Capitol Hillbillies

Tim Johnson remains determined

Sen. Tim Johnson endured some dark days after his life-threatening brain hemorrhage, but he says he never considered resigning.

All political eyes were focused on the second-term Democrat from South Dakota after he fell ill Dec. 13, mainly because of his party’s slim margin of Senate control.

In chatter online and elsewhere, some have suggested that Johnson, up for re-election next year, should resign. But on Thursday, Johnson said he intends to run in 2008, while noting it would be premature to make an official re-election announcement just yet.

Bickering Democrats split over terrorism

Constantly bickering Democrats can’t mount an effective campaign against President George W. Bush’s failed war on terror because they can’t stop fighting each other over the issue.

The so-called “war on terror” splits Democrats down the middle and allows Bush to continue on his merry way while they snipe at each other.

Senators to Larry Craig: Time to quit

Idaho Sen. Larry Craig’s political support eroded by the hour on Wednesday as fellow Republicans in Congress called for him to resign and party leaders pushed him unceremoniously from senior committee posts.

The White House expressed disappointment, too — and nary a word of support for the 62-year-old lawmaker, who pleaded guilty earlier this month to a charge stemming from an undercover police operation in an airport men’s room.

Playing the Washington scandal game

Idaho Sen. Larry Craig isn’t sticking to the script about how Washington sex scandals play out. In fact, he’s following it backwards.

The rich history of powerful figures accused of misbehavior shows they tend to deny it indignantly, try to ride the storm with tortured explanations, then give in to contrition if they’re cornered.

Not Craig. First came an admission of guilt — and now the defiant protestation of innocence.

Foley victim satisfied with case’s outcome

A former congressional page who received sexually explicit online messages from former Rep. Mark Foley said through his lawyer that he would not file a civil suit against Foley, and that he is satisfied with the news that the Florida Republican is unlikely to be charged with a crime.

The former page, now 22, learned through news reports last week that investigators expect no charges to be placed against Foley for sending the racy messages, the young man’s lawyer, Stephen Jones, told Scripps Howard News Service.

Larry Craig’s bathroom problem

Idaho Sen. Larry Craig is a conservative Republican who has voted against gay marriage and opposes hate crimes legislation that would extend special protections to gay and lesbian crime victims.

In the wake of Craig’s guilty plea on misdemeanor charges stemming from complaints of lewd conduct in a men’s restroom at the Minneapolis airport, his political future is in question.

No charges likely for Foley

Former Florida Congressman Mark Foley is unlikely to face criminal charges for sending sexually explicit e-mails to teenage boys, sources close to the year-long investigation have told Scripps Howard News Service.

That could change if new evidence surfaces in the next week that proves Foley, 52, sent online messages to male teenagers with the intent to “seduce, solicit, lure, entice, or attempt to seduce a child,” a third degree felony under Florida law.

Lawmakers step up pressure on Bush

The White House found itself under renewed political pressure Monday as top US lawmakers expressed impatience with Iraqi leader Nuri al-Maliki and called for a withdrawal of US troops to begin.

Republican John Warner, one of the Senate’s most influential voices on military affairs, amplified his bombshell demand of last week that President George W. Bush should start a limited troop withdrawal from Iraq by Christmas.

“Our troops have performed magnificently, under brilliant leadership, and have done precisely as the president asked,” he told NBC television Sunday.

Warner: Time to bring troops home

Sen. John Warner’s call for troop withdrawals from Iraq is likely to ratchet up pressure on President Bush substantially and lend momentum to Democratic efforts to end U.S. combat.

Warner, R-Va., former chairman of the Armed Services Committee and Navy secretary during the Vietnam War, said Bush should bring some troops home by Christmas. Doing so, he told reporters Thursday, would send a powerful message that the U.S. commitment in Iraq was not open-ended.

Democrats promote Bush’s troop surge

Reviled by most Democrats, President Bush’s 20,000-troop surge is working. Indeed, news of this policy’s success is emerging from an unlikely source: Democrats.

Despite other misgivings on Iraq, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., admitted to the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Monday: “We’ve begun to change tactics in Iraq and in some areas, particularly in Al Anbar province, it’s working.”