November 16 2003
LOUISIANA: The early take on the election
is it looks like Blanco timed her attack ads against Jindal perfectly.
This election for weeks had been praised as a "clean"
election with little to no negative advertising by both sides.
However, in the last week Blanco and the Democrats blanketed the
state with ads attacking Jindal hard.
and on television, Blanco criticized Jindal’s Department of Health
and Hospitals record, claiming he put money before people. One
prominent ad featured the former head of a state physicians’ group
saying Jindal canceled programs, such as “Needy Children.” Another
ad noted that Jindal took a $24,000 raise soon after he laid off
200 Department of Health and Hospitals employees.
run these ads earlier Jindal's campaign would have had time to
rebut the attacks and go on the offensive themselves, but by timing
the broad negative attack for the last week Blanco was able to
time her momentum to peak perfectly, while at the same time allowing
Jindal no time to react.
We were obliviously
aware that Blanco had picked up some serious momentum, but we
thought the final tracking numbers from Friday showing Jindal
ahead by four was an indication that he had stopped her momentum
in time and had built a big enough lead to hold on. We were wrong.
election been run three days earlier or a week later Jindal probably
would have won. Again this is an early take, but it looks like
Blanco's campaign outstrategized the Jindal campaign and that
was the difference. J.
McIntyre 8:13 am
November 15 2003
FINAL LOUISIANA UPDATE: The final
tracking poll from MRI shows a stabilization for Jindal, which
is very important to the young Republican's chances. Jindal's
lead, which had grown to as high as nine in the MRI poll taken
at the very beginning of the week, had fallen to only four on
the survey taken 11/10 - 11/12, and the results for the tracking
numbers for Wednesday and Thursday showed Blanco pulling to within
one point, 45%-44%. Had Blanco's same momentum continued through
the final tracking poll on Friday we were prepared to switch and
call for a Blanco win, but that final survey of 400 voters showed
Jindal back up with a four point lead.
Make no mistake
about it, this is not Kentucky where Fletcher was a shoo-in on
election day or even Mississippi where Barbour was 70%-80% likely
to win even though the final margin of victory would be close.
This election is a true toss up and Jindal's ethnicity provides
a significant wild card that is almost impossible to calibrate.
There are other factors that provide a higher degree of uncertainty
than usual: today is the start of hunting season and #3 ranked
LSU plays a huge football game on the road at Alabama. These are
small factors that probably hurt Jindal slightly though it is
difficult to know exactly how much. The biggest wild card, of
course, is that we're talking about Louisiana.
We said in
our initial analysis if Jindal could maintain a 2 point lead in
our RCP poll average he should be able to hold on and pull out
the win. Our final poll average today comes in at 45.0% - 42.8%,
a 2.2 point lead for Jindal, which should be just enough to get
him to the finish line ahead of Blanco. Of the four Governor's
races this year this is the only one that is a true toss up on
election day, but Jindal looks poised to make history and immediately
become a national star in the Republican Party. Jindal 51% - Blanco
49%. J. McIntyre 8:10
November 14 2003
LOUISIANA GOV RACE: The latest
tracking poll from MRI shows a significant closing of the
gap for Blanco, from down over nine points to only four points
with a day left. Some of the last minute attack ads accusing Jindal
of slashing health-care while he was secretary for Department
of Health and Hospitals may be leading to Jindal's drop from 49%
to 46%. But it also appears that Blanco has benefited from the
final debate, where her answer to a question on the "defining
moment" in her life may be moving voters:
most defining moment in my life came, when I lost a child. Those
are the moments when you have to really, really know that you
have faith and faith can bring you where you have to go....That's
what makes me what I am today, knowing that one of the worst
things that could happen to a person happened to me, and we
were able to protect our family, and the rest of my children
are stronger because of it,"
George Sells, one of the debate panelists said "in the studio,
it was a very dramatic moment."
appears to have the last minute momentum she is still under 45%
and could well have fallen too far behind to catch Jindal. The
African-American vote will be a large factor in determining the
final winner, as is usual, and Jindal looks poised to get almost
15%, which is close to double the normal proportion that goes
to Republicans in Louisiana.
