November 2018 – Fearless Forecasts

by admingene on November 1, 2018


November 6, 2018 – Fearless Forecasts


We begin with 2 thoughts that seem to be appropriate in 2018.

“…you can fool some of the people all of the time…”

–Attributed to Abraham Lincoln

“There’s a sucker born every minute.”

–Attributed to P.T. Barnum


One Important Note:

Everything is moving very fast in so many races every day, it becomes very difficult to accurately gauge what will happen on Election Day.  And after the debacle of 2016, only a fool would try to predict the outcome of this year’s elections.  So here goes:

Let’s start with the good news.


Admittedly, I have not looked at these races on an individual, race-by-race basis.  However, all indications point to the Democrats taking control of the House.  While the Brett Kavanaugh hearings seemed to energize Trump’s core supporters, this seems to have become undone by the events of the last week – i.e., the Florida mail bomber and the maniac who killed 11 people at the Pittsburgh synagogue.  Many people were reminded of the damage that Trump has been doing to our country.

Democratic control of the House may not be by much (or it may), but even a one vote majority is enough to stop some of the more terrible things the current administration will try to foist upon this country.  And it will allow the Congress to do its job and begin investigating the rampant corruption (starting with the crook-in-chief).


36 of the 50 states are electing their governors in November.  While most will either re-elect sitting governors or install new governors from the same party as now, there are 11 contests where a current Republican governorship may become Democratic.  There does not appear to be any contest where the reverse is true (Democratic changing to Republican), although Independent and former Republican Bill Walker may be replaced by Republican Mike Dunleavy in Alaska.  These elections are especially important as reapportionment will occur after the 2020 census and the party in power gerrymanders its way to success in Congressional and legislative elections.

At least 7 of the 11 contested elections will be close, as follows:

Florida:    Hottest race in the country.  African-American Democratic Mayor Andrew Gillum vs. big time Trump supporter former Congressman Ron DeSantis.  If there is no or minimal hidden racist vote, Gillum will win for the Democrats. (I think he will.)

Georgia:   African-American Democratic legislator Stacey Abrams vs. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp.  Massive voter suppression efforts by Kemp and Republicans may help Kemp retain this seat for the Republicans, but race could go either way.

Illinois:     Slam dunk win for Democrat J.B. Pritzker.

Iowa:       Democrat Fred Hubbell will unseat Republican incumbent Kim Reynolds.

Kansas:    Third candidate in the race gives Democrats a chance to defeat anti-immigrant (and undoubtedly racist) Kris Kobach in Alf Landon’s home state.  Unfortunately, Kansas is still soooo Republican, Kobach probably will win; but polling has it VERY close.

Maine:     There has been very little polling in this race, but Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills should have little problem defeating Republican businessman Shawn Moody to replace Incumbent and extremely conservative Republican Paul Lepage.

Michigan:  Democratic State Senator Gretchen Whitmer should defeat Republican Bill Schuette.

Nevada:   Democrat Steve Sisolak has a chance to beat someone with a big family name in Nevada politics, State Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt, but it will be tough.  Laxalt uses his middle name because it is the same as his grandfather’s first name (former U.S. Senator Paul Laxalt).  Republican may have a slight edge.

New Mexico: In a contest between two members of Congress, Democrat Michelle Lujan
Grisham should be an easy winner over Republican Steve Pearce.

Ohio:       Close contest but Democrat Richard Cordray, former Director of the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau seems to have a very good chance to defeat former U.S. Senator, Republican Mike DeWine.  Despite Ohio’s recent history, I think the Democrat will squeak this one out.

Wisconsin:             Tea Party and now long-time Governor Scott Walker faces a tough
challenge from Democrat Tony Evers, State Superintendent of Public
Instruction.  There has not been a lot of polling done here.  I’m hoping
that Wisconsin voters have         finally had enough of Walker. I believe (hope?)
Evers will win.

In summary, I think Democrats may flip as many as 8 of these governorships out of the hands of Republicans.



Now, for the not-so-good news.

This year, there are 35 seats up for election.

24 are currently held by Democrats

9 are currently held by Republicans

2 are held by independents who caucus with the Democrats: Bernie Sanders in Vermont and Angus King in Maine.

The remaining seats divide as follows:  23 Democrats and 42 Republicans.

