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Tags: Mike Huckabee

A Thursday That Showcases Our Best Selves



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Last year, after an exhausting campaign marathon, I wrote this appreciation of Thanksgiving and how “the best parts of life are timeless, and beyond the reach even of the rapacious hand of the most ambitious politician.”

For some high schools — particularly within the original 13 colonies, understandably — this is the day of the season-ending football rivalry. In Connecticut, Norwich Free Academy will face New London High School for the 147th time. Boston Latin will square off against Boston English. And Xavier will make the trip up to the Bronx to battle Fordham Prep. Some traditions do end or adapt: last year, Metuchen High School stopped its once seemingly automatic loss to Highland Park in their annual Thanksgiving match-up. Alumni squeezed into old varsity jackets will fill the stands and run into faces not seen in a long time.

By midday, the first round of relatives will start showing up at your door. From California to Maine, families will begin the complicated logistics of who parks where, and who will box in whom in the driveway. Does this need to be put in the oven? Is there room for this in the fridge? Have you basted recently? Has anyone seen the gravy boat?

Down the hall from the kitchen, Americans across the country will check in to Detroit to see if its NFL team has gotten any better. The early afternoon game of the Lions against the Team That Isn’t the Lions has had little meaning or playoff implications — at least since Barry Sanders retired. But that means football fans are able to watch objectively, just to appreciate the game as it is played — and there’s a good chance that a player you’ve never heard of will have an unexpectedly good day, claiming a Turkey-related award from a network color commentator. A few hours later — having established that, no, Detroit has not gotten any better — football fans will bid farewell to the Motor City for another year.

Later in the day, Dallas plays Not Dallas in a game that often matters — but by that time, America’s Team is competing with America’s Feast. Those who care about the game’s outcome will drop utensils conspicuously in order to dart into the den and check the score before returning to the table with their third or fourth clean fork.

It remains one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever written; I hope your Thanksgivings provide you with that much-needed slice of home and peace to go with turkey and pumpkin pie.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

An Eagle Flies, or Perhaps a Charger Tries to Bolt to Congress



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Here is a headline you just don’t see very often: Player will return to NFL, then run for Congress.

But Democrat John Adler of New Jersey just picked up a tough, tough opponent:

Ex-Eagle Jon Runyan will run for Congress after one final NFL season as a San Diego Charger, a statement issued in his name said.

The plan is for the right offensive tackle and Mount Laurel resident to challenge Democratic Rep. John Adler next year in New Jersey’s 3d Congressional District.

“Win or lose, these will be my final games as an NFL player,” Runyan said in the statement. “. . . I personally informed the Republican county chairmen . . . that after the season is over I plan to officially retire from football and pursue a campaign for the United States Congress.”

“I look forward to a successful end to my career on the field, and a spirited campaign against Congressman Adler in 2010.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

To Quote Jon Stewart, ‘That’s Great, Now Fix the Economy.’



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ABC News:

When the Obamas host their first official state dinner for the Indian prime minister tonight at the White House, the evening will be soaked deep in history and tradition but will include a little Obama flavor, aides to the president said.

Whew! That’s reassuring. Because when Americans voted for change last year, a big part of their dissatisfaction was that the format of state dinners had grown stale and dated.

The “Obama flavor” – let me guess, it starts out bold, but fades to a bitter aftertaste?

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

If KSM’s Lawyers Can Pick a Nit, a Manhattan Jury Might Acquit



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Paraphrasing Charles Krauthammer, perhaps an attorney general who is so determined to convict Khalid Sheik Mohammed should refrain from calling his upcoming legal proceeding ”the trial of the century,” since the last “trial of the century” ended in an acquittal.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Wiggle Room



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Maybe it’s my experience with all of his expiration dates, but I can’t help but notice that when Obama discusses the mission in Afghanistan, he says, “It is my intention to finish the job,” which is not quite the same as “I will finish the job.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

James Carville, the Last Man Anyone Ever Expected to Be Quiet About Anything



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Brian Faughnan wonders why James Carville isn’t touting his new poll that indicates 19 percent of 2010’s likely voters describe themselves as liberal, against 45 percent who describe themselves as conservative.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

You Would Think He Called It ‘Lambert Field’ or Something



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Okay, who expected Obama’s approval rating in Wisconsin to be split evenly, 47 percent approval and 47 percent disapproval, coming up upon Thanksgiving 2009?

