31 March 2010

DNCC Video - Health Care Reform: A Historic Victory

You can be guaranteed that this will be a major campaign video in 2012.
It will be interesting to see what the conservative movement creates as an answer to this video.

28 March 2010

More delicious video of conservatives doing the GOP no favors...

From CNN's "Reliable Resources" (28 March 2010)


Erick Erikson (redstate.com, and now conservative contributor to CNN):

This guy had to backpedal for almost everything he has said:

"Linda Douglas is the Josef Goebbels of the White House health care shop"

Erikson's response: "yeah, I probably shouldn't have said it."
He also admits that he confused her for a congressman.

"Obama shagging hookers behind the media's back?... I assume not. I assume that Obama's marxist harpy wife would go Lorena Bobbitt on him should he even think about it."

Erickson's response: he tries to compare Obama to Elliot Spitzer. Weasel.

On Justice David Souter's retirement: "The nation loses the only goat(expletive. Hint: begins with "f") child molester ever to serve on the supreme court."

Erickson's defense: "It was about the dumbest thing I've done".
Well, duh...

Erickson: "At what point to people march down to their state legislator's house, pull them aside and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot?"

Erickson's response: "I've had to grow up over time"

Uh, Erik, let us know when you reach puberty.


Candy Crowley, CNN "State of the Union" (28 March 2010)

Candy makes it clear that epitaphs were used by Tea Partiers against democratic congressmen.


It's NOT socialism, says Fineman:


More to come....

27 March 2010

Big bad scary Bush!!

Sarah "Reload" Palin was in Alan Grayson's Florida District a number of days ago and told her followers to "take him (Grayson) out".

Well, here is Grayson's response. Be prepared to laugh.

Hey, this guy has got the Bush swagger just right, I think.

If you feel the urge to laugh, then you are a normal, healthy human being. If you get hacked off by this, treatment can be found at a local Tea Party chapter.

26 March 2010

OH, just so much nuttiness, it is hard to know where to begin...

If you want to bake a great cake with nuts, then you need a lot of nuts.  Well, nuts have just been crawling out of the woodwork in the USA.

Nut No.1: Kirk D. Lyons of South Carolina

Kirk David Lyons, of the "Southern Legal Resource Center",  is claiming that southerners should list their ancestry as "Confederate Southern American" on the 2010 census form. No shit. This whacked out, white racist claims that those poor "Confederate Southern Americans" have been "discriminated against, harrassed, humiliated, terminated from employment, their children suspended from school, simply because they are proud of their confederate ancestry". Mr. Lyons, in his video, points our attention to question 9 on the census form (What is person 1's race?). Here he is telling his southern friends to not check any of the boxes above (white, black, indian), but rather to check under "other" and then fill in "confed southern am" (shortened so it will fit into the 19 spaces provided) - as being a confederate is a race. He even says: "this will put your confederate nationality on the record." OY!!! Apparently, Mr. Lyons does not know the difference between nationality and race.  Here is the video:


As the Washington Post reports,  "a group of Confederate rights activists is urging southerners with Confederate ancestors to declare themselves "Confederate Southern Americans" on census forms in order to qualify for national origin protection under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Federal law makes it illegal to discriminate because of a person's birthplace, ancestry, culture or language. The South Carolina-based Southern Legal Resource Center believes that people with ancestors who were citizens of the Confederate States of America should be entitled to ethnic identity and protection since the country no longer exists."

Here is the Washington Post Article: "Eye Opener: Group wants southerners to put 'Confederate Southern American' on the Census". And the comments column is most entertaining.

Pssst: has anyone told this guy that the civil war is long over with?


Nut No. 2:  Michael Vanderboegh of Alabama

Michael Vanderboegh is a "tea-partier" and an Alabama militia leader, transplanted from Ohio. He was also one of the main contributing voices telling members of the Tea Party movement to smash windows of Democratic congressmen who voted for Health Care Reform last Sunday. And in a radio show, he encouraged the vandalism to continue.

Well, as it turns out, Mr. Vanderboegh, who is so against government, is living on government disability.

Listen to the entire radio program. Be scared, be very, very scared.

Apparently, Mr. Vanderboegh fancies himself to be a novelist. Here is one of his works: "Black and Tans". And here is yet another: "Poor white boys - the past as future".

And this is one of the voices that the Tea Partiers listen to.... OY!!!


 Nut No. 3: Andrew Breitbart, filling in on "The Savage Nation"


"What's next for the Democrats, who were one-trick ponies for 14 months, going into May of 2010? That trick would be the number one topic there, and that is the RACE CARD. These despicable democrats, the despicable black congressional caucus, which has used in 2010, as a symbol of race oppression, when this country has made such huge strides, because the democratic party needs this dissent in our country. They play it, they flame it, they stoke it..."


Nut No. 4: Victoria Doosey

Poor Victoria says that President Obama is a communist. Even FOX news has to correct her on this one. Watch (the FOX news Header says "ALL ABOARD TEA PARTY EXPRESS"), in 2 parts:

Part 1:

At the end, she says "I've watched Glenn Beck and he's taught me well". OY!

