Jane Haddam’s WordPress weblog

Well, Damn

with 17 comments

I am sitting here on a day that feels like spring, a little groggy from having stayed up late to watch the election results–except it turns out I didn’t stay up late enough, because I went to bed assuming that things would go as they had been and the Republicans wouldn’t get a majority in the Senate until after the run off election in Louisiana, and I woke up to find that the Republicans had pretty much swept the field.

For those of you who have no interest in the US elections, or who do but are always confused as hell about what is going on–which is most of us–this may not sound like a very big deal, but it is in fact a VERY big deal.

It is a big enough deal that there ought to be several of my friends running around with their hair on fire.

I don’t know, because AOL seems to be down this morning, so the only way I can get to my e mail is on my son’s phone, which is of minimal help.

I HATE touch screens.

That being said, a few notes on last night, and going forward:

1) Exactly how much trouble is the Democratic Party in if it couldn’t manage to unseat Sam Brownback as governor of Kansas?

Brownback honestly deserved to lose that election, not because of his ideology, but because his governance of Kansas has been a train wreck. 

Deficit up, jobs down, revenue flatlining–you name an indicator of how well a state is doing, and Brownback failed at it, and he failed at it in a way that can be traced directly to his policies.

He’s also been ideologically rigid to the point of silliness. 

One of the reasons former governors tend to do better as Presidents than former senators is that governors have to run what amounts to a small country, and you can look at what happened while they were in office and see what happens when they do the things they want to do.

Apparently, the people of Kansas didn’t care.

2) A fair number of the races that were supposed to be really close ended up not actually being close.

It was a little confusing, because a lot of those races were close at the beginning of the night but ended up as blow outs–Thom Tillis in North Carolina, Cory Gardner in Colorado, whoever the Republican was who took Georgia away from Sam Nunn’s daughter.

I went up to sleep and they started calling these things with really significant margins. 

3) The media, including Fox, spent half the night pretending that races that weren’t close were.  You’d look up at the screen and it would say R 66%, D 31% and wonder why anybody thought that race was too close to call.

And I do realize that it’s probably best not to call a race with only 23% of the vote in, but in some of these cases…well.

4) As I write this, the Senate race in Virginia is still up in the air.  The Democrat has declared victory, but the Republican hasn’t conceded, and the vote is close enough that this makes sense.

But that race WASN’T supposed to be close.  which means that even if the Republican eventually loses, this will still not be unalloyed good news for the Democrats. 

Virginia is the place where a great big whacking hunk of federal government workers live.

Democrats are in favor of expanding that workforce and paying them more money, while Republicans are not. 

A Democrat should be able to win in Virginia if he sleeps through the election.


5) White House spokespeople really, really, really have to stop going on the cable news shows talking about how this was not a referendum on the President.

The only way what just happened here makes any sense is if this election WAS a referendum on the President.

I’ve spent months reading about how the Republicans couldn’t hope to win anything on a platform that amounted to “we’re not Obama,” but they did.

Big time.

6) The Democrats (and Democrat-leaning news media) really, really, really have to stop saying that the election wasn’t a referendum on Obamacare.

It was for 23% of voters who went to the polls.  That’s only about half the number who put the economy as their first and most important issue, but it’s still a great big hunk.

7) There was no indication, one way or the other, that anybody cared at all about Ebola.

8) If the Democratic Party dies in the next few years–which a couple of friends of mine has worried it will–it will die because its supporters insist on “explaining” events like last night by the supposed “fact” that the American people are a pack of racist, sexist, nativist, homophobic idiots who don’t know their own best interests.

That nonsense had already started by the time I woke up this morning, and the truth is that it’s only likely to get worse.

9) In the run up to this election, the Obama administration deliberately delayed the implementation of several provisions of the Affordable Care Act–the most notable being the employer mandate–thought to be unpopular with the voters.

Having done that, however, those provisions are now set to go into effect in 2015, which means…

…right in the run-up to the 2016 Presidential election.

Which seems to me like very bad timing.



Written by janeh

November 5th, 2014 at 11:06 am

Posted in Uncategorized

17 Responses to 'Well, Damn'

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  1. Well, I enjoyed it. Lots of people I dislike were embarrassed, and some of the second-tier scoundrels were replaced with different scoundrels. But I keep remembering my Livy. Hannibal had just won Cannae. The Roman Army was mostly dead, and the Senate was arming slaves with weapons taken from temple offerings. Hannibal’s cavalry commander–Massenessa? My Livy is in storage–wanted to storm Rome right then. Hannibal wanted to put pressure on Senators and recruit allies. Finally Massenessa said “The gods have given you many gifts, Hannibal, but not all. You know how to win a victory, but not what to do with it.”

