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The Line: A Few Bright Spots For GOP in Gov. Rankings

Since The Fix is heading off for a nine-day campaign excursion through the Ohio River Valley, let's skip the niceties and get right to what you came for: The latest rankings of the most-competitive governors' races in the country

2006 Election -- Interactive Map
Interactive Campaign Map: More Election Data and Analysis.

As always, the No. 1 race below is the one most likely to switch parties this fall. Use the comments section at the end of the post to keep the conversation going.

To the Line!

15. Alaska: Former Wasila Mayor Sarah Palin's victory in last month's Republican primary has turned this race on its head. What once looked like one of Democrats' strongest chances for a pick-up is fading as internal Republican polling confirms a recent public poll that shows Palin with a double-digit lead over former Gov. Tony Knowles (D). Knowles is the best candidate Democrats could have recruited, but without unpopular Gov. Frank Murkowski (R) to run against, Knowles faces an uphill race. (Previous ranking: 12)

Candidate Profiles/Links: Knowles, Palin | Alaska Political Profile

14. Illinois: We have long believed that this race has the potential to be extremely competitive if state Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka (R) can find a way to raise enough money to make ethical questions surrounding Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) the centerpiece of the campaign. A new independent poll, however, shows Blagojevich with a 30-point lead. Topinka's biggest problem? Forty-four percent of the sample said Blagojevich would do a better job eliminating corruption from state government, compared with just 27 percent who chose Topinka. (Previous ranking: 14)

Candidate Profiles/Links: Blagojevich, Topinka | Illinois Political Profile

13. Nevada: A new independent poll shows Rep. Jim Gibbons (R) with an 8-point edge over state Sen. Dina Titus (D). Gibbons is also on television with 15-second ads calling his opponent "Dina Taxes," and Republicans are feeling better and better about the race. A sidenote: We love the nicknaming of candidates by their political opponents. Who could forget Stan "Taxsunaka" in Colorado's 4th congressional district race a few years back? (Previous ranking: 13)

Candidate Profiles/Links: Gibbons, Titus | Nevada Political Profile

12. Minnesota: Although we tend to think Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is in decent shape, public and private polling continues to show him running neck and neck with state Attorney General Mike Hatch (D). Pawlenty has been running a series of quirky television ads that paint him as a problem-solver while casting Hatch as a roadblock. Minnesota seems likely to be decidedly blue on Election Day, which complicates Pawlenty's chances. If he wins, watch for Pawlenty to be immediately included in the 2008 GOP vice presidential pool. (Previous ranking: 15)

Candidate Profiles/Links: Hatch, Pawlenty | Minnesota Political Profile

11. Maine: The Republican Governors Association continues to build state Sen. Chandler Woodcock's (R) name recognition with positive ads -- allowing him to conserve the $400,000 in public financing he accepted for the general election. Gov. John Baldacci (D) is not playing within the public financing system -- a seeming advantage -- but if he exceeds $400,000 in spending the state provides more matching funds not only for Woodcock but also for the Green and independent candidates. The more fractured the vote, the better Woodcock's chances of slipping into the governor's mansion. One historical note in Baldacci's favor -- Mainers haven't voted out an incumbent governor since 1966. (Previous ranking: 10)

Candidate Profiles/Links: Baldacci, Woodcock | Maine Political Profile

10. Rhode Island: GOP Sen. Lincoln Chafee's victory in the Sept. 12 primary should offer some hope to Gov. Don Carcieri (R). Chafee -- with the help of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican National Committee -- was able to identify and turn out independent voters open to his moderate message. The more Republican-leaning independents who turn out this fall, the better Carcieri's chances for defeating Lt. Gov. Charlie Fogarty (D). Due to Rhode Island's Democratic nature and the strong Democratic winds blowing in the country, however, Carcieri has very little margin for error. (Previous ranking: 9)

Candidate Profiles/Links: Carcieri, Fogarty | Rhode Island Political Profile

9. Wisconsin: After dropping this race to No. 11 in our last Line, we heard quite a bit of grumbling from Republicans who insist that Gov. Jim Doyle (D) is far from out of the woods. National Republicans continue to bash Doyle over his alleged ethical transgressions (a new RGA ad takes him to task for the guilty plea conviction of an aide accused of rigging bids for state travel contracts). Recent polling suggests, however, that Doyle is weathering the storm. He had a 9-point lead in a recent independent poll and, as importantly, 51 percent felt favorably toward him compared with 37 percent who felt unfavorably. (Previous ranking: 11)

Candidate Profiles/Links: Doyle, Green | Wisconsin Political Profile

8. Maryland: Over the past month or so, Republicans have grown increasingly optimistic about Gov. Bob Ehrlich's (R) chances of winning reelection. Ehrlich has flooded the airwaves with ads touting his willingness to cross party lines to accomplish things for the state. There's more where that came from. At the end of August Ehrlich had $8.35 million to spend on the race while Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley (D) had just $3.84 million. The state clearly leans Democratic, but O'Malley must find a way to match Ehrlich's money and message machine. (Previous ranking: 7)

Candidate Profiles/Links: Ehrlich, O'Malley | Maryland Political Profile

7. Michigan: A new EPIC/MRA poll paints a perplexing picture of the race between Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) and businessman Dick DeVos (R). Granholm leads DeVos by 8 points in the ballot test and is at 50 percent. But only 38 percent of that same sample said Granholm was doing an "excellent/good" job while 60 percent rated her job performance as "fair/poor." Read one way, voters have decided that even though they don't like the job Granholm is doing, they also don't think DeVos could do any better. Read another, voters are ready to fire Granholm and just need to hear a credible message of change out of DeVos. (Previous ranking: 8)

Candidate Profiles/Links: DeVos, Granholm | Michigan Political Profile

6. Iowa: Polls galore! Over the past week at least three polls have been released in this race showing a variety of results -- Secretary of State Chet Culver (D) in the lead, Rep. Jim Nussle (R) ahead or the two men knotted in a tie. It's this third option we believe gets the closest to the truth, although it wouldn't shock us if Culver was ahead by a point or two at the moment. Nussle's campaign and an anti-Culver 527 are attacking the Democrat for his economic plan. We'll be interested to see whether this double-barreled attack moves numbers. (Previous ranking: 6)

Candidate Profiles/Links: Culver, Nussle | Iowa Political Profile

5. Massachusetts: Massachusetts Democrats are headed to the polls today to pick a nominee to face Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey (R). As we noted before, Republicans are most worried about Chris Gabrieli winning the nomination, so it should have come as little surprise that Healey went up with ads attacking him in the days leading up to today's vote. Polling seems to show the race has come down to Gabrieli and former deputy U.S. Attorney General Deval Patrick, but state Attorney General Tom Reilly has been very aggressive in the race's final days. If Gabrieli is the nominee, this race will move further up the Line. If Patrick or Reilly wins, Healey has a shot. (Previous ranking: 3)

Candidate Profiles/Links: Democrats, Healey | Massachusetts Political Profile

4. Arkansas: While former Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R) is finally on television, he may have waited too long. State Attorney General Mike Beebe (D) holds a lead in polling and is positioned to outspend Hutchinson in the race's final 49 days. Much of the South has grown more Republican over the last few elections, but Arkansas has gone in the opposite direction. Rep. Mike Ross (D) defeated a Republican incumbent in 2000 and Sen. Mark Pryor (D) did the same in 2002. It looks like Beebe will add to the Democrats' winning streak. (Previous ranking: 5)

Candidate Profiles/Links: Beebe, Hutchinson | Arkansas Political Profile

3. Colorado: No race has gone south quicker for Republicans than this one. What once looked like a toss-up between former Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter (D) and Rep. Bob Beauprez (R) has turned into a very tough hold for Republicans. Beauprez is now on television with 15-second ads that feature him talking to the camera in a conversational tone about issues like immigration and education. While Beauprez is a talented television communicator, it may not be enough. (Previous ranking: 4)

Candidate Profiles/Links: Beauprez, Ritter | Colorado Political Profile

2. Ohio: Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R) seems unable to produce any real momentum in this race against Rep. Ted Strickland (D). He is on television attacking Strickland for supporting tax increases, labeling him "Taxin" Ted Strickland. But given the current anti-Republican sentiment both in the state and nationally, that message does not appear to be resonating. Barring a catastrophic mistake by Strickland, he will be the first Democrat elected governor in Ohio since Dick Celeste, who served from 1982 to 1990. (Previous ranking: 2)

Candidate Profiles/Links: Blackwell, Strickland | Ohio Political Profile

1. New York: State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer far outperformed our prediction for last week's Democratic primary, winning with 81 percent over Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi. Now the question is: Can Spitzer show us up again by winning better than 63 percent of the vote this fall against former state Assemblyman John Faso (R)? (Previous ranking: 1)

Candidate Profiles/Links: Faso, Spitzer | New York Political Profile

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 19, 2006; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Governors , The Line  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Maryland Senate: Can the GOP Win With Steele?
Next: Primary Primer: Races to Watch in Mass. and Hawaii


I was shocked not to see Oregon on this list at all! The latest polls shows R. Saxton and D. Kulongoski tied. Saxton is moderate and Kulongoski is unpopular. Oregon is a Dem. state in what appears to be a dem. year. However, Saxton could win that one. It should be a tough race until the end. It seems that you missed that one, Chris. Another race that is widely entertaining is the Texas governor's race. Poor o' Chris Bell has been massively overshawdowed. It looks like Strayhorn's campain is competing against Bell for votes, and is losing. Although neither can mount a really credible campaign. That leaves the unpopular incumbent Perry and Kinky Friendman. Surprisingly, Friedman is the candidate who appears to be gaining steam. What an upset that would be. The ultimate backlash against Bush...his own lt. governor lose the governor's mansion in Texas to an independent candidate named Kinky. This could actually happen, folks. Who else gives Kinky a shot?!

"If he wins, watch for Pawlenty to be immediately included in the 2008 GOP vice presidential pool." I have said since early this year that a McCain/Pawlentry ticket would be great. A Vietnam war veteran who is strong on national defense with a CEO type candidate (Pawlentry) who can balance a budget and live within means that's actually produced. That's a team we haven't had in Washington D.C. long? Pawlentry will excite the conservative base, which McCain lacks. McCain will get conservative democrats and independents to the polls. Great campaign team that I believe would be great policymakes for our nation!

Posted by: reason | September 21, 2006 12:37 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Zathras and rkb that the debates in MI will be the crucial events in the race. Governor Granholm comes across much better than DeVos and will hit him on the many issues that he has dodged. he actually has claimed on more than one issue that he won't decide a position until after the election.

Today he just came out in favor of intelligent design as part of classroom curriculum. Another sign of him forcing his views on the state. The debates will be a great forum for the voters to see this.

Posted by: Jason | September 20, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

P.S. Enjoy the Ohio Valley! If you're in Cincy, get some Graeter's ice cream. There's none better!

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | September 20, 2006 5:45 AM | Report abuse

Pawlenty for VP??? Care to explain why? I'm sure Karen/Tina/Slim Pearl in Girls would much rather have Condoleeza. He's not known nationally at all, I don't think he's even done anything in particular to distinguish himself in MN. Would VP be his reward for heeding Dick Cheney's order to switch from the Senate to Governor's race in 2002?

Speaking of Dick Celeste, his brother Ted who mounted a weak challenge to Mike DeWine in 2000 is challenging a Republican state rep. in Franklin County (Columbus) in one of the state's biggest legislative races. Some of us have talked about state legislatures before here, and Dems are poised to make gains in the Ohio General Assembly. The right-wing Columbus Dispatch recently reported that three Republican state senators are tied with or trailing their Democratic challengers. While 3 may not sound like a lot, the Ohio Senate has only 33 seats, half of which are up every two years. If Dems gain 3 seats this year and 3 more in 2008, they'll return to the majority for the first time since 1984.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | September 20, 2006 5:42 AM | Report abuse

"Where is California" asks rtaycher1987.

I'm a classic bay-area California liberal who also spends a lot of time in Hawaii. Both states have had Democrat-filled legislatures for too long, which has resulted in Republican governors who hold positions that are actually rather liberal. I have my issues with Lingle and Schwarzenegger, but they're both pretty reasonable. And, the democratic opponents have been so far out that they scare me.

In California this coiuld possibly implode because the governor is so liberal - tune into a talk-radio station to hear all the complaining - but so far the middle is still strong for Arnold.

California is vying with Texas as the poster-child for the need of redistricting by an impartial panel.

Posted by: Keith | September 19, 2006 10:20 AM

Neither governors are that liberal, moderate at best. There is a huge difference beetween HI an CA GOV races. In HI the candidate is unknown with no money, in CA you have a decent challenger wounded by a bad primary, also Lingle is popular while the terminator is mildly unpopular(se SUSA polls)

Posted by: rtaycher1987 | September 19, 2006 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for fixing a couple of your errors re Wisconsin -- and you're right that the race is tightening, I think -- but you continue to buy into the "truthiness" of the GOP line on the travelgate story, despite clarifications by others.

The woman was not a Doyle aide -- unless all the thousands upon thousands of us who are state employes are all aides, even if we never met the man. As stated above by others, she was a state employe appointed under a GOP governor well before Doyle, and she was several steps removed from the governor's office in the state hierarchy.

There was no evidence given in the case that she got any directives, or even hints, from Doyle or any of his aides to do what she did -- and I suspect that she may win an appeal of the conviction on what she did.

I thought better of your column than to get so many things wrong in a single sentence.

Posted by: G.G. McB. | September 19, 2006 7:05 PM | Report abuse

George W. Bush's grandfather helped finance the Nazi Party. Karl Rove's grandfather helped run the Nazi Party, and helped build the Birkenau Death Camp.

The Bush family ties to the Nazi party are well known. In their 1994 Secret War Against the Jews, Mark Aarons and John Loftus use official US documents to establish that George Herbert Walker, George W. Bush's maternal great-grandfather, was one of Hitler's most important early backers. He funneled money to the rising young fascist through the Union Banking Corporation.

In 1926, Walker arranged to have his new son-in-law, Prescott Bush---father of President George Bush I, grandfather of George Bush II---hired as Vice President at W.A. Harriman and Company. Prescott became a senior partner when Harriman merged with a British-American investment company to become Brown Brothers Harriman. In 1934 Prescott Bush joined the Board of Directors of Union Banking.

The bank helped Hitler rise to power. It also helped him wage war. As late as July 31, 1941---well after the Nazi invasion of Poland---the U.S. government froze $3 million in Union Banking assets linked to Fritz Thyssen. Thyssen was noted in the American press as a "German industrialist and original backer of Adolph Hitler."

Loftus writes that Thyssen's "American friends in New York City [were] Prescott Bush and Herbert Walker, the father and father-in-law of a future President of the United States." That would be the current president's father, George Herbert Walker Bush, also the former CIA director.

On October 20, 1942, the U.S. government ordered the seizure of Nazi Germany's banking operations in New York City, which were under the direction of Prescott Bush. The government seized control of Union Banking Corporation under the Trading with the Enemy Act. The liquidation yielded a reported $750,000 apiece for Prescott Bush and George Herbert Walker. The book, The Splendid Blonde Beast: Money, Law and Genocide, goes into exhaustive detail on Bush-Harriman Nazi money laundering. More recently, Michael Kranish covers the same Bush-Nazi relationships in The Rise of the Bush Family Dynasty published in the Boston Globe. Loftus documents that "Prescott Bush knowingly served as a money launderer for the Nazis. Remember that Union Bank's books and accounts were frozen by the U.S. Alien Property Custodian in 1942 and not released back to the Bush family until 1951."

--why torture is no big deal for bush. Family history.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

oh man, what we've got to look forward to in November. This was so bad that even the winners are challenging it. But of course, they're Dems:

'Congressional candidate Donna Edwards announced plans yesterday to file a lawsuit over apparent voting irregularities in Tuesday's primary election in Prince George's County, while defeated county executive challenger Rushern L. Baker III demanded an independent investigation of the process.

The separate announcements signaled that Tuesday's voting, a flawed process by many accounts, may not conclude the close primary contests for a seat in Congress and the county executive's office. The election itself was "horrendous," the Prince George's elections administrator said yesterday. And the victorious Democratic county executive candidate, incumbent Jack B. Johnson, said it warranted investigation.

"The integrity of the election is at stake," said Edwards, who ran against Rep. Albert R. Wynn in the 4th District Democratic primary and is waiting for the race to be decided when provisional ballots are counted next week in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

Jonathan S. Shurberg, a lawyer working with Edwards, said they will ask a judge to take possession of voting machine memory cards in two, possibly three, precincts in Chillum. The request will be made either in Prince George's Circuit Court in Upper Marlboro or U.S. District Court in Greenbelt over the next several days.

Edwards said her legal complaint will focus on the security of voting machines that contained voting cards and were not delivered to the county Board of Elections until late Wednesday. "When we read reports about how easy it is to hack into these machines, there has to be concern," Edwards said.
"We're not doing this for the campaign," Perry said. "We're doing this as a duty. Voters have been disenfranchised."
The county's interim election administrator, Robert J. Antonetti Sr., acknowledged yesterday that the primary was the most troubled election he has overseen during 34 years in the field. "This was horrendous," Antonetti said.

Posted by: drindl | September 19, 2006 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Zathras: Thanks for the info. This will make me watch Texas more than I would have, if you or anyone has info on any other state having a Jewish Gov., I am aware of the House and Senate but not states other than Mass. Thinking back to JFK and his breaking the POTUS Catholic for the first time is very appealling to me, since he was my first vote for POTUS and I am not Cat, Jew, Mor, Mus, but Babtist.

Posted by: lylepink | September 19, 2006 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I didn't go through all of these postings so someone might have already stated something to this effect, but if thats so then let me second it: As someone from Massachusetts, I can honestly say Kerry Healey has no chance no matter who wins the primary. She is a wooden multimillionnairess republican who a) is running in a very hostile environement to republicans b) has far less charisma than any of her opponents and c) is following in the footsteps of yet another republican governor who used Massachusetts as a stepping stone to higher office. In the past MA has had a slight preference for republican governors because they tend to be moderate in a state where so many are very liberal. But George Bush has successfully squashed that "moderate" feeling out of just about everyone in the state. The only person who can't beat Kerry Healey is Christy Mihos, the independent candidate.

Posted by: CM | September 19, 2006 5:17 PM | Report abuse

From the Providence Journal website on the Brown University poll rreleased today:

Governor's race

The poll also shows Republican Governor Carcieri well ahead of his Democratic challenger, Lt. Gov. Charles Fogarty. Carcieri now leads Fogarty with 50 percent of likely voters supporting him to 38 percent supporting Fogarty, up from a 44 percent to 39 percent Carcieri lead in a June poll.

LSterling has a good take on it above, but Number 10 on The Fix list may be too high. Carcieri hasn't really alienated Rhode Islanders. Alienating state employees gets politcians point in many states. RI may be one. Fogarty's running a "reform" campaign against somebody who is not accused of doing anything illegal, unethical or immoral. It will take an anti-Bush wave to beat Carcieri.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

In Your Name:

Diaz, sensing that something was wrong, lifted Jamadi's hood. His face was badly bruised. Diaz placed a finger in front of Jamadi's open eyes, which didn't move or blink, and deduced that he was dead. When the men lowered Jamadi to the floor, Frost told investigators, "blood came gushing out of his nose and mouth, as if a faucet had been turned on."

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2006 4:04 PM | Report abuse

What bush means by' clarifying' Geneva -- he wants to keep doing this sort of thing, without it being called torture:

'Mark Swanner, a forty-six-year-old C.I.A. officer who has performed interrogations and polygraph tests for the agency, which has employed him at least since the nineteen-nineties. (He is not a covert operative.) Two years ago, at Abu Ghraib prison, outside Baghdad, an Iraqi prisoner in Swanner's custody, Manadel al-Jamadi, died during an interrogation. His head had been covered with a plastic bag, and he was shackled in a crucifixion-like pose that inhibited his ability to breathe; according to forensic pathologists who have examined the case, he asphyxiated. In a subsequent internal investigation, United States government authorities classified Jamadi's death as a "homicide," meaning that it resulted from unnatural causes. Swanner has not been charged with a crime and continues to work for the agency.'

Posted by: drindl | September 19, 2006 3:55 PM | Report abuse

The Fix's take on the Mass Governor's race is a little off the pace considering the most recent poll (conducted by the Boston Globe) shows Deval Patrick beating Gabrielli 47% - 25%, not exactly a dead heat that the fix would like you to believe. Also it is unfair that the fix keep pushing Gabrielli as the only real challenger to Healey, when the Patrick campaign has the most dedicated set of volunteers and the only real grassroots campaign out of all the candidates. Of course when it comes to money Gabrielli has the clear advantage, because he is a multi millionare who is dumping his money into the campaign.

So it would be niceif the FIX could talk to some local politicians and experts on the matter of the Mass Governors race and not just look at everyones check book.

Posted by: Kevin | September 19, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Here's what happened when Bush called on Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times:

"Q Hi, Mr. President.

"THE PRESIDENT: Fine. How are you doing?

"Q I'm well today, thank you. (Laughter.)

"THE PRESIDENT: Did you start with, hi, Mr. President?

"Q Hello, Mr. President.

"THE PRESIDENT: Okay, that's fine

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with the other posters disputing how close Marylands race will be. I have yet to see a poll with O'Malley having less than a five point lead.

And RCD made a good point about the DCC's get out the vote initiatives. A massive number of volunteers in the most populous counties is lit dropping and door knocking until November.

I doubt Mayor O'Malley will win a crushing victory but the campaigning has been effective so far and I believe the lead will hold.

