Thursday, November 29, 2007

Make Your Own Attack Ad with DNC's Flipper TV

The Democratic National Committee has launched a new project called "Flipper TV." This website features hours of video clips of the Republican presidential candidates. More video will be added over the coming months, including clips from the You Tube Republican debate held on Wednesday, November 28, 2007. This is a really cool idea. So, if you ever wanted to make your own attack ad, now you have the material, courtesy of the DNC.

Clinton Leads in Most SurveyUSA Polls

A SurveyUSA poll done for two television stations in Ohio has Clinton leading all Republicans listed except for John McCain. The poll was taken on November 9, 2007. A November 1, 2007 poll by Survey USA had Clinton leading all Republicans listed in Florida. A SurveyUSA poll has Clinton leading all listed Repulicans in Kentucky.

Thus, in states that were battleground states in 2000 and 2004, Florida and Ohio, Clinton leads and in a state that is usually a safe Republican state, Clinton leads. Yet, constantly from the news media we hear and read stories that question Clinton's electability. This is usually based on the relatively high unfavorables that Clinton has when compared to other Democratic and Republican candidates.

The problem with such analysis, however, is that it overlooks the ability of Republicans, with their allies in the media like Fox News, to drive up the unfavorables of any Democratic candidate who wins the Democratic nomination. Can we say "Swift-boating", children?

What we know about Clinton is that she can take and deliver a punch. We don't know that nearly as well about Obama and Edwards. The question isn't whether the Republicans are going to attack and demonize the Democratic nominee. The question is whether such Democrat will fight back. The ability and willingness to fight back may be a lot more important than the negative ratings of the eventual Democratic nominee.

"Bush Economy" Heading for a Recession?

The economy is heading toward a recession. New home sales are down 8.5% since July. Prices of new homes have fallen 7.5% from a year ago. Credit is increasingly hard to get for consumers and businesses. All of these are signs that the economy is heading towards a recession.

Ever since Bush's reckless, radical tax cuts, we have heard from his supporters and apologists about how they have helped the economy. Actually, and this is something that presidents of both parties don't want to talk about, but the Federal Reserve Board has more control over the economy than any president. If the Fed makes more money available, it helps both consumers and businesses get loans. They use these loans to buy goods and services, thereby creating more jobs for Americans.

Under Greenspan the Fed basically allowed homeowners to turn their homes into ATM units. Americans borrowed on their equity to finance everything from home remodeling to a new vacation for the grandkids.

Naturally, since Greenspan is a Republican and since Bush is an idiotic Republican, no one thought about overseeing the financial institutions making these loans. As a result, we now have a wave of losses in the billions of dollars from risky loans. Consequently, we see financial institutions, who are apparently led by people who are not real bright given their past history, sharply cutting back on new loans.

If there is a recession, look for three things to happen. One is that Republicans like Bush will push for even more tax cuts under the rationale that we need to "pump" up the economy. Two, Democrats will do even better next year than anticipated. Three, illegal immigration will become even more potent as an issue because of economic insecurity among working class Americans.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gallup Poll Shows Clinton & Obama Lead or Tie GOP Contenders

The Gallup Polling organization released a poll of nationwide voters on November 26, 2007, showing that Clinton and Obama lead all GOP contenders with the exception that Obama ties Guilliani in the poll. What is significant about Clinton's lead is that against all candidates, except Guilliani, she is doing better in her poll numbers than she was doing in a June/July poll. Regarding Guilliani, although Clinton's spread over Guilliani has increased from four per-cent to five per-cent, the numbers for both Guilliani have declined by one point each. Clinton went to 49% from 50% and Guilliani went from 46% to 44%.

Of course, we don't elect presidents in a nationwide contest, we elect them in 50 state elections which result in the selection of electors who make up the electoral college. Therefore, national polling figures are somewhat misleading. While it is probably impossible for a presidential candidate to lose the popular vote by more than five per-cent and still win the 270 electoral votes required to become president, as we saw in 2000, it is possible to lose the popular vote by 500,000 plus votes and still win the electoral college. In such a case, however, it is helpful to have the United States Supreme Court go in the bag for you.

Republican Representative Pushed Through Financial Aid for College for the Rich

Let's say that you were allocating Federal dollars for a student loan program. Would one of your priorities be getting such aid into the hands of parents who run businesses employing less than 100 people? Parents who may have a net worth in the millions of dollars? Well, if you were Republican Representative Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado that's exactly what you would do.

This is from an article on the U.S. News & World Report website dated November 16, 2007:

A little-noticed loophole written into federal college financial aid rules allows the children of wealthy entrepreneurs to collect aid intended for the needy.

In a bill passed last year, Congress decreed that when determining how much each family can afford to contribute to a child's college education, the federal government should not consider the assets of owners of businesses with 100 full-time employees or fewer. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado inserted this exemption, noting at the time that small-business owners should be treated the same as family farmers, who aren't expected to mortgage their property to pay for college. Musgrave, a Republican, did not respond to requests for comment. The federal government will still consider the income of all business owners.

According to the article, financial planners for the rich are already taking advantage of this provision, as this quote shows:

Matt Geherin, a financial consultant in Rochester, N.Y., helped a client move property worth $700,000 into a limited partnership to reduce taxes and improve his children's eligibility for need-based aid. The new exemption could "change our advice profoundly," he says.

Major advantage. Fred Amrein, a fee-only college funding adviser based in Wynnewood, Pa., says the new exemption allowed one client's child to qualify for a federally subsidized student loan this spring even though the parent's business was worth more than $1 million. Previously, the government would have estimated those parents could have paid more than $70,000 a year for tuition and thus would have awarded the child no need-based aid. "This is a major advantage for small-business families," Amrein says, adding, "I believe the size [of the exemption] is too large."

Marilyn Musgrave: She'll fight to the death to help the rich!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Reader Submission: The Kids on my Street

On my street, the kids went to war when they graduated high school. The moms and dads had a party for the boys before they left for basic training and another one before they shipped to Vietnam. The kids on my street all went to Vietnam.

There weren’t many parties when the kid came back. Just having him back in one piece was enough. The moms and dads seemed to sink into themselves and always aged while their child was gone.

When the kid came back he was usually working at Chevy, Ford or Republic Steel before his hair grew over his ears and onto his collar. Most of the boys on my street grew their hair long after they came back from Vietnam.

The people on my street knew that the fortunate sons of privilege were not going to Vietnam. The Batchelders, Bushes and Cheneys lived on avenues, drives and boulevards where all of the children went to college and joined the National Guard or the Army Special Reserve or got themselves elected to a Government position if they ran out of deferments. These children didn’t keep themselves out of the war. Their moms and dads used their power and influence and money to keep their kids out of Vietnam.

The children on the Batchelder’s, Bush’s and Cheney’s avenues and boulevards were already working in Government when the kids on my street came back from Vietnam. The Batchelder, Bush and Cheney children never did grow their hair long and they didn’t learn first-hand about real human justice and injustice and tragedy and corruption and courage and sacrifice, but they did get a big head start in government, which is part of the reason that we are in the situation we are in, in Iraq. These sons of privilege never tested or tempered their own character in the Vietnam crucible and arrived in positions of power without the capability of exercising the thoughtful judgment that they may have possessed had they only gone to war with the kids on my street.

John Galish

Afro-American Evangelical Voters: Personally Conservative but Socially Liberal?

There is an interesting article on the Washington Post website dated November 26, 2007, about Afro-American evangelical voters being torn between the two parties. On the one hand they lean conservative on issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, but on the other hand they are liberal in terms of combating racism and on economic issues. This is a quote from the article:

Morality is different in terms of the way we see it and white evangelicals see it," said Pastor Lyle Dukes of Harvest Life Changers Church in Woodbridge, a member of Jackson's group who supported Bush in 2004. "What we think is moral is not only the defense of marriage, but we also think equal education is a moral issue. We think discrimination is immoral."

The above quote sums up the problem for some Afro-American evangelical voters. The GOP will never back them on issues such as fighting racial discrimination or equalizing education opportunities. The Democrats won't back them on issues such as abortion gay rights. In 2004 they resolved that dilemma by backing Bush in greater numbers in such states as Ohio where there was a constitutional amendment on the ballot outlawing same-sex marriage.

That year Bush received 16% of the Afro-American vote in Ohio while nationwide he received about 11% of the Afro-American vote. Given the closeness of the race here in Ohio, that extra 5% was very important to Bush and the GOP.

This year, though, such voters are feeling like there is no one for them to support. The Post article ends with a point made by a Afro-American preacher who supported Bush in 2004:

He thinks the GOP pays attention to evangelicals when it needs their votes but has not delivered when it comes to advancing their causes. Jackson said that after the 2004 election, he attended a White House meeting of evangelical leaders and listened as Rove said he didn't think the church vote had won the election for Bush.

Jackson told him: "I am a registered Democrat. The only reason I am here is because I thought you were working on issues of faith and that it would be better for my folks than the promises, promises of the Democratic party."

Democrats, he said, "come to us under the cloak of darkness at the last hour, get what they want and then act like they don't know us the next day."

That got a big laugh from the conservatives, he recalled. Then Jackson said he told Rove: "You all are doing the same thing to the evangelicals."

