Nov 6 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #861

ON THE RECORD ….

‘We need to learn from history. We need to look to history to find out what works and what doesn’t, and the one thing that is clear is that if Republicans run another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole, or a John McCain, or a Mitt Romney […] we will end up with the same result, which is that millions of people will stay home on election day which is what happened for all three of them. And if we run another candidate like that Hillary Clinton will be the next president.” — Sen. Ted “Calgary” Cruz on why former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is too liberal to run for the GOP nomination. 10/30/14

“I’d be more than happy to have a debate with you any time you like, guy, because somebody like you doesn’t know a damn thing about what you’re talking about except to stand up and show off while the cameras are here. “I’ve been here when the cameras aren’t here, buddy, and done the work. So, I’m glad you had your day to show off, but we’re the ones who were actually here to do the work. …. Now sit down and shut up” —  Gov. Chris Christie to Democrat and former Asbury Park city councilman, James Keady. 10/30/14

“I’ll be very, very honest with you: The South has not always been the friendliest place for African Americans. It’s been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader.” — Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), in an interview with NBC News.

“Obama will continue to be both a foil and an excuse for Republicans’ inability to return the nation to a glorious past. …. But starting Nov. 5, Republicans will gradually begin transferring the fear and loathing they lavish on the president to a new target: Hillary Clinton. It should be a very inspiring two years. —Francis Wilkinson in Bloomberg View. 10/30/14

“Republicans, with their diversions and their relentless vilification of President Obama, are probably being smart. In 2012, when they laid out their own wares in full for the country to inspect, they got soundly defeated. But political cynicism exacts a price. With many Democrats also reluctant to focus on the substance rather than on the caricature of the Obama agenda, we have an election with no clear theme, no overriding trend, and, inevitably, no clear mandate.” —John Cassidy 10/30/14

“In simplest terms, the basic story of the modern standoff between the parties is that Democrats cannot attract enough whites to consistently control Congress, and Republicans cannot attract enough nonwhites to consistently win the White House. Nothing that happens this week is likely to displace that truth.”– Ronald Brownstein 11/03/14

“The Republicans, McConnell’s pretty speech to the contrary, won’t want to work with Obama on anything. Their interest, as ever, is in pushing the perception that Washington is dysfunctional. It works for them. It worked Tuesday night. It worked in 2010. They want Americans to perceive Washington as broken, especially heading into 2016. There’s no better simplistic argument for “change.” Obstruction has just been rewarded, in a huge way. You expect them to change?” — Michael Tomasky in The Daily Beast 11.05.14

“Despite All the Bad News for Democrats Tonight, Midterms Are Rarely Predictive of Presidential Year Outcomes: Republicans swept into power in 1994, only to see Bob Dole get crushed by President Clinton in 1996. Democrats had a great night in 1998, but lost the White House two years later. Two years after a drubbing at the polls in 2010, President Obama won re-election handily.” — Cook Political Report 11/05/14

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI 

1. What Happened To The Democratic Vote?
2. Daily Show: South By South Mess – Ad Of Brothers
3. Why Republicans Keep Saying They’re Not Scientists
4. The DAILY GRILL
5. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: State Legislatures and ALEC
6. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)
7. Late Night Jokes for Dems
8. Andy Borowitz: Exit Polls Indicate Nation Suffering from Severe Memory Loss
9. Obama’s Health Law: Who Was Helped Most
10. UN: Effects of climate change ‘irreversible’  

OPINION

1. NY Times Editorial: Negativity Wins the Senate
2. Dana Milbank: For Republicans, the hard part is about to begin
3. Jeff Shesol: The Message in Republican Victory Speeches
4. John Cassidy: A Disastrous Night for the Democrats
5. David Akadjian: Perhaps the biggest difference between Republicans and Democrats
6. Burgess Everett: Why a GOP Senate could be short-lived
7. Eugene Robinson: What Would Republicans Do?
8. Ryan J. Reilly and Dana Liebelson: Ginsburg Was Right: Texas’ Extreme Voter ID Law Is Stopping People From Voting
9. Observer Editorial: The US president deserves far more credit for his reforms than he is presently being given

1. What Happened To The Democratic Vote?

Comparing yesterday’s exit polls to those of 2012, the first thing that jumps out at you is a big shift in age demographics: under-30 voters dropped from 19 percent of the electorate in 2012 to 13 percent in 2014, while over-65 voters climbed from 16 percent in 2012 to 22 percent in 2014. That’s quite close to the age demographics of 2010.

