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November 12, 2006


Toughness? Jane Harmon will be out as Intelligence chief, Alcee Hastings will be bypassed (the Congressional Black Caucus gets the #3 position with James Clyburn).

Wise decision? Dunno.

good one from Christy at FDL.

Go Speaker Pelosi!

Did anyone see the SNL parody of Pelosi last night? It went beyond parody. The skit went on and on about group sex, sex with animals, drugs, you name it. I don't remember a skit with republicans that was ever that nasty. You can look forward to that one being played over and over on Fox news all week. Lately, on SNL, Republicans are lovable, inept buffoons, Democrats are the fall of western civilization.

Since it's an open thread, here's a vote for Stewart and Colbert for Time's Person of the Year.

I've watched nancy Pelosi since her days in the early '80s as Calif State Dem Party Chair, when she put on the 1984 Dem convention. When she ran for the House in a special election when Sala Burton died I interviewed her as part of the endorsements committee of a PAC I worked with. She can't be pigeonholed. She is a very smart woman and has good political instincts. She has been an exceptional fundraiser, meaning she is very good one-on-one with big donors. Her main failing is that she isn't so good in TV interviews or stump speeches.

She isn't really ideological, which will be a help. She has basic Dem values, like fighting for the underdog, despite her considerable wealth at this point, mainly through her husband's real estate dealings, and expanding opportunity. (Her husband buys her clothes, by the way--he accounts in more ways than one for her being well-dressed.) But she is above all pragmatic, the article gets that right. She also isn't petty, and can share credit and keep her eye on the prize.

Bush has been a bully up to now, so we can expect him to challenge and probe to find the outer limits of his authority (see Bolton). But one thing about bullies is that they fold pretty fast when someone really stands up to them. Pelosi will stand up to Bush.

My bet is that she is smart enough that the Dems build slowly--pass important legislation that Bush can't veto, work with him on immigration, start small with the oversight and investigation, but make it clear that if he goes too far, they will check him. Cheney may be spoiling for a "f*** you" fight, but my guess is that Bush really deep down doesn't like conflict when it gets tough. Now that Dems he can't roll over are in charge, and especially a woman, he will begin to back off and compromise. Note I said "begin", but I expect that we will ultimately not get into a huge constitutional crisis, because it is the kind of gamble that could cost the GOP for a generation and enough of those who have to run again know that.


I think you are right. Bush won't get into a fight directly. He likes his people to do the rough stuff.

I do think that for the rest of 2006, Bush will pretty much be business as usual with his end of the year (and the solid Republican Congress) bills and nominations, as preparations are made (and talked a lot about this year) for [[bipartisanship]] starting when the New Congress is sworn in.

Cheney won't rock the boat too much unless he is attacked (legally) and then he will become very tough. He is a bulldog.

One other thing. It seems to be thought that while Bush didn't want to veto expecially against a Republican Congress, that won't necessarily hold against a Democratic Congress.

Still I hope compromises can be found on many issues. He is in a "legacy building" mood.

Let's watch what happens in the lame duck session next week as an indication of where everyone is. There are 9 appropriation bills still unpassed, and the old Congress has 2 choices--pass some draconian cuts to domestic programs or punt with a continuing resolution and let the next Congress deal with it.

There are also several tax cut measures on the table. The House has passed the estate tax repeal and extended various measures that Congress generally always extends. What kind of deal will there be? Bush also wants to extend wiretapping legislation. Given his rejection at the polls, will Congress punt on this too?

Remember, there are 6 unemployed Senators and 22 (maybe more) unemployed House members and all their staffs. They aren't all going to want to stay until Christmas to finish all this stuff, as Boehner had originally planned. The first votes are set for Tuesday.

What is likely to happen around signing statements?

What is likely to happen around signing statements?

Good question. they're more likely to be scrutinized and commented on in the press, and subject to hearings. And then waht?

I expect that the next Congress will try to retain more control by being more explicit in legislation, setting the stage for litigation either by Congress or someone else when Bush doesn't carry out the law. This is a tricky area. Courts should pay no attention to signing statements, but Bush's judges probably will. The problem will come when Congress doesn't appropriate money for Bush's pet projects, and appropriates more than he wants for their programs, andhe tries shifting it around. Expect Treasury and OMB officials to spend time before Congressional committees.

In addition, one area for investigations is always what happened to the money, as with the "faith-based" giveaways.

Electoral-vote.com has a breakdown of how each pollster did state by state.

While it's tempting to read these tables vertically to see which pollster is "the best" (all that's clear to me is that Research 2000 is, like, so six years ago) I think it may be more interesting to read them horizontally to see if there are some states that just don't poll well. New Mexico, for some reason, seemed especially tricky. Minnesota and Wisconsin also were difficult. I'd say that this is just an effect of it being harder to poll blow-outs -- possibly because pollsters' turn-out models tend to push things back to the center (for example, if they see they are getting a sample that's 70% Democrats they may assume they are just oversampling Ds rather than that many more voters have changed affiliation), if that's possible? -- although New York, for example, was a blow-out that polled accurately.

