General Archive:

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The "Amar Plan" Lives

Posted by DavidNYC

Well I'll be. When I wrote about the so-called "Amar Plan" for electoral college reform over a year ago, I called it "viable," but I meant it only on a relative basis. I figure there's no way we're going to eliminate the electoral college at the Constitutional level, so I figured this was a pretty clever end-run. I never expected it to come close to seeing the light of day.

But whaddya know - there is some life to this puppy, quite a bit more than I ever imagined. Turns out there's a group devoted to implementing this reform, called the National Popular Vote. Their "advisory committee" has some serious names, including John Anderson and Birch Bayh, so they look legit. But more importantly - far more importantly - they've actually succeeded in getting legislation moving in a number of states so far.

In a nutshell, this is how the plan is suppose to work:

Nationwide popular election of the President can be implemented if the states join together to pass identical state laws awarding all of their electoral votes to the presidential candidate receiving the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The proposed state legislation would only come into effect only when it has been enacted, in identical form, by enough states to elect a President—that is, by states possessing a majority (270) of the 538 electoral votes.

If this legislation ever does make serious headway in multiple states, you can bet the small states will start howling like mad. I also think that citizens of states where this passes will express anger and confusion that their electoral votes might go to a candidate that the state didn't vote for. Nonetheless, I still think this plan is compelling and worth pursuing.

Posted at 12:00 PM in General | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, January 16, 2006

Martin Luther King

Posted by DavidNYC

Martin Luther King has been a hero of mine for as long as I can remember, and he'll always remain so. His 1963 letter from the jail in Birmingham, Alabama will forever stay with me. And his words take on a keen new relevance today:

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.


Posted at 01:58 PM in General | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Drum Major Institute's Year in Review

Posted by DavidNYC

The Drum Major Institute, a major progressive think tank, just put out their 2005 Year in Review report. Page 7 of this PDF has a good (albeit brief) summary of the Year in the Blogosphere, including a mention of the SSP's work with the OH-02 special election. It's sort of like a really short Blogometer - and that's not a bad thing. DMI also has a blog, which, while a bit wonkier than the kinds of stuff we usually talk about here, looks like it's worth checking out.

Posted at 12:00 AM in General | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Koufax Award Nomination Time

Posted by DavidNYC

It's that time of year: Nominations are now open for the Koufax Awards, honoring the best of the liberal blogosphere. Go here to submit your nominations. While you're over at Wampum, consider tossing the folks there some coin - running the Koufax Awards is a lot of work, and, more importantly, a lot of bandwidth.

I'm glad to see they've added a category for best state/local blog. I'm sure the readers of the Swing State Project are familiar with many such excellent blogs and could offer some great nominations. And, of course, if you wanted to nominate the SSP for the best single-issue blog, I wouldn't object to that, either. :)

UPDATE: New nominations thread here.

Posted at 10:11 PM in General | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, November 14, 2005

Incumbents Proposing Debates

Posted by DavidNYC

A reader writes in asking if and when other incumbents, ala Dick Santorum, have proposed debates. I did a little quick Lexis searching and came across two other times when this has happened in recent history:


Hahn proposed 3/23 a series of eight debates with Villaraigosa before their 5/17 runoff. Hahn: "I think the candidates for mayor owe it to the voters of Los Angeles to participate in a wide variety of debates that reach our city's diverse communities." Villaraigosa: "This is coming from a mayor who refused to participate in most of the debates during the primary election." The two have agreed to a debate 3/28 and 4/9. Hahn said he also wants to debate 4/11, 5/12 and 5/15 with two others to be determined (Los Angeles Daily News, 3/24). [Hotline, 3/24/05]

Outcome: Incumbent Hahn crushed, 59-41.


State Rep. Rich Grucela, D-Northampton, has invited his Republican opponent to participate in a series of debates or public forums, but Leonard Q. Gruppo is undecided. [Allentown Morning Call, 9/7/00]

Outcome: Incumbent Grucela wins, but by just 52-48.

Anyone know of any other occurrences? These are actually pretty difficult to find using Lexis because there aren't really any good search phrases. You can come across things like, "The incumbent proposed three debates..." but usually the second half of the sentence is something like "... in response to the challenger's call for a series of ten debates." But if you recall any - and especially if you have any cites - let us know.

Posted at 07:12 PM in General | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, November 07, 2005

Santos Dominates Debate with Vinick

Posted by Bob Brigham

Zogby has been busy, in addition to the new Battleground States Poll, they also did a poll directly following tonight's The West Wing debate with Democrat Matt Santos and Republican Arnold Vinick. The press release from the pre-debate numbers:

Santos, an Hispanic character played by Jimmy Smits, would win in a landslide over Vinick, played by Alan Alda, capturing 59% of the popular vote, compared to 29% for Vinick, the poll shows.

The survey comes as the characters prepare to face off in an unprecedented live debate to be broadcast during Sunday’s episode of The West Wing.

In one of those weird life imitating art imitating reality situations, some Democrats might be interested in what the Santos character brings to the table to allow him to win Independents 3:1 and get 29% of Republican voters. Zogby also polled directly following the debate, some questions from the poll after the jump...

How often would you say you have watched presidential debates in the past - do you always watch them, do you see most of them, have you seen a few of them, or do you never watch them?

Assume for a moment that the circumstances portrayed in The West Wing were real (that Josiah Bartlet was President, and that Matt Santos and Arnold Vinick were candidates for President). Now, based on their performance in the debate tonight, who are you more likely to vote for for President of the United States - Matt Santos or Arnold Vinick?

Who do you think won the debate - Matt Santos or Arnold Vinick? [...]

Did the debate seem realistic to you, or do you think that what happened in the debate would never happen in real life?

Which would you prefer to watch - the debate you saw tonight on The West Wing, or a real presidential debate?

The new numbers should be up soon.

Posted at 12:00 AM in General | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Koufax Awards Pledge Drive

Posted by DavidNYC

The good folks at Wampum have brought us the fantastic Koufax Awards - recognizing the best of the lefty blogosphere - for the past three years. I've always thought the Faxies were terrific. Not only do they help showcase blogs which are new to many people (especially with awards like, "most deserving of wider recognition"), but they also reward the efforts of those who have made real contributions to this new medium. Plus, they're a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, it costs Wampum a lot of money (mostly in bandwidth costs, I'd presume) to host these awards. If you are feeling generous, please toss a little coin their way. It's well worth it. Alternately, Wampum also sells ads, though I don't think they use Blogads, so you'd have to contact them directly.

P.S. For those of you new to the Koufax Awards, the name is borrowed from Sandy Koufax, the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time. And you can find the list of past winners here: 2002, 2003 & 2004.

Posted at 02:18 PM in General | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

How Good Are You?

Posted by DavidNYC

Fellow geography nerds (and that should cover roughly 100% of this site's readership): How good are you? I clicked away my results too quickly, but I think I was something like 96% with an average of 8 miles off in some 300-odd seconds. What'd you get?

Posted at 06:22 PM in General | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, October 03, 2005

OH-Sen: Paul Hackett is Running for U.S. Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via a dailykos diary, we learn Paul Hackett is running:

WASHINGTON -- Paul Hackett, the Iraq War veteran from Cincinnati who was hailed by national Democrats for his narrow loss this summer in a heavily Republican House district, has quickly moved up in rank to challenge Mike DeWine for U.S. Senate in 2006.

"Paul Hackett is running for U.S. Senate," said spokesman David Woodruff, who served as Hackett's campaign manager in his special election campaign for the 2nd District House seat against Rep. Jean Schmidt.

"He is planning to announce his decision officially on Oct. 24," Woodruff said Monday, adding an event would be held that day in Cincinnati, from which Hackett would begin a statewide bus tour.

And he's already winning:

Hackett (D) 44
DeWine (R) 36

Senator Mike DeWine is doomed.

Posted at 09:08 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats, General, Ohio | Comments (5) | TrackBack (2) | Technorati

Harriet Miers Fractures GOP in Real-Time

Posted by Bob Brigham

An important function of the blogosphere is a peek into real-time politics. Bloggers show and create what is going on in politics right now. The announcement of Harriet Miers gives us a short window to peer into the GOP.

First, look at the National Review's David Frum. Last week, Frum blasted Harriet Meirs:

In the White House that hero worshipped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met.

Today, not only did he blast her again, but he then deleted the middle paragraph in the following:

Harriet Miers is a taut, nervous, anxious personality. It is impossible to me to imagine that she can endure the anger and abuse - or resist the blandishments - that transformed, say, Anthony Kennedy into the judge he is today.

She rose to her present position by her absolute devotion to George Bush. I mentioned last week that she told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met. To flatter on such a scale a person must either be an unscrupulous dissembler, which Miers most certainly is not, or a natural follower. And natural followers do not belong on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Nor is it safe for the president's conservative supporters to defer to the president's judgment and say, "Well, he must know best." The record shows I fear that the president's judgment has always been at its worst on personnel matters.

Right now, the White House is spinning like a top in GOP circles. Ankle Biting Pundits is "highly disappointed" and points out, "politically it's not good because it just opens the President up to charges of "cronyism"" while offering the following roundup of conservative bloggers reaction to the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court:

John Hawkins of RightWingNews goes further than me and calls Miers a "disaster"
Michelle Malkin is "utterly underwhelmed"
Powerline is also disappointed.
Confirm Them is underwhelmed.
John Podhoretz calls it dumb.
Mike Krepasky at Red State rightly says the President has some explaining to do.
Polipundit isn't exactly thrilled but is willing to give her a chance.
Andrew Sullivan is going the "Crony" route. But can we say he's wrong?
Mark Levin says that the President "flinched"
Betsy Newmark has a hard time putting an adjective on just how disappointed she is and says the President bowed to pressure.
Gerry Daly is in the "Anger" stage (#2 of the 5 stages)
Captain Ed is "mystified", and not in a good way.

The timing couldn't be worse for the GOP as today's newsstands are graced with a new Newsweek cover-story titled, Troubled Waters: War, storms, leak probes—and a growing array of ethics clouds. Dark days for the Republican Party:

Bush and his fellow Republicans have little margin for error. Three forces—sky-high gasoline prices, the massive costs of rebuilding the Gulf Coast and ever-gloomier public assessments of the war in Iraq—have combined to weaken Bush's reputation as a strong leader, and leave him vulnerable to the kind of second-term fiascoes that tend to befall all presidents: think Ronald Reagan and Iran-contra, or Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Indeed, polltaker Frank Luntz, who helped develop the "Contract With America" message that swept Republicans to power in 1994, was on the Hill last week warning the party faithful that they could lose both the House and the Senate in next year's congressional elections.

The Republicans' power outage is real—and the historical irony is as vast as Texas. Beginning in the 1950s, the Democratic Party of Texans Lyndon Johnson and Sam Rayburn built a congressional machine of unrivaled power. But starting in the '80s, led by a firebrand named Newt Gingrich, Republicans led a revolt from below in the name of smaller government and an ethically cleansed Congress. In 1989 Newt & Co. forced out Democratic Speaker Jim Wright—a Texan, too, who resigned over charges that he profited improperly from book sales—and five years later the GOP took control of the House after a Biblical 40 years in the wilderness. But it took the Republicans only 10 years to become yet another ruling party beset by charges of profligate spending, bloated government and corruption—a party led by two Texans, Bush and DeLay, who don't particularly care whether they are beloved outside their inner circle. To paraphrase David Mamet, the Republicans became what they beheld.

And there is much to behold. Michael Brown, the hapless yet arrogant former head of FEMA, managed to anger even putative Republican allies in an appearance before a House committee.

Michael Brown is a name that should come up a great deal during the Miers' confirmation process. Harriet Miers is a Michael Brown quality pick. Even right-wing bloggers are using the word 'cronyism' and are worried because they know Bush can't afford this.

The storyline of Bush giving key jobs to completely unqualified political hacks is connecting with the American people. By picking people on the basis of loyalty, rather than effectiveness, Bush has set the stage for the Culture of Corruption that engulfs the entire Republican Party.

When these are the rules (or lack thereof), you have multi-million bagmen like Jack Abramoff. You have conspiring congressmen like Tom DeLay. You have national security traitors like Scooter Libby and Karl Rove.

Today's Republican Party puts allegiance to Party above duty to country. But individual Republicans are growing increasingly disgusted, because like so many members of the National Guard, they aren't getting what they signed up for.

The stakes are high, this is the swing vote, as evidenced by the following 5-4 decisions:

Sandra Day O'Connor has been the deciding fifth vote in many important Supreme Court decisions affecting civil rights, environmental protection, personal privacy, reproductive freedom and reproductive health, religious liberty, consumer protection and much more. If she is replaced by someone who doesn't share her fair and impartial perspective -- someone in the mold of Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia -- the constitutional consequences will be devastating. These are among the key 5-4 decisions in danger of being overturned:

Environmental protection

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation v. EPA (2004) said the Environmental Protection Agency could step in and take action to reduce air pollution under the Clean Air Act when a state conservation agency fails to act.

Reproductive rights and privacy

Stenberg v. Carhart (2000) overturned a state law that would have had the effect of banning abortion as early as the 12th week of pregnancy and that lacked any exception to protect a woman’s health.

Consumer protection and corporate power

Rush Prudential HMO, Inc. v. Moran (2002) upheld state laws giving people the right to a second doctor's opinion if their HMOs tried to deny them treatment.

Civil rights: affirmative action and discrimination based on sex, race, and disability

Jackson v. Birmingham Bd. Of Educ. (2005) ruled that federal law protects against retaliation against someone for complaining about illegal sex discrimination in federally assisted education programs.

Tennessee v. Lane (2004) upheld the constitutionality of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and required that courtrooms be physically accessible to the disabled.

Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) affirmed the right of state colleges and universities to use affirmative action in their admissions policies to increase educational opportunities for minorities and promote racial diversity on campus.

Davis v. Monroe County Bd. of Educ. (1999) ruled that it is a violation of federal law for school districts to be deliberately indifferent towards severe and pervasive student-on-student sexual harassment.

Brentwood Academy v. Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (2001) affirmed that civil rights laws apply to associations regulating interscholastic sports.

Morse v. Republican Party of Virginia (1996) said key anti-discrimination provisions of the Voting Rights Act apply to political conventions that choose party candidates.

Hunt v. Cromartie (2001) affirmed the right of state legislators to take race into account to secure minority voting rights in redistricting.

Access to justice

Zadvydas v. Davis (2001) told the government it could not indefinitely detain an immigrant who was under final order of removal even if no other country would accept that person and that access to federal courts is available to combat improper, indefinite detention.

Brown v. Legal Foundation of Washington (2003) maintained a key source of funding for legal assistance for the poor.

Hibbs v. Winn (2004) subjected discriminatory and unconstitutional state tax laws to review by the federal judiciary.

Religious liberty and church-state separation

McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky (2005) upheld the principle of government neutrality towards religion and ruled unconstitutional Ten Commandments displays in several courthouses

Lee v. Weisman (1992) continued the tradition of government neutrality toward religion, finding that government-sponsored prayer is unacceptable at graduations and other public school events.

Money, politics and government accountability

McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003) upheld most of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, including its ban on political parties’ use of unlimited soft money contributions.

Federal Election Commission v. Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee (2001) upheld laws that limit political party expenditures that are coordinated with a candidate and seek to evade campaign contribution limits.

UPDATE: From Atrios:

Wingnuttia is rather angry at the choice. I don't think this is because they're really concerned that she's not conservative enough for their tastes, although that's part of it. They're angry because this was supposed to be their nomination. This is was their moment. They didn't just want a stealth victory, they wanted parades and fireworks. They wanted Bush to find the wingnuttiest wingnut on the planet, fully clothed and accessorized in all the latest wingnut fashions, not just to give them their desired Court rulings, but also to publicly validate their influence and power. They didn't just want substantive results, what they wanted even more were symbolic ones. They wanted Bush to extend a giant middle finger to everyone to the left of John Ashcroft. They wanted to watch Democrats howl and scream and then ultimately lose a nasty confirmation battle. They wanted this to be their "WE RUN THE COUNTRY AND THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT" moment.

Whatever kind of judge she would be, she doesn't provide them with that.



Wikipedia on Harriet Miers

Posted at 11:20 AM in 2006 Elections, Culture of Corruption, General, Netroots, Republicans, Scandals, Supreme Court | Comments (0) | TrackBack (7) | Technorati

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Open Thread

Posted by Bob Brigham

What races are you thinking of?

Posted at 02:19 PM in General | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort Donations

Posted by DavidNYC

I just gave $50 to the United Jewish Communities' Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. If you can help, please do so. For a list of other charitable groups helping with relief efforts, check this DKos diary.

Posted at 04:07 PM in General | Technorati

CA-48: Steve Young Launches Campaign Website

Posted by Bob Brigham

From a press release:

Campaign website features groundbreaking video technology that allows candidate to speak directly to site visitor from page; Will play important role in voter outreach

Steve Young, candidate for Congress from California’s 48th district, launched his new campaign website this morning. The website,, outlines Young’s positions on the major issues affecting the 48th district as well as his detailed plan for reenergizing working families and small businesses.

Young’s website features Rovion’s proprietary BlueStream™, cutting-edge video technology that actually allows a lifelike video overlay of the candidate to automatically open and speak at the bottom of most pages. These videos can also be sent via webmail and will be used to contact voters throughout the campaign. Young’s campaign marks the most extensive use of this technology in a political campaign in the United States. Young’s campaign will explore new ways in which BlueStream™ can energize and motivate voters online.

“I am so excited about the new technology we are using on the site and I can’t wait to get feedback from the website’s visitors,” Young said.

I signed up at the Blogger's Corner. The calendar lists the Kickoff on Friday.

Posted at 03:31 PM in California, California, Democrats, General, Netroots, Open Seats, Special Elections | Technorati

Monday, August 29, 2005

Handheld News

Posted by Bob Brigham

So there I am, walking home. The only question on my mind was why there were three helicopters circling over my neighborhood. So I pulled out my handheld and checked the local news:

(CBS 5) San Francisco police said they were in a standoff with robbery suspects in the Centerfold's strip club Monday.

Officers had the area surrounded, and a nearby school -- John Yehall Chin Elementary -- was in lockdown. Broadway was shut down between Sansome and Kearny, and police were advising everyone in the area near Broadway and Montgomery to stay indoors and stay away from windows.

Investigators said the incident started with a report of a robbery around noon at Centerfolds. The standoff was still ongoing at 3pm, with police estimating between two and four armed men inside.

The problem is, they weren't inside:

San Francisco police, including a bomb squad and a SWAT team, converged on a Broadway strip club today on reports that four armed men had tried to rob the establishment.

Officers surrounded the Centerfolds club for four hours and made several unsuccessful attempts to contact anyone inside. When they finally went through the club just before 3:30 p.m. they found no one, police said.

And so, we have a giant manhunt in my neighborhood. I'm going to go shoot some video...

UPDATE: (Bob) And just like that, it is over. The mobile police command RV has rolled on along, same with the all of the cop cars. The helicopters are gone. And so are the 4 armed men -- gone. At the corner store, the guy thinks they may have made it out via the sewer system. My gut tells me this story is going to take a turn for the wacky in the next couple of news cycles.

Posted at 08:15 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Katrina Proves Bush Failed New Orleans

Posted by Bob Brigham

UPDATE (Bob) Here is the full recap

So far today, I've looked at Global Warming and Katrina and the crisis resulting from Lousiana's National Guard being in Iraq instead of defending their state.

Will Bush stay on vacation? At this point, it doesn't really matter. Because Bush has been asleep at the wheel for four years. From the Houston Chronicle in 2001:

New Orleans is sinking.

And its main buffer from a hurricane, the protective Mississippi River delta, is quickly eroding away, leaving the historic city perilously close to disaster.

So vulnerable, in fact, that earlier this year the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked the potential damage to New Orleans as among the three likeliest, most castastrophic disasters facing this country.

The other two? A massive earthquake in San Francisco, and, almost prophetically, a terrorist attack on New York City.

The New Orleans hurricane scenario may be the deadliest of all.

FEMA said this was the "three likeliest, most castastrophic disasters". Bush's response? Cut preparedness:

(UPDATE -- Tim:) I wanted to take a moment to spell it out for the visiting freepi fawning over the head start the Superdome is giving you supporters of minority internment. Of course we don't believe Bush caused the hurricane, although I think many of us wish he would have asked Pat Robertson to pray for a re-direction.

And most of you failed to read the article Bob linked, no surprise there. But inbetween vacations, the preznit got massive tax-cuts passed at the expense of important projects. Among them, preparedness for natural disasters--some of which happen to be in New Orleans.

In general, funding for construction has been on a downward trend for the past several years, said Marcia Demma, chief of the New Orleans Corps' programs management branch.

In 2001, the New Orleans district spent $147 million on construction projects. When fiscal year 2005 wraps up Sept. 30, the Corps expects to have spent $82 million, a 44.2 percent reduction from 2001 expenditures. [...]

Unfunded projects include widening drainage canals, flood- proofing bridges and building pumping stations in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. The Corps also wants to build levees in unprotected areas on the West Bank.

Irresponsible distribution of resources has, yet again, put American lives in peril. If the freepi were able to see past 9/11 and recognize the difference between real life, health, and safety risks (ie. environment & port protection among others) and not get distracted by contrived security risks (ie. Iraq), things might not look so grim tonight.

In fiscal year 2006, the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is bracing for a record $71.2 million reduction in federal funding.

It would be the largest single-year funding loss ever for the New Orleans district, Corps officials said.

I've been here over 30 years and I've never seen this level of reduction, said Al Naomi, project manager for the New Orleans district. I think part of the problem is it's not so much the reduction, it's the drastic reduction in one fiscal year. It's the immediacy of the reduction that I think is the hardest thing to adapt to.

There is an economic ripple effect, too. The cuts mean major hurricane and flood protection projects will not be awarded to local engineering firms. Also, a study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been shelved for now.

Remember, this was a top-three "likeliest catastrophic disasters" and Bush shelved the study of how to protect against Category 5 hurricanes like Katrina? For most of Bush's time as President, FEMA has been saying this could be the deadliest scenario facing America. And Bush cut the preparedness funding, sent our strategic reserve National Guard troops to fight an unnecessary war and then went on vacation. Not only is Bush the worst President ever, but he is also a total asshole for fucking over New Orleans.

Hat tip to Ms Librarian and commentors.

UPDATE: (Bob) Here is some more...


Katrina could be the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States. But it was not a surprise. Experts have been warning for years of the potential catastrophic devastation that a category 4 or 5 hurricane could have on the Gulf Coast. And in Louisiana, local officials have fought for federal funding to implement hurricane defense plans that could have avoided the widespread flooding of New Orleans. But under the Bush Administration, funding for those projects has been continuously slashed, leaving the Gulf Coast unprepared for such a disaster.


Federal Government Has Neglected Disaster Preparedness, Left Enormous Vulnerabilities. Disaster and emergency experts have warned for years that governments, especially the federal government, have put so much stress on disaster response that they have neglected policies to minimize a disaster's impact in advance. Robert Hartwig, chief economist for the Insurance Information Institute, said “It's going to be very evident that there were an enormous number of vulnerabilities that weren't addressed. There's going to be a lot of finger-pointing.” [Newhouse News Service, 8/31/05]

Disaster Mitigation Programs Slashed Since 2001. Since 2001, key federal disaster mitigation programs, developed over many years, have been slashed and tossed aside. FEMA’s Project Impact, a model mitigation program created by the Clinton administration, has been canceled outright. Federal funding of post-disaster mitigation efforts designed to protect people and property from the next disaster has been cut in half, and now communities across the country must compete for pre-disaster mitigation dollars. [Baltimore City Paper, 9/29/04]

In 2003 White House Slashed Mitigation Programs In Half. In 2003, Congress approved a White House proposal to cut FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) in half. Previously, the federal government was committed to invest 15 percent of the recovery costs of a given disaster in mitigating future problems. Under the Bush formula, the feds now cough up only 7.5 percent. Such post-disaster mitigation efforts, specialists say, are a crucial way of minimizing future losses. [Gambit Weekly, 9/28/04]

Bush Continuing To Propose Cuts To Army Corps of Engineers. The Army Corps of Engineers will be cut in 2006. Bush’s 2005 budget proposal called for a 13 percent reduction in the Army Corps of Engineers’ budget, down to $4 billion from $4.6 billion in fiscal 2004. [Associated Press, 2/6/05; Congressional Quarterly Online, 2/3/04]

Under Bush, FEMA Reverted To Pre-Clinton Status As One Of The Worst Agencies. Former President Clinton appointed James L. Witt to take over FEMA after its poor response to Hurricane Andrew. Witt adopted recommendations and FEMA was described as an agency reborn: “transformed itself from what many considered to be the worst federal agency to among the best.” But FEMA under the Bush administration has destroyed carefully constructed efforts. After the 9/11 attacks the agency’s inspector general in 2003 criticized portions of FEMA’s response, citing “difficulties in delivering timely and effective” mortgage and rental assistance to those in need. [USA Today, 6/1/2005]


States Expected To Shoulder More Of The Burden In Emergency Management With Fewer Funds. “The federal focus on terrorism preparedness has left states with an increased responsibility to provide support for natural disasters and emergencies,” noted a report released by the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) this summer. “State budget shortfalls have given emergency management programs less to work with, at a time when more is expected of them. In fiscal year 2004, the average budget for a state emergency management agency was $40.8 million, a 23 percent reduction from fiscal year 2003.” [Gambit Weekly, 9/28/04]

Bush Tried to Cut Federal Percentage of Large-Scale Natural Disaster Preparedness. The administration made a failed attempt to cut the federal percentage of large-scale natural disaster preparedness expenditures. Since the 1990s, the federal government has paid 75 percent of such costs, with states and municipalities funding the other 25 percent. The White House's attempt to reduce the federal contribution to 50 percent was defeated in Congress. [Gambit Weekly, 9/28/04]


Bush Opposed Necessary Funding For Hurricane Preparedness In Louisiana. The Louisiana congressional delegation urged Congress earlier this year to dedicate a stream of federal money to Louisiana's coast, only to be opposed by the White House. Ultimately a deal was struck to steer $540 million to the state over four years. The total coast of coastal repair work is estimated to be $14 billion. In its budget, the Bush administration also had proposed a significant reduction in funding for southeast Louisiana's chief hurricane protection project. Bush proposed $10.4 million, a sixth of what local officials say they need. [Newhouse News Service, 8/31/05]

Republican Budget Cut New Orleans’ Army Corps Of Engineers Funding By A Record $71.2 Million. In fiscal year 2006, the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is bracing for a record $71.2 million reduction in federal funding. It would be the largest single-year funding loss ever for the New Orleans district, Corps officials said. “I've been here over 30 years and I've never seen this level of reduction,” said Al Naomi, project manager for the New Orleans district. The cuts mean major hurricane and flood protection projects will not be awarded to local engineering firms. Money is so tight the New Orleans district instituted a hiring freeze. The freeze is the first of its kind in about 10 years, said Marcia Demma, chief of the Corps' Programs Management Branch. [New Orleans City Business, 6/6/05]

Landrieu Called Bush’s Funding Priorities Shortsided. Landrieu said the Bush Administration is not making Corps of Engineers funding a priority. “I think it's extremely shortsighted,” Landrieu said. “When the Corps of Engineers' budget is cut, Louisiana bleeds. These projects are literally life-and-death projects to the people of south Louisiana and they are (of) vital economic interest to the entire nation.” [New Orleans City Business, 6/6/05]

Emergency Preparedness Director Furious With Project Cuts. A study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been shelved for now. Terry Tullier, the New Orleans emergency preparedness director, said he was furious but not surprised to hear that study had been cut from the Bush budget. “I’m all for the war effort, but every time I think about the $87 billion being spent on rebuilding Iraq, I ask: What about us?” he said. “Somehow we need to make a stronger case that this is not Des Moines, Iowa, that we are so critical that if it hits the fan in New Orleans, everything this side of the Rockies will feel the economic shock waves.” [Times-Picayune, 9/22/04; New Orleans City Business, 6/6/05]

Flood Protection Projects Put On Hold Because Of Republican’s 2006 Budget. One of the hardest-hit areas of the New Orleans district's budget is the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project. SELA's budget is being drained from $36.5 million awarded in 2005 to $10.4 million suggested for 2006 by the House of Representatives and the president. The Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans has identified $35 million in projects to build and improve levees, floodwalls and pumping stations in St. Bernard, Orleans, Jefferson and St. Charles parishes. Those projects in a line item where funding is scheduled to be cut from $5.7 million this year to $2.9 million in 2006. “We don't have the money to put the work in the field, and that's the problem,” Naomi said. [New Orleans City Business, 6/6/05]

Senator Landrieu Urged Action After SELA Budget Slashed. Louisiana’s congressional delegation assured local officials they would seek significant increases for SELA. “We could have lost 100,000 lives had Hurricane Ivan hit the mouth of the (Mississippi) River before it turned,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., alluding to last year’s storm that largely spared Louisiana but devastated parts of Alabama and Florida. “God has been good, but one of these days a hurricane is going to come and, if we don’t get projects . . . finished, we’re sitting ducks,” she said. [Times-Picayune, 3/11/05]



Louisiana National Guard Said Before Katrina That It Needed Equipment Back From Iraq If It Is To Respond To A Natural Disaster. “The National Guard needs that equipment back home to support the homeland security mission,” said Lt. Colonel Pete Schneider with the LA National Guard. “You've got combatant commanders over there who need it they say they need it, they don't want to lose what they h ave, and we certainly understand that it's a matter of us educating that combatant commander, we need it back here as well,” Col. Schneider said. [ABC 26 WGNO, 8/1/05]


Iraq Has Left National Guard Units At Home Short Of Equipment. Already suffering from manpower shortages, the National Guard’s overstretched forces are being confronted with another problem: not enough equipment to supply Guard troops at home. “To fully equip troops in Iraq, the Pentagon has stripped local Guard units of about 24,000 pieces of equipment. That has left Guard units at home, already seriously short of gear.” [Detroit Free Press, 6/13/05]

Gen. McCaffrey Said We Could Permanently Damage The Guard And Reserve. Gen. McCaffrey warned against overstretching Guard and Reserve. “[W]e're going to damage fatally the National Guard if we try and continue using Reserve components at this rate. Forty percent of that force in Iraq right now is Reserve component. We have shot the bull. We've got to back off and build an Army and Marine Corps capable of sustaining these operations.” [Meet the Press, 8/28/05]

Governors Say Long Deployments Leaving Their States Vulnerable. “[S]tate officials think continued deployments will have an effect on people who sign up for or remain in the Minnesota National Guard. At a National Governor's Association meeting…some governors criticized the burden of repeated deployment, saying that the troops' absence leaves their states unprotected against things like natural disasters. Officials in Idaho and Montana have said they are unprepared if forest fires hit their states this summer.” [AP, 8/10/05]


Coast Guard Gave Congress List of $919 Million in Unfunded Priorities. The Coast Guard has given Congress a $919 million wish list of programs and hardware not funded in the Bush Administration's fiscal 2006 budget request. For the first time, the Coast Guard has sent Congressional representatives an unfunded priorities list - a tally of needed items not included in the fiscal 2006 request. The list includes an additional $637 million for the service's Deepwater recapitalization program; $11.6 million for helicopter repairs; $4 million to increase aviation maritime patrol hours, and $59 million to renovate shore stations. [Journal of Commerce Online, 5/11/05]

Coast Guard Faced With Helicopter Problems. The head of the US Coast Guard told Congress his equipment is failing at unacceptable rates. Despite increases in spending on maintenance, the agency's older large craft -- called cutters -- experience equipment failures capable of ruining a mission almost 50 percent of the time, according to Coast Guard officials. Further, the agency's HH-65 helicopters suffered a rate of 329 mishaps per 100,000 flight hours in 2004, way over the Federal Aviation Administration's acceptable standard of 1 mishap per 100,000 hours. [UPI, 6/10/05; USA Today, 7/6/05]

Commandant Says Coast Guard Short On Resources. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thomas H. Collins said, “Do we have more business than we have resources? Yes.” The Coast Guard has put the cost of implementing safety regulations laid out by Congress at $7.3 billion over the next ten years. The Bush administration only asked for $46 million for aid to the ports in the 2005 budget. [Budget of the United States,; House Approps Cmte Transcript, 3/31/04; Washington Post, 4/2/03; Boston Globe, 6/30/04]

Posted at 06:27 PM in 2006 Elections, Culture of Corruption, Economy, General, Louisiana, Republicans, Scandals | Comments (57) | Technorati

Thursday, August 25, 2005

San Francisco: Michela Alioto-Pier vs. Jonny Moseley

Posted by Bob Brigham

As a civic minded blogger, from time-to-time I feel it necessary to intervene in local affairs. Today's announcement that San Francisco Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier was successful in her bid to hold-up Jonny Moseley's 30th birthday gift to The City provides an opportunity for me to adjudicate a compromise.


Olympic Gold Medalist Jonny Moseley has spent more than a year organizing "Icer Air 2005" as a birthday gift to San Francisco on the day Moseley turns 30. Moseley envisioned using his name to draw dozens of world class names to San Francisco for a televised event featuring trucked-in snow creating a ski jump on one of San Francisco's legendary hills.

As is often the case in San Francisco, an opportunistic, third-rate politician stepped in at the very last minute to...cancel Jonny Mosely's birthday. From the San Francisco Examiner:

Entertainment Commissioner Terrance Allan was disappointed, saying these type of quirky events give San Francisco its reputation and draw tourists and visitors. He also said it was unfair to cancel the contest after organizers had spent more than a year applying for three separate event permits.

"Every neighborhood contributes to the vitality of the international persona by hosting street fairs like the Castro Fair or the Folsom Street Fair," Allan said. "All of that contributes to the mystique and allure that draws visitors to San Francisco. I find it disingenuous that one neighborhood would feel aloof and detached from making our city great."

That neighborhood is represented by Sup. Michela Alioto-Pier. The San Francisco Chronicle asked her about her push to cancel Jonny Moseley's birthday:

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, who represents Pacific Heights, was also pleased that the competition had been called off.

"This is the only responsible thing to do,'' she said.

That Michela would pull a hold-up maneuver is not surprising in the least bit, she is known as the champion of fluff issues. There seems to be no bounds to the lengths Alitio-Pier will go to in her quest to score cheap political points, which makes sense considering she lost and kept losing as a candidate until she was appointed to her seat on the Board of Supervisors.

Michela Alioto-Pier is best known for her opposition to smoking outdoors and her tear-drenched tantrums that result whenever somebody says a bad word that is overheard by her socialite ears.

While Alioto-Pier lacks the ability to get anything done on the real issues, she excels at making a big deal out of fluff-issues. And she was successful in her battle against Jonny Moseley. But Michela only won the first round. Which wasn't exactly a win when you consider the extreme financial backlash that could result from Michela's hold-up job.


If Jonny Moseley isn't sick of politicians like Michela Pier-Alioto, he should be given all available help to reschedule the event at the earliest possible date. In return, there should be no swearing or smoking by any of the fans or participants. If, for example, an athlete were to crash after flying 70 feet in the air and accidentally mutter the word "crap" – the perpetrator would need to immediately recite 5 Hail Marys. Ten for the word 'shit' and the f-bomb should result in 20 Hail Marys. Unless the F-bomb precedes "Michela Alioto-Pier" –- in that case it is justified.

Posted at 12:44 PM in Activism, California, Culture of Corruption, Economy, General, Netroots, Scandals | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Dobson's Tips On Curing Gayness

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Not even kidding.

He can even take his son with him into the shower, where the boy cannot help but notice that Dad has a penis, just like his, only bigger.

The entry I found this from, here.

Posted at 05:13 PM in General | Comments (2) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Alamo is Burning

Posted by Tim Tagaris

No real election news here, save the fact that one of the most predictable Republican positions of desperation is going up in smoke.

Pew Research Center/Pew Forum on Religion: July 13-17, 2005. N=1,502 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"Do you strongly favor, favor, oppose, or strongly oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into legal agreements with each other that would give them many of the same rights as married couples?"

Favor: 53% (48)
Oppose: 40% (45)
Unsure: 7% (7)
For the first time in the tracking of this data by Pew, the side of sanity and common sense has taken a double digit lead. I am sure I speak for many when I talk about the viceral reaction I get watching Republicans outclassed and outissued retreat with haste to hate and fear mongering based on sexual orientation. When I saw Jean Schmidt debate Paul Hackett live, I watched with disdain as she emphasized the fact that "SHE IS AGAINST GAY MARRIAGE."

And that's great, cause that position is losing traction as well:

"Do you strongly favor, favor, oppose, or strongly oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally?"

Favor: 36% (32)
Oppose: 53% (61)
Unsure: 11% (7)

Without the cultural wedge issues, they will have nothing to run on in 2008 when people are forced to ask themselves to the tired question, "Are we/you better off now than eight years ago?"

Posted at 11:59 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Thursday, August 04, 2005

When Close is Close Enough

Posted by DavidNYC

This post from Hesiod is so on-target, I'm reproducing it in its entirety:

Today, the Republicans are desperately spinning the astounding narrow defeat of Paul Hackett in Tuesday’s Special election for the 2nd Congressional District of Ohio.

In November, 2004 — George W. Bush received 64% of the vote in this district. Defeating John kerry by a 28% margin!

Still, they say it’s still a loss and doesn’t mean anything.

