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Will Mike Pence Help Hoosiers Say, “Bye, Bayh”?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:24 pm - January 20, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections,Conservative Ideas

During the debate last fall over “Hate Crimes” legislation, Representative Mike Pence of Indiana offered one of the most eloquent critiques of the bill on the House floor:

Hate crimes provisions in this legislation, as before, are antithetical to those First Amendment traditions and unnecessary. Violent attacks on people are already illegal regardless of the motive behind them, and there is no evidence that the underlying violent crimes at issue here are not being fully and aggressively prosecuted under current law. Therefore, in a practical sense, hate crimes laws serve no practical purpose and instead serve to penalize people for their thoughts, beliefs and attitudes, and send us down that very slippery slope Thomas Jefferson warned against.

Some of these thoughts, beliefs and attitudes, such as racism and sexism, and bias against people because of their sexual preferences, I find abhorrent. I disdain discrimination. I disdain bigotry. But these hate crimes provisions, including those that will be added to federal law today, are broad enough to encompass legitimate beliefs, and protecting the rights of freedom of speech and religion must be first and foremost and paramount on the floor of this chamber.

To put it quite simply, adding hate crimes provisions in this defense bill put us on a slippery slope of deeming particular groups more important than others under our system of justice. Singling out particular groups of victims erodes our long-standing legal principles of equal protection under the law.

Exactly. Now, that principled conservative is considering a bid for the Senate seat currently held by Obamacare supporter Evan Bayh.

It’s nice to have Republicans who can actually articulate conservative ideas without pandering to various interest groups as have certain members of Pence’s leadership team in the House.  Now, I’ll be the first to say that the Indiana Republican is far from perfect, but at least he can articulate the small government ideas which ostensibly define our party.

If Scott Brown could win in Massachusetts (Obama by 26), Mike Pence can win in Indiana (Obama by 0.03).

A Musical Take on a Republican Senate Victory in Massachusetts

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:00 pm - January 20, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections

Rahm Emanuel’s Crisis Management Hurts His Party (Big Time)

Of all the losers in yesterday’s special Senate election in the Bay State, few have seen their governing strategies so thoroughly repudiated as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. “You never want,” he said shortly after Obama’s election in November 2008, “a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.

Yet, as David Boaz, Executive Director of the Cato Institute. put it:

But Obama and his team overinterpreted their victory. A desire for change didn’t translate into support for a sweeping statist agenda. Starting with his February 24 speech to Congress, Obama began to overreach.

His administration sought to use the financial crisis to implement an agenda that wouldn’t have been plausible in calmer times.

It was that overreach which fueled the popular discontent which led, in large part, to Scott Brown’s upset victory yesterday in Massachusetts.  Contending, “It’s the substance, stupid!“, former Clinton aide Lanny Davis agrees:  “Somehow, in the last 12 months, we allowed the party of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama to morph into the party of George McGovern (or more accurately, his most ardent supporters) and Howard Dean”.

The Democrats would not have lost the Massachusetts Senate race had they not overreached as they had since Obama’s inauguration.   They might be better situation politically had they passed a less expensive “stimulus,” proposed more modest health care reform, developed a less aggressive legislative strategy and adopted a more transparent process.

A Coakley campaign memo reported that the candidate’s “lead dropped significantly after the Senate passed health care reform shortly before Christmas and after the Christmas Eve ‘bombing’ incident. Polling showed significant concerns with the actions of Senator Nelson to hold out for a better deal.”  That is, voter anger over the “Cornhusker Kickback” and related payoffs helped position Scott Brown to win the election.

It was the Chicago-style politics, stupid.

You know, the way Rahm Emanuel has learned to manage a crisis.  Perhaps, had he not believed the Democrats could use this crisis to push items long on their wish list, they could have held the Massachusetts Senate seat and be better positioned to hold a lot more seats this fall.

RELATED: (more…)

Geoff Kors Throws Hissy Fit over Brown Victory

An e-mail from Geoff Kors, Executive Director of Equality California, sounds a lot like some of our critics in the wake of Scott Brown’s resounding victory yesterday in the Bay State. Whining to his list, Kors revealed (yet again) his considerable anti-Republican prejudice:

Yesterday, in the bluest of blue states, Massachusetts voters elected a right-wing, anti-equality candidate to the U.S. Senate seat held by Edward Kennedy since 1962. And the group behind Prop. 8, the National Organization for Marriage, played a major role.  The volatile electorate, coupled with fierce opposition determined to deny us equality, makes 2010 a critical year to preserve and expand our right to legal equality.

With the leading gay group in the Golden State helmed by a man who spews this kind of rhetoric, you have an idea why Prop 8 passed.  He really does seem to hate conservative Republicans.

