Election Picture Clearing Up

Over at Pollster.com, you can see the election picture snapping into focus. Republican senatorial candidates seem to be enjoying an 11th hour surge, enough to probably keep them in control of that chamber without Benedict Liebermann.

The House picture, on the other hand, is clearly showing a switch in control. A strong wave could reach the 50s, but even a riptide at this point probably still puts the Dems in charge.

I do think that many of these polls are flawed and will not detect the dynamics of a wave like this in the same way that they failed in 1994. Any poll, for example, that’s weighted for party ID will not be accurate, since this is an election about independents switching preference more than anything else. Even some Republicans are probably inclined to seek some balance in the government. (A phenomenon that explains a Democratic governor in Kansas and a Republican governor in California, among other such anomalies).

I feel a wave. There’s something in the air; something you can feel in the mass media. It may be big enough to move both houses and make these polls be off by quite a bit. Then again, it’s hard to call anything that changes control of the House small, even if it’s only 16 seats.

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Will Bin Laden Save the GOP Again?

George Bush and John Kerry were more or less neck and neck heading towards the final days of the 2004 election. Indeed, events could even be seen breaking Kerry’s way. The Bush junta’s incompetence was at the heart of the major stories of the final days: a shortage of flu vaccines for seniors and the looting of unguarded explosive and munition dumps by the insurgents in Iraq.

Then Osama appeared with some inchoate threat yammerings in another of his Troma-esque videos. Generalissimo Bush gained one percentage point a day in the overnight tracking polls and won nationally — given a few helpful shenanigans — by 2 percentage points and change. The Bin Laden video was the equivalent of an empty net goal with one minute to go. It made it next to impossible for the Kerry team to scrap for a lucky bounce to produce the tying goal to force a 2000 style OT — which Bush won with his infamous “chad in the crease” goal.

[Digression: 2004 Presidential Election Box Score. First Period: 9:33: Bush 1 (Rove, Compliant Media) – Labling Kerry Flip Flopper. Second Period: 7:06: Bush 2 (SBVFT, Rove) “Swift Boating.” Third Period: 2:22: Kerry 1 (PP) (Clintonistas, Edwards) – Debate Victory. 19:00: Bush 3 (ENG) (Bin Laden, Compliant Media) – Bin Laden Video.]

It is my intuition that Osama knew exactly what he was doing. Bush has been very good for Bin Laden. He has only pursued him half-heartedly — indeed I beleive that he aggressive-passively let him escape from Tora Bora in 2001 to maintain the fear factor necessary for Iraq II — while handing him a recruiting gold mine with the quagmire in Iraq. Bin Laden’s 04 last second youtubery rhymed with the reptillian Bush campaign theme of keeping people safe from amorphous danger. It reminded people that the Big Horrible was out there. The last impression made on the undecideds was on the neonate level and not the contemplative level. That was Bin Laden’s goal.

Would another Bin Laden clip have the same effect this time? I don’t think so. It will reinforce the fervor of committed Republicans, but it would remind everyone else that Bin Laden is still at large and that the chaos in Iraq has not helped that situation at all. Katrina has forever destroyed the Bush demi-god vision and snapped the compliant media out of its pathetic duldroms.

My Final 2006 Mid-Term Predictions

House: Democrats pick up 25 seats.

Senate:

Easy Dem pick ups in Rhode Island, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

I trust that Schweitzer has enough of an organization to close for Tester in Montana. (53-47)

Democrats will come home for Menendez in New Jersey for a slim win (Although Corzine really should have picked Codey to avoid this one even being close. Codey could have been a great Senator). (52-48)

The momentum is all Webb’s way in Virginia against the racist anti-semite Conservatron Hymie Macaca “James” Allenstein. Surprisingly large win. (53-46)

The national Democratic tide lifts McCaskill in Missouri. Barely. This one may come down to a few thousand votes and legal challenges. (50.2-49.8)

Conservatron stealth racism carries the day for the Haters in Tennessee. By less than 5 percent though. (51 – 47)

Loserman holds on in Connecticutt, but it will be closer than people expect. Some Republicans will turn towards whoever the Republican is at the end and lower the Bush Patsy Loserman’s total (46 – 43 – 11).

That leaves us with (48+1(Sanders)+1(Loserman) vs. 50 Conservatrons in the Senate. The Republicans will be able to organize the Senate with a Cheney tie-breaker vote. This could be a blessing in disguise for Democrats as it will keep Cockroach front and center. He will be a brilliant foil and serve as an antidote to Conservatrons trying to blame everything on Pelosi et al. The Chamber itself will also be much improved. Gone will be nimrods Burns, Talent, Allenstein and Dewine. Gone will be theofascist lunatic Sanitorium. Webb, Casey, and Tester will be archetypes of the adjustable national mode for Democrats: United on fiscal and economic policies like minimum wage levels, health care, balanced budget, a fair tax code and general administrative/policy acumen (no Brownies); adjustable to their locales on social issues like abortion and guns etc. Having an unabashed Progressive populist like Sanders with a bit more of a bully pulpit will give air to issues that would never have gotten traction before.

