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T-7 Senate Update

October 27th, 2010 by Kevin

Ok we have a week left to go.  Things are getting very interesting and at the same time very frustrating.  A lead of 5 or 6 points can be eliminated overnite by a sensational news report of something stupid a candidate did.  But in many cases the number of undecided voters is actually very low and these candidates are professionals.  Actually what\’s most frustrating about this stage is that a lot of polling agencies (such as PPP) with well-documented biases (again PPP) play all sorts of silly demographic games to try to engineer the results they want to push their agenda, more on that below, but the point being it makes it hard to get a coherent picture of what\’s going on on the ground without actually being there??  So who\’s up for donating a few grand so I can go on a tour of the country….especially places like Florida and Hawaii??

No? Okay well instead let\’s take a look at where we stand with the US Senate elections.  Notice I\’ve started moving more than a couple states into the safe categories….just not enough time for any fairy tale endings in some of these races.  And I\’m implementing a self-imposed \”no-tossup\” rule….it\’s time to stop getting wishy-washy and \”man up\” as the parlance of our times goes.  So let\’s get started….

First the safe states….no drama here, no reason to do more than list them.   The safe Republican states include Alabama (R), Arizona (R), Arkansas (D), Georgia (R), Idaho (R), Indiana (D), Iowa (R), Kansas (R), Louisiana (R), North Carolina (R), North Dakota (D), Ohio (R), Oklahoma (R), South Carolina (R), South Dakota (R) and Utah (R).  Remember, note the three Republican pickups right off the bat.  Democrat\’s safe list is Connecticut (D), Delaware (D), Hawaii (D), Maryland (D), New York (D – Gillibrand), New York (D – Schumer), Oregon (D) and Vermont (D).  Notice the conspicuous lack of Rs in that list.

California (D) – Ok polls show Boxer (D) pulling away from Fiorina (R) but the pollsters showing most of that are pollsters I\’ve learned to not trust unless their findings are supported by several more reputable agencies.  So I\’m going to discount most of that.  Besides, would Democrats like Dianne Feinstein be hitting the campaign trail for Boxer if she were really running away with it?? No.  Actually the biggest factor here is entirely non-political. Fiorina has been hospitalized due to an infection as a result of post-breast-cancer surgery, although sounds like the cancer is still in remission (Get Well!).  Okay what\’s the political impact?? Sure Fiorina is losing valuable time in the most critical phase but this has been a high profile race…does anyone really need to see Fiorina to know what she\’s about anymore??? I\’m thinking this may actually be a net-benefit as it eliminates the chance of a potential last minute gaffe and also probably gains her a few sympathy points.  But I don\’t think it\’ll be enough.  Leaning Democrat retention.

Washington (D) – Recent polls show Rossi (R) closing on Murray (D) again….and that\’s critical because there is another factor at work here that doesn\’t exist in most other states.  Only in very few places to Washintonians actually go to a polling booth.  Most send in their ballots by mail, so the fact that polls show Rossi closing just as most voters will be mailing in their ballots means something.  And digging into the polls shows they may very likely be overstating Democrat support.   I\’d love to move this back to toss-up, but I can\’t.  Only my eeyorish nature is keeping me from going with Rossi here.  I am fully prepared, and hoping, to be proven wrong here, but without a Herb Brooks-style motivational speech I\’m struggling to believe in miracles.  Hope to take this prediction to \”my fucking grave\”.  Leaning Democrat retention.

Illinois (D) – Yeah, I\’m rethinking that \”no toss-ups\” rule.  This races hasn\’t been outside the margin of error in 8 months and that\’s not changing.  Voters don\’t appear to like either candidate and that makes the race volatile.  On the other hand, we\’re continuing to see a slight lead by Kirk(R) and some of the demographics are pretty encouraging for Republicans.  Recent polls show progress by Kirk, which I\’d feel better about if there was a reason I can divine for it….I can\’t.  I think I have to give Republicans this one…and it\’s a sweet seat to win.  Leaning Republican takeover.

