How does the GOP recover from Stevens? Update: AOL Hot Seat poll added

posted at 7:11 am on July 30, 2008 by Ed Morrissey


Politico looks at the ramifications of the Ted Stevens indictment in terms of their electoral strategy for this fall.  The plans for the Senate Republicans are in disarray, and no one seems quite sure how to proceed.  With Alaska holding its primary soon, the focus will stay on how to extricate the GOP from Stevens in that election, but what about the overall strategy for the Republicans?

“This is very bad for the party,” a retiring Senate Republicantold Politico as news of Ted Stevens’ indictment echoed across Capitol Hill on Tuesday. “The timing on this couldn’t be worse.”

One year ago today, Stevens pleaded with his Republican colleagues to “stay with me” as he rode out a Justice Department investigation and an FBI raid on his Alaska home.

Now, there’s an arrest warrant out for the 84-year-old senator. He’s been stripped of his top committee rankings. His iconic career is crumbling. His hopes for reelection are in serious doubt.

And Senate Republicans have no idea what to do about it.

National Review insists on his resignation, and calls the electoral consequences secondary:

The question is not whether Stevens should resign, but whether he should resign now or after Alaska’s August 26 primary. If he steps aside now, the nomination will go to one of the six relatively unknown Republicans who are registered to run in the primary. The deadline for registration has passed, so it is too late for the party to field a stronger contender. If, however, Stevens won the primary and then stepped aside, the party could replace him with a better candidate.

To us, such political calculations are subordinate to the fact that Stevens has disgraced himself and his office. If he steps aside now, the politics will take care of themselves. The eventual nominee will have distinguished himself by winning an open and competitive primary. A party appointment would look calculated and unprincipled, and the candidate would be weaker for it. Stevens should allow the voters to pick his replacement. He should resign, and the sooner the better.

Of course, the Republicans can’t force Stevens to resign.  They wanted Larry Craig to resign after his arrest for importuning an undercover officer in a public restroom, and at first he did, and then he rescinded his resignation.  Craig remains in the Senate, although he’s not running for re-election as Stevens is.

Legally, the National Review notes, Stevens has a presumption of innocence.  So does William Jefferson (D-LA) in the House, who was indicted on corruption charges but remains in Congress.  Jefferson still has his committee assignments, unlike Stevens, who had his stripped by Senate leadership.

In truth, the GOP should have pushed Stevens out of the race a year ago.  The basic structure of his unethical activities with Veco has been well known for at least that long.  Even without that, Stevens’ embarrassing pork-barrel antics such as the Bridge to Nowhere came to exemplify all of the worst impulses of Congress on perks and power.  Instead of cleaning house when they could, the Republicans couldn’t bring themselves to tell a 40-year man that his time was over and that it was time to find fresh blood.

Stevens should resign, but he won’t without his colleagues making it necessary.  Republican leadership should demand it, as they did with Craig, who they insisted had brought shame and dishonor to the chamber.  What Stevens did brings more than a little shame and dishonor to the Senate — it undermines its authority and American confidence in representative democracy.  We don’t send people to Congress to enrich themselves through bribery.

How will this affect the election overall?  Strangely, I don’t think it will have much affect at all outside of Alaska, where the Democrats may well win both the Senate and the House seats this year.  With William Jefferson remaining in Congress, the Democrats have no real footing to use this against the Republicans.  And that may be the biggest scandal of all — that corruption in both parties serves to protect everyone.


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With William Jefferson remaining in Congress, the Democrats have no real footing to use this against the Republicans.

Oh yeah? Just watch them.

MB4 on July 30, 2008 at 12:47 PM

Oh yeah? Just watch them.

