Republicans have launched a “re-branding” effort for the party. This new ad makes the argument that America is now less safe under President Barack Obama. With a troop surge in Afghanistan and regular aerial drone attacks against jihadist cadre, I’m not sure this is a good ad.
** QUICK HITS. President Barack Obama and his top geopolitical team had more discussions about the deepening AfPak crisis today (See link to my new column below.) … With party ID at a low ebb, national Republicans are rolling out a new “rebranding” effort. See a new ad, which plays like it’s 2004, above. … In California, dueling GOP gubernatorial hopefuls Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner are pursuing different paths, with ex-eBay CEO Whitman forming a women’s support coalition and cell phone tracking mogul-turned-Insurance Commissioner Poizner challenging Whitman and ex-Silicon Valley Congressman Tom Campbell, another hopeful, to debate the state budget-related special election initiatives. Campbell says yes, Whitman no. … He’s exited the Democratic gubernatorial race to pursue a Congressional special election, and Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi has racked up a host of major labor union endorsements.
** EDWARDS SHOULD NOT HAVE RUN FOR PRESIDENT, SAY WIFE AND FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST. In her forthcoming memoir, Elizabeth Edwards says that her husband, former Senator and 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards, should not have run for president in 2008. Former strategist Joe Trippi concurs.
Edwards stayed in the race after losing must-win Iowa to Barack Obama, getting enough votes in New Hampshire to help Hillary Clinton win there and extend the Democratic nomination fight for months.
Elizabeth Edwards says she learned of Edwards’ affair, which produced a love child, a few days after her husband announced for president. She says she urged him not to continue. But the couple continued on, even after her cancer was announced.
Trippi says he didn’t know about the developments in Edwards’ life, and urged Edwards to continue in the race after losing all contests through Mega Tuesday. Had he known, he says, he would have urged Edwards to drop out immediately.
** DEMOCRATS KEEP SIGNIFICANT ADVANTAGE OVER REPUBLICANS. After 100 days of Barack Obama’s presidency, the Democrats maintain a significant edge of Republicans in national polling.
In the new Gallup Poll, 35% call themselves Democrats, while only 28% call themselves Republicans.
But when self-identified independents are added to the mix, 52% identify more with the Democrats. Only 39% identify with the Republicans.
The immediate outlook for the Republican Party is certainly bleak, with the Democratic Party maintaining significant advantages over it by almost any measure, perhaps most importantly in national party identification. Americans clearly have not reacted in a negative way to Obama’s approach to governing, as he enjoys approval ratings above 60% — better than those of most recent presidents.
** NEW TERMINATOR MOVIE POSTPONED IN MEXICO. Terminator Salvation, the fourth film in the Terminator franchise – which has Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in a cameo role via the wonders of digital imaging technology, as NWN readers learned first in last week’s live video webchat – is being released nearly two months later than scheduled in Mexico on account of the swine flu crisis there. Other movies are also being delayed in Mexico, with theaters closing down. The Mexico City premiere of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was cancelled.
Originally scheduled to be released in Mexico City and elsewhere in the country on June 5th, it’s now coming out on July 31st. It will still be opening across America on May 21st. Mexico has proved to be the epicenter of the swine flu crisis, and remains the hardest hit of all countries. However, Mexico has also significantly downgraded the number of cases and associated deaths.
On the evening of his 100th day in office, President Barack Obama conducted his third prime time press conference in the White House.
** OBAMA’S DEEPENING AFPAK CRISIS. With the appropriate huzzahs for President Barack Obama’s first 100 days still ringing in the air, his new AfPak strategy, for the linked crisis of Afghanistan and Pakistan, is already in deep trouble. Events have accelerated beyond the assumptions underlying it, especially in Pakistan, and much of the past few days in the administration was taken up with re-strategizing, including discussions on Air Force One as the president flew back-and-forth for a Missouri town hall yesterday and a full-scale National Security Council session before that.
This could be a tremendous disaster for America. As we are serially distracted by the various ADD obsessions of our media culture.
What’s wrong? Most immediately, the slow-rolling jihad in Pakistan and a relatively new government there that’s been fighting with functional modernist governmental rivals and cutting deals that don’t work with the Pakistani Taliban. And in the long term, an approach in Afghanistan that leans in the direction of nation-building rather than simply — though it’s not simple — keeping Al Qaeda too disrupted to launch serious attacks on America. …
** MORE CALIFORNIA POLLS. We have three new polls today, two public and one private. The new Field Poll tells us that, in this time of major economic downturn, California voters prefer more budget cuts to more taxes. And that they overwhelmingly oppose a move to change the two-thirds requirement to pass a budget or raise revenues in the Legislature to a simple majority. Which has been a much favored alternative by some on the left to the current budget deal.
But, strangely, California voters support budget cuts in only two of a dozen areas, prisons and parks. Sorry, that doesn’t work, folks.
The new Public Policy Institute of California poll tells us that most voters prefer that education funding be used more efficiently rather than increased. And that the idea of changing the two-thirds vote requirement on taxes is not popular.
It also tells us that President Barack Obama has a whopping 70% job approval rating amongst California voters, while Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is half that, at 34%. And that the Legislature is far less popular than that.
Finally, a private poll from Baselice & Associates for the Schwarzenegger and Democratic legislative leader-backed campaign for state budget compromise-related initiatives indicates there may be some life in them yet. This poll, unlike yesterday’s Field Poll, is based on a low-turnout targeted scenario.
