Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bottom Falling out for Democrats

Over the last few weeks, we've occassionally covered the increasing evidence that 2010 is looking a lot like 1994. We've talked about the strong possiblity of Republican gains in the Govenrorships and the House, but how the U.S. Senate is a much tougher task simply because of the small amount of Democratic seats up when compared to Republican ones, and where those seats actually are.

However, over the past couple of weeks, more poll numbers are coming out which show that 2010 is looking like a huge political tidal wave that could very well reverse the results of the last couple of elections and could very well put the Republicans back in charge of the House, the majority of the Governorships a nd within striking distance of the Senate, an amazing occurence given the Democrats were, until Ted Kennedy's death last night, 60 seats.

Let's start off with what we know, starting off with the Governorships.

Currently, the Democrats hold a modest 27-23 margin in the Governorships.

In 2009, two seats in current blue states, Virginia and New Jersey, are likely to flip to the Republican column, with Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie winning, respectively -- in the latter case, defeating an incumbent. That would make it 25-25, an even tie.

In 2010, the Governorship picture is very bad for Democrats. Let's start off with the most likely Republican pickups:

Kansas -- Sam Brownback
Oklahoma - Mary Fallin
Tennessee -- Zack Wamp

Those three pickups would bring the Republican number to 28. In addition, these Democratic-held seats are increasingly vulnerable:

Wisconsin -- polls indicate Scott Walker is at least even if not ahead of Democratic candidates.
Colorado -- polls indicate Scott McInnis is ahead of the current governor, Bill Ritter.
Massaschuetts -- this state has elected Republican governors in the past and polls indicate that could happen again, with Deval Patrick only in the 30's. An Independent victory is also possible here.
Michigan -- where polls show the Republicans could easily win with several high profile candidates.
New Mexico -- where Republicans are within striking distance.
Ohio -- polls show John Kasich closing in fast on Governor Ted Strickland
New York -- polls show Rudy Guiliani would clobber David Patterson and would be quite competitive with Andrew Cuomo.
Iowa -- polls show former Governor Terry Branstad could defeat current Governor Terry Branstad

Other polls show that Illinois, Arkansas, and Maryland are also on the radar for Republicans if they find the right candidate.

Key for the Republicans is holding the fort in places like South Carolina, Rhode Island, and Hawaii.

However, even if they would lose in Hawaii and Rhode Island, there is a strong possiblity that a strong wave could carry the Republicans to around 30+ governors, a pick up of 7 and a dramatic increase in the ability to propose legislation. A major wave could get net them as many as 10 seats, if not more.

Next, let's take a look at the House. Recent articles by Charlie Cook show that even independent analysts say that the Republicans (who need to pick up 40 seats to get the House back) are likely to pick up at least 20, and republican leaders are making sounds that the House is within reach. The Republican recruitment efforts here are particularly strong. A good test will be if the 3rd District in Kansas gets on the radar...if it does, the Republicans will likely win Congress. If it's on the edge of the radar , it will be close. If it isn't, they will likely pick up 20-40 seats but not Congress.

The real news, however, lies in the U.S Senate races.

Here, the Republicans have no seats they are almost assuredly going to pick up, but there are several that are now on the radar as even to likely:

- Connecticut, where Chris Dodd is extremely unpopular and former Rep. Rob Simmons appears ready to win.
- Pennsylvania, where Arlen Specter is now trailing Pat Toomey.
- Illinois, where several Democratic candidates trail Mark Kirk.
- Nevada, where Harry Reid trails both Tarkanian and Sue Lowden.
- Colorado, where Michael Bennett is barely ahead or a little behind candidates who are not regarded as household names.
- Arkansas, where most experts previously considered safe, where new polls show Blanche Lincoln actually behind.
- Delaware, where Beau Biden is notdoing well in polls. The key here is finding a solid opponent.
- California, where polls show Boxer is hovering at 50% or below.
- New York, where polls show Pataki would beat Gilliland
- North Dakota, where polls show Gov Hoeven could win.

Now, folks, that's almost ALL the Democratic seats up -- that shows how difficult this is for the Republicans, yet they are almost ALL competitive. The only Republican seats under threat are in Missouri, Ohio, and New Hampshire where polls all show the Republican at least tied and any wave towards the GOP would probably save all three.

