No House member may accept any gift of any value from lobbyists, or any firm or association that hires lobbyists.
No free travel, which means an end to the corporate jet line every Friday at Reagan National Airport.
No free tickets to Redskins games; or no meals of any value, even at a McDonalds; no front-row seats at entertainment venues. No, no and no.
To reduce temptations to cheat, Pelosi's bill attacks the usefulness of members to richly endowed lobbyists.
House members will no longer be able to slip in special-interest projects on unrelated legislation. Such measures will no longer be allowed on a bill once negotiations between the Senate and House are complete.
Further, all bills will be made available to the public a full 24 hours before a final vote; presumably this gives watchdog groups a chance to flag any skullduggery.
Under the Pelosi rules, lobbyists will no longer be able to use the House gym (you'd be surprised how much gets negotiated in a sauna). Lobbyists will no longer be allowed onto the House floor or to use the cloakrooms just off the floor, preventing last-minute arm-twisting.
What's more, no member or staffer will be able to negotiate for employment in the public sector without disclosing such contacts to the House Ethics Committee, and within three days of such contact being made.
Finally, all of this will be audited and investigated by a new Office of Public Integrity, and that office reports, directly and only, to the U.S. Attorneys Office.
That all sound quite right and proper -- a good start. Let's see if Speaker Pelosi can get it passed and get enforcement of it with some teeth.
First Ed Koch, now here's another joke -- this one's making the rounds:
Five surgeons from big cities are discussing who are the best patients to operate on.
The first surgeon, from New York, says, "I like to see accountants on my operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered."
The second, from Chicago , responds, "Yeah, but you should try electricians! Everything inside them is color coded."
The third surgeon, from Dallas , says, "No, I really think librarians are the best, everything inside them is in alphabetical order."
The fourth surgeon, from Los Angeles chimes in: "You know, I like construction workers...those guys always understand when you have a few parts left over."
But the fifth surgeon, from Washington, DC shut them all up when he observed: "You're all wrong. Politicians are the easiest to operate on. There's no guts, no heart, no balls, no brains and no spine, and the head and the ass are interchangeable."
Let's hope we win anyway -- we can try doing some transplants later on.
This afternoon I heard a radio ad made by New York City's resident political clown, our ex-Mayor Ed "How'm I Doin'?" Koch, supporting the candidacy of Congressman Peter King on Long Island. Koch, who is (or was, at one time) a liberal Democrat (now he's a member of the "Look At Me" Party) endorsed the conservative Republican Party hack in return for two free 47th row tickets to an Islanders game, a low-sodium box lunch and three day's supply of red-dyed pistachio nuts.
Analysis: It's the beginning of the long election weekend, and trends previously in effect continue unabated.
In the race for the Senate, the Democratic and Republican long-term trendlines kissed (or almost kissed -- a closer look shows that they're just very, very close), perhaps prepatory to crossing, while the trendlines for the means actually did cross. The averages themselves remain slightly apart, separated by only 0.2 percentage points.
The House had the only iota of good news for the Republicans, a small rise in their numbers, which didn't quite make up for the slightly larger improvement in the Democrats' numbers.
The unfutz automated projections remain unchanged from yesterday.
The responsible media, or at least those in the media who like to think of themselves as responsible, can't control talk radio and Drudge and Fox, but they can stop taking their cues from them and they can stop legitimizing them by running around going on their shows or having them on as guests. They can, if they want to, close off the puke funnel. They can, if they want to, take responsibility for what they choose to report on instead pretending they're just passive conduits for all this crap.
And that's giving them the benefit of the doubt, which, for me anyway, is pretty damned strained at this point, after years of their irresponsible behavior.
If they are what they say they intend to be, non-partisan, unbiased and neutral, then they have got to begin to behave in that manner, instead of doing petty stuff like this.
A commenter on another thread (elsewhere) writes about
the continual drumbeat by the MSM of Right Wing propaganda. It is subtle...the way a headline is written, the slant of a story, the omission of tremendously important stories that would make the administration look bad. And the drumbeat is not recent.....it has droned on for years;
These aren't the fringe thoughts of a fanatic, they're the commonplace observations of everyone who isn't a wingnut or Republican shill who's observed the change in the mainstream media in the past couple of decades.
The steps Atrios talks about aren't structurally, fiscally, technically or journalistically untenable, they're very doable and should be desireable -- it just takes the will to change, which the media, as a whole, has shown not an inkling of.
252) [S]cience writing, like every other endeavor, comes in many forms. There is good science and good writing (Stephen Jay Gould), good science and bad writing (Stephen Hawking), bad science and good writing (Oliver Sacks) and, finally, bad science and bad writing. Though Dr. Cytowic's book does have its moments, I fear he has provided us with a sample of the last category.
Michael S. Gazzaniga "All Mixed Up" New York Times Book Review (10/24/1993) [review of Richard E. Cytowic's The Man Who Tasted Shapes]
253) The idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone, All centuries but this, and every country but his own... He never will be missed, he never will be missed.
W. S. Gilbert The Mikado (operetta, 1885) [B15]
254) Especially fashionable [in "legal punctuation"] now is the SM, as in "Forget Anything? SM" - observed not long ago on a triangular piece of folded cardboard beside the bathroom sink in a room at a Holiday Inn: a mark that modifies the phrase it follows to mean, "This is not merely a polite question regarding whether you have successfully packed everything you require during your stay, this utterance is part of our current chain-wide marketing campaign, and we are so serious about asking it of you that we hereby offer fair warning that if you or anyone else attempts to extend such a courtesy to another guest anywhere in the hotel industry in printed or published form, either in flyers, placards, signs, pins of pieces of folded cardboard positioned at or beside a sink, vanity, or other bathroom fixture, we, the owner of this service mark, will torment and tease you will legal remedies."
Nicholson Baker "Survival of the Fittest" New York Review of Books (11/4/1993) [review of M. B. Parkes' Pause and Effects: An Introduction to the History of Punctuation in the West]
255) Forty-five years old. If I was in politics they'd call me the kid.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show (TV series) Episode 1.24: “The 45-Year-Old Man” (6/6/1971) written by George Kirgo, spoken by the character "Lou Grant", played by Ed Asner
Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began). As of today, there are 809 days remaining in the administration of the worst President ever.
Analysis: Trends prevalent over the past 5 days to a week continued today, to the general benefit of the Democrats. In the Senate, the gap between Republicans and Democrats continued to close, while in the House the gap continued to widen.
Of note, all three averages (mean, median and mode) were for the first time in agreement in the House, showing the Democrats with 224 seats, the Republicans with 203 and 8 seats unassigned. If the unassigned seats are distributed in the same ratio as the assigned seats (i.e. 224:203), you get the unfutz automated projection, which today has the Democrats up 1 seat in the House.
Analysis: Things are still moving in the Democrats' direction on both fronts, with the race is the House widening their lead, while the gap they have to close in the Senate continues to close.
In the House, the Dem numbers continued to climb, to 223, while the Republican numbers fell, to 204, widening the gap between them. The Democratic trendline also just about reached 223. With only 8 undecided seats left between them, a Republican majority seems out of reach barring something to cause the Dems to lose ground. A Democratic takeover of the House is now projected by all but 6 sites, and they all have numerous toss-ups to reassign. How those toss-ups break will determine the size of the Democratic victory in the House.
On the Senate side, The Republicans continue to lead, but their numbers also continue to fall while the Democrats' rise, narrowing the gap between them (which is now about a half-seat or less), with both sides heading for 49 (the Republican from above and the Democrats from below). With less than a week left to go, the question will be is there enough time for this process to play out so that the survey can pick a winner in the Senate, or will it go to the voters with at least one state, or maybe two, unassigned? Missiouri has now started being assigned to the Dems by some sites, the way Virginia started to be yesterday. If Tennessee begins to be more generally assigned blue as well, prospects for the Democrats taking over the Senate will look up considerably.
Today's unfutz automated projections are the same as yesterday's:
NJ will break our way (Menendez is surging in any case), RI, PA, OH are ours, MT also (probably). Webb's moved up in VA, and the changing demographics there will be helpful to us. TN just isn't going to happen, I don't think, which means if we're going to get to 51-49, Missouri is the key.
Missouri's the state to watch on election night. Except that:
If Menendez loses NJ, there's no way we win the Senate, and the whole "wave election" meme is in great danger of being snown to be bunk.
If Ford wins Tennessee, we've going to win the Senate.
No models or data or evidence to support these contentions, these are simply my gut feelings -- they're what will be driving my stomach acid on Election Day night.
Update (11/2): So, Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia -- that's the final battleground, so let me use this opportunity to play around with a new toy from Pollster.com: the ability to embed their polling charts. Let's look at these three states, if we can --
And also take a look at why I'm not worried about Maryland or New Jersey:
Another letter from my friend Roger Keeling, who has some thoughts about Lamont, Lieberman, and why Democrats lose elections. (Roger's assuming the Lamont is going to lose, and that seems a reasonable assumption to me, since he's 9 points down in an average of the last 5 polls -- I don't know how he makes that up, no matter how good his ground game is. It's hard to find anyone seriously following the election who's projecting Lamont to win.)
Damned shame about Ned Lamont. I actually gave him a small donation. [Me too -- Ed] THAT was probably the kiss of death for him: my support almost always guarantees a losing campaign. But I still do not understand what is wrong with Democrats when it comes to campaign basics. He fought like hell to win the primary, then gave a terrible acceptance speech -- something that could probably be overcome -- but THEN went to Disneyland for a couple of weeks, while Lieberman threw himself into campaigning (AND running ads like crazy to define the rest of the campaign). Worse, Lamont then LISTENED to the criticisms of Lieberman and tried to "broaden" his image from the Iraq War to things like education.
I mean, criminy, where does this stupidity come from? You NEVER go silent in a campaign. You've got to keep at least some presence out there at all times. If you can't afford ads, then you've got to have boots on the ground. And you don't get to do vacations. And absolutely no vacations to Maine when you're running for office in Connecticut (Remember John Kerry's vacation after the nomination? That most assuredly cost him votes and momentum. These people need to figure out that if they need a day off, they should do it quietly somewhere, telling no one and doing it wherever the campaign happens to have dumped them at that moment). And getting off message? Where did that come from? Lamont could have "broadened" himself without just dropping the war issue.
But that's one of the oldest, hoariest stories around: "He's inexperienced," they say, so the guy goes overboard producing white papers on every conceivable topic under the sun. No, no, no! You pick 2 or 3 issues that resonate deeply with your voters -- not what they claim is important, per se, although it might be, but mostly what sets people off on rants. In the case of an opponent like Holy Joe, you look at his "strengths," like his ability to bring pork to Connecticut, and then you pull a Rovian reversal on it. Lieberman, I thought, was always vulnerable not just on the war -- but, of course, especially on the war -- but also on his being a sock puppet for the banking and insurance industries. Here's the guy always claiming to be so damned moral, and in fact he's a shill for some of the most immoral sociopaths around.
So Lamont should have bashed on the war endlessly, without a break. And he should have "broadened" his positions by bashing on Lieberman's obscene relationships with corrupt lobbyists and industries. And then thrown in a few sound bites, with specifics as needed, about the other 50 issues one could always name. Simple. Watch old Rove: this is exactly how he does it (only, he's completely immoral about it ... but, still, it's basically the same thing).
And then we wonder why we lose elections.
Of course, there's the money issue. Although I've read that the Democrats have been pulling in terrific amounts of contributions, have been running even or even ahead of the GOP on fundraising, etc., when I read about specific campaigns, it's always the same story: again and again and again and again and again, the GOP has been dumping more cash into specific campaigns than the Democrats. And not a little more: usually twice as much. NYTimes this morning told about how, quietly, there's a huge battle going on for control of state legislatures. The Democrats control fewer of them, although have 3 more seats total (out of some 7,000 or so) than the GOP. But, all that could change on Tuesday, which is an important thing since state legislatures control districting. (And, I might add, it's governorships and the like that generate new generations of political leaders for the national ticket).
