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March 06, 2006


This is a very significant retirement. Thomas is a maverick and a bit of a hothead, but he is one of those who really knows how to put big legislative packages together to try to solve real problems, even though we may not agree with his approach. He did the tax cut bills and the Medicare drug bill. Last summer he announced he was going to put together a package on tax reform and pension reform, maybe even fold health care in. It went no where, along with Bush's political capital.

Of course it may turn out he is implicated in some scandal, but it may also be that Thomas realizes that the nation's fiscal situation is such, and the political climate so polarized, that it will no longer be possible to pass the kind of bills he is interested in. This is really another harbinger of the demise of the conservative "governing" philosophy. Tazes can't be cut forever, Congress loves its pork too much, and the foreigners who are buying our debt won't do so forever.

So maybe this means that he realized that even if the GOP held onto the House, it just wouldn't be much fun anymore.

And on the thread over at Kos, alum Ron K. tosses out a question. Is he really going home? Thomas for Treasury?

He's hardly the kind of reliable team player the Bushies want, but he does know the tax cose better than anyone, and from his point of view it would provide a unique platform. But still . . . .

I meant "tax code."

And lookee here--the two most recent polls have the Dems leading the generic Congress ballot question by 14%, and one is a Fox poll.

today the Times said Dems would have to hold 2 & pick up 10 competitive races, plus 3 more (2 + 10 + 3) to control the House.

Make that 2 + 11 + 2, I guess!

They also said Democrats had no unified voice:

At the Capitol in Hartford the other morning, State Senator Christopher Murphy denounced the "disastrous prescription drug benefit bill" embraced by his Republican opponent, Representative Nancy L. Johnson.

Jeff Latas, a Democratic candidate in an Arizona race, is talking about the nation's dangerous reliance on oil imports from the Middle East. Ed Perlmutter, a Colorado Democrat, says he is running against "the arrogance and cronyism" displayed by Washington Republicans.

And in New Mexico, Patricia Madrid, the state attorney general, is urging the United States to set a timetable for quitting Iraq.

Guess what? Voters in Arizona don't care about exactly the same things as voters in Colorado. What works in Connecticut might not work in New Mexico.

This is what a national party looks like -- local races, local themes.

CT in Nancy Johnson's district (my district) very much care about johnson's writing of and support for the medicare Part D bill.

Where is Arizona and NM again? Somewhere Sw of Hartford, right? And why should I care how the Dems run their races there if they win?

That Times article was remarkably stupid even for the Times.

yet pieces like that still heavily sway conventional wisdom... conventional, yes; wise, not so much.

'pockets, if it sways cw, then the cw is sure going to have a few suprises hit it.

By November the GOP will have reinvented itself while the Dems still have their heads where the sun don't shine.

Glad to see Thomas go, both because he was relatively able (to do bad things, usually!) and because he was extraordinarily arrogant.

There's no way that Bush would tolerate Bill Thomas at Treasury. He's much too crusty, angry, and independent, not to mention COMPETENT (within the limits of conservative ideology). He has been in many ways the White House's worst enemy -- an ideological ally, in a position of power, that they cannot control. Such people don't get high administration positions, 37-year-old party hacks who've proven their bona fides by writing press releases do.

Thomas retired because all he ever wanted to be was chair of Ways and Means and he is term-limited out of the chairmanship.

Mark, I think that's right. But he may not be the last of the retirees, all of whom will be older than 37.

Can we pick up Sherry Boehlert's district if he retires?

That would be NY-24. And a tough pick-up. According to the Political Almanac, Boehlert won 57%-34% and 71%-22% the last two general elections.

This is a rural R leaning district that went Bush 53-47% over Kerry.

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