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Friday, December 16, 2005

It didn't take long for Novak to find a new job

The proper home for someone who's so full of bullshit.

From the AP:
Commentator Robert Novak, who hasn't been seen on CNN since swearing and storming off the set in August, will leave the network after 25 years and join Fox News Channel as a contributor next month.

Novak, 74, said Friday he probably would have left CNN anyway when his contract expired this month even if it hadn't been for the incident.

The suspension actually served to eliminate a delicate problem for CNN, which had received some criticism for keeping the political columnist on the air with his involvement in the CIA leak case.

A Novak column in July 2003 identified Valerie Plame as a CIA agent eight days after her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, accused the Bush administration of manipulating intelligence before the Iraq war. Novak wrote that two administration officials were his sources, but he hasn't identified them and Plame's outing sparked a special prosecutor's investigation.

Novak walked off the set in August during a political debate after James Carville said that he's "got to show these right-wingers that he's got a backbone."

Novak quickly apologized, but CNN never let him back on the air. A CNN correspondent, Ed Henry, said he had been about to ask Novak on the air about the leak investigation, but Novak said that had nothing to do with why he walked off.

More people jump on the "Dump Joe" Lieberman bandwagon

I tell you, Joe Lieberman by now has to be wondering if he did the right thing with pissing off the Democrats. Everyday there seems be someone else who comes out and rips into him for his sucking up to Bush and Co.

I don't want to say it but at there seems to be no end in sight to the criticism towards Sean Hannity's best friend and if this continues, he could be in some trouble next year when the eleciton season gets into full gear.

Here's the latest shot at "say it ain't so" Joe from Eugene Elander and let's just say that a. ) He knows Lieberman as they have sort of a history together and b.) he definately doesn't have many nice things to say about him personally.

Elander also brings up a great point. Why doesn't Lieberman stop pretending that he's a "centrist" Democrat and just run as an Independent?

From the Conord Monitor
Having known U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman since the early 1970s, when he served as chairman of my American Jewish Committee chapter in New Haven, I recall how much I respected him as a young, liberal, public-spirited lawyer who really cared about the poor and disadvantaged in our society.

Joe helped me distribute flyers on behalf of Cesar Chavez's United Farm Workers union. We ate lunch each week at the local vegetarian restaurant because, being an Orthodox Jew, he could not eat out anywhere else.

Then again, I also sadly remember Joe's first run for statewide office, attorney general of Connecticut, in the mid-1970s. I was based in New London, where state Rep. Patricia Hendel, a close friend of mine, wanted to run for secretary of state.

Unbelievably, Joe felt that two Jews on the ticket were one too many. I learned this when I got a call from a Lieberman family member asking me to discourage Pat from running, which I refused to do. I told this family member that this was America, and we did not have religious quotas for high office.

Joe was dealing the religious card from the bottom of the deck, and I never felt the same way toward him afterward.

But that was only the beginning.

When Joe ran for vice president on the 2000 Democratic ticket headed by Al Gore, he ran for his U.S. Senate seat in the same election. In some states, candidates can't do that; they have to choose. But not Joe - he hedged his bets.

I was ashamed of Joe for running for both offices and told him so in a long letter, but I also forgave him for what he had become. All of us change with time, some for the better, some not.

Over the years, Joe has positioned himself as a "centrist Democrat," which means that as the Republicans moved far to the right, he moved with them, but not as far. He would not make a good Republican, but today he is certainly not a Democrat.

Point in fact: his enthusiastic support of George W. Bush's war in Iraq, a war based on lies, deceit, false premises and a thirst for Iraqi oil that has not been slaked. Long after the infamous "Mission Accomplished" photo-op with the president crowing and boasting, some 2,000 additional American lives (and countless Iraqi lives) have been lost. But Joe still opposes any kind of firm exit strategy, even though one is desperately needed.

Joe is not only out of tune with his own Democratic Party but with the American people as well. He should follow the lead of former U.S. senator and Connecticut governor Lowell Weicker, who formed a Connecticut Party when he ran for governor.

Lowell felt that neither of the two major parties represented where he stood - and so it is with Joe Lieberman. But in Joe's case, he often appears as a betrayer of Democratic stands and values in foreign policy, even if he is supportive of Democrats' domestic agenda.

