It seems like every pundit in the world is now ready to give the GOP Congressional majority advice on what they should do for the next two years. It would be nice if they’d tell the lame duck Dems and President how they should act as well. But I’m of the opinion these will be a very interesting two months.
The question I have, after the Republican victory, is what lessons they’ve learned from this big win? Here are a few that I think they should keep in mind:
1. While this was a big win, it doesn’t signal that the same will happen in 2016. We heard that sort of “wisdom” spouted after the impressive GOP win in 2010 – momentum from 2010 was sure to sink Obama in 2012. But it didn’t at all translate in the 2012 presidential race. Lesson: while there may be some momentum, what happens in the next two years is much more important than what happened on Tuesday.
2. Guess who focused on social issues? Guess who lost? “The war on women” was beaten to death. In fact, Colorado’s Mark Udall was being referred too as “Mark Uterus” with his almost singular focus on that. And then there was Wendy Davis’ attempt to cash in on it. Climate change was also a bust. Republicans were disciplined, focused on ObamaCare, the economy, jobs, etc. It paid off. You have to wonder if they’ll remember that. There are plenty of important and broad issues to campaign on. You don’t have to resort to divisive wedge issues to rally your base as those type issues tend to alienate badly needed independents. Lesson: stay focused on broad national issues and present solutions.
3. If I were to take anything from the election, it wouldn’t be Harry Reid’s interpretation. Reid now thinks everyone should “work together” because, you know, that’s what the American people want. Of course, Harry Reid knows next to nothing about what the American people want and has proven that time and time again. Certainly, if possible, bi-partisan is good. If not, then screw em. Yes, I know that with Obama in the White House, most of what they do is likely to be vetoed. But then it is up to him to explain why nothing is happening, not the Republicans. He becomes the “obstructionist“. Politics 101. Of course the GOP has flunked that course many times. Lesson: do your job and make the other party do theirs. If they do, then it helps build a very nice case that they need to go.
There are probably many more you can think of. I’m pitching these up here because they seem to me to be common sense lessons from this election. Yes, impressive win. Got it. Now what? What have you learned?
Well, if history is any indicator, many of the same lessons have been available to the GOP in other elections and they’ve essentially ignored them. The question of this day is “will they repeat history”?
Hard to call last night anything but a rout for Democrats as in “it was worse than they expected”. Pre-election polls seemed to indicate any number of tight races that could have gone to Democrats. But the results were certainly not at all in line with those polls. Nate Silver now tells us that many of the polls were skewed toward Democrats. When the results started coming in, they were shocking to many on the left. Mitch McConnell wasn’t really in danger at all. Perdue stomped Nunn in GA. Tom Cotton blew incumbent Mark Pryor away in Arkansas. Kay Hagen, a sure fire winner, down in flames. Those that predicted +8 GOP senate seats were right, even as the left had said that sort of a prediction was extreme.
And there were even more surprises in store. A 78 year old incumbent Republican senator in Kansas defeated a pseudo-independent handily. Colorado went red. Charlie Crist has now lost as Republican, Democrat and Independent. IL dumped an incumbent Democratic governor for a Republican. MA and MD put Republicans in the Governor’s mansion as well.
There were some firsts – Joni Ernst became the first woman to represent Iowa in the Senate – as a Republican (as well as the first female combat vet in the Senate). The GOP’s first black female, Mia Love, won Utah’s 4 district and represent it in Congress. And the first black Senator since reconstruction was elected in the racist South (just ask Mary Landrieu, D- LA about that) as a Republican from SC. An openly gay Republican was elected to Congress, and finally, the youngest women elected to Congress won an open district in NY that has been traditionally Democratic for the Republicans.
Democrat Mary Landrieu of LA faces a runoff she’s likely to lose and in Alaska it appears that Sullivan may edge Begich.
Wow. So what does it all mean? Well, we’ll see, but you know me, despite all this “change” I really don’t expect much to really change in today’s highly partisan atmosphere.
Maybe though, we ought to consider some other interesting things this election may portend. For instance, 24 Senators who voted for ObamaCare, no longer are Senators:
On the Senate side, going into Tuesday’s elections, 24 senators who voted for Obamacare were already out or not going be part of the new Senate being sworn in on January.
To be sure, it isn’t fair to attribute all of the turnover in the chamber to Obamacare. Many senators voted for Obamacare and lost re-election battles in which they were hit hard for their support for the law, and other Democrats were forced to retire because they had no hope of getting re-elected given their support for the law. But in some cases — such as John Kerry leaving his seat to become secretary of state, or Robert Byrd passing away — Obamacare clearly had nothing to do with it.
