10 Ekim 2011 Pazartesi

The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth

The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth

At least two of Hillary Clinton’s upper-echelon advisers, Mandy Grunwald and Mark Penn, were decidedly unimpressed .

“Our people look like caucus-goers,” Grunwald said, “and his people look like they are 18. Penn said they look like Facebook.”
-Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, Des Moines, IA, November 10, 2007

Fast forward four years to today's headline: "How Obama's data-crunching prowess may get him re-elected."
Alone among the major candidates running for president, the Obama campaign not only has a Facebook page with 23 million "likes" (roughly 10 times the total of all the Republicans running), it has a Facebook app that is scooping up all kinds of juicy facts about his supporters.

Users of the Obama 2012 - Are You In? app are not only giving the campaign personal data like their name, gender, birthday, current city, religion and political views, they are sharing their list of friends and information those friends share, like their birthday, current city, religion and political views. As Facebook is now offering the geo-targeting of ads down to ZIP code, this kind of fine-grained information is invaluable.
Yeah, but he's still behind Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry in Twitter followers.

So Obama ranks 4th with 10.4 million followers. Mitt Romney? "4,931th" with 64,659. But the real question is, Which Mitt? A handy-dandy quiz on Romney's issue position where the correct answer is usually "all of the above."

Republican voters may not agree on those answers, or much of anything, but they can agree on one thing:
The one point on which they have been most consistent, however, is their resistance to the candidate who has been making his case the longest: former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

But it is these activists and voters like them who could eventually decide who gets the nomination. Do they coalesce around a single alternative, such as Perry, or do they continue to divide their support among all of the other hopefuls?

Or do they swallow their misgivings and begin to give Romney another look based on the argument that he is their best chance to beat President Obama in 2012?
Mitt Romney. Their best chance. Saturday Night Live got this one right this weekend: their vanilla Everyman, Jason Sudekis, played Romney OK, but gave him way too much charisma. Bobby Moynihan walked on as Chris Christie and owned the sketch; Moynihan may be the biggest loser in Christie's decision not to run. (And Tina Fey is very, very happy this week to retire THAT character... speaking of retirning characters, Kirsten, Shanna needs to join Gilly on the scrapheap.)

Whatever Republicans decide they'll be doing it sooner than ever. Ballot Access News: "In the years 1912 through 1972, no presidential primary was ever earlier than March."

Iowa City, of course, will vote twice before Caucus Night, unless New Hampshire grabs our November 8 city election date and we go on Halloween. (Scary costume suggestion: any GOP candidate). As for tomorrow's election, Michelle Payne is both the only woman and only registered Republican on the ballot, and she gets the big John Balmer endorsement.

And here's all the reasons not to pull out your ID tomorrow. There. I did it. I took a clip post and made a narrative out of it.

The Instant Lame Duck

The Instant Lame Duck

It takes a special alignment of stars to be a lame duck from the day you are elected. Shelley Sekula Gibbs did it by winning a special election on the same day she lost a general election in 2006. Neil Abercrombie did it by winning a special election and losing a primary on the same day in 1986.

But neither of them pulled off the trick of being a lame duck before even winning an election, so Cindy Golding is by my count the first.

You see, the Republican nominee in the Battle of Marion lives inside the current district lines of old Senate District 18, under which the November 8 special election will be conducted. She does not, however, live inside the lines of new Senate District 34, where the overwhelming majority of the old District 18 constituents will be next year when the term expires.

This concern was noted before the GOP nominating convention by Craig Robinson at TheIowaRepublican:
She will not live in the district when the new lines are applied for the 2012 elections. If Golding would win the nomination and go on to win Senate District 18 seat, she would either only serve one term, or she would have to move in order to remain in the district. Republicans are likely looking for a candidate to hold the seat, not fill it temporarily.
The other two GOP contenders who lost at the convention, Mary Rathje and Matt Dummermuth, both live inside both the old Senate 18 and new Senate 34 lines. So does Democratic nominee Liz Mathis, of rural Robins.

In Iowa Clean Redistricting, it's generally accepted for an elected official to move "back into" their own district if they're in what I call a My District Just Not My House situation. But for Golding, My House is apparently more important than My District. She has already announced that if elected, she would not move and would run instead in Senate District 48. (Bleeding Heartland has maps of all three.)

New Senate 48 has very little overlap with Old Senate 18. The districts share just three townships - Fayette, rural Marion, and Golding's township of Monroe - and the city of Palo. The new turf then sprawls into northern and eastern Linn County, most of the population of Jones County, and all the way up into Delaware and Buchanan.

So Republicans are spending a load of time and money getting Golding's name out in Robins and Hiawatha and Marion for a one-session Senator. But even if they succeed, they'll still have to recruit a new candidate to hold the district next year, and teach a new name to a confused electorate who's already grappling with the idea that the Lundby on the ballot is a Democrat.

And the Democrats already have a strong Senate 48 candidate lined up in Rep. Nate Willems, a Lisbon legislator and Anamosa native.

So, why not move, Cindy? Why announce before you even get elected that you're running in a different seat? Robinson may have the answer: "Moving will not be easy since Golding lives in a very expensive home." And if even the other Republicans are saying she has an expensive house, that must be some house.

