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%.

Obama's Donors Nervous About Prospects

Politico.com with a very interesting piece today...


An interesting observation from the article:



When Obama's top fundraisers gathered for a national finance committee meeting in Iowa at the beginning of October, “The elephant in the room was, ‘What are we going to do, the polls, the polls, the polls,’” said one donor who was there, adding that Obama and his aides soothed the crowd with a focus on Iowa.


Iowa- where Obama is running second, at best.


Obama's top donors are very nervous about Hillary Clinton's upward movement in the polls. Recently, Obama has either plateaued or been frozen.



Pollster.com chart:



Martinsville Picks

Martinsville is my least favorite race track on the Cup circuit. Why there are two races at Mville (and a chase race to boot!) is beyond me...It is like watching a merry-go-round for hours....

My picks, if I must. I won't be watching...

Winner

24 - Gordon
48 - Johnson
5 - Kyle Busch
2 - Kurt Busch
07 - Bowyer
8 - Earnhardt
20 - Stewart
11 - Hamlin
29 - Harvick
19 - Sadler

New Clinton Ad: Trapdoor


Good ad....




Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cook Political Report: VA Sen. Seat Rated "Likely Dem"

Great news for Mark Warner and Democrats' efforts to expand their Senate majority...the pre-election year polls are uniformly pointing to a huge Warner advantage, and pre-eminent prognosticator Charlie Cook is now rating this seat to likely change over.

Cook Political Link


Also today, a new poll out from the Washington Post showing a 30+ point lead for Warner over both of his prospective GOP rivals, former Gov. Jim Gilmore and Cong. Tom Davis

from MyDD

House Voting Now on Override of SCHIP Veto

Results soon...

Live stream from CNN

Update: Looks like they will fall a few votes short of override at this point... (63% in favor of override right now, 2/3 required)

Update: Override fails. Not entirely unexpected, but an amazing show of party unity by the Democrats...only one votes against override, and two were absent. Also, in excess of 40 Republicans voted to override. Kudos to them.

Brownback Out


Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) has decided to end his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. RCP story


Brownback, a very conservative evangelical Senator, had hoped that his candidacy would catch fire among religious conservatives, but he had much of his thunder stolen by the former Governor of this state, Mike Huckabee. I am actually a little surprised that the reverse was not true. Brownback is much more conservative than Huckabee in reality, which is easily verified if anyone can get past Huckabee's soundbites and look at his tenure as Arkansas governor. Alas, Huckabee seems more personable and has performed well in debates. Further, I think that Brownback's surprisingly responsible stance on Iraq probably hurt him among doctrinaire conservatives.


In any event, Brownback is doing the responsible thing and ending his campaign. He wasn't going to win. There are several other candidates on both sides that should follow his lead.


Brownback has designs of the Kansas governorship in 2010.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wednesday NASCAR Roundup

With Johnson, Gordon, and Bowyer gathering such a huge lead on the rest of the Chase field, ESPN columnist Terry Blount explores possible solutions to keeping the Chase field closer. His column here.

Martinsville preview- Rusty Wallace

Two New Iowa Polls: Good news for Clinton

Outlier of not? Remains to be seen. Rasmussen today:

Iowa - Likely Dem Caucusgoers

Clinton 33
Edwards 22
Obama 21

Clinton leads even among younger voters in the poll, a deathknell to Obama's Iowa prospects if it plays out on caucus night.

Strategic Vision- a GOP outfit:

Clinton 28
Obama 23
Edwards 20

No internals immediately available.

That is four Iowa polls with Clinton in the lead with at least a five point spread on her rivals. Too close for comfort, but encouraging nonetheless.

Hastert to Resign This Year

Denny Hastert, who was Speaker for almost 10 years, has decided to call it quits...this year. Good riddance.

From Swing State

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

David Yepsen's Latest Jewel

David Yepsen from the Des Moines Register is developing a real reputation for being Obama's lapdog. He is a far cry from the Yepsen of past caucuses, who provided insights into the development of the campaigns in Iowa. Now, he seems to have made a career of Clinton bashing.


Hoping against hope, his latest column is wrought with one-sided analysis against Clinton. From today's DMR.


Some of my favorite parts of the column:


*In Iowa, Clinton leads the Democratic pack with 29 percent of the vote. That means 71 percent of the likely Democratic caucus-goers in the state want someone else to be their nominee, are undecided or have enough concerns about her not to commit.


True. But it also means that roughly 75 percent have decided that they want a nominee other than Obama, and roughly 80 percent want a nominee other than Edwards. These people have "enough concerns" about Edwards or Obama "not to commit."


*Of those Democrats who've decided on a preference, 53 percent say they could still be persuaded to change their minds. On the Republican side, it's 67 percent.


Of course that omits any reference by Yepsen to the analysis of the most recent Iowa poll from his own paper that indicates that Sen. Clinton's support is the strongest and least likely to change of any of the Democratic candidates.


*But early leads in national polls reflect only name recognition, and these two are well known. If others start winning, or beating expectations in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, those national surveys will shift overnight, thanks to the free media those candidates will receive.


Does any prospective Democratic Iowa caucus voter not know Obama or Edwards? Are they unfamiliar with Obama's "Edwards and Clinton voted for the war but I was against it" schtick? Do any of them not know that Edwards is now a screaming populist? The people of Iowa (bless their hearts) have endured nearly a year of incessant politicking. It seems to me to write off Hillary's Iowa support as coming from dunces who have picked her because they know her name is both incorrect and ungracious. Further, I think it is empirically disproven that Hillary's massive margin will be erased overnight if she loses in Iowa. As evidence, I offer the 1988 GOP caucuses, where George H. W. Bush lost to Bob Dole and then won out. I also offer the 1980 caucuses, where George Bush beat Ronald Reagan. This is not 2004, when we were faced with basically unknown candidates with the same message.


I suspect that Hillary Clinton is going to win the Democratic nomination for President. I don't know if she is going to win in Iowa or not. She seems to be a bit ahead, but not enought to confidently declare that a victory for Clinton is assured in these caucuses. But, I think that Yepsen's shoddy analysis does a disservice to his Iowa readers. The fact is Hillary could lose the Iowa caucuses and still win nearly every other primary with ease. What David Yepsen isn't telling is readers is that the converse is not true for Obama or Edwards. If they lose in Iowa, it is likely game over for them.

Two Polls Put Hillary at 50% or Greater

Gallup this time....

Clinton 50
Obama 21
Edwards 13

CNN too...

Clinton 51
Obama 21
Edwards 12

Remarkably consistent results.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Validation: Rothenberg Opines Edwards not More Electable

The money quote, from tomorrow's Real Clear Politics, which encapsulates what I have been saying about the relative lack of acquantence of voters with Edwards and Obama:
The former North Carolina Senator seems to think that his Southern accent and stories about his father's work in a textile mill and his mother's days as a letter carrier will ingratiate himself with moderate and conservative populists. But after Republicans hammer him for his expensive haircuts, huge home and liberal views, his appeal to swing and socially conservative voters will suffer. For now, Edwards' negatives aren't as high as Clinton's because he hasn't been a national target for more than a dozen years.
Exactly what I have been saying all year. Clinton has (only slightly) higher negatives because she has been the #1 target of the Republican filth machine for nearly two decades, and she is still standing tall. Edwards, Obama and the rest of the lot have not even begun to experience the scrutiny that these people will subject them to if they are nominated. We don't know if they can withstand it. Add into the the mix that Rothenberg presents above Edwards' involvement with hedge funds and forclosures of homes in New Orleans and I imagine that he would lose handily.

Cash on Hand: Democratic Primary

In spite of the fact that Drudge has been headlining Obama's $32M cash on hand figure for hours, Sen. Clinton has released her total in advance of the midnight deadline, and she actually leads by $3 million.

Time: Clinton Edges Obama In Cash on Hand

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Heartbreaker: Newman Spins on Way to Easy Victory; Gordon Gets Win By Default

From the What Should Have Been Dept:

Ryan Newman ran the quickest lap of the Bank of America 500 last night while leading with three laps to go, and then promptly hit the wall on the backstrait. In the heartbreak of the season for those of us who root for the 12 team, we are left to ask:

What happened? Apparently he blew a tire...damn the luck.

Jeff Gordon, who was essentially completely out of gas, sputtered across the finish line for his 81st career victory. Is anyone who is not a Hendrick fan even paying attention anymore? I am about ready to chalk this season up to a total loss and start to get ready for the Daytona 500, hoping for better results.

More:

CBS Sportsline
CNN/SI

Clinton Leads by 21 in NH

Another poll in New Hampshire, another Clinton lead. Marist University (NY) conducted this poll last week showing the Democratic frontrunner with 43 percent of the respondents choosing Clinton. Even more telling is that when considering the poll's internals, Clinton leads among all segments.

Results:

Clinton 43
Obama 21
Edwards 12
Richardson 8

On the Republican side, the race is much closer and up-for-grabs.

Romney 26
Guiliani 21
McCain 17
Thompson 10

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Clinton Opens Little Rock Office: First Step to Likely Arkansas Win

In a nod to her 12 years as First Lady of Arkansas, Sen. Clinton opened the first campaign office of any candidate in Arkansas on Thursday. A victory by Clinton in our Feb. 5 primary is not in doubt, as Sen. Clinton is remembered fondly by a vast majority of Arkansans. Her Little Rock roots, in particular, are deep. (Link: AP story)

Sen. Clinton has already been endorsed by Governor Mike Beebe. Neither John Kerry nor Al Gore won any southern states in their general election contests against George W. Bush. Sen. Clinton's popularity in Arkansas is another reason for Democrats to choose her to be our nominee: she would be the prohibitive favorite to win our six electoral votes. Arkansas is not a powerhouse in presidential elections, normally. But given the closeness of the last two elections, these six votes are important. It would also be a great victory for a Democrat to win some southern states. If Hillary is the nominee, Arkansas should be blue again. I think that she would also be very competitive in other southern states: Virginia, Florida, and Tennessee immediately come to mind.

Rasmussen (from 8/17): Clinton beats all GOP nominees in AR by a large margin.

Jeff Burton Wins Busch Event at Charlotte

One of my picks for a top-10 finish in tonight's Cup race, Jeff Burton (wikipedia) won last night's Dollar General 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. In what I hope to be a harbinger of tonight's results, Jimmie Johnson finished 32nd. JB is one of the most cool-headed, classy, and brightest drivers in any NASCAR series, and I always root for him. Congratulations to Jeff Burton for his dominating win at Charlotte.

DG300 Results from NASCAR.com

Friday, October 12, 2007

Charlotte picks

Winner: 24 - Mears

48 - Johnson
24 - Gordon
20 - Stewart
31 - Burton
12 - Newman
2 - Kurt Busch
1 - Truex
99 - Edwards
17 - Kenseth

That's my top 10...Casey Mears won his first Cup race in May in the Coke 600 at Lowe's. No reason to think he won't repeat.

Gore wins Nobel Peace Prize

Al Gore (wikipedia updated with Nobel entry) was today awared the Nobel Peace Prize for his brave work in raising awareness about global climate change. Vice-President Gore joined an elite group in winning the prize: earlier winners include Martin Luther King, Jimmy Carter, Mother Theresa, Linus Pauling, Nelson Mandela, and Lech Walesa. A copendium of the statements issued today congratulating the VP:

Bill Clinton: His tireless advocacy and his Academy Award-winning film have inspired countless people around the world to join the fight against climate change. I am thrilled by this well-deserved recognition and am grateful to the Nobel Committee for awarding the Peace Prize to him and to those doing ground-breaking work at the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Hillary Clinton: "There isn't anybody who deserves it more, for the work he's done for the last... 20 years or more on behalf of sounding the alarms in the world concerning global warming. "

Barack Obama: "By having the courage to challenge the skeptics in Washington and lead on the climate crisis facing our planet, Al Gore has advanced the cause of peace and richly deserves this reward."

John Edwards: "Congratulations to Al Gore. The Nobel Peace Prize rewards three decades of Vice President Gore's prescient and compelling -- and often lonely -- advocacy for the future of the Earth."

Joe Lieberman, Gore's 2000 running mate taking a rare opportunity to still sound like a Democrat: "Congratulations to Al Gore. The Nobel Peace Prize rewards three decades of Vice President Gore's prescient and compelling -- and often lonely -- advocacy for the future of the Earth."

President Bush (through spokesman): "[The President is] happy for Vice President Gore, happy for the International Panel on Climate Change scientists, who also shared the Peace Prize. Obviously it's an important recognition and we're sure the Vice President is thrilled."

Just for fun...

Rush Limbaugh had this tacky comment: "The Nobel committee rendered themselves a pure, 100 percent joke."

He is such a gracious man. Ha- anything that upsets him is wonderful news.

Congratulations to Vice-President Gore. He has shown himself to be a statesman in his crusade against climate change. He has made his nation proud.

Ex-Commander in Iraq: War is Nightmare

Words sure to shake up Washington: The war in a Iraq is a "nightmare with no end in sight." General Sanchez, who made these comments to military reporters today, commanded U.S. troops in Iraq from 2003 to 2004.

More:

“From a catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan, to the
administration’s latest surge strategy, this administration has failed to employ
and synchronize the political, economic and military power,” Sanchez said.

Yahoo! story
Stars and Stripes news

Statements like these, from military brass, might finally get the Republicans in Congress to join Democrats in ending this quagmire.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Newman is Polesitter for Lowe's Race



Ryan Newman put the #12 Alltel Dodge on the pole for Saturday night's Nextel Cup race in Charlotte.


This is his 42nd career pole in Nextel Cup, and his 7th at LMS.
Jimmie Johnson, a dominant yet somewhat prissy presence at Charlotte starts 2nd. Ho hum.




FOX News Poll: Clinton Up By 32

Confirmation of the ABC News poll from last week out today, from Opinion Dynamics / FOX:

Clinton 50
Obama 18
Edwards 11
Richardson 4

This eye-popping lead is continuing to be seen in myriad state polls, as well. From Quinnipiac yesterday: Hillary +27 in Pennsylvania, +34 in Florida, +28 in Ohio. She also leads the potential GOP nominees in each state. Again, directing our attention to the "Hillary is not electable" myth, she beats each of them in all three states. The other Democrats do not fare as well.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Electability: Clinton Ahead in Florida for General Election, Other Dems Fare Worse

So much for the electability argument. I posted a lengthy comment last week about the vitality of a Guiliani nomination in the Northeast. My thesis was that Clinton was the only Democrat, based on polling, that could retain the New York / New England Presidential base. Now, very similar numbers from Florida. These are SurveyUSA polls conducted 10/1. By far, Clinton is our most electable candidate in the Sunshine State.

