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a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Finding the needle, discarding the war – the second Feingold-Johnson debate

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 13th October 2010

While the Citizens United/Moveon.org exchange between Feingold and Johnson was the highlight of Monday’s debate for me (see Free speech for Me, Inc. but not for thee – the second Feingold-Johnson debate), the Afghanistan/national security part was extremely interesting as well. 

Let’s go to the transcript I’ve compiled; all time indications are for the online rebroadcast provided by the Wisconsin PostCrescent.com web site.

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About midway through the debate, journalist Pam Warnke posed the questions, “Can the US afford the current strategy abroad?  What specific kinds of policies do you support that will bring about the successful conclusion to our military presence and also keep Americans safe?” Feingold responded that at a cost of a hundred billion dollars a year, no, we couldn’t afford the current strategy and recommended setting a timetable for withdrawal.  Johnson by contrast, was very much against setting a timeline — and very much for bashing Feingold for allegedly “weakening” the U.S.:

Johnson (35:53): We do need to recognize that we are still under the threat of terrorism. Certainly what we’re trying to do Afghanistan is deny sanctuary for those terrorists.  That’s where they launched the attacks on 9/11. And certainly we need to be mindful of where else they may be hiding.  We need a very strong intelligence capability. And I’m not sure how Senator Feingold has tried to weaken our intelligence capability in his career (Feingold laughs).

Feingold parried the baseless attack easily — and notice how he did it:

Feingold (37:21): Well if I could respond to this notion that…
Moderator: Just a second Senator; Pam Warnke, you have a followup?
Warnke: With all of that being said, what does it mean to win Afghanistan?
Feingold: This has been the mistake of the last nine years.  It isn’t about invading one country after the other, it’s about destroying an organization that’s present in many countries in the world.  So it’s not about winning in Afghanistan, it’s about destroying Al Qaeda, wherever they might be.

And the notion that — Mr. Johnson, who I respect what he does in his business, but Ron, for five years I’ve been on the Intelligence Committee, and I’ve worked day and night to try to figure out exactly where this threat is.  People in the military, people in the intelligence community consider me to be the person that’s worked the hardest to understand the threat of Al Qaeda in places like Africa. So the notion that you dismiss that as ‘weakening’ America?  I’ll tell you something Ron, that’s just dead wrong and it’s unfair. …

What Johnson meant by ‘weakening intelligence’ was highly likely to be Feingold’s efforts to prevent gutting FISA’s due process and civil liberties protections with the FISA Amendment Act.  But Feingold’s response skipped over the (very valid) point that “hoovering up” every conceivable scrap of communication does little to advance the cause of anti-terrorist intelligence — instead of finding the needle, that just grows the haystack. Instead, Feingold emphasized actually finding the needle.  That is liable to be just the kind of straightforward answer middle of the road Wisconsinites — and Americans — will accept.

Goal Thermometer

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Great news on two fronts: first, the Feingold campaign’s internal polling shows Feingold now statistically tied with Johnson among “definite voters.” The reason appears to have to do with Johnson’s description of manufacturing decline in Wisconsin and elsewhere as “creative destruction” — something that may earn him points at the next Ayn Rand book club meeting, but doesn’t sit so well with Wisconsinites actually trying to put food on the table.

Second, as you can see on our “Get FISA Right with Russ Feingold” thermometer, our fundraising drive has nearly reached our goal of $1500 for Russ!  Now I think we can do even better than $1500, but that means we need to get there first.  If yours is one of the 36(!!) donations so far — thanks so very much!  If you haven’t — here’s your chance to put us over the top!

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Finally, you can help the Feingold campaign as a phonebanker — even from out of state — with GOTV calls already underway to supporters.  To get more information, contact lemke@russfeingold.org or call 414-727-5682 for more information and to schedule your training conference call.

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If Noah Cross were alive today, he’d be giving to the Tea Party!

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 13th October 2010


It’s good to be Noah Cross.
From his point of view, anyway.

