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Did Harry Reid Survive to Become an Impotent Majority Leader?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:42 pm - November 3, 2010.
Filed under: 111th Congress,112th Congress,2010 Elections

In 2004, U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln won reelection in Arkansas with 54% of the vote while George W. Bush was carrying the state.  On  Tuesday, she didn’t even break 40% of the vote.  Arkansas elected 3 Democrats and 1 Republican to the 111th Congress.  Last night, it elected 3 Republicans and 1 Democrat.

Mark Pryor, the state’s incoming senior Senator is certainly paying attention to those numbers.  But, at least he’s not up for reelection until 2014.

Now, while he has less to worry about in 2012, his colleagues Herb Kohl, Debbie Stabenow, Jim Webb, Jon Tester, Kent Conrad, Sherrod Brown, Bob Casey, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, Claire McCaskill and to a lesser extent Jeff Bingaman, Maria Cantwell, Amy Klobuchar as well as Robert Menendez were paying attention to the returns in their states.  None save perhaps Kohl’s Wisconsin, Stabenow’s Michigan, Webb’s Virginia and Brown’s Ohio swung as decisively against the Democrats as did Lincoln’s Arkansas, but these Senators know that the American people are now paying attention.

Not to mention Joe Manchin who was elected to fill out the term of the late Robert Byrd.  He will also face the voters next fall.  He campaigned against many of the centerpieces of his party’s agenda.  He may caucus with the Democrats, but he’s certainly not going to vote with them.

In short, Harry Reid, though he won a victory most sweet to his party (and most bitter to ours), won’t be able to count of the loyalty of eleven, possibly fifteen, members of his caucus in the 112th Congress. (more…)

Time for Joe to Go

One thing is clear after reading HRC’s Post-Election Lament; Analysis: if the organization is serious about advocating for gay and lesbian Americans in our nation’s capital, it needs new leadership.  Its leaders just don’t get the issues which helped elect Republicans across the country.  It is time for Joe Solmonese to step down and to be replaced by someone who knows how to “talk Republican”, given that Republicans will soon control one house of Congress.

Solmonese’s background is in left-wing partisan (Democratic) advocacy.  Before coming to HRC, he worked for EMILY’s List, an outfit which defines itself as “a community of progressive Americans dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women“.

In its analysis, HRC almost got the meaning of the election:

Voter anxiety over economic affairs created a difficult environment for incumbents and swept conservative majorities into the U.S. House and state legislatures around the country. Thankfully this election was not characterized by as much wedge-issue demagoguery as we’ve seen in the past but make no mistake, these new leaders are no friends to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Yeah, the new leaders may not be friends (as they define friends) to the gay and lesbian community, but they’re surely not enemies.  HRC did get that the GOP swept to power by ignoring “wedge-issue demagoguery,” but its leaders missed the issue that really resonated across the country (save perhaps in California): that government has gotten too big and is spending too much.

People want government to leave us alone so we can solve our problems on our own.  And that’s a message which should be welcome to gay and lesbian individuals and should certainly not be anathema to the gay community.

If HRC had a leader who understood that message, then he would understand that the results while perhaps damaging to their notion of gay equality (whatever that means) could bode well, very well for the gay community.   Just as government shouldn’t interfere in the marketplace, so it shouldn’t meddle in our homes.   If it wants to have any influence in the 112th Congress, HRC’s leadership needs to tap into the freedom rhetoric that so resonated with the American people in yesterday’s balloting and lobby Congress not to enact laws which limit our liberty.

And to do that, they don’t necessarily need a Republican leader or one from the Tea Party movement, but one familiar with and respectful of the ideas which undergird it.  Joe Solmonese is not such a man.  And that’s why it’s time for him to go.

NB:  Tweaked the post to fix some sentences which didn’t read well.

Ride The Wave

First, thanks to everyone who joined our Election Night internet TV coverage.  It was a blast.  My office is now back to normal, sans big screen TV with Charlotte skyline.

Second, my deepest sympathies to our readers and supporters in California and Nevada.  This is what happens when public unions that receive public dollars to fund political campaigns corrupt our elections.  Ya gotta figure a way to stop that to solve your issues, I’m afraid.

Third, some 2008-era slogans come to mind:  “Elections have consequences”  “We Won”  “The Republican Party is nothing more than a regional party now”

Oh yeah?

2008

2010

Nuf said.

I reserve the right to gloat as much as Obama’s ego is large.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Can California Be Saved?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:38 pm - November 3, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections,California politics

California is ailing.  Our unemployment rate is the third highest in the nation.  We have lost approximately 600,000 jobs just since Democrats returned to power in Washington.  Our state budget is in the red.  State public employee pensions threaten to push us toward insolvency.  Storefronts sits vacant on once-thriving commercial thoroughfares.  The Golden State has lost its luster.