Here is how the 35 seats shape up:

Safe/Very Likely Democratic (21)              Safe/Very Likely Republican (7)

California (Dianne Feinstein)                    Mississippi (Roger Wicker)

Connecticut (Chris Murphy)                      Mississippi 2 (Cindy Hyde-Smith)

Delaware (Tom Carper)                          Nebraska (Deb Fischer)

Hawaii (Mazie Hirono)                            North Dakota (Kevin Cramer)

Maine (Angus King)*                              *Texas (Ted Cruz)

Maryland (Ben Cardin)                            Utah (Mitt Romney)

Massachusetts (Elizabeth Warren)            Wyoming (John Barrasso)

Michigan (Debbie Stabenow)

Minnesota 1 (Amy Klobuchar)

Minnesota 2 (Tim Smith)                         *Democrats are excited about

New Jersey (Robert Menendez)                Beto O’Rourke in Texas, but no

New Mexico (Martin Heinrich)                  poll has had him closer than 5 or

New York (Kirsten Gillibrand)                   6 points in weeks.

Ohio (Sherrod Brown)

Pennsylvania (Bob Casey)

Rhode Island (Sheldon Whitehouse)

Vermont (Bernie Sanders)*

Virginia (Tim Kaine)

Washington (Maria Cantwell)

West Virginia (Joe Manchin)

Wisconsin (Tammy Baldwin)

*Independents caucus with Democrats


7  Contested Seats

Arizona – Open Seat, currently held by Republican Jeff Flake

Currently held by frequent Trump critic (but also someone who usually votes with Trump), Jeff Flake, this may be the best chance for the Democrats to capture a Republican seat.  Eventually, the changing demographics of Arizona will give Democrats a breakthrough.  I think this is the year:


Florida – Bill Nelson, Democratic incumbent

Another very close election, with Governor Rick Scott the Republican candidate.  Most recent polling gives Nelson a very slight edge.  Who am I to disagree?


Indiana – Joe Donnelly, Democratic incumbent

Six years ago, Donnelly won this seat when Republicans nominated an extreme “tea party” candidate.  But Indiana is a very red state.


Missouri –Claire McCaskill, Democrat incumbent

As was the case six years ago, McCaskill will have a very tough time holding onto her seat in another red state.  This is another one that is VERY CLOSE.  This prediction comes with a lot of hope.


Montana – Jon Tester, Democrat Incumbent

This is the seat that Trump has targeted as the one he most wants the Republicans to win.  But Montana is an unusual state – very red in presidential elections, but more volatile in other statewide contests.  However, on Halloween, Libertarian candidate Rick Breckenridge dropped out of the race and endorsed strong Trump supporter, Republican State Auditor Matt Rosendale.  This could change everything, or nothing.  For now, I will stick with my initial thoughts on this race.


Nevada – Dean Heller, Republican incumbent

Early on, this looked like a good chance for a Democratic pick-up for Congresswoman Jacky Rosen.  It is still possible.  It should be close.


Tennessee – Open Seat, currently held by Republican Bob Corker

In another very red state, Democrats are hoping for an upset.  Republicans have nominated a very right-wing Trumpite, Marsha Blackburn.  Democrats have the popular former governor, Phil Bredesen.  This one should be closer than most Tennessee elections.




Democrats win 23 seats

Republicans win 11 seats

Independents win 2 seats (and caucus with Democrats)

Senate will have:    46 Democrats

52 Republicans

2 Independents (who caucus with Democrats)

This gives Republicans an effective 52-48 majority, one better than what they have today.  Even in the unlikely event that Democrats win Nevada and Tennessee, Republicans will still hold a majority because of the Vice-President’s tie-breaking vote.  But considering that Democrats had so many, and Republicans had so few seats to defend, maintaining the status quo is not too bad a result.



Fearless Forecast – 2016 Presidential Election

by admingene on November 3, 2016


November 8, 2016:  Fearless Forecasts

           For this year’s election projection, I will look at each state individually.  Someone recently asked for my track record predicting the presidential races.  It is pretty good, although I find this year much more difficult to predict the swing or toss-up states.  Here are my past results for the 50 states and the District of Columbia:

2012: Missed 1 state (Florida – predicted for Romney, went to Obama)

2008: Missed 1 state (Indiana – predicted for McCain, went to Obama)

2004: Missed 1 state (Ohio – predicted for Kerry, went to Bush)

2000: Missed 1 or 2 states: (New Hampshire – predicted for Gore, went to
Bush; Florida predicted for Gore…)

Bottom Line this year:  Hillary Clinton will be elected.