It is one thing to be a maverick, a role Joe loves, declaring himself "the conscience of the Senate." It is another thing entirely to be a turncoat.

Hey, Joe, form your own party.


Novak is out at CNN

and this is no bullshit.

From Poynter Online:
From: Emery, Edie
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2005 11:09 AM
Subject: CNN statement regarding Mr. Novak

"After 25 years of serving as a CNN commentator and program host, our colleague Bob Novak's tenure on the network will come to a close (effective 12/31). Through the years, Bob has offered incisive analysis for much of CNN's programming, including Crossfire, The Capital Gang, Inside Politics, Evans and Novak, The Novak Zone, and Novak, Hunt and Shields. Bob has also been a valued contributor to CNN's political coverage. We appreciate his many contributions and wish him well in future endeavors," said Jon Klein, president of CNN/U.S.

Edie Emery, CNN PR

Will this translate into trouble for Gov Rell?

The small dark cloud over Gov. Rell is slowly getting larger by the day.

From The Hartford Courant
Investigators working for the state's chief criminal prosecutor began interviewing state commissioners and other political figures Thursday to determine if any of them broke the law by soliciting campaign contributions at the direction of Gov. M. Jodi Rell's top aide.

The investigators began appearing unannounced at state office buildings before noon, seeking to question the commissioners and other political appointees about what they did with invitations to a Dec. 7 fundraiser for Rell's gubernatorial campaign.

The governor's chief of staff, M. Lisa Moody, had distributed the invitations to commissioners at her Capitol office. Some commissioners have acknowledged passing the invitations along to their politically appointed deputies. That could violate a prohibition against campaign solicitations by commissioners and their deputies. If a violation is found, Moody could be implicated through her involvement, lawyers familiar with such violations said.

At least five commissioners were visited by the investigators Thursday. Some later acknowledged being interviewed by the investigators, while others declined comment and referred all questions to Chief State's Attorney Christopher L. Morano. The commissioners' responses to the investigators varied, according to political and other sources familiar with the matter.


Rell was informed that her commissioners were being questioned, but didn't know how many were approached by investigators, a spokesman said.

"I am aware that investigators from Chief State's Attorney Christopher Morano's office are interviewing commissioners, their deputies and others regarding the handling of invitations to a recent campaign fundraiser," Rell said in a statement issued by spokesman Judd Everhart. "I am pleased that Mr. Morano is acting with all due haste. I expect that everyone involved will fully cooperate with any inquiries."

Everhart said he was not aware of unconfirmed reports that a couple of commissioners declined to answer questions without first consulting lawyers. He declined further comment when asked whether Rell would take action against appointees who failed to cooperate with the investigation.

Morano's agency is the second to investigate the fundraiser for possible election law violations.

Jeffrey Garfield, director of the State Elections Enforcement Commission, disclosed Wednesday that he was opening an inquiry. Garfield can impose fines if he finds violations. Morano's office is empowered to look for, among other things, criminal violations that carry penalties of as much as five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

We'll have to see how this all plays out but at this point, someone in the Governor's inner circle has alot of explaining to do.

It's one thing to claim not know what shady things Govenor Rowland was doing while Rell was second in command but this nonsense happened under her watch with her chief of staff.

The people of this state deserve an explaination into this matter and hopefully we'll get one soon and/or the Goernor takes action against anyone who violated the rules soon. Someone who is running for re-election, Rell doesn't need this type of drama hanging over her neck and you know DeStefano and Malloy would like nothing more than to turn this into a campaign issue.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Novak says Bush knows

Seems like Fitzgerald should get Bush under oath the next time he has him testify.

From the AP
Columnist Bob Novak, who first published the identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, says he is confident that President Bush knows who leaked Plame's name.

Novak said that "I'd be amazed" if the president didn't know the source's identity and that the public should "bug the president as to whether he should reveal who the source is."


Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer urged Bush to identify Novak's source or to say that he does not know who it is.


"You are in a position to clear this matter up quickly," Schumer said in a letter to the president on Wednesday.

