Nel's New Day

November 9, 2012

Republicans Show Themselves Jerks

Some GOP members behaving like spoiled rich kids—which, with Super-PACs, is what they are! Rep. Allen West (R-FL) is a prime example. Swept into the 112th Congress with other extremist Tea Party members, West accused the Congress of sheltering 81 Communists among the Democrats and called Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz as “vile” and “despicable” after she said that West had a large number of Medicare clients in his district. He also said President Barack Obama, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and others should “get the hell out of the United States.”

Before West ran for the House, he had been relieved of his command in Iraq after he violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice laws on torture. Although his $17 million, mostly from out of state, overshadowed the $3.6 million of his opponent, Patrick Murphy, West failed by 2,456  votes, a margin of 0.8 percent. Now West is screaming ballot tampering and suing Murphy.

On another note, when President Obama telephoned House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to extend the arm of bi-partisanship and affirm his intent to move forward on addressing the looming “fiscal cliff,” the Commander-in-Chief was unceremoniously told that the pair was “asleep.” An awkward beginning for the Republicans to “work across the aisle.”

One of the major meltdowns came from Glenn Beck, former Fox host, who told people to buy guns and farmland. He added, “If you live in the East, may I recommend get the hell out of the East. Find a place where you are surrounded by like-minded people and the best way to find those people is, you should probably look at the maps on how counties voted… May I highly suggest you get grandfathered in to the second amendment today. Oh and don’t forget the ammunition.”

Huffington Post collected some of the most common GOP whines: The media selectively reported Romney’s gaffes; fact-checkers were biased (yes but against President Obama); Hurricane Isaac hit the Tampa convention; Romney was too nice in his advertising; Superstorm Sandy and NJ Gov. Chris Christie were to blame; Obama won by “suppressing the vote”; Romney wasn’t conservative enough (which Romney?); Obama was backed by the 47 percent; and  America’s white establishment is now a minority. The GOP sees the last one as a problem because, according to Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, all minorities, including women, “want stuff.”

My two favorites. Americans are basically ignorant: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) may be right but if true, that whine hurt, not helped, the president. And liberals bought the election. Liberals got 20 percent—at best—of the super-PAC money, and they “bought the election”!?

Rhetoric in the past year has accelerated about racism: liberals have written about racist attitudes toward President Obama, moderates claimed it didn’t exist, and conservatives (aka Fox News) have called the president a racist. Now it’s definitely out in the open. Hundreds of students at “Ole Miss,” for example, rioted, shouting racial slurs just like 50 years ago when violent rioting followed the forced integration with James Meredith’s enrollment as the school’s first black student. Mississippi is also the state in which 46 percent of the Republicans think that interracial marriage should be illegal. Floating Sheep has analyzed locations of the racist tweets following the election. They seem to match the voting patterns of the geographical areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What the GOP will never admit is that the amazing amount of gerrymandering that the Republican states accomplished after their sweeping election in 2010 is the only reason that they maintained the House. When these legislators crammed all the Dems into small areas, the rest of the states turn red, as shown by Ohio and Pennyslvania.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although House Republicans have kept a similar majority to the last Congress,  237-197 majority plus or minus four seats, more than half the people in the country voted for Democrats.  In areas where Republicans can’t control the districts—the Senate and the presidency–Democrats won outright. That’s why there’s a group of GOP legislators who want to repeal the 17th Amendment and let state legislatures determine the senators, so the GOP can take over the Senate too.

Everyone this year worried about who would vote. Democrats were concerned that people wouldn’t show up, and the GOP hoped that the people who voted in 2008 would not bother to go to the polls this year, partially because of the heavy GOP vote suppression. They were wrong. People of color comprised 28 percent of the voters, 2 percent higher than in 2008 and 5 percent more than in 2010; young voters comprised 19 percent of the vote this year, 1 percent up from four years ago and way up from only 12 percent in 2010. Some people think that the reason for the increases was the GOP’s suppression strategy. Senior turnout stayed the same, but liberals went up 3 points to 25 percent of voters in 2012. At 35 percent, conservatives were down 7 points from the 2010 vote.