View gotcha in a larger map

Nice crib. Love the columns. And is that a fountain I see at the crest of that curving driveway?

The Linn County Assessor lists the 9,111 square foot house on 36.49 acres at an assessed valuation of $855,400. That's a lot of home to love.

No, material success is not a crime. But when the material success is more important than the people you're seeking to represent, that should send up some warning flags.

8 Ekim 2011 Cumartesi

Johnson County Democrats 2011 Barbecue

No Platypus, just lots of Democrats

So we didn't have Rick Perry, like the Johnson County Republicans did last night, but I'll take Dave Loebsack and Sue Dvorsky as keynoters over the Platypus over him any day. (I would have liked to have made it to the other team's event, but I was on daddy patrol Friday and they prefer the actual Perry.) It would have made for a nice compare/contrast of, for example, the relative length of the introduction of elected officials.

Loebsack squeezed the event into what was either a six or seven event day ans stresses his Armed Services committee work. "We need to be out of Iraq by the end of the year (and) we need to make those moves to get us out of Afghanistan as soon as we can," he said.

Loebsack also noted work he's doing on private sector initiatives for the Rock Island Arsenal to potentially do non-military work, and on a project to embed mental health professionals in National Guard units to combat the high suicide rate.

On the latter project Loebsack is working with subcommittee chair Joe Wilson, the South Carolina Republican best known for shouting "you lie!" at President Obama. Loebsack said he and Wilson both had family members with mental health problems, and that common experience helped them work together on the issue. "I'm doing everything I can to work across the aisle," said Loebsack. But later he added, "but while I'm working across the aisle, we still have some fundamental differences" with Republicans.

Any gathering of Iowa politicos these days is certain to turn to the November 8 state senate special election that Sue Dvorsky simple calls "18." I'll get my Battle of Marion label to stick yet.

‎"There has never been an election in the history of this state where ONE SEAT could turn the entire direction of government," said the IDP chair, who sees the 2011 special as the first stage of the 2012 campaign battle.

Dvorsky singled out the minority House Democrats for praise, too. "It takes so much courage to keep climbing that hill when you know you can't win. What they did was out the other side's horrendous agenda." Three House candidates hoping to take back the majority that Democrats lost in 2010 were on hand: David Johnson, challenging Jeff Kaufmann in House 73; Sara Sedlacek, taking on Tom Sands in District 88; and county supervisor Sally Stutsman, running in open House 77.

That's the soundbites, but what you really want is the pictures, over in the Facebook album.

7 Ekim 2011 Cuma

Olive Out in House 48

Former Sen. Rich Olive Out in House 48 Race

Democrat Rich Olive has announced he's out in the House District 48 race, citing family and geography:
This decision did not come easily and was influenced by many factors including health, family, and work but it basically comes down to one thing: my heart is in Story City. In order to be a candidate for the House Seat in District 48, I would have been required to move my primary residence out of Story City and that just simply isn’t an option.
Olive won one Senate term by 61 votes in 2006, and got knocked off by Republican Rob Bacon. The two were set for a rematch in this House district: Bacon got paired up with fellow Republican Bill "I will be seeking a leadership election" Dix in redistricting.

This district belonged to Ames Democrat Lisa Heddens on Map Day, in a My District Just Not My House situation; Heddens has moved back into her House District 46, in the city limits of Ames.

Democrats now need a candidate in this swing seat, which has just a narrow GOP edge. Hamilton County makes up about half of this district. The new seat also includes parts of rural Boone County, southeast Webster County and a little corner of Story, going all the way up to the Ames city limits. What's McKinley Bailey up to these days?

Register Reports January 3 Caucuses

January 3 Caucuses, says Register

Iowa’s caucus date will be Jan. 3 under a tentative agreement that will be formally voted on around Oct. 16, a GOP central committee member said today.

“We had a real clear consensus last night that we want Jan. 3,” said Drew Ivers, a member of the Iowa GOP central committee who is from Webster City.

The tentative agreement was reached during an Iowa GOP Central Committee phone conference last night, Ivers said.

Chairman Matt Strawn wanted to wait to publicly talk about the Jan. 3 date until Monday as a courtesy to officials involved with ongoing talks with New Hampshire, Ivers said.

So is this a variation on what Frontloading HQ called, as referenced in my post last night, Scenario 2?
Iowa on January 5 and New Hampshire on December 13 is a distinct possibility. It keeps Iowa out of December. The blame would not be on the Hawkeye state for slipping into December 2011. That would all rest with New Hampshire; a victim of its own law. [How's that for a strange twist of fate?]
Is it effort to force New Hampshire to suck it on their seven day law and settle for Tuesday the 10th, four days before Nevada?

