U.S. 2010 Mid-term Elections II (less rant, more sober summary)

Before delving into the details at the national level, it should be clearly noted that the capture of so many Governorships and so many state legislative seats by the Republicans will no doubt play a major role in the 2011 redrawing of Congressional districts. Politico explains:

“But, despite the importance of these elections, it is not the battle for seats in the House and Senate that will decide which party dominates this nation’s political process for the remainder of this decade and beyond. It is a series of district-by-district skirmishes that will determine control of key state legislative chambers throughout the states. …

If the GOP wins big at the state and legislative level, it can be more assured of retaking and keeping control of the U. S. House. These critical election contests in 2010 are “the hidden national elections of 2010 and beyond” and will determine GOP success in the 2012 elections following redistricting. Recognizing this fact, national GOP organizations are committing millions of dollars toward this effort to match massive Democrat resources

PROPOSITION 19 – California (source for information http://sanramon.patch.com/articles/election-watch-2010-a-proposition-breakdown-9)

Would allow people age 21 and older to grow, transport and possess marijuana for personal use. It also would permit local governments to regulate and tax its commercial production and sale.

Defeated.

PROPOSITION 23 – California

Also known as the Suspend AB 32, the Global Warming Act of 2006, it would halt provisions within AB 32 that place restrictions on greenhouse-gas emissions within the state.

“Environmental Groups Confront Oil Industry-Backed Attempt to Repeal California’s Landmark Emissions Law in Prop 23
We turn to Proposition 23, a ballot initiative that would effectively repeal California’s landmark global warming emissions law. Two Texas oil companies with refineries in California, the Valero and Tesoro corporations, launched a campaign to suspend implementation of the law until state unemployment falls to 5.5 percent for at least one year. We speak to the leaders of two environmental organizations opposed to Proposition 23: Michael Brune of Sierra Club and Rebecca Tarbotton of Rainforest Action Network.”

UPDATE: California Prop. 23 suffers ‘massive defeat’. For perspectives on this Prop. and the election results with regard to energy policy, see

California chose a Democratic former governor, once known as Moonbeam I believe, but that was decades ago, over a rich Republican, and reupped Barbara Boxer to continue as Senator, dismissing another rich Republican candidate.

One thing to look at here is the fact that money, in neither the Governor’s race nor the Senate contest, nor the Prop 23 vote was won over by one side spending enormous amounts of money. In fact, the use of so much money by identified actors may have contributed to the downfall of those who tried to affect the vote through the use of humongous amounts of money.

Now in Florida, the citizens chose Rick Scott for governor,who, according to Wikipedia:

“helped found the Columbia Hospital Corporation with two business partners; this merged with Hospital Corporation of America in 1989 to form Columbia/HCA and eventually became the largest private for-profit health care company in the U.S. He was forced to resign as Chief Executive of Columbia/HCA in 1997 amid a scandal over the company’s business and Medicare billing practices; the company ultimately admitted to fourteen felonies and agreed to pay the federal government over $600 million”

Way to go Florida, this will certainly take our country back. Elect known criminals who used your health care insurance to commit fraud on the Federal government. Another good reason to not pay taxes I guess, they just get stolen anyway.

And in Florida, Marco Rubio wins the Florida Senate seat. For a brief view of the rookie Senator, I quote the American Independent in full:

“Senator-elect Marco Rubio (R) will head to Israel Sunday, reports Israeli news site Ynetnews.

More from the site:

With victory in the congressional elections less than a day old, Florida Senator Marco Rubio (Rep.) who considers himself a ‘Tea Party’ member, is set to arrive in Israel on Sunday. Rubio’s visit so soon after the election win is a move that strengthens assessments that the congress in its current form will continue where it left off – at least where Israel is concerned.

Rubio gave a speech on Israel in June to the Republican Jewish Coalition “about the need for the United States to stand with Israel without equivocation or hesitation,” criticizing the Obama administration’s handling of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

He also called on the U.S. to move its embassy to Jerusalem and said that the U.S. should not push Israel to a settlement freeze before negotiations. Like America, he said that Israel was an “exceptional” nation.

