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SSP Daily Digest: 4/21

by: DavidNYC

Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 8:07 AM EDT


Senate:

IN-Sen: Chris "Count" Chocola, head of the Club for Growth and himself a Hoosier, says his organization may step in to help oust apostate Sen. Dick Lugar. The CFG has already talked to Treasurer Richard Mourdock, and if they get involved, they could make up for his lackluster fundraising so far.

MA-Sen: Remember when ThinkProgress busted Scott Brown for sucking up to David Koch for donations while he was publicly saying he wasn't even thinking about 2012? His pitch worked, I guess: Koch Industries coughed up a $2,500 donation to Brown's campaign last quarter.

In other MA-Sen news, why does Barney Frank keep doing this? On Monday, he repeated his remarks that he thinks Newton Mayor Setti Warren shouldn't run for Senate, this time to local blog Newton TAB. I honestly think this is a bit embarrassing for Frank, and makes him look like a jackass. It's an admission that his private suggestions to Warren haven't been well-received, and that he's had to take to the press to accomplish what he apparently doesn't have the power to do on his own. It's ugly, and what's more, I don't even see the percentage in it. Why does Frank care so much whether Warren runs? Really, just enough.

MN-Sen: Former state Sen. and unsuccessful 2010 SoS candidate Dan Severson says he might seek the Republican nod to challenge Amy Klobuchar, who so far has drawn no opponents. Severson says he'll decide by May. Also, attorney Chris Barden, another unsuccessful statewide candidate last year (he ran for AG), says he may attempt a Senate race, too.

MO-Sen: It's getting' mighty crowded in here... well, maybe. Wealthy businessman John Brunner (who can at least partially self-fund) says he might join the GOP field to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill. Reps. Todd Akin and Blaine Leutekemeyer are also still weighing bids, while former Treasurer Sarah Steelman and teabagger fave Ed Martin are already in the race.

TX-Sen: This is just weird. Ashwin Madia (who you may remember as the Dem candidate in MN-03 back in 2008) is also chair of the progressive veterans group VoteVets. His organization put out a statement the other day in which he said it was "encouraging" to see Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez considering the Texas Senate race as a Dem. It's strange, as Adam Serwer points out, because Sanchez had a very suspect record on torture during his tenure as US commander in Iraq, while VoteVets has been very critical of torture. Another spokesman for the group hurried to say that VoteVets was not issuing a formal statement of endorsement, just an attaboy for a fellow servicemember.

VA-Sen: Teabagger Jamie Radtke raised just $55K in Q1 and has only $47K on hand. I'm betting that if George Allen does wind up dealing with a serious speed bump on his way to the GOP nomination, it's going to take the form of Del. Bob Marshall, not Radtke. Still a big if.

VT-Sen, VT-AL: Sen. Bernie Sanders raised $770K in Q1 (not bad for the 49th-largest state in the nation) and has over a million in the bank. The Burlington Free Press pegs an uptick in donations to Sanders after his now-famous eight-hour speech on the Senate floor in which he blasted tax cuts for the wealthy. Meanwhile, Rep. Peter Welch now has a million on hand.

Gubernatorial:

NJ-Gov, NJ-Sen: Chris Christie's starting to smell like a plate of scungilli left out in the sun after a July picnic. His job approval has dropped to 47-46, according to Quinnipiac, from 52-40 just a couple of months ago. Sen. Bob Menendez isn't doing so hot either, 42-40, but those sorts of numbers are nothing new for him (and are actually better than what he was getting last year). In news of more immediate importance, Dems improved to 47-39 on the generic legislative ballot, up from 43-41. (Thanks to andgarden for spotting that question, tucked away at the very end of the poll.) Also fun: Q asked respondents for an unprompted, open-ended one-word description of Christie. The number one response, by far? "Bully," with 140 mentions.

House:

AL-05: This is just odd. Freshman Republican Mo Brooks cancelled a town hall and replaced it with one-on-one meetings with constituents-by appointment only. What makes this extra-weird is that these meetings are scheduled to take place across the state line in... Tennessee. Reminds me of this infamous incident from the classic MS-01 special back in 2008.

IA-04: Some great number-crunching from G-squared: The new 4th CD went for Terry Branstad 59-37 in 2010, 50-48 for GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle in 2006, and 49-48 for Tom Vilsack in 2002. I'll go one further and tell you that Vilsack lost the new 4th in 1998, 47-52. Greg also says that Rep. Steve King currently represents 47% of new CD.

IL-03: Politico has a profile of John Atkinson, the Democratic businessman who may challenge Rep. Dan Lipinski from the left. Atkinson, who has already raised a boatload, hasn't formally declared yet (and may be waiting on redistricting), but a main theme for him is Lipinski's vote against healthcare reform.

NY-13: Ex-Rep. Mike McMahon, recently speaking to the Bay Ridge Democratic Club, definitely sounds like he's leaning toward a comeback. The linked piece from the Brooklyn Eagle contains McMahon's ruminations on why he lost last year, but I'm not sure I understand what he thinks the reasons are. On the one hand, he says "[t]here was a drop-off in progressive voters." On the other hand, he cited a memo from Third Way (ugh, but what do you expect) which polled Obama "switchers" and "dropouts." The memo claims that "[s]witchers were eager to vote in this election, whereas droppers didn't come out for a multitude of reasons, none of them being they were upset with Democrats."

What this misses out on, of course, is that Democratic organizations who were pissed with McMahon's vote against healthcare reform were less inclined to bust their asses for him and drag apathetic voters to the polls on his behalf-something members and officials of the Bay Ridge club made plain to him. (The article says some attendees used "harsher language," so since this is Brooklyn we're talking about, enjoy a moment or two imagining what this sounded like.) I'm not sure what McMahon thinks the solution is for next year, if he runs again, but it doesn't sound like he's ready to take back his anti-HCR vote. I think he'd be wise to do so.

RI-01: Former Republican state Rep. John Loughlin, who lost by six points to now-Rep. David Cicilline last year, says he's considering a rematch, but first he's serving another tour of duty in Iraq. I wonder if Cicilline's self-inflicted wounds regarding the financial woes of Providence (the city of which he used to be mayor) will make him vulnerable-if not next year (which of course is a presidential year), then at some point in the near future... or in a primary.

Other Races:

WI Recall: Republicans say they will file recall petitions against three Democrats today: Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin, and Robert Wirch. Meanwhile, Greg Sargent says that Dems will file petitions against a fifth Republican, Alberta Darling, also today.

WI Sup. Ct.: Yesterday, JoAnne Kloppenburg asked for a recount, which will come at state expense since the final margin of 7,316 votes was less than 0.5%. I'm pretty surprised at the decision, since overturning that kind of result seems almost inconceivable.

Grab Bag:

Alaska (PDF): Dave Dittman, a pollster and former aide to the late Sen. Ted Stevens, tested Alaskans' feelings about local pols last month. Sen. Mark Begich, up for re-election in 2014, has a 57-33 job approval rating, while Sen. Lisa Murkowski is at 71-27 and Rep. Don Young is at 63-32. Joe Miller, who says he might run against Young next year or against Begich next cycle, has a hilariously awful favorability rating of 18-73. (FWIW, Sarah Palin is at 36-61.) Note that the poll had oddly long field dates: March 3 through March 17.

Demographics: Aaron Blake has another good piece looking at the changing demographics of majority-black districts.

House Majority PAC: The new Dem "super PAC" is out with its first-ever media buy (which they claim is "substantial"-you better be telling the truth), hitting ten GOP freshmen who voted for Paul Ryan's budget plan with radio ad. You can listen to a sample spot against Sean Duffy here. Click the first link for the other nine names.

DCCC: Speaking of ad buys, props to Dave Catanese for busting what turned out to be a comically bullshit media "blitz" by the DCCC. I groused about this one yesterday, complaining that the size of the buy was sure to be "quite small," but I had no idea that it would be this comically small: The total purchase was just $6,000 across twenty-five districts, with just $40 (yes, $40!) spent against Larry Buchson in IN-08. Of course, it was the NRCC which provided this info to Catanese, which I'm not sure is such a smart move, since they play this stupid game, too. But my bigger concern is whether local reporters who wrote about these ads will be insulted by the joke dollar values and ignore the D-Trip in the future. I sure as hell would.

Redistricting Roundup:

Colorado: After instantly descending into a whole bunch of acrimony (mostly, it seemed to me, from the GOP side) after the first batch of maps were produced, both parties agreed to go back to the drawing board and start with a clean slate. Republicans sound a lot more excited about the prospect than Dems, but we'll see if this actually produces any kind of agreement... or if a stalemate eventually leads to court-drawn maps.

Pennsylvania: No surprise here: The Republican majority on the PA Supreme Court picked a Republican superior court judge to serve as a tiebreaker on the panel which will re-draw Pennsylvania's state legislative maps. This is a direct consequence of a shameful loss of an open Dem-held seat on the court in 2009.

Texas: A new plan for the Texas state House passed a House committee yesterday. The map increases the number of Latino districts from 28 to 30, but Democrats seem convinced that there are serious VRA issues with it.

DavidNYC :: SSP Daily Digest: 4/21
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Lassa
FYI, Dems may not be out of the recall woods just yet.  The deadline for Julie Lassa's recount is May 16th, and the recall organizer there claims a recent radio ad that helped their cause:

Meanwhile, Scott Noble, who heads the recall effort against Sen. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), said the campaign there had received a boost this week from a radio ad paid for by the Utah-based American Patriot Recall Coalition urging listeners to sign the petitions to recall Lassa. That campaign has a later deadline - May 16 - than others targeting Democrats.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/s...

Lassa's won by good-sized margins before, so I don't know that she'll be in any real danger.  Also, not sure how the impending birth of her child would affect any campaigning in a recall election (not saying if that's good, bad, or whatever, just that it might possibly be a factor).


Lassa is safe barring everyone falling asleep......
Hers is a safe Dem seat.  Yes Walker won there, but that's misleading, just as it's misleading that Obama won 14 of the 19 GOP-held state Senate districts.

Local Democrats would have to be completely asleep at the wheel and have a major GOTV fail for her to lose a recall, if one happens.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
What is it with UT political groups?
Stay the F out of other state's politics you interlopers!  First, Prop 8, now this.  Go home, you've done enough damage.

Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo!
So little time, so much to know!


[ Parent ]
Why aren't Democrats
as bothered by this as Republicans would be if the situation were reversed? Or rather, why aren't they making a case for purely partisan reasons like Republicans would?

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
Because the GOP is hanging itself
Give them enough rope and all the wacky things they do (that annoy those of us interested enough to blog about it) will eventually come back to haunt them.

Its not just Utah groups, Koch brothers, Tea Party, etc its an amalgamation of all this lunacy that is hurting their brand.  They can win in off years during recessions but what are they really building for the future.  Sure some of the stuff theya re doign will be hard to voer-turn in the near term but over a longer time frame but long-term Dem prospects have never looked better.

Think about it, we debate Dems competing in Texas every day, do Republican blogs talk about competing in California.


[ Parent ]
So the issue
of outside involvement is actually hurting the Republicans here? What indication is there of that?

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
none
but he's saying some day it may.  When we get to a point where our elections are getting towards the utter bullshit side of things, we'll push for change and the Republicans will show some true colors.  (I hate phrases like that but photo ID and money in campaigns are my two, have you no shame, policy positions of the GOP.)

[ Parent ]
Check the online edition of WI papers and you will see more than a
few letters complaining about outside involvement especially the thugishness of some of the outsiders brought in as paid signature gatherers by the Rs.

[ Parent ]
So
I guess you also want the national unions out of the recall efforts?

FWIW, Noble is organizing the groups recall effort in the district, and he is a former WI elected official


[ Parent ]
They have divisions inside of the state
starting with groups such as the WI AFL-CIO, all the way down to Local this and Local that.  This political group is based solely in Utah, just like that one that funded the Prop 8 campaign.

So, you are doing an apples to oranges comparison here.

Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo!
So little time, so much to know!


[ Parent ]
When the
recall campaign started against the Dems (roughly a week before it started against the Republicans), it was spearheaded by that same Utah organization.

The fact it took them so long to make it above the minimum sigs required is quite telling.

Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo!
So little time, so much to know!


[ Parent ]
Lassa will be fine
managing to lose this race would be political malpractice of the highest order.

[ Parent ]
Wow, that Lipinski-backing Alderman is a real genius
Explaimimg Lipinski's opposition to HCR: "There are just a lot of people out here--particularly seniors who have lived here a long time--who have never relied on the federal government for health care."

25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

*"Explaining". No genius here.


25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

[ Parent ]
Priceless
Maybe Lipinski's slogan can be "keep your government hands off my Medicare!"

[ Parent ]
RI-01
This was the same district that elected and re-elected Patrick Kennedy for years in spite of his frequent DUIs, car crashes, drug addiction, destruction of property, and generally being a jackass, so....Cicilline should be fine, especially in Rhode Island in a Presidential year.

I think RI-01's Rep. having a major personal scandal or two in the first year is pretty much expected at this point.  


Kennedy
He was not being beat in 06 or 08. A Kennedy was not losing in RI. I also doubt that his disapproval rating reached over 70%.  

[ Parent ]
But Patrick Kennedy
is a Kennedy and clearly was and is suffering bipolar disorder.  That explained the incidents to everyone's satisfaction.  He seems to have been very decent in person to constituents (or that's the impression I got).  So they cut him a lot of slack.

[ Parent ]
Not quite a personal scandal
Kennedy's scandal was bad, but it was different. He sought help immediately after his accident and also could cite it as an issue near and dear to his heart when he got behind the House version of a mental health parity bill that his dad was pushing in the Senate. In a state which is one of the worst when it comes to mental health care availability, Kennedy's situation was understandable and the advocacy of mental health issues he took up afterwards was proof that he was trying to do something about his problems.

Cicilline, on the other hand, is not facing a personal scandal but rather one related to how he ran the city. And it could spell trouble for him. Granted, I think that trouble would be more likely in a primary, but we have to be careful that if he does get primaried, it's not by a conservadem.

