Monday, April 13, 2009

The Daily Strike-4/13/09-Cuba/Easter Egg Hunt/Cheney

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. Make sure you read up on the previous post so that you know what's on tap this week in politics. Also, please leave some comments. We will post the most insightful comment in Friday's Daily Strike.

CUBA: As we mentioned earlier, President Obama announced a major change in U.S. policy in Cuba. He lifted all restrictions on the ability of individuals to visit relatives, as well as to send them their remittances. Cuba is such a lightning rod issue politically, mainly because the Cuban-American community holds significant political power in the perennial swing state of Florida. The reaction from a couple leading Cuban-American politicians were surprisingly favorable (contrary to what I guessed in the previous post). Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) both expressed approval of the plan. The plan also got compliments from two unlikely sources. Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), the leading fiscal conservative in the House, expressed strong approval to the plan. He advocates opening up trade with Cuba for economic reasons. On the other side of the coin was Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota. Usually a populist who tends to be somewhat of a protectionist, he has also been an advocate for opening up relations with Cuba. I guess Cuban relations is one of the few issues that doesn't break down neatly along party lines.

EASTER EGG HUNT: I enjoyed watching President Obama play with little kids at the White House Easter Egg hunt. A lot of commentators have noted how Presidential Obama has looked in the past couple of days. He calmly handled the Somalian pirate crisis, he gets a cute little dog named Bo, and now he plays with kids on the White House lawn. Not that this stuff should be important to people like us, but or those who are only tangentially interested in politics, this has to seem pretty appealing. Then again, people in the mainstream media always seem to know what the "folks" are thinking, and they never really do.

CHENEY: Remember when Dick Cheney said that Obama's actions have made America less safe? Well today, CNN came out with a poll testing whether American agrees. It doesn't. 72% of respondents said that Obama's actions have not made America less safe. 26% (including a majority of Republicans) think otherwise. Most notably, a large majority of independents disagree with Cheney. I'm sure this will be another incident of pundits saying that the public is "divided along party lines," but what they never mention is that there are significantly fewer Republicans than there were a few years ago. Most people who are willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt have already switched parties or become independents, so it's only natural that Republican views will be vastly different from the American public as a whole.

NY20: A quick update from New York's 20th Congressional district race. Democrat Scott Murphy now leads by about 25 votes with absentee ballots outstanding from two counties (as we mentioned earlier). The latest development is that Jim Tedisco is challenging a lot of absentee votes of people who have out of state addresses. The law does not prohibit these people from voting in New York, as long as they register at a New York address. A lot of these people are snow bird Jews who migrate to Florida during the winter. Murphy's camp pointed out that the challenged ballots disproportionally have names like "Cohen." This one's gonna be a doozy.

That's it for today. See you tomorrow!

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