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The Friday Senate Line: Schumer Sets Expectations?

Few politicians have the political chops of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Elected to the House in 1980, Schumer bided his time for the better part of two decades before coming from behind to claim victory in a hotly contested Democratic Senate primary in 1998. He went on to defeat Sen. Alfonse D'Amato (R) in the general election. Six years later, Schumer took control of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and spearheaded the six-seat pickup that returned his party to the majority in 2006.

When Schumer speaks, we listen.

To wit:

This short clip, which was sent to donors as a thank you for their contributions in the first three months of 2008, is chock full of interesting nuggets when it comes to expectation-setting for the fall election -- not to mention amusing footage of Schumer striding around outside the DSCC building.

Schumer describes this election cycle as a "once in a generation opportunity" to significantly expand on the 51-seat majority Democrats hold in the Senate, noting that in places like Kentucky, Mississippi and North Carolina the party has real chances for pickups if the candidates can raise enough money to be competitive.

He adds that the small majority Democrats currently enjoy makes it difficult to push their agenda forward and that the only way to ensure a smoother path for the next Democratic president is to grow the Democratic caucus.

"Both Barack and Hillary have told me if we only have 52 or 53 or even 54 in the Senate they're going to have to trim their agenda, let alone get something done to change America," Schumer says.

One other point from the video, noted by the ever-vigilant Paul Kane of the Washington Post. If you watch closely at the end of the clip, the last number that flashes on the screen is "57". Is that the new high-water mark for Senate Democrats this fall? ...To be continued.

For now, you'll have to content yourself with the latest Senate Line. As always, the number one ranked race is the most likely to change party control in the fall.

The Line is meant as a conversation starter so use the comments section to offer your own thoughts on the races we've included or those we've left off.

To the Line!

10. Kentucky: Here's what we know about this race: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) always run strategically sound and very well-financed campaigns; Bruce Lunsford is off to a solid start in his bid for the Democratic nod and his new television campaign, slated to start today, should cement him as the frontrunner in the May 20 primary. Here's what we don't know: How bad will the political environment be for national Republicans in November and how will that impact McConnell, the leader of his party in Washington? Is Lunsford truly a changed candidate from the guy who spent millions only to come up short in not one, but two gubernatorial primaries over the last five years? (Previous ranking: 10)

9. Maine: A new Republican poll seems to confirm what GOP strategists have long maintained about the race between Sen. Susan Collins (R) and Rep. Tom Allen: despite the Democratic-tilt of the state the incumbent starts out with a clear edge. Collins' current lead is certain to shrink as Allen spends some of the millions he has raised to boost his name identification statewide. But, will voters throw out an incumbent that they, by all measures, like? For that to happen, the political climate nationally and in the state will have to be a mirror image of 2006. That's a possibility but not a probability at the moment. (Previous ranking: 8)

8. Oregon: While we've been a regular critic of the metabolism of state House Speaker Jeff Merkley's campaign, we also are willing to give credit where credit is due. His decision to stop ignoring activist Steve Novick and start playing offense in advance of the state's May 20 Democratic primary seems like the right move. The primary challenge from Novick may wind up being a good thing for Merkley as it has forced him to up his game in advance of the general election race against Sen. Gordon Smith (R). Is Merkley ever going to be a "rock star" candidate? No. But, given the clear Democratic lean of Oregon and Smith's long voting record, he may not have to be. (Previous ranking: 9)

7. Louisiana: For all the talk among Republicans about how vulnerable Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) is to the challenge from state Treasurer John Kennedy (R), we've yet to see evidence that Kennedy is making any real progress. Landrieu raised better than $1 million between Jan. 1 and March 31 and ended March with a whopping $4.5 million in the bank. She has also aggressively, and somewhat successfully, courted Republican leaders and elected officials -- knowing that she'll need significant crossover support to win in the Bayou State. The demographics of Louisiana seem certain to make this a competitive race. But Landrieu is doing everything right at the moment. (Previous ranking: 5)

6. Minnesota: The Fix isn't big on "we told you so's" but, when it comes to the surprising strength of comedian Al Franken's (D) Senate candidacy, well, we told you so. Franken simply outworked and out-organized 2000 Senate candidate Mike Ciresi who opted out of the race last month after it became abundantly clear Franken would win the Democratic nod at the state party's endorsement convention. Ciresi's surprise departure kicks off the general election race between Franken and Sen. Norm Coleman (R) a few months before the incumbent would have liked. Still, Coleman is a very sound candidate and a recent Republican poll that showed him leading Franken by 6 points seems about right. (Previous ranking: 6)

5. Alaska: How can a state that gave President Bush 61 percent of the vote in 2004 and an incumbent who has held his seat since 1968 possibly be ranked this high on the Line? Because, despite Alaska's Republican nature and Sen. Ted Stevens' (R) seniority, the winds of change are blowing across the Last Frontier. The defeat of former governor Frank Murkowski (R) in 2006 by reform-minded Sarah Palin (R) was one early sign and the decision by Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell (R) to offer a primary challenge embattled Rep. Don Young (R) this cycle is further evidence. Stevens finds himself under federal investigation over a substantial remodeling of his Alaska home that was overseen by an oil services company executive who has already pleaded guilty to bribing elected officials. A recent Hays Research poll showed that the scandal has impacted Stevens' once lofty favorable numbers; 49 percent of voters said they had a favorable opinion of the Senator as compared to 46 percent who viewed him unfavorably. And, did we mention Democrats have their strongest possible candidate -- Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich -- running against Stevens? A real problem for Republicans as long as Stevens is seeking re-election. (Previous ranking: 7)

4. Colorado: With neither Rep. Mark Udall (D) nor former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R) facing a serious primary challenge, the general election for this open seat has been going on for months and is already starting to get nasty. For the next seven months get used to this race being painted as "Boulder Liberal" Mark Udall versus "Big Oil Bob" Schaffer. Good times. A recent Republican poll showed Udall with a twelve-point lead, although even Democrats acknowledge that may be a bit high. (Previous ranking: 4)

3. New Hampshire: Is Sen. John Sununu (R) this cycle's Rick Santorum? Santorum began his 2006 re-election bid trailing then state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. (D) by double digits in polling and never made up any real ground as the campaign proceeded. All the credible polling we have seen in New Hampshire shows Sununu badly trailing former governor Jeanne Shaheen (D). Sununu is less branded as a conservative than Santorum was heading into the 2006 race but the New Hampshire Senator is also nowhere close to the fundraiser that Santorum is/was. The trend lines aren't good for Republicans here. (Previous ranking: 4)

2. New Mexico: As the June 3 Republican primary nears, the race between Reps. Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce gets increasingly hostile. The latest point of contention? Whether or not Pearce and Wilson backed the closure of a New Mexico Air Force base. Pearce won a victory at the pre-primary convention last month, taking 55 percent of the votes from attendees and ensuring the top spot on the ballot in June. As the Republican race heats up, Rep. Tom Udall (D) continues to chill -- sitting on an huge warchest and double-digit leads over either Wilson or Pearce. (Previous ranking: 2)

1. Virginia: Every one assumes that former governor Mark Warner's (D) decision to run for the Senate in 2008 means he isn't in the vice presidential sweepstakes. Don't be so sure. Former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer, a key Warner supporter, would love to be in the Senate and would almost certainly be willing to step in if Warner was named as the veep choice of either Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) or Barack Obama (Ill.). (Previous ranking: 1)

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 4, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Line  
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Next: New Jersey's Senate Race Heats Up

Comments

It seems like if John Sununu is this cycle's Santorum, Susan Collins is probably its Chafee.

Posted by: jon.morgan.1999 | April 5, 2008 2:23 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure how the Udalls are new as a political dynasty considering they've been in Congress and the Cabinet for 40-50 years now.

Of the 10 races Chris lists here, 9 seats are currently held by Republicans. And the one Democratic one ranks 7th. If all 10 of these seats change hands, the Democrats gain 9, bringing their caucus to...60.

