Third-Party Spending on Elections Takes Off
The Supreme Court recently struck down
laws prohibiting corporations, unions, and other groups from spending whatever they want to support or oppose
specific candidates for public office. That spending is now starting to ramp up. The NY Times
has nice maps
of the U.S. showing where the money is being spent and for which party. In 2010, Senate and House races have
pulled in $26 million, the vast majority of it for Republican candidates. In the Senate, a lot of it has gone into
Pennsylvania, where it has propelled Pat Toomey (R) into the lead over Joe Sestak (D), and California, where it
has gotten Carly Fiorina (R) at least close to Barbara Boxer (D-CA) although there has also been third-party
money helping Boxer. Missouri, Kentucky, and Illinois have also been popular targets.
Money in House races has been split over more districts, but that is only natural given 37 Senate races
and 435 House races. Popular places for third-parties to spend money are AZ-01 (Ann Kirkpatrick),
FL-08 (Alan Grayson), MI-07 (Mark Schauer), and OH-16 (John Boccieri). All these are districts in which
external money in large volume could help unseat a vulnerable Democrat.
House May Vote on Tax Cuts Next Week
Yesterday's news was that neither the House nor the Senate would vote on extending the Bush tax cuts until a lame-duck
session of Congress after the election. Today's news
is that the House might vote on this issue next week. The Senate definitely won't. What's going on here? There is an internal struggle
within the Democratic Party on this issue. Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants a vote because she thinks it will allow Democrats to
frame the Republicans as the party of the rich if they vote against making the middle-class tax cut permanent. However, House members
in Republican districts are afraid that a vote for such a bill will be spun by their opponents as "DEMOCRATS VOTE FOR TAX INCREASE"
and are scared witless to have the vote before the election. The ironic thing is that most of the scared Democrats are from rural
districts with few rich people who would actually be affected. It's the ads the Democrats are afraid of. Not the voters.
This tug of war within the party
will go on all weekend. It's anybody's guess whether the vote will actually be held next week.
Russia Opposes Key Plank in Republicans' "Pledge to America"
Most of the Republicans new
"Pledge to America"
involves taxes, government, and other domestic matters. One of the few meaningful foreign policy issues in the pledge is a
plank calling for enforcing sanctions on Iran. However, Russia has made it clear
that it does not support such sanctions on Iran. In particular, Russia has just built a large nuclear power plant in Iran
and is expecting follow-up orders related to it. Russia needs the money and has no intention of giving it up to help
the Republican Party. This shows that promises like "tough sanctions" may sound good in 30-sec commercials, but
aren't so easy to pull off when major players refuse to go along.
The pledge is not universally popular even in Republican circles, let alone foreign ones.
Conservatives have criticized
it as "a diet full of sugar" and few Republican candidates have endorsed it or featured it front and center
on their Websites. In a week, it will probably be largely forgotten. While the pledge was an attempt to
revive the "Contract on America" that helped the GOP win the 1994 elections, it is much too long. The "Contract"
was 2 pages; the "Pledge" is 21 pages. While Americans might be willing to read two pages of something novel,
expecting them to read 21 pages of anything is probably 19 bridges too far.
Palin vs. The Republican Party
A year ago a lot of people wrote off Sarah Palin's career as a politician after she quit being governor of Alaska.
What a difference a year makes. She has now become a real thorn in the side
of the Republican Party, helping the tea party, giving speeches and endorsing candidates. Her track record on
endorsements has been far from perfect, betting on 16 winners and 11 losers, but the amount of attention
she commands is extraordinary for the former governor of a politically unimportant state.
takes a good look at the Palin phenomenon and where it may be going.
Today's Polls: FL NV
|| Kendrick Meek
|| Marco Rubio
|| Charlie Crist
|| Sep 22
|| Sep 22
|| Harry Reid*
|| Sharron Angle
|| Sep 20
|| Sep 22
|| Mason Dixon
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