BULLETIN: Obama sinks below 50% in Rasmussen poll for first time.
FRIDAY, JULY 24, 2009
OH, THIS IS MORE THAN JUICY - AT 9:39 P.M. ET: After months of dissecting the supposed splits in the Republican Party, some in the media are discovering that the major political civil war going on today is within the Democratic Party. The Hill reports:
House healthcare negotiations dissolved in acrimony on Friday, with Blue Dog Democrats saying they were “lied” to by their Democratic leaders.
In advance of a subsequent press conference called by House leadership, Blue Dog liaison Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) said the healthcare bill should be staying in committee.
"I expect the committee process to proceed," Cardoza said.
The seven Blue Dogs on the Energy and Commerce Committee stormed out of a Friday meeting with their committee chairman, Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), saying Waxman had been negotiating in bad faith over a number of provisions Blue Dogs demanded be changed in the stalled healthcare bill.
Such mutual respect and affection. I'm moved.
Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), the lead Blue Dog negotiator, said on Friday. “We are trying to save this bill and trying to save this party.”
COMMENT: Ross is a man who gets it. Unless the power of the ultra-libs can be curtailed, the Democratic Party may fall right off the deep end. More Americans identify themselves as conservatives than as liberals. Although it may shock the media to point it out, the ideology of America is not the same as the ideology of Manhattan, Georgetown, or Beverly Hills.
July 24, 2009 Permalink
STEYN ON THE FAMOUS ARREST - AT 8:55 P.M. ET: The arrest of Professor Gates is now the most famous recent arrest in America. At least the professor wasn't trying to skip town in a white Bronco.
The great Mark Steyn weighs in, stating things rather bluntly, and accurately:
The president of the United States may be reluctant to condemn Ayatollah Khamenei or Hugo Chávez or that guy in Honduras without examining all the nuances and footnotes, but sometimes there are outrages so heinous that even the famously nuanced must step up to the plate and speak truth to power. And thank God the leader of the free world had the guts to stand up and speak truth to municipal police Sgt. James Crowley.
Yes, all the righteous are relieved and grateful. And there's this from Steyn:
As professor Gates jeered at the officers, "You don't know who you're messin' with." Did Sgt. Crowley have to arrest him? Probably not. Did he allow himself to be provoked by an obnoxious buffoon? Maybe. I dunno. I wasn't there. Neither was the president of the United States, or the governor of Massachusetts or the mayor of Cambridge. All of whom have declared themselves firmly on the side of the Ivy League bigshot. And all of whom, as it happens, are African American. A black president, a black governor and a black mayor all agree with a black Harvard professor that he was racially profiled by a white-Latino-black police team, headed by a cop who teaches courses in how to avoid racial profiling. The boundless elasticity of such endemic racism suggests that the "post-racial America" will be living with blowhard grievance-mongers like professor Gates unto the end of time.
COMMENT: I suspect that Steyn's gut reaction pretty much parallels that of much of America, which is why the White House is trying to practice some damage control. But the president can only go so far without upsetting his back-to-the-sixties base.
We'll be watching tracking polls to see if this incident moves the numbers.
July 24, 2009 Permalink
OH, USE THE WORD, USE THE WORD - AT 8:14 P.M. ET: There is commotion, there is analysis, there is major punditry being committed. The president of the United States and all its associated territories has now "clarified" his remarks concerning the arrest in Cambridge, Massachusetts, of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.
WASHINGTON — President Obama said Friday that he “could have calibrated” his words more carefully in the controversy over the arrest of a black Harvard professor by a white police officer, but added that there had been an “overreaction” by both sides in a case that touched off an intense discussion about race in America.
Notice there is a word missing. Hint: It's the A-word.
The president, who on Wednesday said that the police in Cambridge, Mass., “acted stupidly” in the arrest of Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr., a prominent Harvard scholar of African-American history, sought to clear up the matter. He said he hoped the case could become “a teachable moment” to be used to improve relations between minorities and police officers.
Word still missing.
The president said that he conveyed his sentiment to Sgt. James Crowley in a telephone call on Friday afternoon. The call, which lasted about five minutes, came after police officials in Massachusetts and beyond accused Mr. Obama of maligning the character of Sergeant Crowley and the entire Cambridge police force.
No A-word there.
