Monday, November 13, 2006

Catch the Next Big (Moderate) Wave

Surfers are constantly on the lookout for the really Big Wave, the "Perfect Ride". Democrats seeking to win the White House in 2008 should be no different. The next Perfect Ride into the White House is going to be made by the candidate who catches the Moderate Wave with just the right board, at just the right moment.

Exit polls show that fully 47% of the voters in the 2006 mid-term elections categorize themselves as Moderates. The exit polls also show that 32% of the voters call themselves Conservatives and only 20% call themselves Liberals.

Democratic candidates for the US House of Representatives captured the Moderate vote by 22 points (60% to 38%). 20% of the Conservatives and 87% of the Liberals also voted for the Democrats for Congress. Moderate voters increased by 2% in 2006 growing from 45% in 2004. This increase came from the Conservative ranks which decreased by 2%.

John Kerry won the Moderate vote in 2004, but only by 9 points (54 to 45). Kerry also managed only 15% of the conservative vote. The electoral lesson here could not be more clear. Whoever appeals greatly to the Moderate voter and can peel away enough Conservative voters will be the next president of the United States. This candidate will also have to take care to not alienate enough of the Liberal voters to siphon off votes into a leftist third party candidate coffer (can you say Green Party?).

Democrats should read the 2006 election results tea leaves very carefully. The common wisdom postulates that the great issue in 2006 was the Iraq war. The question really becomes was it the war itself or the way it has been managed? That question arises because initially a majority of the voters supported the Iraq war. Exit polls from the 2004 election showed that voters approved of the decision to go to war in Iraq by a margin of 51 to 45%. The 2006 exit polls show that voters now disapprove of the war in Iraq by a 14 point margin, 56 to 42%.

So what changed in the past two years to bring about this change? The 2006 exit polls show that the voters believe the Iraq war has not made us safer by a whopping 24 point margin, 59 to 35%. That questions the basic competency of the Republican Administration in prosecuting the war on terror. The Hurricane Katrina relief fiasco also plays into the voters view of this administration as incompetent. Add in Republican corruption scandals and the Mark Foley - House Page scandal, and you have the perfect storm for the change of control of Congress that occurred on November 7, 2006.

What does this all mean for 2008? Some of the answers can be found by taking a close look at the Democrats who were newly elected to Congress. They are hardly a band of liberal fireaters. The New York Times took a look at the incoming Congressional freshmen in an article titled "Incoming Democrats Put Populism Before Ideology". Here is how the Times summarized their conversations with the newly elected Democrats:


in interviews with nearly half of them this week, the freshmen -- 41 in the
House and 9 in the Senate, including one independent -- conveyed a keen sense of
their own moment in history, and a distinct world view: they say they were given
a rare opportunity by voters, many of them independents and Republicans,
who were tired of the partisanship and gridlock in Washington. (Emphasis mine)




Voters are "tired of the partisanship and gridlock in Washington." In 2008, voters are going to be looking for a pragmatic problem solver, who will place progress over partisanship. Voters are absolutely fed up with the partisan sniping and gridlock in Congress, aided and abetted by the Bush administration. This is reflected in the 61% disapproval rating of Congress and a 57% Bush job disapproval rating voters reported in the 2006 exit polls.

What problems are the voters looking for their elected leaders to solve? Fully two thirds of the voters reported the Iraq war was extremely or very importatnt to them. 72% of the voters reported that terrorism was extremely or very important to them. During the next two years, the Iraq situation is likely to be well on the way to resolution. How much of an issue the Iraq war will be in 2008 is going to be a function of how far along the path to resolution we get by then.

Terrorism is doubtless to still be an issue in 2008. Democrats cleared an important hurdle in 2006. 51% of the voters reported that Democrats "would make us safe". 59% reported that Republicans "would make us safe." The so called "security gap" is thus down to 8 points. Significantly, a slight majority now believes the Democrats "would make us safe." Clearly , a successfull Democratic candidate in 2008 will have to present a smart, tough plan to combat terrorism.