MB4 on July 30, 2008 at 12:47 PM

Really? Why should they indict Jefferson? Or any other Politican who is stepping over the lines?

upinak on July 30, 2008 at 12:48 PM

I would like to see,oh I dunno,maybe the Clintons
at least get a letter,or a stern scolding for
ransacking the White house and pilfering Air Force
One,essential stealing,when Slick Willy left office!
just a sayin!

canopfor on July 30, 2008 at 12:49 PM

It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctive American criminal class, except for congress.
- Mark Twain

MB4 on July 30, 2008 at 12:50 PM

MB4 on July 30, 2008 at 12:50 PM

That quote would work better is Stevens wasn’t in the Senate. **rolls eyes**

upinak on July 30, 2008 at 12:53 PM

That quote would work better is Stevens wasn’t in the Senate. **rolls eyes**

upinak on July 30, 2008 at 12:53 PM

The congress has two branches, the Senate and the House.

**rolls eyes**

MB4 on July 30, 2008 at 12:54 PM

Have Stevens switch to the democratic party and this immediately goes away.

volsense on July 30, 2008 at 12:56 PM

MB4 on July 30, 2008 at 12:54 PM

that work on two different levels for their States and for Federal… if you know or undertstand that. BTW when are you going to tell me when and where you served? Jerk.

upinak on July 30, 2008 at 12:58 PM

MB4 on July 30, 2008 at 12:54 PM

that work on two different levels for their States and for Federal… if you know or undertstand that.

You are dumber than a box of rocks.

The Senate is the upper house of the United States Congress.

BTW when are you going to tell me when and where you served? Jerk.

upinak on July 30, 2008 at 12:58 PM

Why should I tell you. It would probably just confuse you even more.

MB4 on July 30, 2008 at 1:02 PM

The answer to EVERY question concerning this should have the words:

“WILLIAM JEFFERSON”

Repeated Over and OVER!!!

Oh – and Stevens should step down or be ejected. He’s overdue from “Bridge to Nowhere” time.

grtflmark on July 30, 2008 at 1:03 PM

MB4 on July 30, 2008 at 1:02 PM

You are the one who says their military service is this and that. I ask you and you the question AVOID EVERYTIME!

Poser!

For someone calling me stupid and yet won’t answer one damn question about their military service shows me one thing. YOU NEVER SERVED! Go find your religous friends please.

upinak on July 30, 2008 at 1:06 PM

The answer to EVERY question concerning this should have the words:

“WILLIAM JEFFERSON”

Repeated Over and OVER!!!

Plus two more:
Barney Frank!

jgapinoy on July 30, 2008 at 1:10 PM

You are the one who says their military service is this and that. I ask you and you the question AVOID EVERYTIME!

Poser!

For someone calling me stupid and yet won’t answer one damn question about their military service shows me one thing. YOU NEVER SERVED! Go find your religous friends please.

upinak on July 30, 2008 at 1:06 PM

It looks like you have decided to try to change the subject from your ignorance on what makes up the United States congress as display you ignorance on another topic.

I have answered enough people on that topic enough times already. The game grows old. Do a search. If you don’t know how to do one ask someone to help you.

MB4 on July 30, 2008 at 1:12 PM

MB4 on July 30, 2008 at 1:12 PM

yep the old I-served-yet-I-am-a-liberal theme rings true. MB4, seriously dude, do you do anything but post quotes for anything other then to see who comments on it?

The Senate and Congress haven’t been seen as one since the 50′s which I think you are a product of.. God help us All on that. They do not work together unless the Dems are trying to pass some stupid bill. They are NOT one in the same in my eyes and haven’t been for decades.

Just because some wiki-site says different, doesn’t make them the “same”.

Get a grip old man, you seriously have some issues. And just wait for us “rocks” take over the country. Oh, right, you will never die. Take a vacation, you need one.

upinak on July 30, 2008 at 1:18 PM

Let’s hope this helps Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell in his primary with equally corrupt Rep. Don Young.

It's Vintage, Duh on July 30, 2008 at 1:24 PM

Take a vacation, you need one.

upinak on July 30, 2008 at 1:18 PM

Your thinking is very confused and completely uncoordinated and you need a psychiatrist.

