Michael Knox Beran writes that Obama has already begun the process of transforming our nation's institutions in a way that will be very difficult to reverse and that he is in a (potentially) strong position to block conservatives from undoing his work or (what would be even better) substituting their own reforms. For all the talk of Obama being arrogant or obtuse (and his explanations for the widespread opposition to his policies are as self-serving as they are probably sincere), he is also a principled, determined, ambitious, and strategy-minded politician who holds some pretty good cards. He isn't like Bill Clinton. Clinton was willing to work with conservatives in order to maximize his approval ratings. Obama is willing to trade a lower (but not too low of course) approval rating in return from passing (check) and then defending policies that transform the political economy of the country.
A radioactive rabbit was trapped on the Hanford nuclear reservation, and Washington state health workers have been searching for contaminated rabbit droppings.
There's a movie in this somewhere: Attack of the 50-Foot Glow-in-the-Dark Killer Rabbit.
The rabbit was trapped in the past week and was highly contaminated with radioactive cesium. It was killed and disposed of as radioactive waste.
It looks like Democrats won the Latino vote for Congress by about 2 to 1. Ruy Teixeira argues that this is in line with the slightly more than 2 to 1 margins that Democrats won among Latinos in the 2006 and 2008 congressional elections. It is also in line with Obama's 2 to 1 victory over McCain in the 2008 presidential election. The Democratic margin among Latinos is more disturbing this year than in 2006 and 2008. In 2006 you had undivided Republican control of the elected branches combined with a Democratic wave connected to public discontent over the Iraq War (and to a lesser degree gas prices.) In 2008 you had an incredibly unpopular incumbent Republican President, rising unemployment, a financial crisis that the Republican presidential candidate was obviously clueless about, and an excellent Democratic presidential candidate. This year, the labor market was worse than in 2008, the Democrats were holding undivided power in Washington, Obama wasn't on the ballot, and yet Republicans only made the slightest gains among Latinos.
It is at least possible that a broad majority of Latinos are consolidating around a shared identity as Democrats and that, for most Latinos, the Democrats are becoming the "us" party and Republicans the "them" party. Obama has tried really hard to appeal to Latinos with an almost constant focus on amnesty, even at the cost of alienating some anti-amnesty whites (betting, probably correctly, that amnesty is a low salience issue for most persuadable whites unless amnesty is just about to be passed.) This consolidating of the Latino vote was what Harry Reid's despicable comment about how he didn't know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican was about. It seems to have worked out well enough for Reid, but on the other hand, Reid's son was beaten by a Latino Republican in the race for governor - though Sandoval only seems to have done slightly better than Angle among Latinos.
I don't think that the election of Latino Republicans to prominent offices, or even putting Marco Rubio on the 2012 (or 2016) presidential ticket is going to do much to help Republican bring their share of the Latino vote close to 50%. I think that Henry Olsen's insights on the working-class (and I would add much of the middle-class) might be the beginning of wisdom here. Adapting Olsen's insights to the particular situation of working and middle-class Latinos (each an internally diverse category) will be a huge challenge. It is a good start to think about Olsen's categories of "pride in their lives", "fear of being disrespected", and "hope for the future" and think about how conservative messaging could be better. It would also be nice to have some policies that offered tangible benefits.
Who could play that role initially? Some are touting former Indiana senator and governor Evan Bayh, but he's untested and not particularly articulate. A far better bet is newly elected California governor Jerry Brown -- a kind of Eugene McCarthy-esque figure -- who once bragged that he was going to move left and right at the same time. He is, of course, a serial presidential candidate, having run three times previously (1976, 1980, 1992). Though he failed each time, he twice ran impressively, finishing third in '76 after entering late in the process, winning (or having friendly delegates do so) in Maryland, California, Nevada, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. In 1992, on a financial shoestring, he finished second -- winning Maine, Connecticut, Colorado, Nevada, Vermont, and Alaska, while losing California to Bill Clinton, 48-41 percent.
For Brown, the next nine months are critical, as he'll attempt to use his visibility as governor of the nation's most populous state to become a kind of Democratic Chris Christie, standing up to special interests and proposing bold new fiscal policies. If he does, he could be a formidable 2012 challenger, as he's shown a propensity in the past for running on populist themes (term limits, campaign-finance reform), while taking positions that could attract labor support (he was anti-NAFTA) and even backing from conservatives (he has supported a flat tax). As a Catholic, he does have some appeal to the working-class "Hillary Democrats" -- a part of the reason why he's done well in New England in the past.
