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Morning Fix: More RNC troubles to come?

1. The resignation of Republican National Committee communications director Trevor Francis on Monday is a sign of significant unrest within the ranks of the committee, according to several party sources. While stories differed over whether Francis jumped or was pushed from his perch, what was clear in the aftermath of his departure was that some within the committee believe that RNC Chairman Michael Steele's press-friendly approach had made Francis's job untenable. Steele allies insist that the chairman's tendency to pop off in media interviews has been significantly curtailed since the start of his chairmanship but there remain dissenting views on that idea. "Trevor did an outstanding job in a very challenging workplace environment," said one senior party official who was granted anonymity to speak candidly about the party chair. Interestingly, one of the main arguments for Steele when he won a contested election for party chair back in January was that his high profile media profile gave the party the sort of presence they had sorely lacked in the final years of the Bush administration. What remains to be seen is whether Francis is an isolated case or whether his departure will be the first of several.

2. Rep. Dennis Moore's (D) surprise retirement on Monday has already drawn a laundry list of aspiring candidates to replace him. State Sen. Nick Jordan, state Rep. Kevin Yoder and former state representative Patricia Lightner are all running on the Republican side with past 3rd district candidates Jeff Colyer and Greg Musil are considering the contest. The Democratic field was less formed as the candidates let Moore have his day. But, the name on most peoples' lips is Kansas City Mayor Joe Reardon although it's not clear he is interested in running. Gov. Mark Parkinson, who has said he will not run for a full term in 2010, is also seen as a strong candidate. The Kansas City-area district will likely be one of the central House battlegrounds as President Obama won it with 51 percent in 2008.

3. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has named state Sen. Abel Maldonado (R) to fill the vacancy left former Lt. Gov. John Garamendi's (D) election to Congress earlier this month. Proving, yet again, that he is more a product of Hollywood than Sacramento, Schwarzenegger made the announcement on Monday night's Jay Leno show ensuring that 99.9 percent of the viewing audience had no idea what he was talking about. Schwarzenegger said that Maldonado was "into bipartisanship and post-partisanship." Maldonado had long been considered the favorite for the appointment as he had cast the critical vote in favor of Schwarzenegger's budget plan in February. The appointment needs to be approved by the state Senate, which, as the Wall Street Journal's Stu Woo notes, is a somewhat dicey proposition; Democrats in the body may not want to hand Maldonado a statewide office while two Republicans in the chamber are already running for the LG job. A glance at recent California history suggests that the lieutenant governor's job may not be worth having. Garamendi was forced to drop from the governors race after it became clear he couldn't compete with either San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who subsequently dropped out himself, or state Attorney General Jerry Brown. And, Garamendi's predecessor, Cruz Bustamante, placed a distant second to Schwarzenegger in the 2003 recall election and then lost a race for state Insurance Commissioner in 2006. Gray Davis, who served as lieutenant governor for four years before being elected governor in 1998, was the one unceremoniously ousted from office by the recall.

4. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) outlined his plan of attack in his surprisingly competitive Senate primary fight against former state House speaker Marco Rubio in an interview with the indispensable Adam Smith of the St. Pete Times and the paper's editorial board. "Campaigns thank God are an educational opportunity," said Crist. "During the course of the next nine months or so we will strive to lay out a very good education." Crist said it's hard to imagine a candidate running to his ideological right on the issues although he did note that there are stylistic differences between the way he and Rubio have approached issues. "I don't know what else you're supposed to be, except maybe angry too," he added. Crist knocked down the rumor that with polls showing the Senate primary tightening he might consider running for a second term for governor instead in 2010. "That's not going to happen," he said.

5. With Houston Mayor Bill White expected to switch from the Senate race to the governor's race next week, Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams (R) wants everyone in the political world to know he is staying in a contest that, as of today, doesn't exist. Williams, who announced his candidacy way back in December 2008, sent out an email to supporters Monday saying that despite Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's (R) decision to postpone her resignation until March, he "takes her at her word that Texans will go to the polls in 2010 to elect a new United States senator in a special election." Fixistas know that we remain skeptical that KBH will step down if she loses her primary challenge to Gov. Rick Perry (R) but, if she does indeed do so, Perry would still have the right to appoint a temporary replacement before a special election was held. Conventional wisdom suggests that the Perry pick would be Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst who has massive personal wealth and would likely take any concerns of Democrats winning a special election off the table. That said, Williams represents a compelling profile for a party looking for fresh faces -- an African American Republican who has run and won three times statewide.

6. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's (R) political career was decimated long ago but the fallout from his tryst with an Argentinian woman whom he called his "soul mate" continues. The latest? The state Ethics Commission has returned 37 charges of wrongdoing against Sanford, most of which center on his misuse of state funds in the pursuit of his affair. While the Ethics Commission charges carry a potential financial penalty, the real danger for Sanford from a political perspective is that the commission's ruling will spur attempts by the state legislature to impeach him before his term ends in early 2011. A state House committee is set to hold its inaugural hearing on the possible impeachment of Sanford today although nothing official can happen until the full legislature reconvenes in January. If Sanford is impeached, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who is running for the top post in 2010, would assume the office for the final months of Sanford's term.

7. Make sure to read Pollster.com Charles Franklin's analytical takedown of the meme that President Obama's support among political independents is eroding badly.Franklin writes that it "makes no sense to compare independent support in January with independent support now, and conclude there has been a collapse of support," adding that: "The pattern this fall, since Sept 1, has been quite stable among independents." Franklin's broad point is that Obama lost considerable support among independents (and Republicans) from May through August but has stabilized since then. Well worth the read.

8. Washingtonian's latest issue runs down the top lawyers in Washington. We read it so you don't have to. . . . Here's who made the list for the best of the best when it comes to campaign law (firms in parentheses): Jan Baran (Wiley Rein), Bob Bauer (Perkins Coie), Joseph Birkenstock (Caplin & Drysdale), Bobby Burchfield (McDermott Will & Emery), William Canfield III, Marc Elias (Perkins Coie), Craig Engle (Arent Fox), Sonja Fois (Arnold & Porter), Ben Ginsberg (Patton Boggs), Laurence Gold (Lichtman, Trister & Ross), Lee Goodman (LeClairRyan), Kenneth Gross (Skadden), Ki Hong (Skadden), Brett Kappel (Arent Fox), John Keeney Jr. (Hogan & Hartson), Robert Kelner (Covington & Burling), Carol Laham (Wiley Rein), James Lamb (Sandler, Reiff & Young), Cleta Mitchell (Foley & Lardner), Lawrence Noble (Skadden), Lawrence Norton (Womble Carlyle), Trevor Potter (Caplin & Drysdale), Neil Reiff (Sandler, Reiff & Young), Joseph Sandler (Sandler, Reiff & Young), Scott Thomas (Dickstein Shapiro), Michael Toner (Bryan Cave), Lyn Utrecht (Utrecht & Phillips) and Jill Holtzman Vogel (HoltzmanVogel).

9. Tonight marks the first State dinner of the Obama White House, a gustatory gathering to honor India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In honor of the event, the tech folks have cooked up -- heyoo! -- a trivia quiz to test your knowledge of past State dinners. Check it out.

10. Do you like politics? YES! Do you like beer? YES! Do you like the Fix? Um, YES! Then "Politics and Pints" is perfect for you. It's a trivia night hosted by yours truly. The date? Dec. 7 from 7-9 p.m. The place? Capitol Lounge. The rules? Teams of six (at most) and no cheating, which, well, seems self-evident. You in? Get to Cap Lounge early on Dec. 7 -- it's first come, first served.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 24, 2009; 5:44 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
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Next: Obama's Afghanistan dilemma

Comments

G&T - That middle paragraph of yours contains five or six sentences, yet only one period at the end. I generally avoid commenting on other posters' style. In this case, I am struck by the irony of such a paragraph in a comment in which you took CC to task over a grammatical error.

==

Some readers find long sentences perplexing, I like them. And while it may be imprudent as a matter of style it certainly isn't in violation of any rule of grammar or punctuation like Chris' misapplication of commas and periods around parentheses and quotes.

You're not the first to tell me I should replace semicolons with period, and you won't be the last, because it's part of my chosen writing style.

It reflects the influence of German on my writing, I've read a lot of German, mostly the original writings of Einstein and Pauli, also the Thomas Mann I read for comprehension when I was learning .. and in German long sentences like this one aren't anathema at all. I alternate with short as some sort of "style."

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 29, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to know what to expect for Kansas congressional district 03 but right now Gov. Mark Parkinson could well beat any candidate, Republican or Democrat, for CD-03.

Prospects are less clear for Mayor Joe Reardon of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County. Northern Johnson County would need to support his candidacy in adequate number. Unlike Dennis Moore, who was a successful district attorney of Johnson County for years prior to his congressional run, Reardon hails from much smaller democratic Wyandotte county. His GOP opponent would need to be a stinker.

