Right Thinking From The Left Coast
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it - Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Leaving The Normal Behind

Obama is discovering what all new presidents have-that sometimes winning is the easy part.

Four years ago Obama was an Illinois state senator who was on his way to the U.S. Senate. Next month, he will become one of only a handful of modern presidents who has not endured a similar bubble as a governor or top U.S. official before taking office.

Already, Obama no longer gets out for an impromptu lunch or a haircut. The barber he’s gone to for 15 years now comes to him, and he mostly orders out. Soon Obama likely will be forced to give up the BlackBerry he often kept attached to his hip during the campaign.

“There’s still some things we’re not adjusted to,” Obama said in a “60 Minutes” interview after the election. “You know, the small routines of life that keep you connected, I think some of those are being lost.”

Bill Clinton grew frustrated that he couldn’t go out any time he wanted, and once went Christmas shopping without the pool. After he became president, George W. Bush stopped sending e-mails to his daughters because he didn’t want the personal notes to become public one day.

“It’s just hard to know that there’s somebody with you all the time,” said Steve Elmendorf, who was deputy campaign manager for John Kerry in 2004. “Being able to get up and go biking or go for a walk, or hold hands with your wife — everything you do is not just under the scrutiny of the press or the pool.”

It seems the narrower the gap between transition and reality gets, the more private Obama has tried to become.

“You can see how he chafes at it,” Elmendorf said. “It’s hard for people who like to do outdoors things. It’s also hard for people with young kids. … You decide at 9 in the morning, I’m not going out anymore, then at 2 p.m. you decide, ‘Hey let’s get some ice cream.’”

“Normal people can do that. The president or president-elect can’t do that,” he said.

Welcome to the next four years, Mr. President…

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 12/28/08 at 04:25 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, December 19, 2008

Senator Smalley

It’s pretty much a fait accompli at this point:

Democrat Al Franken has edged ahead of Republican incumbent Norm Coleman for the first time in Minnesota’s long-running U.S. Senate recount.

Franken opened up a lead as a state Canvassing Board made its way through hundreds of ballots challenged in the race.

Franken gained his advantage as the board weighed challenges by the Coleman campaign. But as many as 5,000 withdrawn challenges from both campaigns won’t be awarded until Monday, and the lead could change again.

The board has also rejected a request by Coleman to exclude some ballots his campaign had argued were duplicates.

Meanwhile, there is uncertainty over a potential pool of 1,600 incorrectly rejected absentee ballots, which the Supreme Court said Thursday could be added to the count if the campaigns and election officials can agree on a plan for doing that.

Words can not express how utterly disgusted I am with my former state.  Al Franken is laughably unqualified to be a comedian, least of all one of 100 most powerful men in the world.  Prepare for a six-year highlight reel of gaffes and idiocy.  Minnesota, you saw this coming.  Don’t blame us when we’re slapping our heads about your state.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/19/08 at 08:27 AM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Say It Ain’t So, Joe

Joe the Plumber apparently wasn’t a big fan of Maverick.

Joe Wurzelbacher lashed out Tuesday at former GOP presidential nominee John McCain, the man who made Wurzelbacher famous as “Joe the Plumber.”

Wurzelbacher told conservative radio host Glenn Beck that he felt “dirty” after “being on the campaign trail and seeing some of the things that take place.”

Recalling a conversation he had with McCain about the $700 billion financial industry bailout in September, Wurzelbacher said: “When I was on the bus with him, I asked him a lot of questions about the bailout because most Americans did not want that to happen.”

“I asked him some pretty direct questions,” he continued. “Some of the answers you guys are gonna receive — they appalled me, absolutely. I was angry. In fact, I wanted to get off the bus after I talked to him.”

Asked why he didn’t leave McCain’s campaign if he was “appalled” by the candidate, Wurzelbacher said, “honestly, because the thought of Barack Obama as president scares me even more.”

This is your party’s base. This is your party’s base on wingnuttery. Any questions?

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 12/10/08 at 03:46 AM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Jefferson Downs


Nine-term Democratic Rep. William Jefferson, who has been battling scandals and a federal indictment for the past three years, appears to have lost his bid for re-election.

In the 2nd Congressional district, with 79 percent of precincts reporting, Republican challenger Anh “Joseph” Cao—an attorney and community organizer—had 52.9 percent of the vote to Jefferson’s 43.2 percent.

Stevens gone, now Jefferson.  Sometimes I almost think the voters are paying attention.


Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/06/08 at 09:41 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Dude, Where’s My Conspiracy?

Oh for Christ’s sake:

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider Friday whether to take up a lawsuit challenging President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. citizenship, a continuation of a New Jersey case embraced by some opponents of Obama’s election.

