Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - NOVEMBER 2ND, 2010

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It's political Christmas in America: Republicans are already looking ahead to the goodies that await them and folks are keeping an eye out for their Democratic friends suffering a bad case of the holiday blues. GOP House leaders plan on decentralizing power in the lower chamber, attacking the EPA as a pack of over-zealous hippies and reshuffling committee assignments. Unlike Christmas gifts, however, Tea Party favorites Rand Paul -- who said he will freely criticize Mitch McConnell -- and Michele Bachmann -- who might make a leadership bid -- don't come with gift receipts. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, November 2nd, -- %&#$^@? ELECTION DAY-- 2010:

STAY WITH HUFFINGTON POST FOR REAL-TIME ELECTION UPDATES, PUPPY VIDEOS - Huffington Post Politics is hunkered down in our D.C. office and will be filing updates until our index fingers give out.

Our live-blog: http://huff.to/dlc0TJ

Hour-by-hour guide: http://huff.to/aMFJc9

Exit polls (the second they're out): http://huff.to/bUXt0A

To break the monotony of your Democratic friends' over-wrought e-mails about End Times, HuffPost Hill will publish a special election edition later tonight.

FORECAST: NOTHING - We don't need to know the final results of the election to know that voters will cast a vote for nothing today. It's a good thing that the nation isn't facing any major policy challenges, because today marks the day Congress ceases to act as a policy-making body. Hey, Bernanke: What you got?

MIXED TURNOUT REPORTS - Howard Fineman sends word: "A combination of calls to sources, emails and tweets (I asked followers to report in) shows: good turnout in Philly, Cleveland and Louisville and in Eastern Connecticut, lighter in some suburban or rural spots in Delaware, New York and Illinois. Seems like the Dems are showing up at better than original expectations, but independents and Tea Partiers may be, too. Unlike 1994, when GOP was a late-breaking wave, this bigger one was spotted way out at sea, which gave Dems more time to sound alarm. On the other hand, the public mood about the economy, the future and the country is worse than it was in 1994 -- and President Obama' promises and expectations were much higher and more sweeping than Bill Clinton's."

Marc Ambinder: "[P]rivately, senior Democratic officials with access to the boiler room data say that they've seen nothing to indicate that these anecdotes are evidence of a Democratic surge, or will lead to a surprise in the story tonight. That's not to say that there won't be a surprise, just that nothing Democratic officials are seeing actually gives them real confidence that there will be one." http://bit.ly/c7BqN9

@StoryPartners & @NJIMedia have put together quite the election-night Twitter feed: WiredElection.com

POLL CLOSINGS - 6:00 pm EST: Kentucky and Indiana. 7:00 pm: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia. 7:30 pm: West Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina. 8:00 pm: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas (some polls in Texas and South Dakota close an hour later). 8:30 pm: Arkansas. 9:00 pm: Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and Wyoming. 10:00 pm: Idaho, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, and Utah (some polls close an hour later in North Dakota). 11:00 pm: California, Nevada, Oregon (mail voting) and Washington (only Pierce county doesn't vote by mail). Midnight and after: Alaska and Hawaii.

A list of which races are being exit-polled: http://bit.ly/c6dd2n

HUFFPOST HILL ELECTION NIGHT DRINKING GAME - Take a sip every time you hear or see any of the following: A hologram. "Narrative." That awkward pause at the beginning of the hour when they're about to call a race(s) but mistimed the graphics. "Would you have thought that just X months ago we'd be here talking about Y?" "Wave." "1994." Stirring orchestral intros and outros. "Mandate." A Fox News pundit/anchor tying an obscure House race result to Iran policy. "Referendum." "This isn't about me." "Tonight we start to take America back." "Disconnect." "Let's go to the map." Any and all missed cues. "Thanks, Chuck." "Tsunami." "Speaker Boehner." "Looking ahead." Overwhelmed TV correspondents who can't hear the anchor over the din of the election party they're covering. "Pocketbook." Bill Bennett looking pleased-as-punch. "Stayed at home." "Well, [Anchor's name], voters sent a message loud and clear tonight ." "Hard-fought." Contradictory turnout reports within 30 minutes of one another. "Day of reckoning." Any time Wolf Blitzer continues to talk past the point when the average human being would need to take an in-breath. If you look in the mirror and see a Democrat.