Posted by: Jason | September 19, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

This thing about what church you go to is nothing more than an attempt to pick up votes and nothing to do about faith. Most folks like myself, being disabled and for the most part, homebound most of the time. We practice our faith more likely than others go to a place of worship just to be seen and socialize. Cynical, you bet. These Bible Thumpers are what I refer to, not the good folks that practice what they preach.

Posted by: lylepink | September 19, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

bsimon - Thanks, that adds more context to the situation than I had available. C-Span carried the debate, but it wasn't on until 12:15 a.m., a bit too late for me last night. If Allen opened the door, so be it.

Unfortunately, the sponsor the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce doesn't have a transcript on their website.

If Peggy Fox was following-up a door which had been opened by Allen, my apologies to her.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | September 19, 2006 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Zathras: Your statement about a "1996 "red stripe" (the geographical oddity where the states forming a stripe from the Dakotas to Texas were the only ones to vote for Dole)." is in error. Dole carried many states besides the six in the red stripe. Virginia, both Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi look pretty red to me. The odd two, contiguous to no other red states, were Alaska (which I'll grant is seldom contiguous to any other state) and Indiana. Five more states just west of the red stripe also went Dole: Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho and Utah. With the exception of Colorado, the others have been reliably Republican since the mind of man runneth not to the contrary.

Posted by: LonestarJR | September 19, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Lylepink and JEP,

Perry is Protestant. Texas does have much the same look overall as other states in the 1996 "red stripe" (the geographical oddity where the states forming a stripe from the Dakotas to Texas were the only ones to vote for Dole). However, Texas overall is not as extreme as the others because of the Democratic bases in Texas's numerous big cities. Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and El Paso all had a majority of the votes for Gore in 2000, for example. However, this urban vote was drowned out by the overwhelmingly Republican vote in the suburbs and rural areas.

Posted by: Zathras | September 19, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

"We know Allen plays to the Red Necks. Is it the reporter's job to spark a fire on what should be a non-issue in a campaign? I don't think so."

How is known pandering to Red Necks NOT a campaign issue?

Posted by: vienna local | September 19, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

MMm--I think yo may have hit it with both allen and bush. A daddy who was the man they'll never be.

I didn't love bush senior as a president but at least he was a man--he actually served in the military, he didn't cut and run, didn't desert like junior did.

Posted by: drndl | September 19, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"Did Fox know of some relevance to the campaign or the office which he seeks to hold? "

From what I read (Kurtz's review), Fox's question was a semi-followup of Allen's reference to his grandfather having been incarcerated by the Nazis. It looks like, on the one hand, Allen wants credit for his grandfather's incarceration, but doesn't want to talk about whether he has Jewish ancestry. Is it really important for the voters to know? Probably not. But then, why did Allen bring it up?

Posted by: bsimon | September 19, 2006 2:28 PM | Report abuse

'offered Cindy Sheehan "more cash" to make up for her son Casey's death'

Allen suggested in a public hearing that if the military death benefits were higher, a mother like Cindy might find some comfort in her son's demise. He did not say it in the context of the general conversation, he was speaking directly to Cindy when he said it. His condescension was so apparent, I didn't know if I had actually heard him say it.

It was broadcast on CSpan, and surely someone has a tape of it, its as bad or worse than the macaca mistake.

Cindy's soft-spoken, dignified response was "I would rather have my son back."

Barbara Boxer was beside herself after Allen made the comment, all the good people in the room were aghast, and I just cried, I was so ashamed of our government at that moment.

I haven't cried out loud since my mother died of ALS, many years ago, so it isn't exactly a common event.

Then I got mad, and that anger became a personal grudge.

I admit it, Allen is one of those men who makes me ashamed of being a man. Bush fits that neanderthal description, too, these guys live in an evolutionary sub-class and inject the laws of the jungle into our rule of law. Then they expect us to abide by the very laws they ignore.

And if it weren't for their daddies, neither of them could pretend to be the man they imagine themselves to be.

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I did not set out to make a case for careful proofreading, but I made it nonetheless. I apologize for the unnecessary letter in signature.

Posted by: LonestarJR | September 19, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I was absolutely stunned not to see Texas in the top 15. According to the latest independent poll, Democrat Chris Bell has pulled to within 4 points of the heavily-favored, lavishly-if-not-legally financed incumbent. Making things really interesting is that Bell himself is only 5 points ahead of singer•songwriter/mysteries author/magazine columnist Richard Friedman, known by most people as Kinky Friedman.

The other independent candidate, Carol Keeton Strayhorn, has spent a great deal of money--she paid for every signataure she collected to get on the ballot; Kinky paid for none of his--started the race well, but is now in free-fall, with single digit showings in most polling.

Bell has yet to run a television ad.

Posted by: LonestarJR | September 19, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

If someone asked me if I were Native American, because i have a grandmother who is, i would simply say 'yes'. Actually I woud be glad to talk about it, becuase I am proud of it.

And my husband is jewish. If someone asked, he'd probably say, well, duh.

So -- I'm not trying to be provocative Nor, I really don't understand.

Posted by: drindl | September 19, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Good use of the US Military, eh? Gotta protect that oil.

U.S. Navy boosting security off W.Africa, chief says
Tue Sep 19, 2006 1:29pm ET165

LONDON (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy is bolstering its presence in the Gulf of Guinea to help improve security and defend vital seaways including oil and gas routes, its European commander said in an interview.

Admiral Harry Ulrich, commander of U.S. naval forces for Europe and Africa, told Reuters that improved security would prevent extremists from gaining a foothold in resource-rich West Africa.


Gulf of Guinea crude oil producers Nigeria, Angola, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea and promising newcomer Sao Tome & Principe already supply 16 percent of U.S. energy needs.

Posted by: F&B | September 19, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

In your Wisconsin entry:

There was no guilty plea and no admission of any bid-rigging.

Posted by: xoff | September 19, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse

'Scuse me, add Olberman and Cafferty to that list of Constituitonal defenders I just mentioned...

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

"Allen's religion or heritage is not a scandal waiting to happen that anybody knows of."

It would not have been a scandal, had he not responded scandalously. Now, just like the macaca event, he's chewing on his foot, this guy must be hooked on toe jam.

I agree, without a doubt, the MSM is sleazy, but it is many other things too, we have to learn to sort the truth from the talk.

We won't get much help from the media in this, and if you think there's any hope of bringing the 24 hr news channels around to doing some real, serious journalism, you've never watched Nancy Grace.

For now, these blogs and Comedy Central are about the only thing upholding our Constitution, and at least here you know you HAVE to choose for yourself what to believe, you are not just expected to believe it.

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse


One of the most disturbing thing about the Bush administration is how much loyalty they managed to extract from Republicans who really do not agree with them.

Even our local trolls clearly do not agree with neocon policies, I would guess they are old-line Repubs, with a fiscal-conservative tax-cutting bent and an abiding moral outrage against all things "different."

Unfortunately, their concept of loyalty to the party just plain outweighs their loyalty to the nation, and that is why they continually support a neocon regime that is virtually the antithesis of what they actually believe.

They keep following blind leaders, and they all ended up in the ditch, somewhere north, south, east and west of Baghdad.

Loyalty is a virtue, but only if it is not blind.

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Flowers was a "scandal" in the wings.

This isn't some babe sneaking into the Executive Mansion issue.

Nobody that I know of has the authority to give the news media carte blanche to delve into any and every aspect of everybody's life. But some reporter's take it as if they are on a a God given mission. They feel that they can ask any question anytime with impugnity.

I don't think so. For need me there need to be merit and substance before I give the reporter credence. I didn't see it here.

Fox was trying to light a fire for the sake of lighting a fire.

Allen's religion or heritage is not a scandal waiting to happen that anybody knows of. If he wants to deal with it publicly in the manner of Joe Lieberman, John Kennedy, etc., that's his call. Apparently, no reporter has had a problem with him as a Presbyterian.

Did Fox know of some relevance to the campaign or the office which he seeks to hold? Does Allen's Jewish heritage affect his positions on Israel? I've never heard anybody even mention his positions on Israel before. What did Fox know that we need to know there? Or, does his Catholic heritage affect how he votes on abortion, school vouchers, etc.? I've never heard anybody link his Catholic heritage to his Conservative positions.

I'm not buying for a minute rationalizing a poitical gain based on a person's ethnic or religious heritage which has nothing to do with their campaign or holding office. It's sleazy.

If Fox has something related to that, fine. Channel Nine should have quite a scoop on it's hands. If she doesn't, it was uncalled for.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | September 19, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

'offered Cindy Sheehan "more cash" to make up for her son Casey's death'

He SAID that?!! He really said that? omidgod what a classless beast, what a freaking bastard. If I were her, i wuold have leaped on him and ripped his eyes out.

JEP, you know who else had a problem with being jewish? Adolph Hitler. The noose in Allen's office proves they have a spiritual bond.

Posted by: drindl | September 19, 2006 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Paris, 18 Sept. (IPS) Almost three years after Mrs. Shirin Ebadi, a lawyer and human rights activist who be came the first Iranian to receive the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, Mrs. Anousheh Ansari became the first Iranian to go into space with a Russian Soyuz spacecraft that took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Monday 18 September 2006.

But her 10 days journey that would include a two-day trip to the International Space Station was saddened because the Americans refused her bearing the flag of her natal nation of Iran along with the flag of the United States, the country she is a citizen, on her space suit, in a sign of possible reconciliation between the two antagonist nations.

Her journey was saddened because the Americans refused her bearing the Iranian flag along with the flag of the United States on her space suit.

'She was also asked, by Russian and US governments, not to make any political statements while on board the ISS.
Mrs. Ansari's flight into space is a thorn into the eyes of the clerical leaders of the Islamic Republic that, because of Islamic laws on which the regime is based, bars women from such activities.

"Actually, the Americans made a big mistake in refusing Mrs. Ansari putting on Iran's flag, as it could help defusing animosity between the tow nations. Now, more Iranians would hate the United States", one political analyst prognosticated, as she is reported to have already attracted praise from Iranians and Americans alike on her blog.'

--The Iranian people don't hate us -- they are for the most part pro-USA. It's their govenrment that's the problem, but it really hurts the reformers when bush pulls this kind of childish stunt. It sure looks like he's trying really hard to start a war, doesn't it?

Posted by: drindl | September 19, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

JEP: I do not know what Perry is. The only one that I know of is Kinky and that is the reason his opponents have not brought up the issue as others have in many states. Texas seems to appear, if you can believe the MSM, more of the rite-wing states like Kansas and most of the RED states as a whole. Another thing worth mentioning is the polls in that USA/Gallop mostly have GW 3 to 4 % higher than most others.

Posted by: lylepink | September 19, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm wondering, as an armchair psychiatrist, if Allen's passionate embracing of the Rebel cause and wrapping himself in its imagery, wasn't his way of hiding, psychologically and publicly, from his own heritage?

