Archive for November, 2010

Boehner: Change the way Congress works

Much of the talk about what Republicans will do, now that they have a majority in the U.S. House, has focused on policy. Policy is important. But there is another element to what angered the public about their elected leaders over the past two years: How elected officials go about making policy.

If there’s any justice in the world, the line “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it” will be carved on Nancy Pelosi’s tombstone one day. That quotation came to symbolize everything the public disliked about the way Washington works. By that point, even some Americans who agreed with the basic premise of ObamaCare had become exasperated with — and therefore suspicious of — the way Democrats were ramming it through Congress.

So, it matters that the presumptive new speaker of the House, John Boehner, addressed the process of government in (what I believe to be) his first published op-ed since the election. It’s in today’s Wall Street Journal, and here is the relevant …

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Obama sparks largest electoral backlash since Watergate

We already knew the GOP’s net gain of 60-plus U.S. House seats was the largest pickup for either party since the 1940s. Now, National Journal is reporting that Republicans also eclipsed the Democrats’ modern record for most statehouse seats taken over:

Republicans picked up 680 seats in state legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures — the most in the modern era. To put that number in perspective: In the 1994 GOP wave, Republicans picked up 472 seats. The previous record was in the post-Watergate election of 1974, when Democrats picked up 628 seats.

The GOP gained majorities in at least 14 state house chambers. They now have unified control — meaning both chambers — of 26 state legislatures.

Such a thorough changing of the guard suggests the (soon-to-be former) majority party’s brand suffered monumental damage. President Obama wasn’t solely responsible for that — Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid gave it their best, too — but his comments at his press …

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A ‘regional’ GOP swamps the Democrats across heartland

The national maps of Tuesday’s election results have a pattern reminiscent of the Bush years: a huge swatch of red within a thin blue frame.

But there is one big difference. Back then, Democrats actually won beyond the coasts.

Two years ago, liberals told Republicans to move to the left or risk becoming a regional party for Southerners.

Today, that’s as laughable as President Obama’s promise to heal the planet and stop the ocean’s rise. Or that line about the stimulus keeping unemployment under 8 percent. Or the one where his health reform would prove popular. Or — well, you get the idea.

Speak no more of a “permanent majority” for either side, but it’s clear that the Republican tsunami of 2010 came ashore along the Great Lakes. That, along with changes due from redistricting, could mean the waves will keep crashing years from now.

The GOP did strengthen its grip across the South: Alabama’s statehouse is Republican for the first time since the 1870s. Democrats …

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National election: How big is big?

(Note: This thread is for discussing the national results. Discuss state results here.)

UPDATE at 2:20 a.m.: While Democrats will continue to control the Senate, as most people expected, it looks like Republicans will be right around 240 seats in the House — which would be a net increase of more than 60. It would be the first time since the House expanded to 435 members that the GOP won at least 60 new seats and became the majority party (in 1914 and 1938, they won more than 60 but remained a minority; in 1920 they won more than 60 after already holding a majority).

The Democrats have pulled off that winning combination twice: in 1932 and 1948, which was the last time we saw a swing of 60-plus seats in either party’s favor.

UPDATE at 8:55 p.m.: No sooner did I write that it’s too early to see any big moves in the House, than ABC called a very significant win in Virginia’s ninth district: Morgan Griffith over 14-term Democrat Rick Boucher. According to the prognostications of …

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Georgia election: To be (in a runoff), or not to be?

(Note: This thread is for discussing the state results. Discuss the national results here.)

UPDATE at 1 a.m.: By now, you’ve probably read elsewhere on AJC.com about the GOP sweep of the statewide races. In the Legislature, the Republicans were set to reach a new high of 108 seats, a net gain of three. They picked up seats in Southwest Georgia, in Middle Georgia — the Dublin seat that House Minority Leader DuBose Porter gave up to run for governor this year — and in Gwinnett and Cobb counties. One of the four was offset by Jill Chambers’ loss in DeKalb County.

The additions to the GOP caucus will probably help to strengthen David Ralston’s hold on the speaker’s gavel. Here’s what he told me about the results:

“We had to make some tough choices” in the last legislative session, Ralston said. “That’s what leadership is about, that’s what governing is about. … We focused on doing a few things and doing them right, as opposed to a large volume of laws. …

“I think the people of …

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PSA: Live election-night blogging right here

I’ll be live-blogging the election returns tonight, focusing mostly on state and national races, but keeping an eye on some local races of note, too. Please join me!

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Election Day: Upsets, and hoping not to end up upset

It’s Election Day. We’ve said and heard all there is to say and hear — at least until we know who won and who lost.

Well, just about everything. I’m asking each of you for two things:

1. an election result that you think will happen even though other people aren’t expecting it — an upset; and

2. an election result that must happen for you to be pleased with the day’s outcome — something to keep you from being upset.

I’ll start:

1. I would say that John Monds gets less of the vote than most opinion polls show — less than 4 percent — and Nathan Deal wins outright. But that isn’t going out on much of a limb. So, I’ll also say that Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina sweep in California. (Two — no, three — no, four — upsets for the price of one!)

2. This one’s pretty obvious: a Republican majority in the U.S. House. They’ll still have to prove themselves worthy of the voters’ decision. But for now, simply standing athwart history and yelling “Stop!” — not to mention taking the speaker’s …

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Why the suburbs are still central

Where did President Obama and the Democrats lose their way? In the suburbs, argues demographer Joel Kotkin:

Ideologues may set the tone for the national debate, but geography and demography determine elections.

In America, the dominant geography continues to be suburbia — home to at least 60 percent of the population and probably more than that portion of the electorate. Roughly 220 congressional districts, or more than half the nation’s 435, are predominately suburban, according to a 2005 Congressional Quarterly study. This is likely to only increase in the next decade, as Millennials begin en masse to enter their 30s and move to the periphery. [Note from Kyle: Keep this line about the Millennials -- Americans who are in their teens and 20s -- in mind for later.]

Now the earth is shaking under suburban topsoil — in ways that could be harmful to Democratic prospects. “The GOP path to success,” according to a recent Princeton Survey Research Associates study of suburban …

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