Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Last Call

Yet another reason why I'm not worried in 2010 about the GOP: they keep ending up in scandals. Today's contestant: Gov. Charlie Crist, who has a few problems with some fundraising pals.
With the accusations this week that Scott Rothstein, fast-living Fort Lauderdale attorney and friend and donor to Gov. Charlie Crist, orchestrated a massive fraud out of his law firm, there are now three Crist moneymen caught up in alleged criminal or extremely shady activity.

Crist, whose career has been fueled by his skill as a fundraiser, finds himself entangled with the trio of scandals just as his U.S. Senate primary campaign against conservative Marco Rubio is attracting national attention. And there's already talk down in Florida that the Crist-linked scandals may become a factor in the primary contest.

Not that anyone's giving Democrat Kendrick Meek much of a chance against either Charie Crist or Marco Rubio, but the messier this GOP primary gets, the better the chance Meek has...and this primary keeps getting uglier.

Remember The Maine

Matthew Gagnon at Pine Tree Politics goes over how Maine voted down gay marriage.
The only counties that went for the No on 1 campaign were Hancock, Knox, Cumberland and York. In Hancock, No won by only a margin of 53%-47%, Knox and York were both basically 51%-49% and Cumberland represented the only decisive victory for the campaign at 60%-40%.

So how did it happen?

The short answer, is that No on 1 dramatically underperformed in urban areas, and got slaughtered in the rural parts of the state.

Consider this: Of the ten largest cities in Maine (Portland, Lewiston, Bangor, South Portland, Auburn, Biddeford, Brunswick, Sanford, Scarborough and Augusts), five of them (Lewiston, Auburn, Biddeford, Sanford and Augusta) voted yes. Let me repeat that – five of the ten largest cities in Maine voted for the veto. Even more interesting, take Lewiston-Auburn a step further: They went (combined) 62%-38% for Barack Obama over John McCain in 2008, and 43-32-25 for John Baldacci over Chandler Woodcock and Barbara Merrill in 2006 – yet they voted heavily for a culturally conservative ballot initiative. Welcome to Maine.

There's a reason why anti-gay marriage forces choose to peddle their bigotry during special elections and off-year votes: turnout always favors older, more conservative voters in those examples. As Digby and many others have said, if Jim Crow laws were subject to state by state votes in the 50's and 60's, they'd probably still be in place today in a number of states.

The teabaggers have beaten it into everyone's head that democracy in America means mob rule, not an enlightened Republic of statesmen or crafted judicial precedent. The tyranny of the majority is all that matters, and should the majority decide to vote for Barack Obama, well then they just beat the populace harder until they comply.

The underinformed, misinformed, or prejudicial voter has one vote, the exact same amount as the informed, open-minded or activist voter. And the rubes are a lot easier to manipulate en masse.

There's a reason bigotry is 31-0 in America. It's a matter of time? Not if those who vote for prejudice also raise children who are taught that bigoted behavior is the accepted norm. History loves a scapegoat.

Civil rights in this country will continue to lose until one state decides to put it all on the line by actually playing the tenth amendment card and daring the Feds to stop them. And that's the battle they know they have to win. It will be all or nothing for us then.

I do not believe America will last very long should tolerance and justice lose on that day. But that day is coming, and it is coming soon.

Zandar's Other Thought Of The Day

The more I think about Denial Denialson's defense that Doug Hoffman's loss was really a win, the more I am convinced that he's a closet progressive.

Here's the logic.

1) You want the GOP to field more candidates exactly like Doug Hoffman.

2) Doug Hoffman lost.

3) Ergo, the candidates you want to see the GOP field are people who will lose general elections to Democrats.

4) Ergo, you want Democrats to win.

5) Q.E.D., Red State is really Kos's secret side project.

So what do I win?

For The Low Low Rate Of Nothing

The Fed has no real interest in, well, raising interest rates.
As expected, the Fed kept its benchmark federal funds rate unchanged in a range of zero to 0.25 percent, and said the economy had "continued to pick up" since its last policy-setting meeting in September.