“I don’t blame myself. You see, Mr. Gittes, most people never have to face the fact that at the right time and the right place, they’re capable of ANYTHING.”
Noah Cross, “Chinatown” (1974)

Make of the following links what you will:

  1. http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/archives/2010/10/memo_to_bruce_m.php
    (extremely well documented — e.g., DNA results — Village Voice article by editor-in-chief Tony Ortega titled, ahem, “MEMO TO BRUCE McMAHAN, DAUGHTER-SEDUCER”)
  2. http://images.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/fecimg/?10930601576 (FEC donation record)
  3. http://images.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/fecimg/?10931095435 (FEC donation record)
  4. http://www.brucemcmahanbiography.com/index.php (personal web site)
  5. http://www.argentlowlev.com/5_0.html (…Greenwich CT)
  6. http://www.ourcountrydeservesbetter.com/ (Tea Party PAC)

Mr. Ortega’s article appears to have been precipitated by legal harassment from Mr. McMahan, specifically McMahan’s appeal of a judge’s decision that Ortega should not have to testify about the 2006 publication of “Daddy’s Girl” in the related publication “New Times.”  On a whim, I looked up and discovered the FEC information myself (links 2 and 3).  The point of links 4 and 5 is to make plausible-to-certain that the two $500 donations to “Our Country Deserves Better PAC – TeaPartyExpress.org” are indeed from the same Mr. McMahan:

  • the personal web site lists his alma mater as USC 1957; both that and the photo match information on an image in the Village Voice article.
  • the site also lists one of the firms he’s associated with as “Centaur”; that firm is headquartered in Greenwich, CT, the listed address listed in the donation record.

Are all Tea Party contributors as completely amoral as Mr. McMahan appears to be?  No, of course not.  But between Mr. McMahan, Mr. Rand Paul, Mr. Ron Johnson, and my general impressions of the Tea Party phenomenon, I feel justified in connecting the dots into a picture spelling “financial might makes right.” Here’s the rest of the dialogue that goes with the Noah Cross quote above:

Jake Gittes: How much are you worth?
Noah Cross
: I have no idea. How much do you want?
Jake Gittes
: I just wanna know what you’re worth. More than 10 million?
Noah Cross
: Oh my, yes!
Jake Gittes
: Why are you doing it? How much better can you eat? What could you buy that you can’t already afford?
Noah Cross: The future, Mr. Gittes! The future. Now, where’s the girl? I want the only daughter I’ve got left. As you found out, Evelyn was lost to me a long time ago.
Jake Gittes: Who do you blame for that? Her?
Noah Cross: I don’t blame myself. You see, Mr. Gittes, most people never have to face the fact that at the right time and the right place, they’re capable of ANYTHING.

Chinatown (1974)

That’s your future and mine Cross is talking about buying. That’s your future and mine people like the Koch brothers are buying right now.

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EDIT, 10/13: Extended quote and final paragraph added.

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Free speech for Me, Inc. but not for thee – the second Feingold-Johnson debate

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 12th October 2010


Feingold-Johnson debate, 10/12/10, via postcrescent.com

To be honest, it’s rare that a political debate is even mildly interesting.

But last night’s showdown between Senator Russ Feingold and challenger Ron Johnson was just that — and for about fifteen riveting minutes towards the end of the debate, it was electrifying.

The debate was the second one between Feingold and Johnson.  The debate format this time allowed for more give and take between the two — which turned out to be a distinct disadvantage for the Republican candidate, who seemed befuddled at times by Feingold’s sharp questioning.  I’ve added my transcript of selected excerpts to an ongoing record and have posted that online.

Johnson was ready with prepared statements about deficits he blamed on Democrats, and about health care reform he wished had been done piecemeal if at all.  While I think Feingold made a lot more sense on those issues, I didn’t sense that he was finding major openings in Johnson’s armor, or overcoming the Republican’s formidable “folksy millionaire” appeal: a kind of kinder, gentler Ross Perot.

But around the thirty-eighth minute, Johnson — ahead in the polls, with millions of his own money at his disposal, and millions more fighting his battles for him via Americans for Progress ads and the like –suddenly felt a need to land a sharp jab in the midst of a discussion about Afghanistan.  By my scoring, he shouldn’t have:

Johnson (38:58): I would like to ask you, why didn’t you vote — you were one of I think only 25 Senators who refused to vote for the resolution to condemning your supporting group, Moveon.org, when they placed I thought a very shameful ad in the New York Times that talked about General Petraeus.  Why didn’t you vote to condemn that act?

