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Friday Senate Line: Dems Remain Strong

For the last few months, The Fix has been, well, fixated on the presidential race.

But, with Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) having all but sewn up the Republican nomination, and Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) settling into a protracted state-by-state delegate battle on the Democratic side, the time has come to start paying more attention (again) to the battle for control of the House and Senate.

So, starting today we return to our weekly Line rotation -- looking at Senate, House and governors races as well as the vice presidential positioning.

This week we tackle the Senate, which remains very fertile territory for Democrats. Of the 10 races on this week's Line just one features a Democratic incumbent. The other nine are a mix of Republican-held open seats and vulnerable Republican incumbents.

Given the number of targets and the vast fundraising disparity between the two sides, Democrats are well positioned to pick up -- at a minimum -- two seats this fall with the real possibility of five (or more) if things break their way.

The Line is meant as a conversation starter not a conversation ender. So, feel free to use the comments section to offer your own thoughts on our ratings or, if you're feeling particularly energetic, write a Line of your own.

Line Highlights

  • Moving On: Kentucky
  • Moving Off: Mississippi
  • Moving Up: Colorado, Minnesota
  • Moving Down: Louisiana

To the Line!

10. Kentucky: The last-minute decision by wealthy businessman Bruce Lunsford (D) to jump into the race against Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) returns the Bluegrass State race to the Line. We are well aware of Lunsford's weaknesses as a candidate -- he has lost Democratic gubernatorial primaries in 2003 and 2007 -- but his deep pockets and willingness to spend from his personal fortune make him a force to be reckoned with. Lunsford still must find a way to win what will likely be a competitive Democratic primary, but in this race, unlike is his past governor's bids, he will likely have the support of state and national Democrats. McConnell, his party's leader in the Senate, is -- without question -- the most cold-blooded (and effective) campaigner up for re-election in November. Beating him is an extremely tough task but Kentucky has shown a willingness to vote for Democrats in statewide contests of late and Democrats from across the country relish the idea of making life uncomfortable for him over the next nine months. (Previous ranking: N/A)

9. Alaska: Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) insists he hasn't made up his mind about whether or not to challenge Sen. Ted Stevens (R), but all signs point to the fact that he is going to run. If he does, this race will likely move up the Line. Stevens has struggled to get out from under the Veco cloud and the $208,000 he raised in the final quarter of 2007 won't quiet the nerves of Republican strategists. If Stevens stands for re-election, and he has insisted he will, this could be the Democratic dark horse race of 2008. (Previous ranking: 9)

8. Oregon: National Democrats keep touting state House Speaker Jeff Merkley as an all-star candidate and yet there continues to be little evidence of his potential prowess. Merkley's fundraising in the final three months of 2007 was solid -- $563,000 raised, $516,000 in the bank -- but not overwhelming. And, attorney Steve Novick continues to raise enough money to ensure he will run a serious primary campaign against Merkley. Sen. Gordon Smith (R) is clearly vulnerable as he sits in an increasingly Democratic state in what seems to be shaping up as a good Democratic year. But Merkley hasn't impressed -- yet. (Previous ranking: 8)

7. Maine: This race will eventually be interesting but it's not yet. Both Sen. Susan Collins (R) and Rep. Tom Allen (D) are doing what they need to do at the moment -- raise money. Collins raked in $963,000 between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, while Allen raised a very respectable $813,000 of his own. Collins has a cash-on-hand edge, although not a huge one -- $3.9 million to $2.5 million.

6. Louisiana: Sen. Mary Landrieu remains the lone Democratic incumbent on the Line. Landrieu has never won a Senate race with more than 52 percent of the vote, sits in a state that is trending toward Republicans, and has had a spate of bad press of late over an earmark for a company controlled by several contributors to her 2002 Senate campaign. But, while national Republicans rave about her likely challenger -- State Treasurer John Kennedy -- we've yet to see anything particularly impressive about his candidacy. Kennedy raised just $500,000 in the final quarter of 2007, less than half of the $1.2 million Landrieu collected. And, at the end of 2007, Landrieu had more than $4 million in the bank as compared to just $472,000 for Kennedy. Given the National Republican Senatorial Committee's fundraising problems, it's hard to see them making up the difference. (Previous ranking: 4)

5. Minnesota: Many months ago, we wrote a piece about whether the candidacy of comedian/entertainer Al Franken is a nightmare or a dream for Senate Democrats. At the moment, it appears it is the latter. He continues to raise huge amounts of money -- nearly $2 million over the final three months of 2007 -- and draws rave reviews for the grassroots operation he is building. And, in a recent independent poll Franken had a solid edge over attorney, and 2000 Senate candidate, Mike Ciresi (D) and even carried a narrow margin over Sen. Norm Coleman (R). Coleman is one of the savviest incumbents in the Senate and won't go easily or quietly. But, Franken is off to a very strong start. (Previous ranking: 6)

4. Colorado: Fundraising reports at the close of 2007 spelled trouble for Republicans hoping to hold this open seat being vacated by Sen. Wayne Allard (R). Rep. Mark Udall, the odds-on Democratic nominee, raised $1.1 million and ended the year with $3.6 million in the bank. Former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R), on the other hand, brought in just $674,000 and trailed Udall by more than $2 million in cash on hand. As the presidential race has shown, money isn't everything in politics. But, Colorado has moved toward Democrats in the last several elections and the national political environment should give Udall some wind at his back. Schaffer has never been a particularly strong fundraiser and needs to pick it up quickly to have a serious chance. (Previous ranking: 5)

