The Disloyal Opposition

The Voice of America says that "As President Barack Obama makes his way through his first 100 days in office, Republicans are still trying to find their voice as the loyal opposition as they adjust to a new Democratic president and Democratic control of Congress."

"Bobby" Jindal doesn’t have that problem. Governor Jindal thinks loyalty is overrated

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, R,  reignited the controversy surrounding the Republican Party and Rush Limbaugh Tuesday night when he said it is OK to hope President Barack Obama fails.

Speaking to a conference of Republican leaders, Mr. Jindal, a man who many believe has an eye on the White House in 2012, said it is appropriate to hope the president fails if it means the president’s policies will jeopardize the nation’s security and stability.

“My answer to the question is very simple: ‘Do you want the president to fail?’ It depends on what he is trying to do,” Mr. Jindal said.

“Make no mistake: Anything other than an immediate and compliant, ‘Why no sir, I don’t want the president to fail,’ is treated as some sort of act of treason, civil disobedience or political obstructionism,” Mr. Jindal said to a crowd of about 1,200. “This is political correctness run amok.”

Well, some loyalty, anyway. When he says it’s OK to hope that the president fails in a time of national crisis, he’s  just being loyal to something bigger than his country

[T]he people on our side are really making a mistake if they go after Bobby Jindal on the basis of style. Because if you think — people on our side I’m talking to you — those of you who think Jindal was horrible [in his response to Obama’s address to Congress – and yes, everyone did], you think — in fact, I don’t ever want to hear from you ever again. 

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NY-20: Siena Poll Shows Tedisco Four Points Behind

In a poll taken before the Obama endorsement ad was released in the district, the leader of the Assembly Republican Conference isn’t doing very well:

ALBANY, N.Y. – A new poll shows Democrat Scott Murphy has taken the lead over Republican Jim Tedisco in the closely watched race for Congress in eastern New York‘s 20th District.

The Siena College survey gives Murphy a lead of 4 percentage points in a poll with a margin of error just more than 3 points.

The poll released Friday found Murphy, a venture capital manager, with support from 47 percent of voters. Tedisco, a veteran of 20 years in the state Assembly, had 43 percent.

Needless to say, a Republican running behind in a district with a 70,000+ Republican registration advantage isn’t very good news for the people who are trying to nationalize the election as a referendum on Obama.

I think it would be nice to do well in that particular referendum, so below the fold, a few ways you can volunteer to help in the last few days before Tuesday’s election, both inside the district and nationally (and, as ever, any donations can go here)

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Panic! At Tedisco

 The NY Congressional Special Election is March 31. Keep NY-20 Democratic and make Michael Steele sad. Act Blue is raising funds for Democratic candidate Scott Murphy to hold the seat previously held by now-Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

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In the latest episode of As the District Turns, Assemblyman Tedisco made it clear to a reporter from the Daily Star in Oneonta that he wasn’t at all impressed with putative party head Rush Limbaugh

Political commentators may see the 20th Congressional District race as a contest of national consequence, but Republican James Tedisco, 58, is focused closer to home.

“Rush Limbaugh is meaningless to me,” Tedisco told the editorial board of The Daily Star on Thursday. “The only constituency I’m worried about are the residents of the 20th Congressional District.”

Voters will go to the polls March 31. Tedisco, 58, noted that the National Republican Congressional Committee and GOP National Committee Chairman Michael Steele are focused on this race, but he said he is calling his own shots, running his own campaign.

“I was out in the streets, shaking hands, trying to meet everybody,” he said. “I hadn’t run a congressional race before, but I realized I had to get inside and take control of my message.”

His message is, apparently, Please don’t hurt me

In the hours since the story was posted, it has gone viral — the Huffington Post first linked to it and it is all over the blogs now.

In response, Tedisco spokesman Adam Kramer sent over the following statement:

“Jim’s comments were in response to a question about what voters are asking him about on the campaign trail. So far, the concerns he has been hearing from voters on the campaign trail have been local in nature, such as his support for lower property taxes, fiscal responsibility, and his opponent’s appalling support for the AIG bonus loophole. That was his point and any effort to characterize it otherwise is a distortion of the facts.”

After the jump: Mr. Tedisco’s generous birther friend from the National Republican Trust PAC makes an unfortunate phone call to the Albany Times-Union about the ad they were forced to pull of the air last week: (more…)

More NY-20: Mr. Tedisco Hits a Speed Bump

The NY Congressional Special Election is March 31. Keep NY-20 Democratic and make Michael Steele sad. Act Blue is raising funds for Democratic candidate Scott Murphy to hold the seat previously held by now-Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

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When last we saw Mr. Jim Tedisco, he was turning down help from the RNC because they were too negative for his district, and he wanted to run a kinder, gentler race. Only now, it’s starting to look as if what he really wants is to distance himself from the head of the RNC, one Michael Steele, who is, if you haven’t noticed, very unpopular with national Republicans, because his new friends aren’t very nice at all:

The conservative National Republican Trust PAC — the organization that ran the controversial presidential election television ad implying that Barack Obama would give a driver’s license to 9/11 mastermind Mohammed Atta — recently pulled an ad out of rotation from WNYT 13, the local NBC affiliate.

