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Republican Invincibility Challenged
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Kuros



Joined: 27 Apr 2004

PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 9:15 am    Post subject: Republican Invincibility Challenged Reply with quote

Edited to add link:Washington Post Article

Quote:
Filibuster Rule Change Opposed

By Richard Morin and Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, April 26, 2005; Page A01

As the Senate moves toward a major confrontation over judicial appointments, a strong majority of Americans oppose changing the rules to make it easier for Republican leaders to win confirmation of President Bush's court nominees, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.

GOP leaders are threatening a rule change to prohibit the use of filibusters to block judicial nominees and have stepped up their criticism of the Democrats for using the tactic on some of Bush's nominees to the federal appellate courts. They say they are prepared to invoke what has become known as the "nuclear option" to ensure that Bush's nominees receive an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.

But by a 2 to 1 ratio, the public rejected easing Senate rules in a way that would make it harder for Democratic senators to prevent final action on Bush's nominees. Even many Republicans were reluctant to abandon current Senate confirmation procedures: Nearly half opposed any rule changes, joining eight in 10 Democrats and seven in 10 political independents, the poll found.

The wide-ranging survey also recorded a precipitous decline in support for the centerpiece of Bush's Social Security plan -- private or personal accounts -- despite the fact that the president and other administration officials have been stumping the country in a 60-day blitz to mobilize support. The Post-ABC poll found that a bare majority -- 51 percent -- opposed such accounts, while 45 percent supported them.

The poll also registered drops in key Bush performance ratings, growing pessimism about the economy and continuing concern about U.S. involvement in Iraq.

On the issue that has consumed the capital's political community this spring, four in 10 said that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, under fire for alleged ethics violations, should resign his leadership post, while a third of the public said he should remain in his job. Among the 36 percent who said they have been following the allegations against DeLay, nearly two in three said DeLay should step down.

Taken together, the findings suggest that Bush is off to a difficult start in his second term, with Democrats far less willing to accommodate him and his agenda than his reelection victory last November may have foreshadowed. Beyond that, the survey highlights the divisions within the Republican Party, whether that involves Bush's signature Social Security proposal or the intersection of religion and politics that has become a defining characteristic of today's GOP.

A total of 1,007 randomly selected adults were interviewed by telephone April 21-24 for this Post-ABC News poll. The margin of sampling error for the overall results is plus or minus three percentage points.

The survey found that Bush's overall job approval rating stood at 47 percent, matching his all-time low in Post-ABC News polls. Half disapproved of the job he is doing as president.

On several other key measures of performance, Bush's standing with the public was at or near new lows, with less than half the public supporting the way the president is handling the economy, energy policy and Iraq. Four in 10 approved of Bush's handling of the economy, down six points since the start of the year. Slightly more than a third of the public approved of Bush's energy policies, and Americans were more inclined to blame the president rather than oil companies or other countries for soaring gasoline prices.

Just over four in 10 -- 42 percent -- endorsed the way the president is dealing with the situation in Iraq, a slight increase from the all-time low in March of 39 percent. Almost six in 10 (58 percent) said the United States has gotten bogged down there, and 39 percent said they are confident Iraq will have a stable, democratic government in a year.

Bush continues to get strong marks on his handling of the campaign against terrorism, with 56 percent supporting his actions, down five points since January. But the survey also found that the sluggish economy has eclipsed terrorism on the public's list of top priorities, fueling Bush's drop in the polls.

A third of those interviewed (32 percent) said the economy should be the highest priority for the administration and Congress, up five points in the past month, followed by Iraq (22 percent) and health care (15 percent). Only 12 percent cited terrorism as the top issue, down five points since March.

The biggest changes in opinion came on Social Security, which Bush has made the principal domestic priority of his second term. Three in 10 (31 percent) approved of the job Bush is doing on Social Security, while 64 percent disapproved, an eight-point increase in disapproval in a month. Only a third said they trust Bush more than the Democrats to handle the Social Security issue, a new low for the president.

