The Straightaway

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Posts Tagged ‘minnesota

Rep. Bachmann Calls for Hunt of “Un-American”

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Below is an excerpt from Hardball with Chris Matthews, in which Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) calls for a full media investigation into which members of Congress are “anti-American.” She also hits Obama hard on his Ayers association.

It is truly a sight to behold.

Then, watch the reaction from The Nation editor Katrina Vanden Heuven and MSNBC commentator Pat Buchanan immediately after.

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Written by acs2008

October 18, 2008 at 11:36 pm

Electoral Battle Plan

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In the 57 days until the 2008 Presidential Election, 12 swing states will be in the political spotlight. These twelve states and their 157 combined electoral votes will most likely decide who becomes the next President of the United States: Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Here’s a mini-profile on each of these battleground states: (Data from 270towin.com, realclearpolitics.com, and the U.S. Census Bureau)
Colorado (9 Electoral Votes)

Colorado has only gone to the Democrats once in the last 40 years, to Bill Clinton in 1992. In 2004, incumbent Republican George W. Bush won the state by only 4.7%. Sensing that this state is ripe to turn, the Democrats have made a strong push to secure it, holding their 2008 national convention in very-liberal Denver. The smashing success of the star-studded convention may very have put Colorado in the Democratic column. Most Recent State Poll – Obama +3 (Rasmussen Sept. 9)

Florida (27 electoral votes)

Everyone remembers how important Florida can be in a tight presidential election. Florida has a sizable hispanic population that is uncharacteristically Republican. The endorsement of Governor Charlie Crist (R) will surely help McCain, but the sagging economy and particularly lackluster housing market in Florida might play into Obama’s hands. Right now, Florida is truly up for grabs. Most Recent State Poll – Tie (Rasmussen Sept. 9)

Michigan (17 electoral votes)

Michigan has been solidly Democratic since the election of Bill Clinton in 1992. Before that, Michigan was solidly Republican, voting with the Elephant five consecutive times. The Republicans must be hoping that this is a re-alignment election for the state. Despite having a Democratic governor and two Democratic senators, Michigan’s working-class voters have simply not connected with Obama the way they did with Hillary Clinton. McCain hasn’t been that popular in Michigan either, getting blown out in the primary there by Mitt Romney (and if McCain had selected Romney as his running mate, Michigan would for sure be theirs). But for now, Michigan is too close to call. Most Recent State Poll – Obama +1 (PPP Sept. 8)

Minnesota (10 electoral votes)

The Republicans must have thought their long-shot chance in the state was close enough so that putting their convention in the state might put it in their column. Not likely. Minnesota over the years has been solidly Democratic, voting Republican only once, in Nixon’s 1972 landslide. In the primary, Obama won by a great margin over Clinton, while McCain finished a distant second to Romney. Officially, Minnesota is a “battleground,” but I don’t suspect the battle there will last long. Most Recent State Poll – Obama +12 (CNN/TIME)

Missouri (11 electoral votes)

Historically, Missouri tends to vote Republican, except if it’s a southern Democrat running (Jimmy Carter in 1976, Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996). Obama narrowly won the state’s primary of Clinton, but McCain also won the Republican counterpart. For now, Missouri seems solidly Republican. Most Recent State Poll – McCain +10 (PPD Aug. 17)

Nevada (5 electoral votes)

Usually Republican, Nevada voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. In 2004, Bush edged out Kerry by only 3%. State polls have fluctuated greatly, showing leads of 5-7% for both Obama and McCain within the month of August. Libertarian Bob Barr might steal some votes from McCain in this state, although the addition of pro-life, pro-gun running mate Sarah Palin might neutralize the Barr Factor. RCP Poll Average – Obama +1 (Individual polls not reliable).

