Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Is the GOP Losing This Election?

Excellent piece by Quin Hillyer about the GOP's end-of-campaign slide. Of course, part of the problem is the poor Senate candidate choices offered by Republicans in the first place, specifically in Montana, Louisiana and New Jersey (not to mention Tim Hutchinson in Arkansas). One could have foreseen a campaign where the GOP might net a gain of three or four seats, but now it is actually close to losing seats. Depressing.

Bush's Lack of a Game Plan:

If I were in the Bush White House, I would have had my precise messages for the final week of the campaign honed and ready to go. Instead, the message from the White House is lackluster and pointless. In my view the message should be: Security. Whether it be Iraq, North Korea, domestic/foreign terrorism, or crime the Bush White House should stand for eternal vigilance against all our enemies, within and without. Bush should ask voters to send to Washington only those politicians who vigorously share this priority and he should make this request repeatedly and in the strongest of language.

Monday, October 28, 2002

Scary Washington Post story:

The Washington Post today reports that available evidence in the anthrax attacks points to more than one person and possibly state-sponsorship. The report is chilling and makes you wonder if Iraq is back in the picture as a prime suspect. I'm thinking that other suspects could be crazy Israelis, disgruntled former Soviet Union military men or an inner-Pentagon cabal.

Wellstone Deserves Many, But Not All, Of His Accolades:

The death of Paul Wellstone was a terrible tragedy and he is well deserving of much praise. However, when lauded as "a man of conviction and principle", commentators make a great mistake in not discussing in detail Wellstone's decision to break his two-term pledge to the people of Minnesota. It was Wellstone's lowest moment as "a man of principle" and he is now getting a free pass on it. He shouldn't.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Oct. 23 Senate Race Round-up

Iowa: Latest poll shows Democrat Harkin lead now 17%.

Missouri: Post-Dispatch endorses Democrat Carnahan

New Hampshire: Soon-to-be Ex-Senator Smith won't help Sununu in race.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

James Zogby's Op-Ed in the Arab News

Pollster John Zogby's brother predicts the Democrats will maintain there control of the Senate in his analysis piece for the Arab News.
    Looking at the most up-to-date polls it appears that if the election were held today, Democrats might hold on to their one seat advantage in the Senate, while Republicans would probably continue to maintain a slim lead in the Congress. The one area where some measurable change might occur is in the governors’ races, where Democrats might win enough of the states from Republicans to give both parties (you guessed it!) a near 50-50 split in control of governorships across the nation.

Oct. 23 Senate Race Round-up

Colorado: Dirty campaign tricks - Sen. Allard victim of phone scam.

Louisiana: Latest Poll: Democrat may be forced into a runoff - support only at 44%.

Minnesota: Republican Coleman claims latest poll over-represents Democrats.

Missouri: Analyst sees Republican challenger doing well.

New Jersey: Age issue haunts "Rambling" Frank Lautenberg

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

"Human Events" Whistling Past the Graveyard?

The national conservative weekly Human Events is predicting a gain of two to three seats for the GOP in this Senate election cycle under their confident headline, "A Republican Senate in '02". Unless a seismic shift in the polling numbers takes place in the next two weeks, there is almost no chance whatever of the Republicans picking up the three seats optimistically predicted by the magazine. Granted, we all enjoy a bit of the 'wishful thinking' now and again, but the Human Events scenario of the GOP holding 52 Senate seats come next January is just plain unrealistic. But let's ignore their fantasy and take a look at the numbers game with some reality mixed in, shall we?

To gain control of the Senate, the Republicans need to control at least 50 Senate seats. The Republicans have 49 now but, according to recent polling, are likely to lose Arkansas (damn you, Sen. Hutchinson). This would put the GOP at 48 seats -- two shy of control. Unfortunately those two seats are not going to be won in the states Georgia, New Jersey, or Iowa where some punch-drunk Elephants are still predicting upsets (not going to happen, kids).

That leaves us with a GOP need to takeover from the Democrats two Senate seats in either Minnesota, Missouri, South Dakota, or Louisiana while also defending their seats in the Republican held toss-up states of New Hampshire and Colorado. One's prediction on the outcome of this election rest almost entirely upon one's view of these six races. I

Is it possible the Republicans can pick up two seats in MN, MO, SD and LA? They certainly can. But can the Republicans hold on to NH and CO? Not necessarily. In fact, it is possible the Republicans may actually lose both New Hampshire and Colorado if things don't shape up fast.

In short, for the Republicans to regain control of the Senate EVERYTHING has to go there way. And even if it does, it might not last...ask Senator Lincoln Chafee.
Oct. 22 Senate Race Round-up

Colorado: USA Today cites "Orgy" of negativity in tight race.

Georgia: New poll shows Cleland leads in Georgia.

Missouri: Democrat Carnahan and Republican Talent debate.

New Hampshire: Senate candidates debate to a "draw".

New Jersey: Lautenberg refuses to debate.

South Dakota: T.R. Reid of the Washington Post reports from South Dakota.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Oct. 21 Senate Race Round-up

Today we have two general overviews of the Senate races. The first is a prediction of a Republican take-over of the Senate in Human Events. Another is a Newsday look at the races. Now on to some of the states:

Arkansas: Washington Times story says race is a dead heat.

Iowa: San Fransisco Chronicle says Democrat Harkin "building an edge".

Minnesota: ABC says Democrat Wellstone leading in poll.

Missouri: Senate battle taken to rural areas.

New Jersey: Star-Ledger reporting Democrat Lautenberg lead 47% - 39%.

Texas: Latest poll shows Republican Cornyn with a growing lead.
Salon Takes A Look at South Dakota Senate Race

A little bit of good news from Salon's coverage of the the SD race:

    Perhaps, but that's not immediately apparent in the polls. Johnson seems to have rebounded from his summer slump, when he trailed Thune by as much as 9 points in statewide polls after campaigning on the economy and the drought. Most polls now have Johnson with a slight lead, but within the margin of error. While Thune may have lost some ground, there is certainly good news for his campaign as well. Historically, incumbents who poll less than 50 percent of the vote within a month of the election rarely, if ever, win on Election Day. In all the statewide polls, Johnson is well below the magic 50 percent figure

Both Daschle and Bush will be visiting the state again by election day.

Friday, October 18, 2002

Boston Globe Blames Bush On North Korea Crisis

Not too much of a surprise that the Boston Globe blames America first in the crisis with North Korea, but their inattention to the timeline involved is breathtaking.
    In addition, North Korean representatives have been accusing the administration of unilaterally seeking to undo a joint communique the two countries issued in October 2000 that declared, ''Neither government would have hostile intent toward the other.'' North Korea has signaled that all possibilities for cooperation - whether on its nuclear or missile programs - must begin with an acceptance that the era of hostile intent is ended.

    A week after Kelly's visit to Pyongyang but several days before the North's efforts to buy materials for the enrichment of uranium became public, North Korea's representative complained that Kelly ''didn't have negotiations or talks on future dialogue ... The US side only emphasized that the DPRK'' - North Korea - ''should move faster to solve the US security concerns, including the nuclear suspicion.'' The diplomat then made an offer President Bush should not refuse. ''If they want to solve the issues through a dialogue,'' he said, ''then the DPRK is prepared to do so. However if the US wants to solve the issue by force, the DPRK also is ready to face the use of force.''

    Pyongyang has put its covert nuclear program on the table for negotiation. Particularly since Bush must realize that the options of bombing, sanctions, and war are all out of the question, he ought to explore North Korea's invitation to a dialogue and disregard Pyongyang's macho manners.

The implication that North Korea decided to pursue a secret nuclear program in response to President Bush's hardline is belied by the simple fact that the North Korean's had begun breaking the rules of the treaty while President Bill Clinton was STILL in office.
Bush's Impending UN Victory

President Bush is on the verge of a major victory in the UN even as the US and international press are blind to it. The online headline of the Sydney Herald screams: "US forced to back down on Iraq strike threat", but is this really what's going on? Take a closer look at the story and hear what the French have to say:

    The French ambassador to the UN, Jean-David Levitte, told the Security Council that the new resolution should clearly state "the rules of the game" to Iraq.

    He said if Iraq refused to co-operate with inspectors, "the Security Council should meet immediately to decide appropriate measures to take, ruling out no alternatives".

So effectively has the Bush changed the tenor of the debate at the UN, that harsh rhetoric against the Iraqis by the French can somehow still be seen as a repudiation of the Bush Adminstration's policies. Granted, its less than Bush wanted but is light-years from what many critics of the President thought possible just weeks ago.
Sabato's New Predictions

Election specialist Larry Sabato has posted updates to his 2002 US Senate election predictions and they are not trending in favor of the Republicans. Just last week, Sabato's range of outcomes included a possible two seat pick up for either the Republicans or Democrats. Now that range predicts no more than a one seat pickup for the Republicans. Sabato finds the most disturbing trends in Arkansas and New Hampshire:

    Pryor is leading Hutchinson by the surprisingly wide margin of 50% to 40% among likely voters--a dangerous sign for any incumbent. A more recent Zogby poll has the race tied at 45% all, still not a good position for an incumbent. It is true that the Republicans are determined to hold this seat and to spend whatever it takes to do so, but this race could be slipping away from the GOP, with serious consequences for their ability to retake the Senate.

    A University of New Hampshire poll shows Shaheen ahead 47% to 43%. Therefore we move this race into the toss-up category. Note that we have had it as "leans Republican" since September 17. Sununu had so many advantages this year that we did not believe he could blow it, but thanks to a lackluster effort on his part as well as a bad sport opponent (Bob Smith) the Crystal Ball recognizes that the Democrats could ice their Senate majority with a Shaheen victory in the Granite State.

Dedicated Republicans have a right to ask, "What the hell is going on?".....The greatest blame should be placed on Senator Tim Hutchinson if the Republicans can't recapture control of the Senate. This paragon of virtue left his wife of 29 years to hook-up with a young hottie and may help keep the Senate in Democrat hands for years to come.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Aussies See Shift in Post-Attack Politics

Columnist Dennis Shanahan of The Australian notes that the aftermath of the Bali bombings will be the focus of Australian political debate for many months to come. Too bad it took so many deaths to make some Australians realize how vulnerable the West can be.

    THE observation that Australians will now have empathy with the people of the US, and not just sympathy, in the context of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, could become one of the underpinnings of Australian politics in the coming months.

    Just as September 11 changed the dynamics of US politics, the attitude towards President George W. Bush and the psyche of the people, the same will happen here. Our lives and politics have changed; everybody's expectations and aspirations will have to change too. The Bali bombing and terrorism will dominate politics for months.
Bush Was Right On North Korea

It should not go unnoticed that one reason the Nobel Committee awarded former President Carter the Prize for Peace was his work in securing an agreement for a nuclear development freeze from North Korea -- an agreement the North Koreans quickly went about subverting through lies and deception. From the first day of his administration, President Bush never trusted the North and he was right.

Bush 1, Nobel 0