“Vigol had beaten up a tax collector and burned his house”
-The tea party motto
Following the fiscal cliff votes, Steny Hoyer announced that Speaker Boehner would not put the Senate passed H.R. 1 Hurricane Sandy relief bill on the floor in this Congress. Now I was not particularly mad about this, as it will surely be passed in the first week or two of the next Congress, but one thing really pissed me off. The presiding chair of the House, Representative Steve Womack of Arkansas’ 3rd District, heard a motion to adjourn the House until Wednesday, following very heated pleas of politicians whose constituents were affected by the hurricane. As an ardent observer of parliamentary procedure, I listened as the motion to adjourn was heard. Womack spoke: “All those in favor say ‘aye’” which was followed by two, maybe three ‘ayes’. Womack continued: “All those opposed, say ‘nay’”, which was followed by the loudest cocaphony of ‘nays’ I have heard in quite some time; possibly 30-40 pleas to remain in session and discuss the issue. Quite suprisingly, Womack hesitated for a moment, looked around, then concluded: “the yeas have it, the House is adjourned…” I was left quite angry. In fact, all I kept saying to myself is, “wow, that is really unethical. I cannot believe he just did that.”
The chair of House proceedings is chosen by the Speaker of the House to act in his absence (which is most of the time). They are generally loyalists, good orators (like Kevin Yoder) and they are expected do their party’s bidding. When it is close, it is the prerogative of the chair to rule as he will, even if he knows his side has not reached the two-thirds threshold (fair enough). However, When two-thirds are not in the affirmative, and it is extremely evident, it is not uncommon for the presiding chair to rule against his party, which usually just means a recorded vote must occur. I have seen this in both parties, as Charlie Bass has done it against the GOP, and Jose Serrano did (laughingly) against Dems when they were in the majority. Unfortunately, Representative Womack clearly ruled against the majority in a blatant, unethical manner. With his position on the Appropriations Committee, it is clear he is a loyalist to leadership, but not matter what outcome may be desired, the will of the House cannot be denied. On an issue as heated as disaster relief, with a bipartisan desire to provide assistance, it is quite detestable for the presiding chair to conduct House business in this manner.
I watched as he left the podium and was approached by a fellow Republican. Womack extended his hand to shake hands after a long day of legislating, only to be denied by a clearly perturbed Congressman. A Democratic Representative briskly walked across the floor to give Womack a piece of his mind, only to have the C-SPAN feed cut out. I would have liked to see that interaction.
I will remember this throughout Womack’s time in Congress. As someone who has shunned the integrity of parliamentary pocedure, Womack’s unethical behavior will now live in infamy.
Considering how this man illegally financed his 9 million dollar Senate campaign with his disproportionately high severance pay from his old company, it does not surprise me that this man acts like he has all the answers. After all, he is where he is because of distorting Russ Feingold’s record and going negative, millions of dollars after millions of dollars (by the way, had that election occurred in a Presidential year, even one where a Republican won, Feingold would have won). Anyway, the amount of times Johnson uses revisionist economics, such as saying the Bush tax cuts and unfunded wars only accounted for 25% of the debt (neglecting to include Medicare Part D). In fact, nearly all of the pre-recession deficit was a result of those three factors, with larger economic forces such as health care inflation driving much of government spending (what is Johnson’s plan to lower health care costs? Other than tort reform and buying coverage across state lines?).
Anyway, there seems to be a fundamental fallacy that Johnson espouses frequently, which is that taxes are a punishment for being successful. If this is what someone believes, than why wouldn’t he propose an abolition of taxes? That’s right, because corny capitalism likes government contracts and defense spending, which Johnson is adamantly for. Johnson is one of the most ideological, nonsensical legislators currently in the Senate. He will not be reelected as part of the Scott Walker cohort, as major distinctions can be made between Walker’s brand of conservative legislative prowess, and Johnson’s inability to pass anything of import. Johnson’s committment to obstructionism, elitism, and condescension embody the worst aspects of the GOP, and politicians as a whole.
In a highly rehearsed confirmation hearing for the next Commander of the Afghanistan War, prospective nominee Joseph Dunford repeated platitudes of idealism relating to troop draw-downs and the ability of Afghanistan’s army to takeover the security mission within the country. I guess I should not expect anyone in the military to respond with honesty and candor, especially in a rehearsed committee hearing, but seriously, when do military men ever realize a mission cannot be fulfilled. Would any elected official be privy to a General’s apprehensions about a policy of war, if they even had such apprehensions?
It is tiring to think after 11 years the USA is still occupying a country that no single nation or foreign entity has ever successfully made to capitulate. Of all people, John McCain, the perennial hawk, is questioning whether the General is aware of enough to assume head command. Who knows what his motivation is, but at least McCain should realize this nominee will not decide the overarching policy in the area, as that comes from the White House. Listening a little further, McCain essentially claims the mission cannot be accomplished with the current draw-down timetable, but he is neither confident that if we stayed, that we have the strategy to fulfill the mission.
What will Afghanistan look like in 20 years?
I did not pay much attention to this uncompetitive race, but when I saw a non-partisan prognosticator claiming Ted Cruz is a future superstar in national politics, I decided to check out some of the debates between Cruz and his Democratic opponent Paul Sadler. Before I checked out these debates, I knew the election result. Cruz won 56.6% to Sadler’s 40.5% vote share. I thought, hmm, a Tea Partier winning well, but not impressively, a state where Romney won with 57% of the vote. Coming into the debate, I had heard Cruz was an expert debater. What I found did not quite conform to that view. He is methodical and premise oriented, which creates clear logical arguments, but in debate, premised arguments rely on factual efficacy. Much of what Cruz claimed throughout the debate were simply ordered talking points that mirror the Tea Party (and nowadays, GOP) mantras. Cruz’s delivery is understated, unoffensive, and yet, the crux of his policies would leave many people who might have voted for him in a worse position. He is an intelligent, educated man, but that begs the question, why does he hold his extreme views?
However, the revelation of these debates, and my belated viewing of them, was actually the sincere and effective manner in which Cruz’s opponent discussed issues. Even though Sadler would often admit, “maybe I am not explaining this as well as I need to,” the fact is, Sadler was more honest and straight with the voters of Texas. Where Cruz would avoid addressing what to do with current undocumented immigrants, or the DREAM Act, or balancing the budget, Sadler pinned himself to clear policy positions that he could work toward from day one. Now I do not know the baggage Sadler has, and I have been aware that he was not a first tier candidate, (as that candidate, former Army Lieutenant General Richardo Sanchez, dropped out), but his truthful and sincere approach very much impressed me. I could see him working to fix problems. Now for Texas, he may a liberal, but in national politics he would be a firm moderate, and the Senate needs many more of them to forge a new bipartisan way.
Too bad Sadler lost. I guess one of the Castro brothers will face Cruz in 2018, which by then, Texas will be an embryonic swing state.
Also, a word about Cruz. He now joins the extreme right faction of the Senate, and he and Mike Lee will construct a plethora of reactionary bills that most GOP voters would not even support. However, given Cruz’s education and background, I wonder if he, and possibly Marco Rubio, may change their tune at some point and move toward the middle. If these two Senators did that, they might contribute to the GOP becoming a next generation party, and thus ensure the GOP maintains its place in our two-party system. Cruz is the kind of politician who may never change, and may simply dig his heels in, but if he sees the light, he may be “a future superstar in national politics.”
A few thoughts:
Why not pile everything in at the end? The Sixth Party System likes handicapping as much as the next person, so let’s get to it:
Election Landscape: 21 Democrats, 10 Republicans, 2 Independents; 23 Dem caucus members versus 10 GOP.
Overall Senate Landscape: 51D to 47R to 2I (53D to 47R)
Arizona (retiring R)-Jeff Flake (R) versus Richard Carmona (D):
Flake is too odd to be a sure fire victor, which, coupled with Richard Carmona’s positioning as a right of center candidate, leads me to believe Carmona will win. He is one of the strongest localized candidates the Dems have recruited in a decade. His strategy will lay the groundwork for a further Dem penetration into red, Midwestern and Western territory.
Estimate: Carmona wins, 49.3% to 48.9% D+1 R-1
California (D incumbent)-Dianne Feinstein (D) versus Elizabeth Emken (R):
Feinstein is invincible in California, for one, she is to the right of Boxer (and most Democrats), which allows her to win a significant amount of voters in the Central Valley and Greater San Diego area. Secondly, she maintains liberal support based on her legacy in San Francisco following the Harvey Milk and Mayor Mascone. The base has not been pleased with her conservative ways in quite some time, and yet she has never received a serious challenge. Also, it helps the GOP conceded this seat by running a far-right campaign, just like Carly Fiorina did in 2010. Invincible, I tells ya.
Estimate: Feinstein wins, 64% to 34% No Net Change
Connecticut (Retiring I)-Chris Murphy (D) versus Linda McMahon (R):
Money talks, and Linda McMahon has tons of it. She has been attacking Murphy very hard, and it seems to have had an effect. However, a blue state is a blue state, and only a strong ideas candidate with integrity and credibility can pull off this upset—McMahon is not that candidate. Murphy fits the state well, as he could easily be a shill for the financial services sector, which is essentially the number one issue in CT political elite circles.
Estimate: Murphy wins, 53% to 46% D+1 I-1
Delaware (D Incumbent)-Tom Carper (D) v. Kevin Wade (R) v. Alex Pires (I):
Interesting blowout race, as Alex Pires has flanked Carper to the left, which may shift his margin of victory. Wade is a weak candidate, sort of a business Tea Party type. He makes incendiary remarks and uses faulty attacks to often to beat Carper. Anyway, Carper has a lock on this state, perennially (at least until the GOP begins to accept moderates back into the fold).
Estimate: Carper wins, 62% to 32% to 4% No Net Change
Florida (D Incumbent)-Bill Nelson (D) versus Connie Mack (R):
Nelson is a very unique and above-the-frey type of politician. Mack is trying is darndest to tie Nelson to Obama, but the voters of Florida know Nelson is his own type of Democrat, albeit predominantly liberal. Mack was actually a strong candidate, but he cannot beat Nelson, who is stronger. At least Mack and his imploding wife will have each other when they both lose their races. Even with Romney winning the state, Nelson will win.
Estimate: Nelson wins, 55% to 44% No Net Change
Hawaii (Retiring D)-Mazie Hirono versus Linda Lingle (R):
Cannot fault Lingle for a second; she is a strong candidate, a firm moderate, and a reasonable policymaker. However, the native son being on the ballot, and Hirono representing the island’s views closely, means Lingle is out to sea. She would have beat Ed Case, and truth be told, I would have voted for her over his slimey behind.
Estimate: Hirono wins, 57% to 43% No Net Change
Indiana (Retiring R, sort of*)-Joe Donnelly (D) v. Tricky Dick Mourdock (R) v. Andrew Horning (L):
The asterisk is because Dick Lugar, one of the great statesman currently in government, lost his primary; he did not want to retire, but the Tea Party got him. We all know Mourdock has repeatedly shot himself in the foot on various issues, not just God-created rape, but even without those blunders, Donnelly could have won. He is a centrist, much like the center-right electorate of the state, and in absolute terms, he is ideologically closer to Lugar than Mourdock. He is banking on people realizing this, and voting for him. I think they will. He is a strong candiate, who would have held Lugar to around 60%; Mourdock will not fare as well. Additionally, Horning will siphon a significant portion of anti-GOP conservatives that otherwise would have bit the bullet and voted for Mourdock. Horning is your classic libertarian, but with a slightly better niche combating the GOP from within, then leaving when his attempts let to no avail.
