Tag Archives: Senate

The Future for John McCain

by: Lance Thibert

We all know that John McCain lost the 2008 election rather badly, 365 to 173 electoral votes, and 53% to 46% popular vote wise. John McCain, with Sarah Palin, ran one of the most confused, mismanaged and off-message campaigns in recent history. Combined with the unpopularity of President Bush and the general damage to the GOP brand, McCain’s chances were always slim.


Like the other presidential candidate from Arizona Barry Goldwater, John McCain will return to the Senate for the rest of his natural life. John McCain has made comebacks from political death before, and he seems on track to rehabilitate himself once again. His role seems veering toward that of a deal-broker once again. Without the need to appease the GOP’s hard right base, McCain can return to being a “mavrick”, (but for real this time). McCain and Obama’s meeting earlier last month showed a defeating looking McCain agreeing to work with a President Obama. John McCain has two choices, he can either keep with his new image as the old man of the Republican party (complete with lost election), or he can actually become Obama’s republican ally in the Senate. Sounds werid doesn’t it?

“Fred Davis, the ad man who served as McCain’s lead media consultant during the presidential bid, said the Arizona Senator would win[d] up as a “dealmaker” and “peacemaker” during the Obama presidency.”

McCain will run for reelection to the Senate in 2010. Janet Napolitano, Governor of Arizona was floated as a candidate to seize John McCain’s seat in the Senate, however it appears she will be tapped for Homeland Secuirty Secretary. After his dismal presidential run, and the Democratic gains in Arizona, John McCain seems vulernable for the first time in a long while. Democrats seem reluctant however, to seriously attempt to remove McCain from the Senate, as he often acts as a deal-broker in the Senate, often to the benifit of Democrats. For conservatives, McCain acts a RINO straw man that they can use against moderates in their own party. McCain will rebound, thats for sure, but he seems intent on going back to his roots. He will not make an attempt for the 2012 nomination (for obvious reasons), and will have to come to terms with the fact he will never fufill his lifelong ambition of being president. As for Republicans, they can look forward to more tough Senate fights in 2010, and the unenviable task of choosing someone to run against an Incumbent Barack Obama.


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Filed under McCain, Republican

Lieberman keeps his chairmanship

by Alicia Long

As ABC News put it – Today was D-day for Senator Joe Lieberman.

The Democratic caucus voted today to keep Senator Joe Lieberman chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.  As punishment, however, the dems stripped him of his chairmanship of a minor Senate subcommittee.  Lieberman talks with reporters after the 43-13 vote:

Via Daily Kos:  Governor Dean commented on Lieberman during a conference call this afternoon:

John Aravosis: (In re: the Lieberman vote) what do recommend that we tell our readers . . . when so many issues that come up that Democrats cave time after time? They keep feeling like we’re getting more Democrats and we’re going to have even more Democrats to cave next time.

Dean: You know, we’re going to find that out. This is the big test for us. Now we have a president. There’s no excuse for voting for stuff that you don’t think is in the best interest of the country anymore, for not standing up for what you believe. We have a president who is going to lead us and you all get to judge whether we’re leading you in the right direction or not. I think for the most part we will….

One of the things that happens when you have a party that takes over the government after it’s been out of power for a while is you cannot satisfy everybody at your end of the political spectrum all of the time…. And this is where I was talking about the restraint, is making the decision about what’s really worth fighting for and having the big fight inside the party and what’s not worth fighting for and you have to decide what that is. One of the things that will come up early inside the blogosphere is the issue of when to get out of Iraq…. Now we have, when Barack Obama takes office, are we going to get out in July of 2010, which is 18 months, or are we going to get out at the end of 2011 which is what Bush and the Iraqis have already agreed to.

I don’t know what the right answer is. Do we want to go to the mat over an additional 18 months in Iraq? I don’t know that either, but I do know that we want a strong president to deliver health care and renewable energy and i”m not sure we want to attack the president if that becomes and issue. SO you see what I was saying about tradeoffs. You have to make the decisions. We’re never going to get anybody who is a hundred percent with us on every issue…. But the question is what are willing to go to war on with each other over and what are we going to say, ok, this is an important issue there’s some disagreement, but we can’t let this distract us from climate change or health insurance or whatever other issues are….

