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Charlie Crist edges closer to independent decision

1. Within the next 24 hours (or so), Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) is expected to announce whether he will run for the Senate this November, a decision with considerable national ramifications.

Conversations with Florida Republicans -- those close to Crist and those not -- reveal a broad consensus that some time either today or, more likely, tomorrow, he will announce that he is switching parties to become an independent.

According to multiple Republican sources, Crist conducted a poll on Monday and Tuesday to test his viability as an independent and got numbers back that encouraged him that there was a path to victory running without any major party affiliation.

Those same sources warn, however, that Crist has shown a propensity to change his mind on things abruptly in the past (see Giuliani, Rudy) and that until he officially announces his independent candidacy it won't be a done deal.

Republicans -- and their affiliated groups -- are marshaling their forces in the expectation of a switch. On Tuesday, the conservative Club for Growth announced that it was preparing an effort that would allow donors to Crist to receive a refund on their contribution if he switched.

"Candidates who switch parties in the middle of a campaign have an obligation to return contributions on request," said Club President Chris Chocola. (The Club facilitated donors getting more than $1.2 million refunded to them following Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter's party switch last spring.)

2. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee have combined to spend more than $1 million on the upcoming special elections in Pennsylvania's 12th district and Hawaii's 1st district -- races that are widely being looked to as leading indicators of what's to come in the fall election.

The DCCC has dropped $298,000 in the Pennsylvania contest where former congressional staffer Mark Critz (D) and businessman Tim Burns (R) will square off on May 18, and another $231,000 on the three-way race between former Rep. Ed Case (D), state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa (D) and Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou (R) in Hawaii on May 22.

"We evaluate each race and district based on various factors and budget accordingly," said DCCC communications director Jen Crider.

The NRCC, on the other hand, has spent $482,000 in the 12th district but has yet to spend a dime on independent expenditures for the Hawaii seat.

"Both are very different contests that require different strategic approaches from the NRCC's perspective," said committee communications director Ken Spain, a tacit recognition that the national Republican party involving itself in a high profile way in a district that President Obama carried with 70 percent in 2008 would be a strategic blunder.

(It's a near certainty, however, that national Republicans are making sure Washington money -- from their Members and otherwise -- is finding its way into Djou's well-funded campaign account.)

While the spending by the two national party committees has increased in recent weeks, it is still far less than the $1 million plus that each side dumped into last November's New York special election in the 23rd district. (Democrats won that race, the fifth straight competitive special that went their way.)

The stakes for both parties in the back-to-back specials are high given that the races will take place less than six months before the 2010 midterms.

For Republicans, they must show that the talk about the wind behind their collective backs nationally is actually being born out in races. And, they need a spark to narrow a $20+ million cash on hand disadvantage to the three Democratic campaign committees.

For Democrats, winning both races would amount to a momentum-killer for Republicans and would almost certainly spur a series of stories questioning whether the conventional wisdom to this point on the election was/is wrong.

A split decision -- Republicans win one, Democrats win one -- probably muddies the political waters enough so that neither side can declare victory. A sweep either way however will be treated as a close-to-cataclysmic event by the political press.

ALSO READ: The Democracy Corps polling memo on the political atmospherics at work in the country at the moment.

3. Businessman Tim James, who is running for the Republican nomination for governor in Alabama, has stirred controversy with a new television ad in which he argues that the driver's test should be given only in English.

"Why do our politicians make use give our drivers license test in 12 languages," James asks -- speaking directly to the camera. "This is Alabama. We speak English."

The ad, which was produced by Fred Davis of Strategic Perception, has drawn the ire of -- among others -- MSNBC host Rachel Maddow who accused James of a deliberate "pander" to the Republican base in advance of a June 1 primary fight against former state Sen. Bradley Byrne.

James has pushed back on his critics, describing them as "lefties". And, a James adviser insisted that the ad was far more about the cost of giving the test in so many languages rather than some sort of coded message about what it means to be an American.

"Although Rachel Maddow might not, we're betting that the majority of Alabama voters agree and an overwhelming majority of primary voters agree that the wasted cost and bureaucracy of offering drivers' test in multiple languages is an example of government waste that should end," said the James source.

The controversy points to the political peril present for both parties in the immigration debate. While the passage of a restrictive law in Arizona has pushed the issue to the fore of late, there seems to be little real appetite on either side to address it in a comprehensive way -- certainly not prior to the November election.

4. Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter (D) is running a new ad featuring an endorsement from actor Michael J. Fox as he continues to push the idea that regardless of his party label he has a proven record of getting things done for the state.

"We need Arlen back in the Senate," says Fox whose struggle with Parkinson's disease has been well documented over the past decade. "He's smart, tough and always moving forward."

Specter will face voters on May 18 for the first time since switching his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat last spring. He is being challenged by Rep. Joe Sestak in next month's Democratic primary, and Sestak has spent much of the campaign casting himself as the only real Democrat in the race.

The essence of Specter's message is that he has already done much for Pennsylvania and he can do more. "I approved this message because there is much more work to be done," Specter says at the close of the Fox ad. (The ad, said the Specter campaign, is not running statewide.)

Polling suggests that Specter has a comfortable lead over Sestak although the challenger is sitting on $5 million -- as of March 31 -- that he has only begun to spend on ads that aim to introduce him to the state's voters.

5. The Republican Governors Association went up with a seven-figure ad buy Tuesday seeking to link state Treasurer Tim Cahill, who is running for governor as an independent, to unpopular Gov. Deval Patrick (D).

"Beacon Hill is a mess," says the ad's narrator as a image of Patrick is shown on screen. "And Tim Cahill is making it worse."

The ad goes on to hit Cahill on his management of the state lottery, spending a million dollars on office renovations and having "lost billions" on the state pension fund while handing out bonuses to his staff. "Massachusetts has already lost four years," the narrator says at the ad's close. "We can afford to lose any more."

The RGA ads come on the heels of the release of an independent poll last week that showed Patrick leading the field with 34 percent followed by Cahill at 29 percent and businessman Charlie Baker (R) at 27 percent.

In attacking Cahill, the RGA appears to be revisiting a strategy it used to great effect in the 2009 New Jersey governor's race. With polls showing independent Chris Daggett rapidly gaining vote share, the RGA launched a television broadside against him, effectively halting his momentum and turning the contest into a head to head between former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie (R) and Gov. Jon Corzine (D). Christie won.

ALSO READ: Baker swaps campaign managers.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 28, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  | Tags: Democratic, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee, Republican  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The 2010 enthusiasm gap (in chart form!)
Next: The Fix evolves

Comments

Who's the racist?

Based on today's Op-Ed, I'm going with George Will:

"Arizonans should not be judged disdainfully and from a distance by people whose closest contacts with Hispanics are with fine men and women who trim their lawns and put plates in front of them at restaurants, not with illegal immigrants passing through their back yards at 3 a.m."

Wow.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | April 28, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

The funny thing is if all that stationary stuff is what he wants to happen, that's what both the Dodd bill and the Republican alternative bill are offering. A method to slowly liquidate the troubled institution while getting rid of its leadership. You need to do it in an orderly way such that you don't flood the market with a bunch of worthless assets the way you would in a bankruptcy.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 28, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Uh, sparring with zouk is borrring. I should know.

After all the dust settles he's a not-very-bright guy with a he'll of a vicious streak, and yeah I know it's hard not to slow down driving by a burning wreck, bet let's just drive by the wreckage and let him stew in his hate, he's just boring.

