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Elderly voters the biggest push behind the GOP wave

Posted: 11-08-2010 01:59 PM
by Linnea
...from the Washington Independent
The election post-mortems keep rolling in. Politico’s Byron Tau’s report on the remarkable shift in voting patterns among America’s oldest voters goes a long way to explain why last week’s contest became such a rout for Republicans. Voters over 65, he writes, favored Republicans by a 21-point margin after breaking narrowly for Democrats in 2006, and in some key races the margin was even more lopsided.
The 60 Plus Association, it should be noted, played a key role, along with groups like American Crossroads, in drumming up fears among the elderly about the health care reform bill’s efforts to fight the rising cost of Medicare — a cause that Republicans had long championed but now found opportune to decry. Billing itself a conservative alternative to the AARP, the 60 Plus Association served in many ways as an extension of the American Crossroads-led network of shadow GOP organizations devoted to electing Republicans last election cycle. Carl Forti, a veteran Republican operative and the political director of American Crossroads, also handled the PR and media profile of the 60 Plus group, which spent nearly million dollars in independent expenditures attacking House Democrats who voted for health care reform.

Combine the swing among seniors with the fact that young people largely stayed home from the polls last Tuesday, and the landslide seem less like a shift in the national opinion and more like the product of simple demographic mathematics. ... e-gop-wave

It's amazing, really. Guess this age group must calculate massive cuts to Social Security benefits will not impact them, but fall most heavily on those coming after.

Now in Power, G.O.P. Vows Cuts in State Budgets

Posted: 11-08-2010 02:13 PM
by Linnea
Actions as these from the states could well guarantee Republicans return to the wilderness for a long, long time - as states are plunged even further into recession and joblessness - imo.

from NY Times
Republicans who have taken over state capitols across the country are promising to respond to crippling budget deficits with an array of cuts, among them proposals to reduce public workers’ benefits in Wisconsin, scale back social services in Maine and sell off state liquor stores in Pennsylvania, endangering the jobs of thousands of state workers.

States face huge deficits, even after several grueling years of them, and just as billions of dollars in stimulus money from Washington is drying up.

With some of these new Republican state leaders having taken the possibility of tax increases off the table in their campaigns, deep cuts in state spending will be needed. These leaders, committed to smaller government, say that is the idea.

“We’re going to do what families and businesses all over this country have already had to do, and that is live within their means,” said Brian Bosma, a Republican who will soon become the speaker of the Indiana House, alongside a Republican governor, Mitch Daniels, and a supermajority of Republicans in the State Senate.

Mr. Bosma said state revenues next year are expected to reach only the levels of about five years ago, creating an enormous strain. “We’re going to do what is right, and we’ll let the politics land where they may,” he said. ... .html?_r=1

When you lose an election, change course—but only if you're

Posted: 11-08-2010 02:45 PM
by Linnea
Interesting article by William Saletan in Slate

Spin the Tale on the Donkey
The election returns are in, and Republican leaders have discerned the people's will. "We are witnessing a repudiation of Washington, a repudiation of big government," incoming House speaker John Boehner declared on election night. "The American people have sent an unmistakable message to [the president] tonight, and that message is: Change course."

Two days later, in a speech at the Heritage Foundation, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called the election "a report card on the administration and anyone who supported its agenda." He offered Democrats "a choice: they can change course, or they can double down on a vision of government that the American people have roundly rejected." Sunday on Face the Nation, McConnell dismissed President Obama's attempt to deflect blame from Democratic policies:

The president believes that somehow his product was good, but he just didn't sell it well. … His problem was not his sales job. It was the product. The American people simply did not like what the president and this Congress were doing substantively. They didn't like the spending, they didn't like the debt, they didn't like the health care bill, and they wanted to have a midcourse correction.

On Fox News Sunday, Eric Cantor, the incoming House majority leader, chided Obama and House Democrats for sticking with their leaders and beliefs:

This says to the voters, "We're not listening to you, we think we're right, we're going to continue the same path." … What the voters said is, number one, we're tired of the 20-month agenda that we've seen out of the Obama administration, because, number one, it hasn't produced results, but number two, it is anathema to most people. … It is government getting into more and more aspects of our economy that the voters outright rejected. And when you hear the president say things like, "We did a poor job of explaining what we were trying to do," I think that that's indicative of his not getting it.

Maybe Boehner, Cantor, and McConnell are right. When voters strip you of your majority and seem to reject your philosophy in exit polls, maybe you should change course. But before taking the advice of these Republicans, let's check whether they've taken that advice themselves. Let's go back and see what they did two years ago, when the election and the exit polls went the other way...

