Thursday, November 5, 2009

Political Digest November 5, 2009

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

This will be my last post for a few days. I’ll be on the road until next week without Internet access or time, and swamped when I return, so won’t be able to read much on my incoming e-mail, which is between 100 and 200 a day. (Delete! Delete! Delete!) So you get a break for a bit from my musings.

Election 2009
The results are in, and both parties are now trying to spin them, while pollsters try to prove they were right all along. I don’t usually see elections as referendums on people not on the ballot. In 1972, I defeated a Massachusetts Democrat incumbent state senator—by nine votes—in a 4-1 Democrat district, which had last elected a Republican in 1938, while Nixon was losing to McGovern at the top of the ticket (in Massachusetts—Yahoos need not write in, I know Nixon won the election.) In 1974, the big Democrat sweep year after Nixon resigned, I was re-elected by 10,000 votes, carrying every city and town in the district. I even carried Ward Five in Fitchburg, which my Democrat opponent represented on the City Council.

People not on the ballot do have some effect, but you’d have to be in the head of every voter to really know how much. (“538” below) has a reputation for good polling, though the commentary seems to be leftist, which may color their conclusions. I was surprised by the results in Virginia, New Jersey and New York-23, for different reasons.

VA: It was clear weeks ago that barring a fumble, the Republican was going to win—the surprise was that he won by 18% points and that for only the second time in history, Republicans carried all three top offices. The White House threw the Democrat under the bus back when the polls showed him losing by 10 points. 538 had the R winning, but by 13 points. He won by 18. Turnout among Obama supporters was dismal. 66% of independents went for the R, and independents broke for Obama last year. Will Obama be able to energize them in 2010—or 2012?

NJ: The polls had this one tied, and Obama campaigned heavily for the Democrat in the last week. 538 called it for the Republican, saying they thought he had a 57% chance of winning. He jumped out in front at the start and never trailed, winning by 5 points in a blue state Obama won by 15 pints, that hasn’t elected a statewide Republican since I think 1997, and a conservative Republican in a much longer time. Both the Democrat and the Republican had high negatives, and NJ, being a Dem controlled state has high taxes and health insurance costs. Polls were calling it a tie, but giving the Independent as much as 15%. Faced with re-electing Corzine, the Independent’s support collapsed and it appears those voters broke heavily for the Republican. Lean Corzine’s decision to make an issue of Christie’s weight probably didn’t help, given the obesity in the electorate.

That Republicans won seniors in both states is bad news for the Dems--better get those "DeathPanels" cranked up.

NY-23. Good news here for Democrats, who elected their first Congressman in a century. The Republican was an ACORN/Gay Marriage supporter. When her support collapsed, she pulled out. At that point polls had the Conservative slightly ahead of the Democrat. The wisdom was that with her out, the Conservative had a clear path to victory, and 538 called it for him. But the Democrat won by 4 points, never trailed. 538 called it for the conservative on election eve, and was way off. (They also said it was a 70% change that Gay marriage would win in Maine—it lost.)

Hearing both candidates on TV, the Democrat came across as a regular guy, the Conservative as a bit of a policy geek. The district is moderate Republican, but the Democrat is said to be a moderate. The Republican was far too liberal for many Republicans to stomach, so a seat has been handed to Pelosi. He may not vote with her on everything, but will vote for her for Speaker, the key vote. If he votes independently and works the district, I think he’ll be re-elected next year, which hurts the GOP’s chances of taking over the House. If he becomes an Obot and the Republicans can patch things up behind a decent candidate, maybe.

Here’s the math the liberal Democrats figured out in 2006, which escapes conservative Republicans still.

Assume there are 45 conservative Republican Senators and 210 Conservative Republican House Members, 45 liberal Democrat Senators and 210 liberal Democrat House Members. If the remaining 10 Senators and 15 Congressmen are moderate or liberal Republicans, Conservative Republicans control the Congress and the agenda. If they are moderate or Blue Dog Democrats, liberal Democrats control the Congress and the agenda. Every time a hated RINO switches to the Democrat party or is defeated by a liberal Democrat, it strengthens liberal control of the Congress. We see the results now in the deficit and the legislation moving this year.

Sorting through the numbers in Va., N.J., and N.Y.
Interesting look at exit polls.

Lessons from the 2009 election results
Excerpt: The 2009 election results are certainly not going to make it easy for Speaker Nancy Pelosi to round up the needed 218 votes for Democrats’ health care bills.

Red States’ take
Excerpt: In every state in which Barack Obama campaigned for a candidate, the candidate lost. Too bad he did not make it up to NY-23. More importantly, according to political expert Larry Sabato, there have only been two occasions when Virginia and New Jersey so thoroughly flipped to the opposite party: in 1993, before the GOP take over of Congress in 1994, and in 2005, before the Democrats took back Congress in 2006. threatens Blue Dog Dems
Excerpt: In the politics of health care, is playing hardball with Blue Dog Democrats. Yesterday MoveOn raised an astounding $2 million in less than 24 hours in support of a primary challenge against any Democratic senator who helps Republicans block an up-or-down vote on health care reform.

Contests serve as warning to Democrats: It's not 2008 anymore
Excerpt: Off-year elections can be notoriously unreliable as predictors of the future, but as a window on how the political landscape may have changed in the year since President Obama won the White House, Tuesday's Republican victories in Virginia and New Jersey delivered clear warnings for the Democrats. Neither gubernatorial election amounted to a referendum on the president, but the changing shape of the electorates in both states and the shifts among key constituencies revealed cracks in the Obama 2008 coalition and demonstrated that, at this point, Republicans have the more energized constituency heading into next year's midterm elections.

