Teabagistan is Born

The Tea Party took decisive, measured steps today toward becoming a full-fledged domestic terrorist group. Some of its members faxed death threats to congressmen, other vandalized offices. An investigation was launched into the cutting of a gas line of the brother of another congressman and meanwhile, Greensboro’s conservative bloggers were all deadly silent on the topic. I wonder why that is.

The Tea Party has been filled with extremists from the day it was born, but now, egged on by Sarah Palin, and suffering a devastating loss at the hands of Obama for health care reform, they’ve decided to “double down on the crazy”. What’s worse, members of the U.S. Senate like John McCain and North Carolina’s very own Richard Burr are encouraging them with their infantile obstructionism to prevent the business of government. Are these representatives men or children? Are they so obsessed with exacting retribution for the health care loss that they are willing to put national security at risk? Seriously?

This is what the right-wing in this country has become. A gang of unprincipled, dishonorable thugs. They are starting down the path of violence and domestic terror, and are being supported by the actions of some of this country’s most (previously) distinguished elected officials. This must end now before it’s too late. A storm is on the horizon, and unless cooler heads prevail and the course is corrected, we’ll all go down with the ship. Call Senator Burr’s office and tell him to grow the hell up. Send him a tweet and demand that he get back to work and stop throwing a temper tantrum.

From the Mouth of Babes

Conservative blogger and daughter of Sen. John McCain, Meghan, has been slowly emerging from her father’s shadow since his failed election bid. Meghan’s been active on Twitter and making waves in the Republican party for months, but her latest appearance before a crowd of Log Cabin GOP on Saturday could be the tipping point:

“I feel too many Republicans want to cling to past successes. There are those who think we can win the White House and Congress back by being ‘more’ conservative. Worse, there are those who think we can win by changing nothing at all about what our party has become. They just want to wait for the other side to be perceived as worse than us. I think we’re seeing a war brewing in the Republican Party. But it is not between us and Democrats. It is not between us and liberals. It is between the future and the past.”

No doubt these words only further to strengthen the perception of the ultra-right that Meghan is simply a RINO (Republican in name only), as is demonstrated by recent attacks against her by Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter. Such posturing toward the young conservative only adds credibility to McCain’s central thesis that “old school Republicans” are “scared shitless” and party shills such as Coulter, Limbaugh and Malkin represent the failed GOP past.

I find it fascinating how conservatives can dismiss the views of someone like McCain simply because she dares to speak the truth. Like many young people, her take on social issues is more tolerant than those of just her father’s generation. She courageously called on conservatives to re-examine their position on gay marriage not because she’s a closet liberal but because she’s knows that social equality always trumps bigotry.

McCain also knows the right will need to make fundamental changes in the way they conduct politics if they have any hope of courting new voters and growing the party. By striking the right balance between conservative and liberal ideals like a true Independant, Meghan may one day be able to achieve that which eluded her father. If she keeps speaking truth to power like she did on Saturday night, one day I just might vote for her.

Right-Wing Lies Leave 3 Cops Dead

Shortly after Barack Obama won the White House, I happened to have a talk with my brother in-law about our new President. He told me that many of his gun owning friends were “stocking up” on ammo and weapons because they feared Obama would infringe on their 2nd amendment rights. There was no direct evidence of this of course, but I didn’t protest too much, after all, he was family.

In the months since then, gun sales have soared spurred by lies from the right-wing to their hard base that Obama is threatening to take away their guns. Pushed by the usual suspects like Rush, Hannity, FOX News and others, this widespread (but completely unfounded) belief that the White House is going to do away with all guns was the reasoning behind a deadly shooting spree today. From the AP:

A gunman wearing a bulletproof vest and “lying in wait” opened fire on officers responding to a domestic disturbance call Saturday, killing three of them and turning a quiet Pittsburgh street into a battlefield, police said.

Police Chief Nate Harper said the motive for the shooting isn’t clear, but friends said the gunman recently had been upset about losing his job and feared the Obama administration was poised to ban guns….