Neoconservatives loved it. Jennifer Rubin of Commentary called it the best speech on Israel “since George W. Bush went to the Knesset.”

His belief that the U.S. should support Israel unequivocally puts him squarely with Republican Party’s foreign-policy thinking on Israel.”

So, the same backward political and economic support for Israel which underpins terrorism and chaos in the Middle East and underpins the construed need for two wars and the use of trillions of dollars (budget be damned, we gotta track down these terrorists and get ’em dead or alive, where’s W. when you need him?), will be aided by this fellow. Good way to send a message to Washington or whoever. You can count on us to destroy our own country by creating reasons to turn over large parts of our treasury to the weapons and offense industries.

Indiana Dan Coats wins Senate seat. James Carville, not exactly an objective observer in this case but he is on the mark,

“Dan Coats, the Republican nominee for Senate is a lobbyist for big corporate special interests like chemical companies, oil companies, and insurance companies. And get this: Coats’ lobbying and law firm counts among its clients the two corporations directly involved in the Gulf oil disaster: BP and Halliburton.”

Well done Hoosiers, choose a guy who has been selling his services to rich entities who expect him to influence the workings of democracy. Not too smart, maybe it would be best to go out and shoot some hoops.

Kentucky Rand Paul a libertarian Tea Party kind of guy beat the Democrat and promptly started in on the ‘take back the country’ spiel. He is replace Jim Bunning who was such a nut case that even his fellow Republicans wanted to get rid of him, so maybe not so horrible.

Wisconsin The Senate race here is a big deal. A slight recounting of Senator Feingold’s achievements from the NY Times:

“He was the sole senator to oppose the Patriot Act after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He also broke with President Obama on several occasions, opposing the expansion of the war in Afghanistan, the bailing out of financial institutions in 2008 and the regulation of Wall Street this year, saying the restrictions did not go far enough.

Most prominently, he battled his colleagues to overhaul the campaign finance system; the resulting law, passed in 2002, bore his name and that of Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican (who won re-election Tuesday). After being eroded for years, the McCain-Feingold Act was gutted this year by the Supreme Court, opening the way for millions of dollars from outside anonymous groups to gush into campaigns — at least $4 million in Wisconsin, virtually all of it against Mr. Feingold, 57, or for his opponent, Ron Johnson, 55, a wealthy Republican businessman.”

From a somewhat lengthy exchange, which I cite because of the insight into various aspects of the American political scene, on Democracy Now between Amy Goodman, John Nichols, Laura Flanders and Richard Kim:

“JOHN NICHOLS: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Yeah, it was a devastating result. And, you know, look, we can sum it up a lot of ways. First off, we ought to explain that we’ve lost the one senator who voted against the PATRIOT Act, the one senator who voted against every free trade deal.

AMY GOODMAN: The Democratic senator.

JOHN NICHOLS: No, no Republican voted against the PATRIOT Act in the Senate. But the one who voted against every free trade deal, because it was bad for workers and farmers, the one who voted against going to war in Iraq and then was the first to ask for a time line to get out of Iraq, the first to ask for a time line to get out of Afghanistan, and the one who said that Bush should be censured for warrantless wiretapping.

LAURA FLANDERS: And the one who opposed the bank bailout and voted against—

JOHN NICHOLS: And voted against Geithner.

LAURA FLANDERS:—confirmation of Tim Geithner.

JOHN NICHOLS: And the only Democrat who voted against the bank reform bill, because he said it didn’t really do what needed to be done. So we have lost a pretty remarkable player.

And you ask yourself, how can that happen? Well, the fundamental reality is, in Wisconsin—I’m going to sum it up—in the night of the last US Senate debate, when Russ Feingold and his millionaire opponent were debating for an hour, the news story in Wisconsin was not the debate. It was that the last auto plant in Wisconsin closed that day, the Kenosha Chrysler engine plant. And so, they had this video of a factory closing. Now, it happened that Russ Feingold spent his entire career trying to keep that factory open, but that factory was closing on Barack Obama’s watch, on the Democrats’ watch. And frankly, I think that it’s not just Feingold. You go right over into Illinois, you see Phil Hare, a former union leader and absolute stalwart defender of working-class people, who voted against the President on a number of issues, went down, got beat, because I think that the national narrative was, Obama gets elected, he’s supposed to stand up for workers and farmers, and he didn’t, so we’re going to switch. And it did happen in a lot of states.

