Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday Night Videos

(With apologies to Ace)

Don't let anything happen to the House:

Because it's our house and we like it:

Some think I focus on this too much:

But my critics are into groupthink:


I got nothing, I just like this one:

And anyway, we have lots of people in our House - so it's not over yet:

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This heavily-armed robot is exactly the sort of thing that will make the people of Detroit much safer.

Samsung has partnered with Korea University to develop a machine-gun equipped sentry robot, which consists of “two cameras: one for day-time and one for infrared night vision, zooming capabilities, a speaker for notifying the intruder, sophisticated pattern recognition to detect the difference between humans/trees, and a 5.5mm machine-gun.”

My personal guarantee: guys aged 35-45 won't even need to look up the reference.

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Maybe GOTV Should Start In the Neo-Natal Unit

Scientists study political-genetic link

Although it's probably too late to make effective use of these insights this time around.

NYT: Saddam One Year from Nuclear Weapon

The New York Times is concerned that the administration published on the web many documents that it regards as sensitive and dangerous, from Saddam's program of WMD. Of course, the Times neglected the interim article; the one that acknowledges that Saddam did in fact, have a WMD program.

If you recognize the Modus Operandi here, it's similar to the one used by the New York Times and others to report on the economy: report repeatedly that the economy is terrible, and then finally report that Bush is being damaged by the sudden and dramatic economic slowdown.

The salient point you should take from the NYT article is here:

Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq had abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.

It's unclear whether the NYT means to say that Saddam was a year away in 1990, or in 2002. In either case, the NYT and the Democrats will argue that the 'real point' is that Saddam did not have an 'active, ongoing' program to create & use WMD.

But the Times has refused to acknowledge that there is every indication that Saddam intended to restart his program of WMD when he had the opportnity. These documents clearly support that conclusion. Or would the NYT argue that the only reasons these documents exist is because hadn't gotten around to shredding them yet?

Make sure to read more at TKS as well as Captain's Quarters, where Ed Morrissey has done tons of work on the documents in question.

Ed notes a critical mistake by the NYT: by saying that the documents are dangerous, the NYT confirms that they are legitimate. If that's true, they confirm Saddam's ties to terrorists (including Al Qaeda), his plans to improve delivery systems for WMD, and a whole host of other things.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Moving Into the Last Days

As the campaign closes, if you're one of those obsessive lunatics who needs to know everything that's going on, make sure you're reading Geraghty and the Corner over at NRO.

More generally, I'm seeing as much good news as bad news. As I noted earlier, Conrad Burns seems about even money for re-election. Michael Steele has good reason to be optimistic. On the other hand, Anne Northup is reportedly trailing, and so is JD Hayworth. There is definitely reason to doubt the accuracy of the Hayworth poll; it has 16% of self-identified conservatives voting against Hayworth. That defies belief.

And I would be remiss if I did not tell you that Stu Rothenberg, who is usually the last to jump on the Democratic bandwagon, now predicts a Democratic takeover of the Senate, and a Democratic gain of 34-40 seats in the House. Does Stu lack appropriate faith in Rove, or is he on the money?

Expect all sorts of crazy polls in these last few days. We're reaching the point where you're better off turning off the computer and enjoying some football, or the changing of the leaves. Turn the news back on around 7:00 pm Eastern time Tuesday.

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Last Gasp of a Loser

What do the voters want from a potential Senator? They want to know he has a really inflated sense of self-importance, right? Well, that's what Ned Lamont seems to think. He's clearly been taking lessons from John Kerry.

It reminds me of a quote Joe Lieberman might have used a few months ago:

You think I'm licked. You all think I'm licked. Well, I'm not licked. And I'm going to stay right here and fight for this lost cause. Even if the room gets filled with lies like these, and the Taylors and all their armies come marching into this place.

Seems like it'll work out OK for Lieberman...

Hat Tip: Allah

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The Times, They Are a Changin...

