Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

Keeping a close eye on developments in the 2008 U.S. Senate races

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wednesday Briefs

  • Lamar Alexander is the frontrunner for the #3 spot on the Senate GOP leadership, reportedly having already secured the support of 25 of 49 Republican Senators. Were Alexander to lose to Richard Burr at this point, akin to his last-minute loss to Trent Lott for the #2 spot a year ago, it would be an even bigger embarrassment. The leadership election is tomorrow morning.

  • Colorado: Colorado Confidential, Politics West, and Square State have all taken looks at the baseless, fear-mongering attack ads Republicans are running against Congressman Mark Udall. But, now, the DSCC is asking the big question: "Are Schaffer And Colorado Republicans Violating The Law With New Issue Ads?" The DSCC outlines the shady relationship between Republican Senate candidate Bob Schaffer and the CO-GOP and the conservative interest groups running the ads. One of the most damning "coincidences":

    And in another twist, the web address www.commonsensecolorado.org was registered by Bob Schaffer himself last year. That website is not currently active, but during the 2006 campaign, the predecessor of the group Common Sense Issues, which is currently airing the ads in Colorado, aired ads and conducted push polls in Tennessee and Ohio with websites registered at www.commonsensetennessee.org and www.commonsenseohio.org.
    Bob Schaffer himself registered the domain name for the website of the group attacking Udall. The Republicans aren't even trying to hide the impropriety.

  • Maine: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released a new report "exposing massive failures and billions wasted at Dept. of Homeland Security." Hmmm, billions in waste and mismanagement at Homeland Security... isn't that something the Chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs during the middle years of the decade should have provided oversight on? Now who was that? Oh, right... Susan Collins.

  • Minnesota: The New York Times offers the most recent profile on Al Franken's 2008 Senate bid. One part of the profile I found very disturbing, a quote from MN-GOP Chair Ron Carey (emphasis added by me):

    His vile bomb throwing is so non-Minnesotan; he must have left his Minnesota roots in Hollywood and New York.
    First off, the comment is mind-bogglingly stupid as Norm Coleman is from New York. But, more importantly, Carey's tastelessly glib metaphor likening anything Al Franken says to "bomb throwing" is just disgusting. If any Minnesota Democrat said "Norm Coleman's terrorist-like rhetoric on Issue X is just frightening," Carey's head would explode as he harangued the Democrats for likening Norm Coleman to a terrorist. Carey knows he has nothing to defend Norm Coleman's record with, so he opts for these disgusting, baseless attacks on Democrats hoping something might stick. Fortunately, Minnesota voters are much smarter than Ron Carey.

  • Nebraska: Businessman Tony Raimondo has officially changed his Party registration from Republican to Democrat, which should be taken as a clear sign that he is preparing for a 2008 Senate bid. The only question at this point is whether Scott Kleeb will join Raimondo in the Democratic primary. (Draft Kleeb!)

  • New Jersey: Republican businesswoman Anne Evans Estabrook kicked off her campaign yesterday against Senator Frank Lautenberg. She has the chief qualification: ostensibly she can self-fund. She will also use cookie-cutter right-wing rhetoric on issues like Iraq and immigration:

    Estabrook said she opposes a deadline for bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq and does not approve of an immigration policy that would grant amnesty to illegal aliens.
    If she makes it out of the GOP primary, which may soon include state senator-elect Joe Pennacchio, there is absolutely no reason to expect a result any different from Douglas Forrester's or Tom Kean Jr.'s. In the words of Stu Rothenberg, "Republicans [have] no reason for even a shred of optimism" in a campaign against Senator Frank Lautenberg.

  • Idaho: The MountainGoat Report compares the difference in tone between Democratic former Governor Cecil Andrus' uplifiting and positive message in support of Larry LaRocco's Senate campaign and Lt. Gov. Jim Risch's negative, even paranoid appeal to Republicans.

  • Texas: State Representative and Lieutenant Colonel Rick Noriega has the muscle of Texas' Democratic Congressional delegation behind him.

  • 20 Comments:

    Blogger Neal said...

    Estabrook said she opposes a deadline for bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq and does not approve of an immigration policy that would grant amnesty to illegal aliens.


    This is a total opposite view of Christine Todd Whitman or Tom Kean Sr. Whitman would never campaign on an ANTI Immigration or keep the the troops in Iraq.

    2:21 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    You think Estabrook is a "cookie-cutter" Republican for taking two positions? Including one where a majority of Americans agree with the GOP platform?

    What if I called every Democrat who, say, supports a timetable for withdrawal and supports universal health care a "cookie-cutter Democrat"? If you're going to analyze these Senate races, it would help if you gave at least something more than the most surface examination of the candidates running. Knowing you, you'll hide behind the Rothenberg quote (interestingly, you don't give him the same treatment when he deflates Democrat's hype in Nebraska) and call Estabrook a "cookie-cutter" Republican the entire way through Election Day, never even bothering to take a second look.

