The Battle for America 2010: Round-Up at September's End
Key Races: Governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House CA-47
Tim Daniel reporting:
The hot topic of discussion this week in California national politics was an incendiary, racist diatribe bombshell dropped by 47th Congressional District incumbent Loretta Sanchez in Orange County:
"El Vietnamese y los republicanos tratando de tomar distancia de nosotros este asiento." Translation: "The Vietnamese and the Republicans are trying to take away this seat from us."
Rep. Sanchez (D-CA) ostensibly was soliciting Hispanic votes and assumed that no one out of the Spanish-only Univision audience would take note of her Spanish attack. Since Sanchez ousted 6-term ''B-1 Bob Dornan" in 1996, California's CD-47 has been made home to increasing numbers of Vietnamese immigrants who may turn away from her due to her racist tirade. "Little Saigon" in her district has always leaned rightward and polling is tight. Sanchez has also came under fire for "not having time for constituents" yet letting-it-all-hang-out with Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion. She is known for her "Pet The Cat" Christmas mailer and a variety of sultry scandals surrounding her.
As the saying goes, "so goes California, so goes the nation." "High" times seem to be coming to California as Proposition 19, the "Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010," is leading by 9 points.
The San Francisco Chronicle failed to endorse either Senate candidate in California. According to the Chronicle, Senator Barbara Boxer is ineffective, incompetent, has practically no record of accomplishment, and has desperately opted to go after Fiorina's wealth instead of substantive issues. However, only in San Francisco would an entire paper's editorial board opine such on Boxer but then consider Carly Fiorina to be a wild-eyed, far-righty extremist. Thanks for clearing up the confusion, Chronicle.
Proving that anything can happen, a new Los Angeles Times/USC poll shows both Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer gaining traction in their respective races. Taken between September 15-22, the poll shows Boxer/Fiorina at 51% to 43% and Brown/Whitman at 49% to 44%, respectively. However, I am more-than-suspicious of the described "Hispanic weighting/sampling" that took place behind the polling scenes (scroll down here -- what do you think?). New campaign ads debuted this week as well -- Boxer doubles down on the "outsourcing" meme in a new campaign video and Carly Fiorina strikes back with new "Yes ma'am" attack ad.
Proposition 23, the petition to suspend the state's global warming law, is a statistical tie. According to reports recently released, it is being used as an excuse to hold up Sacramento's state budget process. According to Lorraine Yapps Cohen in the Examiner, lawmakers and the Governator himself are holding the state's fiscal house as hostage in order to strong-arm business support away from Proposition 23. Perhaps think of it as Ahnold's last RINO-hoorah.
Los Angeles Times: Loose lips sink liberal ships -- Jerry Brown's loose moonbeam.
WSJ: Add a little water and watch it grow -- San Joaquin Valley likely battleground area in the Fiorina/Boxer match.
IBD: Smelt like dead fish -- Turn on the water, Boxer
Key Race: U.S. Senate
CT GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate Linda McMahon had her chance to embrace the Tea Party but didn’t. Instead, this former WWE executive has put together her own unique way to ride the anti-establishment wave to be where Quinnipiac poll director Douglas Schwartz describes as “surprisingly close” to winning.
Polls from Quinnipiac and USA Today show her Democrat opponent, state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, with only a six-point lead. Political experts like Robert Dougherty of AP predict Blumenthal, though well-liked, “could get caught in the crossfire” between familiar political brand names and fed-up voters. In addition, Blumenthal is known to be anti-business, McMahon, a former entrepreneur, to be pro-business. It might be a plus for her in a state needing more economic development that unions oppose her.
Given political newbie McMahon’s performance, it’s no surprise she’s attracted top media attention. That ranges from the Wall Street Journal to a five-page spread in the New York Times Magazine. She’s being taken seriously, particularly as a phenomenon which signals shifts in the state’s policies. McMahon could evolve as the Sarah Palin with more substance. It’s also no surprise that Democratic Big Foots have come to Connecticut to support Blumenthal. The latest is Bill Clinton (Blumenthal and Clinton do have odd military histories in common). Since Clinton’s popularity is in the midst of a resurgence, his visit might actually be helpful, as opposed to the poll-challenged Barack Obama’s visit a few weeks ago.
