Wednesday, November 09, 2005

How Do We Know the Republicans Are In Deep Trouble?

...when the biggest victory the party can claim from last night's election is the re-election of the mayor of New York City...who until 2001, was a LIBERAL DEMOCRAT!

Democrats Score Gains in Nassau and Suffolk

Published: November 9, 2005

Democrats scored major breakthroughs in local elections all across Long Island on Tuesday, extending their control of suburbs that for decades were almost exclusively Republican.

Except for Mayor, Democrats Come Out Ahead
Published: November 9, 2005

Republican candidates for City Council seats had hoped that the popularity of the Republican mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, would bring them votes in yesterday's election. But as it turned out, the mayor's coattails did not extend to local races.

Mr. Bloomberg endorsed and campaigned actively on behalf of Republican candidates in several Council districts. But they were all in areas where Democratic voters greatly outnumber Republicans, and where many returned to the Democratic column in the voting booth after voting for mayor.

Corzine Prevails in a Nasty Governor's Campaign in New Jersey

Published: November 9, 2005

Jon S. Corzine, a liberal Democrat who parlayed his wealth and experience as a Wall Street executive into victory for the United States Senate five years ago, won election yesterday as New Jersey's 52nd governor. He defeated a moderate Republican and fellow multimillionaire, Douglas R. Forrester, in a nasty campaign that was the costliest in the state's history.


The campaign became so noxious that many voters questioned by pollsters said that they would have preferred to vote for Mr. Codey, who was thrust into the governor's office after the resignation last year of Gov. James E. McGreevey.
(note: Forrester had his best shot at winning the govenor's race this year as McGreevey had been drummed out on ethics charges and two of Corzine's political affiliations, part-time fundraisers, were also under investigation for kickback schemes and other ethical violations. But....he's a Republican in 2005!)

However, the big news for Democrats was this:
Democrat Wins Race for Governor in Virginia

Published: November 9, 2005

RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 8 - Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat, won the race for governor on Tuesday night, scoring a major political victory for his mentor, Gov. Mark Warner, and sending a powerful message that President Bush's political standing has fallen in this reliably Republican state.(emphasis added)

With 99 percent of the ballots counted, Mr. Kaine had almost 52 percent of the vote, to 46 percent for his Republican opponent, Jerry W. Kilgore, a former state attorney general. An independent candidate, State Senator H. Russell Potts Jr., had 2 percent.

After a lengthy introduction by Mr. Warner, who called the outcome a triumph against negative campaigning, Mr. Kaine told a raucous crowd at a downtown hotel that the results proved that Mr. Warner's victory four years ago was not a fluke.

"We proved that people are more interested in fiscal responsibility than ideological bickering," Mr. Kaine said. "We proved that faith in God is a value for all and that we can all share regardless of our partisan labels. And we proved that Virginians want a governor who has a positive vision for moving this commonwealth forward."

Or maybe this:
California Voters Reject Schwarzenegger's Plan

Published: November 9, 2005

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 8 - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was dealt a stinging rebuke on Tuesday by voters who rejected the centerpiece of his efforts to change the balance of power in Sacramento, an initiative to cap state spending and grant sweeping new budget powers to the governor.

A plan Mr. Schwarzenegger supported to transfer the power to draw legislative districts from the Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats, to a panel of retired judges also appeared to be failing.

Voters were also deciding three other special election proposals backed by the governor, but after the costliest ballot campaign in state history it was clear that the once highly popular movie-star-turned-governor had been politically wounded.

And if you thought Bush could only kill off Republicans....
St. Paul: Coleman sweeps Kelly out of office

DFLers punish Mayor Randy Kelly for standing with President Bush, and usher in Chris Coleman in a 69 to 31 percent landslide.
Jackie Crosby, Star Tribune

In a race dominated by partisan payback, St. Paul voters swept former City Council Member Chris Coleman into office Tuesday with a 69 to 31 percent victory over Mayor Randy Kelly.

The 38-point margin of victory marked the worst defeat of any mayoral contender in two decades and ended a 16-year drought by DFL-endorsed candidates.

"For a kid who grew up in St. Paul, this is an unbelievable honor," said Coleman, who will be the city's 45th mayor. "I love this city, and I'm proud to lead it."

Kelly was gracious in defeat, even as voters punished him for endorsing President Bush in 2004. Until Tuesday, he had lost just one election during three decades in political office. "The people have spoken," he said, addressing supporters at his campaign headquarters in Bandana Square. "I say, 'Amen.' So be it."

Kelly is the first incumbent to lose since 1972.

OK, so what to make of this?

It's a demonstrably small signal of the wear and tear the Republican image has taken, to be sure, but it's a pretty solid one, where two reliable Republican strongholds, Virginia and Long Island, NY (yes, Long Island is a "red state") overwhelmingly turn to the Democrats in response to the ethical failures of the Bush administration and the Republicans in Congress. Clearly, Peter King, a fairly powerful Republican House member better be taking notes.

Only a year ago, Ahunld could quite likely have rammed his four proposals down the throats of the voters in his special election and won these handily.

But I sense a deeper vein is being mined here, in addition to voter disgust at the antics of the Bushies. I think Katrina coalesced for people nationwide that we are a deeply troubled nation: we pick fights and bully allies, we let our poor linger and suffer, and we allow incompetence and corruption settle in places where they can not only do no good, but do serious harm.

Look, we're not idiots. We saw this President thumb his nose at the tsunami victims for nearly a month, and then grudgingly accede to world demands (including Americans) of more action taken. We (collectively) figured, "well, we're fighting a war and there's so much devastation, and more important, it's not here!"

And then the first warnings of domestic devastation occured: the early hurricanes, tornadoes that ripped open entire cities in the midwest, and floods. And then first Katrina, and then Rita, and then Wilma, and we saw how woefully unprepared this nation was, even when we'd had enough warning, and despite the right wing bleatings of "It's Nagin's fault! It's Blanco's fault! It's the Democrats fault! It's the liberal's fault! It's the poor's fault!"

None of that took, and suddenly, people woke up.

The timing of the Libby indictments, so close on the heels of so much scandalous corruption, of Tom DeLay and Bill Frist, so much greed and incompetence, was sealing the deal.

I read yesteday that the Dems have shelved plans to announce their own form of a "Contract With America" until next year's election. I'm not sure I agree with this, wholly, but I understand why. The Republicans are going to desperately fling about for a life-line, and any proposal will likely be considered (if modified and made palatable to its base). Clinton did it to their Contract, co-opted it, and quite successfully. They won't forget that.

Me, I would probably start to give hints out, because if there was ever a time Americans would repudiate BOTH parties, it's right now. You may as well shore up your own support, take nothing for granted, and go after the disgruntled Republican voters.

It is time to talk about faith, and values. It's time to trot out Jimmy Carter, like on last week's Larry King:
CARTER:A lot of people teach morals and I believe that everybody has their own standard of morals. One of the things that does concern me about recent developments is it does (INAUDIBLE) an unprecedented increase and a commitment to fundamentalism in the religious right and also within the government and that has been coming along for the last 20, 25 years.

Another change though is that for the first time in the history of our country since Thomas Jefferson said build a wall between church and state there has been a deliberate and overt, not secret melding of religion and politics or the church and state, which I believe is not only contrary to what our founding fathers intended and what everyone else has agreed to the last 230 years but also in my opinion as a Christian it's different from what I've been taught to believe in my religion.


[T]here's a thin line between what I think all deeply religious people believe. Ordinarily most of us, whether we are Christians or Catholics or Protestants, whether we are Jews or whether we might be Muslims, we basically agree on justice, on service to others, on humility, on truthfulness, on peace, I worship the Prince of Peace, on forgiveness and on compassion. So, there are a lot of things that bind us together.

A fundamentalist though, as I define in this book, in extreme cases has come to the forefront in recent years both in Islam and in some areas of Christianity. A fundamentalist by, almost by definition as I describe is a very strong male religious leader, always a man, who believes that he is completely wedded to God, has a special privilege and relationship to God above others.

And, therefore, since he speaks basically in his opinion for God, anyone who disagrees with him at all is inherently and by definition wrong and therefore inferior. And one of the first things that a male fundamentalist wants to do is to subjugate women to make them subservient and to subjugate others that don't believe as he does.

The other thing they do, and this is the only other thing I'll add, is that they don't believe that it's right to negotiate or to compromise with people who disagree with them because any deviation from their absolute beliefs is a derogation of their own faith. So, those two things, exclusiveness, domination and being very highly biased are the elements of fundamentalism.


Oh, they have a lot of clout, yes, certainly in my part of the country and in the southwest. There's no doubt about this and that's something else that's happened just recently is a public and open melding of marriage of the right wing members of the religious establishment on the one hand and the right wing elements of the Republican Party. I personally would think this is wrong even if it was the right wing or the left wing of the Democratic Party.

But this is something that Thomas Jefferson espoused, as you know, when he said build a wall between church and state and I happen, as you know, I'm a Christian and I believe that Jesus Christ ordained this when he said "Render under Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's." So, this breaking down of the barriers between the two is just one of the elements in recent years that causes me concern.

It's time to change the dialogue in this nation, to wrest the national agenda back from the regressives and march a liberal, progressive agenda forward.

I wish I had that speech that Matt Santos gave on The West Wing Sunday, about what Liberals have meant to the nation. I've said almost the exact same thing until I was blue in the face, only to get nodded at and then torn into again for being a "Liberal".

I'm proud to be liberal. I'm proud to BE a Liberal. Liberals have given so much to the nation and have asked for little in return, and maybe that was the problem: we didn't wear our hearts on our sleeves about what we accomplished.

It's time to pick up the shields and swords and take this nation back from the Christian Soldiers.

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