Thursday, March 27, 2008

And the other shoe has now fallen....

Democrats in the state legislature are now out with their proposed budget, patting themselves on the back for coming in with a spending plan $110 million lower than what Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell put on the table in February when the legislative session opened.

The governor isn't impressed and immediately called it a plan she cannot support.

So now the negotiations start.

Negotiating the state budget last year didn't go well, and wasn't completed by the time the session's official end came. This year's session is schedule to conclude on May 7. That gives lawmakers and the governor a full month to come to a compromise. The one difference this year, however, is that it's an election year for the legislature....and it's doubtful they'll want to spend a lot of time in Hartford this summer trying to reach an agreement...and certainly want to avoid any protracted battles that might come back to hurt them during the fall campaign.

On another note, I'm off to South Carolina for a few days -- a family thing, not business. I'll be back Tuesday.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Super delegates...

The debate over the role of super delegates continues to top the discussion surrounding the Democratic nomination.

Bottom line, if super delegates who have committed to either Obama or Clinton hold firm, there probably are not enough remaining uncommitted super delegates to actually tip the scale at this point to either candidate. It would probably take every last uncommitted super delegate to unanimously line up behind one and that might not be enough without any resolution to the Florida/Michigan mess. (Splitting those two state delegations between Obama and Clinton doesn't help anyone).

Lost in all of this is the reason why super delegates exist in the first place.

The Democratic Party "created" the super delegates after the 1976 election when a little known Georgia governor by the name of Jimmy Carter came out of nowhere and won the nomination -- that following an even lesser known South Dakota senator by the name of George McGovern won the party's nod four years earlier. Neither McGovern nor Carter where the favorites at the beginning of the presidential races -- and certainly not the "choice" of party leaders. avoid having non-establishment candidates continue to emerge and take over the party, party leaders created the super delegates -- the so-call primary police to ensure the will of the party was the top priority.

But it never became an issue super delegates became this elite group of Democratic elected officials and party insiders who essentially got a free ride to the convention and all the parties.'s time for them to do what they were initially created to do -- and they can't seem to figure that out, or how to go about doing it.

As divisive as Obama and Clinton have been in jeopardizing the Democrats chances of actually winning in November, what happens with the super delegates later this summer could become the nail in the coffin.

Friday, March 21, 2008

More bad news for Clinton...

New Mexico Bill Richardson has endorsed Barack Obama.

That's not good news for Clinton who relied heavily on the Hispanic vote in California and Texas.

And...take this with a grain of salt....there's "talk" that former Sen. John Edwards is holding on to his 25 pledged delegates and is considering throwing his support behind Al Gore, if Gore steps forward as an alternative to the Democrats. The scenario supposedly is, Gore steps in if the race can't decide between Obama and Clinton, offers Obama the number two spot on the ticket as his runing mate, and Clinton gets offered the Majority Leader post in the Senate.

A wild week indeed...

Barack Obams's fast-track campaign to the Democratic nomination has certainly been slowed by the controversy over remarks made by his pastor, the Rev. Wright. His speech on race relations was well done, but apparently not enough to stem the controversy. And his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton is using it as the "new" base argument to support her claim among the super delegates that she is the most "electiable."

However, Clinton has her own problems. First, it looks like re-votes in Michigan and Florida will not happen and those two state delegations will be divided among her and Obama. (That doesn't help in her effort to catch up to his pledged delegate count.) The only way she can do that is by convincing the super delegates that Obama can't win in November, and the only way she does that isby crushing him in the Pennsylvania primary next month.

Second, she released her "papers" of her time as First Lady, and they don't seem to provide sufficient support of her "experience" claim. On the contrary, they seem to bring up bad memories for Democrats of those wonderful Clinton years. One might say those papers show she has about as much "experience" as Obama.

A year ago, there were 10 Democrats in the race for the nomination -- with pretty unanimous agreement that whoever won the race would most likely be the next president. After all, how could a Democrat lose considering the mess we have now under the current administration. How indeed?

But the Democrats sure do appear to be doing their very best in finding a way to do just that.

I'd be tempted to say....can you say President McCain....but given how this race has taken so many twists and turns, who knows what happens next.

Have a glorious Easter....

And I'll try harder to be more attentive to the blog next week.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


It's been hectic these past few days, and not likely to let up the next week or so.

But a lot has been happening....

Barack Obama's speech, I thought, was done very well. I think he did a good job of putting hte issue on the table. But he also may have drawn even more attention to his relationship with Rev. Wright, which may not bode well in his efforts to win the Democratic nomination. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

In Hartford, ,efforts to implement a tougher three-strikes-and-your -out law on the books failed.

And State Rep. Chris Caruso continues his one-man campaign against former Gov. John Rowland.

I'd love to hear what you think of those items, or any other items.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Legislative issues...

A couple of interesting items coming up next week in Hartford.

On Wednesday, it's expected that the GAE Committee will approve a bill that would give the state the authority to revoke a public official's pension if convicted of a crime. It has a 10-year limiton how far back the state can go, and would only apply to felony convictions directly related to the public officials' official duties. The loop hole, of course, is the plea bargain that might enable some to negotiate a deal so that the "conviction" is on a lesser charge, thus maintaining eligibility for the pension.

On Monday, the Judiciary Committee is taking up a bill that would extend civil union rights to others who have a legal civil union from other states.

Have a good weekend....

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Florida and Michigan mess

it appears some progress is being made to resolve the Democrats problem of seating the delegations from Florida and Michigan. Michigan officials have apparently agreed to conduct a new primary -- state-run but party financed. However, the issue of using mail-in ballots is not yet off the table, and that could be a stumbling block in getting the Obama campaign to sign on.

In Florida, the mail-in option seems to be the favoite choice of a new vote -- again with the same problem with the Obama camp.

It's anticipated the new votes will most likely be held in June, after the current schedule is over.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Big versus little states...

Middle Aged Lunatic posted a reply to yesterday's post took offense to the reference of the "more importantbig states" that Hillary Clinton is using as her argument over Barack Obama's argument that he's won more states during the primaries. In expressing his view, he asked why the votes in the bigger states are more important than the rest in terms of Obama receiving a larger tally of both popular votes and pledged delegates.

Simple math is the answer. We don't elect presidents by popular vote. The 2000 election showed us that. We elect presidents by the Electoral College votes....and the "bigger" states have the larger Electoral College votes. You don't even have to win a majority of the states in order to get elected president....just the big ones.

It may be unfair to some, but the reality is, the bigger states count for more....and that's the argument that Clinton is trying to make.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Far fetched...maybe, maybe not....

Just a thought that raced into my mind while trying to figure out exactly how the Democrats would solve this problem of who to give the nomination to...

Suppose, if after all the primary contests are over (including the re-voting in Michigan and Florida) and there is still no clear cut nominee. Obama would have still won more states, more popular votes and have more pledged delegates while Hillary has won all the big, important states and have more super delegates on her side....what then?

Democrats try and reach some compromise....but it also fails as both campaigns drawlines in the sand and say they want to take it to the convention floor.

The first round is held, and neither Obama nor Clinton get the necessary votes to win the nomination....and a second vote is now needed. But this time....all those pledged delegates are no longer "pledged" and obligated to vote for the candidate that got them there....

And then....a motion comes from the floor to nominate Al Gore for president.

I wonder how the voting at the convention might go at that point....

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Now that the dust has settled....

It appears Hillary Clinton's victories in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island resulteed in a net gain of 12 pledged delegates for her. The numbers are hard to pin down, but the best accounting appears to suggest Barack Obama has 1,562 delegates to her 1,461 (including super delegates that have committed to each of them) - a 101 difference. There are still 350 uncommitted super delegates.

You need 2,025 to win the nomination.

And you have to give Clinton credit. She is a fighter and Tuesday's primaries showed that she has no intention of not going down without a fight.

Tuesday was kind of like Ground Hog Day. Just when you thought spring had arrived, we find outselves facing six more weeks of winter. Pennsylvania is the next big test on April 22.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

It's Big D Day...

That's D in terms of decision, not Dallas. But Dallas is the place to be watching along with Dayton as Texas and Ohio voters go to the polls in the Democratic primary.

For weeks now the word is that Clinton needs convincing victories in both states. (Obama is expected to take vermont easily and appears it could even take Rhode Island.) But it's the two big states that really matter.

The latest word -- according to the pundits close to her campaign -- is that if she wins the popular vote in both states (no matter how the delegate split goes) she's staying in the race.

In the other campaign -- the pundits are saying -- Obama is sitting on 50 super delegates who are ready to come out and publicly endorse him -- and he's holding back on announcing a record setting fundraising effort in Febrruary. The obvious strategy there is to wait until the delegate tally is finalized, and then make those annoucements to put pressure on Clinton to get out of the way.

But we may not know exactly how well either candidate does today in picking up delegates. There are winter storms battering Ohio, and at least one county has been given a 10-day extension for voters to cast ballots. And in Texas, it's a complicated process of an open primary AND caucus voting. It could be a day or two before the dust settles there.

Speaking of open caucuses -- all four contests today are open -- Republican voters who don't have much of contest to get them excited could decide to vote Democratic today. If that happens, it's really hard to try and figure out how that might affect things.