The meeting of justices will coincide with a vigil by the filer’s supporters in Washington on the steps of the nation’s highest court.

The suit originally sought to stay the election, and was filed on behalf of Leo Donofrio against New Jersey Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells.

Legal experts say the appeal has little chance of succeeding, despite appearing on the court’s schedule. Legal records show it is only the tip of an iceberg of nationwide efforts seeking to derail Obama’s election over accusations that he either wasn’t born a U.S. citizen or that he later renounced his citizenship in Indonesia.

The Obama campaign has maintained that he was born in Hawaii, has an authentic birth certificate, and is a “natural-born” U.S. citizen. Hawaiian officials agree.

For the record, let’s take a look at the luminaries who have been involved in this BS:

Among those filing lawsuits is Alan Keyes, who lost to Obama in the 2004 Illinois Senate race. Keyes’ suit seeks to halt certification of votes in California. Another suit by a Kentucky man seeks to have a federal judge review Obama’s original birth certificate, which Hawaiian officials say is locked in a state vault.

Other suits have been filed by Andy Martin, whose case was dismissed in Hawaii, and by an Ohio man whose case also was dismissed. Five more suits, all later dismissed, were filed in Hawaii by a person who is currently suing the “Peoples Association of Human, Animals Conceived God/s and Religions, John McCain (and) USA Govt.” The plaintiff previously sought to sue Wikipedia and “All News Media.”

The most famous case questioning Obama’s citizenship was filed in Pennsylvania in August on behalf of Philip J. Berg and sought to enjoin the Democratic National Committee from nominating Obama. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to accept the case. Earlier, a federal judge rejected it for “lack of standing” — ruling that Berg had no legal right to sue. In cases like this, judges sometimes believe the matter is best left to political institutions, such as the Electoral College or Congress, said legal scholar Eugene Volokh of the University of California at Los Angeles.

That’s Philip Berg the 9-11 truther, in league with Alan “I Still Can’t Believe I’m Not President!” Keyes. These are the “Voices of Truth.” As Ed Morrisey says:

None of it — absolutely none — has any real, solid evidence showing that Obama was born anywhere else than Hawaii apart from sheer speculation and hearsay, and even less evidence that Obama’s stepfather renounced Obama’s birthright citizenship, which he didn’t have the power to do anyway.  It’s a conspiracy theory spun by conspiracy theorists (Philip Berg is a 9/11 truther) who use their normal thresholds of evidence for this meme.

I can remember a time when only left-wing conspiracy theorists said this kind of stuff about who the real winner of a Presidential election was. I used to scoff at the notion that our side could sink to their level. Surely, I thought, conservatives on the whole were too smart, too reasonable to go down the same road.

Remember those times?

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 12/04/08 at 08:19 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Juice Defense

At least some people get it:

No, Virginia, there isn’t a smoke filled room somewhere where a bunch of Ivy League, Wall Street, K Street elitists conspired to deprive the Republican Party of a victory in the last two elections. We lost because nobody in their right mind would trust us to run a government. That we did as well as we did is a tribute to the fact that they don’t trust the Democrats much either.


In seven years we demonstrated to the American people that we really didn’t mean what we’d said for all those years; we weren’t against spending, we were against Democrat spending. We weren’t against big government, we just wanted it big in the places we like.

So, no, despite what Limbaugh and Hannity would have you believe, it wasn’t all the sinister librul media’s fault. Or, as John Cole notes:

The Republicans have lost the last two elections not because of media bias, but because they are being blamed for the current mess we are in, and they are being blamed for good reason. Until 2006 they controlled Congress and the White House, right now they control the White House. Listening to Republicans trying to blame their loss on media bias is like listening to OJ Simpson trying to blame his conviction on racism.

Republicans lost because they were in charge of the country for the better part of the last decade, and their governance has been an unmitigated disaster. This is not rocket science. You can argue that Democrats should share some of the blame for some of the policies, and you would not get any disagreement from me, but that does not change the fact that the Republicans were in charge, and blew it.

And now we are in the era of undivided government. Maybe guys like Jim DeMint should think about why before they open their mouths again.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 12/04/08 at 12:45 AM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Stolen Votes?

Those 171 votes that turned up for Franken are looking more and more suspicious:

One possible explanation, offered by the Maplewood City Clerk, was that the automark scanner malfunctioned during the day and a replacement scanner was brought to the precinct.  The ballots that were already cast may not have been re-scanned.  But when a scanner malfunctions, it is recorded on the precinct Polling Place Incident Log.  Here is the log from Maplewood P-6, a malfunction is not listed.

How easy is it to stuff a ballot box in Ramsey County?  This photo of Maplewood precincts waiting to be counted shows that the side holes are completely exposed, even though the boxes have been sealed.