Hidden by all the smoke of Iraq and corruption and scandals in 2006 may be the biggest lesson of these mid term elections. In 2008, it is very likely to be "the economy, stupid" again. While the exit polls showed the electorate evenly split on the condition of the economy, other questions revealed an opprtunity for a hopeful message on the economy for the 2008 campaign. 59% of voters reported their family's economic situation as worse or the same. 67% of voters say their family has just enough or are falling behind. And 68% see life for the next generation as worse than today or about the same.

The incoming Democratic freshman lawmakers seem to be tied to a common theme. Here is what the New York Times reported about some of them:


... many of these freshmen Democrats are hard to pigeonhole ideologically.
Even among the most socially conservative, there is a strong streak of economic
populism that is a unifying force.

Heath Shuler, for example, the former
professional football player and newly elected House Democrat from North
Carolina, is anti-abortion and pro-gun, but sounds like an old-style Democrat on
economic issues.

"I was taught at a very, very young age about faith and
personal responsibility, and through that, that responsibility was about helping
those who cannot help themselves," Mr. Shuler said. "If you look at what the
Democratic Party stands for, it is about helping others who can't help
themselves."

Like other Democrats, he supports legislation to increase the
minimum wage and make college tuition tax deductible. He also opposes trade
agreements that he says have led to a 78 percent loss in textile industry jobs
in his state.

Similarly, Ms. Boyda of Kansas, a first-time office holder who
relied on lengthy newspaper inserts to make her case to the voters, said, "The
rural economy has been left out." She added: "A lot of my district feels a great
deal of insecurity about their jobs, their health care, their business, their
family farm. They feel like they're just kind of hanging out there."

Carol Shea-Porter, a social worker and new House member from New Hampshire who
considers herself a populist, said, "The theme of my campaign was, I'm running
for the rest of us." She added that no matter how much the Bush administration
boasted of job growth, her voters "understood those were Wal-Mart jobs." And,
she said, "They understood when they talked about the stock market boom, that
half of Americans aren't even in the stock market."


This economic populism is the common story of most of those who were successfull in getting elected for the first time in 2006. A successfull presidential candidate in 2008 will be a pragmatic, problem solving economic populist, who also presents a tough and smart stance on the war on terror.

Who will be the candidate who catches this next big wave and gets the "Perfect Ride" into the White House in 2008?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Poll: The Most Important Race in the Country Is... (with Poll)

Poll: The Most Important Race in the Country Is... (with Poll)

Which race is the most important this cylce? I get my say first. Yu get your say in a poll later..

To find out my answer, youll have to follow me...

Ther are any number of races that are critically important this cycle. They are important in and of themselves. They are a portend or bellweather for what kind of night it is going to be on November 7th. There are races with paticular importance to 2008. And there important races with respect to the long term prospects of the Democratic Party.

Which is more important?

A famous economist once said, "In the long run, we are all dead." When looking at races, is it smart to look beyond the next cycle, in this case beyond 2008. With 2008 looming as the first time for an open presidential race in eight years, it probably doesn't make a lot of sense to look past 2008. The only look past 2008 that might matter is to focus on one that is not on anybody's list except the 50 state strategy of Howard Dean. Personally, I think it will be too soon to tell with any degree of certainty whether or not the 50 state strategy is really going to pay off. Seems to mee there are more important races for red to blue seats this cycle that are in the swing states. Perhaps NE-03 might be one to look at to measure the 50 state strategy, but I don't know haw that one is going.

Which races are important in reference to 2008? There ae a couple of Senate races and at least one Governor's race that have particular relevance to 2008. Let's take up the Senate first.