An amusing scenario for Democrats would be Parkinson taking Sam Brownback's vacated U.S. senate seat and Reardon (or another Democrat) taking CD-03. In such a case, Parkinson and Brownback would merely switch offices.

Posted by: Kelly14 | November 29, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

There is lots of criticism that can be aimed at both political parties in the last decade. The legacy of George W. Bush and his administration will no doubt be labeled TITANIC; a horrifying chapter in America's history. Now the Democratic party is throwing your dollars at anything that has the appearance of being a problem and creating even greater risk by not having the proper safeguards in place to know how your dollars are being reinvested; if at all. History will continue to repeat itself simply because bi partisanship is dead. Self interest has become just about every politicians goal; not that this is new to politics. What can you do? I guess the answer is simply to pray! If your an atheist, there is no hope on the political horizon whatsoever. Ask yourself, are the preceding comments reality or pessimism?

Posted by: joe100821 | November 28, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

G&T - That middle paragraph of yours contains five or six sentences, yet only one period at the end. I generally avoid commenting on other posters' style. In this case, I am struck by the irony of such a paragraph in a comment in which you took CC to task over a grammatical error.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | November 26, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

To be clear, I was directly quoting from a piece in the St. Petersburg Times; the newspaper did not use the comma to quote Crist and so neither did I.

==

Sorry Chris but if they were quoting a spoken statement instead of a written one then they did so incorrectly, and you simply propagated an error.

If the statement was written then you're being accurate.

Like drindl I care passionately about good usage (I'm a spelling Nazi in four languages), and not because I want to be anal about it, but because our minds are already isolated enough with only language to bridge the gap (at least where bumpin' uglies isn't an option), it's all we have, and inaccuracy increases the isolation.

I worked my way through college writing Lecture Notes (and ghosting term papers for lazy undergrads); in the room where we typed up our notes there was a list of basic rules of punctuation. Commas, parentheses, quotes, semicolons .. what goes where. I devoured that list, I have a sweet tooth for that stuff. And I shouldn't ever need to correct a journalist of your stature!

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 25, 2009 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I'm genuinely sorry. You are right, that was not constructive. I should have just pointed out the error. But you know, I see so much of this now in mainstream publications -- it's very frustrating if you care about correct usage. Can you not quote in such a way that does not repeat the original mistake?

Posted by: drindl | November 24, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Drindl,

I am a little late to this -- busy day -- but I saw that you criticized me for "really getting sloppy" because a comma was not used in an item on Charlie Crist.

To be clear, I was directly quoting from a piece in the St. Petersburg Times; the newspaper did not use the comma to quote Crist and so neither did I. (Here's the link to the story from which I quoted: http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2009/11/could-crist-run-for-reelection-rather-than-senate.html)

Sometimes it pays to ask for clarification in a nice way rather than simply launch a critique, no? (Got the comma right that time!)

Have a great Thanksgiving,

Chris

Posted by: Chris_Cillizza | November 24, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

And this furor of being had has the potential not just to take Obama down, but also his ideology and supporters along with him for a generation.

==

(*guffaw*)

yeah a bunch of angry white-haired rednecks with teabags on their ears are gonna "take Obama down."

Go read you comic books, fool.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 24, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

The Obama trifecta— of serial apologies and bows abroad

==

Apologies and bows.

This is why you creeps deserve to be kept away from the reins of power .. if our leaders don't urinate on the imperial carpets and wipe their noses on the drapes you call it bowing and scraping.

I bet you get invited to a lot of holiday dinners, huh?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 24, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

The Obama trifecta— of serial apologies and bows abroad, massive borrowing and deficit spending, and government-take overs of private spheres of life—is swelling up in the electorate. We haven’t seen in our lifetime anything quite like it. And this furor of being had has the potential not just to take Obama down, but also his ideology and supporters along with him for a generation.

Posted by: leapin | November 24, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

There just aren't any REAL third or fourth parties. There are Libertarians, for sure, but they aren't an organized Party, just a bunch of poseurs claiming a label.

All the rest, Greens, Communists, Flat Earthers, (oops, forgot, they now own the republicans) are a few people out feeding their egos.

==

Thanks for making this point. Third parties are a panacea for the exasperated and little more.

At one point I considered myself a libertarian, I wanted to sound all free thinking and individualistic an' stuff, then I met a few, basically permanently angry selfish people, and got turned off.

Then came Harry Browne heading the LP and I just got disgusted. When during Clinton's sustained prosperity we had a drop in burglary and robbery Browne claimed this was attributable to an incremental increase in the availability of handguns, not to a better economy .. when I thought back to a time when I had identified with these people I wanted to hurl.

