“Now if I were a gambling woman, I’d wager that most Americans today are not seething with unspoken rage at Thurgood Marshall. And I might wonder at the wisdom of blaming him for what ails this country in the summer of 2010.” Slate‘s Dahlia Lithwick reports in from Day 1 of the Kagan confirmation hearings, where the Senate GOP are now earnestly trying to rewrite the history books on Justice Marshall. (Apparently, Orrin Hatch is even hemming and hawing about whether he’d even confirm Marshall now. You stay classy, GOP.)
Since I was talking to old friends on Facebook yesterday and realized once again that few folks outside of DC have a good sense of what’s actually in the recently passed health care bill, here’s a handy interactive graphic that delivers the what-for for the first year. There’s also a handy embed code there for wider distribution (but sorry, the death panel protocols are still classified. You’ll learn them when they come for you.)
“It was a running joke that some of the new faces were 25- to 32-year-old males asking, ‘First name, last name?’” A front-page story in today’s NYT discloses that the NYPD spied on possible RNC protesters for over a year before the 2004 convention, including several unlikely candidates — such as Billionaires for Bush — for anything other than lawful political protest. “‘The police have no authority to spy on lawful political activity, and this wide-ranging N.Y.P.D. program was wrong and illegal,’ Mr. Dunn [of the ACLU] said. ‘In the coming weeks, the city will be required to disclose to us many more details about its preconvention surveillance of groups and activists, and many will be shocked by the breadth of the Police Department’s political surveillance operation.’”
“During the presidential election last year, Chandler told the congregation that anyone who planned to vote for the Democratic nominee, Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), should either leave the church or repent.” Chan Chandler, a N.C. Baptist minister puts pandering for Dubya above saving souls, a decision which would likely serve him in good stead among Rick Scarborough’s “Patriot Pastors,” a Christian Right group now mobilizing the zealots for the coming filibuster fight. Update: Chandler claims “a misunderstanding.”
“The Committee for the Study of the American Electorate reported yesterday that more than 122 million people voted in the November election, a number that translates into the highest turnout — 60.7 percent — since 1968.” The Dems didn’t do so hot that year, either, but then we had Tet, Chicago, and the murders of both RFK and MLK. How are we going to answer for 2004? Also, “[t]he report noted that although turnout reached new heights, more than 78 million Americans who were eligible to vote stayed home on Election Day. The group estimated that Bush won just 30.8 percent of the total eligible voters.“
In a positive sign for more Congressional feistiness this next term, Dems force a two-hour debate over voting irregularities in Ohio. (Unlike in 2001 — as featured in the opening of Fahrenheit 9/11 — the House Dems found a Senate backer this time in Barbara Boxer. For his part, Kerry took a pass.) The GOP may chalk it up to simple sour grapes, but Congress desperately needs to talk about these issues: The American voting infrastructure was an international embarrassment in 2000 — that we had four years to solve the problem and didn’t speaks even worse of our self-appointed role as exemplars of democracy. If we can handle millions of ATM transactions every day, complete with paper trail, then surely we can do the same for millions of votes one Tuesday in November.
Content to play the iconoclast again now that election 2004 is over, John McCain calls out the Bush administration on global warming. Too little, too late, Mr. Senator…given the water you carried for the Bushies this last cycle, your free-fall on the Murphometer at this point looks permanent.
From Boing Boing and the AP: “A computer error with a voting machine cartridge gave President Bush 3,893 extra votes in a Gahanna [Ohio] precinct. Franklin County’s unofficial results gave Bush 4,258 votes to Democratic challenger John Kerry’s 260 votes in Precinct 1B. Records show only 638 voters cast ballots in that precinct.” Hmmm…I for one don’t think it’s feasible that the entirety of Dubya’s winning popular vote margin is manufactured. (Right now, I’m more inclined to side with Jane Smiley and the Brits.) But factor in Greg Palast’s discussion of Ohio chads to the equation and, I’ll admit, one starts to wonder.