Obviously … but that’s still a large toll and certainly part of the political butcher’s bill. And then there’s the Immigration Reform Bill which most people viewed as an amnesty bill, and those who supported it:
Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas voted for the Gang of 8 bill. He’s GONE.
Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina voted for the Gang of 8 bill. GONE.
Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado voted for the Gang of 8 bill. GONE
Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska voted for the Gang of 8 bill. Almost certainly GONE
Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana voted for the Gang of 8 bill. She will probably be GONE after a January runoff.
Alison Grimes supported the Gang of 8 bill in Kentucky. DEFEATED
Michelle Nunn supported the Gang of 8 bill in Georgia. DEFEATED
Greg Orman supported the Gangof 8 bill in Kansas. DEFEATED
Bruce Braley supoorted the Gang of 8 bill in Iowa. DEFEATED
Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Mark Warner of Virginia voted for the Gang of 8 bill and BARELY SURVIVED against longshot challengers.
Remember, this supposedly is Obama’s next priority. Does he really want to muddy Democratic 2016 election waters this early in the game?
Hillary Clinton put her political clout and even her political future on the line in this election — from Massachusetts to New Hampshire and in races clear across the country — and as the dust settles this morning we’ll see how it paid off.
The news that Republicans took control of the Senate despite Clinton’s best efforts doesn’t bode well for her desire to become the next president of the United States.
Because if you think Hillary Clinton spent all that time and money crisscrossing the country trying to get fellow Democrats elected or help them keep their seats out of the kindness of her heart — you are sadly mistaken. The goal was to have as many of them beholden to her as possible — and to show that she is someone who can get it done. “It” being to raise massive amounts of money and win votes.
The GOP claimed control of the Senate yesterday by picking off Democratic incumbents in Arkansas, Colorado and North Carolina and holding control of key seats in Kansas, Georgia and Kentucky, while picking up a vacant seat in Iowa. Hillary or Bill Clinton stumped in most of those states, and they wanted winning Democrats there who would owe them favors. She came out of the evening with at least one key win.
Not impressive. In fact, the Clinton’s couldn’t even stave off a loss in their “home state” of Arkansas. Perhaps the “inevitable” coronation of Queen Hillary isn’t quite as inevitable as she and the left might think.
So, certainly, lots to think about and lots to discuss. We’ve again seen a wave election. Past wave elections haven’t produced much in the way of positive change. Is there any reason to believe this one will?
Question of the day.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, this was indeed a repudiation of Obama.
Funny stuff from the “you just can’t make this stuff up” department. Retiring Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA):
“In this Senate race, I’ve been watching some of these ads,” Harkin said at the Story County Democrats’ annual fall barbecue last week honoring the retiring senator. “And there’s sort of this sense that, ‘Well, I hear so much about Joni Ernst. She is really attractive, and she sounds nice.’”
“Well I gotta to thinking about that. I don’t care if she’s as good looking as Taylor Swift or as nice as Mr. Rogers, but if she votes like Michele Bachmann, she’s wrong for the state of Iowa.”
“I believe if my name had been John Ernst attached to my resume, Sen. Harkin would not have said those things.”
I believe she’s right. It is kind of like if Nikki Haley’s name had been Nick Haley, she likely wouldn’t have been called a “whore” by her Democratic opponent, huh?
Harkin’s comments were met with loud applause from the audience.
A Democratic audience, it can be reliably reported.
So if we grade Harkin’s remarks as the left would had they been pinned on someone from the right, at a minimum you’d have seen him tagged as arrogant, patronizing, sexist and a soldier in the “war on women”, no? Ernst is getting the Sarah Palin treatment from Harkin, something perfected by the left in 2008.
Just for fun and to check on the acceptability of what Harkin said (before the left tries to tell us what he said isn’t offensive), let’s reword that slightly and make it say something no one ever said, but makes an instructive point:
“In this Presidential race, I’ve been watching some of these ads,” Harkin said at the Story County Democrats’ annual fall barbecue last week honoring the retiring senator. “And there’s sort of this sense that, ‘Well, I hear so much about Barack Obama. He is really attractive, and he sounds nice.’”
“Well I gotta to thinking about that. I don’t care if he’s as good looking as Sidney Poitier or as nice as Oprah Winfrey, but if he votes like Nancy Pelosi, he’s wrong for the United States.”
Any question about how that would be treated by the left?
Lord I get tired of the mealy mouthed politicians who try to explain away their political demise be claiming the backwardness of the region, people or the culture is why they’re losing.
Republicans are slamming Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) for comments they say suggested Louisiana voters dislike President Obama because of his race.
