Archive for the ‘National politics’ Category

A change-up: How does Congressman John Smoltz sound?

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher John Smoltz reacts after throwing his 3,000th career strikeout in 2008. AJC file.

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher John Smoltz reacts after throwing his 3,000th career strikeout in 2008. AJC file.

Within minutes of U.S. Rep. John Linder’s announcement that he won’t seek a 10th term in Congress, the phone began vibrating.

Late this afternoon, a Washington source called with this surprise: One of the people likely to approached as a candidate for Linder’s seat by Republicans will be former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz.

Smoltz has been paying down some dues in several Republican contests in Georgia over the last two years. He’s been part of a fund-raiser for U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Roswell, and if memory serves, he cut a robo-call for U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss in ‘08.

Linder’s retirement has caught many Republicans off-guard. Who replaces him could be settled in a quickly approaching July primary – the district is trending Democrat, but not that fast. Advantage could go to someone who could put up his own cash, especially in this economy.

Two GOP names …

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John Linder announces retirement from Congress

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U.S. Rep. John Linder was first elected to Congress in 1992/AJC file.

U.S. Rep. John Linder, the Republican from Gwinnett County, this morning announced that he would retire from Congress after 18 years.

Linder made the announcement at the dedication of a new Gwinnett County GOP headquarters. Linder aide Derick Corbett confirmed the congressman’s decision. “He will not seek re-election,” Corbett said.

The announcement, made at the tail end of a brief speech by Linder, caught attendees off-guard. “Nobody knew it was coming,” said David Hancock, District 2 manager for the Gwinnett GOP.

Linder was one of Newt Gingrich’s top lieutenants when he was U.S. House speaker, and most recently has been an advocate (paired with radio commentator Neal Boortz) for a sales tax to replace the federal income tax.

His retirement will set off a rush for his seat, which is solidly Republican. Among the likely contenders is Don Balfour, the state Senate rules chairman.

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Pennsylvania’s John Murtha dead at 77

Another special election test for the Obama administration looms. This was posted a few minutes ago at Congressional Quarterly:

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John Murtha, congressman and Vietnam veteran. AP file.

Rep. John P. Murtha, who just set a record as Pennsylvania’s longest-serving House member, has died, his office announced Monday. He was 77.

A Democrat, he had represented southwestern Pennsylvania in Congress since 1974, and was chairman of the powerful House Appropriations subcommittee that writes the bill that decides how military programs are funded.

Murtha had been moved last week from National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. to Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va., because of complications from gall bladder surgery.

On Saturday, Feb. 6, he surpassed his state’s record for length of service in the House –13,150 days.

The Washington Post provided this assessment:

Elected to Congress in 1974 from a southwestern Pennsylvania district that has been economically devastated by the …

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‘Green police’ and the American mood

In the lead-up to last night’s Super Bowl, the Tim Tebow ad on abortion got most of the ink. But this Audi ad may have had the better take on the current political climate:

Should cap-and-trade ever begin moving again, look for a version of this. Heck, look for it when health care reform begins moving again:

“Sir, very slowly, put that urine sample down!”

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Poll: Dems, independents prefer Saints, while more Republicans pull for Colts

This was just posted by Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina survey firm with a decent record:

Overall 32% of voters we polled on our last national survey said they’d be rooting for the New Orleans Saints this Sunday, with 22% going for the Indianapolis Colts and 46% expressing no preference.

There’s a significant partisan divide within those numbers, as Democrats prefer the Saints by a 36-21 margin while Republicans say they want the Colts to be victorious by a closer 26-25 spread. Independents lean toward the Saints as well, 33-20.

Beyond the partisan divide it’s also interesting to note that a plurality of voters don’t care about who wins the game. It will still pile up huge ratings Sunday night but that finding just quantifies the fact that for many, watching the Super Bowl is more about the spectacle than what happens on the field.

The PPP site offers a few crosstabs as well.

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Scott Brown to GOP: ‘Sometimes I won’t be with you’

This just in from the Associated Press:

Boston — Scott Brown says he has already told Senate Republican leaders they won’t always be able to count on his vote.

