Saturday, November 06, 2010

The Texas Eagle Forum Poses Some Final Solutions to America's Muslim Problem

The Texas Eagle Forum has a plan for countering the existence of Muslims in America:
In the U.S., there are Muslim training camps across the country actively planning attacks on American soil. Young Americans are being converted to Islam in our jails, our military, public schools and universities, and in churches that preach Liberation Theology. Muslims have gained two seats in the U.S, Congress and have won seats in state and local races. Public school textbooks are becoming pro-Islam and anti-Christian. Muslims are buying Fortune 500 companies and high tech companies. There is a Dow Jones Islamic Index. Islamic banks, insurance companies and mortgage companies are springing up across the country. Our open borders welcome Muslims.

The challenge to America is to stop the spread of Islam in the U.S. before it is too late.


1. Congress MUST outlaw Shariah and international law
2. Eliminate Muslim government employees
3. Outlaw Muslim terrorist organizations, such as The Muslim Brotherhood, CAIR, etc.
4. Muslims should be ineligible to run for political office
5. All Muslim military personnel should be removed from the U.S. armed forces
6. Monitor mosques
7. Shut down terrorist training camps in the U.S.

Query the coherence of claiming folks are converted to Islam inside churches which preach "Liberation Theology". One would think they'd simply become adherents of the branches of Christianity that believe in liberation theology.

Also, pro tip -- when one simple wants to release an employee from their job, we usually term that "firing". "Eliminate" is a verb that sort of connotes killing.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Not Worth a Dog's Dinner

An Oakland cop who shot an unarmed and restrained Black man on a subway platform received two years in prison after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter. It was the shortest possible sentence absent probation (the harshest potential sentence was 14 years). The involuntary manslaughter rap itself was itself the most lenient charge Grant Mehserle could have been convicted of -- a fact which also led to considerable unrest when the verdict came down.

As Oscar Grant's family pointed out, this is less time than Michael Vick was sentenced to for his dog-fighting ring -- thus adding another name to the list of humans we value dogs more than. What is the victim's family supposed to think about that? Such is the nation we live in -- the same one, incidentally, which sentences men who abuse and kill their wives more leniently than women who kill their abusers. Nowhere more than in the criminal realm to we express more clearly the notion of whose bodies matter more, and whose bodies matter less; which criminals we are inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to, and which ones we take it upon ourselves to lock away for extra time.

Fuzzy Math

The Yahoo headline is Republicans take aim at cost of Obama’s trip to India.

But as the article later points out, the Republican claims that the trip will cost $200 million/day -- advanced by luminaries like Mike Huckabee and terminally unhinged Michele Bachmann -- are flatly false. There's no basis in reality for them. Claims that Obama will be accompanied by 10% of the US Navy are also, unsurprisingly, wildly false.

Why isn't the headline "Top Republicans Lie About Cost of Obama's India Trip"? This is an open and shut case.

Gray's Anatomy

D.C. mayor-elect Vincent Gray is beginning his transition. I think outgoing mayor Adrian Fenty did excellent work for the city, but what can you do -- its residents didn't like his style (and there were definitely stylistic missteps along the way that could have been averted). It never seemed clear to me what, if any, substantive differences Gray had from Fenty, so the best we can hope for is that Gray will largely continue down the same path -- but in a more friendly, deliberate fashion.

Also, as a citizen of the United States, I am personally humiliated by this sentence:
Gray said he plans to meet with GOP congressional leaders soon to urge them to allow the city to manage itself.

It is flatly embarrassing in this day and age that the mayor of our nation's capital has to walk up to Capitol Hill and beg Congress for the right to self-rule.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Roots of Obama's Lack of Rage

A lot of folks are angry that Obama hasn't been more angry -- that he hasn't "used the bully pulpit" to channel hellfire populist rage. Well, there's a good reason for that:
President Obama is a black man--and, as such, has unique cause to be wary of the adjective "angry."
Even when Obama has been at his cucumber-coolest--and has earned abuse from the left and center for it--figures on the right have aggressively tried to hang the "angry black man" label on him. A June editorial in The Washington Times (entitled, bluntly enough, "Angry Man Obama") cited his "tough guy" persona and "bullying undercurrent" and tied him to Spike Lee. A year ago, Rush Limbaugh described the school-bus beating of a white student by black students as typical of "Obama's America"; in the run-up to the midterms, Glenn Beck accused the president of "inciting people." The idea that Obama is driven by fury is prevalent enough on the right that Dinesh D'Souza could take it as a given in the title of his Amazon bestseller The Roots of Obama's Rage. Idiotic though it may be, this is not a narrative the president wants to fuel.

