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06
 
Since Election Night the pundits on Fox and CNN and MSNBC have been furiously pontificating, the Democrats declaring, Well, it’s not really all that bad, and Republicans arguing back the Democrats got drubbed and voters repudiated Obama.  
 
But what really happened was a typical odd-year election.
 
President Obama hasn’t ended the recession so Democrats (who thought Obama would heal all our ills by now) are in a bit of a funk. Independents are disappointed too but don’t have the impediment of party loyalty – so they went a step further and gave the President a kick in the pants. And Republicans just naturally are outraged and marched to the polls in droves.
 
So just like Reagan and Clinton before him Obama lost an odd-year election – but, remember, both Reagan and Clinton came back to win reelection handedly in 1984 and 1996.
 
The victories in Virginia and New Jersey are welcome news for Republicans after a long dry season – but hardly signs the time has come to write President Obama’s political obituary.
 
The most interesting race of the night was New York’s 23rd Congressional District – where a Democrat won a seat that’s been Republican since Ulysses Grant was President.
 
Two battles see-sawed back and forth during the race: One between Republicans and the other, at the end of the election, between Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman and Democrat Bill Owens.
 
The Republican inner-party fight was battle royal with an odd mixture of ideology and hardball New York politics.
 
Usually in New York the Republican and Conservative Parties work hand-in-glove and endorse the same candidate – but this time the Republican establishment in Washington ran rough-shod over the Conservative Party and hand-picked a liberal Republican, Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, no conservative could support.
 
The Washington Republicans essentially presented New York Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long with a fait de accompli and dared him to cross them – and Long sent them a message right back by recruiting a Conservative Party candidate.
 
No doubt Long knew – and hoped – his party’s nominee could win. But no doubt he also knew even if Doug Hoffman lost it could mean defeat for the liberal Republican. Long was practicing New York hardball politics and his message was direct and simple. He was saying, Alright, let’s see if you can win a three way race and, I reckon, if you can’t next time you’ll think twice before sandbagging conservatives in New York.
 
The Conservative Party won its battle with the Washington Republican Establishment hands down, crushing the NRCC’s candidate so decisively she collapsed and withdrew before the end of the race.
 
So, even before Election Day, Long had accomplished his goal. He’d more than accomplished it: For the first time since pre-Reagan days there was an open breach between conservatives and Republicans in Washington.
 
Then two days before the election Dede Scozzafava played a little bare-knuckled New York politics of her own: She endorsed Democrat Bill Owens, the Democrat, sending conservatives the same message they’d sent her 8 weeks earlier: I may not win but I can keep you from winning.
 
And it looks like her endorsement had teeth: Owens won Scozzafava’s home county 2 to 1 and won the election.
 
Measured in ads run and dollars raised Democrats also out fought both Republicans and Conservatives hands down. As soon as Owens announced the Democrats put an effective campaign on tracks and proceeded to out-spend the other candidates from the opening bell to the closing gun.
 
By comparison, the Washington Republicans miscalculated, picked a weak candidate, stumbled charging out of the chute, never got back on their feet and, in the end, their campaign collapsed.
 
The Conservative Party faced a harder task. Unlike the Republicans or Democrats they didn’t start the race with political war chests bulging with cash – they were flat broke and had to build a national fundraising campaign overnight. The fact that they succeeded in eight weeks is a minor miracle. They also had a credibility hurdle to clear: They had to convince voters a third party candidate had a real chance to win and that a vote for Doug Hoffman wouldn’t be wasted.
 
They accomplished both goals – but then Scozzafava threw them her curveball.
 
Winners and losers?
 
Well, clearly the Democrats picked up a Republican seat. But count Mike Long a winner too – it’ll probably be a long time before Washington Republicans pick another fight with the New York Conservative Party
 
And the big losers: Washington Republicans. They picked a weak candidate, ran an even weaker campaign and, then, their candidate endorsed Bill Owens and handed Democrats a Republican seat – and another vote for Nancy Pelosi in Congress.
 

 

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04
Democrats got a thumping in Virginia and New Jersey. But they don’t need to take a long walk off a short pier yet.
 