“I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it.” (For some reason, I’m reminded of Homer Simpsons’s cabin fever…”I have powers…political powers!“) To his credit, Dubya gives us fair warning in his press conference today about what to expect from the coming second term. Some choice Dubya quotes, via Value Judgment: “Now that I’ve got the will of the people at my back, I’m going to start enforcing the one-question rule. That was three questions.” or “Again, he violated the one-question rule right off the bat. Obviously you didn’t listen to the will of the people.” Also, by way of Looka: “I will reach out to every one who shares our goals.” The rest of us, it seems, might be in for some trouble.
So, according to a CNN poll today, 51% of the country are optimistic about the election results (surprise, surprise), and 57% of the country “expect Bush to unite the nation during his second term.” You think? Well, as Albert Einstein aptly noted, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
Sorry about all that, Mrs. Lincoln…do you wanna catch a game? The Knicks regular season has started tonight against KG, Spree, and the T-Wolves.
So, that’s that, then…the Idiot Wind blows anew. The American electorate has spoken and — despite all the shadiness and incompetence of the past four years — has given Dubya and his cronies the imprimatur to go hog-wild. 51-48%…this is pretty much a mandate, folks. (Big of those Red Staters to ensure that we will be woefully unprepared for the next terrorist attack on a Blue State.) Y’know, H.L. Mencken‘s whole Tyranny of the Booboisie schtick has always grated on my lefty sensibilities, but at this point I have to admit he may have been on to something.
Ugh. I’m too young to remember 1984 very well, but I’m curious as to how last night and this morning compared for America’s Left. (I’ve since been reminded by several people I trust that 1968 and 1972 were much more grievous blows.) Thing is, 2004 started out with such promise over here. But, right around the time I ended up on crutches in May, events personal and political took a nasty turn, and the past few months have been some of the most dismal I can remember. Now, it seems, I may just look back on this time as relatively calm and worry-free.
But, ok, enough wallowing…let’s start taking it frame-by-frame. Given the war, the economy, and Dubya’s obvious incompetence, how on Earth did we lose this election? Well, give credit where credit is due…all this exit-talk of “moral values” proves that Karl Rove pulled off his gambit: He got the extra 4 million evangelical votes he was targeting, partly, it seems, by judiciously invoking rampant anti-gay hysteria. Yet, for some reason or another — a lousy ground game, perhaps? — the Dems inexplicably didn’t counter with extra votes of our own.
Where do we go from here? The Dems are facing an ugly Rule of Four…We lost four seats in the Senate, at least four seats in the House, and likely four seats in the Supreme Court. Whatsmore, we now appear officially dead in the water in the South and Midwest. And, with Kerry and Daschle gone, our standard-bearers now appear to be Hillary Clinton (about whom the country has already made up its mind), John Edwards (whom I still admire, but he couldn’t carry his home state), and Barack Obama (who’s probably too inexperienced to make much headway in 2008.)
Obviously, it’s now well past time for the serious party overhaul we should’ve began last cycle, when Al Gore had an election stolen from him that he should have won hands down. Daschle & Gephardt are already in the dustbin of history, and Terry McAuliffe should probably follow them there. I for one don’t think Howard Dean was or is the answer, but he’s one of the only people injecting new blood and enthusiasm into the party right now, so he should have a seat at the table. Right now, I think Edwardsian populism is our strongest ideological card, but as I said, it didn’t seem to make much headway last night.
Silver lining? Yeah, right. Well, as this Washington Monthly forum noted in September, second terms are notoriously scandal-prone (Watergate, Iran-Contra, Monica), partly out of press boredom, and Dubya’s ilk seem particularly scandal-worthy…perhaps we’ll finally hear a little more about Halliburton. I’m sure there’ll be no shortage of horrifying policy decisions emanating from this administration that’ll keep lefty blogs like this one in business. And, on a purely selfish note, my likely dissertation topic on the fortunes of progressivism in the twenties is now seeming much more sexy in the wake of last night’s 1928-like cultural divide. Of course, none of these are really any consolation at all.