As Ta-Nehisi Coates astutely summarizes: "Frankly, I would not bet on the consistent returns of any black man who regularly employed anger in a room full of white people."

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Burning Ruins

Leave it to the Onion to make me smile: Last Remaining Politician must Rebuild Entire Government.
WASHINGTON--In the wake of what is being called the deadliest midterm election in the nation's history, Washington's sole surviving politician, Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon's 4th Congressional District, emerged from the rubble of the Capitol building Wednesday to announce his intention to rebuild the fallen U.S. government.

The events of Tuesday night—which included live televised images of Sen. Harry Reid taking a gavel to the head of Sen. Mitch McConnell while Rep. Barney Frank repeatedly smashed the face of Undersecretary for Food Safety Elisabeth Hagen against a marble column—left most Americans believing their entire government had perished in the post-election bloodbath. But the miraculous survival of DeFazio points to a possible way forward.

Was Robert Mugabe Not Available?

Guess who is sitting on the Board of Elections that will help certify the razor-thin VA-11 (incumbent Democrat Rep. Gerry Connolly is up by a couple hundred votes)? None other than voter suppression artist Hans von Spakovsky. Oh, joy.

As the Worm Turns

One of the upshots of last night's election is that there will be a grand total of zero Black senators in our glorious, color-blind nation (I guess part of being color-blind is I have to not notice that). In fact, we haven't elected a Black person to the Senate since, well, Barack Obama in 2004. And he's otherwise indisposed at the moment.

But the news isn't all bad in terms of Black political achievement. Republicans will be sending their largest contingent of Black Representatives to the House since Reconstruction ... 2! One of whom, Allen West (R-FL), is a war criminal (he resigned from the armed forces after being convicted in a military court of assault and misconduct for shooting a pistol off next to a bound detainee)!

Jamelle Bouie asks whether either West or Tim Scott (R-SC) will gain significant African-American support, before remembering that "black people aren't pure identity voters and don't support politicians with policies they oppose."

In all seriousness, it is a good thing that Republicans are running more Black candidates. It seems like the GOP realizes that, with a Black President, it can't be seen as an all-White party anymore. And while its outreach (such as it is) to the Black community hasn't been particularly successful (as Bouie points out, the key factor influencing Black votes -- like all of us -- is whether they largely support or oppose the policies of the party or candidate in question), it is undoubtedly a good thing that opportunities are opening up for Black Republicans within the Party.

The Rest of the Good News

I gave my general inspirational, rally the troops post immediately below this one. But, while recognizing that yesterday was indeed an excellent night for the Republicans (and it was), let's focus on some of the good news.

* Democrats have likely flipped five governor's mansions: California, Hawaii, Vermont, Connecticut, and Minnesota. Putting Lincoln Chaffee in Rhode Island doesn't bother me none either. And we defended on some tough turf as well -- nobody expected Pat Quinn to be going anywhere but home yesterday, but he pulled through. Maryland wasn't close at the end, but for awhile Robert Ehrlich looked like he was going to make a run of it. And, for those of you who care about "close, but no cigar", look at Florida -- where Alex Sink lost by a mere point, and South Carolina(!), where Vincent Shaheen fell only four points short.

* While the vast majority of House seats that changed hands went blue-to-red, there were three that bucked the trend. Say hello to our newly Democratic districts: the DE-AL, LA-02, and HI-01.

* Democrats genuinely did beat expectations in the Senate. Michael Bennet and Harry Reid weren't supposed to be coming back. But they did, and Reid, especially, basically wrote a textbook on how run a badass campaign when all the fundamentals (including the "does anyone in your state actually like you" fundamental) are against you.

* The craziest of Republican crazies aren't headed to Washington (or at least, not the Senate). Christine O'Donnell was soundly thrashed by Chris Coons. Harry Reid turned back Sharron Angle. Joe Miller looks like he'll fall to Lisa Murkowski in Alaska (and, though she'll caucus with the GOP, I imagine she may fill a positively Lieberman-esque role for the next six years). Ken Buck couldn't overtake Michael Bennet. John Raese went down in West Virginia. And it's no exaggeration to say that in three of those states -- Delaware, Nevada, and Colorado -- the candidate cost them the race. That's three Senate seats in Democratic hands, because Republicans overreached in their primaries.

* Even in the House, there are some bright spots (particularly looking ahead to 2012). More than a few Democratic candidates who were written-off earlier in the evening came back to win their races (Sanford Bishop and Gerry Connelly), and others who hung tough to win re-election in agonizingly close races (Joe Donnelly and Jerry McNerney, for example). Excepting New Hampshire, Democrats continue to hold every single House seat in New England.

* Yesterday's defeat is tomorrow's victory. Plenty of folks who went down in defeat today are folks who I think could do wonders in a rematch -- Tom Perriello in the VA-05, who finished much closer to Robert Hurt than I think many expected, is someone I particularly hope to see again. And there are quite a few districts the GOP won which they better start running for reelection on day one: the MN-08 (I'm still shocked that Oberstar lost, but the iron range has deep Democratic roots), the NC-02, the NH-02, the NV-03, and several scattered around New York, to name a few. And the Democratic ground game in 2012 will be a nightmare for new GOP incumbents in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan.

* Finally, while the House will undoubtedly be its own special brand of nightmare for the next two years (Michelle Bachmann for #4!), I remember the Clinton years, and thus I remember what happens to Republicans when they let their inmates run the asylum based on rabid hatred of the President. The fact of the matter is that their behavior doesn't resonate with the nation's voters. It'll be Sarah Palin writ large. And since the House alone can't accomplish anything, I expect their off-putting rage to increase in direct proportion to their continued impotence.

So, mourn if you have to, but snap out of it quick. Things could have been much worse. Shake it off, get off the dirt, and get back in the game. There's still work to be done.

Game On

First of all, congratulations to my Republican friends on a substantial election victory. While the GOP underperformed expectations in the Senate (where Democrats scored upset victories in Colorado and Nevada), they exceeding them in the House, where they won well over 60 seats and will take control of the House with an over 50-seat margin. Stateside, things also were pretty solid for the Republicans -- taking over at least 11 governor's mansions (while losing them in Hawaii, California, and probably -- pending recount -- Minnesota) and racking up big margins in state legislatures. That will be a big benefit come redistricting time.

That being said, step away from the carnage, and where are we? Democrats control the White House. A sizable Republican majority in the House is balanced by a decent Democratic majority in the Senate. The wind at their backs in every way -- bad economy, off-year election, riled up base, an overextended Democratic Party after two straight "wave" elections of our own -- and the GOP only pushed us back to 50 yard line.

To be clear, that's no small accomplishment when you're starting from your own 10, and the GOP demonstrated an excellent ability to play red zone defense in the first half of the Obama administration. I'm not going to engage in any tripe either about how now Republicans have to show they can govern because, if there is one thing the GOP proved these past two years, it's that voters will blame the president's party for all that happens (good or ill) even if the opposition does literally nothing other than try and grind the machinery of government to a halt. They've found a winning strategy -- why shouldn't they stick with it?

So, congratulations to the GOP for getting back into the ballgame. Two more years until Obama is up for re-election, and as far as I'm concerned, every single one of those House seats you just won comes with a two-year expiration date.

Game on.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Election Night Liveblog

Fuck it -- what else am I going to do tonight? Most recent posts will be at the top.

* * *

1:03 AM: Well, a lot of the reporting has started to stall out (I'm looking at you, Washington). I'm headed off to bed. From the looks of it, the GOP overperformed on the House side of things, underperformed in the Senate, and was just about right for governor's race. I'll have a fuller "lay of the land" reaction post tomorrow. In any event, congratulations to my Republican friends, and good night.

12:38 AM: My rising panic over Minnesota is at least partially assuaged, as perhaps the only "big vote" county which isn't in yet is St. Louis County -- home of Duluth. It's only reported 22%. That's good news for both Oberstar and Dayton, who desperately need a shot in the arm as their lead continues to bleed out.

12:30 AM: So what meaningful races are still undecided out there? Obviously, there are a bunch of House races that probably are razor thin right now, but since all they're doing is padding a great GOP day, it's hard to get riled over them -- there are a few I'm still watching for idiosyncratic reasons (ID-01, HI-01, AZ-08, MN-08), but I'm not being systematic about it anymore. Putting those aside, the things I'm still watching are the Colorado and Washington Senate races, and the Maine, Minnesota, Oregon and Florida gubernatorial races (Alaska's Senate race will be undecided for approximately forever).

12:26 AM: Dayton and Oberstar are both down to one point leads. I swear to God, Duluth, I will have your head for this (that means you, Netland).

12:11 AM: Bennet may yet win this. He's back to within 4,00 votes, and we still got that nice, juicy half of Denver to come in.

12:05 AM: Herseth can't get over the hump in South Dakota, handing another seat to the GOP. On the other hand, Rep. Ron Kind (my girlfriend's former employer) dodges the Wisconsin curse and holds onto his seat.

12:01 AM: James Oberstar's lead has been around 3 points all night. Mark Dayton's, by contrast, has not. This is disconcerting news.

11:59 PM: Buck finally jumps ahead of Bennet (49/46) as Colorado Springs comes in. We're at 73% of precincts reporting, total. There's still some big Bennet caches left -- for instance, half of Denver.

11:46 PM: Folks are starting to call Nevada for Harry Reid. Boxer's already been declared the victor in California, and Murray is still hanging onto her two point lead in Washington. Democrats definitely are exceeding expectations on the Senate side, even as they get killed in the House. And if Michael Bennet can squeak through in Colorado, I'd consider the day's Senate outcome to be a roaring success for the Democrats, all things considered.

11:44 PM: You can add Wisconsin to the (lengthy) list of states which killed Democrats tonight. Dems lost Feingold's Senate seat, the governor's mansion, and at two (possibly three) of the state's eight House seats.

11:39 PM: While Marco Rubio handily won the Florida senate seat, benefiting from the anti-Rubio faction splitting between Crist (30) and Meek (20), on the governor's side of things, Alex Sink (D) is creeping back into contention -- she trails Rick Scott (R) by only a point with 88% counted.

11:36 PM: Senator Pat Toomey appears to be the result as well. Oh, and for those of you who were interested, Jan Schakowsky defeated Joel Pollak by a rousing 66/32 margin. Pollak's campaign was based off the notion that Schakowsky was tied too closely to Obama and thus was not sufficiently "pro-Israel", which would turn off her Jewish Democratic base. Apparently not.

11:30 PM: Two Democratic incumbents in Arizona (Kirkpatrick and Mitchell) are down and probably out. Rep. Gabrielle Gifford looks like she'll pull out the W in the AZ-08, and staunch progressive Rep. Raul Grijalva is hanging on to a two point lead in the AZ-07.

11:28 PM: Paul LePage has taken a narrow lead in the Maine Gubernatorial race. Not promising.

11:23 PM: It looks like it will indeed be Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL). I wonder how long it will take for the erstwhile "moderate" to go full teabagger?

11:21 PM: Colorado gets in on the torture Dems fun. 67% in and Bennet's lead continues to fade -- it's down to one point. Bonus aggravation -- Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes is now at 11% -- the GOP needs him to stay above 10% to avoid becoming a "minor party".

11:17 PM: With Harry Reid still holding onto a surprisingly robust lead (52/44) in the Nevada Senate race, it may be NV-03 that actually becomes the race to watch over there. Incumbent Democrat Dina Titus trails by 1,500 votes with 20% in.

11:06 PM: A bunch of folks had declared that we'd lost Sanford Bishop's seat in the GA-02. But with 96% in, he's crawled back into the lead. A 300 vote lead, but a lead nonetheless.

11:03 PM: 54% in, and Patty Murray is up 51/49 over Dino Rossi. Hold this and California, and it won't matter what happens in Colorado or Nevada (well, except for the part where it matters if Sharron Angle has an influence on anything more prominent than her lunch selection).

