Georgia Is Not In Play for Obama

Short of the Devil Coming Down, Georgia Is Not In Play

Barack Obama is making hay out of a recent Insider Advantage Poll showing Libertarian candidate Bob Barr putting Georgia in play for Obama.  Make no mistake about it, Georgia is not in play.

Bob Barr has not been on the ballot in Georgia since 2002, when he lost to Congressman John Linder.  Likewise, Insider Advantage as a notorious habit of overstating libertarian strength.  In the 2006 gubernatorial race between Sonny Perdue and Mark Taylor, Insider Advantage released a poll late in the race showing Sonny Perdue under 50% with a very strong showing for the Libertarian candidate for governor.  Earlier in the year, the same polling firm showed a massive amount of undecided voters in Cynthia McKinney’s race against  Hank Johnson.  In neither case did Insider Advantage’s polling results live up to the actual outcome.  In fact, pulling a Zogby, Insider Advantage came out with a poll just before the election that again put it in line with other polling — showing Governor Sonny Perdue would easily win re-election, which he went on to do. Likewise, Hank Johnson easily beat Cynthia McKinney.

Of all the major polling firms that have checked the pulse in Georgia, only Insider Advantage has shown a close race.  The other firms, Rasmussen, Strategic Vision, and SurveyUSA, all show McCain with a double digit lead.

Of course, that is not the only reason Georgia is in play.  Though the number of black citizens in the state has slowly crept above 30% in the past year, which usually brings a  state into competition, across the state the evidence is that the Democrats are in disarray with a poor ground organization.  The Republicans are heavily funded, well organized, with a clear turn out strategy for November — the exact opposite of the Democratic Party of Georgia where internal feuding with the State Party Chairwoman has largely displaced any hoped for reorganization of the party.

Obama’s declaration that Georgia is in play has more to do with taking the spotlight off states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Florida, where he is going to have trouble.

GOP Leadership Hounds Hensarling For K Street

Superficially it was a random National Journal story by Christian Bourge — just another in a long line of inside baseball stories from Capitol Hill highlighting an internal squabble.  But digging deeper, Mr. Bourge’s article “Critics: Hensarling Puts Himself First,” is another sign of just how far removed from reality the House Republican Leadership has become.

The article quotes an anonymous “senior GOP aide”, a “top GOP fundraiser,” a “top aide to one RSC member,” and a “senior GOP leadership aide.”  Each of these individuals obliges the reporter with insulting remarks about Congressman Hensarling, who leads the conservative Republican Study Committee.

Last week, after the article hit, I called around to a dozen different offices on Capitol Hill and every congressional staffer I talked to pointed their finger in one direction: Congressman John Boehner’s office.  In fact, one staffer said he was tipped off to the story before it broke by a staffer close to Mr. Boehner’s office.

Michael Steel with Congressman Boehner’s office, denies that his office was responsible for the hit piece.  He told me some people probably saw “senior GOP leadership aide” in the article and just assumed it was from Congressman Boehner’s office.  Neither Congressman Cantor’s office nor Congressman Blunt’s office would speak on the record about the matter, with one staffer telling me on background the article was not worthy of any comment or additional exposure.

One of the most striking quotes in the article comes from a top GOP fundraiser who says “K Street is pissed off about this earmark decision,” referring to Congressman Hensarling’s push to get the House Republicans to unilaterally and immediately scrap earmarks.  That  push is not sitting well with lobbyists who want our money and with some in the House GOP who want to give out our money in exchange for campaign cash.

Last week, Congressman Hensarling expressed his disappointment in the House GOP’s refusal to take a more aggressive stance on earmarks after Congressman Boehner and the House Republican Caucus took a position that publicly appeared aggressive, but the Republican Study Committee declared the step fell short.

It should come as no surprise then that the GOP leadership would lash out at Congressman Hensarling.  What should come as a surprise is just how petty the criticism is — claiming Hensarling, who has raised millions of dollars for Republican re-election efforts, would be in it for himself.  Anyone who knows Jeb Hensarling knows that is the furthest from the truth and is probably more reflective of those who chose to attack him anonymously.

In fact, by firing at Jeb Hensarling, the leadership staffers admit that they view Hensarling as a threat to their entrenched power and lack of ideas.  It is an admission against interests we should all take note of.  And after the upcoming November elections, a number of these staffers will be cueing up for new jobs.