Political Miscellania

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A round up of various political items of interest:

1. We lead off with the above video.  Contessa Brewer, MSNBC’s representative journalist for the empty-headed bimbo demographic, is just so darned ticked off that the Time’s Square Would Be Bomber turned out to be a jihadist and not, presumably, some more politically correct villain.  This perhaps is of limited political significance, other than to demonstrate yet again that MSNBC should only be viewed for purposes of unintentional humor.

2. David Obey (D. WI.) announced his surprise retirement.  When Obey was first elected to Congress in 1968 I was 11 years old.  Needless to say, it is long past time for him to be moving on to other things after 42 years, but his retirement this late in the campaign season indicates to me that this was not planned far in advance, and probably was due to the fact that he was facing a tough race and the prospect of the House flipping to the Republicans. This is bad news for the Democrats as it puts one more Democrat seat in play and is yet another sign of the political disaster awaiting the Democrats in November.

3. Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.   Reid Wilson at Hotline has a prescient post where he notes that Democrat primary numbers have fallen off a cliff:

Turnout among Dem voters dropped precipitously in 3 statewide primaries on Tuesday, giving the party more evidence that their voters lack enthusiasm ahead of midterm elections.

In primaries in NC, IN and OH, Dems turned out at far lower rates than they have in previous comparable elections.

Just 663K OH voters cast ballots in the competitive primary between LG Lee Fisher (D) and Sec/State Jennifer Brunner (D). That number is lower than the 872K voters who turned out in ’06, when neither Gov. Ted Strickland (D) nor Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) faced serious primary opponents.

Only 425K voters turned out to pick a nominee against Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC). The 14.4% turnout was smaller than the 444K voters — or 18% of all registered Dem voters — who turned out in ’04, when Gov. Mike Easley (D) faced only a gadfly candidate in his bid to be renominated for a second term.

And in IN, just 204K Hoosiers voted for Dem House candidates, far fewer than the 357K who turned out in ’02 and the 304K who turned out in ’06.

By contrast, GOP turnout was up almost across the board. 373K people voted in Burr’s uncompetitive primary, nearly 9% higher than the 343K who voted in the equally non-competitive primary in ’04. Turnout in House races in IN rose 14.6% from ’06, fueled by the competitive Senate primary, which attracted 550K voters. And 728K voters cast ballots for a GOP Sec/State nominee in Ohio, the highest-ranking statewide election with a primary; in ’06, just 444K voters cast ballots in that race.

Top Dem strategists have promised to spend millions to get their voters to cast ballots, and polls show they will need to succeed in order to avoid an electoral beating. The latest weekly Gallup tracking survey shows 43% of GOPers are “very enthusiastic” about voting, while just 33% of Dems feel the same way.

Go here to read the rest.

4. In Pennsylvania 12, a special election is coming up to fill the Congressional seat of the late John Murtha.  The Republican Tim Burns is making repeal of ObamaCare a major avenue of attack against the Democrat Mark Critz.  Note the appearance of the Lying Worthless Political Hack, a\k\a Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House at the end of the ad.

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If Burns wins on May 18, watch this type of ad going viral in the fall against every Democrat in a winnable district who voted for ObamaCare, or who refuses to pledge to vote to repeal it.

5. 32 blacks this year are running as GOP candidates for Congress, the most since Reconstruction.  Some are going to win.  Keep your eye on them, and especially keep your eye on retired Lieutenant Colonel Allen West who has the makings of political stardom.

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19 Responses to Political Miscellania

  • Spambot3049 says:

    I do not rejoice over Obey’s retirement because I have not yet seen who the most likely replacement is. LifeNews.com rates Obey as “pro-abortion” (http://www.lifenews.com/state5071.html), which may be accurate, but not terribly precise.

    An issue-by-issue analysis (http://www.ontheissues.org/House/David_Obey.htm) showed he had a mixed voting record on the issues of abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Far from perfect, but for me, it’s important that his replacement be better on the issue of abortion and a large number of pro-life issue. The pro-life voters in that district need to step up early and make sure that at least one candidate on the ballot in the general election will be a pro-life voice in the House.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    Go Colonel West!

    Does this mean I can be a patriot without being a racist now, if I like this guy? Is that acceptable? Or is he a self-hating black, so if I like him, that means I hate blacks?

    I need a thought cop to tell me what to think! Preferably someone who does the freshman initiation at the dorms of the state universities.

  • M.Z. says:

    The seat is likely safe for the dems. I’m not sure how much Duffy’s MTV celebrity will help him, because the district trends older. The bigger disadvantage is that he is an unknown in Wausau, Stevens Point, and Wisconsin Rapids, cities in counties that make up 170,000 of the district’s 650,000 people. Douglas County (Superior) is the other big county with 43,000, and I don’t think a Republican has every carried the county. Obama carried it 63/32.

  • Mike Petrik says:

    I like Duffy. Since I’m a Chicago native I don’t see why the fact that I don’t live in Obey’s district should impair my abilty to vote for him. He has my votes.

  • Colonel West, has admitted to torture and says he’d do it again.

