Election 2006: America Wakes Up

The last election around here at thejuiceblog*** was a sad night. Here are a few thoughts on a how much the political tides can turn in just 2 years. (***this blog at the time was titled Will Carroll Presents)

I watched MSNBC, as I like the cast of characters on the channel. I’m bored with the major networks coverage of politics. CNN manages to be even more dull than the commercial broadcasts, as I don’t see why anyone watches the channel anymore, except when Lou Dobbs starts slinging his conservative populism.

So this leaves me with Foxnews and MSNBC. I actually watched some Foxnews, as I have this perverse desire to listen to the opposition when they are losing. This is why I will turn it to Ron Santo when the Cubs are playing poorly. While I don’t agree with much of what they say, I find Bill Kristol, Mort Kondracke, and Fred Barnes interesting political observers. Following in the Fox tradition, Juan Williams is a poor voice for Democrats. Between him and Alan Colmes, I can see why Foxnews viewers think non-Republicans are lame. Finally, let me offer up that Brit Hume is sleep inducing. Hume is the roofie of TV journalism.

Most of the time I watched MSNBC, led by Crazy Chris Matthews. You never know what’s going to fly out of the Matthews meter, as he can offer a great point and a wildly strange idea, all in the same run-on sentence.

Keith Olbermann was the co-host and he was very subdued during the night, playing the part of actual journalist, whenever Crazy Chris stopped to take a breath. KO has been the most brilliant polemicist attacking the Bush administration over the past year. On election night you would never know it, though, as instead he acted like a NFL pregame host mainly just setting up the panelists.

I like Howard Fineman’s work for Newsweek and MSNBC. Pat Buchanan was underused, as he is probably the top person on this planet at getting under the skin of the Bush dynasty. The real star of the panel was Joe Scarborough, who has provided a really unique view of the current political scene, as he was part of the Republican revolution of 1994, but has been a strong critic of his own party the past few years. He seems like the kind of guy you love to have a few beers with.

I live in one of the most Republican controlled districts in the US, as there wasn’t a Democrat on the ballot for any judge or county positions. Besides going out to cast a protest vote against Dan Burton and a positive vote for one of the few sensible Republican senators, Richard Lugar, the whole voting process is really a letdown for me. So is life when you live as a political minority.

My favorite name of any candidate was the winner of a House seat in Ohio. Zack Space. Those 2 words together conjure up a a few different possibilites, but not one of them is US Representative. Zack Space sounds like a character that would appear on some Star Trek 4th generation show, like Deep Space Nine.

Watched a few victory speeches….
Dennis Hastert really needs to get a bigger podium, as his prodigious obesity made him look ridiculous. When I hear the words pork barrel, I visualize Denny.
Hilary Clinton is a lousy speaker. Bill was behind her and I kept watching him, as I imagined he was desperate to push her aside to energize the crowd.

I like Howard Dean, but here’s a guy who always seems one breath away from saying something he shouldn’t. While many knocked Dean’s plan of having a 50 state strategy, it seems to have worked even earlier than Dean thought was possible.
Rahm Emanuel is a brilliant strategist and should receive as much credit as anyone for the Dems gains.
Ken Mehlman has done a great job as Republican party chairman, so little blame should go his way. Karl Rove overplayed his playing to his base hand and independent voters finally made him pay.

Who knows when we will know who controls the Senate, but a close friend of mine is convinced that even if the Dems have a majority, Joe Lieberman will be a constant fly in the ointment. Knowing this potential issue, I suspect that Dems will offer Dick Cheney’s favorite democrat a committe chairmanship.

I’ve always liked Mr. Smooth, Harold Ford, but I wasn’t surprised he didn’t win. Corker was actually a fairly moderate Republican and too many old white people I think had a hard time voting for a unmarried, 36 year-old black guy. I really doubt that he will have to struggle too much to get over losing this tightly contested race. The Derek Jeter of the Volunteer state might have run the best campaign of any candidate in America.

The 2 things I most wanted to see was phony George Allen lose and to see Karl Rove’s smug face the day after having to explain how the polls that mattered most, his, were so far off. I’m still waiting, but hopeful.

