Finally, Congress Does Something Right

Originally published at Beltway Blogroll

The House adopted a very important resolution yesterday, the most significant in my lifetime. Here’s the text of the measure, H. Res. 938:

Whereas the West Virginia University Mountaineer football team won the 2008 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, defeating the University of Oklahoma Sooners by a score of 48 to 28 in Glendale, Arizona, on January 2, 2008;Whereas the Mountaineer football team has been a source of great pride for West Virginians throughout the years;

Whereas the people of West Virginia take their team’s triumphs and setbacks as their own, in times of hardship and prosperity;

Whereas the Mountaineers displayed uncommon intensity and determination in preparing for the challenge of meeting one of the best teams in the country in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl;

Whereas the Mountaineers executed an almost flawless game;

Whereas then-assistant coach Bill Stewart demonstrated true leadership and coaching skill by filling an unexpected coaching void, instilling confidence in his team, and leading them to victory, earning the admiration and gratitude of his fellow West Virginians;

Whereas the Fiesta Bowl most valuable player on offense, Mountaineer quarterback Pat White, gave a brilliant running and passing performance that inspired his teammates, delighted his fans, and frustrated his opponents;

Whereas the Fiesta Bowl most valuable player on defense, Mountaineer linebacker and native West Virginian Reed Williams, led his teammates in an outstanding defensive performance;

Whereas Mountaineer senior fullback Owen Schmitt, through his steady play and gracious post-game words of victory, displayed the best qualities of team play and sportsmanship;

Whereas Mountaineer receiver Tito Gonzales demonstrated outstanding play with a 79-yard touchdown pass and showed a national television audience how important Mountaineer success was to his team and his state;

Whereas Mountaineer freshman tailback Noel Devine gave a spirited and skillful performance worthy of his injured teammate and mentor, record-breaking tailback Steve Slaton;

Whereas the Mountaineers’ offensive line dominated the battle in the trenches, making possible the outstanding performances of White, Devine, Schmitt, receiver Darius Reynaud, kicker Pat McAfee, and the other offensive stars of the day;

Whereas the Mountaineers’ attacking defense forced the Sooner offense to yield the field time and again;

Whereas the Mountaineers finished among the top 10 in college football rankings for three years in a row;

Whereas Mountaineer athletic director Ed Pastilong has instilled in the athletic department of West Virginia University the highest standards of ethics and performance throughout his many years of leadership;

And whereas the Mountaineers and their new head coach Bill Stewart have brought great honor to themselves, their university, and the state of West Virginia: Now, therefore, be it resolved that the House of Representatives:

1) Congratulates the West Virginia University Mountaineer football team for winning the 2008 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl;

And 2) commends the team for demonstrating throughout the season the best qualities of teamwork, dedication, and sportsmanship.

Read my sports interludes from November, December and January for the background.

Your Guide To Pet Names For Politicos

Originally published at Beltway Blogroll

Children learn at a young age that if you really want to get under someone’s skin, make fun of their name. Bloggers have taken that skill to new heights in adulthood, as they try to score points against their political enemies by giving them memorable and sometimes mean-spirited nicknames.

Below are some of the ones I’ve taken note of since I started tracking blogs. I’m sure there are many more, so if you have a blog name for your least favorite politician, bureaucrat or media personality and want to expand the list, add your voice in the comments.

— Sen. Felix Macaca: Former Sen. George Allen, R-Va.
Sen. Smirk: Joseph Biden, D-Del.
Sen. Switchback: Sam Brownback, R-Kan.
Gov. Privatize: Mitch Daniels, R-Ind.

Tax Hike Mike: GOP presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (also called “The Huckster“)
Harry Potter: FCC Chairman Kevin Martin
Multiple Choice Mitt: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney

Senator Pants On Fire: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Both Ways Shays: Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn.
Pete StarkRavingMad: Rep. Fortney (Pete) Stark, D-Calif.

The Power Of Porkbusters

Originally published at Beltway Blogroll

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds found a reason to boast in the State of the Union address that President Bush gave last night, and with good reason:

Okay, I have to gloat just a bit: Bush led off with earmarks. His actions aren’t as bold as I’d like, but still — back in 2005 when PorkBusters started, nobody in Washington cared and members of Congress were bragging about pork. Now the State of the Union leads of with an attack on earmarks, to thundering applause. Yeah, a lot of it’s a sham. But hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, and this kind of hypocrisy indicates that the anti-earmark momentum is growing.

