Christine O’Donnell declines ‘Dancing with the Stars’ invite, plans to work on book, PAC (Daily Caller)

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 28-02-2011-05-2008


Daily Caller – Delaware’s Tea Party darling and former U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell has declined an invitation to join the next cast of “Dancing with the Stars.” In an official statement on her ChristinePAC website, O’Donnell said she would have joined the cast if she weren’t writing a book about the 2010 election cycle and in the midst of getting her new Political Action Committee (PAC) off the ground.

Obama says public employees should not be "vilified" (Reuters)

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 28-02-2011-05-2008


A demonstrator holds a placard near the State Capitol building during protests against the proposed budget cuts from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, in Madison, February 25, 2011. REUTERS/Darren HauckReuters – President Barack Obama said on Monday everyone should be ready for sacrifice to help tackle U.S. budget problems, but it does no good to vilify public employees.

FLASHBACK: Tim Pawlenty called it ‘cynical’ to threaten government shutdown

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 28-02-2011-05-2008


Tim Pawlenty

(Original image from ThinkProgress)

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty in 2005, calling threats of a government shutdown “naked cynicism” by Democrats:

June 15, 2005: I think they have concluded a shutdown would be good. It’s a political strategy, it’s a cynical strategy.

June 30, 2005: It is an example of irresponsible and bizarre behavior, the likes of which I don’t think I’ve seen before. I am stunned by the naked cynicism of the Democratic strategy.

Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty, 2011, urging Republicans to threaten a government shutdown:

PAWLENTY: We’ve got to get back to certain principles and responsibilities and starting with getting the budget balanced and if it takes a dramatic moment or a dramatic week or a dramatic month, those kinds of line-in-the-sand moments are what we need to get politicians back up against the wall and have them make the tough decisions. They all talk about making the tough decisions and never do.

KEYES: So you would support a shutdown if it comes down to it?

PAWLENTY: If it came down to it and it was between that and not getting the budget headed in the right direction, that’s an option I think Republicans have to consider.

Moral of the story: Tim Pawlenty believes his side has the God-given right to shut down the government whenever it damn well pleases. And if anybody disagrees with what Republicans want to do, then screw it. Shut ’em down.

Governor gives Wisconsin Democrats an ultimatum (Reuters)

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 28-02-2011-05-2008


Reuters – Republican Gov. Scott Walker on Monday gave absent Democratic lawmakers an ultimatum to return to Wisconsin within 24 hours and vote on a proposal to reduce the power of public sector unions or the state would miss out on a debt restructuring.

Obama offers states flexibility on healthcare law (Reuters)

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 28-02-2011-05-2008


Reuters – President Barack Obama extended an olive branch on Monday to U.S. states struggling to implement his healthcare law, offering support for a proposal that would give them some flexibility in carrying out its key parts.

WI-Gov: Buyer’s remorse for Scott Walker

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 28-02-2011-05-2008


I always love these sorts of “do-over” polls, and PPP has a particularly good one:

We’ll have our full poll on the Wisconsin conflict out tomorrow but here’s the most interesting finding: if voters in the state could do it over today they’d support defeated Democratic nominee Tom Barrett over Scott Walker by a 52-45 margin.

Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee, of course lost to Walker, by a very similar spread, 52-47. Tom Jensen identifies two important shifts: First, respondents in union households (about a third of the sample) now prefer Barrett by a 64-33 margin, but when asked how they voted in 2008, only went to Barrett 54-40. You gotta wonder about that one-third of union household voters who still support Walker… but nonetheless, this is a big shift, and Walker is doing wonders when it comes to energizing our side.

The other change Tom calls out is that even Republicans are starting to sour on Walker. They say they went for him by a 93-3 spread in 2010, but now only back him 87-10 – that is to say, 10% of Republicans wish they could have voted for the Dem instead.

I’d also like to point out one other detail. Independents tested here claim they voted for Walker by a 45-44 margin last year. In reality, though, exit polls showed indies backed Walker by a far bigger 56-42 spread. So somewhere between last year’s election and now, around 11% of independents could no longer find it in their hearts to say they backed Walker. Now, some of these in PPP’s poll simply didn’t vote last time, and some I’m sure genuinely don’t remember. But some proportion of independents just don’t want to tell a pollster that they pulled the lever for Walker four months ago.

As far as the “re-do” question goes, indies favor Barrett by a 49-44 spread. So it looks like (for the moment) Walker’s “base” among independents is around 44-45%, but about half of the indies who can’t say what they were up to in 2010 are now professing to prefer Barrett. This means Gov. Walker is pulling off a pretty impressive trifecta: He’s alienating members of his own party, he’s struggling with independents, and he’s firing up people who comprise a key part of our base. While David Koch surely approves, if Scott Walker ever wants to get re-elected, he’s definitely doing it wrong.