So in the middle of that story, what do I see but that the national Democratic Party has poured something like $7 million into these campaigns, up substantially from a few years ago. And the GOP: $20 million. Just an example, one more, of what I'm talking about. (And then you read about all these Democratic reps and Senators in safe seats sitting on multi-million dollar warchests. I absolutely agree with Kos and MyDD and the rest: those people ought to be coughing up a third or even a half of that for wide distribution to other campaigns. Kerry, for example. And Hillary. Yeah, they want to run for president. So ... raise money when THAT comes up, but in the meantime help the damned Party save the country.)
One thing I might disagree with Roger about: I don't think Lieberman's closeness with the banking and insurance industries is much of a liability in Connecticut, which has a heavy insurance presence in Hartford, and accounts for a lot of jobs in the state. It's the same with Biden in Delaware -- the electorate just is not going to hold against those associations against them, and, in fact, probably vote for them because of the connections and the pork they bring in.
BTW Aren't Lieberman's supporters embarrassed to vote for a man who called his party "Connecticut for Lieberman" instead of "Lieberman for Connecticut"? Aren't our elected officials supposed to serve us, and not the other way around?
Analysis: Things looked up for the Democrats in the race for the Senate, judging by today's numbers. Republicans lost ground at the same time the Democrats gained it, narrowing the gap between them. The change was more subtle in the trendlines, but it shows there too in a flattened Republican line and less of a gap between it and the Democratic line. Also, for the first time, the Democratic Senatorial mode was higher than the Republican.
These gains don't necessarily translate into a Democratic win in the Senate, since Missouri and one other state are still to be accounted for, but it does seem to make an evenly divided Senate more of a possibility.
In the House, both sides had some losses, but more so for the Republicans, who lost in both mean and median. (It's worth noting that the Republican mean and median are tracking tightly together, suggesting that the projectors are in accord about what's going to happen to the Republicans -- it's the size of the Democratic gain about which there's disagreement.) The Democratic trendline pulled back from 222, which it hit yesterday.
It struck me, reading this blog entry -- and, you know, there've been dozens in the past days -- that we ought to be very happy about the Fox ads, and doing whatever possible to duplicate them everywhere. Look at the poll results that Digby cites. That's amazing! This actually has all of the stuff necessary to be a HUGE "wedge" issue working in favor of Democrats and progressives. Why every single Democrat running in the country hasn't begged Fox to cut an ad for him or her is beyond me.
And that, by the way, is certainly the reason the rightwingers have been going nuts over the ads. Apparently, they recognized how powerful these ads are from the very beginning ... and it terrifies them. So they're doing as they always do, trying to gang up and somehow discredit the ads and the messenger in them. My theory is that whenever the rightwingers go whacko over something we're doing, we should do a LOT more of it unless there's some compelling real-world reason why it might be dishonest or otherwise counter-productive. Since Fox's ads are utterly honest and decent, and absolutely true, they clearly deserve wider distribution.
I didn't understand why every Democrat didn't immediately use the Foleygate scandal to greater advantage in their local races, because it made a great example of Republican perfidy, but it apparently didn't happen, perhaps because they were afraid to be too "negative". (And let me insert here that it's not really very negative to point out the real faults and foibles of your opponent and his party, what's objectionably negative is to gin up false examples through lies, exaggeration and misrepresentation, which is what the Republicans have been up for quite a few election cycles now.) But the Fox ads, as opposed to exploiting Foleygate, are an unalloyed positive, so I share your feelings about them.
Fox, however, is an independent agent, and I believe he chooses where to apply his influence based on politician's actual support for stem-cell research, as opposed to generalized partisan considerations. (Didn't he do an ad for Spector?) Even so, I'm sure he's a smart guy who realizes that in the current political climate, only a Democratic legislature is going to get the ban overturned.
Analysis: After a slow weekend, today had a lot of movement, both in sites updating their projections and within the numbers themselves.
In the Senate, the Republican numbers corrected downward a little, although the Republican trendline continued to have a bit of an upwards slope (see the note below), while the Democrats regained a little of the ground they had lost in the last week. The Democratic trendline, which had been flattening out, again has an upward tilt to it. None of this movement is sufficient to change the previous evaluation that the collective wisdom of the projections is that the Republicans will retain the Senate -- but the gap did close a smidge.