MB4 on July 30, 2008 at 1:24 PM

Let’s hope this helps Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell in his primary with equally corrupt Rep. Don Young.

It’s Vintage, Duh on July 30, 2008 at 1:24 PM

Vin, I am sure that Parnell or Ledout will be the ones in the running. Young has lost a lot of favor lately with about everyone. I have never liked him, and I will say I never voted for him.

Your thinking is very confused and completely uncoordinated and you need a psychiatrist.

MB4 on July 30, 2008 at 1:24 PM

Typical liberal….

upinak on July 30, 2008 at 1:27 PM

The Senate and Congress haven’t been seen as one since the 50’s

upinak on July 30, 2008 at 1:18 PM

God you are so stupid. The U.S. Congress is made up of the Senate and the House. Like people are made up of men and women.

Anology -
Congress like people.
Senate like men.
House like women.

A five year old child could understand that. You had best fetch a five year old child to explain it to you. Good luck to the five year old child.

MB4 on July 30, 2008 at 1:29 PM

With William Jefferson remaining in Congress, the Democrats have no real footing to use this against the Republicans.

The Republican could totally capitalize if they forced Stevens to resign and quick. They could produce constant ads reminding voters that Nancy’s Democrats represent the Culture of Corruption and her “most ethical congress ever” is a farce because Democrats harbor and reward their indicted members while at least the GOP tells them to take a hike.

It works because it’s true.

Topsecretk9 on July 30, 2008 at 1:29 PM

Typical liberal….

upinak on July 30, 2008 at 1:27 PM

I would say that you are a typical moron, but you are much dumber than the typical moron.

MB4 on July 30, 2008 at 1:33 PM

Republicans should ostracize and condemn Stevens immediately. Can’t the party strip party id? I guess not.

silverfox on July 30, 2008 at 1:38 PM

Topsecretk9 on July 30, 2008 at 1:29 PM

very good idea. And it has the added benifit of being true. Throw Murtha in the mix. Also.

time for the Rep to clean house.

unseen on July 30, 2008 at 1:38 PM

If the question is: “How to get Ted Stevens off the front pages”, the answer is right here.

Mike D. on July 30, 2008 at 1:40 PM

If he steps aside now, the nomination will go to one of the six relatively unknown Republicans who are registered to run in the primary.

Democracy.

If, however, Stevens won the primary and then stepped aside, the party could replace him with a better candidate.

Oligarchy.

MB4 on July 30, 2008 at 12:44 PM

I strongly disagree with MB4′s judgment here. The vast bulk of our election run fairly normally. On those rare occasions when something goes wrong–a candidate dies or withdraws–it seems to me like a party’s committee is actually able to do better in picking a candidate than the practical alternatives. Let’s remember that the party officials aren’t Martians. They are probably just a little more extreme politically than their primary voters, and they want their candidate to win. Let’s remember if the party officials were to nominate Charles Manson that there is the candidate of another party who will win.

thuja on July 30, 2008 at 1:40 PM

Yeah, I wouldn’t call them elitist, per se, but I wouldn’t call them insular either.

They are part of the self annointed political elite and consider themselves more in sync with liberal members of the political class then they do with normal American conservatives. Unfortunately alot of our spokespeople on this side have the same attitude.

peacenprosperity on July 30, 2008 at 1:41 PM

Mike D. on July 30, 2008 at 1:40 PM

Thats a good idea IF we could get the MSM to report on it. As for Stephens, hes another shining example that we need term limits.

becki51758 on July 30, 2008 at 1:59 PM

Indictments are often a way to bully a Republican out of positions of power, or out of office alltogether. Just ask Tom Delay.

If Stevens is in the wrong, under the bus he should go. But until we know…

ynot4tony2 on July 30, 2008 at 2:01 PM

Now, there’s an arrest warrant out for the 84-year-old senator.

