Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday's fish fry

Concerning the oil spill in the Gulf, Rich Lowry has a good reminder today:
"If the presidency of the United States is the most powerful and majestic office on earth, it does not confer omnipotence on the mere mortal who happens to occupy it.
Perhaps Obama himself needs to be reminded. A White House aide told a reporter that the president, in a fit of frustration, barked to his aides during one meeting, “Plug the damn hole.” That’s a meaningless order, with the world’s best engineers already desperately trying to solve a hellish technical problem."

Meanwhile, Peggy Noonan thinks this spill crystallizes a whole bunch of big trouble for Mr. Obama:
"I don't see how the president's position and popularity can survive the oil spill. This is his third political disaster in his first 18 months in office. And they were all, as they say, unforced errors, meaning they were shaped by the president's political judgment and instincts. There was the tearing and unnecessary war over his health-care proposal and its cost. There was his day-to-day indifference to the views and hopes of the majority of voters regarding illegal immigration. And now the past almost 40 days of dodging and dithering in the face of an environmental calamity. I don't see how you politically survive this. The president, in my view, continues to govern in a way that suggests he is chronically detached from the central and immediate concerns of his countrymen. This is a terrible thing to see in a political figure, and a startling thing in one who won so handily and shrewdly in 2008. But he has not, almost from the day he was inaugurated, been in sync with the center. The heart of the country is thinking each day about A, B and C, and he is thinking about X, Y and Z. They're in one reality, he's in another."

She goes on to say:
"I wonder if the president knows what a disaster this is not only for him but for his political assumptions. His philosophy is that it is appropriate for the federal government to occupy a more burly, significant and powerful place in America—confronting its problems of need, injustice, inequality. But in a way, and inevitably, this is always boiled down to a promise: "Trust us here in Washington, we will prove worthy of your trust." Then the oil spill came and government could not do the job, could not meet need, in fact seemed faraway and incapable: "We pay so much for the government and it can't cap an undersea oil well!"

Now I don't know if the American people as a whole are yet at where Noonan thinks they are. I tend to think Americans are blaming BP right now more than Obama. But it could be that Americans are heading in Noonan's direction. Why indeed did it take Obama until May 1 to name an administration point man for this disaster? And isn't there a contradiction in Obama's position right now? On the one hand, it's BP's fault. On the other hand, Obama claims, he and his administration are on this, have "got" this, and will solve it. Well, in that case...the longer it DOESN'T get solved, the more the American people WILL blame Obama.

In polling news--more reminders today of why Republicans can't be overconfident in 2010. For example, here we see that the Sestak/Toomey senate race in Pennsylvania will be a dogfight.

So too will be the battle any Republican will have in Nevada against Harry Reid.

We shouldn't be surprised. Our opponents have either incumbency or the White House (or both) helping them. It is good though to see that Harry Reid (for example) STILL doesn't poll above 40%...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday's throwdowns

Royals 5, Rangers 2: a blah game for Texas. But then the Royals' pitcher Luke Hochevar, who was impressive, had something to do with it. Another loss for Ranger starter Scott Feldman--he won 17 games last year, but this year he's only 1-5, 6.91 ERA, and opponents are batting .326 against him in his last 8 starts.
Mariners 5, Tigers 4: a frustrating loss for Detroit, as they waste a 4-1 lead. It's simple--the bullpen has been good all year, but this time they gave it up, as Tiger reliever Ryan Perry gave up 4 runs to Seattle in the 8th.

I agree with this guy--America got this wrong, wrong, wrong. Crystal Bowersox was the best performer all season, she was clearly the best performer on the last night of competition this past Tuesday night, and she should have won Idol based on her season accomplishments.
America didn't see it that way, and I sure HOPE that it was not due to the fact that Crystal was a "dreadheaded hippie chick", a single mom, who liked music that was a bit out of the mainstream.

But I'm afraid it was.

Obama Newspeak:
What's Barack Obama's top priority? Everything.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday's wash

Rangers 8, Royals 7: Texas wins a game on the road--important to note, because they've struggled on the road so far this season. Key stats: Neftali Feliz gets another save in a solid 9th inning outing. Vladimir Guerrero hits 2 home runs and a double; he now has 42 RBIs in 45 games. You would have liked to have seen Rich Harden pitch longer and better; he didn't, but the Rangers got the win.
But...Mariners 5, Tigers 3: Detroit is struggling a bit on the road right now. They've lost 3 of their last 4. And you hate to lose a game Justin Verlander started. He didn't pitch badly, but the Tigers got him only 3 runs. Key stat: Miguel Cabrera isn't with the club--he's with his wife, who is having a baby. It's where he should be, but it means the Tigers' lineup lacks some punch.