In my humble opinion, the TN-Sen has the biggest implications for 2008 for one reason: Obama Mania. If Harold Ford Jr. can pick up Bill Frist's Senate seat in 2004, Obama is certainly going to have to run. His message is similar to Ford's. He is someone with less personal baggage than Ford. But if Ford can win in a Southern state, is there any limit to how effective Obama can be in 2008? I don't thinks so. For that reason, my vote for the Senatae race with the most impact on 2008 goes to the TN-Sen race of Harold Flord Jr.

The other Senate races to consider are the MO-Sen, and the VA-Sen. Together with the TN-Sen, they are part of the Goper "firewall". Dems need 2 out of these 3 to get back control of the Senate. The Va-Senate race betwee incumbent George macaca Allen and Jim Webb has all the earmarks of a knock down drag out affair. If Allen hadn't attempted political hari-kari with his macaca moment, there is no way this race would be on anybody's radar this cycle. But Allen made it competitive. It would have brought on even more importance if Mark Warner had not already declared hinmself out of the 2008 race. So this one has implications for this cycle, but not for 2008 or beyond.

The MO-Senate race is a more interestiung case for 2008 and perhaps beyond. MO is absolutely a bellweather state. Whover wins MO in 2008 will be the next President. So what does the MO-Sen race this cycle have to do with 2008 and beyond? Two words: stem cells. This cycle may mark the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning of the Religous Right's strangelhold on the Republican Party. Stem cell research might be the Rubicon for the Religious Right. The MO state constition question on the MO ballot this year has made this a close race. It is also what has given the MO-Sen race implications for 2008 and beyond.

If stem cells carry the Dem to victory in the Mo-Senate race, it is not so much about McCalister or Talent as it is about the strength of the religious right. If McCasskil and stem cells both win that is very bad news for the wingnut Christers. If stem cells win and McCaskill loses, it pretty much muddies the water. If they both lose, it pretty much means the Religious Right is still alive and well. At least in MO.

FL-Gov is a below the radar race here on DailyKos. Maybe it is because the Goper, Charlie Crist has been seen as the inevitable winner in what outsiders perceive is a red state. But for those of us in Florida who believe we are purple moving towards blue, this is the most improtatant race in this cycle an in 2008.

We all remember Florida in 2000. Florida rightly deserved the ridicule heaped upon it for the awful way the election process worked here. With a Republican Governor and an now infamous Republica Chief Election Officer, Florida was doomed in 2000. The 537 votes that the US Supreme Court declared determined the outcome of the election has left a bad taste in the mouths of Dems in Florida.

This cycle is the first one to have an open FL-Gov race since 1990. Jeb Bush terms out this cycle. His would be Goper successor is state Attorney Gnereal Charlie Crist. His opponent is 10 year Congressman from Tampa, Jim Davis. With Crist from St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay is at the center of the political universe in Florida, but not in the eyes of the nation. Thus this race is well below anybody's radar but the most aredent Dems here in Florida. The implications for Florida are huge. Crist has pretty much declared himself as the natural successor to Jeb. He has promised to stay the course. Jim Davis is running as the outsider despite 18 years experience in elected public office in Florida. Since he has been in Congress for the last 10 years, Davis kept his eyes on the state and the Governors Mansion. Davis main message, is that Florida's families want change, and I'm going to give to them. Davis has been criticized as being too bland and too much of a man in the middle. That may be what Florida is looking for. It may be what the country is looking for in 2008.

If Florida elects Davis this cycle, real change will be coming to Florida. The real changes with implications for 2008 are these:

Florida will hae a Dem Governor to lead the charege for the Dem presidential nominee in 2008. Florida will have a Dem appointed Chied Elections Officer counting its votes in 2008. And Florida will have a paper trail to ensure free and fair elections in 2008.

