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Posts Tagged ‘senate’

Montana LP Senate candidate decides not to help Tester get re-elected

Posted by Richard on November 2, 2018

Rick Breckenridge, the Libertarian candidate for Montana Senator Jon Tester’s seat, may have just ensured that Tester is finally retired:

Ever wonder how Senator Jon Tester, a Beltway swamp creature who voted against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh and famously stays in lockstep with his fellow Democrats on immigration and gun control, keeps getting elected in a state like Montana? The answer is simple: the Libertarian Party usually nominates a spoiler who siphons enough votes from Tester’s GOP challengers that he wins by the skin of his teeth.

In 2012, for example, Libertarian Dan Cox garnered enough of the vote to allow Tester to eke out a 4 percent win. This year was no different — until yesterday — when Libertarian Rick Breckenridge decided to endorse Republican Matt Rosendale. The Libertarian has been pulling enough support in the polls to enable Tester to slither back to the swamp again. …

Breckenridge endorsed Rosendale in response to a “dark money group” mailer aimed at persuading conservatives to vote for the Libertarian. I guess he didn’t like feeling like he’s being used.

Tester’s re-election chances were also hurt recently due to a self-inflicted wound:

This is not Tester’s only PR problem. Having sent out mailers to voters suggesting that he was an avid hunter, it was recently discovered that he hasn’t had a hunting license in years. This damaged Tester’s credibility and made him the butt of more than one joke. Donald Trump, Jr. recently quipped, “That Senator won’t hunt.” …

So Montanans now know that Sen. Tester is either a liar or a poacher.

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Prediction: Kavanaugh will get bipartisan support

Posted by Richard on July 10, 2018

National Review’s Jim Geraghty has a roundup of conservative praise for Trump’s SCOTUS pick, Brett Kavanaugh. But the really interesting news, and the basis for my prediction, comes at the end:

The Susan B. Anthony List commissioned a poll of registered voters in Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, and West Virginia, and asked voters, “As you may know, Justice Kennedy recently retired from the Supreme Court. The President will appoint a replacement and the U.S. Senate will vote on that person. Do you think Senator [Nelson, Donnelly, McCaskill, Heitkamp, or Manchin: depending on the state] should vote to confirm President Trump’s appointment to the Supreme Court?” (Note this poll is conducted before Kavanaugh was named.)

In Florida and Indiana, 56 percent of registered voters answered Yes. In Missouri, 57 percent of respondents said Yes, in West Virginia it was 59 percent, and in North Dakota it was all the way up to 68 percent.

It’s a near certainty that some of those senators, facing tough re-election battles, will decide that keeping their job trumps (if you’ll forgive the expression) loyalty to the party leadership. All five races are currently considered toss-ups. Donnelly, Heitkamp, and Manchin voted to confirm Gorsuch, arguably even more of an originalist/textualist on the Constitution than Kavanaugh.

Another five Senate Democrats are running for re-election in states that Trump carried in 2016 (Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Montana, and Pennsylvania). But those senators (Stabenow, Baldwin, Brown, Tester, and Casey, respectively) are currently favored to retain their seats, and thus are less likely to break ranks for reasons of self-preservation.

I’m guessing that Kavanaugh will get three or four Democratic votes, more than enough to offset the possibility of one or two GOP defectors (Collins and a RINO to be named later).

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“The pursuit of power over principle”

Posted by Richard on February 28, 2014

Daniel Horowitz destroys the “wait until we control the Senate” argument:

The unambiguous strategy of the GOP establishment this year has been to avoid any and all confrontation in the hopes of gliding into a Senate majority in 2015.  To that end, they have capitulated on all of the major leverage points, passed a number of Democrat spending bills, and are in the process of pushing “small-ball” legislation in the House so as not to rock the boat before November.

This pusillanimous strategy is predicated on the false hope that a bare-minimum Senate majority – comprised of the same Republicans who support these Democrat priorities – will somehow alter the landscape in Washington.  They are misleading conservative and GOP activists into thinking that as long as the GOP can hold tight on the status quo until 2015 we will enjoy robust power to push for conservative priorities thereafter.