The Fed, the U.S. central bank, also said it would buy about $175 billion of debt issued by government-backed mortgage finance agencies, less than the $200 billion maximum it had originally allotted, citing limited availability.

In its closely watched policy statement, the Fed said household spending "appears to be expanding but remains constrained by ongoing job losses, sluggish income growth, lower housing wealth, and tight credit."

That was somewhat more upbeat than September's statement, which referred to spending as "stabilizing."

The central bank, wary of undercutting the fragile recovery by withdrawing its support too soon, is also on guard for any indication that its emergency lending efforts are fueling an unwelcome bout of inflation as the economy heals.

The best part is banks continue to wring out the consumer by raising rates to make even more profit to make up for the increase in personal credit card bankruptcies caused mostly by...wait for it...banks raising rates on consumers!

Gotta love death spirals.

Flu By Night Operation

As Ezra Klein reminds us, since 40% of American workers don't have paid sick leave, this flu season will hit American productivity much harder than in other countries.
"About 40 percent of all private-sector workers do not receive paid sick days," reports the New York Times, "and as a result many of them cannot afford to stay home when they are ill. Even some companies that provide paid sick days have policies that make it difficult to call in sick, like giving demerits each time someone misses a day."

This isn't just inhumane policy. It's stupid policy. We're facing a new strain of flu that most have zero resistance against. Workers who fall ill but nevertheless have to ride the bus in to work and stock shelves and talk to co-workers and ride the bus home aren't just workers having a bad day, or workers at risk of getting really sick. They're contagious. They're spreading the flu to other workers, who will in turn be contagious, even to richer workers who do get sick days.

But America continues to have this do as I say, not as I do policy where managers and professionals get sick days, and lower-income Americans do not...and there's always the unwritten rule that using sick days or vacation days to, well, recuperate or recharge is a cardinal sin in the workplace.

The boiler-room "you can rest when you're dead" mentality in the workplace is literally killing us, and it doesn't make good economic sense either.

A Return To Violence And Hate

Reading this Dave Neiwert article at C&L, I have to ask what kind of world do we live in when Pat Boone (yes, that Pat Boone) has turned into a raving lunatic, saying that the Obamas are "vermin" who need to be "fumigated"?

No, he wants people who think like this, in order to "radically transform America," as he has pledged.

And they will do just that, drastically … unless we act, decisively and powerfully. Our White House is being eaten away from within. We urgently need to throw a "tent" of public remonstration and outcry over that hallowed abode, to cause them to quake and hunker down inside. And then treat the invaders, the alien rodents, to massive voter gas – the most lethal antidote to would-be tyrants and usurpers.

We must clean house – starting with our own White House.

And it gets worse. As Dave says:
This kind of talk is an open invitation to violence; it creates permission for someone to act on this kind of exhortation, especially because it not only dehumanizes, it reduces people to the level of vermin, objects not only fit but desired for elimination.

If Pat Boone is any kind of gauge of the state of mainstream conservatism, I think it's safe to say these people have gone over a cliff and into a deep, yawning abyss.

There's a reason why he refers to such comments as "eliminationist". It's disturbing as hell and yet completely par for the course out there in Wingerland.

"Will anyone rid me of this troublesome Obama?" they ask. Who will answer?

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Can somebody explain to me how Doug Hoffman was the Right's Ned Lamont? Because every idiotic GOP argument as to why The Hoffman Effect is just the natural state of the GOP and the Democrats are the ones in the middle of a civil war has "Remember Ned Lamont?" in there somewhere.

For the life of me, I don't get how the two are anything alike, other than both men lost.

What Steve Benen Said

For your consideration:
As everyone now knows, Bill Owens will be the first Democrat to represent New York's 23rd since the mid-19th century, after defeating Doug Hoffman yesterday. This got me thinking about the representation of the region.