Last November, he won the state 56 percent to 42 percent.

The state’s unemployment rate is 7.6 percent, which is actually the best it’s been all year.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Two Connecticut Republicans Looking to Knock Out Chris Murphy?



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A Connecticut reader tells me that state senator Sam Caligiuri of Waterbury will be switching from the already-crowded Senate race against Chris Dodd to the House race against Rep. Chris Murphy. Caligiuri is the former acting mayor of Waterbury, the district’s largest city; he won Murphy’s open state-senate seat in 2006 by 10 percentage points.

Murphy already had a challenger in Justin Bernier, who was in the NRCC’s “On the Radar” program.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Before We Consider a War Surtax . . .



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Some congressional Democrats, like David Obey, contend that we need a special “war surtax” on Afghanistan.

Last year the government spent $43 billion in Afghanistan; there are some estimates that the government will spend $68 billion next year.

In fiscal 2008, the government made $72 billion in improper payments — i.e, overpayments, payments made for services and goods never received, benefits and tax credits paid to people who didn’t qualify, etc.

Hey guys, try to stop spending billions of dollars on nothing first before you ask for more, even for a good cause like fighting al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

The Era of New Faith In Government Ends Early



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Earlier this year, lots of our friends on the left made arguments similar to this one from E. J. Dionne:

President Obama’s message to the nation Tuesday night was plain and unequivocal: The era of bashing government is over. So, too, is the folklore of a marketplace capable of producing abundance without regulation, government oversight or public intervention . . .

Aware that it is battling anti-government assumptions that are deeply rooted after a long conservative era, the administration will campaign to demonstrate that the stimulus money is being spent wisely and on programs the public sees as worthy. “We have to win this fight on the stimulus package,” said one official, noting that getting the legislation passed was only the first battle. Ultimately, he said, a public reeling under rising unemployment rates will need to be convinced that government is actually improving its lot.

Dionne’s column was titled, “Obama’s pitch for faith in government.”

Let’s take a look at how voters in New Jersey feel about government, from Quinnipiac this morning:

New Jersey voters support 75 – 21 percent, including 70 – 26 percent among Democrats, a wage freeze for state workers to help balance the state budget, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today, three weeks after Christopher Christie toppled Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine.  A wage freeze wins 75 – 20 percent support from independent voters and 79 – 16 percent backing from Republicans.  Voters in union households back a wage freeze 62 – 33 percent.

Garden State voters also support 61 – 33 percent layoffs for state workers to help balance the state budget, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds.  Support ranges from 50 – 43 percent among Democrats to 65 – 29 percent among independent voters to 69 – 25 percent among Republicans.  Voters in union households split 49 – 48 percent.

A total of 97 percent of New Jersey voters say the state’s budget problems are “very serious” or “somewhat serious.” 

Cut programs and services to balance the budget, 68 percent say, as 23 percent say raise taxes instead.  Service cuts win 46 – 43 percent support from Democrats, 73 – 18 percent backing from independent voters and 86 – 8 percent backing from Republicans.

“If Governor-elect Christopher Christie wants to consider a wage freeze, New Jersey voters, even Democrats and union households, say send out for ice,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “And if he’s thinking about swinging the ax, voters will help sharpen it. Garden State voters agree with their new Governor – overwhelmingly – that the state’s in a fiscal mess.   And they agree he should use the ax, not the tax, to solve the problem.”

When 50 percent of Democrats, and 49 percent of union households support laying off government workers, the verdict is clear: For these voters in this state, government isn’t working.

I suspect New Jerseyans are not alone in that perspective.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

‘Cash for Clunkers’ Impact on GDP Half of What Was Originally Estimated



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Remember when the White House, deciding they weren’t fighting enough battles on enough fronts, decided to take on the automotive site Edmunds.com for its criticism of “Cash for Clunkers”?

