Saturday, October 31, 2015


(This image is from

I want to wish all of my readers a very Happy Halloween! I hope you get to celebrate this wonderful (although unofficial) holiday with those you enjoy being with. Don't forget to feed plenty of candy to the ghouls, goblins, witches, and other creatures who darken your door on this night -- and be sure to save plenty of candy for yourself.

New Poll Has Majority For Clinton & Trump/Carson Leading

This is the Reuters / Ipsos Poll. It was done between October 24th and 28th of random national sample of 676 Democrats and 584 Republicans. The margin of error for Democrats is 4.3 points, and for Republicans is 4.6 points.

It's not a lot different from the other recent polls. For Democrats, Hillary Clinton has majority support (53%) -- about 20 points ahead of Bernie Sanders (33%).

For Republicans, Donald Trump leads Ben Carson by 2 points (which is within the margin of error, and are the only candidates with double-digit support. Together they have the support of a majority of Republicans (56%).


Political Cartoon is by Rob Rogers in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Majority Says Gov. Should Regulate Campaign Donations

Ever since the misguided Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United vs FEC case, there has been huge amounts of money flowing into super-PACs and other organizations to affect our elections (especially the upcoming presidential election). Some have tried to reinstate those limits on donations, but those efforts have been blocked by Republican lawmakers. They like the new unlimited funding rules, because it mostly helps their own party. In fact, some would even like to go further, and eliminate the rules on how much money can be donated directly to a candidate's campaign.

But as happens so often these days, the Republicans find themselves disagreeing with the wishes of the American public. As the chart shows, 62% of Americans think the government should regulate all campaign donations. They don't like the unlimited (and sometimes secret) money being used to influence our electoral system. Only 26% agree with those Republican officials.

This Rasmussen Poll was done on October 18th and 19th of 1,000 likely voters, and has a margin of error of 3 points.

Debate Loser

Political Cartoon is by Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Republican Voters Tell Us Who Won The Last GOP Debate

The media pundits all had their own opinion on who won last Wednesday's GOP debate, but that's not nearly as important as who the Republican voters think won the debate. And following that debate, the Gravis Marketing Poll queried 1,504 registered Republicans on who they thought won the debate. The survey has a margin of error of 2.5 points, and the results are shown in the chart above.

It looks like four candidates did themselves some good in that debate -- Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson. All four had a double-digit amount saying they won the debate (with the largest percentage going to Trump), and only a very small percentage saying they had lost.

Three candidates seem to have hurt themselves with their debate performance -- John Katich, Rand Paul, and Jeb Bush. They all had only 3% or less saying they won, while having a double-digit percentage saying they lost the debate. I expect all three to hang on for a while longer, but their campaigns seem to be fizzling out -- and if they can't turn that around soon, will have to drop out. This is especially surprising of Jeb Bush (who once was the favorite for the nomination).

Liberal Media ?

Political Cartoon is by Pat Bagley in the Salt Lake Tribune.

States With Least Strict Gun Laws Have Most Gun Deaths

The NRA and other gun-nuts like to claim that strict gun laws have nothing to do with less deaths by guns. They love to point to Illinois (where Chicago has strict gun laws but too many gun deaths). I don't know whether they are outright lying, or are just ignorant of the facts, but their premise is simply not true.

The chart above was made from numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics, as reported by CBS News. It shows the 20 states with the highest rate of gun deaths per 100,000 people (from all causes -- homicide, accidents, and suicides).

Note that these are all states with very loose gun laws (including background checks), and most are also ruled by Republicans. If the states with the least restrictive gun laws have the most gun deaths, then it becomes obvious that having stricter gun laws does reduce the number of gun deaths. The only conclusion other than that which could be is that somehow the people in these states are more prone to violence than people in the other 30 states -- and I don't believe that for even a second.

Don't believe the NRA! Gun laws do work to reduce the amount of gun deaths.

Don't misunderstand me. I do not want to take away the guns of law-abiding citizens, or prevent them from buying guns. While some of my liberal brothers and sisters disagree with me, I believe the Constitution does guarantee law-abiding citizens that right. But it is not an unlimited right, and the Supreme Court has ruled that certain dangerous people can be prevented from owning a gun.