3. New Hampshire: Former governor Jeanne Shaheen (D) had a very solid final fundraising quarter, bringing in more than $1 million -- roughly $400,000 more than Sen. John Sununu (R) collected in that same time frame. Republicans are quick to point out that despite the dire predictions made about Sununu's political future, an American Research Group poll in December showed him with an 11 point lead. But, when cast against the backdrop of all the other survey data out there on this race, the ARG survey looks like an outlier. (Previous ranking: 3)

2. New Mexico: Democrats have -- smartly -- unified behind Rep. Tom Udall (Mark Udall's cousin) in this open seat race to replace Sen. Pete Domenici (R), who will retire at the end of his current term. Republicans haven't been so lucky with Reps. Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce headed for what promises to be one of the most competitive primaries in the country later this year. The Club For Growth, a money machine, has endorsed Pearce, but Wilson will still likely outraise her congressional colleague. Whoever wins the Republican nod faces a very tough test in November. Udall is well known and well liked statewide; a recent independent poll put him more than 20 points ahead of either Wilson or Pearce.

1. Virginia: We're running out of ways to say that former governor Mark Warner (D) is all-but-certain to win this open seat -- and it's only February! Warner, the most popular politician in the Commonwealth, raised more than $2.7 million in the last three months of 2007; former governor Jim Gilmore, the likely Republican nominee, collected $348,000 in that same time period. Uh oh. State Del. Bob Marshall, an arch conservative, is challenging Gilmore for the Republican nod but isn't given much of a chance. (Previous ranking: 1)

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 8, 2008; 1:33 PM ET
Categories:  The Line  
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Next: Prediction Time: La., Wash., Neb.


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Posted by: jospdzn wamxnuisc | April 16, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

to the person who said that the Mondale - Hart race in 1980 was determined by super delegates - you are wrong. Hart was out by the time the convention rolled around - a victim of a sex scandal. You have your history confused.

To the person who thinks Ct has a democratic governor - think again She is a republican

Posted by: sean1966 | February 12, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Dems will pick up 2 states.
Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona (McCain's vacancy). They will lose Louisiana and Connecticut. The latter when Ct. Governor appoints Republican Senator to replace Lieberman when he joins MCCains cabinet. New Senate will be 52-47-1. Even with Republican house retirements do not be surprised if house turns red by slim margin. What the media is missing - is just how much McCain will coat tail moderate and conservative republicans. you can't see it now because of republican infighting but it will be very clear once Hillary steals the nomination and disenfranchises (there's that word from teh Florida panhandle!) African Americans and newbie voters.

Posted by: sean1966 | February 12, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

It is surprising and disappointing that North Carolina is not on this list. Sen. Elizabeth Dole's approval rating according to a January 22, Public Policy Polling poll is at:

Approve: 44%
Disapprove: 33%
Not Sure: 23%

Much worse than Gordon Smith who is at:

Approve: 50%
Disapprove: 38%
Not Sure: 13%

or Norm Coleman who is at:

Approve: 53%
Disapprove: 39%
Not Sure: 8%

both according to Survey USA. Dole has two challengers who, while both still quite far behind her, are in positions to truly threaten Dole once the nominee is decided. Additionally, there is a tiny, minute, nearly non-existent (but I can dream can't I?) chance that John Edwards might enter the race at which point Dole might as well begin packing now.

Posted by: jlwolff | February 11, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

In the (unlikely) case that McCain wins the presidency, what happens to his Senate seat? Does the current governor (currently a Democrat, right?) appoint his successor? So that would be basically an automatic additional pickup for the Dems?

I can see a scenario (unlikely, granted) where the Dems have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and a large majority in the House, with a Repub in the White House. Could set up a nasty stalemete where McCain is forced to continually veto bills that the Dems can't quite override.

Posted by: soptholt | February 9, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Even though the OR Democratic primary is contested, I'm confident that Merkley will emerge from it in a strong position to defeat Gordon Smith in the general election. Merkley's been a great leader in the Oregon House, and he's well-positioned to put his legislative record up against that of Gordon Smith.

Posted by: greivel | February 9, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Why Not Both?

Posted by: skhyle | February 9, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

"1) MI and likely FL will hold caucuses between now and early June to seat about half of the delegates that were originally appointed to them."

That seems to be what the DNC wants, but so far Democratic leaders in my state of Florida are resisting this. Of course, they are mostly all supporting Hillary Clinton and it would be to her advantage to seat the delegation as is.

Posted by: jimd52 | February 9, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

why we need new thinking, not a third bush term:

'WASHINGTON -- A new generation of "very battle-hardened" young Islamic militants is destabilizing nuclear-armed Pakistan, and the country's U.S.-backed military is nowhere near ready to conduct major operations against it, senior American intelligence officials said Friday.

The militants have expanded their violent campaign from Pakistan's ungoverned tribal areas to "Pakistan proper" and they killed more people last year than they did in all the years from 2001 to 2006 combined, said the officials, speaking in testimony to Congress and in interviews.

The officials also acknowledged that al Qaida, which cooperates with the homegrown Pakistani militants and with the Taliban, who're battling Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government, is planning more attacks on the West in the haven it's re-established along the Afghan-Pakistani border.

The assessments raise new questions about the wisdom of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq before American-led forces had defeated al Qaida in Afghanistan. Speaking Friday in Germany, Defense Secretary Robert Gates also conceded that European nations critical of the Bush administration's policy in Iraq are reluctant to support its efforts to secure Afghanistan.

Pakistan's government is newly aware of the threats, but despite billions of dollars in U.S. aid, its army remains unable to conduct the sophisticated counter-insurgency campaign that Washington wants, the officials said.'

Posted by: drindl | February 9, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

fyi--for those who respect Colin Powell:

"WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican who served under President Bush, said Friday he may not back the GOP presidential nominee in November, telling CNN that "I am keeping my options open at the moment."

"I have voted for members of both parties in the course of my adult life," Powell, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "And as I said earlier, I will vote for the candidate I think can do the best job for America, whether that candidate is a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent."

Powell also offered praise for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, calling him an "exciting person on the political stage.

"He has energized a lot of people in America," said Powell, who briefly weighed his own run for the White House in the mid-1990s. "He has energized a lot of people around the world. And so I think he is worth listening to and seeing what he stands for."

Powell, who has largely steered clear of politics since leaving the administration in 2004, noted that the next president will need to work to restore America's standing in the world.

"I will ultimately vote for the person I believe brings to the American people the kind of vision the American people want to see for the next four years," he said. "A vision that reaches out to the rest of the world, that starts to restore confidence in America, that starts to restore favorable ratings to America. Frankly, we've lost a lot in recent years."'08/

Posted by: drindl | February 9, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

'Vice President Cheney signed on to a brief filed by a majority of Congress yesterday that urged the Supreme Court to uphold a ruling that the District of Columbia's handgun ban is unconstitutional, breaking with his own administration's official position.'

this man has clearly gone insane.

Posted by: drindl | February 9, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

For you east coast types - Austin released its homicide stats for 2007. 30 total in a City of 740k. The largest category of motive was "personal insult, revenge". The majority of homicides were not by "gun" but were by brute force or knife.

I looked in vain for a stat on IAs, either as victims or as perps.

Graphics at

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 9, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Good to see AlanInMissoula back. Thanks for the comment, Alan.

bsimon, JD, and Jim - yesterday at a non-working lunch outside at Scholz's Biergarten a local hospital administrator detailed the history of how the Austin Hospital District nearly went broke providing emergency services for multiple counties in a huge region, until it worked out a multi-county deal several years ago.

I had raised my suggestion of tying "single payer" to the hospital district acting in a coop venture with the new pharmacy storefront clinics - Walmart had announced Thursday night that it was going into the storefront clinic biz. The administrator said that Austin would go broke all over again if it were the only district in 70 mi in every direction participating. He said the idea might work for statewide single payer,'though.

Just an update in my lonely citizen's fight to "defederalize" this issue while recognizing that the issue exists. Grin.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 9, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

hey bsimon, don't hold back, tell us what you really think

Posted by: JD | February 9, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe someone brought up Baucus. He won his last election here with more than 60 percent of the vote. By what warp of imagination does he belong on a vulnerable list. Racicot was a popular governor eight years ago. But 1. He left Montana for D.C. and 2. the centerpiece of his administration, the utility deregulation, resulted in the death of the the state's home-grown utility with a sucessor that is in receiver ship. Racicot touted lower power cost as the supposed result of the deregulation. But the fact is deregulation caused energy prices to soar.

Challenging Baucus is a losing proposition for every Republican out there. That's why no Republican is running save Mike "profanity-laced tirade" Lange, who was ousted as his party's House leader. Lange has raised all of $10,000, so he's really going gang busters.

Posted by: AlaninMissoula | February 9, 2008 3:14 AM | Report abuse

More than likely, what will happen on the Democratic side is this:

1) MI and likely FL will hold caucuses between now and early June to seat about half of the delegates that were originally appointed to them.

2) Someone will have about a 100-200 delegate advantage coming out of the primaries.

The DNC will not risk alienating supporters from either the Obama or Clinton side. Step one will be to attempt to broker a deal between the two sides, maybe a Clinton/Obama ticket, maybe offering Clinton Senate Majority Leader. It depends on who is in the lead. I don't expect that Clinton would accept the VP slot, nor do I think that the voters would buy into it. No matter what, the DNC will probably try to honor the voter's decision and lean towards the pledged delegate leader at the top of the ticket.

Either way, there will be a nominee in place well before the convention, probably no later than June 3, which is the last day of primaries.

Posted by: cam8 | February 9, 2008 12:15 AM | Report abuse

bsimon: Well, well , at least a broken clock is accurate twice a day.

Posted by: lylepink | February 8, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

"the system, on both sides, is incredibly silly and undemocratic."

Well, if you guys want to get technical, the whole two-party system sucks. The Repubs are arrogant, selfish, short-sighted fools who don't understand the long-term impact of their polices, and the Dems are condescending, mommy-knows-best, let-me-kiss-the-boo-boo-and-sue-the-neighbor-so-that-never-happens-again panty waists. The only ones that are worth voting for are the ones that concede that not every idea coming from the other side is a bad one, but anytime such a politician shows up they get demonized as sell-outs, unprincipled, or worse. None of them seem to give much of a damn about what happens to our country. Fools, the lot of them - as are the partisan nitwits that repeatedly send the same failures back into office to fight the same battles over and over and over again, only postponing the real problems - or creating more new ones than they solve.