What I’m saying here is  along comes Lieberman. He behaved very badly during the campaign and did some things that inside the club are unforgivable. So if you run and get a mandate for reconciliation is your first act to kick this guy out of the party? Well, people of my generation think yeah, damn right we should. But in this new spirit of reconciliation, which is why I think Barack Obama got elected by 66 percent of the under 35 vote, maybe if not (unintelligible) I’m very willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the Senators and to Barack Obama on that one. Do we want to have a big fight over what happens to Joe Lieberman? I don’t think so. I think we want to have a big fight about whether we have a decent health insurance program or a renewable energy program.

Jane Hamsher: With all due respect Governor Dean, we were just told to go screw ourselves, that our concerns for Barack Obama and our concern about the war and everything else that we fought so hard for within the Democratic party is meaningless and that Joe being happy and giving in to his threats–and he did threaten Democrats in his press conference–is more important than we are. And so I don’t think it was a matter of reconciliation. I think we were told to go Cheney ourselves.

Dean: I haven’t seen the blogs about this because this just happened but I’m sure the sentiment online is one of outrage. But I would line up with Barack. I don’t think you were told to go screw yourselves at all. I think he has got to now practice what he preaches during two years of campaigns if he wants to bring America together and as objectionable as Joe’s behavior was, and frankly unprincipled, I don’t think that this is the thing that should divide us. And I don’t think it’s about his votes for FISA or anything else. I think it’s about what kind of a tone do we want to send. Do we want a purge as the first thing we do? I don’t think so.

One thing is for sure.  The Democrats really seem to be sucking up to Lieberman.  But at the same time, why should petty party politics be a reason for giving a senior senator the boot?  Don’t get me wrong… I don’t like Joe Lieberman.  I think he is a backstabbing hypocrite.  But at the same time, Dean is right.  If the Democrats are going to put the right foot in front of the left, let’s leave old resentments at the door.  If Lieberman doesn’t straighten up, they can give him the boot later.  Give him a chance to be the good Democrat we all know he can be (or will be).


Filed under Democratic Party

Colorado Represent

By:  Brian Bohnert  

With the collective national attention focused on the presidential race, sometimes the other races get lost in the political shuffle (not to be confused with the 1985 smash hit The Superbowl Shuffle).  While certainly not as compelling as the main event, congressional races in the state of Colorado open an excellent window into the unique demographic areas found within Colorado – from the urban centers on the front range, to the ranch lands of the western slope.  These races represent the pulse of the state within the context of national representation and deserve some much needed attention from students of political science and the media alike.

First, let us turn to the United States Senate race – the only state wide vote that will determine who represents Colorado in Washington DC.  Wayne Allard’s 2007 announcement that he would not seek a third term in congress left the Democrats salivating over the prospects of sending yet another senator to Washington and had the Republicans scrambling to defend a seat in a year that will prove to be difficult for the GOP brand.  Both parties avoided a tough primary election and the field was quickly narrowed to two seasoned Colorado politicans in Mark Udall (D) and Bob Schaffer (R), both former US Congressmen that had eyed the senate seat in the past.  With the Democrats riding a wave of success from the 2006 midterms (Governor, House, Senate, US Senate) Udall quickly seized the opportunity to tie Schaffer to the Bush “legacy” and contrast his own progressive record with Schaffer’s traditional republican model.  This ad not so subtly does the job:   Not surprisingly, Schaffer responded by pinning the “Boulder Liberal” tag on Udall, which carries with it all of those crazy things that Boulder voters care about (equal rights, clean environment, peace, birkenstocks…etc.).  Since this is a statewide race, and the conservative western slope/Colorado Springs area seems to respond (and by respond, I mean giggling about gays and pot smokers or gay pot-smokers) to this overplayed stereotype, this ad:    was a logical step for the Schaffer campaign.  In many ways, this race is emblematic of the the internal identity struggle within Colorado and in some respects the entire rocky mountain region.  Schaffer runs on a predictable pro-business, extraction economy, family values platform while Udall (a former Outward Bound instructor) runs on the also somewhat boilerplate pro-union, pro-environment, anti-war platform of the Democrats.  It seems the blue trend will continue in Colorado as recent polling shows Udall ahead by 6 points.  If this holds true, the duel Democratic representation in the US senate will be the first since the 1970s.

While the Colorado senate race is one of the most closely watched by pundits nationwide, no less important are the seven congressional districts within Colorado. Currently, the delegation is split 4-3 in favor of the Democrats who are hoping to pick up at least one more seat in the next session of congress and it looks like it might be possible – here is how:

District 1:

This mostly urban district has been controlled by the Democrats since 1973, most recently by Congresswoman Diana Degette, a life long Colorado resident and attorney who by most standards leans towards the liberal side of the spectrum.  She ran unopposed in the Democratic primary and faces George Lilly  in the general – a less than formidable opponent endorsed by Ron Paul and political heavy weight Chuck Norris.