Gov. Bobby Jindal and Landrieu’s GOP opponent in her tough reelection race, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), both pounced on comments she made to NBC’s Chuck Todd that the South “has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans.”
“It’s been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader,” she said, before adding that the South has not always been friendly to women either.
Apparently Mary Landrieu felt differently when she was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996 and was re-elected by increasing margins in competitive races in 2002 and 2008. That’s right, the largely red state has elected a woman and a Democrat to terms totaling 18 years in the US Senate.
But now … sexism.
And we have an abomination of a President, one who has nothing to present in a “positive light”, who happens to be black, so … racism.
And don’t forget to throw in a stereotypical comment about the South … because she’s in danger of losing.
As usual, its everyone else that’s the problem, not the fact that Mary Landrieu has done things, such as vote for ObamaCare, that have caused the voters in the state to finally say “enough”. Nope, with Democrats, it’s never the message, policy or vote, it’s always something or someone else’s fault.
Racism. Sexism. Republican dirty tricks. Etc., etc., etc. ad nauseum.
The subdepartment of “If You Like Your Coverage, You Can Keep Your Coverage“:
Small companies are starting to turn away from offering health plans as they seek to reduce costs and increasingly view the health law’s marketplaces as an inviting and affordable option for workers.
In the latest sign of a possible shift, WellPoint Inc. said Wednesday its small-business-plan membership is shrinking faster than expected and it has lost about 300,000 people since the start of the year, leaving a total of 1.56 million in small-group coverage.
Of course anyone with a brain and a passing understanding of economics and human nature saw this coming – despite the assurances of our elites. It is called “responding to incentives or disincentives” – something human beings have done since the dawn of our time.
Provide enough of a disincentive to maintain the status quo and you won’t. You’ll go with what is best for the business. And the incentive to drop health care plans has been provided by this awful ACA law. Now these people will go onto the exchanges and pick a plan with huge deductibles that will never be met in a year. They’ll effectively pay for their medical care. Or, we’ll pay for their medical care through subsidies.
Result? Well, as you can imagine with huge deductibles, people will likely go to the doctor less and one of the supposed reasons this law had to be passed was in order to stress and implement “preventive medicine”. But if you have a $6,000 deductible, and are a middle income family that wouldn’t qualify for subsidies, when are you going to visit the doctor? When whatever problem you have is so bad you have little choice. Of course, that’s the most costly way to do this, isn’t it?
So now we have a huge problem, don’t we? And what will we point to as the cause of that problem? That’s right … government intrusion. Oh, the good news? Their high deductible coverage will be portable. But we could have solved that problem without ever creating this health care monster we’re stuck with now, couldn’t we?
Say what you will of Bill Maher (I’m not a fan), his statement about Muslims seems to have some legs:
“In his comments on his HBO show, Maher noted that too many Muslims reject the very notion of free thought and free speech, that the problem is not just ‘a few bad apples.’”
See Europe after the Mohommed cartoons and just about anywhere else concerning a little known video that Muslims found to be sacrilegious (and the US government blamed for the deaths in Benghazi). Or any of a thousand examples.
It is also something many of us believe about the left, for the most part. And good old UC Berkley has decided to prove the point. And Bill Maher is the “problem”:
In response to an announcement last week that comedian Bill Maher would speak at UC Berkeley’s fall commencement, an online petition started circulating Thursday that demanded that the campus rescind its invitation.
The Change.org petition was authored by ASUC Senator Marium Navid, who is backed by the Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian Coalition, or MEMSA, and Khwaja Ahmed, an active MEMSA member. The petition, which urges students to boycott the decision and asks the campus to stop him from speaking, has already gathered more than 1,400 signatures as of Sunday.
Maher, a stand-up comedian and host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, is best known for his often-polarizing political commentary. Recently, Maher faced some backlash after controversial remarks regarding Islam during a segment on his Oct. 6 show.
Navid claims this isn’t about free speech, it’s a matter of “campus climate”:
“The First Amendment gives him the right to speak his mind, but it doesn’t give him the right to speak at such an elevated platform as the commencement. That’s a privilege his racist and bigoted remarks don’t give him.”
For the most part, I agree that freedom of speech doesn’t give one the “right” to speak anywhere – that, in fact, this is an invitation to speak at a “commencement”, and that’s a privilege the university extends. Okay, got it.
But that’s not what this is about … it’s about shutting Bill Maher and those like him up. It’s about letting a certain group outside the administration of the university decide who will be awarded the privilege to speak and who won’t. And in that case, it becomes a matter of free speech, doesn’t it?
