Odd Maine gubernatorial statistic

I got to thinking today how many incumbents or incumbent parties have won the Blaine House. I started with the election of Democrat Joseph Brennan in 1978. There is a strange pattern. Every governor stays in office for their two term limit. Brennan, McKernan, King, and Baldacci all fit this pattern. At the end of the incumbent parties lost the Blaine House. Democrat to Republican to Independent to Democrat.

If the current model holds then the Democrats may be in hot water this election season. Still, like the it’s weather, Maine’s politics is bound to surprise.

Levi Johnston tell-all on the Today Show

Levi Johnston says that he would not vote for Sarah Palin if she ran for President or Vice-President. Johnston says he wouldn’t vote for someone who “quit on Alaska” and “couldn’t handle the stress” of the job. Politically what does this amount to? A big pile of jack squat!

Pine Tree Politics on netroots in Maine

The title to this post may sound boring, but Matt Gagnon’s article at Pine Tree Politics is not. Matt dives right into the netroots campaign that has evolved in the Maine 2010 gubernatorial election.

The piece was well researched and well thought out. Spot on and not just because Matt was so gracious to my blog. Matt checks out candidate blogs, Twitters, and Facebook pages, also mentioning candidate Wikipedia articles. I wont tell you who Matt thinks is ahead in the net race so far. Read the darn thing!

Just a little addendum to Matt’s piece:

Steve Rowe has the most impressive Facebook page and following so far. I’m still curious to see how his website will stack up to his competitors, especially after the Otten affair.

It’s interesting to see that the Republican candidates seem to be leveraging the netroots movement rather well, much more effectively than their competition at this point. With the cyclical tide of politics against the Democrats, it would be unwise for them not to follow suit.

Head over to Pine Tree Politics and check it out. This election is shaping up to be one of the most interesting in gubernatorial history.

Walking Down the Center of the Political Road

Any one who deviates from the Democratic or Republican base isn’t welcome anymore. It used to be that moderates could drive safely, while the extreme ideologues passed them in the breakdown lanes. Lately moderates have been pushed closer and closer to the center line. It feels like there wont be any room left on the major party highway soon.

We all know the Republican party has been pushing out those they deem “RINOs” for some time now. There was the “with us or against us” mentality of the Bush years, which has carried on in GOP rhetoric. Rush Limbaugh and a few other extreme conservative pundits have carried the torch. Republican senators have apologized to Limbaugh for challenging him. Dick Cheney and Colin Powell have had a publicized debate on the direction of the GOP, who belongs and who doesn’t.

And of course there is the internet chatter. Commenters on conservative blogs are quick to judge others who don’t quite fit the mold. Hell, they will turn on their own in a second like sharks at a feeding frenzy. There is strict code of what a Republican should be and if you deviate even an iota you’re fish food.

Tim from Balloon Juice has broken down this phenomenon for us in a handy to read post. Republicans must live up to what Tim calls “The List”

from Balloon Juice:

D.F. must simultaneously oppose abortion (always), support torture, wiretapping and aggressive war, question evolution and doubt global warming, fear muslims, hate taxes and really hate government healthcare. If D.F. fails a single point on the list then he’s clearly a bogus conservative, anathema and unwelcome to taint the pristine boards with his heterodoxy. The question of the day (e.g., did Sarah Palin harm the ticket) usually makes a guest appearance on The List, conveniently anathematizing anyone who disagrees with the putative topic of the thread.

I read a few Conservative blogs and check some to cite a story from time to time. Tim really isn’t far off. Commenters really do bash dissenters. That kind of behavior is not exclusive to Conservative blogs. Pick a topic people are passionate about. Search forums or blog comments on that topic and you will find the same kind of behavior. That doesn’t make it any less unsavory, especially for Republicans who have opinions on abortion, gay marriage, guns, etc., in conflict with the far right.

Unfortunately for old school Republicans much of the list doesn’t always mesh with core Republican values. All the baggage brought by the religious right when the Republicans whored themselves to the rr to pad the ballot box are not the same values men like Goldwater, Buckley, or Reagan cherished. Now the GOP is paying the piper, but unfortunately so are moderate Republicans.

Democrats will often try to claim the high ground on this issue. That they are all inclusive and friendly. Well that’s not quite so. Far left liberals can push those they don’t agree with away just as quickly and easily.

Robin at American Thinker wrote a few days ago about her experience as a Democrat who chose to vote for McCain. She might as well have been a leper the way her liberal friends, husband, and therapist were treating her. While debate and disagreement is healthy, people downright loathed her for her choice, and it is her choice to vote for whoever she wants, to vote for McCain. If McCain had campaigned as the McCain we once knew I may have voted for him too.

