SSP Daily Digest: 3/21

IN-Sen: An unnamed “Democratic strategist” quoted by The Hill suggests that ex-Rep. Tim Roemer (whose name hadn’t really come up before this year) is unlikely to run for Senate. Honestly, I’m not sure if the wankerish Roemer would really excite anyone… but we don’t seem to have a long list of possible names for this race.

OH-Sen: PPP has another “everyone and the kitchen sink” primary polls, this time of the Republican senatorial primary in Ohio. In this case, the kitchen sink is named “Kenneth Blackwell,” and he comes in first in an eleventy-billion-way test, with all of 17%. I don’t think I’ve even heard Blackwell (last seen losing the 2006 gubernatorial race to Ted Strickland very badly) as a possible contender. Click the link for the other numbers.

VA-Sen: I’ve got a new name you can root for: Tim Donner, a wealthy television production executive who is considering whether to challenge George Allen in the Republican primary. A spokesman tells Dave Catanese he’s a “couple weeks away” from making a decision. It’s not 100% clear whether he’s a teabagger, but I suspect he is, given that his mouthpiece attacked bona fide teabagger (and hopeless Some Dude) Jamie Radtke for “working in government since she graduated from college,” and because Donner thinks none of the candidates currently running “believe in the concept of a citizen legislature.” That sounds like something a teabagger trying to channel Patrick Henry might say, no? At the very least, we should be hoping he’ll rough Macaca up with a million or few.

WV-Gov: This was expected, but it’s still an important get: State House Speaker Rick Thompson (D) scored the backing of the AFL-CIO, a key endorsement in what will likely be a low-turnout special primary. (As we noted last week, Thompson also picked up the support of a couple of teachers unions.) The election is May 14th.

CA-36: Marta Evry at Calitics takes a look at the ActBlue fundraising numbers so far for the key Democrats in the race. The numbers are a moving target, but as of Friday, Janice Hahn had taken in $49K from 200 donors, while Debra Bowen had pulled in $41K but from a much larger 474 donors. Oh, and Marcy Winograd has now achieved joke status, with $1K raised. Also, some teabagger also joined the race, making him the fourth Republican to get in.

Wisconsin Recall: Some very good sleuthing by Madison TV station WKOW27: The alleged mistress of GOP state Sen. Randy Hopper (the name you can’t forget) recently scored a government job, and Hopper said: “I want to keep my involvement of anything as a private matter. So, I’m going to maintain that.” He didn’t maintain that for very long, calling the station back and denying his involvement with the hiring. I’m not sure Jack McCoy ever got a witness to change his story so quickly – and incredibly. Even better, discovers WKOW, the woman in question got a 35% pay boost over the person who previously held the job. Scott Walker’s government austerity in action.

In other news, Greg Sargent says that GOP polling firm Public Opinion Strategies is in the field with a survey testing anti-union messages on recall target Alberta Darling’s behalf.

DCCC: Biden alert! The VPOTUS was in Philadelphia on Friday, raising a cool $400K for the D-Triple-C. A long list of PA pols was in attendance, including ex-Rep. Patrick Murphy and a couple of unsuccessful 2010 candidates, Bryan Lentz and John Callahan. Also nice to see present: Arlen Specter, a guy whose age, brief tenure as an elected Dem, and inglorious exit from office would give him more than enough reason to stay away from this sort of thing forever. Too bad he didn’t have the sense to join our team decades ago!

Redistricting Roundup:

With the bulk of census data out, redistricting stories are coming fast and furious now.

Arkansas: Talk Business has copies of a few different congressional maps proposed by various lawmakers, as well as descriptions of some others. Click the link to have a look.

California: Ugh, gross: One of two finalist consulting firms to help California’s new redistricting commission has hardcore Republican leanings, while two of four finalist law firms are similarly oriented. Of course, this is exactly what you risk when you leave things to a supposedly independent panel (that features a ridiculous level of Republican over-representation).

Florida: One Democratic consultant thinks that Florida’s population growth suggests that new districts (the state is getting two) could be anchored to regions that would favor two Republicans in particular: ex-LG Jeff Kottkamp and state Sen. Paula Dockery. Kottkamp lost the GOP primary for AG last year, while Dockery dropped out of the gubernatorial primary.

Iowa: The Hawkeye State’s independent redistricting commission will release its first proposes congressional and state maps on March 31st. (Remember, IA loses a House seat.) As the Des Moines Register points out, “Either chamber of the Iowa Legislature or Republican Gov. Terry Branstad can reject proposals twice. If they don’t like the third, the Iowa Supreme Court decides the boundaries.”

Louisiana: A bunch more proposed maps have been released by the state lege. Republican state House Speaker Jim Tucker’s plans can be found here, while Democratic state Senate President Joel Chaisson’s are toward the end of this document.

Missouri: Show Me State lawmakers are starting their work on redistricting, but if they don’t have a congressional plan by May 13th, then it’ll get kicked over to the courts. State legislative maps aren’t due until September.

Mississippi: I’m not really sure I’m getting this: The NAACP is suing the state of Mississippi over its redistricting plans, but the legislature hasn’t even passed anything yet. It seems like this case would fail from the get-go on ripeness grounds (i.e., a court would say that the dispute isn’t ready to be heard because the plaintiff doesn’t have actual maps to complain about), so I’m not really sure what the NAACP’s angle is here.

Pennsylvania: PoliticsPA talked to some insiders who are crediting Dave Wasserman’s sources and saying that his most recent map is apparently pretty close to the plan that the state’s Republicans are supposedly reaching consensus on. (Maybe both share the same sources, though – who knows?) Click through for all the details. The most salient feature is something a lot of people here have also proposed: a matchup between Jason Altmire and Mark Critz, the two most junior Democrats in the delegation, in order to deal with PA’s loss of a seat.

Virginia: Lawmakers are potentially looking to release state legislative maps as early as the end of the month – which makes sense, since VA holds its House and Senate elections this November.

125 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 3/21”

  1. the black vote but nearly every AA legislator voted for it as it gave the democrats their only chance to hold the body.  The senate plan, passed by the GOP, added several AA majority seats but generally hurt the democrats.

    I am sure the NAACP is suing to get a seat at the table as there are numerous issues to be resolved.  Perhaps too many to list here but here goes.

    1. Filing dateline is 06-01-2011 and either new maps must be passed quickly.  DOJ needs 60 days to review and even that is not a done deal-time wise.  

    2. If deadlock exists what about those fall elections?  Run on old lines, delay the primary or have court ordered new lines?  

    Things are spinning out of control in MS like cars going four wide at Daytona Beach.  

  2. Roemer is currently Ambassador to India. I don’t think he’s shown much interest in electoral politics since he quit Congress in 2003 but he’s a wonk and I certainly wouldn’t complain if he was a Senator.

