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Political shorts
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Des Moines Register reports that at the moment at least, it is a resurgent John Edwards that leads among Iowa Democrats:
John Edwards came out far ahead of the rest of the pack of possible Democratic presidential candidates in a poll of Iowa Democrats conducted in October by an environmental group and released Wednesday.

Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina and the winner of the 2004 caucuses, was picked as the early preference of 36 percent of likely caucusgoers in the survey.

Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York came in second with 16 percent.

Third was Sen. Barack Obama with 13 percent, and Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack trailed in fourth place at 9 percent.
I know it's early, but I have to wonder if Vilsack is already second-guessing himself when he comes in just 3 points ahead of John Kerry in his own state. Thankfully Wesley Clark did even worse.

Evan Bayh? Not even enough to earn a percentage point.

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Democratic Senator Tim Johnson of SD is in the hospital in critical condition:
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) underwent emergency brain surgery overnight after falling ill at the Capitol and was in critical condition early this morning, introducing a note of uncertainty over control of the Senate just weeks before Democrats are to take over with a one-vote margin.
I certainly wish him a speedy and full recovery, but what has Democrats concerned is if he's unable to return to the Senate, a replacement will have to be named by South Dakota's Republican governor Michael Rounds. There's little doubt that he'd name a Republican, and assuming that, would put the Senate in a 50-50 tie.

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Again, early but interesting:
Democrats have an overwhelmingly favorable view of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, but she would be soundly beaten if she ran for president against Republican Sen. John McCain now, a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.

Underscoring the New York Democrat's potential vulnerability, the poll also found that Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican little known to most voters, would give Clinton a run for her money.

Given a choice between McCain and Clinton, half of those surveyed said they would vote for the Arizona Republican, compared with 36% for the former first lady. In a matchup with Romney, the poll indicated Clinton would win by just 6 percentage points, 42% to 36%.
I've always said, given Clinton's negatives, that she is, at best, a 47 to 48% candidate (popular vote). Polls such as this do nothing but reinforce that view. But McCain?

Just as interesting:
In contrast, former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani received highly favorable marks across the party's ideological spectrum. Giuliani has not taken as many steps toward a presidential candidacy as McCain and Romney have, and the poll did not measure how he would perform against Clinton.
My guess is he measures up well against Clinton.

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Disturbing but familiar:
Perhaps more revealing, 53 percent say that the United States does not have an obligation to the killed or wounded American soldiers to complete the mission in Iraq.
But given the relentless negativity in the press, not surprising.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
I certainly wish him a speedy and full recovery, but what has Democrats concerned is if he’s unable to return to the Senate, a replacement will have to be named by South Dakota’s Republican governor Michael Rounds. There’s little doubt that he’d name a Republican, and assuming that, would put the Senate in a 50-50 tie.
If this comes to pass, the grocery stores will be selling out of tinfoil to make new hats, and the inmates at Democratic Underground will start talking about taking to the streets again. But it would give us nicely divided government, which has the good point of making it a lot less likely that hare-brained social programs pass Congress. Given my lack of faith in any intent by George W. to veto such programs, that could be important from a libertarian perspective.
My guess is he measures up well against Clinton.

Yes, because he probably wins New York against Hillary. With Guiliani’s popularity in NYC, he would siphon off the votes that a Democrat must have to offset the upper state’s Republican votes. For a Democratic candidate to assemble a winning electoral vote total without New York is just about impossible.

This analysis applies to any Democratic candidate, of course, and in fact Hillary is better positioned to take on Guiliani in New York than any of the others. But the odds are still stacked well against her.

I don’t have any better feeling about Guiliani as president than Bush, so I’m certainly not saying he’s the candidate I want. But his structural advantages for winning are, I think, the best available among the GOP’s crop.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
The governor will be able to name a replacement, but only a temporary replacement. He’ll have to call a special election.

Of course all this is assuming the Senator can’t serve.
 