The implications for beyond 2008 are huge as well. Davis will be in a position to push a promised 2008 state constitutional ammendment requiring independent redistricing in 2012. Florida is a state with nominly more Ds than Rs, yet our Congressioal delegation in the House is stuck at 18 Rs and 7 Ds. That may change by as many as 4 seats this year, but it would still leave the state with 14 Rs and 11 Ds. Closer, but not as representative of the will of the voters would be without the laser sharp redistricting the Rs were able to push through in 2002.

For my money, the clear winner with implications for this cycle, 2008, and beyond 2008 is the FL-Gov race. But my money was all spent in the 2004 cycle. All I have to give this cycle is my time and my energy. For those of you who still can, today is the last day to feed the cash gobbler that is statewide races in Florida. Please contribute to Jim Davis for Governor here.

For those of you like me who have already depleted their treasury, plese give your time and energy. This race has tightened enough that the final solution boils down to GOTV. Can Dems do a better job of mobilizing their voters than the Gopers this year? In 2004, Dems got more of their voters to the polls than ever before in florida. The only problem was that the Gopers did too, and by a bigger margin. We can do better this year. If you can help Jim Davis, please volunteer here. If you are not in Fliorida, but want to help, you can volunteer at the Virtual Campaign HQ here

Let me say a quick word about Congressional races before you stone me to death. There are any number of critical House races this cycle. There is no way to know, in my mind, what the implications are for 2008 and beyond. If the Dems pick up significant red state seats from the 50 state strategy of Howard Dean, that will be a great sign for 2008 and beyond. However, I can not pick out a single seat that would tell me if the 50 state strategy worked thuis year. Even Dean admits that he doesn't expect to see dividends until at least 2008. Beyond that, quien sabe? (Who knows?)

OK, FL-Gov is my choice. Now it's your turn. If I leave a race out the poll that you think should be on there, throw stones at me in the comments. If you think I've nailed it, throw me some bones. Or, better yet, find a way to help Jim Davis here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

MrMainstream

MrMainstream

FL-Gov: Tweety Gets In “Marion Barry Moment”

The second of the two FL-Gov debates aired live on MSNBC and Florida NBC affiliates last night. The debate was moderated by none other than our good friend “Tweety”, aka Chris Mathews. The debate was also enlivened by the last minute court ordered addition of Reform Party candidate Max Linn.

Jim Davis, the Dem candidate clearly won this debate. If it was a fight, they would have stopped it.
There were many great moments in this debate, but my personal favorite is after the jump…

My personal favorite moment came whe Tweety was questioning Goper candidate Charile Crist, the Florida Attorney General, about the crime rate in Florida. Here is the verbatim transcript:

Matthews: Mr. Crist did you say that crime has gone down? And led us to believe that violent crime has gone down, when violent crime has gone up?

Crist: Crime has gone down in our state.

Matthews: But violent crime?

Crist: Violent crime has gone down in our state as well. The only violent crime that’s up is murder.

Matthews: Well that’s what Marion Berry used to say in DC when I was there. He’d say crime is down but sorry murder is up, the only exception. For most people, murder is the big one.

Crist: It is the biggest one.

Matthews: Well why didn’t you say that. Why did you say crime has gone down when you knew that murder had gone up?

Crist: Because crime has gone down, Chris.

Matthews: That’s a technical point.

Crist: It’s not a technical point. Crime in our state has gone down. It’s a 35-year low right now. I’m telling you the truth.

Mathews: I’m sorry the only reason I’m saying that is because it’s exactly what Marion Berry said after his years in DC.

Crist: Well my name’s Charlie Crist.


Poor Charlie, he can't help it. Nobody ever called him on an obfuscation before.

Poor Charlie, he can't help it. He never saw a deer in the headlights before.

Even the St. Petersburg Times political editor finally had to say something positive about Davis and negative about Crist here:

The second and final televised debate Monday night was a rough one for the Republican front-runner. Moderator Chris Matthews pressed hard for specifics, rattling the normally unflappable attorney general ...