LAURA FLANDERS: But the question then becomes, you know, what happens next? I mean—

JOHN NICHOLS: Yes.

LAURA FLANDERS:—in many ways—and somebody used a great phrase describing Glenn Beck, one of the sort of media motivators for the tea party movements—he’s the false prophet of profit, you know. And that’s absolutely true, I think. There’s certainly racist, as I say, wing nuts, whack jobs and whitey-whiteness in this movement, but there are also people who have been vulnerable to the message: Obama’s not looking after the regular guy; we’ll look after the regular guy. Again, without a media that will say, “That’s no regular guy”—you know, Ron Johnson is not a regular guy.

JOHN NICHOLS: He’s a millionaire.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about who Ron Johnson is.

LAURA FLANDERS: A millionaire with $100,000 of BP stock.

JOHN NICHOLS: Well, this is the fascinating thing about Ron Johnson. Ron Johnson had never been involved in politics. He said that he got—he decided to run for the US Senate from watching Fox. And you actually had Dick Morris on saying, “Wow, Russ Feingold is vulnerable. Somebody ought to run against him.” And Ron Johnson, watching the show, said, “Oh, I’ll do it.” His entire economic training, as best we can tell, came from reading Ayn Rand. I’m not kidding. He says that in debates. He thinks sunspots cause global warming. I mean, this is a guy who’s way out there. And you say, “Well, why doesn’t the media stop this?”

AMY GOODMAN: And his wealth comes from?

JOHN NICHOLS: He married a wealthy woman.

RICHARD KIM: Spent $4 million just in the primary. And then the—

JOHN NICHOLS: Well, no, you’ve got to understand, he gave—somehow, out of this very small packaging company, he gave himself first one $5 million loan, then another $5 million loan. But really, this is the important thing, because it ties together all the stuff we’re talking about. He did put $10 million in upfront. But Karl Rove and a lot of these other people have wanted to get rid of Russ Feingold for a long time, because he’s the face of campaign finance reform. So that outside money came in in huge amounts.

And here’s the most fascinating—kind of the capper of the whole thing. On Tuesday, a day early, the Wall Street Journal wrote a dance-on-the-grave editorial with a drawing of Russ Feingold, saying, “Wow, we’re finally going to get rid of Russ Feingold!” The enthusiasm of that editorial—I encourage people to go back and read it—the enthusiasm of that editorial summed up really what was going on. Johnson spent a lot of his money, but literally millions, perhaps tens of millions, of dollars in corporate money came in to get rid of Russ Feingold.

LAURA FLANDERS: And it wasn’t just Feingold. The editorial talked about the death of campaign finance. The effort to restrict campaign contributions by corporations is dead, they said. (Emphasis added by LSW) This is the end of that liberal experiment.”

Another significant loss was the defeat of Alan Grayson in Florida. Politico writes:

“Ousted Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, one of the most outspoken, liberal members of the House, said Thursday that Tuesday’s election was a “national disaster” and a repudiation of the Democrats’ “strategy of appeasement.”

In his first interview since losing his seat, Grayson upended conventional wisdom about his party’s 60-seat loss in the House, saying that if Democrats had been more progressive in their policies, Democratic voters would have gone to the polls.

“Our strategy for two years has been appeasement, and look where it got us,” Grayson said on MSNBC. “I think Democrats want to see a fighting leadership, they want to see a fighting president — somebody who actually accomplishes good things for constituents.” As examples of what Democrats should have focused on, Grayson listed the Employee Free Choice Act, immigration reform, civil rights and women’s rights.”

7 comments to U.S. 2010 Mid-term Elections II (less rant, more sober summary)

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