I guess it's happened to me at least about a thousand times in my life that I can remember. My dreams have horrible puns in them. It's not my fault. It's not on purpose. It's what my dreams do.I'll wake up half laughing hysterically and half screaming[...]
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The latest poll from the DCCC, just released today, shows one of our own - Orange to Blue candidate Eric Massa - with a substantial lead over his Republican rival, incumbent Randy Kuhl.
Benenson Strategy Group for the DCCC. Dates unreleased. Likely voters. MoE 4.9%.
Massa (D) 47
Kuhl (R) 42
This is the first poll
conducted released on this race (especially odd considering how close the race was in 2006, when Kuhl defeated Massa by four points, 52% to 48%).
Research 2000 will be polling this race for Daily Kos soon, and it will be interesting to see if the results match the DCCC poll.
These polling results are obviously terrific, particularly in an R+5 district (the most Republican district in the state). In the absence of public polling data, we had assumed that the race was leaning Kuhl's way. It may be time to rethink that assumption, particularly if our independent polling confirms this.
In the meantime, head over to the Orange to Blue page, and help Eric Massa finish strong.
Tom Frank joins us at TPMCafé for a book club discussion on his latest, The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule. Also discussing: Chris Hayes, Dean Baker, Greg Anrig and Danielle Brian.With 106 days to go, it's roundly agreed we're living in a corrupt[...]
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Unless "maverick" means a crook or a tired old wreck of a man, McCain is no maverick. Some kids on the West Side made a little clip that shows McCain's actual relationship to maverickism:
video details and more
OK, he's not a maverick; that's for sure. But is he the proverbial Machurian Candidate?
[W]e turn to McCain's prisoner of war days in the hands of the North Vietnamese. Certainly his mind was weak and vulnerable to control. While many of McCain's fellow POWs endured five, six or more years of torture without cracking, he is said to have begun spilling secrets and agreeing to broadcast anti-American propaganda statements after only four days of torture shortly after his capture. We also know that the Communists had a sophisticated system of mind control developed, which was shared among the Communist nations of the USSR, China, North Korea and North Vietnam. Were these techniques applied to the captive McCain, and did they leave him after five long years of captivity robotically programmed to seek and win the presidency, only then to launch a campaign of sabotage to soften America up for Communist takeover?
One of the most predictably irritating parts of the last week was hearing that environmental groups[...]
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BY TAYLOR MARSHCatching up with trash talkin’ Sarah tonight. Starting with something that happened this morning.Mika Brzezinski, this one’s for you. Because you stood up to Joe Scarborough and that lovable wingnut Patrick J. Buchanan, neither[...]
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This afternoon, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) gave a “sharply worded” speech full of “verbal assaults” directed at Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). At one point, McCain asked, “Who is the real Barack Obama?” A member of the crowd yelled out, “a terrorist!” McCain paused while the audience laughed at the comment, and then continued with his attack — without condemning or admonishing the audience member. Watch it:
Last year, McCain had a similar reaction when one of his supporter asked, regarding Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), “How do we beat the b*tch?” McCain laughed and replied, “That’s an excellent question.” (HT: AmericaBlog)
Last week, we noted the announcement by the Montana Republican party that it's challenging the voter registrations of over 6000 voters, mostly in Democratic-leaning counties.
The GOP has presented the move as an effort to combat fraud. For all the challenged voters, says the party, there were discrepancies between the address under which they registered to vote, and a U.S. postal service address database.
But two registered Montana voters, along with the state Democratic party, this morning filed suit with a federal court to stop the challenges, calling the GOP move "a transparent and very likely unsuccessful attempt" to discourage voters from turning out.
It's already clear that the list of challenged voters includes a good number of people who are hardly prime suspects for voter fraud.
In an opinion piece published yesterday in the Montana Standard, the state's GOP lieutenant governor, John Bohlinger, noted that one voter who's being challenged is Frank St. Pierre, an 86-year old ten-time Medal of Honor winner who helped save thousands of allied troops in Dunkirk during the Second World War, and happened to move across town recently. Bohlinger called the effort to challenge St. Pierre "an utter disgrace."
And as we told you earlier today, the list also includes Kevin Furey, a former Democratic state representative who's an army reserve officer about to deploy to Kuwait. (The GOP has since backed down on that one.)
Also appearing on the list are Matt Gouras of the Associated Press, who has been covering the presidential race in Montana, and Alden Downing, a former reporter for the local NBC affiliate who's now serving as communications director for GOP gubernatorial candidate Roy Brown. That's according to Matt Singer, who heads Forward Montana, a progressive activist group based in Missoula that obtained a copy of challenged voters in Missoula county -- and appears on it himself. (This afternoon, the group unveiled a website that allows users to search the lists of challenged voters from Missoula and Lewis and Clark counties. Additional counties will be added as the information becomes available, said Singer.)
On Saturday, John Brueggeman, a Republican state legislator, spoke out against the challenges, telling the Great Falls Tribune: "I can't think we'll do anything but irreparable harm to our party" with independent voters who may be targeted.
But that same day, the state GOP chair informed a local paper that the voter-challenge party is just getting started. "These counties are the beginning, not the end," Jake Eaton told the Billings Gazette. "We're looking at this across the state."
On Sunday, we ran a Research 2000 poll of the IL-10 race, showing incumbent Republican Mark Kirk with a small 44-38 lead over Democratic challenger Dan Seals.
Today, the Kirk campaign has reacted violently to the poll.
The ultra left-wing Web site Daily Kos commissioned a poll by Research 2000, which was conducted in Illinois’ 10th Congressional District from 9/30-10/1. The survey was flawed on three levels. First, the survey over-sampled voters age 18-29 while under-sampling voters 60+. Second, the survey over-sampled Democrats and Independents while under-sampling Republicans. Third, the survey was intentionally conducted on the Jewish High Holy Day of Rosh HaShanah that would exclude observant Jewish Democratic voters who lean more toward Kirk than average Democrats.
Skewed Age Sample: According to the database of actual registered voters, only 16 percent of voters are aged 18-29, while 30 percent are over age 60. The Research 2000 poll filled sample quotas differently, showing 19 percent of those surveyed between the ages of 18-29 and only 18 percent of voters over age 60. Mark Kirk has always done better among older voters. Skewing the poll by age skews it toward Seals.
So far, so fine. If they want to argue over sample composition, that's their right. We include all that data to be 100 percent transparent.
And yeah, every Republican campaign that doesn't like the results of these polls will point out that we're scary "ultra left wing" liberals blah blah blah, but fact of the matter is that Research 2000 is a respected non-partisan pollster used by newspapers like the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Reno Gazette.
But the Kirk campaign, obviously feeling the heat, go way beyond quibbling over sample composition or taking cheap (and irrelevant) shots at Daily Kos:
Excluding Kirk-Leaning Jewish Voters: It is no surprise that DailyKos, which has come under attack by Democrats like Harold Ford Jr. and Lanny Davis for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic content, chose to conduct its poll on the Jewish High Holy Day of Rosh HaShanah.
So we're now anti-semitic. Seriously, are they freaked out much?
The timing of the poll was mentioned in our post announcing the poll, but unlike the hyperventilating Kirk campaign, we argue that the timing depressed Democratic-leaning voters that would support Seals, rather than Kirk. While Kirk may have some Jewish support, that community is still Democratic leaning and will deliver a majority of its support to the Democrat this November. Arguing that excluding some Jewish voters is actually an anti-semitic ploy to depress Kirk's numbers is laughable. And desperate.
But let's thank the Kirk campaign for 1) betraying their insecurities. No campaign goes nuclear on a poll they consider to be an outlier; and 2) giving the poll higher visibility. These things have a habit of falling through the media cracks. Thanks to their outsized freakout, they've created the sort of conflict that will ensure a higher profile for the results.
They are freaked out, that much is clear. Throw some anvils at Kirk and let's help Seals close the deal this November. The districts voters, regardless of age, sex, religion, or race, deserve capable representation, not the kind of "leadership" that brought us the Iraq War and the financial system's collapse.
Back in 1999, John McCain acknowledged his role in the 1980's Keating Five savings and loan scandal that rightly stained his career. "The fact is," he said, "it was the wrong thing to do, and it will be on my tombstone and deservedly so." But again facing withering criticism as a second financial crisis grips the United States, his campaign today instead claimed McCain's intervention 20 years ago with federal regulators on behalf of future convicted felon Charles Keating was merely "a political smear job."
McCain lawyer John Dowd described McCain's "former relationship with Charles Keating as 'social friends,'" and called the situation a "classic political smear job on John."
Sadly for McCain, Dowd's yarn matches neither the facts nor McCain's self-proclaimed resurrection as a reformer in the wake of his near-death experience in the Keating Five imbroglio.
Earlier this year, the Boston Globe summarized McCain's close relationship with Keating and his decision to intervene with federal regulators on his behalf:
McCain met Keating in 1982, during McCain's successful run for Congress, and soon began accepting offers from Keating to fly McCain's family on a corporate plane to Keating's house in the Bahamas. McCain did not pay for most of the trips until years later, when the matter became public.
Keating, meanwhile, complained regularly to McCain that a proposed regulation would hurt his business. Known as the "direct investment" rule, it limited the amount that savings-and-loan institutions could invest from their assets. In 1985, after having "heard frequently from Charlie on the matter," McCain decided that Keating's complaints "were sound enough to warrant our assistance." He cosponsored a resolution sought by Keating, but it failed to postpone the regulation, McCain wrote in his autobiography.
