republican

Stereotype Threat

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the word “Republican?”   

 

If you can’t think of anything positive, you’ve identified the primary problem facing the GOP in the 2010s. Despite the GOP’s recapturing of the House of Representatives as well as numerous governorships and state legislatures, the party’s public image has yet to fully recover from the beating it took during the Bush era. The 2010 midterm results were brought about by economic malaise and frustration with President Obama, not by the public’s re-embrace of Republican ideology.    

 

It’s still quite possible for President Obama to be re-elected in 2012, and it’s not hard to envision the GOP losing the House in two years as well. For all the chatter about America supposedly being a “center-right” country, the reality is that the country will not truly be “center-right” until Republicans finally challenge the stereotypes that have existed about the party for years. 

 

There are communities all across America filled with people who react with horror and disgust when they hear the word “Republican.” Despite Scott Brown’s historic Senate victory a year ago this month, his party’s losses in the Massachusetts midterm elections demonstrate that the Bay State is one such community. As Boston Phoenix political reporter David Bernstein noted on November 8, “To most Bay Staters (in fact, most New Englanders), ‘Republicans’ are anti-intellectual, vitriolic, reactionary, ‘Party of No,’ Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Tea Party, Southern ideologues. ‘FOX Republicans,’ if you will.”   

 

Republicans can spend all day denouncing these stereotype as false, or lambasting media, academic and entertainment entities that are viewed as perpetuating these stereotypes—but wouldn’t it make more sense to simply shatter these stereotypes?  

 

Republicans need to ask themselves the following questions:  

 

1. Would supply-side economics be held in contempt by large numbers of Americans if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities made a point of demonstrating that supply-side economics benefited the vast majority of Americans, not just the wealthy?  

 

2. Would the notion of Republican anti-intellectualism have such currency if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities did a better job of spotlighting the right’s intellectual class? The recent Fox News special The Right, All Along: The Rise, Fall & Future of Conservatism did a commendable job of reminding viewers of the right’s intellectual heritage, but the broadcast was the exception to the rule.  

 

3. Would the idea of Republicans being scornful of science even exist if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities had more prominent figures who regarded environmental science as something other than “the new refuge of socialist thinking,” as Rush Limbaugh called it in his 1992 book The Way Things Ought to Be?   

 

4. Would the concept of Republicans-as-theocrats be as strong as it is in the minds of millions of Americans if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities were more vocal in embracing a federalist approach to social issues, as Jonah Goldberg recommended in Reason Magazine last year?   

 

The Democratic Party can only prosper if Republicans fail to address the underlying, long-standing issues that still make so many Americans uncomfortable with the GOP: the idea that Republicans lack empathy, don’t give a damn about anyone who’s not already a billionaire, loathe gays and single mothers, secretly desire Christian Shari’a, believe mankind plays no significant role in climate change, are obsessed with spending trillions to democratize the Middle East, regard public education as a wasteland and are generally selfish, uncaring jerks.   

 

There’s nothing wrong with demonstrating empathy. “Compassionate conservatism” may have been an empty slogan, but if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities don’t do a better job of showing that the GOP is not as hard-hearted as it’s often made out to be, the 2010 midterms will go down in history as a fluke.  

 

The last decade was an awful one for the Republican Party. Twenty years after Ronald Reagan’s ten-point victory over President Carter, George W. Bush—the man who was promoted in some conservative circles as Reagan’s true ideological heir—barely got past Vice President Al Gore in the Electoral College and lost the popular vote. Four years later, Bush beat Senator John Kerry by three points, hardly a “center-right” blowout. Republicans lost control of the House and Senate in 2006 and surrendered the White House in 2008. Were it not for pro-GOP momentum generated by the Tea Party movement, as well as the aforementioned public frustration with Obama, the party would still be a sickly elephant ready to be put down.    

 

Too many Republicans still think of themselves as representing the country’s natural majority. This mentality leads to laziness, shortsightedness, arrogance and a failure to recognize and fix key problems. Republicans would be much better off thinking of themselves as a minority group, one that must confront and overcome stereotypes in order to obtain success and social acceptance. Before Republicans can change minds, they must first change their own. 

 

(Cross-posted at Notes from D.R.)

RHR Launches www.ChooseYourChairman.com

The 2010 elections have ended, and the House and Senate Leadership choices have been made, but the Republican Party still faces yet one more crucial choice: selecting the next RNC Chairman.

Republicans Helping Republicans, has launched www.ChooseYourChairman.com allowing you to “voice your choice” for who should be the next leader of the Republican National Committee. 2011 and 2012 will be very crucial election years for the Republican Party. We’ll need a strong RNC Chair to help lead this charge and to ensure that our candidates are equipped for the upcoming challenges.  Please visit www.chooseyourchairman.com and let your voice be heard. ---Princella P.S. Thursday morning (11/18/10), I’ll join Jansing & Co. on MSNBC at 10am Central / 11am Eastern and then a few more times within the hour. Will try to plug the site then, too. Tune in if you can! 

 

POLITICS 24/7's 2010 Election Night Schedule, Projections & Analysis

Bookmark and Share     In these closing days of the midterm elections, Democrats have been unable to do anything to stop the hemorrhaging of support that continues to drain away from them. At the same time, the wind behind the backs of the G.O.P. continues to build and with no resistance in sight, the momentum for Republican electoral victories is only strengthening. Two weeks ago, I feared that Republicans had peaked in the polls. That would have been a premature occurrence and not boded well. But since then, as GOP candidates continue to rise in the polls, it is clear that Republicans did not peak too early. All indications are that the momentum is still behind them and building. As such, history shows that many seats which are close enough to be considered tossups and those that have Democrats holding only slight leads, are more likely to fall into Republican hands then Democrat hands.

In addition to that and the massive swing of Independent and women voters to Republicans from Democrats, I believe that the anti-Democrat sentiment is currently running so unusually strong and deep that traditional polling models are not able to accurately enough read the depth of support for Republican candidates that exists out there. At least not as accurately as they normally can be.

The polls most reflective of final election results are those that are taken among people who are considered likely voters. But this year, there exists a group of voters which can not yet be identified by existing polling models. They fall in neither the category of “first time voters” or “likely voters”. It is the segment of the electorate which is also the most angry and the most likely to vote against Democrats. They are voters who became fed up with government as much as 5 to10 years ago and tuned out and stopped voting. But now, they have become so angered that they have come out of inactivity and are going to be some of the first people to cast their ballots against Democrats on Election Day. Existing polls are unable to account for this demographic and are allowing for results that do not contain the influence of these voters.

