An article in the Politico assesses the Democrat’s chances in the 2010 mid-term elections. The Dems are definitely going to lose seats, the important question is, how many?
The 40 seats required for a Republican takeover of the House is out of the question barring a major scandal involving squeaky-clean Obama himself. Health care is getting people shook up, but its not swing-voters holding up the portraits of Obama with a Charlie Chaplin (that’s who they’re comparing him to right?) mustache.
With more to worry the Democrats, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com tells the Politico:
“A lot of Democratic freshmen and sophomores will be running in a much tougher environment than in 2006 and 2008 and some will adapt to it, but a lot of others will inevitably freak out and end up losing,”
Why does Silver believe a member of the House with two to four years of experience will not be able to handle a race against a newcomer? Many of these representatives (such as Tim Walz of MN-1) fought tough races to beat incumbents for their seats.
Can the Republicans pick up 20 seats? Maybe, depending on how many districts went by a margin slim enough to attribute a Dem victory to the youth vote. The turnout among 18-29 year olds will undoubtedly be down in the mid-term, but I don’t know if it was ever high enough to matter anyway. Besides, turnout for every age group goes down in mid-terms.
Ten seats? Sounds about right. Provided the economy turns around by the election, ten seats is an acceptable and expected loss for the president’s party in a mid-term. Incumbency is a hell of an advantage, unless the Democrats fumble health care reform something fierce the 112th Congress should be something Obama can work with.
William McGurn of the Wall Street Journal has some advice for Obama on how to save his presidency; move to the right. McGurn should be ignored for the following reasons:
A. Eight months in is far too early to be talking about the legacy of a presidency.
B. A conservative journalist telling the president to be more conservative is like a drug dealer telling a person to buy drugs.
McGurn makes his first mistake when comparing Obama’s health care push to Clinton’s, stating Congress recessed in August of 1994 with a health care bill pending, the bill never gained steam after the recess and pretty soon it was November and the Republicans controlled both houses. There is no election this November, there was no need to rush a bill through.
Second, McGurn blows up the health care debate to be something bigger than it is. Obama beat McCain roughly 53% to 46% in the popular vote, a fairly even split. Given that it should be a surprise to no one that that half of the American public wouldn’t support the health care plans currently being kicked around.
McGurn goes on to attribute Clinton’s policies in the latter half of his first term to co-opting ideas of the GOP, as if they were the only party interested in reforming welfare or capitalizing on the general public sentiment favoring smaller government. Couple that with the political realities of a Republican-controlled Congress and its obvious why Clinton signed no ultra-liberal bills.
McGurn looks at Clinton’s failures as successes, specifically mentioning deregulation and the Defense of Marriage Act. With the nearly 10 percent unemployment rate deregulation may have given us, and the discriminatory garbage that is the Defense of Marriage Act I hope the WSJ article falls on deaf White House ears. I don’t foresee any deregulation in the near future but I’m very unimpressed on the administration’s lack of progress in the realm of gay rights.
But like I stated earlier, its still early.
Apologies to anyone who read the incomplete post that accidently went up while I was fixing a golf cart.
Last week Citizens for Responsible Government issued a press release complaining of being denied access at Governor Doyle’s announcement he would not seek a third term. The group claims that representatives of their group and fellow conservative organization Wisconsinites Interests Now were denied entry by Doyle staffers and a state patrol officer into what CRG claimed was a public press conference. CRG exonerated the officer as “just doing his job” but believes the Doyle staffers that directed the officer “ought to be fired.”
The group continued its rant by referring to “jack-booted henchmen.” As the CRG made clear they hold no grudge against the state patrol officer (who may literally have been wearing jackboots) they must be referring figuratively to Doyle’s staffers, using the term to evoke Nazis or fascism. I don’t need to tell you this is insulting and counterproductive to civilized debate.
Regardless of the merits of the CRG’s pending open records request on the press conference, Wisconsinites are too intelligent to buy into this type of name-calling and bomb-throwing. CRG and WIN: you’re not making any friends by stooping to this vulgar level of discussion, that is all the advice I will provide to you.
Ms. Palin set the media’s agenda with her lying Facebook post alleging death panels were part of the health care bill. Unnoticed throughout this spectacle was the equally intellectual and thought-provoking posts on Palin’s page by her 800,000+ supporters. A few examples, from only the last 5 hours of activity on the page:
This lady has it figured out, someone please pass this along to the president:
A comment on the mainstream media’s objection to the Palin and the physique of Fox News number one commentator:
Thanks for giving us Palin, Alaska:
This guy should be the GOP’s new head strategist:
Sarah, Sara, Sara!
Hey America, we’re all in this together, except…
Allot of stupid:
Don’t laugh, these votes count just as much as yours.
Wisconsin’s Attorney General JB Van Hollen announced he will not defend the domestic partnership law passed in June as part of the budget, claiming that doing so would violate his duty to uphold the constitution. A 2006 amendment to Wisconsin’s constitution prohibits gay marriage or an arrangement “substantially similar.”
A domestic partnership grants registered couples 43 of the legal rights married couples have. A married couple has more than 200 rights conferred by the state. The grant of less than a quarter of the rights of a married couple does not come close to qualifying as “substantially similar.”
The attorney general is not allowed to challenge the constitutionality of laws passed by the legislature (State of WI v. City of Oak Creek). Van Hollen’s refusal to represent the state against a challenge to the law is a dereliction of his duty as attorney general. His declaration of the registry as unconstitutional borders on insubordination.
Wisconsin has a Democratic governor and legislature. Van Hollen is a Republican, elected the same year Doyle was elected to his second term. Shouldn’t the governor appoint the person who is tasked to defend the laws he signs? Its not anti-democratic to make this an appointed position, its efficient.