11:01 PM: While Pat Quinn may surprisingly hang onto his key to the governor's mansion, Mark Kirk maintains a two point lead in the Illinois Senate race. The Green Party candidate, by the way, is taking 3 percent of the vote.

10:54 PM: About 20% in, and both Boxer (Senate) and Brown (Governor) are holding decent leads. The Senate seat is probably the GOP's last chance to make a run at taking control of the Senate (Washington is other race to watch in that column -- and that's assuming Colorado and Nevada go their way), the governor's mansion would be a rare flip for team blue this year.

10:48 PM: In Minnesota, wins all around for the incumbents (well, Oberstar hasn't been called yet, but I think he'll swing it). The governor's race is closing, but I don't think fast enough -- Dayton's up 7 with 77% in. Way to keep the faith, Minnesota.

10:42 PM: What's happening in New England? Well, the Dems held both of their Rhode Island seats, and are poised to do the same in Connecticut (though the numbers in the CT-04 are wonky). They can't crack the Connecticut governor's mansion, though. Lincoln Chafee (I) has a narrow, two point lead in the RI governor's race -- hey, I'll root for him on that one. The Independent candidate is also leading the Maine gubernatorial race -- good news, since the Republican nominee (LePage) is certifiable. Vermont is all good news for the D's, although the governor's race is still pretty close (a 3 point margin). By contrast, Republicans rule the day in New Hampshire, with a Senate win and both House seats likely under their belt (Dems hold the governor's mansion). Finally, there was some rough sledding at times, but the Dems managed a clean sweep in Massachusetts.

10:39 PM: It looks like Republicans will indeed pickup both the Illinois and Pennsylvania Senate seats. The moral victory, I guess, is that it's by perhaps tighter than expected margins. Also, that big Reid lead appears to be from early voters -- make of that what you will.

10:36 PM: A ton of Democratic losses in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and upstate New York. Fun fact: Also places that tend to get hit particularly hard in economic recessions. No coincidence -- it's the economy, stupid.

10:34 PM: (Re)count it! Rep. Gerry Connelly (D) holds on for a 500 vote victory.

10:31 PM: The story of the evening is early leads for Dems fade late. So I'll try not to get too cheery about Harry Reid being up 10 over Sharron Angle with 51% in. Still, if there is one person (even more than Pat Toomey) that shouldn't be allowed near any civic institution, it's Sharron Angle.

10:29 PM: Obviously, most of Alabama is, well, Alabama, but the AL-02 is close. Rep. Bobby Bright is in a 50/50 dead heat right now, with 86% in. Elsewhere in Dixie, Travis Childers (MS-01) is already down, and he looks to be joined by Gene Taylor (MS-04).

10:23 PM: Hey, at least the fetal personhood amendment went down, hard, in Colorado. And Bennet is still hanging on to his 5 point lead, with 46% in. Feels like it is just the calm before the storm, though.

10:21: Toomey is now up 51/49 in Pennsylvania, and I don't think there are enough votes left in Montgomery County for Sestak to make up the difference.

10:16 PM: Out in the Dakotas' at-large districts, Earl Pomeroy (ND) will go down in defeat by 10 points, while Stephanie Herseth (SD) is down 2 points but still in the hunt with 77% reporting.

10:10 PM: Bean's back in front (narrowly), Kirk has a one point lead, Quinn has a one point lead of his own, and now it's three Democratic incumbents falling (not including Bean) in the land of Lincoln (add Halverson to the list).

10:03 PM: Melissa Bean has fallen behind (albeit by less than 100 votes) in her reelection campaign in the IL-08. That one will sting. 87% is in.

10:00 PM: Carleton's own Rush Holt will hang on to his New Jersey congressional seat. Because every Congress needs at least one physics Ph.D.

9:55 PM: Mark Dayton (D) is up 9 over Tom Emmer in the Minnesota gubernatorial race. I am neither panicked nor thrilled about the areas which have yet to report. We have to keep an eye on Oberstar, Peterson, and Walz tonight, though all are leading in early returns.

9:53 PM: We're still probably in recount land, but Bob Etheridge (NC-03) is down almost 2,000 votes with 99% in. Republicans pick one off in NC, but the rest survive intact.