Roll Call offers two articles today that preview likely changes in the House Republican leadership, whatever happanes on election day. Both require subscriptions, but I'll print excerpts:

Republicans Jockey For Leadership Posts
November 2, 2006
By Susan Davis and Ben Pershing,
Roll Call Staff

While House Republican leaders remain publicly optimistic in their Election Day forecasts, increasing chatter among the GOP rank and file indicates a significant number of Members are prepping for losses and wide-open leadership races in the aftermath of Nov. 7.

Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), who launched an unsuccessful bid for Majority Leader earlier this year, has taken to holding near-daily conference calls for at least the past two weeks with selected Republican Members, according to multiple House sources.

The calls have been characterized as “strategy sessions” among conservative Members on how to maintain the majority, as well as discussions on the future conservative agenda. GOP Reps. Mike Pence (Ind.), Jeb Hensarling (Texas) and Pete Hoekstra (Mich.), among others, have taken part...

Similarly, sources said moderate members of the Conference have been holding informal discussions over the make-up of the leadership slate if Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce (Ohio), the lone moderate in leadership, loses her re-election bid Tuesday.

If she successfully retains her House seat and chooses to seek another term leading the Conference, Pryce is expected to face a challenge from at least two colleagues: Reps. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) and Jack Kingston (Ga.), who are known to have ambitions for the post. But multiple House GOP aides said Wednesday that speculation has grown in recent days that Republican Policy Committee Chairman Adam Putnam (Fla.) could attempt a step up the leadership ladder and join that contest...

The race for the Conference vice chairmanship also is gaining clarity as Republican sources said Wednesday that rumored candidate Rep. Kay Granger’s office has made some initial contacts with her fellow Texas Republicans to let them know she may decide to throw her hat in that ring...

GOP aides also have said that in recent days Rep. Mark Kirk (Ill.) has been increasingly seen as a strong potential contender for the Conference vice chairmanship. Along with Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.), Kirk runs the centrist Tuesday Group, and he has taken the lead in recent weeks in reaching out to his fellow moderates to discuss how the party can do a better job of reflecting centrist ideas.

Kirk’s candidacy could gain momentum if Pryce loses, as moderates will be looking to keep a seat at the leadership table.

Additionally, those same sources believe that Rep. John Carter (Texas) has made great gains in his bid for Conference secretary, and one House GOP aide said Carter is seen as having the votes “locked up.” A spokeswoman for Carter did not return a call by press time.

Reps. Todd Tiahrt (Kan.), Mike Rogers (Mich.) and Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.) remain in the mix as Members regularly mentioned as potential contenders, though none of the three have indicated whether or not they will run for a leadership post...

Cantor Pushes for Reforms
November 2, 2006
By Susan Davis,
Roll Call Staff

House Chief Deputy Majority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) has no interest in discussing his own future ambitions, but he has begun outlining a framework for what he says is much-needed soul-searching on the future of the House Republican Conference and the party’s agenda...

Cantor maintains that Republicans will retain the House majority next Tuesday and that the current leadership slate will stay largely intact — although as a member of leadership he has little leeway to say otherwise — but he freely offers that Republicans need to start changing the way they do business.

“We will hold the House, I think obviously it’s going to be by a reduced margin,” Cantor said. “At that point what I would like to see is for us to take a breather.”

Cantor advocates postponing the scheduled Nov. 15 leadership elections for two reasons. First, he said Members need to know the outcome of the ongoing Committee on Standards of Official Conduct investigation into the activities of former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) because current leaders — including Speaker Dennis Hastert (Ill.), Majority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) — as well as several senior leadership aides have been involved in the investigation...

But more broadly, Cantor said House Republicans need to meet and discuss the game plan for the 110th Congress.

“We really need to try and address things in a little different way. My desire would be for us to take a few days and meet as a Conference ... to take stock of where we are,” he said. “I think at the end of the day the fact that we have not delivered on some of the things we set out to do [means] we need to come out of the gate in the next Congress with a recipe for success. There are plenty of times you can give excuses as to why we don’t produce, but the electorate doesn’t stand for it.”

Cantor said the rash of ethical scandals that dogged Republicans in the 109th Congress is unacceptable and the House needs to take serious action to put mechanisms in place to try to prevent future scenarios...

