Saturday, November 10, 2012

At last: The end of Romney and West in Florida

By Mustang Bobby

From The Miami Herald:

President Barack Obama was declared the winner of Florida's 29 electoral votes Saturday, ending a four-day count with a razor-thin margin that narrowly avoided an automatic recount that would have brought back memories of 2000.

No matter the outcome, Obama had already clinched re-election and now has 332 electoral votes to Romney's 206.

The Florida Secretary of State's Office said that with almost 100 percent of the vote counted, Obama led Republican challenger Mitt Romney 50 percent to 49.1 percent, a difference of about 74,000 votes.

Karl Rove is running down the hall demanding to see proof.

Speaking of not giving up...

Firebrand GOP Rep. Allen West, whose made-for-TV rhetoric made him a prized voice of extreme conservatives, has been ousted by political newcomer Patrick Murphy, according to the state's vote count Saturday, but the incumbent was not planning to concede.

In complete but unofficial numbers, Murphy held a 2,442-vote lead in the District 18 race. His 50.4 percent of the vote was above the threshold for a recount, but West's campaign said they would press forward.

"We're simply not going to just walk away from the race until we see that the numbers add up," West campaign manager Tim Edson said.

Thirty years from now, I expect we'll find Mr. West holed up on some island in the Keys, still refusing to give up.

(Cross-posted at Bark Bark Woof Woof.)

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Credit where credit is due in the fight for marriage equality

By Mustang Bobby

Dan Savage on why marriage equality won:

I know so many straight people in Seattle who worked unbelievably hard to approve R-74. They gave money, they volunteered their time, they reached out to friends and relatives and coworkers, all in an effort to make it possible for same-sex couples to marry. Gays and lesbians are a tiny percentage of the population. We couldn't do this on our own. A majority of the legislators who voted for same-sex marriage? Straight. The governor who signed the law making same-sex marriage legal in Washington state? Straight. The majority of the folks manning the phone banks for R-74? Straight. The overwhelming majority of people who voted to approve R-74? Straight. The president who took a huge political risk and came out for marriage equality before his reelection campaign? Straight. It has gotten better for us -- better, not perfect -- but it hasn't gotten better for us in a vacuum. It's gotten better for us because straight people have gotten better about us.

This is the heart of the matter, and although it's a bumper-sticker sentiment, it's true: gay rights are human rights. If we don't have them, then it harms everyone. Equality is not an Us vs. Them proposition, nor is it a zero-sum game. Me having the right to marry the one I love (as soon as I find him) or adopt a child in Florida, or get survivor and inheritance benefits from Social Security, or any of the other 1,100 things that are available to heterosexual couples only via that one little word -- "married" -- does not take something away from that nice straight couple next door with their kids.

Personally I have never doubted that there are straight people who support not just marriage equality but the quality of life that living without fear of discrimination brings to our society. Starting with my family and friends -- even the evangelical ones who hear their pastors rail against us on a weekly basis -- I have never doubted that they supported me as a person and shared my joys and sorrows when I was in a committed relationship. That was because they knew me and Allen and came to our house and invited us to theirs. Now it is becoming apparent that they and lots of other people are beginning to see it in the abstract; that marriage equality isn't just about your friends and neighbors but about removing the uncertainties from everyday life that marriage recognized in law and custom brings.

Stability and peace is all we seek, and it is heartening and, at the risk of sounding churlish, about damn time that it happened.

(Cross-posted at Bark Bark Woof Woof.)

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President Obama thanks his campaign: "I'm really proud of all of you."

By Michael J.W. Stickings

This is a wonderful clip, and it just makes me admire and respect the president all the more:

And in our own small way, we played a part here at The Reaction

Richard and I were on the Obama campaign's media outreach list, along with other liberal-progresive bloggers. This blog was on their radar. We got the e-mails. We got the messaging. We were on some of the media calls, including the other day with Axelrod, Plouffe, Messina, and Cutter. And we did our best to help.

We were part of the campaign -- Richard and I, as well as every member of the Reaction team. And I am immensely proud of that.

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American hero gives Andrea Mitchell the vapors

By Frank Moraes

You have to forgive her, I think. After all, she is married to Alan Greenspan. But Andrea Mitchell is getting the vapors over General David Petraeus. Rachel Maddow asked if she was sure that the affair was the real reason he resigned from the CIA. She was! David Petraeus?! Why he's an American hero! Anyway, a man like him? Young women must be throwing themselves at him all the time. But the man cannot tell a lie and he doesn't even chop down cherry trees.

And the la-hand of the Freeeeee!
And the hoooome, of thhhhhe, braaaave!

And the crowd goes wild! What a sad day for the United States. Another American hero brought down. And after those meanies at called him "David Betray Us"![1] This is unthinkable!

My take on it is a little different. First, I think MoveOn was correct: like any military man of that level, Patraeus was a political hack who was about as familiar with the truth as I am with moon exploration. Second, David Petraeus is a powerful and famous man. Of course he's gonna get a little young tail. Ms. Broadwell is a hottie. I think Petraeus is showing a lot of taste. She's not so young that the relationship is creepy, and she's a writer and that means she's smart. If Paula Broadwell needs a shoulder to cry on, I'm available. Just saying.

Most important, from a broader perspective, this whole thing doesn't make sense. I don't buy that Petraeus is such an honorable man that this caused him to step down. Instead, I figure he thinks that if he steps down, the controversy will be over next week. And he's probably right. This also sets him up to publish a tell-all memoir in the next two years that will get him a 7-figure advance.

Meanwhile, this little scandal will do nothing but improve Broadwell's reputation. I mean, she's the woman who bagged the American hero. I'm sure Andrea Mitchell is so jealous that... Oh my! She's got the vapors.


[1] Here it is. Click on it if you can't quite read it.