Read the rest of this entry »

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2010 “newsrack” congressional candidate updates

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 10th October 2010

Great news: we’ve now raised $1234 for our list of progressive candidates around the country! And in a second fundraising drive — one for Russ Feingold done in coordination with “Get FISA Right — we’ve raised another $1102 for Russ Feingold!

Thanks to all who’ve contributed; join us if you haven’t!

Here are updates on Senate races with “newsrack actblue” progressive Democratic and Green candidates…

  • Russ Feingold (WI) — The New York Times still rates him a “tossup” with challenger Ron Johnson, but Nate Silver’s 538.com analysis gives the Republican an 89% chance of victory as of today, up from 80% a couple of weeks ago. A PoliticsDaily poll (via RealClearPolitics) put Feingold behind by 12 percent as of 10/1, but a CNN poll had the race even. Feingold and Johnson debated on Friday night, and I wrote about that debate in the prior post.
  • Joe Sestak (PA) — The New York Times rates him a “tossup” with opponent Pat Toomey, and Nate Silver’s 538.com analysis gives the Republican an 94% chance of victory as of today, up from 80% a couple of weeks ago. The latest poll results I found (via RealClearPolitics) put Sestak behind by 7 percent as of 9/28-10/4.
  • Tom Clements (SC) — Neither the Times nor Nate Silver rate him at all; DeMint is a prohibitive favorite over Democratic challenger Alvin Greene.

In House races…

  • Tarryl Clark (MN-6) — The New York Times rates her race against Michele Bachman as “lean Republican” , and Nate Silver’s 538.com analysis gives the Republican an 99% chance of victory as of today. The latest poll results I found put Clark behind by 9 percent as of 9/17.
  • Alan Grayson (FL-8) — The New York Times rates him a “tossup” with challenger Daniel Webster, and Nate Silver’s 538.com analysis gives the Republican an 68% chance of victory as of today – up 16% from a couple of weeks ago. The latest poll results I found (via RealClearPolitics) indicate Grayson has lost the soft lead he held a couple of weeks ago and is now behind by 7 percent as of 9/25-27.
  • Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15 ) — The New York Times now rates her race against Steven Stivers as “leaning Republican”, and Nate Silver’s 538.com analysis gives the Republican an 90% chance of victory as of today. The latest poll results I found put Kilroy behind by 9 percent as of 9/28-30.
  • Patrick Murphy (PA-8) — The New York Times still rates him a “tossup” with challenger (and former incumbent) Mike Fitzgerald, Nate Silver’s 538.com analysis gives the Republican an 70% chance of victory as of today — more or less unchanged from a couple of weeks ago. The latest poll results I found (via RealClearPolitics) put Murphy behind by 14 percent as of 9/14-19.
  • Bryan Lentz (PA-7) — The New York Times still rates him a “tossup” against Pat Meehan in the race to fill Joe Sestak’s seat.  Nate Silver’s 538.com analysis gives the Republican an 70% chance of victory as of today. The latest poll results I found (via RealClearPolitics) put Lentz behind by 4 percent as of 10/4-6.
  • Manan Trivedi (PA-6) — The New York Times rates his race against incumbent Jim Gerlach “leaning Republican,” and Nate Silver’s 538.com analysis gives the Republican an 93% chance of victory as of today. I’ve not found poll results for this race.

You can update all of the above by going to a special “2010 Elections” page I’ve set up here; you’ll find other useful links as well. Most poll results above are via RealClearPolitics; use the “@” link next to candidate names on that page to get the latest on their contests from that site.

The upshot is that things are tending in the wrong direction in the polls for many of these candidates. Each donor will have a different response to what to do about that: help those who still seem to have a chance, or stand by everyone — these are all fine candidates, and there’s still plenty of time for turnarounds, whether locally or nationally.

So give what you can, right now.

