Saturday, November 10, 2012

Did Obama neglect down-ticket races?

Some critics within the Democratic Party are saying that Obama did nothing to help those in tight Congressional races.   He didn't even record robo-calls for them, which wouldn't have taken much of his time, they complain.

Let's look at this.   We don't know why he didn't.   But . . .

What we do know is that almost every close race in both the House and Senate was won by a Democrat.  And many of those races were won because of the Obama campaign's superlative ground game -- the registration of new voters and getting out the vote on election day.

The down-ticket races benefited from this far more than people getting one more robo-call in this super-saturated political season.  It was unprecedented and highly effective.   The opposition was simply stunned at the magnitude and efficiency of the Obama operation.  

So don't say that Obama didn't help the down-ticket races.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Nate Silver -- big winner

There is a satisfying parallelism between Karl Rove's star sinking like a lead balloon and Nate Silver's star rising like a rocket, boosted by his correctly predicting the winner of all 50 of the states in the presidential race, as well as most of the senate races.

A triumph of data over fantasy.   It seems that Romney and his team were stunned by the magnitude of the defeat.  They simply didn't believe all the outside polls but relied on their in-house polling, which must have used a Republican-friendly skewed sample.

This is another of the profound subtleties that's coming out of this election -- the come-uppance of those who live in the "faith-based," as opposed to the "reality-based" world.


Just icing on the cake

After an election night sweep of the presidency and increased numbers in both the Senate and House;  and after a four-for-four big win for marriage equality in four states;  and after Karl Rove's humiliation and meltdown -- there's still room for a bit more icing on the cake.

OK.   So I'm gloating.   It is permitted.

Two Republicans in two different states (one actually a poll watcher) decided to prove how easy it would be to commit voter fraud.   Each tried to vote a second time, after already having voted.

Instead of proving how easy it would be, both were arrested for attempted voter fraud.

Heh.  Heh.   Heh.


Belief and hope restored

Over the past 48 hours my cynicism has just melted away.   The election results -- and realizing that the final tip over the top came from the grass roots organizational efforts of the Obama team, registering new voters and then getting out the vote -- have been restorative.

I feel like the stink and the slime of the Republican campaign have been washed away, and we can breathe fresh air again.

This is so much more than the just-barely-squeaking-by victory  

I was expecting.


Karl Rove has become deranged

First, there was Karl Rove's on-air melt down on election night, challenging the FoxNews number counters on their calling Ohio for Obama.   Rove tried to make them retract it -- but they told anchor Megyn Kelly - - live, on camera -- that they were 99.95% sure.

Then the next day, Rove squirmed as he tied to justify his having spent nearly $300 million of fat cat donors' money and had so little to show for it.

Now today, he seems to have completely "gone round the bend."

He said on Fox News that Obama "succeeded by suppressing the vote . . . by saying to people, 'You may not like who I am and I know you can't bring yourself to vote for me, but I am going to paint this other guy as simply a rich guy who only cares about himself.'"

That suppresses the vote???    Just tv ads saying that?  No evidence that people were discouraged or prevented from voting?   Just like the non-existent "voter fraud" they peddled to get truly suppressive laws passed to diminish the Democratic vote.

And then this jackass Karl Rove has the gall to say Obama suppressed the vote and had nothing but the attack ads to offer as evidence.   But that's standard political warfare.    And did not the Romney team do much worse character attack ads on Obama?  Much, much worse.

Send for the men in white coats.  We need an intervention here for poor Karl.

But what fun it is to watch the fat weasel squirm and writhe.   Heh.   Heh.  Heh.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Reality sinks in

John Boehner did a post-election interview with Diane Sawyer.   An important excerpt from the transcript provided by Boehner's staff to the Huffington Post:

DIANE SAWYER: A couple of other questions about the agenda now. You have said next year that you would repeal the health care vote. That's still your mission?

JOHN BOEHNER: Well, I think the election changes that. It's pretty clear that the president was reelected, Obamacare -- is the law of the land. I think there are parts -- of -- the healthcare law that -- are going to be very difficult to implement. And very expensive. And as -- the time when we're trying to find a way to create a path -- toward a balanced budget -- everything has to be on the table.

DIANE SAWYER: But you won't be spending the time next year trying to repeal Obamacare?

JOHN BOEHNER: There certainly may be parts of it that we believe -- need to be changed. We may do that. No decisions at this point.

Now that's big news.  Boehner said:  "The election changes that. . . . the president was reelected."


