The Jaker

Mostly rational politics, with occasional rants about how a few crazy Republicans are ruining the country.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Some new Senate Polls
2 recent polls (CNN and WSJ) are showing Jim Webb leading George Allen in Virginia. That's the race that will make me most happy if it goes our way. I hope those polls prove correct next week.
posted by CB @ 10:26 AM   0 comments
Duncan Hunter for President?
Sorry I've been missing from the blog the last few days... very busy.

Here's something to chew on this morning. Republican Congressman from San Diego Duncan Hunter is planning to run for President.

Why the hell not? Howard Dean got close after coming from nowhere, and there hasn't been a Presidential race this wide open in decades. So I suppose we should dismiss it. I'll add him on the list at something like 30:1.
posted by CB @ 10:16 AM   1 comments
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
New Senate Polls
These are the three key races. They keep flipping back and forth:
  • In Virginia, Jim Webb (D) has pulled ahead of Sen. George Allen (R-VA), 47% to 44%
  • In Missouri, Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) leads challenger Claire McCaskill (D) by three points, 48% to 45%
  • In Tennessee, Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. (D-TN) trails Bob Corker (R) 49% to 44%

As you can see below, I'm currently predicting we get 1 out of 3, for a split Senate. Let's hope it's really 2 out of 3.
posted by CB @ 12:42 PM   0 comments
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
I'll take Olberman over O'Reilly anyday
I'm so happy that my side is represented by Keith Olberman, while the Republicans have a cretin like Bill O'Reilly as their spokesman.

Check out Olberman's latest. It's inspiring.

[Thanks to my mother-in-law for the link].
posted by CB @ 5:51 PM   0 comments
My Picks
The Washington Post has a great game called Midnight Madness. Pick the outcome of the Senate and House races. Prizes for the winner.

To see my picks, click here:

The short version of my predictions:
A 50/50 senate split (including independents Lieberman and Sanders who will be Democrats, I hope). Dems retain NJ, pick up Montana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island. Republicans retain Virginia and Tennessee (though I think Webb and Ford still have a good chance).

A House split 226-209 for the Dems. A big move that's probably too optimistic, but that's what I've got right now on a race-by-race basis.
posted by CB @ 12:12 PM   1 comments
Here's an example of why it might happen
From the Washington Post:

Here in Idaho, political analysts say that a competitive House race would never have been possible, except for the unlikely convergence of two destabilizing forces -- a noxious national climate for Republicans and a Republican candidate with a knack for being obnoxious.

There will always be marginal candidates that win elections solely because of their party affiliations - voters don't really like the person all that much, but they're loyal to their party. This year, the candidates in that category unlucky enough to be Republicans are really in jeopardy.
posted by CB @ 10:17 AM   0 comments
Monday, October 23, 2006
Obama's thinking about it
On Meet the Press, Obama said he's considering running for President in 2008. I'll have to up his odds a little over on the right, because that's the most clear statement he's made yet. I've had my suspicions that he would run, and of course there's still a large chance he might not (for family reasons, I think), but now it seems like he's pretty close.

Here are my previous notes on Obama:

10/18/06: If he doesn't run, it will be for family reasons
10/12/06: I still think he's running
10/4/06: I think he's running
9/14/06: Obama should run, and probably will
8/18/06: I think he could run
6/29/06: I argue that Obama is a different kind of politician
6/19/06: WaPo speculation
5/25/06: I notice that he's hired some big-name consultants
12/15/05: Obama could be the kind of uniter people are looking for in '08 after Bush
12/6/05: I argue that Obama needs to get out of the Senate, perhaps into the IL governorship, or the VP spot. And I up him in my Presidential odds.
10/3/05: I note that I love Gore, but that I might support Obama over him if Obama runs.
11/9/04: I put Obama in my "Wild Ideas" category of candidates for 2008 Democratic nomination
posted by CB @ 11:36 AM   1 comments
Friday, October 20, 2006
My November Hunch
I should not write this.

Not only is it bad luck, but it's also much more likely to be wrong than right. Some other times when I've thought things like this, I've been dead wrong.

But I'm going to write it anyway.

I think it's possible that November 7th is an absolute blowout in favor of the Democrats. Not just a capture of one of the houses, or even both of the houses, but I mean a totally dominating, incumbent-surprising, whip our government into shape moment.

But, as I said, I'm probably wrong.
posted by CB @ 12:28 PM   2 comments
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
More Obama 2008 Speculation
Chicago Tribune on Obama having some background conversations about running for President in 2008.

It may be that, for Obama, this comes down to exactly the same calculation Mark Warner had to do - is running for President worth having to spend 2 years largely away from young children? If he decides not to run, I think that will be one of the big reasons. He'll say to himself - I'm young, I'll just wait 'til they're away at college.
posted by CB @ 12:07 PM   0 comments
Monday, October 16, 2006
Need another reason to dislike Joe Lieberman?
Here you go:

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, a lifelong Democrat and student of politics, blanked when asked if America would be better off with his party regaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Uh, I haven't thought about that enough to give an answer," Lieberman said, as though Democrats' strong prospects for recapturing the House hadn't been the fall's top political story.