Or is it what FLHQ today calls "an opening offer?"
The Iowa Republican caucuses may end up on January 3, but that will likely have very little to do with the discussion among the decision-makers within the state party over the last couple of days. This is, as it was with Arizona, an opening offer. It is a possibility. It is a threat. But we won't know until October 16 at the earliest whether it is a reality.
10/16 is what NH Secretary of State Bill Gardner says is the earliest he will announce the date.
The New Hampshire-Nevada game of chicken is now the Iowa-New Hampshire game of chicken. Iowa has made its offer: January 3. Bill Gardner and New Hampshire have made theirs: December 6. Iowa Republicans are saying, "We are willing to take the last Tuesday spot to make sure that the Iowa Republican caucuses happen in 2012." Bill Gardner and New Hampshire are countering with, "That's fine. We are willing to blow all of this up to protect our state law and the candidate/media attention that law nurtures."

Gardner holds the trump card. He is seemingly willing to take New Hampshire into December if need be to protect the law. Whether that's true or not, we may never know, but he is seemingly willing to play it. And Iowa Republicans are not willing to slip into December.
Your move, Mr. Gardner.

6 Ekim 2011 Perşembe

Iowa Second?

Should Iowa Take One For The Team?

I'm absolutely NOT suggesting or endorsing it. But consider the caucus date dilemma Iowa is in:

  • Florida Republicans -- and remember, this is their fault -- broke the rules agreed on by both parties: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, in that order, in February. No one else till March. But rules don't matter to the biggest swing state. They got away with cheating last time, so they did it again, going a full five weeks early on January 31.

  • In response, South Carolina was expected to move to Saturday the 28th; there's some tradition of Saturday elections in that state. But instead they jumped back a full week past Florida to January 24.

  • Nevada Republicans were then expected to pick Saturday the 21st but then jumped a whole week past that to January 14.

  • So now the irresistible force of the pages of the calendar meets the immovable object of New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who is adamant about enforcing his state law that requires his primary be seven days before "any similar contest." And he's almost as adamant about staying on a Tuesday. Which points to January 3...

  • Which points to Iowa in calendar year 2011.

    It's no secret that the DC press corps hates, Hates, HATES the Iowa caucuses. It's a long trip compared to the Boston-Washington shuttle, and they have absolutely no clue about the process on either side. MSNBC's First Read is a reasonably good take on Beltway mentality at any given moment, and here's what they think of a December caucus:
    Christmas in Des Moines? With Nevada’s decision to hold its caucuses on Jan. 14, it’s possible that the presidential primary season could begin immediately after Christmas -- with New Hampshire settling on Jan. 7, and Iowa going either Dec. 28 or 29. If that happens, it could be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back on Iowa’s and New Hampshire’s dominance of the primary calendar. Why? You could see a full-fledged rebellion -- maybe not this cycle, but certainly the next -- if candidates are forced to campaign and the news media is forced to descend upon Des Moines over the Christmas holiday. New Year’s Eve in Des Moines four years ago was one thing; Christmas Eve is another. The reason New Hampshire would pick Jan. 7 is to give it a full week of separation between Nevada’s contest. But it all depends on how seriously New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner takes the Nevada contest. If he doesn’t take it seriously and decides Nevada is not too similar to New Hampshire’s primary, the Granite State could stick with Jan. 10, allowing Iowa to go on Jan. 5, which at least keeps the start of the voting in the 2012 calendar year. But if he takes it seriously, it’s Christmas in Des Moines. And, folks, even for diehard defenders of the Iowa/New Hampshire start, that’ll be ridiculous.
    And all indications are that Gardner takes Nevada seriously.

    Frontloading HQ, a multiple times a day must read for any serious Iowa politico these days, offers four scenarios:
    Again, Secretary Gardner is bound by state law. He has no ability to set the New Hampshire primary for January 10. Nevada Republican caucuses just four days later violates that law. And if Iowa selects a date during the first week in January, that gives Gardner no recourse but to go before Iowa -- in December. There would be no other option in January that would both keep New Hampshire as the first in the nation primary and give it the seven day buffer after the contest mandated by law.

    What options are left to Iowa and New Hampshire?

    1. New Hampshire on January 10 and Iowa on January 3 or 5 is not on the table. New Hampshire cannot do that.

    2. Iowa on January 5 and New Hampshire on December 13 is a distinct possibility. It keeps Iowa out of December. The blame would not be on the Hawkeye state for slipping into December 2011. That would all rest with New Hampshire; a victim of its own law. [How's that for a strange twist of fate?] Conversely, New Hampshire could take the January 3 date and force Iowa into December.

    4. The final option is the Thelma and Louise doomsday scenario described last night. That's the "if we're going down, let's go down together" option.

    Now this turns into something akin to a prisoner's dilemma. Option 1 is not workable. Option 2 protects New Hampshire in the short term, but likely hurts it -- and the other early states -- in the long run. The status of being first and the whole system in fact would be on trial before 2016. Option 4 yields much the same results.
    If the Iowa caucuses are in December 2011, there will be no 2016 caucuses. Oh, sure, the platform nerds and process geeks and people who read political blogs will get together sometime in the spring. But the presidential choice will be in the June primary between Presumptive Nominee and Uncommitted, buried somewhere below the county supervisors.

    You notice I skipped an option.
    3. But if Iowa is willing to let New Hampshire go first in December, would it not -- and I'm speaking hypothetically here Iowans -- make sense for Iowa to go on January 10 and cede New Hampshire the January 3 date? That entails Iowa doing New Hampshire a solid -- one of epic and selfless proportion rarely seen in presidential primary calendar politics.