Posted by: Noacoler | April 28, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

How do you know you're done? Is it when you sneeze? Is that where babies come from???

Posted by: DDAWD | April 28, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I expected no more from you DDAWD.

does underachieving ever get old? I am sure you are convinced it is always someone else's fault.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

haha, so zook thinks the consequence of letting these mammoth institutions fail is that the names on stationary changes. Yeah...

multiple PhDs in economics, eh?

I guess since he has women throwing themselves at him, he'll tell us that sex is when a man rubs his nose in a woman's ear.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 28, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

sorry shrink:

Republican Florida Governor Charlie Crist has decided he will run as an independent in the race to fill the Florida U.S. Senate seat, Crist allies tell Fox News. The official announcement is scheduled for Thursday at 5pm ET in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Previously I declared Crist would go I, the guy who pointed out the deletion of all references to Republican on his campaign website said he'd go D. But now, I think he might stay R. He might sense the split in the Republican Rising! will work for him.

Rubio attacking the AZ in-public-while-brown law might be the tipping point. Suddenly, Florida's panhandle crackers might realize Rubio is a colored, then he just might look like Crist without the experience.

Posted by: shrink2 | April 28, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"The flying of a large Confederate flag at a gun rights rally at Back Cove startled onlookers Sunday.

Shane Belanger, a University of Southern Maine student who organized the display of guns in the open carry rally, told news outlets that the aim of the gathering wasn't to frighten anyone but to show that people have a constitutional right to bear arms.

But this message didn't translate for counter-protesters, especially those who spotted the Confederate flag flying over an anti-Obama sign at one protester's site.

"It's akin to a modern day lynching," one critic said, describing the chilling message the Confederate flag sends to many."

Indeed. A Confederate flag -- in Maine. This isn't about gun rights - just simply thuggery and racism.

Posted by: drindl | April 28, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

the severe consequences of failing are preferable to bailouts

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

the "wisdom" of DDAWD always amuses the clever.

So what if a few pieces of a large corporation change names and issue new stationary. the poor executives get fired and someone else takes over the parts that function.

a smaller footprint ensues, lowering overall risk.


Liberals prefer sending the bad actors to the rubber room for punishment, at full salary, where they sit and do nothing for a year, afterwards, they are returned to service with a raise and a bonus, a Present ident bowing and apologizing to them and no actual changes made.

Except all the higher taxes of course, and the upswing in campaign contributions and larger labor oversight.

you simpleton Libs should stay out things you don't understand. Like finance, economics, warfare, diplomacy, energy, medical, etc.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

While the Florida Senate race does serve as a microcosm of the national Republican meltdown, the tension between winning elections and hewing to an increasingly extreme (and bizarre) set of principles, I really don't get this edge-of-the-seat feeling that makes it worth hourly updates.

We really could summarize it simply .. Crist was willing to work with the President and so his party tossed him under the bus. His party has gone infantile. What more is there?

Posted by: Noacoler | April 28, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

12BB, re: you and zook on too big to fail
You don't have the same views

You believe that no institution should be allowed to get so big that failing would have devastating consequences.

He believes that no matter how big an institution gets, its failing is without consequence OR he believes that the severe consequences of failing are preferable to bailouts. I'm not sure which.

These are two different views.

Of course, one of these views is completely logical and sane. The other one is just a ridiculous pile of cr ap. I'll let you guys decide.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 28, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Obama is back to his RACIAL POLITICS


NOW who is the RACIST ????


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | April 28, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Ped has arrived to arrogantly display his utter ignorance.

how typical.

the blog will now devolve into communist propoganda, recipes, travel advice, car negotiation tips and other liberal idiocy.

anyone with a shred of intelligence can take the rest of the day off.

this excludes the stooges of course - ddawd, drivl and Ped. Feel free to flood the thread with the usual intemperate foolishness.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, from Athens through Gib to the Canary Islands, Bermuda, NYC for the bicentennial, up and down Long Island (fund raising in Oyster Bay, what a night, what was her name?) Boston Hahba, Newport, yep. Flax sails, but it did have an engine and an ancient Lister (generator). I sailed before the mast, in the forecastle (fo'c sle), which means, deck crew.

Posted by: shrink2 | April 28, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh god no please not that Austrian school crap again. You haven't SEEN blog flooding till you get one of those red-eyed devotees blasting out mises.org links to answer every god damn question under the sun. What complete crap. These jerks believe with absolute conviction that a spiritual force lives in money and markets and that it's the duty of government to scrupulously stay out of its way and let it work its "magic."

Change a few words and you have a guy in robes standing on a streetcorner with an "End is Nigh" sign.

Uh. Economics. The pseudoscience that serves as flypaper for the half-educated.

Posted by: Noacoler | April 28, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Failing involves going to bankruptcy court and having your assets sold off to someone who knows better how to use them.

you could also ditch the oppressive and impossible union contracts in the process, the ultimate source of most of the agony. Liberals and unions love to promise to pay for things with other people's money without regard to reality, fairness or economics. It is a power grab and brutally coercive.

I wonder if BMW could use a new plant in Detroit, or toyota?

I wonder if some swiss bank would like a piece of BoA or citi?

but then of course, some of the campaign donations might fall off. and some of the massive government corruption and favors would be less effective. and liberals might have to learn something to be able to get a real job, not ruling over others.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Comrade and I are in agreement that no entity should be too big to fail. Lehman already failed, so exclude them. Here's something to ponder: it is patently obvious that the investment banks were too big to fail in 2008. Now, they are even bigger. Maybe, maybe we should give a wee bit of thought to breaking up these too-big-to-fail banks? Horrifying thought, but maybe necessary. And who is the only entity who could take that action? Would that be government? Because we can sure bet the banks are not going to break themselves up voluntarily.

The reason the GOP plan is nearly identical to the Democrat plan is because the minimal necessary changes are OBVIOUS. (Unless you are an Austrian School devotee).

Watch the Cspan financial hearings yesterday, and you won't see very much difference between the GOP and Democrat Senators attitudes.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 28, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"Actually, the 20-page summary of the Republican finance plan they are circulating today sounds pretty much identical to the Dodd bill that they are filibustering..."

Yes, as I said before, this is all about striking poses. A "reform" bill will pass, but the Republicans who vote for it will be chosen carefully, just as were the House Democrats who got to vote against the health industry's bill.

Posted by: shrink2 | April 28, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

From NYT 2003, regarding Bush's proposal to further regulate Fannie/Freddie:

Among the groups denouncing the proposal today were
the National Association of Home Builders and Congressional Democrats
who fear that tighter regulation of the companies could sharply reduce
their commitment to financing low-income and affordable housing.

''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing
any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of
Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services
Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more
pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of
affordable housing.''

Representative Melvin L. Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, agreed.

''I don't see much other than a shell game going on here, moving
something from one agency to another and in the process weakening the
bargaining power of poorer families and their ability to get
affordable housing,'' Mr. Watt said.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

shrink, that is one fine boat. did you ever get to sail her, or was it the typical story of an old wooden boat?

note to landlubber idiots. Sanding is prohibited. scrubbing is the order of the month.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"You keep saying "you don't get to control it" - well a COMPROMISE IS SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE."

Actually, the 20-page summary of the Republican finance plan they are circulating today sounds pretty much identical to the Dodd bill that they are filibustering...

