Category Archives: Congress 2006

How much is Chip worth?

Darned if I know.

I read a piece that said that 30% of the Tea Party Congressman owed a lot of money, credit card debt etc. I went to the Congressional website where you are supposed to be able to find out how much Congressman are worth. This information is required in order to find out what conflicts of interest they might have. Nada on Cravaack.

I read Jim Oberstar’s financial reports when I ran against him in 2006. He was worth something like seven million. I had to file my own reports to run. They were a major headache and my wife was not happy having to reveal her finances. Did Chip skip disclosure? If so, poop on him. He has the help of the whole Republican establishment to file the damn reports. I had to figure mine out by myself. It was worse than doing my income taxes.

The most compelling reason to vote for McCain

The reason? Its divided government and this persuasive argument for it and a McCain Presidency comes from George Will. I agree with George but I will almost certainly vote for Obama.

I hate the idea of “card check neutrality” which is absolutely undemocratic. It will come to pass under Obama. I’ve long felt that the power in union management has tilted too far out of balance in management’s favor. Republicans have turned the NLRB into a toothless regulator making it very difficult for unions to legally unionize businesses. As terrible as ccn is, it is a swing of the pendulum. Someday when common sense and its negative effects on the economy kick in it will be scrapped or modified. It will hurt our economy but so do farm subsidies.

As for the “Fairness Doctrine, well, George has a good point here to. You could call it the regulation of political speech or in other words “political censorship.” Its very Big Brother and kind of like the, AHEM, Patriot Act.

Against George’s call for divided government I must consider:

The Christianization of the GOP
McCain’s health and possibly muddled thinking
Sarah Palin
His take no prisoners campaign
His primitive faith in the maxim “My country right or wrong.”
Obama’s nuanced understanding of the increasingly complicated and hostile world that we have gracelessly and unnecessarily offended

Senator Grams sells the farm

I just got an interesting email. Former Senator Rod Grams and his wife Chris sent me an email alerting me to what appears to be an auction of his Minnesota farm. Here’s the picture they sent with it. Looks like a nice place. They asked me to send the email on to everyone on my email list. I presume they won’t mind my posting it here either.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3257/2625462879_ddfbc95b3d.jpg?v=0

I ran against Rod last year for Congress. We were both defeated by Congressman Jim Oberstar. Its nice to know that Rod holds no grudges. Of course, it is a tough housing market. Here’s the text of the email:

Please forward to your e-mail list. Also, please feel free to call Rod or Chris at 320-632-2992 if you have questions. Thanks!

Chris Grams
General Manager
Little Falls Radio Corporation
16405 Haven Road
Little Falls, MN 56345
320-632-2992
320-632-2571 FAX
AM960 KLTF – Q92 WYRQ – FM94 KFML

Greenwood Township results are finally in

My wife spoke to an Iron Range voter to told her a funny story while we were in the Twin Cities today. Apparently this Ranger’s wife voted for me in Greenwood Township. When the vote totals were announced it was reported that I got zero votes. She went and raised hell with the County and they recounted the township votes. They found five votes for me. Because Greenwood is in the Iron Range you can be sure it was Democrats who were doing all the counting.

So, I that pushes my vote total up to 5,513. I wonder what it would be if we recounted every precinct in the District?

A nuanced critique of Nancy

The GOP portayed Nancy Pelosi cartoonishly as a “San Francisco Liberal.” It wasn’t a very nuanced description. This political reporter doesn’t much care for her but at least he reports what he saw of her as she rose to power in the Democratic House caucus eight years ago. It suggests to me that her ego might interfere with Democratic hopes.

I should note that Jim Oberstar supported Steny Hoyer for the whip position over Jack Murtha who was Pelosi’s candidate for the Democrat’s whip. According to the article, Pelosi keeps grudges and was angry that once Hoyer challenged her for the assistant minority leader’s position. Perhaps Oberstar and the other Hoyer supporters who chose Hoyer over Murtha are keen to keep Pelosi on something of a leash.

