I missed this when it first went down, but the NYT just apprised me of it: On the verge of electoral oblivion — the retirements of Sens. Martinez, Brownback, Bond and Voinovich don’t help — the Republicans have filed two lawsuits aimed at overturning McCain-Feingold, apparently in the hope that they could then feasibly prostitute themselves back into power. (Feingold’s response.)
“In 2003, in McConnell v. F.E.C., the justices upheld the precise provisions the Republicans are now challenging…The McConnell decision should end the matter. But the R.N.C. seems to be hoping that because of changes in the court — in particular, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s replacement by Samuel Alito — it can persuade the court to undo this recent and important precedent.” Hmm. I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
Meanwhile, on the GOP side: The Republican field shores up its right-wing cred as Moral Majority co-founder Paul Weyrich endorses Mitt Romney, well-known evangelical crazy Pat Robertson backs Rudy Giuliani, and failed presidential candidate Sam Brownback, who I really thought would fill the conservative spoiler role now enjoyed by Mike Huckabee, instead decides to get behind John McCain. Looks like it’s still anybody’s race over there, even with NH polls currently breaking Romney’s way.
Is this it? Is this all you can conjure, Republicans? Perhaps it was because I was feeling mighty under the weather when catching up with it on TiVo, but last Thursday’s GOP debate was more than a little underwhelming. Of the top tier, Mitt Romney probably acquitted himself the best: He seemed a bit blow-dried and canned, sure, but we were at the Reagan library, after all, and he didn’t do anything to hurt his standing as a front-runner with money to burn. Frankly, John McCain‘s act seemed stale to me: The “Gates of Hell” notwithstanding, he seemed to possess little-to-none of the from-the-gut, truth-to-power charisma that propelled him through 2000. (And his pained, convoluted stance on Iraq — everything got screwed up for years but now we’re hunky-dory — doesn’t make a lick of sense.) Rudy Giuliani proved once again that he’s a better candidate in theory than in practice, and I don’t see his half-hearted shrug over Roe V. Wade playing too well to the conservative cheap seats. (Let’s not forget, three of these ten folks — Brownback, Huckabee, Tancredo — wouldn’t even admit to believing in evolution.) Speaking of which, Mike Huckabee and Sam Brownback seemed like the two among the rest with the best shot to jump up a notch, particularly as either could conceivably become the favorite son of the Dobson wing of the party. Ron Paul’s ardent libertarianism was a surprising X-factor in the debate, and I thought it was kinda fun to have him around. (He also came across better, IMO, than the Dem’s official monkey wrench, Mike Gravel.) Jim Gilmore, Tommy Thompson, Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter? Meh. If I were Fred Thompson, I wouldn’t be dissuaded from a run by this lot. I mean, the GOP field already looks like one of those WaMu ads with the gang of disgruntled bankers (Indeed, an Obama-and-GOP Youtube remix seems inevitable) — why not add one more to the mix?
Probably the most telling fact of the evening was the dog that didn’t bark: Dubya. Watching these ten prominent Republicans squirm and equivocate every time anyone mentioned the president and his current policies tells you everything you need to know about 2008 — After eight years of GOP mismanagement and corruption, the election is the Dems to lose.
“Search the record of history. To walk away from the Almighty is to embrace decline for a nation. To embrace Him leads to renewal, for individuals and for nations.” Not to be outdone over on the Republican side, right-wing GOP Senator Sam Brownback throws his hat in the ring as well. From what I’ve seen of Brownback, which isn’t much other than a few Sunday show appearances, he seems like the scariest kind of cultural and religious conservative — a smart and articulate one. (And, to his credit, Brownback has tried to add such important issues as prison reform and AIDS awareness to the usual catalog of medieval social positions held by the religious right.) The McCain team would do well not to underestimate him.
“In the Bible, God tells us for everything there is a season, and for me, for now, this season of being an elected official has come to a close. I do not intend to run for president in 2008.” Americans — and Sam Brownback — rejoice (and the stray cats of Tennessee lament) as former Majority Leader Bill Frist announces he won’t be running for president in 2008. Now he can delve full-time into his favorite hobby: cutting things…
“Even a criminal like myself is shocked that millions are not able to get health insurance and cannot pay for basic surgery. Who are these power brokers that allow the pigpen to become wormy and filthy? I demand your very lives, but I am not such an imbecile as to institutionalize suffering and poverty. You have my assurance that this shall change swiftly.” Three years to go and the 2008 slate is already filling up. For the Dems: Hillary, Biden, Bayh, Warner, and Feingold. For the GOP: Frist, McCain, and Brownback. And, although Chris Walken first seemed to have the Indy vote locked up (let’s face it, Cthulhu‘s missed His shot), word is the inimitable General Zod is now coming on strong. Hmmm. I could definitely see him pulling a Stockdale at some point in the debate. (By way of LinkMachineGo.)
Bucking the Dubya trend, Bill Frist comes out for expanded federal stem cell research. Evidently, Catkiller‘s 2008 gurus decided he should hype his M.D. and/or tack moderate — which is probably a mistake…the GOP moderates will likely stick with McCain, while the fundies may now look to Sam Brownback or some other winger freakshow as their primary hopeful. But, hey, the right thing is the right thing, even if it’s for the wrong reasons.
On the Sunday shows, Republican Senators Arlen Specter and Sam Brownback go toe-to-toe on stem cells. “Brownback questioned ‘what it does to the culture of life’ when government approves performing research on the embryos, which he considers ‘young human life.’ Specter shot back, asking what it does ‘to the culture of life when you let people die because there are medical research tools which could keep them alive?’” For what it’s worth, Specter believes the Senate has the votes to override a Bush veto, even as Boss DeLay erroneously invokes various world religions to keep the House in line.
Conservative freakshow Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), now head of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the District, threatens Washington DC to back down on its plan to recognize gay marriages (by allowing joint filing for same-sex married tax returns.) Less government? Local control? Surely, it’s obvious by now that today’s GOP is much more interested in policing the bedroom. If you’re still voting Republican these days for any other reason, how much more proof do you need?