Posted by: kreuz_missile | April 28, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

No, deregulation and getting government out of Wall Street helped magnify this problem. The purpose of regulation is to make the markets work, not a government plot to take them over with a socialist system. People have talked of markets behaving irrationally because all economics are based on 2 myths:

1. All participants are rational actors
2. All have access to perfect information

The purpose of most regulation is to aid the latter in becoming more true. Deregulation led to the creation of new market systems so complex that even most of the executives running them who are now being brought before Congress had no clue how they worked. Without that information and understanding of how the markets are working, it is impossible to be a rational actor, leading to the pyramid effect that built up. After that, the system became so complex that the people hurt by it weren't the ones making the decisions, but people four and five steps removed who didn't even know they were part of the market.

this is the central problem with macroeconomic application of neoliberal economics, which is traditionally a microeconomic, transactional approach. The theory is you act in your best interest on a transaction, thereby both parties to an agreement are better off, and if you fail, it is because of your own choices based on perfect understanding of the markets and accepting the risk it entails. In this market, the people taking the risks have no cost (in fact they normally walk away with huge bonuses) and the people who are hurt have no role in the process.

This is where the "too big to fail" comes in especially. It is one thing to argue in abstract that companies assume risk and should fail, but in a national economy where tax revenue for government services and national defense, among other things, rely on the stability of the national economy, it is impossibel to say it is simply ok either to let whole regions of the country fail because they hadn't diversified their economy on their own (If GM and Chrysler go down, so does pretty much all of the Great Lake states, even moreso than today). If the failure of several major banks shatters the global financial network, we don't have the luxury of just saying "oh well, that's the market at work..." when the result would be the defunding of the United States Military. If we are committed to allowing banks and other institutions to simply fail, then we have a national interest in ensuring that none of them become so big that they have the potential to bring the entire country down with them. If, however, we decide there should be no limit to how big they become, we need to figure out what to do if and when they fail, to ensure they are punished for their bad choices but in a way that doesn't destroy the nation with them.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | April 28, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

12Bar


This is the thing: you've already been called out for your lies and attempt at deception.


So what do you do ? You think the best thing to do is LIE AGAIN.

This action does not convince anyone - it just confirms that you are a LIAR.


I will keep on repeating it: Obama was elected to be bipartisan - which means COMPROMISE - ARIVING AT CENTRIST POLICIES.

You keep saying "you don't get to control it" - well a COMPROMISE IS SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE.

IT IS TIME FOR THE DEMOCRATS TO GROW UP.

Seriously, this kind of behavior is really immature - and you are only hurting yourselves at this point - AND WASTING EVERYONE ELSE'S TIME WITH YOUR IDIOCY.

Obama should be IN WASHINGTON WORKING ON A COMPROMISE -


NOT OFF ON A CAMPAIGN TYPE EVENT, WHILE PUSHING PARTISAN VOTES IN WASHINGTON.

THIS IS A COMPLETE JOKE, RIGHT ?

.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | April 28, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Sanding is a good! For example, in the Spring and Summer of 1976, I refinished all of the exterior brightwork of this boat, Regina Maris, including its skylights, the wheel, the entire taffrail, all by hand, on the way from Piraeus to New York.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=53237394912&v=wall

NB, I am not on Facebook or any other social website.

Posted by: shrink2 | April 28, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Well, 12BB, that tells you all you need to know. Zook's solution to all of this is to REDUCE government oversight.

Yeah.

Anyways, Republicans have blocked debate for a third time. There's a good chance they will do it a fourth time before the day is out.

There's talk about having the Republicans do an old-school filibuster. Actually get up there and talk and talk and talk. Let the country see what they are doing.

Democrats know they have a golden opportunity on their hands. This is NOT about a policy difference. The Republican bill is almost identical to the Dodd bill. This is politics and bad politics for the GOP.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 28, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"If you want to point a finger, it should aim directly at Senator Obama, Senator Dodd and Bawney Fwank. the ones who stopped the necessary reforms when President Bush proposed them."


LOL. You can't take this guy seriously, 12Bar -- he's a joke, a stereotype.

Posted by: drindl | April 28, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

What happened to the commitement to be bipartisan ???? You have a different story now.

>>>>>>>>>>>>

a rejection of the finance bill by 42 Senators is a sign of bipartisanship.

Obimbo has kept his promise after all.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

12BarBlues


Don't put words in my mouth - it is a form of lying.


What is wrong with you???

There are NOT two choices - that is another LIE - there is negotiations going on individual provisions.

What happened to the commitement to be bipartisan ???? You have a different story now.

Just remember your words when the democrats are out of power - because that is going to LAST FOR A LONG LONG LONG LONG LONG TIME.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | April 28, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

12bar, I would say less government meddling is the proper remedy. the implicit support for failure creates an artifical risk mechanism that relies on tax payer bail outs. Fannie and freddie are examples but now the big five GS, Lehmen etc are on board too. They should be allowed to fail and enter bankruptcy proceedings, like GM and chrysler. It is the uncertainty that is causing businessmen to wait until the climate is more stable and predictable before hiring? No one even knows what taxes will be like in nine months. higher? Certainly. how much? dunno. This is anathema to proper planning and budgeting and a signal that Obama and the libs do not know what they are doing.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

This from the Houston Chronicle a few weeks ago:

"That would seem to favor Bill White, the Democrat, in the governor's race, although Sosa contends that Gov. Rick Perry has managed to avoid taking an extreme position on immigration reform and border security during his decade in office. “He's gotten it [the Hispanic vote] before,” Sosa notes. “He always goes very conservative in the primary and becomes more moderate in the general. He won't be anti-immigration. He'll have a very humanistic position on it.”"

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6943083.html

Does Perry really think throwing Hispanics under the bus will rally the Republican base enough?

Posted by: kreuz_missile | April 28, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Why don t you go back to sanding.

Posted by: leichtman1


wow!! that incite must have exhausted your enormous intellect.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

"Texas legislator announces he will introduce
Az styled bill.
Et Tu Perry?"

I really can't see the Texas Republican party being this short-sighted, but at this point it wouldn't surprise me. Part of the Rove strategy of turning Texas red in the 1990s was the outreach to Hispanics on social issues, keeping Texas Hispanics (31% of the population in the 2000 census, expected to grow to 36-37% this time) above 40% for Republicans. This has the potential, like what happened in California and what is now happening in Arizona, to kill Republican standing in the Hispanic community, pushing support of Dems close to 70%, which would likely make Texas reliably blue in 10-20 years given current trends.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | April 28, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

drivl has never posted an intelligent and cogent, original thought.

and still does not dissappoint. Is your hubby still beating you with the stupid stick after the ugly stick?

It's working.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

@Comrade,

I will read your link. But, I will tell you that up til now I have not been an Austrian School fan.

I'm beginning to get the feeling that, if you are an Austrian School guy, you really want either the status quo, or an even more unregulated system.

True?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 28, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Obama is back to his RACIAL POLITICS


NOW who is the RACIST ????

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | April 28, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Well, 12Bar. rush is against financial reform, as is virtually the entire rightwing echo machine.

So either they are stupid, or they just hate Dems so much they don't care if they lose money.

