. That being said, if Stevens' retirement creates a bitterly divisive and nasty GOP primary that bloodies the nominee, Democrats could have an opening here.

Susan Collins is very popular, but also pledged only to serve two-terms and it looks like she might retire, having only raised $400,000 for her reelection. If she runs again, she will be hard to beat, having a 69% approval rating, though attacking her for breaking her two-term pledge in a blue state like Maine could signal her defeat. If she decides not to run, it looks like Rep. Tom Allen, who has raised $440,000, could take this seat. Run, Allen, run!

Pete Domenici, who has been in the Senate for six terms, and has only raised $265,000, looks ready to retire. With a 66% approval rating, he'd be hard to beat without Gov. Bill Richardson, who has a 69% approval rating, running against him. But if he retires, a lot of Democrats could pickup this seat, including Richardson, Rep. Tom Udall (Mark's cousin, who has raised almost $800,000, could we have two Udalls in the Senate?), Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, Sec. of State Mary Herrera, State Auditor Hector Balderas, State Treasurer James Lewis, or Attorney General Gary King. If Domenici doesn't retire, and Richardson isn't the VP or the Presidential nominee, he should run for this seat. Otherwise, we could relatively easily pick this up with an open seat.

Finally, Thad Cochran (69% approval) in Mississippi simply can't be beaten unless he retires. And thank God he looks likely to do just that. After five terms in the Senate, Cochran's retirement could allow former Attorney General Mike Moore, current Attorney General Jim Hood, Congressman Gene Taylor, Secretary of State Eric Clark, or State Insurance Commissioner George Dale to take the seat. Cochran has raised only $350,000, and if he retires, it looks like MS will be a great pickup opportunity for us.

So there you go, every seat. If everything goes well in every state, with the best candidate running on our side, and huge retirements on their side, it looks like there's not a single GOP seat up in 2008 that we can't win. But assuming retirements are slim, and we don't get our best candidates, we still look like we can make about 10 Senate races competitive, and hopefully pick up 5. If we can make 15-18 GOP seats competitive in 2008, we could end up with a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate in 2009, which would be terrific.

But let's keep in mind that this list has a number of women, Latinos, African-Americans, and Asian Americans as top candidates for office. As Chuck Schumer works to recruit the best candidate in every seat, he should be mindful of increasing these groups' representations in the Senate in 2009. Tell me all what you think, and let's put the pressure on Chuck to challenge every seat in 2008, and challenge them well. Everyone should individually push for their best candidates in each of their own states as well.

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Democrats did an amazing job this year. We took back the majority in both houses of Congress, a majority of our nation's governors, a majority of state legislatures, and a majority of state legislators for the first time in twelve years. It was a massive victory and we have a lot for which to be proud.

But in 2008, we risk letting our majorities decline or weaken if we are aggressive about pursuing every single Senate, House, and Governor's race in the country as if they were top tier races.

You're crazy, Adam. Come on, challenge every seat?! We'll never be able to win every seat in the House and Senate and every governorship, so why waste our limited resources? Because it works.

Take this year. Jeb Bradley (NH-01) was an entrenched incumbent who had little chance of losing this year. Had we let this seat go unchallenged, we would not have been able to take advantage of the massive wave that hit the House of Representatives this year, electing Carol Shea-Porter to Congress, who, if she works hard, should represent this swing district for years to come. Had we not put up a challenger in FL-16, because Rep. Mark Foley consistently won with over 65% of the vote, we would not have elected Tim Mahoney to Congress after the Foley scandal.

So challenging every seat is critical. Waves, scandals, and personal gaffes (take Allen vs. Webb) can make long-shot races seem extremely plausible and easily winnable in most circumstances. So while I call on whoever is chosen to head the DCCC and the chair of the DGA to recruit great candidates for House and Governor in 2008 in every available seat, where we need to focus our recruitment focus is the United States Senate.

