Next for GOP leaders: Stopping Palin (Politico)

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2010-05-2008

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Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin speaks during the Republican 2010 Victory Fundraising Rally in Orlando, Florida October 23, 2010. REUTERS/Scott AudettePolitico – Top Republicans in Washington and in the national GOP establishment say the 2010 campaign highlighted an urgent task that they will begin in earnest as soon as the elections are over: Stop Sarah Palin.

Sestak, Toomey vie for Pa.’s suburban moderates (AP)

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2010-05-2008

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Senator Bob Casey, D-Pa.,, left, shakes hands with Bill Bentner, right, as he campaigns with Allegheny County Executive and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato, center, during a campaign stop at Pamela's P&G Diner in the Strip District in Pittsburgh,  Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010 . (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)AP – Canvassers and party loyalists came out to a parking lot, hockey rink and banquet hall on Sunday to see Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate candidates as they vie for support in Philadelphia’s heavily populated suburbs packed with moderate, swing voters.

Suppressing the vote

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2010-05-2008

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The late Chief Justice of the Supreme Court William Rehnquist cut his political teeth suppressing the vote in Arizona. It was an issue at his confirmation hearings, but it didn’t prevent his being seated.

One of the more under-reported stories about the stolen Florida presidential election of 2000 was the racist and partisan purging of legitimate voters, to suppress the Democratic vote count. And in Florida, it didn’t end there.

In October 2004, Joe Conason wrote:

And in cities and states across the country, the cruder racist techniques are being revived again. In Florida, as Bob Herbert reported in the New York Times last summer, state officials sent armed officers into certain Orlando neighborhoods to scare elderly black registrants. In Kentucky, Nevada, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio, Republicans have planned to challenge voters en masse in minority neighborhoods. That return to the methods of the bad old days is the Republican response to the upsurge in minority registration — and the enormous threat that Republican strategists perceive in those new voters. Last week, Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio summarized his findings in a report on the battleground states by noting that “minority turnout is a wildcard in this race and represents a huge upside for Senator Kerry and a considerable challenge for the President’s campaign.”

So despite all the blood and toil expended to expand American democracy over the past four decades, the right to vote and to be counted is still unfinished business for both sides.

We later found out that the Bush White House had been replacing U.S. attorneys for refusing to play along with their attempts to intimidate voters.

In 2007, the Republican Secretary of State of Louisiana purged tens of thousands of mostly minority voters, without going through proper procedures.

This year, groups tied to Koch Industries are continuing their efforts to suppress the vote in Wisconsin, where a champion of campaign reform may lose his Senate seat to a climate denier and enabler of pederasts.

Does anyone need to be reminded that women had to wait more than a century after this nation was founded before they were allowed to vote? Does anyone need to be reminded that nearly a century after the Fifteenth Amendment it still required a federal Voting Rights Act to help protect blacks who wanted to avail themselves of their basic Constitutional right to vote?

Opponents of progress have a long history of trying to suppress democracy. It’s both racist and partisan. And it reflects their understanding that in completely fair and just electoral processes they most often lose. Their real agendas necessitate that people be distracted and confused and that money makes the world go around, but it also necessitates that as many people as possible be barred from participating in the political process.  

The lesson here is obvious. We’re hearing a lot about an enthusiasm gap. We know from the polling that if Democrats turn out in anything close to the usual numbers, this election will turn out much better than is being predicted. And if any apathetic voters need a little extra motivation, what could be more fun than once again turning the corporatist media’s conventional wisdom upside down? Not to mention the potential profits to be made in popcorn futures, should the Republicans fail to win the House, and then commence cannibalizing themselves. But it’s really about appreciating that however disappointing our leaders sometimes are, it’s still our process, and our basic right, and the imperative that we continue to push forward, even if, at times, dishearteningly incrementally.

The Republicans want you to stay home. They’re counting on it. They know that many Democrats are disappointed in the pace of progress, which is one of many reasons they worked so hard to obstruct it. Now  they want to stop progress dead. An enthusiasm gap is their greatest joy. All the efforts they make to suppress the Democratic vote are as trivial compared to the possibility of Democrats suppressing their own votes. If you don’t avail yourself of your right to vote, you will be doing the Republicans’ bidding. You will be doing their work for them.