Oh, boo-friggen-hoo, the superdelegates don't make sense. Its not like the rank-and-file are doing a bang-up-job of nominating appealing candidates either.

Posted by: bsimon | February 8, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

While the DSCC has outraised the NRSCC, the RNC has vastly outraised the DNC. Couldn't this RNC advantage mitigate the NRSCC lagging in fundraising and recruitment?

Posted by: john.wallin | February 8, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Before anyone starts falling in love with al franken cilliza should point out that the recent poll that puts him ahead of coleman was skewed with over half the sample taken of registered democrat and only one third republicans. Point is this poll seems to be an outlier in comparison to every other poll puts coleman ahead.

Posted by: walken101 | February 8, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

"After the Surge in Iraq: Women: 'There is only fear and horror.'
By: John Amato @ 3:01 PM - PST Another heartbreaking story from Iraq. I know McCain doesn't care about civilian deaths in Iraq, but he should:

The images in the Basra police file are nauseating: Page after page of women killed in brutal fashion -- some strangled to death, their faces disfigured; others beheaded. All bear signs of torture.

The women are killed, police say, because they failed to wear a headscarf or because they ignored other "rules" that secretive fundamentalist groups want to enforce.

"Fear, fear is always there," says 30-year-old Safana, an artist and university professor. "We don't know who to be afraid of. Maybe it's a friend or a student you teach. There is no break, no security. I don't know who to be afraid of."


After the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Sawsan says, the situation was "the best." But now, she says, it's "the worst."

"We thought there would be freedom and democracy and women would have their rights. But all the things we were promised have not come true. There is only fear and horror."...

Look zouk the surge is working

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 8, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Clinton has put herslef in a bad position. I don't pity her. Some do. many women do.

I don;t pity people for facing the consequences of their actions. Do we pity theives and criminals when we send them to jail, no. Why should we pity clinton, or any politican for that matter, for them having to face consequences for their actions.

Where were the clintons when bush and the gop were destroying america? They were the democcratic establishment with the power of the opposition leadership. Where were they when we needed them? right behind those destroying our country. Not only did they profit financially from it, now (like rudy) they are trying to capitalize politically.

Works with gop and old ladies democrats. We see if the gop dittohead games work on real america

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 8, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Yes. Bizarre to both the super delegates thang and winner takes all.

Now that McCain is the nominee, the democrats should beat campaign/election reform to death.

Posted by: cdavidj | February 8, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

The old rules new longer apply jim. A nice foot note. But the old rules do not apply this year.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 8, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

The super-delegates determined the nomination in 1984 - neither Mondale nor Hart had a majority coming out of the primaries, but the super-delegates went overhwhelmingly for Mondale. It looks like that will be the case this year. I don't think one candidate will have an overwhelming lock on them this time. As I've said before, if Clinton keeps losing head to head polls versus McCain and Obama keeps winning them, I would expect most of the super-delegates to go for Obama. Also, I think the red and purple state super-delegates would be very aware of the impact Hillary Clinton would have on down-ticket Democrats in their states.

Posted by: jimd52 | February 8, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

'One of the superdlelgates being none other than ....Bill Clinton'

uck, I didn't know that. yeah, have to agree, that's pretty icky.

Posted by: claudialong | February 8, 2008 06:19 PM

Wouldn't Obama and Hillary Clinton be super-delegates by virtue of being Democratic Senators?

Posted by: jimd52 | February 8, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

'One of the superdlelgates being none other than ....Bill Clinton'

uck, I didn't know that. yeah, have to agree, that's pretty icky.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

'proud- the superdelegates thing is odd. But then, the GOP winner-takes-all-even-with-32%-of-the-vote is a bit odd too. Perhaps claiming membership in either party is a bit silly??'

have to agree with you there... the system, on both sides, is incredibly silly and undemocratic. we really should move into the 20th century and have a federally mandated standard for elections, plus elimination of the electoral college and one person, one vote.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

"With the cross party sabotage.

Without, that is

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 8, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

the caucus and primary methods are relatively young in American politics. It was not long ago when deals were made in smoky back rooms.

time to quote Santayana here.

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 8, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

wHAT DIFFERANCE DOES IT MAKE TO YOU PROUD. What, not happy with your candidate?

If obama is winning the delegates would not be so bold to elect clinton. And vice versa. They are who and what they are, after all. They will not make this about them. If the do their is a great risk/reward. If that happens the democratic party follows the gop to oblivion. What comes out of that I'm not sure. But if your scared of small change, you should be terrified about both parties going by-by.

Choose wisely gop. Be careful what you ask for. You might get it. Clinton should run as the republcain nominee, she is backed by them anyway (fox old ladies northern mexican gang). Obama gets the democratic nom, and we do this the democratic way, like the founders intended. With the cross party sabotage.

Make no mistake, the cards have already been played, if you people do not know. If Obama is not the nom, fine. We got more of the same for four years. Bush (in essance)

During that time a new parties form. And none of them are compromising. So for all you stuborn old people out there. Think about the future. compromise. The cost of not is going to be enormous for all of us. Stop sabotaging the country gop. Please compromise. Stop acting liking elementary school kids for decades on end

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 8, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I have not been hitting the tequila but I find myself agreeing with drindl. MSNBC has gone so far off the deep end, they have emerged as a total joke. Proud cites another incident with Chris Mathews. these guys are so absorbed with their own personalities, they can't see straight any more. It began when they promoted Krazy Keith to head of the news department instead of cancelling him, which was the other option they were considering. did they flip a coin? fire him or promote him, heads or tails?