Please, Geoff, please, tell me where the constitution guarantees us a “right to legal equality” (whatever that means).  I’m more concerned about our rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness, you know, the inalienable ones.  As were the voters in Massachusetts.

If you want to overturn Prop 8, you’re going to have to stop demonizing guys like Scott Brown who called the Bay State’s law recognizing sex marriage as “settled” even as said recognition was mandated by a court, not enacted by an elected legislature.  And you’re going to need to figure out how to reach out to folks who responded to his message of smaller and more transparent government.  (And may well have shared his concern that the people of Massachusetts didn’t have a chance to weigh in on said law)

In a few days, I’ll be outlining my strategy to overturn Prop 8, complete with a draft initiative for the Golden State ballot.  But, given my political affiliation and his prejudices, I don’t think Mr. Kors will listen.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  John (AKA AverageGayJoe) nails it:

Who cares what NOM thinks of Brown? SSM wasn’t a part of Brown’s campaign and he will have minimal impact on the issue as US Senator. This is the same BS that special interest groups on both sides try to tar political opponents. If Geoff wants to know why Brown was elected, NOM had squat to do with it but an adage from over a decade ago most certainly did: “It’s the economy, stupid”.

Barney’s District Goes for Brown

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:31 pm - January 20, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections,Congress (111th)

Now, we know why the unhappy Barney Frank has, all of a sudden, been sounding so conciliatory on health care, saying that “electoral results have to be respected” and “there is now no bill that I believe can pass or should pass.”   Bruce texts me to report that his district went for Brown.

Mitch McConnell: Now the 2nd Most Powerful Man in Washington

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:18 pm - January 20, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections,Congress (111th)

I no longer remember who said this and wish I did so I could credit him for the observation and its particular saliency today.  I believe it was someone I met at the GOP convention in 2008.  What he said was simple, that as long as Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had the votes to sustain a filibuster, he’d all but run the Senate, given the Kentuckian’s mastery of Senate rules and procedure.

It’s no wonder Democrats tried so hard to defeat McConnell in 2008 and moved heaven and earth to get up to sixty in the Senate, playing hardball in the Minnesota recount, courting Arlen Specter until he gave in.  All those efforts which offered big-time payoffs for the Democrats in 2009 led to the atmosphere which made it possible for a Republican to win in Massachusetts.

Dubbing McConnell “the new king of Capitol Hill”, Fred Barnes observes:

His skill in keeping 40 Republicans united against Democratic health care reform was masterful, and it wasn’t easy.  A number of Republican senators are drawn to co-sponsoring or at least voting for Democratic bills.  Not this time.

By keeping his minority together, McConnell put enormous pressure on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who had to keep every Democrat in line to gain the 60 votes need to halt a Republican filibuster.  On health care, it meant he had to make unseemly deals with a host of senators, most egregiously in the Medicaid payoff to Nebraska to appease Senator Ben Nelson. Reid got the votes, but the deals were political poison.

And now he has 41 votes, indeed 41 very secure votes, given that the two Republicans most likely to vote with the Democrats come from Maine, a New England state with a higher percentage of Republicans than Scott Brown’s Massachusetts.

So, with the Kentucky Republican saying, “The president ought to take this as a message to recalibrate how he wants to govern and if he wants to govern from the middle we’ll meet him there,” the Democrat should listen.  Because nothing is moving through the Senate any more without his say-so.

What New Jersey’s Big Fat Governor and Massachusetts’ Studly New Senator Have in Common

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:06 pm - January 20, 2010.
Filed under: 2009 Elections,2010 Elections

Focusing yesterday on the election of a Republican Senator in the Bay State, most of those of us who blog about politics all but ignored the inauguration of a Republican Governor in the Garden State.  And while many factors contributed to the victories of these two good men, it may well have been a bit of political theater which turned the tide in each of their respective races.

Recall how, in the last month of the New Jersey campaign, polls showed the race tightening?  Chris Christie had not made a strong enough case for his candidacy.  Then, in “a brilliant piece of retail politics,” on the Thursday before the election, the rotund Republican went on Don Imus’s radio show and joked about his weight:

“I’m pretty fat Don,” Christie declared.

“You weigh?” Imus asked.

“550 pounds,” Christie jokingly responded.

What Christie did with humor, Scott Brown did with a one liner:

Albeit in different ways, with the above remarks, each man came across as personable, the kind of guy you’d like to meet.  That surely had an impact on the race.  Voters eager for change in these two “blue” states could more readily embrace these Republicans.