Republicans need to learn when to throw someone under the bus. We spent all this time mocking Obama and look pretty stupid about the people riding on our bus about now.

THROW MAMA FROM THE TRAIN!

Also mentioning William Jefferson at this point is very childish. “I know what I did was wrong, but look at what he did…”

What is up with all the Republicans who act like my seven-year-old? The problem is that Senators are all country-clubbers who can’t wipe themselves without a committee.

The Race Card on July 30, 2008 at 2:05 PM

Stevens should step down for the good of the Party. Demanding he step down only looks week since as we know from Jefferson and Clinton- indictments are not the final word.

highhopes on July 30, 2008 at 2:10 PM

samuelrylander on July 30, 2008 at 12:13 PM

Hello to you, too. :) I’ve been here awhile, but I don’t post all that often. Okay, so some quick history: Prior to the 17th Amendment (ratified in 1913), Senators were chosen by state legislatures. The Founders set up the system so that not only did the people have representation (the House), but someone was also looking after the State’s interests (the Senate).

Because the states were viewed as sovereign, with very few powers granted to the federal government, it was important to have representatives directly accountable to them, which is what the system allowed. Our system of government as originally designed was absolutely brilliant–true checks and balances, and no career politicians.

DrMagnolias on July 30, 2008 at 2:18 PM

This is good for the party!!! Get rid of the bad apples now! Stephens faces a primary vote, kick him at then and get on with the race.

ilitigant on July 30, 2008 at 2:29 PM

Your pool does not include the option to throw him out of the Senate in disgrace. That is my choice. Make the contrast between law and order republicans and lawbreaking democrats obvious to all.

meci on July 30, 2008 at 2:48 PM

Stevens could just change parties.

As a Democrat he could engage in theft; even murder, rape and basic idiocy, and never be called to account for it.

LegendHasIt on July 30, 2008 at 4:04 PM

Add Sedition ad Treason to the list of crimes of which Democrat senators and House members can engage with impunity.

LegendHasIt on July 30, 2008 at 4:11 PM

I question the timing.

Mojave Mark on July 30, 2008 at 4:33 PM

DrMagnolias on July 30, 2008 at 2:18 PM

Thank you, that was interesting.

right2bright on July 30, 2008 at 4:50 PM

I have many letters I have kept from Stevens.
upinak on July 30, 2008 at 11:49 AM

Hi there, upinak!

I was just thinkin’ how those letters might come in handy.
You could try selling them on EBay and use the moolah for propane, heating oil or firewood; whatever you use.

If you only use only wood for heat you could put them to good use as fire starters!

I know how very magnanimous, you are; so actually donating them to the local Young Republican’s Club might be the “right” thing to do!

J_Gocht on July 30, 2008 at 5:00 PM

J_Gocht on July 30, 2008 at 5:00 PM

They are letters concerning Troops in Iraq.

Troll!

upinak on July 30, 2008 at 5:02 PM

upinak on July 30, 2008 at 5:02 PM

A bit touchy, are we?

Did MB4, get your goat?

I thought my greeting would brighten your day!
Have a double shot of vodka with some loganberry juice.

They aren’t ripe yet, you say.

Oh, Ooo… well hell have it straight, then!

J_Gocht on July 30, 2008 at 5:14 PM

Thank you, that was interesting.

right2bright on July 30, 2008 at 4:50 PM

Well, thank you. It’s the main reason I’m opposed to term limits–I’d rather repeal the 17th Amendment and return to a Constitutional form of government as originally intended. And, an additional advantage would be that incumbents wouldn’t necessarily have an advantage over anyone else–the states would take a hard look at how well their interests were being protected (Nebraska probably doesn’t want to have to pay taxes to take care of California’s highway system or maintenance of Virginia’s beaches, for example). There would be much more accountability, and consequently, fiscal responsibility. Perhaps it would lead to getting rid of the vast majority of what the feds do, which is blatantly unconstitutional.