At any rate, I generally believe that America tends to get the president it deserves. So, God help us, we’ve brought this upon ourselves. And now, for we 48%, the hard work begins…we have to lick our wounds, get our act together, and figure out how we can best combat the rightward drift that’s afflicting our nation. Alas, I fear Dubya will do much of the heavy lifting for us, by running the nation further into the ground over the next four years. Still, we gotta keep on keeping on, y’all. I do not believe this darkness will endure.
Well, fuck. Here we go again. At 3:10am, Ohio is still up in the air, and may well be for days, as we wait for the provisional ballots to be counted. Right now, Dubya’s up by 140,000 votes with 99% reporting, which means Kerry has to run the table with those 175,000 provisionals to go over the top. Doable, sure, but we’re definitely running really low on ammo at this point.
I’ll save the real post-mortem for when the winner’s declared (and I’m less tired), but obviously both my earlier confidence and most of today’s exit polls were, um, somewhat off. So, more tomorrow. For now, I’m off to bed, where I’m going to try not to dwell on the future of the Supreme Court.
Update: 3:49am…Oof, there went Daschle. I think it’s safe to say at this point that our party is in disarray. Still, given that 51% of the electorate signed off on four more years of Dubya tonight, despite the arrogance and incompetence displayed by this White House since January 2001…well, perhaps we Dems are destined to remain a minority party for some time to come.
[Scroll down this post for exit poll updates.] The 2pm exit polls should be out now…I’ll post ‘em as soon as I find ‘em (or when Jack Shafer of Slate divulges them.) Right now, Drudge is leading with the following: “KERRY CAMPAIGN FINDS COMFORT IN FIRST BATCH OF EXIT POLLS. Election 2004 has been rocked with first wave of exit polls which show Kerry competitive in key states, campaign and media sources tell DRUDGE. National Election Pool — representing six major news organizations — shows Kerry in striking distance — with small lead — in Florida and Ohio.” Sounds like music to my ears, but what’s this talk of striking distance? Drudge makes it sound as if Kerry was expected to lose. Update: Ok, here they are, courtesy of dKos. Apparently, they ratio was skewed 59-41 women to men, for what it’s worth:
Arizona: Bush 55, Kerry 45
Colorado: Bush 51, Kerry 48
Florida: Kerry 51, Bush 48
Iowa: Tied at 49
Louisiana: Bush 57, Kerry 42
Michigan: Kerry 51, Bush 47
Minnesota: Kerry 58, Bush 40
New Hampshire: Kerry 57, Bush 41
New Mexico: Kerry 50, Bush 48
Ohio: Kerry 52, Bush 48
Pennsylvania: Kerry 60, Bush 40
Wisconsin: Kerry 52, Bush 43
So, as of right now, Kerry’s up in all three prongs of the trifecta (Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida), and doing well in Michigan, New Mexico, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire. Iowa’s tied, and Dubya’s got Arizona and Louisiana locked up with Colorado in play. Hey, it’s early yet, but so far, so good. Let’s get those 4pm numbers!
Update 2: More from Drudge on the Senate Races: “Senate races: Thune +4 Castor +3 Burr +6 Bunning +6 Coburn +6 Demint +4 Salazar +4…” Thune (SD, v. Daschle), Burr (NC, v. Bowles), Bunning (KY, v. Mongiardo), Coburn (OK, v. Carson ), and Demint (SC, v. Tenenbaum) are GOP. Castor (FL, v. Martinez) and Salazar (CO, v. Coors) are Dems.
Update 3: Slate‘s Shafer has somewhat different morning numbers. His (that differ) are below. New states in bold:
Colorado: Bush 56, Kerry 43
Florida: Kerry 50, Bush 49
Nevada: Bush 50, Kerry 48
North Carolina: Bush 51, Kerry 49
Ohio: Kerry 50, Bush 49
Pennsylvania: Kerry 54, Bush 45
Wisconsin: Kerry 51, Bush 46
So, I don’t know what’s going on over there in Edwards Country, but otherwise, these are better numbers for Bush…he’s pulling away in Colorado and closing the gap in the Trifecta and Wisconsin. Phew…and more numbers in 15-30 minutes…if I can find them!