    That strikes me as an example of how “torture” has come to be treated as a generic political bogeyman rather than a serious moral or humanitarian issue. There’s a wide gulf between West’s actions and the sort of things rightly condemned in regards to Guantanamo, etc. The NY Times piece of West actually gives a very balanced view of the incident:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/27/politics/27WEST.html?ex=1400990400&en=71d7b26fe2922d57&ei=5007&partner=USERLAND&pagewanted=all

    I don’t know enough about West and his positions (much less his opponents in the primary) to know if I’d vote for him if I were in his district, but the increasing mis-use of torture as a political football only serves to cheapen a real humanitarian issue, probably making real torture more rather than less likely.

  • Spambot3049 says:

    From the NY Times article:

    “one soldier punched him several times”
    “the translator kicked him in the shin and told him he needed to confess before Colonel West showed up to kill him”
    “Colonel West cocked his gun”
    “Soon, the soldiers began striking and shoving Mr. Hamoodi”
    “They were not instructed to do so by Colonel West but they were not stopped, either”
    “Eventually, the colonel and his soldiers moved Mr. Hamoodi outside, and threatened him with death. Colonel West said he fired a warning shot in the air and began counting down from five. He asked his soldiers to put Mr. Hamoodi’s head in a sand-filled barrel usually used for clearing weapons. At the end of his count, Colonel West fired a shot into the barrel, angling his gun away from the Iraqi’s head, he testified.”

    Oh, yes. Critics of Col. West deserve all the scorn we can heap on them.

  • The parts of the article that struck me were:

    In August, Colonel West learned from an intelligence specialist of a supposed plot to assassinate him, which would endanger the soldiers who traveled with him, too. The plot reportedly involved Mr. Hamoodi, a police officer who occasionally worked for the Americans. Although Mr. Hamoodi is a Shiite Muslim, and most attacks against Americans were carried out by Sunnis loyal to Saddam Hussein, some police officers do cooperate with the insurgents and several have been accused of attacking foreigners.

    Colonel West said he initially thought “the information was a joke.” But a week later several of his officers were ambushed when he was supposed to be traveling with them. A roadside bomb sheared off the back panel of a Humvee, and a firefight ensued. None of his men were seriously hurt, but Colonel West began taking the risk of an assassination seriously.

    Intent on foiling a reported plot to ambush him and his men, Colonel West, a battalion commander, made a calculated decision to intimidate the Iraqi officer with a show of force. An interrogation under way was going nowhere, Colonel West said in an interview, and he chose to take the matter into his own hands.

    “This could get ugly,” he told his soldiers. But, he said, he imposed limits: “This man will not be injured and he will not have to be repaired. There will be no blood and no breakage of bones.”

    Still, Colonel West wanted the Iraqi policeman, Yehiya Kadoori Hamoodi, to think “this was going to be the end” if he did not divulge what he knew. So Colonel West presided over what he considered a time-sensitive interrogation that grew steadily more abusive until he himself fired a pistol beside Mr. Hamoodi’s head.

    “There are rules and regulations, and there’s protecting your soldiers,” Colonel West said, sitting by a man-made waterway behind his family’s new home in a Florida subdivision. “I just felt I’d never have to write a letter of condolence home to a `rule and regulation.’ ”

    “The fact is, I made a choice, the choice had consequences and I accept that,” he continued.

    But, he added, the events of that hot, dusty night still disturb him: “I’m not some bully who goes around threatening men’s lives. Certain things we have to do in war are outside our character.”

    Mr. Hamoodi said he did not really blame the Americans for “arresting and torturing me.” Obviously, someone had informed on him, he said, and they had to act on the information they obtained. Still, he trembles now when he sees a Humvee and he no longer trusts or works with the Americans.

    Soldiers testified that they felt safer when Colonel West was in charge. The interpreter, who works for a private contractor, said that “the American soldiers were protected by the tribes” in the area because of Colonel West’s good relationship with the community, and that the situation became more dangerous and chaotic after he left.

    The military decided against court-martialing Colonel West. He was fined $5,000, and he submitted his resignation, which becomes effective this summer, when he will retire with full benefits.

    Colonel West said he had spent many months grappling with disorientation, wondering, “What is my purpose now, my reason for being?” Shortly after he arrived back in the United States, he got a lucrative job offer from a private contractor to return to Iraq, he said, but he was not interested. Instead, he decided to start again in the world of education.

    He is awaiting placement in a high school in Broward County and, he said, he prays that God will see to it that he gets a spot in one of the low-performing, predominantly black schools, where he can try to make a difference. Ever the striver, he plans to begin studying for a master’s in education so he can advance into administration “within five years.” he said. [the article is from 2004]

    I’m not prepared to say whether West was right in his actions, but if someone reads the whole article and simply comes out with a 2D portrait of “that guy is a torturer”, it strikes me that person is reading more through an ideological lens than a human one.

