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The W - Current Events & Politics - Breaux retires
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Grimis
Scrapple








Since: 11.7.02
From: MD

Since last post: 1299 days
Last activity: 1096 days
#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.29
That's five southern Democratic Senators leaving after 2004. I think it's safe to say there is next to no chance that the Democrats can take the Senate next year.

None.

* * * * * * * *

La. Sen. John Breaux Plans to Retire
By ADAM NOSSITER
Associated Press Writer

December 16, 2003, 5:35 AM EST

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Three-term Democratic Sen. John Breaux intends to retire next year, ending a 30-year political career and giving Republicans another strong opportunity to pick up a Southern Senate seat in 2004.

"There comes a time in every career when it is time to step aside and let others step up. For my family and me, that time has arrived," Breaux said at a news conference Monday, choking back tears several times.

Breaux, 59, becomes the fifth Southern Democrat in the Senate to step down in 2004, further compounding the party's difficulties in its struggle to retake control of the chamber.

Republicans hold a 51-48 majority in the Senate, with one Democrat-leaning independent. And Breaux's seniority and clout on Capitol Hill have often translated into benefits for Louisianans.

"This one's going to hurt," said political consultant Elliot Stonecipher. "This is a very real hit, and it's going to hurt."

Breaux frequently crossed the aisle to work with Republicans, sometimes angering fellow Democrats and earning a reputation as one of the GOP's favorite Democrats.

"Throughout my years in Congress I have been guided by a simple philosophy -- to make government work for everyone. I didn't go to Washington to get nothing done other than argue about whose fault it was when we failed to make government work," Breaux said Monday.

The latest example was the Medicare reform bill, where he was one of only a few Democrats to be involved in crafting the legislation, which creates a new prescription drug benefit for millions of senior citizens. Other examples include his work on health care and tax issues.

"John Breaux is a distinguished public servant. His tenure in the Senate has been marked by bipartisan statesmanship, results for the people of Louisiana, and dedicated service for America," President Bush said in a statement.

Breaux deflected questions about his plans, saying he had not "negotiated" with anyone, and that he couldn't make commitments because he is still a serving U.S senator.

His son John Breaux Jr. is a highly successful Washington, D.C., lobbyist and Breaux wouldn't say whether he too intends to become a lobbyist. But he made it clear that a primary reason for leaving the Senate is to have a "second career."

He told reporters: "There is something to be said for retiring at the top of your game."

Two of Louisiana's congressmen -- Democrat Chris John and Republican David Vitter -- are expected to jump into the 2004 Senate race, but both remained mum on their intentions Monday.

Four other Southern Democrats in the Senate have announced plans to retire: Bob Graham of Florida; John Edwards of North Carolina, Ernest Hollings of South Carolina and Zell Miller of Georgia.

Two Senate Republicans have announced plans to retire at the end of the term, Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois and Don Nickles of Oklahoma.

Breaux represents a state with a strong dependence on federal spending, especially in the military sector, and his seniority was expected to be particularly missed on the powerful Finance Committee.

"There's one thing time always will cure," Breaux quipped, "and that's seniority. We'll build up that seniority, and we'll have new and young and aggressive people that will fit that bill."



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ScreamingHeadGuy
Frankfurter








Since: 1.2.02
From: Appleton, WI

Since last post: 778 days
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.06
I think the important question to ask is: At this rate, will the Republicans have a shot at 60 seats (enough to end debate, meaning no more filibusters)?



Fashion Reporter Extraordinaire

MoeGates
Andouille








Since: 6.1.02
From: Brooklyn, NY

Since last post: 31 days
Last activity: 1 day
#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.28
I certainly don't think the Dems can take the Senate next year (although I'll bet anyone a fiver the Dems will have the House back in 2006), but I sure wouldn't write off Louisiana. Democrats have won the last 3 statewide races there (albiet by pretty slim margins), and (I think) 6 of the last 7. You've got a Dem Governor and two Dem Senators. That seat will be a heck of a dogfight. So will Florida. The Dems can pretty much write off the Carolinas and Oklahoma, and probably Georgia too. They'll probably get Illinois.

The GOP doesn't have a shot in hell at 60. They'll be pretty lucky to end up with 55.

www.CenterforPolitics.org/crystalball of course has the detailed analysis.