Summary of Results Florida (follow link above for detailed results):

Clinton defeats Guiliani
Guiliani defeats Obama
Guiliani defeats Edwards

Clinton defeats Thompson
Thompson defeats Obama
Edwards defeats Thompson

Clinton defeats Romney
Romney defeats Obama
Edwards defeats Romney.


This electability argument is interesting. At first blush, it is easy to be compelled by the "Hillary-is-so-disliked-and-most-men-will-never-vote-for-her-and-she-could-never-win" mantra. The only problem with this tired framework is that it just isn't so. It is fine to be motivated by electability. I, too, was disheartened to see two great potential Presidents- Gore and Kerry- go down to defeat to a lackluster Republican candidate. But, if we are going to use electability as our paradigm for choosing a nominee (again, perfectly valid in my view) we should at least know the facts. The election is a long way off and a great deal could happen, but right now, based on the only evidence we have (polling) Hillary Clinton wins the electability debate hands down. There are some good reasons to believe that Edwards and Obama would underperform their already lackluster polling numbers in swing states.

The electoral college is the whole enchilada in presidential politics. If the Democrat loses NY (for example) in any given election, it is more or less a definate loss. Competitivness in Florida is icing on the cake at this point, but it is an electoral vote rich cake.

Post on Guiliani and Northeast

Hillary Wins First Primary

Sen. Clinton has won Michigan's January 15th primary by default. The other candidates have pulled out to protest the date, and the Senator has elected to stay in.

Open Left- Chris Bowers

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Gordon Wins at Talladega

As I predicted, Jeff Gordon won at Talladega. The first COT race at a restrictor plate race was, surprisingly, a lot like the ones in the old car. Fairly dicey crashes bookended by long green flag runs. The last few laps were exciting: the Penske cars were there at the end. But for a lot of flailing around by the 20 car of Tony Stewart, it could have been Newman and Busch in the first and second slots instead of Gordon and Johnson.

Standings - One thing is clear, unless Lowe's and Martinsville shake things up a bit, the champion will be either Johnson, Gordon, Bowyer, or Stewart. Ho-hum.

Des Moines Register: Clinton Leads in Iowa

Another bit of good polling news for candidate Clinton out today: the hometown Des Moines Register shows a substantial gain for her campaign since their last poll in May. Current numbers from DMR poll:

Clinton 29
Edwards 23
Obama 22

As I have noted before, Hillary Clinton's campaign is in a really good position: If she wins Iowa, it is all but over for her leading rivals. A strong showing, short of a win in Iowa, and her campaign can come barrelling into New Hampshire and February 5th still as the favorite for the nomination. A good hand to hold, to be sure.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Hillary Clinton Has Great Week: Anti-Clinton Media Recoils

I am beginning to understand what my right-wing friends and family members are forever griping about. This week, Hillary Clinton's very good September became clear for everyone to see: she outraised Obama by a fair amount, got the endorsement of an important teachers' group, and saw several polls from reputable polling organizations released which showed her with massive leads.

And then the knee-jerk Anti-Clintonites is the fourth estate start to chime in. It really is rediculous. A few examples:

On Drudge tonight, this headline: NYT SATURDAY: HILLARY HAS $$, BUT OBAMA HAS THE CROWDS IN IOWA... Thank you, New York Times, for running a story that everyone has heard over and over again. Why now? Interesting timing, to be sure.

I made the mistake of tuning into Hardball on MSNBC the other night, a practice I engage in only when in need of a splitting headache from Chris Matthews' incessant and obnoxious yelling. (Seriously, I think that he either has a hearing problem or some nervous disorder dealing with the volume of his voice.) Following are examples of some of the very impartial analysis from Matthews, the moderator:

*"If Hillary sits on her lead and doesn‘t say anything and simply has a smart operation, smug and smart, can she get blown away here?" Hmm..."smug" is always a word I choose when in need of a non-loaded and completely impartial adjective when on camera as a moderator.

*"Let me ask you about Hillary Clinton. She went on the Sunday talk shows, all five of them, made no news in five appearances." Speaking of smug...Actually, she did go on all five talk shows and made a lot of news...and received rave reviews. An inconvenient fact...

It did not help that David Yepsen was Matthews' guest. He is the Des Moines Register political pundit who is allegedly the go-to guy regarding Iowa politics. He was full of little gems like those of Matthews detailed above, but they aren't surprising or worth noting. Yepsen lost his credibility as an informed observer of the Iowa political scene when he began to carry Obama's water blatantly every time a camera is pointed at him. He looked discheveled and distracted on Wednesday night. I think his crush on Obama is starting to get to him.

Hardball transcript 10/3/07

And some of the Hillary critics are returning to the old electability saw, and as pre-refuted in this earlier post, have resorted to half-truths and distortions to make their case. In this piece on Real Clear Politics, Steven Stark (who?) penned this missive yesterday. It's title: Edwards, Not Hillary, is Dems' Best Chance. This is truly wonderful journalism. My favorite excerpt:

Clinton's problem is that, according to some polls, Rudy Giuliani is currently running even or only slightly behind her in New Jersey, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania - up-for-grabs states Clinton has to sweep in order to win. Given his current showing, it's likely Giuliani will win some of those contests in November 2008 and deny Clinton a majority.

Well written. It's also utter crap. Missouri hasn't voted for a Democrat since 1996, and is not a must-win for Dems. Ohio is the biggest swing state in the country. New Jersey and Pennsylvania are more and more blue all the time.

What Stark doesn't say is what I outlined in my post on the Northeast: Hillary is of ahead or even with Guiliani in the Northeast, but Obama and Edwards are well behind. People who twist facts to support a thesis are abhorrent.

The media should be impartial and truthful. I am amazed at the lengths media outlets will go to in order to change a narrative. That's the job of political operatives, not "reporters."

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Obama Quits Wearing Flag Pin

Barack Obama had this to say in a radio interview today:

"The truth is that right after 9/11 I had a pin...Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security."

These are the sorts of statements that should disqualify Obama as a nominee. How do you think that this is going to play in the "flyover" states? What will the Republican filth machine have to say about this if Obama wins the nomination? Every week, these dumb statements give the Republicans more fodder. And don't think that they're not paying attention, in case Hillary falters. It won't be pretty. He's just not ready...

Full Breitbart article
Post from 8/14: Barack Obama Must Be Defeated

The pollster.com chart for the Democratic presidential nomination.


Shows a trend...


Sen. Craig (Widestance - ID) Staying

In a stunning reversal, Larry Craig announced today that he intends to serve out his term in the Senate. Could be a (nother) drag on Republicans around the country.

A Minnesota judge today dismissed Craig's petition to withdraw his plea. This would have been the trigger that he earloer cited for his resignation.