  • RR says:

    It’s not political. I watched the video Don posted and I was honestly impressed so I googled him and found out he’s an unrepentant torturer. I too don’t know if he’s any better or worse than his opponent but that kind of killed the enthusiasm.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    Colonel West first came to my notice when he sacrificed his career to save his men. I completely support what he did, and I admire his willingness to take his punishment without whining about it. Of course, a man can be a hero and lack any political skills. However, West has since demonstrated that he possesses such skills in spades. Oh and to short circuit the parade of horribles: no I would not have supported West shooting the suspected terrorist. However, frightening him, in order to foil a possible ambush, although against regulations, strikes me as a moral act.

  • Cathleen says:

    Thanks for watching MSNBC (as penance, I presume), Don, so I don’t have to. I’ve never watched it, nor had I ever heard of Contessa Brewer before your post. Things are worse than I thought.

    Donald R. McClarey for SCOTUS.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    “Donald R. McClarey for SCOTUS.”

    Thank you Cathleen, although I have as much chance of being nominated for SCOTUS as I do of being elected Miss America. Besides, I’ve thus far successfully resisted all efforts to get me into a black robe at the trial court level, since I enjoy simply being an attorney. (Also, as I remarked on one occasion, me being on the bench might be one of the seven signs of the Apocalypse!)

  • j. christian says:

    Maybe not a sign of the Apocalypse, but it sure would be fun to read your opinion of something like the “sweet mystery of life” passage.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    Yeah j. christian, Kennedy has a bad case of Black Robitis. Too many people after they put on a black robe forget that, at best, they are smart attorneys and begin to consider themselves Platonic Guardians called upon to make decisions for everyone else.

    Of course the best comment in regard to this type of judicial buffoonery was made by Scalia in his magnificent dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the decision which reaffirmed Roe:

    “What makes all this relevant to the bothersome application of “political pressure” against the Court are the twin facts that the American people love democracy and the American people are not fools. As long as this Court thought (and the people thought) that we Justices were doing essentially lawyers’ work up here–reading text and discerning our society’s traditional understanding of that text–the public pretty much left us alone. Texts and traditions are facts to study, not convictions to demonstrate about. But if in reality our process of constitutional adjudication consists primarily of making value judgments; if we can ignore a long and clear tradition clarifying an ambiguous text, as we did, for example, five days ago in declaring unconstitutional invocations and benedictions at public high school graduation ceremonies, Lee v. Weisman, 505 U. S. ___ (1992); if, as I say, our pronouncement of constitutional law rests primarily on value judgments, then a free and intelligent people’s attitude towards us can be expected to be (ought to be) quite different. The people know that their value judgments are quite as good as those taught in any law school–maybe better. If, indeed, the “liberties” protected by the Constitution are, as the Court says, undefined and unbounded, then the people should demonstrate, to protest that we do not implement their values instead of ours. Not only that, but confirmation hearings for new Justices should deteriorate into question and answer sessions in which Senators go through a list of their constituents’ most favored and most disfavored alleged constitutional rights, and seek the nominee’s commitment to support or oppose them. Value judgments, after all, should be voted on, not dictated; and if our Constitution has somehow accidently committed them to the Supreme Court, at least we can have a sort of plebiscite each time a new nominee to that body is put forward. Justice Blackmun

    not only regards this prospect with equanimity, he solicits it, ante, at 22-23.

    * * *

    There is a poignant aspect to today’s opinion. Its length, and what might be called its epic tone, suggest that its authors believe they are bringing to an end a troublesome era in the history of our Nation and of our Court. “It is the dimension” of authority, they say, to “cal[l] the contending sides of national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.” Ante, at 24.

    There comes vividly to mind a portrait by Emanuel Leutze that hangs in the Harvard Law School: Roger Brooke Taney, painted in 1859, the 82d year of his life, the 24th of his Chief Justiceship, the second after his opinion in Dred Scott. He is all in black, sitting in a shadowed red armchair, left hand resting upon a pad of paper in his lap, right hand hanging limply, almost lifelessly, beside the inner arm of the chair. He sits facing the viewer, and staring straight out. There seems to be on his face, and in his deep set eyes, an expression of profound sadness and disillusionment. Perhaps he always looked that way, even when dwelling upon the happiest of thoughts. But those of us who know how the lustre of his great Chief Justiceship came to be eclipsed by Dred Scott cannot help believing that he had that case–its already apparent consequences for the Court, and its soon to be played out consequences for the Nation–burning on his mind. I expect that two years earlier he, too, had thought himself “call[ing] the contending sides of national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.”

    It is no more realistic for us in this case, than it was for him in that, to think that an issue of the sort they both involved–an issue involving life and death, freedom and subjugation–can be “speedily and finally settled” by the Supreme Court, as President James Buchanan in hisinaugural address said the issue of slavery in the territories would be. See Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States, S. Doc. No. 101-10, p. 126 (1989). Quite to the contrary, by foreclosing all democratic outlet for the deep passions this issue arouses, by banishing the issue from the political forum that gives all participants, even the losers, the satisfaction of a fair hearing and an honest fight, by continuing the imposition of a rigid national rule instead of allowing for regional differences, the Court merely prolongs and intensifies the anguish.

    We should get out of this area, where we have no right to be, and where we do neither ourselves nor the country any good by remaining.”

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/91-744.ZX4.html

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