Living in a fishbowl

Having moved to Dallas at the onset of the fierce Texas summer, I've spent parts of every weekend afternoon at
apartment complex' pool.  You meet the same people over and over again.

Everyone seems very happy and content, as interested in their beer bellies ans their suntans.  The sides of the pool are littered with beer cans after awhile.  No worries about jobs, just good times, even in the 100-degree heat.  It just seems eerily disconnected from reality.

Which brings me to our political class.  They're also disconnected and content in their own way, including
President Obama.  I just don't think he gets the real world.
He came to Dallas and Austin for fund raisers, oblivious to
to his 63% disapproval rating in Texas.  And he's put Bill White in a difficult spot, having to campaign in places like Abilene and Alvarado just to prove his distance from the president.  If Bill White loses a close election, I think the blame will go to this poorly-timed fund raiser.

There is an equal obliviousness to the unemployed and how dire the fiscal situation of state and local government.
Dallas, like most cities, is relying on budget cuts and increases in user fees to balance the budget.  And when I read about roads being turned to gravel, something's really wrong.  Does anyone really want to drive on dirt roads? 

Getting Americans back to work seems beyond the "ability"
of both Democrats and Republicans.  While the GOP has obstructed meaningful aid to the unemployed, Obama and the Democrats have been unable to come up with a message that says simply--The Republicans want America to fail.  They're still drinking too much deficit Koolaid, and Obama still thinks he can work with the GOP.  Time to get real.

Part of Obama's problem is that he still relies too much on Larry Summers, someone who is really out of touch on the economy.   The stimulus has faded, and we're debating cutting veterans' benefits.  It's time to get real, else it will
be the end of America as I know it, with much less freedom and opportunity.







Gallup: R-49%, D-43%

Barely completed my first week in Dallas, when in the middle of bank recs, I saw a link to this:

A seven-point swing in one week.  Obama's Katrina?  Check.  Deficit worries?  Check.  Job worries?  Check.  Stock market decline?  Check.  A perfect storm, and that's the only reason the generic ballot swings that much in one week.  Rasmussen doesn't come up with swings like that on the generic ballot.

Watching Hardball at the gym (why does LA Fitness in Dallas doesn't show Fox News and their clubs in CA do?) the Jimmy Carter comparisons were brought out.  I do agree that he let BP control the narrative and BP's incompetence has become Obama's incompetence.  When the media puts day counts on the oil spill crisis, you know Obama is in trouble.

Just like with the health care debate, Obama let others take charge instead of leading himself.  But unlike health care reform, there's no one around to bail him out.   The biggest beneficiary is Bobby Jindal, who despite all of his faults at least is fighting for his state.   





CA-50: casting my final CA ballot

My mail-in ballot arrived, and it will be the final one that I cast in California before my move to Dallas at the end of next week.

There's one primary race that I've focused on:  CA-50.  Francine Busby is running again, but there is another Dem
in the race:  Tracy Emblem.  This more of a vote against Busby who I thought should be finished after her awful 2006 escapades.  Admittedly this is a real longshot district this year, but Busby is a retread and will be creamed by Brian Bilbray in November.

Other items on the ballot--I'm voting no on all five propositions--let's stop the giveaways.  It's sad that the initiative process has been abused in California.  I'm also skipping the 12-candidate race for Superintendent of Public instruction.  Other than that, it's off to the big D, where I will following the Texas governor's race.






A move to Texas

 On June 1, my job transfers from Carlsbad, CA to Garland, TX.  I have some nervousness about moving from blue (except on taxes) to red Texas.  Plus I have lived all but about 6 years of my life in my native state.

I'm hoping Bill White can pull it out against Rick Perry, though I think Perry's machine may be too much, as Texas
still has too big a percentage of conservatives for Democrats to win statewide.  Maybe if it was another (less-GOPish) year, White would have a good chance.  But the state is slowly changing, so there is some hope down the road.  My estimate of White's chances--35%.

So why is the GOP having a revival in California?  Because of a lame Democratic party which has neglected the grassroots, forgotten about building a bench, and offering up bad candidates like Jerry Brown.  Jerry Brown has no campaing and no message right now.  Plus Meg Whitman (who reminds me a lot of Margaret Thatcher) has used her fortune
on an effective media campaign.  I think she will win going away.  California is in a lot trouble, and the budget problems have to be fixed.  Whitman will destroy a lot of what makes California great, but where's the progressive alternative?  Where's our solution to making government services more efficient?  Chance of a Jerry Brown win--less than 10%.

Meanwhile, while Carly Fiorina will likely not be the nominee, her ads are driving up Barbara Boxer's negatives (51% unfavorable in the latest Field Poll).  Barbara Boxer's style has always turned off swing voters, but she has benefitted from weak opposition.  In this environment, with reduced AA & Latino turnout, Boxer is in trouble.  A lot will depend on whether health care reform passes and how well it's received.   Boxer's chances of reelection--45%.

I may be pessimistic, but this not a good year for Democrats in California.  Maybe after I move, I may have a new username.






MD-Sen: Another retirement?

 Looking that way:

It would be because of Mikulski's health.  Another blue state seat in jepoardy.  Interesting that the Senate retirements have damaged the Democrats than those in the House.  It will be interesting to see if there's a wave of House retirements.

Can't be good--we may be looking at a filibuster proof GOP senate by 2012 or 2014.

I was a skeptic of a health care bill passing helping the Dems, but I now think if it fails, the Dems are done--for a long time, not just in November.


2010 predictions

Here are my 2010 predictions.

1.  Unemployment will still be high at around 8.7%.  Job gains willbe sluggish at best.

2.  Martha Coakley ekes out a narrow win in low turnout--the GOP will spin that as proof of the unpopularity of health care reform.

3.  Health care will pass in the spring, as compromise will be harder than expected because of that special election result.

4.  Immigration reform will be pushed and fail, but it will be used to drive Democratic turnout in the midterms, with mixed results.

5.  GOP picks up six Senate seats--only lose Missouri, but get pickups in Nevada, Delaware, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Colorado and North Dakota. 

6.  Dems will lose 30-32 House seats, making continued control dependent on reapportionment in 2011-12.  Most of the GOP gains will be in the South and Midwest.  Terrorism will run second to the economy as top issue, and may be the tipping point in some close races.

7.  Barack Obama's approval rating will be around 48-50% at the end of the year, as the country stays very polarized.

Your thoughts?


Say it ain't so, Barack

So it appears all but certain more troops will be sent to Afghanistan.  President Obama will follow the advice of General McCrystal almost blindly.

Why?  Is he afraid to fail in Afghanistan?  Or is he afraid to stand up to a four-star general?  The problem is that Afghanistan is more complex than some risky, unknown counterinsurgency strategy.  What's needed is better use of what we have already there and even bringing some troops home.

An economic development plan for Afghanistan is the best way to weaken the Taliban.  The Afghan people need an ecenomic alternative; military solutions alone aren't the answer.  In fact, nations who engage in lot of wars decline--they lose power, not gain it.

There's more...

Obama has a health care bill--really!

So Obama is unveiling his health care bill--five months too late.  Me thinks he just got frustrated with the sausage making process.  It will have a trigger for the public option.

Here's my take:

1.  I think Obama has figured out his biggest mistake--Don't let an unpopular Congress with unpopular leaders draft your agenda.  That's why the stimulus was so bad.

2.  I think a bill will pass by Easter next year, not this year.
We may need the junior senator from Massachusetts.

3.  The trigger is less than desirable. (w/poll)

There's more...

VA-Gov: PPP says Deeds will win primary

It's finally out. PP_Release_VA_6074983.pdf

Deeds is now up 40-26-24, with Brian Moran in third place.  So the WaPo endorsement did it.  Not the only reason but it helped.
At least it won't be McAuliffe.

So why did Jerome's guy Brian Moran failed to catch on?  He never took off outside of Northern Virginia.  Also I think he never gave a compelling reason why he should be the nominee.  Jerome may disagree, but I never saw it.  He was the "non-McAuliffe" candidate, but that was it.  Another issue that may have tripped up Moran was Gitmo.  He seemed on the defensive.  All those local endoresements didn't help either.

With Deeds, while the WaPo endorsement legitimized his candidacy in NoVa, benefitted by being from "real Virginia." Deeds had the highest favorables of the three candidates, and leads in all regions except the 757 area code.  And PPP found 50% of the likely primary electorate are moderates.  But most importantly, Deeds was considered the "outsider" in this race, even though he has been in the legislature and ran for attorney general in 2005.

McAuliffe's decline was certainly accelerated by his fibbing on how many jobs he created.  He had real credibility and ethical issues, in addition to the "carpetbagger" issue, even though he lived in the state for 20 years.  Support from Bill Clinton and the national Democratic establishment hasn't helped.

There's more...

VA-Gov: McAuliffe surges in primary, trails McDonnell by 7

A SUSA poll has come out on the Virginia governor's race: 10265296&nav=S6aK

Of 409 likely Democratic primary voters, it's 38% for McAuliffe, and 22% each for Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds.  But McDonnell leads all three Dems in a sample of 1396 RVs, with McDonnell leading McAuliffe 46%-39%.  Deeds runs only behind by 5, 44-39.  Moran does the worst against McDonnell, trailing 46-34.

Something has shifted in the primary race, and it's going to be uphill in November no matter who wins the primary.  Is McAuliffe that bad a candidate?  I do think Bill Clinton's campaigning for McAuliffe has given him a boost.

So, can Brian Moran turn it around?

There's more...


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