Get Your Blog Up

“This administration is populated by people who’ve spent their careers bashing government. They’re not just small-government conservatives—they’re Grover Norquist, strangle-it-in-the-bathtub conservatives. It’s a cognitive disconnect for them to be able to do something well in an arena that they have so derided and reviled all these years.”

Senator Hillary Clinton

Friday, November 17, 2006


I haven't had a chance to watch the TV News lately, but I'm pretty sure that while Democrats are proclaiming that this is a new era of bipartisanship and how they want to work together with Republicans, the media is letting slide the words of new Minority Whip Roy Blunt:
Under this Republican leadership, the job of the Minority Whip will no longer be to go to the House floor every day and lose. Instead, each time we hold our team together and force the Democrats to vote like Democrats, we'll be taking one more step toward recapturing our majority in 2008.

In other words, "Screw the country that elects us, we've got to get back in power!"

By the way, Democrats have proposed some pretty popular ideas this election, so I can only imagine this as a recipe for failure on Blunt's part. But again, that statement proves that Blunt's not really concerned about the country's needs, just his parties mad drive for power once again.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The more things change

President Bush ,December 12, 2002:
Recent comments -- recent comments by Senator Lott do not reflect the spirit of our country. (Applause.) He has apologized, and rightly so. Every day our nation was segregated was a day that America was unfaithful to our founding ideals. (Applause.) And the founding ideals of our nation and, in fact, the founding ideals of the political party I represent was, and remains today, the equal dignity and equal rights of every American. (Applause.)

And so the -- and this is the principle that guides my administration. We will not, and we must not, rest until every person of every race believes in the promise of America because they see it in their own eyes, with their own eyes, and they live it and feel it in their own lives.

The question now, in light of Senator Lott's election to Minority Whip in the Senate, is if those comments reflect the spirit of the country now? Or if this is the way that conservatives intend to get back to their base?

I'm sure that Trent Lott will be an effective Whip for the Republican party, and maybe those that elected him looked at that factor alone before choosing him. But political parties need to remember that their actions reflect both the party the represent and the country in general. And we now live in a country where a man who made the claim that if we had elected a strict segregationist to the White House years ago, we wouldn't have the problems we have today is once again climbing the ranks of power in one of the major political parties.

Trent Lott not only uttered those words, but also has a history that reflects questionable judgments about race in America. And 25 Republican Senators have signed off on those views as ones they would like to see reflected in party leadership.

Amnesty for Reagan

John Hawkins, on what the GOP needs:
Then there's the albatross around the Republican Party's neck, the guy in the White House, who has rushed out to assure everyone that he intends to continue to try to push his amnesty plan that's wildly unpopular with the base.


Obviously, what the American people want to see from the GOP is same principled conservatism that led to landslides for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984...

Would that be the same style conservatism that led to "amnesty" for illegal immigrants in 1986?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Stopping the violence

NY Times:
Anthony C. Zinni, the former head of the United States Central Command and one of the retired generals who called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, argued that any substantial reduction of American forces over the next several months would be more likely to accelerate the slide to civil war than stop it.

"The logic of this is you put pressure on Maliki and force him to stand up to this," General Zinni said in an interview, referring to Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister. "Well, you can’t put pressure on a wounded guy. There is a premise that the Iraqis are not doing enough now, that there is a capability that they have not employed or used. I am not so sure they are capable of stopping sectarian violence."

Point taken. But have U.S. forces been able to stop the sectarian violence either?

Quote Unquote

Speaking on soon to be Speaker Pelosi's endorsement of Jack Murtha for majority leader of the House:
"Everywhere you go on Capitol Hill today, this is the topic of conversation," said Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Atwater), who supports Hoyer. "It would have been easier for some of us not to have to exercise our independence quite so early."

Murtha vs Hoyer

I'm one of those "corruption won Democrats the majority" people, so it's obivously important to me that Democrats take cleaning up Congress seriously. It's also why I've been dispapointed with the matchup of Jack Murtha v. Steney Hoyer for Majority Leader. The Plank seems to have every negative story about Jack Murtha, while this piece from the Washington Monthly doesn't put me wholy in Hoyer's camp, either. All along, I've just been waiting for someone to say this:
"Wait until you see the ethics package we support and we pass," he said. "No meals, no trips, nothing. I support it 100 percent."

