(August 18, 2006 -- 06:41 PM EST // link)

Sid Blumenthal on why Bush needs Joe Lieberman in the race.

-- Josh Marshall

(August 18, 2006 -- 02:03 PM EST // link)

TPM Reader BM on Lieberman ...

I don't like Joe Lieberman and hope he isn't in the Senate. End of story. Let's all move on and focus on the races where Republicans can be defeated. If Democrats regain the House or the Senate, even if Joe is elected it won't matter as much. As long as liberal blogs devote 20-30% of their time beating on Joe, they are missing out on beating on all of the vulnerable and possibly vulnerable Republican Congressmen. Conservatives understand -- make your point then move on to where you can have an effect. The best use of resources is to defeat as many Republicans as possible. Why win the "Sore Loserman" battle and lose the war?

I do think there's a certain logic to this point.

Late Update: Gilliard replies.

-- Josh Marshall

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(August 18, 2006 -- 01:20 PM EST // link)

The latest from the Republican-sponsored Green Senate campaign in Pennsylvania -- Republicans are helping the short-handed Green campaign fight the Democrats' court challenge.

Update: Tensions must be high -- there was a scuffle this morning.

-- Paul Kiel

(August 18, 2006 -- 11:44 AM EST // link)

Accountability. What a concept.

-- Josh Marshall

(August 18, 2006 -- 09:32 AM EST // link)

It looks like Republicans vying for Tom DeLay's seat may split the vote.

-- Paul Kiel

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(August 18, 2006 -- 09:26 AM EST // link)

The FBI threw $100 million at a contractor for a software upgrade that never worked. That and other news of the day in today's Daily Muck.

-- Paul Kiel

(August 18, 2006 -- 01:15 AM EST // link)

As we've said so many times before, things can always get worse.

From The Guardian ...

Turkey and Iran have dispatched tanks, artillery and thousands of troops to their frontiers with Iraq during the past few weeks in what appears to be a coordinated effort to disrupt the activities of Kurdish rebel bases.

Scores of Kurds have fled their homes in the northern frontier region after four days of shelling by the Iranian army. Local officials said Turkey had also fired a number of shells into Iraqi territory.

...

Frustrated by the reluctance of the US and the government in Baghdad to crack down on the PKK bases inside Iraq, Turkish generals have hinted they are considering a large-scale military operation across the border. They are said to be sharing intelligence about Kurdish rebel movements with their Iranian counterparts.

The Israelis have deep ties to the Kurds. And they'd probably like to help them tangle with the Iranians. But Israel also has a key alliance with Turkey. So that might present some problems. David Frum thinks we should withdraw to the Kurdish north and make our stand there too. So Kurdistan should be a lot of fun for everyone.

-- Josh Marshall

(August 18, 2006 -- 12:29 AM EST // link)

Yet more on the Martyrdom of Joe.

TPM Readers from St. Louis and Washington, DC sent us word this evening that this ad had appeared in the Jewish weekly in their respective cities. And it's apparently part of a nationwide ad campaign. As you can see, it's an ad from the Republican Jewish Coalition.

The appeal to tribalism, I guess, doesn't require a great deal of explanation. But what put a smile on my face when I saw this thing was what I can only call the ad's vaguely christological theme. See, even Joe's sad about his martyrdom. And there's the lady in the background on the left having what I guess is a beatific vision.

Anyway, the Joe cult aside, I'm more and more getting the sense that Ned Lamont just didn't get, coming off last Tuesday's win, that he was still very much the underdog and had maybe a week to thoroughly dispatch Joe from the race. But he didn't. From what I can tell he went on vacation to Maine right after the primary. And he was scarce for like a week after the primary.

Lieberman, on the hand, went basically beserk right after the vote, which of course he had to do, to make absolutely sure that everyone realized that, as far as he was concerned, his primary loss meant nothing more than a difference in the way he'd be identified on the ballot in November. He was still the senator, still running for reelection. News of his demise had been greatly exaggerated, and so forth.

This morning an insider friend of mine, who's strongly for Lamont, argued that the 53% to 41% lead Lieberman had in the new Q-poll was deceptive since Joe's support was soft (due in part to being buoyed by an influx of Republicans) and Lamont's was solid. I haven't had a chance to look closely at the internals on that poll. So I can't address the points specifically yet. But I wouldn't find that too comforting from the Lamont perspective.

Lieberman's the incumbent. He's polling over 50% -- at least in this sounding. And the issue terrain has to be better for him going forward (where the battleground is Independents) than it was during the Democratic primary (in which he and Lamont were battling over Democrats).

I'm certainly not saying this is over. I think the tide of the election cycle will further crystallize and galvanize not only opposition to the war but loss of patience with those who've been in denial about the scale of the disaster. But I think Lieberman had a pretty decent week.

-- Josh Marshall

(August 17, 2006 -- 06:14 PM EST // link)

With Rep. Sweeney (R-NY) in some trouble. The Republicans brings out the push-pollers.

-- Josh Marshall

(August 17, 2006 -- 04:17 PM EST // link)

President Bush again pledges more action on phasing out Social Security.

From today's bill signing ...

"Now is the time to move; now is the time to do our duty. I'm going to continue to work with the Congress and call on the Congress to work with the administration to reform [Social Security and Medicare] so we can ensure a secure retirement for all Americans."

-- Josh Marshall

(August 17, 2006 -- 02:37 PM EST // link)

Tramm Hudson, the frontrunner to capture Katherine Harris' open House seat:

"I grew up in Alabama, and I understand, and I know this from my own experience, that blacks are not the greatest swimmers or may not even know to swim."

Video and Hudson's apology here.

-- Paul Kiel

(August 17, 2006 -- 02:21 PM EST // link)

Does this make any sense at all?

CNN is excerpting the Christian Science Monitor's series on their reporter Jill Carroll who was kidnapped in Iraq and eventually released unharmed. Today's segment describes the situation Carroll's father Jim found himself in when he had to decide how to respond to Jill's kidnappers deadline to have their demands met.

The FBI recommended that Carroll record a statement basically calling the kidnappers what they are: thugs and murderers. "The FBI wanted the father -- him -- to shake his fist, in essence; to go on TV and address the men who held Jill as murderers and thugs."

But Carroll's colleagues at the CSM thought that would backfire and counselled a 'sympathy statement'. Basically, to try to find any way possible to get the kidnappers on a human level and connect with them on the basis of a father's fear for his daughter.

Needless, to say, one can only imagine the anguish Carroll must have gone through making this decision. And given what we've seen in Iraq over the last few years the odds of making that human connection (or perhaps enlisting public sympathy among the constituency the kidnappers saw as theirs) would seem slight.

But it is hard for me to imagine that a combative message from the father would have been a good idea from the perspective of saving her life. Governments have different priorities. And I would agree in almost every case with a policy of not negotiating with terrorists, for all the standard reasons. But a family, necessarily, has a different set of priorities. And certainly Carroll's priority was his daughter's life.

I could see the negative effects of a plea for sympathy. In a sense, you're giving the kidnappers what they want, drawing out the emotional drama and the eventual shock and outrage at the probable murder. But I would think remaining silent would be better than voluble defiance if your aim was getting her back alive.

-- Josh Marshall

(August 17, 2006 -- 02:11 PM EST // link)

Federal judge who ruled against NSA warrantless wiretap program: "There Are No Hereditary Kings in America" See that and other highlights here.

-- Josh Marshall

(August 17, 2006 -- 01:50 PM EST // link)

Dark days for the Count?

This one's really music to my ears. Last night Charlie Cook moved Rep. Chris Chocola's (R-IN) 2nd District in Indiana from "lean-R" to "toss-up".

We want to follow this race closely. So if you're in the 2nd district, send us your updates for Election Central.