21, dude, RI-01 (registered) IL-01 (college)
please help Japan. click "donate funds" in upper right and then "Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami." http://www.redcross.org/


[ Parent ]
Rep. Frank needs to learn when to sit down and shut up
That's got to be a cardinal rule of politics: sometimes it's just best to keep your mouth shut. Rep. Frank doesn't seem to have the ability to self-censor, and when he's undermining the likeliest Democratic candidate (whether he likes it that way or not) in what will be a very tough race against a popular incumbent, he's doing nothing but gross harm. I hope Sen. Murray, Gov. Patrick, and/or Mayor Warren himself have privately had words with Frank over this latest friendly fire incident.

I'm also a bit concerned over Lt. Gen. Sanchez as the likely candidate for Senate in Texas. Any Democrat is going to enter a statewide race in Texas as a not-insignificant underdog, and if we figure Sanchez loses (which isn't a certain outcome, but I think it's a likely one), how does that look for the Democratic brand in Texas?

Sure, Noriega was underfunded and White ran in an impossible cycle for Democrats in the Lone Star State, but nobody sane and responsible would argue that they were solid, respectable Democrats. By picking Sanchez, making the electability argument, doesn't it seem as though Democrats are saying, "Well, we can't win statewide in Texas when we run decent Democrats, so let's run a guy who may or may not have been directly responsible for prisoner abuse and torture at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in Iraq, and let's see if that works?" It seems somewhat like an abandonment of principles - and you know I'm not saying this as a strongly partisan, ideologically obsessed guy - for the sake of maybe having a better shot through sheer novelty.

I don't know, maybe we really can't do any better in Texas than the guy who signed off on "enhanced interrogation techniques" and laid into the ACLU over its defense of detainees' human rights. But he's no Bill White. I'll find it very difficult to root for him, personally, and I think the Democrats will have richly deserved whatever damage it does to their morale and public image if he loses.

As for Rep. Brooks, that is truly bizarre behavior, and it does make me wonder a bit whether there's something going on that isn't being made public. Democrats did hold that seat prior to then-Rep. Parker Griffith's ill-advised defection, of course, but Brooks is probably out of reach despite odd antics like this. I wonder how concerned the Alabama Republican Party is about this, though.

And I'd really rather Michael McMahon fade off into the sunset, thanks. He was one of the rare Democrats who I thought truly deserved to lose last year; trying to psych your opponent out by giving front-row seats to his ex-wife and former in-laws at a debate is a dick move no matter how ugly the campaign gets. I don't really know my Staten Island politics too well, but I would hope Democrats can find someone less ugh-inducing than McMahon.

In Wisconsin, I'm nervous about Holperin (and Hansen, to a lesser extent), but I'm really not concerned about Wirch and I'm excited to see that our best prospects for knocking off the Fascist Republican state senators have been actualized by Democratic activists on the ground. Their overachieving surely means all five of those rat bastards will appear on the ballot, and it sounds as though Wisconsin Democrats are doing a bang-up job of assembling strong challengers to each.

20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native


C'mon
By picking Sanchez, making the electability argument, doesn't it seem as though Democrats are saying, "Well, we can't win statewide in Texas when we run decent Democrats, so let's run a guy who may or may not have been directly responsible for prisoner abuse and torture at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in Iraq, and let's see if that works?"

Yes I'm sure that's the strategy.  Sarcasm aside, what would you have them do?  White and Noriega were the chosen candidates, both won Democratic primaries so they were chosen by the electorate at hand.  

I'm not really sure what you want in Texas.  Do you think Barney frank would break 40% in Texas?  Would running a Barney Frank style Democrat give you more faith in texas selecting better Democrats (who lose very badly and drag down other candidates throughout the state)?


[ Parent ]
Texas
I would be fine with a regular conservadem being nominated in texas but nominating somebody with sanchez's history is a bit of a slap in the face. Still not sure what I think of him just yet though.

[ Parent ]
Exactly
I completely agree.

20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native

[ Parent ]
I'm still confused about that.
A LOT of officers were thrown under the bus by Rumsfeld to deflect blame from himself on the Abu Ghraib scandal.

Also, Lt. Gen. Sanchez later became one of the few officers to come out strongly opposed to the Bush torture programs.  He even backed Leahy's call for a "truth commission" to investigate the torture cases.

Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo!
So little time, so much to know!


[ Parent ]
It's not a slap in the face at all.
Consider it from two angles. One is from the primary end. If there's another candidate that Democrats want more, then he or she should enter the race and win the nomination. Lots of people that were talked up--John Sharp, Chet Edwards, and Julian Castro, for instance--either have fallen off the face of the planet or never ran in the first place. The other is Texas voters themselves. If there's some particular issue with Sanchez that they don't like, they don't have to vote for him. And I'm not just saying this because I want Democrats to contest the state; I would in fact make the same argument about Rand Paul in Kentucky.

By the way, don't you see the brilliance in this pick? We are all talking about it, which we wouldn't be doing (as much) if it were John Sharp.  

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?


[ Parent ]
Good points...
Though I really liked Bill White, as an out-of-stater, and I certainly wouldn't be as thrilled to see Lt. Gen. Sanchez elected to the Senate as I would have been to see White sworn in as governor this year.

20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native

[ Parent ]
I liked Bill White, too.
At least, I liked him based on what little I know of him. There was an interesting episode of "Charlie Rose" some weeks ago where he and a bunch of other mayors were on. I liked him simply because he made the point of describing how the subsidies various states offer to companies distort a lot of behavior and how, when we were talking about cutting pensions, we were talking about hurting the guy who was a garbage man for decades on end and stayed on the job for an extra three years to put his kids through college, leaving him unable to lift them like a normal person. I don't know that much about his position on pensions, but that point alone made me think he has the right perspective.

Check it out, if you have the time.  

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?


[ Parent ]
TX Dems have massive problems
This is really the same thing the Texas Democrats do every cycle. They are looking for some magic answer to lift them out of their electoral mess in the Lonestar state.

A good example is Bill White- despite my personal distaste for many of his policies, he was a great recruit for the Texas gubernatorial race. But then you look a bit deeper, and you realize that 1) the rest of the slate was a bunch of unfunded non-campaigns and 2) they couldn't even run a full slate.

Democrats in Texas have many of the problems of a third party- they are looking for that awesome solution which will change everything. Sanchez (heh, the second prominent Sanchez in a decade to run for office)

19, Male, libertarian Republican, TX-14 and MN-04


[ Parent ]
The difference
this time might be the institutional support provided by an Obama campaign presence.

I also feel that, while it won't be a deep blue state any time soon, it will become more competitive, but we need to make it so. Once we get that big victory, it'll be the start of a greater number of victories, but we do need that first big victory to help us along. Perhaps Sanchez isn't the right guy, but regardless, I can't blame them for trying. We aren't talking about Wyoming or Idaho here. It's a big, important state that is only becoming more so each decade. There's no reason to ignore it.  

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?


[ Parent ]
Oh no I agree
What I mean is that TX  Democrats typically act like victory is going to be had by finding some kind of ace up their sleeve- Bill White, a self funder, changing demographics, etc. I happen to think a 2012 victory for TX Democrats is impossible barring a major blunder like the one that shot Ann Richards into office, but that doesn't mean that building a party and the groundwork for a winning coalition should not be done.

19, Male, libertarian Republican, TX-14 and MN-04

[ Parent ]
Assuming
that they have an ace up their sleeve isn't the worst thing in the world. It's approaching the other part in a lazy, careless, or simply ignorant manner that is awful. Others know more than me, but I think that's a pretty accurate assessment of what Democrats have done in the last two decades or so.  

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
Not sure why I stopped mid sentence
But Sanchez isn't going to be a magic answer.

19, Male, libertarian Republican, TX-14 and MN-04

[ Parent ]
I don't think he's a magic answer, either.
What I do think he might be is a possible winner. But if he won, and if Obama were to win, it would the result of a lot of work and considerable investment. I don't know much state Democrats have done along these lines--probably not a lot--or how much individual candidates have done--probably only a little more, if that. That's understandable, of course, since it's hard for people besides someone with the stature of Obama to party build on such a massive scale. (I don't know how much Tony Sanchez did, though.)

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
I don't care for your tone...
And I think it's an entirely legitimate concern. How far are Democrats willing to go to win an election? Quite frankly, I'm not convinced Lt. Gen. Sanchez doesn't belong in The Hague, let alone the Senate.

Of course I don't want Democrats to run an ultraliberal in Texas, let alone a loudmouth schnook like Rep. Frank. But when it comes to comprising on the ethics of the candidate, especially where it concerns human life, I'm squeamish.

20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native


[ Parent ]
He was cleared by the Army.
Are you familiar with Vince Warren? I wasn't, at least not until I started looking into Sanchez and found out his involvement in things like calling for a truth commission about Iraq. People like Rachel Maddow and Vince Warren were willing to be involved with him. If he were some sort of awful war criminal, would they be so willing to go with him? I'm not sure. Anyway, from Warren's biographical information:

Vincent Warren is the Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a national legal and educational organization dedicated to advancing and defending the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Vince oversees CCR's groundbreaking litigation and advocacy work which includes combating the illegal expansion of presidential power and policies such as illegal detention at Guantanamo, rendition, torture and warrantless wiretapping; holding corporations and government officials accountable for human rights abuses; and, challenging racial injustice and mass incarceration...

http://ccrjustice.org/about-us...

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?


[ Parent ]
I hope you're right...
And I do find the measure of trust placed in Lt. Gen. Sanchez by progressives like Vince Warren, Rachel Maddow, and even Sen. Murray (though of course she's bound to put electoral considerations first) to be encouraging. I do worry about perception somewhat as well, but that may or may not be an issue; I was just tossing hypotheses around.

20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native

[ Parent ]
Remember that Patty Murray
was one of his harshest critics. She was certainly looking for a winner, but I somehow figured this came up when they were talking.  

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
My tone was in direct reaction to your comment's tone
About Dem's nominating an Abu Graib perpetrator as a sort of strategy as if they were intentionally going pro-terrorism.  re-read your own post.

Also, you claimed Bill White and Rick Noriega weren't real Dems and called out Sanchez.  You seem unhappy with all recent Texas candidates, yet don't offer up any.

Also, as many others have pointed out, it seems like Sanchez wasn't the most evil guy in the room during Abu Graib.  I think there's a substantial guilt by association and as others have pointed out it seems Sanchez has acquitted himself quite rightly on the terrorism topic.


[ Parent ]
I did no such thing regarding White and Noriega
I strongly supported both. They're both solid Democrats.

20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native

[ Parent ]
Correction
I made a typo in my original post; I meant to write that nobody sane and responsible would argue that White and Noriega were not solid Democrats.

I'm sorry. I can much better understand how you may have taken objection with my tone in light of the error.

20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native


[ Parent ]
Missed the Second Negative
Sure, Noriega was underfunded and White ran in an impossible cycle for Democrats in the Lone Star State, but nobody sane and responsible would argue that they were solid, respectable Democrats.

I think you might have missed the second negative here in this sentence.  Perhaps you meant that nobody sane and responsible would argue that they were not solid, respectable Democrats?  This seems to be where the confusion started.

[ Parent ]
Yes, that's it exactly.


20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native

[ Parent ]
Looks like you were correcting it as I was typing the above n/t


[ Parent ]
There was a typo in your OP
Sure, Noriega was underfunded and White ran in an impossible cycle for Democrats in the Lone Star State, but nobody sane and responsible would argue that they were solid, respectable Democrats

I got what you meant, but I assume it was meant to read "nobody sane and responsible would argue that they weren't solid, respectable Democrats". I think that's how he misread what you said about them, perhaps.


[ Parent ]
Sorry for repeating
Damn, beaten to the punch while typing. Sorry for repeating guys.

[ Parent ]
There's a campaign slogan . . .
"He wasn't the most evil guy in the room"

[ Parent ]
I also have serious
Problems with what you're saying. Sanchez was in no way directly connected to Abu Gahrib. I can't believe you'd say something like, "I'm not convinced he doesn't belong in The Hague." The man was the overarching Commander of all Operations in Iraq, he wasn't involved in the day to day operations of one prison, nor did investigations reveal him to have any knowledge of the behavior of several lower ranked officers at this prison. He just one of a number of senior military officers canned by Rumsfield to cover the Bush Administration's ass on the issue.

Then for you to also make such a state about Sanchez is very reprehensible, particularly when he actively criticized the Bush Administration over torture, and was one of the backers of the stricter anti-torture bill Congress passed a few years ago. I even remember reading some critical statements he made about AG Gonzales back when he was getting embroiled in some heavy scandals. You really need to quit coming to conclusions about the guy based on half-baked connections and a lack of information.  


[ Parent ]
How about we
ask him about torture now? How about we ask him about Bradley Manning? I'm not arguing for a specific point here, just so we are clear, but it's not as if he's unable to answer questions. If there are legitimate concerns about his views, whether it's about health care or interrogation or whatever, then let's ask him.  

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
Catch-22 for Sanchez
If he claims ignorance of what happened at Abu Ghraib he looks weak and ineffectual, if he did know about the problems at the prison (which he didn't of course) he's shown weak leadership. No win.

The most important thing is that regardless of what the Army ultimately decided regarding his culpability HE WAS IN COMMAND and thus bears responsibility for creating a command climate that made these abuses possible. In the Navy it's much simpler, you put your destroyer on a sand bar you are relieved, no matter what your personal responsibility was, because it was YOUR SHIP and whatever happens to that ship is your responsiblility, even if you were asleep in your cabin or even off your command compeletely.  The army is a bit more circumspect, but somehow I doubt the GOP campaign adds will draw such a subtle distinction as the USACID (US Army Criminal Investigation Division - who did the review).

"Earnestness is stupidity sent to college"
P. J. O'Rourke


[ Parent ]
Oh I love the spin
On both sides!

[ Parent ]
And I love
The CAPS usage.

