WA-Sen: Rossi will challenge Murray

Republican Dino Rossi, who narrowly lost two governor's races in Washington, announced today that he will challenge three-term incumbent Senator Patty Murray.

In a five-minute video posted to his web site, www.dinorossi.com, Rossi reaches out to voters upset with the direction the country is headed, citing rising unemployment, plummeting housing values, "wasteful" stimulus plans and "massive new debt as far as the eye can see."

In language straight out of Ronald Reagan's playbook, Rossi says "America's best days" lie ahead if we "unleash the power of the people" and restore government to its "proper, more limited role."

He says he decided to run because he couldn't look his children in the eye if he did nothing "while this fundamental redefinition of America continues unchecked."

"I believe the policies of being passed in Washington D.C. have put us on the edge of a fiscal cliff. If we enact much more of this stuff, whether it's cap and trade, energy taxes or a value-added tax, then all the work and sacrifice our parents and grandparents did to make this country great for us will have been squandered."

Rossi still has a Republican primary to get through. He has to be considered the favorite, but Sarah Palin has endorsed tea party candidate Clint Didier. Assuming he wins the nomination, Murray will need to run a strong campaign, because several recent polls have shown Rossi competitive with Murray.

Rossi's biggest problem, aside from being a two-time loser facing a veteran campaigner, is likely to be money. Murray's re-election campaign had nearly $6 million on hand at the end of the first quarter. Rossi will need to spend some money before the primary and may struggle to raise campaign funds with such a late start. The National Republican Senatorial Committee may help, but it will need to spread resources across several open-seat races, as well as other pickup opportunities stronger than Washington.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee clearly considers Rossi a serious challenger, because its executive director released a memo today raising "substantive questions on [Rossi's] ethical conduct." Swing State Project just moved this race into the "lean Democrat" column, and that rating sounds right to me. Murray can't take her re-election for granted, but she is favored to beat Rossi. If Didier wins the primary, we can move this seat back into the safe Democratic column.

NY-Sen B: Nothing to see here

Former Governor George Pataki has decided not to run for Senate against Kirsten Gillibrand this year, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

Instead, he said in an interview Tuesday that he would create a new national organization aimed at building support to repeal the recently enacted health-care overhaul.

Mr. Pataki's decision to bypass the Senate race marks another major coup for Ms. Gillibrand, who has been enormously successful in knocking out competition on both sides of the aisle despite appearing to be vulnerable politically.

I agree with Phillip Anderson of The Albany Project blog; it sounds like Pataki wants to run for president. He must be delusional if he thinks he has a chance in a GOP primary with his relatively moderate record as governor.

A year ago, Gillibrand seemed less than secure for the 2010 election, but various potential high-profile challengers have declined to take on this race. (New York's other U.S. Senate race has always been in the safe D category with Chuck Schumer.) Taniel of the Campaign Diaries blog noted yesterday that with Gillibrand no longer threatened, the last Senate seats that could still become competitive are Washington and Wisconsin. I think three-term incumbent Patty Murray would prevail even if the GOP's best candidate, Dino Rossi, got in the race. Ditto for Senator Russ Feingold against the GOP's dream recruit, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson.

UPDATE: Unintentional comedy alert as new Republican enters race against Gillibrand. He is David Malpass, who was chief economist for Bear Stearns from 2001 until the company collapsed in 2008.

Tea Party: Let's Murder Senator Murray

Just back from a "vacation" in New Hampshire. Will probably write about NH politics soon.

Back in August, I blogged almost single-mindedly about the dangers of extremism. I was worried not about the policy implications of the Glenn Beck/Tea Party crowd, but of the risk just one bullet inspired by their rhetoric could pose.

My blogging has backed off, but their violent fetishes have not. From the inland northwest, that majestic region that claims my high school years and parents, comes this disturbing note:

They say it's all about traditional values and pushing back against the government.

And there were some strong words spoken at Saturday's Tea Party in Asotin.

"How many of you have watched the movie Lonesome Dove?," asked one speaker from the podium. "What happened to Jake when he ran with the wrong crowd? What happened to Jake when he ran with the wrong crowd. He got hung. And that's what I want to do with Patty Murray."

Lewis and Clark Tea Party Patriots' co-chair Doug Schurman said around 500 people showed up for the rally at the Asotin County Fairgrounds.

Look, I was born and raised in Texas. I love Lonesome Dove. I love it so much that the Tea Party spokesperson first loses my respect not for his remarks, but for calling it a "movie" when it's actually a miniseries. But - you've got to find this rhetoric dangerous and disturbing, and down-right unAmerican. I do not think that Rangers Gus and Woodrow would approve.

Obama's challenge: sorry record of Democratic deregulators

(Cross-posted from Think it Through)

President Obama's pledge to bring back some meaningful regulation of the financial markets may be more difficult than he imagines.  The reason:  Senate Democratic leaders not only enabled the deregulation, they were cheerleaders.

In America, unlike other nations, the structure of investor protections against securities fraud stands on two separate legs: Government regulators and private lawsuits.  Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and other Democrats, worked diligently to saw off both legs.

Here is how the people's representatives took the side of fraud defendants over the fraud victims.

There's more...

Bush: Contraception == Abortion

Martin Bosworth brings us the news that one of Bush's final eff yous to the women of America will be an attempt to define contraception as abortion, covering such things as birth control and the morning after pill.

Bosworth surmises that the right wing just wants people to breed more, which seems a reasonable conclusion. While that's always seemed the case to me, I never could figure out why they seem so dead set against any kind of financial, food or medical assistance for pregnant women and new mothers. Why not directly incentivize your end goal? I guess that encourages the Wrong Kind of People to breed; for them, we have an infant mortality rate hike, to take care of the problem the other way around. Once they're born, screw 'em -- but don't use a condom, that'd be morally reprehensible.

It's hard to tell what McCain would do regarding contraception, because as Steve Benen points out, McCain is confused by contraception and acts offended when tricksy reporters ask him about it. I expect though, as baffled as McCain seems to be in the matter, that he'll be happy to listen to his new best friends in the fundamentalist community to supply him with the correct views.

And looking for good news in all this, because it's been in short supply lately, I'm gratified to be reading about these issues from progressive male colleagues outside the 'usual suspect' ring of feminist bloggers. Maybe one of these days it could come to seem strange that anyone would make a distinction between feminist and progressive sites. I can dream.

Update [2008-7-16 16:53:2 by Todd Beeton]:Senators Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray are on it. They sent the following letter to Health & Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt:

Dear Mr. Secretary:

It has come to our attention that the Department of Health and Human Services may be preparing draft regulations that would create new obstacles for women seeking contraceptive services.

One of the most troubling aspects of the proposed rules is the overly-broad definition of "abortion." This definition would allow health-care corporations or individuals to classify many common forms of contraception – including the birth control pill, emergency contraception and IUDs – "abortions" and therefore to refuse to provide contraception to women who need it.

As a consequence, these draft regulations could disrupt state laws securing women's access to birth control. They could jeopardize federal programs like Medicaid and Title X that provide family-planning services to millions of women. They could even undermine state laws that ensure survivors of sexual assault and rape receive emergency contraception in hospital emergency rooms.

We strongly urge you to reconsider these regulations before they are released. We are extremely concerned by this proposal's potential to affect millions of women's reproductive health.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely yours,

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

Senator Patty Murray

There's more...

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