January 3rd, 2011 by Kevin
….except for the weekends, and weekdays falling between Monday and Saturday…oh and Monday too.
….except for the weekends, and weekdays falling between Monday and Saturday…oh and Monday too.
Election night I was at the MN GOP HQ until 4 AM following the latest results pouring in, absorbing ever rumor and theory, and enjoying the heck out of myself so much that it was a shock when I looked at a clock. I\’ve always found Election Night fun. This year I had obvious reasons for that, with running a campaign and being much more plugged in in general. But also just the novelty of it, that huge numbers of seats can change possession and nobody has to so much as get punched in the head….or at least not out of malice. I know a certain Legislative Assistant whose exuberant celebration darn near caused bodily injury to innocent bystanders.
But I\’ve also said that politics is like a soap opera on a massive scale. There is the surface drama even the casual observer sees. Then there are the undercurrents and connecting strategy that political wonks see. And then there are the personality conflicts and caucuses within caucuses within caucuses that political insiders get to see. That last part it\’s a good thing that voters never see or else nobody would even vote again, for fear of encouraging politicians.
End result is you have a fascinating tapestry of events, intention actions, strokes of luck (good or bad) and sheer chance. Which always leaves me with a million threads of thought floating around in my head.
My US Senate Predictions
Yeah, I was a little off, although the final total will be damn close. Two of my leaners failed to…well lean. Nevada and Colorado. Colorado was darn close and Nevada was….well less close. Whether that was due to casino owners threatening their workers to get them to vote for Reid, it\’s hard to say but end result is the same. Either way, the end result is the same, Democrats hold the Senate but Republicans greatly increase their minority….which is basically what I\’ve been saying all along. And it\’s also what I\’ve said strategically we should hope for, which brings us to….
The Setup for 2012
The good part is that the bleeding will probably stop…or at least it better (more on that later). Any budgetary legislation has to originate in the House and Republicans now hold a very large majority in the House. And with a large minority in the Senate, cloture because a real obstacle for Democrats. Democrats either have to take a hard right turn to the center or else Congress comes to a standstill for 2 years. Of course that wouldn\’t necessarily be bad.
But it also means not much is likely to improve. We\’ll essentially be in the same place. Obama has made it clear he has no intention of deviating from the course that was overwhelmingly rejected by voters on Tuesday. And it\’s not hyperbole to say \”overwhelmingly\”. We just saw a reversal in electoral results that hasn\’t been in 70 years. Obama likes to claim everything he does is \”historic\”…well this truly was!
So while Republicans may stop the bleeding with their mere presence, as long as Obama plays hardball nothing much happens. Which means we\’re still in the same place in 2012. It also means Obama\’s popularity is not likely to crawl out of the basement. And with Democrats still controlling the Senate and the White House, the overall Democrat brand isn\’t likely to recover much either.
And thanks to their big electoral success in 2006, Democrats hold a large majority of the Senate seats up for grabs in 2012. All told there are 21 Democrats, 10 Republicans and 2 Independents up for election in the Senate. Of those 10 Republicans, only Scott Brown of Massachusetts can be said to be truly vulnerable. Meanwhile Democrats have at least half a dozen seats that are in red or purple states. Those seats alone would give Republicans a majority. Another Republican wave like we just had? You got a cloture-proof majority.
Sounds great right?? Well….
Don\’t Get Cocky GOP
This probably needs to be said again….Don\’t Get Cocky GOP.
And again….Don\’t Get Cocky GOP.
Actually let\’s make that a habit, because Republicans have been here before, and they\’ve screwed it up before. This election was not a vote FOR Republicans. Rather it was people voting AGAINST the Democrats, specifically their overspending and their focus on every issue other than what\’s most important to people right now….the economy.
Don\’t Get Cocky GOP.
Republicans campaigned against the excesses of the Obama and Democrat agenda and the public ate it up. So by all means follow through on that. Defund ObamaCare. Stop the government take over of private industry. Roll back spending. Reduce Taxes. Recover whatever stimulus funds can be found. By all means beat back the progressive horde.
Don\’t Get Cocky GOP.
But that\’s not enough. The public is also frustrated that when Democrats said they\’d help with the economy they focused on health care, Cash for Clunkers, Cap&Trade, immigration, gays in the military…..everything BUT jobs and the economy. So Republicans also need to find a way to address the economy and do it in a way that Obama and the Democrats are forced to go along with it out of fear of further voter backlash. Either that or Republicans need to do a damn good job of showing an effort because the public is tired of promises and talk.
