Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

GOP’s ‘war on women’ continues in Nebraska

State Sen. Deb Fischer came out of nowhere yesterday to become Nebraska Republicans’ nominee for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Ben Nelson. By my count, she’s the first woman to be nominated for Senate or governor by either major party this year — although several female incumbents will almost certainly be renominated when the time comes, such as Democrats Kristen Gillibrand of New York and Maria Cantwell of Washington, and several female challengers are strong possibilities to capture nominations, including Republicans Linda Lingle of Hawaii and Heather Wilson of New Mexico.

If we add each party’s nominations for Senate and governor from 2010, we get 11 Republican women and 14 Democratic women — 10 Republicans and eight Democrats if we don’t include incumbents. (These figures don’t include Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, who lost the 2010 GOP Senate primary but won the general election as a write-in Republican.) Which can only mean one thing if follow liberal logic:

In the …

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2012 Tuesday: Newt on work, and the scourge of super PACs

By the time we’ve reached the third state in the Republican primary process and are witnessing the umpteenth debate, expectations for hearing something novel at one of these forums are pretty low. A debate at this stage might be best compared to a NASCAR race — in which a sizable segment of the audience is watching in case there’s a wreck — or a heavyweight boxing match — in which many viewers are hoping to see one guy deliver a knockout blow to another.

Nevertheless, Monday night’s debate in Myrtle Beach was notable for two moments. One came when debate panelist Juan Williams asked Newt Gingrich if he could see that Gingrich’s past comments about work ethic and food stamps are “viewed, at a minimum, as insulting to all Americans, but particularly to black Americans,” and the former speaker responded with a flat “No” — and proceeded to rip apart the meme bit by bit:

The other one came after a verbal brawl among the candidates about the charges leveled by various candidates’ …

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Election roundup: SPLOSTs and Sunday sales pass all over; ‘personhood’ loses in Miss. (Updated)

A smorgasbord of election-related items:

  • The extension of the SPLOST in Atlanta makes one wonder if any of these special sales taxes will ever go away. Here was a city whose schools were wracked by a massive cheating scandal by adults (and while the superintendent and many other administrators may have changed, eight of the nine board members who didn’t cheat, but also didn’t catch it, remain in place). Its mayor didn’t exactly campaign against it, but he did voice his opinion that the levy should expire to make way next year for a 1 percent sales tax for transportation. Notwithstanding some yard signs here and there, pro-tax supporters were also largely invisible. Yet the measure passed, 64 percent to 36 percent. No wonder politicians like this method of letting citizens tax themselves: The politicians still get to spend the dough, while washing their hands of the responsibility for raising taxes. Prediction: At least one of the jurisdictions where the SPLOST was extended …

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An about-face by an opponent of voter ID laws

There is a constant refrain from the opponents of voter ID laws: that it is an attempt by white Republicans to suppress the votes of black Democrats. I’ve never understood why these opponents are allowed to get away with making what strikes me as a bigoted statement on its face: that African Americans are somehow less capable or motivated when it comes to obtaining a state-issued photo ID. But they do get away with it.

That’s why I thought it noteworthy that someone who admits to making such an argument in the past has turned the argument on its head and explained why election fraud is the real suppression measure — and testified that such fraud does happen.

Here’s Artur Davis, a former Democratic congressman from Alabama, writing in the Montgomery Advertiser:

The truth is that the most aggressive contemporary voter suppression in the African American community, at least in Alabama, is the wholesale manufacture of ballots, at the polls and absentee, in parts of the Black …

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No standards, and poor reasoning, in U.S. downgrade

I can’t remember the last time something as telegraphed beforehand as the Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the federal government’s credit rating was discussed as if it were so shocking to so many people. S&P said a couple of weeks ago that it wanted to see a package of $4 trillion in deficit reductions to go along with the debt deal, or else a downgrade was coming.

Ratings agencies don’t get to set budget policy in this country, and Congress decided to do something else. Congress doesn’t get to set credit ratings in this country, and S&P decided to make good on its threat. The company really wouldn’t have had a shred of its credibility — you might say the very last shred of its credibility — left if it hadn’t done so. In the end, I think that’s what this move was really about: The company unwisely placed a stake in the ground of the debt-ceiling talks, and then had no choice but to do what it had threatened to do.