Cantor cited as an example the use of information technology audits in the private sector and some local governments, in which employees are aware of periodic audits of communications sent from their offices. He said that kind of mechanism may have prevented Foley from using e-mail and Instant Messenger to inappropriately contact pages.

Cantor is mulling introducing his own legislative proposal, which has not been hashed out, that would include what he calls “internal control mechanisms.” He said Republicans need to take serious reform actions to address how some Members abused the system for their own gain.

Citing the actions of incarcerated former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.) and Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), Cantor said more needs to be done to address earmark reform and oversight of federal dollars.

“We have some divide in our Conference over what the Appropriations Committee ought to be doing and ought to be transparent about,” he said. “I fully support transparency on that, to me, that’s a little step.”

Cantor noted that the increased spotlight on the earmark process caused a 37 percent drop in earmark requests this fiscal year...

It's virtually a certainty that any reformist surges we see now will be lessened by the time the conference meets to elect leaders. That seems to be the way of movements for change in Congress - at least in the 15 years or so I've been watching. That's why it's encouraging to see such an appetite for change among some of the 'backbenchers.'

And there definitely is a realization that the conservative base feels that the Congressional GOP has 'lost its way,' at least on some issues. I think there's a chance for significant reforms, at least if the Republicans retain control of the House.

Of course, Democratic control would bring a whole different set of changes.

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Lobbying is an Honorable Profession

And we do our best not to pay for access, but to find a way to get it for free.

Make sure to get out and vote for Heather Wilson over this numbskull.

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How Burns Made it a Race

Bob Novak writes on the issue that has brought Conrad Burns back into the thick of the race with Jon Tester: taxes.

Just two weeks ago, Republican Sen. Conrad Burns appeared dead in trying for a fourth term. Polls gave his Democratic opponent, State Sen. Jon Tester, a double-digit lead, and that caused party leaders in Washington to write off Burns. But less than a week before the election, Burns has closed to within a few percentage points of Tester.

The reason can be found in this Burns television ad: "Jon Tester isn't being honest when he claims he cut taxes [as president of the state senate]. In fact, Tester raised taxes on more than 16,000 small businesses. . . . Tester supports a $2,000 tax increase on families. Tester's a politician and a taxer who'll say anything to get elected."

Result? The latest Reuters/Zogby poll shows Burns within a point of Tester.

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Chocola With a Chance in Indiana

I have to agree with the comments of John Miller, regarding the importance of returning Chris Chocola to the House.

The good news? Research 2000 shows Chocola making it a close race again.

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What Happened in Charlottesville

Check out the series of photos Captain Ed posts of a lunatic lefty muscling his way past George Allen's staffers to try to get to Allen himself.

It's stunning the hack job that has been pulled against Allen this year. If you live in Virginia, make sure to get out and vote for Allen next week.

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I Always Assume Everyone Knows Something I Don't

So Bechtel washing its hands of Iraq makes me think that the post-election scenario contemplated by Administration insiders is at best one of U.S. troops withdrawing into their cantonments and letting the Iraqis sort out their blood feuds on their own:

Bechtel Leaves Iraq After Losing 52 Workers in 3 Years

Since the Left seems to view all exercises of U.S. military instruments of foreign policy through the lens of Vietnam; it's worthwhile to consider whether such a cantonment scenario is sustainable. Would Speaker Pelosi not be likely to play to her base by routinely confronting the Administration on supplementals and authorisations so long as U.S. troops remain within mortar range of the Mahdi Army? Wouldn't this in turn lead to the effective withdrawal of U.S. troops from any role in the political violence in Iraq? And wouldn't this in turn lead to the very realisation of the self-fulfilling prophecy of U.S. involvement in the area ending in chaotic evacuation by helicopter from rooftops while the Iranian backed militia indulge in orgies of reprisals against anyone who ever had a good word to say about the U.S. in Iraq?

John Kerry Take Note

This is how to apologize:

"I have no one to blame but myself," Mota said in a statement that did not explain how he ran afoul of baseball's drug rules. "I take full responsibility for my actions and accept MLB's suspension. I used extremely poor judgment and deserve to be held accountable.

"To my teammates and the entire Mets organization, I am sorry. I truly regret what I did and hope that you can forgive me. To baseball fans everywhere, I understand that you are disappointed in me, and I don't blame you. I feel terrible and I promise this is the first and last time that this will happen. I am determined to prove to you that this was one mistake."

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Lieberman to GOP

I've invested a lot in predicting that Lieberman will wind up caucusing with Republicans, but only because it makes no sense at all for him to remain a Democrat. Want another demonstration? The GOP in Connecticut is crediting him with breathing life into their congressional campaigns:

Lieberman push for GOP votes may aid GOP
By ANDREW MIGA, Associated Press Writer
Wed Nov 1, 10:58 AM ET

Sen. Joe Lieberman alienated plenty of Democrats with his independent bid. Just imagine their anger if he costs them control of the House.

The three-term Connecticut senator is aggressively pursuing Republican and independent voters in his race against Democratic nominee Ned Lamont and little-known Republican Alan Schlesinger. That targeted appeal — and the potential for a strong GOP turnout — could save three GOP House incumbents struggling to return to Washington...

Lieberman has the support of 73 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of independents, according to a Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday. Schlesinger trailed far behind in single digits in the head-to-head matchup.

Lieberman's coattails could carry the GOP incumbents to re-election and undercut Democratic hopes of majority control of the House.

"It does help me," Shays said in a recent interview. "I know there will be a lot of Republicans who will vote for him, as well as a lot of independents and Democrats. ... Joe is the kind of person who reaches across the political divide, and I am like that as well..."

Johnson, 71, is a 12-term incumbent locked in a nasty race against Chris Murphy, a 33-year-old Democratic state senator. One of her TV ads features an actor portraying Murphy being welcomed by drug dealers as he campaigns door-to-door.

In a sprawling working-class district in Eastern Connecticut, Simmons' support of the Iraq war has come under heavy fire from Democratic challenger Joe Courtney. It's the most Democratic, and poorest, of the three in play...

So for all the stuff that MoveOn and DailyKos hate him for, add the fact that he will be credited with helping to pull through however many of Connecticut's 3 incumbent House Republicans get re-elected.

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Great Picture

I think this picture may hurt the GOP, in that we are helped when people realize that John Kerry is a leader in the Democratic party, and he holds offensive views. This picture however, tends to make it plainer that John Kerry is a joke, who almost never ought to be taken seriously. And if enough voters think that Kerry shouldn't be taken seriously, they are less likely to regard it as important to come out and vote for his oppposition.

As an analogy, few realize that Jerry Springer was once the Democratic mayor of Cincinnati. If you thought about Springer as a leader in the Democratic party, you would probably race to the polls to vote GOP. But since most regard him as a joke, it loses the 'punch.' Well, do we really want the voters to realize that Kerry is as unserious as Jerry Springer?

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House GOP Shakeup

Tim Chapman picks up on an interesting story in The Hill about GOP 'backbenchers' pushing for leadership changes after the elections.

The House GOP has currently scheduled its leadership elections for the week of November 13, when Members will have returned to Washington for the 'Lame Duck' session of this 109th Congress. Such early scheduling is traditional, not least because it gives challengers little time to organize opposition to the incumbents.

There has been talk in the GOP of pushing back leadership elections. If things go badly on election day, expect that talk to increase. The goal for insurgents would probably be to have the next round of elections in December, when it is possible that Congress will have to come back for a second lame duck session.

If there are enough challengers to force a delay in the leadership elections, expect there to be new blood.

And frankly, if election day goes badly, several of the posts will have been vacated anyway.

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If Kerry Didn't Exist, Rove Would Invent Him

John Kerry remains the gift that keeps on giving. He drove Imus crazy this morning, because he would not give a simple apology for what he said. He kept saying that he botched a joke, and then he tried to turn back to an attack on Bush. Finally Imus hung up on him, but not before Kerry mentioned that he was returning to DC and had cancelled his remaining campaign appearances.

By the way, have you noticed how John Kerry's favorite phrase seems to be 'I won't let them?' He said he wouldn't let the Swift Boat attacks damage his campaign. He wouldn't let the Bush campaign portray him as weak on terrorism. Now he's saying that he won't let the GOP make him an issue in this campaign.

When Kerry starts a sentence with "I won't let..." pull out your wallet and bet on it to happen.

(By the way, can we get a John Kerry drinking game going? Every time he says 'I won't let,' take a drink. The good news is, you wouldn't be sober for more than the first three minutes or so of his speech.)

The wonderful thing about Kerry injecting himself into the race at this point is that it gives the GOP something to run against. This election has been a referendum on GOP leadership, without much consideration about what the Democrats offer instead. It's been hard for Republicans to force voters to actually choose whose agenda they prefer, because neither Pelosi nor Reid is very well-known nationally. John Kerry is however. And the good thing for the GOP is, America has already rejected him once.

The further good news is that Kerry is choosing to keep himself in the spotlight. After all, it would be easy to say 'I'm sorry I misspoke. I never intended to criticize our troops, for whom I have the highest regard.' But Kerry refuses to do that. He would rather stay front-and-center, to the detriment of his Democratic colleagues. Is he doing it because he's stupid, or because he thinks it endears him to the Nutroots? After all, they seem to love left-wing 'martyrs' much more than they like to win. Perhaps Kerry wants to portray himself as nailed to the cross of right-wing smear attacks. It is a surefire political loser nationally, but maybe he thinks it'll get him some love from the Fever Swamp.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Good News for Hayworth


It's not really that bad, of course.

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Why the GOP is Optimistic

Time's Mike Allen explains 5 factors that make Rove and Mehlman optimistic about retaining the GOP majorities in the face of the Democratic surge:

1) No Republican is being taken by surprise, unlike many Democrats in 1994. Shortly after Bush's reelection, White House and Republican National Committee officials began working to convince House members that the formidable reelection record for incumbents (since 1996, 97.5 percent) was not something they could take for granted. "What we attempted to do last year," said one of these officials, "was to go out of our way to say to people: 'You face a potential of a race. In order to win as an incumbent, you better have a plan,' " including an intensive focus on voter registration, a message plan that would unfold in phases, and a ground organization that was operating in a measurable, quantifiable way. When candidates were willing to do that, the party offered to work with them to offload some costs. The candidates were also encouraged to help raise money for the party, to complete the circle. One official involved in the process said Republican officials deliberately "scared" lawmakers, telling them: "You face a very tough road. You better be ready."

2) Absentee ballot requests and returns, closely tracked by the party, are meeting or exceeding past levels for Republicans in key states and districts. Republican officials say White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and party operatives are scrutinizing this data with the same intensity that they followed metrics like voter registration earlier in the cycle. For at least 68 races, they have been getting reports once a week on the number of voters registered, phone calls completed and doors knocked on. Now, they're getting a second report on the number of absentee ballots requested, absentee ballots returned and early votes cast. "We can look at that data flow and make an assumption about what's going on and plotting it out," a Republican official said.

3) When the national parties, national campaign committees, state "victory" committee accounts and competitive campaigns are added up, Republicans maintained a substantial financial advantage over Democrats at the last filing period. "We didn't look on it as one pot," said one official involved in the process. "We looked upon it as four pots, with synergy available through all four."

4) Republicans say the district-by-district playing field favors them in several structural ways not reflected in national polls. Here is their thinking, starting with statistics from the President's 2004 race against John F. Kerry: "There are 41 districts held by a Democrat that Bush carried, and 14 seats held by Republican that Kerry carried, so we're fighting on better turf. You see it in the open seats, where Bush carried 18 of the Republican open seats and Kerry carried two. So we're fighting on better turf."

5) The get-out-the-vote machine designed by Rove and now-Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman in 2001 was dubbed the "72-hour" program, but officials say that's quite a misnomer and that it's really a 17-week or even two-year program. "In Ohio, we are making more phone calls this year than we made two years ago," said an official involved in the process. "Now, that's not the case necessarily in Virginia, which was not a battleground state. You have to build that. In other places, we built that and built it early."

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Round-Headed Kid All Grown Up

Who woulda seen Charlie Brown running for Congress? And more importantly, how is it that I missed that fact until now?

I bet he's just doing it to impress that little red-headed girl.

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John Kerry: Offensive Clown

I have a dear family member who is an attorney. He became a police office because he wanted to give back to the community and protect the innocent. He joined the military and served proudly in Iraq. Upon his return, he returned to public service, and now puts his life on the line to protect his fellow Americans every day. I find it deeply and profoundly offensive that John Kerry seems to think he is an idiot.

I know by now that John Kerry is a classless, privileged ass. So perhaps I shouldn't expect any better. I know that he's demonstrated his contempt even for the Secret Service agents who had the thankless task of protecting him in 2004, and who may be called to protect him again in his effort to become a two-time loser in 2008. Does Kerry know how many of those agents have a background in the military? Does he think they're stupid as well?

It's a shame that John Kerry doesn't have the good sense to just shut up.

Video Here:

Update: Kerry demonstrates that he can't take a lesson and doesn't know when to quit. In his statement and in his press conference, he refuses to apologize, and rests on his record of 'support for our troops.' What a joke.

So basically, if you believed and liked Kerry after the 2004 campaign, you might still like him. But if you know that Kerry has a record of disdain and even contempt for our troops, this will stick in your craw.

It's just a little more fuel to help Karl Rove ramp up the turnout.

Update II: Here's Kerry's refusal to apologize.

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Barone: Good News & Bad News

Michael Barone is always worth a read. Today he covers apparent shifts in some key races. The quick-and-dirty: improved situation for Democrats in Connecticut, and for the Republicans in Texas and Florida.

He makes a key point with regard to the race in Tom DeLay's old seat:

I am told that Texas has a rather liberal law governing the counting of write-ins that allows for different spellings, initials, etc., to be counted for a registered write-in candidate. The poll showed that 35 percent would vote for Sekula-Gibbs as a write-in and 36 percent for Democrat Nick Lampson, who used to represent Texas's Ninth and was defeated in 2004 as a result of the redistricting plan DeLay pushed through the Texas Legislature in 2003. When people were asked preferences without a mention of the write-in, the result was Sekula-Gibbs over Lampson 52 to 35 percent. It is interesting that the poll also had a DeLay-Lampson pairing, with DeLay ahead by 48 to 40 percent–an underwhelming score in a district that voted 64 percent for George W. Bush in 2004.

Read the whole thing.

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Charlie Cook: Now With Free Hemlock!

Election expert Charlie Cook sees no reason for Republican optimism. He shifts a whole bunch of races further toward the Democrats. And districts that seemed safe just 2-3 weeks ago, he now rates as tossups:

With the election just eight days away, there are no signs that this wave is abating. Barring a dramatic event, we are looking at the prospect of GOP losses in the House of at least 20 to 35 seats, possibly more, and at least four in the Senate, with five or six most likely.

New tossups in the House include Hayworth, Pombo, Musgrave, Ryun, Gutknecht, Bass, Schmidt, and Cubin.

His latest poll has the generic Congressional ballot showing a gobsmacking 26 percent Democratic edge among likely voters.

If Cook turns out to be right, Democrats will clearly establish a working majority in the House, and will generally be able to avoid being held hostage by any particular constituency or caucus (Black Caucus, Blue Dogs, New Democrats, Hispanic Caucus, etc).

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Expect Amnesty from a Democratic House

Mickey leads off with an interesting debate question: would a Democratic House of Representatives pass some version of the Bush-McCain semi-amnesty immigration bill. Mickey says that all the folks he talks to in Washington say no. I've been wrong before, but to me it seems a no-brainer that they will.

A Democratic House of Representatives is going to have a tough row to hoe. With a Republican Senate (presumably) and White House, they will have no trouble finding issues on which to draw distinctions with the GOP (expanded access to health care, minimum wage increases, ramped-down commitment in Iraq, and deficit reduction). But they will also have to protect themselves against the charge that they stand for nothing but obstruction, and there are few issues where they agree with the Senate and the White House.

Wait a minute. Did I say 'few issues?' I meant 'no issues' - apart from immigration.

