Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

GOP poll surge, Cheney vs. Obama, Pelosi's a doll and Sarah's duds

May 22, 2009 | 12:36 am

The economy is sooo bad that organized crime is reportedly laying off judges and police officers.

And now, this unbelievable report that GM has forced the federal government into bankruptcy

Ahh, Fridays and once again time to cap another confusing political week with questions nobody knew needed asking:

Polls to Please

Republicans are making a strong political comeback in the minds of many Americans.

After losing two straight national elections, control of both houses of Congress and the large white house with the new dog down the street with no indoor bushes anymore, the exact same percentage of Americans -- 32% -- consider themselves Republicans as Democrats.

According to a new Gallup Poll, if you include leaners, party affiliation preferences are still tied -- at 45%. Amazing the GOP is holding steady -- in fact, growing -- in popularity despite the Democratic president's high approval rating.

This is because of a 5 percentage point surge by GOP followers just since last month, and a 4  percentage point plunge by Democrats, who enjoyed a double-digit lead a year ago and still seem unaware of their long slide.

According to another new Gallup Poll pointed out by the aging but astute Don Surber, voters...

... identifying themselves as Republicans continue their long-term drop across most demographic sectors except for frequent churchgoers.

It's very helpful for a polling company to do a survey usable by the cable network with no vowels but all those talkers with the huge heads and then another separate poll for the network named for a sly wild animal.

Next week: A poll of Gallup pollsters to find out if they ever talk to each other.

Would she have been naked without them?

For some inexplicable reason probably having to do with the feds firing another auto exec, the final official ruling of the Federal Election Commission that all those clothes bought for Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin et al. by the Republican National Committee last fall were just fine and a perfectly legitimate party political expense has not garnered the same excited tut-tutting media attention as her alleged clandestine visits to fancy stores with & in their name.

Funny how that happens in America. Fortunately, Jimmy Orr provides the details over at his perceptive Vote blog.

Speaking of large sums of money

For our many Ticket readers who do not enjoy the local Southern California pleasures of driving the 101 or 605 freeways daily, Bernard Parks was once a Los Angeles street cop who over 38 years worked his way up to become the chief. He now chairs the important Budget Committee on the City Council.

As such, he's issuing serious warnings that the soaring costs of municipal pensions and payrolls are a real threat to the financial stability of the nation's No. 2 city. Good point!

Unfortunately, as our colleague Rich Connell points out, Parks himself is part of the problem. He's paid about $14,900 a month as a councilman. But he gets another $22K per month from his police pension.

That's $178,789 for his current job and $265,000 for his previous job, for a total of $443,789 a year. That should keep him in donuts.House speaker Nancy Pelosi Waterboard Doll

And she's got that same cheesy grin too

With House Speaker Nancy Pelosi maybe telling stretchers about what the CIA told her and when, it was just a matter of time before the Nancy Pelosi Action Figure arrived, complete with waterboard. The doll looks like she had a face-lift.

But at only $49.95 she's much cheaper than another unauthorized trip to Syria.

How does this work again?

George W. Bush ordered a troop surge in Iraq. He did not release photographs of detainee abuse. And he set military tribunals for the Guantanamo detainees. These were very controversial decisions and he was denounced for stubbornly sticking to them. Sen. Barack Obama strongly opposed the surge (see video below) on the White House's favorite cable network, no less.

Now, a President Obama orders a troop surge into Afghanistan, decides not to release photographs of detainee abuse and plans tweaked military tribunals for Guantanamo detainees. And he's hailed as a grand pragmatist because he came around to those same Bush positions after having been apparently wrong before.

Talk about stubborn

Former VP Dick Cheney's ongoing defense of Bush administration interrogation techniques and the lack of post-9/11 homeland terrorist attacks has provided bounteous cable TV debate opportunities between the Cialis ads (btw, what's with those two bathtubs in the frontyard?).

And Thursday, Cheney and the former freshman senator from Illinois had dueling speeches, as reported here.

By now, pretty much everyone can recite the predictable talking points of the political provocateurs who pretend to parry each other after sharing crudites in the Green Room -- he kept us safe since 9/11, our values are our strongest defense, yada yada.

Now, everyone can debate who's winning the debate. We've added the full text of the former vice president's speech here.

But here's another possible way of explaining Cheney's behavior politically:

Long term in Washington these days (as on Wall Street in recent years) tends to mean late this afternoon, possibly Monday morning. But thinking in really longer terms, as someone who arrived in Washington about 40 years ago might, making the national security argument again and again in March and April and May 2009 might prove politically very savvy come, say, January or February or March 2010.

What if, despite strict enforcement of the tiny carry-on shampoo bottle rule, there is a successful terrorist attack on the homeland?

With the months-long security debate embedded in the national memory this spring, which political side would be suddenly playing defense in a midterm election year? Trying to argue that enhanced interrogations wouldn't have made any difference? And American hostages seized somewhere overseas could have been grabbed even if Gitmo prisoners hadn't been moved to Kansas?

And if there is no successful attack, who's gonna care what the old wily Wyomingite said way back now?

At least until his scores-to-settle book comes out.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Click here to make it clear that you want Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us  @latimestot