9:50 PM: 99% in and Rep. Ben Chandler (D) is up by 600 votes in the KY-06. He'll declare victory, the rest of us will wait on the recount.

9:49 PM: Roy Blunt (R) will be Missouri's next Senator. It's good to see another addition to the caucus of corruption there.

9:45 PM: What is it about Dan Seals? He always has narrow polling leads at the end of his races for the IL-10, and he can never actually win the damn thing. He's currently down 52/48 with 85% in. Mark Kirk has also pulled into a narrow lead on the Senate side of things, while Pat Quinn is maintaining a two point lead in his bid to hold onto the governor's mansion. Two Democratic House members (Phil Hare and Bill Foster) are looking like they'll lose their seats. Melissa Bean is up 3 with 77% in.

9:42 PM: Toomey's pulled even in the PA Senate race (75% in). The question is how much juice Sestak has left in the counties ringing Philadelphia. Pittsburgh is done, but Montgomery County (where Sestak is up 54/46) still has plenty of votes to spare.

9:38 PM: Oh, and it looks like Spratt is going down in SC too. Ohio is turning into its own little massacre, with 5 Democratic seats poised to flip. Ted Strickland is hanging surprisingly tough in the governor's race, down only 2 with 67% in, though I doubt it will be enough.

9:37 PM: The South Carolina ride is over -- Wilson holds (albeit by far narrower than expected margins), and Haley wins the governor's slot.

9:35 PM: 98% in, Rep. Gerry Connelly up by about 700 votes -- yeah, I think the VA-11 is going to a recount. And for all y'all who called that one GOP two hours ago ... oh ye of little faith.

9:33 PM: Rep. Joseph Cao (R) gets knocked off in Louisiana, in what was a gimme pickup for the Democrats since the moment polls closed in 2008. Still, every seat counts.

9:32 PM: Bob Etheridge is down by 59 votes right now in the NC-02. 85% in -- time to bite some nails.

9:30 PM: Well, Chet Edwards, you had a good run, but even you couldn't hold on to a seat that red in West Texas this year.

9:28 PM: John Hickenlooper looks like he will hold onto the Colorado governor's mansion for the Democrats. Now the real question (aside from the Senate race, where Bennet maintains a 5 point lead over Ken Buck) is whether Republican nominee Dan Maes can even break 10%. If not, the GOP is relegated to minor party status in Colorado (with all manner of terrible consequences). Thanks, Tom Tancredo!

9:25 PM: Rep. Frank Kravotil is trailing badly in the MD-01, down 55/41 with half in. Tough break, but it was always going to be hard to maintain a 7-1 split in the Maryland congressional delegation. Governor Martin O'Malley (D) cruised to victory in his rematch against Robert Ehrlich.

9:11 PM: Colorado time! About a third in, and Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper are sporting healthy leads in the Senate and Governor's races, respectively. Republicans are looking good for pickups in the CO-03 and CO-04 (Salazar and Markey's districts). I fully expect the statewide races to tighten considerably.

9:08 PM: Michigan is starting to float in -- the GOP will flip the governor's seat (no surprise there), and already has picked up the MI-01. We'll see if anything else goes their way -- Tim Walberg (R) looks poised to take the MI-07, which was a lean-R seat, and, somewhat unnervingly, longtime Rep. John Dingell (D) is down early (though still plenty to report there).

9:05 PM: This crazy South Carolina thing has actual staying power. Nikki Haley (R) is up a mere point in the governor's race with 61% in, and Rep. Joe Wilson (R) trails by three with 55% in in the SC-01. Either one going blue would be a massive upset.

9:02 PM: 98% in, and Rep. Ben Chandler (D)'s lead less than 1,000 votes. Pull it out, Ben! (Oh, FYI, right after I posted on how surprisingly well Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA) was doing, a flood of GOP votes came in. She's down 8 now with two-thirds in).

8:58 PM: Democrats look to hold all their NC House seats except possibly the NC-02, where incumbent Bob Etheridge trails by about 1,000 votes with 75% in. Even if we lose that seat, things could have been much worse in the Tarheel State. Larry Kissell (who isn't entirely out of the woods yet, though he's up 52/45 with 71% in) is probably the best of these holds, as that race was a pure toss-up.