And where are blank ballots stored?  In the Ramsey County Election Office warehouse.  In these photos, you can see that piles of unused ballots, waiting to be shredded, are sitting in front of and on top of “sealed” precinct boxes.

Look at the pictures.  I’m trying not to be partisan here and let my distaste for Al Franken cloud my judgement.  But can anyone honestly look at this situation and say that we should accept these ballots?

Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/03/08 at 10:48 AM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

No 60 For You … Yet

Holy crap.  It looks like Saxby Chambliss won Georgia by almost 20 points—far better than any poll predicted.  Was this buyer’s remorse for having elected so many Democrats?  The positive influence of Sarah Palin?  The negative influence of Obama not campaigning for Jim Martin?  Whatever it was, it denies the Democrats a 60-seat majority in the Senate.  This also lowers the likelihood that they will go to the Senate on Minnesota (I mistyped in my post below—the Democrats would take the Minnesota race to the Senate only if Chambliss lost).

However, all is not well yet.  2010 is just around the corner:

For a Democratic Party aiming for 60 seats-plus, things are heading in the right direction: [Florida Senator Mel] Martinez is the second GOP senator to step aside for the 2010 cycle, joining Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.).

Brownback’s seat appears to be less likely to switch from red to blue, but Democrats have been closely contesting races in other deeply red states. They could make the Kansas race instantly competitive with Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D), who remains a term-limited free agent without an appointment, thus far, to the Obama administration.

The GOP also has to deal with more seats to defend (19) than Democrats (16) and a less appealing target list.

When the 111th Congress begins, four of the five oldest GOP members will be facing reelection. Most of them have already insisted they are running, but questions remain about some of them.

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), who is 77, has said he will run and needs $10 million to win in 2010, but he had banked a miniscule $175,000 for the race as of Sept. 30.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), at 78, has been adamant that he will run, but he appears set for an arduous primary and general election, both of which he already faced in 2004.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who is 74, has said he plans to seek reelection, but that was the same thing Martinez was saying as late as two weeks ago.

The GOP also could have to deal with otherwise safe seats held by 75-year-old Sens. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), should they retire.

Here’s a map of the seats up for grabs.  Unless Obama becomes very unpopular, he may get his 60 seats yet—which is why Minnesota remains important.  I see very few seats the Republicans could pick up in 2010.  Maybe Arkansas, Indiana, North Dakota or Colorado—and even then only if the incumbent retires.

(Side question: do Democrats ever retire?  I mean, what is Robert Byrd, like 197?  I guess it makes sense for them.  What would Democratic politicians do if they weren’t hectoring the rest of us and taking our lunch money?)

In the meantime, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hamshire, Louisiana, Iowa, Missouri and even Arizona could be in play.  If Obama turns the economy around, we could be looking at a Constitutional Amendment level majority in the Senate.

Ah, the Permanent Majority.  Karl Rove really was such a genius.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/02/08 at 07:52 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

More Found Frankens

Oh, come on:

Democrat Al Franken has gained 37 votes on Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in the U.S. Senate recount, after Ramsey County found 171 ballots that weren’t counted on election night.

Ramsey County elections chief Joe Mansky says the ballots were in a machine that broke down early on Election Day in Maplewood’s 6th precinct.

“The election judges apparently didn’t run some ballots through the ballot counter after their ballot counter had gone down during the day. So, we had apparently more ballots in the box than we had on the tape,” said Mansky.

Mansky says the ballots were never lost, just not counted the first time through. He says they have been secure all along.

Franken gained 91 votes from the crop of ballots, and Coleman gained 54.

Fritz Knaak, an attorney for Coleman, says the campaign sent a lawyer to look into the situation. He says they’ll likely accept Mansky’s explanation, as long as a tabulation of the number of people who voted turns out to be 171 more than the number of votes counted. The deadline for local officials to complete their recount is Friday.

538 estimates the race is essentially a dead heat.  If Saxby Chambliss holds onto this Georgia seat, expect the Democrats to take this all the way to the Senate.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/02/08 at 04:11 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hanging Frankens

Right now, Norm Coleman is holding a narrow lead in the Minnesota Senate recount.  So what will the Democrats do?  Guess.

Minnesota’s U.S. Senate showdown is veering down a path toward the courts and possibly the Senate itself after a panel’s ruling on rejected absentee ballots dealt a blow to Democrat Al Franken’s chances.

For the first time, his campaign on Wednesday openly discussed mounting challenges after the hand recount involving Franken and Republican Sen. Norm Coleman concludes. That includes the possibility of drawing the Senate into the fracas.

The state Canvassing Board denied Franken’s request to factor absentee ballots rejected by poll workers into the recount. He sought to overturn the exclusions in cases where ballots were invalidated over signature problems or other voter errors. Coleman’s campaign maintained the board lacked power to revisit those ballots.

