Wake Up, Virginia Democrats

Friday, December 31, 2010

by Dan Sullivan

Brian Moran denies the reality he represents an industry that preys on the unfortunate. He defends businesses promising outcomes that are highly improbable; betraying the goodwill and trust of the American people. As their agent, he facilitates what is de facto fraud. Where's the outrage from Virginia Democrats? Here's mine.
Benson Rollins wants a college degree. The unemployed high school dropout who attends Alcoholics Anonymous and has been homeless for 10 months is being courted by the University of Phoenix. Two of its recruiters got themselves invited to a Cleveland shelter last October and pitched the advantages of going to the country's largest for-profit college to 70 destitute men. - Business Week
What we have here, is a state party chairman who shamelessly defends an industry that dredges federal funds by trolling for the homeless and despairing in an effort to siphon entitlements and grants you and I provide in the belief they may rehabilitate fellow citizens. What is more worrisome than Moran's (and, thus, the DPVA's) vulnerability to criticism for hypocrisy (because it will be hard to find a Democratic candidate who will defend these thugs) in the next cycle, is that Moran may lead the Party lurching backwards. Recall: Brian Moran unabashedly supports Virginia's "Right-to-Work" laws. It all fits nicely: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.  
Dan Sullivan :: Wake Up, Virginia Democrats
This is about the heart and soul of the Democratic Party in Virginia. This is a moral issue. It is an issue of character. It is a conundrum for progressives who expect camaraderie and common purpose when among Democrats. Accepting any of the rationalizations for the for-profit "educational" sector is contrary to logic, good sense, and fairness. Fairness: something that used to reliably separate the two major parties. The for-profit "educational" sector is filled with oxygen thieves and charlatans. And the Democratic Party in Virginia, by embracing Brian Moran's "leadership," stands ready to march rearward in league with the Republican Party, away from the values that once distinguished it.
"For-profit colleges took in $7.6 billion last year in Pell Grants -- federal higher-education money for low-income individuals -- more than triple the amount in 1998-1999, according to Education Department data. In the 2008-2009 school year, about 25 percent of the 6 million students who got Pell money attended a for-profit college, according to the department." - Bloomberg
Business Week points out that a real college education couldn't deliver the elusive promises of these vulturine predators. In one case a recovering crack cocaine addict who has served several prison terms for drug offenses was in a shelter and looking online for work when she saw an ad that led her to the Web site of for-profit school ECPI College of Technology based in our very own Virginia Beach. She applied, passed a placement test, and started ECPI's medical administration program last March. The mother of four is borrowing about half of the $23,000 tab from the federal government, with grants and scholarships paying the rest. ECPI officials are aware of her background. They "guarantee (her) a job in the field." That is simply not realistic. Her history is a red flag for health-care employers. But ECPI President Mark Dreyfus said she has a shot because not all employers check backgrounds and she could process records in a back office where drugs aren't accessible. ...because not all employers check backgrounds...; a threshold confession that her background is a barrier to employment in the field the "institution" accepted her for admission.

...schools see nothing wrong with reaching out to the disadvantaged. "We don't exclusively target the homeless," says Ziad Fadel, CEO of Drake, which also sends recruiters to welfare and employment agencies. "We are in a community that is low-income and happens to have a lot of people on welfare."
Brian Moran has the "right-to-work" for whomever he desires; family to feed, bills to pay, all that. That is not the issue. It is quite possible that he believes the drivel he delivers about for-profit "education." That further disqualifies him if he does, by the way. The issue is that if the DPVA can hold him up as a representative, it can accept the tarnish of his associations. If it can do that, it can betray any or all of its constituency.

In the end, Benson Rollins didn't succumb to Phoenix's hard sell. He is taking a class for his high school equivalency degree and hopes to study law enforcement in college. For now, he would like a job so he can pay child support for his one-year-old daughter, whom he rarely sees.The Phoenix recruiters, he says, failed to mention a critical point: He would have to take out a government loan at 5% to 7% interest to pay the $10,000-plus annual tuition. "I'm in a homeless shelter, and money is hard to come by," Rollins says. "It's not worth going to school to end up in debt."
The facts point to Benson Rollins being stronger, smarter, and truer to his values than Brian Moran. Or maybe Brian Moran doesn't hold Democratic values. Maybe the DPVA should invite Benson Rollins to Virginia.

Poll Results: What's With "Sideshow Bob" and Gay People?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Here are the results from our latest Blue Virginia poll, this time on the ever-important question of why Del. "Sideshow" Bob Marshall is so (unhealthfully) obsessed with All Things Homosexual. According to Blue Virginia readers, one thing is absolutely for sure: Marshall is not - repeat NOT! -  motivated by "careful study of the subject" or "concern for the health and welfare of society."  No, this is bad, no matter how you look at it. The only question is, in what specific way(s) is it bad? On that question, there was no majority, but there was a strong plurality, with 44% selecting the "repressed homosexuality/'closet case' syndrome option.Trailing significantly behind "closet case" syndrome were three other possibilities: 1) "all of the above" (20%); 2) "deep moral/religious beliefs about homosexuality" (20%); and 3) "pandering to his right-wing base" (16%).  I can't decide if "pandering to his right-wing base" is better or worse than some of the other options here. On the one hand, if Marshall's "only" pandering, then maybe he himself doesn't believe the insane s*** he puts out on this subject? In that case, of course, he's being a demagogue, stirring up bigotry for his own political gain, and that's even more heinous than actually believing in it himself. Alternately, perhaps Marshall both believes what he says AND is pandering to his right-wing base?  Either way, it's not good.
Perhaps the option which puts "Sideshow Bob" in the best light is that he has "deep moral/religious beliefs about homosexuality." The only problem with that one is, why would "deep moral/religious beliefs" about anything justify bigotry and hateful rhetoric? Also, I'd love to have Bob Marshall point to the passage in the New Testament where Jesus condemns homosexuality, homosexuals, transgender people, whatever. Oh wait, there isn't anywhere in the Gospels where Jesus condemns homosexuality or GLBT people? But then, where would Marshall's "deep moral/religious beliefs about homosexuality" come from, exactly? Perhaps the Old Testament Book of Leviticus, which also states that "every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death;" that "A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death;" that "he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death;" that "the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." Obviously, these are not laws we follow - or that most of us wish to follow - in modern civilization. Bob Marshall, on the other hand? Who knows...

Arlington Sun Gazette Now Reprinting GOP Blogs as "News"

by: TheGreenMiles

Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 10:04:36 AM EST

This morning the Arlington Sun Gazette website printed a "news" article that simply explains what an Arlington conservative blog posted as its best/worst of 2010. That's it. Doesn't do any additional reporting, or get reaction from anyone else, or even print what the blogger's name is. Ever have a friend tell you about a blog post they read? That's exactly what it reads like.Look, this is going to give Lowell an aneurysm, but I actually like reading Scott McCaffrey's opinions. He's been following Arlington politics long enough to have a great sense of the county's political establishment. I may disagree with 95% of his opinions, but I like knowing how the other side is thinking. And if nothing else, his stories about his cat never fail to crack me up.
But good god man, keep that stuff on the editorial page. Considering is bringing Arlingtonians news faster & in a vastly more visually compelling way, you'd think the Sun Gazette would avoid blurring the lines between its news reporting & its conservative opinions, which are so out of step with the Arlington community.
Who knows, maybe in the wake of the Sun Gazette's epically dumb scheme to tear down the wall between news & advertising, maybe that's part of the plan. As McCaffrey himse

Perriello on the NewsHour: "We Walk Away With Our Heads Held High"

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rep. Perriello most certainly should be walking away with his head held high, "very proud of what we did, and with a lot of respect even from those who disagreed with us in the district." Other highlights from the NewsHour interview: *"People had hoped perhaps for too much with us coming into power." *"At the end of the day, jobs trumps everything else." *We prevented an economic depression, but could have done "something bolder, to really reinvent America's competitive advantage...we didn't do that"...instead went with a "much tamer stimulus." *Virginia is "certainly not" out of Obama's reach for 2012. *"This [election] was not a mandate for Republicans." *People hoped for "an era of post-partisanship", what they're getting "is at best bipartisanship, and there's a difference" *"This tax deal, unfortunately, is an example of bipartisanship; let's take the goodies from one side and add them to the goodies from the other says 'what solves the problem'?" *"I was really shocked by the way the Republicans acted...when your country's on the verge of a crisis...the response from Republicans was, 'hey if this works, you're gonna get the credit; if it doesn't work, we don't want any part of it, that's not statesmanship, that's not engaging with the problems of our country...saw that in this campaign as well." *"We have real structural problems in our democracy right now." *Stimulus plan was supported by Chamber of Commerce, approach to energy was developed by first President Bush and supported by John McCain, health care proposal supported by Mitt Romney and Bob Dole's plan back in the day; this was an attempt to actually get beyond the old partisan divisions. *"It helps to have politicians who don't mind losing elections." *"I am not optimistic about the next 2 years in terms of the 2 sides working together; I certainly hope people will do some soul-searching." *"I'm interested in serving...the next 2 years are incredibly important."