    That leaves Option 3. Iowa takes one for the team, allows New Hampshire to eclipse it for this cycle, and all the early states can then blame Florida and/or the RNC's lack of meaningful penalties for pushing the four early states up as far as they did.
    I'm sure the various Republican campaigns have strong opinions about Option 3. This leapfrogging isn't all about the batting order. The popular theory is Nevada leaped further forward than expected to help Mitt Romney, who's expected to win there and in New Hampshire. Rick Santorum has openly called Florida's move a "conspiracy" of front-runners to minimize the role of small early states. (Every other candidate has been Flavor of the Month, or at least the week; is Santorum ever going to get his week?)

    But what would we need to, for argument's sake only, consider "taking one for the team?" First of all, we would need some sense that there was an actual "team," like there was in the days of the eight days between Iowa and New Hampshire pact that stood for two decades. It's been New Hampshire, not Iowa, that's abandoned that solidarity the last couple cycles. We'd need some guarantees, by both parties, that calendar cheaters would suffer some penalties with teeth, and not get rewarded with, say, a national convention.

    So what would we get if, for argument's sake, we "take one for the team?" A better date, with higher attendance and better prospects for organizing for November.

    If we were after New Hampshire, we could consider some sort of absentee voting procedure. Hillary Clinton had the high ground on this one: people who can't physically be there, whether it's military service or shift work or child care, lose their vote. We offered a bunch of reasons about "the neighborhood meeting nature" of the caucuses, but they've grown so big that real town-meeting dialogue is impossible. Heck, hearing and movement are impossible.

    The real reason the Iowa caucuses don't have any absentee procedure is that Bill Gardner thinks that makes it an election. Now, I'd prefer something a little less wide-open than the vote early for any reason we have for elections. The caucuses are supposed to be a party meeting, and unrestricted absentees would turn the whole thing into a year-long absentee ballot chase. But people who really can't be there should be able to participate.

    Most importantly, Option 3 gives us January or February 2016 instead of Presumptive Nominee vs. Uncommitted in June.

    I'm not saying Iowa Republicans (we Dems are just along for the ride this time) should do this. But as bad options go, it's, well, one of them.
  • October Johnson County Democrats

    October Johnson County Democrats

    Mayor Matt Hayek starts the show asking for our support and reciting his Democratic Party bona fides.

    Assorted news: HQ is open at 321 E. Market St.

    The big event of the year, the BBQ, is Saturday from 4 to 7 at the fairgrounds. Asking $25 a ticket. Speeches start 4:45 or so with Dave Loebsack, Sue Dvorsky and the locals. November 19 is the Jefferson-Jackson in Des Moines with mayor Rahm f^&%in' Emanuel.

    We talk caucuses but don't have any real answers.

    Electeds on hand: Bolkcom, Dvorsky, Mascher, Lensing, Jacoby, Neuzil, Sullivan. The senators talk Battle of Marion. Many many volunteer opportunities.

    Occupy Wall Street moves to Iowa City: College Green Park starting 6:00 PM tomorrow.

    Mascher on Branstad education plan: "There are some positive things, some things that are doable, but the bottom line is it's an attempt to gut collective bargaining and termination rights for teachers."

    City Primary at End Game

    City Primary at End Game

    Five days before election day and the first city council mailer landed in our mailbox,for Matt Hayek. Too late: I already voted, and not for him, but credit for the effort.

    Hayek appears to be ahead in the sign war, re-using the blue and white, college sweatshirt look signs from his first race. He did them right, with his short last name filling most of the space. Most of his signs are by themselves, and quite a few pop up at business and rental sites. Da Mayor is also ahead in letters to the editor.

    Also in blue and white, and in my yard, is Raj Patel, who seems to have made a good early vote effort. Patel signs have also been spotted in downtown business windows.

    The only other signs I see are for Michelle Payne and Mark McCallum. Payne's signs are illegible until you're right on top of them, with her first and last name filling only about the upper third of the sign. They're the first pink yard signs I've ever seen, probably to remind us that she's the only woman on the ballot. (I'll remind you that she's the only registered Republican on the ballot.)

    Nearly invisible outside the candidate forums are Josh Eklow, Jarrett "the chicken guy" Mitchell, and the other guy whose name I actually have to look up, let's see... Richard Finley , that's the guy.

    Updates: The Press-Citizen chimes in Friday AM with endorsements of Hayek and Payne, with McCAllum and Patel as "two other candidates (who) stand out." Loud emphasis on HAyek's flip to pro-21 and Patel's role in fighting it. Seems the PC is still as obsessed with it as I am.

    Also: a look at the money, with Hayek way out in front, Patel (mostly self-funded) next, and Payne and McCallum reporting, while The Other Three are all below the $750 threshold that requires a report.

    Early voting this weekend: UIHC Friday, auditor's office Saturday, library Sunday.

