6.22.2005

Ron Gidwitz declares for governor's race

Title says it all. It's too bad I hadn't profiled him in the earlier post. Anyways, is the former president of a cosmetics company and recently served as chairman of the IL board of education. He made the announcement in Dixon to stir up some Reagan nostalgia. His primary poll numbers are, so far, horrible, and make no mistake, he will not be the Republican pick.

6.21.2005

Mixed news for Florida Republicans

Saw this poll on RCP and it alarmed me. Sen. Ben Nelson has long been considered a prime target for the GOP in 2006, as Florida seems to be trending Republican and a first class candidate in Katherine Harris is running against him. She was in charge of the 2000 recount, which made her a polarizing figure. She now serves in Congress, and has declared she will run against Nelson. Unfortunately a poll by Mason-Dixon has Nelson up 53% to Harris' 36%, with 11% undecided. Considering Nelson's considerably liberal stances and Harris' name recognition and strong standing in her district, these numbers are dissapointing. It seems the internals show the problems:
Harris' favorablity rating - 32% fav. 30% unfav.
Nelson favoribility rating - 44% fav. 10% unfav.
Republicans - Harris 64% Nelson 17%
Democrats - Harris 8% Nelson - 86%
Independents - Harris 27% Nelson 54%

I guess polarizing is an understatement when applied to Katherine Harris, but nevertheless these numbers need to turn around fast or the GOP will be righting off on if it's key '06 races.

And what will it take to do this? MONEY! I believe Harris will be able to fundraise very well, and most likely outspend Bill Nelson by a lot. Why can't Nelson fundraise? Partially because Howard Dean won't raise enough money to match the RNC's contributions to Harris, and also because the Florida Democratic Party, with Nelson the only statewide elected official, has almost no money.
I really thought this seat would be competietive, but a candidate coming in with only 65% of her party's vote doesn't look good. Expect Rove and Co. to do some early testing, and if necessary yank the funds from Florida to defend Rick Santorum or win Senate seats in Maryland, Washington, Michigan, or elsewhere.

EDIT: Looking at the previously mentioned SurveyUSA poll, Nelson polls a 47% appoval rating, with 29% disapproving. Those aren't terrible numbers for Harris to work with, but what is horrible is again the internals, showing more Democrats disapprove of Nelson then Republicans, and 49% approval by members of bith parties. Also, more who call themselves conservative approve of Nelson then those who consider themselves liberal.
An important discrepancy between the polls is that while Mason-Dixon gives Nelson over 80% of the black vote, his SurveyUSA approval is only 33% for vs. 44% against umong blacks. I think this is a demographic where Harris' polarity scares away voters not all to comfortable with Nelson.

Another aspect of Immigration debate

I discovered this interesting and inflammatory site from a link on Free Republic. It brings up a facet of the immigration debate I had not previously thought of.
If an an illegal commits crimes in the United States, there are fewer, if any, ways of tracking him or her and subsequently bringing them to justice. Specifically mentioned on this site is the situation with illegal sex offenders who aren't put on any of the lists or databases used to track citizen offenders. This is a deeply concerning development. The site also claims that an Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation rounded up over 4,000 illegal sexual predators, over 200 of them in IL.
I have found myself rationalizing both sides of the discussion involving President Bush's guest worker plan, but the more I here about the ugly side of illegals and their burden on American taxpayers, the more I am opposed to such legislation.

Thoughts on Vietnam

Today the prime minister of communist Vietnam visited the White House to sign an accord on religious freedom. This was the first time the leader of a Communist country has visited the White House. It is also noted in the article that some people protested outside against Vietnam's violations of human rights. That was an important note to me, because for some reason I couldn't help but think that those protesters were the same ones that protested to end the Vietnam War, a loss that has caused the violations they now object to.

6.20.2005

The Idiocy of Cloture Votes

As those familiar with the Senate may know, a cloture vote is to end debate on a certain topic. A cloture vote requires 60 votes to proceed to a floor vote. It is the mechanism used to filibuster. Lately, it seems the Democrats have been using it on everything they can. Judicial appointments aside, I believe the use of the filibuster on any nominee of any sort is unjustified. It's just wrong to oppose a nominee who would easily get the required floor votes to be appointed. It's a sick abuse of the rules to, more or less, impede anything the White House or Congressional Republicans try to do.
Before the first cloture vote on John Bolton, it never even occured to most Democrats to vote against it. But then some of the leaders got this wild and crazy idea that they could get any with it if they based their decision on the principle of congressional oversight (pertaining to classified documents they want the White House to release) rather than John Bolton the person. I have had my doubts about Mr. Bolton, but as long as a plurality of the Senate is willing to agree on his character, then I agree with them. I don't know if the average voter realizes this,but, via cloture votes and delaying tactics, the obstructionists in the Democratic party are slowly and methodically shutting down the government. And we know what happens when people do that, don't we Mr. Gingrich (mastermind of the Republican shut down that lost the GOP seats). However, the mainstream media will continue to approve of these actions, and no such fallback will occur.
All I have to say is thank God for recess appointments.

6.19.2005

Polling bodes well for state GOP

Found some interesting polling data today from the Glengariff Group via Capitol Fax. While doing a poll for a corporate client, the pollster threw in political questions just for kicks. He finds that umong Republicans, Judy Baar Topinka leads the race for governor, with Jim Oberweis just behind, and everyone else in single digits. However, 42% are still undecided.
The most interesting part shows Attorney General Lisa Madigan in a statistical dead heat with Blagojevich in the Democratic primary. But as of now, there are no signs she will run. I think it would be advantageous to Republicans to see a prominent Democrat give Blagojevich a tough primary where he has to spend a lot of money.
In a theoretical general election (with leaners), Topinka leads Blagojevich 39% to 36%, with 20% undecided.
This is probably good news, but I'm not sure whether Blago will become more or less poular in a general election. One would assume he would become less favored after stinging attacks sure to come, but then again, he will have at least 20 million dollars to spend defending himself. In any case, a couple of years ago I would have thought a Blagojevich defeat nearly impossible. Let us hope he shoots himself in the foot a few more times before the election cycle begins.