Today’s Best Football Analogy to Politics: Foley Affair Like an Interception Returned For a Touchdown

We might disagree with their positions, but today’s Evans-Novak Political Report does a great job of summing up where we stand in football terms. He notes that the Foley scandal has reversed the improvements Republicans made in the polls last month:

It must be emphasized that a buildup of Republican momentum last month was not just a positive sign for the GOP, but a necessary trend for them to maintain control of the House — and even the Senate. Republicans were counting on a huge fourth quarter comeback that included three unanswered touchdowns, in order to narrowly win the game in the final seconds.

The Foley Affair is like an interception returned for a touchdown on the second drive of that comeback. Team GOP now finds itself three scores behind all over again, this time with only 12 minutes to go. The fans are demoralized. Victory (which this year would simply be to keep both houses of Congress) seems like an almost impossible feat at this point, even if the most loyal fans refuse to give up.

Novak partially blames the media coverage (standard conservative line for virtually anything) but does admit that Republican leaders handled this poorly. Recognizing that a lot can still change, Novak sees the Democrats as picking up enough House seats to take control but currently predicts a Democratic pick up of only four in the Senate. He also predicts Democrats will pick up five Governor’s seats, and warns that the significance of this for the 2008 Presidential race is being overlooked.

Debunking DeVos in The Second Debate

The Truth Squad on the distortions from Dick DeVos in last night’s debate:

“I believe in public education. The people will not see a stronger advocate for public education than me.” But Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy believe in taking public tax dollars for private education which drains money from public schools. Dick and Betsy founded All Children Matter, a national organization pushing for vouchers throughout the country. It has been widely reported that the pro-voucher group is lobbying for vouchers in Florida, Louisiana, Ohio, Missouri, Virginia, Wisconsin and Utah. There’s a reason why the Grand Rapids Press called the couple “the face of the voucher movement.” The Detroit News reported Betsy DeVos contributed $200,000 to All Children Matter just this past April. Dick and Betsy also led the unsuccessful 2000 campaign for school vouchers, spending some $10 million. And don’t forget, on December 2, 2002, DeVos made his position clear while speaking to the Heritage Foundation: “But when the time comes, we will bring the fight back to Michigan again and do everything we can there.”

DeVos said Governor Jennifer Granholm cut funding for public education. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Under Governor Granholm’s leadership, state funding for K-12 public education is at an all-time high of $7,085 per pupil. Dick DeVos wants you to believe the Governor isn’t doing enough to educate our kids, but Governor Granholm is a champion of public education. She is revolutionizing early childhood education programs to get kids ready for school. She instituted tough new curriculum standards for our kids to give them the tools they need to get 21st Century jobs, and she’s fighting to give every child in Michigan access to a $4,000 scholarship for college, a plan that DeVos’ Republican friends in the Legislature are blocking. DeVos, on the other hand, financed a ballot initiative to create a risky school voucher scheme that would have drained money from public schools and vowed to revisit the issue later.

DeVos said that a meeting was already set up with the Big Three CEOs and President Bush. It’s not true. The Associated Press reported on September 6, 2006, “A summit between President Bush and the heads of the Big Three automakers has been pushed back until after the November election, despite an expected visit to the state by Bush this week and increasing pressure from critics who say the White House is ignoring the needs of the struggling industry.” DeVos was wrong. In fact, his party said: “The president is meeting with the Big Three after the election,” Anderson said. “The president of the United States is not going to bow to political pressure from Gov. Granholm.” (Sarah Anderson, Michigan Republican Party).


Voters Losing Interest In Values in Ohio

The Washington Post reports that “values” have declined as an issue in Ohio. Of course it is the conservative values of the religious right which voters are losing interest in:

Two years ago, Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell was a driving force in the triumphant campaign for a state constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriage. That helped cause a surge in turnout of “values voters,” who helped deliver this pivotal state to President Bush’s successful reelection effort.

As the Republican candidate for governor, Blackwell has been counting on values voters to do for him this year what they did for the party in 2004. But the culture wars are being eclipsed as a voting issue by economic worries and Republican scandals that have altered the political dynamic here in striking ways. Several polls find Blackwell trailing his Democratic opponent, five-term Rep. Ted Strickland, by double digits with less than four weeks to go until the Nov. 7 midterm elections…

“What I call the bread-and-butter issues probably are more prominently on the minds of people today than two years ago,” Strickland said in an interview. “I think a lot of Ohioans are feeling economically insecure. Consequently, they are less willing to be distracted by issues that don’t involve the economic security of their families.”

His observation is borne out by a recent survey by the University of Cincinnati’s Ohio Poll, which found that 63 percent of likely voters in the state are basing their choice of candidates on the “issues” rather than “character.” The poll found that seven in 10 Strickland supporters were most concerned about “issues,” including the economy and education; just over half of Blackwell supporters felt that way.

Ohio voters are finally figuring out that it is more important whether they have a job, health care, and good schools than it is to worry about whether two guys might get married.

Hopefully voters don’t lose all interest in values, but instead substitue liberal values of liberty, support for reason over superstition, and limiting the powers of the state over the authoritarian values of the religious right and the current Republicans.

A Katrina Homeland Security Effort

The incompetence of the Bush Administration has been remarkable, from their repeated failures to listen to warnings about al Qaeda before 9/11 to their handling of Katrina. The Washington Post reveals yet another example:

Five years after Arab terrorists attacked the United States, only 33 FBI agents have even a limited proficiency in Arabic, and none of them work in the sections of the bureau that coordinate investigations of international terrorism, according to new FBI statistics.

Counting agents who know only a handful of Arabic words — including those who scored zero on a standard proficiency test — just 1 percent of the FBI’s 12,000 agents have any familiarity with the language, the statistics show.

Of course this wouldn’t matter to an Administration which is more interested in using the threat of terrorism to play politics than is interested in keeping the country safe.

Schweitzer Attacked For Not Believing Earth Only 4000 Years Old

If anyone doubts that this country is divided between the forces of reason and superstition (from AP):

A Republican state lawmaker is criticizing Gov. Brian Schweitzer for comments he made to a newspaper here about the lawmaker‘s belief that the planet is not millions of years old.

Rep. Roger Koopman, R-Bozeman, called Schweitzer‘s statement ”incredibly bigoted.”

Speaking to a crowd of school children, parents and teachers in Bozeman on Friday about global warming, Schweitzer asked how many in the crowd thought the Earth was hundreds of millions of years old. Most of the children in the audience raised their hands.

He then asked how many believed the planet was less than a million years old. At least two people, including Koopman, who was in the crowd, raised their hands.

During an interview later with the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Schweitzer noted Koopman‘s response. He said some people believe the planet is only 4,000 to 6,000 years old, despite geological evidence to the contrary.

Schweitzer said he needs support from a state Legislature that will help move Montana‘s agenda forward, ”not people who think the Earth is 4,000 years old.”

Koopman called the comments insulting.

”He insulted many Christian people and other people of faith that arrived at that position other than the way I arrived at it,” he said.

Schweitzer did not immediately return telephone calls seeking comment Sunday or Monday.

Anti-scientific feelings from the religious right? Koopman says he is into scientific investigations:

Koopman said his belief in the Earth‘s age is not based on his faith, but on his scientific investigations.

I’d love to see those “scientific investigations.” Sounds like the kind of “science” which comes out of the Discovery Institute. Speaking of the Discovery Institute:

Koopman had initially planned to introduce a bill during the 2005 Legislature allowing the teaching of the controversial ”intelligent design” theory, and other alternatives to evolution, in public schools. He never pursued the measure and said he has no plans to introduce a similar bill in the next session if re-elected.