Autumn brings the political warhorses out of the barn, with a sense the race is on. And nationally, it is. But rather than the electricity and anticipation that your correspondent, a truly old warhorse, has experienced, there’s a sourness and disappointment unlike any campaign season I can remember.
It’s not just Obama’s desperate poll numbers and a stagnant national economy. There’s rage and dopiness and incipient violence aplenty out there, and precious little in the way of thoughtful solutions. And it’s not just President Barack Obama’s fault. The Republican Party has been hijacked by a combination of the invincibly ignorant and unrelentingly mean. Obama may not have the right prescription, but neither does Herbert Hoover.
In spite of it all, and not because of anything he’s done, I think Obama will win. But it won’t be pretty. It won’t help bring the country out of its doldrums. And for people like myself who entered public service in order to improve everyone’s lot in life—and who enthusiastically thought Obama was the man to do it—we have precious little to get excited about.
I still think Obama is right for the country, right for the middle class and right for the values I stood for in public office. But he’s made real mistakes, and enabled a reactionary and angry opposition. The ups and downs of the next 14 months will illuminate what he did right, his limitations and the state of the nation. Here’s how I think events will unfold:
For Republicans, the next three months will be dominated by candidates slashing at each other as the truly weird ones disappear. Sarah Palin will run if Michele Bachmann self-destructs, and maybe even if she doesn’t. Mitt Romney and Rick Perry will be widely viewed as the front-runners, but there will be room for third or fourth candidacies. Every GOP candidate will embrace the same ideas—a hard, hard right-wing catechism. Their personalities will be all that distinguishes them.
Both Perry and Romney will make mistakes, but Perry will look better, more in control, fiercer. It will be close, but Perry will win enough delegates to go into the Republican Convention with either a slight majority or a heavy enough plurality to force the establishment to roll over. (Remember, disappointed Romney people are more likely to support the other guy than disappointed Perry people.) Perry picks Carly Fiorina as his running mate as a jobs-economy-gender gesture.
Back in the White House, Obama will finally abandon his supercool, I’m-the-grown-up persona and begin a focused attack on Republicans. He will define them as Tea Party right-wing crazies who do the bidding only of the rich. His intensely negative message will focus on Social Security and women’s issues, leaving behind “The Audacity of Hope” for “The Necessity of Fear.”
Obama’s legislative proposals will go nowhere, but his poll numbers will improve enough to keep any other Democrat—a Clinton, for instance—from emerging as a savior. Most of the discussion in the party will be about replacing Biden, which won’t happen.
Three weeks before the election, Obama will switch to a positive message just as the economy shows a small but measurable improvement. He will abandon any pretense of a national campaign and focus on 25 or so states that get him to 271 electoral votes. It comes down to Michigan, Ohio, Florida, New Mexico, Montana and Iowa. Obama stays alive because of Hispanic votes in California, Colorado and Arizona, where Republicans realize too late that their immigration politics have hurt them.
Election Day comes with Obama down three points in the national polls. He ends up with 48% of the popular vote, 273 electoral votes and no mandate to govern.
What will be the lesson? Obama focused on health care when the country wanted jobs. Republicans focused on Obama when the country wanted jobs. Both political establishments lost their connection to the electorate.
We have an electorate more deeply angry than in decades. We face a true decline in our national prospects. We have a political culture that is exhausted and out of touch with the way people live their lives.
Our mood and our politics are nasty, brutish and loud.
Richard Brodsky is a Senior Fellow at Demos, a NYC-based think tank, and at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Administration. He served in the state Assembly from 1983 to 2010 and chaired the corporations and environmental protection committees. He appears regularly as a contributing editor on WRNN-TV.
Who plays Boxer in “Call Me Senator”?
In a breaking development that may affect the close California Senate race, Pajamas Media has learned The Foundation for Ethics in Public Service sent a letter to Eric Holder last Thursday requesting the attorney general “begin an investigation to determine whether United States Senator Barbara Boxer violated any criminal laws or should be liable for any civil penalty for failure to disclose real property on her Personal Financial Disclosure Reports between 2002 and 2010.”
The Foundation for Ethics in Public Service is a 501c3 tax-exempt organization “that seeks to bring a new level of transparency, accountability and integrity to all levels of government in the United States.” Boxer is the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics.The specific property FEPS is referring to is an Oakland, California, home valued at over a million dollars and co-owned by Boxer, her husband Stewart, their son Douglas, and his wife Amy.
The letter to Holder reads in part: Despite the fact that Senator Boxer had an ownership in 854 Longridge Road [in Oakland], she failed to report this substantial real property asset on any of her personal financial disclosures between 2002 and 2010. She had also failed to report the mortgage on the property. Further, she failed to report the purchase of 854 Longridge Road in 2002. Each year Boxer was required to have filed a “full and complete report.” The filing of false or incomplete disclosure statements is in violation of the Ethics in Government Act.
The Act authorizes the Attorney General of the United States to seek civil penalties against Senators who knowingly and willy falsify or fail to report required information. The knowing and willful concealment of the existence of substantial amount of real property for a prolonged period may subject Senators to federal criminal prosecution under 18 U.S.C. paragraph 101. [other citations are available at the link]
Carly Fiorina is the Real Deal
Watching and listening to the frothing Barbara Boxer campaign duplicity is sufficient to gag any self respecting maggot. U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer has served a long time and performed poorly. Beyond her routine arrogance and abuse of power under the color of authority she has proven herself to be a mean spirited partisan hack content to vilify anyone and everyone who does not subscribe to the gospel according to……
by Geoff Metcalf
If You’re Not Reading This Article, Please Don’t Vote
It has become apparent that most Americans simply don’t take voting very seriously. This is especially true of those who encourage voting. They’ll tell us that walking into a polling place and pulling a lever is our civic duty, but this isn’t true. Our civic duty is to cultivate wisdom in ourselves and become conversant with the issues; the walking and pulling part is just a natural by-product of that. Yet so many try to pull others to…….
by Selwyn Duke
NAACP Report Says The Tea Parties Are Racist
The Associated Press reporter confronted me with the NAACP’s accusation that Tea Party Express is paying me, a black tea party patriot, to say the Tea Party Movement is not racist. In essence, the NAACP is calling me a characterless paid “mouth piece” traitor to my race. Fun how characterless people project their sins upon others. The modern day NAACP have abandoned the…..
Graham: Obama taking over ‘most of society’Sen. Lindsey Graham R-S.C. accused President Obama of “turning his agenda over to the most liberal people in the House,” and pointed out that few Democrats are campaigning on the Democratic health-care bill.
“Most Democrats in swing states are running against Nancy Pelosi and against the Obama takeover of most of society,” Graham said.The South Carolina Republican predicted that there will be more bipartisanship in 2011, particularly on extending the Bush-era tax cuts. He defended his friend, Sen. John McCain R-Ariz., who took the unusual step of harshly denouncing a Senate colleague — Sen. Barbara Boxer D-Calif. — at a recent campaign rally for Carly Fiorina. “I think John is reacting to an agenda that he thinks has really been overreaching,” Graham said.
“It is different. The Senate is different now.”Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and GOP strategist Liz Cheney got into a heated discussion about President Obama’s recent accusations that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is funding attack ads with money from overseas donors.
“It’s not fair and it’s an abomination and a shame that he’s attempting to chill first amendment rights,” Cheney said.
Full article here
Here is a great new ad by Carly Fiorina that hammers Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer for her “arrogance.” It opens with Boxer’s famous demand to be called “Senator” instead of “Maam,” in an exchange she had with U.S. Army Brigadier General Michael Walsh. Fiorina then appears and pledges to “end the arrogance in Washington” if elected to the U.S. Senate by California voters.