Ben Buchwalter

Dodd Challenger Alpert on Immoral Pols, Term Limits, & Linda McMahon
February 1, 2010, 11:25 pm
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As it became increasingly clear that Conn. Senator Chris Dodd was not a viable candidate to hold on to his seat in 2010, speculation began to swirl about which Democrats would rise to pick up the banner. The media discussed Dick Blumental and Ned Lamont, but continually left out Merrick Alpert, who launched his primary challenge to Dodd long before Dodd tanked in the polls. I called Alpert to talk about his realistic chances, immoral politicians, and of course, former WWE CEO Linda McMahon, one of the leading Republican candidates. Here’s an excerpt of the interview:

MJ: Which Republican candidate would you most like to face in 2010?

MA: I’d be happy to go after any of them. They’re taking turns seeing who can be further right. They stand up saying Afghanistan is a good idea and health care reform is a bad idea. As far as I’m concerned, you can pair them all together and I’ll run against them all.

I would have told you 2 months ago that former congressman Rob Simmons would be the nominee, but Linda McMahon is spending such an obscene amount of money. Whether you’re trying to buy an election with your own money or with money from special interests, you’re trying to buy an election. Whoever wins that cage match, I’m happy to take on.

After Dodd decided to resign, I spoke with Alpert again about how this changed the race. I half-expected him to go after Blumenthal, who already showed a huge advantage over all other candidates. But here’s an excerpt of what he said:

But instead of going after Blumenthal, Alpert, a lifelong Democrat who worked for Bill Clinton and Al Gore, was eager to add to his list of McMahon criticisms, saying “she’s bad medicine for Connecticut.” In between brief exchanges with supporters during his 5-day, 90-mile walk through Connecticut, he said over the sound of car honks that McMahon “is as phony as the place that she made her money. In none of her ads does she ever mention world wrestling. You would think that she and her husband owned a deli when in fact they made a fortune on lingerie wrestling matches. I’m not looking to explain that to my kids.”


The Daily Muck
November 17, 2009, 12:34 am
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Also during my stint at TPM, I wrote a daily rundown — The Daily Muck — of the smaller scaldals across the country that either weren’t being picked up by the national media or did not warrent a whole blog post. Each day, I would scan news aggregators and local newspapers to find some of the more unique or notable stories that tied in to the larger narrative of TPMmuckraker. Read The Daily Muck page to see some examples.

Pennsylvania Freakout
May 3, 2009, 2:01 pm
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I just saw on Roll Call that Tom Ridge might challenge Pat Toomey in the 2010 Republican primary. I was pretty surprised to see that because Ridge — a pro-choice moderate — would have the same problem in the GOP primary as Arlen Specter did. And the most recent poll showed Specter fourteen points behind Toomey. But Republicans would be smart to ditch Toomey for Ridge, who would actually have a fighting chance in the general election, whether its against Specter or a real Democrat.

Either way, the Pennsylvania 2010 primaries and general election clusterf**k are going to be fun to watch. In the best case scenario, we’ll have Specter vs. a real Democrat (Sestak, Murphy, Schwartz) on the Dem side and Toomey v. Ridge on the GOP side. Meanwhile, Obama, Biden and Rendell have all said that they will help campaign and raise money for former Republican Specter, and top conservatives have been telling news organizations all week that they would have supported Toomey in the primary because Specter was too liberal for their tastes.

To quote Jeffrey Toobin in response to the announement that David Souter will retire from the Supreme Court, this is like the “nerd superbowl.

Union Day is Coming!
March 22, 2009, 8:23 pm
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Did you know that six states dedicate a whole month (April) to Confederate History? And did you know that of the plurality of southern states that celebrate Confederate Memorial Day, two – Texas and Arkansas – celebrate it on January 19, also known as Martin Luther King Jr. Day? If you knew this, then it probably disgusted you. If not, then you probably just learned, and are disgusted.

I read in the Tribune today that a movement is fomenting in the South to extend Confederate Memorial Day in time for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in 2011.

These people want to set the record straight. They weren’t all bad! Take it from a credible source: commander in chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Charles McMichael. McMichael worries that “the Confederacy has gotten a bad rap because we ended up on the losing side and therefore the wrong side of history.”

NOPE! You didn’t get a bad rap because you lost. You got a bad rap because your side happened to fight for slavery under the guise of states rights. The bad reputation of the Confederacy is very well deserved.

This got me thinking. Why don’t we normal freedom-loving Americans celebrate the end of the Civil War? Consider this an official call to mark April 9, the day General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox,  as Union Day.

Earth Day 2
March 22, 2009, 3:48 pm
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This is just to say…
March 4, 2009, 9:26 pm
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That I am still going to post on this blog. But since I am working at a blog all day now, I will definitely not post as frequently. Keep checking in, though. I’ll try to write at least a few times a week.

For now, check me out at TPMmuckraker.

February 23, 2009, 12:35 pm
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Cool New Yorker article about Rahm Emanuel. 

Did you know that only seven Presidents have had Chiefs of Staff? Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama.