Monday, July 07, 2008



McCain expected to bring down the house-- and the Senate

McCain and his pals didn't learn their lesson in Illinois, Louisiana or Mississippi. In special elections in each state, Republican Party front groups, carefully-- and illegally-- coordinating their efforts with the McCain camp through the RNC, attacked Obama and tried tying the congressional Democratic candidates (each in a heavy Republican district) to him. The strategy failed in Illinois and Bill Foster was elected, the wildly popular Senator Obama campaigning with him, while McCain staked his reputation by campaigning for the hapless GOP also-ran. In Louisiana the barrage of negative campaign was much worse-- and the Republican candidate's loss was even more shocking. At this point some in the Republican Party started questioning the vicious attack ads but they were shouted down and the Mississippi campaign was one of the ugliest ever. In an overwhelmingly white, conservative Republican district, everyone who heard the radio and TV ads must have thought Obama was the candidate. And he won. McCain was officially declared a candidate with no coattails. It seemed like the more his people smeared Obama and the Democrats, the more independent and moderate voters grew disgusted with them and voted for the Democrats. Not that that is stopping them. According to this morning's NY Times the GOP is firmly committed to smear, smear, smear-- and distortion.

The Republicans are launching a $3 million national TV run trying to blame Bush's and McCain's catastrophic approach to energy policy on... Obama. So far this year Big Oil and Gas have dumped $17,050,965 into federal political contributions, 74% going to Republicans. The biggest single benefactor of Big Oil's largesse is the man they know will stay the course on the Bush-Cheney energy "policies" that have redistributed the wealth of the nation from the middle and working class to the corporate giants, especially the oil giants. That, of course, would be John W. McCain, who has already reaped $791,777, more than double what has been given to Obama. The corporate beneficiaries of Bush-McCain economics are financing the attack ads on Obama and the Democrats.

On the other hand, a huge traditional source of funding for Republicans may be drying up. The American Medical Association, which has usually leaned Republican, is fuming-- and putting their money where their mouths are. This morning's NY Times talks about pressure-- in the form of TV and radio ads-- being applied to Republican senators who followed McConnell and McCain in cutting doctors' payments under Medicare by 10.6%. "The advertisements, by the American Medical Association, urge Senate Republicans to reverse themselves and help pass legislation to fend off the cut." The threat isn't something to be taken lightly.
Just before the Fourth of July recess, the House passed a bill to prevent the Medicare pay cut by a vote of 355 to 59. In the Senate, Republicans blocked efforts to take up the bill, so the cut took effect on July 1, as required by the formula. But the Bush administration has delayed processing of new claims to give Congress time to come up with a compromise.

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, said he planned to force another vote this week, and Democrats pressed their case over the weekend in their national radio address.

Democrats need just one more vote to pass the bill, and they hope to win over Republicans who were hit by advertisements over the recess. The advertisements assert that Republicans have been protecting “powerful insurance companies at the expense of Medicare patients’ access to doctors.” The commercials were aimed at 10 Republican senators, including seven up for election this fall.

But President Bush has vowed to veto the bill, so the fight-- and the uncertainty-- could continue for weeks.

Mr. Bush and many Republicans oppose the bill because it would finance an increase in doctors’ fees by reducing federal payments to insurance companies that offer private Medicare Advantage plans as an alternative to the traditional government-run Medicare program.

This is exactly what Republican senators up for re-election do not want to hear. Yesterday's L.A. Times warned that prospects look so bad for GOP incumbents in the Senate that even a state as deeply red as Mississippi could send a Democrat to Washington, ousting a lackluster Republican incumbent.

The backward-looking Cook Report, usually 6-7 weeks behind the curve in mid-summer, went from predicting a tight race for just one Republican at this time in 2007 to admitting that seven are in serious jeopardy. More astute observers than Cook feel that the Democrats are likely to take 8-10 seats and possibly 12. Aside from Mississippi, Republican incumbents in very red states like Alaska, North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas could be in trouble. And the Republicans have virtually written off the open Republican seat in Virginia and are on the verge of doing likewise in New Mexico and Colorado. Even Nebraska and Idaho are being contested seriously by the surging Democrats. And there isn't a Democratic incumbent is serious trouble anywhere. To make matters worse, the dirty boys and nasty girls over on the extreme right fringe of the disintegrating party are threatening a vicious, noisy platform fight if McCain makes any move to bring the GOP back towards the mainstream.
The outlook for the GOP is so grim that party leaders have readily conceded there is no chance they can regain control of the Senate in 2008, even though Democrats' current majority is slim, 51-49.

"If you have an R in front of your name, you better run scared," said Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, who says the party will do well if it holds its losses to three or four seats.

..."This is the toughest election in my 32 years in the United States Senate," wrote Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R- Utah), vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, in a fundraising letter.

Many of the Democrats running are nearly reactionaries themselves-- or just frightened moderates who are just counting on a huge anti-Republican tsunami. Some are corporate shills, just like the Republicans they seek to replace. Blue America has endorsed the 4 progressive running for the Senate, Tom Allen of Maine, Andrew Rice of Oklahoma, Rick Noriega of Texas, and Mark Begich of Alaska. You can donate to their campaigns at the Blue America page, something that would be very much appreciated. We have also decided to endorse Jeff Merkley in Oregon and we are looking favorably towards Al Franken (MN), Tom Udall (NM)-- not Mark-- and Larry LaRocco (ID).

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At 8:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Guys. Let’s start the week with a great idea. It is called “Oil for Illegal Immigrants”. Credit Dr. Michael Savage for this one. The plan is simple. Have Mexico send us 1 barrel of oil every month for every one of their fellow countrymen that is here in the US illegally sucking our medical services and school infrastructures dry. So, that would come to about 10 – 12 million, yes million barrels of oil a month. At $140 dollars a barrel that would cover the bill for their use of our health facilities and schools quite nicely. And yes, it would go a little toward solving our energy problem.

Having Fun and Rattling Cages,
Ferrell Gummitt


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