In 2008, Democrats are extremely lucky. Republicans have 21 seats to defend, including 7 freshmen (the easiest to knock off). Democrats have 12 seats to defend (with only one freshman). The picture gets better when you look at blue states versus red states. If you look at states where Democrats control at least three of the following (the Governorship, the majority of the Congressional delegation, at least one Senate seat, the State Senate, and the State House), there are nine states with a Republican Senate seat up in 2008 that meet that criteria, indicating that it is a states with much Democratic potential. Those states are Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, and Tennessee. By comparison, there are only 2 Democratic Senate seats up in 2008 that have Republicans holding three of the criteria. In other words, Democrats are running in Democratic territory and a lot of Republicans are not running in Republican territory.

Considering that there are expected to be very few open seats on our side in 2008 (Kerry, Biden, Lautenberg, and Rockefeller are the only possibilities, and none are guaranteed) and the GOP is expecting quite a lot of retirements (Allard, Hagel, Warner, and Stevens are all expected to retire and Cochran, Domenici, Collins, Craig, Inhofe, and Roberts have all been rumored to be thinking about it), it seems likely that the Senate field will be extremely favorable to Democrats in 2008. Assuming we have a strong Democratic nominee at the top of the ticket (my favorite is Senator Obama, but whomever you want), we should be able to hold almost all of our 12 seats, and pickup close to half of the 21 GOP seats, if we run strong challengers in every state.

So why don't we take a closer look at the Senate picture in 2008? Here's a state-by-state analysis.

Frank Lautenberg (NJ) will be one of our hardest incumbents to defend come 2008. Even though New Jersey is a reliably Democratic state that demonstrated that to us once again in 2006, Senator Lautenberg is the most unpopular Democratic Senator in the US Senate and one of the most unpopular overall. Assuming he runs, he'll face a stiff challenge from either 2006 GOP nominee Tom Kean, Jr., or US Attorney Chris Christie, or possibly a comeback from Christie Todd Whitman or Tom Kean, Sr., or any other of a number of GOP wannabees. I think Lautenberg will be able to hold them off and he'll certainly be better funded, but watch out for a close race. If Lautenberg retires, our chances of holding the seat depend on the Democratic nominee, who will almost surely be one of the six veteran Democratic congressmen in the state (my personal favorite is Rush Holt of NJ-12). If the Democratic nominee runs a strong campaign, and the Republicans don't nominate their best candidate, Dems should hold this seat easily.

Mary Landrieu (LA) will certainly be hard to defend, as she barely won reelection in 2002, and her approval rating is below 50%. Hurricane Katrina further jolted her popularity, and a sizable portion of her Democratic base has left the state fleeing Katrina. If the Republicans run a strong candidate, who is well-funded, Landrieu will be in the race of her life.

John Kerry (MA) may retire, in which case one of the 10 Democratic congressmen in the state will easily replace him. If he doesn't retire, he'll easily win. This is Massachusetts after all.

Mark Pryor (AR) won an upset in 2002 and is moderately popular with a 54% approval rating. If the GOP doesn't find a strong candidate to run against him (and in Arkansas, Democrats control everything, so it will not be easy), Pryor will easily retain his seat.

Dick Durbin (IL) is moderately popular and lives in an extremely Democratic state with no serious Republicans to run against him. He won handily in 2002 and should have no problem winning reelection.

Carl Levin (MI) is popular, won't be seriously challenged, and will win reelection handily.

Jay Rockefeller (WV) is extremely popular, and will likely not face any serious opposition in a state with few Republicans in elective office. If he retires, expect this to be hard to keep from Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R), but if he doesn't, this is a breeze.

Joe Biden (DE) is running for President, and if he retires, his son, Beau Biden, newly elected Delaware Attorney General, is likely to hold the seat. If he doesn't retire, the older Biden will win handily.

Tim Johnson barely won reelection in 2002, winning by about 500 votes. However, he is extremely popular now, with a 67% approval rating. Unless Gov. Mike Rounds (R) runs, he'll breeze to reelection. Even if Rounds runs, Johnson is favored to hold the seat.

