Yet Another Politico Posing for Pictures

Courtesy of the New York Daily News ( @DNDailyPolitics ), we have yet another Democratic politician posing for dirty pictures with some chick he met on the Internet:

Here We Go Again: Anthony Weiner Redux | New York Daily News.

At least two of the photos showed the Cumberland County freeholder’s crotch, two showed him dressed to the nines in a suit, and a fifth showed him waist up without a shirt.

One wonders: what if NRA officials were as careless with their stock-in-trade as politicians seem to be with theirs? Because when you get right down to it, what else does a politician have to rely on once their face is tarnished in this way?


New York 29: Keep Your Powder Dry, Dems

For most experienced political watchers, the whole Chris Lee blow-up might be interesting news fodder, but it ultimately doesn’t really change much. We’ll get a new Republican in the 26th District, but it will be a Republican almost certainly.

Consider the numbers: in 140 years of Dem/Repub rule of American politics, there have been exactly four Democrats that have represented the 29th. (source is ::gasp!:: The district – even after we factor in the dissolution of the 29th – is tailor-made for Republicans, being a trifecta rural, white and relatively wealthy. The Census website illustrates these last points perfectly: The 26th district is 92% white with an average income of $55k, about four thousand dollars a year more than the national average.

A few years back, 13WHAM had a bunch of us bloggers on to discuss the primaries which included Chris Lee in his first run at Congress. While on the set, I actually looked up these very numbers. I would have looked pretty smart if I’d said them, too, which I didn’t.

Well, now I have. I still feel smart, damnit.


I Don’t Care Whose Fault It is. Just Fix It.

Down the line on most any issue, my politics fall predictably to the left. I think that’s pretty clearly understood by anyone who reads my stuff. You know, what with the title of the website, the six years spent blogging on said site, and all. But over the last two years, I’ve slowly come under the impression that the issues that drove me to blog in the first place are entirely irrelevant to the “discussion” as it happens between the political poles of our country. In fact, issues don’t really seem to factor in to the “discussion” at all, save of course, as props.

Both the Left and the Right of the country seem to be entirely focused on the proposition that the only means of saving the economy is a radical shift in one direction or another. I say that as an ardent supporter of public financing of health care. And one who believes the Stimulus package was both necessary and successful. Nevertheless, just because I agree with my friends on the Left – down the line. on every issue – doesn’t make that the relevant issue of the day. Right now, the relevant issue of the day is in fact the figurative business of “getting the car out of the ditch.” That is the problem. That is what I suspect most people want to talk about.

And while I generally look to my beliefs and therefore my politics for answers to the issues of the day, now I just look at the two sides bickering over issues in disbelief. Both sides are citing historical precedents and studies from the colleges of their choice,…. and I just remember the thing I heard my mommy and daddy say to my sister and I countless times:

I don’t care whose fault it is. Just fix it.


When I’m Wrong, I’m Wrong

Don’t let it be said that I’m too full of myself to admit when I’m wrong. I’m certainly too full of myself for lots of other things, but not that….

I honestly believed – right up to last night – that the Dems would probably be just fine in their majorities in the 2010 elections. I was wrong.

The Dems managed to hold the Senate, though in all honestly, the numbers from last night make it clear that all us Liberals owe a debt of gratitude to Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell for that. Count that as a “Win” for #4 on my list. In fact, things have gone so badly for Sarah Palin that even when Dems lose, they still win in Alaska: Senator Murkowski looks poised to take back her seat despite being primaried by a Tea Party and Sarah Palin-backed Joe Miller. Murkowski is hardly a leftie, but she certainly looks it when compared to Joe Miller.

I am very surprised that voters went for Republicans in such large numbers, but then, Democrats and the Obama White House have done such a poor job of at least getting credit for the things they did accomplish that our current result set was probably inevitable. That would be why #1 in my list didn’t matter: even when winning, the prevaricating, overly-cautious Democrats looked like they were losing. So all those great accomplishments meant nothing to the voting public.

#3 on my list, the myth of low voter turnout, turned out to be false almost immediately. The “enthusiasm gap” seems to have had nothing to do with the loss, but rather a swing among Independents.

That leaves #’s 2 and 5. Both burned the Republicans once, the Democrats once. And if they don’t shape up, the lack of cohesive planning and vision will burn them both next election.