Breitbart

Idaho Statesman - Hometown coverage

Talladega Picks

I put a lot of time and thought into my picks for Talladega for this weekend's race. That was probably a waste of time because what with this being the first restrictor plate COT race it should be a madhouse. Two possibilities: 1. The "big one" at Talladega could be several big ones as that ugly batwing on the back of the cars make the cars too tight to steer. 2. This could be the most boring Talladega race in NASCAR history. In any event, here are my picks:

1. 24 - Gordon to win- I saw Jeff Gordon win at Talladega in April. He's good there, sadly. It was a flip for me between Gordon, Johnson, and Stewart, as those three have the COT figured out.

2. 48 - Johnson - Winner in spring '06 and has a good average finish at Dega. See above re: COT.

3. 2 - Kurt Busch - not thought of as a great superspeedway racer, but his avg finish at this track is enviable. (10.2 with many, many top 10s)

4. 20 - Stewart - has won at Daytona several times. Strangely, never at Talladega. He could very well break that streak this Sunday.

5. 29 - Harvick - already won the Daytona 500 and finishes well at Talladega usually.

6. 8 - Earnhardt - once the undisputed master of the Alabama track, he has not won in a while here. However, he is a force to contend with whenever NASCAR comes to Dega.

7. 1 - Truex - had a sting of bad luck at superspeedways in his early races. His last two starts have been much better and he should be in the top ten.

8. 12 - Newman - has a 19.8 avg finish at T'dega but that statistic is skewed because of freshman and sophomore non-starter efforts. He has multiple recent top tens at Dega and Daytona.

And for the superspeedways-only picks:

9. 6 - Ragan - In three superspeedway starts, he has distinguished himself. He is the leading Roush car right now at Daytona and here.

10. 38 - Gilliland - I have never put him in a top 10 before but his 9.5 avg finish at Talladega is the best of all active drivers. His pole in the Daytona wasn't bad either... RYR engines at these tracks are a well-known powerhouse.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Red Northeast?: Guiliani as Nominee (Why Hillary Must Win)

See below (10/2/07) for an analysis of the absurdity of Rudy Guiliani's memo claiming that he is a lock for 210 electoral votes were he to be the GOP nominee, versus Hillary Clinton's lock on MA and VT in a hypothetical "subway series" Guiliani - Clinton matchup. So they claim. It's rediculous in a number of ways, outlined in that previous post.

However, there is a certain peril presented to the Democratic party if Guiliani is ultimately the GOP nominee. It is simple: certain states that are reliably blue will be in play if he is the GOP nominee and Hillary Clinton is not the Democratic nominee. Guiliani, a New Yorker, cuts into the Democratic base in New York / New England in a way that, for example, Mitt Romney from Massachusetts does not appear to do. If he were to be nominated, the electoral map and the strategy that the Democratic nominee would have to employ would be radically different from any recent election.

Look at New York. I believe strongly that in a head-to-head matchup, Hillary Clinton would win the home state she shares with Guiliani. All of the one year out (roughly) polling supports this. As evidence, I offer Quinnipac's NY poll released today. That poll asked the central question that I am exploring here. Answer: she beats Guiliani in NY by 11 points. Obama would tie Rudy. Edwards would lose NY to Guiliani. A Democrat cannot, by any reasonable calculus, win the Presidency having lost New York. Hillary Clinton is the only Democrat who can win NY against Republican Guiliani. (Also, see SUSA on this point. Recent poll, Clinton 22 points over Guiliani in New York. This survey is another example of Hillary winning New York against Rudy, while Obama and Edwards lose to him.) The 31 electoral votes that NY brings to the Democrats should not be lightly treated by those who would support another Democratic candidate.

New England, generally, follows the same trend as New York in this Clinton vs. Guiliani scenario. Massachusetts, the most populus state in the New England region, is not competitive if Romney is the Republican nominee. In spite of his one-term stint as governor of that commonweath, Romney loses handily to all potential Democratic nominees. (Example: yesterday's SUSA poll of MA likely voters. Obama vs. Romney: Obama wins handily, as do Clinton and Edwards.) But if Guiliani were the GOP nominee, the numbers change a bit. According to SUSA (the most recent polling data from MA), Clinton beats Guiliani by 24 points, which is roughly the norm for a Democratic presidential nominee in MA. With Edwards and Obama, a race against Guiliani are too close for comfort. The Obama and Edwards leads are not large enough to put Massachusetts' 12 crucial electoral votes in their pocket and move onto more traditional battlegrounds. Interestingly, this is a point where Guiliani's memo was correct. He is not competitive in Massachusetts against Hillary Clinton. He is competitive against the other two.

Connecticut offers the same scenario. Clinton and Guiliani are competitive-ish, but Clinton would probably win. Obama and Edwards would probably lose. Rhode Island is probably much the same, though polling is scarce. Polling data for a general election is equally scant in upper New England, but assuming that the same conundrum faces Democrats other than Hillary Clinton, the seven electoral votes held by those two states are electoral votes that I would like to see remain in the Democratic column. New Hampshire is an anomoly in the region. NH voted for Bill Clinton twice, Bush in 2000 and Kerry in 2004. It is a close purple state that both Republican and Democratic candidates are going to have to spend money to win, no matter who the nominees are.

The 61 electoral votes that New York and the New England states (excepting NH) reliably offer to the Democrats are crucial. Without them, neither Gore nor Kerry would have been close to the Presidency. We should consider the impact of a possible Guiliani nomination on these votes, and what we can do to keep them in our column.

The outcome of elections is often a function of resources. New York and Boston are incredibly expensive media markets. The less money a candidate has to spend there, the more they can spend (and get greater bang for their buck) in places like Denver and Cincinatti and Sarasota. Hillary would have the luxury of spending the money elsewhere, playing offense in previously red states, and winning some of them. The other Dems would have to play massive defense in the expensive Northeast markets, and would likely lose some or most of these states in the end. This would be a disaster.

President Bush's cruel and strange veto of the SCHIP bill today illustrates the immediate importance of a Democratic president. It amuses me that so many Democrats are concerned about electability, which is valid, but then use that point as an warrant for nominating Obama or Edwards. That line of argumentation flies in the face of reason or current facts on the ground. Regardless of whom the Republicans choose, I believe that Sen. Clinton is the best choice because of her principles, demonstrated leadership, proven record of winning by beating the Republican filth machine, and her electability. If someone other than Guiliani is nominated, maybe another Democratic candidate could win. It would be closer and messy. Hillary would be the best choice in that circumstance, as well. But, if Guiliani is the Republicans' standard bearer, only the Senator from New York can win that competition. Democrats who are concerned with electability should with that consideration very carefully when casting their primary ballots.

Talladega Preview

After the profoundly weird race at Kansas, NASCAR moves to Talladega, AL this weekend for the second of two races at the 2.66 mile-long oval. This will be the inaugural Car of Tomorrow superspeedway race, and it will be exciting.

ESPN preview

NASCAR: Busch Series Renamed

...and the winner is....Nationwide.

The insurance giant will sponsor the former Grand National series starting in '08. A lot of big adjustments for the average NASCAR fan to make next year.

Nationwide to Sponsor...

Clinton Opens Up Expansive Lead

Wow. The ABC/WaPo poll out today shows a marked improvement over Sen. Clinton previously very solid poll numbers. 33 points is an enormous margin, especially given the relatively strong field she faces as rivals. The nomination is not sewn up for Clinton (after all, no one has voted yet) but a moderate catastrophe would have to occur to get her into very serious trouble.