EVEN WITH POLLS STILL OPEN, DEMOCRATIC BLAME GAME BEGINNING - Sam Stein on some Sunday evening quarterbacking: "[I]n an early salvo to manage the narrative, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee sent over results of a PPP poll it commissioned showing that likely voters in New Hampshire's 2nd district would have soundly rejected the more centrist Democratic candidate had she actually won.
PCCC, which made the election of progressive Democrat Ann Kuster its number-one priority this cycle, decided for theoretical purposes to poll not just their candidate but the one she beat in the primary, Katrina Swett, against Republican Charlie Bass...On Monday, the moderate wing of the party made a pitch for greater post-election relevance, with the group Third Way explaining that it 'is crucial for Democrats to return to the center with bold and bipartisan policy solutions that are realistic in the next Congress and resonate with moderates and Independents.'" http://huff.to/cV5aCd

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Linda Cooks of Aurora, Col. is feeling unenthusiastic about voting Tuesday after a year in which she said her hours were cut, her bank burned her when she tried to modify her mortgage and her senators ignored her when she visited Washington to lobby for legislation to make it easier to form unions. "Why even bother? They're not for us. Us working stiffs don't stand a chance," Cooks told HuffPost. "I said I would go vote, but deep in my heart, from what I've seeing, the government is not working for us, they're working for the big people." Adams County records show that Tuesday is the deadline for Cooks to pay her arrears before her house goes up for sale at a foreclosure auction. She's behind by $12,545. http://huff.to/dlILrB

President Obama will hold an East Room briefing tomorrow at 1:00 pm to discuss the election results. His predecessor already stole "thumpin'," so he'll need something new.

PERIELLO CAMPAIGN OFFICE BROKEN IN TO - Amanda Terkel: "Last night there was a break-in at Rep. Tom Perriello's (D-Va.) Charlottesville office, with the thief taking walking packets and flyers with polling place information and then distributing the materials to the wrong voters. According to Blue Virginia, which first reported the incident, the ground-floor office of the Perriello headquarters was left unattended from 2:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. During that time, someone reportedly bent a window screen, enabling him or her to "reach in and open the window." Missing from the office was a box of walking packets -- which help canvassers identify residents -- and door hangers meant to help voters identify their correct polling place." http://huff.to/9Mk5RV

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PARENTS BEATING BACK POT LEGALIZATION - HuffPost Hill rolled a few and really bored in on the polling. What emerged from the haze is that parents suck, man. When voters 40-49, the most likely to have teenage kids, answered The Field earlier in the election, pot legalization was more an idea than a reality. As an idea, the 40-49 bloc supported legalization by a 15-point margin of 53-38 in September. At the end of October, as the idea came closer to becoming a reality, that demographic flipped. A 15-point margin turned into a 13-point deficit. Nine percent remained undecided in both surveys. Moooom!!!!!

DEMOCRATIC TALKING POINTS - Via Greg Sargent: "*Democrats knew that 2010 would be an uphill battle for three reasons: 1) the party of the President historically loses seats in midterm elections; 2) too many people are looking for work or struggling to get by as a result of 8 years of irresponsible economic policies (and despite creating more private sector jobs in the last 8 months than President Bush did in 8 years); and 3) the sheer number of seats we're defending this year as a result of the successes of 2006 and 2008, including 49 Democratic Representatives on the ballot this year whose districts John McCain won in 2008. *But as a result of the hard work of the President, Democratic campaigns, the DNC, OFA, coordinated campaigns, campaign committees, and committed Democratic volunteers, our candidates are more competitive today than in previous comparative mid-term elections and in the best position possible for success. *Despite these historic and economic headwinds, Democrats are now positioned to hold onto the Senate and have prevented Republicans from yet locking down the seats they need to secure the House." http://wapo.st/bVDuea

HOW THE GOP WOULD RUN THE HOUSE - House Republicans are preparing a series of changes to House rules aimed at reversing a long-running trend that has centralized power in the hands of the speaker and concentrated activity on the House floor. By empowering rank-and-file members and the chairs of committees, GOP leadership hopes to avert an insurrection from its extreme wing and unite the party under a common banner of strict adherence to the Constitution and sharp reductions in spending. Key to the process will be a "Transition Committee" that will be announced on Wednesday, if the GOP, as expected, seizes control of the House, according to sources close to House leadership. The reform movement is designed to respond to perceived voter frustration with bills that run longer than a thousand pages and an opaque process run by leadership rather than through a transparent committee process. Bad news for members: They're going to take attendance at committee hearings. http://huff.to/absBlY

Boehner after voting: "This is going to be a big day... I think we have a real opportunity to win the majority and hopefully my colleagues will elect me Speaker."

Is Boehner up for it? "He's been thinking a long time about how he's wanted to be speaker," a former GOP leadership aide tells HuffPost Hill. "He really has not changed in the 20 years I've known him. He didn't reinvent himself like so many people. He's very secure in who he is." Says another: "The first major test that Speaker Boehner will face will be to unite his Republican Conference to navigate through the upcoming GOP Leadership Elections," said a former leadership aide in an email. "The conservative wing of the Conference (including the incoming freshmen class) will be emboldened and Mike Pence, Jeb Hensarling and RSC Members" -- the Republican Study Committee, a caucus of the more conservative elements of the party -- "could stir up some trouble."

