Hillary Clinton's campaign has a secret weapon to build its delegatecount, but her top strategists say privately that any attempt to deployit would require a sharp (and by no means inevitable) shift in thepolitical climate within Democratic circles by the end of this month.
With at least 50 percent of the Democratic Party's 30-member Rules and Bylaws Committee committed to Clinton,her backers could -- when the committee meets at the end of this month-- try to ram through a decision to seat the disputed 210-memberFlorida and 156-member Michigan delegations. Such a decision would giveClinton an estimated 55 or more delegates than Obama, according toClinton campaign operatives. The Obama campaign has declined to give anestimate.
Using the Rules and Bylaws Committee to force the seating of twopro-Hillary delegations would provoke a massive outcry from Obamaforces. Such a strategy would, additionally, face at least two othermajor hurdles, and could only be attempted, according to sources in theClinton camp, under specific circumstances:
With the Clinton family, anything is possible. Though, super delegates should realize that such a move would reward two states that violated the DNC rules -- one of which did not even have Obama's name on the ballot. It would go against the will of the voters in all the other states, and possibly hurt turnout in November, especially among African-American voters.
Last year we covered the US attorney firing scandal as much, if not more, than all the major political blogs. We watched from the very beginning as a few reports of firings turned into a legislative investigation of the Justice Department for firing nearly a dozen US attorneys for political reasons, which destroyed the career of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Now, in the year following his resignation, Gonzales is having a difficult time getting hired:
Alberto R. Gonzales, like many others recently unemployed, has discovered how difficult itcan be to find a new job. Mr. Gonzales, the former attorney general,who was forced to resign last year, has been unable to interest lawfirms in adding his name to their roster, Washington lawyers and hisassociates said in recent interviews.
He has, through friends, put out inquiries, they said, and has notfound any takers. What makes Mr. Gonzales???¬??s case extraordinary is thatformer attorneys general, the government???¬??s chief lawyer, are typicallyhighly sought.
Even Rumsfeld was able to find work somewhere else. This is pretty bad.
So much for being a champion of ethics reform. This is from The Hill's web site:
Top Washington lobbyist Charlie Black is leaving his firm to join Sen. John McCain???¬??s (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign.
Black,chairman of BKSH & Associates, told The Hill his resignation wouldbe effective Monday, March 31. He will join McCain's campaign on afull-time basis starting Tuesday.
???¬?McCain asked me to play a pretty significant role in the campaign,"said Black, whose clients have included JP Morgan and Lockheed Martin,according to Senate records.
Therefore, Senator McCain has absolutely no right to claim to take the moral high ground by taking public financing. He has lobbyists running his campaign, and Obama has real people donating to his. Big difference.
Maybe why electing a president that refused money from lobbyists is an important thing to think about this election cycle:
Lobbyists reported $2.9 billion in fees last year according to a newstudy by the National Journal, which declared that a record sum. It'sroughly double what the industry pulled down in 1998, according to themagazine's figures.
Lobbyists likely made "hundreds of millions of dollars more" inincome they aren't legally required to report, the magazine said.
Now that Democrats toppled Tom DeLay's empire, it's time to bring in a president that has always been tough on ethics reform. We're not going to get anywhere if we elect someone that has been in Washington their entire political career.
Isn't this something. Two GOP members of the House Page Board have resigned:
Two GOP lawmakers resigned Thursday from the board that governsthe House Page program, alleging that the House clerk failed to informthem properly about page infractions, including a shoplifting incidentand sexual activity.
Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla.) sent a letter to Speaker NancyPelosi informing the California Democrat of her decision to step down.
White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolton and White House Counsel Harriet Miers have been held in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas issued in connection with the US attorney firing scandal. This move by the House Judiciary Committee, headed by John Conyers, now brings the matter to a full House vote. If passed in the House, the contempt charges will move to the Senate. If the Senate votes in favor, the two White House members could face fines and jail time (between one and twelve months) for obstructing the work of Congress.
This morning, the New York Times Editorial Board supported Conyers' contempt decision, and wrote that the White House wouldn't be in this mess if they didn't use the Justice Department as their political arm:
They had no right to refuse. Congress has the legal power to callwitnesses to testify, and presidential advisers are not exempt.Conservative lawyers like Bruce Fein agree that the administration???¬??sclaims of executive privilege are baseless. If the White House believesspecific matters are privileged, it needs to make those limited claims.
Such defiance is not only illegal, it has seriously obstructedCongress???¬??s ability to get to the bottom of the United States attorneysscandal. It now appears that the scandal reaches beyond the ninefederal prosecutors who were fired for refusing to allow their officesto be politicized. It seems quite possible that others, includingGeorgia Thompson, a civil servant in Wisconsin, and Don Siegelman, aformer governor of Alabama, were put in prison ???¬??? and Mr. Siegelmanremains there ???¬??? to help Republicans win elections.
Just asimportant, by ignoring valid Congressional subpoenas, Ms. Miers and Mr.Bolten are dangerously challenging Congress???¬??s power ???¬??? and the carefulsystem of checks and balances established by the founders.
Is it just me who thinks this, or are Henry Waxman and John Conyers the only House members actually doing anything?
Hillary Clinton campaigns on her health care efforts in 1994. However, when the media tries to research exactly how she was influential, they run into a roadblock. The archives are locked away in the Clinton Library. Hillary is still refusing to release the records:
"Now, all of the records, as far as I know, about what we did withhealthcare, those are already available," Clinton said at a Democraticdebate last month.
