MT Scandal Audit by June!

First, it looks like Bob Keenan (termed-out state Senate Minority Leader and former Senate President) is running for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate. Lots of speculation, it will be interesting to see who Keenan argues against in tomorrow's papers.

But bigger news is an update on previous diary that may position Montana for another sweep like that the one in 2004 which allowed Jon Tester to become the current Senate President. The Board of Regents investigative audit of the Inland Northwest Space Alliance should be finished by June:

The investigation into a former University of Montana vice president's involvement with a non-profit organization that received $3 million in NASA grants is on track to finish by early June, Montana's legislative auditor said Thursday. The investigation is in the preliminary stages and will require combing the financial records for not only the university and the INSA, but could also delve into the employment records of two of Montana's biggest politicians: Sen. Conrad Burns and Rep. Denny Rehberg.

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Censure sense: skipping Dem caucus

In the big picture, I think the best Democratic Party progress is going on in the states. But we need progress in DC and I think it is increasingly clear our best offense will continue to happen with bold action for the right thing, not consensus incrementalism in the caucus. Remember last November when Leader Reid made many of us proud with his bold move to invoke Rule 21 and force the Senate into closed session. Charles Babington's wrap up in the Post reported:

The final decision to employ the tactic, which infuriated Republicans and exacerbated partisan animosity, was made in the Democratic leader's second-floor Capitol office Monday night, in a small gathering of his lieutenants. Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) considered the strategy to be so sensitive that only four of his colleagues knew what he intended when he entered the Senate chamber at 2:25 p.m. Tuesday, party aides said yesterday. [...]

But even though Reid attended a private lunch for all 44 Democratic senators Tuesday, he did not mention the plan to anyone else before springing his surprise on the Senate floor moments later.


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CT-Sen: Good news from the staffs

Some good news from the Constitution State. First off, Tom D'Amore appears to be on board with Ned Lamont. There was a big discussion after Lamont met with D'Amore and Lamont remarked, "I don't know if I'm feisty enough for this guy." According to the Courant, Lamont is feisty enough:

Thomas D'Amore Jr., a former Republican who managed Lowell P. Weicker Jr.'s successful third-party campaign for governor, stood in the back.

He will act as an adviser to Lamont, who also has consulted with Weicker, the man Lieberman unseated in 1988.

But that wasn't the best news from today's story:

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IL-06: Who is a Fighting Dem and why?

In my mind, one of the most inspiring times to read blogs was during the fallout from our losses in 2004. For me, this was a special time because we were able to focus on what we wanted from our Democratic Party. Markos started the "Reform Democrat" meme, which helped shape the debate in the race for DNC Chair.

As short time later, Kid Oakland pushed the effort further with To Be a Fighting Democrat (which received 377 comments on the front page of Daily Kos).

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Party Politics

Today's San Francisco Chronicle has a front page story, Putting the party back into politics on the events that progressives in the Bay Area and beyond are using to make politics fun as a way to keep interest high during the mid-term elections. It is an interesting article, Kos has some quotes (including, "Democrat John Kerry's loss in the 2004 presidential race "was the best thing to happen to the progressive movement, because it taught people that this wouldn't be won or lost in a year. It's a multiyear-long process, and it is going to take their involvement every year.")

Some of the most innovative action is being driven by young people, using social netroots and technology to reach their peers, especially at the intersection of politics and music/beer.

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TX-28 lessons for Joe Lieberman primary

While there have been a number of postmortems of yesterday's election in TX-28, I want to offer one more look at what happened because I think understanding past netroots efforts and how we judge success will help us refine our game for the big one: whoopin' Joe Lieberman.

One of the problems with the effort in Texas is that the dynamic advanced so that people were only judging success based upon the election results. If Ciro Rodriguez won, or forced Cuellar into a runoff, then we won. That didn't happen, so we lost.

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Nirvana's Krist Novoselic pushes youth politics

Krist Novoselic is pushing youth to get involved in Democracy. In addition to the long-term implications, this is something that should be of immediate concern.

In 2004, young voters were the only age group Democrats won. Directly after the election, the Boston Globe reported:

Despite long lines and registration snafus, voters under age 30 clocked the highest turnout percentage since 1972. The good news is that America's young people are more engaged in politics than at any time in two generations. Aging cynics have been quick to blame the kids for a host of political lapses, but the cynics have it wrong.

Start with the numbers. According to professor William Galston at the University of Maryland, at least 20.9 million Americans under 30 voted on Tuesday. That is an increase of 4.6 million voters from 2000. Four years ago, just 42.3 percent of young people voted. This year more than 51.6 percent did.

While this was good news for Democrats everywhere, the youth surge in the battleground states was critical.

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New scandals worse than Abramoff for Conrad Burns

In 1988, Montana elected an AM radio rustler from Missouri to the United States Senate. Conrad Burns had won his seat on the promise that he would only serve two terms to avoid being corrupted by Washington. Many consider an incumbent most vulnerable during his campaign for re-election and Democrats united around Jack Mudd, a blue suit/red tie candidate who was Dean of the Law School and who lost by 24 pts. In 2000, Burns was considered quite safe as a Republican incumbent in a red state, yet an upstart citizen combined authenticity, straight talk, and bold populism to take 10,000 voters from Burns for a total of 70,000 more votes than Mudd (resulting in Burns winning by a mere 4pts.). In 2006, Democrats have a unique opportunity to get the magic 225,000 votes necessary to win the Senate seat, thanks in part to Conrad Burns.

If you don't think Burns is in MAJOR trouble, an examination of yesterday's news will probably change your mind. This is a longer post, focusing on the issues mentioned in Sunday's newspapers, specifically the Lee Newspapers story Lobbyist Giacometto heads Burns nonprofit, a piece by Jennifer McKee and Noelle Straub titled, Study: Burns tied to lobbyists and the Richard Simon and Mary Curtius story, Lawmakers Embrace Lobbyist Cash. Those in the national media focus upon Burns being the one Senator with the most liability when it comes to Jack Abramoff. But yesterday's Sunday papers looked at three other scandals that paint the portrait of Conrad Burns having become everything he feared when he promised to only serve two terms.

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Why I went to Sherrod Brown dotcom

I went to Sherrod Brown's website and signed up for email alerts, and I would urge everyone to do the same. I've been wanting to post something for a week, I figured I wait until Brown offered an olive branch to Hackett supporters and then post something about how all of us should give him a fresh start. That has yet to happen, but here is where I see things in Ohio.

Right now, the Ohio Senate race is looking really fucked up, and that is a major problem.

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updated: unrecommend

This diary was deleted as we all bow down and worship at the alter of the DC Democrats who are so wise.

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