So, let's say the Republicans pick up NV, CT, PA, IL, CO, and AR. that alone would take the number of Democrats all the down to 54, and that's assuming they hold onto Massachsetts and the other states that are vulnerable.

Then in 2012, the Democrats have a ton of seats up and if Obama's numbers continue to sink, the Democrats could end up losing the Senate.

Moral of this story? The Republicans could easily see a wave like 1994, will easily capture the nation's governorships, could very well win the House, and the only thing preventing them from evening upt he Senate (even down 10 seats right now) is the fact there are only 10 seats available!

How quickly politics can change.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Steve Rose lets voters know who he's afraid of in the 3rd District

Well, our old buddy Steve Rose is at it again. Johnson County's self-appointed king of high-minded moderates has let his dwindling collection of readers know his initial thoughts on the 3rd District Congressional race. Just today, mailboxes across the county were filled with his weekly "Memo" entitled "It's Too Early to Write This".

As we have discussed in the past, this "Memo" is right out of the Steve Rose Column Playbook. Basically, it's the same column he keeps in a template on his computer and always writes when he pontificates about politics:

The "memos" are always based on one solid underlining point -- in this case, as Rose puts it, "Dennis Moore may be vulnerable, perhaps like he has not been in many years. Twice before, Moore won by only about a percent." Rose goes on to point out the fact Moore's record is full of liberalism -- voting for Cap and Trade, voting for Card Check, and plans to vote for the health care bill.

From there, like usual, Rose turns into a blowhard. He never seems to be able to resist diving into a mess of empty analysis that is often devoid of facts and contradictory to other points he makes in his own column. He also, without fail, always takes a shot at a conservative -- in this case, former State Representative Patricia Lightner. By the end, it's clear that either Rose is either playing dumb and putting out a silly, useless, and false information on purpose -- or he's in serious need of a political science class. Sometimes, however, he through his "protesting too much", reveals a window into his real thinking.

In this particular Memo, Rose's facts are so far off that he's actually spreading falsehoods within other falsehoods, which makes it particularly difficult to dissect, but we'll do our best.

Let's start with the fact-deficient empty analysis. In blasting Patricia Lightner as a "hard right conservative" (which we'll get to in a moment), he says that she "would be another cakewalk for Moore. He would be thrilled if she got the Republican nomination, given his record of trouncing right-wing candidates."

Hey, Steve, do you even read the column you are writing? Just a few sentences later into the same editorial, you make the point that Moore has won by 1% twice. Did you forget that one of those narrow victories was against Phill Kline, who is probably the most "far right" candidate we've ever run for Congress, whom you have spent quite a bit of ink blasting over the past two decades? The only "far right" (using Steve's words) candidate was Kris Kobach, who got 44% and nearly won Johnson County!

Then later in the same piece, he praises both Kevin Yoder and Steve Reintjes, inferring both would are affable, respected, and as Rose puts it, would "straddle the lines between moderates and conservatives". While both are good men, what Rose is inferring here is both are essentially similar candidates in philosophical profile and approach to Nick Jordan -- who was largely regarded by experts such as Mr. Rose and others in the establishment as the best candidate the Republicans had ever fielded, so much that he avoided a primary.

Problem is, unlike the far right Phill Kline, who barely lost to Moore district-wide and won Johnson County, Nick Jordan didn't get close. Unlike the so-called "far right" Kris Kobach, who got 43% and almost won Johnson County (losing by 6,000 votes, 50-48%), Nick Jordan didn't even get in the ballpark. To use Steve Rose's own words, the affable, likeable, line-straddling, pro-life yet not-far right Nick "trounced", not even cracking 40% of the vote District wide, and only earning 44% in Johnson County.

So much for that analysis.

What's funny in this is that in his description of both Patricia and the other two potential candidates he mentions -- Yoder and Reintjes -- he again misses the facts.

First of all, though indeed a strong conservative, one would be hard to find a person outside of the most liberal who would describe Patricia Lightner as "hard right". If anything, she has a record and reputation of yes, a conservative voting record, but one of independence as well. One need go no further back than 2004, when she ran in the Congressional primary against the "far right" Kobach. One need only take Politics 101 to realize that didn't exactly make most conservatives happy at the time. While her views are indeed socially and fiscally conservative, Rose has nothing really to base his "far right" tag other than the fact she's not part of his establishment-clan and that represents a threat to Rose and his country club ilk.

