Quick Hits for November 4, 2009
* And what we have somewhat foreshadowed has come to fruition as a Democrat wins NY-23 for the first time since 1854, with Bill Owens winning. The tone of the night has been set with it being a Republican victory in many races nationally but why did they lose this one race? The answer may well be that the Republicans that won were largely moderates, not far right conservatives. As the GOP candidates for 2010 have been moving farther right, they might want to look at the night and moderate their views.
It may be more telling that those who politically planned Scozzafava's run and gave her the nomination may have saw the trend better than the base who fanned the far right flames. I have little doubt that if not for Hoffman, the story of NY-23 district would not be here. But it is and thus, we congratulate Bill Owens.
* Early signs off of twitter, some blogs, and forums are of a Republican Party that is arching its back insisting it wasn't the far right that lost, but rather one that makes excuses blaming everything from voting machines, to ACORN, and anything else they can think of instead of looking at the national trend. GOP political strategists aren't that foolish, but will the base listen, and can Rush or Beck talk about it given that they fan the far right flames to make a living?
The GOP is constantly telling us how America is a conservative nation, but at the same time, they ignore the polls on GOP branding put their support under 30% compared to the 35-40% Democrat support lately. A recent Gallup poll indicated 40$ of America claims they are conservative, 40% independent, and 20% liberal. So the question has to be "why are there about twice as many conservatives as Republicans?" The answer relies on pragmatics, not dogmatism.
To illustrate, my guess would be that about 25% of America are ideological Democrats and about 25% of America are ideological Republicans, meaning they will vote Democrat or Republican every time for ideological reasons.
About 15% of Americans are probably pragmatic Democrats and about 15% are pragmatic Republicans, meaning they will probably vote Democrat or Republican most times because they believe their party has the right solutions. Keep in mind, when they don't believe their party has the right solutions, they may just stay home more than likely.
That leaves about 20% as independents that will vote largely on situation and perception of solutions, meaning if the economy is bad and they don't have a job, they will probably vote for the out of power party if they believe they have answers to their problems; if we are in a war, they will vote based on who they think will do the best in that war given their level of concern for it. They may trend a given way, but they will also go the other way under the right conditions, they aren't party loyal.
With that in mind, given the GOP branding problems, going toward the ideological right is a bad move, instead the GOP should be moving toward the pragmatic right or moderates. I can't tell you how many Republicans I have heard tell me that they were upset about NCLB because they believe in public education for their kids; or who want a health care answer but not a single payer system; or who truly believe in climate change and the need to address it, but with more market answers. The farther right the GOP goes, the more those far right candidates will lose. Tonight's lesson, moderates can win in this environment; far right won't win in this environment.
* Even when I was a Libertarian who didn't support very many state programs, there are some that I just believe should be there. They include helping those in our society who need the extra help. It can be the disabled, whether physically or mentally, or those that have learning disabilities. The fact that autism is not given more support by the government given how hard it is on parents, how much work it takes to raise an autistic child, and how much more prevalent autism is becoming, but also how much autistic adults who are given that attention may be able to contribute to society with their often incredible intelligence in some areas, it is vital that we do more for these families including health care for their needs. I was sent this video from someone in Virginia on autism, take a look and help out if you can.
* It turns out that the great costs on health care may be the result of our own actions more than anything else. And while conservatives will tell you that you should never have to change your lifestyle, they might want to return to the Reagan message of liberty AND RESPONSIBILITY. I am not advocating any laws to change anything but rather that we look at our own responsibilities and act ourselves to fix things. After all, some problems are cultural, not political and this may be one. Take a look, 5 ways to save a trillion on health care:
a) Too much salt in our diets, go for low sodium and avoid salty snacks
b) Too much sugar in our diets, not enough physical activity causing obesity.
c) SMOKING! As a reformed smoker, I always hated it when people said this...
but it is true, 400,000 die each year and costs for them are enormous.
d) Alcohol. Hey, some beer or wine is okay, but drinking much more...
e) Pollution. Do we really need to be told that putting poison in our food,
water, and the air we breath is bad? A little common sense?
* Understanding New Jersey and Virginia may not be as complicated as political landscape shifts or major political tide changes. Notice the trend lately, as both states Governor races tend to trend the OPPOSITE of the party in the White House. Take a look for yourself.
* While Democrats need to get to work on 2010 and stop resting on 2008, and while the President and Congress better get some serious legislation passed that isn't garbage, it turns out that attitudes may just be changing in their favor. While 63% of Americans still say things are going badly, 37% said things are going fairly well or very well, which is the largest number in 2 years and shows a sign of an upswing of 7 points since August, with 63% saying they expect things to be better a year from now. In other words, people are starting to feel the results or expect to see the results of the stimulus package, and think we have hit bottom on the economy, which means President Obama and Democrats will be able to run on "we turned around the economy" next year as long as the numbers look improved by election time next year.
Ideological conservatives might win when the economy is good like in 2000, but when the economy is bad, or there are things to be done, pragmatists win the day, not ideologues.