Thursday, February 07, 2008
Voters prefer Democrats 3-to-1
This is the most telling result
from Super Tuesday.
Democrats turned out more than twice as many voters as Republicans did. Just look at the vote totals recieved by each of the major candidates:
Clinton and Obama each recieved more than twice as many votes as McCain did and nearly as many votes each as all Republican votes cast period. Simply put, there is great enthusiasm for the Democratic candidates and much less enthusiasm for the Republican candidates. If this trend continues through November, it should be a blowout election regardless of who the Democratic nominee is.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
And then they blew it....
Good post over at The Agonist: The influence of conservatives has collapsed, and they have no candidate for president
The conservatives have lost their influence in the U.S., and that loss has been quick and dramatic. There is no better proof of this than having no viable conservative candidate for president.
I don't recall ever seeing an enfranchised political group so quickly blow their franchise. After 2000 and 9/11, I was fully ready to expect that liberals and Democrats could face decades of minority power, like the Republicans did during and after FDR. In 2000 conservatives secured the presidency and both houses of Congress. They re-elected their president by a better margin in 2004, and kept both houses of Congress in 2002 and 2004. They successfully nominated and approved new conservative members to the Supreme Court. They promoted and undertook a pre-emptive invasion of a country on the other side of the world, unsupported by NATO, the UN, or world opinion. They were looking unstoppable.
But the invasion of Iraq was no victory. And as the occupation of Iraq continued with no end in sight, thousands of Americans were killed, tens of thousands were critically injured, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed and displaced. The war is expensive in so many ways, and it drags at our economy, at our standing in the world, and at our image of ourselves as a friendly and accepting nation.
So now conservatives don't have a candidate. They really don't. John McCain's record on immigration, campaign finance reform, global warming, and Native American issues has never been conservative. And Mitt Romney's record in Massachusetts is moderate to liberal, no matter how hard he panders to conservatives. In Massachusetts Romney actually approved the first state-wide program for comprehensive healthcare coverage. He also made no attempt to roll back gay marriage in the only state where it's fully legal.
So the conservatives don't have a candidate, and are shut out from influencing who the Republicans nominate for president. They are shut out because they lost touch with what Americans need. They need safer and cheaper healthcare, and conservatives offer nothing. They need solutions to Peak Oil and global warming, and conservatives go into full denial. They need home loan regulation and banking reform, and conservatives turn a deaf ear. They need the Iraq war over and their children and spouses home from it, and conservatives want to keep fighting. They need less government expense, but conservatives have spent monstrous sums on two wars and hundreds of earmarks. They want reasonable and fair taxation, and conservatives gave the richest Americans a huge and unfair tax break.
Conservatives don't represent most Americans, and independent voters and many Republicans know this. Which is why only McCain and Romney are left standing as viable candidates for the Republicans. (Although after Feb 5, even Romney's viability has faded.)
Now Rush Limbaugh, along with conservatives like Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter, are screaming that McCain has abandoned conservatives. They have got the truth turned around, though. It's conservatives who abandoned America, by forgetting a vision and practice of America that is fair, kind, equable, open, and generous -- just like its founders wanted it.
Making sense of Super Tuesday
I don’t have a clue as to what happened last night or why. It makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. I’m completely confused.
Other than the obvious ones - Hillary wins New York and Arkansas; Obama wins Illinois and Kansas (where his mother’s side of the family is from) - I’m at a loss as to why any of the states voted the way they did.
Overall, it would seem that Obama did exceedingly well despite losing some of the big delegate states like California and New York. But, as Kos pointed out, he won enough of the other states to make California almost irrelevant. In fact, if Hillary had NOT won in California she would have been in trouble.
You could say that Obama won in states like Alabama and Georgia with large black populations, but he also won in lily white states like Utah, Alaska and North Dakota. One concern for Obama is that he seemed to have trouble in states with heavy Hispanic populations like California, Arizona and New Mexico (although it looks like he may have squeaked out a victory in the latter state).
I think Hillary has her work cut out for her. Although she is winning the delegate race so far, thanks mostly to the fickle super delegates, she is almost out of cash and facing an energized Obama campaign that has been striking a chord with a large segment of the population. I guess my biggest fear is that Hillary will ultimately prevail, bloodied and broke, only to face a Republican Party that is suddenly enegized at the prospect of facing off against their favorite punching bag.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Lame Duck Budget
It is hard to look at Bush’s lame duck budget and not be totally disgusted.
