House RSC blogger call

Reps. Jeb Hensarling and Marsha Blackburn had a very brief conference call with bloggers.

They noted that S-CHIP was vetoed by the President. They pointed out all the details about this being more than a children’s healthcare program. 17 states are adding  adults with this. Dropping the citizenship requirement. Clearly this call (and further calls) are about rallying support for that. They also talked about earmarks.

Then there were questions.

Ed Morrissey from Captains Quarters. He asked whether or not the veto could be sustained. Hensarling points out that they already have the Republicans votes to win this fight. Then they talked about talking points. "If people realize what they have done with the S-CHIP program. With the Hillary Clinton memo from yesterday. … A walk towards a nationalized healthcare system. … More people will have opposition when they see the details …"

I asked about stripping Rep. John Doolittle of his position as founder of the RSC. Hensarling said that he would not support stripping any RSC member because they are the target of an investigation. That’s very disappointing.

Dave Weigel of Reason.com
.  Asks about John Murtha’s comments about earmarks and transparency. "Transparency is John Murtha’s worst nightmare. He will do everything he can to combat transparency to the earmark system. … What the Democrats say and what they have done are completely at odds with one another. … They have huge loopholes in their system. .. This is a soft underbelly of the Democratic Party. … If [earmarks] are so good, why do they try to hide them?"

NZ Bear asked about the future legislative fights over the war. Hensarling says that he was surprised that the Democrats have not brought more resolutions to the floor. "We know that they are being hypocritical about the war. … As Jim Clyburn stated so eloquently, Good news about the war is bad news for the Democratic Party. …"

Time for Doolittle to retire

Jon Fleischman has some polling data on John Doolittle re-election. They are bad:

  • In a one-on-one match up, if the election were held today, Democrat Charlie Brown gets 51% of the vote to Congressman Doolittle’s 31%.
  • Those surveyed were also asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Doolittle.  Respondents came back with 28% favorable and 56% unfavorable.
  • In the survey, GOP primary voters were asked whether Congressman Doolittle should run for another term.  33% of those asked said he should.  A staggering 50% said that the Congressman should either resign or should not run again.

Of course, the Congressman’s staff are getting subpoenaed to testify to a grand jury on Abramoff:

Two of GOP Rep. John Doolittle’s top aides have been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury investigating ties between Doolittle, his wife and jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

The grand jury subpoenas from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia were issued to Chief of Staff Ron Rogers and Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Blankenburg. They were announced on the House floor as Congress returned from its August recess Tuesday after the aides informed the House speaker about the subpoenas, as required under House rules.

Tom Cole at the NRCC has already thrown Doolittle under the bus. Perhaps it is time for him to get out?

I think that it is additionally significant that Jon is writing this and pitching a candidate, Assemblyman Ted Gaines. Jon is a leader in the conservative wing of the party. The fact that he is moving this suggests that conservatives are ready and willing to attack Doolittle