Although the president went from 59-percent support of whites in 2008 to 55-percent support this year, he made up the difference among minorities, increasing among Hispanics from 67 percent in 2008 to 71 percent in 2012. One report indicated that the Hispanic support may have been greater because Spanish-dominant Latinos are undersampled because they are poorer and live in less assimilated communities. Latino Decisions pool found Latino support for Obama at 75 percent nationally and up in swing states. Asian-American support rose from 62 percent in 2008 to 73 percent this year. Those who said that the president’s marriage equality position would lose him big-time among black voters were wrong; his 93-percent support showed only a 2-point drop from 2008. The GOP appeals to none of these groups in the majority.

The GOP plans an exhaustive search into the reasons behind their loss of the presidency and Senate. Asked about the GOP’s demographic problems, Boehner said: “What Republicans need to learn is: How do we speak to all Americans? You know, not just the people who look like us and act like us, but how do we speak to all Americans?” Some hard-core conservatives claim the problem stems from being too far left—just move to the right. Collecting information will not do the GOP any good: Republicans will not accept these facts any more than they accepted the polls.

Charles Krauthammer, an old white man, is the classic example of the GOP’s refusal to look at the people in 21st-century United States. His take on Hispanics? Their only liberal issue is immigration. Thus Krauthammer puts 16.7 percent of the country’s 300+ million citizens into a tiny box. His solution is “Border fence plus amnesty.” He then suggests that running Marco Rubio (R-FL) is enough to win the Hispanic vote, a racist assumption that people vote for those of their own race in spite of different beliefs in policy.

According to Krauthammer, the rest of minorities, including women, are all liberal.  Again he shows his ignorance about the face that many blacks are actually conservative. Krauthammer wrote that the majority of women are anti-choice, but 60 percent of the 2012 voters want abortion legal in all or most cases.

Despite the failure of massive amounts of money for conservative causes and candidates and the open attempts at voter suppression to achieve a presidential win, Krauthammer repeats the GOP mantra: “The problem here for Republicans is not policy but delicacy–speaking about culturally sensitive and philosophically complex issues with reflection and prudence.” It appears that women’s issues such as forced transvaginal ultrasounds just need to explained with “delicacy.”

Chances are good that the GOP wants to believe Krauthammer and will continue down the same path while they  will ignore conservative columnist George Will’s succinct conclusion: “Demography is destiny.” Keep it up, GOP. I don’t want you to change your position. It’s what makes you lose.

November 6, 2012

Tomorrow, A Better Day

Election Day has come and gone with President Obama declared the winner with Ohio putting him over the top.  Yesterday, Mitt Romney said, “Tomorrow, we begin a better tomorrow.” He was right.

Three Democrats took four Senate seats from the Republicans. In Indiana, Joe Donnelly (D) took the seat from Richard (babies from rapes are a gift from God) Mourdock , a Tea Party candidate who took the primary from long time Republican Sen. Richard Lugar. In Massachusetts, Massachusetts: Elizabeth Warren (D) has won Scott Brown’s Senate seat!  In Virginia, Tim Kaine defeated George Allen, who also lost the Senate race six years ago. A fourth seat moved away from Republicans when Maine elected progressive Angus King as an independent.

The Republicans did manage to take over formerly Democratic seats—Nebraska where ultra-conservative Democrat Ben Nelson did not run and North Carolina. Still undetermined as of now are Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota.

With her election as the senator from Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin becomes the first openly-LGBT member of the Senate. A quote from Slate shows the importance of her election:

“If you are not in the room, the conversation is about you … If you are in the room, the conversation is with you. We never had an openly LGBT member of the U.S. Senate, and even though there are strong pro-equality allies who serve there, it has always been a conversation about a group of people. So this changes everything.”