NOW the libertarians are the biggest champions of amoral corporate capitalism there are.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 24, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"Your articles would be of more interst if they didn't pander to the two parties. If Independents are so powerful, where is the story about a third and possibly 4th party? You gossip more than give insight and that is less than jounalistic. Please, I ask, stop being a gossip and write a piece that has an adult perspective about a mature view of what's actually going on and perhaps a civil remedy? Posted by: crrobin"

There just aren't any REAL third or fourth parties. There are Libertarians, for sure, but they aren't an organized Party, just a bunch of posseurs claiming a lable.

All the rest, Greens, Communists, Flat Earthers, (oops, forgot, they now own the republicans) are a few people out feeding their egos.

A Real Party has national organization, State by State organization, candidates at all, or at least most, levels, and identifiable notables to fill the appointed positions governors and presidents have to fill to get their administrations to work, or, in the case of republicans, to fail grandly, thus proving Reagan's Hypothesis.

Ron Paul, or Lyndon Larouche, and the Libertarians demonstrate the contradiction of running for election to govern a political entity when you don't believe in government in the first place. Ralph Nader and whoever demonstrates the idiocy of the Narcissist effect in politics, "I am running to give people a choice."

The Constitution, intended to make political parties unnecessary, actually stacked the deck in favor of just two parties except when one of the parties is dying. Covering "Third and fourth parties" mostly is a waste of ink, UNLESS one of those parties shows some sign of taking over as the other Major party.

Currently there are no such possibilities out there.

Posted by: ceflynline | November 24, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"However, there are [probably] no national Ds for whom my old friend would ever vote. The national platform of the D Party reads like a red ink horror story to him.
He has lost faith in Rs because they are a red ink party too - they just make believe low taxes are fiscal responsibility. He really has no place to go. I think there are many like him. Posted by: mark_in_austin"

You would think that voters like him, and the only important number in Politics today, the vast gap in registered voters and Specifically registered Dems and Repubs would sink in and start the rise of the replacement for the Republican Party.

And yet it doesn't happen.

Maybe pollsters ought to be contemplating THAT conundrum.

WHY?

Posted by: ceflynline | November 24, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

With resignations at the top beginning to register with the outside world, coupled with the Ideological Purity missive from yje Vice, it seems there is a lot more disaffection in the top ranks than CC wants to notice. A decent fratricidal fight at the national level, running through the 2010 election, (and it can hardly end before that) will be a wonderful distraction while the Party goes out and takes yet another blood bath.

And all the signs point to just such a coup going on right now in the Elephant's Club.

Go! Go! Long Knives. Skin them RINOs. Mount their heads on your trophy wall! Purity Above All!.

And we're just sitting here, pickin' and grinnin'

Posted by: ceflynline | November 24, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

shrink2 wrote, "Once they believe they can saddle him [Michael Steele] with the baggage of the civil war (no not The Civil War, but I wouldn't blame you for wondering), the RNC will offload him for someone more along the lines of a portly, well aged, Southern White man, the one with the soft drawl we have come to expect from Republicans vending bromides."

Bwahahahaha! Now tell us what you *really* think!

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 24, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Fix Trivia??? I'll have to get the old Fadó gang together.

Cheers!

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | November 24, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

@ crrobin - Go back to a few weeks before the election. CC had a post on the rise of independent candidates (Hoffman in NY23, Bloomberg in NYC, Weicker in Connecticut). Here's the link:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/eye-on-2012/the-independents-rise.html

Next time, consider a little context before criticizing.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | November 24, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

However, there are [probably] no national Ds for whom my old friend would ever vote. The national platform of the D Party reads like a red ink horror story to him.
He has lost faith in Rs because they are a red ink party too - they just make believe low taxes are fiscal responsibility. He really has no place to go. I think there are many like him.

==

Your friend sounds like a fool.

And I honestly dont't see why "low taxes" should trump basic government responsibility. Right now we have people suffering and dying needlessly for want of health care, just to name one, something I regard as a moral travesty. You're one of the smarter posters here mark but your endless litany of "fiscal conservatism" is becoming positively Jakesque in repetition.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 24, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Should read, 'Campaigns, thank God, are an... etc"

You really need an editor.

==

And let me add: Chris, you need to review your basic punctuation. I'm constantly seeing mistakes, big ones, like periods inside parentheses. Wrong.

It's (like this. It's not (like this.)

