Monthly Archives: June 2011

How Passing Same Sex Marriage Could Cost The NY GOP Control Of The State Senate In 2012

NY has become the sixth (and by far largest) state to legalize same sex marriage.

It’s only possible because for some inexplicable reason the Majority Leader, Dean Skelos, allowed it to the floor. Maybe he got something from Governor Andrew Cuomo for it but that’s not something anyone is claiming thus far.

What will Skelos likely get for it from the public? The chance to become the minority leader after the 2012 elections.

Right now the Republicans hold a bare 32-30 majority in the chamber. Of the 32 members of the majority only 4  of them voted in favor of the bill.

One of the Republicans voting yes was Senator Mark Grisanti of Buffalo. Gisanti was barely elected in “a heavily Democratic district“. While some might argue this will buy him some good will with his Democratic constituents, the reality the margin of his 2010 victory was provided by voters on the Conservative Party line (He won by 519 votes while getting 4,368 votes on the Conservative line -pdf). Mike Long the Chairman of the NY Conservative Party has made it clear that his party will not be endorsing anyone who votes for a SSM bill. There’s a very good chance a fair number of those voters don’t support Gisanti next time around, especially if the Conservative Party runs someone against him who spends the campaign hammering him from the right.

I know some will say this is a matter of conscience and beyond politics. That’s a load of crap. Everything in politics is about politics. It’s not like the Democrats are going to take a pass on running someone against Grisanti or any other Republican. Sure, someone Meghan McCain might say something nice about Republicans but more likely they’ll just say there were four decent Republicans but on the whole the rest are H8ters.

“A majority of the majority” is the usual rule of thumb for legislative leaders. Skelos as Majority Leader is supposed to use his absolute control over flow of bills to the floor to protect his members and his majority.  The Democrats couldn’t pass Same Sex Marriage when they nominally had control of the Senate. I don’t get why the hell the Republicans just handed them a club to use in getting it back.

Update via Adam BaldwinGrinsanti ran against Same Sex Marriage.

Grisanti is a Republican who beat Antoine Thompson in a district that has five Democrats for every one Republican.

One of the many keys to Grisanti’s huge upset was his position against gay marriage.

Thompson was in favor of gay marriage, and his position ran counter to that of many of the influential ministers in his district like Pastor William Gillison.

Scott Brown: “How important was Senator Grisanti’s position on gay marriage to you during the election?”

Pastor Willliam Gillison: “It was very important, not only to me but to his constituents.”

Update x2: One of the other Republicans voting yes was Senator James Alesi of Monroe County won his seat by 6,682 votes. He received 7,790 votes on the Conservative Party line (pdf).

The other two GOP Senators who voted “yes”, Roy McDonald and Stephan Saland, won by significant margins beyond what the Conservative line provided.

When Skelos loses his majority he’ll have no one else to blame but he’ll get a nice NY Times editorial or two out of it, so there’s that.


EJ Dionne: Turning Shameless Hackery Into A Paycheck For Over 30 Years

In baseball the mark of a great base stealer like Rickey Henderson isn’t that he steals a base when you don’t expect him to run but when you, the pitcher, the catcher and everyone in the stadium knows he’s going to run and you still can’t stop him. He’s just that good at what he does. No shame in getting beat by the best.

In his own way, EJ Dionne of the Washington Post is the Rickey Henderson of liberal hackery. You know his column is going to be stupid, you know he’s going to make a nonsensical argument, there’s simply no way the stupidity of it all can surprise you but…he manages to come up with something even dumber than you thought possible. All you can do is tip your hat…he’s simply the best there is at parroting liberal stupidity.

Today’s entry in the Dionne Canon of Dumb is a lament for the slim chance Jon Huntsman has to win over the extermeists who now run the Republican Party. Dionne sees Huntsman as the GOP’s chance to nominate a David Cameron type conservative (which is to say, not really all that conservative) but fears they may be too stupid to seize this glorious opportunity.