Gallup: GOP would win the House of Representatives
Excerpt: Gallup's daily tracking shows that the spike in the polls from Obama's photo-op saluting fallen soldiers returned from Afghanistan was apparently short-lived. The cynically orchestrated visuals of Obama saluting fallen troops at Dover Air Force Base helped Obama climb briefly to 55%, but Gallup says Obama's job approval rating has quickly slid back to its lowest level, 50% -- one point lower than it was last week. Perhaps more importantly, one year before the public heads to the polls to elect all 435 members of the House of Representatives, Gallup says their generic congressional numbers are at levels which would give Republicans a majority in the House if the election were held today.

Washington Post features editor (and retired Marine) punches colleague over 'charticle'|main|dl3|link4|
Old school journalism. Excerpt: In the incident, which took place directly in front of executive editor Marcus Brauchli's office, features editor Henry Allen lived up to his reputation of being tough on his beat, issuing a smack-down on feature writer Manuel Roig-Franzia. Brauchli rushed to separate the two journalists. Allen, nearly 70, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, and a retired Marine who served in Vietnam, was reportedly "revolted" by a feature package put together by one of his writers.

Stimulus Jobs=Bigger Government
Imagine that. Most of the jobs created are in government. So they have to support the big government party to insure employment and raises.

Obama on Export-Driven Growth; Donohue on How To Get It
Free Trade Grows Jobs. Trade Barriers, like Smoot-Hawley in the 1930s, kill jobs.

Health bills too timid on cutting costs, experts say
Ya think?

The True Cost of the House Health Bill: $1.5 Trillion
My guess: Even this is too low. I base that on past predictions about new entitlement programs.

The "Costs" of Medical Care: Part II by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: Yet, when it comes to medical care, there seems to be remarkably little attention paid to questions of both quantity and quality, in the rush to "bring down the cost of medical care." There is no question that you can reduce the payments for medical care by having either a lower quantity or a lower quality of medical care. That has already been done in countries with government-run medical systems. In the United States, the government has already reduced payments for patients on Medicare and Medicaid, with the result that some doctors no longer accept new patients with Medicare or Medicaid. That has not reduced the cost of medical care. It has reduced the availability of medical care, just as buying a pint of milk reduces the payment below what a quart of milk would cost.

Another Vapor Bill
Excerpt: On Friday, every Republican Senator sent U.S. Senate Majority Leader Reid a letter which said, where is the bill text? Here is an excerpt from the letter: “The American people and every member of Congress should be allowed to read the bill that was sent to CBO. The bill should be made available for taxpayers to read and learn how the federal government is spending their money. We are writing to request that you immediately make all materials sent to CBO publicly available on the internet.” Senator Reid’s response was — uh, the bill “does not exist.” So, yet another Senate Vapor Bill Rises

70 Percent of Young Americans Are Unfit for Military Duty
Excerpt: Are America's youth too fat, dumb or dishonest to defend the nation against its enemies? The latest Army statistics show a stunning 70 percent of military-age youth are ineligible to join the military because they are overweight, can't pass entrance exams, have dropped out of high school or had run-ins with the law. So many young people between the prime recruiting ages of 17 and 24 cannot meet minimum standards that a group of retired military leaders is calling for more investment in early childhood education to combat the insidious effects of junk food and inadequate education.

Chertoff: Illegals degrade the environment
Whoops. Politically Incorrect Truth. BO will take him to the woodshed. Excerpt: Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on Monday defended the construction of a fence along the southwest border, saying it's actually better for the environment than what happens when people illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico line. "Illegal migrants really degrade the environment. I've seen pictures of human waste, garbage, discarded bottles and other human artifact in pristine areas," Chertoff said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "And believe me, that is the worst thing you can do to the environment."

Obama and the Liberal Paradigm (a Must Read)
Excerpt: Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Barack Obama, recently explained the White House war on Fox News as an example of "speaking truth to power." Much of the American political world collapsed in laughter, pointing out that her boss was president of the United States, the most powerful man on earth. His every word is news around the world. Fox News is a cable channel rarely watched by more than a few million people at a time. How could she have so blithely said something completely out-of-sync with reality?

Fox news way ahead in NPR poll
Vote early and often

Disaster flick filmmaker decides to destroy Christ statue rather than Mecca in new film, for fear of drawing death threats
We must live in fear of the Religion of Peace.

Bear kills militants in Kashmir
As we say in Chicago, Go Bears!

Saudi court upholds child rapist crucifixion ruling
Under Islamic Shari’a law, a girl has to be nine to marry and have sex with an old man. Three year old boys are out. Excerpt: A Saudi court of cassation upheld a ruling to behead and crucify a 22-year-old man convicted of raping five children and leaving one of them to die in the desert, newspapers reported on Tuesday. The convict was arrested earlier this year after a seven-year old boy helped police in their investigation. The child left in the desert after the rape was three years old, Okaz newspaper said. International rights groups have accused the kingdom, the birthplace of Islam, of applying draconian justice, beheading murderers, rapists and drug traffickers in public. So far this year about 40 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, crucifixion means tying the body of the convict to wooden beams to be displayed to the public after beheading.

Patrick Henry railed against taxation without representation. He should see it with representation. – Saul Landau

The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits. --Greek historian Plutarch (c. 46-120 A.D.)

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