Politics is About Personal Relationships as Much as About Philosophy

There is a story in the New York Times dated November 24, 2007, about how a former Marine is organizing western Iowa for Barack Obama. The essential point of the story is that he is trying to develop a network of voters who will recruit other Democratic voters to Obama's cause for the upcoming Democratic caucuses. This is a quote from the article:

The outcome of the Iowa caucuses, a set of 1,781 precinct meetings to take place across the state on Jan. 3, hinges on creating a strong and loyal person-to-person network. Mr. Steele is among the hundreds of Democratic and Republican campaign aides stationed in Iowa responsible for building — and sustaining — those networks throughout the state’s 99 counties.

Most local campaigns don't understand this point: In politics relationships are as important, if not more so, as philosophy in winning elections. People don't go out and work for candidates in local elections because they agree with their philosophy, they go out and work for them because they like them. This is not so true on the national and state level, but is very true on the local level.

People who are thinking about running for office need to work on developing a network of personal relationships they can draw on for their campaigns. It is possible to win local political campaigns without such a network, but it is much easier with such a network.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Huckabee Says America is "Enslaved" to Saudi Oil

This kind of language is why we think that Mike Huckabee is the most dangerous potential Republican nominee for President. Here is a quote from his appearance on CNN's Late Edition:

"Every time we put our credit card in the gas pump, we're paying so that the Saudis get rich — filthy, obscenely rich, and that money then ends up going to funding madrassas that train the terrorists. America has allowed itself to become enslaved to Saudi oil. It's absurd. It's embarrassing."

No other candidate of either party is pointing out the obvious: The Saudis aren't our friends, aren't very good allies, and only support us because they want our backing against their own home-grown religious radicals. This is the country that produced 19 of the hijackers that killed over 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001. This is the country that produced bin Laden. Most Americans realize the truth of what Huckabee is saying.

Huckabee's blend of social conservatism with populism on issues such as immigration and energy consumption would give Democrats fit in the general election. Hopefully, he won't get the nomination. If he does, look out.

More Voinovich BS from the PD

Is there a law somewhere that says that the Plain Dealer has to describe Voinovich as some sort of Republican "moderate" on Iraq, even though it is obvious he is not such thing? Time and time again the PD tells us that Voinovich is searching for a different policy in Iraq than Bush's even though it is simply not true.

The latest example is a Plain Dealer editorial that appeared on Sunday, November 25, 2007. The editorial included this gem:

You might think that Democratic leaders, having already fallen hard on this path this year, would look to form an alliance with Republicans - including Ohioans Steve LaTourette in the House and George Voinovich in the Senate - who want a new course in Iraq.

Here's a question for the stupid editorial writer who wrote the above: When has George Voinovich proposed a new course for Iraq that is substantially different than George Bush's? Voinovich has supported the President on every vote that has been held this year. He refuses to come out in support of any kind of deadline for the withdrawal of American troops. He supported the so-called "surge." So just what is this new course that Voinovich and LaTourette supposedly want?

Look, we have long known that the Plain Dealer carries good old George's water. They did it when he was Cuyahoga County Auditor, when he was Cleveland's Mayor, when he was Governor, and now they are still carrying it when he is a Senator. Instead of insulting the intelligence of their readers by making up stuff, why doesn't PD's editorial staff just come out and admit the obvious: No matter what the facts are, they support whatever Voinovich does.

Friday, November 23, 2007

West Losing the "Other War" Against Taliban in Afghanistan

So, do you remember the Taliban? You know, the Islamist group that took over Afghanistan, provided a safe haven for bin Laden while he attacked the West, and was driven out of power in 2001 by American forces? Well, they are back and on the verge of capturing control of Afghanistan from the government that we are backing. This dreary outlook is being painted by the Guardian, a newspaper in the United Kingdom, in an article on its website dated November, 22, 2007.

Okay, so here is a historical lesson for George W. Bush and his radical right-wing nutjob supporters: You don't start one war until you have finished the first one. Napoleon learned it in Russia, Hitler learned it in Russia, and now Bush is learning it in Afghanistan and Iraq. He started his second war before he had finished the job of pacifying Afghanistan.

Sometimes, as say in WWII, when we were attacked by Japan and then both Germany and Italy declared war on us, you have to fight two wars at one time. But, unless you are forced into that position, this is a very simple concept to learn: DON'T FIGHT TWO WARS AT ONCE.

Government Uses Cellphones to Track Americans, Often Without Showing Probable Cause

One of the ongoing legal issues in the United States is applying the United States Constitution to situations that arise over 200 years after its adoption. When the Constitution was drafted, there weren't telephones, computers, cell phones, email messages, and all the other devices we now use to communicate. So the issue becomes how do you apply the Fourth Amendment, for example, to situations that the drafters of the Constitution never envisioned?

This issue is seen in a story that appeared in the Washington Post dated Friday, November 23, 2007. Apparently, since September 11, 2001, the United States government has required that every cellphone sold in America contain a way that such phone can be tracked used global positioning systems. The idea is that if there is an emergency, and a person is lost, that person can be found if he or she is carrying his or her cell phone.

According to the Post story, this system is now being used by law enforcement agencies to track suspected criminals. In many cases, Federal law enforcement agents are obtaining warrants from Federal Courts without a showing of probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed or is being planned. The following quote is from the first two paragraphs of the story:

Federal officials are routinely asking courts to order cellphone companies to furnish real-time tracking data so they can pinpoint the whereabouts of drug traffickers, fugitives and other criminal suspects, according to judges and industry lawyers.

In some cases, judges have granted the requests without requiring the government to demonstrate that there is probable cause to believe that a crime is taking place or that the inquiry will yield evidence of a crime. Privacy advocates fear such a practice may expose average Americans to a new level of government scrutiny of their daily lives.

Apparently the argument is being made that two Federal statutes, the Stored Communications Act and the Pen Register Statute, authorize the collection of such information on a standard of "specific and articulable factsshowing reasonable grounds to believe the data are relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation."
While some Federal Courts are rejecting this argument, other Federal Courts are accepting it and using warrants for the collection of such data.

One Federal magistrate in New York reasoned that since the government "did not install the "tracking device" and the user chose to carry the phone and permit transmission of its information to a carrier, no warrant was needed." Of course, this argument overlooks the fact that the while the government did not install the tracking device, it required that the tracking device be installed.

In any event, if you are interested in the issue of privcy in an electronic age, you will find this article fascinating. We learned of this article through Talking Points Memo owned and operated by Josh Marshall.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Medina County Off-Year Voting Statistics

According to the Medina County Board of Elections website 37,414 voters voted in the 2007 general election. The BOE also shows the county as having 124,107 voters. Based on those two figures, the turnout was 30.1%. The figure for the total number of voters is misleading, however.

There are 23,040 registered voters in Medina County who didn't vote in either the 2004 or 2006 general elections. There are also 74,247 who voted in either of those two elections. Assuming that voters who have missed voting in both a presidential and gubernatorial elections aren't going to vote in an off-year election, it makes sense to take them out of the equation when figuring the turn-out for 2007.

If you remove the 23,040 "missing" voters from the equation, you get a voter universe of 101,067. Using that figure, the turn-out increases to 37.1%. If you calculate the turn-out based on the voters who actually voted in either the 2004 or 2006 general elections, the turn-out increases to 50.3%.

What's interesting about off-year elections is that both political parties aren't seeing a very large percentage of their voters voting in them, if 2005 is any guide. In 2004 Democratic voters in Medina County numbered 16,195 while Republican voters numbered 16,416. In 2006 Democratic voters numbered 15,207 and Republican voters numbered 15,555.

In 2005, however, the turn-out for Democratic voters dropped to 4019 and the turn-out for Republican voters dropped to 3258. If either or both political parties had turned out their voters anywhere close the 2004 or 2006 general elections, the results would probably have been dramatically different.

Republican, Democrat Tied in Seville Council Race After Official Count

James Lovejoy, a Democrat, and Leslie Miller, a Republican, were tied after the official count in their race for Seville, Ohio Village Council. Each of them has 291 votes. There will now be a recount by hand, and if they are still tied after the hand recount, a coin flip will determine the winner.

Lovejoy ran a very aggressive campaign for Village Council while Miller, an incumbent council member, was not nearly as visible. There were three people running to fill two spots on the Council.

This is the only race in the county in which a recount will be conducted. You can read the story about it in the Medina County Gazette.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

NLRB Gives Workers the Shaft

Harold Myerson, who has a column that appears in the Washington Post, wrote on November 21, 2007 about some recent rulings by the NLRB. The NLRB was established during the Franklin Roosevelt administration to protect the rights of workers to organize unions. Unfortunately, since Bush as been president and controlled the appointment process, it has become, to use Myerson's phrase, "The National Labor Ruination Board."

As Myerson points out, there are two recent rulings that show just how far the Board will bend logic and reasoning to arrive at employer friendly decisions. In one case the Board ruled that even if 51% of employees sign union cards saying they want representation, the employer must post a notice informing the employees that if 30% of them sign a petition saying they don't want a union, the wishes of the 51% will be ignored and an election will take place. The Board reasoned that the cards might have been the result of "group pressure."

In another case, however, the Broad ruled that if there is a union in place, and 51% of the workers sign cards saying they don't want the union to represent them any longer, that is fine, and no election has to be held. In other words, cards that help unions are bad, but cards that help employers are good.

