Posts Tagged ‘Blue Dog Democrats’

Colwell illustrates ineptitude of 2nd district challengers

March 3, 2008

(Jack Colwell, columnist for the South Bend Tribune and former host of WNIT’s “Politically Speaking” weighed in on Rep. Donnelly’s Republican challengers in a column published March 2.)

When Tony Zirkle said my column inspired him to add an f-word in the acronym he wants for his middle name, I was a bit concerned. No worry. Zirkle reveals that the word is “fluke” and that he uses it in a description of himself as a “homeless vet fluke.”

However, the former U.S. Naval Academy student uses the naval definition of “fluke” as the pointed part of an anchor or a harpoon.

Zirkle initially filed as a candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress in Indiana’s 2nd District with “Hvfvgpd” as his middle name. He deleted it in a changed filing to avoid a challenge to his candidacy. But he plans to go ahead with court proceedings to add the acronym officially as a middle name describing his campaign effort.

The middle “v” stands for “versus.” Kokomo Tribune columnist Scott Smith figured out from a clue about a Bill O’Reilly TV tirade that “h” is for “homeless” and the first “v” is for “vet.”

Zirkle gave me a clue revealing that “f” is for “fluke,” a word I used in a December column saying Republicans should seek a credible nominee to challenge Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly rather than risk nomination of some “fluke.”

In a certain way, Zirkle said, he could be described as a “homeless vet fluke,” with naval definition of the f-word, versus whatever the rest of the acronym stands for.


Luke Puckett, the candidate found by 2nd District Republican leaders as their credible challenger for Congress, joined in efforts to put Donnelly on the spot in the controversy over extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Efforts included TV ads by an organization called Defense of Democracies. Its listed directors and advisers include a preponderance of well-known Republicans and conservatives, including Newt Gingrich, Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer, Bill Kristol and Jack Kemp.

The group urged district residents to ask Donnelly to vote for the extension that President Bush seeks and the Senate has passed.

An ironic aspect is that Donnelly and some other members of the moderate House Democratic group known as the Blue Dogs have called for an extension with the immunity the president wants for telecommunications firms facing possible suits for illegal intercepts.

Donnelly was one of only seven Democrats to vote last week to consider the Senate version. The effort failed. Now a compromise is sought between those who claim the immunity goal is a cover-up of Bush administration wrongdoing and those who contend the objective instead is profits for trial lawyers.

The Defense of Democracies president, Clifford May, issued a statement praising Donnelly “for his principled stand — for resisting political pressures and supporting the much-needed terrorist surveillance bill.”

Puckett certainly wasn’t ready to join in praise of the man he hopes to defeat. He said Donnelly “must make it clear to the public that it is his Democratic Party that is making us less safe.”


Puckett hits Donnelly on delayed terror act extension

February 27, 2008

from the South Bend Tribune (emphasis in the text below by DW):

by Nancy Sulok

Luke Puckett, a Republican candidate for 2nd District U.S. representative, said incumbent Joe Donnelly and other Democrats “will have a lot of questions to answer” about the failure to reauthorize an expiring law called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

FISA would allow the government to continue eavesdropping on suspected foreign terrorists.

The bill was reputed to have unanimous Republican support in the House after its passage in the U.S. Senate. Enough Democrats, including Donnelly, were expected to join the Republicans to approve a 21-day extension until a permanent extension could be negotiated.

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recessed the House for a week in mid-February without voting on the extension.

Republicans have latched onto the issue to accuse Democrats of selling out to the trial lawyers lobby. “The true reason for blocking the bill,” Robert D. Novak wrote in a Feb. 18 column in the Washington Post, “was Senate-backed retroactive immunity to protect from lawsuits private telecommunications firms asked to eavesdrop by the government.”

In a news release issued Tuesday, Puckett sought to paint Donnelly with the same brush as the other Democrats.

As Donnelly and the others return to Congress this week, Puckett said, they will have to answer questions “about risking America’s national security in an effort to provide a litigation frenzy for the same trial lawyers who have filled their campaign coffers.”

Puckett’s release quotes the Washington Post from Feb. 23 as saying some telecommunications companies have refused to cooperate with terrorism-related wiretapping orders since the bill expired.

Donnelly, part of group of moderate Democrats known as the Blue Dogs, actually was part of a Democratic minority in favor of extending the act. “I support updating and extending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,” Donnelly said in a statement responding to Puckett’s release. “On January 13, two days before the latest iteration of the FISA law lapsed, I voted for a 21-day extension of that same law. I stand ready to vote for another extension or a permanent new FISA law.”

He added that “Congress and the president must put aside partisan differences to resolve this matter as soon as possible.”

Despite Donnelly’s support of the act, a national organization known as Defense of Democracies has been running television ads in the South Bend market that single him out.

Brian Wise, director of media relations for Defense of Democracies, said Donnelly is one of 15 congressmen in 17 different media markets targeted by the 30-second ad. Locally, it urges constituents to contact Donnelly and ask him to use his influence to bring the matter to a vote.

Wise said the ad is not anti-Donnelly. He acknowledged that Donnelly would have voted to stay in session until the FISA matter was resolved, and said, “to be honest, that’s the kind of support this bill needs.” Now the Granger Democrat needs to put pressure on the House leadership to have a vote as soon as possible, Wise said. Every day that passes, he said, is more lost information the government could be gathering about potential terrorism in our country.