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Monthly Archives: October 2010

Must-See Radio

October 31st, 2010 - 8:25 am

We have an especially good edition of PJM Political for you this Halloween, if only because I kept my bad Count Floyd impression (almost) down to the bare minimum. Otherwise, good stuff from Tim Pawlenty, Glenn Reynolds, Steven Malanga, Bryan Preston, and Poliwood guys, and my unrequited voice crush, Dr. Helen Smith, talks sex.

Now that’s what I call good radio.

Stepping In It

October 30th, 2010 - 9:14 am

Joe Sestak steps in his own dog doo, meet the First Duuude, and how to have a fabulous election — all on another exciting episode of… The Week in Blogs!

The Massachusetts Miracle

October 29th, 2010 - 11:07 am

Sean Bielat has pulled even with Barney Frank, at least according to his most recently-released internal poll.

And just in time for the weekend-before-the-election news cycle, too. Bielat’s campaign savvy continues to dazzle.

Handicapping the House — The Final Edition

October 29th, 2010 - 10:50 am

This is it — the final countdown!

Sorry about that. But I’m still in shock that the Toss Up races have zoomed back up to 40. This close to D-Day is when the center should be emptying out to both sides, as voter preferences become clearer.

But this just isn’t that kind of year.

Where the Action IsFirst, let’s look at the races that shifted to the left since we last checked in.The GOP is showing some weakness in the Midwest (IA01 & IA03) and in Pennsylvania (PA07 & PA11), where they are expected to make some big gains. Nobody is quite sure what’s going on in IA01, due to a lack of polling. And in IA03, Republican Brad Zaun has stumbled pretty badly in recent weeks. Both races went from Toss Up to Leans Dem. Data is thin in PA07, but I think the GOP’s Patrick Meehan will take this one — Pennsylvania’s districts aren’t as competitive as they could be for the Dems, thanks to the last round of redistricting. And PA11 slipped due to one pretty outlandish poll result. Both races went from Leans GOP to Toss Up, but I have them colored red on my private map.

Three other races exited the Tossers to Leans Dem. They are KY03, NH02 and NM01. All three are looking solidly blue to me, absent a wave even bigger than the one I’m expecting.

WA03 slipped from Leans GOP, but I honestly don’t know why. Jaime Herrera has held nice margins since August, but I’m not coloring it in yet.

And our last left-mover is FL25, from Likely to Leans GOP. No incumbent in this race, but I still like David Rivera’s chances. Enreddenate it already.

That’s nine left-movers — the most we’ve seen in a single week. Bad news for the GOP? Perhaps. But if so, then the Democrats have even worse news — only one of those seats (FL25) is currently held by a Republican and that one is likely to stay red. So the Donks are, at best, treading water.

And for the really bad news for the Democrats: A total of 16 races red-shifted — and every single one of them is currently a blue seat.

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Just Around the Corner

October 29th, 2010 - 9:50 am

My adorable four-year-old boy left his door cracked open on Mommy’s car last night, requiring a jump start from Ye Olde Ugly Wrangler You Could Hit With an RPG and It Would Still Turn Over on a Cold Morning. There was just one problem: I hadn’t yet had a second cup of coffee.

Can you guess the result? That’s right: I automatically assumed that the red cover on the Jeep’s battery was the positive terminal. Turns out, both terminals have red covers (Hello? McFly? Hello?) but one of them sure looked black in the dimly-lit garage. This, of course, I discovered after the acrid smoke and the melting plastic and the dissolving cables had all cleared out or cooled off. And all of that was followed by a quick trip to the truck stop on the other side of the highway, where I purchased two new sets of jumper cables.

Because the next time I decide to blow some stuff up, I’m going to have a spare handy.

Anyway, I’m now working on the very last 2010 edition of Handicapping the House, and I’ll follow that up on Monday morning with my predictions for all 435 House races. Then we’ll hunker down together and wait for the other smoke to clear on Tuesday.