By then, Keating was one of McCain's most important benefactors; McCain received $112,000 in campaign donations from Keating and his Lincoln associates, mostly between 1982 and 1986.
It was in April 1987 that McCain fatefully joined four other senators in meeting with Edwin Gray, chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board in Washington. After that meeting, Gray told his associate William K. Black that he was "very upset" that the senators were trying to pressure him.
Ultimately, a Senate ethics panel agreed with that assessment. California Democrat Alan Cranston was censured for "an impermissible pattern of conduct," while Senators DeConcini (D-AZ) and Riegle (D-MI) were criticized for actions which "gave the appearance of being improper." As for McCain, he and John Glenn (D-OH) were admonished for exercising "poor judgment."
McCain, who had told the Ethics Committee that his role in support of Keating was "to help constituents in a proper fashion," reacted to the panel's findings in 1991, "I am, of course, relieved that I have been exonerated."
And so it was that John McCain survived the Keating Five and S&L scandals with his career, if not his reputation, intact. As the New York Times recounted this past February:
When Lincoln went bankrupt in 1989 - one of the biggest collapses of the savings and loan crisis, costing taxpayers $3.4 billion - the Keating Five became infamous. The scandal sent Mr. Keating to prison and ended the careers of three senators, who were rebuked by the Senate Ethics Committee in 1991 for intervening. Mr. McCain, who had been a less aggressive advocate for Mr. Keating than the others, was reprimanded only for "poor judgment" and was re-elected the next year.
Some people involved think Mr. McCain got off too lightly. William Black, one of the banking regulators the senator met with, argued that Mrs. McCain's investment with Mr. Keating created an obvious conflict of interest for her husband. (Mr. McCain had said a prenuptial agreement divided the couple's assets.) He should not be able to "put this behind him," Mr. Black said. "It sullied his integrity."
For his part, John McCain has acknowledged the blight on his record, if not his sense of his own honor. As Senator McCain put it in December 1999, the taint of his Keating Five role is permanent:
"The fact is, it was the wrong thing to do, and it will be on my tombstone and deservedly so."
But McCain's seemingly humble admission of guilt could not erase the temper tantrums the Arizona Senator displayed at the height of the crisis. As has been documented so many times since, John McCain in 1989 exploded at the press when it dared to questioned his behavior.
While McCain was ultimately admonished by a Senate ethics panel only for "poor judgment," his behavior in response to the white hot press spotlight raises troubling questions about his fitness to lead. As the Arizona Republic recalled in March 2007:
On Oct. 8, 1989, The Arizona Republic revealed that McCain's wife and her father had invested $359,100 in a Keating shopping center in April 1986, a year before McCain met with the regulators.
The paper also reported that the McCains, sometimes accompanied by their daughter and baby-sitter, had made at least nine trips at Keating's expense, sometimes aboard the American Continental jet. Three of the trips were made during vacations to Keating's opulent Bahamas retreat at Cat Cay.
McCain also did not pay Keating for some of the trips until years after they were taken, after he learned that Keating was in trouble over Lincoln. Total cost: $13,433.
When the story broke, McCain did nothing to help himself.
"You're a liar," McCain said when a Republic reporter asked him about the business relationship between his wife and Keating.
"That's the spouse's involvement, you idiot," McCain said later in the same conversation. "You do understand English, don't you?"
He also belittled reporters when they asked about his wife's ties to Keating.
"It's up to you to find that out, kids."
Ultimately, the paper ran the story. After it broke, McCain held a news conference with his rage in check and calmly answered questions for 90 minutes. (In a preview of the 2008 campaign, McCain's defense was that his wife's finances - and extreme wealth - were separate from his own.)
But McCain's response also revealed another disturbing pattern that continues to this day. After launching a furious tirade against the media, McCain sought to forgiveness after the fact. As the Boston Globe described the episode:
When reporters questioned the investment, John McCain wrote in his autobiography, he "shouted at them, cursed them, and eventually slammed the phone down on them. It was ridiculously immature behavior."
In that same 2002 book, McCain pondered, "I don't know how (The Republic journalists) would have reported the story had I been more civil and understanding or just more of a professional during the interview."
Twenty years later, Americans are watching history repeat itself. John McCain's closest aides and advisors, including campaign manager Rick Davis, chief of staff Mark Buse and transition manager William Timmons, garnered huge paydays from their work on behalf of failed Wall Street firms, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And with his pendulum-like response to the financial meltdown and his bitter attacks against Barack Obama, John McCain is again lashing out at those rightly criticizing his poor judgment.
The truth, the old saying goes, will set you free. But not if you're John McCain. Then it's just called "a smear."