Saturday, September 12, 2009

Andy Card Endorses MA Senator Brown – Brown announcement Saturday at 2:00 P.M. – Obama Presses Hard for MA Senate Replacement - Fear & Loathing in D.C

Scott Brown, to Make Announcment Re: MA U.S. Senate Race Today at 2 PM - photo: Facebook

Former White House Chief of Staff, Andy Card, formally endorsed State Senator Scott Brown (R), yesterday while announcing his decision not to run for the U.S. Senate Seat made vacant due to Ted Kennedy’s passing. Card stated: “Now is not the right time for me to enter a political race.
In these critical times, I know that Massachusetts would be well served to have Senator Scott Brown as the Commonwealth's next United States Senator. He has my full support."

Following Card’s decision and endorsement, Brown indicated that he would be making an announcement today at 2:00 p.m. from the Statehouse. Brown would join Republican Bob Burr, a Canton Selectman, and Democrat Martha Coakley, the Attorney General of the Commonwealth, as the third to formally announce a candidacy for this Senate Seat. Several Democrats who were considered to be possible successors to Kennedy have bowed out of the race; U.S. Representative Ed Markey, (D-MA) and more importantly, Joe Kennedy who was seen by local media as key to the tone of the race (Kennedy Dynasty)

Others who are either considering or whose names have been bandied about in the press include: Former Baseball Player Curt Shilling, who would run as an Independent, Progressive Democrat, John Tierney, Republican Michael Sullivan, former U.S. Attorney, currently working with John Ashcroft’s firm, Stephen Lynch Democrat , U.S. Congress, MA 9th District Michael Capuano, Democrat, U.S. CongressMassachusetts 8th Congressional District and The Boston Globe’s personal favorite Kennedy’s widow, Vicki Kennedy, who has already indicated she would not want an appointment, but has not yet issued a formal statement one way or the other on running for the seat.

As of this moment, Coakley enjoys strong support from within her own party, while Brown, who is more “populist” in nature, appears to enjoy local party support, and grassroots support that covers the entire Bay State and includes both Independents and Moderate Democrats. Depending upon the number of Democrats who enter the race, infighting may weaken any candidate running up to the primary to be held on December 9th; although Coakley is said to have sufficient contributions to continue through with the campaign. The same might be said on the Republican side with Brown appearing to have the most grassroots support (critical in any race), and the ability to raise funds (see grassroots), the Republican field is already narrow, and given that a primary among those who have announced would produce Brown as the candidate, should the State GOP give its blessing, the National Committee would follow suit adding considerably to Brown’s war chest. Brown would then be in the unique position to become the Commonwealth’s first U.S. Republican Senator since Edward Brook, (served from 1967 to 1979).

Pundits who are consistently bent on calling Massachusetts the Bluest State, should consider the fact that the population has changed (considerable drop in population leading to the loss of a Congressional Seat), the predominant political designation (and growing) is “unenrolled” or independent (Republican Governor’s are mainstream in Massachusetts), and the current political climate does not favor one party over the other.

They key factor in Brown’s Senate Race will be national support (from individuals, pacs and the GOP) With Barack Obamapushing for an “interim replacement” in the Bay state (directly), one understands that the climate has truly changed. If the Democrats, from the top down, we’re confident that a Democrat could take Kennedy’s Seat in the January Special Election, there would be no reason to install a name brand (enter Vicki Kennedy), replacement who, the President (and his advisors) erroneously believe, would be better positioned to best a Republican in the special election. As of now, it is speculated that the Democrats intend to push the Health Care Reform bill through the legislative process using the nuclear option (should they have enough support within their own ranks). With that in mind, a replacement for Kennedy, at this juncture, is moot, therefore, it is not only possible, but probable, that a savvy, competent, well-liked and well-funded, Scott Brown will be the next Republican U.S. Senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lest We Forget - September 11, 2001

As the years pass, memories fade, hearts and minds heal, and America, once again, becomes complacent. It is with this in mind, that it behooves all citizens of this great nation, to take a moment and remember that we are not infallible, nor are our borders secured, and the change we all hope for, in regards to peace within and without our borders is fragile at best. With this in mind, a moment of silence, a prayer, to remember those who lost their lives, innocent women, children and men who were merely going to work, and those who risked and lost their lives to save them. It should also be noted, that the City of New York, represented, historically, the Capitol of our Great Nation. The video below depicts news coverage of the days events.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Obama - Over-exposed and Partisan in Prime Time Health Care Reform Pitch

The President made yet another prime-time appearance in support of national health care reform, and a weary public was treated to more rhetoric, specifically aimed at those who disagree with the current form of the legislation. In stating that the problem with health care reform lay in partisanship, the president display partisanship as he should know full well that the backlash to the current health care reform in congress is coming from the populace. (The current legislation has caused the general public great angst, and as a result, the general public has voiced (loudly) their opposition to certain aspects of this reform to their representatives – of which, Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats who want to maintain their position, have taken note.)
Those that actually tuned in were treated of more of the same finger pointing and soaring, well-delivered, rhetoric that has become part and parcel of the administrations playbook. To be fair, the President and his advisers, have been listening, as suddenly, the number of uninsured’s dropped from 47 Million to 30 Million apparently overnight (Text of speech), and there appeared to be a bit of dancing with, no direct mention, of a public option.

