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

Pericles



Friday, April 18, 2008

Show Me The Money - Q1's Biggest RainMakers

CQ Politics' Moneyline has a list of the top ten gainers in Cash on Hand in the just reported first quarter.

Competitive Challengers (noted on the list with an asterisk): Three Democratic challengers filing their first reports (Raul Martinez, Gerry Connolly and Tom Manion) make the list as does challenger John Adler, who reports over $1 million in his race to win the open seat in NJ-03. The one Republican challenger on the list (Northup) is running to regain the seat she lost in '06, so her fundraising ability isn't a huge surprise.

Fighting Freshmen (in italics): Three Democratic incumbents on the list are running their first reelection campaign, typically when a House member is found most vulnerable. All three are in swing districts in the northeast. By winning these races, Dems can reasonably expect to solidify their dominance in the region. Notably, Murphy's expected opponent in November (Tom Manion) also appears on the list.

Clash of the Titans: Two districts (FL-21 and PA-08) have two candidates in the top ten. In both cases the incumbents maintain a large cash advantage.

1) Raul Martinez*, (D FL-21) $593,000 CoH -- $593,000+
2) Rep. Joe Sestak, (D PA-07) $2.26 million CoH -- $549,000+
3) Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, (R FL-21) $1.45 million CoH -- $547,000+
4) Rep. Patrick J. Murphy, (D PA-08) $1.66 million CoH -- $487,000+
5) Rep. Mark Steven Kirk , (R IL-10) $2.25 million CoH -- $462,000+
6) Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, (D NY-20) $2.47 million CoH -- $433,000+
7) Gerry Connolly*, (D VA-11) $422,000 CoH -- $422,000+
8) Anne M. Northup*, (R KY-03) $428,000 CoH -- $422,000+
9) Tom Manion*, (R PA-08) $417,000 CoH --$417,000+
10) John H. Adler*, (D NJ-03) $1 million CoH -- $416,000+

McSame As It Ever Was

As if you needed any more evidence that a McCain Administration would amount to four more years of failed conservative policy, Progressive Media USA provides more:


A Blue Wave Coming: IL-08

The Rothenberg Political Report is changing the rating in Melissa Bean's race to defend her competitive congressional seat in Illinois-08 from "Leans Dem" to "Dem Favored." Her opponent, Steve Greenberg's campaign manager left the campaign this week to join a lobbying firm. This departure comes in the wake of the filing of dismal fundraising numbers for the Republican challenger:

...Goodman’s exit leaves more questions than answers for Greenberg. The wealthy businessman was expected to throw a scare into Cong. Melissa Bean (D) in Illinois’ 8th District. But he showed only $5,035 in the bank on March 31, and his ability and willingness to self-finance the race is unclear. Greenberg has put in $79,000 of his own money thus far.

Meanwhile, Bean is sitting on $1.3 million in campaign cash and will likely benefit from increased Democratic excitement that likely presidential nominee Barack Obama will generate at the top of the ticket.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Gallup: Dems Leading in Battleground States

This is big, especially considering the fretting the punditocracy (and the blogosphere) is doing about how this interminable Democratic nomination battle could be hurting our general election chances. According to Gallup's April polling, both Democrats are winning the purple states (NH, PA, OH, MI, WI, MN, IA, FL, CO, NV, NM and OR) where the margin separating Kerry & Bush in 2004 was less than 6 points. Obama and Clinton both beat McCain in these critical battleground states by a 47-43 margin.

OBAMA More Competitive in Red States: It's in the Red States where Obama outperforms Clinton against McCain. Obama trails McCain by eight points (49-41) in these states while Clinton trails by ten (51-41). Gallup doesn't break out these numbers by state, but it seems Obama may be able to make a state or two competitive and force the Republican candidate to play defense on his home turf more than Clinton.
In Blue States, Obama also outpaces Clinton. Obama beats McCain by thirteen (52-39) while Clinton only leads by nine (50-41). This belies the New York Senators claim that she has demonstrated she can win the "Big Democratic" states that are critical to a Democrat's chances in November. Obama is going to be able to win these more handily than Clinton, if these numbers are to be believed.