But, if you want concrete ammunition to demonstrate how a close defeat in a major uphill race can be a harbinger of bigger and better things, take a look at this:




Clinton attempted to launch his political career when he was 28 years old by challenging an entrenched Republican incumbent Rep. John Paul Hammerschmidt in 1974. Hammerschmidt was first elected to Congress in 1966 to serve Arkansas’ Third district, which is in the northwestern part of the state, and a Republican stronghold. Hammerschmidt had received 77 percent of the vote in the 1972 election. Clinton came close, losing by only 5000 votes out of 170,000 votes cast.

Helping to defeat Clinton were Republican claims that he was an anti-war protester while in college. Although Clinton was narrowly defeated, the race drew statewide attention.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

1976: Attorney General of Arkansas
1978: Governor of Arkansas
1992: President of the United States

If only Paul Hackett should do that poorly.

Posted at 08:34 PM in General | Comments (2) | Technorati

DCCC: The Irrelevance of Rahm Emanuel

Posted by Bob Brigham

Since I've been getting some ink today, I thought I would expand upon the soundbites so people know where I'm coming from when I say that the DCCC is currently irrelevant.

In this morning's Washington Post, Dan Balz and Thomas B. Edsall quote me as saying:

[Hackett's] words against Bush and the war produced strong grass-roots support, and yesterday liberal bloggers said they helped raise $500,000 for Hackett, the bulk of his $750,000 campaign funds.

"We raised a ton of money for Hackett," said Bob Brigham of the Swing State Project site ( ), who served as "coordinator of the liberal blogosphere" for the Hackett campaign.

Brigham criticized the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) for not giving Hackett early financial support. "They came in late, and it makes them look irrelevant in everyone's eyes," he said.

DCCC Executive Director John Lapp issued a statement defending the committee. Saying the DCCC would like to fund every House race, he said: "Resources are not infinite. That is why MyDD, the Daily Kos, and the larger blogosphere are so important. You are critical in the effort to expand the playing field well above and beyond the 30 or 40 districts typically in play."

First of all, I was misquoted and I'd like a correction. What I actually said was, "we raised a fuckton of money for Hackett" -- and we did (I'll be checking to see if this is corrected). Second, Tim Tagaris was the first on the ground and did as much if not more than me. Third, MyDD and the Daily Kos and the larger blogosphere are so important because we get post-broadcast politics – which the DCCC certainly does not.

Next up, The New Republic where Michael Crowley says:

This sort of thing made Hackett a rock star in the world of liberal blogs--a figure who combined the defiant rhetoric of Howard Dean with the military credentials of Max Cleland. Schmidt's campaign sniffed at Hackett's Web following. ("The second congressional district doesn't fully involve themselves in the blogosphere," a spokeswoman told me at Schmidt headquarters, as Rush Limbaugh trashed Hackett on a radio playing in the background.) But one need only look at the astounding numbers. Whereas the dccc spent $200,000 on ads for Hackett, the campaign raised more than twice that much from online contributions. Most of that was thanks to the intense advocacy of a handful of liberal bloggers, several of whom traveled to southern Ohio from around the country and became a sort of informal arm of the campaign.

On Election Day, the bloggers' "war room" consisted of a dark corner of the Goldminers Inn, a dank dive bar in Batavia, Ohio, where four twentysomethings quaffed cans of Miller Lite and ruminated about their growing role in Democratic politics. The leader of the group was Bob Brigham, who blogs for a site called Swing State Project. After raising a six-figure sum for Hackett, Brigham had flown in from San Fancisco and "embedded" himself in the campaign, riding in Hackett's small convoy from event to event in baggy blue jeans and faded red canvas sneakers. "We're three times as relevant as the dccc. And you can quote that!" he told me between sips of beer. "It's a sea change in Democratic politics. I see Al From and I see a hearse. This is the future. We're way ahead of the curve." Brigham proceeded to tell a strange tale, wherein Donnie Fowler, a onetime candidate for chairman of the Democratic National Committee, allegedly threw a punch at him. Did it land? "Hell, no! I'm virtual!" The spirit of the Dean campaign was alive and well.

Again, Tim and I are a team. Crowley conludes:

At his after-party on Tuesday night, Hackett's supporters were already looking ahead to next year, when Schmidt's new seat will be up again, and chanting, "'06! '06!" Hackett sounded open to it. And, if he runs, he may prevail. But that doesn't mean the Democrats will.

Spot on. I never thought I'd say this, but I agree 100% with The New Republic on this one. Because the spirit of the Dean campaign is not alive and well in the DCCC. Last year the DCCC did the Ohio second congressional district their way, the Democratic nominee had $16,000 for the entire race, so the incumbent was able to spend all year traveling the country and raising money for embattled Republicans. This year, we did OH-02 the Howard Dean 50 State Strategy way of fighting in every precinct, in every district, in every state -- every single day. It forced a lot of Republican money from Washington to be wasted and we did 40 percentage points better.

Democrats need to stop judging success on Election Day. We need to start evaluating ourselves every day. Did we win today? Thats what needs to be asked in every race, every day. If we can make this simple mindset change, we'll win more races in the long run and stop compromising.

Yesterday, DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel said:

Every Republican in Congress should consider himself put on notice."

That is total bullshit and the vast majority of Republicans in Congress know that the DCCC is going to give them the same treatment in 2006 that they gave OH-02 in 2004.

Why? Because the DCCC acts cowardly by targeting and it is clear they still don't get it. Look at the discussion on MyDD yesterday. DCCC Executive Director John Lapp uses the word "competitive" in reference to districts twice. If Emanuel were serious about gaining relevance, he'd dedicate a staffer to walking around the DCCC and slapping backside the head anyone who uses that term.

Right now, Emanuel is trying to use the same playbook, just do it better. Emanuel's DCCC is trying to be the fastest pony express rider, but the post-broadcast train is leaving the station and the DCCC will be left in the dust if Emanuel doesn't get on board.

It isn't tough, blogfather Jerome Armstrong lays out how to do it here and here. If Emanuel wants to be relevant, he can join the netroots in fighting everywhere, everyday. If not, who cares, we'll do it ourselves.

UPDATE: (Bob) Tom Edsall checked his notes and said I didn't use the word fuckton. He does this sort of thing all day everyday, so I'll trust his notes. But if I didn't use it, I should have.

Posted at 01:18 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Democrats, General, Netroots, Site News | Comments (8) | Technorati

Sunday, July 31, 2005

OH-02: Come Clean Jean!

Posted by Bob Brigham

Image hosted by
Ohio is appalled that Jean doesn't know Schmidt about Noe

Official state documents prove candidate covered-up ties to corruption

Jean Schmidt is well known for never forgetting a face or a name. Conventional wisdom recognizes her renowned memory to the point where the Cincinnati Enquirer noted (July 31, 2005):

Schmidt knows the district very well, having almost a "file-card" memory to recall details about people, places and issues she's had experience with on the local level.

Yet on this morning's CBS 12 "Newsmakers" program, Jean Schmidt lied to the voters on – only two days before the election. In an effort to cover up Jean Schmidt's involvement in the scandalous culture of corruption, Schmidt said she didn't know Tom Noe. Schmidt said she'd never met Tom Noe. Schmidt said she had never even heard of Tom Noe. The woman with the "file-card memory" lied.

You see, Jean Schmidt was Vice Chair of the Higher Education Subcommittee of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee. During the same period, Tom Noe was a member of the Board of Regents.

In fact, on March 21, 2002, official state documents prove Jean Schmidt testified before Tom Noe's committee. Tom Noe seconded and approved the minutes for this meeting, which read:

There are a number of areas where we are totally lined up with [Jean Schmidt's] thinking. In any event, the conclusion is that we need more contact, more often.

And , additional official state documents establish that Tom Noe testified before Jean Schmidt's committee on March 18, 2003.

These official State of Ohio documents confirm ties between Jean Schmidt and Tom Noe.

And this isn't an isolated incident, there is a pattern of the woman with the "file-card memory" not recalling her ties to corruption.

When it came to lobbying Bob Taft for online casino gambling, she suddenly forgot everything. The Toledo Blade reported (July 29, 2005):

Jean Schmidt, a former Republican state representative from the Cincinnati area, also appealed to the governor's office on behalf of a Web-based lottery. [...]

In a November, 2001, e-mail, Jon Allison, a staff member for Governor Taft, complained that Ms. Schmidt "continues to bug me on Internet lottery."

One year later, her state representative re-election campaign garnered a $1,000 donation from Mr. Ach.

Ms. Schmidt said through a spokesman that she does not remember any conversations with the governor's office about an online lottery, although she does remember that this was a significant issue at the time.

The next day, the woman with the "file-card memory" was the focus of a Cincinnati Enquirer article headlined, Schmidt can't recall Ach favor.

It is time for Jean Schmidt to come clean about her relationship with Tom Noe, Bob Taft, Roger Ach and online gambling. The culture of corruption will continue until reporters demand that career politicians tell voters the truth.

Voters deserve straight talk, Come Clean Jean.

UPDATE: (Bob) Paul Hackett and former Senator Max Clelland are on the Courthouse Steps doing a press conference right now. The big three stations, channels 5, 9, and 12 are here. More to come...

UPDATE: (Bob) Paul Hackett just referred to Jean Schmidt as the, "Poster Child for the Culture of Corruption" as he held up the documents that busted her. During the press conference, it was clear why Hackett is such a successful attorney, he did a great job of telling the story.

UPDATE: (Bob) Max Clelland remarked, "The odor of corruption not only comes out of Tom DeLay's office, it also comes out of Columbus."

UPDATE: (Bob) Channel 19 was also there, along with the Cincinnati Enquirer. There is no way that the press can ignore this, you can't let politicians lie about their involvement in corruption.

UPDATE: (Bob) It is not too late to donate to Paul Hackett, help him FINISH THE JOB!

Posted at 12:59 PM in 2005 Elections, Activism, General, Netroots, Ohio, Open Seats, Scandals, Site News, Special Elections | Comments (7) | Technorati

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

SCOTUS: Ethically Challenged John Roberts (Another Partisan Hack)

Posted by Tim Tagaris

An ethically challenged lawyer appointed by an ethically challenged "win-at-all-cost" administration.

U.S. v. Smithfield Foods - Roberts representing a pork processing company against Clean Water Act violations. This is what the court had to say about Roberts the litigator:

"The mischaracterization and distortion of this Memorandum is frustrating to the court. Quotes are being taken out of context, and it appears that words are being conveniently deleted or added for purposes of argument." "A totally misleading argument presented to this court."

I am not sure the amount of cases he has argued is very compelling if that is the way that he argues them.

UPDATE: Roberts on Roe v. Wade -- Brief field in Rust v. Sullivan

"We continue to believe that Roe was wrongfully decided and should be overturned." "[T]he Court's conclusions i Roe that there is a fundamental right to an abortion and that government has no compelling interest in protecting prenatal human life throughout pregnancy find no support in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution."

UPDATE (Bob) John Aravosis has info from NARAL Pro-Choice America on John Roberts and the huge oppo file from Alliance for Justice on John Roberts.

UPDATE (Tim) Aravosis has more, including Roberts' weak resume, and militant crusade to erode a woman's right to privacy, choice, and apparently right to live free from violence.

UPDATE (Tim) Jeralyn already debunks the Right's first talking point, that he was approved by the Senate to the Appeals Court overhwlemingly.

UPDATE (Bob) Here is PFAW on John Roberts (PDF)

UPDATE (Bob) Update the dkosopedia page on John Roberts and the Wikipedia page on John Roberts.

UPDATE (Bob) The John G. Robert's 2003 Confirmation Hearings

UPDATE (Bob Chris Bowers is right, John Roberts is a Partisan Hack:

The Bush administration has clearly stepped up the nomination of John Roberts in order to deflect attention from Karl Rove. Really, it makes sense. One partisan hack is deflecting attention from another.

Karl Rove is a lifetime Republican operative. John Roberts has been filing briefs and providing legal support for recounts (Roberts worked for Bush-Cheney 2000 in Florida) on behalf of Republicans for two decades. John Roberts is a partisan hack taking the heat for another partisan hack. He has only been a judge for two years. He has been a partisan Republican hack for twenty years.

The Bush administration was elected by the Supreme Court, and now it is electing a member of its campaign team to the Supreme Court in order to deflect attention away from ethics violations by the head of its campaign team, Karl Rove. The is partisan hackery at its best. The Bush administration has decided to treat the Supreme Court as an ambassadorship.

And so the fight is enjoined--the Bush administration wants to nominate a partisan hack who helped elect Bush to the Supreme Court, which elected Bush, in order to deflect attention from possible the possibly treasonous activates of another partisan hack who led the Bush campaign in 2000 and 2004. And so this is our fight--the Supreme Court is not the Northern Mariana Islands. The Supreme Court is not a way to reward those who helped get you elected. The Supreme Court is not a way to help deflect attention from the ethics violations of those who helped elect you. The Supreme Court is not a place for partisan hacks, but the Bush administration thinks it is. And so this is our fight--country over partisanship. And so it begins.

Howard Dean (from a press release):

Washington - Faced with a growing scandal surrounding the involvement of Deputy White House chief of Staff Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis Libby in the leaking the identity of a covert CIA operative, President Bush announced his nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court late this evening. Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean today issued the following statement on the nomination:

"It is disappointing that when President Bush had the chance to bring the country together, he instead turned to a nominee who may have impressive legal credentials, but also has sharp partisan credentials that cannot be ignored.

"Democrats take very seriously the responsibility to protect the individual rights of all Americans and are committed to ensuring that ideological judicial activists are not appointed to the Supreme Court. The Senate Judiciary Committee will now have the opportunity to see if Judge Roberts can put his partisanship aside, and live up to a Supreme Court Justice's duty to uphold the rights and freedoms of every American and the promise of equal justice for all."

Posted at 08:02 PM in Activism, DNC Chair, General, Netroots, Nuclear Option, Plamegate, Scandals, Supreme Court | Technorati

Monday, July 18, 2005

Karl Rove Scandal Mementos

Posted by Bob Brigham

Nothing like a t-shirt vendor to compliment the festival-like atmosphere as we watch the Bush Administration attempt to cover-up treason. Either Karl Rove lied and should be fired or Bush lied to us all. So enjoy the entertainment and get your Karl Rove Scandal T-Shirt.

Posted at 12:55 PM in Activism, General, Plamegate, Republicans, Scandals | Technorati

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Howard Dean: American People "Deserve Answers"

Posted by Bob Brigham

The DNC issued a great press release on the abuse of power scandal. I've included the whole thing postjump.


"Despite his best efforts to cloud the facts, not even Ken Mehlman and the Republican spin machine can change the fact that the Bush Administration's credibility problem is only getting worse. The list of unanswered questions surrounding the Rove scandal and its impact on our national security continue to grow," said DNC Chairman Howard Dean. "The American people deserve answers to these questions. And they deserve to know whether the President is a man of his word. Mr. President, keep your word."

See below for a new document from DNC Research:


Until recently, Karl Rove had denied even knowing Valerie Plame’s name. Then, after the release of emails from Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper revealing the name of the White House source, Rove’s lawyer confirmed that Rove did speak with reporters about the case. Now, previously secret Time emails demonstrate that Rove did indeed leak to Cooper information about “Wilson’s wife” -- Valerie Plame, and lawyers revealed that Rove confirmed Valerie Plame’s identity for Bob Novak. That means that Karl Rove spoke with both of the journalists who published original accounts about Plame, and places him squarely in the center of this scandal.

“If left unpunished, this cowardly act will not only hinder our efforts to recruit qualified individuals into the clandestine service, but it will have a far-reaching, deleterious effect on our ability to recruit foreign intelligence assets overseas.”

— Larry Johnson, former CIA Analyst [Senate Democratic Policy Committee Hearing, 10/24/03]


McClellan Said Rove Never Told Reporters that Plame Worked for CIA. White House Press Secretary Scott McCllelan was asked whether Karl Rove, Elliot Abrams or Lewis Libby told any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA?” McClellan responded by denying that Rove or the others had leaked any classified information. “Those individuals — I talked — I spoke with those individuals, as I pointed out, and those individuals assured me they were not involved in this. And that’s where it stands.” [WH Briefing, 10/10/03]


We know Rove’s initial public statements and his statements to Scott McClellan were false. And we know that after testifying once in front of the grand jury, they called him back. Did he knowingly lie to Scott McClellan? Did McClellan knowingly mislead the press? Did Rove change his answers to the grand jury? Did Rove commit perjury in front of the grand jury? Regardless of where Rove heard about Plame, wasn’t it a violation of national security policy for him to confirm her identity to Novak?


Rove Told Cooper That It Was “Wilson’s Wife” Who Worked on WMDs for the CIA. Rove had a conversation with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper on July 11, 2003. Cooper wrote an email about the conversation to his Time bureau chief, describing how Rove gave him a “big warning” that Wilson’s assertions might not be entirely accurate and that it was not the director of the CIA or the vice president who sent Wilson on his trip. Rather, “it was, KR said, wilson’s wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd who authorized the trip.” Wilson’s wife is Valerie Plame, then an undercover agent working as an analyst in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations counterproliferation division. [Washington Post, 7/11/05; Newsweek, 7/18/05]

Rove Confirmed Plame’s Identity for Bob Novak. Rove indirectly confirmed the CIA affiliation of Joe Wilson’s wife for Robert Novak the week before he named her and revealed her position. “Novak said he had learned that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA…"I heard that, too," Rove replied.” [Washington Post, 7/15/05]


Now that we know that Rove told Cooper about “Wilson’s wife,” who told Rove? Who was Bob Novak’s original source? If Rove really didn’t have first-hand knowledge of Plame’s work as an operative, why did he lead Matt Cooper to believe he did? Why did Novak use the name Valerie Plame when Cooper used the name Valerie Wilson?


Rove Gave Cooper Permission to Testify—Allowing Cooper to Avoid Jail Time—But Miller Chose to Go to Jail. Rove’s lawyer confirmed that Rove was the secret source who, at the request of both Cooper’s lawyer and the prosecutor, gave Cooper permission to testify. Cooper avoided jail time last week by agreeing to testify before the grand jury about conversations with his sources, while New York Times reporter Judith Miller was jailed for refusing to discuss her confidential sources. [Washington Post, 7/11/05; Newsweek, 7/18/05]


Rove has “released” Cooper from confidentiality. If Rove were Miller’s source, wouldn’t he do the same for her? So who was Miller talking to? If everyone is cooperating with this investigation, why hasn’t Miller’s source released her from her promise of confidentiality? If everyone is cooperating with investigators, why hasn’t Bush fired those that have refused to sign waivers of confidentiality?


Rove Had Previously Denied Any Involvement: In August 2004, Rove Claimed He Did Not Know Who Plame Was. In August of 2004, facing questions of his role in the Plame leak scandal, Rove denied his involvement, saying that he did not even know who Plame was at the time of the leak. “I didn’t know her name and didn’t leak her name.” [CNN, 7/4/05]

Rove Spoke With Novak Five Days Before Plame’s Name Became Public. Novak telephoned Rove in the week before the publication of the July 2003 column. Rove confirmed Plame’s identity for Novak, saying that he too had heard that she was a CIA operative. [Washington Post, 7/15/05]

Rove Spoke to Cooper Three Days Before Plame’s Name Became Public. To be considered a violation of the law, a disclosure by a government official must have been deliberate, the discloser must have known that the CIA officer was a covert agent, and he or she must have known that the government was actively concealing the covert agent’s identity. Although Cooper’s email does not prove that Rove knew Plame was a covert operative, “… it is significant that Rove was speaking to Cooper before Novak’s column appeared; in other words, [three days] before Plame’s identity had been published.” [Washington Post, 7/11/05; Newsweek, 7/18/05]

In Rove’s Defense, His Lawyer Claims that Rove Did Not Identify Plame by Name—But Who Else Could “Wilson’s Wife” Be? According to the Washington Post, “Rove’s lawyer said yesterday that his client did not identify her by name.” Yet, the substance of the email from Cooper to Time editors states that it was “Wilson’s wife.” Since there is as yet no evidence that Wilson was a bigamist, just who else “Wilson’s wife” could be besides Plame is unclear. [Washington Post, 7/11/05]


If Rove is innocent, then why would he claim that he didn’t know who Plame was? Why was he so careful, saying that “I didn’t know her name and didn’t leak her name”? Even though Cooper’s email does not indicate that Rove knew what Plame’s job was, couldn’t this fact simply mean that Rove did not reveal any more than he needed to Cooper?

Get the latest scandal news.

Posted at 07:35 PM in DNC Chair, Democrats, General, Plamegate, Republicans, Scandals | Technorati

Friday, July 15, 2005

Paging Former Secretary Tom Ridge

Posted by Tim Tagaris

It's time for Tom Ridge to talk about the increased terror alert the week of the Democratic National Convention. From the USA Today, 5.10-2005.

Ridge, who resigned Feb. 1, said Tuesday that he often disagreed with administration officials who wanted to elevate the threat level to orange, or "high" risk of terrorist attack, but was overruled. [..]

"More often than not we were the least inclined to raise it," Ridge told reporters. "Sometimes we disagreed with the intelligence assessment. Sometimes we thought even if the intelligence was good, you don't necessarily put the country on (alert). ... There were times when some people were really aggressive about raising it, and we said, 'For that?' "

If this terror alert before the Democratic National Convention was raised for political reasons (and it's awfully fishy timing), this administration may very well be responsible for the attacks that happened in London last week.

Posted at 01:01 AM in General, Scandals | Technorati

Friday, July 08, 2005

Anonymity to Push Administration Lies is a Crime

Posted by Bob Brigham

Atrios is going to push this, so I don't mind piling on. Today, the Washington Post looks like shit. Total shit. Why this wins an award, here.

Posted at 02:14 AM in General | Technorati

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

OH-Sen: Sherrod Brown Goes Statewide

Posted by Bob Brigham

Don't let the headline mislead you, Congressman Sherrod Brown has not (yet) announced that he'll be challenging Mike DeWine for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat. But, he has announced a new statewide effort:

The website looks great and has amazing localization tools. And Swing State Project's Tim Tagaris is involved, which means Congressman Brown can nationalize online as well as localize. Together, this dynamic could prove impressive if Sherrod Brown were to run for U.S. Senate in 2006.

When it comes to the obvious question, here's what Tim is saying:

"Does this mean that Congressman Brown is going to run for U.S. Senate? The answer I’ll be giving all day is that the site was built to help build infrastructure, both online and offline, and elect Ohio Democrats in 2005 and 2006. Everyone will just have to stay tuned when it comes to talk of the U.S. Senate run."

Pretty coy Damn professional quote.

Whatever happens with the Senate campaign, it is clear the Rep. Sherrod Brown is putting the pieces in place to lead statewide. Even his re-election website, seems focused beyond the borders of Ohio's 13th Congressional District.

So go check it out: Grow Ohio.

Posted at 12:02 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Democrats, General, Ohio | Technorati

Monday, July 04, 2005

Indpendence Day

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via Armando, our values:


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Happy Independence Day.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refuted his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. --And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

--John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Posted at 12:27 PM in General | Technorati

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Karl Rove: It's Not the Lying, It's the Treason

Posted by Bob Brigham

Updated with more on TreasonGate.

The blogosphere is a buzzing with news that Karl Rove has been exposed as the source of the Plame leak. In the next week, we're going to hear a great deal about the timeline and the two-person rule, the former centering on the federal crime of outing an undercover agent and the later necessary to establish the bonus charge of perjury.

Over at the Huffington Post, Lawrence O'Donnell hints that Rove may be in trouble on both counts.

I revealed in yesterday's taping of the McLaughlin Group that Time magazine's emails will reveal that Karl Rove was Matt Cooper's source. [...]

Since I revealed the big scoop, I have had it reconfirmed by yet another highly authoritative source. Too many people know this. It should break wide open this week. I know Newsweek is working on an 'It's Rove!' story and will probably break it tomorrow.

If Rove is the traitor and if he lied about it before the Grand Jury -- then he could achieve rare political status of having the cover-up not as bad as the crime -- for him at least. But cover-ups usually involve more than a single man, and this could turn into one giant shitburger considering who "Bush's Brain" spends time with in the West Wing (where he now serves as both Senior Advisor to the President of the United States and Deputy White House Chief of Staff).

Last week, the story was about the move to fire Karl Rove. This week, at a minimum, Rove should have his security clearance yanked while this is investigated. From AmericaBlog:

And now that this allegation is out there, of Karl Rove being a TRAITOR who divulged national security information putting our lives and the lives of CIA agents and their contacts at risk around the world, is this suspected threat to national security still AT the White House at this moment? Is he in the proximity of the president of the United States? What does the Secret Service have to say about that? Simply because of this allegation, a very serious public allegation by a credible on-the-record source, this man's security clearances should be revoked immediately, albeit temporarily, until this matter can be resolved.

Is the Secret Service REALLY going to let a man facing these accusations have access to the president of the United States in a time of war?

Come on MSM, ask the White House NOW if Karl Rove is still in the building, or if his clearances have been temporarily revoked.

Now remember, the idea that Rove is responsible for this is nothing new, yet the Secret Service has done nothing to-date to secure the President and the White House from whoever is guilty. For more on Rove as the source, check out the "historical briefings" here, here, here, here, here, and here,

Also, a full investigation of Rove and the media, will of course come back to Jeff Gannon. Somebody in the inner-circle of the White House planted Jeff Gannon and with Jeff Gannon's relationship to the Plame Affair, we're going to see a lot more on this. Which could potentially even move the scandal into something beyond lying about treason. When I searched my computer for "Rove + Source" I found the following transcript from an appearance I had on Air America earlier this year. The transcript is from this MP3, about a 102 minutes in (from 02/03/2005):

Sam Seder: Just go back to the Gannon thing for a little bit, where do you think the investigation is going to come from?

Bob Brigham: I think that Congress, in one way or anot her, is going to have to start investigating. If this continues to be a blog-driven investigation, it's a worse case scenario for a lot of Republicans, specifically Republicans who might have hypocrisy liability on a gay prostitute story and it will actually defuse the story somewhat by there being an investigation, just because then it won't be just constantly the blogosphere outing more and more Republican hypocrites.

Sam Seder: So Bob, let me read between the lines here. What you're saying is that there may be information out there, that there are some gentleman involved in the White House, who have taken some positions that would be inconsistent with perhaps some of their sexual dalliances.

Bob Brigham: You know, the Republican Party has more perverts than a whorehouse on Saturday night.

Sam Seder: Sweet Bob

Janeane Garofalo: Nice one.

Bob Brigham: We saw this in the nineties with Clinton. And the hypocrisy there when that come to light was very telling in the true moral character of the Republican Party.

Sam Seder: That's right. Henry Hyde had like three girlfriends or something like that.

Bob Brigham: Livingston was taken down, was Speaker for what, a week? And now that that the Republican Party has spent two years bashing gays, that is going to catch up with the Republican Party also. The fact that they are now bashing the AARP on gay marriage, they're seniors, they aren't having gay sex, they aren't having any sex. It's seniors. It just shows how ridiculous the entire smearing people as homosexual, conduct has become in the Republican Party and they're going to pay a price for their hubris.

Sam Seder: So you're saying that there's going to be perhaps a couple of Ed Shrockian moments coming up?

Bob Brigham: I think definitly. I think that is going to be a very interesting swing of the penjelum.

Janeane Garofalo: May I throw my two cents in Bob, because you've be unbelievably polite about this. Here's exactly is going to happen. Here is what the Gannon/Guckert sexual hypocrisy, whatever the scandal is, beyond the scandal we all know about. My gut feeling is that Karl Rove is either bisexual or gay, Scott McClellan, either bisexual or gay and either one of those two men – I tend to think it is Karl Rove – has had an affair with Ganon/Guckert.


Janeane Garofalo: Oh, don't be so silenced.

Bob Brigham: Oh, well that is a very interesting theory.

Sam Seder: Well it remains to be seen. It remains to be seen.

Janeane Garofalo: I'm telling you that Rove and McClellan, I mean, Ken Mehlman is at least up front about being gay, is he not?

Sam Seder: I don't know.

Janeane Garofalo: He at least admits to being gay, doesn't he?

Sam Seder: I don't think so.

Bob Brigham: He refuses to claim that he's straight in public.

Janeane Garofalo: Well I mean at least's he's, I don't think he's as closeted. He unfortunately supports a homophobic, bigoted, hypocritical agenda and that's the problem, not his gayness. And who cares if Gannon/Guckert is gay or bi and who cares if Rove or McClellan are gay except for their hypocrisy and their gay-unfriendly agenda. But I'm telling you McClellan, Rove, Ralph Reed, these guys are the gay mafia, they are gay as French horns as they say. I don't know why French horns are gay, but I think that the Gannon/Guckert scandal is, that the source of it is that Rove is his lover.

Discovering where this leads is going to be great fun, hubris is expensive and the bill is now past-due. Sure you're saying that would be totally ridiculous. Let me remind you of this White House exchange with Scott McClellan (via slate):

Q: On the Robert Novak-Joseph Wilson situation, Novak reported earlier this year quoting "anonymous government sources" telling him that Wilson's wife was a CIA operative. Now, this is apparently a federal offense, to burn the cover [of] a CIA operative. Wilson now believes that the person who did this was Karl Rove. He's quoted from a speech last month as saying, "At the end of the day, it's of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs." Did Karl Rove tell that—

A: I haven't heard that. That's just totally ridiculous. But we've already addressed this issue. If I could find out who anonymous people were, I would. I just said, it's totally ridiculous.

Q: But did Karl Rove do it?

A: I said, it's totally ridiculous.

Hubris is costly.

UPDATE: (Bob): This is getting good, from Newsweek (via Atrios):

The e-mails surrendered by Time Inc., which are largely between Cooper and his editors, show that one of Cooper's sources was White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, according to two lawyers who asked not to be identified because they are representing witnesses sympathetic to the White House. Cooper and a Time spokeswoman declined to comment. But in an interview with NEWSWEEK, Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, confirmed that Rove had been interviewed by Cooper for the article. It is unclear, however, what passed between Cooper and Rove.

But this is very interesting:

Novak appears to have made some kind of arrangement with the special prosecutor, and other journalists who reported on the Plame story have talked to prosecutors with the permission of their sources. Cooper agreed to discuss his contact with Lewis (Scooter) Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide, after Libby gave him permission to do so. But Cooper drew the line when special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald asked about other sources.

It appears that unlike Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff Scooter Libby, Karl Rove did not give Cooper permission to discuss the scandal with the Special Prosecutor. Which is odd, given that Rove serves at the pleasure of the United States of America (via AmericaBlog):

Q Mr. President, on another issue, the CIA leak-gate. What is your confidence level in the results of the DOJ investigation about any of your staffers not being found guilty or being found guilty? And what do you say to critics of the administration who say that this administration retaliates against naysayers?

PRESIDENT BUSH: First of all, I'm glad you brought that question up. This is a very serious matter, and our administration takes it seriously. As members of the press corps here know, I have, at times, complained about leaks of security information, whether the leaks be in the legislative branch or in the executive branch. And I take those leaks very seriously.

And, therefore, we will cooperate fully with the Justice Department. I've got all the confidence in the world the Justice Department will do a good, thorough job. And that's exactly what I want them to do, is a good, thorough job. I'd like to know who leaked, and if anybody has got any information inside our government or outside our government who leaked, you ought to take it to the Justice Department so we can find out the leaker.

I have told my staff, I want full cooperation with the Justice Department. And when they ask for information, we expect the information to be delivered on a timely basis. I expect it to be delivered on a timely basis. I want there to be full participation, because, April, I am most interested in finding out the truth.

And, you know, there's a lot of leaking in Washington, D.C. It's a town famous for it. And if this helps stop leaks of -- this investigation in finding the truth, it will not only hold someone to account who should not have leaked -- and this is a serious charge, by the way. We're talking about a criminal action, but also hopefully will help set a clear signal we expect other leaks to stop, as well. And so I look forward to finding the truth.

Actually, I doubt Bush is looking forward to anything that is remotely related to the Truth when it comes to this TreasonGate.

UPDATE (Bob): We all knew that more and more people are going to be sucked into the TreasonGate Scandal, Digby gets the following tip:

Wilson indicates that the work up on him beginning March, 2003, turned up the information on Valerie -- which was then shared with Karl Rove who then circulated it through Administration and neo-Conservative circles. He cites conservative journalists who claimed to have had the information before the Novak column.

So the question is -- in the work-up process beginning about March 2003, who had the information re: Plame?

I think it was John Bolton. At the time he was State Department Deputy Secretary with the portfolio in WMD and Nuclear Proliferation. Assuming that Valerie Plame's identity was that of a NOC (No Official Cover) the information about her would have been highly classified, compartmentalized, and only those with a need to know would know. Bolton's Job probably gave him that status. However to receive it he would have to sign off on the classification -- that is he would have to agree to retain the security the CIA had established.

At the time, Bolton had two assistants who also worked in the White House in Cheney's office, David Wurmser and John Hannah. Their names have been around as the potential leakers -- Hannah if you remember is the guy who kept putting the Yellow Cake back in Bush's speeches even though Tenet had demanded it be removed.

So -- I think we have a game of catch going on here -- or maybe some version of baseball, and the scoring is Bolton to Wurmser and Hannah, to Cheney (and/or Libby) to Rove.

more to come...

Posted at 01:59 PM in General, Plamegate, Republicans, Scandals | Comments (5) | Technorati


Posted by Tim Tagaris

For anyone that would like to, you can watch the video stream of Live8, from any venue you wish, right here.

Chris Bowers of MyDD is a credentialed blogger and you can read his updates here.

Another blogger, lesser known, but an enjoyable mix of commentary and excellent photography, Albert Yee from Philadelphia also received credentials. His blog is Dragonballyee, but he will be live-blogging the event at Philly Future.

Posted at 11:43 AM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

New DNC Website

Posted by Tim Tagaris

You can check it out here.

I am about to go fiddle around in it right now. I also want to give a hat tip to the DNC for their committment in not only reaching out to the blogosphere, but investing in it. First they have purchased a slew of blogs ads (look left), and just yesterday, Governor Dean made personal, 1 on 1, phone calls to bloggers across the country. You can read the write-up from one at Talk Left.

UPDATE: (Bob) I also received a call from the Good Doctor -- I've have more later...

Posted at 03:43 PM in General | Technorati

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

US-ED: 28.5 say WaPo Sucks

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Americablog:

The Washington Post released a poll today, and in their story accompanying it they claimed that only one in eight Americans (12.5%) supports an immediate pull out of US troops from Iraq. In fact, the St. Louis Independent Media Center discovered that if you look at the Post's own data they post on their Web site, it's actually 41% of Americans who said pull the troops out, the second highest number ever in their polling over the past two years.

How many troops will die before the press gets it right?

Posted at 11:23 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Let This Be a Lesson

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Ken Mehlman and RNC released a statement countering Democratic attacks on Karl Rove for his ridiculous statements earlier today. I hope both of the comments, Karl's and Ken's, are the final lesson to all the faint-hearted Democrats out there who have capitulated and appeased this adminstration at every turn possible.

Ken Mehlman's Statement.

They go right down the list--picking off Democrats who stand up for peace. MoveOn (of course), Dennis Kucinich, Marcy Kaptur, Barbara Lee, Michael Moore (shock), Joe Biden, Howard Dean, John Kerry, and others.

You see, it doesn't matter how you voted on war in Afghanistan. It doesn't matter how you voted in Iraq. Republicans will attack you, and your party, for being faint-hearted and soft in the war on terror.

It doesn't matter, Dick Durbin, that you apologized. Because they turn around and call your comments "libelous." They cite people who stood by you, before you caved, as evidence that our outrage is "faux."

Lesson Learned? We might as well start standing together on issues of principle, because the Republicans will try and hang us all together anyway.

Sign the petition.

Posted at 05:27 PM in General | Technorati

Saturday, June 04, 2005

MT-Sen: Campaign Fundraising for 2006 Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

In a discussion on saving Amtrak from Republican attacks, Montana state Senate President Jon Tester commented in the Havre Daily News:

"I think the president misreads the can-do attitude of the people of Montana, particularly those along the northern tier," Tester said.

Bush would be wise not to misunderestimate Montanans, especially not a hi-liner like Jon Tester.

Montana Senator Conrad Burns underestimated a Montana farmer with no name recognition in 2000. That farmer was Brian Schweitzer and Schweitzer almost beat Burns -- even though he only had $2 million to face incumbent Burns' $5 million.

This year, Burns is in such dire straights politically that he thinks he'll need "$8 million to $10 million" to buy a fourth term (after he promised he would only serve 2 terms).

For the life of me, I have no idea what a campaign would have to do to spend $10 million in Montana. Forty bucks a vote? In Montana?

The key isn't to outraise Senator Burns, a credible candidate can run a great campaign with half of that -- I mean, we're talking about Montana. Total saturation will happen...the question is whether Tester will be able to establish himself before the Burns slime operation kicks into high gear.

Everyone who gets to know Tester loves the guy, but he has plenty of room for improvement, according to the editorial board at the Helena Independent Record:

What's it take to get a little recognition in this state? Well, judging by a recent poll conducted for Lee newspapers in Montana, it apparently takes a lot.

The poll included questions designed to measure the name recognition of four prominent Democrats who have announced or are considering running against either Sen. Conrad Burns or House Rep. Denny Rehberg, both Republicans.

Essentially, the response was: "Who?" [...]

Jon Tester, president of the state Senate during the last legislation session and the lawmaker who probably had the most to do with the session's outcome, had 14 percent favorable and 4 percent unfavorable recognition. Sixty-one percent of the voters never heard of the guy.

