Thursday, August 02, 2007

TIME lists the reasons Bush won't can Gonzo

And I hate to admit how right they are (again my bold emphasis):

1. Gonzales is all that stands between the White House and special prosecutors. As dicey as things are for Bush right now, his advisers know that they could get much worse. In private, Democrats say that if Gonzales did step down, his replacement would be required to agree to an independent investigation of Gonzales' tenure in order to be confirmed by the Senate...

2 ... Over the past six months, more than half a dozen top political appointees have left the department amid scandal. The unprecedented coziness that once existed between the Justice Department and the White House now remains solely in the person of Gonzales.

3. If Gonzales goes, the White House fears that other losses will follow. Top Bush advisers argue that Democrats are after scalps and would not stop at Gonzales. Congressional judiciary committees have already subpoenaed Harriet Miers and Karl Rove in the firings of U.S. Attorneys last year. Republicans are loath to hand Democrats some high-profile casualties to use in the 2008 campaign. Stonewalling, they believe, is their best way to avoid another election focused on corruption issues.

4. Nobody at the White House wants the legal bills and headaches that come with being a target of investigations. In backing Gonzales, Bush is influenced by advisers whose future depends on the survival of their political bodyguard. Gonzales remains the last line of defense protecting Bush, Rove and other top White House officials from the personal consequences of litigation. A high-profile probe would hobble the White House politically, and could mean sky-high legal bills and turmoil for Bush's closest aides.

Alberto Gonzales as human shield for all the other criminals in the Bush administration. Wonder how he likes being that?

But that's not the real question I care about. Nor do I give a damn for the political hay to be made by the Democrats in the Senate and the House and the ones who are running for president in 2008.

The real mystery to me here is: how high a price could a person command for that depth of fealty? How many plum consulting positions, how many corporate board appointments, how much for a tell-all memoir that wasn't, really?

How many millions of dollars is loyalty like that worth?

Even Republicans blast their candidates for ducking the YouTube debate

Now this is schadenfreude:

When the two leading Republican presidential candidates started to squirm last week about attending a Sept. 17 YouTube debate, in which the public would ask them questions via video, they faced a surprising backlash from their ideological allies in the blogosphere.

The candidates' failure to embrace the new format, which the Democrats participated in last week, has prompted public soul-searching by some of the party's most loyal supporters.

The candidates, they say, reinforced a notion already bedeviling their side: that Republicans don't "get" the Web. While the Republicans have mastered talk radio, the Democrats have led in using the Web for fundraising, organizing and energizing the grass roots.

"The YouTube debate snub is the symptom, not the disease," said Patrick Ruffini, a prominent Republican blogger and the e-campaign director for the Republican National Committee from 2005 until earlier this year.

The "disease," Ruffini said, is the Republicans' failure to convey that "the online community matters to them," even if they have active Web sites and are using them to raise money. He has helped start an online petition to urge the candidates to participate in the YouTube debate.

Andrew Sullivan, one of the only reasonable conservatives left on the Earth:

Andrew Sullivan, a conservative blogger writing on, put it this way: "The current old white men running for the GOP already seem from some other planet. Ducking YouTube after the Dems did so well will look like a party uncomfortable with the culture and uncomfortable with democracy."

Be sure and read the comments from the local yokels (including me) at the link above.

The GOP presidential candidates are simply terrified of facing the voters like this. Answering a question in a completely unstructured format is anathema to the style of governance established over the past six-and-one-half years, and the Republicans don't want to return to the old days. Much too democratic (small 'd').

Hell, maybe even Hillary can beat these clowns.

2008 Texas House developments

This article from editor Mike Hailey of Capitol Inside -- the self-described "Fox News of the Austin insider world" -- has a good rundown of the jockeying for post position for Texas House races in the Houston area next year ( article sits behind subscription firewall, bold emphasis mine):

While Houston school board member Greg Meyers tests the waters for a race as a Republican against Democratic State Rep. Hubert Vo, Democrats are debating whether they should try to clear the deck for outgoing City Council member Carol Alvarado in the district that State Rep. Rick Noriega appears ready to give up in order to run for the U.S. Senate in 2008.

The hottest potential primary race that appears to be shaping up in the state's largest city could pit State Rep. Kevin Bailey against Armando Walle in a litmus test of the Democratic incumbent's loyalty to Republican Speaker Tom Craddick. Walle is the community liaison for U.S. Rep. Gene Green and chairman of the Harris County Tejano Democrats.

A pair of Republican lawmakers - State Reps. Dwayne Bohac and Jim Murphy - could end up facing Democratic challengers in next year's general election in their respective bids for re-election in GOP-leaning districts that Democrats consider to be within striking distance. Kristi Thibaut has been weighing a possible rematch with Murphy in House District 133 while Ginny Stogner McDavid ponders whether to run for the seat that Bohac successfully defended last year in a battle with her husband, Mark McDavid.

Democrats are also keeping an eye on the seat that Republican State Rep. Robert Talton of Pasadena would be giving up if he decides to run for Congress in 2008.

Hailey also provides the backstory of the family feud among east-side Hispanic Democrats:

Alvarado supporters hoped she'd have a clear path to the Democratic nomination in HD 145. But the uncontested primary race that Alvarado forces envisioned has apparently run into some potential obstacles with State Reps. Jessica Farrar and Ana Hernandez reportedly resisting. While Alvarado has the baggage of an ongoing investigation into a scandal involving pay raises and bonuses for several employees when she was mayor pro tem, the problem that other Hispanic state lawmakers in nearby House districts appear to have with her possible candidacy for Noriega's seat seems to center more on her association with consultant Marc Campos.

The longtime Democratic strategist supported Hernandez's main rival in a special election battle for a seat that opened when Joe Moreno died in a car wreck in 2005. Farrar was arguably Hernandez's most influential supporter in the special House race. Campos has also drawn the ire powerful Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia for opposing her in a past race and backing Alvarado aide James Rodriguez against the candidate she favors for the open council seat. Alvarado has been a Campos client as well.

Hailey is pretty plugged in here. The Tejano Dems fight a lot amongst themselves (though not as much as they used to) during the primary but always come together in the general. Their more important task in the next cycle is turning out their vote.

Harris County is poised to go blue in 2008, and the Latinos are pivotal to that success. If Noriega tops the ballot in Texas -- with a vice-presidential candidate named, say, Bill Richardson -- then Alvarado, Walle, and lots of other Democrats not necessarily having Hispanic surnames are poised to ride long coattails to victory.

There's lots of work to do, though -- for Democratic activists of every shade -- in order to pull that off.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Texas Senate candidate videos

The contrasts are simply striking.

Rick Noriega's:

Mikal Watts' can be viewed at his website.

Forget the obvious and apparent differences in experience, character, and principle. For a fellow with all of his money, Watts should have hired someone brave enough to tell him to look directly into the camera. Stu Rothenberg at Roll Call (via RG Ratcliffe at the Chronic) has more on Watts' repetitive declaration of himself as a "fighter" and a "leader".

Wishing won't make it so, Mr. Watts.

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