One effective thing we can do to reduce gun deaths of all kinds is to plug the loopholes in our background check law for those wanting to buy a gun. This is supported by around 90% of the population (including gun owners) -- and it would prevent terrorists, criminals, and other dangerous people from legally buying a gun. Currently 40% of the guns bought in the U.S. each year are bought without any kind of background check. That is ridiculous, and it's something we must fix (regardless of what the NRA and gun manufacturers want).


Political Cartoon is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.


Friday, October 30, 2015


Texas Is Number One (In The Number Of Uninsured Children)

Texas is number one in another statistic, but it is not one that any Texan should be proud of at all. Texas leads the nation in the number of children that have no health insurance coverage -- about 783,938 children. That's far more than any other state, and makes up about 17.8% of all uninsured children in the entire United States. Let me put that another way -- Texas has nearly one out of every five uninsured children in this country!

California is second with 497,090 (over a quarter of a million less uninsured children than Texas. And since California has a significantly larger population than Texas (about 12 million more people), it has an uninsured percentage of children at 5.4% -- while the percentage of uninsured children in Texas is a whopping 11% (or more than one out of every 10 children).

Those are shameful statistics, and in no way can they be justified. How can this be? It is because Texas is ruled by ultra-right-wing Republicans who care only for the rich (and are perfectly willing to throw poor children under the bus so the rich and the corporations won't have to pay taxes). Texas has no income tax, and the taxes they do have are very regressive (meaning the poor, working, and middle classes must pay a much larger percentage of their income in taxes than the rich and corporations pay).

The Republicans call this the Texas "miracle". I call it the Texas "shame" -- and I have never been more embarrassed to be a life-long Texan than I am right now, because it doesn't have to be this way.

These numbers on uninsured children are from the new report by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute's Center for Children and Families. You can go to their website to see how your state measures up.

A Break From Reality

Political Cartoon is by Pat Bagley in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Clinton Still maintains A Large Lead Over Her Opponents

These charts were made from information in the latest YouGov Poll -- done between October 23rd and 27th of a random national sample of 2,000 adults, and has a margin of error of 3 points.

It has Hillary Clinton keep a large 32 point lead over her nearest opponent, Bernie Sanders. It also has Donald Trump maintaining his lead among Republicans -- with a 14 point lead over Ben Carson and a 21 point lead over Marco Rubio (the only other candidates with double-digit support).

The chart below shows which candidates the general public thinks can win the 2016 election for president. Hillary Clinton leads the pack with 74% -- 20 points over Donald Trump, 25 points over Bernie Sanders, 28 points over Ben Carson and Jeb Bush, and 34 points over Marco Rubio.

Saying Idiotic Things

Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.

Fiorina Debate Blunder Insures She Will Never Be President

(This caricature of Carly Fiorina is by DonkeyHotey.)

It seems that most of the GOP candidates think the path to the White House lies in demonizing the media (as they happily did in Wednesday's third GOP debate). I can understand why they would want to do that. They lack any solutions to the nation's problems -- still relying on the failed "trickle-down" economic policy and the more war foreign policy. They refuse to admit that both of those policies have been disastrous for the country, and would prefer to put the blame on the media for not praising their failures.

But I think one candidate stood out in stupidity during the debate, and in doing so probably ended any slim chance she might have had to become this nation's president. That candidate is Carly Fiorina. She did that by attacking two of the most popular things the federal government has ever done -- Social Security and the minimum wage. And she showed her complete lack of understanding about our Constitution by claiming that both were actually unconstitutional. She said:

“There is no Constitutional role for the federal government in setting up retirement plans. There is no Constitutional role for the federal government to be setting minimum wages.” 

She doesn't seem to care that the Supreme Court has ruled both Social Security and the minimum wage to be constitutional -- ignoring the fact that the Constitution gives the federal government the right "to lay and collect taxes" and to "provide for the. . .general welfare of the United States". Surely, allowing workers to invest in a government program that will insure they don't have to live in abject poverty when they retire, and insuring that those who are willing to work a full-time job don't have to live in poverty, are programs that insure the general welfare of this country.

She also ignores the fact that both of these government efforts have been largely successful. Before Social Security was enacted, over 50% of the nation's senior lived in poverty. Now that figure has been reduced to about 10% (and with an expansion of benefits could be even lower). The minimum wage gave workers a livable level of income. That has been eroded by government inaction and needs to be raised now, but Fiorina is in that group of far-right Republicans who would not only not raise the minimum wage, but would eliminate it altogether -- a move that would insure millions of working Americans must live in poverty (and put a downward pressure on the wages of all American workers).

