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Archive for the ‘Midterm Elections’ Category

There are a variety of explanations for the frustratingly backwards outcome of yesterday’s election.

Clearly Americans were dissatisfied with the objective reality that the Obama administration and the congressional Democrats actually made things better by cutting the deficit by an historic $122 billion; creating upwards of three million new jobs; ending the war in Iraq; passing the largest middle class tax cut in history; and rescuing the economy from the brink of collapse. Not good enough, obviously.

Or did voters simply not know about these accomplishments? That’s entirely possible given the Democratic Party’s uncanny penchant for running away from its successes, while also fumbling very basic add-water-and-serve marketing chores. (And, by the way, adding to the party’s failures to ballyhoo its accomplishments, the progressive movement was systematically out-hustled, out-gunned and outmaneuvered for much of the last two years.)

Of course there’s also the Flailing Rage Factor, which I tend to favor as a reason for yesterday’s outcome more than ignorance or lack of Democratic marketing chops. For two years now, Americans have been incited by fakery and horror stories to the point of being pumped up into a ‘roid raging mob chanting shallow platitudes and bumper sticker zingers — incoherently attacking Speaker Pelosi’s face, and bent out of shape by the fact that there’s not a doddering old white guy stumbling through the West Wing spinning grandfatherly yarns about American mornings and saintly cowboys.

Ultimately, what Americans voted for yesterday was divided government, which admittedly isn’t new in American politics. We typically like the idea of two sides, Congress and the White House, locking horns and ultimately compromising on the important matters of the day.

Unfortunately, this is a “pre-01/20/09″ mindset. It’s a mass delusion based on antiquated political attitudes.

The era when Republicans would, at least reluctantly, compromise with a Democratic president is long gone.

What voters unknowingly asked for yesterday was gridlock: immovable, unprecedented, insufferable gridlock of the worst kind, and at the worst time imaginable.

The Republicans have no intention of handing the president any successes. They’ll never in a million years compromise with this White House, or the Senate Democrats for that matter, because any move in that direction will bring down the loud, screechy tweet wrath of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party who will neither accept nor support anyone who appears to be leaning in the direction of the Obama agenda.

(more…)

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Mid-Term Elections Still In Play, With Dems Gaining Momentum

Crooks & Liars- By Susie Madrak
October 04, 2010 09:00 AM
Some good news for the Democrats. So taking over the House and the Senate isn’t quite as easy as Republicans hoped – or as Democrats feared. The situation is still fluid, and Dems need to keep up the pressure:

WASHINGTON — Republicans carry substantial advantages as they move into the final month of the fall campaign, but the resilience of vulnerable Democrats is complicating Republican efforts to lock down enough seats to capture the House and take control of the unsettled electoral battleground.

By now, Republicans had hoped to put away a first layer of Democrats and set their sights on a second tier of incumbents. But the fight for control of Congress is more fluid than it seemed at Labor Day, with Democrats mounting strong resistance in some parts of the country as they try to hold off a potential Republican wave in November.

The chances of a Republican takeover in the House remain far greater than in the Senate, according to a race-by-race analysis by The New York Times. But enough contests remain in flux that both parties head into the final four weeks of the campaign with the ability to change the dynamic before Election Day.

Races typically tighten in the final month as voters on both sides become more engaged, and the political climate is no more favorable for Democrats than it has been all year, with no substantial signs of improvement in the economy or the outlook for unemployment.

Yet even as spending from outside groups is threatening to swamp many Democratic candidates, Republican strategists estimated that only half of the 39 seats they need to win control of the House were definitively in hand.

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Religion and Politics 2010: Election News Brief

Election News Briefs

Arizona Politics Get ‘Dirty’: Ben Quayle’s Website Controversy

The Pew Forum- On Religion & Public Life

Sept. 9, 2010 |

Politics in Arizona’s 3rd congressional district sure are getting “Dirty.”

Jon Hulburd, the Democratic candidate in the district, recently released a radio spot on three Christian radio stations and a conservative talk radio station accusing his Republican opponent, Ben Quayle, of contributing to TheDirty.com, a racy website about Arizona nightlife, according to Politico.  In the ad, a woman who identifies herself as “a Christian and a mom” says that Quayle helped create “one of the most offensive websites I’ve ever seen.”

Quayle, who is the son of former Vice President Dan Quayle, was first confronted with accusations of writing for TheDirty.com during the primary campaign. Just weeks before the Aug. 24 primary, Nik Richie, the founder of the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based website whose legal name is Hooman Karamian, told Politico that Quayle was one of the original contributors to the site when it launched in 2007 as DirtyScottsdale.com. Richie claimed that Quayle published eight to 10 blog posts on the site under the alias “Brock Landers” – the name of a fictional porn star from the 1997 movie “Boogie Nights.”

