"Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you”


Thursday, November 8, 2007

RIP: The Spin Room, 2007

An interesting article over at The New Republic provides a glimpse into the rapidly evolving world of presidential campaigning in the Internet Age: the Death of the Post Debate Spin Room.

The advent of social networking sites, the pervasive liveblogging major political events on political websites and the 24-7 news cycle's insatiable appetite has ripped message control from the campaigns. The reality is - the Internet removes the need for the middle-men, the spinmeisters and the professional punditry to tell the audience (the VOTERS) who 'won the debate' or 'scored more political points.' The campaigns who continue to rely on the outdated practice of "spinning" the political reporters are behind the eightball. Through the power of the Internet the audience has arrived at it's own consensus as the debate occured.

TNR's delineates the different approaches taken by two high profile strategists (Joe Trippi from Edwards and Mark Penn from Hillary). Which one looks like the 21st century campaign? Which one seems to be playing by last century's political handbook? I'll let others decide.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Senate Horse Race 12 Months Out

Roll Call has a series of Senate poll numbers out today (via) Swing State:

One year and one day before Election Day 2008, it looks like the Dems have three GOP-held seats in the "Pick-Up" Column (CO, NH, and VA), two as pure toss-ups (MN and NM) with two (OR and ME) looking like the GOP may be able to hold.

Colorado [OPEN - Allard(R)]
Mark Udall (D): 48
Bob Schaeffer (R): 41
Undecided: 11

New Hampshire (R- Sununu)
Jay Buckey (D): 36
John Sununu (R-inc): 49
Undecided: 16

Jeanne Shaheen (D): 53
John Sununu (R-inc): 42
Undecided: 5

Virginia [OPEN - Warner (R)]
Mark Warner (D): 52
George Allen (R): 42
Undecided: 6

Mark Warner (D): 57
Jim Gilmore (R): 35
Undecided: 8

The field of candidates in New Mexico is far from set. The Draft (Tom) Udall effort appears to be gaining steam while Diane Denish has said she isn't running, instead focusing on the 2010 governor's race. Norm Coleman in Minnesota - struggling below the 50% mark against both leading DFL candidates - appears in trouble at this stage. I'd expect the movement in both of these races will be toward the Dems as the election draws nearer.

Minnesota (R- Coleman)
Mike Ciresi (D): 44
Norm Coleman (R-inc): 44
Undecided: 12

Al Franken (D): 45
Norm Coleman (R-inc): 46
Undecided: 9

New Mexico [OPEN- Domenici (R)]
Marty Chavez (D): 48
Steve Pearce (R): 43
Undecided: 9

Diane Denish (D): 47
Steve Pearce (R): 43
Undecided: 10

Bill Richardson (D): 58
Steve Pearce (R): 37
Undecided: 4

Don Wiviott (D): 32
Steve Pearce (R): 49
Undecided: 18

Marty Chavez (D): 48
Heather Wilson (R): 44
Undecided: 8

Diane Denish (D): 49
Heather Wilson (R): 43
Undecided: 9

Bill Richardson (D): 59
Heather Wilson (R): 37
Undecided: 5

Don Wiviott (D): 38
Heather Wilson (R): 47
Undecided: 15

The resilience of moderates Collins and Smith may be put to the test in a presidential year, when both Maine and Oregon are expected to align in the Democratic column. These may be two states where the strength at the top of the ticket could make the difference.

Maine (R- Collins)
Tom Allen (D): 38
Susan Collins (R-inc): 55
Undecided: 8

Oregon (R- Smith)
Jeff Merkley (D): 39
Gordon Smith (R-inc): 48
Undecided: 13

Steve Novick (D): 39
Gordon Smith (R-inc): 45
Undecided: 16

With only two Dem-held seats (Johnson-SD and Landrieu-LA) considered vulnerable at this time, it looks like the Dems are looking at a pick up of 4-6 seats. There are other seats that a strong Democratic effort could put in play - particularly Kentucky (McConnell also below 50% in hypothetical matchups), North Carolina and Texas.

The Spooks Speak: Mukasey Must Answer Torture Questions

Larry C. Johnson over at The Quarter has posted a powerful letter urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to delay voting on Judge Michael Mukasey's nomination until he provides a clear response to whether or not waterboarding constitutes torture. The letter is signed by former military and law enforcement officers, diplomats, and intelligence officials.

From the letter:

We feel this more acutely than most others, for in our careers we have frequently had to navigate the delicate balance between morality and expediency, all the while doing our best to abide by the values the vast majority of Americans hold in common. We therefore believe we have a particular moral obligation to speak out. We can say it no better than four retired judge advocates general (two admirals and two generals) who wrote you over the weekend, saying: “Waterboarding is inhumane, it is torture, and it is illegal.”


It is important to get beyond shadowboxing on this key issue. In our view,condoning Mukasey’s evasiveness would mean ignoring fundamental American values and the Senate’s constitutional prerogative of advice and consent.

At stake in your committee and this nomination are questions of legality,morality, and our country’s values.

These American patriots understand what's at stake.
Do our Senators? DiFi and Chuckie, are you listening?

Just so we're clear:

Voting for Mukasey at this time endorses torture.

America is better than this. America MUST be better - or the terrorists win.