On the National scene,

Was watching some of the MSNBC videos,  and Sally Quinn was being interviewed.  She stated that there are whispers about town that VP Biden and SoS Clinton will switch positions for the 2012 elections.  That would free Clinton to begin campaigning earlier,  setting her up to run for POTUS in 2016.  Biden's love is Foreign Affairs and he would be a very good Sos.  Can you imagine an Obama/Clinton 2012?  I think it would be a good deal.  Then we'd have a Clinton/? 2016.  They asked Quinn what she thought the odds of this happening were?  And she answered, “Oh I am sure its going to happen.”  Then she smiled.  She would not release her sources, of course.  but she sounded pretty confident.   Any thoughts? 

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Where does our state need good candidates to run? (An open question)

(Good question. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Since we're starting to hear about more and more announcements being made by candidates running for election in 2010, I became curious about where we should encourage more folks to consider running.  

Often, in the places where a fresh face is needed the most, a candidate steps into the race very late in the game because no one else had stepped up.  Activists in the area sometimes fail to ask good candidates to run and end up holding their nose and voting for the weak (electorally or ideologically) candidate who finally stepped up to the plate and became the de facto nominee.

So, perhaps this time around, with just over 12 months until next years election, we can avoid this problem by identifying seats where progressives can, should, or must win. 

By the way, I'm not sure I can really contribute that much to the discussion, besides asking the question, as I've recently relocated to an area I don't know particularly well.  But I encourage you to talk about your communities below and others about which you're familiar.

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Is the Big Lug too big to win? What Gov. Culver can learn from Chris Chrstie.

( - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Is being overweight a political handicap? That's the big question posed by Daniel Engber in a very interesting piece this week at Slate.com. At issue, the contentious Corzine-Christie race in New Jersey and a weighty issue that has developed between the two men. Namely, the issue of weight.

You see, Corzine (D), the incumbent governor, is an average-to-fit 62. He considers himself a “health nut”. He runs marathons. For a man who was very nearly killed in a car accident two years ago, he is in excellent health. 

His opponent, Chris Christie (R), is an obese 47-year old. He considers himself “a Jersey guy, with a Jersey gut”. He jokes about his weight. He says that he has been heavy since his teenage years, and has tried to lose the weight several times, to no avail.

The controversy all started with this ad:

The ad doesn't explicitly mention weight at all. The gist of the ad, rather, is that Christie used his power as U.S. Attorney to get out of some nasty driving tickets. However, instead of the phrase “used his power”, the ad says  “threw his weight around”. In classic attack ad fashion, the ad closes on an unnatural slow-motion image of the opponent–only this time, he's getting out of a car–and well, jiggling.

As you can see, the message is pretty clear. Christie claims this is “character assassination”. Corzine claims that he “…doesn't give a hoot about Mr. Christie's weight.”

Still, the real issue is, is it working? The answer is, very likely yes. As Engber points out, two separate polls by  Public Policy Polling (.pdf) and the New York Times both confirm–independent voters are significantly less likely to vote for an overweight candidate.

And, as Engber tells us, that bias might just be reflected already in the nation's governors. Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com recently looked at the shape of the nation's governors and found that (in his non-medical, decidedly tongue-in-cheek estimation) only 10 (or 20%) current governors are visibly overweight. (He includes Gov. Culver, who he calls “squarish”, based on this photo.)

Engbert accounts for this disparity (remember that more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight) with the following analysis:

…there's no constituency for a fat politician. Conservatives see excess weight as a sign of moral failing or a breach of personal responsibility. Liberals sneer at the bloated American lifestyle, even while imagining the war on obesity as a fight for social justice.

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PBI (Party Brand Index) Part 5, Iowa and Nevada

(Interesting work. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

I was asked by desmoinesdem at swing-state-project.com to crosspost here. I normally post there and at dailykos.com. PBI or Party Brand Index is a concept I have developed as a replacement for PVI.  PVI (Partisan Voting Index), which is measured by averaging the percentage of the vote from the last two presidential elections in each house district, and comparing it to the nation as a whole, is a useful shorthand for understanding the liberal v. conservative dynamics of a district. But PVI in my opinion it falls short in a number of areas. First it doesn't explain states like Arkansas or West Virginia. These states have districts who's PVIs indicates a Democrat shouldn't win, yet Democrats (outside of the presidency) win quite handily. Secondly why is this the case in Arkansas but not Oklahoma with similar PVI rated districts?

Lastly PVI can miss trends as it takes 4 years to readjust. The purpose of Party Brand Index is to give a better idea of how a candidate does not relative to how the presidential candidate did, but compared to how their generic PARTY should be expected to perform. I've tackled IN, NC, CO, VA, MO, OK, AR, now I will look at the swing states of Nevada and Iowa.

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LIVE Iowa House Election Results - Tuesday

Folks, some of you may not know about the Iowa House Democratic Caucus blog at http://www.iowahouse.org.  If so, then you know about it now.

We're going to be trying something new on Tuesday night – liveblogging House results.  We don't have a “fancy” Chuck Todd or FiveThirtyEight.com map, but we do have a nice chart and will be posting results as we get them called in from local auditor's offices by our staff on the ground.

It should be an exciting night and please head over to http://iowahouse.org/2008-results/ to see results on Tuesday.  The page won't be live until Tuesday, but you will be able to comment and discuss results right there on the page!

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The Iraq War is a Sickness

The Iraq war is a sickness in American politics. Four years ago, we reelected a President who had misled us into a tragic war that cost thousands of lives, well after the justification for it had proven false. The American people were distracted from this paramount fact by fear and political diversions like John Kerry’s purple hearts. The democratic nominee was caricatured as a flip-flopping coward. Four more years of war have followed.

In 2008, Americans face a grimly similar choice. The same Republicans who smeared Kerry on behalf of Bush are back; only the name of their candidate has changed. McCain’s campaign has been based on prolonging the Iraq war, claiming Democrats want nothing less than surrender.

But this past weekend, the justification for war effectively died. Iraq’s freely-elected leader, Nouri al-Maliki, bluntly said he wants the US to leave his country. All agree the security situation has improved, and now a democratic Iraq is declaring its sovereignty. In other words, our troops have completed their mission. So why haven’t we left yet?

The President knows that if we started bringing our troops home tomorrow, John McCain would have no argument for his candidacy.

But the war can be over. I only hope the American people will see through the dizzying spin.

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