The Democratic Problem Starts with Obama

The problems the Democrats are facing this year go all the way to the top:  Obama.  The contrast between an extremely well-run campaign and extremely inept governing are staggering.

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Rep. Waxman says Health Care Reform will go via Reconciliation

I had the privilege of attending UCLA's annual Bollens-Ries-Hoffenberg lecture tonight, which featured Rep. Henry Waxman, who represents the area around UCLA and who is Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Waxman spoke on a number of subjects, including the pending Clean Energy bill, Financial Regulation, the pursuit of bi-partisanship and compromise.  His most immediately significant remarks, however, was an indication in that Health Care Reform will be passed via the Reconciliation Process.



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Rasmussen Poll in the field in California

I got called late in the afternoon with a robocall from Rasmussen

Grabbed a pen and noted the questions, reproduced as accurately as I could below.  Wording may be slightly off, intent is accurate.

Do you Strongly Approve, Somewhat Approve, Somewhat Disapprove, Strongly Disapprove of the job President Obama is doing?

Repeated with Governor Schwarzenegger substituted.

More below the fold.

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Competence vs. Ideology

Okay, this isn't going to be a long diary but I haven't seen another entry where this would be an appropriate standalone comment.

It is infuriating that states like New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey should have even a chance of electing Republican governors.  The Republican party should be dead-dead-dead in the Northeast but the Democrats keep giving them a chance to crawl back to life.

The problem is that we have to insist on competence from our candidates.  And that insistence on competence needs to trump ideological preference.  I don't care whether your sentiments are "Progressive" or "Blue Dog," if your candidate can't cross and sustain the competence threshold, it does your cause---our cause---no good at all.  

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Dick Cheney = Dr. Strangelove???

Okay, this is a pathetically inconsequential diary and the observation wasn't even mine, but that of a colleague of my spouse's, and he doesn't blog.  But as soon as this was relayed to me, I realized it was brilliantly correct:

Seeing Dick Cheney in the wheelchair was like Dr. Strangelove in "Dr. Strangelove."

Though I'm not sure just how sincerely Cheney would wrestle with his right arm.  Or his far right arm as the case might be.

If you haven't seen "Dr. Strangelove" and have no idea what I'm talking about, rent it.   Classic dark comedy from the Cold War.  With characters like "Col. Bat Guano." 

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UPDATE: Begich over Stevens by 3,724

Begich, Mark     150728     47.76%
Stevens, Ted     147004     46.58%

Begich is now up by 1.18 percent, well outside the .50 margin where Stevens can call for a recount.

This one is in the bag.  Congratulations, Senator Begich.

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Begich Lead Over Stevens Grows to 2,374

Begich, Mark     146286     47.56%

Stevens, Ted     143912     46.79%


I don't have the exact total of the previous vote at hand but it appears to be roughly 14,000 to 15,000 more votes than previously tabulated.

Importantly, Begich's lead is now at .77 percent, more than the .50 percent necessary to trigger an automatic recount.

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Obama & Lieberman

Very short and not profound, but: with Obama resigning his Senate seat as of today, it occurs to me that aside from recusing himself from all the lame-duck deliberations about the economy, he is also stepping away from casting a vote for or against Joe Lieberman retaining his committee chair.

Probably appropriate, since Obama is no longer just a Senator.  

But in a subtle way, it allows him to wash his hands of Lieberman. "Hey, it's whatever you guys decide, I'm not a part of that."

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I finally took down my Hillary sign

Today I was paying some bills at the dining table and when I finished with that I took care of one more chore:  I finally took my Hillary sign down from where it had been taped up on the dining room window looking out on our Santa Monica street.

It's been a logical progression.

After the primary, I talked to other Clinton supporters, people whom I generally understood very well.   My pitch was simple:  the uncertainties of Obama are better than the dread certainties of McCain.  Not exactly the raving exultations of the Obama echosphere but then they weren't my audience.

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Zogby on crack: Obama 54.1, 42.7

Zogby's final tracking poll is out and he's on crack.

Obama 54.1, McCain 42.7, Other 3.1

No, it's not the results that say Zogby is on crack.  It's the wild swing from a just over 4 point lead just 3-4 days ago.

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