The Musings of

Something full of magic, religion, bullsh*t.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Latest Polls from Key Senate Races

COLORADO (KUSA-TV/SurveyUSA): Beer Magnate Pete Coors (R)- 51%, Attorney General Ken Salazar (D) - 46%. The momentum in this race has been with Coors. Toss-up.

FLORIDA (CNN/USA Today/Gallup): Former State Education Commissioner Betty Castor (D) - 51%, Former HUD Secretary Mel Martinez (R) - 45%. FLORIDA (Quinnipiac College): Castor-43%, Martinez-42%. Toss-up race for this Dem open seat.

LOUISIANA: Congressman David Vitter (R) - 41%, State Treasurer John Kennedy (D) - 19%, Congressman Chris John (D) - 16%, State Representative Arthur Morrell (D) - 3%. This is a jungle election which will undoubtedly result in a runoff between Vitter and either Kennedy or John. Toss-up.

NORTH CAROLINA (WRAL-TV/Mason-Dixon): Former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles (D) - 49%, Congressman Richard Burr (R) - 40%. This one has been holding steady for awhile. Leans Democrat.

OKLAHOMA (KFOR-TV/SurveyUSA): Congressman Brad Carson (D) - 45%, former Congressman Tom Coburn (R) - 45%, Sheila Bilyeu (I) - 6%. Toss-up -- and a possible Dem pickup -- in the GOP open seat race.

SOUTH CAROLINA (SurveyUSA): Congressman Jim DeMint (R) - 51%, State Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum (D) -39%. Tenenbaum was giving DeMint a run for his money, but her campaign has been taking on water recently. Leans Republican.

SOUTH DAKOTA: Senator Tom Daschle (D) - 50%, Congressman John Thune (R) - 45%. This is a bit of a turnaround from a poll taken earlier this month showing Thune with a 3% lead. Toss-up.

Kudos to among others.

Centinel 3:07 PM # | |

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

It was Col. Mustard in the Library with an IBM Selectric

I'll be honest with you, I do not find Rathergate to be that compelling a story -- at least from a political viewpoint. While it has been amusing to watch CBS squirm in a trap of its own creation, all the incident has shown is what most right-thinking individuals have know for decades: that Dan Rather is a pompous twit who will not hesitate to use his God-given powers to "lean" un-biased journalism toward the truth as he sees it.

That being said, DNC Chairman and all-around dumpster lizard, Terry McAuliffe, has once again proven that he has balls the size of tractor tires by filing a press release stating -- now get this -- that the REPUBLICANS should confess to being the ones who engineered the whole sordid affair. Specifically, he states:

In today's New York Post, Roger Stone, who became associated with political "dirty tricks" while working for Nixon, refused to deny that he was the source [sic] the CBS documents.

Will Ed Gillespie or the White House admit today what they know about Mr. Stone's relationship with these forged documents? Will they unequivocally rule out Mr. Stone's involvement? Or for that matter, others with a known history of dirty tricks, such as Karl Rove or Ralph Reed?

As best I can translate, this is what McAullife was saying: There is a guy who worked for Nixon, so he is obviously a lying, cheating S.O.B. The Republicans are clearly implicated in tricking CBS because they have not denied that this guy -- and every other living Republican -- had anything to do with the incident.

According to McAullife, some Republican out there forged a document knowing that it would be submitted to CBS, knowing that CBS would go with it without properly authenticating it, knowing that experts would call the document into question, knowing that the blogsphere would pick up the story and fan the flames, and knowing that CBS would perform the network-news equivalent of a "wardrobe malfunction."

God bless you, Terry, if for only making me consider for a moment whether there was someone that smart in the GOP.
Centinel 2:22 PM # | |

Friday, September 17, 2004

Two (congress)men enter, one (congress)man leaves

Thanks to the redistricting melodrama that the rest of the country was forced to endure, Texas has become a hotbed of House campaign activity. New district lines usually mean chaos and mischief, especially when that rarest of all campaign birds comes to roost: The "Sitting Legislator v. Sitting Legislator" Battle Royale w/ Cheese.

In Dallas we have been the fortunate witness of one of these contests. Redistricting has placed Rep. Martin Frost (D-TX), the longest serving Southern Democrat and a "cham-peen" campaigner, in a head-to-head battle with Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), son of former FBI Director William Sessions and the beneficiary of good numbers in this right-leaning district. Although the candidates themselves have been surprisingly congenial to one another, one major issue has become so contentious it is getting all the airplay. That issue, of course, is "yard signs" -- that waster of volunteer time, that blight on the environment, that piece of poster board stapled on a stick. This whole affair allegedly began last month when Sessions took his son to his first day of elementary school and found Frost campaign signs covering the school grounds from bow to stern. Of course, Sessions did what you and I would do -- he issued a press release blaming Frost for the "dirty trick." In retaliation, Frost's campaign released a police report from 2002 showing that, during his last election, Sessions and one of his campaign workers were busted by Dallas's Finest for stealing his then-opponent's yard signs (although no citation was issued). Sessions's defense was simple: the signs were illegally placed in the right-of-way and he was just doing his civic duty by upholding the law (cue stirring music).

I attended a "Meet the Candidate" Luncheon with Sessions a couple of months ago. He's an amiable guy, if not overly inspiring. I can't say I remember any of his platitudes, because his whole case for reelection seemed to center around staying the course and supporting the President. Today, I had the opportunity to sit in on a "private" luncheon with Frost here at the firm, and I found his comments to be fascinating. Frost, as can be expected, is not a flaming liberal. In fact, he is running to the right of Sessions and is generally using Bush's legislative record to bash his opponent. Here is the gist of Frost's answers to issue questions:

1. Frost supports security; Sessions doesn't. It seems that Sessions voted against the bill authorizing air marshals and reinforced cockpit doors. Of course, Frost does not mention that Sessions is a member of the Homeland Security Committee, has recently authored legislation cracking down on immigrants overstaying their visas, or that Sessions had co-sponsored tougher security measures than were ultimately enacted.

2. Frost is a deficit hawk; Sessions believes you can spend with impunity. Frost backhanded Sessions for "irresponsible" deficits, and even threw out the "China and other Asian countries own a good portion of our debt" scare (remember when it was Japan?). Ironically, he slammed Bush and Sessions over the Medicare Prescription Drug Act. Frost committed himself to cutting the budget -- and "minor" tax increases -- just like he and Clinton did when they "fixed" everything back in 1993.

3. Although both voted for the war, Frost is for running it differently. Frost played off questions about his vote for the war resolution by stating that it was counterproductive to play Monday-morning quarterback. He accused Bush and Sessions with not initially pumping enough money and troops into the war effort. It should come as no surprise that no one in the partisan crowd called him on screaming "lower deficit" one minute and then complaining that too little money was spent the next.

4. Frost is good on education; Sessions is very bad. Frost pointed out that he supported President Bush's No Child Left Behind legislation, while Sessions did not.

5. When quizzed on his environmental stance, Frost gave the stock "good environment = good for business" conservation answer.

All in all, it was a nice piece of tap dancing to a moderate-to-liberal crowd. It gave independents the feeling that Frost is the more conservative and reasonable than Sessions on many of these issues, while boxing in the liberals who have nowhere else to go.

I will cover the numbers on this race sometime in the next few days.

Centinel 1:21 PM # | |

Thursday, September 16, 2004

A Brief Bio

For those who care, I shall provide a brief bio. I was born a Cracker, raised a Tarheel, and (barely) educated in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I have been involved in politics since I was in my early teens when I licked envelopes for the great Senator No. Before I graduated college I had worked on several campaigns and spent a summer interning in the NC State Legislature. After a college career marked by a devotion to TV and beer, I moved to the "black hole of politics" (know in some quarters as DC), and began writing lovely letters for a Congressman for little-to-no pay. Looking for the quickest way off the Hill, I took a job with a VERY conservative public policy organization and spent 6 years roaming the US getting involved in campaign and legislative fights. I've been in 45 states, lived in places as diverse as NH, CO, OK and MT, and have managed or consulted on two dozen state legislative races (focusing on running conservatives against sitting Republicans). I was eventually sucked back into DC to take over my employer's state legislative department. Wearying of the NOVA/DC bullsh*t, I fled to a wonderful Southern law school where I enjoyed 3 years of drinking beer and discussing big thoughts. Since that time I have clerked for a federal district court judge (who was the trial judge on 2 cases every Con Law student must read), gotten married to a beautiful woman who lacks discerment, and am now an associate in a Dallas law firm.
Centinel 1:08 PM # | |