Let’s stop and think about this Schwarzenegger thing

I’m amazed that people are still talking about the possibility of Arnold Schwarzenegger running for governor of California. Last week people like Mickey Kaus, who must have more important things to do, started a whispering campaign in favor of Arnold replacing Bill “Why the hell am I a candidate for anything?” Simon as the Republican gubernatorial candidate. The impetus, oddly, was the withdrawal of Republican Mike Taylor from the Montana Senate race.
I don’t think Kaus et al picked up the right lesson from this. Taylor was shanghaied by an ad that made him look at best silly, and at worst a flamer. Arnold? Well …

Now, I reckon this image is embarrassing as anything in the Taylor ad. Even if the voter makes the distinction that the photo is not real, it reflects poorly on Arnold’s judgment: “A guy who starred in ‘Junior’? California deserves better. Davis 2006.”
Not convinced? Think of the soundbites Democrats could use against candidate Arnold:
“”My nipples are very sensitive.” (Junior)
“Well I hope you leave enough room for my fist, because I’m going to ram it into your stomach!” (The Running Man)
“You’re luggage.” (Eraser)
“I want you – to go to hell!” (End of Days)
You don’t need to be Paul Begala to think of a few ways to use this stuff against the man.


My constant struggle against tools

The other day I set out from my room to use the toilet right before I went to bed. My hall has 20 rooms; 12 are set aside for women, and 8 for men. For every 4 residents there’s one bathroom.
OK. That’s all you need to know.
That day, the bathroom closest to me was occupied, so I headed to the next one, nestled between four other rooms about two yards away. As I headed inside, one of my hallmates looked out from his room and said:
“Uh, that’s a private bathroom. You have to go downstairs.”
I’ve lived in NU housing for two years and I’ve never heard of a “private bathroom.” So I asked:
“Private for who?”
“It’s for the suite.”
As I said, this dorm consists of halls. Granted, the university’s description of the dorm indicates that “bathrooms are shared by four people.” My old dorm’s polcies weren’t too clear on this, but I never assumed any bathrooms were private.
So I asked, “where does the ‘suite’ start?”
“You have to go downstairs.”
Not knowing whether there actually was an arcane rule on the books giving this guy the free and unfettered right to a private bathroom in a public building, I moved back into my room without a fuss. But I was pissed off. This guy had never deigned to say a word of greeting to me. He lived within spitting distance of me and treated me like a vagrant. I just wrote him off as another one of the legion of simpletons who take up precious space at NU.
Today, the same thing. The bathroom closest to me is occupied. I head two yards down, and I see this on the door:
Assholes at work
Where to go next? I don’t know. But man, if I had any faith in the goodness of my fellow students, it has just skittered down the crapper.


Daschle: “Time to get down on your motherfuckin’ knees”

I don’t know why you’d ever go there, but I did – and I noticed that the website for Tom Daschle’s DASHPAC has a hip, profane theme song.
The site’s opening Flash movie plays to the sound of “Battle Flag” by the band Lo Fidelity Allstars. The lyrics:

Your construction
Smells of corruption
I manipulate to recreate
This air to ground saga
Gotta launder my karma

I said hallelujah to the sixteen loyal fans
You�ll get down on your muthafuckin’ knees
And it’s time for your sickness again
Come on and tell me what you need
Tell me what is making you bleed
We got two more minutes and
We gonna cut to what you need
So one of six so tell me
One do you want to live
And one of seven tell me
Is it time for your muthafuckin’ ass to give
Tell me is it time to get down on your muthafuckin’ knees
Tell me is it time to get down

I’m blown to the maxim
Two hemispheres battlin’
I’m blown to the maxim
Two hemispheres battlin’
Suckin’ up, one last breath
Take a drag off of death

Hey Mr. Policeman
Is it time for getting away
Is it time for driving down the mother fuckin’ road
And running from your ass today

Now tell me if do you agree
Or tell me if I’m makin� you bleed
I got a few more minutes and
I’m gonna cut to what you need
So one of six so tell me
One do you want to live
And one of seven tell me
Is it time for your muthafuckin’ ass to give
Tell me is it time to get down on your muthafuckin’ knees
Tell me is it time to get down

Got a revolution behind my eyes
We got to get up and organize
Got a revolution behind my eyes
We got to get up and organize
Got a revolution behind my eyes
We got to get up and organize
You want a revolution behind your eyes
We got to get up and organize

Come on baby tell me
Yes we aim to please

Well … there it is. Daschle’s site just loops the “got a revolution behind my eyes” part, but that’s plenty creepy on its face.


