Posts Tagged Olympia Snowe
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama were more gracious and eloquent after the election than during the long campaign. They each sent the right signals Tuesday night, but will anything change?
The real news of the ’12 election is that the nation is more sharply divided than ever.
“At a time like this,” Romney told his Boston audience, “we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing.” He said things in America are at a “critical point,” and he appealed to citizens as well as politicians to “rise to the occasion.”
For once, it didn’t sound like political-speak. It was the conclusion of a man who loves his country and had just lost an election despite winning the male vote, the white vote, the married vote, and the vote of people over age 45.
In Chicago, President Obama told an enthusiastic crowd, “What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth.” Obama won a remarkable 93 percent of the black vote, plus over 70 percent of the Hispanic and Asian vote. He won among females, unmarried people, and those earning less than $50,000 a year.
In truth, Obama and Romney were each victorious — among the distinctly different segments of our population for which each party’s platform was designed. Voters, for the most part, were over-informed. Rich folks knew that Obama wanted to raise their taxes; poor people knew that Romney hoped to cut their government assistance. And so forth and so on, through a long and contentious list of issues from reproductive rights, to gay rights; from energy to environment.
Perhaps the clearest sign of how sharply divided the nation is on economic and social issues is that war — usually a flashpoint in presidential elections, especially when we’re in the middle of one — seemed to matter very little. Indeed, the candidates were hard pressed in their final debate on foreign affairs to find points on which they disagreed.
“The recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock,” the president said, “or solve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward.”
Hours later there was a slight hint at progress, as House Speaker John Boehner said Republicans are now willing to “accept new revenue” as a means to avoid the “fiscal cliff.”
Sen. Olympia Snowe, the moderate Republican from Maine who is stepping down, cautions, “Our leaders must understand that there is not only strength in compromise, courage in conciliation and honor in consensus-building — but also a political reward for following these tenets.” Alas, Snowe believes things won’t change in the foreseeable future.
The nation entered the 2012 election with only a handful of “battleground” states not clearly defined as red or blue. Based on Tuesday’s results there will be even fewer such battlegrounds in the years ahead.
The encouraging news for Democrats is that the population continues to expand in their direction. The frustration for Republicans is that no amount of campaign spending or sophisticated marketing will change people’s minds about certain core beliefs. Thus, the GOP can’t broaden its base without fundamentally altering some of its positions.
When all was said and done, the nation decided to pretty much leave things exactly where they’ve been.
To borrow an old cliche from the legal profession, President Obama seems to have won the equivalent of a pie-eating contest, in which the prize is more pie.
- Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – ” Man for the Moment (mbcalyn.com)
- Man for the Moment (Guest Voice) (themoderatevoice.com)
- Obama fends off Romney, economy to win second term (thehindu.com)
- Obama Wins Re-Election, Will Serve Second Term (minnesota.cbslocal.com)
- Obama’s Lease Renewed Despite Tough Economic Times (npr.org)
- President Obama powers to re-election despite weak economy (metrowestdailynews.com)
- Obama wins second term (thehindu.com)
- Barack Obama projected to win re-election (news.nationalpost.com)
- Obama wins 2nd term: ‘The best is yet to come’ (scmlmag.com)
- Obama wins re-election (victoriaadvocate.com)
The real story of the (likely) Republican Senate disaster
By Jonathan Bernstein
It’s increasingly clear that whatever happens to the White House and the House of Representatives, the 2010 cycle is going to be a monumental disaster for Republicans in the Senate. The most likely outcome is probably a dead-even 47 seats for the GOP, but given that the Democrats were defending 23 seats while Republicans only had 10 to defend, Democrats would be thrilled with breaking even — and there’s even a fairly good chance that Democrats could increase their majority a bit.
You’re going to hear a whole lot about Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, assuming both of them lose. And rightly so; Richard Lugar would be winning easily in Indiana, and several candidates would probably be doing better for the Republicans in Missouri.