Posted by: drindl | April 28, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

The financial-reform legislation currently under consideration in Congress does nothing to address the Fed’s cheap-money policy or the unsustainable subsidies that government still provides to homeowners and mortgage lenders — the main causes of the housing bubble. Instead, our would-be reformers assume that increased federal control of the economy, the appointment of a new federal czar with the power to curtail the pay of executives in businesses the government now controls, or the creation of a Bureau of Consumer Protection (the zombie version of Senator Dodd’s Consumer Financial Protection Agency) will set things right. The proposed regulations don’t attack the problem of excessive leverage. They don’t reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They don’t guarantee that taxpayers won’t have to pay for the future errors of bank executives who, cheered on by their government enablers, take on excessive risk. The “reformers” simply wish away the root causes of this crisis: the “too big to fail” mentality and crony capitalism.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Very astute observation from Seeking Alpha:

"Lloyd Blankfein was grilled by the Senate yesterday, and he highlighted one of the oldest tricks in the alpha deception handbook. Don't admit to being a merely a middleman, because that's too transparent. That's a skill to be sure, but something many people can do, and most don't make $10MM a year doing it. Instead, say you are 'transferring risk', 'taking risk', 'selling risk'. If you buy and sell investments, this is technically true."

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 28, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

12bar - read this and get back to me:

http://article.nationalreview.com/432663/we-ididnti-deregulate/veronique-de-rugy

I am from the Austrian school. Government is always an incompetent meddler.

""Another common claim, that credit-default swaps and other derivatives left unregulated by the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 were a cause of the financial crisis, doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, either. Research by Houman Shadab of the Mercatus Center has shown that this argument is undermined by its failure to distinguish between credit-default swaps, which are simply insurance against loan defaults, and the actual bad loans and mortgage-backed securities at the root of the crisis. Stricter regulation of credit-default swaps wasn’t going to make those subprime mortgages any less likely to go bad. ""

If you want to point a finger, it should aim directly at Senator Obama, Senator Dodd and Bawney Fwank. the ones who stopped the necessary reforms when President Bush proposed them.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

@37th,

You have two choices: either for reform or for the status quo. Your side is not in power, so you can influence change but you don't get to control it.

So are you for the status quo? Sounds like it.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 28, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

"Or are people so obsessed by ideology that they are willing to take the risk of another catastrophe to avoid giving Obama a "win".

Not just ideology but pure personal hatred. These are people who hate Obama so much they would sacrifice a lot if it somehow hurt him in some way.

Posted by: drindl | April 28, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

12Bar -- he's for whatever Rush tells him. And Rush likes things just the way they are, because he's an insider.

Posted by: drindl | April 28, 2010 1:19 PM
---------------------------------
Whether or not Comrade listens to Rush, I don't know.

I listened to Rush regularly for about 5 years. I only get a couple of radio stations, and one is conservative talk radio. The first months were hard, but I got used to him after a while, and could actually listen to what he said.

I don't think Rush is an insider at all. I think he has his money professionally managed, not too surprising, and is one of the clients of Goldman or Morgan Stanley or JPMorgan. As we have found out from Goldman's own mouth, their clients are not on the same side of the table as Goldman, they are on the other side. Not that Goldman tells them that...nay, nay. That might discourage clients from paying Goldman's fees and, horror of horrors, cause clients to shop around.

Twenty years ago, being a client of GS probably did mean you were on the same side of the table. But, not true anymore.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 28, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

12BarBlues


You are being a little deceptive asking someone are they for or against a 1500 page bill - there is ALOT in that bill - and it should be reviewed and negotiated out.

Yea, but WHAT KIND OF REFORM ?


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | April 28, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

This guy must be an old school socialist, he accuses "the market" of being irrational, which is like saying water is dry. The markets are rational because they exist by a definition. People who don't like what is happening in a market project anthropomorphic qualities onto it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/29/business/global/29punt.html

People certainly act irrationally in the market place, but the market is neither free, nor irrational, nor right, nor wrong. Some markets should not exist, but if they do, they are rational by definition.

Markets are a set of rules, the rules are a rationale, they are made by people in charge, so that people can exchange values according to the rationale.

Posted by: shrink2 | April 28, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) accused Republicans of being “anti-American” by demanding changes to a Wall Street regulation bill before it's debated openly on the Senate floor.


____________________________________

Yea, from the guy who said the Iraq War was LOST - and who wanted to wave the white flag and get out.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | April 28, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

@Comrade,

The only people who can possibly be for the present system are Wall Street bankers who would like nothing better than going back to their multimillion dollar bonuses asap.

Or are people who think they have no exposure to the stock market (either naive, or poor) and who don't realize when the financial markets teeter, EVERYONE pays the price. Banks seize up, won't lend money to business, businesses close, jobs are lost, homes are foreclosed.

Or are people so obsessed by ideology that they are willing to take the risk of another catastrophe to avoid giving Obama a "win". Maybe they think that they can hold off on reform until R's are in power, and then pass it. Big risk, though, since it may never get passed.

Are you for reform or against reform?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 28, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse


12Bar -- he's for whatever Rush tells him. And Rush likes things just the way they are, because he's an insider.

Posted by: drindl | April 28, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I doubt anyone knowledgeable about politics calls Delaware a tossup state. That is really old news posted as insightful. Why don t you go back to sanding.

Posted by: leichtman1 | April 28, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

@Comrade,

I know you have a political take on the Senate hearings, but putting that aside, surely you don't think the present financial system (or shall we say Wild West) is ok, do you?

I know that my portfolio can't take a lot more of these completely-out-of-blue hits because Wall Street overleveraged and convinced themselves that all is ok with everyone writing CDS on each other. I know you've taken some hits, too, that you probably didn't deserve.

Sen. Levin was like a pig in...but then he had a lot of reason to be so smug across from that rogue's gallery of Goldman guys. I recognize that they were tapdancing around their legal case, while trying to appear to be forthcoming, an impossible task.

So, are you for financial reform or are you for the status quo?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 28, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Six months before the midterm elections, President Obama is facing severe Democratic losses that threaten to imperil the next two years of his term and his chances of re-election.

The list of vulnerable Democratic House and Senate seats lengthens almost weekly as the country grows increasingly angry, and political polls show Republican challengers widening their leads in key races.

The most stunning examples of the Democratic Party's unraveling can be found in the contests for President Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden's former Senate seats in Illinois and Delaware -- two of the bluest states in the country.

Biden's seat is going to be filled by Republican Rep. Mike Castle, and Obama's seat, considered a toss-up at best, was moved into the "leaning Republican" column this week by the Cook Political Report, which closely tracks congressional elections.

The Senate race in Obama's home state has turned into a particularly embarrassing situation for the president. The Democratic nominee is State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, whose family-owned bank has been brought down by financial scandal (including loans to mob figures), and last week was seized and sold by the FDIC.

Right now, Republicans are looking at a potential gain of seven seats in the Senate, including Illinois, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Colorado, Arkansas and North Dakota.

And some veteran handicappers do not dismiss the possibility the GOP could win control of the Senate with a party switch.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse


THIS IS HOW THE DEMOCRATS ARE THINKING NOW

Obama said this weekend democrats "must appeal to "young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women who powered our victory in 2008 [to] stand together once again."


____________________________

THIS IS THE "WEEK OF HYPOCRISY" FOR OBAMA

The democrats in Congress are running PARTISAN VOTES when bipartisan negotiations are going on.

Obama - instead of being bipartisan and trying to bring the sides together - he is off on a Main Street tour - completely ducking what he said he would do if elected.

Meanwhile - Obama is so COMFORTABLE WITH RACIAL POLITICS - that he broadcasts his RACIAL intentions on the internet.

OUCH.

This is NOT what Obama was elected to do - and everyone in the country can see it.

