Showing posts with label 2010 Election. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2010 Election. Show all posts

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Progressive Soul Searching in Wisconsin, PA, & other Red Gov. States



The failed attempt this week to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has left many of his opponents to scratch their heads and wonder "was it the money?", "Was it better organization?", "Was something wrong with the exit polls?", and "What does it mean for Obama's reelection?"  While these questions are interesting there are other questions, races, and issues that can be overlooked.  My state Pennsylvania has it's own Scott Walker as Governor, Tom Corbett.  On May 18 there was a great rally at the Pittsburgh Opera against their giving him an award for his lifetime contribution to the arts as can be seen in the clip above.  The primary and secondary teachers unions were well represented but I didn't see any of the University activists there. 

The graphic below shows that PA is one of the worst states when it comes to cuts in Higher Education with a 13.4% decrease in spending with further cuts proposed this coming year with the state related Universities (Jan Brewer's Arizona and Walker's Wisconsin are the second and third worst at 25.1% and 20.9% respectively behind New Hampshire at 41.3%).  Of the 18 states that are dark red in the map below 13 have Republican Governors.


Below the CNN exit poll shows that in Wisconsin this week, Walker and his challenger Tom Barrett split the 18-24 college age vote in Wisconsin while Barrett won the 25-29 year olds and Walker either won or split the older age groups.  The under 30 age group only comprised 16% of the electorate in Wisconsin (they are about 20% of those over 18 in the state) while they are the ones most likely to adversely affected by Walker's cuts to higher ed.  50-64 year olds were over represented (34% of the electorate but about 20% of the electorate).

CNN Wisconsin Exit Poll

AgeTotalBarrettWalkerOther/No Answer
18-249%48%51%1%
25-297%57%42%1%
30-3913%48%51%1%
40-4919%37%63%N/A
50-6434%49%50%1%
65 or Older18%44%56%N/A

It is true that this is one issue among many at play in the recall race.  It is helpful to look at the data to see where the revealing patterns are about which groups we need to reach out to for 2014 when Walker and Corbett are up for reelection.  I can assure you that their people are looking at population data to see what the trends are for 2012, 2014, and beyond.  Not only are they sitting on a mountain of cash.  They are also sitting on a mountain of data.




**Update**

The Pew Research Center has come out with a survey showing how the partisan divide has grown larger over the last 20 years.  I asked a question that was posed to Michael Dimock, the primary investigator on C-SPAN's Washington Journal at about the 15:10 minute mark about what is causing the divide.
 



**Related Posts** 


Pitt & PSU going private: Shifting the Tax Burden to College Families & A Bigger Story Than the Pitt Bomb Threats & Joe Paterno 

 

States as Laboratories and Lavatories of Democracy

 

Change at My Alma Mater, IUP (Indiana University of Pennsylvania). Undergrads Getting Squeezed

 

Making Sense of the Pat Toomey-Joe Sestak Senate Race

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My (Quarter Year of) Blogging in Review

Since I launched this blog at the end of September I've had over 1,100 page views from every continent on Earth. Aside from the United States the countries with the most views are: Canada 48 United Kingdom 42 Russia 23 Netherlands 15 Slovenia 11 Germany 8 Italy 8 Norway 8 Australia 5 Even though it has only been posted since Dec. 17th the post Income and Life Expectancy. What does it Tell Us About US? became easily the most viewed post largely due to it being linked to the page for the BBC programme (British spelling) The Joy of Stats with over 270 views.



A distant second in views is my post titled Why does the right demonize Nancy Pelosi? with 115 views. It is also my most commented post (mostly negative) both on my web page and my facebook page. I guess this one hit a nerve.



My third most viewed post is probably my most personal called Bullying & Society. It details how schoolyard bullying is a symptom of a much larger disease which was much in evidence in the 2010 election.

My fourth most viewed blog is titled What is Sanity? It is my account of the Rally to Restore Sanity and it's context. What was the point of it and what is the sane thing to do? It's also the only post where I make a cameo appearance.


Except for my most viewed post, I've had to drum up traffic through updating posts and promoting them mostly via Facebook and Twitter.