           Trump seems fairly well assured of receiving 159 electoral votes from these states:  Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming.  (Note: There is one Maine Congressional District that will probably give its one electoral vote to Trump.)

Clinton seems fairly well assured of receiving enough votes for victory even without winning any toss-up states, with 272 electoral votes from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.  (Note: There is one Maine Congressional District that will probably give its one electoral vote to Trump, leaving Clinton with 3 of the 4 electoral votes from Maine.)

Battleground States

Arizona – 11 Electoral Votes

Clinton has made a race of this, but I only see her
winning if this becomes a real landslide, and thanks
to James Comey, that will not happen.  Arizona will go to:                               TRUMP

Florida – 29 Electoral votes

Very close.  If Trump does not win here, even if he manages
to flip some states where he now trails, he still won’t win.
Early voting clearly breaking for Clinton.  This will be tight,
but it will go to:                                                                                                         CLINTON

Georgia – 16 Electoral votes

This is a battleground that either one could win?  Hardly.
Seems very likely to be a state for:                                                                        TRUMP

Iowa – 6 electoral Votes

No reputable poll has shown anything but a Trump lead
in a long time.  Although the race will not be a landslide,
it should be a win for:                                                                                             TRUMP

Nevada – 6 Electoral votes

Some recent polls show Trump ahead, but I think the
combination of a strong ground organization and a
significant Latino population will give Nevada to:                                         CLINTON

North Carolina – 15 electoral votes

Touch and go for both candidates, but it is still the South
and therefore will go to:                                                                                      TRUMP

Ohio – 18 Electoral votes

As everyone probably knows, no Republican has won the
White House without winning Ohio.  He won’t win the
election, but Ohio will go to:                                                                             TRUMP

Utah – 6 Electoral Votes

Independent Evan McMullin might squeak past Trump
here, but probably not::                                                                                    TRUMP



With the projections in the 10 Battleground States, the final totals may look like:

Trump Safe States                            159 Electoral Votes
Trump Battleground States             72 Electoral Votes

Trump Total                               231 Electoral Votes

Clinton Safe States                          272 Electoral Votes
Clinton Battleground States             35 electoral Votes

Clinton Total                              307 Electoral Votes


If not for James Comey’s ill-advised and poorly-timed (and possibly illegal) letter to Congress, Clinton would have won more easily, with an especially greater chance in North Carolina and Ohio.  Of course, if between the time I write this and election day, there is some resolution to the emails on Anthony Weiner’s computer, things could change, one way or the other.  But based on the vast number of emails to be examined, that seems unlikely.  Although one should never underestimate the lengths that Republicans will go to prevent a Hillary Clinton presidency, I nevertheless believe we will have our first woman President on January 20, 2017.


Senate 2016 – Fearless Forecast

by admingene on November 3, 2016


November 8, 2016 – Fearless Forecasts

This year, there are 34 seats up for election.
10 are currently held by Democrats
24 are currently held by Republicans

The remaining seats divide as follows:  36 Democrats (and Independents who caucus with the Democrats) and 30 Republicans.

Democrats need to win 14 seats to have a majority if Clinton-Kaine win.  Republicans need to win 21 seats to have a majority (20 if they have the Vice Presidency).

Here is how the 34 seats shape up:

Safe/Very Likely Democratic (10)               Safe/Very Likely Republican (16)

California (Kamala Harris)                         Alabama (Richard Shelby)

Colorado (Michael Bennett)                       Alaska (Lisa Murkowski)

Connecticut (Richard Blumenthal)           Arizona (John McCain)

Hawaii (Brian Schatz)                                  John Boozman (Arkansas)

*Tammy Duckworth (Illinois)                    Johnny Isakson (Georgia)

Maryland (Chris Van Hollen)                     Idaho (Mike Crapo)

New York (Chuck Schumer)                       Iowa (Chick Grassley)

Oregon (Ron Wyden)                                  Kansas (Jerry Moran)

Vermont (Patrick Leahy)                           Kentucky (Rand Paul)

Washington (Patty Murray)                      Louisiana (primary 11/8)

North Dakota (John Hoeven)

Ohio (Rob Portman)

Oklahoma (James Lankford)

South Carolina (Tim Scott)

South Dakota (John Thune)

Utah (Mike Lee)

*Pick up of Republican held seat


8  Contested Seats:  7 currently Republican, 1 currently Democratic

Florida – Marco Rubio, Republican incumbentl

When Rubio wasn’t running, this looked like a sure bet for the Democrats.  Although this is still close, and a good Democratic turnout could result in an upset, it will be tough for the Democrats.