The ad, shown [at link], is misleading, to say the least. Among its incorrect assertions is that Murphy created 1,000 jobs in India, absolutely incorrectly attributing the Times Union.

The Murphy campaign got wind of the ad and contacted NBC to lodge a protest on Friday afternoon.

As a regular practice, NBC’s “general tendency” is to run political ads. If, however, one side complains about an ad, the station has a legal policy to ask for documentation on the assertion. Generally, the organization running the ad readily submits the documentation.

“In this case, they talked to us Monday, and instead of sending the backup of the spot, they requested that we pull the spot immediately,” said said NBC affiliate NYT 13’s general manager counsel Steve Baboulis.

The National Republican Trust PAC are the folks who are threatening to primary any Republican who supported the stimulus package, and—ramping up the loon factor—it’s run by a birther (one of those people who think Obama’s not the president because he’s not really a citizen. As above, they also think he’s connected to 9/11. Amazed Giuliani didn’t bring that up).

They seem to have had made quite an impression on Tedisco (more…)

Tedisco (NY-20) – Man of Steele?

tedisco_steele_609.thumbnail.JPGNYS Congressional Special Election 3/31 is raising money for this race.

Keep NY-20 Democratic and make Michael Steele sad. Act Blue is raising funds for Democratic candidate Scott Murphy to hold Sen Gillibrand’s seat.

Um, oops.

Mr. Tedisco, the Republican who’s trying to get Sen. Gillibrand’s old seat, has a small problem

Democrat Scott Murphy is galloping to catch up with Republican Jim Tedisco in the race for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s vacated seat in New York’s 20th Congressional District, according to the new Siena Research Institute Poll. The trend lines are from the last poll released on February 26.

Republican candidate Jim Tedisco – 45 (-1)
Democratic candidate Scott Murphy – 41 (+7)
Libertarian candidate Eric Sundwall – 1 (+1) (more…)

NY20: The Saga Continues

giuliani.thumbnail.jpgNYS Congressional Special Election 3/31: Keep NY-20 Democratic and make Michael Steele sad. Act Blue is raising funds for Democratic candidate Scott Murphy to hold Sen Gillibrand’s seat. 

Our great and good friend, and my beloved former Mayor, Mr. Giuliani came to campaign for Mr. Tedisco this week, just like he did for twice-elected Sen. Gillibrand’s last two opponents. They have a lot in common, Tedisco and Giuliani. Giuliani doesn’t live in the district either

New York Republican James Tedisco said it shouldn’t matter to voters that he doesn’t live in the 20th Congressional District he is seeking to represent, although he has made an issue of his Democratic opponent’s Missouri roots.

Tedisco’s voting record filed with the state Board of Elections shows his official residence is Glenville, and he confirmed to The Associated Press that he still lives there. Schenectady is where Tedisco grew up, went to college, worked, and where his Assembly district office is located. But Schenectady isn’t in the 20th Congressional District, which extends from Dutchess County in the lower Hudson Valley north to Essex County in the Adirondacks.

As an assemblyman, he has represented part of the 20th Congressional District for more than 25 years. Tedisco married a Saratoga Springs woman last year, and said he now owns a home in the city where he spends some time. "Because I have a house four blocks away from the entrance way to Saratoga (County), but do have a house in Saratoga — I don’t think that’s a valid reason to not pick the best person for the job," Tedisco said when questioned about his residency.*

Mssrs Giuliani and Tedisco actually shut the press out of their last press availability of the day, but they did manage to put across Mr. Giuliani’s signature message in the meetings they did allow coverage of

The men stopped at the Roosevelt Fire Department in Poughkeepsie where they presented a bouquet to Kathy Tegtmeier and her children. Tegtmeier’s husband, Paul, was a Roosevelt fire fighter and died in the twin towers on 9/11.

You may not realize this, but Mr. Giuliani was the mayor of New York when the (noun, verb) 9/11 attacks took place. He doesn’t bring it up much. He did steel himself to mention it at his next appearance

A rally at the Hyde Park Fire Department may have been the biggest stop, but perhaps the most important was a roundtable with Hudson Valley business leaders in Pleasant Valley. 

Rudy Giuliani says he is happy to support Jim Tedisco because Tedisco supported him in rebuilding New York City’s economy before and after the September 11 attacks. (more…)

NY-20 – the rebirth of Republicans?

NYS Congressional Special Election 3/31: Keep NY-20 Democratic and make Michael Steele sad. Act Blue is raising funds for Democratic candidate Scott Murphy to hold Sen Gillibrand’s seat. 