A summary statistic can make a general statement about the data but can never tell you the whole story. That is why it is important to look at it from as many angles as possible.








**Update**

This is slightly unrelated to this post but its within the spirit. The Atlantic Monthly has a good graphic on how the US has changed since the Great Recession began in 2008. Some trends are surprising others are not. It's too big and detailed to repost here but it can be read at:

How the Recession Changed US

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nancy remains. Now what about Harry (and now Barry)?


John Nichols has written many insightful blogs at The Nation magazine about the recent power struggles within the House Democratic Caucus. Below he details how Speaker Pelosi will soon be Minority Leader Pelosi and the challenges ahead. In a previous post I detailed how she was attacked in advertising in this past election and likely will be in 2012 (see Why does the Right Demonize Nancy Pelosi?)

Pelosi Easily Retains Leadership Post; Now She Must Lead | The Nation

While the focus has been on the House drama with Republicans drooling at more demonizing. The Senate has received little attention because party leadership has not changed hands there. The upper chamber of Congress began Obama's Presidency with a 60 seat (supposedly filibuster proof) super majority with Harry Reid as the Majority Leader.

Sen. Reid began the 110th Congress, along with President Obama, with high expectations from the public. The Republicans were determined to oppose their agenda every step of the way and to expose the cracks in that supermajority. What response did the former boxer from Nevada in this obstinance?

They were successful in getting the stimulus reduced to a level that would have less effect than was needed so they could later argue that these policies just don't work. On Health Care, Single Payer provisions were scuttled from the outset and the public option could have been kept in the bill through budget reconciliation (which would only require a simple majority vote) but where was Harry?

Before the election recess, a vote on repealing the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans could have been taken but Harry chickened out. Even if the repeal had been blocked by the Reps in the Senate it would have put them on the spot and it could've passed the House easily. The financial reform bill also was stronger in the House than in the Senate. Polls were showing that these reforms were popular and taking a stand on these things could have made a difference in the recent election for the House as well as the Senate Democrats. Other bills that House passed but the Senate has wavered or balked on are the Employee Free Choice Act which makes it easier for employees to form unions, the repeal of the don't ask don't tell policy which would allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the US military, and on Nov 17 the Paycheck Fairness Act which would have corrected paycheck imbalances between men and women. On the foreign policy side the New START treaty with Russia to reduce nuclear both sides weapons may be stalled and never passed.

Yes Sen. Reid's party is still in control of the Senate and it's traditions give the minority party a lot of leverage. However his party is just barely in the majority and he himself is lucky to still be there because he had tea party wingnut Sharron Angle as an opponent. A more level headed Republican opponent would have trounced him. More skilled Senate leaders like Lyndon Johnson found ways to get important laws passed when the people needed it. I'm not sure who that should be, Russ Feingold would have been a good choice but he's gone, but clearly a shake up in the rules and the leadership is needed but none is coming Reid is back.


**Update**


Obama has caved to the Reps to get an unemployment extension and anything else passed. Maybe the title of this post should have been "Nancy remains. Now what about Harry and Barry?" Vermont Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders is now threatening a filibuster of his own for the tax cut deal. See.

Obama-GOP Tax Deal 'an Absolute Disaster,' Says Bernie Sanders, as Filibuster Talk Stirs


Obama's "Deal": Tax Breaks for Billionaires, Estate Tax Exemption for Millionaires, "Heartburn" for Democrats


Obama Caves on Tax Cuts, Endorses 'Bush-McCain Philosophy'


**Related Posts**


Why does the right demonize Nancy Pelosi?


POLL: Dislike of healthcare law crosses party lines, 1 in 4 Dems want repeal - TheHill.com (But Doesn't Ask Why)


Senate, House, Governor Races, Making Sense of Just One Race

Friday, November 5, 2010

Making Sense of the Pat Toomey-Joe Sestak Senate Race

Everyone has an opinion about the election results this week. It was a landslide for the GOP, the Democrats Still Have the Senate, the people are furious with Obama, what Sarah Palin will wear to her inauguration, etc. Extreme caution must be taken to find one message out of 435 heavily gerrymandered US House races, 37 Senate races, 37 Governor races, and thousands of state house and local races.