  3. Senate President Joel Chaisson is a Democrat: they kept the leadership positions the same even after Republicans won a numerical majority. Like to said a few days ago: LA politics are weird

  4. do the Republicans plan to draw new districts for Kottkamp and Dockery when the Democrats are due for a new seat along I-4? If they try to draw a 21-6 map it will backfire disastrously. If I were a GOP legislator I’d push to add a Democratic vote-sink around Orlando/Kissimmee to protect Adams, Webster, Ross, and the rest, and a GOP seat on the Gulf Coast. At this point Republican votes are spread as efficiently as they possibly can be; they will not be able to claim both new seats.

  5. Since Iowa adopted its current redistricting system, the Supreme Court has never had to draw the boundaries, so it’s hard to say how that process would play out.

    The seven current justices are:

    One Branstad appointee from the 1990s: Chief Justice Mark Cady, registered as a no-party voter (hated by the right because he wrote the 2009 Varnum v Brien ruling on marriage)

    Three Vilsack appointees: David Wiggins, Daryl Hecht and Brent Appel. Wiggins and Appel are registered no-party voters now but made many donations to Democratic candidates before being appointed to the bench. Hecht is a Democrat but to my knowledge was not very politically active before becoming a judge in 2006.

    Three recent Branstad appointees: Thomas Waterman, Edward Mansfield and Bruce Zager. All are registered Republicans, but only Waterman has actively supported GOP candidates recently. Waterman gave $7,500 to Branstad’s gubernatorial campaign and $250 to the attorney general campaign of Brenna Findley, who was Steve King’s longtime chief of staff. Findley is now Branstad’s legal counsel, and she participated in the governor’s interviews of potential Supreme Court appointees.

    Iowa Republicans look ready for a fight on redistricting, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them reject the first map proposed by the commission (the GOP-controlled legislature rejected the first map in 2001). I tend to think they won’t want to let the Supreme Court draw the lines.

  6. has already made its selection. The Republican consulting firm was disqualified for not disclosing donors. As for the law firm, Gibson, Dunn was selected. While a key partner there is definitely a Republican, the other member of the firm who’ll be coordinating their work with the Commission is no conservative by any stretch of the imagination.

    As an aside, the crying and whining from certain segments of the CA Democratic Party is unseemly in allegedly grown men. It’s understandable that they felt that with unified control over the process they could kick in the teeth of the GOP in the state. Having lost that chance, they take every opportunity to impugn the commission process.

    For one thing, as roguemapper has pretty convincingly shown, these maps will be a net gain for Dems. Furthermore, better representation makes the whole system work better. I’m a liberal because of principle and I’d rather lose clean than win dirty.

  7. I am not sure if anyone would stand a chance of defeating him in a primary, especially if there’s more than one main opponent, but it’d be nice if these guys forced him to spend some money on the primary that would otherwise go to the general. It’d be a pretty big gamble to almost ignore any sort of challenge, wouldn’t it? Would he do that?

  8. Over the weekend, our fellow poster BenjaminDisraeli wrote some posts that got me thinking. On the subject of a primary challenge, he mentioned that when pollsters like Rasmussen ask more in-depth questions, it helps us get a better idea of how intense support or disapproval is for Obama. I understand that, but I’m not sure what we should be comparing it to. B.D. mentions that a lot of right-leaning Democrats aren’t thrilled with Obama, but is that any different than some more moderate Republicans not being completely happy with Bush? Is it different than being angry or actively hostile? Is it more influenced by the events that are happening before and during his presidency, like the financial crisis, than some of us might think?

    I guess you could say I am one such person. There were a few days last week when I couldn’t get Bradley Manning out of my mind that I didn’t even want to look at Obama’s face on television, but then, either because I read more about it and realized it wasn’t as black and white as it first seemed or because, as Al Franken said, I view politics like a marriage and accept the good with the (very) bad, I didn’t feel so disgusted. I went from being excited at the thought of being more involved with the campaign, especially if I live in a swing state at the time, to being angry and figuring that while I would help other Democrats, I wouldn’t help him, to feeling like I’d voice by disapproval, frequently, even as I worked for him. And at the same time, I would vote for him, even before you consider the awful slate of candidates the Republicans have. It is, in other words, a constant back and forth.

    The overall numbers seem good, if not almost great when you consider the obstacles he’s up against. I’m not sure I’d rate him as a great president, but I think he’s done a good job, if not a very good job. I just wish he were doing better.

    Anyway, now that I’ve gotten my stream of consciousness out of the way, I’m curious, do you suspect there’s a big disconnect with the strong approval and the more tepid approval, or however it is phrased? I don’t, at least in ways that are dramatically different from previous presidencies. I’d like to be more exact, but I am not sure where to look for specific polling information from years past.

    Also, this statement was made:

    And focus group results are almost uniformly negative on his Presidency generally, if you separate it from alternatives, even among high and middle-income minority voters.

    I am not sure what he’s referring to. Does anyone have any idea?

  9. I suppose this is sort of on topic for a redistricting roundup: Hobbyist redistricting of the sort that goes on around here (i.e. Dave’s Redistricting App) has made the Wall St. Journal:

    There Comes a Time When People Just Have to Set Boundaries

    As States Redo Congressional Districts, Hobbyists Draw Own Lines; ‘the Baconmander’

  10. to discuss them not spending money attacking him in 2012?

    I could easily be way behind on this news, since one of the two articles linked to below is very old, but I have to ask, how common is a move like this? It it more about trying to maintain the image of a good guy that he’s been working on for his senate colleagues? Unless I am missing some context, it seems like a bizarre move. What is Cornyn supposed to say?

    I also have to wonder whether the White House has signed off on this approach or even encouraged it. It doesn’t seem like he’s in a lot of danger, but why even take the chance? He might be edging too close to the line where it seems like he’s running against his party rather than on himself, compared to someone like Claire McCaskill, but I’m not sure I see Obama making a serious play for the state unless his campaign is trying for almost every state. It’s probably fine to put a little distance between him and the president, even if it’s done in a hostile manner.

  11. Nancy Pelosi is coming to Des Moines Thursday to headline a fundraiser for Leonard Boswell’s campaign. Later that evening, Pelosi and Boswell will be the featured speakers at the Polk County Democratic Party’s spring fundraising event.

    Every cycle Republicans go after Boswell with this “voted with Nancy Pelosi’s liberal values” crap. He is not distancing himself from her at all.

  12. I dismissed this scandal at first, but I’m gradually starting to think this could be a major political problem for her. It’s become that sort of drip-drip-drip that no politician deals with well.

    Luckily, the Republican field is still unformed and it’s far enough ahead of the election that I think she can still put it behind her.

  13. “We’ll have our Michigan and North Carolina polls out starting tomorrow. In Michigan we’re leading off with numbers on Rick Snyder and unions…we’re seeing the same sort of serious buyer’s remorse there as in Ohio and Wisconsin.”  