    So here. The winners will try to embarrass Obama, and do half dozen minor things which will give them a slight edge in the next election. The losers will talk about “rebranding” and improving their effort to get a slightly larger percentage of “their” voters to the polls. The winners will not seriously change how the country is governed, and the losers will change their message, not their agenda. This isn’t about how the country should be governed: it’s about winning elections. The elections have become an end and not a means.

    Partly, that’s because this was an internal fight within our political class. Too many of the winners attended the same schools, majored in the same subjects and have the same (thin) resumes as almost all the losers. From my point of view, a battle in which a faction wholeheartedly in favor of the bureaucratic-regulatory state is defeated by a faction ambiguous about such a state is a marginal win at best.

    But it beats the heck out of a loss.


    5 Nov 14 at 7:05 pm

  2. Well, it took six years for the “Great American Public” to wake up, but eventually they did. Better late than never.

    As for your Facebook comment, Jane, and the Nation column, all I can say is that the woman is nuts. She lost me at “good progressive policies”. It is astonishing that anyone, knowing what has long been obvious to all but the most fanatical partisan, could vote for this blatantly corrupt and incompetent administration. Anyone who voted for Obama in 2012 must accept responsibility for the outcome of this election.


    5 Nov 14 at 8:23 pm

  3. Well, Mique, she appears to count “1, 2, 4, 5..” which is probably a good start to getting a job in the administration. But notice: while several articles called on Obama to rule by decree, and there were several speeches tying Republicans to DEMOCRATIC policies of c. 1956, no one among the losers seems to be calling for Pelosi or Reid to be replaced, for changes in policy–or for changes to make the administration more competent. These are Bourbons: they learn nothing, and they forget nothing.


    5 Nov 14 at 9:28 pm

  4. I had only been vaguely aware that there were mid-term elections going on in the US. This does shed some light on an aside to a fairly non-political topic in one group I was following to the effect that some Americans were suffering from false consciousness because they tended to vote for parties which would reduce their postal service.

    I’m mildly surprised by Robert’s comment that no one is calling for the heads of the leaders of the losing party. In Canadian politics, a major defeat tends to result almost immediately in the resignation or serious challenge intended to force a resignation. Every party seems to have ambitious members who avoid back-stabbing their fellow-members only so long as the people who hold the places they want at the top are winning, and not a second longer.


    6 Nov 14 at 7:34 am

  5. Cheryl, that WAS the case in US politics. When Pelosi lost the House and stayed on as Minority Leader, it raised a few eyebrows. But we are deep into the age of non-accountability.

    The believers in “false consciousness:” do they realize that the very concept is inimical to democracy. The core idea, after all, is that I can tell better than Joe what is in Joe’s best interests. Still, I suppose the idea that everyone knows his own interests best would leave our politically engaged with a lot less to do.

    The deeper question is voting for parties which would educe my mail service. Is my obligation in a democracy to vote for whoever would give me personally the most stuff? Or for whoever would be best for the nation? But IS there a national interest as opposed to what’s best for each of us? What’s the time frame? And where does morality come into play? Lots of policies which would be good for me would be bad for the nation–or brutally unfair to someone else.

    More to voting in a democracy than mail delivery on Saturday, I’m afraid. Alert the media.


    6 Nov 14 at 8:58 am

  6. Here in Australia, at least since the Whitlam era in the late 60s-early 70s, it has been rare and increasingly unlikely for a losing political leader to survive the loss of an election. One Labor Party leader back in the early post-WWII years famously lost three federal elections without being replaced. Then along came Whitlam, and his major achievement was to defeat that old party leader in a leadership contest and, thus, to make the Labor Party electable again.

    These days, it’s probably inconceivable that a party leader would survive an election loss by even one seat, let alone the veritable landslide loss suffered by the Democrats on this occasion.


    6 Nov 14 at 9:36 am

  7. Ah. Virginia. The Virginia Jane describes really does exist–but only for about a sixty-mile radius or less from the Chin Link Bridge in DC. That area encompasses Dulles, the Pentagon, DIA, CIA, NGA (I think) Arlington, and some of the most expensive residential housing in the country. It’s pretty solid Democratic country except the military personnel and vets–but there are quite a few of us. And if you keep going just a little further west you’re in the Shenandoah Valley–Stonewall Jackson country, complete with VMI. Go any further south, and you cross the Rappahannock into real Virginia. The serious Confederate States Museum is in Richmond, and you’ll pass the Stonewall Jackson Shrine as soon as you pass over the Rappahannock.