(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)

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Four-for-four on marriage equality

By Mustang Bobby

In case you missed it, the final vote count is in from Washington state, and marriage equality won:

Washington voters have narrowly approved same-sex marriage, completing a four-state sweep of victories on Election Day by marriage-equality advocates. Before Tuesday, gay marriage had never won a statewide vote anywhere in America.

On Thursday, opponents conceded.

"With additional results showing that we have not closed the gap, it now appears clear that Referendum 74 will be narrowly approved," Joseph Backholm, head of Preserve Marriage Washington, said in a statement. "We are disappointed in losing a tough election battle on marriage by a narrow margin. But while we are disappointed, we are not defeated."

Bolstered by getting two-thirds of the vote in populous King County, Ref. 74 held a 96,000 vote lead as of mid-afternoon Thursday. It was capturing 51.96 percent of the vote, to 48.04 percent opposed.

Zach Silk, campaign manager for the pro-R-74 group Washington United for Marriage, called Thursday a "historic day" for the state, nation and "for families across the state of have dreamed of this day."

So that makes it Maine, Maryland, and Washington that actually voted to approve marriage equality, while Minnesota defeated a measure to ban it from their state constitution.

The tide, as they say, is turning. Up to now, marriage equality has never won in a referendum; in fact, Maine voters rescinded the state law passed by the legislature in 2009, and the anti-equality folks never let us hear the end of it. Their line was that neither the state or the courts had the right to "impose" it on the people (no, I'm not going for the "shove it down our throats" metaphor), and if the voters had the choice, they would defeat it. Well, to quote Mona Lisa Vito, I guess that point is moot.

I am waiting to see if one of the losing factions goes to court to try to overturn the election, thus completing the cycle of surrealism.

(Cross-posted at Bark Bark Woof Woof.)

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Friday, November 09, 2012

Petraeus resigns over affair

By Libby Spencer

Few details but just now, CIA head David Petraeus resigned because of an extra-martial affair. All the smart people are saying he had to do it because, blackmail. Not sure how that works once the affair has been admitted. What leverage does the rejected lover have once it's made public?

Always being the outlier, I'm not a fan of his at all, but I find it hard to believe he would compromise national security for sex. Think it's more likely he had a fling with a younger woman, because that's what men so often do at that stage of marriage, and wants to spare his wife and family the media circus which would be relentless if he held on to the job. This way, since it appears he's leaving immediately, the media will lose interest in a couple of days once they tease out what few prurient details they can. 


Update by MJWS:

The woman in question, according to Slate's Fred Kaplan, is Paula Broadwell, the author of a recent hagiographic book about him, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus. Kaplan writes:

Sources tell me that President Obama, who has been getting along with Petraeus very well in the past couple years, agonized for 24 hours over the letter of resignation before accepting it. The move no doubt ends the career of the most famous, and perhaps most strategically astute, American military commander in decades...

It had long been rumored that something was going on between Petraeus and Broadwell. Her book, co-written with Vernon Loeb, is widely regarded as a valentine to the general. When she was embedded with him in Afghanistan, they went on frequent 5-mile runs together. But Petraeus went on 5-mile runs with many reporters, and few people who knew him took the rumors seriously. In his personal life, he’s always been seen as a straight shooter, a square. Few could have imagined that his end would come as the result of a morals scandal.

But that's how it often is, right? It's the ones who seem morally/religiously disinclined to do such things who end up self-destructing.

(And All In's quite the title, no? The jokes write themselves.)

Anyway, here's a photo making the rounds:

As Libby writes:

Looking at this photo, I suspect that may well turn out to be the story. I see an older guy giddy from the attention from a young, attractive, adoring fan girl.  

It's not impossible that there's some dark nefarious plot going on I guess, but lust makes people do crazy things. I'm inclined to go with Occam's razor on this one. I mean, who doesn't know of any otherwise happily married people who were thrust into close proximity for professional reasons and succumbed to sexual attraction? 

I'm generally not one to make too much of these things, which are mostly private matters (except when there's moral-political hypocrisy going on, as in the case of many Republican transgressions). But whatever you think of Petraeus, there's no denying it marks a stunning ending to a long and distinguished career.

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Ayn Bran

By Frank Moraes

Best line: "Like my books, every box of Ayn Bran is unnecessarily long." This comes via Digby:


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Karl Rove still wallowing in denial and delusion

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The earth is flat, the sun revolves around the earth, and Romney won Ohio.


GOP strategist Karl Rove went on Fox News [yesterday] to argue that President Barack Obama "succeeded by suppressing the vote" -- an argument that directly contradicts the conventional wisdom that Romney failed to appeal to non-white and female voters.

Rove argued that Obama won with a smaller popular vote and a smaller margin of victory than in the 2008 election against Sen. John McCain. Instead of expanding voters, Rove argued, Obama "suppressed the vote" by demonizing former Gov. Mitt Romney and encouraging people not to vote.

"President Obama has become the first president in history to win a second term with a smaller percentage of the vote than he did in the first term," Rove said.

That doesn't mean anything. There's a weak (if improving) economy, which depressed his support, and he won by so much in 2008, and won generally red states like Indiana and North Carolina, that he was bound to win re-election by a smaller margin. But it was still a clear and decisive victory.

As I've written, including in our election night live-blogging post, this is nothing but an attempt (or power play, as Ed Schultz called it) on the part of Republicans, and Rove the sore-loser blowhard in particular, to de-legitimize the president, to suggest that he shouldn't really be president, that he only won, if he really "won" at all, through nefarious means. They spent four years (and more) going after him on his birth certificate, etc., but since all that's been thoroughly debunked, they're going after him on other (equally spurious) grounds -- by alleging a Benghazi cover-up, alleging voter fraud, and now alleging vote suppression.

(Seriously, vote suppression? Obama tried to get people not to vote? Ridiculous. But, then, that sort of thing is straight out of the Rove playbook, and of course Republicans were trying to suppress the vote all across the country and particularly in key swing states like Ohio and Florida. I guess it's just easier to accuse your opponent of doing what you do yourself.)