Jack Reed (RI) is a Democrat in Rhode Island, and popular to boot. 'Nuff said.

So there you go, even in the worst case scenario, only six Democratically held seats will be remotely competitive in 2008, and the Democrat is favored to win all of those races except maybe Louisiana and West Virginia if Rockefeller retires.

The GOP is not so lucky. But I'll save that for a later post. Stay tuned!

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Many of you have probably noticed the unbelievably virulent civil war that's developing between James Carville and the major progressive blogs. The short version: earlier today, Carville trashed Dean's chairmanship and suggested replacing him with Harold Ford. In response, the major progressive blogs are threatening civil war, with Kos literally calling for a war and Matt Stoller at MyDD threatening to have the netroots pull all funding from the Democratic Party.

Seriously? I mean, seriously? We just scored the biggest political victory for the Democratic Party in a generation. Let's be honest-- for all the media drama about a war between Dean, Rahm, and Schumer, all three did a phenomenal job this cycle. I know people who say Dean sucked, and I know people who say Rahm and Schumer sucked. I like all three. At the end of the day, these three people waged the most successful Democratic campaign of my lifetime.

Carville and the blogs have different ideas of how to win elections; that's fine. I have my own ideas, too. We can and should debate which strategy will carry the party forward. But the absolute last thing we need right now is a civil war in the Democratic party over such a non-issue as who James Carville thinks should chair the DNC. I love James Carville, but he made his reputation in politics by making various inflammatory statements to the media. It's won him a lot of elections-- some would say he single-handedly got Clinton out of the draft-dodging hole that threatened his primary campaign by vigorously fighting the allegations on camera. But is an inflammatory Carville statement really the best reason to launch a Democratic civil war? Come on. Dean won't be replaced as DNC chair; he's done a damn good job, and most of the party realizes that. The blogs need to calm down.

On a related note, Lieberman today reassured reporters that he's still committed to voting with the Democrats. I'm as loyal a Democrat as they come; I supported Lieberman in the primary and Lamont in the general election. Unfortunately, we lost in Connecticut-- but I'd have rather lost that seat than any other Senate election this cycle. Regardless of our problems with Joe, he's going to vote on our side and he's going to give us a Democratic majority. Let's welcome him back (if not with open arms) and move on to dealing with what really matters: implementing Democratic policy and keeping the Senate blue for years to come.

Okay, I know I've earned some flames. I'm ready.

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Hey all, I know this isn't necessarily blog-worthy, but I wanted to make sure everyone saw it.

Check out The Hoya's coverage of our Election Night celebration.

Thanks to everyone who showed up. We all had a fabulous time, and hope to see all of you soon!

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I'm glad we're all still celebrating the major wins from Tuesday (as we will be throughout the weekend I'm sure...), but I want us to take a moment to remember how we got here and how to ensure we stay in power of the Congress.

It looks like we have finally taken down Reagan's legacy; we have stopped the Republican machine and we are moving in the right direction (well, most of us, Northern Kentuckians are, as usual, a few years behind). This momentum should lead to a great push to find meaningful legislation on the issues that are bothering Americans (Iraq, healthcare, border security), but this momentum can be easily lost, just as fast as Bush's approval ratings plummeted in winter 05/06.

Today, the Republicans are not necessarily viewed as the moral guides of our country. Amid Republican money contribution scandals, deceitful campaigns, and more inappropriate sex than Clinton could've imagined, the Dems are back on top of the world. This Congress can not forget how it happened. The party leaders need to make it clear that they will not tolerate these happenings under their watch; the Dems can not muck it up this time. The things that have happened in the last six years have been awful and our country's economy and respect in the world can't take much more. If the Democrats somehow make news with similar scandals in the next few months, we may not get the chance again for this amazing feeling we all have after watching the results come in on Tuesday night.