Imagine - Krazy Keith considered newsy and worthy of respect and everyone's boss. that's like putting Anne coulter or Rush in charge of objectivity or trusting Rosy to guard the twinkies.

so you see the fish has rotted from the head down. the ratings, likewise are dismal, reflecting the general nausea inflicted by those boobs.

For all the disrespect that fox news gets, they are honest and respectful and offer two points of view. MSNBC only offers its own megalomania and only interviews the most radical of talkers. and they make the hosts look rational - I see a pattern forming.

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 8, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, IMHO it's more than odd, it's just plain effed up. They can't even tell for certain how many delegates each candidate has! What a ridiculous system. It seems designed to give more power to the higher ups in the party and less to the average voter.

At the convention, what will happen when everything is still contested? They'll all magically come together and start singing kumbaya?

At least with winner-take-all, the process is shortened and the party can unify around one candidate, or at least start to before the convention. For all their wishful thinking, the MSM had better get it through their thick heads that we will be united to defeat the Dem in the fall.

Chris Matthews' pathetic squealing about Rush et al wanting the Rs to lose because having a D as POTUS makes their ratings go up is not only a disgusting, treasonous thought, it is Un-American and I reject the notion unequivocally.

ps.s (Hey, anybody know what happened to Mike Gravel? Isn't he still in the race?)

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 8, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

claudia, I said the term was inappropriate. The point was not.

proud- the superdelegates thing is odd. But then, the GOP winner-takes-all-even-with-32%-of-the-vote is a bit odd too. Perhaps claiming membership in either party is a bit silly??


Posted by: bsimon | February 8, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse


Also, what do you know that causes you to take Virginia totally off the list. Are you seriously claiming that Gilmore will defeat Warner?

Posted by: jimd52 | February 8, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

bsimon writes "Chelsea is not subjected to media interviews, but is being used by the campaign to work the superdelegates and/or potential endorsees to support her mother."

One of the superdlelgates being none other than ....Bill Clinton. Doesn't it seem a little, oh I don't know, WRONG, to have the former president, potential first-gentleman now using all of his influence on the campaign trail and behind the scenes to broker power and votes for his co-president/wife?

This whole superdelegate thing is a little strange to me. It reeks of the good-old-boy network that the Ds rail against, and they don't have to vote according to the constituents' choice! It's systematic disenfranchisment!

Another reason to be an R. :)

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 8, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

'Chelsea is not subjected to media interviews'

I don't see what difference it makes. Why should she talk to the press, when they are so clearly hostile to her family? i recall when Hillary first ran for the Senate, the National Review ran an essay suggesting someone should kill Chelsea before she got into politics. It wasn't tongue in cheek either.

You don't think calling a mother a pimp [which implies calling the daughter a hooker] is a bit over the top? I really can't imagine any parent not getting outraged over the comment.

Just because the kid is working for her mother, the first woman to run for president, and is probably very proud of her? But the media grasps for anything to insult her, the hatred is palbable and rather unhinged.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

tonybrady: Racicot couldn't be elected dog catcher, certainly not beat Baucus.

Posted by: leuchtman | February 8, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Three seperate branches of government? Remember those days? Soon we get our country back from the sabotuers.

"Rep. Wexler Diary: Attorney General would not enforce contempt.
by Wexler For Congress Campaign
Fri Feb 08, 2008 at 12:28:32 PM PST
Our Constitution is under threat and the most basic principle of checks and balances is being undermined. Not since Watergate has a president so openly disregarded the will of Congress.

During hearings in the Judiciary Committee yesterday, I told Attorney General Michael Mukasey that I have called for impeachment hearings because of the stonewalling and blatant abuses of the Bush Administration. He responded by stating that he will NOT enforce a contempt of Congress citation against Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten for refusing to testify before Congress.

Wexler For Congress Campaign's diary :: ::
Here's the video:

Alberto Gonzales may be long gone, but the Bush Administration continues its executive overreach with the new Attorney General.

We can debate the need for Impeachment hearings. We can argue its effects on the election or our agenda. But one thing is abundantly clear:

If Congress' right to require testimony is undermined, then our country's leaders - Democrat, Republican, or Independent - will be immune from accountability.

The power of the subpoena - to call officials before us - is one of the most fundamental safeguards in our system of government. To have it effectively discarded - by virtue of the President instructing Administration officials to ignore a congressional subpoenas and not even appear before Congress - is unprecedented. The idea that the Attorney General would willingly defend this position - despite Congress' constitutional right to call such witnesses, is outrageous.

Impeachment hearings could render this moot: The President, Vice President, and all officials under them would no longer invoke executive privilege. There would be no more smokescreens.

In one week, I will be delivering my letter calling for impeachment hearings to Chairman John Conyers. Already, 17 Members of Congress have joined my call, including 4 Judiciary Committee members. I am hopeful for more in the coming days, but it is important for you to reach out to your representative in Congress to express how you feel. You can view the current list of signers, here:

I do not know how Congress will react, but I do know this: I will pursue this course aggressively. I will not compromise away the constitutional role of Congress. Your support is invaluable. Please know that I am working everyday to ensure that the Bush Administration is held accountable.