But the IR also points out the solution:

None of this means that name recognition can't be achieved. Look at Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who came out of political nowhere just half a decade ago and almost upset Burns in his last Senate race.

But it does help us understand why little-known campaign challengers need more than a solid political agenda. To even stand a chance, they need a war chest brimming with gold.

Jon Tester is a Montanan you don't want to underestimate. Thanks to everyone who is helping give Tester the resources to compete against Burns' big money.

Contribution amount: $

Posted at 12:49 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, General, Montana | Technorati

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Voinovich's Tearful Plea Against Bolton

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Amazing video. DemBloggers has the piece, and I have already watched it four times. A tearful pleas from the well of the Senate by George Voinovich (R-OH), begging his colleagues to vote down the Bolton nomination tomorrow.

"At a strategic time, when we need friends all over the world, we need somebody up there that's gonna be able get the job done. And I know some of my friends say, 'let it go george it's gonna work out.' I don't wanna take the risk. I ran for a second term, because I'm worried about my kids, and my grandchildren."
I was touched, truly, for all of about 5 seconds. And then I remembered, Senator Voinovich, your kids, your grandchildren, and the people of America needed your vote a few weeks ago when you let Bolton out of committee.

Now unless you can convince a handful of your "friends" why you were wrong, your tears are for nothing; we're gonna have this asshole as Ambassador to the U.N. These bums are lucky only a small handful of people are paying attention to this stuff out here in the real world. It's just too ridiculous to be true.

Posted at 10:22 PM in General | Technorati

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Time Poll Not Good News for W.

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Polling Report has the details, not much of which is good news for President Bush (MoE +/- 3%):

Job Approval
Approve: 46%
Disapprove: 47%
Unsure: 7%

President's Handling of Iraq
Approve: 41%
Disapprove: 55%
Unsure: 4%

President's Handling of Social Security
Approve: 31%
Disapprove: 59%
Unsure: 10%

Should Republicans be able to end the filibuster?
Should: 28%
Should Not: 59%
Unsure: 14%

Not good news at all for George Bush and those in the legislative branch that insist on following the president down the path consistently contrary to the will of the American people. The stage is set for a dramatic swing in the 2006 Midterm Elections.

Posted at 04:23 PM in General | Technorati

Friday, April 08, 2005

National Press Circus

Posted by Bob Brigham

Crooks and Liars (of course) has the video. There is a consensus that the White House Hooker received a smackdown.

We're still waiting on the intimate details of Gannon's "relationship" with Scott McClellan.

Americablog's John Aravosis has multiple posts.

Posted at 06:48 PM in General | Technorati

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Brian Darling is only the fall guy

Posted by Bob Brigham

Yes, Republican's wrote the Schiavo memo. Yes, the write wing bloggers (Powerline) have egg dripping off their long noses. Or was that egg on their keyboards. Yes, liberals won. Yes, the wingers wanted to make a big deal out of the memo and we should oblige.

But the one thing that is missing from the conversation is the fact that Senator Mel Martinez has a history of forcing staffers to take the fall for his decisions.

In fact, when Mel Martinez won, his blaming of staff was a major concern for the editorial board of the St. Petersburg Times (Nov. 4, 2004):

When challenged, Martinez was too eager to assign blame to his staff or to groups he said he couldn't control. As a senator, he will need an office and a staff that speaks with the measured and centrist tone he says will be his own. He can't pretend to be above it all if the people he employs are not.

In Florida it is even a running joke:

From Jim Defede, Miami Herald October 3, 2004 (B1):

In the hotly contested race for U.S. Senate, candidate Mel Martinez has stayed on the offensive, first against fellow Republican Bill McCollum and now against Democratic nominee Betty Castor. Since we expect more of the same in the final weeks leading to the Nov. 2 showdown, the following is how I imagine next week's strategy session will go between Martinez and his campaign staff.

Martinez:Good afternoon everyone. Where are we?

Staffer No. 1:Well, the polls are still very close. It's a dead heat between you and Betty Castor.

Martinez:OK, any ideas?

Staffer No. 2:We could try debating her on the issues.

Martinez: Issues! Are you crazy? No, what we need to do is slime her just like we did Bill McCollum in the primary.

Staffer No. 1:Are you sure you want to go negative, sir?

Martinez: Oh, I'm not going to go negative. You guys are. This week, Danny and Tom will issue statements suggesting the reason Castor supports stem cell research is because she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and that she is mentally incompetent to be a senator.

Staffer No. 2:Is that true, sir? Does she have Alzheimer's?

Martinez:Of course not. But once you guys say it, some nitwit's going to believe it. And if the media goes nuts and blasts us for being insensitive, I'll step in, act disgusted by your assertions and repudiate you as a couple of ''young turks.'' But even after I distance myself from your remarks, some people will still believe Castor is sick. This is going to be great.

Staffer No. 1:I'm sorry, sir. There is only one problem. You can't call Danny and Tom ''young turks'' because you already called Pete and Bobby ''young turks'' after you had them accuse McCollum of being in bed with the ''radical homosexual lobby.''

Martinez:Darn it! [Pause in conversation. Martinez can be heard talking to himself.] Think, Mel, think. I got it! We'll call them overzealous.

Staffer No. 1:Nope. We used that one for the guys at the ad agency that produced the commercial labeling McCollum ''antifamily.''

Martinez: OK, how about rogue staffers? You guys wouldn't mind being rogue staffers would you?

Staffer No. 1:No, sorry sir, you called Carlos and Hector rogue staffers after they issued that news release you wrote for the Spanish-language radio stations calling the federal agents who seized Elián González ''armed thugs.''

Martinez: Well-intentioned but misguided?

Staffer No. 2:That's what you said about Sandy and Diane after they said Castor was an accomplished thespian in college.

Martinez:Renegade? I don't remember condemning anyone on my staff for being a renegade.

Staffer No. 1:Well, we were saving renegade for the commercials suggesting Castor may have been a founding member of al Qaeda.

Martinez:[Sounding annoyed.] Look people, I can't do this on my own. I need your help. I realize none of you like being repudiated. Do you think I like repudiating you? I don't. But I made it very clear from the beginning that this campaign was going to be based on one simple theme: plausible deniability. I can't get elected if people are going to hold me accountable for the mean and nasty things we're doing. My only hope is to blame each and every one of you.

Staffer No. 2:You're right, sir. And, I think I speak for everyone in this room when I say we are all honored to be the kindling in the bonfire of your vanity.

Martinez:OK, I have no idea what you just said. Sounds like homosexualist talk to me, but nevertheless if it was an apology, I accept it. Now let's get back to the hard work of this campaign. Remember, the mud isn't going to sling itself people. In the meantime, get me a thesaurus because for the next 30 days I'm going to repudiate each and every one of you like my life depended on it.

Martinez was given this warning before he was even sworn in as a Senator. He's in the big leagues now and he was given proper public notice that his old tricks would no longer be tolerated. Brian Darling isn't the one should be taking the fall.

Posted at 02:46 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida, General | Technorati

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

2005 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning

Posted by Bob Brigham

Nick Anderson won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning.

The Washington Post Writers Group put together a special webpage to celebrate the honor. If you care enough about politics to be reading Swing State Project, I suggest you take a moment to enjoy the compilation page the Post put together. And remember, if you don't salute, you're not a patriot.

Posted at 11:16 PM in General | Technorati

Sunday, March 20, 2005


Posted by Tim Tagaris

Another example of why Digby should be required reading:

By now most people who read liberal blogs are aware that George W. Bush signed a law in Texas that expressly gave hospitals the right to remove life support if the patient could not pay and there was no hope of revival, regardless of the patient's family's wishes. It is called the Texas Futile Care Law. Under this law, a baby was removed from life support against his mother's wishes in Texas just this week. A 68 year old man was given a temporary reprieve by the Texas courts just yesterday.

Those of us who read liberal blogs are also aware that Republicans have voted en masse to pull the plug (no pun intended) on medicaid funding that pays for the kind of care that someone like Terry Schiavo and many others who are not so severely brain damaged need all across this country.

The rest is in the extended entry.

Those of us who read liberal blogs also understand that that the tort reform that is being contemplated by the Republican congress would preclude malpractice claims like that which has paid for Terry Schiavo's care thus far.

Those of us who read liberal blogs are aware that the bankruptcy bill will make it even more difficult for families who suffer a catastrophic illness like Terry Schiavo's because they will not be able to declare chapter 7 bankruptcy and get a fresh start when the gargantuan medical bills become overwhelming.

And those of us who read liberal blogs also know that this grandstanding by the congress is a purely political move designed to appease the religious right and that the legal maneuverings being employed would be anathema to any true small government conservative.

Those who don't read liberal blogs, on the other hand, are seeing a spectacle on television in which the news anchors repeatedly say that the congress is "stepping in to save Terry Schiavo" mimicking the unctuous words of Tom Delay as they grovel and leer at the family and nod sympathetically at the sanctimonious phonies who are using this issue for their political gain.

This is why we cannot trust the mainstream media. Most people get their news from television. And television is presenting this issue as a round the clock one dimensional soap opera pitting the "family", the congress and the church against this woman's husband and the judicial system that upheld Terry Schiavo's right and explicit request that she be allowed to die if extraordinary means were required to keep her alive. The ghoulish infotainment industry is making a killing by acceding once again to trumped up right wing sensationalism.

This issue gets to the essence of the culture war. Shall the state be allowed to interfere in the most delicate, complicated personal matters of life, death and health because a particular religious constituency holds that their belief system should override each individual's right to make these personal decisions for him or herself. And it isn't the allegedly statist/communist/socialist left that is agitating for the government to tell Americans how they must live and how they must die.

One of the things that we need to help America understand is that there is a big difference between the way the two parties perceive the role of government in its citizens personal lives. Democrats want the government to collect money from all its citizens in order to deliver services to the people. The Republicans want the government to collect money from working people in order to dictate individual citizen's personal decisions. You tell me which is the bigger intrusion into the average American's liberty?

Posted at 11:22 PM in General | Technorati

Monday, February 28, 2005


Posted by Tim Tagaris

From MyDD via AmericaBlog:

Letter on behalf of the couple used in the USA Next anti-AARP ad (the green check mark) informing Charles Jarvis that he has until tomorrow to respond on their use of the image without permission.

It appears your intended but illogical point is that the AARP is anti-military and pro-gay marriage and therefore the AARP is not credible on the issue of Social Security reform. [...]

USA Next has no right to use our clients as targets for those who choose homophobia as the weapon of choice.

Clock is ticking.

Posted at 01:06 PM in General | Comments (2) | Technorati

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Rick Santorum Video From Yesterday

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Here is the video I shot from the town hall meeting yesterday featuring Rick Santorum. Disclaimer, I work for the candidate whose site it is posted on.

That out of the way, there are two clips:

1.) Drexel College Republicans chanting "Hey hey, ho ho, social secrurity has got to go," as Santorum enetered the building.

2.) Chris Bowers calling out Santorum on an earlier statement by the Senator that Democratic colleagues of his supported privatization. Nice try Rick.


Posted at 12:18 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, General, Netroots, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Report From Santorum Soc. Sec. Event in Philly

Posted by Tim Tagaris

(video coming tomorrow of said events)

The first stop on Rick Santorum's re-election campaign this morning was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania--Drexel University. First of all, let me tell that I got lost on the way (not being from PA), and drove around for around 45 minutes more than I had to.

It was worth it...

I got there at around 9 A.M. in time to witness the pre-protest taking place outside of the ballroom the event was to take place in. At first it was a bunch of Drexel College Democrats standing outside, getting organized and passing out pamphlets. Then the College Republicans started strolling down the pavement.

You can see them coming from a mile away, or smell them coming, or sense them coming, whatever... It's funny, cause they feel like they have to put on a show; it's not even about supporting Santorum, it almost seemed like it was more about getting people to look at them. Example: One kid who deemed it necessary to put his Bush/Cheney t-shirt on in long exaggerated movements as he began approaching the crowd. It's a little thing, but it was obvious.

Anyway, the cameras were rolling and the literature was flying. One man stood out in the middle of the road with a giant sign that said, "TAX THE RICH" Back and forth, chanting, hooting and hollering like it was a college basketball game.

But the real show happened inside...

So, I am walking up the steps a few minutes before 10 A.M. to head inside and get a good seat. I was supposed to meet Chris Bowers from MyDD, but at this point I gave up hope. As I am walking up, the level of noise grew and people swarmed around me.

Well, not me, Santorum was walking up the steps right beside me. Yes, I was about 2 feet away. Soon the press swarmed and I just put my cigarette out, and moved aside from the spectacle. I walked inside the lobby and here he came again, as if he was following me. He motioned to one of the security folks that he had to use the rest room; it was only because I was restrained by a smarter man than I that I didn't follow him in with the video camera.

So, I headed inside and the show started. About 3 minutes into the event, Chris Bowers called and had no idea where to find the place. I got up and met him outside and we came back in. It gave me another chance to get a few puffs in.

Oh, I forgot to note that some shmuck from the SSA used some analogy about an aircraft carrier, let's call it, "The FDR," he said. And the ship's Admiral got an order to turn starboard. The admiral got pissed and the punchline was something about the orders coming from a lighthouse. Stupid, I know. But the "FDR" crack kind of pissed a few people off.

Where was I? Yes, Bowers and I get back inside.

Right away, Santorum asks, "and do you know what happens in four years?" Immediately, someone responded, "Bush is out of office." The smirk on the face Richy Rick (R-VA) was priceless. I only wish I got that part on tape. Sorry. The place clapped, it was great.

About two minutes later, a young man stood up and started calling Rick Santorum out and talking about Pinochet, Chile, George Schultz and the Govenator. Once again, Rick had quite a smirk on his face. The man was escorted out of the room while screaming something about "death squads."

Yes, he was a LaRouchie.

No more than 2 minutes later, the guy RIGHT INFRONT OF ME stood up. Same thing, Pinochet, Chile, and death squads. This guy kept on going--then he got roughed up. I have the entire exchange on tape, and as I said above, I will post a link to it tomorrow.

The entertainment value was high, but as someone next to me noted, "Every Democrat is hanging their head right now." He was right, it did not reflect well on us.

So, the rest of the event was pretty, ummm, uneventful. With the exception of the last minute. That was when Chris Bowers got to ask a question. Earlier in the forum, Slick Rick (R-VA) said something to the effect of conversations with Democratic Senators that supported atleast partial privatization. Chris called him on it and asked him to name names.

Rick could not.

In fact, he said that there were not any Democratic Senators who supported the Bush-Santorum corporatization scheme, but there was "one member in the House, I think."

Umm, yea. Nice try Rick--Great question Chris.

After that, I had my first Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich, in Philly, and went home.


Posted at 09:02 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, General, Netroots, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Monday, February 21, 2005


Posted by Bob Brigham

Gonzo Journalism was blogging without the computer. HST was so perfectly brilliant that the lack of technology never interrupted his vision.

Our glasses are tipped.

Thank you, for being the best political reporter ever.

Posted at 01:00 AM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Heads or Tails?

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Just when you thought election results couldn't get any more strange:

Pittsfield voters on Tuesday gave Kelm and challenger Keith Deneys 154 votes apiece, behind top vote-getter Teresa Wargo, who earned 168 votes. The tie for second place in the primary left the elimination of one candidate to the fate of a coin toss.

So in a tense smoke-filled room, the combatants put it all on the line; an election cycle worth of campaigning came down to one history soaked moment. The town clerk was on hand to toss the coin, the watchful eye of the Green Bay Press Gazette on hand to record the moment.

"Heads or tails?"

And in one moment, as one hand was removed from a top another to uncover a coin that held the fate of two campaigns in the balance--it appeared that Keith Deneys had defeated the incumbent and and would move on to the General Election. But would he? Not so fast.

There was something missing from the room that left the results of the coin toss in doubt. You guessed it, the "town's board of canvassers weren't present. What a glaring oversight! As a result, the two campaigns have begun throwing barbs in the press, kicking their noise machines into high gear, bringing the matter to the fore.

Kelm said Wednesday’s coin toss simply wasn’t official. She considered the lot-draw a fitting end to the current term.

Critics will undoubtedly charge that Kelm might not be singing the same tune were she on the right side of the coin flip; a notion that I am sure her press secretary would dismiss if she had a staff. On the other hand, Deneys has attempted to turn his apparent slight into campaign fodder.

“It just concerns me that the proper details aren’t taken care of in the forefront before we do something of this nature,” he said. “It’s just another inconsistency in the way this town has been run.”

I agree, and its even more the reason we need to replace Kelm and the old regime that she represents. Mr. Deneys, we are pulling for you, and if you get to call--please choose tails.

UPDATE: How I missed this, I have no idea...

It appears Deneys won the second "coin toss." However, it wasn't really a coin toss--they just picked the winner from a hat. The vanquished Kelm has until Tuesday to decide whether or not to pursue a recount.

In light of a recent discovery that Deneys is affiliated with the "adopt a sniper" program, I hope she does.

Posted at 03:01 PM in General | Technorati

Monday, February 14, 2005

It's no America's Top Model

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Is your U.S. Senator hotornot?

Head into the extended entry for more information. I hesitate to say that these pictures are suitable for work. I mean, everyone has on clothes, but when was the last time you really looked closely at Mitch McConnell?

Top 5:

1. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
2. Barack Obama of (D-IL)
3. Mary Landrieu of (D-LA)
4. Russ Feingold of (D-WI)
5. Maria Cantwell of D-WA)

Bottom 5:

1. John Thune (R-SD)
2. Robert Bennet (R-UT)
3. Mike DeWine (R-OH)
4. Craig Thomas (R-WY)
5. Trenet Lott (R-MS)

Hottest Political Party?

Democratic Senators average a 4.7 rating out of 10
Republican Senators average a 3.1 rating out of 10

Response from #1 ranked Senator Lautenberg:

"I'm trying to get to the bottom of it," he said. "I look in the mirror, too. And sexy can't have all these wrinkles."

Posted at 06:20 PM in General | Technorati

Sunday, February 13, 2005


Posted by Tim Tagaris

"It's time to punch the clock." The "Battle for America," has just begun.

Posted at 01:10 PM in Activism, General | Technorati

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Senator Feingold Interview

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Is done...

Well, it turns out that I am second-to-last blogger to ask a question; chances are anything I have thought out will have been covered at that point. That's fine--I am just happy to be there. So. . .

Put your questions/comments in this entry. I will keep the screen open while the Q&A is going on, crossing off questions as we move along. If something is left by my turn, I will fire it out there.

Also, feel free to trackback people from your sites--I will do my best to blog the exchange as it happens, just like we did with Donnie Fowler's interview.

Overview: The first question I asked was about veterans and "supporting the troops." I got so pissed while thinking about 250,000 vets a year waiting in line for care, people I know personally who have died in Iraq, and Republicans waving their purple fingers at the SOTU, that I stuttered and stammered through the whole question.

The second question I asked was about the Senator's quote in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

"If at some point people say, 'Hey, we think you ought to run for president' (and) it's a serious thing, I'm going to listen. I would only run if I honestly believed that I was the guy that really could win, that I was the person who was the best candidate to run"

That one, I managed to get out without making myself sound like a smitten fifth grader. Extended entry...

5:52 P.M.

I am about to call in right now. I am a bit frustrated because on Tuesday night where I work--there is Irish dancing classes that go on upstairs. It sounds like a train is running through the building. I hope the conference is taken on mute for all callers, otherwise I will have to go outside to my car and take the call. If that happens, I will post a full update when its over.

6:02 P.M.

Gotta take the call outside. Will update when it's over. Sorry folks.

7:05 P.M. (Recap)

Right off the bat we got into 2008. Markos asked about other potential candidates for president wooing Washington insiders to bolster future runs.

The Senator countered with a refrain he repeated throughout the Q&A. Locking down insiders right now is a losing strategy. We don't even know what the world is going to look like in two years and it would almost be irresponsible (my word) to make a decision on 2008 right now, and start agressively moving towards it.

I gotta be honest--I had to take the conversation in my car (not running), so I was freezing and not able to take many notes. However, I think detailing the following is important:

He acknowledged a battle for the soul of the Democratic Party is taking place. He stressed that if there is a WINNER of that battle, and we divide ourselves in the process, the party is in trouble. I agree, sort of...

In my mind, Tim Roemer has little place in the future of "my" Democratic Party. See Mercatus. Congressmen like Martin Frost who run television ads claiming their Republican opponent isn't Republican enough. . . Umm, not palatable to me either. I understand that in some areas of the country you gotta do what you gotta do to win. But there is a line where personal principles have gotta come to the fore--and "Who supported President Bush?" "Speaker Hastert, and Martin Frost" "Kay Hutchinson and Martin Frost." Umm, no thanks.

But I think what most of SSP readers want to know is whether or not we got any clues as to whether or not Feingold is running in 2008. I came away from the interview unsure. It is obvious that he is seriously thinking about; waiting to see how things play out in D.C. and across the country before comitting to anything.

Were it Final Jeopardy, I would guess that he will be the progressive option on the ballot in Iowa, New Hampshire, or whatever states come first in the next cycle.

At the end of the interview, Chris Bowers asked him whether or not he was aware that in most online polls for 2008, he leads--almost exclusively.

Hopefully that translates at some point into him realizing that people are saying, "Hey, we think you ought to run for president."

Cause he "oughta."


Posted at 03:00 PM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats, Activism, General, Wisconsin | Technorati

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Best. Entry. Ever.

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Sorry I haven't had a lot of time the last few days to blog, but rest assured, things will be back to normal tomorrow. The State Party Blog Project and a trip to Philly this morning has held me back some.

In the meantime: Check out this entry on Oliver Willis.

It's a video (that you don't have to download) of Alan Keyes stage diving at a Rage Against the Machine concert at the request of Michael Moore and his daughter, who he was nice enough to "cut-off" because she is a lesbian, just a few days ago. And by the way, the technology that Oliver Willis uses for his blog is down right tremendous.

Posted at 09:54 PM in General | Technorati

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

More Madness

Posted by Tim Tagaris

The President...

"Soon I will send to Congress a proposal to fund special training for defense counsel in capital cases, because people on trial for their lives must have competent lawyers by their side."

The Not So Way Back Machine...

The so-called "sleeping lawyer" case became an international embarrassment for Texas. It was an embarrassment that was well-deserved. Texas officials under both former Gov. George Bush and current Gov. Rick Perry argued that Burdine's sleeping lawyer did not violate his client's constitutional rights.

If you were curious, Burdine was on Death Row.

Posted at 09:41 PM in General | Technorati

You're kidding right?

Posted by Tim Tagaris

From President Bush's State of the Union Address

For example, in the year 2027, the government will somehow have to come up with an extra 200 billion dollars to keep the system afloat

This is humorous for 2 reasons...

1.) If we are forced into privatization, the governmenet will somehow have to come up with an extra" two trillion dollars by 2015 to afford the transition.

2.) Ironically, in the past 2 years, we have found 200 billion (plus now) dollars to pay for a failing occupation based on a series of lies in Iraq.

There is NO Crisis continues with the coverage.

Posted at 09:29 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Monday, January 31, 2005

To Michelle Zimny

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Dear Michelle Zimny,

It's probably been a decade since you and I have crossed paths, exchanged a smile, or cracked a joke about basketball. When I got the news in an email from Stu, I had no idea what to do. I wanted to call my friends; you remember them, Baskerville, Siegel, Hayman, and the rest of the crew. For whatever reason, I didn't do it; I just sat in my bed that night and cried.

I tried to find an email address for you last night, but was unsuccessful. I hope David will forgive me (this is his site), but this modest platform is my next best chance to let you know how I feel about the loss of Chris. You see, I do a lot of writing about politics, and because of my line of work, I am discussing the war quite a bit as well. "Four more died in an ambush, two more here, another there." We talk about it so much that they turn into numbers--faceless, nameless, numbers.

I guess it takes something like the email I received from Stu to bring it all back home. Michelle, I am so sorry. Maybe you will stumble upon this one day and realize that there were so many people whose thoughts and prayers you were in at this time. Writing this message feels so wholy inadequate, but I have no idea where else to turn to express these thoughts. I just wanted someway to "talk to you," and Danielle, even if it wasn't possible to do so.

Just understand that last night, today, and for sometime to come, my heart has cried for you and your family. You are in my thoughts and prayers.



To David (and Michelle): I bumped this post back a month so the daily readership won't come across it--I didn't think a few thousand people reading it over the next week was appropriate.

Posted at 08:15 PM in General | Technorati

Friday, January 21, 2005

The Small Blog as the Small Donor of 2006/2008

Posted by Tim Tagaris

You couldn't escape it. During the 2004 election cycle, Internet fundraising was all the rage. From Howard Dean's $40 million, DailyKos and ActBlue, to Terry McAuliffe receiving credit, some of it undeserved, for leveraging the small donor to pull even with GOP fundraising efforts.

That's great - for whatever the real reasons - the Democratic Party did a terrific job of using the Internet to raise money in small amounts as a counter to a traditional GOP advantage. But guess what? The Republican (Noise) Machine will learn, and we had best get ahead of the curve.

If the small donor was the phenomenon of the 2004 election cycle, the small blogger might very well be the next great hope for the Democrats.

The online financial contributions had implications for finance (and comm.) staffs working campaigns across the country. Leveraging the small blogger is predominantly a technological offshoot for traditional field programs (and comm). And as many of us know, the field organization is where is gets done in a grassroots effort. They are the group that will put in hours of tedious study to pull every last vote out of each precinct in a candidate's universe.

Much like everything else in the field plan, organizing the small blogger is laborious and requires a commitment often unmatched by other parts of traditional campaigns. The good news is, so much of netroots outreach crosses formerly compartmentalized groups within a campaign structure; so you can share the burden. What fun!

Let's begin.

If you listen to the pundits, why was the GOP finally able to effectively counter the Democrat's field operation? I have heard it a million times, you probably have as well, it was "the neighbor to neighbor strategy." Ken Mehlman and Karl Rove crafted a plan that had people convincing others in their communities to vote for President Bush. By most accounts, it worked terrifically.

We can accomplish the same thing using our netroots. The beautiful thing about this plan is that we have all the resources necessary to accomplish it without some sort of direction from the powers-that-be. But let's take it back into the campaign setting, because that is the reason I started writing this. Rest assured however, the blogosphere has every resource it needs to make this happen without direction.

Think about the characteristics of the small blog. Many of us run our own. You know the blog your friends, co-workers, and maybe your parents read? The same one you link to in your Kos diaries to boost your visibility? Yes, that one.

It's the blog that generally gets the same 15 people, most within same community you are targeting, reading it a few times a week/month. Maybe you see where I am heading now?

I propose that we take that personal neighbor to neighbor strategy and lead it in a technological direction.

Let's assume you are working on a campaign that has a very clear message. You are part of a functional effort that sends out consistent press releases, talking points, and uses the Internet to foster participation within your congressional district, legislative district, or even statewide.

Step 1: Start collecting each and every single blog that exists within the universe your campaign is operating in. Find them out, email them directly, then introduce yourself and your campaign.

Step 2: Give your supporters the tools to create their own blogs. And do it your website. Heck, it takes 3 minutes to start a blog - walk them through it on your homepage or get involved page. Get a volunteer in the office whose task it is to take people through it step by step over the phone if necessary.

Step 3: If a blog, even a small blog, asks for an interview, grant it! If it gets to be too much, then schedule a weekly/bi-weekly half hour conference call with all the bloggers who want to participate.

Step 4: Back to the press releases and talking points. Send them to bloggers. Send them in the same mass email that you are sending out to the traditional media outlets. Give them the same opportunity to ask questions of the campaign.

Step 5: Invite bloggers to attend your events, just like the press. Make your press conferences and events wi-fi when possible.

Step 6: Nurture the relationship. Rinse and repeat. Bloggers love the inside scoop before the newspapers can get it in print the next day or the news broadcasts it a few hours later

And this plan holds for medium sized blogs as well. The ones that candidates and their staffs would have never dared to enter before because there weren't enough ATM cards found on a consistent basis.

There are some great medium sized blogs out there on both sides of the aisle. There are quite a few of those smaller blogs that have HUGE POTENTIAL in the state I am working now; they include: Young Philly Politics and Philly Future. Pittsburgh Webloggers is also a great source.

The way that traditional communication directors compile lists of newspapers, reporters, journalists, and their contact information - that is the way they need to start with bloggers, especially the small bloggers within their universe.

Finally, cross your fingers and hope they remember you when they go big! Until then, just be content as you work with them to spread your information to their families, co-workers and friends in the district which you are running.

Posted at 02:18 PM in 2005 Elections, 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats, 2008 President - Republicans, Activism, General, Netroots | Comments (1) | Technorati

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Our Netroots

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Great piece by Matt Stoller over at Personal Democracy Forum. As a party, we have managed to compile a world wide web of communicators that fail miserably at communicating with eachother.

1.) Traditional Democratic institutions fail to communicate with the netroots.

It seems that the powers-that-be have yet to find a useful purpose for millions of on-line activists short of asking them for money or an occassional letter to the editor. Until they open channels of communication from the bottom - up, they will never understand our potential for contribution far greater than a $20 donation. The "right" is already way ahead of us on this account.

2.) Many opinion leaders within the netroots fail to communicate effectively with eachother.

This was evidenced by the Kos v. Exley debate that unfolded over the holidays. Matt thoroughly documents this in his piece at PDF.

The funny thing is , I have seen firsthand what a wealth of communicative, technical, and organizational talent we have within the netroots. I don't know as much about the right-wing Internet infrastructure, but I would have a hard time believing that it is anywhere near as talented as ours. If we were able to get our shit together and act in concert with the traditional power structure within the Democratic party, what we could accomplish would be limitless.

But that involves a give and take.

As we saw last election cycle with the DCCC v. Kos, and Exley's lack of a seat at the table on the Kerry campaign, I am not sure we are quite there yet. So, the netroots operates in large part independent of the party, and the party fails to harness the limitless potential of the netroots. Everyone loses.

3.) Meanwhile, Republicans are finding a place within their vast noise machine for bloggers to amplify their message.

Look no further than "Rathergate" and the Daschle v. Thune blog.

Let me give the latest best example that just popped into my head. When Harry Reid announced the formation of his "war room," I immediately asked myself what role bloggers would play? I even called his Senate office earlier this week to ask the question and share some ideas.

I am still looking for the answer if anyone can help.

Posted at 03:37 PM in Activism, General, Netroots | Comments (1) | Technorati

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Rep. Rahm Emanuel to lead DCCC

Posted by Bob Brigham


Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel, a former political operative for President Clinton, was named head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Sunday, replacing the late Rep. Robert Matsui.

Emanuel, a former senior staffer for the House Democrats' fund-raising and recruiting organization, will lead the Democratic effort to regain control of the House in 2006.

You can find out more about the DCCC, read the Stakeholder (DCCC blog) and here is the link to the new DCCC Social Security site.

The Stakeholder has Pelosi's statement:

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today named Congressman Rahm Emanuel of Illinois to lead the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

"House Democrats are focused and determined to win a majority in the House in 2006, and Rahm Emanuel will be an outstanding leader in this effort," Pelosi said. "Rahm knows this country, its people and its politics from the neighborhoods up, which has been a key to his success and will be a key to ours in 2006. Rahm is a master strategist with the expertise and passion to build on the foundation that our dear friend Bob Matsui built during the last two years."

In the 1980s, Emanuel held senior staff positions at the DCCC, and helped produce significant victories. He played a major role in the election of Bill Clinton as his Director of Finance in the 1992 Presidential campaign. Emanuel served as a top White House advisor to President Clinton from 1993 to 1998, first as Assistant to the President for Political Affairs and then as Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy. As a Member of Congress, he has distinguished himself with thoughtful ideas and strategic insights.

"Rahm brings something more than a long resume," Pelosi said. "He brings the passion of an immigrant's son, and the street-smarts of his hometown of Chicago. His uncle has spent decades as a police sergeant in the same northwest side district Rahm now represents in Congress. His father was a pediatrician and treated thousands of children in the community."

Emanuel said: "I thank Leader Pelosi and my Democratic colleagues for their confidence in me, and I appreciate the opportunity to lead the DCCC. This is about winning elections by setting the right priorities for our nation and its future. I look forward to a battle of ideas with the Republicans that will engage and motivate voters across this great country."

Emanuel, who was re-elected in November to his second term as Representative of Illinois' 5th District with 78 percent of the vote, was recently appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Emanuel was chosen by his Democratic freshmen class as Democratic Whip for their class. In the 2004 election cycle, he served as a Vice Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee of the New Democratic Coalition.

Emanuel is the perfect choice to lead the DCCC.

Posted at 03:44 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Activism, General | Comments (2) | Technorati

Friday, January 07, 2005

Props to DavidNYC

Posted by Bob Brigham

Swing State Project as been nominated for a Koufax Award in the category of Best Single Issue Blog!!!

This nomination is a high honor and recognizes the devotion DavidNYC has shown to better understanding elections in the United States.

DavidNYC's blogging contributions have also won him a coveted spot as a Daily Kos guest poster. Technorati suggests that many bloggers have noticed Swing State Project and the rising readership shows people are coming and coming back. Congratulations.

Added by Tim: Chris Bowers also deserves some serious recognition for his contribution in the growth of Swing State Project and Koufax nomination. His cattle calls and general commentary were indispensable sources of information to visitors.

Posted at 10:54 AM in General, Site News | Comments (3) | Technorati

Simon Rosenberg's DNC Blog Plan

Posted by Bob Brigham

Yesterday, Simon Rosenberg announced an aggressive draft blog plan for the DNC. BlogPAC has posted the details:

As DNC Chair, I'd like to take the DNC and make it a full part of the blogosphere. The principle behind what I offer here is to foment a continual and robust online discussion that the DNC actually is part of and that reinforces an overall Democratic political strategy.

This visionary document was said to only be a draft that would be revised after further input from the blogosphere. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the netroots to help choose future tactics before the future leader is elected. The day he announced he unveiled a plan for blogs that he wants us to refine. To take advantage, I am going to evaluate each of Rosenberg's nine points. Netizens, it is time for a discussion.

1. Regular conference calls, conferences, and a blog committee of ‘netroots’ representatives to advise various DNC departments on strategy, research, messaging and outreach.

Well I'll be damn. That is what I'm talking about. Full integration of the blogosphere into all aspects of campaigning. This is visionary stuff. The conference calls and conferences could go a long way towards building a team approach that unites the DNC with the netroots. The coordination in terms of strategy would allow us to harness the collective wisdom of the blogosphere while ensuring that Team Democrat is using the same playbook. Research is also an amazing opportunity for the netroots to help create open-source oppo that would allow anyone to put forth effective reasons why their republican representation should be sent packing. Message is also a vital area of importance -- working together we will find better wording while helping to build consistency. Outreach provides the most potential. Democrats are far from peaking when it comes to activating our supporters. A team approach could increase our results along the same astronomical curve we have seen during the last few years.

2. A consistent non-election year blogad budget dedicated to framing and testing messaging, as well as potential seed money for specialty blogs.

Now we are talking. The DNC investing in message creation instead of message distribution. This is post-modern politics at it's best. This is a far more effective alert system than relying solely upon emails and allows the DNC to "blog through ads" across the internet. Tim Tagaris calls this "thinking outside the website" and this approach provides an unlimited expansion ability. I would love to see the DNC message of the day on every liberal blog I visit.

3. An internal champion in the DNC to break news on blogs and connect elected Democrats and high level staffers with blogs, bloggers, and effective use of the internet with the goal of having the blogosphere surpass cable news networks in reach and influence.

A DNC that is ready to commit acts of news online? This reads like my wildest dream. And that is before the line of having the blogosphere surpass cable news networks in reach and influence. Rosenberg has true vision and when he's elected I look forward to working with the DNC's Blogosphere Champion. And what a great benefit for DNC staff, help leveragig the internet to increase their productivity.

4. To use the DNC’s 3.7 million person email list to create community and promote interesting spinoff projects like and grassroots created quality video and audio content.

My guess is that 3.7 million person email list will double in size during Rosenberg's first year once this plan is enacted. But the key here is that he wants to use email for interaction, not just fundraising. Rosenberg has Tim's ATM pin. The multimedia aspect is equally important. Online, ads aren't constricted by time limits which allows unhindered, real-time campaigning potential. The spinoff project idea shows how Rosenberg is re-writing the job description for DNC Chair. This is really good stuff.

5. Regular guest-posting from DNC representatives on willing blogs to talk through organizational, operational, and policy issues.

This appears to be the deal. Rosenberg will help us with everything we've asked for and more, but we need to let the DNC have a voice on our blogs in return. Where do I sign?

6. To work with blogs to figure out how to use Meetup effectively as a political tool for state and local parties.

Meetup vs. Get Local is a discussion that we need to continue. We know that there is vast potential but we all know it could be used more effectively. Bloggers need to work with the DNC to make this work better.

7. To promote a dialogue in which the blogs continue their discussion of the Democratic Party so that we can create the social networks critical to a vibrant progressive movement.

The social networking future is something that we could catapult under the framework Rosenberg is suggesting in his Blog Plan. Rosenberg is years ahead of the pack on this one. The fact that he realizes it isn't about campaigns, but rather a movement is a critical observation. Bloggers need to constantly push the Democratic Party to do more, to do it better, and then to expand. Rosenberg's thirst to foster this dialogue is revolutionary.

8. To integrate blogs fully into the progressive messaging machine that targets and unseats Republicans and Republican initiatives.

One thing I've noticed about Rosenberg is that instead of running for Chair of the DNC he is running to create a Democratic Party Empire. Better yet, he is focused on winning. The right is far ahead of us at this point but Rosenberg's embrace of the netroots could provide the catapult for us to rapidly catch up -- and then surpass -- the vast right wing conspiracy.