So there you have it, Washington insiders. You can all exhale as I tentitavely endorse Murtha for Majority Leader.

But you better follow through.

Perhaps the worst thing about this battle is the rise of stories discussing how ethically challenged Jack Murtha is, combined with Nancy's "Culture of Corruption" Pelosi's endorsement of him. I'm not exactly stir at the begining of the draining of the swamp era that's supposed to come.

As if I need another reason, presenting the problems with Pelosi's seeming edorsement of Alcee Hastings for House Select Committee on Intelligence over Jane Harman.

I can only hope that the Democrats are so effective at cleaning out corruption that these battle quickly drop into things of the past. I can only hope.

More from Kristol and Kagan

There is a popular theory these days that the pressure of an American withdrawal will force Iraqis to reach some kind of accommodation with one another. This would be more plausible had it not already been disproved by three years of painful experience. The United States has been promising to withdraw from Iraq since the beginning of the war, and the only result has been to drive Iraqis closer and closer to sectarian conflict.

I think Kristol/Kagan are confusing the carrot with the stick here. For the last three years, the talk about leaving Iraq has been more on their terms than ours. Once security is achieved, then troop withdraw will begun. So if I'm an Iraqi and don't really want to take responsibility for my country and my new found freedoms, I don't have to - American troops will remain to take care of it for me.

Now, the incentive has changed. Withdrawing troops is not an if/then statement, but now a reality. We tell the Iraqis we are leaving not based on anything other than the fact that we will do it. And there is no more cover of American troops for those Iraqis who want peace and freedom but do not want to fight for it. They must step up as we step down, and not the other way around. And if we see they are serious about fighting for their country, our troops are nearby, and if they must return, they can.

Kristol and Kagan:
If we wanted to try something truly novel, we would tell Iraqis that the United States did not intend to withdraw until the insurgency was defeated and the sectarian militias were disarmed.

Much like the war on drugs, the war on crime, the war on poverty, and the war on the so-called liberal media, there will never be an end. The insurgency will not be defeated simply through brute force. If that were a possibility, then we would not see Al Qaeda in Iraq "more dangerous than ever" after three years of our presence there. I'm not sure why this is so hard to comprehend.

But, I'm afraid, they do get this part correct:
There is no getting around the fact that under present conditions, an American military withdrawal, even if undertaken gradually, will bring about the rapid collapse of Iraq.

The caveat is, this statement seems true well into the future. Even if Kristol's and Kagan's magical troops appear, I'm doubtful they will be able to much toward the end of a peaceful, stable Iraq. There are too many forces at work in the country who are not looking for peace and stability. And until those forces see a benefit from those goals, they will continue to fight the forces that are working for them.

More troops redux

I finally found what I was looking for:
In "Reinforce Baghdad" [op-ed, Sept. 12], William Kristol and Rich Lowry argue that the United States needs to deploy "substantially" more troops to Iraq to stabilize the country. Aside from the strategic dubiousness of their proposal -- Kristol and Lowry's piece might alternatively have been titled "Reinforcing Failure" -- there is a practical obstacle to it that they overlook: Sending more troops to Iraq would, at the moment, threaten to break our nation's all-volunteer Army and undermine our national security. This is not a risk our country can afford to take.

In their search for additional troops and equipment for Iraq, the first place that Kristol and Lowry would have to look is the active Army. But even at existing deployment levels, the signs of strain on the active Army are evident. In July an official report revealed that two-thirds of the active U.S. Army was classified as "not ready for combat." When one combines this news with the fact that roughly one-third of the active Army is deployed (and thus presumably ready for combat), the math is simple but the answer alarming: The active Army has close to zero combat-ready brigades in reserve.

To which Robert Kagan & William Kristol reply today:
Those who claim that it is impossible to send 50,000 more troops to Iraq, because the troops don't exist, are wrong. The troops do exist.

Oh. That clears it up. Thanks guys.

I'm curious (as everyone else is, no doubt) to see how the Baker/Hamilton commission will answer these claims that more troops that don't exist outside of Robert Kagan's and William Kristol's minds would impact the current conflict in Iraq. And if there is a hint of a suggestion that it might work, Democrats should investigate it further, to the point that it's realized that the troops aren't there and that 50,000 wishes aren't going to make them appear or make America stronger.

