We’re about to close the book on another year. 2010 was hard fought as we were unsuccessful in beating back ObamaCare. Thankfully, court challenges to the constitutionality of the health care reform law could pose a threat. In just the last month Judge Roger Vinson struck down the law on the basis that the federal government could not use the Commerce Clause to force individuals to purchase health insurance. It also looks like Judge Henry Hudson is prepared to do the same in Florida. And with another annual budget deficit well over $1 trillion, spending remains out of control thanks to single-party control in the Executive and Legislative branches of government.
But we did have some victories for liberty as the Second Amendment finally incorporated to the states in McDonald v. Chicago, outdated “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was repealed and WikiLeaks released another round of documents that helped shine light on what the federal govermment is doing in our names.
“Last night was devastating, no question.” - MoveOn.org
The dust is still settling on last night’s returns. We’re going to hear a lot of analysis over the mid-terms and what it means for both the new majority for House Republicans, Democrats that survived in both chambers and President Barack Obama.
As it currently stands, Republicans gained over 60 seats in the House and six in the Senate. They also picked up at least nine governerships and 19 state legislatures. The states where the GOP made significant gains make up a chunk of the electoral college.
Keith Olbermann and others can deny it all they want, it was a historic night. Newt Gingrich, who was behind the Republican Revolution in 1994, is calling last night “a more decisive repudiation” than what President Bill Clinton faced. The Republican Party will enter the 112th Congress with their largest majority since 1928, during the Hoover Administration, and the largest pick-up for either party since 1948.
Dick Morris needs to shut up.
University of Virginia Center for Politics Director, Larry Sabato, issued some insightful tweets on October 2nd that have gone largely ignored by many Right Wing Pundits, including Dick Morris.
1:15 PM Oct 2nd: Some GOP leaders need a refresher course in basic campaign strategy. Predicting R House pickups of +60, +80, +100 is just plain dumb.
1:17 PM Oct 2nd: (1) It isn’t going to happen;(2) It induces overconfidence;(3) If Rs win a narrow majority or just fall short, big gains look like a loss.
1:18 PM Oct 2nd: You’d think after all this time, people would’ve caught onto the polling game & wouldn’t take polls so seriously. And you’d be wrong.
Meanwhile, Dick is still out there claiming that the GOP will pick up 60+ seats in the house and regain control of the Senate as well.
Prediction: The Republicans will win the Senate, capturing seats in Indiana, Arkansas, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Washington state, Illinois and Nevada. And they could prevail in New York, Connecticut, Delaware and California to boot.
The GOP will capture the House by a goodly margin, winning upward of 60-plus seats now held by Democrats. And it could go a lot higher!
To be clear, any combination that includes either a new Speaker of the House and or a New Senate Majority leader will be a victory for the GOP. But predicting a sixty seat pick up in the house is not only silly, it sets up the Democrats with tools they need to marginalize their defeat.
A couple of weeks ago, I told you that a prominent liberal advocacy group was telling supporters of ObamaCare to avoid talking about claims made by Democrats during the debate over the legislation in Congress earlier this year, such as the mythical claims of deficit reduction.
Now, another group, Health Care for America Now, is encouraging supporters of ObamaCare to avoid discussing ObamaCare entirely with voters:
The progressive coalition Health Care for America Now fought hard to pass health care reform. Now it’s fighting hard to help reelect lawmakers who voted for the bill — even if it means not talking about it.
While polls show that health reform has become slightly more popular since passage, it’s still a polarizing issue, particularly in districts where Republicans and conservative groups have bombarded voters with negative ads.
Now, HCAN’s field crews are finding that the best way to support reform-friendly lawmakers is to talk about something else: jobs, the economy or other issues likely to resonate more with voters.
“We want to be flexible in talking about what is most relevant to constituents, whatever issues are most motivational,” said HCAN’s national field director, Margarida Jorge, who organizes a daily call with their partner organizations. “We can have a high level of focus on health care but also understand at times the focus is going to shift.”
HCAN activists say they are not dodging their key issue; rather, they want to keep pace with voter concerns, which have markedly shifted over the past year.
Even before the scandals that have recently hit the Obama Administration, some were already worried that the Democratic Party was in decline. Just last week, Doug Sosnick, a Democratic strategist, told colleagues in a memo that the party is “in decline” and “at considerable risk” when President Barack Obama’s second and final term expires in January 2017.
Sosnick noted that, despite President Obama’s electoral success, “Democrats have lost nine governorships, 56 members of the House and two Senate seats” since he took office. The memo hit before the IRS and DOJ scandals became public knowledge, so there is no measure of the impact of those from the memo. However, there is growing concern from Democrats that the now-scandal plagued White House could cost them next year.
Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, explained the electoral implications of the scandals earlier this week:
The danger for Obama, of course, is that many Americans will start to doubt his administration’s veracity and values. If that happens — and for now it is only a danger, not an inevitability — then the president could well turn into a serious liability for Democrats in next year’s elections.
There are yet more concerns coming from Senate Democrats over ObamaCare and its implementation. Over the last few weeks, members of President Barack Obama’s party have expressed concerns about the law’s affect on insurance premiums and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) partly blamed ObamaCare for the increased costs to the insured.
According to Reuters, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is just the latest member to relay concerns about rising premiums as a result of the law he supported when it came up in the chamber back in 2010:
While Obama and his administration say they are working nonstop on reform, analysts believe a poor performance could make the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act a big enough campaign issue in 2014 to jeopardize Democratic control of the Senate - particularly if insurance costs rise sharply.
“There is reason to be very concerned about what’s going to happen with young people. If their (insurance) premiums shoot up, I can tell you, that is going to wash into the United States Senate in a hurry,” said Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat.
Some Democrats are frustrated about the lack of details surrounding administration plans to promote the exchanges.
Republicans had their sights set on the Senate seat in South Dakota in 2014, but they may have been handed some help. Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), who has served in the chamber since 1997, has announced his retirement:
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) will not seek reelection in 2014, The Hill has confirmed, putting another red-state seat up for grabs in the battle for control of the Senate.
Johnson, who is serving his third term, will announce the news on Tuesday at the University of South Dakota, his former school. Johnson will be the fifth Senate Democrat to retire this election cycle.
The decision gives Republicans another prime pickup opportunity as they work to win back control of the Senate.
Republicans need to gain six seats to flip control of the upper chamber in 2014. Mitt Romney carried South Dakota with 57 percent of the vote in the 2012 presidential election.
There was some criticism yesterday of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who will soon decide on a presidential bid in 2012, because video surfaced of him suggesting that Republicans let go of divisive wedge issues and instead focus on the issues that we agree. For some reason, some conservative bloggers are losing their minds over this. Take Leon Wolf at RedState, for example:
So, as Republicans were gearing up for their biggest electoral victories in 16 years by fighting Obama and the Democrats tooth and nail on every aspect of their agenda, Mitch Daniels was telling everyone that the way to victory was to forget what a wedge issue even was, and just be nice so that people will like us again.
That’s not what Daniels was saying. Republicans won in 2010 because of the economy, not on because of their traditional positions on wedge social issues; it was the economy and dissatifaction with the politics of a Congress that was then-controlled by Democrats.
when this video was recorded, Americans were not too happy with the Republican Party. So, he proposed having a nicer appeal to voters so that we can embrace the fact that we need to get things done because there are real issues facing the country.
It goes without saying that Democrats are having problems right now. The fact that 19 House Democrats opted to vote for someone other than their party’s nominee for Speaker speaks volumes. But to emphasize just how bad things are right now, let’s look at new polling numbers from Gallup showing the percentage of Americans that identify as Democrats at a 22 year low:
In 2010, 31% of Americans identified as Democrats, down five percentage points from just two years ago and tied for the lowest annual average Gallup has measured in the last 22 years. While Democrats still outnumber Republicans by two points, the percentage identifying as independents increased to 38%, on the high end of what Gallup has measured in the last two decades.
Gallup concludes that the drop in support is “notable,” but cautions Republicans against taking any real comfort in these numbers since support for the GOP only increased by a point over two years. Independents are still running strong. The best thing Republicans can do is continue to appeal to indpendent voters by keeping on the economy and spending.
The results of the mid-term election became a reality for Democrats yesterday as Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, and more than 90 new members were seated.
John Boehner (R-OH) defeated Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in the election for Speaker. In fact, 19 members of her own caucus voted for someone else (11 voted for Heath Shuler), voted present or did not vote at all; the most members of a caucus to vote against their party’s nominee since 1923.
The power exchange wasn’t limited to the Congress, as the transition also took place on Twitter. The Daily Caller notes:
Late Tuesday evening, hours before the Wednesday kick-off of the 112th Congress, Rep. Pelosi dutifully ceded the use of @SpeakerPelosi in exchange for @NancyPelosi. Meanwhile, @JohnBoehner remains to be actively used by the entering Speaker (he also used @GOPLeader, but that account has been handed over to Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor), while @SpeakerBoehner became the Ohio congressman’s active account Wednesday morning.