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DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS.........................................................................................................................................3 A) UNIQUENESS—THE DEMOCRATS DO NOT HAVE THE VOTES FOR A SUPERMAJORITY NOW BUT IT IS POSSIBLE TO GET THERE................................................................................................................................3 FRANDSEN, 7-1-08.......................................................................................................................................................3 Jon, Senior Editor, Kiplinger.com..................................................................................................................................3 ........................................................................................................................................................................................4 B) LINK. ADOPTING A NEW ENERGY POLICY BEFORE THE ELECTION WOULD MASSIVELY BOOST DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES.....................................................................................................................................4 Nyquist 05. (J.R, expert in geopolitics and international relations, WorldNetDaily contributing editor, “The Political Consequences of a Financial Crash,” February 4, http://www.financialsense.com/stormwatch/geo/pastanalysis/2005/0204.html)....................................................6 LINK EXTENSIONS....................................................................................................................................................9 NUCLEAR POWER LINK..........................................................................................................................................18 AT: PRESIDENT GETS THE BLAME........................................................................................................................19 AT: DEMS CAN’T GET 60..........................................................................................................................................20 AT: MCCAIN WINS....................................................................................................................................................21 IMPACTS......................................................................................................................................................................23 ECONOMY..................................................................................................................................................................23 If the Democrats had 60 votes, they'd have a far, far greater chance of enacting such Obama proposals as expanding health care to the uninsured, and raising taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year.......................................28 PREMATURE IRAQ PULL OUT................................................................................................................................29 ......................................................................................................................................................................................33 LEADERSHIP..............................................................................................................................................................34 CHINA..........................................................................................................................................................................35 DEMOCRATS GOOD DISAD.....................................................................................................................................38 UNIQUENESS..............................................................................................................................................................38 LINK.............................................................................................................................................................................43 IMPACTS......................................................................................................................................................................44 IRAQ PULL OUT GOOD............................................................................................................................................45 U.S. troop presence causes Iraqi civil violence– your impact is terminally non-unique – only way to solve for civil war is withdrawal......................................................................................................................................................45 Gard and Johns 2005. (Robert G., Lieutenant General, Director of John Hopkins University Center in Italy and president of the Monterey Institute of International Studies; John, Brigadier General and dean with National Defense U, “Two Retired Generals Call for Prompt Withdrawal from Iraq: Support Murtha Position”, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, November 28, http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/archives/002173.php).....45 The current U.S. policy in Iraq is hurting the global war on terror. The war continues to expend finite resources, erode military readiness, strain long-standing alliances, and inflame the Muslim world. It does not have to be this way. By announcing a schedule for withdrawal, the U.S. sends a message to Iraqis and all citizens of the world that we believe Iraq is capable of making decisions about its future and controlling its resources. We declare our disinterest in using Iraq as a permanent platform for regional dominance.....................47 Terrorists use the U.S. military presence to gain more followers – this is systemic – the longer the presence, the more intense their recruitment will be......................................................................................................................48 Gard and Johns 2005. (Robert G., Lieutenant General, Director of John Hopkins University Center in Italy and president of the Monterey Institute of International Studies; John, Brigadier General and dean with National Defense U, “Two Retired Generals Call for Prompt Withdrawal from Iraq: Support Murtha Position”, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, November 28, http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/archives/002173.php).....48 Gard and Johns 2005. (Robert G., Lieutenant General, Director of John Hopkins University Center in Italy and president of the Monterey Institute of International Studies; John, Brigadier General and dean with National Defense U, “Two Retired Generals Call for Prompt Withdrawal from Iraq: Support Murtha Position”, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, November 28, http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/archives/002173.php).....49 Gard and Johns 2005. (Robert G., Lieutenant General, Director of John Hopkins University Center in Italy and president of the Monterey Institute of International Studies; John, Brigadier General and dean with National Defense U, “Two Retired Generals Call for Prompt Withdrawal from Iraq: Support Murtha Position”, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, November 28, http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/archives/002173.php).....49 US cred was jacked by war – extending troop presence can’t solve – their impact is terminally non-unique.........52

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Gard and Johns 2005. (Robert G., Lieutenant General, Director of John Hopkins University Center in Italy and president of the Monterey Institute of International Studies; John, Brigadier General and dean with National Defense U, “Two Retired Generals Call for Prompt Withdrawal from Iraq: Support Murtha Position”, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, November 28, http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/archives/002173.php).....52 Gard and Johns 2005. (Robert G., Lieutenant General, Director of John Hopkins University Center in Italy and president of the Monterey Institute of International Studies; John, Brigadier General and dean with National Defense U, “Two Retired Generals Call for Prompt Withdrawal from Iraq: Support Murtha Position”, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, November 28, http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/archives/002173.php).....53 Gard and Johns 2005. (Robert G., Lieutenant General, Director of John Hopkins University Center in Italy and president of the Monterey Institute of International Studies; John, Brigadier General and dean with National Defense U, “Two Retired Generals Call for Prompt Withdrawal from Iraq: Support Murtha Position”, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, November 28, http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/archives/002173.php).....54 AFF ANSWERS ..........................................................................................................................................................55

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DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS A) UNIQUENESS—THE DEMOCRATS DO NOT HAVE THE VOTES FOR A SUPERMAJORITY NOW BUT IT IS POSSIBLE TO GET THERE FRANDSEN, 7-1-08 Jon, Senior Editor, Kiplinger.com
What once seemed ludicrous to consider is now distinctly possible: Democrats could win a 60-seat, filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. That would give them enough votes to exercise real control over the chamber, significantly reducing the ability of the minority to relegate Democratic priorities to the legislative graveyard. Is such an outcome likely? Not yet. It would require a Democratic wave of support so huge that it could sweep away seats long held by popular incumbents in solidly red states. The danger signs of such a political tsunami are clearly in evidence, but the election is still too far off, and the mood of the electorate too volatile, for any political
analyst to confidently conclude that a solid trend is taking shape. But Republicans should be deeply troubled. The prospect of Democrats picking up the nine or more seats they would need to hit the magic number of 60 is far more conceivable at this stage of the campaign than the idea that Democrats could take control of the Senate was in 2006. Such a notion on Independence Day two years ago seemed preposterous to Republicans and a pipe dream for Democrats.

It's hard to overstate the political power that would come with the ability to routinely block GOP-led filibusters. That would be a huge advantage for a President Barack Obama and a giant headache for a President John McCain. It would make it far more likely that Democrats could achieve goals long thwarted by Republicans -- everything from funding for the Iraq war to civil liberties issues to the current housing relief bill that is bottled up. One of the biggest problems for Republicans right now is that the very idea of a Democratic landslide makes the job of holding on to vulnerable seats even harder. The snowball effect is a very real phenomenon in politics. Momentum is more than a matter of perception. When it seems apparent this early in a campaign, it translates into substantive things that spell success on Election Day: money, organization and, ultimately, turnout. Not to mention that it can suck up oxygen from the other side. The campaign troops become dispirited and money dries up -- and the number of races that need a good turnout and lots of money just keeps expanding.
Under the best of circumstances, this was always destined to be a tough year for Senate Republicans. They start off having to defend five open seats -Virginia, Idaho, New Mexico, Nebraska and Colorado -- because of retirements (while the Democrats have none). They can count on losing at least three of those. Then there are at least four seats that lean toward Democrats or are toss-ups: Alaska, New Hampshire, Oregon and Mississippi, where the seat vacated by Trent Lott has been filled since December by Republican appointee Roger Wicker. The GOP can anticipate losing at least two of those. In addition, Maine and Minnesota, which lean Democratic but have GOP incumbents, could easily slip in a strong Democratic year. Meanwhile, the only seat Republicans have a realistic chance to pick up is the one held by Mary Landrieu in Louisiana. That means in the very best of circumstances, Republicans lose a net of four seats. In a year so favorable to Democrats, a half dozen is more likely, and seven or even eight is certainly possible. However, there is a far bigger danger sign for Republicans. A growing number of seats in states that would normally be regarded as safe -- seats held by veteran incumbents in solidly red states -- appear vulnerable. Polls show that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, Pat Roberts of Kansas and John Cornyn of Texas face credible challenges. McConnell appears to be in the most trouble. Dole has a doubledigit lead in most polls, but North Carolina is one of several Southern states that Democrats think Barack Obama could win, which would hurt her. Also, polls in all four of those states show the incumbents hovering at or under 50% -- a sure political distress signal. If Democrats were to win even two of those seats, it would signal that a wave of national discontent had reached deep into traditionally Republican enclaves. It would be a sure bet that the vast majority of the more vulnerable incumbents in the other states would be swept away as well. Multiple factors are working against Republicans right now:

Senate races are generally local affairs and independent of national issues, but these trends suggest that voters are seeing Senate contests this year as more of a national referendum and appear ready to reward one party and punish the other for what they see as the sour state of the union, just as they did in 2006.
The GOP is a deeply wounded party: Self-identified Democrats comfortably outnumber Republicans. Worse, the party is viewed with much skepticism by much of the country, including many in the conservative base who believe their party has lost its ideological bearings. "If we were dog food, they would take us off the shelf," says veteran GOP strategist Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia. Not only is the party in danger of seeing its own base suppressed and that of the Democrats energized, there is a wave of new voters, the vast majority of them Democrats and supporters of Obama. While incumbency is normally a huge advantage, it is of little meaning to these new and mostly younger voters. The same goes for many voters who reliably show up during presidential election years but skip most others. With such potent forces at play and gathering strength,

the idea of Democrats gaining 10 or even 11 seats is well within

the realm of reason.

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B) LINK. ADOPTING A NEW ENERGY POLICY BEFORE THE ELECTION WOULD MASSIVELY BOOST DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES
MILLER 7-17-08
S.A. Miller –Washington Timeshttp://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jul/17/capitol-hill-hits-low-in-ratings/.
Self-proclaimed Democrats - disgruntled by the failure of their party's leaders to keep key campaign promises pushed Congress' job-approval rating to an all-time low in a Gallup Poll out Wednesday. Driven by a staggering 12 percentage point plunge among Democrats, Congress' approval rating dropped to a recordlow 14 percent in July. "Unless this Congress comes up with an energy policy that makes sense to the American people, it could go down even lower," said Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat. "I strongly suggest the leadership get us on energy and keep us focused on getting oil prices down. ... [Voters] see through the bluster of both sides." The survey suggests Congress is taking the brunt of the blame for the country's economic woes, as President Bush's approval rating holds steady at about 31 percent, and casts doubt on the prospect of massive Democratic gains in the November elections. Since taking control of Congress last year, Democrats have been unable to deliver on campaign promises to wean the country off its dependence on foreign oil and end the Iraq war, although they kept pledges to raise the minimum wage, expand benefits for war veterans, extend unemployment insurance and raise automobile fuel-efficiency standards. "I think people are frustrated in general. They are concerned about the economy. They are concerned about high gas prices. They are worried about the cost of home heating oil come the winter. They feel uncertain about the future," said Rep. Jim McGovern, Massachusetts Democrat. "The other thing, too, is that there are a lot of liberals who are frustrated the war is still going on," he said. Gallup called the rock-bottom rating "extraordinary." It marked the lowest opinion of Congress in the 34 years that the Princeton, N.J.-based pollsters asked the question and just the sixth time the rating dipped below 20 percent, with four of those below-20 ratings occurring in the past year. The other low points were a 19 percent rating in March 1992, during the House bank check-kiting scandal, and an 18 percent rating in June 1979, during the oil crisis that caused a spike in gasoline prices and long lines at gas stations. Capitol Hill Democrats said President Bush's low popularity and Republicans' refusal to pass Democratic legislation dragged down Congress' score. "It's always been my experience that Congress follows the low point for a president," said Sen. Ben Nelson, Nebraska Democrat. Wednesday's poll, which registered a five percentage point drop in Congress' rating from June to July, showed Democrats' approval fell to 11 percent from 23 percent. Republican and independent voters take on Congress' performance remained largely unchanged at about 19 percent, the poll showed. "They want to blame everybody except themselves for the problems we have. ... It's a sad state. It says a whole lot about the lack of leadership by the majority here in Congress. They are not addressing the issues the American people want them to address," said House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican. Gallup pollsters said one reason Congress is losing support while Mr. Bush's numbers are steady is that the president has retained a core of Republican loyalists who appear ready to stick with him through the end of his term. They noted that Congress may simply be less able to engender as much political loyalty and typically trails the president in approval ratings. However, the Democrat-led Congress held much less intraparty support than Republican leaders maintained even in 2006. Sen. Kent Conrad said the poll reflected public outcry against partisan squabbling on Capitol Hill. "I think there is a call here for Congress to come together, especially on the energy front," the North Dakota Democrat said. "That's what it takes. You can see it is very hard to get things done here if you don't have bipartisan support."

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C) IMPACT 1) A STRONGER DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY WILL LEAD TO TAXATION OF HEDGE FUNDS OROL 08
Ron Orol is a Washington-based reporter for The Deal and author of Extreme Value Hedging: How Activist Hedge Fund Managers Are Taking on the World. 6-10-08 http://www.thedeal.com/dealscape/2008/06/hedge_funds_dodge_democratic_t.php. Hedge fund managers can take a big sigh of relief, but watch out for 2009. Legislation that would have eliminated a tax provision allowing some hedge fund managers to defer taxes on billions of dollars of compensation came close to passing the Senate Tuesday, but in the end it was blocked. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., attached a deferred tax provision to a broader energy bill, all of which was rejected by a filibuster from Republican senators. The measure would, in a nutshell, make hedge fund managers pay taxes immediately on income that is now tax-deferred. "This vote is proof positive that Senate Republicans are more interested in helping hedge fund managers avoid taxes than helping working families," Kerry said on the Senate floor. And while Kerry and other Democrat lawmakers remain frustrated by the outcome, hedge fund lobbying groups assert that the end of the deferment would have stifled investment and hurt the liquidity that hedge funds provide to the markets. Of course, should Democrats obtain or get near to a filibuster proof majority of 60 senators following the upcoming election, a similar rejection might be more difficult or impossible to achieve. A Senate with 58 Democrats would have an easier time convincing (or strong-arming) a couple Republicans to break ranks and back a bill. And if not, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., could offer a few "incentives" like a bridge to nowhere.

2) THE HEDGE FUND TAX BILL WILL CRUSH THE U.S. ECONOMY KERPEN 6-16-08 Phil Kerpen is policy director for Americans for Prosperity. http://www.philkerpen.com/?q=node/173.
House Ways and Means chairman Charlie Rangel is once again jeopardizing legislation that would reduce the incidence of the alternative minimum tax (AMT), holding it hostage to growth-crippling tax hikes. He bragged last week that when it comes to tax hikes, he and House Democrats are “sticking to [their] guns.” If he succeeds, he’s got enough bullets to take down taxpayers and the U. S. economy.
The AMT was never intended to apply to millions of middle-class families when it was put into action back in 1969. It was originally targeted at just 155 families who paid little or no income tax. Poorly designed, and not indexed for inflation, the AMT is now poised to elevate tax bills for as many as 26 million Americans. Most fiscal conservatives believe the AMT should be repealed outright, thus correcting a multi-decade policy mistake. But at the very least an AMT escalation should not be allowed to occur. Many Democrats, led by Rangel, think otherwise. In their opinion, if an AMT tax hike is to be stopped, another tax hike — or several tax hikes — must be enacted. Rangel’s ransom is steep. To begin, he is proposing a carried-interest tax, a bad idea that was thoroughly discredited when he advanced it last year.

The carried-interest tax, at a rate of 35 percent, would apply to gains realized by general partners in investment partnerships, which include real-estate funds, venture-capital funds, oil and gas trusts, hedge funds, and private-equity funds. This tax-hike bullet would tear a hole through the U.S. economy, sending risk capital offshore at a time when our markets are starved for it. It also would act as a first step
toward raising the capital-gains tax for everyone, a policy move that many Democrats, including standard-bearer Barack Obama, now openly advocate. Under current law, investment partners pay taxes on income based on the type of income earned. If ordinary income, they pay ordinary income-tax rates. If capital income, they pay capital-gains tax rates. Currently, the capital-gains tax rate is lower than applicable income-tax rates. By way of Rangel’s bill, however, investment partnerships would pay full ordinary income-tax rates on capital-gains income, even if that income is from the sale of corporate stock. This goes against the rationale for having a separate capital-gains rate in the first place. A lower capital-gains rate alleviates the double taxation of corporate source income and avoids taxing inflationary gains. It also encourages capital formation, entrepreneurship, and investment.

Now is a particularly bad time to wallop such risk-taking. Financial markets are still dealing with the consequences of the housing collapse, and capital formation remains impaired.

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IT WOULD OBLITERATE THE WORLD ECONOMY BUSH 06
Published 31 July 2006 Janet http://www.newstatesman.com/200607310033 If hedge funds were a country, it would be the eighth-biggest on the planet. They can sink whole economies, and have the potential to crash the entire global financial system. Yet they are beyond regulation. We should be very afraid
Something ominous is going on in world finance - again. On 11 May, the US Federal Reserve, America's central bank, raised rates and hinted that it might do so again. Wall Street wobbled but stock markets in the emerging economies fell through the floor. Since that day, Colombia's stock market has slumped by 42 per cent; Turkey's by 38 per cent; Pakistan and Egypt by 28 per cent; India by 25 per cent; the Czech Republic by 22 per cent. Why? These fast-developing economies have been the recent darlings of the world's mobile capital, acting as magnets for multinational corporations seeking new frontiers. Yes, the US economy is still the biggest in the world and changes in US interest rates affect the entire global financial system. But there is something very dark indeed at the heart of this story and it is called the hedge-fund industry - lords of havoc who, a consensus is building, have the potential to be responsible for the next great crash - and nobody knows what to do about it.

THE IMPACT IS MASSIVE STARVATION GLOBAL WAR AND THE UNLEASHING OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION Nyquist 05. (J.R, expert in geopolitics and international relations, WorldNetDaily contributing editor, “The Political Consequences of a Financial Crash,” February 4, http://www.financialsense.com/stormwatch/geo/pastanalysis/2005/0204.html)
Should the United States experience a severe economic contraction during the second term of President Bush, the American people will likely support politicians who advocate further restrictions and controls on our market economy – guaranteeing its strangulation and the steady pauperization of the country. In Congress today, Sen. Edward Kennedy supports nearly all the economic dogmas listed above. It is easy to see, therefore, that the coming economic contraction, due in part to a policy of massive credit expansion, will have serious political consequences for the Republican Party (to the benefit of the Democrats). Furthermore, an economic contraction will encourage the formation of anti-capitalist majorities and a turning away from the free market system. The danger here is not merely economic. The political left openly favors the collapse of America’s strategic position abroad. The withdrawal of the United States from the Middle East, the Far East and Europe would catastrophically impact an international system that presently allows 6 billion people to live on the earth’s surface in relative peace. Should anti-capitalist dogmas overwhelm the global market and trading system that evolved under American leadership, the planet’s economy would contract and untold millions would die of starvation. Nationalistic totalitarianism, fueled by a politics of blame, would once again bring war to Asia and Europe. But this time the war would be waged with mass destruction weapons and the United States would be blamed because it is the center of global capitalism. Furthermore, if the anti-capitalist party gains power in Washington, we can expect to see policies of appeasement and unilateral disarmament enacted. American appeasement and disarmament, in this context, would be an admission of guilt before the court of world opinion. Russia and China, above all, would exploit this admission to justify aggressive wars, invasions and mass destruction attacks. A future financial crash, therefore, must be prevented at all costs. But we cannot do this. As one observer recently lamented, “We drank the poison and now we must die.”

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UNIQUENESS DEMOCRATS WILL PICK UP SEATS NOW BUT NOT ENOUGH TO GET A FILIBUSTER PROOF MAJORITY NUTTING 08
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/filibuster-proof-senate-tantalizingly-closedemocrats/story.aspx?guid=%7BB26F13DC-4CF2-4C7B-9304-4C131872F30F%7D Rex Nutting is Washington bureau chief of MarketWatch. When the polls say Senate seats in Republican bastions such as Alaska, Kentucky and Texas are vulnerable to a Democratic takeover in November, you know it's the Democrats' year. The Democrats, who now have 51 seats in the 100-member Senate (counting independents), are beginning to dream of an almost unattainable goal: Reaching the magical 60 votes needed to exercise absolute control of the chamber. It's been 28 years since any party had the 60 Senate votes needed to end filibusters, the increasingly common tactic used by the minority to obstruct and frustrate the will of the majority. With six months to go before the election, analysts say the Democrats are likely to have a very good year, but not quite good enough. "They are not going to get to 60," said Larry Sabato, a political science professor at the University of Virginia who operates the Crystal Ball political newsletter and website. Plenty can (and will) happen between now and November, of course. The current landscape looks very favorable for the Democrats, and the tide is still moving their way, said Scott Rasmussen of Rasmussen Reports, whose poll showing a close race in Texas has shocked the Lone Star state. "The underlying political fundamentals are bad for Republicans," Rasmussen said. Most importantly, voters increasingly identify themselves as Democrats, with Democrats now outnumbering Republicans 41% to 31%. Add in a weak economy, an unpopular war, an unpopular president, a large number of vacant Republican seats, and a strong list of well-funded Democratic candidates, and you have makings of a Democratic landslide. Rasmussen says 10 Republicans seats are in play this year, compared with just one Democratic seat.

DEMOCRATS WON’T GET A FILIBUSTER PROOF MAJORITY NOW BUT IT IS POSSIBLE MORAFF 6-23-08
Christopher Moraff, The Philadelphia Tribune. 6-23-08 http://www.alternet.org/democracy/88329/ Democrats hope that in November they'll pick up the seats necessary to put an end to that strategy, giving them the first filibuster-proof majority in nearly 30 years. But analysts say that's a long shot. According to Larry Sabato, professor of political science at the University of Virginia, of the 35 open seats -- 22 Republican, 13 Democrat -- Democrats are likely to win 16, with another two, New Mexico and Louisiana, toss ups. "It is highly unlikely that Democrats will get the 60 Senate votes necessary to shut off filibusters," said Sabato. "My guess is that they're going to pick up three to five [Republican] seats putting them somewhere around 54, 55, or 56, but it's going to be awfully tough for them to get up to the 60 votes that they'll need [to secure cloture votes]. That said it's a long way from November, so anything is possible."

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DEMOCRATS WON’T GET A SUPERMAJORITY NOW Janet Hook, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer July 6, 2008
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-senate6-2008jul06,0,7335615.story The stakes for Obama in the Senate races are high. If he is elected president, the biggest obstacle to his goals could be in the Senate, where parliamentary rules mean that it can take 60 votes to approve legislation. The Senate currently includes 49 Democrats and two independents who are aligned with the Democratic caucus. "Big changes don't happen without big Senate majorities," Obama wrote in a recent letter urging Democrats to contribute to Senate campaign coffers. For now, most political analysts are predicting a Democratic gain of four to eight seats, which would leave the party short of the 60-vote threshold. But Republicans are worried, because bigger gains are not out of the question: Democratic fundraising is strong and the battlefield is heavily tilted against the GOP. "This is the toughest election in my 32 years in the United States Senate," wrote Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (RUtah), vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, in a fundraising letter. Senate Republicans are defending 23 seats; 12 Democratic seats are at stake. No Democrats are retiring -- a good thing for the party, because it is usually easier to reelect an incumbent than to win an open seat.

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LINK EXTENSIONS
WHETHER THE PLAN IS POPULAR OR NOT IS NOT THE LINK. THE DEMOCRATS ARE BEING DAMAGED BY CLAIMS THAT THE DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY HASN’T BEEN ABLE TO GET THINGS DONE MEDIA MATTERS 07
http://mediamatters.org/items/200707280005 During the "Fox News All-Stars" segment of the July 24 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer stated that Republicans "have a chance [in the 2008 elections] if they argue that the Democrats have been in charge, and they are the do-nothing Congress."

THE “DO NOTHING” ACCUSATION IS KEY TO REPUBLICANS KEEPING THEIR SEATS. IT IS THEIR ONLY CHANCE MEDIA MATTERS 07
http://mediamatters.org/items/200707280005 KRAUTHAMMER: They've done badly. And I think this will give the Republican the one opening they are going to have in 2008. Everything is running against the Republicans, but I think they have a chance if they argue that the Democrats have been in charge, and they are the do-nothing Congress. Just like Truman in 1948, who had the luck of losing the House and Senate two years earlier, he ran against it, and said these guys have accomplished nothing.

THE REPUBLICAN STRATEGY IS BASED ENTIRELY ON ACCUSING THE DEMOCRATS OF “DOING NOTHING” ON ENERGY Gannett News Service • July 11, 2008
http://www.coshoctontribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080711/NEWS01/807110305 Battered by poor poll numbers and rampant retirements in their ranks, congressional Republicans are pounding Democrats over record gas prices to try to win back voters in the November election. GOP leaders attack the Democrat-led House and Senate daily for "doing nothing" to lower gas prices and for blocking increasingly popular proposals to lift the bans on oil and gas drilling off most U.S. coasts and in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, blasts Democrats with relentless missives that scream, "Dems in a bind on gas prices" and "When will out-of-touch Democrats listen?" A group of six Republican challengers from Indiana, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania is even planning to fly to the arctic refuge July 14 to promote drilling. Recent polls have shown that a majority of Americans now favor increased oil exploration in the refuge and along coastal areas. "It's the No. 1 issue on voters' minds," said Ken Spain of the National Republican Congressional Committee. "Democrats' inaction has certainly left an opening for Republican candidates."

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PERCEPTIONS OF INACTION WILL HURT DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS CASEY 7-25-08
PATRICK CASEY 7-25-08 http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2008/07/washington_post_why_not_debate.html If the Democrats continue to do nothing, it'll be on display for the whole country to see. The Democrats, and Barack Obama, will have inflicted a major, and very public, injury upon themselves immediately prior to the Democratic Convention. It would be literally impossible for the drive-by media to whitewash and spin that incident.

THE CHARGE THAT THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS ISN’T ACTING ENOUGH IS WORKING FOR REPUBLICANS NOW MORAFF 08 Christopher Moraff, The Philadelphia Tribune. 6-23-08
http://www.alternet.org/democracy/88329/

Congress watchers like Eric Lotke of the Campaign for America's Future say by preventing the Senate from making any progress, Republican strategists are looking ahead to November when they hope to capitalize on the public's perception of a "do-nothing" majority. "It's what we call block and blame," said Lotke. "It's like mugging the delivery person and then blaming the mail for being late. Eventually the Congress will start to be talked about and we'll get these 'do-nothing' charges and attacks." Already the strategy seems to be working. Despite the rout by Democrats in the 2006 mid-term elections, public approval of Congress has plummeted. In May, a Gallup poll found the Legislature's approval rating had sunk to a record low of 18 percent -- below even the President's approval rating.

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THE FAILURE OF CONGRESS TO ACT ON ENERGY IS THE KEY TO REPUBLICANS WINNING CONGRESSIONAL RACES Gannett News Service • July 11, 2008
http://www.coshoctontribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080711/NEWS01/807110305 Battered by poor poll numbers and rampant retirements in their ranks, congressional Republicans are pounding Democrats over record gas prices to try to win back voters in the November election. GOP leaders attack the Democrat-led House and Senate daily for "doing nothing" to lower gas prices and for blocking increasingly popular proposals to lift the bans on oil and gas drilling off most U.S. coasts and in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, blasts Democrats with relentless missives that scream, "Dems in a bind on gas prices" and "When will out-of-touch Democrats listen?" A group of six Republican challengers from Indiana, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania is even planning to fly to the arctic refuge July 14 to promote drilling. Recent polls have shown that a majority of Americans now favor increased oil exploration in the refuge and along coastal areas. "It's the No. 1 issue on voters' minds," said Ken Spain of the National Republican Congressional Committee. "Democrats' inaction has certainly left an opening for Republican candidates."

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FAILURE OF THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS TO ACT ON ENERGY WILL ALLOW REPUBLICAN WINS IN CONGRESS

SKIBA 7-24-08
Democrats Have High Hopes for House and Senate Races Amid a favorable political landscape, Democratic leaders predict a "tectonic-plate election." http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/politics/2008/07/24/democrats-have-high-hopes-for-house-andsenate-races.html By Katherine Skiba Republicans, unsurprisingly, don't buy it. They blame high gas prices on Democrats and hope that will boost their campaigns in the fall. "As long as Democrats continue to defy 60 percent of the American people on the issue of producing more domestic energy to lower the soaring cost of gasoline, Democrats will continue to be forced to spend millions of dollars on their own members who have compiled atrocious records on the No. 1 issue on voters' minds," says Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. At the National Republican Senatorial Committee, spokeswoman Rebecca Fisher urges Democrats to "be careful with predictions" since "100 days is a lifetime in politics, and I'm sure they didn't predict they would be on the wrong side of most Americans on energy three months from Election Day."

LINK AND UNIQUENESS. THE COMPOSITION OF CONGRESS WON’T CHANGE IN THE 08 ELECTIONS AS REPUBLICANS ACCUSE THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS OF NOT ACTING SAMMON 07
Richard Sammon, Senior Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter 8-31-07 http://www.kiplinger.com/businessresource/forecast/archive/2008_Congressional_Elections_Iraq_%20Eco nomy_to_Dominate_070831.html Democrats are expected to maintain control of Congress in the 2008 elections, with little change likely. As is usually the case, there'll be only a handful of truly competitive races that will determine the precise balance of power. Republicans are bound to run on charges of a "do nothing" Democratic Congress that has mostly failed to deliver, a charge which will be hard for Democrats to entirely deny given that much of their agenda is gummed up in legislative gridlock and looks certain to remain so next year. Ironically, Democrats will even have a hard time defending themselves to party stalwarts who think they should be doing more to force a withdrawal from Iraq -- a move that the GOP has repeatedly blocked to date, but which may prove harder in coming months. Democrats will undoubtedly try to link Republican candidates, whether incumbents or challengers, with the unpopular President Bush, who is battling lame duck status in the twilight of his second term and remains mired in low public approval ratings. That’s largely because of Iraq, though other government shortfalls from immigration to the botched Hurricane Katrina response also hurt. Should the economy falter in the next year, that will also be blamed on Bush, whether justified or not. Neither party can count on any substantial gains in either the House or the Senate, and thus, neither party will have much of a mandate. House districts largely favor incumbents and few Senate races will be competitive. That ensures that Bush’s successor will confront a Congress still narrowly divided and just as fractious and partisan as now. It will be difficult at best to steer any landmark or controversial agenda items, whether it be health care, social security or tax overhaul.