NH looks great, Iowa looks better now for her than it has in months. Three months is a long time in politics, but it speaks volumes that as the year has progressed, her lead has expanded. Also note that for the first time, her poll result is a majority of respondents, not a plurality. Being over 50% is a huge deal in a multi-candidate field. This result, coupled with Clinton's victory in the third quarter fundraising battle, is great news for the Senator's campaign.


ABC - POLL: Clinton Advances, Strong in Base; Giuliani’s Lead has Less Oomph
The Fix (WaPo) analysis

News Gets Worse For Senate Republicans

Domenici would have eked out a victory, in spite of his abysmal popularity ratings. Now, he's retiring too. Given the swingish nature of New Mexico, this race should be a toss up. Given the political climate, it might even be a "Democrat Favored" rated seat. In any event, another big, messy, expensive, ubercompetitive Senate seat is not what the cash-strapped RSCC wanted. This is the nightmare scenario for Republicans.

Wash Post link

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Rudy Guiliani is Delusional...

if he thinks that he would produce a landslide against Hillary Clinton. In a memo released today from his campaign, he is willing to give her MA and VT (plus 3 from DC).


Via My DD, this is Guiliani's "state of the race" map. I don't know who his pollsters are, but they are not worth what he is paying them. A few issues with this map, aside from obvious methodological flaws:
1. Hillary will carry Arkansas- no doubt in my mind.
2. Putting FL in the Guiliani column is silly. All recent demographic and election data show that it is a competitive state and getting more competitive.
3. CA is probably not up for grabs. The most recent poll I have seen shows a 20 point Clinton advantage over Guiliani.
4. While I believe that Guiliani would run stronger than, say, Mike Huckabee in the Northeast, I think that RI, CT, ME will definately be blue in '08. NH probably will be.
5. MN was the rare blue state that John Kerry carried with a larger margin than Al Gore. It will produce its electoral votes for Hillary, or whomever the Dem nominee is.
6. IL, a state I visited yesterday, is home turf for Hillary and is reliably a Dem state. No dice on that one either.
7. NY is the home state of both Clinton and Guiliani, but all the polling I have seen shows that Hillary is far ahead and would carry the state. Huge margins in Manhattan, coupled with the work she has done to make herself acceptable to moderate Republicans upstate will work in her favor.
8. NJ is a state that no Republican has carried since 1988. I doubt that Guiliani, neighbor to NJ that he is, would be especially competitive there.
9. Not all the mistakes are in Guiliani's favor. LA is a conservative state save New Orleans. With the demographic shift after Hurricane Katrina, it should be a GOP lock in a presidential. Curious that it is purple in Guiliani's rubric.
10. OR and WA are always close-ish in pre-election polling and end up being reliably blue when the returns are counted.
Just a few of the many issues presented by this poll. I still think that Guiliani is unlikely to be nominated. If he is, I think that it will be a tougher race than otherwise. I don't think it is a given that Sen. Clinton would beat him, although I do think that it's likely. This map / memo is absurd. Rudy Guiliani should fire his pollsters immediately.
Later in the week, I will be posting some general election analysis, focusing on the Northeast. The coasts are our base at this point. They are must wins. I personally believe that if Guiliani is nominated, Hillary must be the candidate of the Democratic party if we are to win next year. The truth is, this cockamamie map aside, that Guiliani would run stronger in the Northeast than most other Republicans. If Hillary lost the nomination, and Obama or Edwards were the nominee, NY, NJ, CT and several other "base" states would be perilous for Democrats. She runs stronger and will win these states where other Democratic candidates will lose them. I'll expound on that thesis in greater detail soon.

Hillary Wins Third Quarter Money Race

Today, the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton unveiled its 3Q fundraising totals. Her $27 million take-in was by far the largest of any candidate in either party.

Totals, early reporting:

Democrats
Clinton - 27M
Obama - 19M
Edwards - 7M (though a lot of this is useless, since he is taking matching funds, and is capped.)
Richardson - 5M

The GOP candidates have yet to release totals, but it is clear that the Democratic candidates are far outraising the Republicans.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Newt: Not Running; Clinton is "Formidable," 2004 Bush Campaign "Cheap"

Newt Gingrich is not running for President in 2008, he announced today.


Also, via RCP and YouTube, a telling interview with Newt in which he claims that Hillary is the "most effective candidate in the race." He disagrees with her views, but says that no one in the Republican race will beat her with "the kind of cheap and nasty campaign that beat John Kerry." Amen.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Bill Clinton: I was More Experienced than Barack Obama

Bill Clinton weighs his experience as Governor of this state before running for President against Sen. Obama. Interesting wrinkle in the experience debate, which Obama is likely to lose.

Bloomberg

Thursday, September 27, 2007

$$$ Links

Quarter end is here!

Donate to:

Hillary Clinton for President

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

John Edwards Suffers Major Setback


After a summer of bad headlines for Sen. Edwards, including haircuts that cost more than a car payment and the hedge fund foreclosures, the most tangible setback of his campaign occurred today: he is going on the dole--taking public money for his campaign.


Clinton and Obama have eschewed public financing because they can raise more money without it and can spend whatever they want in the early primary states. Edwards had previously said that he would also opt to forgo federal matching funds. This reversal represents a reversal of fortune for the Edwards campaign: it doesn't take much reading between the lines to realize that he is saying that he just can't compete against Sens. Clinton and Obama.


John Edwards thought that he could make it a two-person race against Hillary. He didn't count on the strength and fundraising prowess of Barack Obama. I am no Obama fan but it is clear that when it comes to money, he and Hillary Clinton are in a league beyond Edwards.


Kansas Picks

NASCAR comes to Kansas on Sunday: The LifeLock 400 starts at noon Central Sept. 30th. I will be on a plane to St. Louis, but will hopefully be checked into the hotel in time to see the checkered flag.


Onto my picks!



  1. 17-Kenseth-win

  2. 99-Edwards

  3. 24-Gordon

  4. 20-Stewart

  5. 2- Kurt Busch

  6. 07-Bowyer

  7. 48-JJ

  8. 1-Truex

  9. 01-Martin

  10. 16-Biffle

That's my top 10. We'll see what happens...


FOX poll out: Hillary Leading GOP Contenders

FOX News, even with its conservative bent, is showing Hillary Clinton ahead of all of the leading rivals.

LINK to the poll

Clinton is at:
+6 over Guiliani
+13 over Thompson
+7 over McCain

It is worth noting that Obama does not garner numbers nearly as strong as these. Edwards is not polled.

Debate Reaction

Last night, MSNBC hosted their New Hampshire debate. Lots of media reaction:

WaPo: Obama Pulls Punches

New Republic: Edwards More Agressive

Time (Halperin): Win Goes to Edwards

Yepsen (Des Moines Register) : Not Hillary's Best Debate

Perhaps the silliest commentary of the debate came from preeminent Iowa political pundit and noted Clinton critic David Yepsen, linked above. The key quote of the Yepsen piece:

While the evening couldn't have been pleasant for Clinton, it opened a necessary
discussion Democrats must have: If they don't probe her weaknesses, the
Republicans will.


