Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Last Call

What Ezra Klein would like to happen:

On Feb. 5, 2011, the president signed the Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction Act of 2011 into law. The legislation lifted the employer-portion of the payroll tax for a year, approved more than $50 billion in infrastructure investments, and cut the deficit. The markets cheered the move, and employers, realizing that consumers were about to have more money in their pockets and that hiring new employees had suddenly become a bargain, quickly moved to expand their labor forces. It was a coup not just for the president, but for the new speaker of the House.

What really will happen:

In televised remarks to reporters, Rep. John Boehner, of Ohio, who is expected to become the new speaker of the House, replacing Nancy Pelosi, said Tuesday’s election was a mandate for his party to push the agenda on which it had successfully run and won control of one congressional chamber while picking up seats and influence in the Senate.

Boehner was pointed in his comments about healthcare, calling the existing law, the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s two years in office, a monstrosity that must be changed.

“The American people are concerned about the government takeover of healthcare,” he said. “I think it is important for us to lay the groundwork before we begin to repeal this monstrosity and replace it with common-sense reforms that will bring down the cost of healthcare insurance in America.”

All John Boehner believes has to do for the next 700+ days or so:

1) Send legislation to the Senate that repeals part of what President Obama passed.
2) Watch it get vetoed.
3) Blame the President.
4) Repeat.

If you know what your opponent is going to do, you can counter it.  Whether or not this occurs to Obama or not, hey, I don't know.

New Tag:  Orange Julius.

Well Now Here's Your Problem, Dems

The kids said "screw it".

Only about one in five people under the age of 30 voted in the mid-term elections Tuesday, says a study based on exit polls.

The poor turnout among youth likely had some effect on the outcome of most races, but nowhere was this more dramatically highlighted than in the California ballot initiative to legalize marijuana. Political observers on Wednesday said the poor youth turnout in California accounted for the defeat of Proposition 19.

"Pot legalization defeated thanks to the elderly," reads the headline of a Justin Elliott article at Elliott points to a report that while six in 10 youth voters supported the measure, it was opposed by seven in 10 senior citizens.

Around one million fewer Americans under the age of 30 cast ballots in the 2010 mid-term elections compared to the 2006 vote, a study from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) found. An estimated nine million people aged between 18 and 29, or one in five young Americans, voted Tuesday.

Young people are considered a key Democratic Party voter bloc, and their vote was instrumental in getting President Barack Obama elected two years ago, when a record 23 million under-30s cast ballots in the presidential polls.

So until you care about government, government won't give a good god damn about you.  Meanwhile, America's seniors voted, and they're running things.   But you know, why should anyone give a damn, right?

Tell Them What They've Won, Rand

Congrats, fellow Kentuckians.  Here's what you've won for the next six years:

"Well, the thing is, we’re all interconnected. There are no rich. There are no middle class. There are no poor. We all are interconnected in the economy. You remember a few years ago, when they tried to tax the yachts, that didn’t work. You know who lost their jobs? The people making the boats, the guys making 50,000 and 60,000 dollars a year lost their jobs. We all either work for rich people or we sell stuff to rich people. So just punishing rich people is as bad for the economy as punishing anyone. Let’s not punish anyone. Let’s keep taxes low and let’s cut spending."

In Rand Paul's magical egalitarian utopia, we're all the same.  There's no difference between Kentucky's poorest rural mountain counties and those in the affluent suburbs of Louisville, Lexington, and south of Cincy.  We all exist to serve the rich people that Rand Paul just said aren't really rich.  Either Rand is saying "you're all serfs now" or this guy is a few letters short of a bowl of Alpha-Bits...or both.

So when Paul votes to eliminate spending that goes to Kentucky citizens because we all serve rich people and those people need to stay rich, ergo you have to suffer, remember that you had a choice.

New tag for the next six years at least:  Don't Blame Me I Voted For Jack Conway. 