RAND PAUL: I WILL 'CHALLENGE' MCCONNELL - Speaking on CNN's "American Morning" today, the Kentucky Senate candidate and favorite to win the seat being vacated by Jim Bunning made clear that he's basically going to be everything we expect him to be. "We will challenge him from day to day, but there will be many areas in which we agree," he said, adding, "I will be one who will say to Republicans in my party, 'We do need to stay the course and go ahead and balance our budget.'" Unclear whether said challenge will be instigated with white gloves firmly slapped across McConnell's face. http://huff.to/bglrpi

Nate Silver hedging his headlines like a boss: "House Forecast: G.O.P. Plus 54-55 Seats; Significantly Larger or Smaller Gains Possible" http://bit.ly/ariouG

GOP TO LAUNCH ATTACK ON EPA AFTER ELECTION - With copious amounts of hot air emitted during this campaign season already, now is not the time, guys. Lansing State Journal: "If the GOP wins control of the House this week, senior congressional Republicans plan to launch a blistering attack on the Obama administration's environmental policies, as well as on scientists who link air pollution to climate change. The GOP's fire will be concentrated especially on the administration's efforts to use the Environmental Protection Agency's authority over air pollution to tighten emissions controls on coal, oil and other carbon fuels that scientists say contribute to global warming. The attack, according to senior Republicans, will seek to portray the EPA as abusing its authority and damaging the economy with needless government regulations...In a recent op-ed article, Rep. Fred Upton of St. Joseph, the ranking Republican on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, declared that the GOP is preparing to 'declare war on the regulatory state.'" Via: http://ainn.ly/dBD684

CORNYN: GOP WILL 'WELCOME' LIEBERMAN PARTY SWITCH - Keenly aware of the importance of centrist senators in the 112th Congress and that Joe Lieberman would grow ten thumbs if his party's leadership grew ten eyes, the NRSC chair told Fox News that "We'd certainly welcome him or any other Democrat who wants to switch sides of the aisle and caucus with us." Dallas Morning News: http://bit.ly/ddpVFV

MICHELE BACHMANN ANGLING FOR LEADERSHIP SPOT - Oh good. Fox News: "Fox has learned that there is a 'draft Michele Bachmann' effort afoot among House conservatives (and prospective members) to move the Minnesota Republican into the leadership. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) founded the tea party caucus last year. It's thought that House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN) will step down (he's the number three in GOP leadership on the minority side...the slot would be the number four position in a GOP majority). Some establishment Republicans are suspect of Bachmann and uncomfortable with some of her ideas. And moving her into leadership could make some GOPers wince." http://bit.ly/bONq7A

CENSUS REDISTRICTING AT STAKE IN ELECTION - If it's the turn of the decade it's time for newly-mapped congressional districts that look like they were traced by the Tasmanian Devil after having a few too many. The Hill: "The outlook in most of the nation's 37 gubernatorial races isn't much better for Democrats. Republicans are expected to make big gains in the ranks of the nation's governors, with GOP hopefuls poised to win Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Nevada and Wisconsin. The GOP appears likely to hold Florida, and hopes to take Strickland's spot in Ohio. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is also spending heavily, but its task is much tougher. The DLCC is not only fighting historical trends, it's defending legislative majorities won by Democrats in conservative-leaning states and districts over the past few cycles. One bright spot for Democrats down ballot Tuesday could be Colorado, where Republican chances to take the governor's mansion took a major hit when a plagiarism scandal engulfed the party's top recruit. GOP hopes now lie with former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), who is running under the banner of the American Constitution Party but trails Democrat John Hickenlooper." http://bit.ly/aOmvgz

Expect big changes in the Foreign Relations Committee. Josh Rogin in FP: "[S]everal GOP members are looking to leave SFRC when their seniority level rises due to the influx of new Republican senators. Those said to be eyeing the exit door include Sens. Johnny Isaacson (R-GA), Bob Corker (R-TN), and Jim DeMint (R-SC)... But the conservative, anti-administration tendencies of several potential new GOP senators could make the committee's coming debates on issues like Iran, nuclear proliferation, Israel, and foreign aid a whole lot more animated. Potential new members could include candidates Jim Miller (R-AL), John Raese (R-WV), Carly Fiorina (R-CA), or Sharon Angle (R-NV)...There may be big changes on the Democratic side of the committee as well. Sens. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Ted Kaufman (D-DE) are retiring, and Sens. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) are both facing very tough challenges. Dodd and Feingold are the second- and third-ranking Democrats on the committee, respectively, and their departure could change the committee's agenda significantly." http://bit.ly/c2cU7K