Posted by: jon.morgan.1999 | April 5, 2008 2:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm a big fan of the Fix, Chris, but I seem to recall that you were a big doubter of whether Al Franken could appeal at all in Minnesota. While the net roots were ready to rally around the Franken in the spring of last year and were confident of his potential, you were playing Debbie Downer, seriously suggesting that Franken's campaign was but a pipe dream. I can't find the exact post in which you said those things. I'm a big fan, like I said, but it seems a little disingenuous for you to claim to be able to say "told you so." Your article "Franken Impresses Again" came a time when it was clear that Franken was a serious contender so there really is no glory in being a summer soldier. Anyway, other than that, keep up the good work and keep your ego in check.

Posted by: jh1062 | April 5, 2008 1:12 AM | Report abuse

I'm a big fan of the Fix, Chris, but I seem to recall that you were a big doubter of whether Al Franken could appeal at all in Minnesota. While the net roots were ready to rally around the Franken in the spring of last year and were confident of his potential, you were playing Debbie Downer, seriously suggesting that Franken's campaign was but a pipe dream. I can't find the exact post in which you said those things. I'm a big fan, like I said, but it seems a little disingenuous for you to claim to be able to say "told you so." Your article "Franken Impresses Again" came a time when it was clear that Franken was a serious contender so there really is no glory in being a summer soldier. Anyway, other than that, keep up the good work and keep your ego in check.

Posted by: jh1062 | April 5, 2008 1:12 AM | Report abuse

I'm a big fan of the Fix, Chris, but I seem to recall that you were a big doubter of whether Al Franken could appeal at all in Minnesota. While the net roots were ready to rally around the Franken in the spring of last year and were confident of his potential, you were playing Debbie Downer, seriously suggesting that Franken's campaign was but a pipe dream. I can't find the exact post in which you said those things. I'm a big fan, like I said, but it seems a little disingenuous for you to claim to be able to say "told you so." Your article "Franken Impresses Again" came a time when it was clear that Franken was a serious contender so there really is no glory in being a summer soldier. Anyway, other than that, keep up the good work and keep your ego in check.

Posted by: jh1062 | April 5, 2008 1:12 AM | Report abuse

Novamatt - Interesting post. The VA heffalumps appear to be in reality denial (northern VA has a lot of votes and those won't go to the same good old boys). Davis would have been a credible candidate with a chance to neutralize NoVa (hey, I'd consider voting for him) and win the remainder of the state. They're going to destroy the village to save it. I don't think this is a Goldwater moment.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | April 4, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Is the house of Udall the new dynasty in politics????

Posted by: corridorg4 | April 4, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Defense spending is a budgeted expenditure--yes, but black box spending is something else altogether and defense contracts, especially in the last few years, have gotten totally bloated and out of control with waste and fraud, due to lack of oversight.

agree with you abuot pork, and also about the grave national importance of hops research.

Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Boys will be Boys and What Insulting HC and her supporters means:

http://www.postwritersgroup.com/archives/cocc080401.htm

Posted by: leichtman | April 4, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I kind of thought that too. :)

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 4, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

"$460,752 for hops research;"

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Lets not be hasty; hops are a critical component of beer - surely any research that stabilitzes (or improves!) the beer supply is worthwhile...

Posted by: bsimon | April 4, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

$100 million to rebuild Minn Bridge
$150 million for NY port inspections and added security to Wallstreet.
$ 50 million to fight San Diego fires

Are those the earmarks you refer to and wish to end? We look forward to a campaign in Minn where you tell those voters that rebuilding their bridge and money for port and Wallstreet security are earmarks that you and the GOP wish to end. Go ahead.

How about the BILLIONS which mysteriously disappeared in Iraq? $188,000 right, when BILLIONS mysteriously disappear. Bismon has it precisely right when he posted that that is exactly why Rs should not be trusted with your tax money. They obviously don't know the difference b/w $188,000 and BILLIONS of dollars, it is all the same to them.

Posted by: leichtman | April 4, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"The suit alleges that AAFES improperly took money from military credit card users for expired debt and inflated penalties and fees."

drindl, As an AAFES card holder, I can assure you that the amount per person is negligible. We got a letter in the mail about it, and will probably get our fifteen dollar refund someday, but it's not quite as outrageous and shocking as your post implies.

I'm glad that the folks at Public Citizen are advocating for the correction.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 4, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

How about redeploying the pork barrell money instead of wasting it on this nonsense:

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) just released the 2008 Congressional Pig Book. CAGW has been releasing the Pigbook as an expos of the wasteful pork-barrel spending in Washington for the past 18 years.

For FY 2008, CAGW found that the porkers in Congress stuffed 11,610 separate pork projects into the 12 appropriations bills.

This marks the second highest total ever of pork projects, totaling $17.2 billion.

That is a 337% increase over the 2,658 projects in fiscal year 2007, and a 30 percent increase over the $13.2 billion total in fiscal year 2007.

Out of the 11,610 projects in the 2008 Pig Book there were 11,146 disclosed projects worth $13.8 billion and 464 undisclosed projects worth $3.4 billion.

The CAGW Pigbook highlights many of the earmarks , including Chairman Charlie Rangel's infamous "Monument to Me".

Some other egregious examples include:

$3 million for The First Tee;

$1,950,000 for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service;

$460,752 for hops research;

$211,509 for olive fruit fly research in Paris, France;

$196,000 for the renovation and transformation of the historic Post Office in Las Vegas;

$188,000 for the Lobster Institute in Maine; and

$148,950 for the Montana Sheep Institute.

You can find a PDF copy of the 2008 Pigbook here, www.campbell.house.gov


Defense spending is a budgeted expenditure. Pork is not. It is perfectly reasonable to ask how a new long-term project would be funded.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 4, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

finally common ground:

It boggles the mind that there's no question of finding the funding when it comes to putting our servicepeople into harm's way. But when its time to think about combat vet's futures you ask "how we gonna pay?" Thanks for prime example of what is wrong with the GOP.


Posted by: leichtman | April 4, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

well said!

Posted by: leichtman | April 4, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

jeezus, can the gop think of any other ways to abuse US solidiers?

'U.S. soldiers and veterans have been illegally hit up by Pentagon debt collectors for millions of dollars in payments over military credit card debt, according to the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.

"It is shocking that a U.S. government agency would illegally take this money from veterans who have served our country well," said Deepak Gupta of Public Citizen.

Public Citizen and consumer lawyers have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Army and Air Force Exchange Services (AAFES), which issues credit cards to U.S. service members to buy goods at military stores. The suit alleges that AAFES improperly took money from military credit card users for expired debt and inflated penalties and fees. Unlike civilian debt collectors who use phone calls and letters to try to collect payment, the military simply deducted the money from service members' government benefits or tax refunds, the suit contends."

Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

proudtobeGOP writes
"I agree the investment in our vets for retraining and education is invaluable. But, the question does need to be asked...how are we going to pay for it?"

It boggles the mind that there's no question of finding the funding when it comes to putting our servicepeople into harm's way. But when its time to think about combat vet's futures you ask "how we gonna pay?" Thanks for prime example of what is wrong with the GOP.

Posted by: bsimon | April 4, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

There are a few races that might get interesting but we simply don't know much about yet - Dole in NC, Inhofe in OK, Cornyn in TX. Each is much less established than McConnell and has less than stellar approval numbers and legit challengers, but I don't know money, or head-to-heads. TX is probably the hardest because it's so huge and so republican.

As for Collins representing Obama's message, that seems ridiculous on the face of it. I don't know if you've noticed but there is this word "Change" that comes up a lot - even appears on a couple of signs at Obama's events. Collins, as an incumbent republican, represents the opposite of change.

Posted by: stpaulsage | April 4, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Hey Mark, they just raided a polygamist compund in Eldorado -- that anywhere near you? Seem to be cnducting an investigation into the safety of children..

I've always wondered -- how do these people get away with incest and institutionalized child abuse? I understand about Utah, but they have a community in Arizona too. Is it lack of laws against this sort of thing, or lack of enforcement?

Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

'We can't just have unlimited spending in all areas with no restraint, despite what the dems promise. '

"But, the question does need to be asked...how are we going to pay for it? "

jeesus christ -- you have no problem spending $200,000 a year for each 100,000 Blackwater mercernaries, for the 95 huge redundant weapons systems that are billions over budget and years behind schedule, for no-bid secret contracts to cronies, for the billions and billions lost to fraud, abuse, theft and mismanagement in Iraq, but yet you have a problem with rewarding soldiers who have served with distinction and honor way beyond the call of duty with a decent education? How do we dare offer them less?

In any case, that is only the tip of the iceberg. We will be paying trillions into the future for the care of the tens of thousands of soldiers who have been horribly wounded and disfigured by this endless meatgrinder.

After you cheered Bush on for the biggest spending expansion of government in history, it's a little late to be wringing your hands and clutching your pearls over where a few million here and there will come from.

Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

proud I doubt anyone is interested in 'raising taxes' but as long as we stubbornly remain in Iraq for a 100 years and spending trillions there, we will be left with no other choice.
"there is not an unlimited pool of money and the natl debt is already too big. "

"Raising taxes is not something I'm in favor of." you posted correctly

This admin apparently believes there is an unlimited amt of money as when Tom Delay kep Medicare Part D vote open for an unprecedented 6 hrs. You don't want to cut funding for fighting southern california fires or for rebuilding minn bridges. You don't want to bring the tax rate for those making over $250,000 to the 1994 level, fine I know of at least of tillion dollars being spent in Iraq, that would certainly be a proof that we'don't have an unlimited pool of money" and you are serious about balancing the budget deficit which has gone from a surplus to a $250 billion dollar deficit under the GOP watch. Closing a few silly muzeums and homeland security funding to inspect NT ports and Wallstreet, is a paltry laughable amount that McCain talks about and not really serious. At least you as a GOPer uou reasonably understand that the resolution and balancing of our national priorities is not as simplistic as some on your side claim.

Posted by: leichtman | April 4, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

mark, bsimon, I agree the investment in our vets for retraining and education is invaluable. But, the question does need to be asked...how are we going to pay for it? This will be a very long-term expenditure. We already have a looming crisis of entitlement spending that will dwarf the federal budget in a matter of less than 10 years.

I am reminded of the tough decisions that lawmakers made in Oregon when deciding which medical treatments would not be covered by the state, and which would. At some point, spending cuts must be made somewhere to balance out expenses; there is not an unlimited pool of money and the natl debt is already too big.

Raising taxes is not something I'm in favor of. Let's see them make some tough decisions on spending checks and balances before writing a blank check for this, even though it's good election year-type stuff...fiscal responsibilty is hard and takes discipline even in, especially in, election years.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 4, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

"Money spent on Vet's education is more like an investment than a raw expense: the increased earning capacity of the educated ex-GI makes America more productive and tax revenues over time far outweigh the cost, or so that has been our prior experience."

Well put.

Posted by: bsimon | April 4, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

GOP I am sure that you are aware that the GOP thought it a waste of money to provide our troops with protective gear(veteran families had to buy them), calling cards, death benefits and were even asking our veterans to reimburse the military for their food. These are some really radical demands of our troops that we obviously don't have money for as long as it is being sent to blackwater. Why don't we start by totally cutting funds to the mercenaries at Blackwater to pay for food, death benefits and protective gear and how about for cleaning up Walter Reed or is that a waste of money too for your side?

Posted by: leichtman | April 4, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Proud, as of mid-March, two notable Ds on the Armed Services Committee had not signed on either:
Jack Reed and Carl Levin, now the Chair. So McC is in bipartisan company.

But I really like the Bill. Money spent on Vet's education is more like an investment than a raw expense: the increased earning capacity of the educated ex-GI makes America more productive and tax revenues over time far outweigh the cost, or so that has been our prior experience.

Lugar and Warner are for it. Biden is for it. I have written to McC and will follow up with letters to Levin and Reed.

I ask you to think about supporting it and soliciting McC's support.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 4, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Let me try another tack with the whole 'bipartisanship' idea, because I think this is crucial to improving both politics and policy.

Bipartisanship isn't necessarily one side knuckling under to the other, or the two sides meeting halfway in a deal that is temporary and that both find unsatisfying.

Bipartisanship is also the two (or more) sides coming to the bargaining table with their best ideas -- and without the rancor, and hammering out an agreement that takes account of everyone's best ideas and that everyone is at least mostly satisfied with.

Something I detest is the notion that the people who disagree with me about (x) are all evil stupidheads. Good ideas come from both sides, and neither side arrives at its beliefs out of malice or stupidity. I'm well to the left of center, but I recognize that R's often have good arguments on a wide range of issues.

Take affirmative action, for example. Most people, if they're being honest, will acknowledge that women and minorities face barriers and obstructions that white guys don't. Also, most people, if they're being honest, recognize that affirmative action, as it is presently constituted, has done a bad job of creating opportunities and is properly resented by many.

We all know the obvious partisan responses to the dilemma of affirmative action -- dig in your heels and refuse to budge and hope the courts rule in your favor. But what if we worked as a team to craft an affirmative action standard that actually worked and that didn't generate backlash resentment? There are, after all, some pretty obvious solutions out there if we ever care to work towards them.

That, I think, is the sort of bipartisanship that Obama is in favor of. I hope McCain is too. It's not so much post-partisan or post-ideological as it is post-rancor. Pragmatic rather than antagonistic. Outcome rather than process. And it's about freaking time. The old way of doing business has pretty clearly broken down. It's time for something new.

Posted by: novamatt | April 4, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"HC and Sen Obama are both cosponsors of that bill" True, their names are on the bill.

The hesitancy that McCain and many Rs have in supporting this bill has to do with the expense of it, and the unwillingness to balance that cost with cuts in other areas.
The additional cost to the federal government would be roughly $2 billion a year, although the Congressional Budget Office has yet to produce an official score. I think it would be good, if spending in other areas is cut. We can't have it all.

We can't just have unlimited spending in all areas with no restraint, despite what the dems promise. Obama wants to spend $800 Billion on his social programs and handouts to his cronies in addition to all the porkbarrell spending he has taken.

The first thing Clinton and Obama can do if they're serious is ask that the money that they've gotten, hundreds of millions that they've gotten in pork barrel projects, not be spent.

They should redeploy that money toward the veterans instead of wasting and mismanaging our tax dollars.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 4, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

you are right bismon HC is viewed as being tougher with Republicans, but again I direct you to folks who know her best on the other side like Lindsey Graham and Trent Lott who have actually worked with her and have praised her leadership as well as Sen Byrd. You can repeat what you and the media want to spin that HC has horns, is evil etc but once again those comments are coming from 1. Obama supporters and 2. Rt wingers like Ann Coulter. Personally I don't look to either for objectivity. And actually Sen Obama's negatives are pretty durn high right now so go ahead and demonize HC and her supporters it gets you nothing. They have different approaches, HC believes in toughness, Sen Obama believes in cumbaya politics. I prefer the former in my President.

Posted by: leichtman | April 4, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse


'Drindl, GOP has a point.'

Every day proud comes on here, lacerating 'libs' with this boilerplate rightwing rhetoric, crisis, so i think if there's a high road, she ain't on it.

The point is, the press corps is too enamoured of McCain to be honest about who he is, and what his record shows. They admit it, for chrissake. 'We're his base' says Chris Matthews. So it is up to other voices to shed the probing light on him which the media never will.

I don't hate him, I used to have some respect for him. But his policies of late have been hewing heavily rightwing and neocon and I think that he has just come under their thrall -- christ they are powerful, they have their fangs and claws embedded deeply in all the levers of power. And I don't want them to get anywhere near the White House again.

Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

mark HC and Sen Obama are both cosponsors of that bill, thanks for bringing it to our attention

Posted by: leichtman | April 4, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

"Apparently you have so bought into Sen Obama's invincibility that you believe he will be immune from such attacks. HC's campaign has played softball with Sen Obama in comparison to what we will see in the general election."