I'm going to get quite a bit out of this one, my fellow serfs.

The GOP Plan Prevails

Tim Heffernan on Republicans and the GOP Plan for the last two years:

[T]he GOP has run on a platform that is guaranteed to further bankrupt the nation if passed, and cause legislative paralysis if it doesn't. It is promising impossible and meaningless things because doing so gives it a ready excuse to fail. It will spend the next two years pushing far-right legislation that it knows will not become law and working to blame the inaction on the Democrats. (Precisely what is has been doing for the past two years by filbustering or rejecting en bloc any Democratic legislation that was not up to far-right standards.) The GOP leadership has made it clear that its priority is not governing, but destroying the Obama presidency. This in the middle of a crushing recession, in the middle of two wars, in the shadow of a lost decade. Simply put, to vote for this party expecting it to address these matters seriously is the act of a fool.

And we're all wearing motley now.

And I've been warning that this was the plan since the beginning: run the country into the ground to the point where Obama cannot improve the economy, and then pin the blame on him. It's working beautifully.

To repeat, the Republicans do not give a damn about the economy. They want it to burn. If we descend into a depression, they win. That's they only way they can win, they know it, so off we go down the rabbit hole.

Until the Democrats acknowledge that there's zero chance for compromise and start fighting back by framing the debate as the Republicans being the party of getting jobs for themselves and the Democrats being the party of creating jobs for everyone, this will continue.

What part of "Our top priority is to make President Obama a one-term president" do you not get, Dems?

All Aboard The QE2

As Helicopter Ben sets sail with $600 billion in bond purchases.

The decision, which takes the Fed into largely uncharted waters, is aimed at further lowering borrowing costs for consumers and businesses still suffering in the aftermath of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

The U.S. central bank said it would buy about $75 billion in longer-term Treasury bonds per month. It said it would regularly review the pace and size of the program and adjust it as needed depending on the path of the recovery.

In its post-meeting statement, the Fed described the economy as "slow", and said employers remained reluctant to add to payrolls. It said measures of inflation were "somewhat low." 

"Although the committee anticipates a gradual return to higher levels of research utilization in a context of price stability, progress toward its objectives has been disappointingly slow," the Fed said.

And as the dollar shrivels as a result, inflation begins in earnest in 2011.  By the time next year rolls around, it's going to be truly ugly.  Oh, and the House Republican in charge of the Fed?  Ron Paul.  This ought to be fun.

Also, They Should Ban Dinosaurs And Evil Robots

Oklahoma made a preemptive blow against THE TERRORISTS yesterday with over 70% of the state voting to ban judges from using "Sharia or international law" when issuing rulings.

The proposition’s sponsor, Republican Rex Duncan, told reporters Tuesday that the proposition is a "preemptive strike" against judges who he worries could be “legislating from the bench or using international law or Sharia law.”

Opponents of the measure pointed out that the First Amendment bars Congress from make any law respecting the establishment of religion.

The proposition also faced criticism from Muslim leaders who have said they intend to challenge it in court.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is one of the top voices spreading concern that Islamic law may creep into American courts, although he has not provided proof that such fears are justified.

Gingrich attracted national headlines in September at the Values Voter Summit in Washington when he declared, “I am opposed to any efforts to impose Sharia in the United States.”

“We should have a federal law that says under no circumstances in any jurisdiction in the United States will Sharia [law] be used in any court to apply to any judgment made about American law,” Gingrich said.

Besides this being a deeply cynical attack on Oklahoma Muslims, good luck getting any international company to do business in Oklahoma if international trade law no longer applies to businesses in the state.


The Real Losers From Last Night

Rasmussen Reports polls as Nate Silver runs the numbers.

While waiting for the remaining results to trickle in from states like Colorado and Alaska, I did a quick check on the accuracy of polls from the firm Rasmussen Reports, which came under heavy criticism this year — including from FiveThirtyEight — because its polls showed a strong lean toward Republican candidates.