Republicans will be whooping that the party’s over for Obama.
 
With any luck, they’ll proceed on that assumption – and wreck their chances of a real comeback in 2010 and 2012.
 
Maybe the right-wingers will decapitate Charlie Crist next. I hope so, because he’s one Republican who could beat Obama. (See the New York-23 congressional district for what I mean.)
 
Actually, Tuesday’s results demonstrate Obama’s strength, not weakness.
 
He’s the only Democrat who can generate enthusiasm among minority voters and young voters.
 
The Democrats were saddled with sad-sack candidates – almost as bad as that Karzai guy in Afghanistan.
 
Bob McDonnell was an attractive candidate with a positive message. Creigh Deeds tried to beat him by spotlighting a master’s thesis McDonnell wrote 20 years ago.
 
And Jon Corzine? Any man who rides along New Jersey freeways at 90 miles an hour without a seat belt obviously doesn’t have enough sense to be governor.
 
On top of all that, liberals were whining – and sitting on the sidelines – because almost 10 months have gone by and Obama hasn’t led them to the Promised Land.
 
This election, unlike last year, Republicans owned the intensity factor.
 
Let that be a lesson, Democrats.

 

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22

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21
Recently I was subjected to a speech by columnist-commentator George Will.
 
He courageously took on Washington’s big spending. His implication was that President Obama is the culprit.
 
To his credit, Will did acknowledge that George Bush’s prescription drug benefit – which doesn’t let the government negotiate lower prices – is part of the problem.
 
But he ignored three other big causes of the deficit:
  • Bush’s war in Iraq
  • Bush’s tax cuts
  • Bush’s bailout.
If I was an umpire, I'd call Will out on strikes.
 

 

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20
The answer in a nutshell is Republicans in Washington.
 
The other morning ole Newt Gingrich, who talks the talk and has gotten himself anointed as ‘conservative thinker’ numero uno turned his attention from Washington to Lake Placid, New York and endorsed a liberal who’d make Nancy Pelosi proud.
 
Why would a deep-thinking Republican do that? Because Deidre Scozzafava has an ‘R’ next to her name on the ballot and she’s the darling (and handpicked candidate) of the Washington Republicans – John Boehner, Michael Steele and so on.
 
And who is Deidre Scozzafava? She’s the Albany Assemblywoman Republican House Leader John Boehner and the gnomes at the NRCC picked and have spent half a million dollars to elect in the Special Election in New York’s 23rd District – a district that hasn’t elected a Democrat since the Civil War. She has two opponents: A Democrat, and the nominee of the New York Conservative Party, which 29 years ago elected Jim Buckley to the Senate.
 
Ms. Scozzafava’s for gay marriage, abortion, President Obama’s Stimulus Bill and voted for 190 tax increases in Albany and Newt’s waving the flag to elect her against a conservative candidate whose stands on issues are, well, what politicians like John Boehner and Newt Gingrich say they believe in.
 
We haven’t had a good house cleaning at Republican Central in Washington since the 1970’s when the current Washington Republicans ancestors were fighting to elect anybody but Ronald Reagan.
 
It’s time to pull out the broom.
 

 

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19

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I’ve been chosen – according to the official-looking letter – to be part of the 2009 Congressional District Census!
 
And to whom do I owe this honor?
 
Michael Steele, chairman of the national Republican Party.
 
His letter tells me that I am “one of a select few” chosen for the Census in the 13th Congressional District.
 
Why me?
 
Mr. Steele breathlessly informs me it’s “because of your high level of political involvement ands steadfast commitment to the Republican Party.”
 
This is reassuring news.  No matter how bad things look for Democrats, Republicans are clearly capable of screwing up their chances.

p> 

 

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14
We Republicans are dreaming the Grand Political Gift is about to fall into our laps – at last an election is at hand where the national political tides are flowing deep and strong in our favor.
 
The odd thing about it is it took electing Democrats to about every office in Washington – to get voters to finally decide to vote for Republicans.
 
