Daily Archives: September 20, 2011

Elizabeth Warren Takes Lead Over Scott Brown

In my opinion, it’s too early for celebrating Ms. Warren’s lead over Sen. Scott Brown with complete confidence, but let’s hope this lead continues without any setbacks…

Crooks & Liars

 

Need some good news today? Here you go. Elizabeth Warren has jumped into the lead in the Massachusetts Senate race over Scott Brown. Granted, it’s very early in the race, but initial polls had her down 9 points over Brown, and now she leads 46-44.

Via PPP:

Warren’s gone from 38% name recognition to 62% over the last three months and she’s made a good first impression on pretty much everyone who’s developed an opinion about her during that period of time. What was a 21/17 favorability rating in June is now 40/22- in other words she’s increased the voters with a positive opinion of her by 19% while her negatives have risen only 5%.

The surprising movement toward Warren has a lot to do with her but it also has a lot to do with Scott Brown. We now find a slight plurality of voters in the state disapproving of him- 45%, compared to only 44% approving. We have seen a steady decline in Brown’s numbers over the last 9 months. In early December his approval was a +24 spread at 53/29. By June it had declined to a +12 spread at a 48/36. And now it’s continued that fall to its current place.

Brown’s position has always been a little tenuous as a Republican in a strongly Democratic state, making him very dependent on the support of Obama voters to stay above ground. In June he was at 72/17 with McCain voters and now he’s at 74/18, pretty much the same. But with Obama voters he’s gone from 35/48 to 27/62, accounting for the entire drop in his overall approval numbers. It’s a similar story when you look at the horse race numbers. Last time Brown led Warren 87-6 with McCain voters and now it’s 87-9. But with Obama voters Warren’s turned what was only a 47-24 lead into a 68-20 one.

Despite his difficulties with Warren, Brown does continues to hold a wide advantage over the rest of the Democratic field. He’s up 15 points on Alan Khazei at 48-33, 15 on Setti Warren as well at 47-32, 18 on Bob Massie at 49-31, and 19 on Tom Conroy at 50-31. The non-Elizabeth Warren Democratic contenders have only 19-36% name recognition so they could conceivably become more competitive if one of them were to win the nomination and become better known- but primary numbers we’ll release later this week show that the contest for the Democratic nod might be over before it’s even really started.

Blue America has a page to support her campaign. Please help us help her defeat Scott Brown.

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Bill O’Reilly: ‘I Have More Power Than Anybody Other Than The President’

So, I must ask, what’s Bill O’Reilly smoking these days?  Or is it just that his massive ego has hit critical mass and has manifested itself into this?  I predict a rapid downward spiral after this…

The Huffington Post

Bill O’Reilly made a rather bold declaration during a recent interview with Newsweek.

The Fox News host was promoting his new book (a historical thriller about the Lincoln assassination), and he clearly had the presidency on his mind, because he told interviewer Peter Boyer that he was almost as powerful as the holder of that office.

“I have more power than anybody other than the president, in the sense that I can get things changed, quickly,” he said. “I don’t have to go through the legislative process; I don’t have to do any of that. I can just bring it to the people, and say, look, this has gotta be dealt with.”

O’Reilly has a history of making grand statements about his reach. Who can forget, for instance, his prediction that his Super Bowl interview with President Obama would be the most watched in “the history of mankind” ? Or his attempt to draft himself as the key negotiator in the debt ceiling crisis?

There a bunch of good nuggets in the Newsweek profile. For instance, O’Reilly says he “likes” Obama personally, and that he warned Glenn Beck not to turn into “Elmer Gantry” when the two went on tour together. But that “power” statement stands out. (Interestingly, it’s a bit of a step back from a statement O’Reilly made in 2010, where he said definitively that he had “more power doing what I’m doing” than he would as president.)

It’s certainly true that, as the nation’s leading cable news host by some length, O’Reilly has a very large reach and influence. And the relative power of a television host versus, say, the Speaker of the House could be arguable, in a sort of sociological sense. Nevertheless, we are throwing the question open to you, the reader. Do you agree with O’Reilly’s statement?

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Ralph Nader is a Careerist Troll

I couldn’t have said it any better…

Bob Cesca 

The attention whore is back and he’s looking for a solid primary challenger to the president, which, as we all know, will be a waste of time and will help the Republicans. But it doesn’t matter as long as Nader gets his fix.

Worried the liberal voice is being drowned out in the presidential campaign, progressive leaders said Monday they want to field a slate of candidates against President Obama in the Democratic primaries to make him stake out liberal stances as he seeks re-election.

Ralph Nader warns that without an intraparty challenge the liberal agenda “will be muted and ignored,” the one-man primary will kill voter enthusiasm and voters won’t get a chance to reflect on the real differences that divide the Democratic and Republican parties.

“What we are looking at now is the dullest presidential campaign since Walter Mondale — and that’s saying something, believe me,” Mr. Nader told The Washington Times.

Is Nader suggesting the president is going to be defeated by a landslide like Mondale was? If so, how will a primary challenger (who has no chance of winning the nomination) resolve that problem? Or if President Obama is the Reagan character, what the hell’s wrong with that?

Ugh. I’m trying to parse the words of a crackpot. It’s going to be a fine day.

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What If the Tea Party Wins? They Have A Plan For The Constitution And It Isn’t Pretty…

Center For American Progress

Download this issue brief (pdf)

Read the issue brief in your web browser (Scribd)

In the Tea Party’s America, families must mortgage their home to pay for their mother’s end-of-life care. Higher education is a luxury reserved almost exclusively to the very rich. Rotten meat ships to supermarkets nationwide without a national agency to inspect it. Fathers compete with their adolescent children for sub-minimum wage jobs. And our national leaders are utterly powerless to do a thing.

