Friday, August 28, 2015

Public Opinion on Iran Agreement Appears to Turn Against President

Just as President Obama closes in on veto-proof Senate to achieve his top foreign policy goal of a nuclear agreement with Iran, he appears to be losing public support for the agreement. Both sides in the debate are using television advertising as the mid-September deadline for a vote approaches.

Two new polls conducted by Fox News and CNN/ORC show that a majority of the public now oppose the deal. Fox News also reports people believe Obama’s handling of it is poor.

Only 50 percent of Democrats support it according to the Fox News poll whereas 83 percent Republicans and 60 percent of independents oppose the agreement. Distrust of Iran to honor the agreement is nearly universal, with 75 percent of Americans saying Iran can’t be trusted and no major demographic category getting near 40 percent (only 37% of liberals). Also, 60 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of U.S. relations with Iran.

CNN/ORC found 56 percent of Americans calling to reject the deal. However, Democratic support had increased to 70 percent (up from 61% in July), but Republican opposition increased since July from 66 percent to 83 percent today and similar to the Fox News poll, independents opposed it (58% to 39%).
See:
Fox News: Poll: Iran deal and Clinton emails
CNN: Poll: Most Americans want Congress to reject Iran deal

Whip Count: Bennet Among One of Twelve Votes Republicans Need to Defeat Iran Agreement

The Hill newspaper’s Whip List has twelve Democrats identified as undecided on the Iran nuclear agreement as of August 26. Senator Michael Bennet is one of them.

The Senate has until September 17 to vote on the agreement. President Obama, from his summer retreat on the Vineyard, worked hard to rally support for the agreement. He assumes the vote will go against the treaty with a unanimous Republican bloc, so he needs thirteen Democrats to sustain his veto. Only two Democratic senators have declared opposition.

Fifty-four Republicans are declared against the agreement (41) or leaning against (13), including Sen. Cory Gardner, a definite opponent.

As one looks down the Democratic list of twelve undecided, it is difficult to identify many other “no” votes to join Schumer and Menendez. There are many Democratic leaders or dependable liberals. Hence it is unlikely a veto will be overridden. It is also unlikely Bennet will join a futile cause. Senator Chris Coons, a possible “no” vote, claims he thinks there could be three more in the group.

Bennet voted for the Corker-Menendez bill, which set up the review process, and was opposed by liberals, such as Move-on and DailyKos.

Republicans have a threshold to meet to even vote on the agreement. They must find six Democrats to join them to get to a 60-vote closure. It was assumed they can find those votes, although they don’t as of yet have six Democratic votes. Obama and Minority Leader Harry Reid are fighting to shut down the debate with the filibuster rule.

See:
The Hill: The Hill's Whip List: 30 Dem senators backing Iran deal
Politico: Red-state Democrats back Obama on Iran
Politico: White House pushes for Iran filibuster

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Brauchler for Senate

Although South Metro District Attorney George Brauchler hasn’t indicated he’s running for the U.S. Senate, Democrats have been assailing him regularly for weeks from his courtroom tweets (he apologized) to not winning a death penalty in the James Holmes trial (he explained his strategy). Earlier in the year, Democrats’ fire was aimed at Mike Coffman, but after he left the field in June and the Holmes trial gained in visibility, Brauchler became the target.

Valerie Richardson addresses the Brauchler boomlet and the death penalty issue in the April 20 Colorado Statesman, ‘All eyes’ on rising GOP star Brauchler as speculation swirls over his next move.
Even before the trial began, however, Brauchler had put himself on the political radar by denouncing Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper’s May 2013 decision to grant an indefinite stay of execution for Chuck E. Cheese’s killer Nathan Dunlap.
The line that resonated most with Republicans was Brauchler’s comment to the Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels: “[A]t the end of the day, no one elected him to be the state bartender. They elected him to be governor.”
Dick Wadhams and other conservatives praised him:
“I think that all eyes are on District Attorney Brauchler at this point,” said Republican strategist Dick Wadhams. “He hasn’t been DA very long, but he had one of those defining moments when he was the lead Republican voice of opposition when Gov. Hickenlooper basically punted on whether to carry out the execution of the Chuck E. Cheese killer.”
“I think across the state, Republicans were so impressed by how he [Brauchler] conducted himself, the way he framed the issue and why it was so irresponsible of the governor to do what he did,” Wadhams said.
I weighed in with the view that he is likely the frontrunner to recruit as of today and that the death penalty decision is not a great handicap. It won him state and national visibility and his decision to pursue it was in alignment with public opinion. Needless to say, Democrats and the ACLU disagree.
Those who disagree with that analysis include Ciruli, who pointed to Colorado voters surveyed support sentencing Holmes to death by 63 to 32 percent, according to a July 27 Quinnipiac University Poll.
“The fact that he wasn’t able to get the death penalty because of one juror who was sympathetic to the mental-illness argument — I just don’t think that hurts him,” Ciruli said. “I think the net benefit is that, number one, he got tremendous visibility. This is one of the nation’s top mass-murder trials, and it was nationally covered. And that accrues to him on both the death penalty and the guilty verdict.”
See:
Colorado Statesman: 'All eyes' on rising GOP star Brauchler as speculation swirls over his next move