New York has 29 congressional districts. As of today, the state is represented by 27 Democrats. As recently as a few years ago, Dems had "only" 21 seats from New York.

What's more, New England, made up of six states, has 22 congressional districts. Currently, the region is represented by 22 Democrats.

So, north of the Pennsylvania border, there 51 congressional districts representing 34 million people. Republicans have a whopping two seats.

Just a random observation.

The answer, or course, is MOAR TEABAGGERZ. It's not the lesson presented, it's the lesson you choose to come away with.

Please Let The Autotune The News Guys Get A Hold Of This One

Michael Steele's latest hit:

The full song:

Michael Steele is in the house today
To show you the G-O-P way
Gonna kick some butt on Election Day
Gonna tell Obama there's no way, cause

You're not gonna spoil my juice right now
You're not gonna take this high away from me
You're not gonna harsh my buzz right now
I'm gonna be the man that I can be

You're not gonna suck all the air from the room
I won't let you wreck my day with gloom
You will not speak to me of doom
Teabaggers gonna take off with a zoom

You're not gonna spoil my juice right now
You're not gonna take this high away from me
You're not gonna harsh my buzz right now
I'm gonna be the man that I can be

We rule Jersey and Virgina Beach
Ain't nothing outside Republican's reach
This is the lesson that we will teach
(Doug Hoffman's just a lousy leech)

You're not gonna spoil my juice right now
You're not gonna take this high away from me
You're not gonna harsh my buzz right now
I'm gonna be the man that I can be...


The Last Word

Election Night 2009's best breakdown comes from Nate Silver. Give it a read.

Feeling Randy

Here in KY in the race for Senate next year, local polls are showing that Rand Paul is gaining Randmentum against the GOP candidate Trey Grayson and is up 35%-32%, and on the Democratic side, Dan Mongiardo has a healthy lead over Jack Conway, 39%-28%.

The most interesting thing is that a full third or so in each primary is still either undecided or backing a minor candidate.

Trey Greyson's not exactly a moderate Republican, and well, Rand Paul is Rand Paul. I wonder which side the Teabaggers will come in on? Betting on Rand Paul will win them points but almost certainly lose them the race, plus, well, it's Rand Paul in the freaking Senate. I don't think they're going to be happy with that. Somehow I see this as a real quandry.

On the other side of the coin, I like Jack Conway, which means the Dems are going to go with Mongiardo because he's the former Lt. Governor here. Figures.

Kentucky may be more important in 2010 than Florida to the GOP in a way. Democrats have made a lot of gains here in the last couple of years.

[UPDATE 5:09 PM] Jim DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund group is leaning towards Rand Paul.
DeMint said there are "two good candidates" in Kentucky, but seemed to be leaning toward Rand Paul over Trey Grayson.

Erickson noted that Grayson was once a Democrat and now is the "favorite" of the Republican establishment while Paul (Ron Paul's son) is "anything but an insider."

DeMint added that Paul is "not a radical rightwing nut" and is "dead-on" when it comes to principles of freedom. The snap poll of callers mostly supported Paul, who has a slight lead in the early official polls.

How very interesting.

Gold Rush, Part 3

Gold has hit a new record at $1,090 an ounce and heading towards the $1,100 mark.
Spot gold ran to a record high above $1,090 per ounce on Wednesday, latching on to a weaker dollar with continued support from the IMF's sale of gold to India's central bank.

The dollar index declined 0.34 percent as investors awaited a Fed statement later on Wednesday.

Spot gold hit a record high of $1,092.60 an ounce and was bid at $1,091.05 an ounce, compared with $1,084.50 late in New York on Tuesday.

U.S. COMEX gold futures also hit an historic $1,093.70 in electronic trade, and were later up $7.40 at $1,092.40.

Buying on the back of the IMF's announcement on Tuesday that it had sold 200 tons of gold to India's central bank pushed prices through key technical resistance levels, triggering fresh buying, traders said.

