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Parsing the Polls: The First Four '08 States

Pollster Dick Bennett has released scads of interesting 2008 presidential race survey data from the four early voting states -- Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina and New Hampshire.

From Dec. 19-23, Bennett's American Research Group asked 600 likely primary voters a series of questions about the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. The results provide a snapshot of voter opinion as the 2008 contest begins in earnest.

What's immediately clear is that a top tier exists in both parties. For Democrats that group includes New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.); for Republicans it's Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Aside from those six candidates, no one on either side receives double digits in more than one state.

It's also important to note -- as we have several times recently on The Fix -- that unlike past wide-open nomination fights, there is a surprisingly small number of undecided voters in these early states. Just eight percent of likely Iowa Democratic caucus goers have yet to pick a candidate, while 14 percent of Iowa Republicans are similarly uncommitted. In New Hampshire, less than one in five voters in each party count themselves as undecided.

Let's parse the polls!

Since the Democratic field has drawn most of the attention recently, we'll start on that side of the aisle. In each of the four early states, Clinton leads the way, dipping below 30 percent only in New Hampshire where she led Obama 27 percent to 21 percent. Edwards came in third at 18 percent. (It's worth noting that Obama's showing in the Granite State may have been somewhat inflated by his much hyped visit on Dec.10, just days before the poll went into the field.)

Clinton took 31 percent of the vote in Iowa and 34 percent in South Carolina to lead all comers. Her largest lead was in Nevada where she captured 37 percent to Obama's 12 percent. Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) captured third place in the Silver State by narrowly edging out Edwards nine percent to eight percent.

Edwards, who announced his candidacy on Dec. 28, ran a strong second behind Clinton in Iowa and South Carolina. In Iowa, several other independent polls have shown Edwards leading the 2008 field; Edwards remains strong in South Carolina, a state he won during the 2004 primaries.

Gov. Tom Vilsack (Iowa) got a bit of good news in the ARG Iowa poll as he remained within striking distance of the leaders in a state that even his closest allies acknowledge he must win to have any chance at the presidency. None of the other candidates tested in the survey were able to crack mid-single digits in more than a single state -- which could signal that polls done this early largely serve as a measure of name identification OR that a field including Clinton, Obama and Edwards leaves little room for other candidates.

One other note about the Democratic side before we move on to the Republicans. We've heard, read and even written some about what these early polls mean when considering Clinton's chances of winning the nomination. As Fix friend -- and Roll Call columnist -- Stu Rothenberg has pointed out, it's extremely difficult to handicap Clinton's chances in these early states simply because she has not shown her face in them for years. Clinton hasn't visited New Hampshire in a decade; the last time she was in Iowa was in late 2003 when she emceed the state party's Jefferson-Jackson dinner. It's likely that once Clinton announces her candidacy and begins to lavish attention on these states, her polling numbers will bounce up.

Name identification is the name of the game on the Republican side as only McCain, Giuliani and Gingrich take double digits in any of the four states.

Giuliani led in Iowa and Nevada, while McCain came out on top in South Carolina and New Hampshire. Gingrich was a solid third in all four states, with his highest score (22 percent) coming in Nevada and his lowest (14 percent) in New Hampshire.

Given Giuliani's liberal positions on social issues (he is pro-abortion rights and pro-gay rights), it seems unlikely that he will retain his number one spot in Iowa as that state's caucuses tend to be dominated by socially conservative voters. And, Hizzoner's lead in Nevada is not as important as it looks because the state will not host an early Republican vote to match the Democratic contest.

McCain's edge in South Carolina must be particularly gratifying as the Palmetto State served as the momentum-stopper during his challenge to then Texas Gov. George W. Bush in 2000. McCain has done significant spadework in the state since then to rehabilitate his image -- particularly his credentials as a conservative.

To date only Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.), who is expected to establish an exploratory committee today, has matched McCain organizationally in early states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Although Romney has won kudos from party insiders for his work to establish early-state organizations, the ARG poll shows he still has a lot of work to do. Romney's best showing was in New Hampshire where he received nine percent of the vote, but that may be the result of bleed-over from the Boston media market. Romney scored just 5 percent in South Carolina and six percent in Iowa.

Romney has plenty of time (and plenty of money) to make up the gap between himself and McCain, Giuliani and Gingrich. But, it will not be an easy task given that at least two of those top three will be campaigning hard in the early states to consolidate their support.

Remember that polls are simply a snapshot in time and not a predictor of future results. But, for McCain and Clinton the news out of the ARG surveys is good.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 3, 2007; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Parsing the Polls  
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Comments

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Posted by: mcnql suzahtr | January 16, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: fhzkutxy mxibcg | January 16, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Chuck Hagel and Romney were tied at 6% in Iowa.

Posted by: Charlie | January 5, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Aussie: Glad to have had you. Time to move on, so this will be my last post on this thread. But as you asked, it's only polite to answer the questions which you posed.

"...don't you think it's unfair on the other states' voters?"

- Nope! Not at all. I'm one of those other voters; and even being a political junkie, it's never bothered me (or anybody that I know) at all.

"When you say it 'ain't broke to us', I think there are plenty of Americans who would disagree."

- That's true for all of the problems which became evident as a result of the General Election(s). But, the primaries are a different matter.

The political junkies and intelligensia know that the primary process isn't perfect; but every "fix" has simply led to different problems. The average American could care less about the structure of the primary process.

"Still it makes for a more interesting election process, that's for sure."

- I used to think so, and still do for the second phase; but the "experts" just can't seem to come up with something which keeps the process going for longer than it does now.

You also have to remember that there is a "market force" in play no matter which states are first. Whoever wins the first couple of states tends to get more money; and because money is in finite supply, that means that the runners-up get less. Money is a "life and death" issue for candidates, so races have tended to be over more quickly than we would like.

Iowa and New Hamshire actually have developed a good active voter base who make the candidates toe the line. Make it a rotating process and you lose the institutional expertise which developed on its own.

Try some of the other threads here. You'll find good opinions, data and history in the threads. Even though there may be a lot of hot air. That's a price we pay.

The main problem for now is that a lot of the 2008 material will get stale very quickly, and there's still a year to go even before the Iowa caucuses. Another price which we pay.

So long!

Posted by: Nor'Easter | January 5, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

US voter - Thank you for your kind comments, nice to know I'm welcome here. Having a bad day?
I have remembered where I read that about NH (I assume you were talking about that, you weren't very specific in your post). I never claimed that what I was saying was 100% correct, just that I thought I had read about it somewhere.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Democratic_primary

"New Hampshire officials have stated that by state law, the NH Primary must be the first primary in the nation and must precede any similar contest by at least seven days, thus, the state may not abide by DNC approved dates. The DNC has threatened to withhold NH delegates if the state moves the primary earlier than the 22nd."

As for the woman who switched parties, I said she switched parties BEFORE the 2000 election, not after. I never talked about when she was unseated. Try reading my posts more carefully next time.

Nor'easter - the idea to rotate primaries would still mean that the candidates would have to mingle with the common folk, which is definitely a good thing. I have nothing against NH or Iowa at all, but don't you think it's unfair on the other states' voters? When you say it 'ain't broke to us', I think there are plenty of Americans who would disagree. Still it makes for a more interesting election process, that's for sure.

No surprises what you say about channel 9, I wouldn't believe much of what they have to say. And I'm not trying to say Australia's systems are perfect, believe me they are not. Just some oddities that I've noticed with the American system that I wanted to discuss - no one in australia is interested so I thought I'd try to discuss them here!

Posted by: Aussie view | January 5, 2007 4:29 AM | Report abuse

Aussie: Somebody has to be first. I don't know why you have a problem with it being Iowa and New Hampshire.

With them, our candidates actually have to interact with the common folk, and can't just make mass media buys to try to "out image" the other candidates.

No selection system can be perfect in a country as large and geographically diverse as the U. S. Somebody will always complain that they have a better way. Iowa and New Hampshire first has worked reasonably well for decades, while continual tinkering is done as to who comes after them, and how (Super Tuesday's, etc.).

It ain't broke to us. I don't think that we need to make a wholesale fix to it.

BTW - I've personally witnessed some Aussie reporters (Channel 9?) beaming home reports which totally distorted what they were reporting on [I've also seen BBC reporters do the same.] Maybe you're seeing our process through reporter's biased eyes.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | January 4, 2007 6:52 PM | Report abuse

This website has a pretty good picture of the ballot in question if you click to enlarge. As you can see, the number is actually visible in the slot you punch.

http://americanhistory.si.edu/vote/florida.html

Posted by: TG | January 4, 2007 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I don't suppose anyone will ever convince anyone else of their position on this topic. I am not personally for discerning voter intent. If you can't do it correctly then why should your vote count. It aint rocket science.

Posted by: TG | January 4, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Aussie,

The person you say switched party's after the 2000 election was not unseated until after the 2004 election. Please get your silly ignorance on your continent. I have posted a link to NPR web site which talks about her. Strange they missed the party switch too.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4052759


Posted by: US Voter | January 4, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Aussie,

Ever hear of Urban Legends try giving us a source for your information that is credible.

Posted by: US Voter | January 4, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Nor'Easter:
The woman who designed the butterfly ballot was actually a republican, but switched to Democrat just before the election because, in her own words: "when I ran [for the supervisor position], I chose Democrat because the incumbent was Democrat and the county registration is predominantly Democrat." After the 2000 election, she unsurprisingly switched her party registration to No Party Affiliation.

Regardless of this I don't think the butterfly ballot was a republican dirty trick, but it did make a big difference to Gore's loss.

Not being an American, I unfortunately can't vote so channeling my personal energies into anything else won't do any good :-)However I get what you say. But whilst Florida 2000 is now the past, think of what a different place the world would be now if the right result had stood.


Speaking of Florida 2000, from my point of view (one shared by many non-Americans), I'd love to see Al Gore run for presidency. An ideal ticket would be Gore/Obama, a great mix of experience and hope for the future, and very electable. Gore has shown to be right on a number of issues recently and doesn't seem to be as wooden as he appeared to be in the 2000 campaign. I hear it's unlikely, but I really hope he runs.

Nor'easter, given what you said about the primaries, you are badly in need of some electoral reform. That sounds like a farce. Though I thought I read somewhere that New Hampshire are forbidden to hold their primary earlier than a certain date (22nd January from what I remember) - unfortunately I can't remember who forbade them from doing so. I still don't understand how NH can lock themselves in as 1st. What's to stop another state trying to do the same thing?