It is this unseen undercurrent of Republican support which I believe is going to help tip tossup races in favor of G.O.P. challengers and produce a number of surprises in races that are leaning toward Democrats. For instance, while I admit that Barbara Boxer is likely to be reelected, I have a feeling that Republican Carly Fiorna is poised to pull off one of the biggest upsets of the night and throw Boxer into a long overdue retirement from politics. The same undercurrent that I believe may sweep Fiorna into the Senate, will probably also be sweeping Republicans Dino Rossi of Washington and, I am going out on a limb by saying West Virginia’s John Raese, also to victory.

On the Senate side I believe that Republicans establish majority control by winning in:

Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

West Virginia and Washington are going to be too close for comfort though, and these results may not be official for quite a while, especially in Washington where mail in ballots are going to make recounts a tedious and time consuming process.

As for Alaska, this will probably be the very last race to be declared and won’t be done on Tuesday. Expect a careful and methodical recount of tons of write-in votes and court challenges. In the case of Delaware, I am probably one of the few people who is still not writing-off the ability for Christine O’Donnell and the voters of Delaware to make the professional pundits, political establishment and the media, look stupid, by pulling off an unlikely surprise upset victory over Democrat Chris Coons.

So while I an sure that  the G.O.P. will have a minimum net gain of 8 seats in the Senate, I believe that some combination of wins in Washington, West Virginia and/or California, will give Republicans control of the Senate with a total of 51 to 49 seats. But the very real possibility of  a 50/50 tie does actually exist here. If that happens, expect the GOP to end up taking control at some point during the course of the new year as at least one Democrat or two switch Parties ahead of their 2012 reelection bids in an attempt to avoid becoming  a casualty when President Obama is on the top of the liberal ticket.

On the House side, I expect Republicans to increase their existing numbers by a minimum of 58 seats and possibly as many as 65 or even 68 seats. This would bring Republicans from the current 178 House seats to anywhere from 236 to 243 or 246 House seats. Such numbers would give the G.O.P. one of its largest majorities since 1946.

Many may believe that these figures are too high. As a skeptic, under normal conditions, I might believe so too. However, even though I am typically a pessimist and even though I usually prefer to lower expectations in politics, I am convinced that my projections are not exaggerated or overly optimistic and I believe there to be a greater chance for the higher estimate to come to fruition than there is for my lower estimate.

But the proof will be in the pudding and no matter how much statistical data and fine tuning of local factors that I combine together to reach my projections, only each individual voter ultimately knows what they will do with their private ballot. And Lord only knows the variables that things like the weather will add to the mix.

But signs of the final results will reveal themselves early on in the evening of November 2nd.

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6:00 pm: Parts of Indiana and Kentucky;

Polls close in parts of Indiana and Kentucky at 6:00 pm, but we may not hear any results until 7:00 PM when the rest of them close Indiana and Kentucky along with the states of Virginia, Georgia, Vermont, South Carolina and parts of Florida.

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7:00 pm: Virginia, Georgia, Vermont, South Carolina, Parts of Florida, All of Indiana and Kentucky;

The hour between 7:00 and 8:00 pm may produce election results that provide us with a hint as to whether the 2010 midterm elections are going to be a current, wave or tsunami for Republicans.

South Carolina’s Niki Haley will hold on to the Governor’s mansion for Republicans. But it is South Carolina’s 5th CD which may be one of the very first indication that normaly safe democrat seats and incumbents are about to fall like dominos. Here, if longtime incumbent John Spratt loses to Republican Mick Mulvaney, people like Michigan’s John Dingel and Massachusetts Barney Frank, better pull out the rosaries, find God, light a candle and say a few prayers because for the first time in their careers they will most definitely be vulnerable.

From Indiana, The GOP will gain a senate seat, replacing retiring Evan Bayh with Dan Coats and news that 8th and 9th district Republicans Larry Buschon and Todd Young defeat Democrat incumbents Trent Van Haaftern and Baron Hill will indicate that Republicans are on track to win 55 or more seats. Should they lose, the GOP will still be in line for at least 40 seats but significantly more than that may not be realistic. In Indiana’s 2nd district, if returns are still too close to declare incumbent Democrat Congressman Joe Donnelly the winner, or if his Republican opponent Jackie Walorski beats him, do not be surprised by GOP gains of 60 or more seats.

In Florida, early indications that Republicans are on track for 40 or more seats will be seen in early returns that give the GOP wins in FL-2 with Republican Steve Sutherland, and in the 8th, where the unbridled liberalism of Allen Grayson, one of the most obnoxious and arrogant members of Congress, should be shut up and shot down by Republican Daniel Webster. But if the G.O.P. is going to be riding a tsunami to control of the House, Lt. Col. Allen West, my favorite candidate of all running for the House, will win in Fl-22, along with Republican Sandy Adams over Democrat Suzanne Kosmas in Fl-24.

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7:30 pm: West Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio

Other races between 6 and 8 pm to look at as barometers include KY-3, where incumbent John Yarmuth should win by at least three or more percent. If his opponent, Todd Lally pulls off an unlikely win, this election will be a bigger landslide to the G.O.P. than anyone anticipated.

The same goes for KY-6 (Ben Chandler vs. Andy Barr), NC-2 (Bob Etherdige vs. Renee Elmers), VA- 5 (Tom Perriello vs. Robert Hurt), GA-12 (John Barrow vs. Raymond McKinney), OH-6 (Charlie Wilson vs. Bill Johnson), and WV-3 (Nick Rahall vs. Spike Maynard) and we should be getting news on SC-5 (John Spratt vs. Mick Mulvaney),

Perhaps the biggest news at this time will be the news that Rob Portman keeps Ohio’s senate in the Republican column and that John Kasich takes the Governor’s mansion away from incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland.

At the hour of eight o’clock, the real dye will be cast.

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8:00 pm: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida CD’s 1 & 2, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas;

At this point in time, despite Linda McMahon and the Republican candidate for Governor losing their races in Connecticut, look for CT-5 (Chris Murphy vs. Sam Caligiuri), to switch and if CN-4 also falls, you will have further confirmation of the 2010 midterm elections being historic. During the eight o’clock hour, one of the most indicators of just how big Republicans may win by, will be most played out in Mississippi’s 4th CD. If incumbent Blue Dog Democrats Gene Taylor goes down to Republican Steven Palazzo, President Obama might want to consider pulling a Charlie Crist and registering as an Independent because a loss by Taylor will mean that there is no place for Democrats to hide and no issue for them to hide behind.

A race that could be indicative of the big mo behind the G.O.P. will be Maine’s 1st district where Democrat Chellie Pingree could be beaten by Republican Dean Scontras.