Also, periods, exclamation points, question marks, and commas go "inside quotes," not "outside quotes". <-- wrong

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 24, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

artmann11, I completely agree with your statement. As a moderate Republican, I feel like there is no room in the party for me now. I cannot vote for any Republican from my home state. Our two Arizona Senators are a source of embarrassment to me. I wanted McCain to be our nominee instead of Bush Jr., but alas, now I realize the error of my ways. Not that I was satisfied with the Bush war mongering and his choice of war fronts after 9-11. As a retired psych nurse, I always thought there was something deeply psychological about Bush's invasion of Iraq. He really appeared to want to outdo his daddy and then he proceeded to make such a mess of it and for months he ignored Afghanistan, the real home of the 9-11 perps. To me, his invasion of Iraq seemed to be couched in his need to outdo his daddy. Alas, what a failure that was. Now our party is left trying to seem relevant again.

Posted by: mJJ2 | November 24, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"Your taxes are less now than when Reagan or either Bush were in office."

Check back after healthcare "reform" and
cap and tax

Posted by: leapin | November 24, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

"Your taxes are less now than when Reagan or either Bush were in office."

Unfortunately, thanks to the Reagan and Bush deficits, your dollars are worth less, too.

Posted by: nodebris | November 24, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

@penniless_taxpayer:

Your taxes are less now than when Reagan or either Bush were in office.

Just thought I'd point that out for 'ya.

Posted by: JRM2 | November 24, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

"where is the page with the dem woes plastered all over it...

Posted by: DwightCollins | November 24, 2009 6:21 AM | "
----
It's been running for the past six months or haven't you been reading?

Posted by: JRM2 | November 24, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Abel Maldonado held California hostage during the budget negotiations costing the tax-payer millions of dollars per day.

He parades as a moderate but really is a to-the-bone rethug.

Posted by: JRM2 | November 24, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

One of my oldest friends - a default R with ties to O&G, but not a social conservative, now concedes that "starve the beast" will never work because everybody wants a free lunch. He admits to having been a "free luncher" himself - having been for tax cuts during two wars, when his common sense said that would not work.

---------------
I've been saying for years that there's no such thing as free lunch because everybody wants something for nothing. If a candidate says that if the voters want a program but they have to pay more in taxes to keep it, they will vote for another candidate who will give them tax cuts when rational thinking says otherwise. The politicians have the tendency to speak out of both sides of their mouth especially during elections.
It has been this way for years because the media has the tendency to focus on the Reps and Dems candidates to the exclusion to rational candidates(as if they don't exist unless they make fools of themselves.

Posted by: beeker25 | November 24, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

The republicans continue to show theirselves as a party of very narrow, irresponsible actions. To turn on those in their own party who at times show a sign of decency by actually voting for a bill that would benefit our country is suicide.
They are so dedicated to party first, destroying our president, win at any cost they have thrown away any integrity, honor they once had.
They have become radical right extremists and are well on their way to becoming our countries most dangerous domestic terrorists.

Posted by: kathlenec | November 24, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Your articles would be of more interst if they didn't pander to the two parties. If Independents are so powerful, where is the story about a third and possibly 4th party? You gossip more than give insight and that is less than jounalistic. Please, I ask, stop being a gossip and write a piece that has an adult perspective about a mature view of what's actually going on and perhaps a civil remedy?

Posted by: crrobin | November 24, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

drindl,

-----
What the teabaggers did doesn't surprise me at all. They have been shown to be irrational time and time again.

Posted by: beeker25 | November 24, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Have you noticed that the RNC came out with a statement put forth by Bopp that all candidates must support all but 2 of the platforms in order to be supported or be dropped.
The best part is they are vote on it in Hawaii while the rest of us put up with old man winter.

Posted by: beeker25 | November 24, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

drindl, what a disgusting video. I can picture a few of our right-leaning posters among that rabble.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | November 24, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone remember the Dennis Moore skit from Monty Python? Lol --

Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Galloping through the sward
Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
And his horse Concorde
He steals from the rich
And gives to the poor
Mr. Moore, Mr. Moore, Mr. Moore
Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Riding through the night
Soon every lupin in the land
Will be in his mighty hand
He steals them from the rich
And gives them to the poor
Mr. Moore, Mr. Moore, Mr. Moore
Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Dum dum dum the night
Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Dum de dum dum plight
He steals dum dum dum
And dum dum dum dee
Dennis dum, Dennis dee, dum dum dum
Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore

Posted by: andrewgerst@hotmail.com | November 24, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Hint, don't start with Purity.
Most people with IQs over 80 think the only competitive advantage America retains (versus its bankers both on and off-shore) is imagination/innovation. Purity oaths tend to tamp down new ideas, the history of religion is pretty clear in this regard.