"Unlike Mr. Novak, who can claim an interest in maintaining the confidentiality of his sources, there is no similar privilege arguably preventing you from sharing this information," Schumer wrote.

McEnroe adds his two cents regarding the Weicker challenge

A reader pointed me to a commentary by Colin McEnore of The Hartford Courant in which McEnroe offers up some very insightful points regarding the possibility of Lowell Weicker challenging Joe Lieberman next year.

1. If he runs against Lieberman at all, he will not do so as a Democrat seeking a primary, even though it makes intuitive political sense to do so. (That is, we can intuit that the largest bloc of the people dissatisfied with Lieberman are, paradoxically, registered Democrats. When you widen the voter field to a general election, you inevitably include more people willing to cut him some slack.) That does not matter, says Weicker. That's a political calculation, he told me. He says that he's not making political calculations, that this is all about principle.

1a. I think it's almost impossible to overstate the degree to which, psychologically, Weicker has identified himself as a third party, independent guy. When you get him talking about that stuff, you realize it's really at the heart of how he sees himself these days.

1b. A perspicacious caller pointed out that to primary Lieberman might not even be an optimal strategy, because Lieberman, if vanquished, could seek Republican support (although, by then, this would probably involve somehow getting their actual nominee to step aside) or run his own independent campaign.

2. Weicker is also prepared to remove his name from speculation if someone, from any party, will step forward and mount a substantial challenge to Lieberman based on the latter's war politics. This challenger need not be a political giant, although Weicker said he would whole-heartedly endorse and support his former opponent Toby Moffett should the former congressman/anchorman decide to primary Lieberman. (This was based on a mildly snooty letter to the editor by Moffett in that day's New York Times, rather than on any real possibility that the K Street lobbyist has an interest in flying himself into the side of the Lieberman battleship.) I'd be less surprised, however, if Gary Collins, otherwise known (but only by me) as the Barack Obama of Connecticut, were to take a stand against Lieberman. Collins has been making a little noise lately. Also, he's not as cute as he was five years ago. He should run for something soon.

3. Weicker knows the odds are long. He is at least portraying this as a Quixotic enterprise, a glorious quest, for which the world will be better, even if he gets his ass kicked. He admits that losing to Lieberman is a greater probability than winning.

4. Lost in all the talk about Weicker's titanium knee is the fact that knee replacements are becoming rather commonplace among U.S. senators from Connecticut. This story seems to have been rather underplayed. And Lieberman himself seems to be in a high risk group, what with all the genuflecting he does nowadays.

5. Weicker brushed off the talk about Lieberman replacing Rumsfeld. His point -- and it's a good one -- is that the Bush cabal wants to be able to have small meetings in which everybody in the rooms is one of "their guys," dyed in the wool and marinated in the Kool-Aid, and that one of those people in the room has to be the Secretary of Defense.
Advantage McEnroe!

All of his points are valid, well thought out, and makes the possibility of Weicker jumping into the senate race all the more appealing.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Lieberman's approval numbers declining

Genghis over at Connecticut Local Politics has the scoop on Lieberman's latest approval numbers from the latest Survey USA senator poll and he makes some very interesting points that I also found to be important when I examined the poll numbers.

The interesting numbers are from what ought to be Lieberman's base: liberal Democrats. A survey of self-identifying liberals shows Lieberman's approval dropping from 68% in October to 52% now. This is significant movement. Disapproval of Lieberman among liberals went from 25% in October to 41% now.

Democrats have probably the most noticable movement, if not the largest. Lieberman lost ten points among Democrats from November to now. His approval ratings went from 69% to 59%, and disapproval went from 26% last month to 36% now. Before November, his approval among Democrats was steady in the high 60s and low 70s.


So does this mean Lieberman is vulnerable? Maybe, but at this point it's very hard to say. Support for the senator is usually pretty solid, and any downward trend may indicate that he's starting to lose that support. However, his numbers are still strong, and his overall approval is within what seems to be his usual range.

But as the upcoming election and the possibility of a credible candidate running against him draw more of the public's attention, those numbers could suffer.
I couldn't of said it better myself.

Fitzgerald will take Rove down

If you think this image is funny, wait till you see the real thing. It might happen alot sooner than you think.