Its also a surprise that you point out that the Dem is in a no-win, how un-biased of you lol.


[ Parent ]
Party makes no difference
There are serious issues with Sanchez record from his time in command of CJTF, and the end result of that in a political campaign will be brutal.

"Earnestness is stupidity sent to college"
P. J. O'Rourke


[ Parent ]
Party makes all the difference
If he were running as a Republican the roles here would be reversed. Anybody who thinks otherwise is extremly naive.

[ Parent ]
WHAT?!?!
If Sanchez was a GOPer he would be a non-startter because it would play right into the MSM GOP=Torture narrative.

Any candidate running on Leadership is going to be in a tough spot dealing with scandals by subordinates.

"Earnestness is stupidity sent to college"
P. J. O'Rourke


[ Parent ]
You missed my point entirely
If he were a Republican nominee, Republicans would defend him and Democrats would attack him on this same issue.

[ Parent ]
What are those issues?
Why not describe some of them instead of just alluding to them?

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
Unfortunately, I have to agree...
And I would be very surprised if at least one major rival in the election doesn't take this line of attack exactly.

20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native

[ Parent ]
notpjorourke, that makes no sense.
And his biggest worry is that the Republicans are going to lie and distort his record?  

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
While I tend to think Lt. Gen. Sanchez was a classic "fall guy"...
The fact of the matter is that he's tainted. And from a purely factual standpoint, not political, he's on the record as having approved some of the same "enhanced interrogation techniques" Democrats campaigned so strongly against in 2006 and especially 2008. I'm glad he's had a change of heart - makes him sort of the anti-Sen. McCain in that regard, doesn't it? - and I think that's useful to acquit him of wrongdoing from a political standpoint, but it makes me extremely uncomfortable to be on the same "team" as a guy who approved of some forms of interrogation that were 1) grossly misused and in many cases exceeded repeatedly by an organized group of soldiers during his tenure as Iraq commander and 2) questionable in their purported compliance with the Geneva Conventions, especially with sustained use. In a perfect world, a lot of people would have ended up under ICC investigation over Abu Ghraib (among other scandals, most of which occurred not under Lt. Gen. Sanchez's watch) and the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq at the time of the abuses would have been one of them.

Unfortunately, I have very little faith in the military's ability or willingness to actually prosecute its own, though I have similarly little faith in the Bush administration's integrity in meting out responsibility for wrongdoing to the appropriate person. I'd certainly like to think Sanchez was the "fall guy", because somebody's head had to roll over Abu Ghraib and it sure wasn't going to be then-Secy. Rumsfeld's, and there's a good case to be made for that. But I don't feel entirely confident, beyond any trace of doubt, that Sanchez wasn't involved in any conspiracy to keep the scandal quiet, or that he could not have possibly done more to keep soldiers under his command in line, or that the techniques he approved were honestly intended to be used in compliance with international conventions on human rights - and while obviously the way the system works is "innocent until proven guilty", I am somewhat wary.

Of course I don't think Sen. Murray entertains those concerns, but from a political standpoint, it could be bad optics - especially if a primary opponent or Sanchez's general election opponent(s) turn Abu Ghraib into an issue, and especially if flaws in the official story legally exonerating Sanchez come out.

20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native


[ Parent ]
I'm hoping it turns out
to be the opposite case. But those are legitimate points you bring up.  

[ Parent ]
Agree they are legit
But frankly, as was suggested when the news broke, any snafu over this in a general election would likely help him in a state like Texas. Anyway, the fact he came out so strongly afterwards makes me feel more than comfortable.

[ Parent ]
Depends on what you define as "coverup"
I was working for Ambassador Bremer in CPA when this scandal broke (and handled the media for the first courtmartial) and to say there was an effort to keep the details (if not the whole story) under wraps is an understatement, it was official US Army POLICY to make every effort to cover this up, primarily because it was believed (quite rightly IMO) that if the details of the abuse (and most particularly the photos of it) were public it would endanger the lives of US servicemen currently deployed to Iraq.

It was the right thing to do, even though it was unsuccessful, but I doubt the GOP campaign ads are going to be as generous to LTG Sanchez as I am, and the optics are indeed brutal.

"Earnestness is stupidity sent to college"
P. J. O'Rourke


[ Parent ]
So, what can you tell us, then?


"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
i don't, as a rule, get excited about TX Dem candidates
since they have all lost - good or bad, rich or poor, latino, black, or white - in the last 20 years.  

Lt Gen Sanchez looks similar to Jim Webb, a military man who has said dumb things and has a less than savory background, but who wants to run as a democrat and is saying the right things now in a state well-disposed to military men.

I agree that the military is not transparent or good about exposing it's own when it comes to any inappropriate behavior.  But even appropriate army behavior is not something anyone wants to talk about (killing people, blowing them up).  I really can't imagine a Republican attacking someone for Abu Ghraib in a statewide senate campaign in Texas.  What are you going to do - show the pictures on tv?  Do swing voters even know what Abu Ghraib was?

I think it was morally wrong and bad political strategy, but to this day, 99% of Americans don't know who was responsible - probably Bush and Rumsfeld.  If he's a bad candidate then he shouldn't be the nominee but this hazy association doesn't seem like a dealbreaker yet.


[ Parent ]
i'm completely with you here
basically, the only reasons i could never support a democrat, besides obvious non-starters like money laundering and armed robbery:

being involved in torture
being homophobic, racist, anti-semitic, etc (i'm ok with opposing gay marriage, even civil unions, but homophobic rhetoric)

18, Dem, CA-14 (home) CA-09 (college, next year). social libertarian, economic liberal, fiscal conservative.   Everybody should put age and CD here. :)


[ Parent ]
Without knowing
that much about interrogation techniques and what is considered appropriate and what used to be, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt if others are.

Also, what do you and others think will come out? Perhaps they don't know everything, but I'd have to think that this was discussed between Sanchez and those from the DSCC that talked to him about running. It also wouldn't surprise me if things were run through back channels to make sure his story checked out. He was in the military for a long time, so his life isn't some huge mystery to the government. If there are some sort of scandals that are beyond him cheating on his wife, wouldn't someone, somewhere, have figured it out, especially if Patty Murray inquired? I can't think they walked into a minefield like that, so I doubt there is much there, there.  

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?


[ Parent ]
Barney! My Pebbles!
Well, from my side of the fence, it's not surprising to see Barney Frank "look like a jackass". :)  But the ongoing drama in MA-Sen really does demonstrate to me that Scott Brown is doing a great job deflecting the threats.  Who would have thought at this stage that this wouldn't be the most likely GOP seat to flip? (I think NV-Sen is more likely at this point).  The Dems have done a very good job at recruiting Senate candidates so far, but this is their biggest hole so far.

43 - Male - GOP/Libertarian - FL 22

[ Parent ]
Still very early.
If the Democrats unite behind a candidate, he or she won't have any problem winning a primary or raising money. That means that this person could get in during November and probably be fine, especially given the Democratic tilt of the state.  

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
Not really any big drama.
One guy acting like a jerk for some unknown reason (I wish I knew) is just that, a one man show.  Not indicative that there's chaos below the surface.

And yes, it's a big hole...so far.

Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo!
So little time, so much to know!


[ Parent ]
Why
I'm assuming it's because Setti Warren won't let Barney have any of his Fruity Pebbles.

43 - Male - GOP/Libertarian - FL 22

[ Parent ]
Maybe
Frank wants him to continue serving as Mayor and let someone more senior in the political sphere (perhaps Lt. Gov. Murray) run, but that's mere speculation.

Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo!
So little time, so much to know!


[ Parent ]
The problem is...
No one else is stepping up. Everyone else who is interested seems to be hoping Sen. Kerry will take a job in the administration and leave a nice juicy open seat for them to fill in a special election. This is probably the only site where I consistently see Lt. Gov. Murray touted as a prospective challenger to Sen. Scott Brown; the media has virtually ignored him because he has done absolutely nothing to indicate that he's remotely interested in the race. Even Rep. Capuano, who we were discussing as a shoo-in to challenge Brown last year, seems to be pretty silent these days.

I just don't understand what Rep. Frank thinks he'll get out of trying to crush one of the only guys who both acts interested in running against Brown and might be perceived as viable enough to get establishment support (Massie clearly doesn't qualify, and I doubt Khazei would either). Granted, Mayor Warren polled pretty dismally against Brown in that one survey we saw earlier this month, but I'd wager that's a function of name recognition rather than the affable, competent-seeming mayor truly being toxic with registered voters.

If Frank has a problem with Warren, why doesn't he run himself? Or why doesn't he recruit a "stronger" candidate to run? By just jeering Warren from the bleachers, he's just being an unhelpful, selfish ass.

20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native


[ Parent ]
As an actual Massachusetts voter...
I have to say Barney Frank is right on and you and David are way off.

Setti is kind of a sleaze, and there's a lot that's going to come out if he runs that hasn't yet. The Newton mayor's race was pattycake and his opponents either didn't do effective opposition research or didn't use it effectively. He is a much weaker candidate than generally perceived by out of staters.

General sentiments in Newton are against Setti running. It's not just Barney Frank; it's a lot of his supporters on the City Council too. And the Newton Tab. These are people who have every incentive to encourage him to run. Those who followed the MA-Sen special may remember how the establishment almost all lined up behind Coakley. Why? Because if the AG's office becomes vacant, the legislators get to choose one of their own as a replacement. Then that person moves up, and they all get to play musical chairs with committee assignments. And if you're an ambitious city councilor whose Rep just got chosen, there's now a special for you to run in for his seat. Same deal with Newton. There's a special election if the Mayor leaves so early in his term. The city councilors have a vested interest in him running, and even they are telling him not to.

If it was just Congressman Frank, you could possibly dismiss it. But it's not. It's also the city council. I started this race being kind of indifferent to Setti. The message I hear from all this, and the message most people I've talked to who are paying attention this early hear from this, is that Setti refuses to listen to smart advice. He's an empty suit more intent on moving up than doing the right thing for the voters who elected him. Look at the Tab's poll: only 37% of the voters in Newton think he should run for Senate in 2012. http://www.wickedlocal.com/new...

My money says Bernstein is wrong on he 2013 speculation. Barney Frank most likely has been talking to a better candidate who is interested in 2012. Personally, I'm hoping it's Capuano or Elizabeth Warren. Either way, Barney Frank knows what he's doing, and it's Setti that looks like an ass right now.  


[ Parent ]
^^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^^
I have never been sold on Setti Warren for some reason and would rather see Capuano run against Brown.

20, Male, Democrat, CA-44 (home) CA-12 (college)

[ Parent ]
Thanks for posting this
Frank is clearly a smart guy and him breaking a cardinal rule in politics was quite surprising.  And what is out there on Warren we don't know about?

[ Parent ]
This cow doesn't give the milk for free
Opposition research is part of what I do. I'm not giving away the goods on Setti for free. So unless you want to pony up my fee, you'll have to wait until I've chosen a candidate and they decide to release what I have. And of course if my preferred candidate chooses not to hire me, you have to either
1) Hope whoever they do hire is as good as me. Which is doubtful b/c David Stone is the only in-state oppo talent of any note on the Dem side, and I know I'm better than him from working for one of his previous clients. And given the incompetence the DSCC has shown in this race so far and in the special, I suspect that even David Stone is better than their people.

2)Wait till Setti's the nominee and Brown comes out swinging. Romney's people are better than I am, and they'll be helping Brown.  


[ Parent ]
I don't know if this is appropriate for the site or not
This entire post was lame.  "This is what I do", "This cow doesn't give its milk away for free", "I know I'm better than him".  

We all take pride in our knowledge, curiosities and commentary on this site, showboating isn't really all that desirable.


[ Parent ]
Then I apologize
The point is, I'm not going to be the one to tell you all the gory details about Setti.

First, because I have a financial interest in not doign so this early.
Second, because I want to cause maximum damage to him, and releasing good stuff on SSP in April 2011 is not going to do as much damage as releasing it in the Boston Globe sometime down the road.

But here's a hint, for the really curious: Has anyone fact-checked Setti's claim that he's the Governor's favorite?
http://www.boston.com/bostongl...


[ Parent ]
Slightly curious.
What is your fee?

http://mypolitikal.com/

[ Parent ]
Huh
No kidding.

20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native

[ Parent ]
What's wrong with Massie?
His profile, if anything, seems better suited to a House race, but he seems to be as good a fallback as any if none of the more "serious" candidates actually give the race a go.

Independent Socialist & Chair of SSP Cranky Indianian Hoosier Caucus, IN-09

[ Parent ]
I'm almost beginning to wonder
If Warren may not be the way forward. She would bring in lots of money from the netroots if nothing else.

[ Parent ]
What's wrong with Massie
is that he was the LG candidate during the most lopsided loss ever by a MA Gubernatorial candidate. That's not all his fault. But he shares enough of the blame to make me really squeamish about supporting him for anything higher than State Rep unless he really proves himself on the campaign trail.

So far his whole  campaign pitch has been that he's "the only declared Democratic candidate", which isn't even true. Immigration attorney Marisa Defranco has also declared. I doubt he's lying. I think his campaign's just too disorganized to notice that their pitch isn't true. His FEC report for the first quarter is also past due, which is another sign of disorganization. I like him on policy, and I think he's a great guy. But he's a weak candidate.  


[ Parent ]
Late FEC reports are not a good sign
Thanks for the response. Doesn't seem like he's quite ready for the big game.  

Independent Socialist & Chair of SSP Cranky Indianian Hoosier Caucus, IN-09

[ Parent ]
FEC Report
Is it really past due or are you saying it is b/c its not on their site yet? Senate reports always are put on the big map on their site much later than House reports. No Senate reports are up yet  

[ Parent ]
Barney's motives
I actually think he has the best interests of the Democratic Party in mind. As a Republican, I will admit that I want to see Setti Warren as the nominee because I think he would be the weakest against Brown of all the potential candidates. While any Democrat could win this race by effectively nationalizing it (which I think will be harder than some people expect), Warren would have a tougher go than most because he is unknown, inexprienced, liberal, a bit of an ideologue, and from Newton, which to people outside 128 is a symbol of elitism. Capuano, Lynch, Murray and perhaps Elizabeth Warren would be stronger candidates.

