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"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

You can run but you can't hide.

At least one Republican senator is having trouble even ditching the money that he got from Jack Abramoff. Senator Conrad Burns of Montana tried to give $110,000 to a Native American council and it was refused on the basis of being dirty money. And he just keeps running into trouble at home.

Every chance they get, the Democrats accuse Burns of being at the epicenter of a GOP "culture of corruption." Recent polls show that his two leading Democratic challengers may be gaining on him. Newspaper editorials have been critical, with the Missoulian calling Burns the "perfect candidate" to help the Democrats win his seat. And Burns finds himself dismissing speculation he will step aside in favor of a more popular Republican.
The Democrats already hold the governorship in this historically Republican-leaning state and are salivating over the chance to pick up a Senate seat and help break the GOP's 55-45 control of the chamber. Among Senate Republicans, only Pennsylvania's Rick Santorum is more vulnerable than Burns, some observers say.

"Burns is front and center in the Abramoff scandal, and I don't think you are going to see this race drop off anyone's radar screen until he is out," said state Democratic Party spokesman Matt McKenna.
Burns, who turns 71 next week and has token primary opposition, has positioned himself closely to the president and sits on the influential Senate Appropriations Committee. Over the years, he has pushed for airline pilots to carry guns, supported more oil drilling and held sway over Western land issues and the National Park Service.

So, a possible change in the membership of the Senate Appropriations Committee, a change in the balance of power in the Senate, and the potential loss of Rick Santorum. I think the sun is gonna shine again next winter.

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