Mr. Obama did not specifically use the word “apology,” but aides said that was the sentiment conveyed during his call with the officer.
There's the A-word. Didn't use it, but the sentiment was there.
Use it, Mr. President. Show a little humanity amidst the ego. Sergeant Crowley has behaved with great dignity and strength since the incident. Professor Gates, by contrast, has talked about keeping the incident alive and making a documentary about it. The sergeant deserves an apology, then let an investigation take its course.
July 24, 2009 Permalink
RASMUSSEN - AT 9:41 A.M. ET: For the first time, President Obama has dropped below 50% in overall approval. Today's Ras report has 49% approving, 51% disapproving. The poll was taken among likely voters.
July 24, 2009 Permalink
YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE THIS, ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT - AT 9:15 A.M. ET: A number of commentators have noticed President Obama's appalling ignorance of history. The gaps were on full display during his speech in Cairo to the Muslim world, in which he did some hefty rewriting of the historical facts. He also is on record as saying they speak Austrian in Austria.
But this takes the prize. Consider - the president of the United States on the history of World War II:
President Obama has put securing Afghanistan near the top of his foreign policy agenda, but "victory" in the war-torn country isn't necessarily the United States' goal, he said Thursday in a TV interview.
"I'm always worried about using the word 'victory,' because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur," Obama told ABC News.
COMMENT: Oh dear, oh dear. Is there any reasonably educated adult in America who doesn't know the story of the end of World War II? No, Mr. President, we didn't see Emperor Hirohito "coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur." The instrument of surrender was signed on September 2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (temporary rank, made permanent in 1946) presided over the ceremony. The Japanese were represented by appropriate officials. The emperor didn't come down that day, and never surrendered to MacArthur. He was permitted to remain on the Chrysanthemum Throne as part of the surrender agreement.
Do you feel our national security may be in some jeopardy?
July 24, 2009 Permalink
MORE ON THE GATES CASE - AT 8:20 A.M. ET: As we said in our first post this morning, this is growing and growing.
Now other police officers, black and white, are coming to the defense of the white cop who arrested Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., in Cambridge, Massachusetts, home of the elite of the elite of the very elite. We're talking Harvard and MIT.
This, from the Cape Cod Times, published in another high-toned area:
CAMBRIDGE -- Supporters say the white policeman who arrested renowned black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his home is a principled police officer and family man who is being unfairly described as racist.
Friends and fellow officers - black and white - say Sgt. James Crowley, who was hand-picked by a black police commissioner to teach recruits about avoiding racial profiling, is calm and reliable.
"If people are looking for a guy who's abusive or arrogant, they got the wrong guy," said Andy Meyer of Natick, Mass., who has vacationed with Crowley, coached youth sports with him and is his teammate on a men's softball team. "This is not a racist, rogue cop."
Gates accused the 11-year department veteran of being an unyielding, race-baiting authoritarian after Crowley arrested and charged him with disorderly conduct last week.
For five of the past six years, Crowley has volunteered alongside a black colleague in teaching 60 cadets per year about how to avoid targeting suspects merely because of their race, and how to respond to an array of scenarios they might encounter on the beat. Thomas Fleming, director of the Lowell Police Academy, said Crowley was asked by former Cambridge police Commissioner Ronnie Watson, who is black, to be an instructor.
COMMENT: Looks like President Obama and Professor Gates have some explaining to do.
July 24, 2009 Permalink
INTO THE FRAY - AT 8:08 A.M. ET: Outgoing Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has entered the national political wars. He is considered a possible Republican candidate for president in 2012. He is very good, very solid, and he takes on Obama on health care:
"This whole health care proposal by president Obama is really quite a joke on a number of levels," Pawlenty told Neil Cavuto. "I think he is scamming the American people. Even if you believe that it is only going to tax people over $1 million, what is known to happen is that is only going to cover about 25% of the total cost. the rest will be paid for by saving waste, fraud, and abuse. If you believe that, then I've got some January tee time in northern Minnesota."
Pawlenty warned Republicans of allowing health care to become "a political referendum on" Obama, and to instead stick to arguing the policy.
COMMENT: He is correct. There's an old rule in politics: When your opponent is committing suicide, don't get in his way. Personal attacks on the president can easily backfire. Argue the health-care issue. Arguing that issue has been powerfully effective for Republicans so far. It will continue to be as Americans learn the details, or lack of them, in Democratic health plans.