Most social liberals deplore the conservative attempts to pack the courts because of what it will do to the Roe v. Wade decision. Roe, however, is not the real reason why conservatives are trying to pack the courts. The real reasons are to help corporations avoid laws that hamper their freedom of action and to help the Federal government increase its ability to monitor and control people. Roe is just the excuse that conservatives give to the religious right to get their help.

2008 Primary & Caucus Schedule

A blogger named "Connecticut Bob" has taken the time to put together the primary and caucus schedule for both the Democratic and Republican Parties. It is an interesting document. The caucuses apparently start on January 3rd with Iowa, but might be the 14th, and the primaries apparently start on January 15th with Michigan, but might actually start on January 22nd with New Hampshire.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

New Poll on Character Traits of 2008 Presidential Candidates

The AP and Yahoo have a new poll out in which respondents were asked to rate presidential candidates from each party in terms of character traits such being decisive, honest, experienced, ethical, and strong. In each of these traits, Clinton and Giuliani lead their respective parties. What is interesting about this poll is that the two leading candidates for their parties in terms of being likeable are Obama and Giuliani. Between those two, Obama was viewed as more likeable than Giuliani by a 54% to 46% spread.

The article about the poll points out, though, that likeability, if there is such a word, ranks relatively low on a list of character traits that voters consider important for a presidential candidate. Interestingly in this election year, according to the article, Democrats are concentrating more on personal characteristics and Republicans more on policy.

Back in 2000 we were told by a lot of supposedly knowlegeable people in the media that Bush would beat Gore because people liked him better than Gore. According to this article, and this poll, that is just one more example of how wrong the media can be when it comes to analyzing politics. Too often, what is supposedly objective reporting is nothing more than the reporter's own biases disguised as the opinion of others.

Republican Praise for Democratic Medina County Auditor Kovack

Mike Morse, former president of Medina City Council, and a Republican, wrote a letter to the editor of the Medina County Gazette praising Mike Kovack, the Democratic Auditor of Medina County. You can view the letter here.

How Iraq War Has Hurt U.S. Diplomatically

Anne Applebaum of the Washington Post is a columnist who seems to be somewhat sympathetic to the Bush Administration. Therefore, we were struck by a column that appears in the Post dated Tuesday, November 20, 2007, in which she points out the ways in which the Iraq War has damaged the diplomatic efforts of the U.S. She starts off by noting that militarily things seem better in Iraq, but she then goes on to state that most Americans don't realize what this war has done to our standing in the world. This is a quote from her column:

Though I don't especially want to perpetuate any stereotypes about the mainstream media, I have to say that this optimism is totally unwarranted. Not because things aren't improving in Iraq -- it seems they are, at least for the moment -- but because the collateral damage inflicted by the war on America's relationships with the rest of the world is a lot deeper and broader than most Americans have realized. It isn't just that the Iraq war invigorated the anti-Americanism that has always been latent pretty much everywhere. What's worse is the fact that -- however it all comes out in the end, however successful Iraqi democracy is a decade from now -- our conduct of the war has disillusioned our natural friends and supporters and thrown a lasting shadow over our military and political competence. However it all comes out, the price we've paid is too high.

When America was first formed and for about a hundred years thereafter we pretty much tried to influence the rest of the world by example, not by military force. Even after we began to emerge as a world power, and fought the war against the Spanish in the 1890s, we were usually reluctant to throw our weight around. We only got into WWI when a ship was attacked and Americans were killed. Then, after that war, we ignored the League of Nations and concentrated on ourselves. We only got into WWII after Pearl Harbor, and might not have even declared war on Germany and Italy except they declared war on us.

After WWII, though, we became convinced that we had to be involved with the rest of the world. So we took the lead in establishing the United Nations, helped rebuild Europe with the Marshall Plan, conducted on the most benign occupations by a conquering power in world history in Japan, and helped form N.A.T.O. to counteract Soviet expansionism. In most of those efforts, however, we worked in concert with others and didn't try to go it alone.

Bush decided on a different approach. Unlike his own father in the first Gulf War, and unlike Clinton in Kosovo. he decided, along with Tony Blair, to pretty much go it alone in fighting the Iraqis. He pressured the U.N. and Congress to support him and invaded a country that had done nothing to the U.S.

His approach has been a disaster. We have alienated our natural allies. We have appeared hypocritical to the rest of the world. We have violated our own ideals. We have sacrificed priceless lives and over half a trillion dollars in the sands of Iraq. We find ourselves in a situation which has no easy way out, and in which no matter what we do, our own self-interest will be jeopardized.

Meanwhile Bush and his supporters will see columns like Applebaum's as weak and her arguments as meritless. They will continue to see what Bush has done as being both right and necessary. They will continue to enable him to drag down America's standing in the world.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Will Clinton be Electable in Ohio?

That's the title of a column that appeared in the Sunday, November 18, 2007 edition of the Columbus Dispatch. The column appears to have its impetus from a poll that was released by A Quinnipiac University poll of Ohio voters. The poll showed that 44% of Ohioans had a favorable view of Clinton and 44% had an unfavorable view of her. The poll also showed that 56% would either definitely vote for her or might vote for her, while 41% said they would never vote for her.

There were significant differences between Democrats and Republicans, as might be expected, and some differences between men and women, which might also be expected. What is somewhat unexpected is that 35% of independents polled said that they would never vote for her. The reason that this is unexpected is that in most national polls independents are expressing attitudes much closer to Democatic ideals than to Republican ideals.

Another unexpected result, this one more pleasing to Clinton, is that only 52% of white, born-again evangelicals say that they would never vote for her while 45% of the same group would either definitely vote for her, (24%) or might vote for her, (21%). The reason why this is unexpected is that in 2004 CNN Exit poll this group favored Bush over Kerry by 78% to 21% and constitued 23% of the poll sample. If Clinton can improve on Kerry's percentage with this group by 24% points or anything close to it, then she will win Ohio, and win it comfortably.

Here's something else to consider when analyzing this whole favorable-unfavorable view thing about Clinton. In 2004, again according to the CNN exit poll, Bush, who carried the state had 47% of the electorate viewing him unfavorably. Again, if Clinton keeps her unfavorable rating in the low 40s, she will do just fine.

More Medina County Voter Stats

Yesterday, November 17, we posted an article that gave some numbers on Medina County primary voting for both the Democratic and Republican parties. In three categories: Increase in party identification among voters registering in the four years between the 2002 and the 2006 primaries; switch in party identification between the two parties in that same period; and party identification among 18-30 year old voters who registered between the two primaries and then voted in the 2006 primary, Democrats did better than Republicans:

Increase in party identification: Democrats had 1467 while Republicans had 1405;
voters who switched parties: Democrats had 866, while Republicans had 167; and
18-30 year old voters who registered after the 2002 primary and then voted in the 2006 primary: Democrats had 404 while Republicans had 366.

The Democratic Party has more female than male voters, 8743 to 7155, while the Republicans are just the reverse. Medina County Republicans are made up of 8398 men to 7945 women. These figures mean that women make up 55% of the Democratic Party in Medina County while men make up 51% of the Republican Party in Medina County. Thus women voters are slightly more important to Democratic candidates in primaries than male voters are to Republican candidates in primaries.

It will be interesting to see if Clinton being on the 2006 ballot increases the number of women who take Democratic ballots just as it will be interesting to see if McCain and Giuliani being on the Republican ballot increases the number of men. There was a poll out recently that showed that while Clinton as a candidate took women voters from the Republicans, Giuliani took male voters from the Democrats.

Clinton, Obama, Edwards Fighting Door to Door in Iowa

The New York Times has an articleout dated Sunday, November 18, 2007, about Hillary Clinton increasing the time she is spending in Iowa. Although she has a huge lead in national polls, she doesn't have such a lead in Iowa. There the campaign is a lot closer. According to the article, a large share of Clinton's support comes from Democrats who have never participated in the caucus process. This is from the article:

More than 60 percent of those who have identified themselves as Clinton supporters, senior strategists say, have never participated in the Iowa caucuses. It is a far higher share than the campaign had been anticipating, which suggests that many of the reliable rank-and-file Democrats have chosen another candidate. So the Clinton campaign is working to expand its universe of supporters to women who have never participated.

This is what the major campaigns are doing to counteract the fact that her opponents are doing well in Iowa:

In the final seven weeks of the race, all campaigns are increasing their efforts here, placing new advertisements and investing more resources. To fight the new push by the Clinton campaign, rivals are also planning to spend nearly all their time in Iowa in December, hoping to raise doubts about her candidacy. While the Obama and Edwards campaigns have been gradually building for months toward this moment, the Clinton campaign has bolstered its activity here in recent weeks, hiring 100 new workers to concentrate on a person-to-person drive to explain the quirky process of the caucuses, with a goal of having 50,000 in-home visits by Christmas.

The article has a graphic up which shows the favorability rating for each Party's top five candidates and, where they exist, the favorability rating for the same candidates nationwide. What is interesting about this is that Clinton's favorability ratings for Iowa are less than for the nation as a whole while both Obama and Edwards have favorability ratings for Iowa that are ahead of their favorability ratings nationwide. Below are the names of each of the top three Dem candidates with the first number being their national favorability rating, the second number being their Iowa favorability rating, and the third being the percentage of Democrats who say they will vote for that candidate in the caucuses:

Clinton: 79%, 52% and 25%
Edwards: 44%, 73%, and 23%
Obama: 56%, 72%, and 22%.