From The Raw Story:

Short of a last minute intervention by Rove’s attorney, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is expected to ask a grand jury investigating the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson to indict Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove for making false statements to the FBI and Justice Department investigators in October 2003, lawyers close to the case say.

Rove failed to tell investigators at the time that he had spoken about Plame to Time Magazine reporter Matthew Cooper and conservative columnist Robert Novak, both of whom later cooperated in the case. Novak outed Plame in a July 14, 2003 column.

The Chicago prosecutor briefed the second grand jury investigating the outing last week for more than three hours. During that time, he brought them up to speed on the latest developments involving Rove and at least one other White House official, the sources said. The attorneys refused to identify the second person.

As of Monday, neither Rove nor his attorney Robert Luskin has explained Rove’s misstatements to Fitzgerald’s satisfaction, those familiar with the case said. Eleventh-hour testimony from Time Magazine reporter Viveca Novak—who Rove’s attorney Robert Luskin fingered as a crucial witness in keeping his client out of court—does not appear to have been helpful in dodging an indictment, they added.


Over the past few weeks, the time frame when Fitzgerald became increasingly suspicious—specifically February 2004—has become crucial for Rove. He testified before Fitzgerald’s grand jury that month without revealing he had been a source for Cooper and Novak, saying only that he had shared information about Plame Wilson with other journalists—including Chris Matthews, the host of MSNBC’s Hardball—after her name had appeared in Novak’s column.

In a bid to keep Rove out of Fitzgerald’s crosshairs, Luskin recently told Fitzgerald that he had a conversation with Time Magazine reporter Viveca Novak in February 2004 where she inadvertently revealed that Rove had been a source for her colleague Matt Cooper. Luskin said this prompted an exhaustive search for the Hadley email which was promptly turned over to Fitzgerald and led Rove to change his testimony.

Luskin testified Dec. 2 that the Novak meeting took place in late January or early February 2004, the very month in which Fitzgerald had sought the authority to prosecute officials if they were found to have hindered his investigation into the leak.

Novak, however, testified that she met Luskin in either March or May 2004, those close to the case said. This discrepancy is at the crux of what Fitzgerald is investigating. Rove didn't reveal to the grand jury that he had spoken with Cooper until Oct. 15, 2004.

Luskin has said that Rove did not intentionally withhold information from Fitzgerald or the grand jury about his conversation with Cooper. Rather, he says Rove had simply forgotten about it, and Luskin’s meeting with Novak had jogged his memory.

Before Novak testified in a sworn deposition last week, Rove faced the prospect of being indicted on numerous counts, including obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements for failing to disclose conversations he had with reporters about Plame Wilson, sources close to the case said. Several reporters close to Novak said they believe Luskin’s decision to draw her into the case was made to keep Rove’s indictment from being handed up on the day Libby was charged.

Rove could be indicted on those counts if Fitzgerald determines that Novak’s testimony did not go far enough in clearing up questions about why Rove did not tell investigators about his conversations with other reporters. Her testimony may, however, shield Rove from more serious charges, attorneys close to the case said.

Novak (who is not related to the conservative columnist Robert Novak, the journalist who first published Plame Wilson’s name and CIA status,) is the latest in a lengthy list of longtime Washington, D.C. reporters who have become embroiled in the leak investigation, and the third to have withheld crucial information from editors about her involvement while still reporting on the story.


Novak said she inadvertently tipped Luskin off to the fact that Cooper's source was Rove. She said she sensed she was being spun by Luskin and her knee-jerk response led to her divulging information that could be used to help Rove escape serious charges.

Following his meeting with Novak, Luskin told Rove that Novak said he was Cooper’s source. Luskin and Rove then did an exhaustive search through White House phone logs and emails to find any evidence that Rove spoke with Cooper.

An email Rove sent to then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley just minutes after his conversation with Cooper in July 2003 turned up, and Luskin said he immediately turned it over to Fitzgerald.

Still, it’s unclear why that email wasn't found when White House counsel Alberto Gonzales ordered all White House staff in October 2003 to turn over emails and other documentary evidence that showed officials spoke with journalists. Moreover, it’s not known why Rove did not change his grand jury testimony to reflect that he had been Cooper’s source until October 2004, some six or eight months after Novak’s meeting with Luskin.

