Monday, May 6, 2013

Last Call: The Inmates Burning Down The Asylum

Ohio's tea party nut jobs have had it with John Kasich's calls for moderation, like wanting to expand Medicare and raise taxes on energy companies that are making a literal killing on fracking.  They are now engaged in a full-scale revolt to either turn the state from purple to red or burn the Ohio Republican party down trying.

Feeling betrayed by the Republican Party and its leaders, tea party groups in Ohio appear to be uniting and moving toward either a split from the GOP or action to punish Republican candidates who fail ideological purity tests.

A series of events, culminating with the April 26 election of Matt Borges as chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, spurred a flurry of meetings and conference calls among tea party leaders last week to plot a course of action heading into the 2014 statewide election.

Options being discussed, according to Seth Morgan, policy director for Americans for Prosperity, range from breaking off into “a third party, to an insurrection (within the Republican Party) and everything in between.”

One has to wonder how many times the teabaggers are going to be able to get away with this.  The simple answer is they're going to split from the GOP eventually, and when they do, the Dems will be right there to win back a number of states.  The Ohio teabaggers seem to be rather serious about this.

Tom Zawistowski, executive director of the Portage County Tea Party who lost his bid for the Ohio GOP chairmanship by a 48-7 vote of the party’s state central committee, met on Saturday with Don Shrader, chairman of the Constitution Party of Ohio, to explore uniting in a party committed more to principles than winning elections.

After the chairmanship vote, Zawistowski said he made it clear that if the state GOP did not focus on enacting conservative policies, “we would either find a political party to join or we would start one of our own,” saying his meeting with Shrader “is the first step in that process.”

Let me get the popcorn.  This is going to be fun.

A Shot In The Dark

Living here in Kentucky, I found the tragic and awful story of Caroline Sparks, the two-year old Burkesville girl who was shot and killed by her five-year old brother Kristian, to be especially disturbing.  I grew up in small-town North Carolina and while nobody in my family had guns, I grew up with kids whose families did, and the people of Burkesville feel like they've been singled out as what's wrong in America, like they're awful parents who are being trashed nationally for the crime of living in rural Kentucky.  Trip Gabriel's story in the NY Times features this paragraph:

“I think it’s nobody else’s business but our town’s,” said a woman leaving a store, who like many people here declined to be interviewed. A woman who answered the phone at the office of John A. Phelps Jr., the chief executive of Cumberland County, whose seat is Burkesville, said, “No, I’m sorry — no more statements,” and hung up.

Nobody else's business but our town's.  Having grown up in and around towns like Burkesville, I've seen my share of tragedies.  The problem is when something like this happens, and happens because a rifle specifically manufactured and marketed to parents to be a "child's first firearm" was in the house, you don't get to make that claim that it's not anyone else's business.

The Crickett rifle fired in the fatal shooting is all of our business, all of America's.  We have to ask ourselves if rural culture in the US is being used as a convenient excuse to avoid the responsibility of the gun culture marketing and selling pink and blue .22 caliber rifles to kids.  That's not the fault of the people of Cumberland County, Kentucky.  That's the fault of the gun manufacturers and their nearly unbeatable lobby creating a situation where it's permissible to make real working firearms for kids who should be playing with squirt guns and aren't old enough to know the difference between the two.

I don't blame the people of Burkesville for being horrified and defensive while burning in the national spotlight, but frankly this should have never happened in the first place.  The NRA exists to sell firearms, and they've gotten so powerful now we have gender-coded rifles for your little hunters.  This was apparently going on without too much issue, either.  The company that sold Crickett Rifles made a pretty penny over the years, because it was a popular product.

The issue of course is why it was popular.  I'm betting it still is, hell the NRA is telling parents for safety they need to keep a gun in your kid's room, because that's where you're going to barricade yourself in when the inevitable jackbooted thugs come for you.  I can't think of an outfit that has successfully leveraged the paranoid style better than the NRA, and in rural America, that means there's no way we're going to make any headway with gun control.  Not unless the culture changes, and that's going to take another generation or two.

It's a shot in the dark at best.

Don't Call It A Comeback

He's been here for years.  Looks like I may very well have to eat my words on Mark Sanford losing tomorrow.

PPP's final poll of the special election in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District finds a race that's too close to call, with Republican Mark Sanford leading Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch 47-46. The 1 point lead for Sanford represents a 10 point reversal from PPP's poll of the race two weeks ago, when Colbert Busch led by 9 points at 50-41.

Sanford has gotten back into the race by nationalizing it and painting Colbert Busch as a liberal. A plurality of voters in the district- 47%- say they think Colbert Busch is a liberal compared to 43% who characterize her as ideologically 'about right.' Colbert Busch's favorability rating has dropped a net 19 points compared to 2 weeks ago, from +25 then at 56/31 to +6 now at 50/44.

While Colbert Busch is seen as too liberal, 48% of voters think that Sanford's views are 'about right' on the issues compared to just 38% who see him as too conservative. Sanford's also seen some repair to his image over the course of the campaign. Although he's still unpopular, sporting a -11 net favorability rating at 43/54, that's up a net 13 points from our first poll in March when he was at 34/58.

Pretty good, considering national Republicans walked away from the guySC-1 remains a R+11 district according to the Cook Political Report, meaning that Colbert Busch's 9 point lead was not going to last.  It didn't.  The liberal card still works, folks....and SC Republicans set up the district to make sure that card could be played.

So now we have a tight race that Sanford can definitely pull off, and the election is tomorrow.  We'll see if Colbert Busch can get out the vote, but even if she wins, next November she'll be among the top targets for the GOP to take back in 2014, and the reality is thanks to gerrymandering, it will be a lot easier for them to do so with any candidate who isn't as flawed as Sanford, as Nate Silver points out.

Since 1997 (which is as far back as records of special elections go on, candidates who won a special election in a district carried by the opposing political party in the preceding presidential election have had fleeting tenures in Congress.

There have been 59 special elections since 1997, and just 14 candidates have carried districts that leaned away from their political party (a Republican representing a Democratic-leaning seat or vice versa). Of those 14, 13 no longer hold those seats.1 The lone exception is Representative Ron Barber, who won a full term in Arizona’s Eighth Congressional District in 2012 after winning a special election to replace former Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

Here's a guy who should be losing by a district where the Republican has an 11 point advantage.  Voila, a one point lead.  Any nominally competent Republican would win this by double digits, and even if she does pull it off tomorrow, odds a really good that November of next year this goes back to the GOP.

This is the political reality of gerrymandering, folks:  flipping partisan House districts long-term is nearly impossible.


Related Posts with Thumbnails