I am currently in Frankfurt and am working for the HSFK here. I am doing research on decision making in regard to defense affairs in the USA after the end of the Cold War. As part of this work I have to read a lot of biographies of Senators, because of that I stumble over interesting tidbits on American politics every once in a while. I will take advantage of this and post them here. Have fun.
- In the USA (all except three states currently) the governor names a replacement Senator in case the incumbent retires or dies. Thus, when Senator Frank Murkowski retired the Governor of Alaska named a new Senator. The only problem with this, the new governor was good ol' Frank and the new Senator his daughter, Lisa Murkowski.
- Apparently (this was new to me) there is a clause somewhere that says that any (1) senator can block any law anonymously (yes, you read that correctly). When Barrack Obama and Tom Coburn introduced The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (nomen est omen in regard to the content of this bill: "with an easily searchable database of the name and amount of every federal grant, contract or award of $25,000 or more") exactly this happened. By now it has been uncovered that Ted Stevens (Alaska again) is the culprit here. Can't really see anything less obvious you could do - short of admitting - to make everyone aware of what kind of politician you are.
- I kind of like McCain, his hero story is just too good, and I don't judge extramarital affairs either, but dumping his wife after he came back from the war because she "she had become 4 inches shorter, gained weight, and had to use crutches to walk" (because of some kind of sickness) seems so heartless to me, it is incredible.
- Don't we all love our hypocritical right wing Christians. I personally, am a big fan. Tim Hutchinson in his time in the Senate was a winner of the Christian Coalition’s Friend of the Family award, he also is a baptist preacher and was one of the leaders on the Christian right in the Republican party. Good thing then that he divorced his wife of 29 years in order to copulate with his congressional aide. I am sure Archangel Michael (or was it Gabriel?) will account for his missionary attempts when measuring his sins on judgement day.
- Joe Lieberman I never liked but I found out that he went down to Mississippi for several weeks in 1963 in order to help African-American register to vote. That impressed me, white people, black people, purple people, whoever tried that back then stood a good chance of returning to the North in a casket.
- And a quote from Max Cleland an Ex-Senator from Arkansas and Vietnam Veteran:
"The president has declared 'major combat over' and sent a message to every terrorist, 'Bring them on.' As a result, he has lost more people in his war than his father did in his and there is no end in sight [...] Welcome to Vietnam, Mr. President. Sorry you didn't go when you had the chance."
- Finally, if you want to check out some of the most intriguing story lines of Congress in 2006, check out this and if you are as surprised at the existence of a White Panther Party as I was, read up on it