Wednesday, November 3, 2010

About Last Night's Election

Looks like a lot of Mama Griz's fellow Alaskans dropped their bear rifles and picked up the lowly pen

I've spent some time this morning reading editorials about last night's election.  After laughing hysterically at Jim DeMint's musings on The Wall Street Journal, and David Brook's delusional take in the New York Times (neither of which is worth linking) I found this extract from Dan Glickman summed up some of my own beliefs:

The American public is growing increasingly tired of our political leaders seeming to argue for the sake of winning power, and our political leaders rarely reaching a satisfactory conclusion on any issue of public policy that benefits the public as a whole. Americans want to believe that the art of politics is to promote the common good where necessary, not to serve as a podium for the perpetual gain of political power by our elected leaders. If the election demonstrates anything, it is that the public is weary of excessive gamesmanship and is demanding that American politics become more realistic and responsive. And we have all grown more cynical about where any of this can happen.

I have some of my own thoughts about this past election, and most of them are strangely positive.  First I was heartened to know that wealthy individuals can not buy political office.  Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, Carl Paladino, and Linda McMahon all lost.  All put millions of their own money into buying their election.  Add up all that money and they could have bought up the deficit in a number of States.  They could have done something positive.  My hope is that in the next election Americans will figure out allowing corporate interests to buy elections for their personal lobbyists is an equally bad idea.

The Republican party has a huge tactical victory but it will turn out to be a huge strategic loss.  Mama Grizzly and her cubs, coupled with the heavy handed use of moneyed attack ads by corporations and wealthy individuals have destroyed any semblance of a Republican center. It appears the Repubs have harped on too many fears for one party to handle coherently. 

When I think about the 'gamesmanship' in politics, I think about 'point guard Palin' treating the political process and her own party as if it's some sort of basketball game she is orchestrating against the 'big boys'.  Unfortunately for her and her party, some of her players traveled way too much and cost her team some victories.  Sharon Angle's loss in Nevada was a huge win for the Democratic party.  On the other hand, the idiocy of Christine O'Donnell points directly to the stupidity of the Republican National Party if they think Palin is some sort of national player they can pin their hopes on in 2012 or that the Tea Party can be fully integrated into their ranks.  All they need do is look to Alaska where Mama Griz'z pet personal Tea Party cub, Joe Miller, appears to be going down to a write in campaign for Lisa Murkowski. 

The decimation of the Democratic Blue Dog contingency also sends a similar message to Democrats.  Placating Repbulicans in your ranks does not help your cause at the polls.  Over one third of the Democratic losses in the House came from the ranks of the Blue Dogs. It's time the Democratic Party stopped playing footsy with ideological traitors in order to feed from the corporate trough.  Corporate money swung virtually in total to the Republican and Tea Party candidates in spite of the fact Dems like Max Baucus handed corporations all they could want on health care reform, Obama sent 900 billion more to banks 'to big to fail', and then bailed out much of the Auto Industry.  The one place our corporations weren't handed everything they wanted was in finance reform.  Thank God Massachusett's Barney Frank is coming back.

The jury is still out on Archbishop Neinstedt's attempt to influence Minnesota's election for Governor.  Democrat Mark Dayton leads Neinstedt hero Tom Emmer by some 9,000 votes with all but four precincts reporting.  That margin would trigger an automatic recount.  If this one follows the same path as the Al Franken victory, it might be a while before we know whether the K of C has to keep their ceremonial swords in their sheaths.  In the meantime the State Republican party is already hinting at voter fraud, which is interesting since they took both houses of the legislature.  Maybe voters only cheated on voting for governor.

Pro life politicians had a mixed result, as some stalwarts went down to defeat including VA's Tom Perriello.  GLBT politicians did much better, indicating the culture wars are not nearly as persuasive as the fact the economy is in the toilet.  The message is that the rights of the pre born take a very back seat to the availability of pay checks for parents.  Some of us have been trying to make that very point for a long time.  Too many abortions are the result of poverty.   Maybe now it will be heard.

Over all Prez Obama has no one to blame but himself for the Democratic debacle in the House and even more sadly, he also has to thank the Tea Party for the fact the Dems still hold the senate.  His dithering on progressive issues like DADT did not garner him one single political advantage in the battle for centrist votes and cost him dearly in momentum and enthusiasm in his own base.  I hope he looks around and realizes there is absolutely no reason to placate any more Blue Dog Dems, or Republican Tea Party turn coats like McCain.  Mainstream politicians of both parties, who truly reflect the sane constituencies in their respective parties need to work across the aisle and pull this country out of it's economic mess.  They also need to make it plain to our corporations that the era of buying legislation is over.   Nothing else matters


  1. This is the first SANE analysis I've seen. This election was NOT about social issues. It was NOT about liking the Repubs. People are worried, angry and upset about the economy: jobs, mortgages and a deteriorating standard of living. They want results. The Dems didn't give it to them. If this divided gov't doesn't do it, they'll try something/one else. As one pundit put it. There have been three change elections in the row now. Bush got thumped in '06, Obama was elected in '08, and now Obama got thumped in '10.

