THE GROFF/ELLISON POLITICAL REPORT

Tinker Tapped

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on May 30, 2008

Democratic primary challenger Nikki Tinker was endorsed by the powerful, influential and wealthy EMILY’S List.  Tinker, who is challenging Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) for the seat that covers Memphis, ran two years ago when the seat was vacated by former Cong. Harold Ford who choose to run for the United States Senate. 

The endorsement is seen as critical since it adds gravitas and money to female candidates running for federal office.  The financial assistance will help Tinker since Cohen has outraised her by over $200,000.

The group endorsed Tinker during her last run as well. 

…It’s Time to End this Race

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on May 30, 2008

After six months of presidential nomination contests the Democrats top two legislative leaders say it is time to end this phase of the campaign.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)  said that it is time for superdelegates to pick a candidate and end this race and are calling their members to tell them so.  The leaders want the decisions to be made between now and the end of next week.   

Pelosi is already on record as saying she doesn’t want the fight to come to the convention and will step in to see that doesn’t happen.

Lord Have Mercy…

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on May 30, 2008

On the eve of what many think will be the last weekend of the Democratic presidential primary race, front runner and likely nominee Sen. Barack Obama is again answering questions about a guest sermon in his church and Sen. Hillary Clinton is dealing with more shocking statements from a former adviser and former history maker. 

As Obama gets set to make potential history himself, this morning he awoke to stories about a guest preacher at his Chicago, Illinois church Trinity Church of Christ and comments made about Sen. Hillary Clinton.  The sermon, captured on video, was delivered by Father Michael Plfeger the priest at a nearby Catholic parish.  During the sermon Father Plfeger mocks Clinton’s “emotional moment” in New Hampshire and alleged sense of entitlement. 

Obama immediately denounced the comments and removed Plfeger from the campaign and the Priest apologized for his comments but the media is still making some hay about the comments.  Obama was not in attendance when the sermon was delivered this past Sunday.  

Clinton’s campaign didn’t have the opportunity to take advantage of the video because they were busy distancing themseleves from the writing of supporter and former adviser Geraldine Ferraro.  The former Congresswomen and history making Vice Presidential candidate wrote an article in the Boston Globe ripping the Obama campaign and the media for failing to understand “…what is at the heart of the anger on the part of women who feel that Hillary Clinton was treated unfairly because she is a woman or what is fueling the concern of Reagan Democrats for whom sexism isn’t an issue, but reverse racism is….”

No wonder some people want this race to end. 

High Ranking Congressman To Endorse

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on May 29, 2008

After refusing to endorse during his state’s high profile primary in January Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC) will announce his choice for President on Tuesday at 11am eastern from the Capitol when the last primaries in Montana and South Dakota are underway. 

Clyburn, the highest ranking African American in Congress and the Majority Whip, has said he did not want “…to interject myself into the process…” as he was trying to push legislation through the Congress. 

However “…he knows exactly who he will support.  ‘I voted’ in the South Carolina primary, he said, smiling. ‘I’m not undecided, just unpledged.'”

The top two ranking House members are also undedcided.  Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer are also uncommitteed but Pelosi is intent on ending the primary before it reaches the convention.    

 

 

Playing on his Turf

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on May 29, 2008

As the Democratic Party primary season comes to a close Senators Barack Obama and John McCain have already begun the general election fight.  Most recently the two have followed one another throughout the Rocky Mountain West with McCain chiding Obama for his stance on the war in Iraq. 

The presumptive GOP nominee has been steadfast in his support for the military action, his reluctance to withdraw the troops without attaining “victory” and he has said he would not “surrender.”  The Democratic frontrunner has been against the war from the beginning and has talked about a phased withdrawal of troops.  With the positions so clear cut it was only a matter of time before the two started to spar and they have. 

McCain has chastised Obama for not having been to Iraq for “871” days and offered to go with him to meet with the Generals and soldiers on the ground to get a better idea of what is happening in Iraq.  Obama responded on his campaign plane that he would not go with McCain to Iraq, since that would appear to be a “political stunt,” but that his campaign was planning a trip to Iraq. 

Whether the campaign was planning a trip before this back and forth or responding to McCain’s poking about not having been to Iraq recently we think that Obama is treading on his potential opponents turf.  Obama got a leg up in the Democratic primary since he was the only one of the top candidates that didn’t support the war from the beginning and was open about his plan to bring the troops home.  The war remains unpopular and the economy, a self knowledge shortcoming in McCain political quiver, is shooting to the top of American’s list of concerns with the swiftness.  It is in that political arena in which Obama wants to play McCain.  If McCain can make this campaign about national security the Senator from Arizona will have the edge. 

McCain is right to tease Obama about his “lack of military experience” but if Obama doesn’t respond or if he speaks with the same urgency about the economy as McCain does about the war the electoral map will have lots of hints of blue come November.   

Going West Young Man

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on May 29, 2008

There has been a great deal of talk about whether Sen. Barack Obama could win the White House be pulling some southern states back into the Democratic fold.  Outside of President Bill Clinton, with assistance from Ross Perot, and President Jimmy Carter, Democrats have struggled mightily in an area the party owned for decades. 

