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Thursday, October 30, 2003

In, Out, and All About

Watchers of close House districts have to be amused by recent events in Kansas’ 3rd. For those new to the area, the 3rd is a mostly suburban district that includes urban areas in Kansas City, KS, the well-to-do suburbs of Johnson County, a small amount of rural Kansas, and Lawrence, the home of the University of Kansas. The key thing to know about Kansas is that there are three parties that compete for power: conservative Republicans, moderate Republicans, and Democrats. Given the moderate/conservative bent of the state, it won’t surprise you to learn that most of the elected officials are Republicans, and that Democrats generally win the big offices only when Republicans fight amongst themselves. As four of the state’s five Republican Members of Congress were at a fundraiser for Adam Taff, the nominee for the 3rd in 2002, four Members from other states were endorsing one of his opponents, Kris Kobach. And more fun, Kansas’ conservative Sen. Sam Brownback was not only not at the Taff fundraiser, there was talk that he might be leaning toward Kobach.

I have to admit that I don’t read Dick Morris much. His columns in The Hill and elsewhere are all too often empty vitriol or meaningless diatribes. Today’s was a bit of a head scratcher.

Internationally, I was interested to learn that the Tories in Britain kicked out their leader, Iain Duncan Smith. News coming out of Russia suggests that the President’s Chief of Staff, Alexander Voloshin, is actually resigning this time ( http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/international/international-russia-yukos.html? ). To most of us in the U.S., this long-rumored action, would signal a shift from a vacillating policy between those who argue for economic liberalization and those who tend toward a more centrally-controlled vision of Russia’s future (toward the later). We will see.

And finally, The New Republic reports (http://www.tnr.com/etc.mhtml) rumors that the Service Employees International Union might endorse Howard Dean and excoriates Al Sharpton for his recent attack on Dean and any black leaders who might support him as anti-black. Wonder if Sharpton was prompted to do so by Jesse Jackson Jr.’s comments?