Archive for October, 2012

Ohio, Virginia, and Florida. No one else need bother.

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

I find it weirdly fascinating that the “Election is coming down to”” the three states of Ohio, Florida, and Virginia“.  Ie:  the three states that determined the last three presidential elections — going from one end of the spectrum (Wyoming and Utah for the Republicans) and order it down to the District of Columbia for the Democrats, and each state was the one that tipped the election over.

The thing is, though, that it was easily seen by this point in the election what state as going to be determinative.  So the candidates seemed to largely camp out there for the duration of the campaign, and bombard each state with ads aplenty.  I understood Al Gore pored over polling date and despite being down by a pretty sizable amount in Florida early in 2000 just didn’t see any way to 270 without the state.  In very quick retrospect, John Kerry probably should have picked your “blue collar” Dick Gephardt for his running mate and had him just plug about Ohio, and I recall in 2008 those infamous Palin rallies occurred in Virginia — McCain / Palin obliged to run and hope the polls were somehow a few points off everywhere.

How the ball bounced from one place to another may be another item worth studying.  Virginia was nowhere on Gore’s radar screen, was barely and briefly on Kerry’s, and very quickly easily spotted at the center of Obama’s.  Florida seemed to fade out of the grip by Republican party machinery just as quickly as it was grasped such that Kerry had to gaze over to Ohio — where Bush / Rove was busy gnabbing unseen Evangelicals.

What’s off with 2012?  Are the two candidates just a little too off with a large enough political constituencies to quite center on one state — bombard, bombard, bombard — and need to juggle three as possibilities?  And by 2016, will we see an entirely new state emarge — Nevada, perhaps, or Colorado (both have interesting demographic and socioeconomic dynamics pushing and pulling in different directions).

Interesting, here’s Nate Silver of 538 fame’s chart of “Tipping Point” percentages.

Ohio 41.9 percent
Virginia 12.1 percent
Nevada 9.5 percent
Iowa 7.6 percent
Colorado 6.8 percent
Florida 4.5 percent
New Hampshire 3.4 percent
Pennsylvania 2.8 percent
Maine District 2  0.5 percent
Michigan 0.4 percent
North Carolina 0.3 percent
Minnesota 0.3 percent
New Mexico 0.2 percent
New Jersey 0.1 percent

I don’t know what the polling fluctuations Silver has that dumps Florida down a few slots, and a significant if scant few percent points.  I am left asking “Iowa?”  Interesting…

Anyway, I suppose the other half a dozen states will see a slackening of election ads from Romney and Obama, and the other 41 states are spared completely.  My condolences to the citizens of Ohio, Virginia, and Florida — who have a long few weeks’ ahead of you.

Presidential Campaign news, the “On the Ground” report

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Hey!  A sure sign the Campaign is heating up!  I saw a sheet of paper stapled to a pole urging…

“Write in Freedom Socialist Party Candidates”

I can’t think of many more more useless exercises.  Understand, if you want to feel free to cast a ballot for the Socialist Party or whatever left wing party is on the ballot — that is not a useless exercise — it will be noted in the media as whatever fraction of a percentage point.  But this will will just be lost in the jumble.  I’ve read that some people have been so impressed with Ralph Nader since he was first proferred as Presidential timber back in 1972 that they’ve written him in every cylce since if not cast their ballot for him.  Something like that makes sense as well — but unless I misjudge the stature of this presidential candidate, I don’t see where this one goes.

So it is an image of Stephen Durham and Christina Lopez, the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate.  A typical litany of issues — “Government that helps the needy, not the greedy”, “Soildarity with workers worldwide”, and then…

VOLUNTEER!  For the full platform, campaign material in Spanish, and how to get involved visit

… and it’s a website with “socialism” in the name.  I believe if you use a different suffix, or capitalize the “s”, you will find a different group of socialists…

and then, the Oregon Headquarters.  Bread and Roses Center apparently.