In other states, Patrick Murphy (D) defeated Linda McMahon for Connecticut senator despite the fact that she spent $100 million of her own money on the campaign, and Florida’s Bill Nelson (D) protected his seat against Connie Mack. More states with outside money where Democrats keep their seats are Missouri (Claire McCaskill won over “legitimate rape” Todd Akins) and Ohio (Sherrod Brown kept his seat despite the millions and millions of dollars that superPACs spent to defeat him).

The House stayed Republican, but upcoming days will show whether some of the most virulent Tea Partiers were voted out as in Illinois where Iraqi veteran Tammy Duckworth defeated “deadbeat dad” Joe Walsh.

In at least one state, North Carolina, the state has switched from Democratic to Republican.

Marriage equality and marijuana legalization were probably the two subjects of the most liberal initiatives out of the 170 scattered across the country. While the country is probably not ready to legalize marijuana, the marriage equality has been legalized by popular vote for the first time. Maryland first called the vote to make marriage equality legal in that state, with both Maine and Washington state close behind. In Minnesota, the referendum to ban marriage equality was failing.

During the coming four years the country will be dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming. Bill O’Reilly on Fox News is one of the loudest screamers when he explained why he thought that Obama did so well in the voting:

“It’s not a traditional America anymore. And there are 50 percent of the voting public who want stuff. They want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama. He knows it. And he ran on it… You’re going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel that they are entitled to things, and which candidate between the two is going to give them things?”

This racism is one serious problem that President Obama had. A second one was overcoming the disastrous economic problems he inherited, especially accompanied by the GOP obstruction. The third issue is the concerted GOP effort to suppress the vote that started with mandates for photo ID, restrictions in registering new voters, and reducing early voting. Even today on Election Day the problems were obvious.

Misinformation: Candidates such as the winning senate candidate in Arizona Jeff Flake and officials in elections offices called and sent information with incorrect voting dates, times, and polling locations.

Intimidation: Employers sent emails with veiled—and not so veiled—threats about firing people if President Obama were elected. True the Vote watchers were banned from polls in one Ohio county when it was discovered they forged signatures to get their permits. In Pennsylvania others intercepted voters in minority areas to wrongly tell them they had to have photo ID.

Misrepresentation: Linda McMahon tried to look like a Democrat in outfitting poll standers in shirts styled by those worn by a liberal union and distributed sample ballots with her name next to that of the president.

Malfunctioning/missing voting machines: Some computers flipped to Republican names when a Democratic button was pressed, and power was lacking in some areas. One precinct had machines available for only one of two Congressional districts for a while.

Long lines in minority areas: Virginia, a state without early voting, had waits of up to eight hours in 35-degree temperatures. Polls in predominantly white areas have waits of as little as ten minutes.

This is the third time in four elections that the United States has had serious problems in voting, starting with George W. Bush’s loss of the popular vote and his subsequent appointment to the presidency by the U.S. Supreme Court. We have four years before the next presidential election to fix these problems.

David Frum, past special assistant to George W. Bush, has some wise admonitions and advice:

“Almost everywhere else, elections are run by impartial voting agencies. In France, elections are the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior, which establishes places and hours of voting, prints ballots (France still uses paper) and counts the votes. In Germany, an independent federal returning officer oversees a complex state and federal voting system. In Canada, federal elections are managed by a specialized agency, Elections Canada. Mexico, emerging from a sad history of electoral manipulation, created in the 1990s a respected independent agency, the Federal Electoral Institute. Brazil has nationwide electronic voting, producing instantaneous, uncontested results…

“Here’s what doesn’t happen in other democracies: Politicians of one party do not set voting schedules to favor their side and harm the other. Politicians do not move around voting places to gain advantages for themselves or to disadvantage their opponents. In fact, in almost no other country do politicians have any say in the administration of elections at all.”

In closing, I say, “Well done, Nate Silver!” I look forward to a better tomorrow.

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