    It’s Norby Chabert of Houma (in LA-03).  I’d expect a few more switches over the next thee weeks as the legislature draws the new district boundaries.  Right now the GOP has a 22-17 edge in the state Senate; after the 2007 election Democrats had a 23-16 majority.

  15. Michigan Census numbers are out, tomorrow.

    I predict a slower shrinking of Southeast Michigan than expected, and a slightly slower growth of West Michigan than expected.  Detroit shows significant loss, and will lose state house and senate seats, probably, but maintain its two congressional districts.

  16. But in Louisiana, the way it works, is that the Governor effectively appoints the leaders of each house of the legislature. The legislature, as an unspoken rule, almost always agrees to this. Thus Jindal recommended Joel Chaisson, (with whom he was a good working relation), and Jim Guy Tucker, despite the fact that at the time Democrats had a majority in the state house. These legislative leaders then appoint chairman heads and so on, so in effect, the Governor can control the legislature much more so than in other states.

    Jindal might appoint a Democrat again, it depends on whether he wants moderation and to keep his good relations.  

  17. Here still aren’t too partisan, so the Republican decided not to toss him out. Just like the House had a Republican Speaker and Independent Pro Tem when it was Democrat controlled.

  18. He’s got a partisan side too. He ran for DNC Chair after 2004 and lost to Dean. It was attributed to concern about having a pro-life social moderate at the head of the party. I’d note that Reid’s pro-life stance didn’t stop him becoming Senate Democratic Leader at the exact same time, but I expect the demands of the DNC electors were a bit more partisan. In any case, those stances would help Roemer in a statewide bid. Plus, his profile would make him an ideal Democratic replacement for Lugar if he ran; an experienced, moderate statesman with a foreign policy focus (ambassador, 9/11 commissioner). If there’s anger about Lugar’s treatment by the GOP, Roemer could tap into that well as a candidate.

    BTW, agree about him being wonkish, but the main post describes him as “wankerish”, which means something a bit different! Mistake, or hostility?


    rdelbov and I discussed this briefly on another thread …

    you write: “As an aside, the crying and whining from certain segments of the CA Democratic Party is unseemly in allegedly grown men. It’s understandable that they felt that with unified control over the process they could kick in the teeth of the GOP in the state. Having lost that chance, they take every opportunity to impugn the commission process.”

    BUT, if you read the links above, it clearly seems to me that it is the GOP in CA that is trying to “game” the commission and essentially “embed” their people in the process … fortunately, it does appear that there are at least a few “good government” Republicans on the commission who will not let the process be hijacked by these GOP political hacks.

  20. If there are tricks by the GOP to try and make the map more favorable to them than it should be, then the point of the commission is pointless. We all know that the GOP will play games. With them gerrymandering in other states, I wouldn’t have minded the legislature drawing the maps. I wouldn’t call gerrymandering dirty, it’s just politics, it’s a game.

  21. It’s called politics, and it’s not “crying and whining” to complain that an ostensibly independent redistricting commission would pick a Republican firm to draw its maps. And it’s not like there’s anything to gain from “impugning” the commission. Oh noes, the commission has been “impugned”! Well, their maps will still stand regardless.

    Anyway, looks like this “crying and whining” has been successful, because as you point out, the Rose firm got the boot.

  22. Is definitely a Republican-leaning firm (notably in the LA and DC offices), but the SF office is quite liberal, and they’re the lead appellate team for the Prop 8 challenge in Perry v. Schwarzennegar.

    I’m really excited they got picked (selfishly): I’m working at another Gibson office this summer, and really want to work on the redistricting stuff, even if just a little bit!

  23. not hear about  all the commissioners in CA spent several hours training on the Ap right here.  They have hired a VRA consultation and a mapping consultation.  No problem with that but maybe they all get software and training?

    What’s so complex about CA is that there are some many Newtonian law situations where every action has an equal and oppisite reaction.  You can say “Fresno county should only be split two ways but if that means King county is split what is the greater good so to speak?  You can decide not to split Monterey county but what are all the ramfications of that move?  

    Lots of fun coming to CA–I hope its televised as I suspect you almost have to vote district by district because of the way changes impact down the line.

  24. I followed him closely during his run for DNC chair. He was definitely something of a wanker. He was rather scolding toward party activists, and he seemed to scoff at the idea that rank-and-file members would have a problem with the Democratic Party picking as its head someone who, as you note, is anti-choice.

  25. He’s got almost half of independents and has secured almost all of his Democratic base, plus a fairly decent amount of Republican support.  

  26. Rehberg hasn’t had a challenge for more than a decade so how he handles himself against the popular Tester will go a long way toward deciding the election.

  27. Particularly with Rehberg at 48. Hopefully the latter can be made to regret not waiting for an easier race against Baucus 3 years from now. Though obviously the presidential race somewhat counteracts that next year.

  28. than rehburg.  tester received 22% of republicans, to Rehburg’s 12% of dems.  the problem with that is, tester’s “ahead” by one point and you have to figure a lot of those republicans will come back home by election time.  any news if stan jones is running again?

  29. But in this case, I’d say that’s less of a concern. Allen is fairly far to the right as it is, and he seems to be acceptable, if not actively liked, amongst the Teabaggers. I’d actually make a clear distinction between unacceptable ideology and just a general negative impression. In other words, I wouldn’t worry so much about Allen being pushed even more to the right, but rather that he’d just come across in a completely negative, unappealing way, more so than in a usual primary. I could easily see him trying to eliminate the threat in a primary by going overboard early on, which then invites some sort of equally nutty response.  

  30. You are looking at approval numbers. The first post in this thread had the election numbers, where Tester received only three percent of Republicans.  

  31. Your comments absolutely describe my current position on the Obama presidency. I’d go as far as saying that I won’t be contributing to his reelection campaign and, as of now, I plan on sitting out on the 2012 Presidential election entirely. Part of me actually wishes I could have a do-over and back Clinton all the way while part of me is just so disappointed and sad as to how someone with so much promise, who could have been great and memorable President turned out to be such a weak and gutless one.

    It has little to do with whether I am right-leaning, left-leaning or standing still. There are just some universal expectations of leadership and action by a leader that are so lacking in Obama that I sometimes wonder if he truly knows anything.  

  32. First, regarding Rasmussen polling on intensity, I pointed out in reply there that the numbers Benjamin cited prove my point that Democratic support for Obama remains strong.  Rasmussen typically has Obama’s “strongly approve” in the mid-20s to low-30s, and when you consider that’s the total sample including all the Republicans and indies, that’s already too high to primary him.  In fact when I was a subscriber, I routinely saw in the crosstabs that a clear majority of Democrats always gave Obama “strongly approve.”  Sometimes it topped 60%, usually it was in the 50s.  And total approve among Democrats was always in the 80s.

