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Wednesday, March 15, 2006
The Censure Issue
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:26 am

Via WaPo: A Senate Maverick Acts to Force an Issue

Feingold, 53, says he is convinced that Bush broke the law in ordering National Security Agency wiretaps of overseas telephone calls and e-mails of U.S. citizens that involved people suspected of terrorist activities without first obtaining special court approval, and that his party must take a firm stand in protest.


Feingold’s resolution, formally introduced Monday, would censure Bush for approving an “illegal program to spy on American citizens on American soil.” The senator’s intention was to refer the matter to the Judiciary Committee for hearings and a vote before consideration by the full Senate. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) tried to force an immediate vote, to put the Democrats on the spot, but Democratic leaders objected, and for now the censure measure appears to be stalled.

I will say this about this affair: I would like to see a full investigation of the President’s action on this matter to determine if he did, in fact, violate the law. If he did, I would actually like to see a censure resolution voted out. If a President misbehaves, a President ought to be called on it by the Congress.

In other words, I would like to see a formal finding on what was done and a determination made as to its legality-and, further, as to the degree to which there was an honest issue of interpretation that led to the administration’s actions, and to what degree it was a deliberate ignoring of existing statute. In other words, were there gray areas, or were there stark areas of black and white, legally speaking? To be honest, my interpretation of the situation leans heavily towards the latter, while still seeing some of the former.

Of course, there has never been a full airing of this topic (not the operational aspects, but the legal/policy aspects) to my satisfaction.

The fact of the matter is, of course, that partisan and electoral politics so infuse this issue that true and an honest communication from the Congress to the President is not going to happen. Members of both parties (both in government and out) see this situation mostly from the point of view of how it effects 2006 and 2008, not from the POV of whether the President took proper actions.

Of course, I am of a mind that the censure option should be one that is more frequently on the table, insofar as the Congress ought to have a tool for the formal communication of serious displeasure with the President. However, this is a tool that clearly isn’t likley to come into vogue, as the article notes:

Censure, or official Senate condemnation, is a rare tool that has been used against only one president — Andrew Jackson, in March 1834. Jackson ignored the censure, and it was expunged three years later. Censuring is a symbolic act compared with impeachment — an indictment by the House permitted under the Constitution, which, if approved, leads to a Senate vote on acquittal or removal from office.

Really, President Clinton deserved a censure, rather than an attempt at removal from office-although I have often thought that the idea of impeachment without removal was a censure, after a fashion.

Of course, back to practical politics, a major problem with the censure idea is that it really would end being not a tool of inter-branch communication and criticism, but simply one of inter-party point-scoring. So, my musings regarding its use are in many ways a political fantasy predicated on the idea that Congress is really concerned about policy and proper governance and not political gain. Ah well, once can be an idealist in one’s own thoughts from time to time, I suppose.

Still, while I do think that Feingold is engaging in some pre-2008 politicking, I also think he is making a principled stand from his own point of view, and he also had to know that the resolution would fail (and, to be fair, he also knew it would get a lot of press).

To me it is unfortunate, albeit not surprising, that there hasn’t been a fuller investigation into the President’s actions on this NSA wiretap policy, as I think it is something that we all have a right to know more about, and that it is an issue that is serious in terms of how much power can a given president assert in such areas in the name of national security.

Filed under: US Politics, War on Terror, 2008 Campaign | Comments (6) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Monday, March 13, 2006
Many Can’t Wait for 2008
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:44 am

Via WaPo: At Republican Conference, the Future Is Now

That’s funny. We could have sworn the last presidential campaign just ended. It couldn’t have been, what, more than a year, year and a half ago that George W. Bush was getting re-inaugurated and was so flush with political capital — all of which feels as far away as Dubai right now.

And then we woke up to find it was already 2008, which might turn out to be the longest presidential year ever.

Time does fly, does it not? Considering I will turn 40 in 2008, I suppose I shouldn’t be in too much of a hurry to get there (it will also be the last year before my oldest hits his teens…eek!).

At any rate, such are the nature of our times: presidential election season starting earlier and earlier. No doubt that Bush’s current approval numbers make looking at ‘08 even more fun for GOPers at this moment in time, but don’t kid yourself: we would be talking about presidential candidates for 2008 even if Bush was at 60%.

The 2004 contest was well underway in early 2003, almost two years before the 2006 elections, so it is hardly a surprise that we are starting even earlier in this cycle, given that both the Republican and Democratic nominations are wide-open.

Indeed, the Democrats held their first straw poll on June 15, 2005.

Heck, my first post on the 2008 election was the morning after the election, wherein I noted:

A sure sign that the talking heads think that this election is over: Russert and Brokaw are talking about 2008.

That was posted at 12:27am, cst (the timestamp says 1:27am, but the blog was set for eastern time). So, it is hardly a surprise that there is great discussion now over 2008.

Filed under: US Politics, 2008 Campaign | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Speaking of the Straw Poll
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:15 am

James Joyner has much more.

