Vice President Dick Cheney divisive? That's probably okay by him (BY THOMAS M. DEFRANK, DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF) His approval rating is lower than his boss' dismal numbers. The McCain campaign considered Cheney so toxic with moderate and independent voters that he never campaigned with the Republican nominee last fall.
The American Debate: He damaged party in two fundamental ways (By Dick Polman, Philadelphia Inquirer National Political Columnist) A new analysis by the conservative Hoover Institution deftly frames the GOP quandary: "The decline of Republican strength occurs when strong Republicans become weak Republicans, weak Republicans become independents, and independents lean more Democratic or [are] even becoming Democrats. . . . The problem for Republicans is that their base is slowly shrinking, and they cannot win without the support of moderates" - all of which suggests "an emerging party realignment" to the GOP's detriment, perhaps "a long dry run."
Mind the Gap-What the narrowing divide between a center-left nation and a center-right establishment portends (By DAVID SIROTA, In These Times) In fact, with Obama considering converting his campaign e-mail list into something of a state-directed advocacy apparatus, he may have a grassroots machine specifically designed to thwart independent progressive pressure against his government. That's not as far-fetched a possibility as it sounds, considering congressional Democrats' explicit declaration of war against "The Left."
RELATED ARTICLE The Center-Right Nation Exits Stage Left (By Tod Lindberg, Washington Post) Hoover Institution colleague David Brady and Douglas Rivers of the research firm YouGovPolimetrix have been analyzing data from online interviews with 12,000 people in both 2004 and 2008. It shows an overall shift to the Democrats of six percentage points. As they write in the forthcoming edition of Policy Review, "The decline of Republican strength occurs by having strong Republicans become weak Republicans, weak Republicans becoming independents, and independents leaning more Democratic or even becoming Democrats." This is a portrait of an electorate moving from center-right to center-left.
POLITICAL REFORM/OPEN PRIMARIES
Reed, others form big plans (Brad Shannon, The Olympian) More changes might be coming to the state's ever-evolving election system. Secretary of State Sam Reed and state Rep. Sam Hunt, the Olympia Democrat who leads a key committee that handles elections issues, both have ideas. They would Limit the party names that candidates can use when running for office under the top-two runoff primary system. Reed wants real party names such as Republican, Libertarian, Democratic or unaffiliated, spokesman David Ammons said. Hunt seeks the same.
PD Editorial: Leon Panetta - Obama's pick for CIA chief brings a distinguished record (Charles Dharapak / Associated Press, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT) Panetta and Republican Thomas McKernan are co-chairmen of California Forward, a bipartisan group that helped pass the redistricting measure on November's ballot. Their ongoing agenda includes reforming the budget process and restoring open primaries.
Changes needed in light of 2008 elections (BY DEBRA BOWEN, The Reporter - Vacaville CA) Debra Bowen is Calif. chief elections officer: "The primaries also highlighted the confusion faced by the growing ranks of California voters who decline to affiliate with a political party. Some mistakenly believe that to be politically "independent," they should register with the American Independent Party, rather than registering as decline-to-state (DTS) voters. As some nonpartisans discovered when they went to vote, doing so kept them from voting in any other party's "open" primary. I eliminated some of this confusion by redesigning the voter registration card this year, but there is more we can do. I plan to push legislation this year that will make voter registration even more intuitive for California's more than 3.4 million DTS voters."
Does bailout spree signal the end of democracy? (BY RANDY SALZMAN, NorthJersey.com) A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.
In Obama, many see an end to the baby boomer era (By JOCELYN NOVECK – AP) "It may be technically correct to call him a boomer," says Douglas Warshaw, a New York media executive who, at age 49, is part of whatever cohort Obama is in. "And it's in the Zeitgeist to call him a Gen Xer. But I think he's more like a generational bridge." He adds that Obama got where he was by "brilliantly leveraging the communication behaviors of post-Boomers," with a campaign waged across the Web, on cell phones and on social networking sites.
Are Moderates Really Pragmatists? (The New Republic/The Plank) There are knee-jerk centrists who simply take the left-wing and right-wing positions on any given policy question and decide, without any empirical analysis, that the right answer must be somewhere in between. But the example Matt cites isn't a very good one, and is indicative of an annoying tendency on the part of some liberals to impute too quickly bad-faith motives to centrists.
David Ignatius: Obama makes move toward center (Washington Post Writers Group, Memphis Commercial Appeal) Obama talked during the campaign about creating a new kind of post-partisan politics -- and dissolving the country's cultural and racial and ideological boundaries. Given Obama's limited record as a centrist politician, it was hard to know if he really meant it. John McCain had a more compelling record of working across party lines than did his Democratic rival.
Obama's Economic Recovery Speech (By Justin Gardner, Donklephant) I'm calling on all Americans – Democrats and Republicans – to put good ideas ahead of the old ideological battles; a sense of common purpose above the same narrow partisanship; and insist that the first question each of us asks isn't "What's good for me?" but "What's good for the country my children will inherit?" from transcript
NEW YORK POLITICS/INDEPENDENCE PARTY
Dueling New York Senate Polls (by: JeremiahTheMessiah, Swing State Project) In the match-up with King, Kennedy gets support from 74% of Democrats and holds a 12-point lead among unaffiliated voters. King is supported by 73% of Republicans.
SENATE DEAL Pain vs. gain (Winners & Losers - Crains New York) LOSERS: Frank McKay and the Independence Party. They spent big on Senate Republicans after failing to get Mayor Michael Bloomberg to run for president, and they backed John McCain. That's three strikes.
Independence Party forms - Overtakes Conservative Party for 3rd party status in NYS (by Patrick Rocchio, YourNabe.com BRONX) "For the first time in the history of the awards, which promote good government, we have a county committee in the Bronx," said Bronx County Independence Party chairman Keith McHenry. "Our goal is to fight partisanship."