BULLETIN: Scroll down to see Republican candidate Mike Livingston's (2 district, Philadelphia) press releases challenging Rep. Chaka Fattah's questionable fundraising practices. (More on this important subject tomorrow.)
Important Note: scroll down in this column for critical questions regarding Hillary Clinton and her campaign.
On my national blog today: "I wouldn't mind one bit if John McCain says -- in strong terms -- that the Democratic nomination was stolen from Mrs. Clinton. The thieves were Howard Dean and Barack Obama. The crime scenes were Michigan and Florida, whose delegates were denied Clinton." Say it, John!
"Let me win, but if I lose let me be brave in the attempt."
One thing I'm suggesting -- and everything I recommend is a suggestion -- is for Republican congressional candidates (all of them) to embrace John McCain. He has an excellent chance of winning Pennsylvania -- and frankly, of winning nearly every country outside the Philadelphia area. (He may not win Allegheny County -- Pittsburgh area -- but he will come close.)
For example, in my own district --the 4th, west and north of Pittsburgh -- Democrats hold a significant registration edge. However, based on past performance of Republican presidential candidates, John McCain could win the 4th by 40,000-plus votes. Most McCain supporters will vote for Republican Melissa Hart for Congress. (George Bush won this supposedly Democratic district in 2004 by 31,000 votes.)
I'm aware some consultants would advise Melissa to endorse McCain in a soft vocice but not to highlight the fact she's doing so. Their point would be that she does not want to turn off any potential Hart voters who are Obama supporters. That argument is absurd. How many Obama voters -- liberals to a fault -- are going to vote for conservative Melissa Hart? They might number in the low hundreds. They might number less than that.
Melissa should portray herself as part of the "McCain-Hart" team. She should rely on McCain's electoral strength to help take her over the finish line ahead of opponent Jason Altmire. Because Obama is unpopular in the 4th -- he lost my county (Beaver) by 28,000 (for Hillary) to 12,000 -- Altmire is going to pretend he never heard of Barack Obama, but I doubt Melissa will let him get away with it. She should pin Obama to Altmire like a tin can on an alley cat's tail.
I hope Melissa puts it this way: a vote for Jason Altmire is a vote against John McCain. She can justify that statement by saying she supports McCain's moderate-conservative agenda while Altmire opposes it. She can remind voters that Altmire fell all over himself to vote for far-left San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. She might add that her first action in Congress would be to vote against Mrs. Pelosi. (Actually, Altmire fawned all over Obama in the Primary -- until the Illinois Senator's "clinging" to religion and guns remark.)
I would give the exact same advice to Toni Gilhooley in the 17th District (Harrisburg and parts east). Run as part of the "McCain-Gilhooley" team.
Her opponent, Democrat Tim Holden, masquerades as a "conservative Democrat," which is less a political description than an oxymoron. If Holden returns to Congress, his first act -- like Altmire's -- will be to vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker. Of course that will mean that Pelosi will not even allow a vote on any of the "conservative" measures Holden supposedly supports.
Frankly, if Holden wants to be a conservative -- or even a "moderate" -- he's registered in the wrong Party.In the 2004 presidential race, George Bush polled 48,000 votes more than John Kerry. If McCain's strength continues to build, he could win the 17th by 55,000 to 60,000 votes.
Because of that fact, I think Toni might give at least a fleeting thought to what kinds of drapes she'd like to have in her office in Congress. If she runs a great -- and cost-effective -- campaign, she can win this race. Right now, Toni, I, her husband and her closest supporters are the only ones who deeply believe she'll win, but we happen to be right -- check out those McCain numbers again -- and the conventional wisdom is wrong.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is going to be pouring money into the 17th District next October, money they don't current expect to spend. They will be in a panic about a possible loss by the colorless Holden of a supposedly "safe" Democratic seat. However, they will find that, just as "money can't buy you love," it also can't buy you an election.
One thing Toni needs to consider seriously -- and Melissa might also consider it -- is to seek out Hillary voters. Gee, how could they do that? Perhaps by showing how the Democrats' "old boys club" -- establishment people including Howard Dean, Jason Altmire, and Tim Holden -- shafted Mrs. Clinton. They did so, in part, by denying the seating of delegates from Michigan and Florida, two of Clinton's strongest states. They also did so by bullying her to get out of the race.
In Toni's district, as in Melissa's Hillary beat Obama like a rented mule. Having Obama at the top of the ticket is not going to be a pleasant experience for Holden or Altmire. They will claim to be running "their own campaigns." That means they hope Obama spends a lot of time in Oregon and Montana. No such luck, guys.
I predict a win by Melissa Hart. I predict a major upset win by Toni Gilhooley.
But for that to happen, they need YOUR support. I urge you to go right to their web sites and volunteer to help. It doesn't matter what state you're in. They need help from all over the nation.
