Senate GOP Fails to Land Top Recruit

If this news pans out, it would be difficult to overstate how badly it augurs for Republican hopes not to see their membership in the Senate fall into the 30s in the 112th Congress.

U. S. Rep. Mark Kirk, preferred by GOP ticket-planners to run for either governor or senator, will decline both jobs in order to seek reelection to his House seat, I have been told on what I believe is excellent authority. The reason is not political but personal. His decision will likely be spun as acknowledgment that no Republican can win either race... a conclusion the liberal media will quickly buy and propagate: but the true reason lies not in politics but with other concerns.

Mark Kirk embodied the Republicans' greatest hopes for picking off a Democratic Senate seat in 2010, a GOP Congressman who won reelection in 2008 against a well funded challenger in a district Barack Obama carried handily. With the Illinois Senate race wide open -- it's unimaginable that Roland Burris will win a full term of his own, or necessarily even run next year -- Kirk had a legitimate shot at being able to beat, or at least be very competitive with, one of the number of strong Democrats looking at the race.

The Chicago Daily Observer, which is breaking the story (which still has yet to be confirmed), suggests we not read too much into it. But it's hard not to. One of the top potential recruits for the GOP nationwide -- and probably the best possible recruit to challenge a seat now held by the Democrats -- is saying no to the party. If there is any silver lining here, it is that Kirk will apparently run for reelection to the House, just about the only scenario in which the GOP keeps the seat in its hands (though that's not a shoo-in). Yet make no mistake -- if confirmed, this would be very bad news for the Republican Party.

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Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 212

This last week was the 6th anniversary of Bush's Mission Accomplished speech about Iraq. Meanwhile US soldiers are still dying in both Afghanistan and Iraq, the Taliban are slowly taking over more and more of BOTH Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Osama bin Laden is still free. I never was quite sure what mission Bush thought he'd accomplished. Other than miserable failure.

Swine flu continues to be the big news story. And it will continue to be, I think, but I still say that with modern amentities like clean water, indoor heating and fever reducing medicine, this won't be as bad as past pandemics, at least in the US. Remember to wash you hands a lot! I want to also direct people's attention to this: UW Virologist Puts Swine Flu in Perspective.

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Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 211

This week included Earth Day. So I am highlighting several important environmental actions (including in the State Focus sections) you can take that can affect your environmental impact year round. Most of these actions also contribute to rebuilding our economy and energy infrastructure.

Torture has been a big issue this week. I understand both the attitude that we have to prosecute those who ordered torture, but I also understand the urge to move on from it. Of course I would prefer if some people went to jail for the illegal and immoral actions they ordered. But the main point I want to keep at the forefront is that the use of torture is KNOWN to be an ineffective method of getting information. The use of torture has traditionally NOT been a method of gaining information, but a terror tactic. That is how it has been used from the Spanish Inquisition, to the Nazis to Stalinist Russia. Let's also remember that the United States has at least twice defined waterboarding as torture and prosecuted people for it. We prosecuted as war criminals Japanese who waterboarded during WW II, and waterboarding was designated as illegal by U.S. generals in the Vietnam War. So why were we doing it? We have to remember these things no matter what answer we give to the question of whether we should prosecute or move on.

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Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 210

This week the Right Wing seemed to be all about tea, or something. Which is odd because all I heard from them was whining. It should have been wine and cheese, not tea, because it was all whining and cheesy cliches that really are meaningless if you scratch the surface. It led the anti-America Texas governor to even suggest Texas might want to secede. He might want to study some American history (even though he seems to hate American democracy) and he might discover that secession is a dead end, and was something largely opposed by the likes of George Washington, James Madison and, in particular, Andrew Jackson. Isn't it really ironic that at least one of these secessionist wine and cheese...I mean "tea parties" was in front of a statue of Andrew Jackson when THIS is what Andrew Jackson had to say about secession in his "Proclamation to the People of South Carolina" during the nullification crisis:

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Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 209

I keep forgetting to post my newsletter here, so I skip weeks every now and then. But I am still putting it out every week! And last week in particular was well read because I had endorsements in Wisconsin's Spring elections. And let me note that the candidates I was plugging in that election did extremely well. You can read about it below.

But it was quite a busy, interesting week in many ways, wasn't it?

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