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Ear to the Ground

Republicans Take the House, Democrats Keep the Senate (Update)

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Posted on Nov 2, 2010
AP / Cliff Owen

House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio celebrates the GOP’s victory that changes the balance of power in Congress and will likely elevate him to speaker of the House.

The GOP had a huge night in the House of Representatives, but the Democrats showed some fight in the Senate, which they held.

 

The tea party set off some fireworks, but they had their share of duds, notably Sharron Angle in Nevada, Joe Miller of Alaska and, of course, Christine O’Donnell of Delaware, who never polled well, yet received more media coverage this cycle than any politician not named Barack Obama.

 

The Democrats lost some clout in the Senate, dropping Barack Obama’s former seat, among others. Still, tough races in Oregon, Nevada and California broke the Democrats’ way and as of this posting Colorado was still too close to call.

 

Sen. Russ Feingold, who has been one of the strongest opponents of the kind of economic recklessness that created the crisis that most voters identified as their top worry, was kicked out of office by the voters of Wisconsin. It might have had something to do with the millions spent by independent groups to support his opponent.

 

Another race that has us down: Three of the seven Iowa Supreme Court justices who voted unanimously to end that state’s ban on gay marriage were up for a vote of retention, and voters removed all three from the bench.  —PZS

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By omop, November 4, 2010 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

Looking on the positive side of the returns.

By Haaretz Service  

        Pro-Israel group hails success for supporters on both sides of the
        political divide, as well as election of three new Jewish members of
        Congress; polls shows 66 percent of U.S. Jews voted Democrat.

  America’s largest pro-Israel lobby group on Wednesday hailed the results of
midterm elections in the U.S. which saw staunch supporters re-elected to
Congress on both sides of the party political divide.

  “Many of the strongest friends and supporters of the U.S.-Israel relationship
were reelected on Tuesday,” the group said in a statement.
Other pro-Israel successes cited by AIPAC included outgoing House Majority
Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), as well as Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Steny Hoyer (D-
MD).

    “It is abundantly clear that the 112th Congress will continue America’s long
tradition of staunch support for a strong, safe and secure Israel and an abiding
friendship between the United States and our most reliable ally in the Middle
East,” AIPAC said.

    Israel’s Washington embassy also expressed satisfaction with the results.
“Support for Israel at the Congress is strong and bipartisan,” an embassy
spokesman told Haaretz.

    AIPAC also welcomed the election of three new Jewish members of
Congress: Senator-elect Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Congressman-elect David
Cicilline (D-RI), and Congresswoman-elect Nan Hayworth (R-NY).
Cicilline becomes the fourth openly gay member of Congress – and third Jewish
gay member of Congress.

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By rico, suave, November 4, 2010 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

mdgr:

” it also offers a measure of hope that is neither phantasmal nor delusional.” Which is why I respond to people like you and ITW with the occasional serious post. While I disagree quit strongly with most of your views, I at least know I am dealing with a rational person.

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By mdgr, November 4, 2010 at 2:34 am Link to this comment

Rico, suave—

Apology accepted. You will note that I already responded to your “rude” comment, but let’s do try and move on.

I am disinclined, however, to offer further elaboration or defense to today’s argument that I’ve already posted several times over. 

I say that because my agenda here on TD is probably diametrically different from yours, and we seem to have different spectacles through which we see the world.

We both value the Zen in saying things clearly and succinctly, however, so you will hopefully understand that I simply don’t want to lose the thread of that argument right now in what would amount to an ocean of words.

I doubt people will notice what I’ve said today, but maybe I’m wrong about that. I think it’s a novel and important meme, and I also think it’s time has come. I also don’t think anything relating to my point of view is kookie, conspiratorial or lacking in substance. But maybe it’s just an odd and grandiose notion. Time will tell.

It’s a strategic analysis, however—nothing more and nothing less. I still want it to be heard—especially since mine seems to be the only voice on the left that’s articulating it and, in my view, it also offers a measure of hope that is neither phantasmal nor delusional.

I hope you will respect that and thank you for posting here.

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By rico, suave, November 3, 2010 at 11:09 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:

Invitation accepted. I promise to behave. (Although I think I posted a rude comment to you on another thread just now, for which I preemptively apologize.)

I hope ardee and Inherit the Wind join in as well.

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By berniem, November 3, 2010 at 7:44 pm Link to this comment

Whew! the dems. kept control of the senate! Can anyone recall what they did with it before?

