New Jersey

Barack and Me? (or why GOP Governors wont sign suicide pacts)

In today's Washington Post prominent economist Robert Samuelson penned this provocative columm

Is organized labor obsolete?

What we are witnessing in Wisconsin and elsewhere is the death knell of Big Labor

The President, of course, sees this differently.  He sees a future for the labor movement essentially maintaining the current status quo on into the 21st century economy.  Notwithstanding the increasing burden of pay, benefits and pensions, and the irrestistible pressure of global competition, we will "win the future" by making large infrastructure investments which will yield a high enough return to pay for our obligations.

Barack Obama, meet Roger Smith.

Smith and Obama seem an odd pair at first. But think this through. Both took over as CEO when their organizations were facing financial duress and existential threats to the enterprise. Both were, however,  "company men" (Is there a "company" more insular than the Chicago Democratic machine?). Both spent prodigious sums on big ticket infrastructure projects.  But neither was willing to do two absolutely essential things: a) restructure the enterprise to be smaller and more responsive and b)  address the long term labor cost obligations of the firm.

 

Smith instituted several initiatives that included forming strategic joint ventures with Japanese and Korean automakers, launching the Saturn division, investing heavily in technological automation and robotics, and attempting to rid the company of its risk-averse bureaucracy. However, Smith's far-reaching goals proved too overambitious and overwhelming to actually be implemented effectively, in the face of the company's resilient corporate culture and bureaucracy. Despite Smith's vision, he was unable to successfully integrate GM's major acquisitions, several of which also failed to tackle the root causes of GM's fundamental problems.

Smith's tenure is commonly viewed as a failure, as GM's share of the US market fell from 46% to 35%, and as it took on considerable debt causing it to lapse close to bankruptcy in the early 1990s. As a result, CNBC has called Smith one of the "Worst American CEOs of All Time"

Smith's efforts were basically an effort to throw cash at GM's problems and hope the sheer weight of remedies would right the ship. But the technology fixes that buying EDS and Hughes were supposed to augur in fizzled. Saturn never achieved self-sufficiency and drained resources from the core brands. And new models arrived late and over budget.

The anti-Smith was Ross Perot, who came from a non-union background in Texas.  Perot was a major GM shareholder after the EDS deal and chafed at the waste and delay that exemplified GM, but was bought out and sent on his way before he could annoy the establishment further and cause the firm to mend its ways.

Perhaps Smith's greatest failure was his unwillingness to address GM's unsustainable labor and retirees costs.  Of course, Robert Stempel and John Smith, Roger Smith's successors, had no stomach for going toe- to toe with UAW. Instead, the same old UAW contracts were signed and the same jobs banks and retirement packages left in place as the firm slowly lost market share (propped up by low financing and fleet sales )

GM was left 15 years later hoping their retirees would expire fast enough to enable it to compete. It lost that race and filed bankruptcy under the auspices of the Obama administration.

Samuelson is right. The public sector is going to go down the same road as unionized manufacturers like GM.  The states are about where GM was in the 1980's---the bump in the road has been hit and the time was come to think long and hard about where to go next. And maintaining a cost structure that accelerates faster than the economy that pays for it is a ticket to doom.

Republican Governors like Scott Walker and Chris Christie aren't going to be playing the Roger Smith game.

They are going to restructure their long term labor and benefit cost structure in a fashion that over the next couple of decades their states can afford.  Remember, both NJ and WI are old industrial states with slow growth.  They need policies that will recharge the private sector, but have to come to grips that even the best-case scenario now won't pay for what prior adminstrations have promised.  

If there is to be pain, better it be dealt with now while the public instrumentalities across the nation are still going concerns, rather than later when actual insolvency turns our state governments into little Irelands and Greece.

The Democratic Governors claim their approach is "more pragmatic"   In the short term it will be more popular to keep labor peace and give bond money away. The GM management would have been excoriated in the short term by Wall Street had they pressed hard enough to cause a strike by the UAW. But in the long run, one or two bad quarters would not have caused the firm to fail.  Kicking the can down the road did.

And even in the not so long run it can look pretty bad.

After all, when GM couldn't sell its cars and was stuck with lots of big plants and high priced employees, what was Roger Smith left to do? Oh, yeah....he shuttered the plants in Flint and laid off the workers.

Will some annoying filmmaker in 2015 or 2018 be chasing President Obama or a Governor like Dan Malloy around asking why the public sector was forced into massive layoffs? Or  is that just not done to Democrats?