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Feingold bests Johnson in first Wisconsin Senate debate

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 10th October 2010

Russ Feingold faced Ron Johnson in a televised debate Friday night –and took advantage of it. I transcribed some of their exchanges and have posted them online. Some highlights (or lowlights in Johnson’s case):

  • Responding to a question about the Tea Party, Johnson claimed “Senator Feingold’s record has been pretty clear: he wants government control over lives, he wanted a single payer government run health care system, he has voted for higher taxes…” That gave Russ Feingold the chance to respond:

    I’ve been waiting for a chance to talk to the Tea Party people about where we agree and where Mr. Johnson disagrees. The people in the Tea Party really value the Constitution. I think they probably read the Constitution before they were 55 years old which Mr. Johnson admitted, he just read it this year. And even though he made some comments originally about how the PATRIOT Act maybe had some problems he fell into line with the Republican view and he says he’s for the PATRIOT Act. I was the only Senator to vote against the PATRIOT Act because it invaded personal freedom, and the Tea Party people agree with me on that.

  • Johnson’s concern for freedom seemed to only extend as far as his wallet.  Freedom of speech?  Not so much:

    I’m also somewhat optimistic from the standpoint that we have General David Petraeus, I think probably the finest general we have operating the Army today. And by the way it’s, you know, a general that Senator Feingold refused to vote for the resolution condemning Moveon.org that placed the ad in the New York Times calling it General “Betray Us.” I thought that was pretty shameful.

  • On checks, balances, and separation of powers, Johnson tried to deny that he would simply duck all debate once a war was on. But his explanation of what he would do instead sounded like he didn’t understand members of Congress have actual powers they’re supposed to wield:

    I wouldn’t do what Senator Feingold did, is try and float a resolution to cut off funding while our troops are in battle in Iraq. If I had a real problem with the war, what I would do is I would talk with my fellow Congress people, I would talk with the administration until I developed a consensus so we could obtain a majority and then go to the American people and say listen, we need to reverse course here, but we want to do it as a unified country. I would never play politics with war.

  • Feingold was able to respond to that in the course of answering another question, about whether the U.S. was doing the right things to prevent another 9/11:

    The fact is the president is doing the best job he can but we are not focusing and have not been focusing since 9/11 on the real issue. The real issue is Al Qaeda is an international syndicate that operates in many countries. We should not be invading country after country and getting stuck there, when the real plan is to work with other nations — and almost every nation in the world wants to get these guys — to find them, and destroy them. That is absolutely essential and we have to have a global vision of this.

    And you’re not going to that global vision, Ron, by just talking privately to Congressmen. You’ve got to talk to other people, you’ve got to talk to experts, you’ve got to talk to constituents. The people of Wisconsin actually have something to offer you and me about their views about what we should do to protect our country.

Herewith a confession: there’s stuff Senator Feingold said that I don’t agree with. For example, while I know my side has lost the argument by now, I don’t consider gun ownership to be an individual right, or they wouldn’t have put all that stuff about “well regulated militia” up front in the Second Amendment.  I also disagree that “all options have to be on the table” to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

But I think Feingold is right a lot more often than he’s wrong.  Feingold would of course never be a lockstep Republican the way Johnson surely would.  But when I think about the PATRIOT Act, Iraq, TARP, Afghanistan, and FISA, to name a few, I like that Feingold’s no lockstep Democrat either.  Support Russ Feingold now!

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Wow – $986 and counting for Feingold!

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 8th October 2010

As I write this, we’ve raised $986 for Senator Russ Feingold’s re-election campaign — just $14 shy of our goal of $1000. Way to go, “Get FISA Right” supporters! Nearly two dozen of you have stepped up with generous donations — thank you all! For those who haven’t — please support Russ Feingold now!

By adding different “refcode” tags to the different email appeals and blog links, we’re able to see where the donation clicks are happening. Of the 23 donations so far, about one third were done via the mass e-mailing to “MyBarackObama” lists, another third happened via links at this blog (either in the post or the ‘widget’ at the upper right corner), and the remainder have come from untagged links or other miscellaneous sources. The lesson seems to be that everything can work, but it may work best when it’s synergistic and simultaneous — it seemed to me that donation pace accelerated during the day yesterday, perhaps as multiple reminders showed up on people’s computer screens. …So get ready for another blitz. Support Russ Feingold now!

Enough on fundraising minutiae — how’s the Wisconsin campaign going? Unfortunately, the most recent polls I could find (October 1) suggested the race was getting tougher for Feingold, with Johnson if anything widening his lead. At the Huffington Post, Mark Blumenthal writes: “The trend in Johnson’s favor since the summer is hard to miss. Our trend line estimate now puts Johnson ahead by nearly 10 points (52.9% to 43.1%).” On the other hand, the Feingold campaign has cited internal polling showing the race is virtually tied, and Feingold has gone on the air with an ad accusing Johnson’s team of ‘excessive celebration.’

