Friday, March 27, 2009

Massachusetts Governors Seat up for Grabs in 2010 – Mass. Governor Duval Patrick - Approval Rating Sinks to 28%

Massachusetts Governor, Duval Patrick, is currently enjoying an approval rating of 28% - this according to a recent poll conducted by Survey USA. The Poll, sponsored by WBZ-TV Boston, was comprised of 600 adults, and show a margin of sampling error of +-3.8%. The Respondents political affiliation roughly mirrors the make-up of the electorate: with 15% Republican, 40% Democrat and 41% Independent respondents (actual makeup: 35% Democrat 51% Independent). 82% of those polled who disapprove considered themselves to be Conservative, with 71% considering themselves to be moderates (Republican and Democrat Party Affiliation), 74% of those disapproving served in the armed forces, with 68% believing that a draft is necessary, 70% attend religious services regularly with 69% of those who disapprove indentified as gun owners – 56% of the respondents polled were from the Boston area, with only 24% polling from Worcester and Western Massachusetts.

Patrick, a Democrat, campaigned on a platform of “Hope and Change”, promising middle class tax cuts and increased prosperity to Massachusetts residents. Patrick, gained the seat with the help of political advisor, David Axelrod, who also engineered the career of Barack Obama. Patrick has come under intense scrutiny lately for his proposal to raise the Massachusetts State gas tax to .19 per gallon, in order to bail out the corrupt and bloated Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.

How likely is it that Patrick will be re-elected? Respondents to a Suffolk University Poll chose little known state Treasurer Tim Cahill (D), to replace Patrick, although, to date, there have been no announcements as to his candidacy.

On the lighter side - upon release of the Suffolk Poll, Jennifer Nassour, Massachusetts Republican Chair, issued the following statement:

"I congratulate Gubernatorial Front Runner Tim Cahill on his new status - certainly he needed some good news. This poll shows the people of Massachusetts are tired of the ethical lapses and waste in state government. The Massachusetts Republican Party stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of the Commonwealth in believing we need to clean up the mess on Beacon Hill by cutting spending, ending no-show jobs and lowering taxes."

The question now remains; which Republican (there are several names being bandied about, including Massachusetts State Senator Scott Brown), will run against Patrick. Christy Mihos, Cape Code Businessman and Independent, has already thrown his hat in the ring. Mihos, ran against the Patrick, and Republican Kerry Healy in 2006, earning 7% of the vote. Mihos, however, ran the most memorable ad of the entire campaign, (YouTube shown below) one which could easily be resurrected today, as the same problems Massachusetts faced in 2006, have actually worsened under the leadership of Patrick.

In the final analysis, the biggest shocker of the poll is not the Governors low approval rating, rather the fact that the majority of respondents, regardless of ethnicity or party affiliation, consider themselves to be conservative or moderate, in the state that is considered “The Blues State”. Those conservatives, who, for years, have felt like “red headed step sisters” with each and every passing election, are hoping that the National GOP will finally turn its attention to Massachusetts and, to use our current Presidents favorite euphemism, “invest”, in Massachusetts.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Obama Invests in New York’s 20th Congressional – All Eyes on Upstate New York Republican Stronghold

The Associated Press , in an article today, is reporting that the President has begun fundraising for the Democrat candidate for New York’s 20th District, Scott Murphy. The seat, held until recently by Sen. Hillary Clinton’s Senate replacement, Kristen Gillibrand, will be filled in a special election March 31st. The President publicly endorsed Murphy, and took it a step further by appealing directly to former campaign supporters to pony up for Obama’s choice. The DNC, which recorded low fundraising numbers in February, despite the President’s popularity with the base, needed a little help – therefore, as Head of the Democrat Party, the President contacted the party faithful:

"Sign up and pitch in to elect Scott Murphy to Congress," the president implored in an early morning e-mail to at least 50,000 people in New York's 20th Congressional District. Tying his agenda to the election's outcome, he added that electing Murphy would "make a big impact on my efforts to bring about a lasting economic recovery."