    You’re going to primary an incumbent President with 80something% job approval from the electorate?  I don’t think so.

    This doesn’t even consider that Rasmussen’s sampling has an inaccurate conservative and Republican bias and also other major fatal flaws in the first place, so who knows how accurate any of their data is?

    Regarding the focus group matter, Benjamin indicated in that exchange with me that he works professionally in politics for a state Democratic party, and he was privy to some insider info, including on White House thinking.  But it was unclear in his comment whether the focus groups he talked of were state-level focus groups, or focus groups conducted out of White House/DNC operation.

    To put it bluntly, I write off most of the intraparty dissatisfaction to the recession which in turn produces low morale, and in times of low national morale, the sitting President gets blamed.  It’s emotional more than cognitive, people naturally want to find someone at fault.  “Yes the recession is Bush’s fault in the first place, but dammit Obama has been President for long enough now, why aren’t things better?!”  That’s the sentiment.  But people are complex and conflicted, which is why when pressed to think things through, Democrats will admit they can’t think of anything more Obama really could’ve done, that they approve of at least what he tried to do, and overall he’s doing OK.  Those are the sentiments that come through in telephone surveys.  It’s also possible that some of the positive support in telephone surveys is, indeed, “circling the wagons” in support of Team Blue.  But that’s still the same as having no complaints at all, if people say they’re supportive, then that’s how they’ll vote.  And if people say they “strongly” approve, then they do.

  33. Is that a lot of responses of approval of Obama are partisan responses to the disaaproval from Republicans. We did an experiment and found that if you put Democrats in a room with Republicans and hold a discussion on the subject, they tend to produce a very high unity of approval for the President.

    If, however, you change the question and isolate respondents by partisan identity and then ask:

    1. Whether they consider the Obama Presidency a sucess?

    2. Do they think that Barack Obama is a good President?

    3. How do they think history will rate Barack Obama?

    The responses tend to drop dramtically. Ie. a large portion of those who “approve” of him as President, tend to have mixed or negative views about his performence/in hindsight suspect they might have prefered Hillary. I have heard voiced the idea it would have been better for McCain to have won and had to deal with the mess. The argument goes he would have had to deal with the Democrats in congress, the Tea Party wopuld have been anti-corporate, and Democrats would have made large gains in state legislatures and redistricting.

  34. I meant “my” take on his comments, not “may take on” his comments.

    One minor typo, but two totally different meanings!

  35. I think it highlights why he’s in better shape than some realize. People make relative comparisons, even indirectly, all the time. It’s not apparent now, because nobody except political junkies like us is making the contrast so frequently, but it’ll become clearer as the race heats up: he’s not doing that badly and he’s actually pretty good, especially compared to the alternatives. In other words, when people stop thinking in terms of the idealized perfect versus the flawed but still good, Obama will look better.  

  36. …unless you seriously think there’s no qualitative difference between Obama and his Republican opponent. If you think the national interest will be served equally well by the Reep winning as by Obama winning, then don’t vote. If you think there’s any difference at all, the responsible thing is to hold your nose and vote for the lesser evil. Your attitude isn’t principled. It’s emo.

    Also, if your definition of “weak” and “gutless” is passing something approximating a universal health care bill (something Truman, LBJ, or Clinton couldn’t do) and pushing through a bunch of unpleasant things (stimulus, bank and auto bailouts, etc) that needed to be done to prevent a second Depression, what does someone have to do to qualify as “strong” or “bold”?  

  37. This is not a particularly good topic for SSP. I understand we all have personal preferences, but those aren’t really important when discussing the horserace. Obama isn’t going to win or lose based on any personal problems we have with him (unless you have polling data that shows your concerns are shared by broader parts of the electorate).


  38. well, understanding, perhaps, or at least I try to put things in perspective. The only time I’ve felt entirely infuriated and almost despondent was when there was talk that he would propose huge cuts to Social Security in the State of the Union. That would have been an entirely unnecessary move, but he didn’t do it.

    If you don’t mind me asking, what would improve him in your eyes? What didn’t he do that he should have done? I’m not trying to argue one way or another, but I’ve often wondered what some people are expecting.  You don’t appear to be as partisan as I am, at least in affiliation, so you’re a good person to ask.

    In fact, I wondered the same thing when Gene Sperling was nominated to the NEC. He’s got a fairly long trail of writings that give some clues to his ideology. He’s for higher taxes on the rich, universal 401K accounts (i.e. redistribution for lower-income individuals), universal pre-school and after-school programs, and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (more redistribution), for instance. Aside from his support for open trade, for instance, I’m not sure what else progressives think is lacking. Yet there was a lot of grumbling about him.

    You could easily pin me down as a pushover for saying this, but despite entertaining the thought of not voting, I can’t imagine ever going through. Even if he ends up disappointing me as much as he disappoints you, the alternative is so much worse. I can’t help but think that the better alternative is to reelect him and then force him to be better–to hold his feet to the fire, as F.D.R. told his supporters to do to him.

  39. Probably even more than you are, but not voting and not staying active is what gave us Scott Walker and John Kasich.

    Republicans hate their leaders, but they still vote and stay active.  Why progressives give up the fight so easily and let their opponents win in a walk is a mystery to me.  The only thing that “staying out” of the presidential race will do is allow some nut job to walk in.  That result does not achieve progressive ends.

  40. When’s the next time Kos (or you perhaps) are going to do a “leadership poll,” like… ?

    In that last (unscientific) poll, DK approval of the President was at 67%, somewhat less than liberals as a whole, based on PPP polls.

    If anecdotal evidence is to be believed, dissatisfaction with the President is centred among white liberals in the blogsphere.

    If there’s a (Gene) McCarthy-type challenge in the offing for the President, I think a leading indicator would be the DK leadership poll.

  41. I’d actually like to discuss this further, but it could very easily derail the thread. Shinigami, if you are interested, I’d be happy to give you my e-mail address so we can talk about this more.  

  42. like the sort of thing that will really hurt him. I’ve thought of similar stuff at times, but I can’t help but think of it as political daydreaming.  

  43. fill vacancies created by the “no” vote on retention last November (not a recall exactly).

    In November 2012 all three of the new justices plus Wiggins will be on the ballot for a retention vote.

  44. The Rose Institute is clearly a partisan operation looking to secure Republican gains. IMHO it was a shame that they even ended up as a finalist, but thank goodness someone caused a stir and made the commissioners rethink that.

  45. But I don’t really care.  He’s one guy and as much as people used to bitch about one guy going rogue on our side (be it Zell Miller or some other wack-a-doo) we already know that this what Manchin brings, its either him or a republican, pick your poison.