Also, despite some claims during the campaign that New Jersey polls more Republican than it votes, we see that surveys there were pretty accurate. Which means that it's not unlikely that Kean really was leading at several points, and Menendez really did pull it out at the end with the help of the DSCC -- not necessarily that NJ's inherent blueness simply came home to the Dems on election day.

Or, that NJ's inherent blueness simply came home to the Dems two weeks before election day. The DSCC money helped counter a last minute RNC ad blitz, but that insulting Sopranos ad did its own damage.

Right. The important point was that NJ polls showing Kean in the lead probably really did reflect Kean in the lead. The mechanism of how he lost the lead is open to debate.

But the theory that there is a large chunk of blue NJ who simply don't answer their phones but who can be counted on to show up in November, is at odds with the concordance of the final poll numbers and the actual results.

However Menendez won it (or Kean lost it), the dynamic the polls showed likely was real -- NJ flirted red and then came back to blue.

in general, the polls did well and so did the exit polls (though they lean D again, according to Andy Kohut from Pew).

I have effectively (remotely) cut my landline back on. During elections you have to take a quiz to get in, even only to my answering machine.

Some idiot tried to poll me yesterday at my grandmoms.




How about you?


many do not know or comment on her roots. I knew she was a political daughter and she was not the cartoon she was painted. She is described by some in San Francisco as a bit too moderate.
Actually you can tell by her press conferences. I caught them on cspan during the summer because no one in the main stream would talk about anything the dems had to say.
I saw the 100 hour program unvieled and then that night everyone saying the dems had no ideas for anything. go figure.
I am usually pretty good at sensing people and I see her as someone who will set a tone and an era and not just as a woman. She is very smart and has known what she wants to do. She envisioned this for a while.
But, she wasnt the only one cartooned. All dems are and we have to stop it. We are cartooned as the party of 1970. But even more.
We need to cartoon the republicans as lazy, self serving and unable to govern.
We also need to start a campaign to demonize the word "Conservative"

emptypockets, I'm not sure I agree with you about the polling in NJ. Your presumption -- and I grant this is one held by many in the industry -- is that elections are a foot-race, with each poll showing where we are on that particular day, with progress made or lost. (This leads to such pronouncements as "Humphrey would have won '68 with another week" or "Gore would have won by 14 points in September 2000", both of which I think are specious claims) I believe, rather, that races have an overall tone, and that various polling "moods" aren't to be taken that seriously. In PA, for instance, Casey from early days had a double-digit lead, and that was indeed the "final score". But mixed in there were certain days where Santorum had closed to a 5% deficit. Should we assume from this that, at a certain point, voters in PA suddenly had a massive change of mind? Or should we rather assume it was just a fluky drift in an electorate polled so often it was bored with the whole matter?

The take many of us had on NJ is, it has for over a decade (at least back to Torricelli/Zimmer '96) shown GOPers doing better in pre-election matchups than showed on election day. Our point was, don't take the "ohh, it's close" polls too seriously, because such polls ALWAYS turn up. Yes, polls closer to election day gave a better hint of the result, but that, too, is part of the pattern: the tight Fairleigh Dickinson polls of '04 vanished the closer we got to actual voting, too. I simply don't accept that poll readings on any given day are a perfect reading of what would have happened on that day; I think races have an overall gestalt that needs to be kept in mind, rather than concentrating on temporal showings.

As far as Pelosi: did anyone read the NY Times profile the other day? What jumped out at me was her sharing her view that some people in the House appeared to not particularly care about recapturing the majority. This, of course, is what Gingrich et al. felt about the Bob Michel House of the early 90s, but there at least there was the excuse of being out of power so long. Gephardt & Co. slipped into the mind-set way too quickly and without reason (remember his "win by losng" strategy? Somehow we never got the wins). I think Dems were well on the way to the neutering of which Grover Norquist spoke so fondly, and we're damn lucky Pelosi (and Reid) came along to reverse the trend. (Maybe Howard Dean gets some credit, too, just for attitude) Pelosi's key attribute as a leader is her ability to make her caucus believe in promoting their own ideas, rather than, DLC style, "innoculating" themselves by blurring distinctions with Republicans.

Newt, of course, was ultimately a disaster for the GOP, but that's because 1) he was at odds with the public's real desires (cutting medicare, gutting environmental protection) and 2) he WAS the radical/bomb-thrower in the way the press is trying to paint Pelosi (plus a lousy tactician -- many Pubs complained Newt was fiery in public but a pussycat in negotiating with Clinton). Pelosi is a far more gifted and more substantive leader -- I think, like many here, she'll push the parts of the Dem agenda that are most broadly popular with the middle class, and, in so doing, remove much of the stigmatization of the party that's hung on since the 70s.

In short, I think she could be a great leader, but it'll take the press forever to catch onto that.

To follow up on the preceding comment. She may well come to represent the new Democratic Party. The public need labels, and at present there isn't much better a potential brand name out there than Pelosi. If she gets a wing of the Democratic Party named after her, we are home free, because it gives the press the space to change their narrative about the Democrats. When Republicans start giving their old talking points, the host can just say, Oh, you mean "those" Democrats, as if it were something in the distant past. That will be the positive shift for us, if an when it happens.

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