Estimate: Donnelly wins 51% to 46% to 3% D+1 R-1
Maine (Retiring R)-Angus King (I) v. Charles Summers (R) v. Cynthia Dill (D) v. Danny Dalton (I) v. Andrew Ian Dodge (I) v. Steve Woods (I):
Only way popular former Governor Angus “The” King loses is if Dill siphons enough far-left votes from him. Luckily, the presence of another liberal in the race, as well as three conservatives, will splinter all ideological groups, and the race ill become a cult of personality and name recognition. Both of those factors leave King atop the standings, and the king will join the Senate, where he will caucus with the Democrats. Interesting because all six leading, as in debate participating, candidates support Roe v. Wade, including the Tea Partier Dodge and Republican Summers.
Estimate: King 48% to Summers 31% to Dill 17% I+1 R-1
Maryland (D Incumbent)-Ben Cardin (D) v. Dan Bongino (R) v. Rob Sobhani (I) v. Dean Ahmad (L):
The presence of Sobhani attracts votes from both sides, limiting Cardin’s margin of victory, but also stymieing Bongino’s ability to attract a plurality. Non-race.
Estimate: Cardin 56% to Bongino 25% to Sobhani 12% to Ahmad 1% No Net Change
Massachusetts (R Incumbent)-Elizabeth Warren (D) versus Scott Brown (R):
Excellent race. Two strong candidates. Here is how both parties should proceed, by selecting district/state tailor made candidates that can attract voters of the opposite party. In this case, Scott Brown does not attract Dems that much, but he is incredibly strong among the state’s 50% Independents. However, this race will surely end in his defeat. Warren, though a member of the Harvard elite, has the important pedigree as an outsider turned insider reformer, and it is quite difficult to make her look bad. Brown has tried the carpetbagger stuff, but Warren fits the state’s interests well, and the voters will make that clear. Even in defeat, Scott Brown is one of the best GOP campaigners in the biz today.
Estimate: Warren wins, 49.2% to 48.3% D+1 R-1
Michigan (D Incumbent)-Debbie Stabenow (D) v. Pete Hoekstra (R) v. Scotty Boman (L):
Remember that racist ad with a Berkeley alum pandering to xenophobia? We were so proud to see one of our own contribute to racist propaganda!! Anyway, Hoekstra is not that weak of a candidate: yes, he is pron to verbal gaffs and racist/anti-Islamic behavior, but he has a manner that resonates with suburban males. However, that is not enough to overcome Stabenow. She has adeptly positioned herself as Ag committee chairman, which will benefit her in the rural parts of the state that Dems have trouble in. Of course, if a farm bill passed, that would be even better, but most concerned voters understand that issue was on the House side. Anywho, Stabenow wins by a wider margin than she should of.
Estimate: Stabenow wins, 56% to 40% to 3% No Net Change
Minnesota (D Incumbent)-Amy Klobuchar (D) versus Kurt Bills (R):
Way off the grid. Klobuchar us perhaps the best Democrat in the nation at attracting GOP voters, even though she is liberal. This race may see a 30 to 45 point margin. Here is an example of a candidate who has cultivated her electorate well.
Estimate: Klobuchar wins, 66% to 34% No Net Change
Mississippi (R Incumbent)-Roger Wicker (R) v. Albert Gore (D) (and some other cons):
Wicker is a vulnerable republican, as he is not very prolific at any policy field and has definite weaknesses in personality. However, the Dems have conceded this seat, for no apparent reason that to justify not spending money on a losing race. So you get some old foggy name Al Gore and that’s that.
Estimate: Wicker wins, 62% to 35% to 3% others No Net Change
Missouri (D Incumbent)-Claire McCaskill v. Todd Akin (R) v. Jonathan Dine (L):
Yup, never good to justify, or legitimize rape. McCaskill would have lost to Sarah Steelman by a good 7 points, but Akin is out of touch enough to cost his party this election. On merit, McCaskill does deserve to win, as she is a moderate in a moderate state, but Obama will drag her down a little. Essentially, to make up for the structural disadvantage, she needed the other guy to mess up and make himself look unelectable. Well, Akin did… loser. Dine will get the conservative voters who were disenchanted with Akin, but not enough to simply stay home.
Estimate: McCaskill 48.8% to 46.3% to 3% No Net Change
Montana (D Incumbent)-Jon Tester (D) v. Denny Rehberg (R) v. Dan Cox (L):
Suing the government because firefighters did not save enough of your large estate is not a flattering look for a politician. Such is the case with Denny Rehberg, whose selfishness and bad-guy qualities may cost him the race. Additionally, Dan Cox is a fairly strong Lib candidate, and will steal some votes otherwise allocated to Rehberg. However, structural factors, and Tester’s difficulty disassociating himself from leadership, will lead Rehberg to gain a promotion he does not deserve.
Estimate: Rehberg wins, 48.3 to 48.1 to 3.4 R+1 D-1
Nebraska (Retiring D)-Deb Fischer (R) versus Bob Kerrey (D):
Ben Nelson probably could have weathered the storm, even with the PPACA vote, but he chose to quit. Though I have had a lot of personal animus toward Nelson over the years, he has been valuable in key votes, and for that, liberals should be thankful (to some extent). Anyway, Deb Fischer was the second weakest potential candidate to emerge from the GOP primary, ahead of Tea Partier Don Stenberg, but behind established candidate Jon Bruning. And Bob Kerrey was the strongest potential candidate. However, the deficit in this race, caused by the hatred of Obama and rightward, intolerant turn of the general electorate, has left this race solidly for Fischer. Had Kerrey maintained his presence in NE, he could win, but being a “New York liberal” does not play well in Kearney.
Estimate: Fischer wins, 56% to 43% R+1 D-1
Nevada (R Incumbent)-Dean Heller (R) versus Shelley Berkeley (D):
Not hard to diagnose this race. Heller is from the rural northern part of the state, which explains his Tea Party conservatism, and Berkeley is a New York transplant from Vegas. Statewide elections in Nevada always hinge on either a) massive turnout in Las Vegas and Henderson, or b) the swing electorate in Reno and Carson City. This race will not benefit from heightened turnout like 2008, as home foreclosures and unemployment have made pro-Dem turnout less likely. Therefore, the race will be decided in Reno, where Berkeley is unpopular and is seen a too closely aligned with Vegas interest (and some conflict of interest stuff). Heller, on the other hand, has very little baggage other than his voting record, and can appeal to people with his reform minded rhetoric. I expect split ticket voters to favor Heller, as pragmatic moderates may see Obama’s predicament as not solely his doing, but nonetheless not support Berkeley’s elitist caricature.
Estimate: Heller wins, 51% to 49% No Net Change
New Jersey (D Incumbent)-Bob Menendez (D) v. Joe Kyrillos (R) v. Ken Kaplan (L):
Menendez seemed vulnerable going into the race, but Kyrillos has an incredible amount of trouble explaining his views on matters that put New Jerseyeans at odds with national Republicans. He still has not explained how he would vote on abortion legislation, which although it is not the premier issue, is just a microcosm of his policies as a whole. Menendez wins by default.
Estimate: Menendez wins, 56% to 40% to 3% No Net Change
New Mexico (Retiring D)-Martin Heinrich versus Heather Wilson (R):
Wilson is a strong candidate, with an interesting pedigree and reasonable stances for her electorate. However, New Mexico is moving away from the party, f not the values, that she is connected to. Heinrich was thought to be a much stronger candidate, but has proven lackluster; only good enough to win. Some might say that is good enough.
Estimate: Heinrich wins 54% to 45% No Net Change
New York (D Incumbent)-Kirsten Gillibrand (D, Working Families, and Independence) versus Wendy Long (R and Conservative):
Gillibrand has moved to the left since coming under the guidance of Chuck Schumer, and is being groomed to possibly be the first female president of the nation. Fortunately for her, she is well liked in all parts of the state, and as an indicator of how center-right voters view her, she received the Independence party endorsement. She will win handedly.
Estimate: Gillibrand wins, 68% to 28% No Net Change
North Dakota (Retiring D)-Rick Berg (R) versus Heidi Heitkamp:
Heitkamp is a superb candidate. In a midterm election, she might have won. However, in this presidential election year, she may be tied to Obama, and may lose the race by a slim margin. Berg has problems conveying his accomplishments, but his party identification may prove enough to gain a plurality. Too bad, Heidi is an ideas person to boot.
Estimate: Berg wins, 50.6% to 49.1% R+1 D-1
Ohio (D Incumbent)-Sherrod Brown (D) versus Josh Mandel (R):
Mandel is a very creepy and awkward guy. I do not doubt he patriotic, and I do not doubt in his heart, he believes what he stands for, but I do question how aware of social forces and inequity he is aware of. Watching the debates between he and Brown, it looked quite forced and gimmicky how he was trying to pigeonhole Brown. Brown was talking about policy, and Mandel was rolling in mud and trying to mislead people. His youth means he will eventually become Governor or Senator, but it will not be during this election. Some split ticketing, in favor of Brown (especially in the Southeast portion of the state).
Estimate: Brown wins, 53% to 46% No Net Change
Pennsylvania (D Incumbent)-Bob Casey (D) versus Tom Smith (R):
Tom Smith is not ready to join government. He has a very low level of understanding about both politics and policy, and I do not think that would change with experience. I think he would simply end up totting the party line in a mindless fashion. Watching the debates, it is clear Casey has learned from his position on the Joint Committee on Taxation, whereas Smith knows almost nothing. The surge for Smith has been because of the millions of dollars he has spent attacking Casey. It may have cut Casey’s margin, but will not change the election outcome.
Estimate: Casey wins, 58% to 40% No Net Change
Rhode Island (D Incumbent)-Sheldon Whitehouse (D) versus Barry Hinckley (R):
Whitehouse and his cohort Senator Reed are highly entrenched in Rhode Island. Even though Representative Cicilline is facing a tough reelection, almost all of detractors from Cicilline will still support Whitehouse. He is a smart legislator who minds the interest of his people. On the other hand, Hinckley has not gained any momentum as he has not found a line of attack that works against Whitehouse.
Estimate: Whitehouse wins, 63% to 36% No Net Change
Tennessee (R Incumbent)-Bob Corker (R) v. Mark Clayton (D) v. Shaun Crowell (L):
Bob Corker, though a millionaire, was once considered a conservative reformer who may work independently of his party. Every now and then, this permutation of Corker still shows up on a procedural vote, but he has otherwise become the party’s median member. His Democratic opponent is an incendiary dixie-crat who the party disavowed in a state with a relatively strong bench. Crowell will take more votes from Clayton than Corker, but Corker will get some of the Democrat votes that might otherwise have stayed home. Crappy situation for the Dems, but Corker could not have wished for a easier election.
By the way, Clayton’s “Issues” tab on his campaign page is quite interesting. He praises Hillary Clinton and talks about “Snoopy bills” (privacy rights), while simultaneously .
