Mid-Day Summary: Majority Leader Hillary?
Here’s a sampling of the stories of interest today to keep an eye on:
The latest Quinnipiac poll on the Lieberman-Lamont race shows that Ned has shot to a 54-41 lead amongst Democrats in next Tuesday’s primary, primarily on the basis of a huge anti-Lieberman, anti-war sentiment, and not as a result of support for Lamont. Joe now sees a need to distance himself from Bush’s occupation of Iraq, albeit way too late and after he said we were turning corners, but others have noted that Joe seems desperate and flailing, even to the degree of making Jane Hamsher a diversionary issue in the race.
Gallup says that the number of Americans that want a pullout of all American forces from Iraq within 12 months is now up to 55%.
The DCCC has reserved a staggering $51.5 million in television ad buys aimed at 27 House GOP incumbents this fall, defending only 5 Democratic incumbents. I suspect that Rahm Emanuel is keeping his powder dry on about a half-dozen more until later. Larry Sabato is now predicting the Democrats will pick up between 12 and 15 House seats and between 3 and 6 Senate seats this fall. And Charlie Cook goes so far as to say that there are signs of a possible Democratic rout this November. Let's see how this look after Labor Day.
The latest Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll gives Bush a bump to 40% in his approval rating, but finds that respondents rate him lowly on many issues, including Iraq, the economy, and immigration. But Democrats need to understand that Bush has been able to link his unwavering support for Israel as an extension of his “daddy protector” anti-terror persona, and his personal approval numbers have gone up in some polls these last two weeks even as he has pursued the short-sighted and ultimately destructive “Let Israel do what it wants” policy. The Times poll does show that as time goes on, pro-Israel support gradually decreases. The poll also found that a 2-1 majority fault Bush for being reactive rather than a leader with clear policies, which is something the Democrats should hammer, but won’t. Bloomberg also notes that months after Rove decided to make the economy an issue in the fall election, it may have peaked too soon and could be a drag on GOP candidates this November, especially as first-time filings for unemployment insurance stay above 300,000 a week and the gap between rich and poor is noticeably growing while the working class falls further behind. Too bad the DLC couldn’t care less.
As you might have expected, the congressional GOP tied their support for a minimum wage increase to the permanent Paris Hilton tax cut. As a result Democrats will now be fighting to kill the minimum wage increase and use this maneuver by the GOP in November against vulnerable GOP incumbents. Even Bob Novak slams the GOP for its actions here.
Texas Republicans are stuck with Tom DeLay’s name on the November ballot, and will not be allowed to replace him with another candidate.
And remember my comment a week or so ago that I wish Hillary would think about succeeding Harry Reid as Democratic Senate leader, hopefully as Majority Leader next year, rather than run for president in 2008? Read this. It isn't so far fetched to think that Hillary may not make the 2008 race after all, especially given the soon-to-be-revised 2008 calendar of Democratic primaries and caucuses, which will favor John Edwards, Bill Richardson, and Mark Warner at her expense. She can read the same polls and stories that the rest of us read, and knows it will be a bloodbath to not only run the general election but to survive the primaries if the field gets winnowed down quickly to her and just one or two "anybody but Hillary" candidates. And I continue to think that if the Democrats somehow retake the Senate after November, she may think about crawling over Chuck Schumer to seek a higher post inside the caucus, if not lead it outright herself. The Dems are in a solid spot to add even more seats in both houses in 2008, and who would raise the most money around the country between 2007-2008 to fund that, Reid, Schumer, or Hillary?