Senate Majority Project

Friday, November 18, 2005

Do you think any of Frank Murkowski’s Other Kids Need Jobs?

Despite Sen. Ted Stevens threat that he would resign, the U.S. Senate went ahead and killed, for now, the “Bridge to Nowhere.” Just last month Stevens said:
"I don't kid people … If the Senate decides to discriminate against our state . . . I will resign from this body."
Yesterday however, Stevens was quoted as saying:

"While I am not happy with it, I think that under the circumstance it was the best we could expect because of the publicity that came with the Sunday supplements and whatever," he said. "Everybody is talking about what to do about our bridges."
Doesn’t sound quite like a resignation yet, but then again, its not like he promised to resign under oath.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

What’s the Most Important Issue For the Republican Senate?

If you guessed:
  • Developing an exit strategy for Iraq?
  • Properly equipping our troops?
  • Acting to reduce gas prices and reduce dependence on foreign oil?
You would be wrong

If you read polls you might say:
  • The economy
  • Terrorism
  • Or the War in Iraq
You would be wrong

Current Majority "Leader" Bill Frist says:
"Asbestos reform will be the first major piece of legislation that we consider in late January when we return,"
And Judiciary Chair Arlen Specter even said:
"Of all of the items which could provide an economic stimulus to the U.S. economy, I think asbestos reform would be the most important,"
Republicans … Making the world safe for Asbestos. Because if Asbestos is not reformed, the suiciders have really won.

McCain Endorses Candidate who Welcomed White Supremacist Group

The Associated Press is reporting that Sen. John McCain will be campaigning in Alabama Monday to endorse George Wallace, Jr. for lieutenant governor.

"I'm proud to offer my support to this committed conservative reformer. George will bring great leadership and integrity to the lieutenant governor's office," McCain said in a statement.

Wallace is the son of former Alabama Governors George and Lurleen Wallace. The elder Wallace ran for president on a segregationist platform, but later became a supporter of civil rights.

In June 2005, the younger Wallace delivered the welcoming speech to the Council of Conservative Citizens, an avowedly racist group that Thurgood Marshall once called the “Uptown Klan.” News reports quoted Wallace as saying "There is nothing hateful about those people I've seen."

The CCC was created from the mailing lists of the old White Citizens Councils, which were set up in the 1950s and 1960s to resist efforts to desegregate Southern schools, and which Thurgood Marshall once described as "the uptown Klan."

The group is currently is advertising “White Pride” T-shirts on its website and proudly says “We believe that the United States derives from and is an integral part of European civilization and the European people and that the American people and government should remain European in their composition and character.”

In 1999, RNC chair Jim Nicholson denounced the CCC as “racist” and called on all Republicans to resign from the group because "There is no room for racist views in the Republican Party."

The McCain-Wallace ticket apparently takes a different view.

Also on tap to appear with Wallace are Sen. Lamar Alexander and Gov. Haley Barbour (who has his own CCC issues).

And if McCain and the RNC won’t condemn the CCC’s racism, they ought to at least condemn their geographic knowledge for statements like these:
“We believe the United States is a European country …”

Did Hatch Oil Up his Resume?

In the middle of yesterday’s meltdown, Sen. Hatch twice claimed to have once been in the oil industry and therefore had intimate knowledge about what it takes to make a profit in the business.
Come on, America, wake up. I am sick of it. I used to be in the oil business. I know how hard it is.

I get tired of the populist rhetoric on the other side of the aisle that never gives any consideration to how difficult it is to be in this business. I don't have any financial interest in oil. All I can say is that I have been there, I know what it is like. …
Oddly enough, none of the material in Hatch’s official bio mentions his oil business experience, and an initial search found no previous instances of him mentioning it. In addition, glancing at his official bio, its hard to tell when he could have spent any meaningful time in the business.
At an early age, Senator Hatch was taught the value of hard work. His father worked long hours as a metal lather to provide for his family. As a young man, Senator Hatch also learned the metal lathing trade and was a card-carrying member of the AFL-CIO. He worked his way through college at Brigham Young University, graduating in 1959 with a degree in history. He was awarded a full honors scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh Law School. As a law student, he struggled to provide for his growing family, working as a janitor, a metal lather and at night as an all-night desk attendant in a dormitory. In 1962, he received his Juris Doctorate, graduating with honors. After receiving his law degree, Senator Hatch was a practicing attorney, first in Pennsylvania then in Utah, until his election to the United States Senate in 1976. Since then, Senator Hatch also has received five honorary doctorate degrees from law schools and universities.
Unless he’s counting all the time he spent carrying water for the oil industry in the U.S. Senate, its not entirely clear what Sen. Hatch is talking about. Of course, if he’s never really been in the oil business, he lies well enough to have a post-Senate career as an oil executive.