The reality is that nothing will change in 2015. …

Read. The. Whole. Thing.

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Screwed-up cabinet choices

Posted by Richard on January 31, 2013

Nearly unanimously, the Senate confirmed one of its own, John Kerry, as the next Secretary of State. Kerry accused American soldiers in Vietnam of raping, torturing, and murdering innocent men, women, and children and accused American soldiers in Iraq of “terrorizing kids and children [sic], you know, women …”

Now the Senate is getting ready to confirm a former member of that formerly august body, Chuck Hagel, as Secretary of Defense. Hagel has criticized “the Jewish lobby,” supported negotiating with Hamas and Hezbollah, opposed sanctions against Iran and the labeling of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, defended the Iranian regime countless times, and described the United States as “the world’s bully.”

Something is seriously wrong here. Even from the “diminish America” perspective of the Obama administration.

Shouldn’t Obama have nominated Kerry as Secretary of Defense and Hagel as Secretary of State?

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Preparing to embrace defeat

Posted by Richard on July 3, 2012

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell thinks that even if the Republicans take control of the Senate, repealing Obamacare will be hard and the odds are against it. I’m not surprised. This is the Mitch McConnell I’ve come to know and loathe. After all, it was only a few months ago that he blocked an Obamacare repeal vote and reportedly planned to do so all year in order to avoid angering Harry Reid, avoid a “procedural stalemate,” and “shield his Senate GOP colleagues from voting to repeal popular portions of the healthcare law.”

If this worthless wuss becomes Senate majority leader again in January, I predict he’ll do what he’s always done: He’ll start out talking a good game. Then he’ll mumble, fumble, and bumble his way toward compromise, concessions, and capitulation. He’s preparing now to embrace failure and defeat.

We need more than returning control of the Senate to the current sorry leadership of the GOP. We need the current crop of young limited-government, pro-freedom stalwarts like Jim DeMint, Pat Toomey, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul to get reinforcements like Jeff Flake (AZ), Ted Cruz (TX), Josh Mandel (OH), Richard Mourdock (IN), and Mark Neumann (WI). And we need them and whatever allies they can muster to fight for new, bold leadership. I bet Tom Coburn wouldn’t worry about angering Harry Reid or prepare to embrace failure and defeat.

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1000 days without a budget

Posted by Richard on January 24, 2012

Tea Party Patriots reminds us that as of today, the U.S. Senate has failed to perform one of its primary functions for nearly three full years (emphasis in original):

Today marks the 1000th day that the US Senate has failed to pass a budget. Budgets are something that most Americans encounter, whether in their homes, in their jobs, in their businesses, or in their community groups, etc.

The purpose of a budget is to lay out a guideline for revenues and expenditures, so that one can have a forecast of the year to come.

It is no wonder our elected officials can’t seem to balance the budget and get our fiscal house in order. There is no budget; no guide to even point them in the right direction. In fact, they can’t find the “BOLDNESS” to cut even $1 from the federal budget!

In an economic environment where many Americans are out of work, losing their jobs, and struggling to find jobs, it is unacceptable that the members of the US Senate have been allowed to go on without completing a basic function of their jobs for nearly 3 years!

Call your Senator today. Tell them that Washington spending is out of control and must be cut. Tell them to take the first step and pass a budget.

Because of the baseline budgeting scam, Senate Democrats’ refusal to pass a budget lets spending grow on autopilot. The spendthrifts (of both parties) can claim they’re “holding the line” on spending if their continuing resolutions appropriate funds at somewhere near the “current level” — which is automagically about 7-8% higher each year.

Go to Tea Party Patriots to look up your senators’ phone numbers. Then give them a call and let their staff know that you’re on to their sleazy little game.

