Monday, November 1, 2010

Last Call

This Tea-ranny of the majority stuff is getting serious.  Scott Rasmussen of Rassmussen Reports on the election:

Voters today want hope and change every bit as much as in 2008. But most have come to recognize that if we have to rely on politicians for the change, there is no hope. At the same time, Americans instinctively understand that if we can unleash the collective wisdom and entrepreneurial spirit of the American people, there are no limits to what we can accomplish.

In this environment, it would be wise for all Republicans to remember that their team didn't win, the other team lost. Heading into 2012, voters will remain ready to vote against the party in power unless they are given a reason not to do so.

Elected politicians also should leave their ideological baggage behind because voters don't want to be governed from the left, the right, or even the center. They want someone in Washington who understands that the American people want to govern themselves.

And remember, Scotty here is a professional, serious pollster here basically justifying mob rule.  Ben Franklin had one for this situation too:  "A republic, if you can keep it."

Looks like we're about to cash ours in for some good old fashioned pitchforks and torches.

Vote tomorrow, folks.

Reality Check

Here's the kind of thing that shows what Dems are up against tomorrow.

Numerous Fox affiliates and an ABC affiliate are broadcasting a vicious 25-minute infomercial that accuses President Barack Obama of harboring "hostility" towards America and ties him to malicious rhetoric.

The ad, called "Breaking Point," was paid for by The National Republican Trust PAC, and since Friday has run in Iowa, Kentucky, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Its existence was highlighted by the liberal blog ThinkProgress, a project of the progressive thinktank, Center for American Progress.

It chides the "destructive ideology of leftist revolutionaries," refers to the president as a "socialist," and claims the views of Democrats are "far too extreme for Americans to accept."

"During the 2008 campaign, President Obama pretended to turn his back on some extremists from his past," the infomercial says. "You want freedom? You’re gonna have to kill some crackers! You gonna have to kill some of those babies."

It also accused President Obama of raising campaign cash from Hamas.

“During his presidential election, he wound up with a record-shattering $750 million in his campaign," the ad intones. "To this day he refuses to report from whence it came. One reason might be that some of it originated from the terrorist group Hamas, which also endorsed Obama.”

And thanks to the Supreme Court, the National Republican Trust PAC can get all the airplay out of this they can here tonight and tomorrow.  It's all complete garbage, but you're infringing on free speech if you refuse to air it, and plus the donors to this PAC are...wait for it...anonymous!

To recap, one side is saying "I know times are tough but we have a lot of work to do and we need your vote."  The other side is saying "President Obama wants to kill Whitey and takes Muslim terrorist cash!"

But I know, I know, "both sides are guilty", right?

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Steve M. on tomorrow's likely scenario:

We're going to get trounced because the vast majority of people in the Democratic coalition are people who don't read political blogs all day and who watch CSI rather than Rachel Maddow. No one's given them a reason to feel hope, and no one's made a case they find persuasive for why they should remain patient -- not the administration, not the Democratic Party, and not us (our message doesn't even filter down to them indirectly, the way the right blogosphere's does to rank-and-file right-wingers, via Fox and talk radio). And we never laid the groundwork to make these people progressive Democrats, not just folks who happened to vote Democratic in 2006 and 2008. I think we just assumed they'd keep turning out, based on their demography and our expectation that they'd continue to loathe the GOP and admire Obama.

It doesn't work that way. The party and especially the White House needed to find a way to keep their hope alive over the past two bleak years; we needed to recognize the fact that they aren't us and therefore they don't instantly see what we see when we look at the right wing. They don't obsess over politics in general the way we do, so they don't grasp the very subtle arguments for why Obama's been at least a partial success.

I say this kind of thing all the time. I'm just saying it again because blaming people like ourselves for the enthusiasm gap is one more sign that we don't understand our own coalition, and thus one more reason we have such trouble preventing it from falling apart.

I'll go one step further.

If you voted for Obama two years ago and have since lost your job, home, or a loved one in Afghanistan or Iraq, why the hell should you get off your ass and pull the lever for anyone?  I can certainly see that.

I've laid out the reasons why over the last two years.  Now how do I compete with FOX News on that message?