    STATE-WIDE races here are ferocious and close. CONGRESSIONAL races are pretty much decided by the primaries–ultra liberal within 30 miles of the Chain Link, conservative west of the Blue Ridge or south of the Rappahannock, and a debatable ground about one congressional district wide between the two.

    A lot of us were surprised this particular Senatorial election was close. Warner is a formidable opponent, and the polls showed him well in the lead. But Virginia is not a place the Democrats can take for granted–not without hiring even more Federal bureaucrats. They’re working on it.


    6 Nov 14 at 7:25 pm

  8. Mini-hijack alert:

    I’m currently reading Sharyl Attkisson’s “Stonewalled”. This is a must read for anyone who is frustrated by the apparent (indeed very real) decline in the quality of the electronic news media.

    While obviously she criticises the current administration’s efforts to cover up its “crimes”, and the compliant media’s collaboration, she does not spare previous administrations of both parties.

    Excellent book.


    11 Nov 14 at 1:55 pm

  9. I’ve been in Wellington New Zealand for a holiday. Wellington is the capital of the country and the daily newspaper has an interesting sense of proportion. The world news is given 2 pages. The US election got about 1 page of coverage. I did check the online NY Times the day after the election but it didn’t have much to say.


    12 Nov 14 at 3:15 pm

  10. jd, if you’d spent months telling everyone that something was NOT going to happen, and it happened anyway, you wouldn’t have much to say either.

    The New York Times is not a primarily a purveyor of news: it’s the propaganda organ of “progressivism” and when it tells the truth, it’s only because lie would have been less useful for progressivism.


    13 Nov 14 at 5:53 am

  11. Further to my post about Sharyl Attkisson’s “Stonewalled”, I’m 3/4 through it and can only say “Wow”.

    Get it, read it and trumpet it from the rooftops. It’s about US politics and media, but it could equally be about politics and media in almost any western country.


    13 Nov 14 at 9:24 am

  12. Robert, I agree with you about the NY Times. But I did expect them to have a an op-ed prepared in advance in case the Republicans won control of the

    Mique, the book might be interesting but I flatly refuse to pay $17 for a kindle book. Especially when the hardback is $18!


    13 Nov 14 at 3:09 pm

  13. Robert, speaking of the NY Times,


    is rather hilarious. A liberal finally admitting that the Supreme Court is political!


    13 Nov 14 at 5:05 pm

  14. Hilarious is right. The lack of self-awareness of these people is amazing. Sharyl Attkisson (do you get I’m in love) plays what she calls the Substitution Game: what would they say if the Court was 4-3 in their favour?

    John, I decided to save the postage.Welcome back. My AIM is broken since the Microsoft update yesterday.


    13 Nov 14 at 6:31 pm

  15. Well, is it the end, the beginning of the end, or just the end of the beginning?

    Like many people I’ve been following the Ferguson events or, perhaps for some of the mob depicted on Fox News, the Ferguson Frolics. All I can say is that if that represents a true microcosm of the US today, God help us all.

    From the outset, at this distance it seemed that nobody, least of all the media, really cared about the truth (whatever it might be) of the Brown shooting by Officer Wilson. Pretty much all the media I read or watched seemed to be based on the assumption that as it was a white on black killing it was, prima facie, a wrongful killing and, as with the Florida case, the killer must be brought to “justice”. If the existing laws do not permit that lynch law version of “justice”, then let’s simply dispense with the legal niceties and act as if the law we wish existed actually did exist at all relevant times.

    I watched and listened to every word of the County Prosecutor’s presentation. And I persisted with Idiot Obama’s pathetic waffle until I could no longer put up with his vacuous drivel. Why, oh why, does Obama interfere in these matters? The Prosecutor said everything that could reasonably be said about the matter. He added nothing but fuel to the Skip Gates and Trayvon Martin “fires” by his intervention without changing the outcome. He and his thuggish A-G, Holder, have added nothing but fuel to this one.

    Blacks cannot argue that they should be treated “fairly” by the law and law enforcement authorities when they demand special treatment every time every time an incident like this occurs. Just exactly what do they want that can possibly be granted other than what they got in this case – a thorough inquiry by a representative Grand Jury? Go to the lynch mob directly as so many argued in the Martin case?

    The depth of ignorance of the law among members of the media can be gained by some of the idiotic and literally unanswerable questions asked of the Prosecutor at question time. With journalists like that, what chance is there that the media can assist in calming the situation.

    I despair.


    25 Nov 14 at 12:07 am

  16. Mique

    25 Nov 14 at 8:42 am

  17. jd

    25 Nov 14 at 5:21 pm

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