The problem that Murphy faces with the District, is politically mathematical – Gillibrand ran and was elected based upon a strategy of being a gun-toting, fiscally conservative Democrat, with the added benefit of a scandal of sorts attached to the Republican incumbent just prior to the election. However, now, with an open seat in a district where Republicans far outnumber Democrats (should the independents be so inclined as to vote Democrat in this District, the difference would be an approximate 46,000 in favor of the Republican Candidate, Tedisco) it is improbable that Murphy will prevail, despite the support of Obama.

Meanwhile, the Republican candidate, James Tedisco, a popular minority leader of the New York State Assembly , has received endorsements from upstate editorial boards, the Humane Society, prominent upstate Businessman Neil Golub, and former Govern of Arkansas and Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee. Mike Huckabee will be putting in appearances in Upstate New York and his PAC, HUCKPAC is adding funds to Tedisco’s coffers. In contrast, Murphy has been endorsed by the president and two unions. Just how popular is the President and the Unions in upstate New York? A little history – Gillibrand was the first Democrat to hold that seat in over 30 years, under blue-dog Democrat credentials, with a scandalized Republican incumbent.

What has to happen, in order for Tedisco to lose this race, is to have 47,000 Republican’s in the District vote against their conservative principles for Murphy, or alternately, for 47,000 additional Democrats to materialize and vote for Murphy in this mainly rural district. Therefore, although this is being touted by the national press as a must win for both sides, it is neither a referendum on Obama’s budget (those in Upstate are, primarily, fiscal conservatives who oppose the budget), nor on the ability of Michael Steele’s, RNC Chair, leadership. In reviewing the data from the Secretary of State’s office on voter registration statistics, the local endorsements of Tedisco, and the history of the district – it appears that the Republican’s should handily gain a seat in the Congress on the 31st of March.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

President Prime Time Budget Sale – Attempts to Bore the Public Into Compliance – White House Press Corp more Entertaining

From AP Photo

President Obama held yet another prime time press conference last evening in order to sell his bloated budget to the General Public. The budget, and the Presidents Pet Projects, is in trouble – on Main Street, and in Congress from both Democrats and Republican’s. The Democrats are furiously whittling away at the budget, while and Republicans, have been working on an alternative (which, contrary to Obama’s campaign rhetoric, he is well aware of this fact).

With dwindling support, the President brought his campaign to the people in hopes of selling trillion dollar deficits based on questionable programs. He peppered each answer with the word “invest”, rather than spend, when it came to inquiries about saddling future generations with a huge deficit and the need to implement these programs at a time when they are hardly affordable. The questions from the White House Press Corp, were fairly pointed, and not so artfully dodged, rather answered in a meandering way, in which Obama appeared to have lost his train of thought on several occasions. This, in spite of the fact, that the President carefully avoided calling on the heavy business focus publications: the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times were excluded.

Teleprompter or no, the Press has weighed in this morning: The Daily News ”President Obama Failed to Sell His Budget Plans to the American People, The Associated Press “Analysis: Teleprompter telegraphs Obama caution”, , Detroit Free Press ”President Obama isn’t Funny” , and a very cutting, pre-conference piece from the New York Times, ”Obama Selling His Economic Plans on the Airwaves, Again”.

Of special interest, the clip below from YouTube, in which the President takes a question from a CBS Correspondent, who repeatedly asks about saddling future generation with the deficit: One must notice the expressions on correspondents during the Q&A, they are hardly sitting rapt with attention rather appear to be as bored or unbelieving as a growing majority of the public.