Please continue to support this movement at

Yours truly,

Congressman Robert Wexler


Obama 08

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 8, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Ok some much foolishness, so little space...

First, the only really interesting thing Chris said is in re: Norm Coleman. A savvy incumbent? He's run three statewide races and lost twice, including once to Jesse Ventura. He was well on his way to losing a third when Wellstone went down in the range, and even given a 10 day campaign against the worst possible candidate, and with the strongest tailwind Republicans will ever see, he only won by 5 points against a guy most Minnesotans under the age of 40 had never voted for. If Franken continues to run a solid campaign, Coleman is toast.

Bryant_flyer: what are you thinking? Its February, and the GOP hasn't found anyone to run against Johnson in SD. They won't find anyone, he beat Pressler and Thune. As for Baucus, he might be beatable in a different year, although a Dem who won in Montana in 2002 is probably unbeatable.. but.. it will not be this year.. the GOP has a very weak bench in MT, and virtually anyone with any statewide recognition on the GOP side has seen their rep destroyed by energy deregulation and the effect. Racicot could have made it a race in 02, but given the fact that when Rehberg passed, they lost the only candidate conceivable who had won a statewide race. The only question is whether the MT GOP can turn out enough voters to prevent the state from going blue in the Presidential race, there isn't a chance in hell of keeping Baucus under 60% let alone beating him.

Right now, the only way the GOP prevents a 5-7 seat loss is if HRC is at the top of the ticket, and even that is no guarantee. This is probably the most gruesome lineup for them since 1986.

Posted by: leuchtman | February 8, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

anythonyjbrady: As an RI native I'd love to know what you know. The only things I can think of are Reed being on the short list for veep or Reed suffering from some serious disease but in either case I still can't see the GOPers taking that seat. And certainly not in place of VA at the top of the list.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 8, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

claudialong | February 8, 2008 04:21 PM

Bush senior said it a long time ago: It's the character issue.

Bubba is a smart, charming, polliticaly masterful, lovable pig, better admired from a distance.

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

claudia writes
"I never noticed anyone complaining about Mitt's 5 boys campaigning for him."

An important distinction, of course, is that Mitt's boys were available to the media. Shuster's point - which wasn't included in the excerpt you provided - was that Chelsea is not subjected to media interviews, but is being used by the campaign to work the superdelegates and/or potential endorsees to support her mother. Shuster's choice of words was clearly inappropriate, but his point was - and still is - entirely relevant.

Of course, the knee-jerk overreaction by the Clinton campaign has drowned out any reasonable discussion of the subject. We should start a pool to see how long it will take before they send out fundraising requests citing the unfairness of the media thats browbeating not just poor old Hillary anymore, but now innocent Chelsea too. Remember the fundraising letter that used the cleavage comment? "The fashion columnist talked about my cleavage! Send money!"

Posted by: bsimon | February 8, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

TennGurl | February 8, 2008 04:24 PM

Now you're talkin'!

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

As for Rhode Island instead of Virginia, I know something the rest of you don't.

Posted by: anthonyjbrady | February 8, 2008 04:16 PM

What, pray tell, do you know that we don't?" Rhode Island is one of the most reliably Democratic states in the country in what is shaping up to be a very good Democratic year. I grew up there, although I moved away a long time ago, and have lots of family in the area. I know of nothing that would imperil Reed's seat.

Posted by: jimd52 | February 8, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

There are 3253 delegates up for election in the Democratic primary. You need 2025 to win the nomination. Clinton has 855 committed delegates while Obama has 861. Now, Clinton is also counting on getting delegates from Michigan and Florida , which simply isn't going to happen until the convention; so you can remove 110 of the 1512 delates left, up-for grabs. All of this leaves Obama needing 1164 to win and Clinton needing 1170 to win. There are only about 1400 uncommitted delegates remaining. No with genuinely thinks that either candidate is going to win even 1100 of those. They will likely be split. So, we go into the convention, with neither side having enough delegates to win the nomination and a bunch of "super delegates", party insiders, their votes up for bid, making the ultimate selection for the nominee. The loosing side, no matter who, but likely Obama supporters, will feel betrayed. Most will either sit out the election or vote third party. Many will vote for McCain. More than a few will likely dump the Democratic Party entirely (see Danna Brazille's comments).

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 8, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Again you forget if Hillary is at the top of the ticket a lot of purple seats will go Republican..

Posted by: TennGurl | February 8, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

jimd52 | February 8, 2008 04:08 PM

Yeah, I reread your comment and my answer did not mirror your subtlety.

What I like about Lyle is his intuition and downright prescient take on the final numbers. I have to tell you, sometimes I think the guy is an insider pro. He has an ultra smooth delivery that is fun to confront with the intentional brusqueness I use in my replies to him. He is definetely a bird of a different feather, in a nice way.

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

The MSM really hates Hillary. They say things about her that they wouldn't dare say about any other candidate. It's truly bizarre...

'BILL PRESS: Hey, she's working for her mom. What's unseemly about that? During the last campaign, the Bush twins were out working for their dad. I think it's great, I think she's grown up in a political family, she's got politics in her blood, she loves her mom, she thinks she'd make a great president --

SHUSTER: But doesn't it seem like Chelsea's sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?"