In the hey-day of Obama excitement, you really were a brave soul to admit to voting for McCain or once he was elected disagree with him. A youtube video posted by bloggerinterrupted even questioned a black man who said he would vote for McCain, practically saying he HAD to vote Obama just because he was black. Yes shame people over to your point of view.

Of course just because you’re a Democrat that doesn’t make you exempt from the “with us or against us” behavior. Moderate Dems have been pushed around by the party base. Back in February Blue Dogs senators complained that Nancy Pelosi treated them like “mushrooms” and got perturbed when they wanted to do outlandish things like read the legislation they were voting on. I wrote on my distaste for Harry Reid’s remarks on bipartisan efforts in regards to Mr. Obama’s economic stimulus bill. His posturing at the time was just what I never liked about the Bush administration. Now that the Dems were in power they were doing it too.

So where does this leave moderates? Quite possibly taking an exit to a new road. One where moderates can express their views and not be immediately attacked as a “traitor”. One where they can vote for a candidate that espouses all of their core values, not just some candidate all over the political map. Third party country, here we come!

Is Three A Magic Number for Politicians?

If you follow politics even peripherally you’d know that there has been a lot of political infighting. “Blue Dog” democrats bicker over budget details with more liberal colleagues. Republicans have turned their big tent into a pillow fort. The social liberals/fiscal conservatives in each party are being pushed aside. On of the Republican prophets of a coming change has been Meghan McCain.

from The Moderate Voice

People in our country have much more important issues to deal with on a daily basis. But the experience did reinforce what I learned on the campaign trail in some major ways.

I’ll summarize them in three points:

1. Most of our nation wants our nation to succeed.
2. Most people are ready to move on to the future, not live in the past.
3. Most of the old school Republicans are scared shitless of that future…

..I feel too many Republicans want to cling to past successes. There are those who think we can win the White House and Congress back by being “more” conservative. Worse, there are those who think we can win by changing nothing at all about what our party has become. They just want to wait for the other side to be perceived as worse than us. I think we’re seeing a war brewing in the Republican party, but it is not between us and Democrats. It is not between us and liberals. It is between the future and the past. I believe most people are ready to move on to that future…

…Simply embracing technology isn’t going to fix our problem either. Republicans using Twitter and Facebook isn’t going to miraculously make people think we’re cool again. Breaking free from obsolete positions and providing real solutions that don’t divide our nation further will. That’s why some in our party are scared. They sense the world around them is changing and they are unable to take the risk to jump free of what’s keeping our party down…

…I am concerned about the environment. I love to wear black. I think government is best when it stays out of people’s lives and business as much as possible. I love punk rock. I believe in a strong national defense. I have a tattoo. I believe government should always be efficient and accountable. I have lots of gay friends. And yes, I am a Republican.

What can come of all this infighting? Are we moving toward having one large viable third party? The Repubs are boarding on a “civil war”, mostly over social issues. Dems are in a similar situation, except over fiscal issues. Will the social liberal/fiscal conservatives in each party break tradition and join each other?

While I don’t think this is likely, it makes for some interesting speculation. What would a three party US look like? What would that do to the political structure of this country? Political financing? What would this alternate history look like?


Let It Go – Fueling the Rush fires

Remember Nightmare on Elm St? Freddy Kruger could attack people in their dreams. Kruger’s came from whether or not people believed in him. In the most recent film to feature the slasher, Freddy vs Jason, Freddy had become powerless because the folks in Springwood have placed a moratorium on speaking about the killer. It seems that no one in the Democratic party has seen any of the Nightmare movies. If they have they didn’t see what I saw. If the Dems and left pundits had they would shut the Hell up about Rush Limbaugh.

Rush is the talk of the town right now. Bloggers left and right can’t seem to type enough about him. The Dems blame him for spoiling the bipartisan spirit. Repubs are trying desperately to find the millimeter of Limbaugh’s ass they have yet to kiss. If the Whitehouse is looking for anyone to blame in this mess they ought to look in the mirror.

It all started with a little comment by Rush. You all know it by heart now. “I hope Obama fails.” The comment was splashed all over every sort of media outlet you could imagine. People got pissed. People ranted and raved. The President told Republicans to stop listening to Rush if they wanted to get things done. Then came the firestorm, just like Limbaugh wanted. Rush put out the bait and many, including myself, took it.