Indeed, Rasmussen polls quite consistently turned out to overstate the standing of Republicans tonight. Of the roughly 100 polls released by Rasmussen or its subsidiary Pulse Opinion Research in the final 21 days of the campaign, roughly 70 to 75 percent overestimated the performance of Republican candidates, and on average they were biased against Democrats by 3 to 4 points.

Every pollster is entitled to a bad cycle now and again — and Rasmussen has had some good cycles in the past. But their polling took a major downturn this year.

Doesn't have anything to do with Scott Rasmussen's agenda, eh?   Remember that going forward.

[UPDATEWorst pollsters ever?

A Rasmussen survey in Hawaii showed Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) leading challenger Cam Cavasso (R) by 13 points two weeks ago, 53% to 40%.

The final results showed Inouye winning re-election by 51 points, 72% to 21%

Oops.  Only 38 points off in the Republican's favor.  I'm sure that happens all the time.

Bayh The Power Of The Centrist Daleks!

And Evan Bayh, who remember quit the Senate because being a Senator was just too darn hard, is now giving free (and unwanted) advice about what the rest of the Dems need to do.  Guess what it is?

It is clear that Democrats over-interpreted our mandate. Talk of a “political realignment” and a “new progressive era” proved wishful thinking. Exit polls in 2008 showed that 22 percent of voters identified themselves as liberals, 32 percent as conservatives and 44 percent as moderates. An electorate that is 76 percent moderate to conservative was not crying out for a move to the left.

We also overreached by focusing on health care rather than job creation during a severe recession. It was a noble aspiration, but $1 trillion in new spending and a major entitlement expansion are best attempted when the Treasury is flush and the economy strong, hardly our situation today.

And we were too deferential to our most zealous supporters. During election season, Congress sought to placate those on the extreme left and motivate the base — but that meant that our final efforts before the election focused on trying to allow gays in the military, change our immigration system and repeal the George W. Bush-era tax cuts. These are legitimate issues but unlikely to resonate with moderate swing voters in a season of economic discontent.

With these lessons in mind, Democrats can begin to rebuild. Where to start? 

Instead of listening to the Dem base, Bayh of course wants Dems to publicly tell liberals to go to hell and listen to the "most zealous members" of the Republican base instead.  They'll surely vote Democratic then, just like they did last night when the Blue Dogs who ran on exactly that strategy got slaughtered, right?

Or maybe the problem is tens of millions of Dem voters stayed home because they thought the Democrats didn't give a damn about them.

When somebody tells you Dems can win by running to the right, ask them how the Blue Dogs did in 2010.

[UPDATE] Rachel Maddow destroys Bayh's argument.

Does Sen. Bayh's sarcastic critique of health reform as a "noble aspiration" (but really a horrible liberal overreach) apply to himself pushing for it? Or does it only apply to people who take responsibility for their policy decisions?

And that's about as angry as I've ever seen her get.

So What The Hell Happened?

The retiring Boomers and Seniors turned out in massive numbers for the Republicans, and younger voters, African-Americans, and Latinos didn't turn out for the Dems.  Really is that simple.  The electorate this time around skewed some 41% conservative, 29% moderate, and only 20% liberal.

And those Seniors turned out in massive numbers for the Tea Party because of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent scaring them.  Some 40% of Americans said that they were worse off than they were two years ago. So why didn't minority voters and younger voters turn out?  It probably has to do with the much, much higher unemployment numbers among African-Americans (16.1% by last count) and Americans under 25 (12.4%) than the national average.  Some ten million more voters turned out for the GOP nationally adding up all the Senate results.

But the biggest losers?  The House Blue Dog Dems.  Out of 54 Blue Dogs, 28 of them lost, four more are down to the wire.

There's a lesson there if the Dems choose to heed it.

And with that, I retire the 2010 Election tag.  On to 2012.

StupidiNews, Election Wrap-Up Edition

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