It's the only way to put an end to this discussion.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Send in more troops!

Over the weekend, John McCain (R-AZ) reaffirmed his conviction that Iraq can be won if we only send in more troops.

So I say let's do it.

Democrats should look into this position closely for a number of reasons. First off, if he's right, then Democrats look smart for hopping on board. I realize that Democrats ran mostly on a platform of finding a way out of the quagmire in Iraq, but if boosting troop levels is the way to get us out with some level of whatever-you-call-victory, then Democrats look serious in the war on terror and that particular strawman blows away in the wind. But this, in all probability, will not be the outcome.

By subjecting the McCain plan to extra scrutiny, it shows how unserious the proposal actually is. As General Barry McCaffery pointed out this evening on MSNBC, we simply do not have the resources or the troops to enact it. We would have to come up with a whole new group of recruits in a time when the armed forces already must lower standards to meet their goals. Plus, we'd have to train said troops and ship them overseas, all the while hoping that Iraq doesn't further devolve into a civil war.

The McCain plan for Iraq is political posturing at it's finest. And exposing it as such would weaken McCain's future while showing Democrats are bipartisan and willing to look at other solutions for Iraq.

Martinez for RNC

Here's a quick trip down memory lane with the soon to be new head of the RNC.

He's responsible for the famous "Terri Schavio memo" that lead many to believe that Republicans had overreached and were willing to turn a private family matter into a political issue for their own gain. You could even argue this was the beginning of the end for Republicans in 2006.

Martinez, however, claimed no knowledge of what his aids were doing, and it wasn't the first time he's used that defense. An interesting choice for leader of the RNC.

Perhaps these stories shed light on things a little more clearly. Martinez was tied up in fundraising scandals involving a local engineering firm, refusing to return $250,000 that was raised with the help of Jack Abramoff (about halfway down), and my personal favorite:
"Katrina Reconstruction Summit," hosted by Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) and sponsored by Halliburton, among others, brought some 200 lobbyists, corporate representatives and government staffers to a room overlooking the Capitol for a five-hour conference that included time for a "networking break" and advice on "opportunities for private sector involvement."

Turning the destruction of New Orleans into financial opportunities for donors and lobbyists. Martinez should fit right in.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Things I should just let go, but can't

Jeffery Scott Shapiro, from his editorial in the Baltimore Sun:
Problems in Iraq somehow inspired the far left to rile up the anti-patriotic spirit that once flooded the streets with protests during the Vietnam War in the 1960s.

"Anti-patriotic?" Are you kidding me?


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Supporting the Democrats

Seems like the Democrats have a pretty popular agenda:
The strongest support, 92 percent, was for lowering drug prices for retirees on Medicare by allowing the government to negotiate directly with drug companies. Some three-quarters of respondents said it should be a top priority, according to Newsweek.

Americans also supported raising the federal minimum wage (89 percent), investigating government contracts in Iraq (89 percent) and cutting the interest rate of federal student loans (88 percent).

Already tired

Am I the only one whose already tired of articles that wonder how Democrats are going to rule the Congress yet?

And all this talk about Democrats now being forced to stand up to some sort of liberal litmus test are getting old, too. I hate to tell you wizened authors, Democrats aren't looking to outlaw all guns or force abortions or gay marriage on every one. Those are rightwing boogeymen designed to scare voters into voting Republican and are not at present near the top of the Democratic agenda. What is more important is equal opportunity for the middle class, something that unites all the Democrats who claimed victory on election night.

Oh, and this is for Matt Bai in particular: Democrats have a more than "vague slogans around which to build a governing agenda." A simple Google search would have told you that.

*UPDATE* Here's another thing I'm tired of (and this is mostly a right wing blog thing) courtesy of Mark Noonan. Are House and Senate Dems going to impeach the President? No. Not unless he's done something that would actually warrant impeachment, and even that would have to be extreme enough to paint Republicans in a bad light were they to vote against it. Will Speaker to be Pelosi, as Noonan puts it, "keep the left in check all the way until election day, 2008?" More than likely, yes.

So that's another thing that needs to be put to rest. And besides, I'm not sure why Noonan and his side would be so against impeachment of the President. The last guy who had to deal with it saw favorable poll numbers and his party saw gains in the next election. If anything, you guys should be praying for it.