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ENERGY PRICES ARE KEY TO THE ELECTION LAMBRO 08 Donald Lambro, chief political correspondent of The Washington Times, is a nationally syndicated columnist 7-21-08 http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jul/21/energy-a-democratic-minus/.
Gasoline prices are flattening consumer wallets and hobbling our economy, while the Democrats sit back and play politics with the issue. Voter surveys show the economy and gas prices top the list of the most critical issues facing our country. A Washington Post/ABC News poll reported last week that 85 percent of voters polled said gas prices will be either extremely or very important to their vote in this year's elections. And with good reason: Americans are getting walloped with huge gas bills, while utilities, buckling under ever-higher energy prices, are raising electricity rates to historic levels.

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PERCEPTIONS OF CONGRESSIONAL INACTION ARE DRIVING APPROVAL OF THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS DOWN FRAM 7-15-08 ALAN FRAM, Associated Press Writer Tue Jul 15, 5:49 PM ET
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080715/ap_on_go_pr_wh/ap_poll_bush_congress.

Congress fared even worse: A new AP-Ipsos low of 18 percent said they were happy with Congress' work, down a steep 5 percentage points from last month. Underscoring the breadth of the gloom, dissatisfaction with the country's direction stretched across party and ideological lines. Only three in 10 Republicans and fewer than one in 10 Democrats and independents said the country is heading the right way. Only one in five conservatives and even fewer moderates and liberals said they are happy with things. Just 63 percent of Republicans and 46 percent of conservatives approved of Bush's handling of his job, strikingly low numbers. About one in five Republicans and conservatives voiced strong approval for the president, while one in 10 Republicans and three in 10 conservatives said they strongly disapproved. Four percent of Democrats and 12 percent of independents gave Bush positive grades — the lowest he's ever gotten from those groups in the AP-Ipsos survey. The numbers were similarly low for liberals and moderates. With soaring fuel prices, ailing financial and housing markets and rising inflation, Bush got his lowest grade for handling the economy. Just 24 percent approved of how he's dealing with it, tying last month's AP-Ipsos low on that issue. Only half of Republicans gave Bush good grades on the economy, as did hardly any Democrats or independents. Disapproval was nearly evenly distributed across all levels of income — only a quarter of those from households earning at least $100,000 a year were satisfied with his work on the economy, with similar readings coming from those making less. About three in 10 voiced approval for how he's handling Iraq, domestic issues and foreign affairs. All are near or tied with previous lows in the survey. Approval of the Democratic-led Congress was dismal — about one in five Democrats and Republicans expressed satisfaction. In interviews, many Democrats have expressed dissatisfaction that Congress is not doing enough, while many Republicans are unhappy with its Democratic leadership.

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FAILURE TO ADOPT AN ENERGY POLICY IS DRIVING DOWN CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL RATINGS SIGNORILE 7-15-08
Charles, http://constitutionallyright.com/2008/07/15/reid-low-congressional-approval-bushs-fault/.

For the first time in the history of Rasmussen polling, Congress has an approval rating in the single digits. Not to worry says Harry Reid, who does not attribute the low approval ratings to his Congress, but to President Bush. “Any time, I repeat, any time you have a president that is down so, so far in poll numbers, it drags down a city council member,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. “It drags down any elected official, including us, and we recognize that.” Although 62% of voters say Congress has not passed any legislation to improve life in America, and a whopping 72% think most members of Congress are more interested in furthering their own political careers than helping the American people, Reid can sum up American’s dismay in three words. It’s Bush’s Fault! Note to Harry Reid, in order for someone to “drag you down” as you have described the President doing, they must first be below you. With the President’s approval rating hovering around the 30% mark, it is very unlikely he is having much of an affect on the do nothing Congress. More likely, it is due to Congress’ failure to enact meaningful immigration reform, an energy policy that actually has the intent purpose of reducing prices, or passing a budget that does not dig us even deeper into debt.

ENERGY POLICY IS KEY TO CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS
CARL HULSE and DAVID M. HERSZENHORN 08 NYT July 9, 2008 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/washington/09cong.html?8br After spending a week in their states and districts with angry and frightened consumers, many lawmakers have returned to Capitol Hill convinced that Congress cannot afford a prolonged stalemate over energy policy. “This is the No. 1 issue on people’s minds, very clearly,” said Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota and one of a bipartisan group of 10 senators who met Tuesday morning to pursue ideas on a compromise energy plan that could be enacted this year. With Republicans pushing for more domestic oil and gas production and many Democrats focusing on alternative energy sources, finding consensus will not be easy, Congressional leaders acknowledge.

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THE APPROVAL RATING OF THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS HAS PLUMMETED AS PEOPLE PERCEIVE IT AS A DO NOTHING CONGRESS RASMUSSEN REPORTS 7-8-08

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/mood_of_america/cong ressional_performance/congressional_performance
The percentage of voters who give Congress good or excellent ratings has fallen to single digits for the first time in Rasmussen Reports tracking history. This month, just 9% say Congress is doing a good or excellent job. Most voters (52%) say Congress is doing a poor job, which ties the record high in that dubious category. Last month, 11% of voters gave the legislature good or excellent ratings. Congress has not received higher than a 15% approval rating since the beginning of 2008. The percentage of Democrats who give Congress positive ratings fell from 17% last month to 13% this month. The number of Democrats who give Congress a poor rating remained unchanged. Among Republicans, 8% give Congress good or excellent ratings, up just a point from last month. Sixty-five percent (65%) of GOP voters say Congress is doing a poor job, down a single point from last month. Voters not affiliated with either party are the most critical of Congressional performance. Just 3% of those voters give Congress positive ratings, down from 6% last month. Sixty-three percent (63%) believe Congress is doing a poor job, up from 57% last month. Just 12% of voters think Congress has passed any legislation to improve life in this country over the past six months. That number has ranged from 11% to 13% throughout 2008. The majority of voters (62%) say Congress has not passed any legislation to improve life in America.

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LOW APPROVAL RATINGS OF CONGRESS WILL ALLOW REPUBLICANS TO PREVENT DEMOCRATIC GAINS
Patrick Casey

7-16-08

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2008/07/gallup_congressional_approval.html.

Gallup is reporting that their latest Congressional Approval poll has resulted in the lowest approval rating for Congress ever recorded: 14%. PRINCETON, NJ -- Congress' job approval rating has dropped five percentage points over the past month, from 19% in June to 14% in July, making the current reading the lowest congressional job approval rating in the 34-year Gallup Poll history of asking the question. The previous low was 18%, last reached in May. Gallup goes on to point out that the latest drop is due almost entirely to Democrats feasting on their own (a habit that they seem to enjoy, and which the GOP can exploit). In a twist that's quite stunning, Republicans (at 19%) and Independents (at 14%) give higher approval ratings to Congress than do the Democrats' own party members (at 11%). It gets worse for this Democratic Congress. In the thirty four years that Gallup has been measuring Congressional Approval by the month, that number has dipped below 20% only six times. This Democrat-led Congress owns four of those occurrences (8/07, 5/08, 6/08, and this last month). The other two months that the approval rating dipped below 20% was in June 1979 and March 1992. Democrats controlled both the Senate and the House in those two months as well. After the dismal approval rating of the Democratic Congress in 1979, the GOP assumed the majority in the next Senate. After the Dem's 1992 performance, the Republicans won the majority in both the House and the Senate two years later. Message to Republicans: all is not lost, yet. No one is happy with today's Congress. Very few want "more of the same". If the GOP could get its act together and develop a good communications plan around solid issues (like drilling, for instance), they could make some real advances in the fall elections -- even as the usual suspects continue to refer to 2008 as a "Democratic year".

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NUCLEAR POWER LINK

IF THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS DOESN’T ACT ON ENERGY DEMAND THROUGH NUCLEAR POWER THEY WILL NOT GAIN SEATS IN CONGRESS LAMBRO 08 Donald Lambro, chief political correspondent of The Washington Times, is a nationally syndicated columnist 7-21-08 http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jul/21/energy-a-democratic-minus/.
Americans instinctively understand this common-sense axiom of supply and demand economics. That's why polls show more than 70 percent of us support drilling for oil in wilderness areas and beneath our oceans. But our patience is coming to an end with the Obama Democrats, who say no to more oil drilling, no to more refineries and no to nuclear power. Last week, the Gallup Poll said the Democratic Congress' approval rating has sunk to 14 percent. It has dropped below 20 percent only six times in the last 34 years and the Pelosi Congress accounts for four of them. The conventional wisdom says Democrats will likely make major gains in Congress in November, but they may not do as well as expected if the voters blame them for inaction on the biggest economic issue in the country. The GOP will be hammering them on this for the rest of the election cycle.

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AT: PRESIDENT GETS THE BLAME
EMPERICALLY FALSE. FAILURE TO ACT ON ENERGY POLICY IS DRIVING RATINGS OF THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS DOWN NRCC 7-16-08

http://www.nrcc.org/news/view_article.asp?id=2074
While Republicans have pushed real energy solutions, Donnelly and the Democrats have taken political cover and seek to “run out the clock” on Congress by avoiding energy legislation. Earlier this week it was reported that “Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appears intent on preventing votes on opening more areas to offshore drilling…” (Roll Call, 7/14/08) It seems the American public is aware of the Democrat majority’s inaction on energy and is not amused with Donnelly and the Democrats’ political games. “Congress' job approval rating has dropped five percentage points over the past month, from 19% in June to 14% in July, making the current reading the lowest congressional job approval rating in the 34-year Gallup Poll history of asking the question.” (Gallup, 7/16/08)

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AT: DEMS CAN’T GET 60
DEMOCRATS DON’T HAVE TO GET TO 60. ALL THEY NEED IS 57 SEATS MCCLATCHEY 6-29-08
http://washingtonbureau.typepad.com/election2008/2008/06/analyst-to-dems.html Duffy later added that the Democrats might not even need 60 votes, since they can likely attract support from moderate Republicans such as Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine on some issues, perhaps more than enough to offset the loss of support issue-to-issue from some more conservative Democrats. "They don't need 60," Duffy said. "To be effective, they don't necessarily need 60." A prominent liberal strategist who also addressed the Democratic group, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga of the website dailykos.com, agreed that Democrats could reach a filibuster-proof majority with fewer than 60 Democratic seats. "The majority number for Obama to have a filibuster-rpoof majority is 57, 58," he said. "There are seven potential Republians we can peel off on an issue by issue basis to get to that 60 vote total," he said.

GETTING TO 60 IS POSSIBLE HERZENBORN 08
David M. Herszenhorn Published: March 7, 2008 http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/03/07/america/senate.php Democrats have repeatedly sought to get 60 votes to advance legislation only to be blocked by Republicans. On Thursday, Senate Democratic leaders complained that Republicans had engaged in a record number of filibusters. Republicans accused Democrats of exaggerating the numbers and of inviting Republican filibusters by pursuing legislation they say is partisan. So far, no Democratic incumbents are so vulnerable that their re-election campaigns are rated as clearly up for grabs. "I don't remember a time when I had a ratings chart that I am looking at now, where one party didn't have any races in 'toss-up' at all," said Jennifer Duffy, who analyzes Senate races for the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan publication. "When have you had a cycle where a party has a one-seat majority and there is absolutely no talk of them losing that majority? It doesn't happen that way, ever." Independent analysts like Duffy predict that the Democrats will pick up four to six seats, with an open seat in Virginia virtually certain to flip in their favor and Republicans at risk of losing open seats in New Mexico and Colorado. Four Republican incumbents are potentially vulnerable because voters in their states increasingly identify with Democrats. They are John Sununu of New Hampshire; Norm Coleman of Minnesota; Gordon Smith of Oregon; and Susan Collins of Maine. To get to 60, the Democrats would need to win the three open seats and these four, protect their incumbents, and still pick up two seats in traditionally Republican states like Mississippi and Oklahoma.

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AT: MCCAIN WINS
DEMOCRATS WILL SUCCEED IN PUSHING THEIR AGENDA NO MATTER WHO IS PRESIDENT ANTLE
3-28-2008

W. James Antle III is associate editor of The American Spectator http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=12968 Get over it. The congressional elections are at least as important as the presidential race and there things don't look quite so rosy for Republicans. Remember this basic rule of thumb: The more Democratic the next Congress, the more liberal the next president will be in the first two years. This rule is likely to hold no matter if it is Obama, Clinton, or McCain putting their hand on the Bible on Jan. 20, 2009. Without a critical mass of Republicans, there will be no check on President Clinton or Obama and President McCain will sign a slew of legislation along the lines of McCain-Kennedy, McCain-Feingold, and McCain-Lieberman.

A DEMOCRATIC SUPERMAJORITY WOULD CONTROL TAX ISSUES NO MATTER WHO IS PRESIDENT GOLD 3-13-08
Howard R. Gold is executive editor of MoneyShow.com
http://www.moneyshow.com/msc/investors/article.asp?aid=EDITOR-14382.

But as I wrote last week, a likely big Democratic majority in Congress may mean big changes no matter who's president. How will it affect the economy and investors? In a nutshell, solid Democratic control of both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue may well mean sweeping reversals in key economic policies that have evolved over the last three decades. If Senator John McCain wins the White House, I also expect changes, but more tempered ones. This highly individualistic conservative will sometimes battle Democrats and sometimes reach out across the aisle to compromise, as he has throughout his Senate career. I think a strong Democratic Congressional majority will have its biggest impact in four areas: taxes, health care, trade, and deficits. The most immediate decision facing the new president and Congress will be whether to extend the Bush tax cuts, which expire in 2010. Senator McCain favors making them permanent, while Senators Clinton and Obama want them repealed for households whose income is more than $250,000. The two Democrats favor additional tax relief for middle- and lower-income families and keeping the estate tax (with some modifications). A victory by either Democrat would mean that the Bush tax cuts are toast, and top marginal rates may head back up to where they were in the Clinton years (from 35% to nearly 40%). Estate tax relief would be limited, and, in a classic case of the killing the goose that laid the golden egg, capital gains taxes may head higher. And despite his promises to uphold the Bush tax cuts (which he voted against twice in the Senate), a President McCain would be hard pressed to get them through a Congress with a strong Democratic majority.

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IMPROVING MCCAIN’S POPULARITY IS IRRELEVANT TO CONGRESSIONAL RAISES. THERE IS NO COATTAIL EFFECT DYE 2008
http://wps.prenhall.com/hss_dye_politics_5/6/1741/445730.cw/index.html Congressional voting is largely independent of voting for the president, and coattail effects of presidential campaigns are very limited. House campaigns average $800,000 and Senate campaigns over $7 million, with incumbents raising and outspending their challengers by an average of two to one.