    

 

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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Post primary polling data positive news for Democrats

As statistically indicated, the Democratic Party WILL lose seats in the upcoming midterms.  No one questions this - not now and not in any midterm election.  Cases where the majority gained seats in a midterm are aberrant.  But the picture improved for the Democratic Party given the results of the primaries, primarily because the Right elected a handful of candidates that, like them or not, have thrown a number of races that were a slam dunk for Republicans back into the "leaning Democratic" category. 

There are several other variations on this theme, but the bottom line is that in yesterday's Senate Rankings at fivethrityeight.com, the meta-polling picture improved for the Democratic Party, who now is more likely than not to hold onto 55 seats.  The Republican Party's chances to take the Senate remains at about 6%.  And a lot depends on which party Charlie Crist caucuses with should he win the FL seat (which looks increasingly likely). 

Here's the goods from the dean of polling data:  http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/06/senate-forecast-after-primaries-picture.html

New Jersey's next Senator: Phil Simms

By now, most folks have heard the word that New Jersey's 86 year old Democratic Senator, Frank Lautenberg, has stomach cancer.

His camp insists this cancer is curable. I certainly wish the Senator all the best. Nonetheless, if I were going to AC to wager, my money would be that Senator Lautenberg will physically be unable to complete his term of office which expires in 2014.

The New Jersey Democrats were unable to change the succession law prior to Jon Corzine's involuntary departure from office, which means that the appointment power for any U.S. Senate vacancy rests with Republican Governor Chris Christie until at the earliest, January 2014.

The replacement would face the voters at the next scheduled November election.  So, who should Governor Christie choose?

One school of thought would be to choose someone who's already run statewide and come up short. While conservative champion Bret Schundler fits that bill, it would also put lots of less vocal people like Doug Forrester, Bob Franks, and Dick Zimmer in the mix.  Tom Kean Jr. might be interested, but his service in the legislature would be lost.  Moreover, nominating a former politico to this post might yield someone who's electoral prospects were suboptimal in these "throw the bums" out  era.     

New Jersey is well known for electing a former athlete to the U.S. Senate. But there's an even more popular name out there who could fill a vacant Senate seat.

Phil Simms is an icon to New Jersey residents, having led the Giants to their first Super Bowl title in 1987. This was the first world championship I believe any NJ professional sports team had won.  He's lived in New Jersey continuously since his rookie days with the Giants in the late 1970's. So he's going to have huge name recognition ( which is hard to come by in an expensive decentralized state like NJ) and a lot of residual good will, especially among suburban men over 40.

But even more important is that Simms is one of CBS TV's top sports announcers.  He has the presence and communication skills that are going to separate him from the usual political novice.    

And fear not, Simms's is pretty conservative in his beliefs and portrays a very straight laced image in his broadcasting. He's a classy guy, but a no-nonsense guy.  Someone who I think "fits" the Jersey mindset pretty well.

The Republican party has done  pretty well running quarterbacks for high office  

but Jack never went to Disney World.

You heard it here first. Phil Simms will be the next U.S. Senator from New Jersey. The more I think about it, who else makes anywhere as much sense for this post? 

2009 Alt Histories

Now that the dust has settled, I thought it might be useful to look at the off-year election and consider what alternative strategies might have yielded.  One thing I've learned about politics is never to buy determinism; there are always a variety of possible outcomes.

Well, here's a few scenarios:

a) Terry McAulliffe was the Democratic nominee for Virginia Governor

It's what everyone expected. Would he have done better than Deeds; or was his weak primary showing evidence he'd have been roadkill in the general election?

b) Jon Corzine stands down on October 1;  NJ Dems do the "Torricelli switch" to Rep. Frank Pallone or Newark Mayor Cory Booker

In retrospect, my belief that Corzine was burnt toast proved correct. It's hard to fault his campaign for his loss, the voters simply wanted him gone. But what if after using Corzine's cash to bloody up Christie the NJ Dems threw a "relief pitcher" into the race? Different outcome? Or would NJ voters reacted poorly to this strategy being used twice? 

c) Deeds runs as an anti-Obama "New Democrat" ala Mark Warner; focuses on downstate VA

or

d) Deeds runs as a outspoken Obamabot and focuses on NOVA

The consensus is Deeds did neither well and got crushed. Would choosing one or the other have made any difference?

e) No one outside NY State comes to the aid of Doug Hoffman

The Club for Growth, Sarah Palin, Erick Erickson and Glenn Beck are credited or blamed for what happened in NY 23. Given what happened in the local state senate race in 2004, I think the NY Conservative Party was capable under its own power to ensure Scozzafava's defeat? Agree? Disagree?

