Adwatch: Ned Lamont "Message"

Man, this is the feel good ad of the year:



Some people have said that Dean's campaign went wrong in late 2003 when it starting selling the Dean movement as part of the campaign. The criticisms went something like "people don't want movements, they want cheaper health care." I suppose the same criticism could be made of this ad, but I think it is done better. Sure, people don't want movements, but they do want something--anything--to stop Bush. Showing that you have a national movement behind Lamont working to stop Bush certainly helps sell the idea that Lamont can be trusted to stop him. The images of Lieberman yet again make the point that Lieberman will do no such thing.

Then again, like with the Dean campaign, it may be impossible for me to critique this ad with any objectivity. The movement behind Dean was one of the main reasons why I liked the Dean campaign. The same goes for Lamont. I can certainly understand that any electoral campaign is supposed to be about the candidate, and not the candidate's staff or supporters. However, I haven't seen an ad in a long time that made me feel this good. At the very least, it will appeal strongly to activists in the state, and really get them fired up to defeat Lieberman

Ned Lamont is on the netroots page.

Democratic Breeze Blowing In the Senate

Whoops. I forgot that I am the only gentile regularly writing on the front page today. Should have remembered that one earlier. Sorry about the delay in new content. Anyway, Mason-Dixon just polled ten Senate races, and here are the results:
  • WA: Cantwell (D) 50%--40% McGavcik (R)
  • PA: Casey (D) 49%--40% Santorum (R)
  • MT: Tester (D) 47%--40% Burns (R)
  • MD: Cardin (D) 47%--41% Steele (R)
  • NJ: Menendez (D) 44%--41% Kean (R)
  • OH: Brown (D) 45%--43% DeWine (R)
  • TN: Ford (D) 43%--42% Corker (R)
  • RI: Whitehouse (D) 42%--41% Chafee (R)
  • MO: McCaskill (D) 43%--43% Talent (R)
  • VA: Webb (D) 43%--43% Allen (R)
It is pretty amazing that Democrat are not behind in a single seat. There are several close races, but every single time Republicans are either tied or behind. After these polls are added to the new five-poll averages at Pollster.com, they will produce the following numbers:That is not bad at all. These numbers give us four pickups--Pennsylvania, Montana, Ohio and Rhode Isalnd. They put one Democratic held seat in a toss-up position--New Jersey. Two Republican held seats are in a toss-up position--Missouri and Tennessee. While taking the Senate is still a long-shot right now, these polls would give Democrats roughly a 12.5% to take control (winning all three toss-ups). The best case scenario for Republicans would be to only lose three seats, and they would only have a 12.5% chance at that one. There would be a 37.5% chance for Democrats to win five seats, and a 37.5% chance for Democrats to win four seats. If the current range is a 3-6 seat gain for Democrats, then I have to like our chance to hit the higher end of that range, as the wind blows in our direction and tips most of the close races in our favor. As Chuck Todd wrote last year, at a time when the seat-by-seat analysis was not nearly as favorable for Democrats as it is now (emphasis mine):But as Charlie Cook has pointed out, Senate races never break evenly for both parties. The key for the party that's got that little breeze at the end is putting enough races in play to win all those toss-ups. In a neutral climate, the 0-2 Democratic pickup prediction would make sense. But it's hard to foresee a neutral 2006 environment. The makings for a Democratic advantage are brewing. There's no difference between netting three Senate seats and netting six or seven. Once the Democrats are in a position to net a third, it probably means all those slightly-leaning GOP seats are going their way and the gain will be closer to six than to two. As Republicans unravel in almost every way you can imagine, Democrats clearly have the breeze blowing in their direction. While polling indicates that the odds of picking up three seats are the same as picking up six seats, you have to think right now that the actual odds are more in favor of a six seat pickup. I guess right now that is why I forecast a five seat pickup.

Now, I am to ready to forecast a Democratic Senate takeover based on the "breeze" theory. In 2004, I forecasted a narrow Kerry win based on the Incumbent Rule theory, even though the final pre-election polls showed a very narrow Bush victory. I don't want to get burned like that again, and I don't want you guys to get burned like that again. Still, it is very clear that the Senate is in play right now, even if the odds still favor Republican control. That is a very happy thought to keep in the back of your mind.

Update: Tennessee and Virginia numbers changed based on latest Rasmussen polls.

Webb's Fundraising Strength Puts VA-Sen Clearly on the Map

Even as freshman GOP Sen. George Allen of Virginia began to implode two months ago and his Democratic challenger, former Reagan Navy Secy. Jim Webb, began to dramatically narrow Allen's lead in the polls, many were still incredulous that the Virginia Senate race could become one of the nation's most competitive this year. After all, even if Allen was clearly faltering, Webb was seriously underfunded; as of the last filing deadline three months ago, Allen held better than a 15 to 1 cash-on-hand advantage over Webb. But as The Washington Post's Michael D. Shear reports, not only has Webb ticked up in the polls, he has also picked up his fundraising pace.

Virginia Democratic Senate candidate James Webb will report having raised more than $3 million during the past three months, according to two sources familiar with the campaign.

[...]

Webb, a former Marine and first-time politician, has struggled to compete with Allen's fundraising prowess. After winning the Democratic primary in July, Webb was left with almost no money, while Allen had a war chest with almost $7 million.

But controversies that have dogged Allen during the past six weeks have boosted contributions to Webb, the Democrat's campaign aides said.

This report comes simultaneously as new polling data show the race tied.

Incumbent Republican Senator George Allen and Democratic challenger Jim Webb are tied in the latest MSNBC/McClatchy poll conducted by Mason-Dixon.  Each candidate received the support of 43 percent of likely voters in Virginia with 2 percent supporting a third candidate and 12 percent undecided.

[...]