Posted by: Aussie view | January 4, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Nor'Easter:
The woman who designed the butterfly ballot was actually a republican, but switched to Democrat just before the election because, in her own words: "when I ran [for the supervisor position], I chose Democrat because the incumbent was Democrat and the county registration is predominantly Democrat." After the 2000 election, she unsurprisingly switched her party registration to No Party Affiliation.

Regardless of this I don't think the butterfly ballot was a republican dirty trick, but it did make a big difference to Gore's loss.

Not being an American, I unfortunately can't vote so channeling my personal energies into anything else won't do any good :-)However I get what you say. But whilst Florida 2000 is now the past, think of what a different place the world would be now if the right result had stood.


Speaking of Florida 2000, from my point of view (one shared by many non-Americans), I'd love to see Al Gore run for presidency. An ideal ticket would be Gore/Obama, a great mix of experience and hope for the future, and very electable. Gore has shown to be right on a number of issues recently and doesn't seem to be as wooden as he appeared to be in the 2000 campaign. I hear it's unlikely, but I really hope he runs.

Nor'easter, given what you said about the primaries, you are badly in need of some electoral reform. That sounds like a farce. Though I thought I read somewhere that New Hampshire are forbidden to hold their primary earlier than a certain date (22nd January from what I remember) - unfortunately I can't remember who forbade them from doing so. I still don't understand how NH can lock themselves in as 1st. What's to stop another state trying to do the same thing?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 4, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Adam Hammond: I appreciate the post. My comment was in reaction to the unnamed poster who provided a source which they claimed proved their point; when the data at that source can be used in so many different ways that either side can make rational indisputable cases, as long as you accept their criteria. Which means that the NORC effort did not produce clear and rationally indisputable results.

The best anybody can say is that PROBABLY "...more voters in Florida wanted Gore than Bush..." Nobody can speak with absolute certainty as to what was in any voter's mind as they cast their vote; except that voter. We can't claim any analysis to be "the truth;" it's simply what we believe it to be, using objective criteria.

The unamed poster did us all a disservice by taking the only reputable empirical analysis of what happened in Florida in 2000 and using it falsely. Because it just serves to incite the "shoot from the lip" posters. The "truth" is that the Florida election process was/is a mess. So much so that no definitive "absolutely true" 2000 result can ever be determined.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | January 4, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Aussie: 1) 2000 should now only be looked at as a history lesson in how not to run an election. Both sides choose "challenge" strategies in 2000 which they thought were favorable to themselves. If Gore had won, the Republicans would have been equally indignant about the election being stolen.

Bush had the numbers on his side once the process reached the Federal level, in the Supreme Court and in the House of Representatives. It did reach the Federal level, so it was no surprise that Bush won. The only surprise was how the Supreme Court rationalized it's failure to follow precedence.

The Florida election process was just full of holes where errors could happen, and did. It had simply never mattered as much before, so nobody had done much to fill the holes; and apparently still haven't, given the House race still undecided there.

FYI - The designer (or at least approving official) of the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach county was a Democrat. Did she steal the election for Bush? Hardly!

Florida was a lesson in how we've paid little attention to the detail of the voting process. Who knows how many times votes were never counted, and undercounts and over counts could have affected outcomes. The technology is making it worse as IT executives and engineers have become a tail wagging the dog. "Ease of voting" is their goal, as opposed to full, valid and accurate counts.

People who complain about "Florida 2000" should be channeling their energies into ensuring that the process is made to be fair and accurate in all precincts in all of the 50 states. The continued whining about how Bush stole the election has become very boring.

2) Also, you may have missed the point that the states determine when they will have their delegate nominating caucuses, primaries and conventions. There is no central authority to dictate that it is done "this way" or "that way." The national political parties negotiate with the state parties to try to develop the best process. But, like it or not, Iowa and New Hampshire have locked themselves in as "1st." [Some how apparently Nevada snuck in for 2008 also.] Those states will just keep advancing the date of their caucuses and primaries if somebody tries to jump ahead of them. Iowa probably was able to get ahead of New Hampshire because they have caucuses, not a primary; so both are able to claim they are "1st." Both would (and could) go to the extreme of making their caucus/primary date the week after the Presidential election if they had to. [ex: The 2012 caucus/primary would be the week after the 2008 election.] There is nothing to say that they couldn't do it, except the national parties; but the national parties' leverage is minimal.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | January 4, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and having read the responses to how to fix the primary system, I like Blarg's idea of 10 blocks of 5 states rotating. That solves the problem of NH, Iowa etc being too important (as they are right now) but still gives the smaller states a presence and the candidate will need to concentrate on all states and not just the big ones or the likes of NH and Iowa.

Posted by: Aussie view | January 4, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Gore 'lost':
I've heard this 'Gore lost Tennessee' argument before and still don't buy it. So what? Had Florida been a fair election and there had been no voter purge, butterfly ballots and voter intimidation then he would Florida and won enough other states to win the presidency. Tennessee is heavily republican. It's a shame he lost Tennessee, but has nothing to do with the fact that Bush stole the election from Gore.

Posted by: Aussie view | January 4, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Hillary may be electable, but I doubt it. This is not to say, lylepink, that I would not support her if she were the candidate, but i think she has left a bad taste in too many peoples' mouths, deservedly or not. one lesson i have taken from the election and reelection of someone i consider demonstrably the worst president in American history is that American voters, at least enough of them to make a difference, do NOT vote on an intellectual basis, but rather for the candidate they'd rather have a beer with. (remember that poll from 2000?) i am probably in the minority here in saying that Obama would be the strongest candidate for the good guys.

Posted by: meuphys | January 4, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Okay, Lylepink, we get it. You think Hillary can win and Obama can't. But you haven't explained your position, just repeated it. I've asked you to explain why you think she can win. Truth Hunter has pointed out the problem with her candidacy. ("Those who want to win the WH know that if Hillary gets the nomination the GOP won't even need a get-out-the-vote effort, the anti-Hillary turnout will be off the charts.") Now Robert says he wants an explanation too. And yet all you can offer is repeating your opinion that Hillary is the best candidate. Why do you refuse to discuss this?

Posted by: Blarg | January 4, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Robert: By skimming this thread you also by your posting missed a couple of very important points. You are referring to me by ""so and so"" " Explain".

I do state my opinion very clearly for anyone that will take the time to read it. As JustDaFaxMam pointed out in the previous post drindl was called to the carpet by some for an inaccurate post. I had a simular thing happen to me only yesterday by Blarg in that he/she continued to put in quotes things that I did not say and no one came to my defense or call Blarg to the carpet. Just to make it clear for you, IMO, Obama has a ZERO chance of being elected POTUS in 08 and Hillary with Warner as a running mate is the dems best chance of winning The White House in 08.

Posted by: lylepink | January 4, 2007 5:47 AM | Report abuse

Robert, by skimming the thread you missed drindl's outrageous attack on another Democrat named MidwestDem. A good number of other Democrats supported MidwestDem's attempt to keep some sanity in these posts. Drindl was called to the carpet for hurting the reputation of all Democrats with his/her penchant for posting misleading and often totally inaccurate information. He stated President Bush skipped President Ford's state funeral when in fact he was a primary speaker and on TV for all to see. Although if you read enough of drindl's posts you'll notice the truth isn't always an essential ingredient. If you don't agree with drindl the response is always immediate attack. He/she is the one who stifles any semblance of reasoned discussion, even with other Democrats. Some of us Democrats choose not to post outrageous rhetoric that reflects badly on all Democrats. Many of us do not want others to believe Democrats are rabid partisans like drindl who have no patience for courteous and thoughtful disagreement, even in our own party.

Posted by: JustDaFaxMam | January 3, 2007 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Just quickly skimming this thread, it seems many readers are very quick to make assertions with no effort to explain their reasoning. "[So and so] has 0 chance of winning." Explain. "[So and so] is our best candidate. Explain. Otherwise, what's the point of the stream of conciousness gibberish that sometimes pollutes these threads. I like drndl's contributions to the Fix blog. I haven't followed the current dispute. But I think she's a thoughtful, mainstream Democrat. I so hate it when other Democrats try to silence honest dissent. Since when did we start acting like Republicans.

Posted by: Robert* | January 3, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Nor'Easter - I'm not sure which analysis you mean. It depends on which criteria you select from their database. The ironic thing is if you select Gore's choice - recount just four counties - he loses. But if you select Bush's lawyer's criteria - two detatched corners - and apply it to all uncounted ballots it just puts Gore over. So, Gore would have lost had he got his way, but the truth is that more voters in Florida wanted Gore than Bush, even without considering ballot design issues.

I was at UofC when the study was finished. Papers reported the results in different ways, and used different criteria to draw the conclusions. The Chicago Tribune focussed on the irony that the two sides argued for the wrong things. Many papers focussed on the contested county recounts, which did show Bush winning.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | January 3, 2007 9:02 PM | Report abuse

I am not a seer but a hunch tells me that our next occupant of the White House will be Gov. Vilsak. Remember what Warhol said about a 15 minutes on the world stage and then "POUF". All the current front runners will have their hour of prominence and then disappear from the scene.

Posted by: gac12 | January 3, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

I am not a seer but a hunch tells me that our next occupant of the White House will be Gov. Vilsak. Remember what Warhol said about a 15 minutes on the world stage and then "POUF". All the current front runners will have their hour of prominence and then disappear from the scene.

Posted by: gac12 | January 3, 2007 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Franco - I think the Dems are in a position of strength so long as they heed the message sent by the voters. I think the election was more a repudiation of Bush than an affirmation of dem policies. I live in the DC area and I have to tell you we had some pretty contested races around here and I didn't here much in the constant onslaught of barrages about an agenda for america or this first 100 hour business. The message instead was "Do you hate george bush? We do too, vote for us" and it worked.

Having said that, I think the Dems are uniquely positioned to be longterm fixtures in power if they can deliver on their campaign promises and change the tone in Washington. That is change the sentiment from one of antagonist to one of reform and pragmatic solutions. Bury the partisanship and the resentment and move forward in a coalition building pragmatic manner and the country will embrace it and the dems. I do think they should follow through on their promises even though I don't think they were elected on them.

Remember, Bush is gone in two years and at some point simply hating him needs to be replaced with a real agenda.