I am curious now what the average rate of incumbency is in the Congress, relative to say 2000? Have long-term incumbents like Harry Reid been given a pass in favour of a lot of cannon fodder candidates? Certainly at the margins, that is always true. But have the huge swings in voting habits of the American people resulted in a genuine shake-up of Washington’s elite, or just made for good television and lots of heartburn for us political watchers?

If you have any details, I’d love to hear it.


This is it! Get out there and vote!

Well, its November 2nd and if you have managed to make it all day without seeing any news, this is just a reminder that yes, it’s Election Day. Time to get out there and do your civic duty.

I don’t think there’s any question that, for Democrats, this year’s civic duty is just that: a duty. Very few of us are overly enthusiastic about what the media keeps telling us will be a drubbing. Personally, while I’ve never been sanguine about Dem’s chances, I have to admit that the constant barrage of media negativity is starting to wear on my stomach.

Thing is: no one is really polling most of these individual Congressional races and really, the pundits are largely going on feeling which is to say: largely going on the group-think of the Pundit Class. It will be interesting to see what the narrative is by tomorrow morning. You can be sure that, no matter what happens, it certainly won’t be the media’s fault for over-hyping what is supposed to be a serious matter of electing leaders. If the Republicans don’t crush the Democrats across the board – if the take the House as is now all but axiomatic in the group-think, but do no better – the question will be what is wrong with the Republicans rather than what is wrong with the media’s analysis.

So here’s my advice, gleaned from careful observation of MSNBC, and CNN: the question is how big the wave will actually be, and we really need to watch the early results to get an indication of what happens next, then we’ll need to see how it unfolds from there.


5 Reasons Democrats Will Be Just Fine in November

Far be it from me to deprive the national news media their ability to drum up hysterical psycho-drama every waking moment of the day, but I thought that I might offer a few good reasons to cast a bit of doubt on the dire predictions of the smarmy, gossipy Washington press corps so eloquently embodied in Dana Millbank and others. And while I fully understand that I have no voice on the national level, I thought I’d give you a few good reasons to be less amazed than they will profess to be come the end of this latest election cycle:

#5: Just because your “agin” one Party does not make you “fer” another:

Its hard to believe I actually need to say this out loud, but I will: just because I’m pissed at a Democrat does not mean I will vote for a Republican. There has to be a reason to believe that the Republican will do better, which as I will address below, is dubious at best right now. As fun as the media finds it to refer to the people who watch their shows and pay their salaries as “pitchfork-wielding,” knuckle-dragging thugs, the fact is that most of us do not even own pitchforks in the first place. Those of us who do probably have better uses for them. You know, because we think for ourselves.

#4: The Republican capacity to self-immolate.

Republicans had things pretty locked up in Nevada. That is, until Sharon Angle won the nomination there. Now Reid is up by 7. That is, despite a completely upside-down approval rating for Reid in his state. With other winners like Rand Paul and the rest of the Katzenjammer Kids, we can have at least some faith in the Republicans ability to mess this up. And indeed, it is a standard trait of the non-incumbent party that they tend to play Keystone Cops until such time as they simply cannot help but be more attractive than the incumbent party.

From apologies to BP to declaring the inscrutable “Repeal and Replace” agenda for both HCR and now Fin Reg, to describing the financial crisis as an “ant,” to telling the unemployed to just “get a job,” its hard to imagine how Democrats could do a better job of painting the Republicans as out-of-touch. Worse for Republicans, the outlandishly misguided behavior is not atypical, but rather reinforces classic stereotypes of the Republican Party that have traditionally hung their chances out to dry when the issue is the economy. That makes a lot of people’s stomachs hurt when it comes time to actually vote for Republicans.

#3: The Low Turnout Myth

There is no doubt but that turnout can be expected to be lower than it was in the last election. Count on the media to point that out relentlessly, regardless of who wins what, as proof that their analysis is right. But if the last election was a record-setting election – it was – and if turnout in mid-terms is generally lower than in presidential elections – it is – then predicting that turnout will be lower is not exactly the stuff of sages. And I fully expect that the turnout, while lower than the presidential election of 2008, will likely be higher than it was in the previous mid-term election.

Because while we know that mid-terms get less attention, generally, this is not one of those general years. This is not a year when people get to just kick back and be happy with their jobs and wrap Christmas presents. Things are serious and serious-minded people will come out to vote.