Why would you say such a ridiculous thing? I don't think Obama is immune from negative attacks. My point is that Sen Clinton has been the target of GOP attacks for a long time & a significant amount of the population seems to be pretty set against her. I don't think any other candidate (McCain or Obama) shares that trait. I'll repeat that I don't think its her fault. What I do think is that a critical issue facing the country is the level of partisanship. I think Senators McCain & Obama are far better suited to address that problem than Sen Clinton. Frankly, its pretty clear from their campaign rhetoric. Senator Clinton talks about the big bad Republicans and how she's tough enough to withstand the impending onslaught of the general campaign. I'm not naive enough to think there won't be negative attacks in the general. I just happen to prefer a candidate that doesn't seem to relish it quite so much.

Posted by: bsimon | April 4, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

GOP: W was penny wise and pound foolish with N.O. He not only appointed Brownie but blocked funding to rebuild the levees years earlier,which is now costing 5X more to rebuild, and ignored a weather memo that forecast exactly what happened in N.O. Its about compitence rather than just croaniism like with the billions wasted with Blackwater. As to the fires, we own in Carlsbad and were quite concerned; the fact that resposible appointments like James Whitt and Paulison made a difference proves that govt can work and can be efficient when it is run by politicians who don't hate all govt agencies and are not interested in just appointing incompitent croanies to run vital programs.

Posted by: leichtman | April 4, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I have heard, mark, that both Hillary and Obama support the Veteran's bill originally introduced by Webb, but I haven't heard about McCain. Anyone know?

It is a good bill as far as I can see and certainly way overdue.

Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Drindl, GOP has a point.

Just like McCain telling Americans that we're too cynical rather than finding reasons to pull the country from its cynicism, it's always better to use positive reinforcement over negative criticism to get the changes you want. People aren't much different from dogs - we jump faster when there's a treat in front of us rather than a stick behind us...

I'm not going to shy away from criticizing the negative things that Clinton and McCain have done or may do in the future, but in the meanwhile I try to focus on the positive aspects of our future, which I think will start with an Obama presidency.

Posted by: thecrisis | April 4, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I solicit all of you to support the "Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act" (S.22) introduced 2-28 by
Senators Jim Webb (D-VA), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and John Warner (R-VA), the four lead co-sponsors of the bill.

I do not know if the candidates, who are campaigning, are among the pledged supporters of the bill, but they all should be.

If you are active in any current campaigns, please email the Senator that you want her/him to support this Bill.

You can read the Bill on the internet first, and I encourage you to do so.

Never pass up an opportunity for a bipartisan bill that makes sense [as opposed to bipartisan crap like the stimulus package].

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 4, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

apparently reasonable to you means that we agree and say amen. If not you, then dozens of the Obama post here last week wanted to credit Limbaugh with HC wins. My point is consistency; is that a problem?
Has Ann Coulter said ugly things about HC? Of course but why should we care again is she they the arbitor of Democratic nominations or rational thought? And again you seem to think that the right Coulter, Limbaugh, DeLay will be saying nice things about Obama IF he is the nominee. DeLay is often on our local news and I can assure you that he is not saying kind things about Senator Obama or Sen. Clinton now even before our nominee is selected. Apparently you have so bought into Sen Obama's invincibility that you believe he will be immune from such attacks. HC's campaign has played softball with Sen Obama in comparison to what we will see in the general election. Just wait and see the 527s and the right wing attacks IF he is the nominee. You are right if you will not even consider those rational comments we have absolutely nothing to discuss and you can just keep posting to your minions.

Posted by: leichtman | April 4, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

leichtman, That will go down in history as one of the dumbest remarks ever made by a President, and rightly so. But, the problems go way back and were brought to light by the levee breaks in NO.

Last October, when there were raging fires in CA, FEMA and DHS had a chance to prove if there have been improvements or not in 2 years' time, and they passed the test.

By designating San Diego and six other fire-ravaged counties major disaster areas, President Bush trained a spotlight on FEMA, which is intent on proving it has learned some hard lessons from its slow response and poor coordination after Hurricane Katrina.

The San Diego papers reported "The next several days and weeks will show whether the agency provides Southern California fire victims with more efficient help on housing, home repairs, medical assistance and transportation than it did in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast two years ago.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has warned that this will be a "real test" for FEMA.

Afterwards, the response from local officials was :
"We are nothing but pleased with their response," said Michael Sicilia, spokesman for the California Office of Emergency Services.


Much of the problem of public perception is that only bad news is news in this country.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 4, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

and 'proud' comes charging out of her stall with nostrils flaring, hurling bolts of angry rhetoric...

It is not a 'lie' to say that this administration, time and again, put the fox in charge of the henhouse in every Cabinet post. Put industry lobbyists in charge of 'oversight' of offices they wanted, as industrial representatives, destroyed.

How can someone who came directly from the mining lobby [and will immediately return], oversee the 'safety' of the mines? I could give you a litany of all the different ways the citizens of this country have been endangered by this administration's outright hostility to oversight and governance, but I have said it all before. In everything to meat inspections to port safety, they have been beyond lax, beyond incompetent, beyond reprensible, always, always choosing protection of corporate campaign donors and sabotaging public safety.

Sure, it happens in every administration. But it's a matter of scale. It's not an accident -- it's an ideology. It is the core of 'movement conservatism' -- as bespoke by Grover Norquist. 'Shrink government enough to drown it in the bathtub. And that is the goal and please don't be dishonest and disingenious and pretend it isn't.

As for ranting, all I am doing is pointing out that McCain is a whole lot like George W, Bush. I am no more ranty than you are when in comes to Hillary.

As for Obama, I think choosing him as president would a signal to the world that we as a people are ready to walk away from the ugly message we have sent to the rest of the world the last few years and begin to act like a part of a world community, rather than a tyrannical bully. We can't force our way of life on the world and it's time we stopping trying. I think he would restore hope for America's future.

Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

AndyR3 is wrong about New Jersey. The Republicans' "train wreck" candidate -- Unanue -- just said he will drop out if Crowley gets into the race. And Crowley is now reconsidering in light of the Democrats' primary fight and because Washington Republicans are pleading with him to get in. Here is the latest news from yesterday's wire reports:

By MICHAEL RISPOLI
GANNETT STATE BUREAU

TRENTON -- Only days after deciding not to run for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, biotech millionaire John Crowley is reconsidering entering the primary.

Crowley, 40, of Princeton, is reconsidering entering the race for the GOP nomination after receiving phone calls from several national and state Republican Party figures urging Crowley to jump in.

Political adviser and close friend Bill Spadea confirmed Crowley is reconsidering.

"John is tremendously impressed by the outpouring of support and encouragement that has come from his colleagues, his friends, and his family," said Spadea. "People of all political beliefs have come forward to offer good wishes for a potential U.S. Senate run, and they sense what a special opportunity a Crowley candidacy presents for the citizens of New Jersey. John and his family are considereding this enormous well of support and will be making a decision shortly."

The Republican field of primary candidates is already large. State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio, R-Morris, Ramapo College professor Murray Sabrin and Andrew Unanue, a former chief operating officer for Goya Foods Inc., have already entered the race.

Republican sources say Unanue, however, may drop out of the race if Crowley enters, and throw his support behind him. Unanue and Crowley attended Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell together.

Crowley has no political background but is considered by some to be a strong candidate because of his wealth and personal back story. After learning his children had Pompe disease, a rare genetic disease which causes muscular dystrophy, Crowley founded a biotech firm, which was later sold to a larger company that found a treatment.

Crowley, also a member of the U.S. Navy reserve, currently heads Cranbury-based Amicus Therapeutics.

Posted by: harlemboy | April 4, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

"And incidentally wasn't it you pushing that conspiracy theory that Limbaugh was responsible for HC winning primaries."

It was not. But I can see that you're not interested in a reasonable discussion, instead apparently preferring to debate stereotypes and mischaracterizations. Have fun with that, I'm uninterested. Zouk should be here shortly though, to play your nemesis.

Posted by: bsimon | April 4, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

And the part of John McCain will be played by Kevin Bacon, in a reprise of his Animal House role:

"Do not panic! All is well!"

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080404/ap_on_bi_go_ec_fi/economy

Posted by: Spectator2 | April 4, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

doesn't the W administration appoint members to the FFA? I don't blame W for screwups in the airline industry other than to say their general theory of laisez faire has been responsible for a meltdown at FEMA and the mtg industry. Please tell me GOP you are not still touting the effectiveness of horseman Brownie?

Posted by: leichtman | April 4, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

drindl comes right out of the gate this morning with more lies and hate...

"To willfully endanger the lives of tens of thousands of people, at the behest of a corporate donor, is heinous -- yet this administration does it every single day:"

The problem with Southwest airlines not doing the proper inpsections had to do with a former Southwest employee who was working at the FAA and gave them a pass on too many occaisions. It has nothing to do with "this administration". it could happen, and has happened in every administration. Corporate corruption of this kind is bad, but stop trying to blame eveything on Bush and the Republican party. Sheesh.

drindl, since you are an Obama supporter, I was wondering...do you ever intend to say anything positive about your candidate and promote the positive, unifying agenda that your candidate has espoused?

Is this your example of Obama's new kind of politics? Do you really think that a daily negative rant is the best way to represent your candidate?

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 4, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

and bismon why in the world would we care one bit about them or my exCongressman DeLay. or their slanderous comments about HC? Bisimon I distinctly recalled the ugly things being said here in Texas about JFK on the day that he was assasinated.These types of comments about Dem Presidents are absolutely nothing new or you have really not read history. Sorry to disagree with you but ANY Dem President will be branded as the antiChrist once they are elected Pres. And incidentally wasn't it you pushing that conspiracy theory that Limbaugh was responsible for HC winning primaries. Sorry as much as you want it, you can't have it both ways unless the Obama supporters now want to join Limbaugh, Coulter and DeLay as a beacon of knowledge about the Democratic candidates. and the Democratic nomination process. And you think that Coulter, Limbaugh and DeLay, folks you now want to use as YOUR authority, will say nice things about Sen Obama IF he is the nominee? Again that is truly delususional.

Posted by: leichtman | April 4, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Obama is the new wave of the Democratic Party, Clinton is the old wave. It will be advantageous for the future of the Democratic Party, say, the next 30 years, to go with the fresh face. In light of such a catastrophic blunder that is the current administration, the Democrats need a huge reshaping of the party to accommodate such a pivotal election in this generation.

http://think.mtv.com/044FDFFFF0098A06900080098E269/User/Blog/BlogPostDetail.aspx

Posted by: thecrisis | April 4, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

"spec, did you see my post about the '90 CR package? Did it make sense to you? You are a lawyer, as I recall, but I do not know if you have familiarity with employment law and the various Civil Rights Acts. So if you want me to post citations - the law was originally a reaction to the "Patterson"
cse, I will."

Mark, yes, very interesting explanation. I had to read it a couple of times, but I think I got the gist of it. I would like to hear what McCain has to say, because I suspect his negative vote had nothing to do with plaintiffs getting screwed. Did he believe that Congress should not overturn a Supreme Court decision? That would not square with current GOP rhetoric about "activist" judges.

Posted by: Spectator2 | April 4, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

If Obama wins by 10 points or more, and by 100 EV's or more, which I think is the probable outcome, and if the D's pick up 5-10 seats in the Senate, and another 20-30 in the House, which I think is also probable, the R's will be pretty irrelevant as a political force in Washington.

The remaining R's will have a pretty stark choice: continue following the ideological and hyper-partisan path into political oblivion, or actually pay attention to what the voters are telling them and work constructively to improve bills and counter the D's tendency to overreach.

Posted by: novamatt | April 4, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I must quit this again for awhile.

But what if President McC faces 57 D Senators and 240 D Representatives? I see him vetoing what he does not like, but compromising on a great many issues, and getting his Party to go along with him when he does. At least for two years.

Then the madness begins again.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 4, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

spec, did you see my post about the '90 CR package? Did it make sense to you? You are a lawyer, as I recall, but I do not know if you have familiarity with employment law and the various Civil Rights Acts. So if you want me to post citations - the law was originally a reaction to the "Patterson"
cse, I will.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 4, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

'it depends'?
that is truly naive and proves that you truly don't know anything about Senators like Cornyn,Inhofe,or Sessions. If you think that those folks would be easily intimidated by a President Obama you really don't know anything about the US Senate or these Senators.

Posted by: leichtman | April 4, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

bsimon: In Virginia, at least, the GOP might be throwing in the towel with a lineup of three conservatives in the upcoming state elections for Gov, Lt. Gov, and Atty General, plus Gilmore for Senate.

A Virginia politics column in the WaPo said the lineup would start with a 46 percent base of social conservatives. Unfortunately for them, it would probably not get much past 47 percent. The bluing of VA is going to continue.

Posted by: Spectator2 | April 4, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

leichtman, are you disagreeing that the GOP (i.e. Limbaugh, Coulter, DeLay, etc) have characterized her as such? If you want to question my logic, we might have an interesting discussion. If you're only interested in mischaracterizing my comments, the conversation is over.

Posted by: bsimon | April 4, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I read

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/03/AR2008040300407.html?wpisrc=newsletter&wpisrc=newsletter&wpisrc=newsletter

as I finished my hot tea.

The two Ds have raised over $410M so far. This, even accounting for inflation and the devaluation of the dollar in world markets, is getting into Dirksen's "pretty soon you're talking about real money" territory.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 4, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

apparently by you and Rhandi Rhodes:
"Sen Clinton, having been cast as the antichrist in a pantsuit for the last 15 years,"

Posted by: leichtman | April 4, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

"Cornyn will not walk away from the filibuster with either a President Obama or President Clinton and it is naive to believe otherwise."

Like I responded to drindl, 'it depends'. A president who wins a 50% + 1 majority is subject to more challenge than a president who wins by a larger margin.

There's an interesting article in this week's NYT Magazine on the dude running the Repub's House races. He makes the point that with Obama, the Dems have the potential of grabbing the next generation of support - but if they pick Clinton, the Dems would not necessarily get those voters, making it more likely the GOP could make inroads into that demographic. So, if Obama wins the presidency, partially by turning out the youth vote, but the GOP turns around and plays obstructionism, they're potentially further alienating a very desireable demographic. Likewise for other groups; the money quote was (I paraphras) "The GOP is losing in every growing demographic group right now." I think an Obama candidacy will complete the GOP implosion; an HRC nomination will postpone it.

Posted by: bsimon | April 4, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

So 81 percent of Americans think we're on the wrong track, but McCain thinks we should pretty much stay on that track and expects a majority of voters to give him the chance to take charge of the train. Interesting math calculation there.

At least when Cheney meant by "So?" he knew he wouldn't have to answer to the voters again.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/04/us/04poll.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Posted by: Spectator2 | April 4, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Rhandi Rhodes suspended by Air America for slandering HC and Ferraro with vulgar slurs. Its about time. I used to respect these folks and listened to them religiously, but their ugly language needs to stop, it only shows that Dems can be just as mean spirited as the folks they oppose and criticize. Once again, how does this type of vulgarity elevate the message of Sen Obama or his campaign? This same hatefilled speech(not the equivalent of what Rhandi Rhodes said though) has also come from Ed Schultz. Its highly disappointing that either of them should lower themselves to that level in order to make a partisan pitch.

Posted by: leichtman | April 4, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Spec,

In 1989 the Supremes decided to limit cases brought under the 1866 Civil Rights Act, which permitted jury trials, and traditional damages. They decided that Title 7 created not an additional remedy but a replacement remedy, so that once Title 7 had been invoked, a Plaintiff could no longer claim under Sec. 1981 [from 1866].

Many pending cases were blown out by this statutory construction, which came 25 years after everyone was assuming the two statutes stood side-by-side. The Plaintiffs' Bar sought to have Congress clarify that it did want Title 7 and the old CRA remedies to stand side-by-side.

Kennedy carried the legislation, which did indeed look more like the kitchen sink when it passed, and which provided new remedies that caused howls of disbelief in the small business community.