You can see that Clinton's and Edwards' favorability ratings in Iowa are both the reverse of what they are in the United States as a whole. This suggests that Clinton's name recognition and generally positive national publicity are not nearly as effective for her in Iowa as they are in the U.S. as a whole. It also suggests that once people actually hear Edwards' and Obama's message, they like them better.

If Clinton was the lose both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, the race for the Democratic nomination would get a lot more interesting. On the other hand, if she wins both of these early contests, with all the publicity that she would gain from those wins, then the nomination race may be over.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Medina County Primary Voting 1998-2006

Here are the numbers for the voters voting in primaries from 1998-2006 in Medina County with the first column being the year, the second column being the number of Republican primary voters and the third column being the number of Democratic voters:

1998/ 10144/ 6856

2000/ 18814/ 8641

2002/ 11464/ 6341

2004/ 12231/ 14033

2006/ 12191/ 11675

There are several interesting things about these numbers. First, the Republican Party since 1998 has only picked up 2,147 in gubernatorial primaries while the Democratic Party has picked up 4,819 voters.

Second, both parties had their highest turnouts during presidential election years, the Republicans in 2000 and the Democrats in 2004.

Third, while the difference between the Republicans and Democrats in the 1998 primary was 3288 by 2006 that difference was 516. That figure is even more significant when you remember that while the Democratic primary for governor was a lopsided contest between Strickland and Flannery, the Republican primary for governor was a hotly contested one between Blackwell and Petro.

Fourth, the combination of Bob Taft as governor and George Bush as president could be driving down the Republican primary turnout.

Fifth, having a Democrat from a "red" area of Ohio, Strickland, being the leading candidate for Governor in 2006 helped the voter turnout in Medina County for the Democratic Primary. Between 2002 and 2006 the voter turnout in the Democratic Primary increased by 5,334 votes. Compare that to the decrease of 515 from the 1998 to the 2002 primary when we had two Cuyahoga County candidates, Fisher and Hagan as the leading candidates for Governor.

It will be fascinating to see what happens in the March 2008 presidential primary in Medina County since both parties should have contested primaries for president. Since the highest turnout for a primary was in 2000 when McCain was running against Bush, and since McCain will be on the ballot in 2008 there could be a big Republican turnout. On the other hand, since Clinton is the first woman to have a realistic opportunity to win the nomination of a major political party there could be a big Democratic turnout. Of course, it is not an either-or situation since voters who occasionally vote in party primaries come from ranks of independents and not the other party.

This is shown by the fact that from 2002 to 2006 only 886 voters went from voting Republican to voting Democratic in primaries even though the number of Democratic voters increased by over 5,000. Clearly most of the increase came from previously non-affliated voters voting in the Democratic primary since only 1467 voters who registered after the primary election of May, 2002 but before the May, 2006 primary took a Democratic ballot in that primary. Those figures mean that 27.5% of the increase turnout for the two Democratic primaries of 2002 and 2006 came from new Medina County voters while 72.5% came from voters who were registered before the 2002 primary. No matter what, though, the numbers from the March 2008 primary will be interesting to analyze.

Why Can't Our Harvard MBA President Pay for His War With 500 Billion Dollars?

What many Americans don't realize is the huge increase in defense spending that has taken place over the last decade, and especially during the term of the Bush Administration. In 1996 military spending by the United States, according to information provided by the Congressional Budget Office, was 266 billion dollars. For fiscal year 2008, even without funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the defense budget will be over $500 billion dollars.

Most of this increase has come since September 11, 2001. From fiscal year 1996 to fiscal year 2001, the defense budget went up by 40 billion dollars. From fiscal year 2001 to the present, it has gone up almost 300 billion dollars. No matter how you look at it, that's a lot of money.

What has to be kept in mind is how much money we spend compared to the rest of the world. The following is from the website called Global Issues and concerns 2005:

The US military spending was almost two-fifths of the total.
The US military spending was almost 7 times larger than the Chinese budget, the second largest spender.
The US military budget was almost 29 times as large as the combined spending of the six “rogue” states (Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria) who spent $14.65 billion.
It was more than the combined spending of the next 14 nations.
The United States and its close allies accounted for some two thirds to three-quarters of all military spending, depending on who you count as close allies (typically NATO countries, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan and South Korea)
The six potential “enemies,” Russia, and China together spent $139 billion, 30% of the U.S. military budget.

Now, Bush is telling the Congress and the American public that he needs an additional 140 billion to pay for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Why? Why does he need the additional money on top of the 500 billion or so that Congress has given him for defense for fiscal year 2008?

One of the reasons that was given for electing Bush president in 2000 was that he would be America's "First MBA President." Well, here's our suggestion: take that ballyhooed Harvard MBA and come up with a way to pay for his war out of the 500 billion dollars that the Democratic Congress has already given him.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Iraq Resolution & the Iraq War

This is from the section of the joint Resolution for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Iraq that authorizes the use of military force by the President:


(a) AUTHORIZATION. The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to

(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq.

So here are some questions we have:

1. How does the present Iraq government pose a "continuing threat" to the security of the United States;

2. What relevant United Nations Security Council Resolution regarding Iraq is being enforced by the United States military in Iraq; and

3. Why don't Democrats talk more about this resolution in their speeches and remarks against the war in Iraq?

The resolution doesn't call for continuing war in Iraq, rather it calls for the accomplishments of certain goals. If those goals have been met, then under what authorization is the President keeping the military in Iraq?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

56% of Iowa Republicans & 86% of Iowa Democrats Want Troops Withdrawn Within 6 Months

Strategic Vision did a poll of Iowa voters and found this interesting result:

4. Do you favor a withdrawal of all United States military from Iraq within the next six months? (Republicans Only)
Yes 53%
No 36%
Undecided 11%

What is interesting is that none of the Republican candidates for president are talking to this group of Republicans EXCEPT for Congressman Ron Paul. Congressman Paul, by the way, has raised over eight million of a 12 million dollar goal that his campaign has set for the fourth quarter of 2007.

By the way, when Democrats in Iowa were asked the same question, this is how they responded:

6. Do you favor a withdrawal of all United States military from Iraq within the next six months? (Democrats Only)
Yes 86%
No 6%
Undecided 8%

Interestingly enough, no Democratic candidate is speaking to this group of Iowa Democratic voters, even though, according to this poll, they make up 86% of the Democratic vote in Iowa. The closest is New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who, according to his website is the only Democratic candidate calling for a withdrawal of all American troops from Iraq by the end of 2009. So here we have a majority of both Iowa Democrats and Republicans favoring a troop withdrawal from Iraq within six months, and the major candidates for both parties' nomination aren't reflecting their wishes.

Why is that? Because in politics name recognition trumps everything, including issues of war and peace, and name recognition can be bought with advertising. If Paul and Richardson were as well known as Giuliani and Clinton, this would be a much more interesting race. They are not, though, and more is the pity.

Will New AG Authorize Criminal Prosecution of Blackwater Employees?

The New York Times reported in an article dated November 13, 2007, that the FBI has concluded that the Blackwater employees who killed 17 civilians on September 16,
2007 were not fired upon by Iraqis before opening fire. Consequently, the FBI's report concludes that at least 14 of the Iraqis were killed without "just cause." Assuming that this report is true, the question becomes whether the Blackwater employees can be successfully prosecuted.

The reason why there is a question about whether the Blackwater employees can be prosecuted is explained by the following paragraph from the article:

"Some lawmakers and legal scholars said the Sept. 16 case dramatized the need to clarify the law governing private armed contractors in a war zone. Workers under contract to the Defense Department are subject to the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, or MEJA, but many, including top State Department officials, contend that the law does not apply to companies like Blackwater that work under contract to other government agencies, including the State Department."

The issue of whether to prosecute will be the call of the new Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey. Prosecutors have an ethical obligation not to bring charges that they don't believe can be successfully prosecuted. Thus, the newly confirmed AG could find himself in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. Given the media attention that this event has generated, and given the reported anger in Iraq at the actions of private security contractors like Blackwater, our bet is that he authorizes a criminal prosecution. We wouldn't bet the family farm on it, though, given the fact that the Bush Administration doesn't seem to have a very high regard for the rule of law.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Who Wins Between "Bunker Hillary" and "Nice-Guy Barack"?

The Washington Post ran an article dated November 13, 2007, about Barack Obama's political background in Chicago and Illinois. What's interesting about it is that he has managed to get elected to the U.S. Senate and run for President without making a lot of political enemies along the way. What the article also shows, though, is that even his supporters realize that his previous campaigns have not been the kind of campaigns involving personal attacks on him and his family. Whether Obama can handle that kind of campaign is unknown.

This is from the article:

"Hillary's team is the most experienced and most successful Democratic operation in 30 years," said a well-connected Chicago political consultant. "What Barack has shown is the ability to raise a prodigious amount of money. The one thing I don't know that Barack has proven is, can he take a punch? Can he take a sustained attack?"

This is probably one of the biggest assets that Hillary Clinton has going for her. There is absolutely no question that she is one tough lady. That toughness is shown in an article called "Bunker Hillary" that appears on the New Republic website. The article deals with the fact that Clinton doesn't take any stuff from the media and is trying to control how the media covers her by both persuasion and intimidation.