Basically, their intention is to create a narrative for Obama's second term, one they'll try to hammer home again and again over the next four years. 

It's all bullshit, but it's just what we've come to expect from the likes of Karl Rove. And it's not about to stop.


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Republicans vs. reality

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Via Limbo, here's Rachel Maddow, at her finest, explaining just how detached from reality Republicans really are:

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How Fox News misinforms: 15 minutes with Sean Hannity

Guest post by Ted Leibowitz

Ed. note: Ted's good friends with our former associate editor and co-blogger Creature, and Ted often wrote for Creature's now-on-long-hiatus blog State of the Day. Ted also guest blogged here at The Reaction. Looking back, I found a post from December 2008 in which he was rather critical of then President-elect Obama for choosing Rick Warren, who supported California's anti-gay Prop 8, to give the inaugural invocation. (We love President Obama here, but it's not like we're completely supportive of everything he does.) Well, it's great to welcome Ted back to the fold with a post on the completely unfair and unbalanced coverage of the election by the delusional folks at Fox. -- MJWS

Ted is an award-winning internet radio music director / DJ focused on bringing the best new and interesting indie rock to his worldwide listenership via his 10-year old station BAGeL Radio. He has been featured on panels at music/tech conferences and writes about the exciting new business of music as well as the foot-dragging, entrenched, dinosaur-like old music industry. Ted mainly tends to share his political thoughts around election time as this time of year makes him an insomniac.


You lost, Sean. Oops.
I turned on the TV Wednesday night. It was tuned to Fox News. Sean Hannity was on. I watched, so you don't have to. For those of you who don't live in the U.S. and don't get the pleasure of tuning into Fox News, perhaps this sampling will help you understand how nearly 58 million Americans this week voted for a guy they didn't even like: they watch Fox News.

Below is what I gleaned from watching about 15-20 minutes of the show.

Sean Hannity is disgusted by President Obama for dirty campaigning.

SH: "One tragedy of this election is that Obama's dirty tactics have now been vindicated, and we're now going to see this [sic] kind of tactics replicated for many years to come. Thanks to Barack Obama, politics is now dirtier than it was, and it will get worse as others try to now perfect this "politics of personal destruction."

Apparently Mr. Hannity was not paying attention when George W. Bush (who is rarely mentioned anymore on Fox News for some reason) mercilessly took down one of his own, Senator John McCain, in the Republican primaries prior to the 2000 presidential election. Nor Dubya's second presidential campaign, during which Karl "Dubya's Brain" Rove invented the Swift Boat campaign smear against his opponent John Kerry, a recipient of the Purple Heart medal.

"If I'm [one of the people who ran Obama's campaign], today, I'm embarrassed," Hannity said, "because they knew no boundaries when it came to lying, and demonizing, slandering, smearing, besmirching, attacking a nice guy."

Hannity referred to the Obama campaign as "dirty and ugly and mean."

Even if this were true, it would be very "pot calling the kettle black" of someone at Fox News to disparage a campaign over such deeds. Fox News has on its payroll the unchallenged modern grand master of campaign dirty tricks, Karl Rove. Karl Rove learned dirty politics in the Nixon administration and went on to run many a smear campaign on behalf of George W. Bush with highlights including hinting that Texas Governor Ann Richards (1994) was a lesbian and suggesting that Senator John McCain (2000) was psychologically unstable due to his time as a POW (and also that McCain's wife was on drugs and that McCain had fathered an African-American love child). And who can forget the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame (2003) and the aforementioned Swift Boaters (2004).

The same Karl Rove who wouldn't concede Obama's victory on election night even after CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, and his own Fox News had already called it. Perhaps he thought if he kept barking he could pull James Baker out of a hat, like in 2000. But enough about Rove.

Next, Hannity had Ann Coulter on the show.

Coulter: "Recent immigrants are more likely to be on government assistance. The Democrats lure them in, get them on government assistance... recent immigrants are for more likely to be on government assistance than native-born Americans..." (I doubt she gets the irony of her poor word choice with "native... American")... get them on welfare, and they vote Democratic."

She continued, "Teddy Kennedy's 1965 immigration act was specifically designed to change the demographics of this nation."

Suddenly, 47 years after the fact, Ann Coulter woke up and realized that the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act was a liberal conspiracy to change the demographics of the U.S. by luring immigrants to our shores in order to get them addicted to government assistance so that they would some day vote Democratic.

Mr. Kennedy, if Ms. Coulter is right, you were an even more incredibly forward-thinking political genius than anyone knew.

Coulter then said, "I think Mitt Romney would have won if he'd had the same demographics that Ronald Reagan had."

Yes, Ann, in an alternate reality, Mitt Romney could have won the Presidency of the United States this week. Unfortunately for Mitt, and you, and Sean, and Karl, and Fox News, we live in this reality.

Coulter went on to refer, in passing, to Bush's wars as "wars that help America." Off-handed remarks like that get bandied about without explanation all the time on Fox News, implanting unsubstantiated falsehoods in viewers' minds.

Then there was this exchange:

AC: "Simpson-Bowles [a commission set up by President Obama to address growing U.S. debt] would be better than anything Obama could come up with."

SH: "Tax reform is a sneaky way of basically raising taxes..."

AC: "...raising taxes, which produces less revenue to the government."

Wait a second... raising taxes is a way to produce less revenue for the government?!?! What?!?!

Then a favorite Fox News straw man came up: the Liberal Media, which is apparently a monolithic entity that works in concert against the interests of conservatives and America.

SH: "The Liberal Media put all it's resources behind re-electing Barack Obama."

He then had Bob Woodward of The Washington Post on to talk about how the Liberal Media worked to get Obama re-elected. Problem was, Woodward brought up three examples of how the "mainstream media" (which Fox always refers to as the Liberal Media) hammered Obama in recent months.