Van Hollen is posturing himself for a future run at higher office. This campaign stunt is going to cost the state money, hiring a private lawyer to do Van Hollen’s job for him. If the AG was simply appointed this problem would not exist and Van Hollen could not be exploiting a law for personal political gain.
The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram described Rep. Kind’s Friday forum as “passionate but civil” which was mostly true. Their reporter obviously wasn’t in the overflow crowd outside of the auditorium when a supporter of reform, fed up with the chants of “boo” and “no” offered to “take any one of you idiots on right now” while waving his cane. A police officer escorted the man out but I overheard him say “They are threatening me, I’m 62 and diabetic and every time they try to stop this bill they are threatening me.”
Also overheard, a man leaving early in the session said, “ah lets go fishin.”
Aside from the cane waving incident “shut your big mouth” in response to an unsolicited comment from a member of the audience was about as rude as the exchanges became.
Two buses with Minnesota plates were in the parking lot. Whether the passengers they delivered were from MN or not was a point of debate outside the listening session. One woman complained she traveled 100 miles to be there but couldn’t hear what was going on in the auditorium. There are places in the third district 100 miles from Whitehall so she could be a constituent of Rep. Kind’s, but its just as likely she came from outside the district.
State Sen. Dan Kapanke’s chief-of-staff Rose Smyrski admitted yesterday to conducting official business through a personal Yahoo email account. This is either a Palin-esqe attempt to keep official business out of the public record or glaring ignorance of public records laws on the part of Kapanke’s staff.
This came into the open due to a lawsuit by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin to obtain information regarding two forums held by Kapanke the DPW alleged to be campaign events staffed by his state funded legislative employees. A judge is about to rule in favor of the DPW in the case, saying information that Kapanke should have made publicly available was only able to be obtained through a lawsuit.
Other information requested by the DPW was said to have been deleted from state email accounts. Deleted messages are recoverable by the state IT workers for what appears to be a month, but as these events were held in April and June anything deleted is long gone. From the Post-Crescent article above;
Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Sloan Lattis, representing Kapanke, denied any nefarious motives, saying the office routinely deletes e-mail messages to keep its system from clogging.
This may very well be true. I don’t believe the Asst. Attorney General’s statement was politically motivated. She has given at least $800 to Democratic campaigns over the last 12 years. The Government Accountability board told Kapanke the events should not have been financed by his campaign but given the circumstances (change of venue due to sporting event near original venue, etc.) surrounding the events Kapanke handled the situation appropriately. These are minor and possibly forgivable missteps but the simple fact is that Kapanke used publicly paid employees to staff what clearly became campaign events.
This ordeal does not bode well for Kapanke’s 2010 congressional campaign. If his opponent is Ron Kind he will be running against the epitome of clean, open government. In the unlikely case that Smyrski’s use of a personal email account was an honest mistake, it shows ignorance on the part of Kapanke. Sen. Kapanke has the name recognition needed to do well in a race for a congressional seat, but that name recognition may now come at the cost of votes from citizens supportive of open government.
With Governor Doyle’s Monday confirmation of reports he would not seek a third term as Wisconsin’s governor came the speculation as to potential candidates on the Democratic ticket. Lt. Gov. Lawton was in from the start, she had announced her intention to run should Doyle decline to over a month ago. U.S. Rep. Ron Kind has confirmed he is considering a run and will make an announcement in the coming weeks. If Kind runs, what will happen to his seat, the third congressional district?
State Sen. Dan Kapanke announced his intention to challenge Kind for his seat earlier this month. If Kind were to run for governor he couldn’t simultaneously run to keep his House seat. The third district is not safe Democratic territory by any means and the citizens of the district would not appreciate Kind considering them a “backup job,” not to mention the citizens of Wisconsin would disapprove of a gubernatorial candidate who was not “all in.” Really, these observations mean very little because Ron Kind is a man of character who wouldn’t consider putting himself in the above situations.
What Kind running for governor would mean is that in 2010 the third district would not have an incumbent running, in the literal sense of the word. However, between owning the La Crosse Loggers baseball team and his State Senate gig, Kapanke is well-known in La Crosse and the immediate surrounding areas. He also has the advantage of not having to sacrifice his current job to run for governor, he isn’t up for re-election until 2012. Depending on the Democratic challenger for the job, Kapanke could have a significant advantage in name recognition, which is one of the most important benefits of incumbency.
Between the centrism of the third district, the good possibility of name recognition tilting in Kapanke’s favor and the tendency of the president’s party to lose seats in mid-term elections, I am worried about keeping the the third district Democratic in the event Kind runs for governor. Add to my pile of doubts that Lawton, who Kind would be challenging on the Democratic side, has the advantage of incumbency as a two term Lieutenant Governor, while Kind is only well-known in western Wisconsin. Whatever his decision may be, we wish Ron Kind the best of luck and thank him for his service to Wisconsin’s third congressional district.
Today Wisconsin extended its SeniorCare program, an alternative to the prescription drug benefits of Medicare Part D. SeniorCare will now be available at least until 2012. The announcement was praised by most of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation, Republican and Democrat alike. As strange as Paul Ryan’s (R-Janesville) support of federally subsidized health care may be at this particular moment, a stranger and more disappointing aspect is present in the health care debate, the opinion of the elderly.
Senior citizens believe, by a three-to-one margin, that health care reform will reduce their access to health care. This essentially means senior citizens are strongly against government involvement in health care, except when that health care is for senior citizens. Three-fourths of seniors are on Medicare. Crunch the numbers and the outcome is selfish.
No American should have to wait until they are old or disabled to receive health care. The opportunity to lead a healthy life is a right of every American.