The state to produce the most dramatic switch to the G.O.P. this hour may be Pennsylvania where, Republicans Tom Corbett and Pat Toomey will take the statehouse and U.S. Senate and as many as 7 seats could go red. The five seats most likely to switch are PA-3 (Kathy Dahlkemper-D vs. Mike Kelly-R), PA-7 (Patrick Meehan-D vs. Bryan Lentz-R), PA-8 (Patrick Murphy-D vs. Michael Fitzpatrick-R), PA-10 (Chris Carney-D vs. Tom Marino-R), PA-11 (Paul Kanjorski vs. Lou Barletta).

In regards to the U.S. Senate, sometime between 8 and 8:30 we should be hearing that my favorite Senate candidate, Marco Rubio, has pummeled both Charlie “What Am I Now” Crist and Democrat Kendrick “I should have stayed in the House” Meek.

We should also hear that we can say goodbye to Joe “Says Tax” Sestak in Pennsylvania with Republican Pat Toomey, and also welcome Republican Mark Kirk to the Senate from Illinois.

As far as the races for Governor go after the 8:00 pm closures, in addition to Paul LePage taking Maine, Tom Corbet taking Pennsylvania, and Florida going to Rick Scott, the GOP will also increase the number of Governors in their ranks with wins in Pennsylvania and Illinois and Maine.

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8:30 pm: Arkansas

At 8:30 pm, Arkansas closes the book on the 2010 midterms with a stinging and embarrassing defeat of Democrat Senator Blanche Lincoln and the flip of AR-2 from Democrat Joyce Elliot to Republican Tim Griffith.

A defeat of Democrats in AR-1 and 4 is not likely but possible. If they do fall to Republicans, this will be further evidence that we will be in the midst of a total shift in the tectonic plates of the political landscape.

Before 9:00 pm, we should already know that Nancy Pelosi’s tenure as majority leader is just a bad memory. But during this hour, a flood of states will be delivering additional blows to Democrats.

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9:00 pm: Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Between 9 and 10 pm, the G.O.P. will make big gains in the all important statehouses which will be instrumental in drawing preferential districts for the incumbent Party for the next decade and also gains towards taking control of the United States Senate.

Republicans will pick up Governors in Kansas, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Wyoming, and have a good chance of taking Minnesota. Rhode Island’s gubernatorial leadership is likely to flip from Republican hands to Independent hands, but it is still somewhat of a tossup. And while I do not see us keeping Rhode Island, if by chance, Republican John Robitale defeated liberal Independent Lincoln Chafee and Liberal Democrat Frank Caprio, Democrats will need sedatives to get through the rest of the night because that will be indicative of a pending national whooping that will hit them so hard, FDR will feel it.

As for the Senate, say goodbye to Michael Bennet in Colorado, and Russ Feingold in Wisconsin.

House races to look at for signs of how substantial the night will be for Republicans include CO-7 (Permultter-D vs. Frazier), RI-1 (Cicilline-D vs. Loughlin-R), and especially NY-1 (Bishop-D vs. Altschuler-R), NY-13 (McMahon vs. Grimm-R), TX- 25 (Dagget-D vs. Campbell-R), and MN-8 (Oberstar vs. Cravaack). Any combination of three or more of these seats will be one of the final signs that Democrats are spiraling out of control in this election. From those states which wrap their voting up during this hour, at least 16 or 17 seats should switch from Democrats to Republicans. Some of the biggest gains are likely to come from New York where the GOP will pick at least 4 seats, (NY-1, 19, 20, and 29), but possibly as many as 6 with wins. A remarkable chance exists for Republicans to take back the 13th CD which is encompasses the Staten Island and Southwest Brooklyn section of New York City’s five boroughs. This seat has been the only one in which New York City sent a Republican to occupy. It was in Republican hands for decades but last year fell to Democrats after Congressman Vito Fossella received a DUI charge in Virginia and subsequently revealed that while he was away in Washington from his Staten Island family, he spent time with his mistress and illegitimate child in Virginia. The candidacy of Michael Grimm and the anti-Democrat environment we are in, makes this a good last chance to take this seat back.

The other New York race that is well worth watching is out on the Southern tip of Long Island where Tim Bishop, (D, NY-1) could find himself a victim of a trend that began on Long Island last November when one of its two counties was taken by surprise when Republican Ed Mangano came from nowhere to defeat a safe Democrat incumbent in a race that was largely seen as uncompetitive. Although that was Nassau County and NY-1 is in Suffolk County, there is not much that differentiates the one county from the other when it comes to political sentiments. In this congressional district, Republican Randy Altschuler is certainly giving incumbent Tim Bishop a run for his money and if there are going to be a lot of surprises on November 2nd, NY-1 is as a good a place as any.

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10:00 pm: Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, Utah

It may not be made official for an hour or so but the biggest news of the night will happen not long after the stroke of 10 when Sharon Angle embarrasses Democrats by taking down their Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid. Further embarrassment will include the ridiculously lopsided loss of Harry’s son Rory Reid, who is running for Governor of Nevada. Hopefully the Reid family will take the message and crawl back under the rock they emerged from.

In this same round of poll closings Iowa will give the GOP a statehouse pickup in Iowa. House seats to watch include AZ-7 where a win by real life rocket scientist, Republican Ruth McClung could defeat incumbent Raul Grijalva. McClung is not favored to win but if she did, it would be indicative of 2010 being much more than a Republican wave election. Other races which are suppose to remain in Democrats hands but could be upsetting the establishment are AZ-8 (Gabrielle Giffords-D vs. Jesse Kelly-R), ID-1 (Walt Minnick-D vs. Raul Labrador-R), IA-3 (Boswell-D vs. Brad Zaun-R) NV-3 (Titus-D vs. Heck-R), ND-At Large (Pomeroy-D vs. Berg-R), and UT-2 (Matheson-D vs. Morgan Phipot-R).

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11:00 pm: California, Washington and Oregon;

In this round of poll closings, the GOP will simply be putting the icing on the cake House, but could determine whether or not they take control of the Senate.

In California, Republicans may very well control in Sacramento with the defeat of Meg Whitman to Jerry Brown and while only a major last minute development can save her, Carly Fiorina will in my opinion fare far better and ultimately pack Boxer up with a victory of a percent or less.

Washington state is likely to produce an upset by sending republican Dino Rossi to Washington and retiring incumbent Patty Murray by another slim margin of victory, but mail in ballots will prevent this from being confirmed for days, at least.

The most interesting House race to be watched will be in California where Democrat Loretta Sanchez is in the tightest race of her nearly two decade in office as she tries to beat off a challenge Van Tran. Vietnamese Tran, a California state legislator, is unifying the significant 15% of the district populations which is Vietnamese, along with a coalition of Independent Hispanics, African-Americans and Caucasians, along with a sizeable Republican vote. Together, these groups are countering the overwhelming 69% Hispanic makeup of the district. But that is a pretty solid voting bloc and if Van Tran can pull this one off, it will in large part be due to the strong undercurrent that is sweeping Democrats away. Sanchez should win this election the surprise factor has great promise in CA-47.