In the House, however, everything went the Democrats' way. Their number were up significantly, the Republican numbers were down, and the Dem trendline hit 222.
Note: On the Senate and House Projections graphs for the past three days, I inadvertantly had the data range for the Republican series wrong, which prevented some data points from showing up. This truncated and altered the associated trendlines. The graphs have been replaced with corrected ones.
This excerpt from a post called "What A Dem Landslide Could Mean" by Paul Rosenberg brings together several threads that I've been playing with recently. I've marked some passages for emphasis:
It is natural to assume that economic liberalism will bind together a new majority more certainly than any social policy, for the simple reason that even a majority of conservative voters favor the welfare state. Views on a wide range of social issues are more fragmented and diffuse. Economic liberalism has been opposed by elites of both parties over the past thirty-odd years—but not by all of them, as seen, for example, in the mobilization of wealthy opponents of abolishing the estate tax.
The driving, defining force in the historical processes that [Kevin] Phillips describes is fundamentally economic — a restoration of broad equality in sharing the rewards of work. The notion that this is somehow culturally conservative derives from conservative caricatures of the welfare state, defining it in terms of its help for the most downtrodden and dysfunctional. But the vast majority of welfare state spending and benefit (including tax policies, investments in education, health, technology and infrastructure, etc.) has gone to the middle class to make them middle class. This should be our model in shaping new policies for the century ahead. Policies that broadly benefit everyone create conditions in which social and cultural tolerance flourishes.
The realignment [election]s of 1896 and 1932 hold important lessons for us. In the 1880s and 90s, the power of plutocracy was consolidated because the broad mass of people were divided. The rural populists, Jewish and Catholic immigrants and native Protestant working class were all structurally exploited by the Guilded Age plutocracy, but were deeply divided culturally—which is what allowed the realignment of the congressional elections of 1892 and 1894, leading up to the presidential election of 1896. This was not a stable arrangement, however, as seen in the progressive revolt, and the relative strength of the failed Democratic realignment, which nonetheless had a strong ideological component. In contrast, the realignment of 1930-1932 bought together the Catholic and Protestant working class, united the Northern urban working class with the South, and produced a much stronger coalition of forces, as seen in the much weaker failed Republican realignment.
Thus, what’s needed for a new realignment is the bringing together of previously splintered groups with common economic interests (the lesson of 1932), but it’s also helpful to splinter the other side (the lesson of 1896). It’s safe to say that 2006 is primarily a referendum on the Republicans, and is playing out as a substantial splintering of their side. This is the prime significance of the Foley scandal. While it is relatively minor in real-world significance, it is a major disruption of the GOPs conservative discourse, threatening to utterly undo the alliance of convenience between social conservatives and economic conservatives. A successful realignment—not just for the next election cycle or two, but for generations—requires that the 2008 election is about bringing together previously splintered groups. This is what the GOP failed to do following its 1994 success. The failure was hardly surprising, given the nutcase leadership of Newt Gingrich, But we need to work hard not to repeat his mistake.
There will be at least three different versions of how to bring groups together that we are likely to see. One from the Beltway and two from the netroots.
The Beltway’s favored solution is — as always — to “move to the center,” which means that Democrats again must move right. This will be supported by narratives about non-partisanship, blaming “extremism on both sides,” etc. It means further abandoning economic populism, which enjoys the overwhelming support of the American people. It’s the DLC all over again. The most plausible salesman of this approach is Barack Obama, who far too many people still mistake for a progressive. Well, some of his rhetoric surely is progressive. But that’s rhetoric, not reality.
The netroots have two counter-visions. Markos — a former Republican — is the most visible supporter of a libertarian realignment. This is especially meant to appeal to people like him — people who resonate to traditional pre-religious right GOP narratives. Paul Hackett was a classic articulator of this view. Chris Bowers — a pragmatic lefty — supports a government reform agenda. It’s not the New Deal, but it is New Deal 2.0. Government is and should be a much bigger player in this view, compared to the others, but transparency, responsiveness, and participatory democracy are central to this vision. It is very much about growing a deeply democratic culture, much as the union movement was in its pre-bureaucratic heyday.