Obama's Numbers:


Clinton's Numbers:



The pollsters at Gallup include this analysis:

It's likely that the 2008 election will be fought in the battleground states, just as in prior elections. Gallup's election polling to date suggests that the presidential election could be very close, because neither McCain nor his Democratic rivals have maintained much of a lead in recent weeks.

The analysis of competitive states adds insight into how the candidates are doing beyond the overall vote figures. A candidate must do reasonably well in those states to have a chance at winning. For example, McCain could open up a significant lead in the national vote based on a very strong performance in the red states, but that would not mean he was better positioned to win than if he were not doing as well in the red states but doing better in the more competitive states.

As of now, Obama and Clinton have an advantage over McCain among voters in the competitive states. Given that more states fall into the Republican column than into the Democratic column, the Democratic nominee probably needs to maintain that advantage in order to prevail in enough purple states to gain the electoral vote advantage in November.

Hey, Europe, Can You Spare a G.I.?

With renewed violence in Iraqi cities claiming more lives, it appears our military is scrambling to find 7,000 soldiers to combat a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan.

Is our military stretched that thin? For quite some time our military leaders have been warning the Bush/Cheney/McCain warhawks that they are simply asking too much from our men and women in uniform. Now, it looks like we're forced beg our allies for reinforcements but:

A majority of America's NATO allies continue to balk at U.S. requests to send thousands more of their troops to Afghanistan. At the same time, the renewed violence in Iraq and the White House decision to suspend further American troop withdrawals from Iraq this summer will make it harder for the Pentagon to send more American forces to Afghanistan next year as President Bush has promised.

"I'm deeply concerned," Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last Thursday. "In this economy of force operation, we do what we can. Requirements exist that we simply cannot fill and won't likely be able to fill until conditions improve in Iraq."

If our country is facing an endless, multiple front war isn't it irresponsible to NOT have a draft? Shouldn't this question at least be asked of the candidates running for president (and Congress)?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Condoned, Coordinated and Choreographed by Condi

"Let me be, let me try to be clear. The United States doesn't and can't condone torture." - Condoleeza Rice

From ABC:

"In dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the White House, the most senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved specific details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, sources tell ABC News...

The meetings were chaired by then-National Security Advisor Rice. The discussions about the enhanced interrogation techniques were so detailed, sources said, the interrogations were almost choreographed."


Rice again: "Torture and conspiracy to commit torture are crimes under US Law wherever they may occur in the world."

This is what she's condoned, coordinated and choreographed.



Visit CondiMustGo to sign the petition.

Blue Jersey: Another Pickup Opportunity?

Another day, another ratings change (toward the Dems) by the political prognosticators over at CQ Politics. New Jersey's Fifth District is now listed as "Republican Favored" (a shift from "SAFE Republican) due to Democratic candidate Dan Shulman's impressive fundraising totals.

The campaign of Democratic rabbi and psychologist Dennis Shulman for New Jersey’s 5th District is beginning to gain steam, capturing local and national support as well as attention as he seeks to become the first blind member of Congress in generations.

In his bid to unseat three-term Republican Rep. Scott Garrett , Shulman reported more than $300,000 raised through March 31, including donations from Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer ’s political action committee, Washington state Rep. Brian Baird ’s campaign committee, and members of the psychology and religious communities. Shulman also invested $52,000 in personal funds into his campaign. He reported $246,000 remaining after expenses.




UPDATE: CQ also changed the rating in a Connecticut "swing" district (CT-02). Freshman Dem Joe Courtney's race has moved from Leans Dem to Dem Favored. The GOP's retreat from New England continues unchallenged.

I Got Another HillGram from Ann Today

Early in this presidential campaign I signed up for email updates from each of the Democratic presidential campaigns, (and even a couple of the Republicans) because I was curious as to how each would utilize the Internet as a communication tool. From the beginning, I've been impressed by Obama, as I was with Edwards. Hillary, however, has been a different story.

For some reason, the Clinton campaign thinks I'm a female. For months now, I've been receiving regular emails from senior advisor Ann Lewis under the "Women for Hillary" banner. Not sure how or why the campaign performed this gender reassignment, but it has provided an interesting insight into how TeamHillary has used her gender to cling to the one constituency - white women - that has stuck by her throughout this campaign season. At times, Ann's emails have been amusing. Others, the reliance on identity politics has been frustrating.

