Democrats are dead in the land of Dixie.
With the fall of three-term Sen. Mary Landrieu Saturday, Louisiana will not have a Democratic statewide elected official for the first time since 1876. And the Republican Party will control, as the Associated Press noted, every Senate seat, governor’s mansion and legislative chamber from the Carolinas to Texas.
Congress’ last white Democrat in the Deep South didn’t lose because of a superior opponent, but because of her association with a deeply unpopular President and a health-care law that destroyed the chances to extend other Democratic dynasties this cycle, including Georgia’s Jason Carter and Michelle Nunn.
Landrieu—the daughter of a former New Orleans mayor and the sister to the current one—lost more so than Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy won. Even Cassidy, who cruised to a win Saturday, acknowledges that to some extent. When asked to define the campaign’s turning point, he pointed to…
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WASHINGTON — Colleen McCain Nelson reports: President Barack Obama took responsibility for his party’s poor performance in the midterm elections and said in a new interview that his administration has struggled at times to sell its ideas and to persuade the other side.
“So whenever, as the head of the party, it doesn’t do well, I’ve got to take responsibility for it.”
In the aftermath of a Republican romp that saw the GOP take control of the Senate and tighten its grip on the House, the president told CBS that “the buck stops right here at my desk.”
“There are times, there’s no doubt about it, where, you know, I think we have not been successful in going out there and letting people know what it is that we’re trying to do and why this is the right direction. So there is a failure of politics there that we’ve got to improve on.”
“So whenever, as the head of the party, it doesn’t do well, I’ve got to take responsibility for it,” he said on “Face the Nation.”
In the past, Mr. Obama has been largely reticent to identify specific shortcomings in his administration, but he said in the interview that he must constantly remind himself and his team that good ideas alone aren’t enough. Read the rest of this entry »
Responding to Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer’s interview with President Obama, aired on Sunday morning, Woodward noted:
“I found the interview with Obama very revealing, because he said he’s going to reach out to the other side — to persuade and sell. Now, if you’re going to reach out to the other side on something, one of the things you want to do is listen. But we didn’t hear that.”
“What we heard, is the continuous Obama line: ‘I’m heading in the right direction; this is right.’ …A go-it-alone approach just isn’t going to work.”
— Ξ BLACK REPUBLICAN Ξ (@blackrepublican) November 6, 2014
THE REPUBLAGEDDON of 2014 Puts Tiny Dent In Presidential Ego, Nukes Fragile Ties Between Obama and Senate DemocratsPosted: November 6, 2014
“Tension blew up Tuesday when Krone’s comments about Democrats’ dismal showing in the 2014 midterms went public. He accused Obama of paying “lip service” to concerns about helping finance the midterm elections and said the president was an anchor that took down Democrats across the country, costing them the Senate majority.”
The Fix’s Chris Cillizza writes: Less than two months after their most joyous moment together, the relationship between the Obama White House and Senate Democrats went off track and has never recovered.
“The president’s approval rating is barely 40 percent. What else more is there to say?”
— Reid’s chief of staff, David Krone
“It was an unusual breach of Washington decorum that stunned a political community used to the shadowy ‘background’ comments from ‘senior administration officials’ or ‘senior Senate aides.’ In general, staffers do not say such things on the record about a sitting president, especially from the same party.”
Instead of basking in the victory glow of President Obama’s impressive 2012 reelection and an improbable two-seat gain for Democrats, they found themselves at the edge of the now infamous “fiscal cliff.”
“Krone’s move wasn’t some rogue operation of a staffer gone wild. He is a close and loyal aide to Reid, having met him years ago when he — Krone — was a telecommunications lobbyist and executive.”
Washington was consumed by negotiations over a huge stockpile of expiring tax cuts and automatic spending cuts that were set to kick in at the end of the year. The two months between Election Day and New Year’s Eve were a period of intense, partisan negotiations.