Further, there is the latino constituency to think about. After the signing of the Secure Fence Act, and after whatever happens on election day, do you think the President will sit back and forget about his efforts to woo latino voters to the GOP? What could be a better pitch than to say 'The Senate has passed earned legalization; I will sign earned legalization, but Nancy Pelosi opposes earned legalization.' Knowing that he doesn't need to appease the GOP base anymore, Bush can sing that song far and wide. And guess what? If Nancy Pelosi stubbornly refuses to cooperate, it will rankle the GOP base even less.

And lastly, Pelosi will need to demonstrate that they can deliver for business on something. If the Democrats win the House, and their agenda with regard to business includes tax increases, increased regulation, a grinding halt to trade expansion, beating up on China, and investigating federal contracts, how much more likely will business be to redouble the effort to make Pelosi a one-term Speaker? There will be relatively few issues where House Democrats could do something to buy off the animosity of Big Business. Immigration will be a big one.

So will the Democratic House cooperate on amnesty? Clearly the Democratic conference will be divided. There is a significant constituency for low levels of immigration. But latinos will favor it, unions will favor it, folks interested in a new class of Democratic-leaning voters will favor it, and so will business. I have to admit that Democrats are really good at shooting themselves in the foot, but to me, this looks like a no-brainer.

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What's With the Polls?

That's Michael Barone's question, courtesy of Instapundit.

One facet of the polls this year has interested me. As a rule of thumb, Republican candidates do better among 'Likely Voters' than among 'Registered Voters.' That's because GOP voters generally go to the polls more dependably than Democrats. Another way to put that is that intermittent voters tend to be more Democratic than the base vote.

But if the Democratic base is more motivated this year than the GOP base - if they are expected to come out and vote more reliably than the Republicans, shouldn't the 'Likely Vote' be more Democratic than the 'Registered Vote?' From what I have seen, very few polls have shown that. (A recent exception is the Newsweek poll I posted below).

If 'Likely Voters' this year are consistently more Republican than the Registered Voters, can this be explained by anything other than a motivated Republican base?

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Newsweek: Late Momentum for GOP

I am always ready to make a mountain out of a molehill. And why not? Only 8 days left; there are few remaining opportunities to get overly-optimistic:

October 29, 2006
Special Sunday Brunch -- 9 Days To Go
A quick rundown of can't miss Sunday developments

This week's Newsweek poll continues to show Dems in a strong position but the poll also found some small movements toward the GOP. Dems led the generic ballot among LVs 53-39% and among RVs, the Dems led 49-38%. Last week, the Dems' generic ballot lead in this poll was 18 points. And for the third poll in a row, Pres. Bush's job rating inched up two points to 37%...

And check out the Newsweek article itself. The numbers are definitely bad for the GOP, but in every way they are better than they were in Newsweek's last poll:

Too Little, Too Late?
President Bush made a big show this week of reevaluating his Iraq policy. It made a difference—but only with his base and only at the margins. The new NEWSWEEK poll finds likely voters still favoring the Democrats.
By Marcus Mabry

Updated: 1:38 a.m. ET Oct 29, 2006

Oct. 28, 2006 - As the race for Congress enters the homestretch, the Republicans find themselves limping to the finish line, according to the new NEWSWEEK Poll. President Bush’s approval rating continues a slow but steady climb—from an all-time NEWSWEEK-poll low of 33 percent three weeks ago to 37 percent today. But it may be too little, too late: if the midterm elections were held today, 53 percent of those likely to go to the polls would vote for the Democratic candidate in their Congressional district versus just 39 percent who would vote for the Republican...

Almost half of all Americans still believe taking military action in Iraq was a mistake, but the gap between those who say it was and those who say it was the right decision has narrowed: from 54 to 39 last week to 49 to 43 this week—from a 15-point margin to just six points.

Faith that the United States is making progress in Iraq is up slightly, too: from 25 percent of Americans last week to 29 percent this week. A solid majority still believes the United States is losing ground, but their ranks have decreased from 65 percent to 60 percent. The biggest change is among Republicans. Last week, 50 percent of Republicans said America was making progress in Iraq (35 percent said we were losing ground). This week 65 percent of Republicans say we’re making progress and only 22 percent say we’re losing ground...

