Thursday, March 20, 2008

Blogging Joan McCarter

The program opened with questions on the PAA extension and the collapse of retromunity in the House and Senate. McJoan credited Senator Dodd's efforts in preventing the bill from being rammed through before the Christmas recess. She went on to underline that the House was angry at being taken for granted, and using the Spring Recess to pass the bill with little time to alter the final bill. She credits both Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid with having figured out the procedural combination which prevented retromunity.

The topic of conversation turned to speculation as to what the issues driving Senator Jay Rockefeller to support retromunity, and how two elections, the primary victory of Donna Edwards over Wynn, and the special election in Illinois, where the defeat of a Republican in a seat recently held by former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert shook the "blue dog democrats." McJoan talked about how primary challenges on the FISA issue had a direct impact on how members of congress voted. Jimbo Hoyer turned the conversation to withdrawal from Iraq as the next issue which will drive primary challenges.

McJoan then looked at the Oregon Senate Race, her evaluation is that a wave would sweep Smith out, but that Smith's caution will make it difficult catch him in a bad vote or careless statement. Larry LoRocco also faces an uphill battle in running to replace Larry Craig, but she has said that he is a great retail politician, and is the hardest working politician she has met. The swelling issue that she identifies as being important, and off the radar, is the "Real ID" issue.

The next topic was Iraq, first as part of the plan to withdraw from Iraq issued by several challengers to congress, then as part of the presidential race. Both agreed that the extended horse race has pushed Barak Obama to take a stronger stance against continued occupation in Iraq. Both noted that McCain had directly lied about "Al-Qaeda" being trained in Iran.

Over all McJoan was extremely optimistic about developments of the last few months, including the primary turn out, the benefits of the "50 State Strategy" of Howard Dean, the power of the internet and the blogosphere to mobilize specific resources.

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