Davis had a strong performance in last week's debate and a stronger one Monday. Between Matthews barking followup questions that cut off Crist's normal sound bites and Linn's bombast about Socialist-leaning Republicans and Democrats, Davis came off as comfortable and quick on his feet.

Crist in contrast seemed not even to have a decent sound bite ready ...

Crist in coming days will surely have to explain how he could claim he spoke out against intervention in the Terri Schiavo case when he didn't. The claim contradicted what he told the Florida Baptist Witness newspaper - that he helped Gov. Bush fight to keep her alive.

And there was a downright weird exchange when Crist like Davis and Linn explained his opposition to gay marriage. Marriage, he said, is a "sacred" relationship - "like I had, before I got divorced."...

Someone just starting to pay attention to the race did not see in Jim Davis a man of warmth or humor. But they certainly saw a smart and steady prospective governor.


So now it is all about GOTV. If you can spare any time at all for Jim Davis you can make a real difference. And if you aren't near a Davis campaign office, you can work out of the "Virtual Campaign HQ" here..

Don't wake up on November 8th wishing you had done more to help Jim Davis win.

MrMainstream

MrMainstream

FL-Gov: Tweety Gets In “Marion Barry Moment”

The second of the two FL-Gov debates aired live on MSNBC and Florida NBC affiliates last night. The debate was moderated by none other than our good friend “Tweety”, aka Chris Mathews. The debate was also enlivened by the last minute court ordered addition of Reform Party candidate Max Linn.

Jim Davis, the Dem candidate clearly won this debate. If it was a fight, they would have stopped it.

There were many great moments in this debate, but my personal favorite is after the jump…


The best moment in this debate for me, and there were many, came in what I am describing as Tweety's Marion Barry moment. Tweety asked Goper candidate, Charlie Crist, Florida's Attorney General about the crime rate in Florida. Here is a verbatim transcript of this exchange:

Matthews: Mr. Crist did you say that crime has gone down? And led us to believe that violent crime has gone down, when violent crime has gone up?

Crist: Crime has gone down in our state.

Matthews: But violent crime?

Crist: Violent crime has gone down in our state as well. The only violent crime that’s up is murder.

Matthews: Well that’s what Marion Berry used to say in DC when I was there. He’d say crime is down but sorry murder is up, the only exception. For most people, murder is the big one.

Crist: It is the biggest one.

Matthews: Well why didn’t you say that. Why did you say crime has gone down when you knew that murder had gone up?

Crist: Because crime has gone down, Chris.

Matthews: That’s a technical point.

Crist: It’s not a technical point. Crime in our state has gone down. It’s a 35-year low right now. I’m telling you the truth.

Mathews: I’m sorry the only reason I’m saying that is because it’s exactly what Marion Berry said after his years in DC.

Crist: Well my name’s Charlie Crist.


Crist was had. Caught like a deer in the headlights. That is not just my view. Adam Smith, the Republican leaning political editor of the St. Petersburg Times had this to say about the debate:

The second and final televised debate Monday night was a rough one for the Republican front-runner.
Moderator Chris Matthews pressed hard for specifics, rattling the normally unflappable attorney general...

Davis had a strong performance in last week’s debate and a stronger one Monday. Between Matthews barking followup questions that cut off Crist’s normal sound bites and Linn’s bombast about Socialist-leaning Republicans and Democrats, Davis came off as comfortable and quick on his feet....

And there was a downright weird exchange when Crist (like Davis and Linn) explained his opposition to gay marriage. Marriage, he said, is a “sacred” relationship — “like I had, before I got divorced.”...

Someone just starting to pay attention to the race did not see in Jim Davis a man of warmth or humor. But they certainly saw a smart and steady prospective governor.


It is all about GOTV now. Anyone who can give some time to help Jim Dvais over the hump can volunteer here..

If you aren't near a Davis campaign office, you can work out of the "Viva Democracy Virtual campaign HQ" here.