So what do we have here?  Campaign materials!  I imagine just a whole bunch more of these sheets to plaster on telephone poles?  Get the Word out and all that.  I think this blog post may do more on that score.

A Candidate running for the Senate

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Hm.  Worth keeping an eye out, I suppose.

Matthew J. Woken for U.S. Senator
I am running for U.S. Senate for the state of Oregon, but to even try for the Republican ticket, I need 100,000 dollars, so donate to me today otherwise I will have to go as a write-in or something. If I am not on the ballot when you vote, write me in! Thanks!
I have reduced my web page down to the following pages.
My Testimony, the True Story of How Demons Harass Me
What Jesus has Done for Me
Donate Now!
What I will Try to do as a Senator of the United States of America
Jesus-Related Links

From What Jesus Did for him:
21. I called a young man “fatty” when I was a new Christian, but here’s the good news: when I went to his house to apologize, it felt like an invisible man was walking beside me who was about seven or eight feet tall or something. I did something else wrong, I forget what, and it felt like another invisible person or the same invisible person walked beside me again. The invisible person walked beside me I don’t know how many times in my whole life. Now I am the “fat one.” I weigh about 220 pounds.

From what he will do as Senator
1. I will try to make Jesus even more popular than He is right now.

There’s a bit of a contradiction here:
4. I want to help Israel as much as possible.
5. I want to close all embassies and get rid of all ambassadors because we can’t afford them; we must pay off our National Debt; turn over policeman of the world to Israel; many people who know what they are talking about know that Israel has the best soldiers anyway.

This will probably turn everyone into an anti-Semitic
8. I want to disband our Armed Forces and turn over policeman of the world to Israel. This will save us a lot of money, I don’t know how much, but probably billions of dollars.
9. I want Israel to occupy the USA after we give them all our military supplies, nuclear weapons, planes, helicopters, everything in our Armed Forces depots. Everything.

Um… Hm.  This falls into a category of “I used that government program once, so it’ll be the one government program I’ll save” theory.
10. I want to increase taxes on the wealthy and cut our programs for the poor. Everyone needs to pay for our National Debt, even the poor and wealthy Americans. I will not cut Food Stamps because I used to be on food stamps and it was barely enough sometimes and too little some months, but I may have to make cuts in the Food Stamp program anyway.

I’m sure the Republicans will take a long look at him when deciding who to put up to take down Jeff Merkley.

in preparation for today’s vice presidential non entity debate

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

We sometimes see this “Worst Vice Presidential Pick” list, which trends about in one of two directions: picks that dragged down or didn’t pick up the ticket, or one who would make for a bad president.  For the former, we end up with John Edwards, for the latter we end up with Sarah Palin … as well as, I suppose John Edwards.  The worst pick in terms of dooming the campaign, even though the candidate had no chance anyway… Eagleton.  McGovern manage a better one, he might have won a few states.  The best pick, obviously, Lyndon Johnson.

Palin ends up a positive pick, as she did perk up the McCain nomination — despite what her detractors say.  It’s a depressing case of No Nothingness.  We will wait to see if Paul Ryan balances go to “positive” — like Palin, crowds have been noted as cheering him and ignoring the top of the ticket; unlike Palin — he didn’t propel Romney forward in the polls.  It may be that he cemented the Romney vote but it took the debate for Romney to get any traction with Independents.

Down through history, historians tend to ignore the vice presidents who proved or disproved the big role for the pick: next president.  Here we scratch our head at Andrew Johnson.  He was helpful in leading Abraham Lincoln to re-election.  And he was one of our worst presidents.  Of the three vice presidents for Franklin Roosevelt — you do have to give the nod to Harry Truman and shake your head a bit at John Garner and Henry Wallace.  Another way of thinking of things is picks that set up future presidents.  In that way, Eisenhower’s pick of Nixon looks dreary.  After that, you do get the feeling Alben Barkley would be as good a place-sitter as Gerald Ford.