Don\’t Get Cocky GOP.
Although there are signs that the GOP understand this…and oddly enough it was Michael Steele that framed it best by pointing out Republicans are \”on probation\”. Sure they overwhelmingly put you in power, but your approval ratings are just as low as the Democrats. The public is willing to tolerate your majority for an election cycle. If you screw up a again, you\’re even further in the doghouse.
Don\’t Get Cocky GOP.
Speaking of don\’t get cocky…..
Tea Party – Practice Had Better Make Perfect
>First of all calm down, this will only hurt for a minute and it\’s for your own good, besides your treat is next.
Tea Party, you need to learn a few lessons from this election. Let\’s call them Exhibits B.itch and C.hristine O\’Donnell. You need to do some better quality control on your candidates (like I said, your praise is coming later). Deleware is a perfect example. It\’s a hard left state, running a hard right candidate is just not going to fly. Trust me, I dislike RINOs just as much as anyone, and sometimes yeah, it\’s worth drawing a line in the sand and beyond this you will not cross.
But dammit, if you\’re going to pick a hill to die upon, may I suggest aiming more for Mt. Everest, or even Mt. Rainer instead of Joe\’s Ant Farm. Was Castle a squish, absolutely, nobody is denying that and nobody wasn\’t annoyed by it. But on the big issues, the ones that REALLY mattered he would have voted with Republicans. In a hard-left state, that\’s all you can ask for.
And in Nevada, make sure your candidates can better articulate their views and positions. Angle was very Obama-like in that while she did good on script, put her in front of a crowd or dealing with non-screened questions and it wasn\’t always pretty. Nevada was looking for someone to replace Reid, and you gave them nothing they could hang their hat on.
Electability matters. And no not at the expense of everything else, there are certain hills worth dying upon. Cap&Trade? Immigration? Taxes?? Spending?? Abortion?? Sure for some people those are hills they are willing to die for. Others not so much. But end result is you need to work on screening your candidates better.
Which isn\’t to say it was all bad…
Tea Party – Now Who\’s Laughing?
See I told you it would only hurt for a minute.
All that said, the Tea Party actually did a fairly good job overall picking candidates, a few rotten apples aside. Rand Paul in Kentucky, Marco Rubio in Florida, Mike Lee in Utah, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin and Scott Brown in Massachusetts. All solid candidates. I was a little concerned about Rand Paul, but while his views may have been more hard-right than his state, he also had the presence and maturity as a candidate to keep them largely in check.
What\’s more you\’ve proven that you\’re not the disorganized rabble of random angry racist hicks the Democrats tried to frame you as. You\’ve a genuine national movement, with a rationale agenda, and with the ability to organize, focus and accomplish a goal, all without a leadership structure of any sort. In fact, that last part is your best feature, rather than a big. It innoculates you against the Alinsky tactics of the left, \”pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it\”. Trying to do that to a diverse group without structure and without a leader, is like trying to kill a swarm of gnats with a rifle.
Now your next goal is to prove you can continue to pursue your agenda without being co-opted by the Republican Party. The Republicans are just as prone to excess and Spineless Syndrome as the Democrats so don\’t get caught up in the system. You\’ve accomplished a real political force here. Don\’t waste it.
Speaking of the system…
It\’s about to change….drastically. Not only did Republicans make huge progress in the US House and Senate, they also captured 680 seats in state legislatures. Which is darn near un-precedented. That\’s great right!? But why is it important? Well, as you know the 2010 Census is completed which means 2012 brings….redistricting. All those political districts have to be redrawn to account for population changes. And depending on how those lines are drawn determines how easy it is for a Republican or Democrat to win and hold a particular seat. So if you control the process of drawing those lines, you can make it very difficult for the opposition for the next ten years. It\’s called gerrymandering.
So again why is that important?? Well it\’s the state legislatures that do that. And Republicans took over 18 state legislative chambers on Tuesday and gained six governor seats. In fact, for 17 states Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature and the Governor\’s seat, which puts them in complete control of drawing the lines.
And those 17 states represent 196 of the House\’s 435 districts. In comparison, Democrats control all three legs of the government in up to 10 states, which control at most 88 seats, but possibly as few as 26.