Another classic canard of the national news media – one which on its face is self-negating – is that because turnout is low, mid-term elections are both dominated by Conservative voters and also an opportunity for a “protest vote.” The extent to which this concept is true is the extent to which Conservative voters “protest” Liberal and Democratic administrations and no farther. One or the other has to be true, or they’re both false.

Finally, while there’s every reason to think that some people who are angry over the current state of the economy – as distinct from Conservative voters who are just extra angry for their own reasons – will want to “protest” the current administration and Congress, they’ll have to step beyond the blogs, the comments, the FaceBook posts, the cameras, the televisions, the radios, the brave talk at the water cooler and step into that curiously quiet and disquieting space known as a voting booth and actually pull the lever. Which leads me to the next point:

#2: No plan, no vote.

Protest is one thing. But no one disputes the fact that our nation is in a precarious spot right now. This is not the time to simply throw the lever against the incumbent party and feel better about yourself. Polls are showing that Americans generally favour experience over fresh faces – a fact that works better for Dems *after* the 2008 than before it. People are paying very close attention to the news and election politics right now because they need to make what most anyone sees as a very important decision at a very risky time. And when they’re in that booth, what good reason is there to vote in a Republican?

Because the Republicans have shown no new messages, no plan and much worse, absolutely no leadership in the last year and a half. There is absolutely no reason to think that we will do anything other than return to the exact same position we were in on November of 2008 if we put the same party back into power.

#1: America digs a winner

To complain about the “obstructionist” non-incumbent party is a means of applying political pressure. To complain about an incumbent party that “won’t listen to our ideas” is just whining. That was as true for Democrats as it currently is for Republicans. In order to show that you can lead, you have to win something. Right now, Republican wins are few and far between whereas the Democrats are on fire with some of the biggest legislation ever passed in my lifetime. You don’t have to like it to see that they’re winning. And winning is a powerful thing in American politics.

Democrats were able to bring the Bush Agenda to a slow, creaking halt around 2005. And they won big in 2006. By 2008, it wasn’t just that the country was in a dire situation, but rather that Republicans seemed completely ill-equiped to provide an answer that did them in. So far, Republicans have yet to have the same types of successes with the Democratic agenda. If anything, they’ve whipped up a lot of nasty, racist, belligerent protest to the Democratic agenda that dragged the HCR debates well past their welcome… and then lost, anyway.

No plan, no wins, a nasty case of foot-in-mouth and a lot of hasty assumptions about how people will vote do not necessarily add up to a winning strategy. Plan on hearing the phrase “The Republicans snatched defeat from the jaws of victory,” quite a lot by December. That’s not because they really did so badly, but because pundits so completely and intentionally misjudged what is about to happen. Certainly, Democrats will loose seats. Certainly, Republicans will crow about the victories. But the needle won’t have moved appreciably in this next election.

One final point of purely meta, purely Monday Night Football-ish kind of analysis: this is not 1994 by any measure. In 1994, Democrats had controlled Congress almost consistently for twenty years, were riddled with House scandals, were completely dysfunctional and “suffering” from a perfectly good economy where Republicans could play on greed. Republicans meanwhile had a very organized team and a “Contract With America,” which for all the silliness inherent in that title, was at least a well-laidout set of policy agenda. Democrats currently have no serious scandals brewing, have not had time to become unwelcome as a ruling Party and are very well orga-…. well, bad example.


Hmmmm… Not Quite the Same Thing, Is It?

Channel 8’s got a new article up about a former aid to David Patterson getting a plum job working for State Senator John Sampson. This revelation comes as it is revealed that State Senator and turncoat Espada’s son was given a plum as well by the state Democrat’s central staff:

Another Controversial Hiring in Albany.

Well, what do you know? One loser in Albany gets called to the mat and then the accusations just keep on coming. Who could have ever predicted such a thing?

And oh-so loath as I am to compare the crimes of the Albany set, allow me to point out a few things which – on the face of it – don’t appear to achieve “scandal parity:”

  1. You can hire whatever idiot you like. Hiring is not the problem.
  2. In Espada, we have a clear narrative of nepotism and blackmail: dude abandons the Dems, then gets coaxed back, then his kid gets a job.
  3. Who did Sampson bribe? Not saying he didn’t, but where is the crime? We’re comparing nepotism to,.. what? a bad hiring choice.

