Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Winners and losers in the mid-term elections

OK, we know that the Republicans won and the Democrats lost. But let’s drill down a bit. Which individuals and groups ended up with net pluses and minuses? Here are some thoughts.


1. John Boehner. He’s the new Speaker. He was known as a weeper and he didn’t let us down.

2. Sarah Palin. She’s the biggest star of the Republican party right now and the Republicans surged. OK, not everything she touched turned to gold but overall she came out of this very well. What now for 2012?

3. Republican minorities. First female Indian-American governor. First Latina governor. Cuban-American Senator in Florida. Two black congressmen, the first since 2003. About time and there could be more but conservative diversity is moving in the right direction.

4. The Tea Party. Not a sweep across the board by any means but in the Senate there will be Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson and possibly Ken Buck, as well as numerous House members. There’s no doubt that the Tea Party is a major force in American politics.

5. Candidates who lie about their military service. Dick Blumenthal, a Democrat, won in Connecticut, despite having pretended he served in Vietnam. Mark Kirk [R] exaggerated his naval record but still prevailed in Illinois.

6. The GOP presidential nominee in 2012. Whoever it is, they’re looking a lot more like a possible winner over Barack Obama than they did 24 hours ago.


1. Barack Obama. Ronald Reagan recovered after 1982 and Bill Clinton came back after 1994. But is Obama in the same league as either man? Right now, he looks like a one-term president.

2. Nancy Pelosi. Odds are she’ll leave Congress and retire to San Francisco.

3. Money. Democrats spent more and lost. Meg Whitman spent more more than any other candidate in history and also lost. Money can’t buy you love – or political office in America.

4. Harmony. Whether between the parties (who, right now, loathe each other viscerally) or within the parties (Democrats are forming a circular firing squad and the wounds left over from the Tea Party insurgency during party primaries this year have still to heal) don’t expect much sweetness and light for quite some time.

5. David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett and Robert Gibbs. Democrats are in an ugly mood and Obama’s inner circle (as well as Obama himself) are being blamed. Surely there’s a shake-up in the offing?

6. Professional politicians. A lot of the Good Ole Boys who brought back the bacon year after year were booted out. Gene Taylor, Rick Boucher, Ike Skelton and John Spratt found that incumbency was a liability this time. In January, Capitol Hill will welcome the biggest class of freshmen and women for decades.

7. Moderates. Some Blue Dog Democrats, like Heath Shuler, just survived. Some GOP moderates, like Mark Kirk, were elected. But overall, the Democratic caucus in the House is more liberal as well as being smaller and their Republican counterparts are more conservative. One effect of the Tea Party successes will be that Republicans concerned about losing primary challenges will be nudged to the Right.

8. Health care reform. This battle isn’t over. Republicans will seek to freeze funds and delay implementation in preparation for a post-2012 bid to repeal the whole thing and, as Senator-elect Mike Lee of Utah put it, dance on its grave.

9. START. Obama will struggle to get the new treaty ratified. Ditto climate change legislation.

10. Young voters. In 2008, 18 percent of voters were ages between 18 and 29. In 2010, it was only 10 per cent. The rest, presumably, decided to stay in bed.



The far Left of the Democratic party is behind Democrat losses

Below is an excerpt from a very insightful article about the two major factions in the Democratic party -- factions that in most of the world would be called Social Democrats and far-Leftists. The writer below calls them "Moderate Progressives" and "liberal progressives". The whole article is well worth a read -- as it has important lessons for conservatives too. The article is such a good one that I have reposted it here in case it gets taken down

Liberal progressives say necessity should have a minimal role in constraining the pursuit of progressive justice. If voters don’t agree with a progressive view of rights, recourse to the courts to overrule them is proper. Voters’ desire, and especially well-off voters’ desire, to keep taxes low and the economy growing ought not to be a significant factor in bringing medical care to poor people or saving the planet from greenhouse gasses.

Moderate progressives take the contrary view. Justice can be secure only if it is secure in the hearts and minds of the people, they believe. They place more faith in, and pay more deference to, voters’ desires, not because they don’t believe in progressive aspirations, but because they believe those goals can best be achieved through incremental measures that receive broad popular support.