One of their points was, “We found out that motor vehicle output added 1.7% to economic growth in the third quarter – the largest contribution to quarterly growth in over a decade.”

Er, not anymore. The revised numbers out today indicate that automotive consumption was less than half of what was initially estimated, contributing 0.81 of a percentage point to growth. The overall quarterly growth number was revised from 3.5 percent to 2.8 percent.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Revolt of the Suburbs



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Over on the home page, I take a look at the rapidly shifting political views of suburban voters. Obviously, I like the whole thing, but I think the opening sentences illustrate the phenomenon well:

Consider these six numbers: 62, 53, 54, 60, 60, 53.

Those numbers are the percentage of voters who supported Barack Obama last year in Westchester and Nassau Counties in New York, Bergen and Middlesex Counties in New Jersey, Fairfax County in Virginia, and Bucks County in Pennsylvania, respectively.

Now, here are the percentages of the vote that the top-of-the-ticket Democratic candidates got in each of those counties this year:  43, 48, 48, 44, 49, 45.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

John Bolton: ‘This time it won’t be the prosecution conducting the show trial, it will be the defense.’



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This morning on the Washington Times morning radio program, former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton indicated that he wouldn’t have his family in New York during the KSM trial, and offered a different take than some, arguing that it would indeed be a show trial, but the defendants would be the ones putting on the show:

Host Melanie Morgan: Given the nature and danger of bringing these terrorists to American soil, where do you think is the most safe place to be when they get here and this trial begins? Where would you put your family?

John Bolton:
Well, not New York City, I’m afraid to say. This is part of the callousness and the really, lack of professionalism and judgment to put them on trial anywhere in the United States in civilian courts. It’s a major strategic blunder. It will give Khalid Sheik Mohammad and his co-defendants an opportunity, a la Joseph Stalin, to put on their own show trial in New York. This time it won’t be the prosecution conducting the show trial, it will be the defense. Again, it shows the administration is not serious about the war on terrorism. It’s a pre-9/11 law enforcement paradigm rather than the paradigm of a global war on terrorism which  I think the Bush administration correctly adopted with near-unanimous support in this country after 9/11.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

What’s the Deadline for Changing Perceptions of the Economy?



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Earlier today, I noticed Ohio’s unemployment rate is up to 10.5 percent, jumping nearly a half a percentage point in a month, and setting up a grim outlook for 2010 for incumbent governor Ted Strickland.

Over at Third Base Politics, Jon asked a panel of prominent pollsters about how much time incumbent governors have before impressions of the economy get locked in:

I also had the opportunity to ask Peter Brown from Quinnipiac and Scott Rasmussen about an issue that’s been bugging me for awhile, and that’s this – how soon must Ohio’s economy show marked improvement in order to pull Ted Strickland out of the abyss?

In other words, if Strickland wants to win, when must we see a continuous and strong string of job growth in the state begin?

Scott Rasmussen did a great job answering the question:

Economists tell us the recession is over. 75% of voters disagree…When we interview voters, their primary gauge about how they view the national economy…is what is happening at their workforce. . . . as we sit here today, 52% of Americans say the economy is still getting worse. That’s actually an improvement from the beginning of the year. But what hasn’t improved is perceptions of their own personal finances. A majority still believe their personal finances are getting worse, and that’s unchanged.

[. . .]

When bad news comes…consumer confidence tanks immediately . . . When good news comes in, it takes a long time before people believe it. . . . there is typically one indicator that drives perceptions. . . . in 2002, 2003 it was foreign affairs, then it became jobs for a little while, then it became gas prices. . . . now, the indicator is jobs. And it’s not going to take one good jobs report. It’s going to take 6 months worth of jobs reports before people believe things are changing.

6 months. May 21st, 2010. That’s D-Day for Ted Strickland. The day the jobs report is released — five and a half months away from election day.

If a strong jobs rebound has not happened by then, Ted Strickland is in a world of hurt.