Update 4: Some good news on Florida, via MyDD: Hispanics in Florida are voting 53-46 for Bush (The Cuban breakdown is 68-32). This is significantly better for Kerry than the 2000 numbers: 65-35 and 83-17 for Dubya respectively.
Update 5: A friend of mine in the program alerted me to Wonkette’s numbers, which are also slightly different…I don’t know if these are the 4pm numbers or not, so I’ll just go ahead and post them, new states in bold. Update 6: These are confirmed as the 4pm numbers:
Arkansas: Bush 54, Kerry 45
Colorado: Bush 50, Kerry 49
Florida: Kerry 52, Bush 48
Iowa: Kerry 50, Bush 48 (This was a tie earlier.)
Maine: Kerry 55, Bush 44
Michigan: Kerry 51, Bush 48
Minnesota: Kerry 57, Bush 42
Ohio: Kerry 52, Bush 47
New Hampshire Kerry 58, Bush 41
New Mexico: Tied at 49 (Kerry was up before)
Nevada: Bush 49, Kerry 48
North Carolina: Bush 53, Kerry 47
Pennsylvania: Kerry 58, Bush 42
Wisconsin: Kerry 53, Bush 47
Update 7: Late numbers via Wonkette:
Colorado: Bush 50, Kerry 48
Florida: Kerry 51, Bush 49
Iowa: Kerry 50 Bush 49
Michigan: Kerry 51 Bush 47
Minnesota: Kerry 54, Bush 44
Nevada: Tied (Bush up at 4pm)
New Hampshire: Kerry 53, Bush 45
New Jersey: Kerry 54, Bush 44
New Mexico Kerry 50, Bush 48
Ohio Kerry 51, Bush 49
Pennsylvania: Kerry 53, Bush 46
Wisconsin: Kerry 51, Bush 48
Update 8: Ok, one last batch from dKos, and then I’m off to the local grad student watering hole to watch the real numbers come in. All in all, it’s looking pretty good for Kerry — he’s still leading in the Trifecta, the Michigan-Wisconsin axis, and New Mexico. But let’s keep our fingers crossed that there isn’t a Diebold surprise in the works. Here they are — I’ll see y’all on the flip-side:
Arkansas: Bush 53, Kerry 47
Ok, I can now guarantee at least one vote for the Kerry-Edwards ticket in New York. (Of course, the guy in front of me picked Nader, so it’s neck-and-neck in the Empire State in the early going…)
Well, if nothing else, it should be a lively evening, and I for one am eagerly anticipating Dubya’s Rove-penned concession speech. So, until tomorrow, vote early, vote often, and vote Kerry-Edwards!
until the American people crawl out of the television set and kick this godawful administration to the curb. I know Dubya is up ever so slightly in the polls, but ties generally go to the challenger, and, at this point I still feel pretty confident that Kerry is going to win next Tuesday. (Then again, I’ve felt that way since the primaries ended, which probably has more to do with my inability to conceive of this nation actually choosing Dubya than anything else.) And, with Big Bill back in the game to help close the deal in swing states (something Gore should have considered more seriously in 2000), I think we’re good to go. Hope is on the way, y’all.
Just in case anybody needed it spelled out, Rehnquist’s recent health problems make it explicit: next week’s vote will in fact determine the Supreme Court. It’d be hard to find a judge more Right-Wing than the Chief here, but I’m sure a second Dubya administration would do its damnedest to find one nevertheless.
“‘There’s not a chance in the world, I don’t think, of the House turning over,’ political analyst Charles E. Cook Jr. said last week.” The Post examines Democratic prospects in the House and finds that “the combination of Republican firepower, Democratic miscues and a controversial Republican redistricting plan in Texas virtually assures the continuation of GOP rule.”