So Joe Lieberman isn't sure whether or not the Dems should regain Congress?

If you're a Democrat in Connecticut, please vote for Ned Lamont. Because there really is a legitimate change that Lieberman will switch sides if he wins.
posted by CB @ 2:40 PM   0 comments
Thursday, October 12, 2006
2008 President Nomination Odds Update
Hillary Clinton 5:3. Though Warner's pullout perhaps helps Hillary a little, I think it mostly just changes the race to be the main alternative. So no change for Hill.
Mark Warner DROPPED OUT. What I had drafted a couple days ago to post here was "Haven't heard much lately. Is he lining things up behind the scenes?" Answer: No. Warner quit the race today (or decided not to join it). It's true - Presidential campaigns are awful on a family, and when you're comfortable financially it's understandable that the motivations are reduced. This really shakes up the race, as most people, bloggers included, were planning on Warner being the likeable alternative to Hillary. See implications below
John Edwards 4:1. Edwards is the primary beneficiary of Warner's exit. He'd been gaining ground anyway, and his sunny optimism and ability to come from "outside" the current Washington sphere while also possessing government experience (just like Warner) now sets him up to be a major alternative. Question is whether he can gain gravitas.
Al Gore 5:1. Al benefits similarly to Edwards, though he's a lot more iffy. He too has been somewhat quiet lately, and his actions soon after November will be telling.
Barack Obama 9:1. I'm moving Obama up big time. I really think he's running. From 14:1 to 9:1. And if he confirms it, he'll go to something like 4:1. Will Warner's big donors and party strategists move to him now, as the next most exciting thing?
Evan Bayh 10:1.
Bill Richardson 10:1. Richardson moves up, from 11:1 to 10:1. The country seems to love governors, and with Warner out of the way, Richardson is the best situated Dem with governor experience.
Russ Feingold 12:1. Warner had attracted some bloggers, namely Jerome Armstrong of myDD. Now that he's out, Feingold becomes the favorite of the bloggers. Moving up from 13:1 to 12:1.
John Kerry 14:1. I'm keeping Kerry steady, though he might benefit too, because he looks a little like Warner.
Wes Clark 14:1. Bloggers could go this direction too. From 15 to 14.
Joe Biden 16:1. Bumping up from 17 to 16.
Tom Daschle 22:1.
Tom Vilsack 28:1
Chris Dodd 35:1.
Bill Bradley 48:1
Brian Schweitzer 60:1
Bill Nelson 65:1
Howard Dean 85:1
Janet Napolitano 100:1

John McCain 2:1
Rudy Giuliani 5:1.
Mitt Romney 9:1
George Pataki 16:1
George Allen 16:1
Chuck Hagel 17:1.
Bill Frist 17:1.
Condoleezza Rice 18:1
Mike Huckabee 20:1
Sam Brownback 20:1
Jeb Bush 24:1
Colin Powell 35:1
Tom Ridge 35:1
Bill Owens 40:1
Haley Barbour 40:1
Dick Cheney 125:1
Christie Todd Whitman 150:1

posted by CB @ 4:43 PM   0 comments
Woah. 2008 Warner Bombshell!
Is it John Edwards's birthday today?

Mark Warner's not running in 2008. This is huge news, and is going to wreak havoc on my odds when I update them (hopefully later today). Many thought he was the perfect antidote to Hillary. This play right into the hands of the other big heavyweights thinking about the race - Edwards, Gore, Obama, Feingold, (Kerry).

More later.
posted by CB @ 11:56 AM   0 comments
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Bush blatantly doesn't value non-US citizens' lives
Here's a quick summary of Bush's continued justification of his war in Iraq:
3,000 of us. 600,000 of them. Sounds about right.

Johns Hopkins says that 600,000 Iraqis have been killed since we invaded. Bush says that's "not a credible report" - his number is closer to 30,000 (and obviously he's the expert, not the Iraqi families that Hopkins surveyed).

But what truly disgusts me about this is the implicit assertion of Bush and the Republicans hawks (and Lieberman) that starting a situation in which hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians die is justified because it makes Americans safer.

How can they so blatantly assert that a U.S. life is worth that much more than an Iraqi life. Even if you imagine that Iraq, not Al-Qaida, had directly attacked us on 9/11 and planned to again (which we all know is incredibly far from the case), wouldn't killing 200 of their civilians for every 1 of ours be deemed an incredibly disproportionate response? Wouldn't Bush be considered a candidate for a war crimes trial at The Hague? Can someone show me the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis that Saddam killed?
posted by CB @ 5:54 PM   0 comments
Keith Olbermann is my hero
He's fast becoming the real-news representative of the left on cable news (Jon Stewart is our fake-news rep). I was thinking of writing that he's becoming our Bill O'Reilly, but that's not correct - O'Reilly lies and manipulates, whereas Olbermann states his opinion matter of factly, and doesn't yell as people who disagree.

Here's Olbermann's latest commentary.