Hannity's response was (paraphrasing), "Well, you may have some [valid] points, but I don't think the Liberal Media covered the scandals* to my satisfaction." Before I get to just what those "scandals" were, here is what Hannity actually meant:

"Well, you may have some [valid] points, but I'm not going to let the facts which you just stated, Bob Woodward, and which I, Sean Hannity, just acknowledged the validity of, get in the way of me reiterating the false narrative we here at Fox News have created and are ramming down our viewers throats."

After that I could take no more.

*The "scandals" were "The Beghazi Cover Up" (a non-story that Media Matters thoroughly debunked); "The Fast & Furious" (which has been debunked by such liberal rags as Fortune and the NY Daily News); and something about high unemployment numbers, which Woodward had just stated had been pretty well covered by that demon, the Liberal Media.

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Rolling in the schadenfreude

By Mustang Bobby and Michael J.W. Stickings 


Josh Marshall at TPM has a handy guide of all those folks who got their long-due comeuppance  and those who won against the efforts of the Orcosphere in the election. From Karl Rove to Donald Trump and gay rights to bong hits, there's plenty of schadenfreude to share with your coffee.

For me, the best was the flaming explosion of Karl Rove's head on live TV when Fox News announced that Obama had won the election:

In an epic on-air tantrum, he refused to acknowledge Obama had won, sending anchor Megyn Kelly walking off-set to ask the network's vote analysts to explain for him why tipping point Ohio was lost to Romney. Democrats will be replaying this clip for years to cheer them up in their darker moments.

Now he has to explain to the billionaires why their unprecedented spending earned them — nothing. For all the money spent, there's still a Democratic president and, almost as unbelievably, a net gain in the Senate.

Heh. The best part is that if you enjoy this sort of thing, none of these people are going to go away. It is completely against their nature to retreat quietly once they've had their ass handed to them because they never, ever learn. So count on them being around for a long time.

Bonus: Go watch Jon Stewart assess the election. (Go here if you're in Canada.)


I agree with MB. It was awesome television and so thoroughly enjoyable watching the Fox News propagandists wallowing in their misery and denial. Here's what I wrote at the time:

11:53 pm - Karl Rove, a Fox News contributor and also one of Romney's biggest bankrollers (in terms of outside Super PAC support) is telling his network to rescind the call on Ohio.

Crazy, eh? This is what conservatism has become. This is the face of the Republican Party.

Extremism, denialism, obstructionism -- and as Rachel [Maddow] is pointing out, this is just like the Republican opposition to basic facts, to math. They are completely blinded by ideology and partisanship.

They are anti-democratic, anti-American, and anti-Enlightenment, and what they want to take us back to is the darkness of the Middle Ages.

12:08 am - I agree with Ed Schultz to a point that this refusal to concede is a power play by the Republicans.

This is not to say the Romney campaign isn't in denial. At the end of a long campaign that you thought you could win, it's hard to let it go, to give up, to admit defeat. And of course the various wackos on Fox News are in denial, too. They just can't accept that Obama has won, not the Kenyan-Indonesian socialist they think is the worst thing ever to happen to America. But part of what's going on here, and it's been going on for a while now, is a concerted campaign of de-legitimization (or illegitimization) of the president. By talking up voter fraud (against all the evidence that it's not a significant problem) and suggesting that Obama and the Dems somehow stole the election, they're hoping to create a narrative for Obama's second term, one they'll try to hammer home again and again over the next four years.

And before you tell me that Dems did the same thing to Bush after the 2000 election, let me just say that that was completely different. In that case, the Republican-leaning Supreme Court stepped in and stopped a recount in Florida and might have found Gore to have been the winner of the election. It wasn't about Gore winning the popular vote nationally, it was about the Court handing the election to Bush. And even then, Democrats stopped challenging Bush pretty quickly. Yes, 9/11 happened, and the country rallied behind Bush for a time, but even before then voices saying Bush was and illegitimate president were isolated on the left-wing fringe and not accepted within the Democratic mainstream.

The campaign against Obama that we've witnessed the last four years and that will continue over the next four is very much a central part of the Republican Party and everything it stands for. And what we're witnessing tonight from the likes of Karl Rove is both more of the same and a call to arms for Republicans in Obama's second term.

Yes, it's that ugly. Yes, the Republican Party is that vicious and malevolent.

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Nobody Asked Me, But...

By Carl

(Note to The Reaction readers: Nobody Asked Me, a weekly feature at my own blog, Simply Left Behind, where I discuss news stories that you might have missed during the week. Sometimes, I'll suspend the usual format for a rant or an in-depth observation. This is one such time.)