Sure would explain some of those quirky twists in his history.

And it would also explain his inability to realize and capitalize on such a great opportunity to broaden his support base, simply by being what he really is.

Apprently, he prefers to be something else.

I must admit, I have an unbudging grudge against Allen, ever since he publicly and condescendingly offered Cindy Sheehan "more cash" to make up for her son Casey's death.

His incredible, thick-hearted, brain-dead insensitivity at that moment revealed much of what we suspect about his neanderthal ethics, and now it has been openly exposed at the Macaca event.

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Illinois. It's too early to speculate on 30 points. Sounds strange. But this is after all, Illinois where it seems that Club Fed has a 'Land of Lincoln Wing'.

Patrick Fitz has an October Surprise for Blago.

You can feel it in the air. Mr. Rove allegedly passed on to Button Box Judy, the assurance that he would give her all the resources she needs.

She needs more than Money. Rod the Reformer has alot more. She needs an intangible.

Think indictment close to Springlfield. The RNC has not lost its touch.

Posted by: poor richard | September 19, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

The access panel door on a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine -- the door that protects the memory card that stores the votes, and is the main barrier to the injection of a virus -- can be opened with a standard key that is widely available on the Internet.

On Wednesday we did a live demo for our Princeton Computer Science colleagues of the vote-stealing software described in our paper and video. Afterward, Chris Tengi, a technical staff member, asked to look at the key that came with the voting machine. He noticed an alphanumeric code printed on the key, and remarked that he had a key at home with the same code on it. The next day he brought in his key and sure enough it opened the voting machine.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Why is being asked if you are jewish an ambush? I just don't get it. So what? He's said in his campaign before that his grandfather was in a Nazi camp, so it's not like it's a secret.

As JEP says, he is jewish becuase that is determined by the matrilineal line. Whether he practices it is quite irrelevant. As far as the jewish people are concerned, he is of jewish blood. And no, it doesn't amake a difference as far as governing, so why should he care if he's asked? If you think religion shouldn't be mentioned in politics, you're sure living in the wrong country right now.

Posted by: drindl | September 19, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I'v always been a moderate. It's simply, compared to the truely frightening right wing types that follow Bush like a mob of zombees, Barry Goldwater would be a moderate. As for political positions, I think you would find that I am not all that much different than you. I simply cannot abide evil and immoral behavior and George Bush, Rove, Cheney, Rice, and the rest of this WHitehouse are the most immoral, evil collection of scounderals since Enron.

Posted by: MikeB | September 19, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"Is it the reporter's job to spark a fire on what should be a non-issue in a campaign?"

I think so...

Remember Jennifer Flowers?

That IS a reporter's job these days, you have described it quite succinctly, albeit inadvertantly.

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Why did Allen react? Because it was an ambush on a very personal matter.

Is Allen a practicing Jew? No! He may never have seen the inside of a synagogue other than in which to campaign. If what I've read is correct, his father was Catholic. He's a practicing Presbyterian. So is he Jewish, Catholic, Presbyterian?

Your comment "...because he IS jewish." is correct only in that he apparently has Jewish ancestors. He's Jewish in the same context that John Kerry is Jewish. Nobody tried to make a campaign issue about that. As far as I'm concerned, so what! We know Allen plays to the Red Necks. Is it the reporter's job to spark a fire on what should be a non-issue in a campaign? I don't think so.

It's like so many posts on this blog about Romney being Mormon. Again, so what. Will it affect how he governs? Didn't seem to have one whit of an effect in going on four years in Massachusetts.

Fox was trying to ambush Allen and it blew up on her. I don't blame any politician who snaps back at a personal ambush like that.

Do I like that it may cause Allen problems? Actually, Yes! But, only because it is "out there" now and may have to be dealt with. I find the means which produced that end, unethical.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | September 19, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Drindl, cheer up.

In the end, its all good.


But between now and then, we must do whatever we can do to protect and nurture our people and our planet, because that will be the measure for our reward, not some dollar figure in a bank account.

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Joe Lieberman's lead over Ned Lamont has dwindled to two points, a new Rasmussen poll released today has found.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Is the son or daughter of a Jewish man deemed Jewish, isn't it the mother's heritage that determines lineage?

Which makes Allen even more of a hypocrite, because that makes him a "bona fide" Jew.

Or am I mistaken on that point? Someone, correct me, please, if I'm wrong here...

I may be thinking of something from the Old Testament...

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Well bhoomes, that used to be true, actually. But the many christian cults that are springing up in this country -who call themselves christians yet reject the teachings of christ--are hurtling backward rapidly. They're at about the 12th century now and not even slowing down.

I'd say it's very possible that we will end history where we started it -- in a cataclysmic nuclear war in the Mideast. We've been fighting the same battles for 5000 years. Only our weapons have evolved, but not our self-awareness.

I hate to say it because i have a child, but I think we're a dead-end species that's reached the end of its line.

Posted by: drindl | September 19, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

"How is his ancestor's religion relevant?"

Because if he is prejudiced, overtly or even subtly, towards his own ancestry, or simply embarrassed, it proves what an unmitigated bigot he really is.

Allen missed a great opportunity to embrace and show pride in his heritage, and while being partly Jewish might lose him some of his nascar dads (we ARE talking Virginia here) it would likely gain him support among both the Evangelical and Jewish communities.

But apparently, he prefers to defer instead of define, and that smacks of avoidance and denial, and shows how transparently bigoted he really is.

He has apologized for the Rebel Battle Flag he used to wear at toga parties, but how can he explain the noose?

Allen's a bigot, even towards his own blood. "Macaca" was no isolated event.

As I recall, Adolph Hitler had similar misgivings about his own family tree...

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 1:12 PM | Report abuse

You can probably take the Illinois race out of the top 15. There is no chance that Topinka will win this one and it is not even going to be close -- we are far too blue for that. She needs more than lots of money to run ads to close the gap -- like maybe some initiatives to solve some of the problems we have in Illinois. Ever hear of a real platform, Judy?

And the Blagojevich campaign, flush with cash and major media buys, and an army of democratic campaigners, has not yet pulled out all the stops for Rod. I would be surprised if the actual election results are closer than 20% between the two candidates, especially in light of the recent poll giving him a 30% lead.

Posted by: Johnny | September 19, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse

MikeB: When did you become a moderate?

Posted by: bhoomes | September 19, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I think the point is well taken that the catholic church has as much blood on their hands as the muslims but the difference is Christianity is a part of the 21st Century while Islam is still in the 6th century. The fact they want to behead the Pope makes our point.

Posted by: bhoomes | September 19, 2006 1:08 PM | Report abuse

bhoomes - "...If you think this country is going to give power to Reid and Pelosi, then you have been on Willie Nelson's bus for too long."

Speaking as one moderate, compared to Bush, an evil and twisted little gnome, and a genuine twirl your finger around your ear lunatic, Reid and Polosi are sane centrists.

Posted by: MikeB | September 19, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Noreaster--I just don't see why the question made him so angry. Yes, is was off-topic by the reporter, I agree, but the way he snapped out on her was weird. He's a politician, he should be used to people asking questions. ..and why does he thinks it's an insult to be asked if you're jewish?

That's what he said, that she was 'casting aspersions' -- which in itself is weird, because he IS jewish.

Posted by: drindl | September 19, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse


Can we therefore assume Perry is the "Protestant's candidate?"

Or is he a Catholic? That would put an odd edge to the race.

And as for Texas being alone in the gubernatorial sleaze category, I suspect, Missouri, second only to Louisiana in its history of political subterfuge and intrigue, (OK, so New Jersey fits down there somewhere) may have some surprises in store before it is all over.

The Talent/Boehner struggle had some of the most subtle and revealing twists and implications we have seen in many years, and there is still some hell to pay, I would guess.

And lets not forget Ashcroft, our original afflicted, affected Bush AG, who was one of Delay's closest henchmen, and certainly has close ties to Talent SR and JR.

Curious how Ashcroft has disappeared from all the political radar screens, his connection may be the link between Abramoff and Talent, it is hard to imagine they weren't all swimming in the same shark-infested waters more than once.

But are they safe, just because they are the sharks?

I think not, there are too many trophy-fisherman trolling these waters, they might all get caught on an Abramoff hook before it is over.

Jack Abramoff; the gift that just keeps on giving. I don't know what sorts of ties Iowa's "R" Nussle had to Abramoff, but his relationship with Delay is historic. And I would guess there's a public record of it carefully hidden away somewhere.

So who knows where this stinky pay-for-play trail will lead, but it smells bad enough that there'slittle doubt as to "whether or not," it is just a matter of "when and where."

It will be hard for anyone who was closely attached to the endemic Delay control-freak conspiracy and its overflowing special-interest gravy train, to wriggle out of the lassos that will be thrown on them over this election cycle.

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse

The "worshipping Bush" campers should be a surprise to noone. There are parallel sects and cults all across the nation with their single issue, Jesus driven, boot camp perceptions of reality. They are generally and genuinely looking for someone or some cause to dedicate themselves. More difficult is that to which they're now reacting. There are middle-eastern countries with a 7th century outlook using an 8th century religion to define 19th century pan-Arab naitonalism, and taking offense at any direct or implied criticism of their faith. This is not a peaceful exercise of belief. There may not be a "clash of civilizations" in the near future but there just might be a rehash of the Great Crusades.

Posted by: L.Sterling | September 19, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Regarding WI:

The biggest development of the campaign has been Green's refusal to relinquish $400,000+ in PAC money, as the state elections board has ordered. (He tried to get around state PAC limits by transferring money from his Congressional campaign fund.) His was given 10 days to do so; the deadline passed yesterday w/o Green forking over the money. He is trying to fight the order in court, but while it is being resolved there he is simply refusing to comply. (He claims that he was railroaded by a Dem-controlled elections board.)

For a guy who hoped to attack his opponent over ethics, this is a problem.

Posted by: Paul_Robeson | September 19, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Drindl - You provided: "Why is that relevant -- my (George Allen) religion, Jim's (Webb) religion or the religious beliefs of anyone out there?"

and commented: "What a vile, disgusting filthy animal he is."

To me your criticism of Allen on this is way off. He had a hell of a good point. How is his ancestor's religion relevant? His religion might be (only to the extent that it might affect his potential performance in office), but his grandfather's?

Give me a break.

Peggy Fox's response was just pure journalistic B.S. "'Honesty, that's all,' questioner Fox answered,..."

It was meant to be an ambush and it backfired on her.

Unless it's going to affect how they will perform in office, a candidate's religion is their own business. If they make an issue out of it, then it becomes campaign fodder with respect to them and the office for which they are running, not their heritage.

And, unless she had somethingelse relevant to the campaign to which to link the question, Fox owes Allen an apology.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | September 19, 2006 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Kinky Friedman I still can't believe. I knew him about 25 years ago, when he used to live in Greenwich Village. I did some freelance political articles for a magazine called 'High Times' and he used to hang around their office. Quite a place...