What a rediculous statement. Of course Democrats, being in the middle of a primary battle, are considering the relative weakenesses and strengths of all candidates. This assumes that frontrunner Clinton has more weaknesses than the other candidates (patently false). David Yepsen aside, Democrats and the broader spectrum of Americans seem to be concluding that she is a better potential President than not only her rivals in the Democratic party, but also better than leading Republicans. Note her margin in polling averages over leading GOP candidates, which has been increasing in recent months.

Hillary did fine. She had the memorable moment of the evening (she'll "talk to [President Clinton] later..."), and the instapolls after the debate, whatever they're worth, indicated that she won. Everyone did basically well. The loser of the debate was probably Obama, because he basically conceded the ground of challenging Hillary Clinton to John Edwards. Obama can have all the money in the world, but if he doesn't make a move soon (probably no later than Halloween) he will be the best funded also-ran in American history. Which is fine with me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

BREAKING: Sen. Craig to Stay past 9/30

Senator Larry Craig has decided to remain in the U.S. Senate past his self-imposed resignation deadline of September 30th. He's going to wait on the judge to decide...

Craig statement

Debate Tonight

...in New Hampshire. On MSNBC.

Commentary afterward.

Sen. Bayh Endorses Hillary Clinton


In her weightiest endorsement yet, Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana endorsed Hillary Clinton late last week.

Bayh is a former Indiana governor and a two-term Senator from that deep red state. Figured to be on her VP short list when the time comes to formulate one, he would possibly bring his home state into play, and would help in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Sen. Bayh has appeal and gravitas. He is John Edwards with actual substance. He and Clinton are clearly comfortable with one another.

While it is true that it has been 47 years since two Senators on the same ticket have won, I have for a long time believed that Evan Bayh would be a great running mate for Hillary Clinton. His endorsement was the first step.

Home town coverage: Indianapolis Star
UPDATE (6:41 pm) - I'm not the only one pushing a Clinton / Bayh ticket...Politico from yesterday. (Sorry; still catching up from vacation...)

"I hope and expect some day I'll be voting for Evan Bayh for President of the United States."

- President Bill Clinton
May, 2000

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dover Picks

Unfortunately, I will miss the Sunday race in Dover, Delaware. I will be vacationing on the Gulf Coast in the midst of what I am sure will become Hurricane Jerry...just my luck...

In any event, the following are my picks for the race:

12- Newman - win (Here's hopin...)
1 - Truex
99 - Edwards
48 - Johnson
20 -Stewart
31 - Burton
5 - Kyle Busch
11 - Hamlin
17 - Kenseth
24 - Gordon

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Junior to Drive #88

...will be announced in Dallas tomorrow.

Now, instead of changing their tattoos, Jr. fans will only have to add to them.

Clinton Health Care Plan Unveiled

Senator Clinton unveiled her health care plan yesterday, which seems like pretty sound policy. It is a great leap in the right direction. With health care cost running at roughly 15% of GDP, every serious student of fiscal policy knows that you can't balance the budget without tacking the cost of health care. You just can't. Combine that with the fact that there are millions of Americans who live in fear of a bad diagnosis, a kid with a broken arm, or an unforseen tragedy, and it is intuitive to me that access to health care for everyone is a lofty, but noble, goal. It is also do-able. We live in a country that has the best health care in the world. It is also among the most expensive in the world. Something must be done.

Hillary's proposal is as follows:

- If you have health care insurance and are pleased with it, keep it.

- Provide affordable options for those who are not insured or are dissatisfied with their current coverage.

- Require portability.

The plan has the added benefit of having no element that should cause "Harry and Louise" to revisit the apoplexy of 1993. This isn't 1993, and Hillary learned from the mistakes that she made that year. E.J. Dionne has a piece on that point in today's WP.

The $110 billion a year sticker price might seem steep, but it's a bargain. The cost of treating the uninsured will evaporate.

A few points of perspective on the cost of the plan:

- In FY 2006, the US spent nearly $600 billion on Medicare and Medicaid, costs which would almost certainly go down (Medicaid especially) post-implementation of the Clinton plan.

- We have spend an average of $100 billion on the Iraq war each year that it continues.

This is a good idea. It is going to take Presidential leadership to get it done. It is an affordable, common-sense plan to extend access to health care to all Americans. I have become a cheerleader for Senator Clinton lately, and the "big ideas" candidacy that she is running is part of the reason why. This is a person who is ready to lead, and knows what she wants to do.

Small business reacts well to plan - WSJ
MSNBC wrap

Hillary Continues to Pull Away in New Hampshire

Latest polls show a statistically significant shift in Senator Clinton's direction in New Hampshire. Looks like she put the August recess to good use there.

Franklin Pierce College poll: Hillary at 36%, double her nearest rival.
Rasmussen: 40%- more than double Obama's 17%, and more than Obama and Edwards combined.

The New Hampshire primary is of pivotal importance- it may be her firewall against a loss to Edwards in Iowa. Although, Sen. Clinton's numbers in Iowa are improving dramatically.

So much for those who said she wasn't electable...Democrats seem eager to nominate her.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Chase Begins: New Hampshire Picks


Tomorrow is the first Chase race, at Loudon, NH. Clint Bowyer is on the pole.


My top 10 picks:



5- Kyle Busch - win

24 - Gordon

48- Johnson

31- Burton

12- Newman

2- Kurt Busch

29- Harvick

99- Edwards

1- Truex

20- Stewart


I am feeling a little tepid about my Edwards pick. My office pool picks are due before the first practice, and the highest Ford in practice yesterday was McMurray in 26th...

Wesley Clark Endorses Hillary Clinton

Gen. Wesley Clark, former Presidential contender and NATO Supreme Commander, endorsed Hillary Clinton today.

What most Americans don't know is the extent of the respect that Sen. Clinton has garnered among military brass in her years on the Senate Armed Services Commttee. Joe Klein had a piece in Time months ago (5/10/07) with this telling quote:

"I once asked a well-known general if there were any Democrats running for President who understood the way military leaders think, and he said, 'You mean, aside from Hillary?' "

This challenges conventional wisdom. Anyone who thinks that this is not an asset in a post- 9/11 general election campaign is wrong. Oh, and then there is the whole thing about being commander-in-cheif being a huge partof the President's job description.


Vindication: Greenspan Praises Clinton, Pans Bush

Before the current era, you have to go back to the early 19th century to find a case of back-to-back two-term Presidents. The last time it happened before the Bill Clinton / George Bush timeframe was when Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe served six terms between them in the Era of Good Feelings. Needless to say, our times are not a second Era of Good Feelings, and this is the first time in the nation's history when two Presidents of different political parties have served two terms apiece consecutively.

I make this point to say that this is a unique period that says more, probably, about the nation's electorate than about either Bush or Clinton. Schizophrenia? Fatigue? Bad alternatives? Whatever the reason, I think that this note of trivia couples with the uncertainty of the times will be something that historians study closely in the coming decades.

I believe strongly that Bill Clinton was a superb President who gambled his legacy and lost over a galactically stupid failure of personal judgement. Distant history will be kinder to him than contemporaneous accounting. Whether this issue was getting profligate spending under control, stewarding America into the uncertainties of a post-Cold War framework, or tackling domestic issues such as welfare reform and crime, Clinton was able to build consensus and lead.

Bush has failed on many fronts. His domestic agenda, seven years into his Presidency, seems to consist almost entirely of cutting taxes for the wealthy and marginalizing gay people. The short shrift given to the global war on terror, along with the failure at every stage in Iraq is a legacy that he will carry through history.