July 24, 2009 Pemalink
THE MOMENT - AT 7:56 A.M. ET: At the Angel's Corner earlier this week we examined the president's predicament - declining poll numbers, with nothing in sight that is likely to improve them. But we cautioned that the president still remains personally popular because the public likes him. If that likability factor declines, however, his main political armor would be seriously dented.
Enter Mr. Obama at his press conference.
Toward the end, after a meandering, useless discussion of health care, the president waded into a controversy involving the arrest of African-American Professor Henry Louis Gates in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The president, who was not a witness, pronounced that the Cambridge police had acted "stupidly."
Now we have a firestorm. It is growing. That moment at his press conference, replying to a question from Lynn Sweet of Obama's hometown paper, the Chicago Sun-Times, may turn out to have been the moment when millions of Americans thought, "Maybe I don't like him so much." Even in liberal Massachusetts there's a backlash.
There are two major elements here - race and class. Mr. Obama freely admitted that he didn't have the facts about how race might have figured in Gates's arrest, but condemned the police anyway. It was outrageous, and the fact that the president seemed automatically to believe Gates's version was a role reversal of the old, ugly practice of some white officers automatically believing whites over blacks in criminal cases. The fact that Gates is a personal friend compounded the offense.
But then there's class, and I argue that this might turn out to be the element that damages the president most in this expanding controversy. Gates is a college professor. The man who arrested him is a cop. It turns out that he's a cop with an outstanding record, especially in race relations, but he's still "only" a cop. There's an element in the liberal elites that believe that academics are a saintly class, above us all, and not subject to criticism. You can imagine how that does down with the working stiffs around America, especially those, like police officers and firefighters, who put their lives on the line. I don't really think that the anthropology department at Harvard is a high-risk area.
I happen to like academic people very much. I have good friends who teach. I revere the great professors I was privileged to study with at the University of Chicago and Columbia. I was an intern for a United States senator, Paul H. Douglas, who'd been a distinguished economist and professor. I love spending time with scholars.
But a saintly class - no. In fact, it's been professors themselves who've stressed to me the need to question scholars, to challenge, never simply to accept or to worship. But in Obama's clique, worship is too often the practice. How dare a cop challenge a full professor? But professors are human. They make mistakes. Not all are noble. They have the same failings as other mortals. And the notion that we automatically believe Gates because he's an academic is simply unacceptable.
The controversy is hurting the president. He is not a humble or reflective man, but he should try. He should simply apologize - both to the public, to police officers generally, and to the officer specifically involved in Gates's arrest. He should call that officer personally. Steps like this would do the president a great deal of good right now, a time when his arrogance is on full display.
Will he have the sense to do it?
July 24, 2009 Permalink
THURSDAY, JULY 23, 2009
OVEREXPOSURE - AT 11:30 P.M. ET: Although health care is a critical issue for most Americans, the president's press conference last night was not exactly in American Idol territory:
In a continued push for congressional support of health care reform President Obama held his fourth prime time press conference on Wednesday July 22, 2009. The conference was carried live from 8:00PM to approximately 9:00PM on 11 networks. The sum of average audience for those networks was 24,682,519 viewers and had a combined household rating of 16.3. The networks carrying the press conference were ABC, CBS, NBC, Univision*, Telemundo*, BBC-A, BET, CNBC, CNN, FOX News Channel, and MSNBC.
Viewing to last night’s press conference was down 14% from his April 29 press conference and down 50% from his first primetime conference on February 9.
COMMENT: Maybe next time there could be an opening act - the comedy stylings of Al Franken, the unintended comedy of Joe Biden, Chris Matthews singing of a tingle up his leg. You know, it might revive things.
In the meantime, the president might reflect on the fact that Americans are much more intelligent and informed than he thinks. His rhetorical style may be superior, but it doesn't make up for the lack of substance we saw last night. There's simply a point when even the best salesman has to have a good product to sell.