And what would the national impact of a "quiet" Owens victory have been?

Throw some other possible scenarios out there. Let's reverse engineer these races if we can.

Obama camp: Gives up on VA Gov and NY 23.

At 12:13 pm EDT 10/31/09 , Barack Obama's personal political arm, Organizing for America, sent this e-mail to their list

President Obama needs our help.On Tuesday, voters in New Jersey will go to the polls to elect their next Governor. They'll face a stark choice between Chris Christie -- who will bring failed Bush-era policies back to New Jersey -- and Governor Jon Corzine, who has fought side-by-side with President Obama.Jon Corzine is the only candidate in the race who will be a strong partner for President Obama and work with him to fix our broken health care system and get our economy back on track.So President Obama is counting on us to call Corzine supporters and make sure they show up at the polls Tuesday. In a tight race like this, calling just two or three voters could make the difference -- and our online tool will make calling quick and easy. Get started now:Call Corzine supporters in New Jersey and turn out the vote. 

One can only infer from the omission of any other Democratic candidates that at the last minute the Obama White House has thrown in the towel on VA Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds and NY 23 Democratic candidate Bill Owens, and is doubling down solely on trying to salvage the re-election bid of Jon Corzine, who pulled his own "October surprise" against himself Friday suggesting to the NY Times massive toll hikes on the NJ Turnpike were likely after he gets re-elected.  Which he now denies. Sure. 

We'll see if all of Obama's horses and all of Obama's men can put an incompetent Governor in office again.

   

 

What happened to Chris Christie?

I really hate it when I go out on a limb and the guy whom I'm for saws it off behind me.

I have to admit utter disbelief at the polls showing that Corzine has drawn even with Christie in the NJ governor's race.  Basically, what I suggested would be a futile endeavor may have been accomplished by the relentless Corzine money machine.

But that means that a rather large number( 17% +/-) of NJ voters who already have rejected Corzine will need to decide Christie would be even worse

Sadly, this year's NJ Republican campaign has been run with the sort of panache that makes one wish for a re-run of blandness personified, Doug Forrester.   Christie has allowed this campaign not to be a referendum on the incumbent, but has been on the defensive the whole time.

Now there are some factors that explain this away. To a point. Christie saved his resources and while horrendously outspent in September and early October, is now on TV seriously. Which suggests that maybe he'd have been better to have gone "dark" in the summer instead of "renting" an unsustainable lead in the polls.  He's also dealt with the Chris Daggett problem.  Daggett, a liberal independent, has been the remainderman for voters disheartened by the major candidates, and has hit 20% in some polls.  The GOP having turned fire on Daggett, it's possible his anti-Corzine voters drift back to Christie. And that's the ball game.

So why are we here? And what can we take about this?  Christie got boxed on one big issue and he needn't have discused it. He decided to fix health care.

Oops. So what if it was the "big issue". No one expected the Governor of New Jersey to fix it.

Christie proposed "mandate-free" insurance policies. Note to all you CATO institute folks. It went over like a lead balloon. Note to Republican 2010 candidates. Don't propose this pipe dream unless you have the time, money and desire to defend it.

Corzine made out Christie as an opponent of mammograms. That became the issue. And my review of various poll internals indicate that even though Christie's Hispanic support would usually ensure a GOP win, he's bled off seniors badly (running weaker than Kean, Jr. in the 2006 senate race) and slumped among women.

I'm a suburban mick lawyer, not some Sun-Tzu wannabe. But wise up. When you have these two things in the political environment.

A) One killer issue (In Christie's case, Corzine's fiscal incompetence)

B) Less resources than the other guy

Then ALL you talk about is your ONE ISSUE. Let the press harass you as a single issue candidate. Don;t get into the weeds of policy specifics on stuff that a) isn't a voting issue for your race and b) you don;t have a decisive advantage on.

The other guy will try and get his issues on the table. Ignore them. Do not engage.  Stay on message. Make sure the controversy is on your strongest ground.

If the story line today was "Christie is depicted by the press as a Johnny one-note obsessed with his controversial property tax cut plan", Corzine would still be decisively behind.

I hope NJ gets a better Governor than Corzine, though I 've seen little to suggest Christie is much different than the previous GOP governors Kean sr. and Whitman....who weren't huge reformers. (This is not a national "cause" race like NY 23, my friends)   I hope Republicans around the country learn the importance of message discipline from this episode, however.

