Reasons for Optimism: Reps Are More Divided Than Us!

Since about 1976 the Democrats have been more divided than the Republicans.  It's changing...

For fun, listen to Rush Limbaugh on GOP 2008 front-runner John McCain uest.html Rush is a cornerstone on the GOP base.  The Republican gulf over immigration is as deep as the Grand Canyon.  

Another reason for optimism is is my native state of Missouri. Missouri is a true microcosm of the USA. The Republicans are bitterly divided over stem-cell research.  The St. Louis & Kansas City business community are aghast that the rural, hard right dominated legislature has banned stem-cell research.  The big money folks are opening their wallets to support a ballot referendum to sink the ban.

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Questions for Claire McCaskill

Dear MyDD Users:
I plan to attend a fundraiser for Claire McCaskill, Democratic candidate for Republican incumbent Jim Talent's US Senate seat representing Missouri, this evening.  

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GOP Sen. Talent Looks as Weak as Ever in Missouri

In 2004, Missouri offered its 11 electoral votes to Republican George W. Bush while electing a new Republican Governor at the same time. Two years earlier, the Show Me State sent Republican Jim Talent to the United States Senate by a 22,586-vote margin over the incumbent Democrat, Jean Carnahan. Now, however, voters in the state that once gave us Harry S. Truman appear to be moving away from the GOP back into the Democratic fold.

This November, Talent will once again face the voters, but this time they are much more ambivalent about him and the job he has been doing in Washington. According to SurveyUSA, only 48 percent of Missouri voters approve of Talent, the first time since August that his approval rating has fallen below 50 percent since August.

In part as a result of this number -- in addition to GOP Governor Matt Blunt's anemic 33 percent approval rating and President Bush's unimpressive 39 percent approval rating in the state -- a number of Beltway analysts have questioned Talent's ability to get reelected this year. The Cook Political Report (.pdf) rates the 2006 Missouri Senate race a tossup. The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza rates the Missouri seat the fifth most likely to change hands in November, and Hotline editor Chuck Todd rates it the 3rd most likely.

Polling released on Saturday by Rasmussen Reports only confirms Talent's weakness. Currently, the presumptive Democratic nominee, state auditor Claire McCaskill, leads Talent by a 43 percent to 40 percent margin. True, this lead is statistically insignificant, and the rolling three-month average is a 43 percent tie between Talent and McCaskill; nevertheless, the fact that Talent is stuck in the low 40s against an actual Democratic opponent just eight months before election day should cause great concern for GOP insiders in Washington.

At this stage, just about the only thing going in Talent's favor is the money race. As of the December 31, 2005, FEC filing deadline, Talent held a cash-on-hand advantage in excess of $3.3 million. But you can change this by going to and making a contribution before the next FEC filing deadline, which will come at the end of this month. With your help in this race, the Democrats could come even one step closer to retaking the United States Senate.

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Medicaid in the states - some good(ish) news

The Medicaid civil war in MA was settled (in principle) last Friday (much info at BlueMassGroup and Health Care for All (multiple pieces at each) - but other states are still grappling with the mandates in the Deficit Reduction Act. (Earlier piece by SouthernDem.)

The MA plan provisionally agreed within the lege includes a sort of alternative tax for employers who don't provide health insurance of $285 a year per uncovered employee. Chickenfeed, but sets a precedent, seems to be the verdict.

Meanwhile, there's an interesting idea from the WV lege for nursing home residents to use the Medicaid money being spent on them for care in their homes instead.

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Candidate filing in Missouri

Yesterday was the first day of candidate filing in Missouri. The Filing period for the August Primary begins at 8 a.m. on February 28, 2006 and runs through 5 p.m. on March 28, 2006.

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