Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Daily Strike-1/27/10-State of the Union Night

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. I'll just run over a couple of quick items before I get ready for the State of the Union. You can keep track of my thoughts on my LIVE twitter feed by clicking here. It will be a blast.

CONGRESS: Boy, the news is pretty bad on all counts again today. Congress has, of course, come to no conclusion on how to proceed with health reform. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says that she would have the votes to adopt the Senate health care bill if the Senate promised to take up a package of changes through the reconciliation process. There's a bit of a game of chicken going on, though. The Senate thinks that the House must pass the bill first, because it would be against the rules to amend a bill that hasn't been enacted yet (who cares!?!?!? do it anyway!). The House doesn't want to act unless they get assurances from the Senate. Meanwhile, no one is talking about the American people who will suffer if this bill is not enacted.

The Senate did not take votes today. They will vote tomorrow on the nomination of Ben Bernanke for a second term at the Federal Reserve, and on Friday they'll vote on final passage of a bill to raise the debt ceiling through the end of the year.

The House voted on a couple of inconsequential land management bills, plus a suspension bill that extends small business tax breaks. More proof that Republicans blindly oppose everything the Democrats propose? They voted en masse against a bill to establish a national historic site in the Virgin Islands.

RACE RATINGS: I have changed three Senate race rankings on the right side of your screen, all of which benefit Republican candidates. I have changed the Pennsylvania race from "Tossup" to "Lean Republican." Almost every poll I've seen recently has shown incumbent Democratic party-switcher Arlen Specter losing to Republican Pat Toomey. It's not a good year to be an old, entrenched incumbent. Especially not a Democrat. Or a turncoat.

I am also changing the Arksansas race from "Tossup" to "Lean Republican." Incumbent Democrat Blanche Lincoln has suffered a huge drop in approval, and was losing in some polls to relatively unknown Republican challengers. Today, Republican Rep. Jon Boozman indicated that he will probably run against Lincoln. Since he is a well-known Republican, in a Republican state, in a Republican cycle, I'm saying he's the favorite.

In Ohio, I now rate the race to succeed retiring Republican Senator George Voinovich as "Lean Republican." Most polls recently have shown the Republican candidate, former Bush OMB Director Rob Portman leading his Democratic challengers, Lee Fisher and Jennifer Brunner. Again, considering the Republican-friendly environment, I think Portman has to have the advantage.

That's it for now. See you over at the Twitter feed and enjoy the President's State of the Union. It's an important one.

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