We’ll Be Home for Christmas. Eventually

Apparently 31 days does hath May. Or something like that.

Congresswoman Diana DeGette loves her some wilderness. As Ivan Moreno of the Rocky Mountain News explains:

Congresswoman Diana DeGette said Wednesday that she will reintroduce a bill to protect Colorado’s wilderness from drilling rigs and road development.

DeGette, D-Denver, made her comments at a news conference, during which she cited poll results showing that Coloradans support giving federal protection to more of the state’s wilderness.

“Wilderness and our love for the outdoors is why most of us live in Colorado,” DeGette said as she stood outside an REI store in Denver.

The poll, conducted May 1 through 14, indicated that seven out of 10 Coloradans favor protecting wilderness-quality lands against energy development.

The other 30 percent of people polled said that the single greatest threat to Colorado’s wildlife is gay marriage.


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Betsy Markey will soon become the fourth Democratic candidate in CD-4, according to The Fort Collins Coloradoan:

Betsy Markey, a Senate aide and a former Larimer County Democratic Party chairwoman, will announce her campaign for the 4th Congressional District on Friday, sources told the Coloradoan on Wednesday.

Markey confirmed she planned to make a formal announcement about her intentions Friday night but wouldn’t be more specific.

Betsy Markey, a Senate aide and a former Larimer County Democratic Party chairwoman, will announce her campaign for the 4th Congressional District on Friday, sources told the Coloradoan on Wednesday.
Markey confirmed she planned to make a formal announcement about her intentions Friday night but wouldn’t be more specific.

“I will be making an announcement on Friday,” Markey said.

State Rep. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, told the Coloradoan Markey would announce her candidacy Friday and that he would support Markey, who is the regional director for Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar.

“I know that Betsy will be announcing on Friday, and I think she is a very competent candidate and the race will become heated for the Democratic nomination,” Kefalas said. “At this point, she has my endorsement.”

Salazar’s office confirmed Markey tendered her resignation “within the last week or so” and that today will be her last day on their payroll, spokesman Cody Wertz said.

Colorado Confidential first reported yesterday that Markey would soon make an announcement about running for congress.


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As for Sen. Salazar, he said yesterday that the U.S. must push for peace in the Middle East. Okay, so it isn’t exactly going out on a limb, but Alan Gathright of the Rocky Mountain News has the story:

Middle East leaders are warning that a “powder keg” of regional conflicts could explode this summer if the U.S. doesn’t step up diplomatic efforts to tame tensions, Sen. Ken Salazar said Wednesday.

“There’s a great sense of urgency that something needs to happen, because we’re sitting on a powder keg,” the Colorado Democrat said in a teleconference call from Israel. He is traveling with a congressional delegation on a whirlwind series of meetings with leaders in Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon and Cyprus.
Salazar said he is worried that escalating clashes over rockets being fired from Gaza into Israel, and a standoff between the Lebanese Army and an Islamist group holed up at a refugee camp in Lebanon, could trigger more violence in the region.

Both Arab and Israeli leaders have expressed “a strong sense that without United States involvement on the diplomatic front, things will only get worse,” he said.
Salazar also cautioned President Bush and Iraqi leaders that they need to make progress on ending the 4-year- old war.

“They simply are running out of time,” he said. “America’s people are running out of patience.”

“The level of violence in Iraq is something that should be a concern to all of us,” he said. “I believe that in the months ahead we’ll continue to push for an orderly disengagement from Iraq.”

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That guy from “Law & Order” is going to run for President, and it may be bad news for other Republican candidates. As The Washington Post reports:

Fred D. Thompson will offer himself as a down-home antidote to Washington politics in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, running a campaign out of Nashville while promising leadership on a conservative agenda that will appeal to his party’s base, advisers said yesterday.

Thompson’s entry will have an immediate impact on the battle for the GOP nomination, adding a fourth candidate to the field’s top tier, which includes former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

All three have struggled to win the confidence of conservative Republicans. Thompson will attempt to make the case that he is the true heir to the mantle of Ronald Reagan and, if successful, would become a formidable candidate for the nomination. But Republican strategists cautioned that Thompson will need a more refined message and an error-free start to live up to the publicity surrounding his all-but-certain candidacy.

