kens*ten: a political blog

Getting to Ten

A Nation in the Balance

For several months, political insiders have predicted a new Republican majority for the House of Representatives.  The GOP leadership laid out a course of action in the Pledge to America.  But, controlling one chamber takes them only so far.  Controlling the Senate as well would place the GOP in a much better position to set the nation’s agenda – and recapture the presidency in 2012.

Republicans need to pick up ten Senate seats to gain a majority.  If the hoped-for Red Tsunami is as broad as projected in generic ballot and “wrong-direction” poll results, the GOP may just make it.

Can they realistically get there?  The answer: “Yes, with a little luck”.  Here is how…

The GOP picks up eight seats in these races:

1) North Dakota – Democrat incumbent Senator Byron Dorgan is retiring.  The Republicans nominated popular Governor John Hoeven to face Democrat Tracy Potter.  Polls have consistently put Hoeven up 40% plus.  This seat goes to the GOP.

2) Arkansas – Democrat incumbent Blanche Lincoln had a tough time beating Lt. Governor Bill Halter in her primary.  Halter said Lincoln was too conservative to win re-election.  In Arkansas?  So now, Lincoln trails conservative Republican Congressman John Boozman by nearly 20%.  This race goes Red on Election Day.

3) Indiana — Incumbent Democrat Senator Evan Bayh chose retirement over re-election citing disgust with current Beltway politics.  Former Senator and current GOP nominee Dan Coates has been above 50% for a few months while Democrat Congressman  Brad Ellsworth can’t seem to rise above 35%.  Despite a clear Obama victory in the Hoosier State in 2008, polls show widespread disapproval with the president.  Short of a scandal, Coates seems assured of returning to the Senate.

4) Pennsylvania — The biggest beneficiary of the party switch by incumbent Senator Arlen Spector may be Republican nominee Pat Toomey.  Written off as too conservative to win the state in the 2004 Republican primary against Spector, Toomey now seems just right to Keystone State voters in a general election matchup with Democrat Congressman Joe Sestak.  Spector read the tea leaves and saw he would have trouble in a rematch with Toomey, so with the promise of assistance from the Obama White House, Spector switched parties and ran against Sestak in the Democrat primary.  Despite the offer of a federal job for his withdrawal, Sestak stayed in the race and easily bested the octogenarian Spector.  The Real Clear Politics (RCP) average of +6.6% for Toomey in a still-Blue state makes this look like a GOP pickup.

5) Wisconsin —  If uber-liberal Democrat incumbent Senator Russ Feingold is in trouble in Wisconsin, you know the party is facing a bad Election Day 2010.  The RCP average gives Republican challenger Ron Johnson a +9% lead.  Obama visited the state twice — and both times Feingold was nowhere to be seen.  That speaks volumes of the president’s standing in the Badger State.  This one seems lost to the GOP.

6) West Virginia – Even the death of long-time Senator Robert Byrd was not considered a threat to a Democrat hold of this seat.  Popular Democrat Governor Joe Manchin seemed poised for an easy route to the United States Senate.  But, the unpopularity of President Obama in the Mountaineer State, threw a monkey wrench into the gears.  Republican John Raese holds an RCP average +4.5% advantage.  Manchin has begun stressing his differences with the Obama agenda — primarily on coal and health care — to try to save this seat.  So far, it is not working.

7) Colorado – I still cannot figure why RCP calls this a toss-up.  Republican Ken Buck has enjoyed a 5-8% lead in all polls except the one by Dem-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP).  And, PPP only had Buck down by 1%.  Democrat incumbent appointee Senator Michael Bennet has loudly proclaimed he is no rubber stamp for President Obama and asked the Prez to stay out of Colorado.  His internal polls – and his gut – must be telling him something is amiss.  This seat should tip to the GOP.

8) Nevada – Can there be a more delicious prospect than Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid being voted out of office?  Republican Sharon Angle surprised many by winning the GOP primary.  Conventional wisdom was Reid would coast to victory over the Tea Party favorite.  Not so fast.  Despite a blitz of negatives ads and media, Angle seems to benefit from Nevadans anger over their dreadful economy.  The two most recent statewide polls show Angle +2% to +4% while Reid still has not cracked the 45% mark.  That may eventually doom Reid and send the given-up-for dead Angle to Washington DC.

Here is where a little luck is would help:

9) Alaska – The GOP hold the seat currently, but, intra-party fighting may swing this race.  Republican Joe Miller beat incumbent appointee Senator Lisa Murkowski in a close primary.  After failing to make a deal with the state’s Libertarian Party, the too moderate for Libertarians Murkowski decided to run a write-in campaign.  Miller held slim leads over Murkowski in recent Rasmussen and CNN polls while Democrat Scott McAdams appears to be a non-factor.  Miller has the advantage, but bad blood may make it close.  If Murkowski wins, which party will she caucus with?

10) Illinois – Democrat incumbent and tainted Blagojevich appointee Roland Burris is not on the ballot.  Normally, Illinois would be a solid hold for Democrats.  But, they chose to nominate alleged Mob-connected failed banker and State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias for the race.  The Republicans went with liberal Congressman Mark Kirk.  Kirk has his own baggage including overstating his military service and being the bane of Land of Lincoln conservatives.  This race has been nasty and remains very close.  The two most recent polls show Kirk +2% to +4% and the RCP average is Kirk +1.2%.  The result may well rest on how many Illinois conservatives refuse to pull the lever for Kirk.  If they hold their noses and vote for Kirk, he may just sneak by with a victory.

11) Washington – Democrat incumbent Senator Patty Murray has a well-deserved reputation for exposing her ignorance.  It may finally be catching up with her.  Murray is in a close race with a candidate who has experience with razor-thin losses in this Blue State, Republican Dino Rossi.  Two recent polls show Rossi up 3-6% on Murray and that has dropped the RCP average to a virtual dead-heat.  Over 80% of Evergreen State voters mail-in their ballots… early.  So, Rossi may be surging at the right time.  Assuming Democrat-controlled state election officials do not steal a third statewide victory from Rossi, some pundits think this race may decide control of the Senate.

12) California – Democrat incumbent Senator “Don’t Call Me Ma’am” Barbara Boxer holds a 3-4% lead over Republican challenger Carly Fiorina.  Boxer held a big lead throughout most of the year, but, the race has narrowed as she cannot seem to break the 50% mark.  The fact that a Democrat is in danger in Blue State California is indicative of the public’s general frustration.  Low turnout among traditionally Democrat minority voters may allow Fiorina to win this one.

Summary

Wins in two of the four states above put the Senate in GOP hands at 51-49.  Three weeks out, Alaska and Illinois seem the better bets.  But, Washington is right there in case.  While California is not out of the question, it seems the least likely of the four.

If the Red Tsunami is truly national, winning both Washington and California is still possible.  That would give the Republicans +12 for a 53-47 majority.  Then it is up to Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to corral enough Republican votes to put an end to Obamaism.

That may prove tougher than winning the Senate majority.

© 2010 by kens*ten. All rights reserved.

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Written by kensten

10/10/2010 at 11:29 pm

Congressman Hare-brained

We ain't got no stinkin' debt!

Congressman Philip Hare (D-IL 17) just does not understand what all the fuss is about.

Quoth Hare:

… every minute that I have here (Congress) is going to be spent debunking the myth that this country’s in debt and we just can’t spend.

It’s true that Hare is not the only congressman to have made a loony staement.  Earlier this year Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA 4) expressed his concern at a congressional hearing that if the population of Guam continued to rise the island might “tip over and capsize”.

To claim a $1.4 trillion plus spending deficit is a myth — much less the $13.3 trillion structural debt — is to totally deny reality.  Heck, even the New York Times admits the US is in debt, and it  is also pretty darn high.

This is not Hare’s first collision with ignorance.  Earlier this year, Hare told a constituent — on video — that ObamaCare was constitutional, although he did not know which part of the Constitution permitted it and quite frankly, he didn’t worry about whether the laws Congress adopts are constitutional.

Jim Geraghty of National Review recently reported that Hare’s Republican opponent, Bobby Schilling, was within one percent (38-37) of Hare in a Cook  Report D+3 district.  The most salient point wasn’t that Schilling was close, but, that an incumbent in a Dem-leaning district was at only 38%!

While the poll result does not bode well for Representative Hare, it certainly reflects positively on the common sense of voters in IL-17. 

2010 by kens*ten. All rights reserved. 

Rep. Philip Hare (D-IL 17) / “The debt is a myth”

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA ?) / “Guam might tip over and capsize”

Rahm Runs, Chicago Yawns

"Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dancer" or "Don't Stand So Close to Me"?

Former chief-of-staff (and 5′-4″ ballerina wannabe) Rahm Emanuel enjoyed a hugs-and-tears sendoff from the Obama White House.  He then immediately launched his Windy City mayoral campaign.  Well actually, Emanuel recorded a campaign video before leaving the capital. 

Despite the ensuing media frenzy, Emanuel is not a big hit with his potential constituents

Maybe, these Chicagoans know about Rahm’s “dead fish” message and “liberals are f**king retarded” comment.  Or, maybe they’re just as upset with Obamanomics as the rest of the nation. 

There are also concerns that “Rahmbo” is not a legal resident of the “City That Works”. I have no doubt that such pesky technicalities will be easily swept aside. 

An intriguing question is: Will President Barack Obama appear in ads or actively campaign for Rahm?  Given Obama’s reduced standing in his home state, maybe Emmanuel will avoid asking for the president’s help. 

African-Americans and Hispanics in Chicago see the end of the Daley Era as the perfect time for their ascension at City Hall.  Several such candidates have already began campaigns.  Chances are they won’t take kindly to Rahm’s carpetbagging.  Politics in Chicago is very local and very personal.   Absent unusual circumstances, Obama’s positive sendoff was likely the extent of his involvement in the mayoral race.  He’ll avoid the entanglement of hometown politics as much as possible. 

