Archive for Senate

Election Night 2010: Results and Analysis

Posted in current events, politics with tags , , , , , on November 3, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

I will preface this blog by saying that the analysis you will see is not a professional, and probably not even an accurate analysis. My political science experience is one semester at Wartburg College back in the fall of 2008. But even though I’m inexperienced, that doesn’t mean that I can’t have my say.

That being said, let’s look at some of the most spectacular results:

The results of the Senate race between Christine O’Donnell and Chris Coons was kind of a shocker. Despite O’Donnell’s many mistakes, from her “I’m Not A Witch” TV ad, to her “separation of church and state” blooper during one of the final debates, I honestly thought that she was still going to win. She had kind of a rabid fan base, and that alone, I was sure, was going to get her in. And yet, she loses, and quite considerably: Chris Coons with 54% of the vote, compared to O’Donnell’s 39%.

Honestly? Not a surprise. Even after the incident when a Rand Paul supporter stomped on the head of a MoveOn activist, Rand Paul wins the Kentucky Senate seat. Though his victory speech seemed a little off: “There is no rich, there is no poor. They’re all interconnected.” Rand Paul won with 51% of the vote.

Another race in which I was almost certain that the Tea Party candidate was going to win. Carl Paladino, a beastly looking creep with a penchant for bestiality videos and racism, lost. By a landslide. In a world where it seems like only the slimiest, most evil people make it to Washington, Andrew Cuomo soundly defeats Paladino, 57% to 32%.

John McCain easily wins his Senate seat, but the real focus of this election was for Governor. Jan Brewer made an absolute fool of herself during a live, televised debate, stumbling over her words, stuttering, and not making any sense. And that was just her prepared remarks. And somehow, despite an awful performance and falsely claiming that there were “headless bodies” in the Arizona desert, she manages to win the Governorship with 51% of the vote.

eBay entrepreneur Meg Whitman is defeated in the Governor race against Jerry Brown, with Brown getting 50% of the vote to Whitman’s 41%. Shocking, in that Whitman somehow managed to spend $142 million in campaigning and advertising. If anything, this race proves that name recognition doesn’t mean anything when you don’t have anything to back it up.

Also on the ballot: Proposition 19, which would regulate and tax marijuana, and allow people over 21 to grow or carry a certain amount of marijuana. Supporters of Prop 19 pushed the idea that this would get California out of debt. But it wasn’t enough: Prop 19 was defeated with 57% of the vote against it.

I mention this one, in part because I love talking about it: John Thune wins the South Dakota Senate race. His opponent? No one. He ran uncontested.

South Dakota also comes up because, as I’ve mentioned a couple of times before, the ballot included Referred Law 12, which would institute a state wide smoking ban. Despite all of the financial reasons for this to fail, it somehow still passed with 65% of the vote.

In 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a proposed marriage ban was unconstitutional, becoming the first Midwestern state to allow marriage benefits for same-sex couples. While there was no incredible races to be watching last night, there was one important issue with unfortunate results: three of the Iowa Supreme Court judges that voted against the marriage ban have been voted out. Justice David Baker is out with a 54% “No” vote, Justice Michael Streit is out with a 54% “No” vote, and Chief Justice Marsha Ternus is out with a 55% “No” vote.

One of the most tightly-contested races in recent history, the Senate race between Harry Reid and Sharron Angle is exciting to watch. The race has literally been neck-and-neck the entire race, with each week having the other in the lead. This was one of the few races that everyone was talking about, and everyone was speculating exactly what was going to happen in this race. The results are stunning: Harry Reid squeaks a victory over Sharron Angle, with Reid receiving 51% of the votes.

The Alaska Senate race has been outstanding: Scott McAdams is the Democratic candidate. In a tight race, Joe Miller beats out Lisa Murkowski for the GOP nomination. But instead of accepting defeat, Murkowski, probably after a few snaps and an “Oh no you di’int,” announced she would be running as a write-in candidate.

So how is that race going? Murkowski is in the lead. Well, technically, “write-ins” is in the lead, with 41% of the vote. Joe Miller is in second place with 34% of the vote, and McAdams is in third with 24% of the vote with 76% of precincts reporting as of 7:22 am.

So what does this mean? The GOP has control of the House of Representatives, the Democrats have control of the Senate. With my non-knowledge of politics, I can honestly say I have no idea. The results clearly show that the American people are either truly upset with the way things were going and needed a change, or they are easily swept up into anti-establishment rhetoric. A lot of lies were shouted, and a lot of mud was slung in this election cycle, and discerning the truth from the baloney can be a tough thing to do.

