Archive for March, 2009

“The first thing that would make me feel a little bit better towards them if they’d follow the Japanese model and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say I’m sorry, and then either do one of two things — resign, or go commit suicide.” – Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) on AIG bonuses.

Mea Culpa

Posted: March 13, 2009 in Economy
Tags: , , ,

madoff

As expected, Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty to all 11 criminal counts during his hearing and went to jail immediately after it was over.

But to get a sense of how vast and deliberate his scheme was, read his statement to the court. Absolutely mind-boggling stuff.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) last week:

According to an HOH tipster who witnessed the scene, the Louisiana Republican arrived Thursday evening at his United Airlines gate 20 minutes before the plane was scheduled to depart, only to find the gate had already been closed. Undeterred, Vitter opened the door, setting off a security alarm and prompting an airline worker to warn him that entering the gate was forbidden.

Vitter, our spy said, gave the airline worker an earful, employing the timeworn “do-you-know-who-I-am” tirade that apparently grew quite heated.

Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) in 2007:

After he was arrested, Craig, who is married, was taken to the Airport Police Operations Center to be interviewed about the lewd conduct incident, according to the police report. At one point during the interview, Craig handed the plainclothes sergeant who arrested him a business card that identified him as a U.S. Senator and said, “What do you think about that?” the report states.

Curiously enough, Roll Call broke both stories.

Not a good sign… Soon we will probably have at least one, if not several major cities, without a daily newspaper. Sad state of the economy and the industry.

Madoff expected to plead guilty for running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme in court today. He could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Dr. Gupta stays at CNN and Emory Hospital.

queenofhearts

The Hill is reporting that one RNC member is calling on Michael Steele to step down as chairman barely a month into his tenure.

Josh Marshall has a few background details on the RNC member, who is one out of only three African Americans on the national committee.

From a PR standpoint, the past few weeks have been a series of self-inflicted gaffes for Michael Steele, culminating with his apology to Rush Limbaugh, which was politically embarrassing for him and the party at large. Add to this the fact that his campaign expenses from the 2006 Maryland Senate race are now in question, and you have some nervous Republicans with preliminary stages of buyer’s remorse.

Absolutely brutal.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Jon Stewart – 1, CNBC – 0“, posted with vodpod

Jim Bunning’s relationship with Senate Republicans and Kentucky GOP political operatives continues to deteriorate.

Republicans have a new strategy for dealing with the wildly unpredictable Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.): keep their distance and hope he implodes.

That means little fundraising help from top Republicans in Washington, little to no engagement with the National Republican Senatorial Committee and a cold shoulder from Kentucky political strategists. And if you’re Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the NRSC chairman, no cross words about Bunning.

“The easiest way to get rid of him is not give him any money,” said one Washington-based Republican fundraiser.

Cutting off Bunning from the big money — while ignoring his outbursts on the campaign trail — may be the only hope for Republicans whose behind-the-scenes effort to force Bunning to retire have backfired. Calls for him to retire, and any recruitment of a primary challenger, will only embolden Bunning, Republicans say.

Cornyn, for his part, is treading very carefully after Bunning publicly called him a liar and threatened to sue the NRSC if he didn’t get its support. Cornyn says that all GOP Senate candidates are in a “self-help” phase at this point in the 2010 election cycle and that the NRSC is backing Bunning.

“I think it was just a product of misunderstanding,” Cornyn said. “I think the assumption was what we were doing was we were not supporting [him]. Now he understands the NRSC is supporting our incumbents, including him.”

But Bunning’s recent threat to resign if Republicans didn’t help him with his reelection bid didn’t help his cause. Republicans in Washington and Kentucky are less eager than ever to help his run for a third term in 2010, saying they hope his campaign dies naturally from lack of money.

“This will not help with fundraising,” said one Kentucky GOP operative, who, like others interviewed for this story, requested anonymity to discuss the sensitive issue candidly. “It will just confirm what most people already believe: This guy has basically lost it and is irrationally lashing out at those who should be his allies.”

Kentucky and national Republicans are more or less openly trying to toss Bunning over the side. His threat to resign from the Senate and potentially hand over his seat to a Democrat and give Harry Reid a filibuster-proof supermajority may well have been the last straw. The strategy here is correct — Bunning has to make the decision to quit by himself, it can’t be imposed on him. But it forces Republicans to keep quiet and spend little or no time raising money or scouting for a replacement candidate.

DNC Chairman Tim Kaine enters the Limbaugh-Steele fray and takes a few shots at both of them. The most interesting thing in watching all of this is that Limbaugh and Kaine Steele effectively played right into the Democrats’ hands. The Democrats are going to get a lot of political mileage and talking points out of this episode.

As for Steele, I don’t know how effective he’ll be as a national party leader from here on out. I mentioned in a previous post that there is no media or political figure on the right or left who has the kind of muscle or influence that Limbaugh and his listeners do. The only national GOP figures who have criticized Limbaugh and avoided apology so far are Rep. Eric Cantor and Gov. Jon Huntsman. But if this becomes some sort of ideological litmus test for any Republican who has hopes for national exposure, then it will make for a very interesting set of election cycles in 2010 and 2012.

Update: Some very good observations from Greg Sargent:

The problem for Steele, of course, is that by hitting Rush — and provoking a response from the talk show host — he’s left himself in the unenviable position of having to answer Rush’s implicit demand that he say whether he’s With Rush Or Against Him when it comes to Rush’s desire for Obama to fail. It’s not a good position to be in: Either Steele distances himself from Rush and angers the base, or he throws in his lot with the GOP’s pro-failure brigade and makes it easier for Dems to paint the GOP as petulant, partisan obstructionists.

Amusingly, either choice would help Rush: The first gives him a potent rallying point, and the second demonstrates his power over the party. What’s more, all this underscores again the astonishing degree to which the interests of Rush and Democrats are aligned here, since both Rush and Democrats want Steele, and every other Republican, to publicly make exactly the same choice.