She shows us that she simply doesn't care for Americans that are not rich. But that is not an attitude that the general public in this country will tolerate. A hefty majority of Americans support both Social Security and the minimum wage. Poll after poll has shown that the public wants Social Security protected (and oppose any cuts to the program). And those polls also show that the public wants the minimum wage raised. The debate is not over whether the minimum wage should exist, but over how much it should be raised (and a significant majority would like it raised to at least $10 and hour).

Fiorita's ridiculous assertion that Social Security and the minimum wage are unconstitutional might win her some support among far-right-wing Republicans, but it is not going to fly with the general public. And you can bet if she were to somehow win the GOP nomination, the Democrats would make sure every American voter knows that she opposes Social Security and the minimum wage (and would be happy to do away with both). That would kill any chance of being elected. Americans are simply not going to vote for anyone who would kill Social Security and the minimum wage.


Political Cartoon is by Keith Knight at Daily Kos.

Giving Stuff Away

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Boehner's Parting Gift To America -- A Two-Year Budget Deal

The caricature above, by DonkeyHotey, is of the primary architects of the new budget (and debt ceiling bill) -- but I believe one played a more important part than the others. That person is John Boehner. I haven't had many good things to say about Speaker Boehner in the last two years, but I believe he stepped up in the "lame duck" days of his speakership and did something a lot of his Republican cohorts are loathe to do -- he compromised for the good of the country.

Boehner could have set back and let the new Speaker (Paul Ryan) deal with the debt ceiling and budget, and that would either have resulted in problems for Ryan or a shutdown of the federal government (following a default). He didn't do that. He tossed the "Hastert Rule" out the window (which said no bill could come to the House floor without majority Republican support), and reached out to House Democrats to help him pass the new budget.

And he did get it passed -- on a 266 to 167 vote (where 79 Republicans joined 187 Democrats to approve the budget bill, while all 167 "no" votes came from Republicans. In getting the bill to the floor and passed, Boehner also accomplished some other things. He gave Paul Ryan time to establish himself as Speaker before taking on issues as tough as the debt ceiling and budget. He saved his party from being blamed for a government shutdown in the next election. And he gave one last poke in the eye to the Freedom caucus (i.e., teabagger reps) -- the group responsible for his ouster. I suspect he may have especially enjoyed the latter.

Is this a good budget bill? No. But it is probably the best compromise that could be accomplished, and it's a lot better than I thought could be done. Neither side is happy with the bill, and both sides get some of what they wanted -- and that probably means it's a good compromise. The Democrats get an additional $80 billion in the bill, and the Republicans get to spend half of that $80 billion on defense (with most probably going to corporations in the military-industrial complex).

The best part of the bill is that both the debt ceiling and the budget is settled for the rest of President Obama's term in office. The debt ceiling won't have to be dealt with again until the Spring of 2017, and the budget is good through September of 2017.

I think kudos are also in order for President Obama -- who was willing to compromise, but stood firm on rejecting an austerity budget from the Republicans. Thanks to President Obama (and Speaker Boehner), we now have a budget bill that is not perfect, but is one both sides can live with -- and that's a pretty remarkable accomplishment.

The bill must now be approved by the Senate, and Rand Paul has already said he will filibuster it. But Majority Leader McConnell doesn't want a shutdown (which is the alternative to passing this bill), and I don't think he'll have any trouble getting the 60 votes needed to end that filibuster.


Political Cartoon is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

North & South Carolina Presidential Polls For Both Parties

Two new state polls have been released on the presidential race.

The first is the Public Policy Polling survey -- done between October 23rd and 25th of a random sample of North Carolina voters -- 425 Republican voters and 421 Democratic voters. The margin of error for both parties was 4.8 points.

The second is the Clemson University Palmetto Poll -- done between October 13th and 23rd of 600 South Carolina voters in each party, and has a margin of error of 4 points.