Disgusting. I never noticed anyone complaining about Mitt's 5 [military age] boys campaigning for him. No one calling Mitt's boys 'pimped up-- or Jenna Bush 'pimped up'....But the media always hated Bill, too. I remember the 2 year rant the NYTimes went on over him. I finally just stopped reading it.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

SOrry didn't mean to post that thrice. also don't know how that R got there in front of MT.

Posted by: anthonyjbrady | February 8, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I agree the GOP should try to get Baucus in MTR. Does anyone know if Racicot has ruled out a run?

As for Rhode Island instead of Virginia, I know something the rest of you don't.

Posted by: anthonyjbrady | February 8, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I agree the GOP should try to get Baucus in MTR. Does anyone know if Racicot has ruled out a run?

As for Rhode Island instead of Virginia, I know something the rest of you don't.

Posted by: anthonyjbrady | February 8, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I agree the GOP should try to get Baucus in MTR. Does anyone know if Racicot has ruled out a run?

As for Rhode Island instead of Virginia, I know something the rest of you don't.

Posted by: anthonyjbrady | February 8, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"Did I read "Vast right wing conspiracy"?

Sorta rhymes with "Media Bias" that Lyle and friends are trumpeting all over the place."

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 03:58 PM

Of course I was referring to Lyle. As much as I really do like the guy, his obsession with the idea that Obama's support is fueled by a clandestine Republican campaign to derail Clinton is absurd.

Posted by: jimd52 | February 8, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

jimd52 | February 8, 2008 03:14 PM

Did I read "Vast right wing conspiracy"?

Sorta rhymes with "Media Bias" that Lyle and friends are trumpeting all over the place.

The victimhood theme the Clintonistas are so adept at is running now on its 16-20 year cycle. And there is no expiration date!

My favorite is the "Obama is black" blame the victim defense. Bubba has been put on a leash for the duration, I guess. Unless somebody at Billary Central decides to change the campaign theme for the sake of change and rename it "Its all about Bubba, stupid".

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

'has become so warped by hatred as to be incomprehensible.'

drindl then describes herself.

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 8, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

BobbyWC - I was pleased to see your post the other day and on behalf of myself and another Texan who had posted wanted your take on the Valley Machine [VM].

I hope you are in good health. I recall that you were having anxiety about surgery?

So, if you see this, do you think the VM is strong for Noriega? If so, will they sit on their hands in the Prez race or even push BHO as the only way to get enough turnout in Nov. to give Col Rick a chance against Cornyn?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 8, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

brady- Why Rhode Island and no Virginia?

Posted by: cmsore | February 8, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

If Obama wins the presidency, whom does the IL governor tap for his replacement? Rahm Emmanuel?

Posted by: mjames2 | February 8, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

How can you take MS off? The Democrats have a much better shot there thn in KY,ME or OR. Here's mine:

10. Maine
9. Oregon
8. Mississipi
7. Alaska
6. Minnesota
5. Louisiana
4. Colorado
3. New Hampshire
2. New Mexico
1. Rhode Island

Posted by: anthonyjbrady | February 8, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"I would like to know if any of the senators running for pres wins, how is their seat filled. is the seat appointed until the next election cycle?"

Usually its up to the governor of the relevant state. AZ: Napolitano (D). IL:can't keep track D? NY: Spitzer (D).

Posted by: bsimon | February 8, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

poor zouk obsesses with me, even when I'm not on the board. poor lonely, no-life zouk.

yes, increasngly large numbers of papers are rejecting your stringy trangendered strumpet, Mann Coulter, as she/he has become so warped by hatred as to be incomprehensible.

'harlemboy: the "Big Tent" has a big closet.' big enough to fit about half the republican party, seems like.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

How about adding a VP line to the rotation?

5. Bill Richardson
McCain will draw some hispanics, Richardson would help consolidate that swing vote.

4. Russ Feingold
A popular senator with the left wing of the party that is still at odds with Clinton. It will also remind Repulicans of McCain's apostasy

3. Brian Schwietzer
A popular Western Governor need I say more?

2.Weseley Clark
Helps to offset McCain's National Security Stregths.

1. Harold Ford Jr.
Energizes young people, and African American's if she beats Obama, he also helps her with the south.


5. Tim Kaine
An early endorser who will help with White southern voters and needs a job.

4. Kathleen Sebelius
Helps with women and the midwest.

3. Bill Richardson.
Same reason as above needs more help with hispanics.

2. Tom Daschle
Very early endorser who will help with the democratic establishment.

1. Bob Kerrey
Takes away the war hero monopoly from McCain. Can also serve as a sort of Cheney, lends gravitas and substance to the rhetoric.


5. Rudy Giulliani
McCain needs someone who excites a crowd since he clearly doesn't. People may not vote for Giulliani but he is very effective at getting others elected.

4. Mike Huckabee
Helps with the base. He is also the most effective campaigner.

3. Colin Powell
Helps with independents, blacks, and national security voters.

2. Charlie Christ
Florida would be a big win for the republicans this year.

1. Christine Todd Whitman
Helps in another crucial state, helps with women, clearly shows that this is not a Bush re-election.

Posted by: myhojda | February 8, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I would like to know if any of the senators running for pres wins, how is their seat filled. is the seat appointed until the next election cycle?

Posted by: PLuv | February 8, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"Of course, some people think it is all part of a vast right wing conspiracy to derail Hillary Clinton."