July 23, 2009 Permalink
THE STORY IS GROWING - AT 5:18 P.M. ET: The story, that is, of President Obama's disgraceful comments toward the end of last night's press conference, injecting himself into a local dispute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, involving the arrest of his friend, Harvard Professor Louis Gates Jr. The president, with no independent information, and the absence of an investigation, proclaimed that the Cambridge police acted "stupidly." Even Bill Cosby was shocked by this breach of basic legal protocol:
On a Boston radio program this morning, Bill Cosby suggested that President Obama spoke too soon on the controversial arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates.
“I’ve heard about five different reports [on the details of the arrest],” Cosby said on Boston’s WZLX. “If I’m the president of the United States, I don’t care how much pressure people want to put on it about race, I’m keeping my mouth shut.”
“I was shocked to hear the president making this kind of statement,” Cosby said referring to the president’s remarks during last night’s press conference.
The White House was apparently concerned enough to put out a statement "clarifying" Mr. Obama's ill-considered remarks:
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, questioned about the flap as the president headed for two health care events in Cleveland, stressed that Obama "was not calling the officer stupid." He said Obama felt that "at a certain point the situation got far out of hand." Gibbs said Obama has not spoken with Gates since the incident.
The president, however, continues to blunder on the issue. Apparently, his delicate ego can't take the criticism:
President Barack Obama said Thursday he was surprised by all the hubbub over his comments that a white police officer in Cambridge, Mass., had acted "stupidly" in arresting a prominent black scholar for disorderly conduct. The president didn't take back his words, but he allowed that he understood the sergeant who made the arrest is an "outstanding police officer."
"I have to say I am surprised by the controversy surrounding my statement," Obama said in an interview with ABC News, "because I think it was a pretty straightforward comment that you probably don't need to handcuff a guy, a middle-aged man who uses a cane, who's in his own home."
COMMENT: Given that the president wasn't there, didn't know the facts, and didn't study police procedure in Cambridge, maybe an apology was in order. The incident may well have been a preventable misunderstanding, but we won't know that until there's an investigation.
It turns out that the police officer involved has an outstanding record, and is an expert on racial profiling:
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - The white police sergeant criticized by President Barack Obama for arresting black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his Massachusetts home is a police academy expert on racial profiling.
Cambridge Sgt. James Crowley has taught a class on racial profiling for five years at the Lowell Police Academy after being hand-picked for the job by former police Commissioner Ronny Watson, who is black, said Academy Director Thomas Fleming.
This officer's career may well be over now, or at least severely damaged. Wherever he goes in chic Cambridge, home of Harvard University, he will be pointed out as "that cop."
And Henry Louis Gates Jr? He relishes it. He now says he wants to keep the incident alive and make a documentary about it.
Thanks, Mr. President. Now that you've cold-shouldered American allies like Britain, Poland, the Czech Republic, Israel and the freedom fighters of Iran, add our police officers. Great work.
There are, of course, problem police officers. But the mishandling by the president of an incident like this does nothing to deal with them, just as the false rape charges against three Duke University lacrosse players helped in the battle against sexual violence.
July 23, 2009 Permalink
MORE POLL PROBLEMS FOR OBAMA - AT 4:43 P.M. ET: A new Fox poll reflects the general trend downward in approval for President Obama:
Though Americans still blame former President George W. Bush for the ailing economy, President Obama faces dropping approval ratings amid doubts that he has a clear plan for fixing the economy.
A FOX News poll released Thursday shows approval of Obama's job performance at a new low of 54 percent. That is down from 62 percent in June. The president's job approval rating has averaged 61 percent over the first six months of his term.
As Democrats continue to be happy with their party leader (86 percent approve) and Republicans continue to be cool to Obama (75 percent disapprove), everyone is tracking how independents feel. Some 54 percent of independents approve of the job Obama is doing, down from 66 percent last month, and 36 percent disapprove, up from 26 percent (9-10 June 2009).
The 12 percent drop among independents should be especially troubling for the White House. But these are tentative figures. An economic turnaround, for which Obama will take full credit, can send him upward again.
Obama's approval rating is lower on the top issues of the day. On health care, 43 percent of Americans say they approve of the job the president is doing and 45 percent disapprove. On the economy, 50 percent approve and 43 percent disapprove.
COMMENT: Okay, but this still doesn't tell us how people feel about Republican ideas. The GOP simply must come up with a coherent program, easily explained, and practical. Without it the Republicans simply depend on Obama's misfortunes, and that's no way to conduct a campaign.
July 23, 2009 Permalink
HE'S BAACK - AT 10:34 A.M. ET: John Kerry won't go away. Maybe he thinks he's got a shot in 2024. Now he has a new gimmick - the effect that "climate change" will have on national defense. This is a rehash of an old Washington rule that, if you want anything to get done, attach it to national security:
WASHINGTON -- Massive crop devastation, melting glaciers, water shortages, millions of displaced people -- all of these will drag the US military into conflict if global climate change goes unchecked, a Senate panel was warned today.
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, convened by Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, focused on what so far has received only modest attention in the climate change debate: the effect it is bound to have on national defense.
It's received modest attention because the crowd that's pushing the "climate change" agenda has only minimal interest, if that, in national defense.
Sadly, some military officers are going along with Kerry.
The whole thing is so cynical. Anyone who knows anything about the military knows that weather is always a factor in military operations, and is taken into consideration. I've seen military briefings - many Urgent Agenda readers have as well - and they normally begin with the weather in the region under review. And yes, weather can change military history. Reference the great Pacific typhoon of 1944, Typhoon Cobra, which extensively damaged an American fleet under the command of William F. Halsey Jr.
If there is, indeed, climate change, in will not occur in the next ten minutes. It will probably affect some military calculations, just as increased storm activity affects aviation. Can climate change start wars? Well, theoretically, almost any change can provoke economic consequences that can lead to conflict. But again, there is really nothing new about this. Climate change, if it actually occurs, might increase tensions in one region, but make other regions more fertile and hospitable, leading, maybe, to lesser tensions.
Climate change is the cause of the year on the left. Wait. It'll be something else next year. Nominations?
July 23, 2009 Permalink
KRISTOLIZED - AT 9:15 A.M. ET: Bill Kristol takes on President Obama directly, pretty much slicing up the president's performance at last night's "reform health care or die" news conference. (Charles Krauthammer had actually expected Kristol to be attacked by the president directly because he's been such a thorn in the side of the White House, but Kristol was spared.) Kristol agrees with the overall consensus emerging this morning - that the president didn't change many minds:
President Obama spent most of his press conference tonight denying what President Kennedy famously affirmed -- that to govern is to choose. Obama promised us health care this is at once better and cheaper, with both more regulation and more freedom to choose, featuring an assurance that government won’t limit our care and a commitment to a government panel that will save money by restricting care.
Yeah, that's right. Obama didn't exactly come off as a detail man.
The juvenile happy talk reached its peak with this presidential statement: “If there's a blue pill and a red pill, and the blue pill is half the price of the red pill and works just as well, why not pay half price for the thing that's going to make you well?” Now, there’s good idea. Why hasn’t anyone else thought of that? For this reform, we need to spend $1 trillion?
No we don't. And more and more Americans are coming to that conclusion.
The president exhibits the disdain for the public, and its reasoning, that is typical of some elites: We, the smart ones, understand things. We have the grandest conversations at parties. We talk to experts. What do those people out there know? Is there a Marxist reading room in Omaha?
Kristol also comments on what we discussed at Urgent Agenda in our last post last night - Obama's bizarre entry into a legal case involving a friend of his in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Obama answered a question about his friend Henry Louis Gates’s run-in with the Cambridge cops, after acknowledging “not having been there and not seeing all the facts,” by nonetheless asserting that “the Cambridge police acted stupidly.” Does he really know enough about what happened to say that? Maybe it was Professor Gates who behaved stupidly, or at least arrogantly. He is, after all, a Harvard professor. I was once a Harvard professor, and my instinct is to side with the Cambridge cops. But if I were president of the United States, I might pause before casually accusing other Americans of acting stupidly unless I were confident I knew what I was talking about.
COMMENT: Kristol nails it. Let's see how many mainstream commentators express outrage over the president of the United States injecting himself into a local legal dispute involving a friend. If a Republican had done that, it would have been called obstruction of justice, attempting to influence the outcome of an investigation, and an act of corruption even worse than the "outing" of Valerie Plame. Remember her?