'US President George W Bush plans to announce a "substantial discount" on the five billion dollar deal to sell F-16s to Pakistan during President Pervez Musharraf's visit to Washington as a gesture of approval of his handling of the war on terror, a media report said on Tuesday.'

I really am astounded at this.. this is the same Pakistan that just signed a peace treaty with the Taliban and pulled all their troops away from pursuing bin Ladin, telling him he was welcome to stay there. Any republicans out there who could tell me what THIS is all about?!!!

Posted by: drindl | September 19, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"Halliburton has sought to have the suit thrown out, arguing the company is immune from litigation related to its work in Iraq for the U.S. government."

Lawlessness, personified...

Since when does our legal system profer immunity to anyone, in any capacity, supposedly even the President can be deposed for high crimes and misdemeanors, but Halliburton is "immune?"

I wish our soldiers and fellow citizen contractors were immune...

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Alaska belongs on the list. Turnout in the state is unpredictable, and history has shown that if a party is getting killed on the mainland, they get disspirited in Alaska and lose races that they might have won. Polls are still open there when other states have been reported. This was arguably the case in 2004 (although Democrats weren't getting killed that year) and was certainly the case in 1980, when Frank Murkowski first won his Senate seat.

Posted by: JoeyJoeJoe | September 19, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Patrick's success is really a great story of working the Grassroots. He basically was written off in the beginning and has since worked the streets to gain the momentum he has. I don't know if he will pull it out today but the polls show him ahead by alot. Also his refreshing approach to campaigning has gotten him a 15% point lead on Healey. I look forward to having him as my governor.

Posted by: Andy R | September 19, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

JEP, the only Texas candidate with any possible sleaze connection would be the incumbent Perry. The others have absolutely none.

Posted by: Zathras | September 19, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Several posts on the Texas Gov. race. Me thinks religion is playing a larger part in it than most folks want to admit. Kinky is Jewish and the overwhelming religion in Texas is Prod. with the exception of Latinos, who are mostly Catl.

Posted by: lylepink | September 19, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks they can "die for God" isn't reading their Bibles or their Korans.

And anyone who causes one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better that a millstone were tied around their neck, and they were thrown into the sea, rather than face God's wrath for corrupting his innocents.

Holy War is impossible, it is the ultimate oxymoron. God's warriors don't kill, they speak of peace and seek to give comfort to the suffering innocents caught in this profane cultural crossfire.

Here's a poem..

"I wish that all the zealots who covet the Middle East,
understood, a real holy warrior fights for peace,

Not with rockets, bombs and guns,
but with education, food and love.

The scenes of death we see each day, is blood spent wrong, lives lost in vain..

And the only beneficiaries of all this death and fear,

Are business-suited oil men, whose fortunes grow each year.

The Devil is in every land, not just here or there,
wearing all those fine silk suits, sitting in their leather chairs.

And there is no single person on whom to lay the blame, if there was surely don't you think that we would know his name?

When violence and bloodshed are part of someone's plans, you can wager, and win your bet, its not God, its Man."

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 12:01 PM | Report abuse

-I just caught the 'worshipping a picture of President Bush ... and was stunned. I was raised as an evangelical... didn't these people ever hear of heresy?

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

Posted by: drindl | September 19, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Macaca "Mad Dog" Allen?

Sounds like an appropriate nickname...

Like I posted when I first got on this blog, right after the Macaca moment, Allen seems to have a very quick character change, he tries to act like a statesman, but beneath it seethes an angry, spoiled teenage bully, who will punch out your lights at the drop of an insult.

I think that alone should give Virginia's voters pause, if he can't control his own emotions, should he be making world-class decisions?

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Ot, I know, but man... training Christian suicide bombers--

'Speaking in tongues, weeping for salvation, praying for an end to abortion and worshipping a picture of President Bush -- these are some of the activities at Pastor Becky Fischer's Bible camp in North Dakota, "Kids on Fire," subject of the provocative new documentary, "Jesus Camp."

"I want to see them as radically laying down their lives for the gospel as they are in Palestine, Pakistan and all those different places," Fisher said. "Because, excuse me, we have the truth."

"A lot of people die for God," one camper said, "and they're not afraid."

"We're kinda being trained to be warriors," said another, "only in a funner way.'

Posted by: drindl | September 19, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

"That being said the coruption in Ohio by Taft and his administration is going to sink Blackwell."

That, and Blackwell's blackwellian election shenanigans...

If the light of day is ever shown upon that abyss, the Republicans in Ohio will have to change the law to allow felons to vote from prison, if they ever want to win another state election.

Many of them will be behind bars by then, if Justice ever has her day.

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Andy R,

I live in Nova Scotia and pick up Boston affiliates of the US networks, so I caught a bit of what I presume was the last debate of the three Dem. candidates. I was really impressed by Patrick, especially his answer about merit pay for teachers and his closing comments about the importance of leadership.

From what I've read at The Fix, he's been consistently behind during the race, but I'm glad to see that he's picked up steam. (At least, as much as I can be glad about a race that I know little about).

As far as a race I know much more about, I'm a bit surprised that Granholm moved up a spot this week, espceialy since she's got her biggest lead in the polls to date. I agree with Zathras (?) that the debates will definitely seal the deal.

Posted by: rkb | September 19, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

'I'll be shocked if Spitzer doesn't win 63%. His record is impeccable. The only question is who has him on their VP shortlist?'

Interestng question. He's impressive. Has earned himself quite a fearsome reputation as a reformer on Wall Street. Of course, they will fight nastily if he tries to go national. Last thing K Street wants is an honest man. Which means he will be viciously attacvked. Rule of thumb today -- the more honest a politican is, the more vile the attacks. But in New York, at least, he should sweep. Suozzi, his Dem opponent is a decent guy, has no money. But who could take on 'The Sheriff of Wall Street" and the 'Crusader of the Year' anyway?

John Faso, his republican opponent is nothing more than a joke, a nobody in a strongly blue state.

lylepink -- the point of bush's speech today will be look 'tough' to strut, to boast, to swagger, to brag, to threaten. The point is to try to make him look like an actual man, which may fool some of his fellow cowardly pantywaists in his party. And yes, of course, he wants laws enacted that will enssure he never gets prosecuted for his crimes. He wants--quite literally--to get away with murder.

And what about Allen -- he's really losing it. Everytime he gets in front of a camera, something makes him snap and he goes mad dog on people. Is that having an effect?

And thanks, JEP, I appreciate you too.

Posted by: drndl | September 19, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Forgot to mention how the polls change when the media gets off the war in Iraq and on to the war on terror. The dems MUST keep the war in Iraq their main issue, otherwise the distraction will be to the advantage of the repubs.

Posted by: lylepink | September 19, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Fourty-Four percent think Blago would do a better job of eliminating corruption in Illinois?? As a Chicagoan i can say Blago is about a ham sammich away from a federal corruption indictment..The reason Illinois highways are perpetually torn up is so Blago keeps the campaign coffers filled with cash from the road builders around here....His only saving grace is JB Topinka comes across as , for lack of a better term, an idiot....If the repubs could have talked Jim Edgar into running again he would've crushed Blago head to head.....

Posted by: TheIrishCurse | September 19, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"Although we tend to think Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is in decent shape, public and private polling continues to show him running neck and neck with state Attorney General Mike Hatch (D)."

Chris, if the polls show otherwise, then why do you think Pawlenty is in decent shape?

Are the naysayers right, do you lean, like Matthews, to the right but you only expose it inadvertantly?

I'll have to watch a bit closer for these kinds of thinly-veiled endorsements, maybe some of the other posters are correct in suggesting you are "one of them."

Hope not.

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Of all those Texas gubernatorial candidates, which one is the "closest" to Delay?

I don't mean in terms of ideology, I mean in terms of political and financial indebtedness.

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

As a Minnesotan, I agree that the MN gov race will be interesting. I don't see it being as close as some predict however. Instead, I hope Chris is right, that the GOP takes Pawlenty out of here with a VP nomination. Good Riddance!

Posted by: bsimon | September 19, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

The governors aren't really affected by Abramoff because he was really a DC type. That being said the coruption in Ohio by Taft and his administration is going to sink Blackwell.

Posted by: Andy R | September 19, 2006 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Fair enough JEP. I just hope to see more postings on state races here, since there are some really fascinating races. In particular, CC's biggest omission is that of the Texas governor's race, which is the single most fascinating race in the country, simply because there are 4 strong candidates and nobody really knows what is going to happen.

Posted by: Zathras | September 19, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Helpme out here, folks, which of the Governors' races has the likeliest misfortune of suffering from the "Abramoff effect?"

Wasn't Talent (Sr.) quite connected to Delay? I realize the Abramoff scandal tends to nussle down into Congressional and Presidential politics, but is it possible the Missouri gubernatorial race might get some crossover?

Texas, too, doesn't Perry still have some very public connections that will eventually become election issues?

Just wondering, has anyone had heard anything new about this, I seem to recall a Molly Ivens piece with some of this info?

Molly, Jack Cafferty and Kieth Olberman should start their own online/TV media outlet, maybe we would hear and see the truth, for a change.

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the great update, "Cruchy" Chris Silly-za!!

Posted by: Stig Matahorn | September 19, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Well with gas prices going down and Bush's polls are going up, did you Dems count your chickens before they were hatched? GET REAL, If you think this country is going to give power to Reid and Pelosi, then you have been on Willie Nelson's bus for too long.

Posted by: bhoomes | September 19, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

The GOP Governor's ad against Doyle will not work. The state employee convicted on the travel case was a Tommy Thompson appointee who was given a civil service position.

Doyle is not a warm and fuzzy official. But he took away the tax issue from Green and is winning the buisness vote on the Stem Cell issue

Posted by: State Rep. Frederick P. Kessler | September 19, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I am interested to know what kind of impact Strickland's use of his faith is having in Ohio. He was featured on and talked openly about his faith in his political decisions. Could you give us any insight Chris on how politicians faith might imapct this election for both sides?

Posted by: Aaron | September 19, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

The issue today is the UN for the news media. The politics of the speach today by GW will, in my opinion, keep the focus on Iraq and Iran. The thing that is being put aside "Big Time" is the fact they are trying to get a law passed that will put aside the crimes they have commited already by saying in the new law that it is/was not a law. I hope the folks understand what I am trying to say, and am not very good at putting it in writing. The Gov. race in Md. will be closely connected to the House and Senate races not only in Md. but Va. as well.

Posted by: lylepink | September 19, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Drindl and Zathras;

You have no idea how many times I have taken some of your own "off-topic" and on-thread posts and posted parts of them on other blogsites and websites, because your words were succinct and clarifying, or took a new perspective that I had not considered, but agreed with enough to pass along to others.

When we still lived in California, back in 2003, before we returned to Kansas for family reasons, I had a short-lived local radio show in an unnamed university town, we called the show "The Midnight Blogger."