We can see this clash most clearly in the reactions of both camps to the Clinton presidency and to Hillary Clinton’s once and future candidacy. To liberal progressives, the Clinton presidency is anathema. It was too timid when it had power in 1993–94, and too conciliatory when it shared power with a Republican Congress thereafter. This belief fueled the challenges to Al Gore in 2000 by Bill Bradley in the primaries and Ralph Nader in the general election. It fueled Howard Dean’s 2004 bid, and was the impetus behind much of the support for Barack Obama’s challenge to frontrunner Hillary Clinton in 2008.

To moderate progressives, the Clinton presidency is the model of progressive action in the modern world. Clinton’s go-slow approach, coupled with his continued pursuit of progressive spending and social policies where possible, meant that progressive policies became imbedded in the middle-class mindset, making them impervious to conservative counterattack.

Today’s liberal progressives are directly descended from the “New Left” of the 1960s. By this I do not mean student radicals, SDS members, Yippies, and others of the radical fringe of this movement. Instead, I define the “New Left” as those Americans — largely bearers of college and postgraduate degrees — who sought not merely to ameliorate some of the hardest edges of American life, as FDR did with the New Deal, but rather to transform American life now. They sought to eliminate, not ameliorate, poverty now. They saw Americans’ pursuit of ever-increasing wealth as an impediment to these goals; why should already well-off families have more when some people had little? And they saw American defense spending as a crucial obstacle to these goals; if no one was attacking us directly, why shouldn’t we spend on butter rather than bombs?

The New Left was characterized as much by its impatience as by its lofty ambitions. Its advocates saw the non-attainment of their goals as a moral crime. As such, those who stood in the way of those goals were not merely adversaries, they were enemies: selfish, unlettered, in need of enlightenment. This sentiment is the source of the arrogant condescension that many Americans and most conservatives have felt all too frequently is a defining feature of today’s Left.

Thus was born the now endemic battles between the progressives and the old guard (unions and party bosses in the ’80s, the DLC in the ’90s and ’00s) in Democratic nomination contests. The liberal progressive candidate would win educated voters — the “wine set,” as Ron Brownstein has labeled them — while the moderate progressive candidate would win the middle and working classes — Brownstein’s “beer set.” Since beer drinkers have always outnumbered wine drinkers in Democratic primaries, the candidates who excited the most progressive elements always lost — until Barack Obama broke the mold in 2008 by attracting African-American “beer drinkers” into the progressive camp.

Liberal progressives view these consistent defeats as examples of justice denied. Their consistent rejection by the voters is seen not as a rejection of their impatience or lofty ambitions, but as something more sinister. The voters were bamboozled by the Teflon Great Communicator, by Willie Horton ads, by triangulating good old boys, by corporate interests, and by blockheaded Texans backed by unscrupulous Mayberry Machiavellians. Something is the matter with Kansans if they don’t back progressives; it must be devious politicians who divert middle- and working-class voters with the bread and circuses of phony social issues and unnecessary foreign wars.

As the continued failure of progressive candidates in Democratic presidential primaries shows, a majority of Democrats are not of this lineage. These moderate progressives place a very different interpretation on what went wrong in the ’60s and ’70s, and have adopted a very different view of how to engage in and shape American politics.

Moderate progressives view the rejections of the Democrats from 1968 to 1984 as a sober lesson delivered by a sober populace. They view Americans today as wanting the same things economically that their parents and grandparents wanted from the New Deal: an active safety net that helps them move up in American life. In this view, Americans support Democrats when they use government to support and enhance middle-class values and aspirations. Moderate progressives believe Democrats got away from that heritage when they started to be perceived as worrying more about people who did not work than about those who did, as worrying more about criminals than the victims of crime, as worrying more about American aggression than about the freedom of the West.

For moderate progressives, then, the very impatience and lofty ambitions that animate liberal progressives were seen to be the causes of Republican and conservative victory. Moderate progressives like Bill Clinton believed that voters would choose conservative Republicans if they were not offered a Democratic alternative that sought to modernize Roosevelt’s legacy for modern times. By pledging to “end welfare as we know it” and support the people who “work hard and play by the rules,” Clinton sought to place that alternative before Americans. He did, and he won.