___________________________________

Meanwhile, Obama's taxes are set to place a massive DRAG ON HIRING - AND STOP THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY.

Why are they putting Clair McCaskill out there - she has no credibility left.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | April 28, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"I wonder if it means some within the party are worried health care reform won't arouse as much irrational anger in the fall as it does now and want to hedge their bets.

Or maybe they worry that the financial reform being proposed is a winner for the Democrats and are trying to distract people from it, as they can't oppose it without seeming pro-Wall Street fat cats and can't support it without seeming to agree with the Dems."

That's exactly what it is, Jonah. Talking about financial reform is a loser for Rs. Repealing healthcare -- aint' going to happen -- some Rs already taking credit for stuff in the bill.

But hating Mexicans? Now there's an issue the base can sink it's teeeth into on a visceral level. These are people who know how to hate brown and black people.

Immigrants are also, in the twisted minds of these folks, stand-ins for President Obama. They can't harrass him, but there are powerless immigrants to torture intead.

But this is going to divide them. Rubio is against profiling, so even is Rove and Jeb Bush. To introduce this in states where a third of the population knows it's going to get profiled is going to hurt them.

Posted by: drindl | April 28, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

With a potential political bloodbath looming in November, liberals are understandably desperate. They see it all slipping away and it shows. The grassroots groundswell of opposition to Obama’s neo-Marxist, secular-humanist agenda intensifies daily despite the left’s best efforts to silence dissent.

Commensurate with plummeting poll numbers and evaporating public trust, Democrats, media elites and the usual gaggle of left-wing pressure groups have ramped-up the unhinged “right-wing-extremist” twaddle to historically hysterical levels. For those who delight in watching the self-styled “progressive” movement implode, it’s priceless.

“How can it be?” they ask. “The stars were aligned.” With Barack Obama in the White House and his egalitarian enablers running Congress, liberals found themselves at ship’s helm on the USS Hopey-Changey, sailing unabated toward the perfect storm of Euro-socialist reform. America’s elite class would, at long last – curse these two-plus centuries of “constitutional” government – be as those erudite Europeans our homespun lefties so pitifully parrot.

Oops… something happened on the way to the Communism. Middle America, channeling Dana Carvey’s Bush-one, said: “Nope, not gonna’ do it… wouldn’t be prudent.” According to the latest Pew poll, America’s trust in today’s godless Obama-Pelosi-Reid federal government is at an all time low of 22 percent, little more than a year after Obama took office
- Barber

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

More on what bad publicity can do:

"Insurers have defended rescissions, saying they were trying to stop fraud," the Los Angeles Times reports, noting that 5,000 people have been rescinded from top California insurers since 2004. Nonetheless, the paper says the practice had nearly stopped and only "four such cancellations were reported" last year. "[A] series of Times articles, legislative hearings, lawsuits and regulatory investigations showed that insurers often rescinded without regard for whether their customers intended to deceive them about preexisting conditions on their applications for coverage." In some cases, people have been rescinded even when they have done nothing wrong (Girion, 4/28).

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 28, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Nobody said that bad publicity doesn't produce change:

WellPoint will put into effect this week a health overhaul provision preventing insurers from canceling policies -- a practice known as rescission -- except in fraud cases, even though the change isn't required until September, the Indianapolis Star reports. The announcement comes on the heels of a Reuters report saying WellPoint used computer software to automatically target women diagnosed with breast cancer for rescission and fraud investigations. WellPoint denies the news story, but House Democrats have asked insurers, including WellPoint, to implement the health law provision ahead of schedule. WellPoint said its "announcement was not a reaction to the investigation" (Lee, 4/28).
-----------------------------------------
This is also a confirmation that Wellpoint (and others) have rescinded policies, not on fraud, but on innocent omissions (such as having had acne as a teenager, and not disclosing it). Or having sprained an ankle or on having received a measles vaccination as a child...

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 28, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

drindl wrote: The further right you lean, the less human you become.
------------------------------------------
And the further right you lean, the closer you are to falling over. Same goes for leaning too far left.

Those in the middle are the strongest.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 28, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

The profiling dispute is spreading like a wildfire.
Texas legislator announces he will introduce
Az styled bill.
Et Tu Perry?

http://www.kvue.com/news/Berman-aide-State-Rep-plans-immigration-bill-similar-to-Arizonas-92213914.html

Posted by: leichtman1 | April 28, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Levin was just so excited, he was like a pig in, well, you know.

In fact, Congress peddles shameful "deals" involving amounts of money so obscene, they would make a member of the Goldman Sachs compensation board blush.

Take Fannie Mae, the shameless pusher of reckless housing loans that made Congress feel good by "helping" the poor but led to the financial meltdown and left taxpayers on the hook.

Or, as Levin put it, "an American symbol of financial success and affordable housing."

Now, that's putting lipstick on a pig.

Then there is the recent legislation intended to lower health-care costs and reduce the federal debt, which the Michigan Democrat also supported.

The government's own accountants say it won't lower health-care prices and it is projected to cost a trillion dollars. That's savings only Congress could comprehend.

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) yesterday actually scolded the executives for "betting with other people's money and other people's futures."

Taxpayers -- pitchforks in hand -- should hold a hearing and grill these senators along the very same lines.

Here is the difference between Goldman and Congress:

Goldman may be trying to sell ice to Eskimos, but nobody is making the Eskimos buy it. With Congress, either you give them your money or you go to jail.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

yeah, I never really liked the casino analogy. There's some truth to that, however. That's a lot of what derivatives markets are. It's basically like intrade. And companies can legitimately use them to hedge against unforseen circumstances. Perhaps the most famous example is SW Airlines which took out a derivative where they would get paid off if the price of fuel jumped. A spike in fuel prices would normally hurt an airline, but since SW gambled that prices would increase, they were actually able to make money and keep prices low for flights.

One problem is that a lot of these banks were gambling with money they didn't have. When a bank conducts transactions with the money that you have deposited, they are required by law to keep a certain percentage of deposits in their vaults. When you trade on intrade, you cannot conduct a transaction unless your account contains the money to pay off the contract if the conditions of the contract are met. Thus, if someone makes a bunch of bad intrade investments, it's no big deal since that person is the only one to lose. Banks definitely do not have all the cash on hand to pay off being on the losing end of a deal.

Makes sense, right?

Now AIG was feasting off something called credit default swaps. To use an intrade analogy, they were selling contracts that various companies or financial products. If AIG sells a CDS for GE to me, I can make payments to AIG as long as GE doesn't default on a bond. If they do default, then AIG gives me a huge payout? Now why would I do this? Well, I could be running a bank that has loaned money to GE and want to hedge against a bond default. I do that by buying a CDS. It's like the oil situation with SW. No matter what happens, I'm ok. Or I could just be a random investor who thinks GE is going to go under for whatever reason. It doesn't matter. (this is where the "buying insurance on a house you don't own" applies). So it's kind of like insurance, but not quite.

(continued)

Posted by: DDAWD | April 28, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

(from above)
But if you're AIG, it's an easy way to make a buck, GE is almost certainly never going to default, so it's free money. You don't even bother to keep cash on hand in case the unthinkable happens.

But that's GE. What happens if you start selling CDS for the financial instruments from the subprime housing market? This is not GE we're talking about. These investments looked good, but were actually pretty shaky. When these guys started defaulting, then AIG was saddled with huge losses. I'm not sure exactly what their immediate burden was, but they had about $50billion in subprime CDS obligations. I don't think they had to pay it all out, but they did have to pay some of it. I think it was like $30billion - which they didn't have. But AIGs actual obligations was like $440billion. If they had to pay out all of their CDS at once, that would be what they owe.

