Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Takin' It To The Streets!!

Calling All Patriots!!

What? Tell Maria Cantwell and Joe Biden how you feel about... Iraq... Warrantless Wiretapping... Senator Feingold's Censure Motion

When? April 1st from 3:00 to 5:00

Where? Esther Short Park and the Vancouver Hilton Hotel in Vancouver, WA.

Who? You. Along with your good friends Democracy for Vancouver, Vancouver for Peace, and Code Pink Vancouver.

Why? Because you've had enough. You've had enough of President Bush and his disdain and disregard for the Constitution. You've had enough of go-along-to-get-along Democrats. YOU'RE MAD AS HELL AND YOU'RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!

So come exercise your rights while they last! Think of this as one of the last stops on the 1st Amendment Farewell Tour.

Personally, I'm not much of a demonstrator. The spirit has to really move me. It has in the past, and it will do so again this Saturday. I hope to see y'all there.

Si Se Puede!!!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

From Red to Blue

If your acid-tripping roommate won't shut up and leave you alone then have him or her check this out and just . . . chill . . .

It'll also work if you'd just like to fantasize about what the electoral map of a Feingold victory could look like on Election Night 2008.

via Delaware Dem at DKos.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Start the Drumbeat

I am home today recovering from a nasty bout of the stomach flu. But through my NyQuil induced haze I managed to send off the following to Senators Cantwell and Murray:
I am writing to urge you to support Senator Russ Feingold's resolution to censure President Bush over the president's illegal wiretapping program. The failure of the president to obtain warrants before engaging in domestic surveillance is deeply troubling. His justifications for this program are also troubling. The president insists that he has the inherent power to ignore what laws (FISA) and consitutional provisions (the 4th Amendment) he deems necessary to prosecute the war on terror. This is an unsettling view for any elected leader to take, and it is time that the Congress take its constitutional role seriously and put a stop to the president's abuse of power.

I urge you to stand with Senator Feingold, and demand accontability of our president.
It's not Shakespeare, but I hope all Washingtonians who pass this way will take time to drop a note themselves. For all you Oregonians, contact Senators Smith and Wyden.

Monday, March 13, 2006


Courageous: adj; Having or characterized by courage; valiant. See, Senator Russ Feingold.

'Nuff said.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


My buddy Max Sawicky over at MaxSpeak nails several of the differences between what he describes as "Clinton progressives" and "paleo-lefties."

Being an economist, he focuses on the differences in economic policy. I think it's one of the best descriptions of the divide on the Left that I have read. Max's illustration of the objections many of us on the Left had to the Clinton era (juxtaposing NAFTA and Clinton's Health Care Reform) is perfect. The bottom line, Clinton advocated for good and bad policies. Unfortunately, the negative impact of his bad policies (e.g. NAFTA) surpass by miles the positive impact of his good policies (e.g. raising the minimum wage).

As we head into the 2008 presidential season, these issues are going to lurk under the surface. It saddens me that they will never get the kind of treatment they deserve except by people like Max. But these differences are VERY real and VERY important.

This doesn't have much to do with Senator Feingold. I'm not 100% where he stands on all these issues. I'm also sure his candidacy will be besieged with coverage of his stand on the Patriot Act, the NSA wiretapping and withdrawing from Iraq. That's ok, 'cause he's good on all those issues. But I hope he will seek to reverse the trend President Clinton started, and Gore and Kerry followed, where Democrats propose the business-friendly stuff first, then later (like an afterthought) they propose the worker-friendly stuff.

To paraphrase Langston Hughes: Let Democrats Be Democrats Again!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Happy Birthday Senator!

March 2nd is Senator Russ Feingold's Birthday!

Let me just take time out from the hurly-burly of politics and wish him the best on this day. It's a difficult and frustrating time, but I hope the Senator can take a few moments out for himself.

I also hope he relishes the thought of spending his 2009 birthday in the Oval Office!!

Happy birthday, Senator.

Take a Number

Right, so that "analysis" I promised? Didn't come through. But let me explain: After I started looking at the Washington poll results, I started looking at other poll results. Before I knew it I was comparing the current result to the past Washington result, and then going back through all the other states and comparing their most recent poll to the one before. I was in danger of REALLY nerding out on this.

Anyway, let me get to at least some semblance of "analysis" here before the 2008 election comes around.

Let me begin with some disclaimers:

1. I am not a poll-obsessed person. I take polls with a LARGE grain of salt. They are fun, like looking over the box score of an all-star game. But they don't necessarily mean anything.