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Making felons out of bloggers

Posted by Richard on June 3, 2011

Copyright law in this country is already pretty screwed up, and it's obvious that the entertainment industry has Washington wrapped around its little finger. But who would have thought that a bill like S.978 would be given serious consideration?

From time to time, I embed YouTube videos in my posts. As Mike Masnick noted, doing so if this poorly drafted bill passes could get me five years in the slammer:

If you embed a YouTube video that turns out to be infringing, and more than 10 people view it because of your link… you could be facing five years in jail. This is, of course, ridiculous, and suggests (yet again) politicians who are regulating a technology they simply do not understand.

This is so wrong in so many ways. First of all, as Masnick pointed out, the drafters seem to know little or nothing about such things as streaming, linking, and embedding, and they throw in an undefined phrase like "performing by electronic means" without a clue as to what the consequences are.

Secondly, what happened to fair use? When I embed a video on this blog, I don't charge people to watch or listen. How is what I'm doing any different from inviting some people over to my house and playing the same song or video? Or will that soon be a crime, too?

Thirdly, even if this is legitimately a copyright infringement, how in the world does it rise to the level of a felony with punishment comparable to burglary or bank robbery? Why isn't it simply a civil matter?

And furthermore, there's the issue of mens rea. It used to be a well-established (hundreds of years of common law precedent) principle of the law that, to be guilty of a criminal act, you have to have criminal intent. 

The critics of mens rea often pompously declare that "ignorance of the law is no excuse." Nonsense. With laws and regulations with the force of law now running into the millions of pages, how can anyone not be ignorant of the law (or at least a large portion of it)?

The "reasonable person" test should apply. If a video is posted on YouTube and hasn't been taken down at the request of the copyright holder, a reasonable person (like me) can reasonably presume that either it's not subject to copyright or the copyright holder has chosen to allow its dissemination.

S.978 deserves to die an ignominious death. Contact your senators and let them know what you think of this ridiculous bill. 

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GOP senators approve earmark ban

Posted by Richard on November 17, 2010

Senate Republicans adopted Sen. Jim DeMint's two-year moratorium on earmarks Tuesday, challenged Democrats to do likewise, and called on the President to veto any bill containing earmarks. Two Democratic senators, Colorado's Mark Udall and Missouri's Claire McCaskill, have called on their caucus to follow suit. 

When the people lead, their leaders will follow. 

UPDATE: Just spotted this, via Instapundit (and read his post for a reader's idea about verbing "Murkowski"): 

Even as Senate Republicans approved a "moratorium" on congressional earmarks, a small but significant contingent of the caucus is openly vowing to flout the new rules.

Led by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the contingent is "going rogue" against the party's leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, who Monday made a high-profile switch to back the earmark ban.

Murkowski, who appears to have warded off a tea party-backed challenger in a run-off campaign, is leading the charge.

Tuesday, she offered a novel defense of seeking earmarks for her state, saying that Alaska, a “young” state admitted into the Union in 1959, hasn’t been able to enjoy earmarks for as long as the other states.

The vile Murkowski's defiance of the ban got support from Sens. Inhofe and Cochran, conditional support from Sens. Alexander and Graham, and the backing of lame-duck Sen. Bob Bennett, who thankfully was defeated in his primary and will be returning to civilian life none too soon. 

BTW, the Daily Caller's contention that Murkowski appears to have won re-election is still strongly disputed by her Republican opponent, Joe Miller. Read his response to the 5 myths going around about the state of the election, and if you can, donate a few bucks to help him with the legal and other expenses related to the continuing vote count.

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McConnell backs earmark moratorium

Posted by Richard on November 15, 2010

Sen. Mitch McConnell has felt the heat and seen the light:

If the voters express themselves clearly and unequivocally on an issue, it’s not enough to persist in doing the opposite on the grounds that “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” That’s what elections are all about, after all. And if this election has shown us anything, it’s that Americans know the difference between talking about change, and actually delivering on it.