Why support for Bush could hurt Lieberman's re-election bid

Joe Lieberman should take note as Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum chances of re-election is dropping by the day because of his unwavering support of President Bush's policies.

From the AP:

U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum's support of President Bush hurts his chances for re-election next year, Pennsylvania voters said by a 2-1 margin in a poll released Tuesday.

More than one-third of all Republicans surveyed in the Quinnipiac University poll also said Santorum's re-election prospects aren't helped by his support of the president.

The poll showed Democratic state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr. leading the two-term Republican incumbent by 50 percent to 38 percent in the 2006 Senate race, compared to a 52-to-34 percent lead in Quinnipiac's October poll. Voters also said they disapprove of Bush's job performance, 59 percent to 38 percent.

Since Santorum's poll numbers have dropped, he's avoiding Bush like the plague and hoping he can change things around. Don't underestimate the power of the public's disapproval with Bush Administration in this state. Democrats are very bitter with Lieberman's relationship with the President and that could hurt Liebermasn's poll numbers if another Democrat or a third party candidate like Lowell Weicker challenges him.

Why is the Hartford Courant giving this person the boot

Writers like Michele Jacklin don't come along everyday. I don't really understadn the mentality behind letting Jacklin go but one thing is for sure; I will miss reading her opinion pieces as her latest one is a must read.

This is one person that I'm keeping on my Lexis-Nexis list as I don't want to miss anything she writes in the future.

Run Lowell, run

Keith Burris wrote an interesting piece today in which he careflully outlines why he thinks Lowell Weicker should challenge Joe Lieberman next year. His piece is honest as well as compelling as he points to things he liked and disliked about Weicker (I happen to agree with all of his points) but ultimately comes to the conclusion if Weickermakes this election about the war in Iraq, then maybe he has a chance.

From The New London Day

Like many people in Connecticut, I suppose, I have profoundly ambivalent feelings about Lowell P. Weicker Jr.

What I like about him is guts — a willingness to speak his mind and go against the tide. Weicker has backbone.

What I don't like is the bluster, the ever-congratulatory self-righteousness, the occasional bullying.

Weicker looks his best at a distance: “Nobody's man but yours”; the Republican senator on the Watergate Committee who cared more about the rule of law than loyalty to his party's president; the man who won a governorship without a major political party backing him.


Two things are true about this man, and they are probably indivisible. Lowell P. Weicker is a natural leader and a man of real courage. (Both rare in politics.) He is also a man in a perpetual state of pique and bluster.

Another thing: Weicker actually has some core beliefs. He knows a lot about health care and has really worked to democratize if not universalize it. And he truly loves the Constitution. That takes us back to Nixon and Watergate. Weicker was appalled at a White House gang who thought the rules applied to everyone but them.

You can forgive a man a lot if he loves the Constitution. Even Connecticut's state income tax.


Could Weicker, running as an independent again, pull off a political third coming — rising from the crypt once again to reclaim his old post from the man who took it from him?

The experts have already pronounced this impossible. And, as Weicker himself said, it would be hard.

Lieberman would have a lot more campaign money. He'd have the structure, such as it is, of the Demo-cratic Party. Strangely, Lieberman's base would include Republicans who hate Weicker. There are still more than a few.

But Weicker would have some assets too: his experience, his clarity, his outrage, and the disgust of voters with the war in Iraq.

Weicker's base would be Demo-crats fed up with the war and Lieberman's support for it.

Weicker would run as an independent and Lieberman as a Democrat. But actually, Lowell would be the Democrat and Joe the Republican.


What are Weicker's chances if he does run? Who knows?

But this may be an election in which an angry man has a chance.

And he should. Because this time Weicker is angry about the right thing — this war, and the incompetence and abuse of power and abuse of the Constitution that led to this war.

Congress does not declare war anymore. It just plays along.

That's not what the Founders had in mind. And once again the Founders have been proved right.

Weicker might be just the man to point this out.

Weicker says that, if he runs, he will run on the issue of the war.

Someone should.

The man, like all men, may be flawed, but the message is right-on.