    Hacker Update

    1337 h4x0r upd8

    Day 11 of the hacked layout: From the Google/Blogger support forum, fellow hackee pearlanddaisy writes:
    I searched the name on the hijacker's digital calling card left on @jdeeth's blog and came up with 35,000 plus hits - all of the ones I looked at had similar "calling cards" and some long diatribe about terrorists. I had wondered why most of the blogs on "asker's" profile were political and turns out, this guy sees himself as some kind of hero fighting American (and other) "terrorists". He is a true menace to the web and perhaps beyond.

    I found this news item (translated from Turkish)
    'Turkish hacker Huseyin Gazi' written by the text, "Those who betray the ground eating bread, bread eaten places around the projectile. World terrorists supporting and supplying the U.S. behind closed doors, the world's greatest terrorist country" includes expressions.
    How are you gentlemen! All your blog are belong to us!

    So I'm still on hold waiting for the uber-uber-ubertechie to stop by.

    GOP threatens New Hampshire

    GOP pressures New Hampshire

    This is an unexpected, good for Iowa twist:
    Republicans are pressuring New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner to put his state's primary late enough to allow Iowa's caucus to take place in January, and are threatening the state with the loss of its favored status as the first-in-the-nation primary if he doesn't do so.

    "I don’t think it takes a genius to realize that if New Hampshire goes so early that Iowa winds up during the holidays, there may be calls on whether we should scrap this whole system, and whether or not New Hampshire should even be able to go early next time," said a Republican source familiar with the proceedings. "Where his head is right now is ‘I have no choice,’ but he does. New Hampshire has gone from being the victim to everyone saying 'you're going to [mess] this up even more."

    The source said that if New Hampshire moves its primary up to Jan. 3 rather than Jan. 10, the state would likely face backlash from members of the Republican National Committee. Republicans are arguing that the next "similar election" is the South Carolina primary, which would make the Jan. 10 date viable for New Hampshire.
    So three scenarios:

  • Gardner says screw you and does what he wants. I've said that's counterproductive in the long run, and now the GOP is explicitly saying so.

  • Gardner caves on the seven days between Nevada and New Hampshire and goes with the Tuesday the 10th, or

  • Gardner goes with Saturday the 8th and Iowa caves, like we did last time, on eight days between us and New Hampshire.

    Either one of those two us on Monday 1/2 or Tuesday 1/3. This is all moving a lot faster than I expected. Let's get it done so us locals can start booking rooms.

    While the Republicans are making threats, shouldn't they also be talking about their convention site?
  • 96 year old woman denied ID

    Photo ID in action

    I got your "voter fraud" right here:
    Dorothy Cooper is 96 but she can remember only one election when she's been eligible to vote but hasn't.

    The retired domestic worker was born in a small North Georgia town before women had the right to vote. She began casting ballots in her 20s after moving to Chattanooga for work. She missed voting for John F. Kennedy in 1960 because a move to Nashville prevented her from registering in time.

    So when she learned last month at a community meeting that under a new state law she'd need a photo ID to vote next year, she talked with a volunteer about how to get to a state Driver Service Center to get her free ID. But when she got there Monday with an envelope full of documents, a clerk denied her request.

    That morning, Cooper slipped a rent receipt, a copy of her lease, her voter registration card and her birth certificate into a Manila envelope. Typewritten on the birth certificate was her maiden name, Dorothy Alexander.

    "But I didn't have my marriage certificate," Cooper said Tuesday afternoon, and that was the reason the clerk said she was denied a free voter ID at the Cherokee Boulevard Driver Service Center...

    5 Ekim 2011 Çarşamba

    Nevada January 14

    Nevada January 14

    Aw crap:
    Nevada Republicans will hold their presidential caucus Saturday, Jan. 14, state GOP chairwoman Amy Tarkanian told POLITICO Wednesday night.

    The first-in-the-West caucus will come a week before South Carolina’s Jan. 21 primary, leaving New Hampshire likely for Jan. 3, with Iowa’s caucuses coming the week before that – in December.

    Iowa’s caucus is traditionally held eight days before New Hampshire’s primary. Eight days before the primary would be Monday, Dec. 26.
    Or more likely the 19th. Our only hope:
    New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner told POLITICO this week he must abide by state law that requires the first-in-the-nation primary to be held at least seven days before the next nominating contest. With Nevada’s decision, that would seem to point to Tuesday, Jan. 3, though Gardner left open the possibility of holding the primary on a different day of the week.

    “It’s always been on a Tuesday,” Gardner told POLITICO. “All our elections and our primaries have always been on a Tuesday. However, it would be possible to have it on a day other than a Tuesday.”
    If Gardner goes with Saturday the 7th, we could probably get away with Monday the 2nd or Tuesday the 3rd. If he pushes Iowa into 2011, he's hurting his state as much as ours. Frontloading HQ:
    FHQ has talked a great deal about the power Bill Gardner has in New Hampshire concerning the setting of the presidential primary date. He still has that power tonight, but he also has a hugely consequential decision to make now. No, the decision doesn't necessarily affect the candidates or the campaign overall, but depending on the decision, it could threaten the favored position New Hampshire enjoys now in future cycles.
    Everyone needs to remember this is all FLORIDA's fault. If I were an Iowa Republican I'd be talking about moving that convention. And as an Iowa Democrat I still think we should have thrown them out of the 2008 convention.

