Yesterday, House and Senate primaries were held in Connecticut, Florida, Minnesota and Wisconsin. First, for the I-cannot-believe-she-won-AGAIN race: Michele Bachmann with 80% of the vote. Thanks, I feel better for sharing the insanity.
In Connecticut, there were no surprises. Chris Murphy won over Susan Bysiewicz 67.5% - 32.5% to capture the Democratic nomination. He will face, and easily win against, Linda "WWF" McMahon, who captured 72% of the vote over Chris Shays on the Republican side. This is currently Joe "Turncoat" Lieberman's seat. It will be gratifying when this seat returns to its Democratic place in the Senate in January. And yes, I'm sure Murphy wins. There were no surprises in the House primaries, with most races being uncontested.
In Minnesota, incumbent Senator Amy Klobuchar captured 90% of the primary vote, and will be challenged by, and will win against, Kurt Bills. There were some interesting state house outcomes. with the longest-serving Republican being tossed out by a teabag challenger. But in the national House races, only one surprise. Rick Nolan edged out Tarryl Clark to take on freshman teabagger Chip Cravaack, who is legitimately vulnerable.
On to Wisconsin. Tommy Thompson managed to win the Republican Senate primary against three tea bag challengers. This sets up a heated race between the former governor and Tammy Baldwin, who ran uncontested. This is the seat Herb Kohl is retiring from, and yes, Herb is from the family that owns the chain Kohl's. The polls in the head-to-head have been close, with Thompson slightly ahead. Thompson was a popular governor, and former Federal official. For a Republican, his health care stance is relatively decent, and he did good work in Wisconsin on health matters. Tammy Baldwin is a long-term pol, having held local and state positions before being the first woman from Wisconsin elected to Congress. She was also the first openly-gay non-incumbent ever elected to Congress. She is serving her 7th term. In her first two races, she captured 53% and 55% of the vote, and has consistently won with more than 60% ever since. She voted against invading Iraq. I'm looking forward to the next sets of polls, because it is possible that teabaggers will either come in as "undecided" or "other", which may propel Baldwin to the lead. The Wisconsin House races were uneventful, and mostly uncontested.
And finally, we have Florida, Florida, Florida. (I still miss you Tim Russert.) Betcha $10,000 that Mittens wished he would have waited a couple days to announce Paul Ryan. John Mica, a 10-term Republican redistricted to run against freshman teabagger Sandy Adams, won with 61% of the vote. Cliff Stearns has apparently lost to veterinarian Ted Yoho, but Stearns has refused to concede, and the vote has not been certified as of this writing. It's close: under 800 votes. Stearns can be blamed, in part, with the rest of the blame resting on Karen Handel, with the implosion of the Susan G. Komen foundation. Karen Handel was the one who got the organization to cut Planned Parenthood funding because of an "on-going Congressional investigation." Stearns WAS the "Congressional investigation." Good riddance.
In the Florida 9th, Alan Grayson will be back on the ballot, running against Todd Long, who won over John Quiñones and others on the Republican side. This puts Grayson in a stronger position.
Connie Mack IV will be challenging Bill Nelson in the Senate race. Every time I think of baby Mack, I am reminded of the 1992 Eddie Murphy movie The Distinguished Gentleman. Baby Mack is a mere shadow of former Connie Macks. This one is married to Mary Bono Mack, Sonny Bono's widow, and holder of her own Congressional seat. The two of them like to spend time together more than they like to go to work. Connie Mack IV has the 7th worst record for missed votes. Mack claimed that Nelson missed 56% of the votes, but it turns out that number was from a long time ago, and recently Nelson missed one vote. Total. Nelson is on track to re-election not just because Baby Mack doesn't show up, and generally voters want their elected representatives to go to work, but also because Nelson is very, VERY pro-Medicare, and Ryan on the ticket makes Medicare all they're going to talk about in Florida, with a side order of Social Security.
Don't understate the importance of the Ryan pick in the Florida primaries: on the front page of every major paper in Florida on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were headlines reminding Floridians about Ryan and Medicare and NOT the primary elections.
Elections are won one voter at a time. Get yours today.
In California, they're trying out the new jungle primary system, as well as a number of ballot initiatives. (See the full list here.) The full 9th Circuit will release its decision today on whether it will review the 3-judge panel's decision overturning the gay marriage ban. There's a non-binding primary in Montana for the GOP, and a binding primary for the Democrats. The closed party primaries held today in New Jersey are binding on both sides. There are also binding primaries on both sides in New Mexico and South Dakota, as well as the North Dakota Democratic side. Generally, this would be all over the news, especially the California primary, but instead all eyes are on Wisconsin.
In the Badger State, they're expecting turnout of about 65%, and if that threshold is cleared, there's a high probability that America and our two-party system will survive to fight another day. The lower the threshold, the higher the chance that we have seen the end of the two party system for a generation, and the higher the probability that we will see street protests that rival those this year in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Canada.
The spending in Wisconsin on the recall is something like $30 million on the side of evil, and about $3 million on the side of truth and light. To a lot of us outside the Beltway, we're very disappointed that the DNC declined to engage, and that the sole peep from our president was a single tweet last night, which said"
@BarackObama It's Election Day in Wisconsin tomorrow, and I'm standing by Tom Barrett. He'd make an outstanding governor. –bo
Inside the beltway, they're saying that Obama was right to steer clear as that would have made it a "partisan issue" instead of a state issue, but we'll see.