Second of all, what's also funny is his description of Yoder as somehow well to the left of Lightner. This might have been true 7 years ago. But, in the last couple of sessions, Yoder has consistently voted with House conservatives on both fiscal and social issues. While he's not with them on everything, the fact is his record is not all that different from Lightner's when she was in the House,. So, while his analysis that Yoder is respected by both moderates and conservatives is true, his record is pretty conservative, particularly lately.

Finally, in describing Steve Reintjes,he praises him as being Catholic, failing to mention that Lightner is also Catholic. Whoops, someone might want to call the Publisher to correct this oversight. Oh wait, Steve Rose IS the Publisher. Rose also refers to Reintjes as being "extremely affable". What the heck does this mean? Was Nick Jordan just affable and now Reintjes is "extremely affable"?

Of course, despite this odd, fact-lacking, empty analysis, Steve Rose's central point is this -- he claims Moore would "trounce" the "far right" Patricia Lightner because Moore has a history of trouncing right-wing candidates, despite the fact Kline got the closest to beating Moore and Kobach almost won Johnson County -- and then he goes on to promote two candidates who he believes would be a serious threat to Moore because they are, in his opinion via his description, are in the mold of Nick Jordan, despite the fact he wasn't even close to the numbers Kline and even Kobach got.

Steve Rose is one of the three:

- Politically clueless and bad at math.
- Seriously must believe that his readers are so loyal that they won't check the facts.
- Has an ulterior motive.


- All of the Above.

We're opting for Option 4 -- he doesn't understand politics nor political history, but also has an ulterior motive he knows most of his readers won't realize.

So what is that ulterior motive?

In our opinion, Steve Rose has done his classic "protesting too much" as he often does. By labeling Patricia Lightner, a candidate who has been out for about two weeks, a candidate who "can't win" because she's "far right", Rose has clearly let us know who he, a liberal, is most afraid of politically -- who he knows represents the biggest threat, so he is trying to undermine and destroy her before she gets out of the gate. And that person is Patricia Lightner.

In short, Steve Rose is saying this:

"Patricia Lightner is an attractive, aggressive, experienced, pro-life, economically conservative candidate who is already out campaigning everywhere, has a compelling web video, and has a real shot of tapping into the grassroots tea party and town hall movement that is captivating the nation and is the reason why Moore may be vulnerable in the first place -- but because she's not part of my little club, isn't in someone's back pocket, and isn't in politics just to get along -- she's a threat to my power base and therefore, I'm going to call her "far right" to scare away voters who might find her message, background, and personality appealing in these times."

In short, Steve Rose is afraid of aggressive candidates who promote economic and social conservatism.

In short, Steve Rose is afraid of anyone who doesn't go to the same parties he goes to.

In short, Steve Rose knows she can win.

In short, Steve Rose is afraid of Patricia Lightner.

And in our view, that's a huge reason to SUPPORT Patricia Lightner.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Real Jim Barnett Steps Forward

In past posts, we at Kaw & Border have discussed various aspects of the Kansas Senate and how the makeup of the current body defies any notion that the legislature is a conservative one For years, the Kansas Senate has been an immense source of frustration for conservatives for the simple fact it's hard to get any good legislation out of there without some parliamentary maneuver or heavy political pressure on a particular issue.

We've also discussed past and current political races, including the one currently being held in the First Congressional District, currently held by Jerry Moran, who is running for the U.S. Senate. Due to the heavy Republican nature of this district, six candidates are in the race, and the one we at Kaw & Border favor is the only true, proven conservative -- Tim Huelskamp.

However, our focus today will be once again on Jim Barnett, who has proven himself to be nothing more than a political animal, willing to change shades depending on the election cycle and the path needed to victory. We've explained how in 2006, Barnett all of a sudden became a conservative to run for Governor, despite liberal leanings in the past. Then, in 2007 and most of 2008, he drifted back to the liberal side, once again voting for bloated budgets, big government, and rarely standing up against Senate leadership. In fact, along with Julia Lynn, it was his vote that prevented conservatives from taking back control of the Senate in the leadership elections leading up to the 2009 session. Towards the end of the session, his votes tended to be more conservative again, because now he's decided to run for Congress.

But, in the past few weeks, more revolations have come to light that clearly identify Jim Barnett as the liberal Republican, big government-embracing, nanny state, vote-trader he is. First of all, a simple search on YouTube will find a video that dissects Barnett's liberal past and his ties to Sebelius on the issue of health care.