In little more than a month, there has been a double-digit shift in sentiment. In mid-March, 56 percent favored private accounts, compared with 45 percent in the latest poll, which marked the first time in Post-ABC News polling that less than half of the public supported allowing workers to invest some of their Social Security contributions in the stock market.

The decline in support was widespread. The poll found that support among Republicans fell by nine percentage points, among Democrats by 10 percentage points and among political independents by 12 percentage points.

Neither party is held completely blameless in the increasingly acrimonious Senate battle over judgeships, with only four in 10 saying they approved of the way Democrats or Republicans were handling the confirmation process. But other findings suggested that Senate GOP leaders risk alienating the public over their efforts to circumvent opposition to nominees who Democrats say are far too conservative.

So far, the Senate has confirmed 35 federal appeals court judges nominated by Bush, while Senate Democrats have blocked 10 others by threatening to filibuster. According to the poll, nearly half of the public said Democrats are right to block the 10 contested Bush appointees, while slightly more than a third said they are wrong.

Religious and ideological splits are now at the center of the debate over judicial appointments, and the survey found that the deep partisan divide is matched by large differences over the proper role of religion in politics. For example, more than six in 10 Republicans said they think political leaders should rely on their religious beliefs in making policy decisions, while an equally large proportion of Democrats disagreed.

Four in 10 Americans said they think religious conservatives play too large a role in the Republican Party, a view shared by about half of all Democrats and independents but only one in five Republicans. Conversely, nearly as many Americans (35 percent) said liberals have too much influence over the Democratic Party, a view held by nearly six in 10 Republicans.

Assistant polling director Claudia Deane contributed to this report
.


In the fallout of the Schiavo manueverings, now the Republican party is finding another one of their initiatives unpopular. Accompanied by the stall on would-be U.N. ambassador Bolton's confirmation, it looks like the Republican party is losing steam.
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wannago



Joined: 16 Apr 2004

PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 10:29 am    Post subject: Re: Republican Invincibility Challenged Reply with quote

Kuros wrote:

In the fallout of the Schiavo manueverings, now the Republican party is finding another one of their initiatives unpopular. Accompanied by the stall on would-be U.N. ambassador Bolton's confirmation, it looks like the Republican party is losing steam.


This looks like the same crap the liberal media was spewing last November before the elections. YAWN!
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bucheon bum



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: DC area

PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We'll see. The thing is even though the Republicans are alienating voters right now, the Democrats are doing nothing to win them over. I wouldn't be surprised if the Democrats gain a few seats in 2006, but I doubt they'll make significant gains.
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Ya-ta Boy



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: Established in 1994

PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe it's wishful thinking on my part, but we may be seeing the first cracks in the GOP governing majority. It has lately been common to hear the word 'radical' and the phrase 'out of the mainstream' in association with Republicans. The GOP managed to turn 'liberal' into a dirty word by doing that. That bird may be coming home to roost.

Most Americans are pretty much middle of the road and dislike governments tinkering with the Constitution. That over-reaching special law about Terri Schiavo may have been the high-water mark of the GOP. The ebb tide may be setting in. Even Frist was cautious in his remarks at the Justice Sunday thing this weekend. DeLay's days are numbered.

But as I said, this might just be wishful thinking on my part. I've been keeping my fingers crossed since '68 waiting for the GOP to go too far.
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Kuros



Joined: 27 Apr 2004

PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ya-ta Boy wrote:
DeLay's days are numbered.


I wish that were true.

DeLay Is Likely to Be Found Culpable
Experts Weigh Potential Defense


WashPost

Quote:
Lawyers who specialize in ethics cases believe that the Republican House majority leader from Texas might be in technical breach of at least a few congressional regulations. According to published reports, a registered foreign agent paid for one of DeLay's overseas trips and a registered lobbyist used his credit card to pay for another foreign airfare -- actions the rules prohibit. DeLay may also have accepted gifts that exceeded congressional limits, taken an expense-paid trip overseas for longer than the rules allow and not disclosed all of the benefits he received.