Politico reported that Quayle, who campaigned as a “family-values conservative” according to the Associated Press, initially denied any involvement with the website. But one day after dismissing the accusations, Quayle changed his story, telling Phoenix’s 12 News that he “just posted some comments there to try to drive some traffic” but could not remember what those comments were, according to Politico.

The day after Quayle won the Republican nomination, an Arizona Republic blog reported that Hulburd had released a statement that called the general election a race “between Jon Hulburd and Brock Landers,” identifying Quayle by his alleged alias.

The controversy seems unlikely to fade in the coming months, with Democrats eager to put Quayle on the defensive in the Republican-leaning district, according to The Arizona Republic. On Sept. 8, the Quayle campaign began running an ad on Phoenix radio stations criticizing Hulburd’s positions on social and moral issues. Among other things, the ad accuses Hulburd of using his “massive wealth to fund abortion lobbies,” Politico reports. The ad also notes that Quayle is pro-life and that he “strongly supports constitutional protection of marriage between a man and a woman.”

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Bill Maher Channels Obama’s Alter Ego ‘Barry Whitehouse’ in his New Rules Segment

Crooks & Liars- By Heather
October 01, 2010 10:37 PM

Apparently Bill Maher really doesn’t want to see the Republicans back in office any more than I do. Maher channeled his inner “Barry Whitehouse” and reminded everyone why as aggravated as many of us might be with the Democrats right now, we don’t need to be putting the Republicans back in office and had a bit of fun while doing it.

Maher: Why can’t the Democrats get props for what they’ve achieved? Oh, I know… I know. Obama’s black. He’s used to being denied credit. And there’s nothing wrong with being hard on him. He’s the president and it’s our job to keep him honest.

But when it comes to voting, when we only have two choices, you’ve got to grow up and realize there’s a big difference between a disappointing friend and a deadly enemy. Of course the Democrats are disappointing. That’s what makes them Democrats. If they were any more frustrating they’d be your relatives.

But in this country they are all that stands between you and darkest night. You know why their symbol is the letter “D”? Because it’s a grade that means good enough, but just barely.

You know why the Republican symbol is “R”? Because it’s the noise a pirate makes when he robs you and feeds you to a shark.

The truth is the Democratic base is still way larger than the Republican base. The reason why they’re losing is something called the enthusiasm gap. Yeah. And the voters that Obama and the Democrats have really lost are the women. Women like Velma Hart are just not getting enough love from the president.

So tonight I thought I’d try to make their fantasies come true and speak to you as Barack Obama’s alter ego, Barry Whitehouse.

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New Poll: Restless Voters Prefer Democrats Again, But Still Hate Incumbents

ALAN FRAM | 05/15/10 08:14 PM | AP

WASHINGTON — People want Democrats to control Congress after this fall’s elections, a shift from April, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll released Saturday. But the margin is thin and there’s a flashing yellow light for incumbents of both parties: Only about one-third want their own lawmakers re-elected.

The tenuous 45 percent to 40 percent preference for a Democratic Congress reverses the finding a month ago on the same question: 44 percent for Republicans and 41 percent for Democrats. The new readout came as the economy continued showing signs of improvement and the tumultuous battle over the health care law that President Barack Obama finally signed in March faded into the background.

“To the extent that Democrats can focus on job creation rather than health care, they tend to do better,” said Jack Pitney, a political scientist at California’s Claremont McKenna College.

Democrats hold a 254-177 majority over Republicans in the House, with four vacancies, while Democrats control 59 of the Senate’s 100 seats, counting support from two independents. Despite those disadvantages, the GOP has gained political momentum in recent months and its leaders hope to win control of at least one chamber of Congress this November.

Compared with the last AP-GfK poll in April, the survey showed Republicans losing some support among married women, a key component of many GOP victories. Democrats picked up ground among young and rural voters.

“I’m a new Democrat,” said Harley Smithson, 51, of Baltimore, who said he had recently switched from the GOP. “I want to be with a party that’s for something instead of against everything.”

Even so, the poll underscores that the political environment remains ominous for Democrats.

Just 35 percent say the country is heading in the right direction, the lowest measured by the AP-GfK survey since a week before Obama took office in January 2009. His approval rating remains at 49 percent, as low as it’s been since he become president.

Congressional Democrats win approval from only 37 percent, though congressional Republicans score an even drearier 31 percent. Democrats and Republicans are about evenly trusted to handle the economy, an issue Democrats once dominated and one that is crucial at a time when the country’s job situation, though brightening, remains grim.

MORE HERE

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