In terms of race and ethnicity, the white share of the electorate increased modestly from 72 percent in 2012 to 75 percent this year, not quite back up to the 77 percent whites represented in 2010. And interestingly enough, Republican performance among white voters didn’t change at all from the 59/39 margin achieved by Mitt Romney. What did change is that Republicans boosted their percentage among African-Americans from 6 percent won by Romney to 10 percent yesterday; from 27 percent to 35 percent among Latinos; and from 26 percent to 49 percent among Asians. It’s likely the age demographics had some impact on Republican minority performance, particularly among Latinos, given the relatively strong attachment of young Latinos to the Democratic Party. And in general, it’s probable more conservative minority voters were more likely to vote.

But another way to look at it is that minority voting preferences are returning to their pre-Obama level — still strongly Democratic, but not so strongly that in a poor turnout year they offset the heightened Republican preferences of white voters.

There was talk going into the election that another key Obama demographic, under-30 voters, was suddenly tilting Republican, at least among the segment willing to vote in a midterm. But in the end under-30 voters preferred Democrats 54/43–again, very similar to the splits in 2010 and down six points from the 60/37 pro-Democratic ratio of 2012.11/05/14 Read more at http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/what-the-hell-happened-to-the-democratic-vote

2. Daily Show: South By South Mess – Ad Of Brothers

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/avy6xw/democalypse-2014—south-by-south-mess–ad-of-brothers

3. Why Republicans Keep Saying They’re Not Scientists

“‘I’m not a scientist,’ or a close variation, has become the go-to talking point for Republicans questioned about climate change in the 2014 campaigns. In the past, many Republican candidates questioned or denied the science of climate change, but polls show that a majority of Americans accept it — and support government policies to mitigate it — making the Republican position increasingly challenging ahead of the 2016 presidential elections.”

“For now, ‘I’m not a scientist’ is what one party adviser calls ‘a temporary Band-Aid’ — a way to avoid being called a climate change denier but also to sidestep a dilemma. The reality of campaigning is that a politician who acknowledges that burning coal and oil contributes to global warming must offer a solution, which most policy experts say should be taxing or regulating carbon pollution and increasing government spending on alternative energy. But those ideas are anathema to influential conservative donors like the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch and the advocacy group they support, Americans for Prosperity.” 10/31/14 http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/31/us/why-republicans-keep-telling-everyone-theyre-not-scientists.html

4. The DAILY GRILL

“Republican politicians are sounding the alarm about Ebola, even hinting that President Obama bears some responsibility. Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Paul Ryan, Sen. Rand Paul, and Gov. Bobby Jindal have all suggested draconian travel restrictions that would either unfairly imprison people for three weeks in an unnecessary quarantine or bar them from traveling to this country altogether. Sen. John McCain has also joined the call to create an office for an Ebola “czar” to handle a disease so rare in the United States that you’re more likely to die from being kicked in the head by a horse.” — Amanda Marcotte in USA Today. 10/15/14

VERSUS

Reagan White House Press Briefing
Q: Larry, does the President have any reaction to the announcement—the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, that AIDS is now an epidemic and have over 600 cases?
MR. SPEAKES: What’s AIDS? 10/15/82

 

“I have been trying to get the president to pay attention to the illegals who are in our country. Because there is a spike in hepatitis C, tuberculosis, HIV, and it’s going on deaf ears.” —Statement by Maine Governor Paul LePage (R)11/01/14

VERSUS

“Rates of hepatitis A and hepatitis B have been falling in the United States consistently, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The governor was right to characterize a spike in hepatitis C, but studies indicate that the greatest increases in hepatitis C are among young white people in suburban neighborhoods east of the Mississippi River who had abused prescription opioids in the past and had a recent history of intravenous drug use. The number of tuberculosis cases in 2013 nationwide, at 9,582, was the lowest in 50 years of record-keeping, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. And the rate of HIV contraction in Maine is roughly a third of the national rate, with about 34 people contracting the disease per 100,000, compared to about 107 cases per 100,000 nationally.” — Matt Byrne in the Portland Press Herald. 11/01/14

5. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: State Legislatures and ALEC

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIMgfBZrrZ8

6. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)