The thing is, Setti Warren would play extremely well in a Democratic primary, because that will be dominated by wine-track liberal in Middlesex County and nonwhite voters in Boston, both of which he will have natural appeal to. I think Frank understands this, and is telling Newton to sit this one out to give Democrats the best shot at taking out Brown.

20, CD MA-03/NH-01/MA-08


[ Parent ]
So I'm thinking...
You probably never in your wildest imagination thought you'd be defending Barney Frank on a liberal blog!  

[ Parent ]
Haha
Yeah, I never thought I would be doing that. Oh, Barney.....we disagree on so much, but I do have to respect his political acumen.

20, CD MA-03/NH-01/MA-08

[ Parent ]
As an out-of-stater
I think you are right about this. Democrats will win this race if it becomes about policies, not personality. I think that a race between Warren and Brown would be too easy to frame as "Scott Brown the guy who drives a truck" vs "Out-of-touch rich guy from Newton" instead of "Democrat who votes for the things you like" vs "Republican who doesn't".

Male, VA-08

[ Parent ]
Maybe Barney thinks Warren will lose big
and wants him to stay where he's at.

[ Parent ]
There is bad blood here
Setti beat a long-time State Rep and close Frank ally in the Newton Mayor's race last year, and his campaign manager has been involved in two separate legislative primaries where close Frank proteges went down to outsiders. One of them went Republican decisively because of the bad blood generated.

Because Barney is a progressive and openly gay, people sometimes forget he was something of an old-fashioned political boss first.  

26 Right-leaning, Euro-Conservative, Anti-Tea Party Independent


[ Parent ]
Nailed it
Of all the explanations, this one makes by far the most sense.

Are there potentially stronger candidates than Mayor Warren in the Senate race? Of course there are. But none are really stepping forward. I'd be very happy if Joseph Kennedy II, Elizabeth Warren or (this one's not gonna happen) Rachel Maddow jumped in, but they really don't sound like candidates, and Setti Warren does.

Maybe there's dirt on him. Shit, I dunno. It does sound like he's failed to impress in some circles. But right now, it almost seems like certain Massachusetts Democrats are willing to give Sen. Scott Brown a free pass because they're too selfish to work together.

20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native


[ Parent ]
At this point,
for Texas Democrats, I would think the most important thing is getting one statewide win, whether that was for some sort of commissioner or auditor position. Winning a senate seat would be pretty nice in any year, but particularly sweet given the lack of success they've had recently. I don't think it's an abandonment of principles to run someone that can win as long as he or she fits within the party. If we were running someone who was like Paul Ryan with finances, Buddy Caldwell with the health care law, Ronnie Musgrove with gay marriage and adoption by gay parents, Strom Thurmond with regards to civil rights, Rick Santorum with regards to abortion, and/or Wayne LaPierre with regards to gun control, then we'd be going against some or all of our core values in order to win. But we aren't doing that, it seems. Perhaps Sanchez won't be lighting a fire under the asses of everyone in the same way Sherrod Brown will, but if he were uncomfortable running as a Democrat, he wouldn't do so. And if people are uncomfortable voting for him, they don't have to do so.  

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
Tea party Dreamboat?
If we were running someone who was like Paul Ryan with finances, Buddy Caldwell with the health care law, Ronnie Musgrove with gay marriage and adoption by gay parents, Strom Thurmond with regards to civil rights, Rick Santorum with regards to abortion, and/or Wayne LaPierre with regards to gun control, then we'd be going against some or all of our core values in order to win.

I think this sentence is the ideal candidate for the tea Party...shudder at the thought.


[ Parent ]
Perhaps.


"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
I think we might be missing a point here...
There's no proof Sanchez can win anyway, even aside from the torture allegations. Just because he was the top commander in Iraq at one time doesn't mean he's a viable Democratic Senate candidate in Texas. It would be interesting to see PPP poll him against some of the other candidates, but I'm still assuming the D in front of his name will doom him in the absence of any other proof.

American political history is littered with military candidates who lost politcial races (i.e. William Westmoreland, Oliver North). Even regardless of specific allegations of approving torture, Sanchez's Iraq tenure was not exactly a moment of shining glory for the U.S. military.  


[ Parent ]
Even if it was glorious, its still Texas
And he's still a Dem.

I still think the epitome of backwards results for military Democrats has to be Max Cleland losing in 2002.

How a triple amputee lost for being weak on defense is still beyond me, but times/states can sometimes be that harsh to even the most patriotic military members.


[ Parent ]
It's fair to say
that the election was about far more than Cleland's service in Vietnam, even as it was centered around defense. He won that seat in a very, very close race to begin with, of course.  

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
No, he's no guaranteed victor.
But he's an interesting candidate that doesn't have all of the drawbacks of someone usually running for this type of seat. He has his own issues, but I have to think they figured they wouldn't drag him down. Maybe they will, but that's not at all clear now. Perhaps we will have a better idea of what to expect once we get some polling. I hope this appears as a choice when P.P.P. puts up a polling selection.  

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
Personally saw Kinky Friedman as a grand opportunity
My understanding is there is significant opposition to a Kinky run in some elements of the TX democratic party. Which always seemed odd- if your party has collapsed on the statewide level, why not take a gamble on somebody who showed he can reach into untapped constituencies?

19, Male, libertarian Republican, TX-14 and MN-04

[ Parent ]
Sanchez
I've commented as length about Abu Gharaib (pronounced Ahh-boo Gagh-Ray-b), but besides this being a serious easy hit on Sanchez I think once people get a better look at his leadership outside of that scandal the blush will be off the rose. It may seem easy to bash Bush/Rumsfeld for Iraq's implosion in spring of '04, but on military terms Sanchez term as Commander of JCTF-7 was at best feckless and at worst disastrous, and will contrast extremely poorly with Patraeus stewardship afterwards during the "Surge". Patraeus didn't just administer a better strategy he was dramatically more capable and successful as a commander than Sanchez.

Another thing to watch for is that Pataeus can't STAND Sanchez, he made no secret of his distaste for Sancez while he was under his command and his congressional testimonyabout the mess left by Sanchez were equaly negative. If Sanchez does run and the WH want to protect him (though I doubt the WH would give a good rats ass, one way or the other) they would name Patraeus to the Joint Chiefs rather than to a civilian post. Patraeus can't say boo about Sanchez as long as he still wears the uniform.

"Earnestness is stupidity sent to college"
P. J. O'Rourke


[ Parent ]
Incompetence is probably more important than torture.
In regards to Sanchez, at least. Sanchez arguably allowed Iraq to spiral out of control and into civil war. Even if Petraeus doesn't bash him, it won't be hard to find other high-ranking officers who will.

22, male, conservative, VA-08 (residence), CA-15 (school)

[ Parent ]
Doesn't that violate military code?
Why would any serving officer risk a court martial by getting involved in political issues?

Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo!
So little time, so much to know!


[ Parent ]
Sorry, I meant retired officers.
A lot of the mid to high-level officers from that era are now retired. It's been six years since Sanchez stepped down in Iraq, which is a big fraction of any military career. There are only so many positions for advancement for O-4 to O-6 officers.  

22, male, conservative, VA-08 (residence), CA-15 (school)

[ Parent ]
How did he let Iraq spiral out of control?
I'm at work now, so I can't say that much, but the implication I keep seeing is that he's reaponsible for some awful stuff besides the torture and that it will be easy to prove it and nail him to the wall. I am not seeing it.

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
It's not really one action.
There wasn't one turning point where everything went wrong, although the Abu Ghraib scandal was hugely damaging. It was just an overall failure to work with Paul Bremer, a failure to comprehend the depth of the insurgency, and a failure to craft any sort of unified COIN strategy. He comes of pretty poorly in Fiasco by Thomas Ricks.

So beyond Abu Ghraib, there's no single incident where Sanchez can be attacked. But, it won't be hard to find a lot of high-ranking retired officers who are willing to bash his leadership of the conflict and say it caused the deaths of however many thousands of Americans.

22, male, conservative, VA-08 (residence), CA-15 (school)


[ Parent ]
I would love to see the GOP try that
Voters in TX will view it as extremely sleazy politics to a degree where you now turning soldier deaths into a political issue instead of letting them be heroes and rest in peace.

I've disapproved of the Iraq War from day one and have never heard his name; blaming him for the failure of Iraq is not going to seem genuine because the only way people will be hearing this is in a political context, not when he was in the armed forces.  Not to mention you are also then admitting that the war in iraq was a failure and if people in TX accepted that as a reality, then you wouldn't have had so many GOPers vote to fund it endlessly for no other reason than spite.  (I'm guessing deep Civil-War complex.)


[ Parent ]
Indeed, in terms of people on the ground, I've always blamed Bremer
Never heard of Sanchez before.

[ Parent ]
Eh?
A conservative perspective isn't that Sanchez lost the war. It's that Sanchez failed to run it well, missing opportunities in the critical post-invasion phase. After the Iraqi civil war and more muddling through, Bush eventually appointed Petraeus, who implemented a new strategy and led us to victory. If Petraeus is Ulysses Grant, Sanchez is George McClellan. "Sanchez screwed up the war" and "the war was a failure" are not statements that follow from one another.

The main point in Sanchez's biography is that he was the 3-star general who led the Iraq War for a year. So, it's an entirely factual and fair attack to point out some of his leadership failures in that conflict. Saying "and thus US soldiers died" is perhaps a bit sleazy, but it's also an inevitable, automatic result of a mismanaged war effort.

It's true that he isn't a household name, even though he was the top general in Iraq for a year. It's also true that he did a generally crappy job at the only thing he's somewhat famous for.

22, male, conservative, VA-08 (residence), CA-15 (school)


[ Parent ]
A crappy job?
Again, what did he do that was specifically incompetent, and more so than anyone else? How did he himself fuck things up in ways that weren't affected by what anyone else did?  

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
Bingo!
There's got to be a lot that can easily be pinned on him, or at least enough that allows them to create the appearance of a lot of stuff being his fault, for them to feel confident that nothing will come back to bite them in the ass. I'm not sure that they want to be having an argument over this when they are quite specifically dug in on one side.  

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
Who's they?
Because I highly doubt any of the GOP's candidates will be top-level figures from the early Iraq War.

Support or opposition to the Iraq War has very little to do with the performance of the generals.

22, male, conservative, VA-08 (residence), CA-15 (school)


[ Parent ]
The Republicans
and specifically the ones in Texas.  

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
How can any of this be blamed
more on Sanchez than on any one person? How can they drag him through the mud without dragging a lot of other people down at the same time? I haven't read that book, so perhaps I am limited in seeing the problems until I do, but I find it hard to believe he's somehow more responsible than a lot of other people for what went wrong. Why was he going to be promoted, for instance, if he was such a fuck up?

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
He wasn't an exceptional failure.
He didn't screw up more than Bremer, Franks, Rumsfeld, Bush, Cheney, etc. That doesn't mean he did a good job or performed well.  

22, male, conservative, VA-08 (residence), CA-15 (school)

[ Parent ]
No, it doesn't, but then his
tenure isn't really a black mark in any particular sense if nobody had anything good to report about what they did, is it? The argument seems to be, or rather people are telling me that it will be once Republicans are done with him, that he was incompetent and responsible for a lot of crap, and more so than others.  

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
It's not a black mark, it's his entire resume
His only claim to fame is having been leader of coalition efforts in Iraq for a year. Whether he did a better or worse job than the other leaders is not the key issue. The key issue is that he oversaw a huge dysfunctional mess and did little to straighten it out. He can bash Rumsfeld and his cronies all he wants, and he has, but none of those guys are running for office. Rumsfeld being super-incompetent doesn't make Sanchez's failures any less real. And if he argues that Rumsfeld and Bremer stymied him at every turn, it will undercut his image as an effective leader.

I don't know if attacks on his tenure as MNF-I chief will be especially effective, but they are a very obvious line of attack and an entirely fair one.  

22, male, conservative, VA-08 (residence), CA-15 (school)


[ Parent ]
The point
is that you can't claim he's got some huge issue with his tenure in Iraq--that he, as you said, presided over some huge cluster fuck and didn't do much to clean it up--that makes him unacceptable to voters when, as you said, he didn't do any worse than the other big guys. He will be judged on his time there, and you are right that it's an entirely fair way to criticize him, but his entire resume isn't this. It's his experiences as a poor kid from South Texas, for instance, or any of the role he's taken in his personal and professional life. And it will be about taxes, and health care, and education, and everything else. Or, if you'd like to make it about military stuff, it can be about how he called for a truth commission and how, for instance, his views about defense and national security might have changed. And even if it is mostly about his time in Iraq, I'm not sure if that's a conversation the Republicans want to be having, in Texas or in any other state.  

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
You asked for specific failures earlier
Here's a list of specific failures from skimming through Fiasco:

1) Abu Ghraib; he created an overcrowding problem by rounding up so many detainees, and also approved interrogation methods that Central Command later rejected as too harsh. (p.239-240)
2) Failure to come up with a unified counterinsurgency plan. While he debated a draft plan with his staff, individual commanders conducted their own efforts, with tactical successes never adding up to strategic success. (p. 225-26)
3) Failure to work well with subordinates or Iraqi counterparts (p. 175)
4) Failure to work well with the Coalition Provisional Authority (p. 180)

He's even compared to General Westmoreland by a colonel or two. It shouldn't be hard to find a few officers willing to do the same in a pretty harsh ad, more so than they would for his successors.

This doesn't mean he's unelectable, but the attacks will have the potential to cause damage.

22, male, conservative, VA-08 (residence), CA-15 (school)


[ Parent ]
I tried to read a little
through the free preview from Amazon, but it looks like too intricate a book to judge through that. I'll try to read it and get back to you.  

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
What questions about his leadership
are you referring to?  