Estimate: Corker wins, 71% to 24% to 4% No Net Change
Texas (R Incumbent)-Ted Cruz (R) v. Paul Sadler (D) v. John Myers (L):
Ted Cruz will fit nicely with the Rand Paul-Rob Johnson-Mike Lee-Jim DeMint faction of the Senate. Texas will become a purple state within the decade, but its current constitution is bright red. Paul Sadler is conservative, but the Texan electorate has no tolerance for a Democrat right now, period. Cruz will win despite Myers operating in the same space, as well as some other candidates. But that would only be a problem if the race was close, which it won’t be.
Estimate: Cruz wins, 55% to 44% to 2% No Net Change
Utah (R Incumbent)-Orrin Hatch (R) versus Scott Howell (D):
Hatch lucked out of the eponymous Tea Party state convention, and then the election was over. No much to say, except Hatch is as much a product of this era of ideological shift as any other Senator. He was an original sponsor of the DREAM Act in the Senate, but has since become an Obama conspiracy theorist and bad-faith dealer.
Estimate: Hatch wins, 68% to 31% No Net Change
Vermont (I Incumbent)-Bernie Sanders v. MacGovern (R) v. odd bunch:
I am watching the Vermont Senate debate right now, and man, between the pro-marijuana, China is Big Bird lady, and hippie burnout who thinks Sanders is a warmonger, to the lady who says bills need to be a few words, and the Austrian engineer who thinks the Democrats and Republicans are really only one party, Sanders looks outright moderate and reasonable. If there was one person I could work for in Congress, it would be Bernie Sanders. He will win this one with a wide margin, even though MacGovern isn’t that for from the median voter in suburban areas of eastern Vermont.
The moderator questioned him pretty hard about why he supports the F-35, which he was largely defensive in response. Interesting turn of events when Sanders is the pro-military industrial complex candidate. I actually agree with his pragmatism—local jobs valuable and should be preserved, while the greater policy should be changed.
Estimate: Sanders wins, 76% to 23% (1% for all other candidates) No Net Change
Virginia (Retiring D)-Tim Kaine (D) versus George Allen (R):
George Allen wants his old seat back, and the conservative political elite want it back for him. In this newly purple state, Tim Kaine and George Allen both hold a soft spot in the electorate, one for his father’s coaching experience, the other for his stewardship of Virginia into a job creating machine. Both are ex-Governors, both have high name recognition, and both wield incredible sums of money. This one will not be as close as it could, but in this Obama year, expect high turnout in Northern Virginia, ensuring Kaine’s victory.
Estimate: Kaine wins, 51% to 48% No Net Change
Washington (D Incumbent)-Maria Cantwell (D) versus Michael Baumgartner (R):
Cantwell is a New Democrat and her ideological pairing of state business interest, like Boeing and the tech sector, with her ability to speak on social issues, make her a well positioned candidate in her Washington. Baumgartner is also a unique Republican, as he seems to be the next generation of Tea Party deconstructionist, but seemingly a little more selective on what he is nihilistic about.
Estimate: Cantwell wins, 57% to 42% No Net Change
West Virginia (D Incumbent)-Joe Manchin (D) versus John Raese (R):
Rematch of the last special election, which was much closer than this one will be. Raese does not have credibility with voters and in many ways works against workers’ rights that some in West Virginia still value. On the other side, Manchin has tailored an localized image as the last protector of West Virginian interests, including coal in all forms and a commercial of him shooting a target with Obama’s face on it (pretty fucked up, regardless of who is President). His independence from his party, as well as his paternalistic approach (which he had as Governor), will lead him to an easy victory. Shelley Moore-Capito could have given Manchin a run for his money, but Raese cannot.
Estimate: Manchin wins, 59% to 40% No Net Change
Wisconsin (Retiring D)-Tommy Thompson (R) versus Tammy Baldwin (D):
In the most polarized state in the nation, it is possible this race replicates the electoral geography of the recent Scott Walker recall election. Both Thompson and Baldwin are strong candidates, Thompson because of his highly esteemed record in Wisconsin, and Baldwin because of the progressive views she holds. These two dimensions provide the two contending interests (labor, youth and educated progressives versus religious, rural and suburban conservatives). Pragmatic conservatives are not necessarily too far removed from Baldwin ideologically to inhibit their crossover.
Estimate: Thompson wins, 49.7 to 49.2 R+1 D-1
Wyoming (Incumbent R)-John Barrasso (R) versus Tim Chestnut (D):
Wyoming is the most conservative state in the country, which makes it even nicer that Chestnut is running as an authentic, reasoned liberal. The only major caveat is his energy policy, but being the way Wyoming is constituted, that makes perfect sense. Barrasso is well-entrenched, even if he is one of the worst offenders of misleading voters, distorting the truth, and operating in bad faith when he legislates (although, is legislating against his ideology?). Barrasso should imitate his compadre Mike Enzi, who is on the far-right, and yet has decent working relations with numerous moderates and liberals in the Senate. Still waiting for Freudenthal to run, maybe in six years…
Estimate: Barrasso wins, 68% to 29% No Net Change
Overall Change In The Senate: No Net Change! The Democrats will gain some new seats, while losing some in the Midwest, which will all be offset. Even two independents who caucus with the Democrats will return to the Senate (King will caucus with the majority, which will be Democratic once more).
I hope you enjoyed this set of predictions and did your civic duty and voted! If you have not voted early, make sure to take some time to vote today!!
The election is tomorrow, and accordingly, a belated electoral college prediction is necessary. I regret my inactivity on this blog in the last six months, but life sometimes pushes hobbies to the wayside. Let’s get into it:
Among the tossup states, it is my belief Obama will take all of the Rustbelt states, largely due to the auto bailout and ancestral alliance to unions (though the 2010 election showed union members are willing to leave the Democratic party). This means, regardless of the voter irregularities in the counting of votes in Ohio, which Governor Kasich’s character has ensured will occur, Obama’s margin will be large enough to where it is moot. Wisconsin may be even closer than Ohio, but the ground game, and national level thinking of the electorate, will once again make it a blue state.
Florida will go for Romney. Rick Scott becoming Governor of Florida shows the electorate there is among the least informed and aware in the country. There are simply not enough Jewish and black voters in Florida to overcome the caucazoid and Cuban conservative coalition. Florida will be a blue state again, but not this election. Virginia, in contrast, will go for Obama based on the yuppie class that populates the northern segment of the state. Their whole reason for even living in Virginia is due to the expansion of the federal government, so this constituency will break hard for Obama. Still a 50-49 race, but the victor will be the same as 2008.
Moving west, the pundits and pollsters seem to think Colorado is in Romney’s camp, but the demographics, and good governance history of Colorado, make me think otherwise. In truth, Romney is the perfect type of Republican for this state: moderate, sort of folksy (in a contrived way), and non-threatening. However, the voter intensity in this state will still favor Obama, as a whole new group of 18-21 years olds who are not policy oriented (and thus do not feel scorned by Obama’s continuation of Bush era policies) will vote as they would have in 2008. Expect a 51-48 victory there, with Gary Johnson pulling a max of 2% of the vote (leaving a 50-48-2 split). In Nevada, the preponderance of Mormons and the state’s nation’s worst unemployment figures should all aid Romney. Again however, demographic changes, and the inability (or lack of trying) to court Hispanics into the GOP has left a structural gap that cannot be made up this election. Expect a 51-46-3 split, with Gary Johnson pulling evenly from Obama and Romney in third place.
That leaves the electoral college at 303 to 235, in favor of Obamar. The overall popular vote will be something like 63,500,000 for Obama and 62,000,000 for Romney. As you can see, I expect lower voter turnout, by about 2 million voters, than in the 2008 election. Most of these would have supported Obama, but are to his ideological left and feel betrayed by not fighting harder for a progressive change agenda.
And that is the election. Next up in national politics: gridlock in Congress, a civil war in the GOP, and who will crack first on the sequester?
Turning on C-SPAN this fine Saturday morning has left quite the disgusting taste in my mouth. The Coalition of African-American Pastors is truly a vile, short-sighted association of bigoted and stubborn individuals. You might think that this group of supposedly “righteous” and “godly” men and women would comprehend that gay rights are analogous to black rights, and that all people seeking further inclusion to draw on the benefits that the majority receives should gain their support. Instead, what you will see when these people speak is one after another, a recitation of the struggle of the civil rights movement, and how they have learned from it, and for this reason they will deny gay men and women their own rights to adoption, medical benefits, insurance coverage and spiritual recognition. The cognitive dissonance is among the most I have ever witnessed, and yet this group so steadfastly believes what they advocate for is right, that not only will they argue against gay marriage, but they will abandon the support for liberal policies as advocated by President Obama to fight poverty, discrimination, make college affordable, and so on. Denying gays the right to marriage is the single most important issue in contemporary America, according to the CAAP. This myopic view has led the head of the CAAP, and the subsequent speakers, to plead with black Americans to “withhold their support” of Obama for his reelection. Now I do understand the argument that Obama has ignored black America, as he knows they are captive voters, and furthermore, if a third party or single issue group wants to be heard, they often have to attack the closest political ally in power to force responsiveness, but to think that the alternative candidate in Romney will hold the interests of Black America is quite obscene. It is clear from some of the participants that many of the CAAP did not even support Obama the first time, as many are aligned with conservative Republican groups such as the Frederick Douglass Foundation, so they agenda is less one of an epiphany and more an opportunistic means of fooling somewhat religious Black folk. I highly doubt this will work in costing Obama the election, but the repugnant and unaware bigotry of the CAAP should be widely condemned by any sensible follower of Jesus Christ, as they abdicate the whole of his teachings for a few cryptic lines of scripture in a book written by hundreds of men almost 2000 years ago.
The Sixth Party System is rolling out a new on-going series taking a historical look at various Representatives and Senators who have served significant roles in the history of Congress. Only retired members will be examined. This examination will largely be ethnographic, with some analysis of the policies put forth by the individual.
Our first member is Henry Hyde of Illinois. He is certainly not my ideological soul mate, but nonetheless, his accomplishments and importance in the House cannot be denied.
Used sexist jokes. Otherwise solid performance, especially his Mitt Romney routine.
I appreciate him asking the question about Obama’s marijuana crackdown. He even said “I don’t mean to be out of line…” which is very polite for Jimmy Kimmel. The press corps.’ silence on this issue is incredible. The effect this has on people of reasonable living is quite high compared to most policy constituents.
This is somewhat beyond the purview of this site, and warranted the creation of an ‘education’ category, but The Sixth Party System would just like to tell anyone reading this blog:
Whether you head a single parent household or have a spouse, all parents in the home should cultivate an environment that fosters intellectual curiosity and comprehension. Mom’s can do it, and dad’s can do it too. Just look, old Honest Abe did it:
Jim Costa is a slimy guy. He is the type of politician who rarely ever looks at the greater good and tends to focus on parochial issues. Additionally, he is the kind of politician who you can buy off to vote in a certain manner, especially if it is against his party and “liberals.” If that’s not bad enough, he does not support the large amount of workers’ interests in his district, which is the current CA-20 (soon to be CA-21), instead supporting the agribusiness industry that is ubiquitious with wing-nut politics and hyperbolic, hate filled propaganda signs along the 5 freeway (which often link him to Pelosi when he undermines her every chance he gets).