    A Very Special Episode

    Special Election Clip Show

    Today, on a very special edition of the Deeth Blog, we have special elections:

  • A Democratic win in a weirdly timed special election for West Virginia governor, completing the musical chairs that began last year with Robert Byrd's death. David Nir at Kos:
    Tomblin and Barack Obama are nothing alike, and West Virginia looks very different from the country as a whole — plus, it's not a swing state and isn't a factor in the president's re-election plans. Don't get me wrong: This is a very good win for Democrats. There's just no reason to read anything into it.
    True that, but a Democratic loss would have given the GOP some bragging rights, so denying them that is a plus in itself.

  • Remember last month when Sheriff Joe Arpaio came in for Republican sheriff candidate Rick LaMere in Jones County? Yeah, the voters didn't care:
    Chief Deputy Greg Graver was elected sheriff in Tuesday’s special election, garnering 71.9 percent of the votes cast.

    In second place was Rick LaMere with 14.7 percent, followed by (appointed, Democratic) incumbent Harvey DeSotel with 12.8 percent and Scotty Shover with less than 1 percent.
    Sheriff elections can get odd, and special elections called by petition have kind of a recall dynamic. But can somebody tell me what's in the water in the Jones County when a guy, even the chief deputy, running as an independent knocks off the appointee with 72 percent?!?

  • And you can't talk specials without checking in on The Battle of Marion. Politico picks up on Ann Romney's noon visit for Cindy Golding and plays up the "but she turned Bachmann away" angle.

  • In other stuff, the Fort Madison Daily Democrat - great name, hearkening back to the once and future days of the partisan press - sits down with the retiring Gene Fraise to reminisce about his three decade legislative career.

  • And in The New Republic, veteran journalist Walter Shapiro declares Chris Christie will never be president:
    Christie may be deluding himself with his implicit belief that his time will come again during another presidential cycle. In truth, the combination of a weak Republican field and a vulnerable Democratic incumbent is a shimmering opportunity that may appear only once in Christie’s political lifetime.
    Barack Obama saw his opportunity and took it. So did Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton did not and waited four years too long. They only beg you once, Chris.
  • 4 Ekim 2011 Salı

    The Scenarios Narrow

    Nevada Won't Share SC Date

    You know, if the Deeth Blog weren't in Day 8 of Hacked Mode and unable to do anything except post, I'd just redirect this site's traffic to Frontloading HQ. Via the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
    The Nevada GOP will hold its presidential caucuses before Jan. 21, the date South Carolina picked Monday to conduct its primary, according to the head of the Nevada Republican Party.

    But the actual date of the Silver State's caucuses remained up in the air as Nevada and New Hampshire tried to work out an early voting calendar that might satisfy both states' needs.

    It's possible that New Hampshire could decide to vote on a day other than Tuesday to maintain a week's space between the two states or that Nevada could caucus on a day other than Saturday to achieve the same result.

    GOP Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian said Nevada doesn't want to compete with South Carolina for attention from the candidates, who had to choose between the two states the last time around.
    Refersher: NV and SC were co-located on Saturday 1/19/08

    Frontloading HQ: "If the (Nevada Republican) party sticks to its resolution to hold caucuses on the Saturday after New Hampshire, there are only two options left that are actually on the 2012 calendar: January 7 and 14."

    Which sticks us on January 2 or 3.

    The Daily Date Roundup

    January 5?

    That's the bet of Craig Robinson at TheIowaRepublican in a must read date roundup from the only perspective that matters: the Iowa perspective.

    Here's the scenario, with New Hampshire on Monday 1/10:
    January 2nd is a national holiday, which presents logistical problems as many caucuses are held in public buildings, and major college bowl games take place on 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. The 5th, however, is wide open. While the 5th doesn’t provide much time between the caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, the five-day difference is the same as it was in 2008. Nevada, which isn’t really fought-over territory, could hold its caucuses on Saturday the 14th.
    Problem with that is Bill Gardner. The NH Secretary of State, who has full authority to set the date, says he won't announce his date till Nevada announces theirs, and Nevada Republicans say theirs is "the Saturday after New Hampshire." But Gardner says he'll insist on a full week between the two

    So as of this cup of coffee I'm seeing a first-ever Saturday New Hampshire primary on the 7th with Nevada on the 14th: the Saturday after New Hampshire and seven days after. That probably puts us on the 2nd or more likely the 3rd.

    Frontloading HQ
    has another must-read - yes, I've assigned you two today - on Gardner's psychology and skill at playing chicken, which again emphasizes the improtance of keeping both New Hampshire and Iowa in the calendar year. It also notes the next key date: October 22, when Nevada Republicans meet again. (Gardner didn't set the 2008 date till November 21, 2007. That didn't leave us Iowans much time to line up all those caucus sites...)

    Robinson calls the calendar "once again severely frontloaded" but Frontloading HQ disagrees:
    Go and look at that 2008 calendar again. Now go look at 2012. The first Tuesday in March 2012 -- the earliest allowed date -- is still the date on which the most contests are being held, but only marginally so. That isn't Tsunami Tuesday. Heck, that is a Super Tuesday a month later than in 2008...