Why do I think that’s what it was about? Because it certainly …

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2012 Tuesday: This week, it’s all about Obama

There’s not much percolating in the GOP presidential race right now besides the same old, same old: Texas Gov. Rick Perry all but saying he’s running, just not yet; Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty sniping at one another in what may turn out to be an elimination contest between them in Iowa; Herman Cain still trying to explain his various comments about Muslims as he fades from real contention.

If they’re smart, Republican candidates are letting this week in 2012 politics be about Barack Obama and the nation’s debt.

The president spent weeks insisting it was up to Congress to solve the debt-ceiling problem — which is technically true, although the reality that he has to sign any legislation Congress passes suggests it’s not crazy of the leaders on Capitol Hill to think they should have buy-in from the White House beforehand. Then Obama did get involved, repeatedly describing himself as the only responsible person in Washington and talking about the leaders of a co-equal …

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2012 Tuesday: The presidential politics of the debt ceiling fight

There will be some kind of resolution for the current debt-ceiling debate well before November 2012 — my gut tells me there will be an agreement in principle by this time next week, but that’s just a hunch — but however and whenever it ends, this debate will have a huge impact on next year’s election.

The debate, regardless of how it’s being portrayed, isn’t really about who’s responsible and who isn’t. Like almost every other policy debate since the 2009 stimulus, it’s about two competing visions for the federal government going forward. Liberals want to find a way to pay for bigger government. Conservatives want to find a way to make government smaller.

The debt ceiling has gotten caught in this because conservatives feel there are few chances remaining to make sure this remains a debate rather than a foregone conclusion — that conservatives do not merely become, in Steven Hayward’s excellent phrase, the actuaries of liberalism. Republicans, still outnumbered in the Senate …

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Almost half of Newt’s campaign debt came from chartered jets

I don’t know how I missed this item last week: Matt Lewis at the Daily Caller took a look at Newt Gingrich’s campaign filings and found where a big chunk of the sometime-Georgian’s $1 million campaign debt came from:

He blames his consultants who resigned en masse last month. But the Gingrich campaign’s FEC report shows that nearly half of the debt comes from charting private airplanes. More specifically, the campaign owes $451,946.00 to Moby Dick Airways LTD.

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond tells me Gingrich was unaware of the financial situation until the consultants left. Once problems became apparent, Gingrich made several changes — “part of which included replacing private travel with commercial.”

(H/t: Hot Air)

While the stories about Gingrich’s charge account at Tiffany’s and Mediterranean vacation would seem to corroborate the former speaker’s expensive tastes — and perhaps a sense of entitlement about how members of the political class are supposed to live — this …

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2012 Tuesday: The Ames Straw Poll and Michele Bachmann’s executive non-experience

We’ve had a couple of debates, but the 2012 campaign will be truly under way next month when the Iowa Republican Party holds its famed Ames Straw Poll. Like the Iowa caucuses themselves, the straw poll has only limited predictive value when it comes to the GOP nomination: George H.W. Bush won the inaugural straw poll before the 1980 election, when he didn’t wind up with the nomination, and finished just third before the 1988 contest, when he did. Bob Dole tied for first when he ran and won the nomination in 1996, but John McCain captured the 2008 nomination despite finishing a miserable tenth in the straw poll. The only person to win the straw poll and the presidency was George W. Bush in 2000.

So why does the straw poll (which takes place 15 months before a presidential election in which there’s no incumbent Republican president) get so much attention? For the same reason the Iowa caucuses do: It provides a focus for the campaign in its early stages, and it can give a …

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Poll Position: Who’d be best GOP sidekick in 2012?

For a presidential race that’s hardly begun, there’s already a lot of speculation about the No. 2 spot on the GOP ticket in 2012.

Michele Bachmann’s recent surge in the polls has experts speculating that, if she can’t win the nomination, she’s at least positioning herself to be the running mate for someone like Mitt Romney — who, if nominated, could use someone with solid conservative credentials to keep the Republican base fired up. Before Bachmann’s rise, the previous GOP-outsider flavor of the month, Herman Cain, was getting similar attention.

Romney’s own people, on the other hand, are already touting Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida as a potential VP candidate. But it wouldn’t surprise me if Rubio, who will be just 41 by November 2012 and is regarded as a future star in the party, wanted nothing to do with a national ticket this early — especially if someone else’s name is atop it. He has said as much, and I’m inclined to believe him.

Who should be the GOP’s vice …

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