    My one disappointing election result was that all the Justice in IA who voted to permit gays to marry were voted out. NOM, etc. organized a huge campaign and won. Hate won. That's infuriating.

  2. Well Kevin, as an Iowan and knowing a little something about the reality on the ground, I can happily report that this judge vote is not likely to be much for NOM. It's a symbolic victory (or as I heard someone else more acerbically put it, "a d*ck measuring contest") that doesn't amount to anything strategically. After all, the gay marriage case was a unanimous decision on the part of the Iowa SCOTUS, removing only three judges isn't going to affect that.

    And the important stuff, like the legislature, is still Dem controlled and there is absolutely no threat of starting the long and difficult process of trying to amend the constitution. Furthermore, the guy who nominated the hated "activist judges" in the first place, Branstad, is back in office. Presumably to nominate more judges. So the snake biting it's own tail basically.

    Actually Iowa progressives might just want to send a thank you note to NOM, after all they've done to distract bigoted voters with the scent of fresh red herring.


  3. Great analysis Colleen. The economy really is "in the toilet." Young people are having a really tough time finding work, have student loans to pay off and feel there is no future which is a really sad situation to witness.

    Also, many people who are in their late fifties and early sixties have been let go from their jobs. There are no jobs comparable in any sense to what they had before in terms of pay and benefits. This is happening to people who are not of retirement age yet. They may not be able to meet expenses to stay in their house, and they can't even sell it or even make a profit from their "investment" in home ownership. So much for the American dream that is now in the toilet.

    The Republicans under Bush also made sure that people who can no longer pay their credit card bill could NOT file for bankruptcy if they have any kind of equity in their house. Many banks went under in the last year or two and sold their debt from credit cards to other banks and/or collections companies for pennies on the dollar. These new breed of debt collectors are putting liens on houses and garnishing wages of up to 10 percent if you can't cough up the money. They can go right into your bank account and take out the money and confiscate any tax refund - and its legal! The debt collectors bought the debt and want FULL payment of the original debt, or close to it. They want to make probably three or four times what they paid for the debt. These are Americans doing this to their own people and they don't seem to care at all. Doesn't matter if you're unemployed or not. They want their greedy hands on whatever you have to pay a debt that they bought at a fraction for what they demand be paid back to them. The greed is killing this country.

    I'm really glad too that the wealthy could not buy the election. Would be nice if these people had a conscience to speak of and would do something good for a change like you said, Colleen. Guess they don't know that it is in giving that you receive. They just want to take, take and take.

    I'm glad the blue dogs were kicked out. They were not real democrats to begin with! Nothing but traitors anyway.

  4. You got to love Boehner. Somehow 53% of 40% of the electorate is the will of the people. And somehow the will of the people two years ago didn't count. I would have liked to see Medicare for everyone passed in the last session but that was obviously politically impossible, even with a super majority. The accomplishment was in passing any kind of bill. That sets up the framework which can be improved upon. The original Social Security act was also pretty weak. I look forward to the House trying to repeal it. People will find out what is actually in it.

  5. Thanks, Kallisti, for that "on the ground" analysis. I'm glad the NOM's "victory" is largely symbolic, but I still feel bad for those Justices. They did their job and they got "fired" for it. I hope the gay community there and nationally push back more when the other Justices come up for a vote. NOM will not rest until all of them are out of work. How do these people sleep at night?

  6. NOM is very good at targeting certain populations. They count on the over 65 crowd and that's who turned out in these elections. Gay rights have the majority of their support in the under 30 age group and that is who didn't turn out to vote. This was a perfect storm for these three judges.

    The other issue is that these judges did not spend any money on their campaigns. The idea is not to give the appearance that their decisions can be bought. NOM has established a precedent that is dangerous for our judicial democracy, but could also turn around and bite them in the ass. Two can play this game.

  7. I keep hearing about how the GOP winners in this election, in particular the Tea Partiers, want to revoke the Health Care 'Reform' that went through in the last couple of years. I am so sick and tired of all the 'I've got mine the rest of you can just go to heck' attitude. This goes for marriage rights, tax cuts [in the midst of 2 wars for cryin' out loud; can't we at least stop this hemorrhage of tax dollars first?], bank reform and all the rest of it.

    Since the health care reform seems to be the one thing the GOP wants to drag down first: If I were a firebrand of a rebel in Congress... I'd introduce legislation outlawing ALL forms of health/medical/dental/prescription drug insurance - including Medicare and Medicaid. If you can't pay for your own medical needs, you will have to rely strictly on the private charity of the medical establishment. I'd also include provisions forbidding any business construct such as a corporation, from making any sort of profit on the provision, delivery, drugs, etc for any health care. They would have to use every cent they take in to pay employee salaries, supplies, R&D, building overhead, etc. Oh, and bankruptcy could not be used to cancel medical bills. So even if you or your child is dying, unless you have the money to pay, you get nothing for care. Best have a huge credit card handy when you need to call an ambulance.

