Saturday, September 30, 2006

Ensign claims to be Indepedant - he just happens to AGREE with Bush, 96% of the time.

Jack Carter, is gaining on incumbent senator John Ensign of Nevada. Ensign, long thought to be election-proof, is losing ground quickly according to the latest poll by Rasmussen, which shows that Carter only trails 9 points, by a 50 to 41 margin.

That's a great trend, given five weeks to go. And it's only going to get better, the more the two candidates are compared side by side.

Check this response to Carter's major talking point - Ensign's uncritical support of the Presiden'ts agenda.

Bush's approval ratings in Nevada have been hovering in the 30s. Your opponent has been making it known that you have voted with the president 96 percent of the time. Do you think this will resonate with voters?

People in Nevada know that I am independent. I will continue to support the president when I think he's right, and when he's wrong I'll oppose him.
I swear to God, he must be dumber than a box of hair to say something like that out loud. I mean, if he had a reputation for being a man with principles, who stood up and balked once in a while. But the man is a sock puppet. He's Bush's Boy. And if you read the entire interview, he even seems to brag about it.

Ensign voted for the Torture Bill, which Harry Ried has come out against as clearly nconstitutional, aside from being, well, bad, wrong, immoral and the product of a particularly questionalble backroom deal which likely involves threats and/or blackmail, so I wonder what it will take for Ensign to call George Bush "wrong." Strangling kitttens? Shooting up in the office during a televised address? Co-celebrating a Black Mass with Jane Fonda?

Lord knows there's enough that's clearly and obviously wrong from the perspective of EITHER major party that it takes the exertion of willful blindness to say something like that. And that result is anything but "independant."

Berkeley Bubble » NV-Sen: Carter-Ensign Race Narrows that Ensign has cast a vote in favor of torture and against basic safeguards like judicial review and habeas corpus contained in the US Constitution, Carter should be able to narrow the race further.

The MSM has only recently started paying attention to the race as it gets more competitive. MSNBC is running a story today on the Carter-Ensign race, and how Bush’s very low approval ratings in Nevada (in the 30s), and Ensign’s unequivocal support for Bush on the Iraq War, may give Carter a chance to win. The article actually interviews both Ensign and Carter on the key issues in the race.

If Carter is able to continue to highlight Ensign’s strong support for Bush and his failed military strategy in Iraq, along with Ensign’s support for the Bush-MCain torture bill, I think he can win. And if Carter wins, Democrats will take bake the Senate. You heard it hear first.

Either Ensign miscalculated, or he's being squeezed very hard by a president that considers anyone other than George Bush to be an expendable asset. Or maybe he's even stupider than George Bush. The Torture Bill and the new and very scary possiblity of pretty much anyone being declared an "enemy combatant" and disappeared isn't going to play well to informed voters - not even Republicans. And especially not Nevada Republicans, where the key idea of conservative is "First, don't do nothin' so damn stupid that ah gotta come lookin' for you, 'cause ah will be pissed."

AlterNet: Why the Torture Bill Matters: "...this is so much worse than even that pathetic deal reached last Thursday between the White House and Republican Sens. Warner, McCain and Graham. The White House has since reinserted a number of 'technical fixes' that were the point of the putative 'compromise.' It leaves the president with the power to decide who is an enemy combatant.

This bill is not a national security issue -- this is about torturing helpless human beings without any proof they are our enemies.

Perhaps this could be considered if we knew the administration would use the power with enormous care and thoughtfulness. But of the over 700 prisoners sent to Gitmo, only 10 have ever been formally charged with anything. Among other things, this bill is a CYA for torture of the innocent that has already taken place."

Ensign is wired in very tightly to a shadowy group of Theocons sometimes referred to as "The Family," and they are very strong backers of the overall "Plan for a New American Century." Hegemonists, if you will.

In supporting this agenda Ensign is often at odds with the rather Libertarian brand of conservatism found in Nevads, and his shiny suits and capped teeth create an unfortunate perception for him as being "a box of hair" outside of Washington and Las Vegas.

Between Carter's centrist common sense policy statements - which are actual statements of a legislative agenda, not a list of feel-good platitudes and talking points, Ensign, and his supposedly safe seat are very much under threat.

Interestingly enough, though Ensign has my name, address and phone number, I've not gotten so much as a call or letter in anything other than in his official capacity as Senator, in response to issues I've raised through contact websites like

Boilerplate, all of it - and not especially well-written boilerplate, that leads me to believe that his grasp of the issues involved in some rather complicated social issues might be less than complete.

Thank you for contacting me about random drug testing for those who collect welfare, unemployment, and other government benefits. I value the opinions of every Nevadan and am always grateful to those who take the time to inform me of their views.

The Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program was created in the 1996 overhaul of the federal welfare system. I had the opportunity to play a pivotal role in that effort as a Member of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee. The TANF program has had great success nationwide in getting families off federal assistance and on the road to economic self-sufficiency.

If he valued my opinion, at least, my opinion of him he would have had TWO form letters. Seems to me that it's not a good bet that bragging to me about TANF would be a great bet for influencing my opinion of him, considering that I took the trouble to tell him that drug testing was something I was deeply opposed to.

Strikes me that man has as much political finesse as ... well, as George W. Bush. He's relying on incumbency and the Shock and Awe of a huge influx of Republican ad buys in the last week or so.

But meanwhile, Carter is you-tubing and tootling around Nevada with a portable stage and a rock band, just doing his thing and telling his stories in a genuinely folksy way. He's talking in terms of real issues with real impacts on Nevadans, while Ensign cannot be found save via C-Span videos from the senate floor. I'd give a link, but he's so perishingly dull reading from his notes it's not a real comparison.

I think that the personal differences between the two candidates is going to end up being the critical issue. Jack is just a lot more real, he's personable, and he has answers instead of transparent bafflegab. While midterms are traditionally sleepy yawners, this time the senate and house are at stake and there are some VERY pressing issues on the agenda.

I'd like to elect folks smart enough to do the job. For a Senator of any party to vote the party line 96% of the time tells me that he's doing what he's told and repeating what his handlers told him. He sure as HELL is not giving his constituants any priority.

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