It is interesting when contemporaries write about the two. In his new autobiography, the Republican Greenspan refers to Clinton as a "soulmate" and says that the controversial Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (the one that got us 80% of the way to a surplus without a single GOP vote in either House of Congress) was "an act of political courage." Bush, on the other hand, was a disappointment and a frustration to the venerated former Fed Chair.

On Bush, Greenspan says, "My biggest frustration remained the president's unwillingness to wield his veto against out-of-control spending...Not exercising the veto power became a hallmark of the Bush presidency. . . . To my mind, Bush's collaborate-don't-confront approach was a major mistake." Also, on the surplus that Bush squandered with the tax cut for the wealthy, Greenspan says "Little value was placed on rigorous economic policy debate or the weighing of long-term consequences."

It is an interesting period of history, but in the long judgement of history, it's not even going to be close.

LINK to WP article on Greenspan book

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Movin' On Up: Hillary Pulling Away...

Polls, polls, and more polls over the last few days, and they uniformly paint a bright picture for Sen. Clinton, and a dim picture for Obama/Edwards/rest of the candidates.

CNN - national primary- Clinton 46%, Obama 23%, Edwards 16%

CBS/NYT - roughly the same numbers.

The LA Times is out with new polls in the early three states (IA, NH, SC) which show Clinton climbing. RCP link (LATimes is subscription only).

If Hillary! can pull out a win in Iowa, it's over for the rest of them. If she finished second but wins NH and SC, it's over for the rest of them then too. It's hard to envision a scenario in which she loses this nomination.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Six Years


God Bless the United States of America

The Petraeus Report


General Petraeus testified for today before the House Armed Services Committee.

His testimony here.
The presentation- a long-awaited deal- seemed compelling if perhaps also a bit compelled.
Bottom line: What Patraeus says will go for now. The Democrats in Congress don't have the votes to override a certain veto of any measure to cut funding and leave Iraq. The General is not sure enough about progress in Iraq to let the surge troops come home, as promised by the President when he announced the surge in January. They will stay (except for a very small, token redeployment) until at least next July. At that time, we will be back to pre-surge troop levels or roughly 130,000 troops.
Even as a Democrat who thinks that the war should end, I found that Patraeus' testimony was serious enough for thoughtful consideration. There are legitimate questions about what Americans' mood will be if, as the General would have it, there are almost exactly as many troops in Iraq on Election Day 2008 as Election Day 2006. But that is a political question that at the moment is a bit crass and will have to wait for another day. Now, the country must assess the Patraeus report on its merits.

Outlook bad for Senate GOP

Sen. Hagel (R-NE) not running for reelection. Ordinarily, Nebraska would remain a red seat, however, uberpopular Bob Kerrey (wiki) is considering running to reclaim his old seat. This makes Nebraska another huge headache for Republicans heading into 2008.

Rothenberg via RCP

Current school of thought, along with my own thoughts on Dems' Senate prospects for 2008:

Likely Pickups
  1. Virginia- Switching Warners, switching parties
  2. Colorado- Allard is retiring, and Udall is the heavy favorite
  3. New Hampshire- Assuming former Gov. Shaheen runs, she will easily defeat Sen. Sununu
  4. Nebraska- If former Sen. Kerrey runs, he is the favorite by far

Possible Pickups

  1. Minnesota- If Dems can nominate someone other than Al Franken...Coleman loses.
  2. Maine- The war is unpopular and could carry Sen. Susan Collins out.
  3. Oregon- No top tier challenger to Gordon Smith and he is still behind.

Possible GOP Pickups

  1. Louisiana- Sen. Landrieu would be a victim of changing demographics post-Katrina, but still no top notch challenger has emerged.
  2. South Dakota- If Sen. Tim Johnson, who had a stroke last winter, runs he wins. If not, it will likely be Governor Rounds in a romp.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Chase Set; Earnhardt Out

Jimmie Johnson won his second NNCS race in a row last night at Richmond, Virginia...has lots of momentum going into the chase. This is unfortunate for those of us who are not 48 fans.







Earnhardt nation is weeping. For a while, it looked like he might get in: Harvick and Busch were caught up in several incidents that threatened their chances for survival. Earnhardt was running strong. Then, thanks to DNFs, Busch was locked in. And then Harvick. The 8 car still looked capable of winning, until, with 6 laps to go....he blew a motor and finished 30th.







NASCAR.com wrap









Just pouty....


Busch a threat for Championship...The Charlotte Observer. Note: He finished 10th and would have been in the Chase anyway.





Thursday, September 6, 2007

Richmond Picks

8 - Earnhardt - winner- And it won't make a damned bit of difference.

12 - Newman

2 - Ku. Busch

1 - Truex

29 - Harvick

20 - Stewart

24 - Gordon

48 - Johnson

5 - KY Busch

11 - Hamlin


All the drama surrounding the Chase aside, this is a pretty solid but predictable list. I took a chance on little Reed Sorenson last weekend and got burned. It won't happen twice. I hate to see the 8 win, because his fans are obnoxious, and also the "what might have been" stories will be more than any thinking person can bear, but it is what it is.

By the way, if Harvick and Busch make it into the Chase with Junior on the outside, please see this post from July 30 by, well, me predicting exactly this. It is good to be clairvoyant.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

It's Official: Wed. NASCAR wrap


Gibbs to Toyota: It's a done deal.





NASCAR.com Propaganda piece.

NASCAR's power rankings out for the week: Busch on top.

Scenarios for Earnhardt to make Chase. Doesn't look pretty.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Gibbs to Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing will announce tomorrow that it is trading in its Monte Carlos for Camrys effective next season. This is by far the biggest coup for Toyota in its NASCAR recruiting efforts. JGR is a really big fish.

The effects of such a NASCAR powerhouse switching to the foreign manufacturer are unknown. A few questions yet to be answered:

  1. How do Tony Stewart and Danny Hamlin feel about this move?
  2. How will the legion #20 fans react? Will Tony lose fans? Toyota has not been well received by the NASCAR fan community.
  3. And the BIG question: Toyota has underperformed this year. Will Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, and Denny Hamlin be able to make the cars go fast? Tony Stewart, for one, will not accept losing because of a bad car. He is likely to spontaneously combust if he gets as far as say, Indianapolis, next year without a win.

More reaction tomorrow...This is a very big deal in NASCAR.

From the "embarrassing demotions" dept, J.J. Yeley will race for Hall of Fame racing next year. What happens to Tony Raines? (Does it matter?)

The Earnhardt Domino effect continues:

Earhardt to Hendrick / Kyle Busch fired / Kyle Busch to Gibbs / J.J. Yeley fired / Yeley to HoF / Tony Raines fired...My guess is that that is the last domino. Raines is not exactly a hot free agent.

Hillary Clinton as Goldilocks

Incredibly disciplined campaign, opines Roger Simon at Politico.com. Even imparts the brothers Grimm.

ARG is out with a new round of polling showing large Clinton leads in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. I want to believe these numbers, but ARG is notoriously wrong. The NH numbers particularly are out of line with all other contemporaneous polling.

Sen. Obama- the "experience is overrated" candidate- was subliminally insulting Hillary all Labor Day weekend in Iowa and New Hampshire. Change, change, change, bad foreign policy judgement- the typical and tired Obama mantle.