Monday, December 12, 2005

More Lieberman hypocrisy

Oh, how your words come back to haunt you...

Think Progress has the rundown:

On Wednesday, Sen. Joe Lieberman argued that anyone who questions President Bush’s credibility while the country is at war puts the nation in danger. Lieberman, 12/7/05:

It’s time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be the commander in chief for three more critical years and that in matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at our nation’s peril.

But when he was running for President, Lieberman directly questioned Bush’s credibility on the war. In fact, he argued that doing so was an essential part of our democracy. Lieberman, 7/28/03:

In our democracy, a president does not rule, he governs. He remains always answerable to us, the people. And right now, the president’s conduct of our foreign policy is giving the country too many reasons to question his leadership. It’s not just about 16 words in a speech, it is about distorting intelligence and diminishing credibility. It’s not about searching for scapegoats; it’s about seeing, as President Kennedy did after the Bay of Pigs, that presidents stand tall when they willingly accept responsibility for mistakes made while they are in charge. [Press Conference with Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) Re: War in Iraq, 7/28/03]

When he was running for President, Lieberman questioned Bush’s credibility on the war because that’s what he needed to do to get votes. Now, after his campaign flopped, he is attacking people who question Bush’s credibility on the war because that’s what he needs to do to get attention.

For Lieberman, this is about political opportunism, not principle.

Is Lieberman nervous

According to the New Haven Register, Lieberman is alittle concerned about the Weicker factor.
Joseph I. Lieberman is sounding a tad nervous these days, which is odd for a three-term incumbent U.S. senator who is one of the Connecticut Democratic Party’s most popular elected officials.

It’s even more peculiar that one of Lieberman’s worries is a 74-year-old former Republican, former governor and former U.S. senator whose election loss in 1988 catapulted Lieberman onto the national stage.

But then, one of Lowell P. Weicker Jr.’s greatest talents always was his ability to get under the skin of other politicians.

Lieberman’s unflagging support of Republican President Bush’s determination to "stay the course" in Iraq has brought him increasing criticism from liberal Democrats and from anti-war activists.

Bush’s references to Lieberman in recent speeches defending his war policy have irritated some Democrats even more than the president’s famous kiss on Lieberman’s cheek nearly a year ago.
Concern from Lieberman, well yes but it is still unknown liberal anger towards the senator will generate to him losing the election next year.
National Democrats are desperately trying to recapture control of the U.S. Senate, and knocking off one of their own three-term incumbents isn’t part of that strategy. In Connecticut, Lieberman has become such a party institution that no Democratic loyalist is likely to risk taking him on over a foreign policy issue like Iraq.

Nor can Lieberman be worried that Republicans will find a major-league opponent capable of unseating him in 2006. Lieberman has crushed every GOP candidate brought against him since he narrowly won his first U.S. Senate contest.

Which brings us back to Weicker, who last week announced he was considering running as an independent U.S. Senate candidate next year to protest Lieberman’s pro-war stance. Weicker was the man whom Lieberman upset to take that 1988 victory.

Weicker came back in 1990 to win an independent campaign for governor. After four contentious years, Weicker left Connecticut politics, and most politicians in both parties were glad to see him go.

According to Weicker, he doesn’t want to run next year, but he will if no Democrat challenges Lieberman. Weicker said he is "100 percent opposed" to the Iraq policy being followed by Bush and Lieberman, a policy Weicker says is leading nowhere.

Neither Weicker nor any other experienced politician believes that he’d have any real shot to knock Lieberman off.

But it’s clear from Lieberman’s refusal to directly comment on the possibility of a Weicker protest run that it’s not something he wants to face. If Lieberman wasn’t irritated by the idea, he’d be laughing it off as a joke on the "Imus In the Morning" show or in other media interviews.

Weicker has specialized in being a political irritant since he first made national headlines as one of the few Republicans in Congress willing to criticize President Nixon over the Watergate scandal.

It’s unlikely that Weicker will actually carry out his threat. But he must certainly enjoy giving Joe a little nervous political indigestion.
We're all enjoying it also and it would be great for Connecticut if Weicker challenges him adn holds him accountable for his unwavering support for the president.

The picture tells the story

nuff said.