Nov 9, 2010

Post-election riffs and raffs

Palin's cooked; the GOP breathes a sigh .... Fact: Big Media = the GOP's P/R Dep't .... Upcoming game plans for the two parties .... Hint: it ain't gonna be pretty (or smell nice) .... Statewide and local election briefs


If we lived in rational times, the US would be experiencing a left-wing communist insurgency. After all, the logical reaction to a crippled economy caused by 30 years of conservative political and economic rule should be a counter-pull from the opposite side of the spectrum, right?.

But here we are in just such a spot in 2010, but instead of Marx-quoting leftists ruling the airwaves and soap boxes, we're bombarded with the bombastic shouts of the New American Right, a shitshow mashup of good ole boys, libertarians-on-acid, amateur economists and semi-literate cartoon characters parading around as the intellectual descendants of the Founding Brothers. As if that isn't bizarre enough; there are actually people out there that buy into it. The unfortunate part is that they vote.

Such an observation certainly isn't meant as a call for communism, mind you; after all, there aren't a whole lot of Best Practice case studies out there which would support such a position, are there? But then again, such black-white / red-blue / fascism-communism dichotomies are the current standard for debate, with the more legitimate shades of gray perspective being WAY too much to comprehend for today's nano sized attention span. Hence an analysis of a China, with its legacy of central decision-making still the status quo, running wild in the global marketplace is one that can't possibly gain traction with an audience that approaches politics in the same way it does Sunday's football game: “We're wearing green, getting 3 points and are gonna kick your ass!”

Another way to look at it is this: re-read my first paragraph. An innocent enough observation on political dynamics, it would seem. Now jump into the future and pretend I was running for high political office. There's no doubt in my mind that this very post would one day become the center of attention, as my opponent's attack team would feel like they struck gold with a nugget that has them screaming: “look, this guy says that communism is the rational alternative for America!” The right wing media would be all over me, the nonsense would spew and the dumbing-down of the nation continues. To think, 18 out of the world's top 20 universities are located between our shores, yet the most popular source of political information is Fox News.

Which lead us to the greatest modern day American myth: that of the existence of a 'liberal' (or Democratic leaning) media. I've dragged enough times on that very subject in this column to refrain from feeling a need to repeat it here, but I will repeat a single observation that I simultaneously admire (for its execution) and which scares the hell out of me (because of its consequences). It is this: the conservative / right wing voice not only dominates the traditional broadcast news mediums (TV; radio, newspapers), but at the same time it has succeeded in convincing most Americans that just the opposite is the reality. Again: scary, just plain scary.

National Elections

One under-reported (see the previous point) aspect of last week's elections is the fact that the so-called Tea Party got beat up pretty good in the key US Senate elections. Where many thought that body was up for grabs, the result is that it is still in Democratic hands. This tells us that people vote differently on local elections (which includes one's local House rep) than they do for statewide and national elections. This can act as a glimmer of hope for Obama going into 2012.

Despite the fact that almost all of the nuttiest of the wingnuts (the Witch, Sharon Angle, Wilson, etc) were defeated, the single most dangerous, Rand Paul, did make it into the Senate. In addition, the new cast of incoming Congressional victors includes a fair amount of out-there types.

The rubber now hits the road for these people, in that their lofty ambitions of historic possibilities will now give way to the real world of constitutional facts and the complexities of rule making. In other words, most will soon realize they have gotten themselves into something way over their head, and will crawl into the faceless trenches of constituent service. Even Mr Paul is already starting Act One of his “ya know, I was really kidding about lot of what I said,” today pledging to bring home the bacon (via those previously dissed earmarks) to his Kentucky.


The national Republican Party is in a pickle – but they know it – and will bear watching as the most important long-form story of the next two years. Last Tuesday did give them the fortunate and unexpected gift of essentially pushing Sarah Palin off the map as being a serious contender for the party's presidential nomination, and for that they should (and likely are) very thankful. She will now fall into a comfortable role, along with many of the new wingnuts like Paul, of keeping that base in GOTV (Get Out The Vote) mode come November '12. For that service, she will make many trips to the bank at her going rate of $50K per stop.

But what of the rest of the GOP? Who will emerge as the front runner for the nod to take on the sitting president and how will he (yes, I seems to be just he's at this point) get there? The tactic is easy to predict: go right during the primaries, and go back to the center after one gets the nomination.

This won't be pretty, mind you. Just yesterday, we saw Texas Gov Rick Perry popping a gasket with John Stewart, rambling on about how the dawn of the Progressive Era in the early 1900's basically doomed this nation into a permanent period of stagnation and incompetence.

Apparently, Mr Perry is not aware of the fact that such a movement was championed by a member of his own party (Teddy R) and that in the interim this nation a) won two World Wars; b) defeated both European fascism and Soviet communism; c) became the model for world democracy and free markets; among countless other accomplishments. But those are mere details. Now, if Perry is talking like this, what do you think we're in for when Huckabee and Gingrich get warmed up?

The Democrats are in less of a pickle, but are more in need of a legitimate plan. Their biggest shortcoming is painfully obvious: an inability to get it message and narrative across to John Q Public. That needs to get fixed, pronto. Indeed, that will not be easy: we know that the GOP's major financial backers now own the mass media microphones and plan on continuing their successful disinformation propaganda campaign on their behalf into the future. A countering message can be done, but it must start early.