I wish to make the following announcement:
At 11:15 PM, EST on November 6, 2012, the United States experienced Peak Wingnut.
Now, many scholars will disagree with that assessment, and to be honest, after I crunched the numbers, I came up with a precision factor of about 87%. We haven't had an assassination of a Federal official since Gabby Giffords was crippled. However, after extrapolating a method based on Nate Silver's polling analyses, I believe with some large measure of confidence that the Wingnut movement is now on a downslope.
My evidence --
1) The animosity displayed towards Governor Chris Christie for trying to work with the President at a time of major crisis. If we look back to 2005 and Katrina, Gov. Piyush Jindal accepted the same amount of assistance (give or take) for an even needier and more Democratic district, but was not given any of the grief that Christie has received, which has extended beyond just saying something nice about a guy who gives a damn about his citizens in distress.
2) Richard Mourdock, Todd Akin -- both of whom ran for Senate in states that Romney carried, which is a really telling sign -- Congressmen Allen West and Joe Walsh, all Teabaggers, lost their races for office. Michele Bachmann, the head of the Teabagger caucus (head Teabagger?) barely held on to her seat (Minnesota...WTF?!?!?!?!).
3) Legislation loosening the criminalization of marijuana passed in Colorado, Washington, and Massachussetts. Same-sex marriage won in every single state it was on the ballot in (2).
4) The bubble that Republicans, particularly conservatives, have been living in ever since the mid-90s and the Contract On America popped. When Karl Rove can be challenged, on-air, by FOX News' Megyn Kelly? Ballgame over.
5) Florida will gradually become a blue state as Orange County turns from a bright red to a light blue, and then deeper. The Panhandle, that area that's basically South Alabama, will of course, never turn anywhere near blue but fuck 'em. The penis from Orlando on down is turning Democratic now and will only spread northward.
6) The same dynamic that has Florida becoming more Democratic, Latino immigration, is a failure of the GOP to address the bubble. This will hurt them in Texas, Arizona, and Georgia (which I believe proportionately had the largest influx of Latino immigrants in the nation in the 2010 Census). Latinos are generally socially conservative church-going folk. This was a huge whiff for the Republicans.
7) Speaking of Rush and the bubble, the authority of the punditry on the right has been devastated. The rightwing operates as a top-down pyramid, as opposed to liberals who operate...well, it's still pretty much top-down but it starts a little closer to the troops. At the top are Republican party officials and financial supporters who pass along notes to the first tier media and government types, like John Boehner and Rush Limbaugh. In turn, they disseminate these talking points among their troops to reinforce -- some would say "echo" -- the message. Eventually, the poor shlub who turns on his radio or TV and logs into his email has a meal of junk food waiting for his digestion.
Based on the reactions of the mid-level blogoshere like John Hinderaker and Erick Erickson, that's been ripped wide open. Given the challenge to Karl Rove mentioned before, even those at the very top of the GOP food chain are being toppled.
And the false threats of finally Going Galt expressed by so many at the grassroots only serves to mark the frustration, anger and fear these troops face. It's like being asleep under a warm blanket and then having a gust of wind blow it off.
8) Finally, there's just the damned exhaustion factor: for how long can you say "no"? I don't care how childish and immature you are, holding your breath until you turn blue works great until your body says "ENOUGH!"
Don't forget to breathe, my conservatives readers. That's the fresh air of freedom you smell.
(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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Obama wins Florida

By Michael J.W. Stickings

So says the Romney campaign. Here's The Miami Herald:

Though votes are still being tallied, President Obama is all but assured a victory in Florida because the lion’s share of the outstanding ballots come from Democratic-heavy counties.

Obama leads Republican Mitt Romney by 58,055 votes — or 49.92 percent to 49.22 — but there just aren't enough votes from Republican areas to allow the challenger to catch up.

Romney’s Florida campaign has acknowledged their candidate lost in Florida as well...

"The numbers in Florida show this was winnable," Brett Doster, Florida advisor for Romney, said in a statement to The Miami Herald. "We thought based on our polling and range of organization that we had done what we needed to win. Obviously, we didn't, and for that I and every other operative in Florida has a sick feeling that we left something on the table. I can assure you this won't happen again."

Yes, next time they'll make sure all those voter suppression efforts really work. Because what's clear is that the demographics in Florida are moving swiftly away from the Republicans -- that and the fact that the Republican Party is, and will remain, a party of ideological extremism, including on issues that matter to a whole lot of Floridians, like wanting to destroy Medicare as we know it, pursuing a foreign policy of warmongering jingoism, vilifying immigrants at every turn, and embracing white nativism.

It wasn't just about leaving "something on the table," which the Obama campaign could say as well, it was about being a party, and having a candidate who embraced the extremism even as he tried later on to distance himself from it, that is increasingly losing touch with reality and that is moving further and further away from the the country's increasingly liberal soul.

Good luck, Republicans. Good luck with that.

With Florida's 29 Electoral College votes, Obama will have 332 votes to Romney's 206.

And that means that I got it exactly right -- every state (as did co-blogger Frank Moraes). I'm no Nate Silver, but hooray for me.

Read more here:

Read more here:

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Thursday, November 08, 2012

The meltdown on Bullshit Mountain News

By Comrade Misfit

The folks at Bullshit Mountain News (BMN) had to deal with the fact that they were so terribly wrong in their forecasts of the election.

Jon Stewart had a lot of fun with it. [Clips one, two, and three.] (Ed. note: These clips are available only in the U.S. If you're in Canada, go here to see last night's episode. If you're anywhere else, I'm not sure what to tell you. -- MJWS)

What the folks at BMN are doing is classic "Frank Burns" mode: "It is G-d's will or someone else's fault."

Nate Silver was on The Daily Show last night and refrained, mostly, from gloating about the triumph of arithmetic over gut feelings. 

(Cross-posted at Just an Earth-Bound Misfit, I.)

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Don't worry, they won't figure it out

By Comrade Misfit

In an election year when Republicans were expected to get control of the Senate, they lost ground. The reason that happened can be laid at the feet of the religious right and the Tea Party.

In 2010, the combination of the evangelicals and the Tea Party defeated moderate candidates in the primaries and then went on to lose Senate races in Colorado, Nevada, Delaware, and Connecticut. In this election, they did the same thing and went on to lose Missouri, Indiana, Maine, and Connecticut.*

Conservatives like to say that this nation is "center-right." But when it comes time to nominate their candidates, they forget the "center" part. So they'll keep saying things such as "Romney lost because he wasn't a true conservative" and they will continue to get their asses beaten.

Look at the other GOP candidates for the White House this last election. Does anyone truly believe that any of them, other than maybe Jon Huntsman, would have had a prayer of winning over the middle-of-the-road voters? But Huntsman was too moderate for his party and his campaign sank faster than the Costa Concordia.