Both of these Southern states have Hillary Clinton with a substantial lead over Bernie Sanders (her closest opponent -- 37 points in North Carolina and and an equal 37 points in South Carolina. South Carolina does show a substantial percentage of voters that are currently unsure, but that doesn't denigrate Clinton's huge lead. She would only need another 8 points to reach a clear majority, while Sanders would need an additional 45 points. Clinton already has a 61% majority in North Carolina.

Both states also give Donald Trump a lead, although far from a majority. He leads Ben Carson by 8 points in North Carolina and by 4 points in South Carolina. The only other candidate to reach double-digit support in North Carolina was Marco Rubio at 11% (20 points behind Trump). No other candidate reached double-digits in South Carolina.

No Good Answer

Political Cartoon is by Tom Toles in The Washington Post.

Florida Newspaper Calls For Rubio To Resign From Senate

Recent reports from some individuals close to Marco Rubio (caricatured at left by DonkeyHotey) say he hates his job as a senator. That's believable when you consider all the Senate votes he has missed while running for president -- about 59 votes.

Some might say he needed to miss those votes because he is currently running to be the GOP presidential nominee -- but that is a rather disingenuous argument. Other senators running for president have not missed anywhere near that many votes.

For instance, Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul have only missed 10 votes -- and they are running at least as credible campaigns as is Rubio (and in Sanders case, probably a much more credible campaign).

And this rather cavalier attitude toward his Senate duties has not been ignored by those in his home state. In fact, one newspaper (South Florida Sun-Sentinel) is calling for Rubio to resign his Senate seat. Here is that paper's editorial on the subject:

After five years in the U.S. Senate, Marco Rubio does not like his job. A long-time friend told The Washington Post "he hates it." Rubio says hate might be too strong a word, but he sure acts like he hates his job.
Rubio has missed more votes than any other senator this year. His seat is regularly empty for floor votes, committee meetings and intelligence briefings. He says he's MIA from his J-O-B because he finds it frustrating and wants to be president, instead.
"I'm not missing votes because I'm on vacation," he told CNN on Sunday. "I'm running for president so that the votes they take in the Senate are actually meaningful again."
Sorry, senator, but Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job. We've got serious problems with clogged highways, eroding beaches, flat Social Security checks and people who want to shut down the government.

If you hate your job, senator, follow the honorable lead of House Speaker John Boehner and resign it.
Let us elect someone who wants to be there and earn an honest dollar for an honest day's work. Don't leave us without one of our two representatives in the Senate for the next 15 months or so.
You are paid $174,000 per year to represent us, to fight for us, to solve our problems. Plus you take a $10,000 federal subsidy — declined by some in the Senate — to participate in one of the Obamacare health plans, though you are a big critic of Obamacare.
You are ripping us off, senator.
True, it's not easy to raise money and run a presidential campaign while doing your day job. But two other candidates — Sens. Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders — have missed only 10 Senate votes during their campaigns for the White House. You, on the other hand, have missed 59, according to a tally by Politico. This includes votes on the Keystone pipeline, the Export-Import Bank and trade, to name just a few.
It is unpersuasive — and incredible, really — that you say your vote doesn't matter. "Voting is not the most important part of the job," you told CNN.
And it is unconscionable that when it comes to intelligence matters, including briefings on the Iran nuclear deal, you said, "we have a staffer that's assigned to intelligence who gets constant briefings."
And you want us to take you seriously as a presidential candidate?
Two weeks ago, you took to the Senate floor to excoriate federal workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs for failing to do their jobs. You said, "there is really no other job in the country where if you don't do your job, you don't get fired."
With the exception of your job, right?
Look, a lot us are frustrated by our jobs and office politics. But we still show up for work every day to earn a paycheck.
By choosing to stay in the Senate and get the publicity, perks and pay that go with the position — without doing the work — you are taking advantage of us.
Jeb Bush is right to call you out. "What are high standards worth if we don't apply them to ourselves?" our former governor said in August. "Consider a pattern in Congress of members who sometimes seem to regard attendance and voting as optional — something to do as time permits."
Your job is to represent Floridians in the Senate.
Either do your job, Sen. Rubio, or resign it.

Democracy Recalled

Political Cartoon is by Jen Sorensen at


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Exercise For The Mind

Trump And Carson Each Lead In Dueling National Polls

The top chart is from the CBS News / New York Times Poll -- done between October 21st and 25th of a random national sample of 575 Republican primary voters, with a margin of error of 6 points.