Franken entered the recount trailing Coleman by 215 votes out of 2.9 million ballots. As of Wednesday night, Coleman was up 292 votes, including results from Nov. 4 and recounted ones.

All told, 86 percent of the ballots have been recounted. However, about 4,740 ballots have been challenged by the two campaigns that could fall to the canvassing board to rule on.

It’s the 2004 Washington governor’s race all over again—only this time the US Senate is threatening to step in:

The board’s decision drew a response from the Senate’s top Democrat, Majority Leader Harry Reid, who called it a “cause for great concern.”

“As the process moves forward, Minnesota authorities must ensure that no voter is disenfranchised,” Reid said in a statement. “A citizen’s right to have his or her vote counted is fundamental in our democracy.”

The Senate has in rare cases inserted itself into elections, including a 1996 Louisiana race and a 1974 New Hampshire contest. The body has the power to determine its members’ qualifications.

It will be interesting to watch all the Democrats who screamed about the SCOTUS selecting the President praise the Senate if they select Minnesota’s representation.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 11/29/08 at 08:40 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, November 24, 2008

Worship Much?

Time Magazine’s cover this week:


Of course, Bush is already giving us a New New Deal, complete with $7 trillion of exposure.  To put that in perspective, it’s like every American has taken out a $25,000 loan to prop up the financial system.

But never mind that.  There’s a hero to worship!  I’m just waiting for Time to call for a repeal of the 22nd Amendment.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 11/24/08 at 10:05 AM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, November 20, 2008

You Be The Judge

Where do the days go?  Anyway, here’s a fun exercise.  It’s called “Pretend You’re Doing the Minnesota Recount”.  Look at the ballots and decide how they should be counted.  The site is weirdly updating from the top, so I’ll start there.  If they’ve put up day 3 by the time you get there, start at Day 2.

Day 2:
1. Coleman. That looks like a scriblle.
2. Franken. It’s a pencil mark.
3. Coleman.  Clearly marked.
4. I would say Coleman because while the voter wrote in a candidate, he did not mark the bubble.

Day 1.
1. Franken. That’s a leaky pen.
2. McCain. It’s a fricking smudge.
3. Nobody. It’s a stray mark.
4. Franken. He clearly indicates a “no” on Coleman. Although it could also be rejected.
5. Franken. Again, writing “Lizard People” without marking the bubble doesn’t count.  In any case, maybe this person shouldn’t be voting…
6. Reject. No marks anywhere near.
7. Coleman. Changed his mind or fixed a mistake.
8. Franken.  Don’t be silly.  That’s a fucking dot.
9. Barkley. He cleared erased and changed his mind.
10. Barkley. That’s the only one filled.
11. Reject. It looks he crossed out Franken, so I could see it going for Coleman, though.

This is fun.  This is how elections are decided.  This is how we determine if the Democrats have a filibuster-proof majority.  It’s so awesome that we got these scan sheets to prevent Florida-type debacles.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 11/20/08 at 09:53 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Civility We Can Believe In

Once again, Bush deserves credit where credit is due.

I have been very struck by the obvious efforts President Bush is making to set a tone of civility and optimism with regard to his successor’s imminent arrival in The White House. There has been an explicit demonstration on his part of respect for President-elect Obama, and for the change in administration. No hint of sour grapes, or even misgivings on his part are evident. . . . At a time when the nation is so bitterly divided by partisanship, Bush’s leadership in this area is more than just for looks. He is demonstrating to the world how responsible, civil democratic transition should look. It’s pretty inspiring, and makes me proud to be an American.

Indeed. And if only Sarah Palin’s apologists and the hacks at TNR and on talk radio could have shown such class.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 11/12/08 at 05:53 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Smell of Justice

I don’t know if you caught Liddy Dole’s vile godless ad.  I’m sure that “real conservatives” loved it and wish it had been dished out on Obama.  Only one problem:

Anzalone said that the high-profile attack ad doomed Dole’s chances to keep the race close. Hagan’s internal polling showed her numbers skyrocketing after the ad aired.

“It would have been a much closer race [if she didn’t air the Godless ad]. Kay would have won by 3-4 points but instead she won big,” Anzalone said. “I just think Dole, in the end, did herself a disservice. She was going to lose that race, but she did not need to lose that race by that margin.”

Pollster showed Hagan up by four and gaining in the last days.  She won by nine points, a huge break.  The “godless” ad may not have played the role—the media always want a narrative.  But it certainly didn’t help.

If you can’t win North Carolina by pandering to the Religious Right, can you win the nation?

Posted by Hal_10000 on 11/11/08 at 10:42 AM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

by Lee

Oops, so solly.

Posted by Lee on 11/11/08 at 05:46 AM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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