DOESN’T EFFECT OUR LINK SINCE INDEPENDENT VOTERS ARE TICKET SPLITTERS SPANGLER 08
TODD SPANGLER • FREE PRESS WASHINGTON STAFF • June 4, 2008 http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080604/NEWS15/80604134 How independents might vote According to Ballenger, independents are typically ticket-splitters, willing to back candidates without too many considerations of which party they belong to. Democrats in recent elections have had a baseline advantage of about 8 percentage points over Republicans among independent voters.

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IMPACTS ECONOMY
THE TIME FRAME ON OUR DISAD IS FAR FASTER THAN THE CASE. PERCEPTIONS OF A DEMOCRATIC LANDSLIDE WOULD CAUSE IMMEDIATE CRASHES IN THE MARKET CRAMER 06
CO-FOUNDER OF THE STREET.COM http://nymag.com/news/businessfinance/bottomline/19385/. A Democratic trouncing in the House and Senate won’t mean that all of these scenarios will play out. But almost immediately after any sweep occurs, Wall Street will react violently, because if Congress goes, so goes the White House. How serious is the threat? I’ve scaled back my exposure to all of these areas. These sectors are simply way too dicey even if the chatter grows that the Democrats could do well come November. You should act now before the delicious free ride of corporate hegemony ends, and the Democrats, once again, decide you’ve made too much money in the stock market.

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A FILIBUSTER PROOF MAJORITY IN THE SENATE WOULD ALLOW MASSIVE TAX INCREASES IN 2009 NOVAK 07
Robert Novak
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/09/rangel_making_history.html.
Meeting reporters at breakfast last week, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson set as his tax priority a "patch" to slow the runaway Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). The former investment banker acted as though he were oblivious to plans by Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, to turn the need for such a temporary tax fix into the most radical left-wing tax revision in half a century. When one questioner asked whether Paulson contemplated recommending a presidential veto of AMT legislation, he indicated astonishment at the very idea. His only stated concern was that Congress this year had not patched the AMT, originally intended to catch tax-evading millionaires, to prevent it from wreaking havoc on middle-income Americans. Paulson uttered not a word about what Rangel is up to.

Finally achieving his coveted chairman's role after years of waiting, Rangel wants to make history. His staff is hard at work on an audacious plan that over the next decade would redistribute up to a trillion dollars in American income through the tax system. Even if this package gets through the House, it likely would be filibustered to death in the Senate, with a veto by President George W. Bush as the last resort. But Rangel may really be aiming at 2009, envisioning then a Democratic president and a filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate.
Unlike the Republican Ways and Means chairmen who preceded him over the previous 12 years, Rangel has a comprehensive tax strategy and a tactical game plan. His wedge is the AMT, the latest and most egregious lunacy imposed on the American taxpayer. Its present form would raise $1.4 trillion in revenue over the next decade, through taxation of 23 million additional families this year alone. Congress regularly prevents this calamity by enacting a patch that limits AMT coverage to 4 million upper-bracket families. But Rangel has refused to pass a patch, and he has not hidden what he has in mind. When Congress returned from its summer break, Ways and Means summoned the usual lineup of tax redistributionists for a Sept. 6 hearing on "fair and equitable tax policy for America's working families." Jason Furman, director of the Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project, deplored "the increase in inequality" caused by the Bush tax cuts, which he said "have exacerbated after-tax income disparities." On the day after the hearings, Rangel called in reporters to tell them an AMT "one-year patch is not on the radar screen." Advocating total repeal of AMT, he promised to pay for $800 billion in lost revenue over the next 10 years with "the mother of all reforms." Rangel talked about closing "loopholes," but the real money would come from drastically increasing the number of Americans paying the top 36 percent income tax rate and applying that rate to present capital gains taxpayers. Rangel also is considering the old millionaires' tax, but applying it to much more than millionaires: a surtax on household incomes over $200,000. All this would reverse the tide of across-the-board tax reduction begun by John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson and renewed by Ronald Reagan.

While Rangel appears to be preparing for big-time tax increases in 2009, he is giving it a try for 2007. Something surely will be done to blunt AMT this year, and Rangel is holding it hostage with ransom to be paid by left-wing tax revision. Even if it will not enable passage of the "mother of all reforms," it could force passage of more limited redistribution this autumn.

THE DEMOCRATIC TAX PLAN WILL DESTROY THE U.S. ECONOMY NORQUIST 07 Grover Norquist Available to Discuss Rangel's Trillion Dollar Tax Bill
http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/10252007/0004690427&EDATE=. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) introduced "the mother of all tax bills" today on Capitol Hill. While the bill contains two welcome tax reforms --AMT repeal and a small corporate rate cut -- the massive tax increases contained in the bill would destroy the U.S. economy. "Charlie Rangel's tax bill raises taxes on small businesses, middle-class families, pension funds, and Americans doing business overseas -- you name it, and Rangel taxes it," said ATR President Grover Norquist. "This bill is a clear and present violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, and should be opposed vigorously."

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HEDGE FUND TAXATION KILLS U.S. COMPETITIVENESS Economic times 10-26-07
http://www.pionline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080512/PRINTSUB/140198683/1031/TOC. It also would require hedge-fund managers to pay tax on income they defer in offshore accounts, he said. The revenue would be used to pay for a stopgap measure that lawmakers must pass this year to temporarily protect 21 million US households from the alternative minimum tax. The proposal will also be part of a broader overhaul that contains a permanent repeal of the minimum tax, a tax-rate surcharge on wealthy households and a lower corporate rate. “We are not raising taxes,” Rangel said at a Capitol Hill news conference today. “We are restructuring the rates of taxes so that at the end of the day 90 million taxpayers will walk away saying, ‘I’ve got a decrease in taxes.’” The measure will set up a showdown between Democrats who want to offset the lost revenue with new levies and Republicans and the Bush administration, which oppose any increase. Treasury Secretary Henry said Thursday the administration opposes Rangel’s plans, which “would dramatically raise taxes in ways that in my judgment would hinder America’s ability to compete in the global economy.”

HEDGE FUND TAXATION WOULD DESTROY ACCESS TO LIQUIDITY CAPITAL THAT IS KEY TO THE ECONOMY HALONEN May 12, 2008
http://www.pionline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080512/PRINTSUB/140198683/1031/TOC. The hedge fund industry's Managed Funds Association, Washington, has vowed to fight the tax proposal. “The MFA has opposed previous efforts to halt the use of deferred compensation in offshore funds and we will continue to oppose such efforts this year,” Richard H. Baker, MFA president and chief executive officer, said in an e-mail response to questions. “Hedge funds have been the most reliable source of market liquidity in the midst of the current credit and liquidity crisis,” Mr. Baker added. “The offshore funds are active providers of liquidity for U.S. and global investments, including pension fund investments. This tax proposal, by raising over $20 billion of revenue from the hedge fund community at this turbulent time, is inconsistent with the continued need for hedge funds to invest in the marketplace.”

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THE HEDGE FUND TAX PLAN WOULD CRUSH REAL ESTATE HOLZER 07
http://thehill.com/business--lobby/rangel-tax-bill-could-roil-real-estate-sector-warns-group-2007-11-07.html Jessica Rangel tax bill could roil real estate sector, warns group Hoping to shield its members from a tax hike on fund managers’ carried interest income, the Real Estate Roundtable on Tuesday unveiled a study finding that the measure’s impact on real estate partnerships alone would cost the economy up to $20 billion annually. The measure would harm the economy by draining talent away from the real estate sector, dampening investors’ appetite for riskier deals and encouraging inefficient economic activity as fund managers seek to dodge the tax hike, the study concluded. “We think it is the most significant and the most potentially destructive tax increase on real estate since 1986,” said the group’s president and chief executive, Jeffrey DeBoer. He was referring to tax changes enacted 21 years ago that the group says sparked a sharp downturn in the real estate sector. As the House prepares to vote on the measure as soon as Thursday, the real estate group hopes the study will call attention to the impact on the real estate sector of a tax increase seen as targeting hedge fund and private equity managers.
Carried interest is used widely in the private equity and hedge fund industries to compensate investment managers, but it also applies to partnerships in the venture capital and real estate industries. Lobbies for both have been pushing lawmakers to exclude their industries from the measure, which would tax fund managers’ carried interest at ordinary income rates as high as 35 percent. Currently, they enjoy the lower 15 percent capital gains rate on the bulk of their pay. The House Ways and Means Committee approved the measure last week, attaching it as an offset to a $76 billion tax package, including a must-pass one-year patch to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) told reporters that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) gave a “roaring speech” in favor of the proposal at a Tuesday meeting of the Democratic Caucus. “She made it abundantly clear where she stood,” he said. Rangel said he fielded a number of questions about the carried interest at the meeting from members who seemed inclined to support the tax increase. He said that one lawmaker asked about the measure’s impact on venture capitalists, adding that he told the audience to air their concerns: “If there are problems, I begged them to tell me now.” The Real Estate Roundtable’s members include the top executives of companies that together hold a total of $700 billion in real estate assets. It hired Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, to conduct the study. The study found that real estate partnerships account for 45 percent of all investment partnerships filing to the IRS. There are 6. 6 million such real estate partnerships, which hold roughly $1.3 trillion in assets, about a quarter of the value of all commercial real estate in the U.S.

In a conference call with reporters, Holtz-Eakin argued that raising taxes on the industry would have a 15 to 20 percent hit on real estate fund managers’ income. That, in turn, would threaten real estate projects in marginal neighborhoods, reducing the choice in housing and shopping for residents. He said the tax increase would also hurt the construction industry. “I don’t think people have recognized the pervasive impact of this policy,” Holtz-Eakin said.

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HEDGE FUND TAXATION WILL DEVASTATE THE ECONOMY KERPEN 07 Phil Kerpen is policy director for Americans for Prosperity
http://www.philkerpen.com/?q=node/155.

Rep. Charlie Rangel is bent on including a carried interest capital gains tax hike in the must-pass patch to the alternative minimum tax. This bad idea will carry tax implications for every American. With such a strong push behind it, this is a plan that we need to take seriously, because the stakes are high. This tax hike would, in itself, cause a significant economic disruption by sending capital offshore and discouraging the creation of new venture-backed businesses. Everyone Loses Even worse, however, is the precedent that would be set for raising the capital gains tax for everyone, which many Democrats are now openly advocating.
Carried interest refers to the portion of the profits interests that the general partner who sets up an investment partnership retains. The general partner is the entrepreneur who has the ideas and connections to make investments. When a partnership is formed, the general partner will bring in limited partners by selling them a stake in the fund, typically 80 percent, in exchange for them putting up all or most of the money. It’s really no different from the founder of a small business who has the ideas and know-how bringing in an outside investor. This structure — where general partners retain a carried interest in the fund’s profits — is common not just in private equity, but also in venture capital, real estate, oil and gas, and hedge funds. Under current law, when the partnership has income, it flows to the partners and they pay tax on it based on the character of the underlying income — if it’s ordinary income they pay ordinary income tax, and if it’s capital income they pay capital gains tax. Under Rangel’s bill, the character of the underlying income no longer matters. Even if the income is from the sale of corporate stock, the portion that general partners retain as a carried interest would be taxed at the full ordinary income tax rates. This goes against every rationale for having a lower capital gains tax rate. The primary rationales are to alleviate the double taxation of corporate source income, to avoid taxing inflationary gains, and to encourage capital formation, entrepreneurship, and investment. All of these rationales obtain in the carried interest case, because the income really is capital income. This is about hiking the capital gains tax for a particular group of politically unpopular taxpayers, with serious economic consequences.

Scaring Capital Away Private equity has been a key source of prosperity in recent years, as our public capital markets have been increasingly hampered by excessive litigation and overregulation under Sarbanes-Oxley. Private equity and other alternative investment vehicles like venture capital and real estate partnerships have kept capital fleeing our public markets from going overseas and providing financing for innovative companies to grow and create jobs. Higher taxes could choke off this engine of prosperity and encourage capital to flee abroad.
If all this is not bad enough, the trend is toward something much worse: There is a Democratic effort underway to raise capital gains taxes for all investors. In House Ways and Means Committee hearings on carried interest, Chairman Rangel asked panelist after panelist whether raising capital gains taxes across the board would solve the so-called problem of carried interest taxation. The majority of the witnesses on the stacked panel said it would, but it’s hard to see how imposing punitive double-taxation of capital across the board can be considered a solution to anything except continued American prosperity. All of the major Democratic presidential candidates have come out for higher capital gains taxes, with both Barck Obama and John Edwards calling for a return to the pre-Clinton tax cut rate of 28 percent, a whopping 87 percent tax hike.

Capital gains tax hikes would dramatically reduce the after-tax return on stock investments, which would be a great impediment to stock markets. They would significantly raise the cost of capital, drying up investment in many innovative, entrepreneurial companies.
They would hit the U.S. Treasury hard, contrary to the conclusions of the static-revenue scorekeepers. History is an excellent guide here: Every capital-gains tax hike in the past 30 years has led to lower federal revenues, while every cap-gains tax cut has led to higher revenues. Yet Democrats and tax-scorers are repeating this mistake yet again in the carried interests fight at hand. What's at Stake

One reason the tax hike is attractive to Democrats is that it scores as a major revenue raiser, which helps
them meet their self-imposed pay-as-you-go rules, which require them to offset tax reductions with tax hikes or spending cuts (they never choose the spending cuts). But an excellent study by University of Pennsylvania professor Michael Knoll found that the tax hike would raise negligible revenue because of legal avoidance strategies — and that’s without even considering the supply-side effects that we always see with changes in capital gains tax rates.

In other words, we could be looking at a major economic disruption without any federal revenue to show for it.

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A SUPER MAJORITY WILL ALLOW DEMOCRATS TO GET TAX INCREASES PASSED MCCLATCHEY 6-29-08
http://washingtonbureau.typepad.com/election2008/2008/06/analyst-to-dems.html
It would allow the Democrats to get big proposals through the Senate over the objections of the Republican minority. The power of the filibuster, unique to the Senate, allows the minority to block anything they don't like as long as they have 41 or more votes. If the Democrats had 60 votes, they'd have a far, far greater chance of enacting such Obama proposals as expanding health care to the uninsured, and raising taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year.