In an interview
with the Washington Post Douglas Brinkley, director of the
Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New
think some old boy state's rights anti-black types are switching
over to Blanco because they don't want to see an Indian-American
the wild card or hidden factor in the election, and Blanco would
be hard pressed to pull out a victory without these votes. But
because these voters are traditionally Republican voters, and
given the ninth-inning tightening toward Blanco, this could very
well be the difference in a Democratic win.
at the end of the day, we suspect this type of voting will be
small, and will be offset by crossover votes from blacks and non-traditional
Republican voters. Several days ago Jindal was poised for a 54%
- 46% type of win, it now looks like this race is going right
down to the wire. Jindal holds on, barely, 51% - 49%. - J.
McIntyre 7:59 am
November 13 2003
"JINDAL SMOKED HER": That's the verdict on last
night's final debate between Kathleen Blanco and Bobby Jindal,
according to a political science major from LSU quoted in the
Lafayette Advertiser. Here's the full quote:
smoked her,” said Darrell Kropog of Hammond, summing up the
feelings of many of his classmates. “You can tell he thinks
even faster than he talks because he never paused” in his answers.
A few paragraphs
later there's this:
Williams of Opelousas said Jindal “answered the questions better.
She [Blanco] was babbling a lot, and I kind of felt sorry for
her when the guy moderating the debate kept telling her to answer
funny how she claims not to be asking people to vote for her
because she’s woman, yet she said that four times,” said Carter
LeBlanc, a female student from Houma.
Let me throw
in my two anecdotal cents. I spoke to one of my best friends yesterday
who lives in New Orleans to get his take on the race. My friend,
we'll call him JB, doesn't really follow politics too closely.
He does stay up on current events, however, and he's one of the
smartest, most level-headed people you could ever hope to meet.
He's also young (34), African-American, and traditionally inclined
to vote Democratic.
time. His impressions of the candidates (told to me before last
night's debate) are very similar to the ones expressed above.
Jindal comes off as extremely smart and well prepared with specific
plans to deal with specific issues. JB said that Blanco, on the
other hand, responds to questions about issues by proposing panels
and commissions to "study" the problems.
where I think the real difference in the race is: JB acknowledged
that Jindal was more conservative than he liked or wanted. Yet
he's still inclined to vote for Jindal anyway, primarily because
Blanco represents, at least to him, the old guard of Louisiana
politics. She's part of the machine, part of the good 'ol boy
network (even though she's a woman) that is business as usual
and that takes votes and voters in Louisiana (to use JB's words)
both his appearance and his rhetoric, represents something new,
different, and fresh. The symbolism is cliche but seems to be
true: to many voters Jindal is the future and Blanco the past.
Now, as we
noted yesterday, just how many of these younger, potential Jindal
voters turn out is a different story. But absentee
voting is already at a record high, which strongly favors
Jindal. Also, the most
recent tracking poll shows a 9-point lead for Jindal, but
it did show an up-tick for Blanco yesterday. Stay tuned, we'll
be making our final call tomorrow.
Which of the following is the silliest and most ridiculous
thing you could do:
a motorcycle onto the stage of a late night talk show.
a joint US-Saudi task force to hunt for Osama bin-Laden along
the Pakistan-Afghan border.
to have to go with number two. Number one was an obvious, lame
PR stunt by a failing candidate. Number two is a serious policy
proposal from one of the Dem frontrunners and someone who tells
us his military and foreign policy experience is the primary reason
he should be president.
certainly room for improvement in finding ways to capture or kill
Osama bin Laden, but it's very tough to see how Clark's proposal
offers a more practical or effective solution in any way. -
November 12 2003
THE SKINNY IN LOUISIANA: Having won California, Kentucky and
Mississippi, Republicans are poised to go 4 for 4 this Saturday
if 32 year-old Bobby Jindal can defeat Lt. Gov. Kathleen Blanco.
Piyush "Bobby" Jindal led the 17-candidate open primary on Oct
4, capturing 33% of the vote compared to second place Blanco's
18%. (Like much in Louisiana, their elections are different from
the rest of the country, all the candidates run in a single election
or primary and if no one captures over 50% of the vote the two
top vote winners advance to a head-to-head runoff. This is what's
taking place this Saturday, Nov. 15.)
set of polls following the Oct 4th primary showed Blanco with
a 4-7 point lead on average, but since the third week in October
Jindal has moved out to a small, yet solid lead in most polls.