Some wry, random day-after thoughts

1.   "Karl Rove had a bad night," said by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) who won a very hard re-election battle.  He should know.   Karl Rove's SuperPac Crossroads pumped nearly $12 million into Ohio to try to defeat him.   It was a bad investment.

2.  The Tea Party endorsed 16 Republican candidates for Senate.  Only 4 of them won.

3.  Michele Bachmann sure came down in the political world.    After winning the Iowa straw poll last summer and having her 15 minutes of fame as the Tea Party darling, she barely squeaked out re-election to the House.  Heh.  Heh.  Heh.

3.   Aunt Minnie (Mitch) McConnell just doesn't seem to get it that they lost.  If the president will move to the political center, they will meet him halfway, he said.   How gracious of the loser to tell the winner he's willing to cooperate if he plays nice.  Pardon me while I gag.

4.  Ever-adaptable Newt -- remember him? -- made a bold prediction that Romney would win over 300 electoral votes.   Today Newt said,
"I was wrong."   Please, tell me, when has he ever been right about anything?   And why, then, do they keep having him as a political commentator on tv news shows?

5.  Same with bloviating political guru Dick Morris who predicted "a Romney landslide," who said Mitt would take all the battleground states.

These guys need to get out of the echo chamber of Fox News and get some fresh air.

6.  I like this comment from StoptheWorld on HuffPost comments section:   "Citizens United didn't do too much. Just caused a lot of rich men to waste their money. It seems that citizens united did more than Citizens United."


Some serious, random day-after thoughts

1.  A total of 33 senate seats were being voted on.   Early on, the big question was whether Republicans might take control of the Senate.   In the end, Democrats won 23 of those seats, Independents 2 (combining with Dems to make 25).  Republicans won only 8.

2.  Democrats won the presidency and increased their numbers in both the House and Senate, retaining control of the Senate.

3. Almost every one of the close Senate and House races were won by Democrats.  Even outspoken Alan Grayson re-took the House seat he lost 2 years ago.

4.  In-fighting in the Republican party now begins.   The billionaire donors are said to be furious -- and Karl Rove is at the center of their fury.  One strategist put it this way:  "How do you tell them you spent $390 million and got nothing?"

5.  At least one conservative political operative has called for the resignation of Speaker Boehner, Minority Leader McConnell, and the Chairman of the RNC.

6.  Romney won't be exempt from the fury.   Erik Erikson, founder of, said that Romney "stood for nothing and everything at the same time," and that his advisers were "outside charlatans."   He said Romney's approach to Hispanic voters was "atrocious.  Frankly, the fastest growing demographic group isn't going to vote for the party that . . . hates brown people."

7.  Republicans were simply blown out of the water by the Democrats' awesome ground game -- getting new voters registered, getting their voters to the polls.

8.  Donald Trump fumed on his twitter:  "The electoral college is a total disaster for democracy."   Yes, but Obama won the popular vote too.

9.  I suggest we just stay out of the way while they knife each other up.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Four for four

What a historic day -- on many counts !!!

But especially for marriage equality.   Never before has marriage equality been tested in a vote of the people and won -- until last night.

Final results are in, and out of four ballot questions in four states, WE WON ALL FOUR.

In three states, the question followed their state legislatures having passed marriage equality, only to have it challenged and submitted to voter approval.    Voters in Maryland, Maine, and Washington State have all endorsed marriage equality in their states.

In Minnesota, a constitutional amendment to define marriage as being between one man and one woman was on the ballot.   It was defeated.   This does not bring marriage equality to Minnesota.  They still have a law against it, but at least voters rejected the push to enshrine inequality in their constitution.

This strengthens the cases that will inevitably be decided by the U. S. Supreme Court -- both on DOMA and California's Proposition 8.

A  BIG  BIG  WIN for equality and justice.


Senate pick-up

Democrats picked up a net of 3 seats in the Senate, giving them a total of 56 (if we count the two independents) -- only 4 short of the 60 filibuster-proof number.    On some issues, anyway, it will be a lot easier to get those 4 votes to advance legislative debate than it was to get the 8 needed currently.

Now maybe Obama can get some judges appointed.   And have a much easier time when he has the opportunity to fill a seat on the Supreme Court.

The Republicans retained control of the House, and the margin is not yet settled.  But I'm thinking it will be (or should be, at least) a chastened group of Republicans whose divisive tactics have been repudiated overall by the voter.

And the party leaders know that, if they are to rebuild their party and have any future, they have to become more cooperative for the good of the country.


What does it mean?

Here are some things we should learn from this election:

1.  The American people are not so dumb and not so easily mislead by lies as the Republicans thought.

2.  Big money does not necessarily win elections.   (Caveat:  Obama also raised big, big money.  But much much more of it came from small donors.)