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By Big B, November 3, 2010 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment

Friedman has on blinders, for there already is a party representing the center. It is the democratic party.

The dimmos will only win national elections in the future if, and only if, they can appeal to younger LIBERAL voters (who stayed home yesterday)But alas, the dimmos slow move to the right may have finally alienated the true left for good.

The dimmos still fail to realize that running as “repug lite” (you know, clintonites) ain’t gonna cut it with the left much longer, because lets face it, it takes us to the same destonation.

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By mdgr, November 3, 2010 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

Rico-Suave:

Your earlier question has to do with probabilities. I responded that a political vacuum has been created last night and the MSM may only make it worse as it niggles the Dems (Vichy) for its loss. I didn’t suggest it was probable that a viable progressive third party would arise—I think it is improbable, and that all will happen is a lot of tongue-clicking—but I did quote that old adage about how nature abhors a vacuum.

In other posts, I also suggested that the “vacuum”  was Thomas Friedman’s main reason for recently stating in his NY Time column that a third party was **probable**—except that in his version, it would serve the “glorious center” [exact quote].

I suggested that Friedman, who is as MSM as anybody, wanted to “get there first” and consciously or unconsciously also wanted to prevent any real coalition of lefties and indies. I didn’t suggest this as a conspiracy theory, no, but I did think the “glorious center” notion was both interesting and noteworthy.

Meanwhile, we have Naomi Klein making very different noises about a third party—not of any “glorious center” but of a militant and radical kind. I agree that she is marginalized, and I also agree that it’s an uphill battle. I still think Friedman’s trope is interesting, however. Why now? He’s a liberal in the most diminutive sense—for the Iraq war before he was against it, etc.—now seeming ready to jettison the DNC for the rhetorical center. What is the underlying subtext here?

What I am thinking is that in its probable casting of the Democratic Party as an anachronism, the MSM is doing the progressive community a favor. Again, the vacuum will only get wider, and it will invite something to fill it.

Friedman has placed his bet on the “glorious center,” and I think that it’s likely most Americans who would defect to its encampment are too stupid to know that they’re just switching from one set of collaborators to another (Vichy by any other name).

But maybe—because of what’s at stake in 2012, and the ominous rise of the Tea Party—there might yet be a possibility of a major shift politically, and along the lines that Klein suggested. I’d give the chances of that happening as less than 10%, but still—.

Now, in our new found spirit of intellectual camaraderie, I am asking you to critique this “analysis.”

Use wit all you want, but please don’t let it use you. If my premises are flawed, my conclusion is too. Please point to the details, however, and do think it over.

At one point, you will be asking: “Where’s the money?” I would ask that you table that argument for now. It’s crucial, however, and we can comeback to it later.

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By mdgr, November 3, 2010 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

Typo:

“That said, I suggest that you stop” was intended as “I suggest you DON"T stop.”

It had to be a Freudian slip.

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By mdgr, November 3, 2010 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

Hubris, arrogance, erudition. Ouch.

I didn’t mean to imply that those were personal attacks, as in “FOUL, I am bleeding.” They were clever and I didn’t at all mind the exchange. And yeah, my reference to Spengler or Jung was really quite gratuitous, so you gained some points there. But the exchange inadvertently also invited a kind of equally-barbed response in kind from me that I don’t think either of us found very constructive.

Clever, as it were, can only take us so far.

Fact is that I think your characterization of “most” of your responses is, in fact, quite accurate. Although you may serve the dark political force, I rather enjoy your presence as a gadfly—even though you have to admit that you occasionally do like to needle the group (“you progressives”) with inflammatory statements. Not scolding you here, just gently pointing out the obvious.

That said, I suggest that you stop. The sanctimoniousness attending liberal ideologues is no less cloying than that of their far right counterparts. I needs a good deflation now and then.

As to putting words in my mouth:

You’re no ninny. You know perfectly well that I never suggested what you attributed to me regarding my earlier post in this thread. And previously, when I gave my reasons for not voting, you went on to respond by “agreeing with me” in stating things I had never even implied.

I didn’t sustain any bruises, no, and for me, it’s strictly a matter of boundaries. I’m more than happy to engage you in earnest conversation, as we are now, but I think that each side needs to be respectful even if we disagree. That doesn’t mean we can’t be biting at times, or sardonic. I welcome that in you even if I’m the sacrificial victim. As an exchange, it would be much more interesting than a lot of others on TD. 