Unsurprisingly, Mr. Costa abandoned his current constituents, 79.07 percent of which will end up in the new CA-21, in favor of his buddy Dennis Cardoza’s would-be district. Announcing to run in your friend’s district is pretty shady, but well within Costa’s character. He effectively retired his only friend in congress so hopefully he makes new friends in the Republican caucus.
That district, known as CA-16 is centered in Fresno, and only contains 24.39 percent of his current constituents. Costa has done this for two reasons: One, his political base in Fresno, where he has represented the Portuguese Länder for many a year; two, he knew his support in Bakersfield and the surrounding area has been waning as people get to know him better, and furthermore, he feared a primary challenge from Astronaut John Hernandez.
None of this is new news, as Cardoza retired months ago, but nonetheless, I thought it would be meaningful to start focusing on some House races. All three of these guys seem pretty contrary to liberal, or god forbid progressive, values. The tone Hernandez strikes clearly shows he will continue in the Costa-Cardoza mold, but at least his campaign videos make him look pretty relatable.
In Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional district, David Cicilline faces a tough general election from Police dude Brendan Doherty. In a 67% Obama district, this should not be a race; however, Cicilline is in hot water for claiming Providence’s city finances were in “excellent financial condition,” when in fact the city was millions and millions of dollars in the whole.
Anyway, Cicilline is in trouble. And Doherty has been reported to be a very strong Republican in this blue state. So I decided to do some research and see how moderate he is, and potentially, if he has any unique understanding of the issues. He does not. His issues page on his campaign website is a joke. It certainly contains all the mainstay issues, but they are vague and very much of the Republican party line ilk. The only “moderate” stances are on civil unions (pro) and energy policy (which he is pro renewable energy; hardly going out on a limb). What I thought was interesting was his description for Health Care:
Health Care - We must find a way to maneuver through the incredibly complex and confusing health care changes our state and nation are considering. This must be accomplished in a balanced and measured, bipartisan effort by finding common ground with fiscal responsibility. I intend to focus on examining three elements I consider to be partly responsible for the deterioration of our current health care system: fraud, waste and corruption. I know quite a bit about fighting fraud, waste and corruption and will be a strong proponent of leading the charge to finally eliminate the related, skyrocketing costs.
Is that a joke? Health care inflation has almost nothing to do with fraud, waste and corruption. That is such a parochial understanding of perhaps the most pressing issue in the American economy outside of full employment and income inequity, and his answer is cracking down on fraud? Seems to me the man does not understand this issue, and the other ones are mostly platitudes. I guess he is running on character, which he claims to possess while Cicilline does not.
This race is still in the Sixth Party System’s eyes, a solid Dem seat. Cicilline will win, though he will trail Obama’s numbers by about 6%, which will mean a Cicilline victory of 58% to 40%.
On a side note, Independent Governor Lincoln Chafee endorsed Cicilline. I wonder how much of that is due to playing the establishment game, and how much has to do with Doherty not knowing shit about the issues.
So infamous douche bag Rick Santorum is set to dropout of the Republican presidential primary right before he has his ass handed to him in his home state. I wanted to thank Rick Santorum for the irreparable harm he has caused to the Romney campaign. I used to think Romney was a potentially moderate, straight-arrow enough candidate to appeal to the Great Lakes and Rust Belt area and potentially defeat Obama, but after this GOP primary, Romney looks weak and ideologically extreme, not to mention highly out of touch.
Also, it is worth noting that Santorum’s contention that you cannot take a single American history class in the University of California system was 100% wrong. In fact, here at Berkeley, we have a History B.A. program that specializes entirely in Colonial American and Contemporary American history. Also, as part of every student’s general education requirements, each student has to take one American Cultures class, one American Institutions class, and one American History class. That is a total of three classes that all have American historical overtones in the subject. Additionally, UC-San Francisco, which is a medical school, actually teaches American history as well, which was originally the only glimmer of potential honesty in what Santorum said. Of course, demonizing the state with the highest amount of delegates conveyed to me he was probably going to dropout before our June primary.
So this post is dedicated to perennial douche bag Rick Santorum, “cuz when I see it, it’s bullshit.” Yes Rick, the truth is bullshit. And you my friend, are a frothy mixture of anal juices and lube. Cheers to the perennial loser homophobe fearmonger normal-sized-man-with-a-little-man-complex!
By far the best news of the night was Ohio Representative and disgusting demagogue Jean Schmidt will no longer be a member of Congress come next January!! This is a wonderful, wonderful development. I’m sure Brad Wenstrup will be of a similar ideology to Schmidt, and perhaps resemble fellow ex-military (and lone Republican in the Congressional Black Caucus) Rep. Allen West in leadership potential, but that said, I am just happy to see a vile, reprehensible human-being like Schmidt leave higher office. I certainly hope she does not go back to nursing, since no patient, no matter how conservative, deserves to have their health monitored by this woman. GLORIOUS SUCCESS!!!!!
That might have been the only good news of the night. I guess Santorum and Gingrich staying in the race is also a good thing, as long as they keep attacking Rombot for being a corporate cyborg (or as Newt denotes Rombot, a “Massachusetts moderate”). The whole primary is garbage anyway, as every candidate except Ron Paul tells a lie in almost every sentence that has a factual component.
On the sad side, Dennis Kucinich will no longer represent Ohio in Congress. Hopefully this does not encourage him to run as the independent peace candidate against Obama, which could potentially hurt Obama’s reelection prospects as much as Nader hurt Gore. Kucinich could try Washington, but the deadline to declare will soon pass, and that is a highly farcical likelihood anyway. He definitely fucked up by talking shit about Toledo. That was stupid. Kaptur is the more reasonable legislator, in the literal sense of the word, but Kucinich has always had a broader ideological cause that represented the dove side of America as good as anyone. Seems fitting that Kucinich and Ron Paul will leave congress together, as they were the foremost bi-partisan tandem on anti-imperialism. No more points of privilege for Kucinich-Paul withdrawals from foreign countries, which were always entertaining to watch on C-SPAN. Kaptur should have fun eviscerating Joe the Plummer in the general,the results will probably be around 82-14 in favor of Kaptur.
Results (SPS prediction in parentheses)
1. The Mechanical Rombot… 771,842…. 46.4 (+1.4)
2. Pompous Incendiary Fathead… 531,294… 31.9 (+3.9)
3. “Santorum” Santorum… 222,248… 13.4 (+0.6)
4. The Revolutionary Conservative… 116,776… 7.0 (-4)
This map says a lot. Romney essentially took the areas that are most metropolitan and generally liberal or moderate. This map, if painted blue and red, would closely resemble an overachieving Democrat beating anout of touch far-right winger. This primary is truly pathetic. All pandering, so many lies, and no vision. If this country were left to these candidates to guide the nation, you may as well move to India because that is the type of economy they envision: a race to the bottom and gross economic inequity.
Praise Jesus! I swear, this guy will be the face of the Evangelical Right in the Republican Party once his playing career is over. Hopefully he will make for a less insidious politician than the current Evangelical hate mongers. I do not even know if he will reside in Florida again, but people will remember him…
Oh wait, is this about Tebow or the primary?
I guess the latter.
Here are the predictions:
1. Mittbot… 45%
2. Fathead… 28%
3. Santorum… 14%
4. Nostradamus Paul… 11%
The only caveat I might add is that Paul is very popular among college students and there are a lot of colleges in Florida. The thing is, do they participate in the Republican primary? Hopefully Nate Silver will have an exit poll consortium that sheds light on this cleavage. If college voters really turnout, Paul could get up 17%.
Whoohooh! Newt Gingrich for Presidente. The thing is, I heard Newt Gingrich was a Kenyan Mau Mau Socialist. Crazy right!? Here is my evidence: He is in a picture with Barack Hussein Obama; Newt did an infomercial with Nancy Pelosi; and worst of all, he does not think you should deport all illegal immigrants! SOCIALIST!!!
Anyway, enough of me trying to speak like an accusatory Republican. Let’s do some analysis!
Saturday’s Results (with my prediction in parenthesis):
1. Newt “I Am The Walrus” Gingrich… 243,153… 40.4% (40%)
2. Mitt “Am I Still Talking” Romney… 167,279… 27.8% (30%)
3. Rick “Santorum” Santorum…102,055 …17% (15%)
4. Ron “Isolationism To The Rescue” Paul… 77,993… 13% (12%)
5. Rick “I Still Get Votes After Dropping Out” Perry…2,494 … 0.4% (2%)
And how about a map:
South Carolina Primary Prediction
1. Newt “Dude, Where’s My Next Wife” Gingrich… 40%
2. Mitt “Rombot” Romney … 30%
3. Rick “Santorum” Santorum … 15%
4. Ron “The World Is Ending” Paul… 12%
5. Rick “At This Rate, I’ll Be Governor Forever” Perry… 2%
Whoohooh! More garbage to eat!
This is a demographical map of slave concentration in South Carolina from 1861. It seems to speak volumes about what the state has historically stood for: right-wing racism, incendiary behavior, violence, aristocratic commercial control, and general oppression of the black, and by the white, populace. When deciding what image to upload for this post, I considered John Calhoun’s portrait, a Nullifier Party poster, an image of a lynching in 1932, a Barbadian planter family portrait from the 1740s, an image of Strom Thurmond filibustering the Civil Rights legislation in the late 50s and 60s, or a picture of Fort Sumter being bombarded. How about this quote from Governor Tillman:
“We of the South have never recognized the right of the negro to govern white men, and we never will. We have never believed him to be the equal of the white man, and we will not submit to his gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him.”
If you love disgraceful history… then you will love South Carolina
Question time is always fun. What is most interesting to any American viewer is the constructive nature of the dialogue. What did Leader of the Opposition Miliband rise to ask Prime Minister Cameron about as this screenshot was taken? Infrastructure development and crony capitalism, accusing the Conservative government of allowing the railroad companies to raise rates on working families while executive pay increased with little government attention. PM Cameron said he was for infrastructure investments and that he would address the executive pay issue, whereas his opposition neglected it.
Why is this important? Both sides are in favor of infrastructure development during a recessionary/recovery period, and both sides are against executive pay excesses (at least publicly). This is a positive policy and oversight discussion, that though it may be heated, and yes, there are talking points, pointed fingers, and crowd noise, it is still a more productive government dialogue than the one Americans are accustomed to.
In the United States, it is always about political maneuvering and who can reduce government the most, and lower taxes the most, and badmouth institutions the most. While the Democrats typically concede their strongest bargaining tools before negotiations, thereby selling out their constituency, and Republican elected officials emulate their parties out of touch elites and not the economic interests of its constituents, both sides end up barking over who is to blame for the death spiral instead of properly fixing it. I do not know about the UK, but facts seem to matter less here than there.
Facts only matter to those who value them. How many congressman are driven by ideology and not an understanding of the facts? I would say about three-fifths, with the remaining opportunists and pragmatists with all the responsibility to create a constructive dialogue and effectively legislate.
Anyway, back to Question Time. Scottish Nationalism came up, and both parties seem to agree that the union benefits everyone within it, but that if Scotland wants more domestic decision-making institutions, they should be able to have it. Additionally, many questions were levied about maintaining, or increasing, the current tax burden on the richest Brits, to which Cameron usually responds with a remark about fairness, but that the point of taxes is to raise money, and that if these do not raise that much money they should be reconsidered. Not knowing the dynamics of the British tax code, I would say his position is pretty reasonable for the right-wing in a country, especially when America’s right-wing is against all taxes, in theory and practice.