Democrats’ Last Hope: Sarah Palin (Exclusive to Yahoo! News)

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2010-05-2008

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Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin waves to the crowd after speaking at the Republican Victory Fundraising Rally in Orlando, Florida October 23, 2010. REUTERS/Scott Audette   (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)Exclusive to Yahoo! News – By Reid Wilson National Journal Can Sarah Palin save House Democrats? Many of the party’s endangered incumbents are spending their final days campaigning as much against the former Alaska governor as against their Republican rivals. No one in American politics …

Selling truth

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2010-05-2008

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Those who follow the typical development of the post-election aftermath narrative might have noticed that oftentimes, the need for bipartisanship and compromise clearly doesn’t cut across party lines. In the wake of expected Republican gains, says Mark Halperin of well-respected village publication Time Magazine, President Obama should somehow bend over even further backwards to accommodate Republicans by even going so far as to appoint a Republican chief of staff.

Somehow, the theory is that the president should stand up to the Democrats when they are too “liberal” and try to unite with the GOP on issues of common cause. Arguing against that strategy is…Mark Halperin, who had this to say earlier this year about the consequences of the health care fight:

Republicans in the upper chamber not only will vociferously oppose the Democratic plan to pass the changes to their bill with the simple majority procedure known as reconciliation but will also make it clear that any prospect for meaningful bipartisan cooperation on any and all issues is dead and buried, at least for now.

In Halperin’s defense, that article was penned in late March of this year, so perhaps he could claim that the GOP would perhaps be more tempted to compromise as it anticipates what serious punditry is expecting to be a divided Congress. But the man who would be Speaker, Minority Leader John Boehner, has already expressed exactly how he feels about the idea of compromise (hint: he’s not too keen on the concept).

This is what passes for serious political journalism today. “Unbiased” journalists recognize that today’s Republicans have no interest in compromise, but still want to advocate for the same. At the same time, they also fear and loathe being called the “liberal media” and would hence never dare advocate that Republicans compromise for a more moderate position. The only option left, of course, is to advocate for more moderation by Democrats, regardless of the political circumstances.

But this year–this election–is dramatically different. In previous elections, pundits could at least claim to be analyzing exactly how the results reflected the judgment of the electorate on the policies of the day. In 2010, however, this routine biennial call for Democratic restraint and compromise is especially galling, because many voters appear in fact to be basing their choices on what is nothing short of an alternate reality.

The conventional-wisdom narrative surrounding the desire for yet more change that many voters seem to be experiencing is based on a set of “facts”: that Obama has exploded federal spending; that taxes are being increased; that health insurance reform was a bad deal for the American people; that the stimulus was a failure, and that the bank bailouts were started by Obama and will never be repaid. On each of these counts, the truth is the exact opposite: the deficit for the year 2010 actually shrunk; taxes have been lowered significantly for middle-class Americans; young adults and those with pre-existing conditions are already seeing dramatic improvements in health coverage availability; the stimulus saved or created at least one and a half million jobs; and financial institutions are starting to pay back the Treasury for the money they received through the TARP program.

The track record of Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress has been distorted beyond recognition by a combination of three factors: a conservative establishment completely unafraid to prevaricate with impunity about President Obama and the Democratic Congress; a Democratic establishment that has been all too timid about actually selling its record to the American people; and a media that is too afraid of accusations of partisanship to actually report an objective truth (for instance, that the health insurance reform bill does in fact not include death panels). As long as the public is misinformed by what is according to Bloomberg a two-to-one margin about the actual, factual record of this administration, there is no point whatsoever in discussing what the president can do with weakened or nonexistent Democratic majorities to advance his agenda.

Rather, the only post-election question the traditional media ought to be asking itself is what they can do in their supposed capacity as the fourth estate to ensure that a significant majority of people aren’t basing their votes on the exact opposite of the truth.


Theodore Sorensen, top JFK aide, dies at 82

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2010-05-2008

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President-elect John F. Kennedy with Theodore Sorensen, right, discussing West Virginia's economic problems in this December 1960 file photo.Theodore C. Sorensen, the studious, star-struck aide and alter ego to President John F. Kennedy whose crisp, poetic turns of phrase helped idealize and immortalize a tragically brief administration, died Sunday. He was 82.