Part 2:

"Progressive is the new word for communist, but it is the same goal." She also mispronounces the word "prescient". OY. OY. OY.


Nut no. 5: Pastor Wiley Drake (SBC) and the imprecatory prayer.

Wiley Drake, of  "I hope God kills Barack Obama" fame, is now praying for the death of all 219 US congressmen who voted for  Health Care Reform. Alan Colmes interviewed him, you can listen to it here.

And here is the original radio broadcast:

And we see how effective the prayer is: John Murtha died, and Wiley Drake took credit for it:


Well, now, wasn't that refreshing? :) :)

Guess the GOP wants to spit on the military, too...

Unbelievable, simply unbelievable.
Just when I think the GOP cannot stoop lower, it surprises me.

At issue here is TRICARE (health care for the military).

WEBB: Let the American people understand the Republicans objected to a matter that could have been fixed by law tomorrow.

GOP "Repeal and Replace" platform 2010:

Obama succinctly says: "Go for it."

Just can't wait to see the GOP try to sell this one to the american public.

25 March 2010


"Nigger" (video here)

Those are epitaphs that were hurled at DEMOCRATIC congressmen during the final hours of the health care debate and vote last Sunday. These were insults and threats hurled by so-called "Tea-Party" members, encouraged by GOP politicians.

But it hasn't stopped since then. Vandalism, including placing coffins in the Representative's yard in front of his house, death threats to DEMOCRATIC representatives and their children over telephone, threatening letters with white powder in the envelope, depictions of nooses faxed to DEMOCRATIC congressmen, perverse sexual allusions, even bulleyes on conservative websites like, wonder of wonders, Sarah Palin's:

And notice that these people are such cowards, they don't have the courage to come forth with their names. Boy, they must be real proud of what they are doing.

 Folks, this is the kind of stuff that we used to laugh about happening in the third world, in some unimportant "banana republic" as folks used to call them in the 1950s and 1960s. But no, this kind of blatant horseshit is happening right here, right now in the United States of America, and there is no excuse for it. Racism, bigotry, homophobia and violence are not only being condoned by the right, these things are actually being encouraged and used as political tools.

One of the most extreme cases is that of Rep. Steve Driehaus (D, OH-01 - Hamilton County). John Boehner, in an amazing act of stupidity, said of Driehaus that he would be a "dead man" if he voted for the bill. "I think it's really important for folks around here, especially leader Boehner, to understand that his words have consequences," Driehaus said. Tea Partiers in Ohio published Driehaus' address. He and his family are now under constant police protection, thanks to the thug techniques of the right.

Tea Partiers in Virginia thought they had published Tom Periello's address, but instead, they published his brother's address. His brother's house was then vandalized. And the NRCC is stupid enough to say that the taxpayers of Virginia, not Periello, are the victims. And the perpetrator who published the wrong address is not willing to correct it. To him, any relative of Periello's must be just as bad as the congressman himself, just like in the good old days of 1933-1945.

Republican party leaders, after having continuously lied to Tea Partiers about the content of Health Care Reform (Death Panels, exploding taxes, rationing, etc...), then encouraged Tea Partiers to vent their anger over said reform. King, Bachmann, Palin, just to name a few. Stoking the fires in order to advance their own political careers.

To add insult to injury and as a real perversion of truth, some conservatives are actually blaming black congressmen for having the "N" word used against them:

There were a lot of democrats who either disliked or despised George W. Bush, Jr. But we did not see this kind of behaviour come from the left during the Bush 43 years. There were no death threats to REPUBLICAN congressmen. No nooses sent. No one hurled epitaphs like "nigger" or "faggot" or "wetback" from the left. No one spit on REPUBLICAN congressmen.

TPM has put the recent attacks on a map, which you can read about here. Is suspect this map will fill up before all is said and done, unfortunately.

Here is the map:

View Vandalism Surrounding Passage of Health Reform in a larger map

And some video reporting of all of this:

Here, on audio, death threats to Bart Stupak:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

My personal view is that this will all backfire on the right, and with a vengeance. Let's just hope that no one dies in the meantime over this nonsense.

One Democratic Congressman, Representative Tim Ryan (Youngstown, OH), called the GOP out for this nonsense:

UPDATE: GOP minority leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) reports that a bullet was shot through the window of his campaign office in Richmond. So far, this story has not been verified. And interestingly enough, Rep. Cantor is not willing to show the threatening emails or the police report:

Update II: Apparently, Cantor's story is beginning to come apart.

Update III (26.03.2010): Cantor said (exact quote): "Just recently I have been directly threatened. A bullet was shot through the window of my campaign office in Richmond this week."The office where the bullet went through a window is not in Cantor's congressional district and is not his campaign office. The building is in VA-03, where democrat Robert B. Scott is representative. Cantor represents VA-07.  The police report states clearly that the bullet was fired randomly skyward and landed from above, which means that it was not an attempt to hit this building. This building is also not listed on Cantor's website and there is no paraphenalia (signs, nameplates) on or near the building to identify one office as belonging to Cantor. Which also raises the question: why in the world does he have a campaign office in a difference CD than his own?

FACIT: Cantor is lying.


Update IV (26.03.2010): Alan Grayson (D, FL-08) has indicated that Eric Cantor should resign for having lied.


COLMES: I was really surprised that Eric Cantor, who is the Minority Whip, says his office was shot at, OK, and then he literally points fingers at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee, saying that they are basically, you know – I want to get his exact words here – fanning the flames, “dangerously fanning the flames.”
GRAYSON: I think he should resign.
COLMES: So you are calling for the resignation of Eric Cantor based on that comment.

On bipartisanship (1:15 into the clip):
COLMES: How do you negotiate with people who are calling you nazis and marxists?
GRAYSON: You can't. You know, there is no point in even attempting bipartisanship when one party has gone insane.


Here is a good video of GOP congressmen inciting the Tea Party followers to vioilence with their words of agitation. See for yourself:

And furthermore, the GOP has refused to sign a "Civility" statement with the Democratic Party.

Here is part of the text:

“We also call on all Americans to respect differences of opinion, to refrain from inappropriate forms of intimidation, to reject violence and vandalism, and to scale back rhetoric that might reasonably be misinterpreted by those prone to such behavior,” read the proposed joint statement, which came at the end of a week which saw acts of vandalism and threats of violence directed at members of Congress from both parties, but mostly aimed at Democrats who voted “yes” on the health care bill.

Romney and Health Care

Romneycare sure sounds a hell of a lot like "Obamacare". Actually, the system in Massachusetts is so close to the Heath Care Reform bill law that was just passed, it is really uncanny. Watch:

23 March 2010

Health Care Reform. Repeal possibilites?

Now that HCR has past both houses of Congress and President Obama has signed it into law, there is already talk in conservative and Republican and tea party corners about repealing the law.

Is a repeal possible? The answer is yes, but the probability of this happening is practically 0%.

First, there are 7 points to the law that will take effect in 6 months (around September 22nd, 2010), roughly 6 weeks before the mid-term elections and roughly 10 weeks before the 112th congress will convene. Here are the 7 points (with thanks to electoralvote.com

1.) Insurance companies will be forbidden from denying coverage to sick children.

2.) Adult children can stay on their parents' policies until they are 26.

3.) Small businesses will receive tax credits to help them buy insurance for their employees.

4.) All new policies will be required to cover preventive care, including annual physical exams.

5.) The practice of dropping insured people when they get sick will be banned

6.) A high-risk pool will be created to subsidize adults with pre-existing conditions.

7.) For seniors, some medicines will become cheaper and the donut hole will be reduced somewhat.

These are 7 large points, very tangible, things that the american public, especially the middle class, will feel immediately. Points 2 and 6 were republican talking points during their opposition to the Clinton Health Care initiative in 1993-1994. Points 1 and 5 will affect millions upon millions of americans as soon as they take effect. How are republicans going to convince their constituencies that children who were just given coverage should be denied coverage again? Or that people who got sick, were dropped or gouged out of health care, then thanks to this law, were given a chance to be covered, should suddenly lose their coverage again? How do republicans sell to middle class families that are strapped to make ends meet that their kids (up to 26), who were just piggybacked onto Mom's or Dad's policy, will be again „unpiggybacked“, especially during a bad economy? How in the world do republicans tell senior citizens, a backbone of their voting base, that the donut hole should be re-opened? Point 4 seems the most innocent, but in reality, it is the most conservative of all, for other advanced nations with comprehensive health care have shown us that preventative care saves just oodles of money in the long run. How are republicans going to say that being ineffecient is better than being effecient? And how many republicans will be willing to sacrifice their careers to try to push through an inredibly unpopular repeal? Alf Landon ran on a „Repeal Social Security“ platform in 1936. He lost in one of the most lopsided elections in the history of the Union. Nixon did not even attempt to repeal LBJ's reforms.

To quote the electoralvote.com master:

„Both parties are going to make this bill the centerpiece of their Fall campaigns. The Republicans will attack it as socialism, but since they have been attacking everything the Democrats have done since FDR as socialism, it is not clear that is going to sway many independents. The one specific feature of the bill that they can attack with some expectation of success is the individual mandate. They will say: "The federal government is now forcing you to get health insurance." For the millions of people who desperately want health insurance and can't get it, this cry will sound very hollow indeed. However, it may resonate with healthy young people who think they will never get sick and never need insurance and may not like paying the fine ($750 and up) created by the new law. „

As David Frum has pointed out in his write-up “Waterloo“, a repeal will not happen. He has been echoed by fellow conservative Brad Schaeffer: „As the liberals who pushed this legislation understand with cool calculation, once an entitlement is enacted, it is here to stay.“

And should the GOP capture the house in 2010, which is a possibility, but not a large one, the house could theoretically pass a repeal package. However, in the Senate, the GOP would need a 60 vote filibuster-proof majority in order to pass the same repeal package and were the GOP to win every single senate seat up for grabs in 2010 (which will not happen), they would have 59 seats. However, let's assume that in the tidal wave of two centuries, the GOP were to sweep the board in the Senate and win all the seats and Joe Lieberman were to switch to the republican caucus. Now the GOP would have 60 seats in the Senate and could override a democratic filibuster. BTW, the best the Republican Party has done in the last 100 years or more has been 55 Senators (in 1996, 1998 and 2004).