But a big part of that history is being concealed. Hundreds of pages ofmemos and correspondence involving the healthcare plan of the early1990s have been withheld, leaving a gap in a historic period whenClinton undertook one of the most ambitious domestic policy forays everattempted.
Some of the records kept from public view are memos from the early1990s that White House aides wrote to Clinton about members ofCongress, some of whom are still serving.
Federal government archivists working at the Bill Clinton presidentiallibrary in Little Rock, Ark., deemed the material confidential. Thearchivists withheld it under a federal law that allows them to restrictseveral types of material, including private communications betweenpresidential advisors.
A three-page memo written to Hillary Clinton in 1993, for example, istitled "Positioning ourselves on healthcare." It is not available tothe public. A notice in the files says that archivists are withholdingit on the grounds that its release would reveal confidential advice.
An undated 38-page memo that is also being withheld is titled "Generaltargeting strategy" -- an apparent reference to the Clintonadministration's targeting of members of Congress whose votes wouldhave been needed to pass the plan.
In interviews, some people who were the focus of such memos said they were baffled as to why the records were being held back.
No one who considers health care the most important issue has any basis voting for her.
As the insurgency in Iraqescalated in the spring of 2004, American officials entrusted an Iraqibusinessman with issuing weapons to Iraqi police cadets training tohelp quell the violence.
By all accounts, the businessman, Kassim al-Saffar, a veteran of theIran-Iraq war, did well at distributing the Pentagon-supplied weaponsfrom the Baghdad Police Academy armory he managed for a militarycontractor. But, co-workers say, he also turned the armory into his ownprivate arms bazaar with the seeming approval of some Americanofficials and executives, selling AK-47 assault rifles, Glock pistolsand heavy machine guns to anyone with cash in hand ???¬??? Iraqi militias,South African security guards and even American contractors.
???¬?Thiswas the craziest thing in the world,???¬?? said John Tisdale, a retired AirForce master sergeant who managed an adjacent warehouse. ???¬?They weretaking weapons away by the truckload.???¬??
Broken government. Lack of accountability. Neoconservative recklessness. All this has taken place ever since the build-up to war, while the so-called "liberal media" stood still.
When you are a lobbyist for 20 years, it is easy to mingle with friends from low places:
Republican presidential candidate Fred D. Thompsonhas been crisscrossing the country since early this summer on a privatejet lent to him by a businessman and close adviser who has a criminalrecord for drug dealing.
Thompson selected the businessman, Philip Martin, to raise seed money for his White Housebid. Martin is one of four campaign co-chairmen and the head of a groupcalled the "first day founders." Campaign aides jokingly began to referto Martin, who has been friends with Thompson since the early 1990s, asthe head of "Thompson's Airforce."
So who is Philip Martin?
Martin entered a plea of guilty to the sale of 11 pounds of marijuanain 1979; the court withheld judgment pending completion of hisprobation. He was charged in 1983 with violating his probation and withmultiple counts of felony bookmaking, cocaine trafficking andconspiracy. He pleaded no contest to the cocaine-trafficking andconspiracy charges, which stemmed from a plan to sell $30,000 worth ofthe drug, and was continued on probation.
The campaign says Fred Thompson has been friends with Martin since the mid-90s.
Maybe you read about some of this in Saturday's Blue Radar. Apparently, lobbyists are opening their wallets for the Governor from New Mexico. The problem is he just cannot resist the temptation.
So does Bill Richardson have the judgment to be president? You decide, based on this AP analysis:
Among the contributions to Richardson:
_ About $30,400 fromexecutives and a state lobbyist for the media and entertainmentcompany, Lionsgate. The state offers tax incentives and interest-freeloans for films shot in New Mexico. Lionsgate has done severalproductions in the state and the company is planning a studio nearAlbuquerque.
_ Nearly $25,000 from executives, officers and statelobbyists for ValueOptions, which has a contract to manage mentalhealth and substance abuse services for the state. The chairman of thecompany, Ron Dozoretz, and his wife, Beth, each contributed the maximumamount of $4,600 to Richardson and hosted a fundraiser for him earlierthis year. They are friends of Richardson, according to a campaignspokesman. The Virginia-based company won the state contract in 2005after a competitive bidding process.
_ About $19,700 fromexecutives, lobbyists and a PAC of the state's largest electricutility, Public Service Company of New Mexico. Richardson used one ofthe utility's lobbyists as an on-loan staffer during this year'slegislative session. The lobbyist didn't receive a state salary andremained on the utility's payroll while he worked in the governor'soffice from mid-November until April. However, the arrangement didn'tviolate any laws, according to the state's attorney general.
_About $16,000 came from executives, a state lobbyist and a politicalaction committee affiliated with the GEO Group Inc., which was paid $41million by the state last year for housing inmates in its privatelyoperated prisons in New Mexico. The state started using theFlorida-based company's prisons before Richardson took office. However,another GEO-operated prison is under construction and the state plansto house inmates in it. The Richardson administration contracted withthe company in 2005 to manage a long-term care and rehabilitationmedical center.
No wonder he defended Hillary in the last debate. Richardson is endorsing the same closed-government mindset by relying on the special interests to fund his candidacy.