9. A New Politics Think Tank inside the DNC that fosters the sharing of best practices among those involved in netroots politics so as to allow for a supported network of savvy operatives to permeate progressive organizing. This organ would also investigate new technologies like RSS, wikis, podcasting, and their applicability to organizing at every level.

As far as I know, Rosenberg is the first candidate to ever mention podcasting. RSS as a message distribution tool proves that Rosenberg is an online visionary. When I encountered Wiki my first thought was oppo. My next thought was elected official achievement. My final thought was that my first two thoughts were only the tip of the iceberg. Rosenberg is embracing open-source politics and cutting edge technology. Wow.


Wow. What else can I say? Rosenberg "gets it" and is asking us to help him get it even more. This isn't a candidate willing to accept technological tools, rather Rosenberg is a leader focused on ruthlessly exploiting technology to provide Democrats -- as in each of us -- the tools to realize his vision of a Democratic Party Empire.: tools to match our passion:

We have to recognize how the Internet and the passion of Americans are fundamentally changing American politics. And when we think of the DNC in the years ahead and the Democratic Party, I hope that we don’t think of 447 people but we think of millions of Americans going to work every day to make their country a better place. That’s a better vision of what a Democratic community can be.

But it is important that he wants to discuss this draft plan and figure out how to do it better. This is what we've been asking for. Let's have a discussion.

Posted at 09:11 AM in Activism, DNC Chair, General, Netroots | Comments (1) | Technorati

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Boxer Rebellion Open Thread

Posted by Tim Tagaris

I know Bob is working on something for the challenge.

But for the time being, use this as an open thread to discuss the challenge to Ohio's 20 electoral college votes.

You can watch it live on CPSAN on-line.

Posted at 01:07 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Quaint and Obsolete

Posted by Tim Tagaris

True Majority is trying to piece together an ad campaign protesting the nomination of Alberto Gonzales as the next U.S. Attorney General. When I first saw this earlier today on AMERICAblog, I didn't know whether to taken back by the piece, happy that someone was finally taking the fight against Gonzales public, or upset that the voices of dissent are heard primarily from 3rd party organizations.


Posted at 04:30 PM in General | Technorati

Lewis (R-CA) Named to Head House Appropriations Committee

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Details to follow as they become available. I just got off the phone with Congressman Regula's (R-OH) D.C. Office; the decision came down one hour ago (approx. 12:30 EsT).

Jerry Lewis (R-CA) was selected as to chair the powerful appropriations post. For more information on why this is a big decision, check this post.


Posted at 01:29 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, General, Ohio | Comments (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Big Announcement Tomorrow

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Sometimes you don't know just how low House Republicans will go because it gets no play in the mainstream media. One of those examples is being played out under-the-radar with the Republican Party's decision on who will be the next Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

The three candidates are Representatives Ralph Regula (R-OH), Jerry Lewis (R-OH), and Hal Rogers (R-KY). The decision is enormous because he who holds the chair, holds the power to determine where money is earmarked in those committee appropriations bills and obnoxious $388 billion dollar ones of the omnibus variety. All three made their pitches to party faithful this week, but the race for Appropriations Chairman in the 109th Congress might have been decided in the 108th.

You see, Republican leadership wants a Chairman who will use the power of the purse strings to strong-arm opponents into voting for legislation they would otherwise oppose.

Ralph Regula gave Republican leadership everything it wanted to see from a potential chair; he implemented the threat and made it a political reality in his own subcommittee (Labor/HHS/Education). The depravity of this tactic knew no limits in 2003/2004, nor do I expect it will from 2005 to 2007.

Some remember the battle over the new overtime regulations that would take away time-and-a-half from up to 6 million workers. Well, the last battle for that was fought in the House Appropriations Committee. Democrats attempted to remove funding to implement the plan. Ralph Regula decided to take away earmarked money from Congressfolk that voted against the passage of that Appropriations Bill.

This included Congresswoman Shelly Berkley, whose district lost money for a neo-natal care unit in Nevada. Her response:

“What kind of people would take their anger out on babies struggling to survive,” asked Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-Nevada).

Good question. Just another reason that the entire country should stand against this sort of practice, regardless of whether or not Regula is selected for the post.

More outrage from Democrats on the practice:

David Obey (D-Wisconsin), member of the subcommittee said, “Members are being told if you stand up for what you see as the public interest, then the penalty is that your constituents will be screwed.”
Democratic Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the tactics, “criminal.” Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said of the strong-arm effort, “It’s an inappropriate use of power.”

So, tomorrow is a big day -- and most don't even know it. The message to Democrats is loud and clear. Oppose us and be afraid, be very afraid.

Posted at 08:58 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Just wanted to take a moment to say Happy New Year.  I can't speak for Bob, but I will be returning home from "vacation" tomorrow ready to start working full steam.  I am in Kentucky visiting some old college friends.

Unfortunately, my friend has one of the three remaining computers in the United States that is still part of the dial-up revolution, so I haven't been able to do much since I got here Thursday.  Oh well, probably for the best.

What did you do last night?  What are your plans for the day today?  How do you feel about the discussion the past few weeks and what would you like to see from Swing State Project in 2005?

Posted at 04:26 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas, or not. Your Choice

Posted by Tim Tagaris

For those of you that celebrate today (or dread it), Merry Christmas.  Enjoy the time with your friends and family.  For me, it will probably be a light week of posting until January 2nd; then we go full bore into the business of beating Republicans in '05 & '06.

For those of you that don't celebrate or concern yourself with today -- everything is closed, so you might as well hang out here for a bit:

George Bush just got off the phone with his cousin George Orwell; he implored us to show compassion to the sick and the suffering in his Christmas Radio Address.

Also, as my gift to you: Here are some of DavidNYC's front page posts from DailyKos.

Keep on countin'

Turkey to begin EU membership talks next year

Is David Sirota on to something?

Soldiers suing to stop back-door draft

Finally, remember that the Ukraine votes tomorrow in their do-over election.  You will probably be able to find some information here as it becomes available.  Who knows, maybe the third time is a charm?

Best wishes,


Posted at 10:35 AM in General | Technorati

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Polling Place...

Posted by Tim Tagaris

A few polls released in recent days.

President Bush Job Approval Ratings: Gallup & USA Today

(12/17 - 12/19) Approve: 49%  - Disaprove 46%  - Don't Know 5%
(12/05 - 12/88) Approve: 53%  - Disaprove 44%  - Don't Know 3%
(11/19 - 11/21) Approve: 55%  - Disaprove 42%  - Don't Know 3%

Direction of the Country: Pew Research

(12/01 - 12/16) Satisfied 39%  - Dissatisfied 54% - Don't Know 7%

Do you appove of decision to go to war with Iraq?  CNN/USA Today

(12/17 - 12/19) Approve 48%  - Disaprove 51% - Unsure 1%

Opinion of Tom DeLay? (12/9 - 12/13) NBC & Wall Street Journal

Very positive: 3%
Somewhat positive: 9%
Neutral: 26%
Somewhat negative: 7%
Very negative: 10%
Don't know: 45%

Donald Rumsfeld.

Keep Rumsfeld: 36%
Replace Rumsfeld: 52%
Unsure: 11%

Tons of additional polling information with trends can be found at

Posted at 08:58 PM in General | Technorati

Monday, December 20, 2004

Rumsfeld's Rules

Posted by Tim Tagaris

The following are excerpts from "Rumsfeld's Rules: Advice on government, business, and life."  Commentary and links listed under individual "rules."

The most important and timely of Rumsfeld's rules:

A bit of friendly advice to the Secretary of Defense.  Follow the rules.

Posted at 05:24 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Lieberman turns down UN & Homeland Security Posts

Posted by Tim Tagaris

In a follow-up to an earlier story, it appears Senator Joe Lieberman has turned down not one, but two offers from the White House.  The first offer declined by Joementum was as Ambassador to the United Nations.  The second, Secretary of Homeland Security.

CNN has the scoop.

Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman has twice in recent days said "no" when approached about the possibility of a major job in the second Bush administration, CNN has learned.

The Cabinet vacancy at the Department of Homeland Security was the subject of the latest overture, according to congressional and other government sources. Those sources said the earlier overture was to see whether Lieberman might be interested in becoming the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

So the rumors were true.  Good for Joe turning down the offers.

Posted at 11:14 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Senate 2006

Posted by DavidNYC

The aptly-named "Senate2006" has a complete run-down on (wait for it) all the Senate races in 2006 in a diary over at MyDD. Go check it out.

Posted at 09:43 PM in General | Technorati

Lieberman for Homeland Security

Posted by Tim Tagaris

In the wake of the embarrassment that was Bernard Kerik's nomination to head Homeland Security, President Bush is reaching out for Senator Joe Lieberman to fill the role.

The New Haven Register has the story.

WASHINGTON President Bush is courting Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, D-Conn., a former Democratic vice presidential candidate, for a Cabinet post, presumably secretary of homeland security.

Lieberman couldnt be reached for comment Sunday, but an aide said that if Lieberman were asked to accept a nomination, it would most likely be the homeland security post.

The Washington Post, citing two anonymous sources, reported Sunday that Bush wants Lieberman for a Cabinet position.

Nominating Joementum is the logical choice.  He would be a likely consensus choice that would breeze through the nomination process.  With potentially contentious confirmation hearings on the horizon such as Alberto Gonzales and a replacement for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Republicans need a cake walk.

It also helps that whatever skeletons Lieberman has were probably uncovered in the 2000 Presidential race, helping to avoid further scrutiny of the flawed White House vetting process that allowed Kerik's past indiscretions to slip through the cracks.

Finally, the move would remove another Democrat from the U.S. Senate.  Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell would appoint a Republican to Joementum's seat, the likely choice being Congresswoman Nancy Johnson from CT-5.

For the tin-foil-hatters out there, selecting Lieberman would also allow the President to trumpet bi-partisanship while allowing any potential Homeland Security mishaps to be placed conveniently on the shoulders of a Democrat.

Lieberman received ringing endorsements this weekend from Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Olympia Snowe, along with Democrat John Corzine.

It just makes sense for the White House to nominate Lieberman.  And I believe they will.


Posted at 02:05 PM in General | Comments (3) | Technorati

Monday, December 13, 2004

Koufax Award Nominations Are Open

Posted by DavidNYC

The Koufax Awards, which aim to honor the best of the lefty blogosphere, are open for nominations once again. I'm not saying you should run over there and nominate the Swing State Project for "Best Single-Issue Blog," or nominate Chris Bowers' General Election Cattle Call for "Best Series," but I'm not saying you shouldn't, either. :)

Posted at 06:57 PM in General | Technorati

Meet the New Boss

Posted by DavidNYC

There's been a lot of turnover in George Bush's cabinet lately. Here's a helpful chart to keep track of the changes:


Old Chief

New Chief

Last Job


Mike Leavitt



Homeland Security

Tom Ridge



US Trade Rep.

Robert Zoellick




Donald Rumsfeld



Drug Czar

John Walters




Alphonso Jackson




Gale Norton




Elaine Chao




Norman Mineta




John Snow




Ann Veneman

Mike Johanns

Nebraska Gov.


Don Evans

Carlos Gutierrez

Chairman, Kellog Co.


Rod Paige

Margaret Spellings

Domestic Policy Advisor


Spencer Abraham

Samuel Bodman

Deputy Treasury Secretary


Tommy Thompson

Mike Leavitt

EPA Administrator


John Ashcroft

Alberto Gonzalez

White House Counsel


Colin Powell

Condi Rice

Nat'l. Security Advisor

Veterans Affairs

Anthony Principi

Jim Nicholson

US Amb. to Vatican

The three jobs in red are "cabinet-level" jobs, not actual cabinet positions, which is mostly just a technicality. And the "last job" column refers to the new department head, where there is one.

But what does all this have to do with the Swing State Project, you ask? Well, I had been pretty certain that New York Governor George Pataki was destined for a cabinet post - that he was tired and bored with his current post and wants a "graceful" way out. But Bush has filled the empty spots so quickly that my theory may be totally wrong.

However, there are still a couple of spots open. Mike Leavitt just moved from the EPA to HHS, and Pataki has shown something of an interest in environmental issues (not that Bush probably really cares). But the last "moderate" governor from the tri-state region to head the EPA didn't have a great tenure there (Christie Whitman), and Pataki's name hasn't been mentioned as a possible replacement there. While Pataki is a more "reliable" conservative than Whitman, if he still dreams of national ambitions, EPA is probably too low-level for him. I think Trade Representative is also too low-level, and it's also not clear that Zoellick is going to leave his spot.

But, don't forget: Homeland Security is once again open, in the wake of the Bernard Kerik crackup. That might actually be just the ticket for Pataki - a way to burnish his conservative credentials without actually alienating whatever moderates he's won over in his decade in office. (He can leave the PATRIOT Act prosecutions to Alberto Gonzalez.) Having been burned badly by Kerik (and Giuliani), however, Bush may not want to turn to another New Yorker for this post.

You're probably still asking, "Why should the SSP care about this?" Well, Pataki's future remains one of the biggest question marks for one of the most important races in 2006: New York Governor. Unlike Texas, say, the top spot in NY is very powerful and, with the Dems out of power in DC, it will be a premiere leadership spot. I think Spitzer would beat Pataki, but it will still be a challenge, as Pataki is a strong fund-raiser. (The only other major challenger to Spitzer would be Giuliani, and I'd say no there's no better than a 40% chance he'll run. His role in the Kerik screwup also hurts him.)

It's possible Pataki might just stay in office until the end of his term. It's possible (but even less likely) that he'll run again. But he may still be able to squirm his way into the Bush cabinet. We'll know the answer to that soon.

Posted at 05:49 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Simon Rosenberg & the "Lackluster" State Parties

Posted by DavidNYC

As you probably know, this past weekend, the chairs of the state Democratic parties have been meeting in Orlando, FL to discuss whom to support for DNC chair (among other topics). Jerome at MyDD has been keeping up a cattle call of who's hot and who's not. His remarks about Simon Rosenberg struck me, though, as being particularly relevant to Bob's post below:

Simon Rosenberg could at least be glad that his message got out at this meeting. Rosenberg has spent the last year alerting the Democratic Party to the powerful machine that the Republicans have, and the other candidates listened. But the understanding here of what that means, in terms of building that opposition, was the larger argument that Rosenberg is just beginning to make.

It's particularly relevant to the State Parties (& their lackluster websites). If they want money from the grassroots, they need to start giving the netroots the tools to get involved, rather than just giving lip service but only really wanting their money. Simon's support is going to come partly out of DC, and partly through the web-users that are connected to the blogosphere--and there were few of those DNC members in attendance at the ASDC meeting. (Emphasis added.)

Bob is definitely on to something. The state parties seriously need to get moving.

Posted at 01:30 PM in General | Comments (4) | Technorati

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Happy International Anti-Corruption Day

Posted by Tim Tagaris

The United Nations celebrates the first ever anti-corruption day today -- urging countries to sign an anti-corruption convention.  The U.S. is one of 18 countries with a signature missing from the document.

Incidentally, there is no mention of the day on the White House proclamation calendar.

Posted at 08:32 PM in General | Technorati

Evolution of a Lie

Posted by Tim Tagaris

President Bush from the first debate against Senator Kerry.

My message to our troops is, "Thank you for what you're doing. We're standing with you strong. We'll give you all the equipment you need."

Two weeks before the election, when White House Press Secretary Scott McLellan was asked about a letter by General Sanchez in a press gaggle aboard Air Force One.

MR. McCLELLAN:  "The President always makes sure that our troops have the resources they need to get the job done.  Senator Kerry is the one who opposed giving our troops the equipment and resources they needed when he voted against the $87 billion for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan."  [...]

MR. McCLELLAN:  Well, the $87 billion provided funding for body armor and other equipment and supplies.

[Question] But you're saying that's why Sanchez wrote the letter in December, and the problem was --

MR. McCLELLAN:  All right, we're landing.  Sorry.  Thanks.  I'll continue later.

The President of the United States, four days before the election.

We have increased military pay by over 20 percent since I came into office, and this legislation includes the fourth consecutive pay raise for our service men and women.  It funds more protective equipment like body armor and reinforced Humvees to keep our troops as safe as possible.

Donald Rumsfeld, yesterday.

"You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time."

And the President, today.

President Bush said on Thursday U.S. troop concerns about inadequate equipment for Iraq combat are being addressed...

Posted at 08:13 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Iraq Bound Troops Confront Rumsfeld in Q&A

Posted by Tim Tagaris

This would be some "must see TV."

A group of troops stationed in Kuwait, about to head for Iraq, called out Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on what they described as "hillbilly armor," and a shortage of adequate equipment.

The New York Times has the story.

In an extraordinary exchange at this remote desert camp, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld found himself on the defensive today, fielding pointed questions from Iraq-bound troops who complained that they were being sent into combat with insufficient protection and aging equipment.

That in itself is pretty inspiring.  To imagine the soldiers standing up to their boss.  But it gets better.  These weren't some rogue soldiers who commented and drew the ire from the fellow men and women in uniform at the event.  The majority seemed to agree with the questioners.

"Why don't we have those resources readily available to us?" Specialist Wilson asked Mr. Rumsfeld, drawing cheers and applause from many of the 2,300 troops assembled in a cavernous hangar here to meet the secretary. Mr. Rumsfeld responded that the military was producing extra armor for Humvees and trucks as fast as possible.

A few minutes later, a soldier from the Idaho National Guard's 116th Armor Cavalry Brigade asked Mr. Rumsfeld what he and the Army were doing "to address shortages and antiquated equipment" National Guard soldiers heading to Iraq were struggling with.

Mr. Rumsfeld seemed taken aback by the question and a murmur began spreading through the ranks before he silenced them. "Now settle down, settle down," he said. "Hell, I'm an old man, it's early in the morning and I'm gathering my thoughts here."

Donnie Baseball was obviously shocked by this line of questioning. Which is amazing when you consider over a year ago moms were holding bake sales to purchase the necessary body armor for their sons.  You'd think that the Secretary would have a stock answer by now.

Although I suppose its harder to lie right to the faces of the men and women days away from putting their lives on the line for a war you poorly planned.

But the hit of the day came in this confrontation.

Specialist Thomas Wilson, a scout with a Tennessee National Guard unit scheduled to roll into Iraq this week, said soldiers had to scrounge through local landfills here for pieces of rusty scrap metal and bulletproof glass - what they called "hillbilly armor" - to bolt on to their trucks for protection against roadside bombs in Iraq.

"Hillbilly armor."  That is pretty good imagery.

Rummy eventually came up with an answer.  One that doesn't really satisfy me, and I doubt that it did much to instill the confidence of the troops on the ground.

"You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time," Mr. Rumsfeld said.

Moreover, he said, adding more armor to trucks and battle equipment did not make them impervious to enemy attack. "If you think about it, you can have all the armor in the world on a tank and a tank can be blown up," he said. "And you can have an up-armored Humvee and it can be blown up."

What a dick.  Excuse my language.  Read again what he told the men and women who are about to enter Iraq.  Basically he said, why bother protecting you as much as we possibly can -- you are still vulnerable.

Great logic. 

Jon Stewart was right last night, the best way to preserve your job in this administration is not just failure, but colossal failure.

Posted at 03:04 PM in General | Comments (4) | Technorati

Friday, December 03, 2004

Pork vs. Pell Grants

Posted by Tim Tagaris

We will not forget in 2006.  (Part of the forthcoming Swing State Project Compilation of Congressional Injustices that you asked for)

When Congress voted to pass 3000 plus page pork-laden embarrassment of an Omnibus Appropriations Bill they had many choices.  One was pork or pell grants.  Pork won.

From the L.A. Times

In passing the omnibus spending bill, Congress gave the go-ahead to the U.S. Department of Education to "adjust" its formulas for calculating financial aid. Last year, Congress had held back the adjustment because it would reduce grants for 1.2 million students and cut off aid completely to about 90,000.

It didn't stop them this year.  I guess when you are looking for cash to fund therapeutic horseback riding programs and $5 million for the new Strom Thurmond Fitness Center, the money has got to come from somewhere.  One of the places it came from this time, was Pell Grants to disadvantaged high school graduates.

The Harvard Crimson gives the details:

Under the proposed changes, students whose parents make between $25,000 and $30,000 will receive less funding. But the largest changes will be amongst those who earn between $30,000 and $45,000���no fortune in light of the high cost of American tuition. 84,000 students stand to lose their grants altogether.

I know there are a lot of students & parents of who visit this blog.  I was wondering, have your tuition costs gone up or down in the past few years?  Those tuition increases also mean the new $4,050 cap on pell grants don't go as far as they used to.

Republicans will say that they increased Pell Grant funding by $458 million and pat themselves on the back.  However, as the Stanford Daily notes, this does not nearly keep up with the increased demand for the grants.  Over 1 million students will face a reduction in their financial aid.

Senator and N.J. Gubernatorial candidate John Corzine takes us home.

"We should be expanding opportunities for college in America, not eliminating opportunities for students to seek financial aid,��� Corzine said in a Nov. 18 press release. ���I don���t know how the Bush Administration can call themselves compassionate when they are throwing students out of the opportunity to seek a college education."

All the injustice to our youth aside.  Let us remember that we are not running record surpluses anymore either.  At a time of record debt and deficit, our Congress is spending money like is just continually printed up on machines right down the street.

Posted at 12:16 AM in General | Comments (4) | Technorati

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

NJ: Corzine To Announce Gubernatorial Bid Tomorrow

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Owners of this blog (that's you) have expressed interest in focusing on 2006, "swing races."  One of the races that can keep us busy while waiting for the 2006 Midterm Elections is the NJ Governor race taking place in 2005 (among others).  Consider this race the first best chance in the Democratic counter-strike following the debacle of Nov. 2nd -- Our candidate will most likely be Senator John Corzine of New Jersey.

From CNN

Corzine, 57, serving his first term in the Senate, has informed Democratic party officials that he will enter the 2005 race, according to those officials. He is expected to announce his intentions at a news conference scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday in Newark.

...A statewide Quinnipiac University poll published two weeks ago found Corzine widely favored over aspiring Republicans and a leading Democratic contender, acting Gov. Richard Codey, who succeeded Jim McGreevey after he resigned in the wake of an extramarital affair with a man.

A few Republicans have decided to challenge Corzine in the 2005 election.  Among them, Bret Schundler who lost to McGreevy in 2001.  Schundler, who has already announced his intention to run, is also the former mayor of Jersey City.

From the Jersey Journal:

This time around, Schundler is the third Republican to declare his candidacy - following Mercer County businessman Douglas Forrester and Essex County Assemblyman Paul DiGaetano - with several more GOP announcements expected in the coming weeks.

...The centerpiece of Schundler's gubernatorial platform is an effort to curb the state's rising property taxes - a predicament he blames on the state's Democrats, who control the Legislature and the governor's office.

"The problem we've had in the state of New Jersey is that our politicians have been spending money irresponsibly fast and they've been hurting plenty of us in the process and we have to take away their power," Schundler said.

The rally was filled with epithets directed at Corzine, and not potential Republican primary opponents.  The Republican railed the Senator for spending 63 million dollars of his own money in the 2000 Senate race.  They attempted to paint Corzine as "bored" with the Senate and, "wants to excite himself by bringing more taxes and spending to New Jersey."  Rightfully so, Senator Corzine's office had no comment on the $500 a person pep rally held by Schundler.

I personally think the Democratic candidate will carry the day in New Jersey.  But you never know what will happen when the eyes and pocketbooks of the nation are fixed on New Jersey and Virginia in 2005.

Corzine has indicated he will keep his Senate seat while campaigning for Governor.  If he wins, I am not sure who will be the one to name his replacement.  Either way, if it is Corzine or current Governor Codey, the seat will remain safe Dem.

So, what do you think/know about the Garden State?

Posted at 05:40 PM in General | Comments (7) | Technorati

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Welcome to Canada...

Posted by Tim Tagaris

I don't think these people signed the loyalty oath.  Photos from CNN

Canadaprotests1 Canadaprotests2

Posted at 04:02 PM in General | Comments (6) | Technorati

Canada Expects Protests For Bush Visit

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Candian Prime Minister Paul Martin might be welcoming President Bush to his country tomorrow, but the same cannot be said for 15,000 planning on staging two large protests in Ottawa.

If you take part in either of the protests tomorrow, please post your story in the comments section, or email me at  I will put it on the main page.  If you have pictures, even better.

CNN has the story.

Polls show Canadians mostly disapprove of Bush's conservative values and the war in Iraq. About 59 percent dislike the president and 84 percent support Canada's decision not to send troops to Iraq, an October Ekos Research survey said.

One group, Lawyers Against the War (LAW), wants Bush arrested and charged with war crimes if he even sets foot in the country. The group says Canadian immigration law bars entry to those who have engaged in "gross violations of human rights."

How's that for a neighborly welcome?


Posted at 12:23 AM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Take Up Your Pallet and Walk!

Posted by Tim Tagaris

If we needed any more evidence that stem cell research promises unimaginable breakthroughs in human health, I offer you this article from from AFP.

A South Korean woman paralyzed for 20 years is walking again after scientists say they repaired her damaged spine using stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood.

Hwang Mi-Soon, 37, had been bedridden since damaging her back in an accident two decades ago.

Last week her eyes glistened with tears as she walked again with the help of a walking frame at a press conference where South Korea researchers went public for the first time with the results of their stem-cell therapy.

In a made for television moment that would make the Reverend Benny Hinn proud, the South Korean woman stood up from her wheelchair and took a few steps forward with the help of a walker. 

While there is still a long way to go for stem cell technology and research, we are "turning a corner" where benefits of the break though transcend speculative science into the realm of reality.

Stem Cells in the News:

This weekend, over 2/3 of Swiss voters approved a measure allowing "allowing scientists to experiment on stem cells taken from human embryos."  Complete article from The Guardian can be found HERE

Article about Stem Cells potentially offering a cure for Leukemia.  Article from Life News can be found HERE.

Adult stem cell research could save the lives of thousands of adults who are suffering from leukemia, according to new studies involving umbilical cord blood.

A European study found that adult patients who received cord blood were   as likely to be leukemia-free two years later as those who received bone marrow. In addition, a U.S. study, also published in the New England   Journal of Medicine, found similar results.

Frame Alert:

As we all know, Republicans have a way of attaching titles, images, and phraseology coloring their issues in the way they want the public to see them.  Examples that immediately come to mind with modern implications are:  "Nuclear option" to "Constitutional Option" (Filibuster Rule). "Iraqi insurgents" to "Anti-Iraqi Forces," and now we must beware of their new frame for Stem Cell Research:

"Embryonic Stem Cell, "clone and kill," Research.

Just a warning, cause that is the argument you might be seeing a lot of.

For additional information on Stem Cell Research, the following sites are available:

Stem Cell Research Foundation.

National Institute of Health on Stem Cells
International Society for Stem Cell Research
Thanks for listening,


Posted at 11:45 PM in General | Comments (9) | Technorati

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving Greetings...

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Thanskgiving greetings from the Ukraine, where they know what to do when every vote doesn't count.  Civil Disobediance at its finest.  Great first person blog account HERE.

Ukraine1 (Mykola Lazarenko/Reuters)

Thanksgiving greetings from Iowa.  Welcome Home.  Here's to the rest of your brothers and sisters in arms returning safely soon as well.

(AP Photo/Quad-City Times, John Schultz)

Thanksgiving Greetings from our President.  He's got big plans for us for the next four years.


Last but not least, Thanksgiving Greetings from Chicago to everyone out there who frequents this blog (and I suppose even those that don't).  I am thankful for all of your wonderful ideas and look foward to keeping tabs on an Emerging Republican Minority while looking at some Swing Congressional Districts in '06.  And thank you to David for making this blog what it is and letting me post a bit here.  Get ready to talk about the two remaining Congressional races in Louisiana this weekend.


Posted at 03:38 AM in General | Comments (2) | Technorati

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Someone's watching...

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Sorry if you are just settling down for a midnight snack.


Brought to you by the good people at Clear Channel Communications.  Just in time for the The Patriot Act v.2.0                                                                                    


Posted at 12:00 AM in General | Comments (4) | Technorati

Monday, November 15, 2004

It's Not Farewell

Posted by DavidNYC

I'm sorry I haven't been around much lately - I think I need a longer break than I originally realized. After a year of running this blog, I must confess that I'm a bit worn out, and I think I'll be taking an extended hiatus from the Swing State Project. That doesn't mean the SSP is going to disappear - to the the contrary, Tim (whose debt I am in) will faithfully take over the helm of this good ship. I leave it to you, the readers of this site, and Tim to chart the future course of this blog - something many of you have already discussed.

I am also incredibly, deeply grateful to the guest posters who helped make this site strong - a place truly worth visiting. Seamus, Fester and Rob provided insightful updates about their corners of the swing state world and taught us all quite a bit. I now know more about Pennsylvania and Arkansas than I ever imagined I would!

Above all, Chris Bowers' indefatigable devotion to the Cattle Call provided us with a lot of fodder for discussion and really kept this site humming at all times. Chris was also largely responsible for linking us up with Ginny Schrader and pushing our very successful fundraising drive. I owe Chris a tremendous debt of gratitude - and a whole bunch of beers.

Finally, the people to whom all of us truly owe thanks are the readers and commenters here. Like just about any blogger, when I first started this site, I was thrilled when I had 100 visitors a day. It was with amazement that I watched the site start to attract 1,000 people a day late in the spring, and then 10,000 a day in the run-up to the election. But it's not the numbers which thrilled me - it was the fact that we reached a critical mass which enabled us to have truly enlightening discussions in the comments section. I think we managed to do a little more than that, even: We created a vibrant community here.

With that in mind, I want you to know that I think this community can and should continue, and that I am not departing. As I said, Tim will run the show for as long as he likes, but I will likely drop by with a guest post every now and then, and I'm sure to surface in the comments. And as Tim asked below, if you have any thoughts about the direction this site ought to take, please share `em.

So once again, thank you to everyone. I wish you all the very best of luck, and keep up the good fight!

Posted at 02:41 PM in General | Comments (12) | Technorati

Friday, November 12, 2004

Election Post-Mortem. Inside the Numbers

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Pew Research released a study yesterday on the Presidential Election that allows us to go deep inside the numbers.  So without further ado, I am going to dive right in.

Moral Values

Once again, Pew finds that moral issues were the biggest factor in determining an individuals selection for President.  Compared to the 22% who cited moral issues on the exit polls, 27% cited them with Pew.  This might be a reflection of more Bush voters included than the exit polls, which were obviously skewed toward Kerry respondents.   What makes this study interesting, as it goes in-depth to potentially define what moral issues constitutes.

Under the umbrella of "moral values:"  29% Gay Marriage - 28% Abortion - 4% Stem Cell Research.  A very underwhelming amount of people named issues like poverty and economic inequality as moral issues.


If you consider yourself a liberal, and you are depressed, you can take comfort that 47% of people would place themselves in the same category.  By contrast, 93% of Conservatives say they are "relieved" by the results, and 91% also claim they feel "safer because of them election as well.

But, people still hold out hope for the future of the country overall.  61% of those surveyed think a second Bush term will be successful.  29% do not.

Also of interest, in respect to the what should the Democrats do next question, 52% of Democrats think we should stand up to The President; only 42% believe that we need to make an effort to reach across the aisle and work with him.

Some other interesting notes (I urge you to read the entire thing, its not long at all):

20% of voters cast ballots before election day

Waiting in Line to Vote: 42% didn't wait in line at all. 13% waited about 15 minutes. 10% waited up to an hour.  8% waited more than hour.

41% of people said they used the net to get news about the election, up from 30% in 2000.

84% of people said they followed the results on Election Day.  51% stayed up after midnight.  1/3 of "young people" followed Election results on the net, but most did in conjunction with the television on as well.


Tons of detailed charts available on Pew website.

Citation: Pew Research Center for the People and the Press (2004). "Voters liked campaign 2004, but too much mud-slinging."

Posted at 03:54 PM in General | Comments (25) | Technorati

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Support the Troops - Veterans Day Edition

Posted by Tim Tagaris

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how the perceive Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."

George Washington

6.8 million veterans choose the VA for their primary health care provider.

VFW Comannder in Chief, Edward Banas, called the amount of funding for veterans health care, "a disgrace," a "sham," "inexcusable," and "deplorable."

2004 Budget cuts $200 million from Impact Aid, a program to support schools serving military children.

At least 250,000 veterans are forced to wait for their disability claims to be resolved by the Veterans Administration (VA).  Sometimes up to two years.  Despite the fact that thousands of veterans returning from Iraq will file disability claims, the FY 2005 budget reduces to number of staff responsible for processing those claims.

In an effort to "restructure" to VA, the Bush Administration announced the closing of seven hospitals.  (NY, PA, KY, OH, MS, CA, TX)  That's a total of approx. 5,800 beds nationwide.

A 2002 study showed that 150,000 veterans wait more than six months for an appointment for primary care.

The "Disabled Veterans Tax" forces veterans to forgo one dollar of their pension for every one dollar they collect on disability.

If you want to support the troops, then call your Congressman and demand that Congress implement Mandatory Funding of Veterans benefits.  The implementation of mandatory funding would ensure timely and quality access to health care for our veterans. 

Here are the bills: Senate Bill 50, The Veterans Health Care Gaurantee Act.  And HR 2318 The Assured Funding for Veterans Health Care Act.  

Notes: VFW Release 2/2/04, House Appropriations Committee, Minority Staff 6/17/03, Department of Education,, House Committee on Appropriations hearing, Principi testimony 3/31/04, Associated Press 8/4/03, National Priorities Project, 2004.

Posted at 09:29 PM in General | Comments (3) | Technorati

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The book on the new Attorney General

Posted by Tim Tagaris

I saw some people ask "downthread" about the potential new Attorney General.  His name, if confirmed, is Alberto Gonzales.

The Associated Press reports that Gonzales served as Bush's general counsel when the President was Governor of Texas.  He then went on to become the Secretary of State in Texas and eventually found his way to the Texas Supreme Court.

So far it might not sound so troublesome, but read on.

Gonzales, unfortunately, is a public supporter of detaining "terror" suspects for extended periods of time without access to the courts or even representation.  He is also an aspiring an "author."  His most famous recent body of work was the famous 2002 memo "in which Bush claimed the right to waive anti-torture law and international treateies providing protections to prisoners of war."  

Jesse from Pandagon notes Gonzales argued the Geneva Conventions are "quaint" and "oudated." 

Oh, and he was a partner in the law firm that represented Enron.

Steve Soto has the last word on Gonzales:

"Given how shocked various GOP senators were in seeing what transpired at Abu Ghraib, and knowing how upset even John Warner is at being stonewalled by the Pentagon and the White House over his requests for information on Abu Ghraib, it's easy to see how the Democrats can form alliances with GOP moderates to strongly fight any Gonzales nomination to the highest law enforcement post in the land. If John Warner and Lindsey Graham are that concerned about the Abu Ghraib debacle, and if John McCain shares Colin Powell's revulsion at the trashing of the Geneva Convention protocols and what it means for American POWs from here on out, how can any of these three vote for the architect of that legal doctrine to be our AG?"

Ok I lied, I have the last word.  To me, this is a pretty transparent move to expand a Latino base for the Republicans.  Sure, it helps that Gonzales and the President share the core principles of lack of due process and torture in the best interests of our country, but that's just an added bonus.

I find it ironic that this comes on the heels of an announcement by the White House, expressing the desire to legalize some illegal aliens.

Message amplification reveals itself in many forms.  Color me a skeptic.


Update 2:40 P.M. - Here is a .pdf LINK to the memo Gonzales sent to the President.  The one where he calls the Geneva Conventions, "quaint" and "outdated."

It should also be noted that CNN reported that Gonzles once got President George W. Bush out of jury duty (obviously before he was President).  The reason CNN gave was so that Bush didn't have to answer that "one simple question."  Just how many times have you been arrested?

Posted at 01:13 PM in General | Comments (5) | Technorati

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Republican Noise Machine Never Stopped - Ours Has

Posted by Tim Tagaris

The ink was barely dry on our paper(less) ballots cast on voting machines across the country and the constant refrain from Republican operatives was that election results manifested a "mandate" for the President.  Or as Atrios likes to call it, a Man DateBloomberg news was even claiming a "popular vote mandate" at 9:45 AM on the 3rd.

In case we didn't learn about Republican message amplification through repition during the election, let this serve as State's Exhibit #2.  Despite the fact there was no overwhelming disparity in percentage, Republicans are running around "with their hair on fire" screaming "mandate" to anyone who will listen.  And of course, people are buying.

Since the concession speeches were made, the Republican noise machine has declared the election results have given the President the go ahead from the public for tax code reform and social security reform/privitization.  Maybe I was asleep for the past 8 months, but where did those issues come from?  If the President has a mandate for anything, and that's if 51% is the low-bar for mandates now adays, it's to keep our country safe, continue his flawed policy in Iraq, some tort reform, and to preserve the "sanctity of marriage."

I personally don't remember hearing much out of him about tax or social security reform during the campaign.  That is, until his "gaffe" about social security privitization in the closing week.  He has wasted no time in continuing the flawed policy in Iraq, and most suggest that the real "reform" will occur after the lame duck session, when Republicans have a greater majority in both Houses of the Congress.

With his new "mandate" on securing the sanctity of marriage, I trust the first step will be taking shows like, "The Bachelor," "Who wants to marry a midget," and "trading spouses" off the air. 

