October 5, 2015

Monday Open Thread

  5:00 am

This is the Open Thread for Monday.
I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain; what a glorious feeling, I’m happy again.
This is also a good place for new polls or articles you think might be of interest.


Jason Chaffetz: Master of the House

  1:29 pm

Jason Chaffetz:  Voters “didn’t send us here to perpetuate the status quo. They want us to tackle the tough issues…..McCarthy has a majority in the Republican Caucus, but he doesn’t have 218 votes to become Speaker of the House.”

Chaffetz went on the record a week ago supporting Kevin McCarthy as Speaker.  Yet yesterday on Fox News Sunday he announced his own candidacy for the job.  What happened that caused him to renege on his support?  One word:  Math.

He says that there are about 50 members of the caucus who will not vote for John Boehner’s right hand man when push comes to shove.  Republicans have 246 members in the House, and they will decide which candidate they will put up to lead The House of Representatives in a closed session on Thursday.  If Chaffetz is correct on his head count he will probably emerge as the next Speaker.  Indeed, if he’s right about the number who won’t back McCarthy if the caucus puts him up, and the Caucus puts him up anyway, the next Speaker will be a Democrat.  This, in spite of the fact that, in Jason’s words:  “There are more Republicans in the House than there have been since Babe Ruth swung a baseball bat.”

It might get interesting.  McCarthy, when asked on Fox News if he had the 218 votes necessary to become Speaker said “we’re very close.”  If “very close”  means something like 210 or something like that, McCarthy will probably get enough votes from members who can’t abide the thought of losing control of the body.  What makes it dicey is that the House Freedom Caucus has threatened to vote for a Democrat if it comes down to a choice between a member of the current leadership and giving control to the other side.  And the House Freedom Caucus appears not to be alone.

Tea Party Caucus Chairman, Tim Huelskamp of Kansas:  “When 60% of all Republican voters believe that beltway Republicans have betrayed them, this is a historic time to change the current direction of Congress….we must ensure that whoever is the next Speaker will work with Conservatives, not against us.”

Feelings are strong, both among Republicans in the House and among Republicans in the country.  Chaffetz didn’t up and decide to get super ambitious all of a sudden.  Julius Caesar was stabbed 19 times for that.  He was drafted by members looking for a solution to a massive problem.  In announcing his candidacy on Fox he said:  “I’m offering myself as a candidate to try to bridge the divide.”

Why was Chaffetz drafted?  For one thing, he’s both outside the current leadership and still one of the most powerful members of Congress.  He’s the Chairman of The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a position he won in a four-way House election.  For another, he’s been very high profile.  His investigation of Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood and her organization has elevated the controversy of funding it with $500 Million a year of taxpayer money to the point where many are in favor of shutting down the government rather than passing a budget that includes the subsidy.

His investigation of the transgressions of The Secret Service was so combative that 45 members of the SS went into Chaffetz’s personal file and brought out that he had once been rejected as an applicant to the SS.  This was, of course, an invasion not only of his privacy, but of Federal Law.  This investigation promises to become even more acrimonious as a result.

One thing is certain, and that is that there is enough anger in the Party and in the country that Republicans need to put forth a new image to voters in the 2016 elections if the party and the nation are going to successfully confront the challenges we are facing going forward.  Jason has promised to carry the fight for the future to the American people;  going on shows and exposing the administration, or even Republicans in The Senate, when necessary.  He says it’s time to get things done.

In a letter to colleagues asking for their support:  “I will do a great job of communicating a positive and strong message of hope and opportunity for our country.”

This could change everything.


NBC/Marist General Election Match-Ups: IA/NH

  1:02 pm

HT: GS. More info here.


Fiorina 52%
Clinton 38%

Bush 50%
Clinton 40%

Trump 48%
Clinton 41%

Fiorina 45%
Sanders 42%

Bush 46%
Sanders 44%

Sanders 48%
Trump 43%

New Hampshire

Fiorina 50%
Clinton 42%

Bush 49%
Clinton 42%

Clinton 48%
Trump 45%

Bush 46%
Sanders 46%

Sanders 47%
Fiorina 45%

Sanders 52%
Trump 42%

The NBC/WSJ/Marist polls of Iowa and New Hampshire were conducted Sept. 23-30. In Iowa, 1,061 registered voters were interviewed (margin of error +/- 3.0 percentage points), and in New Hampshire, 1,044 registered voters were tested (+/- 3.0 percentage points).