The two netroots visions can either conflict with each other, or find common ground by concentrating on specific examples. The spirit that Markos is after — of autonomy and enterprise — has historically always required much more government support than people realize, from the building of canals and the Louisiana Purchase to the massive, prolonged government spending on science and technology that gave birth to Silicon Valley and the personal computing revolution. If we look toward specific challenges and how to meet them, we are far more likely to find ways that the two netroot visions can integrate into a coherent, but multifaceted whole.
An important aspect of doing this is looking for specific policy packages that address regional and sub-regional needs. Policies for the West, for example, will involve ways of bringing together environmentalists, ranchers, hunters and others to develop ways of preserving what’s best and most distinctive about the land and its people, while developing new industries, technologies and cultural practices that give people a future as well as a past.
The New Deal had important regional aspects to it that are undeservedly forgotten. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), for example, brought electrical power and economic development to a previous backwater. Regionally-specific policies, generated primarily by the people of those regions, should have an even bigger role to play this time around, both for pragmatic and for political reasons. They are the key to turning different regions blue, and the key to integrating the two netroots visions to provide a unified alternative to the Beltway/DLC vision.
It’s also a hint at where to concentrate our efforts in the waning days of the election: on those races where we see and feel a particular opportunity and capacity for articulating a regional vision that serves to bring a national vision down to human scale.
I'm not certain that I'm totally in sync with the emphasis on regional issues being quite as important, that's something I'm going to have to think about, but I do think that the weaving together of some apparently disparate threads into a new cloth is important. I see progressive populism as the key to winning elections, but whatever the overall program is, it has to include Kos' "democratic libertarianism" (which I still believe is a misnomer, since his version of what "liberalism" is seems heavily influenced by right-wing propaganda -- in short, it's a straw man, not a reflection of what real liberals think and do) and the re-democratization of both government and politics represented by Bowers (and by Kos as well, with his emphasis on "people power").
Populism, though, progressive, socially liberal, enlightened populism is the winner. If we have that and candidates capable of being appreciated for his or her purely superficial characteristics, then we'll win elections, betcha.
Because I came late this year to election watch blogging, I haven't really paid much attention to generic House polling -- which I don't usually do anyway, because I didn't know how to translate them into seats won. (The question may have been answered here and here.) Anyway last night, because I couldn't fall asleep, I decided to take a look at the generic polling. I got the data from Polling Report and threw together this graph, with the same polynomial trendlines I use on my other graphs:
Several things strike me:
The numbers were amazingly static for quite a long time, until late summer or early fall, and even now are not really all that different than they were almost 14 months ago. You could swap results from a September 2005 poll into a current one and no one would be immediately the wiser -- it wouldn't look out of place.
If I were in charge of getting Democrats elected at the DCCC, I would be just a wee bit worried that in what is supposedly going to be a "wave" election, the Democrats' numbers aren't really taking off all that much. Yes, they're going up, judging by the trendline, but pretty gently so. I'd think I'd want to see some hurrying up going on, but it doesn't seem to be there.
On the other hand, what's good is that all the gains coming from the Undecideds seem to be going to the Democrats, which foretells the possibility that they will be breaking our way this election. Combine that with the Republicans' numbers being amazing flat, and that looks like a good combination. (Of course, it would be even better if the Dems were drawing from both the Undecideds and the Republicans, causing the Republicans to go down, but that doesn't seem to be happening.)
That's about all I can come up with until I get a little sleep. I'll add anything that occurs to me in my fever dreams later on today.
Update (5pm): How nice to finally be able to edit posts after being locked out by Blogger problems for that last few hours. I've cleaned up some of the messiest of my morning writing.
Update: Incidentally, if you'd prefer real analysis from professionals who actually understand what they're talking about, instead of the simplistic amateur bullshit you get from me, check out any of these links:
Some people may say that I'm easily annoyed, and they probably have a point, but here's this moment's particular annoyance: a teaser headline on AOL that says "Killer Storm Whips Northeast".
Now, it's perfectly true that the storm that went through here over the weekend killed at least two people (one man fell off a cruise ship and another drowned when his kayak overturned), but I would think that if one looks hard enough, any storm will be found to be directly responsible for at least one human death, and by this very lax definition therefore would be a "killer storm."
