Tuesday, October 31, 2006
IL-10 Const. Dyn. Oct 30 Seals (D) 48%, Kirk (R) 46%
IL-10 Const. Dyn. Oct 18 Kirk (R) 46%, Seals (D) 44%
When I saw this yesterday evening, I knew I had to post about it. Mark Kirk, the current Republican congressman form IL-10, was well respected in this district. It is a very republican district, consisting of some of the highest incomes levels in the state, stable communities and expensive housing - running in the $500K+ range for all new construction, with schools ranked in the top 10 in the state in every category.
If this poll is correct and an unknown Democrat, who the Kirk ads claim is a tax raising, carpetbagger, is ahead in this district, it does not bode well the Republicans. This has always been considered a safe race. I didn't even see an ad on TV until last week. And in Il6 (Duckworth vs. Roskam) and Il8 (Bean vs. McSweeney) the ads have been running for MONTHS. Kirk's main ads are apple pie and Americana, touting his service as a pilot in the US Navy, while the RNC runs the smear ads, as usual.
I hope this is a good sign that the reign of Dennis Hassert and his band of idiots will soon be over. By the way, Hassert is running ads- which is unheard of in the Chicago market. I don't think he has a chance of not winning reelection, but I bet his challenger gets more votes than anyone has in ages in this election cycle. And if he loses the house, I'd bet he will have a strong challenger from within the Republican party in the '087 primaries.
"However they put it, the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses," Bush told a raucous crowd of about 5,000 GOP partisans packed in an arena at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, one of his stops Monday.Wow, Sugerland Texas, proud home of Tom DeLay. Bush is really getting in there and mixing it up in this campaign to bring home the votes.
Among likely voters in Missouri, Republican Sen. Jim Talent and his Democratic challenger, State Auditor Claire McCaskill, were at a dead heat, each with 49 percent support. However, among the larger pool of registered voters, McCaskill led 51-43 percent. (Read the complete poll results -- PDF)At this point, the race seems clearly tied which mean who wins will be determined by voter turnout.
Intellectually, a tie should go to the Dem this year with the GOP base disillusioned. But I just have this gut feeling McCaskill is going to fall short.
We have Amendment 2 on the ballot (stem cell research) which will bring out GOP voters who otherwise might have stayed home.
Also, a lot of Dems are still pissed at McCaskill for running against Dem incumbent Gov Holden two years ago and handing the Governor's mansion to the GOP.
I see the Dems picking up 4 Senate seats and thus falling short of retaking the Senate.
Monday, October 30, 2006
(5'7 Yadi Molina jumping into the arms of 6'7 Adam Wainwright after the last out of game 5)
I see Tim helped me out on this one. I was in Los Vegas having given away a ticket to what the rained out third game and became the clinching fifth game.
We watched the games from Vegas, but it was not the same. It really still has not sunk in,....
Hopefully, in the next few days I will crystalize my thoughts on the post-season.
This is consistent with recent polls. This election will be determined by turnout. I think in many states the GOP will stay home. Not sure about here, with the stem cell amendment on the ballot, etc.
Here is my prediction. I have no idea if McCaskill will win, but if she does, the Dems will retake the Senate.
Having said this, I don't think the Dems are going retake the senate. It's hard to imagine the Dems at this point not retaking the House, but never underestimate them.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
I'll be blogging from Vegas. At least for now, I've got my blogging legs back. I've decided that the Ward Report moving forward is going to be a little more personal as I at times blog on interests other than politics.
I thought I would link to the letter for those who might be interested. I also recommend it.
Truthdig - Reports - After PatÂs Birthday
Kevin is angry, and his letter is not just an indictment of our leaders, it is an indictment of all of us. Kevin concludes with some sobering words,
In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that “somehow” was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.
Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) reported raising $14.4 million in September, bringing the national GOP political organization’s overall receipts this campaign cycle to just less than $200 million, according to campaign finance documents filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) took in $5.7 million last month and has taken in a total of $108.4 million for the cycle — or just more than half the RNC’s $199.5 million.
The RNC has outraised the DNC every month during this election cycle, and Republican strategists hope that fundraising edge will help them blunt a very determined Democratic campaign to win control of one or both chambers of Congress in a national political environment that is anti-Republican.
First the good news.
According to the latest poll (MSNBC) Claire has again pulled out front 46% to 43% with a whopping (and unbelievable) 9% undecided.
Now the bad news.
The RNC has dropped a staggering $1,773,765.54 into negative ads to run against Claire.
This is a huge race for the RNC (and the WH) because there is no scandal upon which to blame a loss. They lose Missouri and that is a repudiation of their agenda in a Red state that they could not deny.
(thanks to TPM for the tip on the ad buy)
Kevin Drum points to this story in the LAT,
The Latino backlash has grown so intense that one prominent, typically pro-Republican organization, the Latino Coalition, has endorsed Democrats in competitive races this year in Tennessee, Nebraska and New Jersey. The coalition is chaired by Hector Barreto, the former administrator of the Small Business Administration under Bush; its president is a former strategist for the Republican National Committee.
....In recent months, Democratic activists who marveled at Bush's success in courting Latino voters watched with amazement as Republicans pushed into law a 700-mile fence along the Mexican border....Despite Bush's lobbying for an immigrant guest-worker program, favored by many Latinos, conservative lawmakers in the House refused to bend, forcing Bush to endorse the fence legislation and dimming his popularity among Latinos.
Rep. John Sweeney (R), 6/8/06: "Zarqawi represents the insidious forces that we are fighting in the War on Terror. This is a critical example of why we must stay the course and finish this mission."
Rep. John Sweeney (R), 10/18/06 : "I think that the strategy of 'staying the course' is not a strategy at all. It doesn't work. There are going to have to be adjustments in any war if that is the case."
Monday, October 23, 2006
"Upon reading the transcript of my appearance on Al-Jazeera, I realized that I seriously misspoke by using the phrase 'there has been arrogance and stupidity' by the U.S. in Iraq," Alberto Fernandez said in an e-mail sent to reporters by the State Department and attributed to him.
"This represents neither my views nor those of the State Department. I apologize," the statement said.
...."We're on the verge of chaos, and the current plan is not working," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in an Associated Press interview. U.S. and Iraqi officials should be held accountable for the lack of progress, said Graham, a Republican who is a frequent critic of the administration's policies.
Asked who in particular should be held accountable _ Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, perhaps, or the generals leading the war _ Graham said: "All of them. It's their job to come up with a game plan" to end the violence
....Ninety-five percent of Democrats say they will support Democratic candidates for the House while slightly fewer (88 percent) Republicans said they plan to vote for their party's candidates.And by the way, "independants" are not liberals. We need to remember this. We can't win elections without them.
The independent voters surveyed said they plan to support Democratic candidates over Republicans by roughly 2-to-1 (59 percent to 31 percent), the largest margin in any Post-ABC News poll this year. Forty-five percent said it would be good if Democrats recapture the House majority while just 10 percent said it would not be. The rest said it would not matter.
The poll also found that independents are highly pessimistic because of the Iraq war and the overall state of the country. Just 23 percent said the country is heading in the right direction compared to 75 percent who say things have gotten off track. Only a quarter of independents approve of the job Congress has done this year and only a third believe the Iraq war has been worth fighting.
Independent voters may strongly favor Democrats, but their vote appears motivated more by dissatisfaction with Republicans than by enthusiasm for the opposition party. About half of those independents saying they plan to vote Democratic in their district said they were doing so primarily to vote against the Republican candidate rather than affirmatively for the Democratic candidate. Just 22 percent of independents voting for Democrats are doing so "very enthusiastically."