Posted by: TG | January 3, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

What is wrong with being partisan? We have had an election. The Democrats won despite the incumbency of the Republicans by narrow margins but in a wide range of regions, sweeping New England and Ohio, and making deep inroads in the West. The minimum wage was on several state ballots and won every time (in Missouri it won by 72 percent). The Democratic party presented a limited but specific agenda on minimum wage, stem cell, reforming the Medicare drug benefit. They ran and won and should and could deliver. The GOP opposed and lost. Is bipartisanship even democratic? There are issues like Social Security reform where a joint response will have to crafted. The Democrats eventually will have to develop a response to Iraq other than having our troops effectively running laps in a minefield, the perfect metaphor for a policy that neither advances nor withdraws. We are training and arming the Iraqis to fight a civil war. It may not be our intent but it is the result. The vote for the Democrats was as much as a counterweight to Bush who is not a traditional or even rational conservative but someone whose incompetence and wishful thinking transcends ideology. Conflict for conflict's sake is not desired, but the Democrats used Bush's image extensively while Republicans avoided him in all their ads.
If the Democrats are to be "bipartisan" will the Republicans be "bipartisan" about what issues? Whether the Iraq Study Group was right or wrong it was at least bipartisan. Will the Republicans oppose popular measures like stem cell research and minimum wage increases or get out of the way of the people. These issues were debated to death for quite some time. What issues are the Republicans prepared to deal on?
Democrats are in a postion of strength. They should have the strength of will and principle to deliver what they ran on.

Posted by: Franco | January 3, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

This Florida 2000 discussion is ironic. Did you know that if 59,388 Ohioans switched from Bush to Kerry, 2004 would have been a repeat of 2000 but with Kerry being the next president and being the popular-vote loser. This time the vote difference would have been six times greater, as Kerry would have been sworn in despite receiving 3.3 million fewer votes than Bush, who received 543,895 votes fewer than Gore in 2000. What would the outcry be then? I'm guessing the Democrats would have been just fine with losing the popular vote by 3.3 million but winning the presidency. Funny how that works isn't it?

Posted by: JustDaFaxMam | January 3, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Blarg: Again you bring up things that are not being said. "Truth Hunter pointed out that Hillary is despised by a lot of Republicans, who would be willing to put up a lot of money and effort into fighting her." That is not what Truth Hunter said. Go back and read it again. Hillary is my favorite for 08 and Truth Hunter may have her favorite, but I am not clear if she has stated so as yet, although she did mention Biden in the post you referred to, I don't think she actually stated Biden was her favorite only that "Since he is a grown-up, so far he's the most attractive to me even though he doesn't show up on the "polls."

Posted by: lylepink | January 3, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I don't like to belabor the 2000 election, but what I saw posted above about the Florida vote count wasn't the way I remembered it.

"A very thourough recount of all of the ballots was conducted under tremendously cautious conditions by NORC (www.norc.org/fl/). The results are clear and not rationally disputable...since the difinitive record shows that the majority of voters in Florida did IN FACT intend to elect Gore."

I went to the NORC (National Opinion Research Center - University of Chicago) website. The county-by-county vote counts I found at that website show Bush beating Gore in Florida by 478 votes out of 5,825,484 cast.

I had remembered that the media participants in the project reported that Bush won by something like 600; but whether it's my memory or NORC's data, Bush still received more.

Did I miss something in the NORC data? It sure lokks like it could be used to rationally dispute the case for Gore in Florida.

BTW - I believe that the Supreme Court overstepped it's jurisdiction at that point in the process and should have returned the matter to the Florida courts; but that's a moot point.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | January 3, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

'Like I said, I think there are 10 Condi groups raising money and getting organized for the various states. '

Wonder if condi is a cylon? 'There are many copies... they have a plan'

Posted by: drindl | January 3, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Golgi: Huh?

Lylepink: People bring up criticisms of Hillary, and you seem to ignore them. Truth Hunter pointed out that Hillary is despised by a lot of Republicans, who would be willing to put a lot of money and effort into fighting her. The Republicans spent a lot of time firing up their base to hate Kerry in 2004; it would barely take them any effort with Hillary. Do you think that's a legitimate problem with her candidacy?

Posted by: Blarg | January 3, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Organelle? OK, but in my mind it was on a level with Blarg. (Hi Blarg)

Posted by: Golgi | January 3, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Aussie/Adam,

There is nothing in the Constitution which inherently prevents electoral reform from going forward. We know that the Constitution gives the states the power over elections, subject to Federal legislation. But in general the states can do what they want. It's just the Reps and Dems don't want to.

Aussie, the reason the electoral system doesn't change very much in the U.S. is because the Democrats already have a problem being viewed as too radical. Also any of the reforms which might do some good would be more damaging to the Democrats than to the GOP as they are a much less cohesive political party. A 3rd party would be more lethal to them.

And the GOP won't EVER push political reform because they're goal is to turn America into a 1 1/2 party system. That is, to be the only electable party by destroying political competition while still appearing to have a legitimate mandate, i.e. allowing a minority party to continue. Of course, 2006 definately put that dream farther off into the future. I however, thought they were very close to doing it last year.

I agree with Adam about the utility of the electoral college, but not exactly for the reasons he cites. The main reason I support it is because it the last vestige of the American system of Federalism and as long as it remains there is hope for restoring it again.

Getting rid of the electoral college in a country as large as the U.S. would only result in Presidential candidates campaigning alone in exactly the places where they fundraise: Los Angeles and New York. Alaskans and Rhode Islanders get no attention because they have so few votes and one party dominates them. Going to national elections wouldn't improve their condition. Californians and New Yorkers, after all, don't get much attention under the College either.

All of this comes down to one unmistakeable fact. We need to replace at least one and preferably BOTH of America's two major parties.

Posted by: Cavalier829 | January 3, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Truth Hunter: Good to see you back so I can agree/disagree with you and Hawkeye on my/your favorite candidate. My thoughts have been influenced by my working and learning about politics since 1948 from the "common" folk, not by listening to the crowd that try to twist almost everything anyone says to fit their own ageda. A sentence or a paragraph, even a couple of words, can be used. That it is being done is no suprise, but the suprise is how with all the information available just how many, and it appears to be a lot, can still be fooled by it??.

Posted by: lylepink | January 3, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Is there such a thing as irony-deafness?

Republican lawmakers held a press conference today to continue their push for a "Minority Bill of Rights" in the new Congress.

"The Minority Bill of Rights gives [Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA)] a chance to lead with integrity instead of rule by force," Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) said, ignoring the Republican-controlled 109th Congress' reputation for strong-arm tactics.

The Democrats haven't even taken power and the Republicans are whining already.

Posted by: LOL | January 3, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

A new nightmare for workers:

"Wal-Mart is moving towards widespread implementation of new employee scheduling software. Sounds innocent enough -- the software tracks customer habits over seven week periods, and reschedules workers for each one. Moreover, it also creates a range of daily possibilities, allowing Wal-Mart to schedule workers to be on-call during surges, or send them home during lulls, or implement a variety of other strategies to create a more flexible, adaptive, workforce. All sounds routine enough, right?

But pity the workforce. The new software will make advance scheduling and reliable paychecks a thing of the past. According to The Journal, "experts say [the program] can saddle workers with unpredictable schedules. In some cases, they may be asked to be "on call" to meet customer surges, or sent home because of a lull, resulting in less pay. The new systems also alert managers when a worker is approaching full-time status or overtime, which would require higher wages and benefits, so they can scale back that person's schedule...That means workers may not know when or if they will need a babysitter or whether they will work enough hours to pay that month's bills. Rather than work three eight-hour days, someone might now be plugged into six four-hour days, mornings one week and evenings the next."

Posted by: lark | January 3, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

A new nightmare for workers:

"Wal-Mart is moving towards widespread implementation of new employee scheduling software. Sounds innocent enough -- the software tracks customer habits over seven week periods, and reschedules workers for each one. Moreover, it also creates a range of daily possibilities, allowing Wal-Mart to schedule workers to be on-call during surges, or send them home during lulls, or implement a variety of other strategies to create a more flexible, adaptive, workforce. All sounds routine enough, right?

But pity the workforce. The new software will make advance scheduling and reliable paychecks a thing of the past. According to The Journal, "experts say [the program] can saddle workers with unpredictable schedules. In some cases, they may be asked to be "on call" to meet customer surges, or sent home because of a lull, resulting in less pay. The new systems also alert managers when a worker is approaching full-time status or overtime, which would require higher wages and benefits, so they can scale back that person's schedule...That means workers may not know when or if they will need a babysitter or whether they will work enough hours to pay that month's bills. Rather than work three eight-hour days, someone might now be plugged into six four-hour days, mornings one week and evenings the next."

Posted by: lark | January 3, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

' But I guess the Democrats expected Bush to drop everything and go to DC'

Well, of course not. Not when he was having such a good time cutting brush. If he couldn't stop cutting brush for Katrina victims, why would he for Gerald Ford?

Posted by: simi valley | January 3, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

' But I guess the Democrats expected Bush to drop everything and go to DC'

Well, of course not. Not when he was having such a good time cutting brush. If he couldn't stop cutting brush for Katrina victims, why would he for Gerald Ford?

Posted by: simi valley | January 3, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

What are their positions Chris?

You disappoint me.

If you are going to run completely vapid polling for '08, please at least do run the positions of the supposed candidates along side the pointless and worthless poll results.

BTW - Hillary is unelectable because she is a lawyer in a human's body.

Posted by: Long Beach, CA | January 3, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

While you are correct that Bush won the Electoral College in 2000, it was the weakest win possible - a technical win. There is no need to debate what happened in the 2000 election. A very thourough recount of all of the ballots was conducted under tremendously cautious conditions by NORC (www.norc.org/fl/). The results are clear and not rationally disputable.

If the method proposed by Bush's legal team (two corners detatched) was applied to all of the ballots, then Gore would have won. Gore got more votes in Florida. This is not debatable.

Bush won the 2000 election because elections can't take a year to decide, so the courts get involved, and a decision is reached. Bush won the election - the courts are part of the electoral process. That is also not debatable.

Al Gore and the rest of the Democrats were right to protest, since the difinitive record shows that the majority of voters in Florida did IN FACT intend to elect Gore.