Voting locally

In my inbox today:
Dear Friends and Supporters

Like many of you, we were stunned to find out late last evening that there remain over 75,000 votes yet to be counted in our County -- including, unbelievably, EVERY SINGLE ABSENTEE VOTE cast in my race against Mary Bono. That's right, NOT ONE of the absentee votes cast in Riverside County has been counted yet by the Riverside County Registrar of Voters -- and according to their offices, as of today they are still "only in the process of verifying signatures, and have not yet begin to count the ballots."

Of the 75,000 uncounted votes, it is possible that around 40,000 apply to my race in the 45th Congressional District

While we have absolutely no idea how these uncounted absentee, provisional and paper ballots might affect the numbers in my race (and in dozens of other races in the County), it is clear that they will change many percentages and perhaps even election outcomes. So while many candidates have already claimed victory and others conceded defeat, the fact is that over 28% of the votes cast in Riverside County have not yet been counted.

Our team and the Democratic Party are monitoring the situation and we will keep you updated if and as events warrant. We also encourage you to reach out to Riverside County officials to demand that EVERY VOTE in this historic election be counted, and quickly.

Again, thanks for the outpouring of support for me and my family...and all my very, very best....


David Roth actually ran a fairly aggressive campaign here in the Coachella Valley, but areas Republican leanings were too much for him to over come. And, according to these numbers, it's nigh impossible for him to beat Mary Bono even when all these votes are counted.

Steve Clute also ran a fairly impressive campaign this cycle in his attempt to unseat Bonnie Garcia for State Assembly. For the first time I can remember, I received both phone calls and door to door visits from the Clute campaign making sure that I had or was going to vote this election.

These numbers between Clute and Garcia actually could change. The latest tally has Garcia up by a mere 1, 135 votes. So Clute has decided not to concede:
"While the early results show my opponent in the lead, not every vote has been tallied," said Clute, who represented part of the Coachella Valley in the Assembly from 1982-92.

"I am willing to accept the outcome of this election, but not until every vote is counted."

Who has lead us to this?

As you can imagine, the right is shrieking in terror that, uh, terror is going to reign supreme in light of the new Democratic majorities. In that sense (for them, anyway), it's a self fulfilling process.

Richard Miniter in the New York Post writes an article this morning entitled "Why Al Qaeda's happy:"
AMERICA'S enemies are gloating over this week's election results - and the Bush administration's air of imminent retreat. Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, the tremendously gifted Zalmay Khalilzad, is said to be on the way out.

"The American people have taken a step in the right path to come out of their predicament, they voted for a level of reason," said Ayyub al-Masri, the head of al Qaeda in Iraq. In a recording posted on jihadi Web sites, he called Bush a "lame duck" and accused Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of "rushing to escape."

The group boasts of having 12,000 fighters in Iraq who have "vowed to die for God's sake." That is not a bluff, according to several high-ranking members of the intelligence community: Al Qaeda in Iraq is more dangerous than ever.

I may be too clever by half here, but under which administration's policies and which party's dominance has Al Qaeda in Iraq become "more dangerous than ever?" I'm pretty sure it wasn't the guys who colored the map blue this past election night.

CBS News reports that Al Qaeda has been gearing up for a new wave of bombings, this time in Europe, and mostly likely occurring as the holiday season is in full swing. Analysts suggest this is one reason Al Qaeda aligned forces have been leaving the country behind.

But that does not mean that Afghanistan, the forgotten stepson in the war on terror, has been made safer under current policy either. In fact, the reason that Al Qaeda is free to go is that Taliban led forces are making a comeback:
Intelligence analysts and security sources say one reason why al Qaeda might feel confident in leaving the battlefield in Afghanistan largely in the hands of the Afghan Taliban is that the Taliban have shown new skill and ferocity in fighting U.S. and coalition forces.

Hmmm... so with Republican control of the House, the Senate, and the White House we have seen Al Qaeda in Iraq become "more dangerous that ever" and seen a resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Sounds like a winning strategy so far.

The failing policies of the past need to be left there - in the past. The new election period has given America a clean slate to examine it's policies in the Middle East and Afghanistan. There has to be more to choose from than leaving the chaos behind and remaining hip deep in it. We need to find a way to end it.