A Few Good and (Really) Bad Bills Prefiled for 2011 General Assembly Session

Monday, December 27, 2010

As usual this time of year, Virginia legislators are gearing up - and prefiling legislation - for next year's session, which begins on January 12, 2011. Also as usual this time of year, there are some really good and really bad bills that have been prefiled by members. Here's a short list, a few good ones followed by some really bad pieces, legislation.On the positive side, there's HJ 543 by Del. Charniele Herring (D-46th), providing for a constitutional amendment that "{a}uthorizes the General Assembly to provide by law for the restoration of civil rights for persons convicted of nonviolent felonies who have completed service of their sentences..." That seems like an obvious one that everyone should support, but something tells me Republicans will find a reason not to. Then there's SB 747 by Sen. Donald McEachin (D-9th), which "{p}rohibits discrimination in state employment based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, or status as a special disabled veteran or other veteran covered by the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended." That one also seems like a no-brainer, except of course for the Bob Marshalls of the world, who will go ballistic that GLBT people can't be discriminated against. Finally, Del. Patrick Hope (D-47th) has prefiled HB 1488, which would prohibit the use of "restraints on any prisoner who is pregnant during labor, transport to a medical facility, delivery, or postpartum recovery unless...there is a compelling reason to believe that the prisoner poses serious harm to herself or others, is a flight risk, or cannot be reasonably restrained by other means." Again, that seems like a no-brainer, which probably means it won't happen.
Now, on to the bad, the ugly, and the truly heinous category. For starters, check out the following three "Sideshow Bob" Marshall (R-13th) specials: 1) HB 1398 (prohibits the governor "from enforcing any climate change international agreement until such agreement is part of an international treaty that has been approved by the U.S. Senate"); 2) HB 1397 ("Exempts any residential building or manufactured home in Virginia from being subject to federal "cap and trade" legislation if such buildings comply with the Statewide Uniform Building Code."); and 3) HB 1440 (makes "unborn children" the equivalent of "persons" under Virginia law). Then, there's our friend, Del. Dave "Abuser Fees" Albo (R-42nd) and his anti-illegal-immigrant crusade (HB 1420HB 1421 and HB 1430). Oh, and check out Del. James LeMunyon (R-67th) and his  call for a constitutional convention in order to propose an "amendment that permits the repeal of any federal law or regulation by vote of two-thirds of the state legislatures." Oh joy.
Anyway, those are just a few of the good and bad bills prefiled for 2011. I'm sure there will be a lot more of both coming soon, so stay tuned...

How Did DCCC Polls Perform?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The following are "independent expenditure polls" performed for the the DCCC in October 2010 and posted on the DCCC blog. Here's how they did.Poll (10/26, CA-20): Rep. Jim Costa 47%-Andy Vidak 41%.
Actual Result: Undecided, Vidak currently leads 51%-49%.
The poll appears to have gotten the winner wrong and to have overestimated the Democrat by about 8 points.
Poll (10/18, AL-2): Rep. Bobby Bright 51%-Martha Roby 39%.
Actual ResultRoby won with 51% of the vote.
The poll was wildly off on both the winner and the margin of victory. Ouch.
Poll (10/18, AR-1): Chad Causey 44%-Rick Crawford 42%
Actual ResultCrawford won by 9 points, 52%-43%.
The poll got the winner wrong and was off on the margin by 11 points.
Poll (10/11, NC-07): Rep. Mike McIntyre 52%-Ilario Pantano 41%.
Actual ResultMcIntyre won by 8 points, 54%-46%.
The poll got the winner right and was pretty close on the margin of victory
Poll (10/11, HI-1): Rep. Colleen Hanabusa 48%-Charles Djou 44%.
Actual ResultHanabusa won by 6 points, 53%-47%.
The poll got the winner right and was within 2 points on the margin of victory.
Poll (10/11, NC-11): Rep. Heath Shuler 54%-Jeff Miller 41%.
Actual ResultShuler won by 8 points, 54%-46%.
The poll got the winner right, overestimated the Democrat's margin of victory by 5 points
Poll (10/11, IA-3): Rep. Leonard Boswell 49%- Brad Zaun 41%.
Actual ResultBoswell won by 4 points, 51%-47%.
The poll got the winner right, overestimated the Democrat's margin of victory by about 4 points
Poll (10/11, AZ-5): Rep. Harry Mitchell 46%-David Schweikert 39%.
Actual ResultSchweikert won by 9 points, 52%-43%.
The poll was wildly wrong on both the winner and the margin of victory.
Poll (10/11, PA-15): Charlie Dent 45%-Rep. John Callahan 43%
Actual ResultDent won by 15 points, 54%-39%.
The poll correctly predicted the winner, but was wildly off on the margin of victory
Poll (10/11, IL-14): Rep. Bill Foster 48%-Randy Hultgren 38%.
Actual ResultHultgren won by 6 points, 51%-45%
The poll was wrong on the winner and off on the margin of victory by 16 points.
Poll (10/4, NY-20): Rep. Scott Murphy 51%-Chris Gibson 38%.
Actual ResultGibson won by 10 points, 55%-45%.
The poll was wildly off the mark, getting the winner wrong and also the margin of victory by 23 points. Wow.
Summary: These 11 polls were all over the place, performing well in several cases but abysmally poorly in others. Of the 10 races that have been called, the polls got the winner right in 5 races and wrong in 5 races (and probably another one as well). Margins were wildly off the mark in several races as well. In sum, I wouldn't bet the ranch - to put it mildly - on DCCC "independent expenditure polls."
UPDATE: A reader emails me to point out that at least some of this could have been the result of "selection bias," in that the DCCC "would only release the favorable polls and not the unfavorable ones, so you get a bias towards the Democratic candidate." What do you all think?

The "Daou Triangle" and the Democratic "Shellacking" of 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