Don't wake up on November 8th wishing you had done a little bit more to help Jim Davis win.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Fl-Gov: Jim Davis has his Mo(jo) Back

On the eve of the second and final debate in the FL-Gov race, Jim Davis clearly has old Mo on his side. A new St. Petersburg Times poll shows the race too close to call.

Like many campaigns before his that have run from behind, there has been no end of suggestions and / or complaints from air chair campaign strategists on how to run the campaign.
After the jump, we'll discuss, and you can vote, on how beat Davis can close out this race with a Democratic victory...

Jim Davis has clearly been the dark horse in the general election campaign from the get-go. His Republican opponent, State Attorney General Charlie Crist seemed to have every advantage.

While Davis was busy refilling his depleted campaign coffers after an oft bitter and tightly fought primary, Charlie Crist was touring the state like a rock star. Crist was joined by term limited Governor Jeb Bush and the state's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, whom Crist had trounced in the Republican primary. Crist went up on the air immediately after the primary, while Davis remained dark for a month.

Davis did win one important contest after the primary. In Florida, party nominees choose their Lieutenant running mates. As the presumptive favorite, Crist picked a "safe" choice in Jeff Kottkamp, a conservative Republican State Representative from staunchly conservative South West Florida. Davis chose former state Senator Daryl Jones. Jones a gubernatorial candidate in 2002 ia a graduate of the Air force Academy and a former fighter pilot. He is currently a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve. And, oh yeah, if elected, he would become Florida's first African American Lieutenant Governor.

Meanwhile Charlie Crist, whose stated goal was to raise an unheard of $30 million for the general election campaign, continued his attempt to define Davis as just another liberal Democrat from Washington, and as a do nothing Congressman who had the second worst voting record in Congress this year. Davis has a lifetime voting record of 93% over his ten years in Congress, but Crist has continued to hammer this point both in his TV spots and in the first debate last week. So far, the polls have shown that Crist's attempts to define Davis have largely failed. Given the Crist campaigns continuance of this attack it is becoming clear that this attack line is designed to lower Democrats participation in this election.

According to most polls, Davis' positions on the three most important issues, Property insurance, property taxes and education reform, the positions of the Davis campaign are much more in line with the position of the voters than the Crist campaigns' position. Most outside observers have agreed with that assessment. Additionally, while outgoing Governor Jeb Bush remains personally popular, his administration has presided over the growing property insurance crisis and the shifting of the tax burden to property tax payers. Additionally, Bush has led the charge to reform education primarily through the use of high stakes testing. While most Floridians like the idea of school accountability, they are less than impressed with the methods used by the Republicans to achieve that aim.

To date, Davis' campaign ads have focused on policy differences with Crist. He has just come out with a pair of ads criticizing Crist for his "stay the course" approach and also for being less than proactive on some of hot button issues in Florida. Crist stayed out of the Terry Schiavo controversy and now says he opposed the Republican efforts to intervene. Similarly, Crist was a no show during the legislative debate on property insurance reform. Now he said he would have vetoed the bill that came out of the Republican dominated legislature on the last day of the session. The next day he backtracked from that veto pledge.

One issue that hasn't really been pushed by Davis directly is the shares our values question. Crist is a 50 year old single white man, who has no children and has never owned a home. In contrast, Jim Davis and Daryl Jones are both married men with children in public schools and are both homeowners. Davis often refers to himself and Jones as "just a couple of dads" on the campaign trail. However, the "shares our values" question has not been raised directly by Davis in TV spots or in the debate.

The poll question today deals with what course Davis should choose in the closing days of the campaign. Should he continue to primarily highlight the difference between his campaign and Crist's campaign on the issues? Should he step up the criticism of Crist as political waffler Should he directly take on the "shares our values" question. Remember, there is a huge rumor campaign under way that Crist might very well be gay. Or should he close out the campaign with a sunny outlook surrounded by his and Jones' families and stress his vision for Florida's future?
Here's your chance to be a campaign manager in a statewide campaign in a crucial swing state.