Hacking Democracy

Once I saw Diebold was demanding that HBO cancel its showing of Hacking Democracy, I knew I had to watch. Without explicitly stating so, it confirmed my essential belief about the trouble with elections. It’s not that Karl Rove is sitting in his office directing certain counties’ election officials to rig the game. He might if he could, but that’s not the problem.

The problem is most things run at the county level are run by people that are part DMV-employee, part-busybody home-owner association type, and part pol. It’s not that they take orders from Karl Rove. It’s that they want to tell everyone that they’re doing a good job, just like anyone else. If mistakes were made, no matter for whom, it reflects poorly on them. And if some of them are big Bush supporters who would know? Ballot box stuffing is not new. It’s just that now it’s incredibly easy to do and almost impossible to trace.

I’m no luddite–this is a blog for chrissakes. And I don’t believe that paper ballots are really that much harder to play games with than the electronic ones, but I don’t see any reason why we can’t have receipts and careful counting, in glass-walled rooms where anyone can watch the counting, not behind the grimy doors of a boxy government building and its disgruntled underpaid employees.

I think we need to improve the voting infrastructure. Smaller precincts that are open for a week and/or a strictly enforced national holiday for voting, with observers for the counting. Fortunately, with a two party system that’s not so hard. Instead of digging up neutral experts, you just let the two sides keep each other honest.

Was their fraud in Ohio? Maybe. I haven’t seen anything that indicates a broad conspiracy to a level of proof I would accept. But I have no doubt that there are freelancers out there that want their guy to win, or hack the machines just to do it. The problem in Ohio was that there wasn’t enough infrastructure. Who knows? More infrastructure might have helped Bush. I don’t care.

Was their fraud in Florida? Likely. If not fraud, then blatant incompetence. We’ll never know about the Volusia negative votes, but the problem in Florida began months before the 2000 election.

Detail matters. You can’t take the security or fairness of anything for granted. In something as critical as a presidential election, you cannot be outgamed. This is why you have to have a 50-state party infrastructure!

Only Osama Can Save The GOP Now.

There is only one thing that can save the GOP now: Osama.

I still think the Senate stays GOP either thanks to Liebermann or Cheney (i.e. 48+1 vs. 49+1 in a scenario where Liebermann switches parties, or 48+2 vs. 50 where Cheney breaks the tie), but what does a 50-50 senate look like? It looks like one where the nuclear option is impossible, because Collins and Snowe are still in.

The only thing that’s keeping the house GOP at this point is Osama’s capture.

Coaching Deadpool Update

(1) Stevens – Has to move to the top here, because of the rumors a new GM is coming to Philly. Most new GMs will want to make their mark with a new coach. Especially since Quinn is on the shortlist, and he’d probably want the honors himself.

(2) Tortorella – This team is doing a whole lotta nothing. I still think this team suffers from unreasonable expectations because they kept all of their star forwards–which makes them look as good as they were in 2004 to casual fans. Not so. But unreasonable expectations kill coaches.

(3) Playfair – Albertans have gotten used to the idea of their teams not sucking major cock, and they like it. Calgary is underperforming, and, while this guy is not near the danger zone in his tenure, a shakeup may be coming, and it won’t involve Iginla or Kipper…

Bonus picks: Gretzky, and, just on the basis of his tenure, Trotz.

I’m going to take Babcock off this list because things have turned around somewhat in Detroit. Nashville has improved too, but Trotz has been around so much beyond the average tenure that he’s gotta be at risk. Gretzky seems to have passed the latest pressure wave against him, but I still think he’s not going to stick. I’m also wondering if Tom Renney isn’t getting close. It’s sounding like NY will try a trade first, but if that doesn’t work….

UPDATE: From the St. Pete Times:

“Going into the season, it was pretty clear the direction of ownership: We’re content to spend the payroll that we are if we’re a team that’s going to win,” Feaster said. “If we’re bouncing around .500 and looking up at eighth place, I don’t expect that ownership is going to allow payroll to continue at that level. And that means changes.”

Feaster said it is not a threat.

“We can’t afford to keep falling further behind,” he said. “That’s the reality of it. Losing causes an even greater sense of urgency in terms of getting it fixed.”

UPDATE 2: I think I’m adding (4) Claude Julien