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3.04.2004

 

Republicans for Kerry?


Very interesting column from Robert Novak today. It seems some disillusioned Republicans are more interested in securing their congressional majorities through the end of the decade than in holding onto the White House. Novak outlines their argument:
The disaffection is such that over the last two weeks, normally loyal Republicans -- actually including more than a few members of Congress -- are privately talking about political merits in the election of Sen. Kerry. Their reasoning goes like this: There is no way Democrats can win the House or Senate even if Bush loses. If Bush is re-elected, Democrats are likely to win both the House and Senate in a 2006 midterm rebound. If Kerry wins, Republicans will be able to bounce back with congressional gains in 2006.

To voice such heretical thoughts suggests that Republicans on Capitol Hill are more interested in maintaining the fruits of majority status first won in 1994 rather than in governing the country. A few thoughtful GOP lawmakers ponder the record of the first time in 40 years that the party has controlled both the executive and legislative branches, and conclude that record is deeply disappointing.

But incipient heresy also reflects shortcomings of the Bush political operation. Its emphasis has been on fund-raising and organization, with deficiencies in communicating and leadership. The president is in political trouble, and his disaffected supporters who should be backing him aggressively provide the evidence.
When Congress decides to focus on holding majorities at the expense of their sitting president...well...it's spelled T-R-O-U-B-L-E.


3.03.2004

 

The red-faced crazy guy




 

And speaking of 'blue' states...


Multnomah County, Oregon - where the marriage law is called "ambiguous" - joins San Francisco County, CA; Sandoval County, NM; and New Paltz, NY in granting marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.


 

The Blue and the Red


Yes, it's early (8 months until Election Day). But Zogby has already begun polling state-by-state for Barron's (owned by the Wall Street Journal - subscription). The numbers must have the President and Karl Rove running scared.
As we all learned in 2000, the only thing that really counts is the Electoral College. Anachronistic as it might be, it's still the constitutionally mandated way of electing a president of the United States. And talk of repealing it after the 2000 fiasco went nowhere. So, how does the electoral vote look as of today?
According to Zogby, this is where things sit eight months out:

Kerry leads in these states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont – for a total of 226 Democratic electoral votes.
Bush leads in these states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming – for a total of 176 Republican electoral votes.

Toss-up states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin - or 136 electoral votes in play.

If Zogby's estimates are accurate, Kerry needs only to take Ohio and Florida to get the 270+ electoral college votes necessary to win the presidency.

Only four of the states listed as "in play" (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oregon and Washington) were Blue states in 2000, when they delivered their electoral votes to Vice-President Al Gore. They have been "trending" Republican over the last couple of years, but with Democrats so united and riled up my sense is those states will stay Democratic this year.

The other eight states that are "in play" now (including Florida, Ohio, Arizona and Missouri), with a treasure trove of 98 electoral votes, were part of "Bush Country" in 2000. That suggests the Democratic presidential candidate is holding his base of support better than the president is, allowing Senator Kerry a nice Electoral College base from which to begin his campaign.

"National poll numbers are irrelevant," Zogby says. "What is relevant is how the president plays in the Red states, and how the Democrats play in the Blue states."

This is an early look at where both parties start the general election campaign. Americans don't vote for another eight months and anything can happen between now and then. But Zogby is arguably the best presidential pollster out there. He was the only one who caught the last minute surge to Al Gore in 2000 (who as we all know went on to win the popular vote). As such, I'm sure Karl Rove and his White House minions are losing sleep over these numbers.


 

Memo to John Kerry: Get your eye on the ball, now.


Andrew Sullivan on John Kerry's speech last night:
It struck me as a strong one on domestic issues. On energy independence, and protecting the Constitution, it was a winner. He looks like a potential president. But it was deeply worrying in one respect. The war on terror was barely mentioned. This on a day of appalling carnage in Iraq. I fear this man simply doesn’t get it. No one should support him for the highest office in the land until he proves he understands our enemy; and demonstrates that he will get up every day in the Oval Office to see how he can take the fight to the Islamists. I don’t see that fire right now. In fact, I don’t even see a flicker. It’s a deal-breaker for me. (Just as attacking civil rights and playing politics with the Constitution is a deal-breaker as far as Bush is concerned.) Kerry has several months to prove otherwise. But it wasn’t an auspicious start.
The lack of debate by the Democrats on the single most important issue in this election concerned me throughout the entire primary campaign. Foreign policy and the war on terrorism should have been front and center. I was expecting much more substance from the candidates and got very little. In fact, it was the lack of any solid ideas on the war that led me to cast a write-in vote for New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman in yesterday's California Primary. Friedman gets it and John Kerry would do well to bring him into the campaign and, should he win in November, into his cabinet. (Hell, how about a Kerry/Friedman ticket!)

Granted, the goal in a Democratic primary is to play to your base; and that means campaigning hard on domestic issues. But now that John Kerry has effectively captured his party's nomination, it's time for him to get focused. Eight months and $150 million of Republican money lay ahead, and John Kerry needs to keep his eye on the ball every step of the way. Jobs, the deficit, health care...all issues for which Kerry has the upper hand against the incumbent. But this new "JFK" needs to campaign like the old one - by proving to American voters that he and his administration will fight hard for the security of the United States.

