24 March, 2006

Stop the Presses! Dems, GOP Agree on Something -- Both See Iraq and President Bush's Job Performance as Election Keys

The National Journal posted a poll of "political insiders" today and it shows the GOP and the Democrats agree that three issues will dominate the mid-term elections; the war in Iraq, President Bush's performance and the economy, in that order.

On another topic, the poll asked the political pros who is likely to benefit the most from Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold's proposal to censure President Bush over wiretapping. The Republicans, by a wide margin, think they will benefit. The Democrats on the other hand, who fear the issue may cause them to look too radical and combative, think Feingold himself is the most likely to benefit.

The New Republic Online this week has two articles on Feingold's censure proposal. One, by Ryan Lizza, argues that it was a selfish, grandstanding move by the Wisconsin Democrat. The other, by Peter Beinert, argues that Feingold's proposal helps to move the idea of censure from the fringe to the mainstream - which he argues is good for the Democrats.

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Two of Hillary Clinton's opponents are trying to force the senator to take a stand on Feingold's proposal. Jonathan Tasini is challenging Clinton for the Democratic nod. The blog on his campaign Web site questions both Clinton's silence on censure and her support for the war. One of Clinton's Republican challengers, John Spencer, accuses her of hypocrisy on the issue. Congressional Democrats pushed for the issue to be put on ice until they get back from the current recess so they can study the matter (or perhaps check the polticial winds back home).

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While we have Russ Feingold in the spotlight, we might mention that Feingold's political action committee, the Progressive Patriots Fund is running an online sweepstakes of sorts. The fund will donate $5,000 to the Congressional challenger who can drum up the most votes online from supporters. Eight Democrats who are challenging incumbent Republicans are listed on the ballot, including two from New York - Kirsten Gillibrand who is taking on Rep. John Sweeney of New York's 20th District and Eric Massa who is looking to unseat Rep. Randy Kuhl in the 29th District. If you have another favorite, you can apparently write them in.

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Gillibrand, by the way, has offered up what she calls an "ethics IOU" to people in the 20th District. Among the promises she makes is full disclosure of any contact she has with lobbyists. She filed the first such report earlier this month.

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The Albany Times-Union's political blog reports some additional endorsements today. KT McFarland, the former Reagan administration official now running for Senate on the GOP side, got her first endorsement yesterday, as we reported here. Today she got her second, according to Capitol Confidential, from the Linvingston County Republican Party.

Although her two endorsements leave McFarland with a long way to go before she is assured a spot on the ballot, Capitol Confidential also reported today that Republican attorney general candidate Jeanine Pirro has picked up a couple more endorsements on Long Island that could asssure Pirro of a clear ride to her party's nomination.

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