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PREMATURE IRAQ PULL OUT
REPUBLICANS WILL USE THE THREAT OF FILIBUSTER TO PREVENT THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS FROM DOING ANYTHING Christopher Moraff, The Philadelphia Tribune. 6-23-08
http://www.alternet.org/democracy/88329/ With one of the most contentious presidential primary battles in history finally behind us, media attention is beginning to focus on a fight of a different kind -- that for control of the Senate in 2009. As things stand the Democrats maintain a paper-thin majority of 51 votes, thanks to the Senate's two Independents who tend to vote democrat; but that slim advantage so far hasn't been enough for them to assert control over the chamber. With 35 Senate seats up for grabs in November, the majority is hoping to pick up the extra votes it needs for a 60-vote "supermajority" and with it the mandate to finally start making progress on platform issues like Medicare drug reform and a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.
For anyone who's ever taken a Civics class, the notion that it takes 60 votes to conduct business in the Senate may come as a surprise; after all, in the Senate all that's required to pass legislation is a simple majority, right? In theory, the answer is yes; but in practice, Senate protocol incorporates a number of procedural devices designed to give the minority some leverage; chief among these is the filibuster. Senate Democrats complain that for the past year and a half, the Republican leadership has been waging a dedicated campaign of obstruction, using the threat of filibuster to block the bulk of the Democrats' 2006 election initiatives, and in the process subverting the will of the American electorate. In the past two weeks alone, Senate Republicans have blocked votes on four vital measures -- at least two of which had wide public support. On June 6, Senate Republicans used the threat of filibuster to block the Climate Security Act, which would have required major reductions in greenhouse gases. Days later they used the same tactic to kill a Democratic measure that would have imposed a 25 percent tax on "windfall" profits of the five largest U.S. oil companies, which together made $36 billion during the first three months of the year. And last Thursday, June 12, the minority filibustered a bill to delay pay cuts to Medicare physicians, which the bill's sponsor, Max Baucus, D-Mont., said will adversely affect the quality of senior health care. Nearly as old as the Senate itself, the filibuster is a procedure whereby a disaffected minority can stall or even preempt passage of legislation by engaging in extended debate. Until 1917, it was virtually impossible to disrupt a filibuster once it got started. In that year, the Senate adopted Rule 22 -- the cloture rule -- which is currently the only formal procedure for breaking a Senate filibuster. Under cloture, the Senate may limit consideration of a pending matter to 30 additional hours of debate, essentially forcing a vote. In 1975 then-Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, D-Mont., spearheaded an effort to lower the threshold needed to invoke cloture to 60 votes from the previously required 2/3 majority. "We cannot allow a minority to grab the Senate by the throat and hold it there," he said at the time. Yet more than three decades later, Democrats and their supporters say that's exactly what's happening. "I think they've made a concerted effort to obstruct and block and impede any progress on basic issues," said Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., commenting on Republican obstructionism. "So, they've made a concerted effort after losing the majority to say well, if we've lost the majority we're going to assert ourselves by blocking the Democrats from getting anything done."

A SUPER MAJORITY LEADS TO IRAQ PULL OUT STEIN 07
http://www.motherjones.com/mojoblog/archives/2007/10/5806_the_democrats_bestcase_senate_scenario_filibuster-proof_majority.html
Let's take a minute to indulge in best-case scenarios, shall we? Time runs down the situation in the Senate. They note that if the Dems pick up... The open seat in Colorado being vacated by the retiring Wayne Allard, The open seat in New Mexico being vacated by the retiring Pete Domenici, The open seat in Virginia being vacated by the retiring John Warner, The open seat in Nebraska being vacated by the retiring Chuck Hagel, The open seat in Idaho being vacated by the retiring Wide Stance, The New Hampshire seat being defended by John Sununu, The Maine seat being defended by Susan Collins, The Minnesota seat being defended by Norm Coleman, The Oregon seat being defended by Gordon Smith, and they defend... <UL The Louisiana seat held by Mary Landrieu, they will have 60 seats, enough to beat a Republican filibuster. This doesn't even take into account the possibility of Alaska Senator Ted Steven's legal troubles deepening and forcing

A 60-seat majority means, for the first time, real legislation that can end the Iraq War. And a Democratic tidal wave of this nature would likely usher in a Democratic president, which means a new era of progressive domestic policies.
his retirement. The races listed above all have a legitimate chance to go the Dems' way—there are 11 seats held by Democrats and 12 seats held by Republicans that I didn't even mention because the incumbent is unlikely to face a serious challenge in any of them. (For a ranking of races, see this pdf.) These races all depend, of course, on the quality of opponents and various local factors. But with so many Republicans up for reelection in states trending blue, it should be an exciting 2008.

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Iraq withdrawal inevitable – Democratic Congress would CAUSE FAST WITHDRAWAL
Jonathan Rauch, correspondent at the Atlantic”. Atlantic. “Our inevitable withdrawal from Iraq could poison American politics for a generation.” January/February 2008. http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200801/partisanretreat
In 2009, a Democratic president might say something like this: “Every year of this administration, America will reduce its troop strength in Iraq. The downward path is nonnegotiable and ironclad. But the pace is not. If Iraqis try sincerely and strenuously to keep their country together, or if they decentralize enough to keep the peace, and if they produce results, we will help them, including militarily. If not, we’ll pull out much faster.” This is not unlike what Joe Biden has said, both as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as a Democratic presidential candidate. It implies a faster withdrawal than Bush Republicans prefer, but a slower one than dovish Democrats demand. And my guess is that many, if not most, Republicans would go for it. Republican hard-liners, of course, might prefer demagoguery. But grown-up Republicans would recognize that withdrawal is inevitable; they would want to be relevant; they would feel battered by the election results, and tired of incurring the public’s wrath; they would face intense pressure not to sabotage a new commander in chief who could claim the public mandate. The bigger problem for a middle way out, I would guess, would be on the Democratic left. So far in the primary campaign, Democratic presidential candidates have had a hard time keeping the door open for any American forces to stay in Iraq. If the Democrats sweep the board this year, doves will say that the public has spoken and wants change. Why in the world should they pace the withdrawal from Iraq at a rate that suits the losing party? Yet if the Democrats were to rush for the exit with Republicans unified against them, they would be blamed by Republicans for whatever subsequent disasters befell Iraq and, for that matter, the whole disaster-prone Middle East. For years, they would face charges of having “cut and run,” which could reinvigorate the debilitating stereotype of Democratic weakness. On the other hand, a policy with significant two-party support would be less contentious, more sustainable, and thus more likely to succeed. Running the whole government, Democrats would need to care about succeeding. The crucial decision the next president will make is not whether to withdraw forces from Iraq—that is baked in the cake— but how. As a corollary, if Democrats win both branches in the fall, their biggest challenge will not be leaving Iraq; it will be keeping America in one piece on the way out. Having felt flicked aside by the Republicans through Bush’s presidency, victorious Democrats will be tempted to return the favor. Before succumbing, they might recall how badly partisan warfare has gone. Then they might ask themselves why a partisan retreat would go any better.

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Premature Iraq withdrawal leads to civil war – draws in other countries.
Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr., Executive Director of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University. He is the author of The Army and Vietnam. Foreign Affairs. Sep/Oct 2005. Google Scholar
Despite the Bush administration's repeated declarations of its commitment to success in Iraq, the results of current policy there are not encouraging. After two years, Washington has made little progress in defeating the insurgency or providing security for Iraqis, even as it has overextended the U.S. Army and eroded support for the war among the American public. Although withdrawing now would be a mistake, simply "staying the course," by all current indications, will not improve matters either. Winning in Iraq will require a new approach. The basic problem is that the United States and its coalition partners have never settled on a strategy for defeating the insurgency and achieving their broader objectives. On the political front, they have been working to create a democratic Iraq, but that is a goal, not a strategy. On the military front, they have sought to train Iraqi security forces and turn the war over to them. As President George W. Bush has stated, "Our strategy can be summed up this way: as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down." But the president is describing a withdrawal plan rather than a strategy. Without a clear strategy in Iraq, moreover, there is no good way to gauge progress. Senior political and military leaders have thus repeatedly made overly optimistic or even contradictory declarations. In May of 2004, for example, following the insurgent takeover of Fallujah, General Richard Myers, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated, "I think we're on the brink of success here." Six months later, before last November's offensive to recapture the city, General John Abizaid, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, said, "When we win this fight -- and we will win -- there will be nowhere left for the insurgents to hide." Following the recapture, Lieutenant General John Sattler, the Marine commander in Iraq, declared that the coalition had "broken the back of the insurgency." Yet in the subsequent months, the violence continued unabated. Nevertheless, seven months later Vice President Dick Cheney claimed that the insurgency was in its "last throes," even as Lieutenant General John Vines, commander of the multinational corps in Iraq, was conceding, "We don't see the insurgency expanding or contracting right now." Most Americans agree with this less optimistic assessment: according

to the most recent polls, nearly two-thirds think the coalition is "bogged down." The administration's critics, meanwhile, have offered as their alternative "strategy" an accelerated timetable for withdrawal. They see Iraq as another Vietnam and advocate a similar solution: pulling out U.S. troops and hoping for the best. The costs of such premature disengagement would likely be calamitous. The insurgency could morph into a bloody civil war, with the significant involvement of both Syria and Iran. Radical Islamists would see the U.S. departure as a victory, and the ensuing chaos would drive up oil prices.

Premature Iraq withdrawal would lead Iraq to an all out civil war. Reuters. By: Waleed Ibrahim and Ahmed Rasheed. “Iraqis warn of civil war if U.S. troops withdraw”. July 9, 2007. http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKL09156977._CH_.242020070709
BAGHDAD, July 9 (Reuters) - Iraqi leaders warned on Monday that an early U.S. troop withdrawal could tip the country into all-out civil war after The New York Times said debate was growing in the White House over a gradual draw-down of forces. The stark comments from politicians across the sectarian divide followed a wave of weekend bombings and shootings in Iraq that killed 250 people. "This could produce a civil war, partition of the country and a regional war. We might see the country collapse," Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, a Kurd, told a news conference when asked about the newspaper report. The Times cited U.S. administration officials and consultants as saying the White House feared the last pillars of political support among Senate Republicans for President George W. Bush's Iraq strategy were "collapsing around them." It said debate was intensifying over whether Bush should try to prevent more Republican defections by announcing his intention to begin a gradual troop pull-out from high-casualty areas. The White House denied it was considering a troop withdrawal based on a "political judgment saying there was no debate over an immediate draw-down. "The president has said many times, that as conditions required and merit, that there will be, in fact, withdrawals and also a pulling back from areas of Baghdad and so on," said spokesman Tony Snow. "But the idea of trying to make a political judgment rather than a military judgment about how to have forces in the field is simply not true."

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Although Iraq withdrawal is inevitable, both Iraqis and experts agree, premature withdrawal Iraq would lead to increased conflict and the collapse of the Iraqi government. New York Times. By MICHAEL R. GORDON and ALISSA J. RUBIN. Chaos Is Seen in Iraq Exit, But Experts Split on Degree. May 27, 2007. Lexis
There is one matter on which American military commanders, many Iraqis and some of the Bush administration's staunchest Congressional critics agree: if the United States withdrew its forces from Baghdad's streets this fall, the murder and mayhem would increase. But that is where the agreement ends. The wrangling in Washington over war financing, still fierce despite the Democrats' decision to forgo for now withdrawal deadlines, has obscured a more fundamental debate over what Iraq's future might look like without American troops. Would the pullback of American forces unleash an even bloodier round of civil conflict that would lead to the implosion of the Iraqi government? Or would it put pressure on Iraqi politicians to finally reconcile their differences? More bluntly: how bad would things get? Those questions loom as the administration debates how and when to wind down its troop increase in Iraq, as Iraqis weigh the trade-offs between autonomy and security, and as Congressional Democrats, frustrated by this week's compromise with the White House, vow to hold a tougher line on future war financing. To address the issue, The New York Times interviewed more than 40 Iraqi politicians and citizens and consulted recent surveys of public opinion in Iraq. The views of a broad range of senior military officials, American intelligence experts, politicians and independent analysts who have recently returned from Iraq were also solicited. The somewhat surprising verdict of most Iraqis was clear. For all their distaste for the American occupation, many of them fear that a pullback any time soon would lead to a violent chain reaction that would jeopardize the fitful attempts at political dialogue and risk the collapse of the Iraqi government. ''Many militias and terrorist groups are just waiting for the Americans to leave,'' said Salim Abdullah, the spokesman for the Iraqi Accordance Front, the largest Sunni Arab group in the Parliament, who lost two brothers this year to attacks by insurgents. ''This does not mean the presence of American troops in Baghdad is our favorite option,'' he said. ''People in the street say the United States is part of the chaos here and they could have made it better and safer. Still, we need America to make the country more stable and not leave Iraq in the trouble, which they, themselves, have caused.'' Senior American commanders in Iraq have a similar assessment. A troop drawdown should not occur until security is improved, military commanders say, and even then it should be gradual and carefully engineered. ''There will be a time when we will slowly remove ourselves from the Iraqi forces and allow them to take more and more control,'' said Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the commander of ground forces in Iraq, who has privately recommended that elevated troop levels be maintained through early 2008. ''But this should be done thoughtfully and methodically when conditions permit.'' If the American forces were reduced too soon, military officials say, the fledgling Iraqi Army and police forces could not hold the line against a rising tide of suicide bomb attacks by insurgent groups like Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. Shiite militias that had decided to lie low would resume largescale attacks on Sunni residents. Mixed Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods, already growing scarce, would
disappear, and Iraqi forces would fracture along sectarian lines. The conditions that need to be achieved before a major troop reduction, General Odierno said, are a reduction in insurgent and militia attacks and an improved ability by Iraqi security forces to protect noncombatants. A sharply divergent view is prevalent in Congress, where lawmakers have pressed, unsuccessfully, to impose a schedule for American troop withdrawal and binding benchmarks for Iraqi political reform. Some leading Democrats acknowledge a risk of increased violence if the United States pulls back, but they assert that the Iraqis will not take the painful steps toward a genuine political accommodation until American forces begin to leave. ''That is the leverage,'' said Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who is the chairman of the Armed Services Committee. ''They have got to look into the abyss. And this is the abyss: do they want a civil war, or do they want a nation?'' ''I would begin a troop reduction as an action-forcing mechanism,'' he added. The View From Iraq In trying to stem the violence in Iraq, the Bush administration is expanding the American force in Baghdad. The goal has not been to impose a military solution, but to provide enough security that Iraqis can move toward political reconciliation. A National Intelligence Estimate made public in January analyzed the consequences of a complete withdrawal of American troops over 12 to 18 months. The document, which reflects the collective view of the United States intelligence agencies, said that American forces were an essential stabilizing element in Iraq and warned that Iraq's security forces would be hard-pressed to assume significantly expanded responsibilities in that period. No similar intelligence assessment has been made public on what might occur if the United States pulled back from its effort to secure Baghdad several months from now but maintained a limited troop presence at the large bases in and around the capital. But many Iraqis have a view on this question and on the consequences of a total withdrawal. Sheik Ajmi al-Mutashar, an agricultural engineer and businessman from Salahuddin Province in central Iraq and a Sunni, said he worried that an American troop pullback would lead to the collapse of the Iraqi government. ''If the

. ''We will have small emirates or cantons divided on sectarian and ethnic lines.'' Several Shiites also agreed that an American pullback would severely weaken the already fragile Iraqi government and lead to a surge of fighting among armed factions. ''Without a strong and visible American presence, the government would collapse,'' said Abu Fayad, an aide to a leading Shiite member of Parliament.
government falls it will be impossible to form another one,'' he said

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LEADERSHIP
CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS WILL CRUSH U.S. LEADERSHIP THROUGH ECONOMIC ISOLATIONISM REP. BRADY 3-5-08
http://thehill.com/op-eds/democratic-congress-unwisely-promoting-isolationism-2008-03-05.html

Congressional Democrats blame the administration for the current economic downturn, promising they will create jobs in America rather than overseas and “level the playing field” for U.S. workers vying to compete in an increasingly global market. Given all that rhetoric, why is this Congress so willing to promote economic isolationism, handcuff one of our strongest economic sectors and prevent U.S. workers from selling their products and services overseas? Why is this Congress so eager to let foreign countries freely sell their products into America — competing against our workers — while balking at allowing our workers to do the same? With its refusal to take up pending agreements with long-standing trading partners Colombia, South Korea and Panama, this Congress risks squandering the bipartisan progress on trade accomplished last year that, as a first step, generated record support for two-way trade with Peru. Worse yet, at a time when the entire world is shaping the global market to create new opportunities and new customers for their companies and their workers, the U.S. Congress is benching itself. This undermines America’s leadership abroad and sends the wrong signal that the world’s greatest economy is afraid to compete — unwilling to tear down the artificial barriers that can help lift millions of the world’s poor out of poverty.