Article continues at link:

Pelosi's Triumph

Posted: 11-08-2010 04:49 PM
by Linnea
from Slate - William Saletan

Democrats didn't lose the battle of 2010. They won it.
A party that loses a House seat can win it back two years later, as Republicans just proved. But a party that loses a legislative fight against a middle-class health care entitlement never restores the old order. Pretty soon, Republicans will be claiming the program as their own. Indeed, one of their favorite arguments against this year's health care bill was that it would cut funding for Medicare. Now they're pledging to rescind those cuts. In 30 years, they'll be accusing Democrats of defunding Obamacare.

Most bills aren't more important than elections. This one was. Take it from Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader. Yesterday, in his election victory speech at the Heritage Foundation, he declared, "Health care was the worst piece of legislation that's passed during my time in the Senate." McConnell has been in the Senate for 26 years. He understands the bill's significance: It's a huge structural change in the relationship between the public, the economy, and the government.

Politicians have tried and failed for decades to enact universal health care. This time, they succeeded. In 2008, Democrats won the presidency and both houses of Congress, and by the thinnest of margins, they rammed a bill through. They weren't going to get another opportunity for a very long time. It cost them their majority, and it was worth it.

And that's not counting financial regulation, economic stimulus, college lending reform, and all the other bills that became law under Pelosi. So spare me the tears and gloating about her so-called failure. If John Boehner is speaker of the House for the next 20 years, he'll be lucky to match her achievements.

Will Republicans revisit health care? Sure. Will they enact some changes to the program? Yes, and Democrats will help them. Every program needs revisions. Republicans will get other things, too: business tax breaks, education reform, more nuclear power, and a crackdown on earmarks. These are issues on which both parties can agree. Which is why, if you're a Democrat, you deal with them after you've lost your majority—not before.

It's funny, in a twisted way, to read all the post-election complaints that Democrats lost because they thought only of themselves. Even the chief operating officer of the party's leading think tank, the Center for American Progress, says Obama failed to convince Americans "that he knows their jobs are as important as his." That's too bad, because Obama, Pelosi, and their congressional allies proved just the opposite. They risked their jobs—and in many cases lost them—to pass the health care bill. The elections were a painful defeat, and you can argue that the bill was misguided. But Democrats didn't lose the most important battle of 2010. They won it.

Posted: 11-08-2010 07:03 PM
by SETIsLady
Marco Rubio is already turning his back on the Tea Party and now Rand Paul is backing away from banning earmarks. Its starting to look like the Tea Party got sold a bill of goods.

Posted: 11-15-2010 10:37 PM
by Kaztronic
I agree that an argument can be made that when you break down the Healthcare "reform" Bill down to about ten pieces and ask people whether or not they support those pieces individually - they end up supporting a good deal of it.

On the other hand however, their is a real opposition to the overall package that ought not be ignored - this is also fact. It is also a fact that this opposition did galvanize opposition to the Democrats. The facts also indicate that a large percentage of the electorate were disgusted with the process, opposed to major pieces of the legislation, and (perhaps most importantly) felt it was the wrong priority at that time.

Dissecting the bill in to pieces doesn't really add up to overall support for the legislation we got in the end (at least in my opinion).


From your linked article:

The Kaiser Family Foundation issued an October report, summarizing the findings of eight national polls taken from September 9-October 10. Bruce Drake of Politics Daily characterized the Kaiser report in the following terms: “roughly, five of the eight polls looked at by Kaiser fall in the column of pro-repeal sentiment (some by small margins) while three do not.”


The overall legislation is not all that popular, with 49% of the general-public sample favoring repeal of some sort (25% favoring repeal in part and 24%, in whole). Forty percent seem favorable to the new law, divided nearly evenly between favoring expansion of its provisions and keeping them as is


What the selective polling might have added up to however, were major victories for the Dems should they have listened to the American people when they wanted the brakes put on this overall legislation - and instead focused on pushing through smaller pieces, such as ending the pre-existing conditions rules insurance companies followed, extending tax credits, etc..... The Republicans would have been in a far more difficult position to oppose those bits of common sense legislation that have mass appeal to the public.

Posted: 11-15-2010 11:03 PM
by HB3
Linnea wrote: You know - 'facts'.