Debunking The Conservative Media’s 2014 Voter Fraud Horror Stories http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/10/30/debunking-the-conservative-medias-2014-voter-fr/201382

NRA’s Ted Nugent Closes TX Gov. Race With Attack On “America-Hating” Wendy Davis Campaign http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/10/30/nras-ted-nugent-closes-tx-gov-race-with-attack/201376

Laura Ingraham Suggests Heroic Ebola Volunteers Are Just Political Props http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/10/30/laura-ingraham-suggests-heroic-ebola-volunteers/201378

Limbaugh Calls Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu “Cute Little Baby Fat”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/10/31/limbaugh-calls-democratic-senator-mary-landrieu/201401

Fox’s Mike Gallagher: Only “Unhappy Women” Complain About Street Harassment http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/10/31/foxs-mike-gallagher-only-unhappy-women-complain/201399

Obama’s Approval Rating Remains Unchanged This Year, So Why All The Press Coverage About “Sinking” Poll Numbers? http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/10/31/obamas-approval-rating-remains-unchanged-this-y/201396

Ben Stein On Fox: Obama Is “The Most Racist President There Has Ever Been In America”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/11/02/ben-stein-on-fox-obama-is-the-most-racist-presi/201413

Fox Host: We Need “An Older White Guy Appreciation Day”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/11/02/fox-host-we-need-an-older-white-guy-appreciatio/201409

Fox Uses Fuzzy Math To Predict GOP Senate Takeover Would Boost Economy http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/11/03/fox-uses-fuzzy-math-to-predict-gop-senate-takeo/201420

Laura Ingraham Suggests People Who Find It Too Difficult To Get ID Shouldn’t Vote http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/11/04/laura-ingraham-suggests-people-who-find-it-too/201445

Limbaugh: Republicans Have A Mandate “To Stop Barack Obama.” They “Were Not Elected To Govern”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/11/05/limbaugh-republicans-have-a-mandate-to-stop-bar/201455

7. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“The man in charge of investigating the 2012 Secret Service prostitution scandal has quit after he himself was caught with a prostitute – which explains why President Obama just appointed an irony czar.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Sources are saying Russia may have hacked into the White House Internet system. The problem was discovered this morning when suddenly Obama’s screen saver was a shirtless Vladimir Putin.” –Conan O’Brien

“I want to settle everybody down. Let me put this in perspective for you. Your chances of catching Ebola are the same as the Jets chances of making the play-offs.” –David Letterman

“After the Obama mask robbery, someone in a Hillary Clinton mask came in and promised to clean up the mess he left behind.” –Craig Ferguson

“The government in Cuba is encouraging citizens to have more children because the country has the lowest number of newborns in Latin America. And nothing gets you in the mood like a direct order from Fidel Castro.” –Seth Meyers

“During a campaign event, former presidential nominee Bob Dole told the crowd that Mitt Romney should run for president in 2016. If there’s anyone who knows that the third time is a charm, it’s a guy who lost three times.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Weather Channel co-founder John Coleman says there’s no such thing as man-made global warming. It’s actually not the first controversial statement Coleman has made about the weather. He also said, ‘I’ve been naming all the hurricanes after girls who dumped me in high school.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“For Halloween, a woman in Vermont is handing out kale to trick-or-treaters. If you’re in Vermont and you want to stop by, look for the house that’s been set on fire.” –Conan O’Brien

“Cosmo magazine is encouraging female students in North Carolina to vote by offering a party bus to the voting polls that includes shirtless male models — just as our forefathers intended.” –Conan O’Brien

“Mayor de Blasio said New Yorkers will not get Ebola from riding the subway. He said, ‘Let’s focus on actual things you might catch on the subway. There’s the SARS virus, bird flu, rat flu, West Nile, East Nile — plenty to choose from. Ebola’s way down the list.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“A new report claims that by the year 2020 the marijuana industry could be bigger than the NFL. Either way, it’s a good time to be in the couch business.” –Conan O’Brien

“Vladimir Putin announced he’s abolishing daylight saving time. He said he doesn’t want to set Russian clocks back. I will say this: He’s done a pretty good job of setting the Russian calendar back — to about 1983.” –Craig Ferguson

“Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said today that he has not yet decided whether he will run for president in 2016 — at which point Hillary Clinton took her foot off of his neck.” –Seth Meyers

“An Apple computer built by Steve Jobs in his garage in 1976 sold for nearly $1 million. It makes it the most affordable Apple product currently on the market.” –ConanO’Brien

8. Andy Borowitz: Exit Polls Indicate Nation Suffering from Severe Memory Loss

Exit polls conducted across the country on Election Day indicate a nation suffering from severe memory loss, those who conducted the polls confirmed Tuesday night.

