New York, NY – Quick trip up to NYC this afternoon and couldn’t help noticing the new Zogby poll out today (1/23-25; margin of error +/- 3.8%) with Pataki’s fav/unfav at 56%/40% while the NY state right track/wrong track is 31%/61%.
That’s pretty decent for a GOP gov in a state like New York, considering the generic national environment for Republicans and incumbents.
Washington, DC – The inevitability of Roy Blunt becoming House Majority Leader is still in doubt, despite the Blunt camp’s insistence it’s in the bag.
First of all, nothing is ever in the bag until the votes are counted. As David Rogers of the WSJ notes today, “Majority Whip Roy Blunt faces growing pressure to appear with his two rivals before the caucus and answer questions on where he wants to take the party after the spate of recent scandals… But the Missourian also has seemed insecure, refusing to give up his whip’s position and avoiding any joint television appearances where he can be questioned with the two other candidates, Reps. John Boehner of Ohio and John Shadegg of Arizona.
Blunt is still likely to hold on, and employ a kill the clock strategy.
Sitting in DC, though, one can tell the race outcome is becoming more of a question, with a Boehner second ballot scenario growing.
Washington, DC — Former New York Senator Al D’Amato, a great American, floated on NY1 last night the possible candidacy of Staten Island D.A. Dan Donovan for NY Attorney General.
Having worked with Guy Molinari’s regime during the 1997 special election to replace his daughter, Susan, (won by U.S. Rep. Vito Fossella), we dealt with Donovan a great deal.
He was a stand up guy who knew the issues at hand very, very well. He has the potential to be a good candidate — and would indeed be an excellent AG.
D’Amato talked up Donovan big-time, and said Jeannine Pirro “isn’t a fresh face”; that the AG’s race shouldn’t be a “hand me down” from the Senate bid. Ouch.
It’s not insignificant that D’Amato said this. This AG race is about to become much more interesting and competitive.
Washington, DC – Despite the fact consultants in general are overrated when it comes to assessing why a candidate wins or loses, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s loss of GOP consultant Mike Murphy is a major blow to Romney’s presidential ambitions.
As reported in the Boston Globe today by Brian Mooney, Murphy is “stepping back” from Romney, and this move “has long been the subject of intense speculation because of Murphy’s close relationship with McCain, who lost a bruising battle to George W. Bush for the Republican nomination in 2000.”
Reports the Globe, “A Republican operative with knowledge of the situation said that McCain’s camp was growing increasingly irritated with Murphy’s continued employment with Romney as the Massachusetts governor raised his national profile. ”There was no big blowup or impropriety because Murphy has the confidence of both Romney and McCain, but the time came when he had to absent himself from the scene,” the operative said. ”I guess he gets a gold star for being honorable. Very few of those are given out in politics.”
Having known Murphy for a number of years, I can categorically say he not only possesses an impeccable level of integrity, as corroborated by his action, but he’s also just about the most talented and experienced all around media and communications consultant in the GOP today.
Sure, he creates TV spots — damn good ones — but he also has a hand in the day to day operations of the campaign press operation, and has a great understanding and intuitive feel for the game and the state of play on any given day. He’s also a superb companion on the road with his candidates, and helps to shape the press coverage as well as steer his clients away from gaffes and pratfalls.
No matter how it’s spun, Murphy’s step away from Romney creates a huge hole in his operation when it comes to creative talent, and having someone on his team who truly knows the ropes.
Watch for Romney’s team to make some mistakes as the ’08 jockeying continues to heat up.
Washington, DC – The only person I’ve seen who has accurately identified Sen. Hillary Clinton’s “plantation” broadside against the House GOP as a smart political move is the NY Post’s John Podhoretz, who cannily noted in today’s edition:
“Hillary Clinton is playing a long game — a game for 2008 — and when viewed in that context, what she did and said was very canny.
“Saying that the Republican-run House of Representatives is “run like a plantation” won’t do her any damage with any Democratic political constituency. The emotion that unites Democrats more than any other is visceral loathing of Republicans — the president especially, but with House Republicans certainly gaining on him.
“And while one might think African-American primary voters would be offended at Hillary’s trivialization of the hardships of slavery, something tells me they won’t be. Using slavery references as a political tool is standard practice for black politicians and activists.”
And one cannot overlook the fact the Clintons have always maintained the strongest of relationships with the African-American political community — all the way back to when Bill was governor, during his run for Presdident in 1992, and throughout his presidency.
It’s unfathomable African American political activists would align themselves with anyone but the Clinton brand if she seeks the presidency.
Despite much analysis from the press and some of my GOP cohorts that Hillary’s remark will backfire, they’re wrong, and will be proven so in the longer term.
Rectortown, VA — What a classic gaffe from New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin: His city is, and must remain, “chocolate.”
CNN, FOX and the cable news folks are all over this one, to no one’s surprise.
This was an unfortunate choice of words, obviously, despite the fact he later explained in more
context: “chocolate” means that dark chocolate and milk are combined to make chocolate.
Why didn’t he just say New Orleans must remain “racially diverse?”
Politicians make gaffes, and this was one of those classics. Despite the fact this will probably help him with his base, who are rightly concerned many parts of the city will be re-developed in a different manner with a different target market, this is a big net negative for Nagin.
Let’s hope some of the more, ahem, “closed minded” elements of society don’t use this in a distorted, polarizing manner. It’s not warranted — it was just a gaffe and his explanation of “racial diversity” should stand.
Washington, DC – Anyone who spends their day in the office in front of a keyboard while simultaneously watching a variety of cable news programming is able to sort out in relatively short order the spin stars.
Paul Begala has emerged as not just one his party’s smartest, most effective advocates — he’s also just about the best in town when it comes to the standard two talking head/one moderator tv interview format. He mopped the floor today with Human Events’ Terry Jeffrey, who became visibly agitated with Begala’s rat-a-tat-tat assault on Alito’s “Princeton problem”.
Besides his effectiveness in the TV medium, Begala’s professional and campaign credentials are as impressive and substantive as they come, dwarfing virtually anyone else he debates. What seems to be happening now is that as Begala seems to spend more and more time on CNN these days, his level of professional incisiveness, his understanding of what’s occurring behind the scenes, and the quality of his analysis is becoming more and more apparent.
No, this isn’t a Paul Begala press release, it’s just an observation from a 12+ hours per day watcher.
a bit of chatter in dc today about this 2 sentence development…
Allen lines up help for for a possible ’08 campaign
BY JEFF E. SCHAPIRO
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Friday, January 6, 2006
U.S. Sen. George Allen, R-Va., has enlisted a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, Ed Gillespie, as treasurer of his political action committee, Good Government for America.
Republicans said Gillespie, with his national connections, could greatly benefit Allen if he pursues the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2008.
Washington, DC – Writing a blog — a good blog — takes a lot of time and effort. Simply bloviating about this and that is boring and essentially mindless. That’s why most blogs suck.
DCspectator, an ongoing work in progress, needs some additional juice this year — and more original reporting, interviews and Q and A’s with newsmakers and others will be the objective for 2006. Of course, this will involve more time and effort.
I’ve appreciated the many comments and tips from readers. Best to all for a prosperous, healthy and meaningful year ahead.