The reason that this definitive report is not more widely known is that the results weren't determined until November of 2001, and our national grief made the result seem petty. Many papers never even covered it.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"Stand Up For Bush" - Your idiot, bad joke of a President is now calling for Congress to limit spending. After racking up the highest budget deficit in HISTORY, after tossing so many tax breaks to the gas bags that support him that the dollar is sinking like a rock and threatening to wreck the economy for years to come, now this dope calls for budgetary caution? Give us all a big break and simply admit that Bush is rthe worst President in history, the most incompetently dangerous fool, and needs to be removed from office before he wrecks the country.

Posted by: MikeB | January 3, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

"So now we will see what a female leader can accomplish when given the chance."

Pop quiz for you, Stand up:
a) Pelosi is President.
b) Bush's 'leadership' is relatively invisible next to Pelosi's abilities.
c) Our system of government now consists of only two branches, the legislative and the judicial.

Which these statements is true, (a), (b) or (c)? Heck, I'll even throw in "(d) All of the above" to give you more choices.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | January 3, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Adam,

You are dead on about the accessibility of the candidates in the early primary season. It will be interesting to see how HRC does in this process. I don't think she is terribly charismatic or a very good people person and her handlers usually do well to keep her away from the throngs. She is actually pretty sheltered in that way. Whether or not this matters anymore is an open question. I think it certainly does in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Also, as I think you correctly note, the gauntlet of the campaign serves the useful purpose of vetting the candidates. If it were a one shot deal, the candidate would not be tested and probed in a way that I think helps to weed out the pretenders.

My prediction is that there will ultimately be an electibility flight from HRC although maybe not on the Dated Dean/Married Kerry scale. When you dems read the posts about Newt Gingrich's candidacy and bristle, this is the same reaction HRC gets on the other side of the aisle. She too has a pretty long paper trail and it aint of being a moderate hawk. That is a recent incarnation.

Posted by: TG | January 3, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

It is amazing to continue to hear the bickering over the 2000 election. Gore lost his home state of Tennesee by over 100,000 votes. People, when a state rejects a candidate from their own state, there is no way you can spin it. Also, Gore lost every Southern state including Arkansas. Whether you like Bush or not, he won the electoral college. And if the election has been sent to the House, it would also have gone for Bush since he has the majority of seats in Congress. So for once and for all, can you please get over the 2000 election? You Democrats should spend your time and energy preparing for 2008. If you just bicker and whine like you did in 2004, you will end up with another loser like Gore and Kerry.

Posted by: Gore LOST | January 3, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Man, oh man. President Bush went to Washington DC to attend to the business of the nation and he was also at Statuary Hall with Laura to pay respect before attending the state funeral. But I guess the Democrats expected Bush to drop everything and go to DC. With the Democrats having to shoulder some of the burden of governing NOW, I can only hope that day after day is not spent on some sort of Pay back. Pelosi said the campaign was over and it was time to govern. So now we will see what a female leader can accomplish when given the chance.

Posted by: Stand up for Bush | January 3, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Man, oh man. President Bush went to Washington DC to attend to the business of the nation and he was also at Statuary Hall with Laura to pay respect before attending the state funeral on Wednesday. But I guess the Democrats expected Bush to drop everything and go to DC. With the Democrats having to shoulder some of the burden of governing NOW, I can only hope that day after day is not spent on some sort of Pay back. Pelosi said the campaign was over and it was time to govern. So now we will see what a female leader can accomplish when given the chance.

Posted by: Stand up for Bush | January 3, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Chris writes of Hillary's long absence from Iowa and New Hampshire: "It's likely that once Clinton announces her candidacy and begins to lavish attention on these states, her polling numbers will bounce up."

This presume voters are attracted to the new Super-Triangulating Hillary Clinton. As someone who once would have crawled over ground glass to see her President, many of us have soured. She has allied with Lieberman against violent video games while not calling out WalMart on its merchandising of the super-violent Left Behind obscenity. She is silent on the McCain Doctrine calling for more American troops into the meat grinder. She will not support Feingold's censure of the President for wiretapping without a FISA warrant.

The opposite may be true, Chris -- as New Isosceles Hillary, three-pointed on any issue, presents herself anew to Democratic caucus goers and primary voters, her previous support may in fact MELT AWAY. We'll see. Yours is an interesting assumption.

Posted by: TeddySanFran | January 3, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Hey! why the name Golgi? I have a strong interest in both the man and the organelle (not the nerve cluster so much). It is a rare word outside of Cell Biology. Just curious.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | January 3, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"Except I didn't get it wrong, adam. I quoted an AP article directly."

'Everything was in place for Gerald R. Ford's state funeral last night -- everything, that is, but the statesmen.

President Bush sent his regrets; he was cutting cedar and riding his bike on his ranch in Texas.'

Drindl, When you copy something with a relative date reference (e.g. "last night") you have to include the publication date or it is worthless. YOU GOT IT WRONG! Because there was a funeral that happened since the publishing of the outdated article that you quoted, your post was blatantly misleading. You made a stupid mistake that you should own up to rather than blasting other people. Reread your post. You were either a week out of date or purposely trying to mislead. The AP has CURRENT stories that mention Bush's presence at Ford's funeral.

Just try and do what Bush can't. Admit a mistake. I dare you. My expectation is that you'll attack me instead. That is what Karl Rove would do.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | January 3, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Thanks "usually votes Dem" and others for your supportive comments. Somebody gets it! Look at this page on Karen Carter, the Democrat in the runoff against Jefferson in Louisiana. http://house.louisiana.gov/H-Reps/members.asp?ID=93 What an incredible opportunity missed. Here's a charismatic, intelligent black woman with a law degree that could have represented Louisiana and the Democratic party in Congress. Instead we got William Jefferson who hid $90,000 in bribe money in his freezer. His election leaves me ice cold. We took back Wisconsin Congressional District #8 (Dr. Steve Kagan) with a reasoned, calm, professional campaign that won a lot of independents votes in a Republican district. drindl, over the top drives voters away, it doesn't attract them. My recipe for Democratic election success. A large helping of honesty, compassion, and intelligence sandwiched between two slices of common sense -- and hold the drindl please.

Posted by: MidwestDem | January 3, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Fox winger news has raised it to the next level. Drindls are now so knee-jerk paranoid of Fox wingers that they "see" Fox wingers everywhere, even where they are not.

Masterful evil. Fox wingers, I hate you but you still seem to have the upper hand, damn you.

Drindl, take a critical thinking course. You are smart already, but everyone always has room to learn new skills.

I am NOT a Fox winger, because a Fox winger would want you to avoid acquiring additional critical thinking skills. They want to keep you paranoid so you will keep attacking mainstream Democrats.

Posted by: Golgi | January 3, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

HawkeyeVoter (10:44am).... I totally agree. Not only is Hillary not the pick of Iowa Dem mover-doers, neither is Vilsack. Vilsack didn't support our new gov elect Culver in the primaries so don't expect the Dem hierarchy to support him.

Those who want to win the WH know that if Hillary gets the nomination the GOP won't even need a get-out-the-vote effort, the anti-Hillary turnout will be off the charts.

Biden has a good Iraq plan and wants to secure the borders and get tough on illegal immigration. Since he is a grown-up, so far he's the most attractive to me even though he doesn't show up on the "polls."

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | January 3, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Midwest Dem, this is to you and only to you. Forget drindl, forget post about concern trolls, not that you were giving much thought to them anyway. I personally thank you for your attitude toward the Democratic party in your district. Keep up the good work. Thanks.

Posted by: usually votes Dem | January 3, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Blarg: "You said the media's smearing of Obama proves he can't win." Again you are making up things I did not say. What I did say was the media will keep in play the flavor of the week, todays special and so on. The Barak Obama "todays special" was indeed created by the media and that is fact. Folks love gossip [Rosie and The Donald] and for the most part only gives us something to yak about. How many times do I have to state that I firmly think and believe Barak Obama has ZERO chance of being elected POTUS in 08. I have given many reasons why, IMO, that Hillary will be the next elected POTUS and if my memory serves me correctly I am the only one on this forum that has been a consistant supporter of Hillary.

Posted by: lylepink | January 3, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Aussie:

I'm not sure what I think about the primaries these days. I don't like NH, IA and SC having the influence they do, but I also see some potential problems with a national primary. We're such a big, diverse country, that I'd worry a nationwide primary day would simply encourage candidates to visit New York, LA, Chicago (places they could maximize their coverage) and ignore everything in between.

The one charm to our current primary system is that presidential candidates are unbelievably accessible during those first few primaries. They see the country as it is, and get told how it is by average Americans. I think that grounds a candidate running for president. It forces them to do some time with the people, and the hope is that they retain some of what they've seen if and when they enter an office so far removed from the public.

I'd go back to the 60s primary schedule. As it is now, by mid-February we pretty much know who the candidate will be. The primaries are mostly crammed in a 5 week span, then the general election lasts 9+ months. I'd much rather see the primaries spaced from say January to August, so that the candidates visit many different states, and many states get to have a say in the nominating process. It's really the media that places so much influence on NH and IA, given that they have so few delegates. If it were several months until CA, NY and FL, candidates wouldn't be so prone to drop out after a poor showing in NH or IA.

Posted by: adam | January 3, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I see a lot of R 'concern trolls' today...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Except I didn't get it wrong, adam. I quoted an AP article directly.

The party affiliation matters in the sense that ths guy is repeating the exact same talking points as the wingers -- 'Dems better be bipartisan, go along with republicans' -- they lost, so they have to try to get their policies enacted by telling us we better be nice now -- or else.

I don't mind 'bipartisanship' but not when it's 'date rape' you know what I'm sayin'? We can't allow them to block everything we wan tto accomplish through this tactic, which the media is happily picking up for them.

They will try to get Social Security privatized, more corporate giveaways and everything else they still want by repeating this mantra of 'bipartisanship'. Watch it, it's already happending.

Posted by: drindl | January 3, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Rabid, emotional devotion to any single political party is frightening. It certainly tends to frighten away swing voters so Midwest Dem is very savvy to be giving local drindls the boot.

I bet Midwest Dem's district has been getting more strongly Democrat over the years. Good job Midwest Dem.

Posted by: usually votes Dem | January 3, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Drindl,

It's good to know that we can depend on you for determining who is a D and who is a R. I guess if they agree with you they are a true blue D and if they disagree with you they are a partisan R. When I hear Rush I realize that I have D roots; however, when you post I realize I also have R roots as well. You may have good intentions but your over the top comments turn many centralists off.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

drindl,

Just apologize for getting it wrong. You are allowed to make mistakes. Admit that you flame sometimes, it is not a big deal. MidwestDem's party affiliation doesn't actually matter in this case.