Rather than attacking each other over these issues, we need to unite and attack our enemies instead. As Abe Lincoln would no doubt say today, a House divided against itself can not stand up to terrorists and defeat them. Neither will presaging defeat before Democrats working with the President attempt to find a path to victory.

Friday, November 10, 2006

It's the actually the taxing, more than likely

Redstate points out some polling numbers to argue that the country wants less spending and a smaller government.
By a Margin of Nearly 3-to-1, Americans Vote for Small Government, Even if it Means Fewer Services. When given the choice between a "larger federal government that provided more services and charged higher taxes" and a "smaller federal government that provided fewer services and charged lower taxes," Americans indicated a clear desire to downsize. In fact, 62% of voters preferred the smaller government – and with intensity as 41% would definitely pick a leaner administration. By comparison, just 22% opted for the more expansive government.

I imagine here the problem is not with the "more services" part, but rather the "higher taxes" business. No one I know every has argued that they want to pay more taxes, and with a generic "more services," very few are going to give that side the thumbs up. However, if you asked for specific things that would cost more money - proper equipment for the men and womenfightingg in Iraq, for example - I'm sure those numbers would start to change.

And I should point out that the outgoing Republicans feel into neither category. They tried for a government that provided more services and charge lower taxes. WE will being paying for it for years to come.

Redstater Robert Hahn then adds:
When combined with the observation that a disproportionate number of so-called "Republican moderates" lost their seats on Tuesday, we have strong indications that those now calling for a return to a GOP that clearly and unambiguously stands for less spending and smaller government have the right answer.

I will say again, that this could be problematic for the GOP. If the Democrats do manage to cut the deficits that currently loom well into the future for our country, and do it through sound fiscal policies without cutting government programs important to most Americans (Social Security, Medicare, etc.), why on earth would the voters feel the need to switch parties due to fiscal policies in the future?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Meet the old boss

For a moment, it seemed the President had changed. Coming off a thumpin' of an election for the GOP, Bush was actively talking about working with the newly elected majority to make things better for the country. Even Dan Froomkin at the Washington Post wondered if maybe, just maybe, W. had learned lessons from the GOP defeat and decided to govern all of the country, and not just those who had elected him.

Is it any surprise that the answer is, "No?"

The President ended his brief cruise on the bipartisanship and returned to his old ways, insisting today on passage of, amongst other things, the controversial Terrorist Surveillance Act and the approval of recess appointee John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations by the current lame duck Congress.

Even if President Bush hadn't learned his lesson, the newly unelected Lincoln Chafee had:
"On Tuesday, the American people sent a clear message of dissatisfaction with the foreign policy approach of the Bush administration," Chafee said in a statement. "To confirm Mr. Bolton to the position of U.N. ambassador would fly in the face of the clear consensus of the country that a new direction is called for." Chafee said Bolton lacks the "collaborative approach" needed to make the United States "the strongest country in a peaceful world."

Without Chafee's support, Republicans on the committee do not have enough votes to recommend Bolton's confirmation.

President Bush clearly confused the terms "working with Democrats" and "ramming my right wing agenda down the Democrat's throats." Cheer up, however, America. This will all be over come January. As long as we make it that far.

Tom Vilsack wins race to be the first to declare for Presidency

The odds are (at least for now) that will be the only race he will claim victory in. But for those of you who like to learn about candidates before you decide to vote for or against them, here's Tom's site. It's actually fairly nice, and I fully intend to read from the speeches when I'm not dead tired from work.

And for those of you looking for another MySpace friend, you can add Tom here. It's a little boring right now, but you can always make suggestions for new layouts and fun quizzes. Oh, and Tom? It's not cool to have that Tom fellow as your number one friend.

*UPDATE* More on Vilsack from David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Dems take #6

The AP calls it. Congrats to new Senator Jim Webb, from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Dems 51, Rep 49.

Rumsfeld timing

I've heard throughout the day that some are questioning the timing of the Bush's announcement that Rumsfeld was resigning.

Two things to note. If the White House wasn't expecting to lose control of the House and Senate, then there would be no need for Rumsfeld to resign. Perhaps this was a conditional decision, one based on the outcome of the election. As Republicans went, so went Rumsfeld.

(*UPDATE* Bush today: "Win or lose, Bob Gates was going to become the nominee." That would make the above statement false. The self correcting blogosphere in action!)