Right now I recall De Tocqueville's comment about how in America, it looks at first as if seperating criminal charges from political charges (and prosecuting often the latter before the former) were a wise and judicious policy. It makes it far easier to convict politicians of wrongdoing. But, for this very reason it's easier to get someone out of politics for small cases of wrongdoing. It's not as if I don't want DeLay out, quite to the contrary. But if I really liked a politician, it would be a shame to see their career ended for this kind of thing.

WashPost wrote:
The panel hasn't formally agreed to address the DeLay accusations. If it does, a subcommittee of four lawmakers would conduct a confidential inquiry, which could take six months to a year. It would collect documents and take testimony about DeLay's trips.

"The process can be a penalty in itself," Gross warned. "It is inherently partisan and political."


The fact is, what DeLay is being charged for is not excessive pork or accepting a direct bribe in order to pass important legislation, but just taking a little bit of money while traveling abroad from a private organization. I agree the rule is important, and wouldn't want it removed, but the penalty seems a little harsh.

That being said, President Bush has backed DeLay. He did not do this for Lott after he got in serious trouble. I wonder how it will turn out. But I certainly disagree with Wannago, all this controversey is not some fiction of the so-called 'liberal' media.[/url]
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Ya-ta Boy



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: Established in 1994

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The House voted yesterday 406-20 to repeal the new ethics rules that Dems say were passed to protect DeLay. It looks to me like the Republicans have decided to let DeLay go. He'll fight on for a while, but it looks to me like he's on his own.

The House has zero tolerance for hanky panky these days. They impeached Clinton for his sexual shenanigans and I think they'll let DeLay hang himself for playing fast and loose with the financial rules.
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Blind Willie



Joined: 05 May 2004

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 5:05 am    Post subject: Re: Republican Invincibility Challenged Reply with quote

wannago wrote:
the liberal media

You're cute when you believe in things that dont exist.
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Emu Bitter



Joined: 27 May 2004
Location: Bundang

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And you're a Buffa like wanker.
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R. S. Refugee



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Location: Shangra La, ROK

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bucheon bum wrote:
We'll see. The thing is even though the Republicans are alienating voters right now, the Democrats are doing nothing to win them over. I wouldn't be surprised if the Democrats gain a few seats in 2006, but I doubt they'll make significant gains.


As long as the Dems have the same corporate sponsors making their careers possible and lucrative (albeit at a lower level of support) as the Repugs, they certainly won't offer programs that seriously put the interests of the majority ahead of the sanctity of inherited wealth. If I ever see pigs flying, I'll be sure to check and see if the Dems have anything new to offer (and start wearing a very broad-brimmed hat).
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wannago



Joined: 16 Apr 2004

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

R. S. Refugee wrote:
bucheon bum wrote:
We'll see. The thing is even though the Republicans are alienating voters right now, the Democrats are doing nothing to win them over. I wouldn't be surprised if the Democrats gain a few seats in 2006, but I doubt they'll make significant gains.


As long as the Dems have the same corporate sponsors making their careers possible and lucrative (albeit at a lower level of support) as the Repugs, they certainly won't offer programs that seriously put the interests of the majority ahead of the sanctity of inherited wealth. If I ever see pigs flying, I'll be sure to check and see if the Dems have anything new to offer (and start wearing a very broad-brimmed hat).


R.S., I believe we are in agreement. There really is very little difference between the politicians of the Democraps and the politicians of the Republicans. Self-interest prevails on both sides. Question is, can/will it be changed?
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Apple Scruff



Joined: 29 Oct 2003

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wannago wrote:
Democraps


*Golf clap*.
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R. S. Refugee



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Location: Shangra La, ROK

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wannago wrote:

R.S., I believe we are in agreement. There really is very little difference between the politicians of the Democraps and the politicians of the Republicans. Self-interest prevails on both sides. Question is, can/will it be changed?