I’ve been tracking the power of the blog here at Beltway Blogroll since June 2005, and as my days at National Journal come to a close this week, I can say unequivocally that Porkbusters is the most successful demonstration I have seen of that influence. It is also the one with the greatest staying power.

It’s true that pork is still a problem and will remain one as long as Americans choose to elect panderers rather than statesmen. As I noted in November 2005, it’s next to impossible to catch the greased pig in Congress.

But you simply can’t deny that pork is a prominent policy issue now because of Porkbusters. Until bloggers across the political spectrum started ranting about pork after Hurricane Katrina, nobody outside of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, television broadcaster John Stossel and groups like Citizens Against Government Waste seemed to care — and all of their outrage went unheard by Washington’s powerbrokers.

Now the president is tackling the issue in the State of the Union. That is blog power, my friends.

Pentagon Takes Fire Over Blog Briefings

Originally published at Beltway Blogroll

Last fall, the liberal blog Think Progress took the Pentagon to task for giving only Defense Department-friendly bloggers access to regular blog briefings. The Pentagon responded by agreeing to let Think Progress, and presumably other bloggers likely to be critical of defense policies, to future roundtables.

Al Kamen of The Washington Post apparently doesn’t read Think Progress, though, because today he ridiculed the Pentagon’s new media chief for how the blog briefings are organized. Rob Bluey of the Heritage Foundation didn’t take Kamen’s outburst lightly.

Kamen suggests that the Pentagon is limiting these calls to the “right bloggers.” That’s absolutely untrue. When I saw Holt speak at Blog World in Las Vegas last year, he made a point of stating that he reached out to bloggers of all political persuasions as well as those who cover military issues exclusively. Anyone is welcome to take part on the calls, but liberal bloggers have never expressed any interest. (And why would they when it’s so easy pontificate rather than report what’s actually happening.)In my opinion, Kamen’s piece is yet another example of an elite, mainstream journalist expressing jealously about the emerging role of bloggers in the information age. His cushy job at the Post could soon be at risk with the more Americans turning to blogs for their news and information rather than page A17 of the newspaper.

Netroots, DCCC Find Common Ground

Originally published at Beltway Blogroll

When Democratic bloggers first came on the political scene, they clashed with the party establishment’s fundraising apparatus in Washington. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in particular was a frequent target of netroots scorn.

Not this year. The DCCC has paired with the netroots fundraising vehicle ActBlue in a new campaign dubbed “Red To Blue” in order to raise cash for candidates fighting in some of the country’s toughest Republican strongholds.

Here are the details from an e-mail I received from ActBlue last week:

Not only is ActBlue partnering with the DCCC at this stage of the effort, ActBlue played a critical role in drawing the DCCC’s attention to the profiled candidates.Of the first group of “Red to Blue” candidates, eight have used ActBlue to build a community of supporters and raise critical early funds, and the remaining two, as yet unnamed nominees in Illinois and Louisiana, are being supported by ActBlue’s pioneering “Democratic Nominee Funds.”

(more…)

Did Fred Thompson Lose His Way Online?

Originally published at Beltway Blogroll

About a year ago, Fred Thompson began making a presidential splash online.

After bloggers started talking up the possibilities of the actor and former Republican senator running for president, Thompson won a high-profile endorsement from a fellow Tennessean, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. Then all of a sudden, Thompson started popping up all over the Internet.

He posted a guest blog entry on RedState and earned mainstream media attention for “blogging up a storm“; he picked a public video fight with liberal filmmaker Michael Moore; and he tapped some big names in new media to help spearhead his online activities.

I even mentioned Thompson’s online non-campaign as a “bright spot” in GOP e-politics when interviewed by The Washington Post.

All of that early work on the Web came to naught this week when Thompson ended his presidential campaign (arguably a bit too soon), and one blogger thinks Thompson faltered because he lost his innovative way.

Thompson “was strong with new media, but then he abandoned it. … I don’t know what happened,” Roger Simon, the head of Pajamas Media, told The Washington Times. “I think some of the misfire of his campaign is that he didn’t stay with that initial impulse.”

I’m not sure how on the mark that analysis is. Thompson’s campaign seems to have faltered for more traditional reasons — poor strategy, bad staffing decisions, lousy timing (he took forever to get into the race), lack of money and the failure to overcome the image of Thompson as a lazy campaigner. But the reality is that Thompson’s approach to the race changed after he became an official candidate.

That probably had more to do with the realities of presidential campaigning than a conscious decision to go old school. Who has time to blog when traveling across the country to greet voters and raise money? But the end result is that the man who once held out promise of becoming the nation’s first blogger-in-chief finished the GOP race as a disappointing also-ran.