Don’t Get Cocky

October 28th, 2010 - 1:57 pm

Trifecta: Kruiser takes the center square on a very special episode.

Seriously — Kruiser is all serious. And he makes it work.

Taking Sides with Barney Frank

October 28th, 2010 - 11:25 am

Oy. Reuters has gone and done it again. Check out the headline and first four grafs — the part people actually read — of Ros Krasny’s report on the campaign in Massachusetts’ Fourth Congressional District:

(Reuters) – Representative Barney Frank, the outspoken, witty Democrat closely tied to the 2008 U.S. bank bailout, faces a tough re-election battle after 15 terms in office at a time when incumbency itself is a liability.

Challenging the Massachusetts liberal is Republican Sean Bielat, an Iraq war veteran, and opinion polls suggest Frank has an uncomfortably narrow lead over a political unknown.

In the run-up to Tuesday’s congressional elections, Frank has faced a torrent of negative ads and mailings, much of it from groups outside the state who support candidates from the conservative Tea Party movement.

Last week, Frank borrowed $200,000 from his personal savings to prop up his campaign, saying he needed “to defend against outside attacks.”

See how that works? Frank is the outspoken and witty Wall Street reform architect, who faces a tough battle against a torrent of negative ads financed by outsiders. Sean Bielat is an Iraq War veteran supported by the conservative Tea Party movement.

Reuters, I just got finished telling CBS News you never go Full Monica. Pay attention.

Live from North Carolina

October 28th, 2010 - 10:43 am

At long last — has Renee Ellmers finally gotten a stranglehold on Bob “The Manhandler” Etheridge?

I Wish I Were Making This Up

October 28th, 2010 - 9:05 am

Trifecta: On top of everything else this election, now we have to worry about psychotic waterfowl.

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble

October 28th, 2010 - 8:40 am

Off my Twitter feed, JamesLeeASaB says, “This could be the biggest election upset you have heard NOTHING about!” What’s he mean? This:

Jacob Turk has mounted a total grassroots campaign to unseat Rev. Emanuel Cleaver in the 5th District of Missouri. He’s a former Marine, business owner, and a great man; the bad news is that he has already tried this twice before and lost to Mr. Cleaver both times. But this time just might be different!

That may help explain why the RNC, RCCC, the MoGOP, and even Conservative commentators on local talk radio have had written this one off. Granted, Kansas City, making up the bulk of Mo-5, is heavy, long-term Democrat territory. And, a poll commissioned in the last week or so showed Turk within about 9 points of Cleaver. Closer than ever, but still a long ways off.

As I’m driving home, however, I hear on the radio, that apparently a new poll (or polls?) have put Jacob Turk within the margin of error, tied, or marginally leading.

I met Jacob Turk in a men’s room at the Omni Shoreham in DC last year. No, not like that — we were both attending CPAC09. I’ve tried to book him on Coast to Coast Tea Party, but he’s been so busy (not to mention understaffed!) that we haven’t been able to put it together.

But it sure looks like he’s got his campaign put together. Missouri Fifth District Voters? You know what to do.

Let Harvard Repay Its Debt to Society

October 27th, 2010 - 6:57 pm

Just a random thought after reading Megan McArdle’s latest on our elites. And that is, once again, Obama got it exactly wrong on student loans. So allow me please to offer my own modest proposal to correct the President’s error, if it’s not already too late.

Under the VodkaPundit Plan, the federal government will give a big discount — or perhaps even repay in full? — the student loans incurred, in any amount, by anyone attending an Ivy League university. Provided, of course, each student, graduated or not, signs a binding agreement never to run for, accept the nomination of, or take an appointment to, any public office, anywhere in the world. Ever.

We might also insist they forever renounce their right to vote, but let’s be generous see how the pilot program goes, first.

Get Off Your Laurals and Dance

October 27th, 2010 - 4:50 pm

Trifecta: Speaking of Barney Frank, why is it Republicans usually prefer to sit on their bottoms rather than put up the good fight against corrupt Democrats.

