Saturday, October 27, 2012

Rex Sinquefield's Radical Agenda For Missouri, and the St. Louis Democrats Who Will Help Him

The Wall Street Journal has a new story out about Rex Sinquefield, and it's a doozy. Among the revelations: Rex was in New York City recently hanging with his buddy Karl Rove:
Liberals who suspect that wealthy businessmen and political masterminds are colluding to hijack democracy might have fainted had they walked into the St. Regis hotel's lobby restaurant in New York the other day. There was Rex Sinquefield, a deep-pocketed St. Louis, Mo., native and big-time political donor, sitting across from the Republican Rasputin himself, Karl Rove. The not-so-vast right-wing conspiracy in plain public view.
In fact, Rex is apparently a major funder of Roves' dishonest "dark money" smear advertisements that are trampling democracy:
He won't say how much money he has donated to political causes in general, or specifically to Mr. Rove and his Super PAC, American Crossroads, but it's safe to say it's more than a pittance.
Mr. "libertarian" Rex is rooting for Todd Akin in the Missouri Senate race:
In this year's U.S. Senate race, Mr. Sinquefield's support for Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman wasn't enough to defeat Todd Akin in the GOP primary. But he's still quietly hoping Mr. Akin wins, despite the candidate's comments about "legitimate rape" and pregnancy, which Mr. Sinquefield calls "crazy." He hardly relishes taking Mr. Akin's side, and lapses into prayerful French asking for forgiveness ("Pardonnez moi, mon dieu")...
Oh, and just like he was rooting for St. Louis public schools to fail, he's rooting for Kansas to take Missouri jobs. Did I say "rooting for?" I meant he's bankrolling Kansas initiatives to take Missouri jobs:
This year he spent more than $2 million collecting signatures to eliminate the state's corporate and personal income taxes and replace them with a sales tax capped at 7%. Mr. Sinquefield decided to postpone the initiative until next year because it wasn't polling well. Then again, he says, smiling, he may not need to put the initiative on the ballot in 2013 after all—because of some unexpected help from Missouri's next-door neighbor. Earlier this year, Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law a significant tax cut, reducing the Kansas income-tax rate to 4.9% from 6.45% and eliminating taxes on 190,000 small businesses. "Unbelievably brilliant," Mr. Sinquefield says of the Kansas approach. He expects that businesses, especially S corporations and limited liability companies, will flock across the border. "You go into Kansas City and you stand on State Line Road, right in the heart of the metro area," he says, and watch businesses jump from the Missouri side to Kansas. "The doctors are going to move. The lawyers are going to move. It will be a little harder for manufacturing to move, but they'll move too. There will be a cloud of dust at the Missouri-Kansas border." No surprise: Mr. Sinquefield bankrolled—he won't say how much—a group called Kansans for No Income Tax that helped get the law passed.
And even worse is that Rex is planning to spend bucketloads of money in 2014 demonizing public school teachers in a bid to get rid of "teacher tenure." What's truly sad, however, is not that deluded right-wing millionaires are trying to impose their ideas on the rest of the world by throwing cash around, but rather that so many St. Louis "Democrats" are willing to do their bidding in return for table scraps. Just this past week, an employee of one of Rex's groups wrote a blog post for the Huffington Post using touchy-feely language to set the stage for attacking teacher tenure in just the way Sinquefield suggested. And of course many St. Louis Democrats are all-too-willingly pushing the phony "local control" ballot initiative funded by Rex in exchange for who-knows-what favors. He already knows he can buy any and all Missouri Republican politicians; if we allow him to buy St. Louis Democrats as well, it will be next to impossible to stop his misguided agenda for the state.

Sloppy Polling Memo By Mason Dixon Says Akin's Getting Closer to McCaskill-Updated