Can a political party all but ignore social hot buttons, embrace fiscal austerity (pay as you work, not pay to play) and still maintain relentless focus on innovative business models? If the answer is yes, you will have millions of people (me too!) sending in their money right quick. Time is not on our side.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

"A quick look at Obama trends with independents. There have been several articles in the last week about independents deserting the Dems. A good bit of that was spurred by the huge Rep margins among independents in VA (66-33) and NJ (60-30-9) governors races. There are also some indications on policy issues that independents are not supporting Democratic positions.

But support for Obama has not plummeted among independents, and that needs to be clarified before it becomes erroneous conventional wisdom. It especially makes no sense to compare independent support in January with independent support now, and conclude there has been a collapse of support. The pattern this fall, since Sept 1, has been quite stable among independents. Depending on which polls you use, a shade up or a shade down, but overall, not a huge trend either way over the past 3 months.

In the chart above I use Gallup's weekly aggregation of their tracking poll. This gives lots of cases each week, so we have good sample sizes for each of the three partisan groups. It is all within the same organization, so we also have an apples-to-apples comparison.

My concern is the trend, not the level of approval. Gallup's daily runs a couple points higher than average on Obama job approval, but that's not relevant to seeing if the trend is changing. (And yes, I know approval dropped under 50 in Gallup's daily over the weekend. Give it a week or so and we'll see what affect this had on each party group but for now I care about the last three months.)

The clear message of the chart is that all three partisan groups have plateaued since the end of August, with little real change since.

There is no evidence that any group of Dems, especially liberal Dems are unhappy with Obama's performance. Critical is that moderate and even conservative Dems have not moved away since August. Angry conservative Reps are indeed very unhappy with Obama, at almost the same level of disgust as Dems felt for Bush, but they too have reached a plateau at a steady 10% approval. The small number of moderate Reps have also plateaued (I'd discount small moves in the last week of the aggregation.)

So the point is simple: Claims of abandonment of Obama by independents (or lib-Dems or con-Dems) are substantially exaggerated over the past three months. Significant decline from May through August, yes indeed among Inds and Reps, but that trend halted in August.

http://www.pollster.com/blogs/obama_and_indepedents.php

This is a far more reliable analysis than the usual R press release hysteria you generally find at the Wapo. You can amuse yourself with the interactive pollster chart for independents, which includes all polls. You can remove whatever polls you don't like and see that it makes some difference to what you see recently.

Posted by: drindl | November 24, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

It would be great if Singh were actually here to help the US solve the real problem in Asia -- Pakistan. Unless and until we (and India) invade this pitiful Muslim excuse for a country,confiscate their nukes, and end their ridiculous excuse for a country, the ENTIRE world will continue to be vulnerable.
AQ Khan assisted in the world-wide spread of nuclear technology and the Pakistan government underwrote his efforts, yet he continues to walk upright on the face of the planet.
Pakistan recruits, trains and exports terrorists worldwide, yet the lame Bush administration propped them up and lost the cajones to do what had to be done. Instead our dyslexic KKKomander in Chief attacked the wrong country.

Instead of having this behind us now, we've experienced near economic disaster and we look like the Taliban/AlQ has already won. No RepubliKKKans ever again.

Pakistan, the great exporter of terror, MUST be destroyed.

Posted by: bgreen2224 | November 24, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

You yourself might want to start a new party, mark-- you are well-connected politiclly. One that was actually 'conservative' -- steal the word back from the wild-eyed radicals using it today.

Posted by: drindl | November 24, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

One of my oldest friends - a default R with ties to O&G, but not a social conservative, now concedes that "starve the beast" will never work because everybody wants a free lunch. He admits to having been a "free luncher" himself - having been for tax cuts during two wars, when his common sense said that would not work.

He thinks of himself as moving toward the center in that he no longer believes either party. But he will remain a conservative, and he will be attracted to candidates who talk about cutting waste, and he will continue to be completely frightened by "bold new social initiatives". So he might vote for White against Perry. A centrist D who wants to repeal the margins tax - a gross profits tax[!] and who opposes giving our roadways to a Spanish company will appeal to him more than Goodhair. BradCPA agrees with me about Perry's weakness on these issues, but TexasProud thinks otherwise.

However, there are [probably] no national Ds for whom my old friend would ever vote. The national platform of the D Party reads like a red ink horror story to him.
He has lost faith in Rs because they are a red ink party too - they just make believe low taxes are fiscal responsibility. He really has no place to go. I think there are many like him.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 24, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

"Mike Steele: Dead RNC Chairman walking."