So perhaps this case gets juicier. I won’t be holding my breath. Meanwhile, I’m sure there are others’ arms being twisted. Better stuff is on the way, no doubt.


About Integrity. Smugtown, Indeed.

Interesting story brewing in the local Rochester blog circuit. One which the local media might do well to monitor…

My take on anonymity is that it is the right of every citizen of the Internet to decide how much or little of their personal information they choose to divulge and when. Unlike other forms of communication, Internet information has a way of staying around forever and being publicly available, which means that the normal rules of disclosure do not always apply. For my own part, I really don’t care what anyone thinks of my personal political views; if someone changes their mind about employing me because of something I’ve said on this website, they can go outside and play a game of Hide and Go Fuck Yourself.

But the decision whether or not to reveal one’s identity has nothing much to do with the veracity of one’s writing. Clearly, Smugtown has an authority issue on this one. An authority issue that goes beyond the relatively petty disagreements between private publishers and seems by all accounts – including those of City Newspaper – to be affecting the democratic process in Monroe County.

Late Update: I’m also told that this Smugtown thing appears to be a bit of astroturf. They’re apparently advertising in City Newspaper and paid someone to get a professional website done for them. To each his own and my design skills are hardly immune to critcism, but it looks to me like the site was built by the same person who did the site, which is a piss-poor representation of what modern Internet sites should look like:

RBJDaily.Net: No RSS, Ten Year-Old HTML Style
RBJDaily.Net: No RSS, Ten Year-Old HTML Style

The Smugtown Beacon: no RSS and fifteen year-old HTML style. This is the face of Hypertextile Dysfunction.
The Smugtown Beacon: no RSS and fifteen year-old HTML style. This is the face of Hypertextile Dysfunction.


In Their Own Words

via In Their Own Words: Why Dem Senators Screwed Homeowners.

Jon Tester (D-Mont.): “I just think a deal's a deal. I have a lot of empathy for folks who tend to get led astray, but I just think it's going to create some problems — pretty obvious, actually. I don't have to list them. I'm generally opposed. I don't think it works well.”

For those of you playing along at home, that’s at least five different statements in one statement, most of them contradictory. If you have empathy for those who were led astray, then how can you say a deal’s a deal?


I Guess You Wouldn’t Want to Double-Park the Brunomobile

I’ve been busy trying to find gainful employment, so I don’t know how long this story has been out there. But the Democrats in Albany are discovering “perks” Republicans granted themselves for being in the majority that are just insane. The Brunomobile, for example, is a rolling fortress filled with swiveling leather captain’s chairs and a golf course. And to go along with that monstrosity, they found – and this is not my trademark hyperbole – 800 parking spaces per Republican Senator, reserved just for them.

Must have been nice.


The Marker in Congress Has Been Thrown Down

Congress has told the White House it must find the funds to bail out Detroit out of the TARP money – that $700bn package reserved for the financial industry – or there may be no money forthcoming. Thus far, Hank Paulson at Treasury and the White House have resisted such calls.

And a fine time it is to suddenly think you’ve grown a set: the president is leaving office in a matter of days and it won’t be his problem any longer. Why should he give a shit? It’s not like he’s shown any level of interest in the economy up till now. Not exactly a powerful position from which to throw down an ultimatum. We’ll see what happens, but if I were Harry Reid, I’d start twisting arms in the Senate to get something which provides real oversight in the bailout package that is inevitably going to need to pass through Congress.


Big Trouble for a Little Beaver Near Big Beaver?

As Josh Marshall sez, “uh-oh:

Stabenow’s husband caught in Troy prostitution sting, police report says

Thomas L. Athans was stopped Feb. 26 by undercover officers investigating a possible prostitution ring in a room at the Residence Inn near Big Beaver and Interstate 75. Athans paid a 20-year-old prostitute $150 for sex in a Troy hotel but was not arrested, according to police reports obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by The Detroit News. The police report said officers observed Athans enter a room under surveillance and leave 15 minutes later. Detectives followed and stopped Athans’ silver 2002 Cadillac DeVille on Interstate 75 near Square Lake Road.

Out of curiosity, can we take it as a sign of the relative health of our economy in New York State that our sex-starved politicians (and presumably, their significants, though that’s yet to be confirmed) pay several times the going rate in Michigan?  Even if you factor in fractions of an hour (fifteen minutes?!?), that’s still only $600 an hour.