Congressional Blame

Politics

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I’m going to start with a few numbers.

Here goes.

Congressional approval rating before November 2012 election: 18%

Percentage of Congressional incumbents reelected in 2012: 90%

Congressional approval now: 16%

[Stats according to Gallup and Bloomberg]

When you ask people about our good ‘ole Bicameral insane asylum, the reaction is strong, swift and furious. People really don’t like our Reps and Senators.

Why? Well, the general accusation is that they don’t get anything done. Apparently when you take 600 people from all over the country, stick them in a room and then they don’t bang out legislation like clockwork, their constituents get angry.

Another reason I keep hearing is something along the lines of “they need to stop bickering and just do what’s best for the country.” Yeah, right. Congress doesn’t really work for America. They work for their voters.

John Boehner doesn’t worry about what affects New Yorkers, he works for the 8th District of Ohio. Nancy Pelosi doesn’t cater to Texas, she works for the voters in the 12th District of California. Everything they do, every vote they make is motivated by what the voters in that district will do to them every other November.

So then what do you do? You have roughly 1 in 10 who don’t like their representative and/or senator. And yet 9 in 10 of those incumbents keep getting sent back to Capitol Hill. Talk about a mixed message. People like their own guy, just not the other people their guy has to deal with.

If it’s one thing you got to give to those Tea Party groups, they know how to bring the fear out of representatives in D.C. If a Republican doesn’t toe the Tea Party line, they start looking for a new Capitol tenant.

Conservatives are scared out of their minds that the Tea Party will conjure an opponent in their upcoming primary.

The Tea Party backers have proven a point. A little bit of angst, organization and involvement can generate change. Digging up a primary opponent will make a Congressman think twice about what they vote for and who they side with.

Every Congressman and Congresswoman should have that fear, regardless of their party or their district. But with a 90 percent reelection rating, the disapproval rating will never matter.

So to all of you who complain about Congress, and there are a lot of you, do something about it. If you keep sending the same people back to D.C. over and over again, you’re going to get the same result… over and over.

You get the government you elect.

 

(a version of this post appeared on medium.com)
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Treasure Map

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Allow me to be wrong.

Before the election I said the Right was rising. I guess I spoke prematurely.

During my spartan autopsy of the recent election, it has occurred to me that the horizon may not have been as Red as I thought.

In the days leading up to the election, I sifted through the countless possibilities of the electoral map. Even afterwards, I still sit through the map, adding a state here, assuming a state there.

The epiphany? Romney never had a chance. All Obama needed (aside from his dependable states) was Ohio and another swing state. Hell, there was even a scenario whereby if Romney won Ohio, Florida AND Virginia, he still would have lost.

As it turned out, Obama won every single swing state along with Virginia, Ohio and Florida.

Romney never had it. And if I picked up on that before the election, you can sure as hell bet Mitt’s camp and the GOP upper ilk noticed the numbers too.

Some seemed in denial on the surface of it. But they had to know. They stuck to their guns and Right-skewed polls like Rassmussen in order to give the appearance of confidence, hoping it would fool potential voters. Red pundits understand that reality doesn’t matter to most people. It’s all about perception.

But the election sure felt like a painful reality for the Right.

It’s now the aftermath and many conservatives have said they should have had a better candidate, a more conservative candidate. The way I see it, Romney was their best hope.

I say that because of the swing state massacre along with a few additional observations. Gay marriage ballot initiatives passed. Despite federal law, one state legalized marijuana. To state the obvious: the majority, albeit a slim one, didn’t want a conservative president. A more dyed-in-the-wool Neo-con would have lost by a wider margin.

Obama is one of the most liberal presidents we’ve had since LBJ. If voters opted for him over a moderate Republican, a more conservative candidate would not have had a chance. America is more centrist than conservatives want to believe. Clearly with the election results, the majority showed this country they want to keep things left of center. A nation with a growing number of states allowing gay marriage, legalizing marijuana, electing gay senators and voting to keep a Democratic majority is not a conservative nation.

What does this mean for Right ideals like denying global warming, cutting tax rates and helping the rich? Not sure yet. That body is still on ice awaiting autopsy. I’ll leave the slicing and dicing analysis to the Reds.

I do know the backlash has started though. Obama talked about global warming in his victory speech. That’s the first mention of it since 2010.

White Anger

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I think maybe it’s time for conservatives to do a little soul searching. Just a little, because denial kills.

No they weren’t trounced on Tuesday. They were beat. But the fact is they lost to an incumbent president in a sour economy. That says a lot. The president won every single swing state, except one, North Carolina. A state in the south, big shock.

For so long conservatives have expected the middle class to fall in line with their fiscal ideology and fundamentalist social agenda. They figured with a beleaguered, black commander in chief, that whites would pour into the polls by the millions to vote the bum out. Conservatives thought white guilt got the president in and it would take white ire to get him evicted.

At first, it seemed that the plan would work. There was pessimism with the economy; A LOT of pessimism. Unemployment was lowered but in all, remained high. Health insurance reform was somewhat unpopular. There was a tragedy in Libya. There were all the trappings for ousting the man they felt was responsible for so much depression.

And yet, it failed.

Why? Well conservatives didn’t count on the fact that women, Hispanics and a record number of minority voters would turn out in droves to keep Obama in office. Apparently when you only care about whites, it pushes the other potential voters away. You can’t tell Hispanics that you’re going to deport their relatives. You can’t tell women that rape is something “God Intended.” You can’t tell people without health insurance that they’re not entitled to it.

So sift through the ashes, cons, because the clues are there for you. While you only lost by 2 percent of the vote, it might as well have been a rout.

Don’t worry. Angry, self-righteous whites will still cling to your side. But you might want to consider getting rid of the zealots, Rove, Norquist, etc. You probably have to come out into the open with the fact you will do nothing about illegal immigration and you never intended to. Given the rising number of single mothers in this country, it’s imperative to understand that women do, in fact, care about their civil rights.

In short conservatives, you might have to think about being inclusive rather than exclusive. Stop fighting to limit people’s rights and start broadening them.

White anger is no longer enough.