First, here is how Peter Daou explains the "Triangle."
Looking at the political landscape, one proposition seems unambiguous: blog power on both the right and left is a function of the relationship of the netroots to the media and the political establishmentForming a triangle of blogs, media, and the political establishment is an essential step in creating the kind of sea change we've seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.Simply put, without the participation of the media and the political establishment, the netroots alone cannot generate the critical mass necessary to alter or create conventional wisdom. This is partly a factor of audience size, but it's also a matter, frankly, of trust and legitimacy...
In sum, as Nate Wilcox and I explained in our book, Netroots Rising, "a story that managed to 'close all three sides of the triangle - press, bloggers and elected officials' would dramatically impact the public debate," while "any story that only closed one or two sides of the triangle would have diminished impact."Let's look at the 2010 election results from a "Daou Triangle" perspective. First, recall that in 2005-2008, Democrats had a strong "Triangle," fueled in large part by opposition to the Iraq War and the Bush Administration on a wide variety of issues.  The narrative, conveyed by all three legs of the "Triangle" - corporate media, new media, the political establishment and candidates - was all about George W. Bush's deep unpopularity, a strong desire for change by the American public, the Hurricane Katrina debacle and specifically the Bush administration's incompetence/callousness in handling it ("heckuva job!"), Republican scandals (Tom DeLay, "K Street," Jack Abramoff, Mark Foley, etc.).  Given all this, the progressive blogosphere - aka, "the leftosphere" - was strongly united against Bush and the Republicans, as were political candidates (Jim Webb, Paul Hackett, Ned Lamont, many others) and even, I'd argue, the corporate media.
Clearly, anger and intensity were on the Democratic side during the 2005-2008 period, with Republicans increasingly demoralized and divided.  Out of this came "movement" candidates and campaigns, not the least of which was the Jim Webb for Senate "Draft" and campaign right here in Virginia in 2006. With Webb's 14,000-strong "ragtag army" and a constant drumbeat of George Allen's 97% voting record with George W. Bush, Webb did what many thought was impossible back in 2005 - defeat the invincible George Allen and take back the U.S. Senate for the Democrats.
The 2007-2008 presidential campaign season demonstrated the same themes as 2005-2006, but even more intensely.  Adding strength to the anti-Republican, pro-change "Triangle" narrative was a newly collapsing economy, with a recession officially beginning in December 2007 and a frightening financial meltdown in September/October 2008. The end result of all this - a perfect firestorm against Republicans and for Democrats, an incredibly strong progressive "Triangle," and an overwhelming victory for Barack Obama and the Democrats in November 2008.
Flash forward to November 2010, and the situation couldn't be more different. What happened?  Follow me to the "flip" for that analysis.

In contrast to 2005-2008, the corporate media narrative for the 2010 midterm elections was all about how expectations hadn't been met, how Democrats were demoralized and lacking "enthusiasm," and how the right wing - the Tea Party, particularly - was super energized and "angry."  In the leftosphere, Democratic and progressive activists were divided, demoralized, and exhausted from the fight against Bush, DeLay, etc. In many ways - and I made this mistake myself - the progressive netroots believed that the election of Obama and a Democratic Congress meant "mission accomplished."  The problem is, once Democrats were in power, the totally predictable happened - as the common enemy disappeared, Democratic divisions over actual governing mushroomed. With no common "villain" figure to unite around, with the winding down of hated (by most progressives) Iraq war, with disappointment among progressives over legislation or lack thereof - health care reform that lacked a public option, no comprehensive immigration reform, no clean energy and climate legislation, no "card check," continued "Don't Ask Don't Tell," continued "Gitmo," etc., etc. - the frustration quickly mounted, but this time against Democrats.  In contrast, all the intensity and narrative energy in the 2010 cycle - whether in the new media, the political establishment, or in the corporate media -  was on the right.  For its part, the corporate media - including propaganda outfits like Faux "News" - fueled, validated, and generally reinforced the narrative of populist anger against "spending," deficits, "death panels," "government takeover of health care," "cap and tax," "climategate," etc., etc.  It should go without saying that almost all of this was utter nonsense, and that the corporate media was wildly irresponsible. Basically, what happened was that the right-wing blogs and the Teapublican political establishment pushed the "Big Lie," while the corporate media completely failed to do its job as a seriously objective watchdog and truth teller.
Meanwhile, the progressive new media, which at best constitutes one solid leg of the "Daou Triangle," was never able to generate enough force to counter the "Big Lie" effectively. In part, that's because one leg of the "Triangle" Is inherently not powerful enough to handle that big a lift. Making matters worse, progressive new media attention was sharply divided among many different issues, let alone on how to approach them. The result - one weak, wobbly leg of the "Daou Triangle" was mostly what was available - to counter the full force of an assault by a powerfully energized right-wing "Triangle."
As if all that wasn't bad enough, the Democratic "base" - the working class, African Americans and Hispanics, young people, women - were hurting economically, focused (correctly) on their families and keeping afloat financially. The Democratic political establishment, meanwhile, was confused and divided against itself, with "Blue Dog" Congressman/candidates like Glenn Nye seriously undercutting the Democratic "brand," along with the message that Democrats accomplished a great deal and should be proud of what they did.  Nye, for instance, ran an ad bragging that he opposed health care reform because it "cost too much." Nye also made it clear that he had no love for Democratic leadership in Washington, including the demonized (by Republicans) Nancy Pelosi. That was wildly unhelpful, not only to Democrats in general, but also to Blue Dogs like Nye, who lost in huge numbers on Tuesday despite their distancing, playing into Republican "framing," etc.
As for the "Teapublican" political establishment it certainly had its divisions, and those hurt it in the end (see Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell, Tom Tancredo, several others). Still, I'd argue that overwhelmingly, the Teapublicans were in lockstep on the major issues, from health care ("repeal and replace") to dealing with global warming (many of their candidates were skeptics or even outright climate change deniers) to the the "stimulus" (which they opposed unanimously) to President Obama ("socialist," "Muslim," etc.), name it.  Along with the "Teapublican" political establishment, there was echo chamber reinforcement on a 24/7 basis from the right-wing corporate media and an angry/energized rightosphere new media. The combination result: a powerful, almost unstoppable, "Daou Triangle" on the right-wing vs. a splintered, weakened, demoralized and distracted "Triangle" on the left. The result - heavy losses for Democrats on Tuesday - was not surprising.
A few other related thoughts to end this overly long article:
1. The corporate media has fractured into thousands of little echo chambers, "narrowcasting" to their particular audiences. Candidates these days tend to appear on "friendly" forums - TV, radio, new media - where they won't be asked tough questions.  As a result, views tend to be reinforced instead of being challenged/crosscut by facts and reality. Today, there's no more Walter Cronkite, who a huge percentage of the country watched every night. Today, it's atomized.
2. Obviously, "it's the economy stupid."  If the unemployment rate had been at 5% instead of 9.6%, the "Daou Triangle" for Republicans wouldn't have been nearly as strong as it turned out to be.
3. In the leftosphere, it's worth noting that there wasn't just division, but also strong voices that relentlessly pounded Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Democrats in general for their perceived/actual failings on health care, clean energy/climate, etc., etc.  For instance, see Joe Romm's latest piece on how Barack Obama "let die our best chance to preserve a livable climate and restore US leadership in clean energy -- without a serious fight."  Also, see Jane HamsherDavid SirotaCenk Uygur, and numerous other voices from the left who routinely excoriated Democrats over the past 2 years. Was there any equivalent on the right in 2009-2010? One doesn't spring to mind.

Votes for Clean Energy, Climate Bill Did NOT Defeat Democrats

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thanks to great work by NRDC's Rob Perks, we can dispose of the theory that Democrats' votes for clean energy/climate legislation -- which Republicans demonized as "cap and tax" (despite it being their own idea!)  -- hurt them at the polls on Tuesday. In fact:
...a whopping 84% of Democratic representatives who voted for the House climate bill won their elections yesterday.  (This does not include four races that are still too close to call as of this writing.)  On the other hand, nearly 60% of those who voted against the bill went down in defeat. (This excludes two races that were not decided as of this writing.)
Here in Virginia, Glenn Nye voted "no" on ACES (and also "no" on health care reform) and lost on Tuesday. Gerry Connolly voted "yes" on ACES and won on Tuesday.  On the other hand, Rick Boucher and Tom Perriello voted "yes" on ACES and lost on Tuesday. In the case of Perriello, it's extremely unlikely that vote had anything to do with his defeat, as you barely even heard it mentioned by the Hurt campaign.What about Rick Boucher?  Now, that's an interesting case - possibly the proverbial "exception that proves the rule?" - and one worth looking into further. My guess is that Boucher was hurt somewhat by his vote for "cap and trade" in "coal country," but he was hurt even worse by his failure to explain what role he played in that bill - watering it down and larding it up with the coal industry wish list; basically, doing what the coal industry corporate overlords wanted, then getting little if any credit (or support) from them for doing so. Ouch.
P.S. I'd love to see this same analysis for health care reform.
UPDATEStatistical analysis backs up NRDC's case, big time.

