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By Charles Lam
Since then, Calvert seems to have steered clear of heroin-addled streetwalkers, but he hasn't exactly kept out of trouble. Last year, the FBI investigated Calvert for steering federal transportation funding to an area where he owned several properties, resulting in a 79 percent increase in the value of his land near March Air Reserve Base. He was never charged. He also wasn't charged in the most famous lobbying scandal in recent memory, ?the one that engulfed his Republican colleague Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who resigned from Congress in 2005 after pleading guilty to accepting at least $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors. Calvert had traveled to Saudi Arabia the previous year in a lobbying junket tied to the scandal, with both Cunningham and co-conspirator Thomas Kontogiannis.
Speaking of defense, Calvert, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, is one of Bush's most steadfast defenders, especially when it comes to the war in Iraq. During the recent debate on Capitol Hill about the wisdom of increasing troop levels in Iraq, Calvert showed his sober, measured leadership style: ""We are in this war," he said. "We must win. . . . An enemy encouraged by a retreat in Iraq will be close at our heels. . . . I do not doubt that if given the chance, our enemies would come into this chamber tonight and kill us all."
VOTED IN FAVOR OF WAR: Yes
VOTED TO FUND THE WAR: Yes
WHERE HE STANDS NOW: Calvert did not respond to several interview requests.
8) DIANNE FEINSTEIN
On the war in Iraq, California's senior senator (Feinstein has served since November 1992), like most of her Democratic colleagues, has angered many liberals by not being against the war strongly enough and many conservatives for simply being a Democrat. Her position can be summarized as being deferent to the commander in chief's policies, while tut-tutting about his tactics.
Like many of her fellow centrist Democrats, ever-mindful of the realities of pragmatic politics, she has held that Bush needs to be given the resources he demands in order to fight this war that few of them agree with. To be fair, if Colin Powell walks into your meeting at the United Nations Security Council and indicates that the country might have a pressing national-security problem, do you hear him out, or immediately call bullshit?
Indicating her dismay at the attacks on Petraeus' September report on the state of affairs in Iraq, she split with fellow California Senator Barbara Boxer by voting for the Cornyn Amendment of House Resolution 1585, which essentially condemned anyone who cast aspersions on the general's character. In May 2007, Feinstein voted for an Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill that continued to fund the Iraq occupation without establishing firm timetables for withdrawal. "I am deeply disappointed that this bill fails to hold the president accountable for his administration's flawed Iraq War policy," Feinstein said. "The American people have made their voices clear that there must be an exit strategy for Iraq. Yet this president continues to stubbornly adhere to more of the same." So . . . the president is running wild, but we still have to give him his green?
VOTED IN FAVOR OF WAR: Yes
VOTED TO FUND THE WAR: Yes, without timetables
WHERE SHE STANDS NOW: Feinstein's office did not respond to requests for comment.
9) BARBARA BOXER
The slogan for her 1982 campaign for the House of Representatives was "Barbara Boxer Gives a Damn," and in the 25 years since, she has proven that when it comes to the progressive agenda, she certainly does. The legislation that she has championed during her tenure reads like a litany of the issues that give conservatives the most headaches: a woman's right to choose, the fight against global climate change and the intense scrutiny of the military budget.
During Condoleezza Rice's appearance earlier this year before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to campaign for Bush's plan to increase troop numbers in Iraq, Boxer asked, "Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a price, as I understand it, within immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families." White House spokesman (and apparent feminist-theory expert) Tony Snow called Boxer's highlighting of Rice's lack of offspring "a great leap backwards for feminism," sidestepping the substance of her point.
As a senator, Boxer has been one of the most outspoken critics of the Bush administration's policies in Iraq, even before that stance became popular. Recently, she was one of 25 senators to vote against the highly contentious Cornyn Amendment. In May, she was one of only 14 senators to vote no on House Resolution 2206, which would have provided Bush with more money to fund the war without imposing a timetable for its eventual completion. Earlier last month, Boxer said, "The president took 20 minutes in his speech last night to say one thing: He's staying the course in Iraq. The president got us into a war while being clueless about how he would end it. It is up to Congress to keep pressing to end this war and, if we don't have the votes, to make it a huge issue in the 2008 elections." Oh, c'mon, Senator, don't be afraid to tell us your real feelings.