I think it's important to help the Republicans communicate their message more effectively. If more people understood the Republican message there would be fewer Republican voters. Can't we get some tech-savvy progressives to volunteer their time to make sure that the electorate clearly understands the message? I don't mean distorting the message, just making sure that it is communicated clearly to a wide audience. That should be all it takes to put the Republicans in a deep minority for generations. We could even help them understand Twitter and FaceSpace or MyBook or whatever those InterTubes thingies are called.
I think that's a red herring. If I understand correctly, the reporting requirement is on total contributions from any individual. If I make 7 contributions of $30 each ($210), they have to report it. Could I make lots of contributions under numerous variations of a single name (Kibitzer 2006, Kibitzer 2006.1, ...)? Maybe, but there's a couple of catches. First, in order for that to gain any influence, I have to be able to convince the candidate that those were all mine. If I can do so, then the candidate has to report them. If I've exceeded $2,300 then I'm in legal trouble (and probably extra trouble for the obvious fraud). Second, in order to accept the bribe (perhaps without reporting it), the candidate would have to search his/her database (matching the variants) to verify my claim. The candidate and I might get away with it once or twice, but if it happened on any remotely significant scale the truth would come out in a big hurry, and the candidate would be proven to have played a very active role in the fraud.
"Smith, of course, did attend the conventions in 2000 and 2004."
In all fairness, he was not running for re-election in either of those years, so the "must fight for re-election" line works. The more interesting ones are those that are not running, but still not going. What's the status of Olympia Snowe?
In order of absolute crushing: NM, VA, NH and CO (28%, 27%, 14% and 10%). That's as of 7/6/08. The order keeps changing, but they're all crushing defeats. The best hope (R) J. Ensign has of taking away a seat is in LA. It's officially weak Democratic, since Mary Landrieu's lead is only 6%, but it's been about 6% in poll after poll after poll. That race ain't gonna change.
Of course they used to think they had a shot at Tim Johnson (D-SD), seeing as he was in a coma and all, but he's leading by 35%.
Yeah, if (R) Ensign thinks he might lose only 3 or 4 seats I want to know what brand of bourbon he's drinking and where I can get some.
I think this is overblown. I suppose I don't mind since the Right has been making bigger mountains out of smaller mole hills for years, but when I read the question and answer I took the answer to mean (adding clarification in brackets):
"Oh, I don't remember [when I last pumped my own gas]. Now there's Secret Service protection. But I've done it for many, many years. I don't recall [how much it cost at the time] and frankly, I don't see how it matters."
It was dumb of him not to immediately follow up with something like: "But I know what the price is now, over $4 per gallon--and it's all because the irresponsible Democrats won't drill in ANWAR."
First, I'm in general agreement with you, and suspect that I will ultimately come down on the side of supporting the new GI bill.
My point (a) was that we should certainly compensate our troops for their service. Although I didn't state it, I believe we should err on the side of generous benefits. However it really doesn't make sense to say, "nothing is too good for those who served." That was my point about a billion dollars for one day of service.
As you point out, the economic benefits of the educations provided by the original GI bill went way beyond the individual veterans. But that's a different issue. I think it would be wonderful if we could find a way to ensure that everyone who could benefit from a college education could afford it, veteran or not. In the long run it might well make economic sense to extend free public education through college.
My point (b) was that in any organization (military, business, political party, ...), experience is generally useful. No, I don't want the military staffed entirely by veterans with 30+ years of service. Nor do I think it would be wise to have it staffed entirely by "30-day wonders". We need a mix, and we need to provide the incentives to create that mix. If we want to retain skilled soldiers we have to provide incentives to remain in the military--just as any employer must. That means that those who remain longer should receive greater benefits. I would not "deny them any substantial benefits until they re-enlist multiple times", but I would provide greater benefits to those who serve longer than to those who serve shorter. How great those benefits should/must be is a matter of debate.
As I say, I think we should come down on the generous side in all cases.
Although I think that McCain is busily pandering on all sides, there are several rational reasons to oppose the new GI Bill. (I've not yet decided whether or not I oppose it.)
a) Yes, we all support the troops, but that does not mean that we should provide unlimited compensation. Should we offer every soldier who serves a single day in Iraq a billion dollars? Of course not. Should we offer every soldier who serves three years a full college education? Perhaps. Should we require four years of service for a full college education? Perhaps.
b) While the study finds that the net number of enlistees might be about zero, there seems to be no doubt that the average years of service would decline. It's generally better to have a 6-yr noncom than a 1-yr private.
McCain is doing his usual tap dance, but there are legitimate questions here.
Relax. Seven points is statistically significant. It may not be significant at the magical 95% confidence level (5% significance), but it is significant at the 90% confidence level. (OK, I didn't actually dig out the tables, but you get the idea.) I really wish that pollsters would publish the significance level of the result, rather than the "margin of error". There is no hard cliff at which a result suddenly goes from insignificant to significant.
I'll also note that, with five polls showing essentially the same result, the margin of error shrinks by a little over a factor of two. Assuming nothing has actually changed (and all the evidence is that nothing has), the standard deviation of the error in the average of five polls is 1/sqrt(5) (~0.45) times the standard deviation of the error in each individual poll.
Don't worry, Shaheen's lead is statistically significant :).
What bothers me more is how spoiled we've become by our leads in VA and NM. I remember chewing my nails down to the bone over Tester, Webb and McCaskill (flipping around between something like -12 and +1 for I don't know how many months). I'll take eight months of a consistent +7 any day of the week.
OK, I'm confused. Why is this not a top-tier race? We have a serious chance of taking down one whom I believe to be the longest-serving R Senator (something like 80% of the state's existence?), in a very Red state.
Expect this race to be one of the most important, if not the most important second-tier Senate races this cycle (falling outside of the top-tier largely due to the small size of the population, and remoteness and large size of the state).
A Senator is a Senator (1% of the Senate). How do the facts that the state is: (a) low population, (b) remote (far away from DC?), and (c) large area; make it any less competitive or important? If anything, I'd expect that the low population-density would make advertising fairly cheap, so the DSCC should be able to make, say, $500K go a long way (and that's $500K that the NRSC will have to counter, but doesn't have to spare)
I'll grant that our chances in VA and NM are probably better :), but this surely looks top-tier to me.