If I had to speculate, I would say this could mean either one of two things. Ideally, this would be a step in a bipartisan direction. With one party in power on one side, and the other party on the other side, this is a perfect moment for everyone to sit down and listen to one another. Conversation is the key to making great progress in America.

However, this could also mean that absolutely nothing will get done. The House is full of Tea Party candidates, with platforms that really only included “repeal Obamacare” and “return to Christian values” without really saying how or why. The focus may only be on those two things, and then running for re-election. If this track happens, things will only get worse, and then we will have to wait and see if anything will happen in the election of 2012.

All election results came from a multitude of sources, including: Huffington Post Politics Twitter feed, MSNBC Election Center, and Fox News political coverage.

Your Civic Duty

Posted in current events with tags , , , , , on November 1, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

In case you haven’t been able to tell by the influx of political ads and media coverage, tomorrow is Election Day. Seats for the House and the Senate, as well as many local and state seats, are up for grabs. Tea Party candidates have completely shaken up the election scene, and for some seats, the only way to predict who will win is to wait for all of the votes to be counted.

It is your civic duty to vote tomorrow. While, ideally, I would have the readership to encourage everyone to vote Democrat, the main idea here is to just vote. But don’t vote for just anyone. Take the time to read the issues, examine the candidates, and vote for common sense.

There are plenty of crazy politicians out there (and Keith Olbermann in his Special Comment on Wednesday [two links] exposes the crazies in the Tea Party), and they come from all over. They are running simply because they want to oust the incumbents, but they don’t exactly have the best interests of the people in mind. Many times the stances they take have no ideological support; they are simply taking those stances because they think that’s what the people want.

It’s frustrating, especially in these last few months, to watch these ads and to listen to the debates and wonder why people this stupid are running for Congress. This frustration is a main reason why updates have been spotty at best–I would love to comment on everything stupid and inane that’s been going on in this election cycle, but there is so much going on that it’s hard to know where to start.

And sometimes, the stupidity is just so obvious that all I would need to do is post what was said, possibly with a string of personal attacks and curse words. As fun as that would be, I’m above that, and choose not to comment rather than get myself in trouble.

It is always important to vote, but never has it been more important than this cycle. President Obama, the Senate, the House, and all politicians should be working for the people, but it seems that when the politicians aren’t fighting with each other and filibustering and never getting anything done, they are campaigning.

Politicians say that they have your best interests in mind, but really, seriously, take a look at it. If your incumbent doesn’t appear to have your interests in mind, take them out. But replace them with someone who DOES have your best interests in mind. Look at the issues, look at the voting records, look at everything you can about the candidate. If you like what you see, get out and vote.

If you don’t like what you see, still vote. Other than candidates, there are plenty of things to vote on. In California, Proposition 19 will decide whether or not marijuana will be legalized. Referred Law 12 in South Dakota is the smoking ban law. Vote, and have your voice heard.

P.J. O’Rourke, Libertarian and political satirist, said Saturday on NPR, “The Government represents the will of the People, not the whim of the People.” If these Tea Party candidates get into office, what will they do once they accomplish their single issue? What is left for the Tea Party once they repeal “Obamacare” (a term that I’d be more than happy to have removed from our lexicon)?

Nothing. There will be two years of people with little to no political experience doing whatever they can to keep things moving in Washington.

Get out and vote on Tuesday. Vote for common sense. Vote for what you feel is the best option for your state and for your nation. Just don’t vote out of frustration. Vote for the betterment of all.

Rand Paul: Tea Partier, but no Libertarian

Posted in politics with tags , , , , , , , on May 21, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

The midterm elections are the big thing to watch for in November. Many are predicting that the frustration and the hatred of the Democrats will be the driving force for people voting Republican in the polls. And what’s even more interesting is that many Tea Party people are backing certain candidates for Senate seats. The atmosphere is as exciting as it was prior to the 2008 election: people who aren’t normally involved in politics are now rallying behind their favorite candidate that they hope will make the world a better place.

One of these Tea Party candidates is one Dr. Rand Paul from Kentucky. Dr. Paul recently won the Kentucky primaries and has a real shot at winning a Senate seat. He’s being vehemently backed by the Tea Party, even when he mentions things about the Civil Rights Movement that could possibly be considered racist. (Keith Olbermann flipped out on Twitter about the quote: “I think at one time, people used to think of golf and golf clubs and golf courses as being exclusive…. I think Tiger Woods has helped to broaden that… and so now I don’t think it’s nearly as exclusive as people once considered it to be.”)