Poplawski had feared “the Obama gun ban that’s on the way” and “didn’t like our rights being infringed upon,” said Edward Perkovic, his best friend….

The entire event is eerily similar to the threats of violence we heard at McCain/Palin rallies during the Presidential Campaign. Left unchecked, lies tend to fester, especially when they are fueled by like-minded individuals in the media.

The GOP had better pull their heads out of the sand and take a look around before things get out of control. McCain had the integrity to state the facts about Obama near the end of the campaign and railed against the “Barack as terrorist” meme. The rest of the conservative movement would do well to take a cue from the Senator from Arizona and let cooler heads prevail.

Election Prediction Results

Back on October 23rd, I offered up several election predictions. Now that the most important election in recent memory is one for the books (almost), I thought I should go back and take score on how I did. When it came to predicting the election no one beat Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com, but all in all I think I held my own. Be sure to check the tally at the end of the post for the final results.



Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States
This was the easiest prediction I’ve ever made. There has been little doubt in my mind since Obama locked up the nomination that he would be our next President. You can say McCain threw the Presidency away with his poor choices, but even if he hadn’t, I submit to you that the need for change was too great. Obama would have won anyway and with good cause. With his win it’s once again “cool” to be an American, and that is something many of us have not felt in a long, long time.



Obama wins at least 320 electoral votes
As of this writing, Obama has a total of 364 electoral votes to John McCain’s 163. The only state left outstanding is Missouri. Just to put these numbers in perspective, Bush won 286 electoral votes against Kerry in 2004 and only 271 against Gore in 2000.



Obama wins NC, CO, OH, IN and MS
As they say, three out of four isn’t bad. I feel particularly vindicated about North Carolina and Indiana. I thought I would go against the conventional wisdom and call Missouri for Obama, but that was just wishful thinking. On the other hand, I’ve been calling North Carolina for Obama for almost a year, and even though it was close, Obama managed to pull it out in the end. Go blue NC!



Obama wins popular vote by at least 3%.
Obama blew this one out of the water. Barack Obama won the popular vote in 2008 52.6% to John McCain’s 46.1%, a difference of a full 6.5%. The total turnout for this election was 126.5-128.5 million voters (count not final yet).



John McCain wins Florida, Georgia and Virginia
Looks like I gave John McCain way too much credit here. Obama won Florida 50.9% to McCain’s 48.4% and amazingly Obama even took Virginia by a commanding lead of over 200,000 votes. This was the first time in 44 years that Virginia voted Democratic in the Presidential election. Wow.



John McCain eeks out win in West Virginia.
I think I called this one pretty much dead on. McCain won the state but only by a margin of a little less than 90,000 votes. Early in the evening, it looked like Obama might pull WV out, but the final results went for McCain.



Liddy Dole barely defends her NC Senate seat.
I’ve never been happier to be so wrong. Hagan gave Dole a pasting in North Carolina and it showed early. I will say that I made my Dole over Hagan prediction a few days before Dole started running her “Godless” ad here in the state. The backlash from that poor decision was swift and decisive. Within a few days of the commercial running, Hagan was up 7 points over the incumbent Republican who only spent some 35 days in NC in 2005.



Pat McCrory defeats Beverly Perdue.
Ask anyone in the days before the election who you thought would be the next govenor of North Carolina and I’m willing to bet they would have answered Pat McCrory. From Brad & Britt to Ed Cone, I think it’s fair to say we all thought that McCrory had a lock. The fact that Perdue managed to pull it out I think is a function of straight-party ticket votes in NC. In North Carolina, here is the breakdown of straight-party voting: Democratic 58.86% with 1,264,076 and Republicans 40.27% 864,907. Thanks in part to Barack Obama, this was a good year to be a Democrat to be on the ballot, no ifs ands or buts.



Al Franken defeats Norm Coleman in MN.
They are still counting votes in Minnesota and Coleman’s lead is dwindling fast. State law dictates a manual recount so we won’t know the real outcome until sometime in late November or mid-December at the earliest. Unsurprisingly Norm Coleman is urging Al Franken to concede and not bother with the recount. Yeah, right. He doesn’t know Al very well does he?