And are things changing?

I Question the Timing

October 27th, 2010 - 4:45 pm

A leaked polling memo from the Sean Bielat campaign shows him to be within the margin of error with Barney Frank. A genuine slip-up or something ever-so-slightly more intentional? There’s no way to know, of course. But Bielat did come to national attention after releasing an internal poll showing him to be in striking distance — and he hasn’t left the spotlight since.

So as I’ve said all along, Bielat is running exactly the kind of smart, tough, and savvy race you need to knock off a DC power broker like Frank.

That ’70s Show

October 26th, 2010 - 6:22 pm

Trifecta: Stephen Kruiser makes his triumphant return, as we dissect the latest …stuff… from Jimmuh Carter in this members’ exclusive episode.

Be Careful What You Stump For

October 26th, 2010 - 4:22 pm

Appearing on Al Sharpton’s radio show, President Obama warned that “my name may not be on the ballot, but our agenda for moving forward is on the ballot, and I need everybody to turn out.”

First of all, taking time out for Sharpton a week before the election is a sign of desperation. Sharpton’s the guy you go to, to get you through the primary. Then, during the general election, he becomes “Al Who?”

Secondly, with approval ratings approaching nearly Bushian lows, telling people the agenda is on the ballot is more likely to enliven the opposition, not the base.

On the other hand: What other card does Obama have left to play?

Anyone?

It’s a Fair Cop

October 26th, 2010 - 12:08 pm

My boss, Roger L. Simon, got the scoop of the day. Check this out:

In a breaking development that may affect the close California Senate race, PJ Media has learned The Foundation for Ethics in Public Service sent a letter to Eric Holder last Thursday requesting the attorney general “begin an investigation to determine whether United States Senator Barbara Boxer violated any criminal laws or should be liable for any civil penalty for failure to disclose real property on her Personal Financial Disclosure Reports between 2002 and 2010.”

My only worry is, getting Holder to investigate Boxer is like getting Sergeant Shultz to look under Colonel Hogan’s bunk.

No Man Does It All by Himself

October 26th, 2010 - 11:53 am

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you:

Billionaire investor Robert Rowling is facing a rebellion at his fitness chain Gold’s Gym after his $2 million donation to Karl Rove’s conservative group sparked protest from gay rights advocates.

Four San Francisco Gold’s Gym franchises are splitting away from the brand, which Rowling owns as part of his hospitality firm TRT Holdings. The director of Gold’s Gym Bay Area says his decision to leave stems from Rowling’s $2 million gift to Rove’s conservative PAC American Crossroads, which has given money to candidates with anti-gay views.

Now I don’t think that Rove is anti-gay, although it’s certain that, yes, some anti-gay Republicans will win House seats this year. It’s a small price to pay, however, to put a halt to President Obama’s agenda — which has hardly been gay-friendly, on DOMA and DADT.

That aside, Rowling showed some stupendously bad business judgement, even if his political judgement was (mostly) in the right place.

Bye Bye Barney Bye Bye

October 26th, 2010 - 9:41 am

Barney Frank lent his campaign $200,000 of his own money last week. Now his opponent, Sean Bielat wants you to help him match it. I’ve interviewed Sean, and if anyone can beat Frank, he’s the guy.

Please. Give five, ten, twenty, bucks — whatever you can.

Don’t Tread on Her

October 26th, 2010 - 9:32 am

Coast to Coast Tea Party: What stands under five feet tall and is North Jersey tough? Sixth District Tea Party (and GOP) candidate Anna Little. Maybe the feistiest candidate I’ve spoken with yet — but she’d better be, since she’s taking on Frank Pallone, the House Health Subcommittee Chair.

UPDATE: During our talk, I asked Mayor Little if she knew anything about the “October Surprise” promised by the Frank Pallone Not For New Jersey blog — and she demurred, of course. Well, here it is: Pallone got his wife $144,385-a-year job at the EPA, according to documents obtained through the FOIA.

