March 2007

Crack for political junkies: SurveyUSA shows Coleman approval rating slipping

Friday, March 30th, 2007

 Happy Saturday. tice.jpgDFLers are touting new SurveyUSA poll numbers showing GOP Sen. Norm Coleman’s approval rating declining from 55 percent in January to 47 percent this month. These are the kinds of numbers — less than 50 percent approval — that traditionally signal a vulnerable incumbent.

Meanwhile, Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s approval score is essentially unchangnorm_coleman.jpged — 56 percent in January for the Democrat versus 55 percent in March.

Most likely Coleman’s slippage reflects ever-growing public displeasure with the situation in Iraq and suggests that the senator’s continued, if somewhat nuanced, support for Bush’s policies there is not helping him just now. Approval of Coleman fell especially sharply among the young.

All polls should be viewed with caution, and SurveyUSA’s technique, using recorded-voice interviews, is criticized by some professional pollsters. Coleman’s approval numbers have bounced around a bit, having been at 49 percent in December before jumping to 55 percent in January. Hard to know what to make of that.

Still, results like these help explain why Democrats and Republicans alike are preparing for a bruising barn burner of a Senate race. 

Here are the SurveyUSA numbers for December, January, February, and March. 

What’s a newspaper to do when a politician’s words aren’t ‘fit to print’?

Friday, March 30th, 2007

tice.jpgEric’s recent post and newspaper story  about Al Franken’s history of foul-mouthed flippancies continued our efforts on this blog and in the Star Tribune to give this issue a thorough airing.

But the task presents unique difficulties. The fact is that the Star Tribune is not prepared to publish some of this U.S. Senate candidate’s statements — not because, as is often the case with politicians’ pronouncements, they are too tedious,frankentruth1.jpg self serving and predictable (although Franken’s outbursts sometimes are all three), but simply because they are too crude. I suspect this is a virtually unprecedented state of affairs.

And it creates an odd dilemma. In a sense, by reporting on this controversy and simultaneously upholding the newspaper’s customary standards, we give Franken cover. We give readers the impression that we are telling them what the dispute concerning Franken’s rhetoric is about, but then we withhold the most outlandish and potentially most offensive things he has said and written.

Allow me to supply some missing examples, but let this be fair warning: Abandon Sunday School sensibilities, all Ye who click here.


Crack for political junkies:

Early polling on Fred Thompson, good for him, bad for Giuliani

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

ebmug.jpgMucho molto caveats: Polling this far in advance of any election borders on meaningless. This is a poll of national Republicans and GOP leaners with only 429 interviews. And Rudy Giuliani still has a substantial lead over the field. With all that said:

Giuliani.jpgthompson__fred.jpgIn the first Gallup poll including the possibility of Fred Thompson as a presidential candidate, he achieves a strong third-place finish and, compared with the previous similar Gallup-USA Today poll, he seems to draw most of his support away from Giuliani while Mitt Romney’s figure falls by more than half.

In early March, it was Giuliani 44, John McCain, 20, Thompson not on the list, Newt Gingrich 9, Mitt Romney 8 and everyone else two percent or less. Compare that to March 23-25, when it comes out this way:


The Senate passed the Iraq bill

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

ebmug.jpgThe vote was 51-47. That’s one more vote than the Dems got on Tuesday 50-48 test vote on an amendment to remove the timetable.

The Dems got the same two Republicans as before — Gordon Smith of Oregon and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. But they picked up the only full-blooded Democrat who voted with the Repubs on Tuesday.

mark_pryor.jpgThe switcher was Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democrat from Arkansas. He voted Tuesday to remove the timetable language, but voted today to pass the bill with the timetable still in. That’s him on the right. 


Good Reads

Our friends the moderate, pro-American Saudi royals

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

black_and_ticePX00083_9.jpgFrom the New York Times: 

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia told Arab leaders on Wednesday that the American occupation of Iraq was illegal and warned that unless Arab governments settled their differences, foreign powers like the United States would continue to dictate the region’s politics.


Question: What’s binding about the deadlines in the Senate Iraq bill?

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

ebmug.jpgAnswer: Not much.sens._reid_and_levin

Good Thursday morning Fellow Seekers,

A lot of the reporting on this issue has been erroneous, confusing or incomplete. The better stories typically say that the Senate bill has a binding deadline for beginning the withdrawal of U.S. troops pelosi_bush.jpgfrom Iraq, but a non-binding end-date.

Here’s the actual language in the bill (at least as it stood on Wednesday afternoon) as it delineates these matters:



“There’s just something about her that feels castrating, overbearing, and scary”

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

hillary_clinton.jpgTV commentator Tucker Carlson said, on his eponymous MSNBC show on March 20, about Hillary Clinton, “I mean, tucker_carlson.jpgyou’ve gotta admit, when you watch that [referring to the youtube spoof attack ad portraying Clinton as 1984 Big Brother-ish], it does get right to heart of people’s instinctive problems with Hillary, which don’t have to do with policy…

“But there’s just something about her that feels castrating, overbearing, and scary.”

If you’re wondering whether in some way he just referring to a feeling that others may have about Clinton, Media Matters for America has a clip.

Who’s for Whom for Prez?

Rep. Jim Oberstar is for John Edwards

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

ebmug.jpgOberstar, of Chisholm, the dean of the Minnesota congressional delegation (been there 32 years), went public Wednesday with his endorsement of Edwards.

oberstar.jpgjohn_edwards.jpgIn a statement released by the Edwards campaign, Oberstar hailed Edwards as “trustworthy, honorable and dignified.” He cited Edwerds’ commitment universal health coverage, his anti-poverty agenda and his plan to end the Iraq war.

As far as I know, Oberstar is the second member of the Minnesota delegation to announce a presidential preference. Keith Ellison has come out for Barack Obama. If you know of another one, please advise.


Franken on Letterman tonight

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

letterman.jpgebmug.jpgAnd speaking of Franken, he’ll be on the David Letterman program tonight, 10:35, WCCO-Channel 4, or your nearest CBS affiliate.


Franken’s potty-mouth past makes the dead trees edition

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

frankentruth1.jpgebmug.jpgGood Wednesday morning Fellow Seekers,

Never completely sure when material from the Big Q will make it into the paper paper but an expanded version of last week’s post about Al Franken’s record of rude jokes, and how he plans to deal with them as a Senate candidate, is in the Wednesday paper.

If you read it there, or link to it from here, you’ll have access to these additions and improvements from the original blogpost:


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