According to the polls, Americans who cast their votes today had a difficult time remembering events that occurred as recently as six years ago, while many seemed to be solid only on things that have happened in the past ten days.

While experts were unable to explain the epidemic of memory loss that appears to have gripped the nation, interviews with Americans after they cast their votes suggest that their near total obliviousness to anything that happened as recently as October may have influenced their decisions.

Harland Dorrinson, who voted in Akron, Ohio, and who has no memory of anything that happened before 2013, said his main concern was a terrorist attack on American soil.

“I really think we need to put a party in charge that won’t ever let something like that happen,” he said.

Elsewhere: Fox News announced on Wednesday that it is terminating its coverage of the Ebola virus effective immediately, because, in the words of the host Sean Hannity, “Our work is done.”

Hannity added that if there is an Ebola outbreak in the U.S., Fox would offer in-depth coverage of the crisis, probably in the fall of 2016.

Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

9. Obama’s Health Law: Who Was Helped Most

The biggest winners from the law include people between the ages of 18 and 34; blacks; Hispanics; and people who live in rural areas. The areas with the largest increases in the health insurance rate, for example, include rural Arkansas and Nevada; southern Texas; large swaths of New Mexico, Kentucky and West Virginia; and much of inland California and Oregon.

To see who gained health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, and those that are still uninsured in 2014 see the interactive map at http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/29/upshot/obamacare-who-was-helped-most.html?abt=0002&abg=1&_r=0

10. UN: Effects of climate change ‘irreversible’

The Earth is locked on an “irreversible” course of climatic disruption from the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and the impacts will only worsen unless nations agree to dramatic cuts in pollution, an international panel of climate scientists warned Sunday.

The planet faces a future of extreme weather, rising sea levels and melting polar ice from soaring levels of carbon dioxide and other gases, the U.N. panel said. Only an unprecedented global effort to slash emissions within a relatively short time period will prevent temperatures from crossing a threshold that scientists say could trigger far more dangerous disruptions, the panel warned.

Secretary of State John F. Kerry, reacting to the report, said it was time to move beyond the politicization of climate science.

“We can’t prevent a large scale disaster if we don’t heed this kind of hard science,” Kerry said in a statement. “The longer we are stuck in a debate over ideology and politics, the more the costs of inaction grow and grow. Those who choose to ignore or dispute the science so clearly laid out in this report do so at great risk for all of us and for our kids and grandkids.”11/01/14 Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/effects-of-climate-change-irreversible-un-panel-warns-in-report/2014/11/01/2d49aeec-6142-11e4-8b9e-2ccdac31a031_story.html

1. NY Times Editorial: Negativity Wins the Senate

Republicans would like the country to believe that they took control of the Senate on Tuesday by advocating a strong, appealing agenda of job creation, tax reform and spending cuts. But, in reality, they did nothing of the sort.

Even the voters who supported Republican candidates would have a hard time explaining what their choices are going to do. That’s because virtually every Republican candidate campaigned on only one thing: what they called the failure of President Obama. In speech after speech, ad after ad, they relentlessly linked their Democratic opponent to the president and vowed that they would put an end to everything they say the public hates about his administration. On Tuesday morning, the Republican National Committee released a series of get-out-the-vote images showing Mr. Obama and Democratic Senate candidates next to this message: “If you’re not a voter, you can’t stop Obama.”

The most important promises that winning Republicans made were negative in nature. They will repeal health care reform. They will roll back new regulations on banks and Wall Street. They will stop the Obama administration’s plans to curb coal emissions and reform immigration and invest in education.