In other sports news...
So NY/NJ gets the 2014 Super Bowl.
I think NY City will do a fine job of hosting the event. That's not a problem.
To me, the problem is the fact that typical New Jersey weather late in February gives us a greater chance that weather conditions will significantly affect the outcome of the game. And I'd rather have a game of this magnitude played in the best weather we can find.

Polling news:
Republicans have a real shot at winning the senate seat in Washington held by Democrat Patty Murray. Republican candidate Dino Rossi was robbed of a gubernatorial victory in that state a few years ago; he'll be a good candidate.
On the other hand, Quinnipiac shows the Dems up 6 in the generic congressional ballot for 2010. Hmmm...could be a worrying sign for Republicans...or maybe it's just an outlier. Seems to fly in the face of a lot of the other polling I've seen. Something to keep an eye on--and yet more reasons why the GOP must not be overconfident this year.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday's trackings

So the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers fired former head coach Mike Brown.

Sad, and one supposes, a bit unfair--after all, the guy won 60 regular season games two seasons in a row with the Cavs. But at the same time, let's face it, given Cleveland's sudden ouster from the playoffs this year and all the negative talk that therefore is around the team right now, it's an understandable move. This team is going to need a fresh start. It has to get rid of all the negativity, LeBron or no LeBron next year. They've got to start over. An important step in accomplishing that is to have a new coach.

It's really not fair, to throw away everything a guy accomplished just because his team lost playoff series to tough foes. But in the NBA and in most professional team sports these days, whoever said life is fair.

The false assumptions of ObamaCare continue to be exposed today:
"...CBO is not the only game in town. In the executive branch, the chief actuary of the Medicare program is supposed to provide the official health-care cost projections for the administration — at least he always has in the past. His cost estimate for the new health law differs in important ways from the one provided by CBO and calls into question every major contention the administration has advanced about the bill. The president says the legislation will slow the pace of rising costs; the actuary says it won’t. The president says people will get to keep their job-based plans if they want to; the actuary says 14 million people will lose their employer coverage, many of whom would certainly rather keep it than switch into an untested program. The president says the new law will improve the budget outlook; in so many words, the chief actuary says, don’t bet on it."

Republicans need to continue to pound on this as the 2010 elections approach; and remind voters just who voted in favor of this monstrosity.

In polling news, Rasmussen comes out today with a surprising survey on President Obama's job approval rating---showing that only 42% approve of his performance, while 56% disapprove.

Is the poll an outlier? Is it due to Rasmussen's methodology? Time will tell...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday's musings

Cubs 5, Rangers 4: the Rangers had kind of a tough weekend, losing 2 of 3 to the Cubs. But yesterday's game for example was largely about bad bounces; the Cubs got some seeing-eye singles in the first inning that helped lead to 4 runs; the Rangers, with the bases loaded in the 7th and trailing by just 1 run, had Josh Hamilton hit a liner right to the 2nd baseman. The Rangers competed hard and had good work again from their bullpen; they just didn't get the bounces.
Meanwhile, it was Tigers 6, Dodgers 2: it was important win for the Tigers, avoiding a sweep. I kind of figured they'd have trouble this weekend; the Dodgers have talent, and they'd gotten on a hot streak. Before yesterday, LA had won 13 of 14. But at least Detroit wasn't swept. And Rick Porcello pitched creditably, giving up only 2 runs in 6 innings. Now it's on to Seattle...

Michael Barone today advances a very good theory--2010 isn't an anti-incumbent year; it's an anti-spending year:
"This month, three members of Congress have been beaten in their bids for reelection — a Republican senator from Utah, a Democratic congressman from West Virginia, and a Republican-turned-Democratic senator from Pennsylvania. Their records and their curricula vitae are different. But they all have one thing in common: They are members of an appropriations committee. Like most appropriators, they have based much of their careers on bringing money to their states and districts. There is an old saying on Capitol Hill that there are three parties — Democrats, Republicans, and appropriators. One reason that it has been hard to hold down government spending is that appropriators of both parties have an institutional and political interest in spending. Their defeats are an indication that spending is not popular this year."

So are the retirements of several House Democrats. So was Tea Partier Rand Paul's victory in the GOP primary in Kentucky.

Polling news:
The latest poll in Florida (from the St. Petersburg Times) has Crist eking out a tiny lead over Rubio. Not what we on the right want to hear...on the other hand,
note that the poll shows 28% of those responding to be undecided.
Perhaps when Rubio officially sews up the GOP nomination, that will change.

On the other hand, in Arkansas, the Republican candidate for the Senate, John Boozman, holds an astounding 38 point lead over incumbent Dem Blanche Lincoln.