I have thought about these things long and hard over the past few weeks. I’ve talked with my members. I’ve listened to them. Above all, I have listened to my constituents.  And what I’ve concluded is that on the issue of congressional earmarks, as the leader of my party in the Senate, I have to lead first by example. Nearly every day that the Senate’s been in session for the past two years, I have come down to this spot and said that Democrats are ignoring the wishes of the American people. When it comes to earmarks, I won’t be guilty of the same thing.

Make no mistake. I know the good that has come from the projects I have helped support throughout my state. I don’t apologize for them. But there is simply no doubt that the abuse of this practice has caused Americans to view it as a symbol of the waste and the out-of-control spending that every Republican in Washington is determined to fight. And unless people like me show the American people that we’re willing to follow through on small or even symbolic things, we risk losing them on our broader efforts to cut spending and rein in government.

That’s why today I am announcing that I will join the Republican Leadership in the House in support of a moratorium on earmarks in the 112th Congress.

That should put an end to the stealth pro-pork movement in the Senate GOP ranks. With McConnell backing the DeMint proposal, I expect many of the other squishy Republicans who haven't declared yet to fall in behind their leader. FreedomWorks hasn't updated their tracking tally on the issue yet. If your senator is in the Not on Record column, you may still want to call or email — politely! The vote is scheduled for Tuesday. 

UPDATE (11/16): Senate Republicans adopted a two-year moratorium on earmarks today , challenged Democrats to do likewise, and called on the President to veto any bill containing earmarks. Two Democratic senators, Colorado's Mark Udall and Missouri's Claire McCaskill, have called on their caucus to follow suit. 

When the people lead, their leaders will follow. 


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Support the earmark moratorium

Posted by Richard on November 13, 2010

*** UPDATE (11/15): Sen. McConnell has felt the heat and seen the light. ***

Next Tuesday, we'll find out how many Republican senators have learned the lesson of the last four years. That's when the GOP Conference votes on Sen. DeMint's earmark moratorium. House Republicans are solidly behind the pork moratorium. But in the Senate, minority leader Mitch McConnell seems to be quietly trying to line up opposition to DeMint's proposal. And he seems to have support from the usual suspects — Inhofe, Graham, Alexander, Shelby, and other members of the Republican wing of the Ruling Class.

On Wednesday in National Review's The Corner, Sen. Tom Coburn laid out the case against earmarks and demolished the specious arguments of the Ruling Class Republicans defending them. Here are some excerpts from his column (emphasis added): 

It’s true that earmarks themselves represent a tiny portion of the budget, but a small rudder can help steer a big ship, which is why I’ve long described earmarks as the gateway drug to spending addiction in Washington. No one can deny that earmarks like the Cornhusker Kickback have been used to push through extremely costly and onerous bills. Plus, senators know that as the number of earmarks has exploded so has overall spending. In the past decade, the size of government has doubled while Congress approved more than 90,000 earmarks.

Earmarks were rare until recently. In 1987, President Reagan vetoed a spending bill because it contained 121 earmarks. Eliminating earmarks will not balance the budget overnight, but it is an important step toward getting spending under control. 

… This is not a struggle between the executive branch and Congress but between the American people and Washington. … An earmark ban would tell the American people that Congress gets it. After all, it’s their money, not ours.

An earmark moratorium would not result in Congress giving up one iota of its spending power. In any event, Republicans should be fighting over how to cut government spending, not how to divide it up.

Our founders anticipated earmark-style power grabs from Congress and spoke against such excess for the ages. …

Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to James Madison, spoke directly against federally-funded local projects. “[I]t will be the source of eternal scramble among the members, who can get the most money wasted in their State; and they will always get the most who are the meanest.” Jefferson understood that earmarks and coercion would go hand in hand.

If any policy mandate can be derived from the election it is to spend less money. Eliminating earmarks is the first step on that path. The House GOP has accepted that mandate. The Senate GOP now has to decide whether to ignore not only the American people but their colleagues in the House. …

In recent years the conventional wisdom that earmarks create jobs has been turned on its head. The Obama administration’s stimulus bill itself, which is arguably a collection of earmarks approved by Congress, proves this point. Neither Obama’s stimulus nor Republican stimulus — GOP earmarks — is very effective at creating jobs.