Speaking of Messaging

by Eric

Has anyone else noticed that the Democrats are already screwing the pooch for the 2012 elections? While we should rightly be humbled after Tuesday's losses, we should not be buying into this self-proclaimed Teapublican mandate bullsh*t.Failing to Finish Off the 2010 Elections
While Democrats are busy trying to figure out what went wrong, how to fix it, or just kissing up to the non-existent mandate, the Teapublicans are busy trying to convince the American People that the American People really did give them a mandate.  They're trying to make us feel good about our new purchase after the sale. That's smart marketing, especially when the American People, as a whole, really didn't buy the product in the first place.
ATTENTION DEMOCRATIC LEADERS: Get out there and start convincing the American People that they just got hoodwinked by a bunch of extremists. In sports proper "follow through" is coached constantly and in the aftermath of the election the Teapublicans are doing just that. Unfortunately Democrats are actually helping them follow through instead of disrupting it.
Giving into Teapublican Demands
Democrats are already giving in to the Teapublican demands before they've been sworn in. For example, Harry Reid on tax cuts for the upper income brackets: "If we need to work something out with the people who are really rich, I'll have to look at that."
ATTENTION SENATOR REID: You are still the MAJORITY leader. Were the Republican leaders in the early 2000s, who held very slim margins, talking about caving in to Democratic demands? Hell No. Grow a pair or turn over leadership to someone who already has them. Er, make that a Democrat who has a pair. Given the current mentality I wouldn't be surprised if the Democrats in the Senate simply handed leadership to the Teapublicans. Jeesh.
Talking about Compromise
Democrats have been (foolishly) trying to compromise for the past two years and look what it got us. Democrats watered down a number of bills with Republican demands only to have them a) vote against the bills and b) demonize the Democrats for those same bills. Do our Democratic leaders really think that the Teapublicans mean it when they say "compromise"?
ATTENTION EVERYONE WHO DOESN'T ALREADY KNOW: Compromise means one of two things to the Teapublicans: "NO" or "Do it EXACTLY like I say and I might vote for it. But I probably won't until a conservative is in the White House."
The only way to make Tuesday's losses worse is to help set up the Teapublicans for victories in two years. And Democrats are doing just that. Doh!

Obama - One and Done?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

by Eric

I'm not sure if Obama is going to get to serve another term.   In fact, if things keep going the way they've been going the past year, I'm positive Obama will be one and done.  It's not because I cower in fear of our new Teapublican overlords after their history making, freedom loving, glory inducing, red, white and blue tour de force of Americana that pulled us from the brink of the abyss of patriotic damnation.  It's not because the will of the people spoke, nay, wielded the sword of unyeilding and uncompromising truth, honesty, and justice to slay the foes of peace, democracy, and freedom.   No, I'm worried about the Democrats uncanny ability to, as the saying goes, pull defeat from the jaws of victory.
The Democrats just got slapped around.  Big time.  No doubt about that.  That's something we should be somewhat concerned about.  But it's not something we need to be very concerned about, provided the Democrats in power and those running the show get their sh*t together and start taking advantage of wonderful opportunity the Teapublicans just handed to us.  Make that three opportunities...
1. Mandate? The Teapublicans are certain of the mandate they were just given.  Unfortunately for them it really wasn't an all powerful mandate, but that won't diminish the bravado or self righteous power trip they're high on.  Polls are divided about whether this was even a referendum on Obama's policies - much less a rebuke of his efforts, Teabaggers were elected in a number of races but were also crushed (as loons) in other high profile races meaning they don't have the across-the-board appeal they think they do, the American people have been giving Congress ridiculously low approval ratings so some change had to come, the economy still isn't good (better than it would have been, but many are still hurting) so some change had to come, Obama's huge victory two years ago put some Democrats in power that normally wouldn't have been in those districts so it's natural that those seats would be in great danger, the Democrats in general have done a HORRIBLE job messaging and marketing (see Lowell's post on the issue), the minority base is usually more motivated and was so in this case with rank-and-file Republicans showing higher enthusiasm, and so on.  Point being, any rational analysis of the Teapublican victory would have to conclude that the reasons for their various victories are many, many of those reasons have nothing to do with their platform, and there is certainly no mandate.
Eric :: Obama - One and Done?
They are going to act like they've just been elected run the entire Country, instead of the more modest gaining control of the House.  Which means they will be trying to shove their agenda down everyone's throat.   And thanks to the influx of the Teabaggers, that agenda is even more extreme than ever before.  In short, the Teapublicans are going to do their thing without hesitation or reservation, so the Democrats can make huge strides by simply making sure the American people see that agenda for what it really is.  In fact, it's so simple that I'm sure the Democrats will find a way to f*ck it up (again, I refer to Lowell's post about messaging and marketing).   Seriously, this shouldn't be difficult given the personalities (with chips on their shoulders) who are coming to Washington.2. Infighting.  It's going to be a bare fisted slugfest to see who can take the mantle of most extreme in the Teapublican party.   While the old Republican party was VERY good at controlling their people, it's not looking quite so good this time around.  Not only can the Teabaggers sense that they are not far from toppling the old leadership, but they are also sure enough of themselves that they'd go it on their own if their agenda isn't strictly adhered to.   Neither branch of the Teapublican party is willing to compromise with the Democrats (see above for how that's an advantage), but they're already showing signs of not wanting to compromise ANY of their individual beliefs, which will certainly place members of the party at odds with each other.  They're even talking about it in sound bites, with the vague (and sometimes not so vague) "my way or the highway" rhetoric.
Because the Teapublicans are so dead set on their principles, there will be plenty of opportunities to drive the wedge in deeper.  And the deeper it goes, the uglier the infighting will be.   They'll be on the look out for this scenario so it won't be easy to take advantage of, but there will certainly be opportunities.  Can the Democrats make the most of those opportunities?   If the recent past is any indicator, the answer is no - the Democrats will probably step in and try to forge a compromise for the two sides and in process make themselves look like idiots.
3. Incompetence.  Some come from the Palin school of mis-education while others will be blinded by ideology.   Either way the end result will be very bad governance.  Since we're still in a time of economic crisis, and we've still got corporations screwing up the environment, our savings, our housing, and our credit, and we're still fighting wars on terror and drugs, and we've still got immigration issues, and on and on, it should be easy to spot bad leadership.  In fact, compared to Obama's (usually) good leadership these guys should look like absolute morons.
But this all gets back to messaging and marketing (yes, see Lowell's post again).   If Faux News can convince their loyal followers that bad leadership is actually good, and then those followers make such noise that the MSM actually starts believing it (or is too scared to confront Faux and the Right), then their bad leadership will be rewarded again in two years.  So again, the Teapublicans incompetence will be a golden opportunity for the Democrats, but only if they figure out how to take advantage of it.  And again, history shows that the Democrats will find a way to let them off the hook.
Seriously, I'm thinking if the cards are played well, the pendulum will swing back just as far to the left in two years.   But they need to be played well, not dropped on the floor - face up.  So given the recent track record of the Democratic party (see yesterday's election results if you need a refresher) I'm going to have to lean heavily toward Obama being a one-and-done President.   Please don't misunderstand - I really do hope I'm wrong.  And I will be if the Dems can take advantage of the bounty of political opportunities the Teapublicans will provide.  But they've got to nail the opportunities they've been missing so often.

Which Congressional Candidates Got Their Votes Out Yesterday?