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12:00 pm: Alaska, Hawaii

At this point, Republicans may be needing a victory by Joe Miller to take control of the Senate. But despite losing the GOP nomination in Alaska, Miller’s closets opponent in the race, Lisa Murkowski, is still a Republican and if her outside chance of successful write-in candidacy comes true, she is still likely to caucus with Republicans and in that regards, accomplish the same goal as far as who will control the Senate. Either way, expect Alaska’s results to no be made official for quite a while.

In Hawaii, CD-1 will be an attention grabber. Here, Republican Charles Djou recently won the seat in a special election. Yet observers favor his opponent, Democrat Colleen Hanabusa to take this seat back for Democrats. I think Djou can keep it, albeit by a small margin, but by a majority nonetheless. As for the governor’s race in Hawaii, while Republican Duke Aiona has made this race a tossup between popular retiring Congressman Neil Abercrombie, I fear Abercrombie is just to popular to defeat in Hawaii. The fact that Aiona has made this race as close as it is, is a tremendous credit to him, but in the end, I see Republicans losing the hold they had on the Hawaii statehouse with retiring Republican Governor Linda Lingle, to Neil Abercrombie.

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No matter what, Republicans will be back in a position of power that will make it at the very least alter the Obama agenda and make it impossible for the President and Democrats to try to circumvent them. If the GOP happens to take control of both the Senate and the House, you can rest assured that President Obama is going to be a different President than he has been over these past 22or so months. Will he abandon his agenda and moderate in order to work with Congress or will he stick to his guns and risk an endless stream of rejection from Congress? When Bill Clinton was faced with the Republican Revolution of 1994, he was reduced to having to explain to a reporter how he would be relevant to the political process during the second half of his term.

Now, with the Republican Rejuvenation of 2010, President Obama may be faced with the same need to prove how relevant he will be. This will certainly be the case if Republicans can exploit the small chance of taking over the senate as well as the House. But Bill Clinton was able to prove that he was indeed relevant. He began to pay attention to the pulse of the people and began working with the G.O.P. instead of constantly working against them. This will be harder for President Obama to do though. The has publicly told Republicans to sit on the back of the bus and called Republicans “the enemy”. Still, unless President Obama wants to endorse gridlock and seek to get reelected by claiming that the GOP is still in the way of his agenda which has proven to be a failure, he will be forced to moderate. How he reacts to the new political in America will be quite interesting. If he is the politically charismatic genius that some claim, he could turn things around and resurrect himself among mainstream and moderate America and the powerful Independent vote.

As for Republicans, it must be remembered that they are not winning because people like, trust or want them. They are skeptical of the GOP and not fully convinced that they understand that the people do not want to compromise on the issues of big government, big spending and further encroachment of our constitutional rights. This means that Republicans must be unafraid of saying “no” to the President. They must not backtrack on attempts to repeal government healthcare, cut the size, scope and cost of government or cave in to political correctness and fail to live up to the promises made in 2010.

The final political effect of the 2010 election results will be seen in the 2012 race for President a contest that will begin on the Republican side on Wednesday November 3rd. On the Democrat side it may not begin start up quite as fast. President Obama will be spending some time outside of the country in the days to follow the election. And when he returns home he will be making every single policy decision with 2012 in mind and others. But others like Hillary Clinton may also be doing the same. People like her might feel that the devastating losses that Democrats will have suffered, will require them to save the Party from President Obama and the nation from his policies. Such thinking could be behind the resignation from her position as Secretary of State some time during the beginning of 2011.

 

   GOPElephantRight.jpg GOP Elephant Right image by kempiteStars01.gif picture by kempiteGOPElephantLeft.jpg GOP Elephant Left image by kempite

Republican House Pickups

Results bewtween 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm

  • Indiana 8                - Larry Buschon over Trent Van Haaften
  • Indiana 9                – Todd Young over Baron Hill
  • Florida 2                 – Steve Sutherland over Allen Boyd
  • Florida 8                 - Daniel Webster over Allen Grayson
  • Florida 22               - Allen West over Ron Klein
  • Florida 24               - Sandy Adams over Suzanne Kosmas
  • Virginia 2                - Scott Rigell over Glenn Nye
  • Virginia 5                - Robert Hurt over Tom Perriello
  • South Carolina 5  -  Mick Mulvaney over John  Spratt
  • Georgia 2                 - Mike Keown over Sanford Bishop
  • Georgia 8                 – Austin Scott over Jim Marshall
  • Ohio 1                        – Steve Chabot over Steve Driehaus
  • Ohio 15                     - Steve Stivers over Mary Jo Kilroy
  • Ohio 16                     - Jim Rannaci over John Boccieri
  • Ohio 18                     – Bob Gibbs over Zach Space
  • North Carolina 8  - Harold Johnson over Larry Kissel

Seat changes that would indicate  a trend toward Democrats losses much higher than expected

** -indicates seats that if Democrats lose will be  a sign of a Republican pickup of 65 or more seats if

  • Georgia 12               - Raymond McKinney over John Barrow**
  • Indiana 2                  – Jackie Walorski over Joe Donnelly**
  • Kentucky 3              - Todd Lally over John Yarmuth
  • Kentucky 6              – Andy Barr over Ben Chandler
  • Virginia 9                 - Morgan Griffith over Rick Boucher
  • Virginia 11               – Keith Fimian over Gerry Connolly
  • Ohio 6                        – Bill Johnson over Charlie Wilson**
  • West Virginia 1      – David McKinley over Mike Oliverio
  • West Virginia 3      – Spiike Maynard over Nick Rahall
  • North Carolina 11   - Jeff Miller over Heath Schuler

 

Results bewtween 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm

  • Connecticut 5           - Sam Caliguiri over Chris Murphy
  • Illinois 14                   - Randy Huttgren over Bill Foster
  • Illinois 17                  - Bobby Schilling over Ohil Hare
  • Maryland 1                – Andy Harris over Frank Kratovil
  • New Hampshire 1   - Frank Guinta over Carol Shea Porter
  • New Hampshire 2   – Charlie Bass over Ann McLane Kuster
  • New Jersey 3            – Jon Runyan over John Adler
  • Pennsylvania 3        – Mike Kelly over Kethy Dahlkemper
  • Pennsylvania 7        – Bryan Lentz over Patrick Meehan
  • Pennsylvania 8        - Michael Ftzpatrick  over  Patrick Murphy
  • Pennsylvania 10     – Tom Marino over Chris Carney
  • Pennsylvania 11      – Lou Barletta over Paul Kanjorski
  • Tennessee 6              - Diane Black over Brett Carter
  • Tennessee 8              – Stephen Fincher over Roy Herron
  • Texas 17                     – Bill Flores over Chet Edwards
  • Florida 2                    - Steve Sutherland over Allen Boyd
  • Arkansas 1                - Rick Crawford over Chad Causey
  • Arkansas 2               -  Tim Griffin over Joyce Elliot

