Monday, September 20, 2010

It’s DE-jà vu all over again!

The Tea Party moves further and farther away from the center!
by Charlie Leck

I blogged last week about THE TEA PARTY & THE GOP and tried to explain how crazy this year’s election polling and results would be because of the way the Republican Party has been weakened by relentless Tea Party attacks on established GOP candidates and officials.

There is no better example of this dynamic than in the current campaign for a Congressional seat in NY’s 23rd Congressional district. There, the Democratic candidate was trailing the GOP’s endorsed candidate by double digits in all the polls. That GOP candidate got knocked off in the primary, however, and the Tea Party’s choice won and now trails the Democratic candidate in the polls by double digits.

Tea Party endorsed candidates are not being easily and gracefully accepted by the reasonable GOP voter. We see that in Minnesota. I think the concoctions the Tea Party is offering up all over the nation are often candidates too eccentric, too rabid and too extreme for the average voter.

A column by Simon Malloy, on Media Matters, about this NY Congressional election is very illustrative of this political “hitch” we are witnessing all over the nation. [Read Simon Malloy’s Media Matters: DE-jà vu]

Malloy's explanation of a recent and worrisome Pew Research Center survey about how, based on their political affiliations, Americans get their news is quite astounding:

"The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press released a survey this week detailing Americans' news-gathering habits. Of particular note was their partisan breakdown of cable news audiences over the past decade. In 2000, 18 percent of Republicans and 18 percent of Democrats said they regularly get their news from Fox. In 2010, the percentage of Democratic regular viewers has dipped to 15, while regular Republican viewers skyrocketed to 40 percent. Moreover, 41 percent of Republicans believe 'all or most' of what Fox News says. It is the network of and for the GOP. Kevin Drum observed: 'As Fox has steadily amped up its conservative branding, conservatives have decided that's all they want to hear. The echo chamber must be getting pretty deafening over there.'"

Here's the Pew Research Center's survey report published on 12 September 2010.

This is going to be a wacky six weeks leading up to election day and I'm really into it like crazy -- I mean like really crazy!

Here are some of the U.S. Senate races I'll be following closely. It's important that the Democrats continue to hold a majority in that body.

Wisconsin U.S. Senate Race
This is one of the stunners for me. Feingold is trailing the Republican candidate, Johnson, by significant numbers. Feingold is an extraordinary Senator – one of the most creative and brilliant guys in Washington.

Rasmussen Reports sees 6 U.S. Senate races as toss-ups
As of this moment, the Rasmussen Reports sees the Democrats holding 49 U.S. Senate seats after the election, while the Republicans would hold 45 of them. That leaves 6 seats as real contests around the nation (as of right now). Those contests include California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Wisconsin and West Virginia. I'll watch each of them closely.

Add Pennsylvania
I’ll add Pennsylvania to the list of states I'll follow closely because I think the race there is still in question. Joe Sestak is the Democrat who knocked off Arlan Spector in the primary election. Sestak has a name recognition problem but he has 6 weeks to gain on the Republican, Pat Toomey, who hasn’t reached the 50 percent mark in the polls yet.

Although Rasmussen puts the Connecticut Senate race in the Democrat’s column, I think it is still much too close to do that. The Democrat is Richard Blumenthal and he gets slightly better than the 50 percent mark, but Linda McMahon, the Republican, is still polling strongly and she has time to turn some of Blumenthal’s support away from him. This is really a hold-your-breath kind of race.

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer may be in trouble in California. Polls show her in a dead-heat right now with the Republican challenger, Carly Fiorina, with 2 percent of those polled being undecided.

In all of this, Obama’s presidency hangs in the balance. If the Republicans take over the U.S. Senate you can be sure things will stagnate for the next two years and Obama will likely be a one-term president who may not even seek the endorsement to run. How fast things can change in Washington!

Will Obama emerge from hiding?
A story by Jackie Calmes and Michael Shear in this morning’s New York Times says that Obama and his aides are thinking about a national campaign to tie the GOP directly to the Tea Party, in essence to say that the Republican Party is “all but taken over by the Tea Party extremists.” [click here to read the story] According to the story, Obama is due to come out of hiding soon, in an attempt to rally the voters who came out in support of him two years ago. Many feel that the Democrats only hope is if these voters can be re-energized.

Keep me informed!
Let me know what's going on in your state's U.S. Senate and House of Representative races and which ones will see Democrats turned out to pasture.


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