Could he beat Obama? It's obviously a long shot. But the hope among some is that his entry into the race would so weaken Obama that Clinton might consider getting in, as Robert Kennedy once did, able to tap into a family-built organization in a matter of days. Some even harbor hopes that, under pressure from his own party, Obama might walk away from the job after one term. Stranger things have happened.
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Sorry I haven't been around much but family medical issues and such... The Republicans didn't do quite as well as expected (including by me) in the Senate. Here are some thoughts:
Nevada - The line coming from the Weekly Standard and National Review is that Nevada shows that candidates matter. That is true, but what does it mean? One of Sharron Angle's problems was that she had a way explaining conservative positions in a way that put them in a bad light, and she made at least one statement that was either obnoxious or a threat of sedition depending on how charitably you want to interpret it. I think an even bigger problem than her more famous quotes is that she is a rightworld provincial. She seemed very uncomfortable talking to any audience that she wasn't sure was friendly. If you can find the videos, check out her appearance on FOX and Friends and then her thirty minute interview with one of the Nevada television stations. She exuded anxiety in front of skeptical or indifferent audiences. That is probably not uncommon among the general population (I don't think that I would have done better) but such on-the-surface social anxiety is an unfortunate quality in a Senate candidate in a tough race who depends on winning over swing voters. Her combination of social anxiety and inability to translate her worldview to people who don't share her political assumptions is symbolized by her talk to a group of Latino students. She pathetically tried to form a rapport by showing that she is so unbigoted that she thought some of them looked like Asians and that one time somebody thought she was Asian.
Pennsylvania - This was as close to an even fight as you were going to get. Pat Toomey is an excellent candidate. Every principled conservative who is aspiring to office in a mixed constituency should read this profile explaining how Toomey crafted a persona and message designed to win over blue collar urban and suburban white persuadables. He isn't perfect, and his coalition might need updating, but conservatives can't hope for much better than Toomey. Joe Sestak is a principled, articulate, tough and very likeable liberal. The state leans Democratic but the national environment favored the Republicans. The closeness of Toomey's win is disturbing. Toomey's appeal is geared toward Reagan Democrats. Those Democrats (plus Republicans of course) were enough to win for most of the last thirty years. The Republican coalition is going to have to expand to win over some post-Obama Democrats. Be that as it may, a lot of Republicans have a lot to learn from Toomey.
Colorado - See Nevada. Buck wasn't too extreme exactly. He was no less conservative than Rubio or Toomey (well maybe Toomey a little on abortion.) The problem was he couldn't effectively deal with having his ideas cross-examined. This isn't the same thing as being inarticulate. I suspect Buck is very articulate in expressing the depths of his beliefs to people who share his views. The problem is in explaining those views to those not already on your side and then explaining away the misrepresentations of the opposition. Conservative candidates need to master pithy responses to the most effective liberal jabs and seem comfortable in doing so. Some of being able to do that is talent, but a lot of it is preparation. One of the reasons Reagan was so persuasive was that he pitched his message to appeal to (but not only to) FDR-loving Democrats and then practiced and practiced and practiced. I get the feeling that Buck and Angle have spent too much time in a conservative bubble and had little practice in winning over nonconservatives in elections where the relationship between ideology and policy was important.
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As usual, George Will nails it in today's column: "It is amazing the ingenuity Democrats invest in concocting explanations of voter behavior that erase what voters always care about, and this year more than ever - ideas. This election was a nationwide recoil against Barack Obama's idea of unlimited government."
Dear Preacher Will, We Hear You. Sincerely, The Choir.
At the same time, as NLT readers nod approvingly at Will's analysis, we must contend with the counter-narrative, which Will decimates by implication but which inevitably will gain traction in the coming days. All the usual suspects--White House, DNC, MSNBC, etc.--will be hard at work pushing their own interpretation of Tuesday's results. The election was about the economy, they'll say. It was about jobs. It was--as Peter Schramm noted in reference to Tim Kaine--about a collective lament that "change has not happened fast enough." History never actually repeats itself, or so I tell my students, but this last line conjures memories of Bill Clinton's '94 mid-term post-mortem: the voters have spoken, he said at the time, and their message is clear: "Move faster!"