Senator Ted Stevens loses in Alaska. Badly.
Remarkably, Ted Stevens managed to actually hold on and seemingly beat Begich in a tight race. I say seemingly because as of this writing, there are over 40,000 provisional and absentee ballots that have yet to be counted and Stevens may very well lose the race. No matter what happens however, my thoughts of Stevens getting his can kicked were way off. Alaskans are an unpredictable bunch, that’s for sure. And then there’s that pesky matter of Stevens being a convicted felon. Bummer dude!



Democrats pick up at least 4 Senate seats.
Correct and then some. As of this writing, Democrats have picked up a total of 6 Senate seats. Those pick ups are: Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon and Virginia. At least 2 more Democratic pick ups are possible once the counting is done: Minnesota and Alaska. Democrats won’t reach their fabled filibuster-proof 60 seats, but they’ll be darned close.



Democrats pick up 32 House seats.
Way off on this one, I admit it. As of this writing the Democrats picked up a total of 20 House seats with 6 seats still undecided. That being said, the Dems padded their control of the House far more than the GOP would have liked.



Republican Michele Bachmann of MN is defeated.
Perhaps the most disappointing and surprising result of the 2008 election. Somehow anti-Obama and anti-american Michele Bachmann managed to hold onto her House seat in Minnesota’s 6th district. If anyone in this cycle deserved to be stripped of her seat, it was Michelle Bachmann. In a disgusting display to plead favor with the nation after Obama had won, she went to the media and basically said she was proud and “extremely grateful” Obama was the victor. Voters will be watching this anti-American McCarthy clone like a hawk in the months ahead.



Sarah Palin is a deciding factor in McCain loss.
This one is debatable, but I’m going to call it in my favor. Republican’s were hoping for two so-called “effects” on election day – the Bradley Effect and the Palin Effect. Neither one of them materialized. In fact, there was evidence that Sarah Palin hurt McCain badly in the voting booth. Women were unimpressed with her, and even many GOP voters decided against McCain on the sole basis of her being on the ticket. She was a pathetic pick from the get-go who only fired up the ultra-right wing of the base. When the story of this election is written, I’m confident that Palin will be one of the biggest chapters why McCain failed.



National election turnout ends up around 66%.
My initial guess was going to be in the 70% range, but I brought it down to be a bit more realistic. Even that wasn’t enough however as the voter turnout for the 2008 elections ended up being only 62.6%. Feh.



Total right – 6
Total wrong – 6
Total undecided – 3

I may end up ahead in the end, but it’s clear that Nate Silver shouldn’t come anywhere near me. Ed Glosser I am not. :-)

It’s Sarah Palin’s World. John McCain is Just Living In It.

The cracks started to show several weeks ago when Palin disagreed with the McCain’s idea to pull out of Michigan. The cracks grew into fractures when it was reported that the campaign spent some $150,000 of GOP donor money on clothes and makeup treatments for Palin and her family so they could “look good” during the run up to the election. Accusations flew, and some within the McCain camp started leaking nasty things about Sarah to the press. “She’s gone rogue” said one advisor. Then this week came the infamous “whack job” comment. Now from ABC news comes the icing on the chilly cake that is the Palin/McCain campaign. Sarah’s ready for 2012!

“Gov. Sarah Palin suggested that if the Republican ticket is defeated on Tuesday she expects to be a player in the next election four years from now, saying “I’m not doing this for naught.”

In an interview with ABC News’ Elizabeth Vargas, the Republican vice-presidential nominee was asked about 2012, whether she was discouraged by the daily attacks on the campaign trail, and would instead pack it in and return to her home state of Alaska.

“I think that, if I were to give up and wave a white flag of surrender against some of the political shots that we’ve taken, that would bring this whole & I’m not doing this for naught,” Palin said.”