Now, he's recently had a fundraiser in which the returned favor for his vote for leadership came to light...they are backing him for Congress. Check out the names on the invite:

Steve Morris. Derek Schmidt. John Vratil. The three-headed monster of Republican RINO's in the Kansas Senate -- and they are collectively throwing their support behind Jim Barnett in his effort to make the 1st District represented by a big government Republican.

Yeah, that's just what our country needs right now from one of the safest Republican seats in the country! Rather than elect an authentic conservative like Tim Huelskamp, let's send up a failed former candidate for Governor, who was embarassed by Sebelius, to go up to Washington to now work with Sebelius and vote like her on health care! GREAT IDEA!
Aren't you glad we have such real principled Republican leadership in the State Senate?

If you're a reader of this blog and you actually want a real conservative representing The Big First, who as we posted in the past, will actually bring a big bat to Washington and promote convervatism...then you need to do everything you can to help out Tim Huelskamp and do everything you can to stop Jim Barnett.

Let's send Tim Huelskamp to Congress, and let's keep Jim Barnett in the State Senate, where he can be relegated to proposing his infamous nanny state bills on everything from seat belts to smoking bans.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Jersey, Virginia Going GOP in 2009

First of all, we wanted to mention that Kaw & Border will continue to focus on local politics but also start to provide information about races in other parts of the country, particularly as they relate to a Republican/conservative surge.

As part of that, here are two polls that highlight just how strong the Republican momentum is and how unhappy people are with the current Democratic trend. In both New Jersey and Virginia, both of which voted for Obama, Republicans are virtually assured of winning the Governorships:

New Jersey (Monmouth Poll)
Chris Christie (R) -- 50%
Jon Corzine (D) -- 36%

Virginia (PPP)
Bob McDonnell (R) -- 51%
Creigh Deeds (D) -- 37%

These are huge margins and they're going the wrong direction for the Democrats. With only 3 months until elections, barring some major change, these two Governorships are "signed, sealed, and delivered."

In short: R+2

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Win in 2010: Standing up on Principle

Anyone following national news lately has noticed that Barack Obama is becoming more and more unpopular. For well over a week, Obama's approval ratings had dropped signifcantly. In Rasmussen, not only was his "passion" rating (those strongly approving - those dissaproving) all the way down to -12, but his overall number had fallen below 50. Though over the weekend (likely due to the coverage of the "beer summit") that number reversed itself to 51-48, his numbers are still quite low given the media adoration of him, particularly at this early point in his presidency.

Not only that, Republicans continue to lead in generic Congressional balloting, usually by a margin of 43-39. Democratic Senators and Members of Congress are being met with boos and taunts and laughs. Plus, in individual races across the country, Republican candidates in specific races are faring quite well. In two huge races for governor in 2009, for example -- Virginia and New Jersey -- states that voted for Obama -- the Republican candidates are clearly headed for resounding victories in states that have often been strong indicators of the next year's election. Two examples of this were in 2005, when Democrats won in both states, forseeing a Democratic takeover in 2006, and in 1993, when Republicans won in both states, forseeing a Republican takeover in 1994.

So, the signs are there. Republicans are doing a good job in recruiting for the House. Republicans are likely to pick up several governorships, including here in Kansas. More and more Senate seats -- including in blue states like Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Illinois -- appear more and more primed for Republican takeovers. If Republicans can hold seats in Missouri and Ohio (increasingly likely based on recent poll numbers, and given that both states are relatively conservative) AND recruit candidates in Colorado, Delaware, and Nevada, Republicans could very well fight back to around 45 Senators for the last two years of Obama's term, which would be huge given the fact that 2012 brings a number of Democrats up for re-election. (One downside of going from 45 to 60 seats in two cycles is that more of your seats are up in four and six years!). In short, the political road map is there for Republicans to make gains.

However, there is some concern on the part of this blog that Republicans won't seize the moment. That they will be all too tempted to rely on Obama's sinking popularity and not rally around a positive conservative message built on sound conservative principles. There will also be a temptation to recruit candidates who will be seen as unifying and moderate who run media-driven consultant-ran campaigns, rather than insurgent grassroots campaign that builds upon the very potent combination of patriotism and anger that has driven so many people to participate in tea parties and town meetings.

If Republicans try to be "Obama lite" or "less liberal" or "moderate" or "unifying", they will only gain seats at the edges and will not actually pick up any REAL support, but rather their gains will be solely dependent on Obama's popularity, which could very well flip back as Obama gets on the campaign trail. Let's not forget 1994 when Clinton was extremely unpopular but two years later was re-elected in a landslide. Furthermore, Republican campaigns who fall for the trap of moderate and unifying won't bring in the activists that have been so active and eager to get involved, and thus will be failing at the opportunity to turn the next 2-4 years into a revolution rather than just another election cycle. Not to mention, any gains we do have will be meangingless, because many of those elected will not be real Republicans, but rather more people like Arlen Specter and Olympia Snowe.

Opportunity is the key word here too -- not just for poltiical gains, but for educating open-minded Americans on the wisdom of conservatie policies. As Obama's hard-left policies continue to fail miserably, Americans will still be looking for effective solutions to the very real problems in various areas of concern.

- Rather than looking to the government to improve health care, they will be more open to hearing about reform that emphasizes the individual and competition.

- Rather than belieiving that the government spending trillions of dollars is the way to prosperity, they will be open to policies that reduce the tax burden on businesses and individuals.

- Realizing that a big government only creates more problems, Americans will be more open to policies which reduce the size of government and also prevent future growth.

- Realizing that liberals desire a state that promotes a culture of death at both the beginning and end of life, Americans will have renewed interest in policies that promote a culture of life.

- Understanding that coddling dictators doesn't work, Americans will look for a President who actually fights the war on terror, promotes freedom, and treats terrorists like terrorists, evil regimes like evil regimes, and believes that the defense department is the one part of goverment we actually want to be big.

The list goes on and on. The question is whether the Republican party will have the courage to stand up on conservative principles that have not only led to successful policies, but success at the ballot box as well.

Our concern is while individual candidates in specific districts may promote conservative ideals, that too often in too many districts national Republican leaders, consultants, and media experts will advise candidates to "campaign to their districts or states" and avoid a conservative theme. They will look to latch on to some magical issue in a particular district to carry them to victory, rather than a set of conservative principles from which specific positions on issues derive from.

The fact is, though yes, in a sense, all politics is local, even off-year elections are national as well. It is national trends and national themes which swing large numbers of House or Senate seats from "not competitive" to "competitive". It is up to national leaders, then, to convey such themes when both recruiting and advising candidates, to switch those seats from merely competitive to actual victories.

Here in Kansas, the 3rd District is a perfect example of such a seat. Dominated by Republican voters, the 3rd District has been held by Dennis Moore for 12 years, and has been regarded as safe as any Democratic seat in the nation since 2004. While many still consider Moore safe, his votes and stances on everything from card check to cap and tax to health care to Gitmo prisoners is starting to give many people the idea that perhaps there is an opening in 2010 for the right candidate.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of the Republican split and the relative political diversity of the 3rd District (from the liberal Wyandotte to the conservative Olathe to the moderate NE/Central JoCo), many will advocate for a candidate who will be "unifying" and adopt for traditional campaign strategies. They will also be tempted to recruit a candidate who has money and who can hopefully buy the race. That, much like it didn't work in 2008 with Nick Jordan, who was liked by both conservative and moderate insiders and had over 1 millioin dollars, won't work again in 2010.

Winning will require four things:

1. Yes, a little money -- as any race requires that.
2. A new, fresh candidate -- preferably a pro-life woman.
3. A strong, conservative, unapologetic message.
4. A grassroots style campaign that involves hitting every possible door in the 3rd district at least once with the candidate or a supporter of that candidate.

It will not be won through glossy mailers which are thrown away, TV ads that are never seen due to DVR's, trying to appeal to every possible viewpoint, or via high priced consultants that offer bad advice.

It will be won through talking to each voter on each doorstep with real ideas and real principles and real facts and a real candidate who brings a new voice to the race. That is the only way you can defeat a 6 term incumbent Congressman.

Simply put, whether it is in our back yard here in Johnson County or in any other district in the country, the only way to true victory -- and to a true movement or revolution that can alter the political and ideological landscape of the country -- is to campaign on conservative principles and to do so through grassroots style campaigns that touch voters on their doorsteps so people have a connection not only with the candidate but with their ideas and values.

Here is hoping that in the next several months, Republicans both in the 3rd District and nationally realize that message and manpower can beat money and mush.