The Democrats made this Frankenstein’s Monster, now they’ve got to deal with it. Constantly trying to strike back at Rush is not the answer. An egomaniacal entertainer like Limbaugh thrive off that. He can take it back on the air and say “ah ha they attack me because they’re afraid.” And the cycle continues. The same goes for pundits like O’Reilly and Olbermann. They feed off publicity, good or bad. Though Keith is really just leeching off the infamy of those he blasts. He’d have a fifteen minute show if he didn’t

How do the reasonable people out there put a stop to this? We’re doing it already. Though the media, and unfortunately our government, thinks we care what Limbaugh has to say they’re wrong. Limbaugh speaks to a certain base. He doesn’t represent all republicans or even a majority. Limbaugh’s followers are mainly on the fringes. Even if people may agree with what he says on occasion, his abrasive delivery keeps a good portion away. It’s not any different than Michael More.

Michael More became the poster boy for anti-American leftism during the Bush administration. Roger and Me and Bowling for Columbine were two of my favorite movies. I never saw Fahrenheit 9/11, but it was clear after that point that More had taken a left turn and was driving till he ran out of gas. Republicans tried their damnedest to link More to the Democrats any way they could. The Democratic core loved Michael More and didn’t care about the associations. Dem politicians and moderates quickly claimed they’d never heard of that More guy. The moderate public turned away from More and he became a non-issue. He still pops up once in a while, but the media power he seemed to once wield is gone.

Limbaugh appears to be a similar animal

from Donklephant

Remember those dark days for Democrats just a few years ago when controversial characters like Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan became symbols of the liberal movement? Certain portions of the base loved it. The rest of American turned away.

Limbaugh could very well have the same effect on the conservative movement. And here’s why — like the Michael Moore of the Bush era, Limbaugh seems to be actively rooting against America. That’s not to say he’s anti-American (or that Moore is/was either), just that he’s so vituperative in his critique of the current administration that his words can easily be turned against him and the right in general.

Politically speaking, Democrats are smart to play up Limbaugh’s influence within the Republican party. But they don’t want to overplay it. If Obama’s early economic initiatives fail or if he mishandles an unforeseen foreign crisis, Limbaugh has the rhetorical power to whip American resentment into real anger. The more prominent he is, the more damaging to the Democrats he could be.

Limbaugh’s core will always love him. That should be of no concern to anyone. If the Republicans grow some balls and disassociate from Limbaugh, Rush will sink back to the safety of his strongest supporters. He will still periodically lob a few grenades into the trenches on the other side. That is what he does, and like his opinions or not he does it well. Keep poking Rushbo, keep bowing to him and you might find voters wont discount him as easily as they did More.

Sunday Editorial on Editorials – Backlash against Snowe and Collins

Republicans throughout Maine, at least the ones writing editorials, are about ready to hang Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe for treason. Voting your conscience is apparently not appreciated by conservative opinionators.

The two have been referred to as Republicans only during election season, treasonous, and reincarnations of that icon for turncoats Benedict Arnold.

I can’t say I’m surprised to see this kind of reaction. I am however disappointed. Many writers were upset that Snowe and Collins were not sticking to their conservative principles. I don’t recall them ever claiming to be conservatives. In fact both ran on being Moderate Republicans, which led them to win reelection in the most Liberal region of the country. Nor is this the first time the two senators have broken ranks with their party. Yet people are still surprised.

One reader even accused them of not reading the stimulus. Even though it is well known that Collins was one of the senators who poured over the bill looking for fat to trim out. Collins even stood fast against Sen Harry Reid in negotiations for spending reductions. I doubt whether or not this commentor has read enough, or any, of the bill in order to say whether or not the Senators can make an educated judgement on it.

Only one writer supported the Senators saying “Whining on the left, whining on the right! Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe have the fortitude to vote for what is right and not what ‘the party’ wants.” Even Collins said that if the far right says there is too much spending and the far right says there isn’t enough then they are doing something right.

The bill isn’t perfect and I doubt it can ever be perfect. Neither side will ever get exactly what they want. And maybe they shouldn’t. Republicans don’t have all the answers and the Democrats don’t either.

I applaud Snowe and Collins for breaking ranks to do what they believe is right and for working on the inside to bring some moderation to the stimulus rather than shouting outside the walls hoping to be heard.

Plumber Watch ’09 – "The Karl Rove of the Commode"

Should I laugh or cry? I may do both. Donklephant has more words from that unintentional comedian Joe the Plumber. You can’t miss this one. Let me give you a taste.

[‘Joe The Plumber’] Wurzelbacher opposes the stimulus and said he questioned why the government can’t just cut its bills like other people do. He also advised staffers to take a harder line on the legislation: “Republicans on the Hill are afraid of saying too much,” he noted.Further recommendations from the Karl Rove of the Commode included having “someone go in there and kick some ass.”