While I’m a bit concerned that the Dems who will takeover the committee chairmanships are among the party’s most liberal, I still hope that there will be less partisianship in Congress. While there needs to be some hearings to expose so many of the disgusting actions committed by the current administration, hopefully some of the surviving Republican politicians will take a tip out of Bill Clinton’s playbook after the Gingrich-led revolution of 1994 and work together to push through some important legislation. We will see. Here’s my advice, Republicans. If you see Rove on your caller ID, pretend that you’re not home.

22 thoughts on “Election 2006: America Wakes Up

  1. 1.  It’s not that well known but the House Committee on Rules decides what committees get jurisdiction over different issues and what amendments get considered on the floor of the House. I think the new chairman Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) is a very ethical person who will return the House to regular order – each side can offer improving amendments and get an honest vote on the floor. This is very healthy and will remove a lot of the partisanship in the House. Slaughter is liberal but she’s also a 70-something coal miner’s daughter and I don’t think she stuck around as along as she has to run the behind the scenes House like a hack. I think she wants to run it like 5th graders learn in civics class which will be a beautiful thing.

  2. 2.  I dont really get the whole ‘Ford is a great campaigner’ line. I mean, he lost the election right? Isnt the point of campaigning to win? How does Mr. Ford now use his campaigning skills? Run for the House? Kind of a step down. Run for president? Not enough cred. I mean, I understand its a fine compliment, but it didnt really get him anywhere.

  3. 3.  3 Harold Ford will take the Senate seat left unoccupied when Lamarr Alexander retires very soon.

    The party in power loses elections, and then is dealt the double blow when old time members can’t handle being in the minority, and retire. Alexander will retire, and Ford will win his Senate seat.

  4. 4.  i also really really want to see george allen lose. fortunately, it looks like he’s going to.

    [knock on wood]

  5. 5.  i’m not even gonna pretend i know alot of politics, all i know is i woke up fealing a little guilty cause i didn’t vote.

  6. 6.  4 Spoken like a true macaca. Just kidding, Vishal.

    You know, I’ve come to the conclusion that most ideas in politics are bad, and it is only when one political party holds all the reins that they actually get implemented, and people find out that they are bad. The party that is out of power gets back in power with equally bad ideas that have yet to be proven to be bad. Thus continues the cycle of “kick out the bums in power.”

  7. 8.  6 I believe that most ideas in anything, not just politics, are bad. As long as you have a system (like democracy, free markets, etc.) that filters out the bad ideas, society can improve. Mankind suffers most when there’s no system to remove the bad ideas.

  8. 9.  We are in a time of war and the people go with the cut and run, anti war party?

    i just dont get it

    winning should be the only thing that matters

  9. 11.  9 Wars against ‘-isms’ last forever. You can never beat terrorism, you can only hope to contain it.

    I also resent that continuing to bash our heads against the Iraqi brick wall is seen by the right as the only way to combat terrorism…how about using a fraction of the money we are pissing away every week in the desert to strengthen the security in our ports, our nuclear facilities and our chemical plants? To steal a line from the ‘Rovian’ playbook, “Will it take a mushroom cloud to wake America up to the dangers that have gone utterly unaddressed by this administration???

    I’m all for combatting terrorism, but good lord what we’re doing isn’t working. I fail to see how placing our soldiers (that so many people claim to care about) in the middle of a civil war helps fight terrorism. There has to be 100 different strategies that we could pursue in place of this obviously stupid course we are on. Why can’t we discuss alternatives??

    Fortunately a lot of Americans have started to ask that very question.

  10. 12.  11 I think you can defeat “-isms”, but not necessarily with guns. You have to win the, ahem, excuse the cliche, hearts and minds of the people.

  11. 13.  11 – There is also the Reagan strategy of calling evil evil, and then proceeding to defeat it. This strategy seems to have failed the current PC generation of 70s-reared politicians.

    8, see Iraq pre-2003.

    4 – Second. Allen seems to me like he wanted to run George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign in a completely different atmosphere two years from now, much like John McCain is still stuck in the 20th century. Let’s get some leadership that are actually ready to deal with this century please?