As Sen. Barack Obama closes in on the Democratic nomination he has given a glimpse in recent days about how he hopes to attain the required 271 electoral votes needed to become the 44th President of the United States and he aint going south, he’s going west

While some think an Obama candidacy could make the party competitive in the south again, especially in Virginia and possibly North and South Carolina, many pundits think the road back to the White House for Democrats goes through the Rocky Mountain West.  In recent days Obama has visited and given policy speeches in New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado.  The stops correspond to new polls and electoral predictions that show those three states a toss up and Rasmussen Reports poll even has Obama up six points in Colorado against Sen. John McCain. 

Presumptive GOP nominee McCain also knows the interior west could be up for grabs and has also visited Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and his home state of Arizona in recent days as well. 

In fact it seems as if the Obama and McCain campaigns were trying to “one up” one another in an area that could determine the next president.  Watch out the west could be wild again.  

Is Obama Closing In On The Nomination?…He Thinks So

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on May 28, 2008

We have been saying for the past couple of weeks that Sen. Barack Obama had pivoted away from his primary contest with Sen. Hillary Clinton and had engaged presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain in a shadow debate as he waited for primaries to end, Clinton to quit and the superdelegates to make it official. 

Well the primaries end in a week and according to the Obama campaign he is poised to actually capture the nomination or at least the requisite number of delegates to secure it.  The campaign thinks that after Puerto Rico votes on Sunday and Montana and South Dakota go to the polls on June 3rd Obama will be tantalizingly close and then you can expect a rush of superdelegate commitments to be revealed by the campaign in the days right after 3rd.  Reports have it that the Obama campaign has stashed commitments and will release them after Montana and South Dakota to push him over the top…at least at the current magic number.  

 The magic number currently is 2026, but the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and By-Laws committee is meeting on Saturday to determine what to do about Florida and Michigan.  Any addition of those states’ delegates could change that number and keep Obama from claiming the presumptive nomination and force him to continue his shadow dancing with McCain as the Democratic race drags on.   

The Big Oil Squeeze

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on May 25, 2008

Beyond the horse race of the 2008 Democratic primary, there’s not a whole lot cats on Capitol Hill are doing about rising gas prices – although, Europeans (who already lived with $5 – $6/gallon) are probably looking at us like: “Been there, done that.”  We watched for weeks as gas stations flirted with $4.00, basically engaging in a sick bit of “uncle” to prepare us for the worst.  It was about two weeks ago where we just simply said, “Just put it at $4.00 already. Enough with the waterboarding!”

In an eery way, $4.00/gallon (plus more over the summer into the rest of the year) is preparing us for the maladjustment of our economic times.  Just like we should adapt to a warmer planet, we might as well get ready for the rising price of pretty much everything.  President Bush begging the Saudi king for increased oil production is silly smoke and mirrors – plus, he looks foolish doing that after visiting Israel first and lambasting popular radical Islamic political fronts/factions/terrorist groups before the Knesset (in return, he gets the Saudi pimp slap).

Inflation always catches up; remember back in the ’80s, watching the dark futuristic game show thriller The Running Man and gawking at the scene where people casually pay $3 for a can of soda?  Not so far fetched, now is it.  You gotta love science fiction …

But, this isn’t science fiction. It’s for real.  One thing we are noting is the very nice, convenient way in which conversations and grumbling over rising gas prices parallels with the revisitation of a risky game plan: drilling where we shouldn’t really drill.  Check out the latest Congressional hearings on rising oil prices by going to C-SPAN.  We’ve linked to a search result on “oil.”  There is also a lot of conversation about drilling in untouched Alaska tundra or increased search for oil deposits off our shores.  What was once considered taboo is now gaining steam as a plausible way to offset rising gas prices.  And so, we can’t help but feel that sick stick in the gut which tells us that Big Oil – in conjunction with the Bush Administration and Republicans struggling to make political gains in November – are using this situation as a big squeeze to force us into accepting environmental catastrophe. 

O…K

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on May 24, 2008

In an editorial board meeting with the Sioux Falls Argus Leader Sen. Hillary Clinton said she was staying in the race because her husband didn’t clinch the nomination until June in 1992 and “remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June...”  Clinton tried to explain her answer later in the day, but the damage may have already been done as the media exploded with the story.   

The Obama campaign called the remark “unfortunate” and tried to take the high road after the interesting remark from Clinton.  The comment was very disturbing since Obama has received death threats since very early in the campaign.  In fact the threats were so credible that he was granted Secret Service protection at a much earlier point than normal in a presidential campaign. 

Break Time

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on May 22, 2008

There is no question that President George W. Bush is unpopular.  He seems to set a new record for low approval ratings each time a poll is released.  The question for Republicans is whether the President’s unpopularity is contagious. 

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain certainly seems to be keeping arms length from the president and is quick to respond when Democratic candidates Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton attempt to attach McCain to the term limited president.  Despite not being seen with the President in quite some time McCain will use the president’s popularity with the party’s base to raise much needed campaign funds this weekend. 

Beyond fundraising can the President help McCain or the party in November?  According to a memo obtained by Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire no:

“…The memo explores the reasons that the Republican brand is at such a low standing and essentially concludes that Democrats have successfully equated President Bush with the word Republican very much as the Democrats did with Herbert Hoover and the Republican Party.  The authors argue that unless House Republican leaders visibly break from the President, the Party will be in the minority for the next ten years and could lose between twenty to thirty House seats…”