Perhaps the most ironic development, though, was on MSNBC (of all places) when an advocate for free speech on campus crossed swords with a spokesman for CAIR:
In a heated debate on MSNBC with free speech advocate Greg Lukianoff, CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper defended UC Berkeley students’ efforts to uninvite comedian Bill Maher for his comments on Islam, comparing him to the Grand Dragon of the KKK.
LUKIANOFF: The fact that people so vehemently disagree with him is the more reason to hear him out. It’s an art that I feel is actually being lost on the campuses, where we should be teaching people is to at least hear people out before you to get them kicked off campus.
HOOPER: So if they invited the Grand Dragon of the KKK…
CAIR, of all organizations, comparing any other organization to the KKK … well, let’s leave it at “ironic” shall we?
The left’s the “useful idiot” in the attempt of organizations like CAIR to stifle any debate or criticism of Islam. And, Maher is the Grand Dragon?
The more I watch our current government work these days the more absurd its works become.
Here’s the story. Governors Cumo (NY) and Christie (NJ) imposed 21 day quarantines on health care workers returning from countries with ebola epidemics. That’s right, these poor souls have to spend three weeks being monitored in an area isolated from the general public so if they’re possibly infected they won’t have an opportunity to spread the infection – you know, like the doctor who passed “enhanced screening” at JFK did last week.
Now the first thing I expect to hear is, “whoa, wait – you’re a libertarian and you’re agreeing that the government should have the authority to hold someone against their will?” What I’m agreeing with is a medical protocol that has stemmed epidemics for hundreds of years – at least since we’ve discovered it was germs and viruses, not “ill humors” that brought various plagues.
And, its not like we’re talking “imprisoning” them or this taking years or even months. 3 freaking weeks. 3 weeks in some sort of center where they can be medically monitored to ensure they aren’t infectious before they’re given the okay to again join the general population.
Instead we get two reactions. One from a “health care worker”:
Hickox, the first nurse forcibly quarantined in New Jersey under the state’s new policy, said her isolation at a hospital was ‘inhumane,’ adding: ‘We have to be very careful about letting politicians make health decisions.’
Hickox is now suing and has now hired Norman Siegel, a high profile civil rights attorney, to challenge the order.
Well, of course she has. Because one of the things we see more and more of is “we have rights!” but it is rarely followed by “and we have responsibilities that go with those rights”. You know, like taking the precautions necessary to ensure you don’t infect others. By the way, she’s complaining that she tested negative for ebola. I’d remind her, so did the doctor who is now down with ebola in NYC. Nope, this is all about “her rights” – screw yours.
Now contrast that with this bit of word salad from the NIH:
‘The best way to protect us is to stop the epidemic in Africa, and we need those health care workers, so we do not want to put them in a position where it makes it very, very uncomfortable for them to even volunteer to go,’ said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Fauci made the rounds on five major Sunday morning talk shows to argue that policy should be driven by science — and that science says people with the virus are not contagious until symptoms appear. And even then, infection requires direct contact with bodily fluids.
He said that close monitoring of medical workers for symptoms is sufficient, and warned that forcibly separating them from others, or quarantining them, for three weeks could cripple the fight against the outbreak in West Africa — an argument that humanitarian medical organizations have also made.
‘If we don’t have our people volunteering to go over there, then you’re going to have other countries that are not going to do it and then the epidemic will continue to roar,’ Fauci said.
A) It doesn’t have to be “very, very uncomfortable”. They’re health care professionals. It’s kinda like a deep sea diver saying he’s not going to spend the decompression time necessary to avoid the bends because it’s “uncomfortable”. Of course he is, because that is part of the freakin job! Anyone remember this: “first do no harm”. Until you are sure you are ebola free – that’s after 21 days – then you can’t be sure you’re fulfilling that part of your pledge to those you serve, can you?
B) While the best way is obviously to stop ebola in Africa, it certainly does no good to let infected members to return and reintegrate with a population that isn’t infected. That’s how freakin’ epidemics start! So certainly stop it in Africa. But also take the common sense precautions necessary to stop it before it gets here. Is that too much to ask of a “health care professional” and an agency charged with protecting us from health care threats such as ebola?
C) Because the people “volunteering” are indeed “health care professionals” they should understand the need for quarantine upon returning. It should be a part of the entire process. I simply don’t understand the resistance. I have to wonder if they keep suspected ebola patients in the same wards with regular patients. Well, no, of course not. They quarantine them, even if the chance of them infecting others is very small. Why, oh why, is it too much to ask those who’ve been exposed to the virus and may be infected (but asymptomatic) to have a little regard for others and understand the need for separation for a period of time? Oh, and by the way, if the virus mutates (and health care officials say it might, given the amount of infection seen in Africa) then what? Suddenly it’s a whole new kettle of fish, isn’t it? And what they’re asking us to let them do is close the barn door after the ebola cow has left. Stupid.
