Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Congress

What? California's Dianne Feinstein in poll trouble too?

Oh, no! Another Democratic senator in possible election trouble for 2012.

And from California already?

A new Field Poll just released this morning brings news that California's Sen. Dianne Feinstein is -- how can we put this in a liberal kind of way? -- approved by 41% of voters who want to see her reelected next year.California Democrat senator Dianne Feinstein 9-11

Unfortunately for her, more voters (fully 44%) disapprove of her continued employment in the U.S. Senate after 2012.

In blue California that makes for about a magnitude 5.2 quake.

The same poll finds that only 41% approve of Feinstein's job in Washington, while 39% disapprove.

That 41 approval number is the lowest the former mayor has ever had in her 20 years of no longer really living in California.

Another recent Field Poll showed many Californians are falling out of love with the teleprompter guy from Chicago. His California approval has slid below 50% for the first time ever, down to 46%.

That's a decline of about two points per month recently.

Is his slide now corroding the election prospects of even such party stalwarts as Feinstein?

Add to that the overall -- how can we say this in a polite way? -- disgust with the United States Congress (nine out of every 100 Californians now approve of those guys) and this could spell t-r-o-u-b-l-e for Democrats. They or independent allies need to lose only six seats to turn the Senate over to those people that Vice President Joe "#%$&*(@" Biden politely calls "barbarians."

Democrats next year are defending two-thirds of the 33 Senate seats on state ballots. Good luck with that at 9% unemployment.

President Obama, who's now passed Biden as the nation's most voluble, least effective job creator, is about due for another money run to Hollywood.  

Oh, look! Our pal, the well-connected Tina Daunt is writing in the Hollywood Reporter that the one-time 40-something star of the celebrity set is having real trouble now raking in the easy dough from disappointed West Coast Dems.

Maybe the 78-year-old chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee will factor that intelligence into her as yet unannounced decision on seeking a fourth term on the same ticket as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's former boss.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Mandel Ngan / Getty Images (Feinstein).

How to retire Dennis Kucinich or Marcy Kaptur: Put both Dems in the same Ohio district

Ohio Democrat representatives Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich

Well, it looks like the new congressional redistricting will help Ohio get rid of at least one long-term Democratic representative in next year's House elections.

According to newly drawn district lines set to go to the Ohio Legislature any day, eight-term Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland and 15-term Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo are both in the same new narrow district running along the southern Lake Erie shoreline. Both have announced their candidacies.

The Buckeye state is home to House Speaker John Boehner and is losing two of its current 18 House seats.

But it will remain a key Midwestern battleground state on the presidential level. No Republican has won the presidency in more than a century without capturing Ohio.

After losing the state's Democratic primary to Hillary Clinton in 2008 (53-45), Obama beat John McCain (52-47) in the state where the Arizonan introduced his VP running mate, Sarah Palin, to the nation. Obama has visited Ohio frequently as presideOhio State Flag OhioHistoryCentraldotorgnt, most recently this week.

However, since 2008, Republicans have fed off dissatisfaction with Obama and the state's economy to hold the old George Voinivich U.S. Senate seat (Rob Portman), and win control of the state Legislature (which controls redistricting) and the governor's office (John Kasich).

They also tipped control of the congressional delegation from 10 Democrats and eight Republicans to 13 Republicans and five Democrats.

For next year the GOP is targeting first-term incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown, who easily won Mike DeWine's seat, 56-44, during the Democrats' congressional takeover of 2006. Next year, however, Democrats must defend 23 of the 33 Senate seats being contested nationally.

You could tell Kucinich was excited about the remapping. In an email fundraising appeal Wednesday, he used two exclamation marks in the first two sentences: "We have a district! The race is on!"

Without mentioning Kaptur, the House's longest-serving female Democrat, Kucinich celebrated the demise of his old Cleveland district and the slicing off of its Republican areas to buttress other GOP districts.

For her part, Kaptur said the pair shared no hard feelings over their upcoming struggle. "We are friends," she said. "This is hard for us."