That said, the public is not buying, even in Massachusetts. An internet poll (accuracy can be suspect) on NBC Affiliate WWLP, Springfield, MA reported (after the President’s address) that 63% of those responding did not approve of the way the President was handling the issue (screen shot below)

In addition, the problem with passing the current legislation is more bi-partisan than partisan, a fact that should not have escaped the President, it is either that he is as out of touch with the Congress as he is with the general public, or he was stating an untruth. From the Drudge Report: :

Wed Sep 09 2009 17:03:37 ET

At least 44 more moderate Members of the Democrat Caucus have gone on the record in opposition to the current health care bill in the House, a Hill source claims. Likewise, at least 57 liberal Members of the Democrat Caucus have gone on the record saying they will vote against a health care bill without a strong public option.

Unless multiple Democrats flip on their stated position on health care, Speaker Pelosi lacks the votes to pass a bill through the House on the strength of Democrat votes alone.”

Note: the complete list and statements by those members are featured in that developing article.

Therefore, it goes without saying that some sort of reform is necessary, but the partisanship displayed by this administration and its like minded Congress is responsible. Suggestions, sensible and cost savings have been offered by those same Republican representatives the President disdains in his remarks, yet they are repeatedly rejected by the Democrat majority. As the public has become more selective and more adept at researching major issues, such as the health care reform act, they know when someone is crying wolf, too often, and additionally where the “blame”, to be fair, in part, lays.

Regarding the outburst of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), who reacted to a portion of the President’s address (coverage for illegal immigrants), by loudly calling out “Liar” - one must be sure that the time and place were not correct, given the established protocol of the setting. However, one must also realize, that on an emotional level, Representative Wilson was basically echoing the sentiments of, at the very least, 50% of the populace, regarding this particular issue. Understanding the differences between the general populace and a Representative of Congress; Rep. Wilson should have apologized, which he did, that said, one can expect reprimands, investigations, et al, in regards to his actions. The polls will be indicative of the actual percentage of the general public is in sync with Rep. Wilson.

Additionally, these polls, within the next week, will indicate how well this latest address was received by the general public (those who vote). As of this morning, Rasmussen’s Daily Tracking Poll, suggests the President’s approval has, overall, remained at or below 50% since August. Also, 68% now believe that the current legislation would result in larger deficits.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Congress - Fees Proposed for Those Who Do Not Carry Health Insurance - Welcome to Massachusetts Style Health Care Reform

One of the latest propositionson Health Care Reform to come out of the U.S. Congress is a fine for those who fail to comply with Government Mandated Health Insurance coverage. Max Baucus (D-MT), working with the so-called bi-partisan “Gang of Six” to form a bi-partisan compromise on Health Care Reform, came up with a proposal that mirrors one currently in place in Massachusetts: (From AP News:)

"Just as auto coverage is now mandatory in most states, Baucus would require that all Americans get health insurance once the system is overhauled. Penalties for failing to get insurance would start at $750 a year for individuals and $1,500 for families. Households making more than three times the federal poverty level - about $66,000 for a family of four - would face the maximum fines. For families, it would be $3,800, and for individuals, $950."

Currently, Massachusetts’ version of Universal Health Care, which makes up the majority of the Commonwealth’s budget and is repeatedly driving the State into the Red (25% tax increase included), includes a “fee” assessed for those who do not carry some form of coverage under the Commonwealth’s guidelines. These “fees” are paid directly to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (i.e. a tax). Those who fail to pay the “fees” are assessed a penalty on their income tax, which can include garnishment of wages. In addition, citizens of the Commonwealth, their Employers and insurance companies are subject to filing additional forms (bureaucracy in action), with the State – proof of insurance must be attached to one’s tax returns – proof of compliance with a State Mandated program. One must understand that anytime additional forms are required, be it for a health care provider, an insurer or an employer, costs are increased and those costs are passed onto the consumer. Additionally, government mandated benefits (such as coverage for Transgender Surgery and Infertility Benefits – high price tag items – there are 26 State Mandated Benefits, only some of which appear to be non-elective procedures in the real world (elective procedures – those that are not necessary to sustain life or prevent a serious illness) - further drive up the cost of health-care.

Should the Federal Government’s plan come close to what Massachusetts has in place, expect an increase in premiums, an increase in forms, and an increase in intrusion from the Internal Revenue Service, specifically if one cannot afford to carry any one of the versions offered by the particular state in which one resides.