According to the United States Elections Project of George Mason University total voter turnout was 41.5% nationwide this year (typical for an off year election), down from 61.6% in 2008 (high for a Presidential year). Rates varied from a high of 60.1% in Minnesota to a low of 28.3% in the District of Columbia and 29.4% in Mississippi. Older voters are more likely to turn out in off year elections.

Exit polls can be valuable in learning what the voters who turned out are thinking, depending on how the questions are worded and how the sample is collected. To show how complex just one race can be, I will dissect the Senate Race in Pennsylvania (42.1% voter turnout) which I've written about before with the exit poll from CNN. The poll sampled 2,672 voters at randomly selected polling places and accurately predicted that Pat Toomey would win 51% to 49% (the linked page does not explicitly show that but one can work backwards with the numbers presented to find the predicted percentages. I can go through it if someone wants to see.). The poll has a +/-2% margin of error. I looked for the full exit poll data on Fox News's web page but could not find it. The full PA Senate exit poll can be read here.

Senate, House, Governor Races - Election Center 2010 - Elections & Politics from CNN.com

**Related post**
Pat Toomey in More than a 30 Second Ad

On the first page it shows that as usual women preferred the Democrat Sestak while men preferred Toomey by a slightly higher margin. Women turned out in slightly higher numbers.

Gender
Sestak
Toomey
Male (49%)
44%
56%
Female (51%)
54%
46%


57% of White voters preferred Toomey while 93% of African Americans preferred Sestak. Latino and other racial groups comprised only 5% of the sample.

Looking at the breakdown of voters by age provides a good lesson for why it's important to ask deeper questions sometimes. The first table presented shows a clear upward trend with older voters showing a stronger preference for Toomey with younger ones for Sestak and older ones turning out in higher numbers.

Age Group
Sestak
Toomey
18-29 (13%)
61%
39%
30-44 (21%)
54%
46%
45-64 (44%)
48%
52%
65 and Older (23%)
41%
59%


The next table shows a somewhat more complicated pattern when age is broken down into smaller groups. When the 45-64 is split into the 50-64 group is divided 50-50% between the two candidates and the 40-49 group goes 54-46% for Toomey. I would suspect that this difference is more pronounced when further broken down by gender and/or income. Sestak ran ads showing Toomey's support for privatizing social security which may have scared some adults close to retirement.

Age Group
Sestak
Toomey
18-24 (6%)
60%
40%
25-29 (7%)
62%
38%
30-39 (12%)
56%
44%
40-49 (19%)
46%
54%
50-64 (33%)
50%
50%
65 or Over (23%)
41%
59%

As expected, the poll then goes on to show that support for Toomey is stronger among higher income voters which is stronger when combined with race. The results are split about evenly within the margin of error with respect to voter education.

When asked about approval of President Obama 30% of those who somewhat disapproved of him voted for Sestak while only 18% of those who somewhat approved of him voted for Toomey. The table beneath that one shows that voters who did not consider Obama a major factor favored Sestak 61% to 39%.

Presidential Approval
Sestak
Toomey
Strongly Approve (23%)
97%
3%
Somewhat Approve (24%)
82%
18%
Somewhat Disapprove (16%)
30%
70%
Strongly Disapprove (37%)
5%
95%

Senate Vote Meant to Express…
Sestak
Toomey
Support for Obama (28%)
97%
3%
Opposition to Obama (36%)
8%
92%
Obama Not a Factor (33%)
61%
39%

When asked what the most important issue facing the country today, the economy was by far the most important issue on the voter's minds at 63% with 57% of those voting for Toomey. Health care was the second most important at 22% with 56% voting for Sestak. The war in Afghanistan was mentioned only by 7% and is not broken down by candidate. Likewise the hot button issue of illegal immigration was mentioned only by 5%. It does not say from which issues did the voters had to choose or if it was an open ended question.

