The Dust Has Settled On Tuesday’s Elections

Having posted about how I don’t pay too much attention to primary results as they relate to the general election and “national trends”. But I still read the stuff and ponder it, so I found this from Al Giordano who is becoming one of my favorite reads. From The Field…(emphasis mine)

Most of the races on the ballot yesterday were primaries and in that context political outsiders out-organized the insiders within both major parties. The only contest to test whether climate change has come to the Democrat-vs.-Republican rivalry happened in Pennsylvania’s Congressional District number 12, in a special election to replace the late US Rep. Jack Murtha, a conservative Democrat. How great was the supposed “anti-establishment” tide that the media has been crowing about? The winner was Murtha’s longtime Congressional aide named Mark Critz...

…And yesterday the Democrat got 53 percent of the vote, a comfortable margin of victory, in this supposedly “anti-incumbent” year even though Critz was the closest thing to an incumbent in the contest. His victory underscores that when it comes to US House elections – fantasies of the activists of left and right aside – “the issues” and ideology are secondary criteria for most voters. Most Americans look at their representative in Congress and think “what can he do for me?” They want to know that their US Rep. can “deliver for the locals.” Critz was accurately seen as the one who could pull the strings for the district precisely because he had Congressional staff experience. The “anti-incumbent” revolution predicted from all quarters did not materialize in Western Pennsylvania. The proper reading of yesterday’s result in fact brings the opposite conclusion: Incumbents who do the grunt work of constituent services will mostly survive in November.

People vote for candidates not for some media created narrative as if they are mindless drones. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that there are many mindless drones out there but I also believe that the way to win elections is to run good candidates who are in tune with their local population. If either candidate is perceived as out of touch with the local folks, it lowers their chance of pulling off a win. More from Al…

Tuesday’s results screw with the narratives imposed by many players on the political stage, and not just Gingrich’s. White, college educated, progressive activists have invested heavily in a harmonious argument with that of the tea partiers of the right. The portrait they paint is that President Obama isn’t satisfying “the base” enough, not being “progressive” enough, and that therefore ideological voters on the left will stay home and Republicans will conquer the upcoming midterm elections. It is often said as a threat: Do what I say or you will lose because “we” will sit on our hands. It’s tiresome not merely because it is boorish and an act of aspiring bullydom, but also because those who shout it don’t really have enough of a “we” behind them to make good on those threats, and most of that “we” doesn’t knock on doors or volunteer on phone banks or organize communities. They are aspiring generals with blogosphere accounts, but without armies.

Rather, the tea-baggers and fire-baggers alike are merely trying to get out in front of a normal trend in midterm elections: the party in the White House usually loses an average of twenty seats in the House and three in the Senate. They simply want to set up the bowling pins to be able to crow credit if and when the ball knocks some of them down. For careful watchers of US politics, their gambit is superficial and transparent, one aimed only at the most gullible among us.

See now Al is a man after my heart, referring to the fire-baggers. :) His point about progressives threatening to stay home, I have to wonder exactly how many democrats are so pouty and would really go against their own best interests by helping Republicans get elected. Do the “fire-baggers” really think that democrats want to elect a right-wing nutball who will ruin our country some more, start some more unnecessary wars, give tax cuts to their rich buddies, gut regulations that end up causing disasters, torture people, spy on their own citizens and drive the country into a ditch again. I don’t think so, Homey don’t play that. Some more Al Giordano…

Many still don’t grasp that in 2008, everything changed in US politics, which is increasingly fought on the ground with the methods of community organizing. That’s what explains the high Democratic turnout yesterday and the bellwether district in Pennsylvania remaining blue. And that – and not ideological tantrums on the Internets – will write the history of November 2010. Seems like the grownups are still at the driver’s wheel and, once again, the Chicken Littles were wrong. And that is of course, old news and history repeating itself again. How many times have I written this story? How many more will I have to pen? Oh well, at least we get to use images of that cute little feathered guy again.

“Ideological tantrums”, love it. Go look at the cute little feathered guy at Al’s blog, The Field.

Arizona Immigration Law For Dummies

David Neiwert has an excellent piece over at Crooks and Liars covering some of the issues with the new Arizona immigration law. Go read it now! I’m going to paste the ending which is great, but you have to go read the whole thing if you want to understand why the Arizona law will not be around very long. From Crooks and Liars…(emphasis mine)

It’s important to remember that unless people are caught in the actual act of crossing the border, and not merely found on a freeway crammed into a minivan, there is no criminal violation that any officer could suspect them of. The only violation likely to arouse suspicion would be a civil one.

Thus, as you can see, Kobach’s and Van Susteren’s analogy comparing someone suspected of being in the country illegally to someone pulled over with a bag of pot on the seat, or some other criminal violation, is all wrong.