But let’s not get derailed. That’s my only admonition.

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By mdgr, November 3, 2010 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment

Hubris, arrogance, erudition. Ouch.

I didn’t mean to imply that those were personal attacks, as in “FOUL, I am bleeding.” They were clever and I didn’t at all mind the exchange. And yeah, my reference to Spengler or Jung was really quite gratuitous, so you gained some points there. But the exchange inadvertently also invited a kind of equally-barbed response in kind from me that I don’t think either of us found very constructive.

Clever, as it were, can only take us so far.

Fact is that I think your characterization of “most” of your responses is, in fact, quite accurate. Although you may serve the dark political force, I rather enjoy your presence as a gadfly—even though you have to admit that you occasionally do like to needle the group (“you progressives”) with inflammatory statements. Not scolding you here, just gently pointing out the obvious.

That said, I suggest that you stop. The sanctimoniousness attending liberal ideologues is no less cloying than that of their far right counterparts. I needs a good deflation now and then.

As to putting words in my mouth:

You’re no ninny. You know perfectly well that I never suggested what you attributed to me regarding my earlier post in this thread. And previously, when I gave my reasons for not voting, you went on to respond by “agreeing with me” in stating things I had never even implied.

I didn’t sustain any bruises, no, and for me, it’s strictly a matter of boundaries. I’m more than happy to engage you in earnest conversation, as we are now, but I think that each side needs to be respectful even if we disagree. That doesn’t mean we can’t be biting at times, or sardonic. I welcome that in you even if I’m the sacrificial victim. As an exchange, it would be much more interesting than a lot of others on TD.  But let’s not get derailed. That’s my only admonition.

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By Adam, November 3, 2010 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I found the election results very disappointing.  I suppose this election illustrates that we do not have a leftist slant on mainstream media.  After all, if this were true, people would be voting for leftist candidates.  As such, right-wing ideology dominates mainstream media.  I know this to be true because I have been overseas (unlike most Americans) and I recognize what left and right media consists of - unlike most conservative tea partiers who live here.

This election highlights the fact that, collectively, US citizens suffer from denial and/or short-term memory issues.  Why would ANYONE vote Republican right now?  If one has right leanings, then vote Libertarian.  There is no reason why the Republicans would sweep the US House, unless people are propagandized to the point of voting against his own economic interests.  If someone is hungry and/or on the brink of foreclosure of his land, why vote for the party responsible for his misfortune, based on empirical evidence?  It’s pathetic!  Sorry for the ad hominem here, but it’s pathetic of a person to vote Republican.  Personally, I voted for Democrats, Libertarians, and Greens; I voted for the latter two whenever possible.  If only a Republican was available for a particular office, I did not vote for said office because I refuse to vote Republican.  You see, I remember the last thirty years, unlike those propagandized douchebags (again sorry for the ad hominem attack but one must call a spade a spade when necessary) who voted Republican.

So this is what our society must deal with for at least a couple of years.  Now, if things go from bad to worse between now and 2013, I do not want to hear those who voted for Republicans complain!

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By rico, suave, November 3, 2010 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:

My initial post to you on this subject was nothing more than an opinion that you were overusing an obscure metaphor. No more, no less. It in no way was a criticism of the substance of what you were talking about.

I did not attack you personally, unless you think my calling you arrogant for thinking that most “Americans are too terminably (sic) stupid” is an attack. Here’s a personal attack- grow some skin.

What words did I put in your mouth?

“what happened last night created a strategic opportunity for those with a progressive vision and who are committed to come to terms with their rage.” And all I said was, IMO, there aren’t enough Americans who feel that way to make for a consequential party of the left.

The vast majority of my posts on truthdig are responses to terrible logic, over the top pronunciamentos, non sequiturs, gross exaggerations, hyperbolics, hyperventilation and tin foil hat conspiracy hysteria. I like picking on people for using bad form, not bad substance or for rationally stating opinions I strongly disagree with.

Rarely do I spend much time defending capitalism and freedom here because I know it will fall on deaf ears.

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By mdgr, November 3, 2010 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

Rico-suave:

Reasonable tonality, totally off point in terms of substance.


