THE NEW WEST
“Forget the traditionally conservative dress of business Washington,” Reid Wilson writes at www.realclear politics.com.
“Put away the three-piece suits and Brooks Brothers ties. Instead, break in a new pair of cowboy boots, put on a bolo tie and a Stetson hat. As America’s Intermountain West grows at rates much higher than the rest of the country, more gun-toting, cattle-rustling social and fiscal libertarians will head east of the Rockies to join Congress,” Mr. Wilson said.
“But those new members of Congress are more likely to caucus with Democrats than they are to side with Republicans in what may be one of the most dramatic geographic shifts in the coming decade. And though the transition away from the GOP has not been as pronounced as that which has taken place in the Northeast, the move has already begun.
“The 1990s were a good decade to be a Republican west of the Rockies. But since President Bush won the White House, Democrats have seen a marked improvement in their Western fortunes. Beginning in 2000, Democrats have picked up three Senate seats, five governor’s mansions and 12 House seats in states in the Mountain or Pacific time zones.
“By contrast, Republicans have picked up just one Senate seat, John Ensign’s, and one governor’s mansion, when California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger won a recall election in 2003.”
SPREAD THE WEALTH
“When Barack Obama responded to the Ohio plumber who didn’t want his taxes raised that Obama wanted to ‘spread the wealth around,’ I wanted to tell him to spread his own wealth around. It was in any event a rare moment of candor on the part of Sen. Obama,” Scott Johnson writes at www.powerlineblog.com.
“Obama all but told the plumber that his wealth should be seized in the name of equity. The encounter played out one of the old themes of democratic politics: the appeal to the many to take from the few. It’s traditionally an easy sell in democratic regimes,” Mr. Johnson said.
“Despite Obama’s implication to the contrary, however, it doesn’t represent much in the way of change. According to the most recent (2006) data released by the IRS, the top 1 percent of filers paid nearly 40 percent of all income taxes; the top 5 percent paid 60 percent of all income taxes. The bottom 50 percent paid virtually no income taxes (3 percent of all income taxes paid).
“The personal income tax, the federal government’s main source of revenue, is collected overwhelmingly from a relative handful of Americans.”
The Republican National Committee is taking aim at Barack Obama over the Illinois senator’s half-hour ad buy that will delay the start of a World Series game by 18 minutes, CNN reported Wednesday.
“It’s unfortunate that the World Series’ first pitch is being delayed for Obama’s political pitch,” RNC spokesman Alex Conant said. “Not only is Obama putting politics before principle, he’s putting it before our national pastime.”
Major League Baseball has agreed to a request from Fox to delay from 8:20 p.m. EDT to 8:38 the start time of the World Series Game 6 (if necessary) so the network can air the 30-minute Obama spot, a Fox spokesman confirms to CNN. The Illinois senator has also bought similar time on CBS and NBC, set to begin at 8 p.m.
“Fox will accommodate Senator Obama’s desire to communicate with voters in this … format,” Fox spokesman Scott Gorgin said. “We are pleased that Major League Baseball has agreed to delay the first pitch of World Series Game 6 for a few minutes in order for Fox to carry his program on October 29.”
It’s the first time a presidential candidate has bought that length of airtime on network television since Ross Perot purchased several 30-minute blocs in 1992.
“As Obama lengthens his lead, the Republicans are praying that the election becomes close enough for the Democrats to steal,” Dick Morris writes in the Hill newspaper.
“But, meanwhile, ACORN, the radical community group, is becoming an embarrassment for Obama. It is not as if its shenanigans are likely to tip the result, with the Democrats so far ahead, but as they are raided by the FBI in state after state (11 so far) they are becoming identified as the electoral equivalent of Greenpeace - extremists who will stop at nothing to get their way,” Mr. Morris said.
“What makes ACORN particularly embarrassing for Obama is that he used to be one of them. He served as general counsel for ACORN in Illinois, channeled millions to the organization from the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (whose funds he distributed), and has lately spent $800,000 of his campaign money to subsidize the group’s activities. For this emolument, ACORN has registered voters 15 times over, canvassed the graveyards for votes and prepared to commit electoral fraud on a massive scale.”
While such Obama albatrosses as William Ayres and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright can lie low until November, ACORN cannot.
“But, as Election Day approaches and early balloting proceeds in many states, ACORN’s tactics will get more and more media attention. As election officials discover ACORN frauds, the association will become more injurious to Obama, particularly when it is his own campaign that is funding many of the fraudulent activities. At the very least, the negative publicity ACORN will attract will paint Obama as a radical with questionable judgment. At the most, it might cause voters to wonder if he is not involved in electoral fraud.”
The Republican National Committee is halting presidential ads in Wisconsin and Maine, turning much of its attention to usually Republican states where Republican nominee Sen. John McCain shows signs of faltering.
The party’s independent ad operation is doubling its budget to about $10 million and focusing on crucial states such as Colorado, Missouri, Indiana and Virginia where Democratic Sen. Barack Obama has established a foothold, according to a Republican strategist familiar with presidential ad placements.
Florida and North Carolina have also been in the RNC ad mix. Pennsylvania is the only Democratic-leaning swing state apparently left in the party’s ad campaign.
The shift in advertising resources suggests that the RNC has decided to focus on defending reliably Republican-voting states against Mr. Obama’s onslaught of advertising, the Associated Press reports. Flush with money, Mr. Obama is outspending the joint efforts of the Republican Party and the McCain campaign by more than 2-to-1.
• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or email@example.com.