This graph shows the dropoff from 2008 votes, by congressional district, for John McCain and Barack Obama and the 2010 votes for Republican and Democratic congressional candidates, respectively. For instance, John McCain received 164,874 votes in the 5th CD in 2008 and Robert Hurt received 119,243
votes in 2010, which means there was a 28% dropoff.  For comparison, also in the 5th CD, Barack Obama received 157,362 votes in 2008, while Tom Perriello received 110,568 votes in 2010, for a 30% dropoff. Now, let's rank the candidates from lowest to highest dropoff, as a way to measure how effectively they got out their votes yesterday compared to the vote for president in 2008. Also, keep in mind that Republicans were more energized this year than in 2008, but obviously that's not the only factor at work here, given Rick Boucher's and Tom Perriello's excellent GOTV numbers.1. Rick Boucher: -20%
2. Frank Wolf: -27%
3. Robert Hurt: -28%
4. Randy Forbes: -29%
4. Keith Fimian: -29%
6. Tom Perriello: -30%
6. Rob Wittman: -30%
8. Bob Goodlatte: -31%
9. Eric Cantor: -33%
10. Scott Rigell: -36%
11. Chuck Smith: -38%
12. Morgan Griffith: -40%
13. Gerry Connolly: -47%
14. Bobby Scott: -50%
14. Jim Moran: -50%
16. Glenn Nye: -51%
17. Rick Waugh: -55%
18. Wynne LeGrow: -59%
18. Krystal Ball: -59%
20. Jeff Barnett: -65%

Wednesday Morning: Election Results Wrapup

VIRGINIA -- 8 Republicans (+3)3 Democrats (-3)
Delegation: 8 Republicans3 DemocratsDistrict 1: Rep. Rob Wittman 135,431-Krystal Ball 73,668
District 2: Rep. Scott Rigell 88,007-Glenn Nye 70,306 PICKUP
District 3: Rep. Bobby Scott 114,656-Chuck Smith 44,488
District 4: Rep. Randy Forbes 122,661-Wynne LeGrow 74,205
District 5: Robert Hurt 119,241-Tom Perriello 110,561 PICKUP
District 6: Rep. Bob Goodlatte 125,298-Jeffrey Vanke 21,412
District 7: Rep. Eric Cantor 138,093-Rick Waugh 79,289-Floyd Bayne 15,154
District 8: Rep. Jim Moran 116,264-Patrick Murray 71,097
District 9: Morgan Griffith 95,526-Rep. Rick Boucher 86,616 PICKUP
District 10: Rep. Frank Wolf 136,703-Jeff Barnett 72,272
District 11: Rep. Gerry Connolly 110,401-Keith Fimian 109,914 (with 98.80% of votes counted)
As of 6:20 am, according to Politico, it appears that Democrats will keep control of the Senate (with 51-54 seats)  but lose the House (down around 60 seats), which means Democrats retain the Senate but Republicans (new speaker: John Boehner) take the House.  A few key Senate results include:
*Sen. Harry Reid defeats Sharron Angle in Nevada, 50.2%-44.6%.
*Joe Manchin defeats John Raese in West Virginia, 53.5%-43.4%.
*Pat Toomey defeats Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania, 51.0%-49.0%.
*Mark Kirk defeats Alexi Giannoulias in Illinois, 48.4%-46.1%.
*Ron Johnson defeats Sen. Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, 51.9%-47.1%.
*Rand Paul defeats Jack Conway in Kentucky 55.9%-44.1%
*Chris Coons defeats Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, 56.6%-40.0%
*Marco Rubio wins easily in Florida over Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek
*Richard Blumenthal wins easily in Connecticut over Linda McMahon
Washington State, Colorado and Alaska remain too close to call.
In governor's races, it appears that Republicans are picking up around 8 seats (including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and New Mexico) but that Democrats have taken California.  Right now, it appears that Alex Sink has lost to Rick Scott in Florida.
A quick analysis by Nate Silver on Rasmussen, which turns out to be as biased (towards Republicans) as many of us suspected all along.
While waiting for the remaining results to trickle in from states like Colorado and Alaska, I did a quick check on the accuracy of polls from the firm Rasmussen Reports, which came under heavy criticism this year - including from FiveThirtyEight - because its polls showed a strong lean toward Republican candidates.Indeed, Rasmussen polls quite consistently turned out to overstate the standing of Republicans tonight. Of the roughly 100 polls released by Rasmussen or its subsidiary Pulse Opinion Research in the final 21 days of the campaign, roughly 70 to 75 percent overestimated the performance of Republican candidates, and on average they were biased against Democrats by 3 to 4 points.
Every pollster is entitled to a bad cycle now and again - and Rasmussen has had some good cycles in the past. But their polling took a major downturn this year.
Let's put it this way, Rasmussen is the preferred pollster of the insane right wingnut Washington Examiner. 'Nuff said.UPDATE: I agree with Markos on this one, "Teabaggers rescued Dems from themselves in CO, NV, and DE. Without them, we'd have a 50/50 Senate."  Alao, in Alaska, it looks like they've lost to Lisa Murkowski, and they almost helped defeat Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania (with Christine "Not a Witch" O'Donnell's insanity in neighboring Delaware). In addition, they handed the Colorado governor's mansion to Democrats on a silver platter, not to mention New York's. Oh, and thanks for saving Harry Reid in Nevada, guys! :)
UPDATE #2: See Ari Melber on "Lessons of the Blue Dog Blowout".  "Loudly breaking with Obama on health care was not a winner, either. "Of the 34 Democrats who voted against the health care bill in March - 24 of them were Blue Dogs - only 12 won reelection," notes reporter Jon Ward."  Hello, Glenn Nye and Rick Boucher, did you hear that?
UPDATE 11:30 am: The Denver Post calls it for Michael Bennet. Great news; Ken Buck was apparently just too crazy for Colorado voters.
UPDATE 11:41 am: With 100% of precincts now reporting, Rep. Gerry Connolly leads Keith Fimian by 820 votes (111,515-110,695). What would have happened if Republicans had nominated Pat Herrity instead of Fimian? My guess is that Connolly would have lost last night. But they didn't, and he didn't.  

Winners and Losers: Election 2010

Here are a few winners and losers from last night that I think are worth highlighting.Winners
1. Ignorance. With the victory of numerous Republican climate deniers and "skeptics," not to mention people (e.g., Robert Hurt, Scott Rigell, Morgan Griffith) who are utterly clueless on a wide range of other issues, it's clear that last night, ignorance was a big winner. Congratulations, ignorance, you rock! (one important caveat: in California, ignorance suffered a major setback, as Proposition 23 - to roll back California's landmark clean energy and climate law - was defeated!)
2. Fear/Anxiety. Last night, our fears and anxieties won out over our better judgment. I understand that people are scared and worried right now - and rightfully so! - but how does voting to make things worse across the board help matters in any way?
3. Rewarding irresponsibility.  After 8 years of disastrous Republican misrule, after 2 years of irresponsibly saying "no" to everything (while pandering to the most extreme, angry, intolerant voices in their party), and after offering no new ideas or serious plans on any of the issues anyone cares about, the American voters in their infinite wisdom yesterday rewarded said "Party of No" for its irresponsibility. What happens when you reward a child for bad behavior and "acting up?" You don't have to be a child psychologist to know that they'll just learn they should do that again. And again. And again. Brilliant.
4. Voting against one's own self interest. Last night, the American people threw a temper tantrum because the economy's bad and - as Homer Simpson once said, they're "mad NOW!!!" - and decided to cut their noses to spite their faces. Of course, in doing so, they ended up harming their own self interest, not to mention the national interest. Other than that, great night everybody! (snark)
5. Our corporate overlords. For all the talk of the "grassroots" Tea Party, the fact is that the big winners last night were the big corporations and their big money.  Basically, we got the best Congress that Exxon Mobil, the Koch brothers, and other corporate interests who do not have your best interests at heart, could buy. Thank you, Citizens United, and thank you to our corporate overlords, all hail!
6. Harry Reid. How many lives does this guy have? And how lucky can you get with a lunatic opponent like Sharron Angle?!?
7. Empty suits. Eric Can'tor led the way on this one, but there are so many others, including right here in Virginia with Robert Hurt and Scott Rigell.
8. Staying on message/creating a narrative - Republican edition. Republicans may not have any serious ideas, let alone any good ideas. They may pander to fear, anxiety, ignorance, and bigotry. They may be even less popular than Democrats. But they sure know how to stay on their simplistic, angry message and to create a powerful narrative (albeit false, crazy, etc.).  Last night, it worked.
9. Faux News, Rasmussen, Rush, Glenn Beck, the Koch brothers, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and everyone else who relentlessly bashed the Democrats the last two years, even if it was with absolute lunacy like "death panels" and "Obama's a socialist Muslim." Last night, it worked.
10. Denial. One thing's for sure about last night; the American people - or either party, for that matter - did not squarely face up to the challenges facing us as a nation, whether it's the national debt, the need for energy independence, the problem of climate change, our crumbling infrastructure, or a million other problems. Last night, instead, head-in-the-sand denial won. We'll see how that works out for America, as China and other countries race ahead. Sadly, it's quite possible historians will look back in 50 years and point to 2010 as the election that marked the inexorable decline of America as a great power. I hope not, but I fear it could be the case.
11. John BONEr, Eric Can'tor, the Republican Party of Virginia, the NRCC, etc. They may have run a lying, cynical, vicious, vapid campaign, but in politics, if you win you're a genius. So today, I guess they're geniuses.
"Mixed" and "Losers" on the "flip"