Jon Heyman spoke to a pitching coach who had the guts to say what all fans of baseball know. Of course it was pine tar.
"It was pine tar. It couldn't be anything else. Pitchers use pine tar, shaving cream and suntan lotion. Pitchers use them to help them grip the ball and make the ball move more. Bullpen guys sometimes keep suntan lotion in the ball bags. It's not for a tan. Pine tar works the best. It's been around the longest. But lately, more and more guys are using shaving cream and suntan lotion. There's no chance to be caught with shaving cream or suntan lotion.Why isn't Tony complaining more?
"I bet Tony La Russa's pitchers are mad at him for saying anything, because a lot of guys do it, and I'd be surprise if there's a whole staff of guys who don't do it. In fact, I'd say a majority of guys use one of the three -- shaving cream, suntan lotion or pine tar. They can't like him ratting out the other team when everyone does it. Maybe he had to say something because it's the World Series, it's on TV and he probably has to answer to his owner.
"But you'll notice he didn't continue to talk about it, and he instructed his guys not to talk about it. They probably have no interest in catching Rogers because if they do then the umpire is looking at everyone.''
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Thinning the Herd
“Tell us, why, again, Republicans need 55 senators?” Rush Limbaugh asked not long ago. “Why do we need 55 senators when we have so many malcontents and traitors in the bunch? And they all happen to be from the Northeast, and they all happen to be moderates, they all happen to be liberals.”
In that spirit, the National Federation of Republican Assemblies set out to rid the party of this threat. It set up a “RINO Hunters Club” to “root out and hunt down” the squishy centrists who are Republicans in Name Only. The Club for Growth ran candidates to defeat them. Last week on his radio show, Sean Hannity blasted the RINO’s again, saying they were costing good conservatives their jobs.
Well, this is one problem the Republican Party is solving. When the next Congress convenes, there will be many fewer RINO’s in town. You look at the vulnerable Republicans and it’s like a moderate Republican graveyard: Deborah Pryce, a bright and effective member from Ohio; Christopher Shays from Connecticut; Sweeney from New York; Gerlach from Pennsylvania; Reichert from Washington; DeWine from Ohio.
Why have 55 Republican senators? Why not 25? Why not 15 brave and true? Throw in a few dozen pure-minded Republican House members and you could hold the next Republican convention in a living room.
For the past several years, Republican elites have treated the moderates, upon whom their majority depended, as the deformed cousins of their movement. Congressmen from rock-ribbed Republican districts who’ve never had to confront a dissenting view applaud themselves for their manly courage while scorning the effete wispiness of Northeastern Republicans who go home and battle derision every weekend. The centrists themselves are so beaten down, they learned they can’t even utter the word “moderate” in the halls of Congress. Instead, they unveiled what they called their “Suburban” agenda.
But the suburbs happen to be where this election is being fought — around Philadelphia, New York, Denver, Minneapolis and Columbus. The general rule is that Democrats win in the more densely populated suburbs close to the cities and the Republicans win the more sparsely populated ones farther out. The central fight in American politics now is over where the line is demarking the two zones, and the central Republican problem is that every time the party mobilizes its exurban base it further alienates the marginal voters in traditional suburbs where Congressional elections are won or lost.
The Republican moderates come from Lands’ End and Eddie Bauer-rich tipping zones. The people in the office parks in these places may not be zillionaires, but they run the meeting planning firms that help HR executives facilitate sales force enrichment retreats.
They are looking for orderly places to raise their children. They are what you might call antiparty empiricists. They distrust partisans and can’t imagine why anyone would be sick enough to base an identity on a political organization. They don’t expect much from government but a few competently delivered services, and they don’t like public officials who unnerve them.
The Republicans used to do well in these areas, but now it’s as if they are purposely trying to antagonize the married moms at the pseudo-New Urbanist outdoor cafes. The deficits alarm them. Tom DeLay was a perfectly designed Northeastern alienation machine. As insular Democrats know little about what life is like in flyover country, so insular Republicans know little about how people think in the suburban Northeast, where blue New York Times delivery bags dot the driveways each morn.