Midday open thread

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2010-05-2008

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  • There are 2 days until the November 2 elections. Early voting is now taking place in Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Virginia allows early absentee voting under certain circumstances — check here and see if you qualify. And New Jersey allows voting by mail — apply here. And if you vote in Oregon or Washington, mail in your ballot today.
  • The recently thwarted package bomb plot by Al Qaeda is another textbook example of why good intelligence and smart law enforcement are just as, if not more important than military action in our efforts to defeat the militant terrorist organization.
  • Anne Kornblut of The Washington Post believes President Obama will follow President Clinton’s example over the next two years. She quotes Obama:

    “We’ve tried what they’re doing and it didn’t work,” Obama said at a campaign stop in Minnesota earlier this month. “We wouldn’t get a different result if we went back to it.”

    I feel the same way about bipartisanhsip.

  • Divisions between Democrats over the candidacy of Democratic nominee for Florida Senate Rep. Kendrick Meek have been sharp, including between me and my publisher. Meek himself has been reported as being conflicted. According to Politics365, the reason has something to do with Meek’s rearing:

    The paradox here is that while Liberty City, where Meek grew up, has a reputation for eating its young – turning whole generations of Black kids into sobering crime, drug, school dropout and statistics – it would also expect Meek to bull ahead to the very end at all costs.  It’s the unwritten, yet widely known and stubborn first rule of street credibility, to avoid defeat, particularly in public battles where everything hinges on reputation.  On many levels, Meek is caught between a rock and a hard place: dropping out of the race may please party leaders all the way to the White House wincing at the thought of a Rubio win, but it also ruins Meek’s image as the tough-minded legislator who took on former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) in a sit-in over civil rights.

    Maybe, maybe not. Who knows. I will say this though: when times are tough, it is only natural to turn to the safe arms of the FAMiliar for support. Oh, and Charlie Crist offered him a shiny trinket to drop out, which is more than he offered Democrats all year up until last Friday. Meek declined.

  • If there is one Senator who I absolutely did not want to lose this year, it is Barbara Boxer. I am extremely pleased that Senator Boxer is confident of victory over Carly Fiorina. Nothing pleases me more than seeing her stick her Chariman’s gavel right in the face of the odious Jim Inhofe.
  • Today is Halloween. Me and my wife are going out to the parade in the Village as Al & Peg Bundy. Those of you who, like me, loved the show might enjoy this site, Bundyology.
  • This week’s classic movie recommendation is Dark Victory directed by Edmund Goulding and starring the incredible Bette Davis. Ms. Davis is a force of nature in this film. Humphrey Bogart appears as her lower-in-the-pecking-order distant lover as Ms. Davis plays a rambunctious socialite suddenly stricken with a deadly disease. I enjoyed this picture very much, but I’ll admit to being quite biased towards the amazing and unforgettable Bette Davis.


Analysis: Turbulent times and change elections

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2010-05-2008

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In the closing days before the crucial midterm election, President Barack Obama makes a final get-out-the-vote push for Democratic candidates as they battle to keep their majorities in Congress, at Midway Plaisance Park in Chicago, on Saturday.Republicans could gain the 40 seats they need for House control, following Democratic gains of 55 seats over 2006 and 2008.

5 questions for 5 analysts: What will happen Tuesday, what it will mean (Exclusive to Yahoo! News)

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2010-05-2008

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U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a Democratic National Committee (DNC) Moving America Forward Rally at Midway Plaisance Park in Chicago October 30, 2010.Obama warned on Saturday that if Republicans prevail in next week's congressional elections they could roll back his agenda, as he sought to rally fellow Democrats to the polls in a final campaign push. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)Exclusive to Yahoo! News – By Lynda Gorov Yahoo! News asked five political analysts what will happen Election Day and what the outcome will mean for President Obama’s agenda as he enters the next two years of his presidency. Question: What sets this election apart from …

Newsweek: In elections, rich get too much sway

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2010-05-2008

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