Why Bayh’s goodbye makes Pelosi cry

February 15, 2010

OK, quick recap for those who have been living under a rock (then how did you end up here?!?). Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) announced today that he would not seek reelection, basically because he’s sick of Congress (can’t argue with him there). He seemed likely to win reelection, although being a Dem in a red state this year the Reps had a decent shot at picking it up. With his exit, there’s a better road to hitting 50 seats for the Republican party, something that’s not going to make the Dems happy. Even weirder, the deadline for filing signatures to get on the primary ballot is tomorrow, and it appears likely that there will be no one on for the Dems*. Assuming that’s the case**, the Dems will hold a caucus to choose their candidate.

Now, let’s look at this from a Dem’s perspective. This isn’t necessarily a lost cause for them like, say, Arkansas or N Dakota is. After all, the Rep candidate is going to be either a has been (Coats), a guy who can’t campaign (Hostetler), or a nobody (Stutzman). Meanwhile, they’d get to hand pick their candidate. And while some on the Right are claiming that the caucus format would lead to a loony Lefty getting nominated, that’s not really the case. The people doing the nomination will be smart, politically active, motivated folks, and they’ll choose someone who’s at least viable. To the Dem perspective, this is still a winnable seat. And so they will choose a candidate who gives them a good chance to win.
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40 in 2010: WV-01

January 4, 2010

There’s a lot of talk about the realignment shift, wherein conservative southern Democrats turn Republican while liberal northeast Republicans turn Democrats. Well, the liberal northeast Republicans have turned, but the southern Democrats are still hesitating. So will Nancy Pelosi be the one to finally be the catalyst to get a southern revolution? Who knows. But sometimes you feel there’s a perfect storm brewing, and if it doesn’t happen now, it never will. That’s probably not the case for all districts, but it just might be the case in West Virginia.

West Virginia 01
Location: The northern third of the state. It doesn’t contain Charleston or any other large cities, but does include WV University. It’s fairly rural, a bit blue-collar-ish, almost purely white, and supposedly fairly conservative.
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40 in 2010: CO-07

December 21, 2009

(In order for the Republicans to take back the House in 2010, they need to net 41 seats. It’s a long shot, but it is possible. By my count, there are 92 Dem-held seats that the Republicans have at least an outside chance of winning. That number will change as we get closer to election time, of course. But for now, I’ll be highlighting some of these seats from time to time.)

One of the most important parts of getting a wave election is to attack as many places as possible. Make the other party defend more seats than they want to. Obviously, part of this is simply to spread out the other party’s resources, but on the flip side it spreads out your party too. Given the RNCC’s fundraising so far, that’s not necessarily a good thing. But the other reason to do this is that a long shot still has a chance of winning. With more challenges, you create more momentum. With more momentum, you have a chance to win. I doubt the RNCC is looking much at this seat; nobody seriously thinks they’ll win it. But they seem to have a strong candidate, so why not make the Democrats sweat a bit?

Colorado 07
Location: The suburbs of Denver. It basically surrounds Denver on three sides, and then a long rural section in the northeast. Mostly urban, and supposedly purple.
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Common sense says that Coburn was right to do this

December 16, 2009

The world, or at least the blogosphere, is abuzz today about Sen. Tom Coburn’s demand to have Sen. Sanders 760 page amendment read on the Senate floor. According to the normal rules, this should happen for all bills and amendments, but the requirement is routinely waived with unanimous consent. Needless to say, that means one ornery Senator (or two, as DeMint joined him) can force the read, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. This went on for a few hours before Sanders pulled his amendment (ranting the whole way). Here’s DeMint’s statement (H/T Hot Air)

“Democrats are playing a bait and switch trick — wasting our time debating a bill they’ve rejected while writing a new one in secret. Right now, behind closed doors, Democrats are writing a brand new bill, thousands of pages long, and want to rush it through before Christmas.”

“Americans are tired of watching their leaders in Washington pass bills they haven’t even bothered to read,” said Senator DeMint. “If Senator Reid won’t slow down this debate, we will do it for him. This bill allows the federal government to take over our health care system, and it must be stopped. We will use whatever procedural tools are necessary to defeat this bill.”

Now, despite the fact that this is being referred to as a stalling tactic by just about everyone (and, well, it is), in truth this is simply common sense to us, the measly little common people. So however much that certain Leftists rant and rave about how nutty this move is or how partisan it is or how improper this move is, that’s not going to resonate. If I’m going to vote for something, I want to know what I’m voting on. And if someone just comes up with a 700 page amendment out of the blue, I want to know what’s in it. Now, I’m not going to be naive; we know all 40 Republicans would vote against this no matter what (as would many Democrats). But the way Congress should work is that they would vote based on what’s in the bill. And yes, we know from the gist of it that the Reps would not vote for it based on the bill, but in theory one could try to improve the amendment. But again, that requires actually knowing what’s in it. And if you don’t have time to read it beforehand, then by all means, demand it be read on the floor.
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40 in 2010: IL-14

November 18, 2009

(In order for the Republicans to take back the House in 2010, they need to net 41 seats. It’s a long shot, but it is possible. By my count, there are 89 Dem-held seats that the Republicans have at least an outside chance of winning. That number will change as we get closer to election time, of course. But for now, I’ll be highlighting some of these seats from time to time.)

Illinois is fairly unique in that their filing deadline is very early, being one year before the actual election. In other words, the deadline is passed, and we know exactly who’s going to be available in the primaries for all races. Because of that, there’s a lot less uncertainty for IL races compared to the rest of the nation right now. There’s a few interesting House races, but only one good solid chance of a pickup. Read the rest of this entry »


40 in 2010: FL-22

October 4, 2009

(In order for the Republicans to take back the House in 2010, they need to net 40 seats. It’s a long shot, but it is possible. By my count, there are 85 Dem-held seats that the Republicans have at least an outside chance of winning. That number will change as we get closer to election time, of course. But for now, I’ll be highlighting some of these seats from time to time.)

I’ve got a list of 85 seats I’m looking at. Some are easily obtainable, like ID-3. Some require a decent candidate and a little luck. Some just need a good campaign to reignite the base. And others are long shots. Florida’s 22nd district is one of these long shots. It’s on the blue-ish side of purple, it’s against an incumbent, and the trending demographics are not exactly in the right direction. Read the rest of this entry »


Another dark side of Cash 4 Clunkers

August 21, 2009

So, Cash for Clunkers was made to stimulate the economy.  We’ve heard an awful lot about the problems it has had so far.  In brief:

– It’s undoubtedly hurting charities.
– It’s well behind schedule in payments.
– It’s part of the “broken window” fallacy. Basically, it assumes you can create wealth by destroying wealth.
– It’s highly likely it will drive up the prices of both used cars and used car parts, thereby hurting the lower and lower-middle classes.
Etc., etc.

I’d like to mention something most don’t. Basically, one of the big problems with the “broken windows” fallacy is that it ignores opportunity costs. Fortunately, with C4C, we know exactly what that opportunity cost is. The extra $2 billion that was poured into the program came at the expense of loan guarantees for new energy projects. Think about that for a second. Think about what the opportunity cost was.

What does this mean? It means it’ll be harder for new alternate energy projects to be funded. These are the sort of projects that are the first ones cut during a credit crunch like this recession. After all, they’re unproven technology, and therefore high risk. Personally, I know over a dozen biofuel companies who have dramatically slowed down their commercialization plans after the big crunch last year. These people would love loan guarantees in order to star putting cement on the ground and get their projects running.

At worst, these loan guarantees would be no less stimulating than C4C, as any company that fails is no different than blowing up cars. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, its better, as every failed company tells everyone else what not to do, and thus increases the odds for everyone else.

At best, these loan guarantees would be a real stimulus, helping to form stable, long term companies that generate wealth and provide dozens of direct jobs without government funding. And would also reduce CO2 emissions if you’re into that sort of thing, possibly reduce energy imports, prove that such projects are possible and create a boom of new projects (thereby stimulating the economy even further), and so on.

Given the loss of 2 billion dollars of loan guarantees here, I think it’s safe to say that C4C has failed in stimulating the economy.