After Vote Part 3

I’ve got too much going on to revisit all of the saved articles I had planned to share and comment on. I think it’s safe to say, at this point, that there are three main theories as to why the Democrats got “shellacked”:

1. The economy / 9.5% unemployment (what Obama and good Democratic Party soldiers like Nancy Pelosi say)

2. Obama and the Democrats were too liberal, “carved out” too large a role for government

3. Obama and the Democrats didn’t fight for liberal/progressive policies; they compromised too often

As should be obvious by now, I fall into the camp that subscribes to the last reason. Surely, #1 played some role, whether you subscribe to #2 or #3. I will not completely dismiss #2. It is true that had Obama sat back and done literally NOTHING over the past two years, Democrats might have lost fewer elections. However, overall, doing SOME stimulus was better for the nation than doing nothing, as was doing SOME healthcare reform as opposed to none, although both of these were bad politically from both right and the left.

Anyway, I’m motivated to make a brief post now because I just had an interesting conversation with a local Democratic party worker (staffer or volunteer, I’m not sure). He had come to buy my old coffee table, and he had worked hard on canvassing locally and statewide on behalf of Democratic candidates. In particular, he worked hard on the GOTV effort for David Price, who hung on to beat the Republican challenger B.J. Lawson, who has now lost to Price in two consecutive elections. However, whereas Price won by 26 points in 2008, Lawson lost by a margin of just 14 points, or 37,000 votes.

My coffee-table-buyer stressed that, had there not had been a massive GOTV effort, Price could have easily been a victim of the Republican wave, since Lawson’s campaign had a huge financial and messaging advantage. Moreover, while it seemed like the Democratic Party just rolled over in the 2010 elections, there was a great deal of work that went into getting core voters to get out and vote, and that work made the difference between the Democratics losing 60 or so seats and potentially losing 90-100 seats.

The Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives now has a higher concentration of progressives than it did before, since conservative Blue Dogs lost at a much higher rate than did progressives. I think this the case because a lot of progressive party die-hards fought on despite the national mood. So, I am grateful to them, and this makes me feel a little bit better about the election results.

2010 was not a repudiation of liberalism.

By the way, did you that Zach Galifianakis’s uncle Nick represented N.C.’s 4th district between 1967 and 1973?

After Vote Part 1

I will share some of the more intelligent comments I have read on the internets over the past couple of days, with perhaps some of my less intelligent thoughts mixed in. I think I’ve noted a whole lot that I want to share, so I’ll make a few of these posts so they’re more digestible (and don’t feel like spending much time on this exercise at the moment.)

What the average voter saw of Democrats was weak, watered-down change – and weak Democratic leaders who cut deals with the very Wall Street banks and insurance companies they are supposed to be fighting.

Progressives will be stepping up and insisting that the Democratic Party be bolder, not weaker.
Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign

Saddest specific storyline from Tuesday night:
– Wisconsin progressive Senator Russ Feingold loses

Unsaddest storyline from Tuesday night:
– Nearly half of the Blue Dog Coalition of Democrats in Congress lose

It is because of the Blue Dog Coalition that there is no floor vote before the August break.
– South Dakota’s Blue Dog representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in August 2009 regarding the healthcare debate; Rep. Herseth Sandlin was among the 29 Blue Dogs to lose on Tuesday

In another words, it’s because of the Blue Dogs that healthcare was watered down and delayed so much. Good riddance, Blue Dogs.

It’s a shame Heath Shuler still as his seat. He says he will challenge Pelosi for Minority Leader should she stay on. Since 95% of the members of the Progressive Caucus kept their seats, I’m thinking Shuler will get crushed.

So, we’re already getting the expected punditry: Obama needs to end his leftist policies, which consist of … well, there weren’t any, but he should stop them anyway.

What actually happened, of course, was that Obama failed to do enough to boost the economy, plus totally failing to tap into populist outrage at Wall Street. And now we’re in the trap I worried about from the beginning: by failing to do enough when he had political capital, he lost that capital, and now we’re stuck.

But he did have help in getting it wrong: at every stage there was a faction of Democrats standing in the way of strong action, demanding that Obama do less, avoid spending money, and so on. In so doing, they shot themselves in the face: half of the Blue Dogs lost their seats.

And what are those who are left demanding? Why, that Obama move to the center.

