Free Markets, Free People

anti-incumbent

San Francisco Chronicle’s non-endorsement of Boxer underlines anti-incumbent feeling in US

Of course the Chronicle – the state of California’s liberal newspaper located in America’s most liberal big city – didn’t endorse Carly Fiorina either, but no one in the state expected that would happen.

However, the fact that the Chronicle’s editorial board couldn’t find it in itself to support Barbara Boxer’s 4th Senate term is news.  There’s debate as to how much weight endorsements carry with voters, but the refusal to endorse a candidate which it has supported in the past is indeed something voters should sit up and notice.

The most positive thing the paper could say about Boxer was she was a “reliable liberal vote”.  But it also called Boxer a Senator of little note or accomplishment and one whose only claim to fame is her rabid partisanship.

The Chronicle is not at all enamored with Carly Fiorina’s politics which should surprise no one.  But the editors all but say, “but for her politics, she’d be our choice”.

It is an odd and rare sort of editorial that you should take the time to read if, for no other reason than to understand the anti-incumbency movement has reached even into the editorial rooms of newspapers. There’s also something else important captured in the first sentence in the non-endorsement:

Californians are left with a deeply unsatisfying choice for the U.S. Senate this year.

Replace California with “Americans” and “US Senate” for “any national office” and make "choice" plural and you pretty well sum up the reason for the rise of the Tea Party, the unrest on the left, the confusion in the middle and the large majority that continues to say, in poll after poll, that the country is on the wrong track. 

California’s Senate race is a microcosm of races all over the US and the Chronicle’s non-endorsement reflects the feelings many voters have as they consider the candidates they’re left with, with rare exceptions.  This continues to be what the GOP is missing as it attempts to run (and support) the same old people for office.  They’ve done nothing to search out and recruit the candidates for which the voters are literally clamoring.  Thus the rise of insurgent candidates in GOP primaries.

“Politics as usual” or  “establishment politics” if you prefer, are under attack.  While there are certainly specifics in law, legislation or among issues that are important to voters, their general frustration is mostly driven by the fact that they’re unable to meaningfully change a political system  in any fundamental way that they view as non-responsive and broken. 

Instead they see an out of touch, out of control Leviathan blindly charging ahead and spending us into ruin whose only concern for the desires of the people manifests itself at reelection time.  And, as soon as the offices are again secured for the appropriate time period, they are quickly forgotten in the world of party politics and special interests.  As the SF Chronicle implies, Barbara Boxer is this problem’s poster child.

The first party that truly dedicates itself to defining and executing a plan that fundamentally changes the system under which we suffer now and makes it more responsive and reactive to the will of the electorate is the party that will rise in prominence and remain there for the foreseeable future.

~McQ

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Mollohan: Ethics, anti-incumbency or both?

So a relatively obscure Democratic representative of 28 years and with some ethics problems goes down in his primary.  In most election cycles you’d be likely pin the loss on the ethics problems and an opponent who successfully capitalized on them.   But you really can’t do that this time.  In the wake of Republican Bob Bennett’s ouster in Utah, West Virginia’s Rep. Alan Mollohan’s loss may be more than just an ethics problem.  In fact, it may have to do with the fact that he’s been in Congress for 28 years than any ethics clouds on his horizon.

It is getting harder and harder to deny there’s an anti-incumbent fever among the voters of this nation.  And, it appears, it isn’t dissipating.  Many politicians have read the tea leaves and are bailing.  David Obey and Bart Stupak know a loser when they see one, even after decades in office.  Harry Reid faces an uphill battle for re-election. And so do many more. The GOP needs to get a clue as Bennett’s loss points out. Anti-incumbent fever isn’t just confined to Democrats.

There are those who opine that this is all a referendum on Obama.  No, it’s not.  While certainly his agenda is contributing to the “vote the bums out” mentality, this is something that has been building for a while.  It is a rejection of “government is the answer” mantra and it is a demand for fiscal sanity, the reining in of the federal government and getting it out of our lives.  It appears the voters have finally decided this particular class of politicians – on both sides with some exceptions – isn’t the bunch to get that done.  Given their history and the conditions under which we suffer today because of them, I’d have to agree.

Watch for more of this in the coming months.

~McQ

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Stray Voltage

A very interesting piece in the LA Times about some European muslims who failed at the job of “holy warrior – or did they?


Pakistan is discovering that their unwelcome guests in the Swat Valley are harder to get rid of than cockroaches.


Apparently Rep. Collin Peterson (Minn.), the outspoken Democratic chairman of the Agriculture panel, isn’t happy with the Waxman/Markey Cap-and-Trade bill and is promising trouble.


It seems even the NY Times is catching on to the Obama rhetorical devices.  Helene Cooper points out that some of Obama’s “enemies” are “straw men” and Sheryl Gay Stolberg notes that many of Obama’s “nuanced” positions would be flip-flops if it was anyone else.  Of course both articles were published in the Saturday NY Times, so its not like they’re really calling Obama to task.


The Washington Post, examining Venezuela strong man Hugo Chavez’s latest attempt to destroy any domestic opposition, wonders if the Obama administration’s silence on the matter constitutes sanction by silence.  Well if that’s the case, what does Nancy Peolsi’s silence about the use of waterboarding constitute?


A porn star is considering a run for the US Senate from Louisiana.  Given the fact  that she’s only worked in a different type of porn than what goes on in the US Senate, she ought to fit right in.


The NY “bomb plot” has apparently degenerated into an “aspirational” one.


And finally, it looks like Brits are finally fed up.  According to reports, a big “vote the bums out” movement is taking shape in the UK.  We should be so lucky.