When the question of the overall package is framed in a certain, supportive way, the initiatives have a chance, with 47% approval to 29% disapproval.
So if the advertising prevails, they may have a chance.
On the specific question of Prop 1A, based on the ballot summary, the result is 39% yes and 40% no.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden welcomed longtime Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania to the Democratic Party yesterday in an event in the White House’s Diplomatic Reception Room.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama has received his daily intelligence and economic briefings and conferred with senior advisors in the Oval Office.
At 10:30 AM Pacific, Obama meets with Senator John McCain, his defeated Republican presidential opponent, Senator Carl Levin, Congressman Ike Skelton, and Congressman John McHugh in the Oval Office. They are the chairs and ranking minority members of the Senate and House committees on the US Armed Forces. Among other topics on the agenda: America’s deepening AfPak crisis.
At 11:30 AM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at the “White House to Light House” Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride on the South Lawn of the White House.
At 12 PM Pacific, Obama meets with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in the Oval Office. One topic of discussion, the impending bankruptcy of Chrysler.
At 12:45 PM Pacific, Obama meets with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will speak this morning at the first groundbreaking of an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-funded transportation project in California.
The event takes place in Fairfield, along the I-80 corridor between San Francisco and Sacramento.
The project will create approximately 200 jobs in the construction industry, making improvements on a 50-year old section of Interstate 80 used by around 200,000 motorists per day.
Schwarzenegger, incidentally, who told me in my live video webchat with him last week that he planned to appear in the forthcoming Terminator Salvation movie if it worked out technologically – he didn’t act on set – will be appearing in the film in a cameo role via the wonders of digital mapping technology. More to follow on that. You can listen to the conversation here.
** OBAMA’S CALIFORNIA: ANGST AND IRONY FOR WINNING DEMOCRATS. It’s a great time in many ways for California Democrats, who just had their annual convention in Sacramento. Barack Obama carried the state with 61% of the vote and the party has a big registration edge over Republicans, as well as a much better handle on the large and growing number of independent voters.
No wonder House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a longtime acquaintance, was so ebullient when I spoke with her over the weekend. But it’s also a time of angst and irony.
I talked with former Governor Gray Davis, the only Democratic governor since World War II not named Brown, who told me: “California may be at a tipping point.” And Democratic delegates were in disarray on what to do about it, even as they enjoyed speeches from their two most likely gubernatorial contenders. … From my April 28th column.
** OBAMA’S EARTH DAY ENERGY DECLARATION: CALIFORNIA MAY BE THE NATIONAL MODEL HE SAYS, BUT IT’S NOT ENOUGH. President Barack Obama made a big show for Earth Day of his commitment to a much greener energy future, and in the process paid a huge compliment to California for dramatically altering its energy path three decades ago. But even though California, as Obama puts it, shows the rest of America what can be done, it’s not enough.
Obama spoke after touring a wind energy equipment factory, once a Maytag washing machine factory, in Newton, Iowa. While he talked up innovation in new technologies, he noted that, in our history, increases in innovation are generally coupled with big increases in consumption. And that that can lead to disaster.
Obama framed the the development of green energy technology — which includes energy efficiency tech as well as renewable sources such as wind, solar, waves, geothermal, and biomass — as the way out of the usual false choice on the environment. … From my April 23rd column.
** THE REPUBLICAN CHOICE: REACT OR MODERNIZE. … From my April 22nd column.
** THE STATE OF PLAY OF STATE OF PLAY. … From my April 18th column.
** OBAMA AND MEXICO: MANAGING INCIPIENT CHAOS. … From my April 17th column.
** EARL GREY, ANYONE? A CALIFORNIA CAPITOL TEA PARTY. …… From my April 15th column.
** OBAMA’S CRISIS MANAGEMENT: OF PIRATES AND MISSILES. … From my April 13th column.
** OBAMA’S NEW GEOPOLITICS: 10 KEY TAKEAWAYS. … From my April 9th column.
** TURKEY: NOT THE USUAL GEOPOLITICAL SANDWICH. … From my April 6th column.
** RE-SETTING THE GEOPOLITICAL TABLE: HOW OBAMA’S BIG TRIP IS GOING. … From my April 3rd column.
** AFGHANISTAN: THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM? … From my March 30th column.
** OBAMA: RIDING WITH HISTORY. (NOTE: As Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, this column was the featured column on the top of the front page of the Huffington Post.) … From my January 19th Huffington Post column.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the new Russia Today channel. You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti. While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, which I know as a former DemRussia advisor, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in two wars in the region, it’s valuable to keep up with news and perspectives from the leading Middle Eastern-based TV news network. Based in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, Al Jazeera is very influential and more than a bit controversial. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer. The NWN live link to AJ does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** SCHWARZENEGGER’S CALIFORNIA. Here is my series of five columns on the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger for the Los Angeles Times in debate with Pulitzer Prize-winning former Times reporter/editor Bill Boyarsky, whose columns are also included. Among them is what I’m sure is the first piece examining Schwarzenegger’s legacy as governor of California. Since he will actually be governor of California until 2011. No technology known to be disruptive to the space/time continuum was used in its preparation.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Having crashed over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, crude oil is trading in the $51 to $52 per barrel range.
This is up about $17 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, due in part to some positive economic signs and in part to fresh geopolitical jitters over Pakistan.
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