Thursday, October 19, 2006
Congresswatch for 10/19: Elves and Orcs and NBA Basketball, oh my!
Oh, Rick Santorum-chan! How your antics amuse me. It’s good to be able to lead off Congresswatch with some humor for once.
Santorum defends Iraq war-----------------
By ALISON HAWKES
Bucks County Courier Times
Embattled U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said America has avoided a second terrorist attack for five years because the "Eye of Mordor" has been drawn to Iraq instead.
Santorum used the analogy from one of his favorite books, J.R.R. Tolkien's 1950s fantasy classic "Lord of the Rings," to put an increasingly unpopular war in Iraq into terms any school kid could easily understand.
"As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else," Santorum said, describing the tool the evil Lord Sauron used in search of the magical ring that would consolidate his power over Middle-earth.
"It's being drawn to Iraq and it's not being drawn to the U.S.," Santorum continued. "You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States."
In an interview with the Bucks County Courier Times editorial board late last week, the 12-year Republican senator from Pennsylvania said he's "a big "Lord of the Rings' fan." He's read the first of the series, "The Hobbit" to his six children.
A spokesman for Democratic opponent Bob Casey Jr. questioned the appropriateness of the analogy.
"You have to really question the judgment of a U.S. senator who compares the war in Iraq to a fantasy book," said Casey spokesman Larry Smar. "This is just like when he said Kim Jong II isn't a threat because he just wants to "watch NBA basketball.' "
According to a Harrisburg Patriot-News editorial, Santorum said the North Korea dictator "doesn't want to die; he wants to watch NBA basketball" as a reason why Iran is the bigger nuclear threat.
All this while the GOP is trying their damnedest to save Santorum. Okay, while I understand the idea of trying to hold on to the seat for dear life, I don’t understand why they would exhaust so much effort on a guy who is most likely doomed (and really stupid, judging by the previous article). But I guess they must figure there’s something to salvage. An ’08 run? Hah! Not likely. Maybe it’s because he hates those icky queers. Oh wait, it is!
ROSYLN, Pa. — Keith Hollenberg, a member of the evangelical Assemblies of God church, is worried that one of his political heroes is about to lose his bid for reelection.Oh, and how hilarious is this picture from the same story? That’s a look of trust if I’ve ever seen one! I’m sure my own reaction to Santorum approaching me during dinner would be about the same.
So when he saw Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) at a car show here, Hollenberg volunteered to help in what has become an urgent project for social conservatives in Pennsylvania and around the country: keeping Santorum in the Senate.
"I'm a big fan of yours," Hollenberg told him. "Keep on pulling for the right thing."
Santorum, an outspoken advocate of banning same-sex marriage, restricting abortion, and other social conservative causes, is considered this year's most-endangered senator.
It is a four-alarm fire for conservatives, who are bringing water buckets from all corners of the political world. Across Pennsylvania, pastors are preparing to stuff voter guides into their Sunday bulletins. In Washington, D.C., Paul Weyrich, a national conservative leader, hosted a conference call to give a pep talk to Republicans in Pennsylvania. In England, some Santorum fans are planning to cross the Atlantic to help campaign.
"I think it's important for people across the country to recognize how important it is not only to pay attention but to get engaged in this race, whatever way they can," said Colin Hanna, head of Let Freedom Ring, a conservative group based in Pennsylvania. "If Rick Santorum were to lose, it would be cited as a turning point in the social conservative movement."
Santorum is not just a key link between the Republican Party and Christian conservatives. He is also one of President Bush's most unapologetic allies in Congress and a member of the Senate GOP leadership. And he is the apotheosis of a younger generation of Republicans — led by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — that transformed the party in the 1990s into a more confrontational, ideological political force.
Thanks to George for pointing this one out:
“Nixon’s secret plan to win the war is resurrected from the dead (and the secret is still safe)”
Sen. Conrad Burns said at a debate Tuesday night that President Bush does have a plan for winning the war in Iraq, but he isn’t about to share it with the world.-----------------
Democratic Senate candidate Jon Tester replied that Bush’s only plan is to stay the course in Iraq, costing more American lives and billions of dollars, and to pass the war on to the next president who will take office in January 2009.
The two candidates’ answers about the war produced the most sparks at a debate before about 800 people at Montana State University-Billings sponsored by The Billings Gazette and the university. It was the two candidates’ sixth debate; they face off for the final time in Great Falls Friday night.
For the first time, Burns publicly expressed some concern about how effectively the U.S. is waging the war in Iraq. He echoed the views of Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner, who recently returned from a trip to Iraq.
“We can’t lose in Iraq,” Burns said. “The consequences of losing is too great.”
Burns, however, said the U.S. does need to change its military tactics there. “If we don’t change, we’ll pay a heavy price, but we cannot afford to lose it,” he said.
Tester said that Burns has finally admitted that his “stay the course” position in Iraq is wrong and welcomed the senator to his own side.
For nearly a year, Tester has called on Bush to develop a plan to remove U.S. troops from Iraq. Burns has criticized Tester’s position as “cut and run.”
“We’re in a quagmire over there,” Tester said.
Burns told Tester firmly not to put him in the Democrat’s camp on the issue.
“I said we’ve got to win,” Burns said. “He wants us to pull out. He wants everyone to know our plan. That’s not smart.
“He says our president don’t have a plan. I think he’s got one. He’s not going to tell everyone in the world.”
Many in the crowd, which was dominated by Tester supporters, openly laughed at Burns’ claim that Bush has a plan.
Tester said Bush’s only plan is staying the course in Iraq at considerable sacrifices to U.S. troops and the federal treasury.
“We went in under false pretenses,” Tester said. “We pulled the troops from Afghanistan and put them in Iraq. Osama bin Laden is still running free.”
The war is costing the U.S. billions of dollars a year that could be better spent on helping middle-class families and small businesses, the challenger said.
Tester said he is not for “telling our opponents what we’re going to do. The fact is, we don’t know what we’re going to do.”
Replied Burns: “We’re not going to tell you what our plan is, Jon, because you’re just going to go out and blow it.”
Finally, looks like Ohio might be going Blue! Or at least Purple. I forgive you for putting Bush in a second time. Besides, some of my best friends live in Ohio.
The bellwether state of Ohio appears to have become hostile terrain for Republicans this year, with voters there overwhelmingly saying Democrats are more likely to help create jobs and concluding by a wide margin that Republicans in the state are more prone to political corruption than are Democrats, according to the latest New York Times/CBS
Ohio is home this year to closely watched races for governor, the United States Senate and a growing roster of competitive House seats, and the state has become one of the most contested battlegrounds of 2006 and one in which voters at this point are strongly favoring Democrats on many issues.
The Democratic candidates for governor and Senate hold commanding, double-digit leads over their Republican opponents in the poll and respondents said they intended to vote for the Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives in their district by a 50 to 32 percent margin.
The results raise alarm bells for President Bush and his party across the nation three weeks from Election Day.
The poll found a striking slippage in the president’s standing among white evangelical Christians, a constituency that has provided a strong vote cushion for Republican candidates in recent elections. In November 2004, 76 percent of white evangelical Christians in Ohio voted for Mr. Bush. When asked in this poll whether they approve or disapprove of the job Mr. Bush is doing as president, 49 percent approved while 45 percent disapproved.
Ohio is a Republican-leaning but heavily contested state that twice voted to elect Mr. Bush and gave him his Electoral College margin of victory in 2004. But it is not a perfect microcosm of the country, and in particular it has higher levels of economic anxiety, the poll found.