The state Democrats, along with the unions, have knocked almost a million doors, and phone banked almost a million homes, they expect to do even more today. If Barrett wins today, it is the triumph of many very hard-working, dedicated boots on the ground who will convince people in the third gubernatorial recall in US history (the others were in 1921 and 2003) that their votes matter. In a state where the airwaves are ruled by Walker's cronies' money, AND THEY CHEAT, a win will be exclusively due to the power of grassroots, of handshakes, a triumph of what elections are supposed to be - issues and actions.
Don't underestimate the power of money in elections, and be aware that the Walker contingent is so full of lies that they've sunk this low:
Reports began to surface Sunday from around Wisconsin that those canvassing for Governor Scott Walker were informing residents that if they had signed a recall petition that there was no need for them to vote today as their signature was their vote.
WE know that's not true, but most people aren't smart where politics and elections are concerned. Hopefully voters took the time to listen to the two debates, wherein Barrett stuck to the facts and Walker sidestepped, ignored questions and outright lied. Hopefully, the voters are paying attention to the fact that Walker is the only governor with a legal defense fund, and is on the cusp of indictment. Hopefully they value schools and human beings over corporate tax cuts and the selling of public lands as paid deer-hunting "farms".
This is the first election where the full force of Citizens United is being felt, or the second if you include the GOP presidential primary fiasco. When the votes are finally tallied, which likely won't be until early tomorrow at the earliest, will we suddenly be a plutocracy? That's question number one. Followed by the question of Milwaukee County: will the same voters who turned out in 2008 for Barack Obama come out today? If so, it will be a clear victory for Tom Barrett no matter what happens in the rest of the state. Milwaukee County is that populous, and Obama won with 62% of the vote. There are a number of people who've been interviewed who are voting for Walker NOT because they like him, but because they don't like the recall process. Are these people a large number, or just who the media chose to focus on?
Whatever the outcome, we need to learn from this situation going into November: we need to become even more focused on the idea that EVERY VOTE MATTERS. Turnout counts. Grassroots is all we've got left to fight the half million dollar (and up) donations made by the über rich.
In my household, the fear is truly palpable, and it will be a long night. Fingers crossed the dawn brings joy.
There are primaries in Texas today. On the Democratic side, they are only advisory in nature at the Presidential level, the state convention will be held on June 8th and 9th. On the Republican side, the primary held today is binding for delegates, and the state conventions will also be on June 8th and 9th. There will also be primaries for all Congressmen/women as well as for the Senate seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison.
The primary is open, although one's party affiliation will be switched if a voter selects a different party. That is, if one is a registered Democrat and votes in the Republican primary, he/she will then be a Republican, although it is possible to switch back later.
There is a high probability that today, Mittens will reach the delegate threshold needed for nomination. This will not preclude all sorts of shenanigans by the Paulites in Tampa, but numerically, he'll likely make it today. Unless, of course, Texas gives a resounding "no" to his candidacy. If so, there are still California and New York upcoming (amoung others) to put him over the top.
If you're voting in Texas today, and want lists of all the Congressional and Senate candidates, you can click here.
For a round up of what to watch for tonight as the results come in, click here. Things like this:
What about the Democrats? Is there life on the other side of the political ledger? Texas Democrats have compiled a dismal record that renders them easy to ignore in most state races. Once upon a time, that was the story of Texas Republicans, and they eventually came out of it. The primaries won’t necessarily tell the story of whether the Democrats can do the same, but they might reveal a decent candidate here and there, and maybe even someone who can take a Republican in November, if circumstances are right.
Tomorrow, the Washington state conventions begin, and will last for 4 days. That may well be interesting depending on what the Paul people can accomplish, but today belongs to Texas.
The topline headline is that Mittens won all the presidential primaries. I'm personally not so sure. He theoretically won Louisiana, Maine, Washington, Iowa (first time, later changed to Spawn of Satan), Michigan, Alaska and host of others....but Ron Paul is racking up delegates left and right at the county conventions. DCW has Paul at 80, as does the AP. Personally, I have him at 171, and think he'll hit a minimum of 400 by August. Not enough to derail Mitten's nomination, but enough to cause trouble on the convention floor, and if he can get enough of the remaining Spawn and Newton Leroy delegates...enough to cause a second ballot. Between a first and second ballot comes the kind of negotiated horse trading that can certainly affect the platform and potential post-election promises. The major takeaway of the ENTIRE Republican primary season is pretty straightforward: they elect the next guy in line (and it's always a white guy). If the voters pick someone else, they are basically disenfranchised. Just sayin'...
Dick Lugar lost in Indiana. No surprise there. The fun part is that if he voted for himself, he was guilty of voter fraud in that he doesn't live in Indiana, and hasn't since 1977. He doesn't even know what address is on his (Indiana) driver's license. Really.
Drinkers in Ocean City, NJ, lost yesterday: the town will remain dry. The vote was about 3:1, and the interesting thing is that more people in Ocean City voted yesterday than had last November in the elected-officials election. Go figure.
We all lost in North Carolina: whether you're gay or straight, a North Carolina resident or someone living elsewhere on the planet, you lost. This was a horrific piece of legislation, and proves once again we need to stick together and oust the Republicans.