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) had pulled back from the talks, leaving the White House, in the person of Vice President Biden, to cut a deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
The final vote on the package seemed like a bipartisan triumph: 89 senators supported the deal, which included the permanent extension of the Bush-era tax breaks for most workers. But the vote masked a vast underlying tension among some of the players. Read the rest of this entry »
Thomas B. Edsall writes:
Democrats counting on favorable demographic trends to carry their party to victory in 2016 should consider three significant developments reflected in the outcome of Tuesday’s elections.
The first is that the Republican establishment, at least for the moment, has wrested control back from the Tea Party wing. This will make it more difficult for Democrats to portray their opponents as dangerous extremists.
The second, and more important, development was the success of Republican candidates in defusing accusations that their party is conducting a “war on women.” The effectiveness of Republican tactics on this front is sure to influence strategy in two years, threatening to undermine a line of attack that has generated a gender gap and has been crucial to past Democratic victories.
The third was the powerful showing of Republican gubernatorial candidates in two Midwestern states important to Democrats in presidential elections: Wisconsin and Michigan….(read more)
“You did it! Isn’t this amazing?” Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer said to a room full of supporters in Portland on Tuesday night after being reelected. But he wasn’t celebrating his own win, he was celebrating another victory for legal pot.
“You knew we could do better than the failed policy of prohibition,” Blumenauer said.
Voters in Oregon on Tuesday chose to follow Colorado and Washington state in passing a ballot measure that will create the country’s third legal market for recreational marijuana. Measure 91, which passed with 54% of the vote, makes it legal for residents 21 and older to possess and grow marijuana, and tasks the state liquor control commission with regulating the substance.
A similar proposal in Alaska passed early Wednesday morning, making it the fourth state to legalize retail pot. “The results are in, and marijuana prohibition is on its way out,” Rob Kampia, executive director of…
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“The fallout has led to questions about the president’s effectiveness, his resolve and his general ability to lead, at home and abroad.”
For The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin and David Nakamura report: The week after his reelection, President Obama was a man full of promise and promises: His job-approval rating stood at 54 percent, the 2010 tea party wave that had knocked his first term off balance appeared to have receded, and he seemed as sober about the future as he was hopeful.
“The wreckage of 2013 had similar effects on the combatants: The president’s approval ratings took a nose dive, and Congress’s were even worse. Gallup reported that 42 percent of the public approved of Obama’s performance as the new year dawned.”
“With respect to the issue of mandate, I’ve got one mandate . . . to help middle-class families and families that are working hard to try to get into the middle class,” he said at a news conference in the East Room of the White House in November 2012. Obama acknowledged the dangers of “presidential overreach in second terms,” but he put forward an expansive, legacy-building agenda: a major fiscal deal, immigration reform and action on climate change.
“Every decision that has been made has been based on political calculation. You live by the political sword, you die by it.”
Two bruising years later, he has registered progress only on addressing climate change, and a president who once boasted of a barrier-breaking liberal coalition is under fire from his own party as his Republican rivals are poised to make gains in Tuesday’s midterm elections. Read the rest of this entry »
RPV wrote a letter to the Virginia Department of Elections this morning stating there were problems with some of the electronic voting touch screens in at least four different Congressional Districts.
“Voters have difficulty selecting the candidate of their choice using the touch screen because the screen’s touch sensor is not properly aligned with the text that appears on the screen.”
— RPV spokesman said in the letter.
A video link included in the letter shows a machine malfunction when someone tries to select the Republican candidate on the ballot:
For more about the precincts where RPV says the issue is happening…(read more)
This story is developing….
Obama will be a lame duck president. Voters will have rebuked him and his policies. He’s pissed. How much damage will he do? As much as he can get away with
Philip Klein writes: No matter what the exact outcome of Tuesday’s elections, there is little doubt that President Obama will come out of it wounded.
Whether or not Republicans take over the Senate, they will certainly gain seats. Even if Democrats manage to eke out a victory that maintains narrow control of the chamber, it will only be because their candidates in close races did everything they could to distance themselves from Obama.
“…the relationship between the Obama and Netanyahu administrations ‘is now the worst it’s ever been, and it stands to get significantly worse after the November midterm elections’.”