“Oil-in” Hatch Flips Out

If you ever want to really make Orrin Hatch doggone mad, apparently all it takes is criticizing oil companies. Yesterday on the Senate floor, Hatch rushed to the defense of the poor oil companies, who had a bad day after it was reported that several executives lied to a Senate committee. Orrin said that the big problem today isn’t the fact that oil companies are making record profits while families are paying record high prices. It’s the criticism that the poor companies have to face on the “stinking” senate floor. Question oil company profits? Those are fighting words. Heres a few of the more choice moments from his rant:

Everyday we have people coming around here giving these populist talks about how we have to bring oil and gas prices down, and yet they make it almost impossible to do it. Come on, America, wake up. I am sick of it. I used to be in the oil business. I know how hard it is.

I think it is time to get rid of the populist talk and start talking reality. It is nice to come out and beat up the oil companies who are making great profits, but who would use those profits if they could to develop more of their products.

I think it is very unfair for my colleagues, as much as I admire you, it is very unfair to come on this floor and brand the oil companies as a bunch of antipatriotic companies

I get tired of the populist rhetoric on the other side of the aisle that never gives any consideration to how difficult it is to be in this business. I don't have any financial interest in oil. All I can say is that I have been there, I know what it is like. Of course, these companies are out to make money

I don't believe that oil companies should make excessive profits that they are unwilling to use for furthering their business interests either, but if they are given a chance to use them and go out and get more oil for us and more gas for us, they are going to do it. But every step of the way, they are stymied by the very people here who have been complaining.
Following Hatch’s outburst, Sen. Dorgan summed up:
I would much prefer to see a colleague of mine agitated about the price of energy in a full-scale agitation about what this is doing to consumers, agitated about what it is going to do when somebody on a fixed income cannot figure out a way to heat their home this winter. I would much sooner see a colleague agitated about that than having just come fresh yesterday from, as he described, a meeting with a major oil company, come to make the case for the major oil companies on the Senate floor, and say: You know what the problem is in this country? It is those populists dripping with venom… “When you hit someone over the head with a book and get a hollow sound, it doesn't mean the book is empty.''
Crooks and Liars has video of the most bizarre moment.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Is Republican Recruiting This Bad?

AP is reporting that “Apprentice” reject Raj Peter Bhakta is launching a political career. Apparently after being rejected by a “reality” show, politics seems like an obvious alternative.

Raj, for those who have Trump allergies, was thrown off the show when he failed to satisfactorily remodel a house. Makes sense that he would decide to run for the House.

And the real fans will remember this:
Raj never gave up: After being fired by Donald Trump, he lingered in the elevator lobby, waiting for the doors to open so he could begin his taxi ride of shame. Instead of standing there, humbled, he went for it: He walked over to Trump employee Robin and asked for her phone number.
As she tried to ignore him, he continued, “Pony up, come on, pony up. Do you have a boyfriend?” Robin, the “secretary” who has no purpose on “The Apprentice” except to tilt her head and tell the contestants they can go back into the boardroom, sighed and didn’t say much.
A legitimate debate question …

MODERATOR: “Mr. Bhakta … “pony up” … does that line ever work?”

One more link … nuff said.

Ted Stevens Makes You Want To Swear

The Washington Post has obtained documents showing “officials from Exxon Mobil Corp., Conoco (before its merger with Phillips), Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc. met in the White House complex with the Cheney aides who were developing a national energy policy.”

But just last week, executives of three of the firms say that they played no role in the task force.

Thanks to Committee Chair Ted Stevens, who refused to administer an simple oath to the oil executives, they cannot be prosecuted for perjury. There is a fallback statute, but Sen. Stevens so far has not committed to using it. Even after his colleagues asked him to swear in the witnesses, a quick and simple process that numerous witnesses in similar circumstances have agreed to, Stevens refused. His justification? "I intend to be respectful of the position that these gentlemen hold."

When it was revealed that the oil company executives lied to Stevens and his committee, Stevens was outraged. But not at the oil company executives who flatly denied easily demonstrated facts. Rather, Stevens flew into a rage on the Senate floor today because Sen. Durbin took him to task for refusing his colleagues’ simple request. Stevens accused Durbin of violating Senate Rule 19 that makes it taboo to “impugn to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator.”

To sum up, Stevens made sure that the oil companies got special treatment from the Senate. The companies then turned around and denied that they had gotten special treatment from the administration. That, it turned out was flat out wrong. Who’s to blame? Sen. Durbin of course.