The Tea Party was both a "winner" and a "loser" last night. On the "winner" side, they certainly provided a tremendous amount of energy to Republicans this cycle. On the "loser" side, the Tea Party appears to have saved Democratic control of the Senate, as well as a number of other races, thanks to their success in nominating crazy, unqualified, wildly-outside-the-mainstream people like Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle.Losers
1. Accomplishments. Democrats actually accomplished a lot the past 2 years, including historic achievements on health care, clean energy and other infrastructure investment, preventing a financial and economic meltdown, etc. But you'd never know it. Not only did Democrats not tout their own accomplishments, they seemed ashamed of them.  So...why should anyone respect you if you clearly don't respect yourself and your own accomplishments?  Answer: they shouldn't, and they won't.
2. Counterfactuals. It's too hard to convince people that something really bad (e.g., Great Depression II) WOULD have happened if not for policies x, y, or z.  In 1933, when FDR came in, the American people didn't need counterfactuals, as they'd already been suffering for 4 years under Republicans.  At that point, they were ready for just about anything. This time around...not so much.
3. Blue dogs. So-called "moderate" Democrats got their butts kicked last night, almost across the board. What does this prove? I'm not sure exactly, but it certainly doesn't demonstrate that people prefer people with no principles to real Democrats or progressives.
3. Standing for nothing. Glenn Nye is the poster child for believing in nothing, standing for nothing, having no soul. In the end, he tried to sell his complete lack of conviction as demonstrating his "independence" and "willingness to fight for his district." The end result? Republicans attacked him anyway as being a "liberal" in service of "Obama and Pelosi." And he got his butt kicked by a slimy, hypocritical car salesman without a brain in his head.
4. Running away from/dissing your own party. Once again, Glenn Nye's the perfect poster child, as he ran adds attacking major Democratic achievements (and bragging that he'd voted against them), posing a mindless false equivalence between Republicans and Democrats, and running away from Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama as fast as he could. So, how'd that work out for you, Glenn? Also, to a lesser extent, Rick Boucher did the same thing; again, how'd that work out?
5. Staying on message/creating a narrative - Democratic edition. In contrast, Democrats couldn't message their way out of a paper bag or create an effective narrative if their lives depended on it. Well, actually, they sort of managed to do that in 2006 and 2008, when Republicans were as popular as smallpox. But in 2010, after 2 years of holding the White House and Congress? Not.
6. Barack Obama's political advisors. If this were medieval Japan, the political "professionals" advising President Obama would all be falling on their swords this morning, having failed miserably to provide sound advice, a workable strategy, a coherent/appealing message, or any ability whatsoever to market Democratic successes (e.g., that we cut taxes for 98% of Americans, got all the TARP money back, etc., etc.). Given that this is the Democratic Party, these people will most likely go on to long and lucrative careers, having suffered no consequences for their utter failure yesterday. Sadly, what else is new?
7. Barack Obama's strategy of reaching out to Republicans. Look, that strategy may have made some sense initially, but after Obama was slapped away once, twice, three times, 10 times...100 times, you'd think he'd learn. You'd also think he'd learn that you can't work with people who outright say they want to "break" you, that their #1 goal is to make sure you're a 1-term president, that they "want you to fail." All that does is make you look weak, while you waste time and fail to get your full agenda - the one you were elected to pursue - enacted. Mazel tov!
8. Health care reform. The process was a complete debacle, basically consuming the first year of the Obama presidency, and ending up with a mess - a package that cut a bunch of deals with private insurers, did not "bend the cost curve backwards," did not give us a public option (let alone a single payer system), yet managed to allow Republicans to demonize it on utter lies like "death panels" and "socialized medicine."  So, remind me again, why did we try for month after fruitless month to get some sort of deal with Chuck Grassley, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, etc., instead of just using our (supposed) 60-vote "filibuster proof majority" in the Senate to pass the best possible legislation?  Uhhhhhhh.
9. Clean energy/enviro legislation. How on earth Democrats could waste more than a year f***ing around with health care reform and fail to address the huge problems (and opportunities) of energy and global warming is mind boggling. But wait, it gets worse - we also had the House voting for a watered down, larded up (with coal industry favors - thanks Rick Boucher!) crappy "cap and trade" bill that was demonized by Republicans despite being a conservative, market-based idea that came out of the freakin' Reagan Administration. Of course, we never articulated any of this. Oh, and we also let House members take tough votes on this one, then watch as the Senate completely dropped the ball and left them hanging with nothing to show for their efforts. Brilliant!
10. As I wrote yesterdayDemocrats completely failed to a) message; b) market; c) underpromise and overdeliver (instead of vice versa); d) come up with a serious strategy; e) show cojones/loyalty in many cases. Not a recipe for success, and we saw the results last night.
11. Democrats in Republican districts. We'll see what the final count is, but last night, Democrats lost a lot of the seats we had gained in Republican districts (e.g., voted for McCain in 2008) in the Democratic "wave" years of 2006 and 2008. In that respect, last night was somewhat of a "snap back" to normal, although I'd argue it overnapped a bit, and probably will edge back again towards parity in 2012.
12. Finally, let's just throw in the Senate, which failed time and time again to move the ball forward, thanks to a combination of Mitch McConnell's monolithic "No" caucus and a few horrible "Democrats" like Blanche Lincoln (good riddance!), Ben Nelson, and Holy Joe LIEberman. Remind me again, why were Republicans able to push through their agenda in 2001-2003 with just 50 or 51 seats in the Senate, but we couldn't get ours through with a supposed "filibuster proof, 60-seat majority?" Oh, and since when was that 60-vote requirement etched in stone or written into the constitution? Hint: it's not!