Today's email was irritating. It relies on one of the tried and true strategies needed for identity politics to succeed - claiming victimhood and bonding around the shared injustice as a group. TeamHillary takes a very real issue - the wage gap between men and women - and embraces it has her cause. Quite ironic when she and Bill are sitting on a pile of 109 million greenbacks.

I'm annoyed when Ann urges me to let all the women I know what's at stake in this election, implying Hillary is the only candidate concerned about addressing the wage gap. Do they seriously think I (and the women I know) will buy their argument that a Clinton restoration is the only hope for women?


From Ann:

Dear Friend,

Today, we are launching the “Make Change Count” campaign to highlight the wage gap that persists for women across the country. This year, Equal Pay Day -- the day on which women's wages catch up to men's wages for the prior year -- falls on April 22.

Check out YOUR wage gap by using our calculator at: ww.hillaryclinton.com/women!
Although it has been more than 40 years since the Equal Pay Act became law,
full-time working women make just 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. And
it's even worse for women of color.

Tell your friends about the Wage Gap calculator and Hillary's work by sending them an email – sample text here!

Hillary has long been a champion for equal pay for women. Her legislation, the Paycheck Fairness Act, would help close the wage gap for women across the country, ultimately putting more money in the pockets of America's families.

Hillary has also worked in the Senate not only to ensure women earn the same amount as men for equal work but also to expand the earned income tax credit,
provide health care for children, raise the minimum wage, and stand up for
female-owned small businesses.
Write a letter to the editor about Hillary's commitment to closing the wage gap – sample text here!
As president, Hillary would bring to the White House a long record of fighting for women and children -- and she will lead a government dedicated to improving the lives for all our families.
Please share this important tool with the women you know and let them know what is at stake in this election.

Sincerely,
Ann

Is TeamHillary really this tone-deaf?

The campaign still doesn't understand the dynamics of the American Electorate, Version 2008. After years of being "sliced and diced" into competing interest groups (thanks Mark Penn & Karl Rove), people want to come together to solve our common problems. The voters are responding to a positive message that strives to remind us there is more that unites us than divides us.

Despite this, Hillary continues campaigning from her outdated playbook.

Monday, April 14, 2008

What Would YOU Do With Three TRILLION Dollars?

Brave New Films has a new game to play. Just in time for tax day, Robert Greenwald observes, "George B in Washington started an illegal war that resulted in 151,000 dead Iraqi civilians...Donald R in Arlington, VA, destabilized an entire region and displaced four million innocent people. What will you do with three trillion dollars. Go to http://www.threetrillion.org/ and spend, spend, spend "


Sunday, April 13, 2008

When Bitter Becomes Sweet

This guy is brilliant. Obama's actually laughing at Hillary Clinton's "bitter" attacks.

The image of Hillary spending her Sunday afternoons out in duckblind has to be one of the silliest American political images since Dukakis driving that tank.


The Sunday Muse

Random thoughts on a Sunday morning in April...

An Inconvenient Truth: The Mother Jones has an expose on former Secret Service agents spying on Greenpeace and other environmental groups - including perusing donor lists, financial records and staff Social Security numbers. Another example of the Bush/Cheney anti-green and pro-oil agenda? Nope. This was going on during Bill Clinton's presidency.

Green Citizen of the Year Award: Royal Dutch Shell tells the EU - take your planet and shove it.

Deliver Us From Evil: When President Bush starts a sentence with, "Well, we started to connect the dots in order to protect the American people..." you just know the result can't be good.

Show Us the Money: The Center for Reponsive Politics reports a record-breaking year for K Street lobbying.

The (Greek) Gods Must Be Crazy: Nathan Gonzalez over at the Rothenberg Political Report ponders how political campaigns will compete with (and be shaped by) the Beijing Olympics in a 24/7 news environment this August.

Will She Stand By Her Man? One of the signature accomplishments of the Clinton presidency - NAFTA - is widely blamed for job losses in midwestern Rust Belt cities. This sentiment caused Hillary Clinton to distance herself from her earlier support as the Democratic nomination battle wound it's way through Wisconsin, Ohio and now Pennsylvania. Friday's New York Times observes the economic downturn could cause voters to re-examine 1996's welfare reform creating another awkward situation for candidate Clinton.