Posted from the Los Angeles Times
Saturday, September 27, 2008
A Fillibuster-proof Senate is Conceivable
The current projection for the Senate is 58 Democrats and 42 Republicans. Currently Democrats are poised to pick up Republican seats in Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, and Virginia. Could the Democrats actually win 60 seats in the Senate? A year ago that was unthinkable. With the current state of play, they need only two more. The candidate states are Minnesota, where Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) is in a close battle with Al Franken (D) and Mississippi-B*, where appointed senator Roger Wicker (R) is fighting former governor Ronnie Musgrove (D). While it is unlikely that the Democrats can get 60 seats, it is now at least conceivable, a huge change from a year ago. Before the 2006 election, the Democrats had 45 seats and were looking despondent. Now 60 is within their grasp. Much of the change has been due to a singularly effective DSCC chairman, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and a pair of singularly ineffective NRSC chairs, Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) last time and Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) this time.Posted today from Electoral-vote.com
by: Brian McGoughSpotted on vetvoice.com and sent to us for posting by Edward Kidder
Sat Sep 27, 2008 at 00:05:21 AM EDT
| In tonight's debate John McCain said "I know the veterans, I know them well, and I know that they know that I'll take care of them, and I have been proud of their support and their recognition of my service to the veterans, and I love them, and I'll take care of them, and they know that I'll take care of them." |
Truth be told, this is not the case. McCain has a lackluster voting record when it comes to veterans' issues, and America's veterans know it. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America have given McCain a grade of "D" when it comes to voting in their interest. The Disabled American Veterans have given McCain a 20 percent rating when it comes to voting in the interest of disabled veterans.
More after the fold. . . .
|Brian McGough :: McCain Overstretches his Support of Veterans and Troops|
|McCain has voted 29 times against veterans' medical benefits. In April 2006, McCain joined only 13 other senators in voting against an amendment that would increase funding for the VA to provide outpatient care and treatment. Earlier that year, McCain voted against increasing funding for military and veterans' hospitals. This was money that could have been used to fix the problems at Walter Reed before it became a national disgrace. |
McCain was a staunch opponent of the bipartisan Webb/Hagel GI Bill. This bill would have provided better educational opportunities to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. McCain called this bill "too generous" and tried to introduce his own watered down bill. McCain didn't even bother to show up to vote for the bill. After it passed the two staunchest opponents of the GI Bill, President Bush and John McCain, tried to take credit for its passage.
McCain has an equally bad record when it comes to supporting our active duty soldiers. McCain opposed the Webb/Hagel Dwell time amendment. This amendment would have ensured that for every day troops were deployed, they would spend one day at home. This time would have allowed troops to decompress from combat stress and to focus on maintaining the equipment necessary to fight a war. Our troops and equipment are now dangerously overstretched.
McCain opposed the Bayh amendment that would have provided $360 million for the procurement of up-armored humvees at a time when roadside bombs were killing American troops.
McCain voted to kill the Reed Amendment. This amendment would have begun to increase the size of the active army in 2003 and focused on stability operations.
McCain voted against the Dodd amendment that would provide an additional $320 million in protective gear for our troops in harms way.
McCain also voted against a Landrieu amendment that would have given our National Guard and Reserve troops the equipment they needed to survive on the battlefield.
There is a distinct pattern in these votes, and that pattern shows that John McCain is no friend to veterans on Capitol Hill. He may say all he wants that he is, but that doesn't change the fact that he votes time and time again against the needs of veterans and active duty soldiers.
If the election were held today, the current map - a net net reflection of the most recent polls - shows Obama picking up Virginia and widening his electoral college margin.
(Click on State or Table Below for Latest Polls and to Change Status)
This article appears in today's fivethirtyeight.com
Looks like McCain posted that victory ad way too soon!
TPM has the internals of the CNN poll of debate-watchers, which had Obama winning overall by a margin of 51-38. The poll suggests that Obama is opening up a gap on connectedness, while closing a gap on readiness.
Specifically, by a 62-32 margin, voters thought that Obama was “more in touch with the needs and problems of people like you”. This is a gap that has no doubt grown because of the financial crisis of recent days. But it also grew because Obama was actually speaking to middle class voters. Per the transcript, McCain never once mentioned the phrase “middle class” (Obama did so three times). And Obama’s eye contact was directly with the camera, i.e. the voters at home. McCain seemed to be speaking literally to the people in the room in Mississippi, but figuratively to the punditry. It is no surprise that a small majority of pundits seemed to have thought that McCain won, even when the polls indicated otherwise; the pundits were his target audience.
Something as simple as Obama mentioning that he’ll cut taxes for “95 percent of working families” is worth, I would guess, a point or so in the national polls. Obama had not been speaking enough about his middle class tax cut; there was some untapped potential there, and Obama may have gotten the message to sink in tonight
By contrast, I don’t think McCain’s pressing Obama on earmarks was time well spent for him. One, it simply is not something that voters care all that much about, given the other pressures the economy faces. But also, it is not something that voters particularly associate with Obama, as the McCain campaign had not really pressed this line of attack. If you’re going to introduce a new line of attack late in a campaign, it has better be a more effective one that earmarks. And then there was McCain's technocratic line about the virtues of lowering corporate taxes, one which might represent perfectly valid economic policy, but which was exactly the sort of patrician argument that lost George H.W. Bush the election in 1992.
Meanwhile, voters thought that Obama “seemed to be the stronger leader” by a 49-43 margin, reversing a traditional area of McCain strength. And voters thought that the candidates were equally likely to be able to handle the job of president if elected.
These internals are worse for McCain than the topline results, because they suggest not only that McCain missed one of his few remaining opportunities to close the gap with Barack Obama, but also that he has few places to go. The only category in which McCain rated significantly higher than Obama was on “spent more time attacking his opponent”. McCain won that one by 37 points.
My other annoyance with the punditry is that they seem to weight all segments of the debate equally. There were eight segments in this debate: bailout, economy, spending, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, terrorism. The pundit consensus seems to be that Obama won the segments on the bailout, the economy, and Iraq, drew the segment on Afghanistan, and lost the other four. So, McCain wins 4-3, right? Except that, voters don’t weight these issues anywhere near evenly. In Peter Hart’s recent poll for NBC, 43 percent of voters listed the economy or the financial crisis as their top priority, 12 percent Iraq, and 13 percent terrorism or other foreign policy issues. What happens if we give Obama two out of three economic voters (corresponding to the fact that he won two out of the three segments on the economy), and the Iraq voters, but give McCain all the “other foreign policy” voters?
Issue Priority Obama McCain
Economy 43 --> 29 14
Iraq 12 --> 12 0
Foreign Policy 13 --> 0 13
Total 41 27
By this measure, Obama “won” by 14 points, which almost exactly his margin in the CNN poll.
McCain’s essential problem is that his fundamental strength – his experience -- is specifically not viewed by voters as carrying over to the economy. And the economy is pretty much all that voters care about these days.