As they say down in Texas, you gotta dance with the one who brung ya. That's what the issue of campaign finance reform is all about. If politicians can only get elected and stay in office with corporate financing of their campaigns, then guess who they are beholding to for being able to have a cushy career in politics with great medical coverage and retirement benefits. If their campaigns were financed by the people, they wouldn't have to get weak-kneed when the fat cats tell'em what legislation they want.

Indeed, with publicly financed campaigns there might still not be a lot of difference between the two, but both would likely change their focus and be more focused on the common good rather than the corporate good because then that would be the way to maintain that cushy career (i.e., the politicians self-interest would be more in synch with the people's self-interest than with the self-interests of the mega-wealthy ruling class).

So, can it change? It can. Will it change? There are a lot of interests dedicated to the goal of it never changing toward the common good. And they have a sh*tload of money to fund "think" tanks (more like propaganda tanks) and to spend on PR (AKA propaganda) to help achieve that goal.

Worth thinking about though.
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Kuros



Joined: 27 Apr 2004

PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2005 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More news in from the Wash Post.

Quote:
A Gambler Decides to Raise the Stakes

By Dana Milbank and Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, April 29, 2005; Page A08

President Bush made a huge gamble last night in a bid to restore momentum to his flagging proposal to restructure Social Security -- and to his presidency.

With two in three Americans disapproving of the way Bush has handled Social Security, many political observers thought it would be prudent for Bush to cut his losses and negotiate a bipartisan compromise on Social Security, perhaps without the personal accounts he has promoted for the past several months.

Instead, Bush held a prime-time news conference and doubled down on his bet. He continued to press for private accounts while adding a proposal that would cut Social Security spending by $3 trillion over 75 years -- openly defying the longtime belief that proposing cuts in the beloved program is bad politics.

The president's gamble was presented modestly last night, as a plan to help the working poor. "I propose a Social Security system in the future where benefits for low-income workers will grow faster than benefits for people who are better off," he said in a brief opening statement.

Democrats immediately branded Bush's proposal a massive cut in Social Security. And conservative Republicans worried that the new plan would eventually doom the private accounts they prefer, and prove costly for the party in next year's midterm elections.

Whatever the merits of Bush's new proposal, the president has taken another one of the bold strokes that worked so well for him in his first term. After a 60-day campaign failed to produce enthusiasm for his proposal for personal accounts, Bush is trying to sell his plan as a boon to the working poor at the expense of wealthier Americans. This time, he is calculating that he can apply enough pressure on Democrats up for reelection in 2006 to support his plan.

The outcome of Bush's bet will have an impact far beyond Social Security. If he succeeds, he will regain control of a national agenda that has slipped from his grasp in recent months. If he fails, he risks early admission into the lame-duck status that eventually afflicts all second-term presidents.

One hundred days ago, Bush began his second term with great confidence and a bold agenda: He would enact major Social Security and energy legislation, and win confirmation of strong conservatives to top positions in the judiciary and throughout the administration. Expanded and unified Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress would approve his tax and spending cuts.

Instead, Bush finds that Americans have turned against him on Social Security, and some moderate Republicans are joining a united Democratic Party in opposition. A key Bush nomination -- ambassador to the United Nations -- is in trouble in the Senate, and the No. 2 Republican in the House, Tom DeLay (Tex.), is dogged by an ethics controversy. Meanwhile, high gas prices, jittery financial markets and criticism over the Terri Schiavo case have contributed to a Bush popularity that has equaled the lowest levels of his presidency.

Bush said last night that he is not discouraged by the reversals. "We're asking people to do things that haven't been done for 20 years," he said. "We haven't addressed the Social Security problem since 1983. We haven't had an energy strategy in our country for decades. So I'm not surprised that some are balking at doing hard work. But I have a duty as the president to define problems facing our nation and to call upon people to act. And we're just really getting started in the process."