On the air, starting at midnight on weekends, we took our favorite blog posts from the prior week and read them aloud for folks to respond to via email and voicemail. While I had to leave before it really got rolling, it was a great exercise in blogosphere development and scrutiny.

There were a couple of local academics who were familiar emailers to the program, and I have remained in contact with them over the past couple years,and keep them apprised of the latest blogs where I'm "hanging out" and posting, lately you all know that has been the WaPo.

Before that it was Harry Reid's "Give em'Hell, Harry" blog, and before that, many others. Usually it is just one or two at a time, but occasionally I post the same thing on over 2 dozen blogs, if I feel an urgency to get some sort of message out that I believe the MSM is ignoring or glossing over.

One thing my "academic advisors" have been impressed with is the comprehensiveness of "The Fix" blog, that it covers so many issues that are not necessarily in the thread, but still germane to the bigger picture.

And while they joined me in my lament that the really smart conservative debators had long ago given up trying to defend Bush against our intrepid crew of Bush-doubters, they were more than impressed with the quality of the writing on this blog, on-thread or off-topic, they consider this one of the more "literate" blogs, and they now read it regularly.

And they are both linguists, who know how to appreciate the written word. I wish I could convince them to blog, but they are in that large majority class of careful people who would never "expose themselves" the way most of us here do, we are all much too fearless as far as they are concerned.

So don't be so quick, Zathras, to squeeze the dialogue onto a thread, and Drindl, don't assuage your message for anyone but yourself, I have not found a single long post of yours to be boring or meaningless. Usually it is your shorter, stacatto, more animated statements that get a bit personal, not your long posts.

And those are always great little "zingers," they typically give me a chuckle, and occasionally a real bellylaugh.

And that is what makes any blog unique.

The combination of the thread and its variables, and the parts that have nothing to do with the thread, it is all a part of the character of this blog. Whether you want to accept it or not, blogs also serve as entertainment, along with being informative the stimulate our minds and hearts.

At least for now.

If it turns purely academic and demands thread adherance, general readership will diminish and your own words will become much less influential.


Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

If you want to blog a book, then go ahead but I doubt if to many people will read it. Of course maybe your narcisstic and just want to read your own postings. I'm not ready to throw the towell in on Blackwell, but I will in a another week or two if he doesn't start to get any traction. If he's got any good dirt on Strickland, now's the time to get it leaked to the media.

Posted by: bhoomes | September 19, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

You can move Maryland up on the list, Ehrlich is going down. Everyone is seeing Erhlich ads now that the primaries are over, but none of the polls have changed in months.

There is only one poll where O'Malley is leading by less than 6 points, and that same poll in May was at the same place eventhough other polls had O'Malley with a double digit lead. MD is one for the Dems and Erhlich snuck passed us in 2002, but a sitting Governor consistently trailing in the polls with no movement in months, that's not a good sign.

Also, the money advantage Erhlich has over O'Malley doesn't really exist, because the MD Democratic Party is handling all of the GOTV efforts for O'Malley and Cardin, leaving all their money for earned and paid media. Erhlich needs huge GOTV efforts in every corner of the state because that's where the Repubs and the conservative Dems that are his base live, whereas the Dems are concentrated in highly populated places like Balitmore City and the Washington suburbs.

Maryland likes its politics as a fight between center-left and far-left policies, we don't need the GOP with their callus policies slowing down our progress towards perfecting the Free State.

Posted by: RCD | September 19, 2006 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Minnesota will be very interesting. The latest statewide poll shows a dead heat, despite the fact that Hatch has done very little media campaigning.

I think that the incumbent is in "Pawlenty" of trouble. Hatch will win in a squeaker I think. Helped by a big win for Klobuchar in Senate race and the Dem's momentum here. GW Bush is very very unpopular in the North Star State.

Posted by: mw | September 19, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Holy crap, Chris, you're delusional. Patrick is up 21% in the polls to Gabrielli(why didn't you mention that?). And in polls in the general he is up 15% to Healy.

Posted by: Melanie | September 19, 2006 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I forgot to mention, I'd drop Alaska off the line and replace it with Texas. I know it sounds bizarre. But the two independents both are running very good campaigns. Admittedly, I'm giving into a stereotype, but I saw Friedman on Tucker Carlson and he seems like he can appeal to a lot of people in that state.

Posted by: Zach | September 19, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Let me make one thing clear. McCain is being assailed by the Christian Right. As a self-proclaimed 'proud member of the Religious Left' I admire McCain, Warner, and Graham for standing up the administration. Christ wouldn't have tortured people, period.

As for the Line, Michigan is probably too high. It appeared to be neck-in-neck then Granholm engaged. I look for her lead to expand. Her favorability will go up now that there's something to compare it too (look at the president's approval in middle '04 compared to November).

I'll be shocked if Spitzer doesn't win 63%. His record is impeccable. The only question is who has him on their VP shortlist?

Posted by: Zach | September 19, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Free speech is one thing; diluting speech of others is another thing. This is the one topic every 2 weeks devoted to state races. Too much noise on other issues dilutes the discussion. If you want to discuss federal issues, just go to the last topic, or any of the 20 before. The state races are important too, and they get too little coverage in the national media.

As I've said before, a line on state house races would be as important as that on governors' races, but we have none of that here. I am just trying to preserve issues that get drowned out in the clamor over the latest Bush atrocity.

Posted by: Zathras | September 19, 2006 10:25 AM | Report abuse

"Where is California" asks rtaycher1987.

I'm a classic bay-area California liberal who also spends a lot of time in Hawaii. Both states have had Democrat-filled legislatures for too long, which has resulted in Republican governors who hold positions that are actually rather liberal. I have my issues with Lingle and Schwarzenegger, but they're both pretty reasonable. And, the democratic opponents have been so far out that they scare me.

In California this coiuld possibly implode because the governor is so liberal - tune into a talk-radio station to hear all the complaining - but so far the middle is still strong for Arnold.

California is vying with Texas as the poster-child for the need of redistricting by an impartial panel.

Posted by: Keith | September 19, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

"Any chance that we can limit discussion to the state races?"


But you should certainly be intelligent enought to choose which ones you want to read. You have every right to scroll past a post if it is not germane to your specific issues, or to the thread.

If you want a moderated blog, start one of your own, but until CC decides to set some limits (big mistake, if he wants readership to stay as high as it has been) you gotta let the bloggers blog.

Give it up, armchair editors, stop complaining about what you perceive as "off thread"...

Exercise your own free will with your scroll wheel, but don't try to exorcise my free speech. People should feel "free" to utilize one of the few venues available for free speech.

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Good to see your coming around on Ohio Bhoomes. CC, my one problem with your rankings is that whenever you mention a possible GOP pick-up it is always heresay evidence by 'republican insiders', and when you talk about Democratic pick-ups it is because they are ahead in the polls. I don't really care what Republican or Democratic insiders have to say, they are PAID TO SAY THEY WILL WIN. Give us the independent analysis please.

My take on a few races.
Alaska-seems about right.
Illinois-30 point lead in a poll? IL shouldn't be on this list if that is true.
Nevada-Probably going GOP but the dems have a shot if they can really GOTV in vegas.
Minnesota-Hatch is down by ten percent in the Ramussen poll. It will take a major ground swell of anti-incumbent(GOP) senatament to take it. However, Pawlenty is at 46% so he still can be beaten.
Maine-The DGA will throw in money for Baldacci to even out the money race. The polls show about 1% up for Baldacci. This one should probably be higher.
Rhode Island-The polls show this as a deadheat. Taken with the risk that the GOP faithful are not going to come out in droves for Chafee this has the recipe for a democratic steal. I think it should move up with Maine.
Wisconsin-Doyle is up by 9 points. I think this one should be behind RI, and Maine, and maybe minnesota.
Maryland-O'malley is up by 7% in the polls. This is probably the right place but maybe should move-up in the future.
Michigan-Granholm is consistently ahead. but not by alot. It should maybe be behing Maryland and Maine.
Iowa through New york look good to me.

Deval Patrick is way ahead in the polls in Mass primary. Also he is ahead by like 15% against Healey in the general. Massachusetts will be electing our first Black governor this November.

Posted by: Andy R | September 19, 2006 9:59 AM | Report abuse

bhoomes and mary,

both of you know that Blackwell is done. New poll came out yesterday showing Strickland up 55% to 34%. Even more telling, the poll demonstrated that a majority disapprove of Blackwell then approve. Blackwell's days in Ohio politics are numbered. Oh, what a sweet day that will be.

As I have stated many times before on this blog, most "moderate" republicans, including statewide candidates, are running from Blackwell (like Bush). My state Repub. rep candidate has told me to my face that he "is voting for Strickland and that he wants nothing to do with Blackwell."

Strickland by 10-15% on Election Day.

Posted by: Lenny | September 19, 2006 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Drindl remember brevity, I normally enjoy reading your postings, but when they get to long, I just scroll down. The same goes for the rest of you blowhearts, if you can't make your point in a couple of paragraphs, then your to stupid to be paid attention to.

Posted by: bhoomes | September 19, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I so hope you're wrong about MD. Please, please, please, get Ehrlich out of here, and give us back our blue state!

His choice for lt. governor was pandering at its finest.

Posted by: dispirited in Davidsonville | September 19, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse

While we're on the topic of which races to list, Texas is certainly a better one to list than either Alaska or Illinois. Perry is only ahead by 6 points. Even though the opposition is split, this race is much closer than Alaska or Illinois, where the incumbent party has a double digit lead. Give Texas a chance!

Posted by: Zathras | September 19, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse

bhoomes, dear, it's 'blowhards'. i'l try to keep it shorter and more on topic.

Posted by: drindl | September 19, 2006 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Chris, in your Ohio Valley tour, come to Cincinnati, the reddest part of Ohio, and I'll treat you to Graeter's ice cream (favored by Nick Lachey--a big endorsement, I know!!), Montgomery Inn ribs, and of course Cincinnati-style chili. And cold beers. We can also go to Georgetown-on-the-Ohio, Jesuit-run Xavier University, and you can go 50 miles east to Georgetown, Ohio, home of Ulysses S. Grant in Adams County for a rural perspective. Email me at

Posted by: Howard | September 19, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Chris, in your Ohio Valley tour, come to Cincinnati, the reddest part of Ohio, and I'll treat you to Graeter's ice cream (favored by Nick Lachey--a big endorsement, I know!!), Montgomery Inn ribs, and of course Cincinnati-style chili. And cold beers. We can also go to Georgetown-on-the-Ohio, Jesuit-run Xavier University, and you can go 50 miles east to Georgetown, Ohio, home of Ulysses S. Grant in Adams County for a rural perspective. Email me at

Posted by: Howard | September 19, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Wow, the off-topic postings are coming out in force. Any chance that we can limit discussion to the state races? This is the one topic that is devoted to them, and there is no need for other discussion to bleed into this one. There will be ample opportunity to discuss federal corruption, etc. in any other posting.