    Was the effort to combat frontloading fruitless? No, it wasn't. A .850 winning percentage is not the record of a loser. It speaks otherwise.

    In a scenario where all it takes is one state to overturn the applecart, though, all it took was Florida to jump into January to destroy the best laid plans at the RNC. There is such a small margin for error that it is almost impossible to claim victory from a rules perspective in any cycle. Again, where the problem lies is with the penalties, not the rules.
    As for the penalties, Robinson mentions the nuclear option: "Whoever chose Tampa, Florida, as the site of the 2012 Republican national convention should lose their job. Not only is the RNC allowing them to destroy the nominating calendar it set up, it is actually rewarding the rule breakers them by letting them host the convention." It's not my place to say where the Republican convention should be, but if it were my team I'd be calling for it.

    So who does all this help in the nomination fight? Wall Street Journal says frontronners as if it's a bad thing, under the headline "Florida Republicans for Obama."

    3 Ekim 2011 Pazartesi

    SC Saturday 1/21

    SC Saturday 1/21

    "South Carolina will hold its Republican primary Saturday, Jan. 21, state GOP Chairman Chad Connelly will announce Monday morning. Connelly's announcement places South Carolina's primary 10 days before Florida's rogue Jan. 31 primary announced last week, and will likely push voting in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada to early January. "

    Well, crap. This doesn't help.

    We're still looking at Nevada and New Hampshire butting heads. If Nevada now insists on Saturda 1/14, and New Hampshire insists on a full week after, and on a Tuesday, that puts them on Tuesday 1/3... and puts us in calendar 2011.

    No one wants that to happen because, as Frontloading HQ noted, crossing the calendar year psychological barrier is too big a risk to the status of Iowa and New Hampshire. I think that's true even if NH is in January but we're in December.

    So I see two scenarios:

    1) South Carolina and Nevada share Saturday 1/21. SC wants "first in the south," NV wants "first in the west." That could put NH on Saturday 1/14 or Tuesday 1/10, and us in the first week of January.

    2) If Nevada insists on "Saturday after New Hampshire" and its own day to itself, and New Hampshire insists on "one full week," then New Hampshire could take Saturday 1/7. NH Secretary of State Bill Gardner has said in the past he would consier a Saturday date, though he's never done it.

    In that case, we'd probably be pushed to early in the first week of January: Monday 1/2 or Tuesday 1/3. We already broke the barrier of eight days between IA and NH in 2008.

    My bet is scenario 2 is more likely, but then I was betting on SC going on Tuesday 1/24, too.

    SC Will Announce Primary Date

    SC Will Announce Primary Date 10 AM

    More caucus date action today: "South Carolina Republican officials will reveal their choice for the 2012 presidential primary date at 11 a.m. (ET) Monday." My bet is Tuesday 1/24, but Saturday 1/28 is also possible.

    Frontloading HQ has another good roundup of the latest possibilities and a bunch of calendar scenarios similar to mine:
    While a date for the Nevada Republican caucuses was not set (Saturday), the state party chose not to alter the newly enacted rule that links the Republican caucuses in the Silver state with the primary in New Hampshire. That would place the Nevada Republican caucuses on the Saturday following New Hampshire, a violation of New Hampshire state law.

    The final calendar, then, hinges on how the showdown between New Hampshire and Nevada is resolved. History and the mechanics of primary/caucus movement are not on Nevada's side. New Hampshire will not break its own law and the legislature there is unlikely to chance it to accommodate Nevada.
    And Frontloading HQ also offers words of warning:
    ...we should all buckle in and prepare for three weeks of "primaries in December" talk... and it is a bluff. Nothing would threaten Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina and their privileged positions at the front of the calendar more than for one or more of those states to jump into the calendar year prior to the presidential election.
    Which New Hampshire knows, and that's why they let Iowa go just five days before them in 2008, to keep it in the calendar year.

    Other stuff: Daily Kos number cruncher David Nir looked at nine key votes where House speaker John Boehner lost votes on his right flank:
    I'm sure you're wondering who these problem children are. I've already mentioned the two worst: Justin Amash of Michigan's 3rd Congressional District and Steve King of Iowa's 5th (seeking reelection in the new 4th). They've voted against Boehner nine out of nine times, the only two to do so.

    And an update on the hacking: another (non-political) blogger reports the same problem and the same culprit. If you're really interested you can read the tech support thread.

    2 Ekim 2011 Pazar

    Nevada Changes Plans AGAIN

    Nevada Changes Plans AGAIN

    Friday's statements from Nevada GOP chair Amy Tarkanian that the state was caving and caucusing after Florida are now inoperative:
    Nevada Republicans decided Saturday to move up the GOP presidential caucuses to January to preserve the state's early voting spot, although it will cost the Silver State half its delegates at the national convention.

    The GOP executive board voted to go ahead with plans to hold its caucuses on the Saturday following New Hampshire, once that state decides a new date.
    That sets up a head on collision with New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who insists on a full week after his state. That means it's going to be that much longer before the dates are settled, because Nevada and New Hampshire are each waiting for the other to make the first move.