There was a winner I'd like to make note of, although this occurred on Saturday, I didn't find out about it until yesterday. Winner of the week is Kristi Noem. Don't know her? She's 40, spent a lot of her life running the family farm, and started back at college in 2008 after leaving in 1994. We all love education, and like when people get degrees, especially when they can afford tuition from their salaries. Kristi's salary is close to $150,000/year. She's a US Congresswoman from South Dakota. She's one of two freshman reps elected as liaisons to the House leadership. She also had A LOT of driving problems, cleared up before her election to Congress:
From 1989 to 2010, Noem received 27 traffic citations, including 20 for speeding, as well as several for stop sign and seat belt violations, and no driver's license. She also received failure to appear notices, and two arrest warrants were issued. Noem said, "I'm not proud of my driving record, but [I've] been working hard to be a better example to young kids and young drivers out there." Source.
Kristi Noem: criminal, farmer, gun-toter, sweet smiling face of the "new GOP" and now a college graduate.
Think it was Mittens? Guess again. BARACK OBAMA! Our president won in three ways yesterday.
First, President Obama earned more votes yesterday than Mitt Romney. While that may not matter now, it will in November. Here are the numbers:
Obama DC votes: 51,394 (98.1%)
Romney DC votes: 3,122 (70.2%)
Obama MD votes: 275,281 (88.4%)
Romney MD votes: 116,922 (49.1%)
Obama WI votes: 284,866 (98.2%)
Romney WI votes: 305,740 (42.5%)
Obama total votes: 611,541
Romney total votes: 425,784
Wow! In a year with no actual competitors, and guaranteed the nomination, 50% MORE voters turned out for President Obama. That's right, all those Democrats could have stayed home and Obama would still be assured the nomination, and yet, out they came.
The second way in which President Obama won yesterday is that he didn't break the law. As opposed to Mittens and his traveling companion, Paul Ryan, who in violation of Wisconsin law, handed out sandwiches. In Wisconsin, you can't give a voter anything worth more than a dollar to get him to vote. Details about the incident and the filed complaint here. Ryan should have known better: he's from Wisconsin, he's run for election multiple times, and before being elected, he worked on other candidate's campaigns. It's a pretty simple thing: don't buy votes. Now granted, this is allowed, even encouraged in some places. Take the Iowa straw poll, where you can't get votes without buying them for the most part. Or Philadelphia, where walking-around-money is a long-honoured tradition. But this is Wisconsin, and they like their elections clean. As an aside, while the smart money is on Marco Rubio for veep, Ryan is certainly in the mix. And what a dream that would be: running against someone who very clearly wants to do away with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and all programs for the poor. Talk about drawing a line in the sand.
And finally, yesterday was President Obama's day because of the speech he made to the AP gathering. In it, he called out Mitt Romney, as well as Paul Ryan specifically for his budget. It is the first true speech of the re-election campaign. Some quotes are below, and you can read the full transcript here.
Whoever he may be, the next president will inherit an economy that is recovering, but not yet recovered from the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression.
Too many Americans will still be looking for a job that pays enough to cover their bills or their mortgage. Too many citizens will still lack the sort of financial security that started slipping away years before this recession hit. [...]
As much as we might associate the G.I. Bill with Franklin Roosevelt or Medicare with Lyndon Johnson it was a Republican, Lincoln, who launched the Transcontinental Railroad, the National Academy of Sciences, land grant colleges.
It was Eisenhower who launched the Interstate Highway System and new investment in scientific research. It was Richard Nixon who created the Environmental Protection Agency, Ronald Reagan who worked with Democrats to save Social Security.
It was George W. Bush who added prescription drug coverage to Medicare. What leaders in both parties have traditionally understood is that these investments aren’t part of some scheme to redistribute wealth from one group to another.
They are expressions of the fact that we are one nation. These investments benefit us all. They contribute to genuine durable economic growth. Show me a business leader who wouldn’t profit if more Americans could afford to get the skills and education that today’s jobs require. Ask any company where they’d rather locate and hire workers, a country with crumbling roads and bridges or one that’s committed to high-speed Internet and high-speed development.
It doesn’t make us weaker when we guarantee basic security for the elderly or the sick or those who are actively looking for work. What makes us weaker is when fewer and fewer people can afford to buy the goods and services our businesses sell. [...]
One of my potential opponents, Governor Romney, has said that he hoped a similar version of this plan from last year would be introduced as a bill on day one of his presidency. He said that he’s very supportive of this new budget. And he even called it “marvelous,” which is a word you don’t often hear when it comes to describing a budget. It’s a word you don’t often hear generally. [...]
This new House Republican budget, however, breaks our bipartisan agreement and proposes massive new cuts in annual domestic spending. Exactly the area where we’ve already cut the most. And I want to actually go through what it would mean for our country if these cuts were to be spread out evenly. So bear with me. I want to go through this because I don’t think people fully appreciate the nature of this budget.
The year after next, nearly 10 million college students would see their financial aid cut by an average of more than $1,000 each. There would be 1,600 fewer medical grants. Research grants for things likes Alzheimer’s and cancer and AIDS. There would be 4,000 fewer scientific research grants, eliminating support for 48,000 researchers, students and teachers. (Obama goes on to detail additional cuts and to point out that if the Ryan budget becomes law, by the middle of the century there will be NO money for anything other than the pittance left to entitlements, defense and the debt.)
One would think that things look good for Spawn of Satan in Pennsylvania, at least according to the latest poll, which shows him in a great position to win the April primary here. Sadly for Spawn, the primary is only a beauty contest, with no delegates actually coming directly from the popular vote. But:
Rule 8.4 of the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania's Rules states that all delegates elected by Congressional District "...shall run at large within the Districts and shall not be officially committed to any particular candidate on the ballot." Source
The state committee will choose at-large delegates in June, who will also be unpledged. And then there are the 3 super delegates, who actually get to choose. Only one has announced so far, and he's for Romney.
