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Well, cancel one cup of popcorn (get the other gallon of kernels fired up, though):

NYTimes is reporting tonight that Romney caved, er,  reached a compromise with the tea-activists on the great power grab of 2012 issue.  

Sayeth the Times:

Lawyers for Mr. Romney last week proposed rules that would give the Republican nominee the power to control who gets picked to be delegates to the next national party convention.
But those threats of mutiny from the Texas delegation appeared to have cowed the Romney camp.
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Should we be hoping for a third-party candidacy (from the Tea-Party right) or against it?

The conventional wisdom usually tells us that a third party (if operating from the fringers of your opposition) can peel off enough votes from the opposition to guarantee the election for your side.

Obviously, it's too early to start counting chickens . . . but this front-page diary got me in a speculatin' mood.  @Meteor Blades points out that GOP hopes for a not-Romney savior are now all but dead (barring a brokered convention, which also seems highly unlikely given Romney's war chest and Newt's shortage of crazies in places like New York, California, and Illinois).  Newt's demise may lead to a great weeping and gnashing of teeth among the Tea Party crowd, and, gosh darn it, maybe even a Palin run on a Tea Party ticket.

But wouldn't we rather see that crowd get frustrated and sit this one out?  If the Mitt haters don't get engaged, and don't bother showing up, Obama should be in pretty good shape anyway.  Why would we want to see a third party/anti-Romney ticket motivate a bunch of people to the polls whose members are likely to vote for Republicans downticket?

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Here's the quick version:  I teach first-year writing, and I'm about to lead my students on a journey down the path of Rogerian argument--you know, where your audience vehemently disagrees with your main claim, and you have to strategize ways to build common ground and incrementally move them in your direction . . .

We've had a few brief heated discussions of the AZ immigration law, and I thought it would be a great topic to use as a sample issue.  The problem:  I need to provide them with intelligent, coherent representations of both sides (or all sides?) of the issue, and my stomach turns at the thought of wasting time poking through the conservative blogs and websites.  So why not bleg for the answer?  If I were on twitter, I'd twequest help . . . . . ok, I'll stop that.  Anyway, who can direct me to the most thoughtful, analytical writing they've seen on this issue?  Don't make me work for a living!

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Quite predictably, John McCain has been running ads to recruit Hillary Clinton fans over to his side.  I don't know how effective this will be for him, but it merits a response, especially with the pick of Palin as VP, which seems like a real (cynical) attempt to get disaffected women over to McCain's side.

Here's the kind of advertising response that might work for Obama (or better yet, for state parties or 527s), especially in fairly conservative districts.   The point here is mainly to produce a backlash for McCain's use of Hillary's words; perhaps something that may make his camp think again."

[note:  this is off the top of my head; some of the claims I make about Clinton's record may not be true exactly, but you all can think of better ones anyway]

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By now, you've probably heard that McCain's campaign was sued by Jackson Browne for using, sans permission, Browne's classic "Running on Empty" in campaign ads in Ohio.  The ads were apparently targeted at Obama's stance on offshore drilling.  

What's interesting to me is that McCain is stepping it, metaphorically.  Someone who bills his campaign as the "straight talk express" is in dangerous territory here.  It suggests to me a nice campaign for Obama that would serve to define McCain.  It also suggests to me a criterion for VP that I haven't seen tendered explicitly, but looks to me more like a vital quality that should eliminate a few candidates (Bayh, Kaine) and open up the door for others (Schweitzer, Napolitano).

Poll

Someone like . . .

100%8 votes

| 8 votes | Vote | Results

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I clicked on a headline at RCP and landed on this USA Today story:  "New Swing States Pop up in '08."  

Great, I thought, I have been thinking a lot about how the electoral map will change this year, given Republican scandals, an unpopular president, the ways that demographics are favoring the Dem party, the effect of these two somewhat unique candidates on the blue/red palette we're used to looking at.  The occasional "McCain looking at electoral landslide" article nonwithstanding, my impression has been that McCain has a very small playing field, in terms of expanding into blue states, while 2008 will put anywhere from 5-12 "red" states realistically into play for Obama.

But that headline seemed pretty neutral: Was I wrong about the opportunity this election will be for the Dems? Is McCain a real threat to appeal to independents, upsetting the familiar Dem coalition from Washington to Michigan to Maine?  

Poll

Which swing is most likely in '08?

2%2 votes
42%30 votes
1%1 votes
52%37 votes
1%1 votes

| 71 votes | Vote | Results

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"For most Democrats, winning this election in November is vital, and, like me, they will happily vote for either you or [the other Senator].  Our concern is that this primary may end up in a brokered convention, where the candidate may be chosen not by a democratic popular vote, but by backstage wrangling and deal-making.  Such an outcome would be bad all the way around for the Democratic party, so, would you join Sen.[    ] and agree that the candidate with fewer elected delegates step down as soon as it becomes apparent who that will be?

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Thu Dec 06, 2007 at 11:29 AM PST

Merry Pranskter opportunity in MA

by sophist

Over at Salon, Glenn Greenwald notes that the College Republicans at UMass Amherst are planing  "Give War a Chance" rally, presumably with giant Rumsfield and Bush puppets and a feel-good rush as strapping, clean-cut studs sit around a glowing campfire listening to Jonah Goldberg wax eloquent about the wonders of head traumas, suicide bombers, and inadequate armor:

The College Republicans at the University of Massachusetts are hosting an event called "All I am Saying is Give War a Chance." It is devoted to the "costs, necessities, consequences, and benefits of war." The speaker is grizzled warrior Jonah Goldberg. Is there anything more outright ludicrous than a bunch of combat-avoiding, prime-fighting-age College Republicans and Jonah Goldberg sitting around in Amherst chatting with each other about the Glories and "benefits of war"?

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The politico has the story here:

http://www.politico.com/...

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will open a website by Monday in an effort to round up the $30 million in pledges that he says would be his ticket to entering the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

Apparently, election rules dictate that he cannot accept actual donations at this point (until announcing, presumably); but what the heck is a "pledge"?  

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