Main Street businesses, not Wall Street, were appalled.

Meanwhile, the bill managed to totally fail to address its original intent, to rectify the perceived injustice to litigants who had prevailed under the law as it was known for more than twenty years only to have the Supremes say that the pre-existing Supreme Court interpretation was wrong and the new interpretation was RETROACTIVE in application.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 4, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

'having been cast as the antichrist in a pantsuit '

you can't dance to that nearly as well as 'devil in a blue dress' -- uh, sorry, just popped into my mind unbidden.

Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I dunno, I think that Pro-Life has a good chance at taking Larry Craig's open Senate seat...

http://think.mtv.com/044FDFFFF0098A06900080098E269/User/Blog/BlogPostDetail.aspx

Posted by: thecrisis | April 4, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I don't know about Dole, I saw her on CSpan last night during the hearing of the Senate Banking Committee, she was stronger than I expected... sounding very populist, really lit into Bernanke. He cringed a lot while he testified. I had heard that she was stumbling in recent appearances, but the brief clip I saw didn't seem that way.

A couple of interesting bits:

'But in response to the same question, Robert Steel, a Treasury under secretary, said that his boss, Mr. Paulson, had said during the negotiations that the price should be low because the deal was being supported by a $30 billion taxpayer loan.'

And the loan is back by the very likely worthless mortgage-backed securities that started the meltdown, so chances are, taxpayers will eat it.

And this disaster will have repercussions for years to come in terms of foreign investment, which we, quite simply, cannot function without as a result of our deep debt. There are fundamental policies which this country has been following that are deeply flawed and must be reversed.

"Our system has many strengths," Mr. Geithner,president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said. "But to be direct about it, I think we've suffered a very damaging blow to confidence in the credibility of our financial system."

Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"do you not think it naively delusional to think that the GOP will seek to reach a' new era of bipartisanship' with ANY democratic adminsitration?"

That remains to be seen. Sen Clinton, having been cast as the antichrist in a pantsuit for the last 15 years, starts in a hole that other Dems do not. I still think Obama will win by a significant margin (which Clinton would not), making it that much more difficult for the GOP to challenge him. If you look at the Reagan victories, his popularity forced the Dems in Congress to work with him. I think that if Clinton is nominated & wins the general, her margin would not be large, so the GOP would not be disincented from challenging her at every turn.

Posted by: bsimon | April 4, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

drindl is absolutely correct. It is delusional to think that folks like Sen John Cornyn will work with any democratic president.

In 2005 they were ready to destroy the 100 year old filibuster with their "nuclear option" then when the Dems took control of the Senate in 2006 by one vote the filibuster and cloture became their best friend. Cornyn will not walk away from the filibuster with either a President Obama or President Clinton and it is naive to believe otherwise.

Posted by: leichtman | April 4, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

bsimon, honestly... do you not think it naively delusional to think that the GOP will seek to reach a' new era of bipartisanship' with ANY democratic adminsitration? C'mon... nothing's changed. You know I support Obama, but I certainly beleive that the R's will do everything in their power to obstruct and throw roadblocks into ANY dem agenda. If anything, they are more determined than ever to jam a con agenda down our throats by any means possible.

Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"Obama's tenure is once again mere rhetoric and empty promises; all hat no cattle."

What a shame then that he will be the nominee and Hillary won't. Deal with it.

Posted by: bondjedi | April 4, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

bsimon, one of the things that the dem base doesn't like about Hillary is the fact that she had, indeed, played nice with republicans in the Senate. She's been very accomodating and worked closely with Senators who are anathema to the left, much like McCain in that way.

It doesn't bother me, all politics is triangulating and horse-trading, but it offends many purists.

Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

leichtman, thanks for the knee jerk response. I don't necessarily think its even Hillary's fault, but I do think its naively delusional to think that the GOP will seek to reach a new era of bipartisanship with another Clinton adminsitration.

Posted by: bsimon | April 4, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

What I know is that it was a bill designed to make it easier for employees to prove job discrimination and imposing harsher penalties on bosses who discriminated.

And I'm sure that as it went along it picked up a lot of lint, as bills seem to do. However, wasn't the cored ideal of it enough that it should have been passed, imperfect as it was?

There are no 'perfect bills' with the Great Divide we have in this country.

Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

The top of the ticket will make a significant difference. An Obama campaign will be a 50-state campaign (not just so he and Dean can say so, but because it makes strategic sense for Obama.) A Hillary campagn will focus on a handful of large states like Ohio and Florida and will leave candidates in other states to shift for themselves. Congressional and Senate candidates in states like CO, VA, TX, LA, NC, AZ, NM, and a number of red/purple states will have much tougher sledding with Hillary than with Obama simply because there will be no Democratic presidential effort in their states. Just look at who among the Superdelegates are out front supporting Obama: Red/purple state Congressionals in at-risk districts.

Posted by: Stonecreek | April 4, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

donjaime37:

So what happens when the Sawx are playing in the postseason in October? :)

Just checked out RCP -- their latest numbers on Collins:Allen is 54:31. Allen's got a lot of work to do.

Posted by: mnteng | April 4, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Maine is as winnable for the Democrats as they would like to think. Remember, if Obama is the nominee, Collins essentially personifies Obama's message. Collins is not viewed as a partisan politician. She's a well-regarded moderate who has good relationships with both sides of the aisle. Isn't that what Obama's "new politics" supposed to be about?

I think North Carolina is the sleeper of the race. Dole is quite vulnerable, and North Carolina could go the way of Virginia in that it could turn blue if Obama's the nominee. The Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte areas have loads of affluent voters and university students that could give Dole and McCain a run for their money.

Posted by: theseventen | April 4, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Is this the bill in question? McCain might have some splainin to do.

http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/cra91.html

Posted by: Spectator2 | April 4, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Maine might be slipping on the Line in April, but people up there are more focused on the Red Sox' new season than a senatorial race right now. Allen is a great candidate and if he can convince people Collins=Bush, he will win.

Posted by: donjaime37 | April 4, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

bsimon: "Though my perception is that HRC would have a very hard time working with an opposition congress"

Interesting you should post that since HC has already worked with Linsey Graham to extend tricare to reserves and increase rural healthcare; Lott to try and get stem cell funding passed; and with McCain towards immigration reform. Robt Byrd has even praised her tenure in the US Senate as being both bipartisan and knowledgable showing leadership skills that I have yet to even hear from those who have endorsed Sen Obama. Obama's tenure is once again mere rhetoric and empty promises; all hat no cattle.

Sorry I trust the dean of the Senate's judgment over your partisan spin.

Posted by: leichtman | April 4, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Chris, another anecdotal story in the same vein as last week's entry on the NJ Senate race. In MN, the GOP is looking for a candidate to challenge long-serving DFLer Jim Oberstar, in the 8th. Here's what a star tribune blog has on the subject:

"What if a political party held a convention and its designated congressional candidate passed on making his candidacy public?

It happened last Saturday in the Eighth Congressional District, where party bigwigs were prepared to bestow their endosement on a candidate to take on Rep. Jim Oberstar but held off "because he chose not to announce," said Justin Krych, assistant district party chair. "He just wasn't ready to pull the trigger." "

http://ww3.startribune.com/bigquestionblog/?p=978

Posted by: bsimon | April 4, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

What Schumer is saying is that he's about to engineer some serious payback for the way the GOP has run the country in the ground this past decade.

Obama will be prez, and Schumer will be Senate Majority leader, undoing the damage done by the idiot Republicans.

OBAMA '08! OBAMA '08!

Posted by: TheTruth | April 4, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

JD asks
"Mark, you think that's because all are sitting senators? Or due to their general philosophy about governing?"

My answer would be on philosophical grounds. Though my perception is that HRC would have a very hard time working with an opposition congress. She might play better with Congress than GWB, but not to the same degree as McCain or Obama, in my opinion.

Posted by: bsimon | April 4, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

You have no idea what is in the Federal Civil Rights package of 1990, do you?