Includes this (to the President):

You have dishonored your party, sir; you have dishonored your supporters;
you have dishonored yourself.
Why has the ferocity of your venom against the Democrats now exceeded the ferocity of your venom against the terrorists?
Why have you chosen to go down in history as the president who made things up?

posted by CB @ 10:17 AM   0 comments
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Don't count them chickens
I agree with Kos that it's extremely dangerous to celebrate recent Dem-favoring poll results. This thing is not at all in the bag.
posted by CB @ 4:47 PM   0 comments
Monday, October 09, 2006
Don't think Hillary's a good Dem? Check this out
According to Hotline:

Sen. Hillary Clinton transferred $2.1 million from her Senate re-election account to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on 10/5. She also gave $250K to the DCCC and $150K to the New York State Democratic Party

Team player. I like that a lot.
posted by CB @ 6:55 PM   0 comments
One More
I've got to add one more Senate candidate to my list of favorites if you're sending money or lending some kind of support over the next month:

Claire McCaskill, Democrat for Senate in Missouri

McCaskill debated Senator Jim Talent (R-MO) on Meet the Press over the weekend, and she really impressed me. She's thoughtful, intelligent, and pleasant. I think we need more people like her in the Senate.

Support Claire:
posted by CB @ 5:19 PM   0 comments
So let's see...

Isn't life wonderful with Republicans in power?

posted by CB @ 9:14 AM   2 comments
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Fucking sleazy Republicans
This is the underhanded bullshit that they try to pull on Americans. Notice what it says after Foley's name on the O'Reilly Factor:

posted by CB @ 11:14 PM   0 comments
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
More Obama speculation
There is continued speculation that this Obama '08 thing is not unrealistic. I've been listening to his podcasts for awhile now, and when he's asked the question at speeches, he gives the exact same answer everyone else who's running gives - he's focused right now on being the best Senator he can for the state of ... blah blah.

The thing is, we're 1 month away from go-time. Most people have to have their minds made up by now, because starting the day after the November elections, the big party donors turn their attention to the next election - 2008 - and we're basically in early primary mode. Candidates have to try to land big financial supporters, and perhaps more importantly top campaign aides, before their competitors do.

So Obama knows right now if he's running, but we don't.

What do I think? I think he's in.
posted by CB @ 6:35 PM   0 comments
Monday, October 02, 2006
U.S. Debt: Risk Free?
The so-called "risk free rate of return" is whatever US Treasury Notes are yielding... these days around 5%. But I'm starting (actually, more like continuing) to worry that if things continue the way they are now, the U.S. government may not always be viewed as a risk-free investment. Take Jim Jubak's analysis:

Is U.S. nearing financial avalanche?
In July, the United States may have reached a tipping point, one of those moments when all the snow that has been building up in the mountains suddenly becomes an avalanche. We've been spending more than we take in with both hands for a while now. But only recently has paying the interest on all that debt really started to cost us very much money.

The United States has piled up a string of monthly trade-deficit records recently. The July 2006 deficit of $68.04 billion, for example, erased the October 2005 deficit of $66.6 billion. For all of 2005, the United States spent $717 billion more on goods and services than it took in -- also a record. So far, 2006 is on a pace to handily surpass that deficit: The January-July 2006 deficit hit $453 billion, way ahead of the $398 billion deficit in the corresponding period of 2005.

At the same time, the U.S. government has been spending more than it took in. Since 2001, the federal government, certainly not the only layer of government practicing deficit financing, has borrowed $1.3 trillion to pay for tax breaks, new Medicare drug benefits and the war in Iraq.

Foreigners make U.S. deficits possible
Foreigners have picked up the tab for most of those twin deficits. Foreign investors have purchased U.S. government bonds that the federal government has used to finance its spend-now, pay-later policies. The dollars we sent overseas to pay for everything from oil to electronics to textiles to toys have been recycled by foreign investors into U.S. government bonds, corporate bonds and mortgage-backed securities (a form of debt backed by the mortgages on U.S. homes). My MSN Money colleague Bill Fleckenstein has railed against the way that we turned our homes into ATMs during the real-estate boom. Well, it was foreign investors buying bundles of mortgages on U.S. real estate who kept those ATMs stocked with cash.

By the end of 2005, overseas investors held $13.6 trillion in U.S. stocks, bonds, real estate, businesses and other assets. Subtract the $11.1 trillion in assets owned by U.S. residents and companies, and the U.S. had a net negative balance of $2.5 trillion. That's about $23,000 for each of the 110 million households in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

It's almost incomprehensible to think of the U.S. government defaulting on its debt. That happens in Argentina and Russia, not here in the good ole U.S. of A. But how long will we get a free pass? If we were a developing nation running up the kind of debts we are today, the IMF and World Bank would be swarming!

Let's just say... I'm worried.
posted by CB @ 4:18 PM   0 comments
How can we elect good people?
My reaction to the Republican Congressman sex scandal thing?

It's sad that we don't elect better people to run our country. There are so many people in America that are brilliant, good-intentioned, amicable, insightful workhorses, but we can't seem to elect them to political office. Why is it that we seem to always elect scumbags?
posted by CB @ 10:46 AM   0 comments

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