DrMagnolias on July 30, 2008 at 5:38 PM

DrMagnolias on July 30, 2008 at 5:38 PM

As your idea is good i think the reason they stopped was due to the same issues we face today. Corruption and favoritism. And people would be on just as long until they fell out of favor.

upinak on July 30, 2008 at 5:43 PM

50 years in congress? 50? Way too long.

JellyToast on July 30, 2008 at 6:14 PM

upinak on July 30, 2008 at 5:43 PM

Did yah have that ‘double shot”…?

Despite the facts… you folks “upinak” do have a reputation.

It’s even worse than us Wisconsonites!

J_Gocht on July 30, 2008 at 6:26 PM

volsense on July 30, 2008 at 12:56 PM

You’re spendin’ way to much time listening to the “Lumbering Leviathan” from Palm Beach, volsense!

J_Gocht on July 30, 2008 at 6:47 PM

DrMagnolias on July 30, 2008 at 2:18 PM

It’s most refreshing to have both a philosopher and a scholar aboard.

J_Gocht on July 30, 2008 at 7:09 PM

J_Gocht on July 30, 2008 at 7:09 PM

One reason I don’t post much is I don’t want to become a bore. :) So, thank you–you all have been quite gracious.

DrMagnolias on July 30, 2008 at 8:02 PM

DrMagnolias on July 30, 2008 at 8:02 PM

Exception taken and appreciated, I’m certain that’s mostly true for all of us …Doc! :)

I really luv’ these folks here on Hot Air!

They get the juices flowing, they keep the synapses firing, they all keep the ‘lectrons in the olde bean movin’!

Yah just gotta luv’ ‘em…all of them!

Bless them all…!

My Daddy used to say…”If yah don’t move it, you lose it!”

J_Gocht on July 30, 2008 at 8:21 PM

Anology -
Congress like people.
Senate like men.
House like women.
- MB4

HOW can you be so SEXIST?

Sorry, I don’t even know what that meant… I just wanted to play too.

gekkobear on July 30, 2008 at 11:51 PM

One can agree to not instate term limits.

However, if these geezers would have any sense, they’d retire when they begin to wet their pants.

As is, we have to witness them using adult incontinence products, and with that the loss of reasoning.

TRC, you nailed it on topic. I’m with you. May they who gip us rot in hell, no matter which party they belong to.

Water for us, the best of wine for them, no siree!

Entelechy on July 31, 2008 at 1:07 AM

….
Senate like men.
House like women.
– MB4

HOW can you be so SEXIST?
Sorry, I don’t even know what that meant… I just wanted to play too.
gekkobear on July 30, 2008 at 11:51 PM

Not to mention just being plain wrong.
It is the Senate that is like women, the House that are (sort of, anyway) like men.

LegendHasIt on July 31, 2008 at 1:18 AM

Once found…
Second lost…

That’s the game…!

J_Gocht on July 31, 2008 at 2:28 AM

For those who would seek to prevail?
I make no circumstance…
I stake no special place…
I’m only a citizen, my fellow earthlings,
As a humble human being…
I will in the end, be no greater than the creature…

That I am!

J_Gocht on July 31, 2008 at 2:40 AM

“Wet my pants…”

Now I’m concerned with that…!

J_Gocht on July 31, 2008 at 2:45 AM

Not to mention just being plain wrong.
It is the Senate that is like women, the House that are (sort of, anyway) like men.

LegendHasIt on July 31, 2008 at 1:18 AM

No, no, no. You obviously don’t know some of the women I know. Even I seldom dare to mess with ‘em!

MB4 on July 31, 2008 at 3:39 AM

I know we are just bandying words rather than being serious…

But, Nancy Pelosi fights more like a man than any Senate majority (or minority leader) in the last 30 years, of either party.

You get any four Senators together to argue over something of dire importance and you might as well be watching the gals from “Sex in the City” at a luncheon.

LegendHasIt on July 31, 2008 at 3:55 AM

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