Maybe that’s justice. Or irony. Either way, a new Civitas Poll shows Independents now say they will vote Republican 2 to 1 next election. And 22% of the Democrats say they’ll be voting Republican too.
 
It’s a sea change – the whole thing has echoes of 1994 or…well, I can’t remember when there was another election where folks elected Republicans in a tidal wave.
 
Then again, sometimes, if something looks too good to be true – it is.
 
And, besides, this wouldn’t be the first time the political gods dangled a gift in front of someone – then snatched it away.
 
For instance, Barack Obama – as he proved last year against Hillary – is a world class political counter puncher. He can read a poll and it’s hard to see him rolling over and saying to his political masterminds, Look boys, we’ve lost this election, let’s move on to the next one – the one that really counts. Barack Obama’s still heavyweight champion of American politics – he’s taken some punches but he’s not anywhere near flat on his back on the canvas.
 
And consider this: There’s a big political wind growing in Afghanistan.
 
General McChrystal says flat out he needs 40,000 more soldiers or it’s curtains (and our goose is cooked) and the Republicans in Washington have chimed in with a chorus of amens, saying, Send him the troops.
 
And it looks like President Obama may do it. That once he finishes pondering and weighing and figuring how loud the left wing of his own party will holler, he may turn out to be a hawk instead of a dove and actually have his own 40,000 man surge.
 
Now, Afghanistan is one of the great tar babies of history. From the British Raj down to the Russians in the 1980’s it’s been a nightmare for anyone fool enough to fight a war there – and we’ve already been there nearly as long as the Russians, who had no qualms at all about slaughtering innocent people, while we fight our wars by Marquis of Queensbury rules.
 
So what happens if we send 40,000 more men to Afghanistan and the mess turns into a quagmire?
 
Politically, we’ll have people mad at Republicans for sounding the trumpets to charge; at President Obama for siding with the Republicans; and a good part of the Democratic Party will be saying I told you so…we ought to have cut and run – and we all know how the American people feel about wars that don’t work out.
 
That could make for a muddled election in 2010 that doesn’t look at all like a gift from the political gods.
 

 

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14
Even liberal pundits criticize the Obama White House for dissing Fox News. They say the President and his team should deal with anybody – even the devil.
 
I disagree.
 
In politics, it helps to have the right enemy. Fox is the perfect enemy for Obama.
 
By spotlighting Fox as the opposition, he pushes all his Republican critics into the Fox nest – and, by extension, the Rush Limbaugh nest.
 
But, Fox complains, we have 1.2 million loyal viewers.
 
Right, and there were just over 130 million votes cast last year.
 
That means just under 1 percent of the voters regularly watch Fox.
 
And none of them will ever vote for Obama.

 

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05
News flash: There are sane Republicans!
 
Tommy Thompson, Bill Frist and Michael Bloomberg (sort of a Republican) all say they like the health-care bill emerging in the Senate.
 
Of course, none of them can vote there.
 
If they did, the GOP Jacobins would take their heads off.
 
Why is Can Obama Pass a Bill the only story line?
 
The other side of the story: Republican lawmakers so terrorized by Fox and Rush they just say no to everything.
 
But there is justice. They’re walking a path to political perdition.

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05
An alert reader spotted this “Income Opportunities Available” banner on the WakeUp America TV ads about “corrupt Democrats.”
 

 
The reader followed the link to: http://www.wakeupamerica.com/income-opportunities.
 
There he read:
 
If you are interested in becoming a Team Leader, and building a team of commission fundraisers to help air Wake Up America TV commercials in your area as part of our organization, send an email to: Income@WakeUpAmerica.com ….
 
We’ve developed a unique fundraising and support model that provides Team Leaders with all the tools necessary to build your team.
 
Just a few of the benefits include:
 
•         a recurring commission stream
 
•         the ability to earn from the efforts of others as well as yourself
 
•         almost unlimited income potential
 
Tell us in one paragraph why you would like to join our team to help Wake Up America.
 
The reader says: “This reads like a pyramid scheme. I think politics shouldn’t be like this. I agree with some of what their message is, but not how they are doing this. It kinda smells.” 
 
Ditto that!


 

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