What does a British prime minister have to do with the 2012 Republican primaries? If Huntsman is lucky, quite a lot. The British Conservative Party chose Cameron as its leader in 2005 because it was sick of losing elections and realized it could no longer present itself as an old, cranky, right-wing party. Cameron was Mr. Nice, Mr. Modern, Mr. Moderate and Mr. New. And now he’s in power.

The Republican Party needs a Cameron-style correction, and the country needs a less doctrinaire, less extreme and less angry GOP.

What? The Conservative Party in the UK spent over a decade out of power (after a decade plus long run in power with Thatcher and Major). The GOP spent exactly 2 years (one election cycle) without control of either the House, the Senate or the White House. This is not exactly the longest walk in the woods in the history of politics.

Of course Dionne ignores this and the fact that the GOP comeback was led by conservative revulsion to the ultra-liberal policies of the Obama administrion and the Congress under the complete control of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

But wait, Dionne is not done! No, the greats always have more.

Most striking about his announcement in front of the Statue of Liberty on Tuesday (other than a slew of snafus, including the misspelling of his first name on a batch of press passes) was the extent to which his speech was all about hope and promise. It offered a lot about who Huntsman wants you to think he is and little about what he’d do. With not all that many changes, it could have been a speech delivered by someone announcing a Democratic primary challenge to President Obama.

So in Dionne’s mind what the GOP really needs is to embrace a conservative Democrat? That’s going to be the salvation of the Republican Party (which as we’ve seen really doesn’t need any saving, thank you very much)?

It’s almost as if a partisan liberal like Dionne is urging a course of actions for Republicans that would hurt them and help Democrats.

No, seriously, he’s just that caring.

But he’s the only Republican waging something other than a standard-issue conservative campaign and the only one directing most of his energies toward voters who don’t take their cues from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. This will at least earn him attention. It might even win him some votes.

Yes, as he laid out (and so did I elsewhere), Huntsman will get the votes of non-Republicans. See, it’s important to the survival of the GOP that people who aren’t in the GOP be represented in the leadership of the GOP. Media liberal types will talk Huntsman up as the great moderate hope the GOP needs right up until the moment (God forbid) he gets the nomination. Then they will turn on him like they did with McCain.

Since Dionne is clearly an important pundit, you just know he also give similar advice to the Democrats. You know, don’t get too extreme or else it might cost you votes.

Or maybe not.

Here’s Dionne writing about Ned Lamont’s primary challenge to Joe Lieberman in 2006.

Lieberman’s core problem was not even his support for the Iraq war. It was his eagerness to challenge the legitimacy of fellow Democrats who have called attention to the administration’s mistakes. Lieberman, confident of Democratic support, seemed to crave the affection of Republicans most of all.

The statement that did more than anything to power this primary challenge was a comment Lieberman made in December.

“It’s time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be the commander in chief for three more critical years,” Lieberman said, “and that in matters of war, we undermine presidential credibility at our nation’s peril.” The implication that there is something wrong with criticizing George W. Bush is unacceptable to most Democrats, who believe that Bush himself has done the most to undermine his own credibility.

And so, just as political logic pointed to the earlier downfalls of Javits, Case and Kuchel, so does political logic suggest a gloomy outlook for Lieberman.

Elections, however, are about more than logic and historical trends. If Lieberman survives this primary, it will be thanks to voters who would gladly have cast a protest ballot against him but never really wanted him to lose. Such voters — and, yes, I identify with them — are frustrated with Lieberman’s accommodationism but like and respect him and hope he might learn something from Lamont’s challenge.

A Lieberman loss next week could also create distracting problems for Democrats. Lieberman has said he would run as an independent if he lost the primary. This would divert national attention from the Democrats’ central goal of making this fall’s elections a referendum on Bush and the Republican Congress.

As for this primary, the lesson already is clear: A Democratic Party that has been on defense since the 1980s desperately wants to go on offense. Lamont understands that. If Lieberman is to survive this round, he needs to make clear between now and next Tuesday that he’s gotten the message.