Seat changes that would indicate  a trend toward Democrats losses much higher than expected

 ** -indicates seats that if Democrats lose will be  a sign of a Republican pickup of 65 or more seats if

  • Alabama 2                             - Martha Roby over Bobby Bright **
  • Connecticut 4                      – Dan Dibecella over Jim Hines **
  • Massachusetts 4                 – Sean Bielat over Barney Frank **
  • Mississippi 4                        – Steven Palazzo over Gene Taylor **
  • New Jersey 6                       – Anna Little over Frank Pallone **
  • New Jersey 12                     - Scott Sipprele over Rush Holt ** 
  • Pennsylvania 4                  – Keith Rothfus over Jason Altmire **
  • Pennsylvania 12                – Tim Burns over Mark Critz **
  • Tennessee 4                         – Scott DeJarlas over Lincoln Davis
  • Texas 15                                – Eddie Zamora over Ruben Hinjosa
  • Texas 25                                – Donna Campbell over Lloyd Doggett **

 

Results bewtween 9:00 pm and 10:00 pm

  • Colorado 3                  - Scott Tipton over John Salazar
  • Colorado 4                  - Cory Gardner over Betsy Markey
  • Louisaina 3                 - Jeff Landry over Ravi Sangisetty
  • Kansas 3                       - Kevin Yoder over Stephene Moore
  • Michigan 1                   - Dan Banishek over Gary McDowell
  • Michigan 7                  - Tim Walberg over Mark Schauer
  • New York 19              - Nan Hayworth over John Hall
  • New York 20             - Chris Gibson over Scott Murphy
  • New York 23             - Matt Doheny over Bill Owens
  • New York 29             – Tom Reed over Matt Zeller
  • New Mexico 2           - Harry Teague over Steve pearce
  • South Dakota -AL    - Kristi Noem over Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin
  • Texas 23                     - Quico Canseco over Ciro Rodrigues
  • Wisconsin 7              - Sean Duffy over Julie Lassa
  • Wisconsin 8              - Reid Ribble over Steve Kagen

Seat changes that would indicate  a trend toward Democrats losses much higher than expected

  ** -indicates seats that if Democrats lose will be  a sign of a Republican pickup of 65 or more seats if

  • Colorado 7                 - Ryan Frazier over Ed Perlmutter**
  • Louisiana 2        - *Cao over Richmond **~(see note below)
  • Minnesota 1               - Randy Demmer over Tim Walz
  • Minnesota 7              -  Lee Byberg over Collin Peterson
  • Minnesota 8               - Chip Cravaack over Jim Oberstar**
  • Michigan 15               – Rob Steele over John Dingel**
  • New York 2                – John Gomez over Steve Israel**
  • New York 13             – Michael Grimm over Michael McMahon**
  • New York 24             – Richard Hanna over Michael Arcuri
  • New York 25             - Anne Marie Buerkle over Dan Maffei
  • New York 27             – Leonard Roberts over Brian Higgins
  • New Mexico 3           – Tom Mullins over Ben Ray Lujan
  • Rhode Island             - John Loughlin over David Cicilline**
  • Wisconsin 13             - Dan Kapanke over Ron Kind**

 

Results between 10:00 pm and 11:00 pm

  • Arizona 1                               – Paul Gosar over Ann Kirkpatrick
  • Arizona 5                              - David Schwiekert over Harry Mitchell
  • Idaho 1                                   – Raul Labrador over Walt Minnick
  • North Dakota -AL              – Rick Berg over Earl Pomeroy
  • Nevada 3                               – Joe Heck over Dina Titus

Seat changes that would indicate  a trend toward Democrats losses much higher than expected

 ** -indicates seats that if Democrats lose will be  a sign of a Republican pickup of 65 or more seats if

  • Arizona 7                              – Ruth McClung over Raul Girjalva **
  • Arizona 8                              - Jesse Kelly over Gabrielle Giffords **
  • Iowa 3                                    – Brad Zaun over Leonard Boswell
  • Utah 2                                    - Morgan Philpot over Jim Mathison

 

Results between 11:00 pm and 12:00 am

  • California 11                    - David Harmer over Jerry McNerny   
  • California 20                   – Andy Vidak over Jim Costa
  • Washington 3                  - Denny Heck over Jamie Herrera

Seat changes that would indicate  a trend toward Democrats losses much higher than expected

 ** -indicates seats that if Democrats lose will be  a sign of a Republican pickup of 65 or more seats if

  • California 18                   - Mike Berryhill over Dennis Cardoza
  • California 47                  - Van Tran over Lorretta Sanchez**
  • Washington 2                 - John Koster over Rick Larsen**
  • Washington 9                 - Dick Muri over Adam Smith
  • Oregon 4                          - Art Robinson over Peter DeFazio
  • Oregon 5                         - Scott Brunn over Kurt Schrader**

 

Results after 12:00 am

  • Hawaii 1                 - Charles Djou over Colleen Hanabusa

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Personal Hypocrisy

I empathize with Internet politics enthusiasts on the Left who are frustrated by the Right’s rapid online ascendancy. That doesn’t justify an obsession with undermining the online-fueled strength of the Tea Party movement, as Micah Sifry, Personal Democracy Forum (PDF) and TechPresident.com co-founder, does in this post.

Sifry writes:

I have two theories: first, that even with the growth on the right of the past two years, the online progressive base is still bigger than the online conservative base, and second, that the Tea Party's actual base of support--while large and important--isn't anywhere nearly as big as advertised.

He acknowledges that there is more base enthusiasm for Republican candidates than Democrats this year, but takes pains to prove this is not translating online. His proof? Counter-examples to the chart in this recent IBDInvestor’s piece that shows Republican online properties drawing more interest than similar Democratic properties.    

Compete.com shows DailyKos trouncing HotAir by a wide margin almost all year, except for the month of May (perhaps due to Rand Paul's breakthrough victory in Kentucky?. The same pattern holds when you look at other top right-wing sites, like HotAir, Michelle Malkin, or PajamasMedia.com.

However, this only shows that the most popular liberal blog gets more traffic than several popular conservative blogs, not an overall picture of conservative blog readership. It says nothing about activism levels.