New Hampshire (4 electoral votes)

New Hampshire has long been an anamoly – a moderately Republican state nestled within the very liberal Northeast. In 2000, New Hampshire went to Bush, but in 2004 the New Englander John Kerry took the state. Obama lost the Democratic primary to Clinton, while McCain’s New primary win re-energized his almost-dead campaign. New Hampshire is still up-for-grabs. Most Recent State Poll – Obama +1 (Rasmussen Aug. 18)

New Mexico (5 electoral votes)

The key to New Mexico will be the state’s large Hispanic population (44%). New Mexico voted for Clinton twice and for Gore in 2000, but in 2004 Bush beat out Kerry by less than 1%. New Mexico is a fine “bellwether” state – in eight of the last ten presidential elections, the candidate who won New Mexico won the entire state. Obama could get a boost from New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (D), who supported Obama after ending his own bid for the presidency. RCP Average – Obama +4.3 (Individual polls not reliable)

North Carolina (15 electoral votes)

North Carolina has only voted for a Democratic president once in the last 40 years, for Jimmy Carter in 1976. Both Obama and McCain scored impressive primary victories in the state. A key factor in the state could be the sizable African-American population (20%). Nationally, African-Americans have voted for Obama 80% of the time. If he can get optimum turnout from these voters, he might have a small shot at taking the state. Most Recent State Poll – McCain +3 (PPP Aug. 28)

Ohio (20 electoral votes)

Ohio is the ultimate bellwether state – in each of the past 10 presidential election, Ohio voted for the eventual winner. In 2004, Ohio put Bush over the top to secure the presidency. Obama lost the state to Clinton in the primary, while McCain earned a solid victory during the Republican primary. The most recent Rasmussen poll showed McCain up by as much as 7 points. However, two separate polls in August with much higher sample sizes (hence, more accurate) shows that the race is almost even in this state. Advantage: McCain, but not by as much as he’d like. RCP Average – McCain +1.3

Pennsylvania (21 electoral votes)

Working-class voters love the Clintons. They’re not so fond of Obama, which has kept Pennsylvania in play for the Republicans. Historically, Pennsylvania leans Democrat, having voted that way in the past four presidential elections. Obama will get a boost from his running mate Joe Biden, a Scranton, PA native. However, McCain and Palin might be able to sell Pennsylvanians on social issues, if not the economy. Obama might need Clintonian aid in Pennsylvania to seal the deal but for now, I think it’s his to lose. Most Recent State Poll – Obama +2 (Rasmussen Sept. 7)

Virginia (13 electoral votes)

Virginia just might be 2008’s Ohio, the state that pushes one candidate over the edge for victory. On the surface, this might look like bad news for the Democrats – in the past 10 elections, Virginia did not vote Democrat a single time, even during the Clinton years. However, with one Democratic senator (Jim Webb) and a Democratic governor (Tim Kaine, who was on Obama’s VP shortlist), maybe Virginia is ready for some “Change.” Had Obama picked Kaine as his running mate, Virginia would probably be his. He still has a shot there, but he must campaign his butt off in VA. Most Recent Poll – McCain +2 (FOX News/Rasmussen Sept. 7)

Results – Based on these poll numbers, if the election were today, Democrat Barack Obama would win the presidency with a narrow 278-260 electoral victory over Republican John McCain.

Obama’s Game Plan – Obama has to focus on clinching Pennsylvania and Colorado. He should also campaign hard in Virginia, where an upset would seal the presidency for him. Winning Ohio might be a little too much to ask for, but Obama should make a definite effort there.

McCain’s Game Plan – McCain should campaign hard in the three Mountain West states still in play: Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. If he can take two of these, McCain will get just enough electoral votes to claim victory. Of these three states, Colorado and Nevada are particularly vulnerable. McCain should be careful not to let Ohio and Virginia out of his grasp. Taking Pennsylvania would be a definite game changer.

RNC Tuesday Rundown

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Former Presidential hopeful Fred Thompson gave what will probably be the strongest speech all night Tuesday at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. In fact, former Senator Thompson showed more life and said more words than he probably said during his entire abysmal primary season campaign.

First, Thompson vetted VP nominee Sarah Palin, calling her a “breath of fresh air.” Thompson poked fun at  Obama, saying that he preferred Palin’s substantive experience to just hitting the Sunday morning talk shows. Thompson attacked Obama several times (though he never mentioned the Democratic nominee’s name), calling him the most liberal, inexperienced person” to ever run for President.

Thompson had very strong words in support of his friend John McCain, reiterating his heroic POW experiences and praising McCain’s “strength, courage, humility, beauty, wisdom, and honor.” Thompson stressed that McCain was a big proponent of “reform,” which has become the Republican version of the nauseating buzz word “change.” Although he bumbled through some key points, Thompson gave a pretty good speech overall.