Answer?  I don't.  When reality has a well known liberal bias, you win by simply creating a new reality.  Obama is a Muslim.  Obama raised your taxes.  The stimulus cost jobs.  Health care reform will destroy the country.  Obama is the most hated President ever.

The reward for doing the right thing is to lose.

So our country goes, straight to hell.  Hope the GOP can fix the economy, Foreclosuregate, too big to fail, currency wars with China and Europe, global warming, aftereffects of the Gulf oil disaster, Iran, Afghanistan, the budget, education, and everything else.  When they don't, will voters remove them from office in two years?

Doubt it.

The Coming Wrath Of The 99ers

More and more Americans are now starting to fall off the 99 week cliff, and right before the holidays too.  That has prompted at least one state, Indiana, to increase security at unemployment offices...just in case.

Armed security guards will be on hand at 36 unemployment offices around Indiana in what state officials said is a step to improve safety and make branch security more consistent.

No specific incidents prompted the action, Department of Workforce Development spokesman Marc Lotter told 6News' Norman Cox
Lotter said the agency is merely being cautious with the approach of an early-December deadline when thousands of Indiana residents could see their unemployment benefits end after exhausting the maximum 99 weeks provided through multiple federal extension periods.
"Given the upcoming expiration of the federal extensions and the increased stress on some of the unemployed, we thought added security would provide an extra level of protection for our employees and clients," he said.

Just in case, you see.  Tyler Durden says you'll see more of this nationally.

As America reaches its two year anniversary from the immediate economic collapse that followed the Lehman bankruptcy, punctuated mostly by vast and broad layoffs across every industry, arguably the most relevant topic that few are so far discussing is the expiration of full 99 weeks of maximum claims (EUC + Extended Benefits) for cohort after cohort of laid off Americans.

And since these people are certainly not finding jobs in the broader labor market (which continues to contract and thus make the unemployment percentage far better optically than the 10%+ where U-3 should be), their next natural response will be to get very angry at the teat that has suckled them for so long, and is now forcing them to go cold turkey.

Which is why we read with little surprise that now in Indiana, and soon everywhere else, unemployment offices are starting to add armed security guards. Of course, the official explanation if a benign one: "Armed security guards will be on hand at 36 unemployment offices around Indiana in what state officials said is a step to improve safety and make branch security more consistent." Why the need to improve safety all of a sudden? The 99 weeks cliff of course.

More people will fall off this cliff as we move ahead, meaning our economy will continue to crumble along with foreclosuregate home prices.  Putting the GOP in charge so they can concentrate on getting rid of Obama will surely help Bob in Evansville get a job after two years...

The Real Tea Party Victory

The real, long term win by the GOP will be the state races in a census year giving total GOP redistricting of the upper Midwest, turning them from battleground states to permanently red as MoJo's Nick Baumann reports.

Five states bordering the Great Lakes—Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—are the central battleground in the fight to control redistricting. Sure, the Republicans might take back the House of Representatives on election night. But winning gubernatorial and state legislative races in these five states could allow the GOP to dominate the House for much longer than the next few years.

The Republicans now control four of the ten legislative chambers in the five states in question. They also hold the governor's office in Indiana. But after Tuesday's election, Republican governors could be running all five states—and the Dems could easily lose their grip on the six legislative chambers they control today.

That's a prospect that has national Democrats very worried. Carolyn Fiddler, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which aids Dems in state legislative races, says that she's seen maps that corral all of the Democrats in Ohio into just four districts—down from ten current Democratic-leaning districts. (Ohio is also set to lose two representatives in post-Census population adjustments.) GOP redistricters in Pennsylvania could easily cut that state's Dem delegation in half, Fiddler adds. That would mark a dramatic change from the current balance of 12 Dems to seven Republicans. (Pennsylvania is also likely to lose a seat.)

The result would be that the GOP could count on an extra 16-20 seat swing in their favor for holding the House, and midwest Dems would all be herded into one or two districts in a state, with Dems winning in those districts overwhelmingly, but the rest of the state would have easy GOP victories because all the urban vote would be in one place.

I woudn't put it past Ohio Republicans to create an I-71 corridor district to connect the urban centers of Cincy, Columbus and Cleveland and give it to Kucinich...and he'd literally be the only Dem in the state come 2012.

