Tuesday, January 23, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST January 23, 2007

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USA Today


Why some Democrats worry that Clinton can't win

Updated 1/22/2007 1:20 PM ET
By Jill Lawrence, USA TODAY

She's a celebrity with an impressive résumé, major-league supporters andfive consecutive years of being the Gallup Poll's "most admired woman."Yet as New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton plunges into the race for theDemocratic presidential nomination, she faces resistance from fellowDemocrats who don't like her, don't like her positions on issues or don'tthink she can win.

"We've got to find somebody else," says David Newman, a retired teacher fromYork, Maine. "I think she's great. If she had a chance of winning, I'd votefor her. She's dragging a ball and chain behind her. There are too manypeople who have an aversion to her."

Clinton is a complicated package. Her constituents and Senate colleaguesgenerally view her as smart and hard-working. On the challenge side of theledger, there's her personality (perceived in some quarters as chilly), hervote on Iraq (she supported the war) and her gender (are Americans ready fora female president?).


The LA Times


Anyone but a Bush or a Clinton
The U.S. needs a leader in 2008 who doesn't inherit the office because of alast name.
By James Burkee
JAMES BURKEE, an assistant professor of history at Concordia UniversityWisconsin, is co-founder of the bipartisan political action committeeAmericans for Responsibility in Washington.

January 22, 2007

HAVING REFUSED a third term as president, George Washington offered thenation a farewell address in 1796, urging Americans to cherish the Union andto avoid the "baneful effects" of political partisanship. Successors such asThomas Jefferson warned against the formation of an "unnatural" aristocracyof men who inherited great fortunes and political office.

Both of these warnings have been overlooked in the debate over HillaryRodham Clinton's 2008 presidential run. But if she secures the Democraticnomination, wins and serves two terms, by 2017 the United States will havebeen governed by either a Bush or a Clinton for 28 years. That's threedecades governed not just by the same two families but much of the samesupporting staff. As Dick Cheney is a name familiar to both Bushpresidencies (as George H.W. Bush's secretary of Defense and his son's vicepresident), so too may a Hillary Clinton presidency resuscitate familiarnames such as Harold Ickes, Paul Begala and James Carville.


The Miami Herald


Posted on Mon, Jan. 22, 2007

Bush's political capital is dangerously depleted
By Thomas M. DeFrank
New York Daily News


WASHINGTON - White House political aides always try to lower expectationsfor a State of the Union address. That won't be hard this year.

As President Bush prepares to deliver his seventh State of the Union onTuesday night, he finds himself at the low ebb of his steadily waning clout.

His political capital is dangerously depleted. Congress is controlled by theDemocrats, emboldened to reverse his domestic initiatives and challenge himat every turn. Republicans already jittery about the 2008 elections aredistancing themselves from him and his policies. His personal popularity andjob approval ratings have been shredded. "It's not a pretty politicalpicture," one of Bush's closest confidants acknowledged last week, "and weall know it, including him."

The task facing Bush is even more daunting because aides know a significantportion of his speech must reinforce the single issue that has hastened hispolitical demise: the war in Iraq.





How fauxthentic is it?

By Alex Beam, Globe Columnist
January 22, 2007

The beaverish and not unalluring John Edwards recently kicked off hispresidential campaign with a series of "webisodes," long-form campaigncommercials posted on the Internets . In webisode one, we read, "SenatorEdwards talks about remaining authentic in the political world."

During the artfully scripted "behind the scenes" video, Edwards appears inan open-neck gingham shirt and blue jeans, complaining about the falsenessof political life. "I've come to the personal conclusion that I want thecountry to see who I really am," he says. "I'd rather be successful orunsuccessful based on who I really am, not based on some plastic Ken dollthat you put up in front of audiences. That's not me."

And so begins Campaign 2008: The quest for fauxthenticity.

Fauxthenticity is fake authenticity that feels, like, really genuine. LikeJohn Edwards just kicking back on his private jet, complaining about hishigh-priced campaign consultants. Fauxthenticity works better thanauthenticity. Just ask Arizona Senator John McCain, who used to be famousfor unvarnished speech. He has called journalists "liars" and "idiots" -- nofoul there -- and once used a racial slur to describe his former NorthVietnamese captors, which likewise seems like an in-bounds play to me,coming from a former POW.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Human Events, January 22, 2007


Could Marriage Issue Hurt GOP in '08?
by D.R. Tucker

Will the controversial issue of same-sex marriage-which played a role inPresident Bush's re-election in 2004-actually cause a Democrat to win theWhite House in 2008?

Bush's victory over Sen. John Kerry (D.-Mass.) occurred just two weeksbefore the first anniversary of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court'sruling in Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health, a ruling mandating thatthe state grant all rights, benefits, privileges and responsibilities ofmarriage to same-sex couples. The Goodridge ruling was arguably the thirdmost prominent issue in the 2004 presidential contest (the others being theWar on Terror and the economy). Millions of "values voters," horrified bythe judicial activism of the SJC, embraced Bush, who denounced the rulingand reaffirmed marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and rejectedKerry, whose criticisms of the ruling seemed half-hearted at best.

However, gay marriage could cause problems for the Republicans this timearound-particularly if former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney receives theGOP nomination. While Romney strongly criticized the Goodridge ruling andendorsed efforts to have the ruling democratically nullified through apro-traditional marriage ballot initiative, he has come under fire fromconservative activists who believe that he in fact facilitated the beginningof same-sex marriage in the Bay State.