And both of you stop arguing about who is the better Democrat!

Posted by: Adam Hammond | January 3, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

MidwestDem - If you're a Democratic organizer then KOZ is the King Of France! drindl is a mainstream Democrat, representative of how *most* Democrats think and speak, and I live in liberal Oregon. No one here would dream of giving a moderate like drindl "the boot". You sound very much like one of the GOP dogs that troll through here periodically.

Posted by: MikeB | January 3, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

'drindl, I've been organizing local Democratic campaigns for 35 years and have kicked many "drindls" off our staffs for their 'frightening partisanship.'

'frghtening partisanship'? You really have a strange attitude toward the most loyal democrats. You must be one of those DCC types who don't actually like democrates. Strangely, the dozens of democrats I've worked for over the years [both paid and volunteer] have never been less than gracious and grateful for the work I have done for them.

You'll find if you purge the most dedicated people from your party, you won't be winning many elections.

I still don't beleive you're a Dem, either.

Posted by: drindl | January 3, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't be any worse than what happened in 2000.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

As I understand the history of the electoral college, it was to allow congress to choose the president. Many at the constitutional congress were not so keen on truly allowing the commoners to choose. That is why senators weren't elected and why they installed the college. If no one candidate wins half the college votes, the House of Reps gets to pick from the top three by simple majority (clause 3 of Sec. 1 of Article II). It was assumed that, after Washington, no one candidate could get national support. The college would be divided between regional candidates, so usually the choice is thrown to the House.

Could you imagine what would happen in such an event today? We would have the impetus to update the system, I suspect.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | January 3, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Aussie,

The chaotic nature of the primaries is actually an implication of another federal constitutional provision, which allows the states to control the selection of presidential electors. And the amendment process in the U.S. constitution basically lets 1/4 of the states block any changes.

Accordingly, while only a small number of states may specifically benefit from the odd timing of the primaries, a larger number of them may perceive one sort of benefit or another in maintaining state control of elections. And again, it only takes 1/4 (currently 13) states to block any amendment.

Posted by: DTM | January 3, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

drindl, I've been organizing local Democratic campaigns for 35 years and have kicked many "drindls" off our staffs for their frightening partisanship. President Bush did not attend all five days of funerals, but he attended and spoke at the official state funeral on Tuesday as millions saw on TV. Have you ever not attended a viewing but gone to the official funeral? God, what an awful person you must be. Super partisans like you have no place in our Democratic Party. You, and those like you cause much of the rancor and discord in America today. Jefferson received 57% of the votes, against another Democrat. Maybe you don't know them, but obviously Democrats do support him. Those of us who care about the Democratic party will continue to try and get the Jeffersons and drindls out of our party as that type of behavior and rabid rhetoric hurt the real Democrats trying to heal this country.

Posted by: MidwestDem | January 3, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I think in the electoral college talk we should realize that the system itself is an inherent part of our checks and balances. We are not a democracy but a constitutional republic. Mob rule is not a smart form of government. We shouldn't simply be governed by the passions of the populace where 51% can rule over 49%. Intead, we have a system which is designed to reflect and preserve the ethics upon which the republic was built.

Abolishing the electoral college would serve to abolish a politician ever even going to Iowa or Montana or Nevada or Maine or Vermont etc. Because those states and their people and their votes would be irrelevant in the grand scheme.

Also, a pure popular vote election might cause a system whereby a third party candidate would eliminate the possibility that anyone obtained a majority of the votes. Then, you don't even have your majority elected president but even worse, pluralism. Look at 2000. Al Gore "won" the popular vote right? However, he did not receive a majority of the votes. Instead, Gore got rougly 48.38% of the votes to Bush's 47.87 with Nader at 2.74%

Also, drindl, ha ha on Pat Robertson. What he probably also went on to say is that only the "saved" souls will survive the oncoming onslaught. Apocalyptic prophesies are part and parcel of his brand of Christianity.

Posted by: TG | January 3, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Lylepink, I know that you think Obama can't win, and that Hillary is the best candidate. I know it because you say it all the time. My point is that you'll point to any evidence as proof, whether or not that makes any sense. You said that the media's smearing of Obama shows he can't win, but the negative push polling against Hillary shows that she can. Why? Both candidates are being attacked; how does that prove that one candidate is strong and the other is weak?

Aussie, the problem with 50-state primaries is that primary candidates don't generally have much money. New Hampshire is an easy state to campaign in because it's small and has a low population. So a long-shot candidate can campaign there, gather grassroots support, and then get more national support based on a good performance in the primary. If primaries were held in all states at once, the primary campaign would take as much money as the general election.

I think a smaller reform could fix the primary system. Maybe the primaries could be in 10 blocks of 5 states each, and the states would rotate. A few states have too much power right now. I'd also love to see the primaries use some kind of voting that isn't winner-take-all, like ranking the candidates by preference. But I don't think it's likely for any of these changes to occur; the current system has a lot of momentum.

Posted by: Blarg | January 3, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

The wide spectrum of national polls shows the people are also looking at Madam Secretary Condi Rice as a contender for 2008. Some polls do not include her, like American Research, and it only shows the race is wide-open. Iowa and New Hampshire voters have a WHOLE YEAR to watch all the Republians listed in the American Research, Gallup, Pew, Quinnipiac, and Rasmussen.

There is also a new group setting up to promote Condi for president. Their website is Thinkcondi.net and even has PayPal for donations. So I will be interested in which Republican events this new group will attend and how much support they get in Iowa and New Hampshire. It seems most groups have a Tshirt and other campaign items for Condi 2008, so we shall see what happens with ThinkCondi.net

As your trusty Condi watcher, you can bet I will be in to report on the efforts of any Condi for president group. Like I said, I think there are 10 Condi groups raising money and getting organized for the various states. It is newsworthy.

Posted by: Tina | January 3, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I'd say this airport worker thing is yet another of the major unamerican defects of privatization. When you privatize a government function, the contractor is going to go straight for the bottom -- the cheapest worker -- in order to maximize their profits.

And who will the cheapest worker be? An illegal immigrant. That's quite a significant security risk at our airports, isn't it? And did you know that Dubai, which runs a number of our ports, is one of the most notorious hirers of illegal immigrant labor?

That's who we have running this country's security, folks -- foreign countries who hire illegal immigrants. This is what you republicans and your love for 'privatization' have brought us to. Why not just call it for what it is -- the foxes guarding the henhouse?

Posted by: drindl | January 3, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I just read a late breaking news item. Five men were arrested for the theft of that luggage in Texas today. They worked for a national private firm that contracts with airports to handle luggage. All were illegal (a.k.a "undocumented") workers. They had stolen more than 160 pieces of luggage and had looted them for valuables. After this they dumped them in a dumpster behind a pet store. They were, evidently, a part of a nation wide gang of illegals that steals luggage at airports.....just another reason to round up and deport all illegals.

Posted by: MikeB | January 3, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse


I believe this was drindl's reference. Referring to the Saturday night funeral, not Tuesday's Federal Holiday. So, no need to excommunicate him yet.

Posted by: jaa3 | January 3, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

lylepink - Now you're doing it! I really believe that Obama "could" win. It would be difficult, given the degree of racism in this country and his too liberal stance on many issues, but he could win given two more years of Bush mismanagement.

Aussie - Our primary system and the electoral college appear to be getting mixed up in the posts here. The elctoral college was originally designed to minimize the impact of population differences between states. In those days, however, U.S. Senators were elected by the state representatives, not by popular vote. As such, I think the electoral college has outlived its usefulness. Our primary system, is entirely a different matter. It is utter pure American chaos and, as such, is one of the things that is wonderful about this country. It makes for really expensive elections and lengthy elections, but we get a good opportunity to understand/know the candidates. The occational Bush will sneak through, by running a campaign that can consistantly hide his real nature from the voters (and the press can take a lot of the blame for Bush becasue they knew about him and didn't report it). Overall, though, it work pretty well.

Posted by: MikeB | January 3, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Blarg: You should read what I do say not whar you think I say. Just today I said Barak Obama had no chance in 08. I have made that statement before as having a ZERO chance of being elected POTUS in 08. What I have said and will continue to say, IMO, Hillary has the best chance for the dems to win in 08 should she decide to make the run. The addition of Warner as her running mate makes the dems more likely to retake The White House. This has been my position for a long time and as time passes and events unfold it only makes me more convinced that Hillary will be the next elected POTUS.

Posted by: lylepink | January 3, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Fair point DTM. But for example, can't you let the people decide on the electoral college through a referendum?
And maybe I'm missing something but i can't see the incentive for anyone in power to block an initiative such as changing the primary system so all 50 states vote on the same day. I would imagine only the residents and politicians from the four early states would really object, but that leaves 46 other states who probably believe that the primary system is unfair.

Posted by: Aussie view | January 3, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

'WASHINGTON (AP) - Less pomp, more circumstance.

Gerald Ford's state funeral is missing some of grandeur of the one for Ronald Reagan two years ago, a reflection of the 38th president's modest ways and lesser imprint on the country, according to further planning details released Thursday.

Part of it will be missing President George W. Bush, too. The president will not attend Ford's state funeral in the Rotunda on Saturday night, but will return to Washington from his Texas ranch on Monday, pay respects to Ford while his remains lie in state at the Capitol, and speak Tuesday at services for Ford at the National Cathedral.'

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/061228/world/ford_funeral_1

I really hate being called a liar -- by a LIAR. You are no Dem -- you give yourself away by that stupid canard about Jefferson. He is a crook and I don't know ANY Dems who support him.

You repug trolls just lie for the sake of lying, like your party.

Posted by: drindl | January 3, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Aussie,

I think there is little doubt that if the United States was sitting down to write a scheme for federal elections with a blank slate, what it would come up with might look quite different from what we have now.

But for good or ill, that probably isn't going to happen (although some in the U.S. have called for a constitutional convention precisely for this sort of purpose). And part of the reason why this probably isn't going to happen is that any such radical changes would have the effect of shifting power from some who currently have more of it to some who currently have less of it, and the former naturally are using the power that they currently have to block such changes.

Posted by: DTM | January 3, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

'A radio talk-show entertainer whose earlier statements that he "may" have to assassinate members of Congress if the wrong people were elected Nov. 7 now has set a timetable for those killings.

In a statement on his website, Hal Turner noted that a newspaper has reported that a bill granting amnesty to illegal aliens is expected to be enacted in January, when the Democratic Party takes control of the U.S. Senate and House.

