Archive for the ‘Nevada Senate’ Category

Latino Voters Key Part of Western Democratic Firewall

Monday, November 8th, 2010

On election night last week, NBC’s Brian Williams interviewed Jose Diaz Ballart, the Telemundo anchor, who said that if Harry Reid was elected, he better learn to say “muchas gracias,” because Latino’s turned out to vote for him at levels that matched or exceeded those of the 2008 presidential election.

This pattern was repeated in a number of other high profile races in the West. While the dynamics in each case vary, Latino’s played key roles in Democratic victories in Colorado, Nevada and California, and in the process highlighted what should be a concerning trend for Republicans.

In Nevada, Sharron Angle went out of her way to make not so subtle racial appeals in her closing arguments. This, combined with a strong get out the vote effort by Harry Reid’s campaign helped propel Reid to an upset. In Colorado, Latinos combined with women to help Michael Bennet buck the trend and win a close race against Tea Party candidate Ken Buck. Meanwhile in California,  the allegations made by Meg Whitman’s maid and the way in which she handled them combined with another strong get out the vote effort focusing on Latinos helped not only Jerry Brown, but also Barbara Boxer. Over 1 in 5 voters in California were Latino in this election cycle and they broke overwhelmingly for Democrats.

Gil Cedillo points out that George Bush and Karl Rove saw the importance of Latino voters in building a successful Republican party in the long term, but that many Republican politicians have been focused on short-term political gain that can come from scapegoating Latinos, especially in the Republican primaries. While this may be a successful strategy in some parts of the country, it will become less and less so as time goes on.

Republicans may want to consider the fate of the Republican party in California, who never recovered from Pete Wilson’s attempt to deny illegal immigrant children access to school in 1994. Pete Wilson won that election, but he was the last non-action hero Republican to win a major statewide office in the state.

We can only hope that the Republicans are dumb enough to follow his lead nationwide.

Overt Racial Appeals at Close of Nevada Senate Race

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

The ugliest Senate Race is ending on an overtly racial note.

Sharron Angle’s final barrage of ads feature not so subtle images of Latinos crossing the border to invade America and wearing gang colors contrasted with clean white people who are suffering for lack of services and cowering in fear from the violence perpetrated by these immigrants. The message is clear: Harry Reid’s is with the brown people. I’m with the white people.

This comes on the heels of another ad from the Southwest (that has since been pulled) which encouraged Latinos not to vote because the Democrats didn’t deliver on immigration reform.

Besides being cynical and awful, it’s a questionable strategy, since the result may be that Latino’s turn out in even higher numbers to cast votes against Angle. Rachel Maddow was in Nevada last week and interviewed Harry Reid, who also stressed these issues, encouraging Latinos to turn out and vote against Angle.

Angle has been surging in recent weeks, but with such close margins, turnout will once again be key, and both sides seem to be playing to the base.

Harry Reid: Obama is Like the Chilean Miners

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

I know I’m only supposed to say good things about the guy I want to win, but this is too good to pass up.

Hell of a choice for those Nevadans.

More on Reid-Angle Debate

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Debate Analysis from Chris Matthews, Jon Ralston and Chuck Todd on Hardball.

Same opinion from both Todd and Ralston: not so much that Sharron Angle did a good job, just that Harry Reid was his usual boring self, refusing to defend himself aggressively or to make the (easy) case that Angle is way out of the mainstream.

Frustrating.

Least Charismatic Man in World vs. Crazy Cat Lady

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Only Harry Reid could be “on defense” in his only debate against the Craziest Tea Bagger of the Bunch.

Here’s Politico with Nevada debate coverage and Jon Ralston on how Sharron Angle managed to best Harry Reid last night.

Apparently Harry Reid’s debate performance was about as exciting as watching him in the Senate for the past two years has been.

Nevada Senate Race Heats Up

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Here’s Jon Ralston, Nevada’s best political reporter, on the latest developments in the hotly contested race between Reid and Angle.

Hard to believe that Sharron Angle may be the new Senator from the Silver State.

Reid Takes A Lead

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

A pair of polls now has Harry Reid leading in his matchup against Sharron Angle.

