Political MoJo

Bio of Defense Secretary Bob Gates

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 2:12 PM EST

More from Mother Jones on this later, but as a public service, here is the bio of Bob Gates, the man President Bush just named the next Defense Secretary:

Dr. Robert M. Gates is the 22nd President of Texas A&M University, the nation's seventh largest university and an institution recognized internationally for its teaching, research and public service. He assumed the presidency of the land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant university on August 1, 2002. Dr. Gates served as Interim Dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M from 1999-2001.

He served as Director of Central Intelligence from 1991 until 1993. In this position, he headed all foreign intelligence agencies of the United States and directed the Central Intelligence Agency. Dr. Gates is the only career officer in CIA's history to rise from entry-level employee to Director. He served as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence from 1986 until 1989 and as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser at The White House from January 20, 1989 until November 6, 1991 for President George H.W. Bush.

Dr. Gates joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1966 and spent nearly 27 years as an intelligence professional, serving six presidents. During that period, he spent nearly nine years at the National Security Council, The White House, serving four presidents of both political parties.

Dr. Gates has been awarded the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, has twice received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and has three times received CIA's highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.

He is the author of the memoir, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War, published in 1996.

Dr. Gates serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the American Council on Education, the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, and the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America. He is President of the National Eagle Scout Association.

Dr. Gates serves as Chairman of the Independent Trustees of The Fidelity Funds, the nation's largest mutual fund company, and on the board of directors of NACCO Industries, Inc., Brinker International, Inc. and Parker Drilling Company, Inc.

A native of Kansas, Dr. Gates received his bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary, his master's degree in history from Indiana University, and his doctorate in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University. Dr. Gates is 62, and he and his wife Becky have two adult children.

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Nancy Pelosi: Fiery, Liberal, and She's in Charge

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 1:58 PM EST

This assertive headline from the Globe and Mail says that Nancy Pelosi will be the one in control. The UK's Guardian acknowledged Pelosi will be perfoming a delicate balancing act with President Bush, but will have access to a "formidable machine."

American news agencies have put forward a more sceptical view of Pelosi's ability to maintain control over the opposing parties in the House. According to this article posted in the International Herald Tribune:

Her pledge to treat Republicans more fairly than they have dealt with Democrats could be "the first casualty of a Pelosi speakership," said Jack Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College in California who has written extensively about Congress.

The article also lists "a halting television presence" as one of the fiery leader's major weaknesses.

And USA Today reported that Pelosi may not be ready for prime time:

Longtime political observer Stephen Hess of the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, says Pelosi "is no Newt Gingrich. She really isn't intellectually interesting. Gingrich came up with ideas ... With her, I don't know whether that's true or not. We have to see if she is really ready for prime time."

-- Caroline Dobuzinskis

Bill Kristol was Right

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 1:56 PM EST

CNN reports that Bush will announce Rumsfeld's resignation today.

Breaking: AP Calls it for Tester

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 1:43 PM EST

AP says Tester has squeaked to victory. Dems now with 50 Senate seats.

George Allen: Down for the Count

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 1:09 PM EST

The latest numbers on the Virginia race show a difference in votes of 7,050 in favor of Democrat candidate Jim Webb, Jr.(as posted on the Drudge Report). It is of no surprise that the marriage amendment passed with 57% of the votes.

While Webb is a decorated army veteran Allen drew more support from veterans according to an exit poll taken by the Associated Press. Despite Webb's comments made about women in the military, he was able to just barely hold onto this traditionally democratic voting bloc. Fifty six percent of women voters chose Webb over 46 per cent for Allen.

Webb was also able to hold onto the African-American vote by a large margin. Eighty five percent chose Webb over Allen.

CNN reported last night that Allen was popular with male voters. The reason "Football," said Wolf Blitzer. "Allen played football."

--Caroline Dobuzinskis

Montana Voters at Polls Till Midnight

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 1:07 PM EST

Turns out that voters in at least one Montana county, Gallatin County (think A River Runs Through It), stood in line until midnight waiting to cast ballots. Montana, of course, along with Virginia are the all-important show-me states, with the outcome of their Senate races to determine party majority in the US Senate.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle has this to say this morning:

An unknown number of people waited for hours Tuesday at the Gallatin County Courthouse to cast their votes in the general election, their bodies clogging hallways and stairwells on two floors. None of them had registered to vote before Election Day, so all of them had to register before they cast their ballots.

Yes folks, people in Montana can register to vote ON election day. And it seems lots of the last-minute voters were college students, who make up much of the county, Bozeman being home to Montana State University. People were still waiting in line till just before midnight waiting to submit their ballots.