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
McMahon is still the best man to run for the seat.
He's tempermental.  No doubt.  And he's a weasel who polled the healthcare law to death before voting on it.  His meetings with local democratic clubs has to do with him having a testy relationship with all the clubs.  Some like SIDA are long standing since they opposed his earlier city council bids.  And some go back to 2008 when almost all the clubs supported Harrison over McMahon's lastluster pick of City Councilman Recchia before McMahon himself entered the race at the last moment.

McMahon of course also angered some by supporting Molinaro for Borough President and Bloomberg for Mayor. Though both were quid pro quos where he expected and received their suport.

All that said he does remain the best known and most electable Democrat on Staten Island.  The most likely alternative if McMahon doesn't run though a political cypher and much more popular among the clubs would probably have pretty much an identical voting record to McMahon.  If an elected were to run the most likely one would be Mike Cusick who would be more conservative and risk adverse than McMahon.

As for what he said to the clubs.  It was more directed at the future than the past.  He blames the absurd turnout in the South Shore rather than the base not showing up pointing to the increase in North Shore turnout over Harrison's numbers in 2006.  I didn't get the impression (though I havent attended any of the Brooklyn clubs) that he blames any of the clubs for the "droppers" not showing up.  He got much better support than our more popular local candidates.  Participation in all the other campaigns was dismal and depressing.  McMahon's effort while not nearly that of 2008 was enough to fill up a room with volunteers.  And a good portion of those volunteers were from the clubs.

The hope is both volunteers and voters will return with Obama at the top of the ticket.

As for McMahon's mishaps.  There were three at least three large ones that were big.  The biggest being one that few of you know.  The "McMahon raised my Property Taxes 18.5%" signs that sprouted up everywhere that the McMahon campaign failed to respond to.  Some of it you can blame on him having a young and local staff this time around rather than bringing in someone more experienced from the outside like in 2008.  But let's be honest here.  All campaigns are at one point or another going to screw up.  Grimm's campaign did a lot of things wrong including having a virtual absent GOTV effort (which made the South Shore turnout even more stunning).  But in a bad historical wave year every little error is magnified.  But it was far from a disaster.  McMahon could've done far worse and a generic Democrat would've been absolutely crushed in 2010.

I hope McMahon runs.  I also hope if he doesn't he announces that quickly so that whoever the Democrats run has time to build up their name identification and their bank accounts.

NY-13, Democrat. Blog @ http://infinitefunction.wordpr...


[ Parent ]
IA-04
If Latham and Vilsack win their respective races (not out of the question) would they swap districts in 2014?

No chance, there's no reason to do such a thing......
The optics of that would be the worst imaginable.  That would be acting like the seats were private property to be bartered, rather than public trusts.

More important than that, why would they give up seats where they both just won?  No reason for that.  The difference in PVIs isn't enough to justify any such thing.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
I agree it would be extremely unlikely
But look at the Diaz-Balarts last cycle....

[ Parent ]
That was unprecedented and easily distinguishable......
They are brothers and in the same party and in culturally very similar districts, pretty easy to cut a deal.  And one retired, they didn't trade.

Vilsack and Latham are not going to cut any deal.  Vilsack in particular would be dumb to do that, her goose would be cooked.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
WI Sup Ct: no surprise in Kloppenberg recount request......
It's state-paid, she doesn't have to lift a finger or pay a dime, and there's absolutely nothing to lose by pursuing it.  As long as she's publicly quiet through it (go ahead and be vocal in the process, but not in public), there's no "sore loser" narrative against her, and in any case she's probably never running for anything again anyway.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10

I actually wonder whether Kloppenburg making noise...
Wouldn't help the recall efforts - if irregularities are discovered (and I think I've made no secret here of my suspicions regarding the magical discovery of ten and a half thousand votes from a 3:1 Prosser city two days after the election).

Obviously, the gamble there is the recount going forward and confirming that Justice Prosser won fair and square, thus undermining the Democrats' credibility if they run the recall campaigns with a base-friendly "Republicans are subverting democracy" message. It kind of just depends on what actually happened, or at least what the state-funded recount is able to suss out.

20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native


[ Parent ]
I think it's straightforward what will happen......
Recounts are routine, and simply put if the recount confirms Prosser won, Democrats won't say anything, and if it shockingly changes the outcome, Democrats have an unexpected victory to crow about.

Recounts very rarely uncover anything remotely resembling fraud.  Almost everything uncovered in a recount is a mere mistake, and most of the mistakes are lost votes that should've been counted.  Those lost votes usually cut both ways, in random amounts, which is why an outcome decided by this big a margin is rarely flipped.

But I don't think you'll hear Democrats challenging the integrity of the election in any case.  They've moved on to more important things, namely the recalls.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
I tend to agree.


20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native

[ Parent ]
Don't Really blame her
I suspect, actually, that she was pushed into this by her many supporters who felt that they were not quite happy with how the final results were announced.  In one sense, I don't blame them.  The WI GOP will probably make some noise about taxpayer money being 'wasted' but I think anyone who cares about that will already be voting the other way.
Of course, the election results won't change, but it might put a few conspiracy theories to bed.  Or not.

43 - Male - GOP/Libertarian - FL 22

[ Parent ]
NV-Sen: Zero sum game?
Ralston blogged on the ramifications of both Shelley Berkley AND Dean Heller running for Senate as John Ensign retires. Basically whatever the final results are, Nevada will be screwed. It's funny how political games can have much higher stakes in small states like mine. It's never a big deal when a California Congresscritter relinquishes her seat for a cozier position (as Hilda Solis, Ellen Tauscher, and Jane Harman have all done), but here the world comes crashing down and local lobbyists worry over our pending loss of juice.

Yes, Virginia, there ARE progressives in Nevada!
24, gay male, Democrat, NV-03 (or 04?)


At least Harry Reid's still around.
Instead of, you know, Sharron Angle.

[ Parent ]
Power brokers should support Berkley then...
Because her election would help Reid keep the Majority.  Dems lose the majority and Nevada will really be hurting for influence.  

OTOH Heller is 10 years younger, allowing him to eventually rise up the ranks with seniority.  Berkley is already 60 years old.  


[ Parent ]
Good points!
I like your line of argument, and I bet Harry Reid must as well. I wouldn't be surprised if he says exactly this to his BFFs at MGM and Caesars. And even if Steve Wynn stays off his rocker, Elaine and the other sane Wynn Resorts execs would certainly understand.

Yes, Virginia, there ARE progressives in Nevada!
24, gay male, Democrat, NV-03 (or 04?)


[ Parent ]
Didn't Steve Wynn move to Macau recently?


Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo!
So little time, so much to know!


[ Parent ]
No! Steverino always throws stinkbombs...
At Obama and goes to CNBC & Faux to bash our government as "socialist", but he's never been able to pull the trigger and actually leave for Macau, Monaco, Dubai, or wherever else he's trying to make money.

That's why it was so funny last year to see him pull his wacky antics, then turn around and call Harry Reid his BFF, then declare that the mining companies should pay more taxes (because he doesn't want Wynn Resorts get hit again for $). At the end of the day, Steve Wynn will do whatever it takes to make Steve Wynn more money. And while that means he's investing more in foreign resorts and casinos these days, it also means he wouldn't ever want to risk losing the competitive advantage of keeping himself and his company based here in Las Vegas USA.

Yes, Virginia, there ARE progressives in Nevada!
24, gay male, Democrat, NV-03 (or 04?)


[ Parent ]
NV-02: Amodei is in!
He's leaving as Nevada GOP Chair to set up his campaign...

Nevada GOP Chairman Mark Amodei of Carson City entered the primary race for Nevada's only solidly Republican congressional seat Wednesday after months of hinting at a run.

Amodei, a former state senator who briefly flirted with a contest against Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last year, is expected to make a formal announcement later this week and to step down from his party post in May, Republican National Committee representative Heidi Smith of Reno told the Associated Press.

Smith said Amodei confirmed his intent Wednesday night. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Amodei will be running to replace U.S. Rep. Dean Heller, R-Carson City, in an already crowded primary that could be Nevada's most watched GOP contest of 2012.

And Brian Krolicki must be screaming bloody murder about now. And Sharrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrron Angle must want to send him a thank-you note just about now.

Yes, Virginia, there ARE progressives in Nevada!
24, gay male, Democrat, NV-03 (or 04?)


Oh crap, what a mess for the NV GOP.
Does Amodei have a base of support anywhere?  He was once a State Senator, but where from?

Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo!
So little time, so much to know!


[ Parent ]
Oh, wait, Carson City. My bad. lol


Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo!
So little time, so much to know!


[ Parent ]
Exactly...
And that has Brian Krolicki worried. Amodei's base is pretty much mining lobbyists and other corporate lobbyists in Carson, but Krolicki needs their cash to compete. As I've said before, having both Krolicki and Amodei in the race means a split establishment vote and a better chance of Sharrrrrrrrrrrrrrrron Angle slipping through the GOP primary.

Yes, Virginia, there ARE progressives in Nevada!
24, gay male, Democrat, NV-03 (or 04?)


[ Parent ]
Ralston relayed a report that Greg Brower, too, is in, which in my mind...
...makes the field large enough if Krolicki also jumps in
to give Angle a real shot.

I'm much more skeptical than Ralston that Angle can win the primary.  I think Lippold soaks up the teabaggers, with Angle persona non grata as the scapegoat for the 2010 loss to Reid.  I realize she has a small base of loyal personal followers, but I doubt that's enough to win a 3-way or even a 4-way.  But if she's got 4 others going at it, I can see her winning a 5-way.

Now we need a couple points shaved off the district's GOP PVI, and Kate Marshall to jump in and have a clear field on our side.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
Stop it! You're sounding too rational!
Hehe ;-)

No really, Angle still has enough support up north to win in a fractured GOP primary. Lippold certainly is a wild card, but how he does really depends on how hard Chuck Muth wants to push him on teabaggers and whether they can really be corralled onto his team. And if Ralston is right about Brower running as well, then the establishment is guaranteed to lose and Lippold may actually become the biggest threat to Angle.

This really feels like a replay of the 2006 GOP primary in NV-02, except that the establishment is even more fractured than before and Angle is more empowered by her newly inherited national money machine (even if it costs her almost as much to make that money!).

Yes, Virginia, there ARE progressives in Nevada!
24, gay male, Democrat, NV-03 (or 04?)


[ Parent ]
Ken Blackwell to Help Ohio Democrats
By running against Sherrod Brown, that is, if Roll Call can be believed. I don't think there's really any new information in this article, except that Blackwell has a book coming out--because if there's one thing this world needs, it's more books by no-name conservatives bashing liberals and talking about tax cuts--but it does look like he's considering it, and that has to be a good thing for Brown. Even in 2010, wouldn't Blackwell have lost? I'd say it's more likely than not. And if he's a dud against Brown, that means we need to spend less money in Ohio and can spend more in Missouri.

Now, were he to win the nomination, I would think it's because he had the support of the base, but not the party. I can't imagine them recruiting him. A sack of potatoes would be more valuable to them at this point, no?

http://www.rollcall.com/news/K...

"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?


Oh God,
Please let it happen.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, I doubt national Republicans are yearning for a Blackwell comeback
I suspect he'd rather comfortably win the primary, but he has scant pull among anyone besides social conservatives. Granted, I suppose Sherrod Brown is just liberal enough to leave some Independents at least in consideration, but I imagine Blackwell's ceiling is in the mid-40s, even if Obama's struggling atop the D ticket.

For daily political commentary, visit me at http://polibeast.blogspot.com/ and http://twitter.com/polibeast

[ Parent ]
IA-04: Christie Vilsack has a website now!
http://www.christievilsackfori...

Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo!
So little time, so much to know!


Wow, what a fast
rollout she's had. She's really hitting the ground running. She just needs to buy that house in Ames.  

[ Parent ]
It's still in the Exploratory phase.


Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo!
So little time, so much to know!


[ Parent ]
There's no such thing as an "exploratory" phase, as discussed yesterday......
There's a "testing the waters" phase that comes with severe limits on what you can do, and otherwise you're legally a candidate.

These people can drop out at anytime, but that's always true of anyone.

Really, candidates throw out "exploratory" as a way to build up anticipation and draw attention to themselves.  It's smart, there's nothing wrong with that, but there's no legal recognition of any such thing.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
IA-04: clarification on that 47%......
I did the math, and "47%" means King's old counties have 47% of the new district's population. I had wondered if it was population or geography.  That 47% comes from 18 of 39, or 46%, of the new district's counties.  So that's remarkably close, and surprises me because frankly the 21 new counties have a lot more bigger towns than King's 18 old counties.  King's old counties include the most populated one, Woodbury (containing Sioux City), of the 39 counties in new IA-04, so that's what helps keep old and new so even.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10

I had thought about that, too
When I was writing this up. But I realized G^2 had to mean population - going by square footage makes no sense, though it is interesting that the two happen to be almost identical in this case.

[ Parent ]
Texas House
There is certainly solid evidence of retrogression in Harris County.  They also have a pretty good case for dilution in Dallas County along the Northeast part of I635.  I will shamelessly reproduce what I said about the original map, which is immaterially different from this one, on Kuffner's page.
I originally made the following predictions for the number of Democratic districts in the major counties:

Harris 12, Tarrant 3, Bexar 7, Travis 5, and Dallas 6.

Harris is a bit worse than I expected, and I can see where Farrar is coming from.  There are only 11 solid Democratic seats, which is down from 12.  I predicted that they would have to keep 12 to maintain VRA status, and it sounds like that's the primary reason for concern.  I think there are still a few Republican seats that could be picked up, like Murphy, Bohac, and Legler, but I understand why Harris Democrats would take issue with this map.  Nonetheless, my prediction that Harris would have 12 D seats seems pretty close.

Tarrant is almost exactly as I predicted with a new minority district in East Arlington.  In fact, I drew a map of Tarrant in which Nash was going to the North but along the East edge of the county.  In this map, her district goes North in the middle of the county.  Close enough.  Tarrant will likely have 3 Democratic seats for most, if not all, of the decade.  I.e., I called it!  