Whatever the case may be, it’s important for us to not let dismay at poll numbers turn into inaction, and thereby turn those numbers into a self-fulfilling prophecy of defeat. Support Russ Feingold now! Let’s go ahead and do what needs to be done so Feingold can keep fighting the good fight in Wisconsin — while his opponent hides from view. The Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel’s Don Walker reports (October 7):

Turn on the television or listen to the radio, and Republican Ron Johnson is everywhere. Finding him on the campaign trail can be a little more difficult. […] Aside from carefully scripted campaign events, it is hard for the public to get information about his appearances before groups and organizations. “We don’t receive any advance notifications of his travels or appointments,” said Stewart Rieckman, general manager and executive editor of the Oshkosh Northwestern, Johnson’s hometown newspaper. The Associated Press says the same thing. The Wisconsin Newspaper Association also inquired about a campaign schedule for member newspapers, but the Johnson campaign has not responded, according to Beth Bennett, the group’s executive director. Last Sunday, the Northwestern published a profile about Johnson. Rieckman said Johnson did not respond to multiple requests for an interview for the story. “This is the strategy,” Rieckman said. “Shield him from the press. Keep him under the radar.”

Walker goes on to attribute that to the advent of online campaigning. Personally, I think “Citizens United” and a tidal wave of anonymously sourced advertising has more to do with it. Johnson doesn’t show himself because he doesn’t need to show himself. When he does, it even embarrasses some conservative spectators, as at a grassroots “vetting” event where Johnson was asked whether he supported the Patriot Act. Johnson’s response:

…I’ll put it this way: So much of the Patriot Act exists in law, and they just put it within that law. I certainly share the concerns of civil liberties. Now if you have Barack Obama in charge versus George Bush—I wasn’t overly concerned with George Bush in power. I’m a little more concerned about the Patriot Act when you have Barack Obama. […] Our nation was at risk. When you’re at risk by things like international terrorism and stuff, you have to react to that. And you sometimes have to give up a little bit. But again, I like the fact that it should be of a temporary nature and be something for renewal. …

“pompadour”‘s response shows that civil liberties concerns aren’t limited to the left:

Here’s a tip for you, Ron: A law that compromises civil liberties is problematic no matter who’s in power. […] That[Johnson]’s comfortable with the Patriot Act in one administration’s hands but not another—and that he’d keep it around anyway—demonstrates how far from the Constitution Johnson’s actually standing. He doesn’t grasp the very real danger that lies in passing and growing accustomed to any law that grants government unconstitutional powers over the People.

(Emphasis in original.) Couldn’t have said it better myself. Support Russ Feingold now!

[crossposted to “Get FISA Right” blog]
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UPDATE, 1pm: $1002, from 24 donors!!! This is now one of the most successful fundraising drives for Russ Feingold on ActBlue — we’re currently in 9th place for total dollars raised and 11th for number of donors. Thanks to everyone who has helped and to everyone who has donated! Let’s run up the score for Russ Feingold!

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Support Russ Feingold now

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 5th October 2010

The following is a proposed email pitch to “Get FISA Right” supporters.
[UPDATE: a collaborative draft based on this is underway at Get FISA Right’s “wetpaint” site.]

===

Senator Russ Feingold — the Senate’s champion of civil liberties and the rule of law — is facing a tough reelection campaign in Wisconsin.  Recent polling results suggest the election hangs in the balance; some recent polls have Feingold behind, but Russ is optimistic, citing internal polls showing a dead heat.  His opponent Ron Johnson’s chief strength is that he’s a plastics millionaire who can bankroll his own campaign juggernaut.  Politically, well… in Jim Hightower’s words, if [Johnson] were any dumber, we’d have to water him.”

Goal Thermometer

As a supporter of getting FISA right again, and of repealing the PATRIOT Act, we probably don’t have to tell you Russ Feingold is our best ally in the Senate. National security / human rights advocates have had to develop separate scenarios for the post-election period, depending on whether or not he stays in.  One has told me: “Even if Democrats hold the Senate, if Russ Feingold is not among them, the dynamic (and the White House, internalizing the message that “civil liberties don’t sell”) will tack demonstrably to the right.