Campaigning on pure negativity isn’t surprising for a party that has governed that way since Mr. Obama was first sworn in. By creating an environment where every initiative is opposed and nothing gets done, Republicans helped engineer the president’s image as weak and ineffectual. Mitch McConnell, who will be the Senate’s new majority leader, vowed in 2009 to create “an inventory of losses” to damage Mr. Obama for precisely the results achieved on Tuesday. 11/05/14 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/05/opinion/negativity-wins-the-senate.html?_r=0

2. Dana Milbank: For Republicans, the hard part is about to begin

Republicans in 2014 decided to forgo a 1994-style Contract with America or 2010 Pledge to America. The closest they came to a unified agenda was a list of bromides proffered by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. Among the bold stands: “our veterans have earned our respect” and “the best anti-poverty program is a strong family and a good job.”

With this plethora of platitudes posing as an agenda, it’s no surprise exit polls found no mandate for Republicans. Only 41 percent of voters had a positive view of Obama, but only 38 percent had a positive view of Republican leaders in Congress. The economy was by far the dominant issue in voters’ minds (70 percent thought it in bad shape), and Obamacare didn’t seem to be a major factor: Forty-seven percent thought the law went too far, but 48 percent thought it either didn’t go far enough or was about right.

This gives no advantage to either side in the Republicans’ internecine struggle. On one side will be Cruz, who told The Post’s Sebastian Payne this week that the first order of business for a GOP Senate should be launching more hearings into President Obama’s “abuse of power.” He’s also pushing an effort to use parliamentary maneuvers to repeal Obamacare with a simple majority — the sort of provocation that would quickly return Washington to government-shutdown crises. Cruz, in a USA Today op-ed, also said he wants to pursue a flat tax, kill the Export-Import Bank, audit the Fed and block comprehensive immigration reform.

On the opposite side is Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, a George W. Bush administration veteran who wants to “come to the table” with Obama on wide-ranging energy legislation, free-trade deals, bipartisan tax reform and a return to responsible budgeting rather than stopgap spending bills. For this to happen, Portman notes in National Review, “all we are missing is leadership.”
Without leadership, it’s every Republican for himself. Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Rand Paul (Ky.), prospective presidential candidates both, have dueling tax plans. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, reports Politico’s Jake Sherman, “seems willing to pass small-bore bills on issues ranging from energy to health care to taxes.” By contrast, Heritage Action, which influences congressional conservatives, wants the opposite: Republicans should “focus on the big things” such as repealing Obamacare, rather than finding common ground on spending bills.

That’s the consequence of an agenda-free campaign: a majority without a mission. 11/04/14 Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-for-republicans-the-hard-part-may-be-about-to-begin/2014/11/04/3c26b1c8-646a-11e4-836c-83bc4f26eb67_story.html

3. Jeff Shesol: The Message in Republican Victory Speeches

But if there was a theme to the remarks, it was a kind of wish fulfillment—an overreading of results, an assertion of a mandate where one was not granted. What just passed was, as some people observed, an “election about nothing,” or, more accurately, about an undifferentiated mass of many things: the slow pace of job creation and economic growth, partisan gridlock, ISIS, Ebola, anger at Congress, disappointment in Barack Obama. The last of these—the President—was the singular, obsessive focus of most Republican campaigns. On Tuesday night, he rated fewer mentions, though he did merit a veiled threat from Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Leader: “The President has to listen to what the American people have said.”

Cory Gardner, the senator-elect from Colorado, claimed a mandate to “get government out of the way and let America work,” while Representative Paul Ryan saw in Tuesday’s vote a nationwide repudiation of “incompetent big government.” Ryan’s House colleague, Kevin McCarthy, who will now command (or at least try to corral) a larger majority as leader, sounded positively Gingrichian last night, bubbling that he’s got “forty bills just dealing with the economy. We’d look at tax reform … education reform…. We have a bundle of bills sitting there that we can start from day one.” As for health care, essentially a non-issue during the campaign, McCarthy said, “I think we would repeal Obamacare and replace it.” These are big plans, not new plans. The Republican Party does not have new plans.

It’s “morning in America again,” Cory Gardner proclaimed—an echo, almost obligatory for a Republican, of Ronald Reagan. If so, it’s not the kind of morning in which the rising sun casts a new light on the landscape. It’s more the kind of morning when you wake up and find—despite your dreams—a sour taste in your mouth, and pretty much the same reality you shut your eyes against last night, and the night before that, when you turned out the light. The return of a Republican Senate changes nothing other than to make worse everything that Americans dislike about Washington, and for increasingly good reason: its smugness, its bitterness, its indifference to the hopes and struggles of so many of the people who voted last night. 11/05/14 Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/message-republican-victory-speeches

4. John Cassidy: A Disastrous Night for the Democrats

It would be premature to call the 2014 election a major turning point. There’s little evidence that the country has taken a big swing toward the Republican Party’s ideology or policy positions, or, even, that it has any great liking for the G.O.P. The same exit poll that showed fifty-nine per cent of respondents were dissatisfied or angry with the Obama Administration found that sixty-one per cent of respondents were angry or disappointed with Republican leaders in Congress. It found that fifty-three per cent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of the Democratic Party and that fifty-six per cent have an unfavorable opinion of the Republican Party.

As for policy, the exit poll showed that the economy remains the biggest issue, by far, in voters’ minds. Jobs and wages are what people care about most, and, in both of these areas, they tended to support Democratic positions. One quick example: at the same time as they were electing a Republican senator and a Republican governor, the voters of Arkansas approved, by a two-to-one margin, a raise in the state’s minimum wage.

We also shouldn’t forget that this was a midterm electorate, not a Presidential-election electorate. According to the exit poll, the number of seniors who voted yesterday was twice as large as the number of eighteen-to-twenty-nine-year-olds. In 2012, there were more young voters than seniors. I haven’t seen the final figures for the racial breakdown of yesterday’s electorate, but, according to the exit poll’s preliminary findings, the percentage of non-white voters was also down significantly from 2012. Come 2016, the 2012 demographic trends will almost certainly reassert themselves.

In short, this was a big protest vote, and a big defeat for President Obama. To that extent, it was a big victory for the Republicans. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader-elect, earned his moment of glory. (“It’s time to turn this country around—and I will not let you down,” McConnell told a group of cheering supporters relatively early in the evening, following his thumping of Grimes.) But if a “wave election” is one that signifies important changes in the underlying dynamics of the American electorate, then this wasn’t a wave election. 11/05/14 Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/disastrous-night-democrats

5. David Akadjian: Perhaps the biggest difference between Republicans and Democrats

Democrats believe in democracy.

They believe in representing everyone.

Republicans believe in Republican rule. If you disagree with them, they will come after you Soprano style.

Americans have said they want a government that works. The Republican answer to this has been we are going to cock up America even more to make it appear dysfunctional because we believe this will benefit us in the election.

In other words, we have a story about how government doesn’t work and we’re going to prove it to you by grinding everything to a halt.

If you believe in one-party rule, Republicans are for you. If you believe in government by and for the wealthy and corporate special interests, Republicans are for you.

Democrats believe something different. Democrats believe in democracy. They need to articulate this belief better and stand firmly for it more when they’re in office. But they believe in democracy.

I’m not sure why they don’t advertise it more. 11/03/14 Read more at  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/11/03/1341253/-Perhaps-the-biggest-difference-between-Republicans-and-Democrats

6. Burgess Everett: Why a GOP Senate could be short-lived

After two years of obsessive focus on the teetering reelection prospects of red-state Democrats, the attention is about to shift in a major way to blue-state Republicans. Six of them who rode anti-Obama sentiment to office in 2010 are up in two years, and they’ll face the dual challenge of a more diverse electorate and potentially Hillary Clinton atop the Democratic ticket.

The leftward-tilting map means a GOP-controlled Senate could be short-lived if the party prevails on Tuesday. Even in the best-case scenario for the party, a Republican majority is certain to be slim.

A half-dozen first-term Republicans are up for reelection in states President Barack Obama won in both 2008 and 2012: Mark Kirk of Illinois, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Rob Portman of Ohio, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Marco Rubio of Florida. Obama also twice carried Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Iowa, but the longtime incumbent would be much tougher to dislodge.

Add it all up and it’s basically the mirror image of 2014.

“We shift the ground from where it was this time — seven Democrats were running in states that Obama didn’t carry — to an environment where seven Republicans are running in states that Obama did carry,” said Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of GOP leadership up for reelection in 2016.

“They start from a defensive crouch,” said one Senate Democratic aide of the Republicans. “It’s very unlikely that if they get a majority it will last longer than two years.” 10/31/14 Read more at  http://www.politico.com/story/2014/10/2014-elections-republican-senate-112369.html

7. Eugene Robinson: What Would Republicans Do?

No matter how well Republicans do at the polls Tuesday the GOP won’t be able to claim any kind of mandate. That’s because they have refused to articulate any vision for governing.