Of particular concern for Blanco is her inability to poll over
45% in any survey since mid-October, while Jindal has received
48%-49% in five different polls over the same period.
extremely young age and his Indian ancestry have contributed to
a higher than normal level of uncertainty in this race, as there
were questions whether a 32-year old son of immigrants from India
could win in Louisiana. In what may be a reflection of how far
the South and the country have moved with regard to race, it appears
that Jindal's Indian ancestry is having little effect in this
contest. Of course, polls and votes can be two different things.
Democrats in the South, Blanco is going to need massive support
from the African-American community to win. However, in a stunning
move the black mayor of New Orleans has endorsed Jindal and it
appears to be helping him draw more support from the African-American
community than is typical for Republicans.
does have the support of the very well liked Senator Breaux, it
is more than countered by the enthusiastic endorsement of Jindal
by popular Gov. Mike Foster.
Senator Mary Landrieu was able to win 52% - 48%, because she got
that huge African-American vote and a very respectable
percent of the the white vote.
In that race
Landrieu was the more likable and better candidate. In this year's
race, Jindal seems to the better and more attractive candidate.
"Jindal is being perceived as a progressive, revolutionary Republican
figure in the state," says Douglas Brinkley, director of the Eisenhower
Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans.
held a 1.5 point lead in our final poll average last year and
she went on to a four point win. Jindal currently holds a 4.2
point lead in our latest average and if that can stay over 2%
he should be able to pull out the win on Saturday.
Jindal will win almost 15% of the black vote and will hold on
to enough of the traditional Republican vote to squeeze out a
victory and make history. - J.
November 11 2003
ANTIWAR WISH: Charlie
Cook writes that if John Kerry had voted against the war,
he'd be the frontrunner today:
I first heard Monday that Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts had
just fired his presidential campaign manager, Jim Jordan, I
immediately thought back to a conversation I had a month ago
at a reception on Capitol Hill. Several people were discussing
the race for the Democratic nomination, and I opined that the
Kerry campaign's organizational problems were vastly overblown.
In fact, I believed -- and still do -- that they were virtually
irrelevant to his slippage from the race's front-runner position.
I suggested that the problem for Kerry, Rep. Richard Gephardt
of Missouri, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and others
in the race was that they were in a race with another candidate
-- former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean -- whose campaign was on
fire. Dean's candidacy had taken on a life of its own and this,
as opposed to any intrinsic weaknesses on the part of his rivals,
was what was holding them back. I equated it to a handful of
guys in a poker game: Some were accomplished players, but the
guy from Vermont sitting across the table from them was drawing
the hot cards every hand. I suggested that all the rest of the
field could do was to either to drop out of the race or hope
that Dean's luck would turn and they would still be alive to
capitalize on it.
and much wiser journalist, a Washington bureau chief who was
covering politics while I was still in Boy Scouts, turned to
me and asked, "Where do you think Kerry and Dean would be if
Kerry had voted against the war?" Like a thunderbolt from the
sky, I instantly knew he was right. If Kerry had voted against
the Iraq war, it is very likely that he would still be the front-runner
and Dean would probably be an asterisk rather than the front-runner.
I'm not so
sure. Even if Kerry had voted against the war he would still have
two intrinsic obstacles to overcome in competing against Dean.
First, he's an beltway insider and an establishment politician,
and we all know the record of Senators trying to win the Presidency.
Second, he's got Al Gore syndrome, which is to say there is something
about him (let's be frank) that's just not very likeable and that
no amount of Harley riding or pheasant hunting can fix.
with Dean on nearly every single issue, but I still like to watch
the guy. But I'd rather eat glass while sitting on hot coals than
listen to John Kerry talk for more than two minutes.
had voted against the war things might look a bit different in
Iowa and New Hampshire, but I doubt Dean would be "an asterisk."
- T. Bevan
GEPHARDT GETS IT: He's got a 7-point lead in Iowa that
even the Des Moines Register calls "a
little wobbly." The union
endorsements Dean picked up this week didn't help matters,
either. Still, with John Kerry looking like a
man without a plan and Joe Lieberman doing his best imitation
of a skydiver without a parachute, Gephardt continues to emerge
as the only real anti-Dean option around.