This is a quote from the article about how Clinton handles the press:

It's enough to make you suspect that breeding fear and paranoia within the press corps is itself part of the Clinton campaign's strategy. And, if that sounds familiar, it may be because the Clinton machine, say reporters and pro-Hillary Democrats, is emulating nothing less than the model of the Bush White House, which has treated the press with thinly veiled contempt and minimal cooperation. "The Bush administration changed the rules," as one scribe puts it--and the Clintonites like the way they look. (To be sure, no one accuses the Clinton team of outright lying to the press, as the Bushies have done, or of crossing other ethical lines. And reporters say other press shops--notably those of Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards--are also highly combative.)

Clinton's campaign is obviously focused, tough, and able to both take and dish out political heat. It is not, however, warm and friendly. The Obama campaign is probably warmer and friendlier, but, in the end, will it be as effective?

GOP Controlled Ohio Senate Goes in the Bag for Ohio Utliities

The Cleveland Plain Dealer ran a story in its November 12, 2007 edition about the energy bill that just passed the Ohio Senate. Perhaps not surprisingly, the GOP controlled Ohio Senate worked over Governor Strickland's plan and,guess who got screwed? If you answered Ohio's consumers, you win the prize! And what is that prize you ask? Well, let's just see what the Ohio Senate has in store for you:

Electric rates for consumers than can never be lower than they will be in February of 2008

Deep discounts for large commercial users of electricity.

No requirement that electric companies use renewable sources until 2025 and then only if such sources do not raise the overall average price of electricity more than 3%.

In short, Ohio's consumers are going to get the shaft courtesy of Ohio's Grand Old Party which never met a large corporation it didn't love.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lake County and Medina County

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has an interesting article up about Lake County having a good track record of voting the same way that Ohio votes in presidential elections. What stood out for us is this quote from the article:

Lake County voters tend to be economically moderate and somewhat socially conservative, says Jack DeSario, a political scientist at Mount Union College in Stark County and a bipartisan political consultant who has run about 100 campaigns, including several in Lake County.

DeSario's quote sounds like it could be about Medina County, except we think that Medina County is more economically progressive than perhaps Lake County. What is right about both counties, though, is that the voters are somewhat "socially conservative."

If you ask people in Medina County what liberals stand for, chances are they won't talk about universal health care or making it easier for unions to organize. When they talk about liberals they are usually talking about "guns, gays, and God." They are talking about social issues and they are talking about the tendency of some liberals to act as if they are better than others.

Liberals who act or come across as elitist don't do well in Medina County, ie, John Kerry. Liberals or progressives, however, who talk about economic issues and come across as people who don't think they are better than others can do well in Medina County. People like Ted Strickland, Sherrod Brown, and Donald Pease, the late Congressman from the 13Th District. Representative Betty Sutton is another politician who comes across as approachable and concerned about economic issues.

We have said it before, and we will say it again, the way to beat the faux social populism of the right-wing is be a genuine economic populist. We have a word to describe such Democrats in Medina County: elected.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Open Medina County Democratic Party Precinct Positions

Listed below are Medina County Precincts that don't have precinct committeepersons. These positions are the building blocks of any political party in Ohio.

Under Ohio law, precinct committeepersons run for their positions. Each political party has one committeeperson for each precinct. In order to be on the ballot for precinct committeeperson, you have to file a nominating petition that is signed by five members of your political party who live in the precinct for which you wish to be a precinct committeeperson. That petiton is filed on or before the filing deadline set by Ohio law. In a presidential election year, that date is 60 days before the March primary, which this year is on March 4th, 2008. This means that the filing deadline to run for precinct committeeperson in the March primary is January 4, 2008 at 4:00 pm.

State law allows county political parties to choose whether committeepersons will serve a four year term or a two year term, and the Medina County Democratic Party has chosen the four year term option. Once elected you are notified of the organizational meeting of the Democratic Party which is where party officials such as the Executive Committee are elected. The Executive Committee then choose the Chair of the Medina County Democratic Party.

As a central committeeperson you are representative of the Democratic Party in your precinct. You can help candidates get yard sign locations, do literature distributions, hold meetings in which candidates can meet people living in your precinct, and advance the cause of the Medina County Democratic Party.

If this sounds like something you might be interesed in, and you live in one of the precincts listed below, please email and we will forward your information on to Pam Miller, Chair of the Medina County Democratic Party.

Brunswick City 1-C
Brunswick City 1-D
Brunswick City 1-H
Brunswick City 2-A
Brunswick City 3-B
Brunswick City 3-C
Brunswick City 3-F
Brunswick City 3-H
Brunswick City 4-A
Brunswick City 4-B
Brunswick City 4-D
Brunswick City 4-H
Brunswick Hills Tp. A
Chippewa Lake
Granger Township B
Guilford Township A
Guilford Township C
Guilford Township D
Harrisville Township A
Harrisville Township B
Hinckley Township B
Hinckley Township C
Hinckley Township D
Hinckley Township E
Hinckley Township G
Hinckley Township H
Litchfield Township C
Lodi Village A
Lodi Village C
Medina City 1-D
Medina City 1-E
Medina City 2-D
Medina City 2-F
Medina City 2-C
Medina City 2-E
Medina City 4-B
Medina City 4-D
Medina Township E
Medina Township F
Medina Township H
Montville Township E
Montville Township F
Seville Village B
Spencer Village
Wadsworth City 1-E
Wadsworth City 2-C
Wadsworth City 2-F
Wadsworth City 3-A
Wadsworth City 4-A
Wadsworth City 4-B
Wadsworth City 4-C
Wadsworth Township A
Wadsworth Township C
Westfield Center

Obama Calls for Taxing More Income for Social Security Fix

Barack Obama called for raising the cap on income eligible for Social Security taxes from its present level of $97,500.00. He came out in favor of raising the income cap as opposed to either raising the retirement age or cutting back on benefits.

What would be interesting would be if the Democrats called for treating all income the same, thus ending the advantage that unearned income has over earned income while lowering the tax rates, and abolishing the cap, but lowering the Social Security tax rate. In other words make more income subject to taxation, but at lower rates. While we are at it, we could also raise the personal and dependent exemption so that less income of working families is taxed. Now that would be a more progressive system of taxation.

Analyzing the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mason-Dixon Poll on Republican/Democratic Chances in Ohio in '08

The Plain Dealer is touting a new poll out by the Mason-Dixon polling firm that supposedly shows that Ohio Republicans are in much better shape than last year's state-wide elections indicated. Before people start quoting this poll they should look at who was polled.

According to the demographics of the poll, which are displayed at, the poll respondents broke down this way: 41% were Republicans, 35% were Democrats, and 24% were independents. In 2004, registered Democrats voting were 35% of the electorate, registered Republicans were 40% and independents were 25%, according to the CNN exit poll. Thus, the PD poll has 1% more Republicans than there were in the 2004 electorate and 1% less independents than there were in the 2004 primary.

Fifty-seven percent of the respondents to this poll were 50 years of age or older, while in 2004, according to the CNN exit poll, only 49% of Ohio's voters were age 50 or older. The Mason-Dixon poll respondents were 87% white, non-hispanic, 10% Afro-American, and 1% Hispanic. In 2004, according to the CNN poll, Ohio's voters were 86% white, non-hispanic, 10% Afro-American and 3% Hispanic. On gender, the Mason-Dixon poll polled 51% women and 49% men, but in 2004, again according to the CNN exit poll, the results were 53% and 47%.

Also, the Mason-Dixon poll doesn't show union households versus non-union households or income levels. In 2004, according to the CNN exit polls, 34% of Ohio voters came from union households while 66% did not. The number of union household members voting is important since in 2004 58% of those voting in union households went for Kerry.

Another figure that is interesting is the Bush job approval rating for the Mason-Dixon poll. In this poll, 40% approve of Bush's job performance. In the last Ohio poll, conducted by the University of Cincinnati, however, Bush's job approval rating was 31%.

Thus, comparing the PD's Mason-Dixon poll to the 2004 CNN exit poll, the PD poll has Ohio voters being slightly more Republican, slightly less Hispanic, older, and slightly more male. Compared to the Ohio poll, this poll has Ohio voters as appreciatively more supportative of Bush.

Given those facts, is it any wonder that the Mason-Dixon poll has Ohio as much more favorable for Republicans than would be assumed based on other polls? Is this an example of the PD trying to convince its readers that Republicans will carry Ohio in 2008? Does this poll reflect Ohio's voters or the hoped-for results of the Plain Dealer?

Dennis Kucinich Doesn't Take Media's Stuff

Raw Story has a video clip up of Dennis Kucinich being interviewed by CBS's Henry Smith on his resolution to impeach Dick Cheney. What this clip shows is how Kucinich doesn't take the crap handed out by the national news media. (Video clip is at the bottom of the Raw Story article.)

Smith told Kucinich that the Republicans had "basically called is bluff" by voting to debate the Cheney resolution on the floor of the House of Representatives last Thursday, November 8, 2007. Kucinich shot back with ""They didn't call my bluff. I was fully prepared for debate -- with a three-inch thick binder annotating the violations of law and the violations of the Constitution committed by the vice president which would justify an impeachment."

One thing that is often overlooked about Kucinich is his background in communications. He has taught communications at Case-Western Reserve University. He has worked as a political commentator for Cleveland television stations. He understands that a politician doesn't get an opportunity to be on network news every day, and if you get the opportunity, you need to talk about what you want to talk about, not what they want to talk about.

