Torture/detainee bill: Dems waving it through

For all the brave words from the lefty sphere (the spasm of which seems to have abated), HR 3901 seems to be making its way to the Senate exit without being greatly impeded.

According to this piece (from 1837 ET today),

Democrats do not seem inclined to go all-out to block passage of the detainee bill, but they are negotiating with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on offering amendments to the bill.

That's typical of what I've read of the mood in the Senate on the bill.

And from the horse's mouth:

"We can't stop a vote on it this week," said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid Tuesday. He said a Senate vote to curtail debate on the detainee bill would take place Wednesday morning and he added, "we can't stop that."

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Adwatch: Young Virginians Talk to George Allen

A new ad in Virginia is making the rounds:

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I am not going to say anything. I just want to know what you think of the ad. Do you think that this ad could go viral, get free media, or otherwise forward the current narrative on Allen in the Virginia Senate race?

The Sorry State Of Republican Senate Challenges Outside of New Jersey

I doubt that many, if any Republicans would consider the Nevada Senate race to be competitive. This is not entirely unjustified. Even after the latest Rasmussen poll on the campaign is added in, Pollster.com's five poll moving average of the race will be:

Ensign (R): 51%
Carter (D): 40%

11% is a big gap to overcome on an incumbent in a short period of time, especially when the candidate trailing in the polls also faces a significant monetary gap. However, I am sure that a lot of Republicans will still crow about their chances for pickups in Washington, Michigan, and Minnesota because, you know, Mark Kennedy is such a good candidate). Let's compare the five poll moving averages in those races to the five-poll average in Nevada, shall we?

Minnesota
Klobuchar (Dfl): 52%
Kennedy (R): 37%

(Did you know that Mark Kennedy is a great candidate?) This isn't one poll out of Minnesota--this is an average of the last five polls. I'd stick a fork in this one, except that everyone knows that the race is a lot closer than this, and that all five of those polls are biased. This campaign has to be close, because Mark Kennedy is such a great candidate. We all know these things because that is what we have been told repeatedly for the last year. Mark Kennedy is a great candidate who massively under-performed Bush in both 2000 (by 13%) and 2004 (by 6%). It is too bad for a great candidate like Kennedy that not only is Nevada a far closer race than Minnesota, but Nevada is also clearly trending closer while the biased polls in Minnesota show the already huge gap widening. This is just not an end befitting such a great candidate like Kennedy.

Washington
Cantwell (D): 52%
McGavick (R): 39%

We were "treated" today to both Rasmussen and Political Wire telling us how this race was getting close. Of course, this is the average polling in the campaign even after the new Rasmussen poll was factored in. This is also one of the races that Strategic Vision likes to poll a lot. Amazing, Strategic Vision always shows the race closer than any other polling firm. Strategic Vision seems to have a habit of almost only polling Democratic held Senate seats and consistently showing them to be more favorable to Republicans than any other polling firm does. Kind of makes you wonder if partisan Republican Strategic Vision only exists in order to create buzz around the idea of Republican pickups using juiced numbers. In reality, the numbers also show Nevada to be closer than this campaign as well.

Michigan
Stabenow (D): 52%
Bouchard (R): 41%

This is another one of Strategic Vision's favorite races to poll. In fact, they have polled this race ten times in the last ten months. However, even with a Strategic Vision poll in the five-poll average, there is exactly the same margin, 11%, separating Stabenow and Bouchard as there is separating Ensign and Carter. Only here, there are fewer undecideds, and a much larger cash on hand gap (Nevada cash, Michigan cash). Nevada is closer than this race too.

What is Nevada not closer than? Well, New Jersey, obviously, which is yet another one of Strategic Vision's favorite states to poll, as they have conducted nine New Jersey polls in the last seven months alone). The only other one is Maryland:

Maryland
Cardin (D): 48%
Steele (R): 42%

So, Maryland is closer than Nevada, thanks almost entirely to the seemingly outlying Survey USA poll that showed Steele ahead 48%-47%. Maryland is actually most similar to another Democratic target tht rarely gets any press:

Arizona
Kyl (R): 48%
Pederson (D): 41%

Of course, we hear a lot more about Steele's great chances in Maryland than we hear about Pederson's chances in Arizona, which are usually scoffed at by the national punditry. It is just like how we hear a lot more about the Senate races in Minnesota, Washington, and Michigan than we hear about the Senate race in Nevada, even though Nevada is actually a closer race than Minnesota, Washington or Michigan. Admittedly, that could be because Mark Kennedy is such a great candidate, and the press can't help but talk about how close that race is.

New Jersey is the only serious Republican threat right now. Maryland is an outside threat, just like Arizona is an outside threat for us. By way of contrast, we have now mounted serious challenges in Montana, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. That gives us a net advantage of plus six in serious Senate challenges, exactly the number we need to retake the Senate. It still isn't very likely, but we are slowly creeping closer to having a real chance. When I update the Senate forecast later in the day, the new rankings will reflect that reality.

George Allen's Credibility Problem

As Matt notes in the previous post, Salon's Michael Scherer did some top-notch reporting on Sen. George Allen's background and finds some rather disturbing facts out of his past -- specifically, that former teammates of Allen's remember the Senator having harbored some seriously racist feelings during his time on the University of Virginia football team in the 1970s. As Scherer notes, Allen opened the door to such an examination by claiming during a recent debate that he learned from playing football that race did not matter.

By contrast, Allen has pointed to a different lesson from his days of football playing in recent public statements. On "Meet the Press," he said his football career was an experience that taught him racial tolerance. "I grew up in a football family, as you well know, and my parents and those teams taught me a lot," Allen said on the program. "And one of the things that you learn in football is that you don't care about someone's race or ethnicity or religion."

Scherer goes through and makes a fairly compelling case that Sen. Allen was being extremely disingenuous is his description of his football years. You can read selections from Scherer's article below in Matt's post or check the whole piece out at the link above, but suffice it to say that Allen's claims are not backed up in reality.

This was not the first time in recent weeks that Allen has been caught misleading voters and the press. We all know, of course, about Allen's shifting definition of "macaca," the racially insensitive term he used to denigrate a 20 year-old supporter of Democrat Jim Webb. Additionally, questions about Allen's credibility were raised in the wake of his response to a debate questioner who asked him if his mother was of Jewish origin.  As The Washington Post's Michael D. Shear subsequently reported, Allen's response was factually incorrect -- and he knew it.

Allen's heritage became an issue in the Virginia Senate campaign Monday, when television reporter Peggy Fox raised it at a televised debate in front of 600 business executives in Fairfax County. Allen repeated what he has said in the past: "My mother's French-Italian with a little Spanish blood in her. And I was raised as she was, as far as I know, raised as a Christian."

In fact, Allen had just recently learned about their Jewish roots when he made those comments. Allen declined to comment, but his mother said she had sworn him to secrecy.

As bad as the debate over whether George Allen is racist has been for both his ability to win reelection this year and his chances at securing the Republican presidential nomination in four years, Allen's exposure as a politician willing to say anything -- including statements he knows to be untrue -- to get elected are quite problematic. Though voters might forgive Allen for what appears to be a past rife in racism (voters' forgiveness far from assured, but it is possible), it's not clear that they will forgive someone who has repeatedly lied to them during this campaign. Certainly the media will not. And as more sticky situations arise during this campaign, as they seem likely to given all that has happened in the past couple months, a candidate with a track record of dissembling and a campaign staff that won't answer reporters phone calls (Scherer writes, "Chris LaCivita, a consultant to the Allen campaign, hung up when a Salon reporter reached him mid-afternoon Sunday") isn't going to gave such an easy time spinning back into control or regaining the confidence and trust of voters.

There's more...

Torture bill: lefty sphere blow it again?

Let me say first of all, my purpose here is not to point fingers, but to make comments and suggestions. My house is glass, and I gladly (or is that sadly?) acknowledge the fact.

Ne tirez pas sur le pianiste...

More or less ever since the Bush/Warner pact was announced last week, the more excitable elements of the sphere have been gnashing their teeth (if not weeping and wailing) over the deal and the complaisant reaction to it of leading Dem MCs, Harry Reid in the van.

By which time it was, of course, way too late to do anything about it. (Perhaps there was never a chance of doing anything about it.)

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Diaries

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