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is on every channel that will have her, preaching the Gospel of Matthew and the new Democratic Minority Leader in the Senate will likely be Harry Reid of Nevada.  Both appear to be part of a concerted effort to move the Party closer to the center, or, Republican-Lite as Al Sharpton likes to call it.  The discussion of nominating Howard Dean as Party Chairman highlights the internal struggle for the soul of the party and lack of any clear message thus far.

In the Democratic net-roots, you can hardly escape a blog that isn't littered with discussions of voter fraud or people getting pissed because their favorite bloggers aren't talking about the issue.  Meanwhile, some of you might be shocked to know that Republicans bloggers are already at work on 2006.  Don't believe me?  Well, they are already going after Democratic Senator Mark Dayton of Minnesota, and putting netroots infrastructure in place.  Check it out HERE.

So as we go into the bottom of the first inning: Republicans 1 - Democrats 0

Posted at 08:20 PM in General | Comments (24) | Technorati

Monday, November 08, 2004

Election Depression Relief...

Posted by Tim Tagaris

1.) Five Second video of Andrew Sullivan picking at what might a thong under his pants during the closing moments of Bill Maher this weekend.  Video Here.

2.) A website where hundreds (?) of Americans have submitted pictures, apologizing to the rest of the world because the United States elected George Bush.  Website Here

3.) Santa Claus denied a flu vaccine.  Story Here

4.) A bit of GOOD election news.  It looks like the Democratic candidate for Governor in Washington might just hold on.  She widened her lead today in the counting of absentee ballots.  Follow the results Here

5.) Good news for us that still hold the deepest admiration for Governor Howard Dean.  He is mulling taking over as Chair of the DNC.  Although, one must wonder if that immediately takes his name off the long list of potential Presidential candidates in 2008?  Story Here.

Hope this helps.  No?  Give me a break - I'm trying here!


Posted at 08:53 PM in General | Comments (16) | Technorati

Sunday, November 07, 2004

The Job Hunt

Posted by DavidNYC

Some readers had asked, so I thought I'd toss this personal post-election update out there. I did wind up with several job offers for next summer in NYC, and I am very, very pleased with how things turned out. (For all my whining, it was worth it!) I've narrowed it down to two law firms, and I plan to make a final choice soon.

Thanks to all my readers who offered advice and encouragement!

Posted at 02:54 PM in General | Comments (3) | Technorati

General Election Cattle Call: Iraq

Posted by Tim Tagaris

There is another election afoot this January.  Only in Iraq they don't need Diebold machines and petition laws to keep undesirables (Sunnis/Anti-Americans) from office.  The Washington Post reports on a number of restrictions placed on individuals who would like to seek offices in the upcoming elections.

1) They have to have at least a secondary school diploma and "a good reputation."
2) They cannot have been convicted of "a crime involving moral turpitude."
3) They cannot have made money "in an illegitimate manner at the expense of the homeland and public finance."

Any chance good Sunni Muslims had to get elected is further inhibited by the fact that up to 1/3 of the country won't even be safe enough to vote in elections (Sunni regions mostly). I shall leave the irony of moral trupitude and profiting at the expense of the homeland as restrictions for our President and Vice President to deliberate.

Meanwhile, the Shias are trying to get their "shiat" together and provide a unified front in the upcoming election, The New York Times reports.

The Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is worried that unless Shiites unite in the upcoming election, their overall position will be weakened.  Two prominent Shi'ia stand in the way, and you'll never guess who they are.  Let's take a moment to welcome back Pentagon favorite, Ahmad Chalabi & that rascally outlaw Moktada al-Sadr.

Ayatollah al-Sistani (and probably the White House) is nervous that Chalabi's attempt to reach out to al-Sadr and form an anti-American coalition would probably have widespread support in Iraq.  If that happens, the Shiia vote could be split (at best?) between Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's moderate Sciri party and the anti-American party platform that would come from a united Chalabi & al-Sadr.

Someone wake up Chris Bowers, we need another General Election Cattle Call.

Posted at 05:48 AM in General | Comments (8) | Technorati

Friday, November 05, 2004

The Real Five Stages of Grief

Posted by DavidNYC

You've probably heard of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's five stages of grieving at some point or another. But this is what the real five stages are:

1) Denial

2) Anger

3) Bargaining

4) Depression

5) Impeachment

Now you know!

(Thanks to chillnc for the inspiration.)

Posted at 02:44 PM in General | Comments (56) | Technorati

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Electoral College Did Matter

Posted by DavidNYC

Well, here's something else I was wrong about: The electoral college did wind up mattering. Even if Bush takes Iowa and New Mexico (as it seems he will), his final total will be just 286 electoral votes - 16 over the 270 he needed.

Bush won three states by a margin of 18* or more EVs: Texas, Florida and, of course, Ohio. Had any single one of these states gone to Kerry, we would have won. Obviously, the margin in Texas was enormous - we lost by 23 points. In Florida, though, we lost by just a little over 5 points, and in Ohio, by just 2.5 percent.

In 2000, as we well know, had any single Bush state of any size flipped, Gore would have won. However, the last time there was a single state a) whose outcome directly affected the final results and b) was as close as Ohio was this year, was California all the way back in 1916. So of the three narrowest victories in the past 100 years, we have:

1) Bush in 2000
2) Wilson in 1916
3) Bush in 2004

Bush takes the gold and the bronze. Mandate, my ass.

* Kerry would have needed 18 extra EVs to win. Had Bush's total been reduced by 16, he still would have won with 270. Had it been reduced by 17, he would have had 269 and then won in the House. So Kerry needed to take Bush down to 268 in order to win.

Posted at 04:08 PM in General | Comments (109) | Technorati

The Hate Amendment and Stem Cells

Posted by DavidNYC

On Tuesday, citizens in eleven states voted on ballot measures to outlaw gay marriage. All eleven passed, even in Oregon. But these were not the first such ballot initiatives - that dishonor belongs to the amendment passed in Missouri over the summer. Here is what I wrote at the time:

As you may know, the state of Missouri voted this week to amend its state constitution to explicitly prohibit gay marriage. (I'm personally of the opinion that these kinds of laws will ultimately run afoul of the federal Constitution's full faith and credit clause, particularly as it relates to the issue of gay divorce - but that's neither here nor there for the purposes of this blog.) What's especially distressing - beyond the actual vote - is the fact that turnout was up dramatically. Considering this was an August primary, I'm amazed that 41% of voters came out (when the usual range is 15% to 25%).

This becomes a real problem because similar measures are on the ballot in other swing states this fall: Arkansas, Michigan, Oregon and, yes, Ohio. Everyone expects the vote in Ohio to be especially close this year. I'll be beside myself if we lose that state because hatred and fear drive record numbers of voters to the polls to vote for an abomination of an amendment - and pull the lever for George Bush while they're at it. The Missouri turnout is really troubling. This whole thing could wind up being a big sleeper issue for the GOP.

Well, now, of course, I am beside myself. Some people speculated that the big turnout for the MO anti-gay amendment was due to the contested Dem gubernatorial primary, but the numbers, in my view, didn't support that.

To be fair, I have yet to see any conclusive evidence that these various ballot measures - particularly the one in Ohio - had an effect on the presidential results. (And after all, Bush did better this time versus 2000 in tons of states which had no such initiative on the ballot.) But they certainly did not hurt Bush.

Though I identified this as a potential "sleeper issue" for the Republicans back in August, at the time, I didn't have any ideas as to how we might respond directly. But Nick Confessore over at TAPPED has an answer: We need to promote ballot initiatives that will help our turnout. Nick suggest that measures to require state funding for stem cell research would be one such possible avenue.

Unfortunately for us, the only place where stem cells were on the ballot was California, which Kerry won handily. But it was a good issue - even the Governator supported it - and it passed by an 18% margin. I'd like to see this measure in place in all the states where we there are vulnerable Senate seats (on both sides) in 2006, as a trial run.

Atrios is encouraging his readers to think of other possible ballot measures that might help our turnout. Do you guys have any ideas?

UPDATE: Atrios has a brilliant idea (from a political, not a policy, point of view), though it's in the realm of legislation, not ballot initiatives: The Tax Fairness Act. I wonder if there is a way to spin this into a ballot measure somehow.

Posted at 01:10 PM in General | Comments (27) | Technorati

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Posted by DavidNYC

I was up from Monday morning until midnight last night. Yesterday, I spent the entire day doing poll watching in Philadelphia. I'll tell you more about it in a bit, but suffice it to say, it was a great experience.

Also, obviously, I was more than a little bit wrong about several of my predictions. I'll have more to say about that later, too.

And I lost a bet with a friend that we'd know the winner by 9am today. But for now, please use this as an open thread.

UPDATE: It's over.

Posted at 10:12 AM in General | Comments (59) | Technorati

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Evening Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

The results, I am sure, must be pouring in, especially from the states with early poll closing times. As for me, I'm probably back on the bus right now, finally headed home. Keeping my fingers crossed for good news.

Posted at 08:00 PM in General | Comments (102) | Technorati

Follow Swing States Live

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Quick Post.

Follow Ohio Presidential Here

Follow Florida Presidential Here

Follow Pennsylvania Presidential Here

Follow Minnesota Presidential Here

Follow Virginia Presidential Here


Add more in comments and I will add them to this post up top - due to my comittments with the Jeff Seemann campaign, my time is limited.

Enjoy the races and get your results before they are broadcast.


Posted at 07:51 PM in General | Technorati

5:41 P.M. Exit Polling Numbers...

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Here are the exit polls from 5:30 PM EsT. Bear in mind that Zogby comes out with his final poll soon as well. If you haven't voted yet, seriously, its about time you move your ass.

Florida: Kerry +1
Pennsylvania: Kerry +2
Ohio: Kerry +1
Wisconsin: Kerry +4
Michigan: Kerry +2
New Hampshire: Kerry +4

These apparently come from a compilation of media sources and polling outfits. It's all I got for right now folks (And yes, they are ripped from drudge).


Posted at 05:44 PM in General | Technorati

Afternoon Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

Surely there must be exit poll rumors by now.

Posted at 04:30 PM in General | Comments (23) | Technorati

Mid-Day Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

I've been doing poll watching in Philly all morning long. What have you been up to?

Posted at 12:00 PM in General | Comments (30) | Technorati

Morning Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

What's the good word so far?

Posted at 07:00 AM in General | Comments (3) | Technorati

Predictions, Part 3

Posted by DavidNYC

This is the third and final predictions thread here on the Swing State Project. It's really simple:

What will the final electoral college tally be?

If you need a hand with the numbers, try MyDD's clickable electoral map which shows the states proportionally to their EVs. The LA Times has a nice one as well, using a normal map. And Jim Howard's has long been a favorite of mine because it has complete historical data as well. (To fill it in, click the "advanced features" button and then "copy" the 2000 results to the 2004 map.)

You can also post your results at So what's it gonna be?

Posted at 12:05 AM in General | Comments (13) | Technorati

Monday, November 01, 2004

Predictions, Part 2

Posted by DavidNYC

A while back, we discussed our predictions for which states were most likely to flip from red to blue and vice-versa. Scroll down to pepe's helpful summary to see what the conventional wisdom here was.

Here's my funkier question for round two:

What "surprise" is likeliest to emerge from the presidential election results?

This can be anything verifiable by the final presidential tallies. So I'm talking about things like, "Bush gets one EV in Maine" or "Kerry takes Virginia" or "There's a tie in the electoral college." You don't have to actually think your prediction will happen, just that it's more likely than any other potentially "surprising" event.

So whaddya say?

Posted at 02:37 PM in General | Comments (38) | Technorati

Prof. Abramowitz: Bush's Situation is "Dire"

Posted by DavidNYC

Prof. Alan Abramowitz over at the EDM blog crunches the same numbers that I did and comes to a very similar conclusion:

George Bush's situation in all four of these key battleground states [FL, MI, OH & PA] is dire. His support is well below 50 percent in all of them and he is currently trailing John Kerry in 3 of the 4. A clean sweep of all four states by John Kerry is a distinct possibility.

Looking at just the polls since October 15th, the good professor computes the following averages:


No. of Polls

Kerry Led

Bush Led








47.5 B, 46.5 K, 1.2 N






47.2 K, 44.2 B, 1.0 N






48.3 K, 47.2 B






48.7 K, 46.8 B

Though Kerry has averaged one point behind Bush in Florida, Abramowitz thinks that "huge turnout" tomorrow will push the state blue. I've always, always been skeptical of claims that "this time, turnout will be enormous," but this is finally one year where I'm prepared to believe it. And if turnout is big, we win.

But we still gotta make sure that happens.

Posted at 02:06 PM in General | Comments (9) | Technorati

I'm Feeling Good

Posted by DavidNYC

I think the big picture is looking very good for us, and I think we're gonna win this one. Putting aside all the stories about GOTV and early voting (which I think favor us), here's why I'm feeling good:

In Ohio, the only polls which have shown Bush at 50% since September 28th - and there have been a LOT of polls conducted since that time - have been one Strategic Vision poll on 10/11 and one Zogby online poll on 10/18. Strategic Vision, of course, is a GOP pollster, and everyone loves to (justifiably) question Zogby's results. Oh yeah, you probably saw that cute Columbus Dispatch poll the other day, which also had Bush at 50. But guess what - it had Kerry at 50, too.

In Florida, Bush has occasionally poked his nose above 50%, but more often than not, he has failed to do so. Don't be mislead by the LA Times poll you see on that link - Bush was at 49 among RVs. Gallup's poll from the 24th is also misleading, but for different reasons - though reasons you should probably be familiar with by now. Steve Soto has repeatedly and conclusively shredded Gallup's voter samples - they overweight for Republicans as if it were 1868.

Prior to that, you again have that Zogby 10/18 interactive poll, and then back very early in October, you have a poll each from Quinnipiac, SUSA and Rasmussen, all of whom have released newer polls which show Bush back below 50. Yes, Rasmussen had Bush at 50 on the 27th, but he had him at 49 on the 29th.

In Pennsylvania, Bush has not been at 50% well, basically, ever. Yes, Gallup had him at 50% yesterday, but again a) it's Gallup and b) it's LVs - with RVs, Kerry is up 49-47. Also, Gallup doesn't ordinarily publish their voting sample party ID numbers. Steve Soto has to nag them for those numbers each and every time.

But whatever - this is still exactly ONE poll showing Bush at 50% in PA when, to the best of my knowledge, NONE have previously shown him that high in that state. I'm gonna bet on the other six zillion polls.

What about the other states, where Bush has supposedly been making gains of late? In Michigan, Bush hit 50% once upon a time in a Free Press poll, back on September 27th. That's about as fresh as a twinkie buried in Howard Hughes' tomb. In Iowa, he's done so twice in that time-span, and again, once was a Gallup poll where the RVs had him down to Kerry, 47-48. If Karl Rove wants to hang his hat on that one SUSA poll, he's welcome to do so.

Wisconsin? Sigh... this song is starting to get repetitive! Yep, one poll above 50% in the past month, and again, Gallup, about which nothing more need be said. And in Minnesota, Bush has never gotten to 50 in the past month.

Finally, I'll wrap up with New Mexico. Well, there's been a lot less polling here than in the other major swing states (perhaps as befits its five EVs), but except for one (say it with me) Gallup poll early in October, the only good news for Bush is a new Zogby poll out today which has him at 51-42. Ugly for us, I'll grant. But if we lose NM (which I don't think we will), then we're still fine.

If we win FL and OH (plus NH, which I think is in the bag for us), then even if we lose some of the states in the Upper Midwest, we can still win. I make this point not to suggest we have some kind of cushion, but because if I'm right about OH and FL, then I think there's almost no way we'll do terribly in the Midwest.

The fairest objection to this analysis is that I'm relying on the 50 percent rule too heavily (ie, undecideds may not break our way, even though historical trends say they ought to), or there are just too few undecideds to matter. If you believe the former situation is the case, then none of this polling matters, so you can skip right on past it. But as for the latter possibility, even if there are only a tiny number of undecideds, if they mostly break our way, that can tip this election.

Ok, I've said more than enough. How are you feeling?

Posted at 12:15 AM in General | Comments (34) | Technorati

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

Man, I'm just at a loss for words - I don't think I have anything left to say! After spending a year analyzing the swing states in ultra-fine detail, I think we all know where this race is coming down to. I don't even know that it's helpful to look at polls anymore - it's not like we can switch strategies at this point.

The one thing left is to do GOTV and election protection. Tim's great post below can help you get involved in a bunch of swing states, if you haven't done so already. As for me, I'm gonna go read up some more on Pennsylvania election law (exciting stuff, I know!) to get ready for the Big Day.

P.S. Flash in the comments to the previous thread says that the MYVOTE1 number is pretty worthless, and that in the election protection work he's doing, they are ONLY giving out 1-866-OUR-VOTE. That hotline can help with ANY kind of problem, not just legal matters. So call that number first, every time.

Posted at 04:07 PM in General | Comments (26) | Technorati

Saturday, October 30, 2004

I Finally Get My First Piece of Monkey Mail!

Posted by DavidNYC

After a year of running this site, there has been the occasional troll comment. But it's taken until now for me to finally get a piece of looney-toons e-mail:

Why don't you socialist loving peaceniks move to France. Stop spreading your lies about the Country, Bush and our Troops. Maybe you can get kerry elected in France because he probably has dual citizenship. Or, why don't you go start your own country with the support of the UN and all their mastery of global affairs. Either way when Bush is elected again why don't you, this site, all the people who frequent this site, michael moore and all his fellow mindless actors and the financial guru soros move out of our country. Good luck! Go Nader!

Definite swing voter. I think we can win him over.

Anyhow, on a more serious note, you've probably noticed the toll-free numbers I have splashed across the top of the site. The first number, 866-MYVOTE1, is a hotline where you can report all manner of voting problems, such as broken voting machines. They'll also connect you to local election officials at no additional charge, though I imagine those offices will be swamped on election day.

You can also use this number to find your polling place, or click here.

The other hotline, 1-866-OUR-VOTE is being staffed by volunteers of the Election Protection Coalition, and I was told it can handle 15,000 calls a minute. The EPC, by the way, is totally non-partisan. If you encounter any legal difficulties, such as spurious voter registration challenges, call this number immediately. MoveOn calls this "the 911 of voter hotlines," so only use this if there is a serious emergency.

Also, since many of the people who are likely to experience voting-day problems - the elderly and those in poorer communities - are less likely to use the Internet, please spread these phone numbers around by word-of-mouth. Make sure grandma and all her friends know it - and if they don't want to call some hotline, tell `em to call you so you can call the appropriate hotline for them. MoveOn has created a handy printable card (PDF), so you can print some of these up and pass them around. Good idea: Take some with you to the polls when you go to vote and just pass them out. (But be sure to observe legal guidelines governing the distribution of materials in and around polling places; usually they are posted on the wall.)

If you know of any other helpful hotlines or similar resources, please post them in the comments.

Posted at 02:03 PM in General | Comments (43) | Technorati

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Nader Factor in 2004

Posted by DavidNYC

For a while, I believed/hoped that Nader would not be a factor in this election. Sadly, I think he might be once again. Here's another map of the U.S. (courtesy of the NYT), this time showing where Nader has and has not qualified for the ballot. With the last Supreme Court appeal rejected on Tuesday, things seem to be finalized.

Nader Ballot Qualifications

There were two states in 2000 where Gore + Nader exceeded Bush + Buchanan, but Bush alone exceeded Gore alone: Florida, of course, and New Hampshire. Ralph is on the ballot in both of those places. However, FL is the only one of the "big three" where Nader appears - he didn't make it on in either PA or OH. So the overall picture:

Off: AZ, MO, NC, OH, OR, PA, VA

On: AR, CO, IA, FL, LA, ME, MI, MN, NH, NM, NV, TN, WA, WI, WV

Nader's best swing states in 2000 were ME, CO, MN and OR - he captured over 5% of the vote in each of those. What matters, of course, is not how well Nader does, but whether it's enough to affect the outcome. In fact, Nader's best state in 2000 was deep red Alaska, where he polled 10%. Florida was one of Nader's crappier states in 2000 - he pulled just 1.63%, well under his national margin of 2.73% - but of course we all know how that turned out.

So what do you think? Will Nader affect the outcome this year? As I argued in a post below, I think the odds are against the electoral college coming into play, which essentially means that Nader's votes wouldn't matter either. Please note: We've debated the merits of open ballot access laws vs. restrictive ballot access laws almost to death here. At this point, the question simply is, will Nader matter this year?

Posted at 02:00 AM in General | Comments (24) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Predict the Winning Map Contest!

Posted by DavidNYC

Stephen over at is running a great contest. All you have to do is fill out your predictions for how the electoral map will shape up this year. The winner even gets a prize - woohoo!

Dave Leip's site also has a feature where you can create a predictions map. And, as part of his Election Night Timeline, he's also created a helpful map which shows the poll closing times in each state:

Poll Closing Times

Posted at 07:06 PM in General | Comments (15) | Technorati

Morning Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

Because you guys always wanna talk about new polls, and because I'm in class.

P.S. Check out this vintage piece from Polling Report - dated Feb. 27, 1989 - on the incumbent rule. Here's the graphic summary of their research:

[Image missing.]

Note that this chart doesn't mean that challengers get 82% of the undecided vote - it means that in 82% of races, most undecideds break for the challenger. Also, I misspoke earlier in comments when I said that the incumbent rule applies only to presidential races - it applies to all races. But read the article for the full picture.

Posted at 11:24 AM in General | Comments (30) | Technorati

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Will the Electoral College Matter This Year?

Posted by DavidNYC

When I started this site a year ago (in fact, the one-year anniversary was last Tuesday, and I forgot all about it like a typical male!), it was out of a desire to learn more about the swing states. But my reason for wanting to was predicated on what may be a flawed premise: That the electoral college will once again be important this year. I say this because most analysts, including people like Charlie Cook, say that if the election is decided by a wide enough margin in the popular vote, the EC just won't matter.

And historically speaking, this has been true. People like to say that "every electoral vote counts," but even in the closest of elections, usually only the very biggest individual states were capable of swinging the election - and that was incredibly rare. Looking back at the closest presidential races of all time (by popular vote), this is the list I came up with:

�Ģ 1976: Carter wins the popular vote by 2% and is 27 EVs over the margin he needs
�Ģ 1968: Nixon wins by .7% and 31 EVs
�Ģ 1960: Kennedy wins by .17% and 34 EVs
�Ģ 1916: Wilson wins by 3% and 11 EVs

It doesn't always make sense to look back at the 19th century when comparing presidential elections, but I think we can do it safely here. The period of 1876 to 1892 saw an amazing string of five very close elections:

�Ģ 1892: Cleveland wins by 3% and 55 EVs
�Ģ 1888: Harrison loses by .85% but wins by 32 EVs
�Ģ 1884: Cleveland wins by .25% and 18 EVs
�Ģ 1880: Garfield wins by .02% and 29 EVs

When you finally get back to the infamous year of 1876, that's when you have an election as close in the EC as 2000 was:

�Ģ 1876: Hayes loses by 3% but wins by 1 EV

Any earlier than this, and things get too wacky. So where does this leave us? Well, as you might guess from the EV margins, not many single states could have ever made the difference. And in fact, this is correct. In order to swing the election, you need a state with the EV margin + 1, so these are the only states which could have done it in the 20th century (I'm only including states that the winner won):

�Ģ 1976: NY-41
�Ģ 1968: CA-40
�Ģ 1960: None
�Ģ 1916: AL-12, CA-13, GA-14, KY-13, MO-18, OH-24, TN-12, TX-20, VA-12

By Swing State Project standards, some of these states were close, but not many. Carter won NY by 4.5% in 1976. Nixon won CA by 3% in in 1968, but had he lost there, Humphrey would not have won - the race would have been thrown to the House because of Wallace's 46 EVs. In 1960, as in 1976, California theoretically could have provided the margin - but the loser won it both times.

The election of 1916 initially looks promising, and probably has the most similarities to 2000. There were many states that had 12 or more EVs, but most were won by Wilson. Hughes, like Gore, kept the race close by winning a much small number of big states. Nonetheless, there were still nine states which, had they flipped, would have made Wilson a one-term president. (And kept us out of WWI, and allowed Germany to conquer Europe... and I'll leave the alternate history for another time.) Wilson took KY by 5.5%, MO by a little over 3.5%, and OH by over 7.5%. The other Southern states were all Democratic landslides, particularly in the Deep South.

The one real nail-biter was, quite famously, California, which went to Wilson by .38%, or less than 4,000 votes. So that's precisely one election in the last century where a single state could have changed the outcome - where every really electoral vote did matter - prior to 2000.

The rarity of such an outcome makes me think we are very unlikely to see something like this happen again in 2004. I think the electoral college might matter, but it probably won't. What do you think?

(Thanks to PBJ Diddy for additional research on this subject. I also consulted Dave Leip's Atlas and Jim Howard's EC Calculator extensively.)

UPDATE: Reader Jonathan Katz, a political science professor at CalTech, sent me a copy of a paper he co-wrote empirically evaluating the electoral college. His conclusions - arrived at much more rigorously - are essentially the same as mine. You can read the paper by clicking here (PDF).

Posted at 02:59 PM in General | Comments (19) | Technorati

Saturday, October 23, 2004

The Final 11, According to the NYT

Posted by DavidNYC

The New York Times says that ads are running in just eleven states now. The Gore states:

New Mexico

The Bush states:

New Hampshire

The NYT talks about sudden Bush surge in Michigan - does anyone know what they are talking about? Because I don't see it. Of course, this piece is written by Adam Nagourney and Kit Seelye, two of the worst heathers at the Times. And they manage to squeeze in a Bush campaign criticism of Kerry for visiting Colorado, while just mentioning in passing Bush's absurdly wasted time in NJ.

They also make the typical mistake of acting as though all of these states are equally in play, and they say that Kerry is in worse shape because there are six Gore states allegedly up for grabs while only five Bush states are. But I think we all know that PA, NM and MI are quite unlikely to flip at this point, while NH, OH and FL are very likely to.

The piece also says nothing about where the 527s and other affiliates are on the air. I think there could easily be a surprise switch outside of this list, at least in part due to the activities of non-campaign groups.

Posted at 09:16 PM in General | Comments (100) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Zogby's 10/19 Poll Now Available

Posted by DavidNYC

Zogby's latest is out. Here's what it looks like:

Zogby October 19th, 2004 Poll

Bush retakes NV, OH, AR and FL. All Bush leads are quite small, and he is at 50% or greater in just MO, TN, FL and OH. His highest showing is 50.7% in Missouri. I don't need to remind you that Zogby's been quite volative all year, so take from this what you will.

Posted at 01:24 PM in General | Comments (12) | Technorati

Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

Discuss the latest polling & other developments here. I'll try to put one of these up every day from now until election day. Tonight, I'm doing election protection training over at American University's law school, courtesy of Impact 2004.

P.S. It looks like veteran pollster Mark Blumenthal agrees with my take on Ohio: Bush is in trouble.

Posted at 12:22 PM in General | Comments (42) | Technorati

Monday, October 18, 2004

Predictions, Part 1

Posted by DavidNYC

This is where things start getting fun: prediction-time. Here's the two-part question I'll pose this for this thread:

Which five Bush in 2000 states are most likely to go blue, and which five Gore states are most likely to turn red?

Post your predictions in the comments below, in order from most likely to switch to least likely.

(Thanks to bigguy for the suggestion.)

UPDATE: For some odd reason, the comments link to this thread was broken. I re-posted this entry, and the comments look like they're working just fine now.

Posted at 11:20 AM in General | Comments (63) | Technorati

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Research 2K Poll in NH

Posted by DavidNYC

According to Polling Report, Research 2000 just did a new poll in New Hampshire for the Concord Monitor. However, I can't find any stories about it yet. In any event, here are the details (likely voters, 9/20 - 9/23 in parens):

Kerry: 49 (46)
Bush: 45 (46)
Other/Undecided: 6 (8)
(MoE: ��4%)

John Kerry is slightly ahead in favorability, 48-42, while Bush is at 45-46. (The "other," by the way, include 2% for Ralph.) Fact is, New Hampshire is in the bag for us. Bush has only hit 50% in any poll once ever, and has hit 49% just once as well. Kerry has led almost every time. A year ago, when I first began this site, I opined that New Hampshire was moving steadily blue-ward. I think that prediction will bear out.

In all likelihood, NH's four electoral votes won't come into play. Nonetheless, it's nice to see the Northeast turn solid blue, and any state that moves out of the GOP's grasp is, of course, good news for us. Hopefully, in the coming years, this Dem trend will affect NH's Congressional representation as well.

UPDATE: Link available here.

Posted at 03:36 PM in General | Comments (32) | Technorati

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Final State Polls from the 2000 Election

Posted by DavidNYC

CADem took a look at the final state polls for each state in 2000. His hard work shows that the swing states looked like this:

Arizona: Last poll showed Bush up by 10 points, outside the margin of error. Bush won by 6.

Arkansas: The last three, concurrent, polls showed a tie, Bush by 1 and Bush by 3, respectively. Bush won by 6.

California: Also three polls, showing Gore up only by 3, 5 and 7, respectively. Gore won by roughly 12.

Delaware: Last poll had Bush up by 4. Gore won by 13. Great poll, guys.

Florida: The last poll, Zogby's, showed Gore up 3. Well, you know what happened.

Iowa: Two last polls showed Gore up by 1 and 2 points, respectively. Gore won by a hair.

Maine: Last poll showed a 42-42 tie. Gore won by 5.

Michigan: Last poll showed Gore up by 7, but still within the margin of error. Gore won by 4.

Missouri: A split. Of the two last polls, one showed Gore up 1 point and the other showed Bush up 4. Bush won by 4.

Nevada: Last poll had Bush up by 4. Bush won by 3.

New Hampshire: Last poll had Bush up big, by 10. Bush only won by a hair.

New Mexico: Two last polls showed a tie and Bush up by 3, respectively. Gore won narrowly.

Ohio: Two last polls, one by Zogby (who was right on nationally), showed Bush up by 9 and 10, both outside the margin of error. Gore lost by 4.

Oregon: A split. Last two polls showed Gore up by 1 and down by 4, respectively. Gore won by a fraction of a percent.

Pennsylvania: Last poll showed Gore up by 2. Gore won by 4.

Tennessee: The writing was on the wall. Two last polls showed Bush up by 4. Bush won by 3.

Virginia: Last poll showed Bush up by 6. Bush won by 7.

Washington: Last poll showed Gore up by 4. He won by 5.

West Virginia: Of three last polls, two showed Bush up by 10 points, and one had Bush up only by 2. Bush won by 6.

Wisconsin: Last poll showed Bush up by 2. Gore won by a hair.

As you can see, there are a couple of states in there (CA & DE) which truly are not swing states this time out. And some nominally swingy states this time around (CO, NC, LA) didn't make CADem's list.

Posted at 11:12 AM in General | Comments (10) | Technorati

Friday, October 15, 2004

Charlie Cook Shares His Thoughts

Posted by DavidNYC

Veteran political analyst Charlie Cook did an online chat over at the Washington Post a few days ago. It's most definitely worth a read. Here are a few highlights:

�Ģ Pollsters, almost all of whom use random digit dialing, should be capturing newly registered voters - so don't be tempted to dismiss polls based on the large numbers of new voters. A genuine problem, though, is that polling companies can't reach voters who only have cell phones.
�Ģ The GOP, Cook says, has a 75 to 80% chance of retaining control of the Senate.
�Ģ In "all probability," the victor will be the man who wins two out of the three main battlegrounds: PA, OH, FL.
�Ģ Cook says there are eleven toss-ups: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Wisconsin. However, he goes on to say that if the popular vote margin is greater than 1%, the Electoral College doesn't matter.
�Ģ He thinks that turnout will be the highest in 30 years, and that consequently, various state referendums (particularly on gay marriage) won't matter that much in terms of pushing voters to the polls.

Cook also disses Zogby's Internet polls and SUSA's automated telephone polls, even though SUSA has a pretty good track record and the verdict is still out on Zogby. But go check out the chat yourself.


Posted at 02:26 PM in General | Comments (3) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Final Debate Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

I don't have a TV where I am right now, so I'm perusing the blogs for coverage. What do you think so far?

UPDATE: Okay, I've got it on an NPR Internet feed. Did you just catch that weird moment where Bush said something like, "I don't think it's appropriate to quote major news organizations... well, nevermind." What was that all about?

Posted at 09:14 PM in General | Comments (77) | Technorati

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

The last thread was getting a bit stale, so here's a new one until I can do some real posting after class today. Also, says that Bush may be pulling out of Washington state, which is not a big surprise. So the list gets pared down further.

Posted at 11:41 AM in General | Comments (67) | Technorati

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Kerry Notching Swing State Newspaper Endorsements

Posted by DavidNYC

In the early running, John Kerry has taken a sizable lead in garnerning daily newspaper editorial board endorsements. Circulation-wise, he's beating Bush by 5-1 so far. He's also picked up several big swing state papers recently: The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Portland (Maine) Herald-Press, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Arizona Daily Star of Tucson, and the Oregonian of Portland, which supported Bush in 2000. (They aren't getting fooled again.) And previously, Kerry was endorsed by the Seattle Times (another Bush in 2K supporter) and the Philadelphia Daily News.

The only big swing state paper Bush has won over is the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Okay, sure, he's also gotten the endorsement of the Findlay, Ohio Courier... but I don't think Bush wants to be touting a paper that has fewer daily readers than, oh, MyDD.

Posted at 11:56 AM in General | Comments (57) | Technorati

Friday, October 08, 2004

Weekend Debate Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

I decided to ignore my own advice about not scheduling two callbacks on the same day - big mistake. I'm zonked. Anyhow, here's a new open thread for your chatting pleasure.

Also, the Boston Globe is still looking for voters in swing states who have switched political affiliations (or at least voting intentions). So if you're a recovering Republican & you'd like to talk to the media, shoot me an e-mail (davidnyc -at- and I'll put you in touch with the Globe.

P.S. The AP wrote a story about Jeff's campaign manager for-a-day plan, and it's been picked up by thirty papers. Sweet!

P.P.S. And you can discuss the debate here, too. Is it just me, or is George Bush yelling?

Posted at 06:12 PM in General | Comments (45) | Technorati

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

I may or may not get to post again before Friday night or Saturday morning. So here's a new open thread for you, fresh out of the oven. More polls than you can shake a stick at here, including one which shows Maine's 2nd CD going to Bush. I am sure all the polling geeks here (I include myself, of course) will love that one.

Posted at 01:17 PM in General | Comments (7) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

New Zogby Interactive Out

Posted by DavidNYC

How do ya like them apples:


Kerry retakes Ohio and Nevada, albeit by very narrow margins. But Kerry improved in 12 of 16 states since the last set of polls (released 9/20). In the four states in which Kerry lost ground, three (OR, NM, and MN) are where he's got some of his biggest leads.

Zogby thinks the debate had something to do with this, which would mean it had a fairly strong effect, because part of this poll was taken before the debate.

UPDATE: A correction: Ed in the comments observes that all of the polling was conducted after the first presidential debate - my goof. Perhaps that's why this release was a couple of days later than expected.

Posted at 07:07 PM in General | Comments (20) | Technorati

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Veep Debate Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

I'm actually watching this one, and so far, Cheney looks very snitty and angry. And he just can't keep his mouth from making that ugly curl in one corner. I think Edwards looks and sounds good. What do you think?

UPDATE: Well, we know one thing for sure: Cheney lied, pure and simple. He said he had never met John Edwards before, but he sure had. If he's going to lie about something like this, what else is he willing to lie about?

Personally, I thought Edwards acquitted himself pretty well. It wasn't the slam-dunk I was hoping for, but he seemed relaxed and pretty confident the whole time. (And I love that smile of his.) Cheney seemed angry, and by the end, tired and bored. But a lot of his answers were better than I expected. He actually managed to sound gracious after Edwards mentioned Cheney's daughter. And he was fairly adroit when he turned Edwards' silly "What was the question again?" stunt back on him; I was pretty shocked that Edwards didn't have a canned answer to the experience question, considering Dubya himself only served six years before becoming President.

Ultimately, I think a draw is a win for us, because Bushco needed to turn the tide here. I don't see Bush outright beating Kerry in any of the remaining two debates, so at worst, we're facing a 1-0-3 record. Perhaps Bush will do well in the town hall format, but as I recall from years past, people ask pretty tough questions. I remember one questioner back in 1992 who asked Bill Clinton, pretty much point-blank, how the recession had affected him. That's not an easy question for any politician, even the Big Dog, to answer - and Clinton was The Master. John Kerry is no Bill Clinton, but George Bush shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence.

Posted at 09:25 PM in General | Comments (51) | Technorati

Spinning the Debates

Posted by DavidNYC

The main reason we won last week's debate is because John Forbes Kerry kicked George Bush's petulant ass. But an aggressive media outreach effort (for once!) by the DNC also helped the post-game spin. Ordinary folks like ourselves fanned out online and off, sending letters to the editor, making phone calls, e-mailing friends and voting in online polls, all in support of Kerry.

Let's be sure we do as good a job once again tonight. I think John Edwards has amazing skills from his not-so-long-ago days as a courtroom litigator, but Dick Cheney is obviously a lot smarter than Bush. However, Cheney is equally ideologically blinkered, and if he sticks to a one-trick-pony attack mode against Edwards (like Bush did against Kerry: "flip-flopper" - only here, it would be "inexperienced"), he's gonna get his ass handed to him. Substantively, we have every reason to expect we'll do quite well tonight.

But once again, we have to do well in the post-game: Sign up for the DNC's media response team if you haven't already. You'll receive an e-mail within minutes of the end of the debate outlining ways you can help us win the battle of the spin.

Posted at 01:39 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Monday, October 04, 2004

How I Learned to Love Undecideds

Posted by DavidNYC

Mark Blumenthal, a veteran Democratic pollster and author of the not-so-myterious "Mystery Pollster" blog, offers loads more evidence to support Guy Molyneux's research. As Chris points out in the comments on Blumenthal's thread, though, there tend to be very few undecideds by election day, so the boost is not all that tremendous - maybe two points.

Posted at 04:42 PM in General | Comments (3) | Technorati

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Undecideds Break for the Challenger

Posted by DavidNYC

We all know it's true, but Guy Molyneux, a Democratic pollster, delves into the details of what exactly this means over at the Prospect. I strongly advise everyone to read this article. Molyneux encourages political reporters - and by extension, I imagine, bloggers as well - to focus not on the spread in horserace matchups but rather the "50 percent line."

More specifically, in the four incumbent re-election campaigns in the last quarter century, the president came in, on average, half a point below his final poll results. Challengers, however, averaged a four-point gain. So, therefore, if George Bush is at 49%, and if John Kerry is within reasonable striking distance come Nov. 1, we're going to have a photo finish. If Bush is below 49%, he's almost certainly melba toast.

Posted at 02:46 AM in General | Comments (2) | Technorati

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Newsweek National Poll Puts Kerry in the Lead

Posted by DavidNYC

I don't usually do national polls here, but I can't resist this one from Newsweek (registered voters, 9/9-10 and 9/2-3 in parens):

Kerry: 49 (45) (43)
Bush: 46 (50) (54)
Undecided: 5 (5) (3)
(MoE: ��4%)

I'm showing two trendlines because both are fairly recent and because the 9/2-3 numbers were taken right after the Republican convention, when Bush had a monstrous and (to some) a seemingly insurmountable 11-point lead. Needless to say, that lead is no more.

In a month, this poll has swung an impressive fourteen points. That's not to say it can't swing back again, but this kind of gyration must have Karl Rove's triumphalist stomach in knots. I don't see Bush as having much ability to push back in the other direction, because unless Kerry fumbles badly, the debates are going to be win-win-win for our side. And I'm also expecting John Edwards to bring all of his considerable skills as a courtroom litigator when he faces Dick Cheney - Johnn Sunshine will do an infinitely better job than the sorry Joe Lieberman did four years ago.

And check out the lovely internals on the debate. Sixty-one percent said Kerry was the clear winner, while only 19% picked Bush. When your numbers on a question like this fall below your baseline - typically, the one-third or so of voters who will almost always vote GOP or Dem - you know you've fucked up big-time. I would also point out that a rather large segment of registered voters - 74% - watched at least part of the debates, so this is going to have a broad effect.

You can follow the link to see the percentages for a whole host of other questions. One issue which really stands out for me is the draft: 38% of voters think that a second Bush administration would re-instate the draft, while just 18% think Kerry would. We need to push this issue, because I think it can motivate hard-to-reach younger voters and, of course, their parents.

UPDATE: Full internals are here, including weighting.

Posted at 08:36 PM in General | Comments (29) | Technorati

Weekend Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

Sorry for the lack of posts yesterday - I had two callbacks in one day, and then I schlepped back to DC, so I couldn't even check e-mail for an entire day. (Man, I can't recall the last time that happened.) Anyhow, enjoy this new weekend open thread until I or another poster thinks of something clever to write.

P.S. We had over 100,000 visitors last month. Cool.

Posted at 02:08 PM in General | Comments (8) | Technorati

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Debate Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

Unfortunately, I'll be missing the debate because I'll be on a train up to New York for some callback interviews tomorrow. But use this as an open thread to discuss tonight's debate. And as I said earlier, sign up for the Democrats' rapid response media network if you haven't yet.

Posted at 06:51 PM in General | Comments (46) | Technorati

Monday, September 27, 2004

Can't Keep Up

Posted by DavidNYC

There are now so many state polls every day, it's almost impossible to keep up. I may need to rethink my approach. In the meantime, to whet your appetite, we've got a few puppies in this post over here, including IA, MI, NH, OH and PA. And as always, I encourage you to check out - they never miss a poll.

Okay, I know everyone loves to harp on this, but Alan Keyes is at *seventeen* percent in that Illinois Senate poll? Wow. I remember in 1994, the year of the unforgettable Republican massacre, that Pat Moynihan still won re-election with 80+% of the vote. Obama is gonna pull off something similar, and he isn't even an incumbent yet - though it sure feels like he is!

Posted at 02:19 PM in General | Comments (2) | Technorati

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Dem Voter Registration is Up in Swing States

Posted by DavidNYC

Or at least, so sayeth the New York Times. What's nice about this article is that the Times actually did the dirty work of crunching the numbers, without relying on partisan claims or anecdotal evidence. In the two states the Times looked at, Ohio & Florida, we are kicking serious GOP ass.

Of course, simply registering new voters is not enough. We need to make sure these people get out to the polls. Which is why I strongly encourage each and every one of you, once the fundraising season dies down, to get involved with a voter education/GOTV group. Some excellent ones are listed in the Swing State Activism section of the blogroll on the right. If you know of any others, please let me know.

Posted at 03:36 PM in General | Comments (44) | Technorati

Wednesday, September 22, 2004 & More on Colorado

Posted by DavidNYC

First, a site that I should have plugged long ago: They have a great clickable map that will give you comprehensive polling information for every state. It's more thorough and user-friendly than almost any similar site.

Secondly, Winger has a very thoughtful post on why Colorado is winnable for us - not just in the future, but this year. As readers here know, I'm a big believer in pursuing our political future in the fast-growing states of the Southwest. Colorado is in many ways part of this region, in particular due to its growing Hispanic population. (This interesting map created by CommonWealth Magazine includes a good chunk of CO in its "El Norte" region.) I'm not supremely optimistic about our chances this year, but I think NV, CO & AZ will all be blue very soon, and be permanently lost to the GOP not long after.

Posted at 10:34 PM in Colorado, General | Comments (1) | Technorati

ARG Delivers All 50 States (+ DC!) at Once

Posted by DavidNYC

To follow up on Chris's post from a few days ago, the American Research Group has released polls for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Here's the executive summary:

�Ģ George W. Bush is at 47% and John Kerry is at 46% in the weighted national popular vote.
�Ģ Bush leads outside the margin of error in 17 states with 133 electoral votes.
�Ģ Kerry leads outside the margin of error in 10 states with 132 electoral votes.
�Ģ Bush has any lead in 29 states with 253 electoral votes.
�Ģ Kerry has any lead in 20 states with 270 electoral votes.
�Ģ Bush and Kerry are tied in Wisconsin and West Virginia.
�Ģ Bush needs to defend small leads in 5 states - Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Ohio.
�Ģ Kerry needs to defend small leads in 5 states - Maine, Florida, Minnesota, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
�Ģ Among men nationwide, 51% say they would vote for Bush and 42% say they would vote for Kerry.
�Ģ Among women nationwide, 42% say they would vote for Bush and 50% say they would vote for Kerry.

Twenty-nine states have Bush-Kerry margins of 10% or less, which is the criteria I use here (sans the minor candidates) to determine swing-statehood. But most of the states at the upper end of the margin are clearly not swing states, and a couple (Hawaii and Mississippi, for instance) are patently ridiculous. Here is the full list at ��10% ("DK" = "don't know," likely voters, MoE: ��4% for all polls):








West Virginia
























































New Hampshire



































New Mexico







North Carolina































































New Jersey










































If you've made it down this far, I'd say that this list conforms to expectations for the most part. A number of red states look tantalizingly close: WV tied, CO 1%, NV 2%, OH 2%. Some blue states are too close for comfort: PA 1%, MN 2%, OR 2%, ME 4%. At the far end of the list, if MS and HI are at 9% and 10% respectively, then I think NJ, DE, MD, MI and LA are also actually wider than these polls show - which is good news for us.

I don't know anything about ARG's LV model, and if it weren't for the fact that they put out an entire nation's worth of polls at once, I wouldn't be eager to post their results. So if you know anything about their methodology on this front, let us know. One thing which I do like is that they didn't poll Nader in states like AZ where he is definitively off the ballot.

P.S. The colors are ARG's, not mine - evidently, they mean what we'd expect, with purple being "swing." Their cutoff is apparently 8%.

Posted at 10:00 PM in General | Comments (2) | Technorati

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Zogby's Latest Interactive

Posted by DavidNYC

I missed Zogby's latest interactive offering yesterday. Gone is Bush's double-digit lead in Ohio, but he still holds it, along with WV, TN, MO and NV. Bush also leads in the "extra four" states that Zogby doesn't release to the public (but this is the Internet we're talking about, after all): VA, NC, CO & AZ. Those four states show incredibly close results - you've got to believe that Zogby leans Dem.

Posted at 07:29 PM in General | Comments (35) | Technorati

WI, MI, AZ Residents: Did You Ever Vote GOP?

Posted by DavidNYC

The Boston Globe's op-ed page editor is putting together a feature on swing state voters. In particular, the Globe is looking for Kerry supporters who voted Republican in the past. (They're also looking for the reverse, but I doubt that very many such people visit this site.) If you live in Wisconsin, Michigan or Arizona (or another swing state) and fit this profile, shoot me an e-mail if you'd like me to put you in touch with the Globe.

Posted at 03:57 PM in General | Comments (4) | Technorati

Red Swing State Polls

Posted by DavidNYC

Mason-Dixon also did a companion set of polls for six red states: MO, AZ, NH, OH, WV & NV. The results are available here. All six show Bush with a lead, and all but one show Bush with a lower unfavorability rating than Kerry (West Virginia is the exception).

But here's something that's really very odd. In the blue state polls I posted yesterday, Bush not only led in unfavorables in every state, but his rating was no higher than 13 points in all but one state (New Mexico was the outlier). Why is that bizarre? Because in the red states, his lowest unfave rating was 37%.

Now that I look at it a bit more closely, I'm inclined to think that MSNBC fucked up and swapped Bush's neutral and unfavorable ratings for the blue state polls. I'm wondering what else might be wrong - like Mason-Dixon's likely voter model. I know in the past Chris has commented that M-D has a GOP bias, but I haven't seen as clear evidence of this as with Gallup. Anyone care to chime in?

Posted at 02:01 PM in General | Comments (4) | Technorati

Monday, September 20, 2004

Blue Swing State Polls

Posted by DavidNYC

NBC hired Mason-Dixon to poll six blue swing states: IA, MI, OR, PA, WI & NM. Results are available here. I'll look at them in more detail in a bit.

Posted at 07:18 PM in General | Comments (55) | Technorati

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Get Your Drink On

Posted by DavidNYC

I am plugging Drinking Liberally. It's a new Democratic drinking club. That is such a smashingly good idea that I don't need to say anything more - except that someone needs to start a Washington, DC chapter, stat.

Posted at 12:17 AM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Thursday, September 16, 2004


Posted by Chris Bowers

American Research Group is coming out with polls for all 50 states plus DC. So far, there are only twenty states out, but that is still a lot of good info. Everything looks like it would be expected to look:

Kerry's up big in CA, HI, MD, MA, RI, VT and, to a slightly lesser extent, WA
Kerry's is up slightly in ME, MN and OR
Bush is up very slightly in CO
Bush is up huge in AK, ID, KY, MT, NE, ND, SD, UT and WY

The states I am most looking forward to are AZ, DE, MO, NJ, PA, OH, VA, WI and WV. It could help to clear up a lot of the weirdness in those states right now.

Posted at 04:49 PM in General | Comments (23) | Technorati

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Undecideds Souring on Bush

Posted by Seamus

This poll out today from Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center ought to help re-establish a positive outlook for November. Undecideds have measurably dropped their support for Bush. According to the poll, "President George W. Bush's approval rating declined to 44 percent from 56 percent among undecided voters since the Republican National Convention." This is obviously a significant drop in support.

I also thought that this bit was important in light of Kerry's excellent assault on Bush's economic record today: "The poll found 32 percent of uncommitted, or 'persuadable,' voters approved of Bush's handling of the economy and 63 percent disapproved. In August, 39 percent approved and 54 percent disapproved." The only bad news was the continued support that Bush gets on terror issues.

Posted at 02:38 PM in General | Comments (8) | Technorati

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Absentee Balloting Open to Fraud

Posted by DavidNYC

As if electronic voting machines with questionable security systems & no voter-verifiable paper trails weren't enough to worry about, the New York Times offers this survey of the absentee ballot laws in the swing states. The majority of these battleground states have very lax laws (such as not requiring authenticating witness signatures) which could leave absentee balloting open to serious fraud. Seven swing states even allow political parties to gather completed ballots. Yikes.

And it's not a minor concern, either: As many as one in four voters may vote absentee this year, as a result of numerous state laws which don't require any excuse in order to obtain an absentee ballot. I think these kind of laws are a bad thing. I'm voting absentee this year, but only because I have to. I'd much prefer to actually visit my polling place. Voting is one of the few civic exercises left to us (apart from jury duty) where every type of person from every conceivable background comes together to all do the same thing. I think these sorts of activities are good for a nation's soul, and it saddens me to see this particular one get diminished.

Posted at 11:10 PM in General | Technorati

Saturday, September 11, 2004

To Weight, or Not to Weight

Posted by DavidNYC

One polling-related topic that has come up a lot lately is the issue of weighting by party identification. That is, if a polling outfit does a survey and the sample contains, say, too many Republicans for the given population, should the pollsters adjust the numbers according to what they believe the actual party ratios are? This issue came up most prominently when the LA Times released a poll back in June that was very pro-Kerry, had a seemingly outsize number of Democrats in the sample, and was not weighted to reflect this.

Into this debate charges Alan Reifman, a professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Texas Tech University. He has the most comprehensive essay I've read to date on whether polling firms should weight or not weight. He lucidly presents the arguments on both sides. If you're a serious poll junkie, check it out.

Posted at 12:46 AM in General | Comments (6) | Technorati

Thursday, September 09, 2004

John Kerry is a Patriot

Posted by DavidNYC

No, really, I mean it. Check out the decal on the side of the New England Patriots' helmet and tell me that's not John Kerry in profile:


The NFL season begins tonight. Appropriately enough, the Super Bowl champion Patriots (who of course hail from Kerry's home state) play the first game. I'm a Jets fan, but I'll take this as a good omen anyway!

(Thanks to NE_Patriots for the great observation!)

UPDATE: Once again, proving that sports are always right, the Pats won tonight. John Kerry's victory is clearly next.

Posted at 09:44 PM in General | Comments (8) | Technorati

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

Posted by DavidNYC

"Quis custodet ipsos custodes?" goes the Latin saying - "Who watches the watchmen?" The answer here is Ed Fitzgerald, who has another issue of his Electoral College Survey out. Forty-eight would-be Nostradamuses are included, and for the first time I can recall, a majority show Bush ahead.

Ed thinks that this is not the result of any sort of convention bounce, due to the timing (ie, pre-RNC) of most of the polls that the prognositcators rely on. So if there is a bounce, it won't show up in Ed's meta-survey for another week. I await with bated breath.

Posted at 11:59 PM in General | Comments (2) | Technorati

New Zogby Out

Posted by DavidNYC

New Zogby poll available here. Bush is leading in AR, WV, TN, OH. His leads are all very big in the last three, including 11 points in Ohio. Kerry's leads are outside the MoE in only MI, NM, OR & WA. He holds leads of less than one point in FL, MO & NV.

Given the dates of this poll (Aug. 30th through Sep. 3rd), this seems like a pretty weak performance for Bush. Zogby, however, says that these results show Bush gaining & Kerry weakening. And what happened to Zogby's promise to include more battleground states? The link to his site makes reference to "20 states," but the WSJ interactive site only shows the same 16.

UPDATE: Results for the missing four states: AZ: K45-B50; CO: K46-B46; NC: K47-B50; VA: K46-B51. And yeah, I have a very hard time believing Bush is up by 11 in Ohio.

Posted at 06:32 PM in General | Comments (31) | Technorati

State Legislature Battlegrounds

Posted by DavidNYC

Though this site has focused almost entirely on national politics, state & local races play a hugely important role as well. The Christian Coalition, for one, has had a lot of success at the local level (think school boards) in promoting its agenda. And I'll say that Rudy Giuliani probably had a greater direct effect on my life in the 90s than Bill Clinton did. (Get well soon, Big Dawg.) Though they lack the panache of the big national races, the outcomes in smaller elections can have a large impact.

With that in mind, I point you to this interesting diary by Delaware Dem about the state legislatures that are shaping up to be big battlegrounds. Control of many state Houses and Senates hangs in the balance. Among other things, state legislatures play a big role in Congressional redistricting (see Texas). In a state like Indiana, we could suffer badly if the Democrats lose their slim lead in the lower house & another Tom DeLay steps forward to hijack the redistricting process.

Since these issues are rarely covered in the media, I imagine many people might not even be aware of whether their state legislatures are up for grabs. So I encourage you check out Del Dem's list - and if you see your state on there, be sure to remind your friends & family why it's important to vote for the downticket races as well.

Posted at 01:45 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Sesame Street Polling

Posted by DavidNYC

I'm sure you remember the classic song from that seminal show, Sesame Street, which went (in part): One of these things is not like the others/One of these things just doesn't belong. Well, now it's time to play our game:

Presidential Trial Heats

So, who're you gonna believe? This site is a Democratic site, but I do my best not to cherry-pick or engage in overly optimistic spin. This Time poll, though, is just a bit hard to believe, based on everything we've seen over this whole, very, very long campaign season. I'm gonna wait until we get a few more data points before even thinking about panicking. Even Bob Dole got a fifteen-point bounce out of his convention, according to ABC News at the time. You think that was legit?

(Graphic from the front page of PollingReport.)

UPDATE: Ruy Teixeira, the #1 authority on all things poll-related, raises all sorts of questions about the Time poll, concluding that "[t]he simplest hypothesis then is that the Time poll, for this period, is exceptionally pro-Bush and therefore should be viewed with skepticism." The bigger problem, of course, is that this one skewed poll becomes a powerful GOP (and media) talking point for days. Fortunately, it's Labor Day weekend and no one's paying attention. And since I'm all but certain this poll doesn't reflect the reality on the ground, it can only help us if the GOP gets over-confident as a result of one survey.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Newsweek has released a poll which shows a similar Bush lead. Again, this poll pushed leaners, which in my mind makes the bottom-line results questionable.

Posted at 01:00 PM in General | Comments (8) | Technorati

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Convention Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

I don't even have a TV at the moment, so I couldn't watch Bush's speech even if I wanted to. Not that I want to. But this is the moment we've all been waiting for: the final two months of the campaign, the post-conventions, post-Labor Day season. Stay involved, give money, give time - and push your family and friends to do the same. And if you have any thoughts on the convention, or what the homestretch will look like from here on out, share `em here.

Posted at 10:31 PM in General | Comments (43) | Technorati

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Kerry Ad Buy Hints at Battleground Locations

Posted by DavidNYC

The Kerry campaign is now set to spend two-thirds of its post-RNC cash on ad buys - $50m of the $75m they'll get in public financing, which is all the cash they'll have (except for any change that was still on-hand prior to the DNC) until election day. The first ads are slated to go up in seven states: OH on Friday, then FL, IA, NM, PA, NH and WI next week. Four of those states are Gore states, and a fifth (NH) ought to be considered a Kerry state. So this means we're playing defense, which isn't necessarily a bad sign, but isn't necessarily a good one, either.

Kerry's being very smart about this ad buy, though: He's purchasing the ads now, while prices are still cheap, as the article points out - but he can always adjust his buys later, if need be. So this means the campaign is already buying ads for thirteen other states, even though they won't air until later this fall. The Gore states: MN, OR, WA, ME and MI. The Bush states: MO, NV, AZ, LA, CO, AR, NC and WV. A bit frustratingly, Virginia isn't on this list, even though Kerry's already spent $2.5 mil there. I don't understand why you'd stick with LA over VA, given what the polls show. But maybe Kerry will change his mind, or maybe the 527s will step up the plate here.

(Thanks to reader Chris.)

Posted at 09:59 PM in General | Comments (24) | Technorati

Another Quiet Period for State Polls

Posted by DavidNYC

Around the time of the Dem convention, we didn't see too many state polls. It looks like pollsters have similarly gone quiet. SUSA's most recent polls are from 8/25, and the only new material available on Polling Report (subscription required) are surveys from Strategic Vision, a Republican outfit. Even the prolific Rasmussen is on hiatus.

So I guess us poll junkies will have to wait a few more days before we have our next batch of polling heroin. In the meantime, you should check out Ed Fitzgerald's latest meta-projection. I can't imagine how much work he puts into it, consider there are now 46 sites in his survey. (Everyone has an opinion, eh?) I especially appreciated this useful graph, which shows that most watchers think the race is getting tighter:


I'll be really curious to see who winds up with the most accurate projection in the end.

Posted at 02:40 PM in General | Comments (10) | Technorati

Convention Bounce Predictions, Round 2

Posted by DavidNYC

It's too hard to predict convention bounces in individual states, but if you care to hazard a national guess as to what kind of spike (if any) Bush will get out of the RNC, go ahead and do so here. I think, like Kerry's, it will necessarily be smaller than usual. I also think that Bush, because he's playing so heavily to his base, can actually expect a bounce in national polling that isn't equalled by an improvement in swing states (because much of his numbers growth will be in the reddest of the red states).

My personal feeling here, btw, is that the GOP is trying to "Gipperize" Bush. He has no successful substantive record to run on, so his party is trying to turn him into a soothing & benevolent (but stern when he needs to be) father-figure. (For more on this, read this William Saletan piece if you haven't yet.) This worked brilliantly with Reagan, of course - but then Ronnie was much older, didn't have a misspent youth like Dubya, and had an entirely different mien. I just can't see this ploy working very well, given the limited material the GOP has to work with.

Posted at 10:57 AM in General | Comments (40) | Technorati

Monday, August 30, 2004

Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

I'm done with interviews, but I'm starting class this week. Should be fun.... More importantly, be on the lookout for the rollout of a big new endeavor here at the SSP, sometime this week.

Posted at 12:15 AM in General | Comments (24) | Technorati

Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Definitive Nader Ballot Access Story

Posted by DavidNYC

GoKeever, a DailyKos diarist, has provided the absolutely definitive account of Nader's quest for ballot access. It's so thorough I won't even try to summarize it here - except to say that things are looking predictably bleak for Ralph. Since Keever apparently plans to continue this series, I'd suggest bookmarking his/her diary if you're interested in future updates.

As for myself, I had a whopping eleven interviews yesterday, which was exhausting. But Early Interview Week is nearly over - thank heaven! So posting should pick up soon. (And thanks to Chris for keeping things humming, as always.)

Posted at 02:51 PM in General | Technorati

Monday, August 23, 2004

Kerry Leading in 14 of 16 Zogby States

Posted by DavidNYC

My concerns below about his methodology nonwithstanding, Zogby's latest Interactive Poll has Kerry leading in 14 states. Only OH and WV are pro-Bush. California Dreamer has a helpful summary. However, Zogby has not yet apparently added the four new states he promised he would.

Posted at 11:12 PM in General | Comments (30) | Technorati

Is Zogby's Interactive Poll Wide Open for Fraud?

Posted by DavidNYC

Some industrious research has indicated that Zogby's "Interactive" polls - which are conducted online - don't vary materially from other, traditional polls. However, I was under the impression that Zogby ran these polls similarly to the way Nielsen does its TV ratings - that is, he uses a pre-selected, clearly-defined group of people who have agreed to participate.

But it seems that his online polls may be wide, wide open - at least, that's what this link would suggest. Maybe everyone knew this all along, and I'm just a bit late for this particular clue train. But with this link (just now?) getting play in a DKos diary, it seems to me that Zogby is in danger of having his sample population badly manipulated.

Perhaps this link is actuall for some other project, or perhaps Zogby has some very clever way of sussing out the phonies and jammers. But nonetheless, I still have new worries about the validity of these polls. Any thoughts?

Posted at 12:15 AM in General | Comments (9) | Technorati

Saturday, August 21, 2004

EIW Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

Early Interview Week starts on Monday. I have 17 interviews in four days, including ten (10!) on Wednesday alone. Enjoy the open thread.

Posted at 08:30 PM in General | Comments (9) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

State-by-State Odds of Kerry Victory

Posted by Chris Bowers

Using the post-Edwards poll information provided by mattb25 in a recent diary over at Dailykos, I have combined it with the information I collected during my investigation into the Incumbent Rule. The resulting numbers are estimates of the chance Kerry would have to win every state if the election were held tomorrow. If a state is not listed, that is because the odds of victory are either 100% or 0%. If a state is listed that Matt did not list, I did the poll calculations myself:

Chance of Kerry Victory By State
Pennsylvania: 98%
New Hampshire: 89%
Wisconsin: 89%
Minnesota: 89%
Hawaii: 88%
Florida: 80%
Iowa: 79%
Maine: 77%
Missouri: 73%
Nevada: 59%
Tennessee: 59%
West Virginia: 59%
Ohio: 55%
Arizona: 37%
Arkansas: 37%
North Carolina: 20%
Colorado: 10%
Virginia: 10%
South Carolina: 4%

Without these states, Kerry has 204 and Bush 134. At 88% or higher, Kerry���s states equal 253 electoral votes. At 73% or higher, Kerry���s states equal 302 electoral votes. At 55% or higher, Kerry���s states equal 343 electoral votes. Florida, with an 80% chance of a Kerry victory, puts him over 270.

This is crude, but it is a start. As soon as I finish the Access database with a complete list of around 600 final polls in races with well-known incumbents that compares the polls to the election results, I will hopefully be able to calculate these percentages with far greater accuracy.

Posted at 12:43 AM in General | Comments (28) | Technorati

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Following Up

Posted by DavidNYC

Two stories in the NYT caught my eye today, because they both relate to issues that we discussed here in the past week or so. The first is this piece on how various state-level anti-gay marriage amendments might increase the pro-Bush turnout. The state most likely to be affect by this is - sigh - Ohio.

The other is a long-ish feature piece on how the Bush administration has quietly used its regulatory rule-making powers to reward its corporate friends. Due to the national focus on Iraq & terrorism, nearly all of these changes in adminstrative law have happened outside of the public view. The director of the Sierra Club says that when people are told about these changes in focus groups - which include things like allowing already-fatigued truckers to drive even longer shifts - they can scarcely believe them. I'm not surprised.

Also, the NYT continues its series on the swing states - they are now up to Wisconsin. I particularly love the county vote maps.

UPDATE: David Sirota has more on the issue of big business & regulation in a new piece in The Prospect.

Posted at 03:59 PM in General | Comments (2) | Technorati

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Kerry Kicking Ass in Gore States

Posted by Chris Bowers

(Cross posted from MyDD.)

The number of Gore states that appear vulnerable to Bush pickups in 2004 is rapidly shrinking. Here is a state-by-state rundown of Kerry���s strengths in key Gore states:

Michigan. The last two Survey USA polls out of Michigan showed double-digit leads for Kerry (52-41 and 51-41 three-way). Three consecutive Zogby polls in the state have shown Kerry up by at least 7.5 in three way matchups in the state. However, the coup de grace is the latest EPIC/MRA poll where Bush is down seven in the trial heat at only 42, reaches an astonishing 52% unfavorable rating, (-6 favorable ratio to Kerry���s +10), and registers only 34% right track. I was worried about Michigan for a while, but I am not anymore. The national shift among Muslim-Americans from majority Bush supporters to an almost perfectly solid anti-Bush voting block (3% approval rating among Muslims nationwide) is probably the main cause for this, since Michigan has the largest Muslim population of any state in the country.

New Jersey. A few wags, including Safire and Scheinder, have crowed lately about polls supposedly showing New Jersey to be a toss-up. However, I would simply direct them to the latest Q-poll from the state (Kerry up 52-38, 22 ahead of Bush in favorable ratio), Rasmussen (Kerry up 51-38) Star-Ledger / Eagleton-Rutgers (Kerry up 52-32 and 39 ahead of Bush in favorable ratio) and, best of all, up 52-40 with Bush at 49% unfavorables in the latest out of New Jersey from pro-Republican pollster Strategic Vision. Just like in 2000, New Jersey is deep blue. The FDU poll showing otherwise is either an outlier, poorly done, or both.

New Mexico. New Mexico was the second closest state in 2000, and has consistently been a toss-up for two decades now. However, a number of events have transpired to help Kerry this time around. First, in 2004 ex-felons will be allowed to vote for the first time in decades. Second, Nader is not on the ballot, but Libertarian candidate Badnarik is. Further, Badnarik is running hard in the state, including anti-Bush TV and radio ads. Third, the popular and powerful Bill Richardson is now Governor. Fourth, New Mexico has the highest percentage of Latinos of any state in the nation, and since 2000 Latinos have constituted the vast majority of population growth to the point where they are now the largest group in the state. As kos recently pointed out, Bush is losing ground among Latinos this year. There has not been much polling out of New Mexico this year, but what little has dribbled out has been good for Kerry. In early July, ARG showed Kerry up 51-43, and Zogby has shown Kerry ahead in three way matchups with Nader instead of Badnarik. While the two previous Zogby polls showed Kerry with large leads of 8 and 10 points respectively, the latest only shows Kerry up by 2. While this single poll raises cause for concern, at the very least this state is now lean-Dem instead of a toss-up. I will be keeping an eye on future polling to see if the Zogby numbers are confirmed.

Oregon. I have previously written about Kerry���s consistent strong showing in Oregon. The latest Zogby poll showed Kerry���s lead dropping to only 4 points (every other poll for months had shown Kerry up eight or more), but Zogby still includes Nader, who is not on the ballot in Oregon. When Kerry���s lead dropped, Nader���s total went up. Either way, Kerry has been at 50% or higher in every non-partisan poll out of Oregon since early May. When the challenger is at 50% or higher, the well-known incumbent wins less than 2% of the time.

Pennsylvania. Like Oregon, I have previously written about Kerry���s consistent strength in Pennsylvania. Kerry's lead in the state has become so large and been confirmed from so many sources, that in three separate interviews at the convention I saw Ed Rendell asked about it. Since the time I wrote that article, Survey USA has shown Kerry with a 53-41 lead over Bush, the LA Times found Kerry up 48-38 in a three-way matchup, Zogby shows Kerry���s three-way trial heat lead increasing to 8 points, and even pro-GOP Strategic Vision has shown Kerry up 51-43 with Bush at a ���1 favorable ratio and Kerry at +12. Nader will have a close call to make the PA ballot. Kerry is clearly up big here, and the internals make it appear as though his lead will only continue to increase. These numbers certainly make me feel proud.

Washington. All seven non-partisan polls out of Washington since early June have shown Kerry up by at least 7.4 points. Every single non-partisan poll since Dean dropped out has never shown Bush closer than 4, or higher than 45 in trial heats. History shows that when a well-known incumbent is always losing and never above 45, that incumbent loses 100% of the time. Washington is solid blue.

Among Gore states, this leaves only Iowa, Maine���s 2nd CD, Minnesota and Wisconsin vulnerable to Bush pickups. Of course, that is not to say that Kerry looks bad in these states:

In Iowa, only Zogby has had Bush over 46 since Kerry became the presumptive nominee, and right now Zogby only has Bush at 46.1.

Maine���s 2nd CD No info. Pollsters never seem to bother to notice the way Maine dishes out its Electoral Votes.

Minnesota is a reversal of Iowa, as Zogby has shown consistent Kerry strength, but with the exception of the June Rasmussen poll, all others polls since March have shown a close race. Then again, no poll from Minnesota has shown Bush above the 45-point incumbent death line except Strategic Vision, which had Kerry at +16 favorable ratio and Bush at ���2.

Wisconsin is unquestionably Bush���s best chance for a pickup this time around. This was one of Kerry���s poorest primary states, Nader will be on the ballot, and three separate polling organizations since June have shown Bush leading here. Still, Bush has reached 48 or higher only once in Wisconsin, in the consistently pro-GOP Badger poll from late April. While Bush is in the game here, Kerry is still in the stronger position.

So, even in these states where Kerry does not seem to be in an overwhelming position of power, he still looks good. In fact, of the literally hundreds of state polls taken since Super Tuesday, Bush has hit 50 in a Gore state only twice: the Badger poll I just linked where he had 50, and the May 24 Iowa Zogby poll, where Bush was at 50.1. Kerry is extremely well positioned to hold the entire Gore battleground. His position is so strong that he should be able to spend a significant majority of resources working on the 10 electoral votes from Bush states that he needs to win. As Charlie Cook has written, Bush needs to shift the fundamentals of this race to have a chance.

Posted at 01:47 PM in General | Comments (10) | Technorati

Watching the Predictors

Posted by DavidNYC

Ed Fitzgerald, a frequent commenter here and proprietor of the Unfutz blog, offers an incomparable meta-survey of just about every single electoral college prediction under the sun, including Chris's GECC. The most recent edition of Ed's electoral college survey shows (unsurprisingly) that virtually everyone with a dog in this fight is predicting a Kerry win at the moment. I like these odds.

Also, if you haven't seen it yet, check out MyDD's interactive electoral map. It's the simplest and quickest I've seen so far, and it also shows each state in proportional size (based, it appears, on this WaPo map). The standard red vs. blue maps make Bush look more powerful than he was in 2000 - but population-wise, of course, we were dead even.

Posted at 02:03 AM in General | Comments (7) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

How Do YOU Rank the Swing States?

Posted by DavidNYC

It's a debate I have often, both with myself and with others: Which states are the bona-fide top-tier swing states, the real battlegrounds, the swingiest of the swing? I suppose there are a few ways you could define this category: True "toss-up" states which you think are really 50-50 to go either way; states which could flip from 2000 without any other states flipping; states where the most time/money/effort is being spent by the campaigns; close states with the most EVs at stake. But all these ideas get at essentially the same thing.

Put another way, how would you rank the the swing states, from "most swingy" to "least swingy?" At the top of my list, I'd put Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Mexico, West Virginia and maybe Nevada & Oregon and then maybe Minnesota. Some states are definitely at the bottom of the list. For example, I can't imagine us winning Arizona but not winning New Mexico. And I can't imagine us losing Washington but winning Oregon.

So how do you rank the swing states?

Posted at 08:30 PM in General | Comments (55) | Technorati

Friday, August 06, 2004

Hate Amendment on the Ballot in Several Swing States

Posted by DavidNYC

As you may know, the state of Missouri voted this week to amend its state constitution to explicitly prohibit gay marriage. (I'm personally of the opinion that these kinds of laws will ultimately run afoul of the federal Constitution's full faith and credit clause, particularly as it relates to the issue of gay divorce - but that's neither here nor there for the purposes of this blog.) What's especially distressing - beyond the actual vote - is the fact that turnout was up dramatically. Considering this was an August primary, I'm amazed that 41% of voters came out (when the usual range is 15% to 25%).

This becomes a real problem because similar measures are on the ballot in other swing states this fall: Arkansas, Michigan, Oregon and, yes, Ohio. Everyone expects the vote in Ohio to be especially close this year. I'll be beside myself if we lose that state because hatred and fear drive record numbers of voters to the polls to vote for an abomination of an amendment - and pull the lever for George Bush while they're at it. The Missouri turnout is really troubling. This whole thing could wind up being a big sleeper issue for the GOP.

Posted at 12:15 AM in General | Comments (22) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Putting Zogby Interactive Through the Wringer

Posted by DavidNYC

In a DKos diary, ProfAlan does the hard work of actually comparing Zogby's "Interactive" poll results with traditional polls. His conclusion? Zogby "acquits itself pretty well." ProfAlan compared Zogby's surveys to those taken around the same time in the same states, and it turns out that Zogby was close to the other pollsters in 10 cases, lean-Kerry in five and lean-Bush in one. This analysis inclines me to take these polls more seriously in the future - though it can be a bit challenging to digest sixteen different results all at once every two weeks.

Posted at 04:24 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Zogby's Latest Interactive Poll is Up

Posted by DavidNYC

I can't say I'm the biggest fan of Zogby's "interactive" battleground poll, but people seem to like discussing it, so who am I to stand in the way? The August 2nd edition is out. Some highlights:

�Ģ Eleven of 16 states are within the MoE. Some are real sqeakers separated by less than a point, such as MO.
�Ģ Bush only leads in three states, none outside the MoE (AR, NV, OH).
�Ģ Kerry has outside-the-MoE leads in NH, PA, MI, MN and WA (I think).


Posted at 12:51 AM in General | Comments (6) | Technorati

Friday, July 30, 2004

Kerry & Edwards Embark on Swing State Bus Tour

Posted by DavidNYC

Kerry & Edwards are hitting the ground running: Starting today, the Dems are going on a 21-state, 40-city bus tour that will last two weeks. Naturally, they're visiting all the major swing states, starting with Pennsylvania (hey, maybe he'll visit Ginny Schrader), West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan. I haven't been able to find an actual calendar on the (redesigned?) Kerry site, so if you find a link, please post it here. Bush, by the way, is also on a similar tour, but I have to believe the momentum is with Kerry right now. We are now acting, and the GOP is reacting.

One related note: The NYT's David Stout does something remarkably un-whorish in his article. Check this out:

Meanwhile, Mr. Bush ended his vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., and wasted no time in contrasting his platform to that of the Democrats, telling a campaign rally in Missouri: "They're going to raise your taxes, and we're not."