(edited by MoeGates on 16.12.03 1917)

(edited by MoeGates on 16.12.03 1918)

I wonder how much money George W. Bush gave Paris Hilton.
redsoxnation
Scrapple








Since: 24.7.02

Since last post: 508 days
Last activity: 508 days
#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.48
I agree with Moe that 54-55 Republican is the likely number should the situation remain near status quo until the next election. This means the Republicans can't get it even close to filibuster proof, and the only benefit would be it would allow them if necessary to prevent a Chafee or Snowe from becoming a Jeffords and screwing the party over if it were to stay in the 50-51 Republican range (depending upon which party holds the Vice Presidency).
DrDirt
Banger








Since: 8.10.03
From: flyover country

Since last post: 29 days
Last activity: 10 hours
#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.59
If you are the Democrat leadership, maybe you view these retirements as a positive. This gives you a chance to mold a party along lines allowing a clear line to be drawn between you and the opposition. It would appear that if Dean wins the primary (and control of the party leadership) these gentlemen would be in many ways diametrically opposed to their nominee. Take it even further and say Dean is elected, they would not likely support many of his programs. This allows the Dems to start remolding the party. Take a hit in '04 with an eye to '06 and '08. Personally, I would like to see the Rep's win the White House, have 60 in the Senate and increase their majority in the House. Give them two years to do all the things they want. If it works, great. My guess is it wont and if the Dems are smart they are positioned to regain power in '08.

I always like Breaux and Miller. Seemed like fair, level headed individuals.



Perception is reality
vsp
Andouille








Since: 3.1.02
From: Philly

Since last post: 3063 days
Last activity: 277 days
#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.00
    Originally posted by DrDirt
    I always like Breaux and Miller. Seemed like fair, level headed individuals.


More like fair, level headed Republicans -- particularly Miller. Can anyone remember the last time that Miller voted _with_ the Democrats on ANYTHING substantial?





"There were times when I intensely wanted to walk out of the theater and into the fresh air and look at the sky and buy an apple and sigh for our civilization, but I stuck it out." -- Roger Ebert
DrDirt
Banger








Since: 8.10.03
From: flyover country

Since last post: 29 days
Last activity: 10 hours
#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.59
    Originally posted by vsp
      Originally posted by DrDirt
      I always like Breaux and Miller. Seemed like fair, level headed individuals.


    More like fair, level headed Republicans -- particularly Miller. Can anyone remember the last time that Miller voted _with_ the Democrats on ANYTHING substantial?




I really don't agree and I am a Liberal Democrat. To be electable in their states, pols must at least in some substantial way mirror the views of their electorate. They may be Republican in many ways but when they started out a Rep couldn't get elected. They may be Dems more for electabilty and money.

Here in Kansas, we have a lot of what could be called Democrats in Republican clothing. If you want a party support apparatus, money, and a chance to win here, you are Republican. Our Rep. Jerry Moran (have had the pleasure of speaking with him on many occassions) is really a Democrat in many of his views. Is he a Republican? Yes, but a moderate one. What are Breaux and Miller? They are moderate to conservative Dems. This was more possible when parties were not so polarized. No you must be on the party extreme to be a real member of the party which is sad.



Perception is reality
vsp
Andouille








Since: 3.1.02
From: Philly

Since last post: 3063 days
Last activity: 277 days
#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.00
I will ask again -- can anyone remember the last time that Zell Miller voted with the majority of Democrats (not with the "extreme left," but with 40+ fellow Democrats representing a variety of interests and constituencies) on _anything_ substantial?

I ask merely for information.

Look, Miller can vote as he chooses to, but he was elected to represent his state in a NATIONAL body (the United States Senate). He has consistently and unapologetically voted against his own party, and against what the average Democrat would consider to be his/her own best interests by taking sides with the Republicans at every opportunity. He could've run for State Senate if he wanted a position that solely involved the interests of those in Georgia, but as long as he's playing with the big boys, his votes mean a _little more_ than that.



(edited by vsp on 17.12.03 0942)

"There were times when I intensely wanted to walk out of the theater and into the fresh air and look at the sky and buy an apple and sigh for our civilization, but I stuck it out." -- Roger Ebert
Nate The Snake
Liverwurst








Since: 9.1.02
From: Wichita, Ks

Since last post: 3778 days
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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.65
    Originally posted by vsp
    I will ask again -- can anyone remember the last time that Zell Miller voted with the majority of Democrats (not with the "extreme left," but with 40+ fellow Democrats representing a variety of interests and constituencies) on _anything_ substantial?


