Blogging will be suspended until next week, as RS undergoes an upgrade.
Quarterbacking at Notre Dame is not about records. (Brady Quinn set 17 school records this year.) It is not about yardage or touchdown passes. (Quinn's new records include several in both categories.) Quarterbacking at Notre Dame is about winning, and tonight Brady Quinn made his biggest mark yet in the annals of Notre Dame football.
Acting New Jersey Governor Dick Codey has taken himself out of consideration for the Senate seat being vacated by Governor-elect Jon Corzine. The departure leaves Corzine a bunch of options who run close races against the sole Republican (INO) declared candidate Tom Kean. Kean and his potential opponents seem to create a typical New Jersey statewide race minus the GOP Primary fight. While Kean has fared reasonably well in recent polls, New Jersey remains extremely difficult to win for the GOP, even when the candidate is hardly a Republican by national standards. Expect a fairly typical race in which conservatives are turned off, the Republican establishment shows public optimism, and, in the end, the Democrat nominee wins fairly handily.
for the GOP, that is. According to a Strategic Vision poll released today, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard is within 14 points of Sen. Debbie Stabenow. His primary opponents, Keith Butler and Jerry Zandstra, who have been campaigning for the better party of a year, trail Stabenow by 19 and 25 points respectively. Perhaps most encouraging, though, is the fact that Bouchard holds Stabenow to 45 points.
Senior Day at Notre Dame Stadium was, for the first time in several years, what it is supposed to be, a celebration of a strong season, including a big win that day. The pre-game hype for the occasion tightened up the Irish offense, which was held scoreless in the first quarter for the first time this year. The defense, however, played lights out from kickoff. The anemic Syracuse offense scored just three points before Charlie Weis emptied the bench. After a slow start, the Irish offense came to life, opening up a 14-3 halftime lead. All doubt about the outcome was erased by sophomore nickleback Leo Ferrine's pick-6 on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. During the game, Brady Quinn became the first quarterback in Irish history to throw for more than 3000 yards in a season, adding to the several new marks he has set throughout the year. A win over Stanford next week would all but assure the Irish a spot in a BCS bowl.
Like two heavyweights sizing each other up after the bell, both sides released their first ads in the fight over the Alito Confirmation. As the Post article said, none of the ads are intended to deal a knockout blow. Instead, they are intended to assess weaknesses, opportunities, and the responsiveness of the targeted Senators.
B4b has the goods. The Tennessee Senate race pits two conservatives, former Rep. Ed Bryant and former Rep. Van Hilleary, against flip-flopper Bob Corker. Both Bryant and Hilleary have bonifed conservative credentials, but it was Bryant who served as a pro-life leader during his time in the House. While both have lost statewide races, Bryant lost a primary to now-Senator Lamar Alexander while Hilleary lost a general election to now-Gov. Phil Bredesen. Hilleary ran a less-than-stellar campaign and now appears to be running for whatever he can get.
Today, Senate Democrats proposed a resolution calling for transition in Iraq to native control and the withdrawal of US troops. The proposal could be best described as "silly", as it demonstrated a fundamental lack of understanding of what is entailed in bringing about stability in the reborn nation. The President has rightly and repeatedly said that we will be there as long as it takes and no longer. The transition continues, but so do the terrorist attacks, and it is ridiculous to impose an arbitrary withdrawal of troops on the Commander in Chief. While he has bungled one domestic policy after another, the President is among the few who has shown an understanding that things are going about as one could have expected, and that it is far more dangerous to allow terrorists to dictate the timeframe for withdrawal than to see the mission through and ensure stability in the new and free Iraq.
In the latest failure by NRSC head Elizabeth Dole, former West Virginia University basketball coach Gale Catlett announced on Friday that he will not challenge Sen. Robert KKK Byrd next year. The announcement leaves the 88 year old Senator just one remaining viable foe in his eighth reelection bid, death. Those who have seen him recently report that Byrd has seemed increasingly frail. It surely comes as a relief to the DSCC that he will not be forced to campaign at all and that he can instead focus on maintaining a pulse until Election Day. The death v. Byrd race against death could be among the most interesting of 2006.