Note that President Obama's job approval rating remains kind of stagnant; the RCP average has it at 47.9%.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday's throwdowns

Rangers 4, Orioles 3: the third straight win at home for the Rangers, and their third straight one-run win, too. Key stat: Rich Harden, coming off a horrible start in Toronto, pitches nearly 6 innings of decent ball, allowing only two runs.
And the Tigers, coming off of a loss, got a good win on the road in Oakland, beating the A's, 5-1. The key: Justin Verlander, who pitched a complete game, allowed only 4 hits, and is 4-1 with a 1.26 ERA in his last five starts. He's an ace...

So did you see, yesterday, the president of Mexico slamming the Arizona illegal immigration law right on the White House lawn? I don't think Americans will like that; nor will they like President Obama's reaction to it. I agree with Bill Bennett:
"There is a lot to say about this — and we shall say it now. Allowing the running down of a part of the United States by the head of a foreign government, at the White House, standing next to the president — who not only didn’t challenge him, but encouraged him — is a foreign- and domestic-policy catastrophe. And in any catastrophe, one has to ask what were the conditions or causes that led to such a thing. Did the president tell Mr. Calderón ahead of time it would be okay to blast away at Arizona, which is to blast away at the United States? Or, less likely, was nothing said ahead of time and Mr. Calderón simply took note of the administration’s statements about Arizona thus far? Or, had Mr. Calderón simply observed over the past year not only President Obama and his administration’s take-down of Arizona but President Obama’s other attitudes about America, such as his bowing to foreign leaders and his calling America “arrogant,” “dismissive,” and “derisive” of our allies?"

Meanwhile, I note that many establishment types in the news media are claiming that there's no anti-government or anti-Democrat wave coming in November. No, no, they claim--instead, it's simply an anti-incumbent wave, to hit Dems and GOPers equally. They point for example to Arlen Specter's defeat, to the Democratic victory in the Pennsylvania House election the other night, etc. But Fred Barnes sets them straight today:
"After voting against the 80-year-old Mr. Specter in five elections dating back to 1980, a majority of Democratic voters in Pennsylvania couldn't bring themselves to vote for him yesterday. They didn't trust him....Nor was Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas forced into a runoff with Lt. Gov. Bill Halter yesterday because she's an incumbent. A bigger problem for her was a reputation as an unreliable vote for Democratic initiatives—Mr. Halter attacked her from the left—and polls consistently showed her badly trailing any Republican opponent. It's true that anti-incumbency was marginally responsible for the defeats recently of three-term Republican Sen. Robert Bennett of Utah and 14-term Democratic Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia. Voters do at times get tired of elected officials. But Mr. Bennett lost chiefly because he was seen as having "gone Washington" and too eager to compromise with Democrats. Mr. Mollohan was defeated by a conservative opponent more in tune with the state's drift to the right over the past decade."

Meanwhile, prediction: in Arkansas, in the upcoming Democratic primary runoff between incumbent Blanche Lincoln and challenger Bill Halter? Halter will win.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday's wash

White Sox 6, Tigers 2: the problems here were 1] Rick Porcello has been inconsistent; as a starting pitcher, he's just 3-4 this season, and yesterday gave up 4 runs in 7 innings; and 2] Detroit several times in this game failed to get a runner home from 3rd base with less than 2 outs. From the linked article:
"Detroit entered the game with a .475 success rate of scoring runners from third with less than two outs, leading just three teams in the category, according to STATS LLC."
That's got to improve.
But it was Rangers 8, Angels 7: the Rangers sweep a 2-game series against their division rivals. Now they play the Orioles and Cubs at home the rest of this week, and have a chance to do well. The key to the game last night was the Rangers' bullpen: after falling behind 7-3, the bullpen shut down the Angels for 4 and 2/3 innings...

So you hear a lot today about debt and debt crises--in Greece, in Britain, in the EU, in Europe as a whole. Why are they in so much debt? George Will today proposes an answer:
"It is said that, two decades after the end of Europe's East-West political division, there is a North-South cultural division. But Ireland's and, even more, Britain's debt problems refute that distinction. Britain's debt, Europe's worst, is the result of increasing government spending from 37 percent of GDP to 53 percent in a decade. The London Spectator says no other European nation "has expanded its government as quickly -- over this or any other decade in postwar history."

Meanwhile, sure enough, as we predicted here, Arlen Specter is done. In the end, it was his party switch--which looked to too many folks like opportunism--that did him in. Guess what--conservatives won't miss him...

And, sure enough again, in Connecticut, the Senate race there has greatly tightened--Democrat Richard Blumenthal is no longer a sure thing...

