Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Random Political Thoughts

No long pieces here, just a few items that have caught my eye.

Hillary Watch: She’s running for President. Okay, not exactly the news story of the year, but removing herself as chair of the Steering Committee to focus on her “committee assignments and other activities” tells us all we need to know. If/when Obama enters the race, the Democrats will have two media stars in the battle and there’s a serious question as to whether that leaves any air for anyone else.

Feingold Passes: Unfortunately, my preferred candidate has bowed out. This means I get to settle once again in 2008. Feingold was the first Senator to publicly call for a date certain to end our Iraq misadventure (which I am convinced is the right strategy), but having vision and integrity is not enough to become President. Which explains why we get the Presidents we do.

He’s Ba-ack: Yes, Trent Lott is back in the GOP Senate leadership. Has any former leader ever come back as the Whip? It’s an odd position to be in, but I guess he’s been forgiven for his “America would have been better off if an unapologetic racist had been elected President in 1948” comment. Okay, he didn’t say it that way, just endorsed Strom Thurmond half a century after the fact, but it’s the same thing.

Fighting Among Ourselves: Speaker Pelosi (God, I love typing that), endorses Jack Murtha for Majority Leader post. There are multiple things at work here. While many feel Steny Hoyer has more appeal to the moderates in the party, Murtha is certainly a moderate himself, differing with Pelosi on a number of issues. What makes this endorsement most interesting is the public nature of it – risking a public defeat so early in her Speakership is a bold (some might say dubiously so) move. Murtha may have asked her to do it. She feels the party owes Murtha – his open opposition to the war, serving as a lightning rod of sorts, enabled the Dems to unapologetically come across as anti-war but not anti-troops and played a huge part in their victory. Hoyer has been something of an apologist for the war and with that issue being a key component of the Democrats’ agenda, he is a weaker fit as leader. Maybe more important is that when Pelosi first ran for a leadership position in the House, Murtha, a key moderate, was a supporter of hers (against Hoyer). Loyalty is a key component of leadership and that may be as important here as anything.

Is McCain in Trouble?: It’s too early to give Presidential polls too much weight, but John McCain can’t be happy with today’s Gallup and Rasmussen polls. Gallup has it Guiliani 28, McCain 26, Rice 13, Rasmussen has it Guiliani 24, Rice 18, McCain 17. McCain trailing Rudy early is a bad sign – he may have to emphasize his conservative credentials against Rudy and that destroys his moderate image. Combine that with his untenable Iraq position and McCain is not in a great early position. The next two candidates in both of these polls are Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, both under 10%. These two are not badly positioned – Romney has no Iraq position and that could be a wonderful place to be in 2008; being a Governor rather than a Senator doesn’t hurt either. Newt gets the “Back To The Future” vote – we had Newt and took power once, let’s do it again.


Blogger samG said...

A few thoughts on your comments.

I've never been convinced that Hillary is running. Nothing she has said has ever led anyone to the conclusion so one has to base themselves on what she has done. Taking 'moderate' positions on some issues is hardly inconsistent with a lifelong vascilation between left and right wing positions.

Trent Lott's return is yet another slap at the Rove/Bush style of politics and, despite what he said or meant to say, his renewed muscle flexing gives me joy.

Re Nancy Pelosi, I'm just surprised that she's taking such a public posture regarding all these appointments.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Barry Rubinowitz said...

I was also unsure of Hillary's intentions until this week. Stepping down from a Senate leadership post just as the party takes control is the move of someone who sees her future elsewhere. Combine that with being tied with McCain in the latest CNN poll and I'm convinced she has made her decision.

12:12 PM  

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