    From another article that ran yesterday:

    Philadelphia Inquirer's Burton writes: NJ voters haven't elected a GOP GOV since '97 or SEN since '72. "But change the names of the candidates, flash back to 1990, and it becomes easier to understand" why Estabrook thinks she has a shot. Back then, the relatively unknown Christie Whitman went up against" then-Sen. Bill Bradley (D). "When Whitman lost by only one point, she proved a Republican woman with a moderate political agenda could get voters' attention. Whitman used that race to propel herself to the governor's office."

    2:23 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Fortunately, Neal, very few politicians are "anti immigration".

    2:23 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - how many times do we have to do this? I type something and then you completely twist what I actually write.

    I posted: "She will also use cookie-cutter right-wing rhetoric on issues like Iraq and immigration"

    You responded: "You think Estabrook is a "cookie-cutter" Republican for taking two positions?"

    Do you see where your head is up your backside? I did not say Estabrook is a "cookie-cutter" Republican. I said that, on Iraq and immigration, she is using "cookie-cutter right-wing rhetoric."

    Do you see the difference? Do you even understand the difference? Are you going to continue twisting what I actually type to fit your baseless criticisms? Seriously, man, it's getting old.

    Oh, and then, va blogger, you ask "What if I called every Democrat who, say, supports a timetable for withdrawal and supports universal health care a "cookie-cutter Democrat"?"

    If you called every voter who supported an Iraq withdrawal timetable or supported universal health care a "cookie-cutter Democrat," then you'd be calling a majority of voters "cookie-cutter Democrats" and I'd be pretty cool with that.

    2:37 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Before va blogger flips out about the polls I linked to as being out of date (snagged older polls), here are 2007 polls that make the same points about majority support for both an Iraq withdrawal timeline and universal health care.

    2:42 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    I'm also confused why you consider opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants as "right-wing" rhetoric. Care to elaborate?

    2:44 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    I'm thrilled to elaborate. (though, again, you conflate one's position on the issue with one's rhetoric on the issue when you note "I'm also confused why you consider opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants as "right-wing" rhetoric." "Opposing amnesty" is not rhetoric - it is a position. Talking about "amnesty" is rhetoric. There is a difference. Figure it out.)

    The immigration reform bill that was debated in the Legislature earlier this year was not amnesty. Period. Amnesty means that there is no penalty for wrongdoing (see: Scooter Libby). The immigration reform bill, however, contained penalties for immigrants in the United States illegally including fines.

    But because the bill provided for a pathway to legal residency, right-wing opponents dishonestly dubbed it "amnesty."

    For Estabrook to use a loaded term like "amnesty" in refering to the immigration debate, it demonstrates intellectual dishonesty as the bill before the Legislature, again, was not amnesty. "Amnesty" is a right-wing rhetorical talking point, a straw man.

    2:56 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger Peter said...

    Stopping amnesty is the biggest joke I can imagine. While some of us support it and some of us oppose it, ALL of us know there is no chance in hell that either party that desperately needs these growing minorities' votes to succeed will "round up" these illegals in a sort of nazi gestapo technique.

    It's a joke and has no chance of happening.

    Here's what will happen: Republicans may try and make it a wedge issue this election since they can't use gay marriage anymore and will blab incessantly about "securing our border" and Democrats will stick closer to the status quo.

    2:58 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger Neal said...

    Republican candidates for the US Senate from NJ have ignored wedge issues such as Immigration- they would support the comprehension plan of Border Security- Guest Worker, On the issue of Iraq- They would support a deadline- They will campaign on fiscal issues such as Taxes and Spending.

    Whitman came close of unseating Bradley because of the Florio Tax Increase

    3:07 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    For starters, S2G, by your own analysis, Scooter Libby did not recieve amnesty. He still was fined, I believe, over two hundred thousand dollars.

    Secondly, thank you for your irrelevent analysis of one proposal before the Senate. As a John McCain supporter, I happen to agree with you on the point that the bill was not amnesty. However, Estabrook did not say "I oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants, such as the McCain-Kennedy bill". She simply said, "I oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants." Is opposing amnesty, whether one considers McCain-Kennedy to be that or not, emblematic of "right-wing" rhetoric? Or is it a policy position that is both principled and popular?

    Peter, why is opposing amnesty a "joke" to you? Furthermore, why in your mind is the only alternative to the extreme of amnesty the counter-extreme of deporting all illegal aliens? Do you only see matters in black-and-white?

    Neal, you've yet to explain why you believe anyone we're talking about has an "anti immigrant" position. Though, I suppose its only a matter of time before you disregard everything being posted in this thread and just repost another long list of your Senate rankings.

    3:17 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger asked: Is opposing amnesty, whether one considers McCain-Kennedy to be that or not, emblematic of "right-wing" rhetoric? Or is it a policy position that is both principled and popular?