Indiana – Open Seat, currently held by Republican Dan Coats

Former Senator Evan Bayh has come out of retirement to try and return to the Senate.  For a long time this looked like an easy Democratic win.  Apparently, the Bayh campaign has left something to be desired and this is now very close.  Even though this is a red state, Bayh probably needs to win for the Democrats to take over the Senate.


Missouri – Ray Blunt, Republican incumbent

Although this is another close race, most polling over the last month has Blunt with a slight lead.  With Trump carrying Missouri, this will probably hold.


Nevada – Open Seat, currently held by Democrat Harry Reid

This is the only seat the Democrats are defending and it could look better.  Polls have been all over the place.  Turnout will be everything, even more so than in many other races.  Most recent polls show a surge for the Republican.


New Hampshire – Kelley Ayotte, Republican incumbent

Another tight one.  Most recent polls, except one, have Ayotte ahead.  She has helped herself by disavowing Trump.


North Carolina – Richard Burr, Republican incumbent

Although this is another close race, like Missouri, most polling over the last month has Burr with a slight lead.


Pennsylvania – Pat Toomey, Republican incumbent

This seat has been high on the Democrats’ list, and for good reason.  Katie McGinty has led all through the fall.


Wisconsin – Republican Ron Johnson, Incumbent

Democrats were devastated when Russ Feingold lost his bid for re-election in 2010.  But he is back this year and has led all fall.


Democrats win 13 seats
Republicans win 21 seats

Senate will have:     49 Democrats
51 Republicans

This gives Republicans the continued ability to block everything Clinton wants to do, including appointing a ninth U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

If you are looking for opportunities for the Democrats to get that one extra Senate seat, pay particularly close attention to Nevada, New Hampshire and North Carolina.


What A Year We Are Having

by admingene on March 27, 2016


MARCH 26, 2016


Everyone seems to be asking how could we have gotten to this point, where Donald Trump might be the Republican nominee for President.  And everyone seems to have the same answers:  1)white people, especially the less educated, less affluent men (and some women) are angry about the economic and social changes in American society, feel powerless as whites become an ever-decreasing proportion of the U.S. population, and are scared of the future;  and 2)the modus operandi of the Republican Party, begun when Bill Clinton was first elected and that reached new heights of stridency, mean-spiritedness, and subtle racism, most notably as practiced on FOX News, has found its logical conclusion in Trump.  It has also been well-documented that those with authoritarian outlooks on the world, who are looking for that one person who can make everything all right, are drawn to his candidacy.  Ergo, the stereotype of the racist, xenophobic, fascistic appeal of Donald Trump.


Before and even after the first Republican debate last summer, columnists like George Will and other conservatives were crowing about the outstanding group of candidates who were running for their party’s presidential nomination.  Particularly after that first debate, however, it was clear that none of these candidates was even worth a vice-presidency (or its proverbial warm bucket of spit).  They ranged from the maniacal Rick Santorum to the most disliked person in Congress by his own party, Ted Cruz, to the ridiculous Donald Trump and Ben Carson.  Anyone who seemed to have a brain in his or her head and an ounce of common sense, was clearly wasting his time (pronoun chosen deliberately).


So now we have the specter of “establishment” Republicans desperately trying to force an open convention in July, where Trump might be denied the nomination.  Who knows if they will succeed?  But if they do, will Trump and his supporters go along, will they force Trump to run as an independent, will they stay home, or will they vote for the Democrat, even if it is the reviled Hillary Clinton?  All but one of those scenarios is good for the Democrats.  That one is the possibility that Republicans will choose someone liked (or not disliked) by most people in the party, who has the experience and gravitas to match Clinton’s, and who the party can unite behind.  Otherwise, whatever the Republicans do will probably be good for the Democrats.


Ah, the Democrats.  Even though she may not agree, the Sanders campaign has been good for Hillary Clinton.  She will still be the nominee, but the Sanders campaign has meant that she will have had the opportunity to respond to many of the arguments against her.  In short, Sanders has further toughened up an already tough woman.


As some Republicans have noted, (even George Schultz and S.F. Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders), her foreign policy address after the Brussels terrorist attacks demonstrated that she is the only candidate who understands world politics, foreign affairs, and how to deal with the international threats we face.  If all candidates were gathered together, she would be the only adult in the room.


Finally, my opinion of Bernie Sanders.  No, I don’t feel the Bern.  How do you spell Sanders?  I spell it M-C-G-O-V-E-R-N.  Just imagine the Republican commercials if he were the nominee:


  • Picture of Stalin, Picture of Khruschev, Picture of Sanders
  • Or perhaps a wedding ceremony, idyllic young couple leaves for their honeymoon, shot of couple superimposed on Soviet Union military parade from the 1960’s. (Sanders went to Russia for his 1988 honeymoon.)


So there we would have it (at least according to their opponents):  Sanders vs. Trump, the Commie vs. the Nazi.



That’s it for now.  More when the spirit moves me.  Enjoy the show!

U.S. SENATE CAMPAIGNS: Fearless Forecasts

by admingene on November 4, 2014

This year, there are 33 seats up for election (there are other safe Republican seats up because of retirements, but this note only deals with the regular 33).

20 are currently held by Democrats
13 are currently held by Republicans

The remaining seats divide as follows:  33 Democrats and 32 Republicans and 2 Independents, who caucus with the Democrats.

Democrats need to win 15 seats to maintain a majority, including the Vice President as a tie-breaker in a 50-50 split.  Republicans need to win 19 seats to have a majority.

Here is how the 33 seats shape up:

Safe/Very Likely Democratic (11)               Safe/Very Likely Republican (16)

Delaware                                                Alabama

Illinois                                                    Alaska*

Massachusetts                                          Arkansas*

Michigan                                                 Idaho

Minnesota                                               Louisiana

New Hampshire                                       Maine

New Jersey                                             Mississippi

New Mexico                                             Montana*

Oregon                                                   Nebraska

Rhode Island                                           Oklahoma

Virginia                                                   South Carolina

South Dakota*



West Virginia*


*Indicates change of party winning seat


6  Contested Seats


Cory Gardner (Rep) vs. Mark Udall (Inc. – Dem)

Gardner has been running ahead for a long time.




A close race where Republican David Perdue is now running slightly ahead of Democrat Michelle Nunn.




Perhaps the closest race in the country, between Republican Tea Partier Joni Ernst and Democrat Bruce Braley.  In spite of being generally pessimistic this year:




Incumbent Republican Pat Roberts vs. Independent Republican Greg Orman has been very close for weeks, but I find it hard to believe that Roberts won’t win.  Even if Orman wins, he says he will caucus with the majority party, which in the next Senate will probably be Republicans.




Democrats’ dreams of defeating Mitch McConnell with Alison Grimes are just that.



North Carolina

This is another very difficult race to predict between Incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis, but being an optimist:




Democrats win 13 seats
Republicans win 20 seats

Senate will have:
46 Democrats
52 Republicans
2 Independents (who caucus with Democrats)

This makes for an effective total of 48 Democrats and 52 Republicans. (But it could be as much as 54-46).


Obama’s 2nd Inaugural Address

by admingene on January 23, 2013

President Obama answered the excessive self-congratulatory and self-centered politics of the Paul Ryans, Mitt Romneys, and Tea Partiers who hold sway over today’s Republican Party with forceful and clear statements of how this country has triumphed over adversity and progressed from a small, experimental, slave-holding nation more than 200 years ago, to become the most powerful and important nation to have ever existed on the planet.

If there was one word in the speech that conveys his message, it was “together.”  We will not build the infrastructure needed in the 21st century city by city or state by state, but as a unified whole.  We cannot leave the protection of the “vulnerable” and neediest to the good will of every state.  We must act together, as a nation.

We cannot expect every state to ensure the freedom and “pursuit of happiness” for every person without a national commitment.  If there had been no federal action, in some states there might still be segregation, laws against inter-racial marriage, no social security insurance to help people as they get older, no Medicare and certainly no promise of universal (or near-universal) health insurance.  One often hears people who oppose laws that benefit people who are unlike themselves say that “you cannot legislate morality.”  On the contrary, that is often the only way to bring it about.  As the President said, “We must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because …our time…requires the constant advance of…tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.”

President Obama understands that we won two world wars by working together; that we won the Cold War by standing together when most needed; that we created the first great middle class by allowing unions to protect its worker members; that public education, public roads and transportation, consumer protection, health protection and so many other cornerstones of an advanced society resulted from laws that enhance all people, together.  As he said, these things “do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take risks that make this country great.”

In his address he took stands for women’s rights, gay rights, voting rights, immigrants’ rights; for protecting our planet; and protecting our children.  He also acknowledged that progress is often incremental. But some progress is better than none at all.

There are many forces of ignorance and intolerance that will fight him at every step.  I hope that even the most backward-looking Republicans recognize that it is in their self-interest to compromise with the President and do what is right, no matter how much it hurts.

Republicans Up to Some of Their Old (and Some New) Tricks

by admingene on January 7, 2013

There they go again.  Just when you thought they couldn’t get much worse, the Republicans in the U.S. Congress, and other “leading” conservatives have, in the past few weeks, exhibited behavior that has given them the well-earned designation as the “Party of No,” the party that puts Americans at risk, and the party that exposes us to embarrassment in the rest of the world.  Here are four recent examples that defy logic and common sense.

On Tuesday, December 4, 2012, 38 Republicans voted against a United Nations treaty requiring two-thirds approval for ratification that will bring the rest of the world up to the standards already codified into law in the United States; namely, that people with disabilities have the same rights as people without disabilities.  The treaty was modeled on the U.S. law, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, signed into law by Republican President George H.W. Bush.  Former Republican Senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole was on the Senate floor, urging his party to approve the treaty.  But 38 Republican Senators, following a ridiculous argument most vociferously put forward by Rick Santorum, decided that the treaty somehow would infringe on American sovereignty and that, as noted in the N.Y. Times, “United Nations bureaucrats would be empowered to make decisions about the needs of disabled children.”  Hard to believe that a majority of Republican senators still feel we should not be part of the U.N.  Obviously, these senators would have been happier when they could oppose President Wilson and the League of Nations.

At the end of 2012, Republicans in the House of Representatives did not vote on renewing the Violence Against Women Act because Majority Leader Eric Cantor objected to provisions that extended protections to Native American women.  I wonder if that was really his objection or if his opposition actually stemmed from the fact that the version of the bill overwhelmingly passed by the Senate extends domestic violence protection to LGBT individuals and undocumented immigrants, as well as Native Americans.  Fortunately, it now appears that there may be enough Republicans in the House to pass the bill in the new Congress, once the Senate passes it again.  Aren’t you glad the Republicans haven’t been waging a war on women?

At the end of 2012, the Senate passed a bill authorizing $60 billion in relief aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey and New York.  Speaker Boehner, however, refused to allow the bill to come to the floor of the House for a vote.  After numerous attacks from Republicans and Democrats in those two states, led by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie calling Speaker Boehner and House Republicans “disgraceful,” the House finally passed an approximately $9 billion package for expanded flood relief, with a promise to vote on the other $51 billion on January 15.  Once again, Republicans in the House put their obsessive goal of reducing government above the needs of the people.

Finally (for now), we have that bastion of modern conservatism, the National Rifle Association.  The NRA used to be an organization interested in gun safety and the education of Americans in the safe and proper use of firearms.  No more.  Their outrageous suggestion to turn every school in America into an armed camp, defies logic and intelligence.  Unless, of course, you view the world as best served when we all behave as they did in Tombstone in the late 1800’s.  Yup, let ‘em shoot it out to decide any and all disputes.  To the NRA, life should be a B-movie western from the 1930’s.

One would think that after losing the Presidential election, having fewer seats in the Senate and the House, and having more Americans vote for Democratic House candidates than Republican ones (Republicans retained their House majority because of effective gerrymandering), Republicans might be open to ideas that would make them more appealing to the majority of Americans.  One, however, would be wrong.