Election handicapping, D-27

For those of you now scratching your heads at that notation, it means “D-Day minus 27 days.” As for your other question, “Why the hell should I listen to you?” … well, horseraces are my one true love. Here at school I major in political science and journalism, and I’ve spent two summers interning in Washington, D.C. – most recently under the capable tutelage of Ron Faucheux. So, yeah, I’m another random blogger, but this is my obsession. Here are my predictions four weeks out.

Alabama – Sessions beats Parker. Rep hold
Parker started off weak, and he’s not helped by being next to the anemic Don Siegelman on the party’s ticket.
Arkansas – Pryor beats Hutchinson. Dem gain
Hutchinson has failed to overcome criticism of his personal life in a state where, ironically, it still matters. Pryor is a dream candidate running a perfect camapign.
Colorado – Strickland beats Allard. Dem gain
Upset of the year. Allard’s thin record and the state’s leftward movement will edge him out.
Georgia – Cleland beats Chambliss. Dem hold
Like fellow southerner Landrieu, Cleland has moved to the center and triangulated around the state’s hapless GOP.
Illinois – Durbin beats Durkin. Dem hold
Token contest. The state party is reeling and might not even recover in time to re-elect Sen. Fitzgerald.
Iowa – Harkin beats Ganske. Dem hold
Harkin won the Ag chairmanship after the Jeffords switch, helping him rebuild his image just in time to avert a close race. Forget the scandal. This’ll be Harkin’s biggest margin yet.
Kentucky – McConnell beats Weinberg. Rep hold.
Token candidate. Expect a landslide.
Louisiana – Landrieu beats Haik Terrell in runoff. Dem hold.
The Republicans have utterly failed to convince voters that Landrieu is not a good fit for the state – Landrieu has smartly maintained a solid, pro-Bush voting record in a state that Bush carried with a 8-point swing in 2000.
Maine – Collins beats Pingree. Rep hold.
I don’t buy talk that this is a hot race. Collins is a textbook moderate Republican who’ll carry at least 55 percent of the vote.
Michigan – Levin beats Raczkowski. Dem hold
The state is trending Dem, and Levin is an institution. Token race.
Minnesota – Coleman beats Wellstone. Rep gain.
Wellstone was given a boost when the Greens nominated an idiot, but he’s still doomed. The DFL is deteriorating rapidly, and it will take Roger Moe and Wellstone along with it.
Missouri – Carnahan beats Talent. Dem hold.
If Carnahan were anyone but the governor’s widow, he could lay into her. But I don’t think he can win the swing vote in these circumstances.
Montana – Baucus beats Taylor. Dem hold.
Taylor will hold Baucus under 55 percent, but he doesn’t have the issues to beat him.
New Hampshire – Sununu beats Shaheen. Rep hold
A close one, but Sununu will benefit from the collapse of the state’s Democrats. Shaheen, like NJ’s erstwhile Whitman, is nowhere near as popular as the national media assumes.
New Jersey – Lautenberg beats Forrester. Dem hold
The phrase “Yellow Dog Democrat” comes to mind.
New Mexico – Domenici beats Tristani. Rep hold
Wait for 2008, when Gov. Richardson goes for this open seat. Don’t pay attention this year.
North Carolina – Dole beats Bowles. Rep hold
Dole was the perfect candidate; Bowles, an imperfect one. Why nominate a Clintonite in Jesse Helms’ state?
Oklahoma – Inhofe beats Walters. Rep hold
A close race that still has upset potential … but barely.
Oregon – Smith beats Bradbury. Rep hold
Same as Oklahoma, but nothing indicates an upset.
Rhode Island – Reed beats Tingle. Dem hold
Token contest. Move on.
South Carolina – Graham beats Sanders. Rep hold
Graham has manuevered to make himself look like a popular incumbent. It’s his with more than 55 percent.
South Dakota – Johnson beats Thune. Dem hold
Missed opportunity for GOP. Thune hasn’t dug into Johnson the way he should be.
Tennesse – Alexander beats Clements. Rep hold
This is only a close race in Terry McAulliffe’s fantasies.
Texas – Cornyn beats Kirk. Rep hold
See above.
Virginia – Warner unopposed. Rep hold
Wait for 2008, when Gov. Mark Warner runs for this seat.

– Totals – Dem 51, Rep 48, Ind 1. An overall Dem gain of one seat.
– Race to watch – Everyone says South Dakota, and everyone is right. If Johnson wins, it will be by no more than 10,000 votes.