Thus, it's very possible that Spawn wins the popular vote and walks away with no delegates for the floor vote in August.
Rick can win the primary popular vote because the people voting in that election are not the people who voted him out 6 years ago with the largest margin since the Civil War. The voters will be those people who DID vote for him. Remember he lost by 17.4%, not 80% -- which means he's actually got some supporters left in Pennsyltuckey, and they'll be out in force. It's a closed primary.
Further, Mittens won't be able to count on negative advertising: we all already know him.
What caused this change of fortunes? Why does it look now like Newt Gingrich may suspend his campaign.
Georgia: Before Super Tuesday, Newt Gingrich said winning his home state of Georgia would be critical to continuing his campaign as a serious candidate. On Tuesday, he bettered his opponents, but failed to secure a majority. According to Eric Ostermeier, Gingrich's anemic result (47% of the vote) "ties John McCain for the second lowest home state tally for a major GOP presidential candidate since 1972, besting only Pat Robertson." As our readers will recall, neither McCain nor Robertson went on to be elected President.
Kansas: Unlike Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Gingrich cannot call Kansas his home. Kansas will be voting this Saturday (along with 3 US Territories) and Gingrich had hoped to contest this state and planned an extensive campaign schedule accordingly. However, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported yesterday that Gingrich has cancelled all of his appearances in that state. He no longer had a realistic chance of prevailing in Kansas and decided to bet all the marbles on Alabama and Mississippi who vote this coming Tuesday March 12. According to the Los Angeles Times, "Gingrich's abrupt switch of travel plans reflected the grim political map that he faces in the weeks ahead."
Alabama and Mississippi: The Gingrich campaign told the Wall Street Journal that they must win Alabama and Mississippi in order to remain viable. However, it is not clear that Gingrich can win Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday even if he concentrates all of his efforts on these two states. Rick Santorum's Super PAC is hotly contesting these two states. According to Alabama State University's new poll, Rick Santorum has a substantial lead with 23% of the vote, Mitt Romney is second with 19%, and Newt Gingrich is a distant third with 14%. According to the odds makers at inTrade, Gingrich has only a 15% chance of winning Alabama and a 23% chance of winning Mississippi.
AIPAC and Super Tuesday: The Alabama State University poll was taken before Super Tuesday, so it might be understating Santorum's margin of victory. Gingrich's results on Super Tuesday were less than inspiring, and his appearance that day at the AIPAC meeting was best described as confused. He fell asleep while waiting for his satellite feed to be connected, and seemed unaware that he was expected to have prepared remarks (just like the earlier remarks by Santorum and Romney).
The South: Even if Gingrich's bet pays off and somehow he wins in Alabama or Mississippi by concentrating on those states, he has really defined himself as a regional candidate and there aren't that many states left to vote in that area, so the road forward is unclear.
Delegate Count: Key to the nomination are the delegates to the Republican National Convention. Newt Gingrich trails far behind Mitt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. He will probably get a few more delegates in the South but not enough to get a majority of the delegates. His only hope at the convention would be if no one candidate had a majority of the delegates, allowing Gingrich to play the role of a king-maker or a spoiler. However, by continuing in the race, Gingrich splits the anti-Romney vote in winner-take-all states like New Jersey. This increases the chances that Romney will be able to reach the critical threshold of 1,144 delegates making Gingrich's delegates meaningless. Nate Silver's mathematical analysis indicates that Santorum could gain 11 times more than Romney without Gingrich in the race.
I expect that Gingrich will stay in the race until Tuesday's primaries in Alabama and Mississippi (or perhaps the March 24 primary in Louisiana) and end his campaign on the high note. Officially, his campaign would be "suspended" so his delegates to date would still be bound to him and give him an important role in case of a brokered Republican National Convention.
In the Ohio 9th, Marcy Kaptur beat Dennis Kucinich 56.4% to 39.7%. It is sad they had to run against one another, but it remains a safe Democratic seat. In the Ohio Senate race, Josh Mandel (R) will be the candidate against Sherrod Brown, and it will be an interesting race.
In Democratic presidential primaries, Obama won Massachusetts with 89% of the vote, Tennessee with 90% of the vote, and Oklahoma with 57% of the vote.
In the media wars, Keith Olbermann was terrific at colour commentary, especially with his remarks on Rick Santorum's speech.
Next, the losers:
Mitt Romney. Sure, he won Massachusetts, but he's not going to win it in November. He won Virginia, but had Gingrich and Santorum made the ballot, it would have cost him most everything south and west of Richmond. A recount in Ohio is not completely out of the question, although since Spawn couldn't file a full delegate slate, the popular vote doesn't really matter. Even where he won, they weren't huge wins for the most part. With the exceptions of Massachusetts, Virginia and Idaho, he didn't win a majority.
Republican enthusiasm. Turnout over the primary season, in total percentage and as compared to 2008 turnout, is down, and keeps going down over the season. Every time it gets polled, Republicans want someone else running. Republican-leaning independents are defecting in droves: between the mess that the primaries are, to the attempts to make birth control the be all and end all campaign issue, to the fact that the likely candidate, Mittens, keeps talking that the economy is a mess, but it's getting better, and the health care ads against him in the general will include him lying about his thoughts of a nationwide mandate and application of RomneyCare nationwide.