Joe the Plumber ponders Ohio House race

Perry's debate debut gives MSNBC top ratings so far

The Reagan debate: The most awkward, unexpected and weirdest moments

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Rick Osentoski / Associated Press (Kaptur); Harry Hamburg / Associated Press (Kucinich); (state flag).

What, Obama worry? New York House district elects first Republican since 1920

Bob and Peggy Turner 9-14-11

President Obama is taking his big airplane out of Dodge today, down to North Carolina.

And who can blame him for going the opposite direction from Gotham after this morning's special election results in New York 9?

There, as forecast here last week, a 70-year-old Republican businessman and political novice named Bob Turner whacked veteran Democrat David Weprin, 53-47, in a special election to replace Rep. Anthony "Look at My Junk" Weiner.

This kind of stunning upset in that area of Brooklyn and Queens happens like clockwork every 91 years. Whenever the approval of a disinterested Democratic president hovers in the mid-30s on a stagnant economy and he looks wishy-washy on rigid support for Israel.

Weprin had everything going for him in Archie Bunker's boroughs:

He's an Orthodox Jew in a district that's 40% Jewish running against a Catholic. He's a well-known political name with state legislative experience. He has the backing of big-time Dems including Chuckie Schumer, who used to represent the district and bequeathed it to his aide Weiner. This Obama guy carried the area by 11 points back in 2008.Democrat David Weprin concedes 9-14-11 And Weprin's got a moustache.

What could possibly go wrong? Well, Weprin was off on the national debt by $10 trillion in one interview. But that presidential election win was 1,048 days ago. Obama's much better known now and that seems to work against him.

This White House has had its own agenda all along -- the healthcare heave, financial reforms. While all along polls told the Chicagoans that jobs and the economy are top priority.

If history repeats itself, this Obama crowd as it did after losing the Virginia governor's office and the New Jersey governor's office and Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts, will find fault with someone else, likely the candidate.

The wise Marc Ambinder hears it already.

Remember all the White House whispers about lousy campaigner Martha Coakley when she lost to Scott Brown despite (or perhaps because of?) a last-minute campaign day with Obama?

And then there were last November's midterms when voters tossed all those House Pelosi people who obeyed Obama's pleas to pass healthcare.

Those dozens of Democrats going under the bus turned out great for the president, however. With a Republican House the Democratic president has someone else to blame now when his belated jobs bill goes nowhere.

That's what he'll be touting in Raleigh-Durham today, his doomed $447 billion jobs program.

Good thing that Air Force One, like Southwest, doesn't charge for baggage because along on Obama's Southern trip is a new Bloomberg News Poll. It shows, among other gloomy tidings, that 33% approve of his economy job, 39% like his healthcare handling and 30% are pleased with his deficit doings.

Oh, and a majority don't think his new jobs program will get the job done.


Nancy Pelosi bans the S-word from Democrats' lips

Obama vows to double the August job growth rate of zero

961 days in, Obama's steamed no one's been creating new jobs like he said he would

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Mary Altaffer / Associated Press (Republicans Bob and Peggy Turner celebrate his election to the House from New York's Ninth District early Wednesday); Craig Ruttle / Associated Press (Defeated Democrat David Weprin concedes).

Late-night jokes: Obama vows to double August's job growth of zero

Button Obama Keeping My Job is my Job 1As The Ticket's 73,000-plus Twitter followers and 7,200 Facebook friends/fans know, we regularly share our daily picks of the late-night jokes of interest, usually before broadcast each night. Feel free to pass this weekly collection on to friends using the "Share" buttons above.

Letterman: Wasn't Labor Day great, folks? Labor Day is now that time of year when Americans take three days off from looking for work.

Fallon: President Obama is refusing to give specifics about his jobs plan because he wants people to tune in on Thursday. That’s not how you handle the economy -– that’s how you handle the ‘American Idol’ results show. 'I have a plan that could put millions back to work. You’ll find out more…after the break.'

Leno: President Obama's jobs speech was tonight: A guy whose job nobody approves of giving a speech about jobs that don't exist to people who don't have any jobs.