"ANY MEMBER OF CONGRESS WHO INTRODUCES, CO-SPONSORS OR VOTES IN FAVOR OF ANY SUCH AMNESTY WILL BE DECLARED A DOMESTIC ENEMY AND WILL BE CONSIDERED A LEGITIMATE TARGET FOR ASSASSINATION," Turner posted on his website.

"Members of Congress and the Senate will NOT be permitted to BETRAY our nation by simply GIVING AWAY the most cherished aspect of America, Citizenship, to millions of people who cared so little for what Citizenship means that they came here against our law," he continued.

Several weeks ago, Turner incited much discussion when he posted the following:

"We may have to ASSASSINATE some of the people you elect on Nov. 7! This could be your LAST ELECTION CHANCE, to save this Republic...

"Sorry to have to be so blunt, but the country is in mortal danger from our present government and our liberty is already near dead because of this government. If you are too stupid to turn things around with your vote, there are people out here like me who are willing to turn things around with guns, force and violence. We hope our method does not become necessary," he wrote.'

Wonder if that includes the President?

http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53245

Posted by: The Third Reich rises again... | January 3, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

MidwestDem = "FormerDem" = "Reformed Liberal" = "Reformed Dem" = etc, etc = A Big Fat Liar

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | January 3, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

'However, the beauty of our system is that the two parties absorb any of the good third party ideas.'

Not true any more, adam. The 'ideas' of the Republican party have, since the reagan years, come from 'think tanks' and foundations funded and controlled by transnational corporations.

Think about their platform --
•tax cuts for billionaires [and please don't anyone tell me everyone got a tax cut because I have watched my taxes go up for 6 straight years]
•tax cuts for transnational corporations
•tax incentives for outsourcing
•tax incentives for moving overseas
•tax incentives for downsizing
•tax incentives for merging
•deregulation/no overisght of food processing, drug manufacture, water and air pollution, energy price gouging, hiring of illegals

Everything the republican party does is geared to people who by and large, are not even American citizens. They have undermined public health and safety, systematically bled jobs out of our country, assisted the collapse of the manufacturing sector, and allowed insurance companies to dictate [and profit mightily from] public health policy.

Republicans have sold your country to the highest bidders... and many of them are our enemies. What do you call that--treason, perhaps?

Posted by: lark | January 3, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

My Democratic roots go back to when I stuffed McGovern pamphlets under the door at the college dorms. I voted for Jimmy Carter, twice. But I really wish the likes of drindl would not associate themselves with the Democratic Party. Posting total fabrications completely erases all of drindl's credibility and hurts the reputation of all Democrats. Saying President Bush didn't attend President Ford's state funeral is a blatant lie. He was one of the main speakers along with his father and was on national television for Drindl and anyone else to see. Drindl and Congressman Jefferson of Louisiana should start their own party with the $100,000 bribe Jefferson took. Call it the "Say Anything Party" (SAP). Why let the truth get in the way? Please find another party to be part of, drindl (and Congressman Jefferson).

Posted by: MidwestDem | January 3, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Bush's First 100 Hours versus a D-controlled Congress

Veto One: to protect the link between lobbyists and legislation.
Veto Two: ignore the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Veto Three: eliminate any increase in the minimum wage.
Veto Four: prevent the government from negotiating directly with the pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices for Medicare patients.
Veto Five: eliminate stem cell research financed with federal funds.

With this we can now "focus on the future," specifically November '08: with the above as their legacy, the R's lose the presidential election AND even MORE seats in the House and the Senate.

Any questions?

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | January 3, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

mikepcft, a runoff for president can be avoided by preferential voting. Adam, I understand what you're saying but with preferential voting fringe parties actually have less influence in deciding elections against the will of the voters, like Nader taking votes off Gore and even Perot taking votes off Bush 41 and Dole. It could even happen in this election if the Christian right decide that someone like Guiliani is too liberal, pretty much handing the election to the Democrats - i think that's wrong if that's allowed to happen (even though I'd be more than happy for a Dem to win). Still I agree i can't see pref voting being introducted anytime soon (or ever)in the states.

Adam I'm interested in your view on the primaries - can you see any reason why all 50 states can't have their primary on the same day? Why should NH, Iowa, Nevada and SC be so important?

I definitely agree whoever gets the most votes should win the presidency. Any positives to the electoral college (struggling to think of any except for exciting election nights, can someone help me out?) are far outweighed by negatives, and there are many:
1) Candidates concentrate on swing states and completely ignore safer states, even big ones like CA, NY and TX.

2) Especially in the case of a president hoping to be elected for a second term, swing states will be favoured ahead of safe states in terms of policy - see George W's tariff treatment of Pennsylvanian and Ohio steel workers and tightening the Cuban trade embargo to keep Cuban-Floridian voters happy - all big swing states. Such cynical politics would be far less effective in a winner takes all system.

3) Depressed voter turnout

4) Election of a president not reflecting the will of the voters

Posted by: Aussie view | January 3, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Happy New Year everyone, especially to all the regulars.

It is still very early in the presidential race. There always seems to be a surprise candidate who does far better than anyone expects. Gary Hart in '84, Pat Robertson in '88, Paul Tsongas in '92. Now these candidates rarely win the nomination, Jimmy Carter was the exception and that was 30 years ago.

I also have to agree with the comments about the need for a centrist party. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans adequately represent my views. I tend to support the opposition to whichever party has angered me the most lately. That has been the Republicans for the last several years and my posts pre-election certainly refltected that. I voted for John Anderson in '80 and Ross Perot in '92 (that was a protest because I was angry at both Clinton and Bush I for ignoring the deficit). I am suspicious of the Democrats on many economic issues because I am afraid they could seriously retard economic growth if some of their positions are adopted. Someone mentioned raising the minimum wage to $8.00 per hour for example. The standard argument in favor of that revolves around the working poor trying to support a family on that wage. However, most studies show that family breadwinners are a distinct minority among minimum wage workers. Most are young people starting out or part time workers. If the goal is to provide a more livable income for working poor families - do it through tax credits or a negative income tax or a rebate of payroll taxes. Paying a 16 year old flipping burgers $8.00 an hour is ridiculous. I personally know small business owners in Washington state, which has the highest minimum wage in the country, who have not been hiring at the levels they did before the higher minimum wage. They are getting by with fewer employees. Furthermore, the higher the cost of labor the more cost effective it becomes for business to invest in labor saving devices that allows them to function with fewer employees. When the minimum wage has been raised in the general range of what the market is paying, there are minimal impacts on hiring levels. But raising it well beyond the going rate results in fewer entry level jobs.

I am also concerned about the protectionist tinge of some Democratic policies. While I would support labor and environmental safeguards in trade agreements and making shipping US jobs overseas more difficult, I think some of the Democrats are pushing proposals that would seriously damage our export oriented businesses, raise consumer costs significantly and discourage foreign investment in the US - which is financing our deficit. The combination of significantly pushing up labor cost through an artificially high minimum wage, reducing lower cost imports and less foreign investment in the US would produce stagflation - inflation plus a stagnant economy plus higher unemployment. Interest rates would have to be raised to continue to finance the deficit, this would increase investment costs, increase the cost of consumer debt, and damage the auto industry and home sales. The increased cost of consumer debt combined with even a modest burst of the housing bubble could drastically increase bankruptcies. It would certainly reduce the consumer spending that propels so much of our economy. Add to this mix, the retirement of the baby boomers starting in 2011 and the fiscal nightmare we would face given the deficits, couple it with a stagnant economy which would mean lower Social Security tax revenue to finance vastly increased Social Security and Medicare expenditures. We would have to seriously cut benefits, raise taxes or introduce means testing - probably a combination of these. While I think the Bush tax cuts went too far, you can kill the goose that lays the golden egg by raising taxes too much. I have seen psoters make comparisons to some of the Western European welfare states. Remember that they have fairly stagnant economic growth and stable to declining populations. We have a growing population and require a certain level of economic growth simply to maintain living standards at current levels, let alone improve them.

I could go on, but I have to get some actual work accomplished today.

Posted by: JimD in FL | January 3, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"President Bush on Wednesday asked the Democrat-controlled Congress to give the White House line-item veto power to control spending.

As he prepares to deal with an opposition Congress for the first time, Bush is also asking lawmakers to extend tax cuts.

"We've got to make sure we spend the people's money wisely," the president said in a Rose Garden statement.

And the White House and Congress need to "keep this economy growing by making tax relief permanent," Bush said.

The president made the same points in an opinion column published in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal.

The line-item veto would allow the president to cut specific spending from legislation without vetoing the entire bill.

In the opinion piece, Bush warned that the Democrat-controlled Congress risks stalemate if it resorts to "politics as usual" and tries to "pass bills that are simply political statements."

"It's time to set aside politics and focus on the future," he said in the Rose Garden statement. "I'm hopeful that Republicans and Democrats can find common ground to serve our folks, to do our jobs, to be constructive for our country."

LOL LOL LOL --'we've got to spend the people's money wisely'.. omigod, I'm gasping for breath, my sides hurts, tears are rolling down my cheeks...

ISN'T THAT THE FUNNIEST THING YOU EVER HEARD -- I MEAN, BESIDES TELLING MILITARY FAMILIES TO EXPECT MORE 'SACRIFICE'?

The man is a laff riot.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"Brooks said that Nancy will be judged by how much she gets done in the next two years --- if there are fewer uninsured children or we are still toiling away in Iraq, she will have a lot to answer for."

Isn't it astnishing what the so-called 'librul media' comes up with? That the repugs have been in power for what is it, 12 years? And yet they are being held accountable for exactly nothing, but Democrats now have 2 years to get EVERYTHING the public wants accomplished?

Are there any 'journalists' left with a brain? {I mean besides Keith Olberhamm and Thomas Ricks].

Why is it the MSM ALWAYS allows the GOP to come in and trash the place, without making a whimper, then demands that Democrats come in and clean up the mess?

Posted by: drindl | January 3, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Although I agree it is way too early to tell anything about Iowa, which is nearly impossible to poll reliably anyway, I think Iowa could end up being a crucial bellweather.

In particular, I think failing to win in Iowa would obviously break Vilsack. Just a bit less obviously, I think it could break Edwards as well (unless Vilsack wins), because in that case he would have failed to improve on his fortunes in 2004.