I supported it, and I think it was, as usual, an imperfect bill, but I will bet you do not know what it even covers.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 4, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

light_bearer writes
"I wonder how well Norm Coleman is doing at creating yet another identity for himself. In 2002 he touted himself as someone who could get more for Minnesota specifically because of his oily obsequiousness to then popular President Bush."

That's the strategy, of course. Bob Collins (of MPR) wrote a bit about Norm's new ad that broaches the subject of 'tone'. The expectation is that Franken will be portrayed as an angry, wild-haired liberal, so Norm can paint himself as a moderate centrist. Will the voters buy it? My guess is no.

Posted by: bsimon | April 4, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

makr,
'still opposed to another federal holiday'? what about lincoln's birthday, he opposed to that, too? i mean, seriously, why? how does it hurt the nation to honor one of its great leaders?

and mccain voted FOUR TIMES against the civil rights in 1990-- not that long ago. what is his excuse for that?

Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

In 1983, McCain voted against passing a bill to designate the third Monday of every January as a federal holiday in honor of King. Four years later, then-Arizona Governor Evan Mecham rescinded Martin Luther King Day as a state holiday, saying it had been established through an illegal executive order by his Democratic predecessor.

McCain's viewpoint began to change, gradually. In 1989, he urged lawmakers to make Martin Luther King Jr. day a state holiday, but said he was "still opposed to another federal holiday."

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 4, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

yes leichtman, i just posted that:

But like most, Republicans, McCain was against Dr. King before he was for him. McCain voted against a federal holiday recognizing MLK in 1983, and unbeleivably, voted AGAINST the Civil Rights Bill in 1990.

Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"McCain needs to start running away from Bush even harder than he is now. "

He's running to him and away from him at the same time, Judge, depending on the audience. It must be hard to keep track. Last week he said to a con group that 'no one has supported President Bush on Iraq more than I have."

He is exactly like Bush. He will not change a whit on Iraq, no matter how the situation on the ground changes. He has this idea in his head, this fixe, that this occupation/civil war/clusterf*ck is somehow like WW2, that Iraq is somehow like Gemany, even though their histories and culture are wildly dissimilar. He doesn't get it.

Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

mark I heard last night that McCain actually opposed the MLK holiday. Need to meet a client in a few minutes, but will research your post later.

Posted by: leichtman | April 4, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

FairlingtonBlade, yes, that's right. The VA R's chose the convention route to thwart Davis. But I don't get the sense that the activist R base that dominates conventions has a lot of love for Gilmore. He's conservative enough, but he's also sort of damaged and sort of a throwback. My gut feeling (and I'd be happy to get the feedback of JD and dave and other VA R's) is that Bob Marshall, a sort of maverick but arch-conservative state delegate from Prince William, will win. And then of course lose by 30 points or more in November.

Posted by: novamatt | April 4, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

My last post before work intervenes -

JD, in the southwest, McC will surely hold his own among hispanic voters - not win a majority, but keep it from being a reliably D voting bloc.

drindl - McC has had the courage to own up to his early votes, and he stumped for approval of the MLK Holiday in AZ when AZ's Gov. opposed it in the 90s. He has often said his 2000 comment supporting the flying of stars-and-bars in SC was cowardly. Candor and the ability to admit he was wrong mark him as different and better than many in public office.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 4, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

All three candidates will play better with Congress than GWB...

by M in A

Mark, you think that's because all are sitting senators? Or due to their general philosophy about governing?

Posted by: JD | April 4, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

mark yesterday we learned from jerold that"
"Nubby sees it clearly. Obama's appeal to actual Americans, the kind who have jobs"
that Obama supporters are "Actual Americans who Have Jobs" and from nrly34 that HC are "Uneducated".

Apparently their strategy is to constantly slur and antagonize their opponent and her supporters with the mantra of that is how we bring this country together.

I appreciate the link you posted showing media bias from folks like Lou Dobbs its too bad they didn't also mention the nightly rants from Keith Olberman which usually start out saying things like day 24 why I think HC is dispicable. I am fed up with this hate mongering that parades around like it represents serious news reporting and a sense of bringing this country together. I am waiting to hear a story about the divisive Obama campaign, its unlikely from this group of reporters. IF Sen Obama should outmuscle HC for the nomination by slamming Fla, Michigan and the HC supporters I am guessing that the media will then turn on Sen Obama in a heartbeat.

Personally even with the low poll numbers for Cornyn, Noreiga has almost 0 name id statewide here in Texas which would take at least $5 million just to establish name id. IF Obama is at the top of the ticket I see very little chance for Noreiga unless Obama should win 40 states, highly unlikely. I still see the general election as either 55-45 for Obama or 55-45 for McCain in another Dukakas/McGovern type of fiasco. It will turn on whether this love fest with Obama continues and whether Sen Obama's campaign gives a durn anout the 13 million HC supporters. Since there is zero indication that either the candidate or anyone of his supporters intend to do that, I see millions of those HC supporters sitting on their hands in Nov which will be utter disaster for our state legislature, Harris Cty judges, and Noreiga. The analogy would be letting the air out of the March 4 balloon and having primarily the Obama supporters show up in Nov. Things can change, but nothing I have read here over the last 3 weeks indicates to me that will happen.

Posted by: leichtman | April 4, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Any thoughts on the political fallout of the 81% wrong track number in the NY Times/CBS poll out this morning? http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/04/us/04poll.html The 28% approval for Bush? Has anyone seen any (non-anecdotal) evidence that Congressional D's are being blamed for this dissatisfaction?

To me, everything is pointing towards a perfect storm for the D's, the sort that will have long-term consquences. I'm trying to temper my glee, but there's not a lot of counter-evidence to hang on to. Help me out here. What is the good news for McCain, for the Senate and House Republicans that I'm ignoring?

Posted by: novamatt | April 4, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Novamatt - I thought that the VA Republicans are selecting their nominee by convention, not a primary. That's the reason I recall Tom Davis chose not to run. He's a big loss for N. Va. That much having been said, the election becomes even more important for this neck of the woods. I don't think Gilmore would be inclined to do any favors for us immigrants.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | April 4, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

It's your morning threadjack:

Any of you who think McCain is serious about addressing climate change are dead wrong. He is in tight with the AEI and many of its board members -- neocons like Kagan, Bolton and Kristol are his closest advisors. Like much else of his campaign rhetoric, his talk on climate is cover and window dressing for the truth -- his utter obeisance to corporate profits at the expense of human lives. If McCain wins, the AEI will dictate government policy, at the expense of American citizens.

"Kenneth P. Green of the American Enterprise Instute (AEI) graced yesterday's Washington Post opinion pages with a piece entitled "It's Not Easy Being Green."

Green claimed the differences between the global warming plans of the presidential candidates are questions "about stringency and method" -- "stringency" being Green's scare-word for doing what science says is necessary to avoid climate catastrophe. Throughout the piece Green reiterates the tired claim that solving global warming means choosing between the environment and the economy, saying:

The eternal tension of environment vs. economy has been largely pooh-poohed by environmentalists in recent years of high-flying economic performance, but it will not be as easily waved away with the U.S. standing at the threshold of a recession and with the U.S. automotive sector in serious competitive trouble.

The only thing "green" about Kenneth Green is his name. In 2007, he offered scientists and economists $10,000 each on behalf of AEI, "to undermine a major climate change report" from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

AEI is part of the Exxon machine. Lee Raymond, the ExxonMobil CEO who received a $400 million golden parachute upon retirement in 2005, is on the AEI board of trustees. AEI has received $1,870,000 in funding from Exxon since 1998, and its fellows include Dick Cheney's wife Lynne, torture advocate John Yoo, and neoconservative architects of the Iraq war like John Bolton, Richard Perle, Fred Kagan, and Paul Wolfowitz."

Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Schumer has a good point based on how the winds appear to be blowing: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/03/us/03cnd-poll.html?_r=1&ex=1364961600&en=d7122b4380f1a5f7&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&oref=slogin

"The trend lines aren't good for Republicans here" or anywhere else for that matter.

McCain needs to start running away from Bush even harder than he is now. Some new ideas on Iraq would be a start.