A sign of the revolutionary political times, Ted Kennedy Jr. criticized McMahon for using 1963 footage of JFK’s support of tax cuts in a web ad, but he didn’t get any traction in the media. Kennedy lives in Connecticut and contended that her video misled voters into thinking the late president would have endorsed her tax position.
Meanwhile, as was anticipated, negative ads on both sides now dominate television. Blumenthal directs the fire at McMahon's identity as the supposed businesswoman. He portrays her as about “Profits, not People” and claims she laid off 10 percent of WWE workers, while taking home $46 million. Her ads attack Blumenthal policies as not financially good for the average Joe. For example, they allegedly increased household energy costs almost $1000 annually. The bottom line on the negative advertising is that McMahon can way outspend Blumenthal.
Key Races: Gov, U.S. Senate, U.S. House
Republican Rick Scott has opened a six-point lead on Democrat Alex Sink in the race for governor, and Marco Rubio is well out in front in the Senate race while the man once thought to be invincible in Florida, Charlie Crist, is a man without a party who faces scandal and lawsuits.
But the big news in Florida is in FL-8, where Alan Grayson has managed to top himself in the "repulsive blowhard" category. The Democrat who infamously smeared the Republicans' approach to health care reform as "die quickly" (that's actually part of the Democrats' plan, via rationing and Medicare cuts), is touting a bogus poll showing him with a 13-point lead over Republican challenger Daniel Webster, whom Grayson is now calling "Taliban Dan" in the most dishonest, ridiculous political ad in a long while. Roll tape.
Grayson not only misused the video of Webster to make him say something he didn't say, he had already smeared him as a Vietnam draft-dodger. FL-8 thus earns the distinction of being the dirtiest campaign in the nation, with all the dirt coming from the Grayson side.
Update: There's a new poll showing Webster up by 7 over Grayson.
Key Race: U.S. Senate
Democrat Alexi Giannoulias and Republican Mark Kirk remained locked in a tight race. Rasmussen’s last poll showed Kirk ahead 3 points at 44%. Independent LeAlan Jones dropped to 4%, and 8% were undecided.
Illinois pundit Rich Miller slammed the media for obsessing over Rahm’s bid to be Chicago’s mayor instead of covering the elections when “the nation is mired in its worst economic period since the Great Depression and we have two U.S. Senate candidates and several congressional candidates who need to be more closely examined.”
Giannoulias phoned in a press conference for fear close examination would find him in a “bad-hair” day, assuring reporters tomorrow would be live in Chicago because: "Hopefully my hair'll cooperate with me."
The Chicago FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force was in full examination mode combing through peace activists' drawers in 12-hour long searches, including one at the home of Joe Iosbaker, the chief steward for Local 73 of the SEIU.
SEIU had backed Giannoulias against David Hoffman in the primary, giving Giannoulias a much needed burst in support. Righty pundits are writing that the media is scrubbing Iosbaker’s SEIU links because it’s time to overlook, not examine, the long partnership of the SEIU and Illinois Democrats.
Angry anti-war progressives demonstrating solidarity with Iosbaker might want to take Miller’s plea to examine to heart and visit the campaign websites of Giannoulias and Kirk. Giannoulias offers some foreign policy views a progressive wouldn't like:
I supported the President's decision to increase troop levels as part of a larger military and political strategy to defeat the Taliban insurgency and permanently expel al Qaeda from Afghanistan.
The people of Iran have shown that they are eager for democratic reforms and respect for human rights. In its attempt to shift the focus from its own failings, the regime continues its campaign against Israel’s right to exist, and supports the work of terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah.
Our first commitment in the Middle East must be the security of Israel, our strongest ally in the region. Our governments are similarly based on beliefs in democracy and freedom — values that continue to be threatened by extremism and hate. The United States and Israel must remain unwavering partners in the shared struggle against terrorism and violence.
Kirk’s site finds the policy wafer-thin for most hawks. The first paragraph rehashes his career in the National Reserve (a career which has done nothing but trip up the congressman), followed by some bits on legislation passed. The reader’s eye is left to focus on a picture of the Top-Gun suited Kirk with nary a hair out of place.
Forty-five percent of Illinoisans polled told Rasmussen the Tea Party’s a good thing for America. That’s a remarkable vote-for-extremism from a bluest of blue state. The message seems to be that with a tough war and a sad economy, voters of all views -- even those Joe Iosbaker progressives -- are tired of politicians’ small obsessions. The wave’s coming.