What are Emanuel’s chances of election?  With a gazillion candidates on the ballot, all Emmanuel needs is to keep any one of his opponents from gaining an outright majority (say through a slew of attack ads), finish second and force a runoff.  He may have a chance then.  

An as yet unannounced candidate, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, may be Rahmbo’s biggest obstacle to election.  Dart has support among Chicago “lakefront liberals” and the African-American community.  A Dart-Emanuel race would be fun to watch. 

© 2010 by kens*ten. All rights reserved.

YouTube / Elton John –” Tiny Dancer” (Nice toupee, Sir Elton!) 

YouTube / The Police — “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”

Red States to Gain House Seats, Electoral Votes for 2012

Red States Rising

The United States Constitution mandates a national census every ten years.  The reason: the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives among the various states.  This redistribution is based on population.  As states gain or lose population in proportion to the other states, their respective shares of the 435 House seats changes.

A review of preliminary 2010 Census data by Election Data Services (EDS) points toward a Republican advantage in the 2012 election.  The Census Bureau releases their official report in late December.

EDS projections suggest gains by “Red States” such as Texas (+4), Florida (+2), Arizona (+1), Georgia (+1), South Carolina (+1) and Utah (+1). “Swing State” Nevada and “Blue State” Washington also may gain one seat each.

When some states gain, other states must lose.  The brunt of the lost seats will occur in Blue States: New York (-2), Illinois (-1), Iowa (-1), Massachusetts (-1), Michigan (-1), New Jersey (-1) and Pennsylvania (-1).  Swing States Ohio (-2) and Missouri (-1) are expected to lose seats along with Red State Louisiana (-1).

The net results: Red States +9, Blue States -7 and Swing States -2.

The impact these gains and losses will have on the House in 2012 is more problematic.  Each state is responsible for dividing their geographic area into districts of nearly exact population.  The ensuing re-districting battles — especially in states losing one or more seats — will largely hinge on which party controls the state legislature.  The vast majority of states are holding state legislative elections in November. With the GOP riding a nationwide wave of frustration, they are poised to capture many legislatures from the Democrats. When the GOP lacks a majority, Republican governors can often use the threat of veto to leverage a more beneficial map.  But, much will depend on local political conditions.

As the number of Electoral Votes per state is the sum of its House seats plus two (for their Senators), this reapportionment makes it a little easier for the GOP presidential candidate to reach the 270-EV majority.  Assuming they run a candidate that can win in 2012.

© 2010 by kens*ten. All rights reserved.

Election 2010 in Pictures

A picture is worth a thousand words… and maybe 200,000 more rally attendees.  This year, it may mean a few million more votes as well.

Compare the crowd for the Glenn Beck-hosted “Restoring Honor” rally on The Mall in Washington DC with the union and liberal activist-hosted “One Nation” rally held last weekend.

Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" Rally

Where are all the Liberals?

These two pictures are a stark comparison of the “Enthusiasm Gap” between conservatives and liberals. Of course it is difficult to wake up early on a Saturday morning and go to a rally celebrating failure. It ain’t easy being liberal.

© 2010 by kens*ten. All rights reserved.

Written by kensten

10/05/2010 at 6:33 pm

What’s the Matter with Broward County?

This wouldn't be tolerated in Reno

Broward County, Florida residents are upset.  No, it’s not the high unemployment, the poor schools or Charlie Crist‘s flip-flopping.

No, they aren’t getting the service they feel they deserve from fast food joints.  Forget dealing with the manager or complaining to the regional office.  They’re going right to the top. 

They’re calling the Broward County 9-1-1 emergency service to complain.

NBCMiami.com reports that “911 Callers are a Joke in Broward County”:

“I ordered chicken nuggets and they don’t have chicken nuggets,” one woman called 911 to report.

“Screaming in my ear, ‘I wanted the sausage, and he gave me the burrito!'” emergency dispatcher April McGill recalls from one call. “She’s trying to force me to eat something off the menu that I don’t want!”

People have asked for police escorts to concerts, rides to the liquor store and instructions on how to make meatballs. One woman even called to ask what day it was.

Now, I know you’re saying to yourself: This is a political blog. So, what does this have to do with politics?

In the 2000 Bush-Gore presidential race, Broward County was the epicenter of the “hanging chad” and “butterfly ballot” controversies.

Make sense now?

© 2010 by kens*ten. All rights reserved.

Written by kensten

10/05/2010 at 6:08 pm

Cut Your Carbon Footprint by 10%… Or Else

They’ll tell you it’s just a joke, but, can we really be sure?

Watch the following video put out by 1010global.org, a British environmental group and decide for yourself.

1010global.org  / No Pressure

Made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, huh?

But, hey… no pressure… really.

© 2010 by kens*ten. All rights reserved.

Written by kensten

10/04/2010 at 11:48 pm