November 1st, 2010
The party looked all but certain to lose control of the House of Representatives and to have their majority in the Senate severely cut.
A nationwide poll by Gallup found 55 per cent of likely voters planned to vote for a Republican, compared to 40 per cent Democrat and 5 per cent undecided.
Gallup said the size of the lead suggested that "regardless of turnout, the Republicans will win more than the 40 seats needed to give them the majority in the House." Historically, leads as small as just two percentage points have been enough to deliver parties a majority of the 435 House seats, the pollster said.
FiveThirtyEight, a polling website that predicted the outcome of the 2008 election almost precisely, forecast the House would end up split 232-Republican and 203-Democrat.
This would mean a net loss of 52 for the Democrats, close to the 54 lost by the party in 1994, two years into Bill Clinton's presidency.
But Nate Silver, the site's founder, said that with momentum still gathering behind Republican candidates in some races, Democrat losses could be even worse.
The party could even face a "doomsday" scenario of losses approaching the record Republican loss of 75 in the 1948 midterms, he suggested.
Other polls were almost as grim for Mr Obama's party, which took control of both houses of Congress in 2006.
The final NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found 49 per cent of likely voters wanted the return of Republican control, while 43 per cent wanted the Democrats to endure.
The latest CBS/New York Times poll also gave the Republicans a lead of six points, while CNN forecast a national lead of 10 points and Fox News 13 points.
FiveThirtyEight's forecasts suggested the Democrats would hold on to the Senate, but with their majority cut from 59-41 to 52-48.
Such a decline in influence in the upper chamber would sharply decrease Mr Obama's hand in Congress and reduce his ability to push through his agenda.
Polls in Nevada indicated that Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate, trailed by Sharron Angle, the Republican Tea Party favourite, by 2.7 per percentage points on average.
November 1st, 2010
November 1st, 2010
Days after "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart described cable teevee news as a "24-hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator" that exacerbates the problems of ordinary people and distorts the face of America as if in a "funhouse mirror," a tiny part of that apparatus looks to be on its way to being dismantled.
MSNBC host Keith Olbermann made a surprise announcement on his show tonight, saying that he was suspending his popular "Wost Persons in the World" segment in response to the message from Saturday's Rally to Restore Sanity:
First, the overall message that the tone needs to change, that the volume needs to change, was not lost on any of us. The anger in this news hour was not an original part of it, nor was it an artifice that we added to it. It was a response to a threat to this democracy posed by Mr. Bush, and now by his lineal descendants. The anger happened, it will still happen. It is not for ratings and it is not "get angry first and find a reason later."
But there is an institutionalization of it that may no longer be valid. That is "The Worst Persons in the World" segment, which started as a way -- of all things -- of defending Tucker Carlson. It's satire and whimsy have gradually gotten lost in some anger, so in the spirit of the thing, as of right now, I am unilaterally suspending that segment with an eye towards discontinuing it. We don't know how that works long-term. We might bring it back. We might bring back something similar to it. We might kill it outright. And next week, we'll solicit your input.
It's just that today, given the serious stuff we have to start covering tomorrow, we think it's the right time to do it short-term and then we'll see what happens. And we'll also see if anybody else on TV or radio will do something similar.
Olbermann did, however, take issue with what he viewed as "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart's comparison of MSNBC to Fox News, saying, "Sticking up for the powerless is not the moral equivalent of sticking up for the powerful."
The "Worst Persons In The World" segment has been a "Countdown" mainstay, but while it's been a facile way for Olbermann to bring in original reporting from a wide range of sources that wouldn't necessarily see daylight otherwise, at times I've felt it's edged pretty close to platform abuse, a cheap way of settling personal grudges. The fact that Olbermann deployed a rather cartoonish aspect in presenting the feature never really helped matters out very much.
As long as MSNBC personnel are considering making some Rally To Restore Sanity changes to their evening line-up, I recommend that Ed Schultz dispense with his recurring feature, "Psycho Talk." The feature isn't terribly interesting -- each day Ed Schultz finds someone he doesn't like saying something he doesn't like that's typically been already reported to death on the websites that specialize in chronicling such things. It's cheap and similarly cartoonish and could easily be replaced by a recurring feature in which some politician or pundit says something sensible ... you know, on the off chance that maybe that happens one day.
WATCH Olbermann's explanation for his suspension of the segment:
Amanda Terkel contributed reporting.
November 1st, 2010
By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 1, 2010; 6:27 PM
A federal appellate judge expressed deep skepticism Monday about a Justice Department lawsuit challenging Arizona's new immigration law, leaving uncertain the Obama administration's chances of stopping the law from taking effect.
Judge John T. Noonan Jr. grilled administration lawyers at a hearing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. He took aim at the core of the Justice Department's argument: that the Arizona statute is "preempted" by federal law and is especially troublesome because it requires mandatory immigration status checks in certain circumstances.
"I've read your brief, I've read the District Court opinion, I've heard your interchange with my two colleagues, and I don't understand your argument," Noonan told deputy solicitor general Edwin S. Kneedler. "We are dependent as a court on counsel being responsive. . . . You keep saying the problem is that a state officer is told to do something. That's not a matter of preemption. . . . I would think the proper thing to do is to concede that this is a point where you don't have an argument."
"With respect, I do believe we have an argument," said Kneedler, who asserts that the Arizona law is unconstitutional and threatens civil liberties by subjecting lawful immigrants to "interrogation and police surveillance.''
The exchange came at a hearing on efforts by the Justice Department to overturn the Arizona law, which empowers police to question people they suspect are in the country illegally and has triggered a fierce national debate. A federal judge in Phoenix issued a July injunction blocking the law's most contested provisions from taking effect. Arizona appealed, leading to the Monday hearing.