And as we
all know, aside from Lieberman, Gephardt is the only other candidate
in the Dem field
who shows that he gets it:
True. You stuck by him [President Bush], you stuck to stay there,
and also to support the $87.5 billion that he wanted which --
in which you part company with those who are challenging the
president for the presidency. Do you think that hurts you, that
you are so aligned with the president, by and large, on Iraq
I try to do what I think this is right thing to do.
Well, Howard Dean seems to give the impression he'd pull all
our troops out.
I think that is a big mistake. I mean, you can disagree
on why we went there and what the information was and all of
that. I understand all that.I still believe it was the right
thing to do because I`m worried about weapons of mass destruction
in the United States. And I didn`t just listen to George Bush.
I went to the CIA myself, listened to all of their information.
I talked to former Clinton officials, and they all felt there
was a real danger, that either he had weapons or the components
Where do you think those weapons are now?
I don`t know. Hopefully, we`ll find what was there and what
wasn't there. I also think we need a blue ribbon commission
from the outside, not just Congress, looking at the intelligence.
But some of your colleagues, sir, have said that the president
misled the people. Do you think that this president misled either
you or your colleagues about the presence of weapons of mass
destruction, or the threat of Iraq, period?
I didn't just take his word for it. It may be that, in the end,
we find out that the intelligence was not what the CIA thought
it was, or even former Clinton administration officials thought
it was. That is why we need an outside commission. You are getting
into partisan fights now in the intelligence committee. You
are never going to solve this that way. We need outside sources.
let me go further. Put all of that aside. Once we`re there,
we cannot fail. We cannot just cut and run and leave the place,
as we did Afghanistan in 1989, in chaos. It will be the mother
of all terrorist training camps. It will be a continuing source
of turmoil and problems not only for the region, but for the
United States as well. So we've got to see this through but
we need help. The president is failing us by not getting the
help we need.
This is reasonable
criticism. It's rational debate. In my opinion it's also a much
more effective general election strategy for defeating George
W. Bush. The question is whether the Dems will choose the reason
of Gephardt over the rage of Dean. -
Bevan 12:01 am
November 10 2003
CRONY CAPITALISM: Thirty months. Sixteen point two million
dollars. That's more than half a million dollars per month. Details
of a Halliburton contract in Iraq, you say? Nope. It's the amount
of money Rahm Emanuel made working as an investment banker in
the scant two and a half years between leaving the Clinton White
House and going to Congress last year as the representative
from Illinois' 5th district.
to a recruiting executive quoted in the article, that salary figure
puts Emanuel in the top 3-5% of all investment bankers in the
country during that period of time. Not bad for a guy with zero
investment banking experience:
to congressional disclosure statements, Emanuel received $16.2
million from Wasserstein, based on fees that the bank earned
from eight clients. In each case, he worked to land the business
either through a key executive he had come to know during his
political career or was provided an introduction by a contact
he developed through his political work.
of those clients were corporations controlled by major Democratic
donors who developed relationships with Emanuel through their
involvement in national party politics: Loral Space and Communications
Ltd., headed by Schwartz, who celebrated his 71st birthday at
the White House; Slim-Fast, headed by Abraham; and GenTek Inc.,
a telecommunications manufacturer headed by Paul Montrone."
For the record,
I don't have a problem with Emanuel's salary. From top to bottom,
business in America is conducted primarily on relationships and
contacts, and Rahm Emanuel is a guy with a golden Rolodex. That's
just the way it works.
is an eye-popping amount of money. And there is no doubt that
if Emanuel were an alumnus of the Bush administration the story
would have Josh
Krugman, and the 9 Democrats running for President awash in
full-throated, vein-bulging righteousness, decrying the deleterious
effects of "Bush crony capitalism."
DEATH WISH: Gertrude M. Jones' obituary
on October 2 contained this little gem:
gifts may be made to any organization that seeks the removal
of President George Bush from office."
GLASS: We posted Diane Glass's most recent column to the front-page
on Saturday. If you missed it, you can read
it here. It's a remarkably shoddy argument in favor of secularism
(or atheism, take your pick) that compares Oprah to Jesus and
also contains nonsequiturs like this one:
I don't think we risk a slippery slope without a sovereign god.
There are a lot of Chinese but they haven't resorted to eating
have figured it out myself, but a reader emailed to point out
why we all should have expected such nonsense from Glass: she's
of Harvard's Divinity School. - T.
Bevan 8:56 am