At least, that’s what would happen if the Tea Party succeeds in its effort to reimagine the Constitution as an antigovernment manifesto. While the House of Representatives pushes Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to phase out Medicare, numerous members of Congress, a least one Supreme Court justice, and the governor of America’s second-largest state now proudly declare that most of the progress of the last century violates the Constitution.

It is difficult to count how many essential laws would simply cease to exist if the Tea Party won its battle to reshape our founding document, but a short list includes:

  • Social Security and Medicare
  • Medicaid, children’s health insurance, and other health care programs
  • All federal education programs
  • All federal antipoverty programs
  • Federal disaster relief
  • Federal food safety inspections and other food safety programs
  • Child labor laws, the minimum wage, overtime, and other labor protections
  • Federal civil rights laws

Indeed, as this paper explains, many state lawmakers even embrace a discredited constitutional doctrine that threatens the union itself.

What’s at stake

The Tea Party imagines a constitution focused entirely upon the Tenth Amendment, which provides that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”—which is why their narrow vision of the nation’s power is often referred to as “tentherism.” In layman’s terms, the Tenth Amendment is simply a reminder that the Constitution contains an itemized list of federal powers—such as the power to regulate interstate commerce or establish post offices or make war on foreign nations—and anything not contained in that list is beyond Congress’s authority.

The Tea Party, however, believes these powers must be read too narrowly to permit much of the progress of the last century. This issue brief examines just some of the essential programs that leading Tea Partiers would declare unconstitutional.

Continue reading here…

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South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley Admits There’s No Evidence Supporting Her Claim About Drug Testing The Unemployed

If she can lie about one thing, who’s to say that she hasn’t lied about other things?  Just sayin’…

Think Progress

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) admitted today that she was wrong in asserting that half the people who applied to work at a nuclear facility in the state had failed drug tests, yet said she will still push to drug test the unemployed.

Haley has been advancing a plan to force jobless South Carolinians to pass a drug test before they can receive unemployment insurance, claiming an epidemic of substance abuse. The problem was so unbelievable, Haley said last month, that at the Savannah River nuclear site, “[of] everybody they interviewed, half of them failed a drug test.”

So unbelievable, in fact, that a spokesman for the Department of Energy, which owns the site, told the Huffington Post’s Arthur Delaney “he had no idea what Haley was talking about.” The site doesn’t even test applicants, just people who have already been accepted, and the rate of those who fail drug tests is less than 1 percent.

At first, Haley’s office doubled down on the claim, blaming others for faulty numbers, but in an interview with the AP today, Haley said she’ll be more careful before blindly repeating things people tell her without checking them:

I’ve never felt like I had to back up what people tell me. You assume that you’re given good information,” Haley said. “And now I’m learning through you guys that I have to be careful before I say something.”

Haley said she’d probably repeated “a million times” the story that about the test failures before being questioned about the assertions after a Lexington Rotary Club on Sept. 8.

The Savannah River Site story has been central to Haley’s drug testing push. “It’s the reason you hear me focus so much on job training,” Haley told the AP.

“I’m not going to say it anymore,” Haley said, but nonetheless said that she’ll continue her push for drug testing, even though the basis for it is entirely incorrect. As ThinkProgress has noted, mandatory drug testing for unemployment benefits is likely unconstitutional. It’s also just bad policy. The purpose of these laws is to save money, but in Florida, one of the first states to implement drug testing for unemployment benefits, the law is actually costing rather than saving the state money. Ohio is also considering a similar law.

 

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GOP Kingmaker Sheriff Tasks ‘Cold Case Posse’ With Investigating Obama’s Birth Certificate

For the next fourteen months the crazies will be out in force.  Whatever happened to:

All he has to do is release his birth certificate and all of this will go away…?

Think Progress

Last week, ThinkProgress noted that GOP presidential candidates Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Michele Bachmann are all courting Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio in the hopes of securing an endorsement. As “America’s toughest sheriff,” Arpaio is also one of the country’s most radical, especially when it comes to undocumented immigrant, whom the sheriff sweeps up by the dozen and forces to wear pink underwear and live in tents.

The lawman is also a birther, it seems, and one willing to use official resources to pursue the bogus conspiracy theory. As birther website WorldNetDaily gleefully reported:

Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio told WND he has assigned a five-member “Cold Case Posse” to investigate the authenticity of Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

The decision, he says, is simply a matter of doing his duty.

This investigation does not involve politics,” Arpaio told WND.

Arpaio’s investigation comes in response to a complaint filed by the Surprise, Arizona Tea Party, which alleges that Obama may be using a forged birth certificate. “I believe Sheriff Arpaio and his Cold Case Posse will be thorough and complete in their investigation,” a spokesman for the group said.

The Cold Case Posse is an officially-sponsored all-volunteer group of people with skills and backgrounds that make them qualified to investigate cases. The group has been inactive in recent months due to “budgetary limitations within the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office,” but apparently a wild goose chase looking into the veracity of the president’s birth certificate is an appropriate use of funds.

Obama’s birth place has long been settled and real estate mogul Donald Trump was drummed out of the GOP presidential field thanks to his fixation on the matter — so why are the GOP’s leading contenders associating themselves with Arpaio, who is hardly mainstream, even without the birther stuff? Courting the sheriff is perhaps not surprising for Perrry, who was reportedly interested in Trump’s endorsement. The Obama campaign even predicted Perry will “probably ask to see the president’s birth certificate,” and Perry’s already secured the backing of birther dentist lawyer Orly Taitz. But Romney and Bachmann have both definitely said Obama was born in the U.S. and have dismissed the birther myth.

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