Saturday, November 16, 2019
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The “Family Values” and “Fiscal Conservative” People Strike Again!

It's nice to see at least somebody living it up in the middle of this nasty recession we're in right now. I'm sure the Republican National Committee's donors will be overjoyed to see where their money's going. ;)

The Washington Post article goes on to talk about the RNC spending "more than $17,000 on private jet travel in February as well as nearly $13,000 for limousines and car services, and also ran up tabs at luxe hotels including the Beverly Hills Hotel ($9,000); the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons ($6,600) and the W Hotel in Washington ($15,000)." Again, somebody remind me, why would we listen to these hypocrites on anything?  

Mike Signer: “How to Beat the Demagogues”

Virginia Tech Adjunct Professor and former Virginia Lieutenant Governor candidate Mike Signer takes on "demagogues," brick-throwing "Tea Party" activists, and "melodramatic opportunists like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck."  Signer's key points:

1. "Ad hominem attacks can hominem attacks against opportunists like Beck and Palin can often backfire, making them both more popular and even more sympathetic."

2. "Help educate people about our constitutional traditions...the chattering class must translate its concern about stability into forceful, thoughtful, sustained attempts to educate the citizenry about the systemic dangers of demagogues."

3. "Extreme opportunists usually self-destruct...Palin, Beck, Limbaugh, even the nativist Lou Dobbs (rumored last year to be looking at a presidential run) may look longingly at actual national power. But they will most likely collapse if they actually seek it and refuse to let go their demagogic ways."

4. "Side with the people and show them results...[Democrats] should focus on direct job creation people can see, rather than economic theories they have to believe."

I particularly agree with Signer's last point, that Democrats need to ramp up efforts aimed at helping "Main Street," perhaps along the lines of a modern-day "Civilian Conservation Corps," "Works Progress Administration" and "National Youth Administration."  Let Republicans fight for rich people and Wall Street, while Democrats fight for working people and the middle class. That's not just the right thing to do economically and morally, it's also the smart move politically. Can we say "no brainer?"

NY Times: Cooch’s Lawsuit “sure to be ineffective”

As we know, Ken Cuccinelli continues to waste Virginia taxpayer's money, as well as the time of the Attorney General's office, pursuing his wild goose chase against health care reform. What makes this even more of a waste is that, as this morning's New York Times points out, there's almost no chance of Cooch's lawsuit succeeding. To the contrary, the Times writes, the attempt is "sure to be ineffective." Why not? Two reasons.

First, as I pointed out the other day, the "mandate" to purchase health insurance isn't much of a "mandate," if it's a "mandate" at all. Instead, as the Times notes, "[t]he penalties for not buying insurance have been structured as a tax, to be collected by the Internal Revenue Service."  There are also huge subisidies in this legislation to help people get health insurance. Combined, it's not so much a "mandate" as a combination of incentives (subsidies) and disincentives (taxes); nothing new, certainly nothing unconstitutional. Combined with the fact that "most policies are sold and claims paid through interstate commerce," this makes the new law "bullet-proof," or at least "a long shot that the Supreme Court would invalidate the mandate, if the cases ever reach that level."

Second, regarding the "states sovereignty" argument, the bottom line is that "[n]o state is required to set up an exchange...[n]or is any state required to participate in Medicaid, a joint federal-state program in which Washington pays half or more of the costs."  

If no state - including Virginia - is required to participate in  setting up health insurance exchanges, then how can it be an infringement on "state sovereignty" (to the extent there is such a thing)?  Short answer: it can't. To the contrary, all Ken Cuccinelli is accomplishing here is to waste our taxpayer money and to distract his office from its main job -- cracking down on crime! So much for "tough on crime" Republicans, I guess.  In the end, it's 99% certain that Cooch's lawsuit will end in failure. In the meantime, however, as the New York Times concludes, he and his fellow right-wing warriors are "doing a disservice to their constituents." Not that this will stop him, of course...

UPDATE 9:25 am: David Frum tweets, "Repeal is literally impossible. GOP cannot over-ride Obama veto even if they win evry single Senate seat in 2010...Promising repeal stokes rage in GOP base but promises results that cannot be delivered."  In other words, this is politically dangerous for the GOP, but go for it guys! :)

Head of Coffee Party Comments on Tea Party

Interesting comments by Coffee Party founder Annabel Park on the Tea Party. Also see Frank Rich's column in this morning's New York Times, entitled, "The Rage Is Not About Health Care," about what Rich believes is really driving the Tea Party movement.

Tim Kaine On RNC Rejection Of Civility Pledge

It's truly mindboggling that the Republican National Committee actually sees extreme nastiness as morally acceptable and politically advantageous, but that does appear to be the case. As always, a heckuva job Michael Steele and Company!

Jeff Schapiro: George Allen for Governor 2013?

Recently, there's been speculation that our old friend George "Felix Macacawitz" Allen might take on Jim Webb once again for U.S. Senate in 2012.
"Many people have encouraged me to run [for Senate in 2012]," Allen said in a telephone interview. "Susan and I have heard that from many people. And the answer is: perhaps."
Another "cowboy boots vs. combat boots" showdown? If Webb vs. Allen Part I was any indication, "Part Deux" would be wild and crazy and nasty, given that there's absolutely no love lost between those two guys. It could also be close, given that Allen only lost the last time around by 9,000 votes.  