And now you know why he’s so big on “environmental” issues.

We’d Better Win Big [UPDATED]

October 26th, 2010 - 8:29 am

It’s going to be a long week when the first two stories you see reflect just how big the “margin of cheating” is going to be this year. First, from Nevada:

Some voters in Boulder City said they are concerned about fraud at the electronic ballot box.

Voter Joyce Ferrara said when they went to vote for Republican Sharron Angle, her Democratic opponent, Sen. Harry Reid’s name was already checked.

Ferrara said she wasn’t alone in her voting experience. She said her husband and several others voting at the same time all had the same thing happen.

“Something’s not right,” Ferrara said. “One person that’s a fluke. Two, that’s strange. But several within a five minute period of time — that’s wrong.”

Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said there is no voter fraud, although the issues do come up because the screens are sensitive.

Clark County includes Las Vegas, and no Democrat can win statewide office in Nevada without running up big numbers there. Fancy that.

Second, from North Carolina:

A Craven County voter says he had a near miss at the polls on Thursday when an electronic voting machine completed his straight-party ticket for the opposite of what he intended.

Sam Laughinghouse of New Bern said he pushed the button to vote Republican in all races, but the voting machine screen displayed a ballot with all Democrats checked. He cleared the screen and tried again with the same result, he said. Then he asked for and received help from election staff.

“They pushed it twice and the same thing happened,” Laughinghouse said. “That was four times in a row. The fifth time they pushed it and the Republicans came up and I voted.”

M. Ray Wood, Craven County Board of elections chairman, issued a written statement saying that the elections board is aware of isolated issues and that in each case the voter was able to cast his or her ballot as desired.

Chuck Tyson, chairman of Craven County GOP, remains skeptical. He has been communicating with Wood about the issue and was invited to a meeting Wednesday with state elections officials. There were no further details about that meeting.

“Something is not right here,” Tyson told the Sun Journal. He said he “got two or three calls” from people describing the same problem while they were voting.

“I’ll be matter of fact, I didn’t find that press release satisfactory,” Tyson said, referring to Wood’s written statement.

Tyson reported other problems as well, including long lines waiting for just two voting machines in Havelock, and machines reporting 250 ballots cast where 400 voters had signed in to vote.

That’s North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, which the Democrats have owned since the end of the 19th Century. And with no senate or governor’s races to contest, the advantages of trickery are harder to discern.

But keep a very close eye on Nevada.

UPDATE: “NC Voter” reminds me that there is indeed a Senate race in NC this year. Republican Richard Burr is such a shoo-in, I’d forgotten all about it — hadn’t checked the polls in ages.

Maybe I’d better rethink that.

That’s What I Want in My Bomb Shelter

October 25th, 2010 - 9:13 pm

Uh, Glenn? You might want to rethink your rethink on the post-apocalyspe bikini girls.

Don’t make Ann-Margret sad — I know I never would.

Nice Poll, Kid…

October 25th, 2010 - 4:55 pm

Hair of the Dog: It’s official — I’m in a serious bromance with Juan Williams. Plus, a special appearance by Han Solo. This might be our studliest episode ever.

Pardon the Language

October 25th, 2010 - 2:28 pm

Good news: Eleanor Clift has a plan for the Democrats to hold on to Congress! Bad news: It’s even lamer than you dreamed it could be! But my job is to find these anti-nuggets and share them with you. So, in Clift’s own words –

•The base has to get re–fired up. Recently Obama has been drawing big crowds reminiscent of the heady days of ’08. He has to keep at it.

This is the kind of advice you’d expect to read, say, last summer — not in a column dated exactly one week before campaigning ends. It’s a bit like telling the guy on life support that he should think about wearing his seatbelt. Also, Clift thinks this needs to be said? What advice does she think Obama is getting? “Rest up, buddy — it’s only an election.” Criminy.