Technically, he's not there to vote along the party line, he's there to represent his constituents. If he happens to think that people of the state he represents would be better served by voting against the party line, he's just doing his job.

Of course, the whole "representing your constituents" thing hasn't seemed to be particularly important for a good while now. Except when reelection is coming up...



Kansas-born and deeply ashamed
The last living La Parka Marka

"They that can give up essential liberty to gain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin
ParagonOfVirtue
Salami








Since: 20.8.03
From: New Jersey, USA

Since last post: 3353 days
Last activity: 3034 days
#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.59
This could be excellent news.

I really don't care if the Democrats don't take the Senate next year. I view this party like I do a mediocre, overpaid sport team--it's time for the rebuilding process to begin. Breaux and, to a much larger extent, Zell Miller, are a small part of the problem. It's not just about them being more conservative than most of the party. After all, they're still a tad more liberal then even the most liberal of Republicans.

However, it IS about identity. When Zell Miller frequently stands out in the public eye and takes his time in the spotlight to criticize the Democratic party and support the policies of George W. Bush, you know there's a problem. There needs to be a change. It's not even about moving more to the left, either. As it is, it seems like half the Democrats try to fit in with the Republicans, and the other half criticizes the Republicans only for the sake of criticizing the Republicans, with no solid or passionate argument to back it up. Passion is what needs to be brought back.

Say what you want about Howard Dean, but the way his campaign started is the way the Democrats should be. Unfortunately, most people have only taken notice of the often-frustrated and overcritical Dean after taking the lead and trying to defend attacks from all angles. But the Dean of right now is not the Dean of January 2003. The Dean of late 2002 and early 2003 had little to no support, but gained popularity by appealing to the grassroots by providing what they needed--ENERGY. Sure, his war stance accelerated his support in that time in history, but it was his ENERGY that made his campaign unique. If you ignore for a second that the media has no idea that he's not a far liberal but a centrist, like I said, it's not even about the issues. It's about the presentation. The Democratic Party needs to freshen up.

They need to realize that in order to get power again, it's not about kissing the ass of George Bush, it's about getting the voters to think the Democratic party means something fresh and new and progressive. As much as I love John Kerry, I see Kerry and people like Gephardt and Daschle who in recent years haven't shown that confidence that they are the Democrats. They may often be right in what they vote for and their reasoning, but they don't show that passion that will invigorate the party. Their presentation is too 'political' and there is too much waffling in fear of offending their conservative counterparts. But that needs to change. The Republicans know who they are and what they stand for. It's time the Democrats did the same.
AWArulz
Knackwurst








Since: 28.1.02
From: Louisville, KY

Since last post: 3 hours
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Y!:
#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.52
    Originally posted by paragonofvirtue
    They need to realize that in order to get power again, it's not about kissing the ass of George Bush, it's about getting the voters to think the Democratic party means something fresh and new and progressive.


yeah.

I'm gonna put a small quote from William Saletan's article from Slate magazine. Here's the link: http://slate.msn.com/id/2092895/

The Era of Bill Clinton Is Over....

Dean's speech doesn't libel Clinton; it plagiarizes him. Clinton advocated a "New Covenant." Dean advocates a "New Social Contract." Clinton promised basic guarantees to all those who worked hard. Dean promises "basic guarantees to all those who are working hard." Clinton proposed $10,000 a year in college aid. Dean proposes $10,000 a year in college aid. Clinton proposed a retirement savings program. Dean proposes a retirement savings program. Clinton created Americorps as a model of community service. Dean calls Americorps a model of community service.

Clinton said his economic regulations would be pro-business and pro-jobs. Dean says his economic regulations will be "pro-business and pro-jobs." Clinton accused Republicans of trying to privatize Social Security, dismantle Medicare, and end public education. Dean accuses Republicans of trying to "privatize Social Security, dismantle Medicare, and end public education."

Yeah, "something fresh and new and progressive"

Howard the Duck - Clinton Wanna-be.

See, I see the problem for the Dems as the Republicans stealing their issues: Want Prescriptions for Medicare? ok, here's the Repulican plan. And there are others. Howards gonna have to move the party to full-out Bush hating if he's gonna have a chance. Bush hating is the only way they can properly disguise their Clinton-hating.



We'll be back as soon as order is restored.....
MoeGates
Andouille








Since: 6.1.02
From: Brooklyn, NY

Since last post: 31 days
Last activity: 1 day
#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.28
You've got to remember the left's affair with Bill Clinton - we loved him, and then he broke our hearts after he got elected. His campaign did have a Howard Dean-ish feel to it (and I've been told by numerous boomers that his election felt like JFK's). He did run on a similar platform, and one that Dean emulates somewhat.