Nevada (D) – Remember when I said I was struggling to believe in miracles?  Well I got over that and if you\’ll permit…..Dude! I think this is happening!  Ok let\’s backtrack, this race is still tight and Reid (D) is no fool…well he is, but not at winning elections.  Reid\’s  support hasn\’t changed much, it\’s Angle\’s (R) that\’s gone up and done.  Now she appears to have passed the \”Crazy\” test, mostly thanks to Reid\’s boneheaded move to debate her.  Since then the trendline has been pretty solidly pro-Angle and there aren\’t many undecideds.  Nevadans have disliked Reid for awhile and I think they\’ve finally decided it\’s time to take him behind the woodshed.  Unless a third-party candidate or the None-of-the-Above option does really well, and there is nothing to even hint at that, I think we\’ll be looking forward to Senator Angle taking Reid\’s seat. Leaning Republican takeover.

West Virginia (D) – Once again the PPP polling agency it playing games with the numbers to try to force a outcome they like.  Despite that, I think this race hasn\’t moved much and Raese (R) owns a slim lead over Manchin (D).  Leaning Republican takeover.

Colorado (D) – Remember what I said last week about the impact of mistakes being amplified in these last few weeks?  Well I give you exhibit A, Colorado.  Buck (R) had a small but steady lead over Bennett (D).  Now come reports that Buck refused to prosecute a rape case and a gaffe made during a debate.  There isn\’t time to spin either one, the reset switch has been tripped and now it\’s all even again.  Congrats Buck, you messed up and now it comes down to Get Out The Vote….which probably favors Buck.  But I feel anything but comfortable calling this for Buck.  Leaning Republican takeover.

Wisconsin (D) – Feingold\’s (D) support hasn\’t changed in almost a year, what has changed is Johnson\’s (R) support.  Around mid-summer Johnson pulled ahead and hasn\’t looked back since.  There is little reason to believe this will be anything other than a fairly comfortable win by the new Senator Johnson. Likely Republican takeover.

Pennsylvania (D) – Last time polls had tightened significantly, but I could see absolutely no reason for it so I assumed it was just a lapse of sanity by the pollsters.  Just as I suspected, it appears pollsters like PPP we just messing around with their spreads to generate the results they wanted.  Now other agencies are confirming my suspicions, this race hasn\’t budged.  Likely Republican takeover.

Alaska (R) –It’s pretty tight between Miller (R) and Murkowski (I).  But again, Murkowski is running a write-in campaign.  Just don’t see it happening.  Likely Republican retention.

Kentucky (R) – Conway (D) was closing on Paul (R) and then he decided to release his \”Aqua Buddha\” ad about some goofy stuff Rand Paul did in college.  Now there is a time and a place to be a dumbass, and it\’s called college, and Kentuckians appear to agree, as suddenly Paul has a comfortable lead.  It\’s not so much that Conway has lost support but Paul suddenly appears to have gained a bunch….who knew there were so many worshippers of Aqua Buddha??  All kidding aside, Conway overreached with that ad and this is now Paul\’s race.  Likely Republican retention.

Missouri (R) – Blunt (R) is polling above 50% and Carnahan (D) isn\’t gaining.  Likely Republican retention.

New Hampshire (R) – Not much has changed but not quite ready to call this safe. Likely Republican retention.

Florida (R) – Ok this is actually a safe seat now, but the only reason I don\’t list it above is so I can share this with you.  Crist has absolutely lost it.  What else to explain why you interrupt your opponent during a major debate so you can go off on a non sequitur rant, which not only make you look thin-skinned but also gives your opponent the chance to make you look like an inconsiderate boob??  This isn\’t a rookie politician, he\’s the current Governor of Florida.  And what\’s with the \”Welcome to the NFL\” line at the end?  What is that supposed to mean?? I mean besides the obvious meaning; \”I\’m fucking insane, look at me! Whhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee….oops I wet myself\”.  Safe Republican retention.

Okay so what’s the final score??

