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Non-Nuclear Fallout

Winners, losers, and more: The aftermath of a sell-out.

12:00 AM, May 26, 2005 • By HUGH HEWITT
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The National Republican Senatorial Committee finds itself receiving returned fundraising appeals with "not a dime more" scrawled on their letters. The brainchild of blogger Ed Morrissey, "not a dime more" conveys the refusal to send money to an organization pledged to the reelection efforts of Chaffee and Maine's Olympia Snowe. Of course cutting off the NRSC hurts all incumbents, but principled senators like Pennsylvania's Rick Santorum and Missouri's Jim Talent can go directly to donors via the web. It's the weak horses that like to fundraise as a field.

ON THE PRESIDENTIAL FRONT, it wasn't only McCain who lost big with the deal. So did Senator Bill Frist, at least for the moment, as legitimate questions are being raised about his ability to run the country when he cannot even corral his own caucus. Nebraska's Chuck Hagel contributed to the collapse of the caucus with his reprise of Hamlet on every Sunday show that would have him. Winners include Virginia's George Allen and Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney.

One big winner who has repeatedly, and convincingly, argued for a return to the constitutional process, and who did so from the impressive high ground of having beaten Tom Daschle on the issue, was John Thune. Though Thune's age works against him, he ought to establish the sort of PAC that usually precedes a presidential run, as the fans of candor, honor, purpose, and effectiveness would love to see a spokesman emerge from the new generation of senators elected in 2002 and 2004.

Meanwhile, Harry Reid sees the ball very high in the air, and is planning to bring all he and the left can bring when the president nominates Judge Luttig, McConnell, or Roberts to the Supreme Court. Seven Republicans gave away their party's advantage. Let's hope they don't try to help out again.

Hugh Hewitt is the host of a nationally syndicated radio show, and author most recently of Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That is Changing Your World. His daily blog can be found at