Friday, October 10, 2008


McCain Surrenders

"I have to tell you. Sen. Obama is a decent person and a person you don't have to be scared of as president of the United States," McCain said as the crowd booed and shouted "Come on, John!"



The evidence is mounting that Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is part of America’s extreme, racist, anti-Semitic and anti-government political movement.

As reported in today's by Max Blumenthal and David Neiwert, Palin’s political career has been mentored and financially supported by a collection of secessionists, militia leaders, One World paranoids, Christian theocrats and anti-Semites, including, but not limited to, Mark Chryson and “Old Joe” Vogler of the Alaskan Independence Party.

She may not be able to name the newspapers she reads, but there is photographic evidence that she reads the magazine of the John Birch Society.

And, as we noted last week, Palin appears to be surprizingly quite familiar with former Bush lawyer John Yoo’s constitutional law rationale for an imperial presidency whose power is unlimited by the courts or Congress.

Our first view of Palin was that, in regard to substance, she was far less than she appeared.

Now I think that she may be far more.



This is a poignant excerpt from Esquire Magazine's very powerful endorsement of Obama, and following it is an equally thoughtful quote, also from the endorsement. Mark

"More than any other recent election, we are voting this year not merely for a president but to overthrow two governments. The one we can see is the one in which constitutional order has been defaced, the national spirit degraded, and the country unrecognizable because so much of the best of itself has been sold off or frittered away. The other one is the far more insidious one, a doppelgänger nation of black prisons, shredded memos, and secret justifications for even more secret crimes. Moreover, the current administration has worked hard not only to immunize itself from the political and legal consequences of the government we can see, but it has also worked within the one we cannot see in order to perpetuate itself."


"Bushism must be ripped out, root and branch, everywhere it has been established, or else the presidential election of 2008 is a worthless exercise in futility."



Andrew Rawnsley, Editor in Chief, PoliticsHome

There's a hardening and overwhelming consensus among political experts and insiders on both sides of the Atlantic that Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States.

Amidst mixed results from conventional polls and inconclusive debates between the two men, our unique panels which track expert opinion in both America and Britain are now powerfully forecasting that the Democrat will take the White House.

The US Online 100 panel is calling the contest for Barack Obama by a whopping majority. Eighty eight per cent of the American panellists now forecast he will win against just two per cent saying John McCain will be the victor.

The British PHI100 panel is calling the race for the Senator from Illinois by a very similar margin to the American panellists. Eighty nine per cent of the PHI100 now forecast an Obama victory against just ten per cent predicting that his opponent will win.

These panels, composed of people with their fingers pressed to the pulse of power, are uniquely well-qualified to track political sentiment.

Political experts on both panels swing towards Obama

The PHI100 is Britain's most authoritative survey of expert and inside political opinion. Its members include politicians from all the main parties, among them senior Ministers in the Government, including members of the Cabinet, along with leading figures from the Opposition parties.

The panel also comprises senior editors and commentators in the media, key party strategists and the heads of campaign organisations and think tanks.

The US Online panel is composed of one hundred of the most influential and informed online political voices in America. Members of the US100 include Arianna Huffington, Karl Rove, Joe Klein, Andrew Sullivan and Joe Trippi.

On both panels, there has been a massive swing to calling the presidential battle for Obama.

The US panel had the contest on a knife-edge when surveyed a month ago. Panellists then split 49 forecasting an Obama win to 48 tipping McCain. That has now dramatically switched with a massive 88 to 2 forecast of an Obama victory.

Online100 Election Prediction Tracker: Sep-Oct 2008
At this point, who do you think is more likely to win the Presidential Election?

The British PHI100 has tended to be more confident about an Obama win for longer. That panel had the race at 76 to 20 in the Democrat's favour when surveyed in July. That has now swung even more heavily his way with the PHI100 calling it for Obama by 89 to 10.

PHI100 US Election Tracker
At this point, which party do you think is most likely to win the US Presidency in November?