Biden, Holbrooke, Biden, Holbrooke…Richardson? The Washington Post starts handicapping Kerry’s possible Cabinet choices. “Kerry has told friends he wants to tap a Republican for one of the top national security posts, preferably defense or state. Those under consideration include Sens. Chuck Hagel (Neb.) and Richard G. Lugar (Ind.), as well as former senator Warren Rudman.” Somehow I think the GOP won’t return the favor should Dubya win.
A new study by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland finally figures out the crux of Dubya’s support: the misinformed. “75% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, and 63% believe that clear evidence of this support has been found. Sixty percent of Bush supporters assume that this is also the conclusion of most experts, and 55% assume, incorrectly, that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission.” And that’s just the beginning, folks.
In a Nickelodeon online poll, nearly 400,000 American children pick Kerry over Dubya 57%-43%. “Nickelodeon has held a “Kids’ Vote” every election year since 1988, and kids have correctly predicted the winner of the general elections for the last four U.S. presidential campaigns.”
So, how you like them apples? Against all odds, the Sox reverse the Curse and finally defeat the detestable Yanks 10-3. They shouldn’t throw up the “Mission Accomplished” banner prior to the Series, but still, this must bode well for Johnny Kerry…
The Sinclair Broadcast Group fires their Washington bureau chief, Jon Leiberman, after he makes his displeasure about their right-wing proselytizing known to the Baltimore Sun. Whatsmore, the wingnut network is playing hardball: “Sinclair would not waive his noncompete agreement, which means he cannot work for a broadcast outlet in any market that has a Sinclair station.” Hmmm…well, two (and more) can play at that game. Update: Sinclair buckles.
In “something of a surprise,” the Supreme Court authorizes a three-judge district court to review its earlier decision upholding Tom DeLay’s partisan gerrymandering of Texas. It’s too late for 2004, but perhaps this will bear fruit before 2006, as the Hammer’s other shady dealings come to light.
“We look back on the past four years with hearts nearly breaking, both for the lives unnecessarily lost and for the opportunities so casually wasted. Time and again, history invited George W. Bush to play a heroic role, and time and again he chose the wrong course. We believe that with John Kerry as president, the nation will do better.” The New York Times endorses John Kerry for President. Not much of a surprise, sure, but still worth reading.
“[Bruce] Bartlett, a 53-year-old columnist and self-described libertarian Republican who has lately been a champion for traditional Republicans concerned about Bush’s governance, went on to say: ‘This is why George W. Bush is so clear-eyed about Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill them all. They can’t be persuaded, that they’re extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands them, because he’s just like them…This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts…He truly believes he’s on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis.’” Ron Suskind, co-author of The Price of Loyalty, delves into the sadly myopic halls of Dubya’s faith-based presidency (and attempts to explain why our current Prez can’t distinguish between Sweden and Switzerland…no one in the White House ever openly challenges his ignorance.)
A NYT report finds mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo is much more widespread than earlier suggested by Rumsfeld and other administration officials. “One regular procedure…was making uncooperative prisoners strip to their underwear, having them sit in a chair while shackled hand and foot to a bolt in the floor, and forcing them to endure strobe lights and screamingly loud rock and rap music played through two close loudspeakers, while the air-conditioning was turned up to maximum levels…Such sessions could last up to 14 hours with breaks.”
Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Advisor and consigliere to Bush I, decries Dubya’s diplomacy in the Financial Times, calling Iraq a “failed venture” and questioning this administration’s penchant for unilateralism.
“CARLSON: You need to get a job at a journalism school, I think. STEWART: You need to go to one.” Sent to me by a friend in the program here, Jon Stewart and Tucker Carlson battle it out on Crossfire. (More here.) I wish I’d seen this live…the transcript is definitely worth a read. “CARLSON: You had John Kerry on your show and you sniff his throne and you’re accusing us of partisan hackery? STEWART: Absolutely…You’re on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls.” Update: See it here, via High Industrial.