The big issue is Iraq, but the core problem with suburban voters is not the decision to go to war; it’s the White House’s reaction to the mess afterward. As Robert Lang, the superlative suburban specialist at Virginia Tech, notes, when people mess up a project in an office park, there are consequences. But Donald Rumsfeld never gets fired. Jerry Bremer and Tommy Franks get medals.
This is not how engineers and empirically minded managers behave. The people in these offices manage information for a living, and when they see Republicans denying obvious trends, or shutting out relevant data, they say to themselves, “Those people are not like me.”
So there goes your majority. In the years ahead, Republicans can either reintroduce themselves to the blue-state suburbs or they can ask themselves the dittohead question: Tell us, why, again, do we need to be a governing party anyway?
The WaPo this afternoon,
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) opened the door to a 2008 presidential campaign today, saying he has begun to weigh a possible candidacy and will make a decision sometime after the November elections.For what's it's worth (nothing if you haven't figured that out yet) I don't think Obama jumps in.
"Given the responses that I've been getting over the last several months, I have thought about the possibility, but I have not thought about it with the seriousness and depth that I think is required," Obama said on NBC's "Meet The Press." "After November 7th, I'll sit down and consider it, and if at some point, I change my mind, I will make a public announcement and everybody will be able to go at me."
I won't tell the story of my dismissing Obama after I met him as someone going nowhere.
"Throw the bums out" will win one election but will not build the lasting coalition necessary to hold power. If the Dems want to hold power if these moronic Repubs the formula is easy: Become the party of moderation.
Anyway, bad news for the GOP from the latest WSJ poll,
...Polls suggest Republicans so far have lost the center -- in overwhelming proportions. To maintain their grip on power in Congress, they need to find some way to woo a big chunk of it back in the next 17 days.
Prevailing political wisdom holds that the only things that matter are each party's "base" -- that there is no center anymore, and no more swing voters worth chasing. But look at what has happened among independent voters in the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC Poll, taken this past week: Support for Republicans has collapsed. Just 24% of them say they want President Bush's party to control Congress after Election Day. Independents disapprove of Mr. Bush's job performance by 2 to 1.
This was not the Anthony Reyes who one-hit the World Champ White Sox in Chicago last summer.
In WS Game 1, Reyes again throwing out of the windup again struggled in the first inning, with Yaddy making 3 trips to the mound. It was a miracle that Reyes got out of the inning with only 1 run, and it would appear we were in for a rough game.
Between innings Reyes had an animated conversation in the dugout with Tony and Duncan. After that conversation Reyes settled down and was near unhittable. He retired the next 17 hitters he faced, striking out four and getting the Tigers to fly out repeatedly. The Tigers got 3 hits of Reyes the through 8 1/3 innings.
Reyes continued to pitch out of the windup, so here is my question: What in the hell did Tony and / or Duncan say to him between the first and second innings to transform from Donovan Osborne to Bob Gibson?
Tom Timmermann writes feature on Reyes' performance in today's Post and offers not a single insight. Checking several other web sports outlets and I can't find anyone who seems to know or even care.
I want to know! Leave a comment if you have found something on this.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
How many times have I said here that the American people will not think you can defend them when you won't even defend yourself?
Matt has got this right,
The infamous anti-Cleland ad was legitimately scummy, presenting a seriously distorted and underhanded view of the issues at hand. That said, ....Democrats over and over again seem to think that biographical qualities either are or out to somehow immunize nominees from political attacks based on national security issues and they keep getting burned. They need to get over it -- the world doesn't work that way and the world shouldn't work that way. This is on a par with whining that Republicans are politicizing national security. Well, guess what, national security is a political issue. The Democratic Party is full of politicians. They need to learn to do politics -- the whining just looks weak and pathetic.Weak and pathetic is exactly right.