What soured the left on Clinton - which led directly to massively reduced turnout in 94 and the GOP takeover - was when he started hedging on his campaign promises. It started with "don't ask, don't tell," and went all the way through his disasterous health care plan that tried to please everyone and pleased no one. He completely blew two years of one-party control of Congress. Contrast that with the job Jr. has done with much less of a public mandate, and a much narrower majority, in really getting big, radical conservative ideological stuff through.

John Breaux is a moderate - and is probably a tad bit left of a liberal republican. Miller, on the other hand, is a Phil Gramm/Richard Shelby type - a conservative, not a moderate. When Gramm and Shleby switched parties they really didn't change any of their positions, and they're considered conservative republicans.



I wonder how much money George W. Bush gave Paris Hilton.
PalpatineW
Lap cheong








Since: 2.1.02
From: Getting Rowdy

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#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.00
    Originally posted by MoeGates
    Contrast that with the job Jr. has done with much less of a public mandate, and a much narrower majority, in really getting big, radical conservative ideological stuff through.


Like what? (Really. Not trying to flame.)

As a disgruntled conservative, I just see spending going through the roof. I suppose banning partial birth abortion could be considered a conservative issue, but only if most people are considered conservative.



DrDirt
Banger








Since: 8.10.03
From: flyover country

Since last post: 29 days
Last activity: 10 hours
#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.59
    Originally posted by PalpatineW
      Originally posted by MoeGates
      Contrast that with the job Jr. has done with much less of a public mandate, and a much narrower majority, in really getting big, radical conservative ideological stuff through.


    Like what? (Really. Not trying to flame.)

    As a disgruntled conservative, I just see spending going through the roof. I suppose banning partial birth abortion could be considered a conservative issue, but only if most people are considered conservative.


Palp, there was an interesting story in th paper Saturady regarding this very issue. Its premise was that the control of Congress by the Reps is a decade old now and started with the "Contract With America." They have now overseen the largest increase in spending, since 2001, in the last several decades. Domestic spending on non defense related issues has gone up about 11%. They are trying to defend it but were pretty lame.

The best analogy is when LBJ was elected over Goldwater. LBJ was going to prove he wasn't a pussy on defense and communism, hence our debacle in Vietnam. Many historians I have read feel that if Goldwater were elected, he wouldn't have felt the need to prove his manhood and this mess may have been avoided. Or Clinton wa labeled a tax and spend liberal and spend most of his eight years proving he wasn't. Bush and the Rep's are trying to dispel the image that they are heartless bastards and hence the spending.

I have a friend who has run an FSA office (Farm Services Agency) since '91. When the Dem's are in the White House they downsized personnel, budgets were cut every year, and they were slated to close. Bush comes in and they hire more people, obtain all new equipment, are told they will be here forever.

Finaly, I think one thing lost here, is that most Americans may lean a little to the left or right but are really centerist in their views. Those of us discussing here tend to be more tiilted to one direction or another and like eveyone we assume that everyone falls to one extreme or another. Plus we often assume that people care as much about politics as we do and its just not true. Most only care when they are affected either for good or ill.



Perception is reality
Grimis
Scrapple








Since: 11.7.02
From: MD

Since last post: 1299 days
Last activity: 1096 days
#15 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.29
    Originally posted by vsp
    He has consistently and unapologetically voted against his own party, and against what the average Democrat would consider to be his/her own best interests by taking sides with the Republicans at every opportunity. He could've run for State Senate if he wanted a position that solely involved the interests of those in Georgia, but as long as he's playing with the big boys, his votes mean a _little more_ than that.
Ever think that that's what the voter of Georgia want?



MoeGates
Andouille








Since: 6.1.02
From: Brooklyn, NY

Since last post: 31 days
Last activity: 1 day
#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.28
    Originally posted by PalpatineW
      Originally posted by MoeGates
      Contrast that with the job Jr. has done with much less of a public mandate, and a much narrower majority, in really getting big, radical conservative ideological stuff through.


    Like what? (Really. Not trying to flame.)

    As a disgruntled conservative, I just see spending going through the roof. I suppose banning partial birth abortion could be considered a conservative issue, but only if most people are considered conservative.