More importantly, as the perceived architect of the Iraq war, had Rumsfeld been allowed to step down before the election, I think the wave would have hit Republican's even harder. Now candidates for the House and Senate would have to face questions about supporting the outgoing Sec. of Defense or supporting the President, a rock and a hard place that no one in their right mind would want to be. And Democrats would have proclaimed that the removal of Rummy was vindication of their claims that the war in Iraq was not working.

This was clearly a wise election time decision made by the White House.


I had to laugh at the idea that "conservatism did not lose" here in California last night. Republicans gained one seat in the State Senate. Arnold did not win re-election because he ran as a conservative, he won because he pulled back and moderated himself. I dare say had he kept up his conservative rhetoric from last year, we'd be congratulating Phil Angelides as Governor elect.

Arnold's coattails could not drag any of the down ticket Republicans to victory. And in a national race, Richard Pombo lost to an little know Democrat in California's 11th district.

It's a bit outlandish to claim conservatism did not lose last night. It certainly did not win.

Gates blogging

If he's to be the new Secretary of State, we should do some studying..

I'll post things I find here.

Howard Teicher, who served on Reagan's National Security Council staff, offered an affidavit in the Teledyne case that declared that CIA director William J. Casey and his deputy, Robert M. Gates, "authorized, approved and assisted" delivery of cluster bombs to Iraq through Cardoen (In These Times, 3/6/95).


During the 1991 hearings to confirm Robert Gates as CIA director, Gates denied under oath that he had played a role in Cardoen cluster bomb sales to Iraq, as arms dealers had charged. Teicher's affidavit provides new evidence that Gates misled the Senate.

*UPDATE* Senator Harkin, on the nomination of Robert Gates to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1991. I wonder how he'll feel in 2006?

*UPDATE II* MSNBC called Joe Biden, who also voted against Gates in 1991. Andrea Mitchell says Biden told her he's a changed man now, and he would probably vote to confirm him this time around.

*UPDATE III* Yglesias reports that the 109th Congress will handle the confirmation, making any talking of blocking moot.

And despite what the digging suggests, Democrats have to go along with the change they've been clamoring for unless between now and then Gates says we need to "stay the course," or there's no need to change.

*UPDATE IV* For historians in the crowd, here is the Senate floor debating Robert Gates approval to the CIA in 1991.

Rumsfeld to step down?

So says the AP.

It seems the White House and company may be a tad worried about the mew Democratic majority.

*UPDATE* Robert Gates is the appointed man. Is there any reason to believe that this change will bring any substantial differences to American policies in regards to Iraq and the war?

*UPDATE II* Andrew Sullivan's Magic 8-Ball says "All Signs Point to No"

Then there was one...

Tester declared the winner in Montanta, sayth the AP.

At worst, a lot less hunting for Dick Cheney. Which actually could be for the best...

The media meme attacked by... Fred Barnes?

As others have noted, media and GOP spin is that Democrats elected a bunch of conservatives in order to take back the House majority, and Speaker to be Pelosi is in for some trouble when it comes to keeping them in line.

Who would've thought that Fred Barnes would stand up to destroy that meme?
But you have to give Rahm Emanuel, the House Democratic campaign chief, credit for recruiting an impressive group of candidates, including a few non-liberals like Brad Ellsworth in Indiana and Heath Shuler in North Carolina. The media, however, is exaggerating the number of these unconventional Democrats. They are a handful, and the pattern of moderate and conservative Democrats when they get to Washington is to pipe down.

*UPDATE* Welcome, firedoglake readers. It's a nice welcome back to the blogging world. Please look around and help us little bloggers out!

Pulling the chair out from 2008

Mike Pence (R-IN-06), via the Corner:
While the scandals of the 109th Congress harmed our cause, the greatest scandal in Washington, D.C. is runaway federal spending.

After 1994, we were a majority committed to balanced federal budgets, entitlement reform and advancing the principles of limited government. In recent years, our majority voted to expand the federal government's role in education, entitlements and pursued spending policies that created record deficits and national debt.

His point, or one of them, anyway, is that the conservative movement has lost it's way when it comes to spending and the budget. But isn't this a part of the Democratic platform that led to victory? Paygo and spending caps are featured there, and unless the Democrats fall on their heads, these rules should be implemented fairly quickly.

