Thursday, October 29, 2009
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the Austin-American Statesman: Cheney will stump with Hutchison

Cheney will join Hutchison in Houston on Nov. 17 for a public event in front of the media and then help her raise money at a private campaign fundraiser.

While Cheney isn’t exactly the most popular politician in the United States, one of the places he likely is still of some positive significance is with the Republican base in Texas and, at the moment, that is the group that Hutichison needs to influence.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the Iowa Republican: Palin Headed to Iowa? has learned that former Alaska Governor and Vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin could be the featured speaker for the Iowa Family Policy Center’s fall fundraiser in Des Moines on November 21. The appearance would be Palin’s first in Iowa since the 2008 campaign and would come just four days after her book, “Going Rogue: An American Life” hits bookstores.

If anything, such a trip at such a time would only enhance the PR surrounding the book. A trip to Iowa would also lend credence to the notion that she is mulling a presidential run.

The operative question here, however, is why the story is only that she “could” be speaking?

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via CNN’s Political Ticker: CNN Poll: 7 in 10 say Palin not qualified to be president

Seventy-one percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday morning believe the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee is not qualified to be president, with 29 percent saying she does have the credentials to serve in the White House. Republicans appear split, with 52 percent saying she’s qualified and 47 percent disagreeing with that view.

The poll indicates that about half of the country, 51 percent, has an unfavorable view of Palin, with 42 percent seeing her in a positive light.

None of this should be especially surprising. I continue to think, however, that Palin has presidential aspirations and will not be deterred by such numbers. After all, CNN sponsored the poll, so it must be biased, right?

Or, perhaps, she will focus solely on the positive numbers:

Nearly two-thirds of those questioned say Palin’s not a typical politician, and feel she’s a good role model for women. Fifty-six percent add that Palin cares about people, and a similar amount think she’s honest and trustworthy.

Info on the poll itself:

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted October 16-18, with 1,038 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for all respondents and plus or minus 4.5 percentage points for questions asked only of Republicans.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC: Germany’s Merkel begins new term

Mrs Merkel was voted in by 323 MPs with 285 against the nomination and four abstaining.

And, unlike her previous stint as Chancellor, this one starts with her party more in the driver’s seat of governing coalition than was the case in the grand coalition her party formed with the SPD (Social Democratic Party).

Merkel’s CDU/CSU (Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union) was able to form the current government with the FD (Free Democrats).

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By Steven L. Taylor

The BBC reports: Car bomb kills scores in Peshawar

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009
By Steven L. Taylor

So reports the BBC, which notes that Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva announced that the signing could take place as early as this Friday.

More from El TiempoAcuerdo militar entre E.U. y Colombia se firmará esta semana, reveló Gabriel Silva.

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By Steven L. Taylor

RCP reports that “Neighborhood Research polled the district for Minuteman PAC, the political arm of the Minuteman Movement” (which has endorsed Hoffman) with the following results:

Hoffman 34
Owens 29
Scozzafava 14
Und 23

Both this one and the Club for Growth poll I noted yesterday shows a similar number of undecideds which means we really have no idea who is ahead at the moment.

Like the CfG poll, the sample size was small (in this case, 366), but the MOE was not reported (nor was there a link to a full report).

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By Steven L. Taylor

Byron York writes in the Washington ExaminerBiden’s popularity plunges; lower than Cheney’s

Vice President Joe Biden’s favorable rating has fallen to 42 percent in a new Gallup poll, down from a high of 59 percent just after last year’s election. Biden’s unfavorable rating in the new poll is 40 percent, up from 29 percent last November. (Eighteen percent of those surveyed say they have no opinion of Biden.)

Biden’s average favorable rating during his time in office so far is 45 percent — well below the average 65 percent favorable rating for Vice President Dick Cheney during Cheney’s first year in office.

Four immediate thoughts:

1)  The headline is misleading, as it suggests a contemporaneous comparison.

2)  At this same point in Bush-Cheney administration we had just experienced 9/11 and there was a substantial rally-around-the-flag effect going on, so year-to-year comparisons make no sense.

3)  Biden is a less significance figure in the Obama administration than Cheney was in the Bush administration.  Having said that, however, we are talking veeps here, so I have to wonder about the overall relevance of said numbers.

4)  My guess is that after his term is over (be it 4 or 8 years), Biden will leave office more popular than was Cheney when he left simply because Biden is simply not as controversial a figure as Cheney (although, granted, things could change, but it seems unlikely).

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the NYTU.S. Sending Envoys to Try to End Crisis in Honduras

This will be the first time since the coup that the Obama administration has taken a leading role in pressuring the leaders of the de facto government to restore democratic order in Honduras. The stepped-up pressure comes after months of apparently fruitless talks about whether Mr. Zelaya will be returned to power.

If anything this strikes me as too little, too late.  The coup took place about three months ago and there is roughly a month until the scheduled elections and so one has to wonder as the why the US is only deciding to get directly involved now.  Or, at least, why they didn’t get involved earlier.

Some of the politics of the situation:

The coup in Honduras has threatened to become a sore point between the Obama administration and the rest of Latin America, where an increasing number of leaders have accused the United States of failing to put sufficient pressure on the de facto government to force it to compromise and stop its repression of journalists, human rights activists and pro-Zelaya demonstrators.

The issue has also created political headaches for President Obama in Congress, where a few Republicans have held up key State Department appointments as a way of pressuring the administration to reverse its condemnation of the coup. The Republican group, led by Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, has said Mr. Zelaya’s opponents had no choice but to oust him because he had tried to illegally extend his time in power.

In regards to the last sentence, may I yet again point out that the plebiscite was not about extending his term (see here)?  I concur that Zelaya’s actions warranted legal action because proceeding with the plebiscite (as he appeared set to do) would have contravened a court order.  However, the legal justifications for acting against the plebiscite hardly justifies the coup and it is amazing how difficult this appears to be for so many to understand.  It is especially amazing (although, ultimately, not surprising)  that members of the US Congress are using the events to grandstand and to hold up appointments over it.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC:  Al-Qaeda group claims Iraq blasts.

The Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella organisation of radical Sunni militants, said it had targeted "the ministry of oppression, known as the ministry of justice, and the Baghdad provincial assembly".

The BBC reports that the group is affiliated with the al Qaeda network, although it is worth underscoring that the group appears to be of a domestic nature.

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