-- Josh Marshall

(August 17, 2006 -- 01:42 PM EST // link)

National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman on whether they favor a Lieberman victory.

-- Paul Kiel

(August 17, 2006 -- 12:25 PM EST // link)

Federal judge rules NSA wiretap program unconstitutional.

Update: We've posted the judge's injunction, shutting down the program. Excerpts from the opinion soon....

Later Update: Excerpts from the opinion here.

"We must first note that the Office of the Chief Executive has itself been created, with its powers, by the Constitution. There are no hereditary Kings in America and no power not created by the Constitution. So all 'inherent power' must derive from that Constitution."

-- Paul Kiel

(August 17, 2006 -- 12:21 PM EST // link)

Federal judge strikes down NSA warrantless wiretap program. More soon.

-- Josh Marshall

(August 17, 2006 -- 10:59 AM EST // link)

I'm not that surprised by the new Quinnipiac poll out today that shows Joe Lieberman with a sizeable lead over Ned Lamont -- and, very significantly, over the 50% mark. With the nominal GOP nominee drawing close to literally zero support, it makes sense that Republicans and GOP-leaning independents would gravitate to Lieberman. What does surprise me though is that Lieberman didn't take more of a hit from the mere fact of his primary loss.

Politics is all about momentum and perceptions. And beyond all the money and free media, one of the things that makes incumbents so strong is that they are, by definition, winners. And that colors people's perceptions of them. Lose a primary to an unknown and you lose a bit of that sheen. You are a loser.

I thought that would have spread a bit more of the odor of defeat around Joe. But it doesn't seem to be hurting him.

One other issue I'd like to find out more about. It still sticks in my head that Lieberman was out on TV and pretty much everywhere on D-Day+1, +2, etc. He had to be. He had to make absolutely certain everyone realized that as far as he was concerned nothing had changed. Lamont was a lot less visible. And there was that Times piece from a couple days after the election where the reporter had to find him on vacation in Maine to get a quote. Too early to tell. But those first few days may have mattered a lot.

-- Josh Marshall

(August 17, 2006 -- 10:09 AM EST // link)

New Quinnipiac University poll:

Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, running as an independent, gets 53 percent of likely voters, with 41 percent for Democratic primary winner Ned Lamont and 4 percent for Republican Alan Schlesinger....
-- Paul Kiel

(August 17, 2006 -- 10:06 AM EST // link)

Duke Cunningham's wife speaks.

-- Paul Kiel

(August 17, 2006 -- 08:39 AM EST // link)

How much is that donkey in the window? In Washington, K Street lobby firms are hiring more Dems, hedging their bets in case control of Capitol Hill shifts. That and other news of the day in today's Daily Muck.

-- Justin Rood

(August 16, 2006 -- 11:36 PM EST // link)

Anyone know where Tennessee senate candidate Bob Corker stands on phasing out Social Security? Let us know what you know.

-- Josh Marshall

(August 16, 2006 -- 11:05 PM EST // link)

Puzzled (from the NYT) ...

More generally, the participants said, the president expressed frustration that Iraqis had not come to appreciate the sacrifices the United States had made in Iraq, and was puzzled as to how a recent anti-American rally in support of Hezbollah in Baghdad could draw such a large crowd. “I do think he was frustrated about why 10,000 Shiites would go into the streets and demonstrate against the United States,” said another person who attended.

It's like we just need to be in lock down. How little more damage can we get by with in the next two and a half years?

-- Josh Marshall

(August 16, 2006 -- 04:42 PM EST // link)

Media experts agree: PBS dropped the ball by neglecting to identify "conservative commentator" Karen Czarnecki as a Bush-appointed Labor Department official.

Update: PBS ombudsman concurs.

-- Paul Kiel

(August 16, 2006 -- 04:12 PM EST // link)

More fun with Sen. Allen: Take the VA nativity test.

-- Josh Marshall


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