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Saturday, March 11, 2006
Straw Poll Results
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:17 pm

Via Reuters: Frist wins Republican straw poll

Frist, who packed the home-state crowd with supporters wearing blue “Frist is my leader” buttons, won nearly 37 percent of the 1,427 votes cast by delegates to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was second with 14.4 percent, while Sen. George Allen of Virginia finished tied for third with
President George W. Bush, whose name was added to the ballot by 10.3 percent of the delegates at the urging of Arizona Sen. John McCain.

This, of course, means pretty much nothing. The vote was held in Frist’s home state, for crying out loud-not to mention, well, it’s a straw poll.

Filed under: US Politics, 2008 Campaign | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

The Moderate Voice linked with Good News For Democrats (UPDATED)
Outside The Beltway | OTB linked with Frist Wins Hotline Straw Poll
Wednesday, March 1, 2006
More Things that Make you Ask: Why?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:13 am

Via the AP: Draft the Donald! Campaign Effort Begins

Filed under: US Politics, 2008 Campaign | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Clinton and the UN SecGen Job
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 5:08 pm

Stephen Bainbridge points to this WaTi piece: Analysis: Clinton eyes U.N. post.

There has long been speculation that the former president would like the Secretary General’s job. However, I have also long thought this to be a highly unlikely outcome.

First, I don’t care how populat Clinton is thought to be on the international scene, he is still an American and there is no way that the United Nations is going to enhance the power of the US within the UN. Yes, as Secretary General he would not be a creature of the US government, but he is still an American, and a former US leader and would bring to the job a US perspective. Only the most invertirate Clinton-hater would assume otherwise.

Second, along those same lines his wife is a US Senator and a likely candidate for the presidency. Not only would this create political problems for the UN, it would create political problems for Hillary. If the Clintons are anything, they are astute politically, and there is no way that Bill is going to pursue a career path at this stage that could seriously jeopardize Hillary’s run for office.

Third, the US government would have a say in the matter.

Filed under: US Politics, Global Politics, 2008 Campaign | Comments (5) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Thursday, February 9, 2006
And the Irrelevance Continues…
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:26 pm

Via the AP: House rejects plan to move up presidential preference primary:

The House voted 43-31 to bring the bill up for consideration, but it was short of the three-fifths vote needed. The vote fell along party lines, with Democrats supporting the measure and Republicans complaining the more than $3 million cost of holding the separate primary was too high.

Some things are worth paying for-like having the voters in one’s state be relevant in the process of picking the major party nominees for the presidential election.

Ah well. Maybe we can break to low turn-out record for the June primaries again in 2008!

Filed under: US Politics, Alabama Politics, 2008 Campaign | Comments (4) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Monday, January 16, 2006
Rice Says “No” (Yet Again)
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:44 am

Via the AP: Rice Again Rules Out 2008 White House Run

Asked about the first lady’s comments Sunday, Rice laughed and good naturedly answered the recurring question about her prospects for president in 2008. No dice, she said — for the umpteenth time.

“Obviously, it’s flattering when people say things like that. The first lady is not only a terrific person, she’s my friend. And I was honored that she said that, of course. She’s a wonderful person,” Rice said.

“But I’ve spoken to this. I know what I’m good at, I know what I want to do and that’s not it.”

How about vice president?

“The two are the same,” she said with a grin and a shake of her head.

As interesting as it might be for Rice to run, I have a hard seeing an electoral novice having any serious chance at a major party nomination.

Indeed, I did the research on the question back when Wesley Clarke was pursuing the Democratic Party’s slot.

To summarize my findings:

  • No electoral rookie has been nominated by a major party since the inception of the current primary process in 1972.
  • Even under the previous set of rules, the last electoral neophyte to be nominated was Eisenhower in 1952. He went on to win two terms as President-but, of course, having been the victorious commander in Europe during WWII helped quite a bit.
  • Prior to that, the last electoral rookie to win the presidency was Herbert Hoover in 1928.
  • In 1940, Wendell Wilkie was recruited from the ranks of business to run for President.

Again, the run-down is here.

The skills needed to be a professor, provost, National Security Adviser and SecState (to hit her resume highlights) aren’t the same skills needed to run for office, let alone the Presidency. There are other issues as well. For example: her views on abortion and other social policies are vaguely known at best, and it isn’t like the Bush foreign policy is the ideal place from which to build a presidential run. I suspect that even in segments of the GOP that favor the general approach that President Bush has used in the War on Terror, Iraq, etc., that there will be room (substantial room) for candidates who seek a degree of change to the current policies.

If she wanted to be President she should have pursued elective office at the state level, or, at a minimum, work towards being the Veep candidate in 2008.

So, shockingly, even if she were to change her mind and run, I don’t see a Hillary v. Condi race, regardless of what Dick Morris may think.

Filed under: US Politics, 2008 Campaign | Comments (7) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

The Florida Masochist linked with The answer is still no
Fruits and Votes » Blog Archive » Presidential recruitment linked with [...] ience is posts in the current president’s cabinet-prompted me to post a rather extensive comment to Steven’s post. After thinking of Colombia, Mexico, a [...]
PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Presidential Nominee Career Paths in Colombia linked with [...] idential Nominee Career Paths in Colombia By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 2:43 pm In a comment to my post on the probability of a Rice candidacy succeeding, Matthew Shug [...]
Sunday, December 18, 2005
More Trouble for Frist
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 4:23 pm

This doesn’t look good (via the AP): AP: Frist AIDS Charity Paid Consultants

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s AIDS charity paid nearly a half-million dollars in consulting fees to members of his political inner circle, according to tax returns providing the first financial accounting of the presidential hopeful’s nonprofit.