But my point was that AIG was in trouble with a fraction of their CDS. Out of $40billion, they owed like $40 billion. Now if they were required to keep some cash on hand, they could have paid off a lot of this without any need for a bailout. So the problem wasn't so much gambling, it was gambling with money they didn't have.

There's a lot more to this story and I'm trying to get my head wrapped around it. The best way for me to do that is to write about it, so sorry for the tl;dr.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 28, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Fox news is reporting that Crist has pulled a Liebermann.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Yes, even stupider than Contessa Brewer's "Being an illegal immigrant is now a crime" quote.

From Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund:

"If every state had its own laws, we wouldn't be one country; we'd be 50 different countries."

Ahem:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Only a progressive legal outfit would make someone that ignorant of the Constitution its President and General Counsel.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Liberals are actually arguing that Mexicans should be able to invade our country at will because it would be "racial profiling" to expect non-Caucasians to obey the law. The absurdity of grown adults pretending that it's "racist" to suspect Mexicans of being Mexican twists the brain like an Escher print. Liberalism has passed beyond self-parody into a bizarre travesty of thought that can only be called psychosis.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

GJohnahJ,

You make a good point about the sudden resurrection of the illegals talking point. Michael Savage went psychotic (again) yesterday about Mexicans destroying all that is good about America. And that was off limits for Republicans for awhile, they (Gingrich et al) even talked of courting Latinos

http://www.newt.org/para-latinos

but I think you are correct. They are seeking another way to keep the rage engine's steam up. Birth certificate, health care, Wall Street whatever, the wars, for what is left of the moderate Republicans, it must be hard to keep hating Obama month after month.

Their wedge issues have been flogged so much, the guy with the whip is exhausted and the blood lust of the spectators is draining away.

Posted by: shrink2 | April 28, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

It's not easy to parody the folks who brought us Barack Hussein Obama. Moonbats are so enraged at Arizona for attempting to enforce federal immigration laws before the entire state turns into New Juarez that they are boycotting Arizona Ice Tea.

The problem: Arizona Iced Tea is actually brewed in New York.
Online, misguided tea fans vowed to switch to Lipton or Snapple.
"Dear Arizona: If you don't change your immigration policy, I will have to stop drinking your enjoyable brand of iced tea," Twittered Jody Beth in Los Angeles.
"It is the drink of fascists," wrote Travis Nichols in Chicago. …
Founded in Brooklyn in 1992, the firm was based in Queens before moving into a new $35 million headquarters in Nassau County last year.
Look out, JCPenney. The progressive brain trust is liable to go after Arizona jeans next.

At least now that liberals are boycotting their product, Arizona Ice Tea won't have to print OPEN OTHER END on the bottom of the can.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 28, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

"Hayley Barbour is a brilliant tactician who doesn't mind throwing mud to win. "

Haley Barbour spends his life in the mud, so that's not surprising. I wouldn't be at all surprised, in fact, if he were the R presidential candidate, since it seems clear the Rs are on a permanent low road.

Posted by: drindl | April 28, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Interesting things can happen in 2016 and beyond, but I think it would be in the framework of a new party rather than a true "independent" bid. Some reporting suggest Barack Obama will raise over $1 billion for his re-election bid, and that's without having to spend a dime on a contested primary. An individual, I think, lacks the money and structural support to wage a true independent bid nationwide. They would more play a regional spoiler role, or could have the effect, as was with the Dems of 1860, 1948, and 1968, of splitting an existing party into regional factions. If a third party is to emerge, the ground work would need to be laid in the 2012 cycle with a split in the Republicans between a moderate and conservative party for a three-way 2016 election, or in a chaotic election in 2016 where both parties are finally torn apart by internal struggles setting the stage for a new balance to emerge in the 2020 election.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | April 28, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

2. It seems that the NRCC is working their strategy perfectly. Djou is on course to win and so is Burns. This will be the first 2 of a great many Republican pick-ups in 2010 to make John Boehner House Speaker in 2011!

3. Tim James has done a great job with this commercial of appealing to the Republican base in Alabama. I think with this commercial, James has layed himself out to be put in a run-off against Byrne. Right now, Byrne and Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore is in the primary lead. Don't count those 2 out, but James has now at least identified himself in the race. With Kay Ivey now out of the race, perhaps James is trying to knap her votes in hopes of carrying him through to the run-off. Either way, he wins political points with primary voters in Alabama with this commercial.

4. Specter is running a build-up commercial of himself. I think most in Pa. know him and know what he's all about: political opportunism. Now he's bringing stem cell research as a primary issue in this campaign. My guess is that Sestek also supports stem cell research, so how does that differentiate Specter from Sestek? Toomey will watch this primary collecting money and waiting in the wings.

5. Hayley Barbour is a brilliant tactician who doesn't mind throwing mud to win. He's in the right place at the right time for Republicans to take a great majority of governorships this year!

Posted by: reason5 | April 28, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

dawd -- The spectacle of the finreg hearings is surreal--check our MoDo today:

"You know you’re ethically compromised when Senator John Ensign scolds you about ethics. The Nevada Republican is under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee and the F.B.I. for chicanery surrounding an affair with a staffer. His wealthy parents paid off the mistress and her husband, who was also on Ensign’s payroll.

“I think most people in Las Vegas would take offense at having Wall Street compared to Las Vegas. Because in Las Vegas, actually people know that the odds are against them. They play anyway,” said the righteous Ensign. “On Wall Street, they manipulate the odds while you’re playing the game. And I would say that it’s actually much more dishonest.”

There was a bipartisan jackpot in casino metaphors.

“How does that differ from going out to Caesar’s Palace, the sports book, and making a wager on the outcome of an athletic contest?” Senator John McCain of Arizona asked C.E.O. Lloyd Blankfein.

But the Republicans’ whacking of Wall Street’s wise guys lost a little of its punch when you knew that they were ducking out to the Senate floor, trying to thwart Democrats’ efforts to pass a bill tightening regulation of Wall Street. Republicans ignored the contradiction in this, the same way Goldman Sachs ignored the conflict in betting against the product it sold to clients."

I mean, here the Rs are grandstanding with these CEOs, talking about how badly they misbehaved, on the one hand, then they are filibustering financial regulation!

Talk about flipfloppery, cognitive dissonance and mixed messages. Is their base really so dumb that they can't see through this?

Posted by: drindl | April 28, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I'll be live-blogging @charliecristfl announcement at 5 p.m. tmrw. along St. Petersburg's waterfront.

http://bit.ly/l6KKw

Posted by: saintpetersblog | April 28, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

The ad goes on to hit Cahill on his management of the state lottery, spending a million dollars on office renovations and having "lost billions" on the state pension fund while handing out bonuses to his staff. "Massachusetts has already lost four years," the narrator says at the ad's close. "We can afford to lose any more."

What? They can? Is that reverse psychology?

Posted by: Honus | April 28, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Kruez,
What about a Crist/Bayh (or Huntsman) independent candidacy in 2016???
If the Republicans continue down this path towards conservative purity and nominate an extreme conservative like Santorum or Palin in 2012 or 2016 I could see a third party emerge. Especially if the Democrats nominate someone who is pretty liberal.