Of course, not taking their stuff and standing up to them doesn't endear Kucinich to the media and reporters like Harry Smith. They are used to having politicians kiss their well-clothed behinds. You can bet your last dollar that Smith wasn't prepared for Kucinich's answer to his opening shot. Kucinich dominated the interview, which probably will result in his not being invited back on Smith's "Early Show" for the foreseeable future. Speaking truth to power doesn't always win you friends.

The Smug Sanctimony of Joe Lieberman Continued

Lieberman gave a speech at John Hopkins University in which he attacked left-leaning blogs as "paranoid and delusional." The theme of his speech is summarized by this paragraph:

“Iraq has become the singular litmus test for Democratic candidates. No Democratic presidential primary candidate today speaks of America’s moral or strategic responsibility to stand with the Iraqi people against the totalitarian forces of radical Islam, or of the consequences of handing a victory in Iraq to al Qaeda and Iran. And if they did, their campaign would be as unsuccessful as mine was in 2006. Even as evidence has mounted that General Petraeus’ new counterinsurgency strategy is succeeding, Democrats have remained emotionally invested in a narrative of defeat and retreat in Iraq, reluctant to acknowledge the progress we are now achieving, or even that that progress has enabled us to begin drawing down our troops there.”

There is a lot to criticize in both the paragraph quoted above and in the speech in general. First of all, the only reason why Lieberman can claim that we are drawing down troops in Iraq is that Bush raised the number that we have in Iraq. Under Lieberman's logic, increasing the number of troops in Iraq, and then drawing them down to more than there were before the increase, is progress. Progress toward what? Where is the evidence that politically that the government in Iraq is more viable than it was before?

Lieberman goes on to note that almost every member of the United States Congress supported the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Well, that makes sense, Joe, because the Taliban supported those who attacked America on 9-11-01. He goes on to note that where Democrats parted with the Bush Administration was over the war in Iraq. He claims that Democrats who oppose this war and the Bush Administration's foreign policy are politically paranoid, hyper-partisan ideologues.

Well, Joe, here is another way of looking at the Iraqi War. We have lost over 4000 American soldiers, have seen thousands more wounded, have spent almost half a trillion dollars, in a war in a country that did nothing to the United States. Meanwhile, the war in Afghanistan, the one that everyone supported, is not going well and the Taliban is enjoying a resurgence in Afghanistan.

We don't oppose Bush because we are "politically paranoid" or "hyper-partisan", we oppose Bush because his administration has been profoundly wrong for America. A sentiment, by the way, that is apparently shared, to some degree, by the 65% of Americans who disapprove of his performance in office, according to a new poll out from the AP.

Lieberman wants to see himself as the lone voice of reason in the Democratic Party. He wants to see his critics as people unwilling to see what a threat "radical Islam" is to the United States. The issue isn't whether radical Islamists hate America, the issue is how to successfully confront them. Wouldn't it have been better for the United States to have rooted out the Taliban from Afghanistan, located and killed bin Laden, and then worked on building up Afghanistan than starting a war in Iraq?

Like Bush, Lieberman presents a false dichotomy. The choice wasn't between doing nothing against al Qaeda and bin Laden or fighting a war in Iraq. It was between going after al Qaeda in Afghanistan and starting a war with a country that had nothing to do with the attacks of 9-11.

Thanks to Bush, we are now fighting in two Middle-Eastern countries. If Lieberman has his way, we could well be fighting in a third against Iran. There is a limit to how much we can sacrifice in the sands of the Middle East. Of course, Joe Lieberman, who never fought in a war, and whose children have never fought in a war, won't be the one to pay the price for Bush's follies. No, that price will be paid by other families, families who aren't as connected and aren't as well-off as his.

AFL-CIO Shows How Grassroots Organizing is Done

David Broder of the Washington Post has a column in the November 11, 2007 edition about the efforts of the AFL-CIO and their "Working America" project. This project, started in 2003, has added two million to the ranks of the AFL-CIO. The program works like this, according to Broder:

So instead of organizing at the workplace, Working America reaches out to people in their neighborhoods. On a typical evening, Nussbaum said, she has about 150 paid organizers going door to door in working-class communities, often in the suburbs and exurbs.

Using lists of union members, they skip the households that are already unionized and knock on the doors of their neighbors. The message: We know you're not part of a union, but you probably have the same concerns we do about jobs and schools and health care. We work on all those issues. Would you like to become an individual member of the AFL-CIO?

"Astonishingly," Nussbaum said, "two out of three people we talk to join." And they are immediately recruited to write a letter to a member of Congress or some other official on an issue about which the labor federation is lobbying. "One out of five writes to their congressman that night," she said.

Former Speaker of the U.S. House, the late "Tip" O'Neill, once said that "people want to be asked and they want to be thanked." All the internet connections in the world aren't as effective as actually going out and banging on doors. People who want to form political organizations and bring about political change in America should learn from the AFL-CIO's experience.

Does George Voinovich Believe in the Rule of Law?

Okay, so this is not exactly a surprise, but Senators Brown and Voinovich split on the nomination of Michael B. Mukasey to be Attorney General. One of the more depressing things about Voinovich's support of Bush's agenda over the last several years is the fact that Voinovich is a lawyer and yet seems unconcerned about the assault on the rule of law by the Bush Administration.

Since 9-11 the Bush Administration has claimed the right to conduct survelliance without a warrant; hold an American citizen indefinitely without bringing a charge against him in court; send people to foreign countries to be tortured; and conduct interrogations using methods that are considered torture were they to be done by American military personnel. Through all of this George Voinovich has said little if anything.

All of these practices are assaults on the rule of law. The rule of law includes "the principle that governmental authority is legitimately exercised only in accordance with written, publicly disclosed laws adopted and enforced in accordance with established procedural steps that are referred to as due process." All of the practices described above are assaults on the rule of law in the United States.

One of the exciting things for those of us who are attorneys has been the role of lawyers in confronting the acts of General Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan. At no small risk to themselves, Pakistani lawyers and judges have resisted the attempt of General Musharraf to set aside the law in his quest to stay in power. These lawyers and judges are willing to put their "money where their mouths are" when it comes to defending the rule of law in Pakistan.

Contrast that with the actions of lawyers like Voinovich who are willing to help Bush set aside the rule of law in the United States. When George Voinovich was sworn in as an attorney, he took an oath to uphold and support the Constitution of the United States. How does he square that oath with his support of this administration?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

ABC News Story on Medina County & 2008

On Tuesday, November 6, 2007, ABC News ran a story about Medina County and the 2008 election. The theme of the story was that Medina County is a "red" county that is trending "blue", or at least purple. Click on the link above to read the story.

Massive Wealth Shift to Oil Producing Countries & Oil Companies

The Washington Post has an article dated November 10, 2007 about the effects of the rise in oil prices over the last five years. The article points out that the rise in oil prices has been responsible for one of the largest transfers of wealth in the history of the world. The increase in oil prices means that consumers are paying four to five billion a day more to oil producers than they did five years ago.

The thing that is different about this run-up in oil prices is that it is not production driven but supply driven. What that means is that in the past oil prices went up because of efforts by oil producers to control production. This increase is being caused by increases in demand which increases the cost of the world's supply of oil.

This increase in demand is coming from the rapid growth of the Chinese and Indian economies. Since both nations are experiencing rapid economic growth that is projected to continue for the foreseeable future, demand for oil will only go up. This means that high prices will continue for the foreseeable future.

It is past time for the U.S. to get serious about conserving energy and cutting back on our use of oil. The U.S. consumes about 25% of the world's oil, but we are only about 5% of the world's population. Our propensity to burn gasoline is making Saudi princes even richer than they were and is helping countries like Iran gain influence.

The choice is clear: we can continue to use oil at the rate we have and watch oil producers and oil companies grow even richer or we can get serious about cutting back on our oil consumption.

Friday, November 09, 2007

More Medina County Election Results

In Brunswick, a city located in northern Medina County, one Brunswick Democratic councilman won re-election and one Brunswick Democrat, running for an open seat, was defeated. In another council race, two Republicans faced off against each other and the incumbent Republican councilman won re-election. Brunswick voters also rejected an increase in their city's income tax.

In Brunswick there were four ward city council positions up for election, and there were three contested ward seats. In Medina there were four positions up for election and only one was contested. In Wadsworth there were 11 positions up for election and three of those were uncontested. This means that out of 19 potential contested positions in city elections in Medina County, there were 12 positions that were contested and 7 that were uncontested.

In Medina County villages there were 26 positions up for election and only six of those were contested. In the townships there were 34 positions up for election, one trustee and one clerk for each township, and there were 14 contested elections. Ten school boards had positions up for election but only three school districts saw contested board elections.

Twelve tax issues were on the ballot and only two were defeated. There were also four charter amendments on the ballot, two each for Brunswick and Medina, and all four of them passed. Finally there were seven precincts which had elections regarding liquor sales and in all of them the issues passed.

Strickland Endorses Clinton

The New York Times is reporting that Governor Ted Strickland endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. In making this endorsement, Strickland specifically rejected arguments that Clinton was going to hurt down ballot Democrats. Here is a quote from the Times article:

On a conference call with Senator Clinton and reporters, Mr. Strickland repeatedly vouched for Mrs. Clinton’s electability in next November’s general election, an issue that her rivals have tried to raise doubts about.