It’s absolutely  critical we help him out as much as we can. So we’ve set up a fundraising page — Get FISA Right With Russ Feingold —  where “Get FISA Right” supporters (and anyone else) can contribute to his campaign.

What has Russ done for us, for civil liberties, for the America we want?  You name it, he’s fought for it — often having to “wage war with my own leadership …to get that opportunity.”

Stand with Feingold — support Russ now!

  • Russ Feingold was the only senator to vote against the PATRIOT Act, presciently warning, “I am also very troubled by the broad expansion of government power under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA. […] ….the government can apparently go on a fishing expedition and collect information on virtually anyone. All it has to allege in order to get an order for these records from the court is that the information is sought for an investigation of international terrorism or clandestine intelligence gathering. That’s it. …”

    Fight the PATRIOT Act — support Russ now!

  • Senator Feingold’s principled stand against the PATRIOT Act gained him allies in the effort to block the Military Commissions Act in 2006. Speaking in opposition, Feingold said : “Under this legislation, some individuals, at the designation of the executive branch alone, could be picked up, even in the United States, and held indefinitely without trial and without any access whatsoever to the courts. …why would we turn our back on hundreds of years of history and our nation’s commitment to liberty — particularly when there is no good reason to do so?”

    Restore the rule of law — support Russ now!

  • Senator Feingold has worked with President Obama when he can, but has called Obama to account when he must.  Feingold produced recommendations doubling as a scorecard for evaluating Obama’s performance on the rule of law in his first hundred days in office.  The senator was among the first to criticize the Obama administration’s overuse of state secrets privileges — giving the Obama administration Grade: D | Status: Troubling”

    Hold the White House accountable no matter what — support Russ now!

  • And of course, Senator Feingold was at the forefront in fighting against the FISA Amendment Act ratifying lawbreaking by the Bush administration, joining Senator Dodd in proposing an amendment to keep the telecom companies on the hook for assisting illegal surveillance. Feingold:“…even as the administration sought and obtained broad new authorities to collect communications of Americans, the administration refused to even consider when it might be violating the Constitution.    If the administration can’t assure us that they respect the Constitution, Congress needs to step in.”

    For real checks on executive power — support Russ now!

In an era of lockstep Republicans and pusillanimous Democrats, Senator Feingold stands out as one of the few politicians on Capitol Hill to stand up for what’s right, no matter who disagrees with him.

It’s our turn: stand up for Russ now!

Thank you in advance!

Thomas Nephew for “Get FISA Right”.

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Why win when you can lose: tax debate postponed to after election

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 27th September 2010

First they said they wouldn’t.  Then they said they would.  Now they say they won’t.  In a move that may be one of the last nails in the November coffin for Democrats, the debate about which Bush era tax cuts, if any, to extend has been postponed until after the election.  Lori Montgomery reports (“Tax-cut vote likely set for after elections,” Washington Post):

Democrats said they are counting on the pre-election impasse over taxes to ease when lawmakers return to Washington in mid-November for the first of two work periods before a new Congress is seated. Senate Democrats, who control 59 seats, will need to unite their caucus and win the support of at least one Republican to overcome a potential GOP filibuster. Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, said that will be easier after the elections.

“In a September session, it’s hard to separate anything you do from politics,” said Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) “And the politics ultimately triumphed. We didn’t get much of anything done. And that’s why I think, ultimately, members of the Senate have decided the best thing to do is go home, particularly those who are running.”

The thing is, debating the justice and wisdom of extending Paris Hilton tax cuts was an eminently reasonable and necessary debate to have if growing deficits are truly a concern. But set aside that it would have been good policy — it would have been great politics.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Good news, bad news

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 25th September 2010

First the good news: in less than one week, “newsrack actblue” has raised $860 for our list of progressive candidates around the country!

It’s also good news that Raul Grijalva (AZ-7) and two late adds Chellie Pingree (ME-1) and Lloyd Doggett (TX-25) appear to be in good shape, judging by New York Times / fivethirtyeight.com estimates today. I’ve pushed those candidates to the bottom of the “actblue list,” with updates noting their relatively safe status.

