Sen. Fritz Hollings, ladies and gentlemen:
"...I can tell you this categorically, we've got the weakest president and weakest government in the history of my 50 years of public service. I say weak president in that the poor boy campaigns all the time and pays no attention to what's going on in the Congress. Karl Rove tells him to do this or do that or whatever it is, but he's out campaigning. And I really don't think our friend Mark Sanford likes the job. As a result the state and the country – your state, my state, our country – is headed in the wrong direction with respect to our finances.
"You can see it at the state level. They are firing a thousand teachers.
"And at the national level, we've got Enron accounting galore. The President said two weeks ago on page one of his budget report that we have a $455 billion deficit at the end of next month; that's when the end of the fiscal year terminates. The truth of the matter is, you turn to page 57 of the report and you'll see it's $698 billion. And he admits to a $700 billion deficit, so you can see why the market goes down. Everyone sees who invests that there's no reason to invest because the interest rates are going up and you can't carry your investments."
Tom Daschle, did you right that down? There will be a test a little over a year from now.
Update: I started looking around an only the New York Times reported on what the Senator said about Bush. Odd, I thought. I would think that the headline ought to have been "Senate icon blasts Bush while announcing retirement," but the SCLM knew that their masters demanded a different story -- the story about how this was going to help Republicans, so it was best just to give in and not fight.
Obey. Obey. Obey. So goes the message behind the stories about Hollings' retirement in The Washington Post, in AP wire copy -- the running of which was all that most newspapers could give to the retirement of a political figure who spent 55-years in politics but says that Georgie is the weakest president he's seen in that time -- and elsewhere. Unbelievable.
Hell, even the Times leads with what a boost this is for Republicans, but does get to the juicy stuff eventually, using half the stuff above and added other Hollings comments on Bush: "He's a nice fellow," Mr. Hollings said of President Bush. "You can't find a better fraternity brother."
And, lest you completely lose faith, The Daily Kos found a pep talk in his comments section, delivered by Mr. Liberal. He says that the stories about how much this is going to help Republicans doesn't even seem to be true:
In fact, Holling's retirement is somewhat good for Democrats. Obivously you don't want to give up an incumbent ever, but he's a weaker candidate than the one Democrats have now: Inez Tenenbaum. She's the Sup. of Education in SC, and is its most popular politician. She won with 59% in 2002, even as the GOP swept the state. She's very popular in heavily GOP Lexington County, and has racked up strong margins there in 1998 and 2002.
A DSCC poll last month tested Tenenbaum and Hollings against Jim DeMint, the GOP frontrunner. Here are the results:
Tenenbaum is considered to be a superb candidate for the Democrats, as Larry Sabato and others have said.
I think that, since she's probably announcing right now that she's running, that we have a shot at retaining this seat.