8:54 PM: Paul Kanjorski (D) is corrupt, so I'm not exactly shedding tears over his PA-11 seat (down 6 with 75% in), but Lou Barletta was an early adapter of the immigrant-bashing crowd, so I'm equally unthrilled to see him advance to a House seat.

8:51 PM: I think Gerry Connelly can pull it off in the VA-11. He's clinging to a narrow lead, but virtually all of Prince Williams County has reported (while a third of Fairfax is still outstanding). Other folks have called this race for the GOP already, so they may know something I don't (particularly if CNN is behind official tabulations -- but they called it a long time ago).

8:46 PM: Democrats are actually doing better than expected statewide in the Keystone State. Kathy Dahlkemper (D), for example, was effectively written off in the PA-02, but is currently trailing by only 2 points. Patrick Murphy, also considered a likely loser, is down only 4 points, with 38% in.

8:44 PM: For what it's worth, I'll gladly trade Republicans 5 House seats over their expected 55-seat gain for keeping Pat Toomey out of the Senate. I like Joe Sestak (he's up 8 points with 34% in).

8:41 PM: The IN-02 is virtually all in, and it looks like Donnelly (D) will indeed hang on. That's the sort of race that is vital for Democrats if they're going to stem the bleeding from tonight.

8:39 PM: All quiet on the Massachusetts front -- Democrats are leading by various margins (but none nailbiting tight ... yet) in all the House races. Deval Patrick is also maintaining a decent 7 point lead in his gubernatorial reelection bid.

8:33 PM: A quarter in and Sestak is up 8 points over Toomey. And unlike Illinois, Sestak isn't relying entirely on early numbers from the big cities that will get gobbled up as the rest of the state reports in. Fingers crossed here.

8:31 PM: Actually, Senate race aside, there's a bunch of interesting things going on in South Carolina. The SC-02 has Joe "you lie" Wilson (R) down 6 with a third in -- that's unexpected. Over in the SC-05, Rep. John Spratt Jr. (D) is down two points in his attempt to hold his seat (that's a little more expected).

8:27 PM: Shaheen (D) and Haley (R) are currently deadlocked in the SC-Gov race, with almost 40% reporting. That wasn't on anyone's radar -- I'm also doubtful it will last much longer. Needless to say, DeMint is cruising over accidental Democratic candidate Alvin Greene in the Senate race.

8:24 PM: Some good early numbers out of Illinois (Senate and Governor's mansion), but it's a lot of Chicago, so don't expect it to last. Meanwhile, Dan Seals is down 6 points in the IL-10 -- a race that was another of a handful of Dem pickup opportunities, but one in which Seals consistently has been unable to close the show.

8:21 PM: I didn't mention this before, but Blumenthal is projected to hold Connecticut's Senate seat for the Dems. Not unexpected, but the sort of race that -- if McMahon had pulled off the upset -- could have signaled a cataclysm this evening. There are some interesting House races and a tight gubernatorial contest I'll be keeping an eye on.

8:16 PM: Charlottesville is all in, Hurt is still up, which means Periello's toast. Over in the VA-11, it's Prince Williams County (R) versus Fairfax County (D) as Gerry Connelly fights for his life (he's up by a little over 1,000 votes with 56% in -- and a little more over Prince Williams reporting than Fairfax).

8:13 PM: Some other unsurprising calls: Republicans will take over a Dem Senate seat in North Dakota. The big New York races (Senator and Gubernatorial) will stay Democratic, however. In North Carolina, Richard Burr (R) holds the "cursed seat", marking the first time in recent memory an incumbent has won over there.

8:10 PM: So here's where we're at so far. Republicans have already picked up two Senate seats -- Indiana (open, formerly Bayh) and Arkansas (Lincoln). Both of these are entirely unsurprising. Democrats will hold their Senate seat in Delaware, as the hapless Christine O'Donnell got nowhere. Republicans will likewise maintain their seat in Kentucky, as Rand Paul will get a chance to actually repeal the Civil Rights Act. Other seats which will maintain their current position include Florida (Rubio) and Maryland (Mikulski). Most importantly, Joe Manchin is projected to hold a Democratic Senate seat in West Virginia -- one which was absolutely crucial to GOP hopes to flip the Senate.

