News from the Votemaster
Sen. John McCain gave a major speech on the economy yesterday, a topic he had not talked much about before. The main points: he wants to make permanent the Bush tax cuts (which he voted against in the Senate) and cut corporate taxes to stimulate job creation. He didn't mention balancing the budget, something he was previously strongly in favor of. He also called for repealing the 18 ct/gallon federal tax on gasoline. He said he would offset the revenue loss by removing waste from government programs. The Democrats are going attack this as Bush III.
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), 78, has had a recurrence of the Hodgkins' disease (cancer of the lymph system) that he had in 2005 and was said to be cured of. There are two political implications of this announcements. First, will Specter be able to run again in 2010? Specter is very up front about his cancer and treatment. He underwent chemotherapy before, lost all his hair, and chaired Senate hearings in that condition. He has also been an strong advocate of stem cell research, saying it might lead to a cure for cancer and other diseases.
Second, Specter is not the only senator was has had cancer (which, given the mean age of the Senate, is hardly surprising). In particular, John McCain has had three bouts of cancer as well, but McCain does not like to talk about it the way Specter does. When the media ask McCain about his past health history and he says something like: "I'd rather keep that private if you don't mind." they are going to remind him of how open Specter is. In any event, Specter's announcement makes the subject less taboo.
Dan Schnur, John McCain's 2000 communications director, has an interesting opinion piece in the NY Times about how Democrats are constantly tearing their hair out because blue-collar workers in the Midwest seem to be too dumb to realize that it is the Democrats who represent their economic interests. Instead the rubes vote their values. He makes the inverse point. Why is it that the millionaires in Beverly Hills and the Upper East Side of Manhattan are too thick to see that the Republicans want to slash their taxes big time? Instead the dolts keeping voting for a party that loves only trees and spotted owls. He says that when blue-collar workers vote their cultural values (instead of their economic interests) it is due to low information, but when rich people vote their cultural values (instead of their economic interests) their get only praise. Now one could argue if you are making $20 million, giving up 10% won't break the bank whereas at $20,000, every penny counts, but Schnur's point is valid: people all over the spectrum frequently vote their values over their economic interests. But it is a concept the Democrats easily apply to others but not to themselves.
Of course, pretending to be something you are not rarely works (see: hunting lessons eagerly received by the young Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton). A better model is Gov. Brian Schweizer (D-MT) who is a strong environmentalist. He doesn't talk much about endangered species, but talks a great deal about the need to preserve the environment so Montanans can go camping, fishing, and hunting. He's very popular because people believe he is for real. He's even been mentioned as a potential Veep candidate with great appeal in the West.
We have a whole batch of new primary polls today. Here they are.
Here are all the Pennsylvania primary polls for April. It is clear that Hillary Clinton is leading here, but it is hard to tell by how much. A new Gallup national poll shows that the flap over Obama's remarks about small town America don't seem to have had any effect except provide filler for 24-hour cable channels.
Here are the delegate totals from various news sources rounded to integers (Democrats Abroad has 22 delegates, each with 1/2 vote). The sources differ because in most caucus states, no delegates to the national conventions have been chosen yet, just delegates to the district, county, or state convention so there is some guesswork involved. Furthermore, some of the unpledged delegates are elected at state conventions in May or June. Finally, the PLEOs (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) sometimes waver and may tell different reporters slightly different stories that they interpret differently.
Needed to win: Democrats 2024, Republicans 1191.
Here is another source for delegate totals.
-- The Votemaster