On both sides of the Atlantic, left-leaning panellists have become much more confident about predicting an Obama victory in the November election. So have non-aligned panellists. Not a single American panellist who is left-leaning or non-aligned now forecasts victory for McCain.

Even more striking is the collapse of confidence in John McCain among right-leaning panellists on both sides of the Atlantic. That is the largest thing accounting for the crushing majority of panellists now predicting a victory for his rival.

Just a month ago, the vast majority of right-leaning panellists on the Online100 were forecasting victory for the Senator from Arizona. Eighty two per cent of them expected the Republican to win.

Confidence in John McCain has since evaporated like a snowball in the Grand Canyon. Now just five per cent of the right-leaning American panellists believe that the Republican is heading for the White House.

British unimpressed by McCain

Many UK panellists were scornful of McCain, with one Lib Dem parliamentarian calling him ‘totally uninspiring’.

A right-leaning panellist said that he ‘looks as though he is on his own and becoming everyone's angry old uncle’, while another said ‘the only hope for McCain is scorched earth and hoping that the independent groups can hit Obama.’

Some noted the importance of the economy to the race, with one saying that ‘the economic mess helps Obama.’

Another pointed out that Sarah Palin ‘appears to be irrelevant to the needs of the USA in a time of acute economic difficulty.’

A media panellist said that ‘there is now a real possibility that the Republicans could lose very badly’, although another disagreed, predicting that ‘it will be close’.

US consensus: trends favour Obama

On the US panel, there was a general mood that everything was pointing towards an Obama victory, with a right-leaning state blogger saying that ‘trends are all going his way.’ A left-leaning panellist from a national blog agreed, saying that ‘Obama gets more plausible, while McCain is making people nervous.’

Another left-leaning panellist confidently declared: ‘It's over. The question is whether we're on the cusp of Reagan's 10-point victory of 1980 or Clinton's more narrow 5-point victory of 1992.’

A non-aligned state blogger, however, was more cautious, saying: ‘It's too close to call at this point. Neither has the edge.’


Friday Senate Line: 60 in Sight?

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

What was once only a pipe dream is starting to look like a real possibility.

We speak not of Britney Spears' musical comeback but rather the prospect of Democrats controlling 60 seats -- a filibuster-proof majority -- following the November election.

In a huddle with reporters earlier this week in Washington, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) acknowledged that his party's chances of reaching the 60-seat plateau were "better than they were two weeks ago" -- the result of an across-the-board collapse in Republican numbers due to the economic crisis and handling of the bailout bill by Congress. (Yes, we know Democrats control the House and Senate. But, the American public overwhelmingly blamed President Bush and House Republicans for the initial failure of the "rescue" legislation.)

And, respected non-partisan observers are also beginning to openly speculate about the possibility. In a must-read column earlier this week, Stu Rothenberg wrote: "Where I once wrote in this space that Democrats had a chance of reaching 60 seats in 2010, I now can't rule out 60 seats for this November."

Our take? Sixty seats for Democrats remains something less than a 50-50 proposition but a relatively plausible path to a filibuster-proof majority does exist.

Four Republican-held seats -- Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado and New Hampshire -- are either done deals for Democrats or getting there. In at least four others -- North Carolina, Oregon, Minnesota and Alaska -- the Republican incumbent is either tied or trailing their Democratic challenger.

That's eight seats where Democrats have any even money or better shot at takeovers on Nov. 4. And, assuming they can reelect Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) they must pick off one of three seats to get to 60: Kentucky, Georgia or Mississippi. (Scroll down to see which of that trio we believe presents Democrats with their best chance.)

Could Democrats run the table? Yes. The decided tilt of the national environment toward their party has grown even more pronounced in recent weeks. But, Kentucky, Georgia and Mississippi are less than friendly territory for Democrats at the federal level and the GOP incumbents in each state are doing everything they can to avoid being washed away in the wave.

Stay tuned.

As always, the number one ranked race on the Line is the most likely to switch parties in the fall. Agree or disagree with our picks? The comments section (eagerly) awaits.

To the Line!