But in the Arizona Republican senatorial primary, I'm not seeing much movement there in the polls, as John McCain tries to hold off challenger J.D. Hayworth. Right now, I'm expecting McCain to survive...

And it was definitely disappointing to see Republicans lose that special election for John Murtha's old House seat in PA. If it's going to be a true huge Republican "wave" this fall, you'd expect the GOP to win races like that.

Yet another reason to avoid overconfidence, and to work like the dickens...
There was good news for the GOP last night in Arkansas, however:
"Will Bill Halter in Arkansas be the next outsider to win? It’s quite possible since Halter forced incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) into a June 8 run-off, with Lincoln getting just 45% to Halter’s 43% (and another candidate, D.C. Morrison, got a surprising 13%). In the physics of politics, you have to assume that much of the Morrison vote would end up going to the challenger Halter and not the incumbent Lincoln. In fact, according to our back-of-the-envelope math, Halter wins in a two-way if he gets only 60% of the Morrison vote. Organized labor and progressive groups are touting their active campaigning -- and millions of dollars -- for Halter. But the biggest winner in Arkansas last night was clearly John Boozman (R), who was able to avoid a run-off in the GOP’s crowded eight-candidate Senate primary by getting 53% of the vote. Folks, Boozman goes into the general election as the clear favorite to win this seat in November."

Meanwhile, Americans strike back against liberal health nazis:

"The Double Down [a chicken "sandwich" consisting of two chicken filets sandwiching bacon and cheese] came onto the market on April 12 and was supposed to have lasted about six weeks. But it tapped into Americans' fascination with quirky food and became a viral-marketing sensation. People posted videos of themselves eating the sandwich on sites like YouTube, and celebrities like Stephen Colbert gobbled it up.
KFC said it has been one of its most successful sandwich launches ever. Later this month, KFC expects to sell its 10 millionth Double Down. They cost about $5."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday's trackings

The Tigers-White Sox game was rained out. Meanwhile, it was Rangers 4, Angels 3: another good start for Derek Holland. And set-up reliever Darren Oliver pitched two innings of shutout ball; he has an ERA of 1.74 for the season now. He's been important. It's important for the Rangers to beat the Angels; one still has the impression they'll be Texas' main competition for the division title...

Mona Charen makes an excellent point today, one that needs making more often. Many in the establishment complain that "nothing gets done", that Washington is "broken." Huh???:
"The Post regrets that this polarized electorate prevents “anything from getting done,” which is an odd complaint, given that, since the last election, we have witnessed an $800 billion stimulus bill, the federal acquisition of General Motors, a more than $1 trillion health-care bill, the multi-billion-dollar mortgage bailout, and the nation’s deliverance from the curse of salty food."

Meanwhile, what grand strategy is the Obama team adopting to do battle with the GOP in the midterm elections this year? Simple: attack Republicans...and Newsweek's Howard Fineman perhaps inadvertently lays out exactly what will be wrong with this approach:

"When he ran for president, Barack Obama's effervescent campaign was about hope, optimism, national unity, and, above all, the future. He offered a vision of a new world cooperatively shaped by a new generation. The message was mostly positive and upbeat...Two years later the president is tentatively unveiling the strategy he and fellow Democrats will pursue in this fall's election season, and it has a heavy dose of ... looking backward. It's going to be as much about history as hope, and more about attacking Republicans than promoting his own vision....Elections are always a game of comparison, but attack politics are not supposed to be part of the Obama brand, and they could be undercut by what Americans like best about him: his steady, genial calm."

Now sure, we know why the Obama White House is doing this. They think Republicans still aren't all that popular, and there's certainly poll numbers out there to back some of that up. But at the same time, this isn't the Obama who ran in 2008. This is attack politics, and employing it will make Obama look like any other politician. I question how much that will help him. He might get some of that mud on himself. And that will be good news for Republicans.

Some polling news:
Aha, here's some better news from that Florida senate race between Charlie Crist, Marco Rubio, and Kendrick Meek--the latest Rasmussen poll now has Rubio with an 8 point lead over turncoat Crist, 39-31. Maybe Florida GOPers are starting to rally to Rubio...
As for my picks today in some of the primary elections, I still think the biggest race is in Pennsylvania in the Democratic senatorial race, and I still like Sestak over Specter.

Meanwhile, in Connecticut, Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal has claimed in public statements in the past that he served in Vietnam--when in fact he didn't. Republicans are jumping on this. As they should. The Connecticut senate race was considered not long ago a shoo-in for Dems to win, given Blumenthal's popularity in that state. It no longer is. Get money and resources in there, NRCC...

The generic ballot for 2010 still looks pretty good for Republicans--both Gallup and Rasmussen show the GOP with a small lead.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Monday's musings

So House Democrats in Washington aren't so happy with President Obama these days:
"[House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and other House leaders told senior White House aides at a recent closed-door meeting that they felt the president was spending too much time bashing Washington without pointing the finger of blame at Republicans – a rhetorical nuance they argued could backfire by provoking voter anger at the party in charge in Congress."

From the point of view of a pure political technician, they're probably right.
What it makes me wonder is: why didn't President Obama and his people--you know, the ones who are supposed to be so brilliant and so smart--see this, too?
As I've said before, I don't think the Obama White House is nearly as smart as media types gave it credit for being when he was elected...

Meanwhile, over the weekend one wonders--is Arlen Specter still in the hunt to beat Joe Sestak in the PA senatorial primary?

Maybe. Tracking polls show him still about even. But still, go with Sestak if you're a bettin' man. When an incumbent--and that's what Specter is--is below 50% and has given up a huge lead to a challenger? That almost always spells doom.

By the way, another direction-of-the-country poll came out recently. And still, a significant majority of Americans see this country as being on the "wrong track"; the RCP average for this is 35% believing we're on the right track, 58% seeing us as on the wrong track.

That really hasn't changed during the Obama presidency much; another difficult sign for Obama in this election...that he's been in office for well over a year now, and yet most people still believe we're headed down the wrong path. Hmmm...

Tigers, 5, Red Sox 1: right now all is right with the world in Tiger-land; though, as is always the case with baseball, it can all disappear in the next series. But the Tigers have in the past couple of weeks won series from the Twins, Angels, Yankees, and Red Sox---all 2009 playoff teams. Good stuff. The Tigers' pitching has on the whole improved over the past couple of weeks...
Meanwhile the Rangers were swept over the weekend, losing yesterday 5-2 to Toronto. They hit into 4 double plays yesterday, had far too many strikeouts in general over the weekend...the Rangers are just 7-11 on the road so far this year.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday's fish fry

Tigers 6, Yankees 0: woo-hoo some more! The Tigers take 3 of 4 from the hated Yankees. That's always something to celebrate. The key factor from this week's games so far is the resurgence of the Tigers' starting pitchers. Rick Porcello, Jeremy Bonderman, and Justin Verlander all pitched very well; hopefully it's a sign of things to come, so the bullpen isn't overtaxed. And what can one say about Miguel Cabrera; he carries the Tigers' offense, and had another home run and a double yesterday.
And the Rangers beat the A's yesterday, 2-1 in 12 innings. Key stat: another excellent start for the Rangers from C.J. Wilson, who's ERA is now 1.48. He pitched 7 innings of one-hit ball.

Indeed--you hear about Republicans battling each other, but Democrats?...:
"Given the obsessive coverage of the Republican "civil war," you may not realize Democrats are also feuding. Angry and disappointed that their president and Congress has not done more, the party's liberal base is throwing itself into the primaries, pushing the party to the left even as the country moves right. Ask Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln, who on Tuesday will fight to keep her party's nomination against progressive Bill Halter, the state's lieutenant governor. Also up for judgment that day is Sen. Arlen Specter. He has his new party's full financial backing. Recent polls nonetheless show the liberal Mr. Sestak within striking distance."

But in the eyes of the liberal establishment media, when conservative Republicans challenge incumbents in a GOP primary, it's an attempted "purge." Meanwhile, when liberal Democrats challenge incumbents in a Dem primary? That's just it--in the media's eyes, too often it's merely a "challenge" by those seeking to "shake up the status quo", etc etc etc.

In reality, it's called media bias.

Polling news:
In California, Dem Senator Barbara Boxer--very possibly in trouble in 2010.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday's throwdowns

Not too much time for blogging today, but here's a few quick items:

More good news for Republicans for the 2010 elections from the polling world:
"Republicans have solidified support among voters who had drifted from the party in recent elections, putting the GOP in position for a strong comeback in November’s mid-term campaign, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
The findings suggest that public opinion has hardened in advance of the 2010 elections, making it tougher for Democrats to translate their legislative successes, or a tentatively improving U.S. economy, into gains among voters. Republicans have reassembled their coalition by reconnecting with independents, seniors, blue-collar voters, suburban women and small town and rural voters—all of whom had moved away from the party in the 2006 elections, in which Republicans lost control of the House. Those voter groups now favor GOP control of Congress… The voters who said they were most interested in the November elections favor Republican control of Congress by a 20-point margin, with 56% backing the GOP and 36% backing Democrats—the highest gap all year on that question."

Just don't get cocky, GOP...

Meanwhile, in PA, don't change your bet--right now Suffolk has Sestak running away from Specter in the Dem senatorial primary there...