This week, two primary challengers, one potential one actual, ended any talk of their candidacies. In Utah, state Rep. Steve Urquhart abandoned his short-lived bid to take out Sen. Orrin Hatch, a frequent thorn in the side of conservatives. Urquhart planned to run a different type of campaign, focusing on volunteer efforts to get his message across. Unfortunately, though, political reality set in as he failed to meet the low expectations he set for his fundraising. The need for cash is simply a reality, and Urquhart simply did not have a realistic plan for raising what he would have needed for this uphill battle. Urquhart's departure ensures Hatch's reelection.
In light of the Kaine win in the Virginia gubernatorial election, Sen. Chuck Schumer is now saying that he will "look 'very carefully'"at a challenge to Sen. George Allen. Unfortunately for Schumer, the only Democrat who had any chance of defeating Allen already declined to run, rightly recognizing the fact that, even for him, it would be a major risk. Kilgore was not Allen, and the potential Democrat candidates are not Tim Kaine.
Over at NRO, John Miller summarizes the competitive 2006 Senate races. So I'll take the opportunity to do likewise.
Sen. Jon Corzine's thumping of Doug Forrester has put the New Jersey Senate race in play. Corzine now has the opportunity to choose his successor, something that must not be taken lightly. Many think that Corzine has his eyes on the Presidency, and this opportunity will prove a double-edged sword. He can reach out to Hispanics by tapping Rep. Robert Menendez or, more likely, he will look to please the Democrat establishment by selecting the man whom he will be replacing, acting Gov. Dick Codey, whom the Democrats consider their strongest candidate.
Pretty well outside of the Buckeye state, though I did underestimate the support of third-party candidates:
There's good news for Maryland Lt. Gov Michael Steele. A Baltimore Sun poll shows Kweisi Mfume within 2 points of Rep. Ben Cardin in the Democrat Primary, trailing 30-28. The large number of undecideds is encouraging news for Mfume, whom some thought may have turned off too many voters with his racist tendencies. In spite of finishing the third quarter will less than $100,000 in the bank, Mfume has managed to remain competitive.
Obviously this blog is devoted primarily to the Senate, but since today is Election Day, some predictions are in order:
Having repeatedly aggravated his base, Sen. Mike DeWine has once again opened the Pandora's box he calls a mouth and backed off of his earlier statement that he would vote for the Byrd option should the Democrats mount a filibuster of Judge Alito. The most recent flip-flop comes after a Columbus Dispatch poll was taken late last month, showing DeWine polling in the low-30s against both of his potential opponents. DeWine has managed to collect more enemies than Imelda Markos collected shoes. It is only thanks to the corruption of Gov. Taft that he is not the least popular politician in the state.
Notre Dame became bowl eligable today, dropping the Tennessee Volunteers 41-21. The game looked like it would be over almost as soon as it started, as the Irish jumped up by two touchdowns less than ten minutes in. Then the offence went into remission, not scoring again until early in the fourth quarter. While Brady Quinn had another stellar performace, completing 20/33 for 295 yards and 3 touchdowns, safety Tom Zbikowski's performance was worthy of player of the game honors. Five minutes into the second quarter, Zbikowski returned a punt 79 yards, weaving through the holes left by his blockers. Later, he put the nail in Tennessee's coffin, picking off an Eric Ainge pass and taking it back thirty-three yards. Look for the Irish to move up 3-4 spots in the BCS, as Virginia Tech, UCLA, Florida State, and Wisconsin all lost. Next week, the Irish sink Navy.
Snarlin' Arlen Specter, whom Sen. Samuel Mudd bailed out of political extinction, announced today that the Judiciary Committee's hearings on Judge Samuel Alito will not be held until January. History has taught that time is the enemy of Supreme Court nominations. The left now has the opportunity to exploit its monetary advantage by spending the next three months throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Alito. We know their tactics. We know their lack of any sense of fair play.
After entering and leaving the Michigan Senate race earlier this year, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard has reentered the race, having dealt with the health issues that forced him out of the race earlier this year. This comes as good news, as reverends Keith Butler and Jerry Zandstra have struggled to catch fire. Recent polls show both trailing Stabenow by 20+ points.