Citizens United. Look at the infusion of money and what it hath wrought. The Republican primary process is a shambles with miscounts, wrong winners announced initially, cheating (think Michigan), just a few people have spent millions on millions and they still can't get the rank and file to actually vote, much less vote for the person they want. It's a war of money destruction. I heard last night that of $3 million spent for Gingrich ads, only $21,000 was from the campaign, the rest was from Sheldon Adelson. Do we really want just a few rich guys controlling the conversation? OF COURSE NOT, and it's a point being brought home to the Republicans, too.
The eventual Republican candidate. There's a reason Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Mitch Daniels keep saying no...the 2012 Republican presidential candidate is a virtual dead man walking. At some point, the Koch Brothers and their brethren will decide that the race is not winnable, and will choose instead to pour their millions into House and Senate races. They'll figure that holding the House and potentially getting the Senate will be worth Barack Obama's second term. The convention is going to be a mess, and while deals are being brokered in July and August to tamp down the discord, our candidates will run their races, and our president will be both presidential and candidate. Remember, elections are won by boots on the ground. The money has been able to turnout the most activist of the base, but it won't have the effect on the undecideds, the angry (think PUMAs) and the 99%. Do you really think that Mitt Romney, if he's NOT the nominee, will allow his multi-state organization to be used for some other candidate? We've all seen in the Santorum and Gingrich campaigns the problems with a lack of organization: can the GOP really pull it together in 30 states in 8 weeks? Meanwhile, the Obama organization is planning, preparing, and staying on course and message.
It's HERE! As Oreo reported, the MSM is getting the number of delegates per state wrong, again. No wonder they so often get the counts wrong. Yesterday in their First Look email, MSNBC even got the number of contests wrong. I saw it and kept wondering if there was an eleventh I didn't know about. No matter. Luckily, we all have Matt and Oreo, who have gotten it right, and will have an accurate count after today's contests are over, both real and projected. Remember as you watch that Virginia is all but done as only Mittens and Paul are on the ballot, with no write-ins. In addition, Spawn was unable to file a full delegate slate in Ohio, so even if he wins the votes, he cannot get the delegates.
The delegate count actually matters less then some other things today. There are 416 at stake, and if you assume a projected 194 for Romney and add the 416, you get 610. by my abacus, that's less than the 1144 needed to win. If this were a fair primary process, you would contend that with the big states of New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Texas and California, and their combined delegate count of 563, left to vote that there was all sorts of time left...but the GOP hoi polloi wants a decisive enough win by Mittens today so they can move on to their other problems. This whole "who's gonna be the candidate" issue pales in comparison to the much bigger problems they have.
Kudos to John Boy McCain, a true Republican who yesterday said that the US should bomb Syria AND that Rush Limbaugh was unacceptable. (Batting 50% - wrong on the first, right on the second.) He spoke out about two of the four big issues. Before we can all slog to election day, there is Syria and there is Iran, and they are going to have to be dealt with. Thankfully, we have a commander in chief who is not any of the Republican nominees. The two more immediate Republican problems are Rush Limbaugh and the Federal budget. Those two thing promise to be a disaster for whichever guy becomes their nominee.
First, Rush. Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that he spent 3 days libeling Sandra Fluke and the women of Georgetown University. His advertisers are fleeing, two stations dropped him, and it turns out he's been lying for years about the size of his audience. It's finally becoming obvious even to Republicans that he is in charge of the propaganda wing of the GOP, and it's a crap shoot as to whether he does more damage to their brand on the air or off it.
Second, the budget. The House has to come up with a budget within the confines of pandering to the 87 freshmen teabaggers, meeting the spending cap in the debt ceiling cap, and working around the triggered cuts. The 87 want something lower then the $1.047 debt ceiling cap, which they felt was too high, and a lot of other Republicans want to avoid more defense cuts, if not add back funds. (Especially in light of Syria and Iran.) The likely architect of the budget will again be Paul Ryan, and if Boehner allows his budget to go forward, it will fail, potentially facing a government shutdown in October, a month before the election. No doubt that will cost them in November. Therefore, it will be necessary to consider a budget that Democrats can sign on to, which will protect Medicare and Social Security, at least temporarily, be bipartisan as it will get some "moderate" GOP votes, but will anger the far right. The budget promises to harm not only their presidential candidate, but a lot of House members.
In addition, the GOP has to contend with the fact that in one South Carolina county, to get on the Republican ballot, you have to sign a paper saying you never had sex before you got married. Really. This is a problem for a party that wants to be a party and not a laughing stock. These are serious times, and this is ridiculous.
Remember, we, the readers, are not out of the woods yet. There are Senate seats to be concerned with, and there really is the budget which affects us all. We're all distracted by the jello wrestling that the Republican nomination process has become: hopefully, Mittens will get enough done today so we can move on to the real issues of the day. Serious problems require serious people to solve them, and the sooner they name him "candidate" the sooner we can move on, vote out the teabaggers and move forward. I leave you with this:
The polls are tight, and in a last ditch effort, Spawn of Satan has been robocalling Democrats. And yes, if you're a Michigan Democrat, you CAN vote today and in May in the Democratic process. Arizona is a done deal for Mittens, as there was a lot of early voting, but Michigan is still up for grabs. I was going to put up a tree picture, but the one I wanted to use is a photoshopped Mittens ad, so here's the link.