Stevens may have a deteriorating relationship with reality, but his cozy relationship with the oil companies is well-documented. The oil and gas industry has given his campaign more than $350,000. BP is his second largest contributor. He has backed opening the Arctic Wildlife Refuge to drilling and recently supported increasing tanker traffic in Puget Sound. Stevens even owns oil wells in Oklahoma.

This investigation needs to be done right, and that means recalling the executives, putting them under oath, and asking them the tough questions that Americans deserve answers to. And this time, Stevens should hand the gavel over to somebody who can be genuinely impartial and not cowed by the “position these gentlemen hold.”

November 16, 2005

“Whats Good for the Goose is Good for the Slanderers”

Today, the Senate Majority Project publicly called on Vermont Senate Candidate Greg Parke to sign a release allowing public inspection of his entire military record.

A few days ago, Parke released a letter from “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” founder John O’Neill endorsing him, asking for contributions to his campaign and linking the group’s effort to defeat John Kerry to the Vermont Senate race. Parke has since admitted that he asked for O’Neill’s help through another leader of the Swift Boat group, Bud Day. Now, despite the fact that he asked for their help and is taking their money, Parke is denying that the Swift Boat Veterans are aiding him.

“Any candidate or officeholder at any level who condones the Swift Boat smear tactics by soliciting their help and their money should at least pass their basic test,” said Executive Director Mike Gehrke pointing to repeated calls by O'Neill's group and its supporters for John Kerry to release his full military record.

“What’s for the goose is good for the slanderers. If Greg Parke is taking their help and their money, he should allow release and inspection of his entire military record. All he needs to do is sign a form conveniently found on the Swift Boat Vets website and send it to the Senate Majority Project and we will happily pay for and post a website allowing full disclosure of these records.”

The Senate Majority Project's Blog can be found at:

A form SF180 authorizing release of military records can be found on the Swift Boat Vets website at:

The form can also be downloaded here:


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

In Your Gut, You Know He's Nuts

In 1964, Barry Goldwater rode the slogan “In your heart, you know he’s right” to a whopping 38 percent of the popular vote – the worst showing by a major party candidate since 1824.

The vast majority of Americans may have rejected Goldwater, but in his heart, Sam Alito knew Goldwater was right. In 1985 letter, Supreme Court Nominee Sam Alito cited the 1964 campaign of Barry Goldwater as one of the “greatest influences on his views.” Here are a few examples of views embraced by Goldwater during the 1964 campaign that shaped Alito’s views:
  • Goldwater supported making Social Security voluntary

  • Goldwater opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He said it was an unconstitutional effort to “legislate morality”

  • Goldwater promised to overturn a Supreme Court case that said the principle of “one person one vote” required representatives to be apportioned by population,

  • Goldwater promised to strengthen “States Rights”

  • Goldwater advocated the use of nuclear weapons in Vietnam
Bush has picked a nominee who eagerly embraced the Goldwater Agenda when it helped him get a promotion in 1985, so it’s a fair question how many of its outrageous parts he still wants to impose on the country. Goldwater would have axed the Civil Rights Act and rolled back bedrock democratic principles. And where Goldwater supported rights of women to make medical decisions … Alito seems to be multiple choice.

Democrats in 1964 printed bumper stickers ridiculing the Goldwater campaign slogan, but maybe the LBJ campaigns other slogan for Goldwater applies more to Alito … “In your heart, you know he might”

Then again, Goldwater did offer this gem in 1981: "I think every good Christian ought to kick Jerry Falwell in the ass"

Republican Running Away from Swift Boat Ties

Just days ago, John O’Neill, the founder of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and a member of its steering committee, wrote a fundraising letter on behalf of Vermont Senate Candidate Greg Parke. Now, confronted with the tie, Parke is already running away.

Today in Roll Call, Parke denied that the Swift Boat group is involved in his campaign, even though its founder has endorsed him, raised money for him and even said that “the mission” was the same as the defeat of John Kerry. Further ties were revealed when the Parke campaign admitted that O’Neill was brought into the group by Swift Boat member Bud Day, who appeared in the group’s advertisements and was interviewed for its book, even though Day never served on Kerry’s boat, and was not even in the same branch of service as John Kerry. Day also traveled for the Group, campaigned against Kerry and has even sued Kerry.

Legal or illegal, if Parke is going to accept the support of Swift Boat Veterans, he should pass their test. We are sure that O’Neill, Day and their Swift Boat cronies would agree that as a candidate for public office that seeks to have power over our armed forces, Parke needs to authorize the disclose of his full service record, just as John Kerry did before and after the 2004 election. He can do so by filling out a simple, two-page Form 180, conveniently available on the Swift Boat Vets website.

We'll be watching closely for the call from O'Neill and his group for this disclosure.