Democrats pick up a House seat in a special election to fill the vacancy left by former speaker Dennis Hastert. This was a pretty solidly Republican district (not a lot of leadership figures coming from swing seats) so count it as further evidence that the GOP’s in a ton of trouble.
Bill Foster — a Democratic candidate who is a physicist — defeated Republican dairy owner Jim Oberweis in a special election to claim the Illinois congressional seat of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R). During a recent TV appearance, Foster said he would be a ”good vote in Congress to change President Bush’s policy” on Iraq. Oberweis contended the troop surge there was working, saying: ”Things are getting better in Iraq.”
Military contractor Blackwater Worldwide has pulled plans to build a training facility near San Diego, CA, facing intense opposition by local activists. In December, “voters recalled five members of a local planning board who supported the project.” The proposal for “Blackwater West” included “11 firing ranges, a driving track and a helipad in a valley tucked into rocky desert mountains.”
In comments typical of his xenophobic and hateful record, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) recently told a local Iowa radio station that al Qaeda would “be dancing in the middle of the streets” if Barack Obama were elected President “because of his middle name.” He said terrorists “will be dancing in the streets because of who his father was and because of his posture that says: Pull out of the Middle East and pull out of this conflict.” Watch it:
Despite having once called John McCain an “amnesty mercenary,” King said he is now supporting McCain for president. McCain has yet to repudiate King’s comments about Obama.
Steve King took office in 2002 after gathering “66 percent of the vote in a heavily Republican district that covers 32 counties in western and a bit of south-central Iowa.” And since that time, he has been a non-stop source of inflammatory hate speech. Some examples:
– King compared immigrants to “livestock” in proposing an electrified fence for the southern border.
– He has called undocumented immigration a “slow-moving terrorist attack.”
– King said that each senator who votes for the comprehensive immigration reform bill should “wear a scarlet letter A for amnesty.”
– King said the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib amounted to little more than “hazing.”
– King has decried an “assault on Christmas” from “secularists” who want to “eradicate Christ from Christmas.”
– King released a “report” baselessly claiming that undocumented immigrants have murdered more Americans than the combined death toll of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002.
– King praised Joe McCarthy as “a great American hero.”
– After the terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed, King derisively said he was now at a place where there are 72 virgins who “probably all look like Helen Thomas.”
In addition to his impressive record of hate, he has also been prone to remarks of pure idiocy. For example, King said in 2006 that the average civilian in Washington DC is probably “at far greater risk” of being killed than an average civilian in Iraq. After Bush vetoed a bill that would have expanded children’s health insurance, King declared it a “victory” for kids. The Des Moines Register wrote in 2005: “Spare us more embarrassment: Replace King.”
UPDATE: McCain spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan told Fox News:
“The Senator has been clear that he intends to keep this campaign about the issues. He has condemned similar comments by (radio talk show host) Bill Cunningham. He doesn’t agree with King’s comments,” Buchanan said. “He intends to run a respectful race and keep it about the issues.”
Last night on Fox News’s The O’Reilly Factor, Karl Rove discussed Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) “compelling” life story. In addition to his time as a prisoner of war, Rove pointed to the fact that McCain adopted a daughter from a Bangladesh orphanage:
And today, that young child — who was near death — is their teenage daughter. I don’t think most people understand the compassion and love that would come from a moment like that.
Rove invented a uniquely injurious fiction for his operatives to circulate via a phony poll. Voters were asked, “Would you be more or less likely to vote for John McCain…if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?” This was no random slur. McCain was at the time campaigning with his dark-skinned daughter, Bridget, adopted from Bangladesh.
Last night, Fox News also failed to identify Rove as an adviser to the McCain campaign.
UPDATE: Raw Story has more.
Transcript: Read more
What are the 3 things he would tell John McCain if he were his adviser?
“Let me just bluntly answer that. One, abandon the two-state solution statement that we have right now vis a vis the Palestinians. Two—Well, let me start with number one. Number one is an open, publicly expressed regime-change strategy in Iran. Two, an open expressed regime-change strategy in Syria. 3, abandoning the two-state solution policy we’ve had frankly since the 9/11 attacks…”
Fortunately, Wurmser’s not the only person who thinks Bush has gotten a little soft since 2006 or so. John Bolton, since leaving office, has criticized Bush along Wurmserish lines for not starting enough new wars. He’s also confident that John McCain can get the job done, so a McCain administration should be great.
The Politico reports that several of President Bush’s former advisers are now “informally advising” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ):
Ken Mehlman, who ran Bush’s 2004 campaign, is now serving as an unpaid, outside adviser to the Arizona Republican. Karl Rove, the president’s top political hand since his Texas days, recently gave money to McCain and soon after had a private conversation with the senator. A top McCain adviser said both Mehlman and Rove are now informally advising the campaign. Rove refused to detail his conversation with McCain.
The list could grow longer. Dan Bartlett, formerly a top aide in the Bush White House, and Sara Taylor, the erstwhile Bush political adviser, said they are eager to provide any assistance and advice possible to McCain.
McCain has also lined up several of Bush’s top fundraisers in recent weeks. “[McCain] has sided himself so closely to the administration, especially on Iraq, now having various Bush advisers — that doesn’t sit well with the public,” said Matt Dowd, Bush’s chief strategist in 2004. “The public wants the non-Bush candidate.”
I often say to myself while watching NBA games, sure this is pretty interesting, but it would be so much better if we switched up tournament rules so as to minimize the odds chance of the best teams advancing while also massively degrading the talent-level of the athletes. After all, what kind of basketball fan would want to see the game played by the best basketball players out there? Not me! Far better to see competition where the average guy couldn’t make it in the Spanish or Italian pro leagues. Three cheers for mediocrity.
New Labor Department numbers show that employers slashed jobs by 63,000 in February, “the most in five years, the starkest sign yet the country is heading dangerously toward recession or is in one already.”
Faced with the grim jobs report, yesterday at a townhall in Atlanta, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) admitted that he thinks America is “very likely” in a recession:
The main factor out there is that Americans are hurting right now. And they don’t care too much whether it’s a technically a recession or not. So, I would say that, oh, it’s very likely, and more and more economists are saying that we are probably, quote, ‘in a recession.’
Paul Krugman wrote yesterday, “[I]t’s a very good guess that we will eventually be told that the second recession of the Bush administration began in December 2007 or January 2008.” McCain, with his self-proclaimed lack of economic knowledge, has instead offered happy talk up until now:
– “And by the way, I don’t believe we’re headed into a recession. I believe the fundamentals of this economy are strong, and I believe they will remain strong.” [Fox News Debate, 1/10/08]
– “I still believe our fundamental underpinnings of our economy are strong.” [1/23/08]
– “A lot of this is psychological. A lot of it’s psychological. Because I agree the fundamentals of our economy is still strong.” [1/24/08]
McCain is late to the game. CBO Director Peter Orzag foresaw an “elevated” risk of recession in September 2007. A January USA Today survey of economists found a 50/50 chance of recession. In early February, 60 percent of Americans predicted a recession.
McCain again admitted yesterday, “Am I more versed in national security issues? I would argue yes.”
It seems that the final vote count in California is more favorable to Barack Obama than were the results on February 5. Sufficiently more favorable in delegate terms, it seems, to make up the lost ground from last week’s primaries. Once Mississippi and Wyoming have voted, I expect Obama’s delegate lead will be bigger than ever, with fewer-than-ever delegates left in play.
UPDATE: Early indications are of massive turnout and a big Obama win in Wyoming. It has, however, already been established that Idaho and North Dakota don’t count, so why should Wyoming?