Written By: davebo
URL: http://
The governor will be able to name a replacement, but only a temporary replacement. He’ll have to call a special election.
Uh, no. He’ll appoint him or her to serve out the remainder of the term (two years) and then there will be an election at the normal time.
Should Johnson be unable to complete his term, South Dakota’s Republican governor, Michael Rounds, would name a replacement for the next two years.
...
Of course all this is assuming the Senator can’t serve.
Obviously.

And even if he can’t a tie doesn’t necessarily mean that the Dems lose the leadership:
In a 50-50 Senate, Vice President Cheney could break tie votes in the GOP’s favor. But a Senate that becomes evenly split after it is in session would not necessarily fall to Republicans, Senate historians said. Rules and precedents could leave a party in charge of the chamber even after its membership falls below that of the other party.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
At the risk of making a cruel but bad joke, since when does brain malfunction disqualify anyone from serving in Congress?

On a more serious note, however:
And even if he can’t a tie doesn’t necessarily mean that the Dems lose the leadership:
In a 50-50 Senate, Vice President Cheney could break tie votes in the GOP’s favor. But a Senate that becomes evenly split after it is in session would not necessarily fall to Republicans, Senate historians said. Rules and precedents could leave a party in charge of the chamber even after its membership falls below that of the other party.
The Democrats don’t have control of the Senate right now...that won’t happen until January 3rd. If Johnson is replaced right now, the Dems won’t have control of the Senate at all.


 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
The Democrats don’t have control of the Senate right now...that won’t happen until January 3rd. If Johnson is replaced right now, the Dems won’t have control of the Senate at all.
I think the point being made is that your assumption isn’t necessarily true given the rules and precedent of the Senate and Senate history.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ, my point is that, for now, the Republicans control the Senate, and the rules they set in place will govern what transpires. The Dems don’t get to make new rules until they actually have the majority, which won’t take place until January 3rd. (More or less: some departing Senators give up their seats to the newly-elected ones a few days before their terms expire to give the incoming Senators seniority.)

If you’re going to make claims about Senate rules overriding Cheney’s tie-breaking vote, then you need to make those claims based on the rules currently in place.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
McQ, my point is that, for now, the Republicans control the Senate, and the rules they set in place will govern what transpires. The Dems don’t get to make new rules until they actually have the majority, which won’t take place until January 3rd. (More or less: some departing Senators give up their seats to the newly-elected ones a few days before their terms expire to give the incoming Senators seniority.)
Again, going by what the article says, I’m asserting (not claiming I’m right) that what you’re asserting may not be true for the reasons the article cites.
If you’re going to make claims about Senate rules overriding Cheney’s tie-breaking vote, then you need to make those claims based on the rules currently in place.
I’m not making that claim at all ... I’m talking about incoming leadership.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Trackback doesn’t want to take my URL:

RTO Trainer to 53% of America:

DROP DEAD!

And I can say that. I can say that because I am nuanced and open minded. I’ll prove it. I have changed my mind.
I used to argue with people when they’d complain that they hadn’t been asked "to sacrifice," that the President only wan ...
 
Written By: RTO Trainer
URL: http://signaleer.blogspot.com
I didn’t know that 53% of american understood the notion of sunk costs.
 
Written By: Ugh
URL: http://
Well hold on. I agree with the statement that we do not have an obligation to the dead and wounded soldiers to finish the job in Iraq. Our obligation is, instead, to those who would die or be wounded should we not finish the job in Iraq, most of whom are civilians (both Iraqi and, to a hopefully-lesser extent, Americans). Once again, poor wording of questions on polls, particularly that which makes assumptions, can lead to skewed results.
 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
You undertake foreign policy in order to pursue national interest, or perhaps to protect allies. But you do not do things against the national interest because of a "obligation to the killed and wounded." If one starts a war which turns out not to be a war worth fighting, or one which it becomes impossible to achieve the objectives, or if the cost is too high for the nation than what it would be worth to achieve the objectives, the only rational and moral thing to do is to stop the war. The longer the war continues, the more the death and suffering. To continue killing and causing suffering because of the fact others have been injured and killed in a misguided war would be gravely immoral, and totally contrary to every ethical system or theory of foreign policy out there.