No one is trying to prove anything. You can diminish the trope by attacking its substance if you wish, but please don’t resort to personal attacks—unless you wish me to once again ask you what you are doing here when you seem to harbor only contempt for progressive-anything.


Nor did I suggest probabilities except for stating that a vacuum seems to have been created, and this is something new in the political dialogue.


It will invite third party activity.


You are obviously intelligent, but if we’re speaking of tropes, the ones that you are using (“freedom from want,” “government paternalism,” freedom to fail”) are IMO very stale and not at all relevant here. Moreover, they’re talking points that are repeated every day in the WSJ. If you don’t like Naomi Klein, you might be happier with Peggy Noonan. Anyway, I couldn’t disagree more about their relevance to matters at hand. But you and Sharon Angle are of course free to espouse them.


Finally, while ridicule can be a formidable tool in debate, I’ve asked you once before not to put words in my mouth. Please try and respect that.


I never suggested that “progressivism” will save the world. What I said—and it evidently caught your attention and may have even pressed some buttons—is that what happened last night created a strategic opportunity for those with a progressive vision and who are committed to come to terms with their rage.

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By rico, suave, November 3, 2010 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:

I’m not calling you out or taking umbrage. I just think you’re beating the metaphor to death trying to demonstrate your erudition.

“There is no reason why a third party on the left might not do the same.” Well, yes there is. There aren’t enough Americans smart enough to understand that the best course is to turn their freedom over to Naomi Klein in exchange for her guarantee of freedom from want.

A truly liberal progressive third party will never reach a critical mass of support in the US because not enough people believe that enervating government paternalism is preferable to the freedom to fail in pursuit of success.

You are right- people are stupid. But for you to pretend that progressivism will save them from their stupidity is the height of hubris and arrogance.

Let Darwin handle the stupid people. That way you can take comfort in knowing that, at a minimum, you and Naomi Klein will survive.

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By mdgr, November 3, 2010 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

Ah, Rico-Suave—

Be it so.

And so, you’re finally calling me out on my Berlin/Vichy trope. I would have guessed it might be you. <Cheshire smile>

I use it because America likes sound bytes (it’s attention span’s being only ten seconds), and it’s accurate in denoting the general direction of the political forest, if not of the specific trees.

As collaborators, the Dems have done a pretty good imitation of Vichy. You might take umbrage at the reference to Berlin, true—although your biting trenchancy does not necessarily portend an NSA troll, and I really don’t know where your politics lie—but truth trumps sentiment in this case.

The question of “how” is valid, and I especially enjoyed your little riff on Gaia at the end. Frankly, I don’t see my hopes materializing. Americans are too terminably stupid, plus they have this niggling death wish. It pervades both political parties, and since we all know who controls the MSM, it looks like a no-win game in terms of any real political change. And then there’s that proverbial frog in the pot. That’s us too—here, I’m talking about the planet, of course—and we don’t seem to give a sh*t.

Also, from a Newtonian point of view—where billiard ball A hits billiard ball B and “causes” an exchange of kinetic energy, making B move—I see a dearth of the more obvious kind of miracles. Your questions are good, though. But don’t get too cocky or reductionistic. Don’t jump the shark, as Olbermann would say.

What I see in history are cycles. I wouldn’t call it progress necessarily, but it is rather cyclic, and it often follows a spiral dance. Assuming your heart is with Berlin, as it were—I could be wrong, in which case I apologize—you might be familiar with some of Hegel, Jung, perhaps even Spengler. I’m not getting all granola and New Age on you, so don’t let your tendency to witty rejoinders get ahead of you here. I am merely suggesting that what is happening now seems predictable, and what may emerge also may be predictable.

I do agree that it probably won’t happen overnight. But in the aftermath of this election, I do see Vichy being marginalized ever more, excoriated even. I see the possibility (not necessarily the probability, but the possibility) that a political vacuum was just created, and that nature—in her infinite wisdom and ruthlessness—will strive to fill it.

A third party on the right emerged into being out of nothingness. There is no reason why a third party on the left might not do the same.

Thomas Friedman is already talking about that, but his third party would just be a persona change for Vichy, constellating around what he calls the “glorious center.”

Klein’s party, reference in my post below, would be very, very different. And yes, I think the fuel is there to maybe get it off the ground—assuming that leadership actually emerged.

