Archive for the ‘National Elections’ Category

She’s No Lady, She’s a Member of Congress

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

I couldn’t let any more time pass before the Truth Detector comments on the bruhaha from last week’s joint radio appearance by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R –  Minnesota) and Sen. Arlen Specter (D – Pennsylvania) in Pennsylvania.

As you may recall, Specter was a moderate Republican Senator until after the 2008 election that swept Barack H. Obama and a near filibuster-proof majority for the Democrats in the Senate. Specter’s re-election was coming up in 2010, and, seemingly reading the tea leaves at the time, he decided to change parties with the hopes of grabbing a plumb committee chairmanship while increasing his chances of re-election.

But how quickly the political winds change. Merely a year later, Democratic fortunes have reversed, and Specter, who historically gets re-elected by comfortable margins, is in the re-election fight of his life. Last week’s radio appearance with Bachmann may not have helped his chances.

Bachmann and Specter were vigorously debating the Democrats’ health care proposal. Specter asked Bachmann what she voted in favor of. When Bachmann answered in generalities, without naming a specific bill, Specter was not satisfied. The moderator called on Specter to respond, while Bachmann continued to press her point. Specter, frustrated by being interrupted, told Bachmann to “act like a lady.” “I’m treating you like a lady, so act like one.”

Bachmann later said she felt like she was being treated like a child.

 While Bachmann is no stranger to fallout from making erratic statements, the political fallout this time, fair or unfair, will fall on Specter. Specter has since apologized directly to Bachmann, which may limit the political fallout as far as he’s concerned. Let’s face it. Specter’s comments had shades of sexism. Had he been paired with a Congressman (Mike) Pence, a Congressman (Jeff) Flake, a Congressman (John) Kline or any other male member of Congress, does anyone believe Specter would have asked any of them to “act like a gentleman”?

Now, whenever two or more politicians are gathered in one place and asked to express their opinions, interruptions can be expected. But whether Specter realized it at the time, his insinuation that Bachmann is not a lady has a ring of truth to it. I’ve written on this blog before about people close to me who have been trampled on by Bachmann’s stilettos. Figuratively, of course, but the fact is Bachmann is capable of being downright rude and tacky, especially when it comes to promoting her own political  career. (BTW, if she were a man, I would give the words, “rude”, “tacky” or even “ungentlemanly” equal time here.)

So while the Truth Detector says Specter couldn’t have said what he said to a more deserving person, the Truth Detector also says whatever political fallout Specter suffers because of it also couldn’t happen to a more deserving person. He may pay the ultimate price for switching parties out of political opportunism this November. Because of his comments last week, female voters in Pennsylvania just might make sure of it.

Is the Pendulum Swinging to the Right?

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

In the last few days, I have read news reports on elections, polls and trends, that each on their own might not mean much. But taken as an aggregate, and taken in the context of historical patterns, they could point to a resurgence of conservatism and the Republican Party. I will address these trends, not necessarily in chronological order.

1. A recent Rasmussen Poll finds that Americans now trust Republicans more than Democrats to address six of ten issues, including the top issue of the Economy. This trend could be a major turning point after two election cycles with Republicans being held in low regard by the public.

2. Off-year elections. No 2009 is not a “major” election year. But Virginia and New Jersey have gubernatorial elections this year. In New Jersey, Federal prosecutor Christopher J. Christie, a Republican, is challenging incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine. Corzine is unpopular with the voters and polling suggests a close race in a normally Democrat-leaning state. In Virginia, Democrat Creigh Deeds, who just won his primary election today, will to up against Republican Bob McDonnell in the general election. McDonnell has previously defeated Deeds in an election for attorney general by 323 votes in 2005. This is also a potential gubernatorial pick-up for Republicans.

Why are these “off-year” elections important? Rewind to 1993 when Republican Christine Todd Whitman picked up the governorship in New Jersey and Republican Geroge Allen won the governor’s race in Virginia. Tihs was also the year that Rudy Giuliani won the mayor’s race in New York City. These wins were an indication that the public was getting fed up with liberal politicians and were a prelude to the 1994 Republican sweep of the U. S. House and Senate, and many governorships including New York (Pataki defeated Cuomo) and Texas (Bush defeated Richards). Likewise, the 2005 victory of Democrat Gov. Tim Kaine in Virginia was an early indicatoin that Republicans were in trouble in the coming 2006 mid-term elections.

Now, I will say that New Jersey has a history of givinng Republicans false hope as well. In 2002, Democrat Sen. Robert Toricelli withdrew his candidacy because of corruption charges. Toricelli was replaced on the ballot, some say illegally, by former Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat who came out of retirement to run again. Republicans were favored to win that race before Lautenberg’s name went on the ballot, bu Lautenberg prevailed. In the 2004 presidential election, when national security was the top issue, polling in late summer and into the fall teased Republicans with a possible Bush victory in New Jersey, but it didn’t come to fruition.

3. In the New York State Senate, Democrats, who had the majority for barely five months, lost it again when two Democrat Senators joined the Republican minority in electing new leadership Monday. This might seem like inside baseball, but these politicians are elected by the people of New York, and this coup would not have happened without a measure of public dissatisfaction with the new Democrat majority in the New York Senate.

4. Finally, the European Parliament elections. Dissatisfaction with socialistic policies by the left, voters all over Europe handed over power to center-right coalitions. “It’s Europe” you say, “Who cares?” For the first time in a generation, European politics moves to the right of the U. S. And speaking of historical patterns, let’s not forget that Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979, one year prior to Ronald Reagan’s first election to the Presidency in 1980.

I may be ever the optimist, but these are some positive indications that conservatives and Republicans have not seen for some time and the pendulum does swing from right to left and back again. Let’s hope it’s started on its way back to the right.