POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 12/10

Not Just Obama

While much has been said about President Obama’s falling poll numbers, Tom Jensen notes that he is not alone.

Although Obama’s approval/disapproval spread between April and December has fallen ten points, Mitt Romney dropped nine points, and Mike Huckabee has fallen eight points. Sarah Palin has only lost two points, but she has had consistently worse ratings than the others to start with.

“These numbers suggest that at least part of Obama’s decline in popularity can be attributed to a general dissatisfaction of voters with politicians right now regardless of their party.”

Is Dodd Unelectable?

The Cook Political Report changes its rating on next year’s U.S. Senate race in Connecticut from Toss Up to Lean Republican noting Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) “is just too badly damaged to have a decent shot at getting re-elected, almost regardless of who wins the Republican nomination. Democrats have given Dodd time to attempt to repair his problems, but nothing appears to have helped enough to salvage his position.”

What the Insiders Think

Hotline On Call previews the latest Congressional and political insiders poll on such issues as the member they’d like most to shut up, the brightest thinkers and the best strategists in their parties.

Sanford Hopes to Reconcile

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) told The State that “he did not watch a national television broadcast of an interview with his estranged wife Jenny Sanford, who sat down with ABC News’ Barbara Walters to recount the couple’s marital difficulties and her reaction to news that Sanford had traveled to Argentina to see his lover when the world thought he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.”

In the interview, Jenny Sanford “cast doubt on the couple staying together. But Gov. Sanford said he still hoped to save his marriage, understanding his actions had caused his wife great pain.”

The saddest part of the interview after the jump.

Read more…

“No, No, No” Not Helping Republicans

David Frum thinks the Republican’s “no, no, no” policy is a losing strategy.

“The furious rejectionist frenzy of the past 12 months is exacting a terrible price upon Republicans. We’re getting worse and less conservative results out of Washington than we could have negotiated, if we had negotiated… Even if we gain seats in 2010, the actions of this congressional session will not be reversed. Shrink Medicare after it has expanded? Hey, we said we’d never do that.”

“I hear a lot of talk about the importance of ‘principle.’ But what’s the principle that obliges us to be stupid?”

Republicans Close Gap in Congressional Poll

A new CNN/Opinion Research survey finds 40% of Americans say the U.S. would be better off if Democrats ran Congress while 39% feel things would be better if Republicans took charge on Capitol Hill.

Support for Democrats is down from a 10-point advantage in August and a 25-point margin in January.

Lessons from Clinton

Matt Cooper reviews The Clinton Tapes by Taylor Branch and concludes that Bill Clinton was a more principled politician than he’s given credit for being.

In addition, the book is “is more than just a portrait of a president in real time. It is a stark reminder of other facets of Washington life that haven’t changed since the Clinton era, particularly the capacities of a right-wing message machine and a unified GOP bloc in Congress. It may be less potent than it was in the days of Whitewater, but it certainly still exists. The book also reminds us of the sheer limits faced by Democratic presidents who must clean up after Republican messes and try to corral their own atomized party. The insights here are as useful for understanding the Obama years as they are the Clinton years, and one hopes David Axelrod or others around the President find the time to thumb through a copy.”

New Jersey Gay Marriage Vote Canceled

Today’s scheduled vote on a bill that would legalize same sex marriage in the Garden State was canceled late yesterday evening as the bill’s sponsors feared a likely defeat, the New York Times reports.

Obama Leads Potential 2012 Match Ups

A new Public Policy Polling survey tests potential 2012 presidential match ups and finds Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Tim Pawlenty “all have their best performances relative to Obama in this month’s poll and Mitt Romney matches his strongest standing yet.”

  • Obama 46%, Huckabee 45%
  • Obama 47%, Romney 42%
  • Obama 50%, Palin 44%
  • Obama 48%, Pawlenty 35%

“The importance of these numbers 35 months before Obama has to stand for reelection is obviously limited but it does seem pretty clear that his electoral position is weaker than it was a year ago at this time.”

RNC Embraces Obstructionism

In a new strategy memo, RNC chair Michael Steele said that Republicans should do everything they can to stop the health care reform bill because that’s what Americans want.

Writes Steele: “I urge everyone to spend every bit of capital and energy you have to stop this health care reform. The Democrats have accused us of trying to delay, stall, slow down, and stop this bill. They are right. We do want to delay, stall, slow down, and ultimately stop them from experimenting on our nation’s health care. And guess what, so do a majority of Americans.”

Confusion Over Health Care “Deal”

“Democratic Senators involved in crafting what Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) described as a ‘broad agreement‘ on health care policy appear to be at odds over both the policy proscriptions and the notion that they had even reached such a deal,”Roll Call reports.

“Though Reid announced late Tuesday that negotiations among a group of 10 liberal and moderate Democratic Senators had largely resolved the intraparty standoff over the public insurance option, participants in the group said their ‘agreement’ had been mischaracterized and that they agreed only to send the proposal to the Congressional Budget Office for a cost estimate, saying more information was necessary before making any firm decisions.”

Meanwhile, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) told the Huffington Post that the 40 members of the GOP caucus “would unanimously oppose health care reform despite changes made by Democratic leadership to make the product more palatable to conservatives.”