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CHINA
THE DISAD TURNS THE CHINA RELATIONS ADVANTAGE. THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS WOULD PUSH AN AGENDA OF UNILATERAL CHINA BASHING LANDERS 07 Kim, ABS Reporter

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2007/s2005666.htm.

In the United States, the Democrat-led Congress is pushing for a ban on Chinese made toys being imported into the US.
The largest toy company in the US, Mattel, announced today it was recalling more than 18 million Chinese made toys worldwide because of safety concerns. And China's product safety is also becoming an issue in the race for the White House. As North America Correspondent Kim Landers reports. KIM LANDERS: In the United States, China is occasionally seen as a partner, more often an adversary. Now the label "Made in China" is fast becoming a warning sign for American consumers and an easy target for presidential candidates. In the US, about 60 per cent of all product recalls this year have been for goods manufactured in China. And today the giant toy company Mattel added one more. It's yanking 18.5 million Chinese made toys from store shelves, half a million of which were sold in Australia. It's prompted Democratic Senator Dick Durbin to call for a ban on toys exported from China to US until they can all be guaranteed to be safe. DICK DURBIN: We have to do something in Washington to give confidence to consumers across America that when they go into the toy store, they aren't going to play Chinese roulette trying to figure out which toy they can safely buy for their child. KIM LANDERS: China's safety record is also becoming a popular topic with many of the presidential candidates. Last week at a Chicago forum organised by one of America's biggest labour unions, White House hopeful Hillary Clinton seized on the "Made in China" phobia. HILLARY CLINTON: We have to have tougher standards on what they import into this country. I do not want to eat bad food from China or have my children having toys that have got to get them fixed. So let's be tougher on China going forward. KIM LANDERS: So far, China bashing has outweighed calls for engagement with the emerging superpower.

John Tkacik is a senior research fellow at the Asian Studies Centre of The Heritage Foundation. He's a retired
diplomat who served in China and was the chief of China Analysis for the US State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He thinks if a Democratic candidate wins the race for the White House in 2008, there'll be a noticeable change in the complex US-China relationship

.

JOHN TKACIK: There would be a fairly big shift in the way we deal with China in trade disputes. I have a feeling that a Democratic Congress and a Democratic White House, even a Hillary Clinton White House, would be less inclined to allow the Chinese to drag their heels through WTO (World Trade Organisation) dispute resolutions, you know, for months and years, and would probably be inclined to take stronger action unilaterally.

UNILATERAL ACTIONS OUTSIDE THE WTO FRAMEWORK WILL CRUSH RELATIONS
IKENSON 07 Dan Ikenson is associate director of Cato's Center for Trade Policy Studies http://www.freetrade.org/node/657 Daniel Ikenson: "As long as the disputes are conducted under the auspices of the WTO, the relationship will improve dramatically. We still have a lot to learn about and from each other. We are experiencing growing pains now, but we have a roadmap to guide us. Our respective WTO commitments obligate us to do certain things and prevent us from doing others. As long as we continue to recognize the vast benefits of the rules-based trading system and recognize that the cost of those benefits is adherence to the rules (which really isn't a cost because it's beneficial), we will overcome all of our trade disputes without descent into a trade war.

SDI 08 BHR CONGRESS DISAD "But if either country decides to take matters into their own hands and starts knowingly violating commitments with punitive unilateral actions, then the relationship could spiral downward. I think, very clear, the stakes are simply way too high for either country to let that happen."

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TURN, CONTROL OF POLICY BY A DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS WILL CRUSH RELATIONS WITH ASIA AND CHINA SUTTER 06
Robert Sutter, Visiting Professor of Asian Studies Brookings Northeast Asia Commentary http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2006/12northeastasia_sutter.aspx The implications of the Democratic victory for U.S. policy in Asia seem serious. The Democratic majority of the 110th Congress, led by opinionated and often confrontational leaders Representative Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid, will press for change in a partisan atmosphere charged by preparations for the U.S. presidential election of 2008. In Asia, the Democratic majority is forecast to pursue strong trade and economic measures that if successful will seriously disrupt U.S. economic relations with the region and the free trade emphasis of the Bush administration. Mainstream commentator Thomas Friedman predicts a civil war in American politics over the massive U.S. trade deficit and related economic issues with China. Democrats pushing more activist negotiating approaches toward North Korea, as well as human rights and environmental initiatives, add to anticipated serious complications in U.S. relations with Asia.

A DEMOCRATIC DOMINATED CONGRESS WOULD BE PROTECTIONIST TOWARD CHINA
IKENSON 07 Dan Ikenson is associate director of Cato's Center for Trade Policy Studies http://www.freetrade.org/node/657 Daniel Ikenson: "Regrettably, many policymakers on Capitol Hill are ill-informed about economics. Most believe exports are good, imports are bad, and the trade account is the scoreboard. Since the U.S. has a large trade deficit, we are losing at trade, and the main reason we are losing is because our trade partners are cheating. "In China's case, the cheating involves currency manipulation, subsidization of industry, unfair labor practices, intellectual property right violations and more. By forcing China to play fair, the trade balance will correct itself. That's the rationale that motivates Congress. It's misguided. "The trade account has very little to do with trade policy and very much to do with fiscal policy and habits of savings and consumption. But, to answer your question, yes, to a large extent these actions are intended to defuse political pressure (and, as I said at the top, to head off actions that could lead to a trade war)." Yong Tang: "What is the political significance of the cases? Someone said the Democratic controlled Congress is more likely to embrace trade protectionism than the Republican controlled Congress. Do you think so?" Daniel Ikenson: "Yes, I think that is true, although a growing number of Republicans is beginning to become more skeptical about trade ¨C particularly trade with China."

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DEMOCRATS GOOD DISAD UNIQUENESS

DEMOCRATS WILL WIN NOW

SKIBA 7-24-08
Democrats Have High Hopes for House and Senate Races Amid a favorable political landscape, Democratic leaders predict a "tectonic-plate election." http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/politics/2008/07/24/democrats-have-high-hopes-for-house-andsenate-races.html By Katherine Skiba With 100-plus days until the elections, top Democrats are high on their prospects of picking up more House and Senate seats. They credit good candidates, fundraising muscle, a strong field operation, and planned TV buys—not to mention Barack Obama's coattails—along with the backdrop of an unpopular GOP president and ailing economy. The GOP, of course, counters that its rivals' early predictions count for little. Could Democrats reach the magic number of 60 for a filibuster-proof Senate majority? Such a feat would certainly confound the expectations of political analysts. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who is predicting a "tectonic-plate election," says that would be very difficult, but it's not out of the question. Senate Democrats now have a slim voting majority of 51-49. The optimistic Schumer, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, says that his party's candidates are ahead in races in Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, New Mexico, and Alaska; running "even or very close" in Oregon, Minnesota, Mississippi, Kentucky, Maine, and North Carolina; and "not close but narrowing" in Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Georgia. Leading up to November, Democrats have long had two built-in advantages: far fewer seats up for reelection, 12 vs. 23, and not a single retirement (while five Republican senators are calling it quits). Schumer prefers to point out that 35 races are playing out in 33 states that comprise the "reddest map in a long time." Most contests are in the Deep South, Great Plains, and Mountain West. Only three states with Senate races are blue, though barely: Maine, Minnesota, and Oregon, Schumer says.

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A FLOOD OF POLLS SHOW DEMOCRATS WILL WIN NOW THEY ARE GOING TO ADD 11 SEATS BLAKE 5-27-08 http://thehill.com/campaign-2008/early-polls-suggest-dems-can-take-many-gopsenate-seats-2008-05-27.html
A flood of recent polls supports Democratic arguments that the party will win a larger majority in the Senate in the next election. Democrats have now polled ahead or within the margin of error in 11 Republican-held seats, as polls conducted in recent weeks show openings in second-tier targets including Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas. There are 23 Republican seats up for grabs this election cycle — including five open seats. Democrats have only 12 members up for reelection and no open seats. The only Democratic-held seat that is polling close is in Louisiana, where Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) and state Treasurer John Kennedy (R) will face each other. The majority of races that are polling close are in Republican-held seats.

DEMOCRATS ARE GOING TO GET 60 SEATS NOW MCCORMACK 08
John, The Weekly Standard http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2008/05/eleven_gop_senate_seats_in_jeo.asp I've always scoffed at the notion that the Democrats could win control of a 60-seat filibuster-proof Senate majority in November, but the Hill's Aaron Blake points out that "Democrats have now polled ahead or within the margin of error in 11 Republican-held seats, as polls conducted in recent weeks show openings in second-tier targets including Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas. . . Democrats have also polled ahead in at least some of the polling in Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Virginia, polling substantial leads in the latter three. They have also been within the margin of error in Minnesota and Oregon."

AND THEY ONLY NEED 10 SEATS

BURNETT 7-7-2008 Bob, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-burnett/seeking-60-seats_b_111169.html
Democrats have a 51-49 majority in the Senate that depends upon the support of independents Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders. However, Lieberman supports John McCain for President, which suggests the Connecticut Senator may vote with Republicans in a new Congress. Therefore, if Democrats want to increase their majority to 60, so that Barack Obama's agenda would not be held hostage by Republican filibusters, they will have to add 10 new Senators.

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DEMOCRATS WILL GET A SUPERMAJORITY NOW

LOOMIS NEWS 3-28-08
http://loomisnews.wordpress.com/2008/05/23/2009-us-senate-60-democrats-in-2008/ Purely by the numbers. When you breakdown analyst opinion of the upcoming races, a Democratic majority of 57 or 58 votes is probably the most likely outcome, while a Democratic caucus of as many as 61 votes is possible.
(See followup at 50 State Strategy) Here’s how I work through it: The current US Senate split: 49 D, 2 Independents, and 49 R (both independents caucus with Dems) One independent is Bernie Sanders of Vt., who will surely caucus with the Democrats (but don’t call him Shirley!) the other is Joe Lieberman, who could very well be kicked out of the Democratic caucus after the election. (Unless the Democrats are as stupid as they usually act.) 35 Senate seats are up for election in 2008 – 1/3 of the Senate plus 2 special elections Current split of Senate seats up for election: 12 D, 23 R The consensus from analysts is that the Democrats will pick up seats this election in the House and the Senate. Several major sites rank the competitiveness of upcoming races (see below for sources). Taking the various rankings that are compatible and averaging them, we get this breakdown of the partisan breakdown of the upcoming election: Consensus average on Senate competitiveness: Safe Dem Lean Dem Tilt Dem Toss up Tilt Rep Lean Rep 10 2 2 3 5 3

Safe Rep 10 (see below for table of the actual predictions from individual sites) In-depth analysis of individual races can be very subjective. Taking the average consensus, we can figure the likely outcome of the 35 Senate races for party control of the US Senate after the 2008 election. A conservative estimate shows the Democrats should pick up 4 seats (totaling 53 to a probable 54 caucus votes, including at least 1 independent the sum of all the Democratic safe/leans/tilts + ½ the toss-ups, and none of the Republican safe/leans/tilts A moderate estimate is a pickup of 8 seats (totaling 57 to a probable 58 caucus votes, including at least 1 independent) the sum of all the Democratic safe/leans/tilts/toss-ups + 1/2 the tilt Republican taking none of the Republican safe/leans A bigger Democratic estimate with a pickup of 9 seats (totaling 58 to a probable 59 caucus votes, including at least 1 independent) the sum of all the Democratic safe/leans/tilts/toss-ups + 2/3 of the tilt Republicans and 1/3 of the leans Republicans. A landslide Democratic estimate with a pickup of 11 seats (totaling 60 to a probable 61 caucus votes, including at least 1 independent) the sum of all the Democratic safe/leans/tilts/toss-ups + 2/3 of tilt Republicans + 2/3 of leans Republican + 1 additional Republican seat from somewhere

So the range of possible Democratic caucus majorities in the US Senate should increase to anywhere from a rock bottom 54 seats to a possible 61 seats, with 57/58 being the midpoint of these estimates. I suspect that as Obama’s general election campaign steps up, at least a couple of safe Republican seats (probably in the deep South) will be brought into play, and the upper range of these estimates is the most likely outcome. Democratic caucus outcomes of 59 or even 60 votes are very possible, and 61 is certainly in the realm of possibility.

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DEMOCRATS WILL WIN NOW Gannett News Service • July 11, 2008
http://www.coshoctontribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080711/NEWS01/807110305 Davis pointed to polls such as the one released this week by Rasmussen Reports showing Democrats continue to enjoy double-digit leads over Republicans when Americans are asked whether they would vote for a Democrat or a Republican for Congress.

DEMOCRATS WILL GET A SUPER MAJORITY IN THE SENATE NOW MCCLATCHEY 6-29-08
http://washingtonbureau.typepad.com/election2008/2008/06/analyst-to-dems.html One of the most respected independent analysts of U.S. Senate races told a group of Democrats Sunday that she's starting to think they may win enough seats this November to have a filibuster-proof majority. Jennifer Duffy, the Senate analyst for the Cook Political Report, said that as of now, she expects Democrats to add between 4 and 8 seats to their 51-seat majority in the Senate. And perhaps even more. "For the first time, I'm seriously contemplating the possibility of 60," she told a meeting of the Democratic Leadership Council in Chicago.

Democrats will have control of Congress John Mashek (Editor for US News) July 21st 2008 http://www.usnews.com/blogs/mashek/2008/7/21/democrats-should-toss-joe-lieberman.html
A move by Lieberman, who calls himself an independent Democrat, would switch control of the Senate to the GOP by one vote. But what would that margin mean with only a few months left in the session? Nothing of any real consequence. Besides, the Democrats are likely to pick up three to five seats in November, assuring them control again.

Fund raising and polls show Democrats will control congress Mary Jacoby and T.W. Farnam (writers for Wall Street Journal) July 21st 2008
Democratic-congressional-party committees meanwhile raised more money in June than Republicans to aid their House and Senate candidates in November's elections. The Democratic fund-raising advantage, along with polls showing a preference for Democratic control of Congress, have bolstered Democrats' hopes of widening their majorities in both chambers.

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Democrats will control because of voter registration and voters abroad. Stanley Grossman (editor for inthenews.co) July 9th 2008 http://www.inthenews.co.uk/world/inconversation/iraq/countries/united-statesamerica/beating-filibuster-$1230972.htm
That's why even those Americans not living in the land of the free like to do everything they can to influence elections. This November it will be no different, with the Democrats hoping a new secret weapon will play a major role in giving them a filibuster-proof Senate. It turns out the key is voter registration. This has traditionally been a complicated business; different states have different rules and the mountain of getting Americans living abroad to look up complicated guidance has been a tough one to climb for activists. In 2004 the US state department estimated only 16 per cent of citizens living abroad voted, compared to turnout of 62 per cent among those living in the US.