The other two charts on this page are from the Morning Consult Poll -- done between October 22nd and 25th. They queried 714 Republicans (margin of error 3.66 points) and 688 Democrats (margin of error 3.7 points).

It looks like the Republican presidential race could be getting interesting. These two polls have different GOP leaders. The Morning Consult Poll has Trump with a 15 point lead nationally, while the CBS/NYT Poll has Carson leading by 4 points. Which is correct? I don't know -- but it could mean that Trump is not the lock that many were beginning to think.

Meanwhile, the survey of Democrats shows Hillary Clinton with a rather large 27 point lead nationally over Bernie Sanders.


Political Cartoon is by Tom Stiglich at

The Republicans Continue To Lie About Social Security

I am getting sick and tired of Republican officials lying about Social Security. I was watching C-SPAN yesterday, and in an interview, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma) made the statement that they were going to have to eventually tackle "entitlements" because Social Security and Medicare were the "biggest drivers of the debt and deficit". He's not the only Republican saying that. It's a typical talking point for Republicans.

Let me be clear -- what he said was A LIE! Social Security has never added a penny to the federal deficit or the national debt. That's because it is not funded by taxes through the U.S. Treasury, and therefore is NOT a part of the discretionary budget. Social Security is paid wholly through a payroll tax that goes into the Social Security Trust Fund -- and that fund has always been able to fully pay all Social Security benefits (without borrowing any money from the discretionary budget (paid for by income and other taxes).

And the Social Security Trust Fund can continue paying full benefits until about 2033. After that, it could continue paying at least 80% of benefits (if nothing is done). Raising or eliminating the cap on income subject to the Social Security tax (FICA payroll tax) would eliminate that problem, and fully fund Social Security far into the future.  But even after 2033, even if nothing is done, Social Security will still not add a single penny to the deficit or the debt!

What is Cole really talking about then? Starting about the Reagan administration, the federal government (Congress) began to borrow money from the Social Security Trust Fund, and by now they have borrowed trillions from that fund. They borrowed that money so they could give tax cuts to the rich.  Now they are faced with paying all that money back (without enough tax revenue) -- and that is driving up the deficit and the debt. The deficit is not the fault of Social Security. It is the fault of Republicans -- who cut taxes too much (for the rich), who borrowed too much, and who failed to pay for two very expensive (and continuing wars.

Now they say they must cut benefits and raise the retirement age for Social Security. The problem is that those "solutions" will not fix either the deficit or the debt. They must still pay back the money they borrowed from the Social Security Trust Fund, and cutting benefits or raising the retirement age will do noting to affect either the deficit or the debt.

Why then are they telling this lie (repeatedly)? The simple answer is that the Republicans have always hated the Social Security program. They voted against it when it was proposed, and they have tried to kill it many times since. They know now how popular it is with the voters, so they are lying to try and convince voters it is causing a huge debt (which it is not) and about to go bankrupt (which it is not). If they can convince voters that these lies are real, then they can start chipping away at the program until it is useless (and doesn't work anymore) -- and then they'll have their excuse to do away with the program (which is what they really want).

Don't believe the Republican LIES! Social Security works. It has reduced poverty among seniors from over 50% to less than 10%. If anything, the Social Security benefits need to be expanded so the program will work even better.

New Scare

Political Cartoon is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

New Iowa Poll Shows Hillary Clinton With A Huge Lead

Yesterday, I showed you the Monmouth University Poll for Iowa Republicans -- which showed that Carson is besting Trump in that state. Now Monmouth has released the survey of Iowa Democrats. It was done between October 22nd and 25th of a random sample of 400 voters likely to attend an Iowa Democratic caucus, and has a 4.9 point margin of error.

The poll shows Hillary Clinton with a solid lead in Iowa. That was no surprise. The surprise was the size of the lead she has over Bernie Sanders -- about 41 points (65% to 24%). Clinton has had a very good month, but I didn't expect it had been this good!

I don't know if her lead is really this large, but it does seem to verify that Iowa is solidly back in the Clinton column.

New Speaker

Political Cartoon is by Rob Rogers in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Texas Must Fix Its Poor Workers' Compensation Law

The chart above shows the difference between the average payment for loss of a body part due to a work accident in both the United States and Texas. Note that reimbursement in Texas is significantly lower than in the United States as a whole. That is primarily because companies in Texas are not required to be a part of the state's workers' compensation system. This is a flaw in the law that needs to be rectified. All businesses should be required to be in the system.