    That also, more than likely, pushes us back to the first week of January.

    Given that Florida is going to cheat, the calendar that makes sense is:

    Jan. 31 cheaters
    Jan. 24 South Carolina
    Jan. 21 (Saturday) Nevada
    Jan. 17 New Hampshire
    Jan. 10 Iowa

    But if Gardner insists on that full week, try:

    Jan. 31 cheaters
    Jan. 28 (Saturday) South Carolina
    Jan. 24 Nevada
    Jan. 17 New Hampshire
    Jan. 10 Iowa

    The early states and national committees are gonna need to work this out fairly soon.

    1 Ekim 2011 Cumartesi

    More Caucus Date Reactions

    More Caucus Date Reactions

  • Monday, January 9 is the BCS championship game, and that's at least a week too late for anyone to be playing college football. But that's OK because it's also at least a month early for Iowa to be caucusing. Other arbitrary rules: The Super Bowl should be in January not February, no hockey team should be based in a city where it doesn't snow, and team gear should only be in actual team colors or neutral gray. (Exception allowed for pink but only if there's a breast cancer charity tie-in.)

  • Rick Santorum smells a frontrunner conspiracy in Florida: "I'm sure they'd like to have the election tomorrow. By moving up the calender, you help the favorites."

  • And Kos, still bitter that we screwed Howard Dean, offers his quadrennial Screw Iowa rant:
    The ability of these two states to retain their stranglehold on the primary calendar is a testament to their political acumen. There are 48 other states jealous of their positioning. But I'm happy to cheer any attempt to chip away at that stranglehold, because someday, we will have a process that doesn't cede this important a decision to such a small number of voters unrepresentative of this great nation of ours.
    Riiiight. Unrepresentative. Because everyone knew that the first African American president would catch his big break in Iowa.
  • Nevada Caving On Caucus Date

    Ignore this entire post.

    Nevada Caving On Caucus Date

    With hours to go before the RNC's midnight "deadline" to choose a primary/caucus date, it looks like one of the official early states is crying uncle.
    Nevada Republicans will allow Florida to jump ahead of them on the presidential nominating calendar to preserve the state’s full slate of delegates to the Republican National Convention, state GOP chairwoman Amy Tarkanian said Friday.

    “Because we have such a small amount of delegates, we’ll probably stay at the beginning of February,” Tarkanian told POLITICO. “The biggest concern we have is to make sure we’re first in the West. If we can do [the caucuses] in the beginning of February, that’s what we’ll do."
    The first other western event is a beauty contest caucus in Colorado on Tuesday 2/7.

    Tarkanian, like her cohorts in the other authorized early states, heaped blame on Florida for throwing the calendar into chaos.

    “We’re not happy with them, period,” she said. “We have what, 28 delegates? They have 99. So what do they care if they lose some? They didn’t have to be bullies about this.”
    RNC rules strip early states of half the delegates. Those may not have been effective rules last cycle, but they were enforced at least.

    (Suggestion to my Republican friends: Vegas could host a convention way better than Tampa...)

    Nevada always seemed like the least "traditional" of the early states. Their status was a Democratic Party set in 2006; they were supposed to be the "Hispanic influence" state to go with the African American (on the D side) influence of South Carolina. New Mexico really had a better case than Nevada, but Bill Richardson was running.

    Also to be noted: "South Carolina GOP Chairman Chad Connelly said he is now considering either a Tuesday or a Saturday."

    Special note to Floridians blaming other states for "forcing" them to move:
    But Friday wasn’t all bad news for the RNC’s rule-makers. Over the last 24 hours, a few other states have moved to avoid running afoul of the RNC’s rules.

    On Thursday, Georgia’s secretary of state announce his state would hold its contests on March 6 rather than in February, while the Missouri Republican Party announced that it would hold caucuses in March to avoid the penalty of taking its turn on Feb. 7. The primary could still happen — unless the state legislature acts — but since it will not be tied to the allocation of delegates, the RNC would not penalize Missouri.

    And on Friday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed a bill that moves his state’s primary from Feb. 21 to April.
    OMFG Scott Walker gets one right. (That's actually a return to the traditional Wisconsin date.)

    So here's my calendar scenario, check back in an hour because they may change.

    Saturday 2/4 Nevada
    Tuesday 1/31 cheaters
    Tuesday 1/24 or Saturday 1/28 South Carolina
    Tuesday 1/17 New Hampshire
    Tuesday 1/10 Iowa (Monday 1/9 is college football championship)

    South Carolina's date doesn't matter to Iowa because New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner will insist on a full week after. South Carolina may decide they want the candidates in the state an extra four days.

    So Nevada's sacrifice probably lets us go a week later. But there's time left today...

    UPDATE: The hacked status of the Deeth Blog means I can't approve comments the conventional way. But I can post and edit so:

    Lucas Draisey:
    The RNC should refuse to seat ANY delegates from cheating states. And you're absolutely right. Vegas would be a great place for a convention, and would be pretty easy to plan on short notice, because the city is used to hosting things like that. RNC should throw the book at Florida.