    –stares at Mitt Romney and/or Mark Warner–

    Scott, what exactly did America wake up to? Even with the worst media coverage possible, the traditional 6th-year headwind, and AND an embarassing failure of leadership in both houses (their names are Frist and Hastert, thank goodness they are both deader than Jon Carey now)…even with all of these obstacles, if you take away the seats thrown away by corrupt dumbasses (Ney, DeLay, Cunningham, etc) this was a much much closer race than it had any right to be.

    It’s kind of like the White Sox sweeping the WS by six runs last year, sure they win but will they be able to repeat it if everything does not break in their favor again?

  12. 15.  13 – Read “etc” as “Curt Weldon”. Had to look that one up and he is like two districts away from me, tsk tsk…

  13. 16.  13 Fair enough, the Soviet Union was indisputably evil…I’m just not sure “Giving Weapons to Terrorists” Reagan should get all the credit. Now, I don’t think he did anything to help them and perhaps the sheer number of Reagan appointees who were indicted and incarcerated showed the Ruskies that democracy can still be ultra-corrupt, so maybe he enticed them to give up the communism.

    Maybe you’re right, sorry about all the bad-mouthing over the years, Ron!!!!

  14. 17.  Just my perspective:
    On Ford, he did run a great campaign. However, unless you are a Tennesseean, you may not know that Ford’s family is, well, a political machine with a history (to put it nicely). Ford clearly connects with people, he has the “charisma” talked about earlier and he knows his stuff and generally handles himself well. But TN is more and more conservative, combine that with the difficulty in separating from his family’s story, the Kerry “joke” pissing off the military, and a strong desire to ban gay marriage and it all adds up to a last nights voting.

    Tennesseans have a very healthy distrust of politicians right now, see Operation Tennessee Waltz, Lt. Gov Wilder, Income Tax, the election and trust of Governor Bredesen, dead people voting in Ophelia Ford’s race, Bryson’s (legislator) vote count last night etc. This is on both sides mind you. So even in the next senate race Ford will have a hard time overcoming his career politician status, especially if the GOP can find a corker/bredesen like candidate that’s had a succesful business life.

    TO add further perspective, I don’t like Corker as he’s not conervative enough, and his connections to Sundquist ought to worry any conservative. And I’m sad about Rumsfeld, as he did more to try and change the military than any person in the 25 years since Spinney and Boyd. Oh well.

  15. 19.  [6] hahahah, damn straight.

    And I’m sad about Rumsfeld, as he did more to try and change the military than any person in the 25 years since Spinney and Boyd.

    except for the fact that he was wrong. lighter and faster and technologically advanced is all well and good, but it can’t come at the expense of sufficient manpower for the mission. add that to the fact that he was an arrogant, abrasive, self-righteous SOB and i don’t feel to sorry for him. in fact, considering i think he should’ve resigned over abu ghraib ages ago, i am thrilled that he’s finally gone.

  16. 20.  Hey, Vishal!

    Don’t get me wrong I don’t feel sorry for Rumsfeld at all. I’m in the camp, though, that thinks the whole military system is screwed up and entrenched. The other thing about my view is that it is based only on a small amount of info from guys that, while I think they are pretty open-minded and astute, they do all pretty much think like me. So there you go. I also don’t know enough about Gates to think he will push any more or less for the kind of reforms Rumsfeld was after.

    I appreciate the ability of folks (in general) to put their thoughts to words which don’t feel like hurled rocks. I’m not really bothered as much by differing viewpoints as the inability of some to acknowledge that (on either side of the divide) intelligent folks can see things differently.

  17. 21.  Glenn Greenwald is saying that the President intends to ram one last bill out of Congress, the warrantless wiretapping bill that didn’t pass in the last session:

    http://tinyurl.com/ycm7eo

    Now is the time to start pounding on any Democratic senators you can (preferably in your state) to let them know you want them to put up a filibuster for any of these bills. Bush was defeated; he should be investigated for this kind of crap, not absolved of it as a parting gift from this profoundly corrupt Congress.

  18. 22.  13Scott, what exactly did America wake up to? Even with the worst media coverage possible, the traditional 6th-year headwind, and AND an embarassing failure of leadership in both houses (their names are Frist and Hastert, thank goodness they are both deader than Jon Carey now)…even with all of these obstacles,

    Don’t forget micro-gerrymandering.

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