Election 2010

Bye Bye Pawlently

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Tim Pawlenty is the first casualty of the Republican primary contest for President, with his announcement today of his dropping out.  I am not too surprised.  His only hope as a candidate was to win the Iowa caucuses.  His attacks against the frontrunner in Iowa, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, in the debate last week proved completely ineffective.  His loss in the Saturday Aimes, Iowa straw poll, coming in a distant third after Bachmann and Ron Paul (R. Pluto), demonstrated that his hopes in Iowa were minimal. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Gingrich and the Fine Art of Political Suicide

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Newt Gingrich is the fastest GOP presidential candidate political suicide since Mitt Romney’s old man George Romney cratered in the Republican Presidential primaries in 1968 after claiming that he had been “brainwashed” into supporting the  Vietnam War.  Gingrich has received near universal conservative condemnation for attacking Paul Ryan’s budget plan on Sunday on “Meet The Press” on NBC and seeming to endorse a form of ObamaCare.  How ironic that Gingrich, who has always prided himself on his futuristic innovative thinking, was done in by attempting to appease non-conservatives on a low rated show of the increasingly irrelevant lamestream press.  The new media, talk radio, blogs and conservative outlets on the net, ran with it, Gingrich is now political toast and he simply can’t believe what has happened to him in such a short time span.

In response to this, Gingrich released this incredibly delusional statement:

The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding. Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment’s cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods. Now they are left exposed by their bylines and handles. But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught. But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces. ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

1946, 1994, 2010 => 1948, 1996, 2012?

Picture it: Upper East Side of Manhattan, November 9, 1994.  There is a buzz throughout the halls of Regis High School, and it’s not just because today is student exchange day and there will actually be girls in our school.  The previous night the Republicans had won control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years, and my friends and I – little Republicans in training that we all were – were quite joyous.

First period was US History, and our teacher knows that I am certainly excited about the election.  So he writes on the board the following:

1994=1946

His point?  As was the case in 1946, the Republican victory would be short-lived.  Republican gains in 1946 were wiped out – and then some – in 1948.  On top of that, Harry Truman was re-elected.  History would repeat itself.

I scoffed at this ridiculous notion.  There was certainly no way that Slick Willy Clinton could possibly earn a second term as US President.  I had been counting the days to his 1996 electoral humiliation since roughly November 7, 1992.  Surely this was the first stage on the road to that inevitable defeat.

Fast forward to November 5, 1996.  Needless to say I was as disappointed on that night as all us Regians were at the end of that November day in senior year. (I mean come on, we’re talking about a bunch of nerdy kids from an all boys school.  It took most of us a full year of college before we could properly talk to members of the opposite sex.)  Mr. Anselme was right.

But not entirely.  Though Bill Clinton had indeed won re-election, the election was not a total repeat of 1948.  The Republicans lost a few seats, but in the end they retained control of both houses of Congress – something they had not done in successive cycles since the Hoover administration.

History is informative, and we certainly should be aware of the lessons of elections past when we think about what will happen down the line.  But we should refrain from assuming that events will necessarily repeat themselves. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Grief Counseling For Defeated Democrats

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Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  Apparently the staffers of defeated Democrats in Congress are being provided with grief counseling. 

A staffer for a congressional Democrat who came up short on Tuesday reports that a team of about five people stopped by their offices this morning to talk about payroll, benefits, writing a résumé, and so forth, with staffers who are now job hunting.

But one of the staffers was described as a “counselor” to help with the emotional aspect of the loss — and a section in the packet each staffer was given dealt with the stages of grief (for instance, Stage One being anger, and so on).

“It was like it was about death,” the staffer said. “It was bizarre.” The staffer did say the portions about the benefits and résumé writing were instructive.

