Thursday, January 21, 2010

2010: The Democrat's Annus Horribilis

January is not even done yet and the Democrats are already in retreat!

This is what happens when you didn't learn the lessons of "Being in the Wilderness," after the shellacking of Election 1994. And by G-d, it's happening again. Which House member is playing Rep. Dan Rostonkowski?

First, there was the Massachusetts Election where Senator Scott Brown won a seat not held by Republicans since Senator Edward Brooke who ended his term in 1979.

Second, the Supreme Court adjusted the Campaign Finance laws where Corporations can compete against Unions.

And Third, Air America finally went belly up.

What does this mean for 2010 and 2012?

With Senator Scott Brown's win, the Lobbyists and financial backers of campaigns will be giving more credence to Republicans after they win their Primaries.

The Supreme Court ruling means that Corporations can play the game as individual financiers do. George Soros and ACORN will now have a fight on their hands. And the interesting thing, they all have to file with the FEC -- everything is out in the open.

And anyway, the Democrats have no leg to stand on Campaign Finance anyway. Why? Remember McCain-Feingold written in 2002? Changed the laws about raising funds for campaigns somewhat for the better (yes, that was sarcasm). The Democrats spent all of 2000 - 2001 complaining about the finance laws. Bam! Senator McCain got it done.

Does anybody remember the promises during the Primary of one Senator Obama? He said he would use public financing in the General. He reneged. Senator McCain stood by the financing laws and Senator Obama raised money hand over fist. If the Democrats lie about elections, what else have they lied about? Karma is sometimes a dangerous thing to play with.

And finally Air America. Well, if you folks on the Left actually listened to Rush or Hannity or Hewitt or Levin or any of the Right, you realize Talk radio is not just saying "The other guys suck," for 24/7. It is about engaging the audience, positing ideas and defending them.

The Left has not learned how to treat their opponents like Americans who differ, instead they say Conservatives or Republicans are "Stupid or Evil," Yeah, how's that helping your debate skills?

Here's the thing. The lesson the Party out of Power is supposed to learn is: Humble yourself before the voters and stick by your beliefs. When the Democrats came back into power in 2007, did they follow through with "Cleaning House?" If they did, they wouldn't be in trouble today.

We on the Right learned our lesson, and we are listening to the Tea Partiers. Our beliefs don't change with the wind, that's why there have been more Republican Presidents in my lifetime the Democrats (i.e. Wilsonianism in the Middle East. It was a belief of the Left in 1990-91 and abandoned when President George W. Bush took up the cause. Why? No reason.).

Queen Elizabeth II coined the term "Annus Horriblis," and by G-d the Democrats are living it today.

My question: What lessons should the Left learn? And what lessons should Right learn?

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  1. Bob Flenner6:39 AM PST

    First topic first...the MA elections and the lesson learned.

    One, a sense of entitlement does not get any anyone elected. Mr. Brown ran a far better campaign; she did nothing until about a week before the vote. Very simply, she did nothing to show why she was the best person for the job.

    Elections are about the economy. If you can't say you are better off than you were a year ago, you are not likely to support the status quo.

    Thirdly, although MA is a "blue state", more people register there as independents. They left the Dems in droves and the first time voters who were captivated by Obama's rhetoric did not come out to vote.

    Fourthly, and this is the most important fact. Obama campaigned by forging very close ties to the left of the Democratic Party and since they are not happy with the accomplishments of his first year, they did not come out in support of "his" candidate. Now, this leads to a potential problem for the Republicans.

    Now, many on the left belittled the "Tea Party movement"...I was not one of them. It is truly a populist movement and as such has tremendous power and should not be underestimated. But, now I hear and read that the Republican Party wants to "harness" the movement. The Republican Party should be very careful...if they run more to the Right, they run the risk of losing the center of their spectrum much as the Dems have done. Now, the Tea Party members are not going to shift their allegiance to the Dems, but they could end up splintering the Republican Party into 2 wings. Running solely from an ideological base risks disappointment and disenfranchising and demoralizing the center. Ideologically driven people are less likely to compromise after all, and that is the core of legislative democracy.

  2. Bob Flenner6:40 AM PST

    Now onto other aspects of your post.

    3 things I applaud by the Bush administration:

    1. The war in Afghanistan. They harbored bin Laden...we still don't have him. Although I criticized the Iraq invasion, I still and always will support Afghanistan. No one harbors people who attack the one.

    2. The marine sanctuary that President Bush proposed in the Pacific. Simply, it is the largest sanctuary ever created in one of the world's largest and most fragile ecosystems.

    3. Bush's original stimulus plan after the financial meltdown. Without it, I fear we would have had 15-20% unemployment. It was decisive and I think appropriate.

    As far as Obama's accomplishments, I think that since many have not lived up to his rhetoric, they are disappointing and that's all I will say about that.

    I also think that the repeal of the campaign funding prohibition is a mistake. Not that the law was equitable but I believe that public financing of campaigns is a necessity. Take the special interest money out of politics, for both sides. Obama's decision to not abide by his promise was a mistake and makes his current comments look hypocritical.

    Political debate on both sides of the aisle is a joke...both sides demonize the other. There is no attempt on either side to's not even a debate. It is just slogans and scoring political points and not trying to find a positive, middle ground that will provide results.

    Air America was pathetic, pure and simple. No ideas at all except what they were against. The Dems, and I am one as you know, have always had a problem creating a coherent and cohesive vision of what they are for. We are far more comfortable criticizing those who don't agree with us than trying to seek out commonalities. Not that I see the conservative doing it much better, but at least they do have a more unified message.

    Finally, what is the main lessons that both the Dems and Reps should learn from the MA election and the aftermath of the last Presidential election. Beware of running in lockstep with your extreme ideological base. That was, again, one of the reasons the Dems lost in MA. If the Rep's try to harness the Tea Party's momentum and do not deliver they can suffer the same backlash as the Dems did; the erosion of support from the center and the alienation of the ideologically driven activists.

    After all, being against something makes it easier to get elected...the hard part is governing, creating consensus and getting things done. As a salesperson, if you set expectations to high and promise too much you will get the sale but run a huge risk of losing the customer. Both parties should be very careful of that.


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