Posted by: Zathras | September 19, 2006 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Interesting -- George Allen, who is Jewish, thinks being called a Jew is an insult:

'At a debate in Tysons Corner yesterday between Republican Allen and Democrat Webb, WUSA-TV's Peggy Fox asked Allen, the tobacco-chewing, cowboy-boot-wearing son of a pro football coach, if his Tunisian-born mother has Jewish blood.

"It has been reported," said Fox, that "your grandfather Felix, whom you were given your middle name for, was Jewish. Could you please tell us whether your forebears include Jews and, if so, at which point Jewish identity might have ended?"

Allen recoiled as if he had been struck. His supporters in the audience booed and hissed. "To be getting into what religion my mother is, I don't think is relevant," Allen said, furiously. "Why is that relevant -- my religion, Jim's religion or the religious beliefs of anyone out there?"

"Honesty, that's all," questioner Fox answered, looking a bit frightened.

"Oh, that's just all? That's just all," the senator mocked, pressing his attack. He directed Fox to "ask questions about issues that really matter to people here in Virginia" and refrain from "making aspersions."

--What a vile, disgusting filthy animal he is.

Posted by: drindl | September 19, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

"Burrus wouldn't speculate about why there is so much graft, but said, 'We have to pull the whole weed up or it's just going to grow back again.'" (NY Daily News)

Then lets start at the root (the Kellogg, Brown and Root)...

Impeach Bush, and use the impeachment venue to uncover the whole sordid mess, including the no-bid contract issue. Surely, if we had a really meaningful impeachment event, it would encompass all the shenanigans of the Cheney administration.

And to any Republican who suggests we should not waste our time and money on impeachment, and that the government has better things to do, I say "Remember Monica." Just give John Conyers the funds that the neocons had to impeach Clinton with.

No doubt $30 million in investigation funds today would go a long way to exposing where the $20 billion in no-bid contracts disappeared.

$20 BILLION!!! Its like some kind of black-hole of no-bid contracts.

Impeachment is one of the most important tools of our checks-and-balance system, and while I don't think it should be done vindictively, for political reasons or for the purpose of shaming the President,(as in the Clinton impeachment), it should be done to prevent future falsely elected despots from failing our nation in such brutal and bloody fashion.

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

'I wish I could turn to cheerier matters, but I just can't get past this torture issue -- the fact that George W. Bush, the president of the United States of America, persists in demanding that Congress give him the right to torture anyone he considers a "high-value" terrorist suspect. The president of the United States. Interrogation by torture. This just can't be happening.

It's past time to stop mincing words. The Decider, or maybe we should now call him the Inquisitor, sticks to anodyne euphemisms. He speaks of "alternative" questioning techniques, and his umbrella term for the whole shop of horrors is "the program." Of course, he won't fully detail the methods that were used in the secret CIA prisons -- and who knows where else? '--

Our President, the Inquisitor.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2006 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I think the list is pretty much right on in terms of what the top 15 races are. The only one I'd argue with is Illinois - it seems based on the latest news that Florida is a more likely takeover opportunity than Illinois (not that I think either will happen).

Posted by: JoeyJoeJoe | September 19, 2006 9:43 AM | Report abuse

"The Federal Communications Commission ordered its staff to destroy all copies of a draft study that suggested greater concentration of media ownership would hurt local TV news coverage, according to a story by the AP's John Dunbar.

"Former FCC attorney Adam Candeub, now a law professor at Michigan State University, said senior managers at the agency ordered that 'every last piece' of the report be destroyed.

" 'The whole project was just stopped -- end of discussion,' he said.

"The FCC staff analysis showed local ownership of television stations adds almost five and one-half minutes of total news to broadcasts and more than three minutes of 'on-location' news. The conclusion is at odds with FCC arguments made when it voted in 2003 to increase the number of television stations a company could own in a single market. It was part of a broader decision liberalizing ownership rules.

"The research undercut then-Chairman Michael K. Powell's ideological crusade to loosen and eliminate media ownership limits, which would have allowed large national congloms to buy up even more local media."

--yes, burn every copy of that constitution. every last piece.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2006 9:40 AM | Report abuse

"You've probably read Rajiv Chandrasekaran's account in the Washington Post of how the Iraq occupation became, in part, an employment agency for the children or relatives of well-connected Republican party operatives or ideologically correct hacks, with much less expertise than others turned down. In the immortal words of Abe Simpson, it's a story that angers up the blood. The guy in charge? James O'Beirne, the husband of National Review's Kate O'Beirne. So many pundits married to so many party officials - it gets hard to keep them straight at times.

"As for the underlying story, it is simply of a piece with the impression that John DiIulio got when he quit the Bush administration in disgust. The only thing that matters in this White House is politics. The substance of policy is secondary. If Bush ran a war with the dedication, ruthlessness and attention to detail that he brings to bear on a political campaign, then he might actually have a strategy for winning one."

Andrew Sullivan, conservative pundit

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Although I agree that the race should not be in the current top 15, I hope "The Fix" is watching the Florida Gov. race. The Republicans wisely nominated the moderate (Crist). Davis, the Democratic candidate, is solid and may make it interesting.

With strong-blowing Democratic winds and bi-partisan disgust with the GOP's nomination of Katherin Harris (US Sen), Davis may have some significant down-ballot support from Senator Nelson, local competitive US House races and the national party.

Posted by: FL Now | September 19, 2006 9:33 AM | Report abuse

It is a sad day when McCain is being attacked by Christians because he wants to ensure torture is not adopted as US policy. I used to believe the argument that we should do whatever it takes to protect America, especially when there are people out there who want to kill innocent Americans. These people are maniacal killers and I do not want them to ever strike American soil again. They need to be stopped.

But as a Christian and someone who loves America, I can not support an "ends justify the means" stance towards defending America. We should use whatever means we can within the Geneva convention. We lose all moral authority when we say we will interpret the Geneva convention to meet our needs.

My current position allows me to see many documents detailing the abuses our own POWs had to endure during previous wars. Those nations tried to justify the torture in relation to their own nation's moral codes. The Geneva Convention was enacted explicitly to prevent this and to codify how all prisoners should be treated so that they are not at the whims of whatever culture captures them.

The US has always boasted of how well we treat our enemies in captivity, espcially in contrast to how our prisoners are treated by those very same enemies. We can not continue down this slippery slope to where we are in danger of degrading ourselves to the moral equivalency of the enemy. We have the technology to gather the needed intelligence without using means which go against what we have stood for as Americans.

McCain was tortured for 5 years and never cracked. What makes us think that we could use questionable means to get these radicals to talk when they believe they are fighting for their very salvation? We need to focus our resources on gathering intelligence the right way and preserve America's moral authority and so we dont have a guilty collective conscience.

Posted by: Mikepcfl | September 19, 2006 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Where is california. Maybe it seems less likly now but it still likly desrves number 10. Unpopular GOP governor in Blue California, not to mention more hispanics and unions likly to have big election efforts against the GOV.

Posted by: rtaycher1987 | September 19, 2006 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who wants to see the effect of Washington DC politics and special-interest money on a state governor's race should watch the Iowa contest closely.

Nussle's old connections with the likes of Tom Delay and Newt Gingrich are paying off, with conservative millionaires funding 527's that mislead the public.

And in spite of these 527's claim to independence, there is inevitably an umbilical chord between them and their candidate of choice, pumping that green nourishment and taking cues from the campaign's handlers.

Nussle has the worst of the worst in Washington and Iowa backing his two-faced campaign. Yet, somehow, Culver still manages to edge Nussle out in most reliable impartial polls. Also, the enthusiasm of Nussle's campaign crew pales in comparison to Culver's, if the youthfulness and energy of Culver's campaign could get bottled-up they could sell it. These Iowa young Democrats are absolutely resolute and irreprescible, and Culver looks like he fits right in when he is standing at their forefront.

Nussle's begun to actually LOOK like an elephant, it wouldn't very hard for a good cartoonist to turn him into one and make him do "The Nussle Hustle."

If the Iowa public in general, and particularly its passionate voting base, had an inkling of just how connected and beholden Nussle is to the Delays and the Neys and the Cunninghams who still inhabit Congress and K Street, his poll numbers would bottom out.

But, as usual, this web of monopolist moneyed interests and profit-seeking neocon ideologues is quite adept at covering their tracks. They pass themselves off as public interest groups when they are, without exception, wither wholly or primarily funded by SPECIAL interests.

If Iowans knew the truth, they would turn on Nussle overnight. Iowa is the headwaters of our president6ial electionprocess, so these neocon money machines have a very special interest in its political machinations.

Just one somewhat off-subject part to this post, here's today's "buried headlines" from the WaPo pages, you know, that story they can't avoid but don't want to tell us the whole truth about?

This is the most important story of the day, but will go unnoticed because it has been buried as a single line in an obscure storyline that clearly stops quite short of the real story, but dangles out this little piece of history that neocon time seems to be trying to forget or cover-up, (apparently its been covered up for years...)

Shortly after the Taliban fell in Afghanistan, NPR correspondent Sarah Chayes found herself reporting a story she was sure had enormous implications for both that country and the United States.
She couldn't get it on the air.
In December 2001, Chayes rushed across the Pakistani border in the company of a young fighter affiliated with the forces of Gul Agha Shirzai, a local warlord.
Shirzai's militiamen had just taken control of Kandahar, the fabled southern city that had been a key Taliban and al-Qaeda stronghold. The takeover, Chayes knew, was in defiance of the orders of newly anointed Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who had designated another group to hold Kandahar.
What Chayes didn't know was the role played by American Special Forces troops attached to Shirzai's militia. She imagined the Special Forces guys cursing the renegade warlord, then saying: "They're attacking, we'd better go along with them." But when she asked her militiaman escort, "This kid looked at me and said, 'The Americans? They told us to do it!' "

Just what is the truth about Afghanistan? What twisted tales of traitorous leadership will the future hide or reveal? This story's implications are mind-boggling, especially considering that we went to Iraq and gave the hunt for Bin Laden up, at least in terms of it being our focus and our objective.

Now that Bush is even trying to tell us how to think, it won't be long before we have "thought police" out there, DOUBLE DEPUTIZED Barney Fifes, arresting us for a poorly concealed sneer.

Don't be surprised if they start talking about a military draft, just days after the election.

Posted by: JEP | September 19, 2006 9:30 AM | Report abuse

'An overhaul in how states and localities record votes and administer elections since the Florida recount battle six years ago has created conditions that could trigger a repeat -- this time on a national scale -- of last week's Election Day debacle in the Maryland suburbs, election experts said.

In the Nov. 7 election, more than 80 percent of voters will use electronic voting machines, and a third of all precincts this year are using the technology for the first time. The changes are part of a national wave, prompted by the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 and numerous revisions of state laws, that led to the replacement of outdated voting machines with computer-based electronic machines, along with centralized databases of registered voters and other steps to refine the administration of elections.'