None of this is surprising, of course. To the progressive mind, the obvious convenience of interpretations that dismiss electoral misfortune as the product of politically-radioactive conditions--unemployment, slow growth, etc--is that those interpretations help shelter progressive ideas from the fallout of a historic political thrashing. Still, the Left's near-monopoly over the dissemination of information and opinion guarantees it an enormous advantage in the battle to define the meaning of Election 2010. Furthermore, the economy is bad, and no doubt it was an issue for many voters.
Republicans, in short, now face the rhetorical challenge of periodically (I prefer daily, but I'll take what I can get) highlighting their chasmic differences with progressive ideologues while also working to ameliorate lousy economic conditions. In my view, Republican leaders will meet this challenge in part through unwavering and unapologetic commitment to a narrative that treats as self-evident the symbiotic relationship between a robust economy and a limited, constitutional government. In the end, though, as Will reminds us with characteristic elegance, one cannot escape the conclusion--no matter how the opposition chooses to rationize it--that Tuesday's results reveal something deeper, something we've recognized all along as more thoughtful and more visceral: a "recoil" against progressive-style government the likes of which we've not seen in more than a generation.
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that Democrats had the worst night in state legislative seats since 1928. With races outstanding in New York, Washington and Oregon, Republicans have flipped at least 14 chambers, and have unified control of 25 state legislatures. They have picked up over five hundred state legislative seats, including over 100 in New Hampshire alone.The obvious take-aways from this are that the GOP just expanded its bench by a mile and that the coming re-districting in the several states is going to make political life uncomfortable for existing and would-be Democrat politicians in the coming decade. It also points to a much needed and sorely over-due injection of youth, life and vitality into the Republican party.
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ABC News notes: "The Republicans' victory in the House will mark only the third time in 50 years that control of the chamber has changed hands."
A telling comment. It is, of course, also the third time the House has changed hands in 16 years. Other than the long period between the Second World War and 1994, it was much more common for control of the House to change. Other than the post-War era, our media was also more diverse and splintered than it was during the age of three networks and one or two national newspapers. It looks like we're heading back that way. (We also used to have major financial panics every twenty years or so).
That a reporter for ABC used the 50 year comparison says alot about how so many of us see things. Most voters, pundits, and politicians spent many years in the solid-state, post-war world of politics that we forget that it was the anamoly in U.S. history. Historically, our politics has often been marked by considerable flux. Perhaps we're just moving back to normal.
Question: If today's elections go as well for the tea party candidates as polls indicate, how should their supporters celebrate? Should they drink tea? Or, since the tea party was about dumping tea in the harbor and avoiding the tea tax, should they drink coffee?
|IN||House 2||Donnelly won by 37% in '08|
|7:00 PM||IN||House 9||Hill (D)* vs. Young (R)||Hill won by 20% in '08|
|7:00 PM||KY||House 6||Chandler won by 30% in '08|
|7:00 PM||SC||House 5||Spratt (D)* vs. Mulvaney (R)||Spratt is a 14 term incumbent and won by 25% in '08|
|7:00 PM||VA||House 5||Perriello (D)* vs. Hurt (R)||Liberal in Conservative district; Only Obama visit for a House candidate on 10/29|