Even GOP leaders say that Democrats will have control Robert Paul Reyes (Editor for News Blaze) July 12th 2008 http://newsblaze.com/story/20080712180644reye.nb/topstory.html
The outlook for the GOP is so grim that party leaders have readily conceded there is no chance they can regain control of the Senate in 2008, even though Democrats' current majority is slim, 51-49."

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LINK
WHILE DEMOCRATS WILL WIN NOW A DEMOCRATIC MISTAKE WILL LEAD TO A REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL VICTORY ANTLE
3-28-2008

W. James Antle III is associate editor of The American Spectator http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=12968 Instead the GOP is continuing to lose ground in red districts, such as the recent special election loss of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert's seat. Candidate recruitment has faltered. Melissa Bean, the Illinois Democrat who toppled Phil Crane in 2004, has an A-List challenger. Ohio's Zack Space, New York's John Hall, and Florida's Ron Klein do not. Neither do Indiana's Ellsworth or North Carolina's Shuler, which does not bode well for efforts to retake the House. TO MAKE MATTERS worse, the Cook Political Report estimates that Republicans hold 12 of the 14 seats most likely to switch parties in November. Twenty-two Republicans have announced their retirement from the House compared to just six Democrats. These retirements include GOP incumbents holding at-risk seats. Departing Congressman Tom Reynolds of New York, for example, beat an eccentric Democratic challenger by just four points in 2006. The GOP's Senate math is even more daunting. Structurally, the Republicans were always going to be at a disadvantage since they had to defend 23 seats to the Democrats' 12. Several specific races have made matters even worse. Virginia, the only Southern state to vote for Gerald Ford over Jimmy Carter in 1976, is the Democrats' best pick-up opportunity. In this fall's Old Dominion Senate race, former Democratic Gov. Mark Warner is almost certain to trounce his Republican predecessor Jim Gilmore. New Hampshire, New England's last Republican bastion, is in the midst of blue tide. Consequently, GOP Sen. John Sununu is at serious risk of being bumped off by former Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen in a rematch from six years ago. Shaheen might have won the seat in 2002 if Sununu hadn't primaried Sen. Bob Smith. Joining Sununu on the Democrats' most wanted senators list are Gordon Smith of Oregon, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, and Susan Collins of Maine, all of whom have strong Democratic challengers. The Democrats have also recruited Mark Udall to run for a Republican open seat in Colorado and Tom Udall to do the same in New Mexico. The only Democratic incumbent facing a serious GOP challenger is Mary Landrieu in Louisiana. A miracle or a Democratic implosion could deliver the Senate to the GOP. Faith teaches us that the former is possible, experience proves the latter. Nevertheless, a bigger Democratic majority is the way to bet. Fortunately, all Republicans really need to have a say in how the country is run is just 41 Senate seats. Senate Republicans have proved this ever since Harry Reid became majority leader, frustrating the Democrats on Iraq, the alternative minimum tax, the stimulus package, card check, and countless other pieces of legislation.

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IMPACTS
DEMOCRATIC SUPERMAJORITY IN THE SENATE WILL SOLVE GLOBAL WARMING GEORGEO 07 http://www.climateprediction.net/board/viewtopic.php?t=6894&sid=e0761688cb4e48a39025f7c c9b15debd
While the IPCC’s confidence level on global warming is over 90% , the short-term political realities of global warming we face are even more certain. The world can address global warming only to the degree determined by the U.S. On November 4, 2008, three things must happen for the U.S. to begin properly addressing global warming; 1) A Democrat or a “Green” Republican must win the White House, 2) Democrats must maintain their majority in the House, (an expected outcome) and 3) Democrats must win a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate (a tougher, but achievable goal). For those who live in the U.K., Canada, Australia and other parts of the world, these realities may not seem fair, but they are inescapable. As such, during these next 20 months, the most important action on global warming that the world’s people can take is to help the Democrats increase their majority in the Senate from the current 51 seats, (which includes 2 Independents who caucus with the Democrats) to the full 60 seats necessary to prevent Republican Senators from filibustering, and thereby defeating, any serious and substantial legislation to address global warming. One can understand why a filibuster-proof Democrat majority in the Senate is a virtual necessity by reviewing the votes cast to defeat a 2003 Senate amendment of a bill addressing global warming;
http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=108&session=1&vote=00420 . As the roll call shows, 45 Republicans voted against the amendment and 7 Republican Senators voted in favor. Anyone wishing more evidence regarding the importance of a 60 seat Democrat majority in the Senate can follow the progress this year of global warming bills now before the U.S. Congress by accessing the following page, and typing "climate change" in the search box; http://thomas.loc.gov/bss/d109query.html

In the 2008 U.S. elections, 33 Senate seats will be at play; 20 seats are now held by Republicans, 11 seats are now held by Democrats, and 2 seats will be open. Under a likely scenario, in order for the Democrats to win the 9 seats they need for a filibuster-proof Senate majority they must win 21 of those 33 seats.

GEORGEO 07
http://www.climateprediction.net/board/viewtopic.php?t=6894&sid=e0761688cb4e48a39025f7cc9b15debd Without a Democrat or “Green” Republican president, a Democrat House majority and a filibuster-proof (60 seat) Democrat Senate majority in January, 2009, substantial progress on addressing global warming will not happen until either after the 2010 elections, when this same 60 seat Democrat Senate majority must likely be won, or January 2013, in the case of a “Non-Green” Republican president being elected in 2008. We throughout the world must recognize the significance of America’s 2008 election to making substantial and timely progress on global warming mitigation and adaptation. It may be a U.S. election, but the most effective action that citizens from every other country can take on global warming during these next 20 months is to help the Democrats win the presidency, the House, and the 9 seats they need to control a filibuster-proof Senate.

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IRAQ PULL OUT GOOD

U.S. troop presence causes Iraqi civil violence– your impact is terminally nonunique – only way to solve for civil war is withdrawal Gard and Johns 2005. (Robert G., Lieutenant General, Director of John Hopkins University Center in Italy and president of the Monterey Institute of International Studies; John, Brigadier General and dean with National Defense U, “Two Retired Generals Call for Prompt Withdrawal from Iraq: Support Murtha Position”, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, November 28, http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/archives/002173.php)
Those who argue that the United States needs to continue to maintain substantial numbers of U.S. troops in Iraq suggest several dangers that are possible, although not inevitable, if the U.S. draws down our troops before Iraqi forces can demonstrate the capability to maintain security while confronted with the current level of insurgency. Charge #1: There could be a civil war. Only the presence of U.S. forces is keeping some stability in Iraq and precluding a religious war and increased civilian casualties. Response: There already is a civil war, even if the Administration doesn't use that term. It is beside the point that one side doesn't wear uniforms, a common occurrence in today’s warfare. With conservative estimates of 12,000 - 25,000 civilian deaths and many more thousands wounded since the fall of Baghdad, the high level of civil violence is indisputable. While U.S. troops do provide security in certain locations like the Green Zone, the reality is that daily life in Baghdad is still miserable, journalists can’t leave their hotels, congressional visitors can’t drive from the airport into Baghdad, and suicide bombers continue to kill on a daily basis. The presence of U.S. forces, the collateral damage they cause and the casualties they inflict on Iraqi civilians are major incentives for the recruitment of insurgents. The visible presence of our troops may actually be more of a cause of civil conflict than a solution to it.

Iraqi occupation causes civil instability and violence Time 04. (“No Easy Options”, April 19, pg. 34, lexis)
For the past year many in Iraq's Shi'ite majority have chafed under the U.S. occupation--at the lack of jobs and the frustrating pace of the promised transition to Iraqi rule, a transition that promised to bring them to power. That simmering discontent last week turned into a full, chaos-inducing boil. Following a call to arms by a radical, power-hungry cleric named Muqtada al-Sadr, thousands of Iraqi Shi'ites declared war against a military that had freed them from a heinous dictator. In cities across Iraq, Shi'ite militants united behind the goal of casting off the yoke of occupation by killing or capturing any foreigner, military or civilian, they came across. Together with the fighting in Fallujah, the Shi'ite uprising produced the bloodiest eruption of violence since the war began. In the past week, 46 U.S. soldiers and more than 460 Iraqis were killed. Seemingly overnight, an uprising by the country's previously peaceful majority--a specter that has haunted U.S. planners and could doom chances for democracy in Iraq--went from remotely plausible to dangerously imminent.

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US military presence contributes to civil war between Sunnis and Shiites – impact is occurring now Hersh 12-5-05. (Seymour M., Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Chain of Command, “Where is the Iraq war headed next”, The New Yorker, http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/051205fa_fact)
The fear is that a precipitous U.S. withdrawal would inevitably trigger a Sunni-Shiite civil war. In many areas, that war has, in a sense, already begun, and the United States military is being drawn into the sectarian violence. An American Army officer who took part in the assault on Tal Afar, in the north of Iraq, earlier this fall, said that an American infantry brigade was placed in the position of providing a cordon of security around the besieged city for Iraqi forces, most of them Shiites, who were “rounding up any Sunnis on the basis of whatever a Shiite said to them.” The officer went on, “They were killing Sunnis on behalf of the Shiites,” with the active participation of a militia unit led by a retired American Special Forces soldier. “People like me have gotten so downhearted,” the officer added.

Withdrawal solves civil war Odom 05. (Lieutenant General William E., Senior Fellow with Hudson Institute and prof @ Yale, former Director of NSA, former Asst Chief of Staff for Intell, former Military Assistant, “What’s wrong with cutting and running?”, NiemanWatchdog, August 3, http://niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=ask_this.view&askthisid=129)
1) On civil war. Iraqis are already fighting Iraqis. Insurgents have killed far more Iraqis than Americans. That’s civil war. We created the civil war when we invaded; we can’t prevent a civil war by staying.

For those who really worry about destabilizing the region, the sensible policy is not to stay the course in Iraq. It is rapid withdrawal, re-establishing strong relations with our allies in Europe, showing confidence in the UN Security Council, and trying to knit together a large coalition including the major states of Europe, Japan, South Korea, China, and India to back a strategy for stabilizing the area from the eastern Mediterranean to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Until the United States withdraws from Iraq and admits its strategic error, no such coalition can be formed.

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Withdrawal solves insurgency Odom 05. (Lieutenant General William E., Senior Fellow with Hudson Institute and prof @ Yale, former Director of NSA, former Asst Chief of Staff for Intell, former Military Assistant, “What’s wrong with cutting and running?”, NiemanWatchdog, August 3, http://niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=ask_this.view&askthisid=129)
3) On the insurgency and democracy. There is no question the insurgents and other anti-American parties will take over the government once we leave. But that will happen no matter how long we stay. Any government capable of holding power in Iraq will be anti-American, because the Iraqi people are increasingly becoming anti-American.

Also, the U.S. will not leave behind a liberal, constitutional democracy in Iraq no matter how long it stays. Holding elections is easy. It is impossible to make it a constitutional democracy in a hurry.

Withdrawal key to war on terror Lowell Sun 1-30-05
The current U.S. policy in Iraq is hurting the global war on terror. The war continues to expend finite resources, erode military readiness, strain long-standing alliances, and inflame the Muslim world. It does not have to be this way. By announcing a schedule for withdrawal, the U.S. sends a message to Iraqis and all citizens of the world that we believe Iraq is capable of making decisions about its future and controlling its resources. We declare our disinterest in using Iraq as a permanent platform for regional dominance.

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Terrorists use the U.S. military presence to gain more followers – this is systemic – the longer the presence, the more intense their recruitment will be Gard and Johns 2005. (Robert G., Lieutenant General, Director of John Hopkins University Center in Italy and president of the Monterey Institute of International Studies; John, Brigadier General and dean with National Defense U, “Two Retired Generals Call for Prompt Withdrawal from Iraq: Support Murtha Position”, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, November 28, http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/archives/002173.php)
Any assessment of the impact of withdrawal from Iraq must be balanced against the consequences -- and there could be many -- of staying indefinitely. The insurgency could continue to intensify and expand: Using the U.S. military occupation as its clarion call, Al Qaeda has successfully appealed to foreign religious terrorists, Sunnis, and other nationalist elements within Iraq, all bent on ridding the Middle East of American military presence and influence. Even Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has conceded the tension between foreign forces needed for protection and their image as occupiers. Just as the insurgency in Iraq has intensified in the last two years, it is likely to continue to expand its recruitment of footsoldiers and martyrs, as well as its training and development of new leaders and its mastery of new tactics, many of which will be applicable in other venues. Indeed, the CIA already has warned that Iraq, as a living laboratory of urban combat, could be a more effective training ground for terrorists than was Afghanistan. With Al Qaeda’s use of Internet web sites now emerging as a primary vehicle to coordinate acts of terrorism, it seems likely that continued western military occupation in Iraq will become an increasingly potent incentive to inspire radicals and their young and avid followers; and it will play a major part in leading to attacks on Americans and other members of the coalition at times and in places least expected. The occupation also will continue to put at
risk the lives of Iraqi security forces and moderate Iraqi politicians, perceived as puppets of the U.S.

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Iraqi occupation diverts American resources away combating terrorism and is responsible for breeding resentment Gard and Johns 2005. (Robert G., Lieutenant General, Director of John Hopkins University Center in Italy and president of the Monterey Institute of International Studies; John, Brigadier General and dean with National Defense U, “Two Retired Generals Call for Prompt Withdrawal from Iraq: Support Murtha Position”, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, November 28, http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/archives/002173.php)
Those who argue that the United States needs to continue to maintain substantial numbers of U.S. troops in Iraq suggest several dangers that are possible, although not inevitable, if the U.S. draws down our troops before Iraqi forces can demonstrate the
capability to maintain security while confronted with the current level of insurgency.

... CARD CONTINUES… Charge #2: Iraq could become a failed state that is a haven for terrorists. Response: Iraq became a haven for terrorists as a direct result of the U.S. invasion. It is quite possible that ending the occupation would decrease, not increase, terrorist activity; but the larger question is how to deal with the multi-headed monster that Al Qaeda and its supporters have become. We are failing to accord sufficient priority to this threat, due in large part to our preoccupation with the ongoing war in Iraq.

Iraq war prevents U.S. from more effective means of combating terrorism Gard and Johns 2005. (Robert G., Lieutenant General, Director of John Hopkins University Center in Italy and president of the Monterey Institute of International Studies; John, Brigadier General and dean with National Defense U, “Two Retired Generals Call for Prompt Withdrawal from Iraq: Support Murtha Position”, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, November 28, http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/archives/002173.php)
U.S. attention will continue to be diverted from other critical security issues: Waging a full-time, unpopular war in Iraq, combined with the recent hurricane disasters, consumes the attention of the Administration's national security team, resulting in too little consideration of other critical threats to the security of the United States. These include terrorist organizations, unsecured nuclear weapons and materials in the former Soviet Union, the nuclear aspirations of Iran and North Korea and loose nuclear materials around the globe available to terrorists. It also detracts attention and funds from protection of our borders, our ports, our nuclear and chemical plants, our food and water supplies, and our domestic transportation system.