He also indicated her nomination would not be a drag on congressional and state office candidates; the campaign of one of her rivals, former Senator John Edwards, has argued that Mrs. Clinton’s unpopularity

Readers of this blog know that we posted an entry that raised the issue of whether Clinton would be a liability for down ballot Democrats. Apparently Ted Strickland doesn't think so and he is certainly much more knowledgable than we are about Ohio politics.

Will Clinton be a Drag on Down Ballot Dems?

The Wall Street Journal, in conjunction with NBC, released a new poll today that shows while the public prefers a Democrat to a Republican for president by 50% to 35%, when the choice is between Clinton and Guiliani, the result is 46% for Clinton and 45% for Guiliani. This means that Clinton underperforms the generic Democrat by 4% while Giuliani overperforms the generic Republican by 10%.

Of course, it is possible to win the presidency and lose the popular vote as we saw in 2000. The question is, though, whether Clinton will be a drag on down ballot Dems in Republican leaning areas like Medina County and other parts of Ohio? Will her presence on the ticket energize Republicans to get out and vote and, while they are voting, lead to other Republicans getting votes they might not otherwise have gotten?

One way that the top of the ticket helps or hurts down ballot races is by being in a tough race. If you are a down ballot Dem and the top of the ticket is blowing out the Republican in polls right before the election, you are a happy camper. Why? Because there is not a lot of motivation for voters who lean Republican but are not real partisans to come out and vote. If, however, the pre-election polls show a tight race, then that is a whole different story.

On the one hand Democratic leaning voters will be motivated, but so will Republican leaning voters. The number of voters turning out, and more importantly, whose voters they are, can impact tremendously on down ballot races. An election between Clinton and Giuliani could result in a Democrat president but Democrats losing down ballot races.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Do Republican Presidencies Mean Financial Crisises?

One of the messages that Bubble-Boy and his band of merry right-wing radicals have pushed is the idea that his reckless tax cuts have been good for the economy. Any economic good news is seized on by the Bushies as evidence that their glorious leader's policies have been good for the American economy. They conveniently overlook the growing inequality in America and the fact that the great majority of his tax cuts went to the upper 5% of American households to argue that their fiscal policies do work.

Well, the chickens are coming home to roost as the American economy seems to be moving into a recession. The New York Times had an article up on its website dated November 8, 2007 about the Dow Jones losing over 300 points on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 and how the Chinese are beginning to sell off their tremendous holding of American dollars. This is the money quote, to make a bad pun, from the article about the Chinese decision: “We will favor stronger currencies over weaker ones, and will readjust accordingly,” Cheng Siwei, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress told a conference in Beijing on Wednesday.

What is apparently driving the down slide in both stocks and the value of the American dollar is the uncertainty over the fallout from the sub prime mortgage crisis. This is the second time since 1980 that there has been a financial crisis during a Republican administration. The first was the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s and now we are having the sub prime mortgage crisis of the first decade of the 21st century. Going back further in history we have the recession of the late 1950s under Eisenhower and, of course, the granddaddy of them all, the Great Depression under Hoover.

It is no mystery why there is this correlation between financial crisis and Republican presidential administrations. The Republican Party doesn't believe in government regulation and oversight. It does believe in the power of the marketplace to correct excesses. The market does correct excesses but by the time such excesses show up, the damage done by the correction to millions of Americans is much worse than it had to have been.

Financial diasters such as the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s or the sub prime mortgage crisis of this decade can be avoided. Take, for example, the sub prime mortgage crisis. Most commentators will tell you that a major reason why financial institutions made thousands of bad loans is that they sold the loans to other institutions instead of keeping them in-house. As a result, they didn't have incentives to make good loans and had incentives to make bad loans. Here's a thought: Why not make financial institutions keep the promissory notes for a minimum period, say five years. Such a law would give incentives to banks and other financial institutions to make good loans.

Republicans will say that such a law is an intolerable interference with the marketplace, but isn't such an interference better than having real estate markets collapse across America as thousands of homes go into foreclosure?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Some Medina County Election Results

In Medina County on Election Day, November 6, 2007, there were some suprising results and for Medina County Democrats, some very disappointing results. There was the approval of the Medina Library levy by a very thin margin of 202 votes according to the unofficial results from the Board of Elections. There was the defeat of the Cloverleaf replacement levy but the passage of a levy for the Highland School District.

The surprising results were in local races. Two incumbent township trustees in Hinckley and Westfield townships were defeated; an incumbent mayor in Lodi Village was defeated; and a former Republican country prosecutor and judge who had been defeated in re-election campaigns for both offices was defeated in her bid to become Medina Township trustee.

Democrats were elected to township trustee positions in York, Westfield, Hinckley, Litchfield, and Medina townships. Democrats were elected to township fiscal officer positions in Brunswick Hills and Litchfield townships. An incumbent Democratic township trustee in Sharon was re-elected and the new Mayor of Lodi is a registered Democrat.

The disappointing results were in the cities of Medina and Wadsworth. The Chair of the Medina County Democratic Party was defeated in her re-election bid for Medina City Council President. The Wadsworth Democratic Party picked up an at-large seat on City Council, but lost two council seats by a total of 49 votes. Democrats also lost in races for Wadsworth Mayor and City Council President.

In analyzing the results for Wadsworth, one thing that sticks out is the advantage that name recognition and prior ballot experience plays in politics. In the race for Mayor and City Council President the Republicans had two candidates who had been on the ballot before and had held city office before, although they were running for different offices than the ones they now hold. In one of the close ward races, the Republican candidate was an incumbent while the Democratic candidate was running for political office for the first time.

Another factor in both Wadsworth and Medina was money. In both cities the Republican candidates had more money than the Democratic candidates. Since running for office is basically conducting an advertising campaign designed to let voters know who you are and where you stand on issues, having more money really helps. The more money you have, the more advertising you can conduct.

Those two factors, name recognition and money, helped the Wadsworth Republicans beat back an excellent and very determined campaign by the Wadsworth City Democrats to take control of the city hall. It is small consolation to candidates who come up short, especially in a close race, but the Wadsworth Dems have a lot to be proud of, even if the results weren't what they wanted.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

MCDAC Blog Readers

An examination of the last 4000 visitors to the MDAC blog showed that over 93% came from the United States and over 40% came from Ohio. Out of the last 4000 visitors, we can account for 645, or 16.1%, coming from Medina County locations. Interestingly the second highest number of visitors to our blog from Medina County locations were from Westfield Center, a village of about 800 people in southern Medina County, but home to Westfield Insurance companies.

Looking at Ohio cities, we found that Columbus produced more visitors than Cleveland, but that our blog had more visitors from Akron than from either Cleveland or Columbus.

Besides the United States, visitors from 55 countries came to our blog, including visitors from Iran and Iraq as well as Albania and the Ivory Coast. We're not sure what this all means, but we thought you would be interested. Thanks to all our readers who took the time to visit our blog.

Could Bush Use Secret Service Records to Sink HRC?

AlterNet has an article out that raises the possibility that George W. Bush could use Secret Service records to damage Hillary Clinton's candidacy. The article points out that both Hillary and Bill Clinton are entitled to Secret Service protection. This means that where they go and who they meet are known to Secret Service agents. If Bush got hold of this information and if such information was embarrassing, it could be made public at a crucial point in the 2008 election, say after Labor Day, but before November?

The author of the article, Robert Parry, points out that Bush's father, former President George H.W. Bush pressured State Department officials to examine documents relating to Bill Clinton's travels to the former Soviet Union when he was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford. The Bush campaign was looking for proof that Clinton tried to renounce his United States citizenship while he was in Europe and participated in anti-American rallies overseas while the Vietnam War was being fought. So the idea of using government documents to discredit political opponents is not new to the Bushies.

Of course, Americans would like to think that Secret Service agents wouldn't take part in such things, but during Bill Clinton's administration one of his earlier critics was a retired FBI agent, Gary Aldrich, who worked in both the Bush and Clinton White Houses. So, don't be so quick to discount Parry's thesis. After all, just a few short years ago most Americans would have assumed that the Attorney General would have no trouble denouncing torture.

Thoughts About Household Incomes, Peggy Noonan and Hillary Clinton

Peggy Noonan had a column in the Wall Street Journal attacking Hillary Clinton. That, of course, is nothing new. There are two recurring themes that dominate Noonan's work. The first is the deification of Ronald Reagan and the second is how evil the Clintons are, especially as compared to the sainted, aforementioned Ronnie.

This column, though, has the following quote about how Hillary Clinton can be defeated in her quest for the presidency:

For a few years now I've thought the problem for the Democrats in general but for Mrs. Clinton in particular is not that America is against tax increases. They've seen eight years of big spending, of wars, of spiraling entitlements. They've driven by the mansions of the megarich and have no sympathy for hedge fund/movie producer/cosmetics empire heirs. They sense the system is rigged toward the heavily protected. They sense this because they're not stupid.

The problem for Mrs. Clinton is not that people sense she will raise taxes. It's that they don't think she'll raise them on the real and truly rich. The rich are her friends. They contribute to her, dine with her, have access to her. They have an army of accountants. They're protected even from her.

But she can stick it to others, and in the way of modern liberalism for roughly half a century now, one suspects she'll define affluence down. That she would hike taxes on people who make $150,000 a year.

But those "rich" -- people who make $200,000 and have two kids and a mortgage and pay local and state taxes in, say, New Jersey -- they don't see themselves as rich. Because they're not. They're already carrying too much of the freight.