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My past predictions were 49, 48, 48, 47, 47, 48 and 49 and now I\’m predicting 50.  Heartbreak! That puts us one vote short of retaking the Senate, thanks to Gaffemaster Biden. And there are a couple seats in there I\’m not overly comfortable predicting for Republicans.  In fact, both Illinois and Colorado scare me quite a bit.  Save us Aqua Buddha!!! Still if there is a path to 51 for Republicans, it\’s the same as the one I described last week, and that\’s either Washington and California and in both of those, unlike last week, things are looking much better.  Something as simple as bad weather could deliver either one to Republicans and then eureka, Senate Majority Leader DeMint!  Be still my heart!

Still I am not expecting that to happen, and long term it\’s probably best if it does not.  Like I mentioned last week, it\’s not really necessary.  Republicans are all but certain to retake the House.  The Club for Growth does the groundwork and breaks all those races down.  Remember there the magic number is 39….and you get that almost before you even start looking at Toss-Ups and there are a lot of them.  Now the House controls the budget, so they can shut down health care reform and they can prevent further spending orgies by Democrats.

But if they take the majority in the Senate, one thing the Democrats learned is if you have control of both houses of Congress, people expect you to actually do stuff.  But with a President Obama, Republicans wouldn\’t be able to accomplish anything and would probably take the brunt of voter reaction in 2012 when we\’ll probably still be dealing with a stagnant economy.  Where if Democrats retain control of the Senate, they control two of the three branches and are the establishment in voter eyes.  But with a large minority in the Senate and controlling the House, everything stops…. DC becomes the city where nothing ever happens.  That\’s a good thing, plus is sets up Republicans to retake the White House and the Senate in 2012.

So those of you anxiously wondering if the Republicans can retake the Senate, the better question you should be asking is, \”Do we really want them to?\”

NOTE : I\’ll update with any major events between now and November 2nd, and perhaps I\’ll put together final predictions the night before.  We\’ll see.


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Posted in 2010 Elections, Political Mumbojumbo, True North | 2 Comments »

T-14 Senate Update

October 20th, 2010 by Kevin

Here\’s the latest in my weekly update of the Senate picture.  Like I said last time, as time gets tight, the impact of gaffes are magnified and a bad debate can make or break a campaign.  Makes it more difficult to call the close races but that\’s my problem isn\’t it?

Last time we looked at the Senate Republicans were starting to catch a lot of breaks and for the first time, even my eeyorish eyes were starting to see the real possibility for a Republican majority in the Senate.  Has the trend continued?? Well….

First the safe states….no drama here, no reason to do more than list them.   The safe Republican states include Alabama (R), Arizona (R), Arkansas (D), Georgia (R), Idaho (R), Indiana (D), Iowa (R), Kansas (R), Louisiana (R), North Carolina (R), North Dakota (D), Oklahoma (R), South Carolina (R), South Dakota (R) and Utah (R).  Remember, note the three Republican pickups right off the bat.  Democrat\’s safe list is Hawaii (D), Maryland (D), New York (D – Schumer), Oregon (D) and Vermont (D).  Notice the conspicuous lack of Rs in that list.

Delaware (D) – The non-witch hasn\’t accomplished anything.  Coons reliably polls above 50% and O\’Donnell can\’t gain traction.  I\’m still willing to put money on this race to any Tea Party folk who are still clinging to the \”She\’s got a chance\” mantra….any takers??? Please??? Safe Democrat retention.

New York (D – Gillibrand) – Remember when I said the window for DioGuardi (R) had effectively closed??? Well now it\’s been closed, locked, covered up with a steel-reinforced concrete wall. Safe Democrat retention.

Connecticut (D) – Good news….McMahon (R) has started gaining ground again.  Bad news….it\’s not going to be enough.  Blumenthal (D) remains comfortably above 50%, so even though undecideds are falling to McMahon, he doesn\’t need them anymore.  Tough break for a what could have been a real sweet pickup for Republicans.  Likely Democrat retention.

California (D) – This still remains tight and Boxer (D) is still below 50%.  Problem is Fiorina (R) hasn\’t made up any more ground, even with Boxer sticking her foot in her big mouth every chance she gets.  Ultimately it\’s starting to look like Fiorina has squeezed just about every vote she\’s going to out of California.  If that\’s the case, I hereby officially offer to sell California to Mexico in exchange for two Chipotle burritos.  Leaning Democrat retention.

Washington (D) – Pity….all that progress Rossi (R) made has disappeared and then some.  Murray (D) is back in control.  Dammit.  This race is still close but we\’re starting to run out of time here.  Leaning Democrat retention.

Illinois (D) – What I feared appears to be taking place.  Kirk (R) has lost the slight lead he had and Giannoulias (D) has taken over the lead.  Now that doesn\’t mean as much as you think, because this race has traded the lead so many times, Illinois is being fitted for a swivel.  This hasn\’t been out of the margin of error in over 7 months.  Problem here is that voters appear to be making this a referendum on the national direction and in Illinois that\’s bad for Republicans.  Toss-Up.

Nevada (D) – Ohh, the sweet sweet air of victory is starting to permeate the air around Nevada!  Ok before we get ahead of ourselves, this race is still insanely close.  However, that\’s about where the good news for Reid (D) stops.  Angle (R) is currently leading, and with the exception of a few liberal pollsters has for awhile.  The voters have also showed an impressive level of certainty in their choices, as there are very few undecideds left and they are tending to go for Angle.  And I imagine that trend will accelerate, or at least continue, especially after the disaster of a debate Angle and Reid had recently.  Reid was awful, and while Angle wasn\’t great, she didn\’t need to be.  She\’s been portrayed by Reid as the Wicked Witch of the West for most of the campaign….during the debate, not only did she make a few rhetorical points, she also looked utterly…..normal.  Never has an entire campaign\’s work so utterly imploded.  Leaning Republican takeover.

West Virginia (D) – Not much has changed here….which is nice, because I think Raese (R) still holds a slim lead over Manchin (D).  Worth keeping an eye on.  Leaning Republican takeover.

Wisconsin (D) –  Again not much has changed, and again that\’s good for Johnson (R).  Feingold (D) is still polling sub-50% and Johnson retains a comfortable lead.  I\’m not quite ready to move this further but it\’s well on it\’s way.  Leaning Republican takeover.

Colorado (D) –Buck (R) once held a fairly comfortable lead but that has diminished over the past week.  This is effectively a dead heat now but I give the edge to Buck over Bennett (D).  All sides are spending obscene amounts of money on this race so a lot can happen but so far I\’m happy.  Leaning Republican takeover.

Pennsylvania (D) –Not much has changed here.  Likely Republican takeover.

Alaska (R) – It\’s pretty tight between Miller (R) and Murkowski (I).  But again, Murkowski is running a write-in campaign.  Just don\’t see it happening.  Likely Republican retention.

Kentucky (R) – Paul\’s (R) lead has shrunk but I think he\’s still in safe territory.  Likely Republican retention.

Missouri (R) – Not much has changed here.  Likely Republican retention.

New Hampshire (R) – Not much has changed here.  Likely Republican retention.

Florida (R) – Meek hasn\’t dropped out, which pretty much paints a clean path to victory for Rubio (R) and signals the end of Crist\’s (I) political career. Likely Republican retention.

Ohio (R) – Not much has changed here.  Likely Republican retention.

Okay so what’s the final score??

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Heartbreak!!  After making the past predictions, 49, 48, 48, 47, 47 and 48, I was starting to think there was a real chance for Republican victory.  Now the inner-Eeyore in my has returned.  Even though I\’m now projecting 49 seats for Republicans.  Problem is the path I saw to 50 is starting to fail.  At this point Republicans need to win Illinois and then they need to flip either California or Washington.  Problem with that path is that Illinois is starting to look pretty dicey for Republicans and both California and Washington are moving in the wrong direction to be flipped.

Oh well.  Like I\’ve said before Republicans are likely to score a huge victory even if they don\’t take the Senate.  After all the House controls spending more than the Senate.  And with such a sizeable minority in the Senate, Republicans can effectively shut down the Senate with filibusters.  Plus it might be better long-term for Republicans to only control one of the three arms of government for 2012.  Perhaps Republicans can repeat their performance in 2012 if they can effectively place blame on Democrat control of Congress and the White House.

But there is still time….not much and things can change greatly.  We\’ll take another look next week.


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Posted in 2010 Elections, Political Mumbojumbo, True North | 1 Comment »

Senator Byrd In Serious Condition

June 27th, 2010 by Kevin

Turns out one of the longest serving members of Congress (and that\’s saying quite a bit) has taken ill and reports are that it\’s fairly serious.

Sen. Robert C. Byrd, who holds the record as the longest-serving member of Congress, is seriously ill in a Washington-area hospital.

The West Virginia Democrat\’s office says the 92-year-old lawmaker has been in the hospital since late last week.

At first he was believed to be suffering from heat exhaustion and severe dehydration. But his office says in a statement doctors have examined Byrd and other medical conditions have developed. His condition is described as serious.

Now politics can always be a brutal arena….one in which words like Nazi, fascist, socialist and communist are freely tossed around…often with little to no support for such claims.  However, I\’m firmly of the belief that there are many things more important than politics…family and health being high on that list.  And that when such things are threatened, you put aside your political differences and if you can find something nice to say, you shut your mouth.

So with that in mind, I\’d like to extend my deepest sympathy and best wishes to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) over learning that one of their former leaders has taken ill and is in serious condition.


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Plug The Damn Hole!

May 26th, 2010 by Kevin

Reportedly President Obama was recently heard to utter \”Plug the damn hole!\”. I heard the comment out of context so I was momentarily confused regarding which hole he was referring to. Several possible options immediately came to mind…

Was it Biden\’s mouth?? From which so much comedy gold easily flows…much to the embarrassment, if they\’re smart enough to be, of the Obama Administration.

Was it the holes in the border? The holes through which millions of illegal aliens, including violent criminals, constantly flows. So much so that Arizona finally gave up on the federal government doing it\’s job and adopted Federal (and California) law, as it\’s own.

Was it the holes in public opinion? Obviously there must be one somewhere because Obama\’s approval ratings have been sinking across all demographics.

Was it Nashville, TN? The city which was under several feet of water for a days and days without warning….not that you\’d know it from the federal governments non-response.

What it TARP and the bailouts?? Through which we\’ve pissed away billions of dollars to no apparent benefit, except to nationalize the auto and student loan industries?

Was it Obamacare? Through which we\’re about to piss away billions of dollars more, to no apparent benefit, and quite possibly catastropic results???

Was it the upcoming The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010?? A bill which pisses away even more billions by increasing spending by $174 billion, through $40 billion in tax increases and $134 billion in deficit spending…again to no apparent benefit.

Was it the SEIU?? Through which, while most Americans 401K plans are sinking, we\’re about to bailout underfunded and over generous union pension plans to the tune of $165 billion….because union bosses mismanaged the funds during good times, such as spending $85 million on getting Obama elected.

Is it the spot where the federal budget should be?? Because while they have an 18-seat majority in the Senate, more than a 70-seat majority in the House, and they control the White House, they still can\’t manage to even propose a budget….which leaves two possibilities, incompetence or apathy.

What hole was it that Obama angerly interrupted an aide and demanded that they \”plug the damn hole!\”

Turns out it was just that oil leak in the Gulf…the one the Federal government dithered about upon for over a week and still haven\’t gotten their act in gear. Turns out they are considering taking over from BP to address the issue….even though, by their own admission, they couldn\’t do any better job than BP has done.

At least BP is trying, which is more than can be said for the Federal government, as the state of Louisana can tell you.

At least BP is accountable to stockholders, who is the federal government accountable to….the voters?? The Obama administration has long since shown they don\’t give a damn what the voters think, as adequately evidenced by Obamacare, the AZ immigration bill, terrorist trials, bailouts and their rampant deficit spending.

No Obama, the only hole I wish was filled is the gaping chasm which appears to exist between your ears.

[Crossposted at True North]


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Posted in Economy, Government Spending, Health Care, Immigration, Political Mumbojumbo, Socialism, Taxes, The Messiah, True North | No Comments »

Pot. Kettle. Steele.