Paul Krugman on The Whiny Center

Vote and Hope

I’ve been in transit today and have yet to see any footage of the Stewart/Colbert rallies, but I did see a figure of 200,000 on The Mall. Regardless of what happens Tuesday, this gives me hope.

In transit, I’ve started listening to Ted Kennedy’s memoir True Compass. This gives me hope, too:

(Keep in mind, Kennedy had been undergoing aggressive treatment for brain cancer, and, then, when preparing for his convention appearance, suffered a kidney stone attack).

Vote

Here’s MSNBC.com’s website from over the weekend. They want this year’s election to be Obama vs. Palin. This is pretty ridiculous, but…ok. Voters of America, make your choice: brilliant and level-headed but occasionally spineless vs. bat-shit crazy and completely ignorant.

I’m pissed at President Obama and the Democratic Party for a number of reasons. But they have gotten some things done over the past two years. I am certain the country is in much better than it would have been under McCain-Palin and a Republican Congress. And I do think it will be disastrous if the GOP regains control of either house of Congress.

So…

Richard Burr stands for nothing and proudly thinks of himself as a roadblock to Congress. Retire Burr and vote for Elaine Marshall.

David Price has been representing the Triangle for 22 years. He works hard, albeit uncharismatically, behind-the-scenes for health care reform and jobs for his region. A vote for Lawson is a vote for a GOP Congress which is going to spend the next two years trying to gut anything positive the law Congress did, as well as launch pointless investigations into the Obama administration. Think climate change is real, and we need to do something about it? A GOP Congress absolutely will do nothing. And they’ll probably try hard to strip existing powers away from the EPA.

The stakes are huge. Vote for Republicans, and you are voting for the party of:
Rand Paul, who’d have voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, created his own ophthalmologic certification so he could be a legitimate eye doctor, and whose supports stomp on the heads of opponents.
Sharron Angle, who wants to abolish the federal income tax code, phase out Social Security for younger workers and eliminate the Education Department.
Ken Buck, who believes being gay is a choice and compared it to alcoholism.
Christine O’Donnell, who was unaware that the First Amendment calls for the separation of Church and State.
Mitch McConnell, who stated that the primary goal of the next Congress would be to make President Obama a one-term President. He did not speak to improving healthcare or even creating an improved tax code. The GOP’s primary goal is to stop Obama, at every step of the way.

And that’s all Burr and Lawson would do, content to keep this country in a ditch.

Pro-choice in the Triangle? Don’t even think about voting for Lawson

Yeah, I know people aren’t enthusiastic about voting this year. I’m not. Please do it anyway.

I know David Price isn’t the most charismatic guy in the world. He votes a progressive agenda and generally has done a good job of representing the Triangle, but…hmmm…maybe he’s been in D.C. too long… Who’s this young, chipper guy B.J. Lawson who runs every two years? He can’t be that bad. (After all, his wife looks like Tipper Gore.) A Republican running in this district has to be moderate, right?

Well, here’s Lawson on reproductive rights:

We can either be a pro-life culture or a pro-death culture. I choose life. Only in extreme cases should abortion be considered and only as a medical decision where the health and life of the mother are in jeopardy. In cases of rape or incest, I believe there is a difference between emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy versus termination of a known and viable pregnancy. In any case, I believe the federal government should define life as beginning at conception, and leave strategies for reducing abortions to state governments.

I know I’ve got friends who will vote for Lawson, in some part of large part, because of this position. But I’m betting the majority of the people I know and who will vote find this position to be at least bit disturbing.

In any event, I think we can all agree that 2/3 of B.J. Lawson’s platform is B.S.:
Less Government…really?
More Freedom…uh, huh.

If you would like to hear from the candidates, Bull City Rising is co-sponsoring a debate this Friday evening. It was this BCR post that pointed me to Lawson’s positions. If you lean left, as I do, or don’t tend to lean in any particular direction, I hope you’ll realize that it really is in our best interest to keep David Price in the House representing us.

On a related note, it sure is uncomfortable blogging about such a sensitive subject. I want to add a note to those people I know who are “pro-life” (I really do hate both the labels “pro-life” and “pro-choice”). One can think abortion is horrible and believe that one would never have one or condone a partner having one or condone anyone they know having one and still believe the government should not determine when and under which circumstances women can have the procedure. Some people are firm in being at the absolute ends of the spectrum of this debate. I don’t care to state for the record exactly where I stand. But I do know that this candidate’s position, and I do respect that he has a very specific, on-the-record position, scares the hell out of me.