Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Will Lieberman Get Last Laugh?

IT'S BEEN MORE than two months since Ned Lamont beat-up on Joe Lieberman in the CT primary. Now it looks like Joe may be the last one standing. The latest polls show Lieberman with a double-digit lead. The only good news for Lamont is that the one Republican in the race -- Alan Schlesinger -- is climbing a bit in the polls (up to a whopping 9% at the moment!!).

If Lieberman wins it will be interesting to see how he makes nice with his fellow Democrats. He will, after all, be clasified as an Independent.

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Pastors Endorsing Candidates

A PASTOR IN Minnesota has created quite a stir by publicly endorsing a candidate who is running for Congress. The candidate, Michele Bachmann, told church-goers a few weeks ago that she had been called by God to run for Congress and that God is now specifically focused on her race. After her speech, the Pastor of the Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, Minn. told the congregation that churches couldn't officially endorse candidates. But he then went on to say, "But I can tell you, personally, that I'm going to vote for Michele Bachmann.

Is this a violation of the 503b tax exempt status given to religious organizations?
Town Hall and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington have some thoughts.

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Allen in Trouble in VA?

TWO NEW POLLS show that George Allen is now trailing Jim Webb in Virginia. This is interesting in part because the polls come on the heels of the Allen campaign's dump of sexually provocative passages from Jim Webb's many novels. Did this backfire? We'll see.

Real Clear Politics has all the latest polling from the VA race. RCP has also 'upgraded' Virginia to No. 5 on it's list of vulnerable incumbent seats.

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Cook: 'No Ebb in the Wave'

DESPITE SOME REPORTS to the contrary, prognosticator-in-chief Charlie Cook is still predicting significant gains for dems in the House and the Senate. In Monday's dispatch, the Cook Political Report reports that there are 'no signs that the wave is abating.' Cook is still predicting 20-35 Dem pick-ups in the House and at least 4 pick-ups in the Senate.

Cook's report comes one day before a WSJ article about GOP claims that early voting returns show that their organizational and GOTV strategies are paying off.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Shuler-Taylor in NC-11

I'VE TAKEN A special interest in the House race in North Carolina's 11th District partly (OK, almost entirely) because the Democratic challenger is Heath Shuler. That would be the same Heath Shuler chosen 3rd overall in the 1994 NFL draft by the Washington Redskins (right after Marshall Faulk). Shuler is in a tight race against Rep. Charles Taylor and the race took an interesting turn this weekend when the Ashville Citizen-Times changed positions and endorsed Shuler. CQ is rating this race as a toss-up.

Shuler's first stint in DC was a disaster, but we're eager to see what he can do the second time as a member of Congress!

I've written about this race in previous posts -- including a post that highlighted Shuler's career stats with the Redskins. Results were not so good: 292 completions in 593 attemps (49%), 3,691 passing yards, 15 career TDs, 33 career interceptions. All this in 29 career games.


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DNC Launches New Web Ad

THE DNC HAS has a new web ad on their site called 'Stay the Course'. Of course, you can also see it at You Tube. Is there anyone left who has any confidence in the current administration's Iraq policy?

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Post Endorses...Ehrlich!

THE WASHINGTON POST endorsed incumbent Robert Ehrlich (R) for Governor in today's edition. This endorsement will come as a bit of a shock to many in Maryland -- particularly considering the tense relationship between the Post and Ehrlich over the past four years.

Here's the latest polling info on the Maryland race. Now we'll wait to see what impact the Post endorsement has on these numbers.

RCP Average: O'Malley (50.5%) Ehrlich (43%) -- O'Malley +7.5%
SurveyUSA: O'Malley (49%) Ehrlich (43%) -- O'Malley +6%
Rasmussen: O'Malley (53%) Ehrlich (45%) -- O'Malley +8%
USA Today/Gallup: O'Malley (53%) Ehrlich (41%) -- O'Malley +12%
Mason-Dixon: O'Malley (47%) Ehrlich (43%) -- O'Malley +4%

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Latest on Key Races

LATEST POLL NUMBERS on key House and Senate Races. Real Clear Politics has the races ranked in the order of their liklihood to change party.

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Ford Running Unique Campaign in TN

ONE OF THE most watched races this year is in Tennessee, where Congressman Harold Ford is trying to take the Senate seat being vacated by current Majority Leader Bill Frist (R). The race is significant not only because it could help determine who controls the house, but --as the current issue of Newsweek explains -- Ford isn't running a typical Democrat-style campaign.

Ford is running a 'Southern-style' campaign, complete with lots of references to religion (his business cards have the 10 Commandments on the back), strong talk on immigration, and conservative-sounding positions on abortion and gay marriage.

Democrats have been working on strategies to win in red states for several years now. Recent successes in Virginia (Tim Kaine's gubernatorial win last year) have the Dems thinking about other victories in the South. However, most pundits see Virginia as a kind of hybrid state -- with the DC suburbs (where a large portion of the population lives) balancing out the more conservative southern part of the state (locals call this the NoVA vs RoVA phenomenon --where NoVa is 'northern Virginia' and RoVa is the 'rest of Virginia).

So a victory by Ford in a truly southern state could provide Democrats with a blueprint for how to turn red states blue in the coming years.

Everyone is watching.

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Barron's Says GOP Will Hold On

BARRON'S ONLINE HAS a cover story this week titled, Survivor!. The basic arguement: the GOP will hold on to both houses. An excerpt:

Our analysis -- based on a race-by-race examination of campaign-finance data -- suggests that the GOP will hang on to both chambers, at least nominally. We expect the Republican majority in the House to fall by eight seats, to 224 of the chamber's 435. At the very worst, our analysis suggests, the party's loss could be as large as 14 seats, leaving a one-seat majority. But that is still a far cry from the 20-seat loss some are predicting. In the Senate, with 100 seats, we see the GOP winding up with 52, down three
We'll check back on these predictions on Nov. 8. Stay tuned.


Looking for the Conservative Soul

SINCE I OFTEN look to Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish blog for good information and commentary, let me take a moment to direct you to a review of his new book. Sunday's WaPo has the review in Book World.

How We Lost It, How to Get It Back
By Andrew Sullivan
HarperCollins, 2006

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16 Days and Counting

WITH ONLY 16 days left until the mid-term elections, the latest polls are worth a look. Here are 25 races that are key for the GOP if they want to hang on to the House. Real Clear Politics has much more as well.

1) TX-22: (Open - R)
2) AZ-8: (Open - R)
3) FL-16: (Open - R)
4) IN-8: (Hostettler - R)
5) PA-10: (Sherwood - R)
6) CO-7: (Open - R)
7) IA-1: (Open - R)
8) OH-18: (Open - R)
9) PA-7: (Weldon - R)
10) NY-24: (Open - R)
11) OH-15: (Pryce - R)
12) IN-2: (Chocola - R)
13) NY-26: (Reynolds - R)
14) NC-11: (Taylor - R)
15) CT-4: (Shays - R)
16) IN-9: (Sodrel - R)
17) NM-1: (Wilson - R)
18) PA-6: (Gerlach - R)
19) IL-6: (Open - R)
20) MN-6: (Open - R)
21) FL-13: (Open - R)
22) CT-2: (Simmons - R)
23) PA-8: (Fitzpatrick - R)
24) OH-2: (Schmidt -R)
25) WA-8: (Reichert -R)
26-50) More Districts

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Evangelicals Now Caring About More Than Abortion and Gay Marriage?

TODAY'S WASHINGTON POST has an interesting story detailing how some evangelical leaders are hoping to broaden their moral agenda by taking up strong positions on issues like the genocide in Darfur, treatment of the poor, and global warming.

But it's not sitting well with everyone on the Christian right. You can read the story for more.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Is GOP Giving Up on DeWine, Santorum, and Others?

THE NEW YORK Times has a detailed story today about where the GOP is putting its money during the final three weeks before the election. I'd give you the link, but the story is behind the NYT firewall (damn you, New York Times).

Of note, however, is the fact that the GOP appears to be giving up on (using that term loosly here -- meaning 'not sending anymore money to') DeWine, Santorum, Burns, and Chafee, choosing instead to throw money into some critical House seats and three other notable Senate races -- Missouri, Tennesee, and Virginia. If we are to believe that the 4 senators above will be defeated (and that is, of course, not a sure thing), that would leave two more seats that Dems would have to win to take control. Getting two out of three from Missouri, Tenn, and Virginia will be a tough, but not out of the realm of possibility. I give the best shot to Harold Ford of Tennessee. I think Allen will pull out Virginia, but Webb continues to find himself very close in the polls.