Tuesday morning: "Marina Kats: How to Defeat Allyson Schwartz" (I suggest that Marina, who emigrated from Russia and became an extremely successful lawyer and entrepreneur run as the embodiment of "The American Dream"). I also recommend she contest Schwartz for every one of the 77,000 Hillary (primary) voters in Montgomery County -- and then go after the tens of thousands of Hillary supporters in Northeast Philly. If voters in the 13th district want a strong, decisive, effective woman, then "Marina's their gal."
ABOUT HILLARY CLINTON AND HER CAMPAIGN (Will see endorse McCain?)
The following two paragraphs are from my new -- and popular (to my amazement) blog called "Hillary Supporters for McCain." From all appearances, Mrs. Clinton will not win the Democratic nomination for President, but she will continue to play a major role in determining who wins the general election. (I hope you take a look at the "Hillary" site. It is definitely not part of the usual "Hillary bashing.")
Dear Friends: I'm hoping this blog (the "Hillary" site) becomes one of the most fascinating -- and useful -- ones in the political blogosphere. You can help me achieve that end by taking various steps: (1) bookmarking the site; (2) visiting regularly; (3) sharing your own thoughts about the various articles (either through the "comments" or by writing me at TalkTop65@aol.com); and (4) telling your friends and political allies about this site and providing them links to it. Thanks for your support. On my Pennsylvania blog, I have a piece about two congressional candidates (Melissa Hart and Toni Gilhooley) whom I'm urging to link themselves closely to John McCain's presidential bid. It's a strategy I believe is applicable to most Republican congressional candidates across the nation. If you agree, please forward it to your own favorite congressional candidate.
One key question that hasn't been answered yet is whether Hillary supporters should back John McCain -- and if so, why? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this issue. Another critical matter is how Hillary should endorse Obama. If she believes he would be a bad President, should she endorse him at all -- or perhaps rest her wounded spirit incommunicado in Hawaii? If she has to choose between Party and country, won't she choose country? If I had any direct contact with Senator Clinton, these are some of the questions I'd ask her -- respectfully but forcefully.
BULLETIN: 2D DISTRICT CANDIDATE MIKE LIVINGSTON BLASTS CHAKA FATTAH'S QUESTIONABLE FUNDRAISING PRACTICES
The following are two press releases from Mike Livingston for Congress datedMonday, May 12. For those who may not have received it, I have also attached acopy or my initial campaign announcement February 12, 2008. More informationabout my candidacy is available at my website www.livingstonforcongress.com. Ican also be contacted by telephone 267-847-0528 or at this e-mail address. I am the Republican candidate in the Second Congressional District, the seat that iscurrently held by Rep. Chaka Fattah. --Mike Livingston
MAY 12, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Mike Livingston, the Republican candidate in the Second Congressional District,today challenged the incumbent, Chaka Fattah, to a series of debates on issuesfacing the district."The Second District has not had a seriously contested election in more than adecade," Livingston said.
"I challenge Rep. Fattah to a series of debates onthe issues facing our district, including education, crime, taxes, the energyand housing crises, and national security issues. These debates could besponsored by the League of Women Voters, the Committee of Seventy, or othernonpartisan organization, and would be held at a time and place of our mutualchoosing. It appears likely that this years' presidential candidates will hold a series of similar debates; why not here in Philadelphia?"
In challenging Fattah to debate, Livingston said he expected domestic issues,notably taxes, crime, and education, to be the central themes of his campaign."In talking to people throughout the district, I have found that the sameitems--personal safety, school quality, worries about high taxes and declininghome ownership--come up time and again. My approach to these issues differsfrom that of Rep. Fattah, but I hope that we can have a frank and constructivedebate about them."Livingston also thanked voters who came out to support him in the April 22Republican primary. "It took a little bit of courage to brave the long linesof Obama and Clinton supporters and vote for a hometown candidate on a day whenthere were hardly any contested races in our party. I am grateful for yoursupport and will do my best to be worthy of it," he added.
MAY 12, 2008
Mike Livingston and his opponent, Rep. Chaka Fattah, recently filed quarterlystatements with the Federal Election Commissions. The reports say much aboutthe candidates and their campaigns.Livingston's report, filed April 15, shows $15,150 in contributions, all but$1,000 from individual supporters. While modes compared to some districts,this represents the largest sum raised this early by an recent Republicancandidate in the Second District, and is close to the largest amount anychallenger has raised in the entire election cycle. (Full information isavailable at www.fec.gov; to access the report, punch in the candidate's nameand follow the prompts for committee information and report history.)By contrast, Fattah reported receipts of $129,392 of which more than 3/4($98,500) consists of PAC contributions. While Livingston (like Barack Obama)relies principally on small contributions, the Fattah data, which include thelatter part of 2007, do not include a single contribution of under $500."The quarterly reports demonstrate the issues at stake in this election and theimportance of change in the Second District," said Livingston in a statement."While presenting himself as a champion of the weak and oppressed, Chaka Fattahremains one of the members of Congress most dependent on PAC money and oncontributions from lawyers and lobbyists with a stake in the political process.He is a charter member of the "pay to play" culture than I and others aretrying to change."
The next quarterly reports are due July 15.