Or rather, the Help America Not Vote Act.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2006 9:26 AM | Report abuse

A report released on Friday alleges that Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY) used weekends that were ostensibly for raising money for the Lake Placid Olympic facilities instead to reward people politically or personally connected to the Representative and his colleagues.
[Roll Call]

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2006 9:25 AM | Report abuse

FBI Assigns Record Number of Agents to Public Corruption Cases
"There is so much political corruption on Capitol Hill that the FBI has had to triple the number of squads investigating lobbyists, lawmakers and influence peddlers, the Daily News has learned.

"For decades, only one squad in Washington handled corruption cases because the crimes were seen as local offenses handled by FBI field offices in lawmakers' home districts. . . .

"But in recent years, the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal and other abuses of power and privilege have prompted the FBI to assign 37 agents full-time to three new squads in an office near Capitol Hill.

"FBI Assistant Director Chip Burrus told The News yesterday that he wants to detail even more agents to the Washington field office for a fourth corruption squad because so much wrongdoing is being uncovered. . . .

"Two years ago, only 400 agents worked on public corruption cases. Now, 615 agents nationwide - including 30 in New York - are trying to nail public servants for betraying the public trust in 2,200 ongoing cases. . . .

"Burrus wouldn't speculate about why there is so much graft, but said, 'We have to pull the whole weed up or it's just going to grow back again.'" (NY Daily News)

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

"Montana Sen. Conrad Burns, a Republican in a tight re-election race, flew on a private plane chartered by Vonage Holdings Corp. just days after he pushed legislation that the company has advocated for more than a year.

"Burns accompanied Vonage lobbyist Frank Cavaliere on the company's chartered plane to and from the '13th Annual Burns Classic Golf Weekend' in Bigfork, Mont., on Saturday. Cavaliere and a Burns spokesman both confirmed the plane trip to The Associated Press on Monday." (AP)

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse

'We love the nicknaming of candidates by their political opponents'

We love -- catfights and sandboxes, and slander and Swift Boats. Lying, distortion, and character assasination.

Sleazy ads, misleading campaigns -- these are a few of our favorite things...

Sing along with me now...

Posted by: drindl | September 19, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

So if a corporation dumps toxins into a city's water supply -- are they terrorists?

'A type of fish so common that practically every American kid who ever dropped a fishing line and a bobber into a pond has probably caught one is being enlisted in the fight against terrorism.

San Francisco, New York, Washington and other big cities are using bluegills -- also known as sunfish or bream -- as a sort of canary in a coal mine to safeguard their drinking water.

Small numbers of the fish are kept in tanks constantly replenished with water from the municipal supply, and sensors in each tank work around the clock to register changes in the breathing, heartbeat and swimming patterns of the bluegills that occur in the presence of toxins.

"Nature's given us pretty much the most powerful and reliable early warning center out there," said Bill Lawler, co-founder of Intelligent Automation Corporation, a Southern California company that makes and sells the bluegill monitoring system. "There's no known manmade sensor that can do the same job as the bluegill."

Since September 11, the government has taken very seriously the threat of attacks on the U.S. water supply. Federal law requires nearly all community water systems to assess their vulnerability to terrorism.

Big cities employ a range of safeguards against chemical and biological agents, constantly monitoring, testing and treating the water. But electronic protection systems can trace only the toxins they are programmed to detect, Lawler said.'

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2006 9:07 AM | Report abuse

In R.I. Carcieri has very little margin for error, but career politician Fogarty has stumbled out of the blocks by trying to position himself as a "reform" candidate against "corruption". Problem is, that his Dems have controlled both houses of the General Assembly for the past 60 odd years, and he has been in the middle of the deals, wheels, and steals on their behalf. If Carcieri doesn't have a "macaca moment" he should be re-elected Another factor however, is that he has alienated the State employees and career bureacrats by (justifiably in many cases) cutting back on State expenses and positions. His corporate motto seems to be the old line of turning to the next guy and saying "take care of it", and then ignoring the consequences... Kind of like "Brownie you're doing a hell of a job".... We shall see in November. Closer than it looks from outside, at this point. No. 10 is probably the right placement.

Posted by: L.Sterling | September 19, 2006 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Blackwell still has plenty of time to turn the Ohio Governor's race around. Cuyahoga county turnout is a key factor. Don't discount the ability of the GOP to GOTV.

Posted by: | September 19, 2006 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Christians Fight for Torture

'Conservative activists are heaping criticism on Sen. John McCain for fighting President Bush over proposed rules for the interrogation of terrorism suspects, a dispute that has reopened long-standing divisions between the maverick Republican lawmaker and his party's establishment.

The attack from the right, which coalesced over the weekend, could undercut McCain's effort to woo Bush backers and other party regulars for an anticipated 2008 presidential bid. His position on terrorism prisoners has fueled critics' skepticism about McCain's conservative credentials.

"This very definitely is going to put a chilling effect on the tremendous strides he has made in the conservative evangelical community," said the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, one of several conservative activists who support Bush's proposal on interrogation techniques.'

Who would Jesus have tortured?

Posted by: drndl | September 19, 2006 8:54 AM | Report abuse


This election cycle is not the relevant one for redistricting. Come back in 4 years--that's when the real redistricting battles will come up.

Posted by: Zathras | September 19, 2006 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Chris is trying to find the silver lining in the GOP's dismal showings.

At this point, I almost hope that the Democrats do not regain control of Congress in November. Two more years of crass incompetence, corruption, fear- and war-mongering, paranoia, bigotry, and jingoism, from the White House and the GOP-controlled Congress, constitute the perfect recipe for a Democratic Administration in 2008, and for turning the voters off the GOP for the next fifty years. Before things get better, they need to get worse.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2006 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Michael, I don't know if you're on today, but I wanted to reply to your post of last night, because it is relevant, with bush speaking to the UN today for the purpose of instilling fear and hatred of Iran:

Your hierarchy of terrorism is quite interesting. One thing I would add is which branch of Islam that we are dealilng with in terms of terrorism, which is Wahhabism:

'(Arabic: الوهابية, Wahabism, Wahabbism) is a Sunni fundamentalist Islamic movement, named after Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab (1703-1792). It is the dominant form of Islam in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The term "Wahhabi" (Wahhābīya) refers to the movement's founder Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab. It is rarely used by members of this group today, although the Saudis did sometimes use it in the past. The currently preferred term is "Salafism". In the past, they usually called themselves the Ikhwan, the Brethren. Wahhabists see their role as a movement to restore Islam from what they perceive to be innovations, superstitions, deviances, heresies and idolatries.

In 1924 the Wahhabi al-Saud dynasty conquered Mecca and Medina, the Muslim holy cities. This gave them control of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage, and the opportunity to preach their version of Islam to the assembled pilgrims. However, Wahhabism was a minor current within Islam until the discovery of oil in Arabia, in 1938. Vast oil revenues gave an immense impetus to the spread of Wahhabism. Saudi laypeople, government officials and clerics have donated many tens of millions of US dollars to create religious schools, newspapers and outreach organizations.'

So you see, all roads lead back to oil. And the center of this movement is Saudi Arabia, which finances the madrassas, the state schools which teach this movement to young men. It was, after, all, young Saudi men--Wahabbists -- who attacked us on 9/11. It is Saudi Arabia which is the locus of terrorism in the Middle East. It is the single largest state sponsor of terrorism against US--not Iran. Saudi, followed by Pakistan.

Yet, they are called our allies. When their Princes visit us, our president holds their hand and strolls with them in the garden. Have you seen the photos, zouk? He kisses their cheeks. After 9/11, the first action taken by the US government was to ground all aircraft--except those government craft which were delivering the Saudi royalty home, so they would be out of danger. You see, many of them have vast estates --in Texas.

The next move our government made was to clear all our troops out of their country -- because they asked us to. We had our major Mideast presence there, a permanent population of perhaps 10,000 troops. When we moved them, we needed a new base. We chose Iraq.

And even as we speak, the Saudis jerk us around, controlling the price of oil and teaching their young to hate us. Why? It distracts their attention from hating the way their government cheats them. And it works for our government too -- see the way you little righties are getting all worked up over Iran? Our government wants you to.

Now, the 'problem' in the Mideast is that the Saudis, once the world's largest producer of oil, are tapping out. Their fields are depleting. That brings us to Iraq and Iran. Iraq has major reserves, but we have discovered --too late -- that their infrastructure is rotten and will need tremendous investment to produce. Iran -- on the other hand--with the world's largest untapped reserves -- is modern, industrialized, and producing prodigiously. But--their oil is nationalized--which strikes terror in the heart of oilmen--for they can cut it off at will. Plus, they control the Straits of Hormuz--a narrow sea passage along their coast which can easily be bottlenecked and choke off the major oil shipping route.

This is why Iran is our 'enemy', you see. Why your president will be speaking at the UN today, warning the world of the 'dangers'; it presents. But the rest of the world knows the 'danger' is to oil profits. It is only the simple, the gullible, the credulous, like 'bhoomes' and 'zouk' who fall for this propaganda. And so it should be them, that goes to fight their bloody war. I urge all of you who are shaking in your boots in fear of Iran, to enlist now. Exxon Mobil needs your bodies.

Posted by: drindl | September 19, 2006 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Michigan, CC said, "Read one way, voters have decided that even though they don't like the job Granholm is doing, they also don't think DeVos could do any better. Read another, voters are ready to fire Granholm and just need to hear a credible message of change out of DeVos."

The voters have heard DeVos's message blasting through the airwaves for 4 months now. If there were a "credible message of change," the voters would have heard it by now.

There are 3 debates scheduled now, which is about 3 more than I thought DeVos would agree to. These debates are what the election will turn on--the advertising angle is pretty much done.

Posted by: Zathras | September 19, 2006 8:46 AM | Report abuse

"We love the nicknaming of candidates by their political opponents. Who could forget Stan "Taxsunaka" in Colorado's 4th congressional district race a few years back?"

Chris, you might as well say "We love the stupidification of politics, the art of appealing to the lowest common denominator, of getting people to vote against their own interests." Nicknames work when people choose not to think. I'm imagining that's just part of the landscape for politicos, just like negative ads.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | September 19, 2006 8:37 AM | Report abuse

I deal in reality not wishful thinking, if Blackwell cannot make a dent by the 1st week of October, then its over, its just a question how muck Strickland will win by, which I still believe will be in the single digits.

Posted by: bhoomes | September 19, 2006 8:22 AM | Report abuse

For Democrats the most dissappointing is California because of the gerrymandering implications. A Democratic state legislature combined with a Dem governor in CA and a Dem sweep in Ohio really could've have changed the political map in coming election cycles. Of course Dems will take the gov mansion in NY and the state Senate in the next election cycle. That may help cement the Dems control of the House of Representatives through gerrymandering in coming years.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | September 19, 2006 7:07 AM | Report abuse

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