The battle for control of the House hasn’t changed much in recent months — Democrats have a few credible candidates seeking open seats, but not enough to put them in charge next January, according to one analyst.
“The problem for Democrats is that they are still likely to lose a handful of districts in Texas, and there are simply not enough districts in play to give them a realistic chance of retaking the House,” says elections analyst Stuart Rothenberg in the Rothenberg Political Report’s latest “House Outlook for 2004.”
“Democrats still need a wave in order to approach 218 seats. While the building blocks are present for such a development … we still don’t see empirical evidence that a wave is developing,” Mr. Rothenberg said.
“The most likely outcome right now in the fight for the House is anything from a small Democratic gain of a couple of seats to a small Republican gain of a couple of seats,” he said.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put out a press release yesterday citing Mr. Rothenberg’s report, but left out his general conclusions.
Instead, the DCCC highlighted his findings that 44 districts are in play, and that Republicans are defending 25 of them, or 57 percent, while Democrats are only defending 17 seats, or 39 percent. The other two districts in play are incumbent-vs.-incumbent races in Texas.
A Virginia-based pro-family group has been attacking Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican, claiming he is a “conservative fraud” because he voted June 15 to add “sexual orientation” to the list of federal hate crimes.
Joe Glover, president of Family Policy Network, said that as a candidate, Mr. Allen promised not to support such legislation, which FPN calls “pro-homosexual.”
“We counted on George Allen’s promise to defend our values in Washington. Now he can count on us to expose him as a conservative fraud,” Mr. Glover said.
The senator doesn’t run for re-election until 2006, but Allen spokesman John Reid said the June 15 vote is consistent with his past position, because the proposal — which was approved as an amendment to the Defense authorization bill — would not automatically give the federal government jurisdiction over hate crimes based on sexual orientation. Instead, it lets states and localities request help from the federal government on these cases, if they so choose.
He said this is consistent with Mr. Allen’s long-held commitment to provide more help to local law enforcement, but prevent homosexuality from being elevated to a civil rights issue.
Mr. Reid said it is “disappointing” to hear criticism from a group like FPN, and Mr. Allen has been taking aggressive efforts to explain his vote to constituents.
In the wake of the release of Illinois Republican Jack Ryan‘s divorce papers, some news outlets may be eyeing the sealed divorce records of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, according to the Drudge Report.
“The race is on in political and media circles to gauge the import of Kerry’s sealed July 25, 1988, divorce from his first wife, Julia Stimson Thorne,” Mr. Drudge reports, in a story posted Sunday.
The Tribune Co., which sued “to gain access to Illinois Republican Jack Ryan’s divorce papers and child custody records … is considering a similar push on Kerry, the Drudge Report has learned.”
“Tribune owns WLVI-TV Channel 56 in Boston. It could use its Massachusetts connection as a jumping point to petition the court which granted Kerry a divorce,” Mr. Drudge said his sources told him.
Other news outlets might soon follow, according to Mr. Drudge’s story, which said Mr. Kerry’s campaign late Sunday called any old divorce digging a game of political “gutter ball.”
The U.S. conference of mayors yesterday voted to table a resolution that would have opposed the federal constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
The resolution was sponsored by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Providence, R.I., Mayor David Cicilline.
The federal marriage amendment they oppose is being pushed by a coalition of groups, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, whose president, Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, endorsed the measure Friday.
The U.S. Senate is set to vote on the marriage amendment the week of July 12.
A star reader
If you visit a bookstore to pick up a copy of former President Bill Clinton‘s memoirs, look around — you just may see former independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr.
When asked whether he read the book, Mr. Starr told Time magazine that “I haven’t, only because I haven’t had time yet. I intend to.”
Mr. Starr wouldn’t yet comment on the book, when asked to react to Mr. Clinton’s accusations that Mr. Starr was biased, politically motivated and preoccupied with the Mr. Clinton’s sex life.
But Mr. Starr did say he is “very proud of the contribution of my colleagues in conducting the investigation, and I am persuaded to a moral certainty that it was conducted throughout with integrity, honor and professionalism.”
Clinton and Freud
Looking for more reading? Another book newly available on bookshelves is “The Clintons Meet Freud: A Psychohistory of Bill, Hillary and Chelsea,” written by Dr. Paul Lowinger, a retired psychiatrist, and released yesterday by Knoll Press.
The book examines former President Bill Clinton‘s “unconscious mind and personality,” and looks at his “infancy, childhood, colorful mother, absent father, alcoholic stepfather and the Arkansas milieu in which he was raised,” states a release by Knoll Press. “Clinton’s sadomasochism, narcissism, Oedipus complex, fear of death, and his sexuality are central to the story of his accomplishments and mistakes.”
The book, according to the release, also discusses Hillary Clinton‘s “suburban Illinois upbringing, demanding father and embittered and passive mother.”
“Their only child Chelsea Clinton is described as depressed and experiences frightening thoughts and dreams in response to 9/11.”
Amy Fagan can be reached at 202-636-3194, or email@example.com