Mark Schmitt is a senior fellow and advisor to the president at the Roosevelt Institute, a New York-based think tank affiliated with the FDR Library. He is a former executive editor of The American Prospect.
THE EX-PRESIDENT FACTOR. I see the point of Garance's defense of Senator Clinton against the argument that she is too compromised by her husband to win/deserve election to the presidency, but comparing her to 1984 vice-presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro does Clinton no favors!
OBAMA-ADJUSTED POLLS. Observing all due caveats about early horserace polls, it's possible to learn something if you remember that these polls are basically distorted by unequal name recognition. When I was a kid, the polls used to always say that Ted Kennedy was going to be the next president, later it was Mario Cuomo, etc.
One lesson of the 2006 vote was so obvious that Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times was able to write about it two days before the election: the return of the swing voter. Karl Rove's strategy of mobilizing a conservative Republican base while ignoring the flippable voters in the middle "lay shattered in pieces," exactly as pollster Stan Greenberg told Brownstein it would.
It is with a sense of relief that we welcome back the swing voter. The craziness is ending. The arc of politics again points toward the center. David Broder can exhale.
JAILBIRD ROCK?Newt Gingrich (who I still believe will be the Republican nominee in 2008, so get used to him) got some attention in New Hampshire this week for giving a speech at "First Amendment" dinner and declaring that the War on Terror called for "a totally different set of rules" on speech.
But what he would take away with one hand, he gives back with another. In the interest of, he said, "expanding First Amendment rights," he called for the elimination of all limits on campaign contributions, in exchange for candidates' and parties' reporting all contributions on the Internet.