Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Political Report: Week of January 8th, 2007


*Bush speech will define the final two years of his presidency.
*Pelosi and Democrats look to outmaneuver Bush on troop surge.
*Romney fundraiser shows he’s a candidate to be reckoned with.
*GOP civil war regarding Iraq looks imminent.
*McCain-Lieberman ticket not out of the realm of possibility.


1. President Bush will be delivering the most important speech of his presidency Wednesday night as he addresses the nation about the way forward in Iraq. His administration discounted the recommendations put forth by the Iraq Study Group and they have taken two weeks to develop the last plan that the American people are going to realistically consider from this president regarding the conflict. That there are already grumblings from both Democrat and Republican lawmakers has to be a sign of trouble for the president.

2. While new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi won’t recommend cutting off funding for the troops already in Iraq, it’s clear that the tact Democrats might be attempting to take will be to find a way to limit funding for any additional troops should Bush recommend a surge. This angle might find a significant amount of support from public opinion which could be disastrous for the president. Democrats would be seen as supporting the troops already there and protecting any additional men and women from being put into harm’s way.

3. Mitt Romney raised $6.5 million dollars at a Boston fundraiser on Monday, dwarfing the recent fundraising totals by potential presidential rivals John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. The original goal for the event was $1 million. Although the Boston fundraiser may not be indicative of Romney’s popularity outside his home state, it does prove that he can raise funds, which at this stage in the presidential sweepstakes is more important than popularity or name recognition. McCain and Giuliani will have to take notice.

4. The fissure lines are clear to see in the Republican Party and it’s likely that should President Bush recommend a troop surge in Iraq, many prominent GOP lawmakers will openly distance themselves from Bush on his Iraq war policy as well as his overall approach to the war on terror. Senator Chuck Hagel has been and remains a fierce critic of Bush and his administration. GOP lawmakers also realize that while the 2006 mid-term elections hinged on Iraq, 2008 looks to also be a referendum on the events on the ground there. Republicans, especially those in the Senate, could see an even worse outcome two years from now if the situation in Iraq remains grave.

5. While John Kerry wasn’t able to convince John McCain to join him on the Democratic presidential ticket in 2004, McCain may have more success convincing Joe Lieberman to join him on the 2008 Republican ticket. The two have been in a love-fest for the last three years and now that Lieberman is an “Independent Democrat” who still harbors resentment towards many in his Party for abandoning him during his recent re-election campaign, there’s nothing to prevent him from giving it serious consideration. Win or lose, Lieberman would continue to increase his popularity among Republicans in his state and it would be four more years until he had to defend his seat again. Whether or not it helps or hurts McCain is another question. The Netroots who tried to defeat Lieberman in Connecticut would pull out all the stops to defeat a McCain-Lieberman ticket.


Anonymous Jim said...

great outlook for the week...

11:44 PM  

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