But as for Lieberman…

The fact that Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman is speaking at the RNC at all is shocking – just eight years ago, he ran as the Democratic vice presidential nominee. Lieberman’s speech was likely supposed to accentuate McCain’s maverick reputation. However, Lieberman said very little of consequence. If anything can be taken away from the Lieberman speech, it is that John McCain is a swell guy, whether or not you agree with his policies. This kind of bland statement pales in comparison to Thompson’s points – Thompson framed McCain well, specifically mentioning free trade, taxes, judge picking, abortion, and other issues.

Lieberman’s bland speech and bland facial expression failed to wow the convention hall, which was fairly empty in the upper levels. Compared to the DNC’s Tuesday night – featuring an electrifying speech by Senator Hillary Clinton – the RNC has not been able to produce the same energy as its Democratic counterpart.

Coming up Wednesday: the highly anticipated speech by VP nominee Sarah Palin. Considering the buzz around her, it is almost certain that things will pick up for her speech. But will it be enough to energize the conservative Republican base and put McCain/Palin over the top? We’ll have to wait and see.

Sarah Palooza

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Republican presidential nominee John McCain set off a media frenzy today by choosing Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate. News of the Palin Decision led 95 percent of America to ask – Sarah Who?

Sarah Palin, currently the governor of Alaska, is a 44-year old former beauty queen and mayor of a small town in Alaska. She had been casually mentioned as a possible VP choice for McCain, but was thought to be well behind other hopefuls in the running, such as Independent/Democrat Joe Lieberman, Mitt Romney, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Is this dark horse a good pick for McCain? I think Ed Rollins of CNN said it best – the choice is “brilliant but risky.”

Choosing Palin has started a media circus that has been successful in taking away a lot of the buzz from Barack Obama’s monumental acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday. She’s a fresh face, much like Obama was, and will be severely scrutinized coming into next week’s Republican National Convention in Minnesota.

Palin is young – just 44 – evening out the aged McCain ticket. She is also a woman (a likeable one) that may very well steal away some Hillary supporters who were already thinking about voting for McCain. Ingeniously, McCain has subdued Obama’s History Train. Now, whoever wins this fall will surely make history, putting either the first African-American or woman president/vice president in power.

Palin has been described as both “maverick” and “very conservative,” two terms that usually don’t go together. However, they fit here, much like the “maverick” yet “very liberal” tag might fit Obama – Palin is a Washington outsider who is not afraid to lock horns with the Republican establishment. However, she is also staunchly pro-life, which may lure many social conservatives who have been weary about McCain into actually casting a ballot for him this fall.

Now, the risky side of Palin: she is even greener than Obama. She has been governor less than two years, has no experience at the national domestic level and on foreign policy issues. When asked earlier if she would like to be vice president, she answered that she wasn’t even really sure what responsibilities the vice president held. Any “inexperience” knives that the McCain camp tries to throw at Obama now can be deflected and returned, perhaps in greater force.

Obama has accused the Republicans constantly of resorting to the “politics of fear” to steer people away from voting from Obama. The Democrats have potentially been handed their own fear-mongering “gift issue” if the dare us it. Imagine this revised version of the 3 AM Red Phone Call Ad:

It’s dark. 3 AM. The red phone is ringing. The executive must make a crucial security choice. But John McCain isn’t there to answer it – he has been incapacitated. It is up to young Vice President Palin to answer the call and save America. Do you trust her, if need be, to answer the 3 AM call? Do you trust her enough to put America in her hands?

It would be a despicable move, something that might tarnish the reputation of the Democratic machine forever. But it just might work, drawing away the centrist blue-collar folks in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio away from this attractive new McCain-Palin ticket and into the comforting arms of Obama-Biden. And it’s not an entirely fantastical situation – often in American history, for one reason or another, the vice president has had to take over the president’s duty, either on a temporary or permanent basis. (Vice President Dick Cheney had presidential power vested in him at least once during this term, when President George W. Bush was undergoing a medical procedure).

McCain has made a shrewd choice, dampening Obamamania a bit while adding a little fanfare to his ticket at the same time. It will either turn out to be a brilliant strategic move, or an irreparable blunder.

We’ve got 68 days ’til we find out which one it will be.

Written by acs2008

August 30, 2008 at 4:40 am