Cross posted at Daily Kos.


3.02.2004

 

West's Moral Obligation



In a move that is sure to thrill the Bill O'Reilly Whiney Ass Club of America, Mayor Jason West (Green-New Paltz, New York) was charged today with 19 violations of New York's domestic relations law, injecting the debate over gay marriages in the state with increasing drama and urgency.

The mayor was ordered to appear in court Wednesday to answer charges that he broke state law by authorizing about two dozen weddings without a marriage license, according to New Paltz police and West's lawyer. State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said he would not seek an emergency court order to stop West from performing the marriages.

And yesterday Mayor Carolyn Peterson of Ithaca, NY announced the town will begin accepting marriage license applications from same-sex couples.

As Frank Rich wrote in Sunday's New York Times..."It's going to happen, it's going to happen within a generation, and it's going to happen even though George W. Bush teed off his re-election campaign this week by calling for a constitutional amendment to outlaw it."


3.01.2004

 

Why Am I Voting This Way? WHY!?!


Call me nuts. Call me a vote waster. Call me what you will.

I think I'm actually going to vote for Howard Dean in the Cali primary tomorrow.

I've really been doing some serious thinking about where my vote's going to go, and I really can't think of a better place for it (Go on. You know you want to say it. A good place for my vote is up where my head is stuck. SAY IT). I'm genuinely not finding the heart or wherewithall to give that vote to Kerry or Edwards yet. They're okay guys, but they still haven't struck me as the people who will carry the message of Democratic and progressive values (Go on. Say how you'd like to strike me with Democratic values and a bag of quarters. SAY IT!).

Yeah, there's Kucinich, buoyed by his dazzling upset in...Hawaii. But, man - none of these guys has the economic record of Dean. They don't have the gubernatorial experience. And frankly, anyone can blow holes in the experience of the whole lot of them, including Dean.

But the way I see it, our little pack of wolverines needs SOME representation at the convention. Yes, it looks like Kerry is going to be the guy, and that's fine with me. But as long as he's so huge, I just have this urge to inject the boy with a shot of what the Dean campaign was all about, and to see to it that at least SOME of our message - y'know, the pre-yawping part - becomes integrated into the Kerry campaign.

Democrats are blessed with a lot of things in our favor - the biggest one is the truth. When our candidate breaks out, he'll have that as his number one asset. I'm hoping my vote will keep his feet to the fire and to not let Bush dictate the conversation with his little costume parties.

It's funny. I all but gave up on the Dean campaign weeks ago. But in the primary, the sumbitch still gets my vote.

Now go ahead and let me have it...

Originally posted at Hoffmania


 

The Signs


The twelve warning signs of fascism. I think you'll agree - it's a bit unsettling.

(Special thanks to my co-worker, Sharon!)


 

Phyllis & Del vs. Britney & Jason


I returned home from a quick trek out for coffee and the Sunday New York Times yesterday, curled up on the sofa, and enjoyed Frank Rich's superb essay on the gay marriage issue.
It's going to happen, it's going to happen within a generation, and it's going to happen even though George W. Bush teed off his re-election campaign this week by calling for a constitutional amendment to outlaw it. As the country has now had weeks to digest, it has already happened in bulk in San Francisco, where images of couples waiting all night in the rain to be wed finally wiped Janet Jackson off our TV screens. The first of those couples, Phyllis Lyon, 79, and Del Martin, 83, were celebrating a partnership of 51 years. Take that, heterosexual marriage! The most famous practitioner of mixed-sex nuptials this year, Britney Spears, partook of a Vegas marriage that clocked in at 55 hours.
I highly recommend the essay.


 

George's Winston problem


Interesting column from Sully in the March 8 issue of Time explaining how a wartime leader's success can be his electoral downfall.

For historical persepctive, Sullivan uses the example of Winston Churchill, who was crushed in elections just two months following VE Day
It is no exaggeration to say that without him, Britain may well have been destroyed by Hitler. He was the difference between victory and defeat. But almost the minute that victory was declared, the voters turned on their hero. He lost the postwar election. Even more striking, he lost it in one of the biggest landslides in Britain's parliamentary history. He wasn't just defeated. He was buried.
Sullivan then goes on to issue some campaign advice to the Democrats:
Here's what a really smart Democratic contender could say to the President this fall: "Thank you, Mr. President, for your leadership in difficult times. You made some tough decisions, and we are safer as a result. But the very qualities that made you a perfect pick for the war so far are the very ones that make you less effective from now on. You are too polarizing a figure to bring real peace to Iraq. You are too unpopular overseas to allow European governments to cooperate fully in the attempt to hunt down terrorists. And your deep unpopularity in half the country makes it impossible for you to make the necessary compromises that the country needs domestically. Thanks for all you've done, but bye-bye."
Indicators point more convincingly with each passing day the Mr. Bush is going to have a hell of time getting re-elected.


2.29.2004

 

Dean on the Slab


CSI: Campaign Scene Investigation. Via Kos and Kurtz, there's a little something here to make any Deaniac wanna rip out their fingernails.


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