The only bit of caution I would throw in is that I suppose you could have some other non-jobs economic indicator that might mitigate people’s perceptions of how the economy is doing — really low gas prices, a stock market that’s really booming (even though the past half year has been pretty good), if somehow Ohio’s housing market saw dramatic improvements . . . of course, it’s rather tough to see some of those scenarios without a considerable improvement in the unemployment rate.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Obama Assures Us Our Economy Has Core Strengths, Nice Personality



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Last September, Republican presidential candidate John McCain said that despite some problems, “the fundamentals of our economy are strong.” You remember how Obama responded, right?

Now the Obama campaign has released an ad further pounding home the point. “Fundamentals,” a 30-second spot the campaign will only say is airing in “key states,” opens with yesterday’s grim news and nerve-racking music.

These words appear onscreen: “September 15, 2008: Lehman Brothers Collapses. Markets In Turmoil. Job Losses At 605,000 For The Year. Foreclosures At 9800 A Day. And John McCain Says?”

The spot then cuts to video of McCain speaking yesterday.

“Our economy I think, still, the fundamentals of our economy are strong,” he says.

McCain’s words then appear onscreen, with a question mark signaling incredulity added at the end. McCain is then shown saying the phrase over and over again as the ad asks, “How Can John McCain Fix Our Economy If He Doesn’t Understand It’s Broken?” The spot closes with a shot of McCain with President George W. Bush.

That was back when unemployment was 6.1 percent.

Today, with unemployment at 10.2 percent, President Obama said the U.S. economy has “core strengths.”

What, it’s been doing a lot of sit-ups?

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Buyers’ Remorse Creeping Into Iowa



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Last year, Barack Obama carried the state of Iowa in the presidential election, 53.9 percent to 44.3 percent.

Today, the Des Moines Registerpolling adults, not even registered voters — finds Obama’s approval rating at 49 percent, his disapproval at 44 percent.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Voters Like You a Lot, Sir; They Just Like the Other Guy Even More



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It’s not often you see a lawmaker with a 73 percent approval rating losing a hypothetical match-up, but Zogby – for whatever it’s worth – finds North Dakota’s Byron Dorgan losing to GOP governor John Hoeven, 55 percent to 36 percent. Hoeven has not yet indicated he is interested in running for Senate.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

At Least Ohio’s Unemployed Can Look Forward to the Rose Bowl



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In Ohio, Gov. Ted Strickland will face voters in less than a year, with unemployment at 10.5 percent; last month, it was 10.1 percent. I cannot help but wonder if there is some sort of ingenious strategy at work, in which state-government policy hinders job creation and lowers the bar as much as possible until, say, the middle of next year, and then any modest improvements will feel like significant job gains . . .

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Two Hats That Will Not Be Thrown into the Rings



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Two more Republicans who were thinking about campaigns for governor are officially declaring that they’re not running – former presidential candidate Tom Tancredo in Colorado and Charlie Weaver in Minnesota.

In Colorado, that’s good news for Scott McInnis, who now should have smooth sailing in the GOP primary, and will face embattled incumbent Democrat Bill Ritter.

In Minnesota, Weaver had a long and varied résumé – a former Republican state legislator, chief of staff to Gov. Tim Pawlenty, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety for Gov. Jesse Ventura, and criminal prosecutor for Anoka County — but ultimately decided he couldn’t make the time commitment. Several  GOP state legislators have already indicated an interest in running; the biggest name, still undecided, is former senator Norm Coleman.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Oregon Republican Staying Where He Is



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It’s bad news for Republicans who thought he would make a good candidate for governor, but good news for the NRCC: Rep. Greg Walden, who represents roughly the eastern-two-thirds of Oregon, will not run for statewide office but will seek another term in Congress.

In other Oregon House news, Republicans had been hoping for an open-seat race in Oregon’s 4th district, where Rep. Peter DeFazio was contemplating a run for governor. Most Oregonians think DeFazio won’t run, but apparently he hasn’t yet ruled it out. The NRCC likes the leading candidate out there, Sid Leiken, but he obviously has a better shot in an open-seat race than against a veteran incumbent . . .

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

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