Bexar is also similar to what I thought would happen.  Bexar was 6D-2R-2S, and I didn’t see how it could really change other than make the 2 swing districts a little more Republican friendly.  Based upon my reading of the map, those 2 districts are probably a touch more Republican friendly, but I suspect they will be in Democratic hands within a cycle or two.  My prediction of Bexar having 7 D seats sounds pretty close to an average situation. Again, I called it!

Travis was 4D-2S, and now it looks like it might be 5D-1R, which I suspect will be the situation for most of the decade.  Once again, I called it!

Dallas is better than I thought it would be.  Here's what I sent to Greg.  Well, Solomons drew 6 VRA seats, and I suspect that Vaught, Kent, and Miklos all reside in more Republican districts.  However, I think that he left more on the table than I thought he would.  For example, he didn't pack the Northeast part along I635 in Democratic districts, like I did, and he didn't crack or pack the Asian precincts and left them in Republican districts.  Unlike other counties, I feel pretty good about this Dallas map.



Love Kuffner
If you ever want to keep up with Houston politics, it is a good place to start.  

19, Male, libertarian Republican, TX-14 and MN-04

[ Parent ]
Larry Sabato has come out with his current 2012 projections...
...and obviously they, as he says, are simply there to set a "baseline" for things.

Lean+Likely+Safe Dem = 247
Toss-up = 111
Lean+Likely+Safe GOP = 180

I like our chances if we can maintain this baseline.

24, male, Democrat, VA-06 (currently in Italy), went to school in VA-05


That map proves my point that where the battlegrounds are really decide the outcome......
We're starting out with an edge in enough states to get us within 23 electoral votes of victory simply because Republicans can't make enough of the Upper Midwest a tossup area, while we're making tossups out of some formerly safe GOP states from the Reagan/Bush/Bush-era.

As long as pundits are acknowledging that states like North Carolina and Virginia and Colorado are no worse than tossups for Democrats, we win.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
I wonder what that map would look like...
Without Walker, Scott, Snyder, Kasich being elected in 2010.


[ Parent ]
Frankly I think it makes no difference......
I think Governors are overstated as influences in how their states vote for President.

John Engler, Tommy Thompson, Tim Pawlenty, and Tom Ridge never delivered their states for Republican presidential nominees.  Terry Branstad couldn't deliver Iowa in 1988, 1992, or 1996.  Republican Governors in Illinois couldn't deliver their states in 1992, 1996, or 2000.  And in Florida, Crist couldn't deliver the state for McCain even though McCain led in almost all polling, at times by double-digits, right through the end of September 2008.

I'm not the least bit worried about those states, and in fact their having elected Republican Governors served as an outlet for voters there so that they don't necessarily take their frustrations out on Democrats next year.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
I think Roscoe's point may have been
That all of those new Govs. have made their states more hostile to Republicans, not less.

Independent Socialist & Chair of SSP Cranky Indianian Hoosier Caucus, IN-09

[ Parent ]
I never thought of that, thanks for the different take. I'm used to...
..the conventional wisdom that a Governor helps his party's presidential nominee carry the Governor's state.  That's what I reflexively see.

But if you're right, then I agree with Roscoe 100% that the blowback against these Governors is only helping us so far for the 2012 cycle.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
I'd put Georgia, Montana, and Missouri into the same tier...
And Texas, North Dakota, and Arizona into the tier directly below. Maybe Alaska, too.

Other than that, I basically agree with the map, though I might also shade Nevada light blue.

20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native


[ Parent ]
Nevada will depend on if Romney is GOP nominee...
I think he's the only one who polls close to President Obama in Nv.  

[ Parent ]
Fair enough
Sometimes I just forget Romney exists. It's easy to lose sight of his vacuous mannequin face among the sea of frothing crazy that is the crowded Republican primary field.

20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native

[ Parent ]
And that's Reason #101 why...
I don't think Mittens will be the GOP nominee. He has the enthusiasm of a wet blanket, and GOP primary voters really seem to want someone with passion and fire in the belly. At least Huckster can muster more passion, but we'll have to see if teabaggers can really warm up to him. Whether or not "Trump-mentum" is real, I think Donald Trump's rapid ascent in GOP primary polls and good showings by "None of the Above" as well show that there's room for either another "dark horse" to shake things up, or for one of the teabaggers to consolidate that base and turn up the crazy to win (the primary, that is).

Yes, Virginia, there ARE progressives in Nevada!
24, gay male, Democrat, NV-03 (or 04?)


[ Parent ]
I'm skeptical Huckabee makes the race
It's not really the behavior of someone who really does want to enter the race to basically pre-endorse Gov. Barbour, who would be a likely opponent in the crowded field. He's kept his job on FOX News, unlike some other likely candidates, and he's kept insisting that he's "50-50" on whether he'll run while not making any visible, concrete moves toward assembling a campaign. It seems more like he wants to stay relevant and influential in the party than that he really has the stomach for what will be a bruising primary (and remember that Huckabee's fundraising then [in 2008] and now [in 2011] is lackluster, especially by comparison to meat-throwers like Palin, Rep. Bachmann, and Rep. Paul and Beltway-friendly wine-and-diners like Romney, Pawlenty, and Gov. Barbour, and he lacks the personal wealth of Trump, Cain, and Ambassador Huntsman) and a grueling general election against a president who looks beatable but not particularly vulnerable at this stage.

20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native

[ Parent ]
I think he's running for VP already...
He likes the Fox money if he doesn't run for President, he can be on Fox for a year yet.  Then he runs on the bottom of the ticket for three-four months and either wins and is VP or goes back to Fox, probably with a raise.  

There was rumors that he was negotiating with Fox for a M-F slot, I wonder if he could get the Beck slot.  


[ Parent ]
Hard to argue with this strategy
If he stays on the sideline, he gets all of the benefits you lay out.  Plus he could hypothetically be viable in 2016 as flameouts by some of the current crop should reduce the 2016 field (I assume new governors like Walker, Kasich and Scott are not viable in 2016).

[ Parent ]
I think this map is a smidgen optimistic
A couple of changes I'd make:
-Montana should be lean or likely R
-Indiana should be lean R
Pennsylvania might want to be in the tossup category, although I can see the argument for lean D.

And Yeah, I can't speak for Ohio, but Walker being an asshole has done a lot to push Wisconsin back towards our column.  


[ Parent ]
I think the GOP will lock down Florida...
I just have a feeling with the Convention there, especially of course if Rubio is tapped as VP candidate a la the choice of Palin to be the "game changer".  Rubio would lock down Florida and I guess the GOP might think he'd peel off Latino support, hopefully enough to flip some Southern toss-up states.  

[ Parent ]
Really hard to say.


Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo!
So little time, so much to know!


[ Parent ]
"Lock down" is a strong way of putting it
Florida may have the most money spent in it of any state during 2012.

24, male, Democrat, VA-06 (currently in Italy), went to school in VA-05

[ Parent ]
Did Gore win Tennessee
peeling off southern white support, allowing him to flip some southern states.

And convention location doesn't matter. The GOP had their convention in Minnesota in 2008; did they come close to winning Minnesota?


[ Parent ]
Not saying it would work...
I mean the McCain camp thought they were making a play for Hillary voters when they chose Palin, like women would forget politics just to vote for any woman.  

If the GOP nominee is not gaining any traction they might look for a Hail Mary type of VP choice and I think Rubio would be a real candidate for such a move.  

 


[ Parent ]
Rubio
I don't see Rubio as being a 'Hail Mary' type of choice, I think he would be first on the list of nearly everyone running for Prez with the possible exception of someone like Palin or Trump who would need to be balanced with a VEEP with more experience.  Rubio checks nearly every box you would want in a VP candidate with the possible drawback that he could overwhelm the top of the ticket because he has more charisma than someone like Daniels or Pawlenty.
I won't say he 'locks up' FL, but I will say that he can make quite a difference there.  Gore lost FL because of Elian Gonzales - having Rubio on the ticket will just bring out the Cubans.

43 - Male - GOP/Libertarian - FL 22

[ Parent ]
Conventions
Not to mention that the GOP didn't carry New York in 2004 (despite milking the 9/11 cow for all it was worth), Pennsylvania in 2000, or California in 1996 when they had their conventions there.  Same goes for Dems in Georgia in 1988, California 1984, or New York 1980.

The only people who care much about that, really, are those like us who are likely overinformed about politics.  As for local ordinary voters, you have restaurant and hospitality workers pleased with the additional business (even if they don't agree with the conventiongoers' politics) and commuters annoyed by the extra traffic and transit crowding, so it's basically a wash.

35, Male, Democrat, MD-8


[ Parent ]
I too have a bad feeling about Florida this cycle...
But we'll just have to see what happens.

Sen. Rubio does seem to be the widely expected veep pick at this early stage, but I really don't think Latinos would be terribly impressed. Still, it might be worth the effort just to move the needle in Florida a bit, and there's no obvious stronger candidate for the slot, seeing as that most of the new governors once considered prime material have gone over about as well as a turd in the punchbowl in their respective states, the vast majority of the Republican Senate conference is comprised of old white male backbenchers, and there's enough bad blood already brewing between the presidential candidates that I have a hard time seeing Romney picking Huckabee, or Trump picking Gov. Daniels, or Palin picking Gingrich, etc.

20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native


[ Parent ]
It is important to point out that Rubio is Cuban-American
Which I have been told is largely seen as separate from the Latino community.  

Also the Jeb Bush machine needs to be considered.  If he has designs on 2016 (which I believe he does) then does he really want a Republican to win in 2012? Is Rubio a cog in the Jeb Bush machine?  


[ Parent ]
Jeb
I would not describe Rubio as a cog in Jeb Bush's machine and there's no way he'd turn down the VP nomination.

43 - Male - GOP/Libertarian - FL 22

[ Parent ]
But would Jeb turn it down?
The other one that looks interesting is Huckabee. The scenario upthread looks very plausible to me.

[ Parent ]
It'll be close either way.
The reason I am more hopeful about Florida than others is that we haven't seen nearly as much drop off, if any at all, in the two groups that gave Obama his margin of victory in the state in 2008: blacks and Hispanics. These same two groups have a lot of people that could be brought into the process because they aren't currently registered. He is, in other words, depending a lot less on the white vote, which seems more or less fixed for Democrats in the state.


"I have never deliberately given anybody hell. I just tell the truth on the opposition-and they think it's hell."--President Harry Truman. President Obama, are you listening?

[ Parent ]
I'm confident Rubio would help a lot less than you think......
The top of the ticket always decides the outcome except if there's a razor-thin margin.  In that vein, Lieberman might indeed have helped Gore in Florida in Jewish voters, so that would be a rare exception.  But if the top of the GOP ticket is a bad candidate or an otherwise OK-on-the-surface candidate who still runs a bad campaign, then Rubio is not going to matter.

Obama is actually a lot stronger in Florida now than almost anytime during the 2008 cycle.  People forget this, but Obama trailed McCain in almost all Florida polling for almost the entire cycle until the start of October, just over a month before the election.  And still Obama won.  The totality of polling there now and last year has had Obama actually stronger there than through the last presidential cycle; sometimes only slightly stronger, but stronger nevertheless.

Oh, and if Obama campaigns effectively on Medicare and social security, and Republicans don't walk away from the Ryan budget, then that's going to matter a lot more in Florida than Rubio.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
That's true
I think Obama won Florida for four reasons:

1) The economic meltdown--especially in housing;

2) His ability to totally dominate the airwaves;

3) Puerto Ricans in Orlando turning out for him; and

4) Sarah Palin, fundamentalist Christian, scaring the living crap out of old Jews in S. Fla.  


[ Parent ]
Rubio
I'm really sick of people playing up Rubio (or any VP nominee really). The VP nominee usually just does not matter at all for the electoral outcome. Most research suggest that they don't even matter for the electoral margin and vote counts.

That being said, I really agree with DCC here. Obama is definitely alot stronger in Florida now than then, which is massively surprising. I didn't believe Obama would win Florida last time around up until the vote returns started on election night, and even then I was hesitant until about 60% was counted.

Florida is a state that I don't even think Huckabee would make competitive for the same reasons that  andgarden expressed.  

21, Conservative Gay Democrat, NM-2 (Childhood) TX-10 (Home) TX-23 (School);   DKos: wwmiv.


[ Parent ]
Also re Rubio:
Remember that he only won 49% of the Senate vote in a big year for his party nationally, against unenthusiastic Democratic turnout.  That was more than enough to win, obviously, against split opposition, but it's a real stretch to extrapolate that into him being a great national candidate, at least not yet.

Also I'm not sure if the Hispanic identity politics thing will fly as well as Republicans think it will.  Cases in point: Sarah Palin, who ran worse among women than men, or the alleged biracial appeal of Ken Blackwell, Michael Steele, or Lynn Swann which was hyped endlessly in 2006 (until the votes came in.)

35, Male, Democrat, MD-8


[ Parent ]
Steele was my favorite RNC chair ever
Oh wait, maybe that was the point lol.

I don't know about the Hispanic identity politics, but then again we have trouble determine whethert he wor dis Hispanic/Latino/etc...

I think one thing GWB proved is that speaking Spanish made him seem more accessible to the Hispanic community; he did better in his Guv elections with Hispanics than someone with his policies should have.  I'm not as familair with how this helped (or not) during his presidential elections, but I'm sure he did better than McCain.

Maybe just being able to communicate with Hispanics in their native tongue is a good starting point.  I oft wonder if a 3rd generation Hispanic from rural North Dakota would poll better than a white rperesentaitve from texas who spoke Spanish.  Identity might not mean race but just a commonality of things that's not easily identified.

Alsom we do havt to admit that Pali/Blackwell/Steele/Swann were horrible candidates.  Their gender/race couldn't save them from themselves so they're not great examples of good examples of identity politics not working as they are examples of bad candidates chosen for the wrong reasons.


