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  Candidates Tout Conservatism At Gop DebateOctober 22, 2007 10:46 Republican presidential candidates intensified their fight over which one has the true conservative credentials in a sometimes contentious debate Sunday night.

The candidates also didn't miss the opportunity to criticize Democratic front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York.

A more aggressive Fred Thompson compared former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's social positions with Clinton and also implied former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney once held more liberal stands than Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Massachusetts.

Asked whether Romney and Giuliani had convinced him they were consistent conservatives, the former senator from Tennessee said, "Well, we've got an hour and a half. Maybe they can work on it."

Giuliani tried to turn the tables on Thompson, saying, "You know, Fred has his problems, too."

Giuliani said, "Fred was the single biggest obstacle to tort reform in the United States Senate. He stood with Democrats over and over again. Fred Thompson, along with very few Republicans, blocked tort reform over and over and over again. That is not a conservative position."

Defending his record a day after finishing near the bottom of a conservative voter straw poll, Giuliani said, "I think it was a good conservative record. I think, in every case, you can always find one exception or two to someone being absolutely conservative or absolutely this or absolutely that, but I think I had a heck of a lot of conservative results."

  President Accuses Democrats Of Achieving Little At CapitolOctober 17, 2007 18:53 Poor baby Bush...

A year after he pledged to find “common ground” with the Democrats who now control Congress, President Bush on Wednesday delivered a scathing assessment of their performance, accusing lawmakers of dragging their feet on legislation ranging from trade deals and domestic surveillance to federal spending and children’s health.

“We’re now more than halfway through October, and the new leaders in Congress have had more than nine months to get things done for the American people,” Mr. Bush said in his opening remarks at a White House news conference. “Unfortunately, they haven’t managed to pass many important bills. Now the clock is winding down, and in some key areas Congress is just getting started.”

The news conference was timed to coincide with a showdown between Mr. Bush and Congressional Democrats over federal spending and a children’s health measure he has vetoed. At one point, the president complained bitterly that Democrats had failed to negotiate with him over the health bill, a different version of which had been advanced by the administration in its budget.

“We weren’t dialed in,” he said, adding that he was using his veto pen because “that’s one way to ensure that I am relevant.”

The remark echoed one by Mr. Bush’s immediate predecessor, Bill Clinton, who proclaimed after Republicans took control of the House in 1995 that “the president is still relevant here.” It was especially striking coming from Mr. Bush, who often insists, as he did Wednesday, that he is going to “sprint to the finish” of his presidency.
  Tsongas Wins, But Gop Sees Hope In LossOctober 16, 2007 23:20 Democrat Niki Tsongas, widow of the late Senator and presidential candidate Paul Tsongas, won election Tuesday night to fill the unexpired term of Congressman Marty Meehan in a closer than expected race that left some Republicans hopeful for their party's chances in 2008.

With 100% of precincts reporting, Tsongas led farmer and businessman Jim Ogonowski, a Republican, and three minor party candidates with 51%. Ogonowski scored 45% in defeat.

Still, said national Republicans, Ogonowski drew a blueprint for the party's Congressional candidates to follow next year, as he sought to tie Tsongas to the Washington status quo. "For any Republican challenger, they're running against Washington," said one GOP strategist who will work on several House races next year. "Now every Republican challenger can go out there and just point his finger at Washington and say, 'That place sucks. That is not what you and I are about.'"

Tsongas began the campaign with much higher name recognition than any candidate, Democrat or Republican, running. While her late husband held the seat in the 1970s, his name is plastered around the district, including on the Tsongas Arena, in Lowell, the district's biggest city. She raised more than $2.1 million through Sept. 30, FEC reports show, outspending Ogonowski by more than four-to-one.
  Paul Krugman: Gore Derangement SyndromeOctober 16, 2007 21:01 On the day after Al Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize, The Wall Street Journal’s editors couldn’t even bring themselves to mention Mr. Gore’s name. Instead, they devoted their editorial to a long list of people they thought deserved the prize more.

Go to Columnist Page » Blog: The Conscience of a Liberal And at National Review Online, Iain Murray suggested that the prize should have been shared with “that well-known peace campaigner Osama bin Laden, who implicitly endorsed Gore’s stance.” You see, bin Laden once said something about climate change — therefore, anyone who talks about climate change is a friend of the terrorists.

What is it about Mr. Gore that drives right-wingers insane?

Partly it’s a reaction to what happened in 2000, when the American people chose Mr. Gore but his opponent somehow ended up in the White House. Both the personality cult the right tried to build around President Bush and the often hysterical denigration of Mr. Gore were, I believe, largely motivated by the desire to expunge the stain of illegitimacy from the Bush administration.

And now that Mr. Bush has proved himself utterly the wrong man for the job — to be, in fact, the best president Al Qaeda’s recruiters could have hoped for — the symptoms of Gore derangement syndrome have grown even more extreme.

The worst thing about Mr. Gore, from the conservative point of view, is that he keeps being right. In 1992, George H. W. Bush mocked him as the “ozone man,” but three years later the scientists who discovered the threat to the ozone layer won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 2002 he warned that if we invaded Iraq, “the resulting chaos could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam.” And so it has proved.