A question on National Health Service solvency came up, to which Cameron said he, unlike his opposition, supports increasing the funds for the NHS for the next several years, and that he wants to make some reforms giving clinicians more say and looking into the effect alcohol has on draining health resources away from other potential sources. Again, seems reasonable. He is not talking about removing socialized medicine, or personal responsibility, or the nanny state. In fact, he seems to be positing that alcohol users either i) need to pay higher health costs for their actions (big government) or that alcohol should be harder to obtain (bigger government). Libertarians must hate British politics, as the most conservative party supports further restrictions on individuals.
The dialogue in a parliamentary democracy can afford to be far more vitriolic than in a system of divided government, yet a simple comparison between the two countries’ government seems to contradict that logic. Obviously size and diversity of the governed citizens is a component, but political leaders are supposed to forge consensus and construct successful policies, not subscribe to the lesser views of a polarized and ill-informed electorate.
“Vigol had beaten up a tax collector and burned his house”
-The tea party motto
First, the results:
1. Mitt Romney… 97,532 (39.3%)
2. Ron Paul… 56.848 (22.9%)
3. John Huntsman… 41,945 (16.9%)
4. Newt Gingrich… 23,411 (9.4%)
5. Rick Santorum… 23,362 (9.4%)
6. Rick Perry… 1,766 (0.7%)
7. Buddy Roemer… 945 (0.4%)
Second, the maps:
Winner by county (Blue is Romney, Green is Paul)
Winner by town (Purple is Huntsman, Dark Grey is “tied”, Light Grey is “no results”)
Bubble by size of winner’s lead (the biggest being Rockingham County’s 26.4% margin for Romney)
Third, FiveThirtyEight’s Exit Polls:
Four, Sixth Party System’s final analysis:
Who cares? After my Iowa writeup I realized none of this matters. I could tell you, Paul did well in the most rural and liberal areas of the state, that Huntsman’s support was primarily from independents, or that Romney essentially lives in New Hampshire so that he can win their electorate, but none of that matters. Huntsman will now drop out, meaning Romney is the only non-insane Republican left in the field. Essentially, this seals his candidacy, as too many caretaker type voters will simply be too afraid of a Paul or Gingrich presidency, and cannot take Santorum or Perry seriously. From here, the race will be defined by Paul conceding non-split delegate states, while finishing second in almost every state that does split their delegates. Santorum will rise above Newt from here on out, and Perry will never recover from his own cognitive shortcomings. Santorum will benefit from extremely conservative electorates, but Romney has all the endorsements that matter, so he will continue to win.
This is all quite disgusting.
What is the Republican Party at this point other than an economically anarcho-capitalistic and socially authoritarian fiefdom? Seems like this dynamic will not change until Republican voters realize how little they benefit from the votes they cast.
The Iowa caucuses were yesterday! Were you not tremendously excited!?!? So many choices, so many great builders of an egalitarian, fair, and prosperous society! So many innovative ideas to get America back on track!
Well, maybe not. Maybe there was not one decent candidate. That would explain the highly fractured results that this post will analyze. Another reason for the level of parity was simply due to market saturation and the stabilization of bases of support. With the exception of Michelle Bachmann (and Jon Huntsman, who did not campaign in Iowa), every candidate had a core geographic base within the state. This is noticeable when looking at the results, as supplied by Iowacaucus.com. This post will analyze why each candidate received the support from each geographic reason, though I will omit potential endorsement effects, since I am simply unaware and do not care enough to piece together the effect they had. First the results:
Wow, that’s amazing! So much parity, mmm parity. Anyway, my predictions were wrong, but I was 2/3 correct by having the top two so close; I guess I underestimated the extent to which Rick Perry would still attract votes, which helped Santorum pull closer to Paul and Romney, eventually nearly surpassing both of them.
1. Mitt Romney
30,015 votes; 24.6%
Strength: Biggest metropolitan areas
Romney received more or less what was expected of him, receiving a fourth of the vote. The problem is that the presumptive nominee should receive more than that, unless he is struggling. Romney won six of the eight counties that possess the eight biggest cities in the state, including Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Davenport. The two he did not win, which were Woodbury county (Sioux City) and Black Hawk county (Waterloo), he was within 5% and 1% of the winner, respectively. Chances are he won those cities, but lost the more rural surrounding parts of the counties. Romney concentrated his personal appearances in big cities, and this decision shows why he ran strong there while Santorum took the sparsely populated counties, which he visited nearly all of. All in all, in could have been worse for Romney in this very conservative electorate, but it most certainly could have been much, much better for the only candidate that poses a threat to Obama’s reelection prospects.
2. Rick Santorum
30,007 votes; 24.5%
Strength: Northwest; West; rural conservative heartland throughout
Santorum’s strength lay in his conclusive reception as the most authentically socially conservative candidate in the field. For this reason, his map looks very much like a classic Republican versus Democrat map of the state, such as the 2008 presidential election:
Santorum’s strength arises from the cacophony of ideological views that spawn from ideological migration. As is the case with most of the following maps, the more conservative the candidate, the better they do in densely conservative areas, since the echo-chamber of extremism takes hold. The other side of the coin is the more liberal an area, the more likely they are to vote for a moderate Republican, since these voters are only conservative compared to their Democratic counterparts, but probably share many principles and beliefs. This explains why the moderate Romney and libertine Paul did best in the eastern part of the state, which is more liberal, densely populated, and youthful. Republican voters, and voters in general, reflect their surroundings, and the more uniform the views, the more extreme the result; whereas the more heterogeneous the views of those around you, the more temperate result occurs.
Santorum’s strongest showings were in the counties of Sioux and Lyon, which are by far the two most right-wing extreme conservative reactionary in the state, and possibly the Midwest. The hateful Dutch Reformed churches that preach hating the gays in these counties would clearly latch onto Santorum, who was known as one of the most anti-gay legislators in congress during his tenure. Elsewhere, Santorum did exceptionally well in the counties just west of Des Moines, which he frequented about as much as every other candidate combined. Santorum surged in a last minute frantic exodus of undecided social conservatives who simply learned enough about every other candidate to get turned off, which if this would have extended a little longer, might have also been the case with Santorum.
3. Ron Paul
26,219 votes; 21.4%
Strength: Eastern part, college towns, metro areas
Ron Paul’s support reflected where he spent most of his time, which was the eastern part of the state and big cities. I am not quite sure how many college-aged Republicans voted, but that demographic certainly provided his GOTV efforts and door-knockers. Paul’s map reflects his regional support was nearly the same as Romney’s, but he simply ran behind him in most of these areas, except Waterloo. I expected him to win the caucus, but the voters that would have supplied that victory instead decided to support Santorum as the safer bet, being less controversial and risky policy-wise than Paul. His messages still resonate with many conservatives, but his doctrinaire libertarianism does scare many of the more authoritarian minded social conservatives who would like to restrict, not increase, freedoms.
4. Newt Gingrich
16,251 votes; 13.3%
Strength: Rural northern and western parts
Gingrich’s numbers were fairly dissipated throughout, not winning a single county (which even Rick Perry won two). Gingrich was weakest in metropolitan areas, showing both a cultural difference with the candidate, and an educational difference, with the less educated people in rural areas succumbing to his demagoguery more than city folk. Not much to say about this map, other than it shows he had trouble holding onto all the people who said they supported him in polls, with the likely reason because they learned more about who he was and decided he is more repulsive than endearing. Quite the flame-out, but since all he wants to do is sell books, he ends up winning anyway.
5. Rick Perry
12,604 votes; 10.3%
Strength: The populist southern counties, and generally the west
Perry’s map shows a cleavage in the types of conservatives that participate in the Iowa caucus. The southern region is known to be very populist oriented, and evidently the counties of Union and Taylor thought Perry was a man of the people, or a successful leader. I guess his meet and greet in Creston went well. Very interesting concentration in the south, either because i) very few other people spent that much time there, ii) something about the region lends itself to southern leadership, or iii) proximity to Missouri somehow makes the demographics more southern oriented. I could look into this, but really I do not care why Perry did well in southern Iowa; he will drop out soon with a boatload of campaign dollars to run for a 4th term as Texas Executioner-in-Chief.
6. Michelle Bachmann
6,073 votes; 5%
Strength: Some southwestern and northern counties, but hardly any real support
Considering Bachmann was the only native born Iowan in the race, and she won the Ames poll, 5% was about the floor she could receive; and she hit the floor hard. So hard she will most likely drop out of the race. She did not campaign in any other states, so finishing 6th with all her eggs in this basket means she’s going back to Washington, to fight another day against the evil socialist (centrist) President Obama.
7. Jon Huntsman
745 votes; 0.6%
Huntsman… if he would have just campaigned here he could have surged like Santorum, except to a lesser degree being that his ideology is much more moderate. This map essentially shows nothing, being that the dark grey county is Worth county where he received 3 votes total. As a percentage, that was his best showing. So, this map essentally shows where he received one or more votes, which is hilarious.
Today we celebrate the death of a tyrant!
The death of the North Korean dear leader (which I guess is a pseudonym for tyrannical and oppressive military dictator), provided the politburo with an opportunity to pull people out of their houses under the threat of imprisonment to show how much they loved their oppressive domineer. The pictures featured in this post do not quite display how inauthentic this whole rouse was “live.” The whimpering of many of the military and non-military personnel was way over the top. As anyone who has actually experienced the shock of losing a loved one, the likelihood that you are going to be screaming and pacing back in forth in uniformity with a group of 12 people (all doing the exact same behavior) is very unlikely. People experience grieving differently, so the propaganda fails on a very basic level to capture human emotion, which makes sense coming from the most austere regime in the world.
The overwhelming number of people in attendance were in military garb, which makes sense since the country still has forced conscription. Additionally, military personnel may be easier to organize into a procession than the oppressed peasantry and workers who have been so brutally oppressed that their genetic phenotypes have actually changed as a consequence (such as height and dietary needs).
The North Korean regime, aided with China’s sympathetic media outlets, has claimed “hundreds of thousands” of citizens have come out to mourn the death of a truly grotesque human being. But watching the video, you can see there are about 5000-15,000 military personnel, and maybe 1000-5000 members of the public. These are just based on the visuals, but they are certainly propping this up to be a one of the premier civic moments in the country’s history. Unfortunately, everyone knows the depths to which the regime uses coercion to manufacture images of public support for the military dictatorship.
The use of American cars is also a funny note, since unlike South Korea, North Korea has not mastered the art of manufacture assembled production, especially not vehicles. Almost all of North Korea’s weapons and manufactured goods are from China or Russia (or some are stolen from Japan and South Korea, along with their citizens).
When I see these images, which are clearly feigned and poorly acted, I have to wonder: what if they were sad? What would they be sad about? Are they sad the man who oversaw the genetic debilitation of a people and isolation of a nation pass? Are they afraid that his overfed son will be a much worse leader? Are they worried that imminent random disappearings will take place if they stop crying for one second? Do they think Jong-un will exacerbate problems with the world community? If I had these questions spinning in my head I might half-heartedly cry too, out of confusion and pent up animosity to a regime that hates its own people more than anything else in the world.