What I will be looking at tonight are the exit polls. Not so much for party affiliation, but for educational level. Spawn of Satan has made a big deal out of being the anti-education candidate. Which actually fits well with his overall belief system. I started thinking about it when I read two things. This was the first:
It’s become conventional wisdom to suggest that Rick Santorum, with his blue-collar background in Pennsylvania, will run strongly among these voters. “He has a big appeal to people we used to call Reagan Democrats,” said former Ohio Senator Mike DeWine. A recent Gallup poll showed Santorum leading Mitt Romney by double digits among Republicans without a college degree and making less than $90,000. Romney’s unfavorable rating among voters making less than $50,000 jumped twenty points in January, which Greg Sargent termed “Romney’s White Working Class Problem.”
The second is an article in the March issue of Philadelphia Magazine, called The Incredible Shrinking Man, and it's not online yet. The article is about how men in their 20's lag behind their female counterparts in all sorts of objective measures like education, employment and income (although not video games and porn) and how many still live at home or accept financial support from their parents. 59% of men aged 18 to 24 live at home, 19% of those 25 to 34 do. 60% of parents give financial support to their grown sons, an average of $38,340 annually. If it were just the recession, it would affect both genders equally, or close to equally, but that's not it. According to the article in 1950, men made up 70% of the labour force, now it's 53%. From the article: (page 64)
From 1960 to 2009, the number of working-age men with full-time jobs fell from 83 percent to 66 percent. In Philadelphia, half of all young adults are unemployed, but three in 10 young men ages 25 to 34 had stopped looking for work before the recession hit.
We know that college populations are becoming more and more female. The stats:
Overall, women have surpassed men in terms of completing secondary and post-secondary education with the gender gap almost completely reversed. In 2006, 10.3% of males and 8.3% of females dropped out of high school. In 2005/2006, women earned 62% of Associate's degrees, 58% of Bachelor's degrees, 60.0% of Master's degrees, and 48.9% of Doctorates. In 2016/2017, women are projected to earn 64.2% of Associate's degrees, 59.9% of Bachelor's degrees, 62.9% of Master's degrees, and 55.5% of Doctorates.
Let's put this together. There is certainly a lot of causality for this situation: start with the idea that most elementary and secondary schools are more geared to girls than boys. Second, you need more education for more jobs nowadays than was necessary a generation ago when strength beat brains for most jobs. (Think farming, manufacturing, construction.) Third, there's the internet. The Philly Mag article points out that before Facebook, when men got out of school, they needed women to fill a social calendar. Not just dating, but parties and events. Now, they can keep in touch with friends from college and "the old neighborhood". Add to that video games, the ultimate time suckers, and finally porn. This affects men in terms of fertility rates and an inability to want to connect with real women, plus it's easily accessible and another time sucker. Some academics wanted to do a study of the affects of porn on men under 30 but they couldn't find a control group.
So today is the Michigan primary: an industrial state where a lot of the male voters will be older, whiter and pining for the world they inhabited when they were young. (Apologies to the Paul voters, who will certainly skew younger and are the exception, rather than the rule.) Will they send the primary to Rick Santorum who certainly is the embodiment of what they see is the world that was left behind? If this demographic abandons Mittens, what does that mean for his chances in November? And most importantly, what becomes of the men? Do they become so distant from politics, in addition to work and education, that we become a female-led society? If so, where are the women candidates at all levels? I'll be watching Michigan not just because it's Mitten's home state (okay, one of them) but because it's a microcosm of what is happening across the country.
I've lost count, but the umpteenth debate is tonight. It's Ash Wednesday, and I'm wondering if Spawn of Satan will have ashes on his forehead. Rick's made a big deal out of religion, and has been a driving force in the fake "religious wars" - so I'm wondering HOW Catholic he'll be tonight.
I'm not saying this to be snarky. (Yeah, maybe a little, but it's really not the point.) Religion is a big deal to Rick Santorum. It wasn't always, but it is now. He actually used to be pro-choice, which is a rational position, but not a Catholic-Catholic position. I'm looking forward to watching him tonight: if he can maintain some semblance of apparent sanity, it will bolster his position in both Arizona and Michigan. He kinda sorta has to go after Mittens because doing so might throw Mitt off what's left of his game, and that would be bad for Mitt and good for everyone else, and religion and taking money from the Federal government BECAUSE of religion might be a place he can jab.
Here's the thing. I agree with Michael Moore, who spoke at length on Rachel's show the other night of how much he, and many other Michiganders, had liked George and Lenore Romney for their work, their contributions, and their decency. (He left unsaid how they're probably turning in their graves over how Mitt turned out.) But there's no doubt that the reason George was born in Mexico was because his father Gaskell and his mother, and Gaskell's two other plural wives, had fled across the border when polygamy was outlawed with a bunch of other Mormons. Gaskell took the equivalent of several million dollars in aid from both the American and Mexican governments to fund the family's lifestyle. So it's a stretch, but if Rick can find a way to bring up that sort of information it would go a long way to driving home the narrative to the far right that Mormons are "not like them". Not that all the Mormons are completely thrilled with Mittens. A number of Hispanic Mormons are actively working against him because of his current stance on immigration.
It's doubtful that Newt will wear ashes tonight. He's a Catholic, but in the same way that he's had three wives, he's also had three religions, Catholicism coming after being a Lutheran and prior to that a Southern Baptist. Likely, he doesn't want to talk religion.
In case anyone asks, Ron Paul is either a Lutheran, Episcopalian or Baptist. Sorta. Ron's actual religion is "libertarianism" - and he's all over the place on organized religion, although he considers himself a man of faith.