Of course, all of this assumes that the Democrats don't lose any of their reelection bids. Most seats are safe, but Menendez in NJ is closer than some thought it would be.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Back to the Races

THE MEDIA FRENZY over 'Foleygate' and 'Bob Woodward's Bookgate' has distracted Washington from those little political races that are going on across the country. TPM's Election Central has all the latest races and all the latest polls. Very interesting developments in VA, CT, PA, and MD.

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Selective Moral Judgement

THOSE ON THE Right are doing their best to compare the Foley scandal with the Clinton-Lewinsky mess, arguing that Democrats are exercising 'selective moral judgement' because they are 'outraged' (Hannety's word) at Foley's behavior but they were not outraged at Clinton's behavior.

I'm all for being outraged (and I was) at Clinton's behavior, but surely even right-wing hacks are smart enough to understand the difference between consensual sex between two adults and a grown man who preys on children.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

We Report, You Decide?

HERE IS HOW Fox News labeled Mark Foley three times yesterday during a segment of the O'Reilly Factor. D-FL?

Fair and Balanced.

Now, to be fair, it should be noted that the mistake was corrected during the re-air at 11:00pm EST. But no mention of the mistake was made during the live broadcast.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Alcohol To The Rescue

ONCE AGAIN A politician/celebrity in hot water has run to rehab for cover. With the news Sunday that Mark Foley has checked himself into an alcohol rehab clinic, some are opening wondering if his sex-laced emails were simply the result of intoxication.

Has it come to this? Are we now at a place where we can drive cars into the Capitol (a la Patrick Kennedy), rant against Jews (a la Mel Gibson), or send sexually suggestive emails to minors (a la Mark Foley) and get away with it by blaming alcohol? It seems to be the defense du jour at the moment.

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Andy Card on O'Reilly

THE MEDIA BUZZ surrounding Bob Woodward's new book, State of Denial, is in high gear. This weekend the WaPost published lengthy excerpts, [read here] including the excerpt dealing with Andy Card's apparent desire to have Bush replace Rumsfeld after the '04 elections.

I wonder if anyone else watched Card on the O'Reilly Factor last night. It was fascinating to watch Card dance around the questions O'Reilly was throwing at him. One fact that is clear: Card DID NOT DENY wanting to have Rumsfeld replaced. At one point O'Reilly asked Card if Woodward misrepresented him. Card DID NOT say 'yes.'

It's clear that Card is doing his best to remain loyal to Bush while, at the same time, making sure people understand that Woodward's book is a fair characterization of his views. You can watch the Card interview at Fox News. Tonight O'Reilly will have Woodward on to discuss the book. 8:00pm EST.

And while we're on the topic, does anyone else see the irony in the WH response to 'State of Denial'? Their official response to every major claim made by Woodward (Rummy should go, Card wanted Rummy out, Laura wanted Rummy out, Cheney is in charge at the WH, Kissinger is calling the shots, etc.) is to...yes...DENY the reports.

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Step Down Denny, Says the WaTimes.

AS I'VE SAID many times in this space, I read the Washington Post every day. But it's the other daily newspaper in town that is making news this morning -- the Washington Times.

The Times is a conservative newspaper with about 1/3 the circulation of the Post. But it has a great deal of influence because it is viewed as an alternative to the 'liberal' Post. In today's editorial, the right-leaning paper demands that Speaker Hastert resign.

The fact that the WaTimes beat the WaPost in demanding Hastert's resignation should not go unnoticed. Republicans are in deep trouble if they don't rush to the front of this story. It may be too late (depending on who knew what when), but any attempt to defend the House leadership if they in fact sat on this story, will be complete disaster for the GOP.

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Mark Foley's Attorney Speaks

WHAT IN THE world does this mean? Mark Foley's attorney released a statement Monday. Part of the statement:

“Mark Foley has never, ever had inappropriate sexual contact with a minor in his life. He is absolutely, positively not a pedophile.”
Never had 'inappropriate sexual contact with a minor'? Is that lawyer-speak? I hope so, because for those of us not trained in the law, the statements begs this question: is there such thing as appropriate sexual contact with a minor?

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