Fallon: President Obama's $447-billion spending plan is called the American Jobs Act. It would have had a cooler name, but the name guy was laid off six months ago.

Leno: President Obama gives his big speech this week on job growth. How many of you think it will be a really short speech?

Leno: President Obama named his new $447-billion legislation the American Jobs Act. Better than the original name, the Save My Ass Act.

Letterman: Don't forget, folks, tomorrow is take your son or daughter with you to the Unemployment Office Day.

Leno: A new L.A. Times poll says 75% of Californians think the country is headed in the wrong direction. It's so bad that 60% of Californians are thinking about returning to Mexico.
Obama awaits a white house cue
Fallon: The Libyan rebels are claiming that they have Moammar Kadafi trapped within a 40-mile radius. Or as that’s also known, not trapped.

Letterman: Autumn's in the air. You can tell it's fall because that’s when the networks begin collecting nuts for their reality shows.

Leno: Government statistics show the U.S. economy created zero jobs in August. President Obama now says he's confident this month he can double that.

Conan: The L.A. Dodgers may be bought by Chinese investors. So, good news for America: Finally, something China is not going to win at!

Conan: Did you hear this? A new report says the U.S. Postal Service could go out of business this winter. On the bright side, the Post Office won't get that report in the mail for another two years.

Leno: The government says there are now 3 million fewer U.S. smokers than five years ago. Mainly due to a condition known as being dead.

Leno: The NFL season kicks off Thursday night right here on NBC. We are all very excited. The game will be on right after the season finale of President Obama.


Weirdest moments of the GOP debate

961 days in, Obama sick and tired of his own dawdling on job creation

President Obama's job approval is now lower than uncle's blood alcohol level

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Los Angeles Times illustration by Andrew Malcolm; Pete Souza / White House.

Sunday shows: Giuliani, Rumsfeld, Brennan, McCain

Several of the Sunday mnorning programs have been preempted this week by coverage of the Sept. 11 anniversary memorial services in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani walks the streets in the hours after the 9-11 attacks

Bloomberg's "Political Capital with Al Hunt:" Sen. Michael E. Crapo (R-Idaho).

CBS' "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer: New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Donald Rumsfeld and Obama advisor John Brennan.

Fox News Channel "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace: Rumsfeld, Giuliani, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Dianne Feinstein (D-San Francisco) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Brennan, Michael Chertoff, Paul Wolfowitz and Gen. Jack Keane, with Brit Hume, Bill Kristol, Dana Priest and Juan Williams.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Associated Press (Giuliani, Sept. 2001).

Obama jobs speech tops the NFL (but, then, it was only the Packers)


President Obama's speech Thursday on jobs to a joint session of Congress failed to outscore the TV ratings for his announcement of the killing of Osama bin Laden in May but did improve on his recent speeches on Libya and Iraq.

And his 4,102 words also outpaced the NFL kickoff that came right after them.

The speech -- which included 17 variations on a demand that Congress pass a jobs bill that hasn't been rendered into legislative text yet -- was carried live from 5-6 p.m. Pacific time on 11 channels: ABC, AZA, CBS, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, CNBC, CNN, FBN, FNC and MSNBC.

Among the cable newsers, Fox News did the best.

Here are the box scores from Nielsen Co. ...


Broken down by cable networks, Fox News came first with close to 3.4 million (826,000 in the target Adults 25-54 demographic); CNN second, with just north of 1.8 million (645,000 in A25-54); and MSNBC third, with just over 1.6 million (430,000 in the demo).

By way of contrast, the president's first address to a joint session of Congress on....

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Sarah Palin on Obama jobs speech: 'He kind of plays us all for fools'

Sarah Palin talks with fox news channel's Megyn Kelly 9-9-11 on Obama's Jobs speech

Sarah Palin commented today on President Obama's jobs plan presented in a nationally televised speech to a joint session of Congress on Thursday night. (Video below.)

First, the former Republican governor told Fox News' Megyn Kelly what the Real Good Talker talked about wasn't really a plan.