3.  A campaign built on distorting the truth and pretending to be something you're not does not work.   People see through the phoniness (take note, Romney).

4.  Trying to win by intimidation and voter suppression does not work.  It backfires.   It makes people more determined to vote at any price.  And the beauty of our democracy is that they can vote and it will count.

5.  Speak the truth.  Be genuine.  Organize.  Organize.  Organize.   Obama's superior ground game on election day probably was one of the biggest factors in his decisive win in the battleground states.  

Now the lesson the Republican Party needs to take to heart:    Your rightward lunge has been soundly repudiated.    The Tea Party dragged you into defeat.   You will have to rebuild your party with the few moderates who have stuck with you.


Big Losers

1.  Billionaire gambling casino mogul Sheldon Adelson was a big loser in this campaign.    Having given more than $53 million to at least six candidates (starting with Newt Gingrich) -- all six lost.   Maybe he, and others of his ilk, will think again before they try to buy elections for their narrow, greedy self-interest.   Even Linda McMahon couldn't buy herself a senate seat to represent Connecticutt.

2.  FoxNews and all the right-wing would-be pundits who sell lies and distortions.   They even had an on-air argument last night between Karl Rove and the Fox number crunchers over calling Ohio for Obama.   Karl Rove challenged his own team -- but they proved him wrong.

3.  The mentality that says "we can't sell our product on merits, so we'll tell the people to just trust us and we'll take care of things."   And for good measure, they tried to buy the election with obscene amounts of money and to suppress the Democratic vote in 10 different ways.   It all failed, over and over again across the country.

4.  The Tea Party.   Many of their parade leaders lost their races:   Alan West, Joe Walsh.  Even Michele Bachmann just barely squeeked through to re-election as the House Leader of the Tea Party Coalition.

It's a great day for honesty, integrity, progressive thinking, fairness, justice, and compassion.  And the Supreme Court has been saved.


Huge win for marriage equality and a new gay senator

The news for gay and lesbian Americans is also HUGE.

There were constitutional amendments and referendums in four states.

In Maryland and Maine, and Washington State, voters have approved marriage equality laws passed by their legislatures but were challenged and required voter approval.    They have won in three states.

In Minnesota, there was a constitutional amendment proposal that would limit marriage to one man and one woman.   As of 1:30 am, with 81% of returns, those voting against the measure have a slight lead.   Only last week, a message from one of the gay rights organizations said that a win in only one of these states would be a huge boost, because it would show that voters will approve gay marriage, not just legislatures and judges.  And at least three, if not all four, have won.

In addition, the first openly gay senator has been elected.  Tammy Baldwin has defeated former Governor Tommy Thompson.


A decisive victory for Obama and Senate Democrats

Obama has won a very decisive victory.   Only Alaska (3), which will obviously go for Romney, and Florida (29) remain to be called.   At this point, Romney has won only North Carolina of the battleground states, and that was predicted.

It's 12:30 am.   Obama has 303 electoral votes, and at this point he is leading in Florida (by 0.7%).   If he does win Florida, he will have 332 electoral votes -- the number that was considered the most optimistic in the predictions.  Nate Silver's last prediction was for 313 (not including Florida).

The other big wins were Elizabeth Warren in MA, Tim Kaine in VA, Tammy Baldwin in WI, Claire McCaskill in MO, Bill Nelson in FL, and Joe Donnelly in IN, and Independent (probably voting with the Democrats) Angus King in ME.  Both McCaskill's and Donnelly's wins repudiated their opponents who made outrageous statements about rape -- which clearly lost the election for both.

I believe the overall senate results are a gain of 1 seat for the Democrats, when it was feared they would lose their majority.

So it is a BIG WIN -- and a great relief.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

WOW !!!!!

It's over.   Obama has been re-elected !!!!!


Random thoughts 3

Interesting returns coming in from Florida.

With 62% of precincts reporting, Obama is leading 50% to 49%.

This may not hold up, but it is very close and very significant because Romney cannot win the election without winning Florida.   He could win every other battleground state but Florida and not win the election.

Converserly, Obama will win the election if the only battleground state he wins is Florida.


More random thoughts to pass the time

4.  The biggest surprise of all (not):   Members of the Forbes 400 (the magazine's list of 400 wealthiest Americans) contributed a record amount of cash to the presidential campaign, favoring Romney's campaign over Obama's by 2 to 1.   Of course, these amounts pale in comparison to what they, and others, have given to the SuperPacs, which do not require identification of donors.

