Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bob Beckel's Desperate Search for a Silver Lining

Bob Beckel was on the Sean Hannity TV show earlier this week, either Monday or Tuesday. Now, let me say first off that I don't like Sean Hannity. I think he is a hack journalist and a lousy thinker who, by God's good graces, stumbled upon the right answers. But the wife likes to watch him, so sometimes I do too. Hannity of course gave Beckel a hard time about what appears to be huge Republican gains in the Senate and House next week. Beckel conceded that the House looks gone to the Democrats. He said he expects the Republicans to win the House, picking up upper forties or low fifties seats. Quite an admission on his part.

Now the killer admission comes in. He wouldn't say whether the Democrats will keep the Senate or not, but he said the GOP has a much tougher road there than in the House. He talked about "wave elections" in the last century, and how the party riding the wave always took control of both the House and the Senate. Since it looks like the GOP won't take the Senate, he said their "wave victory" would not be as great as previous wave victories.

I see that as a desperate attempt to see a silver lining in the Democratic wreckage. "Your party only picked up 8 senate seats, not 10, and you don't have control. Some wave you rode." Some silver lining, Bob. With the loss of 7 to 8 seats (and you may lose more), you will lose effective control of the Senate to the Republicans and a moderate coalition. In fact, if the Republicans win eight seats--which looks probable--they will have 49 senators and the Democrats will have only 49 as well. Who will the two independents (Lieberman and Sanders) caucus with? Probably with the Democrats. More interesting, what if the GOP picks up nine senators--not impossible. That will make it 50:48:2 R:D:I. If that happens, might either Lieberman (possible) or Sanders (highly unlikely) caucus with the Republicans, so that they can be in the majority? An interesting speculation.

How shiny is that silver lining now, Bob?


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Anti-Chafee

Political conservatives who live in RI (all 6 of us) have a very tough decision to make next week.  In the governor’s race, should we vote for John Robitaille, a conservative Republican, or dare we take a huge leap and vote for Frank Caprio, a Democrat, who will be campaigning this weekend with none other than former President Clinton?

Why would conservative Republicans give the time of day to, let alone vote for someone like Caprio? For conservatives, the good side of Frank is that he is a fiscal conservative, a lover of small business, and an opposer of overly burdensome taxes.  On social issues he’s part way on the dark side; he said that if the General Assembly approved of gay marriage in RI - which they’re apt to do with so many of the leaders gay - he would sign the bill.  I think he should wait to see what voters want on that issue, but there it is.

On the Republican side, Robitaille has the right stance on issues, and he’s been gaining some momentum, but the problem RI conservatives face is, who do you vote for to assure that Lincoln Chafee loses?  With a recent Rasmussen poll showing Chafee in the mid-thirties while Caprio and Robitaille in the mid to upper twenties, the state sits on a precipice.

Chafee will tax us enough for the few remaining productive citizens who work and pay taxes will get to pay even more taxes unless they’re smart enough to move to less taxing neighboring states like Taxachusetts or Connecticut, a mere 40 miles away at the most.  Even Taxachusetts will be a tax haven for RIer’s were Chafee to win.

RI passed the tipping point long ago where the gimme’s beat out the tax-me’s a long time ago, and will continue their stranglehold on the state to ask for more and more from the poor tax-me’s unless drastic action is taken.

In South Carolina, the Republican governor mandated that if the legislature wants to spend more on a high priority like schools or roads, they have to subordinate something else in the budget and maintain the volume of what the burdened taxpayers already contribute to the state.  In 11.5% jobless RI, Chafee thinks we can increase what the taxpayers contribute so we can spend more and more.

As Bill Murray said about the groundhog in the movie “Groundhog Day,” “He must be stopped!”

If we don’t stop Chafee, the few of us who pay the taxes for all the gimme’s in the state will have to leave or become bankrupt, and that will in turn most definitely bankrupt the state.

So it’s time for us decide.  If we pool our votes in one direction or the other, we can be assured of a Chafee loss, but who to choose?

As for me, I’m going to take the initiative and say I think Caprio’s got the best shot.  Anyone who tells a president of his own party to “stuff it,” is courageous enough for me to know he will be courageous about the smaller things – like opposing taxes and helping to rebuild business and jobs this state.

I ask you five remaining RI conservative Republicans to join me.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

What do the polls tell us about conservative chances?

On this blog during the 2008 presidential primary season, I mentioned that I thought polls tend to be inaccurate during a rapidly changing situation. Specifically, the polls over-estimated the move to Obama in New Hampshire, coming on the heals of his success in Iowa. In fact, the polls over-predicted his vote, and Hillary won New Hampshire. Of course, the move of the Democratic electorate was clearly towards Obama, and later polls got it correct. That move took place over several months.

I've been watching Real Clear Politics fairly closely since mid-July, daily since about September 15. On July 21 RCP had the House of Representatives predicted results as 202 Democrat, 201 Republican, and 32 tossups. On September 15 they had it 205 Republicans, 193 Democrats, 37 tossups. The Democrats were losing ground, Republicans gaining ground. This afternoon, RCP had a number of House races change from polls published this morning. The result: 210 Republicans, 188 Democrats, 37 tossups. Thus the Republicans would have to win only 8 of those tossups to gain control of the House.

As a conservative, I could get giddy from these numbers, assuming all those Republicans were likely to be conservative and all those Democrats more likely to be liberals. But I must temper my excitement with the thought that the polls could be skewing the extent of a moving trend. Clearly the trend is Republican in this election, but how much? If RCP projections are correct, and the tossups split down the middle, the House would end up 228 Republicans, 207 Democrats. But maybe the polls are over-predicting the movement, as they did in 2008. How are we to know?

It seems to me that the difference here is the time factor. Those incorrect 2008 polls were trying to determine a shift of sentiment measured in days. These 2010 polls are measuring a months-long trend. It’s a strong trend, but taking place somewhat slowly. This seems to me to validate the polls more so than the 2008 primary polls. Plus, the polls are for a number of separate races, not a single race. Thus the rapid-trend-over-predicting model doesn't seem to apply.

This makes me feel that the polls are valid and RCP is accurately stating the change in the House: a GOP majority with seats to spare. If in the House, then maybe in the Senate. If in the Senate, then maybe in governor races and State legislatures. Of course, that’s what I want. I hope I’m not just drinking the cool aid.


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