I don't consider it a plan at all. A plan is something that would give you a roadmap as to how to get to your goal, and he had no plan that he articulated.

Just a lot of goals, a lot of flowery rhetoric, but nothing that is going to tell us how we are going to pay for his big spend again.

And I guess I look forward to next week or the week after, whenever it is that he supposedly will truly reveal a plan, how we are going to pay for these things he believes will get the economy rolling again.

So, what does the possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate think is behind the....

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961 days in, Obama becomes sick and tired of someone dawdling about jobs

Obama Jobs address to Congress 9-8-11

Speaking on behalf of millions of Americans who've grown angry and frustrated over the president's 32-month ineffective inactivity on the job creation front, President Obama on Thursday told members of Congress they really have to do something about the crummy employment situation -- and do it quickly.

Citing the plight of millions of struggling Americans whose wishes for jobs Obama ignored for most of the 961 days he's been in office while chasing shinier healthcare and financial reforms, Obama said it was time that Congress stop blaming others. He said it was time members take responsibility for their inaction and halt their phony partisan games and political circus acts that pervade Washington culture.

Because the Americans Obama hasn't been listening to are really hurting now. And -- who's....

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Obama jobs speech to Congress: Providing 'a jolt to an economy that has stalled'

Capitol Bldg on a Rainy day 8-11


President Obama's remarks to a joint session of Congress, as provided by the White House

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, and fellow Americans:

Tonight we meet at an urgent time for our country. We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless, and a political crisis that has made things worse. 

This past week, reporters have been asking, “What will this speech mean for the President?  What will it mean for Congress?  How will it affect their polls, and the next election?”

But the millions of Americans who are watching right now: They don’t care about politics. They have real life concerns. Many have spent months looking for work. Others are doing their best just to scrape by -- giving up nights out with the family to save on gas or make the mortgage, postponing retirement to send a kid to college. 

These men and women grew up with faith in an America where hard work and responsibility paid off.   They believed in a country where everyone gets a fair shake and does their fair share –- where....

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Last minute poll in New York City's special House election finds Republican leading

anthony Weiner

Remember New York's disgraced Democrat Anthony Weiner, the representative who shared his junk online with too many people?

Well, forget him. He's gone now, resigned.

Next Tuesday is the special election in New York's reliably Democratic Ninth congressional district to replace him.

And, breaking news, the Ninth seems to be no longer reliably Democratic. Whether it's Weiner or Obama's fault or a combo, we don't know. And who cares?

If the latest poll numbers from Magellan Strategies hold up six more days, the new New York representative from Brooklyn/Queens will be Republican Bob Turner . And the GOP will have at least temporarily turned its tide of special election losses.

The news this week will be President Obama's meaningless jobs speech to a joint session of Congress tomorrow evening. None of what he says he seeks will happen, which he knows and hopes. Because how's he going to run against a Republican House next year if he asked for something now he knew they'd give him?

It's Kabuki theatre at its most amateur. But that's where we all are right now because while Obama is still saying 'Yes, We Can,' he can't explain why we haven't these last 32 months. Obviously, it couldn't be his fault. Nothing ever is.

Anyway, Magellan surveyed 2,055 likely voters in the Ninth and found Turner leading Democrat David Weprin by four points, 44.6-40.4, with 36% firmly committed to Turner and only 28% firm for Weprin.

Interestingly, Obama's job approval there is 36%, compared with 52% disapprove.

If Turner wins, a Republican will soon sit in Weiner's presumably sanitized House seat. And a week from this morning the news will be all about what the latest defeat means for Obama.

Honestly, not much, just more bad PR to endure along with the sagging poll numbers. A loss won't change the balance in the House, which is overwhelmingly GOP now thanks to the historic voter turnaround in last November's midterms.

But the No. 9 would become the latest symbol of mounting political trouble for president No. 44.


Nancy Pelosi's vocabulary alert for Democrats in D.C.

77% now say Obama leads nation onto the wrong track

Obama White House downgrades its own economic forecasts

-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the re-Tweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Meagan Broussard / ABC News (Weiner).


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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