Could be the Most Important News Story of the Year

  12:21 pm

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has been approved by the US, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam

The United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries have reached a deal on the most sweeping trade liberalization pact in a generation but the accord on Monday faced initial skepticism in the U.S. Congress.

In a deal that could reshape industries and influence everything from the price of cheese to the cost of cancer treatments, the 12 countries will cut trade barriers and set common standards. Details of the pact were emerging in statements by officials after days of marathon negotiations in Atlanta.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership would affect 40 percent of the world economy and stand as a legacy-defining achievement for U.S. President Barack Obama, if it is ratified by Congress. Lawmakers in other TPP countries must also approve the deal.

This is not an issue that divides neatly only a partisan basis. Both parties have protectionist and free-trade wings.


October 4, 2015

Race 4 2016 Weekly Readers Poll (re-post)

  1:52 pm

This just a re-posting of our weekly readers poll for anyone who has yet to participate.


Below is the link to our weekly readers poll. This week we have nine questions and you have to be logged in with Google to vote.

Last week, the horse race results were as they have been lately with Senator Marco Rubio (38.4%), Senator Rand Paul (20.8%) and Governor John Kasich (9.2%) coming in one-two-three and businesswoman Carly Fiorina (8.3%) just off the podium. Mrs. Fiorina, however, is the second-most popular second choice with 18.3% choosing the Hewlett-Packard CEO and 19.3% choosing Senator Rubio. Governor Jeb Bush (11.7%) and Senator Ted Cruz (10%) were the third and fourth most popular second choices, respectively.

If the field was winnowed to just five candidates (Senators Rubio and Cruz, Governor Bush, Mrs. Fiorina and businessman Donald Trump), Mr. Rubio is the runaway winner with 56.4% and is followed by Mr. Cruz (17.1%) and Mrs. Fiorina (14.5%).

35.6% of respondents believe that his gaffes and flip-flops on the campaign trail were the primary culprit in Governor Scott Walker’s collapse while 30.5% cite Mr. Walker’s bland, boring personality and lack of charisma. A large majority (80.2%) believe the field will thin out somewhat more before the October 28 debate with between 11 and 15 candidates remaining at that time.

By a 57.6% to 42.4% margin, Race readers do not believe there is currently a “War on Christians” on-going in America and most respondents classify themselves as either a traditional conservative (40.3%) or libertarian (32.8%).

Race 4 2016 Weekly Readers Poll


The Next “Comeback” Kid?

  12:25 pm

In late January, 1992, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign appeared to be over. His personal life had become public scandal, and the experts in Washington, DC were saying he was kaput. At about that time, I ran into one of the senior titans of the national Democratic Party who knew I had predicted two years earlier that Clinton would be the Democratic nominee, and he assured me that Clinton was finished. I told him he could not be more wrong.

Today, 23 years later, there is general consensus among the media and political experts that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has no chance to win. Their absolute certainty was shaken a bit after Mr. Christie’s strong performance in the second GOP debate at the Reagan Library, but the consensus remains.

Look at the polls, they say. Christie is at 1% in Iowa, virtually at the bottom of the competing pack in this first electoral event of 2016. Overall, his numbers improved slightly nationally after the Reagan Library, but he’s still near or at the bottom of the top ten. Look at his high negatives, the experts say. Remember the bridge “scandal”, they add as if to make disputing them pointless.

But what do they say when six of the top Republican figures in  Iowa, including close allies of the longest-serving governor in the nation, Terry Branstad, have just endorsed him?

What do they say when figures such as Rick Perry and Scott Walker (the latter only weeks ago leading the pack in Iowa) withdraw so early from the contest, leaving fewer sitting and former governors in the race?

What do they say about two major candidates, Jeb Bush and John Kasich, failing to gain traction?