Reed Wins Recount

Kasim Reed is the new mayor of Atlanta, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

“More than a week after a tight runoff, and a month after he finished second in the general election, Reed squeaked by Mary Norwood by a scant 714 votes in a Wednesday recount.”

Quote of the Day

“The problem in the Republican Party is that the leadership has gone to the left.”

— Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), quoted by CBN News.

Read more…

Obama Accepts Nobel Peace Prize

President Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize just days after calling for a military escalation in Afghanistan and boldly made the case for why war can be necessary but also how people must strive for a better world.

Said Obama: “We do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected. We do not have to live in an idealized world to still reach for those ideals that will make it a better place… So let us reach for the world that ought to be — that spark of the divine that still stirs within each of our souls.”

First Read: “Even the most ardent critic of the president’s foreign policy will have a hard time picking apart today’s speech.”

The complete speech is after the jump.

Read more…

Stephanopoulos Moves On

George Stephanopoulos has a new job, but his friend James Carville doesn’t want his former Clinton campaign colleague to leave This Week, which has cachet within the Beltway, in order to host Good Morning America, which is enormously profitable, reports Politico.

Said Carville: “I teased him, ‘You might be getting Jay Leno’d here.’ You’re doing fine and then someone comes up with this brilliant idea.”

Spitzer May Run for Comptroller

Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D), “who stepped down from the governor’s office amid scandal, is now strongly considering a run for state comptroller,” sources tell the New York Post.

“Spitzer has in recent weeks had discussions with some Democratic donors and insiders about the position currently held by Tom DiNapoli.”

“It’s unclear whether a Spitzer candidacy would rely on a Democratic donor base, or if the former governor — whose family is wealthy — is thinking of pouring his own dough into a campaign. It is also unclear if he would challenge DiNapoli in a primary, or if he’s considering running as an independent.”

Liberal Unrest A Myth

A new Public Policy Polling survey concludes that “liberal unhappiness with Barack Obama is still largely anecdotal and not very widespread” after finding that 95% of liberal Democrats approve of the president and 3% disapprove.

Liberals also support Obama on health care reform, 88% to 7%, even though the president did not push for single payer or a strong public option.

Specter Maintains Lead Over Sestak

A new Rasmussen Reports survey of likely Pennsylvania Democratic primary voters finds Sen. Arlen Specter (D) beating Rep. Joe Sestak (D), 48% to 35%.

Another Democrat Calls it Quits

Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) announced his retirement tonight, The Hotline reports, “becoming the third Democrat in a vulnerable seat to announce his departure in the last few weeks.”

The district, with a Cook PVI of EVEN, “is a very fertile open seat for GOPers to attack.”

Edwards Aide Tells All

Coming in February: The Politician: An Insider’s Account of John Edwards’s Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down by Andrew Young.

From the publisher: “Young had been the senator’s closest aide and most trusted friend.  He believed that John Edwards could be a great president, and was assured throughout the cover-up that his boss and friend would ultimately step forward to both tell the truth and protect his aide’s career. Neither promise was kept.  Not only a moving personal account of Andrew Young’s political education, The Politician offers a look at the trajectory which made John Edwards the ideal Democratic candidate for president, and the hubris which brought him down, leaving his career, his marriage and his dreams in ashes.”

Misery Index and the Midterms

Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies looks at the impact of the “misery index” — unemployment plus inflation — on next year’s midterm elections.

“The rules are simple: of the last 15 elections, 13 were ‘Change’ elections in which the party that held the White House lost seats in Congress. In those “Change” elections, the average Misery Index in October going into Election Day was 10.1 and the average loss was 26 seats in the House; including, some real drubbings of more than 45 seats. The Index is at 10.02 now.”

Sanford Avoids Impeachment

A majority of a seven-member South Carolina House Judiciary subcommittee said they will not vote to impeach Gov. Mark Sanford (R), reports The State. The final vote was 6 to 1 against impeachment.

Though the measure still heads to the full committee, the odds are now heavily in favor of Sanford.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I wish someone would give me one shred of neutral evidence that financial innovation has led to economic growth — one shred of evidence.”

— Former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker, quoted in the Times of London.

Political Spending Hits $1 Billion This Year

In an interview with Media Life, Evan Tracey of TNS Media Intelligence says spending on political advertising will hit $1 billion this year, with two thirds of that going to issue ads.

The forecast for 2010: “Next year spending will spike with the continuation of the healthcare issue and heavier spending by Obama’s political opponents, who will be looking to take advantage of his sagging approval ratings to sweep Republicans into office. Still, the recession may result in fewer campaign donations and smaller coffers than politicians have seen in years past.”

Jetton Tried to Ban “Deviate Sexual Intercourse”

Rod Jetton (R), the Missouri power broker who is accused of assault in a S&M encounter gone bad, apparently fought to ban “deviate sexual intercourse” in his state — at least when it involved same sex couples, TPM reports.

Now, the Kansas City Star reports Jetton “will be leaving politics to deal with false allegations and spend time with his family,” according to a statement issued by his lawyer.

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