    That said, Manchin is just one guy, he’s just going out of his way to be in public view since he wants to hold the seat.  he has reason to run against Obama as WV will vote for any GOPer in 2012 (Sarah Palin could run with an unwed pregnant lesbian and win the state by 15 points).  He also probably truly believes every state should be like WV, which most people would disagree with.

    I chalk this up to the “meh” file.  Consorting with repbulicans to not run against him is weird, but my guess is he flirts with flipping (post-election) and that is the chit he is playing right now.  Doubt he goes through with a flip though…

  46. That’s why midterms are usually so hard for a sitting President’s party.  It’s all about the President, there’s no effective foil.  You have the rare exceptions, like 1998 when the GOP Congress made itself a foil by an impeachment most Americans strongly opposed, or 2002 when 9/11 hysteria made the midterms a vehicle to rally around the President.  But absent that, the President in office is always compared unfavorably to the perfect, rather than fairly to the good.

    Note:  I’m 43, my lifetime has spanned 9 Presidents, 5 GOPers and 4 Democrats, and every single one has been unpopular at some point during his Presidency.  That tells you how hard a job it is, and to how high a standard every President is held.

  47. he’s doing except for meeting with Republicans about not spending money against him. (I almost want to say that was a bullshit reason and that the real reason was something else, but I have no idea what it might be.) As annoying as some his moves may be, he’s not really running against the party–at least not yet. That could change, but right now, he’s merely being a kiss ass to the media. I certainly don’t have a problem with him. I kind of wish he could play the “Republicans are complete fuck ups, and we are still cleaning up their goddamn mess” card more frequently, but perhaps his political pulse tells him it’s not time for that yet.

    I don’t see him flipping. Why would he? He might be too conservative for my tastes, but would he last in the Republican party? His hire of Kris Kofinis said it all, I think.

    Also, I wouldn’t peg West Virginia as a strong possibility for a Democratic flip in 2012, but I could see Palin or Bachmann losing it, and perhaps Gingrich too. And if they won, it wouldn’t be by a huge margin. But that’s more of an educated guess than anything else.

  48. …come 2012.

    Just as those Democrats circled the wagons with Republicans in the room, they will rally around the President in earnest with the Democratic Party’s control of the office threatened next year.

    Obama is in remarkably good shape for reelection given all the tough times on his watch, and I think the paradox reveals a certain amount of mature understanding from the electorate that Obama is not at fault for the stuff that’s brought down their morale.

  49. I can’t say I know much or followed it closely, so I can’t speak to how derisive he was towards party activists.  From what I’ve read he was drawing a lot of fire from the grassroots and the pro-choice groups, despite having the backing of even Nancy Pelosi in the race, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he was frustrated, but I’d agree that a potential chair has the duty to respect the party base, and if he went beyond that, I can understand. From his statements and an op-ed he wrote at the time, it seems he tried to be upfront that he respected the views of the pro-choice Democratic majority and wouldn’t attempt to change the platform- as long as that was his stance, I don’t think it’s contradictory to have an anti-abortion DNC chair, as long as he didn’t make abortion a focus. I respect that Howard Dean was beloved by progressives and shook up the party in the way that Roemer, as an establishment-backed candidate, probably wouldn’t have (50 state strategy etc), and if he was scolding on that count too that’s a bigger problem.

    It’s an odd debate in the light of the fact that Harry Reid’s stance on abortion, like I was saying. Logically, as Senate Leader, and therefore in the position to influence policy in a way the party chair generally is not, would draw more fire for it. Even the discontent with Reid on the left seems more generally to do with moderation and mismanagement of his caucus, rather than his stance on abortion. I’m 100% sure what I think about Reid or Roemer leading the Dems, but the fact that that the Republicans would never consider doing the same at least proves that Dems are more serious about big tents. I read some Republicans bragging that putting Specter in charge of Senate Judiciary proved their big tent credentials back then, but just try and imagine them making someone like him Senate Leader or Party Chair. It’s even less imaginable now, and yet Reid’s still leading the Dems.

  50. Was on messaging. What we found was that what tended to work well was attacks on Republicans, and well, doing things.

    On the other hand, what poll-tested really really badly was the “nothing at all is the matter you are being misled by the media/fox news/ talk radio line.

    To sort of paraphrase, lines that went like the following:

    “Contrary to what you may have heard this is the most productive congress since 1936”


    “The stimulus saved millions of jobs and the economy is clearly recovering”

    Did very badly. Very very badly. Regardless as to whether they were true in an abstract, they came off as both having a lecturing tone, and as things that the listener found to be untrue. The latter in particular sounded like

    “You are too stupid to know what the real state of the job market is. My experts tell me it is recovering impressively, and you should just wait a while and things will be fine.”

    It was furthermore damaging in the sense that the defense of the Stimulus gave the distinct impression that the President just didn’t care. People will forgive a bad economy for a while if they think you are as upset as they are about it and working to fix it; if they think you really don’t care, or if you seem to think the situation is under control when they don’t, they tend to react badly. A large part of the 2010 effect seemed to be voters trying to get the President’s attention, and therefore when he fails to react to events, regardless of the individual merits of each situation, it is highly damaging since it gives the impression he is not paying attention.

    This was particularly apparent among young voters, especially when they heard Darfur cited as an issue that the Administration thought would appeal to young voters. It was not that they disagreed with Obama on Darfur – it was that Darfur was old news, soooo 2006, and the act of bring it in a 2011 youth outreach campaign seemed to confirm the impression many of them had that Obama did not care about their challenges with the job market.

    I realize this is a tangent, but I wanted to give a bit of context to some of the comments I have made.

    I also wanted to apologize for some of the spelling issues I have had posting here. Several of my posts have been from my mobile.

  51. For a long time, I’ve thought that if the Democrats, and specifically Obama, would be helped if they launched a drive to highlight opportunities to put people to work very quickly through infrastructure programs and so forth. In some ways, politically speaking, it might be better that the Republicans oppose it, because it will keep the issue alive for the Democrats.  

  52. …I don’t recall any outreach to young voters last year based on Darfur.

    Of course I wouldn’t have been a target of any such outreach, I’m in my 40s!

    But I pay pretty close attention to what’s being done out there, and that one completely escaped me.

    Regarding Presidential messaging, I wondered all through Obama’s first couple years, and still wonder, how much of what he says is calibrated carefully to not hurt the recovery.  Was there a White House calculation that markets, and by that I mean not just Wall Street but macroeconomically, would react badly and therefore slow down the recovery even further if Obama came off as too forward in acknowledging things were bad and not improving quickly?  Was there a fear of rhetoric being overinterpreted as bad news looking forward, and thus talk of things being bad would help keep things bad?

    I don’t know, but ultimately I don’t see any way Obama could have “messaged” his way out of the economic mess of the first 2 years.  I don’t see any way he wasn’t going to slowly be given increasing amounts of blame.  And I don’t see any way he could’ve done anything different to speed up the recovery.  If Obama came off as upset as the population, that risks being condemned as doomsday talk that only aggravates the situation.  It’s easy to say what you wish the President would’ve said, but it seems to be a false pretense that it really would’ve made anyone jobless and still looking feel any better about him.