April 8th, 2010 by Kevin

Seems like it was just last week that RNC Chair Michael Steele was turning the RNC into giant hypocrites for criticizing massive government spending, while the RNC is also hemorrhaging cash.  Sure enough now he\’s doing it again.

The Republican National Committee at the end of last year struck a deal with the Michigan Republican Party that if the state party could raise what turned out to be a half a million dollars for the RNC from its donors, the committee would immediately give the money back, in a scheme apparently devised to increase the RNC’s 2009 fundraising numbers.

As Captain Ed wisely points out there is nothing illegal going on here.  It\’s a sign of desperation sure, but it\’s not illegal.

What is a problem, is we just just got done with a debate on health care reform, rightly pointing out that this boondoggle was full of all sorts of accounting gimmicks to try to glossy up the bill into something other than a financial failure.  It\’s a valid point to be made, and one which can, and will, resonate well with a public already concerned about deficit and out of control spending.

For that same reason, it\’s especially problematic if the people making the accusations are doing the very same thing.  The RNC is pulling accounting gimmicks to try to glossy themselves into something other than a financial failure.  That\’s not exactly going to play well with a public already concerned with deficits and out of control spending.
Steele is not just an embarrassment to fiscal and social conservatives, he\’s also self-defeating and he\’s taking the Republican Party with him.


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Posted in Political Mumbojumbo, RNC | No Comments »

Rep. Phil Hare : The Constitution \”Doesn\’t Matter\”

April 6th, 2010 by Kevin

You\’ve long suspect it.  Now see the video of a US Congressman, Rep. Phil Hare (D-IL) openly declaring on camera that he doesn\’t care what the Constitution says.

It\’s been said before, I\’ll say it again, \”Our country is in the best of hands\”.


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Posted in Congresscritters, Constitution, Health Care, Political Mumbojumbo | 2 Comments »

It\’s Time For Steele To Go

April 1st, 2010 by Kevin

Democrats just blew all their political capital on a healthcare bill the public hates.  The public is absolutely in anti-incumbent mode.  Deficits are skyrocketing.  The economy is not improving.  Our foreign policy has been a mess.  Global warming has been discredited.  Republicans are leading in polls.  Conservatives are energized.  This should be a time for the RNC to be flying high, drifting on the winds of political fortune.

Instead we have two competing storylines making the news.  The first that the RNC reimbursed a staffer for a party at a lesbian bondage club called the Voyeur West Hollywood.  The other is that Steele is very fond of spending massive amounts of cash on limos, private planes and luxury hotel rooms.  It\’s a sad reflection on the state of the party when the bondage club is probably the better of the two storylines.

The Republican party did poorly in past elections because they strayed from what they supposedly believed.  The party that promised to rein in spending and reduce deficit spending, instead spent like crazy.  They betrayed their principals and gorged on taxpayer money.  Conservatives punished them for it by staying home in 2006 and 2008.  Now Republicans claim to have learned their lesson, and just in time, because the deficit is perhaps the key issue in this next election and the voters are keen to see the problem addressed.  So news reports that the RNC is spending frivolously is politically more damaging than if Michael Steele was found with a goat next to a dead hooker on a pile of blow (heh, supposedly he is a \”cool boss\”).

Really the problem here is that these scandals are just the latest in a long line of bone-headed moves by Michael Steele.  Steele was picked as Chair of the RNC supposedly because of his media saavy ways.  But then he goes on talk shows and says things like the GOP \”might not be able to lead the country\” and that Republicans are \”afraid of black people\”, and that\’s just two examples.  The list is literally endless.

And now he doubles down by combining two of his worst traits and makes it even worse.

There is little that the RNC can do to excuse the $2,000 reimbursement at a bondage club, but party officials are clearly tired of the line of attack that Chairman Michael Steele is living high on the hog as he travels across the country.

RNC spokesman Doug Heye just blasted out raw oppo detailing the fact that the other guys also drop some cash for fancy purposes (mostly to stroke donors).