The Massachusetts model could work, without breaking the bank and driving up the costs for consumers if the following we’re implemented: mandatory benefits reviewed to include only those wellness benefits and certain tests (mammograms, etc.) that are proven to save lives, and reduce the cost of healthcare. Allow citizens to purchase coverage across state-lines, which would not only increase the competitive pool, but spread the risks incurred by insurers, thereby reducing costs. Riders could be attached (at an additional cost) to plans, allowing individuals to cherry-pick high priced item coverage. Finally, allow for catastrophic coverage only; a plan that would allow participants to pay a high, yet affordable, out-of-pocket deductible (routine wellness benefits would not be covered – these often cost less annualized than the premium) providing hospitalization and surgical benefits and treatments.

Massachusetts has a public option in place, it would behoove those lawmakers who are so keen on pushing through legislation to investigate the Commonwealth’s programs and its impact on the State’s economy and specifically the impact on the middle class (increased premiums, increased taxes, increased “fees”) prior to writing any legislation that includes a hint of a public option.

Massachusetts Sales Tax
Penalities for Uninsured’s to Rise in 2009
Feeding the Beast, Massachusetts Health Reform Act

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Scott Brown, MA Senate, Contemplates run for vacant Kennedy Seat – Formal Announcement Possible This Week - The Field of Contenders - Analysis

Scott Brown - Mass Senate -Image: sunchronicle

From The Boston Globe: Massachusetts State Senator, Scott Brown, will announce today, if he will run for the U.S. Senate Seat left vacant with the passing of Sen. Ted Kennedy. Brown conducted a survey on Facebook over the weekend, asking for input across the State; the responses, from a variety of Party affiliations, was extremely positive – Therefore, it is more than probable that Brown will enter the race today, if positive feedback is any indication.

The other contenders (mainly speculation) that will face off in a primary on December 9th; to date are Martha Oakley and Joe Kennedy has opted out of the race, as of today. On the Republican side, , Jeff Beatty and Jim Godowsky have been mentioned,(both ran against Kerry in 2008) as well as Michael Sullivan, former U.S. Attorney, and Chris Egan, a former U.S. Ambassador, Andrew Card, former State Representative, and Bob Barr, a Canton Selectman. Curt Shilling, baseball player, and independent is also considering a run for the Senate. Currently, Coakley is the only one who has officially announced her intent to run.

Out of that lofty field of politico’s, Brown is the only one who has current legislative experience, as a Massachusetts State Senator. Brown also offers his constituents the transparency that is often not delivered. He also writes monthly newsletters which are emailed to constituents, as well as legislative updates on his personal website: Scott His State Legislative website, , is more of a legislative resume and offers some insight into his role in the Massachusetts Senate.

Brown is known as a fiscal conservative, and social moderate, should one take the time to investigate his voting record, he appears to listen to the concerns of his constituents, without divorcing himself from the reality of his position as a citizen legislator, hired by the people - not your typical east coast elitist. Based upon his past experience, and performance, his willingness to communicate with his constituents, Scott Brown gives the voters a solid option to Martha Coakley (which, as of this writing, it would appear that Coakley and Brown would be the two strongest candidates coming out of a primary on the 8th of December. The special election is slated for the 19th of January.

As for Coakley, she may be perceived as a member of the Patrick administration, which will likely translate into a three-fold burden in a general election: one, the aforementioned association with Deval Patrick. Secondly, the Democrat brand is damaged - even in Massachusetts (see current Polling at Real Clear Politics 2009 and 2010 races), nationwide polling suggests that Republican’s or Independent Candidates stand to best their Democrat counterparts as of this moment (polling and perception are subject to change).
Additionally, and much to this writers angst, women in Massachusetts general elections do not, historically, fare well – the last to run was Democrat Shannon O’Brien, who lost to Mitt Romney in 2004. Jane Swift, a Republican, held the seat as an Acting Govenor, not elected. Kerry Healey was the last women to run (against Deval Patrick), and lost by a significant margin (most of that attributed to negative campaign ads and a bad Republican Brand.)

Therefore, if the race boils down to a Coakley/Brown general election, Browns experience and ability to connect with constituents, a stronger Republican (or Conservative is more appropriate) brand given the majority of Massachusetts voters are designated unenrolled), would, in all likelihood, best Coakley in any match up.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Public Service Message – Tea Party Express Rally – Comes to Hartford, CT, September 11

Tea Party Express Rally, Sacramento, CA - image: matthewwarrington.wordpress

The Tea Party Express will be making a stop in Hartford, CT on September 11th, prior to their March on Washington DC, September 12th. Hartford is easily accessible from both Western and Central Massachusetts, for more information visit: Tea Party
Those attending past events include people from all political party affiliations; the basic premise of the organization and those attending is to bring attention to the U.S. Constitution and the fact that it may not be currently followed to the letter. It is also a reminder to politician’s that they hold these positions, simply because the people hired them – the message – they can be fired as well.
It should be interesting to see media coverage (if any) of the event taking place, in Hartford (by local media), as well as the large event in Washington DC on the 12th.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

2010 Congressional Race Analysis - Barney Frank (D-MA) – Sending Campaign Letters to 4th District, Early Polling Taking Place – Is Frank in Trouble?

Is the Massachsuetts 4th Trending Independnet? Bad News for Incumbants - Image: nationalatlas

Several calls and emails from 4th district Republicans and Independents, have noted that Barney Frank is sending campaign emails for 2010, asking for support for re-election to Congress. (Mailers include the usual Republican’s caused the financial crisis, etc.) Those that were contacted via the mail, were surprised, as it was the first time in recent memory that Frank had actually sent out campaign literature – to non-Democrats. The addition of pollsters calling throughout the 4th rating Frank’s overall performance, is in itself interesting, as most high-profile U.S. Congressional members (Massachusetts), do not feel the need to poll. It is a “given” that their election is in “the bag”.

For example, one can count on U.S. Rep. Richard Neal to send a standard mailer to all registered voters in the Hampden 2nd, approximately 2 to 3 months prior to any election, touting his accomplishments and adding in the usual party rhetoric re: the Republican Party will take away social security, etc. (the script never changes).

Therefore, the question arises - are the polls at Frank’s behest, or is there a growing interest in the 4th district race? It has also been suggested that there have been internal polls performed on behalf of the Sholley campaign in the 4th , which, again, is not unusual in races that draw a good deal of national interest. As a fairly extensive on-line search has revealed no data on any polling to date, one can imagine that these polls are either internal, or currently embargoed (pollsters do not release polls requested until a specific date). Theoretically, if the polls were conducted by Frank’s campaign, logic dictates that the ensuring letters from his 2010 Congressional Campaign, to registered voters, regardless of party, this early in the game, may signal real “trouble in River City” (old pool hall analogy), for Frank in 2010. At the very least, what this tells those in the 4th district, as well as those interested in the career of Congressman Frank, he does indeed intend to run for his seat, yet again.

Looking at polls nationwide, in states that have trended Democrat for decades, one may also understand why Frank may feel the need to get a jump on the political game. From Real Clear Politics (an average of all polls taken in any given day/month) recent 2009 polling: Governor Races: New Jersey, Corzine (D), is trailing Christi (R) by 13 points and Republican’s lead in Virginia by 8 points. In 2010 races, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D), is polling behind two Republican challengers, while in Pennsylvania, Spector (D), either leads Toomey (R) by 8, or is behind by 4, again depending upon the pollster. In Massachusetts, Democrat Governor Deval Patrick, is being bested by Christi Mihos (R) by 5 points, and barely ahead of Charlie Baker (plus one), another Republican challenger. In New York, should Republican Giuliani enter the race, Patterson is bested by 23 points. At the moment, in a primary, Paterson is being behind Democrat Cuomo, Florida Governor: polling Republican, Florida Senate, polling Republican, Illinois Senate polling Republican, California Boxer ahead of Fiorina (Republican, not yet declared), by a mere 4 points. The trend continues: Dodd in Connecticut in behind Republican Challenger Simmons by 8 points, Louisiana polling Republican.

The biggest factor among Registered Voters is the increase in the number of those identifying themselves as unenrolled, Gallup suggests that a shift away from the Democrat Party, and independents increased to 15% of the voting bloc. Additionally, Rasmussen polling suggests that 57 percent of the nation would prefer to pick their congressional representative from a phone book. In other words, the increase in unenrolled, the trend towards Republican’s in 2009 and 2010 congressional races, and the overall dissatisfaction with congress in general, will see incumbents, some of whom have held seats for decades, on the endangered species list. The question now remains, in a heavily independent district, such as the Massachusetts 4th, has the attitude to the progressive Democrat movement changed?


The planned, 9-12 (Tea Party), march on Washington is reported to have drawn a minimum of 7 buses from Worcester, MA alone, with similar numbers of buses leaving from Fall River and New Bedford to join in a March on Washington to protest several of the administration’s policies. Therefore, the group, made up of Independents (primarily), Republicans and yes, Democrats, are in direct opposition to policies that Congressman Frank endorses (as well as those Democrats previously noted in polls) – and hey now reside in his district.
Frank’s next round of television commercials will undoubtedly include and blame the “Republican Attack Machine”, or “Bill O’Reilly”, but the truth is that the districts makeup has changed, and the attitude of the populace, even in Massachusetts, has shifted – right. Regardless of the outcome (this is Massachusetts after all,) Frank’s unprecedented early jump into campaign mode, signals trouble.

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