Mr. Tedisco, of the State Assembly, is running on the Republican line for Sen. Gillibrand’s former seat. He was hand-picked for the job by the gentleman Ms. Gillibrand replaced, Miami rioter (and a gentleman with a rather complicated relationship with both his family and drunk driving laws) Mr. Sweeney. He’s got leatherface Boehner and Rudy Giuliani campaigning for him, Mitt Romney’s PAC raising money, and Mr. Steele’s RNC promoting his race as a Republican national comeback (although oddly enough, if you look at the first ad they paid for, it sorta leaves something out)

Did you notice in the ad where the man who’s going to bring Republicans back mentioned which party he belonged to? Nah, me neither, despite the fact that there are 75k more Republicans than Democrats registered in the district he’s hoping to win. Which is why it’s a little bit odd that the candidate with the greatest name recognition (Mr. Tedisco is a Republican leader in the State Assembly) has halved his lead from a few weeks ago (the AP is calling it a competitive race now)

Or maybe not. Being a Republican is a bit of a problem for Mr. Tedisco these days: (more…)

The Essential Oversight

128795724923852116.thumbnail.jpgGiven the history of their recent run at ruling America, congressional Republicans are particularly attuned to the possibility of revolting displays of mismanagement and fraud on the public dime 

Republicans are preparing to pounce on any wasteful spending in the $787 billion stimulus package as they refocus their criticisms of a measure whose success could hurt their 2010 election prospects.

House Republicans are setting up "a stimulus-watch program" that will allow watchdog groups and private citizens to report findings as contractors and agencies start spending billions of dollars on roads, schools, renewable energy projects and other initiatives, said House GOP Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia.

"We’ll be taking a look in detail" and "really providing accountability and transparency," Cantor said in an interview Wednesday.

House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio said in a statement: "House Republicans are concerned about the potential for abuse of taxpayer funds in the massive trillion-dollar spending bill that the president signed into law this week. … We will remain vigilant in our oversight efforts."

GOP Rep. Darrell Issa of California said Republicans want the economy to improve as much as anyone does, even if it allows Democrats to claim credit. But as the top Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, he is trying to exceed Democrats in holding the government accountable for the stimulus bill’s spending.

If the much-maligned financial sector bailout is a guide, then "unchecked efforts to rapidly spend billions of dollars involve significant risks of waste, fraud and abuse," Issa said in a letter to the inspectors general of the major federal agencies.

Well, shit. I have to agree with Eric "real estate and brokerage donations are way down, and Abramoff’s in jail – thank goodness the wife’s working" Cantor, John "not all my lobbyist friends are under indictment" Boehner, and House Republican oversight sachem Darryl "dude, Darryl Issa? the guy who stole the cars?" Issa that oversight is real important. Which is why I’m real shocked that nobody did anything to try and combat waste in the stimulus legislation.

Oh, no, wait. They did. And then Susan Collins, the ranking Republican on the Senate Oversight Committee, held the stimulus package hostage until it came right back out.

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Great Moments in Pocket-Lining: The Cantor Family Bailout

Minority Whip Eric Cantor, one of the current crop of fresh young faces of the Republican party, whipped his caucus to keep them from supporting the stimulus package. The whole government bailout thing just… bothers him.

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) holds up House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's statement while speaking to the media after the vote failed on the bailout on Capitol Hill on Sept. 29, 2008. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)House Republican Whip Eric Cantor, a rising star in the Republican party, has been a prominent voice demanding accountability in how the government doles out hundreds of billions for bank bailouts.

"I think most American taxpayers now are sort of scratching their head," Cantor told CNN in December, "wondering when all this bailout stuff is going to end. And probably thinking, ‘You know, when is my bailout coming?’"

Rep. Cantor is not one of those confused taxpayers

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Mr. Boehner has a Tantrum

000d2p2t.thumbnail.jpgOh, dear. Mr. Boehner’s all sad again. 

It appears that the Republicans just haven’t had enough time to review the finished version of the stimulus plan, and he thinks that stinks a really lot. 

To the point that he’s forgotten to use his words, and he’s throwing things. 

Bother. I really hate it when that happens. Like, for instance, when the Republicans controlled the Senate, and this happened

  

Lobbyists for Eli Lilly & Company, the pharmaceutical giant, did not have much luck when they made the rounds on Capitol Hill earlier this year, seeking protection from lawsuits over a preservative in vaccines. Senator Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee, tucked a provision into a bill that went nowhere. When lawmakers rebuffed a request to slip language into domestic security legislation, a Lilly spokesman said, the company gave up.

Now, in a Washington whodunit worthy of Agatha Christie, the provision has been resurrected and become law, as part of the domestic security legislation signed on Monday by President Bush. Yet in a city where politicians have perfected the art of claiming credit for deeds large and small, not a single member of Congress — or the Bush administration — will admit to being the author of the Lilly rider.

”It’s turning into one of Washington’s most interesting parlor games,” said Dave Lemmon, spokesman for Senator Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan, who has promised to introduce legislation to repeal the provision. ”There’s a lot of guessing, a lot of speculation as to who did this.”

Well, maybe not so much a mystery

The legislative history:

1. Frist offered a bill to get Eli Lilly off the hook on thimerosal in the Senate. No hearings were held.

2. That provision appeared in neither the House nor the Senate version of the Homeland Security bill as passed before the election, since it has nothing to do with homeland security.

3. After the election, a version of the Homeland Security bill was reported out by the conference committee, with several special-interest goodies, including the thimerosal language, that hadn’t been in either the House bill or the Senate bill. (more…)