If your defense that the party of fiscal conservatism is spending frivolously is that the other guys do it too, you may as well pack it up and start planning for 2016.  Excuses like this just confirm independent voters suspicions that there is no difference between the two parties.  And it demonstrates to conservatives that Republicans still haven\’t learned their lessons from 2006 and 2008.  Either way this is a stupid move by the RNC compounding on other bone-headed moves and Steele has been at the center of every one of those bone-headed moves.

It\’s time for new leadership as the RNC has become an obstacle.  Already big donors are avoiding the RNC like the plague and instead directing their funds to the Congressional committeesSmall and mid-sized donors are pissed at the party and untold numbers have probably sworn off the party already.  It\’s a enough that we have to fight the Democrats in November, do we really need to be fighting Steele as well?

[Crossposted at True North]


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Posted in Political Mumbojumbo, RNC, True North | 2 Comments »

Sweatin\’ To The Socialists

March 3rd, 2010 by Kevin

Hmmm, I imagine this exercise video actually works pretty well.  Although to be fair, at least half of the weight loss would be due to frequent vomiting.

[H/T : Lloyd]


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Posted in Political Mumbojumbo, YouTube | No Comments »

Beating Your Head Against Slate(S)

March 2nd, 2010 by Pat Staley

I have been a BPOU chair since 2005, and a BPOU-level officer since 2001.  In that time, I have seen “slates” employed at BPOU conventions twice: in the hotly contested gubernatorial endorsement races of 2002 & 2010.

In 2002 both major candidates had slates at my convention.  I was on the “wrong” one for my BPOU, and, as a “new guy” in a re-districted BPOU, I was left as neither a delegate nor alternate for the marathon Pawlenty-Sullivan convention.  I went anyway to see some outstanding political theater- and had the benefit of being able to leave at a reasonable hour.

It struck me that despite there being slates, supporters of both sides got elected from my BPOU, beginning with the most recognized “names” such as elected officials and the top leadership.

Fast forward to 2010 and another contested race for governor.  This time, instead of being on the wrong slate, I was on no slate.  This is because 1) I was and remain undecided and 2) I wanted to be able to chair our convention without the appearance of favoritism.  Despite one candidate concluding his speech with an appeal for my support, I re-iterated my uncommitted status in my long, rambling, “vote for me as a delegate” pitch.  And, I was elected.

It seemed to me that just one of the major candidates organized a slate at our convention.    What occurred confirmed the some of the intuition I had in 2002.

We had 10 of our BPOU executive committee members run.  Nine were elected delegates and one is a high alternate.  Whether they were on a slate or not, these folks got elected.

So, if you are an individual seeking to be a state delegate, the surest route to success in our BPOU was to be active as a BPOU executive committee member. This entire group was elected delegate or a high alternate regardless of their “slating” status.  Almost all of these people ran unopposed for their positions at our convention last year.  Great foresight, and/or a reward for folks that had stepped forward as leaders.

We also had nine people run that I consider “core” folks at our BPOU conventions.  These are people that are at almost every BPOU convention and are names and faces recognizable to many of the local delegates. These include current & former elected officials, former BPOU officers, & “long-time activists”.   Seven were elected.  Again being on a slate would have appeared to have no real impact on whether this tier of folks got elected.

So, does this strategy work for a candidate?  If Minnesota Democrats Exposed’s count is to be believed the candidate whose supporters used the slate went from losing the caucus straw poll in our BPOU to winning the delegate count by a substantial margin.  While part of that was winning over some people who presumably would have been elected anyway, the ability to get the more anonymous candidates across the line was huge.  I think this makes sense since slating combines votes that might otherwise be scattered.

Is it unfair?  Looking down the list of who was not elected I am sure a handful of people might think so as their status might be a step below what it was before due to slating.

As a BPOU chair, I have no idea how I would prevent it.  You can’t stop people from discussing who they might want to vote for whatever the reason.  I guess we could have banned all paper on the floor during this process, and people would have to have the information written on their hands Sarah Palin-style.  Practically, I think there’s no way to prevent it.