Posted by: judgeccrater | April 4, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

sqe1,

There is surely some truth to what you say, but life and America are more complex than that. Here in TX, BHO won big in the Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Austin metros, and if you look at the maps, the media broadcast and circulation range of those cities. HRC won big in the SA, EP, and CC metros, and in the RGV.

I actually think that HRC brings out more Ds some places, although she would turn off much of the huge younger vote in my home town.

It is so mixed that I would pose that BHO helps down ticket in some areas while HRC helps in others, and that total D turnout might not be as energized in the GE as it was in the primaries!

To "WhyVote", I think it is important to maintain some aesthetic distance. The GWB Admin is an aberration in its unwillingness to even regard Congress as an equal or to "play by the rules." All three candidates will play better with Congress than GWB.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 4, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

The top of the ticket will have a lot to do with who voters pick on the down ticket.

Posted by: sque1 | April 4, 2008 09:32 AM

So true. The problem for the Dems is, how do they bring their voters out en masse when either side will feel it's been stolen from them, regardless.

I honestly don't see that happening by Nov. The GOP candidate is the mildest possible choice (using the mind of a Dem to rank them), so there's little motivation there. If HRC wins, Obama-maniacs will cry bloody murder (with some justification). If Obama wins, HRCers will feel that their coronation was usurped by someone who hadn't put in their dues.

Because the disaffected will likely stay home before they vote McCain, the top will drive down a lot of turnout on the lefty side, at least, in states that matter.

Posted by: JD | April 4, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Today, John McCain is scheduled to speak in Memphis on the 40th Anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

But like most, Republicans, McCain was against Dr. King before he was for him. McCain voted against a federal holiday recognizing MLK in 1983, and unbeleivably, voted AGAINST the Civil Rights Bill in 1990.

His flipflopping and hypocrisy on civil rights is typical of his voting history. Don't be fooled, people, he's no moderate. He represents the discredited racist past, not the future that we can make for ourselves if we choose to listen to our better angels.


Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Harlemboy,
As of Monday Crowley had decided not to run and the guy Unanue who they found to take his place turned out to be a joker at best. I think Lautenberg is safe for now but I wouldn't be suprised if someone in his own party is eyeing his job next cycle.

Posted by: AndyR3 | April 4, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

The top of the ticket will have a lot to do with who voters pick on the down ticket.
If it is Hillary the dems won't pick up that many seats in the house or sentate because just like Bill people don't trust her. If it is Obama all the new voters will vote dem all the way. All the new voters will not be there if dems decide on Hillary because what they really want is change and they don't see that in Hillary.

Posted by: sque1 | April 4, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

His comments ring true....

Which is precisely why Barack, Hillary or McCain will get NOTHING accomplished... even by "Reaching across the isle"

It's all BS and everyone knows it. Their call for change is as empty as the next persons because this country is in a political deadlock due to the engrained 2-party system.

Whoever wins, there is sufficient resistance already on both sides to make any meaningful progress possible for the next 2+ terms.

Posted by: WhyVoteForNothing | April 4, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Andrews may have a chance -- but only because of Lautenberg's age. He's too far right for most of NJ, not as bad as a say, Lieberman, but still not all that well liked.

Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Contemporåry republicans are anathema to good government -- let us hope they get slaughtered in November. They are anathema even to human decency. Many members of this administrations are guilty of crimes which in more enlightened countries would be cause for imprisonment or execution. To willfully endanger the lives of tens of thousands of people, at the behest of a corporate donor, is heinous -- yet this administration does it every single day:

'USA Today and the Washington Post lead with yesterday's congressional hearing where federal safety inspectors told lawmakers that they were repeatedly prevented from reporting safety problems with Southwest Airlines planes. The inspectors said that when they tried to take further action, they were often harassed and threatened by senior Federal Aviation Administration officials. A number of officials testified that problems with Southwest planes were more extensive than had been previously revealed and that the agency had allowed the airline to continue flying planes with safety problems. The whistleblowers and lawmakers criticized the FAA for treating airlines as "customers" rather than companies that need to be regulated."

Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

The situation changed dramatically in New Jersey this week. Centrist Democratic Congressman Rob Andrews from south Jersey announced this week that he's running in the June primary against 84-year-old incumbent Senator Frank Lautenberg, whose approval ratings are weak. In addition, the Republicans appear to have caught a break now that wealthy business executive John Crowley is close to running for their nomination. Crowley was recruited by John McCain and other Senate Republicans.

If Lautenberg survives the primary challenge, he might be vulnerable in November, especially because of his age.

Posted by: harlemboy | April 4, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Mark, I'd agree except for that low-40s approval rating Cornyn got late last year, and the turnout projections I've been seeing (as high as 80%) could make a hash of what we intuit. This is a weird political climate, Texas is a weird state (and I mean that in a good way), and Cornyn is not a great candidate. So, interesting.

When was the last time Texas had a real barn-burner of a two-candidate statewide election? Was it Ann Richards/George W in '94? How long did that race gestate for before it got hot?

AndyR3, I'm falling behind on the news. I saw late last week that the NJ R's had found another self-funder, John Crowley, who some thought could be a decent challenger. But it looks like Monday he decided against running. So, you're right, NJ is back to safe D. That makes about a half-dozen theoretically vulnerable D seats that the R's didn't find a credible challenger for. Too bad for them, huh.

Posted by: novamatt | April 4, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Novamatt, NJ is out for sure. The GOP challenger is a joke and not even a NJ resident. But I agree that NC is going to be very interesting.
The DSCC is going to have tons of money to spend and races like Snowe in Maine will be relativily cheap leaving plenty for the longer shots like NC. Once the Democratic primary is done then we will see how Dole looks in the polls. I think this one might be the shocker of the group, and I definilty think the Dems have a better chance here then say in KY, especially if Obama is the nominee.

Posted by: AndyR3 | April 4, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

novamatt,

I keep asking here and around TX for views of the Senate race. I have not seen any polling for months. I have the impression that few know about it.

As appealing as Rick Noriega's life story is, it does not seem to be known.

As of now, TX should not be considered "interesting", I think.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 4, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Those look about right to me. Some random thoughts:

1. What a disappointment Maine is. Cycle after cycle, Snowe and Collins easily beat back any kind of challenger. Really think the D's best chances for those seats will be after November, if they have 56-60 seats and can persuade the ladies from Maine to cross the aisle. And that's just wishful thinking.

2. Pearce will be the R nominee in NM. There seems to be a lot of resistance to Wilson among grassroots NM R's, and it probably doesn't matter to them that she would be the stronger GE candidate. Of course, this is a recurring theme among R's of late.

3. I still maintain that Bob Marshall will defeat Jim Gilmore in the VA R primary. This is like the play-in game to take on the #1 seed, but there you have it.

4. What's awesome about this cycle is how many interesting races there are beyond these 10. Just off the top of my head, NJ, NC, MS, OK, TX, and SD could still potentially change hands, and a half-dozen more merit at least some attention.

5. Is it too early to look ahead to '10? I'm seeing some juicy potential for turnover in that cycle too, maybe more than this one.

Posted by: novamatt | April 4, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

schumer sold out Isreal by supporting the enemies of isreal, he sold out new york in oh so many ways and he sold out his country with his liberal hate.

Posted by: DwightHCollins | April 4, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

I've been in Korea and not getting local news, so I wonder how well Norm Coleman is doing at creating yet another identity for himself. In 2002 he touted himself as someone who could get more for Minnesota specifically because of his oily obsequiousness to then popular President Bush.

Posted by: light_bearer | April 4, 2008 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Interesting list, though I'd move up Minnesota and New Hampshire. The overall political dynamics look similar to 2006, which was a rough year for moderate Republicans in blue states. Minnesota's quirky politics also seem friendly to Franken.

Here's a potential new one for the list: Connecticut. Lieberman's move to the right might make him a better fit on the other side of the aisle. Once the Democrats don't need that independent vote to hold a majority, his value and committee status will drop. Unlikely, perhaps, but possible.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | April 4, 2008 7:21 AM | Report abuse

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