I cut out Matt's assertion that Chambliss's attacks on Cleland were not on Max's personal bravery. As TPM Reader DK pointed out at least some certainly were just that.
[The Military Commissions Act of 2006 is] a huge sea change for our democracy. The framers created a system where we did not have to rely on the good graces or good mood of the president. In fact, Madison said that he created a system essentially to be run by devils, where they could not do harm, because we didn’t rely on their good motivations.And remember, this didn't happen without cowardly Dems jumping on board.
Now we must. And people have no idea how significant this is. What, really, a time of shame this is for the American system. What the Congress did and what the president signed today essentially revokes over 200 years of American principles and values.
It couldn’t be more significant. And the strange thing is, we’ve become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. I mean, the Congress just gave the president despotic powers, and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to, you know, “Dancing with the Stars.” I mean, it’s otherworldly.
The Dem sellouts who made this possible:
- Carper (Del.)
- Johnson (S.D.)
- Landrieu (La.)
- Lautenberg (N.J.)
- Lieberman (Conn.)
- Menendez (N.J)
- Pryor (Ark.)
- Rockefeller (W. Va.)
- Salazar (Co.)
- Stabenow (Mich.)
- Nelson (Fla.)
- Nelson (Neb.)
Fom The AP,
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A senior U.S. diplomat said the United States had shown "arrogance" and "stupidity" in Iraq but was now ready to talk with any group except Al-Qaida in Iraq to facilitate national reconciliation.Me thinks Mr. Fernandez will soon be leaving the State Department to spend more time with his family.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera television aired late Saturday, Alberto Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department offered an unusually candid assessment of America's war in Iraq.
"We tried to do our best but I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq," he said.
Apparently, a recent Newsweek poll actually has data to support my wild-ass speculation,
Oct. 21, 2006 - If the elections for Congress were held today, according to the new NEWSWEEK poll, 60 percent of white Evangelicals would support the Republican candidate in their district, compared to just 31 percent who would back the Democrat. To the uninitiated, that may sound like heartening news for Republicans in the autumn of their discontent. But if you’re a pundit, a pol, or a preacher, you know better. White Evangelicals are a cornerstone of the GOP’s base; in 2004, exit polls found Republicans carried white Evangelicals 3 to 1 over Democrats, winning 74 percent of their votes.And remember what I said earlier today, I'll believe we take either house when I see it on election day.
(via DK @ TPM)
So what is the Republican Plan?
The White House plan is to "stay the course" what ever that means, but that's not "the Republican plan".
The WH plan is not Chuck Hagel's plan (R -NE); It's not John Warner's plan (R - VA); it's not Olympia Snowe's plan (R - ME),
Snowe said in a statement [Oct 10, 2006] that as conditions in Iraq continue to worsen, "there must be no question among the (Bush) administration, the Congress and the Iraqi unity government that staying the course is neither an option nor a plan."It used to be Bob Corker's plan (R-Wannabe TN), but evidently is no longer,
And while 'stay the course' was once Sen George Allen's position (R - Macaca), it is no longer.
I could go on, but think I've made my point. Please leave a comment if you have examples of GOP polls deserting the WH plan.
And also leave a comment if you have any clue why even Dem talking heads and pols seem to indulge this bullshit.
So when a Republican says to you that the Dems problem is that they don't have a plan, ask them to explain to you the GOP plan.
....when the prime minister speaks of disarming militias — those mushrooming armies of men with guns that carry out most of the killing here — Iraqi brows begin to furrow.This sounds eerily familiar but I can't quite place it,...
“He’s just talking,” snapped Fadhil Sabri, a 37-year-old generator repairman in a grease-stained shop in Sadr City, a Baghdad stronghold of the Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia.
“Not now. Not even in 10 years. You need arms to defend yourself,” he said.
