HAVE YOU BEEN WONDERING WHAT'S UP WITH JERRY LEWIS AND SOME OF THE OTHER CALIFORNIA CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICROOKS?
If you're a regular DWT reader you already know we think the single most corrupt member of Congress is Jerry Lewis (R-CA). Between Ken and I, we've done dozens of stories on his criminality over the past couple of years but if you need to catch up, let me suggest this and this for starters.
Done? OK, now that you know who this character is, let me point out that Republican propagandist Robert Novak does a weekly right wing politics column for Human Events every week and this week he's reporting on the potential for upsets in California House races. Discounting the absurd wishful thinking of Republicans who are dreaming they can touch one of the most admired congressmen in the state, Jerry McNerney, Novak has figured out most of the GOP soft spots.
The most obvious one, of course, is Doolittle (CA-04) who has been written off by all observers, regardless of political affiliation as someone unlikely to ever win another election for anything, unless he moved to Utah. He barely kept his seat against political new-comer Charlie Brown last time and if there were another election today between the two, Doolittle would be lucky to break 40%. Novak points out that he's "being scrutinized by the Justice Department. Despite his firm protestations of innocence, there is no question that Republicans view him as a liability and do not want to lose his heavily GOP seat because of accusations of impropriety." Novak, however, doesn't mention that Republicans are already jumping in to challenge Doolittle in a primary if he does what no one at all thinks he will and runs again (IF he's not in prison by then). Today another Republican challenger, wingnut Eric Egland, said he will run against Doolittle.
Among those backing his entry into the race is Steve Schmidt, a former White House adviser to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney who ran Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's 2006 re-election campaign, and Cindy Sherrod, who chaired the Bush-Cheney re-election drive in Placer County in 2004.
"The Republican Party will lose that seat if John Doolittle is nominated," Schmidt said.
"That was the lesson of the 2006 election. Ethically tarred Republican congressmen will go down to defeat. And the situation for Doolittle has only deteriorated since the last election."
And speaking of ethically-tarred Republicans, Novak-- as well as the DCCC-- is looking at several in southern California as well. I'll get to Lewis in a moment. Novak has something to say about Republicrooks Ken Calvert and Gary Miller which is ridiculously optimistic and doesn't synch up with the blood in the water most observers in California clearly see. "Representatives Ken Calvert (R) and Gary Miller (R) are also facing ethical questions-- respectively over earmarks and a federal tax dispute-- but they are perceived to be in better shape than Lewis or Doolittle. Still, as the 2006 election cycle demonstrated, this can always change with little notice."
It doesn't take much to be in better shape than Doolittle and Lewis. Doolittle's papers have already been seized by the FBI and Lewis has already paid a high-powered Republican law firm over a million dollars to keep him from being indicted, efforts which are connected to not one, but two cases of U.S. Attorneys leaving office! But being not as bad off as Doolittle and Lewis is hardly a guarantee of political survival and the DCCC is eagerly looking for viable candidates for take on both Calvert and Miller.
But, of course, Lewis is the prime target. Novak broke some news today: Both on Capitol Hill and in California, Republicans say that Rep. Jerry Lewis (R) is unlikely to seek re-election.
Democrat Tim Prince says he will jump into the race if Lewis retires and far right extremist Bill Postmus, the San Bernardino County Assessor, is salivating at the idea of jumping into the race in the heavily Republican, extremely low-information district.