A more apt analogy would be a situation in which a police officer approached a suspect for a drinking-and-driving violation and began to suspect that the same person was a tax cheat because he was a wealthy white Republican. Certainly, there are no shortage of those in Arizona.

If the Arizona law were applied similarly regarding all federal civil violations, well, the officer would be required to call the IRS and have that person audited.

Anyone wanna bet the Arizona Legislature won’t be demanding that of their police officers anytime soon?

The reason why it won’t be around any longer is in David Neiwert’s piece, here is another link to it. :)

What Tuesdays Elections Mean

My answer is, whatever anyone wants it to mean. The pundit class is out and about today spinning and interpreting the results of primaries and one special election. Apparently both parties are claiming victory which proves to me that when people cast votes, politicians get elected. I personally don’t read too much into individual races, just like I don’t read much into polls this far out from an election. Like Tip O’neill said, all politics are local. Trying to read a larger meaning into primary elections or any individual election is an exercise in futility. I scoff at most of the talking heads who try to connect dots that aren’t supposed to be connected or prognosticate the implications for the general election in November. The voting public, specifically the middle of the electorate are very fickle, their opinions blow in the breeze depending on whatever the current mood is. Good politicians like Barack Obama and David Plouffe know how to swing that fickle middle. But I propose that until we get close to November, it’s pretty silly trying to predict outcomes or major swings. One major event, a natural disaster, a terrorist event or even an upturn in the economy can cause major swings in the middle segment of the voting population. both parties have weaknesses and incumbents are in trouble if they are perceived to be part of those problems. I would propose that Republicans look much more like a part of the problem and it is up to us liberals to help get that word out.

Arab American Wins Miss USA Pageant – Congratulations!

A huge congratulations to Rima Fakih for winning the Miss USA pageant, we in Michigan are proud of you. Hooray!  Even if the Teabaggers and right-wing bigots feel empowered, the rest of the United States of America including the judges of the Miss USA pageant are much better people than the media would want you to believe. With as much attention as those nutballs get, you would think the whole country is Islamophobic, but alas, America proves once again that the loudest voices aren’t necessarily the majority.

But of course the bigoted, hateful, right-wing in this country doesn’t like that idea at all. Apparently they believe America is a melting pot, but you can only put white people in that pot. From a TPM story on the win….

A new Miss USA was crowned last night, the first time a Muslim, Arab-American woman won the honor. But for Daniel Pipes, a neocon pundit who writes for the National Review and was a Bush appointee to the Peace Institute, that’s one too many.

On his blog yesterday, Pipes pointed out five other Muslim women who’ve won beauty contests in the U.S., Britain and France over the last five years.

“They are all attractive, but this surprising frequency of Muslims winning beauty pageants makes me suspect an odd form of affirmative action,” he wrote.

That “suspicion is borne out,” he wrote, because of one pageant winner at North Carolina A&T University who wore a hijab under her crown.

Pipes does not explain why Miss A&T’s hijab proves his suspicion that a handful of Muslim beauty pageant winners are the result of some “odd form of affirmative action.”

I have to call out TPM for not even mentioning Rima Fakih’s name. I’m sure it was just an oversight, but it plays into the idea that pageants are superficial, you mean she has a name?

We could debate the whole idea of beauty pageants in general, but let’s leave that for another day. Hooray for Arab Americans and hooray for Michigan, we are proud of you Rima.

The Greenwald, Hamsher and Uygur Crowd (Poutrage Inc.) Gets Taken Down!

Al Giordano over at The Field has an excellent piece that I HAVE to share with you even if you are growing tired of me bitching about Glenn Greenwald and Janey Hamsher, two opportunistic “self-labeled” progressives who really just have a joint hatred for Barack Obama that binds them together. The topic, of course, is the appointment of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Al gives us this excellent paragraph to chew on….

Now, it has been entirely predictable that the board members of Poutrage, Inc. – those self-proclaimed “progressive” pundits who have never been community organizers and resent Obama and all the rest of us that have actually done that work and won political battles because they keep failing at it – are caught up in their cyclical careerist protagonism over the Kagan nomination. I won’t mention any names, but of course Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher are up to their Johnny-one-note tricks of getting their faces on the cable talk shows and in the media by proclaiming themselves “progressives against an Obama proposal” on any particular policy. They are as predictable as they are unconvincing, and although they always lose, they never change their bumbling tactics, I conclude that they are not interested in winning the issues they claim to care about. They are only interested in their own careers and egos and in fooling the gullible to send donations to their projects of self-enrichment. The issues are merely the means to try to make themselves relevant to the national discourse.