Alcee Hastings

Pelosi has been knocked for supporting John Murtha over Steny Hoyer. Until I was reminded about ABSCAM I wasn’t sure this was a problem. Now the New Republic is writing about another major decision Pelosi is making which will give Rep. Alcee Hastings important oversight over national security. I recall the convictions of Hastings years ago over corruption when he was a Federal judge and his subsequent election to Congress which was seen as a vindication. I also have a recollection of seeing some program, perhaps 60 Minutes which seemed to suggest that his convictions were bogus.

Now the question is: what are Nancy Pelosi’s convictions and is she removing someone else from power because she’s wants payback?

Help Murtha Police!

Congressman Murtha, ex marine and anti-Iraq War leader, was given the nod by Nancy Pelosi to vie with Steny Hoyer for a Democratic leadership position in the Congress. It looks to me as though someone is attempting to sabotage his campaign. A previously confidential videotape of Murtha sniffing around for a bribe has appeared on the Internet. Its sure to take some of the gloss off Murtha’s reputation and could undermine his campaign.

I wrote a column a year ago supportive of Murtha over his criticisms of the War in Iraq. This does not absolve him from any earlier misdeeds.

Here’s the story. Here’s the videotape. Its 57 minutes long and Jack starts bragging about his clout in Congress about 15 minutes into it. He wasn’t ultimately indicted but the video is not flattering.

Viguerie’s Vengeance

Richard Viguerie is the man who developed the voter identification services that helped make the Republican Party the majority party and helped bring about talk radio which put both spine and venom in the GOP. I heard him on NPR today explaining why he expected the Democrats to fail. I can’t find that story on the NPR webpage. However this story from a few days earlier explains why he didn’t at all ming having the GOP take a tumble last Tuesday.

Both Parties tacked to the right

Charles Krauthammer makes an interesting observation about the 2006 elections. Both parties tacked to the right. Republicans shed many of their moderate centrists (thus becoming more conservative) and Democrats elected a great many Congressmen with much more conservative points of view.

 Krauthammer dismisses the election as a minor earthquake. The challenge for Democrats is to hang on to the center ground. If their ultra-liberal wing has its say they could soon be out of power again.

What to expect today

It was a seasonable 46 degrees when Claudia and I headed out to vote at 7:30 AM. I was the 24th voter at our precinct and the polling place was teeming with voters. It should be a good turn out. Frank sent me yesterday’s forecast by the Cook Report which downplayed the recent reports that the Republicans are “coming home” and tightening the race:

“All Monday there was considerable talk that the national picture had
suddenly changed and that there was a significant tightening in the
election. This was based in part on two national polls that showed the
generic congressional ballot test having tightened to four (Pew) and six
(ABC/Wash Post) points.

Seven national polls have been conducted since Wednesday, November 1.
They give Democrats an average lead of 11.6 percentage points, larger
than any party has had going into an Election Day in memory. Even if you
knock five points off of it, it’s 6.6 percentage points, bigger than the
advantage that Republicans had going into 1994.

Furthermore, there is no evidence of a trend in the generic ballot test.
In chronological order of interviewing (using the midpoint of field
dates), the margins were: 15 points (Time 11/1-3), 6 points (ABC/Wash
Post), 4 points (Pew), 7 points (Gallup), 16 points (Newsweek), 20
points (CNN) and 13 points (Fox).”

I’ll be watching the new and improved paperless ballot voting machines. Already there are reports of some serious snafus with them in several states. Something like 36% of all ballots cast this year will not have paper backup.

It won’t be pretty if the US has another election debacle like those of 2000 and 2004.

Fantasy Congress

Not content with Fantasy Football someone has created a website for “Fantasy Congress.” Its a game in which players choose a variety of senators and representatives and accumulate pointes (as near as I can tell) when they successfully advance legislation through Congress.

Of course, simply putting one’s name on a bill as an author or co-author not the only way an influential Congressmen can advance legislation.