Frist continues to have more than his share of questionable activities of this nature. And such revelations continue to reinforce my opinion that Frist has no shot at the White House in 2008.

Filed under: US Politics, 2008 Campaign | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

A Stitch in Haste linked with Frist Notches Down to a Lower Circle of Hell
Monday, December 12, 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:48 am

Such was my initial reaction when I read the following headline: Sanford rules out bid for presidency in 2008.

If, like me, Sanford has not made much of an impression, I will clue you in: he’s the Republican governor or South Carolina:

Governor says he’ll serve 4 years if re-elected

Gov. Mark Sanford “absolutely” will not run for president in 2008.

In a wide-ranging interview with The State newspaper in his State House office last week, Sanford said he would not be a candidate for president in the 2008 Republican primary.

Sanford will seek re-election as governor in 2006.

“Should I get re-elected,” Sanford said, “I absolutely am serving all four years, because we just have some huge issues here in South Carolina that are just an immense challenge.”

Meguesses that’s the wise move.

Filed under: US Politics, 2008 Campaign, 2006 Elections | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Thursday, December 8, 2005
The Horror!
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 5:16 pm

Via the AP: Democrats May Caucus Between Iowa, N.H.

Democrats considering changes in the presidential primary calendar were sent a draft proposal on Thursday that would place one or two caucuses after Iowa but before New Hampshire’s leadoff primary.

Can you imagine? Undercutting New Hampshire’s God-given right to be the second major delegate-selection event?

The nerve of some people.

Filed under: US Politics, 2008 Campaign | Comments (3) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
On Voting and Evacuations
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:22 am

Via the Birmingham News: Democrats support bill to allow absentee voting by evacuees

Rep. Artur Davis’ proposal to give displaced hurricane evacuees a chance to vote absentee in their home state elections has gained support on Capitol Hill but so far only from Democrats.

The legislation, if approved, would treat evacuees from Louisiana and Mississippi like military personnel and let them vote back home in the 2006 and 2008 federal elections.

Since its introduction Sept. 13, Davis’ bill has attracted 33 co-sponsors, all of them Democrats, and a Senate version of the bill has three Democratic supporters.


Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and John Kerry, D-Mass., are co-sponsors. Louisiana’s other senator, Republican David Vitter, told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that Congress should be working on helping displaced residents return to Louisiana, first and foremost, and that the voting legislation should wait.

On the one hand, there does seem to be a certain amount of fairness inherent in allowing persons displaced by Katrina for extended periods to right to vote in their home districts. However, this strikes me as logistically a nightmare, and more importantly it raises the question of when one becomes a resident of where one is living.

Normally, residency is instantaneous to the establishment of a new domicile. As such, intent to one day relocate, for whatever reason, does not vitiate one’s current residency status. In other words: when does an evacuee become not an evacuee but a new resident of a new location? And how would intent to return to a specific electoral district (indeed, districts since we all live in multiple federal, state and local districts) be legally established?

If one is deployed to Iraq, intent to return to one’s home in the US is clear-however, if one has been displaced to Montgomery, Alabama, one may never never to New Orleans.

Of course, this entire issue is steeped in partisan politics, as Democrats know that the displacement in Louisiana caused by Katrina have disproportionately effected the Democratic Party. Republicans are aware of this as well. It is no shocker, therefore, that Landrieu is in favor (New Orleans forms much of her political base) and Vitter prefers a wait-and-see approach.

If anything, it does strike me that extending such a period to 2008 seems a bit of a stretch, as by then people are going to have re-settled or returned. One can only be an “evacuee” for so long.

Filed under: US Politics, Hurricanes, 2008 Campaign, 2006 Elections | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Early ‘08 Polls
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 4:01 pm

For what it’s worth (which isn’t much) comes a poll on the 2008 via the AP: Poll: Clinton Would Lead Rice in ‘08 Race

The poll, conducted by Marist College’s Institute for Public Opinion in conjunction with New York City television station WNBC, gave the former first lady 50 percent to 41 percent for Rice.

But Republicans John McCain and Rudolph Giuliani both topped Clinton.

Of course, it strikes me as especially unlikely that Giuliani is going to run and f he does, he has almost no chance of winning the nomination.

And, for that matter, I don’t see Rice running, either.

Filed under: US Politics, 2008 Campaign | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Friday, October 14, 2005
Is That Some Kind of Threat?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:30 am

Via the AP: Newt Gingrich Considers Run for President

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Thursday he might run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 — unless some candidates promote his ideas.

Take my ideas….or else!!

Filed under: US Politics, 2008 Campaign | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Did Anyone Expect Him to?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:53 am

Via the AP: Gore: No Plans to Run for President Again

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