That's what's really at stake here, and that means the GOP will be able to keep the House for a long, long time.

Operation Dumbo Drop

I'll tell you what, Ben Smith's propaganda outfit is doing a hell of a job.

Top Republicans in Washington and in the national GOP establishment say the 2010 campaign highlighted an urgent task that they will begin in earnest as soon as the elections are over: Stop Sarah Palin.

Interviews with advisers to the main 2012 presidential contenders and with other veteran Republican operatives make clear they see themselves on a common, if uncoordinated, mission of halting the momentum and credibility Palin gained with conservative activists by plunging so aggressively into this year’s midterm campaigns.

There is rising expectation among GOP elites that Palin will probably run for president in 2012 and could win the Republican nomination, a prospect many of them regard as a disaster in waiting.

Many of these establishment figures argue in not-for-attribution comments that Palin’s nomination would ensure President Barack Obama’s reelection, as the deficiencies that marked her 2008 debut as a vice presidential nominee — an intensely polarizing political style and often halting and superficial answers when pressed on policy — have shown little sign of abating in the past two years.

Steve M.'s pessimistic to the point where the economy's so bad in 2012, even Palin can win when the economy is in shambles. He may be right. I personally think since Palin's entire raison d'etre is being a professional victim as politician, this is playing right into her hands.

The Republican political class clearly wants to disengage from the Tea Party in 2012 and win with a non-Moose Lady type, but they don't have a choice now, as Steven D. points out.

"A line has been crossed between all levels of government and the American people," said Angela Cox, president of the Johnson County Tea Party. "We are not shy when it comes to raising our voices when need be and also praising those and their actions that actually do the 'will' of the American people.

"We will be keeping a watchful eye on all in Congress and state legislatures and maintaining open communications with those that are smart enough to listen," she said. "Those who neglect the voice and opinion of the American people will be repaid with very short terms in office, and their political careers will quickly come to an end."

This is not an idle threat, as the remaining GOP centrists in the House found out. The handful of centrists left in the Senate will be purged in 2012.

So that brings us back to Ben Smith's game at Politico: Going after Palin pleases the political class, rallies the Tea Party Anger Machine, and drives traffic.

Three for three is a good night in anyone's book. it doesn't matter if Politico is right or not. Palin loves being a victim, the political class loves being elite, and Politico loves the traffic. Winners all around.

Except of course for the Dems, which is the larger point, and why this mummer's show of "GOP establishment versus Sarah Palin" will continue through 2012. The next election is already being framed as GOP versus Tea Party for control of the board, and the Dems don't even matter anymore.

Not even as enemies.

Turn On The Lights, Watch The Roaches Scatter, Part 35

In yet another sign of the times that we're back in the bad old days of 2008 heading towards another financial meltdown, monoline insurer Ambac is now 30 days from bankruptcy after missing its bond payment.

Ambac will miss an interest payment on its 7.5 percent of May 2023 notes that’s due today, according to a regulatory filing, which says the company has a 30-day grace period until a default is triggered and bondholders can accelerate full payment. “The company has been unable to raise additional capital as an alternative to seeking bankruptcy protection,” the filing said.

The bond insurer, based in New York, is seeking a prepackaged restructuring as it tries to preserve a $7 billion net operating loss tax benefit, according to the filing. The company’s ability to use the so-called tax carry forward would be limited if stock issued to debt holders in a bankruptcy filing causes shareholders owning 5 percent or more of the company’s stock to increase their ownership in the company by 50 percent or more.

In March, Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Sean Dilweg seized $35 billion of Ambac’s risky mortgage-insurance policies and said he was splitting the insurance unit in two to segregate policies on which Ambac expects to pay significant claims. The move was needed to keep the company afloat and forestall an “uncontrollable scramble for assets” among policyholders and counterparties, Dilweg said.

Wisconsin insurance regulators released a report in May showing that Ambac’s losses on 18 collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, backed by mortgages would result in claims of as much as $8.7 billion. CDOs parcel fixed-income assets such as bonds or loans and slice them into new securities of varying risk intended to provide higher returns than other investments with the same rating. 

And as the housing market still has a long way to drop now due to Foreclosuregate all but stopping all transactions, there will be more bond monolines that get eaten by bankruptcy when their "assets" are revealed to be nothing more than  toxic CDO mortgage cole slaw, chopped up and repackaged for investment.