Important Issue
Sestak
Toomey
War in Afghanistan (7%)
N/A
N/A
Health Care (22%)
56%
44%
Economy (63%)
43%
57%
Illegal Immigration (5%)
N/A
N/A

**Related Post**

We've All Neglected Our Wars (Me Too)

When asked about what Congress should do with the health care bill, those who wanted it kept either kept the same or expanded (52%) outnumbered those who wanted it repealed (45%). Those who wanted it repealed voted 90% for Toomey while those who wanted it left as is were 70% for Sestak. This reflects other national polls which show that those who want the health care law expanded roughly equal those who want it repealed (see related post POLL: Dislike of healthcare law crosses party lines, 1 in 4 Dems want repeal - TheHill.com (But Doesn't Ask Why)). It also does not as how those who want it expanded define expanded. Repeal is pretty clearly defined.

What Should Congress Do With
New Health Care Law?
Sestak
Toomey
Expand It (35%)
88%
12%
Leave It As Is (17%)
70%
30%
Repeal It (45%)
10%
90%

**Related Post**

POLL: Dislike of healthcare law crosses party lines, 1 in 4 Dems want repeal - TheHill.com (But Doesn't Ask Why)

Pre election polls showed considerable tightening of the race in the last month of the campaign and the exit poll showed that those who made up their mind in the last month broke for Sestak. Support for Toomey was higher in the rural parts of the state.

With all of these factors coming into play in just one competitive race, one can imagine how complicated it gets when there are all those other Senate, House, Governor, and State House races going on at once. This poll only applies to those who came to the polls on election day. It cannot make any statements about the 57.9% of the electorate in Pennsylvania who did not come to the polls that day. Also comment can only be made about issues that were asked about there are infinite possible combinations of other issues that were not asked about such as abortion. Barring any radical changes in the economy in the near future the State is likely to be a battleground state in 2012 though with fewer electoral votes you betcha.

Kevin Drum of Mother Jones Magazine offers his own analysis of national exit poll data comparing it to 2006 midterms. I will look at voter shifts from the 2006 race between Casey and Santorum.

Weird Findings From 2010's Exit Poll Data


In 2006, 57% of men and 61% of women voters voted for Bob Casey over the Democrat Rick Santorum. 55% of whites voted for Casey while 90% of African Americans voted for Santorum.
There were more specific questions on religion, abortion, the war in Iraq and some other issues. There were 2,421 respondents. The biggest shift appears to have occured among white and male voters in PA from 2006. In both polls there was little tailoring of questions to local issues such as Marcellus shale drilling. The full exit poll from 2006 for Pennsylvania can be read here.

**Update**

A blog by the Progressive Democrats of America of Beaver County, PA has an analysis of the 4th Congressional district race and how it affected the PA Senate race. They show that blue dog Jason Altmire's campaign depressed voter turnout in his district and hurt Sestak's Chances of winning. The full post can be read here.

Can the Democratic Party Survive the Blue Dogs?


The CNN exit poll did show lower percentages for the Democrat in Western PA than in previous years.

Total
Sestak
Toomey
Philadelphia (11%)
84%
16%
Philadelphia Suburbs (22%)
51%
49%
Northeastern Pennsylvania (16%)
47%
53%
Central Pennsylvania (22%)
34%
66%
Western Pennsylvania (29%)
48%
52%



Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What is Sanity?

2010 can be called a year of anxiety. In Europe and the US, we see protesting because parts of both societies fear that their fabric is coming apart at the slightest suggestion of change. In France's case, the labor unions are staging nationwide strikes against President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to raise the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 to save money. In the photo to the right the protester's sign says "listen to the anger of the people." The protests are not expected to be successful and have caused considerable disruption in the country (the link to the article says that they are costing France more than $600 million per day). However they still have strong public support.

Strikes costing France €400m a day says finance minister | World news | The Guardian

Similar protests have been occurring this year in Greece whose credit rating this year has taken a hit and has been forced to impose austerity measures after being bailed out by the European Union. Likewise austerity measures are occurring in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, Ireland and other countries with strikes happening to protect their social safety nets. There just as here in the US immigration and Islamophobia are hot button issues that inflame passions across the political spectrum.

