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Election 2006

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Rove down the Hatch?

Following up on recent news that Karl Rove’s political behavior was being looked into, the WP describes how White House officials gave 20 private political briefings to government agency officials on the 2006 midterms, likely to push them into helping out struggling GOP candidates. “Such coercion is prohibited under a federal law, known as the Hatch Act, meant to insulate virtually all federal workers from partisan politics.

Saving Rick Renzi.

The GOP streams of corruption cross further…Word comes out that congressman-under-fire Rick Renzi (R-AZ), who apparently forgot to mention he received $200,000 from a business partner he helped with a land deal, was pressuring one of the fired US attorneys to tell him how the probe against him was progressing. Moreover, and even more disconcerting, it seems the Gonzales Justice Department may in fact have stalled the Renzi probe in order to help the Arizona congressman get re-elected. Wow. Just when you think you’ve heard it all…The shadiness just never ends with these people.

My House, My Rules.

After suffering some bad press for backing away from the 9/11 recommendations last week, Speaker-Elect Pelosi announces two new oversight committees as a form of compromise: “a new panel within the Appropriations Committee to oversee the nation’s intelligence agencies [thus maintaining Murtha’s fiefdom] and a House task force to examine establishing an outside ethics panel.” And, in related news, the House Dems announce their proposed rules changes. They “include a ban on gifts and travel from lobbyists, preapproval from the ethics committee on all lawmakers’ travel funded by outside groups, a ban on the use of corporate jets, and mandatory ethics training.

Let’s Go to Prison.

The wreckage of the midterms behind him, disgraced GOP operative Jack Abramoff heads to prison today to begin a 5-year, 10-month stint in the Big House…but, not — according to ABC News — before dropping dirt on Karl Rove and “dozens of members of Congress and staff” including “six to eight seriously corrupt Democratic senators.” Sounds like the Ballad of Casino Jack might keep on keepin’ on right through the next cycle…Let’s hope the Dem Congress are much more vigilant about rooting out the corruption in their midst than were their predecessors.

Say it ain’t so, Roc.

“An Ehrlich aide who agreed to discuss the strategy on the condition of anonymity said the purpose of the fliers was to peel away one or two percentage points in jurisdictions where the governor would be running behind. No one inside the campaign expected a strong reaction. But that’s what they got.” The WP delves into the sordid tale behind the dirty trick ballots passed around in Maryland last week. (Very RoyceCarcetti, no?) Particularly disappointing (and bizarre), it seems that actor Charles S. Dutton may have been involved in hatching the scheme, although he denies it.

Should the Dems Secede?

“For the first time in 50 years, the party that controls both chambers of Congress is a minority party in the South. And in the last four presidential elections, the Democratic candidate has either garnered 270 electoral votes, the minimum needed to win, or has come within one state of doing so before a single Southern vote was tallied. Outside the old Confederacy, the nation is turning blue, and that portends a new map for a future Democratic majority.” In Salon, University of Maryland assistant prof. Thomas Schaller suggests the Dems should forget about the South. So, what happened to the 50-state strategy? As the critical importance of Senator-elect Webb’s recent win suggests, the Dems write off any region of the country at their peril.

Middle of the Road?

“This was a big deal. Certainly, it was the end of George W. Bush’s radical experiment in partisan governance. It might have been even bigger than that: the end of the conservative pendulum swing that began with Ronald Reagan’s revolution.” Despite starting off well here, TIME’s Joe Klein reads the 2006 election as a call to centrism. Hmm. Well, maybe…I suppose we’re still parsing the results. Nevertheless, I’ll confess to being somewhat irritated by TIME’s “centrist” cover after last week’s historic rout of the Republicans, so I went ahead and ginned up my own, one I find more fitting for recent events (and, of course, that is more apropos for this blog.) Procrastination, thy name is Photoshop.

Heck of a Job, Karl.

“‘My job is not to be a prognosticator,’ he said. ‘My job is not to go out there and wring my hands and say, “We’re going to lose.” I’m looking at the data and seeing if I can figure out, Where can we be? I told the President, “I don’t know where this is going to end up. But I see our way clear to Republican control.”‘” Um, you do? It’s the Election 2006 post-mortem y’all have been waiting for: Karl Rove discusses the results of the midterms, and while he correctly cites the war and the GOP’s considerable corruption problem, he still doesn’t seem to get the big picture. Fine with me…Rove, just keep doin’ what you’re doin’. It worked splendidly. Update: More here.

Come to Daddy.

“I frankly think it’s a natural default from the failure of this advice of the people they had. It was impossible to argue anymore that some of the people who got us into this mess were giving good advice.” With Dubya’s White House in shambles, will Bush 41’s team ride to the rescue? Let’s hope so — I much prefer those guys to the militant neocon wing that’s been holding the reins the past six years. Still, as one observer pointed out: “Bush’s mind works differently from the normal political mind…Maybe these Baker guys can talk him off the ledge, but nobody’s done it yet.

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