Maybe it’s just a coincidence. Maybe. But there’s good news from the Democrats, today, on a few different fronts.
Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner intends to run for the Senate next year, Democratic officials said Wednesday, assuring his party a competitive race for a seat long in Republican hands.
Warner scheduled an e-mail announcement of his plans for Thursday. The seat is currently held by Republican Sen. John Warner, who recently said he will retire at the end of his current term after 30 years in office.
This should be as close to a gimme as the Democrats will get, next year. Only Jeanne Shaheen, if she runs against Sununu in New Hampshire, should be as easy a pick-up. This would also mean two Democratic senators from formerly deep red Virginia.
But the news gets even better.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid vowed on Wednesday to block former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson from becoming attorney general if President George W. Bush nominates him to replace Alberto Gonzales.
Congressional and administration officials have described Olson as a leading contender for the job as chief U.S. law enforcement officer, but Reid declared, “Ted Olson will not be confirmed” by the Senate.
“He’s a partisan, and the last thing we need as an attorney general is a partisan,” Reid, a Nevada Democrat, told Reuters in a brief hallway interview on Capitol Hill.
Olson is very smart, and very connected, and his wife was murdered by the 9/11 terrorists, for which he deserves great sympathy, but he’s also a very sleazy man. Read a book about the actual right wing conspiracy that actually did hound the Clintons, and you’ll read about Ted Olson. He wouldn’t be the complete lapdog attorney general that Abu Gonzales was, but he might actually be worse. Because he can think for himself. And there is no reason to think he would be any more an honorable or professional attorney general than was Abu. Kudos to Senator Reid!
And then, there’s the sudden tough talk about Iraq…
The New York Times reports that Democratic leaders are opposed to the Petraeus smoke-and-mirrors plan:
Senate Democratic leaders today called the Bush administration’s plan to keep 130,000 or more troops in Iraq through mid-2008 unacceptable and promised to challenge the approach through legislation next week.
Several proposals were being weighed, including one requiring the American military role to be shifted more to training and counterterrorism in order to cut the force more deeply than President Bush is expected to promise on Thursday. Another would guarantee troops longer respites from the battlefield, effectively cutting the numbers available for combat.
Even if those proposals were able to draw the 60 votes needed to overcome a Senate filibuster – a level that has eluded Democrats this year – any real strictures on the president would face a veto, frustrating war critics and raising the prospect that roughly as many American troops might be in Iraq a year from now as were there a year ago.
Still, the Democrats tried to get ahead of President Bush’s planned Thursday night speech on Iraq, and to press what they see as a political advantage in opposing the war during the months before the 2008 elections, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, and two party leaders on military issues accused Mr. Bush of embracing “more of the same” and trying to pass off as a significant policy shift a troop drop that would probably have occurred without a policy change.
Will they actually do something, this time? Will they hold the line? We’ll see. But they’re at least saying the right things, for the moment. Clearly, they know we’re here. Clearly, they’re trembling! Not bad for our first day! And maybe they will soon get on board with Armando’s plan to defund. After that, impeach!