Yesterday, the Tigers split a doubleheader with the Yankees, winning game 1 2-0, but losing the second game 8-0. Still, not a bad day. In the first game, the big news was Rick Porcello--he pitched 7 strong innings of shutout ball. In the second game, the Yankees just had too much Phil Hughes.
Meanwhile it was Rangers 10, A's 1: the big story there is Derek Holland. He showed flashes of brilliance last year. This year he started out in the minors, largely to rehab from a spring training injury. He was dominant there; and he dominated last night, with 6 innings of shutout ball and 7 Ks. It was also nice to see Josh Hamilton and Vlad Guerrero go deep.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday's wash

The Tigers/Yankees game of last night was rained out. Meanwhile, it was A's 7, Rangers 6, in 13 innings. Tough loss for the Rangers; they entered the 9th inning with a 4-3 lead. But closer Neftali Feliz couldn't hold it, and got hit fairly hard. The Rangers' slightly shaky closer situation continues to be one negative this season...

Meanwhile, the Oakland A's have a lot of guys you've never heard of, and a tremendous amount of youth. Yet they keep surprising us--they won series last week from a hot Texas team, a hot Tampa Bay Rays team, and Dallas Braden tossed a perfect game. Can they keep this up?

Supreme Court nominee update---
Did all of you know that Obama SC nominee Elena Kagan once said this?:
"Whether a given category of speech enjoys First Amendment protection depends upon a categorical balancing of the value of the speech against its societal costs."

Wow; a better entree to "speech codes", political correctness, and banning political speech with which one disagrees would be hard to find. Question this nominee very closely, Republicans.

By the way, remember ObamaCare? Democrats said that once it was passed, people would love it. Well, it's been a while now...and yet the RCP average shows that right now, on average, 41% approve...about 52% disapprove. Rasmussen's latest poll on it (of yesterday) only had 37% approving. Hmmm....

Even the NY Times acknowledges the tough position in which Arlen Specter now finds himself in Pennsylvania:
"One year after leaving the Republican Party in the face of crumbling support, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is now fighting to avert rejection — and presumably the end of his career — at the hands of Democrats. After seeming earlier this year to face an easy race for the Democratic nomination against Representative Joe Sestak, Mr. Specter is in what he acknowledges is an unexpectedly tough campaign, buffeted by a national anti-incumbent sentiment as well as resistance among Democrats wary of embracing a longtime Republican in next Tuesday’s primary."

Polls continue to show it close, and some important PA Democrats are cotinuing to back Specter. But I still say: Sestak to beat Specter in the primary.

A new Fox News poll has more good news for Republicans:
"If the Congressional election were held today, 42 percent of voters would back the Republican candidate in their district, while 40 percent would support the Democrat, according to the latest Fox News poll. Most Republicans (86 percent) back their party's candidate and most Democrats (80 percent) back theirs, and independents are divided. By 37-31 percent independent voters are somewhat more likely to back the Republican candidate, while 20 percent are undecided. A similar split is seen when the question is about voting in the 2012 presidential election: 41 percent would back Barack Obama, and 41 percent the Republican Party's candidate."

Again, remember that even a slight GOP lead in the generic ballot is big, huge good news for Republicans, due to the edge they will have this year in energy, enthusiasm, and turnout among voters.

There's also an opportunity for Republicans in 2012. Remember that Barack Obama will be tough to beat no matter what. He will be the incumbent. He's a good speaker, he's articulate, a good campaigner. But there is an opportunity, as his support had dropped since '08...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday's trackings

This time from the Islamic extremist front:
"A Swedish artist who angered Muslims by depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a dog was assaulted Tuesday as angry protesters interrupted his university lecture about the limits of artistic freedom. Lars Vilks told The Associated Press a man in the front row ran up to him and head-butted him during the lecture, breaking his glasses but leaving him uninjured. It wasn't immediately clear what happened to the attacker.
A video clip of the incident on the website of a Swedish newspaper showed police using pepper spray and batons to hold off an angry crowd shouting "God is great" in Arabic after Vilks was escorted out of the lecture hall."

Have moderate Muslims around the world denounced this? They're out there. They need to make themselves heard.

Tigers 5, Yankees 4: woo-hoo! A win over the Yankees is always encouraging. Key stats: Johnny Damon homered; he's been a big addition for the Tigers, with a .295 batting average, but also a .412 on-base percentage and a .455 slugging average. And Jose Valverde continues to save games..