But, will George Allen actually run for U.S. Senate again? Maybe, but in this morning's Richmond Times-Dispatch, Jeff Schapiro lays out a different scenario, George Allen for Governor 2013.

Could the GOP be heading toward another crackup, another shootout between the movement wing [led by Ken Cuccinelli] and the Main Streeters [led by Bill Bolling]?

Gov. Bob McDonnell is a bridge between these camps, though that has more to do with anger over the recession, bailouts and Obamacare, than his purported talent for blurring lines. Because McDonnell can't seek a second consecutive term, R's have no reason to behave themselves. What to do?

Call George Allen.

The former governor has everything the GOP wants in a future governor. He remains popular with the grass roots -- a favorite of conservative activists and the corporate class, having delivered for both. Allen, too, wants to avenge his squeaker loss in 2006 to Jim Webb for re-election to the U.S. Senate.

That actually makes some sense to me, given Allen's obvious disdain for the Senate, which he once called a "wounded sea slug." It's hard to imagine Allen really wanting to back there, but who knows, maybe he's already forgotten how much he hated that job, just like he "forgot" where he learned the word "macaca" and just like he "forgot" all about his Jewish ancestry.

On the other hand, Allen could decide to run for governor in 2013. That could be great political theater, especially if Schapiro's speculation about Mark Warner ditching the Senate - which he doesn't seem to be enjoying very much - to run for governor - an office Warner the executive most definitely seemed to like - comes to pass.  That would open the door for Ken Cuccinelli to take on Jim Webb in 2012, with Bill Bolling possibly sliding into Warner's Senate seat if Warner vacates to run for governor. Then, all we need to complete this political journalist's wet-dram fantasy is for Tim Kaine to run for Senate against Bolling in 2014, unless of course Kaine has taken a top cabinet post by then?  

Anyway, it's fun to speculate, and we could do so all day. But for now, it's still early 2010, and first we have to get through mid-term election later this year, followed by elections for the entire Virginia General Assembly next year.  Also, if Warner opts to stay in the Senate, which is my guess at the moment, that would leave the 2013 Schapiro scenario in turmoil, with possible Democratic gubernatorial contenders ranging from Terry McAuliffe to Ward Armstrong to Chap Peterson to Gerry Connolly to...heck, Tim Kaine could even run again. Anyway, we'll see, but if George Allen can make a comeback after his "macaca meltdown" of 2006, then I guess anything's possible in politics.

New Polls: Dem’s Have Hope This Fall After All?

For all the talk of major Republican gains coming this November, you'd think that they might already be printing up the letterhead for Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell. But not so fast, at least according to two new polls this morning.

First, here are some findings from the new, Washington Post-ABC News poll out this morning. First, note that, among both registered and "all voters," Democrats maintain a 4-point "generic" lead over Republicans for the U.S. House of Representatives elections next November. Not great, but not horrible either.

Second, check out these numbers on enthusiasm - or lack thereof - for switching control of Congress from Democrats to Republicans this November.  Right now, among registered voters, it's about an even split (2-point edge for "good thing") between those wanting control of Congress to switch parties and those wanting to keep it in Democratic hands. These numbers contrast sharply with the overwhelming desires for change in 1994 and 2006, when we saw shifts in control (Republican takeover of the House in 1994; Democratic takeover of the House and Senate in 2006).

Finally, let's look at the new numbers from Research 2000.  The first important finding is that the so-called "enthusiasm gap" has narrowed somewhat since health care reform legislation was passed.  Yes, Republicans still have the edge in who's more likely to vote this November, but there's been a big increase in Democrats who are "likely or definitely going to vote", from 40% on 3/8-10 to 55% on 3/22-3/25.  Republican enthusiasm also went up, from 51% to 62%, but not quite as much as Democratic enthusiasm. Anyway, this is still an area where we need more improvement, but it's a good start.

Second, take a look at the following numbers from the Research 2000 poll, indicating a major surge in support for Democrats and a sharp drop for Republicans over the past week.  For instance, President Obama is up 5 points, to 56%-39% (+17 points), while Congressional Republicans are down 7 points, to 21%-71% (-50 points). Also, the Democratic Party is up 3 points (to 40%-53%, or minus 13 points) while the Republicans are down 3 points (to 28%-67%, or minus 39 points), resulting in a 26-point favorable/unfavorable rating for the blue team over the red team.

So much for the prediction that, if Democrats passed health care reform legislation, it would kill them at the polls.  In fact, it did the opposite. The implication is that passing more of what Democrats were explicitly elected to do in 2006 and 2008 is not a bad thing, it's a very good thing both on policy terms and also politically. So, next up on the agenda: immigration reform, financial reform, clean energy/climate legislation. more on "jobsjobsjobs."  Keep getting results, let the Republicans stay as the "hissy fit" Party of No, and we'll see how it goes at the polls this November.  Yes, there's a long time to go and these numbers could change (in either direction). For now, though, things are looking pretty good, especially considering the totally biased (towards Republicans and the "Tea Party") news coverage we get from the corporate/right-wing media.

P.S. Also see the recent poll by Quinnipiac University, indicating that the presence of "Tea Party" candidates on the ballot this fall strongly benefits the Democrats. So, let's hope for lots of those, in places like Virginia's 5th CD and possibly other (1st? 10th?) CDs as well.  

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