Now, if one thinks a war is necessary, or that the cost of losing is greater than the cost of doing what is necessary to win, then it is rational to continue the war. Those arguments to stay in Iraq deserve consideration. To claim a moral obligation to those killed or injured is utterly and completely without merit.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
McQ, are you sure about this:
The governor will be able to name a replacement, but only a temporary replacement. He’ll have to call a special election.
Uh, no. He’ll appoint him or her to serve out the remainder of the term (two years) and then there will be an election at the normal time.
I saw this yesterday:
If a vacancy occurs in the office of a senator or representative in the United States Congress it shall be the duty of the Governor within ten days of the occurrence, to issue a proclamation setting the date of and calling for a special election for the purpose of filling such vacancy.
 
Written By: Kav
URL: http://livingrealworld.blogspot.com
Almost positive, Kav.

We went through this recently in GA where a Senator died in office. The governor appointed a replacement to serve the remainder of his term.

The same thing happened fairly recently in MO (and, I think NJ when Torrecelli resigned).
While the Constitution does not mandate a method by which vacancies in the Senate are to be handled, vacancies can be filled almost immediately by the governor of the former senator’s state. The laws of some states require the governor to call a special election to replace U.S. Senators. In states where replacements are appointed by the governor, the governor almost always appoints a member of his or her own political party.
Link.

SD is a state where the governor is empowered to pick a replacement to serve the remainder of the term. It is mostly a hold-over from the time that Senators were appointed by governors or the vote of state legislatures. They were (are) supposed to be the representatives of the state in the federal legislature.

In the House, however:
Vacancies in the House, however, take far longer to fill. The Constitution requires that member of the House be replaced only by an election held in the congressional district of the former representative.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
See this is where I get confused. A lot of the news reports follow what you have said, which was how I understood it originally. However I note this in the link you provided:
While the Constitution does not mandate a method by which vacancies in the Senate are to be handled, vacancies can be filled almost immediately by the governor of the former senator’s state. The laws of some states require the governor to call a special election to replace U.S. Senators.
So it tells me that it is a State matter so what happens in one state does not necessarily mean the same happens elsewhere. You tell me that:
SD is a state where the governor is empowered to pick a replacement to serve the remainder of the term. It is mostly a hold-over from the time that Senators were appointed by governors or the vote of state legislatures. They were (are) supposed to be the representatives of the state in the federal legislature.

Then I look at the link I put up earlier which comes from the South Dakota Legislature page and that says quite clearly that a special election must be called. So I guess it comes down to the veracity of the page I linked to, which, I admit, I cannot speak to since I could be wrong in thinking it is in any way official (probably it obviously isn’t and I’m just missing it). Assuming that you are correct (which seems likely) what on Earth is that page talking about?

I like the UK system better. An MP dies and we have a byelection. Nice and simple. :-)
 
Written By: Kav
URL: http://livingrealworld.blogspot.com
Kav:

From the same page:
12-11-4. Temporary appointment by Governor to fill vacancy in United States Senate. Pursuant to the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, the Governor may fill by temporary appointment, until a special election is held pursuant to this chapter, vacancies in the office of senator in the Senate of the United States.
And, of course, given the fact that it would most likely be a Republican, the same result ensues.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
But only temporarily, and as there is a time limit of 90 days between declaration of incumbent and special election (not less than 80, not mroe than 90 days).

So the governor gets to make an appointment that lasts for 11-13 weeks, which seems sensible - keep the wheels turning- but then a special election has to be called.

I guess it comes down to how much ’damage’ one thinks a gubernatorial selection could do in that space of time. Of course perhaps there is also voter apathy, the appointment is likely I assume to be on the special ballot.
 
Written By: Kav
URL: http://livingrealworld.blogspot.com
But only temporarily, and as there is a time limit of 90 days between declaration of incumbent and special election (not less than 80, not mroe than 90 days).
The whole point here is that if Johnson has to resign (or dies) before the new Senate is seated, the governor can name a Republican and essentially deny the Democrats a leadership role in the 110th Congress. And, of course, even someone named for 90 days then has the power of incumbency when running in a special election.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog

 
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