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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

WAVES OF ANTI-INCUMBENCY

There were some upsets in last night's 2010 primary elections, to be sure. Voters on the left and right, and everywhere in-between, seem disgusted with the behavior and non-performance exhibited by their representatives and senators in Washington, D.C. Ultra-conservative Tea Party activists and candidates spout poorly-defined slogans about "taking our country back" (back to the 18th century?) and Republicans are foaming at the mouth as they hungrily contemplate retaking the House this fall (dream on, idiots). But voter anger cannot be dismissed, as it is a very real force, and last night, that anger manifested itself in a number of curious ways.

What CAN be dismissed are media and conservative Republican pundits' assertions that the Democrats are in big trouble and will be surrendering the House and/or Senate to the Republicans this fall.

In what was supposed to be a perfect Republican coup, Democrat Mark Critz soundly defeated his Republican opponent in a special election held in Pennsylvania's 12 th District (the deceased Jack Murtha's old seat). Republicans were licking their chops thinking they would pick up this swing-district seat, thereby "proving" that the nation is firmly opposed to President Obama's and the Democrats' spending policies and would send Obama and his party a big, loud message. Well, Republicans, that's what you get for thinkin', and for assuming the rest of the country thinks as narrowly as you do!


Progressive Pennsylvania Democrat Joe Sestak scored an important primary victory over his Republican-conveniently-turned-Democrat incumbent opponent in the Senate race for that state. More evidence that voters haven't abandoned Democratic or progressive causes.

Arlen Specter went down to defeat as voters expressed their distrust in him and their displeasure with his self-serving political maneuvering. How foolhardy can Specter be? Did he really think a guy who had strongly supported much of George W. Bush's agenda, and who had voted to confirm both Samuel Alito and John Roberts to the Supreme Court would be overwhelming accepted and embraced by Pennsylvia's Democratic Party? Obviously, he thought his new party was as slack on principles as was he!

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was thoroughly rebuked by his Kentucky Republican constituency last night. While trying to play kingpin in the state GOP, his efforts blew up in his face when his hand-picked candidate for Senate, Trey Grayson, was trounced by Tea Party independent Rand Paul. McConnell shouldn't be surprised, though. Voters are fed-up with obstruction and petty partisan politics, activities McConnell has heavily engaged in for many years. This also brings into question McConnell's legitimacy as the leader of his party in the Senate. We can only hope that we are seeing the beginning of the end of Mitch McConnell!


Arkansas conservative Democrat Blanche Lincoln, the "Senator from Wal Mart" and corporate shill for the health insurance insurance industry, was forced into a runoff election because she failed to attain at least 50% of the vote against her strong primary challenger Bill Halter. Sizable numbers of Arkansas voters have become fed up with her sellout to corporate America, especially in the area of health care reform. She may well retain her seat in the end, but growing numbers of people are beginning to agree with the more progressive Halter's line of thinking.


So much for John Boehner's hopes of becoming Sppeaker of the House next fall. There is absolutely no way voters will endorse his and his party's attempts at obstruction and non-governance, nor will voters easily forget that it was conservative Republicans who so badly mismanaged our economy so as to nearly bring about a new Great Depression two years ago!

Voters nationwide are justifiably angry with their Congress. It is full of corporate shills and self-serving egomaniacs whose main interest is in power and petty partisan politics rather than sound public policy. But we as a people must honestly recognize that we, as well as the unresponsive and irresponsible politicians we see in Washington, are to blame for the unrepresentative type of governance we are experiencing. We keep electing and then re-electing bozos like Boehner, McConnell, Specter, Lincoln, and Michele Bachmann. These people are not salt of the earth types, or average workers. By and large, as I proved in my piece on the makeup of Congress early last year, they come by and large from elite or monied backgrounds and are beholden to big monied interests. Not only that, but once they get into office, few outside of the media or the blogging community ever bother to keep tabs on them or monitor their performance. Almost nobody emails them, calls their office, writes them letters, or goes to meet with them face to face at public gatherings. So think about this, America: next time you are caught up in a huge wave of anti-incumbency, remember who it was who put these people in power and has allowed them to stay there and performed unchecked and unchallenged: it was YOU!

16 comments:

amadmike1 said...

The Democrats will do fine this November. If you listen, however, to the MSM, Rand Paul huge election triumph has assured massive wins for the ridiculous tea-party. That is ridiculous.

Jack Jodell said...

Madmike1,
I read you 100%. The MSM, as we all know, is full of baloney and feeds on sensationalism and spectacle. As for those ridiculous Tea Party idiots - being close cousins to conservative Republicans, we know that they lie and distort as well as ignore fact and history. They also misperceive and misinterpret reality, so nothing they say can be taken seriously. They are a sign of the times: a very uninformed and paranoid segment of the public trying to gain political office with an angry and poorly focused message. They have even less to offer the public in terms of practical public policy than do the Republicans.

TRUTH 101 said...

That is nuts. Ron Paul, and Rand, were around before this tea bagger nonsense.

This was a rebuke of incumbents and long tern assholes like McConnell and Specter.

Infidel753 said...

The Republicans won't be helped by their recent scrambling to protect oil companies, either -- not when the damage from the Gulf spill really hits home. I just with Obama had been more pro-active in cracking down on BP (on their refusal to allow scientists to get an accurate measure of the oil flow, for example).

Rand Paul benefited from teabagger support and his father's cult status among the libertarian right, but both of those factors are much less important in general elections than in Republican primaries. Turnout in Kentucky's Democratic primary was much higher than in the Republican one.

Critz is a good omen.

I'd be interested to know what you think of this viewpoint, however.

TomCat said...

Nicely done Jack. I agree so much that I might have written it myself. I'm coming to love Teabuggery. The GOP did not realize how difficult their astro-turfed brown shirts would be to control.

Max's Dad said...

Keep nominating more teabaggers. I have enough faith in people that they find these people like Rand "Mr Discrimination" Paul to be wingnuts. If not, well we're done as nation.

Jack Jodell said...

Truth 101,
I can't argue with you on that. Well said.

Jack Jodell said...

Infidel 753,
Thanks for that link. I think it made in spots a reasonable argument, but overall I disagree. There is unquestionably widespread disgust with Congress and with longtime members who are lining their pockets at public expense, siding with big money against the common good, and allowing Wall Street to go about its merry ways unchallenged. There are problems in education, the environment, our infrastructure, and with un and underemployment all across the country. That huge campaign war chests have protected and aided a number of incumbents in holding their seats despite rising public anger does not disprove the strong degree of anti-incumbency. 15 years ago you never heard people calling to throw all incumbents out, but today I hear that call rather frequently. Blanche Lincoln not cruising to victory, Arlen Specter getting bounced, and the victory of Rand Paul are all strong evidence of anti-incumbency. The rising numbers of independent voters is another. And the very existence of the malcontented teabaggers out en masse in public is another perfect example.

You're right, though---the Critz victory is indeed a good omen. It proves that, while there is strong anti-incumbency in the air, thre is NOT strong or widespread anti-progressive or anti-Democratic feelings across the board, as the mainstream media and the Republicans would like everyone to believe.

Jack Jodell said...

Good point, TomCat, and now the teabaggers are starting to swallow them whole. Just rewards!
---------------
Max's Dad,
I share your belief that these teabagger candidates will by and large become history come election time; that most voters will reject them; and that we will survive mainly because we are NOT a wingnut nation!

Beach Bum said...

Got to love that Rand Paul after his recent comments about segregation, hope he continues to mouth off, he could be the Democratic best weapon against the Teabaggers.

mud_rake said...

I was thinking this morning of what 'message' the GOP would offer to the voters this Fall. Possibility:

a.) We say NO to everything!

b.) We really don't want to govern so elect us!

c.) We liked America in 1950 and that's good enough for 2010!

d.) Corporations, Wall Street and Big Banks are Us!

e.) GOP = God's Own Party

Of course, these only seem to be outrageous to us but apparently there are a whole bunch of nincompoops who show up on election day as was evidenced by the reelection of GWB in 2004.

Jack Jodell said...

Beach Bum;
My sentiments exactly. The guy is a fool.
---------------
mud_rake,
I think you have summed up the GOP and its supporters perfectly with that comment.

Tim McGaha said...

I think the odds are good that the Democrats will keep control of Congress this November. They'll lose some seats in the House and possibly the Senate, but this almost always happens in a new President's first off-year election. I've been watching the Intrade prediction market for the upcoming mid-terms, and they're not especially indicative of a bloodbath. They're quoting 75% for Democratic control of the Senate, and 60% for Democratic control of the House. I'd feel pretty comfortable with those odds.

(What's got me scratching my head are the guys who put money down on neither party controlling the Senate ... I'm pretty sure that's impossible. Aside from being a spare, the sole excuse for the Vice-President's existence is to keep that from happening.)

TomCat said...

Amen, Jack. Son of Tinfoil Hat has replaced Michael Steele as the gift that keeps giving.

Jack Jodell said...

Tim,
I think you've made a very accurate assessment/prediction there. Increased GOP numbers will make them bolder and even more obstructionist though, I fear. But that could also make them more vulnerable in 2012. It should be interesting, the next 2 1/2 years...
---------------
TomCat,
Yeah---son of tinfoil hat is as wacky as Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. We used to call these types misguided fanatical eccentrics. Now we just call them Republicans.

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

I'm seeing the local MSM and adwork for a real tea party race in my state. One candidate is shoving the 'we can do what AZ did' with papers please... there is such a huge amount of latino and immigrant population here. Cubans are reacting and responding ... while the Tea Party folk back the Cuban Rubio and espouse this 'papers please' ... it's just nutz. Great piece Jack... always the teacher. :-)