Colorado Statesman: Death penalty for George Brauchler’s senate candidacy! shout Democrat wonks

Politicians are Dummies

Donald Trump has a general theory that is propelling his candidacy. America is being beaten at the negotiating table from China to Mexico to Iran. He’s a successful businessman and negotiator and the politicians in Washington are dummies and pinheads. The American people think he’s right. In general, politicians in Washington are not considered smart.

Most people don’t have trouble answering the question. They don’t believe (57%) “leaders in Washington” are smart. Even Democrats are divided on the issue, with nearly as many believing D.C. politicians are not smart (46%) vs. smart (44%).

See:
Fox News Poll: Iran deal and Clinton emails

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Biden Handicap: Four More Years

Vice President Joe Biden has many handicaps in a race for the Democratic nomination against Hillary Clinton (see The Buzz: Biden for President Only if Clinton Catches on Fire, July 23), but the primary argument in his favor is electability. If the Clinton e-mail slide continues, is Biden the Democrats only safe choice?

Vice President Joe Biden
Being the vice president is Biden’s major asset, but unfortunately, it is also his major handicap. As most observers have pointed out, extending a party’s control of the White House beyond two presidential terms has been historically difficult (Eisenhower, Kennedy/Johnson, Nixon/Ford, Clinton; an exception, Reagan/Bush).

Confirming that observation, but not overwhelmingly, is the latest Fox News poll that shows that a majority of the public believes it would be a “bad thing” for the country to continue Barack Obama’s policies.

Democrats and Republicans are polarized on the issue, although 20 percent of Democrats are ready for a change as are 52 percent of independents.

McConnell Comes to Denver Looking for a Senate Candidate

Rumor has it, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was in Denver recently, no doubt, trying to recruit a Republican candidate who could help save his job. As of today, it is assumed Republicans will lose some seats of their Senate majority. If Democrats win four seats and the presidency, Chuck Schumer, could be the new majority leader (they need 5 seats if they don’t win presidency).

There are only two seats the Republicans believe they have a chance to win: Harry Reid’s open Nevada seat and Michael Bennet’s.

Bennet appears well-positioned to survive his 2016 re-election. Turnout will be up, and President Obama won the state twice in 2008 and 2012 with a healthy majority. In the 2008 election, recently defeated Mark Udall won with a 240,000 vote difference, slightly larger than Obama’s win over Senator John McCain.

Bennet is a prodigious fundraiser and ran a vigorous, technically smart campaign to hang onto a 29,000 vote victory in the 2010 Republican off-year election sweep (Republicans retook the House, but missed the Senate mostly due to fringe candidates).

But Bennet does have two problems that are likely to put Colorado in play if Republicans can find a candidate.

Senate races are closely tied to presidential contests, and Hillary Clinton looks very vulnerable today, especially in Colorado. And secondly, the Trump factor. Substantial swaths of the electorate are passionately unhappy with Washington and its political class. And Senator Bennet, for all his effort to localize his race and offer reaching across the isle rhetoric and solutions, is a leading member of the D.C. establishment.

Hillary Clinton’s Five Months E-mail Struggle

It has been five months of political pummeling, starting when Hillary Clinton first addressed the e-mail controversy at the UN press conference on March 10 until August 11 when she turned over her personal e-mail server and thumb drives with copies of e-mails.

Clinton has been in response mode for weeks, and the problem became even more aggravated on August 18 at a press conference when asked about servers being wiped clean, she said “with a cloth or something?” in a flippant attempt to highlight her lack of knowledge of servers and removing data.

Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Fifty-eight percent of the public and two-thirds of independent voters believe she is lying about having classified material on her personal server. Not surprising, 87 percent of Republicans believe she lied and 27 percent of Democrats. A majority of women (51%) believe she lied and two-thirds of men (66%). Numerous polls have shown the decline of her trust and favorability ratings.