Saturday, November 17, 2007

Clinton Wins Debate in Nevada

Thursday night, Hillary Clinton ended talk of vulnerability by turning in a strong performance in the debate held at UNLV. She was on point, cogent, and struck back hard at Edwards and Obama.

Reaction:

David Yepsen (Yes- even Yepsen is coming around...)
That's Why the Lady is a Champ DMR

Quotes:
"Give Thursday's debate to Hillary Clinton...John Edwards should have stayed home."

Clinton Sparkles Guardian

Barack Obama had one his more embarrasing moments of the campaign by seeming unable to answer clearly a question on-get this- drivers' licenses for illegal immigrants.

The best exchange of the night was when Campbell Brown accused Clinton of "playing the gender card." Clinton fought back with:

"They're not attacking me because I'm a woman. They're attacking me because I'm ahead."

Great line from the person who still must be considered the Democratic frontrunner.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Senate Roundup: 2008

This week, Charlie Cook, at the Cook Political Report, changed his ranking of the Virginia Senate race to "Likely Dem Takeover." Virginia is the Senate seat that is most likely to change from red to blue in 2008. But there are many other possibilities. Personally, I don't think that the map justifies a lot of optimism about reaching a filibuster-proof majority (60 seats) in '08. but I do think that there is a good chance to reach 55 - 57. Bearing in mind that pre-2006, Democrats held 45 seats in the Senate this is a good situation for our party. Update on other possibilities:

New Hampshire: With former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen in the race, this is definately our second best pickup opportunity. She is leading Sen. John Sununu by double digits in most polls. This is not a good situation for an incumbent. Sununu was never a particularly good fit for New Hampshire, and I was somewhat surprised when he defeated Shaheen in 2002. That year was a disaster for Democrats and it is doubtful he would have won any other time. Since '02, John Kerry won NH, which turned out to presage a romp for Dems in the Granite state in 2006. Both GOP congressmen were defeated by relatively unknown Democrats. There were shifts in the state legislature, too. Point is: Sununu's state has gone blue on him, and he's likely toast.

New Mexico: If Bill Richardson loses the presidential nomination, a virtual certainty, he will have a choice to make. He can file to run for the vacancy created by the retirement of scandal-plagued longtime Sen. Pete Domenici or return to Sante Fe and wait on a call for a possible VP run. If he runs for Senate, this is a Dem pickup. If not, it's even at best. Both Cong. Heather Wilson and Cong. Steven Pearce are running for the GOP nod. The picture on the Dem side is less clear.

Nebraska: If Bob Kerry runs to reclaim his old seat, this will be a clash of titans between he and Agriculture Sec. Johanns. If Kerry declines to run, this seat will likely remain in the GOP column.

Colorado: Sen. Allard is retiring. The Democrat running, Cong. Mark Udall, is a slight favorite, and a victory by him would give Colorado two Democratic Senators for the first time Ben Nighthorse Campbell changed parties. Cong. Bob Shaffer is a conservative Republican who is a little behind Udall now. While this race is far from a done deal, having the Democratic convention in his backyard is not good news for Shaffer. If 2008 is a blue wave, Shaffer will likely be a casualty. For now, though, the outcome of this race is not certain.

Oregon: GOP Sen. Gordon Smith isn't the most conservative Republican in the Senate, but he is still an odd choice for Oregon. It's not too late for the DSCC to recruit a top-tier challenger, because currently announced Dem Jeff Merkely isn't of the ilk that will oust a two term Senator. This will be a lost opportunity if there is not an emergency recruitment intervention.

Minnesota: MN is the rare state that gave Democrats a better margin in 2004 than in 2000. Norm Coleman, the incumbent Republican, is an Iraq war supporter who won in 2002 because Sen. Wellstone was killed in an airplane crash and his funeral was offensive to a lot of swing voters. It was an aggressively partisan service, and Coleman narrowly bested emergency fill in former VP Walter Mondale. Mike Ceresi and Al Franken (yes, that Al Franken) are running better than expected campaigns, but I think that there must be better candidates in Minnesota who could take on Coleman. But, hey, on the other hand, this is the state that elected Jesse Venture. Maybe Franken would be a good fit...

Maine: If Cong. Tom Allen can successfully make this race about Iraq and George Bush, he will beat Susan Collins in a repeat of last year's Rhode Island race. Maine is a pretty blue state, but Collins in popular. Even though she pledged to serve only two terms, she will walk to a third term if Allen can't tie her to the war and the President.