That would leave Conservatives to run on social issues, and despite their ability to gloom and doom (gay marriage is worse than terrorism... and give you cancer!), I like our chances here. Granted 2008 is a ways away, and no one in 2004 saw the events of last night coming. But showing the country once again that Democrats are the actual party of fiscal conservatism would seem like a fine way to keep the GOP on it's heals in 2008.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election night congrats

New Governors (Dem +6)
Ted Strickland, OH, defeating Ken Blackwell
Deval Patrick, MA, defeating Kerry Healy
Martin O'Malley, MD, defeating Robert Elrich
Elliot Spitzer, NY, defeating John Faso
Mike Beebe, AR, defeating Asa Hutchinson
Bill Ritter, CO, defeating Bob Beauprez

New Senators (Dem +4)
Sherrod Brown, Ohio, defeating Mike Dewine
Bob Casey, Pennsylvania, defeating Rick Santorum
Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island, defeating Lincoln Chafee
Claire McCaskill, Missouri, defeating Jim Talent

New Representatives (Dem +28)
Harry Mitchell (AZ-05), defeating J.D. Hayworth
Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-08), defeating Randy Graf (Jim Kolbe's open seat)
Jerry McNerney (CA-11), defeating Richard Pombo
Ed Perlmutter (CO-7), defeating Rick O'Donnell
Lois Murphy (CT-05), defeating Nancy Johnson
Tim Foley (FL-16), defeating the Mark Foley seat
Ron Klein (FL-22), defeating Clay Shaw
Bruce Braley (IA-01), defeating Mike Whalen
Dave Loebsack (IA-02), defeating Jim Leach
Joe Donnelly (IN-02), defeating Rep. Chris Chocola
Brad Ellsworth (IN-08), defeating John Hostettler
Baron Hill (IN-09), defeating Mike Sodrel
Nancy Boyda (KS-02), defeating Jim Ryun
John Yarmuth (KY-03), defeating Anne Northup
Heath Shuler (NC-11), defeating Charles Taylor
Tim Walz (MN-01), defeating Gil Gutknecht
Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), defeating Jeb Bradley
Paul Hodes (NH-02), defeating Charles Bass
John Hall (NY-19), defeating Sue Kelly
Kirsten Gillibrand (NY-20), defeating John Sweeny
Michael Arcuri (NY-24), defeating Raymond Meier
Zack Space (OH-18), defeating Joy Padget (Bob Ney's open seat)
Jason Altmire (PA-04), defeating Melissa Hart
Joe Sestak (PA-07), defeating Curt Weldon
Patrick Murphy (PA-08), defeating Michael Fitzpatrick
Christopher Carney (PA-10), defeating Don Sherwood
Nick Lampson (TX-22), defeating Shelley Sekula Gibbs (Tom DeLay's open seat)
Steve Kagen (WI-08), defeating John Gard

Big holds
Ben Cardin, MD, defeating Micheal Steele (Senate)
Bob Menendez, NJ, defeating Tom Kean Jr (Senate)
Amy Klobuchar, MN, defeating Mark Kennedy (Senate)

Election night returns

From Stuart Rothenburg and Nathan Gonzalez:
Kentucky 3 - Rep. Anne Northup (R) is facing yet another challenge in her Louisville-based district. Northup's district is certainly more Democratic than the 4th District (John Kerry took 51%), but it looks like she'll go into Election Night with a narrow lead, but under 50%. If she loses, that means undecided voters are breaking heavily and convincingly for the Democrats and other battle-tested incumbents like Clay Shaw (Florida 22) and Heather Wilson (New Mexico 1) are in a lot of trouble.

Chuck Todd:
A bellwether for a Democratic wave is KY-3, a non-targeted race by Democrats that's close. If Democrats win here, they are winning 35+ seats.

Results here. They're by no means official, but Northrup is down by 3% with 74% reporting.

CNN Exit polling

No TIVO, so from memory - 42% of those polled said corruption is an important issue to them. I would think that would make Democrats excited and Republicans hang their head.
40% Terrorism, 39% economy, 37 % Iraq.

Those polled thought that either Dems or Republicans could handle the terrorism. So there's no solace there for the right. And those polled claim that they want to leave Iraq, a position favored by about 56% of voters. Another good Democratic sign.