Well, Dubya’s still up slightly in the polls right now, but Republican pollster Frank Luntz has nevertheless sounded the warning bells for the GOP. “Step by step, debate-by-debate, John Kerry has addressed and removed many remaining doubts among uncommitted voters. My own polling research after each debate suggests a rather bleak outlook for the Bush candidacy: many who still claim to be ‘undecided’ are in fact leaning to Mr. Kerry and are about ready to commit.“
“Less than a day after President Bush implied that Senator John Kerry lacked ‘fiscal sanity,’ the Bush administration said on Thursday that the federal government had hit the debt ceiling set by Congress [for the fourth time in three years] and would have to borrow from the civil service retirement system until after the elections.” As this article goes on to note, the Congressional GOP kicked the vote on this matter until after Election Day, so Dubya wouldn’t get any bad press. Under this president, the national debt has increased 40%, to $7.4 trillion.
“This is one of those Bush/Cheney invitation-only lovefests where the president could walk out in his boxer shorts and speak in pig Latin and the crowd would still chant ‘four more years.’” With the debates over, it’s shore-up-the-base time for Dubya (Hence, the return of the dreaded “L-Word”.) And, along those lines, evangelical leaders are working hard to get believers out for Bush. Update: Liberal Christians push back.
“The senator now says we’d have to pass some international truth standard.” Um, well, yes, we do. As Will Saletan points out, in the final three weeks of the campaign, Dubya is now explicitly running against reality. The reality is, it’s time for this faith-based administration to go.
Well, to no one’s surprise, I think John Kerry won again. But, while I’d like to say that the Senator knocked this final debate in Tempe, Arizona out of the park, frankly, he didn’t. In the early going, I thought he seemed tired and slightly discombobulated, and, at times when a concise rebuttal could have scored some serious points, Kerry’s answers often seemed more wordy and circuitous than necessary. On the other hand, I thought this was Dubya’s best performance – he was still smirking and guffawing too much, still distorting the facts, still running from his record, and still demonizing his opponent like the best of ‘em, but at least he seemed in full possession of his faculties this time around (perhaps the wire was working tonight.) I did think that Kerry warmed up in the middle third, but he lost focus again during the final questions (Native American blessings? Idears?) That being said, given the relative lack of drama tonight and the playoff baseball on FOX, I highly doubt this final debate will end up altering the current campaign dynamic much.
So there you have it, folks. Barring an October Surprise in the next three weeks, it now all comes down to the ground game, and — given what we’ve been hearing regarding voter registration, given the white-hot contempt towards Dubya held by Dems and the ambivalence with which fiscal conservatives and many veterans view this administration, and given the usual tendency of undecideds to break towards the challenger — turnout is a factor which John Kerry should win handily (barring Diebold shenanigans.) It ain’t over yet, to be sure, but right now I’d say that, despite tonight’s missed opportunities, John Kerry and John Edwards have put themselves in a solid position to win with their cumulative debate performance. The election is too close to call, definitely, but at this point I feel pretty confident our nation will make the right decision on Nov 2.
“Senator Charles E. Grassley needed every possible vote to pass his mammoth corporate tax bill. So he was more than willing to accept Zell Miller’s plea on behalf of imported ceiling fans…[This] provision is just one tiny example of how the need to solve a narrow tax problem in 2002 gave birth to the biggest free-for-all in corporate lobbying that Congress has experienced in nearly 20 years.” The NYT conducts a post-mortem of the pork-bloated corporate tax legislation passed by Congress on Monday.
So apparently the Sinclair Broadcast Group, a right-wing-flunky television conglomerate who previously refused to air a Nightline on fallen soldiers in Iraq, will show an anti-Kerry hatchet-job on its swing state affiliates in the next two weeks. Well, I must say, that’s quite an end-run around the equal time rule, if not a blatant misuse of the public airwaves. Perhaps the FCC can extricate themselves from their shock over Janet Jackson’s breast long enough to look into this.