"It's a highly contested race and I think a lot of people turned out just to voice their opinion," said Bob Olson, who had been waiting in line for more than two hours. That race being the Burns/Tester contest which likely led to the high turnouts in the county -- one Gallatin County precinct reported a turnout of 88 percent, while another one ran out of ballots and had to have the elections office send them more, according to the Chronicle.

In 2004, Gallatin County was one of the last counties in Montana to report its results after the presidential election. In that case, problems with the voting machines delayed vote counts, and as a result the final numbers were not available until early Wednesday morning.

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All Six Gubenatorial Gains Go to Democrats, Who Also Make Huge Gains in Statehouses

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 12:18 PM EST

The Dems have picked up six gubenatorial seats: Ohio, Arkansa, Colorado, Maryland, New York, and Massachusetts, where Deval Patrick becomes the highest-level African American ever elected by the state, and the first democratic governor in 16 years (which means those guys at Fox can really have at the state now).

Gains in the statehouses are even more dramatic. Via Insurance Journal :

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of 7:30 a.m. MT, Democrats control both houses of the legislature in 23 states; Republicans in 15 and nine are split. Final counts aren't available for three chambers in two states: the Montana House and Senate and the Pennsylvania House. This adds up to 49 states because Nebraska's legislature is nonpartisan.Before the election, Republicans controlled 20 state legislatures; Democrats 19 and 10 were split. [Compare pre- and post-election control here.]
NCSL reports that Democrats won approximately 275 more state legislative seats, adding up to new majorities in nine chambers across the nation: the Iowa House and Senate, the Indiana House, the Minnesota House, the Michigan House, the New Hampshire House and Senate, the Oregon House and the Wisconsin Senate. (The Iowa Senate was previously tied.)
Republicans gained a few seats in the Oklahoma Senate to tie that chamber, but Democrats will likely control it because the lieutenant governor, who casts deciding votes, is a Democrat.
"The voters expressed a real desire for change, and all in one direction," said NCSL's elections expert Tim Storey. "The Democrats have put some light between the two parties. This isn't parity anymore."

Meet the New Members of Congress

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 11:52 AM EST

Congressional Quarterly's CQpolitics.com has prepared a handy round-up of all those who got elected last night/this morning.

Notable trends include actual youth, like the 31-year-old new representative for Conn. There are 11 women on the list. In "battleground state" Pennsylvania, all victories went to Dems.

As it stands now, the Dems have picked up 27 House seats, 4 Senate seats, with of course two Senate seats still leaning toward the Dems but too close to call.

Stick to Mother Jones for updates.

Pombo Loss a 26-Point Swing

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 11:24 AM EST

What a difference two years make. A refrain heard all around today, but perhaps most pronounced in California's Central Valley. That's where, you might remember, Bush's buddy Richard "Marlboro Man" Pombo pummeled Jerry McNerney by 20 points in 2004.

Yes, 20 points. So wide a margin, in fact, that the democratic party didn't even put money behind McNerney this year until just weeks ago, when well, things got interesting. Now, after a 26-point turnaround McNerney is the one left standing, which must be some kind of record. Maybe Bush can dub him The Comeback Kid.

Pombo's opponent in the Republican primary, old-school GOPer and author of the Endangered Species Act, Pete McCloskey, may have put it best telling Mother Jones a couple months ago, "I'm ashamed of what my party has become, and to me, Pombo represents the very worst of it."

Seems, months later, voters agree.

More on how the new congressman will lead the largely Republican district in a recent MoJo interview, here.

The Rise of McCain

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 10:19 AM EST

Yesterday's elections open the door on the 2008 presidential race with John McCain front and center for the Republicans. Once laughed off by Bush, detested by many in the military, and vilified by the right wing Christians, McCain has stayed the course and now is in a position to organize a strong race for the presidency in 2008.

To an unknown degree this will depend on the Arizona senator's health (he has melanoma). He will have to contend with a far more conservative group of Republicans in the House, who will be demanding sharp curtailments on spending. These are people, for example, who wanted to drastically curtail what little the federal government made available for Katrina victims. This conservative cadre is unlikely to be in the mood for bipartisan deal making, and can conceivably force a greater degree of separation between the parties.

Some conservatives already are threatening to throw wrenches into the House machinery with stalling tactics and other measures. These may be idle threats, but giving the GOP record in running a backbench, that can't be counted on.

"There's going to be a batch of people who are going to personally owe McCain and there's going to be another batch of people who are going to have to rethink their view of him," Michael McKenna, a Republican strategist and pollster, told the Washington Times.

Democrats almost surely will try and extend the Medicare drug plan and get behind an immigration bill which provides a mechanism for illegals to obtain citizenship. Dems can reopen their internal fight over free trade with the old Clintonista centrists arguing for free trade measures, and progressives, in the past led by Dennis Kucinich and others, against such steps.