10. Louisiana (D): Democrats are increasingly publicly confident about Landrieu's chances at reelection but the DSCC's decision to begin spending money on television against state Treasurer John Kennedy (R) belies that they still retain some nervousness about her chances. Republicans are taking an interesting strategic tact in this race -- painting the Landrieu race as voters' chance to continue the cleanup of Louisiana politics that began with the election of Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) last year. In a neutral political year, Landrieu would be in deep trouble. But this is not a normal political year. (Previous ranking: 9)

9. Kentucky (R): This election cycle has taught us to never say never in politics. We never thought Sen. Mitch McConnell, one of the savviest political minds in American politics, would be in a real race against Bruce Lunsford (D), whose sole distinction in politics before this race was two unsuccessful gubernatorial bids over the past five years. And yet, public polling of late has shown McConnell and Lunsford in a dead heat and the DSCC is now on TV bashing McConnell on the bailout. Will the underfunded National Republican Senatorial Committee respond in kind? And, if not, can McConnell withstand the ad onslaught? (Previous ranking: N/A)

8. Alaska (R): It's virtually impossible to handicap this race. Almost everything hangs on the outcome of the federal trial of Sen. Ted Stevens (R) currently in progress in Washington. The prosecution rested on Thursday, and Stevens's defense is now underway. If Stevens is convicted on any of the corruption charges against him, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) is the next Senator from the Last Frontier. If Stevens is acquitted, he could well win reelection. Fascinating stuff. (Previous ranking: 5)

7. Minnesota (R): The last 14 days have not been kind to Sen. Norm Coleman. Just when it looked like he was building a small but significant edge over comedian Al Franken (D), the economic crisis hit -- bringing the race back to dead even. And now Coleman is caught up in allegations over whether or not he accepted suits from a contributor -- a controversy that caused, perhaps, the most awkward press conference in the history of politics earlier this week. Independent candidate Dean Barkley remains the x-factor in the contest; he is gaining support by the day but who does his rise hurt more? (Previous ranking: 7)

6. Oregon (R): Democratic strategists told us almost 18 months ago that Sen. Gordon Smith was going to lose. And, even after a series of high-profile recruiting failures left them with the less-than-impressive state Rep. Jeff Merkley (D) as their candidate, these same strategists stuck by their prediction on Smith. And, if recent polling is to be believed, they were right. Smith seems stuck in the low to mid 40s, not a great place for an incumbent to be a month before the election -- especially one who sits in a decidedly Democratic-leaning state. (Previous ranking: 6)

5. North Carolina (R): Sen. Elizabeth Dole is nearing the point of no return in her reelection bid against state Sen. Kay Hagan (D). A series of recent polls show Hagan ahead and party strategists say that internal polling confirms the public results. What happened? The DSCC effectively cast Dole as someone with tenuous (at best) ties to the Tarheel State and who stood too close to President George W. Bush over the last six years. And now, with 26 days before the election, Dole is on television with a 60-second ad trying to reassert her ties to the state. Not good. (Previous ranking: 8)

4. New Hampshire (R): In the three polls conducted in the race between Sen. John Sununu and former Governor Jeanne Shaheen (D) this month, the Democrat has leads of nine, eight and five points. More troublesome for Sununu is that he has trailed in this contest since it began nearly two years ago. Incumbents who spend that long behind almost never win. (Previous ranking: 4)

3. Colorado (R): Almost no one on either side of the political aisle believes that former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R) is going to beat Rep. Mark Udall (D). And yet, despite the well-documented struggles of Schaffer, Udall has yet to put the race out of reach. Why not? That question haunts paranoid Democratic strategists. (Previous ranking: 3)

2. New Mexico (R): The only question left to ponder in this open-seat contest is whether Rep. Heather Wilson (R) could have kept it closer against Rep. Tom Udall (D) than has Rep. Steve Pearce (R). Probably but it's hard to imagine either Republican winning in this climate. (Previous ranking: 2)

1. Virginia (R): O-V-E-R. (Previous ranking: 1)

By Chris Cillizza | October 10, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Category: Senate , The Line
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