[ Parent ]
Pres
The Viva Bush ads helped him with hispanic voters to a certain extent. He did better with them than most GOP candidates, but still lost them.  

21, Conservative Gay Democrat, NM-2 (Childhood) TX-10 (Home) TX-23 (School);   DKos: wwmiv.

[ Parent ]
Misleading on the 49%
If it had of been a normal election, Rubio v Meek without Crist ever getting in, it would have been a landslide win for Rubio like other similar races were. An Independent candiate of that profile was always bound to draw a large segment of the vote, and while he ate more into Meek, there were definately some Indies and moderate Repubs in Crist's coalition who would probably have gone Rubio in a 1-on-1. By the end, even if Meek had dropped out, the polls hinted it wouldn't have been guaranteed that Crist could beat Rubio in a 1-on-1.

[ Parent ]
Final numbers from PPP
Rubio 48-44 over Crist, 51-42 over Meek.

http://www.publicpolicypolling...


[ Parent ]
Which points to a
12-point win or so over Meek considering that this PPP poll leaned about 2-3 points to the left, showing Sink up by 1 and Crist/Meek beating Rubio 51-47 (instead of 50-49).

18- Hamburg, Germany (non-US-citizen)

[ Parent ]
If GOP selects Rubio
I don;t see how it changes much.  Which Obama 2008 voters will switch to the GOP side because of Rubio as VP.  Its not like there  were preumed to be that many Obama 2008/Rubio 2010 voters, I can't imagine how Rubio 2012 as VP would improve that.

Plus its not like Obama is married to Biden, if he senses Florida is gone and wants to win Biden and Hillary could swap jobs, I think Hillary could help with Florida whites.


[ Parent ]
I actually think Florida might flip before North Carolina
Not sure how much of a bump Rubio would provide, but it'd definitely provide an aura of excitement around the GOP ticket which otherwise wouldn't be there.

For daily political commentary, visit me at http://polibeast.blogspot.com/ and http://twitter.com/polibeast

[ Parent ]
I'd make it 262 for Obama...
But I can see why Sabato didn't. If he did, he'd have to admit Republicans have very little chance of knocking off Obama next year. I REALLY have a hard time seeing either my home state of Nevada or Colorado flipping Red next year, so I'd color both as "Leans Democratic" and downgrade New Mexico to "Likely Democratic".

At the same time, I'd upgrade Arizona, Montana, and Georgia to "Leans Republican". So far, there's no indication that the GOP has that strong of a lock on any of those states.

Yes, Virginia, there ARE progressives in Nevada!
24, gay male, Democrat, NV-03 (or 04?)


[ Parent ]
I agree that
Sabato is probably underestimating Democratic strength in the Southwest.  Unfortunately, he's probably optimistic or overestimating Democratic strength in the Great Lakes/Midwest.

Obama (and perhaps federal Democratic) approval seems to be bouncing against a 48% ceiling currently.  That seems due to a small (5-6%ish) small c centrist-conservative voter bloc which voted for Obama/national Democrats in '08 but is now consistently polling Undecided or slight Republican lean.


[ Parent ]
shhh
hat seems due to a small (5-6%ish) small c centrist-conservative voter bloc which voted for Obama/national Democrats in '08 but is now consistently polling Undecided or slight Republican lean.

don't tell Jane Hamsher  


[ Parent ]
Different GOP Nominees make all the difference...
in this type of map.  Romney's map would look different than Daniels, would look different than Huckabees.  


[ Parent ]
Sure, but I think the 2008 map is closer to reality than 2000 or 2004, and Sabato is smarter than others to recognize that......
Whether it's Obama's unique appeal, changing national demographics, or a combination of both, Sabato is smarter on this than Chuck Todd or Charlie Cook.  He "gets it" that whoever is the GOP nominee, even a competitive 2012 election is probably going to include the Republican having to fight tooth and nail for states like Virginia and North Carolina and Colorado and Nevada.  It's not going to be like 2000 and 2004 when those were either secondary worries or safe Republican states.

The real question to me is, can a Republican nominee next year make states like Wisconsin and Michigan into tossups even without locking away states like North Carolina and Virginia?  I'm doubtful, and Sabato's early map also is doubtful.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
The ticking demographic time bomb...
Is now starting to explode, and we're seeing this change the map in significant ways. Again, I really think it's unlikely the Republican will win New Mexico or Nevada next year. Even Colorado will be an incredibly tough haul for the GOP. Young voters are angry over education cuts, Latinos don't like being bashed as "aliens", and queer folk hate being used as pawns as our rights are constantly under assault. Oh yes, and we don't want nuclear waste dumps and coal power plants shoved down our throats.

The West is really changing, but the GOP refuses to change. That's why I doubt they can win back Colorado, Nevada, or New Mexico, and why I think Arizona will be in play next year.

Yes, Virginia, there ARE progressives in Nevada!
24, gay male, Democrat, NV-03 (or 04?)


[ Parent ]
Arizona
I'm with you on most of what you say (but, sigh, the "demographic time bomb" still irks me).  

I'm still not convinced that young people will vote based on education cuts, and considering CO has a Dem guv I don't know how such an issue could play there.

But Arizona would shock me.  I don't think the state is as right wing as it has seemed the last few years (nor do I think Jan Brewer is that right wing either, to be honest), but I just don't know what could make it in play in 2012.

2016, however, I think AZ is probably a swing state in the truest since, with the right candidate.  I jsut think 2012 Obama might struggle here (though I think Obama would win Arizona if the election were held in 2014, if that makes any sense).


[ Parent ]
I could argue at the margins
But looks about right to me.

[ Parent ]
I got excited and thought those were House seats
Then I saw it was Larry Sabato and added up to more than 500.  

[ Parent ]
Mostly agree
personally, I'd change FL to Lean GOP, NV to Lean D, SC/ND/SD/AK to Likely R, and AZ/MT to Lean R.

If Romney is the nominee, here are my guesses for now (in order of margin)

DC (3)
Hawaii (4)
Vermont (3)
Rhode Island (4)
California (55)
New York (29)
Illinois (20)
Connecticut (7)
Massachusetts (11)
Maryland (10)
Delaware (3)
Washington (12)
Oregon (7)
New Mexico (5)
Maine (4)
New Jersey (14)
Nevada (6)
Minnesota (10)
Colorado (9)
Michigan (16)
Pennsylvania (20)
Wisconsin (10)
Virginia (13)
Iowa (6)
New Hampshire (4)
North Carolina (15)
Ohio (18)
*********************
Montana (3)
Missouri (10)
Florida (29)
Arizona (11)
Georgia (16)
South Carolina (9)
Alaska (3)
North Dakota (3)
South Dakota (3)
Indiana (11)
Texas (38)
W. Virginia (5)
Mississippi (6)
Nebraska (5)
Kansas (6)
Kentucky (8)
Tennessee (11)
Louisiana (8)
Idaho (4)
Utah (6)
Arkansas (6)
Wyoming (3)
Oklahoma (7)

For a total of Obama 318, Romney 220.

21, dude, RI-01 (registered) IL-01 (college)
please help Japan. click "donate funds" in upper right and then "Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami." http://www.redcross.org/


[ Parent ]
IL-03: Atkinson also has a website up.
Mind you, he's also in the Exploratory phase.
http://www.atkinson2012.com/

Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo!
So little time, so much to know!


CA 26

Here in California the Republicans seem to be going off their rockers.  First the OC racist lady with her Obama/Monkey email, and now with gun nuts making a wanted poster with CA 36 Candidate and sitting Assemblymember Anthony Portantino.

http://plixi.com/p/94492068

Absurd.


Don't forget about that downright horrible
fax sent to Senator Leland Yee.

Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo!
So little time, so much to know!


[ Parent ]
How quickly the lessons of Tucson are forgotten...
At least in some circles.

20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native

[ Parent ]
On a somewhat unrelated note...
CNN reports Gary E. Johnson is in.

These debates should be delightful, especially if gay rights activist Fred Karger manages to scrape up that 1% polling average he reportedly needs to gain entry.

20, center-left independent, Auckland Central resident, MD-05 voter, OR-01 native


The 1 percent rule is specifically designed to keep candidates like Karger out
As for Johnson, he'll provide Ron Paul some headaches, but, otherwise, I'll be very surprised to see him break 7 percent anywhere. He might play well in New Hampshire.

For daily political commentary, visit me at http://polibeast.blogspot.com/ and http://twitter.com/polibeast

[ Parent ]
Obama hints at shift on gay marriage
http://www.latimes.com/news/po...

Some Dude, 19, Democrat, NH-02 (residence), MA-08 (college)

Well lol
So at a fundraiser in SanFran he said something non-descript about supporting gay marriage...not sure we can put much weight behind this.

[ Parent ]
He's been telegraphing this for a while
It's clearly not a matter of if, but when. And I have no doubt that the national polls are having an impact.

I see no reason not to push him to shift before the 2012 election.

Though we're veering from SSP-friendly conversation. . .


[ Parent ]
it really isn't a federal issue
except on DOMA, he's already on the right side of that (even if I don't think the DOJ shouldn't defend it)

[ Parent ]
Ridiculous
But this really isn't the place to have this discussion.  

[ Parent ]
IA-Pres: Obama at 46/48 approval, tied with Huck, up 4, 11, 16 over Mitt, Newt, Trump
Concerning
I'd like to see the state of play in Virginia and Colorado before I'm ready to sweat, though.

[ Parent ]
Blacks and Hispanics in those states
Leave me unconcerned. Unless the economy gets worse.

[ Parent ]
Here's my worry:
gas prices spike during the summer, inviting genuinely competitive Republicans to get into the race.  

[ Parent ]
Yeah. . .
Imagine Judd Gregg deciding to roll the dice, for example.  

[ Parent ]
You would have to wake me up first


[ Parent ]
I kinda see what you mean
But you don't have to be exciting to beat a weakened incumbent. Judd Gregg would be the Republican John Kerry and thus a serious threat.  

[ Parent ]
Inclined to agree


Independent Socialist & Chair of SSP Cranky Indianian Hoosier Caucus, IN-09

[ Parent ]
True
Which is why other Republicans getting in doesn't worry me. Because anybody legitimate will beat him if the economy is bad enough.

[ Parent ]
John Kerry lost
I don't think that's a particularly good example.

24, male, African-American, CA-24, Democrat. Chair of the SSP Black Caucus.

[ Parent ]
It's easy to dismiss John Kerry
but the point is that he came closer to beating an incumbent President than has almost ever happened in modern history. And before the Bin Laden tape came out the weekend before the election, I am convinced that he was on track to win.

[ Parent ]
You have to consider who he was running against
Bush wasn't the strongest incumbent, he clearly re-elected because of national security issues. Obama is a lot less polarizing and can rebuild support that is shaky.  

24, male, African-American, CA-24, Democrat. Chair of the SSP Black Caucus.

[ Parent ]
"Modern history"
What are you calling "modern history"? Clinton beat Bush I. Reagan beat Carter. Are those too far back for you? If so, that means you're just comparing him to...Bob Dole.

Two absurdly boring candidates. Not a great sample.

Some Dude, 19, Democrat, NH-02 (residence), MA-08 (college)


[ Parent ]
I meant to qualify
by saying that incumbent Presidents who have close races had previously fared poorly.  

[ Parent ]
LOL, exactly, there is no one "genuinely competitive" not already running except...
...Daniels.  And I doubt a gas price spike is going to entice him.  He's going to make a personal decision based on his family, his own wants in politics, and the totality of the political landscape which includes a lot more than gas prices.

There just isn't anybody on Team Red who is ready for prime time.  Pawlenty and Romney are as close as it gets.

By the way, FWIW, Marc Ambinder who has good sources in a tweet chat yesterday said that the Obama campaign fears Pawlenty more than Romney for the general.  Between the two, they'd rather run against Romney.  And they're preparing for one of the two to be the nominee.  Doesn't mean they're convinced it will be one of the two, but that's what they're preparing for...running against anyone else will be that much easier.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
What makes them think Pawlenty is going to get through the primaries?
Does he have a secret plan to run television ads that would make people planning to vote for his opponents forget to show up at the polls?  

Independent Socialist & Chair of SSP Cranky Indianian Hoosier Caucus, IN-09

[ Parent ]
Maybe the same thing that made them think Obama could beat Hillary?......
What's funny is I actually am coming to see the GOP fight in a similar frame as the Dem fight in 2008, where Romney is a mini-me Hillary, and Pawlenty a mini-me Obama.

Keep in mind these comparisons are strictly from a horserace, what-it-takes-to-win perspective, not through any other lens.

Romney is looking to win a couple early states as expected, hold his own otherwise, and then sweep the field on Super Tuesday or whatever comparable creature the RNC has set up for next year.  Romney basically needs to be able to win with a national campaign, since he doesn't seem to think he can win Iowa or South Carolina.  He's going to rely on Florida as a linchpin if Florida breaks the rules and goes early, but ultimately he's counting on winning a whole bunch of states.  All this vaguely mimics Hillary's strategy.

Pawlenty, like Obama, is Iowa or bust.  Pawlenty has got to win the neighboring state, or he's dead.  When you consider how weak the field is and how much less investment Romney is making there than last time, it really makes Iowa even more critical for Pawlenty.

But if he wins there, then overperforms in NH, and does well afterward and wins some states, he has a path to victory.

Beyond all the above, the fact is Pawlenty is the Republican with no enemies inside or outside the party.  That's what makes him formidable compared to the rest.  No one outside the Democratic base says, "I hate Pawlenty because..."  Most of the Republican contenders have haters in their own party's base.  Some of those same contenders, and all of the rest except Pawlenty, have severe liabilities right off the top with swing voters.  Pawlenty is the one guy who the attack narrative against him has to be pieced together, it's not already written.  On the meta level, that's what makes him formidable and gives him a path to the nomination.