Harvard University conducted an extensive study this year of how earmarks impact states. The researchers expected to find that earmarks drive economic growth but found the opposite.

“It was an enormous surprise, at least to us, to learn that the average firm in the chairman’s state did not benefit at all from the unanticipated increase in spending,” said Joshua Coval, one of the study’s authors. The study found that as earmarks increase capital investment and expenditures by private businesses decrease, by 15 percent specifically. In other words, federal pork crowds out private investment and slows job growth. Earmarks are an odd GOP infatuation with failed Keynesian economics that hurts local economies.

FreedomWorks' Now We Must Govern project is tracking where GOP senators and senators-elect stand on this issue. A link on that page takes you to their "Call Congress: Ban Earmarks!" action page. If one of your senators has not yet taken a stand on earmarks (most haven't; not even those secretly working against the DeMint proposal), please take a minute to call their office or send an email and politely demand that they honor the wishes of the American people and renounce pork. 

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McMahon body-slams Blumenthal

Posted by Richard on October 7, 2010

The first debate between Connecticut Senate candidates Linda McMahon and Dick Blumenthal included a couple of minutes that, by all rights, should seal a McMahon victory. But then, I don't understand how Blumenthal can even be in it after the revelation that he repeatedly lied about serving in Vietnam. 

McMahon asked Blumenthal a simple question, "How do you create a job?" His response was just pitiful in presentation and clueless in content — he thinks that to create jobs we need much more government regulation. At the end, McMahon just destroyed him. If the rest of the debate offered anywhere near as stark a contrast, this was what pro wrestling fans call a squash match. 

[YouTube link]

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Turnout, turnout, turnout

Posted by Richard on August 11, 2010

John Whitesides of Reuters said that Democrats were "heartened" by the primary results in Colorado:

Democratic Senator Michael Bennet's primary win in Colorado bucked a national anti-incumbent trend and was good news for Obama, who campaigned for Bennet in a bitter fight against a challenger backed by former President Bill Clinton.

Republicans, meanwhile, saw candidates backed by the party establishment go down to defeat to outsiders in Colorado and Connecticut Senate primaries that could complicate their chances in November.

"Democrats definitely had the better night," analyst Jennifer Duffy of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report said. "Pulling an incumbent back from the edge of defeat in an environment like this is a good result."

Democrats have been battling a strong anti-Washington and anti-incumbent voter mood in their quest to retain control of the House of Representatives and the Senate in November.

Um, yeah. But challenger Andrew Romanoff wasn't exactly an "outsider." He's a career politician, a popular former Speaker of the State House, and one of the best-known Colorado Democrats.

In fact, it was appointed Senator Bennet who tried to portray himself as the outsider. When he wasn't exchanging smears with Romanoff, his ads said basically, "I've only been in the Senate a year, and I'm shocked — shocked! — at how broken the system is and how terrible all those Washington insiders are. I want to go back and change things." Never mind that he spent the entire year voting exactly the way Harry Reid told him to. 

Bennet also outspent Romanoff about six to one. 

As for the Republicans, nothing pleased me more than seeing the establishment-anointed and contemptible Jane Norton suffer a well-deserved defeat (see here and here).

Does Ken Buck's convincing victory in the Senate primary really "complicate" things? Well, I suppose it does for the business-as-usual Colorado Republican establishment. But it's past time for them to wake up, straighten up, or get out of the way. They might want to take note of the fact that more than half of surveyed Colorado Republicans, almost a third of independents, and almost a third of all voters describe themselves as Tea Party members — not just supporters or sympathetic, but members

But the big news from Colorado that discredits Whitesides' narrative deals with turnout. Both parties had hotly-contested, high-profile Senate races that were expected to go down to the wire. Total turnout smashed primary election records. Yet, in a state that Obama carried by ten percentage points, the major party vote totals told a compelling story. Over 407,000 people voted in the Republican primary, versus about 338,500 in the Democratic primary — nearly 70,000 fewer. The Rs turned out 48% of their registered voters, the Ds managed only 41%, despite a race in which (by proxy) Bill Clinton squared off against Barack Obama.