It seems that someone has a taste for their new found, conservative popularity. It would be a shame for all that stumping to go to waste if and when McCain loses. So Sarah seems to be hedging her bets for the next go around four years from now. The fact that she’s talking about 2012 six days before the 2008 election is nothing less than stunning. If I was John McCain, I’d be positively livid, but all things being equal it serves him right. This is what McCain gets when he listens to the likes of mr-thinks-he-knows-everything-but-really-knows-nothing Bill Kristol. Palin is turning out to be the single best thing Kristol’s ever done for the left in his long and illustrious career of being completely and utterly wrong. You betcha!

NC ‘Straight Ticket’ Votes Not Counted for President

If you reside in North Carolina and are getting ready to vote in the 2008 elections, then you need to be aware of a potential problem that is giving both poll workers and voters alike, headaches. Due to an obscure law passed back in 1967, when you vote a so-called “straight ticket” (pressing the button on the electronic voting machine for all Democrat or all Republican), no vote is recorded for President of the United States or judges.

In order for your vote for President to count, you will have to manually select the candidate of your choice in addition to the straight ticket choice. A Daily Kos diary of a poll worker in North Carolina has outlined the problem and the worker personally saw at least 200 votes that were meant for one candidate not counted because of the confusion. Spread the word about this NC voting quirk if you can, the more people that sound the alert, the better.

Hat tip to David Miller for this post.

McCain’s Pride & Joy

In last night’s final Presidential debate, John McCain said he was “proud” of the people that come to his and Sarah Palin’s rallies. While I have no doubt that vast majority of these people are fine, upstanding Americans, some are not. When I watched this video capturing the reaction of McCain / Palin supporters after a rally, I literally felt sick to my stomach. A list of just some of the hateful, bigoted words that were hurled at Barack Obama follows. I pray for the souls of these poor, ignorant folks. They are the antithesis of what America is all about.

“I’m afraid if he wins, the blacks will take over. He’s not a Christian! This is a Christian nation! What is our country gonna end up like?”

“When you got a Negra running for president, you need a first stringer. He’s definitely a second stringer.”

“He seems like a sheep – or a wolf in sheep’s clothing to be honest with you. And I believe Palin – she’s filled with the Holy Spirit, and I believe she’s gonna bring honesty and integrity to the White House.”

“He’s related to a known terrorist, for one.”

“He is friends with a terrorist of this country!”

“He must support terrorists! You know, uh, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. And that to me is Obama.”

“Just the whole, Muslim thing, and everything, and everybody’s still kinda – a lot of people have forgotten about 9/11, but… I dunno, it’s just kinda… a little unnerving.”

“Obama and his wife, I’m concerned that they could be anti-white. That he might hide that.”

“I don’t like the fact that he thinks us white people are trash… because we’re not!”

UDPATE: Since McCain and Palin are unwilling to quell the fear, bigotry and loathing they themselves have helped spread, things are getting worse, not better. Hate is an ugly, ugly thing and unfortunately John McCain and Sarah Palin have preyed on it to advance their weak agenda. Something tells me however, this time it’s not going to work. At least I have to keep telling myself that or risk total despair for my fellow Americans.

Becoming A Statistic

Since my wife and I have privacy blocking on our home phone, I usually don’t answer unknown calls after dinner time. I would have ignored tonight’s phone call too if it hadn’t been for the fact that the Red Sox were getting their can kicked by the Rays for the second straight night and I desperately wanted a diversion. So I answered the call, which was cool since it was a survey group collecting data for their latest political poll.

They asked me all kinds of questions. How familiar I was with the candidates for both President and North Carolina Senate, how likely I was to vote for them and how I felt about a range of issues. They also asked me some interesting questions about Dole and Hagan’s advertising, what I took away from the ads and what my overall impression of the candidates were based on what I had seen. Needless to say I was all too eager to voice my opinions on all of these subjects.

When it was over, the poll had taken about 10 minutes in which time the Rays had managed to score another 4 runs on the Red Sox so all and all I think it was time well spent. I look forward to seeing the latest polls at FiveThirtyEight.com and knowing that I did my bit to push Barack’s numbers just a tad bit higher for the week. I do what I can.