By the way, I hope that somebody has the good grace to send a bottle of good champagne to Nate Silver and a box of Seppuku knives to the pundits at Fox News, with a specially-engraved one being delivered by messenger to Newt Gingrich.**

* Back in 2010, Linda McMahon, who is a pro-wrestling magnate, won the Connecticut primary, defeating the moderate candidate of the party. She self-financed her campaign, to the tune of about $50 million or so, and got shelled in the general election. In this election, she spent about as much of her own money, outspending her opponent by something like 4 or 5 to 1 and lost by 80,000 votes.
** The old European tradition of sending a finely-engraved revolver and one cartridge would be an acceptable substitute. But given the number of "too close to call" pundits this time around, we might have to cheap out a bit.

(Cross-posted at Just an Earth-Bound Misfit, I.)

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Puerto Rico votes for statehood

By Mustang Bobby

From The Miami Herald:

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A majority of Puerto Ricans have opted for the first time to become the 51st U.S. state in what jubilant members of the pro-statehood party call a resounding sign that the island territory is on the road to losing its second-class status.

But Tuesday's vote comes with an asterisk and an imposing political reality: The island remains bitterly divided over its relationship to the United States and many question the validity of this week's referendum.

There's also the fact that voters also ousted the pro-statehood governor, eliminating one of the main advocates for a cause that would need the eventual approval of the U.S. Congress.

"Statehood won a victory without precedent but it's an artificial victory," said Angel Israel Rivera Ortiz, a political science professor at the University of Puerto Rico. "It reflects a divided and confused electorate that is not clear on where it's going."

President Barack Obama had said he would support the will of the Puerto Rican people on the question of the island's relationship to the U.S., referred to simply on the island as its "status," and this week's referendum was intended to be the barometer.

Politics aside, it's long past time that Puerto Rico became a state. The current status gives the people of the island the responsibilities — taxes, the draft — of U.S. citizenship — which they have had since 1917 — but lacking some key rights, including being able to vote in a presidential election unless they're living on the mainland, and no vote in Congress. In short, they're a colony, and that's a relic of imperialism that we should have abandoned a hundred years ago.

There will be some push-back from the Republicans, especially the knuckle-draggers who claim that the island should declare English the "official" language before admittance (when English becomes the "official" language here, we can consider it), that the majority of the population is poor and dependent on government services (hello, Mississippi), and that they will all be Democrats and add two more Ds to the Senate. Given the GOP's current standing with the Latino community, perhaps admitting Puerto Rico would go a long way to mending a fence or two.

By the way, if Puerto Rico becomes the 51st state, here’s what the new American flag could look like:

I like it.

(Cross-posted at Bark Bark Woof Woof.)

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President Obama's 2012 victory speech

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Mitt Romney's 2012 concession speech

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Reforming the filibuster, crushing Republican obstructionism

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I agree with Jonathan Cohn. President Obama won a mandate. It was a decisive victory, not just for him but for Democrats across the country, as well as for progressive liberalism generally.

Of course, regardless of whether or not there's an all-out civil war in the GOP, we can be sure that Republicans, led by McConnell and Boehner/Cantor and their more extremist minions on Capitol Hill, will continue to do everything they can to block the president and Congressional Democrats from getting anything done.

Coming out of this election, it's time to put a stop to such obstructionism. And it starts with blocking Republicans from using their main weapon in the Senate at every turn:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pledged on Wednesday to change the rules of the Senate so that the minority party has fewer tools to obstruct legislative business.

In his first post-election press conference, the Nevada Democrat said he wouldn't go so far as to eliminate the filibuster, which requires 60 votes for the chamber to enter and exit the amendment and debate process. But in remarks meant to preview a more combative approach during the next session, he warned Republicans that obstructionism as a tactic won't be tolerated -- or as technically feasible.

"I want to work together, but I also want everyone to also understand, you cannot push us around. We want to work together," Reid said.

"I do" have plans to change the Senate rules, he added. "I have said so publicly and I continue to feel that way... I think the rules have been abused, and we are going to work to change them. We will not do away with the filibuster, but we will make the Senate a more meaningful place. We are going to make it so we can get things done."

There's still a bit too much naivete here. Republicans don't want to work together. They don't want compromise.

It's time to reform the fucking filibuster. It's time to put the Republican disloyal opposition in its place.

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Obama wins big, McConnell goes small

By J. Kingston Pierce

One of the things that struck me on Tuesday night, after U.S. TV networks declared that Democrat Barack Obama had been re-elected as the 44th president of the United States, was the pettiness of the response to that history-making event by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).

Rather than being gracious in defeat, and acknowledging that Republicans had received a thrashing at the polls -- not only losing the presidency, but failing (as a result of several poor and alienating candidates) to win back control of the U.S. Senate -- McConnell chose once more to snub this democratically elected leader he had previously committed his party's machinery to driving out of the White House after a single term.

After briefly and bloodlessly congratulating Obama on his victory, McConnell opined in an official statement:

The American people did two things: They gave President Obama a second chance to fix the problems that even he admits he failed to solve during his first four years in office, and they preserved Republican control of the House of Representatives.

The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the president’s first term, they have simply given him more time to finish the job they asked him to do together with a Congress that restored balance to Washington after two years of one-party control.

Now it's time for the president to propose solutions that actually have a chance of passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a closely divided Senate, step up to the plate on the challenges of the moment, and deliver in a way that he did not in his first four years in office.

To the extent he wants to move to the political center, which is where the work gets done in a divided government, we'll be there to meet him half way.

What a small man is Mitch McConnell, what a boorish man. Recognizing that he will have to run for his seat again in 2014, and perhaps fearing that the hateful Tea Partiers -- who have already taken down other once-influential Republicans (among them Delaware's Mike Castle and Indiana's Richard Lugar) -- might remorselessly cut his head off, too, if he doesn’t further burnish his right-wing ideologue creds, McConnell took the low road last evening. No doubt, he and his Republican henchmen are currently scheming to keep America's political system in gridlock -- as they've been doing ever since the 2010 elections, despite the crying needs of the public for new jobs-creation programs and fiscal common sense.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if the next thing McConnell says is that President Obama didn't win a mandate for change with this election. It's the same sort of thing Republicans always claim when a Democrat wins the White House; in fact, there are already conservatives spreading this message to the media.