5.  Republicans trying to suppress the vote:   Chaos in early voting in Florida.    Shortened hours for early voting;  waits to vote up to six hours;  people unable to vote;  big protests.  Hordes of Republican poll-watchers ready to show up at black-majority precincts in Ohio to challenge voters, tie up the process, and create huge long-wait lines -- designed to discourage voters.

6.  Republicans actually stealing the votes:   Ohio's secretary of state has introduced a new, complex form that must be filled out by those casting provisional ballots.   If not filled out correctly, their vote won't count, even if they come later and present their documentation.  It's brazen, it un-American, and they should be called to account for their attempts to subvert the democratic process.


Random thoughts #1

Sorry, Folks, but I fell down on the job this afternoon and didn't keep posting some random thoughts.   I'm now watching the returns on tv but here are some things I had intended to post earlier.

1.  Despite the fact that the Romney campaign has almost completely shut out any mention of George W. Bush and his unpopular presidency, Art McKay says in a Huffington Post column that voting for Romney is really voting for the W. Bush 2, The Sequel:  cut taxes for the rich, reduce regulations on Wall Street, rattle the hawkish sabers on foreign policy.  And he concludes:
Voting for Romney after the train wreck of that was the eight years of W. Bush is like losing your pay check playing a rigged game of three-card monte and then playing the same game again a week later cause the cards are a different color.
2.   For what it's worth:   One day before the election, and long after a sizable majority has already voted, Sarah Palin endorsed Mitt Romney.   So what?   Who cares?   Does she have any following any longer?

3.  Who would the rest of the world vote for as our president?   Opinions were polled in 21 countries.  In 20 of them, Obama was the decisive favorite -- by a cumulative average of 50% for Obama, 9% for Romney, and the rest undecided or no preference.   In both Canada and France, 72% chose Obama.   The only country of the 21 who preferred Romney was Pakistan.   Israel was not included in the survey, but a different poll by a Tel Aviv unviersity showed Romney preferred by 3 to 1.  Not surprising, given the way he and Bibi cozy up and the way Romney panders to the anti-Iran hawks.


The quadrennial nightmare is almost over

Voting was quite easy this morning at my precinct -- at least for us old-timers.   The Georgia voting regulations have a heart for seniors:   anyone over 75 gets to go to the head of the line.  But even as I was heading toward the front to tell a poll worker my age, a young man offered me a place in line in front of him.   This was all very refreshing after the rancor and meanness of the campaign.

Now the waiting begins.    Nate Silver's prediction this morning is 91.6% for Obama, while another academic prediction model predicts 92%.  InTrade is also up from the high 60% level to 71.6 this morning.   So we should be feeling confident, with the momentum definitely in Obama's direction.  But I won't rest easy until we begin to hear some results.

For months it seemed like this day would never arrive, or not soon enough anyway.  Now that it's here, my feelings are mixed:   hope that my optimism (and Nate Silver's data) are not off track, not quite ready for the exhiliration that will come if they're borne out, and dread that the polls are wrong or that the Republicans will steal the votes (they're trying in every way possible -- out in droves to challenge voters in black-majority precincts in Ohio). 

Take a few deep breaths . . .    Our guadrennial nightmare is almost over.  Unless chads hang in Florida . . . again.

For what they're worth to help pass the waiting time, I'll be posting some randome thoughts, observations, and light hearted put-downs of the other side throughout the day.


Monday, November 5, 2012

And better still . . .

Nate Silver's prediction was updated at 10:00 pm tonight.

His model now gives Obama a 92.2% chance of winning.

The latest poll includes a slight edge for Obama in Florida.  And there is no way Romney can win without taking Florida.


The odds look very good

Nate Silver's prediction, as of 1:30 pm the day before the election:

Chances of winning

          The electoral vote:                    The popular vote:

          Obama      86.3%                                 50.6%
          Romney    13.7%                                  48.5%

What a beautiful sight.


Republicans assault on democracy

Not so much as in 2008, but Republicans do delight in posturing as the patriotic party -- loyal to "family values" and the self-reliant qualities that built America and keep our nation strong.   Pride in the flag, pious links to (Christian) religion, and super-support for guns and "don't tread on me" mentality.

But that is not an accurate picture.  It is a self-serving, selective image that rings hollowThe party of right to life?   For the unborn, maybe, and those who toe the line according to their rules.

What of the right to life of the sick who can't afford health insurance, much less paying for health care?   Forget it, Gov. Romney;  the emergency rooms should not be considered a substitute for the family doctor.   It's in no one's interest to rely on that back up plan -- it just makes everyone's health care burden heavier.