The Washington Post


Internal Rifts Cloud Democrats' Opportunity on Warming

By Juliet Eilperin and Michael Grunwald
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, January 23, 2007; A01

The House Democrats had not quite finished their "100 hours" agenda whenthey met in the Capitol basement Thursday morning, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi(Calif.) was already looking ahead. As her colleagues ate bagels and turkeysausage, she warned that their next challenge would be a lot tougher thanpopular issues such as student loans and ethics reforms. For her next act,she planned to take on global warming.

Democrats, she explained, had to show a sense of urgency about the carbonemissions that threaten the planet, and so she was creating a selectcommittee on energy independence and climate change to communicate thaturgency. The new committee, she said, would help the caucus speak with onevoice -- even if it trampled the turf of existing committees.


The Washington Post


Long Beach Awaits Hate-Crime Verdict
3 White Women Beaten by Crowd

By Sonya Geis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 23, 2007; A03

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- A crowd of black teenagers and three young white womenstood on a street corner on Halloween night. A male voice cried, "I hate[expletive] white people!" The crowd surged, and someone cracked one of thewhites in the head with a skateboard, dropping her to the ground. That muchis not in dispute.

Who is responsible and how this could happen in the port city of Long Beach,which prides itself on its diversity and tolerance, has been the subject ofarguments in court, civic forums and private living rooms here ever since.

Ten defendants -- nine female and one male, ages 12 to 18 -- were chargedwith assault for allegedly beating and kicking the women, giving one 12facial fractures and another a concussion. Eight of the teenagers are alsocharged with a hate crime. Their trial has dragged on since early November.

This week attorneys are expected to finish closing arguments and a judgewill render verdicts. The city is waiting uneasily to find out whether itwill live up to its self-image as a unified, tolerant community or dissolveinto racial hostility.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


High Court To Revisit Campaign Finance Law
New Lineup on Bench Will Consider Ad Limits

By Robert Barnes and Matthew Mosk
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, January 20, 2007; A01

The Supreme Court agreed yesterday to revisit the landmark 2002 legislationoverhauling the nation's campaign finance laws, moving to settle the role ofcampaign spending by corporations, unions and special interest groups intime for the 2008 presidential primaries.

It would be the first time the court has reviewed the McCain-Feingold law of2002 since justices ruled 5 to 4 three years ago that the act wasconstitutional. Since then, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who was in themajority, has been replaced by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

At issue in the case is the question of whether so-called issue advocacy adspaid for by the general funds of special interest groups and broadcast inthe period before a federal election may mention specific candidates. Athree-judge panel in Washington last month overturned that prohibition,which is one of the key provisions of the law known formally as theBipartisan Campaign Reform Act.


The Washington Post


Student Loan Scam

By Robert D. Novak
Monday, January 22, 2007; A19

House Democrats were extolling their student loan bill for opening collegeto Americans with moderate incomes on Wednesday when Rep. Tom Price, asecond-term Republican from Georgia, took the floor. "If only this bill didwhat they say," Price declared. His admonition constituted more than theusual hyperbole of congressional debate.

The bill, passed by an overwhelming, bipartisan vote, was touted as reducingthe interest on federally subsidized student loans, from the present 6.8percent to 3.4 percent. Actually, it gradually reaches the 3.4 percent levelon July 1, 2011. A student taking out a loan on July 1 of this year wouldpay 6.12 percent after graduation. Only 29 percent of all students gettingloans would be eligible for this gradual reduction. Other student loanprograms will be cut to help cover the $7 billion cost over five years. Andcontrary to what the Democrats suggest, the bill does nothing to slowskyrocketing college tuition.


The Washington Post


Bush To Face Skeptical Congress
Iraq Overshadows Domestic Outreach

By Peter Baker and Jon Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, January 23, 2007; A01

President Bush plans to reach out to the opposition in his State of theUnion address tonight with new and recycled proposals on health care,energy, immigration and education, but the uproar over his decision to sendmore U.S. troops to Iraq has eclipsed potential consensus on domesticpolicy.

As he addresses a Congress controlled entirely by Democrats for the firsttime since he took office, Bush faces deep skepticism inside the chamber,even within the House Republican leadership, which yesterday made proposalsintended "to hold the Bush administration . . . accountable" for theprogress of his latest Iraq plan.

The doubt on Capitol Hill reflects the continuing erosion of Bush's publicsupport across the country. His approval rating is at the lowest level ofhis presidency, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, and onlytwice in the past six decades has a president delivered his annual speech tothe nation in a weaker condition in the polls -- Harry S. Truman in themidst of the Korean War in 1952 and Richard M. Nixon in the throes ofWatergate in 1974.


The Washington Post


Clinton Bid Heralds Demise of Public Financing

By Dan Balz and Matthew Mosk
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, January 23, 2007; A01

The public financing system designed to clean up presidential campaigns inthe wake of the Watergate scandal may have died on Saturday when Sen.Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) announced her bid for the White House.

Little noticed amid the announcement rollout was a page on her Web site inwhich she asked potential contributors to give her campaign checks of up to$4,200. That figure signaled not only that she plans to forgo public fundsfor primary season but also that, if she becomes the nominee, she will nottake public money for the general election.

By opting out of the system, Clinton will be able to spend as much money asshe can raise, both for the primaries and for the general election, ratherthan being forced to abide by strict spending limits imposed by the FederalElection Commission on candidates who accept public financing.

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