The New Democrat Online

Sunday, October 31, 2010

CBS News: Evening News- Cynthia Bowers: John Boehner Next Speaker of the House?





I hate to say this but it's looking more and more likely that current House Minority Leader, John Boehner (not boner or bonehead, as many think) will become the next Speaker of the House going into the 112th Congress.  According to independent polls from Gallup, Politico, the Hill, etc., as many as 90 Democratic House seats are in play for Republicans.  Republicans have to pick up only a net of 39 seats to win control of the House, i.e., 39 out of the 90, while holding their own. That's only 43% of the seats in play to win control of the House.  I think that's too tall an order for Democrats fill to retain control if the House. 

For House Democrats, the only drama  on Wednesday morning will be the election of the next Minority Leader.  They were in this position for twelve straight and painful years from 1995-07, an experience they haven't forgotten. 

Assuming the polls are correct and Republicans do win control of the House Tuesday night, I think that current House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, will step down as the Democratic Leader and, perhaps, even leave the House all together.  She probably won't have the votes to be reelected Minority Leader, a position she held from 2003-07, very skillfully.  But times have changed.  House Democrats, especially Blue Dogs, assuming there any left after Election Night, (not a safe assumption) could argue that she led House Democrats to  defeat with all of the unpopular legislation that she talked them into passing, like the cap and trade bill that will never become law in its current form, deficit spending, and the Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA).

Blue Dog Democrats are fiscally conservative and generally don't support these things.  Not one single Blue Dog who voted for AHCA is mentioning that vote as they run for reelection.  They could argue that these unpopular votes, pushed by Speaker Pelosi and Leader Steny Hoyer, led House Democrats, especially Blue Dogs, to defeat.  The House Democratic leadership should have been smart enough to see this ahead of time.

 This leads me to the status of House Leader Hoyer, who has a lot of support amongst all of the factions in the Democratic Party, progressives, liberals and Blue Dogs alike.  You could make a case that Leader Hoyer, whom I'm proud to have as a fellow Marylander, had a role in leading House Democrats to their defeat.  I don't think House Democrats have a clear leader going into the 112th Congress if they lose Tuesday night.  I think they'll have a leadership fight after Tuesday night.
I hope that the polls are wrong, as they were in 1948 when they predicted that President Truman would lose reelection but they probably are not.  Polling technology is much better and more accurate now than it was then.  House Democrats will have some regrouping and self-examination to do, which isn't always bad for a great political party, of which I'm proud to be a member.



The Book Archive: Chris Hedges- American Fascists- The Christian Right in America




It would be funny, if it weren't so tragic, when hypocrites who complain about big government, are in favor of incorporating the tenets of their religion in government rules to form their own version of big government.  A Christian theocracy in the U.S. would be just as oppressive as the Muslim theocracy in Iran.  Social freedom would be severely curtailed.  Women and ethnic and racial minorities would be treated as second class citizens.  Homosexuals would be treated as criminals. 

The whole idea of America is that the people are in charge of their own lives and have the right to choose the social paths that they take without interference by government. 

Our nation's forefathers rebelled against the United Kingdom to escape high taxes, authoritarian rule, and government enforced religious dictates.  Freedom of religion is part of our Constitution, the 1st Amendment thereof, so that Americans would have the right to decide for themselves whether or not to practice religion and which religion, if any, they would practice.

There cannot be any dictation  by the U.S. government on choice of  religion or practice of religious tenets.  The 1st Amendment is explicitly clear that government shall neither sponsor nor intrude upon  the practice of a religion.  There is an explicit separation between religion and the State in America, regardless of  what the Christian Right, Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle or Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell says or thinks.

I'm troubled, and somewhat amused, when Christian Conservatives complain about the intrusions of big government while they promote authoritarian Christian theocracy.  Are they completely ignorant of the provisions for separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution or are they just ignoring it to achieve their religious goals?  Either one is truly dangerous.  They must be prevented from succeeding for the sake of the United States of America.



Associated Press: Mark Hamrick- Gridlocked Congress Could Threaten Economy


Source: Associated Press: Mark Hamrick- Gridlocked Congress Could Threaten The Economy

A few nights ago, this blog  predicted that the House Republicans would pick up 45-50 seats and win control of the chamber.  It also predicted that Senate Democrats would lose seats but retain control.  I was 2/3 right.  The Republicans won control of the House for the 112th Congress. Senate Democrats retained a small majority.  Instead of picking up 45-50 seats, the House Republicans gained in the neighborhood of 65 seats.  This will give them a working partisan majority. Incoming Speaker John Boehner (bayner, as in the vocalization of a jackass, not boner or bonehead) and incoming Leader Eric Cantor will be able to push their agenda through the House even though it will die in the Democratic Senate.

65 is a bad neighborhood to be in if you're a Democrat, especially if you're a House Democrat. It   means that Republicans will be in control of the House for at least two years, which, as a Democrat is bad enough for me, but, also, that the incoming Democratic Leadership, who will run the minority,   has a lot of work to do to get back to majority.  They're looking at being in the high 180's to low 190's.  They'll have to pick up in the neighborhood of 30 seats in the 2012 election to regain majority.

They'll need a very strong showing by President Obama in the 2012 election to regain majority. I don't think a narrow victory by the President in 2012 will bring back a Democratic House. I think the President will have to win the popular vote by around 55%, similar to Ronald Reagan in 1980  (over Jimmy Carter), and win about 35 states. I think thats possible, considering the likely Republican competition, especially if the economy starts to improve and unemployment  follows.

The good news for House Democrats is that while House Republicans are regaining most if not all of the seats they lost in 2006 and 2008, they're also picking up Democratic seats.  Potentially, a lot of freshman Republican Representatives could lose in 2012 because they represent normally Democratic districts. 

As I said a few nights ago, If House Democrats lose big, Speaker Pelosi and  Leader Hoyer need to step down.  It's time that House Democrats go in a new direction and elect new leadership. I would be looking at young but veteran House Democrats, especially outgoing committee chairman, who might be more interested in serving as Minority Leader and potentially the next Speaker of the House  than as ranking member of a committee. 

The good news for House Democrats, in an otherwise bad night, is that this is one election and, depending on how voters view the Republican House over the next two years, it could be a short time in the minority for them.