Conversely, winning Iowa convincingly could put someone like Clinton or Obama into the early consensus position, although I think Clinton would benefit a bit more (Obama might be taken to have too much of a neighborly advantage, ala Gephardt and Simon in 1988).

Finally, a strong showing in Iowa by someone like Clark or Richardson could seriously elevate their chances, particularly if someone like Clinton does not win convincingly.

So, despite Iowa being very difficuly to poll reliably, I'm probably going to be unable to resist following Iowa polls with great interest.

Posted by: DTM | January 3, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Aussie - changing to preferential voting would require radical change in our Constitution and I just don't see it happening. We're a two party system and always will be. However, the beauty of our system is that the two parties absorb any of the good third party ideas. Whereas in a parliamentary system the new ideas come from the new parties, in our system, the new ideas come from within an existing party. The existing party adapts, changes and moves forward. It actually sometimes takes politics out of government, and places it with the people.

It's the same deal with the primaries. And really, the primaries usually don't end up giving us radical candidates, but usually moderates. It's really only been over the last 30 years that the primaries actually dictated the candidates, and Reagan in 80 and Bush in 04 were really the only times that non-moderates got their party's nomination. (By 84, Reagan was more moderate and in 00 Bush presented himself as a moderate.)

Finally, Chris, a request. Now that Guiliani is likely a major party candidate, can you stop the "Hizzoner" thing? It looks biased, as if you are giving a friendly nickname to your favored candidate.

Posted by: adam | January 3, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"Brooks said that Nancy will be judged by how much she gets done in the next two years --- if there are fewer uninsured children or we are still toiling away in Iraq, she will have a lot to answer for. He doesn't hold out much hope, of course, because she is super-partisan. And Shields offered that Nancy could save Bush's presidency."

It is truly astonishing that anyone can assign full responsibility for Iraq to the Dems. Hello, it's Bush's War, is there anybody home inside your numb skull? It is interesting that, in typical unthinking fashion, the R's who say it is now Pelosi's problem are tacitly admitting that Bush is a godawful President who has neither the intellect nor the power to solve the problem himself.

Shields might be partly right about Pelosi; while Bush's presidency cannot be 'saved' any more than Nixon's could if Pelosi forces Bush to get us out of Iraq before '08 the R's would certainly see an X-point bounce in their polling numbers. While the punditocracy is desperately trying to hang Bush's three-year old stupidity on Pelosi I've no doubt the public knows where the real guilt lies.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | January 3, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Lylepink, it seems you'll use practically anything to "prove" that Hillary is the best candidate. The other day, you said that the disagreements between Edwards supporters and Obama supporters proves that only Hillary can win. Now you're saying that the media insulting Obama is evidence he can't win. But the push polls against Hillary are evidence that the Republicans are afraid of her. You seem to be taking similar situations and drawing completely opposite conclusions from them.

Terry Mitchell, I completely agree with you. The polls so far are about name recognition and a vague idea of a candidate's personality. The candidates haven't explained their positions on the issues yet. Most of them haven't even announced their candidacy. These polls are far too premature to put any stock into.

Posted by: Blarg | January 3, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Gingrich has a paper trail longer than the Great Wall of China. He will be destroyed by his adversaries.

http://intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | January 3, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm in Iowa. I know a LOT of Democratic political heavywieghts. Not one...NOT ONE of them wants Hillary. Why? Not really sure, but I suppose a lot of it has to do with not wanting to get blown out in '08.

Her fall from the heavens will be spectacular. Stay tuned.

Posted by: HawkeyeVoter | January 3, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

drindl: Your comment about Wolf Blitzer in his reporting is another example of how the media keeps the "todays special" in play. I'll say again Barak Obama has no chance in 08 and most folk know this. The media will use any means available to futher gossip that they know the majority of folks love. These early polls don't show much more than name reconization but there is in them this hidden thing about Hillary that none are reporting. A couple of friends told me recently they have been hearing of push-polling being used against Hillary to drive her negatives up, which is not suprising.

Posted by: lylepink | January 3, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

pdoggie -- it WOULD be nice if Chris were to acknowledge how the background of events influences the politics, instead of pretending that it all exists in some sort of DC vaccum. I mean DC IS a vacuum/bubble -- but the rest of the country isn't.

Posted by: lark | January 3, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I just noticed that last Terry Mitchell post was back on topic. I wonder if the posters are trying to get CC to start talking about the truly important political issues of the day.

Posted by: Pdoggie | January 3, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Polls at this early point are indicative only of name recognition. It happens during every election cycle (presidential or otherwise) -- the candidates with the most name recognition lead in the early polls, regardless of where they stand on the issues.

Early polls also tend to be inconsistent. Didn't Edwards have a 20-point lead in a recent Iowa poll? Wasn't Hillary in third place in another Iowa poll?

Let's wait and see what the polls look like this time next year.

http://commenterry.blogs.com

Posted by: Terry Mitchell | January 3, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Republicans "have taken every one of the techniques that Democrats employed when they were in the majority, and ratcheted them up to another level," said Norman J. Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the moderate-to-conservative American Enterprise Institute. "Republicans are now at a point where, reveling in the power they have, they are using techniques to jam bills through even when they don't have to . . . simply because they can."

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Watching tonight's Newshour I was struck by how important both Shields and Brooks believe it is that Nancy Pelosi puts a stop to all the insane partisanship. The rancor in Washington really has gotten out of hand and people are sick of it --- especially, it would appear, the Republicans who just can't take another minute of this horrible lack of collegiality. (Those nasty Dems must be the problem, because I don't recall all this handwringing punditude over Tom DeLay and Denny Hastert.)

Brooks said that Nancy will be judged by how much she gets done in the next two years --- if there are fewer uninsured children or we are still toiling away in Iraq, she will have a lot to answer for. He doesn't hold out much hope, of course, because she is super-partisan. And Shields offered that Nancy could save Bush's presidency.

It seems that the DC courtiers have been so moved by all the blather they've been dribbling about Jerry Ford's magnificently brave decision to pardon the man who put him office that they are convinced the biggest problem the country faces is the possibility that the Democrats might not let the Republicans date-rape them again.

But then, isn't that always the way with privileged frat cats?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

'Digby warns that the Stepford Press is going all-out to tell each other how important it is that Nancy Pelosi rein in the partisanship in Washington. Every time a pundit says something like this, a little bell should go off in your head that says, "I must ask this person immediately how Pelosi is supposed to stop the Republicans from being so viscously partisan."

It wouldn't hurt to start reminding people that "what is partisan" and "what is good for the country" are two different issues, and it is the latter that matters. If the Republicans oppose programs that are good for the country, the Democrats have no choice but to appear "partisan" - because this isn't about being a Democrat, it's about being an American.

So when the Republicans oppose raising the minimum wage to $8.00 an hour, that's partisan - and supporting a raise in the minimum wage is not. When the Republicans want to sneak giveaways to businesses into bills, they are being partisan. When Republicans oppose making it easier for Americans to buy prescription drugs at lower prices, that's partisan. When Republicans turned the Medicare drug benefit into a giveaway for pharmaceutical houses, that was partisan, and if they oppose Democrats' attempts to amend the benefit bill to lower costs, that will be partisan, too.

Most Americans now realize that Bush and Cheney lied and broke the law so they could invade Iraq, and it is increasingly obvious that war profiteering and ideological insanity have put America in serious trouble, both economically and diplomatically. Americans want the administration to be held to account for this - there is majority support for investigations and even for impeachment if investigations prove what is already evident. To oppose thorough investigations and possible impeachment hearings is partisan.

Paul Waldman warns the Democrats not to wimp out when the media tries to put them on the defensive with all this phony talk about "partisanship" - it's up to the Republicans to show they can be bipartisan if they think that's so important. For the rest of us, our rights, or economic security, and the good opinion of mankind to keep us safe from international hatred are what really matters to the health of the United States and its people.

Movement conservatism has been making war on Democrats and on America for more than three decades, and they have been effective in making the media accept this as a rational idea. Democrats need to fight back against that meme, and if Republicans don't like it, they are being partisan. No one should be afraid to say so.

You can love America or you can love the conservative movement, but you can't love both - so as long as Republicans want to tie themselves to neocon economics and theocratic rule, they are being anti-American, and partisan.'

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

'Everything was in place for Gerald R. Ford's state funeral last night -- everything, that is, but the statesmen.

President Bush sent his regrets; he was cutting cedar and riding his bike on his ranch in Texas.'

Is this guy 5 years old? He can't go to a president's funeral because he's riding his trike -- I mean, bike? Can you imagine any other president in history doing this? Yet we accept it because for the last 6 years the country has been on a continuous dumbing-down loop. We accept things that we would have found unbelievable in previous times.

By the way, rove stole both the ranch idea and the 'cutting brush' from the Reagan archetype, who in turn stole it from I believe, Teddy Roosevelt. Of course, reagan could actually ride a horse, whereas bush can barely keep from falling off a golf cart:

'That day, sleeping on and off, Reagan wrote more notes -- "Will I be able to ride my horses again? Will I be able to cut brush?"

Posted by: drindl | January 3, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

'Everything was in place for Gerald R. Ford's state funeral last night -- everything, that is, but the statesmen.

President Bush sent his regrets; he was cutting cedar and riding his bike on his ranch in Texas.'

Is this guy 5 years old? He can't go to a president's funeral because he's riding his trike -- I mean, bike? Can you imagine any other president in history doing this? Yet we accept it because for the last 6 years the country has been on a continuous dumbing-down loop. We accept things that we would have found unbelievable in previous times.

By the way, rove stole both the ranch idea and the 'cutting brush' from the Reagan archetype, who in turn stole it from I believe, Teddy Roosevelt. Of course, reagan could actually ride a horse, whereas bush can barely keep from falling off a golf cart:

'That day, sleeping on and off, Reagan wrote more notes -- "Will I be able to ride my horses again? Will I be able to cut brush?"

Posted by: drindl | January 3, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

mikepcft--

While I agree with you and Aussie [and I do have trouble with the electoral college, I belive whoever wins the most votes should win--one citizen, one vote] I'm not sure what the word 'centrist' means. Diffierent things to different people. To a lot of people it means 'triangulator' who stands for nothing.

I mentioned this yesterday. Sorry, but knowing the deliberative way these graphics are produced [lots of people involved] I have a hard time beleiving this was an accident. It's just been happening all over the place. Rather, it is a clear subliminal strategy. Associate Obama with Osama in people's minds, over and over and over again:

'Wolf Blitzer plans to apologize to Barack Obama, according to Raw Story:

"Blitzer apologized during coverage of the Gerald Ford funeral.