Call me crazy, but I believe religion has no place in politics. It's a distraction, and often those who are "severely religious" end up being pedophile priests, evangelicals caught with hookers (male or female) or embroiled in affairs. The Republicans should be talking about their actual proposals for things like jobs, employment, climate change, taxes, etc., etc., etc., but instead they make war on women, the elderly, the poor and minorities.
And yes, it's fun for us liberals to watch.
I've been saying all along that Spawn can't get the nomination, and I still stand by that. If he really racks up delegates, I wouldn't put it past Karl Rove to get Dick Cheney to take Rick duck hunting. They're that opposed to him getting the nomination. Difference between Karl and me is that I would love for Rick to get the nomination: running against someone who wants to outlaw public education funds and contraception and aid programs AND used to sit on the board of UHC....a DREAM candidate from a Democratic perspective. Plus, the longer he stays in, the more damaged Mittens becomes.
Sadly, if they all flame out, we're looking at Jeb Bush. He keeps saying no, no, hell no, but I could see him making a speech which includes "...for my country, I respectfully accede to the will of the people...." Four more years of a bush???? My skin crawls. We're also going to hear the names Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels and John Thune. I'm pretty sure that Chris Christie really would say no: he's mean and he's ugly to the core, but he's smart and 2016 is a better year for him.
Still, the process rolls on. And I'm personally not taking the delegate numbers seriously. There are still county conventions and state conventions, and I think everyone is underestimating the placement of Paul people at those gatherings. I don't believe he'll be the nominee, but he'll come to Tampa with a lot of influence on the eventual nominee. Remember that the GOP can't just pick a name out of a hat, they've got to have human bodies to stand on the floor and vote support.
For now, it's just the Ash Wednesday debate. Kettle corn at my house....
Oh those Wacky Wepublicans...stymied by technology. Again. Remember when they claimed John Boy McCain invented the Blackberry? Called the Blackberry a "miracle"? Well, the Blackberry wasn't a miracle, John boy didn't invent it, and who uses them anymore anyway?
We all do use email. You know email, with all the easy ways to develop spam filters to avoid the mail you don't want...and ways to create lists of people you do want to hear from. Well, the Maine GOP didn't count a bunch of caucus returns because, wait for it....they went into their spam folder. I'm not joking. H/T Scott for letting me know this...I would have hated to miss it.
They'll be announcing new results in March. Likely including the caucus results from those that will be held tomorrow.
Remember, though, it's all about the delegates, and the Paul folks might well come out ahead on that. Some thoughts:
In the Minnesota caucuses, for instance, Paul won 27 percent of the presidential preference vote, but 75 percent of the delegates chosen to attend the state convention are Paul supporters. In the Colorado caucuses, Paul got only 12 percent of the vote, but 50 percent of the state delegates are Paul supporters.
Delegate counts on the GOP side are so fluid...look at New Hampshire. And last week's beauty contests? No telling until there are state and county conventions.
I'm telling you, these guys ought to consider things like databases, spreadsheets, or at least pieces of paper on which are tally sheets that they hold on to. Thankfully, they're not in charge of the actual voting.
Yesterday, my brother (Hi Aaron - love you) sent me the following:
A liberal, a moderate, and a conservative all walked into a bar. The bartender called out "Hi Mitt!"
It cracked me up...thought I'd share.
I watch the goings on everyday and I'm pleased that the House GOP is going to cave on unemployment, the DocFix and the payroll tax cut. Also nice to see our President taking them on in speeches with humour and daggers. It will be interesting to see how he handles Scott Walker in Wisconsin on the tarmac.
Oreo pointed out that they're unhappy with the counts in Maine. It appears likely that not only did Mittens NOT win Maine, but they counted selectively in the counties whose tallies were submitted. Coast to coast, these folks are the gang that just couldn't shoot straight. Maine would be the second caucus state where the party elite ordained Mittens the winner, only to have to admit they were just plain wrong.
So we're off to Michigan, which Mittens won in 2008. And he's in real trouble there. First, he was against the auto bailouts, and wrote about it in the Times, and is still sticking with the "managed bankruptcy." That's just not going to play with the people who now have jobs, after losing them in the auto downturn. They certainly know they'd be bankrupt, too, had the Big Three been "managed" Mitten's way.
So, Mitt and his minions are putting up negative ads about Spawn of Satan, who is currently ahead in both the Michigan and national polls. Note to Mittens and company - read this, it will help you. Scott had an interesting comment where he talks about the effects of the delegate count and what Ron Paul is doing under the radar. He opens, though, with a question about whether Mitt and crew can go negative on two candidates and get away with it....well, Scott, they're certainly trying. See the first ad here.
I cannot get my head around the idea that Rick will be the Republican candidate. Don't get me wrong, it would be an easy win for Obama, and would give him longer coattails than running against either Mittens or Paul. After the jump are some of my pick fave Spawn of Satan quotes. Read them and tell me if you think someone who actually believes as he does could get elected President of these United States. I have, of course, annotated them.
So get out the popcorn kids, more debates are coming: 22 February in Arizona (CNN), 1 March in Georgia (CNN), and then 19 March from Portland, OR, brought to you by PBS and NPR.
The short answer is yes, I think he will. And in the end, I think that will bode well for Obama's reelection.