Orrin Hatch picks Romney over Huntsman in 2012 (The Ticket)

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 28-02-2011-05-2008


The Ticket – Mitt Romney is reportedly anxious about former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman’s potential 2012 bid, but maybe he shouldn’t be. A recent poll found Romney easily leading Huntsman in Utah, where the ex-governor would presumably perform best. Now Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch says he’s sticking with Romney in 2012. “I’ve always been a Romney supporter. I’ve […]

What are the neoconservatives up to in Libya? The usual

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 28-02-2011-05-2008


As Muammar Gaddafi spouts delusional nonsense about how “all my people love me,” his 41-year dictatorial reign over Libya appears to be crumbling all around him. Opposition fighters in the cities of Zawiyah to the west of Tripoli and in Misurata to its east have scored defensive victories against Gaddafi’s armed forces, much of the army in the east has gone over to the side of the opposition, humanitarian aid is starting to flow into the country in large amounts, and ad hoc councils of Libyans have begun governing areas under anti-government control. Even in Tripoli, still solidly held by the regime and reportedly blockaded against entry by Libyans from liberated areas of the country, public protests continue to take place, albeit at considerable risk to the participants.

Amid what appears to be a ring closing around Gaddafi and his bitter-enders, calls for military intervention have intensified. At one end of a range of options is the creation of a no-fly zone to keep Gaddafi’s air force from killing civilians from the air and from moving mercenaries quickly from staging areas around Sabha, a central Libya city and military base where they have been landed in large numbers.

Although logistically difficult, a no-fly zone has significant backing, including support from some anti-government Libyans in and out of the country. But other Libyans have opposed the idea, saying they can beat Gaddafi without such assistance. They seek only medical and other humanitarian aid. Some Americans, Europeans and other non-Libyans oppose the no-fly approach for fear that it will be a wedge for further military action and possibly lead to the establishment of long-term military bases in the country and control over Libya’s vast deposits of low-sulfur oil, the largest on the African continent, with much of the country’s potential reserves still unexplored.

Here’s an example of the caution some Libyans are expressing:

In Geneva today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the foreign ministers of Italy, France, the United Kingdom and Germany to discuss the no-fly option. Clinton also called upon Gaddafi to immediately step down, something he has said he can’t do because he holds no official position.

Whatever its potential benefits and drawbacks, however, neoconservatives want a good deal more than a no-fly zone. In a letter to President Barack Obama late last week, 40 analysts, including a dozen former officials of George W. Bush administration – the people who fabricated the excuses for the Iraq war – urged moves against Libya, some of which have now been taken by the United States and others: sanctions, providing humanitarian aid, shifting naval forces to the region, freezing Libyan government assets.

While neo-conservatives were among the first to call for military action against Gaddafi in the past week, some prominent liberals and rights activists have rallied to the call, including three of the letter’s signatories: Neil Hicks of Human Rights First; Bill Clinton’s human rights chief, John Shattuck; and Leon Wieseltier of The New Republic, who also signed the [neo-conservative Progress for a New American Century] Iraq letter 10 years ago.

In addition, Anne-Marie Slaughter, until last month the influential director of the State Department’s Policy Planning office, cited the U.S.-NATO Kosovo campaign as a possible precedent. “The international community cannot stand by and watch the massacre of Libyan protesters,” she wrote on Twitter. “In Rwanda we watched. In Kosovo we acted.”

Such comments evoked strong reactions from some military experts, however.

“I’m horrified to read liberal interventionists continue to suggest the ease with which humanitarian crises and regional conflicts can be solved by the application of military power,” wrote Andrew Exum, a counter-insurgency specialist at the Center for a New American Security, whose Abu Muqawama blog is widely read here. “To speak so glibly of such things reflects a very immature understanding of the limits of force and the difficulties and complexities of contemporary military operations.”

Sen. John McCain and Sen. Joe Lieberman want to go further than those who signed the letter. The U.S. should recognize a provisional revolutionary government in Libya and provide the opposition with weapons, they say.

Given their record, nobody, certainly not the President, should be listening to these two, nor to the remnants of PNAC. On those rare occasions when their proposals might intersect with something that appears sensible, their imperialist motives should be thoroughly suspected. We’ve had plenty of evidence of what they are really about. And that includes Libya itself. When the long-term U.S. embargo was ended and diplomatic relations restored by the Bush administration, human rights were not part of what Gaddafi was required to change.

