What Will Happen On Election Day

October 27, 2010

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Although I’m not much of a rah-rah political person, I do enjoy following things from an analytical viewpoint.  Here are my thoughts on what will happen on election day and beyond.

Christine O’Donnell will lose the race for the Senate in Delaware and return to her coven.  (That’s a joke – I don’t really think she is a witch).  There is some speculation that she may also cost the GOP the Pennsylvania race.  The logic is that O’Donnell has been quite visible in the Philadelphia market (grab a map, for those who aren’t familiar with the area) and that Democrats may be playing a winning game by saying that Pat Toomey is another Tea Party candidate … with the implied message that Toomey = O’Donnell.  It’s possible that this is not the reason that Joe Sestak has been making up substantial ground … Evan, any thoughts?

Marco Rubio leads a three way race in the Florida Senate race.  Former governor Charlie Crist is in the race as an independent.  You’d think Crist would be in a unique position to paint his opponents (Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek) as being the anti-Crist  …

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid continues his battle royale with Sharron Angle.  The compact nature of Nevada’s media market make it fairly inexpensive to run ads that reach a high percentage of constituents.  A loss by Reid would force the Democrats to choose a new leader.

In Alaska, incumbent Lisa Murkowski (a Republican) is running as an independent and has been polling roughly even with GOP candidate  Joe Miller (with both candidates comfortable ahead of Democrat Scott McAdams).  With Alaska lagging several hours behind Iowa,  I’ll be going to bed about the time the polls close up north.  At some point in the evening, the number of write-in votes that were cast (i.e. that someone marked the circle for write-in) will be known … but not who they were cast for.  If the write-in totals are high enough to put the winner in doubt, then the write-in votes will be tallied – and wrangled over in court.  The Democrats will probably laugh all the way to the bank, as they see Republicans spend millions of dollars deciding which conservative should represent Alaska.

In South Carolina, Republican Jim DeMint will score a decisive win over Democrate Alvin Greene.  Greene scored a stunning victory in the Democratic primary, despite having done negligible campaigning – leading to some accusations of fraud.  Greene was later indicted on a felony obscenity charge.  The real question to me – why didn’t another Democrat jump into the race and make it a three way contest?  As it stands, Greene is getting roughly 20% support in the polls.

In the governor’s races, Jerry Brown is starting to distance himself from former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who has spent around $150 million (wow!) of her own money into her campaign.  Whitman’s campaign has been sidetracked by the revelation that she once employed an illegal alien as a made (and the allegations that the Whitman family were aware of this and did nothing). 

In Illinois, my former landlord (Bill Brady) is running a close race with incumbent Pat Quinn, who got his gig when Blago was forced out in the midst of a corruption scandal.  I don’t know Brady personally. but we had (legal) free cable when his management company got the rent checks, and had to pay for cable when another company replaced them.  Sure, it was only $17 (around 2000) and only a couple dozen channels, but nonetheless was a pretty sweet deal.

What do I see happening on the grand scale?  I see the GOP taking back the House and the Democrats probably retaining  slim majority in the Senate – quite possibly 51-49.  I also see the end of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s tenure on the Supreme Court.  Ginsburg doesn’t want to be replaced by a conservative, and will likely retire while Obama is still choosing justices rather than risk dying in office and having President Palin choose her replacement.  What’s one likely characteristic of the Justice that will replace Ginsburg?  Youth.

Speaking of Ginsburg … time for a bit of trivia. Whom did she replace on the Supreme Court?  Byron “Whizzer” White, the former NFL star.  White took the term student-athlete to the highest level – leading the NFL in rushing in 1938 and 1940 being awarded two bronze stars for his service in World War II – and then embarking upon a legal career which took him to the peak of his profession.  You may agree or disagree with his opinions, but it’s hard to argue that he didn’t live an amazing life.  Whizzer died in 2002 at the age of 84.