Here's the long answer. Remember the Iowa Straw Poll? I mentioned then that it might be likely that the winner would lose the nomination because of the poll's bad track record, and implied that winning had something to do with buying tickets. The winner of the CPAC straw poll also lacks a decent track record, and winning there also has to do with buying votes. Mittens bought the CPAC straw poll on Saturday. But we know that Mitt bought the Iowa caucuses, and the Florida primary, and these are things that normally don't get bought outright with actual dollars. There is a question about whether he also bought Maine, but since it's proportional, there is still a caucus left to vote and it's a small number of delegates...it doesn't really matter. (Not to mention when all is said and done, it will likely be a Romney-Paul tie in terms of the number of delegates.)
Romney's certainly got enough money of his own, plus contributions and Superpacs to buy a lot of primary contests. It's penny wise and pound foolish for him to do so, but there probably is no other way for him to win the nomination.
So let's flip forwards a bit. It's late August in Tampa. The weather is muggy, people are inconvenienced, the 99% are outside protesting, and getting arrested with lots of press. The GOP hoi polloi doesn't really want a brokered convention leading to selecting as their nominee anyone new. They don't want that because it will truly infuriate the teabaggers. Even if it's their darling Fat Boy Slim, they want to have a say in who the nominee is: they detest the establishment more than the far left ever could. So the "brokering" involves giving Ron Paul some things he wants in the platform, and a favourable speech position. (And yes, he'll have enough delegates that they may well have to deal with him.) Either Rick or Newt will be gone by August, and the remaining one will reap the loser's delegates (unless they both drop out and all delegates go to Paul.) Either of them is much easier to deal with as they're not ideologues to the extent Paul is one.
Remember two things:
Elections are won in the middle.
Politics is a game of horse trading for what people want, and everyone wants something.
How will independents feel about voting for a Republican candidate who is worth THAT KIND of money? Will they believe that he'll do anything other than find ways to make the rich richer? That, by the way, was one of McCain's problems in 2008: not everyone who elected Obama voted FOR Obama, some honestly voted against McCain. A lot of people in the general will look at where they were in 2008, where they are now, where they could have been had Obama NOT been elected, and will think "A Republican pandering to the rich? Not again. This guy bought the primaries, he won't buy my vote int he general."
Then there is the issue of who wants what. They don't call Mittens "multiple-choice Mitt" for nothing: he's come out on 3 sides of most issues. At the convention, when the platform is drafted, he'll have to fall in line with the Republican framework or risk alienating a lot of core GOP voters. This will be hard in the general since he'll be standing against things he previously stood for, and standing for things he previously stood against. The Republican platform will be to the right of actual Mitt, but will synch with 2012 Mitt. And unlike the Democratic platform, which is fluid, the GOP MEANS their platform.
Think "debates" between Mitt and our President. Obama and his team have had (and will have) tons of time to study what gets Mittens off his game, and where the inconsistencies are. Whoever is moderating will certainly ask "Governor, in 2010, you said "A", and now you're saying "Not A". Which is how you really feel?" It won't be pretty.
Finally, the meme will eventually come around to what we've been saying here at DCW all along: the GOP tried to be more "open" and "transparent" by copying the Democratic system. It doesn't work for them.
You may think that the biggest winner last night was Rick "Spawn of Satan" Santorum, and the biggest loser was Mittens Romney, but no. Spawn won NOTHING except a beauty contest (bring on the glitter bombs) and while Mitt was injured, his loss pales in comparison to the loss suffered by the Republican Party. The Democratic Party, by the way, was the biggest winner last night.
Let's review. We, the Democrats, believe in suffrage, voting, caucuses, internal dissension with a group outcome. We had a primary season in 2008 that could have been messy handled by some other group, but instead led to enthusiasm and involvement. We're the big tent, we say welcome, and even "welcome back". What the Republican Party has done is mismanage a whole primary season they ostensibly designed to show they were as good as we are. Ha! They miscounted in Iowa, abused the tally count in Nevada, faced decreased turnout, cut delegates, kept people off the ballots, denied suffrage by holding contests that didn't produce any delegates and made themselves look inept in terms of process. In 2008, we had two states with primary "problems", Florida and Michigan. A special meeting was held in DC to figure things out, and Democrats across America vied for seats. We had to hold a lottery, and the place was jammed. In this season, not only can't the GOP rally its troops, when it does plan something, no one shows up, and then they fink out on the bill. Newt is challenging the winner-take-all outcome in Florida: it won't be open process as our 2008 DNC RBC meeting.
There is something to be said here about karma, or maybe what-goes-around-comes-around. The GOP has always had a system where the next in line (in this case Mittens) was the nominee, and the GOP faithful fell in line. In Mittens, they have a candidate the majority of their party can't stand for a variety of reasons. So many reasons that it will be impossible for them to run him as a viable candidate. So unless they upend everything in Tampa, they'll go with what they've got. Mittens most likely, but perhaps Newt, who scares the GOP hoi polloi in a way that does not affect the rest of us. We would never vote for him (nor would the Independents) but with us, it's not visceral. Spawn? Not a chance, he won't be the candidate. He's been using retail politics to his advantage, and those who don't know him find him affable and likable, but should he ever be subjected to actual scrutiny, he'd end up looking worse than Newt. Honest. I live in Pennsylvania and we KNOW Spawn.
So onto Wyoming - another non-binding straw poll. And then to Virginia, which starts with, yup, another straw poll. Then Georgia...you know...meanwhile the Minnesota and Maine processes continue...and the elected Congressional Republicans continue their march to ignore the defense cuts they promised, and endeavor to cut even more from the safety net.