I see plenty of reasons for the people pictured above and below to be very sad about the lives they have to live. I guess I just do not understand why they would be sad to see the man responsible for much of these conditions die. That unless the cycle of fear is still not over. One day, North Koreans will authentically have tears of joy when they are released from the bondage of one of the most anachronistic and vile regimes in the contemporary world. For their sake, and the sake of members of the global community who do not want to die at the hands of a North Korean nuclear onslaught, I hope the genuine tears of joy come sooner rather than later.
Ben Nelson retired from the Senate today. Huzzah. Ben Nelson’s retirement (paired with that of Dan Boren) may very well signify the complete denouement of the Fifth Party System. These two conservative legislators, were indeed, conservative Democrats. They have historically voted with Republicans just as often as Democrats; in 2011, Dan Boren voted with the Democrats 566 of 1,146 times (49.4%), while Nelson seemed to ironically get more with the program and voted with Democrats 182 of 229 times (79.5%). Nelson’s numbers are inflated because of the numerous votes on procedure in the Senate, which distorts areas of disagreement with opposition; unlike the House, the Senate still had moderates of both parties who could work with one another to win passage on some issues. A more filtered approach on the issues finds Nelson holds more conservative views than liberal ones. Boren might seemingly have a more conservative record, but that is due to his being in the House where his vote was simply not as necessary to propel the party agenda to fruition. On the one hand, I personally disagree with these people on most issues, and am happy to see them go; on the other, these seats are firmly Republican, so while the party becomes more ideologically pure, it does so at a negative electoral consequence. The Sixth Party System poses serious questions about bipartisan governance, and the increasingly dominant trend of party polarization. Either the voters pick a side and provide them with an extensive mandate, or legislative gridlock will be the norm.
Goodbye Senator Nelson and Representative Boren. You often voted against the party that you played an instrumental role in putting in power. What an odd feeling, knowing you helped an entity accomplish policy goals you did not favor. A special happy-to-see-you-go to Senator Nelson. You were a thorn in the side of progress. Your practice of quid pro quo politics for several major bills including the Stimulus and the PPACA showed you had little adherence to your ideology, since simply exempting your state from Medicare cuts was enough to override your beliefs and acquire your vote. Quite the enigma: Opposed the most imperative Health Care legislation since 1965, and yet his party identity was the reason it was able to pass.
As an avid reader of Daily Kos, (which interestingly enough had the best image of Rubio for this blog post) I am quite familiar with how Marco Rubio is opportunistic, inauthentic, and a compulsive liar. But waking up this morning to c-span and seeing the senator on the floor, I was curious what he would say. He was speaking about the oppressive “communist” regime in Cuba (big surprise). The Cuban regime is as close to Rubio’s arch-nemisis as any thing in the world (over such things as poverty, corruption, ill-functioning government, etc); basically, his fixation with Cuba defines his world outlook.
Anywho, I found his speech reprehensible. The hypcocrsy was dripping from his lips faster than his snake tongue could wipe it up. Two things he said really bothered me, considering his experiences:
1. Rubio spoke of the Cuban regime beating peacefully assembled protestors, which if substantiated, is a horrible way to treat your citizents. But shouldn’t Rubio care about Americans too? I think he should, and yet he has been silent on the preponderance of police violence on Occupy protestors throughout the country. I understand the right-wing position of command and control, tough on crime, police statism, but then why does he care if it occurs in Cuba. Oh yeah, they are not free, so violence against their citizens is worse than in the free and democratic America. Hypocrisy…
2. Additionally, Rubio and his staff claimed Univision was blackmailing him into doing an interview or Univision was going to run a negative story on his brother. If you believe this story, you would get the feeling Rubio is against blackmail. But during this same floor speech, he then mentions that he has placed two holds on presidential nominations until the white house looks at the Cuban travel issue. Two holds on unrelated presidential appointments in order for them to act in a manner he wants, which seems like blackmail to me. Therefore, Rubio is only against blackmail when it is against him, but he is perfectly willing to blackmail others.
This is Marco Rubio. He is a liar. He has no integrity. And he is going to be the senator from Florida for the next 5 years.
From the LA Times,
The issue of timing also could be important for a federal lawsuit filed this week by other Republican activists seeking to overturn the redistricting commission’s congressional maps. A separate group of Republicans, including former Rep. George Radanovich, filed the suit, which alleges that the congressional maps violate the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act by failing to protect minority rights in some places.
The three member court panel that is in charge of creating the new congressional districts in Texas (because Republicans overreached), issued its interim map yesterday, which is slightly nicer to Democrats than the previous one. But as this post will demonstrate, it could be much, much nicer to Democrats if they had control of the process and hired me to draw the lines. Picture below is the current map:
This map was created by Tom Delay in his infamous mid-decade partisan gerrymander, which set out to remove as many veteran Democrat congressman as possible (which it did, except for the persistent Lloyd Dogget and until 2010, Chet Edwards). This map has typically yielded around a 22-10, 23-9 congressional delegation in favor of the Republicans. Then the census data for 2010 showed the state was to gain 4 seats, and Republicans greedily tried to make all of them Republican, upping their advantage to 27 to 9 (in a state that voted 44% for Obama). So because of several consolidated court challenges to the proposed map, the court drew this one:
Now, it is certainly better than the previous one, but Republicans would still get a minimum of 21 of the 36 districts (if Dems gain every tossup and two lean R districts), but will likely collect about 24 on average. Pictured below is the map I drew, and though it can have a population deviation as large as 1200, most are fairly close (within+/- 200). This map has several wonderful qualities:
1) It limits safe/solid districts all around to just 19 districts, leaving 17 lean/tossup districts. The increase in district competitiveness should lead to more moderate, pragmatic legislators. These legislators are the glue in the traditional American political system, but have been disappearing as incumbent gerrymanders and party primaries lead to more radically polarized lawmakers.
2) It helps the Democrats! Though the Dems will have to win swing districts, they could potentially win 21 of the 36 districts (the exact opposite of the so-called wonderful court map). These Democrats may be moderates, but several of them should carve out a niche within each district, which in conjunction with population growth, should make some of the swing districts become lean/safe D over time.
3) This is all accomplished with very few odd shaped districts. Though some districts are enormous and some are tiny, they are normal shapes without any apparent partisan gerrymandering taking place (even though this is a Democrat gerrymander).
Here is a breakdown of Obama’s percentages in the current districts, the legislative version, the court version, and my version:
Even though this is a Democratic gerrymander, it is still essentially a fair map in that it has 14 Republican districts, 14 Democratic districts, and 8 tossups.
For more calculations and for replicability, here is a spreadsheet of these calculations:
Redistricting is something I am fascinated with, and yet it is something I have not yet added to this political diary. So here it is! Since the Nevada legislature could not agree on a redistricting plan, Carson District Judge James Russell had to design the districts instead. I must say, these are some exceptionally awesome districts—for Democrats. I really like the similarly sized second and fourth districts. You know, I also like the first and third. Why is this? Well, other than their wonderful compactness and contiguity, Judge Russell has managed to create three swing districts and one safe Democrat district. These swing districts were all won by Obama, which is a high watermark to replicate, but a good sign in general.
I tried to replicate the districts in my all-time favorite app, Dave’s Redistricting App (you must try it), and though the exact lines are different from the final map, I think I got pretty close. I did not just do this for cartography purposes, but it actually allowed me to obtain election data for the new districts. Here’s what I came up with:
I was watching C-SPAN late at night like I commonly do, and a rerun of Susan Collins on the Senate floor was playing. She was talking about the stagnant recovery and how people are losing jobs. Then she cited a recent call center closure in Maine that led to the loss of 13-20 jobs. I repeat: 13 to 20 jobs. Now this may be important to demonstrate that this is a symptom of a greater trend in her state. But it’s not. This was literally the only case she cited. The fact is, Maine’s unemployment rate has been decreasing consistently since January 2010. It now sits at 7.5%, a full point and a half lower than the national rate, and almost half the rate of Nevada’s unemployment. When you are a Senator of a state in America, and your primary complaint in a floor speech is the loss of a little over a dozen jobs, you (and your state) live a charmed life. That’s not say 7.5% unemployment is good, but it does seem she’s a little out of touch, though her intentions are correct.
That said, The Sixth Party System would like to thank Susan Collins for her generally moderate views. Though I still do not agree with most of them, I am glad that not every Republican is moving to the right simply because it’s in vogue. If the Senate was made up of more Republicans like her, gridlock would be only a minor concern; the real problem would be: okay, so we’ve enacted policies a, b, and c, now how are they working? Oh, not so well, well let’s try x, y, and z. This is what a functioning government looks like…
After Cameron took a whooping from Opposition Leader Ed Milliband, he answered his Right Honourable Friend regarding Eurozone intergration by saying he sees some benefit, but that he would want to protect and retain the pound sterling. If I were Prime Minister, I would carry the same view. That might be the first time I have shared a belief with Cameron.
You both distort history (knowing better) to fit contemporary political dynamics. And I am not talking about simple allusions or analogies.
This opportunism is intellectually disingenuous, and your friend Newt Gingrich does it all the time on the History Channel.
You remind me of Alvin Felzenberg; you have a good eye for history, but distort it to fit your personal bias. Now I am not claiming that there is a definitive objective perspective, but there are degrees of bias, and you Amity and Newt, you two do this all the time
As someone with both an avid interest in American history and American politics, I find this skew disgraceful and unworthy of being widely disseminated on cable (either C-SPAN or the History Channel).
I will say there were moments watching The Contenders on Wendall Willkie when I was not appalled at your analysis. Luckily, Jim Madison was there to provide both counterpoint and in general a more even-keeled historical view.
(P.S. Amity, if your upcoming book on Coolidge claims he is a great president I would not be surprised? Hey I know you think the New Deal failed, but who do you think caused it? Could it be Harding, Coolidge, and to a lesser extent (for causing the Great Depression not responding to the Great Depression) Hoover. Economic inequity hit its peak in 1928 and thus a depression. Rich people have less risk in wielding large sums of money than everyday people who live check to check. Anyway, Coolidge is our 27th best president (out of 42, because Cleveland is counted once and Obama is not included). Harding is our 40th best president, ahead of only James Buchanan (42)and George W. Bush(41), but barely behind Franklin Pierce (39). Hoover is 36th.
It makes sense that there is gridlock in divided government, not only for the ideological polarization, but for pure party reasons. Neither party has the mandate, so instead of working together to forge policy (which generally does not coincide with single party rule either), parties have to create distinctions to inform voters. The voters then decide which party to support and hopefully return a mandate. This is valuable for the longevity of America’s two party system—if both parties are out of step with the electorate, they have good reason to wait for direction from the electorate, otherwise the whole system may be at risk. Divided government stems the output of legislation, allowing the public to decide if stability (as in gridlock) is better to live under, or a certain amount of uncertainty and progress (as in single party control) is preferable. Gridlock serves as the proverbial transitional pivot in American politics, allowing for a change of direction or a reaffirmation of prior policies.
Still, gridlock itself is a public problem requiring amelioration, especially since it has been occurring at a higher rate with each succeeding decade since the 1970s. America must use these stagnant periods with great expediency and decide which line of proposed policies (if any) work best. This is presupposing that divided government cannot produce adequete, or preferable, policies, which unfortunately seems to be the case as the parties become more ideologically homogenous and regional. As state and local interests congeal on one side of the partisan divide or another, instead of being represented within both, the likelihood of gridlock and unfavorable compromises increases.