I have always had a keen concern for the mental health of Democrats in Congress, so I will attempt in this post to give them a few pointers to help them work through their grief:

1.  Denial:  As the saying goes, it is just not a river in Egypt.  Best to deal quickly with this stage.  “The Election was just a bad dream.  We did not suffer the worst rejection at the polls of either party since 1948.  All will be well, all will be well.  Chant together:  Hope and Change!  Hope and Change!  Hope and Change!”  With luck you can get beyond this stage in a few days, certainly by the time the office movers come.

2.  Anger:  Let it all out.   “Blast those lying, knuckle dragging Republicans!  Can you believe how stupid the average voters are!  After all we did for the country!  This nation is doomed!  I’m moving to Canada!”  Turn on Hannity and engage in primal scream therapy at the TV.  Listen to Rush as you dust off that voodoo doll of him and stick pins in it.  After a few days you will get past the teeth grinding stage whenever you think about the election. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

State Legislatures go Republican

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The video depicts a little bit of excitement on the floor of the Alabama Senate in 2007 between two Senators. 

Lost in the attention paid to the marquee races for the Senate, the House and the Governorships, were the huge Republican gains in the state legislatures:

The Republicans’ 60-seat pickup in Congress – the most by any party in a half-century – appears insignificant when you consider that in the New Hampshire state House, Republicans appear to have gained at least 120 seats.

All told, Republicans gained at least 680 state legislative seats nationwide on Tuesday night, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures, an outcome that could have far-reaching implications for both parties.

Preliminary results indicate that the GOP gained control of at least 19 of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers, while holding others where they were already in the majority. Heading into the election, Democrats controlled both houses of 27 state legislatures, while Republicans held both in 14, and eight were evenly divided.

The result is devastating for Democrats in this respect: Many state legislatures control the decennial process of redrawing state legislative and congressional district boundaries. The NCSL now says Republicans have unilateral control of the boundaries of 190 congressional districts.

“2010 will go down as a defining political election that will shape the national political landscape for at least the next 10 years,” Tim Storey, elections specialist with the NCSL, said in a news release. “The GOP … finds itself now in the best position for both congressional and state legislative line-drawing than it has enjoyed in the modern era of redistricting.”

At a minimum, 54 legislative chambers will be under GOP control when they reorganize, the highest number for Republicans since 1952. They will hold 53% of the total number of seats, nearly 3,900 – the most since 1928. ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Narrative Failure

There’s nothing more annoying that excessive crowing over an election, but I can’t help taking just a moment to observe that there’s something which doesn’t quite fit about the idea that the GOP (and in a number of cases, the Tea Party wing of the GOP) did so well yesterday because the electorate was outraged that Obama and congress didn’t tack harder left in the last two years. Yes, it’s true that it was moderate Democrats, in many cases, who lost, but that’s mainly because those moderate Democrats were elected in 2010 in districts which were to the right of them, districts which had previously been held by the GOP. But the fact that Pelosi was reelected while Driehaus lost doesn’t mean that the electorate as a whole wants people on the hard left — it’s because Pelosi’s district is in San Francisco while Driehaus’s was in Cincinnati.

What both rightists and leftists should keep in mind after elections like this one and 2008 as well is that elections in the US are decided by a swing bloc which might charitably be described as pragmatic/a-political (or uncharitably as generally ignorant of political ideology and policy.) →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

No Final Victories, No Final Defeats

 

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The Republican party had a very good election last night, and the Democrats had a very bad election.  The Republicans took control of the House and have gained approximately 60 seats with around 13 still to be decided.  The House will be more pro-life than at any time in our nation’s history since Roe v. Wade in 1973.  In the Senate the Republicans have gained approximately 6 seats with around 3 still to be decided.  The Republicans have gained at least seven governorships with a few to be decided, and at least 17 state legislative chambers have flipped to the GOP.  By any standards it was a great night for the GOP, and a vote of no confidence in both the Obama administration and the Democrat Congress.  It would be tempting to predict only triumph now for the Republicans and only doom for the Democrats in the future, but it is a temptation to be resisted. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

TAC Election Night Live Blog

 

The live blog will start tonight at 6:00 PM Central Time.  I will be listening to Fox due to Michael Barone who is the chief Fox election analyst, and who knows more about each Congressional District than anyone else alive, and browsing the internet to bring you the latest information.  I ask TAC commenters and contributors to chime in with  information and observations.  The picture at the top of this blog will help you keep track of when polls close in each state.  The image is from 2008, but I believe it is still accurate.