The interesting thing about the above quote is that people who make $200,000 a year are actually in the top 2.67% of all households in the United States, according to this article in Wikipedia. In fact, households with annual income up to $75,000 make up over 73% of the total households in the United States.

If you look at the dynamics of where Clinton draws a lot of her support, it is from voters who live in households making less than $75,000 a year. This is one reason why she is making "income inequality" a theme of her campaign. So while Noonan make not agree with her approach, our guess is that voters who back Clinton don't really care if she raises taxes on families making $200,000 a year or more.

Rise in Foreclosures Could Hurt GOP in Exurban Counties

The L.A. Times has an article out that raises the issue that the rapid increase in foreclosures could hurt the GOP in what are often referred to as "exurban" counties. The article focuses in on one county in northern Virginia, Loudoun, that voted heavily for Bush in 2004. This is a quote from the article:

STERLING, VA. -- Every afternoon, when Karla Schroeder walks her two boys home from school, she takes note of the new real estate signs springing up on neighborhood lawns. These days, they're not what she's used to seeing, and she's not happy about the change.

Along with a great many "For Sale" signs are new ones that say "Foreclosure." A few weeks ago, she was startled by a bright orange sign that said "Auction."

The national downturn in the housing market has arrived in Loudoun County, a once-largely rural area on the western fringes of Washington that has become one of the fastest-growing regions in the United States. In addition to the economic effect, it's stirring anxiety and discontent that have begun to change the climate in which people consider politics -- especially some Republicans.

"I used to consider myself a Republican, but now I consider myself an independent," Schroeder said.

The foreclosure crisis is not limited to Virginia or states like California. Ohio has seen a rapid increase in the number of foreclosures. Foreclosures now make up almost half of the new cases filed each month in Medina County. The increase in foreclosures may be one reason why Ted Strickland and Sherrod Brown both carried the county just two years after George Bush got around 55% of Medina County's vote in 2004.

Since 2004 there have been reminders that the market-oriented philosophy of the GOP cannot solve certain social problems or even produce a competent government. The continuation of the war in Iraq, the response to Hurricane Katrina, the break-down of America's system of health care, and now the rapid increase in foreclosures all serve to reinforce that point.

People turn to the Democratic Party when they are feeling economically insecure and are looking for help. The increase in foreclosures contributes to such a feeling of insecurity.

The Democratic Party, however, has to come up with solutions that actually help people instead of rich donors. It will be interesting to see if the Party will respond to the concerns of people living with the threat of foreclosure.

Thanks to Medina County Democrat David Brown for sending us the link to the L.A. Times article.

Monday, November 05, 2007

"Political Transvestite" to Push Race Based Campaign?

Thomas Edsall, the political editor for the Huffington Post, has an article out that makes the case that Rudy Giuliani is going to use a race based campaign strategy to win the Republican nomination. In the article, dated November 4, 2007, Edsall argues that Giuliani's political suceess in New York was based on racial appeals to white conservative voters. Here is a quote from the article:

The themes the campaign are lining up for renewed emphasis are those reflecting Giuliani's confrontational stance towards black New Yorkers and their white liberal allies, as well as his record of siding decisively with the police against minorities who launched protests alleging police brutality during the years he was mayor from 1994-2001.

Giuliani's eight years as New York's chief executive exemplified a Northern adaptation of the GOP's politically successful "Southern strategy" - the strategy playing on white resistance to and resentment of federal legislation passed in the 1960s mandating desegregation - resistance that produced a realignment in the South and fractured the Democratic loyalties of white working class voters in the urban North from 1968 to 2004.

"Race is at the heart of Rudy's story," according to Wayne Barrett, one of Giuliani's preeminent biographers. Giuliani ended race and gender preferences in New York's city contracting. He eliminated open admissions at City University and re-instituted testing requirements for the school -- requirements which disadvantaged black and Latino applicants seeking to complete the four-year curriculum. Also angering black leaders, Giuliani instituted tough law and order policies that were consistently cited by his administration as the driving force pushing crime rates down over 60 percent during his tenure as Mayor.

If Giuliani is the nominee, we are going to see a campaign based on fear that will rival anything we ever got from Karl Rove and George W. Bush. The question is whether Democrats are up for the fight.

The way to defeat a campaign based on social populist themes that are designed to appeal to white conservatives is to run a campaign based on economic populist themes. Issues such as healthcare, job security, making higher education more accessible, and union rights can counter the themes that Giuliani will be raising. What doesn't work, though, is to just act self-rightous and complain about Republican racism. That won't cut it.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Bush Finally Unites Most Americans: They Want His Administration Over

The Washington Post ran an article on Sunday, November 4, 2007, about a poll conducted on how Americans feel about their country and its future. According to the poll, Americans are ready for a change, in fact, they are more than ready. Here are some of the questions and answers:

74% think the country is on the wrong track as compared to 24% who thought it was on the right track;

64% disapprove of the job that Bush is doing as compared to 33% who approve of the job he is doing;

54% want the Democratic Party to be in control of Congress after the 2008 elections as compared to 40% who want the GOP in control;

63% disapprove of the job Republicans are doing in Congress as compared to 32% who approve;

56% have a negative view of the Republican Party as compared to 39% who have a positive view while 51% have a positive view of the Democratic Party as compared to 45% who have a negative view; and

75% want a president who will move America in a new direction after the 2008 election as compared to 23% who want America to continue in the same direction that George W. Bush has charted.

You can read the actual poll questions and view the data here.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Bush: He's Not the Decider, He's the Whiner

The Washington Post had an article on October 31, 2007, about how Bush is so frustrated that the Democrats won't do what he wants that he is considering governing by issuing executive orders, which bypass Congress, vetoing legislation, and complaining about Democrats. This is a quote from the article:

Bush himself has been complaining more and more bitterly about congressional Democrats in recent weeks. In a private meeting yesterday with House Republicans in the East Room of the White House, Bush recalled how he had been able to work with Democrats when he was Texas governor and said he had hoped to find the same relationships in Washington.

"He sort of longs for those days, when both sides were genuinely interested in getting along and getting a deal," said Rep. Adam H. Putnam (R-Fla.), the chairman of the House Republican Conference, who helped organize yesterday's White House meeting, attended by about 150 Republicans.

Now we all know that when Bush's idea of getting along means that you give him what he wants and his idea of compromise is that you just give in to him. This man has the emotional maturity of your average three year old, except, of course, your average three year old is a lot cuter.

Bush was used to dealing with Texas Democrats who, at least those in the state government, are a lot more conservative than say Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid. Further, when you spend the first six years of your presidency bashing Democrats, demonizing them, working to defeat their Congressional leadership, questioning their patriotism, helping "Swift-boat" their 2004 presidential nominee, not to mention repeatedly lying to them, don't expect them to fall in line when they have power. Of course, your average three year old doesn't recognize that he or she has to respect the rights of others and either does Bush.

Given though his reaction to being held accountable is not to try and genuinely work with Democrats or genuinely compromise, but rather stamp his feet and complain, MCDAC has decided that Bush is not the Decider, but the Whiner.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Why Immigration is Problem for Democrats

The Democratic Party is a coalition party, much more so than the Republican Party. The advantage of a coalition party is that it can add new members to the coalition. The disadvantage is that members of the coalition can be turned against each other. We have seen it happen with civil rights for Afro-Americans, women's rights, guns, gay rights, religion, the Vietnam War, and now immigration.

Each of those issues have caused, at various times, internal problems for the Democratic Party by turning members of the coalition against each other. In most cases it was white working class males, working class as being defined as people who do not have a four-year college degree, who were angered by postions taken by other members of the Democratic coalition.

It can be seen in the states of the Old Confederacy going from solidly Democratic to solidly Republican starting in 1964 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act. It can be seen in the voting pattern of so-called "Reagan Democrats" in both 1980 and 1984. Now it is being seen in immigration.

The Washington Post did a report dated October 23, 2007 on a special election held in Massachusetts that pitted the widow of the late Senator Paul Tsongas against a Republican. The Republican started hammering on the fact that Mrs. Tsongas came out in favor of giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. This is a quote from the article:

Then, just two days before Tuesday's balloting, Tsongas said illegal immigrants should each be allowed to get a driver's license. The final radio ad of the Ogonowski insurgency intoned, "And now for something truly incredible. You already know Niki Tsongas supports amnesty for illegal immigrants, but today we learned Niki Tsongas would go even further. Tsongas told the Boston Herald she wants to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants."

The result was that in a special election, in a district where Democrats were used to getting 57% of the vote, she only got 51% and won by about 5%. Now there is one big caveat in that result and that is the fact that it was a special election. The turn-out in special elections is usually much lower than in other elections, and often can be swayed by advocates of a certain position mounting a drive to get their supporters out to vote. Still the result indicates how much of a hot topic the idea of illegal immigrants getting goverment benefits and services may be in the 2008 election.

The issue of driver licenses for illegal immigrants came up in this week's debate for Democratic presidential candidates. Hillary Clinton seemed to waver on whether she supported a plan by Governor Spitzer of New York to allow illegal immigrants to get driver licenses. The idea behind the plan is to get illegal immigrants to get insurance by allowing them to get licenses. Clinton's position at the debate was described by her opponents as muddled, although, according to the Washington Post, she now supports Spitzer's plan. Keep an eye of the issue of illegal immigrants receiving government benefits in 2008 because it could be big.