Problem is for him, as you sense, not having enemies does not automatically translate to making friends.  That's his challenge.  And it really is Iowa or bust for him.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
I think your last paragraph is key...
Pawlenty may not have enemies, but he also doesn't excite people. And that's why I don't believe your Obama metaphor holds up. In order to prevent a mini-me Hillary (Romney) from racking up big wins on a coast-to-coast voting day, Pawlenty would need to inspire people to vote for him, as Obama did. It may not be enough to say: "I dislike him the least, and therefore I'll vote for him."

[ Parent ]
Disliking the least easily can be enough in this field......
Remember, all Pawlenty needs is a plurality of statewide precinct caucus delegates.

Obama's "big win" in Iowa was with 39%.

And what's there in the GOP field not to dislike?  There are lots of Iowa Republicans who dislike Romney for a bunch of reasons, some reasons the same as last time and then this time adding health care.  There are lots more Iowa Republicans who realize that a lot of other candidates simply cannot be elected President.  Eliminate all those, and you're left with Pawlenty and maybe, in some of their minds, Barbour.

I can easily see Pawlenty winning 30-35% in this kind of divided field, all because there's something not to like about everyone else.

But yeah, it's not inevitable that enough Iowa GOPers will come to see it this way to get Pawlenty a plurality.

The biggest thing, I think, holding back Pawlenty is actually not, or at least not directly, that he's not exciting or doesn't inspire anyone.

Rather, I think it's that while a bunch of campaign junkies like us, or in the political media, or in the Obama campaign itself, might game it out this way, ordinary voters don't necessarily game it out this way.  They're not campaign junkies, they're ordinary people who have a lot of different priorities in deciding who to pick for President.  And plenty of them might decide privately they don't see Pawlenty as any more electable than some others, or they don't see others choices as having liabilities that Pawlenty doesn't have.  Plenty might see that he's "boring" and "dull" as itself a general election liability against the charismatic Obama, which is true, but they might see it as just as big a problem as other candidates' problems which I don't think is true--but what I think doesn't matter.

So that's what it comes down to, whether ordinary voters will see what a lot of us see, what the Obama campaign sees.  Will they see him as the truly strongest choice?  Or as just another guy on whom they would be taking a flyer?

On the Democratic side, Iowa caucusgoers have been incredibly smart.  They went with Kerry and then Edwards 1st and 2nd, and I think that was smart, although an argument could've be made for Edwards over Kerry (this was years before anything was known of Edwards' scandalous private behavior).  Obama proved a smart choice last time.  And the seminal choice of Carter in '76 certainly ended up picking a November winner, although one can plausibly argue other choices also would have beaten Ford.

On the Repubilcan side, Iowa caucusgoers have been much more scattergun.  Huckabee last time was really taking a flyer on someone.  Dole in '88 and '92 was a farm state bias combined with Dole being a heavyweight in his own right.  Bush in '80 was smart but didn't pick the winner.  But then a bunch of them took a flyer on Robertson in '88!

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
Also
A lot more republican primaries use a winner-take all system. Obama got a lot of his lead by pealing off delegates even in states that he lost on Super Tuesday.

[ Parent ]
I think pawlenty has a good shot....
He's like Avis, #2 but he tries harder!

[ Parent ]
A Pawlenty win surely runs through Iowa
If he triumphed there, I suspect he'd place a strong second to Romney come New Hampshire and a third candidate (Gingrich?) would win South Carolina. At that point, it'd be a bloodbath in Florida, I suppose, and Super Tuesday would see a showdown among the establishment candidate vs. the most inoffensive candidate vs. the Tea Party-friendly candidate.

For daily political commentary, visit me at http://polibeast.blogspot.com/ and http://twitter.com/polibeast

[ Parent ]
If Pawlenty can win Iowa, he can win South Carolina......
The Iowa GOP is more heavily influenced by evangelicals than ever before, and the caucuses even more heavily influenced by evangelicals than state Republicans as a whole.

So the Iowa GOP caucuses have a lot in common with Southern GOP electorates.

Remember Iowa was the only non-Southern win for Huckabee last time, and even 20 years before that Pat Robertson placed a shocking 2nd in Iowa ahead of Vice President Bush.

And even last year, 16-year former Governor Branstad barely eeked out a majority in the GOP primary, beating right-wing fundamentalist Bob Vander Plaats by only single-digits.

So if Pawlenty can win Iowa, he likely will have a real shot at South Carolina.  Further helping him is that if they come out of NH in a de facto 2-person battle, Pawlenty gets the edge in the South.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
What does winning mean?
I'm curious about Iowa in 2012.  I'm so limited in my knowledge, but how will delegates actually be chosen in the caucuses.  Is it still proprtional for everyone above a threshhold (i.e. 15%) or did they change it?

Could the victor be under 30% and have 2-4 others get delegates as well.

I'm just thinking the "winner" of the Iowa caucuses might become a "winner" like Charlie Sheen...the person could keep saying "winner" but it really wouldn't mean much since we're all waiting to see what happens next.


[ Parent ]
You know, the GOP and Dems don't even follow the same rules, so...
...I'm not sure exactly how delegates are allocated.

I know the caucuses on both sides select delegates to, I believe, the state conventions, which in turn select the delegates to the national convention.

But how precinct caucus tallies translate to delegate allocation in each precinct, I don't know on the GOP side.

As far as "winning" goes, it does matter.  If Pawlenty wins, it gives him momentum later, same as happened with Obama.  If Bachmann wins, it's an embarrassment that really minimizes everyone else.

Why Iowa matters is that it's a signal that influences voters in later contests.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
I think Pawlenty winning Iowa would be more geographical than Evangelical strength
And, thus, I don't think an Iowa victory would necessarily translate into strength in South Carolina. I still think a Gingrich/Huckabee/Barbour would have the leg-up there. Of course, if Huck bothers to run, he's winning Iowa. I don't think Gingrich or Barbour will take Iowa, though.

For daily political commentary, visit me at http://polibeast.blogspot.com/ and http://twitter.com/polibeast

[ Parent ]
If Pawlenty wins Iowa, it's because some non-trivial share of fundies bought in......
Pawlenty is playing hard to fundies and has no apostasies for them to question.  He has what for Republicans more broadly are a few policy blemishes on his gubernatorial record, but nothing on social or cultural issues, and in any case less bad than his competitors' blemishes.

And the point is if he wins Iowa, he has the profile to turn it into momentum later.  He's not Huckabee, a one-state wonder, or someone who is geographically or demographically limited.  In fact, I'd say if Pawlenty wins Iowa, he's more likely than anyone else to win SC.

Forget about Gingrich or Barbour, after they tank in Iowa and NH, they get the shaft from the media.  Whoever does well in Iowa and NH and isn't another short-term wonder has staying power.  "Does well" means win or at least overperform.  But it can't be someone like Bachmann, she'll never last.  If she does, the GOP has more problems than anyone ever imagined.

Of course all this assumes some amount of rational behavior.  I base all this on the same kinds of assumptions I made in writing off Christine O'Donnell against Castle!  And we know how that turned out.  So I am hopeful the GOP just cannibalizes itself beyond all recognition.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
The difference between the presidential and senatorial primaries
Is that the Presidential primary will be a lot longer.

I still think the crazy vote will be over 50%, but an establishment candidate has a chance if the crazy vote splits.


[ Parent ]
Economy
http://www.reuters.com/article...

Jobless claims remain above 400k but at least they dropped last week. Overall the picture is mixed but there still seem to be more positives than negatives. Hopefully much of this is just a pause caused by recent global events.


[ Parent ]
The GOP is likely going to keep its stars for the 2016 race
I don't think Obama really wants to drop Biden, which means in all likelihood that 2016 is going to be an "Open Seat" Presidential Contest so to speak again.  The long term may benefit them in that sense; if their candidate wins in 2016 and again in 2020, they'll have locked up redistricting for 2020-30 as well.  

Conversely, even if a Democrat won in 2016, the last time Americans handed over the White House to two Presidents of the same party for 4 terms was FDR/Truman, and the extraordinary circumstances no longer present themselves today and 2020 may well be a disappointing year.  

I would have to imagine, however, that the only ones that can really benefit from the gas spike are Jindal and maybe Barbour.  Barbour is probably the dark horse that gives me most pause, and I don't think he's young enough to pursue the Presidency in 2016.  Jindal sounds like solid VP material, since he's more articulate (OK, the response was a complete disaster) than Sarah Palin and comes off as intellectual in a way that will still rile the GOP base.  

The current GOP field, however, is honestly weak.  Romney seems like he can make a fight out of it, but I don't believe in any sense that he's the GOP's strongest candidate by a longshot.


[ Parent ]
Don't understand this:
The long term may benefit them in that sense; if their candidate wins in 2016 and again in 2020, they'll have locked up redistricting for 2020-30 as well.

How does the President lock up redistricting?  The only impact I can think of is appointing the DOJ and perhaps judges in the right places as well, but if that were so then we'd now be saying that Democrats have locked up redistricting nationally now, and that unfortunately isn't the case.

35, Male, Democrat, MD-8


[ Parent ]
I think isentrope just had a brain fart there......
Of course the 2020 Presidential election has no effect on redistricting.

A lot of Presidential elections have no real coattails.

And demographic shift just keeps giving us a larger advantage over time.  But 2020, we'll easily be over 30% nonwhite in the Presidential electorate, and low 70s in midterms.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
Could be worse
Goes to show how different the map will look depending on who the GOP nominate. White voter slippage is the obvious problem. Interestingly, Tom seems to be hinting the numbers in NC are holding up for the opposite reason.

[ Parent ]
I think at this point, it's to be expected
But when 2012 rolls around, those numbers are going to look different. Approval slumps can cause numbers like this and the President's approval will no doubt change before then.

24, male, African-American, CA-24, Democrat. Chair of the SSP Black Caucus.

[ Parent ]
Yeah
Even the PPP comments talk as if the president's numbers won't go back up. Obviously there is no guarentee they will but this is no more than a snap shot in time and perfectly understandable given Obama's national approval.

[ Parent ]
That's a perennial problem with PPP's polling memos and blog & tweet narratives......
They always talk as if whatever they're polling shows now will apply up to a couple years later.

It's useful information and their polling is good, but they talk up their numbers too strongly as indicative of the future.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
I always ignore their analysis
and scroll down to the racial crosstabs.  

[ Parent ]
That's hilarious, I do the same thing, except I look first at toplines......
Toplines, then racial crosstabs.  Exactly.

I skip gender, ideology, and age altogether.  I might look at party.

I do look at the turnout model and might find myself questioning it, but I've learned to usually retreat on that if the toplines look reasonable and not completely out of sync with other available (if any) polling.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
Sure, toplines
But I am absolutely not interested in what they have to say about how "independents" are leaning. Nor is the self-reporeted 2008 vote of any significance to me.

So for me it's toplines --> race --> gender --> age (sometimes). Looking at the self-reported party ID can be very interesting for trends, but I always resist the urge to mentally adjust it.  


[ Parent ]
I wish I could ignore the Party ID/turnout like you 2
I'm still amazed that the Corbett do-over poll the other day was taken as realistic the other day.  

Party ID was 51D-38R-11I and I can't find any election exit polls for 2000-2010 where Dems were more than 43%, even when Obama and Rendell and Casey won statewide.  Alas they still went on about how the poll conclusively proved Corbett fell just like Walker and Kasich, shocking that a subset with 13% more D's than R's would prefer Onorato to Corbett.

And I just don't know how to read the independnet vote in any poll, like andgarden.  Independents means so many things, without a huge sampling I just don't know that anything about Independents is true today, nevermind next November.


[ Parent ]
I've said this before
Unless there is something really off about the demographics and/or the age breakdown it's a waste of time to worry about the partisan breakdown unless it's radically off. Plus as I've said before their partisan breakdown is close to the actual registration numbers from Pennsylvania's election site.

Politics and Other Random Topics

24, Male, Democrat, NM-01, Chairman of the Atheist Caucus, and Majority Leader of the "Going to Hell" caucus!


[ Parent ]
Yes but
If the theme of the memo is that the electorate turned on Corbett (which it was), I want the polling to reflect the electorate not the registered population.  I have no problem with someone saying that if the electorate mirrors the registration then today yes, Onorato would win.  he would have won in 2010 too.

If we use party registration (as a proxy) for polling in PA Dems will project to win almost every race but we know that's not the case.

I guess what bothered me is this idea that Corbett is weak and that his 1st term is marred by association with Walker/Kasich, but alas I just don't feel it.


[ Parent ]
Yes but party id is fluid itself
The exit polls are no more valid as a measurement of what the "true" party breakdown is than ppp's poll is. I don't get why so many people are so quick to use party id as a valid measure to judge polls when it just isn't.

Politics and Other Random Topics

24, Male, Democrat, NM-01, Chairman of the Atheist Caucus, and Majority Leader of the "Going to Hell" caucus!


[ Parent ]
It makes no more sense to adjust by party ID
than it does to adjust by toplines.

[ Parent ]
Toplines
My favorite finding of the last couple days was SurveyUSA having almost identical NC-Gov numbers to PPP. They know what they are doing.

[ Parent ]
Anyone who thinks Thad McCotter...
Would be a formidable general election candidate against Debbie Stabenow should watch this video and see just how eccentric he is.



20, Democrat, Male, MI-06 (Home), MI-02 (College)


I'd rather...
build a turtle fence!!!

40, male, Democrat, NC-04

[ Parent ]
Check out his Twitter Feed
He may be the member of Congress who uses Twitter the most--and frivolously at that (a majority of his tweets are unrelated to his job).

[ Parent ]
Saw him a few times at CPAC
He is notable for giving the shortest and most concise speeches ever (something I appreciated after hearing way too many politicos all say the same thing about cutting spending and loving America) and for having the best random examples to make his point. He almost has a sleepy feel when he talks, but whenever he stops talking I always feel like somebody should pop up behind him and yell "zing!"

19, Male, libertarian Republican, TX-14 and MN-04

[ Parent ]
WI-Recall: Shots for signatures
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

24, male, African-American, CA-24, Democrat. Chair of the SSP Black Caucus.