Throughout his first term, Bush's bold strokes served him well: Despite losing the popular vote, he enacted major tax cuts and education legislation and led the nation in two wars. He repeatedly gambled on major policy matters by refusing to compromise -- and he repeatedly won, gaining more power each time.

But an end to Bush's winning streak in the second term could cause the opposite phenomenon. "It's important when a [president] makes a major decision, that is resolved in [his] favor more times than not," said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.). Otherwise, he said, presidential power is gradually drained.

Democrats, bludgeoned in the last election, have suddenly regained confidence. "He's going to continue a downward spiral of weakness," predicted Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster. "Weakness begets weakness and failure begets failure . . . The only way for him to get out of this downward spiral is to change the agenda."

White House aides took the risk of a nationally televised news conference because they know that the next few weeks will be crucial in determining the success of Bush's second term. Aides who dismissed talk of a second-term funk only weeks ago grant that the coming weeks represent a crucial test of Bush's strength.

"We acknowledge there is a lot noise coming out of Washington" about nominees and ethics, said a senior White House aide who requested anonymity in order to speak candidly. "The president is talking about two things people care about" -- energy and Social Security -- but "it is not necessarily getting through because we are competing with a lot of other story lines here."

By all accounts, the president is in a difficult position. He needs to rise above the "noise" to regain the advantage on Social Security and other big items. But he also needs to win battles over nominees to prove to lawmakers that he still has clout on the big issues.

White House aides told Bush the media would pounce on the end of his 60-day tour touting Social Security changes (Sunday) and the 100th day of his second term (Saturday), and the news conference offered Bush the opportunity to go on the offensive -- at least for an evening.

For months, Bush had resisted giving specifics about his plan other than saying it should include personal accounts. But declining to offer specifics became untenable. GOP pollster David Winston said Bush succeeded in convincing Americans there's a problem that needs fixing, but "there's a frustration" in the public because "there's a time delay between being convinced there's a problem and learning what the solution looks like."

Now that Bush has offered more specifics, he encounters a new set of risks. Democrats are ready to pounce on Bush for his plan to index benefits to prices rather than wages, which they say will mean a major benefit cut. "For the first time ever, you'll see a Social Security solvency plan that is solely based on deep cuts to the middle class," said Gene B. Sperling, who was President Bill Clinton's economic adviser.

And conservative Republicans will balk at his call last night for "progressive indexing," which would reduce future payments for middle- and upper-income retirees by linking increases to prices rather than wages. Stephen Moore, a leading proponent of personal accounts, warned of a "nightmare" in which benefit cuts "cost Republicans the Senate in 2006."

"He has a clear conundrum right now," Moore said.


It seems like the possibility of the Republicans getting everything they want is getting more and more distant. It'll be interesting to see what they manage to get through, and what fails.
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The Bobster



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apple Scruff wrote:
wannago wrote:
Democraps


*Golf clap*.


Yeah, he so funny. He said that "democraps" thing a few months ago, and I laughed real hard.

I really did.

Omigod, I think I'll alugh agin this time, too.

Laughing
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R. S. Refugee



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Location: Shangra La, ROK

PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kuros wrote:


By Dana Milbank and Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, April 29, 2005; Page A08

President Bush made a huge gamble last night in a bid to restore momentum to his flagging proposal to restructure Social Security -- and to his presidency.

With two in three Americans disapproving of the way Bush has handled Social Security, many political observers thought it would be prudent for Bush to cut his losses and negotiate a bipartisan compromise on Social Security, perhaps without the personal accounts he has promoted for the past several months....



Milbank is a decent reporter, but even he has wimped out to White House threats that anyone who continues to call privatized accounts 'privatized' would be treated as a partisan adversary. They're only allowed to call them 'personal' accounts now unless they want Bush (or maybe Jeff Gannon Wink ) to spank their fanny.
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