To debunk the strength of the Tea Party movement online, Sifry hones in on the claims of the Tea Party Patriots, one of several “Tea Party” named groups with an online community. This misses the point.

The Right’s strength online hinges on Tea Party activism, but it also includes excitement around the individual campaigns, and the efforts those campaigns are exerting to harness that enthusiasm. It also includes a media mix of enthusiasm from talk radio.

Rise of the Right

When an online movement helped Democrats take the House and Senate in 2006 and the White House in 2008, they had reason to be confident in their online organizing prowess. Many believed this would help secure their place in power for years, perhaps decades, to come.

Yet, just two years later, it’s Republican elected officials, not Democrats, who have institutionalized YouTube communications; Republican Senate candidates have four times the Facebook support of their Democratic counterparts; the conservative base, under the banner of the Tea Party, has used their blogs, Twitter accounts and email lists to mobilize and fundraise their way to victory over powerful establishment candidates. And President Barack Obama, the Web 2.0 community’s great hope for embracing transparency and changing government through online innovation has faltered.

As Patrick Ruffini, my partner at Engage, and I stated in this January 2010 piece, the Right has caught up online. I’d even argue now that the Right has surpassed the Left. This all depends on what and how you measure, but I suggest an equation that includes, not only blog readership or individual Ning groups, but elected official, issue organization, campaign and grassroots activity.

Regardless, the true measure of a movement’s impact hinges on the number of people influenced to mobilize on the ground and vote. By this metric, Tea Party success this year has left little to debate or interpret.  

Sifry, a friend, a liberal progressive, and someone I admire and respect, has focused in the past on showcasing Democratic and Republican advances online in tandem. Yet, this post reeks of sore loser-ism. He couches his post as a heroic attempt to set the media straight. Instead, with a sub-heading “Tea Party Poop,” it comes across as an attempt to belittle.

Enemy of My Enemy

Sifry and I often see eye-to-eye, and here too we agree:

  1. The media tends to muddle the relationship between online activity and offline momentum, often reporting the former as if it has caused, not resulted from, the latter. This occurred during the 2008 election and continues today;
  2. You can’t take the numbers -- Facebook likes, blog traffic and Ning membership -- at face value.

I also agree with a point he has made in the past about money-ed organizations playing a role in Tea Party mobilization efforts, although I remind that they also did in supporting candidate Obama. Yet, neither of these points detract from the calculable rise of the conservative movement since the election of President Obama, made possible so quickly through the digital revolution.

If you truly believe that the Internet democratizes the process, you should have a level of appreciation for what is happening. An open democracy is one whereby all interested comers -- regardless of age, race or income -- may impact the process. You shouldn’t laud the virtue of more rank-and-file participation on one hand, and disparage it on the other.

That is unless you confine personal democracy to your own ideology. In that case, it’s just personal hypocrisy.

The War at Home

The War at Home While brave men and women fight overseas for our American way of life, we have a war raging at home that many Americans are just waking up to. Some try to label this war Right versus Left, or Republican versus Democrat, but those are smoke screens for the real battle – Statism versus Individual Liberty. It’s time we get down to the crux of the disagreement – do you believe you know best how to run your life or do you believe that the government knows best how to run your life?

Let’s look at a couple of battles in this war.

HEALTHCARE

Our current system has never operated under free market capitalism. Statism won this battle from the start. Since the first health insurance program was conceived by Blue Cross in the 1920’s, government has been involved in subsidizing and controlling how health insurance is offered. Since that time, there has been increasing government intrusion in the health care industry to the point that in 2010, the government has effectively taken over the industry. The “Individual Liberty” option never had a chance, even though we have seen Statism tried and failed in Europe. Universal health care is bankrupting Europe while providing inferior service.

So, what would the “Individual Liberty” option look like as applied to health care? 1. Competition amongst insurance companies, including the ability to buy health insurance over state lines (the original intent of the Commerce Clause), which would be an incentive to lower the cost of coverage. 2. Owning your own insurance versus employer-paid insurance. Which means you don’t lose insurance if you lose your job. 3. Choice on scope of coverage just like in your auto or home insurance, you don’t pay for the coverage of expenses your lifestyle doesn’t require. Repealing the laws that prevent these 3 changes would deal with most of the problems in today’s health care chaos.

BAILOUTS

Here again, we have tried the Statism approach of the Federal government making the decision for all of us that certain business were “too big to fail”. The bailouts didn’t achieve their stated goals and arguably made the problems worse. GM claims they paid off their loan but, in reality, they just borrowed more money from you and me to pay off what they already owed you and me. TARP (for which Congressman Wamp and other Republicans voted yes) transferred billions of dollars from taxpayers to a select few bank executives to do with what they willed with essentially no strings attached. Has credit been freed up? Have you been able to get a better mortgage or business loan?

Now let’s look at the “Individual Liberty” approach. GM made a series of poor decisions that led them into bankruptcy. GM would argue that the government is to blame as there were so many regulations to comply with. They are right, in part, there are too many regulations that make doing business in the US very difficult, and that should be changed. However, other car companies are surviving even this economy. The Liberty approach would have let GM fail; we wouldn’t be out the billions of dollars we gave them, other companies would have bought up GM’s assets and put them back to use and employed the laid off workers. Same story for the failed banks. The bailouts have actually prolonged the recession by preventing this natural recovery process.

These are just two of the many examples of Statism making problems worse instead of solving them, so why this battle against Individual Liberty? It’s simple. Statism empowers those in government, typically by appealing to the busybodies that want to “help” others with taxpayer money. They convince voters of their concern for the “environment” or for “the children” or for “the less privileged” and that they know what to do about it.

The battle between Statism and Individual Liberty rages on now more than ever because the Statists aren’t willing to give up the power that they have accumulated, and because the busybodies aren’t willing to give up the baseless notion that they can solve all our problems for us. Americans are finally waking up to this war at home. The economic collapse in Europe and repeated failures of socialistic countries give us stark examples of how Statism turns out. The question for voters this 2010 election will be this: do you recognize what’s really going on? Will you pick Liberty or Statism?

Van Irion, Candidate for Congress, Tennessee District 3

www.van4congress.org

Politics as Usual

On February 6, 2010 the Pennsylvania State Democratic Party voted to endorse specific candidates for the May 18, 2010 election and on February 13, 2010 the Pennsylvania State Republican Party followed their lead. "So what." you say. Allow me to add a few personal comments to the above facts. 