But a description that can be technically applied to every Tom, Dick or Mary of a storm kind of loses its punch when it's overused in that way. Hurricane Katrina was legitimately a killer storm (although it had help in high places as well) -- this storm most definitely was not.
I know it's only tabloid journalism and headlinese working to sell a story, and I shouldn't get annoyed at it, but, tell me, aren't there things (or people) more appropriately labelled as "killer"? Doesn't being responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of people count for anything with our media?
BTW yet another recent AOL teaser, which I neglected to capture, asked if it was treason to watch the movie Death of a President. Not to advocate the death of a President, or do anything to bring the death of a President, simply to watch a movie about it.
Counter-factual fantasy as treason.
In this fashion, by the media framing the story in that manner, Anne Coulter wins even as we laugh at her absurdity and tawdriness.
Analysis: Not much activity today on the surveyed sites, and that resulted in pretty static numbers all around.
Notes: Another early report -- I'm hopeful that I'll be back to my usual time tomorrow. (Posting was delayed about a half-hour by Blogger problems.)
Today, I've added an "unfutz automated" entry to the survey. This line uses average numbers (means and median only), calculates the ratio of Democratic to Republic seats, and then applies this ratio to the unassigned seats, which are then added to the previous totals. (The means and median results are averaged and rounded.)
Also, I've adjusted the vertical scale on the House trends graph to show all the scatter data, some of which was hidden above and below the previous margins of the graph.
Update (10/30): The House Projections and Senate Projections graphs originally posted with this report were incorrect, due to a data range error which eliminated some Republican data, truncating and altering the Republican trendline. The incorrect chart has now been replaced.
SIEGEL: We are in the home stretch though and many would consider you on the optimistic end of realism about...
ROVE: Not that you would exhibit a bias, you just making a comment.
SIEGEL: I'm looking at all the same polls that you are looking at.
ROVE: No, you are not. I'm looking at 68 polls a week for candidates for the US House and US Senate, and Governor and you may be looking at 4-5 public polls a week that talk attitudes nationally.
SIEGEL: I don't want to have you to call races...
ROVE: I'm looking at all of these Robert and adding them up. I add up to a Republican Senate and Republican House. You may end up with a different math but you are entitled to your math and I'm entitled to THE math.
SIEGEL: I don't know if we're entitled to a different math but your...
ROVE: I said THE math.
YOU HEAR ME, LITTLE PEON -- I SAID I HAVE THE MATH. NOT YOUR LIBERAL MEDIA MATH OR THAT TREASONOUS DEMOCRATIC MATH -- NOT YOUR PUNY HUMAN MATH. I AM KARL ROVE, AND I HAVE THE MATH.
Rove's arrogance aside, there's no arguing with the fact that he has access to a lot more polling data than we do, no matter how obsessive we might be about tracking it down, and there's also no doubt that while the rest of the Bush administration has more than a little difficulty connecting with reality, Rove's operation has been exemplary at winning elections.
Without conceding Rove's claim that his access to data privileges him to define the one and only true model of reality ("THE math"), we can concede that he certainly believes he knows what's happening. And since the point of having that information is to do something about it, we can probably come to a reasonable approximation of Rove's understanding of how things are going for the Republicans by the actions they have taken recently.
So, when we see the Republicans pouring money into races that had previously been thought to be safe for them and when we see them pulling out of races which had been considered to be competetive, we can be pretty sure that they're not doing this just for the thrill of moving large sums of money around, they're doing it because their candidates are in trouble, or dead in the water. But most of all, since Rove is the spiritual heir of Lee Atwater, the more we see the Republicans engaging in negative campaigning, and in very very dirty negative campaigning for that matter (so dirty that even the media feels oblige to take notice), the more we can be sure that their candidates are doing poorly.
As always, you cannot trust what the Republicans say as an indication of what they really think, but you can do somewhat better judging by their actions.