Were a repeal to go through both houses of congress, President Obama would veto it.

The congress would need a 2/3 vote in order to override his veto: 67 votes in the Senate and 289 votes in the House of Representatives, assuming that both houses are at full strength. This will not happen.

So, why all the talk about repealing, when the republicans know that it is absolutely physically impossible, at least until 2012, if at all? Because the GOP hopes to ride a massive wave of discontent into the mid-term elections.

Going against the Republican Party is the short memory of the american people. In 8 months when the mid-terms come, this decisive vote will have fallen somewhat into the background, the economy will be improving and improving and some of the more pleasant points of this reform will have already taken effect. Through this kind of action, the Republican party is simply radicalizing itself more and more. Also going against the Republican party is the fact that not one single republican voted for the reform. For this reason, the Democratic can reap the rewards of „success“ all for itself when the time comes. It will paint the Republican party as cruel and uncaring and unwilling to be bi-partisan through a withering ad blast come election time in 2010 and again in 2012. Had Boeher been smart about this, as soon as he saw that the Democratic party had the votes to win, he should have released 10-20 moderate GOPers from swing districts to go ahead and vote yes, so that the GOP could have claimed HCR success down the road. But he did not.

Should the Republican party be so intrangigent when it comes to the upcoming immigration debate, then it stands to lose practically all of the hispanic vote that does vote for the GOP, which makes building a winning electoral map for generations to come practically impossible. Without the hispanic vote, the GOP loses CO, NM, NV, AZ, FL and possibly GA for around 2 generations. And the more the GOP banks to the right and ditches any form of moderatism, the bluer the „blue“ states will also become. And the more the quintessential battlegrounds will tip more blue than red: OH and MO, for instance.

Republicans hated social security. They hated Medicare and Medicaid. Now, most of them are defending these programs. In 50 years, they will be doing the same with comprehensive health care.

16 March 2010

Universal Health Care in Germany


Liberals, moderates and conservatives would do well to read this article of mine:

Now that the US is on the cusp of perhaps making history as far as health care is concerned, I would like to relate briefly how the public universal health-care system in Germany works. You decide for yourself if you like it or not.

First, the german system is the oldest Uni-Health system in the world, going back to Bismarck; it was executed into law through three large measures: Geseztliche Krankenversicherung (National Health Insurance Act of 1883), Unfallversicherung (Workmans Compensation Act of 1884) and Rentenversicherung (Old Age/Retirement and Disability Act of 1889). It is part of the total social fabric of Germany and is considered as important as Retirement Insurance (Social Security) and unemployment insurance. You can read more about this here and here and here. For germans, universal health care is a normal part of daily life and they certainly do not feel that their rights are being trampled upon by living with such a system.

Second, this type of system is based on what is known as the „Generation Contract“ (Generationsvertrag), which means that the young pay until the age of 65 into the system to help support the old who are no longer working or are ill. In return, when those young people reach retirement age, the younger generation will be paying for them. In the USA, we use this very same „contract“ for social security and a range of health care programs, but they are like small islands within a sea of capitalism. I will come back to this later. And also to what happens when the financial pyramid turns upside down now and then.

Every adult living in Germany is required by law to pay into primary health care, but you have a number of choices: there are state-run HMOs (with about 400 plan-options that you can choose from), ranging from very large government HMOs to smaller self-governing, semi-private HMOs (called „Ersatzkassen“). I am with an „Ersatzkasse“ called Barmer for they have the best rates relating to my profession. There are also private HMO's and anyone with enough money can join a private HMO. Switching HMOs is also possible, but not with the same flexibility as in the USA. Some doctors only take private patients, but the vast majority of doctors in Germany take all patients. Most plans do not include dental, you must pay for that separately. 14.9% of my gross income goes for Health Insurance. People who do checkups and pre-care get better HMO rates.

Because all must pay in, all are also covered. There is no such thing as cancellation due to pre-existing conditions.
Children are covered under one of their parents. Medication for children is cost-free in Germany.

Everyone in Germany has a Health Card – it is a plastic card the size of a credit card and has name of the HMO on it and a data chip in it. Only your insurance number and your name and address are listed on the chip, it cannot be used for any other purpose. It cannot be used to track down your whereabouts or give away your medical history. It is not „Big Brother“.

Under the german system, when you go to the Doctor, you pay a quarterly fee of 10 Euros (roughly 14 USD at the current rates) and get a receipt. This covers your doctors office visits for the quarter. If you go from a doctor to a specialist within the same quarter, then the specialist's office fee is covered from the 10 Euros you already paid by the first visit. This means that visits to doctors offices in Germany can cost you a maximum of 40 Euros (60 USD) per year, no more.

