Posted at 7:48 AM on September 17, 2007
by Bob Collins
Given the economic boom that, ummm, boomed under his watch as head of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan would seem a little likely candidate for the "rehabilitated" circuit, in which one writes a book and -- just before it's published -- gives a series of interviews to high-profile media outlets to set the record straight.
For Greenspan, apparently figuring he'll get caught up in the blame game over the mortgage "crisis" and looming economic rece...well, you know, he makes clear that he's not "one of them" (Bushies).
He does so in an interesting way. While he's reaffirming that he's a Republican, he concludes that the Bush administration isn't. The tactic is clear as in his interview this morning in the New York Times. "It wasn't me, it was them."
“I’m just very disappointed,” he said glumly, as he sat in his living room. “Smaller government, lower spending, lower taxes, less regulation — they had the resources to do it, they had the knowledge to do it, they had the political majorities to do it. And they didn’t.”
In the end, he said, “political control trumped policy, and they achieved neither political control nor policy.”
Mr. Greenspan, a lifelong Republican who presided over the longest sustained economic expansion in American history, sounded frustrated that neither a Republican White House nor Republican leaders in Congress were heeding his quiet pleas for greater fiscal discipline.
So, one might expect the anti-Republicans, err.... anti-Bushies... will be using the Greenspan book to rally the troops around the Democrats (yes, I know, that's a warped conclusion, which makes the fact it's true even more warped).
Be careful, however. Paul Krugman sees a parallel. (Subscription required)
In retrospect, Mr. Greenspan’s moral collapse in 2001 was a portent. It foreshadowed the way many people in the foreign policy community would put their critical faculties on hold and support the invasion of Iraq, despite ample evidence that it was a really bad idea.
And like enthusiastic war supporters who have started describing themselves as war critics now that the Iraq venture has gone wrong, Mr. Greenspan has started portraying himself as a critic of administration fiscal irresponsibility now that President Bush has become deeply unpopular and Democrats control Congress.
All of which is the daily reminder that in politics, dear voter, you're likely to be disappointed in your politician.
Posted at 9:03 AM on September 17, 2007
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
The Star Tribune has a series on the state's impaired waters and how industrial chemicals helped pollute the state resource.
Minnesota is considering cameras in the courtroom.
The Pi Press says the Legislature is getting aggressive to address global warming as some state departments approved a coal fired power plants and a steel plant.
A return of some troops is cheered in Bloomington.
The losing bidders on the I-35W bridge won't lose out entirely.
The travel of a MnDOT official is questioned not to mention that she was in charge of emergency preparedness and didnt rush back after the bridge collapsed.
The Star Tribune says heavy trucks are exceeding road limits.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is embarrassed about the bridge impasse.
Forum Communications talks with lawmakers from the Upper Midwest about the Iraq War strategy.
Anti-war protesters march in St. Paul.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar holds a field hearing today on her bill for greater cell phone protections.
Congress has the fewest number of veterans since World War Two. DFL Rep. Tim Walz is mentioned.
GOP Rep. John Kline speaks against a job discrimination bill.
Sugar farmers are looking to the Senate for success. GOP Sen. Norm Coleman is mentioned.
Some farmers want permanent disaster legislation in the Farm Bill. DFL Rep. Collin Peterson.
The MSP bathroom where Larry Craig was arrested is becoming a tourist attraction.
Mother Jones profiles Al Franken.
The Republicans are moving in.
(Update 3:13 p.m.: Ramstad announces retirement.
(Updated 12:24 p.m.: Tom Scheck's GOP source and one of my DFL sources have now both confirmed that Jim Ramstad is announcing his retirement at 3 p.m.)
Jim Ramstad has scheduled a 3 p.m. announcement for today. He describes it as a major announcement for his future.
So ... what are the possibilities?
* Announces intention to run for U.S. Senate -- Not bloody likely
* Announces intention to run for governor -- Three years ahead of time? Nah.
* Announces his retirement from Congress
* Announces he's leaving the Republican Party (remember: some of the heavy hitters mediawise called him a "bedwetter").
* Announces he's running for re-election. I don't recall him calling a "major announcement" news conference before, so it's unlikely that's the point here.
I've called my usual suspects and one has claimed to know that Ramstad is retiring. But it's by no means confirmed.
Let the speculation begin!
If the seat is coming open, it'll be hard over the next week to keep track of all the announcements.
The DFL has not put up serious candidates against Ramstad in years. So who might consider getting in? Without any information at all, here's one I'll toss out: Andrew Borene. Borene was running for the Senate 41 District seat in 2006 and was considered one of the rising DFL stars (that means he's a military veteran AND a member of the DFL Party), until he had a domestic assault incident, after which he said he would undergo treatment for alcoholism.
For the GOP? Here's the Votetracker list of current office-holders. Check the Districts in the 40s. There are a ton of good lawmakers there on both sides of the aisle who would make attractive candidates.
(Update 12:46 - MNPublius has some candidate speculation.)
This race will scare the Republicans. Legislative seats have turned over in the district in recent years and the hard-core Republicans might not rally around the -- OK, I'll say it again -- "bedwetter" positions (that is, a moderate old-style Republican) that the District favors.
For more on this, check out Truth vs. the Machine, where Gary Miller writes...
Jim Ramstad is the embodiment of everything I loathe about RINOs. He’s a SOB. But he’s OUR SOB and losing Ramstad would almost certainly mean losing this “first ring” seat. Congressional majorities are comprised of true believers and heretics. Congressman Ramstad is a card-carrying member of the latter but his departure would make it that much more difficult to regain the Speaker’s gavel in the next few election cycles.
Going Deep with Rep. Jim Ramstad and His Critics on the Iraq War (Twin Cities Daily Planet - 8/20/07)
Posted at 12:18 PM on September 17, 2007
by Bob Collins
For your speculation and scorecard purposes (see preceding post), here's the map of the 3rd District.
Courtesy of NationalAtlas.gov
(Photo by Tom Scheck)
Carleton College political science prof Steven Schier tackles the Ramstad retirement in a conversation (this one is unedited) with All Things Considered host Tom Crann. (Listen in RealAudio)
He sees it now as one of the top 10 or top 20 House races in the country now.
Ramstad's announcement, GOP Chair Ron Carey's assessment of the situation, and other audio is available on the story page.
By the way, Ramstad's timing is in sharp contrast to the last Minnesota congressional member to retire. As Schier notes, Ramstad has given his party plenty of time to find a replacement. Former Rep. Martin Sabo gave DFLers only about 6 weeks (before the DFL endorsing convention).