PSA: Tell your friends in the military how to vote by absentee

(Posted on behalf of some Virginia activists who appreciate that those who serve deserve the right to vote)

For all the attention paid to the recent voting in Iraq and Afghanistan, one would think that the process for getting absentee ballots to our own service men and women should be simple and straightforward. Unfortunately, it’s a rather convoluted process and easy to miss the deadlines – especially if you’re deployed in a war zone.

For service personnel who claim residence in Virginia and New Jersey, this is a pressing issue, as the deadlines for requesting ballots for the statewide elections this November are fast approaching. A couple of organizations in Virginia, the Dominion Leadership Trust and ProjectVirginia are working to publicize how service men and women can vote in these two states’ 2009 elections.

The important first step of this process is to alert military personnel that they are eligible to vote absentee and give them the information to navigate the process for requesting a ballot. While both of these organizations are supporting Republican candidates, the information they are providing is a non-partisan step-by-step guide to navigating the process. They are simply asking everyone who knows someone in the military or a military family to email them this information – a small request to support our men and women in uniform.  You can use the links below:

Virginia: http://www.ProjectVirginia.com/military-vote

New Jersey: http://www.ProjectVirginia.com/military-vote-nj

The voting difficulties faced by deployed military personnel are not new – and cut across federal, state and local elections. As Peter Roff of US News & World Report wrote in May 2009, the PEW Center on the States found that only 26 percent of the absentee ballots requested by military personnel were ever actually counted in 2006. The widespread difficulties with military absentee voting in 2008 led Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Mark Beigich (D-AK) to sponsor a bipartisan bill, the Military Voting Protection Act and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to sponsor the bill in the House, earlier this year. While this legislation is a worthwhile effort, it is aimed at 2010 – so the rest of us need to step up just a little in 2009 and help spread the word to the troops and their families today.

 

What the right needs to do to regain acceptance and credibility by the mainstream

The right has lost its way and a lot of people are starting to recognize this.  Books are being written (The Death of Conservatism, Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party, etc.)  Here are my thougths on what is wrong and what needs to be done about it.

Discredit those who are not helpful

Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, etc. have said a lot of downright crazy and dumb things (people with AIDS should be quarantined, etc.)  and are far too tied to Christianity.  They should be called out for that and pushed to the side so that true leaders on the right can rise to the top and give the right a real chance at regaining credibility and the minds of those who are undecided or in the center.  Those who espose hate, and anger should also be discredited and pushed to the side (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc.).  It is long past time for Conservative talk radio to become more academic, constructive, and hopeful sounding, and cater to the best in us (love, hope, unity, civics, etc.), rather than the worst (fear, anger, race, etc.).

Stop catering to the Christian right

Christianity has nothing to do with conservative ideas and theory on money, foreign policy, etc.  There is also supposed to be a strong seperation of church and state.  Our country was formed partially for freedom of religion, and if our government is run by someone who wants to impose their religion through laws and perspective, then we lose that.  In addition, America is not a Christian nation; though nearly 80% are Christian, there is still another 20% that are not.

Stop simply opposing every idea President Obama has and propose alternative solutions

The right has really been a thorn in our Presidents side instead of working with him to solve the problems in America.  The way to gain credibility and get some conservative ideas into law is to honestly work with the left to create good policy, and also proactively propose laws to solve some of our problems before the left takes up the problem.

Stop supporting causes that have nothing to do with Conservative ideology

The right should disassociate itself with such issues as abortion, and other things that are outside of the ideas of conservatism.  Abortion is an issue thats argument against it is primarily based in religion.  The same applies to marriage equality for gays; the argument against it can only be made from a religious standpoint.  Because of this, and because no party should be tied to any religion, just as our government should not be tied to any religion, the right as a whole and Republicans as a party should disassociate theirselves with abortion and start supporting equal rights for gays.  These two issues alone keep some of those in the center and on the left from ever supporting a Republican candidate.  It might cause a lot of those on the Christian right to be upset, but then they can choose the party that best conforms to what their idea of government should do on all other issues, or form a new 3rd party that is tightly tied to Christianity.

Stop being inconsistent

Right now many on the right are opposing government run health care on the idea that even though it may save a lot of lives, it isn't proper for the government or taxpayers to help others.  Yet, many of those same people are in support of the war in Iraq to give people in another country freedom and save their lives.  Why should we spend taxpayer dollars to police the world yet not spend taxpayer dollars to save those within our own borders?  Either we shouldn't spend money to help others, or we should and if we should then we should definitely want to help those within our own borders before those who are not within our borders.