Today we have the “Irrelevant Debate”.  It’s Joseph Biden versus Paul Ryan.  The old crusty politico and the current young “idea man” turk.  Supposedly we’re waiting for funny gaffe things from the former, and — I don’t know what you can say about the latter.  Looking back at the history of vice presidential debates, we have… let’s see.

Mondale versus Dole 1976.  Dole charged that WW2 was a Democrat War.
Bush versus Ferraro 1984.  Bush was grating.
Bentsen versus Quayle 1988.  I don’t want to quote that damned Kennedy line.
Quayle versus Gore versus Stockdale 1992.  Nobody remembers Gore and Quayle going at it, but apparently it was rock em sock em.  Everyone remembers Stockdale.
Gore versus Kemp 1996.  I got nothing.
Lieberman versus Cheney 2000.  You do get the feeling Lieberman didn’t care.
Edwards versus Cheney 2004.  Cheney is Evil; Edwards was an Empty Suit.
Biden versus Palin 2008.  The thing about this one was it was the only debate prep in history where the foil was playing up a bad performance in order to force Biden to be able to stifle anything and everything in case an epic bad performance happened.

Too bad we don’t have other veep debates to look at.  Or maybe it isn’t.  The Democratic Dixie ticket splinters of old would really tear into the Democratic Party forward charge into civil rights, and the Republicans probably just always had a hack lying around somewhere…


Senate non races update

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Utah.  An interview with the Independent candidate, Then, as Democrat Scott Howell has taken jabs at Republican incumbent Orrin Hatch, independent Senate candidate Bill Barron has been on a 1,200 mile campaign tour of Utah… on his bicycle. The candidate’s campaign is driven by his experience in renewable energy and desire to reduce climate change by putting a fee on carbon.
Would have my vote.  Just because he’s not playing the “Orrin Hatch will die” card…

Texas.  There are 33 Senate contests this year, although voters in some of the states may not have noticed them. In Texas, for instance, Democrat Paul Sadler has had a tough time getting any attention in his battle against Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz. Except, perhaps, when he called Mr. Cruz a “troll” in their first debate.
And we get this from the opponent…
Ted Cruz says Paul Sadler more liberal than President Obama.
This for a sensible “Revoke Bush Tax Cuts” proposals.  Deficit and all.  Or you can go the Romney rout and cut PBS to the tune of a penny, you know.

In the Maine and Nebraska Senate races, the independent and Democratic candidates, respectively, have focused in on their opponents’ position, that man has little to no role in climate change, to argue that they are too far outside of the mainstream for voters in their states.
Note:  Not a tactic used in Missouri or West Virginia.  Also a tactic used by a Democratic candidate in Nebraska which is tending to the “Since I’m 20 points down in the polls, I’m going the Hard Truth route route” candidate.

Rhode Island.
“The Most Interesting Politician in the World”?  Barry Hinkley?  Who is spinning a 30 point poll deficit by pointing to his Incumbent opponent’s high disapproval numbers?  No, I like some other candidates for the title.  If you give me an hour, I can come up with a long list of wacky candidates running down ticket far more interesting than Hinkley.

Minnesota.  This is a race to watch, basically because the Republican opponent is going to be moving into this rhetoric.  Over the past few days, the Bills campaign has started using more aggressive language to criticize Klobuchar. In one example, Bills’ campaign manager Mike Osskopp accused Klobuchar of running a “Mafia-style protection racket” during the government-led bailout of the auto industry in 2008 and 2009.  And also moving into this flight of fantasy.  “Minnesota is known for late-breaking races, too,” Bills said. “I think there’s a little bit of a history there. So we don’t get discouraged.”
I would love to have him as a teacher.  I think?  Bills has also continued to work at his day job, teaching a high school class in the morning before heading out on the trail.  If nothing else, um… I can sit in the back of the room and be a wise-ass by quoting his campaign copy at him?  Would likely get Detention, but it’d be worth it.


Following a surprisingly strong showing by independent U.S. Senate candidate Rob Sobhani in a recent poll, Republican Daniel Bongino is questioning the “real motives” behind Sobhani’s entry into the race.
In the poll conducted late last month by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies of Annapolis, Bongino had the support of 22 percent of registered voters while Sobhani, who has blitzed the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., television markets with ads, garnered 21 percent.
Incumbent Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D) leads both candidates at 50 percent in the heavily Democratic state. The poll had a margin of error of 3.5 percent.
“Why has he been in only such a short time?” Bongino said of Sobhani. “At this point, there is really no math for him to win, but there is math for him to be a spoiler.”

The obvious response from an Independent candidate one point behind the Major Party candidate is to go the “I know you are but what am I?” route and call the Major Party candidate the Spoiler.  I’ve seen it done from candidates with less than one percent of the vote, and if they can do it… certainly candidates one point off can!

The Ron Paul Revolution!  Ron Paul endorses Kevin Wade!
Wait.  10 debates???  Uh.  No one needs 10 debates.

West Virginia.
John Raese, West Virginia GOP Senate Candidate, Built Golf Club Without Permits.
I think all golf courses built in West Virginia should be built against coal.
Curiously enough, he’s apparently already the Republican nominee for Senate in 2014.  Well, the Democratic Incumbent appears to be bowing out — said some mean things about the Coal Industry — and whatever number of time is the charm, I guess.

Bloomberg and soda sizes

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

I saw these photographs of the protests against the enactment of the “Big Soda Size” ban in New York City.  I don’t like the ban, though sympathize with its goals.  But the photograph — people holding hugemongous sodas, I suppose to make their point — Proud Drinkers of Huge Soda Sizes the whole mass of protesters — and it all makes me almost say “To Hell with it” … Bring on the Nanny State!

It is not even the old Dennis Miller routine.  “Do I really need 32 ounces of any fluid? This must be for the guy who walked off the surface of the sun directly into the 7-11. ‘Yeah I’m a little parched, Habib, what do you have in a depth charge-sized drink back there?’ Now they’ve come up with a Super Big Gulp. I can only imagine they must back a tanker truck up to your hope, jam a hose down your throat and start irrigating you like some Tennessee Vally project or something.”  At a certain point it becomes problematic from a serving stand-point.  Like, you’ll need to get it into a refrigerator, and the ice will make half of it unusable.

The Senate races again. More interesting than the presidential race

Friday, October 5th, 2012
Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Mark Clayton, in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, calls for an investigation into whether state Democratic Chairman Chip Forrester “and other Tennessee Democratic Party bosses” violated the federal Voting Rights Act by disavowing his win in the Aug. 2 primary.
The letter suggests that, since many minority voters supported Clayton in the primary, the impact of their votes was compromised by the disavowal of Clayton as the party nominee, which Forrester has said was based on Clayton’s membership in an “anti-gay hate group” and other “extremist views.”
The Democratic nominee was joined in signing the letter by Bishop Felton M. Smith, senior pastor of New Covenant Fellowship Church of God in Christ in Nashville, according to an email from Clayton. According to Internet media reports, Smith previously joined a group of black ministers opposing re-election of President Obama because of his support for same-sex marriage.
Mark Clayton is full of crap here.  The political party organizations can behave as they will to their candidates.  But he does have one salient point.  The next Democratic candidate who wins statewide, or even does reasonably well statewide, will — functionally speaking — be positioned right where Mark Clayton is on social issues.  The difference might be rhetorical — though that is difference enough in voting.  But even there, he just slides right next to someone like Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma — “Lesbian epidemic in Southeast Oklahoma bathrooms”.
The thing I watch in a Senate race like this one… the election map.  Will it deviate from Partisan norm?  The answer, if past indications are predicative, is “no”.  Bob Kelleher’s performance — the perenail candidate who won Montana’s Republican Senate nomination and was “more socialist than the alleged Socialist in the Senate” — had a map that was a pale shadow of the top ticket result — against “corporate Democrat” Max Baucus.  The same was true of the Bircher Democrat Bob Conley who won the South Carolina Democratic nomination against the next Tea Party target Lindsey Graham.
Missouri.  The New Republic offers a fluffer-ish piece on Claire McCaskill’s strategy.  It’s not without insight, though.  It asks the provocative question of whether she’s blowing it, and answers “no”.  Because even as her [hand-picked] opponenty made an extreme and biologically nonsensical comment about Abortion — she cannot be identified as an Abortion crusader.  So there she is, campaigning as “#50” in the National Journal rankings.  A one-dimensional tracking that will throw away any Kucinich — Paul alliance.  The New Republic article only hints around the edges of the trouble with this strategy — it would be one thing if she can pioint to some big compromise she brokered, but mostly we just end up with someone not sticking her neck out, staking some oppositional positions, and cruising out the status quo.  But hey!  She’s not extreme!
North Dakota. So, this New York Times article on Democratic candidate Heidi Heitkamp’s “nice act” is getting this quote out there.

“Everyone’s pretty likable,” Mr. Berg said with a shrug. “The issue is not about a personality contest. This whole thing kind of boils down to, do you want someone who’s going to fight against President Obama.”
Yeah, speak for your opponent.  There is a gender dynamic at play here, and I can’t help but be reminded of Todd Akin’s quote on McCaskill — that McCaskill was more “lady-like” in her 2006 campaign.  Whether true or not, and I can easily imagine that was part of McCaskill’s strategy in 2006 where in 2012 she is by nature running a more negative campaign — Heidi Heitkamp is in the same position and if she wins, her re-election campaign in 2018 would necessarily be more negative.
Montana.  So here’s Jon Tester.  He is turning out the base with his association with 90s era Seattle rock bands — he was Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam fame’s music teacher in the small town of Big Sandy. And so they play for him.  And we get this while we’re at it.
Maybe Jon Tester’s supporters on the University of Montana campus inMissoula Sunday afternoon grew confused, thinking rock group Drowning Pool would play a concert for the senator later that night.
That group’s signature track — Let the bodies hit the floor — most accurately describes what happened to a Republican tracker just prior to a Tester midday rally Sunday.
Just a few weeks after Republican Senate challenger Denny Rehberg delivered a one-fingered salute to a Democratic tracker in Washington, D.C., a GOP tracker claimed Tester supporters shoved him to the ground during a rally with Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament.
To be sure, the tracker, a campaign lackey given a cheap video camera, was asserting a very aggressive front, appearing to bump into the small armada of Tester campaign workers who circled Tester and Ament as they shuffled to the rally stage.
Drowing Pool?  Wait.  Is Puddles of Mud going to put in an appearance?
Having fired up the base, Jon Tester can now make his pitch to the general electorate and swing vote in the state, and … emphasize beef.
Massachusetts.  The big debate performances for the one Republican trying to run as “#5o” presents two moments of note.  One was a killer for Scott Brown, he flummoxed on the question of fravorite Supreme Court Justice and basically ended up saying that he likes them all.  And Elizabeth Warren laughed.  The second item, after this Scott Brown almost certainly rehearsed and planned — “I’m not a student in your classroom.”  It’s to highlight Warren as an elitist.  But it didn’t quite have the punch Scott Brown needs, I’m afraid — he failed to get in the fact that he drives a pick-up truck.
Nebraska.  Steve Martin endorses Bob Kerrey.  Cool.  Since this election is so far gone for Kerrey, he might as well have fun with it.
Generally speaking, the Senate picture looks good for the Democrats.  States like Wisconsin the Republicans can’t gain traction, states like Arizona the Democrats are picking up steam.  But, I suppose, the supposed fall-out of Obama’s poor debate will weigh things down — until everyone forgets about it which seems to have happened today with Obama now touting a good jobs report with the world moving forward and the Democrats ceasing to panic as much — Mondale won the first debate against Reagan, after all.  Interesting race dynamics down-ticket… depends a lot on how things go up-ticket… conventional wisdom is Romney back in it and conventional wisdom will probably fade.