Either way, Obama will be a lame duck president. Voters will have rebuked him and his policies. He won’t have the ability to pass major legislation, and the focus of the political world will quickly turn to candidates vying to replace him.
But being a lame duck president isn’t the same as being without power. On issues including healthcare, environmental policy, immigration, and national security, Obama has already displayed a willingness to bypass Congress to pursue his goals.
“Obama has already caved in to the Iranians on uranium enrichment, plutonium development, and its missile program. And the New York Times has reported that if a final agreement with Iran is reached, Obama ‘will do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress vote on it’.”
If there were anything holding him back up to this point, it was either that he was facing re-election or he was somewhat hesitant to weaken Democratic chances in an election year that would determine the composition of Congress during his last two years in office.
But his name won’t be on the ballot in 2016 and he won’t have to deal with the Congress that gets elected that year, either. This means he has every reason to take more aggressive executive actions.
“First of all, I don’t agree with the odd-makers. I predict we’re gonna — we’re gonna keep the Senate. I’ve been in sixty-six, sixty-seven races all told. And I’m not getting the feeling that the odd-makers are getting.”
— Vice President Joe Biden
…But if Republicans do take the Senate — which the forecasting models of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and many others predict — Biden believes it will have little to do with the Obama administration….(more)
“…In the wake of the Democratic Party’s 2010 defeats, it seemed as though Obama might go the way of Bill Clinton; triangulate, moderate, embrace centrism. The president did work with newly ascendant Republicans to strike a deal increasing unemployment insurance for a temporary extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, and he appointed the business-friendly Bill Daley to serve as his chief of staff. It did not last. A freshly reelected Barack Obama made repeal of those tax cuts for the nation’s top earners a priority. Daley lasted just one year in his role before he movedon to more productive pursuits.
It seems this time around, Obama is not even pretending to be interested in shifting to the middle. Instead, his allies target Democratic partisans with a message of defiance. The fight, they insist, will continue. The cause endures. But it is a mere feint. There is no stomach in the Oval Office for anything other than showpiece battles over Potemkin legislation…”
[UPDATE: Enjoy Charle’s C.W. Cooke’s Let’s Not Cancel the Midterms]
Whether history will be cruel or kind to the political career of Harry Reid remains to be seen, but in the short term, one thing is for sure, the blame for Democrats’ upcoming election defeat will be served generously to Harry, in multiple helpings. Judgement day is almost here. Until as recently as a week ago, I was too superstitious and too cautious to predict that the Tuesday’s election will firmly close the book on the Reid era. Now that Tuesday is almost here, I’m throwing caution to the dogs. It’s half-past Reid-O’clock. Time to chill the champagne, unwrap the cigars, put sparkly icing on the cowboy cupcakes, and light the candles. Harry’s days as senate majority leader are in the final twilight. The show’s almost over. I get emotional just thinking about it, don’t you?
It looks as if Harry Reid is at high risk of losing any Senate leadership role after Tuesday’s election.
Reid said Saturday that it’s all up to Iowa to determine whether he keeps his job. He told Democratic donors that if Republican Joni Ernst wins her victory, it “would mean . . . that Mitch McConnell would be leader of the United States Senate.”
“Reid indicated to the newspaper that ‘other Democrats would only get their chance to lead the caucus if they pried the title from his cold, dead hands’.”
Given that Sunday’s Des Moines Register poll shows Ernst with a seven-point lead over Democrat Bruce Braley, Reid can be forgiven some nervousness.
“But this year, at a news conference held in September, Reid declined to clarify whether he would stay on as minority leader if his party lost the majority.”
But Reid may also not even remain minority leader after Tuesday, though Democrats around him exude inside-the-Beltway loyalty to him in public. Chuck Schumer, the No. 3 ranking Democrat and a man known for his ambition, told Meet the Press last month that Reid had a lock on the majority leader’s job. Read the rest of this entry »
Rich Lowry, Special Report, 10-28-2014