I don't often agree with the Dallas Morning News (a traditionally conservative newspaper), but I do agree with their stand on the state workers' compensation system. Here is their most recent editorial on this issue:

So how much is a disabled arm worth? Depending on whether your company is in Texas’ workers' compensation system or has bailed out, the answer could be anywhere from $100,000-plus to zilch.
Workers, however, won’t discover this injustice until they’re in dire need of medical help. Joe Becker, an Abilene trucker who herniated several discs in his back in 2012, worked for a company that had opted out of the state-run system. His benefits ended after two years, much sooner than they would have had his employer remained in the state system. Left to fend for himself, he’s now on the edge of being homeless.
Becker is one of many paying a steep price because their employer jettisoned the state’s workers comp system, according to an extensive analysis by ProPublica and NPR. Their findings, published in The Dallas Morning News last week, should give pause to other states considering similar measures.
Until recently, Texas had been the only state that didn’t mandate that companies be in the workers compensation system. Now Oklahoma allows companies to opt out, and Tennessee and South Carolina are considering similar measures. Texas lawyer Bill Minick, who runs an injured-worker consultancy called PartnerSource, is leading a national effort, along with several major companies, to get opt-out laws passed in a dozen states within the next decade.
This opt-out initiative may seem good for companies, but it’s problematic for workers. When Texas lawmakers last tried to reform the workers comp system in 2005, this newspaper advocated that lawmakers require companies to participate in the workers comp system. Lawmakers made other fixes, but the opt-out provision remained.
The ProPublica and NPR study underscores our concerns. They found that injured workers received lower benefits, faced more restrictions and had little recourse for denied medical aid if their employer had abandoned the workers compensation system. In some instances, injured workers could lose coverage if they violated safety rules, failed to seek help with a task, showed up late to medical appointments or even consulted their personal doctor.
Minick says opt-out systems save companies 40 to 90 percent because there are lower costs per claim, injured employees return to work faster and fewer claims are disputed. Whether injured workers get the benefits they need remains in dispute, however.
As a state, Texas must do more to make sure injured workers receive the treatment they need. The state-run system is far from perfect, but having more companies leave the system doesn’t seem to be the solution. Helping injured workers get back on their feet is a social contract. Financial concerns are important, but so, too, is the health of injured workers.
Texas needs to fix the workers comp system, and lawmakers should reconsider mandating employer participation. And let Texas’ experience serve as a lesson to others states considering opt outs.
The system must be strong, but it must also be fair.

Terminator (With Revised Weapon)

Political Cartoon is by Pat Bagley in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Religion / Peace

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Comfort Of The Rich

Teabagger Support Has Sharply Declined In Last Five Years

This is a bit of good news for this country. A new poll shows that the teabagger support has significantly declined in the United States. That support was at its height in 2010, when about 28% of the general population said they supported the teabagger movement. But in 2015, that support has dropped to only 17% -- a drop of 11 points.

And it isn't just in the general population that the support has dropped. Among Republicans the support has dropped from 52% to 38% (a 14 point drop) and among those leaning Republican the support has dropped from 52% to 23% (a 19 point drop). There has also been a 21 point drop among conservative Republicans, and a 15 point drop among moderate Republicans.

However, don't take that to mean the teabaggers no longer have any power. They do -- especially within the Republican Party. About 38% of Republicans consider themselves teabaggers, and that's a big enough percentage to have an effect on who the Republicans nominate for president. And that 38% is enthusiastic. They will show up at the polls in large numbers (even if the moderate or establishment Republicans do not). They may or may not be able to elect a teabagger nominee (like Trump or Cruz), but they will surely move the eventual nominee far to the right.

This could be good for the United States -- that the teabaggers are still strong in the Republican Party. Because if they push the GOP nominee too far to the right, it will make it easier for the Democratic nominee to win. That's because the American electorate is pretty moderate (like that or not), and they don't like extremist candidates from the left or the right.

The numbers in the chart above are from a new Gallup Poll -- done between October 7th and 11th of a random national sample of 1,014 adults, with a 4 point margin of error.

The Hearing

Political Cartoon is by Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.