What would you do?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

MrMainstream

MrMainstream


FL-Gov: Forget the Gay Thing - We've Got a Race!

John Campanelli has a diary up about the Republican candidate for FL-Gov being "outed". Whether or not Charlie Crist is gay is a distraction from the real issue here. We've got us a horse race for FL-Gov. We can talk about whether Crist should be "outed" or not, but let's concentrate on things we can control.

Jim Davis, the Dem in this race has finally gotten off the schnide here. Davis was dark for a month after the September 5th primary while he had to reload his coffers after a tough primary campaign. Now that Davis has been on the air for a while...

Kos noted in this diary that the FL-Gov race is finally showing signs of life. A recent Quinnipiac poll showed the race a statistical dead heat. Once Davis got on the air, he got right down to business as you can see here. These kinds of ads have allowed Jim Davis to pull even.
Last night Jim Davis and Charlie Crist had the first of their two scheduled debates. Adam Smith, the known Republican political editor of the St. Petersburg Times had this to say about last night's debate:

"Davis, the underdog Democrat ... still came off as sharp, substantive and better-equipped with specifics than Republican Attorney General Crist. "

Smith went on to say:

"...Davis scored points when he repeatedly pressed Crist for not supporting tax relief for businesses and renters, and oddly Crist has yet to offer much of an answer for that. Crist has also sounded more flexible and open to tinkering with the FCAT than he did Tuesday night, giving no hint that he was open to changing anything about how the test is implemented."

But, predictably, Smith closed with this:

"Jim Davis has been saying for months that voters are just starting to get to know him. He may have made a strong impression on some of those strangers Tuesday, and gave his supporters reason for excitement in the final stretch. Still, Crist walked away looking only slightly less like a clear frontrunner."

With 2 weeks to go, Jim Davis needs your help. In the primary, Republican controlled Big sugar spent $5 million trying to defeat Davis. They have kept their powder dry in the general election. So far. But there is no end to the lengths that Big Sugar will go to to keep Davis from getting elected governor. A good look at the whole sorry story of the evil sugar empire fan be found on YouTube.
The Sugar Slime is coming folks. You can almost taste it. Please help Jim Davis fight back.

Do you really want another Republican Secretary of State counting the votes in Florida in 2008?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

FL-GOV: Humor(s) of War

The Florida Governors race is just starting to get fun. And it is getting closer.
Democratic candidate Jim Davis has trailed his Republican opponent Charlie Crist anywhere form 5 to 20 points since the September 5th primary. Now 18 days out, a new Rasmussen poll has Davis closing the gap back to 5 points again.
All this has been going on as the humor race heats up as well.


How has Jim Davis managed to close a 20 point gap going into two weeks out?

First, he has done it with serious policy proposals. Property Insurance, Property taxes and education are the three hot button issues in Florida this cycle. Davis has rolled out policy proposals on all three issues that trounce anything that Charlie Crist has come up with. The Palm Beach Post in its endorsement of Davis said:

For the future of Florida's public schools and property owners, The Post recommends voters elect Jim Davis for governor.


Regarding education the Post said Davis:

wants public schools to be coveted for their quality, not shunned as catch-alls. Said the fourth-generation Floridian: "Charlie (Crist) says stay the course. I say we need to change.


As for property insurance reform, the Post endorsement went on to say:

Mr. Crist's plan on insurance is similarly stagnant: Pay, hope and wait.


Even Republicans have said Charlie Crist's Property Tax Plan is Dead on Arrival.

Davis has won the policy proposal war hands down. But here is where the fun begins.
No one has ever confused Charlie Crist for a brain surgeon, although his father is a well respected physician. Charlie obviously didn't inherit the "smarts" in the family. Crists' campaign style of smile and nod suits his mental capabilities well.

