Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Links (12/1/09)

FHQ hasn't done a "The Links" post in quite a while, but there are few interesting things floating around in my neck of the virtual woods that I thought I'd share with FHQ readers.

1. From Florida:
"Florida voters will likely have the opportunity to inject some competition back into legislative races next November. Fair Districts Florida, a nonpartisan issue committee, is sponsoring two ballot measures that will establish fair and impartial standards for redrawing state and congressional district boundaries every decade."
That's all well and good except...

2. From New Jersey:
There has been a bill introduced in the New Jersey Assembly to require the governor to fill US Senate vacancies in the state's delegation with someone of the vacating senator's party (Frank Lautenberg, New Jerseyans are looking in your direction. Alternate question: Are New Jersey Democrats a little antsy about what Governor-elect Christie would do if confronted with that situation?). This is akin to the process that unfolded in Wyoming in 2007 following Sen. Craig Thomas' (R) death. Democratic governor, Dave Freudenthal, was required to choose someone from among three selected options put forth by the Republican Party in the Equality state.

3. Finally, FHQ is always tickled pink at how campaigns respond to new media, both for the entertaining pitfalls and masterful successes. This CQ piece on political ads on Hulu is fascinating, particularly for a campaign's ability to target particular audiences. That evolution has been something to take in.

Recent Posts:
Washington Post Poll: 2012 GOP Primary Race

Rasmussen 2012 Trial Heats (Nov. '09): Another Tie for Romney Against Obama

Happy Thanksgiving from FHQ


Robert said...

Romney could dust off the Willie Horton ad substituting Maurice Clemmons for Willie and Governor Mike of Arkansas for Governor Michael of Massachusetts.

Josh Putnam said...

Possibly, but Dick Morris is of the opinion that RomneyCare will do in the former Massachusetts governor in the 2012 primaries.

And he's not high on Palin either.

One from a series of flawed candidates won't beat Obama. Look no further than 2004 for an example of that.

Robert said...

Well, if Romney, Palin and and Huckabee are damaged, then that opens it up for Newt or one of the unknowns. Unless the money-raisers get behind the "establishment" candidate, I don't see how they will be "united". It sounds like Dick Morris is no longer a Democrat.

Robert said...

I find the implications for 2012 of last night's Obama speech intriguing. With that speech he clearly has taken "ownership" of the Afghan War. It appears that the Democrats are positioning themselves as against the war and the Republicans as against the draw-down in July, 2011. The public seems to be split evenly over whether to support the request or send no more troops. Although the speech was rather apolitical, the date is very significant politically. It is about the last possible date he can start reducing the troop levels and prevent the development of an anti-war challenger such as Russ Feingold. It will be particularly intriguing to note the reactions of the speech by the 2012 candidates as this moment is probably as important as the Iraqi war vote in 2002. Nuanced statements now by 2012 candidates are not going to look good then.

Josh Putnam said...

There are just too many unknowns at this point to gauge anything about 2012 (as much as FHQ would like to). A silver bullet candidate may emerge for the GOP, but hasn't as of yet. And the top names thus far are flawed, plain and simple.

Ambition will decide this one. The likelihood of a darkhorse, silver bullet (not to mix metaphors) candidate emerging is completely dependent upon the question of 2012 vs. 2016.

"I can make a challenge to Obama in 2012, but would I be better served just waiting until 2016."

For Obama, he has to keep things at a certain level (approval-wise) long enough to ward off those challengers who may serve as the biggest threat. Someone, like say, John Thune. Thune will have a place in the Senate wrapped up next year through 2016. He can afford to wait to some extent.

The flip side of that is Obama could maintain a certain level, effectively postponing the decisions of those who could do well against him in a general election, but then find himself tanking during the very late stages of 2011 and into 2012. We'll call that the "anybody but Obama" scenario where any Republican who gains the nomination could win.

This would be an interesting sort of dynamic model to construct. Of course, what's missing is the internal thought processes of the actual and potential candidates (You could potentially use things like leadership PAC formation and fundraising for non-competitive reelection bids as proxies for that.).

And no, Dick Morris isn't a Democrat anymore. Maybe if Hillary Clinton was president, but not now.

Robert said...

Yes, there are many unknowns, but the economy and the Afghan War are the two biggies right now.

Josh Putnam said...

RE: Your Afghanistan comment, Rob:

This is a tough thing for Obama, I would imagine. There's always been that narrative out there that he only does things for political purposes. [Granted, that's the case for a great many politicians.] He's once again treading that line between pragmatic decision-making and playing Chicago-style political games.

The side the public ultimately ends up taking will largely depend on how this move in South Asia plays out.

I will say this: The president is definitely taking it from both sides on this one.

Josh Putnam said...

Is there anything else?

Oh yeah, health care.

Robert said...

As Ludlow Porch would say health care is "just a gnat bite." With a one = insignificant and a ten = overwhelming, health care is about a four, the economy an eight and the Afghan War a nine.

Josh Putnam said...

I agree, Rob. Health care isn't on the same level as the economy or Afghanistan, but it does have the potential to really hurt Democrats' chances next fall (by depressing turnout) if it doesn't pass.

Is that nine on Afghanistan now or its potential height in the future?

Robert said...

Between July 2011 and November 2012.

Josh Putnam said...


Health care will be a distant memory by then; pass or fail.