District 2:

This district encompasses Boulder, Grand, Summit and Clear Creek counties and has been represented by Mark Udall (now running for the senate) since 1999 and leans heavily Democratic with Boulder having the final say in District 2 politics.  Not surprisingly, this race is considered a “safe” seat for the Dems as Jared Polis faces off against Scott Starin, a republican engineer with a focus on energy conservation technology who has managed to raise a paltry 15K for his war chest.  Polis, an openly gay candidate, made millions with online businesses and according to opensecrets.org spent a small fortune (5 mil) in his primary race to defeat former president of the Senate Joan Fitz-Gerald and is about to reap the rewards on his investment.

District 3:

This district is topographically the largest within the state stretching from Pueblo to the Utah border.  John, the younger of the Salazar brothers in the US congress, wrestled this district away from the grasp of republican control in the 2004 election who had clung to the seat since 1985 (well, sort of – Ben Nighthorse Capmbell was elected as a Dem and went all Benedict Arnold on us and changed allegiance to the GOP during his tenure in congress).  This year he faces off against Wayne Wolf, a western slope rancher with limited political experience and typical “big government, don’t take my guns” rhetoric on his website.  Not surprisingly, CQ politics predicts this as a safe seat for the Democrats.

District 4:

This race is the must watch show of the political season even for the casual observer of Colorado politics.  In a district that has been represented by uberconservative Marilyn Musgrave since 2004, a democrat has not seen playing time since the 1970s.  In fact, a few familiar republican faces – Wayne Allard and Bob Schaffer –  have represented this tradition loving district in the past.  However, her time in congress may be coming to a close as Rolling Stone recently pegged her as one of the “10 worst” members of congress and had this glowing report in a recent issue:

Musgrave has made regulating the bedroom behavior of her fellow Americans the focus of her entire career. An evangelical Christian who married her Bible-camp sweetheart, Musgrave does not believe in the separation of church and state.  For her opposition to gay marriage — as well as her push to legalize concealed weapons — Musgrave received an endorsement from the KKK in May.

She won close elections in 2004 and in 2006 and faces a tough challenger in Betsy Markey who worked as Ken Salazar’s frontwoman during his successful senate race in 2004.  While this race is officially “leaning republican” it looks like the Dems could pluck one out from under the GOP in November and give some much needed progressive elixir to the college educated types in Fort Collins.

District 5:


The 5th district encompasses Colorado Springs.  The winner will be Doug Lamborn.  He is a Republican.  Let’s move on.

District 6:

This district is one of the wealthiest and whitest in the nation with a median household income at over to 70k and a dominant white population (87.9%) so it is no surprise that the GOP has controlled the reigns since the early 1980s.  This district is home to John Elway, who was rumored to be considering either a run at the seat or possibly Allard’s senate seat.  Most recently,  self-appointed immigration czar Tom Tancredo has represented this district and hopes to hand it off to conservative Mike Coffman – the current Secretary of State.  His website  touts his military experience and labels him as a “proven conservative leader.”  Hank Eng, his Democratic challenger does not seem to pose a significant threat but recent rumors of corruption have been swirling around the Coffman camp and may allow the Dems to pull off an upset in CD6 – but it seems like a long shot at best.

District 7:

Prior to 2000, this district did not exsist but due to recent population growth in Colorado, the map was redrawn to account for an additional congressional representative.  This district was first represented by farmer turned politician Bob Beauprez who gave up the post in a failed gubeintorial race in 2006.  Democrat Ed Perlmutter won the seat in 2006 and hopes to defend it from a challenge by John Lerew this election cycle.  The Denver suburban district is bascially split in thirds between the Democrats, Republicans and Independents and Perlmutter has done just enough/not enough in his first term to earn another term in Washington and CQ politics.com agrees deeming this as a “safe Democratic” seat.

While these are only a small fraction of the seats up for grabs in the November, they are a good barometer for Colorado feelings on a whole.  If the polling holds up it could mean a 7-2 democratic advantage in the next session of congress and if the moons align, that figure could be pushed to an 8-1 margin – both of which will have DNC chairman Howard Dean screaming for joy.




Filed under Colorado, Uncategorized