The very victory that moderate progressives view as legitimizing their approach, though, is seen as destructive by liberal progressives. This difference is encapsulated in how each side views welfare reform, the passage of which is widely viewed as securing Clinton’s reelection. Moderate progressives are proud of that legislation, wishing that it had provided more economic support to single mothers but generally supportive of the fact that it helped move millions of people into work. Liberal progressives, though, believe that it did little or nothing to end poverty, and as such was a sell-out of the progressive commitment to the poor. The fact that the public demanded that the welfare-reform bill or something like it be passed weighs large in the calculus of the moderate progressives, but not at all in that of that liberal progressives.

Fast forward to the past two years, and we can see that this tension within the Democratic party is a factor in every major decision the administration and the congressional leadership has made. From the start, President Obama, with the enthusiastic backing of liberal progressives, declared that his would be a transformative presidency. This meant that his agenda would largely be that of the liberal progressives: health-care reform with a major emphasis on near-universal coverage, cap-and-trade, a large economic stimulus focused more on government projects than on tax relief, a consumer-protection agency to regulate financial instruments. Truly, this crisis would not be allowed to go to waste: Forty years of wandering in the political wilderness would finally be over.

Political urgency was coupled with this intellectual impetus. Democrats were acutely aware that they had supermajorities they had not possessed since 1980. With the increase of the partisan use of the filibuster, a phenomenon not widely seen until the Clinton years, they felt they would not have this degree of power again in the near future. Many argued that the window for bold action was narrow, and it could not be let to close without fulfilling liberal-progressive dreams.

Any one of these measures would have defined a Congress. To push all of them simultaneously, plus a major financial-regulation bill to address what was argued to be the causes of the financial crisis, proved to be too much. Nevertheless, time after time, when political warning signals went up, the administration and the congressional leadership pushed forward.

None of this would have mattered if the liberal progressives had been right about the reasons they have lost in the past. If Americans genuinely wanted quick implementation of liberal-progressive economic measures, then there would have been no electoral retribution to fear. Indeed, this was the argument many liberal progressives made when the decision was made to go forward with the health-care bill.

Moderate progressives argued that Brown’s election was a wake-up call. Pointing to many polls showing that Americans did not want the health-care bill to pass and that independents were growing more concerned about the deficit and moving against the Democrats, men such as Mark Penn and Doug Schoen argued that electoral disaster loomed unless the administration changed course. They pointed to the landslide of 1994 as an example of what could happen if the Speaker and the president persisted. In essence, moderate progressive argued that the Democrats lost in 1994 by trying to be three steps ahead of public opinion instead of one.




IL: GOP takes Senate seat formerly held by Obama: "A Republican is taking over President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat in Illinois. Mark Kirk, a five-term Republican congressman from Chicago’s suburbs, beat Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias in a bruising race for both.”

Feingold out: "Republicans have claimed a prominent liberal incumbent, toppling three-term Democratic Sen. Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin. Feingold was the second Democrat incumbent senator to fall, after Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. Republicans also have taken away two other Democratic seats, in Indiana and North Dakota, where the incumbent lawmakers were retiring. Republican Ron Johnson, an multimillionaire Oshkosh businessman and first-time candidate, beat Feingold"

PA: Toomey defeats Sestak for Senate: "The GOP eeked out a victory in one of the nation’s most heated and most watched Senate races. Voters are sending investment banker and former Congressman Pat Toomey back to Washington on promises he will work to end corporate bailouts, to promote fiscal conservatism and to limit government.”

NY remains NY: "For two months, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has said he was more focused on governing in January than winning the race for governor Tuesday. And as expected, nearly 60 percent of New Yorkers picked the Democratic son of ex-Gov. Mario Cuomo to take the reins of state at a time when budget deficits range in billions, unemployment persists and despair over whether New York’s government is equipped to serve us run high.

CA: A Democrat stronghold holds out: "Democrat Jerry Brown won as Governor over Republican Meg Whitman. Governor Brown succeeds Republican former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and now holds the record as the oldest (so far) person to become California’s governor. Governor Brown won the gubernatorial race even under a lot of criticisms from the former chief executive of eBay, Mrs. Whitman. Democrat re-electionist Senator Barbara Boxer has also triumphed over Republican senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina, a past Hewlett-Packard chief executive. Senator Boxer described the race against Mrs. Fiorina as the “toughest and roughest campaign of [her] life.”


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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