Nate Silver over at 538 has put together a handy sheet listing the crucial seats that the GOP needs to win to take the House.  Go here to view it.  This will be an indispensable aid as we watch the returns coming in. 

I will attempt to stay with the liveblogging until control of the House is called.  I am stocking up on pizza and pop to stay awake!  The Senate may not be determined for a few days, as it may come down to what happens in California and Washington, and those races may be close.

Feel free to comment during the day in regard to any rumors that you hear.  Detailed reports as to elections in the areas in which you live are welcome.  I view this as a group project, and all assistance I receive from our TAC community will be welcome. 

Oh, and political passions will doubtless be running high today and tonight, but let us remember that it is only politics and keep a sense of perspective about it.  The issues in contention are important, but politics, and politicians, often go hand in hand with great absurdity.

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The Incredible Hulk and the 2010 election

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Last week in a post here, I quoted Jay Cost of the Weekly Standard as follows:

Allocating the undecided voters proportionally, Bruce Banner gets a two-party vote of 54.5 to 45.5.  That’s a nine-point GOP win, in line with a prediction of a historically high Republican caucus, say 240 seats (which is what I actually did predict last week).

Incredible Hulk.  The Hulk has problems with this analysis.  It tosses out what has historically been the best estimator of midterm congressional results, the Gallup generic ballot likely model.  This year Gallup is calling it the “traditional” model, but in every midterm before this, it was the only likely voter model.

Only once in 60 years has the Gallup generic ballot underestimated Democratic strength by a significant amount – by 2% in 2006.  On average, it slightly overestimates the Democrats, by 0.7%.

Here is what he is seeing this morning based upon Gallup showing a 15 point GOP likely voter advantage:

My internal conflict between “Bruce Banner,” who predicts a 1994-style scenario, and “The Incredible Hulk,” who thinks 2010 will be as Republican as anything since the 1920s, has been resolved.

Hulk wins. Here’s why. ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

The November 2 Election and Joe Biden

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Assuming the polls are correct, obviously a big assumption, the Democrats are in for a very long election night tomorrow.  In the face of devastating election losses, the Dems can rely upon Veep and beloved national clown Joe Biden!  First, we should understand why the Democrats are looking at the electoral equivalent of a wheat farm in Death Valley.  My favorite living historian Victor Davis Hanson explains what went wrong:

Barack Obama entered office; nationalized health care; ran up record $1 trillion deficits; promised to hike taxes on the rich; pushed cap and trade through the House; took over large chunks of banks, insurance companies, and auto corporations; made hard-left appointments from Van Jones to Sonia Sotomayor — and in 21 months saw his positives crash from near 70% in January 2009 to little above 40%, with the specter of near record Democratic losses in the Congress just two years after the anti-Bush/anti-Iraq sweep of 2008.

All the polls of independents and moderates show radical shifts and express unhappiness with higher taxes, larger deficits, a poor economy, and too much government. In other words, the electorate is not angry that Obama has moved too far to the right or stayed in the center or borrowed too little money. A Barney Frank or Dennis Kucinich is looking at an unusually tight race in a very liberal district not because liberals have had it with them, but because large numbers of moderates and independents most surely have.

Yet if one were to read mainstream Democratic analysis, there is almost no acknowledgment that the party has become far too liberal. Indeed, they fault Obama for not being liberal enough, or, in the case of the Paul Krugman school, for not borrowing another trillion dollars for even more stimulus, despite the failure of the earlier borrowing. In fact, Obamaites offer three unhinged exegeses for the looming defeat: a) there is no looming defeat: the Democrats will still keep the House; or b) Obama did not prove to be the radical as promised; or c) the American people are clueless and can’t follow science and logic and therefore do not know what is good for them.

