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Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 07:45 AM PDT

Thank You Harry Reid

by TheKF1

There are a lot of reasons to be angry at Harry Reid a lot of the time. But sometimes... sometimes he reminds you of exactly why he's the Democratic Majority Leader.

Let's be clear here; The absence of filibuster reform is not why gun safety legislation is going to fail today. The only thing that could have stopped this would be no filibuster, and it's not Harry Reid's fault that there aren't close to 51 votes for that.

But it's not even a little easy for a Senator with a "B" rating from the NRA to stand up and reverse course on both the Assault Weapons Ban and extended magazine clips, two policies which would save countless lives.

Let's be clear: Harry Reid is an endangered Senator in a swing state with a large rural population. He has had two very close shaves in his last three re-election fights. That NRA B-Rating is a big part of what's kept him alive. And, crucially, these laws will not pass today. There is NO chance that either the AWB or extended magazines will pass - hell, they can't even pass Manchin-Toomey. He voted against the AWB last time too, so it wouldn't have been a surprise. There was no need for him to flip and back them, going through political hell for something that won't even pass.

But he's doing it anyway, because it's the right thing to do. It looks Newtown really, genuinely changed his mind on this  - and he's doing the right thing with style.

Some choice quotes:

In a civil society, where we have to balance individual rights with public safety, there should be limits on the kind of destructive weapons people are allowed to own.
The United States military is not out to get us. Federal law enforcement and local police departments are not out to get us.

These conspiracy theories are dangerous and they should be put to rest.

I will vote for the ban because maintaining law and order is more important than satisfying conspiracy theorists who believe in black helicopters and false flags. And I will vote for the ban because saving the lives of young police officers and innocent civilians is more important than preventing imagined tyranny.
As Senator Manchin said, “I don’t know anybody who needs 30 rounds to go hunting.” So why shouldn’t we limit the number of bullets in a clip? Don’t people deserve at least as much protection as birds?
Look, as progressives, we constantly give Harry Reid hell when he's wrong, which is a lot of the time. So let's make damn sure we let him know when he's right. He's going to hear from a lot of very, very angry constituents over this, screaming at him and threatening him for doing the right thing. Let's make sure he hears from citizens and progressives too.

We won't say it often, so we should say it when it's deserved; Thanks Harry Reid.

Let him know you have his back at - and that goes double for Nevadans out there!

Full speech below the fold.

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Well, that's it then. The Senate has scheduled a vote for tomorrow on the gun safety legislation, beginning with the Manchin-Toomey Amendment, and it is being briefed that both sides expect it to fail. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who has been heroic throughout this process, has basically admitted as much, wondering publicly if he was naive to think that 90% of public opinion would be enough to move the GOP. That means that the last, best hope of getting any gun reform at all, however small, is now dead - for now.

First thing's first: Let's remember who to blame here. This isn't Harry Reid's fault; there is no Earthly way that the votes existed to eliminate the filibuster entirely, and that's what this would have needed.

This isn't the fault of Red State Dems - true, with the bill's impending failure, 4 or 5 of them will probably vote against it, but they probably would have supported it if there had been 60 votes for it. It's cowardly, yes, but it's not the reason why this bill is going to fail. And fair play to Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey - not something I say often - who tried their best to let something pass, especially hard for Manchin who was obviously genuinely moved by Newtown.

This is, plain and simple, the fault of the cowards in the GOP who could not bring themselves to support a measure with 90% public backing. It's particularly the fault of so-called moderate Senators like Dean Heller and Jeff Flake who could not manage to vote for something co-written by a Tea Partier - and for the contemptuous lies which featured in their excuses, such as Heller's 'fears' of a 'gun registry' resulting from a bill which explicitly bans the creation of one.

They met the families of Newtown, they've seen the impact which this would have. Many of them have claimed to support expanded background checks in the past. And all of them have made the cheap, pathetic, political calculation that the lobby for gun makers has more impact than the people, that public opinion doesn't matter and people's lives don't matter; what matters is getting that precious "A" ranking. They think that the NRA can hurt them far more than the passive majority.

So it's up to progressives to prove them wrong. It's up to progressives across the nation to ensure that this issue doesn't die; that liberals pick Democratic candidates who can win and who support curbing America's epidemic of gun violence. And then that they get those candidates elected - and they beat the crap out of people like Dean Heller of Nevada and Jeff Flake of Arizona who think that they can ignore the will of the people whenever they want.

Look, I don't currently live in the USA, though I hope that's about to change soon and a lot of my family do. I live in Northern Ireland - a place where we know ourselves what these murder weapons can do. And my girlfriend comes from a place ten minutes away from Newtown, CT.  When the next Newtown comes along - and we pray it won't, but we know that it will - then progressives need to be ready. And they need to fight. And they need to make sure that next time isn't like this time.

The cowards lobby has won the battle. But by God they won't win the war.


Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:26 AM PST

Our Top Electoral Priority: Governors

by TheKF1

So a new Think Progress Analaysis shows just how bad inefficient distribution of votes plus gerrymandering is for us; Democrats would need to win the House vote by over 7% to win a majority assuming uniform swing. That's about what we won by in the 2006 landslide, just to get a bare majority. Suffice to say, that seems unlikely.

This has led a lot of progressives to say that we won't get back the House until 2022. I think this, if anything, risks being too optimistic. After all, in 2022 we will still be dealing with a House drawn by state legislatures who have themselves been entrenched by gerrymandering.

If there is no Democratic legislative landslide in the next ten years- and we live  in hope, of course - then even come 2022, a majority of states including key states like Ohio and Florida will still have their Congressional maps drawn by the gerrymandered and safe Republican legislatures put in place in 2010. The way to beat that is by winning the veto players who can't be gerrymandered: The governors.

This isn't to discount the importance of other election. We should fight for every single House seat we can. We should, of course, ensure we keep the Senate and the White House or else winning the House back becomes pointless. But to get the trifecta, it is essential that we get Democratic governors who can veto Republican state legislatures and their gerrymandered, broken maps. We won't always win those fights, but we'll win some. We won't get Dem-friendly maps, but we can get less Dem UNFRIENDLY ones which put us in a much better position for next time.

Our top electoral priority needs to be winning back the governors' races in Ohio, in Florida, in Michigan, in Wisconsin. Not just to knock out bad governors, not just to stop extremist GOP state policies, not just to build up future bench strength, but because in the long run, winning back governors may be the only way we can win back the state legislatures, and the only way we can even the field when it comes to the House.

Luckily, we have our first shot at that this year - which is why we should do everything in our power to help Terry McAuliffe win the Virginia Governor's race. A lot of people don't like him, which I completely understand; he wouldn't be my first choice. But this is a fight we need to suit up for, along with New Jersey if Christie comes down to Earth and we get a good candidate in the field.

Pissed off over the Fiscal Cliff deal and the debt ceiling? Then get rid of the terrible, shoddy, do-nothing failure of a House of Representatives which is forcing these manufactured crises on a weak economy - and the first step to that, paradoxically, runs through the Statehouses.


Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 09:16 AM PST

We're going to win

by TheKF1

"President Obama is going to get tax rate increases. The president won." - Lindsay Graham, 12/30/12

Let's just take a moment to savour this; we're going to win on taxes.

No, we aren't going to win on everything. There's still the rest of the cliff to be avoided or solved, there's still the debt ceiling. There will be trade-offs we all despise. Lots of us will be even angrier at the President by the end. The threshold will probably be higher than we want, and lots of us don't want ANY of the tax rates to be extended. But all of us want the top rate to go up on at least the majority of the top 2% and we're going to win.

It's easy to minimise the significance of this, but it really is a HUGE landmark. We weren't able to do this when we controlled both chambers back in 2010. We haven't been able to raise revenues at all since 1994, and public services have suffered for it. This is the core, the heart of the modern GOP and we are driving a stake into it. This can unite almost everyone in the party; from centrists who want deficit reduction to progressives refusing to give up the struggle for fairness. It is a GOOD idea, a necessary idea, the Republicans have fought it with every single breath in their bodies and they've lost.

So let's not lose sight of our bigger objectives; let's not stop fighting for a better deal on everything else, and then on the debt ceiling and on immigration and guns and all our other important issues, often more important than this. But too often we don't see a win for what it is; so let's see this for it. Not a TOTAL win, not as big a win as we'd like, and not a complete win yet.  

But it's a big win nonetheless, and on an issue absolutely central to the modern sinkhole that calls itself the Republican Party. Well done everyone. Let's recognise that, celebrate it, then get back to the fight.


Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 02:00 PM PST

RCP's Last Throw Of The Dice

by TheKF1

It's been pretty commonly noted around here that RealClearPolitics has a certain... let's just say, an interesting slant in what polls it chooses to include and what polls it doesn't. (Read: All Republican schill pollsters count, only PPP counts from the Dem side and then only sometimes)

Today though, it's gotten particularly blatant in a desperate effort to shore things up for Romney.

After Ras this morning, RCP showed Obama at +0.4 nationally in their polling average which included every poll from Ras (11/2-11/4) way back to NPR (10/23 - 10/25) Many, included myself, were anticipating that this would increase once they had to update Gallup and replace the old (ending 10/28) Gallup poll showing Romney +5 with the new one showing Romney +1.

Except that they updated it, and it didn't change. Why? Because they arbitrarily decided that even though this morning they were including polls which finished on 10/25, now  - just, by shocking chance, as they had to stop using the Gallup outlier - they were going to cut things off at 11/1. Which, completely coincidentally, sliced out Obama's +5 result from the National Journal and brought his average back down to +0.4.

Not that we really needed any more examples of it, but if you did, there you go; RCP completely arbitrarily changed the cut-off date in their national average as soon as they couldn't use the old Gallup anymore so that they could cut out other pro-Obama results and continue to artificially try and hold down the President's average.

Hacks at the start, hacks at the end. Nice try, guys, but we'll see what happens tomorrow.


The Best Polling Aggregate is

1%3 votes
7%13 votes
7%13 votes
2%4 votes
65%110 votes
14%24 votes

| 167 votes | Vote | Results


Channelling their inner Blitzer, they tout their poll as a "toss-up" but it's pretty clear it falls right in line with all the other polling of Ohio, seeing it as a 2 point lead for Obama with, crucially, the President sitting at 50%.

The new WaPo/ABC Tracker also came out showing the President back to a tie among likely voters at 48-48, from a slim Romney lead yesterday. This makes it the fourth tracker to show a 1-point shift to Obama today after PPP, CVoter and Reuters/Ipsos. IBD and Gallup are both down, Ras didn't move and RAND has been shifting towards Romney.

We continue to have some momentum and the edge in Ohio with election day now officially the DAY AFTER TOMORROW.

So come on, you Yanks... GOTV!


EDIT 2: We now have the memo - you can view it at

Choice quotes: "Early and absentee voting is starting to look troubling"

"This is closer to (And worse than) 2008"

Conclusion: "The Democratic turnout machine in the county has been very effective and they are cleaning our clock"

Evan Axelbank, a journalist at WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida, has gotten his hands on a leaked internal GOP memo. Apparently it was deliberately leaked by a "worried GOPer" to motivate the GOP base by showing them that a loss was possible, but it still definitely suggests
concern- as does that motivation!

The memo cites a Democratic lead in early voting "60-22 in PBC, similar to 08. If you add returned Absentee ballots to EV by party, Dems like by 30k in PBC". It also describes the Democratic turnout machine as "cleaning our clock", and warns about the effect on down-ticket races.

I'll post the direct link to the memo as soon as it's up but until then, I wanted to get this up there since I didn't see anyone else discussing it.

A GREAT sign - and along with the last few days of polls, Cook earlier today and Romney's travel schedule tomorrow, shows that Florida is really very gettable for us... and if we win it, everything else is just for show.

EDIT: Just seen that C88 noticed this before I did over in the comments of the Polling Wrap - so hat tip to him!


Are we going to win Florida?

67%1706 votes
8%210 votes
23%597 votes

| 2514 votes | Vote | Results


Hey everyone. This is my first diary. I hadn't seen this posted anywhere, so here we go.

In his newest column, Charlie Cook - who, as everyone here knows, gets to see most of the private polls, is mostly just writing what we all know; that it's really really close both nationally and in the battlegrounds, mostly 2-3 points. But he does have two tidbits which are interesting, and both favour us

1) He describes both Wisconsin and Nevada as states which are 'in play' but in which 'Obama has a clear lead in credible private surveys from long-standing professional polling firms calling landlines and cellphones' and thus gives 253 electoral votes safe or leaning to Obama

2) He explicitly states that while Florida, North Carolina and Virginia looked like they were slipping to Romney, they are now  "essentially even money contests".

That means that Cook and the reputable polling has us safer in NV and WI than Romney is even in NC, and that we have a really, really good chance to put this thing away! We entered this fall with 9 battlegrounds and the only 2 that have been put away have both been by our side. That also means that by Cook's analysis, we only need Ohio to go over the top.

Now just to be clear, it's not all good news. He thinks Romney has a real chance to win the popular vote, and he makes it clear that it's 2-3 points in it in most of the swing states, 5 at the most - including Ohio.

Even so, I definitely know who I'd rather be one week out!

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