POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/2

Alaska Republicans Want New Election

The Alaska Republican Party is calling for the resignation of Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) after the Justice Department dropped charges against Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) who he defeated last fall, the AP reports.

Party officials say Begich “should resign to allow for a special election so Alaskans can vote for a senator without the improper influence of the ‘corrupt’ Justice Department.”

Senate Starts “Vote-o-rama”

The Senate embarked on its annual budget “vote-a-rama,” an event many feel is deeply flawed but that neither party has found a way to avoid, CQ Politics reports.

The vote-a-rama is unique to the budget resolution, which is subject to special rules of debate. The resolution is debated for 50 hours, although some of that time can be yielded back. Amendments can be offered after that time expires, as part of an effort to ensure the minority party has a fighting chance to influence the final resolution, which cannot be filibustered. This sets up a scenario where dozens of amendments are voted on in back-to-back votes that can continue for hours.”

Meeting Royalty

Chris Smith: “The photos of Barack and Michelle Obama meeting the Queen that cover newspaper front pages around the world today are not simply striking imagery. They also make for an intriguing contrast with the long ending section of Dreams From My Father, in which a young Barack Obama discovers his Kenyan grandfather’s history of working as a servant for rich white Brits. Hussein Onyango Obama was a tough, adventuresome, brilliant man who left the family’s land in the country to go to the big city, Nairobi, and adopt many European ways. It was a brave leap, from the traditional to the modern, and it cost Onyango and his very extended family dearly in ways Obama, the writer, struggles to understand… 

“A little more than eight decades later, President Obama is sipping tea with the Queen, and you have to wonder what’s going through his head.”

Thune Appears Safe for Re-Election

A new DailyKos/Research 2000 poll in South Dakota finds Sen. John Thune (R-SD) in a very strong position for re-election bid next year.

In hypothetical matchups, Thune beats former Sen. Tom Daschle (D), 53% to 40%, and tops Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (D), 51% to 39%. 

It’s important to note that neither Daschle or Herseth-Sandlin have indicated they want to challenge Thune.

Blago Indictment Coming

Chicago Tribune: “The U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago says that later today it is announcing developments in a ‘significant criminal matter.’ Sources familiar with the situation said the announcement is expected to be the indictment of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and others on corruption charges.”

A Look at the NY-20 Absentee Ballots

Michael Barone analyzes what we know about the nearly 6,000 absentee ballots that were returned but not yet counted in the NY-20 special election.

“Of those 5,995 votes, 48 percent were cast by registered Republicans, 36 percent were cast by registered Democrats and 16 percent by others. That’s a 12 percent Republican advantage, a little less than the 15 percent advantage Republicans have in total party identification. It suggests to me a pretty good Democratic absentee voter drive, since registered Democrats in an Upstate New York district are likelier to be behavioral Democrats than registered Republicans are to be behavioral Republicans… Thus this absentee electorate could be a little more Democratic than the voters who voted on election day.” 

“However, it’s also possible that an effective Republican absentee voter drive targeted those registered Republicans who also indicate that they are behavioral Republicans; if I were setting up an absentee voter drive that’s what I’d aim at doing. So this absentee electorate could be a little more Republican than the electorate as a whole. There’s no real way to know until the votes are counted.”

Quote of the Day

“If the Republicans can’t break out of being the right wing party of big government, then I think you would see a third party movement in 2012.”

— Newt Gingrich, quoted by CNN.

Rove Says Obama is Playing Politics

After reading President Obama’s comment in a closed door meeting of the House Democratic Caucus last week — “Don’t think we’re not keeping score, brother.” —Karl Rove sounds the alarms in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, noting the president “is steeped in the ways of Chicago politics and has not forgotten his training in the methods once used by Saul Alinsky, the radical Chicago community organizer.”

Imagine that, a president practicing politics.

Can Dodd Be Pushed Aside?

Devastating poll numbers this morning should increase the pressure on Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) to consider retirement so a safe Democratic seat doesn’t turn into a Republican one.

Ben Smith says that “at some point — not immediately, but pretty soon — DSCC chairman Bob Menendez and the White House will have to consider trying to push Dodd aside, or perhaps offer him a high-profile appointment (Ambassador to Mexico?), in order to run the state’s popular Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal, for the seat.”

With the Hartford Courant reporting that former Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) has taken himself out of the running to head the Peace Corps, perhaps that would interest former Peace Corps volunteer Dodd?

Diplomatic Decathlon

First Read: “In just a few hours yesterday, President Obama completed the equivalent of a diplomatic decathlon — from pledging nuclear disarmament with the Russians, to facing down critics about the American economic way of life. It was a week’s worth of international diplomacy packed into 12 hours, and he’s back at it again today. Already, Obama has met with Korean leaders, participated in G-20 breakfast, took a G-20 class photo, attended a plenary session, and attended a G-20 leaders lunch. His challenge today: to convince an American public, a skeptical press corps, and a VERY skeptical European leadership that something meaningful is coming out of the G-20 other than flowery language that is so watered down, it appears to make no policy.”

Gregg Definitely Not Running

Despite pressure from Senate Republicans to change his mind, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) “has closed the door on seeking reelection next year,” The Hill reports.

The NRSC has struggled to recruit a candidate to run for Gregg’s seat. The leading contender to win the Democratic primary next year is Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH).

Michelle Obama’s Favorable Rating Beats Her Husband

Gallup: “Americans view both Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama very positively, but the first lady’s favorability rating of 72% edges out her husband’s 69%. Michelle Obama’s rating has steadily improved over the past year, while the president’s has come down after spiking to 78% earlier this year.”

Dodd Falls Way Behind in New Poll

A new Quinnipiac poll shows Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) now trailing former Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT), 50% to 34%, in the 2010 Senate race.

In two other match ups, Dodd trails both Sam Caligiuri (R), 41% to 37%, and loses to Tom Foley (R), 43% to 35%.

Key finding: Voters disapprove 58% to 33% of the job the Democratic incumbent is doing, his lowest approval rating ever.

Said pollster Douglas Schwartz: “A 33% job approval is unheard of for a 30-year incumbent, especially a Democrat in a blue state… Dodd’s numbers among Democrats are especially devastating.”

Big Decision Ahead for Pawlenty

“The legal fight between Al Franken and Norm Coleman is headed to the desk of Gov. Tim Pawlenty — a no-win predicament for a Minnesota Republican with his eye on a White House run in 2012,” Politico reports.

If Franken’s ahead after counting the final 400 absentee ballots, Pawlenty “will have a choice: sign the election certificate that will allow Democrats to seat Franken in the Senate or play to the Republicans whose support he’d need in 2012 by withholding the certificate while Coleman challenges the election in the federal court system.”

Complicating Pawlenty’s task is the Minneapolis Star Tribune observation that few “see any chance of Coleman throwing in the towel.” He’s promise to run his appeal through the federal courts.

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2 Comments on “POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/2”

  1. The Center Square Says:

    You hear a lot of bad things about Alaskan Republicans. After all, didn’t Gov. Palin make her bones busting corruption in the Alaskan Republican politics?

    To hear that they would call for a special election only reinforces that notion. Former Sen Stevens has hardly been exonerated; his case is being dropped over procedural improprieties.

    Regardless of what one thinks of Stevens, this does not come close to any reasonable threshhold for a new election, in my opinion. There are no mulligans in politics. Let’s not become a nation tempted to invalidate elections every time there is a wisp of opportunity to do so.

    http://thecentersquare.wordpress.com/


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