But I don’t think I could say it any better than the New York Times did this morning:
President Bush’s 2009 budget is a grim guided tour through his misplaced priorities, failed fiscal policies and the disastrous legacy that he will leave for the next president. And even that requires you to accept the White House’s optimistic accounting, which seven years of experience tells us would be foolish in the extreme. Just read the whole thing.
Bush's Legacy of Deficits
There has been so much that I’ve wanted to blog about lately, but I just haven’t had the time. It’s very frustrating.
Like the story in last Friday’s Wall Street Journal
titled “Bush Legacy of Deficits will Constrain His Successor”. I mean, that headline says it all, doesn’t it?
George W. Bush took office in 2001 with budget surpluses projected to stretch years into the future. But it's almost certain that when he returns to Texas next year, the president will leave behind a trail of deficits and debt that will sharply constrain his successor....
Mr. Bush failed to work out a deal with Congress to tackle the spiraling costs of government health and retirement programs. The next president, if he or she serves two terms, could find the U.S. government so deeply in hock that it would face losing its Triple-A credit rating, something that has never happened since Moody's Investors Service began grading U.S. securities in 1917.
As a result, the ambitions of Mr. Bush's successor to cut taxes, institute universal health care or aid troubled homeowners might have to give way to the reality of soaring costs for Social Security, the Medicare program for the elderly and the Medicaid program for the poor.
Mission accomplished!!! Woohoo!!!
This is precisely what the movement conservatives wanted with their “starve the beast” prescription for massive deficits combined with mega-tax cuts. Make it so that future presidents will be “constrained” and unable to push forward with new initiatives.
The president's critics say his failings are twofold: He has squandered surpluses that could have helped pay down the $5 trillion federal debt. And he has let two terms pass without persuading Congress to take action that would preserve the government's social programs. According to the Concord Coalition, a fiscal watchdog group, the shortfall in Social Security and Medicare through 2080 will total $72.3 trillion, a number that dwarfs the impact of Mr. Bush's spending and tax cuts.
I’d say his failings are more like twentyfold or a hundredfold. In fact, his “failings” are what define his entire presidency.
When Mr. Bush took the oath of office in 2001, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected $5.6 trillion in federal budget surpluses through 2011. Through most of his tenure, the president managed to have his guns, butter and tax cuts without creating enormous budget deficits, at least as measured by their share of GDP. One reason was a surprise increase in federal tax receipts from corporations over the last couple of years. Now those revenues have flattened out and the economy is teetering on the edge of recession.
Mr. Bush and Congress, meanwhile, increased federal spending by 25% between 2001 and 2007, adjusted for inflation, according to Brian Riedl of the conservative Heritage Foundation. By Sept. 30, the U.S. will have spent almost $800 billion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A new Medicare prescription-drug benefit for seniors costs almost $80 billion a year. Mr. Bush's signature tax cuts, in 2001 and 2003, sapped tax receipts and sliced the projected budget surplus by about $1.7 trillion through 2011, according to the CBO.
And then there was this story in the WSJ on Monday: Rising Cost of Iraq War May Reignite Public Debate
Boosted in part by rising fuel prices and the expense of repairing or replacing vehicles worn down by the long war, U.S. spending on Iraq hasdoubled in the past three years. Last year's buildup of U.S. troops -- known as the "surge" -- and the military's growing use of expensive heavy munitions to roust Iraqi insurgents also have contributed to the cost increase. According to a recent Congressional Research Service report, the average monthly cost of theconflict -- by CRS's measure -- hit $10.3 billion in the year ended Sept. 30, 2007, up from $4.4 billion in fiscal 2004.
$10.3 billion per month. PER MONTH!!!!! That’s more than $125 billion a year!!!!
And despite all that massive spending, the Republicans still claim that if we pull the troops out anytime before Hell freezes over it will constitute a defeat for the U.S.
We cannot win with this crowd. There is no objective definition of victory that they can point to. So we have these bizarre debates where the Republican candidates dither about who will leave the troops mired in Iraq the LONGEST!!!
Good luck winning the election with that campaign theme.