Now, a case could certainly be made that McConnell and others are correct in dismissing the notion of a mandate. As Ed Kilgore observed yesterday in his Washington Monthly blog, "the 'mandate' talk is in general a myth, and sometimes a destructive myth. Voters pull the lever for candidates, not agendas, and this year, at least, they largely voted for parties, not candidates."

But then, what was the significance of Tuesday's nation-wide elections? It may have been less about handing Obama a mandate to make more sweeping changes and more about voters doing two other things: (1) reaffirming their faith in his leadership, and (2) slapping down Republicans for their obstructionist behavior over the last two years as well as their destructive policy proposals in this election cycle. Here's Kilgore again:

Forget about "mandates" for a moment and just think about the practical consequences of Obama's re-election, particularly since there will still be a Democratic Senate. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 will be implemented (with some obstruction from Republican-controlled states, to be sure, but implemented nonetheless), with its most important provisions kicking in prior to the 2014 midterm elections. Obama will also instantly possess superior leverage on the "fiscal cliff" issues that reflect the two parties' most fundamental differences on taxes, spending, and the very role of government, for the simple reason that no "solution" can be reached without his and his party's consent, with inaction producing an outcome much closer to Democratic policy preferences.

That means Republicans are the ones, far more than Obama, who will have to decide what happens next. Do they want to commit themselves to a midterm referendum on Obamacare that means actually reversing existing health insurance coverage for 40 or 50 million Americans? Is their opposition to high-end tax increases (reiterated by John Boehner just last night) so fanatical that they will reject any fiscal compromises no matter what happens, knowing that high-end taxes will in fact go up if they don't bend? 

In a post yesterday morning, The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn picked up on that latter point about Republican responsibilities in the forthcoming Congress, and how the president has a stronger hand now in dealing with recalcitrant right-wingers:

But what about the next four years? Doesn't Obama still need a governing plan? Sure. And if Obama has been relatively silent lately on some urgent issues -- chief among them, climate change -- he's been quite clear when it comes to economic policy. He's produced plans for strengthening the recovery. He's laid out principles for reducing the deficit: Relatively modest reductions in spending coupled with higher taxes on the wealthy. And with the coming debate over the spending sequester and expiration of the Bush tax cuts, both set for January 2013, Obama will get a chance to apply those principles.

The stakes in this fight are large: Depending on the terms, they will define the scope of the federal government for at least a generation to come. And, unlike in recent fiscal debates, Obama should have leverage -- more, perhaps, than at any time since the earliest days of his presidency. He can hold out in the debate over the sequester and Bush tax cuts, because the default action -- doing nothing -- is far worse for Republicans than it is for him. And with the newly elected Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren joining the re-elected Sherrod Brown and Sheldon Whitehouse in the Senate, Obama should have a more unified and incrementally more liberal congressional party behind him. (Hopefully they will push Obama, even as they get his back.)

How this plays out depends a great deal on the Republicans, of course. At least since early 2010, after the bruising fight over health care, Obama has been predicting that the Republicans would not become a responsible governing party until they experienced the consequences of extremism. Now that has happened. Republicans effectively ceded winnable Senate seats by nominating far-right candidates. And they lost a potentially winnable presidential election by nominating a candidate who ran on the Paul Ryan budget and even named Ryan as his running mate.

Maybe some moderates will react to Tuesday's GOP debacle by breaking with the Tea Party, and reaching out to Obama. Or maybe they will be too scared of reprisals from the right wing, as they have ever since Obama took office. I have no idea. But, whatever happens over the next four years, Obama's re-election guarantees that the laws passed during his first term stay on the books. That instantly makes him one of the most accomplished presidents of modern times. Already Obama and his allies have shaped this country in ways that will last for generations -- making life more secure, and creating new opportunities, for tens of millions of Americans.

My guess is that cranky old McConnell hopes the Republicans in Boehner's dysfunctional and do-nothing House majority will balk at the Obama administration's every effort to legislate and compromise, so he himself won't have to do all the dirty road-blocking work and therefore endure not only the president's arm twisting but also that of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada).

However, with Obama no longer having to face re-election, and with Republican extremists having made McConnell's job significantly more difficult, the minority leader isn't in a strong position to make demands on this newly re-energized White House. Especially if, as anticipated, Tuesday's GOP disaster leads to a blood bath within the party.

Sometimes you don't need a mandate for change. Sometimes all you need is the opposition to be petty and out of step.

McConnell fits that bill.

(Cross-posted at Limbo.)

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Which pollsters got it right?

By Richard K. Barry 

Well done -- and congratulations.

Fordham University published a ranking of pollsters in the 2012 election based on accuracy. Interestingly, Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling was at the top. The Center for Electoral Politics and Democracy simply took pre-election polling and compared it to final results. And you can't argue with results, though Republicans will try. 

According to Jason Zengerle at New York magazine:

When I talked to Tom Jensen, PPP's director, this morning, he was understandably in the mood to gloat. "These supposed polling experts on the conservative side are morons," Jensen crowed. "Jay Cost" — the Weekly Standard's polling expert who'd waged a number-crunching war against PPP — "is an idiot." But Jensen conceded that the secret to PPP's success was what boiled down to a well informed but still not entirely empirical hunch. "We just projected that African-American, Hispanic, and young voter turnout would be as high in 2012 as it was in 2008, and we weighted our polls accordingly," he explained.

Yes, so much of polling is just about trying to figure out who is actually going to show up to vote. Also good to see Republican-friendly firm Rasmussen near the bottom of the list along with Gallup, the two polls Republicans leaned on hard to convince themselves Romney would win. 