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By morristhewise, November 3, 2010 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

New and ambitious politicians have been given the task of promoting positive
change but all signs point to them facing gridlock. Most Americans have a good
deal going and want to continue keeping the security and perks that Uncle Sam
provides. They would rather have politicians do nothing than take a chance of the
nation falling into anarchy and having to defend their homes against looters and
squatters.

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By Jimnp72, November 3, 2010 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

now all the dopes who voted for the repugs will get royally screwed in every way,
unfortunately so will the rest of us. It will be kind of funny to observe the total
morons and brainless imbeciles the so called people elected spout their fascist
idiocy to the world
for those of you who think both parties are the same, you are about to be proven
very wrong.

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By Kanamachi, November 3, 2010 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

Well America, you have what you seem to have wanted, a GOP control of the lower
house of Congress.
But if you think that John Boehner’s tan is wired, just wait till till you see his wacko
bat-shit policies put a stop to government.
You get what your deserve!

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By rico, suave, November 3, 2010 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

mdgr:

What’s with your love affair with the Berlin-Vichy trope? Time to change metaphors.

And on what will the independent left build its strength, radicalism, militancy and power? Words? Votes?

We still have to maintain the bourgeoise fiction, at least in the short term, that free elections matter and are desirable. So also, in the short term, we must, unfortunately, resort to words to bring the unenlightened masses to their senses. Of course the beauty of, as Noam Chomsky, Richard Roarty and other critics have so brilliantly pointed out, is that they can mean anything, which, fortunately means that they can have no meaning at all.

So. How to persuade them that liberty is slavery? That self reliance is selfishness? That receiving is better than giving? And most critically, to vote for us while at the same time knowing the real truth; that the ballot box is a symbol of retrograde oppression by the hegemons?

It will all be so tedious and complicated, so maybe we should just follow comrade Lenin’s advice- keep the ballot boxes until we get the guns.

Time to arm up. It’s the only way to demonstrate strength and power, so that our militancy and radicalism will remain unchallenged.

Thank Gaia we have the Second Amendment. At least until we control all the guns.

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By Jonathan, November 3, 2010 at 4:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: mdgr - Naomi Klein is smart, but the Labour Party of Great Britain tried that
approach in the 1980s.  It got them 18 years of exile whilst Margaret Thatcher
rampaged through the political and social landscape.

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By Robespierre115, November 3, 2010 at 2:04 am Link to this comment

Truthdig shouldn’t sound so enthusiastic about Democratic control of the Senate, it’s only by six seats. Overall tonight was a big slap at the face of Limousine Liberals.

It will be interesting to see zombie reactions when Obama starts cutting even more deals and making tricky alliances with the new Republican beast in power.

F—k this system people, can we have a little revolutionary excess please!

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By democratz.org, November 3, 2010 at 1:41 am Link to this comment

The Liberal Democratic Party of the United States of America will do
what the Democratic Party has failed to do. http://www.twitwall.com/view/?who=DEMOCRATZxORG IF you like this message then go to the website and tell others to go to the web site.

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By mdgr, November 3, 2010 at 1:08 am Link to this comment

Well, America voted for Berlin tonight, but that’s not such a bad thing considering that the other choice was Vichy.  Let’s get used to it, noting that gridlock will continue, and Obama still has veto power. He will may even play-act at being a bit more liberal than he has for the previous two years based on his need to strike some dramatic contrasts, if for cosmetic reasons only.


Personally, I was glad for the results. I dealt a serious blow to Vichy and it raised the temperature level. Given the fact that it was a faux-election to begin with, it could not yet be called “do or die.


The next election might be.


Something to consider on the morning after: This comes from Naomi Klein, who cannot be called an airhead.


http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/naomi_klein_building_an_independent_left_20100914/


The “Shock Doctrine” author tells Laura Flanders, “We have to build that independent left. It has to be so strong and so radical and so militant and so powerful that it becomes irresistible.”


The emphasis is on the words “strong, radical and militant.” Now all we need to do is get Arianna Huffington, Jon Stewart and Robert Scheer to stop parentally trying to manage (deflect/suppress) progressive rage.


We finally need to renown it, integrate it and cherish it. Therein, we might begin to find a measure of sanity.


Without it, we can have all the rallies we want, but it will always elude us.

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By lichen, November 3, 2010 at 1:06 am Link to this comment

When the democrats have the house, they pursue endless war and corporate rule; when the republicans have the house, they pursue endless war and corporate rule.

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