On the House side of things, Republicans started well in Indiana flipping a Senate seat (expected) and taking at least two House seat (I'm writing off Baron Hill). That's roughly in line with expectations. Joe Donnelly looks like he may squeak out a victory in the IN-2.

Kentucky is looking better for the Democrats, as they will hold the KY-3 (Yarmuth). Ben Chandler's race to hold the KY-06 is too close to call -- he's up by less than 1,000 votes with over 90% of precincts tabulated.

Over in Virginia, Robert Hurt looks to take over Tom Periello's VA-05 seat (sorry, Leah) -- the outstanding Charlottesville votes aren't going to be enough. Rick Boucher also will lose in the VA-09, which is a good pick-up for the Republicans. The VA-11 race (it's a suburban DC district) is still too close to call, with incumbent Gerry Connelly down 2 points with about half the votes in. However, going county-by-county I think he still has a decent shot -- he's got more good terrain left than his GOP opponent does.

Finally, two Democratic losses in Florida seats (Kozmas and Grayson), with Boyd possibly to follow. The Governor's race is still tight. Democrats will pick up Mike Castle's old seat in Delaware, giving them an undoubtedly rare flip tonight.

Stewing in Juice

Election day (as opposed to evening) is always rough on me -- even when the good guys aren't about to get trounced. What does one do all day? I'm thirsty for information, but nothing happens until polls close (the first batch closed 20 minutes ago, but we won't start seeing early results for a little while yet). The networks have a steady flow of election coverage I could tune into, except I still possess self-respect. What I want is some evidence of turnout ratios, but I haven't heard all that much (what I have heard is mostly what one would expect -- Republican turnout is good, Democratic turnout is maybe a little better than anticipated, but still underwhelming).

Nothing to do but quietly simmer, I guess.

Mid-Term Madness!

Brace yourself -- it's gonna be a rough day. I probably won't live-blog, on account of being curled up in the fetal position. But you never know with me.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Life After Foxman

The Forward has a post inquiring what will happen to the ADL after longtime leader Abe Foxman retires. We can only hope he hurries up, but so far that doesn't seem to be in the cards.

Meanwhile, a new proposal working its way through the Knesset decides to crib off of North Korea and require that all tour guides swear loyalty to the "national Israeli viewpoint" (whatever that is).

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The More Things Change

The Tea Party gets a boost from history's greatest monster: "I don't have any criticism of the members of the Tea Party. A lot of those same people, 30 years ago, were the ones who put me in the White House."

Hallow's Eve

All of us Democrats are bracing for an election day massacre. One can grasp at straws -- I was speaking to a friend whose working for a Congressman I had personally left for dead, and she was shockingly confident (especially given that a few months ago she was essentially passing out resumes). She told me that GOTV will be their salvation. It's a thin reed, but not a non-existent one, given the well-documented split between registered and likely voter screens. A campaign that successfully gets out some "unlikely voters" may shock some folks. But I wouldn't get one's hopes up.

The other weird thing is everyone's (I include myself) focus on absolute gains versus the relative balance of power. The consensus outcome for this election seems to be a narrow Democratic majority in the Senate, and a narrow Republican majority in the House. Since this will replace a status quo of massive Democratic majorities in both, that will require an impressive absolute number of GOP wins. But at the end of the day, what does it signify? A nation that is roughly evenly divided. Give the GOP some credit for overcoming incumbent inertia, subtract some for having economic winds at its back (and how much inertia does one need to overcome to knock off a Democratic Congressman in Idaho anyway?). A roughly 50/50 Senate and a roughly 50/50 House signify a roughly 50/50 nation. It only looks like a GOP wave because we started from such a slanted baseline.

Nonetheless, it is difficult to not look out at the coming change and mourn for lost opportunities. Yes, there were some great accomplishments in the past couple years -- the stimulus package, Ledbetter, the health care act (a fight which, more than any other, demonstrated Democratic allergy to actually winning things). But one feels like given the historic majorities we were blessed with, we could have done more. Oh well. The tide goes in, and washes out again.

In any event, with a Republican-controlled House, we can look forward to the Select Committee on Birth Certificates and, of course, impeachment proceedings. And I for one can't wait for Senator Sharron Angle to formally grace our political establishment.