Why the Dems should eliminate the filibuster on Motions to Proceed NOW

Given the current state of play over Wall Street reform, I think the Dems are blowing an opportunity right now to exercise their authority under Article I, Section 5 to determine what the Senate rules are, and set a valuable political precedent, establishing its authority for being able to change the rules by majority vote.

The argument for waiting for January to rewrite the Senate rules is that the incoming Senate won't have given its implied consent to the pre-existing rules by operating under those rules.

The arguments against waiting for January are fourfold:

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What to do about 41 GOP Senators? Q for Dem candidates

I wish I'd thought of this months ago.  There's one question that we really need to ask all of the leading Democratic Presidential contenders:

"In light of the GOP's willingness to filibuster everything that moves, what's your next move when 41 GOP Senators block cloture on your entire legislative agenda?"

I think we'd learn a lot from the answers, if we had the opportunity to ask the question.  It would be good to see who talks about forcing actual filibusters and who doesn't.

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AP/Census: NH, Iowa Among Least Representative States

An AP analysis of Census data indicates that our early primary states aren't particularly representative of America as a whole.  We knew that already, of course, but there's nothing like backing it up with numbers.

According to the AP analysis, New Hampshire is the third-least representative state, ranking 49th of 51 states (including D.C.). Iowa is 41st out of 51, and South Carolina is 24th, in the middle of the pack.  (The story didn't mention Nevada, and it provided no link to the complete list, durnitall.)

The five states most representative of the U.S. as a whole were Illinois, Oregon, Michigan, Washington and Delaware.  (So why not lead off with a Delaware primary?)  More after the cut.

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How Nancy Boyda Won: Shutting Out the Dem Consultants

Campaigns and Electionshas an online issue this month about the successes and failures of various 2006 campaigns.  While it's somewhat marred by letting GOP/Lieberman partisans write some of the articles, the piece on Nancy Boyda's campaign is pretty good.  Click on the link, then click forward to page 58.  In a nutshell, she didn't let the party tell her what stands to take, or how to get her message across, and she won as a Democrat in Kansas.  You knew that already, but the story adds a lot of depth and detail.

In 2004, Boyda let the DCCC tell her how to run a campaign, and lost by 15%.  In 2006, they ignored the DCCC and its consultants, and ran a ground-up campaign that started with yard signs and billboards, advanced to 12- and 16-page inserts in a whole bunch of local papers across the district (cost for district-wide coverage for each insert: $25,000), and finally, locally-produced, non-cookie-cutter TV ads.  In one such ad, a cat walks across the table in front of Boyda.  Not exactly your scripted ad (try to script a cat!), but the different feel of her ads helped get people to notice them.

And Boyda addressed the issues aggressively, in particular taking a strong position against the Iraq war. As she said during the campaign, "the American people have to understand there aren't any good solutions.  When you drive over a cliff, your options are very limited." It's hardly what a Rahm Emmanuel-picked candidate would have said, and that's probably why it worked.

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Troublesome Survey USA Poll Of Last Night's Debate

Survey USA has a pretty good rep in the lefty blogosphere.  Its poll of last night's debate, however, is of very limited use.  Let me explain why it's mostly useless, then I'll mention the one place where its results are actually usable.

On the left of your screen, if you click the link, is a dropdown where you can see the poll results either as percentages, or see the actual counts.  Choose the latter.

Survey USA surveyed 1,250 South Carolinians about the debate.  403 actually listened to the debate, and they asked those 403 who they thought won or lost the debate.  So far, so good.  The problem: only 195 of those 403 were Democrats.  104 Republicans, 82 Independents, and 22 who (I'm guessing) didn't give a party affiliation were also included in the poll results.

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Expanding the Playing Field: The New CW

Here's what Chris Cillizza of the WaPo had to say yesterday about that ridiculous idea of expanding the playing field in Congressional elections.  Guess 2006 reversed the CW on that topic!  (More at the link.)