The bad news is that the remaining candidates are struggling. In Senate races with “newsrack actblue” progressive Democratic and Green candidates…

  • Russ Feingold (WI) — The New York Times rates him a “tossup” with challenger Ron Johnson, and Nate Silver’s 538.com analysis gives the Republican an 80% chance of victory as of today. The latest poll results I found put Feingold behind by 6 percent as of 9/22. (Editorial comment: this must not stand.)
  • Joe Sestak (PA) — The New York Times rates him a “tossup” with opponent Pat Toomey, and Nate Silver’s 538.com analysis gives the Republican an 80% chance of victory as of today. The latest poll results I found put Sestak behind by 5 to7 percent as of 9/25.
  • Tom Clements (SC) — Neither the Times nor Nate Silver rate him at all; DeMint is a prohibitive favorite over Democratic challenger Alvin Greene.

In House races…

  • Tarryl Clark (MN-6) — The New York Times rates her race against Michele Bachman as “lean Republican” , and Nate Silver’s 538.com analysis gives the Republican an 98% chance of victory as of today. The latest poll results I found put Clark behind by 9 percent as of 9/17.
  • Alan Grayson (FL-8) — The New York Times rates him a “tossup” with challenger Dan Webster, and Nate Silver’s 538.com analysis gives the Republican an 52% chance of victory as of today. The latest poll results I found put Grayson ahead by 40 to 27 percent as of 9/5 — with 23 percent undecided.
  • Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15 ) — The New York Times rates her a “tossup” with challenger Steve Stivers, and Nate Silver’s 538.com analysis gives the Republican an 76% chance of victory as of today. The latest poll results I found put Kilroy behind by 5 percent as of mid-August.
  • Patrick Murphy (PA-8) — The New York Times rates him a “tossup” with challenger (and former incumbent) Mike Fitzgerald, Nate Silver’s 538.com analysis gives the Republican an 71% chance of victory as of today. The latest poll results I found put Murphy behind by 14 percent as of 9/10.

You can update all of the above by going to a special “2010 Elections” page I’ve set up here; you’ll find other useful links as well.

The upshot is that some good people need help, perhaps especially Russ Feingold, Patrick Murphy, and Mary Jo Kilroy. We need to keep as many of them on the Hill as possible. So please click over on the fundraising badge and give what you can right now, while there’s still time to close the gap and overtake their opponents.

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UPDATES, 9/26: (1) In an interesting “Why Generic Ballots May Underestimate Democrats” post , Nate Silver examines results suggesting that the common question — “If the election for Congress were held today, would you vote for the Democratic candidate in your district or the Republican candidate in your district?” — tends to exaggerate Republican advantage by about 4 percent, compared to when the question concerns the actual candidates running against eachother. Interestingly, Mary Jo Kilroy is one of the candidates involved — but unfortunately, she does worse than the generic comparison for her district (same poll cited above). (2) Great Alan Grayson ad (FL-8) against his theocrat opponent, “Taliban” Dan Webster. You’ll see the moniker is not unjustified — and that Grayson punches hard. More on Webster here.

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2010 elections

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 25th September 2010

our progressive “actblue” candidates….

Progressive Democrats (09/26)*
Senate
i – Russ Feingold (WI) – @
o – Joe Sestak (PA) – @
House
c – Tarryl Clark (MN-6) – @
i -Lloyd Doggett (TX-25) – @
i -Alan Grayson (FL-8) – @
i -Raul Grijalva (AZ-7) – @
i – Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15) – @
o – Bryan Lentz (PA-7) – @
i – Patrick Murphy (PA-8) – @
i -Chellie Pingree (ME-1) – @
c – Manan Trivedi (PA-6) – @
(……use ActBlue graphic to donate)

Green Party
c -Tom Clements (SC) – @
(……click here to donate)

latest candidate survey, poll news…


more news…

New York Times
fivethirtyeight
MyDD
RealClearPolitics
Swing State Project
Talking Points Memo

election blog posts…


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* i, c, o: incumbent, challenger, open seat. Links via these letters lead to person’s Open Congress profile.
@: RealClearPolitics profile of candidate’s contest.
Grayed out name: candidate deemed to be safe by NYTimes/538.com as of date; click congressional district or state for up to date estimate.

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