Videos to Honor Scott Brown’s Accomplishment

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:00 pm - January 20, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections,Patriotism

One made in anticipation of yesterday’s victory:

The other made the last time a Republican represented Massachusetts in the United States Senate, but which seems particularly important today:

Bay State Reader’s Perspective: How Harry Reid Lost Massachusetts

Offering a slightly “different perspective” from my attribution of Scott Brown’s victory yesterday to forces beyond Martha Coakley’s control, our Bay State reader Dave B offers his analysis of that good woman’s defeat:

Martha Coakley lost the election because Harry Reid decided to make a political payoff to Senator Nelson with taxpayer money while our President applauded it. Coakley suffered and lost ground although she still was going to win. Then Reid made another backroom deal with SEIU that pissed off most of us Union guys who know our representatives don’t represent the rank and file union guys doing the actual work. Coakley suffered further losses. Brown gained even more momentum.

I supported Brown from the beginning, believed in his stances, and am conservative all the way but even I could see that Coakley was helpless. She had a choice to abruptly reverse direction in her already stated support of Obamacare and risk being a flip flopper or stick with it. She stuck with it and these incompetents in Washington sunk her. Being an ultra-liberal she was ill prepared to deal with other issues that Mass citizens were concerned with because she was an elitist and completely out of touch and ill prepared to be questioned on her views.

For all her gaffes she still would have won if not for Obama, Reid, and SEIU who tried to ram this Health Care abortion down the throats of people that already have a health care system that we already pay for. For them to throw the blame in her direction is cowardly. THEY lost it for her. Although I’m glad and Brown is going to be a great Senator, these guys are cowards if they continue to blame her and her campaign without taking responsibility themselves.

Emphasis and paragraph breaks added.

Don’t Blame Martha Coakley

In the coming days, as they have in the last moments of the campaign to elect someone to fill Daniel Webster’s Senate seat, many Democrats will dismiss the election of a Republican in a state which hasn’t elected a Republican to federal office since before the president won his first election as an aberration, the consequence of a weak candidate running a poor campaign.

But, before they dismiss this good woman, they should recall that, in a Democratic state not normally friendly to women statewide, she rose to political power rather quickly and easily secured her party’s nomination to succeed Ted Kennedy. She was running a smart campaign until she, like everyone, including most right-of-center pundits, became aware of the power of the Brown juggernaut.

We all give Barack Obama’s for running a great presidential campaign back in ’08, but even he was caught off-guard by McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin. It took an economic crisis for that Democrat to right the listing vessel his campaign had become in early September. Had it not been for the mortgage meltdown, Obama may have limped his way to November, handing the White House to the GOP for another four years.

There were 17 days between McCain’s announcement of his running mate and the collapse of Lehman Brothers and 15 between the first sign that Democrats should not take the Massachusetts race for granted and Election Day.  And, in some ways, fewer than that; it took the Democrats a few days to realize the significance of the January 4 Rasmussen poll showing Brown within striking distance.  Perhaps, their delay in realizing the survey’s significance was due to their party’s prejudice against that pollster (as Politico reported just days before the release of that milestone survey). (more…)

Hollywood Dramatizes Scott Brown’s Victory Speech

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:54 am - January 20, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections,Movies/Film & TV

That was quick.  Hollywood must be sensing the shift in the cultural landscape; they’ve already produced a dramatization of Scott Brown’s victory speech last night.  I just wish they had tapped someone besides Mel Gibson to play the U.S. Senator-elect.  Still, it was a nice touch and a tribute to Kennedy’s Irish heritage to adopt a Celtic theme:

Bay State Fallout Quick Takes

Not sure I’m going to have much energy to blog later tonight–it’s almost 9 PM out here and while I’ve had my salad, I still haven’t had my dinner.  So, let me give you some quick takes on the impact of Scott Brown’s election, some of which may provide fodder for future blogs.

  1. Let’s start with the obvious.  Obamacare is not only merely dead, it’s really most sincerely dead. Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner says listen to the voters and start over. Democratic Senator Jim Webb says no further votes until the Massachusetts Republican is seated.
  2. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is now the second most powerful man in Washington. And to think, Democrats came close to unseating him just 14 months ago. Because the two most waveringest of Republican Senators come from New England states, you know, where Massachusetts is located, don’t expect them to buck the party of Scott Brown any time soon.
  3. Expect to see an uptick in the number of Democrats retiring.
  4. Expect to see an uptick in Republicans running for federal office.
  5. Expect to see some Democrats clamoring for a new White House Chief of Staff–not one who sees crises as a chance to push left-wing legislation on a supposedly unsuspecting public.
  6. This may be a blessing in disguise for Democrats. They get the warning only one year into Obama’s term than they didn’t get until 22 months with the Clintons.
  7. Scott Brown’s campaign aides will be in high demand.