If the Republicans manage not to screw themselves (admittedly, that's a big if), that kind of enthusiasm and involvement advantage ought to translate into a significant advantage for Ken Buck going into the general election. 

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Are Republicans listening?

Posted by Richard on January 23, 2010

Larry Kudlow shares my concern about whether the GOP leadership understands the lesson of the Miracle in Massachusetts. And he notes that Scott Brown owes much of his success to campaigning as a JFK Republican:

… Are the Republicans listening? Do they really understand why Scott Brown was victorious? If they do, why aren’t members of the Republican leadership loudly campaigning for an end to tax hikes, just like Scott Brown?

Remember that Brown ran on a JFK/Ronald Reagan platform of across-the-board tax cuts to promote economic growth. Take a look at what the senator-elect had to say during his victory speech Tuesday night:

This [health care] bill is not being debated openly and fairly. It will raise taxes, it will hurt Medicare, it will destroy jobs and run our nation deeper into debt . . . I will work in the Senate to put the government back on the side of people who create jobs and the millions of people who need jobs. And remember, as President John F. Kennedy stated, that starts with across-the-board tax cuts for businesses and families to create jobs, put more money in people’s pockets, and stimulate the economy. It’s that simple.

There you have it. Scott Brown could not have been any clearer. That’s the great thing about his message — its breathtaking clarity. Across-the-board tax cuts and a revival of free-market capitalism on the supply-side.

A recent Washington Post poll showed that by 58 to 38 percent, voters want smaller government and fewer government services. This, too, should be the Republican congressional message.

It is, in fact, an economic-growth message, the likes of which we haven’t heard since Jack Kemp promoted it in the late 1970s. And the brilliance of Scott Brown was to use the JFK tax cuts — an across-the-board reduction in marginal tax rates — to attract Democrats and independents to his message.

An across-the-board tax cut is the fairest pro-growth message of them all. Lower tax rates for everybody. Get out of the box of rich people and class warfare. For the Ted Kennedy Democrats, that box has been a loser for decades. But for timid Republicans always on the defensive, now is the time to break out and adopt the Scott Brown theme.

This is what Reagan did. This is why the Gipper touted JFK’s across-the-board tax cuts. Republicans must now be bold and fight for across-the-board tax relief, for families, individuals, and businesses, along with smaller government, fewer services, and across-the-board spending cuts.

That's what the Republican leadership should be talking about: across-the-board tax and spending cuts, not across-the-aisle deal-making. If they want to present a less partisan image, let them embrace the optimistic, pro-growth message of both Reagan and JFK — "across-the-board tax cuts for businesses and families to create jobs, put more money in people’s pockets, and stimulate the economy." Let them embrace JFK Republicanism.

I think that would resonate with voters. And drive the Democrats crazy. 🙂

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Bay state stunner — but will Dems learn?

Posted by Richard on January 20, 2010

Last week, I worried about a tight Senate race in Massachusetts, recalling Hugh Hewitt's mantra, "If it's not close, they can't cheat." Today, a huge voter turnout decisively handed "the people's seat" to Republican Scott Brown. In a state that Obama carried by 26%, where only 12% of voters are registered Republicans, and with two million votes cast, Brown leads by over 140,000 votes (with 98% of precincts reporting).


But will the Democrats learn from this stunning repudiation of their agenda by the bluest of blue states? It doesn't sound like it. Earlier today, Nancy Pelosi insisted that they will get Obamacare done before a new senator can be seated. Administration spokespeople are insisting this race wasn't about health care — even though Brown's most-repeated campaign line was "I'm the 41st vote" against a government takeover of health care, and the President himself campaigned for Coakley, emphasizing the health care issue.