Early predictions? Obama has to be considered the morning line favorite, believe or or not. Recent history tell us that a new president's first Congressional election results don't predict the big race two years later – see Reagan and Clinton's ass-whipping followed by easy victories of their own. Plus, there is an outside chance that the Republicans go into civil war, and the Tea Party puts up its own candidate in 2101. That would siphon 5-10% of the vote from the GOP and clinch it for Obama. Don't rule that possibility out.

There are some other interesting under-the-radar dynamic at play as well. First is the (again) unreported observation that two Republican big tent constituencies have suddenly lost influence within the party. First up are the neocons of the Dubya, Cheney and Rove regime. Three years ago, they ruled the globe, today they can't even get a seat at the little kids' table. Second is the decline of the religious right. Granted, they are still there spitting their vitriol, but one can't help but notice that many of the newly empowered libertarian types don't even bother paying lip service to the born again crowd. So ½ of both GW Bush's and Ronald bases are now feeling like they are on the outside looking in.

But Obama couldn't possibly tap into this ostracism for his won political benefit, could he? Well keep in mind that the original neocon (before the more vicious Bush variety arose) was a guy named David P Moynihan, a Nixon administration wonk who fled the party (for the Dems) when Dutch Reagan hit the scene, talking scary talk. Politics can make strange bedfellows, so don't rule it out.

As for the religious bloc, there is little prospect for the hard core right segment jumping ship any decade soon. But, that group is not the only of-faith variety out there, even within the Christian community. Many of the nation's soup kitchens, shelters and community good organizations are manned by these God-fearing individuals, and the prospect of axe-cutting conservatives eying their own individual aid programs can not be a comforting thought. Yes, the moderate Christian vote might be up for grabs.

Barring an economic calamity, there is also one single tactical move that Obama can make that will almost certainly clinch the deal for his reelection. It will only require his stepping up to a mic in the Oval office and saying these seven words: “Hillary Clinton will be my vice president.” Check? Check mate. Sorry, Joe. But he'd make a decent Sec of State, anyways!

Local Elections

No surprises in the statewide races, given the Crazy Carl Paladino factor. Our own Nanoburgh? Poll had Wilson gaining like Zenyatta in the Comptroller's race, and we think he would have taken it if it were a week later.

Like Cuomo, both Gillibrand and Schumer were blessed by weak opposition in their US Senate races. Ms G is quite the story: two years ago she was labeled good as dead for her seat, with the chance of a primary being almost a given. Fast forward to now, and we are looking at a rising star in the party.

We are on record here as being both fans of Scott Murphy and not-so-impressed by Chris Gibson. Gibson's views on energy, the environment and local economic development deeply disturb us, and his having yesterday appointed a former VP from the Associated General Contractors of New York State as his Chief of Staff already has him in our pup tent. Let's hope he 'grows' into the office.

The NYS Senate 43rd District race between incumbent Roy McDonald and Saratoga Supervisor Joanne Yepsen had an equally disappointing result, for political and personal reasons as we have been involved in previous efforts, initiatives and campaigns with the challenger here at Nanoburgh? This race could/should have been tighter, but Mrs Yepsen's effort was characterized by a series of missteps, mistakes and an absence of messaging and candidate branding. It was tough to watch as an interested outsider. That's too bad, for this is a candidate that could have done some good.

The local (Saratoga) focus will now turn to City Council races in 2011. We know from the past three versions that this will certainly be entertaining.

The Nanoburgh? Poll

Yes, it is a real deal. Yes, we appreciate the kind words.

In a nutshell: this is a project attempting to 're-write the ground rules' on election forecasting. How? By using data mining techniques and methodologies that have been used in the consumer market for a few years — and applying them to individual elections in the political realm. Frankly, we're surpised to be one fo the first doing this. More to come.

If this is an area of interest, feel free to inquire for an Inside Baseball look.


This ain't no party said...

u r more of an optimist than i.

i see 25 years of darkness, ruled by tea party mongrels taking us back to the dark ages.

they have a head start on us with the guns. it's time to catch up.

Anonymous said...

The Ghost of Val maybe, to go along with your Ghost of Joe Bruno?

carmelito said...

Shhhhhhhhh. Do not give her any ideas, now. If she ran again, I really would have to move. I mean really. I JUST WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO TAKE IT.

Pissed Saratoga Taxpayer said...

see below, another example of what our cadillac style pay & benefti compensation is buying us in the Saratoga Dept of Public Saftey.

A mistrial was declared late Tuesday by Judge Jerry Scarano in the case against Jeffrey Hampshire.

The mistrial was declared after a Saratoga Springs police investigator said in front of the jury that the 29-year-old Ballston man was investigated for a date-rape incident. But Hampshire was never charged in connection with the incident, said his attorney, Cheryl Coleman.

"The jury is not allowed to hear evidence of uncharged crimes," Coleman said.




I think u know who said...

Clean this mess up else we'll all end up in jail
Those test tubes and the scale
Just get it all out of here
Is there gas in the car ?
Yes there's gas in the car!
I think the people down the hall know who you are
(Careful what you carry)
Cause the man is wise
You are still an outlaw in their eyes

Get along
Kid Charlemagne