So what does the leadership in DC do? Well it talks the governors out of doing what is common sense and relying on the “wisdom” of a system that promised ebola would never reach the US.
Absurd. Stupid. Unthinking. Dumb.
Don’t know how to say it any other way.
UPDATE: in light of a statement today by dopy Donny Deutsch saying “we’re a nation of cowards” because … well because he believes there’s hysteria in the air … I want to make it clear what I say isn’t said out of “fear”. It’s said in frustration. Frustration about applied stupidity. It’s as though all the common sense precautions we’ve taken in the past are “dated”. Now we just wing it and make pronouncements about how it just can’t happen here, even though it has happened here. Talk about arrogance. And stupidity.
Funny how reality always wins:
Black voters’ disappointment with President Barack Obama, who they so eagerly embraced for so many years, could be costly on Election Day to Democrats, who badly need a big African-American turnout to win Senate and gubernatorial races in key states.
Instead, many African-Americans see an unemployment rate well above the national average, continuing problems with crime in many neighborhoods, and a president more interested in trying to help other voting blocs that didn’t give him such unwavering support.
He talks about same-sex marriage in a nod to the gay and lesbian community. He discusses immigration and its benefits, an issue particularly important to the Latino community. He fights for equal pay, a vital issue to the women Democrats so avidly court.
The black community, which gave Obama support like no other group, too often doesn’t see the investment paying off.
“People in this community just don’t think anything is going to change,” said Akua Scott, a Miami-based labor organizer.
Want to know what the Berghdal investigation found? You’ll have to wait till after the election. Want to know what your new health insurance rates will be? You’ll have to wait until after the election. Why? Because it appears they both will be unpopular with most of the citizenry.
Interested in what is happening on the immigration front? You’ll have to wait until after the election … however there does seem to be some prep going on as AP reports:
The Homeland Security Department appears to be preparing for an increase in the number of immigrants living illegally in the country to apply for work permits after President Barack Obama announces his long-promised plans for executive actions on immigration reform later this year.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services confirmed to The Associated Press that it has published a draft contract proposal to buy the card stock needed to make work permits and Permanent Resident Cards, more commonly known as green cards. The proposal calls for providing material for at least 5 million cards a year, with as many as 9 million “during the initial period … to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.” The contract calls for as many 34 million cards over five years.
USCIS, the Homeland Security agency that oversees immigration benefits, produces about 3 million work permits and Green Cards annually, so the new contract would at least provide the Obama administration with the flexibility to issue far more work permits or green cards even if it chose not to exercise that option.
So they’re either ordering a 10 year supply or something is up. ABC’s Rick Klein reports:
Republicans can thank the reliable old federal bureaucracy for their latest little gift-wrapped present. The AP reports that the Department of Homeland Security is soliciting millions of new green cards – yes, the physical paperwork needed for legal status – “to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.” That’s right: The federal government is already ordering as many as 34 million new cards over five years to accommodate legal changes that haven’t been announced, much less approved by Congress. If and when this factoid makes its way into a campaign ad or a stump speech, it will be another reminder of the questionable political strategy of the White House deciding to delay immigration action until after the election. You don’t get full credit for not acting if everyone knows you’re about to. And the idea that tax dollars are set to be expended to support a sweeping new policy, before that policy is even announced or enacted? How better to confirm voters’ mistrust in government?
Congress? This president don’t need no stinkin’ Congress. And certainly not one that is run by Republicans. Nope … instead that will provide the perfect excuse (despite the obvious premeditation) to blame the GOP and take unilateral action.
And what will Congress do about such an end run? Well, likely nothing if their history is an indication.
So here we are with a wretched economy, the lowest labor participation rate in decades, stagnant wages and what does it appear our brilliant President is about to do?
That’s why you have to wait till after the election to find out.
A short one today, but I thought it instructive to bring up the fact that despite the claims of Democratic operatives and media types, the GOP isn’t the reason that Barack Obama’s Surgeon General nominee isn’t in that office. Byron York explains:
There are 55 Democrats in the Senate. Since Majority Leader Harry Reid changed the rules to kill filibusters for nominations, it would take just 51 votes to confirm Murthy. Democrats could do it all by themselves, even if every Republican opposed. But Democrats have not confirmed Murthy.
In other words, the claim is worthy of 4 Pinnochios if fact checkers were doing their job.
No, apparently the job is still vacant (yeah, I know there’s an acting SG) because apparently Democrats have a problem with the nominee.