The man who staged an upset in last week’s Massachusetts Senate special election, in part by pledging to be the 41st GOP vote against President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday that he staked his claim in early conversations with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Whip Jon Kyl.

”I already told them, you know, `I got here with the help of a close group of friends and very little help from anyone down there, so there’ll be issues when I’ll be with you and there are issues when I won’t be with you,”’ Brown said Thursday during the half-hour interview. ”So, I just need to look at each vote and then make a proper analysis and then decide.”

Asked how McConnell and Kyl responded, Brown said, ”They understood. They said, `You can probably do whatever you …

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The rest of the story: Paul Harvey and J. Edgar Hoover

The Washington Post has this:

Previously confidential files show that Harvey, who died last February at 90, enjoyed a 20-year friendship with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, often submitting advance copies of his radio script for comment and approval. Harvey wrote Hoover and his deputies regularly. Hoover, in turn, helped Harvey with research, suggested changes in scripts and showered the broadcaster with effusive praise.

But the real twist, suitable for one of Harvey’s signature “Rest of the Story” vignettes, is how they met — on opposite sides of an espionage investigation.

The news is contained in nearly 1,400 pages of FBI files, released to The Washington Post in response to a one-year-old Freedom of Information Act request. The trove supplies new details about how America’s No. 1 broadcaster came to befriend America’s No. 1 G-man.

A hint: Harvey was caught after breaking into a U.S. nuclear facility in the ’50s, in a fit of “participatory” journalism aimed at showing lax …

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We’re back to eight GOP candidates in 9th District race for Congress

Last week, when former state DOT board chairman Mike Evans departed the Republican race to replace U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, we told you there was talk about making room for another candidate.

Even though seven GOP candidates remain.

We’re back up to eight now. I just finished a conversation with Chris Cates, a Blairsville cardiologist who said he’s closed up his practice to campaign full-time.

The timing is impeccable. Past the January financial disclosure deadline, thus avoiding any contribution comparisons with competitors. And two days after the stunning Democratic defeat in Massachusetts, which proved the power of the backlash over health care reform.

Republican strategist Tom Perdue is prepping Cates, so he’s to be taken seriously.

See his web site here.

If successful, Cates would be the fourth physician in the Georgia congressional delegation. Which would have to be some sort of record.

Technically, Cates is an interventional cardiologist. After your heart attack, or maybe …

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Your morning jolt: Does the governor know what you’re doing? ‘I am the governor’

Over on Lake Jackson down toward middle Georgia, Fonnette Harris saw some machinery on the lot across the water, dredging up dirt from a boat slip, then dumping it deeper into the lake.

She and her husband hopped into their pontoon boat and hailed the fellow on the opposite shore – asking if he had a permit and knew there were state regulations against dredging.

He said no. “We asked, ‘Does the governor know you’re doing this on his property?’ and he said, ‘I am the governor,’” Harris told the Macon Telegraph. Here’s the lead:

Gov. Sonny Perdue recently dredged soil from Lake Jackson without a permit, dumping it into the lake and angering some neighbors and environmental advocates.

Georgia Power officials said the activity at Perdue’s vacation home was not a violation, although a Georgia Power permit should have been obtained first. They said Perdue stopped digging as soon as he was informed that a permit was needed.

State and federal environmental …

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Alan Abramowitz: What happened in New Jersey and Virginia stays there

Despite the gloating from Republicans, Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz says gubernatorial losses in New Jersey and Virginia aren’t omens of a 2010 apocalypse for Democrats.

Abramowitz has posted a thick but thorough analysis of Tuesday’s numbers on Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, which includes this:

While almost all of those who disapproved of President Obama’s performance voted for the Republican gubernatorial candidates, only 80 percent of those who approved of the President’s performance in Virginia voted for Deeds and only 73 percent of those who approved of the President’s performance in New Jersey voted for Corzine.

It was Jon Corzine’s unpopularity and Creigh Deeds’ weakness as a candidate, rather than a negative reaction to President Obama, that largely explains the Democratic defeats in these elections.

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