Posted by: AndyR3 | April 28, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Gjonah,
I think the immigration thing is a little bit of both politics and policy. The politics part is coming from the extreme right upstarts who want to force this issue as a way to win GOP primary support. The situation in Arizona is not what the national GOP party wanted. They were hoping to let that dog lie for one more term and pass the McCain comprhensive reform in the next congress. The President and the Democrats would prefer this as well since they would most likely support the McCain/Graham immigration policy, and they know that this is a hot button issue with the extreme right.

I do think that they won't pass comprehensive reform until after McCain wins either the primary or the general election. He is a big supporter of this and will be crucial in providing cover for some of the other senators from states that have large hispanic populations (ie Texas, FL, and LA).

Posted by: AndyR3 | April 28, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

The bigger issue weighing on Crist is 2012.

If he runs as an Indie, he is dead to the Republican Party; no ability to challenge Nelson, no other outs. If he goes independent, he's all in.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | April 28, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I doubt the threat of having to refund some contributions if he goes independent will weigh on Charlie Crist's decision very heavily. Like any other politician, Crist is going to take whatever action he thinks will best accomplish his goal of looking good. If his research shows he has a substantial shot at getting elected as an independent in November, he'll go for it; if it shows that he'll just get stomped by Marco Rubio anyway or that he'll completely Shanghai Rubio's campaign and get Kendrick Meek elected, he won't do it. If Crist has reason to believe, based on what information he can gather now, that he could win in November as an independent, then he has reason to believe he'll have a perfectly adequate amount of contributions coming his way if he runs as an independent.

"This is Alabama. We speak English."

That's debatable.

But seriously, folks, I'm starting to wonder what Republicans' sudden fixation on the immigration issue says about their motivations. I know it's a few isolated incidents now, but it certainly seems to be gaining steam. The vast majority of Republicans seemed to be saying all they needed to do to make sizable gains in November is keep bringing up health care reform, but now they're getting a whole new issue. I wonder if it means some within the party are worried health care reform won't arouse as much irrational anger in the fall as it does now and want to hedge their bets. Or maybe they worry that the financial reform being proposed is a winner for the Democrats and are trying to distract people from it, as they can't oppose it without seeming pro-Wall Street fat cats and can't support it without seeming to agree with the Dems.

Some will say they're addressing it because it's an important issue in our country, or something, but experience has taught me that any prominent figure who takes up a controversial issue is primarily interested in scoring political points.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | April 28, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

That's pretty stupid to have an election now and in November for the same seat. What difference does one Congressman make?

kreuz_missile, I saw your post from yesterday. You're probably right that Republicans will gain seats in both chambers. I do think Republicans are really limiting their chances for growth with extreme candidates and extreme politics. Look at the Democrats' response to the filibuster on FinReg versus their response on HCR. For the latter, they almost seemed desperate to get something done. With FinReg, it's almost as if the Dems are just going to let the Reps hang themselves.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 28, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Bondosan -- I'm glad NY has decided not to spend the money on a special election, with only 7 months to go. I don't see why any states do this, especially in this economy.

Roosboy, thanks for the info on Crist.

Posted by: drindl | April 28, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Bondosan, thanks for the facts on November. Yes, the HI special is officially a step closer to meaningless.

Drindl, I am sure you are right about PA. But there is the nagging doubt about specials that I have: a campaign for a special is all about turning out your base, because nobody votes in a special. A general is a retail election
where it is likely that 3-6 times as many folks will vote. If I were running the special for either party in PA, I would be focusing on election day turnout of my identified voters, spending my cash on targeted phone calls and buses and drivers. I would do radio on the "right" stations. I would skip expensive TV altogether.

Then I would blow it out on the general election.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 28, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I'd agree that even if he gets 40% then it could be called significant, but the only real polling out there has him well below that.

A January Honolulu Star-Observer Poll had the race:

Case (D) - 37%
Hanabusa (D) - 25%
Djou (R) - 17%

An early April DCCC internal poll had it at:
Case (D) - 32%
Djou (R) - 32%
Hanabusa (D) - 27%

This was the one that, when leaked suddenly made the race a hot topic. There is some question whether the DCCC leaked this internally to get people to take notcie so they could claim a key victory when Case won (if the Star-Observer poll is more accurate, and this may also explain why no NRCC money is coming in - their polls may reflect the Star-Observer). There is also some question in Hawaii about poll validity due to low caller response in the Hawaiian Islander community (the argument is they don't like to reveal their vote preference to strangers for cultural reasons) that some say would benefit Hanabusa by 3-4 pts. I think all are overing around 30 right now.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | April 28, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I want to point something out to you --

"We need Arlen back in the Senate," says Fox whose struggle "

should be

"We need Arlen back in the Senate," says Fox, whose struggle"

Need that comma there.

Posted by: drindl | April 28, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

The curse of American politics. Lobbyist,political donations, buying power in a "for sale democracy." What happened to "for the people , by the people"? And we try to force American democracy on foreign countries, we see corruption in them, as with our own system. Politicians,sound bites, and money determine outcomes. Charlie Crists listening to the people of Florida bucks the republican agenda. I will vote for Charlie however he runs. The Bush boys and cronies were deprived of profits from there text book companies and educational software companies, by trying to short money to the Florida educatonal system. The buck stopped with Charlie Crist vetoe, thankyou Charlie. tr

Posted by: roosboys | April 28, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Mark:

On his last "live chat," Chris mentioned that yes, in both HI and PA, the regularly-scheduled congressional elections will be held in November. So the winners in both specials will have to face the voters again.

It's also why no special has been called in NY for Massa's seat. They're just going to wait for November to sort it out.

Posted by: Bondosan | April 28, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

"Would candidates be keeping some of their powder dry, or are they blowing it all now, on the bet that the winner now wins again in November?"

You would have to assume, mark, that whomever holds the seat will have a tremendous advantage, unless they have managed to blow it bigtime some way before then [hike on the Appalachian trail, perhaps?]

Posted by: drindl | April 28, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I'm not really getting the fuss about the Hawaii special. Even if Djou wins, he'll be a Congressman for a grand total of about seven months. I guess that's also why neither Case nor Hanabusa will give any ground...they're just positioning themselves for a possible Democratic primary before November.

Posted by: Bondosan | April 28, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Say goodbye to your shrinking campaign fund Crist.

Posted by: moebius22 | April 28, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

WHY IS MAINSTREAM MEDIA A.W.O.L. ON THE "FED TORTURE TOWERS" STORY THAT IS ABOUT TO ROCK AND SHOCK THE POLITICAL WORLD?

When will the WH / Pentagon press corps start asking questions about the most shocking revelation about government since Watergate...

... a Homeland-run multi-agency "fusion center" program" that is silently attacking and impairing Americans nationwide with a precision-targeted, classified microwave/laser/radio frequency "directed energy weapon system" -- deployed in EVERY neighborhood nationwide on CELL TOWERS.

That's why you see so many towers, so close together. This is electromagnetic enslavement of so-called "targeted" individuals -- including many targeted for their political beliefs, or even their journalism. The key to the story: U.S. Patent No. 7629918:

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/u-s-silently-tortures-americans-cell-tower-microwaves
http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america
OR http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "Obama: Take Down Fusion Center Gestapo, Fire Secret Service Boss"

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 28, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Andy, thanks for the MA info. That means the R strategy is that Patrick is "stuck" on his number and they are playing the rest of the field.

