Heard on the Hill: This Campaign Supporter Doesn’t Sleep. He Waits.

Posted October 8, 2008 at 6:29pm

Rep. Don Young on Monday landed the dubious distinction of being named by Roll Call as the most vulnerable Member of Congress in the upcoming elections — not exactly the sort of honor one wants before a big battle at the ballot box.

[IMGCAP(1)]But things are looking up for the Alaska Republican, as he has an ally in America’s favorite roundhouse-kicking, karate-chopping, smackdown-laying action hero.

As the saying goes, America is not a democracy. It’s a Chucktatorship.

In an opinion piece published Oct. 6 on the conservative Web site WorldNet Daily, actor/martial arts legend Chuck Norris writes about the “economically rotten” Wall Street bailout, saying it shows that “Congress doesn’t need another bailout, but a roundhouse kick right out the door.”

“Vote them out in November by voting for new blood that has a track record of fiscal prudence,” Norris writes.

But Norris also praises Young, who voted against the measure “despite that the tax break for Alaskan fishermen was inserted to sway him to bite at the bailout.”

“Rep. Young is correct, when he writes to his constituents … [that] this bill is nothing more than a slippery slope to Socialism,” Norris continues.

The action star also praises Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, writing that when the Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), named her as his pick for vice president, he “finally gained my respect and vote.”

“One thing is apparent: Alaska can produce some great Americans,” Norris writes.

On a related note, another embattled Alaskan — Sen. Ted Stevens (R) — apparently wants to create a whole list of his own Chuck Norris-like facts. Take, for example, the title of an Oct. 3 press release: “Senator Stevens Does More after 5 p.m. than a Rookie Senator Could in a Year.”

Sure, but can he count to infinity? Chuck Norris has — twice.

Nights in Red Flannel. Recognize the folksy voice narrating the new campaign ad for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)? If you’re like the rest of us, probably not, since the voice belongs to a musical legend whose guitar stylings are better-known than his baritone.

That would be soul legend and Tennessean Steve Cropper, the guitarist and songwriter whose hits include co-writing with Otis Redding “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay” and “In the Midnight Hour” with Wilson Pickett. An Alexander spokeswoman says Cropper is a supporter of the Tennessee Senator and did the voiceover gratis.

Alexander “looks you in the eye, listens more than he talks and tries to do something good every day,” Cropper drawls in the ad.

HOH is also loving the graphic the campaign is using on its literature, which features the word “Lamar” superimposed over a red-and-black plaid background, in honor of the Senator’s signature plaid shirt, like the one he wore on his cross-state walk in the 1978 gubernatorial race.

Dead men don’t wear plaid, but apparently Senators do.

The Tweet Goes On … and On. More than three dozen tech-savvy Members are now regular users of Twitter, the popular micro-blogging network that allows users to send live, first-person updates on the most mundane of their daily happenings to friends and (for Members, anyway) supporters.

With so many Members Twittering these days, it can be hard to keep track of everybody.

Enter the Sunlight Foundation, which launched its “Capitol Tweet” widget this week, which refreshes every 10 minutes with Members’ latest Twitter updates.

Not only does the widget consolidate all Member posts in one place, it allows folks who aren’t signed up for Twitter to see the updates, foundation spokeswoman Gabriela Schneider told HOH. The widget also can be posted to blogs or other sites, she said.

“It’s direct communication with constituents. If you’re using Twitter, you can do it from your phone or from everywhere,” said John Wonderlich, the foundation’s program director. “It’s authentic communication, especially when it’s Members themselves.”

So now no one has to miss the latest, most fascinating updates from Members, such as a dispatch from Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), who complained in a post this week about getting stuck in traffic.

Up until the end of the Congressional session, it actually was against House rules to use popular third-party Web sites such as Twitter, Facebook and even YouTube. But just before breaking for recess, Congress moved to relax its franking rules to let Members use the sites, so long as they follow House rules (Members can’t use Twitter to ask for campaign contributions, for example).

With those changes, Wonderlich expects even more Congressional Twitterbugs to emerge.

“Their first reaction is skepticism,” Wonderlich said of Members. “And really quickly, that gives way to addiction.”

Disclosing the Disclosure. The mystery surrounding an odd entry in Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s financial disclosure form has been solved. HOH reported last week that the Texas Democrat reported holding $1,000-$15,000 of “Brannon Stock,” although a note in the handwritten entry cautions that the “company may not exist.”

HOH wondered why one would invest in a possibly nonexistent company (we’re no financial whizzes, but even we know there’s not a lot of money in those). Jackson Lee’s people finally answered our questions, telling us the company dissolved some time in 2007 and that since she wasn’t sure what the status of the company was, she added the note.

And it wasn’t such a good investment, her chief of staff, Leon Buck, tells HOH: Jackson Lee lost $1,000 in the deal and the dividends were like the company itself — nonexistent.

Lieberman’s Lament. Sen. Joe Lieberman apparently has a lot on his mind, and maybe a few regrets. The Connecticut Independent Democrat and former vice presidential candidate has been taking heat from Democrats for his full-throated support of Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain’s presidential bid.

While appearing on MSNBC on Wednesday, anchor Andrea Mitchell wished Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew, a happy holiday, in honor of today’s Yom Kippur observances. “Thank you, Andrea. I wish you the same,” he replied. “Lord knows I have a lot to repent for.”

Which left us wondering just what were all those misdeeds Lieberman would have to repent for. But, alas, Mitchell wasn’t about to find out for us. “I’m not going there, Senator,” she responded. “That’s between you and your maker.”

Shira Toeplitz contributed to this report.

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