ROBOCALLS CAN BE ILLEGAL - Robocalls: They don't just take up 37 seconds of your time that could otherwise be spent microwaving a $1.99 can of Chef Boyardee Beefaroni or picking your nose -- they also might violate federal law. St. Petersburg Times: "It may only be worse the next election cycle. As cell phones displace landlines in a quarter of American households, robocalls aren't just for the dinner table anymore. Especially if your cell phone is your primary number -- the one you used, say, on your voter registration form -- you may have been interrupted by a political message during a meeting or running errands. That's even though the Federal Communications Commission says it's illegal. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act doesn't allow auto-dialed or prerecorded phone calls to cell phones without permission -- even from politicians. Robocallers are supposed to weed those numbers from databases." http://bit.ly/bOKg0G

...and someone got arrested for making them! Sam Stein: "A campaign rarity occurred on Election Day, as a Republican operative was actually arrested for making illegal robocalls in South Carolina. Robert Cahaly, campaign manager for Ken Ard, the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor, had six warrants issued against him on Tuesday morning by the State Law Enforcement Division. Robocalls are illegal in South Carolina. But the law is rarely, if ever, enforced, prompting some pleasantly shocked responses from the anti-robocall community." http://huff.to/dlc0TJ

Outgoing Cah-lee-forn-ia Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger really seizing the moment: "The San Francisco Giants defeated the Texas Rangers tonight, just like California voters are going to defeat the attempts of dirty Texas oil companies to undo our clean energy laws at the polls tomorrow [Proposition 23, which would suspend the state's greenhouse gas law]." Sacramento Bee: http://bit.ly/9FMMTt

THE BEST BALLOT MEASURE?...OR THE BESTEST BALLOT MEASURE? - Sam Stein: "[V]oters are being presented with proposals like Initiated Ordinance 300 in Denver, Colorado. 'Shall the voters for the City and County of Denver adopt an Initiated Ordinance to require the creation of an extraterrestrial affairs commission to help ensure the health, safety, and cultural awareness of Denver residents and visitors in relation to potential encounters or interactions with extraterrestrial intelligent beings or their vehicles, and fund such commission from grants, gifts and donations?'" http://huff.to/a3CZol

HUFFPOST HICCUP - On Friday, we referred to Jennifer Brunner as Ohio's attorney general. She's the secretary of state. We knew that. Totally knew that.

JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: A bit chilly, but won't be that much warmer than today. It will be in the 30s, but will still remain well above freezing so your tears won't crystalize. Tomorrow: It's close, but looks strongly as if we're going to be seeing upper-50s to low-60s with sunny skies. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- Maybe a bit too late: whatthefu*khasobamadonesofar.com. http://bit.ly/bvEVyU

- Clips from "Superman" overdubbed with audio from a fifties instructional video on workplace safety. http://bit.ly/aZ3EMl

- A real contest of wits between a cat and another cat's tail. http://bit.ly/aR5eOl

- Easily the most disastrous beginning to a newscast ever. http://bit.ly/aR5eOl

- This boy got detention for farting. A local news show took notice. http://bit.ly/9GuUyO

- The greatest sandwich ever. These guys deserve a Fields Medal in delicious. http://bit.ly/bWlcay

- In advance of his new show on TBS, Conan O'Brien put on a pre-show "Show Zero." http://bit.ly/beRWo4

- A wall. MADE OF BANANAS!!!! http://bit.ly/btjZMC

- A dog and a cat, both of whom are very, very obedient. http://bit.ly/9Ac7aX

- How to brush your teeth...LIKE A MAN. http://bit.ly/cxKjHt

TWITTERAMA

@FakeAPStyleBook: As a public service, list local polling places so readers know which streets will be free of traffic.

@mikemadden: Good news for Alvin Greene campaign, no doubt // RT @LyndaOFA High turnout in the Carolinas: http://bit.ly/9gVqxH

@manwomanstatue: My opponent wants only single sex statues. ManWoman Statue supports ALL statues, even if you don't know what it is.

@rainnwilson: If you don't vote you're a dick.

@daveweigel: Sad, obvious, true: more foreclosure and for lease signs in Vegas than signs for either Senate candidate.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

7:00 pm - 11:00 pm: The PR firm Story Partners, still in its infancy, hosts its first election-night party in Kalorama Heights [Home of Gloria Dittus].

7:00 pm: The DCCC's election party -- if you want to call a ritual suicide a "party" -- will feature Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Chris Van Hollen [Liaison Hotel, 415 New Jersey Ave NW].

8:30 pm: The NRCC hosts a midterm soiree. John Boehner, Pete Sessions and Haley Barbour will be on hand. Expect lots of statements about America being taken back and about how that process begins "tonight." [Grand Hyatt Washington, 1000 H Street, NW].

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