The budget, something that normally does not compel a sitting President to hire people to canvas neighbors for support, , hit the talk show circuit, and take his teleprompter to the people during prime time, will be a test of sorts for this President. Should his budget be pared down, by members of his own party, it will signal a weakness that is already perceived by those in the press. Additionally, there are problems with votes of “no confidence” coming from both Europe and Asia in regards to future investments in the U.S. Dollar under this administration (a point brought up in the press conference). Is it fair to be so critical of the President as his tenure has been so short? The answer is resoundingly yes – Barack Obama sold the Middle Class a “Bill of Goods”, touting his ability to offer a smooth transition, bi-partisan support in Washington (no one truly believed that one), and he’s the crux, that a man who had limited experience, none in governing, would be able to handle the job. That said, it is every single American’s hope that our President will rise to the occasion and accomplish what he promised: middle class tax cuts, transparency in government and trimming the fat from the budget.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Barney Frank – Blasts Justice Anton Scalia – Another Low Point for the Massachusetts 4th

Barney Frank, Democrat Congressman of Massachusetts 4th District, in an interview with with the website, did not hesitate in calling Justice Anton Scalia a “homophobe” in reference to gay marriage as a constitutional issue. Why would Frank paint Scalia as a bigot? Scalia has made no remarks that would lend one to believe he is, as Frank claims, a homophobe – rather, Scalia, true to his nature is interpreting the Constitution, a document Frank doesn’t necessarily understand. In referencing issues such as gay marriage and abortion, Scalia rightly points out that the constitution does not mention questions of morality, rather questions of law – a point not taken by Frank. The quote: "I wouldn't want it to go to the United States Supreme Court now because that homophobe Antonin Scalia has too many votes on this current court," underscores Frank’s understanding that the court is a bit more conservative than he feels necessary, preferring the Massachusetts Supreme Court model, whereby any constitution is considered ripe for legislation rather than interpretation. Instead of pointing to the differences between how Frank and Scalia view the document in question, Frank, in his usual form, throws out unsubstantiated and unseemly adjectives.

Frank, who is campaigning for reelection in 2010 in a district which includes New Bedford and Fall River and Taunton, all, for the most part, heavily affiliated as Catholic; yet, support for Frank, who is a pro-choice has not waivered allowing the man to serve the 4th since 1981. In the last election cycle, Frank did face an underfunded opponent, Earl Sholley. Sholley is positioning to run against Frank again in 2010. Frank, who has several unsavory ties to the Freddie and Fannie disaster highlighted here at Anybody But, would, one might think, be a rather easy target. Yet, the Massachusetts 4th, which relies heavily on the fishing industry, receives considerable ”bacon” from Frank. That aside, not everyone in the 4th is enamored of Mr. Frank, and should a strong candidate emerge, Mr. Frank could face retirement in 2010. For more on Earl Sholley, visit Sholley for Congress.

Monday, March 23, 2009

CBS and the New York Times offer Early Criticism of Obama Administration – Analysis

The Sunday edition of the New York Times featured Paul Krugman despairing over Obama’s economic policies, a piece by Tobin Harshaw, entitled: “Weekend Opinionator: Obama’s Communication Breakdown” and finally a piece by none-other than Maureen Dowd , “Toxic R US”, telling her readers she is “wondering if the wrong Obama is in the Oval”. The President has faced growing media criticism in the past two months, however, not from his stalwart defenders, the New York Times and CBS News – this is something new. It is not like the Times has, in the past, “followed the crowd”, and rather appeared to be invested in an old title: “The Paper of Record” – what gives?

Over at CBS, the weekly “magazine” “60 Minutes, featured an interview with Obama and anchor, Steve Kroft – in the interview (Transcript her via Politico) an incredulous Kroft asks Obama if he is “Punch Drunk” after the President chuckled during questions raised on the economy.
It is almost as if these two media giants have finally caught on that the general public has severe reservations about their commander in chief. An interesting piece over at the blog Hillbuzz, asks “Whatever Happened To that New Kind of Politics” , referring to Obama’s campaign promise of playing well with others once elected. The comments thus far are revealing, as this particular blog garners visitors from right, left and center, and with very few exceptions, there is a lot of angst about the new Commander in Chief’s abilities to govern effectively. This could be any right-wing Republican blog, but it’s not – it is a blog written by Hillary Clinton supporters in, of all places, Chicago, Democrats who sound – conservative. Or, more to the point, well written and impeccably researched, the blog is penned by normal people who have had their doubts since day one. (Suggested daily reading).