In July, Allen looked like a safe bet to hold the seat. He led Webb by a 16-point margin, 48 percent to 32 percent in a survey by the same pollster, Mason-Dixon. Allen's lead shrunk to 4 points, 46 percent to 42 percent, earlier this month.

This race is turning into a real problem for Republicans. Whereas Allen once appeared to have the money to ensure his reelection, now that's not clearly the case. Given the amount of negative press Allen has received, it could take well over the $10 million he had raised through June -- perhaps so much money that he might have to turn to Liddy Dole at the NRSC for some help. But the NRSC really does not have money to spare to help Allen at this juncture, so if they are forced to bail him out in any way, that money would likely have to come from another endangered incumbent or a long-shot challenger. The RNC could surely move some money into the race, but that would make it even more difficult for them to reach the $60 million they had promised for Republican turnout efforts -- an amount that already appeared unreachable when it was first announced.

All in all, this race is bad news for the Republicans. And the more such races pop up -- and they continue to; just look at FL-16 -- the worse the party's chances will be at maintaining control of either chamber of Congress.

There's more...

Low Senatorial Approval Polls Across the Board

Survey USA has their new fifty-state tracking poll of all 100 Senators. The Senators at the bottom of the list are revealing, to say the least:
  • 100. Burns, R-MT: 36% approve, 57% disapprove
  • 99. Santorum, R-PA: 39% approve, 53% disapprove
  • 98. DeWine, R-OH: 42% approve, 50% disapprove
  • 95. Kyl, R-AZ: 44% approve, 47% disapprove
  • 91. Menendez, D-NJ: 40% approve, 40% disapprove
  • 87(t). Lieberman, CfL-CT: 49% approve, 47% disapprove
  • 80(t). Talent, R-MO: 48% approve, 44% disapprove
  • 80(t). Chafee, R-RI: 49% approve, 45% disapprove
  • 74(t). Allen, R-VA: 49% approve, 41% disapprove
  • 60(t). Cantwell, D-WA: 53% approve, 39% disapprove
  • 52(t). Stabenow, D-MI: 54% approve, 37% disapprove
  • 45. Ensign, R-NV: 55% approve, 36% disapprove
The nine most endangered incumbents this cycle are all under the 50% approval mark. By way of contrast, Stabenow (D-MI), Ensign (R-NV) and Cantwell (D-WA) have all moved into comfortably positive territory. All are well over 50%, with net approval ratings of around +16-19%.

Conrad Burns really looks finished in Montana. Everyone from Kyl through Allen in those rankings looks like they can expect a dogfight. One note: in Hawaii, Daniel Akaka's approval rating has dropped to 49%-45%, and been in that range for several months. If his opponent had more than $557, that might have been a real campaign. Because Republicans are no longer running a fifty-state strategy, they seem to have missed a chance in Hawaii.

Where is the Congressional Oversight on Iraq?

Over the past few weeks, President Bush and the Republican Congress have desperately tried to shift Americans' attention away from the deteriorating situation in Iraq towards efforts to strip terrorists and suspected terrorists of all and any human rights in an attempt to show that they are not remiss in their duty to keep the country safe. But the continuing flow of disheartening news regarding Iraq -- much of which has come out of US government assessments -- should cause many to question Republicans' dedication to our national security.

By now we know that a National Intelligence Estimate relating to the situation in Iraq has been or is in the last stages of being processed at the bequest of Congress. Just how bad is the assessment from within our own government? Why is the Bush administration fighting with all of its might to ensure the document is not released before the midterm elections? Josh Marshall passes on a release promoting Mike Wallace's upcoming 60 Minutes interview with Bob Woodward on this very topic.

Veteran Washington reporter Bob Woodward tells Mike Wallace that the Bush administration has not told the truth regarding the level of violence, especially against U.S. troops, in Iraq. He also reveals key intelligence that predicts the insurgency will grow worse next year. Wallace's interview with Woodward will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday, Oct. 1 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
According to Woodward, insurgent attacks against coalition troops occur, on average, every 15 minutes, a shocking fact the administration has kept secret. "It's getting to the point now where there are eight, 900 attacks a week. That's more than a hundred a day. That is four an hour attacking our forces," says Woodward.

The situation is getting much worse, says Woodward, despite what the White House and the Pentagon are saying in public. "The truth is that the assessment by intelligence experts is that next year, 2007, is going to get worse and, in public, you have the president and you have the Pentagon [saying], `Oh, no, things are going to get better,'" he tells Wallace. "Now there's public, and then there's private. But what did they do with the private? They stamp it secret. No one is supposed to know," says Woodward.

As the situation in Iraq has fallen into a period of near constant violence and ethnic tension, where has the Republican Congress been? What has it been doing? Nothing.  The New York Times' Mark Mazzetti reports that the now-secret Iraq intelligence assessment is the first to be undertaken in over two years.

The intelligence estimate is being done at the behest of members of Congress, including Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. It will be the American intelligence community's first comprehensive assessment on the state of the Iraqi insurgency and the sectarian violence in the country since the summer of 2004.

Were the Republican Congress actually intent on improving the situation in Iraq -- "adapting to win", if you will -- they would have demanded more than one comprehensive report on Iraq from our intelligence services in the last two years.  At least they could have asked for a new investigation every year to track progress, or lack thereof. But because they have completely and utterly neglected their oversight responsibility, Republicans in Congress have allowed Iraq to rot over the past two years. Attacks on Americans every 15 minutes. A majority of Iraqis supporting these attacks. American expenses totalling $2 billion per week, up 20 percent in just the last year. This is what happens when Congress is absent, not doing its job.

So we cannot give up on this debate. By showing voters the tangible consequences of Republicans' neglect of Iraq, we will help remind them of why they must vote Democratic in six weeks.

There's more...

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