“That’s what the campaign will be all about for him — persuading a significant portion of the party that he truly is the right leader for a set of issues and an outlook on the world,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster.
By tomorrow, aides said, the actor and former senator from Tennessee will incorporate a committee called Friends of Fred Thompson and will begin actively raising money for a White House bid. He launched the fundraising effort this week in a conference call with more than 100 supporters, whom he has dubbed his “First Day Founders.”

Within the next few weeks, advisers say, a real campaign will take shape, even without a final decision or formal announcement. A Web site will be posted, campaign headquarters will be selected, and a staff will be hired. The signature red pickup truck from Thompson’s Senate campaigns will be dusted off.

We really need to start a movement for more creative campaign committees. “Friends of Fred Thompson?” Everybody does “Friends of…”


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Speaking of (hee hee) Presidential candidates (hee hee), Rep. Tom Tancredo had a nice write-up in the Chicago Tribune:

While Tancredo’s Republican bid is widely regarded as a long shot, the reaction he has received so far in Iowa shows his campaign can’t be entirely dismissed, political analysts say.

He hasn’t left much of a footprint in Congress, and yet, driven by an anti-illegal immigrant wind, he audaciously has become a single-issue candidate for president, his fists bared as he derides a bipartisan immigration plan being debated in the Senate and calls his opponents “soft.”…

…The longer the problem of illegal immigration lingers, the easier it will be for Tancredo to serve as a GOP spoiler as his hard-line stance attracts voters feeling overwhelmed by their changing social landscape, said University of Iowa political science professor Peverill Squire.

“Here in Iowa, things have changed dramatically in the last two decades and it’s probably caught a lot of Iowans by surprise,” Squire said.

“Tancredo talking in a way to suggest that some of these changes can be slowed down or even reversed, for some people, may be comforting,” he added.

A recent University of Iowa poll indicated that 96 percent of Republicans in the state consider a candidate’s stance on immigration to be “very important” or “somewhat important” in their vote, with 57 percent saying they support allowing illegal immigrants to “earn” U.S. citizenship if they paid back taxes and learned English.

With Republicans split over immigration policy, top tier GOP candidates such as Sen. John McCain of Arizona, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney recently have hardened their views.

Touring through Iowa, Tancredo takes credit for the shift, relishing his underdog status with jokes about not being invited to the White House. His outsider’s role has enabled Tancredo to speak more bluntly than some of his rivals.

That approach worked at the GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner in Des Moines, where McCain, Giuliani and eight other candidates addressed about 1,000 of the party’s faithful. Tancredo grabbed the loudest applause of the night after a lectern-thumping speech that cast his campaign as a fight to preserve American values and Western civilization itself.

It’s a little unfair to call Tancredo a single issue candidate. After all, in the first Republican Presidential debate he did say that he doesn’t believe in evolution. By my count, that’s two issues.


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Apparently America has an unlimited supply of troops in the armed forces. Either that, or nobody told President Bush that soldiers don’t grow on trees. As The Los Angeles Times reports:

President Bush would like to see the U.S. military provide long-term stability in Iraq as it has in South Korea, where thousands of American troops have been based for more than half a century, the White House said Wednesday.

Tony Snow, the White House press secretary, told reporters that Bush believes U.S. forces eventually will end their combat role in Iraq but will continue to be needed in the country to deter threats and to help handle potential crises, as they have done in South Korea.

The United States has 30,000 troops in South Korea; its military presence there dates to the 1950-53 Korean War.

“At some point you want to get to a situation in which the Iraqis have the capability to go ahead and handle the fundamental matters of security,” Snow said.

The U.S. would have a support role and thus be able to react quickly to major challenges or crises, even though “the Iraqis are conducting the lion’s share of the business,” he said. Bush has mentioned the “Korean model” to help make the point that “the situation in Iraq and, indeed, the larger war on terror are things that are going to take a long time,” Snow said.

The White House comments come at a time when Congress has been pressing for a troop drawdown, and the administration has been giving mixed signals on its thinking about reducing troop levels.

We’ll be home for Christmas, Ma! We just don’t know which Christmas.

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Jason Bane

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