Polls Closing Across the Country; Results Thread

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Polls are closing across the country, I'll use this as a national results thread. So far, it's not looking great in Indiana and Kentucky, where polls closed at 6 pm. Also, the exit polls aren't particularly encouraging. But we'll see...this could be a long night, in more ways than one.By the way, I'm following the results on Twitter, the Washington PostPolitico and 538, among other places.
UPDATE 7:05 pm: The AP has called Indiana for Dan Coats and Kentucky for Rand Paul. Aqua Buddha!!!
UPDATE 7:09 pm: Possibly encouraging news? "Ben Chandler, a Democrat, leads by about 10 points so far with 4 percent of the vote counted in Kentucky's 6th Congressional district."
UPDATE 7:43 pm: Republicans winning or leading Senate races in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Dakota and New Hampshire. But hey, Vermont's looking good for the Democrats! (gallows humor) Also, Nate Silver says, " our model has revised its projection to a G.O.P. gain of 55-56 seats rather than 54-55. Not a huge deal, obviously, but it likes what it's seeing from Republicans so far in Indiana, even as most of the other House races so far are playing about to expectations."
UPDATE 7:47 pmMarc Ambinder tweets, "CBS News projects that Chris Coons will handily defeat Christine O'D in DE SEN." But at least she's not a witch! LOL  Also, "Marcy Kaptur (D) beats Rich Iott in OH 08. he wore the nazi uniform; she gets to keep the job." Iott lost even after BONE-r appeared with him this weekend? Is there no justice in the world?!? Heh.
UPDATE 7:57 pm: According to Nate Silver, "here's a sign that tonight might not be an apocalypse for Democrats: the Kentucky Third District, where John Yarmuth, a Democrat, had been favored but the polling had been erratic, has been called for him. The other vulnerable Democrat in Kentucky, Ben Chandler, is also leading so far in Kentucky's Sixth District."
UPDATE 8:01 pmMarco Rubio has won in Florida. ABC News projects Kelly Ayotte the winner in New Hampshire.
UPDATE 8:07 pm: As expected, Richard Blumenthal is projected to defeat Linda McMahon for Senate.
UPDATE 8:14 pm: Good news in Delaware, where John Carney picks up the formerly Republican seat vacated by Mike Castle. Also, Ben Chandler in Kentucky is leading with 73% of votes counted.
UPDATE 8:37 pm: In West Virginia, Joe Manchin holds the Senate seat for Democrats.  Also, in Arkansas, "Plantation Blanche" Lincoln - possibly the worst "Democrat" in the Senate - is gone. Honestly, I've gotta say, "good riddance." She was horrible.
UPDATE 8:44 pm: Liberal-but-lunatic Alan Grayson has lost, do I see a talk show in his future?
UPDATE 8:53 pmRep. Baron Hill loses in IN-09.
UPDATE 9:00 pmMSNBC projects "that GOP will win control of the House.... It will be 236-199, plus/minus 13 seats."
UPDATE 9:03 pm: Democrats sweep New York - governor and both Senate seats. CNN has called PA-Gov for Corbett.
UPDATE 9:18 pm: Congratulations to Martin O'Malley, reelected as governor of Maryland.  Sadly, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter lost in NH to a total right wingnut,Frank Guinta. Ugh.
UPDATE 9:22 pm: According to Nate Silver, "Our model has revised upward its expectation for Republican House gains to 57 seats -- but so far, they aren't winning too many of the types of races they would need in order to post something extraordinary like a 75-seat gain."
UPDATE 9:49 pm: It appears that Betty Sutton has held on in Ohio-13. Blue Dog Alan Boyd loses in FL-O2. In PA, Joe Sestak is leading 53%-47% with nearly half of precincts reporting.
UPDATE 10:10 pmDeval Patrick holds on as governor of Massachusetts.  With 31% reporting, Sen. Michael Bennet is leading Ken Buck. In IL, with 55% of votes counted, Alexi Giannoulias is leading 49%-46%. In PA, with 61% reporting, Joe Sestak is leading 52%-48%.  Also, it looks like Hickenlooper is winning the governor's race in Colorado easily over two wingnuts - Tom Tancredo and Dan Maes.
UPDATE 10:32 pm: Bad news in Ohio, with incumbents Charlie WilsonJohn Boccieri and Zack Space trailing. Pennsylvania doesn't look good either for the House of Representatives, with several Democratic incumbents apparently losing.
UPDATE 10:41 pm: It looks like Russ Feingold has lost in Wisconsin to Ron Johnson. Blech.
UPDATE 10:56 pm: The situation is deteriorating in the PA, CO and IL Senate races.  Maybe I should just go to bed at this point, before things get any worse.
UPDATE 11:56 pmPat Toomey has been declared the winner in PA's Senate race. Barbara Boxer won in CA. Patty Murray is leading in WA. Mark Kirk is apparently winning the IL Senate race. Michael Bennet has a slim lead in CO with 32% reporting. Harry Reid has a 51.6%-44.1% lead in NV with 12.9% reporting. It looks like Dem's will hold the Senate, lose the House. It could have been worse, but still, a very bad night for our country.

Polls Closed in Virginia; Results Thread

The polls are now closed in Virginia. I'll use this thread to follow the results. As of 7 pm, from everything I'm hearing and reading, I can't say it's looking great. Could Gerry Connolly lose?  Rick Boucher? Glenn Nye and Tom Perriello?  All possible. Stay tuned, and check out results at the State Board of Elections website.UPDATE 7:11 pm: With 3% of votes counted, Morgan Griffith leads Rep. Rick Boucher 59%-39% in the 9th CD. Robert Hurt is slightly ahead of Rep. Tom Perriello with 2.3% reporting in the 5th CD.
UPDATE 7:24 pm: Just to get it out of the way, the following Virginia Republicans will win tonight: Eric Cantor, Bob Goodlatte, Frank Wolf, Rob Wittman, and Randy Forbes.
UPDATE 7:30 pm: With 17.8% of precincts reporting in the 5th CD, it's Robert Hurt 56.4%-Tom Perriello 41.3%. Nothing from Albemarle or C-ville, though.
UPDATE 7:38 pm: With 4.3% of precincts in, it's Scott Rigell leading Rep. Glenn Nye 51%-46% in the 2nd CD. In the 5th CD, with 27% of precincts in, it's Hurt leading Perriello 55%-42%. C-ville's starting to come in.  With 28% of precincts in, it's Morgan Griffith leading Rick Boucher 55%-43% in the 9th CD. Not looking good, Boucher could be in serious trouble.
UPDATE 7:50 pm: Good news per Jon Bowerbank - "Congrats to Joseph Puckett - winner, winner, chicken dinner ~1100-~800! Rick up in Russell County w/ 11/15 precincts reporting." Go Joseph!
UPDATE 7:51 pm: Oh, and it goes without saying that Rep. Bobby Scott will win reelection easily tonight.
UPDATE 7:53 pm: With 7% of precincts reporting, Jim Moran is winning easily in the 8th CD over Patrick Murray. With 4.8% of precincts reporting in the 11th, Keith Fimian is leading Rep. Gerry Connolly 55%-42%. Also, NLS has called the 9th for Morgan Griffith. Oh, wonderful.
UPDATE 8:00 pmNLS tweets, "Gerry just won the most Democratic precinct in Fairfax City by 50 votes- horrible sign for him."
UPDATE 8:04 pm: In the 7th CD, Eric Cantor under 60% against unknown, unfunded Rick Waugh and Tea Partier Floyd Bayne. Not impressive. In contrast,Frank Wolf is romping over Jeff Barnett, 68%-29%.
UPDATE 8:09 pm: With 20% of precincts reporting in the 2nd CD, Scott Rigell is leading Glenn Nye 48.6%-47.9%. With 61% of precincts reporting in the 5th CD, Robert Hurt is leading Tom Perriello 53%-45%. Also, John Yarmuth has held on in Kentucky's 3rd CD.
UPDATE 8:20 pmIsaac Wood tweets, "Bad news for Perriello in #VA05? Down 8%. 56% reporting. Good news? Albemarle & Charlottesville (his base) still to come."
UPDATE 8:22 pm: It's not looking good for Glenn Nye in the 2nd CD, where Scott Rigell is leading 52%-44% with 36% of precincts reporting.
UPDATE 8:25 pm: CBS has called the 5th CD for Robert Hurt over Tom Perriello. How depressing. (with 79% of precincts reporting, Hurt leads 52%-45%.)
UPDATE 8:28 pm: In the 2nd CD, with 43% of precincts reporting, Scott Rigell is leading Glenn Nye 54%-43%. So far, it doesn't look like Nye's strategy of having no principles or courage, not to mention being the least progressive Democrat in Congress, is paying off for him. What a shocker - despite his pathetic pandering, Republicans still attacked him as a "liberal" who voted with "Pelosi, Reid and Obama."
UPDATE 8:36 pm: With 30% of precincts reporting in the 11th CD, Gerry Connolly is trailing Keith Fimian by just 370 votes.
UPDATE 8:39 pmAP calls VA-09 for Morgan Griffith over Rep. Rick Boucher. The irony of this one is that Boucher worked hard to water down the energy/climate bill and to lard it up with the coal industry wish list, yet he still got blamed for voting for "cap and tax." In a perverse way, maybe there's justice after all?
UPDATE 9:04 pm: The AP has called Scott Rigell over Glenn Nye in the 2nd CD. In the end, Kenny Golden was a complete non-factor, in spite of his support from the Modern Whig Party.  Seriously, the "Modern Whig Party."
UPDATE 9:24 pm: Still extremely close in the 11th CD, where Keith Fimian leads Gerry Connolly by under 900 votes with 69% of precincts reporting.
UPDATE 9:27 pm: In Arlington, Chris Zimmerman is winning reelection easily for County Board.  Sally Baird is winning reelection to the School Board easily. Congratulations to both!
UPDATE 9:29 pm: In the end, it wasn't even close in the 2nd CD, where Glenn Nye is trailing by 11 points with 75% of precincts reporting. It turns out that the 5th CD, where Tom Perriello acted like a - gasp! - Democrat, is much closer than the 2nd CD, where Glenn Nye might as well have been a Republican.  More on this tomorrow...
UPDATE 9:36 pm: Sen. Mark Warner says, "I can't think of anyone who has worked as hard or been a more passionate advocate for his constituents than Tom Perriello. He has worked to make higher education more affordable and accessible, and he has been a fierce advocate for jobs, clean energy and economic renewal. I am certain we have not heard the last from this talented young man." Also, "Rick Boucher has been a fierce protector of his southwest Virginia constituents for nearly 30 years of public service. There is not a single community in the Ninth Congressional District that has not been touched in some significant way through Congressman Boucher's work, and it really is unfortunate that Rick was swept-up in a national wave of discontent and voter frustration."
UPDATE 9:47 pm: With 83.3% of precincts reporting, Gerry Connolly has pulled ahead of Keith Fimian, 49.09%-48.83%.
UPDATE 10:00 pm: With 98.7% counted in VA-05, real Democrat Tom Perriello is losing, but only by 4 points. In VA-02, quasi-"Democrat" Glenn Nye is losing by 10 points. Meanwhile, real Democrat Gerry Connolly is leading by about 500 votes with 95% of precincts reporting.
UPDATE 10:26 pm: With 97.02% counted in VA-11, Gerry Connolly is leading Keith Fimian by just under 700 votes. NLS has called it for Connolly, and there's nobody more knowledgeable about the 11th CD than Ben Tribbett, so I put a lot of stock in that. We'll see...
UPDATE 11:44 pm: Connolly's barely leading with almost all votes counted, but this one's probably headed for a recount.
UPDATE 11:46 pm: Guess who got the highest and lowest # of votes tonight among Virginia Democrats? From most to fewest: Jim Moran 116,264; Bobby Scott 114,416; Tom Perriello 110,561; Gerry Connolly 110,401; Rick Boucher 86,616; Rick Waugh 79,289; Wynne LeGrow 74,205; Krystal Ball 73,668; Jeff Barnett 72,272; and...Glenn Nye 68,531! That's right, the bluest of "Blue Dogs" got the fewest votes, while the most progressive Democrats - generally got the highest. So, in the end, Glenn Nye stood for nothing, had no soul, and also got the fewest votes, even running behind people with no name ID and no money - but with real Democratic convictions - like Rick Waugh and Wynne LeGrow and Jeff Barnett. Is there a lesson here? Hmmmmm.
UPDATE 11:54 pm: Mark Warner says, "Gerry Connolly has had a remarkable record of public service at the local level and now as a member of Congress, and I congratulate him on his hard-fought victory tonight. Northern Virginia will continue to have a strong advocate and a