The purpose of the May 18th Primary Election is to allow the REGISTERED VOTERS to choose the candidate that they believe best represents their party's platform. Once a party endorses a candidate they put money and volunteers behind that candidate to assist them in winning the election.   This influx of money and help is of great value to the candidate.    I believe that the monies donated to these parties are meant to endorse a candidate who is facing opposition from the other party, not from within their own party.  When a state's political party chooses a candidate to endorse prior to the Primary Election they are telling all the registered voters in that state that they know better than the voters. They are also sending a message to the voters that says, "We are not willing to listen to what you think. We are spending your donated funds for the candidate of our choice, against others within our own party, whether you like it or not."  This is just another example of the Political Machine trying to drive politics, instead of allowing the voters the opportunity to get to know all the people running for the offices before the Primary Election. The Primary Election should be a key election, because it is the election where each party has a variety of candidates on the ballot. Competition is good. When a party makes their endorsements prior to the Primary they tend to limit the variety of candidates on the ballot because many candidates can no longer afford to keep campaigning.  We as voters really do need to be active and informed.  We need to educate ourselves about each candidate prior to the election. One of the best ways to learn about a candidate is by logging onto their website and looking at who is endorsing them. Whom they accept money from is a BIG indicator of who helps develop their policies or ideas.  The ultimate choice is up to us, the voters, on May 18 so educate yourself and VOTE.   

 

Republican Health Care Reform Ideas

Newt Gingrich and John C. Goodman list Ten GOP Health Ideas for Obama.  There's really too much to excerpt, so you'll have to read the whole thing for yourself.

My initial take: Some of these are very good ideas, some are less appealing.  But whatever their individual merits, it's hard to see an overarching "vision thing" in the proposals. It is tinkering.  Perhaps good tinkering, but it lacks a structural narrative that makes it easier to sell these as a package.

The GOP needs a much more comprehensive approach to entitlements in general, not just health care.  At this point, I think we need to do one of two things: Either....

  • Government as a Last Resort - Government can insure everybody for any yearly expenses over 20% of annual income, which completely eliminates the problem of unbearable costs, both for consumers and for insurers (and which ought to dramatically lower insurance costs, since the potential risk is far smaller).   That shouldn't have a major distortive effect on the market, either, because most catastrophic costs tend to be things about which we can't/don't often make good cost/benefit calculations.  This would also eliminate the need for Medicare/Medicaid, since this would automatically cover people who have little/no income. While there are undoubtedly problems with this, it seems on the whole better than a system that gets government involved at much lower decision and cost levels.  Or...
  • Government as a Safety Net - Restructure our entitlement system along the lines of what (if I recall correctly) Milton Friedman and Charles Murray have recommended: expand the EITC to cover basic costs of living on a means-tested basis, so we can predicate entitlements upon actual need, rather than blanket distribution.

In either case, I think you have a pretty strong, compelling message: Government should provide a safety net, not a straitjacket.  We are not going to let people fail completely, but safety nets should not catch people who do not fall.

These options would allow Republicans to strengthen the safety net for people who genuinely need it, while making the program more sustainable by removing the "safety net" for people who don't actually need one.  Importantly, this would also eliminate the "third rail" problem of entitlements, and we could actually begin making better cost/benefit decisions about them.

Onward and Upward: Building a Sustainable Majority

This week has been a great one for conservatives across the nation. Scott Brown’s victory proved that, in the words of the increasingly vulnerable Barbara Boxer, “Every state is now in play.” His victory also demonstrated that Republicans can achieve many of the successes that led to Barack Obama becoming the 44th President of the United States — dominating the Internet; raising unbelievable sums of money, especially online; building a massive base of small donors; and having a victory driven by a massive coalition of grassroots activists. With Brown’s victory came the ever-increasing likelihood that the Democrat’s health care bill would be stalled indefinitely. Then came the demise of Air America. All of these events have inspired a new-found confidence among those to the right of center, while liberals and Democrats have pushed the panic button. One of my favorite political minds, Jay Cost, asks, “What Does Obama Do Now?” For those of us on the right, I think conservatives must ask themselves an equally critical question: What do Republicans do now?

I admit that I believe that the GOP is on the verge of a 2010 blowout. As for the magnitude of said blowout, I think it’s too early to say, but in my mind there’s a real chance that Republicans could retake one of the chambers of Congress. However, as I’ve previously cautioned, I don’t believe that a blowout this year will mean things are better for the Republican Party. Winning back seats is great, but as Mindy Finn writes, those on the right must “stop gloating” — and start thinking about building a sustainable majority. A major victory this year will not be the product of a new-found love for the Republican Party; instead, it will be the product of voter disgust and discontent with the status quo, namely with President Obama and Democrats in Congress. The Republican Party is still enormously unpopular itself, and a midterm election blowout due to the aforementioned reasons is not exactly how a sustainable majority is built.

On the other hand, converting what are traditionally considered to be safe blue seats in places like Massachusetts and California (I’m looking at you, Barbara Boxer) to red ones — and finding ways to hold onto those seats — is certainly a step toward a sustainable majority. The same is true of fielding candidates in all 435 Congressional districts every cycle. Embracing transparency and continuing to authentically fight to limit government is another building block in a sustainable majority. Effectively using technology while embracing today’s Age of Participation through peer production is another step. Offering substantial and real policy options that differ from those of the White House and the Democrats is similarly critical.

To the contrary, getting sucked back into the ways of Washington by growing government and increasing spending is a sure way to cede momentum right back to the Democrats. Failing to broaden the base with different demographics, like young voters, Hispanics, or African Americans is another way to likely guarantee that 2010 will be a one-and-done year for Republicans. And of course, growing content with success at any point will inevitably lead right back to defeat.

Like your favorite sports game, momentum is critical in politics. Republicans clearly have the momentum, and barring a dramatic change in the political wind, this momentum will significantly change the composition of the Congress this November. When that happens, the ball will be in the GOP’s court. The crucial question will then be: What will they do with it?

What Up? Michael Steele's One Year Job Review

What up, GOP?

I’ve never been to Grover Norquist’s Wednesday meeting. It is, for many, a mainstay of the middle of the week and, for others, a launching pad into a fruitful career in Republican politics. But, for all who know about it, there’s no question that it is regarded as the de-facto braintrust of the center-right coalition that makes up the Republican Party. Thus, when I woke up Wednesday morning after Tuesday’s two-count of Democratic retirements, I couldn’t but imagine that the coffee at ATR tasted a little better than it did yesterday.

But, on a day that should be regarded as a pretty good one for Republicans, it’s very likely that this group was a little distracted by, to borrow a little from the French, our faux pas du jour—our great Chairman’s tactful use of the phrase “honest injun” in describing a platform that nobody knows about. Or, perhaps, to digress a little further, the news that, under his leadership, the money to run the races that just became within our reach  just may not exist (at least not under the RNC’s control)?