Last week Harry Reid jumped out to a lead against Sharron Angle in the Las Vegas Review Journal poll and yesterday’s Public Policy Polling survey (a well respected–but Democratic party affiliated–polling group) confirmed that lead.

I have been watching this race like a slow motion train wreck. I want to look away, but I just can’t.

Harry Reid’s numbers seem to pretty static and (with the exception of the PPP poll) he hasn’t been able to cross the 44% threshold, but many pundits have said that that he doesn’t necessarily need to since there are a number of third party candidates, one Tea Party of Nevada candidate and an option to vote “none of the above” in Nevada.

There are many indications that this is exactly what many Nevadans would like to do this election, with Harry Reid’s numbers in the toilet for more than a year and Sharrron Angle’s support cratering in the weeks since she has won the campaign and Nevadans have increasingly found out just how out of the mainstream her positions are.

There are so many interesting dynamics at play here. Reid was doing so badly that the Tea Party activists thought this would be a place to make a stand, dumping money into the race and boosting Angle’s candidacy in the hope that Nevadan’s were so sick of Harry Reid that they would be able to overlook Sharron Angle’s wacky past.

It’s a tactic that reminds me of the 2008 election when I was initially more than a little skittish about nominating a black man with the middle name of Hussein as the nominee, even though many believed that winning the Democratic nomination was tantamount to winning the presidency. Eventually Obama proved himself through the primaries, we all started to believe he could pull it off and the rest is history.

But Sharron Angle is no Barack Obama.

It’s not just the fringe libertarian views, but the fact that she doesn’t seem confident in espousing them to people who aren’t Harley riding Tea Party activists.

This one should be the most entertaining of the bunch this year.

Sharron Angle: Meet the (Local) Press

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

After a week of travel to the East Coast to raise money and meet with Republican Party leaders who must have advised her to move as far away from her own record as possible, Sharron Angle Returned home to Nevada and was confronted by a reporter who pressed her on her previous positions.

I think she found that walking away from her previously stated positions is going to be a lot more difficult than she thought.

Still, Stu Rothenberg points out that Harry Reid has been consistently polling between 38-43% of the vote against all challengers and he still thinks that Reid probably loses this one. We all know that Harry Reid has the charisma of a white sheet of paper, but if he can’t beat a candidate like Sharron Angle, it’s gonna be a tough year for the Dems.

We’re Sorry BP

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

A running theme of my writing for the past month or so had been what I call the obvious Democratic strategy of drawing distinctions between themselves and Republicans. To that end, Congressman Joe Barton’s statement last week played right into their hands. 

Thanks to the deal President Obama inked with BP last week, the victims of the BP oil spill won’t have to go through what people whose businesses were ruined by the Exxon Valdez spill did: 20 years of litigation that ended with the Republican Supreme Court slashing the amount of compensation paid to them.

To most people, this would seem to be an unalloyed positive development. But not to many Republicans.

At a hearing that was meant to grill BP’s CEO Tony Hayward on the causes and remedies for the oil spill, Congressman Joe Barton spoke of  a “tragedy of the first proportion.”

Okay, so far so good. Anyone looking at the oil washing up on Gulf Coast shores could agree with that.

Except that Barton wasn’t referring to the spill itself, but rather to the settlement that BP had agreed to under pressure from the White House. He wrapped up his remarks by saying to BP’s CEO:

“I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, is subject to some sort of political pressure that is, again, in my words — amounts to a shakedown, so I apologize.”

Well who cares what some Oil Patch Republican who is the largest recipient of oil money in the Congress says? Why is it relevant? Well, it’s relevant because this douchebag is the Ranking Republican on the Energy Committee. If the Republicans succeed in kicking out Nancy Pelosi, this guy will be the head of the committee that any legislation that involves energy needs to come out of.

In case anyone thought that he was an outlier, the “Republican Study Committee,” an organization whose membership includes 2/3 of the Republicans in the House, released a statement earlier in the day that called the pressure put on BP to create this fund “Chicago-style shakedown politics.”