Democrats Need to Shake Things Up After This Election's Over

Whatever the results of the mid-term election today, and most likely they won't be great for the Democrats, I believe it's high time to shake things up at the White House, the DNC, and pretty much everywhere in the Democratic Party.  Why do I say this?  Let us count the ways. (warning: major rant ahead)1. Total Messaging FAIL
Democrats over the past 2 years haven't been able to craft a compelling narrative to save their lives, and that's utterly inexcusable. For instance, did you know that the much-reviled Stimulus Act not only helped save us from Great Depression II, it also cut taxes by $288 billion, giving just about every American a tax break? It's true, yet most voters think the opposite ("By 52 percent to 19 percent, likely voters say federal income taxes have gone up for the middle class in the past two years.")!  I'm sorry, but that's inexcusable. Anyone involved in this failure to communicate should be fired immediately. They are utterly incompetent and should never work in politics again. Period.
Continuing on this same theme, the same poll shows that voters believe - incorrectly, once again - that most TARP money has been "lost." In fact, the Treasury "expects to turn a $16 billion profit" on TARP. But again, nobody knows that. WTF?!?
Yet another example: most Americans don't remember when this recession started (under Bush), don't know what caused it (lots of factors, including Republican policies that led to the housing bubble and collapse, rapidly growing income inequality, deregulatory policies that let Wall Street run amok, etc.), and aren't aware that the economy's growing again under the Democrats. They also don't give Democrats any credit for avoiding Great Depression II. It's maddening, and it's partly the result of the lamestream media and the Republican Big Lie, but we've also got to point our fingers at Major Democratic Messaging FAIL!
lowkell :: Democrats Need to Shake Things Up After This Election's Over
2. Total Marketing FAIL
Yet another example would be Democrats' utter failure to sell health care reform or to defend themselves on clean energy/climate legislation. As always, the Republican demonization strategy was effective, and the Democrats couldn't defend themselves if their lives depended on it. For instance, on health care reform, we waited months to really respond to Republican lunacy on "death panels," "government takeover of health care," and other Big Lies. I guess the theory that this s*** was so crazy, we didn't even have to respond. Well, guess what guys - YOU DO!!!  By the time Democrats did respond, ineffectually and half-heartedly of course, it was waaaaayyy too late.  Heckuva job.  Oh, and if all that's not bad enough, Democrats couldn't even effectively push back when Republicans demonized one of their own core ideas - the "individual mandate" - as suddenly evil incarnate. That's right, let me repeat: the individual mandate was a Republican idea, as was much of the health care reform bill, yet Democrats allowed Republicans to a) redefine the bill as a core Democratic one; b) demonize it as socialist, etc.; and c) win the debate. Pathetic.It was the same thing on clean energy and climate legislation, which Republicans managed to demonize as "cap and tax." This, despite the fact that "cap and trade" was actually a conservative, "free market" Republican idea, coming out of the Reagan Administration no less. Yet Democrats were helpless, apparently, to defend themselves, even as Republicans once again demonized their own idea!  Again, it's maddening, and all of these Democratic messaging "gurus" should be on the streets looking for work tomorrow.
3. Major overpromising and political strategery FAIL
Then, there are the idiots who thought it made sense to promise the moon and stars to Democrats but then deliver only a lump of coal in our stocking. Thus, in 2006 and 2008, we were told over and over again: just get us back Congress and the White House, especially if you can get us a "filibuster-proof majority" in the Senate, and we'll deliver everything you want, from "card check" to immigration reform to comprehensive energy and climate legislation to real health care reform (with a public option, at least) to closing Gitmo to ending "Don't Ask Don't Tell" to...well, you get the message. In the end, the grassroots delivered the White House, the Congress, the 60-vote "filibuster-proof majority," everything we were asked to do.
And what did we get out of our efforts? Go down that list and decide for yourself. And yes, I am well aware that Republicans, aka "the party of no," were largely at fault. But c'mon now, let's get serious; when Republicans barely controlled Congress in 2001-2006, they rammed a LOT of Bush's agenda through. Democrats, in contrast, spent endless months waiting for "bipartisan" support for health care reform and other priorities, only to receive the cold shoulder time and time again. Overpromise, underdeliver -- a recipe for failure and pissed-off Democrats. This should be glaringly obvious, yet apparently it wasn't. Did the geniuses ever learn their lesson? Nope. Should any of these people still have jobs tomorrow? Nope.
4. Major Democratic Cojones/Disloyalty FAIL
Finally, I've got to say, too many supposed "Democrats" ran campaigns that only can be described as pathetic, pusillanimous, and principle-less.  For instance, we had one Democratic campaign in Virginia bashing health care reform in its TV ads, posing a false equivalence of blame between Republicans and Democrats, distancing themselves from Nancy Pelosi, and generally failing to stand up for Democratic core values and accomplishments.  With Democrats like this, who needs enemies, yet across the country, we saw way too much of this disloyalty and Democratic "brand" damaging. It's inexcusable, and my bet is that most of these jerks will lose anyway. Good riddance.
In sum: Yes, I'm frustrated. Yes, I'm aggravated. Yes, I'm disgusted. And yes, I could go on and on all day about all this.  For now, though, I'll spare you. However, something tells me I'll have a lot more to say about this in coming days...