The party of free market enterprise?    Just how free is the market when major oil companies, investment banks, and giant agri-businesses get federal subsidies or bailouts?    Or tax breaks available only to those with huge sums to invest -- and reap obscene profits for doing nothing but manipulating everyone else's debt?   Like Gov. Romney himself, who made his billions exactly that way.

But now the "unkindest cut of all" is happening in this election.   The party of national pride and patriotism, writ large, in support of our democracy?   That has become the cruel joke of the new century.   The current Republican party is doing everything it can to stop those from voting who will probably vote Democratic.

Is this an admission that they can't win on their merits?  They can only win by misinforming the public and manipulating (i.e., stealing) the vote?

Despite their (hand on heart) pledge to defend the "sanctity of the vote" from those horrible people who would try to vote using someone else's name or a false address.   How ludicrous !!!  They cannot name proven cases of this practice other than an isolated crank or two here and there.   Most cases that have been brought turn out to be either errors on the part of the voting officials, or brazen attempts to purge the voting rolls without basis, or voters who have recently moved and have a different address than the one on the rolls, or just plain mistakes on the voters parts.

And because some of those misguided, malicious schemes (voter ID laws, limitations on voting times, excessive regulations on registration of voters, etc. ) have been struck down by judges, voting officials and governors have been pulling out all the stops -- reducing amount of time polls stay open for early voting;  making it more difficult for people to vote and turning deaf ears when people who have stood in line for 5 hours still can't cast their vote.

They know early voting is used disproportionately by working class voters who don't want to take off time from an hourly-wage job to vote, or elderly who depend on working relatives to get them to the polls without standing in line for 6 hours on election day.

The Republicans know what they're doing -- the are clearly and maliciously trying to suppress the votes that may go against them -- and they are simply lying about their motives.  And they know that we know.   But, pious liars that they are, they just keep on saying it, without regard for truth or shame.

Well, SHAME ON THEM.     They will have sullied any image their party ever had of patriotism.   Patriotism does not reside only in flag-waving and pretty poems to God and Country.   Patriotism, first and foremost, is protecting our fragile democracy.

The right to vote is the cornerstone of that democracy.

In this race, Republicans have assaulted the very essence of democracy -- the right to an equal voice at the ballot box.   They will pay the price, sooner or later.

I predict it will be in the final count that shows a decisive win for President Obama and the Democratic Party.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Why is Obama's lead widening?

This may be just the inevitable end game when people finally make up their minds, and Obama is getting more of the late deciders.    I think there are several factors that influenced them:

   (1)  the last two debates, which Obama clearly won and erased the effect of the first;

   (2)  people are finally thinking about whether they want to vote for a president who builds his whole program on "trust me," who at the same time shows you can't trust one thing he says more than a day or two before he changes it;

(3) most important of all was in fact the October Surprise in the form of the Superstorm Sandy.   Obama's handling of it was masterful . . . well, presidential -- the very opposite of the stingy position Romney had advocated of cutting funds for FEMA and returning it to the states' responsibility.   What he said he wanted it to be is exactly what it is:  It is the states' first responsibility, and they request federal help.

But coordination from a national body is almost essential when you have disasters that involve multiple states.   Why duplicate it with 10 different neighboring states, with no one in charge of the overall picture?    This is one where "states rights" just does not make sense, when it goes beyond the borders of one state.   Another example of Romney's inexperience in addition to his small government ideology.

The fact that FEMA was prepared and immediately ready to provide the assistance the states asked for was in such contrast to -- and called attention to -- the George W. Bush fiasco of Katrina.   Bush and his political appointment of an unqualified man to run FEMA.  That easily translates into Democrat vs Republican.

Obama showed what it's like when an adult is in charge, who does not play politics when disaster strikes.   He has won the highest praise from N. J. Republican Governor Chris Christie -- not a man to be quick with praise for his opponents.    Republican-turned-Independent New York Mayor Michael Blumberg also not only praised Obama but endorsed him for re-election, saying that the storm had brought home to him how important it is for the next president to address climate change, and he prefers Obama as the one who will deal with that.

Still, I won't rest easy until the votes are counted and we're past any challenges of voters right to vote, miscounts, hanging chads or whatever tricks the Republicans may try to steal the election.


PS:   I'm greatly reassured that the Democrats have thousands of lawyers fanning across the swing states to monitor the voting and help with any challenges or violations.   The most important single county to watch, they say, is the county that has Cleveland, OH in it.   There will be 600 lawyers standing by in that county alone.