Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Winning campaign strategy: Bash Pelosi

Time-proven ploy of politics: Identify an enemy and then run against that enemy. Many candidates run for Congress not by opposing the record of their opponent but by running against the President. Many Democrats who won House and Senate seats in 2006 won by running against then-President George W. Bush. Republicans who hope to win elections this year have two enemies: President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. And bashing Pelosi seems to be paying off. Just ask Jimmy Higdon, a Kentucky Republican who won a state Senate seat by ignoring local issues and turning his race
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Time for answers on lifting military gay ban

Lawmakers this week will press the military’s top uniformed officers for the first time on whether they think repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” makes sense or would be too disruptive. The testimony from each of the service chiefs on Capitol Hill will be crucial to the debate in Congress on whether to repeal the 17-year-old law, which bans gays from serving openly in the military. President Barack Obama says the policy unfairly punishes patriots who want to serve their country. Defense Secretary Robert Gates agrees and has begun a yearlong study on how to mitigate the impact of lifting the
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Lautenberg’s health: Problem for Dems

Concerns about New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s health pose yet another challenge for Democrats struggling to retain control of the Senate. Lautenberg’s announcement Friday that he’s suffering from stomach lymphoma and will receive treatment over the next few months could complicate matters for Democrats as they seek to muster enough votes to overcome Republican delaying tactics over jobs, health care and more. Even before his illness, Democrats had lost their 60-vote supermajority when Republican Scott Brown won the special election to replace the late Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy. That deprived them of the numbers needed to head off any GOP
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DOJ gives torture memo writers a pass

The Justice Department  is closing the books on its probe of the Bush administration lawyers whose legal memorandums authorized the CIA to waterboard terrorism suspects, but the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he remains offended by the memos and will hold hearings An internal review said the department lawyers showed “poor judgment” but did not commit professional misconduct in giving CIA interrogators the go-ahead at the height of the U.S. war on terrorism to use harsh interrogation tactics. President Barack Obama campaigned on abolishing waterboarding, a simulated drowning technique, and other tactics that he called torture. He left
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Toyota boss agrees to testify before Congress

Toyota‘s president Akio Toyoda, under fire for his handling of sweeping recalls, will testify before a congressional hearing next week, appealing to U.S. lawmakers and aggrieved customers for understanding while the company fixes its safety problems. Japanese officials praised the decision by Toyoda, grandson of the company’s founder, to accept a formal invitation to explain the recalls and outline plans by the world’s largest automaker to ensure safety and satisfy worried car buyers. “I will be happy to attend. I will speak with full sincerity,” Toyoda told reporters Friday in Nagoya, near where the company is headquartered. “I am hoping
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Democrats’ dilemma: How to replace Evan Bayh

Indiana Democrats stunned by Sen. Evan Bayh's decision not to seek a third term face the daunting task of finding a candidate for the November ballot to fill the shoes of the man who's long been the Republican-leaning state's most popular Democrat.

"There's no obvious replacement for him. Nobody immediately comes to mind because he's been such a towering presence," said Robert Dion, a professor of American politics at the University of Evansville.

Indiana's Republican leanings have long made the state tough ground for Democrats. Hoosiers had gone 44 years without choosing a Democrat for president before Barack Obama narrowly won the state in 2008.

And until Bayh entered politics in the 1980s, Republicans had long ruled the Statehouse.

Indiana remains a "very small-town rural kind of state" whose residents don't like new government programs, spending and taxes, said William Kubik, a professor of political science at Hanover College.

That climate poses a challenge to Democrats running for statewide office — with many having a conservative streak.


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Harry Reid: A casino bag man tries to survive

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid‘s poll numbers make him look like an easy mark, but casino owners who have a history of disregarding party and going with the winner in Nevada politics are putting their money on him winning re-election. While his leadership is under assault in Washington and the GOP has made him its No. 1 target in November’s election, Reid is counting on decades of close ties with the gambling industry and the nearly one in every three jobs it supports in the state to win over disapproving voters. On Friday, he’ll be joined in Las Vegas by
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Can GOP steal heath care show from Obama?

Congressional Republicans see a chance for political gain in President Barack Obama‘s televised health care summit next week, even though the president will be running the show. Obama and the Democrats are certain to highlight a crucial element of their health care plan — extending coverage to more than 30 million Americans — at the one-of-a-kind event. By comparison, a Republican plan would only help 3 million more. But during a time of ballooning deficits, the GOP figures reining in rising medical costs — not coverage — could resonate with voters in an election year. The Democratic health overhaul plan
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Bayh’s departure: Moderates, exit stage center

The moderate middle is disappearing from Congress. Evan Bayh is just the latest senator to forgo a re-election bid, joining a growing line of pragmatic, find-a-way politicians who are abandoning Washington. Still here: ever-more-polarized colleagues locked in gridlock — exactly what voters say they don’t like about politics in the nation’s capital. Politics runs in cycles, and the Senate has seen flights of self-styled centrists before. In 1996, for example, 10 senators who could boast strong bipartisan credentials chose to retire rather than re-up. Many of them complained how lonely a place the middle ground of American politics had become.
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Bitter partisanship drives Evan Bayh from Senate

Democratic Senator Evan Bayh says he's had enough of the bitter partisanship that defines government in Washington so he's quitting his Senate seat after just two terms.

"My passion for helping people is not highly valued in Congress," said in announcing his decision Monday He added that he would prefer to be in an environment that thrives on "solutions not slogans, progress not politics."

Bayh's announcement stunned fellow Democrats and added more problems to a party that is losing ground in Congress just four years after gaining control of both the House and Senate.
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