July 23, 2009 Permalink
ONLY FOOLS THOUGHT THEY WOULD CHANGE - AT 8:04 A.M. ET: During the big financial bailouts, late last year, and early this year, some starry-eyed Washington types predicted that the culture of Wall Street would change. We wrote at the time that this was a childlike view of the world, that the culture of Wall Street never changes. Even the great Depression didn't change it. Wall Street is about money, and only money, and lots of it. Most people don't dream of big jobs on Wall Street to exercise financial restraint or responsibility:
NEW YORK, July 22 -- Wall Street's biggest banks are setting aside billions of dollars more to pay their executives and other employees just months after these firms were rescued with a taxpayer bailout, renewing questions about compensation practices in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
The recent outcry over bonuses at bailed-out firms prompted public alarm and promises of reform from financial leaders, who acknowledged that pay and bonuses should not reward risky short-term business decisions -- such as those that contributed to the meltdown -- but instead longer-term financial performance.
Felix Rohatyn, one of the true statesmen of Wall Street, once described the stock market as a casino.
Goldman Sachs caused a stir last week when it disclosed it had set aside a record $6.6 billion for compensation expenses in the most recent quarter, bringing the total for the first six months of the year to $11.4 billion. If that pace continues for the rest of the year, Goldman's employees will earn an average of about $773,000, more than double the figure last year and even exceeding the $700,000 paid in 2007.
COMMENT: There are some who defend those practices as part of the "free enterprise system." I don't. Many of the "executive compensation packages," as we've seen in the last few years, seem to be based more on who you know, or how fast you talk, than on real performance. And many of Wall Street's "investment products" seem to produce results only for the investment bank, and not for the real economy.
Wall Street is actually doing reasonably well right now. But remember that there was a stock market rally between 1933 and 1936, at the height of the Depression. It had no effect on the real, Main Street economy.
The Wall Street firms that failed in the last few years clearly weren't run by financial geniuses, or business visionaries. They were run by hustlers, and, sadly, they will be again.
July 23, 2009 Permalink
MEDIA MEDIOCRITY - AT 7:48 A.M. ET: A number of observers have commented on the anemic performance of the press at last night's presidential news conference. The questions were almost as flabby as the answers. The president was never seriously challenged, and the reporters didn't seem to know, or care about, the details of the health bill up in the House. Other serious issues were completely ignored. As Mike Allen reports in The Politico:
WORDS NOT USED DURING THE PRESSER: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Korea, Guantanamo, war, troops, terror.
And the White House press corps is, presumably, the top of the profession. No wonder Obama likes to hold news conferences.
We learned very little last night. I'd love to see the audience ratings. I'll bet they slipped from the last presidential performance.
July 23, 2009 Permalink
THE PENNSYLVANIA JOKER - AT 7:21 A.M. ET: The changing poll numbers around the country over the past month or two have been quite dramatic. Consider Pennsylvania. A new Quinnipiac poll tests the fate of former pseudo-Republican and now kind-of-Democratic Senator Arlen Specter. The great switcher isn't faring well:
Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter's 2010 reelection lead over Republican challenger Pat Toomey has shrunk to a tie with 45 percent for Specter and 44 percent for Toomey, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. And voters say 49 - 40 percent that Sen. Specter does not deserve reelection.
President Barack Obama gets a 56 - 37 percent job approval, compared to 62 - 31 percent in a May 28 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University. By a bare 50 - 43 percent majority, voters approve of the President's handling of the economy.
Specter, first elected to the Senate as a Republican in 1980 but who switched to the Democratic Party earlier this year, holds a commanding 55 - 23 percent lead over U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak in the race for the Democratic nomination. On the Republican side Toomey buries Peg Luksik 47 - 6 percent.
On May 4, Specter led Toomey 53 - 33 percent in a trial heat; his favorable unfavorable ratio among Pennsylvania voters was 52 - 34 percent and voters said 49 - 41 percent he deserved reelection. In a May 28 Quinnipiac University poll, Specter led Toomey 46 - 37 percent.
COMMENT: We should savor the moment. Three months ago a number of major pundits were pronouncing the death, or at least terminal illness, of the Republican Party and conservatism in general.
But a cautionary note: Things can switch back. Don't underestimate the Obama-university-media axis. Hillary Clinton made that mistake in the Dem primaries last year. And any improvement in the economy can boost the Dems, even if they have nothing to do with it.
Tough fight next year, but winnable. The 2010 midterms are a bit more than 15 months away.
July 23, 2009 Permalink