So it’s ok to punish Democrats who reach out to Republicans through ideologically motivated primaries to ensure Democratic purity but letting conservatives have sway over the GOP? That’s just dangerous for everyone involved.

Stealing bases, either of the intellectual or baseball variety, requires a certain skill and arrogance. The great ones also have a short memory, an ability to forget all the times they’ve been caught. Dionne writing something stupid? That’s just EJ being EJ.





Forget The Republican “11th Commandment”

With the first New Hampshire debate tonight, you can expect plenty of fireworks between the candidates. While most of the barbs will probably be aimed at Mitt Romney as the front runner, odds are everyone will get a shot or two at some point in the evening. This will naturally bring cries of “remember Reagan’s 11th Commandment…Thou shalt not attack another Republican”.

Like many things about Reagan, the warm and fuzzy memories are a bit different from the reality. Not even Reagan obeyed his own commandment when push came to shove in a primary fight.

In 1976, Reagan was a former governor challenging an incumbent of his own party — Gerald Ford — for the Republican presidential nomination. Ford, who made no pretense of following the 11th Commandment (he said only that he would “abide by the first ten”), had beaten Reagan in the early primaries. Reagan’s campaign was faltering, and his own advisers urged him to take the gloves off. He did. Campaigning in Florida that March, Ronald Reagan broke the 11th Commandment and attacked Gerald Ford. He accused Ford, who had then been president just 19 months, of presiding over “the collapse of American will and the retreat of American power,” and said Ford “must be held accountable to history for allowing this to happen.” He said Ford lacked “vision,” that he found it “difficult” to trust his leadership. He accused the president of favoring “pre-emptive concessions” in talks with the Soviet Union, and said, “I fear for my country when I see White House indifference to the decline in our military position.”

Tough stuff.

Most of the time, “Thou shalt not attack another Republican” is a fine idea but the reality is, primaries are the time for hashing out positions and highlighting differences. Most of the GOP field agrees on the broad outlines of the major issues. The key to differentiating yourself from everyone else who favors things like a strong defense, lower taxes and economic group is by attacking your opponents about the times they deviated from Republican orthodoxy.

If you find yourself insisting that some candidate or another observe the “11th Commandment”, it’s probably because they just landed a solid blow against your candidate.

This is politics at the highest level and it’s a contact sport. Let’s not pretend otherwise.

Weinergate And Liberal Hypocrisy

Democrats love to say their sex scandals don’t really matter because, well, they don’t care about morality or “family values”. Ace puts the lie to this notion that some how every Democrat in America (or really any Democrat in America) is running on a libertine platform.

Aside from that there’s actually a worse kind of hypocrisy at work here.

Democrats love to attack Republicans for not wanting supporting women. They claim that things like opposition to abortion is anti-woman or that Republicans are misogynists or want to return to a time when women were chattel.  Democrats and liberals on the other hand are great defenders of women.

But that supposed support and respect for women doesn’t translate to actual, real live women you can point to and see. At least not if it’s a Democratic politician harming women.

Ted Kennedy kills a woman? She would have been honored to have helped his career.

Bill Clinton cheats on his wife by engaging in sexual activity with woman young enough to be his daughter, who works for him? They line up to satisfy his needs.

Anthony Weiner cheats on his wife and sends unsolicited lewd photos to women? Don’t we have something better to talk about?

And when a liberal woman dares to call Wiener out for his predatory behavior? Well, a fine upstanding liberal man (a producer for Rachel Maddow no less) is there to tell her stop being such an attention whore.

Where’s Nancy Pelosi publicly calling for Weiner’s resignation? Where’s the march of female Senators to the House demanding justice for women who didn’t ask to get a Weiner photo but did anyway?

Here’s some feminist outrage….wait did I say outrage? I meant cover for Weiner.

Liberals say they are immune from sex scandals because they don’t pretend to be offended by immoral behavior. What about the hypocrisy of supporting women as a theoretical group when it comes to abortion and pay but not as individuals from harassment of powerful men? It seems the difference is more about support for Democratic men than support for any actual woman. That’s especially true if that actual  woman is a Republican