One has to question when the final nail will be hammered into the Obama Media Popularity Coffin – the answer: When MSNBC’s crew begins to get testy. Seriously, it should be obvious to the press and to the rest of the world that a greater division now exists between the people and the government – and by and between political parties in the United States than at any other time in history – and this includes the era of the Bush Administration. Who would have ever, in their wildest dreams, beloved that a progressive Democrat President would make George W. Bush look like one of the best and brightest to sit in the oval office in decades? That may be one of Obama’s greatest achievements, elevating the legacy of George W. Bush.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

GOP Threatens Early Rally in the Northeast while Obama’s Strongly Approves Remain Stagnant at 35%

New York’s 20th Congressional District has made quite a few headlines lately - over a special election to replace Kirstin Gillibrand, Clinton’s Senate replacement on March 31. The general consensus is that as the district trended Democrat in the last two elections (2006 & 2008), therefore, a Republican would have difficult time obtaining the seat. Additionally, some media analysts note that pressure is being placed on GOP Chair, Michael Steele to deliver the seat.
Firstly, Kristen Gillibrand obtained the seat by running as a more-than-moderate gun-toting, fiscally conservative Democrat against a Republican, John Sweeney, who battled last minute reports of scandalous domestic violence. Once Ms. Gillibrand ascended to the Senate, however, she changed her stance on gun-control and voted for the unpopular Stimulus package. The choice for the 20th congressional district at that time was either a moderate-Republican leaning Democrat or a scandalized Republican. Secondly, Times have changed, but the 20th voter make-up remains fairly conssitant, as of November 2008 - Republicans maintained over 196,000 registered Republicans to the approximately 125,000 registered 20th congressional Democrats.

The Upstate New York Press sheds some light on this particular race – with the Poughkeepsie Journal endorsing Republican Tedisco and the Daily Oneonta Star defends Tedisco and closes the article by reminding readers that the 20th has sent one Democrat to the House – Gillibrand. Additionally, the AIG bonus fiasco is becoming a factor, with Tedisco calling for the resignation of Treasury Secretary Geithner (Schenectady Daily Gazette) - sure to appeal to fiscal conservatives as well as moderate democrats in the district.

The AIG Scandal is also affecting CT Senator Chris Dodd – The Nutmeg State’s leading paper, The Hartford Courant, lead web story Sunday shouts: ”GOP's Simmons Positions Himself As The Anti-Dodd”. The article praises Simmons, while listing Dodd’s less noteworthy accomplishments: the move of his family to Iowa during his failed run for the Democrat Presidential Primary, ownership in a cottage in Ireland, a questionable refinancing of two of his mortgages, and most recently, his role in the AIG bonus brouhaha. It is a bit early to count Dodd out, according to the Courant, “National Democratic operatives figure there's still mileage left in a strategy that links Simmons to President Bush, an approach that worked for them in 2006.”

The DNC strategy of linking Republican’s (or any candidate for that matter) to President George W. Bush, may not be the best decision, considering the current “highly approve” rating enjoyed by President Barack Obama has sunk to 35% in Rasmussen’s Daily Tracking Poll for Sunday, March 22, 2009 The Wall Street Journal’s recent analysis of Obama’s current poll numbers, indicate that he is less popular than George Bush was given the same period of time in office. Should the trend continue into 2009, any politician affiliated with the sitting President may enjoy a similar experience to those suffered by his/her Republican counterparts in 2006 and 2008.

Map of 2010 Races - Republican Governors Association

There are 39 Gubernatorial Races in 2009 and 2010, of those, 11 are held by Democrat Incumbents (states to watch, MA and VA), all House of Representatives seats are up for grabs (expect Barney Frank (D-MA) to face a Challnger), and 36 Senate Seats are in play including Dodd, Reid, Burris, and Feingold, some of whom are considered “safe”. With history generally ruling out, Obama may end up facing two houses similar to Clinton’s – a Senate and House run by Republicans. The Northeast, once gain, may lead by firing the “shot heard round the world”.

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