Donklephant – Joe the Political Consultant, Redux

Is This Stimulus for Us? – Economic stimulus or government stimulus

I am an advocate for sensible stimulus spending. Spending that creates jobs, repairs our failing infrastructure, and reduces our dependence of foreign oil is fine. You’ve got to spend money to make money. For those who’ve had the time, and lack of sanity, to pour over the 700 page American Recovery and Investment Act there are big concerns over how much of this money is going into the government. Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal is one of those concerned citizens.

from Wall Street Journal:

Check your PC’s virus program, then pull down the nearly 700 pages of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Dive into its dank waters and what is most striking is how much “stimulus” money is being spent on the government’s own infrastructure. This bill isn’t economic stimulus. It’s self-stimulus.

(All sums here include the disorienting zeros, as in the bill.)

Title VI, Financial Services and General Government, says that “not less than $6,000,000,000 shall be used for construction, repair, and alteration of Federal buildings.” There’s enough money there to name a building after every Member of Congress.

The Bureau of Land Management gets $325,000,000 to spend fixing federal land, including “trail repair” and “remediation of abandoned mines or well sites,” no doubt left over from the 19th-century land rush.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are getting $462,000,000 for “equipment, construction, and renovation of facilities, including necessary repairs and improvements to leased laboratories.”

The National Institute of Standards gets $357,000,000 for the “construction of research facilities.” The Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gets $427,000,000 for that. The country is in an economic meltdown and the federal government is redecorating.

The FBI gets $75,000,000 for “salaries and expenses.” Inside the $6,200,000,000 Weatherization Assistance Program one finds “expenses” of $500,000,000. How many bureaucrats does it take to “expense” a half-billion dollars?

The current, Senate-amended version now lists “an additional amount to be deposited in the Federal Buildings Fund, $9,048,000,000.” Of this, “not less than $6,000,000,000 shall be available for measures necessary to convert GSA facilities to High-Performance Green Buildings.” High performance?

Sen. Tom Coburn is threatening to read the bill on the floor of the Senate. I have a better idea: Read it on “Saturday Night Live.”

Such as the amendment to Section 2(3)(F) of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, which will permit payments to guys employed to repair “recreational vessels.” Under Incentives for New Jobs, we find a credit to employ what the bill calls “disconnected youths,” defined as “not readily employable by reason of lacking a sufficient number of basic skills.”

President Obama is saying the bill will “create or save” three million new jobs. The bad news is your new boss is Uncle Sam.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says, “Everybody agrees that there ought to be a stimulus package. The question is: How big and what do we spend it on?”

Sen. McConnell should reconsider. He knows that the Bush-GOP spending spree cost them control of Congress in 2006. Thus, “How big?” is not the question his party’s constituents (or horrified independents) want answered. This is a chance for the GOP to climb down from its big-government dunce chair. Until that reversal is achieved, there is no hope for this party.

I think that behind the bill’s sinking public support is the sense that it won’t work and its cost is dangerous. The bill’s design, an embarrassment to Rube Goldberg, is flawed. Even were one to grant the Keynesians their argument, this is a very mushy, weak-form stimulus.

Rather than try to “reform” it, which won’t happen, Sen. McConnell should ask President Obama to pull it and start over. One guesses that privately the president’s economic team would thank the senator. If he won’t pull it, the Senate Republicans should walk away from it. This bill is a bomb. It may wreck more than it saves.

This could go a few ways for the Republicans if they return to their smaller-the-government-the-better roots. If the stimulus should succeed without Republican intervention they will look like out of touch ideologues. Or the stimulus fails without Repubs help. They say I told you so, the people say that’s nice but why didn’t you do anything about it earlier. Those two scenarios aren’t likely. There are Republicans who are keen to do more than partisan posturing and are working hard on cutting the fat from the stimulus bill already.

If they Republicans can work with the Democrats to get this bill trimmed down to be most effective for the crisis they will be in prime shape. Faith will be restored that Repubs have left the big spending ways of George W. behind. I disagree with Henninger that this bill can’t be saved. Republican reform, or financial conservative reform rather, is just what we need to difuse this “bomb”

Plumber Watch ’09 – Mr. Wurzelbacher goes to Washington

I’m starting to feel bad for the GOP. They lost a hard fought Presidential election. The Dems have an almost filibuster proof majority in the senate. They are working hard to find a relevant identity in the 21st century. Will they drift further toward the Palins or closer toward the sensible center?

Amid all this there is that linger PR disaster Joe The Plumber. Plumber Watch ’09 has received reports that Joe is on the move. Mr. Wurzelbacher, fresh of his Gaza war correspondent gig, is heading to DC. There he will meet with the GOP strategy group The Conservative Working Group Tuesday morning. The focus of the meeting is the economic stimulus plan. Mr. Wurzelbacher is aparently not too happy with this plan. Who could have guessed? More here, here, and here.