Friday, February 17, 2006

Katrina = Democratic Salvation

66% of Americans "are bothered a great deal or a good amount" about the Bush administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina. 64% of Independents and 42% of Republicans feel the same way. The rest of the story via Political Wire.

This could prove a very helpful bit of information for Democrats in conservative districts that are less interested in hearing about the administration's failures in the war, or it's cuts in social programs. Southern districts with sizable minority or low income populations could be leaning more Democratic than usual this fall.

Wrong Direction Says 61% of Americans

No politician in Washington D.C can get a break in this political climate. A new WNBC/Marist poll shows that 61% of Americans believe that this country is headed in the wrong direction. Only 34% believe that the U.S is headed in the right direction, which means that only 5% of the respondents didn't have a clear answer.

It's pretty clear that those participating in the poll understood that they were essentially being asked whether they supported or opposed the policies of the federal government. 34% is less than the entire population of registered Republicans. However, it's pretty clear that the majority of Republicans responded positively to the question.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Mudslingers Used To Be Worse

Kerwin Swint has just come out with a new book that ranks the 25 nastiest political campaigns in U.S. History. According to Swint, the Bush-Dukakis showdown is the only member of the 25 elite to be less than 20 years old. This means of course, that although campaigning seems nasty now, it was apparently even dirtier before.

After reviewing the 1988 election, it's hard to define it as anything but dirty, even if you were a Bush supporter (he did most of the mudslinging). Of Bush's 9 televised ads, 3 of them focused on Dukakis's opposition to the death penalty, which is largely a state issue. Here's a link to a Bush/Quayle ad that displays Dukakis's "revolving door" prison policy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Harris Sheds Joker Image (Within the GOP)

Representative Katherine Harris, the apparent Republican candidate to challenge Sen. Bill Nelson for his senate seat this November, has closed the gap in the polls, as she now trails Nelson by only 9%. In the last poll taken, Nelson had held a 23 point lead.

As political wire points out, Harris has improved drastically among Republican voters. 71% plan to vote for her, up from 59% at the beginning of 2006. Nevertheless, Harris is getting merked in the Independent category, losing to Nelson 64%-18%.

It doesn't seem like there's any realistic way that Harris can pull this one off. She is a bad speaker and has awkward facial expressions that maker her look conceited. More importantly, her most important contribution to the political community came when she halted the recount of the votes in the 2000 election, when she served as the secretary of state in Florida.

Nelson is a decent Democratic candidate. He's moderate enough to sustain attacks from the GOP and he'll benefit from the general miscues of the Bush administration and the Congress.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Right Dominates Sunday Morning Shows

Interesting story reflecting on the political ideology of guests of the three major Sunday news shows. This includes Meet the Press and Face the Nation, I can't find the third show they're referring to. Here's the graph.

Apparently 58% of the guests on Sunday political talk shows were identifiably conservative or Republican in 2005. That's up from 49% in 1997, at the height of the Clinton administration. Every year since 1997 has been majority conservative.

Hackett Doing It For The Team

Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett (D-OH) is rumored to have dropped out of the senate race for the seat currently occupied by Mike DeWine (R). He will instead run for the House seat he lost last August in a special election against Jean Schmidt.

Hackett is the best chance for the Democrats to take back that heavily conservative district. Not only was he a popular candidate, but Schmidt potentially alienated voters when she implied that Representative John Murtha (D-PA), a decorated war veteran, was a coward. Schmidt made the statement after Murtha, who had previously supported the Iraq war, openly advocated troop withdrawal from Iraq.

New DNC Chairman Needed

Howard Dean has done nothing for the Democratic Party. He has provided hours worth of embarassing rants for the GOP to dissuade moderate voters from the party and, less significantly in my opinion but nonetheless still important, he has failed to ignite the party base for 2006 or 2008.

He hasn't championed any issues that don't involve Republicans. If we believe every word that he says, we fully understand that the Republican leadership in the White House and the Congress is insufficient. However, we do not understand why Democrats are necessary replacements.

If Howard Dean wants to effectively communicate his plans for a "better America," why doesn't he come up with some issues that create some positive hope: health care, worker's benefits, reforming the justice system, and most importantly, rebuilding Iraq. Why don't the Democrats talk about their plans for rebuilding the nation we destroyed. Lack of troop commitment does not necessarily have to be aligned with lack of financial committment.

It's important that Democrats aren't seen as a party desperately hanging on to remnants of the New Deal as well as the Clinton legacy. To establish themselves as a 21st century party, they must talk about investment in job creating technology, medical advance, including embryonic stem cell research, and energy efficient fuel. The party must be united on that front, and it can't allow members from socially conservative districts to defect on those issues. The populist energy is right, but the populist stances are not.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Weak Democratic Incumbents

Despite the constant news of Republican troubles, there are nevertheless vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the House.

Swing State Project reports that two Democrats from Georgia, Jim Marshall and John Barrow, have had their districts redrawn and face threatening competition in the fall from the GOP. Both men are moderate Democrats from moderate to conservative districts. Unlike the several liberal Democrats in the Georgia congressional delegation, neither of these congressmen have overwhelming minority constituencies that guarantee them incumbency.

Chet Edwards, a moderate from Texas is also at risk of losing. His district went 70-30 for Bush in 2004. Now, this phenomenon used to be more believable. For instance, the South began voting for Republican presidents long before it elected Republicans to Congress. However, in today's political climate, it seems impossible that a district that would vote so overwhelmingly for Bush would also vote for a congressmen who has a completely different agenda. That means that almost half of the people who voted for Bush in 17th district of Texas also voted for Edwards.

What If Cheney Had Killed Him?

Vice President Dick Cheney apparently inflicted mild injuries upon a 78 year old man when he struck him with shot gun fire during a hunting outing earlier today.

The story isn't too big, earning only the bottom spot on the front page, meaning that it will fill up the left column on the print edition tomorrow. However, it makes you think, what if Cheney had killed the guy? Would it make headlines in papers (tabloids excluded)? Would Cheney resign? Which brings us to the next question. Who would a)be selected to take Cheney's place as VP and b)who would run the Bush adminstration?

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