This has always been true,
he is a stalking horse on the hunt for Republican Purity.

Once they believe they can saddle him with the baggage of the civil war (no not The Civil War, but I wouldn't blame you for wondering), the RNC will offload him for someone more along the lines of a portly, well aged, Southern White man, the one with the soft drawl we have come to expect from Republicans vending bromides.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

No wonder Republican popularity is sinking. People look at the vulgar teabaggers and are filled with revulsion:

"At a town hall event on health care reform hosted by Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) earlier this month, Midge Hough told the tragic story of how her daughter-in-law, Jenny, and her unborn grandchild died recently because they didn’t have health insurance. Jenny came down with “severe double pneumonia, Septic shock and Respitory failure,” Hough said, “and laid in an ICU unit for the next two months at a cost of $22,000 a day.” Her baby died in the womb and Jenny died a few weeks later. But as Hough was telling her story, tea partiers at the meeting “ridiculed” her, the South Town Star reports. “They moaned and rolled their eyes and interrupted,” laughing loudly and shouting her down at points. Watch it (beginning at 1:30):"

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/11/23/tea-heckle-woman/

Posted by: drindl | November 24, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Reagan began the destruction and decline of America. Republicans aren't the solution to our problems, Republicans ARE the problem!

Posted by: thebobbob | November 24, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"I haven't changed, the Republicans have."

More and more conservatives now recognize that the Republican Party they knew and loved no longer exists.

When it comes to the final choice, you have to ask yourself, is party loyalty more important than personal integrity?

When your party affiliation trumps your own common sense, something is amiss.

Posted by: JEP07 | November 24, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Awwww, isn't that nice of the democrats. They are so full of helpful suggestions these days, worried the republicans are on the wrong track and might lose in 2010. Their selflessness just brings a tear to your eye.

Posted by: penniless_taxpayer | November 24, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

CC, as a more than occasional critic, but still a frequent reader, I have to say, you are really getting sloppy. What is the story? I hope this is just sloppiness and not illiteracy. Look at this sentence:

"Campaigns thank God are an educational opportunity," said Crist."

For lack of a comma, a meaning is lost. It looks like campaigns are thanking god, doesn't it?

Should read, 'Campaigns, thank God, are an... etc"

You really need an editor.

Posted by: drindl | November 24, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

"More RNC troubles to come?"


I certainly hope so. And that is coming from someone who has voted GOP many times in the past. When Bush stood on the bodies of the victims of 9/11 and used it ruthlessly both as a vehicle to secure his party's 'permanent majority' and as means to invade Iraq (which had nothing to do with 9/11) he alienated me for life. Add to that his legitimizing torture as a regular part of US policy and I say the GOP can kiss my arse for life.


I haven't changed, the Republicans have. Until they purge themselves of human rights violators and advocates I will never vote for them again. But they have embraced Cheney's 'dark side' and cannot return to where they were without indicting half of the Bush administration on charges of perpetrating war crimes against humanity. So now they are torturers.

Posted by: artmann11 | November 24, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I strongly recomend you follow Chris' advice and read the polling analysis. Charles Franklin really does some great analysis of the tracking polls. Because Obama still has the support of vast majority of Democrats and is moderate enough to get half of the independents he is still effective.

Posted by: bradcpa | November 24, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Any Democrat Running against Perry, Mr. 39%, has my vote. I'm an independant and have voted for many Republicans in the past but the way they are acting is like they were ordained by God to Control the State and US Congress.

I'll vote Straight Democratic from now on.

Posted by: ddoiron1 | November 24, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

The vegetarian menu for tonight's state dinner would have been more interesting than that list of lawyers. Actually, a blow-by-blow on Charlie Fix's diapers would have been more interesting than that list of lawyers.

just sayin'.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | November 24, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Ah, Fix, how fortunes change.

Yesterday it was all 'Golden Opportunities' for the Republicans, today they're troubled (but apparently not significantly so, given all the qualifiers installed by Fix) at the very tip-top of their organization.

Democrats hold majorities in the House and the Senate and have elected a president.

Yet we here in FixLand talk about the Republicans.

Your new trivia career seems, thus, very very appropriate.

Fix: Master of Trivia in a world in need of news.

Posted by: 1EgoNemo | November 24, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

My friend Mark pretty much has the Texas Governors race well handycaped. Perry (or Goodhair) supported a very unpopular Margin tax and is hated by many. A Hispanic voter drive could make this a very close race.

