30 November 2009

Via the Telegraph: Will the Real Man Step Up?

I'm back (sort of) early in light of the President's Afghanistan address tomorrow. The Telegraph is asking the poignant question: "Will the true Barack Obama stand up on Afghanistan?" The answer is likely, no. He's more likely to try to find some sort of a balance point between all positions, and in so doing, may very well fail on one of the cardinal issues of his campaign. The President's decided tendency, when confronted with hard decisions (not unlike many commentators), is to vacillate, waiver and appease. Here is the President's policy statement on Afghanistan in February. Having found that he can't easily accomplish that policy, he is likely to announce tomorrow that he will increase troop levels by 34,000, with an exit strategy pegged at an 8 to 9 year commitment. The President seem likely to set his 'victory' bench marks at what he simply deems achievable. Jake Tapper (ABC News) pulled plenty of this magical-type of thinking out of Gibbs at today's press conference (although he got little in the way of concrete answers). Stay tuned for live blogging of the speech tomorrow.

21 November 2009

On a Posting Break until December 2.

The ModCon is on a break while I finish submitting my dissertation proposal and some data analysis. I will return December 2.

03 November 2009

UPDATES: Final Results

FINAL UPDATES: Hoffman lost to Owens by 2%, conceding early this morning. Interestingly, some of the same folks who refused to support the local RNC nominee for Hoffman, now appear to be setting their sites on a number of races, including next year's race in FL for Senate. The very moderate/neutral governor, Charlie Crist, has been dominating the headlines and cashflow in that race, but Mark Rubio (a much more conservative candidate) has been gaining ground. This might become the next battlefield in the fight over the direction of the GOP.

As noted here last night, both the Virginia and New Jersey governorships were handily won by Republican candidates. Whether this was a rebuke to Washington or simply voter unhappiness with the economy, seems to be simply a matter of perspective. Democrats are distancing themselves as fast as possible from Deeds and Corzine (despite calling in the big guns to run for them, including multiple, personal appearances by the President), while conservatives (both independent and party-affiliated) are drawing clear conclusions that this was the shot across the bow for Obama and the Democratic-led Congress.

UPDATE 7: Hoffman is down by only 3% now - things are tightening back up. Fox News has called NJ for Christie as well.

UPDATE 6: Hoffman is down by 7% right now.

UPDATE 5: AP Mobile Updates is calling New Jersey for Christie! NJ turns red again. Here's why.

UPDATE 4: Nearly 70% of the precincts have reported in for NJ, and Christie is still up by 6%.

UPDATE 3: With 60% of NJ precincts reporting, Christie is maintaining a 6% lead over Corzine.

UPDATE 2: Right Pundit's is calling it for Hoffman over Owens in New York's 23d Congressional District. This give a victory not just to the GOP, but to the more conservative wing of the GOP which pushed for Hoffman as a candidate for the Conservative Party over the approved GOP candidate.

UPDATE 1: NJ.com and the Star -Ledger are reporting that with 58% of precincts reporting, Christie is up by 50% to Corzine's 44%. A big Republican sweep is looking possible.

The White House downplayed the possibility of a Republican sweep in three important races today: the governorships in Virginia and New Jersey and a traditionally Republican Congressional district in New York.
'"We don't look at either of the gubernatorial races or the congressional race as something that portends a lot for our legislative efforts going forward or our political prospects in 2010," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said at his daily briefing.'
This would be more believable if it weren't for the near certainty that today's briefing would have attributed likely Democratic wins to the overwhelming success of President Obama's policies. The trouble for the White House is that they can't tout that success, so the next best option is to distance themselves from the very candidates that the President has been zealously promoting.

Current results put Bob McDonnell (R) as handily winning the Virginia governor's race by 60%+ to 35%+, far larger than the predicted margin of victory. The latest exit polling has no clear winner for either New Jersey or the 23d district in New York. Exit polling in NJ indicate little influence by President Obama on voter decision-making, and the results in generally blue state will probably be very attributed to the party with the best voter turnout. Currently, Christie (R-challenger) is leading in the exit polls, but with only .003% of polls reporting. Clearly it's going to be a long night in New Jersey. Meanwhile, Hoffman (C) appears on track to win the 23 Congressional district in New York over Owens (D), despite a very late endorsement by the GOP following the withdrawal of the approved Republican candidate, Scozzafava (who subsequently endorsed Owens).

Regardless of the final results, tonight's results will most likely result from a combination of voter dissatisfaction with the administration policies as well as general discontent with the economy (particularly the jobs and property markets). If all three races swing conservative, then it seems likely that a message is being sent. Whether that message is a general cry for help or a cry of anger against the President remains to be seen.
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