Your Health Card will be presented every time you need care. You get to choose your family doctor, you get to choose your dentist. If either sends you to a specialist, you can choose another specialist if you wish. If they send you to a clinic to get xray-tests or to do a blood work-up, you can choose which clinic to go to. If you have a medical emergency, usually the ambulance will take you to the hospital that is closest, but once you are there, if you think you will get better treatment at another hospital, then you can switch hospitals. The point is, in this system, nothing is forced upon you.

Your doctor is required to inform you of all medically proven methods for curing your ailment and especially to advise you of things that are NOT covered by your health insurance. For instance, I had a slipped disc in the fall of 2004, ended up in the hospital and afterward I did 12 weeks of physiotherapy in order to strengthen my back. I had to pay for the physical therapy, but at a fraction of what is usually paid in the USA.

There are caps on drug costs in Germany. An effective 7-10 day antibiotic treatment costs you perhaps 10-15 EUROS out of pocket and it is always possible to buy generica. Generica is strictly controlled by the german FDA. Those same prescriptions would cost between 100-200 USD.

If you get really sick and cannot work, your doctor can write you off sick for the numbers of days he deems necessary in order for you to recover. This is called a „Krankenschein“, which is a form of attest.

-Your employer generally cannot fire you for being off sick, but if you are off sick more than 6 weeks in the year, your employer will dock your pay. He can fire you unconditionally if you are sick 25% of the time over 3 years straight.

-However, if you are written off sick, you also have restrictions: you are not allowed to be out and about after 4 pm and before then you should only go out to pick up medications, go shopping, walk the dog or get fresh air if your doctor says it is part of your recovery. Essentially, anything that does not slow your recovery is not forbidden and everything that helps your recovery is encouraged. For instance, people with a knee injury and are maybe off for 10 days to 2 weeks are often encouraged to go swimming. But going out and doing things that may irritate your co-workers or boss would not be a good idea. People who are written off sick and break „curfew“ or work elsewhere while they are officially off sick can be fired from their job.

-if your child gets sick and you are the only person to watch after that child, then you can also be written off sick for the period of time that your child is sick.

I usually get sick (cold, bronchitis) twice a year and am out a maximum of 6 days. This season (2009-2010) I have not been written off sick at all.

This system is expensive, but not nearly as expensive as the patchwork system in the USA, not by a longshot.

Here is my take on some common arguments from people against universal healthcare. They say:

  1. You are forced to go to a doctor the state tells you to go to. FALSE

  2. You are forced to go to a specialist the state tells you to go to. FALSE

  3. You are forced to go to a dentist the state tells you to go to. FALSE

  4. You are forced to go to a hospital the state tells you to go to. FALSE

  5. There are enormous waits for treatment. FALSE, very FALSE. I have never had to wait more than 20 minutes to see a doctor and more than 10 minute in the emergency room.

  6. The quality of care and equipment is second rate. FALSE. As a matter of fact, equipment in Germany is state of the art in all practices. It must be. That is the law.

  7. Doctors are paid poorly. FALSE. However, german doctors are not millionaires like many US-doctors.

  8. The system is ineffecient and wastes taxpayers Euros. FALSE. The germans are anything but ineffecient.

  9. This kind of system must go broke. FALSE. This system has been running for 120 years.

  10. Universal Health Care is a form of socialism. TRUE.

  11. Universal Health Care leads to communism or fascism. FALSE. WAY FALSE.

Yes, I do think that Uni-Health care is a form of socialism. Let's be very clear about this: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid – those are all like islands of socialism within a huge capitalistic sea. You can compare them to Java-programs that float within a Microsoft, Apple or Linux operating environment, to use a computing analogy.

Which means that the government health care plan that all US Senators and US Representatives enjoy is indeed a form of socialism. The special plans that the military gets for health care, when you define it the way conservatives and libertarians define it, is also socialism.

So, I simply say to teabaggers and conservatives: if this is all so bad, then give up your social security, give up your medicare, give up your medicaid and go it alone. If you think that dismantling medicare and medicaid is going to cause the health care industry in the USA to lower rates, then think again.

I say, universal health care works! It saves live, it saves money and it does not take peoples' freedoms aways. It is no more government intrusion into your life than social security. Actually, financially speaking, it should be a conservative issue.

Here is a map of our world. The blue countries have single payer Universal Health Care. The green countries have a Public health care sytem (mixed). Germany is green on this map, for it is not a pure Uni-health system (private HMOs are allowed to thrive in this system). Now, take a hard look at this map:

You will see that every advanced nation in the world has a universal health care system, except the USA, (Turkey) and India.

So, no matter what label you want to put on it, if it works, then perhaps we should practice it. For the system the USA currently has is definitely not working for at least 40 million US-americans. It chews up more of our GDP than in any other country in the world.

About that generation contract: it works as long as the younger generation (the generation paying into the system) comprises between 50%-66% of the pyramid. When the older generation lives longer and the younger generation is not paying in enough, then the system suffers. As people across the world live longer, this pyramid will have to change with the times in order to pay for itself.

13 March 2010

Pennsylvania Voter Registration Statistics - current update over 2008, 2009

I did a posting here on my blog in October of 2008 about Pennsylvania VR statistics. In the posting I outlined McCain's difficulties in getting over the huge RV difference D to R in the state.

Here is an update of Pennsylvania Voter Registration statistics, from 2008 over 2009 to the present. Not much has changed. These statistics be very interesting to watch going into the Midterm Elections 2010:











PA 2008




























































Pa 2009






























PA 2010




















The first thing to notice is that, as usual, the raw numbers in VR have dropped since the GE 2008. This is quite common. However, percentually, the Democratic VR has actually grown by +0.13% over the GE 2008 while the GOP VR has decreased by -0.51% percent, making for a Democratic VR margin increase of +0.64% overall. Doesn't sound like a lot, but in a nailbiter campaign, the more the edge in VR, the better the chances of your party holding the seat. As for the rest, there is now a skew in the statistics: before 2009, PA did not do tracking for the Libertarian vote alone. Now it does. But generally, both the libertarian (Tea Party) and all other 3rd parties or independents have somewhat increased over 2009.

This means that Toomey, the presumed GOP candidate against Specter, the presumed R to D candidate and incumbent since 1980, will have the same uphill climb to win as McCain did in 2008 and Bush did in 2004. We have seen this happen more than once. The early polling in PA showed the race much closer than it ended up being in 2008.

If you dig deeper into the current PA voter statistics, you will see that the party switchers (R to D, D to R, D to other, R to other) relatively cancel each other out.

Here is a quote from the last VR post from October 2008:

Even if both parties come out at the same voter turnout rate (which is statistically unlikely) and every single republican that votes would vote for John McCain plus 15% of all democrats, McCain still needs at least 1/2 of all independents to win. The problem is that he is not getting 100% of all GOP votes, nor will he.

Seeing the data that is coming out, I suspect that McCain will pull 90% of the GOP vote, 13% of the DEM vote and 48% of the independent vote, making: 33.84% + 6.62% + 5.50% = 45.96%.

I seriously doubt that McCain will come over 46.5% on election night. The voter registration statistics are truly stacked against him, regardless of the effect of PUMA and Co. If Bush could only pull 48% in this state in 2004 as an incumbent in a time of war, with 205,441 MORE registered republicans on the rolls than now, then McCain will be lucky to get to 46%.“

By the way, McCain came in at 44.15% in 2008. My assessment was correct. And according to the CNN exit poll, McCain got 87% of the GOP vote, 10% of the Democratic vote, and 39% of the Independent vote. However, the breakdown by VR was different than the actual RV statistics: 44 DEM, 37 GOP, 18 IND. So, even with deflated DEM RV numbers in the exit polling, Obama scored the biggest landslide in PA since 1972.

Yes, there is a different political environment in 2010. There is usually a different political environment in every cycle.

FACIT: Specter, for all of this quirks, still has the better chances of holding this seat. I do not think it will become a GOP pick-up.

12 March 2010

Nate Silver's take on the "House Effect"

Mentioned "house effect" in my analysis with a recommendation to go over to 538 and read what Nate Silver says about this phenomenon, and lo and behold, this morning I see a fantastic and statistically very solid article by him on this very subject. Go read it, it is worth it for politics buffs on ALL sides of the spectrum.

Here is the link.

11 March 2010

2010 Senatorial Predictions

2010 Midterm Elections – Bonncaruso's Senate Predictions, March 2010

Please read the ENTIRE analysis before commenting. Notice that in this analysis there is almost no mention of current issues. This is 90% statistics here.

History has shown us that in the vast majority of mid-terms, the party in power has suffered losses. I did a thorough posting on this on the thead to my first prediction. Sometimes a mid-term wave for the opposition has led to a shift in control of one or both houses of congress, sometimes not. Regardless of the accuracy of polling or the extremism in punditry (yes, that is a warning shot aimed at partisan hacks), it is truly impossible to gauge the exact extent of a shift in power during a mid-term cycle, and although one may find some similarities to other cycles, no two cycles are really alike. What we do know for certain is that there has never been a mid-term or general election without pick-ups in at least one, usually both, parties.

Many see similarities to 1994: in 1994, President Clinton's HCR efforts failed, the GOP based was rallied, Newt Gingrich proposed a „contract with America“ and the Republicans took control of congress. Just two years later, Bill Clinton gave GOP candidate Bob Dole a „thumpin'“ in the 1996 GE and in 1998, going against history, the Democratic party did not suffer losses in the Senate mid-term elections (3 gains on each side cancelled each other out).

Many see similarities to 1982: in 1982, Ronald Reagan's numbers were even lower than Obama's are now (and many of the pundits wrote the same things about the „great communicator“ that they are now writing about Obama). The Democratic party gained one seat in the Senate in 1982 and 8 more in 1986, but Reagan won re-election in 1984 with a 49 state-sweep akin to Nixon's re-election from 1972; Reagan also set an EV record.