Mr. Kerry said Thursday night that he would roll back the tax cuts Mr. Bush enacted, but only for those earning more than $200,000 a year. (Emphasis added.)

By juxtaposing these two points right next to one another, Stout is basically saying that Bush is wildly exaggerating. It's a lot more compelling than the usual reportorial he-said/she-said because Stout doesn't go to some "Kerry campaign spokesman" for a weak-kneed rebuttal. Rather, he essentially quotes a Kerry policy plank, which is much more powerful. I'm not about to declare renewed faith in the media, but the fact that Stout conveyed this information honestly to his readers - and didn't bury it in the 20th paragraph - speaks very well of him. I also think it means we're getting better at getting our message out, though of course, it's a little bit easier when you have a massive convention by which to do it.

Of course, it's also very possible that Bush was addressing a crowd made up entirely of elite fat cats - his "base" as he famously called `em - in which case his remarks would have been exactly right.

Posted at 03:08 PM in General | Comments (14) | Technorati

Updated Swing State Map Available

Posted by DavidNYC

As promised, I updated the swing state map to show North Carolina as a battleground state. Yes, it violates my strict ��10% methodology a little bit, but I'm satisfied with Chris's research that shows that the VP selection can materially affect a state's vote. Also, NC was actually the second-least red of all the states outside the ��10% group (Georgia was the first state over that barrier). So it's not a huge stretch. (I also cleaned up the map to show all of Maine as a swing state, even if it is strongly leaning toward Kerry.) A color-blind reader suggest I use patterns rather than colors - I'll try to create a second, more color-blind friendly map if I get the chance.

Also, related to my question immediately below, Zogby already has a new national poll out, showing Kerry/Edwards ahead 48-43. Zogby's last pre-convention poll had Kerry ahead 48-46, so all this poll shows (so far) is that 3% moved from Bush into the undecided group. (I don't usually, if ever, mention national polls here, but it might be a few days before we see post-convention state polls.)

And lastly, speaking of maps, a number of people have recommended the LA Times' electoral vote tracker map. It's pretty & user-friendly, and it even plays a little song (is that supposed to be "Stars & Stripes Forever?") when one candidate reaches 270 EVs.

2004 Swing States

Posted at 12:14 AM in General, Maine, North Carolina, Site News | Comments (8) | Technorati

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Historical Convention Bounces

Posted by DavidNYC

The New York Times has a helpful graphic today showing convention bounces for all presidential candidates going back to 1964. Every single person but one saw a bounce - even Bob Dole did. (The lone exception was George McGovern in 1972, when an ugly rift opened up within the Democratic Party at the convention.) So the question isn't whether Kerry will see a bounce - the question is how big a bounce Kerry will see. Post your predictions in the comments below.


P.S. I really liked Kerry's speech tonight. I thought he delivered it very well & had a lot of good lines. I was moved.

Posted at 10:58 PM in General | Comments (4) | Technorati

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

Apartment hunting is the next thing keeping me busy - I need to find a place to live in DC for the coming year. Feel free to talk about new polls, the convention & what you predict the "bounce" will be. One bit of not-exactly-surprising swing state trivia coming out of the convention: Delegations from battleground states have gotten the best seats. There are some pretty snazzy maps available here. Looks like AZ, WV and AR didn't make it on to the floor, but tiny SD did. Hmm.

And man do I wish Barack Obama hailed from a swing state!

Posted at 03:22 AM in General | Comments (13) | Technorati

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

I've never put one of these up before, so I hope this inaugural open thread doesn't turn out to be a dud. I don't anticipate being able to post until late tonight, if at all. But since there's a spirited discussion going on in the already-crowded thread below, I wanted to open up some more room for comments.

Also, please feel free to post any new polls, swing state news, cool sites, math debates, etc. Just don't wreck the place while I'm gone!

Posted at 09:35 AM in General | Comments (23) | Technorati

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Electoral Vote Predictor

Posted by DavidNYC

Many, many sites have crystal balls telling them how the election will turn out. Of course, the General Election Cattle Call (track record: 0-for-0, perfect!) is the best of them all. But I've come across some other interesting methodologies as well. One of the simplest (and most visually appealing) is the Electoral Vote Predictor. The owner of that site uses the latest poll he (or she) can find for each state and plugs `em into an electoral map. Good spreadsheets and charts abound.

David Wissing does something similar, albeit without the fancy maps. The two sites come to slightly different conclusions as of this precise moment, but I think it's because Wissing doesn't use Zogby's "interactive" polls, while the EVP does. Apparently, using Zogby favors Kerry, because he has a bigger lead on EVP.

Do you know of any other good sites which attempt to predict the outcome of the election, particularly those which use a state-by-state approach? Let us know in the comments.

Posted at 03:19 PM in General | Comments (91) | Technorati

Friday, July 09, 2004

Ohio, Pennsylvania Polls

Posted by Chris Bowers

You down with OPP? Yeah, you know Rasmussen. June 1-30, 500 LV statewide. MoE 5 (May 16-June 15 results in parenthesis)

Bush 46 (46)
Kerry 42 (43)

Kerry 48 (47)
Bush 43 (45)

According to these polls, both states are nearly identical to 2000. So far in this election, the polling from Pennsylvania has looked good, and the numbers from Ohio have been all over the map. If Kerry can win Ohio, the election will be his.

Posted at 04:33 PM in General | Comments (24) | Technorati

Multi-State Poll Roundup

Posted by DavidNYC

I'm a little pressed for time at the moment, so I'll just go ahead and point you over to Markos's poll round-up. He has about a bazillion states there.

Posted at 01:58 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Quickie Insta-Poll on Edwards

Posted by DavidNYC

CNN did a quick poll today (with an MoE of ��5%) about Edwards. I think the screen caps show it better than text alone would:




The "choice of running mate" number in the first panel looks very good, but I was especially glad to see the results in the third panel. Evidently, the phrase "trial lawyer" isn't as automatically toxic as many Republicans might hope. I also just finished the first section of Edwards' book Four Trials and I found it to be very moving and humanizing.

One other thing: I came across a new Annenberg poll (PDF) via Polling Report. Edwards currently gets a 31-17 fave/unfave rating, with 29% "neutral" and 22% undecided. His spread among independents is a nifty 36-8. The same poll put Kerry at 40-36-18-6. (MoE: ��3%.)

I can't wait for the next NC poll.

(Images thanks to Al Rodgers.)

Posted at 01:46 AM in General, North Carolina | Comments (9) | Technorati

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Swing State Roundup Redux

Posted by DavidNYC

TAP had a new Purple People Watch column out last week. It's almost entirely about the Senate races shaping up in the various battleground states.

Meanwhile, Slate has slowly continued its state-by-state series. I should say very slowly: In a month, they've only done two states. Gotta pick up the pace, fellas. Unfortunately, they've changed authors for the latest installment. The tolerable Chris Suellentrop wrote the first piece (on Missouri), but now they have the odious Lord Saletan penning the current piece on West Virginia. Maybe I'll wade through it (it's a three-part "diary" format) at some point. Or maybe I won't.

One really frustrating thing is the Economist's swing state series. All of the articles seem to wind up behind their subscription wall eventually. But for a brief period of time, they sometimes provide a link to the story for free - and that link seems to never expire. I was able to dig up working links for their entries on Pennsylvania and New Mexico. If you can extract links to any other stories in this series, please post `em here.

UPDATE: Okay, so I decided to read Saletan's WV diary, and it's not half-bad. It's pretty striking how conservative West Virginia is - striking because the state has so often voted Democrat in the past, and there's a good chance it'll do so again this year. The trick, says Saletan, is to appeal to protectionist sentiments and to demonstrate appropriate fealty to the military, something war veteran Kerry can actually do.

But Saletan does make one (pretty glaring) error. He says that West Virginians respect authority and have switched to the GOP when a Republican incumbent was running for re-election. (WV went red in `56, `72 and `84). The big problem with this thesis is `92, when incumbent Bush p��re lost. And back then, I'm willing to bet that economic issues did old number 41 in - just like they might once again.

UPDATE: Carl in the comments provides a link for the Economist's Arizona piece. I had also previously posted a link to the inaugural Ohio article.

Posted at 04:28 PM in Arizona, General, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, West Virginia | Comments (4) | Technorati

Buncha Polls (FL, CO & Zogby)

Posted by DavidNYC

I've been behind on posting about a few recent polls, so here's an all-at-once glance:

Colorado - Mason-Dixon (no trendlines):

Kerry: 43
Bush: 48
Nader: 3
Undecided: 6
(MoE: ��3.5%)

Bush's favorability at 47-39; job approval at exactly 50-50. Don't forget that Colorado might wind up splitting its EVs this year. If so, polls like this are great news for us.

Florida - Quinnipiac (no trendlines):

Kerry: 43
Bush: 43
Nader: 5
Undecided: 9
(MoE: ��2.8%)

Kerry has a slight lead (46-44) without Nader in the mix. Job approval is 46-52. Favorability is 42-42-15 (the last number is "mixed"). Kerry's split is 30-33-23.

Also, Zogby posted an update to his bi-weekly battleground poll last week. Florida, Nevada, Michigan and West Virginia all moved into Bush's column, while Arkansas and New Mexico came over to Kerry.

And lastly, if you haven't already, you should go read Chris's post over at MyDD about Ralph Nader's failure to get the Green Party nomination. Chris says it's the end of the line for Ralph, because now he's got no ballot lines and virtually no money. I still think a late infusion of GOP cash could turn the tide for Nader, but this is nonetheless a very good development for Kerry.

Posted at 12:34 AM in Colorado, Florida, General | Comments (5) | Technorati

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

John Anderson, Ralph Nader & Ballot Access

Posted by DavidNYC

A while back, in the context of discussing Ralph Nader's drive to get on the ballot in all 50 states, I wondered aloud how John Anderson did it in 1980. Anderson ran as an independent, just as Nader is now. In 2000, Nader had the support of the Green Party, which helped get him on the ballot around the country. But without that third-party support, Nader's going to have a much tougher time this year. (Though what's left of the Reform Party did give Nader ballot lines in seven states, and Ralph has been courting the Greens once again.)

Anyhow, at the Kerry fundraiser I attended on Monday, I was fortunate enough to meet a seasoned political veteran who held a top post with the Anderson campaign. I asked him how they got on the ballot, seeing as they had no institutional support. He told me, quite simply, that the Anderson campaign spent almost every penny it had in order to do so - and that they had lawyers willing to work pro bono.

I don't know what kind of money Nader is capable of raising, but I think that his organization will wind up being as taxed as Anderson's was, if not more so. Democrats are determined to play hardball; as an example, the current wrangling going on over ballot access in Arizona suggests to me that Nader will have big legal bills piling up soon. And I do believe Nader's going to have to pay for his attorneys - rather than get them pro bono, as the Anderson campaign did - seeing as he's had to pay for signature gatherers.

As the summer marches on and Ralph tries to qualify for the ballot in other swing states, we'll see if he's got the cash for this battle. But if he wants to spend his money qualifying in places like Texas, then, by all means, he oughta do so.

UPDATE: I realize my thinking was a little bit muddled on this one. Anderson clearly paid for signatures - that's why the fellow I spoke with said they spent all their money on their ballot access effort. And just because Nader has paid for signatures this time around doesn't necessarily mean that he'll also have to pay for legal work. But the key difference is that Nader's ballot access efforts in 2000 went (as far as I know) mostly unopposed. This time, he'll need to find lawyers - whether paid or unpaid - no matter what. And he'll also have to collect more signatures as a buffer against any challenges. The bottom line is that this process will be a lot more costly for him than the last time around.

Posted at 03:54 AM in General | Comments (6) | Technorati

Monday, June 14, 2004

Why Downticket Races Matter

Posted by DavidNYC

I stressed one point tonight in my little talk at the Kerry fundraiser mentioned below: It's not enough for us just to win the White House. If we want to be able to accomplish anything at all - whether we're talking legislation or appointing federal judges - we need to take back Congress as well. Clinton spent six years fighting off a hostile GOP House and Senate every day. To undo the damage Bush has done, we're going to need the Presidency and one if not both branches of Congress.

So what does this have to do with the Swing State Project? Well, in certain cases, we get to kill two birds with one well-aimed stone. By supporting House and Senate candidates in swing states, we increase our chances of winning the state for Kerry and recapturing Congress. On the Senate side, we've got several great candidates: Joe Hoeffel running in PA, Nancy Farmer in MO and Eric Fingerhut in OH. And once Florida, Louisiana, and Colorado sort out their primaries, we should have strong opportunities there as well.

The House side is a little more complicated, with so many more races to keep track of. But to give one example of what I mean, check out Markos' post about Ohio. Though OH is a very large state, political observers thought until recently that every member, D and R, of Ohio's House delegation was safe. Turns out now that three insurgent Democrats - Ben Konop, Jane Mitakides, and Jeff Seemann - have all made things a lot more interesting, simply by putting up a fight.

Now, I'm not saying we'll win all these races - far from it. But each of these candidates - whether a big name like Farmer or a smaller player like Seemann - is making Republicans sweat. As I've written previously, every time we fight for a seat, regardless of our odds of winning, we prevent incumbent GOPers from fundraising for their buddies and force them to defend their home turf.

And when we combine this attitude - that we'll make every election a serious battle - with a focus on swing states, we can really hit one out of the park: taking back the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and Capitol Hill.

UPDATE: I'm very pleased to see that Markos has selected Jeff Seemann as one of the "DKos 8" - Congressional candidates to whom the Kos community is pledging their full support. Read the post, though: Jeff's district (Ohio's 16th) is home to one of the most important "swing counties" in Ohio. If we really show up in force for Jeff, we can make things a lot harder for Dubya in the Buckeye State.

Posted at 09:38 PM in General, Ohio | Technorati

Speaking Engagement

Posted by DavidNYC

Tonight, I'm doing my first bit of public speaking since my Dean campaign days - I'm talking at a Kerry house party-style fundraiser at Cafe St. Bart's here in NYC. Naturally, I'm going to talk about swing state activism. (I'm billed right after former New York City Public Advocate and one-time Senate and Mayoral candidate Mark Green - cool!) I'm off right now, so wish me luck!

Posted at 05:47 PM in General | Comments (4) | Technorati

Friday, June 11, 2004

Swing State Roundup

Posted by DavidNYC

TAP's Purple People Watch update is out this week. They have some more details on the efforts to keep Nader off the ballot in AZ, and some info on Kerry's attempts to woo the Latino vote, both in Florida and New Mexico.

Sadly (to me, at least), it seems that Bill Richardson won't be our VP nominee. I've heard that he has problems of a... hmm, shall we say, Clintonian variety in his past. Not that that ever stopped the Big Dog, but I can more than understand why Kerry would be reluctant to have someone with "issues" like this on his ticket. Hopefully, though, we'll see many more years of great service out of Richardson.

Posted at 05:17 PM in General | Comments (4) | Technorati

The Empirical Nader Effect

Posted by DavidNYC

When I see a poll that does a version with and without Nader, I often feel that there's something of a Nader effect - ie, that Ralph is distinctly drawing more votes away from John Kerry than from George Bush. Ed, a frequent commenter here and proprietor of his own blog, Unfutz, has actually crunched the numbers and turned a suspicion into cold, hard fact.

Nationally, says Ed, Nader draws 1.53% from Kerry. It doesn't sound like a lot, but in a very close election, such a margin can mean a great deal. At MyDD, Chris calculates the 2000 Nader effect (based on exit polls) at 0.65%. This means that right now, Nader is hurting Kerry almost a full point worse than he hurt Gore four years ago.

As Chris points out, Nader is likely polling far better now than he actually will on election day. Several polls have shown Nader pulling an implausible 8% in various states. What I'd love to see now is what kind of Nader effect polls in June of 2000 were showing.

Posted at 01:07 PM in General | Comments (6) | Technorati

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Rasmussen's Electoral College Overview

Posted by DavidNYC

I know Rasmussen comes in for a fair amount of abuse in the lefty blogosphere, and some of that criticism may well be deserved. But ya gotta give the guy credit for working overtime: Almost no one (except perhaps Zogby, with those lazy Internet-based polls) releases numbers on so many different states so often.

So take a gander, if you care to, at Rasmussen's overall electoral college projection. Unlike the fearless Chris Bowers, Ras insists on maintaining a "toss-up" category, which includes any state where a candidate's lead is less than 5 points. The numbers (as of June 9) are:

Kerry: 227
Bush: 177
Toss-Up: 134

You can take a look at all of Rasmussen's recent state polls here, if you want to see which states he's considering toss-ups right now.

Posted at 02:34 AM in General | Technorati

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Zogby Battleground Poll Update

Posted by DavidNYC

Though it uses a somewhat unusual (some say questionable) methodology, the Zogby Battleground Poll is handy because it gives us a bi-weekly snapshot of pretty much all the swing states all in one place.

This is the second poll in this series. Changes from the first poll: Kerry takes the lead in IA and WV, while Bush picks up MO, NM and OH. Though Kerry's overall lead in this poll has narrowed, Zogby shows him picking up FL, NH & NV (in addition to WV), while Bush only picks up NM. So this still gives us a fairly decent win in the electoral college, 296-242.

Ed at Unfutz has a more detailed breakdown of the poll.

Posted at 11:33 AM in General | Technorati

Monday, June 07, 2004

Latest in the Long Line of SSP Clones: Slate

Posted by DavidNYC

Like the Economist and the American Prospect, Slate has launched a series analyzing the swing states. Now that it's summer, these Johnny-come-latelies are finally interested in swing states. Well, welcome aboard, fellas!

Check out the map: They're saying that CO, LA and VA aren't swing, but that NJ and TN are. NJ? Okay, if you say so. Anyhow, Slate's first stop is Missouri. Chris Suellentrop quotes a former Gephardt pollster who says that Kerry has no chance at winning MO - or if he does, it'll only be in a landslide. Then Suellentrop tries to back this up by spending a whole bunch of time arguing that city slicker-types fare poorly statewide in MO.

Fine, this may be a valid point. But the fact is, the last Rasmussen poll was a dead heat, 44-43 Bush. You really can't just ignore polling data - or if you are going to, you have to say why. Suellentrop's piece provides some good color on what politicking in MO is like, and I appreciate the fact that he (unlike me) can do some actualy, on-the-ground reporting. But in the face of polls showing a close race, I don't find his analysis convincing.

(Thanks to Alan.)

Posted at 01:21 PM in General | Comments (15) | Technorati

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Swing Voters in Swing States Sour on Bush

Posted by DavidNYC

People complain (rightly) that the electoral college narrows the focus of presidential campaigns to just a handful of states - this year, around 20. But it's even worse than that, because in those states, the only voters that candidates really pay attention to are the undecideds in the middle. Sure, there's always a certain amount of "shoring up your base," but the crucial task, it seems, is to capture the center while still holding on to your flank.

And the number of undecided voters is especially tiny: An Annenberg survey says that just 11% of voters are actually swing voters. The population of the 20 battleground states in this poll is some 106 million, according to the 2002 census figures. (Their list leaves out VA and TN, but includes DE.) That's about 36.6% of the overall US population of 288 million. So already we're down to about a third of all possible Americans.

But multiply that 106 million by 11% and you're down to a mere 11.6 million voters deciding this election. That's just 4% of the entire country. The good news is that these folks have more negative views of Bush than the population at large. They give him lower marks on overall approval, approval of his handling of Iraq and approval of his handling of the economy. We should be able to do well among this group.

This is also a good opportunity to take another look at the issue of electoral college reform (previously discussed here and here).

Now, without the electoral college, candidates from both parties would be forced instead to campaign (and advertise) in the largest population centers. If you look at the list of what the Census Bureau calls "Metropolitan Statistical Areas," almost 130 are in or partially in swing states. (And since I'm going by the Annenberg list, I'm not including VA.)

I'm certain that campaigns don't advertise in every single one of these media markets, but they probably hit most of `em. So I'm going to make the following assumption (feel free to disagree): If we had a national popular election instead of the electoral college, campaigns would likely focus their attention on the top 75 to 100 population centers. Yes, this list is more expensive to advertise in because now you're including New York & LA - but you're also hitting a lot more people on this list.

How many, exactly? Using 1997 numbers (the most recent I could find, broken down this way), the 75 largest metro areas (ranging from NYC down to Witchita, KS) had a population of 170 million. That's already a major improvement - that number was 64% of the overall 1997 population of 266 million. Even if you only hit the MSAs with a population over one million (that takes you as far as Palm Beach - sigh), you'd still cover 150 million people, or 56% of the country.

Eleven percent of that most conservative number (150 million) gives you 16.5 million, or 6.2% of the 1997 population. Now, this still isn't a very big number, and of course all elections will actually be decided by a small subset of voters. But it's more than 50% better than the present 4% that Annenberg says matter right now. And of course, a national popular vote is a fairer, more democratic way to vote for president. We can always dream.

UPDATE: Reader Dennis writes in to point out a very obvious error I made: The population figures I used were for the population at large, not just the number of registered voters. So the actual number of undecided voters is far smaller, though I believe overall my argument - that more voters would be targeted in a national election - still holds.

Posted at 05:24 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Assessing the Accuracy of Polls

Posted by DavidNYC

Gary in the comments of a post below points us to a short but useful article from a few years back by the National Council on Public Polls. The NCPP examined the accurary of all the major polling organizations based on their predictions for the 2000 election. The best was Harris. The worst was Rasmussen, which used a very strange method of collecting answers.

Anyhow, as they say on Wall Street, past performance is no guarantee of future results. But this list is handy inasmuch as it provides a brief track-record for the big polling outfits. I'd love to see a more comprehensive analysis done over a longer time-period. When I get back from my college reunion (five years, wow) later this weekend, I'll poke around for something along those lines.

Posted at 01:50 PM in General | Technorati

Friday, June 04, 2004

Rasmussen Poll Roundup

Posted by DavidNYC

Kos has a big Rasmussen poll roundup, including swing states MO, OH, OR, PA and VA. And how do ya like this: We're back one point in MO, two in OH, one in OR, one in PA and (this is somewhat amazing to me) just two in VA. No trendlines on VA, but that's still mighty close. (MoE's for each of these polls are different, ranging from 3% to 5%.)

Posted at 09:33 PM in General | Comments (5) | Technorati

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

The State of the States

Posted by Chris Bowers

There hasn���t been much in the way of new national polling over the past week, leaving the General Election Cattle Call without much new to report. So, I���ll go ahead and give updates on how I currently project the campaign in all twenty-seven states that analysts even remotely consider "swing" (I���m the analyst who feels that way about Georgia):

Illinois: Kerry +17.4

Delaware: Kerry +17.2

California: Kerry +13.0

New Jersey: Kerry +11.2

Maine: Kerry +9.2

Washington: Kerry +8.4

Minnesota: Kerry +8.0

Pennsylvania: Kerry +7.8

Wisconsin: Kerry +6.4

New Hampshire: Kerry +6.2

Michigan: Kerry +5.8

New Mexico: Kerry +4.6

Oregon: Kerry +4.4

Iowa: Kerry +2.6

Ohio: Kerry +2.6

Florida: Kerry +2.2

Nevada: Kerry +2.2

Missouri: Kerry +2.0

Tennessee: Bush +1.2

West Virginia: Bush +2.3

Arizona: Bush +2.6

Arkansas: Bush +3.1

Virginia: Bush + 3.9

Colorado: Bush +4.3

North Carolina: Bush +6.2

Georgia: Bush +7.6

Louisiana: Bush +13.6

Not bad for June. Not bad at all.

My methodology behind these posts is explained here.

[Addendum: Looks like Swami Chris has 5 states changing hands: NH, OH, FL, NV, MO. By my count, those states total 67 EVs, giving Kerry a 327 to 211 win. - David]

Posted at 09:05 PM in General | Comments (7) | Technorati

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Electoral College Reform Revisited

Posted by DavidNYC

Back in the very early days of this blog (aka last October), I wrote a post about electoral college reform. It produced a great set of comments which, if you're a numbers geek, I highly recommend checking out. Anyhow, I was primarily discussing what would happen if every state adopted a system like ME and NE's - where EVs are awarded for the winner of each Congressional District, and the overall popular vote winner gets the final two EVs.

At the end, I asked what I thought was a throwaway question, though it wound up sparking most of the comments:

Could a state pass a law appointing electors simply in proportion to the total popular vote won? I don't see why not. Article II �� 1 of the US Constitution says: "Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress." Seems like the states have free reign here.

The consensus was that, nationally, such a move would likely be bad for the Dems. But in particular states, it might help. And indeed, in Colorado, one group is apparently attempting to establish such a regime via ballot measure.

While this would help Dems in Colorado (had this system been in place in 2000, Gore would have gotten 2 of CO's EVs, rather than zero), it would hurt the Dems if it were adopted nationwide. And if such a system passes in CO, you can bet that Republicans in big Dem states (like CA, where getting an initiative on the ballot is easy, or NY, where both the Governor and State Senate are Republican) will try to push for similar measures there. In short, this is a war we don't want to start, as this right-wing columnist correctly observes.

Interestingly, while poking around for more information on the CO ballot measure, I discovered that a similar effort is underway in Missouri. Brad Ketcher, former chief of staff to the late Mel Carnahan, is apparently circulating petitions for two different electoral reform plans: One just like that in CO and one identical to the ME/NE system. Neither seem to have been given a spot on the ballot yet.

I couldn't find out any more info on this topic - most of the news about MO ballot measures concerns an attempt to ban gay marriage. (Sigh.) If any locals know any more about this (especially if you've been asked to sign this petition), I'd be grateful if you could let me know.

And again, while this system would have helped Gore in MO in 2000 - indeed, the straight-proportional plan would have split the state's EVs 6-5 and tipped the entire election to Gore - we really don't want to go down this path. If you want empirical confirmation of that, I once again suggest that you check out the comments to my old post mentioned above. And if we can win MO this year - which I think we can - then this system would hurt us.

My personal feeling is that the only appropriate voting reform is to abolish the electoral college and go to a national popular vote. This would, however, require a constitutional amendment. And since such a move would draw down the power of small states (and hence, Republicans), this is just never gonna happen.

(RMN column thanks to John Smith.)

Posted at 01:08 AM in Colorado, General, Missouri | Comments (8) | Technorati

Saturday, May 29, 2004

All State Voting Trends

Posted by Chris Bowers

On Friday, on a day off, I spent literally the entire day producing this chart that shows the partisan index in every state since 1976 (after clicking the link, you will need to scroll down the page to see the chart). I think it reveals at least two particularly interesting pieces of information.

First, as a commenter in the thread noticed, there in fact does appear to be an ���Emerging Democratic Majority.��� Over the past seven election cycles, states with a combined electoral total of 233 are trending Democrat, while states with a combined electoral total of 188 are trending Republican. It would appear that good times are ahead.

Second, Perot clearly did not cost Bush the 1992 election. The partisan index measures the degree to which a state favors a party relative to the way the rest of the nation favors that party. This being the case, it would follow that if more typically GOP partisans had indeed swung to Perot than had typically Democratic partisans, the 1992 partisan index would reveal and anomalous pro-DNC swing due to a temporarily eroded Republican base.

However, only a handful of states that Clinton won show such trends. Perot definitely seems to have caused Bush to lose Georgia, as the usually double-digit pro-GOP partisan index in that state cratered at +5.0 GOP in 1992. The same goes for Nevada, which relatively favored the GOP by 13.2 in 1988 and 7.5 in 1996, but only by 2.9 in 1992. I���ll grant that without Perot, Bush probably wins both states.

Looking at the chart, however, only Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire and Tennessee are other possible states that Perot swung to Clinton. Still, even if Bush had won all of these states as well as Georgia and Nevada, Clinton swould have won the Electoral College 315-223. Further, there is no conclusive evidence that Perot actually cost Bush any of these other six states:

While Colorado had a PI of GOP +9.9 in 1996, far different from 1992���s PI of GOP +1.4, in 1988 the PI in Colorado was only GOP +0.1. It would appear that Colorado didn���t like Bush I either time he was the GOP nominee.

While Kentucky had a PI of GOP +7.6 in 1996, far different from 1992���s GOP +2.5, in 1984 Kentucky also had a PI of GOP +2.5. In 1988, Kentucky���s index was GOP +3.9.

Maine? Don���t even think about Maine. Bush finished third in every single county in Maine in 1992. If anything, Bush cost Perot Maine in 1992.

While Montana had an index of GOP +11.4 in 1996, far different from 1992���s GOP +3.1, in 1988 Montana actually was actually DNC +1.9. Like Kentucky, their pro-GOP swing did not seem to start in full-force until the 1996 cycle.

While New Hampshire���s 1988 index of +18.4 GOP in 1988 is shockingly different than 1992���s GOP +4.3, in 1996 the partisan index in NH was DNC +1.3. By 1992, New Hampshire was trending Democratic anyway.

Tennessee definitely cratered for the GOP in 1992, but having then Senator Gore, who at the time ws still a "real Southerner" on the ticket might just as well have been the cause for the pro-DNC swing as Perot.

Of course, like I already noted, even if I am wrong about all of these states, that means Clinton would still have won 315-223. No other state shows evidence of Perot costing Bush victory. Perot did not cost Bush the 1992 election--not even close. That is one popular myth that can be put to bed.

Posted at 06:38 PM in General | Comments (12) | Technorati

Friday, May 28, 2004

Kerry's Ad Buy is Working

Posted by DavidNYC

Chris Bowers, guest-poster around these parts & brain behind the GECC, also has a regular gig over at the great grand-daddy of many liberal blogs, Jerome Armstrong's MyDD. Go read what he has to say about Kerry's big ad buy.

To make a short story even shorter: Kerry's favorable-unfavorable ratings in the 20 battleground states (that includes CO and LA, if you're counting) stood at 36-35 in late April, before his ads went up. By mid-May, according to UPenn's Annenberg poll, that spread jumped to 44-32. (With an MoE of 3%.) Over a similar time period, Bush moved from 48-38 to 44-44. So Kerry goes from +1 to +12, while Bush shrinks from +10 to 0. Wow.

I've long believed that this race would be decided very narrowly. I think I'm coming around to the Bowers view that we might just crush the crap out of these SOBs.

Posted at 01:17 AM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Purple People Watch

Posted by DavidNYC

There's a new Purple People Watch column up at TAP. The PPW is the only other place I've seen so far (apart from this ol' site) that's dorky enough to say about Maine: "It's less a battleground state than a battleground congressional district." (Thanks to Maine's unusual process for awarding electoral votes.) I'd love to see some more polling from ME - the last one, taken ages ago, gave Kerry a huge lead - but my instincts tell me it's not seriously in play.

In Missouri, Kerry's finally appointed a campaign chief - but, oddly, he won't start work until mid-June. The bad news is that Bush has had someone in place for half a year. The good news (I guess) is that Kerry's setting up shop in MO before Gore and Clinton did.

And following up on a previous item, Kerry did raise the issue of Yucca Mountain on a trip to Nevada back on May 17th. I hope he starts airing ads on the subject, because Nevadans seem to be hopping mad at Bush on this topic - the Las Vegas Sun uses the verboten "L-word" and outright calls Bush a liar for backing down on his promise to halt the project.

Posted at 04:31 PM in General, Maine, Missouri, Nevada | Comments (1) | Technorati

Monday, May 24, 2004

At Long Last

Posted by DavidNYC

I finally really, really, really am done with the first year of law school - I just Fedexed my damn casenote for the damn journal write-on competition. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, consider yourself blessed.) What a nightmare: You finish final exams (which are hellish enough) only to have to suffer through yet another writing exercise - all for the privilege of spending your 2L year correcting footnotes in law journal articles.

My advice, which I think I've given before: Don't start a blog your 1L year. Alternately, do start a blog - you're going to need to procrastinate somehow.

Anyhow, Kos has a post up detailing Zogby's "battleground" poll. It looks interesting (and good for us, to boot). The only problem is, it's being conducted on the Internet. No one seems entirely clear about the precise methodology, but I have to assume it's a little more rigorous and controlled than your average AOL poll - after all, Zogby does have a rep to protect. If it turns out to be a serious poll, maybe then I'll take a closer look.

For now, though, I'm just gonna chill. Where's that beer?

Posted at 08:23 PM in General | Comments (3) | Technorati

Thursday, May 20, 2004

TAP's "Purple People Watch"

Posted by DavidNYC

Okay, so, the name's a little goofy, but The American Prospect has just launched a new weekly roundup of swing state news, called the "Purple People Watch." (In case you were wondering, some people refer to the swing states as "purple" - ie, a combination of red and blue.)

This week, they have tidbits on AZ, AR, FL, MI, MO, OH and OR. I like the quick-hit roundup format - it's what I aspire to do here, when I'm not busy working on longer pieces. Go check it out - it's very well-done - and watch John Kerry do his best Howard Dean rendition down in Arkansas:

While in the state, Kerry also fought for his own bragging rights on guns. "I'm a gun owner and a hunter," he said during his visit. "I've hunted since I was 12 years old. I still hunt. I've gone out on deer hunts. I used to hunt woodchuck as a kid, or squirrel or crow or whatever. I used to shoot birds. I still do."

Born on a military base in Colorado, heroic Vietnam service, likes to hunt. Hmm, maybe Kerry actually can shed the "Massachusetts liberal" label - if he can define himself before Team Bush does.

Posted at 04:13 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Kerry in the West

Posted by DavidNYC

Ralph (of the semi-eponymous MakesMeRalph) takes a look at Kerry in the Western and Southwestern swing states. One reason to think we'll do better in this region than last time: Al Gore essentially wrote off much of the West in 2000. Kerry's given every indication (so far) that he plans to compete out there. (The recent Colorado ad buy is one sign.) Given Kerry's vastly superior financial situation (compared to Gore's), I really do think we can be competitive across a wide swatch of the country. Even if we don't win states like CO, just by showing up there, we force Bush to divert resources from places like Ohio.

Posted at 08:04 PM in General | Technorati

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

WaPo Op-Ed Revisited

Posted by DavidNYC

The other day, I took issue with an op-ed in the Washington Post which argued that the list of swing states changes a lot more than a lot of people claim.

Well, angry moderate over at DKos took a sledgehammer to the piece. He (or she) points out that the op-ed is even more wrong-headed than I realized. If you look at the states which had a Dem-GOP margin of 10% or less in 2000, 19 of 21 were also under 10% in 1996 and 20 of 21 were in 1992.

What's actually happened is that the total number of swing states has diminished over time, as the nation has seemingly become more polarized. In `92, there were 33 states which were 10% or less, and in `96 there were 27. (The Perot factor might have skewed this a bit, but exit polls show that he took votes pretty equally from Clinton and Bush/Dole.)

Angry moderate's point essentially is this: If you were running the Swing State Project back in 2000, you would have started with a list of 27 states. After the election, you would have missed only Maine and Virginia, and you would have over-included California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland & New Jersey. That's a pretty good track-record, I think.

My aim at the very start was to cast my net as widely as possible. If I miss one or two close states, I'll be alright with that. And if I cover too many states, that's certainly fine with me as well.

Posted at 07:14 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

The Economist Swing State Series (or, My Rant About the Kerry Campaign)

Posted by DavidNYC

The Economist is starting a new series, taking an in-depth look at each of the major swing states. (Man, they're gonna put me outta business!) Ohio is the first one. The bad news: John Kerry's campaign there is a "shambles" - yikes, he still hasn't opened his first office there? I'm pretty damn shocked to learn that. I kvetched about this a month ago, but I figured for sure he's have set up shop in Ohio by now. I mean, he's raised a boatload of cash. So what gives?

Well, I went over to the Kerry website and checked out their "contact us" page. They have offices in precisely TWO swing states: Florida and Iowa. The rest? California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Texas. Texas? What the hell? Anyhow, The Economist, so far, was right: nothing in Ohio (or New Mexico, Missouri, Oregon, etc.).

So I decided to call the main HQ here in DC, to see if maybe the website wasn't updated, or if there were smaller offices that for some reason weren't getting billed on that page. The call goes straight to an automatic recording (already a bad sign) which says "normal business hours" are from 9am to 9pm. Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. "Normal business hours" in this line of work are 24-hours-a-fucking-day. I mean, have these people never heard of Bill Clinton, "rapid response," and The War Room?

It gets better, though: "No one is available to take your call," the voice mail system tells me. I can't even wait on hold! I have to leave a message. But oh wait - the general mailbox is full. So I can't leave a message. That is just rank incompetence. Maybe "shambles" is the right word. I mean, I dealt with crap like this often enough on the Dean campaign, but the one thing we were told we could expect of Kerry was that his operation was crisp, professional and attentive to detail. It hardly felt that way to me this afternoon.

Anyhow, the semi-good news is that ACT has opened up 20 offices in Ohio and seems to be picking up some of the slack. But that's no substitute for a real campaign operation, especially when, as the Economist notes, Ohio is an "horrifically expensive state to campaign in, with three big metropolitan areas and six different big media markets."

We need boots on the ground there - and volunteers answering the phones here - right away, Sen. Kerry.

(Economist link thanks to Luke.)

UPDATE: Luke also informs me that the Kerry campaign just announced that their "first wave" of field staff has just deployed to Iowa, Florida, Michigan, Arizona, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Missouri. Better late than never, I suppose - but still no Ohio on the list.

Posted at 05:17 PM in General | Comments (8) | Technorati

NYT Weighs in on the Swing State Battlegrounds

Posted by DavidNYC

I am finally done with finals - thank the maker! Oddly enough, the past week has been one of the busiest for the SSP, with a lot of posts and a lot of visitors. My un-shocking discovery: Blogging is a great way to procrastinate - so maybe it's not so odd, then!