While the fight is not over, perhaps far from over, Libyan fighters seem to be tightening the noose around the Gaddafi regime, and the international community’s diplomatic and financial sanctions, as well as the flow of humanitarian aid, appear to be ample enough assistance to bring the dictatorship down. While a no-fly zone might prove useful, it poses all kinds of risks, both logistical and, for progressives, political. If it is imposed, it ought not to be done under the auspices of U.S. or European forces.

’61 memo claims Ted Kennedy sought to rent brothel

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 28-02-2011-05-2008


FILE - In this March 31, 2009 file photo, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., listens on Capitol Hill in Washington. An FBI file contends that a young Edward Kennedy arranged to rent a brothel for a night while visiting Chile in 1961, a year before he was elected to the Senate.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)An FBI file contends that a young Edward M. Kennedy arranged to rent a brothel for a night while visiting Chile in 1961, a year before he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

More would blame Congressional GOP than President Obama for gov’t shutdown

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 28-02-2011-05-2008


In our State of the Nation poll last week, we asked respondents the following two questions:

• On March 5th, the federal government will shut down if President Obama and Republicans in Congress cannot agree on a budget. If the government does shut down, who would you blame more: President Obama, the Republicans in Congress, or both equally?

• Would you consider a shutdown of the federal government to be a good thing or a bad thing for the country?

Second things first: By a very clear 62-26 margin, voters think that a government shutdown would be a bad thing. This opposition is found consistently across all demographics but one: only teabaggers, by a 47-38 plurality, are in favor of seeing government offices close. (When they say “hands off my Medicare,” they really mean it!) Depth of sentiment does vary between groups: Republicans in general dislike the idea of a shutdown by a 35-50 margin, while Dems are against, 17-71.

Feelings are a lot more closely divided on the first question, though: Overall, 35% would blame President Obama more for a shutdown, while 41% would find greater fault with Congressional Republicans. The D vs. R divide on this one is predictable, but notably, independents narrowly side against the GOP, 38-33, and self-described moderates blame the GOP even more, by a 48-22 margin.

These questions can be tricky to parse, though. I asked our pollster Tom Jensen to run an additional cross-tab (PDF), and of that 35% who say they’d “blame” Obama more, they support a government shutdown by a 63-24 margin! That doesn’t mean this contingent is about to start liking Obama if there’s a shutdown. Rather, Tom says, he thinks “it’s more of an issue of the kind of people who think a shutdown is a good thing hate Obama and are going to ‘blame’ him for anything when asked about it on a poll… even if it’s something they don’t think is bad.” I agree, and I think this demonstrates exactly how difficult it can be to word questions on this general topic. (If I were going to ask this again, I might try saying “whom would you hold more responsible,” rather than just “blame,” but even that is imperfect.)

Or in the case of Rasmussen, how easy it is to manipulate wording to get the results you desire. As TPM elucidates, Rasmussen managed to find voters favoring a shutdown by a 58-33 margin – but only because they presented it as a false either-or question (with the only options being to preserve current spending levels or face a shutdown). Rasmussen also primed its respondents with a few leading questions beforehan, which helped them reach the exact opposite conclusion from Gallup, who found respondents, by 60 to 32, opposed to a shutdown. Note that Gallup interviewed all adults, while Ramussen tested likely voters. (PPP interviewed registered voters.) Still, I think question wording rather than sampling accounts for much of the difference here.

It’s also a good reason to be skeptical of The Hill’s new poll, which asked a question similar to our own. The Hill used Pulse Opinion Research – aka New Rasmussen. POR is an outfit that Rasmussen pushed out last cycle, which allows anyone with a credit card to commission an automated survey. As Mark Blumenthal explained, “While the questions asked on specific surveys may differ, the underlying methodology used by Fox/Pulse and Rasmussen are essentially identical.” The Hill doesn’t seem to have made their question wording publicly available – all they say is that 29% of likely voters “would blame Democrats for a government shutdown,” while 23% “would blame Republicans.”

Still, regardless of which way these early polls lean, I think we may see big shifts if there is indeed a shutdown, just as we saw with healthcare last cycle. Then, you’ll undoubtedly recall, polling was much more favorable toward Dems before the battle began, but got worse as the fight got hotter. Who knows how things might play out this time, but right now, this issue is not squarely before the public. Once it is, it’s anybody’s game.

UPDATE: Please check out dreaminonempty’s excellent diary exploring these questions as well. Dreamin’ has some great graphics that try to tease apart the weird dichotomy I referenced above – folks rooting for the shutdown who nonetheless “blame” (or give credit to) Obama. Here’s one excellent visual summary: