Lots of issues over the weekend. Where to begin?
Well, the talk of the Senate race was, as it usually is at this point, “What do the the polls say?”
Deena Winter at Watchdog tweeted that
I hear polls show Bruning’s lead has been cut in half, but he’s still up by about 10 points in the GOP race for #nesen.
In his Monday column (more on that later) Don Walton of the LJS talked to the candidates who all said they thought the race has tightened. And then he referenced a “recent unpublished poll”.
And that’s fine. We always dig polls.
Except a few things:
1) The last published numbers had Bruning up by thirty, so if his lead has been “cut in half”, he is still up by 15, not 10.
2) Let us be realistic; if the numbers were really close enough to make people sit up, they wouldn’t be leaked via Twitter. They would be under a trumpeting press release.
3) We saw the questions from the poll, done by South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservative Fund. They looked like this:
- Who do you support in the Nebraska Republican Primary?
- If you knew that Jon Bruning supports tax increases would you be more or less likely to support, etc.?
- If you knew that Bruning supported Eric Holder would you be more or less likely to support, etc.?
- If you knew that Bruning was for the 1993 National Health Care bill and in 2000 for state government health care would you be more or less likely to support, etc.?
- After knowing all this who would you vote for in the Nebraska Republican Primary?
So any results that Stenberg and the SCF will be sending are going to be from the last “vote” answers, not the first. Again, fine. But you didn’t hear the push questions from Deena or Don, did you? And that skews any results now, doesn’t it?
**UPDATE at 11:55am**
Deena Winter at Watchdog now has a post up saying that “a poll” of 500 people shows Bruning up by just 9 pts.
That is a change from her earlier statement that Bruning was up “about 10” points — or that Bruning’s 30 point lead was “cut in half”.
Blaringly absent from Deena’s post however is WHO took and paid for the poll. We have noted already that the Senate Conservative Fund, which supports Stenberg, was in the field polling.
However, we are told that Deena’s reported mystery results are NOT from the SCF. So, from who? Who knows.
All same points above stand.
You may have noted the Omaha World Herald’s left-handed “endorsement” of Jon Bruning on Sunday.
In it, the OWH said, essentially…
“Bruning, Stenberg and Fischer are all the same. But Stenberg has lost twice, and Fischer doesn’t have any money. So we think the best match-up would be Bruning vs Kerrey. And Bob Kerrey is awesome. And even though our newspaper researched and published an extensive review of his financial dealings and found nothing, we think the voters will still think Bruning is a liar.
Uh, so Bruning vs. Kerrey.”
Your leading state newspaper everybody!
So again, the OWH says that Stenberg’s and Fischer’s campaigns aren’t good enough, so they are endorsing Bruning. Now that is certainly a political observation one could make. We make those. Don Walton does. But the editorial board’s endorsement generally is supposed to look past that stuff.
But not here, because they want to pick the winner.
Oh, and they’d really like to see Kerrey beat Bruning.
And speaking of Don, we would like to float back to a few of his Monday column comments (as we are wont to do).
Don gives this bullet-point:
* A mention of Chuck Hagel in a Washington Post political analysis on Sunday authored by think tank heavyweights Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein: “It is clear that the center of gravity in the Republican Party has shifted sharply to the right. Its once-legendary moderate and center-right legislators in the House and the Senate — think Bob Michel, Mickey Edwards, John Danforth, Chuck Hagel — are virtually extinct.”
“Think tank heavyweights” huh?
Well, here is the headline of the referenced column (with no link from Don, btw) of those “heavyweights”:
Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.
Oh my! The weight of their non-partisan theorizing is just bowling us over!
Yeah, go ahead and take a read of that hack of a column and see what you come away with. Because their position is that oh boy, we have never seen the Republicans so partisan! And you know how we can tell?? Because when Allen West spouted some one-liner at a town-hall meeting in his district, the GOP leadership didn’t denounce him!
(This was the one where West said there are 80 members of the Communist Party in the House. And then he followed up by saying that their name is the “Congressional Progressive Caucus.” And liberal thumb-suckers like Mann and Ornstein had their dresses up over their heads that West REALLY thinks they are Communist Party members!!!!)
Well, let us step beyond the point that West was clearly using hyperbole to make a point. And that even if he was taking himself seriously, West is a bombastic Member who enjoys throwing the occasional rhetorical bomb to make a point. So people who know what he says don’t really care.
Oh, but Mann and Ornstein find that to be the exclusive realm of the Republicans! Of course they won’t even bother to gloss over the musing of Members like Maxine Walker who calls Republicans, “Demons.” Or how about the Vice President of the United States claiming that Republicans are at war against women? As the Monty Python players might put it, “Let’s not quibble about Who Killed Who.”
But then Mann and Ornstein, as Don Walton note, lament that the Republicans are no longer the squishes that they were in the days of yore. Oh that mean ol’ Newt Gingrich made them all so angry!
Yeah, he is the guy who help the GOP take back the House of Representatives that was the Democrats’ Club Med for how many years? Tip O’Neill was the Good Emperor, and the Bob Michels of the GOP world were happy to get the scraps from the table. But when Republicans actually want to push their agenda, oh well, they just go too far, you see.
And isn’t someone like Chuck Hagel awesome? You know, the kind of guy who will tell you how right the Democrats are? And how smart Joe Biden is? And how the the surge in Iraq would just grind up US troops, because he is so wise, and bucks Dick Cheney? And how the Republican party left him , he didn’t leave the party?
Yeah, that is Mann and Ornstein and Don Walton’s kind of Republican. A Democrat one.
Always cute when a Democrat who stands his or her ground is called, “principled”, but when a Republican does it he or she is “bullheaded”.
As long as we are tossing around endorsement news, note that Rep. Lee Terry and Bret Lindstrom received the endorsement from Nebraskans United for Life.
And Terry also was endorsed as the race’s sole “suggested fiscally conservative candidate” by Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom. Their leader said that Terry…
“…has always been willing to make the tough votes to reduce spending. Many candidates talk about cutting spending, but Congressman Terry has actually done it.”
Just two weeks left. Exciting stuff.