There’s nothing new or dishonorable about running against the policies of an unpopular president. But Republicans aren’t actually running against Obama’s policies in any meaningful way. Instead, they are conducting a campaign of atmospherics. Be afraid, they tell voters. Be unhappy. Be angry.

For the activist far right — already brimming with fear, anxiety and ire to spare — GOP candidates promise to obliterate Obama’s most significant achievement, the Affordable Care Act. This pledge has always been shamefully dishonest. Even if Republicans capture the Senate and manage to pass one of the umpteen House bills repealing all or part of Obamacare, the president will simply veto the measure. Do even the most fervent right-wingers believe Obama will ever, under any circumstances, sign legislation doing away with landmark reforms that bear his name?

What else do Republicans say they would do? Nothing, really, that you can put your finger on.10/31/14 Read more at  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/10/31/what_would_republicans_do_124513.html

8. Ryan J. Reilly and Dana Liebelson: Ginsburg Was Right: Texas’ Extreme Voter ID Law Is Stopping People From Voting

A Texas voter ID law considered to be one of the most restrictive in the country is doing exactly what Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg warned it would do: stopping Americans from voting.

A disabled woman in Travis County was turned away from voting because she couldn’t afford to pay her parking tickets. An IHOP dishwasher from Mercedes can’t afford the cost of getting a new birth certificate, which he would need to obtain the special photo ID card required for voting. A student at a historically black college in Marshall, who registered some of her fellow students to vote, won’t be able to cast a ballot herself because her driver’s license isn’t from Texas and the state wouldn’t accept her student identification card.

There are plenty of stories like this coming out of Texas in the early voting period leading up to Election Day. Texas’ tough voter ID law, signed by Gov. Rick Perry in 2011, requires voters to show one of seven types of photo identification. Concealed handgun licenses are allowed, but college student IDs are not, nor are driver’s licenses that have been expired for more than sixty days.

Jesus Garcia, 40, was born in Texas. He has his voter card as well as an expired form of photo identification that works just fine for most purposes. But under the Texas law, that isn’t enough proof, because his ID has been expired for too long. Getting another form of identification is difficult because his birth certificate, along with his wallet, was stolen about a year ago.

Voting experts say that people willing to speak out about voting troubles make up only a small percentage of the total number of Texans being disenfranchised. The majority may simply give up and go home. As Ginsburg predicted, the law “risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands.” 10/31/14 Read more at  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/30/texas-voter-id_n_6076536.html

9. Observer Editorial: The US president deserves far more credit for his reforms than he is presently being given

It is not the case, as Republicans and their noisy rightwing media cheerleaders claim, that Obama’s presidency and policies are solely or even mainly to blame for the nation’s discomfiture. The voters’ pessimistic outlook has three root causes. First, a weak and uneven economic recovery that has yet to lift many working households out of post-crash difficulties. Second, concern that American global leadership, whether the issue is Russia’s actions in Ukraine, anarchy in Libya or the brutality of Islamic State, is directionless, disrespected and failing. And third, a perceived lack of governmental competence and honesty in dealing with challenges such as Ebola, gun control, health and welfare reform or the illegal activities of the CIA and NSA.

This last, fundamental question of lack of trust has tarnished Congress’s reputation to an astonishing degree, producing collective performance ratings far worse than Obama’s.On the economy, his achievements are impressive, given the mess he inherited in 2009, and in their hearts, most voters probably know it. Steady growth over the past four years, unemployment down to below 6%, energy prices at a four-year low, and millions with health insurance for the first time is a reasonable scoresheet.

Nor is Obama finished. While the Republicans, if they could, would focus on tax cuts and repealing Obamacare, Democrats are prioritizing equal pay for women, a minimum wage rise and relief for student loan recipients. And while Obama cannot end incompetent two-party politics, he is changing the way America is perceived, both by outsiders and Americans.

Through his determination in ending the inherited wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama has sent a powerful, welcome message to the world about an end to American military unilateralism. And in his careful, patient efforts to build coalitions to fight “new” enemies such as ISIS, he has sent a potent message to Americans that, superpower though it remains, the US will not, need not, and does not wish to go it alone. From here on, dealing with international security crises will be a burden-sharing affair. Like Obama’s presidency, it is not glorious. It is what works. 11/01/14 Read more at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/02/us-barack-obama-midterm-elections

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