American businessman wants to make a profit.
Thinks to himself, “American labor is too expensive.”
Hears free trade deal with country X just passed both houses and Moderate President X signed it this morning, which means imports from country X have no duty.
Now realizes he can hire a bunch of workers from country X for way cheaper and at decent quality, and then export them back to America for super cheap and not face a tariff.
Takes product and sells it, not to country X’s citizens, but to the American consumer (who is somehow an entity apart from the American worker…)
American businessman makes large profit, American worker loses job, poor unemployed American buys cheap country X product, and cheap foreign labor gets exploited as long as its labor is cheaper than its neighbor.
The era of the race to the bottom. A new equilibrium is set.
Progressives are not even united on this issue, as any Berkeley student who took Robert Reich’s Wealth and Poverty class would know. In the class he defended NAFTA and free trade as offering far more benefits than drawbacks, and then he goes on to assert that the government he is no longer a part of needs to initiate full employment policies (like those two complement one another).
“Busts of American Presidents’ heads that sit in our museums are made in China, that’s how pathetic this is”-Bernie Sanders
Climate change was introduced into the sphere of public problems almost 10 years ago, yet not only has legislation to create a carbon tax failed, but the overall narrative and debate on the issue has been completely wrong. Is climate change a natural process, or is it man made? My response to this question is: it does not matter. The fact is, either way we have to deal with the undeniable facts that weather is becoming more extreme, affecting more area, and sea levels are rising. Who cares if we created it. A carbon tax is simply a good idea because it contributes to business innovation by forcing them to develop new systems to adapt to the rules of the game, as set by the government. (There is a reason business does not set its own standards.) Extreme weather and sea levels rising will continue to increase, displacing more and more people along the way. We, as a global community, are not effectively adapting to the changes that are occurring in our environment.
We need to adapt to environmental change and our debate on the issue should be about the best way to go about doing it. That is where difference of opinion could prove valuable and is better suited. But bickering over whodunit is advancing our collective civilization nowhere, while more and more natural disasters strike unassuming communities.
My Levity category can now be expanded to cover most of the entries on this blog. Either that is through my slant, or because of the current character of American politics.
-Jimmy Carter destroyed our economy; she worked on his behalf when he ran in 1976…
-Claimed FDR had elastic view of constitution, Coolidge saw it better; in reality, FDR cleaned up the mess the three laissez-faire Republicans left from the 1920s (Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, though he is least culpable for the economy going down hill. He just handled it poorly)
-Claimed she wouldn’t write Obama a 2.3 trillion dollar check, meaning raising the debt ceiling; again, in reality, the debt ceiling needed to be raised for past debts that accrue interests, as well as ongoing spending that had nothing to do with Obama
-She claimed the only opportunity to repeal “Obamacare” is by defeating Obama in 2012 and gaining a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. She is correct, but it will not be repealed.
-”campaign and blame” referring to all Obama seems to do. Mitt, you are talking about yourself. Since 2007, you have not stopped campaigning. Additionally, all you do is complain about Obama being European, which does not come across as authentic jingoism or racism; Mitt, you will never be conservative enough to win true conservatives over. Run as the innovative Republican, and you may win. But you won’t, because you are pandering and playing it safe.
-”you have to be legal to get that” referring to in-state tuition for undocumented students… like Perry’s position is really the left alternative; both are forms of denying financial assistance to good students who happen to be of a different culture than “white people.”
-Massachusetts was the first state to have a universal health care insurance program. With Democratic legislature, he was able to tame their initiative. What if Romney used this as his chief accomplishment? How different everything would be. Romney would be bragging that Obama and the Democratic Congress modeled their federal overhaul on his state. He would instantly be the innovative Republican
Perennial Egotistical Characterless Gluttonous Demagogue:
-”Be with me, not just for me… [and buy my book in a few minutes]“
-He always has to give a history lesson. Yes, you know history, however, you sabotage your narrative when you distort history to perfectly fit your current views. America has changed, but you have not.
-”Not an American administration”–take note Mitt, this is what authentic jingoism sounds like. Do I smell a hint of racism?
-”Best Food Stamp president in America history. I want to be the greatest paycheck president in American history.” Vainglorious, sir.
-”Kill jobs, the Obama model, or create jobs, the Reagan model.” You are more attached to Reagan than the two speakers ahead of you, and they both poll much better than you. Maybe something needs to change?
-Wow, you just plugged your wife’s book, your most recent book, and a movie the two of you just made. Newt, you are now officially a Televangelist. But instead of peddling Christianity, you are peddling American Exceptionalism.
The Rational Actor?:
-”[Nondescript Chinese], just kidding” Huntsman’s opening line. Funny man.
-”We decided to adopt a chinese girl” This guy is killing it on the comedy routine. He thinks CPAC values this?
-NO WAY! HUNTSMAN JUST SAID HE IS THE ONLY CANDIDATE TO UNEQUIVOCALLY ENDORSE THE RYAN PLAN! This makes me believe he is following the Romney strategy that panders instead of playing to one’s strengths.
-”[I'm not giving you an] academic sermon.” Exactly what Gingrich did before Huntsman took the stage.
-”‘We must bring into the tent moderate Republicans, independents, and conservative Democrats.” And liberal Republicans for good measure.
————–Best speech thus far. It differentiated himself from the field well————-
“President Obama in 2008 won by offering false hope,” this might be the most fucked up insult of the night. He gave you a wonderful job you ungrateful panderer.
~CPAC, how out of touch you are~
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, CBC! (Applause.) Well, it is wonderful to be back with all of you.
I want to acknowledge, first of all, chair of the CBC, Barbara Lee, for the outstanding work that she has done this year. (Applause.) Somebody who not only is a passionate defender of our domestic agenda, but also somebody who knows more about our foreign policy than just about anybody on the Hill, the chair of the CBC Foundation, Donald Payne. Thank you. (Applause.) Our ALC Conference co-chairs, Elijah Cummings and Diane Watson — thank you. (Applause.) Dr. Elsie Scott, president and CEO of the CBC Foundation, thank you for your outstanding work.
We’ve got a couple of very special guests here today. I want to give a shout out to my friend, somebody who all of us rely on for his wisdom, his steadiness — the House Majority Whip, Jim Clyburn. (Applause.) A couple of folks who are working tirelessly in my Cabinet — the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, is in the house. (Applause.) The woman who is charged with implementing health care reform — HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is here. (Applause.) Our United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Ron Kirk is here. (Applause.)
And obviously it is a great honor to have been able to speak backstage to this year’s Phoenix Award honorees, Judith Jamison, Harry Belafonte, Sheila Oliver, and Simeon Booker. Thank you for everything that you’ve done for America. (Applause.)
I know you’ve spent a good deal of time during CBC weekend talking about a whole range of issues, and talking about what the future holds not just for the African American community, but for the United States of America. I’ve been spending some time thinking about that, too. (Laughter.) And at this time of great challenge, one source of inspiration is the story behind the founding of the Congressional Black Caucus.
I want us to all take a moment and remember what was happening 40 years ago when 13 black members of Congress decided to come together and form this caucus. It was 1969. More than a decade had passed since the Supreme Court decided Brown versus Board of Education. It had been years since Selma and Montgomery, since Dr. King had told America of his dream — all of it culminating in the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.
The founders of this caucus could look back and feel pride in the progress that had been made. They could feel confident that America was finally moving in the right direction. But they knew they couldn’t afford to rest on their laurels. They couldn’t be complacent. There were still too many inequalities to be eliminated. Too many injustices to be overturned. Too many wrongs to be righted.
That’s why the CBC was formed — to right wrongs; to be the conscience of the Congress. And at the very first CBC dinner, the great actor and activist, Ossie Davis, told the audience America was at a crossroad. And although his speech was magnificent and eloquent, he boiled his message down to a nice little phrase when it came to how America would move forward. He said, “It’s not the man, it’s the plan.” It’s not the man, it’s the plan. That was true 40 years ago. It is true today. (Applause.)
We all understood that during my campaign. This wasn’t just about electing a black President. This was about a plan to rescue our economy, and rebuild it on a new foundation. (Applause.)
Statistics just came out this week: From 2001 to 2009, the income of middle-class families in this country went down 5 percent. Think about that. People’s incomes during that period, when the economy was growing, went down 5 percent. That’s what our agenda was about — making sure that we were changing that pattern. It was about giving every hardworking American a chance to join a growing and vibrant middle class — and giving people ladders and steps to success. It was about putting the American Dream within the reach of all Americans — not just some — no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, everybody would have access to the America Dream. (Applause.)
I don’t have to tell you we’re not there yet. This historic recession, the worst since the Great Depression, has taken a devastating toll on all sectors of our economy. It’s hit Americans of all races and all regions and all walks of life. But as has been true often in our history, as has been true in other recessions, this one came down with a particular vengeance on the African American community.
It added to problems that a lot of neighborhoods had been facing long before the storm of this recession. Long before this recession, there were black men and women throughout our cities and towns who’d given up looking for a job, kids standing around on the corners without any prospects for the future. Long before this recession, there were blocks full of shuttered stores that hadn’t been open in generations. So, yes, this recession made matters much worse, but the African American community has been struggling for quite some time.
It’s been a decade in which progress has stalled. And we know that repairing the damage, climbing our way out of this recession, we understand it will take time. It’s not going to happen overnight. But what I want to say to all of you tonight is that we’ve begun the hard work of moving this country forward. We are moving in the right direction. (Applause.)
When I took office, our economy was on the brink of collapse. So we acted immediately, and the CBC acted immediately, and we took steps to stop the financial meltdown and our economic freefall. And now our economy is growing again. The month I was sworn in we had lost 750,000 jobs. We’ve now seen eight months in a row in which we’ve added private sector jobs. (Applause.) We’re in a different place than we were a year ago — or 18 months ago.
And let’s face it, taking some of these steps wasn’t easy. There were a lot of naysayers, a lot of skepticism. There was a lot of skepticism about whether we could get GM and Chrysler back on their feet. There were folks who wanted to walk away, potentially see another million jobs lost. But we said we’ve got to try. And now U.S. auto industries are profitable again and hiring again, back on their feet again, on the move again. (Applause.)
There were folks who were wondering whether we could hold the banks accountable for what they had done to taxpayers; or were skeptical about whether we could make infrastructure investments and investments in clean energy and investments in education, and hold ourselves accountable for how that money was spent. There was a lot of skepticism about what we were trying to do. And a lot of it was unpopular.
But I want to remind everybody here, you did not elect me to do what was popular. You elected me to do what was right. (Applause.) That’s what we’ve been fighting together for — to do what’s right. (Applause.) We don’t have our finger out to the wind to know what’s right.
That’s why we passed health insurance reform that will make it illegal for insurance companies to deny you coverage because of a preexisting condition. (Applause.) Historic reforms that gives over 30 million Americans the chance to finally obtain quality care, tackles the disparities in the health care system, puts a cap on the amount you can be charged in out-of-pocket expenses. Because nobody should go broke because they got sick in a country like the United States of America. Not here. (Applause.)