But Gore hatred is more than personal. When National Review decided to name its anti-environmental blog Planet Gore, it was trying to discredit the message as well as the messenger. For the truth Mr. Gore has been telling about how human activities are changing the climate isn’t just inconvenient. For conservatives, it’s deeply threatening.

Consider the policy implications of taking climate change seriously.

“We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals,” said F.D.R. “We know now that it is bad economics.” These words apply perfectly to climate change. It’s in the interest of most people (and especially their descendants) that somebody do something to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, but each individual would like that somebody to be somebody else. Leave it up to the free market, and in a few generations Florida will be underwater.

The solution to such conflicts between self-interest and the common good is to provide individuals with an incentive to do the right thing. In this case, people have to be given a reason to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, either by requiring that they pay a tax on emissions or by requiring that they buy emission permits, which has pretty much the same effects as an emissions tax. We know that such policies work: the U.S. “cap and trade” system of emission permits on sulfur dioxide has been highly successful at reducing acid rain.

Climate change is, however, harder to deal with than acid rain, because the causes are global. The sulfuric acid in America’s lakes mainly comes from coal burned in U.S. power plants, but the carbon dioxide in America’s air comes from coal and oil burned around the planet — and a ton of coal burned in China has the same effect on the future climate as a ton of coal burned here. So dealing with climate change not only requires new taxes or their equivalent; it also requires international negotiations in which the United States will have to give as well as get.

Everything I’ve just said should be uncontroversial — but imagine the reception a Republican candidate for president would receive if he acknowledged these truths at the next debate. Today, being a good Republican means believing that taxes should always be cut, never raised. It also means believing that we should bomb and bully foreigners, not negotiate with them.

So if science says that we have a big problem that can’t be solved with tax cuts or bombs — well, the science must be rejected, and the scientists must be slimed. For example, Investor’s Business Daily recently declared that the prominence of James Hansen, the NASA researcher who first made climate change a national issue two decades ago, is actually due to the nefarious schemes of — who else? — George Soros.

Which brings us to the biggest reason the right hates Mr. Gore: in his case the smear campaign has failed. He’s taken everything they could throw at him, and emerged more respected, and more credible, than ever. And it drives them crazy.
  No, Really, The Sky Is FallingOctober 15, 2007 12:03 Try as he might, Mr. Texas Two-Step cannot upstage Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes.

For nearly two terms in office, George W. Bush's approval rating has sunk. During the same period, Al Gore's popularity has gone through the roof.

Bush's oil-based foreign policy has gotten more than 3,000 U.S. troops killed in an unnecessary war. Bush told Americans to shop, not sacrifice.

Gore advocates less consumption and less energy dependence to save the planet and lives. He accepted the Oscar when his film, "An Inconvenient Truth,'' won best documentary. Gore embraces science; Bush shuns it.

You can imagine how elated Bush was on hearing that his Democratic nemesis and the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. In December, the ex-veep and the panel of scientists will share the prize for bringing greater awareness to the perils of climate change.

To the administration, this must've seemed like a cruel joke, just as it treats the Kyoto accord. Speaking of bad jokes, remember Papa Bush's crack about "Ozone Man''? Gore was green when being green wasn't cool.

"Of course he's happy for Vice President Gore and happy for the international panel on climate change scientists,'' White House spokesman Tony Fratto told reporters about Bush II's response to Gore's success.

Believe that and you probably also believe WMDs got us into Iraq, Newt Gingrich is a serial monogamist, Tom Tancredo wants open borders and the child of Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter was immaculately conceived.

Of course the Bushvolk are hacked that Gore, he of MoveOn fame, has stuck it to them again. Recall that part of Gore's premise is that industrial nations, especially those led by morons who allow polluters to profit without oversight and regulation, are largely responsible for the planet's destruction.

Gore's storyline is that one of the weapons of mass destruction is sitting in the White House pretending that the sky is not falling and if so, it isn't anybody's fault.

What do melting polar ice caps and alternative fuels have do with world peace? People faced with scarcity migrate, which leads to overpopulation. Overdependence on petroleum has environmental and foreign-policy implications. Oil is why the administration won't leave Iraq and incites Iran.

Author Kevin Phillips put things in historical context in "American Dynasty,'' published in 2004. "By 1975, oil was becoming a critical factor to the CIA, where George H.W. Bush took over. … Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had made it clear that the United States would go to war to prevent any strangulation of U.S. and world oil supplies, a pledge later reinstated by the White House in the so-called Carter Doctrine of 1979. By this point America had come to depend on the Middle East for about one-quarter of its oil.''
  Craig: Romney 'Threw Me Under The Campaign Bus'October 15, 2007 11:29 Sen. Larry Craig, the Idaho Republican caught in a bathroom sex sting this summer, said GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney "threw me under the campaign bus" when news of his arrest came out.

"He not only threw me under his campaign bus, he backed up and ran over me again," Craig told Matt Lauer of NBC's "Today" show in an interview taped Sunday.

Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, called Craig's behavior "disgraceful" and urged the senator to resign when news of the arrest broke in August.

Craig was Romney's Senate liaison before resigning from the campaign.

Romney spokesman Kevin Madden defended the presidential candidate's response. "Gov. Romney simply believes that a public office is a public trust," Madden said. "He believes when a public official enters a guilty plea, they have broken that public trust and should step aside for the sake of their constituents."

Craig entered a guilty plea after his June arrest in a men's room at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in Minnesota for allegedly propositioning a plainclothes police officer for sex.

  Ohio Republican Rep. Ralph Regula Announces RetirementOctober 12, 2007 13:03 U.S. Rep. Ralph Regula on Friday announced he will retire at the end of his term in January 2009, capping a 36-year congressional career.

"Today's decision to not seek re-election has been a difficult one for me. I am blessed with great health and still come to work every day committed to working hard on behalf of the people of Ohio's 16th Congressional District and to making a difference for our nation," Regula, 82, said in a statement released by his office.

"However, I have several goals that I would like to achieve following my service in Congress, and I believe that now is the time to begin these new opportunities."

Regula said in a telephone interview that he wants to get involved in some way with education. He said he did not yet have anything specific in mind.

"I want to get into part of education, particularly working with young students and try to share with them my experience and knowledge and get them interested in public service," Regula said.

His retirement sets up a tough election for Republicans to keep the seat, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett said.
  Republican Rats Scrabble To Take Over The Sinking ShipOctober 12, 2007 12:59 Among the numerous curiosities of the 2008 US presidential election campaign is the role reversal that has been executed by the two main parties.

Usually, when there is no incumbent president running for re-election (and even occasionally when there is) the Democrats, being a rowdy bunch, manage to produce an open, competitive race, a chaotic rolling maul of a contest from which a winner eventually emerges.

Republicans, meanwhile, are generally orderly and disciplined, dutifully falling into line behind a front-runner designated by their “establishment”, who gets into a brief knuckle fight with some upstart outsider and then cruises comfortably to the nomination.

This year it’s different. While the Democratic race is, as I noted last week, turning into an extended coronation for the Sun Queen, the Republican contest is a fog of competitive chaos. This is all the more striking because the polls suggest that the party is on course for a soaking next year on a scale not seen since the 1970s. Yet the number of plausible Republicans who want to be the party’s candidate is actually multiplying as they get closer to that election. It may, in fact, be the first known case in political history of rats auditioning to take the helm of a sinking ship.
  Craig'S Decision To Stay A Headache For GopOctober 05, 2007 09:30 Some fellow Republicans are peeved that Sen. Larry Craig has decided to complete his term despite his earlier announcement about resigning, but the Idaho lawmaker still has his backers.

"It's embarrassing for the Senate. It's embarrassing for our party," said Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, who leads the GOP's Senate campaign committee.

"I think it's best for the U.S. Senate, it's best for certainly his party, that he just keeps his word," Ensign told reporters outside the Senate chamber Thursday. "He gave us his word he would do something, and he's backing out on us, and I don't think that's the right thing to do."

A judge ruled Thursday that Craig's guilty plea to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge could not be withdrawn. Craig entered the plea after his June arrest in a men's room at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for allegedly propositioning a plainclothes police officer for sex.

After news of his arrest and guilty plea broke in August, the senator announced that he would resign at the end of September, but he postponed that move while seeking to have his guilty plea withdrawn.

  Florida Democrats Sue National Party Over Presidential PrimaryOctober 04, 2007 08:29 I hate to say it, but the Democratic Party leadership is acting like a bunch of union thugs.

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Alcee Hastings sued their own party Thursday, hoping to restore the delegates stripped from Florida because it will hold an early presidential primary.

The lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee and Chairman Howard Dean said the party violated the Constitution and federal voting laws by taking away Florida Democrats' ability to have a say in the primary.

"For the right to vote in a Presidential primary to have any meaning, those Presidential primary ballots must result in votes that are going to count at the party's national convention," said the suit filed in federal court in Tallahassee.

The DNC rules committee voted to take away Florida's 210 delegates after the state party chose to go along with a Jan. 29 primary. It was set by Florida's Republican-led Legislature and signed into law by Republican Gov. Charlie Crist.

Democratic party rules say states cannot hold their 2008 primary contests before Feb. 5, except for Iowa on Jan. 14, Nevada on Jan. 19, New Hampshire on Jan. 22 and South Carolina on Jan. 29. Michigan has scheduled a Jan. 15 primary. Florida Republicans could lose half their 114 delegates for violating similar national party rules.

The suit said the situation was forced upon Florida's Democrats, and that people should not have their votes rendered meaningless because of the early date.

It also names Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning, saying he is going ahead with plans for the early primary knowing that the vote will not result in delegates being selected for the national convention.

"As a result of actions that Florida Democrats have been powerless to prevent, the Defendants have combined to create a Democratic Presidential primary election with a stunningly anti-democratic scenario," the suit said.