Iraq is awash in killings, and many are blamed on the Mahdi Army, the militia commanded by a glowering Shiite cleric, Moktada al-Sadr....
Despite its new rogue fringe, Iraqi Shiites see the Mahdi militia as their most effective protector against the hostile Sunni groups that have slaughtered Shiites and driven them from their homes. Shiites say that as long as the government cannot keep them safe, they cannot support the disarming of militias.
That paradox confronts the American military as it presses the Iraqi government to contain militias like Mr. Sadr’s: how is it possible to control a militia when trust among Iraqis has vanished and the government is incapable of containing the spiraling violence?
....The Bush debacle is a direct consequence of its repudiation of liberal principles. And if the country is to recover, we should begin by restating these principles.
We have all opposed the Iraq war as illegal, unwise, and destructive of America's moral standing. This war fueled, and continues to fuel, jihadis whose commitment to horrific, unjustifiable violence was amply demonstrated by the September 11 attacks as well as the massacres in Spain, Indonesia, Tunisia, Great Britain, and elsewhere. Rather than making us safer, the Iraq war has endangered the common security of Americans and our allies.
We believe that the state of Israel has the fundamental right to exist, free of military assault, within secure borders close to those of 1967, and that the U.S. government has a special responsibility toward achieving a lasting Middle East peace. But the Bush administration has defaulted. It has failed to pursue a steady and constructive course. It has discouraged the prospects for an honorable Israeli-Palestinian settlement. It has encouraged Israel's disproportionate attacks in Lebanon after the Hezbollah incursions, resulting in vast destruction of civilian life and property.
Make no mistake: We believe that the use of force can, at times, be justified. We supported the use of American force, together with our allies, in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. But war must remain a last resort. The Bush administration's emphatic reliance on military intervention is illegitimate and counterproductive. It creates unnecessary enemies, degrades the national defense, distracts from actual dangers, and ignores the imperative necessity of building an international order that peacefully addresses the aspirations of rising powers in Asia and Latin America.
Jim Henley sums it up well, the pragmatic reason to oppose torture,
It'’s not that you'’ll never get good information via torture. It'’s that you'’ll never be sure, absent checking and rechecking, whether the information you got was any use. Perhaps I should say, "was true."Go read Jim's post for an example of what's he talking about.
Another reason to oppose torture is simple that how you act towards your enemies really defines who you as a person, or in this case, as a society.
And finally, there is the reason John McCain opposes torture: We can't ask the rest of the world not to torture our citizens while at the same time we are famously torturing people all over the world.
So take your pick of the reasons, bottom line: Torture is bad.
There are many great left of center blogs written by pros such that I feel there really is no place left for a blog like this.
My favorites, by the way, are of course Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo (and for those who didn't know, Josh is actually from St Louis, where he was born and spent the first 6 or 7 years of his life) and also Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly.
Josh's coverage of the upcoming election is second to none and Kevin is always the voice of reason on almost every topic.
Of course there are many more blogs worth reading -- too many to name. I assume that at this point those who come here read these other blogs every day and if all I'm doing is just sending people to them, what's the point?
Also, as this election approached I realized I was a little more shell-shocked by the 04 election than I had realized.
Every poll and indicator seems to say that the Dems should retake both the House and Senate albeit by small margins, but I just refuse to believe it. I just can't invest any more into a party that I feel far too often lacks the killer instinct to actually win.
For those of you in Missouri (and actually for those of you not), Claire McCaskill needs your help. I know a lot of you are still pissed at her run for Governor. So am I, but this is about bigger issues than that. It is about the future of our country, and defining who we are as a people. Are we the decidents of The Enlightenment or the Dark Ages?
Since I have this space, and it's free, I'm going to give blogging another go. I don't' think I will be posting anywhere like I was a few years ago, but as thoughts occur to me, I will try to post them.
As always, if you read this and have any thoughts to share, leave a comment or email.