'I just want to make a correction, an apology, Soledad, for what we did yesterday. In "The Situation Room," we had a bad graphic,' Blitzer said in a transcript delivered to RAW STORY by CNN's public relations staff. 'We were doing a piece on the hunt for Osama Bin Laden in this new year 2007. Unfortunately, instead of saying "where is Osama," it said "where is Obama." I'm going to be calling Senator Barack Obama to make a personal apology.'"

Posted by: drindl | January 3, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

There are not many undecided voters just because all the names are famous this time. Usually the primaries are a field of "who's that."

In this situation there will be lots of changing around from people who called themselves "decided" before. The campaign staffs must all realize that.

These early polls are like going to the doctor and getting a full physical when you are young and healthy just so you can put some "baseline" numbers into your file for when the medical action starts getting rough later. Prudent behavior to collect the numbers yes, but it's not very exciting news.

Posted by: Golgi | January 3, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

'[I]n the run-up to the election, oil companies cut gasoline prices 500 percent more than their raw material cost fell.

The source? Department of Energy data.

Oil companies simply took less profit from their refineries for a short period of time. Could it have been to influence a political outcome?

Well, right after election day, the price of gas suddenly rose after two months of sharp decline. Post-election, refineries have slowed down, inventories are shrinking, and gas prices are climbing.'

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Aussie, you had some interesting insights on American politics. I agree that the current primary system gives us candidates too far to the extreme. I dont know any way to fix that under the current system, because any system for choosing a candidate from either party will give us someone on the right or the left. I believe Americans would want someone more from the middle.

It is starting to make me reconsider my support of the electoral college system (yes, I'm one of the only people who like it). I always supported it because by having a "winner take all" in each state, it keeps fringe parties from having too much influence. I dont want a case where we have 5 candidates all getting 20% of the vote. I dont want a runoff for President or have some coalition government with 3 parties holding power.

But as the two main parties represent my views less and less, I am starting to believe that maybe we need more parties to more accurately reflect the views of the voters. Maybe the US would be better with a Right party, a Left party and a Centrist party? But I think this might only happen if the Electoral College goes away? I guess I have rambled a little too much.

Posted by: Mikepcfl | January 3, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

'If you were seeking one sterling example of the overwhelming pettiness, the sheer cruelty, the staggering ignorance, and the absolute dedication to erasing everything good that America ever stood for found in the black heart of the current administration, you need look no further than the case of Jose Padilla.

Padilla, you will recall, is the 31-year-old American citizen arrested by the Bush administration for meeting with top officials of Al Qaeda, I mean for plotting to explode a radioactive 'dirty' bomb, make that scheming to blow up some apartment houses, hold on it's threatening Russian troops in Chechyna, yeah that's the ticket. The farcical legal charges alone -- constantly changed as the administration has shuffled Padilla along, inventing one new loophole after another in their effort to defeat any court supervision -- has caused more than one judge to explode in anger.

Then we learned that Padilla had been held in such extreme isolation that it had led to mental problems. Padilla's conditions included being held with no contact but his interrogators for two years. No windows in his cell, not even into the hallway. No reference to day or night, with lights left on for many days, followed by equal times of absolute darkness. Sleep deprivation. And let's not forget stress positions -- which anyone with the least bit of functional morality recognizes as simply torture.

So you may have thought that the height of Neocon reasoning was expressed by the administration's argument that Padilla, having been driven insane by their treatment, couldn't testify about that treatment because he was... insane.

Padilla's lawyers contend that as a result of his isolation and interrogation, their client is so mentally damaged that he is unable to assist in his own defense. He is so passive and fearful now, they maintain, that he is "like a piece of furniture." ... There is no indication that Padilla is faking it, Hegarty says. To the contrary, Padilla denies that he has any problems and tends to identify with the government's interests more than his own.

After being subjected to the absolute control of government agents night and day for years (though by now, night and day have no meaning to Padilla), he's developed a form of "Stockholm Syndrome" in which he attempts to save what little remains of himself by identifying with those who have held and abused him for so long.

And still, that's not the worst of it. This is the worst of it.

Indeed, there are even some within the government who think it might be best if Padilla were declared incompetent and sent to a psychiatric prison facility. As one high-ranking official put it, "the objective of the government always has been to incapacitate this person."

Not only has an American citizen been tortured into insanity, the right is happy about this. In driving this man mad, they feel that they've reached their goal.

And if that doesn't make all of us at least a little insane, then what they've done to the country is worse than what they've done to Padilla.'

Posted by: constitution? what constitution? | January 3, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse


"If in your presence an individual tried to sacrifice an American serviceman or woman, would you intervene?

Would you at least protest?

What if he had already sacrificed 3,003 of them?

What if he had already sacrificed 3,003 of them -- and was then to announce his intention to sacrifice hundreds, maybe thousands, more?

This is where we stand tonight with the BBC report of President Bush's "new Iraq strategy" and his impending speech to the nation, which it quotes a senior American official, will be about troop increases and "sacrifice."

The President has delayed, dawdled, and deferred for the month since the release of the Iraq Study Group.

He has seemingly heard out everybody... and listened to none of them.

If the BBC is right -- and we can only pray it is not -- he has settled on the only solution all the true experts agree, cannot possibly work: more American personnel in Iraq, not as trainers for Iraqi troops, but as part of some flabby plan for "sacrifice."

Sacrifice!

More American servicemen and women will have their lives risked.

More American servicemen and women will have their lives ended.

More American families will have to bear the unbearable, and rationalize the unforgivable -- "sacrifice" -- sacrifice now, sacrifice tomorrow, sacrifice forever.

And more Americans -- more even than the two-thirds who already believe we need fewer troops in Iraq, not more -- will have to conclude the President does not have any idea what he's doing - and that other Americans will have to die for that reason.

It must now be branded as propaganda -- for even the President cannot truly feel that very many people still believe him to be competent in this area, let alone "the decider."

But from our impeccable reporter at the Pentagon, Jim Miklaszewski, tonight comes confirmation of something called "surge and accelerate" -- as many as 20-thousand additional troops -- for "political purposes"...

Posted by: when does it become murder? | January 3, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

"The piece also makes clear the White House's latest PR spin on Iraq: Blame Casey. The top U.S. commander in Iraq is about to become the latest fall guy for the administration's Iraq debacle. So we hear that "as Baghdad spun further out of control," the president "grew concerned that General Casey, among others, had become more fixated on withdrawal than victory." A member of the reality-based community in their midst! A cut-and-runner in Army fatigues! Indeed, we learn that many American field commanders in Iraq "were surprised by General Casey's continued advocacy of withdrawals."

According to the Times, during a discussion in August "President Bush asked General Casey whether he had sufficient troops to secure Baghdad; the general assured him that he did." I guess that lets the president off the Iraq hook, huh? Cancel those hearings, Senator Biden -- mystery solved!

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the story is the president's continued refusal to look at Iraq with anything other than rose-colored glasses.

"What I want to hear from you is how we're going to win, not how we're going to leave," the Times quotes Bush as warning his military commanders during a recent classified briefing at the Pentagon. I guess that's what the president meant when he claimed "I believe that you empower your generals to make the decisions..."

Forget reality, President Bush is all about victory even if, as the Times puts it, "his own advisers differ about how to define it."

Posted by: spin spin spin | January 3, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

As an Australian, i've always been very curious about this strange thing in American politics called primaries. Do you really think there's any place for them these days? It's obvious that on the whole the American electorate wants a fairly moderate president, however it's hard to win a primary by being too centrist. So you either end up with the wrong candidate, or flip floppers who say one thing to win a primary and need to take a different stance to win the general election.

If you must have primaries, why not have all 50 states on the same day? It's ridiculous that the early states, some quite small like New Hampshire and Iowa, have such a big influence on who becomes POTUS.

While I'm at it, has the US ever thought about introducing preferential voting?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preferential_voting

That way you would avoid the problems that a third party candidate brings - ie. electoral fraud from the republicans aside, Gore should have won the 2000 election against Bush and would have done so as surely the Naderites would have put him ahead of Bush if there was a preferential voting system.

It would also eliminate the need for runoffs, as preferential voting is like an instant runoff.

Ok glad I've got that off my chest, I also find the electoral college outdated but I'll save that for another day!

Having said all this, I do love American politics and whilst I find things like primaries and the electoral college slightly odd and outdated, they make the process for choosing a president far more exciting.

Interesting to see how few undecideds there are amongst these early voters. I guess that makes it harder for a candidate to come from nowhere like (Bill) Clinton or Carter did. But we're a long way out from the first primary so plenty can happen along the way.

Posted by: Aussie view | January 3, 2007 8:19 AM | Report abuse

God also spoke to me recently. She told me Newt Gingrich was a neanderthal and a blowhard and that if America voted for him for president she would destroy us before Newt could.

Posted by: nerdoff | January 3, 2007 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Just a sidenote, but the recent Research 2000 polls create a pretty different picture, particularly on the Democratic side in Iowa. As always, there is a good discussion of this at pollster.com.

By the way, I have repeatedly sensed that Chris is pulling for Edwards, which is fine of course. But I think the bottomline for Edwards is that he needs to make a move against Clinton sometime relatively soon, because unlike some of the other contenders, he can't claim he is being held back by a lack of familiarity at this point.

Posted by: DTM | January 3, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

I still can't see how McCain or Clinton can win the primary given how much their own bases hates them..

Oh look, I had no idea God was such a policy wonk:

'Evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson said Tuesday that God has told him that a terrorist attack on the United States would cause a "mass killing" late in 2007.

"I'm not necessarily saying it's going to be nuclear," he said during his news-and-talk television show "The 700 Club" on the Christian Broadcasting Network.

"The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that."

Robertson said God told him about the impending tragedy during a recent prayer retreat.

God also said, he claims, that major cities and possibly millions of people will be affected by the attack, which should take place sometime after September.

Robertson suggested in January 2006 that God punished then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with a stroke for ceding Israeli-controlled land to the Palestinians.

In 2005, Robertson predicted that Bush would have victory after victory in his second term. He said Social Security reform proposals would be approved and Bush would nominate conservative judges to federal courts.'

I wonder what God has to say about the Alternative Minimum Tax?

Posted by: drindl | January 3, 2007 7:52 AM | Report abuse

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