Kreuz, thanks for the observation on the loss of federal funds that would hurt AL, as an "English only" state. I basically agree with Kreuz and ddawd on HI, except that I think a 45% win for the R would exceed expectations and be noteworthy.

I will ask again of the PA crowd here [yes,Scriv, this includes you] does the former Murtha seat come up for a general election in NOVEMBER? Does that make this special a trial run? Would candidates be keeping some of their powder dry, or are they blowing it all now, on the bet that the winner now wins again in November?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 28, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

And as the anti-immigrant fervor steps up, Republicans start favoring tattooing numbers, oops -- implanting microchips -- in them.

"One of them is Dr. Pat Bertroche, who's running to challenge Democrat Leonard Boswell in Iowa's 3rd Congressional district. He believes we should microchip illegal immigrants to make sure we can keep track of them.

Speaking today at a candidate forum in Tama County, Dr. Bertroche said: "I think we should catch 'em, we should document 'em, make sure we know where they are and where they are going. I actually support micro-chipping them. I can micro-chip my dog so I can find it. Why can't I micro-chip an illegal?"

Posted by: drindl | April 28, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Crist should absolutely run as an independant. His party has abandoned him and largley sanity as well. He would do well, and would most likely win the race. If he does not win he will at least ensure that that lunatic criminal rubio is not sent to disgrace his state and the nation.

Posted by: John1263 | April 28, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Maybe if you stopped pasting all day and did your chores, hubby would leave you some allowance. Then you could go do something else for a change.
Win. Win.

Posted by: Moonbat | April 28, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Arizona has gotten so rightwing nasty they'd rather lose billions in funding than provide health care --for *children*. The further right you lean, the less human you become.

March, 2010: Arizona votes to repeal KidsCare, a health insurance program for poor children. Not only did the repeal cut health care for about 38,000 kids, but it also may have violated a provision in the recently passed health care reform bill that requires states to maintain its previous standards of eligibility. The move thus jeopardes the billions of dollars the state receives in Medicaid funding from the federal government."

Posted by: drindl | April 28, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I'll be live-blogging @charliecristfl 's press conference from St. Petersburg on Thursday.

http://bit.ly/l6KKw

Posted by: saintpetersblog | April 28, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

"This is Alabama. We speak English."

This is very funny, if you've talked to many people from there. I guess they call it English....

But you're right, kreuz. This xenophobia will cost Alabama a lot of money. Not as much as Arizona, which likely will bankrupt itself with its new law.

And i think we are agreed -- no bailouts for red states, right? After all, they surely don't want federal money.

Posted by: drindl | April 28, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

"races that are widely being looked to as leading indicators of what's to come in the fall election."

Could you stop with this trite conventional wisdom? This is not analysis, this is pablum.
If Democrats win both, we know you will say that it has nothing to do with the fall, in any case.

Posted by: drindl | April 28, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Some respected Senior in the Hawaiian Democratic party needs to talk to the two candidates about what is on the line here. Then someone needs to be offered an excellent "parting gift" and withdraw from the race.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 28, 2010 8:24 AM

democrats should just threaten to send obama there to campaign for one of the candidates. that should scare one of them out of the race.

Posted by: doof | April 28, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

James in alabama is another interesting case. The Feds give millions of dollars in highway funds, which is conditional on having the test available in multiple languages among other stipulations (which have been ruked constituional by SCOTUS). If he cuts the tests down to just English, he loses the federal dollars; meaning his 'cost cutting' measure would actually put Alabama further into the hole. If he wants to do away with the requirement, he should eb running for Congress, not governor. Otherwise, it's just playing off the same dynamics that led to the abomination of a law in Arizona, hoping no one in Alabama will figure it out and see through it.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | April 28, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

The PA race is the only one with any real significance, 60-70% of the HI-1 voters will vote for a Democrat, if Republicans win it will only be because of the split field and Dems will win it back in Novemeber (this is also probably why nat'l Republicans aren't putting money into it - if they nationalize it it only will draw attention away from the Dem infighting that keeps Djou in a three-way tie); not that real political insight will matter to reporters who want to increase circulation.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | April 28, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/28/AR2010042800955.html

White House keeps losing votes -- and loving it

Apparently the White House is feeling the same way I do about the Republican FinReg filibusters. It's a golden opportunity to pound the Republicans into oblivion.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 28, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I fail to see how a Republican winning the Hawaii race means anything. A GOP win will simply be because of a split vote among the Democrats.

And no news about Bob Bennett from Utah? He had a disastrous poll result come out yesterday and if that poll is the least bit accurate, he will probably be losing his job this year.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 28, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

#4- I think Specter will crush Sestak and Toomey. The commercial in support of Specter by MJ Fox (who is Canadian BTW) is because of Specter's long-standing support of Stem Cell research. This may be a subtle way to introduce this issue into the race, which will definitly benefit him against Toomey.

#5-Mark, Mass doesn't have a run-off like Texas. If Patrick wins 33.4% and the other two get 33.3% then patrick wins. Frankly, I think Cahill will win, but Patrick has a tremendous amount of support among the grassroots faithful. If he (or Cahill) can get to 38% then I think they will take it. Baker will lose no matter what, the Dems won't let another Scott Brown happen.

Posted by: AndyR3 | April 28, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

"This is Alabama. We speak English."

too funny!

Posted by: newagent99 | April 28, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Political profiles:

governor Perry confronts coyote while jogging. Lays him out with single shot.

Present ident obambi chastised by Helen Thomas. Both run crying from the room.

Posted by: Moonbat | April 28, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Some respected Senior in the Hawaiian Democratic party needs to talk to the two candidates about what is on the line here. Then someone needs to be offered an excellent "parting gift" and withdraw from the race.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 28, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Now berry says that asking if one intends to keep a campaign promise( no new taxes) that it is an old waShington game.

Is lying to get elected an old Chicago game.

He will surely create a commission, a panel, a summit, read a speech from the trusty prompter. Anything to avoid doing the job he is clearly totally unqualified to do.

It is congress and the present ident who set taxing and spending policy. Why are they such cowards? I thought it was just overseas but it is everything.

Speed November.

Posted by: Moonbat | April 28, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Crist will run as an independent and, as long as he gets some decent money, will beat Rubio and Meek in November. The Tea Party is simply not a mainstream entity in Florida.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | April 28, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

CC wrote:

'The RGA ads come on the heels of the release of an independent poll last week that showed Patrick leading the field with 34 percent followed by Cahill at 29 percent and businessman Charlie Baker (R) at 27 percent.'

Absent a majority do the top two face a runoff? If so, the R strategy is comprehensible - attack the weaker opponent, based on polling. Still, for the R to be running 3rd, well behind the [I], makes one think that woman who ran behind Scott Brown was a freakily bad candidate or that, alternatively, Charlie Baker is.

Is there new polling in the HI 3-way? An R "victory" at
35% would mean nothing as a trend line there. At 45%, it might. 40% for a popularly elected official in a large portion of the CD ought to be an expectation level.

I suggest that only the PA Special is likely to have broader implications on perception. However, as for that one, is there not ANOTHER election for that same seat in November?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 28, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

If I was a Republican donor to Crist's campaign I would demand my money back. Wouldn't it be great if everyone who donated to his campaign demanded their money back. Kind of hard to run a state wide campaign with no money.

Posted by: RobT1 | April 28, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

I love #3. What vision! What discernment! What leadership! He is certainly Governor material.

As long as it's Alabama we're talking about.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 28, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

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