To us here in the US it may seem like whining given that Europeans get a lot more in social services from their governments than we do (though they pay more in taxes). Some belt tightening is necessary in tough times the Tea Party goers say. Here we have protests on the left and the right when changes are made to the social fabric but they are more sporadic. This year the Tea Party protests have gotten the most attention and they have had the most impact in the Republican primaries this year with them poised to gain in this year's elections.



The Health Care Bill is one of the major things that has galvanized the Tea Party. They see no difference between the bill and the systems that are found in in Europe. Sarah Palin's Facebook posts and Fox News can whip them up into a tizzy now over things like imaginary death panels that they think would be used against grandma instead of real ones at HMOs that are being used now to deny needed care in the name of maintaining profit margins (some of which continues in the post linked here).


After shooting President Lincoln the crowd heard John Wilkes Booth shout "Sic semper tyrannus" which means thus always to tyrants in Latin. While he thought he was saving the south from some imaginary tyranny he had no problem with the very real tyranny the newly freed slaves had been experiencing for the previous 220 years in the US.



Conspiracy theories that many would consider insane are not confined to the right. The 9/11 truther movement has been convinced that the Bush Administration either was deliberately behind the attacks or they knew it was coming and deliberately did not lift a finger to stop it. Like the death panel claims, evidence for this has been sketchy (sketchy in the sense of seeing clouds in the sky that look like Ronald Reagan or Mumia Abu Jamal) at best but there is a tiny minority (which may be bigger in some other countries)that clings to this belief.

Getting to the title of this post the definition of what is sanity may seem to depend on one's political orientation. This type of sanity is unrelated to the type of insanity defined by the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Society. Most of these folks can hold a job, do not deviate from social norms, and are not a threat to themselves or others.

A Tea Partier may see both the protesters in France and 9/11 truthers here as insane and vice versa. It all depends on the context that the protests occur. It is often said that insanity is just a sane response to an insane situation.

Often when felt persecuted this poem by Pastor Martin Niemoller is quoted or paraphrased:

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Their detractors may scoff when they're not actually being subjected to mass murder.

This Saturday I and thousands of others will be going to Washington, DC to the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Keep Fear Alive as a satirical way of looking at how both are manipulated to serve everyone's purposes. Updates are to come. Last night President Obama did go on the The Daily Show but sounded defensive.



**Update**

The Rally Experience I was at the rally and there were many thousands there. Having been at the protest rallies against the invasion of Iraq in DC in 2003 where there were about 100,000 people. In my opinion this definitely had a bigger crowd. The metros were backed up. I got to the mall about 40 minutes late. Comedy Central (Jon Stewart's network) did not seem to be prepared for the size of the crowd with too few jumbo-trons or a good enough sound system. There were people in trees and sitting on top of walk signals to get a better view. The video montage that I put together should give a good idea for what it was like being in the crowd.



It reminded me of being at St. Peter's Basilica in 2008 when Pope Benedict XVI was saying Mass on Pentecost Sunday when everyone was jockeying to get a better view of altar and there was security making sure no one rushed the altar(stage). This was a type of spiritual journey for those who came just as at it was at Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally seemed to be for his followers (it's tempting to quibble over the numbers at both rallies but I won't). Unlike protest rallies, rallies like these are needed sometimes as a catharsis.

This was my experience at the Vatican and Rome where they have more experience with crowds than Comedy Central.



To see some of the comedic highlights of the rally that I missed you can click the link below. Fr. Guido Sarducci gave the benediction at the beginning of the rally.

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear Videos

Getting back to the title question of this post What is Sanity? or more precisely what is sane? These two men sitting atop the Walk/Don't Walk lights (one of them dressed as a baby) and others sitting atop of portable toilets just to get a better view of Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert telling jokes may not be the most sane thing to do depending on one's point of view. For them and the others like me there it filled a void that was missing in all of the bickering between different sides who are convinced that they are absolutely right. In the end what is right or true, a very elusive thing indeed, is what restores sanity.



**Update**

Stewart responds to critics on the left who wanted the rally to have a specific message. Everyone had their own expectations I guess.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
MSNBC Suspends Keith Olbermann
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity


**Final Update (I swear)**

Comedy Central's broadcast of the rally has been nominated for four Daytime Emmy awards against the Macy's Day parade and PBS's horse travel show Equitrekking.  Sounds like a fitting end for this post.


**Related Post**

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pat Toomey: In More Than a 30 Second Ad

One Republican candidate for the US Senate who has benefited from media circus surrounding Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, Carl Palladino in New York in the neighboring states and head stomping in Kentucky is Pat Toomey who is running in Pennsylvania for Arlen Specter's seat against Congressman Joe Sestak.

Toomey is a conservative former Congressman who fought against government regulation of the financial industry. His other views are mostly in the mold of Senator Rick Santorum who was defeated in Pennsylvania in 2006.

Prior to his years in the House of Representatives (1998-2004), Toomey worked as a successful derivatives trader in the US, Great Britain & Asia. His opponent this year, Joe Sestak, has tried to use this past against him in 30 second campaign ads but Toomey can easily counter this with 30 second ads of his own by pointing out that it was Sestak who voted for the $700 billion bailout (Toomey was lucky enough to not be in Congress at the time. I wonder how he would have voted?) for Wall Street and associating him with boogy woman Nancy Pelosi.

Because Toomey has been careful not to give Jon Stewart et al. any great soundbites, he has been able to maintain a solid lead in the polls. Derivatives are too abstract to explain in 30 seconds. Below is a link to an article in Mother Jones magazine that chronicles his Wall Street years and explains derivatives in greater detail than Sestak has so far. It shows how Toomey is far more dangerous in the long run than Christine O'Donnell could ever be.

Pat Toomey: The Wall Street Years | Mother Jones

The blog 2 political Junkies does a good job following Toomey's exploits.

**Related Post**

Why does the right demonize Nancy Pelosi?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

POLL: Dislike of healthcare law crosses party lines, 1 in 4 Dems want repeal - TheHill.com (But Doesn't Ask Why)

Here is yet another example of the media showing THAT the health care law is unpopular but fails to look at WHY this is the case.

POLL: Dislike of healthcare law crosses party lines, 1 in 4 Dems want repeal - TheHill.com

How the question is worded has a big influence on the results of the poll. Here is one of the few polls which asks better questions.

AP Poll: Many think health overhaul should do more

This poll indicates that those who wanted the bill to do more (about 20 million will still be left uninsured), sooner (the bill won't take full effect until 2014) outnumber those who want it repealed by 2-1. Before the law was passed several polls were published showing that support for single payer and the robust public option was popular but the drug, insurance, and hospital industries hated it.

CBS News/New York Times Survey Shows Most Americans Approve Of Government Intervention In Health Care Coverage

Tom Daschle has admitted that the Obama administration was too eager to please these industries but then backtracked his statement.

Daschle: Public Option ‘Taken Off The Table’ In July (2009) Due To ‘Understanding People Had With Hospitals'

This is one of the factors in the "enthusiasm gap" that the democrats are experiencing now this election cycle. Obama & co. just tell the rank & file to buck up and go to the polls anyway. It has taken 45 years since Medicare and Medicaid has passed for any kind of health care reform to pass. How much longer will it take for real reform to happen?

Another AP poll shows those who want bill expanded at least equal to those who want it repealed with gender gaps in both parties.

AP-GfK Poll: Americans split on health care repeal

A new study released in the journal Health Affairs shows that the US has slipped from 24th in the world in life expectancy to 49th since 1999 even after controlling for things like smoking, diet and other lifestyle factors. Those who want the bill and any other move toward universal sane coverage repealed will not want to hear believe this. You can read the original article at:

What Changes In Survival Rates Tell Us About US Health Care

Yet another poll comes out showing the same thing (those who want the law improved or kept are 51% while those who want it weakened or repealed are 44% of the population) as above only this time the lamestream and the Democrats are media is starting to notice. Here is the link to the original article.

New poll undercuts GOP claims of a midterm mandate

E
zra Klein of the Washington Post has a column on how at least some Democrats are retaking the offensive on health care. Better late than never.

