Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Daily Strike-1/5/10-Dorgan and Coakley (Kinda Sounds Like a Sleazy Law Firm)

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. This town is slowly coming back to life after the holiday break, with President Obama conducting some official business today. But then again, politics never takes a holiday.

SENATE RACES: News out tonight is that Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota will retire when his term expires next year. This is very bad news for Senate Democrats. Dorgan was still very popular in a Republican state. If Republican Governor John Hoeven had stayed out of the race, Dorgan almost certainly would have won reelection. With the seat vacant, Republicans will now be favored to win this seat. We talked last night about the increasing amount of vulnerable Democratic Senate seats, and Dorgan's retirement brings North Dakota to the top of that list (especially if Hoeven now chooses to run). The Democrats do have a good potential candidate in Rep. Earl Pomeroy, who represents the entire state in the House. But Pomeroy may not want to run as a Democrat in a Republican state in this political environment. If Pomeroy doesn't run, the Democrats basically don't have anyone on the bench.

Dorgan's retirement doesn't significantly change the Senate math for November. But as many others have pointed out, it does add to the narrative that Republicans have significant momentum heading into the midterm elections. As Marc Ambinder put it, it affects the "social psychology" of the two political parties. I just hope discouraging retirements and social psychology doesn't effect Democratic voting patterns in Congress!!

Before we get to November, we must first go through the Massachusetts Special Election to replace Ted Kennedy. State Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democrat, is running against Republican State Senator Scott Brown. A Rasmussen (remember, they lean Republican) poll today showed Coakley with a 9-point lead, relatively small given the Democratic nature of the state. I don't think Coakley is in any real danger of losing. But the stakes in this race are large enough that Democrats should invest a little bit of money in making sure Coakley gets elected. If Brown wins, the Democrats lose their 60 vote coalition, and health care reform dies. Wouldn't it be tragic of Ted Kennedy's replacement ended up killing health reform? Massachusetts can NOT let this happen.

THE WHITE HOUSE: The President today held a key meeting with his National Security team to discuss the Christmas "Panty" bomber incident. The President told his team that the attack failed because of citizen bravery, not because the "system worked." In a way, today's meeting was a way to formally rebuke the intelligence community for missing signals that could have prevented the incident. In another way, this was just a way for President Obama to show that he cares about the threat of terrorism.

But I only accept views on terrorism from the most trustworthy sources. That's why my thoughts on the issue can be summarized by this brilliant tweet, from none other than Sarah Louise Heath Palin:

FaceBook post today re:Prez's mtg w/Security Advisers does nothing2change fact:his fundamental approach 2 terrorist threat is fatally flawed


HEALTH CARE: Briefly, House Democratic leaders will meet at the White House tomorrow to begin the process of reconciling the House and Senate versions of health reform. Today, House leaders held a press conference to discuss the planned bill merging process. The House returns to business next week, which is when negotiations should really kick into gear.

That's it for now. We'll see you tomorrow. Leave some comments!!!!!

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