    Talking about "amnesty" when no legislation before the Senate includes "amnesty" is right-wing rhetoric. "Amnesty" isn't on the table. It's a right-wing rhetorical scare tactic to portray the McCain-Kennedy bill as "amnesty" to gin up opposition to the McCain-Kennedy bill. The term "amnesty" was specifically applied by right-wingers to the McCain-Kennedy bill, so my referencing that specific piece of legislation is perfectly called for when a candidate like Estabrook invokes the "amnesty" right-wing rhetoric.

    Understand?

    3:22 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    No, its not, and given the history of illegal immigration as an issue in this country, how in the world can you say its not an option on the table when, up until this point, it has been the policy of the United States?

    Be honest here. You're calling it "right-wing rhetoric" because of what you assume Estabrook is talking about, even though there is no reason at all to make that assumption.

    You know what happens when you assume, right?

    3:32 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - you're joking, right? That's all you have left? Accusing me of assuming?

    McCain-Kennedy was THE IMMIGRATION REFORM BILL being debated in the Senate. Right-wingers dishonestly attacked it as "amnesty" and any reference in the current immigration debate to "amnesty" is an intellectually dishonest piece of right-wing rhetoric.

    If Estabrook had any desire to be intellectually honest, she could call for stronger penalties than those laid out in McCain-Kennedy and, hey, even offer some specifics. (Does Estabrook support larger fines? Jail time? Deportation? What would she suggest be done with children born in the United States to immigrants here unlawfully? Do they get deported? Put in foster homes? Let's get specific, Ms. Estabrook!) I wish we could have that honest debate. But any reference to "amnesty" is a dishonest right-wing fear tactic.

    3:48 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Amnesty, a policy which has been enacted in this country four times in the last twenty years, and a policy supported by a fair number of Democrats (who currently maintain a majority in New Jersey), has a specific meaning. You go out onto a limb and assume that Estabrook is calling McCain-Kennedy "amnesty", despite the fact that she makes absolutely no reference to it whatsoever, then even more gallingly, you procede to bash her based 100% entirely on your assumption.

    McCain-Kennedy was a proposal before the Senate. It got killed. Twice. McCain himself now favors changing some words to emphasis border security, so the bill that existed in the summer is, for all intents and purposes, dead. Meanwhile, Democrats around the country are debating whether to support McCain-Kennedy or whether to draft their own, more liberal bill. I don't know how close you pay attention to the news, S2G, but there are many immigration proposals and a wide-ranging debate about them. There is not just a clear-cut debate over one specific proposal. You're making yet another assumption that Estabrook, a U.S. Senate candidate, is as uninformed as you are about this issue.

    Stop digging the hole deeper. Admit when you're wrong and just say, "If Estabrook is referring to McCain-Kennedy, then she is employing right-wing rhetoric. If not, then she is a principled and responsible candidate, and would make a great Senator". Okay, you don't have to say the last part, but at least come forward with the fact that your assumption, which has no basis at all on Estabrook's statement, may not be correct.

    4:25 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - Nice rant. Nice baseless rant.

    I'll repeat myself since it's not sinking in. The single immigration reform bill that was being debated in the Senate this year was McCain-Kennedy. There was no amnesty bill on the table being debated this year. Right-wingers, however, dishonestly framed McCain-Kennedy as "amnesty." Any reference to "amnesty" in the current broader debate relates back to right-wingers perception of McCain-Kennedy.

    With no amnesty bill on the table being debated in the Senate this year, Estabrook's blanket reference to "amnesty" is just the same old right-wing fear tactic.

    4:48 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    "Any reference to "amnesty" in the current broader debate relates back to right-wingers perception of McCain-Kennedy."

    Absolutely wrong. You may think this, but you're assuming everyone else does as well. You're desperately trying to cover your tracks here, and you're not doing a very good job.

    6:26 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    If you say so, chief. Desperately trying to cover my tracks. Desperately!

    I'm done repeating myself. Feel free to keep discussing the amnesty bill that doesn't exist.

    7:29 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    I'm not discussing any specific bill, you idiot, and because apparently you can't read, Estabrook isn't either.

    How many illegal immigration bills are there right now? Zero. How many different approaches to the issue are there? Several. Is amnesty one of them? Of course it is.

    How is this hard for you to understand? Why do you automatically make the jump to say that she is referring to a specific bill? Just because you want to attack her? That seems pretty dirty to me. Not to mention overwhelmingly dumb.

    Par for the course, I suppose.

    8:05 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger Matthew said...

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    9:32 PM, December 05, 2007  
    Blogger Matthew said...

    I've emjoyed this back and forth conversation between Guru and VA (with the exception of the name-calling in the last post... we've been there before, VA... don't go there). Estabrook's personal funds will not do any good in this election year. I think people, including New Jersey residents, are realizing that it takes 60 votes to change Iraq policy. The Guru has always been correct on that. Toward the wrong end, Estabrook would vote McConnell in as majority leader. A vote for Estabrook takes Democrats farther from the 60 votes needed. This is reason enough to vote for Laugtenberg. New Jersey residents are smart voters and know this.

    9:39 PM, December 05, 2007  

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