Leftover Observations

Here’s a bunch of thoughts that have been swirling through my mind over the last 24 hours or so but am too lazy to flesh out into posts of their own :

With Senator Lieberman (Egomaniac – CT) promising to caucus with the Dems, it’ll be interesting to see what sort of attitude he adopts towards his former party-mates. My guess is that as long as he gets a committee chairmanship, then he’ll be acceptable. Joe’s problem is that he’s a conventional wisdom parroting phony who thinks repeating talking points he’s picked up on the golf course makes him an independent, but now that the CW is heading towards the Dems, I wonder if he might accidentally be supportive of his own side. I hope so.

I don’t like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but there’s an important lesson to be learned from the way he sailed towards reelection yesterday. Last year, Arnie got his ass handed to him after the string of ballot initiatives that were his entire agenda were defeated across the board. His reaction to this defeat was one that a lot of Republicans would be well advised to follow. He picked himself up, apologized to the people of California, and said “message received”. From then on, he’s seemed like a different man. He’s reached out to Democratic lawmakers more, cut out the macho bullshit, and stopped quoting his movies every five minutes. I still trust Schwarzenegger about as far as I can throw him, but his success last night was entirely due to the perception in voters minds that he showed humility and was working hard to regain the confidence of the California people.

On the faux-humility front, John McCain’s reaction to the GOP defeat on CNN last night was brilliant in the way he kept using the word “we” to mean “everyone but me” :

So, of course, I’m sad. And I believe, however, that this is a wake up call to the Republican Party. We’ve got to change our practices. We — some of our people think we came to Washington to change government and government changed us.

And so we’re — but we’re going to bounce back, Larry. We’re going to get together and go over where we made our mistakes, fix them and move forward.

And for subtly throwing his party under the bus for their enormous defeat, how’d the CNN political analysts react? From just a few minutes later, here’s John King :

“But, wow!, was that a picture. I defy you to go back through the CNN library, any library you can find and find a video of John McCain looking like that….That was President John McCain making an appearance to American people.”

Even during the Democratic party’s finest hour, the media sycophants still line up to kiss St. McCain’s ring.

The President’s decision to fire Rumsfeld this morning was just bizarre. Does he think this will be enough to keep a Democratic Congress off his back? Was this just an attempt to play the media and knock some wind out of the Democrats’ sails? Why the hell would be have spent the last week defying public opinion and supporting Rummy if he was planning to toss him aside so suddenly? The political strategy beside this is inexplicable to me. Gotta love that Junior picked one of his daddy’s Iran/Contra buddies for a replacement. That should be a fun confirmation hearing. Democrats, point your subpoenas in this direction.

Interesting fact : South Dakota’s ballot measure failed at the same margin by which Oklahoma’s cockfighting ban passed a few years ago, 56-44. I wonder how much ideological overlap there is between the 44% of SD voters who think rape victims should be forced to have babies and the 44% of Okies who enjoy watching birds kill each other. The lack of the rape/incest provision is the real reason the SD ban failed, but it was left out deliberately to bait federal courts into striking it down and giving them a path to challenge Roe vs. Wade in the Supreme Court.

Speaking of ballot measure wedge issues, I was thinking the other day that Democrats could really use a wedge issue or two to get onto local ballots as a way of motivating base voters to get to the polls, but then it struck me : this trick probably won’t work for Democrats. Republican issues like opposing gay marriage or banning abortion are all about using weight of the government to divide Americans and meddle in their lives, but Democrats don’t seem to have many issues like that which resonate with their base on the same “lizard brain” level. A few years ago it might have been gun control, but with so many gun-friendly Dems, that’s a non-starter these days.

Looking at how it played out last night, there was a same-sex marriage ban on the ballot in eight states which passed in all but one state. There were also ballot measures to restrict affirmative action, ban abortion, declare English the official language, and parental notification. On the plus side, a minimum wage increase was on the ballot in six states and passed in every single one. That along with Missouri’s stem cell bill should tide us over until the Democrats can get these passed on the federal level.

The strangest thing on any ballot, however, has to be Arizona’s Proposition 200 :

Proposition 200 would establish a $1,000,000 prize to be awarded to a randomly selected person who voted in the primary or general election. Anyone who voted in the primary or general election would be automatically entered in the drawing for the prize money, and if a person voted in both the primary and the general election, that person’s name would be entered twice in the drawing.

That’s right, in an attempt to increase voter turnout, the people of Arizona had to vote on whether or not they should turn their elections into the goddamn lottery. Thankfully this mockery of the electoral process was defeated.