Surprise! Rush Limbaugh was reading from the same playbook. He called the escrow account a “slush fund” and said that the money would probably be given to “ACORN type people or union activists.”

Michele Bachman (in the running for Dumbest member of Congress) called the fund to pay victims a “redistribution-of-wealth fund” and said:

“If I was the head of BP, I would let the signal get out there — ‘We’re not going to be chumps, and we’re not going to be fleeced.’ And they shouldn’t be. They shouldn’t have to be fleeced and make chumps to have to pay for perpetual unemployment and all the rest — they’ve got to be legitimate claims.”

Well fair enough, BP shouldn’t have to pay for illegitimate claims, but it makes you wonder about these people’s mindsets when they’re more worried about illegitimate claims than about the destruction of the ecosystem and the economy of the entire Gulf Coast for a period of years

But it’s all par for the course for Republicans. These people look at birds drowning in oil on our shores and shrug their shoulders, then they watch President Obama convince BP to voluntarily give up $5 billion a year for 4 years to compensate victims and call it “a tragedy of the first proportion.”

Like Tea Party Darling Rand Paul said (in an echo of Donald Rumsfeld), “accidents happen.”

Yeah, accidents happen when you work in an industry that has lax regulations and even more lax enforcement; accidents happen when you lead your competitors by a margin of 760 to 8, 2 or 1 on “egregious, willful” safety violations; and accidents happen when you’re behind on drilling a well and you encourage your employees to take shortcuts to save the company money.

Not to be outdone by Ron Paul in his defense of allowing corporations to abuse their power without the check of government, Sharron Angle, the Senate candidate in Nevada not only favors making Nevada the sole repository of nuclear waste in the country, but wants to abolish the Department of Energy, which regulates the storage of nuclear waste.

What could possibly go wrong?

If these guys have their way, the coastal waters of America would look like the coast of Nigeria, where some have estimated that they have endured the equivalant of the Exxon Valdeez oil spill every year for 50 years.

Like I said, there’s something to be said for drawing distinctions and the Republicans did a pretty good job at that this week. Americans would do well to think about this when they go to the ballot box this November. They might not like Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid, but would they rather have a guy who thinks we all owe BP an apology running the committee that sets the regulations for them? Would they rather have a guy who says that it’s un-American to hold BP accountable for their toxic oil spill? Would they rather replace Harry Reid with a woman who thinks, in the wake of the largest environmental history, that the EPA is unconstitutional?

The distinctions are out there. They’re just waiting for someone to make them. As Frank Rich wrote in this weeks NY Times:

While the greatest environmental disaster in our history is a trying juncture for Obama, it also provides him with a nearly unparalleled opening to make his and government’s case. The spill’s sole positive benefit has been to unambiguously expose the hard right, for all its populist pandering to the Tea Partiers, as a stalking horse for its most rapacious corporate patrons. If this president can speak lucidly of race to America, he can certainly explain how the antigovernment crusaders are often the paid toadies of bad actors like BP. Such big corporations are only too glad to replace big government with governance of their own, by their own, and for their own profit — while the “small people” are left to eat cake at their tea parties.

Rahm Emmanuel has long been  pilloried by the Right for his statement that you should ”never let a crisis go to waste.” Well, this debate is long overdue. If the BP Oil Spill and the Casino-Capitalism-enabled Great Recession don’t provoke that debate, then the Democrats’ prospects for this years elections are even dimmer than originally expected. And we as a country will have succeeded in doing exactly that.

Bad News for Chuck Schumer

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

The chances that he is going to suceed Harry Reid as Majority Leader next year just went down dramatically.

…Unless Nevadan’s want to send a woman to the Senate who wants to abolish Social Security,  the Education Department, the Energy Department and the EPA, withdraw the US from the UN, and make Nevada the nuclear waste storage capital of the US, it looks like Harry Reid now has a much better chance to return as the Senior Senator from Nevada. 

I’m no big fan of Harry Reid, but I’d sure rather have him than this lady in the Senate and I’m pretty sure most Nevadans will agree with me.

The Tea Party really screwed the Republican’s pooch on this one.