The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Permanent Final Week

Rich Galen

Monday October 22, 2018

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  • "The Permanent Campaign" has been the hand-wringing, woe-is-me whine of political observers for as long as I can remember.

  • There is no longer a "permanent campaign." There is a "Permanent Final Week."

  • Go back to the first set of hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Remember the interruptions, the shouting the posing, the campaigning that went on?

  • And that was just the Republicans.

  • Seriously, after he crafted the deal for a one-week supplemental FBI investigation, retiring Senator Jeff Flake (R-Az) was asked if he would have been able to do that if he were running for re-election.

  • Short pause, and then (smiling) "No."

  • Of course he would have been able to do that. He might not have gotten re-elected, but he could have certainly made the same deal. He might not have chosen to make the deal, but the deal would have been made.

  • One of the senior political writers and thinkers in America, the Washington Post's Dan Balz, wrote in his Sunday column:
    "These days have begun to feel like those in the last weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign, when Trump displayed more energy and stamina that rival Hillary Clinton, showing that he was prepared to take risks with his schedule and even toss in a head fake or two. He knew the electorate and the states he needed to win and went after them relentlessly. He's doing the same today."

  • Across Our Nation's Capital political types, lobbyists, and the waitstaff at restaurants are poring over maps trying to dope out whether and where Democrats can pick up the requisite 23 seats to take control of the House.

  • A senior Republican House Member emailed me the other day,
    "I do not believe we will lose 40. I think our losses will be on the mid to high twenties. And I think we still have an outside chance to hold the majority."

  • He went on to write:
    "Our guys are "all in." No one has given up. It is amazing to watch this team fight to hang on. There is no quit in anyone."

  • If that is true, we may not know who will control the House until sometime in December when the too-close-to-call recounts are finished.


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  • Public polls are being published like stock prices over a ticker tape.

  • The latest NBC/WSJ poll shows (a) Donald Trump's "job approval rose to an all-time high of 47 percent," while (b) the "Democratic advantage among likely voters grows to nine points, 50 percent to 41 percent."

  • CNBC headline?
    Democrats appear more likely to vote in midterms than GOP: NBC-WSJ poll

  • John Harwood, top reporter and analyst for NBC Tweeted of that poll the battle will be decided by:
    "White men without college degrees (+42 R) against White women college graduates (+33 D), Latinos (+40 D) and African-Americans (+70 D)

  • An interesting note from the full results (link available on the Secret Decoder Ring) was how people thought about previous Presidents.

  • The question was "Did you like personally and approve most policies?
    Obama: 36 percent
    George W.: 29
    Clinton: 36
    George H.W.: 43
    Reagan: 39

  • Putting aside that Americans are tough graders when it comes to former Presidents, note that George H.W. got the highest percentage, yet he was the only one of the five who was defeated for a second term.

  • Go figure.

  • Oh, Donald Trump? He came in at 24 percent on the personality + policy scale.

  • We're only 15 days away from election day. If you thought these last few weeks took your breath away, as Bette Davis famously said in All About Eve, "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night."

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the Dan Balz piece (much worth reading), the the WSJ/NBC poll, and to a clip of the "Bumpy Night" line.

    The Mullfoto is an almost too-good-to-be-true license plate from Canada.

    -- END --

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