"The market realized... that there are enough central banks which are looking to buy the gold from the IMF direct and so it is not coming into the market, so the shorts had to cover," said Michael Kempinski, a senior trader at Commerzbank.

"We should see $1,100 soon," he said.

Dollar weakening, gold and oil rising. Not a good combination for US recovery efforts at all.

And yet what's going to stop the dollar's slide at this point?

Quote Of The Week

Digby on the Village coverage of Most Important Election 2009 Ever Until Next Year:
Just as they always say that Independents are independent because the Democrats are too liberal and the Republicans aren't conservative enough, they also oddly believe that the Democrats become demoralized when their party leans "too far" to the left while the Republicans become energized when they think their party is doing the same thing. The lesson is that moving left is always the problem. Even when nobody's moving left.
S'truth, there. The only lesson is everything is bad for the Dirty F'cking Hippies.

Especially winning.

Epic Is Our Teabaggers Learning Fail

Hey Teabaggers? You lost. You guys managed to lose a district that has been blood-red Republican for 140 years with your little Doug Hoffman civil war. TBogg notes the spin has already begun:

Erick Erickson on Oct 16th:

In New York 23, the conservative movement has made it a Hill to Die On. Here, in New York of all places, the conservative movement will tell the GOP that it will either win with conservatives or lose without them. Conservatives across the spectrum of conservatism from Fred Thompson to Mike Huckabee and on and on have told the GOP it is time to turn back to limited government and will fight the GOP in NY-23 for supporting a woman who embraces large government and destructive social policies.

Doug Hoffman concedes and here comes Erick Erickson tonight:

The race has now been called for Democrat Bill Owens.

This is a huge win for conservatives.

“Whaaaa. . . ?” you say.

There are two big victories at work in New York’s 23rd Congressional District.

First, the GOP now must recognize it will either lose without conservatives or will win with conservatives. In 2008, many conservatives sat home instead of voting for John McCain. Now, in NY-23, conservatives rallied and destroyed the Republican candidate the establishment chose.

I have said all along that the goal of activists must be to defeat Scozzafava. Doug Hoffman winning would just be gravy. A Hoffman win is not in the cards, but we did exactly what we set out to do — crush the establishment backed GOP candidate.

And make no mistake, despite the Beltway spin, we know for certain based on statements from the local Republican parties, that they chose Scozzafava based on advice from the Washington crowd.

So we have demonstrated to the GOP that it must not take conservatives for granted. The GOP spent $900,000.00 on a Republican who dropped out and endorsed the Democrat. Were we to combine Scozzafava and Hoffman’s votes, Hoffman would have won.

And Erick and Sarah Palin and Fred Thompson and Rush Limbaugh and Tim Pawlenty and George Pataki and the New York Post all endorsed Doug Hoffman and now the Republican Party (that Erick wants purged of nonbelievers) should listen to him because the teabaggers favorite son just lost a seat that Republicans have held for 140 years.

This pretty much is the definition of EPIC FAIL, guys. Teabaggers can't even win in one of the reddest House district in the entire country. On the other hand, moderate Republicans did win in New Jersey and Virginia.

Somewhere, Dede Scozzafava is laughing her ass off. Will the Republicans learn the lesson of the Hoffman Effect?

Of course not.


Election Day Wrap-Up

The GOP has claimed victory in Virginia and New Jersey, but lost in their bid to keep NY-23. Mainers voted to overturn the state's same-sex marriage law, but Ohio voters approved casinos in a job-hungry state. Incumbent mayors barely held on in New York and Boston, but runoffs were forced in Atlanta and Houston may get these southern cities new faces.

The message from yesterday's vote? Throw the bums out...and bums in both parties got the boot. But given a clean slate in Virginia, voters went with Republicans there but elected a Democrat for the first time on 140 years in upstate New York.

Jon Corzine's loss in New Jersey is a major blow for Dems. But Doug Hoffman's loss in a blood red district after Dede Scozzafava dropped out is a major setback for the GOP, too.

We'll see what all this means in the months ahead.


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