Alaska: Ted Stevens is old and crooked. His house in Alaska was raided recently by the FBI. He used to be almost automatically reelected, but the dynamic has changed for this race. If Stevens runs, this will be a very competitive race. Democrat Ethan Berkowitz seems to be a stellar candidate. If Stevens retires, that actually helps the GOP keep the seat.

Louisiana: Bobby Jindal was elected governor tonight, avoiding a runoff and winning in what, pre-Katrina, were Democratic areas (Orleans parish e.g.). Mary Landrieu is in trouble. This could be our one loss in Senate races in 2008. It's not Landrieu's fault: she has been a decent Senator. The demographics of Louisiana changed in one week. As substantial out-migration due to the hurricane took place, so went a large portion of Landrieu's base. She can still pull it out- her GOP challenger, John Kennedy, was a Democrat until a few months ago. But this will be a tough race.

It's a good map for Democrats. However, we need some recruitment help in Oregon and Minnesota. Tom Allen must start now to tie Susan Collins to the war. Large amounts of money need to be budgeted by the DSCC for Colorado and Louisiana particularly. We are mostly playing offense, and that's a good indicator. We could realistically be looking at a 5 or 6 seat pickup.

The Friday Line - Senate race ranking from Cilizza at the Washington Post- 10/19/07

Gordon Talks Retirement: 2009 Is It?

You heard it here first. I have predicted for some time now that Jeff Gordon would not join the ranks of Ricky Rudd and Dale Jarrett and compete long after he is competitive. Validation of this theory came today from Gordon himself who says that when the Dupont sponsorship of the 24 team is over in 2010, he might be done too. ESPN.com

Much as I am not a Gordon fan, the truth is that unlike his teammate in the 48 car, Gordon oozes natural instinct and talent behind the wheel of a stockcar. He is destined to be one of the greats in the annals of NASCAR. Whether or not those of us who routinely root against him like it or not is irrelevant.

Fighting words: "Well, it's a situation and I normally would keep my mouth shut on this, but I just have a hard time doing it today. You can have your father buy your ride and write DEI a big check, but you can't buy talent."
--Tony Stewart on Paul Menard. (He's right...except for the normally keeping his mouth shut part...)


Tony Raines (?), Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, and Kurt Busch were the top five in final practice at Martinsville.


The Subway 500 starts at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Jindal Wins In Louisiana

Bobby Jindal has won the gubernatorial election in Louisiana, according to WWLT-TV. With 81% reporting, he has 53%, enough to avoid a December runoff.

Democrats should not generally be discouraged. As recent as a few weeks ago, Jindal was forecast to win by much more. And the fact that Democrats nearly forced a runoff with this incredibly popular Congressman in post-Katrina Louisiana is a big deal.

Sen. Landrieu should be somewhat concerned. A 60% win by Jindal would have been cause for panic among Landrieu's camp. This is not the panic zone, but the demographic shift in Louisiana as a result of Katrina is writ large in these results. Jindal even narrowly won Orleans parish.

WWLT-TV results
Live, Interactive Results Map

Trivia: In fact, maybe we should not be too discouraged by Jindal's victory. Since LA elections take place in odd-numbered years, they are frequently looked at as harbingers for the next year's general election. Here's some of the track record since LA became a competitve state:

1987: Democrat Roemer wins; 1988: Republican Bush elected President
1995: Republican Foster wins; 1996: Democrat Clinton reelected
2003: Democrat Babineaux-Blanco wins; Republican Bush reelected

Take heart.

Huckabee Wins Straw Poll

More on Huckabee later. He has, as of today, become a big enough story to write about. He was governor here for 10 years, and I confidently believe that he would not be a good President. Even with inheriting most of Brownback's support, I don't think he is a real threat to win the GOP nomination, but he must be on Romney and Guiliani's short lists for VP. I will have more on the Huckabee record later...

The Story Today is Huckabee (David Brody / CBN) - The Evangelical propoganda machine is out in full force for Huckabee. This is an example.

Guiliani Hits Speedbump with Evangelicals

The Family Research Council is meeting this weekend in Washington. A cattle call of Republican candidates are speaking over two days, and they are conducting a straw poll, widely expected to be won by Mike Huckabee. Surprising to many is not that Guiliani is not well-liked among this group but the level of vitriol aimed at his candidacy. I watched Tony Perkins, the head of the group, bluntly state last night on CNN that he would vote for a third party candidate before voting for Guiliani, a sentiment expressed by many of the conference's attendees.

More from MyDD

UPDATE: (4:00 pm) Huckabee wins FRC's straw poll with 51%.