But let us not forget that in both of those cases, the electoral landscape, broken down by region of the nation, was different than it is now. Bill Clinton's election in 1992 was the first cycle of the last 6 to pretty much cement the NE region into the Democratic column, but it was only the start; he picked up five states in the south (AR, LA, KY, TN, GA) and five states in the south again in 1996 (AR, LA; KY, TN, FL, but not GA) and at that time, WV was a very reliably democratic state. In other words, based on the democratic coalition that was formed around Clinton in 1992 and which has mostly held outside of the south over the last six cycles, we can now measure trends for both sides of the spectrum.

In the 1980 and 1984 GE's, the landscape was radically different. Jimmy Carter was the last democratic candidate to sweep the south in 1976 and lost virtually all of it in the Reagan revolution of 1980. Just as 1992 cemented the NE into the democratic column, 1980 and 1984 cemented the south into the republican column, but that was just a beginning.

How does this apply at the congressional level? In some cases, very much, but in cases of states that do lots of ticket splitting, not very much at all. And the republican upset in MA in January proves that surprises can and do happen. I think that it would be good for conservatives, moderates and liberals to remember this point.

As of today, only two states have had primaries: IL and TX. Therefore, we are starting to see empiric data coming in only in these two states. The rest is mere conjecture. Unfortunately, most of it is coming in from one pollster alone: RASMUSSEN, who tends very obviously to the right. Nate Silver at 538 has written about this „house effect“ issue more than once; you can go to his website and inform yourself about it. But it becomes glaringly obvious when only Rasmussen has Obama's polling numbers so far consistently under the other pollsters.

Before the prediction, please remember that it is still very early and only two states are really bringing in data based on candidates that are set in stone for November.

So, let's get started:

In ILLINOIS, RCP has Giannoulias at an average of +6.0 points above Kirk, but the disparity in polling is striking: R2K and PPP (D) show Giannoulias ahead, while Rasmussen shows Kirk ahead. In all cases, neither candidate is above 50. Assuming a house effect by R2K (which we must NOT really assume, R2K's polls in the GE 2008 were very, very accurate), then the two house effects essentially neutralize each other. At this time, rumours of the Democratic Party's demise in ILLINOIS are just that: rumours. A +6.0 average is one point out of the battleground zone, so ILLINOIS is not a toss-up, it is a lean DEM hold.

Oh, and about house effect: the race for Governor in ILLINOIS is taking on similar proportions: now that Brady has been declared the winner in the GOP primary, RASMUSSEN has Brady up by +10 points, but R2K has Quinn up by +15 points. The average would be Quinn +2.5 points. The two polls are absolute mirror images of each other, with one andidate winning over the other 47 to 32.

In TEXAS, there is no race for the senate, but the Governor's race is getting very interesting and I am bringing it up to show that, though we are indeed seeing a GOP wave, it is not consistent through the country and may indeed peak too early. RCP shows Perry with +5.5 points on the average. The polling is more consistent here, but the margin is very small for a bedrock GOP state. Remember, Bush won here 60-40, McCain won here with 55.5%. Perry is not coming over 50 here, either. Don't forget, Perry is the incumbent. He should be polling much stronger than this, especially in the year of a GOP wave. What does this prove? It proves once again that all politics are local. Immigration plays a role here in this state more than practically any other state in the Union. And Bill White's favorability numbers are 18 points over Obama's. Obviously, Obama is not a drag on Bill White.

My current prediction sees 4 GOP pick-ups as all but guaranteed (in random order):


It also sees 5 statistical TOSSUPS (in random order):

OHIO (open, was R)
PENNSYLVANIA (Specter, D Incumbent)
MISSOURI (open, was R)
INDIANA (open, was D)
COLORADO (Bennet, D Incumbent)

In the tossup category, the Democratic party has more territory to protect than the GOP. Nonetheless, even if the GOP were to win ALL of the tossups, it would mean 7 pick-ups for the republicans. I do not see the GOP getting more than 8 pick-ups even under the very best of circumstances, and to this date, all GOP statisticians of any credibility are saying the same thing.

Here are the 36 races, by category as I see them.


ALASKA (Murkowski)
IDAHO (Crapo)
UTAH (Bennett)
ALABAMA (Shelby)
NORTH DAKOTA (Hoeven)* – GOP Pick-up
KANSAS (Moran or Tihart)*
IOWA (Grassley)
GEORGIA (Isakson)
ARIZONA (McCain or Hayworth)


MARYLAND (Mikulski)
CONNECTICUT (Blumenthal)
NEW YORK (Schumer)
HAWAII (Inoyue)
OREGON (Wyden)
NEW YORK special (Gillibrand)* - could change status only if Pataki enters the race.


FLORIDA (Rubio, if Crist does not run as an Independent). If Crist changes parties (D) or runs as an Independent, then this race will change completely. Not surprisingly, this race could end up becoming one of the most interesting of the mid-terms and will also tell us some over the „Tea Party“ movement, which has put Rubio in an unbeatable position for the GOP nomination. I am now counting the days before Crist either gives up and goes it as an independent, or changes to the Democratic Party.

NORTH CAROLINA (Burr) – also a good indicator of how wide the GOP wave will be. Currently, it is Burr +11.3. Burr's approval numbers are still very bad. However, Burr has pulled away since the last composite polling. The GOP wave is growing here.