Update: McCaskill campaign poll blows the Mason Dixon poll out of the water! (see below) A new poll paid for by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Kansas City Star, and KMOV and conducted by Mason Dixon is out claiming that Senator Claire McCaskill is only leading Todd Akin by 2 percentage points. However, the polling numbers are strange and the memo, if not the poll itself, is very sloppy. As Brandon H notes, they spelled Jason Kander's name "Kandor:"
Brandon also pointed out that the memo used "Conservative Party" instead of the correct name "Constitution Party" on the question about the Presidential race. But what's really strange, and possibly a larger problem if the sloppiness goes beyond just the memo, is that the poll questions as written on the document asked about third party candidates by name in all of the races *except* the Senate race (h/t Alexandra). For example, here's the wording for the question about the Treasurer's race, which includes the Libertarian Party candidate:
On the other hand, for the Missouri Senate race, the question on the memo only lists Claire McCaskill and Todd Akin, despite the fact that Libertarian candidate Johnathan Dine has been polling at anywhere between 6 % and 9 % in recent polls:
Note that Dine is listed as getting 4% of the vote, so perhaps he was included on the original question (despite what the memo says), but 4 % is lower than his averages in other recent polls. I'll also point out that in the two most recent polls Todd Akin's unfavorables have been waaay over 50%. In a poll taken on Oct 17, Rasumussen found 62% of respondents had an unfavorable view of Akin. And on a poll conducted from Oct. 19 through 21, PPP had his unfavorables at 57%. But on the new poll, conducted only a few days later from Oct 23 to 25, only 42% of respondents viewed Akin negatively. So yeah, after Todd Akin said that women's bodies can magically shut down pregnancies from "legitimate" rapes, after suggesting that McCaskill was "unladylike" because she was aggressive at a debate, after comparing McCaskill to a "dog," not to mention his crazy policy positions, only 42% of Missouri voters have a negative impression of him? I have a hard time believing this poll ended up with a representative sample. Anyway, what's always important to note is that individual polls should never be taken as perfectly describing the elections. Polling averages are generally much more accurate, and every once in a while even a well-conducted poll will end up with an average that's off the mark. And if the race was really genuinely close, would the RNC be acting like this:
An NRSC spokesman said it is a keeping "a close eye on this race" and hopes Akin can win.... But two Republicans with knowledge of the situation said the committee has looked at the race several times in the aftermath of Akin's remarks and decided he is too far adrift of McCaskill for them to get involved with the contest. The committee has instead poured money into other states. The Republicans spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the committee's decision-making.
Update:Scott Charton is tweeting out the results from an internal poll from the McCaskill campaign showing her with a lead of 53-39. And (cough cough) it shows Akin's unfavorable rating at 58%. So, if you're trying to decide which poll is more plausible, consider that the Mason Dixon poll requires us to believe that within a period of 3 days, 1 out of every 5 voters (20%) previously had an unfavorable opinion of Akin but then changed their mind. On the McCaskill poll, Akin's numbers stayed exactly where they have been in two other polls taken earlier this week.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Incompetent Akin Campaign Is Dialing Phone Numbers in Kansas

What's truly unique about Todd Akin among Republicans is not that he has offensive views or that he's completely clueless about science (although both of these are true).  It's that he's so amazingly bad at hiding his crazy views, and continues to act offensively when everyone knows he should be keeping his mouth shut.  Throughout the campaign, and particularly after Akin's "legitimate rape" comment, his campaign has exuded an aura of complete incompetence, and not just because of their never-ending stream of tone-deaf, offensive statements.  For example, after Akin's campaign spitefully leaked an email from the Post-Dispatch, the reporter Kevin McDermott said the following:
“I shared the top of it with the campaign in an effort to give them an opportunity to fully respond, not to allow them to hurl an incomplete story out there under my name,” McDermott wrote in an email to Roll Call. “Unfortunately, I assumed I was dealing with a professional.”
A letter to the editor in today's Kansas City Star provides further support for the idea that Akin's campaign is not being run by professionals:
Now I really have a reason to detest those automated political phone calls. I received a phone call from former Arkansas governor and current Fox News personality Mike Huckabee asking for my support for Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin.
Mr. Akin should be glad he could not hear my unladylike response. You see, I’ll never vote for Mr. Akin despite his calls to my home phone. 
I live in Kansas. 
Kathyrn Bach
Of course this is just one letter, but it certainly fits with a pattern of incompetence that permeates every single aspect of his campaign.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Todd Akin says McCaskill is "Like a dog" who "fetches" bureaucracy

Politicmo has audio of Todd Akin at a fundraiser tonight saying that Senator Claire McCaskill is "like one of those dogs" who "fetches" red tape and bureaucracy:

Here's the exact quote:
“She goes to Washington, D.C., it’s a little bit like one of those dogs, ‘fetch,’” he said. “She goes to Washington, D.C., and get all of these taxes and red tape and bureaucracy and executive orders and agencies and brings all of this stuff and dumps it on us in Missouri.”
I guess we should give Todd Akin the benefit of the doubt though, since he supports equal pay for women, doesn't accuse his opponent of not being ladylike just because she kicked his butt in a debate, and doesn't have insane views about pregnancy fueled by his religion fanaticism.  Oh wait, he actually doesn't support equal pay for women, said Claire McCaskill wasn't "ladylike" after he lost a debate to her, and claimed that women can magically shut down pregnancy in the case of "legitimate" rape?  Wow, he's got some real issues!