Weekend Round-Up


  • The third fundraising quarter of 2009 comes to an end on Wednesday night.  Please, please, please consider a contribution before Wednesday night to our Democratic candidates for Senate via the Expand the Map! ActBlue page.  Every contribution makes a real impact!  Thank you SO much.
  • Massachusetts: United States Senator Paul Kirk has been sworn in.
  • California: Want a great laugh courtesy of the DSCC?  Remember how failed businesswoman and golden parachute recipient Carly Fiorina launched what has been called the “worst political website ever“?  Well, check out Fiorina’s site for yourself, and then visit the DSCC’s spoof site at CarlyIsDreamin.com.  Well played, DSCC.
  • Illinois: Tough break for Republican Congresscritter Mark Kirk, the perceived front-runner in the 2010 GOP Senate primary: RNC Chairman Michael Steele has reportedly withdrawn his endorsement of Kirk in the Senate race.  The back story: Illinois’ conservative community appears to be coalescing behind conservative businessman Pat Hughes.  Don’t be shocked if we see a real race emerge in the primary between Kirk & Hughes, not dissimilar from the Florida Republican primary between Crist & Rubio.  The movement conservative with the right-wing grassroots army can topple the big money, establishment-backed Goliath with a lot of organizing and a little luck.
  • Louisiana: Here are your two orders from the Pelican State: 1) Defund David Vitter!; and, 2) Don’t trust Vitter on health care.
  • Iowa: Back in August, the Des Moines Register suggested that a Democrat with “name recognition and money” was almost definitely going to enter the race against Republican Chuck Grassley.  There was lots of speculation, but no new candidate announcements.  Fast forward a month and a half to this past Friday, when IA-Dems Chairman Michael Kiernan spoke in very confident tones about a Democrat who will give Grassley “the race of his life.”  No clues on who, but to say that this knight in shining armor is “100 percent committed” to the race.  I’m waiting with bated breath.
  • Wisconsin: Senator Russ Feingold has gotten himself a rich (i.e. one who can self-fund) Republican challenger in real estate developer Terrence Wall.  How far right-wing is Wall?  Of our health care system, Wall says “our system is not broken.”  Of Wall Street run amok, Wall says “I don’t think Wall Street should be regulated.”  Wall probably gave John McCain a standing ovation when he said that the fundamentals of our economy were strong.
  • New Hampshire: Shortly after wealthy Republican businessman William Binnie announced that he is considering joining the 2010 GOP Senate primary, which already includes Sarah Palin-esque quitter Kelly Ayotte and 1996 gubernatorial nominee Ovide Lamontagne, another Granite State businessman is considering joining the Republican primary, as well: Jim Bender, a private equity investor and former head of the Logicraft company.
  • Arizona: According to new Public Policy Polling numbers, John McCain has a mediocre approve-disapprove at 48-42, but still enjoys double-digit leads in hypothetical match-ups against potential Democratic opponents.  A bright spot in the PPP Arizona numbers: Jon Kyl, the emptiest suit in Washington D.C., has an even-worse approve-disapprove at 43-40, with Kyl clocking in at a 32-53 approve-disapprove among independents, an atrocious net twenty-one point disapproval among independents.  For an illustration of why Kyl is such a black hole of basic thought, follow this exchange:

    “I don’t need maternity care,” Kyl replied. “So requiring that on my insurance policy is something that I don’t need and will make the policy more expensive.”Interrupting him, [Senator Debbie] Stabenow added, “I think your mom probably did.”

    If you ask Jon Kyl, he’ll tell you that President John F. Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can prevent your country from helping somebody else to do.”  I really can’t wait for Kyl’s seat to be up in 2012.  Kyl is an angry, little man.

  • Health care reform: Forget about voting for or against health care reform for the moment.  ConservaDem Ben Nelson won’t even commit to voting for cloture to end a Republican filibuster on health care reform.  Best thing to do: on Monday, call Nelson’s Washington D.C. office at 202-224-6551 and urge him to support cloture on health care reform regardless of his position on the legislation itself in order to allow for an actual vote on the bill, so as to prevent further Republican obstruction.
  • Polling: Bad week for faulty polling (which is good for people who want polls to be, as best they can be, accurate snapshots of public opinion).  The right-leaning pollster Strategic Vision is under suspicion of outright fabrication of their poll results.Also, Rasmussen Reports, which has released a bunch of polls lately that appear noticeably more favorable to the GOP than the dynamics of the races might suggest, bregrudingly confessed to using different question modelsfor Republicans and Democrats in (so far as we know) one poll, with the question model for the Republican typically yielding more favorable results (i.e. giving the Republican a built-in advantage when determining public sentiment toward him) and the question model for the Democrat yielding less favorable results (i.e. giving the Democrat a built-in disadvantage when determining public sentiment toward him).Though this particular flaw did not infect other polls, it is noteworthy that, for instance, while every poll from every pollster since Spring 2009 has shown Democrats leading Republicans in OH-Sen (Lee Fisher over Rob Portman and Jennifer Brunner over Rob Portman), Rasmussen’s latest take on OH-Sen sees Portman very narrowly leadingthe Democrats all of a sudden.  It would be very enlightening (and would build confidence in the quality of Rasmussen polling) if they didn’t hide their crosstabs behind a “Premium Member” subscription wall.Public Policy Polling’s Tom Jensen says it best:

    I remember when I was in high school all of my math textbooks had the answers to all of the odd numbered questions in the back. When you did your homework you could certainly look back there and get the answers right but you didn’t get any credit if you didn’t show your work.

    Strategic Vision, Rasmussen Reports, and, well, all pollsters should “show their work.”

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