On the GOP side, Senator Thompson will miss the FOX News debate in NH tomorrow, but will officially enter the race on Thursday. The big question that the talking heads are debating is whether he missed his moment, by waiting so long to enter. And also whether it was wise to wear Gucci loafers to the Iowa State Fair. It was clearly August in terms of news cycles.

Now that Labor Day is behind us, the primaries are officially in full swing. Should be a very interesting autumn.

Absolutely Incredible

Now, Sen. Craig is reconsidering his decision not to resign. Weird story...

AP

Monday, September 3, 2007

Johnson Wins at Fontanta; Earnhardt still Looking in

Pursuant to my Friday prediction, Jimmie Johnson won the Nextel Cup event in Fontant, CA last night. This is unfortunately his 5th win of the season.

Earhardt is still in 13th place, with a Chase berth now exceedinly unlikely. Harvick fell to 12th place after a very mediocre performance. Though not mathematically eliminated, Junior is 128 points behind 12th with only Richmond left to get into the show. NASCAR wrap

This is not a good position for Earnhardt to be in: If Kurt Busch finished 36th or better at Richmond, he's in. If Harvick finishes 32nd or better, he's in. All of that regardless of what Earnhardt does.

ESPN.com Chase coverage.

Yates will keep the #38, after all. Doug Yates, courtesy of Jayski.com:

Yates not interested in giving Dale Jr. #38: Doug Yates confirmed his team has been approached by a representative of Hendrick Motorsports about securing the #38 for Dale Earnhardt Jr. next year, but if Yates gets his way, there will be no such transfer. Earnhardt recently was denied the opportunity to take the #8 from Dale Earnhardt Inc. to Hendrick and now is considering other number options. The #38 currently is being used by David Gilliland. "Dale Jr., since he can't have what he wants, he might want the 38," said Yates, president Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. "They're asking for the 38, and the 38 and 88 are our numbers. It's almost a little strange. It's like somebody asking if they can take your girlfriend or your wife out. We feel we're going to have the 38 and 88 [next year]." While Yates said he is not interested in parting with the number, doesn't everything in the sport have a price tag? "That's my dad's side of it," Yates said, referring to his father, Robert Yates. "But for me, these are our numbers, and we're set with them."

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Senator Widestance Resigns

Larry Craig did the right thing by resigning this morning in Boise. I unequivocally think that that is what he should have done. His hypocrisy still astounds me. However, I think that Senate Republican caucus should examine its larger contradiction in this sense: Larry Craig cruised a restroom, got caught, and covered it up. David Vitter patronized prostitutes in Washington, got caught, and was applauded (literally) at the next Tuesday meeting of the GOP caucus. Amazing.

CNN wrap

Friday, August 31, 2007

NASCAR Roundup - Busch on Pole

Kurt Busch beat Jimmie Johnson for the pole position at California speedway this afternoon. This is Kurt's third (correction: first) pole for the year.

Complete Lineup for Sunday's Cup event: Here

Practice speeds

Warner (R-VA) will not run in 2008

A stunning pickup opportunity for Democrats. Run, Mark, run!

Link - Brietbart

Sen. Craig to Resign Saturday

Larry Craig will resign his Senate seat tomorrow. This is the decent thing to do, and he should have done it days ago.

LINK

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Picks for Fontana


Winner- Jimmie Johnson - 48 (Ugh. I imagine that he has spent his share of time in the Minneapolis airport restroom.)

17 Kenseth
99 Edwards
2 Kurt Busch
31 Jeff Burton
11 Hamlin
20 Stewart
24 Gordon
5 KY Busch
41 Sorenson

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

McCain: Sen. Craig should Resign

Headlined on Drudge, John McCain is calling on Larry Craig to resign his Senate seat. So is Norm Coleman. These are Republicans.

He is stepping downas Ranking Member of the VA committee.


Does anyone seriously believe Craig will not resign, sooner rather than later? Idaho is a conservative state. If he were to run for re-election, Idaho would get its first Democratic Senator since Frank Church. If he stays but doesn't resign, he is perhaps an insurmountable albatross for the eventual GOP nominee. If he resigns, Gov. Otter, a Republican, nominates a stopgap successor, and that person becomes the prohibitive favorite for election to a full term next year. I would like to see a Democratic Senator from Idaho, but if Craig leaves, that remote possibility becomes remoter, so to speak.


Wed Nascar Roundup

NASCAR.com finally gives Kurt Busch some respect; he's up to #2 in the power rankings. Here.

Chase competition boring this season, says ESPN.

Fontana power rankings- ESPN

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fat Gonzo resigns

Way past time. I hope that the next attorney general is acquainted with, you know, the law and basic, cherished Constitutional rights. I also hope that he will not purjure himself regularly.

Politico wrap.

As John Edwards said about Karl Rove:

Goodbye, good riddance.

GOP Senator Arrested: Solicited Cop in Airport

Sen. Larry Craig (R and Hypocrite-ID) was arrested for solicitation of a male officer in a bathroom in the Twin Cities' airport in June. He was sentenced to a $500 fine, 10 days in jail (suspended) and probation. Will the crime sink him in Idaho (probably) or will the pushback on the 2 month coverup be enough to force an early resignation. He was already a likely retirement.

Hometown reaction - Idaho Statesman

Court papers here. (ABC)

Larry Craig wikipedia entry.

Powerline (right wing blog) entry...creative. HA!

Anti-homosexual rights press release from Craig last year. Also voted for DOMA and has been a constant antagonist for equal rights for gays.

Romney campaign fires Craig as co-chair.








I think we know why this man is smiling.


Seriously, I hate for anyone to go through pain or humiliation, but the hypocrisy is astounding.


NASCAR: Odds and Ends

Chase field pretty much set - NASCAR.com - McCarthy

-or-

Or not. But Penske is running well. Rodman @ NASCAR.com

Hendrick to buy 38 from Robert Yates Racing - combo of the 3 and the 8 - for Dale Jr.

Pre-Pocono, Dale Jr. claimed that he was "better" than Kurt Busch, better than Truex, and better than Newman- the guys he was competing against for the final berth in the Nextel Cup chase. Now he's talking about life not making the chase, almost a mathematical certainty. Pride goeth before the fall...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Shame of the Democratic National Committee

The decision of the DNC to strip Florida of its delegates to the convention next year is a rediculous, nose-to-spite-face move. In the early part of the year, political pundits were correctly lauding Democrats for making two smart moves to increase its chances in the general election.

1. Holding an early caucus in Nevada.
2. Holding the Democratic National Convention in Colorado.

These moves increase exposure for Democratic candidates in swing, purplish states. An early primary in Florida does the same thing. And, it is worth noting, Florida is ground zero in Presidential elections. Positive candidate exposure and early involvement of the electorate can only help in the fall campaign. To punish the state of Florida for holding an early primary is stupidity, proving that you can be right and ignorant at the same time.

Shame. I would argue that the utility of the New Hampshire primary and the Iowa caucuses has faded. In the age of the Internet, I can follow the campaign in depth myself and need not rely on the voters of two of the most homogeneous states in the country to do it for me. It is time for a new primary system. Florida need not be punished for wanting to have a voice in picking nominees. This is an outrage.