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday's musings

The Texas Rangers had a great weekend, sweeping four games at home from the Royals and moving again into first place in the AL West. Yesterday's win was 6-4. There's still some worry over starter Scott Feldman. He lasted only 4 innings yesterday and still hasn't found his good stuff. But the Rangers' bullpen was very solid all series, shutting out KC over 5 innings yesterday.
The weekend for the Detroit Tigers meanwhile was just so-so, as they split two games in Cleveland. They lost yesterday's game, 7-4. Key stat: starter Max Scherzer again does poorly, and overall has an ERA of 14.54. Right now he's a weak link. The Tigers will need all their links to be strong as nails early this week, as they start a series with the Yankees.

In other sports-related news...
A U.S. Senator has nothing better to do, so...:
"Sen. Robert Menendez is urging the Major League Baseball Players' Association to boycott next year's All-Star Game in Phoenix over the recently passed Arizona law to crack down on illegal immigrants."

What would Sen. Menendez think if there was a call to boycott games in New York and New Jersey, due to those states' failure to crack down on the number of illegal immigrants to be found there? Let's hope Arizonans stand firm against this leftist pressure.

Wow--the main tracking poll following the Pennsylvania senatorial primary among the Democrats now has Sestak up 5 over Specter. Looks like my pick was right...Specter looks done.
Meanwhile the latest generic congressional ballot polling hasn't changed things too much--the RCP average has the Republicans up by about half a point which, given GOP edges this year in turnout and enthusiasm, is still significant.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday's fish fry

Rangers 13, Royals 12: one of those nights, with the wind blowing out, etc. Not a good night for the Rangers' bullpen, which blew an 8 run lead. On the other hand, Josh Hamilton homered and now has 4 in his last 11 games...and Neftali Perez saved the game effectively in the 9th inning, striking out two of the three batters he faced.


In polling news, several things stand out today...
In Indiana, Republicans indeed are in a great position to take Evan Bayh's old senate seat. Dan Coats is now the GOP nominee; he leads Brad Ellsworth, who is the certain Democratic nominee, by 15 points.
In Ohio, Republicans did poorly there in 2008. But they've rallied. One example: in the Ohio governor's race, Republican John Kasich trails incumbent Governor Ted Strickland by only one point.
In the Pennsylvania Democratic senatorial primary, boy, do I ever stand by my prediction of Arlen Specter getting beat--the daily tracking poll there now has his race with Joe Sestak tied.
In Arkansas, yet more good news for Republicans--there, incumbent Dem Senator Blanche Lincoln trails her likely GOP opponent by a whopping 17 points.

And by the way, in Connecticut--in the senate race there, Democrats were supposed to have that one locked up when Chris Dodd retired, and the state's attorney general, the popular Richard Blumenthal, decided to run in his place. He once led Republican contender Linda McMahon by over 30 points, for example. But look now--he has not run a good campaign, has been wooden on the stump, and his lead over McMahon is down to just 13 points; he's taken nearly a 20 point slide in the polls. In my opinion he's still a favorite to win; but not a lock.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday's throwdowns

Twins 5, Tigers 4: once again the Tigers are done in by errors allowing in two runs, a poor start by Rick Porcello, and...the fact that the Twins are probably just the better team this year.
A's 4, Rangers 1: after playing well for most of their road trip, the Rangers seem to go AWOL in this final game of it. The Rangers still aren't hitting like they can...

In Pennsylvania, in the latest tracking poll of the Democratic senatorial primary between Specter and Sestak, the challenger is within 5 points of our old friend Arlen. I repeat my pick: Specter will lose that primary.

Meanwhile in Florida, a Mason-Dixon poll confirms what Rasmussen showed the other day--in the 3-way race, Charlie Crist has a small lead over Rubio. Darn! I see Jeb Bush strongly endorsed Rubio a day or two ago. Let's see if that, and the passage of some time, moves the numbers soon...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday's wash

Twins 4, Tigers 3: a tough loss. Credit the Twins for making huge plays in the 9th inning to win the game. Not a great offensive night for the Tigers--key stat: they forced Twins' starter Nick Blackburn to throw only 85 pitches through 8 innings.
A's 7, Rangers 6: another tough loss. Key stat in this one: Rangers' starter Scott Feldman still hasn't quite found it this year; he gave up 7 runs in the 7 innings he pitched, though he did retire the final 12 men he faced. Feldman won 17 games last year; the Rangers are counting on him.

And there's sad news today in baseball--Hall of Fame broadcaster, radio voice of the Detroit Tigers for 42 years, Ernie Harwell has died. He was 92. I grew up in western Michigan, one of those millions of boys who grew up in this state listening to the Tigers and Ernie. Just thinking of him makes me think of those warm, summer nights, and how much enjoyment he gave us. This piece today in the Detroit News has it right:
"He became the foundation of baseball in Michigan. He taught the game to a million or more youngsters from Monroe to Iron Mountain, down into Ohio, and across into Ontario. Because of him, and his voice, they learned to understand baseball. They learned to love the sport. They learned to respect it."