Earlier tonight on Fox News, Juan Williams reported that his White House sources are telling him the President is going to "double down."

After the 1994 election, a chastened Bill Clinton learned his lesson, tacked to the center, declared "the era of big government is over," and joined the Republicans in ending welfare as we knew it. The signs suggest that President Obama and at least some of the Democratic leadership are not similarly willing to listen to the voices of the people. They're either too arrogant or too rabidly ideological.

I'm of two minds about that. On the one hand, if the Dems persist in their hubris, they're likely to face an unprecedented thumping in November, and that would be great. On the other hand, if they push through government-controlled health care and some of their other pet socialist schemes, it will be difficult to undo the damage they do to the country. Too many timid Republicans.

Speaking of Republicans, there's a lesson in this election for them, too. Some Democratic analysts have pointed out that Brown isn't a conservative, and that's true to a degree. He's certainly not a social conservative. He's pro-choice, and he didn't campaign at all on conservatives' pet social issues.

But Brown campaigned as a rock-solid fiscal conservative — cut taxes, cut spending, stop the "stimulus" and "bailout" nonsense, and abort the Democrats' headlong rush to turn this country into a European-style sclerotic social welfare state, with the resulting permanent low growth and high unemployment.

That's the message that will carry Republicans to victory this fall. Wearing their religion on their sleeves and making abortion and gay marriage the centerpieces of their campaigns won't work. Timid, McCain-style "moderate Republicanism," ready to "reach across the aisle" and standing for nothing won't work, either.

Last year, pseudo-conservative pundits like David Brooks declared "the era of Reagan is over." In fact, Reaganism is exactly what the Republican Party needs to embrace — less government, lower taxes, individual liberty, American exceptionalism, and optimism for the future. That's how they beat Carter, and that's how they can beat today's Carter-squared Democrats. That's the message that, if clearly articulated and proudly embraced, resonates with everyone from rock-ribbed conservatives to moderate Democrats. And that's a decisive majority — even in Massachusetts.

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Rothenberg rates Massachusetts a toss-up

Posted by Richard on January 15, 2010

From the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report:

Democratic desperation and other compelling evidence strongly suggest that Democrats may well lose the late Senator Edward Kennedy’s Senate seat in Tuesday’s special election. Because of this, we are moving our rating of the race from Narrow Advantage for the Incumbent Party to Toss-Up.

Whatever the shortcomings of the Coakley campaign (and they certainly exist), this race has become about change, President Obama and Democratic control of all of the levers of power in Washington, D.C. Brown has “won” the “free media” over the past few days, and if he continues to do so, he will win the election.

Late Democratic efforts to demonize Republican Scott Brown, to make the race into a partisan battle and to use the Kennedy name to drive Democratic voters to the polls could still work. But the advertising clutter in the race works against them, and voters often tune out late messages, which can seem desperate.

UPDATE: Rothenberg's analysis (I misspelled his name earlier and have corrected it) is confirmed by the latest poll results (emphasis added): 

Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown has surged ahead of his Democratic opponent Martha Coakley, according to a new poll released Thursday night.

Brown leads Coakley by a margin of 50 percent to 46 percent, the Suffolk University/WHDH-TV poll found. It is the first poll to show Brown, who had been thought a long-shot underdog, leading the race.

It raises the possibility of an historic political upset in Massachusetts.

“It’s a massive change in the political landscape,” David Paleologos, director of Suffolk’s Political Research Center, told The Boston Herald.

Paleologos told the newspaper that the poll shows high numbers of independent voters turning out on election day, which benefits Brown, who has 65 percent of independents compared to Coakley’s 30 percent.

That's great news! But I hope the Brown campaign has lots of lawyers and poll watchers at the ready. Hugh Hewitt famously said, in a book of that name, "If it's not close, they can't cheat." The flip side is: if it's close, they can — and will — cheat.

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