Jan. 28 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Senate Dem 59   GOP 41  
House Dem 256   GOP 178  

2010 Senate Races (colors are from 2004 races for the time being)
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PW logo People Can Tell Your Politics From Your Face Edwards Sex Tape in Safe Deposit Box
Obama on Moving Right Just a Statistical Recovery
Republicans Dismiss "Purity Resolution" Is Health Care Reform Dead?

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Update Jan. 30 HostRocket.com, the hosting company where the site runs, was hacked yesterday. This site and many others were affected. They were fairly quick about finding the vulnerability, but they had to completely reload the server from a backup, which took several hours. Sorry for the inconvenience. Appropriate measures are being taken.

State of the Union Was Small Bore     Permalink

After Bill Clinton was humbled, he fought back with popular small-bore initiatives like school uniforms and V-chips in TV sets to protect children from violent content. While President Obama didn't go that far, his state of the union speech yesterday certainly was not about grandiose plans for saving the planet or even providing health care for all Americans. It was more about jobs, Don't Ask Don't Tell, and student loans. Clearly he is taking the loss of the Senate seat in Massachusetts seriously. But while Obama is an inspirational speaker, many of his critics are starting to ask if he is willing to actually draw lines in the sand and say: "This far and no farther." For example, he can rail against how the system is working great for Wall Street but not for Main Street, but in the coming weeks he may be forced to take positions on legislation that Wall Street doesn't want and then the real test will come about whose side he is on. Here is the full text of his speech.

The Democrats are clearly in for bad news in November unless something changes and speeches aren't going to be enough. In particular, if after spending a year trying to get a health-insurance reform bill through Congress, the whole project dies now because the Democrats have only 59 seats in the Senate--a luxury the Republicans haven't had since 1923--many voters will conclude that the Democrats spend all their time bickering with each other and are incapable of governing. Everyone in Washington knows very well what the Democrats have to do, namely, get the House and Senate to stop squabbling with each other over abortion and the Medicaid limit and come to a compromise bill that 50 Democratic senators and 218 Democratic representatives support. Then the House has to pass the Senate bill intact followed by both chambers passing the compromise bill polishing the rough edges, in the Senate via reconciliation, even if that means firing the Senate parliamentarian, Alan Frumin, and replacing him with a Democrat. Some Democrats believe they will be better off in November with no bill than with this bill, but if that were true, minority leader Mitch McConnell would long ago have given Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) permission to vote for cloture in order to pass the bill and thus saddle the Democrats with an awful bill they would have to defend in the midterms. But McConnell knows that some aspects of the bill (like forcing insurance companies to accept uninsured sick children) will kick in the day the bill is signed and are wildly popular, thus giving the Democrats something to campaign on.

Crist Has to Make a Choice Today     Permalink

Today Obama is flying to Tampa to announce an $8 billion grant for high-speed rail on the East Coast. The project is expected to create 23,000 jobs in Florida over a period of time. The question for governor and Senate candidate Charlie Crist is whether he wants to appear with Obama and express gratitude for the money and jobs. Normally, candidates love to show that their clout has brought in jobs for their state, but the latest poll shows Crist actually trailing his primary challenger Marco Rubio by 47% to 44% and being associated with Obama could be the kiss of death for Crist. Of course, Rubio also is in a bind about whether to accept federal pork for his state but since he is not governor, he can just lie low and attack Crist either for (1) cozying up to Obama or (2) not caring about jobs, depending on what Crist does.

Coons, Rather than Biden, May Run for Senate in Delaware     Permalink

Many Democrats have been praying that Joe Biden's son, Beau Biden, the Delaware Attorney General, would run for the state's open Senate seat. Biden has now announced that he won't run for it, leaving the Democrats in the lurch. The most likely Democratic candidate at this point appears to be New Castle County Executive Chris Coons. While Coons does not hold statewide office, Delaware isn't very big and his county covers more than half the population of the state. The Republican is eight-term congressman Mike Castle. Coons is 46 and Castle is 70 and it takes forever to get seniority in the Senate, so expect Coons to argue that Castle is too old for the job. In some ways, Coons might be a stronger candidate than Biden since the Republicans won't be able to say: "If you don't like the Obama/Biden administration, don't vote for a dynasty here." This race also poses a test for the tea partiers. Will they accept a moderate Republican with whom they disagree on many policy issues but who might be electable in this very blue state or would they rather go down in flames by challenging him in a primary?

Hayworth to Challenge McCain     Permalink

Speaking of possible primary challenges, former Representative J.D. Hayworth is likely to challenge Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in a primary from the right, thus setting up another Florida-type Republican primary. McCain is the clear favorite at this point, but so was Crist at the time Rubio entered the race and now they are essentially tied.

Pence Won't Challenge Bayh     Permalink

In a bit of bad news for the Republicans, the #3 Republican in the House, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) has decided not to run against Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) in November. Polls showed that Pence might be able to win this race, putting yet another Democratic seat in jeopardy. With Pence running for reelection in the House, Bayh has dodged the bullet and is safe because the Republicans don't have anyone else who is a credible threat to the popular Bayh.

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