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David Kurtz

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

Articles by David

Highlights of President's Bush press conference today:

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) went on Fox yesterday to explain his comment that we were paying a "small price" in Iraq. Go watch.*

*Ed. Note: You'll notice that for this segment Fox grabbed TPM video which was grabbed from CNN, meaning the TPM logo is right there running on Fox News. Weird.

I think TPM Reader MW has a pretty good read on the lay of the political landscape:

Something that strikes me about the Republican use of filibusters is that they have no effect on actual outcome. That is, everything that the Republicans have filibustered would have been vetoed by Bush anyway. So, filibuster or not, the end result is the same. This is in striking contrast to the Democrat's use in the last term, where the filibuster was the only thing standing between a law or an appointment going through.

So, why do they do it? I think they are engaging in obstructionism because most people don't pay much attention to legislative details. All they know is that Democrats have not passed a bill. A veto, on the other hand, makes more news and sets up the Democrats as being in opposition to Bush. Republicans are well aware that people dislike congress because congress has not done enough to oppose Bush. So, I think their use of the filibuster is intended to portray Democrats as being ineffective.

This explains Warner's vote on troop dwell time. Whether he voted for it or not, it wasn't going to be enacted. So, being a Republican not up for reelection (and I think most Democrats would do the same) he chose to stick it to the opposing party rather than cast a vote that has no effect in the end.

In any case Republican claims that "Democrats did it last term" are laughable, since Bush was then and still is president.


Lots of readers have written in to urge that Democrats actually force the Republicans to filibuster, not merely cave at the threat. The prospect of a presidential veto is, in part, what makes that a pointless exercise for the Democrats. So for all the frustration about not being able to achieve a 60 vote majority, remember that 67 votes is the real bar to overcome.

Correct me if I'm wrong here. But by my calculation, more U.S. senators (72) voted today to condemn a newspaper ad attacking Gen. Petraeus than voted yesterday (56) to lengthen the time off troops get from the frontlines in Iraq, thereby reducing individual soldiers exposure to actual attacks. Am I missing something, or is that about right?

The Senate voted overwhelmingly to condemn the MoveOn ad that appeared in the NYT last week. Final tally was 72-25. Hillary Clinton was among those voting against the resolution.

The Senate is playing who can be nicest to military figures today. Sen. Barbara Boxer's resolution condemning political attacks on all current and former military figures (Grant? MacArthur?) got 51 mostly Democratic votes, less than the 60 needed to overcome the GOP's procedural roadblock. That was just a sideshow to the real sideshow, a vote on the GOP resolution condemning the MoveOn Petraeus ad, which is coming shortly.

Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu to be indicted in Southern District of New York today, according to reports, on fraud and campaign finance charges.

I'll be interested in looking at the indictment to see if it can be determined when the feds' investigation started. The Wall Street Journal article that first reported on Hsu's suspicious campaign finance activity ran at the end of August. That is what appears to have sparked the investigation. If so, I don't recall the last time I saw a white collar criminal case go from launch of investigation to indictments in less than a month. Perhaps some of our federal criminal lawyer-readers can enlighten us.

Late Update: The AP is now reporting that prosecutors will unseal a criminal complaint, not an indictment.

After blocking measures on habeas corpus and Iraq yesterday, Senate Republicans will seek to condemn MoveOn's Petraeus ad today. Sen. Barbara Boxer has proposed an alternative resolution that includes condemnations on other political attack ads, too, including on John Kerry in 2004 and Max Cleland in 2002.

Late Update: No word on whether there is a statue of limitations on congressional condemnation of attack ads.

Later Update: Reid and Levin to vote against GOP resolution and support Boxer alternative.

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