Monday, November 16, 2015

Obama Has Destroyed the Democratic Party

It was prostrate (or supine, take your pick) when he came along, but you can't argue with the numbers:

"Obama’s 2008 election helped usher in a political resurgence for Democrats, the president today presides over a shrinking party whose control of elected offices at the state and local levels has declined precipitously. In January, Republicans will occupy 32 of the nation’s governorships, 10 more than they did in 2009. Democratic losses in state legislatures under Obama rank among the worst in the last 115 years, with 816 Democratic lawmakers losing their jobs and Republican control of legislatures doubling since the president took office — more seats lost than under any president since Dwight D. Eisenhower. Republicans have more chambers today than they have ever had in the history of the party,” said Tim Storey, an analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “So they are in a dominant and historic position of strength in the states.” The Democratic losses reflect a political realignment that began before Obama’s election and has accelerated since he took office."

He had a fillibuster-proof eff-ing majority, what are you talking about???!!!!

"Democrats losing ground in state offices" by Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Michael D. Shear New York Times   November 13, 2015

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Young, telegenic, and media-savvy, state auditor Adam Edelen looked like a shoo-in for reelection when Democrats gathered in a horse barn here for a buffet dinner late last month. Most figured he would go on to challenge Senator Rand Paul, whose Republican presidential bid is faltering even as he seeks reelection.

Now a Paul-Edelen matchup is off the table. Kentucky Democrats, including Edelen, were trounced last week in an election that swept aside decades of their dominance over state government — and added Edelen to a growing list of Democrats across the country who have suffered painful defeats since President Obama was elected.

Rolled crap, 'eh?

“In terms of governors, legislators, and constitutional officers, the bench has been eviscerated during his tenure,” said Edelen, 40, who says it would be “too difficult” for him to beat Paul and plans to go back to the private sector. He called the loss of Democratic talent across the country “regrettable” and said, “It will have very long-term consequences.”

Better draft some different players then.

While Obama’s 2008 election helped usher in a political resurgence for Democrats, the president today presides over a shrinking party whose control of elected offices at the state and local levels has declined precipitously. In January, Republicans will occupy 32 of the nation’s governorships, 10 more than they did in 2009. Democratic losses in state legislatures under Obama rank among the worst in the last 115 years, with 816 Democratic lawmakers losing their jobs and Republican control of legislatures doubling since the president took office — more seats lost than under any president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

“Republicans have more chambers today than they have ever had in the history of the party,” said Tim Storey, an analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “So they are in a dominant and historic position of strength in the states.”

The Democratic losses reflect a political realignment that began before Obama’s election and has accelerated since he took office, in which the electorate is increasingly polarized, and the partisan divisions of presidential politics are felt at all levels. The result has been a resurgence of Republican political power in governor’s offices and state legislatures, giving them the ability to draw districts and create voting rules that will benefit their party for many years to come. It has also meant a hollowing out of the roster of potential Democratic candidates for major races, knocking out candidates like Edelen, who drew national attention after video footage of one of his speeches aired on MSNBC.

The absence of up-and-coming Democrats is evident in Washington, where the party leadership in Congress consists largely of aging veterans. The average age of the three top Democratic leaders in the House is 75, while the three most senior Republican leaders — with the new speaker of the House, Paul D. Ryan — average 48 years old.

There are a handful of young, ambitious members of the Democratic caucus, especially in the House, but it may be years before they are ready to play a bigger role on the national stage.

In the Democratic presidential race, Hillary Rodham Clinton is 68; Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont, is 74; and the biggest intrigue had been whether Vice President Joe Biden, who turns 73 next week, would join them. (Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, is the party’s youngest candidate at 52, though he is a major long shot.)

Obama is hardly the first president to become an election-year burden for some members of his own party. Republicans experienced big losses in 2006 and 2008, many of them attributed to the sagging popularity of President George W. Bush, the economic meltdown, and deep concerns about Bush’s conduct of the war in Iraq. 

Good Lord, he is reaching the end of his term and it is implicitly acknowledged that he is as unpopular at this time as the last scum who sat in that office was during the same period of his reign.

By some measures, Republican losses in Congress under Bush were larger than Democratic congressional losses under Obama.

Yeah, and "by some measures" I could be the King of the World. 

Some would also say the NYT fidgeting with the numbers is a selective distortion (not like they have ever done that before) -- "by some measures."

And Democrats say Obama has been successful in building a new Democratic coalition in presidential politics and in mobilizing minority voters.


And yet the party is bleeding losses everywhere.

But even some supporters say that Democrats face a major challenge in cultivating a new generation of politicians able to reach beyond the Democratic base and speak to white voters, especially white men, in states around the country. Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico from 2003 to 2011, said he was very worried by the absence of successful Democratic candidates positioned to move up, especially in the South, as well as in swing states like Ohio.




"Republican Party officials have grown increasingly worried that Trump is becoming their most visible spokesman and harming their chances of attracting women, Hispanics, and black voters."

Why should they be worrying about attracting them when Democrats are worried about the angry white man vote?

Also seeLatinos take center stage

That's true blue Massachusetts, but I'm so confused! 

What is with the SHIFTING NARRATIVES that suit a specific agenda at a given point in time? This is getting tiring. 

“We are losing the white male vote in droves, and we’ve got to appeal to the white male with stronger economic themes, inequality themes,” he said. “We have to find a way to do that, but what is key is recruiting more white male, and women, candidates. We can’t just become the minority advocate party.”

Sounds good, Bill.

At a $33,400-a-plate fund-raiser last week, Obama described a Democratic vision that he said had succeeded in overhauling health care, reviving a moribund economy, and making progress on climate change.

He's delusional, and what was Bill Rich-turd-$on $aying?

But he acknowledged the difficulty that Democrats sometimes have in winning over voters.

Must be the $33,400-a-plate fund-raiser!!

“All they know is, nothing works up there, a plague on both their houses,” Obama told more than 300 donors at a home in suburban Maryland. “And so then they stop voting. And they give up on the system. And when we don’t vote, oftentimes we lose.”

How condescending and annoying of him to blame his failed presidency on you voters who are expected to show up every two and four years and ratify them as the lesser of two evils amidst the carnage of corporate rule and endless broken promises. 


Here is the other thing: had Obama's policies been successful or had served those he had promised during election, they wouldn't have lost so many seats. 

Blame the gerrymandering -- a nice admission of rigged elections right there -- all you want, but the fact is if policies work people are for it. We have had a di$connect running on 40 years now between government policy and public will. It's a corporate government with two factions. The fun of it all is the who is up, who is down, musical chairs of rule, right?

Spoke to soon. Look who is coming to the rescue:

"Katherine Clark’s rise in D.C. has Democrats looking ahead" by Joshua Miller Globe Staff  November 09, 2015

CAMBRIDGE — Representative Katherine Clark was furious.

South By Southwest Interactive, the hip Texas tech festival, had canceled a women-led panel about harassment in the online gaming world after it had received threats of violence last month.

The Melrose Democrat, who has made fighting cyberabuse one of her top priorities, fired off a strongly worded letter to the festival’s director urging him to reconsider.

Three days later, amid broader outcry, the festival reversed course, announcing it was adding a daylong summit to examine online harassment.

And it invited Clark as a speaker.

The turnaround is seen as an example of Clark’s increasing clout in Washington, where, after less than two years, she’s quietly ascended the leadership ranks and become a go-to person for national Democrats to help recruit candidates across the country to run for Congress.

Democratic insiders, impressed by her grit and tenacity in Congress, have been buzzing about the 52-year-old lawyer’s future. In recent weeks party chatter, including informal conversations among long-time Democratic players, has even included talk about Clark as a potential candidate for governor in 2018, when Republican Charlie Baker is expected to run for reelection.

In an interview Friday, Clark categorically ruled out a run for governor in ’18. Nonetheless, people change their minds and it’s easy to see why she has quickly risen high in activists’ perpetual list of candidates.

(Among the others on the list: Mayor Setti D. Warren of Newton, state Senator Daniel A. Wolf; and two people with stronger political pedigrees, Attorney General Maura Healey, who has ruled out a 2018 gubernatorial bid, and Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston, who has not.)

Democratic elected officials in the state have been deeply skittish about publicly taking on the very popular incumbent governor, but Clark offered a light knock in the Globe last month about the largely white and male makeup of an economic development council appointed by Baker.

Democratic activists grumble that Baker has gotten something of a free pass — with essentially no vocal opposition from Democrats — in his first 10 months in office, so Clark’s quote did not go unnoticed.

Observers say it was not out of character.

“When it comes to taking on anybody, she never flinches,” said Democratic strategist Mary Anne Marsh. “Katherine has great instincts, but also has the political savvy and moxie to back it up.”

Clark has had a meteoric political rise — from state representative in 2008 to state senator in 2011 to US representative in 2013, when she took office after winning a special election to succeed Edward J. Markey, who had become senator. And Boston and Washington opinion-makers say she would have several strengths in a gubernatorial bid.

They say she has bipartisan accomplishments in Washington to point to, is a strong campaigner, and has a potent issue set — focused on those related to women and children. And while she represents only one-ninth of the state, she has a helpful geographic profile, as a representative for part of Middlesex County, the state’s largest by population.

Most important, they say, she has charisma and a liberal spark to generate enough enthusiasm to be a serious contender.

“She’s a candidate people could get excited about,” said strategist Scott Ferson, “not just, ‘Which sacrificial lamb should we throw against Charlie Baker?’ ”

Maybe Liz Warren should run for governor.

Then there’s money.

Clark is also seen as having the fund-raising infrastructure to be able to raise a good chunk of the dollars needed for a statewide run.

To be sure, challenges to an incumbent governors are often an uphill battle and she is running for reelection to Congress in 2016....

Yes, to be sure, as they concede the truth of something that conflicts with another point that one wishes to make.


You know, "by some measures" that could be considered political filler. 

Let the game$, 'er, race$ begin!

"Big spending expected for state legislative races in 2016" by David A. Lieb Associated Press  November 07, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — While the presidential campaign commands the public’s attention, political parties and financial contributors are quietly preparing for another less glitzy yet significant set of elections a year from now — battles to determine control of dozens of state legislative chambers.

National Republican and Democratic groups have set record-high fund-raising goals as they try to influence the outcome of 2016 state legislative races. Independent political committees appear likely to join the fray.

Yes, America, there is loads of loot floating around out there somewhere. You can $ee where the .01% are tossing the extra dough they don't know what to do with.

With Congress frequently paralyzed by partisanship, legislative elections are gaining attention because states are the ones pushing change. 

That narrative is getting old when aid to Israel is unopposed, war machine budgets sail through, corporate welfare in the form of tax breaks and subsidies is taken care of, and the lavish political lifestyles maintained.

In recent years, state legislatures have been addressing gun control, infrastructure, education standards, renewable energy, marijuana, and transgender rights.

The races also are critical to political parties because legislatures in most states are responsible for drawing the boundaries for congressional and state legislative districts. The party in charge can help ensure favorable districts — and thus potentially remain in power — for a decade to come.

Are they saying Democrats engage in gerrymandering, thus vote rigging? 

I mean, Republicans, yeah, but.... ?????

In the 2012 elections, for example, Democratic candidates for the US House received about 1.4 million more votes than their Republican opponents, yet the GOP won a 33-seat majority in that chamber, partly because GOP-dominated state legislatures drew political maps to favor their party.

Blame that all you want; however, had the president's policies actually worked that wouldn't have happened.

While the next round of redistricting in 2021 might seem far away, it often takes several elections for parties to build a majority or chip away at one.

That’s why some Democrats have described next year’s state legislative elections as vital if they are to begin reversing recent Republican gains. The GOP controls 69 of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers, its most ever.

That was covered above.

Nationally, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee hopes to raise $20 million for the 2016 state legislative races, which would set a record for the group. An additional $20 million is expected to be spent by an affiliated super PAC, Advantage 2020, which is focused on gaining Democratic state legislative majorities ahead of the next round of redistricting.

The rival Republican State Leadership Committee has its own record fund-raising goal of $40 million.

The Republican and Democratic groups each are targeting more than two dozen state legislative chambers, including 19 listed as priorities by both parties.

Republicans will be trying to flip Democratic-led House chambers in Colorado, Kentucky, and Washington as well as Senate chambers in Iowa, Minnesota, and New Mexico. Democrats will be trying to reverse Republican control of 13 chambers, including one-seat Senate margins in such states as Colorado, Nevada, and Washington.

In Illinois and Massachusetts, Republicans are hoping to cut into Democratic supermajorities that can override the vetoes of Republican governors.

I'm so unenthused about the upcoming elections. No on Pot.

The Democrats’ Advantage 2020 PAC is hoping to chip away at Republican legislative majorities in a half-dozen states won at least once by President Obama — Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

The parties’ national efforts will be supplemented by state political parties and like-minded groups.

Outside interest groups already were spending big in this fall’s legislative races in New Jersey and Virginia, a potential sign of things to come....



The master of bipartisanship

Ah, the good old days, but that was then, this is now.

"Joe Kennedy supports Kennedy Library leadership" by David Scharfenberg Globe Staff  November 14, 2015

US Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III is the only member of the family currently in Congress. But he brushed off suggestions that he is the keeper of the clan’s flame, saying he is just trying to make a contribution. And that’s difficult, he suggested, as “a sophomore member of the minority party of the second-least popular Congress of all time.”

Kennedy reiterated his long-standing concern about the American role in Syria. And he declined, when pressed by Globe reporter Joshua Miller, to fault Israel for the stalled Middle East peace process.

Globe tried to bait him!

Instead, he stuck to a general lament of the violence that has flared up in the region.

“Loss of life, whether that’s in Jerusalem, in Tel Aviv, in other communities around Israel or the West Bank is absolutely tragic,” he said, choking up as he recalled the memorial service for Richard Lakin, a retired Newton elementary school principal who was shot and stabbed in a Jerusalem terrorist attack.

What is interesting there is he not only sidesteps the AIPAC line with the general lament, he then puts Israelis first, second, third, and fourth, doesn't say the word Palestinian, and the current round of oppression has brought a 7-to-1 kill ratio. We no who the aggressors are; it's all in the numbers!

Kennedy weighed in on a couple of state issues, reiterating his support for Beacon Hill legislation that would protect transgender people from discrimination at malls, restaurants, and other public accommodations and declaring his opposition to marijuana legalization, a matter that is expected to go before voters next year.

Everybody bow down before the transgender.... wait, no. You would have to be stoned to do tha..... (blog editor exhales).

The representative parried questions about his political future, saying he was still learning his present job. “Folks, give me a break, right?,” he said. “Like, I just got here.”

They always do this! The pre$$, I mean!

Kennedy said he and his wife would also have plenty to handle with their first child, due around Christmas.

“She is doing wonderfully, thank you for asking,” he said of his wife, at one point during the interview. “I am freaking out.”

Me, too.



"While Trump may turn Latino and black voters away from the GOP, he may expand the party’s appeal to disenfranchised blue-collar voters, including independents and Democrats, said Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for George W. Bush who helped write the party’s growth plan after the 2012 campaign." 

He just won New Hampshire.