  53. If you look at the statistics of any of the GOP candidates it becomes enarly impossible to see how any of them will win, but one will have to win, someone will have to come in second, and somehow some way a VP will be selected though not likely to be from this group).

    Every time anyone goes through the actual GOP nominating process it just seems like no one can win the GOP nomination.  2012 for the GOP will likely require the strategic vote-targeting that Obama was able to really use well, especially in cuacus states and so forth.  it was, in a word, brilliant.  Whichever GOPer manages to maximize voters to get delegates everywhere they can is going to have a better shot than the others.

  54. As I’ve contended all along, I believe Pawlenty’s merely angling for the VP slot. He has to realize Romney’s probably unbeatable in New Hampshire and he probably won’t connect with the South Carolina crowd. So, that leaves him Iowa, where he can perhaps tap into some “mainstream” Republicans who aren’t fond of Romney, but it’s still hard for me to fathom him outright winning there. I don’t think Pawlenty serves as a strong alternative to Romney – the religious right won’t be fond of either. So, it’s difficult to see an obvious opening for him when moderates like Romney and the far-right prefers the Palin/Gingrich candidates.

  55. for us is that some of the most unelectable candidates might not do what you say and therefore won’t win the nomination. Below is an article from The New Republic describing how Bachmann could win Iowa.

    I believe it, especially because, as the article smartly points out, she looks to be a better politician and a smarter (relatively speaking, of course) tactician than someone like Palin. But will she do the sort of targeting that is necessary to win?

    And for that matter, will any of the other campaigns in a general election? Supposedly, Romney used it in his campaign in Massachusetts, but would someone like Pawlenty do it? Would Palin even know what it is? I could see the Obama campaign winning handily simply because the Republicans don’t use the template they have. I’m not sure any outside groups could save them if the main organization falls far behind.

  56. We should do some of those again. I think there’s no way an even remotely credible challenge to Obama could happen, but these numbers are interesting regardless.

  57. line drawing technical expert when the process was opened up for competitive bid.  Originally, there was going to be a sole source contract for Karin MacDonald’s company, Q2 Data and Research.  Ms. MacDonald has maintained the Statewide Database at UC Berkeley.  However, when Republicans complained that Q2 has ties with Bruce Cain, who has assisted Democrats in the past, the competitive bid process was put in place.  Only Q2 and the Rose Institute submitted bids.

    On Saturday, the Commission first reviewed the Q2 proposal and found only one minor error.  When they got to the Rose Institute proposal, there were about 20 errors, some of which were very significant.  For example, the Rose Institute did not list any of their donors and simply made a blanket statement that none of their donors would pose a conflict of interest.  Their bid was thrown out on a 9-4 vote.

    Q2 was eventually selected unanimously, with the stipulation that Bruce Cain not be involved in the process.

  58. on Dave’s app and cannot figure out how they intend to draw two new Republican seats. One in the Gulf Coast and South-Central, sure, but the I-4 seat is going to be Democratic unless they want to see several of their incumbents lose.

  59. supported Gibson Dunn to be the VRA Attorney and 3 out of 5 Republican commissioners initially did not (possibly because the other firm had clear Republican ties).  In fact, Gibson Dunn was encouraged to bid by one of the Democratic Commissioners, Maria Blanco, who had worked previously with Frederick Brown, one of the partners who made the presentation.

    The impression I got was that they were essentially a bipartisan firm, but that could be incorrect.

  60. It was a stalwart Republican firm for much of its history, but as it’s grown (and expanded to new areas of the country) it has taken on a much more bipartisan flair. That’s, in fact, one of the reasons I wanted to spend my summer working there.

    They’ll work for either side, as long as said side isn’t particularly crazy. Former Solicitor General Ted Olson is just about as close as you can get to a stereotypical Gibson partner: fiscally conservative, leans R on international issues, but equivalent (if not to the left) of most national Dems on social issues.

  61. there’s no way to know for sure without some data.

    I point to the Gene McCarthy precedent, as there are at least some superficial LBJ ’67 parallels in the current political environment, and the netroots is the closest approximation to the demographic that backed McCarthy in ’68.

    As I don’t see PPP doing a focused poll on the netroots demographic, something like the “leadership poll” may be the best available alternative.

    If you do a future “leadership poll,”– and the numbers turn out similar to the Sept ’10 result — then you can point to it to refute the fear (that I see from some users here) that the netroots will put up a serious (or even a whimsical) challenge to the President in the ’12 primary cycle.

    If we’re surprised by the results, then other actions can be considered. Perhaps in that case, a focused PPP poll would be justified.

  62. Now that we will have a big majority (most likely). I can’t see him appointing Alario who wants it bad. Sen. Danny Martiny is a likely choice.  

  63. Which will get rid of the whole problem once and for all.  The good news is that it’s March of 2011, not 2012.

  64. It does seem worse than it originally appeared, because it is. But is this the end, or is there more?

    If it’s the end, I think she’ll be fine. It’s more than a full year before the election, and while it’s not exactly anything to be proud of, she didn’t break the law. She also repaid all of the money, or so it seems right now. If she has to apologize more than she has already, what are the Republicans going to say? She didn’t steal, she didn’t kill someone, and she didn’t sell access to her office. Also, what if her Republican opponent did something similar, or worse?  

  65. because I was being pessimistic. With the amendments, a compact Dem seat in Orlando seems almost inevitable.

  66. Walker, Kasich and Snyder’s poll numbers remain horrendous come 2012, Obama should air attack ads tying his opponent to them and put those ads on heavy saturation. I don’t know if it’ll work, but it certainty won’t hurt.

  67. should be forcing Republicans in every state where unions have significant clout to take a stand. (If they haven’t already, that is; but I would assume they haven’t.) It’s a perfectly legitimate public policy issue to ask about, but it has the added benefit of being able to drive a wedge through the Republican base.

  68. They had her ahead by 1 in Nebraska and Texas. And way back in November, they had her ahead 50-44 in Montana.

    They were also tied in Tennessee.

  69. now. you’ll have to wait and see.

    Still the system, unspoken as it may be, gives the governor in Louisiana an absurd amount of power compared to most other states.  

  70. I agree, it’s absurd.  No wonder Louisiana is as corrupt as up here in New Jersey.  When the Governor has the legislature in the palm of his hand, it’s only a recipe for trouble.

  71. If Alario is not selected for Majortity Leader or Senate President, delicious scadenfreude will ensue amongst Democrats.  His reason for leaving wasn’t that he was a Dixiecrat uncomfortable with the Democratic party, but that he wanted to be chosen to be in the leadership.

