Archive for the ‘Senate’ Category

Now that Brian Schweitzer has announced that he isn’t running, it’s time to all but officially put this US Senate seat in the GOP flipped category:

Helena, Mont. (AP) — Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer says he won’t run for U.S. Senate after Sen. John Walsh dropped his election campaign Thursday. Schweitzer was mentioned as a potential contender even before Walsh’s announcement.

But the Democrat already rejected a run earlier in the year when he said he wasn’t interested in the seat that opened when six-term Sen. Max Baucus was named U.S. Ambassador to China.

Schweitzer announced that he wouldn’t run on Twitter and confirmed it to The Associated Press. He said in a Facebook post that he was flattered his name was considered, and that he’ll support whoever emerges as the candidate.

This all but officially confirms the fact that Steve Daines will be the next US senator from Montana. Walsh was considered their only hope of winning. That’s why Baucus resigned. Baucus resigned so that Walsh could run as an incumbent. That plan blew up in the Democrats’ faces when the NY Times reported that Walsh had plagiarized his Master’s Degree thesis.

After that report, it was just a matter of time until Walsh’s campaign ended officially.

Now that Schweitzer has officially declined to be Daines’ sacrificial lamb, the Democrats’ bench isn’t just thin. It’s virtually nonexistent. Ed Morrissey’s commentary lays things out nicely:

At some point, Democrats have to give strong consideration to conceding the seat to Daines. He’s going to win it anyway, and putting up a candidate without any name power in Montana will force them to spend money on the race to maintain their credibility. Why waste the resources, especially for either a Democrat who lost by 50 points in his own party’s primary or for an all-but-carpetbagging abortion absolutist in a red state? Just tossing anyone up against Daines would have a strong whiff of desperation that might infect the rest of their races in Montana — especially if the nominee has to jump belatedly into a campaign and falls flat on his/her face. Schweitzer was their best opportunity to maintain the façade of credibility, even with the “gaydar” comments. They should take a hint from his withdrawal and cut their losses.

Perhaps, the Democrats could run Alan Keyes. He’d have as good a shot at winning in the Big Sky State as he had in the Land of Lincoln.

Seriously, this race is all but officially over. I’d be surprised if Daines doesn’t win by 20 points or more.

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There are few political analysts I trust more than Michael Barone. I trust Mr. Barone because, in addition to being one of the best number crunchers in the business, he’s a superb researcher. That’s why I took note of what he wrote in this article:

A new Washington Post story quotes Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke as favoring “greater emphasis on the interests of these children who are refugees from extreme violence” instead of “an acceleration of the deportation process at the expense of these children.” But the Post reporters note that “O’Rourke added that he has been surprised by the anger he has heard toward the immigrants of many of his El Paso constituents, who ?feel like we can’t take care of everyone, and these children and their families are gaming the system.’” O’Rourke’s district, which includes most of El Paso County, is 79 percent Hispanic.

That’s stunning. When Hispanics are upset with the flood of illegal immigrants, that’s a sign that this issue isn’t hurting Republicans or helping Democrats. Here’s Mr. Barone’s observation on that:

Democrats are trying to blame the situation on House Republicans’ refusal to pass comprehensive immigration legislation. That seems pretty lame: There’s nothing in the bill the Senate passed in June 2013 that addressed this particular situation. As this article in the Hill makes plain, perhaps despite the writer’s intention, this is a troublesome situation for Democrats whose names are on the ballot this fall.

In past elections, Democrats did a good job convincing Hispanics that Republicans were anti-immigration. That led to Democrats winning the Hispanic vote by a wide margin. The border crisis exposed Democrats as not caring about securing the border. That’s hurt Democrats with independent and Hispanic voters.

While the American people generally favor immigration reform in the abstract, they demand fairness and the rule of law. In this influx of illegal immigrants, they’re seeing neither fairness or the rule of law. It’ more than that, though.

As these illegal immigrants get sent to cities across the country, a nasty case of NIMBYism is settling in:

In the other, Lovelace quotes the chief of staff of the mayor of Lynn, Mass., about how many Guatemalan “children” were sent there and placed in public schools. “Some of them have had gray hair and they’re telling you that they’re 17 years old and they have no documentation,” the official is quoted as saying.

Part of this is due to these illegal border crossers not being children. Another part of this is that cities are getting stuck with the bill from an unexpected influx of people. Mostly, though, they juts don’t want to have to deal with the problem. It’s one thing when they’re someone else’s problem. It’s another when they’re your problem.

If Democrats, including President Obama, don’t work towards fixing this crisis, it’ll be high profile proof that they’re incapable of governing. That’s the worst accusation to hit an incumbent with during election season. If people think that politicians aren’t interested in or are incapable of governing, the other things don’t matter.

This is a tipping point moment for Democrats, especially if they’re on the ballot this fall. If they don’t provide real leadership on this issue, they’ll be hurt this fall.

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Based on Ed Morrissey’s post on Michelle Nunn’s missteps in Georgia and Ed’s post about today’s Kentucky primary, I’m thinking that the Democrats’ best chances at flipping Republican-held seats in the US Senate isn’t looking good. Here’s Michelle Nunn’s problem:

HUNT: But you’re not sure if you would have voted yes or no?
NUNN: When I look back at what they were doing when this was passed, I think, I wish that we had more people who had tried to architect a bipartisan legislation. And who had worked together across the aisle.
HUNT: So, yes or no?
NUNN: I think it’s impossible to look back retrospectively and say, “What would you have done if you were there?” Because I wasn’t there, and we now have hindsight. What I can do is say: Here’s where we are today, and here’s what we should do, which is move forward.
HUNT: So do you think it should be repealed?
NUNN: I do not.

That’s a major unforced mistake by Nunn. Saying that you don’t support repealing Obamacare in Georgia is political suicide. Ed notes that Nunn’s campaign totally avoids Obamacare as an issue. The GOP candidate will certainly pound Ms. Nunn for avoiding questions about Obamacare. They’ll extract more than several pounds of flesh on that issue.

Then there’s Allison Lundergan-Grimes’ problem:

By coming out against the 20-week aboriton limit, Grimes is at odds with at least two-thirds of Kentucky voters. According to a Marist poll released last week, “67% of Kentucky residents think abortion should be illegal. This includes 21% who say it should be illegal without exceptions and 46% who say it should be illegal except in cases of rape, incest, and to save the mother’s life. 28%, however, report abortion should be legal. Included here are 18% who say abortion should always be legal and 10% who think it should be legal most of the time.”

Grimes’s opposition to the 20-week abortion limit on the grounds that it doesn’t put the “health, life, and safety of the mother first” doesn’t make sense. The text of the bill explicitly contains an exceptionfor when “in reasonable medical judgment, the abortion is necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, but not including psychological or emotional conditions.” (Medical experts have testified before Congress that if a serious medical issue should arise late in pregnancy, delivering a child alive is actually much safer than aborting her: A live delivery of the baby can be performed in an hour, but a late-term abortion can take three days.)

Politicians saying that they support abortion-on-demand in Bible Belt states is political suicide, too. While Lundergan-Grimes currently leads McConnell by 1 point, that’ll flip once Sen. McConnell highlights Lundergan-Grimes’ position on abortion-on-demand.

Those are really the Democrats’ only opportunities to flip Republican-held seats. Right now, the odds facing Lundergan-Grimes and Nunn look steep.

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If Harry Reid had said that he had sources who told him that Mitt Romney hadn’t paid taxes for 10 years while he was at a fundraiser, he would’ve gotten sued into bankruptcy by Mitt Romney. Sen. Reid essentially admitted that he didn’t have proof to verify his accusation when he said that he shouldn’t have to prove it, that the accusation was against Gov. Romney, not him.

That’s BS. The accusation against Sen. Reid is that he’s a liar who’s epeatedly gotten caught lying. Victor Davis Hanson’s article provides substantial ammunition against Sen. Reid:

During the 2012 presidential campaign, Reid libeled candidate Mitt Romney with the unsubstantiated and later-refuted charge that Romney was a tax cheat. “The word’s out that he [Romney] hasn’t paid any taxes for 10 years,” Reid said.

Later, when asked for proof, Reid offered a pathetic rejoinder: “I have had a number of people tell me that.” One wonders how many names were on Reid’s McCarthyite “tell” list — were there, as McCarthy used to bluster, 205 names, or perhaps just 57?

When asked again to document the slur, Reid echoed McCarthy perfectly: “The burden should be on him. He’s the one I’ve alleged has not paid any taxes.”

That’s just part of the proof of Sen. Reid’s McCarthyite accusations.

Reid has also brought back McCarthy’s custom of vicious and sometimes profane insults. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Reid announced: “I can’t stand John McCain.” Of then-President George W. Bush, Reid said: “President Bush is a liar.” Reid claimed that fellow Mormon Mitt Romney had “sullied” his religion.

When Gen. David Petraeus brought proof to Congress that the surge in Iraq was beginning to work by late 2007, Reid declared, “No, I don’t believe him, because it’s not happening.” He elaborated on that charge by labeling Petraeus, at the time the senior ground commander of U.S. forces fighting in Iraq, a veritable liar. Reid alleged that Petraeus “has made a number of statements over the years that have not proven to be factual.”

What’s stunning is that his Democratic colleagues in the Senate haven’t criticized him for his despicable, McCarthyite, unethical behavior. Neither has anyone in the supposedly MSM.

Jeanne Shaheen hasn’t criticized Sen. Reid for his McCarthyite rantings. Mary Landrieu, Mark Udall, Mark Begich, Kay Hagans, Al Franken and Mark Pryor haven’t criticized him for his McCarthyite antics, either.

In fact, Al Franken has virtually repeated Sen. Reid’s rants against the Koch brothers, the Democrats’ latest villains. I wrote this post to highlight the Koch brothers’ crimes against America:

Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs—even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished.

Reid’s and Franken’s repeated rants against the Koch brothers are rants against people who want to get rid of corporate welfare. That isn’t something to vilify the Koch brothers for. That’s something that should be celebrated. Here’s something else that should be celebrated:

Koch employees have earned well over 700 awards for environmental, health and safety excellence since 2009, many of them from the [EPA and OSHA]. EPA officials have commended us for our “commitment to a cleaner environment” and called us “a model for other companies.”

Mark Pryor is so disgusting that he thinks Tom Cotton, who served 2 tours of duty in Iraq, is a spoiled brat who thinks he’s entitled to a seat in the US Senate.

To summarize, Sen. Reid’s malicious lies against the Democrats’ latest villain say that he’s willing to say anything despicable to help his candidates. Sen. Franken’s mindless rants against people who want to eliminate corporate welfare and whose employees have literally won hundreds of “environmental, health and safety excellence since 2009″ say that he’s content with vilifying good corporate citizes for political gain. Sen. Pryor’s hate-filled, anti-military rantings tell us that he’s a contemptible excuse for a human being.

It’s one thing to hit political opponents hard with verifiable facts. That’s called playing political hardball. When Sen. Franken lies about American industrialists who’ve contributed greatly to their employees’ lives, that’s called despicable behavior. When a U.S. senator criticizes a military veteran of being pampered and having an entitlement mentality, that’s proof that he’s a despicable human being who doesn’t have the requisite character to be a senator.

There’s only one conclusion to be drawn from this proof. The Democratic Party is an immoral political party. They haven’t hesitated in lying about the Koch brothers, Mitt Romney or Tom Cotton. Their senators have stayed silent while Sen. Reid maligned Gov. Romney, thereby giving their silent consent to Sen. Reid’s despicable actions.

The Democrats’ culture of corruption stinks to high heavens. It’s time to eliminate that stench from Washington, DC. It’s time to start fresh with people who’ll listen to the American people.

That’s the only way to restore trust in the institutions of government.

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Saying that Bruce Braley has had a tough stretch on the campaign trail is like saying didn’t have a smooth rollout. First, Braley criticized an Iowa hog farmer while running for the Senate in Iowa:

“If you help me win this race, you may have someone with your background, your experience, your voice — someone who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years in a visible and public way on the Senate Judiciary” Committee, said Braley. “Or you might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary. Because if Democrats lose the majority, Chuck Grassley will be the next chair of the Senate Judiciary.”

Crtiticizing a hog farmer while running for political office in Iowa is as foolish as a candidate for office in Oklahoma to talk about how much he loves Texas football. That’s as big a mistake as Todd Akin made in 2012, which takes some doing. Correct that. Which takes a Herculean effort.

Unfortunately for Braley, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Then, in his attempt to stop the bleeding from the first disaster, he compounded it:

Then Braley sent out a press release touting his farmer credentials and the Des Moines Register found that it misspelled several basic farming terms like “detasseling” and “baling.”

A photo he posted to Facebook is actually a farm in England, NOT Iowa.

Here’s the photo:

Here’s what Buzzfeed wrote about Braley’s brouhaha:

TripAdvisor lists the farm as a fruit farm in England and an employee of the farm named Sonya confirmed to BuzzFeed the photo was of Cammas Fruit Farm.

The first tip Braley should learn from this is that he’s got extremely incompetent people working for his campaign. That type of incompetence is downright frightening. They certainly don’t know that the first rule of holes is to stop digging.

The next lesson Braley should’ve learned in this is that it’s exceptionally stupid to criticize a major voting block in the state you’re running in. That’s because it’ll just piss off the people you need to win elections. Pissing off a huge voting block isn’t the path to victory very often. In Iowa, pissing off hog farmers is foolishness on steroids.

The other lesson Braley should learn is that saying provocative things at fundraisers often return to bite the candidate in the arse.

The biggest question that isn’t settled yet is whether this is a fatal mistake. It might be but it’s too early to tell. It isn’t too early to tell, however, whether it was foolish for Braley to incompetently pander to this huge voting block.

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This article lays out the statistics that Colorado is actually going backwards thanks directly to Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act:

Quite apart from the issue of premium increases, the 84,881 enrollees is far below the number of people who lost their insurance plans because of Obamacare. “Cancellation notices affected 249,199 people,” Jo Donlin, director of external affairs for the state insurance division, wrote in a Nov. 14 email.

That’s the worst of the news on the Obamacare front for Colorado but it isn’t the only bad news on that front. Here’s more:

“With less than a month to go before the enrollment period ends for this year, fewer than 85,000 Coloradans have signed up for health insurance,” The Colorado Observer’s Mark Stricherz reports, noting that state officials projected that they would need 125,000 to 140,000 enrollees.

“Even in the worst-case scenario, insurers would still be expected to earn profits, and would then likely raise premiums in 2015 to make up the difference,” Stricherz quotes Kaiser Family Foundation analyst Larry Leavitt as predicting.

In other words, people aren’t buying what the administration is selling. In fact, they’re getting disgusted by Obamacare’s options.

Based on these statistics, more people in Colorado are uninsured under Obamacare than were uninsured prior to the ACA. That’s called going backwards, which isn’t what President Obama promised.

These statistics shouldn’t be viewed in a vacuum, either, because they’re affecting the Senate race in Colorado:

Udall is clearly worried about how Obamacare affects his re-election prospects. Donlin accused him, in that email, of trying to “trash” the state’s cancellation figures. When CNN’s Dana Bash asked him in January (before Gardner entered the race) if he would campaign with President Obama, Udall repeatedly refused to give a direct answer to the question. “Coloradans are going to re-elect me based on my record, not the president’s record,” Udall told Bash.

That’s rich. I can’t imagine Sen. Udall has voted differently than Harry Reid many times since arriving. Voting with Harry Reid is the same as voting with President Obama.

Most importantly, Sen. Udall voted for Obamacare, aka the ACA, which has led to Colorado’s disaster of having more people uninsured under Obamacare than there were prior to the ACA. That’s a political disaster waiting to happen for Sen. Udall. He’s got to be sweating his decision to vote for the ACA.

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This polling from Michigan shows Democrats might have an impossible task on their hands in keeping control of the Senate:

RCP Average 9/7 – 1/8

Land (R) 39.4, Peters (D) 38.8 Land leads by .6%

Harper (R) 1/7 – 1/8
1004 LV

Land 44%, Peters 36; Land leads by 8%

PPP (D) 12/5 – 12/8
1034 RV

Land 42%, Peters 40%; Land leads by 2%

If Democrats have to fight to hold Carl Levin’s seat in Michigan, they’re in trouble. If they don’t hold Levin’s seat this November, they’ll lose control of the Senate. The national landscape isn’t helping Democrats this year. It doesn’t help Democrats that they’re fighting off the image that they can’t be trusted.

It wasn’t just President Obama who lied about people keeping their health insurance plan if they liked it. Lots of Democratic senators repeated that, too.

Friday’s jobs report hurt Democrats, too, although not for the reason most would think. Having 535,000 people quit looking for a job is the biggest indictment against Obamanomics. All of the Democrats that are up for re-election this year voted for President Obama’s budget blueprint.

If Michigan is in play, what does that say about Montana, Louisiana, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, South Dakota, Arkansas and Alaska? Is Minnesota in play? It’s already shaping up to be a very pro-GOP election cycle. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

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Yesterday, Prof. Larry Sabato was on Cavuto’s show to talk about the midterm elections. He said at the time that Democrats had all but written off the seats currently held by South Dakota’s Tim Johnson and West Virginia’s Jay Rockefeller. Republicans need to pick up a net of 6 seats in 2014 to regain the majority in the Senate. According to this post, that possibility just got a little more likely:

Popular former Gov. Brian Schweitzer says he will not run for Montana’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2014.The Democrat tells The Associated Press on Saturday he doesn’t want to leave Montana and go to Washington, D.C.

Schweitzer says he felt compelled to consider the race because many in his party said they needed him to run. He was considered the best chance Democrats have to hold onto the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Max Baucus next year.

Schweitzer had led the GOP candidate in early polling. His decision essentially ends the Democrats’ chances of holding Sen. Baucus’s seat. Coupled with the Johnson and Rockefeller seats, the Republicans are half the way to retaking the Senate majority.

In a February poll from Democratic-aligned Public Policy Polling, Schweitzer led Baucus in a potential primary match-up, and while Baucus trailed some of his potential GOP opponents, Schweitzer polled stronger.

Baucus had a difficult time the last time he ran for re-election. After writing a significant portion of the Senate version of the PPACA, Sen. Baucus’s popularity had dropped significantly.

At this point, no other Democrat is positioned to win that statewide race. The only positive that comes out of this news is that the DSCC can focus more of its money and GOTV operations on the other tight races.

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I hadn’t paid any attention to the Akin-McCaskill race recently but this polling suggests I should:

The News 4, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Kansas City Star poll shows Senator Claire McCaskill with a 2 percent lead over Congressman Todd Akin, at 45 and 43 percent, respectively.

What’s interesting is that Rep. Akin leads Sen. McCaskill amongst independents by a 42%-36% margin. Another thing that’s interesting is that Rep. Akin only got 82% of the GOP votes vs. Sen. McCaskill getting 97% of the Democrats’ votes. Finally, 9% of Republicans and 13% of independents are undecided. It isn’t likely that those votes will break for Sen. McCaskill, especially after they see this video:

In fact, I’m betting that Rep. Akin’s lead with independents grows after they see that ad. Here’s the transcript of that ad:

Todd Akin: “I’m Todd Akin and I approved this message.”

Announcer: “It’s been revealed, Claire McCaskill’s husband was caught cutting business deals in the Senate dining room, selling tax credits tied to Obama’s stimulus money, money Claire McCaskill voted for. McCaskill uses her position and power to cash in. It’s no surprise that McCaskill thinks she’s above the law, she didn’t pay her taxes but voted to raise ours. The arrogance and corruption of Claire McCaskill. Dealing herself in. Selling us out.”

It wasn’t that long ago that Sen. McCaskill was the most vulnerable senator up for re-election, mostly because she’s used her position to benefit her husband’s business and because she’s the most dishonest member of the U.S. Senate this side of Harry Reid.

Those facts haven’t changed. Now that Rep. Akin and Sen. McCaskill are making their closing arguments, voters are getting reminded why they don’t like her.

Six weeks ago, Rep. Akin looked like toast. Things settled down. Sen. McCaskill’s past has been dredged up. Now Sen. McCaskill’s looking like she’s heading for defeat. Good riddance.

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When I saw that Al Hunt had written this article, I thought it would be another screed about the loss of civility in politics, that ‘the right’ was villainizing the word compromise and other familiar complaints whenever Republicans are beating Democrats in a debate.

Instead, I saw an article that’s fairly reasonable, especially considering it’s written by a hard left lefty:

This year, Tea Party activists are winning Republican Senate primaries and are favored to win seats in the fall. They include Ted Cruz in Texas, Deb Fischer in Nebraska and Richard Mourdock in Indiana. Primaries over the next 10 days in Missouri and Wisconsin could catapult others.

Cruz, a former law clerk to the late Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist, handily defeated the Texas lieutenant governor last week. He’s considered a virtual shoo-in in the general election.

Fischer, who won an upset victory against a more established candidate, has been embraced by the Tea Party, as has Mourdock who knocked off six-term Republican Senator Richard Lugar in Indiana. Facing tough Democratic opponents, they are favored in states that are decidedly Republican.

Of the 3 races, Mourdock faces the toughest fight. I’d be surprised if Cruz doesn’t win by at least 15 points. I’d be surprised if Deb Fischer doesn’t win by 12 points or more.

If all these Tea Party-backed Republicans win in November, it means Mitch McConnell, the current Republican Senate leader, will be in the majority. From day one, however, the Kentucky senator will be looking over his shoulder. The real power may be South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, who stood up and supported a number of these Tea Party candidates in the 2010 elections.

Another politician who benefits: Sarah Palin. The former Alaska governor endorsed Mourdock, Fischer and Cruz when they were underdogs.

Hunt is exactly right in saying that Gov. Palin and Sen. DeMint will exert considerable influence on the Senate’s agenda. If Sen. McConnell recognizes that, he could make this a productive Senate.

In fact, McConnell could earn some points with the TEA Party by saying he’d support Jim DeMint over John Cornyn if Sen. DeMint ran for the soon-to-be-open spot created by Jon Kyl’s retirement.

Increasing the number of influential conservative voices in the Senate is the fastest way of righting this nation’s economy. Despite President Obama’s spin, this nation’s economy isn’t headed in the right direction. It won’t improve until President Obama is fired by the voters this November.

Increasing the TEA Party’s influence in the Senate will dramatically hasten the economy’s recovery.

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