The GOP Campaign Playbook

All it takes is questions and an acronym or two to get the message out to the voters that the Republicans do not make the best representatives on The Hill. They are also quite vulnerable in every congressional district. The Grand Old Party's (GOP) incumbent in IL-19 is more vulnerable than he or either Party realizes so the congressional district is a good example of how well Democrats can use the GOP Playbook on GOP incumbents.

Cross-posted to Philosophe Forum.

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Culture of Corruption Reaches to Utah and HHS

Cross posted on The Third Avenue

In the Salt Lake Tribune today, we get this enigmatic headline: "Leavitt makes surprise SUU visit"

Gee, why would Former Utah Governor Leavitt (now HHS Sec.) unexpectedly show up at Southern Utah University?  I will show you in extended...

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DeLay Stays on the Ballot

I know everyone is focusing on Lamont-Lieberman but the Repubs were just let down by one of their own, Antonin Scalia, who denied their stay on the Circuit Court decision regarding DeLay getting off the ballot.  DeLay must run for re-election or there will be no Repub candidate.  There is a good chance Nick Lampson will be returning to Congress.  Read more about it in the story below. n_el_ho/scotus_delay_s_replacement_5

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Tom DeLay may be gone but his ghost lingers on.

Nothing better illustrates the cynicism and opportunistic behavior of Tom DeLay's brand of strong-arming Congress than the charade surrounding their efforts to eliminate the inheritance tax.

At a time when a growing number of middle-income American families are forced to pay the alternative minimum tax, the Republican leadership is again fixating on the inheritance tax.  This legacy from Teddy Roosevelt and the progressive era is a tax on significant wealth, the bulk of which is most often accumulated capital which has never been taxed in the first place. The estate tax usually falls on people who haven't earned it and are in the easiest position to pay:  think Paris Hilton.  

Outright repeal has actually been opposed by some of America's wealthiest citizens:  think Warren Buffett.  Indeed the father of America's richest person, Bill Gates Sr., wrote a book about why the elimination of the inheritance tax was a bad idea.  

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Time: DeLay "Planning an Aggressive Campaign"

The wheels turn pretty quickly in Washington. Over in Breaking Blue, howardpark noted that Tom DeLay recently began to publicly discuss the possibility that he would run again for the US House in TX-22 as a result of a ruling by a federal judge that the Republican Party could not legally replace him on the ballot this November. Now, Time magazine's duo of Mike Allen and Hilary Hylton report that DeLay is moving away from the speculation phase and into the planning phase.

Could Tom DeLay be headed back to the House?

A source close to the ex-Congressman tells TIME that DeLay is planning an aggressive campaign to retake the House seat he quit in June if an appeals court lets stand a ruling by a federal judge last week that his name must stay on November's ballot--even though he has moved to Virginia.

"If it isn't overturned, Katy bar the door!" says a G.O.P. official. "Guess he'll have to fire up the engines on the campaign and let 'er rip."

I have always believed that this race would be extremely competitive even with Republicans having the opportunity to replace DeLay with another candidate. Former Democratic Congressman Nick Lampson is just too strong and too well-funded of a candidate for the Republicans to walk to victory this fall. But now, given the increasing likelihood that Tom DeLay will be the Republican candidate for the United States House in Texas' 22 congressional district, there is no question in my mind that the Democrats can, and perhaps should, win this race.

Immediately prior to DeLay's announcement that he would resign his office and not seek another term, the Cook Political Report (.pdf) rated this race a "toss-up", one of the Democrats' 10 best pick-up opportunities in the House. Following that announcement, Cook moved the race into the "likely Republican" column, a switch that will no doubt have to be reversed should DeLay indeed run. Perhaps, with the amount of campaign cash DeLay has spent on his legal defense fund -- money he cannot raise again from his same base of donors because of federal election law -- this race should actually be ranked "leans Democrat" if DeLay does indeed run.

However one delineates the race -- and even however the race turns out this fall -- should Tom DeLay be on the ballot in Texas this fall, the dynamics of a number of congressional races around the country will no doubt change. Particularly in districts in which the Republican nominee was close to and shilled for DeLay, the possibility of DeLay re-entering the Congress immediately brings their ties to him back into play.

Make no mistake, the possibility that Tom DeLay will actually end up running for reelection this fall is terrible news for the Republican Party, both inside and outside of Texas.

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