Stage 3: Bargaining

Before last night’s debate, I had a vibrant discussion about the Presidential race with a close friend. I love talking politics, especially with people on the other side of the aisle. We were both enjoying the verbal sparring when my friend said something very telling. He said that he was starting to come to the realization that Obama would most likely win the election, and unless he somehow managed to screw up, Barack was riding a wave that would easily carry him into office. Then he said something which I think you’re going to be hearing a lot more over the next three weeks – “It’s okay though, I never liked McCain any how.”

This is the unspoken truth behind GOP supporters this year. From the very beginning, conservatives have had to put up or shut up with John McCain. I’ve said before that he’s never been a true hero of theirs. In the past, he would disagree with his party at the most inopportune times and throw a political monkey wrench into the works, seemingly just to spite the Malkins and Hannitys of the world. As a friend of mine on Twitter recently said, this year conservatives are not voting for McCain so much as they are voting against Obama.

So if the current polling keeps up, and Obama manages to pull away with this race, expect to hear much more of the “we never liked McCain” meme from the right. They will use it to console themselves and deflect criticism until a “real” conservative can run in 2012. You know, someone like another Bush.

UPDATE: Dave points to a handy post that highlights the five stages of loss conservatives are feeling over at FreeRepublic.com. This is political gold folks.

Why Palin Lost

The much anticipated Vice Presidential debate is now past us and I have to say I’m relieved. Relieved because quite frankly Sarah Palin has been an unknown quantity up to this point, but no longer. Last night she proved to me, and millions of Americans, that she really isn’t ready to be VP.

I give her major props for actually putting in a credible performance in last night’s debate. Stylistically she was friendly, approachable and down to earth. Unlike McCain with Obama, Palin looked Biden in the eye, and gave him credit for his positions on several occasions. But as the debate wore on, it was clear Palin was speaking from wrote. She didn’t answer the questions put to her, she mispronounced critical names and couldn’t keep up with Biden on important topics like nuclear proliferation and the economy.

The people this morning that are telling you Sarah won the debate are the same ones who went into the event white knuckled. They were scared beyond belief that the “Katie Couric” Palin would show up. You know, the one that couldn’t form complete thoughts, couldn’t name one periodical she’s read and didn’t know any Supreme Court decisions beyond Roe v Wade. So expectations were sufficiently lowered that supporters now feel confident saying Palin “mopped the floor” with Biden. It simply isn’t so, and in fact, just the opposite happened.

Here are just some reasons why Palin lost last night’s debate:

• Calling Afghanistan’s commander McKiernan “General McClellan” repeatedly and then lying about what he said on how an Iraqi surge “won’t work” in Afghanistan.

• Wanting to give the Vice President even “more power” in the US Senate. Biden killed her on this particular question. Palin’s surrogates disagreed with her take. The answer Biden gave was frank and reassuring. Palin’s reinforced the Bush policy of the Unitary Executive.

Misunderstanding and then glossing over questions about a nuclear Iran to get to prepared answers to her own questions on a completely different subject.

• Over-use of “maverick”. She said it like 5 times in the last 15 minutes, until Biden had simply enough.

• Her rambling, incoherent answer on climate change. She clearly doesn’t understand or won’t admit the problem.

• It’s “blunders” Sarah, not “blenders”.

• “I’ve only been at this what, five weeks?” That admission was a huge mistake. It will be played in TV and radio ads just like Obama’s multiple “McCain was right” lines. Yes, she has only been at this five weeks and it shows.

• She decries the media “filter” and wants to answer more of American’s questions directly but won’t agree to a general press conference. What’s up with that?

If the first and only Vice Presidential debate had been purely about style over substance then yes, Palin might have won. Americans however, were looking for cues to reassure them that Palin deserves the position that John McCain awarded her. They were not simply watching to see Wasilla Sarah’s folksy mannerism, “gosh darn-its” and winks to the camera. They came to learn if Palin had the stuff to take over as leader of the free world should something happen to a 72 year old man with a history of health problems. They didn’t get what they wanted.