That’s why we passed Wall Street reform, to finally crack down on the predatory practices of some of the banks and mortgage companies — so we can protect hardworking families from abusive fees or unjustified rates every time they use a credit card, or make a mortgage payment, or go to a payday loan operation, or take out a student loan, or overdraw on their account at an ATM. Laws that will help put an end to the days of government bailouts so Main Street never again has to pay for Wall Street’s mistakes. (Applause.)
That’s why we made historic investments in education, including our HBCUs — (applause) — and shifted tens of billions of dollars that were going to subsidize banks, and made sure that money was giving millions of more children the chance to go to college and have a better future. That’s what we’ve been doing. (Applause.)
That’s why we’re keeping the promises I made on the campaign trail. We passed tax cuts for 95 percent of working families. We expanded national service from AmeriCorps to the Peace Corps. We recommitted our Justice Department to the enforcement of civil rights laws. We changed sentencing disparities as a consequence of the hard work of many in the CBC. We started closing tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas so we can give those tax breaks to companies that invest right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)
We ended our combat mission in Iraq, and welcomed nearly 100,000 troops home. (Applause.) In Afghanistan, we’re breaking the momentum of the Taliban and training Afghan forces so that, next summer, we can begin the transition to Afghan responsibility. (Applause.) And in the meantime, we’re making sure we take care of our veterans as well as they have taken care of us. We don’t just talk about our veterans, give speeches about our veterans; we actually put the money in to make sure we’re taking care of our veterans. (Applause.)
And even as we manage these national security priorities, we are partnering with developing countries to feed and educate and house their people. We’re helping Haiti rebuild, following an unprecedented response from the United States government and the United States military in the wake of the devastation there. (Applause.) In Sudan, we’re committed to doing our part — and we call on the parties there to do their part — to fully implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and ensure lasting peace and accountability in Darfur. (Applause.) As I said in Ghana, it is in America’s strategic interest to be a stronger partner with the nations throughout Africa. That’s not just good for them; that’s good for us. (Applause.)
That’s what we’ve been doing, CBC, at home and abroad. It’s been an important time. We’ve had a historic legislative session. We could have been just keeping things quiet and peaceful around here — because change is hard. But we decided to do what was hard and necessary to move this country forward. Members of the CBC have helped deliver some of the most significant progress in a generation — (applause) — laws that will help strengthen America’s middle class and give more pathways for men and women to climb out of poverty.
But we still got a long way to go — too many people still out of work; too many families still facing foreclosure; too many businesses and neighborhoods still struggling to rebound. During the course of this recession, poverty has gone up to a 15-year high.
So it’s not surprising, given the hardships we’re seeing all across the land, that a lot of people may not be feeling very energized, very engaged right now. A lot of folks may be feeling like politics is something that they get involved with every four years when there’s a presidential election, but they don’t see why they should bother the rest of the time — which brings me back to Ossie Davis. Ossie Davis understood — it’s not the man, it’s the plan. And the plan is still unfinished. (Applause.)
For all the strides we’ve made in our economy, we need to finish our plan for a stronger economy. Our middle class is still shaken, and too many folks are still locked in poverty. For all the progress on education, too many students aren’t graduating ready for college and a career. We still have schools where half the kids are dropping out. We’ve got to finish our plan to give all of our children the best education the world has to offer.
We’ve still got to implement health care reform so that it brings down costs and improves access for all people. And we’ve got to make sure that we are putting people to work rebuilding America’s roads and railways and runways and schools. We’ve got more work to do. We’ve got a plan to finish.
Now, remember, the other side has a plan, too. It’s a plan to turn back the clock on every bit of progress we’ve made. To paraphrase my friend, Deval Patrick, the last election was a changing of the guard — now we’ve got to guard the change. (Applause.) Because everything that we are for our opponents have spent two years fighting against. They said no to unemployment insurance; no to tax cuts for ordinary working families; no for small business loans; no to providing additional assistance to students who desperately want to go to school. That’s their motto: No, we can’t. (Laughter.) Can you imagine having that on your bumper sticker? (Laughter.) It’s not very inspiring.
In fact, the only agenda they’ve got is to go back to the same old policies that got us into this mess in the first place. I’ll give you an example. They want to borrow $700 billion — keep in mind, we don’t have $700 billion — they want to borrow $700 billion — from the Chinese or the Saudis or whoever is lending — and use it on tax cuts, more tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. Average tax cut, $100,000 for people making a million dollars or more.
Now, the next few years are going to be tough budget years, which is why I’ve called for a freeze on some discretionary spending. If we are spending $700 billion, we’re borrowing $700 billion, not paying for it, it’s got to come from somewhere. Where do you think it’s going to come from? Who do you think is going to pay for these $100,000 checks going to millionaires? Our seniors? Our children? Hardworking families all across America that are already struggling?
We shouldn’t be passing tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires right now. That’s not what we should be doing. We should be helping the middle class grow. We should be proving pathways out of poverty. And yet, the man with the plan to be speaker of the House, John Boehner, attacked us for closing corporate tax loopholes and using the money to keep hundreds of thousands of essential personnel on the jobs all across the states. He called these jobs — and I quote — “government jobs,” suggested they weren’t worth saving. Teacher jobs, police officer jobs, firefighter jobs.
Ask your sister who’s a teacher if her job is worth saving. Ask your uncle who’s a firefighter if his job was worth saving. Ask your cousin who’s a police officer if her job was worth saving. Ask your neighbors if their jobs were worth saving. (Applause.) Because I think a job is worth saving if it’s keeping Americans working and keeping America strong and secure. That’s what I believe. That’s what’s at stake in this. (Applause.) They want to hand Washington back over to special interests. We’re fighting on behalf of the American people. They want to take us backwards. We want to move forward.
Their main strategy is they’re betting you’ll come down with a case of amnesia, that you’ll forget what happened between 2001 and 2009, what that agenda did to this country when they were in charge. And they spent almost a decade driving the economy into the ditch. And now we’ve been down in that ditch, put on our boots — it’s hot down there — we’ve been pushing the car, shoving it — (laughter) — sweating. They’re standing on the sidelines, sipping a Slurpee — (laughter) — watching us, saying, “You’re not pushing fast enough. You’re not pushing hard enough.” (Laughter.)
Finally we get the car out of the ditch, it’s back on the road. They tap us on the shoulder. They say, “We want the keys back.” We tell them, you can’t have the keys back. You don’t know how to drive. (Applause.) You can’t have it back. (Applause.)
That’s right. You can’t give them the keys. (Laughter.) Now, I just want to point out, if you want your car to go forward, what do you do? You put it in “D.” You want to go backwards, what do you do? (Applause.) That’s all I’m saying. That’s not a coincidence. (Applause.) That’s not a coincidence.
All right, we’ve got to move this program along. (Laughter.)
There are those who want to turn back the clock. They want to do what’s right politically, instead of what’s right — period. They think about the next election. We’re thinking about the next generation. (Applause.) We can’t think short term when so many people are out of work, not when so many families are still hurting. We need to finish the plan you elected me to put in place. (Applause.)
And I need you. I need you because this isn’t going to be easy. And I didn’t promise you easy. I said back on the campaign that change was going to be hard. Sometimes it’s going to be slower than some folks would like. I said sometimes we’d be making some compromises and people would be frustrated. I said I could not do it alone. This wasn’t just a matter of getting me elected, and suddenly, I was going to snap my fingers and all our problems would go away. It was a matter of all of us getting involved, all of us staying committed, all of us sticking with our plan for a better future until it was complete. (Applause.) That’s how we’ve always moved this country forward.
Each and every time we’ve made epic change — from this country’s founding to emancipation, to women’s suffrage, to workers’ rights — it has not come from a man. It has come from a plan. It has come from a grassroots movement rallying around a cause. That’s what the civil rights movement made possible — foot soldiers like so many of you, sitting down at lunch counters, standing up for freedom; what made it possible for me to be here today — Americans throughout our history making our union more equal, making our union more just, making our union more perfect, one step at a time.
That’s what we need again. I need everybody here to go back to your neighborhoods, to go back to your workplaces, to go to churches and go to the barber shops and go to the beauty shops, and tell them we’ve got more work to do. Tell them we can’t wait to organize. Tell them that the time for action is now, and that if each and every person in this country who knows what is at stake steps up to the plate, if we are willing to rise to this moment like we’ve always done, then together we will write our own destiny once more.
Thank you. God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
What this transcript does not convey properly is the passion Obama exuded during this speech. I have never seen him give such an impassioned defense of his presidency and his vision of the country. He was confrontational with the Republicans in a manner that indicated his complete bewilderment for why Republicans want to maintain such inequity in the tax code (and actually increase it on the poor, as he states). It takes him speaking at his progressive base and a campaign season for him to become this forceful, but luckily this should be commonplace until November 6, 2012.
“Ra, ra, ra, destroy the EPA, ra, ra, ra!”
Does anyone remember Reorganization Plan No. 3?
The fact that Nixon seems to be one of the most innovative Republican executives in the last 40 years is quite a testament to how the party has shifted to the right. Granted, Nixon was working with a Democratic, Great Society era congress, and granted, Nixon was more consumed with reelection than anything else. But he still could have been policy curmudgeon and vetoed a bunch of things.
I know Republicans have changed, but even Mr. Republican Bob Taft would be a moderate in today’s party.
Anyway, following the TRAIN Act’s passage, I thought it would be nice to reminisce on how the EPA came into existence, and who was responsible: A Republican.
The fringe of the Republican-conservative-Tea Party-libertarian-arnacho-fascist electorate has achieved a great milestone. In Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, the ever radicalized right-wing electorate has attracted two of the most pathetic conservative presidential candidates in American history. Both Bachmann and Perry are pron to verbal confusion and the flubbing of facts to suit their narratives, regardless of broad consensus interpretation on the subject. Jon Huntsman is good guy who undertands how to accomplish modern day problems with a conservative bend. Though I am not a conservative, I can see how someone like Huntsman could effectively govern; I do not retain this assessment for Bachmann or Perry. Romney will now win-out smoothly. Iowa will be split, something like:
Gingrich, Cain, Huntsman, Santorum 2-3% each
New Hampshire will easily go for Romney, with about 58% of the vote.
South Carolina will still go with Bachmannm then Perry, then Cain, then Romney. Paul’s message is not jingoistic enough for SC.
From there Romney will cost. California should be interesting, as California libertarians outnumber California conservatives in the electorate, but are historically timid in Republican primaries. If Gary Johnson or Ron Paul are able to win the state on Super Tuesday, it could shift the entire landscape. Romney should do fairly well in California, though he was trounced by McCain in 2008 (not exactly the strongest candidate).
Here are some similarities between George W. Bush and Rick Perry:
-Both were cheerleaders; one at Yale, one at Texas A&M.
-Both were Texas Governors from the West that relied heavily on jingoism and Texas Nationalism.
-Both executed people of mentally disabled status, and executed prisoners in lieu of DNA evidence that may have changed the court ruling.
-Both enjoy the same recreational and cultural activities, such as farming, cowboying, and drinking beer.
-Both were in the air force, though Perry earned his rank more than Bushy.
-Born-agains… how convenient.
-Both were C students; Perry had a 2.2, Bush had a 2.3.
-Both love to be the less prestigious minded choice of candidates.
-Both have the innate ability to create convoluted and misstated responses to serious problems. (Watching Perry on TV creates vivid flashbacks to the Bush era bubbling around)