2. I am not a professional political analyst. Of course not, I've got a blog! Seriously, though. I don't do this for a living, so my thoughts and ideas are shaped solely by what I've seen and learned.

That said, let's talk NUMBERS!!!

I looked at the last 7 state polls (WA, NJ, MI, WI, PA, GA, NY) done be Strategic Vision (which I think is a Republican polling outfit), and then compared those results with the 7 previous polls for these states. The more recent set ranged from early December (NY) to mid-February (WA). The older set ranged from late October (NY) to late December (MI & WI). So here are my uninformed observations:

Here in the Evergreen state, Senator Feingold places 4th with 8%. That's a 4% improvement over his performance in the same poll in December 2005. I would have to attribute that increase to the growing attention the Senator has received (and continues to receive) over the Patriot Act (bad news coming) and the NSA wiretap scandal. Interestingly Al Gore saw a 4% boost in his numbers from December to February (14% to 18%). Senator Clinton still dominates the field, but dropped two points from 38% to 36%. Not to be too rose-colored glasses, but I think that Washington and Oregon are fertile ground for Senator Feingold. Obviously it will take work, but I think it will pay off here.

The other big news is that Georgia LOVES the Senator! In early December, Sen. Feingold was not even on the list of candidates. But in late January, the Senator debuts at #7 with 5%! Wow! In GEORGIA!!

What else did I learn? 6 of the comparisons showed the Senator increases his support from the older poll to the newer one. In 5 of those comparisons, his was the greatest (or tied for the greatest) increase. His increase was only outperformed in MI (+1% vs. +4% to Gore) and NY (0% vs. +3% to Clinton).

In an interesting comparison, the folks in Wisconsin are more supportive of the Senator running for president than the folks in Pennsylvania are for their favorite son, Governor Rendell. In Wisconsin, Senator Feingold placed 2nd with 23% (an 8% increase). In Pennsylvania, Gov. Rendell ties for 8th with only 2% (Feingold ties for 4th with John Kerry at 7%). Now, Gov. Rendell has been having a hard time in the Keystone State with his re-election bid, so this probably reflects that dissatisfaction. My impression of 2008 speculation is that Gov. Rendell has been discussed in more credible and serious tones than Sen. Feingold. If further, independent polling bears out these results, I hope that talk will fade.

But that brings us to yet another comparison: Sen. Feingold and Sen. Clinton. There's good and bad news. First the good: In WI, Feingold only trailed Clinton by 5% (28-23). Now that may not seem important, after all WI is Feingold's home state. But taking a look back at PA we can see the favorite son does not always fair so well. Also, ALL the polling shows that Sen. Clinton's campaign will be a juggernaut (she is #1 in all 14 polls, and 10% or more ahead of the #2 in all but 1 poll). Now, I'm not a political analyst, but I would wager that a pre-requisite to any serious campaign would be that the candidate in question would win their home state. Well, this doesn't have Sen. Feingold winning, but it has him within striking distance. And this is in the face of what I'm sure, even in WI, is a name-recognition advantage for Sen. Clinton

Ok, that was the good. Here's the bad: With the exception of the February WI poll, Sen. Clinton wins all the polls by significant margins. NY seems really excited about her running (giving her 43% in Dec, 40% in Oct). In all but 2 polls she gets over 30% (Feb WI & MI give her 28%). Of the 7 comparisons, though, she lost 2% in 4 states and 7% in 1 (MI) (PA & NY give her 2% and 3% increases respectively). So there is not, yet, a groundswell of dissatisfaction with her.

That's ok, this is early. There's still time for Sen. Feingold to make inroads, and the increasing concern over all the issues where he has staked a leading role (Patriot Act opposition, NSA wiretap, withdraw from Iraq) should lead to increased support for him. Couple that with Sen. Clinton's go-along-to-get-along attitude on these issues, and things could get interesting.

However, Sen. Feingold is not alone. Obscured by his remarkable improvement was the improvement of Al Gore. He has sole possession of #2 in all but 2 of these polls (WI Feb [#3] & Dec [tied with Feingold]). More importantly, he improved in all but 1 of the comparisons (NY had him steady at 12%).

So Feingold 2008 has its work cut out for it, but I think this shows the task is doable. After all there are 6 candidates who have already been involved in a presidential campaign (Kerry, Edwards, Clark, Gore, Clinton, Biden) and have maintained pretty high national profiles.