Amen. That was certainly true for me. RIP, Ernie.

The Times Square Bomber:
Victor Davis Hanson of NRO has what is, so far, the most penetrating insight in the wake of the incident:
"...we are doing our darnedest to playact that radical Muslims who are trying to kill us are not trying to kill us; and two, we are not seeing a lot of peaceful blowback from the virtual closing of Guantanamo, the virtual trial of KSM, the reach out in the Al Arabiya interview, the "reset" rhetoric, the Cairo speech, and the apology tour — 2009 saw the most terrorism attempts since 2001."

Some on the left will undoubtedly claim that Obama hasn't yet been in office long enough to effect change. But he's been there over a year. His statements get unprecedented play not just in this country, but around the world. Extremist jihadists know exactly what Obama's about. They are not impressed. Don't say conservatives didn't warn you...

Big news today in 2010 election news: David Obey, a powerful and long-serving Democratic congressman from Wisconsin, announces today that he won't run again.
It appears Rep8blicans have an aggressive candidate in place there; could be another GOP pickup...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday's trackings

Twins 10, Tigers 4: unfortunately another bad start for Max Scherzer, who gives up 10 runs on 8 hits in 4 innings. Thanks to that, the Tigers trailed 7-0 after two innings. That was the story of the game...
But...Rangers 4, A's 2: the Rangers have won 4 in a row. And the most welcome news for them was the excellent start they received from Rich Harden, who struck out 9 and allowed only 2 hits. That's the Harden the Rangers expected, and need, to see...

On the illegal immigration front--
I think Mona Charen has it right today when she advises Republicans to maintain their principles but, at the same time, not fall into Hispanic-bashing:
"Republicans who favor strong measures to limit illegal immigration should not sacrifice their principles to truckle for votes. But neither should they blindly blunder into a political wilderness for lack of finesse. Republicans must take care to couch their opposition to illegal immigration in the overall context of welcoming legal immigrants and appreciating the contribution of immigrants overall. Recruiting Hispanic candidates ought to be a high priority."

Most of our ancestors were LEGAL immigrants to this country. Mine certainly were. Of course then we have no problem with legal immigration. Let's make sure that fundamental gets put out there, conservatives...

Meanwhile, yet more polling info finds that Americans support the Arizona law:
"A majority of the people polled, 57 percent, said the federal government should determine the laws addressing illegal immigration. But 51 percent said the Arizona law was “about right” in its approach to the problem. Thirty-six percent said it went too far and 9 percent said it did not go far enough."

Polling news:
This is a little troubling for conservatives--in the first Florida Rasmussen poll taken since Charlie Crist declared that he'd run for the senate as an independent, it shows Crist leading Rubio by 4 points, 38-34.

One hopes all Florida Republicans will come home to Rubio after the party primary; I suspect they haven't all done so yet.

Meanwhile, in the Pennsylvania Democratic senatorial primary, I'm now ready to predict it: Sestak will upset Specter and gain the Dem nomination. Every poll shows Sestak having gained at least 10 points, if not more, over the past month or two, and closing to within 10 points and less of Specter. Candidates closing like that, consistently over a good length of time, often win.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday's musings

Tigers sweep the Angels over the weekend, winning yesterday 5-1 to cap it. The Tigers' rookies play well. For the most part, they get good pitching. Yesterday's key stat was this: Justin Verlander at one point retires 23 batters in a row. That's our ace...
But the Rangers sweep their weekend series too, capping it yesterday with a 3-1 win in 11 innings. Partly the key stat over the weekend was Seattle's anemic offense--they scored only 4 runs in 3 games. But the Rangers' pitching is improved; their staff ERA right now is top 5 in the league, at 3.48.

Arizona, illegal immigration, and the coming backlash against the left:
Ralph Peters has it about right today:
" American and European leftists share the conviction that the immigrant, legal or illegal, is always right -- and the native-born citizen's always wrong. This bigotry toward the law-abiding American, Brit, Frenchman or Italian doesn't help the immigrant in the end. Instead, it's a powerful engine driving divisiveness...the left's blame-game is identical: Anyone who doesn't elevate the "rights" of the immigrant over the rights, safety and desires of the citizen is a bigot. No exceptions. Could there be a formula better designed to excite anti-immigrant sentiment?"

In the latest polling news, first we go to Pennsylvania, where recent polling for the Democratic senatorial primary between Sestak and Specter reminds us of something: Arlen Specter might not even be the Democratic nominee for the senate.