With Noonan, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, so bluntly stating his views, legal experts said the government's chances of having the injunction upheld may rest with the other two judges on Monday's panel: Carlos T. Bea and Richard A. Paez.
Bea is also a Republican appointee and tends to vote with the court's conservative wing, which could help Arizona's chances. Paez is a Democratic appointee.
But Bea and Paez are Hispanic, and it is Hispanics who are most upset about the Arizona law. "Perhaps this is one area where Bea might not vote as a so-called conservative because he himself is an immigrant,'' said Arthur Hellman, a University of Pittsburgh law professor and an expert on the 9th Circuit.
Bea did not make his position clear during Monday's argument, but he sharply questioned Arizona's attorneys. "Your argument that a state can take a look at whether the federal government is not enforcing its laws. . . . You can enforce laws for the federal government?" he asked. "If I don't pay my (federal) income taxes, can California sue me?''
Whatever the result, the panel's decision is the first step on a long road: legal experts expect the case to reach the Supreme Court. It is unclear when the panel will rule.
The Justice Department lawsuit, filed in July, triggered opposition from Republicans but praise from civil rights groups.
U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton in July put on hold provisions of the law that would require police to check immigration status if they stop someone while enforcing other laws, allow for warrantless arrests of suspected illegal immigrants and criminalize the failure of legal immigrants to carry their documentation.
Kneedler, a widely respected appellate lawyer, urged the judges to uphold the injunction while the federal lawsuit proceeds. "This is an extraordinary state statute," he told the judges, saying that provisions such as the criminalization of failure to carry registration papers "are clearly preempted . . . it's a direct regulation of immigration."
Arizona's lawyer, John J. Bouma, defended the law's constitutionality and said Arizona passed it because of "a federal government that has been unable or unwilling to solve" the illegal immigration problem.
Civil rights groups have said the law targets Hispanics, but Bouma, a leading Phoenix lawyer, objected to that characterization. "Arizona has a long and proud tradition of a Hispanic population, and nobody is trying to take away from that,'' he said.
Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.
November 1st, 2010
Cr Editors Note: Sarah Palin is a media contributor at Fox News. We love Sarah but -- here-- we can see a Media Propagandist casting about to find what they feel is a point of negativity. What they don't realize is that most people like Sarah Palin. Try some lotion with this Reid...
By Reid Wilson
Can Sarah Palin save House Democrats? Many of the party's endangered incumbents are spending their final days campaigning as much against the former Alaska governor as against their Republican rivals.
No one in American politics engenders stronger feelings than Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee. Republicans love her, but Democrats and independents view her unfavorably with equal intensity.
The numbers bear out those sentiments. The latest Bloomberg survey, conducted by Des Moines-based Selzer & Co., shows just 38 percent of Americans view her favorably, while 54 percent see her unfavorably. A Gallup poll conducted October 14 to 17 shows almost twice as many voters say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate for whom Palin campaigns as those who say they would be more likely to vote for that candidate, a nearly identical figure to Pres. Obama's. And 56 percent of Americans told Langer Research Associates, in a poll for ABC News and Yahoo!, they view Palin as more interested in division than cooperation; only 34 percent chose cooperation.
"Most of the surveys we've seen indicate that independent voters do not want to go way off into Sarah Palin land," Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told Hotline On Call. "They're looking for problem-solvers, not right-wing ideologues."
The incumbents Van Hollen must protect are trying to associate their Republican rivals with the former governor. Palin has endorsed 56 candidates across the country, stretching from her home state of Alaska to Florida and New Hampshire. Her political action committee has given to several more, according to reports filed with the FEC.
In Ohio, Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D) has used one of those donations to paint her opponent, state Sen. Steve Stivers (R), as a Palin "protégé." Palin's donation "shows whose side he is truly on and it is not the side of Ohio families," Kilroy spokesman Brad Bauman said in a statement.
Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY) has put money behind his effort to tie Palin to attorney Ann Marie Buerkle (R). "Beurkle's extreme views may have gotten Sarah Palin's support," says an ad Maffei's campaign began running in September, "but she's wrong for Central New York."
"Sarah Palin helps to rally Democratic voters. The fact that show comes in for some of these Republican candidates on the far right does two things: It rallies Democratic voters and alienates independent voters," Van Hollen said. "That's obviously the exact combination Democrats need to win these races."
Democrats in Pennsylvania have started running their own ad tying former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) to Palin, and the party believes it's been an effective message. Rep. Joe Sestak's (D) campaign is running ads associating Toomey and Palin in the Philadelphia media market. Independent voters in the four counties that surround Philadelphia, the so-called Collar Counties, are home to hundreds of thousands of independent swing voters who will decide the race; Democrats say Sestak's ad has helped him in private polls.
Republicans, on the other hand, deny tying Palin to their contenders will make a difference. "I think it's ridiculous," said Nachama Soloveichik, Toomey's communications director. "I think it's Sestak trying to run away from his own record of voting with [House Speaker} Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) nearly 100 percent of the time."
"Hail Marys rarely work. That's why they're called Hail Marys. And it's not going to work this time," Soloveichik said. "Sarah Palin's not on the ballot. People aren't thinking about her. They're thinking about what's been going on in Washington and everything that Sestak has voted for."
But actions speak louder than words, and just as for any surrogate, Palin helps more in some places than others. On Saturday, Palin held a last-minute rally in Charleston, W.Va.-- a state Palin's ticket won with 56 percent of the vote in 2008 -- for Senate candidate John Raese (R).
On the other hand, when Palin traveled to Orlando, Florida for a fundraiser benefiting the Republican National Committee, Senate candidate Marco Rubio (R) conspicuously avoided taking a photograph with her.
Visit National Journal for more political news.
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