This is not to say that Governor Christie will be the Republican nominee. But with large numbers of delegates to be counted from eastern and northeastern states, the goodwill and alliances he made while campaigning for fellow governors (when he was Republican Governors Association  chair) in 2014, his demonstrated fundraising ability, and, most of all, his exceptional communications skills, it seems ludicrous to suggest he cannot re-emerge. In fact, there are signs that the lead in the polls will, as they did in the 2012 cycle, rotate between the major candidates until the primary/caucus season is underway.

In the 1992 New Hampshire primary, Bill Clinton only came in second. He then declared himself the “comeback kid.” He apparently did not believe the negative pronouncements of his party establishment, his party expert consultants, and the media.

We all know what happened next.

Copyright (c) by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.


Sunday Open Thread

  5:00 am

This is the Open Thread for Sunday.

Our long national nightmare has ended, or, It’s morning in America, or, borrowing from Democrats, Happy days are here again.

This is also a good place for new polls or articles you think might be of interest.


October 3, 2015

Weekend Miscellany

  8:00 am

Not sure if there will be another Miscellany tomorrow. I’m in transit a good part of the day today.


Source of Immigrants by State by Decade since 1850

Most immigrants in South Dakota are from Ethiopia. That’s one I would never have guessed. Click here to check changes by census year (it hasn’t always been mostly Mexico, and the forecast is that fairly soon it will be mostly Asia).

pew by state

End-of-Life Counseling Has Wide Support

From Kaiser:

As the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services prepares to finalize a plan to pay physicians for discussing end-of-life treatment options with Medicare patients, this month’s Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that about 8 in 10 of the public favors Medicare and private insurance covering such discussions and about 9 in 10 say doctors should have these discussions with their patients.

kaiser - eol

Trump News Coverage and Polling

As many of us pointed out, the Trump phenomenon fed on media oxygen. As his act has grown old, the media has dried up, and the polls have dropped. The correlation here is 0.93.


Note that the increase in media preceded Trump’s rise and the decrease preceded his decline.


The Walker Blame Game

Predictably, the Walker implosion has led to much finger-pointing among his former staff. While there is no doubt more than enough blame to go around, and it will take time to get a true consensus, the early count of fingers seems to show more pointed at campaign manager Rick Wiley than at anyone else.

Wiley, meanwhile seems to be trying to deflect blame as much as possible.

“One reason Republicans hate political consultants is that so many of them seem to have absolutely no conception of loyalty or reticence or even self-awareness,” wrote Matthew Continetti. “Scott Walker is a talented governor who won three elections in a blue state. He deserves the respect of his employees, who were happy to spin best-case scenarios for him as long as the money was good.

“Now, though, Walker’s campaign manager is suddenly out of a job. So what does he do? Like a true Washingtonian, he absolves himself of responsibility for the collapse while explaining to the press — and to his future clients — that it was entirely the governor’s fault.”


Gun Laws

Support for stronger gun laws over recent years. (Sorry, no link, this is from a Pollster newsletter).

pollster - gun laws

New York from 2,000 feet
Just lots of cool pics.

Stat Lib

Briefly Noted
Russia Blames Poland for WW2: Well, of course.
What Could Go Wrong?: The feds are reported to be building a publicly-accessible database of every address in the US.


Saturday Open Thread

  5:00 am

This is the Open Thread for Saturday. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. This is also a good place for new polls or articles you think might be of interest.


October 2, 2015

Trump Falls to Second Place Nationally

  9:28 pm

Cue the Drudge siren. As the writeup in the link says: “Donald Trump has boasted that he’s ‘leading every poll and in most cases big.’ Not anymore.”

IBD/TIPP National Republican Primary

  • Carson – 24%
  • Trump – 17%
  • Rubio – 11%
  • Fiorina – 9%
  • Bush – 8%
  • Cruz – 6%
  • Kasich – 4%
  • Paul – 3%
  • Huckabee – 2%
  • Christie – 2%
  • All Others – less than 2%
  • Undecided – 9%

Survey of 377 registered Republicans or Republican leaning independents was done Sept 26-Oct 1 and has a margin of error of ±5%.


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