Here's the complete list:

1. PPP (D)*
1. Daily Kos/SEIU/PPP*
3. YouGov*
4. Ipsos/Reuters*
5. Purple Strategies
6. YouGov/Economist
11. Angus-Reid*
12. ABC/WP*
13. Pew Research*
13. Hartford Courant/UConn*
15. Monmouth/SurveyUSA
15. Politico/GWU/Battleground
15. FOX News
15. Washington Times/JZ Analytics
15. Newsmax/JZ Analytics
15. American Research Group
15. Gravis Marketing
23. Democracy Corps (D)*
24. Rasmussen
24. Gallup
26. NPR
27. National Journal*
28. AP/GfK

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Is the Republican Party too crazy and too extreme to address its electoral problems?

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Oh, Republicans, what ever are you going to do after such a thrashing?

Here's the headline at Politico: "Election aftermath: GOP soul-searching: 'Too old, too white, too male'?"

I appreciate that some Republicans -- those not lingering in delusion, bitterness, and vicious bile -- are in the early stages of what one hopes will be a prolonged period of soul-searching, trying to figure out what the hell went wrong and what the hell the party can to do recover, but I doubt even such genuine self-examination will be comprehensive enough to capture the dysfunction of today's Republican Party and its disconnection from reality.

"The conservative movement should have particular appeal to people in minority and immigrant communities who are trying to make it," says Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, already a leading contender for the nomination in 2016, "and Republicans need to work harder than ever to communicate our beliefs to them."

"Our party needs to realize that it's too old and too white and too male and it needs to figure out how to catch up with the demographics of the country before it's too late," says Al Cardenas, head of the far-right American Conservative Union. "Our party needs a lot of work to do if we expect to be competitive in the near future."

Indeed it does. But is it really just too old and too white and too male, and is it really just a matter of reaching out to "minority and immigrant communities"?

Well, in part, yes.

But how about too theocratic, too anti-woman, too anti-science, too pro-1%, and just generally too crazy and too extreme?

Far be it from me to advise the right, but what the Republican Party needs, if it is to be competitive given changing demographics in the Democrats' favor and the liberalization of the electorate and of American society generally, is a sense of self-awareness that requires the sort of humility, openness, and toleration that is sorely lacking in the party.

I think it's a safe prediction that Republicans on the whole won't learn any of the hard lessons of 2012.

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Out Of The Rubble

Looking over the reactions of the more principal names of the blogosphere, it seems that Tuesday's results were both unexpected and terrifying.
It's not like there weren't warnings: Nate Silver, for instance, has called nearly all 50 states (waitin' on ya, Florida!) almost precisely, and certainly precisely enough for the Electoral College. Public Policy Polling, a polling firm that was hammered right and right -- we on the left marveled at its integrity -- turned in the best performance, so anyone with half a brain would have had cause to consider the very strong likelihood that Obama was winning and that this election was more of an exercise in backburning in order to stop a wildfire from spreading.
The superPACs and other dark money operatives out there seemed to get it, as they expended massive amounts of money to shore up weak Congressional races, successfully. But the GOP to its base?
Not so much. There are hurt feelings all across the nation and correctly, the anger is not focused on Obama.
For once. They acknowledge that he ran a fair race and fought hard, even if they believe he was ultimately beatable by an acharismatic elitist with tired ideas.
It seems the wheel is still turning, but the hamster is dead.
Some folks seem to. Some are actually stepping up and rather than blame them, taking a measure of responsibility for what they achieved. This is a healthy thing, to be sure.
A re-election campaign always, ALWAYS, favors the incumbent, and that's a fact that conservatives ignored at their peril (in fairness, progressives ignored it in 2004, as well, and didn't fight hard enough to get Kerry elected.) It really doesn't matter how weak he is, if his challenger refuses or cannot define himself, then the tendency is to go with who you know, particularly in difficult times.
Again, see 2004.
At least one person seem to get some of this, but Hindraker immediately falls into the "blame them" game again. I give him this much credit, however: he sees that the nation is not the utopic conservative garden he and his fellow fifth columnists believe it is. It's possible he might start to moderate his positions over the coming years and perhaps -- perhaps -- the nation might be able to start to work again.
Here's the lessons of November 6, if anyone wants to listen:
1) You ran the weakest field of candidates since the Democrats in 1988. Period. End of discussion.
2) The dominance of dark money and superPACs points out the distinct lack of ideas from the right. It's one thing to have principles, if you can call handing even more money to people who are about ready to push away from the dinner table "principles", it's another thing to claim that one solution will fix everything.
Bad infrastructure? Tax cuts. More jobs? Tax cuts. Illegal immigration? Tax cuts.
The facts -- those things Reagan called "stupid" -- suggest that tax cuts only exacerbate problems. FACT: over the past 60 years, the economy under Democratic Presidents has outperformed the economy under Republican Presidents. FACT: job growth under Democratic Presidents is far higher than under Republicans, so much so that Bill Clinton oversaw the creation of 23 million jobs, ten times as many in eight years as Bush II did. FACT: the government creates jobs, else how do you explain the massive expansion of government that occurs under Republican Presidents, but not Democratic? Included in those job creations is a little thing called the Internet, without which you'd just be a cranky lawyer sitting on a barstool in Minneapolis, yelling at the barkeep instead of some "respected pundit."
Personally, I wouldn't respect you if you washed my balls, but that's a different post. I think you're a fucking loser asshole, and I'm glad you're sucking tears back.
3) The last lesson of November 6 is, if you want to be taken seriously as a party by the nation, you have to take the nation seriously. This, I think,  is where Hindraker gets close to a revelation (and falls flat on his face getting there.) By being completely obstructionist, by opposing any program, even ones Republicans originally created (like ACA, like Simpson-Bowles), by refusing to put up a jobs bill until a token nonsensical effort this past summer, you show a distinct reprehension for the nation, particularly in a time where people are hurting.
But then compassion never was your strong suit.
Jesus wept.
(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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