And while 61 percent of Americans are still dissatisfied with the direction of the country, that compares to 67 percent who were dissatisfied in two NEWSWEEK polls earlier this month. The ranks of the satisfied have grown, if not swelled, from 25 percent to 31 percent...

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The Bulwark & the Battering Ram

That's how CQ sees it in their last big assessment prior to the election. Give it a read. For all the talk about the wave, and the fact that all the experts give Dems the edge to take the House, CQ makes clear that it's still a very close thing:

As of Oct. 27, CQ’s individual assessments of all 435 House races showed Democrats seriously contesting Republican holds on 72 seats (31 percent of the party’s current total) with seven of those races already leaning toward a Democratic takeover and 18 more considered genuine tossups — the result of a combination of Republican political weaknesses and the Emanuel team’s success at growing the roster of competitive Democratic challengers, many in districts that the party had not contested in years. By contrast, only 21 Democratic seats were in play, and only a handful appeared seriously at risk. The bottom line is that the Republicans are now ahead at least marginally in only 207 races, meaning that even if they hold on to all of those (which won’t happen) they must win 11 of the 18 tossups to retain power. The Democrats are now ahead in 210 races — nine more than the number of seats they have now — so if they hold all those leads they will need to win just eight of the tossups to gain control.

So will the GOP get 11 of the 18, or will Democrats get 8?

It's funny that it's this close, after all this.

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Hopeful Energy News

China is building an $8 billion nuclear power plant. Forget the US and France; China is now the world leader in nuclear power technology.

China's government plans to build dozens of nuclear power plants in coming years as it tries to ease mounting power shortages cause by its economic boom. Beijing looks on nuclear power as a clean alternative to China's abundant but dirty coal resources.

The Yueyang plant would be the second in Hunan, away from the booming eastern coast, where China's existing nuclear plants are located near Shanghai and in the southeastern province Guangdong.

And why such an investment in power production? Because China is sucking up energy like it's going out of style:
China's total power consumption in the first quarter of this year rose by nearly 12 per cent to 625 billion kilowatt-hours, Xinhua said.

For those concerned about China as a threat, let's note that it yields benefits as well. China is doing the sort of research and development into nuclear power that is politically impossible in the US (at least so far). If it pays off, we will at least be able to buy it from them - rather than missing the boat entirely.

How is the West repsonding? Well, fortunately, folks like Shell are developing advanced technologies that let them do things like drill in 8,000 feet of water:
But the Perdido project is notable because it marks one of the first times an oil company has moved beyond the discovery and planning stages to commit to actual production in super deep water. "This is a major development even by Shell's historical standards," Russ Ford, a Shell vice president with the company's exploration and production division, said in a conference call Thursday with the news media.

The Perdido hub design is known as a "spar," — the platform will float on a huge sunken cylinder that is moored to the sea floor. It will sit in 8,000 feet of water, making it the deepest spar production facility in the world, Shell said.

Both these stories are from the very intersting NAMblog, which points out that those record oil company profits make things like deep-water production possible.

Update: Glenn picks up on Bill Clinton drawing the wrong lesson about Brazil's success in achieving energy independence.

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AQ's October Surprise

According to Newsweek, experts are speculating that bin Laden will release a tape before the election. Let's toss into the mix that the Saddam verdict is due next Sunday - just two days before the midterm.

What will be the effect of either or both of these? Kerry groused that bin Laden's appearance right before the 2004 election might have cost him the Presidency. The Democrats have made much of the fact that they are supposedly more trusted on the issue of stopping terrorism now; do they hope for an OBL appearance, or fear it?

And what of the expected Saddam verdict? Will it be accompanied by increased violence? Will voters reconsider, and decide that maybe Iraq was not a total failure, or will they simply have the whole negative thing right at the top of their minds when they head to the polls?

It's intersting that 9 days out, there are still things that could bring important changes to the race.

Update: RedState picks up on wild lefty speculation that the scheduling of the Saddam verdict is a Rove-ian plot. I'm not all that sure that it helps the GOP, however.

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