This is not an ad-hominem attack on Michael Steele—God knows the left has a monopoly on those. But, at some point, shouldn’t somebody step back and objectively evaluate, today almost one year after he was elected, how he’s performed in our party’s top job? Tragically, at this important moment in the history of our party and our nation, it’s very possible that, with seemingly endless embarrassments coming out of a cash-hemorrhaging RNC, Michael Steele has become a distraction worth dumping.

Notwithstanding the “honest injun” incident, the main political stories this year involving the RNC have centered on intra-party conflict and poor decisions by Mr. Steele. Most recently, The Washington Times reported on the disturbing trend of major donors fleeing the RNC as Steele makes paid appearances and prepares for his book tour on his six figure salary. Think about this for a second—in his capacity at the RNC, which pays him to give speeches and raise money, Chairman Steele has routinely collected speaking fees to stuff his personal bank account rather than fund our candidates. In many ways, this is tantamount to the CEO of a public company charging money to speak to his shareholders. Here’s a wake-up call, Mr. Chairman--- the shareholders have noticed, and they’re no longer buying.

The RNC has started the year off in the worst financial position in over ten years. Spending record amounts to win a race in Virginia by a whopping eighteen points, we now find ourselves wondering how to fully fund this year’s races (although, to be fair, Chairman Steele isn't sure that we can win them). In the real world, a company losing its stockholders after spending wads of cash would experience declining share values. In Washington, where we all know there is no accountability, inertia dictates business as usual. Except, of course, for Trevor Francis, the former RNC communications director who was fired for failing to get Steele enough credit for said victories—sorry, Trevor.

It's hard to believe that, just one year ago, we were arguing over Chairman Steele's conservative credentials.  Now, it's astonishing that we ever believed he had any credentials at all. If, in the 2008 elections, Barack Obama was the most idyllic image in his party’s history, Michael Steele may have become our party’s greatest liability. Republicans, at the very least, were relieved that, at the end of the Bush years, we would no longer have to hold our breath every time our party’s leader opened his mouth. Alas, that was life before “honest injun,” “hip-hop Republicans,” and, of course, “what up.” If we can’t trust Michael Steele to represent Republicans well, much less effectively manage our party, than why do we keep him around? I was at last year’s winter meeting, and the largest single justification for electing him was his communication ability. How do his passionate advocates of yesteryear feel today? Satisfied? I’m imagining some of you will read this, so please comment below.

Of course, there is life after the RNC. The RGA under Nick Ayers’ great management demonstrated this past November that we’re nowhere close to the depression that we felt in 2008. Donors that once donated in masse to the RNC have redirected their money to the campaign committees. And, in large part because of Democratic policies, personal fundraising by candidates is looking strong. But, is that the point? Should there be an adversarial relationship between the various parts of our larger party? Or, should they move in unison as a well-oiled machine, with a common message and a common goal? Just ask the Democrats of 2008.

Many comparisons have been made of 1994 and this upcoming cycle and—believe me—I hope to God they’re all true. But, there’s a part of me that wonders, when I think back to the spectacular year of the Republican Revolution—what would Grover’s Wednesday meeting have looked like then? Led by folks like Haley Barbour and, of course, Newt Gingrich, I want to imagine that the party of then was far more united than the party of now,  if there were disagreements along the way. But, that’s not now. And, it certainly isn’t an environment that’s encouraged by Michael Steele’s leadership. So, what now, GOP? Happy New Year, it’s 2010--- What up?

Note: Michael Steele's response to recent criticism (which has surely not come just from me): ""I'm looking them in the eye and say, 'I've had enough of it. If you don't want me in the job, fire me. But until then, shut up. Get with the program or get out of the way.'"

Thoughts?

Unfit to Serve—the Arrogance of Governor Mark Sanford

In American politics, there is a long list of ethical scandals at all levels of government and on both sides of the aisle.  These breaches stretch back to the founding of this nation and seem to be growing at an alarming rate.  They serve as a reminder to voters and arrogant lawmakers of the fallibility of those elected to lead, and of the number of lawmakers currently engaged in ethical lapses.  Whether it be the more recent ethical breaches by Sanford, Ensign, Fossella, Paterson, Spitzer, Mahoney, Craig, Vitter, Sherwood or others, the public airing of the transgressions, the cover-up and rambling justifications only legitimize the behavior in the minds and souls of Americans.  Tolerance and acceptance of ethical indiscretions should not extend to those elected to serve the public.  Instead, they should be stripped of their ability to lead and at best allowed to scurry away into obscurity, to mend whatever fences are still standing at home or elsewhere.

Clearly, impure thoughts are not a crime, or we would all be in jail, some of us for longer than others.  But when lawmakers convert impure thoughts into overt action, they have voluntarily chosen to cross into the dark side, from which there is no public return or redemption.  Although it’s not a criminal offense, infidelity embodies the holy trinity of sins—lying, cheating and stealing—and America should not accept it, but instead consider such a breach a punishable offense, with resignation and its accompanying self-loathing and self-pity as punishment.

This is not to say that lawmakers who choose to breach the public’s trust should not be forgiven, they are simply unfit to serve.  Let them toil on other fronts, wondering what may have been if only they hadn’t traded virtue for vice.  There are far too many morally fit men and women treading water, ready, willing and able to serve the public in place of those who are morally bankrupt.

Every time South Carolina Governor Sanford is in the media, it reminds Americans of his sense of arrogance and entitlement.  People are angry, not that he was balling an Argentine mistress, which unfortunately happens with great regularity amongst lawmakers, but that he failed to live by the moral standards we expect all elected officials to embody.  Us commoners that succumb to temptation correctly employ a double-standard for our elected leaders, who are role models for young and old and who have voluntarily assumed the responsibility of moral superiority that accompanies leadership and elected office.  Regardless of the fact that Governor Sanford is now being pursued with charges of 37 ethical violations, the simple fact that he is a liar should be enough for the Republican Party and the general public to rebuke him and demand his immediate resignation.

Morality is non-partisan, but an ethical breach stings even more when it happens to Republicans, who have heretofore sanctimoniously proclaimed the mantle of moral and religious righteousness.  Regardless of political party, lawmakers are elected to lead by example, and when they voluntarily yield to immorality and breach the public’s trust, they must do the right thing and step down.

We all have temptations as human beings and a choice to resist or acquiesce.  If we do not distinguish between desires and actions, condemning them both with equal punishment, there is no accountability for those engaging in immoral behavior, or recompense for those that don’t.  When an elected leader trades right for wrong, he or she chips away at the moral underpinnings of society.  For those elected to serve the public, who choose to acquiesce to such temptation—and lie, cheat, and steal—they should be run out of office on a rail, as unfit to serve.

 

http://americanmuser.wordpress.com

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