Saturday, March 11, 2006

Bryan's One Fault According to Party

William Jennings Bryan embodied the principles of the progressive movement in the early 20th century. If you want a list of them, you can see them at Political Wire.

However, Bryan was on the wrong side on one issue, according to modern Democrats: science. Bryan was an ardent opponent of Darwinian theory in public schools. His theological philosophy was not as liberal as his economic one. Not only was he against evolution being taught, he was a full fledged supporter of creationism in the classroom.

Well, if you are a strong enough believer, who can blame the guy?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Everyone Hates Ferguson

Is he that bad, or is he just vulnerable? Either way, Democrats across the state all seem to enjoy using Congressman Mike Ferguson as a punching bag on all campaign issues. The most recent controversy centers around Ferguson's dubious stance on Plan B, an emergency contraceptive known as the morning after pill. Blue Jersey has more.

Democrats Must Target Mississippi

MyDD analyzes a recent column by Charlie Cook, who defends Howard Dean's "50 State Strategy." Cook writes that Democratic leadership is foolishly writing off districts and states that are out of reach this year, therefore jeopardizing their chances of running competitive races in the future.

In Mississippi, there are no competitive races this year. However, this is largely due to the seniority of the incumbents, especially Senator Trent Lott. Nonetheless, when there were rumors of Lott retiring, there were serious considerations that the Democrats could take his seat this year.
Establishing a base in states that are uncompetitive now could be key in a) insuring that Democratic seats remain blue and b) getting a head start for seats that become open because after Republican retirements.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Albio Sires Looks Good For 13th

Via TotallyNJ. Speaker of the State House Albio Sires is gaining ground in the battle for the Democratic nomination for the 13th Congressional district seat.

Sires was recently endorsed by the AFL-CIO, which goes a long way in Democratic primaries.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

South Dakota Outlaws Abortion

Pro-choice Republicans nationwide should be unhappy today, as the South Dakota legislature recently passed a bill that not only restricts the right of a woman to choose, but almost certainly spells an election year issue for the Democrats to exploit.

Assume that anti-abortionists have the necessary five votes on the court necessary to overturn Roe vs. Wade. This coalition would include Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy. Their decision would probably delegate the right to legalize abortion to the states. Conservative states would most likely outlaw abortion, while liberal ones would keep it legal. However, this would not drastically change the current status of abortion throughout the country. In fiercely anti-abortion states, there is already limited access to abortion. In South Dakota, the only abortion clinic in question was one provided by Planned Parenthood. Similarly, in Mississippi, where abortion has been heavily regulated since Roe, there is also only one abortion clinic.

Women in need of abortions in such states are usually forced to go to more urban areas to receive them, which often means travelling far out of state. Essentially, a wealthy Mississippi woman seeking an abortion is much more likely to get one than a poor woman in the same situation.

In contrast, states like New Jersey will never outlaw abortion. Democrats and many Republicans campaign as pro-choice, and if the legislature is given the power to outlaw abortion, pro-life candidates will simply lose to pro-choice ones.

Ultimately, this is not an issue that can benefit the Republicans. Republicans cannot hope to win in swing states like Pennsylvania, for national or state office, if the GOP is associated with making abortion permenantly illegal. This puts Republicans who don't feel strongly about the issue in an awkward, defensive position, as polls indicate that the public is strongly opposed to the total barring of abortion.

Little Hope of Picking Up South For Dems

Despite Hurricane Katrina and the president's continuing unpopularity in even the reddest of states, the Democrats only potential challenger to a Republican seat in the Senate, Congressman Harold Ford (D-TN) looks weak in the polls.

Ford, who is looking to win the seat currently held by Bill Frist (R-TN), is trailing every possible Republican challenger in the polls.

Although the major southern pickups for the Democrats would more likely be in the House, the Tennessee race is likely to get a lot of money and attention, and it would be a symbolic victory, as Ford is not only liberal but Black.

Abramoff Update

"We will name names. We will provide the public with evidence of what is going on out there."

Abe Lowell, Jack Abramoff's lead attorney

Monday, March 06, 2006

Chairman of Ways and Means Retires

Representative Bill Thomas(R-CA) announced that he will retire next year, rather than run for a 15th term.

Thomas, a relatively moderate conservative, serves in a fiercely right-leaning district that will likely replace him with a fellow Republican.

It will be interesting to see who gets to chair the committee now that Thomas is gone. The chairmanship of Ways and Means is possibly the most coveted position outside of the partyship in the House. The committee determines policy on taxes, tariffs, soical welfare programs, as well as the national debt. The Chairman wields enourmous power in determining which programs will thrive and which will starve, who's getting tax breaks (or tax exempt status) and dispenses numerous public works contracts.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Was Clooney Right?

George Clooney (political contributions here) said tonight that Hollywood was often ahead of mainstream society on important issues. "We are a little bit out of touch in's probably a good thing," said Clooney, who identified AIDS and civil rights as two problems targeted by the movie industry early on.

Primaries Coming Up

The Political Wire will be covering these primaries over the next few weeks.

Should primaries be held well in advance of the general election? One could argue that a longer primary season produces more radical candidates, who spend more money on the intra-party battle than the general election campaign.

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