Monday Miscellany

August 10, 2009

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Cash for Clunkers

Cash for Clunkers is definitely drawing its fair share of ink, and many people have negative opinions of the program.  I’m not going to defend it in its entirety, because I do believe that the program has flaws, particularly with the low threshold for the $3500 rebates.  However, I will address two comments that seem to pop up a lot.

The first is the comment that this is resulting in perfectly good cars being destroyed – cars that would be a good first car for a teen, or a car for someone who couldn’t afford something nicer.  I get the impression that people think that this is an unintended consequence that was a result of congress not thinking enough about the impacts.  However, this is not the case.  This is exactly what congress intended – to avoid having the useful lives of these cars extended, and getting them off the road.  Whether a 15 mph car is being driven by a 45 year old man, or a 19 year old college student, it’s still a 15 mpg car.  I might be one of the minority who thinks that car with 18 mph or worse combined highway/city mpg is pretty bad.  I’ve never had a car that has come anywhere close to this mileage, and I don’t drive small cars.  Our current cars are in the high 20s.

The second comment I hear is a questioning of the stimulative effect.  In my opinion, Cash for Clunkers is an environmental program with a possible economic impact, not vice versa.  Realistically, there cannot be much direct stimulation as a result of the program.  In the grand scheme of things, three billion dollars is not a huge amount of money.  The best case scenario would be for the program to revive interest in cars, and get people without clunkers to think about buying a car.

Mel Martinez

Senator Mel Martinez of Florida has announced that he will be stepping down before his current term ends.  This puts governor Charlie Crist in an interesting predicament.  Crist had previously announced his intentions to run for Martinez’ seat in 2010 (Martinez had previously announced that he would not seek another term).  As is the case in many states, the governor has the authority to appoint the interim senator.  Crist has said that he will not appoint himself, which gets him into a bit of a pickle.  Whomever is appointed by Crist will be an incumbent for the 2010 primaries.  Incumbents always have a leg up on the opposition.

Crist has a few options.  The first option is to appoint someone who will be a strong representative for the state of Florida – someone who represents that views of the citizens of the state and works hard to achieve results in the Senate.  This candidate could be a tough adversary for Crist in the primary.  Alternately, Crist could appoint a weaker candidate who would be exposed by  a short stint in congress, and would be a sitting duck against Crist in a primary.  The danger with this is that the citizens might not be pleased having sub-standard representation in congress.

I suppose there’s also the third option – that Crist does indeed appoint himself, reneging on his earlier statement.  I’ll give Governor  Crist the benefit of the doubt and assume that he’s not dumb enough to try that trick.

It will be interesting to see which direction Crist will lean.  The citizens of Florida would be well served to pay close attention to this process, as it may tell them much about the sort of man Charlie Crist is.

Patrick Kane

Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane was arrested in Buffalo for robbery, criminal mischief,  and theft of services after an early morning altercation with a cab driver.

The story being told by the cab driver is that Kane and  his cousin paid for a $13.80 cab ride with $15.  The cab driver claimed to only have $1 in change, rather than the $1.20.  The Kanes then allegedly took back the $15 and punched the cab driver in the face.  Police confirmed that the cab driver suffered cuts to the face and broken glasses.

Kane is, of course, innocent until proven guilty.  Perhaps the allegations are unfounded.  If the allegations prove to be true, then Kane suffered a monumental case of bad judgment.  Were he and his cousin owed the 20 cents?  Certainly.  However, this was definitely not the best way to handle the situation.  Noting the cab driver’s cab license and reporting the incident to the proper authorities would have been a better route.  Risking a prison sentence over 20 cents  just doesn’t make sense.

What did you miss over the weekend?

  • Friday featured the first part of the short story Superstar – the tale of a young music sensation.
  • The conclusion of Superstar appeared in the Saturday edition.
  • Tyson Turner pushed Winnipeg front and center on Sunday, selling the city as a tourist destination.