But I recently found an open letter to Rand Paul, asking him questions that a true Libertarian would have no problem answering. But before that can make any sense, the question becomes: what exactly is a Libertarian? Libertarianism is a political theory that basically says that government needs to remain small, and that we should practice individual liberty. Libertarians believe that the people are more than perfectly able to manage themselves, and it is not the government’s place to intervene at all.

That being said, Rand Paul isn’t really a Libertarian, according to Mel M., writing to the Baltimore Sun. The most pivotal part of the letter follows:

If he is such a supporter of private rights, does he support the private right of a woman to get an abortion? Additionally, did he support the private right of Terry Schiavo’s husband to make the gut wrenching private decision on whether to pull the plug on his brain dead wife? Does he oppose the recently enacted Arizona law requiring papers of people in Arizona if the officer has merely a “reasonable suspicion” the person is here illegally?

Looking at how he stands on the issues, it is obvious that he feels the opposite. “Life,” he says under the Abortion heading, “begins at conception,” and interestingly enough, claims that “the most basic function of government is to protect life.” Being for smaller government, to me, doesn’t mean that you sic the government into the private lives of its citizens.

And while he doesn’t mention anything about the right to die on his website, under the Illegal Immigration heading, he says, “I support local solutions to illegal immigration as protected by the 10th amendment.” This apparently includes what many people claim to be one of the most racist piece of legislation since the Jim Crowe Laws.

Many are glad that Rand Paul is the Tea Party nominee, because he will be easy to tear down, with his many “gaffes,” the fact that the GOP isn’t supporting him, and the fact that he is proud to say that he’s not a politician. The Tea Party people are excited that one of their own, someone beyond sound bites and party politics, has a real chance of winning. But given the atmosphere, and the great amount of people that are against him, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

One final note: Doesn’t it seem odd that someone that is so against President Obama would take the layout of the President’s website?:

Rand Paul website
Obama website

Strange, isn’t it?

Hypocrisy and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Posted in current events with tags , , , , , , on February 3, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

Hypocrisy runs rampant in the world. There is not one person in the world that isnt’ a hypocrite, and if you claim that you are not, then you are just digging yourself into a hole. Parents can be hypocrites when they tell their children not to drink or smoke, while in the same breath, they tell stories about how they would get people older than them to buy them alcohol and cigarettes. Politicians are hypocrites when they claim to be all about family values, and later are caught cheating on their spouses with another woman (or man, in some cases).

Even some pastors are hypocrites. I was listening to a podcast recently of a megachurch, and the pastor said that when he was in college, he did the stereotypical college things: he drank, he smoked, he had sex, and was generally a nuisance. But then he “came to the Light,” and completely changed his behavior. He claims that because he was converted, he is able to see and learn from his mistakes, but the way he presented it definitely seemed like he was making up for his mistakes, and that by preaching so adamantly against those behaviors, he is absolving his past sins.

But the biggest form of hypocrisy that is in the news today is the attempt at eliminating the archaic “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy of the military. Quite literally one of the last remaining forms of discrimination that is completely unwarranted, it forces gays and lesbians that are serving in the military to “keep their gayness to themselves.” It’s honestly shocking and apalling that this sort of behavior is still acceptable in the military, but it’s the sort of thing that is allowed to happen, because it isn’t “outright discrimination,” as I like to call it.

“Outright discrimintaion” is a form of discrimination where it is obvious why the discrimination is happening. If Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, or any other racial demographic were discriminated against in the military, those specific groups would be up and arms, because no matter how the government or the military words it, it is obvious that the discrimination is based on race.

On the other hand, if gays and lesbians are discriminated against, there are other possible reasons for the discrimination, such as low morale, insubordinate attitude, and so on. Because there is no reason to believe that the discrimination is purely on sexual orientation alone, it is allowed to happen. And so, gays and lesbians are forced to be untrue to themselves in order to protect their country.

Absolutely unacceptable.

There is no way that this should be allowed to happen, and both parties need to realize that it is wrong. The problem is, the “family values” Republicans with their mistresses and their young male pages refuse to accept that homosexuality is completely normal and natural, while at the same time, “progressive” Democrats with their “free love” mentality and their inability to be forceful can’t step up to the challenge.

If President Obama really wants “Don’t ask, don’t tell” eliminated, he’s going to have to quit being a moderator and start being a leader. Change needs to be done on so many fronts, but by trying to be bipartisan, Congress and the Senate are just dragging out a process that could easily be quick and easy.

I know I’m going to be a hypocrite in saying this, because I believe that all church services should be like old country Lutheran churches, with pipe organs and traditional liturgy, and with no such thing as a praise band doing contemporary music, but there are plenty of people out there who need to embrace change, and just need that little extra shove into the modern age.