  72. It’s not the Governors who are the problem, it’s the party machines that controls politicians.

  73. His holding that State Senate seat in a 2009 special election was really surprising and made me instantly consider him a raising star; after all it had given McCain 70% of the vote. Partially because the Houma area is so intensely racist. In any case, I’m sad to see him leave. Really crushes the Democratic party further in Cajun country, which used to be the center of the populist, liberal wing of the Democratic party in the state.  

  74. The legislature is in a special three week session to draw maps.  If someone’s thinking of switching now’s the time to do it.  

  75. After the Dem support he got in the 2009 special and his father and brother represented the seat. I wonder if he will face a challenger from the right after admitting to voting for Obama in a debate in 2009.  

  76. Around. He will probably be challenged. Even the state party isn’t enthused about him being in the party  

  77. First, no he’s not “angling for VP.”  No one does that.  No one.  That’s not even worth discussing, about anyone, until after a presumptive nominee emerges in spring/summer of the election year itself.  Everyone now who is talking about running, or actually planning to run, for President, is thinking exclusively about getting elected President.

    Second, Pawlenty has a very plausible chance to win Iowa.  It might end up being simply by the process of elimination, but he can do it.  I hope he doesn’t, because I increasingly think he would be Obama’s strongest opponent, be that as it may out of this sad cast of characters.

    Third, Romney is about as “unbeatable” in NH as last time, which is to say, not at all.  He was the runaway frontrunner in NH all through 2007, ran a textbook perfect campaign there as well as in Iowa, and when voters finally decided to pay attention in earnest none of that mattered.  If Pawlenty can win Iowa, he can surpass Romney in NH, and if Pawlenty is doing well in Iowa leading up to the caucus I can see that dovetailing with improved polling in NH.

    Fourth, it makes no sense to suggest Pawlenty can’t win SC when McCain of all people did so.  A little momentum goes a long way, and if Iowa’s evangelicals embrace Pawlenty, that signals he could do well enough to carry SC, too.

    Don’t get me wrong, I can easily see Pawlenty just failing to catch fire in Iowa, and if he doesn’t win outright or finish a surprisingly close 2nd (but to whom could he finish a close 2nd as a “pleasant” surprise?…probably no one, so he has to win), then he’s done.

    But a win in Iowa for someone like Pawlenty can carry him.

    I saw his video today and was impressed, as I was impressed with his last video.  The production value was good, the message was pitch perfect positive and yet conservative, and Pawlenty has a soothing and smooth voice as a self-narrator.  I can tell from listening to him on the video that he’s been campaigning and practicing his pitch for a long time.

    And Pawlenty’s timing on announcing his exploratory committee is good relative to other contenders, even though he and all the others should’ve done this much sooner after the midterms.  Pawlenty did a great job springing this on the media out of nowhere, creating a news story for himself–there was no hint of this before this morning.  And for awhile he’s the most serious candidate actually running, and for that he’ll get extra attention from activists and the media for awhile.  He can milk this for all it’s worth especially in Iowa, and secondarily in NH and SC.

    A lot of Democrats are dismissive of Pawlenty, but it’s all relative, and I see him as clearly superior to his Republican competition.

  78. … he is the GOP front runner IMHO. That says much more about the field than Pawlenty. T-Paw is the Republican equivalent to John Kerry, the safe choice in a field of flawed candidates.  

  79. Is it that he’s so boring Bill Maher could joke Pawlenty himself wanted to hear one interesting thing about Tim Pawlenty, which could come in handy if he simply needs to be Not Obama?  

  80. Politico is bending over backwards to make this into a “gotcha” that has legs with voters, or at least to make its immediate reading audience think it has legs with voters.

    But it’s still worth nothing more than a shrug, and that’s all voters will give it, if that much.

    McCaskill isn’t corrupt, she doesn’t bend the rules, there’s no existing narrative there to build upon, and there’s no series of ethical transgressions, or series of appearances of transgressions, to create a narrative.

    I’m sure Politico will now keep digging through all her public records and look for whatever they can find to continue a hit job that’s buying web site hits for themselves, but this whole thing is going to die with a whimper and be forever forgotten, except by campaign junkies like us who make a mental note of yet one more reason Politico is “journalism” with the scare quotes required.

  81. …but, everyone else is really weak, and there’s one thing you can say about Pawlenty, he’s really, really trying hard.  That effort counts in voters eyes, and it may just be enough to put him over the top in a very weak field.

  82. Chabert’s district is oil-and-gas country, heavily dependent on fuel exploration. Wery much pro-drilling and anti-environment. So, it’s not populist or liberal on economy anymore.. Add to this very deep social conservatism (most Cajuns are very social conservative, and that’s even mildly speaking), reaction on Obama – and what holds Chabert and his voters in present day national Democratic party? Nothing, not even economy, just tradition. They (voters there) will still elect some local (and conservative) Democrats on some posts, but it will be an exceptions, not the rule. And, repeat, they have almost nothing in common with national party.

    There are few (very few) white liberals in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Substantially less then even in Georgia and South Carolina, and much less then in North Carolina and Virginia. So, it’s not surprising that Democratic party there is, essentially, a black party now, and Republican – the white one. Segregation returns, but this time on political level)))

  83. I suspect Hillary would have roughly similar approvals, and honestly, I think his numbers are pretty good considering the circumstances. It’s really not difficult to imagine another president having approvals in the 30s under these circumstances.

    However, what I think is different about perceptions about Obama is what lies below the headline numbers. I could be wrong, but it seems like Obama inspires much stronger personal feelings in people than most presidents. There’s an underlying affection/admiration/liking that helps sustain his numbers but also feeds disappointment. Lots of people invested heavily in Obama emotionally – not just liberals, but lots of moderates and independents. People really hoped Obama could change politics, although of course what “change” meant differed person to person.

    Obama has a genuinely impressive record in many areas, but as one might expect there are also failures and disappointments. And the economy is very lousy, which just makes everyone irritable. Obama could never have matched the hopes people had, and so lots of people feel somewhat deflated whatever their basic “approval” is.

    In some senses I wonder if the “disappointment” would be less with Hillary. I don’t think her headline numbers would be very different, but some of the emotional deflation people have with Obama might not have been present.  

  84. I doubt anything nefarious was going on, and it was likely an innocent mistake. But whereas the initial story about the plane was complicated and hard to demagogue, not paying property taxes on it is a much easier-to-understand charge.

    I don’t think it totally sinks her; we’ll have to see how this plays out and if there are no new revelations it may well mean nothing in the end. But it’s still not a good sign.  

  85. but she paid the taxes she owed. What else can she do? Someone else said that this thankfully happened in March of 2011 rather than March of 2012, but even if it happened this time next year, she could probably recover. Unless there’s a lot of other stuff that will come out, it’s hardly a career ender. If a criminal like Rick Scott can be elected governor while scamming Medicare, then Claire should be able to ride this one out. They will try to keep milking it for all its worth, but diminishing returns will eventually kick in.  