|7:00 PM||VA||House 9||Boucher (D)* vs. Griffith (R)||Boucher is a 13 term incumbent and ran unopposed in '08|
|7:00 PM||VA||House 11||Connolly (D)* vs. Fimian (R)|
|7:30 PM||OH||House 1|
|7:30 PM||OH||House 6||Wilson (D)* vs. Johnson (R)||Strickland's former seat; Wilson won by 29% in '08|
|7:30 PM||OH||House 15||Kilroy (D)* vs. Stivers (R)|
|7:30 PM||OH||House 16||Boccieri (D)* vs. Renacci (R)||Boccieri voted against health care then for it. The Ashbrook Center is in his district.|
|7:30 PM||OH||House 18||Space (D)* vs. Gibbs (R)||Space won by 20% in '08|
|7:30 PM||OH||Governor||Strickland (D)* vs. Kasich (R)||Obama Visits 10/17 and 10/31|
|7:30 PM||WV||Senate||Manchin (D) vs. Raese (R)||Open Seat (D)|
|7:30 PM||WV||House 1||McKinley (R) vs. Oliverio (D)||Open Seat (D); Mollohan (D) ran unopposed in '08|
|8:00 PM||CT||Governor||Foley (R) vs. Malloy (D)||Open Seat (R)|
|8:00 PM||CT||Senate||Blumenthal (D) vs. McMahon (R)||Open Seat (D)|
|8:00 PM||DE||House AL||Carney (D) vs. Urquhart (R)||Open Seat (R)|
|8:00 PM||IL||Senate||Giannoulias (D) vs. Kirk (R)||Open Seat (D); Obama Visit 10/30; Obama's former seat|
|8:00 PM||IL||House 10||Dold (R) vs. Seals (D)||Open Seat (R); Kirk's former seat|
|8:00 PM||IL||Governor||Quinn (D)* vs. Brady (R)|
|8:00 PM||FL||House 2||Boyd (D)* vs. Southerland (R)||Boyd won by 25% in '08 and ran unopposed in '06|
|8:00 PM||FL||House 8||Grayson (D)* vs. Webster (R)|
|8:00 PM||FL||House 22||Klein (D)* vs. West (R)|
|8:00 PM||FL||House 24||Kosmas (D)* vs. Adams (R)|
|8:00 PM||FL||House 25||Rivera (R) vs. Garcia (D)||Open Seat (R)|
|8:00 PM||FL||Governor||Scott (R) vs. Sink (D)||Open Seat (R)|
|8:00 PM||OK||Issue 756||Health Care Choice|
|8:00 PM||MA||House 4||Frank (D)* vs. Bielat (R)||Unlikely GOP win but fun to watch|
|8:00 PM||MA||House 10||Keating (D) vs. Perry (R)||Open Seat (D); Delahunt (D) ran unopposed in '08|
|8:00 PM||MA||Governor||Patrick (D)* vs. Baker (R) vs. Cahill (I)|
|8:00 PM||NH||House 2||Kuster (D) vs. Bass (R)||Open Seat (D)|
|8:00 PM||PA||Senate||Sestak (D) vs. Toomey (R)||Open Seat (D); Obama Visit 10/30|
|8:30 PM||AR||Senate||Lincoln (D)* vs. Boozman (R)|
|9:00 PM||CO||Senate||Bennet (D)* vs. Buck (R)|
|9:00 PM||CO||House 4||Markey (D)* vs. Gardner (R)|
|9:00 PM||CO||House 7||Perlmutter (D)* vs. Frazier (R)||Perlmutter won by 28% in '08|
|9:00 PM||CO||Issue 63||Health Care Choice|
|9:00 PM||LA||House 2||Cao (R)* vs. Richmond (D)||One of the few Republican losses expected in '10; Longtime Rep Bill Jefferson (D) went to prison in '09|
|9:00 PM||MN||House 8||Oberstar (D)* vs. Cravaack (R)||Oberstar is a 14 term incumbent and won by 36% in '08|
|9:00 PM||NY||House 13||McMahon (D)* vs. Grimm (R)|
|9:00 PM||NY||House 19||Hall (D)* vs. Hayworth (R)|
|9:00 PM||NY||House 20||Murphy (D)* vs. Gibson (R)|
|9:00 PM||NY||Arcuri (D)* vs. Hanna (R)|
|9:00 PM||WI||Senate||Feingold (D)* vs. Johnson (R)||Feingold is a 18 year incumbent|
|10:00 PM||AZ||House 3||Hulburd (D) vs. Quayle (R)||Open Seat (R); typically a Republican district|
|10:00 PM||AZ||Prop 106||Health Care Choice|
|10:00 PM||NV||Senate||Reid (D)* vs. Angle (R)||Obama visit 10/22|
|10:00 PM||NV||House 3||Titus (D)* vs. Heck (R)|
|11:00 PM||WA||Senate||Murray (D)* vs. Rossi (R)||Obama Visit 10/21|
|11:00 PM||WA||House 8||Reichert (R)* vs. DelBene (D)||Obama won District by 14|
|CA||Senate||Boxer (D)* vs. Fiorina (R)||Obama Visit 10/22|
|11:00 PM||CA||House 3||Lungren (R)* vs. Bera (D)|
|11:00 PM||OR||Governor||Dudley (R) vs. Kitzhaber (D)*||Obama visit on 10/20|
|12:00 PM||HI||House 1||Djou (R)* vs. Hanabusa (D)||Typically a democratic seat; Djou is the one of the few Republican losses expected in '10|
|1:00 AM||AK||Senate||Miller (R) vs. McAdams (D) vs. Murloswki (I)|
I thought it might be useful to post something on a non-election topic.
Should all science textbooks come with a disclaimer that says: "Some or all of the material in this book may and probably will be found to be mistaken, in whole or in part sometime in the near or distant future"?
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