Sunday, September 5, 2010

Cut Off At The Knees

A lot is being made of today's NY Times story that the DCCC is concentrating on saving the House for the Dems and leaving longer shot candidates out in the cold.
As Democrats brace for a November wave that threatens their control of the House, party leaders are preparing a brutal triage of their own members in hopes of saving enough seats to keep a slim grip on the majority.

In the next two weeks, Democratic leaders will review new polls and other data that show whether vulnerable incumbents have a path to victory. If not, the party is poised to redirect money to concentrate on trying to protect up to two dozen lawmakers who appear to be in the strongest position to fend off their challengers.
Late this afternoon DCCC chair Chris Van Hollen shot back at the story, saying it was all false:

"The DCCC is heavily invested in these campaigns [referenced in the article]. In each campaign mentioned, the DCCC has provided and continues to provide support for field operations and other key campaign activities."

The Maryland Democrat went on to characterize the November election as a choice between individual candidates, drawing contrast with the GOP depiction of it as a referendum on Democratic governance.

It doesn't actually matter what the truth is here, the perception of "Democrats in disarray!" is all that matters to the Village.  And as usual when this kind of narrative happens, the circular firing squad is out in force heaping it all on the shoulders of the man in the Oval Office.  That's all the proof the Village needs that the narrative is true.

And so it has gone before, so it shall be now, so it will be in the future.

Forever and ever, amen.

That Poll-Asked Look

Couple of new polls in Kentucky are bad, bad, bad news for the Dems.

First, if Rep. John Yarmuth is now in the fight of his life in KY-3, (Louisville) then things are looking really grim for the Dems as a whole here.
If the election was today in Kentucky's Third Congressional District, the WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll says it would be a photo finish.  Two term incumbent Democrat John Yarmuth is ahead by two points, but the relative unknown Republican Todd Lally appears to be riding an anti-incumbent, conservative wave.
Yarmuth (D)  47%
Lally (R)    45%
Undecided     5%
And that would probably explain the latest Senate poll here.

With just under two months until Kentucky's U.S. Senate election, a new WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll shows Republican Rand Paul nearly doubling his lead in the last month, now up 15 points over Democrat Jack Conway, 55% to 40%. Since last month, Paul is up 4 points; Conway is down 3.

Kentucky U.S. Senate Race
Likely voters

Rand Paul (R) 55%
Jack Conway (D) 40%
Undecided 5%
Margin of error +/- 4.2%

A 15-point lead when they were basically tied just two weeks ago? Something has really pissed off the voters here and I hate to say it, but it looks like the Republicans got exactly what they wanted out of the Ground Zero mosque nonsense.

If the turning of the tide is predicated on Islamophobia, then I'm not sure what to make of the situation, other than to give a huge sigh.

Say It Ain't So, Joe Wilson

Looks like SC Republican Rep. Joe "You Lie!" Wilson has a few skeletons in his closet after all.

Congressional staff members with detailed knowledge of the probe said ethics investigators are examining Wilson's unusually high number of foreign trips — at least 30 in the past eight years — and his use of per diem expense money while traveling abroad.

Wilson, a relatively unknown lawmaker until he shouted "You lie!" as President Barack Obama addressed Congress last year, has a reputation among his peers as a frequent foreign traveler, these staff members said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly on the investigation.

Wilson confirmed earlier in the week that examiners with the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent nonpartisan agency established in 2008 following a wave of lawmaker scandals, had recently interviewed him about his use of per diem expense money.

Wilson said then that their focus was on his use of $12 to buy six small goblets in Afghanistan in August 2009.

However, Wilson acknowledged in an interview Thursday that the interrogation was more wide-ranging and covered other expenditures made on separate foreign trips, though he said he doesn't recall the details.

"I do not remember which trips they spoke about," Wilson told McClatchy. "I don't remember specifically."

Ahh, good ol' irony. How I've missed you. How quickly the fickle American voter forgets the reason the Republicans got kicked out of office in the first place. Can't blame the GOP from upgrading from career politicians to career lunatics, however. That's actually an improvement, in a sense.

I personally think we're going to have to go through a period of Republican government so awful that people will beg to have Obama, Pelosi, and Reid in charge again. The bad news is the country may not survive in recognizable form until that point.

Greek Fire, Part 22

The unquenchable flames of legend are becoming less of a metaphor and more of a reality in the era of massive austerity cuts.

This tragedy does not have a solution,” said Hans-Werner Sinn, head of the prestigious IFO Institute in Munich.
“The policy of forced 'internal devaluation', deflation, and depression could risk driving Greece to the edge of a civil war. It is impossible to cut wages and prices by 30pc without major riots,” he said, speaking at the elite European House Ambrosetti forum at Lake Como. 
“Greece would have been bankrupt without the rescue measures. All the alternatives are terrible but the least terrible is for the country to get out of the eurozone, even if this kills the Greek banks,” he said.

Pretty heavy stuff for a Sunday morning, but there you are.  Greece is one stiff wind from collapsing again at this point, and the massive IMF/EU bailout has not worked.

The joint bail-out was hoped to safeguard Greece against the pressure from global capital markets for two and half years, but the relief rally proved short. Spreads on longer-term Greek government debt have surged back to crisis levels of about 800 basis points, implying a high risk of default. 

“We are in the second Greek crisis right now, today,” said Dr Sinn. 

Only a matter of time now before Greece defaults.  Instead of buying forgiveness until the end of 2012, the bailout bought only a few months.  Greek debt once again is threatening to bring down all of Europe and set the continent aflame.  What happens this time?
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