Did you see Glenn Greenwald on “Press the Meat” Sunday? You could see the foam coming out of his rabid mouth, I swear. His kind, and I include Hamsher and Uygur in that grouping, are using the same tactics as the Republicans and Tea Partiers, taking a sliver of truth and misrepresenting, exaggerating and twisting it to fit their own narrow interpretation. The most glaring example of his exaggerations came when he made the comment something to the effect…”The Obama Administration wants to take away Miranda rights” “wanting to rewrite our core protections of Miranda and being brought before a judge” or some sort of horseshit like that. They have taken what Attorney General Eric Holder alluded to in an interview and twisted it to fit with their warped world view. They seem to enjoy attacking people based on what they think might happen and of course when it doesn’t happen as they set it up, they move on to the next “poutrage”. How many true progressives are still falling for their crap? It’s no wonder they made a blatant appeal to the Tea Partiers, they are simply in it for their own egos and self-interest. As the awesome Kay in Maine pointed to in a comment on her blog, White Noise Insanity, Jane Hamsher is trying to use the Senate’s vote to audit the Fed – to raise money. No shit, she’s claiming credit for it and trying to raise money from her knuckle-dragging followers. Check out this link, but please don’t give to that opportunistic (insert your choice word here).

Al Giorgano goes on to take on Cenk Uygur, one of the Hamsher gang and VP of Poutrage Inc.

The other “Progressives Against Obama” member I’ll take to the woodshed today is radio and TV host Cenk Uygur, for whom the Kagan nomination likewise is not really about Kagan but about Obama himself. He writes:

“My problem with her is my problem with Obama. Cheney and Bush moved the ball 80 yards down-field (sic, as anyone who knows the NFL spells it downfield, without hyphen), whether that was on executive power, warrantless wiretapping, pre-emptive wars or just about any other issue you can think of. And Obama’s bold and brilliant response is to move the ball 10 yards in the opposite direction. Not good enough. Not remotely good enough…

“He is never going to throw the ball down the field. If you like two yard pick-ups by a running-back going straight up the middle, you’ll love Obama. It’s the Eddie George presidency. What he doesn’t seem to get is that the other side is eventually going to get the ball back and then it won’t seem like a major accomplishment that we went from our own two-yard line to our own twelve-yard line. It’ll be viewed as a tremendous disappointment.”

Actually, Mr. Uygur, you ought to get to know the games of football and of politics before nominating yourself as head coach or quarterback. You should at least know the rules of the game. In football, moving the ball ten yards downfield is precisely good enough. It is called gaining a first down, that which allows your team to remain in possession of the ball and keep battling downfield toward touchdowns and field goals, while denying the opposing team time on the clock to do so.

The name-dropping of running back Eddie George is also revealing as to just how greatly Uygur’s comparison fails epicly: Eddie George, at Ohio State University, won the Heisman Trophy in 1995, and he rushed for more than 10,000 yards in only eight years in the NFL (presidents, by law, can’t last more than eight) and George helped bring his middling team to the Super Bowl in just four years, one first down at a time. In his first season with the Houston Oilers-cum-Tennessee Titans franchise (when George earned the NFL’s Rookie of the Year title), the team won just eight games to eight losses. By 1999, the Titans had 13 wins to three losses and went to the Super Bowl.

What got them there? First downs and ball possession, largely thanks to Eddie George: That team won by running the ball up the field three or four yards per play.

Guys like Solomon and probably Uygur (the jury is still out on the latter) are a bit distinct from pond scum like Greenwald and Hamsher, who are only in it for their own protagonist careers. The former are more akin to those fans in the bleachers always screaming at the quarterback to throw the long ball even against teams skilled at interceptions.

The football metaphor gets a little tiring, but the idea that President Obama needs to go for the long ball instead of chipping away at the opposition to me is short-sighted. The health care reform package is a great analogy for this. Had Obama gone for the public option or single payer, we would have gotten “jack shit” out of the whole process. I’m glad he took the tactful route and made some incremental change which can be built upon in the future. Kind of like getting a first down or running a screen pass that gets you 40 yards. We still have the ball and we’re heading down field. Ugh, enough of the football metaphor.

I think it is incumbent upon us true progressives (I’m a liberal, damn it) to drive these posers from our party. There is nothing worse than someone who claims to be on your team but wants everything done the way they want it done – or else. These assholes are doing nothing but helping Republicans take control of our government again, I guess so they have something to raise money off. If we go back and see how they used Bush/Cheney to further their own self interests, it looks like they’ve just changed their target and are now shooting at their own, kind of a “friendly fire” incident. It’s at this point that I would love to launch into a tirade of expletives, but I’ll keep it family friendly.