That's the FACT, Jack!


Posted by: bsimon | February 8, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

"The Democrats continue not to recognize what they have in this guy. Believe me, Republican professionals know. They can tell."
Full article:

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 02:45 PM

I read that article this morning. The Republican leaning pundits have consistently said Obama would be a much tougher opponent than Clinton. Of course, some people think it is all part of a vast right wing conspiracy to derail Hillary Clinton......

Posted by: jimd52 | February 8, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

harlemboy: the "Big Tent" has a big closet.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 8, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

3 of the five states with competitive contest are in states Obama won. 2 others , Louisiana and Virginia , are in states Obama is likely to win. With Hillary on the ballot its likely that Democrats will suffer down the ticket because she will no doubt motivate the millions of conservatives who can't stand the though of another Clinton presidency. Obama on the other hand has demonstrated proven strength in these areas. Obama is the better candidate.

Posted by: brokenglassdemocrat | February 8, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I heard Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham have skeletons in their "closets" -- if you know what I mean.

Posted by: harlemboy | February 8, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Anne coulter does drindl:

In 2004 USA Today asked her to cover the Democratic national convention. She wrote one article that began, "Here at the spawn of Satan convention in Boston ..." and referred to some unspecified females present as "corn-fed, no make-up, natural fibre, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie chick pie wagons". The paper rejected it, citing lack of clarity - and that was the end of that.

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 8, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious about Mitch McConnell's prospects of continuing as Minority Leader if he retains his seat. If McCain loses, and McConnell retains his position, won't that make him the leader of the republican party? Will the party want that, or will they maneuver someone else into that position?

And if McCain wins, same question. Will the party look for someone else to lead it in the senate? Will McCain be able to work well with McConnell, or will they clash? What is their current relationship?

Anybody have any thoughts?

Posted by: optimyst | February 8, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Senators, schmenators.

You want opinion that rocks:

"The Democrats continue not to recognize what they have in this guy. Believe me, Republican professionals know. They can tell."

Full article:

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Campaign Diaries just posted a clear chart as to what the Feb. 5th delegate count looks like, with state-by-state breakdown of where Obama and Clinton stand. CLinton is currently ahead but most of the 70 delegates that haven't been awarded yet are from Obama states. Check out the chart:

Posted by: campaigndiaries | February 8, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse


Keep an eye on Steve Novick in the Oregon Senate Demo Primary. He has much substance despite his physical handicaps. His web postings and You Tube commercials are well worth viewing.

Posted by: Spectator | February 8, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious what Chris thinks about Lindsay Graham in South Carolina. He seems to be the less popular of the two senators and is commonly lumped with John McCain as a RINO. Of course, a Democrat probably won't beat him in a general election, but it looks like he is vulnerable in a primary.

Posted by: theseventen | February 8, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

If a McCain/Pawlenty Presidential ticket exists, the best the R's can hope for is to keep most of their seats. If McCain is the R nominee, it puts Sununu in a much better spot. The 1 there is very little to no shot of saving is the Va. race. R's need to win the La. race, maybe with Dardene over Kennedy. Also, they need to find a way to make Montana & South Dakota competitive. Montana may be a better spot, as McCain will run against wasteful spending & Baucus is known for it. Also, McCain should work to defeat Don Young & Ted Stevens by backing their primary competitors in Alaska. New Mexico will be awfully hard to win, especially with a scandal plagued Wilson as the nominee. If Pearce is the nominee, I think he has a much better shot...especially with the full blessing of Domenici.

Posted by: bryant_flier2006 | February 8, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Of the states on this line who have already had dem primaries caucuses 3 (Alaska, Minnesota, Colorado) have gone Obama by large margins, 1 has gone Clinton (New Hampshire) and 1 is still too close to call with reported irregularities (New Mexico). I'd be willing to bet Obama helps down ticket more and Clinton could actively harm Alaska, Minnesota and Colorado much more significantly than anything Obama could do in New Hampshire.

Posted by: cmsore | February 8, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"The outcome will be impacted by who's at the top of the ticket."

im·pact·ed (m-pktd)
1. Wedged together at the broken ends.
Used of a bone.

2. Placed in the alveolus in a manner prohibiting eruption into a normal position. Used of a tooth.

3. Wedged or packed in, so as to fill or block an organ or a passage. Used of a Democrat.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 8, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I know they've moved off the line, but is there anything new in the Craig/Lott seats? Is there any chance that these will turn blue, or are those states so solidly red that being an "open" seat won't matter? (Not exactly an open seat in the case of MS, but the current senator was appointed.) And is Craig definitely out?

Posted by: garfield1 | February 8, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

President Obama is going to have a good size majority in the Senate to help move through Universal Health Care.

Posted by: sjxylib | February 8, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

From what I've heard, Franken did well on Tuesday. Its extremely unlikely he's not the DFL nominee. Look for Coleman to exercise a lot more indpendence from the GOP generally & President Bush specifically this year, in an attempt to take over the middle by Nov. The outcome will be impacted by who's at the top of the ticket.

Posted by: bsimon | February 8, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

The way the Shaheens took out Obama in NH, I'm sure they'll have no problem breaking Sununu's kneecaps.

Posted by: buffalofunkstudios | February 8, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Pres. McCain will be in for a tough time.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 8, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

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