Stop being hawks

The right has become a group of hawks and this is contrary to conservative ideas on foreign policy.  Conservative ideas on foreign policy are as spelled out by the Cato Institute:

Cato's foreign policy vision is guided by the idea of our national defense and security strategy being appropriate for a constitutional republic, not an empire. Cato's foreign policy scholars question the presumption that an interventionist foreign policy enhances the security of Americans in the post-Cold War world, and maintain instead that interventionism has consequences, including the formation of countervailing alliances, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and even terrorism. The use of U.S. military force should be limited to those occasions when the territorial integrity, national sovereignty, or liberty of the United States is at risk.

Conservatives need to re-embrace those ideas.  They are the ideas that our nations founders had in mind, and they are the ideas that are the most ethical and that might also allow some on the left to consider the rest of our ideas.

Have a well thought out income tax policy

There either should not be an income tax as Libertarians would like, or there should be an income tax that works to support Conservative values.  A tax that is progressive helps strengthen families at the lower incomes and therefore helps literacy rates, etc. which helps to preserve conservative values of strong families, an educated populace, etc.  Right now the government has taken on far too much responsibility and therefore spends too much and our national debt is growing because of it.  It is time to start cutting back on spending, but at the same time increasing revenue and the only realistic way to increase revenue is through a progressive income tax because those in the middle and lower class cannot support any higher tax burden.

Start supporting alternative energy and embrace that global warming is real and might be caused by us

The science is in, global warming is real and it is probably caused by our actions (and can we afford to gamble that it is not?).  Most of the oil that is easily available is in countries with citizens that do not like us.  Because of these two things, it is long past time to start looking into energy sources that do not emit CO2, and that do not require us to work with countries that are not friendly to us.

Stop catering to Israel

We give far too much money and support to Israel and it hurts our credibilty around the world and doesn't help to reduce the hatred towards us in the Muslim world.  It is time to treat Israel as we would any other country that is a friend and ally of ours.  We should work with them, and be friends with them, but we should point out when they are doing something that works against peace in the middle east and use our monetary aid as a tool to help control their actions rather than blindly supporting them at all times.

Start rethinking drug policy

The war on drugs does not work, and will never work so long as it is punitive rather than based in medicine.  It only makes organized crime stronger, and leads to a larger role of government and often leads to violations of our constitutional rights.  The punitive war on drugs was originally based on racism, and is now based in morality that is derived from religion.  For these reasons, it is time for the federal government to take a non punitive role and start considering policy that would put organized crime out of business, make drug use safer and less damaging to society, and help those who are ready to reform their lives through cessation of drug abuse.

 

 

A Real Kennedy Legacy: JFK On Taxes

Bookmark and Share    This is for all liberal Democrats. It is for all those who contend that Ted Kennedy and his legacy is in the great tradition of Camelot and the legacy first started by his brother John F. Kennedy. This message is for all of you who believe in the greatness that was JFK and for all of you who try to use supply-side-economics as a disparaging phrase and claim that Ronald Reagan was an unsuitable President of the time.

It is a post that highlights the words of J.F.K. and proves that all of you who joke about tax cuts for anyone who is not below poverty line are ridiculous people with no sense of history or grasp of the economic reality which America is now at the crossroads of.

If you liked JFK and still think kindly of him but have a problem with supply-side economics than you are either a hypocrite or just a tool of liberal propagandist who try to rewrite history and deny the truth.

The video that I am about to introduce to you uses phrases like “a tax cut creating more jobs and income and eventually more revenue”. It introduces references to taxation that state lower taxes “will create more jobs and more spending and more customers and more growth for an expanding U.S. economy”. All of which are statements and facts that are lost on the current ruling regime in Washington, D.C..

These are not my words or the words of Jack Kemp, Newt Gingrich or Ronald Reagan . They are the words of John Fitzgerald Kennedy as he spoke of attempts to cut off deficit spending and avoid a recession.

They are the words of a Kennedy who believed in a government that did not make decisions for Americans but rather made it possible for Americans to afford to make their own decisions.

The words spoken in the video below are the words of a Democrat that is far removed from the contemporary policies of the modern day Democrat Party. Yet the Democrat who spoke these words is hailed as one of our greatest Presidents even by many who call themselves Democrats today. But despite their praise and respect for JFK, they seek to canonize his youngest brother who spent decades opposing the stated beliefs of the iconic JFK.

And the same people who praise President Kennedy also praise President Obama even though every single economic policy that he seeks to enact runs counter to the economic beliefs of the Kennedy who was President.

So I ask you, please spend the next two minutes listening to a man whose legacy has proven to be everlasting and think for a moment about how far today’s Democrat leaders have come from the legendary leaders that they had in the forefront of their party only a few decades ago.

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