I had someone close to me ask why I was getting so worked up about a midterm election -- after all, it wasn't as if we would be getting rid of Bush and Cheney! Glenn Greenwald has what I think is a clear answer:
A Democratic takeover of one or even both houses of Congress is unlikely to result in any new affirmative legislation or policies, since their control will be by only a small margin, dependent on conservative lawmakers in their majority, and subject to a presidential veto. With some exceptions (such as the power to control appropriations and cut off funding), the real power they will have will be to investigate and expose the conduct of the Bush administration and to reveal to Americans what has really been going on.
It is difficult to overstate how crucial that is for exposing what the Republican Party has become and undermining those who control it. The administration has been able to ward off even the most incriminating accusations and disclosures because they control the primary sources of information. They can deny anything, selectively release misleading exculpatory information, and operate in the darkest shadows and behind the highest walls of secrecy. As a result, disclosures about what they have done are always piecemeal and easily obscured. But full-fledged hearings will shine a bright light on what the administration has really been doing, and that will enable the public to get a full picture of the true state of affairs.
A Democratic takeover of the House would have dramatic implications for revealing what's been going on, making it public, making sure that the people understand the mischief, corruption and incompentence the Republicans have brought to the Federal government, and, therefore, to bring considerably pressure to bear against more bad stuff happening in the remaining years of the Bush/Cheney administration. It can't stop it, not when the other side controls the Presidency and the upper house of Congress (and the Supreme Court, when push comes to shove), but it can help to slow things down and to counter, to some extent, the bully pulpit of the Presidency.
It's too bad that it won't (apparently) be the Senate that we're taking back, because Senate committee hearings are, by their very nature, much more focused and pointed than House committee hearings (too many people to be heard on the House side), and control of the Senate would also do wonders for stopping the right-wing takeover of the Federal judiciary. But that's going to have to wait for 2008, it looks like. Unless Jim Webb and Harold Ford and Claire McCaskill are swept up in a huge Democratic tsunami (which isn't impossible), it seems as if we're going to just miss taking the Senate, while taking the House by a comfortable margin.
BTW, I don't take seriously at all the idea that Bush should be impeached -- not because he's not done stuff that worthy of impeachment, that goes without saying, but because it's politically impossible, even with the Democrats controlling the House. That's because quite a few of those Democrats are fairly conservative, and would vote against impeachment, and because the American people don't really want to go through another impeachment, especially one that can be cast as politically inspired. I know that polls can be read to say that 51% of the public thinks Bush should be impeached, but it's a pretty weak 51%, since only 28% say it should be a top priority, and, after all, it's only 51%! Reasonable people, rational people, don't start out on a drastic course like that with only a bare-bones majority behind them -- that's exactly what Bush and Cheney have done, to our great detriment.
Besides, it's easy to say "yes" to a pollster when you're pissed off at someone, like the people are pissed off at Bush. It's another thing entirely to revel in the idea of going through the same, slogging process we live through not too very long ago. If the impeachment of Clinton did anything, it insured that no President would be impeached for at least a generation, if not two.
Moderate Republicans Feeling Like Endangered Species
Well ... duh! This is news?
Is the Times just figuring out that the Republican party has been hijacked by right-wing nuts and movement conservatives, and that the increasingly tiny number of "moderate" Republicans remaining in the party have become a rump version of the old party -- except that the old party actually had a liberal wing as well. (It wasn't as liberal as the Democrats' liberal wing, but it was there and it was real and had influence.) What world has the Times been living in?
Well ... no. A whole 'nother dynamic is going on.
They've been oblivious to what's been blindingly obvious to any political observer with any sense, the takeover of the Republican party by incompetent and corrupt wingnuts and crazies, but now, when moderate Republicans are in danger of being beaten by moderate to liberal Democrats, they all of a sudden awaken to the dazzling thought "Oh my God! Moderate Republicans are endangered!"
Funny about that. When right-wing nut jobs were emasculating moderate Republicans by the boatload, no one noticed, but now that some (gasp!) Democrats might be involved, the Times sits up and takes notice.
Geez Louise! Our liberal media at work. When Republicans do it, that's "Dog bites man," nothing to see here, move along, but as soon as the Democrats are involved, it's "Man bites dog."
Update My other demiurge (aside from Billmon) Digby is, as always, worth reading.
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.