National issues favor local issues 2-1. If this election were more local, the story went, it would be bad for Democrats. These numbers, therefore, are huge for Dems.

Hopefully these numbers translate to big wins for Democrats. But I'll feel much better when results come in.

And if you haven't already voted, you should. It's your chance to be a part of history.

The condensed Arthur Brooks

Democrats will be failures on election day because even though things favor them to take back the House, they should have beat every Republican running for a seat, even those with the power of money, incumbancy, and gerrymandering behind them.

Leave it to the Wall Street Journal to try and make a massive voter shift in two years a Democratic failure.

*UPDATE* Matt Yglesias finds another claim like this one, this time dealing with the Senate. His appropriate response:
...[T]here are only 15 Republican-held Senate seats on the ballot this November, that the composition of the Senate naturally favors the GOP, and that defeating incumbent legislators is difficult.

It seems as if Republicans are gearing up for failure, which is certainly a hopeful sign for Democrats. Spin control is often a decent barometer of party success. And the spin going on here is that Democrats, coming from a devastating loss in 2004, should be disappointed if they sweep the Senate races in play and take back the House. That's some spin, innit?

More election day

Swing State project has poll closing times and a list of races to watch. All those times are Eastern, so don't expect to vote in California on you way to Taco Bell for a 10:30pm pick me up, alright?

A good clean fight

There are so many reports of election irregularites, the site devoted to reporting them has crashed. Apparently there are lots of problems in Ohio, where the Republican candidate for Governor is in charge of the elections for now. That shouldn't happen in any good functioning Democray, especially not in one so close. It would take quite a few irregularites to overcome some of these numbers, though.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Feeling better about tomorrow

Reports like this did not make me feel strong about tomorrow:
Some late polls suggested momentum was swinging the Republicans' way, and Ken Mehlman, the party chairman, told allies the surveys summoned memories of 1998, when the GOP lost seats but held power.

I'm seriously prepared for failure. I just can't get excited about this election until its over. But for those of you looking for reassurance, the good folks at offer this nugget:
One interesting twist to these findings is that the Republican Bob Corker's gains in Tennessee explain virtually all of the Democratic decline. The last 5-poll average in Tennessee went from a dead-even tie to a 7.4 point Corker lead in just a week. If we remove that race from the overall average, there is still a leveling off of the six week Democratic trend but virtually no decline.

Optimists take heart that the latest downtick can be accounted for by one state and continue predicting a 6 seat swing in the Senate. I'd be happy with it, believe me.

I will say this. Predicting a 4 seat gain and hitting 6 will be much better for Democrats than predicting 6 and hitting 4. A big part of perceived power these days is momentum and fulfilling expectations. If Democrats fail to take over the House, they will be considered a weak party still out of touch with the people even when those people disagree so strongly with Republicans. And it will be hard to find hope for a while after that.

Remember this, too:
“Two years ago, winning 14 seats in the House would have been a pipe dream,” said Matt Bennett, a founder of Third Way, a moderate Democratic organization. Now, Mr. Bennett said, failure to win the House, even by one seat, would send Democrats diving under their beds (not to mention what it might do to all the pundits).

The Democrats have come along way in the last two years. Remember that, regardless of the outcome tomorrow.

Election day

I know I haven't been around in a long time, and it actually feels good to be clean of the political muck that I had fallen into as this blog progressed. Every now and then I feel bad for the few who had come to me for news and discourse, but with the explosion of blogs and everyone knowing everything as it is, it seemed obvious that those two or three regulars could find both similar quality and content elsewhere.

I'm as nervous as, well, a Democrat on election day about tomorrow. Certainly things look good, but they did for 2004 as well. And 2000. Both nights saw me up late, disappointed and defeated. Hopefully tomorrow night will be different.

What do I think? Here goes: In the House, the Dems come out with around 225 total seats, enough for a majority. The Senate sees a gain of 4 seats, which would fall short. And I haven't looked at Governor races, but I am disappointed already that Arnold will continue to govern California. Seems like such a waste, and goes to show that even in this favorable climate, Democrats who should win will lose.

Good luck to everyone in the hunt tomorrow on the good side. And for the rest of you, get out and vote.

Such an easy joke, I can't resist

Cheney's going hunting on election day. Let's hope he doesn't shoot anyone in the face.