Well, I'm mostly thinking of the two huge tax cuts. These weren't in the realm of tweaking, they were a reinvention of the basic economic policies of the U.S. Fiscal sanity was thrown out the window in favor of a radical conservative economic theory that has never been proved, and a moral philosophy (taxing passive income much less than active income) that's antithical to American Values.

Even leaving the editorializing aside, Bush took his main big issue and managed to squeeze it through Congress not once, but twice. Clinton got some minor, feel-good stuff through, but nothing close to this.



I wonder how much money George W. Bush gave Paris Hilton.
godking
Chourico








Since: 20.10.02
From: Toronto

Since last post: 3935 days
Last activity: 3880 days
#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.24
Not to nitpick your wonderful commentary cartoon, Grimis, but Dean's is taken completely out of context, Albright's was an off-the-cuff joke made while she didn't know she was on air, and I can find quite a few conservatives on this board that would agree with Hillary Clinton's statement if not her sentiments regarding it.
vsp
Andouille








Since: 3.1.02
From: Philly

Since last post: 3063 days
Last activity: 277 days
#18 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.00
    Originally posted by Grimis
      Originally posted by vsp
      He has consistently and unapologetically voted against his own party, and against what the average Democrat would consider to be his/her own best interests by taking sides with the Republicans at every opportunity. He could've run for State Senate if he wanted a position that solely involved the interests of those in Georgia, but as long as he's playing with the big boys, his votes mean a _little more_ than that.
    Ever think that that's what the voters of Georgia want?


Ever think that if the voters of Georgia wanted someone who would vote in lockstep with Senate Republicans and who would publically denounce the Democratic Party on multiple occasions... that they would've voted for Zell's Republican challenger instead? It would seem like a more logical way of obtaining their desires.

(Actually, given Zell's behavior in recent years, replacing him with a Republican might've dragged the state to the LEFT.)


(edited by vsp on 21.12.03 1826)

"As far as my lack of professional courtesy and my obvious immature humor in referring to using your head as a pickle jar, well, I reserve my courtesy for those whom I respect. Your lack of personal integrity has given me much grief, and I find that thinking of your hollowed-out head sitting on top of my fridge and providing a safe haven for pickles is a comforting thought."
-- the immortal Bill Mattocks
ges7184
Lap cheong








Since: 7.1.02
From: Birmingham, AL

Since last post: 74 days
Last activity: 4 hours
#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.52
    Originally posted by vsp
      Originally posted by Grimis
        Originally posted by vsp
        He has consistently and unapologetically voted against his own party, and against what the average Democrat would consider to be his/her own best interests by taking sides with the Republicans at every opportunity. He could've run for State Senate if he wanted a position that solely involved the interests of those in Georgia, but as long as he's playing with the big boys, his votes mean a _little more_ than that.
      Ever think that that's what the voters of Georgia want?


    Ever think that if the voters of Georgia wanted someone who would vote in lockstep with Senate Republicans and who would publically denounce the Democratic Party on multiple occasions... that they would've voted for Zell's Republican challenger instead? It would seem like a more logical way of obtaining their desires.

    (Actually, given Zell's behavior in recent years, replacing him with a Republican might've dragged the state to the LEFT.)


    (edited by vsp on 21.12.03 1826)


Ever think that if the voters of Georgia are that unaware of the actions of their own Senator, they pretty much deserve whatever they get (I mean, if the voters are THAT uninformed, pretty much any decision they make is not going to be a very good one).



Everything that is wrong in this world can be blamed on Freddie Prinze Jr.
vsp
Andouille








Since: 3.1.02
From: Philly

Since last post: 3063 days
Last activity: 277 days
#20 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.00
    Originally posted by ges7184
    Ever think that if the voters of Georgia are that unaware of the actions of their own Senator, they pretty much deserve whatever they get (I mean, if the voters are THAT uninformed, pretty much any decision they make is not going to be a very good one).


If the votes of that Senator only affected the Georgians who voted for him, I wouldn't mind so much.




"As far as my lack of professional courtesy and my obvious immature humor in referring to using your head as a pickle jar, well, I reserve my courtesy for those whom I respect. Your lack of personal integrity has given me much grief, and I find that thinking of your hollowed-out head sitting on top of my fridge and providing a safe haven for pickles is a comforting thought."
-- the immortal Bill Mattocks
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Wow, he's cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, huh? Good thing he's all the way in Alaska, where the only people he can hurt are polar bears. I keed, I keed... that's a very old running gag I have with one of my friends from Alaska.
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