Frustration with politicians increases

Published 5:09 am Monday, August 14, 2006

By Staff
I've lost a lot of respect for power-mad 18-year incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn.
What's the point of primary elections if you won't accept the judgment of fellow party members?
Defeated Aug. 8 by anti-war newcomer Ned Lamont for renomination, Lieberman claims it would be "irresponsible and inconsistent with my principles if I were to just walk off the field" so he will press on as an "independent Democrat" since barely more than 7 percent of the Connecticut electorate actually backed Lamont.
While Lieberman seems an ironic choice to punish for a Republican administration's Iraq war, I've often pondered the possibility of George W. Bush somehow justifying martial rule when his reign ends with his well-documented disdain for laws with which he disagrees.
33 percent: Bush's approval rating.
19 percent: Number of voters who backed Bush in 2004 who are ready to vote Democratic in fall congressional elections.
These one-time Bush supporters are more likely to be female, self-described moderates, low- to middle-income and from the Northeast and Midwest. Democrats need to gain 15 House seats to reverse a dozen years of Republican borrow-and-spend rule.
Glass house stone-throwing: U.S. Rep. Chris Chocola's, R-Ind., former company failed to pay spring property taxes on time in 2000 and had to pay penalties at the same time the Bristol congressman served as board chairman.
That dovetails nicely with Chocola campaign TV commercials criticizing Democratic rival Joe Donnelly for being late paying taxes on his Granger, Ind., home and on a vacation home in Michigan City, Ind.
We would be better served if they argued about something important, like climate change.
Mixed message: It's the voters who make politicians nuts.
Did you see Saginaw County's Kochville Township made Crystal M. Kauer the GOP nominee for treasurer in the Aug. 8 primary, but also decided to recall her along with three other township board members?
"We're still very much in flux here over how to proceed," county Clerk Susan Kaltenbach said Aug. 9.
As governors gathered for their annual summer conference in Charleston, S.C., Washington Post political columnist David S. Broder noted, "The common theme in interviews and informal comments was one of utter disdain for Congress. Never mind that most of the governors are Republicans, and Republicans control the House and Senate."
"What upsets us is the same thing that frustrates our voters. Whatever problem you're concerned about, all you see in Washington is gridlock," said Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark.
Arizona Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano agreed: "They're just not getting it done" on Capitol Hill. "Immigration is the biggest issue in my state. A million people are marching in the streets. States are spending hundreds of millions trying to cope with the influx. So they pass two bills, and they won't even go into a meeting room to put them together. It's ridiculous!"
Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., says his wife, Ann, likens the congressional spectacle to "two guys in a canoe that is headed for the falls, and all they do is hit each other with their paddles."
Yet voters can be counted on to reward incumbents for their paralysis with fresh two-year terms. Go figure.
Quips, quotes and qulunkers: "Talking about a new strategy (in Iraq) is useless until we get a new team – in the Pentagon, in the administration. These guys have screwed up everything. They haven't got the credibility to implement anything."
– retired Marine Col. Thomas X. Hammes
"Why are we compelled to go on pouring armies and treasure into these thankless deserts?"
– Winston Churchill in August 1920, writing to Prime Minister David Lloyd George after World War I
"The British had created the problem, cobbling 'Iraq' from three disparate Ottoman provinces. They chose sides, picking the Sunni minority to run the country. The Brits remained there 12 years, bleeding occasionally, until 1932. The Bush administration, defiantly ignorant of history, has created a situation far more dangerous than the one Churchill complained about. We are in free fall in Iraq, and there is no net."
– Time political columnist Joe Klein
"There was no oversight of this war, and everybody sang 'Kumbaya,' and everyone's paying dearly for that."
– Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill.
"Bush has really been the great unifier of all the previously divided and often mutually hostile groups we're trying to defeat rather than assemble. Waging war in Iraq to combat terrorism has transformed Iraq into a nexus of terrorism it hadn't been before. Justifying the operation in Lebanon by putting Hezbollah on the same terrorism shelf as as-Qaeda is getting radical Sunnis to back radical Shi'ites in a way we'd have never imagined."
– Francois Heisbourg, director of the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research
August in Iowa: Why are Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, 2004 Democratic running mates John Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina and Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona all descending upon the Hawkeye State? You can't start too early when there's a wide-open White House in 2008 – the first time since 1928 with no incumbent bidding for re-election and no sitting Vice President seeking promotion. And Iowa has those presidential caucuses in January 2008.