It's pretty sad that I am even concerned so early with my party messing things up, but history often repeats itself and we must remember our huge loss in 2004 in which many voted for a Republican only because of a Democrat's lack of sound judgement in the Oval Office. The Democrats have got to keep on the right track; we have a lot at stake and need to keep this power for a while...heck, if we continue, maybe we'll have all three branches in 2008. Anyway, two out of three ain't bad!

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I don't think so - Saddam's guilty verdict didn't shock anyone, did it? As the BBC assessed it:

"The news (of Saddam Hussein's death sentence) may persuade a few leaden-footed Republicans - crying into their beers over budget deficits, sex scandals and a mismanaged war - to shuffle to the polls. "

If that's all they have to go on, tomorrow should be a rout.

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I know everyone is concentrated on what's (hopefully!) going to happen tomorrow, but I've got a quick site recommendation for everyone to check out Wednesday morning.

The purpose of BuyBlue is to educate consumers on the final destination of the money they spend on products and services in their day to day lives.

Like Starbucks? Great, the Starbucks corporation makes 100% of their political contributions to Democratic candidates. They're committed to labor and environmental causes to boot.

But if you dial Dominos for dinner, however, or like McDonalds, Wendy's, or Dairy Queen, you're out of luck. These companies, like most other food service corporations donate overwhelmingly to Republican candidates across the country. By buying Big Macs and Flurries, you are unknowinglye making political contributions to conservative causes.

Companies make donations based on ideology in other industries as well. If you're going shopping, stop by American Apparel, ebay, the Gap, J.Crew, or Polo, but try to avoid most major department stores including Target.

Most sports franchises also donate strictly Republican. If you're looking for a computer or ISP, I'd stick with Apple, Inc., since the other companies' donation patterns show a distinct lean to the right.

With so many of our consumer goods funding causes contrary to our beliefs, it would be near impossible to eliminate them entirely from your daily consumption. BuyBlue gives you the option of education, however, and shouldn't be missed.

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I just found out about this website for Progressives to check out. The site gives a 'voter guide' from other Progressive voters so you can vote for the right candidates!

The page is: http://theballot.org/ . I know most of us have already sent in our absentee ballots at G.U., but it's something to look at and use in the future.

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I've been at the John Hall for Congress headquarters all day, and we've got some nasty stuff coming from the RNC right now. They are making robocalls to registered Dems and undecideds in the district (NY-19) that start off saying "I'm calling with some information about John Hall." It goes on to have a negative message. Basically, this is a win-win for the GOP because voters either hear negative information about John or they are called back by the computer as many as 7 or 8 times if they hang up, so they think they are being harassed by the Hall campaign. NASTY! You can hear the actual call here.

Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo, along with a bunch of other blogs, are reporting that this isn't an isolated phenomenon. Apparently, it's happening in districts all over the country. I guess the Republicans decided they couldn't win honestly so they resorted to this.

It's working, too. We've been canvassing for two days now, and we are getting a lot of angry voters complaining about the calls. When we explain that it is the Republicans, the voters tend to be on our side, but how are we going to tell all of the people called that it isn't our fault?

Sue Kelly is clearly very scared. Watch her run away. And hide.

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Read all about it in the New York Times.

U.S. Jobs Shape Condoms' Role in Foreign Aid
EUFAULA, Alabama — Here in this courtly, antebellum town, Alabama’s condom production has survived an onslaught of Asian competition, thanks to the patronage of straitlaced congressmen from this Bible Belt state.
...
Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, has quietly pressed to maintain the unqualified priority for American-made condoms and is likely to prevail if the past is any guide.

No, it's not April 1st.

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Well, she surprised us again. Anne Coulter acted hypocritically and, gasp, might be a felon.

According to this news article, she voted at the wrong precinct in February and could now be in jail for five years! How great is that? She might even write an updated version of Mein Kampf?

Here's the article: http://www.tampabays10.com/news/local/article.aspx?storyid=42819

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