Democrats believe they have convinced the outgoing mayor of Kansas City, Mo., Kay Barnes, to challenge [Rep. Sam] Graves [R-MO] in 2008, in one of a handful of early recruiting successes that, national party strategists argue, will allow them to greatly expand the playing field of competitive races that November.

That strategy paid major dividends for Democrats in 2006 as they upset previously safe incumbents in Kansas, California and Arizona, and came mighty close in the GOP strongholds of Idaho and Wyoming. Democrats hope to repeat that game plan in 2008, aided by the continued dismal national political environment for Republicans.

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Q1 Fundraising

Kos provides these numbers:
Hillary Clinton: $36 million, 50,000 donors, includes $10M transfer from Senate campaign
Mitt Romney: $23 million
Rudy Giuliani: $15 million
John Edwards: $14 million
Chris Dodd: $9 million, includes $5M transfer from Senate campaign
Bill Richardson: $6 million
Joe Biden: $4 million, including $1M transfer from Senate campaign

Nearly $3M of Romney's money was a loan to himself.  And McCain checks in at $12.5M.  So actual Q1 fundraising looks like this, so far:

Hillary Clinton: $26M
Barack Obama: $24M??  (no report yet, just rumors)
Mitt Romney: $20M
Rudy Giuliani: $15M
John Edwards: $14M
John McCain: $12.5M
Bill Richardson: $6M
Chris Dodd: $4M
Joe Biden: $3M
Commentary below the fold.

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Why the Dems Should Start Their Primaries in Mid-2007

This is my personal pipe-dream: Howard Dean suddenly announces that the Iowa caucuses will be held in the third week of June 2007, followed by the New Hampshire primary in mid-September, the Nevada caucuses in late October, and the South Carolina primary the first week of December.  Then the rest of the primary schedule picks up in 2008.

There are several reasons I have this pipe dream, and they're all about the people claiming the process back from the media and the big donors.  The first reason is that it would give some actual voters the opportunity to interject themselves into the media narrative (Hillary v. Obama) between now and January 2008.  The fact that we're already well into campaign season, but nobody actually votes for ten months, gives the media far too much room to define the race.

A second reason is to reduce the impact of an early cash advantage.  There will only be three weeks between Iowa and the 2/5/08 Super Tuesday.  No matter who wins Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, at most two candidates will have the money to already have meaningful campaign organizations set up in all the Super Tuesday states.  Which candidates will they be?  The ones best at raking in the dough from the big contributors - Hillary, and perhaps Obama.  Even if Edwards sweeps the early primaries, he still probably won't have a ground game in many of the Super Tuesday states, because he probably won't have that sort of money.  And Richardson, Dodd, Wes Clark (if he runs), and the rest are in the same predicament, only worse.

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Introducing HoyerBlog

I don't know if this will interest anyone, but I've started a blog about Rep. Steny Hoyer, our new House Majority Leader.

Since I'm a constituent of his, I've been paying an increasing amount of attention to his stands on particular issues as I've gotten more politically involved over the past couple of years.  And with the change in control of Congress, Rep. Hoyer is one important fellow.  I thought he rated some individual attention.

So if a blog about Steny Hoyer interests anyone here, by all means come on over.  Comments and constructive criticism are always welcome.

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Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

Illinois is one of the bluest states in the country, and the bluest state between the coasts.  GOP Presidential candidates barely bother to show up in Illinois anymore.

Yet its Congressional delegation is only 10-9 in favor of the Dems.   That's just plain awful.  We need to do something about that.  And it's ripe for it.

Last month, the 10 Dems won by 100-0 (unopposed), 87-13, 86-14, 85-12, 84-16, 78-22, 77-23, 75-25, 57-43, and 51-44 (Melissa Bean).  The 9 R's won by 67-33, 67-33, 61-39 (Shimkus), 60-40 (Hastert), 58-42 (Biggert), 58-42 (Johnston), 55-45 (Weller), 53-47 (Kirk, who beat Seals), and 51-49 (Roskam, who beat Duckworth).

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