Anyhow, I just wanted to point you to Adam Nagourney's NYT piece on the swing states. Nagourney would be one of my least favorite writers at the Times, were it not for the existence of Jodi Wilgoren, Kit Seelye, Jeff Gerth, Judith Miller and... oh, why bother? But Nagourney is their main political go-to guy, so let's see what he says.

His argument seems to be that some people think that more states are in play than the usual list of 16, 17, 18 or even 22. But the only ones past even the broadest group of 22 that he mentions in the article are NJ and Delaware. A map attached to the story also includes IL, VA, NC, KY and MT. Yes, that's right - Montana. I think Nagourney took a quick glance at the 1992 map and didn't look at the actual numbers there. Bush took the state by 25 points last time.

I think that such discussions aren't very meaningful, though. I have to consider New Jersey a Jack Daniel's state: If we lose there, we've lost big-time. (Though, Namath-like, I've guaranteed a Jersey win for us.) So yeah, while theoretically plenty of states could vote differently than expected, that fact doesn't inform our thinking about which ones should be our battleground states.

Posted at 04:46 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Monday, May 10, 2004

WaPo Op-Ed Questions CW About Battleground States

Posted by DavidNYC

Richard Morin & Gary Langer, polling directors for the WaPo and ABC News, respectively, make the argument on the WaPo op-ed page that the list of swing states people are looking at won't necessarily be the close, deciding states on election day. Well, of course not: Some will and some won't. In asserting this claim, they mostly cite a bunch of historical evidence about close states in one year not always being close the following presidential election.

That's great - but so what? What matters are whether the states which were close last time still look close this time, and whether any states that weren't close last time look surprisingly close this time. And on that front, they produce some pretty thin evidence. One Wisconsin poll had Bush ahead by 12 points. So it's no longer a battleground, then? Wrong - the very next poll showed Kerry up by 8. New Jersey is "neck-and-neck," they say? Yeah - in precisely one poll. Two more recent polls showed Kerry up by 12 and 6 points.

I don't mean to disparage the idea of looking at past voting trends - obviously, these matter a great deal. But unless you can show me that an actual state we're calling "swing" really isn't, or a state we're calling "safe" really isn't - in the here-and-now - then it makes sense to stick with this list. And the 17 or so main swing states have polled consistently closely for some time.

The second half of the op-ed reads like a memo to the media: "Please don't regard this as just a horserace to 270 electoral votes and cover the issues, too." The problem is that the electoral college just isn't complicit here. Even if we got rid of it, the media would still treat this as a horserace - just as they do every election. The only real difference would be that national polls would be all-important, and campaign activity (and political coverage) would focus on major population centers. So the media ought to blame itself for shoddy coverage, not the electoral college.

Posted at 12:03 AM in General | Comments (3) | Technorati

Friday, May 07, 2004

Gallup: Kerry Leads in "Purple" States + Is Illinois in Play?

Posted by DavidNYC

On my map, states which went narrowly for Bush are yellow; narrowly for Gore gets ya green. There was nothing intuitive about this color choice - they were just handy. Some cleverer folks, however, have taken to calling the battleground states "purple" - I guess this is where Grimace and Barney live - and Gallup adopts this terminology in some pleasing recent poll results.

Kerry leads 48-44 in the purple states, which Gallups defines as having a margin of less than or equal to 5%. That's just 12 states: Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania,Tennessee & Wisconsin. But these are pretty much the most important ones. Ruy digs into the details and says it looks even better.

On a related note, Mark Gersh (writing in the DLC's Blueprint magazine) takes a look at subtle demographic trends and decides that there are only 13 true toss-up battleground states, plus 7 leaners. (Luke discussed various lists of swing states here a little while back.) Gersh's toss-ups are the same as the above list, minus TN but plus AZ and WV, so no surprises there.

One of his leaners is a bit of a shocker, though: Illinois. (The others are Washington & Michigan, which favor Kerry, and Colorado, Tennessee, Louisiana & Arkansas, which favor Bush.) Gersh doesn't exactly explain why. He does argue that, even in the space of four short years, demographic trends can have an effect. So presumably, the trends which favor Republicans (the growth in exurban areas) are present in IL. But the fact still remains that IL had a bigger Bush-Gore margin than non-swing states Vermont, California & Georgia. He also leaves out Virgina as a leaner, even though it had a tighter margin than Colorado.

In any event, I seriously pray Gersh is wrong about Illinois. This sort of thing gives me the night sweats. I'd like to see a fuller explanation as to why he thinks IL is winnable for Republicans. I consider Illinois a "Jack Daniel's state" (even though technically, that oughta be TN): If you see IL turning red on election night, break out the Jack. Cuz he's gonna be the only friend you'll want to talk to.

(Thanks to Luke for the Gersh link. More comments on the subject are here.)

(Grammar correction on the Whiskey courtesy of Naomi in the comments!)

Posted at 06:39 PM in General, Safe States | Comments (5) | Technorati

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Could Kerry Win Big?

Posted by DavidNYC

Recently, I observed that in the 20th century, elected incumbents who won a second term have always done better the second time around. Similarly, Chuck Todd, Editor-in-Chief of The Hotline, writes in the Washington Monthly that incumbents who have lost their re-election bids have tended to lose pretty badly. Of the four elected incumbents to lose (Bush I, Carter, Hoover and Taft), the best performance was a measly 168 EVs by Bush p��re. (Ford got 240 EVs when he got the boot, but he wasn't elected in the first place, of course.)

To Todd, this is evidence that Kerry might win in a landslide. He points to some further numbers (like the percentage of people who say they are paying "quite a lot" of attention to the presidential race, and the high turnout in the early Democratic primaries) to bolster his point. I'm a little wary of reading too much into history, though: Just because an incumbent hasn't won a narrow re-election (ever, I think) doesn't mean it won't happen this year.

Though you have to go back pretty far, there are at least two incumbents who lost very narrowly. In 1884, Democrat Grover Cleveland beat Republican James Blaine by fewer than 30,000 votes - barely a quarter of a percentage point (though 219-182 in EVs). Then, in 1888, Republican Benjamin Harrison beat Cleveland despite pulling in 90,000 fewer votes than Cleveland did. The vagaries of the electoral college gave Harrison a 233-168 win - much like George Bush's minority win in 2000. Cleveland then came back in 1892 to beat Harrison by just 3% in the popular vote (277-145 in EVs).

So in two consecutive elections in the 19th century, two incumbents both managed to lose narrowly, after both had won very narrowly. I think that could easily happen again - and in fact, that's what I still expect.

Posted at 09:22 PM in General | Comments (4) | Technorati

But Who's Counting?

Posted by DavidNYC

Different organizations count up their lists of swing states differently. Luke Francl tells us who's counting what:

Swing states are those states that people believe the 2004 election will turn on. They are states that were close in the last election. But which states are those? And which states are each campaign and the outside groups focusing on? The following is a list of swing states organized by group, based on their websites and TV advertising. For a brief introduction to the swing states, read this Washington Post story.

Key Findings: There are 17 states (ignoring grassroots efforts) that all groups agree will be key battlegrounds in the 2004 election. Kerry and liberal 527 coalition America Votes are focusing on the same core states, but Kerry just moved into Colorado and Louisiana, which are thought to be safe Republican states. Bush is advertising in Tennessee, where neither Kerry nor America Votes are focused.

Kerry (17 states, plus 2): Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Added recently: Colorado, Louisiana.

Bush (18 states, plus 2): Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Added recently: Colorado, Louisiana. [Added in response to Kerry. - David]

America Votes 527 (17 states): Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Driving Votes (16 states): Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Note: Driving Votes is ignoring Washington and Maine while adding Tennessee. I am not counting them as a major group as it is a completely grassroots effort not affiliated with America Votes.

Swing State Project (21 states ��� see methodology): Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine (2nd CD), Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Washington Post Battleground states

The Bush campaign's list comes closest to mine. My only true outlier state is Virginia. As I've said before, I think this state is heading our way, and if the GOP isn't careful (let's hope they're not), they're going to have a big problem the day VA turns blue. Interestingly, by the way, there are several states that had wider margins than VA but that are still considered "battlegrounds." (Such as WA, MI and LA.)

[Crossposted from]

Posted at 01:51 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Today's Yellin Report

Posted by DavidNYC

Stephen Yellin (aka MrLiberal) is a guest-poster at DKos who seems to know everything about every federal and state race in the country. He has a great Yellin Report up today detailing some developments around the nation, including a number of things going on in various swing states. Here's one you might like: The right-wing Constitution Party is pledging to field a candidate of its own in the PA Senate race. Sorry, Arlen! And while we're at it, if you're in a giving mood, you can go help Atrios help Joe Hoeffel.

Posted at 07:43 PM in General | Technorati

Flashback to April 2000

Posted by DavidNYC

CADem digs up some old polls in a flashback to April 2000. At the time, Gore was down or tied in a number of states we wound up winning, including two that are safe to very safe Dem this time around (MI and IL). On the other hand, he had a pretty substantial lead in NH but wound up losing narrowly (and quite painfully) there.

One thing to note: Most of the polls shown don't have Nader numbers, but a lot do actually have Buchanan numbers. And take a look at how outsize they are! I mean, he was getting 5% in PA - and wound up with an earth-shattering one-third of one percent on election day. The two Nader numbers CADem does have also wound up out-stripping reality by a couple points. So this suggests to me that Seamus may well be right: The Nader effect is likely to be way below his current polling levels.

Posted at 05:00 PM in General | Technorati

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

From Red to Blue

Posted by DavidNYC

I just came across some cool maps produced by the WaPo which detail the shift in voting patterns between 1960 to 2000. Though the South's nearly wholesale shift from blue to red is a well-known phenomenon, it's interesting to see the two maps laid out side-by-side.

The map I'm most intrigued by, however, is this one:

Red & Blue America: The Same Size

I've been looking for a map like this for a long time, and I'm glad to have finally found it. When you look at an ordinary map of the 2000 election, red America looks vast and daunting. If I recall correctly, some Bush partisans even tried to shore up questions about the legitimacy of the President's victory by observing that he won a majority of states, even though he won, of course, a minority of votes.

But this map - which indicates each electoral vote with a little square - shows exactly how close in size the red and blue states are. If anything, it understates our total numbers because tiny states (like WY) get 3 EVs no matter how small they are - and most of these vote GOP.

And one last point: After the 2000 election, we heard (and still hear) endless talk about the "50-50" nation. The closeness of all the presidential polls is supposed to be further evidence of this. There's just one problem with this thesis: There's no way in hell this should a 50-50 nation any longer, at least at the presidential level. Given the many advantages of incumbency, a sitting president has every reason to be above 50% - whether in approval ratings, polls, what have you. The fact that things have returned to a 50-50 sort of equilibrium is, I think, a very bad sign for Bush and a very good one for us.

Indeed, though the sample size is small, every president in the 20th century who was elected to their first term and was re-elected to a second term did better the second time around. This was true of Clinton, Reagan, Nixon, Ike, FDR and Wilson. Do you have to do better in your second campaign than your first in order to win re-election? No, of course not. But if Bush does even a tiny bit worse this time, he'll lose. And it certainly doesn't look like he's on track to do much better.

(Map link thanks to Lapin.)

Posted at 06:49 PM in General | Comments (10) | Technorati

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Running to Lose

Posted by DavidNYC

Just a quick follow-up to my post some days back where I encouraged people to run for office in long-shot districts just so that we can make the GOP sweat. The New York Times has an interesting article today about politicians running for office - both local and federal - even though they expect to lose. It may seem like some of these folks have slightly cynical motivations (eg, tapping into NYC's generous public financing system), but others - like inserting a new viewpoint into a race or building name recognition for a future run - strike me as worthwhile goals.

Posted at 03:29 PM in General | Comments (2) | Technorati

Friday, April 23, 2004

No Kool-Aid For You!

Posted by DavidNYC

Ruy tells us what's really happening in the swing states - and his conclusions may pleasantly surprise you.

Posted at 01:21 PM in General | Comments (6) | Technorati

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

The History of Swing States

Posted by DavidNYC

Wikipedia, which is a free, collaborative online encyclopedia (and frequently a great resource), has a good article on the origin and history of swing states. It also has links to several other different lists of swing states. One thing I've noticed is that most lists don't include Colorado and Virginia. I say, "good." I think these states are trending our way - and within two or three presidential elections, they'll provide a nasty surprise to Republicans who aren't paying attention. We just have to make sure *we* pay attention.

(I also definitely don't think Delaware is a swing state, even though it's gone with the winner in every race since 1952 - assuming you believe Al Gore won in 2000. But its margin last time was over 15% - greater, in fact, than California's. I think DE's 3 EVs are firmly on our side this time.)

Posted at 02:04 AM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Make Them Sweat

Posted by DavidNYC

As you all undoubtedly know, only a handful (maybe 50 or fewer) of House races are actually competitive every two years. What's not as well known, I think, is that a number of incumbents go without a major-party challenger altogether. Of course, these seats are invariably the safest of the safe, in places like Harlem or rural Kansas, where even a strong major-party candidate wouldn't stand a chance against the current seat-holder.

But that's not a reason not to run in those districts. We need to make them sweat.

Just because we can't win doesn't mean we can't do some damage. Imagine a district where a powerful, ten-term incumbent GOP Congressman (call him Rep. Johnson) is bound to win 80% of the vote. Johnson's going to spend his time, of course, stumping and raising money for his fellow party-members. And if he is running un-opposed, then he can spend all his time doing just that. But if we put someone up against Johnson and force him to spend just one extra weekend in his home district, then we've robbed another, more vulnerable GOoPer (Rep. Smith) of the 20 or 30 grand that he (Smith) would have made at a fundraiser the mighty Johnson would have chaired.

There are plenty of other reasons to run in tough districts as well. We can probe for weaknesses: If, say, we unexpectedly poll over 40% in a race that everyone was sure would be a total landslide, then that'll make the GOP nervous for 2006. It would also be nice to see a headline that says, "For the first time in memory, Democrats are contesting every single Congressional seat in the nation." (We've already missed some filing deadlines this year, but it'd be good to get in the habit for `06 or `08.) And I'm sure there are other reasons that I haven't yet thought of.

With all this in mind, I'd like to point you to DKos poster RBH's list (called "D-435") of races which are as yet unfilled. What can you do about this? Well, if you live in one of these districts, you can go to your local county Democratic Party (which I imagine might be a bit moribund) and say, "Let's put someone up here!" I'm certain you could help with the search for a qualified candidate, and of course you'd also have the chance to get extensively involved with the campaign, should you so desire.

Or you could run for the seat yourself. It's not as improbable as it sounds. You may have heard about the "Democratic Wings" effort: Some 100-plus folks, inspired by the Dean campaign, have decided to run for local office. At least one, Jeff Seeman, is running for Congress in Ohio. Another blogger, Brian Watkins, is running for Congress in Utah.

(By the way, I'm citing the folks above not as examples of people putting up a good fight in hopeless districts - in fact, Brian's opponent netted just 56% in a recent poll - but rather to demonstrate that the hurdles to running for office aren't as great as you might think.)

So again I say, check out RBH's list. Call your local party. Go to some meetings. Go to the DNC meetup in your area. Find someone to run for office - and if you can't find anyone, run yourself. This is a democratic republic - your participation in it isn't limited just to voting. At the very least, you'll always be able to tell your grandkids about the time you ran for Congress.

But above all, make them sweat.

UPDATE: Jerome at the newly-relaunched MyDD has a post on the same topic. He points out three races (in CO, CT and MI) where we actually do have a legit chance to win and really, really ought to be contesting the seats.

Posted at 04:30 PM in General | Comments (8) | Technorati

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

"Very Little Evidence" That Kerry is Hurting in Swing States

Posted by DavidNYC

Contrary to some of the polling I'd cited earlier, the Note says:

But at this point, there's very little evidence that Kerry has suffered in the aggregate of national polls or in swing state polls -- assuming that the nation remains stuck at equilibrium 50 to 50, which is where it seems to be. Kerry has a nice lead in some key states, trails a little in others, and ties Bush in yet others.

Go read Kos for more on this.

Posted at 01:43 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Monday, April 05, 2004

How Nader Plans to Get on the Ballot

Posted by DavidNYC

Just a follow-up to my earlier post about Nader getting on the ballot in Oregon. This AP piece gives a few more details about how Nader plans to get on the ballot elsewhere. Though the article isn't entirely clear on the matter, it seems that Nader might court local third parties in various states in order to use their ballot lines - or these parties might even court him. A Nader campaign spokesman said that they used 13 different methods to gain ballot access in 2000 (netting them 43 states), but I still maintain that without a nationwide party apparatus, Nader will have a tougher time this go-round.

(Thanks to kamosa.)

UPDATE: Nader actually failed to get on the ballot in Oregon tonight using his "nominating convention" method. He needed 1,000 signatures but under 800 people showed up. (Thanks to John Doty, who's running for office in Southern Oregon, by the way.)

UPDATE: Kos poster ohwilleke has a diary breaking down exactly what Nader needs to do in each state. Among the big swing states, he thinks that ballot access will be toughest in Florida, Michigan, PA and, indeed, Oregon.

Posted at 08:04 PM in General | Technorati

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Bush Ads Hurting Kerry in Swing States

Posted by DavidNYC

Garance at TAPPED discusses a USA Today article which observes that Kerry's approval rating has dropped dramatically in the 17 battleground states where Bush has started running ads. Garance's most salient point is that "the Bush campaign is working on a long-term project to undermine Kerry that could pay massive dividends later this year by framing Kerry now in such a way that whatever he does come autumn is viewed through the Bush campaign's narrative about him."

In other words, just as Al Gore was branded as a dishonest exaggerator, Kerry will get smeared as a flip-flopping liberal - and, if the image sets in deeply enough with voters, he won't be able to overcome it. This is, in my estimation, the most dangerous thing that can happen to us. The only way to counter this, of course, is to get on the airwaves ourselves. But we can't just play defense: We have to create a counter-narrative about Bush that successfully portrays him as the dishonest, screw-the-little-guy President we know he is. The other day, I commented that it was still early - that it's always early - in politics. But this is one area where it's almost always late. That is to say, you have to start defining yourself from Day One.

Back to the poll results: One frustrating thing is that (at least in the version of the article I could find) they discuss Kerry's approval rating delta (from +28 to -6) in the swing states but don't mention the actual head-to-head (ie, "who would you vote for") for the same group of states. USAT only tells us that Bush leads nationwide, 51-47. Obviously, I'd like to see the swing state breakdown for this question as well. This is an important point because approval ratings, while seemingly meaningful in the abstract, don't matter much as long as people hate the other guy more than they hate you. As long as Bush's approval continues to tank, we can handle the inevitable downturn in our approval rating and still come out ahead in the end.

UPDATE: Billmon delves more deeply into this, in the way only Billmon can.

Posted at 02:34 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Friday, March 26, 2004

Novak Says Kerry Ahead in OH & FL

Posted by DavidNYC

Atrios points to some prognostications from Bob Novak (shudder), who says that Kerry is now leading in Ohio and Florida, and would be poised for a (relatively big) 306-232 electoral victory over Bush - assuming Kerry holds on to all the Gore states.

If Bush loses Ohio, he's dead. That's because I'd have a hard time envisioning him losing OH but still winning WV, and taking back MN plus one more state. If we pick up OH but lose MN, we still win with a 270-268 squeaker. I'm picking on MN here because something - I'm not sure what exactly - tells me that this is our most vulnerable state. Sure, Bush could hope to pick up PA - but again, if he loses OH, I don't see PA heading his way. Assuming Bush can take MN, then unless something weird happens in addition, like Kerry losing NM or OR, I can't see a way for Bush to make up a loss of Ohio.

And if Bush loses Florida, well, break out your best bubbly. That'll just be icing on the cake. The Maker knows we'd all love to get a little payback for 2000 - and watch Jeb hopelessly fail his brother. I don't think Florida's headed our way, in the final analysis, but we can always dream, can't we?

One last observation: I hardly need to say that we shouldn't get too excited at this point. Bush may be on the ropes now, but you can be sure that things will ebb and flow considerably between now and November. (Never forget, among other things, that the press has a vested interest in a close, "interesting" contest.) All this is very, very early. Yogi Berra observed on the diamond that "It gets late early around here." But for better or for worse, in politics, it almost always seems to be early.

Posted at 09:45 PM in General | Comments (2) | Technorati

Sunday, March 21, 2004

WaPo on the Swing States

Posted by DavidNYC

The Washington Post has a broad summary article on the 18 states it thinks are in play this election. The list is the same as the one I use here, except it excludes CO, VA and LA. (Though the piece does mention that Democrats think LA is in play.) It does a pretty good job of hitting most of the major points.

The problem with stories like this is that you really can't try to assess 18 or so different states in just one newspaper-length article. For example, Balz and VandeHei say stuff like: "To offset possible Democratic inroads [in the Southwest], Republicans will be trying to pick up New Mexico, which Gore won by fewer than 400 votes."

But the closeness of the vote in NM is deeply misleading because that state is trending Democratic. It'll be a lot harder this time around for the GOP to win there, just as it will a lot harder for us to win Florida this time around, even though we "lost" it by 537 votes.

The bottom line is, there's not point in carping at the WaPo. I ought to get back to doing some more in-depth analyses - and I will, as soon as this brief is done. If I ever pen a "Letter to a Young Blogger," my first line will be, "Don't start a blog while you're in law school!" The bright side, though, is that many of the big political blogs are now focusing intently on the swing states, now that the primary season is over. So I don't think we'll lack for good swing state coverage.

(WaPo story thanks to ljm at DKos.)

Posted at 07:47 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Time to Adopt the NYT's Elisabeth Rosenthal

Posted by DavidNYC

There's a favorable story in the NYT today about people who voted for Bush in 2000 but are having second thoughts now. It's more about swing voters than about swing states, per se. But Elisabeth Rosenthal, the author, is reporting from Ohio, and includes plenty of quotes from Ohioans, so I figure it falls within this site's purview.

Anyhow, I wouldn't get too excited about her piece. Typical for a story like this, it relies overwhelmingly on anecdotal evidence. Maybe reporters feel this sort of junk is more interesting than serious number-crunching - or maybe they're just too innumerate to care.

Though Rosenthal does cite a couple of polls, she doesn't compare them to past data, so we have no good way of knowing how to interpret them. Apparently, 11% of people who voted Bush in 2000 said they'll support a Democrat this time around, while 5% of Gore voters said they'll back Bush this year. On the face of it, of course, this looks bad for Dubya - if the exact same people vote in 2004 as voted in 2000. But obviously many factors affect turnout. I'd like to see similar numbers for Clinton, Reagan and Bush p��re before drawing any firm conclusions.

She also notes that the same poll showed that 56% of independents disapprove of Bush's handling of the economy. When I cite polls like this, I do my best to show previous numbers - and, like a good blogger, I always provide a link to the poll. Rosenthal can't do that latter (well, she could, but it's just not Standard Timesian Procedure), but she could at least do the former. I want to know the delta - or, to be more blunt about it, I want to know how bad Bush has been bleeding.

Lastly, she lets Bush flack Matt Dowd off the hook a bit too easily. According to Rosenthal, Dowd claims that polls say that Bush has the support of 90% of Republicans. That's nice - but is it enough? Does Bush need 95% of Republican to win? Maybe he can do it with 80%. But who knows, because Rosenthal certainly hasn't told us. She could at least look up what Bush's GOP support was back in 2000. Without the appropriate context, it's just a number floating in the ether.

Anyhow, if you aren't familiar with the budding "adopt-a-journalist" movement, I suggest checking out a few of the "watcher" blogs. For the most part, each of these blogs is devoted to tracking and deconstructing the work of a single reporter. My favorite is The Wilgoren Watch, but a whole bunch have sprung up. Given that Rosenthal is reporting on the national presidential campaign, I think she's a prime subject.

Posted at 05:25 PM in General | Technorati

Monday, December 01, 2003

On Hiatus

Posted by DavidNYC

On hiatus until after exams - so until late Dec. or early Jan. One quick hit, though: It looks like the Bush administration will indeed lift the steel tariffs. Automakers and other steel users are, of course, cheering this move. But the steel makers, quite predictably, are unhappy:

Lifting the tariffs now, said Terrence Straub, senior vice president at U.S. Steel, could cost Mr. Bush a winning margin in Pennsylvania -- a state he narrowly lost in 2000 and will have visited 23 times Tuesday since taking office.

"They don't need but a handful of votes," Mr. Straub said. "If he lifts the relief, he forsakes that; he's walked away, he's squandered that opportunity. This would be, in our view, a broken promise by the White House."

Kos breaks it down further here.

Posted at 03:09 PM in General | Comments (5) | Technorati

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Presidential Predictions

Posted by DavidNYC

If you're fond of electoral maps (and I think that a lot of readers here are), then you'll like the cool new feature on Dave Leip's site: a presidential predictions page. Users can download maps, allocate states according to their predictions, and upload them with comments. Dave lets you work with two kinds of maps: a straight-up prediction map and what he calls a "confidence" map, where you can adjust the color of each state depending upon the likelihood you think it will go one way or another. One of these days, I'll have to post my own set of predictions, too. Now if only Dave would just use blue for the Dems and red for the GOP like the rest of us....

Posted at 01:43 AM in General | Comments (3) | Technorati

Sunday, November 09, 2003

The Republicans are Doing the Math, Too

Posted by DavidNYC

I love writing this blog, but I know that this project is far from unique. In fact, I hope it's not: I expect that every Democratic presidential campaign, every left-wing think tank, and every progressive labor union is doing the same analysis, crunching the numbers and figuring out where we're going to fight this battle next year. Everyone is caught up with primary politics right now, and with good reason. But in the back corner of the office somewhere, there oughta be one guy or gal with a degree in political science, Googling like mad, hitting the library & plugging away at the Excel spreadsheets. While this may be back-burner stuff at the moment, it has to at least be on the back burner.

I say this because the Republicans have clearly started thinking out loud about this subject. This may be old news to some of you, but I recently came across a September memo put out by two Republican pollsters at Moore Information (MI), an Oregon-based consultancy. It's called "Why Dean Can Win." My reason for bringing up this memo is not to discuss Dean - the analysis on this site has been (and will remain) largely candidate-neutral until we actually have a nominee. I believe that, with a few specific exceptions (such as Clark in Arkansas), all of the major candidates are likely to fare equally well. In other words, I think the "electability" issue is bogus.

The MI memo does indeed discuss Dean extensively, and the discussion of his strengths is one of the most honest I've ever seen on the GOP side. (Though their grating use of the phrase "Democrat Party" drives me nuts.) But what really caught my eye is the chart in the middle, which I believe could apply to all of the potential candidates. (I won't reproduce it here, but you can look at it by following the link above.) Essentially, MI sees 183 EVs as solid Dem (they include Washington & Maine's 2nd CD, which I don't), and they see 87 EVs as lean-Dem, which includes only two states (NV and WV) that went GOP last time around. That's 270 electoral votes right there.

Of course, getting to 270 always looks easier on paper than it ever is in real life. As they say about baseball, that's why they play the games. But the point is that honest Republicans are taking this electoral math quite seriously. They know the election is going to come down to a handful of true battleground states - MI puts the number at just 13 - and they aren't so sure the numbers favor them. I'm not sure the numbers favor us, either, but the fact that the other side feels the same way gives me a lot of hope.

P.S. I'm not sure I've ever seen a Republican cop to a statement like this in print, which is why I give the MI memo high marks for honesty:

Furthermore, the ���far-left liberal��� charge which Republicans have used effectively in the past to define Democrats has much less impact today than it used to. The problem here is that the GOP spent years warning America about the ills of a left-wing liberal Clinton presidency and how it would destroy the economy, ruin our children, and leave America a twisted wreck. Well, we survived and the economy actually did well during much of the Clinton years. America didn���t have a problem with Bill Clinton being a far-left liberal, they had a problem with his inability to tell the truth and his total lack of morals.

Posted at 05:02 AM in General | Comments (9) | Technorati

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Post-Election Day Roundup

Posted by DavidNYC

Not too much doing in the swing states in yesterday's elections. The loss of the gubernatorial elections in KY & MS is disappointing, but neither is a swing state, even though KY went for Clinton twice. I recognize of course that there are plenty of other reasons to want Democratic governors, apart from Presidential politics. So I'm not saying these losses don't matter - far from it - but their ramifications are outside the scope of this site.

The Dems did well in the Virginia legislature elections, but as I understand it, most of their gains were confined to the northern VA suburbs of DC. While heartening, I think we still have a long way to go before the state winds up back in our column. But at least the momentum is (finally) going in our direction now - this was the first time 20 years that the Dems have added seats in the lower house.

Also reassuring were the results of elections in Pennsylvania, particularly the Philadelphia mayor's race. Democrats seemed to show up in force throughout the state, hopefully auguring good turnout next year.

Without a doubt, I think the most interesting swing state race will be Louisiana's gubernatorial election on Nov. 15th. I am sure that there will be plenty of discussion of this race over on Kos, but suffice it to say that things are neck-and-neck right now. I'm definitely not willing to hazard a prediction on this one, but after Landrieu's squeaker victory last year, I'll keep my fingers crossed and remain ever-so-slightly optimistic.

UPDATE: Reader Stratagem notes that the Democrats haven't seen an increase in their numbers in the House of Delegates in close to 30 years, not 20.

Posted at 11:26 PM in General | Technorati

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Bush in Trouble with Independent Voters

Posted by DavidNYC

Ruy Teixeira, co-author of The Emerging Democratic Majority and operator of the Donkey Rising blog, looks at the latest CBS/NYT poll and observes that Bush is in trouble with independent voters. Now, we know that politicians obsess about swing states, and we know that they love swing voters. But swing voters in swing states? I think that's what Dick Morris fantasizes about when he's playing his special brand of footsie. In other words, these uber-centrists are the holy grail of electoral politics. If Bush is doing poorly with independents nationally, then there's no reason to believe he's doing any better with those hard-to-please moderates in the crucial battleground states. Needless to say, this is good news for us.

Teixeira also wonders why Bush's bad image among this much-wooed group isn't getting more attention. I say it doesn't matter. As long as we know that independents are ripe for the picking (and they are), we don't need this story to be on the cover of Newsweek.

Posted at 02:11 AM in General | Comments (3) | Technorati

Monday, October 27, 2003

New Map with Electoral Vote Counts

Posted by DavidNYC

I've added electoral vote counts to the swing state map. If you prefer the old map, you can find it here. And as always, I highly recommend Jim Howard's excellent Electoral College Calculator if you want to play around with the numbers.


Posted at 01:03 PM in General | Comments (2) | Technorati

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Electoral College Reform

Posted by DavidNYC

It's a tiny irony: I think we should abolish the electoral college, but without it, this site wouldn't exist. Not to worry - I'm sure I'd find something else to write about. In any case, we've been discussing the unusual electoral arrangements in Maine and Nebraska recently, and they've prompted me to think a little bit about electoral college reform, rather than abolition.

Here's how it works in ME and NE: If you win the popular vote in a given Congressional district, you get one EV (which in theory represents each CD's congressman). If you win the overall statewide vote, you get two EVs (which in theory represent the state's senators). So in Maine, which has four total EVs, you could wind up with them getting split 4-0 or 3-1 (but never 2-2). In fact, in 2000, Bush nearly won Maine's 2nd CD. Had Bush won it, Gore still would have netted 3 EVs because Gore's statewide totals would almost certainly have exceeded Bush's. (Nebraska could go 5-0 or 4-1, but 3-2 would be pretty unlikely.)

To get rid of the electoral college, you'd need a Constitutional amendment, which would likely never pass because it would diminish the power of small states. But states could adopt the ME/NE system very easily - I imagine all it takes is some legislation, or perhaps a state constitutional amendment. (Not that I think this wholesale change is likely to happen, though.) On the face of it, the CD-splitting system seems to be more representational than the electoral college. At the very least, it's one step closer to counting the popular vote, I think. I'm not sure if it would truly be an improvement over what we have now, but it might be.

So I have some questions about this potential arrangement:

1) Had this system existed in every state in 2000, what would the EV count have been? (My instincts tell me it would have hurt the Dems, quite possibly very badly. But since this is just a theoretical exercise, this is beside the point, for now.) I can't seem to find any listing which shows every American CD in one place, but if anyone wants to look into this, I'd be very interested to see the results.

2) How would candidates campaign if this system existed nationwide? Obviously, candidates would ignore CDs that lean heavily one way or the other. But they would start visiting states that they otherwise skip entirely now because they'd want to hit populous "swing CDs" in otherwise solid states like California or Texas. This still means they'd skip most major cities (apart from fundraising jaunts) because they lean heavily Dem, and they'd obviously avoid rural areas just because those are both hard to campaign in (physically) and are usually reliably Republican.

The conclusion then, I think, is that candidates would campaign heavily in suburban swing districts. I'm not sure how much this differs from present practices - witness the devotion to "soccer moms" and "office park dads", both of whom are decidedly suburban figures. But at least candidates would hit up the `burbs in NY and GA, rather than just PA and OH.

On balance, I'd say this would be a qualified improvement. As an urba-phile (that's not really a word, is it?), I'm naturally reluctant to hand over any more clout to suburbia, but it's probably already too late to worry about that. And I do think this would get us closer to a true popular vote count. So maybe one of these days I'll be producing the "Swing CD Project". Nah - that sounds a little too Big Bad Voodoo Daddy to me.

P.S. A thought just occurred to me, which I think should have been obvious at the start: Could a state pass a law appointing electors simply in proportion to the total popular vote won? I don't see why note. Article II § 1 of the US Constitution says: "Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress." Seems like the states have free reign here.

Posted at 12:42 AM in General | Comments (34) | Technorati

Friday, October 24, 2003

New Map & List

Posted by DavidNYC

Heeding the suggestions of several people, I've gone back and updated a few things.

First, I've updated the list of swing states. I've included Washington, and I've also split Maine into its two Congressional districts. (The overall winner in Maine gets two EVs, and then the winner of each CD gets one EV. It's a small distinction, but the election may very well be super-close once again.) The revised list is below.

Second, I've simplified the methodology - or at least, just removed any caveats. I am now including any state where (Gore + Nader) - (Bush + Buchanan) is plus or minus 10 points.

Third, I've switched to what I feel are a more accurate set of numbers, from Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. (Dave's site is totally awesome, by the way.) Previously, I had been using CNN's numbers, but I don't think they did as thorough a job as Dave did updating the numbers after election night. There were no dramatic changes using the new numbers, but MI looks about a point better for us than previously thought, while TN and VA are both about a point worse.

And lastly, I've produced a new (and I think better) map.

Map of 2004 Swing States

Revised list of swing states (blue went for Gore, red went for Bush):


Maine (2nd CD)


New Mexico



West Virginia

Posted at 04:11 PM in General | Comments (15) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

A "Thank You" to Kos

Posted by DavidNYC

I want to give a very big thank you to Markos at DailyKos - not just for his recent plug of this site, but, more importantly, for the inspiration he's given me. It's safe to say that without DKos, I never would have embarked on this project. And the fantastic new "diary" feature on the new Scoop-powered site gave me the final push I needed.

I've been reading Kos for almost exactly a year now, so I'm not quite as quick a learner as he is. But Kos has been a fantastic teacher and I am very proud to be one of his blogchildren.

Posted at 07:46 PM in General | Comments (4) | Technorati

A Note on Methodology

Posted by DavidNYC

As I explained at the outset, the states on my list are those which had a margin of +/- 6 points in 2000. I used the (Gore + Nader) - (Bush + Buchanan) formula. I've included one outlier, Louisiana, which had an 8-point margin. Some folks have suggested I ought to include Washington as well, which had a 9-point overall margin, but which Gore won by only five points. Perhaps I will. On the flipside, some have also questioned the inclusion of states like Virginia and Tennessee, which appear to be strongly Republican.

My reason for starting with a broad list is because I want to avoid making conclusions until we've had a chance to analyze the evidence. Obviously, the Dems are a lot more likely to snag some states rather than others. We may need to pare down the list of swing states eventually. But for now, I see no harm in casting a wide net.

Posted at 06:12 PM in General | Comments (3) | Technorati

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Swing State Map

Posted by DavidNYC

An electoral map highlighting the swing states in the 2004 election. (Produced with Jim Howard's very handy Electoral College Calculator.)

Posted at 11:00 PM in General | Comments (6) | Technorati

An Introduction to the Swing State Project

Posted by DavidNYC

My goal with this website is to analyze in detail the political conditions in the toss-up (or "swing") states that will ultimately decide the 2004 presidential election. While I'll make some observations of my own, my hope is that other knowledgeable folks (particularly the posters at my original blog home, the unparalleled DailyKos) will also contribute their ideas.

For the purposes of this project, I consider the following states to be swing states (states that went for Gore in 2000 are in blue; those that went for Bush are in red):



New Hampshire

New Mexico

West Virginia


You can read my more on my methodology for picking these states in this post.

If you have any thoughts as to why, in 2004, the Democrats will win any of the states we narrowly lost in 2000 - or, alternately, why we might lose any of the states we narrowly won - please share them in the comments below. I'll post occasional updates drawing everyone's collected wisdom together, in blurbs such as this:

Why we'll win FL this time: Nader voters will come back to the Dem fold; anger over 2000 will increase Dem turnout, especially among minorities; no butterfly ballot this time around.

Why we'll lose FL again: Lots of pork provided by Dubya to FL; Governor Jeb.

Eventually, I hope to have a comprehensive list or chart detailing information like this for all of the swing states. I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say.

Posted at 10:45 PM in General | Comments (4) | Technorati

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