•Obama must do more in the next week to make his economic case, and to clarify the choice facing voters: which party and which candidate has a reasonable chance of making things better?

This is like telling the heroin addict to shoot up. Obama is the most overexposed celebrity since Paris Hilton, only without the heft. He gave more than 50 major speeches and addresses to sell Obamacare, and it has lost popularity, not gained it. And with disapproval at or around 50%, it must be said: The thrill is gone.

•In just about every Democratic campaign I’ve covered, the closing debate comes down to the people versus the powerful.

And in this election, like all the other ones Clift has covered, the Democrats’ closing debate is horseshit. The difference is, this time people have finally tired of eating it.

Renee Ellmers versus Bob “The Manhandler” Etheridge in Saturday night’s election debate.

Move on, indeed, North Carolina.

Perhaps He Should Try Campaigning in Kiribati

October 25th, 2010 - 9:02 am

Gallup now has President Obama’s negatives at the magic level — toxic, really — of 50%.

And that’s before 60 Minutes aired its report on the real unemployment rate.

McClung Miracle

October 25th, 2010 - 8:26 am

Who would you rather see in Congress — a cheating ward healer or a rocket scientist?

Do Not Ask for Whom the Poll Tolls

October 25th, 2010 - 8:19 am

Meg Whitman and Harry Reid both look to be in trouble, according to NBC’s First Read:

*** Whitman’s Hail Mary? In what appears to be her closing ad in California’s gubernatorial race, Meg Whitman (R) looks straight to the camera and says, “I know many of you see this election as an unhappy choice — between a longtime politician with no plan for the future and a billionaire with no experience.” Then, in a reference to Jerry Brown’s (D) devastating ad comparing Whitman to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), she adds: “I’m not a career politician or a Hollywood star… If you want more of the same from Sacramento, then vote for my opponent. But if you want to get California moving again, I’m ready. Are you?” And speaking of closers, Harry Reid is up with his final argument against Sharron Angle: She will be bad for Nevada’s economy. Both closing ads are not the type of ads you see from candidates who are confident about their chances.

I can see why Nevadans, with 14% unemployment, would take a chance on the unlovable Sharron Angle. But Californians going back to Jerry Brown? There’s an abused spouse metaphor there, but it’s too depressing to even try.

We’re Behind You 40 Percent

October 25th, 2010 - 7:56 am

Looks like we’ve called off our upcoming naval exercise with South Korea:

The United States and South Korean militaries have postponed an aircraft carrier drill in the Yellow Sea ahead of next month’s G20 summit in Seoul following strong criticism from China, local media reported on Monday.

Beijing had said the Pentagon’s plans to send the nuclear-powered carrier USS George Washington to the joint exercise — set to take place between China and the Korean peninsula — threatened long-term damage to Sino-U.S. relations.

South Korean government and military sources told local media that the decision to cancel the drill, which was scheduled to take place late this month, was made to avoid creating problems with China and North Korea ahead of the G20 summit on November 11-12.

The allies made the decision “in a bid not to unnecessarily antagonize neighboring countries” before the summit, Yonhap news agency quoted a government source as saying.

The United States and South Korea have said their joint exercises are aimed at warning North Korea, which they blame for the March torpedoing of a South Korean navy ship in the Yellow Sea.

Local media said there would be no drills involving U.S. aircraft carriers this year.

I showed my wife this story and she said, “He just can’t stop from bowing.”

Must-See Radio

October 24th, 2010 - 9:04 am

PJM Political is on the air! Er… on the internet. It’s already been on the air. Anyway, great show for you this week, with Hugh Hewitt, Tony Katz, Scott Ott, BlogWorld founder Rick Calvert, Roger Simon, Lionel Chetwynd, and Ed Driscoll reports from Vegas, baby.

From the Front Lines

October 24th, 2010 - 8:36 am

Coast to Coast Tea Party: Can the Tea Party help turn purple Virginia back to red? Meet organizer Colleen Owens to find out.