Larry Sabato says the GOP have 221 seats in the bag; the Democrats, 207. I agree. Looking at the rest:
Maine 2: Michaud beats Raye. Dem hold.
Baldacci won this district with 2/3 of the vote, and Raye won’t be able to convince voters he can replace him. Yes, this is that race between the pro-life Dem and the abortion rights Republican, but it won’t matter. The 2nd doesn’t swing on abortion.
Maryland 2: Denlich Bently beats Ruppersberger. Rep hold.
It’ll flip back over if the aged ex-congresswoman retires, but she can keep her old district this time.
Maryland 8: Van Hollen beats Morella. Dem gain
The new gerrymandered district is just too far left for Morella to win. I think she’ll hold Van Hollen under 55 percent, but she’ll lose.
Minnesota 2: Bill Luther beats John Kline. Dem hold.
The Greens endorsed Luther to free up his left, and friends of the Democrat put a “No New Taxes” party candidate on the ballot to squeeze Kline. That’s enough to give the Dems this close race.
New Jersey 5: Garrett beats Sumers. Rep hold.
Sumers got a boost when Torricelli left the ballot, but these counties went for Dole and Bush by large margins. Garrett will squeak it out.
New Mexico 2: Pearce beats Arthur. Rep hold.
Pearce is selling well to independents in a district that went for Bush. It will take awesome GOTV, but he can retain the seat.
South Dakota AL: Janklow beats Herseth. Rep hold.
Early polls were a red herring. Herseth simply does not have the gravity or issues to win this GOP-trending state.

– Totals – Rep 225, Dem 209, Ind 1. An overall Republican gain of three seats.
– Race to watch – Ohio 17. Traficant is still on the ballot and the Democrat is a gimp; this could be a one-time only Republican pickup. This would create a 226 – 208 – 1 House.


After three consecutive posts, is it still “New” Jersey?”

John Tabin referenced me as an acolyte of the church of Lautenberg victory. He’s right. I think the Democrats have this race quite nearly in the bag. Here’s why:

– As Teixiera and Judis write in today’s Times op-ed, New Jersey has been trending left since the 1980s. Forrester has to portray himself as an ultra-moderate to Lautenberg’s machine liberalism – possible, but he hasn’t done so yet.

– Forrester’s base is pathetically tiny. Only 19 percent of NJers are registered Republicans. Twenty-five percent are Democrats and most of the rest are independents. So Lautenberg only needs 48 percent of independents to go over the top, and he’s almost there.

– Blacks make up 13 percent of NJ’s population and never less than 11 of its votes. According to the AP, Jon Corzine got 90 percent of the black vote in 2000; Torricelli got 87 percent in 1996; I couldn’t find the breakdowns for Lautenberg’s 1994 victory, but he won heavily black Essex, Hudson, and Camden with a 120,000 vote plurality. In each election, a 50 percent drop in black turnout would have elected the Republican. There is no reason to believe that, in this first Senate election presided over by a Democratic governor since 1990, black turnout will dip.

– Republicans don’t win New Jersey elections. Democrats lose them. The GOP has come out ahead in only two statewide elections since 1990. Respectively: (I’m ignoring offices like treasurer – those elections turn on different issues)

– – In 1993, Christine Whitman defeated Gov. Jim Florio by 16,000 votes. At the time, Florio was one of most unpopular governors in America – he started the year with a less than 30 percent approval rating thanks to his 1990 tax hike. That February, a poll revealed 51 percent of voters would not re-elect him. In June, that had dropped to 46 percent – but Whitman was polling at 43. Florio raced to a 21-point lead by September, but Whitman overcame him with an ad blitz that flogged the tax hike until Florio’s negatives finally bore fruit. In the end, Whitman’s 49 percent was still dwarfed by the governor’s unpopularity.

– – Whitman was re-elected in 1997 over now-Gov. Jim McGreevy by 25,000, hampered by a 5 percent protest vote for Libertarian Murray Sabrin and McGreevey’s emphasis on … well … auto-insurance premiums.

– Democratic pressure to “keep the Senate” is very real, and the state party will play it like a kid with a new xylophone. In 2000, liberal pessimism and disgust for Corzine’s spending resulted in a 2 percent Green party vote. This year’s Green is a cartoonist running again on the money issue – a non-starter. The Green vote will drop and the Libertarian vote will hang tight, which is no good for the GOP.

– Lautenberg STILL has better name recognition then Forrester (90 percent to 72 percent) and a lower unfavorable rating (26 percent to 28). Forrester has only a month to tar him.

So, call me pessimistic but I see an avalanche of disadvantages for Forrester. My immediate predition – Lautenberg 51, Forrester 45, others 4.


The real issue in New Jersey

Has anyone in the Garden State already voted via absentee ballot? If so, what happens to their votes? I called the NJ Attorney General today – they promised an answer on this. Mickey Kaus told me he “thinks” the Republicans are litigating about this – I hope they are. To me, this is a fundamental problem in the Democrat’s mulligan strategy. If voters have already been choosing between Forrester and Torricelli, do their votes not count? Isn’t this one of the reasons why there’s a deadline for withdrawing from a campaign?