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Staying in Iraq jacks international credibility and diverts resources from fighting terrorism Gazette 05. (“Former CIA Director calls for Iraq withdrawal”, Harvard University News, June 7, http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/daily/2005/06/07-pbk.html)
Deutch, who delivered the Phi Beta Kappa oration at the honor society's annual Literary Exercises, served as CIA director under President Bill Clinton from May 1995 until December 1996. In his 20-minute speech, he challenged the views of both Republicans and Democrats who say that the United States must stay the course to stabilize the country before disengaging. That position, Deutch said, is based on the assumption that the United States will leave a stable nation behind. But it is also possible, he said, that the United States will fail in its Iraq objectives and lose international credibility by staying the course, even as its ability to deal with other crises, such as North Korea, Iran, and the fight against international terrorism, is compromised.

Withdrawal solves terrorism Odom 05. (Lieutenant General William E., Senior Fellow with Hudson Institute and prof @ Yale, former Director of NSA, former Asst Chief of Staff for Intell, former Military Assistant, “What’s wrong with cutting and running?”, NiemanWatchdog, August 3, http://niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=ask_this.view&askthisid=129)
4) On terrorists. Iraq is already a training ground for terrorists. In fact, the CIA has pointed out to the administration and congress that Iraq is spawning so many terrorists that they are returning home to many other countries to further practice their skills there. The quicker a new dictator wins the political power in Iraq and imposes order, the sooner the country will stop producing well-experienced terrorists.

Why not ask: "Mr. President, since you and the vice president insisted that Saddam's Iraq supported al Qaeda -which we now know it did not -- isn't your policy in Iraq today strengthening al Qaeda's position in that country?"

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US presence in Iraq contributes to diminished credibility Deutch 05. (John, former deputy secretary of defense and director of the CIA, prof of chem @ MIT, “Time to Pull Out. And Not Just From Iraq”, The New York Times, July 15, pg. 19, lexis)
THIS conventional view, however, ignores two important questions. The first is, how much are American interests in the Arab world being harmed by our continued presence in Iraq? Second, how much does the United States' presence in Iraq reduce our ability to deal with other important security challenges, notably those posed by North Korea, Iran and international terrorism? Those who argue that we should ''stay the course'' because an early withdrawal from Iraq would hurt America's global credibility must consider the possibility that we will fail in our objectives in Iraq and suffer an even worse loss of credibility down the road.

I do not believe that we are making progress on any of our key objectives in Iraq. There may be days when security seems somewhat improved or when the Iraqi government appears to be functioning better, but the underlying destabilizing effect of the insurgency is undiminished. When, after the fall of Baghdad, the decision was taken to disband the Iraqi Army, an impossible security situation was created: a combination of hostile ethnic factions supported by demobilized, but armed, military and security units with surrounding nations actively supporting them.

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US cred was jacked by war – extending troop presence can’t solve – their impact is terminally non-unique Gard and Johns 2005. (Robert G., Lieutenant General, Director of John Hopkins University Center in Italy and president of the Monterey Institute of International Studies; John, Brigadier General and dean with National Defense U, “Two Retired Generals Call for Prompt Withdrawal from Iraq: Support Murtha Position”, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, November 28, http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/archives/002173.php)
Those who argue that the United States needs to continue to maintain substantial numbers of U.S. troops in Iraq suggest several dangers that are possible, although not inevitable, if the U.S. draws down our troops before Iraqi forces can demonstrate the capability to maintain security while confronted with the current level of insurgency. ... CARD CONTINUES… Charge # 3: If the U.S. "cuts and runs," we will lose prestige and credibility across the globe. Response: Accusations that arguments for policy change constitute a “cut and run” surrender is an emotional ploy that obfuscates the issue. It is precisely the U.S. intervention in Iraq that has squandered the positive image of, and world sympathy that was felt for, the U.S. immediately after 9/11. According to authoritative polling, after two years of an aggressive U.S. campaign to promote democracy in the Middle East, the Iraq war has made millions suspicious of U.S. intentions; and the polls reveal that most now believe the war has made the world more, not less, dangerous. Not only do most Europeans view us in a negative light, but our image in the Muslim world is even worse: only about one fifth of Turks, Pakistanis or Jordanians -- to name three U.S. allies -- view us positively. It is true that American military power is respected and prestigious because it is the strongest in the world; but being regarded as a stubborn bully focused exclusively on our own interests as seen by the Administration does not give our nation the kind of image or credibility we desire and need. It is significant that polls show 80% of Iraqis want the American military to depart. At a recent conference, Iraqi leaders called for the departure of American troops and even suggested that insurgents are justified in killing coalition troops. The war against extremists cannot be won primarily through the use of force—it is foremost a war of ideas. We are losing that war and our Iraqi policy is one of the contributors to that condition. The U.S. cannot rebuild its credibility by extending the occupation, but rather by reforming the botched reconstruction program to restore a consistent supply of water, electricity and gasoline to Iraq’s civilian population, and by talking with all parties in the country and region to help rebuild its political structure.

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US occupation of Iraq has caused a credibility gap, undermining military success Gard and Johns 2005. (Robert G., Lieutenant General, Director of John Hopkins University Center in Italy and president of the Monterey Institute of International Studies; John, Brigadier General and dean with National Defense U, “Two Retired Generals Call for Prompt Withdrawal from Iraq: Support Murtha Position”, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, November 28, http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/archives/002173.php)
The "credibility gap" will intensify: Once again, after many years, we see the return of an ominous credibility gap in the middle of a war. The majority of the American public is coming to reject the Vice President’s prediction that the insurgency is “in its last throes,” concluding instead that the war in Iraq, even if the original rationale justified the invasion, is not making Americans safer from terrorism. American government credibility will continue to be undermined by optimistic forecasts of success. Already, public opinion polls indicate a widening gap. A November Washington Post poll found that approval of Bush's Iraq policy has fallen to 36% with 64% disapproving. Only 39% in the same poll agreed that the war was worth fighting. A number of polls show increasing numbers of American agreeing that some or all U.S. troops should be brought home. As we learned from the Vietnam experience, we cannot sustain a military campaign over the long term without public support.

Staying in Iraq jacks international credibility and diverts resources from fighting terrorism Gazette 05. (“Former CIA Director calls for Iraq withdrawal”, Harvard University News, June 7, http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/daily/2005/06/07-pbk.html)
Deutch, who delivered the Phi Beta Kappa oration at the honor society's annual Literary Exercises, served as CIA director under President Bill Clinton from May 1995 until December 1996. In his 20-minute speech, he challenged the views of both Republicans and Democrats who say that the United States must stay the course to stabilize the country before disengaging. That position, Deutch said, is based on the assumption that the United States will leave a stable nation behind. But it is also possible, he said, that the United States will fail in its Iraq objectives and lose international credibility by staying the course, even as its ability to deal with other crises, such as North Korea, Iran, and the fight against international terrorism, is compromised.

Withdrawal solves credibility – which is not a concern anyways Odom 05. (Lieutenant General William E., Senior Fellow with Hudson Institute and prof @ Yale, former Director of NSA, former Asst Chief of Staff for Intell, former Military Assistant, “What’s wrong with cutting and running?”, NiemanWatchdog, August 3, http://niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=ask_this.view&askthisid=129)
2) On credibility. If we were Russia or some other insecure nation, we might have to worry about credibility. A hyperpower need not worry about credibility. That’s one of the great advantages of being a hyperpower: When we have made a big strategic mistake, we can reverse it. And it may even enhance our credibility. Staying there damages our credibility more than leaving.

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Iraq war jacks leadership and international cooperation Gard and Johns 2005. (Robert G., Lieutenant General, Director of John Hopkins University Center in Italy and president of the Monterey Institute of International Studies; John, Brigadier General and dean with National Defense U, “Two Retired Generals Call for Prompt Withdrawal from Iraq: Support Murtha Position”, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, November 28, http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/archives/002173.php)
International cooperation will be undermined: The number of countries assisting the U.S. in Iraq, most of which provide few troops, has already fallen by a quarter, from 34 last year to 25 today; and five more are due to leave by year's end. Recently South Korea announced the reduction of its commitment. Furthermore, the international cooperation necessary to confront terrorism may deteriorate further by the continued suspicion of, and hostility toward, the United States in most other countries. A recent Pew Center international poll shows that the United States is held in low esteem across the globe, particularly in the Muslim world, largely as a result of the U.S. Administration’s foreign policies; and the war in Iraq continues to be deeply unpopular internationally, including with the populaces of our allies. Most countries believe that the invasion and occupation of Iraq has made the world a less safe place. Many are also suspicious that the United States intends to establish permanent bases in Iraq to secure the flow of oil from the region, a charge the Administration has not denied.

Continued occupation causes overstretch – crushing heg The Guardian 8/25/2k5
The United States is now that weary Titan. In the British case, the angst was a result of the unexpectedly protracted, bloody and costly Boer war, in which a small group of foreign insurgents defied the mightiest military the world had seen; concern about the rising economic power of Germany and the United States; and a combination of imperial overstretch with socio-economic problems at home. In the American case, it's a result of the unexpectedly protracted, bloody and costly Iraq war, in which a small group of foreign insurgents defies the mightiest military the world has seen; concern about the rising economic power of China and India; and a combination of imperial overstretch with socio-economic problems at home.

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AFF ANSWERS

TURN, IF THE PLAN BOOSTS MCCAIN THE REPUBLICANS WILL GAIN IN THE SENATE ANTLE
3-28-2008

W. James Antle III is associate editor of The American Spectator http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=12968 Further complicating matters is the presidential election. Republicans haven't won most close Senate races while a Democrat rode to the White House since 1992, when Arlen Specter, Bob Packwood, Kit Bond, Alfonse D'Amato, and John McCain defied Clinton's coattails while Lauch Faircloth and Paul Coverdell picked off Democratic incumbents. If McCain carries swing states like New Hampshire, Minnesota, Colorado and New Mexico or runs up huge margins in red states like Kentucky or even Virginia, it could make the difference in the Senate contests. In other words, Republicans must hope that McCain does well enough to pull some Senate candidates across the finish line. Conservatives should hope there are enough Republicans to pull McCain to the right.

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ENERGY POLICY NOT KEY TO THE ELECTION
Donna Brazile and Alfred S. Regnery 3-3-08 Democratic Political Strategist; American Spectator Publisher Monday, March 3, 2008 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2008/02/29/DI2008022902782.html Alfred S. Regnery: I would be surprised if it becomes a very big issue. The economy is a big one and will be through the fall. People will talk about energy and global warming and things like that, but I don't think it's going to attract many voters either way. And again, the question is who's going to pay for it. If we adopted some of the global warming solutions being pitched, it would basically break the country. The money's not there.

NO LINK. CONGRESS DOESN’T GET EITHER THE CREDIT OR THE BLAME O'Connor 07 Patrick,http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0107/2432.html.
Given the possibility that Democrats will hold both chambers and pick up the White House, McConnell said they have greater incentive to move controversial legislation now before the responsibility falls completely on their shoulders. "Get it off the table now, if it's a little bit controversial," McConnell said. "The president tends to get the credit or the blame for everything anyway. The Democrats won't have as much of their fingerprints on it."

NO LINK. THE PUBLIC DON’T EVEN KNOW DEMOCRATS ARE IN CHARGE OF CONGRESS CHADDOCK 7-8-08 Gail Russell Chaddock | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0708/p03s04-uspo.html
Washington - Members of Congress are used to working in an institution that gets no respect, but a recent plunge to the bottom of confidence ratings – and a week back home with constituents riled over gas prices – is raising alarms even on thick-skinned Capitol Hill. Some Democrats blame the Republicans, especially GOP senators who have used procedural maneuvers to block votes on key legislation. "It's worrisome, but I understand it: The strategy of the Republicans has been to stop anything from happening – and people think that nothing is being done to help their lives," says Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) of Michigan.

Some Republicans worry that the public doesn't know enough about Congress to blame the right party. "Not only does Congress have an approval rating below bubonic plague and head lice, I saw a recent poll that as many as 40 percent of people still believe that Congress is in Republican hands," says Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R) of Texas. "I wish we could get a little accuracy out there about who is in charge – and let those ratings fall where they may."

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PERCEPTIONS OF CONGRESS AS A WHOLE ARE IRRELEVANT TO HOW PEOPLE VOTE CHADDOCK 7-8-08 Gail Russell Chaddock | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0708/p03s04-uspo.html

A recent Gallup Poll confirms what many lawmakers say they're hearing from their constituents: that confidence in Congress has never been lower. Only 12 percent of Americans say they have a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in Congress as an institution – the lowest level ever for any US institution since Gallup began asking the question 35 years ago. Congressional job approval, a slightly different question, has dropped to 18 percent. Pollsters say it's tough to sort out why Congress now ranks so low. "In general, Americans are responding negatively to everything we put in front of them," says Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll in Princeton, N.J. Government institutions, especially, are at or near their lowest ratings to date. But when pollsters ask if voters think that their local member of Congress deserves to be reelected, the response is usually positive. More than 90 percent of incumbents who opt to stay in Congress are typically reelected. "Typically, the local congressman is held in higher regard as a person than the institution they're a part of," says Mr. Newport. It's a trend pollsters also see in questions about confidence in the medical system, public education, and law enforcement, he adds. This view that voters can at the same time harbor contempt for Congress but also respect for their local congressman has settled into the culture on Capitol Hill.

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TURN, LOW BUSH POPULARITY IS KEY TO DEMOCRATIC WINS MAISEL 08

http://usinfo.state.gov/journals/itdhr/1007/ijde/maisel.htm
A new president will be elected in 2008, and national issues — the war in Iraq, terrorism, immigration policy, energy dependence — will dominate the scene. If President Bush's approval rating remains low among voters and these issues are unresolved going into the November election, the Democrats may have an advantage in closely contested races.

NO LINK AND TURN. LOW CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL RATING IS ACTUALLY HELPING DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS BECAUSE THE PUBLIC BLAMES REPUBLICANS DEMOCRACY CORPS 4-14-08
http://www.democracycorps.com/polling/2008/04/economic-concerns-driving-political-measures-to-new-depths/. Democratic Advantage at Congressional Level Grows In the midst of mounting economic concerns and new record low marks for President Bush, approval of Congress and its performance has also fallen, averaging just 22 percent across three polls released in the last few weeks, and remains even lower than Bush’s overall job approval But the anger toward Congress is not aimed at the Democrats, and this year’s Democracy Corps polling shows a decline in negatives for the “Democratic Congress” which remains considerably stronger than the assessments of “Republicans in Congress.” In fact, the profound change dynamic created by these plunging assessments of the country’s direction and its political leadership is only increasing the electoral prospects of Democrats at the congressional level. From September of last year through February of this year, there was remarkable consistency in the generic congressional ballot, with Democrats holding an advantage of 10-11 points throughout the six-month period. There is a natural expectation that this enormous gap will close as the election nears and traditional partisan lines are exposed again, and particularly in the current environment where John McCain has closed the gap with his potential Democratic rivals. Instead, the gap actually grew in two polls released in March, with NBC News/Wall Street Journal finding a 14-point margin for Democrats among registered voters (49 to 35 percent) and our own Democracy Corps poll showing an increase in the Democratic advantage among likely voters to 13 points (53 to 40 percent).

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