Do liberals really believe that had they rammed down cap and trade, borrowed $6 trillion instead of $3 trillion the last 21 months, and obtained blanket amnesty their candidates would be posed to ward off Republican attacks this election year? The problem right now with Greece is that it borrows too little, hires too few, and spends not enough? ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Negative Politics 1800 Style

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Reason TV reminds us that there is nothing new in regard to negative politics.  The most vitriolic election in US history was probably, as the above video indicates,  the election of 1800 between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

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The above video is for my co-blogger Paul, not the biggest fan, to put it mildly, of the Third President of the United States.  Jefferson and Adams were accused of every vice imaginable except, perhaps, of cannibalism.   If  television had been available in 1800 the attack ads would have been sulphurous. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Chris Christie: A Sensitive Guy

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A lot of Republicans are going to be elected on Tuesday precisely because the Democrats have no clue in  regard to restraining government spending.  If the Republicans do not wish to find themselves in the same boat two years hence, they must embrace the hardnosed attitude of Chris Christie in taking an axe to spending.  Republican elected officials, look at what Chris Christie is doing in New Jersey, and go thou and do likewise.

Chester

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Something for the weekend.  Chester by William Billings.  During the American Revolution, this was the unofficial national anthem for the new United States.  As we participate in elections it is good to recall the struggles throughout our history that bequeathed to us the freedoms we enjoy today.  We stand on the shoulders of the giants who preceded us, and we should never forget that. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Where They Stand: Gubernatorial Races

With all the talk about the upcoming Congressional midterms, local races are getting overlooked.  This is unfortunate for a couple of reasons.  First of all, despite a century plus of actions and efforts to the contrary, federalism is still alive, and state governments still matter.  Second, these races have an impact upon national elections because states will be redrawing their districts in the wake of the 2010 census.

It would be a massive undertaking beyond my abilities and time to look at each state’s legislative elections, though most projections I have heard have the Republicans gaining a massive amount of seats in state legislatures.  Republicans are projected to switch majority control in about five or six states at a minimum.  Here I will be taking a look at each of the gubernatorial elections.

On a side note, it may seem odd to label these elections as pickups and holds.  After all, it’s not as though governors gather en masse and vote, so having a “majority” of governorships seems not to be that big of a deal.  But for the aforementioned reasons, it is important to win as many of these races as possible.  Currently there are 26 Democratic governors and 24 Republican.  Republicans will certainly have a majority after Tuesday.  As is the case with the House, the only question is how big of a majority.

And now, to the races we go:

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Voting, the Pope and What Really Matters

Hattip to Rich Leonardi at his blog Ten Reasons, a blog I read every day.  Pope Benedict in his current visit to Brazil gives all the Faithful in the US food for thought as we go to the polls next Tuesday:

“First, the duty of direct action to ensure a just ordering of society falls to the lay faithful who, as free and responsible citizens, strive to contribute to the just configuration of social life, while respecting legitimate autonomy and natural moral law”, the Holy Father explained. “Your duty as bishops, together with your clergy, is indirect because you must contribute to the purification of reason, and to the moral awakening of the forces necessary to build a just and fraternal society. Nonetheless, when required by the fundamental rights of the person or the salvation of souls, pastors have the binding duty to emit moral judgments, even on political themes”.

“When forming these judgements, pastors must bear in mind the absolute value of those … precepts which make it morally unacceptable to chose a particular action which is intrinsically evil and incompatible with human dignity. This decision cannot be justified by the merit of some specific goal, intention, consequence or circumstance, Thus it would be completely false and illusory to defend, political, economic or social rights which do not comprehend a vigorous defence of the right to life from conception to natural end. When it comes to defending the weakest, who is more defenceless than an unborn child or a patient in a vegetative or comatose state?” ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

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