Well, you know, this guy says there's a higher "truth" than "facts": ... 1#40205221


Posted: 11-16-2010 12:18 AM
by Linnea
The cumbersome and flawed HCR Bill is as much a product of Republican obstructionism (use of filibuster-'60 vote') as the lack of leadership by Obama and subsequent dithering of the Democrats.

So, I look to intent. At least the Democrats were trying to reform the for-profit, out of control, existing health care system - and in a way which was deficit neutral. They got little help from the Republicans - which is shameful, really.

As for the talk of backroom deals with health insurers, and etc. Yes - there was some of that up front. Realistically - that was the only way any health care reform could begin. And, health care reform was and is needed to get the economy - and the deficit back on a realistic track.

And yes - the whole thing is a mess in many respects. However, what we have is a beginning.

Posted: 11-16-2010 12:21 AM
by Linnea
HB3 wrote: Well, you know, this guy says there's a higher "truth" than "facts": ... 1#40205221


Well, not really. ;)

Facts can reveal a higher 'Truth'.

Posted: 11-16-2010 12:25 AM
by Linnea
And, btw, HB - what do you think the Koch Bros are up to?

Posted: 11-16-2010 01:20 AM
by SquidInk
Up to? They're not "up to" anything - because the wealthy and powerful don't conspire to solidify their positions of wealth and power. They play by the rules without fail. It's their obvious superior qualities, and highly evolved intellect that have brought them success.

You know... it's all about Occam's Razor. The world is numbingly simple, all things are exactly as they appear, and anybody who thinks otherwise is a blithering wingnut.


Posted: 11-16-2010 01:35 AM
by Linnea
Point taken, SquidInk - altho' I continue to inhabit at least two different universes. ;)

As far as a 'truth to power' guy - have my eye on the visionary, yet pragmatic, Jerry Brown in California. Guess he is looking at a 26 Billion budget shortfall coming in...

He's got a stellium of planets in Taurus clustered at the mid-heaven of his astrology chart. Viewed through the prisms of one of my universes - this could get very interesting.

Freshman GOPer: Hey, Where's My Health Care?

Posted: 11-17-2010 02:13 AM
by Linnea
...from Talking Points Memo - Josh Marshall
Maryland physician Andy Harris (R) just soundly defeated Frank Kratovil, one of the most endangered Democrats on Capitol Hill going into the November election. And he did it in large part by railing against 'Obamacare' and pledging to repeal Health Care Reform. But when he showed on Capitol Hill today for an orientation for incoming members of Congress and their staffs, he had a different question: Where's my government health care?

According to Glenn Thrush of Politico, Harris created a stir at the orientation meeting by demanding to know why he had to wait a month after he was sworn in in January for his government-subsidized health care to kick in. After responding in a huff, he even asked if there was some way he could buy into the government care in advance, seemingly thinking there might be a government program similar to the so-called 'public option' championed by progressive Democrats in 2009.

According to an unnamed congressional staffer quoted by Thrush, Harris stood up at the meeting "and asked the two ladies who were answering questions why it had to take so long, what he would do without 28 days of health care." ... h-care.php

This guy is simply clueless.

Posted: 11-17-2010 02:22 PM
by OMG
This story is so pathetic that I laugh at it more than get angry over it. The representation of what the Tea Party is is just perfect, anger anger anger, but gimmie gimmie gimmie.

Republican irresponsibility on START

Posted: 11-17-2010 05:38 PM
by Linnea
...from voices washington post
By Adam Serwer

The Republican attempt to derail ratification of the new START arms control treaty with Russia is a reminder of how far the GOP is willing to go merely to deal the president a political defeat.

Ratification of the new START treaty shouldn't be controversial. It maintains a basic trend in the reduction of the U.S. and Russia's nuclear arsenals that started in the 1980s, when the first START treaty was proposed by President Reagan, signed by his successor, George H.W. Bush, and ratified by the Senate by overwhelming margins. The current military leadership and a number of Republican foreign policy experts, including Former Secretaries of State James Baker, George Schultz, Henry Kissinger and Colin Powell have urged ratification, and three Senate Republicans actually voted the treaty out of committee. That's left the arguments against ratification to the GOP's foreign policy fringe, whose objections -- that the treaty leaves the U.S. with "only" thousands of nuclear weapons, undermines U.S. efforts at missile defense, and limits the use of conventional warheads -- are as Fred Kaplan points out, basically nonsense. That hasn't stopped conservatives from engaging in a dishonest propaganda campaign against the treaty, hoping to deal the president a humiliating political defeat. ... ty_on.html

Elections have consequences. The 'Party of No'. And more to come, no doubt.