However, Charlie has not been able to keep his foot out of his mouth, and the Davis campaign is having some fun with it. This week the Davis campaign launched a series of daily press releases entitled "What Charlie Doesn't Know". Charlie recently became incensed at a Tampa Tribune Editorial Board interview, misidentifying Jim Davis as `his" Congressman while ranting about Davis missing votes while campaigning for Governor. (More on that later.)

The press release series, following on the heels of the Davis victory in the policy proposal battle highlights an important theme in this campaign. The theme replicates one of my favorite scenes from the West Wing. President Bartlett is running for a second term against a not so bright Governor of Florida. (Anybody else see the irony here?) Bartlett is on the stump trying to be a "regular guy", and it is driving Toby nuts. Finally Toby sits Bartlett down in the Oval Office and says,

"Look, you are not a regular guy. You are always going to be the smartest guy in the room. Make this election about smart and not; about serious and not."

The press releases also chastise Crist for ducking every chance to appear together with Davis since the primary. Crist even tried to weasel out of a debate to be moderated by Chris Mathews because he didn't like the format. Anybody else see a duck costume coming to a TV screen in Florida near you?

Not to be outdone in the humor department, Crist has his own entry in the campaign. As mentioned above, Davis has been criticized for missing House votes while on the campaign trail. His primary challenger, Rod Smith, harped on that theme throughout the primary campaign. Now Crist has launched a new spot with this theme. You can watch the ad and read a description here.

Personally, I think the spot is a hoot. I am also glad Crist is spending a lot of his huge funding advantage on this spot. Apparently they didn't ask Rod Smith how this line of attack worked out for him.

So, coming up on two weeks out, the race is tightening. The first of two statewide televised debates will be aired on Tuesday night, with the second to air on October 30th.

We still have a ways to go. But I'm starting to like our chances. And I'm laughing a lot more.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Uploading Photos (Maybe)




(Top) Howard Dean and Bob Graham at the 2003 FDP State conference.

(Left two) Senator Bob Graham and yours truly also at the 2003 FDP State conference.

These photos are illustrative of the conundrum for MrMainstream. Bob Graham is both my political guru and my personal hero. I like (most) of the job Howard Dean has been doing in party building at the DNC.

My favorite tag line is "You can't govern if you can't get elected." Bob Graham governed well, winning five straight statewide elections in Florida, most with ease. I think the winning message in the next cycle is going to be the message used by Bob Graham in Florida and initiated by Bill Clinton nationally in 1992. The same message is being espoused currently by Barack Obama and Mark Warner. Basicly the message is this:

There is more that unites us than divides us in America. The American people have grown extremely tired of all the partisan wrangling in Washington. In fact, they are fed up with it. What they want is to elect people who are going to roll up their sleeves and work together to solve the problems that we are facing. They are hopeful for a better America. We can bring this country together, solve these problems and sustain the abundant hope with which the American people have always been blessed.

The person who can sell that message with passion will be the next President of the United States.

Please Allow MrMainstream to Introduce Himself

I am relatively new to this world of blogging, but I am rapidly becoming that most dangerous of people - a commited convert. Just like those that have quit smoking (something I have yet to master), I am becoming not quite a rabid convert, but I have to remind myself not to allow that to occur.

I am a Democrat, make no mistake about it. I am a Democrat because I believe that the Democratic Party is the one that best explemplifies the Greatest Commandment: "Love thy neighbor as thyself."

To fully carry out that commandment, one must be more than tolerant with those who disagree with them. They must seek to understand the nature of the disagreement. They must seek to find some common ground upon which to begin to understand each other.

This is at the core of my value system. I believe in a values based policy and political decision making system. If one stays true to ones' values, the policy decisions that are made will almost always be intellectually defensible. Even if the decision is made with the value of faith alone.

The mission of this blog is to provide a place to discuss and debate the best ways to come together in this country to make it a better place. All who wish to make this country a better place will always be welcome here.