Oh it gets better. Six states have nonpartisan redistricting commissions. If you take those 88 seats out, for 196 out of 347 districts, Republican\’s completely control the drawing of the lines.
In the other states, like Minnesota, a mixed legislature means the judicial system is likely to draw the lines.
Speaking of Minnesota…
DFL\’s Bed Not So Comfy
For the first time since the Minnesota Senate allowed partisan designations, Republicans control the Senate. And the Minnesota House is now also Republican controlled. In both cases, with seats to spare.
The Governor\’s seats is still up for grabs. If it\’s Emmer than Republicans control all three legs and they get run of the board. But even if it\’s Dayton, with Republicans in charge of both Houses, his agenda is a dead stick. But it gets worse for DFL and they have only themselves to blame.
Last session we had the opposite situation, a DFL legislature with a GOP Governor. When the DFL couldn\’t come up with a budget they simply passed an unreasonable one and adjourned and made it Pawlenty\’s problem. Pawlenty in turn used unallotment. Well the DFL collectively wet themselves and through the courts made sure that couldn\’t be done ever again. So now facing a $6 billion deficit, what are Dayton\’s options?? Either he agrees to the Republican\’s version of a budget, thereby pissing off his base and making the right happy. Or he shuts down the government and calls the legislature into a special session, thereby pissing off his base and mildly annoying the right. The Legislature in turn, if they really want to play hardball can just keep passing the same budget until Dayton relents. After all, what is Dayton\’s recourse??? Bitch to the media that the legislature won\’t raise taxes??? Yeah, that\’ll get sympathy from the public.
And so we begin this political drama all over again. I got my chair, I got my popcorn, start the show!
At the 11th hour of Arizona\’s SB1070 taking effect, the Obama Administration brought the state of Arizona to court to block it\’s enforcement. Judge Susan Bolton subsequently issued a preliminary injunction to prevent the enforcement of certain provisions of the law. Open borders activists have hailed this as a great victory while border enforcement activists have criticized the injunction. So let\’s take a look at what exactly all happened today.
First of all those hoping to see the entire SB1070 tossed out, not only did that not happen today but it\’s not going to happen as SB1070 includes a severability clause, which means that if an invalid portion can be separated from the rest, it shall be toss out while the rest of the bill remains in place. So let\’s set that aside right now.
The claim of the Obama Administration was that \”the power to regulate immigration is vested exclusively in the federal government, and that the provisions of S.B. 1070 are therefore preempted by federal law\” and they sought a preliminary injunction to block it\’s enforcement. So what standard do we need to meet for that?
A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest.
So how did that work out for them?? Well for most of the bill the Judge decided that the Obama Administration was not likely to succeed on the merits of the challenge. But there were four provisions that she did rule were likely to succeed on the merits in showing that those sections are preempted by federal law.
So why were these blocked? Well essentially it comes down to the interpretation of the specific wording of some of the sentences in these sections. Which if you follow strictly to the letter of each sentence in isolation, suggests that law enforcement would have to verify the immigration status of every person they had even the most basic contact with, even if they knew they were a US citizen. Obviously this would quickly overwhelm the Federal Government with requests and therefore would impede upon the Federal Government\’s ability to perform it\’s immigration enforcement duties.
So what\’s the direct impact of this injunction? Well let\’s take a look at those provisions that were blocked.
Well the blocked portion of Section 2 pretty much has no impact, because even though it was the heart of SB 1070, it was actually MORE restrictive than federal law. According to the SCOTUS ruling in Muehler vs Mena (2005), officers don\’t even need reasonable suspicion to question a person regarding their immigration status. So actually this preliminary injunction increases the ability of local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws.
As far as Section 3 goes, it doesn\’t matter as this was already a federal crime (8 USCS 1304(a) and 1306(e)), so nothing changes by blocking this portion.
Portion of Section 5, well this is already covered by a variety of state and federal laws, including the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
And finally Section 6, this is already covered by Arizona law. In fact the training materials for law enforcement states that this provision does not appear to change Arizona law. Therefore repealing it basically does nothing.
So for those ranting and raving about this preliminary injunction, please understand that this has virtually no impact on the ability of Arizona law enforcement to do their job. And this is just the start of the case, as Arizona can still argument for the merit of one or more of these provisions. Moreover when you consider the political implications, as I will tomorrow, this is a win-win situation for border enforcement no matter how this turns out.
Obama has had a rough week already, and that\’s not even including his golf game. His Democrat Governors are openly questioning the wisdom of his lawsuit against Arizona. Normally safe Democrats are now in trouble. And the worst, for our narcissistic President, now even Democrat-friendly poll agencies are showing Obama deep underwater amongst the public.
Part of Obama\’s problem is he\’s caught in a Catch-22 of his own rhetoric. The economy, unemployment and overspending are dragging down his poll numbers which limits his ability to be an effective at pushing his agenda. On the economy and unemployment he can\’t talk up even the smallest bits of good news, lest he appear out of touch to a hurting American public. And he can\’t cut spending because his lofty promises of being everything to everyone during the campaign require massive amounts of it. As long as this election is a referendum on his performance, Democrats chances of salvaging even a moral victory from 2010 are almost non-existent. Which is why White House press secretary Robert Gibb\’s recent statements that Republicans could take the House is political strategy at it\’s best.
MR. GIBBS: I think there\’s no doubt that there are a lot of seats that will be up, a lot of contested seats. I think people are going to have a choice to make in the fall. But I think there\’s no doubt there are enough seats in play that could cause Republicans to gain control. There\’s no doubt about that. This will depend on strong campaigns by Democrats.
There are two things being done here. First, and as subtle as a flying brick, this is a challenge to Democrats nationwide….quit sulking and get working. You can\’t just accept a GOP wave, you\’re going to have to fight and make them earn it. But more importantly this was a very clever move to reframe this next election. By pushing the \”Republicans could be in control\” point, Gibbs is no longer making this about Obama. Now this is a referendum on Republicans vs Democrats. This is an attempt to exploit the one silver lining that Democrats have in established polling data.
If there are two things that the polling data has repeatedly shown it\’s that Obama\’s as popular as vuvuzela at a wedding ceremony. But it\’s also shown that Republicans are almost as unpopular. It\’s not that the public has fallen in love with the GOP, they\’ve called a hex on both houses. The GOP hasn\’t done anything to deserve a electoral tidal wave, they\’re simply in the right place at the right time. Obama and the Democrats overpromised and overreached and the GOP is there to benefit from the wreckage, but only because they are the least ugly of the stepsisters.
Making this election about Obama is a guaranteed loser for the Democrats. But by making this about who the public trusts most, Democrats or Republicans, suddenly it\’s not so bad. Sure Democrats are just as unpopular as Republicans, but their popularity falls within the margin of error on most polls. In a political climate like this, campaigning to a draw is a unbelievable coup for the Democrats. And if they can frame this election as who the public trusts more, that\’s effectively what they\’ll do.
Republicans have long been expected to retake the House and the talking heads have even begun to seriously speculate about the GOP retaking the Senate, which I\’ll touch on again tomorrow. But if this ploy to reframe the election works, you can forget all that, and Democrats remain in control of both.
[Crossposted at True North]
In honor of Obama\’s immigration speech today I figured this was an awfully fitting video to offer.
Reportedly President Obama was recently heard to utter \”Plug the damn hole!\”. I heard the comment out of context so I was momentarily confused regarding which hole he was referring to. Several possible options immediately came to mind…
Was it the holes in the border? The holes through which millions of illegal aliens, including violent criminals, constantly flows. So much so that Arizona finally gave up on the federal government doing it\’s job and adopted Federal (and California) law, as it\’s own.
Was it the holes in public opinion? Obviously there must be one somewhere because Obama\’s approval ratings have been sinking across all demographics.
Was it Nashville, TN? The city which was under several feet of water for a days and days without warning….not that you\’d know it from the federal governments non-response.
What it TARP and the bailouts?? Through which we\’ve pissed away billions of dollars to no apparent benefit, except to nationalize the auto and student loan industries?
Was it Obamacare? Through which we\’re about to piss away billions of dollars more, to no apparent benefit, and quite possibly catastropic results???
Was it the upcoming The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010?? A bill which pisses away even more billions by increasing spending by $174 billion, through $40 billion in tax increases and $134 billion in deficit spending…again to no apparent benefit.
Was it the SEIU?? Through which, while most Americans 401K plans are sinking, we\’re about to bailout underfunded and over generous union pension plans to the tune of $165 billion….because union bosses mismanaged the funds during good times, such as spending $85 million on getting Obama elected.