Those investments are all going rancid at once.

Stomp Out Loud

Tim "Headstomp" Profitt is facing a 4th degree misdemeanor assault charge, he could see 12 months in jail and a $500 fine.

A central Kentucky man who police said was videotaped stepping on a woman's head outside of a U.S. Senate debate on Monday night has been charged with misdemeanor assault.

Tim Profitt and other Rand Paul supporters were filmed restraining a woman attempting to give the Republican candidate a mock award, WLKY reported.

Profitt is set to go before a judge in Lexington next month on a fourth-degree assault charge.

The Paul campaign dropped 53-year-old Profitt as a coordinator in Bourbon County after the incident, WLKY reported.

My guess is Profitt gets off with a warning after a little suggestion by Rand Paul, who'll probably have Senator-Elect in front of his name by then.  Boys will be boys.

Thank You Readers

October was the best month ever here at ZVTS, twice our usual traffic last month as we approach election day!

Thanks to Crooks and Liars:, Balloon Juice, BooMan Tribune, and Memeorandum for the links in October, and the guys who've been with me since the beginning:  the always excellent TBogg, Yellow Dog and crew at They Gave Us a Republic, Kevin K and the Rumproast team, and a big thanks to Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog for letting me guest blog over at his place.

Special thanks too to Bon the Geek for joining me in this little endeavor.

But most of all, thanks to you, the readers, for sticking with me over the last two years and change.  We're still going to have a lot to talk about me.

Eve Of The Storm

Gallup's final generic ballot numbers for tomorrow's election are gruesome for the Dems, with a couple of big assumptions.

The results are from Gallup's Oct. 28-31 survey of 1,539 likely voters. It finds 52% to 55% of likely voters preferring the Republican candidate and 40% to 42% for the Democratic candidate on the national generic ballot -- depending on turnout assumptions. Gallup's analysis of several indicators of voter turnout from the weekend poll suggests turnout will be slightly higher than in recent years, at 45%. This would give the Republicans a 55% to 40% lead on the generic ballot, with 5% undecided.


Republicans' 15-point lead among likely voters contrasts with their 4-point lead, 48% to 44%, among registered voters, highlighting the importance of higher GOP turnout to the election outcome. This wide difference between the GOP's margin among registered voters and its margin among likely voters is similar to the 2002 midterms, in which Democrats led by 5 points among all registered voters in Gallup's final pre-election poll, while Republicans led by 6 points among likely voters -- an 11-point gain.

Gallup's traditionally been very accurate with these numbers, enough so that Nate Silver's famous chart from April makes its appearance here:

As you can see, a 15-point GOP lead equals 90 seats for the Republicans, a complete and total bloodbath.  I don't know if the Republicans will do this well, we're right on the edge of Nate's model and all and it's a linear one, out into "Here be dragons" territory on the map.  But the Republicans have to be feeling really, really good.

Gallup is basically confident in saying that Republicans will have a presidential election year level of turnout, while the Democrats will have the worst midterm turnout in modern history, a combination that will result in an electoral abattoir.

We'll see what happens in about 36 hours.

[UPDATENate himself is greatly hedging his bets because there are so many House seats in play, it makes a model difficult at best.

Our model is a lot more sophisticated than that. It does look at the generic ballot, but it doesn’t necessarily assume that it is right. It also looks at local polls in each congressional district, expert ratings, fundraising data — the whole kit and caboodle. Unlike the political science models, it formulates an estimate of the result in each individual congressional district, and not just the overall seat count.

But it tells you basically the same thing. Tonight, our forecast shows Republicans gaining 53 seats — the same as in recent days, and exactly the same answer you get if you plug the generic ballot average into the simple formula. Our model also thinks the spread of potential outcomes is exceptionally wide: its 95 percent confidence interval runs from a 23-seat Republican gain to an 81-seat one.

Now, this is actually something of a coincidence; our model doesn’t think the confidence interval is wide because there is disagreement in the generic ballot polls, but rather for other reasons.

So it could be anything in there, and Nate's 52 is right dead in the middle of that range.  Individual races still count, and that means voter turnout counts too.


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