I am certain that there are “slated” delegates that will go to the state convention and never show up for anything again.  However in past years we have had people elected without slates that went to the state convention and never showed up for anything again.  From an organizational perspective, I don’t see a big loss here.  The flip side is a “slated” delegate who might not otherwise participate may go to the convention, catch the bug, and decide to stick around and help.

Back to an earlier point- in my BPOU the delegates clearly respected the folks who have worked over time for the benefit of the BPOU- the executive committee.  Incrementally votes may have been gained or lost by being on a slate, but the work was rewarded.  Bottom line: if you want to have influence in the process, becoming active and staying active is the best way to gain it.

[Crossposted at True North]


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Slates Aren\’t The Problem

March 1st, 2010 by Kevin

For those of you not involved in the Minnesota political scene, you probably didn\’t realize this last weekend, was the local equivalent of Super Saturday.  Approximately 128% of the BPOUs across the state had their BPOU Conventions, where state level candidates were endorsed and delegates were selected to represent the BPOU at higher party levels.  Those selected delegates actually have a lot of duties, but several stand out.  They pick the higher level GOP candidates such as for US Congress or  Governor, they also amend the party\’s platform and modify the constitution of those organization and other such duties.

So I naturally expected much analysis and punditry about what happened this last weekend.  What I didn\’t expect is a lot of complaining about slates, especially from people who should be used to it by now.  To put it quite simply a slate is a group of people who are running for delegate positions who share a common goal, in this case it\’s who people favor for the MN Governor slot.  You vote for the others on your slate, and they vote for you.  The idea being that you stack the deck with your own people, and try to prevent others from getting a seat at the table.

Quite honestly it\’s one of the oldest and most simple of political strategies.  Sure it\’s slightly distasteful, because even before you walk into the convention you know who you\’re voting for, and it\’s without regard to any other merit than their position on a single issue.  Is it ideal?  No, but it\’s also been part of the world\’s second oldest profession since it started bearing a resemblance to the world\’s oldest profession.  And quite honestly I\’m surprised people still get upset about it.  Especially when those same people show no problem with Get Out The Vote efforts, which anyone that\’s being honest will admit that you absolutely do NOT want to get THE voters out, you want to get YOUR voters out.  Same concept.

Slates are a political reality, but they also reflect the organizational level of a candidate, and a good organization is absolutely critical for any election year.  As a result, slates make sense for more reasons than just getting \”your people\” to the convention.  It also gives the person with the best organization an advantage for endorsement.  And how does one get the best organization?? Volunteers and money.  And both come from having a platform and a set of principles that resonate within the base.

There is a reason that Herwig and Leslie didn\’t have slates that dominated many of the BPOU Conventions this weekend.  They don\’t have an existing organization willing to commit the time and effort to get the work done needed to generate slates.   If a candidate can\’t get a smooth running campaign going in the endorsement process, who are they going to suffer slings and arrows of an election campaign?  Consider it a trial run, and the slate is a report card of sorts.

As to concerns that delegates have more duties than just selecting a candidate in an election year.  Yeah, that\’s true.  What\’s your point?? Are these delegates any less qualified to do that?  Are you implying that because they had the foresight to organize and the political awareness to gain the advantage, they will suddenly lack those abilities when it comes to fulfilling other duties?  No offense but that\’s silly.

And as to protests that the state convention is still two months away, well that\’s true, but again, what\’s your point?  Nobody on those slates have sworn to anything.  They just stated it\’s their current intention to vote for a particular candidate.  Whose to say that doesn\’t change?  Most of the slates were secret, nobody has anything on the line.  It\’s not like they lose face if they switch candidates.  If my current candidate gets caught sitting on a pile of blow next to a dead hooker, guess what?  I\’m switching candidates…and not just because I didn\’t get invited to that party.

Slates are slightly distasteful but they\’ve been around forever, and politics isn\’t a strawberry festival.  It\’s dirty.  It\’s cheap.  It\’s long and arduous and as such if you don\’t have a top notch organization behind you, you\’re in trouble.  Slates don\’t change that, if nothing else they just prove you can handle the most basic of concepts….organizing your supporters.

[Crossposted at True North]


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