Is it the spot where the federal budget should be?? Because while they have an 18-seat majority in the Senate, more than a 70-seat majority in the House, and they control the White House, they still can\’t manage to even propose a budget….which leaves two possibilities, incompetence or apathy.
What hole was it that Obama angerly interrupted an aide and demanded that they \”plug the damn hole!\”
Turns out it was just that oil leak in the Gulf…the one the Federal government dithered about upon for over a week and still haven\’t gotten their act in gear. Turns out they are considering taking over from BP to address the issue….even though, by their own admission, they couldn\’t do any better job than BP has done.
At least BP is trying, which is more than can be said for the Federal government, as the state of Louisana can tell you.
At least BP is accountable to stockholders, who is the federal government accountable to….the voters?? The Obama administration has long since shown they don\’t give a damn what the voters think, as adequately evidenced by Obamacare, the AZ immigration bill, terrorist trials, bailouts and their rampant deficit spending.
No Obama, the only hole I wish was filled is the gaping chasm which appears to exist between your ears.
[Crossposted at True North]
In a move only he could be proud of, President Obama has announced he\’s deploying 1,200 National Guard troops on our southern border. If this sounds familiar it\’s because President Bush tried it to shore up his non-existant pro-enforcement credentials in advance of his attempt to pass another amnesty for illegal aliens. President Obama\’s move is just as transparent.
President Obama almost certainly realizes the immigration issue has gotten away from him and he\’s on the wrong side of a losing issue. He need to give his Democrats something (ANYTHING!) to hang their hat on, and this is it. He\’ll attempt to show what a pro-enforcement group Democrats can be by putting a paltry 1200 troops on the southern border.
The southern border is roughly 2000 miles long…so even if they are all standing their 24/7 that still amounts to less than one Guard member per mile. Think you (or anyone) can actually monitor, much less enforce, a mile of (often difficult) terrain? Especially when your orders don\’t allow you to do much, essentially leaving you to be overrun by heavily armed drug runners.
At best, putting troops on the border is a stop-gap measure…but there has to be something in the future to close that \”gap\”, something has to change. Unlike the claims of those seeking a comprehensive immigration reform (AKA amnesty), we could make great strides towards closing that gap by just enforcing existing laws, which is all Arizona is attempting to do. But that\’s not going to happen when you have the head of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) declaring they won\’t process illegal aliens referred by Arizona. And you have ICE modifying their policies such that they no longer will attempt to detain and deport illegal aliens at all.
This desperate move is transparent scrambling to regain control of an issue they are quickly losing in the realm of public opinion. Problem is the that public wasn\’t real receptive to endless demagoguery of the Arizona bill by the media, the White House and the Democrats, it seems unlikely they\’ll be impressed with this either.
[Crossposted at True North]
Remember VH1\’s Pop-Up video? Where little bits of trivia would pop up during a music video….for those of you younger folk, at one point Music Television (MTV) and Video Hits 1 (VH1) actually played music videos at one point in their history.
Anyway Pop-Up Video is back! And in such an amusing new format. I\’m with the boys over at HotAir, this should most certainly be required for all political speeches from this point forward.
Another letter arrived from Mount Olympus…and this one is such a deviation from reality it\’s hard to even make fun of it. It\’s like kicking a drunk quadriplegic or something.
Did you know that the average tax refund is up nearly 10% — about $3,000 — this year? And that there are more than a dozen Recovery Act tax cuts that over 100 million Americans can take advantage of this tax season?
See how much you could save thanks to the Recovery Act.
Together, in February 2009, we passed the Recovery Act — taking our economy from the brink of disaster to the road to recovery, and keeping President Obama\’s campaign promise of giving 95% of working Americans a tax cut.
Now, it\’s tax season, and there are more than a dozen ways the Recovery Act is helping folks save — credits for new homeowners, help with saving for college, and rewards for making your home more energy efficient.
After you find out how much you can save, make sure your family and friends can do the same by forwarding this email:
Organizing for America
You hear that? We all got tax cuts?
Funny, I don\’t remember getting one…and what\’s more, even if you did, prepare to have it canceled out and then some.
Taxpayers earning less than $200,000 a year will pay roughly $3.9 billion more in taxes — in 2019 alone — due to healthcare reform, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress\’s official scorekeeper.
Even if you did cut taxes, it doesn\’t count if you promptly raise them even more later on. Although that does fit a pattern with the Obama administration. They tripled an already too-high federal deficit, then shaved a few million off and called that deficit reduction.