Saturday, August 23, 2008

Michigan U.S. Senate Race

Race of the Day

Michigan U.S. Senate

August 23, 2008
73 Days Until Election Day

Status: Democrat Incumbent
2004 Presidential Result: Blue State (Midwest)

Outlook: Safe Democrat

Michigan may prove to be one of the most hotly contested battlegrounds of the Presidential campaign, but the U.S. Senate election will be considerably less interesting.

Democrat Carl Levin has served the state in the Senate since 1977, and has been a fairly reliable liberal vote who now chairs the Armed Services Committee. Levin has faced some tough reelections in the past, but the last few times, his combover has remained fairly secure. His opponent this year will be a conservative State Representative named Jack Hoogendyk, who is believed to be a credible opponent, but one who nobody expects (and polls already back this up) as being much of a threat to Levin, despite his Dutch name, in a state that has a lot of Dutch influence in parts, and what would likely be a strong turnout by Pro-Lifers.

Hoogendyk campaign link:

2008 U.S. Senate races predicted: 7 D, 8 R
Post election balance of power predicted thus far: 46 D, 34 R

Race for the White House- 8/23/08

73 Days Until Election Day

The Olympics must be under way, but it has been a furious week of activity in Presidential the beginning of the week, there was much talk about the Saddleback Forum in California and what was seen as a very strong performance by John McCain...... Obama might have hurt himself in that same forum by things such as saying when a child is deserving of human rights is "above my pay grade".......but Democrats tried to make hay out of a McCain joke about people making $5 million dollars and up as being rich..... a lot of disappointed Obama supporters also tried to stir up speculation that McCain somehow cheated in the forum by violating the "cone of silence" and knew the questions in advance.... Pastor Rick Warren said this was not possible and in fact Obama was aware of the first three questions and McCain only two....there was a general sense for the first time among some in the media after this event that Obama might actually not win the election..... soon thereafter, Obama seemed to embark on a much more combative tone on the campaign trail.... McCain certainly has not been shy about returning fire.....a reporter asked McCain how many homes he and his wife owned but the Republican candidate seemed either relcutant or unsure how to answer that question on the spot.... Democrats seem to think that this is the biggest gaffe and seem very ready to make hay out of the fact that McCain owns about 7 properties... in truth of course, the issue is far more complex considering that most of them are condos that are owned by Cindy McCain or by her business interests... but in McCain's attempt to answer honestly or completely.... he has created fodder for his opponents....the Obama campaign which used to talk about the "hope and change" of a new style of politics began running attack ads against McCain for the number of homes.... quick to respond McCain countered with his own ad pointing out the ties that Obama has to convicted felon Tony Rezko and how that relationship led to the purchase of Obama's Chicago's mansion...

All the while, the Veep speculation was in full blast with the Denver convention for Democrats kicking off on Monday.... reporters staked out the homes of Evan Bayh of Indiana and Tim Kaine of Virginia, and on Friday, a new contender emerged, little known Congressman Chet Edwards of Texas, a favorite of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, despite being a Blue Dog Democrat..... but as the guessing game went on and on and as Obama made his supporters and reporters alike (redundant I know) wait... word leaked on Friday night, and eventually in a 3 am text message that Obama had picked former rival and Delaware Senator Joe Biden to be his designated attack dog/running mate..... everyone is now speculating on what that means for Obama and the election...... Biden clearly brings some strengths to the ticket.... but also raises a lot more in the way of questions.....Republicans seem pretty happy about the pick and a lot of activist Democrats are not pleased.... supporters of Hillary Clinton seem especially displeased that she did not appear to even be vetted for the process... it will be interesting to see how Clinton supporters and the Clintons themselves act in Denver this week ahead... as it is, the Clintons are guaranteed to have a lot of face time...

Moving back to Biden, it is clear he offers some foreign policy "gravitas" to Obama but his age... decades spent in Washington... and having voted in favor of the Iraq War..... seem to sort of negate the themes of "change" and "judgment" that Obama used in the primaries to win the nomination...... Biden has also had some pretty harsh words in the past for Obama's fitness to be President as well as having previously been very praiseful of his friend and colleague John McCain, even saying at one point that he would be honored to run on a ticket with McCain..... wasting no time at all, the GOP campaign turned out an ad featuring these past Biden statements....

But Biden is clearly now intent on going hard after McCain..... his verbal discipline or lack thereof will be interesting to watch... at their big announcement rally in Springfield, Illinois today.... the choreography of the event went well and the speeches were well received... but both candidates made a gaffe.... Biden called his partner "Barack America"... while more seriously, in introducing his new runningmate, right before he turned over the podium, Obama accidentally referred to him as "the next President of the United States" before quickly correcting himself... but that will do little to dissuade those who think the bottom of the Democrat ticket is much more ready to lead than the top of it....

Next week, we will review all the big events at Denver.... it is hard to imagine how Obama will nto get at least somewhat of a bounce from all the fervor and adulation he and his party will be given.... the Republicans are of course trying to increase expectations saying that the bounce should be as high as 15 points.... but in the meantime, the spotlight also falls on John McCain and the choice of his runningmate which is expected to be formally revealed on Friday.... conservatives have spent the past week or so fretting about the possibility of pro-choices Tom Ridge or Joe Lieberman being given a spot on the ticket... but more likely it will be Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota or (my choice of course) Mitt Romney of Massachusetts (via way of Michigan) and then.... as the Republicans prepare to converge on the Twin Cities for their time in the spotlight and an opportunity to quickly beat back any Democrat bounce... the ultimate tag team matchup will be set.....

Soon to be adding another house to his collection: