Monday, November 10, 2014

Last Call For Obama's Coaled Shoulder

Jazz Shaw figures that President Obama's EPA coal plant regulations are deader than dirt.

The writing should be on the wall for this one, particularly since the Democrats have essentially lost coal country entirely, as Ed pointed out this weekend. Energy – and the millions of jobs associated with it – was featured on the campaign trail and proved a winning issue for Republicans. And now, as reported by The Hill, the new GOP majority in the Senate is gearing up to finally do more than just talk about it.

The GOP Senate plans to defund the EPA so the new rules can't be enforced, setting up a potential budget shutdown situation, and that Obama will fold under pressure from 2016 candidates.

Of course, any of these measures would have to get past the President’s veto pen, but if the White House takes too strong of a stand on that they could be springing a terrible trap for Democrats. With both houses of Congress unified, the President would be essentially standing alone as the person blocking a path to cutting costs for consumers and the creation of more jobs. This sets up the GOP for 2016 with a new and potentially more salable message. Traditionally we’ve seen political combatants arguing that “the next president” will be the person selecting Supreme Court justices. It’s an important debate to be sure, but a more direct line to the voters will be to clearly explain that “the next president” will be staffing up the EPA and other regulatory agencies, and do you really want four more years of these policies? Voters also need to be reminded that these changes are largely cosmetic, feel good measures which are not only hugely expensive, but have no effect on the far dirtier energy policies of countries with vastly larger populations who will continue to do what they’ve always done.

Here's my response about this. First, yes, red state voters do want Obama's EPA regulations.

When asked flat-out whether they supported EPA regulations limiting carbon pollution, 67 percent of total voters said yes, while 26 percent said no. In the red states, 64 percent of voters supported EPA regulations to combat climate change, as opposed to 29 percent that did not.

And that's after having Shaw's arguments explained to them.

Second, the great part about the 2014 midterm losses is that the losses happened to Blue Dog, Red State Democrats.  Exactly who's left to complain in Coal Country?  West Virginia's Joe Manchin is about it, and he's not going anywhere.  He'll be a reliable vote for Senate action on the EPA for the GOP anyway.

And finally, tell me again how the Obama EPA regulations are costing jobs when President Obama has added millions since 2009.  And we can't take action because China or Inida won't?  What happened to "American exceptionalism"?

That leaves defunding the EPA as part of a larger GOP plan to shut down the government.  By all means, play that card again heading into 2016.

Too Turned Off To Turnout

The 2014 midterm election turnout results are grim indeed.  At 36.4%, it's the worst turnout since 1942.  No wonder Republicans did so well.  PBS Newshour:

Final numbers are still being tallied, but at this point it looks pretty clear that turnout in these midterms was the lowest overall in 70 years. Turnout of the voting-eligible population was just 36.4 percent, according to the projection from the United States Elections Project, run by Dr. Michael McDonald at the University of Florida. That’s down from the 41 percent that turned out in 2010. You have to go all the way back to 1942 for lower numbers when turnout in that midterm was just 33.9 percent. They had a pretty good excuse back then — many adult-age Americans were preoccupied with fighting in a world war.

States with competitive races saw increased turnout, but the rest of the country didn't bother to show up at all.

Turnout actually increased in 14 states, plus D.C., from 2010-2014. In 10 of the 14, there were competitive to potentially competitive Senate races. In nine of the 14, there were governors’ races. Here’s where turnout increased, ranked by biggest increase: 
1. Louisiana: +12.9% (38.9%-43.9%)
2. Nebraska: +10.1% (37.5%-41.3%)
3. Arkansas: +9.9% (37.5%-41.2%)
4. Wisconsin: +9.4% (52.0%-56.9%)
5. Maine: +7.4% (55.2%-59.3%)
6. New Hampshire: +6.8% (45.7%-48.8%)
7. Alaska: +6.6% (51.9%-55.3%)
8. Washington, D.C.: +4.8% (28.9%-30.3%)
9. Colorado: +4.7% (50.6%-53.0%)
10. Kentucky: +4.2% (42.4%-44.2%)
11. North Carolina: +3.8% (39.2%-40.7%)
12. Florida: +3.4% (41.7%-43.1%)
13. Kansas: +2.6% (41.7%-42.8%)
14. Iowa: +1.4% (49.9%-50.6%)
15. Oregon: +0.2% (52.6%-52.7%) 
It was down, though — and by a lot in many places — in 36 others. Here are the top 10 biggest decreases: 
1. Missouri: -27.4% (44.5%-32.3%)
2. Washington state: -27.3% (53.1%-38.6%)
3. Delaware: -27% (47.5%- 34.5%)
4. California: -25.5% (44%-32.8%)
5. Indiana: -24.5% (37.1%-28.0%)
6. Oklahoma: -23.2 (38.8%-29.8%)
7. Nevada: -23% (41.3%-31.8%)
8. Alabama: -22.1% (43%-33.5%)
9. Utah: -20.7% (36.3%-28.8%)
10. Mississippi: -19.7% (37%-29.7%) 
Significantly factoring into the overall decrease because of its population was California, which despite a governor’s race was off by a quarter of its 2010 participation. Also factoring in — Ohio (down almost 20 percent), as well as New York and New Jersey, which were both down about 17 percent. Even Georgia, despite its hotly contested Senate race, was down 14 percent. And for Democrats looking for what went wrong in blue states like Maryland and Massachusetts, turnout was down in those states by 10 percent as compared to 2010.

 The bottom line is no matter how you look at it, Democrats didn't show up to vote.

If that doesn't change in 2016 and 2018, this country's as good as done.

No Love For Mia

Mother Jones reporter and Utah native Stephanie Mencimer takes a look at newly minted Utah Rep. Mia Love, the first African-American Republican woman elected to Congress, and finds she's just part of a distressing a depressing trend of recent GOP Representatives who care more about the national spotlight than local constituents.

Of all the victories conservatives are crowing about this week, none seem as welcome as that of Utah's Mia Love, the first black Republican woman ever to be elected to Congress. She's been the subject of fawning profiles and officially dubbed a "rock star" by Michelle Malkin and other right-wing pundits. But Mia Love is a rock star mostly to people who don't live in Utah.

To a person like me, born and raised in Utah, Love's victory is a symbol of our trend toward nationalized elections. Her issues are generic, conservative hobby horses—defund Obamacare, abolish the Department of Education, etc.—the opposite of Tip O'Neill's old adage about all politics being local. She has adopted precisely one Utah-specific platform point from state conservatives—the demand that the federal government turn over to the state all the land it owns in Utah, a long-running and hopeless quest that is deeply opposed by the state's environmentalists. Beyond that, Love, a persona preternaturally well suited for Fox News, has an embarrassingly weak grasp of policy—particularly as it relates to her adopted home state.

Now there's a shocker.  A Republican who looks really good outside her state, but is dismal towards it.  Why does that sound familiar?

Love has made a big show of her concern for the Second Amendment and her fondness for packing heat—issues that sell well with both Utah and national conservatives. But the summer of 2012 saw a rash of costly wildfires in Utah, including a big one in Saratoga Springs that required the evacuation of 9,000 of Love's fellow residents. It was one of at least 20 fires attributed to outdoor target shooters, whom Utah's Republican governor was desperately trying to persuade to use indoor ranges instead. Not long after the governor made his appeal, Love made a big appearance on the Today Show, where she showed off her shooting skills—outside, in the dry brush.
Born in Brooklyn, Love first relocated to Connecticut before moving to Saratoga Springs in 1998 after converting to Mormonism. I spent some time in Saratoga Springs in 2012, and was struck by what a transient place it was. A new suburb of Salt Lake City, it didn't even exist until 1997, and everyone I met there had come from somewhere else. Few were Utah natives, and next to none of them had heard of Love, even though she'd been their mayor or a city councilwoman for several years. Even Saratoga Springs' congressional district was brand new, having been gerrymandered in 2012 by a state Legislature intent on ousting Matheson, the state's lone Democrat, from his perch in Congress. In some ways, it was the perfect place to launch a congressional career. Being the mayor of Saratoga Springs was like being the mayor of nowhere—or everywhere, depending on your perspective.

In other words, if if sounds to you like Mia Love is the perfectly manufactured candidate for the "post-racial" FOX News age of America, that's because she is.  She's being packaged and sold, a product for consumption by guilty GOP voters who feel better that a black Mormon woman supports what they stand for, and isn't one of those people.  How good of a product Mia Love is is pretty self-evident.  How good of a Representative she is to the people of Utah, well, that doesn't really matter, does it?

Ask Eric Cantor about that.

Absolution for sale.  Get it while it's fresh.


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