ARKANSAS (Boozman) – Lincoln is cooked here. Even if Halter takes the nomination from her, the state is more than likely to go for the GOP. It was the state that held most AGAINST the DEM trend in the GE 2008 and gave McCain an almost 20 point winning margin over Obama. I believe that no amount of Clinton support for Lincoln will help. The GOP will pick up this seat.

DELAWARE (Castle). This is a large disappointment for the democratic party. However, Coons may be building for his future. I expect to hear more about him as time goes on. The GOP will pick up this seat.


WISCONSIN (Feingold, becomes lean DEM if Thompson becomes the GOP candidate). Wisconsin has gone bluer and bluer, also at the state level. Feingold may look vulnerable now, but he is not. This is a state that will dance with the other girl at the party but go home with the girl it knows already, similar to CT and NJ.

CALIFORNIA (Boxer) – this liberal bastion is another way of measuring the GOP wave. CA should, under normal circumstances, be a Firewall DEM state, also for mid-terms. If the race gets closer, then the GOP wave is growing. If Boxer runs away with it, then we can say that the GOP wave has peaked. Notice that this race has had no effect on Wyden in neighboring OR.


KENTUCKY (Paul or Grayson)- however, this race could fall over into the tossup column very, very fast. It would not surprise me if this happens. The whole Paulite movement is in and of itself interesting to watch. Mongiardo is also a formidable candidate and a name we may very well hear in the future. The race is in single digits here, no one is coming over 50.


NEVADA (Lowden or Tarkanian) – the GOP is looking to pick-up this seat.


ILLINOIS (Giannoulias) – reasons listed above.


OHIO. All the numbers are too low, no one is even close to 50. Too many undecideds. Quintessential battleground state, also at the congressional level. Of all the races, this is the democrats' best pick-up chance. Watch this race very closely.

PENNSYLVANIA. Strange dynamic here: former GOP senator switches sides, has a primary challenge and a strong GOP opponent. Nonetheless, though it is an average of Toomey +4.0, Specter was up by +7 in the most recent poll. Nobody is putting anyone away here, keep your forks in your pockets, no one is cooked here yet.

MISSOURI. Lots of musical chairs here. The name „Carnahan“ is beginning to mean a family dynasty in MO, much as the name „Kennedy“ resonates in MA. Robin Carnahan is young, attractive and set records when she won the office of Secretary of State in 2008- in the raw vote, winning percentage and winning margin. But the name „Blunt“ is also a dynastic name in MO: Roy Blunt, currently representative from MO-07, 60 years old, is the GOP candidate and his son, Matt Blunt, was governor of MO from 2005-2009 and was Secretary of State from 2000-2004 and succeeded by Robin Carnahan. So, these two family names both carry considerable weight in this state. When we consider that MO was THE nailbiter race in the GE 2008 (McCain +0.13%), it is no surprise that the race is this close. A recount in this race after election night is entirely possible.

COLORADO. The only pollster to poll this state over the last three months was Rasmussen, which shows Norton ahead. But only one pollster in the stall does not make for healthy polling DNA. Until more evidence comes in, this state is still a tossup. And Bennet has better approval numbers than many of his colleagues. I suspect that soon many pollsters will converge on Colorado. I also expect Obama to go to bat for Bennet in CO.

INDIANA. In what can only be described as a major disappointment for the democratic party, Evan Bayh's decision to not run turns what would have been a rock solid DEM victory into a dogfight. Here we can see once again a huge difference between two pollsters accused of „house effects“ - you can see it on the link provided. RAS has the GOP up by high double digits, R2K has the GOP up by low single digits. In all cases, no one is even close to 50 and Coats is underperforming. Until the IN primary has come and gone and the public there really starts making up it's mind, this state is just as „battlegroundy“ as OHIO and PENNSYLVANIA. BTW, in the GE 2008, RAS had McCain winning in IN. Obama carried the state.

In my first analysis, I predicted four GOP pick-ups. Now I am still predicting 4, but the evidence is more compelling. I also predict that July will be the month to watch to see movement, for as of the end of June, excluding CO and AZ, the primaries in races that are in question will already be over with.

FACIT: The GOP will definitely pick-up seats in the Senate. It is entirely possible that the Democratic Party picks-up no seats at all. The GOP has a longer list of „FIREWALL“ seats for 2010 than the Democrats. Of the Democratic „FIREWALL“ seats, three are held by incumbents who are getting old (Mikulski, Leahy, Inohue).

That being said, the GOP is showing surprising weakness in KY and OH. It caught a real break in DE, perhaps also in IN. The best ray of sunshine in all of this for the Democrats is probably Blumenthal in CT.

Once health care reform has either passed or failed, we will know better where the public is going.

I expect 2010 to be the nastiest, most expensive, most polarized mid-term cycle in the history of our Union.

Here are some good sites to watch the rankings:

The New York Times Senate Rankings

The Cook Political Report

The Rothenberg Political Report

Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball

Electoral Vote.com

2010 Senate Midterms WIKI.