December 7, 2012:  This & That

by admingene on December 7, 2012

  1. In a recent speech to the conservative Federalist Society, the New York Times reported that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito defended the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, saying that “Surely the idea that the First Amendment protects only certain privileged voices should be disturbing to anybody who believes in free speech” and that “The question is whether speech that goes to the very heart of government should be limited to certain preferred corporations; namely media corporations.” I guess Alito never heard of freedom of the press and he does not understand that in today’s world, media corporations often operate our free press.  Even if we don’t like what FOX News, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, etc. have to say, they report the news and are protected by our commitment to freedom of the press.  Oil companies report nothing but profits (and very occasionally losses) and are not, by any stretch of the imagination, members of the press.
  2. Hard to believe, but the 2016 presidential campaign has already begun. The potential Republican candidates are almost too many to mention.  They certainly include Ryan, Rubio, Christie, Jindal, Jeb Bush, Santorum, Rand Paul, Huckabee, Haley, Cain (Herman, not Matt), and who knows how many others.On the Democratic side, all probably depends on Hillary Clinton, although she will be 69 years old if she takes office in 2017, a year younger than Ronald Reagan was when he took office in 1981.  Joe Biden, another possibility, will be 74, so his candidacy seems unlikely.  Others frequently mentioned are New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.  If Hillary runs, I would hope the field will clear itself to avoid a potentially damaging primary campaign.  It is hard to imagine anyone beating her for the nomination in 2016.

Democratic Control of California State Government

by admingene on December 7, 2012

Democrats in California have a rare opportunity to accomplish a great deal for the State.  As you undoubtedly know, State government is now totally controlled by the Democrats.  A Democrat is Governor and two-thirds of the members of each house of the Legislature are Democrats.  While some argue for caution, I would argue for boldness.

In 2009, Democrats in the U.S. Congress held a majority in the House of Representatives and a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate.  But they did not take full advantage of the opportunity, and after the death of Ted Kennedy, the 60 vote majority quickly disappeared.  The California opportunity does not come along very often.  The last time Democrats held the Governorship and two-thirds of both houses of the legislature was 130 years ago.  There is no reason to think the current situation will last very long.

During the 1960 campaign for President, when asked why he wanted to be President, John Kennedy famously said, “Because that’s where the power is.”  Democrats have the power and should use it.  If the situation were reversed, you can be sure the Republicans would be repealing every tax in sight and dismantling, or at least crippling, every program that helps people in need.  It is time to improve education from pre-school through college.  Repairing and maintaining our physical and technological infrastructure is necessary to attract and retain businesses and jobs.  Some of the social programs that have been lost to budget constraints over the past few years should be re-instated, on at least a moderate level.  We should make it easier to pass school parcel taxes and other local tax measures by lowering the passing threshold below two-thirds.  And assuring the success of Obamacare in California will only make us healthier and stronger.  While the views of the minority should be respected and taken into consideration, lest Democrats be seen as overreaching and overtaxing, the voters have said that government can help people and help the State.  Democrats must not be afraid to listen to the voters.

Racism & The President

by admingene on November 19, 2012

It has been abundantly clear that some of the venom directed towards President Obama since he took office is motivated by deep racist feelings among some people in this country.  This does not mean that everyone who dislikes the President and/or his policies does so because they are racists.  However, racism has been demonstrated over and over again by the crude “jokes” and cartoons published by some local Republicans in various parts of the country, as well as comments for years from right wing talk show hosts, and not-too-subtle comments during the recent campaign from Romney surrogates like John Sununu that the President was “lazy” and more interested in playing basketball than doing the work of a president.  It also manifested itself when a Congressman shouted out at the President, “you lie,” during an address to Congress.  I strongly doubt that he would have done that to a white president.

An African-American friend of mine who is very politically savvy and sophisticated recently raised an issue about the President’s first term in office.  He felt that President Obama acted and reacted at various times as the groundbreaking figure that he is.  He compared the President to Jackie Robinson who, when he began his major league career, was on the receiving end of constant death threats and horrific racist insults.  It has been well documented how Robinson knew he had to “turn the other cheek” to every one of these.  He had to show almost superhuman self-control and patience.  Somehow he managed to rise above the haters and stay there.  His stoicism, humanity and dignity made it possible for much of a skeptical white America to accept him and, therefore, accept a future that included African-American, Latino and Asian ballplayers, even if they still didn’t like it.

Similarly, President Obama did not react to the racism and hate.  My friend believes that it was important that the President not be perceived as an “angry Black man.”  The result may have been a misperception of the President as weak, particularly in his dealings with Congress.  As he begins his second term there will be no such constraints on President Obama.  He will never be a hot-headed man with a quick trigger for a temper.  That is not who he is.  But I expect he will be more aggressive in his dealings with the bullies who are the Republican leaders in the House and Senate and who pass themselves off as the “loyal opposition.”  They are certainly the opposition, but there is little that is loyal about them, except perhaps to their own sense of entitlement to power.  Perhaps if President Obama was Jackie Robinson in his first term, he will be Curt Flood in his second.