Posted by: bradcpa | November 24, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

GOP Path Back to Relevancy: Advocate for Libertarian Values, Personal Liberty, Freedom from Government Enslavement, ergo:


***

SECRET MULTI-AGENCY FED PROGRAM SILENTLY TORTURES, IMPAIRS, PERSECUTES U.S. CITIZENS WITH MICROWAVE/LASER RADIATION WEAPONS AND LOCAL VIGILANTISM, SAYS VETERAN JOURNALIST

== DID THIS ROGUE PROGRAM TARGET, INCITE FORT HOOD SHOOTER? ==

* Thousands of Americans, deemed to be "dissidents" or undesirables, targeted by Bush legacy program for debilitating microwave/laser assault, held hostage in their own homes to fed-supported vigilante "community policing" stalking units, equipped with warrantless GPS devices, who vandalize and terrorize as local police look the other way.

* "Directed energy weapons," portable units and a nationwide installation employing cell towers and satellites, induce weakness, exhaustion, mood changes, head and body aches, physical and neurological impairment, strokes, aneurysms, cancer -- and many victims do not realize what is making them sick.

* Regional Homeland Security- administered "fusion centers" reportedly serve as command centers for covert electromagnetic radiation attacks, pervasive surveillance, financial sabotage of those identified as "dissidents," "trouble-makers" or slandered as threats to society.

* Use of microwave weaponry to torture and impair political opponents recently confirmed by deposed Honduras President Manuel Zelaya.

* Pleas for justice, to local police and FBI, go unanswered -- as do demands for a Department of Justice Civil Rights Division investigation and congressional hearings.

"These are crimes against humanity and the Constitution, being perpetrated under the cover of national security and 'safe streets' by multiple federal and local agencies and commands -- an American genocide hiding in plain sight, enabled by the naivete of those who think 'it can't happen here.'" -- Victor Livingston, former reporter for WTXF-TV Philadelphia, Phila. Bulletin, N.Y. Daily News, St. Petersburg Times; producer/host, MSG Network Sports Business Report; columnist, NowPublic.com/scrivener.

JOURNO TO FBI: TAKE CONTROL OF DHS-RUN FUSION CENTERS
TO STOP SILENT MICROWAVE / LASER ATTACKS ON U.S. CITIZENS

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america
http://nowpublic.com/world/govt-tortures-me-silent-microwave-weapons-ousted-s-prez
OR (if links are corrupted / disabled): NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 24, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the state dinner with PM Singh. The one year anniversary of the terrorist attack at a Mumbai hotel is approaching.

Hopefully Singh and Obama can make some progress on counterterrorism efforts.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 24, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

The RNC may face more problems once this little tidbit gets out:

RNC staffers are insured by Cigna and since 1991 that health insurance has covered ELECTIVE ABORTIONS for the staffers. Not medically necessary abortions only, but ELECTIVE ABORTIONS. Can anyone say "hypocrisy'?

Yes, RNC staffers have a choice but the GOP doesn't want anyone else to have it. The party's own platform calls it "a fundamental assault on innocent human life" but allows it in the RNC health insurance plan.

How can this party be so two-faced and live with itself?

Posted by: Utahreb | November 24, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Mike Steele: Dead RNC Chairman walking.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | November 24, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Steele is running the RNC into the ground, so there's bound to be more defections. Isn't it about time for a coup?

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

Posted by: parkerfl1 | November 24, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Goodhair would be favored in a straight - up race with White, but it would be competitive. That was the thrust of Tom Schieffer's remarks as he withdrew specifically in favor of White entering the fray. Hank Gilbert, the east TX rancher, may not leave the D race even if White enters, but he should. KBH's chances now may rest on an uncontested D primary which would encourage non-Rs to vote in the R Primary. If Gilbert, Kinky, and the hair products guy stay in the race and White runs, then many Indies will vote in the D primary, virtually assuring the R nomination to Goodhair.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 24, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse

A little boy is born, and a couple of years later a little girl is born - brother and sister.

The little boy gets to stay up later at night to watch tv because he's older.

The little girl whines: "that's not fair!"

Then she says: where is the page with the dem woes plastered all over it. It's not fair!

Grow up already.

Posted by: khote14 | November 24, 2009 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Chris: This post is too long. Would rather see a loner topical piece w/ perhaps one or two additional small pieces to follow. Save something for another day. Skip the top lawyers graph. The number of parens make it unreadable, and the names are likely to be of interest only to those on the list and the next ten who missed the cut.

Posted by: ndgirl | November 24, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

where is the page with the dem woes plastered all over it...

Posted by: DwightCollins | November 24, 2009 6:21 AM | Report abuse

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