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Archive for October 13th, 2006

Krugman: Republican majority will end on Election Day


Paul Krugman expresses his belief that absolute Republican rule in Congress is at an end in a column that will appear in Friday’s edition of the New York Times.

“The conventional wisdom says that the Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives next month, but only by a small margin,” writes Krugman. “I’ve been looking at the numbers, however, and I believe this conventional wisdom is almost all wrong.”

Citing recent polls, ongoing troubles in Iraq, and the “sudden realization by many voters that the self-proclaimed champions of moral values are hypocrites,” Krugman foresees that “the permanent Republican majority will end in a little over three weeks.”

Some still await a Karl Rove October surprise, the subject of a recent article in RAW STORY, but Krugman says that “unless the Bush administration is keeping Osama bin Laden in a freezer somewhere, a majority of Americans will vote Democratic this year.”

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Book Says Bush Aides Dismissed Christian Allies


WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 — A former deputy director of the White House office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives is charging that many members of the Bush administration privately dismiss its conservative Christian allies as “boorish” and “nuts.”

The former deputy director, David Kuo, an evangelical Christian conservative, makes the accusations in a newly published memoir, “Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction” (Free Press), about his frustration with what he described as the meager support and political exploitation of the program.

“National Christian leaders received hugs and smiles in person and then were dismissed behind their backs and described as ‘ridiculous,’ ‘out of control,’ and just plain ‘goofy,’ ” Mr. Kuo writes.

In an interview, Mr. Kuo’s former boss, James Towey, now president of St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., said he had never encountered such cynicism or condescension in the White House, and he disputed many of the assertions in Mr. Kuo’s account.

Still, Mr. Kuo’s statements, first reported Wednesday evening on the cable channel MSNBC, come at an awkward time for Republicans in the midst of a midterm election campaign in which polls show little enthusiasm among the party’s conservative Christian base.

While many conservative Christians considered President Bush “a brother in Christ,” Mr. Kuo writes, “for most of the rest of the White House staff, evangelical leaders were people to be tolerated, not people who were truly welcomed.”

The political affairs office headed by Karl Rove was especially “eye-rolling,” Mr. Kuo’s book says. It says staff members in that office “knew ‘the nuts’ were politically invaluable, but that was the extent of their usefulness.”

Without naming names, the book says staff members complained that politically involved Christians were “annoying,” “tiresome” or “boorish.”
Eryn Witcher, a spokeswoman for the White House, said that the administration would not comment without reading the book but that the faith-based program was “near and dear to the president’s heart.”

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Former Foley staffer testifies before ethics panel


WASHINGTON – They were talking sex again on Capitol Hill as one of the key witnesses in the Mark Foley page-boy scandal testified Thursday before the House ethics committee.

Kirk Fordham, once Foley’s chief of staff, detailed under oath his contention that he warned House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s office about Foley’s interest in boys years ago.

Foley, a Florida Republican, resigned his House seat last month after his lurid e-mail and instant message chats with ex-pages surfaced. Hastert says his office first heard of one “over-friendly” e-mail last fall, and he believed it had been dealt with.

Fordham’s testimony was secret, but his lawyer said he would stand by claims that he sounded the alarm in 2003. “Mr. Fordham was cooperative and will continue to be throughout the investigations,” attorney Tim Heaphy said after they spent some four hours behind closed doors.

Fordham resigned his most recent position as chief of staff to Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y., after he tried unsuccessfully to talk ABC News out of releasing some of Foley’s more explicit missives.

Fordham has not blamed Reynolds in the Foley mess, but the powerful head of the National Republican Congressional Committee is in danger of losing his re-election bid amid revelations he was one of the first leaders to learn of a Foley e-mail exchange.

Reynolds says he passed the disturbing messages on to Hastert last spring. Fordham’s testimony was expected to focus on three top Hastert staffers who deny that Fordham complained.

Also Thursday, one of two Republicans on the board overseeing pages testified. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia said that, unlike Rep. John Shimkus, who admits talking with Foley, she knew nothing.

Shimkus, R-Ill., is expected to testify Friday.

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Dem Control Might Help Economy, WSJ.com Survey Finds

Democrats wins in November might boost the economy, economist in the latest WSJ.com economists survey found.

Most economists said the economy would perform best in the coming years if Democrats take control of at least one chamber of Congress. Only 12 of the 35 who answered the question said the economy would perform best under continued Republican control of the House and Senate. The best scenario, the economists said, would be Democratic control of the House only. The economists were almost evenly split over whether the stock market would perform better with a continued Republican lock on Congress or some measure of Democratic control.

“The economy is doing very well,” said Allen Sinai of Decision Economics Inc. However, it “would do better if the geopolitical side wasn’t depressing Americans and injecting caution in business sentiment. The psyche of Americans is surprisingly low. New blood can improve sentiment.”

When asked what the new Congress should make its top priority, economists indicated their top two choices were health care and Social Security. Those two issues represent the difficulty of the aging U.S. population and growing entitlement spending. However, there wasn’t much optimism that much would be done to take on the issues in the near-term. “There just isn’t the political will to address these problems,” said Dana Johnson of Comerica Bank.

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