Three ways Democrats are going back on the offense over health-care reform

Even in the Pennsylvania Senate Race, where free market radical Pat Toomey(R) defeated Joe Sestak(D) 51%-49%, the exit poll showed the same pattern 52%-45% but Sestak hardly mentioned it and those who wanted it expanded were more likely to stay home. Those who wanted it kept the same broke 30% for Toomey. D'Oh. If they hadn't been so timid in the first place they would be in a better bargaining position now. You can see the breakdown in the Senate race in the related post below.

**Update**

A Federal Judge in Virginia has struck down part of the Obama Health Care Law. He sided with the Virginia Attorney General on the Constitutionality of the part requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance. Polls show that this is the least popular part of the bill. This case will be headed to the US Supreme Court. The link is below. The public option would make the bill more popular but single payer would be the most constitutional as Medicare is.

Judge in Va. strikes down federal health care law



Stephen Colbert has a good review of the disconnect from reality of the healthcare debate earlier this year and last.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Exclusive - The Healthcare Special
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogMarch to Keep Fear Alive

**Related Posts**

Health insurers force children into the ranks of the uninsured | Seema Jilani | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk


Senate, House, Governor Races, Making Sense of Just One Race

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Why does the right demonize Nancy Pelosi?

In campaign ads by Republicans running this year, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D, CA) image appears the most as an object of fear even more than Barack Hussein Obama or any other, Democratic Leader. In right wing blogs more grotesque images of her appear such as the one reproduced here. Why?

Does she go around saying nutty things like Christine O'Donnell or Cynthia McKinney? Did she run away from her public service duties like Sarah Palin? Could she be she any more power hungry or sleazy than Newt (gives his first wife divorce papers while she was in the hospital with cancer) Gingrich, Tom (currently under indictment) Delay or Charlie (Dominican Republic Tax Shelter) Rangle? Is she any more of an aggressive power broker than Harry Reid (who may lose his job to another nutty ditz like Sharron Angle) or Rahm ("Obama's most loyal supporters are f_ing retarded") Emanuel?
The answers to these questions are no. If anything she disappointed some on the left when she immediately ruled out impeaching George W. Bush and Dick Cheyney after becoming speaker for their war in Iraq, warrantless wiretapping, torture memos, outing of Valerie Plame etc. and this is how they repay her?

Could it be because she represents the city of San Francisco in the House of Representatives? Hmm with what is this city often associated? The 49ers? The Golden Gate Bridge? Tony Bennett? Alcatraz? Not to the right wing in this country. For them it is homosexuals and the summer of love. Outright gay bashing is not is not as acceptable as it used to be so she has become a code word for it.

Factcheck.org has an analysis of how House member's voting in unison with Pelosi is exaggerated by Republicans in ads (and by Democrats who want to distance themselves from her).

NRCC Overstates Dems’ Voting Record with Pelosi
And Democrats spin the voting data, too


Democrat Jim Marshall uses hippie imagery of San Francisco to dissociate himself from Pelosi (he lost).



Pelosi gives an interview to Politics Daily where she answers the attacks on her and talks about other election issues. I've received many reactions on Facebook and here about my argument that the attacks on her are really coded gay/hippie bashing. She says the attacks on her are because she's effective which I don't really agree with either. I believe that she was more of a go with the flow politician who caved in when it mattered most on issues the health care Public Option. Judge for yourself whether the attacks on her are warranted.

Video: Melinda Henneberger Interviews Speaker Nancy Pelosi

**Update**
The demonizing may have worked she will no longer be speaker in January but she ran for House Minority Leader. She won 150-43 against Heath Shuler because the House Progressive Caucus only lost one member on Tuesday while the moderate Blue Dog Caucus who demonized her too in their ads lost half of their members. In the one ad above, Jim Marshall D-GA lost 53%-47%.One Pittsburgh Congressman, Mike Doyle, has announced support for her. If that is the case look for more demonizing in 2012.

'Pelosi is not (Dems') problem,' Doyle says



**Check out**
Pelosi Easily Retains Leadership Post; Now She Must Lead | The Nation
Now that Speaker Pelosi will soon be Minority Leader Pelosi the focus should now be put on the Senate Democratic leadership