And yet, we had an election where the main issues had little to do with the state’s fiscal health and very much to do with the Republican gubernatorial nominee’s personal wealth and touchy temperament.  In short, the issues of the recent campaign had nothing to do with the problems facing California.

When my father this morning called to express incredulity that the state could return Jerry Brown to the Governor’s mansion, I said it was like a homeowner with a leaky roof on a house where he could barely afford the mortgage payments hiring a contractor to build a new veranda.  Perhaps, the better analogy would have been to say that instead of talking about a new veranda, he was intent on hiring a green landscaper.

Brown talked about “green jobs” while the various candidates for statewide office ran on promises of promoting pro-environmental policies.  Should the legislature follow through on these promises , expect to see increasing numbers of businesses flee the state while those that remain will have to devote more resources to meeting state environmental mandates and fewer to increasing their operations, thus not able to create new jobs for out-of-work Californians or generate more revenue for the state’s increasingly depleted coffers.

California’s problems today aren’t an absence of so-called “green” policies, but an excess of them and, as Monty put it on Ace of Spades:

California’s most dire problems right now are related to public-employee obligations (pensions and healthcare). The power of public-employee unions in California have held the State and local governments in thrall for years, and with the election of Jerry Brown as Governor, the people of California have opted to spray kerosene on a blaze that was already threatening to overwhelm them.

With the passage of Prop. 25 as well as last night’s election returns, California Democrats, as Monty put it, “get to own the mess they made in the first place.”  Let’s hope that, in future elections, people hold them accountable.

NB:  In the original version of this post, I had incorrectly said that California’s unemployment was the highest in the nation.  It’s actually the third highest.  Since fixed.

State legislative victories: evidence of real GOP tsunami

While Californians now have nearly the identical state legislature we had yesterday, with almost super-majorities for Democrats uninterested in reforming the policies which have put our state on the brink of financial collapse, citizens of other states will have more reform-minded legislatures.

Republicans scored big in state legislative races.  From Erick Erickson:

. . .  this morning the Republican Party has picked up more seats in the House of Representatives than at any time since 1948 — that is more than sixty seats. Ike Skelton, Class of 1976, is gone. Many, many other Democrats are gone.

That, in and of itself, is significant. But that’s not the half of it. The real story is the underreported story of the night — the Republican pick ups at the state level.

There will be 18 states subject to reapportionment. The Republicans will control a majority of those — at least ten and maybe a dozen or more. More significantly, a minimum of seventeen state legislative houses have flipped to the Republican Party.

At Powerline, Scott Johnson says that the folks in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes turned the entire legislature over to the GOP, “Almost unbelievably, however, Republicans have taken both the Minnesota House and the Minnesota Senate. Republicans have not held a majority in the Minnesota Senate since state law was modified to require ballots to show partisan designations.

“Republicans,” John Hood writes, “haven’t enjoyed this much power in state capitals since the 1920s.”  Michelle Malkin lists some of the chambers that flipped.

With Republicans now in complete control of Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, they will be able to “manage” reapportionment next year in a manner which benefits the GOP.   (more…)

Memo to Jerry Brown: Not All Actors Turned Republican Governors Are the Same

Just because when he last entered the Governor’s mansion in 1975, he succeeded one actor turned Republican who left the Golden State in sound fiscal shape, doesn’t mean that another one will.

Arnold is, alas, not Ronald Reagan.

A National Victory Without Gloating Rights*

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:27 am - November 3, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections

Perhaps I say that because I had mixed feelings tonight driving back from Carly’s party tonight in Orange County.  It was a good night for the Republicans nationwide, with Republican candidates knocking off three committee chairman, John Spratt of the Budget Committee (who got walloped in South Carolina), Ike Skelton of the House Armed Services Committee and James Oberstar of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

In addition, Appropriations Committee Chair David Obey will not be returning.

In California, Gloria Allred and the public employee unions helped the Democrats sprint across the finish line.  Their unions professional phone banks helped turn out the vote and turn the tide.  Watching Jerry Brown declare victory without breaking a smile, it seemed I was watching a clip of a university professor leading a rally in the early 1970s.  His election, Paul Mirengoff writes, sends us back to the future that doesn’t work.

Together with a cooperative media, he helped make this race about Meg Whitman’s flaws.  And her campaign failed to define him as an eccentric has-been, a man to whom recently-recalled Governor Gray Davis once served as understudy.  At a later date, I will write about Meg’s loss — for it was much more her loss than Brown’s win.

Thirty-six years ago, when he was first elected governor, Jerry Brown took over a state that was fiscally sound.  Today, he faces a state with perennial budget woes.  Personally, I don’t think he’s equipped to face this mess.  A majority of my fellow Californians disagreed.  But then, the campaign was never really about the state’s shaky fiscal standing.   And now, we have to hope, we have to pray that Jerry Brown is up to fixing it. (more…)