    If every single person in this country realized how easily they might lose whatever coverage they do have, just maybe we could have a rational conversation about the serious need for health care reform in this country - and by extension a reasonable social safety net for all of us.

  8. I agree Veronica, but it ain't gonna happen as long as we are in two wars, and one phoney war. As you point out, that hemorrhaging has to stop first. I was struck yesterday by how many editorialists left out the whole business of Obama and his continuance of the Bush war plan. In my book this is the biggest of the 'changes' Obama never brought. Even Gitmo is still open.

    Then I realized I left all that out in my own commentary. I wonder if after nine years of this endless warfare if it's become a sort white noise no one pays any attention to. That for a majority of the US these wars have become a sort of silent killer, like cancer. No question paying for them is a huge part of the budget deficit. High tech war equipment does not seem to produce a lot of jobs. Just a lot of debt.

    Maybe it's time us old hippy blue hairs dragged out our faded peace signs and took to the streets.

  9. Colkoch, sorry to let out my rant on your comments section. There is so much going on in politics that is so disappointing to me. The election results just brought it to a boiling over point.

    I've mentioned before my military background and I think the military does have apart to play in our world, just like the police and fire departments. For the record: My view is that the war in Afghanistan is justified to a point. The second go round of the Gulf War certainly was not. The containment of Saddam after the first round was working well enough.

    But the civilian side must play their part too and take some responsibility to make some sacrifice. If the civilians don't see those wars as important enough to make even minor sacrifices, why should the military be bleeding and dying?

    When I heard Bush 2 telling people to go out and spend money to make sure the US recovers from the attacks of 9-11... I knew even the man who brought us into those 2 wars was not serious about fighting them. Yes, Congress went along by providing some sort of declaration of war; but let's not forget who is the commander in chief of the military. The US simply does not have the political will to fight the wars. They are perfectly happy to just keep sending troops to bleed and die though as long as they can play lip-service to 'Support the Troops'.

    We've just been through an election where national security played no part whatsoever. That tells me a great deal about how our elected officials and aspirants, voters, media and overall population view a need to actually 'Support the Troops'. I agree with you about Obama's failed changes. That alone meant I just could not find the willingness to put in even a few hours volunteering on the campaign this last season - not that I'm terribly effective at it.

    This retired military member is more than ready to join a peace movement. I'm too young to remember much more about Viet Nam than the headlines and TV news reports. But I can now sure see why some of the former military even then went into the peace movement.

  10. Another interesting note on the election (which I found disheartening) was that moderate Dems were decimated at the polls. So you have some very weird things going on: a repudiation of money, a smack-down of some of the tea party candidates, a rejection of incumbents, and Blue Dog Dems not being re-elected. It's hard to make sense of it all. I agree with your take on Obama, and I'm quite pissed off at how everything transpired. I'm pissed that I have to see more of McConnell, Boehner and Cantor (and probably that nut Bachmann as well).

  11. Colkoch: I follow you mystic biblical interpretations, and my beliefs run very cloe to yours in that respect. But politically, my God, your head is screwed on backwards. Progressives, according to their charters and beliefs are in effect Socialist, Marxist, Communist, or Fascist. Every political comment even on this page, falls into one of these three categories. Let's start benignly at Socialism:

    How does a socialist state, in any of it's historical manifestations, ever benefitted the entire population? It hasnt worked. It is fundamentally flawed on a national scale. The community scale works, hence communism, community, same word, the socialist state works at this level. Everyone is dependent on everyone else, charity works, socialism works. But throw in the mix even five communities, and the socialist state begins failing. The government in order to keep everyone at the same evel, and since there is not enough free money available to bring everyone up, the government brings everyone down to the lowest denominator. Once everyone is being paid minimum, where is the incentive to work harder, study harder, further your potential, there is no impetus, why should one person spend years in college to become a surgeon, yet get the same pay, benefits, housing as someone who does nothing but collect their check. That is how every socialist program fails. Everytime.

    Blue Collar Capitalism works, Everytime.

    It's when White Collar Capitalism overshadows it, jobs that produce no tangible asset; Banking, Insurance, Stock Market Speculators, Human Resources, Psychologists, Regulators.. the list goes on and on.

    When the government sector overshadows it, that is when civilization breaks down and corruption, and lobbyist, and unions, Regulators, counterintuitive laws, power struggles, international bribery, these have destroyed everything that made this country great. And liberals and progressives have lead us down this path. Bigger government, more control over the individual, deterioration of human righs, the liberal agenda has done the destroying.

    Conservatives want limited government, small government, where if in a town level or city level, they approve gay marriage, then it is done, congrats, you are recognized as legally married. Small government is the key. Because it is government by the people for the people. Conservative.

    Because bigger govt is all about money, power, agendas, lobbyists, brokers, speculators, elites, and if you want anything done it's who do you know and how deep are you pockets. Where it could take years or decades until anything is finalized, by then there is a regime change, and the bickering starts all over.