  86. Pawlenty was Obama’s strongest opponent. That may not mean that much in comparison to how weak the field is, but still, what makes him Obama’s strongest opponent? I doubt he’d come as close as Bush did to winning his home state.  

  87. thinking. I’ve thought such things at times.

    I’ve actually wondered if Obama’s reading of of the landscape is that he simply needs to get to a second term, and whether in his final four or even his final two years, he can do a lot of things that will cement his legacy. He’s supposed to be known as a long-term thinker and poker player and planner and whatever. And while trying to decipher any additional dimensions to his game of chess can leave you dizzy, it does give you, or at least me, a certain level of calm. It kind of makes sense that he has his eye on something further down the road. Why else would someone who seemed to politically skilled be knocked over so easily by short-term things?  

  88. Yes I think Pawlenty is Obama’s “strongest” opponent.

    In hindsight I can see that’s misleading insomuch as Pawlenty isn’t actually “strong.”

    But IMO he’s a stronger general election nominee than all other Republicans, so that strictly speaking merits the term “strongest.”

    But “least weak” is equally logically accurate and perhaps less misleading of how I actually see Pawlenty.

    And you’re right Pawlenty can’t even win Minnesota.  Obama would beat him there.  But I can see a scenario where polling tightens there late, even if doesn’t anywhere else, simply as home-state syndrome gets Pawlenty closer than all the polls predict.  I could even picture Obama barely hanging on, 51-48, same as Kerry over Bush.  Again, purely for home-state reasons…there is value in that, even if it’s not enough to win.

  89. Whats more disturbing is that they seem to see it as a key youth issue, which its not right now:

    The new dynamics have complicated White House efforts to connect. Before Obama joined the Penn State roundtable, for instance, Mr. Modi sought to inspire the students to combat apathy and encourage activism on grand causes such as saving the environment and helping the people of Darfur.

    But the student body president, Christian Ragland, wanted to talk about something closer to home: the deep higher education cuts being proposed by Pennsylvania’s new Republican governor, Tom Corbett.

    “For me, when he talked about apathy, the first thing I thought of was tuition hikes and getting students to be involved in that process,” Mr. Ragland said later.

    Mr. Modi didn’t have much to offer. He replied that the federal government couldn’t do anything about state action, but he promised to stay in touch with the students and bring their concerns to the president.

    Obama would do better to urge young Democrats to go work on recalls in Wisconsin. It is something they can connect with because many of them do want to go into public service.  

  90. Kerry had been on the national stage for 30 years.  Pawlenty is nothing like that.

    If you want to be optimistic about his chances, the closest recent parallel for Pawlenty is Bill Clinton 1992.

  91. I would suspect that if Pawlenty were going to be competitive–as in, within five points or so–with Obama in Minnesota, we’d see that in earlier in the race. I doubt the Obama campaign would worry much, unless Pawlenty started polling as strongly in Iowa and Michigan, an in the Midwest in general. I guess it’s possible that he could lose Minnesota but still somehow win–Obama would have to eek out tiny victories in Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and similar steps, while losing North Carolina, Ohio, and Florida–but it doesn’t seem likely. I don’t always agree with this line of reasoning, but I think if he’s losing Minnesota, he’s almost certainly losing the election. (The same can probably be said for Chris Christie in New Jersey, and perhaps even more strongly.)

    If on a scale of one to ten, Obama will contest Ohio at ten, he will probably contest Minnesota at six or seven–i.e. seriously enough to spring into action if trouble does arise, but not so seriously that he can’t be aggressive elsewhere.

  92. I doubt there’s any “11 dimensional chess” going on, but I also don’t think he gets politically knocked anywhere near as much as people think. Approval ratings see-saw for all presidents, and economic conditions are what drives most approval ratings. Insofar as it seems he gets “knocked up” it has more to do with the kinetic media landscape of today, and blogs and internet lead to a whole lot more chatter than ever before. Now, everyone’s a pundit, everything’s a crisis, and there’s always a firestorm of some sort or another.

    Keep in mind, the perception on the right is the polar opposite of that on the left. Read RW blogs and the impression they have is of a president ramming through a radical agenda very effectively. (Hence the hysteria.) Completely the opposite of the perception on the left is that he’s gutless, too timid, etc.  

  93. I guess I should have said that he lets him appear as if he’s knocked down because he’s not paying attention to the day to day stuff.  

  94. as possible switch candidate. He represents conservative district. But voting for Obama – well, that may be a real problem for him. I remember recent campaign for state Senate when Republican won mostly because Democratic opponent’s campaign manager connections with OFA. That works in Louisiana now)))

  95. …Pawlenty nationally is polling pre-election in the same mid-40s as McCain, and ends up in the 45-47% range.  In that scenario, I easily can see where maybe he gets slightly higher in MN than nationally, even if he’s losing WI and IA by 10-15.

    MN was tighter than WI last time and only slightly larger a percentage margin than Iowa; Obama beat McCain only 54-44 in MN, so all you need is to flip a few points to make it tight.

  96. I remember quite a bit of nail chewing over the fact McCain was running full pelt in Minnesota with no response from Obama. Obviously the campaign spent big in Wisconsin and Iowa right through election day.

  97. I can only hope that was Modi’s (aka Penn’s) own idea to bring up Darfur, and not the White House more broadly who came up with it.

    It’s truly stupid.

    It still is, 19 years after the phrase was coined, the economy stupid.

  98. I remember thinking at the time, right after the election, that Obama actually underperformed a bit in both Minnesota and Iowa.  And in hindsight I think it clearly was because he took those states much more for granted, since his polling leads were just so much bigger there than elsewhere in the Upper Midwest.  Of course after a point I don’t recall any campaigning in Wisconsin, and of course McCain handed Obama Michigan on a silver platter in September.

    And actually, also in hindsight, McCain was smart to go hard in traditional swing states where he was polling badly to try to pull off a surprise there.  It wasn’t bad on his part to hope to catch Obama asleep in MN, IA, and also New Mexico to see if they didn’t tighten for real at the end and let him get over the hump.  He needed some trick plays to have any shot, and that wasn’t a bad one.  But I still think McCain’s pollster, POS, simply failed miserably…they had IA and PA a lot closer than anyone else, or the actual results, and I suspect the same for NM.

  99. on the national level and hasn’t been for decades. McCain and the GOP were moronic to think they stood a chance at winning Minnesota.

  100. McCain and the GOP ultimately had no path to victory, period.

    But any path they could have manufactured had other circumstances created an opening would have had to have included pulling off upsets in a few states where it wasn’t expected.  It was a longshot, sure, but my point is he had to try something, and going after a few states that were close the previous cycle but that Obama was taking for granted, was a plausible play.

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