But the real story of this cycle, while it is a tea party story, isn’t in those states. It’s in about ten other contests: Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Minnesota, West Virginia, Washington, New Jersey, and perhaps Maine and Wisconsin. In the first eight of those, Republicans were unable to recruit a strong nominee. In Maine, Olympia Snowe retired; in Wisconsin, the Republicans wound up nominating an apparently weak candidate. In most, and maybe all of these states, the Republican Senate candidate will run well behind Mitt Romney. All of them were at least potentially winnable for the GOP.
My strong suspicion is that what’s happening here are strong Republican potential candidates driven away by tea party primary upsets. They can’t trust that the nomination field will be cleared for them; they can’t trust that the usual recipe — raising plenty of money and securing the backing of party-aligned leaders and groups — will be enough. And ambitious professional politicians, who also generally are the best candidates, aren’t willing to take that sort of risk.
There may even be policy position factors involved: It’s possible, although less likely, that some potentially strong Republican candidates just don’t want to run on a tea party platform, fighting for things such as the demise of the direct election of senators.
Now, it’s possible that Republican recruitment fell short for other reasons. And in at least two states, Hawaii and New Mexico, Republicans probably wound up with the best candidate available but have not managed to run competitive campaigns anyway. Overall, however, it’s a striking recruitment failure, enough so that I suspect there is a systematic reason for it. And not only are the tea party primaries the obvious (possible) cause of this cycle’s likely GOP Senate fiasco, but after Missouri and Indiana it seems very possible that next cycle will be more of the same.
- E.J. DIONNE: How do you vote for compromise? (tauntongazette.com)
- Bipartisanship is goal, but past tells of clashes (hamptonroads.com)
- GOP House Candidate: ‘The Rape Thing’ Does Not Excuse Abortions (huffingtonpost.com)
- The story of Congress has grown more partisan – in one amazing chart (washingtonpost.com)
- The price the GOP will pay (salon.com)
- Why Christie’s praise of Obama matters (tv.msnbc.com)
- Why Obama Is Toast (realclearpolitics.com)
- Avlon: And if his election is voters’ will? (cnn.com)
- Bad Luck and Missteps Make G.O.P.’s Senate Climb Steeper (nytimes.com)
- The Republican Party is Richard Mourdock (salon.com)
Retiring Rep. blames ‘dumber’ public for atmosphere in Congress
By Alicia M. Cohn - 06/21/12 11:18 AM ET
Four retiring members of Congress expressed frustration with the highly charged, partisan atmosphere they are leaving behind in a new interview published Thursday, with one retiring House Democrat saying the public is partly to blame because they’ve gotten “dumber.”
“It used to be you had real friends on the other side of the aisle. It’s not like that anymore,” Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) told ’s Josh Tyrangiel. “Society has changed. The public is to blame as well. I think the people have gotten dumber. I don’t know that I would’ve said that out loud pre-my announcement that I was going to be leaving.”
The four retiring members of Congress — Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Reps. Ackerman and Geoff Davis (R-Ky.) — blamed the emergence of the outside spending groups known as super-PACs, the media — particularly Fox and MSNBC — and the public for the often frustrating atmosphere in Congress, blasting the parties for extremism and concluding that things have gotten a lot worse since they were first elected.
Snowe said the process of legislating has gotten dumber, as well.
“Somehow we have dumbed down the process,” she said. “Somehow we think, ‘Oh gosh, are you for or against?’ Well, geez, it just came up. Can I give it some thought? Can I think about it? Can I read about it? Maybe I should learn more about the facts on the issue. But there is no time, no deference paid to thoughtfulness in the legislative process today. We have got to get back to spending some time here to get the job done for the American people.”
Ackerman and Snowe particularly condemned the divisive perception the parties have developed of one another.
“It’s complete intolerance,” said Ackerman. “You can compromise between good, better, and best, and you can compromise between bad and worse and terrible. But you can’t compromise between good and evil. And now people look at the other side as a completely different kind of animal and say, ‘They are taking the country down the road to purgatory.’ ”
Snowe described it as being “always confined to the MSNBC or the Fox News prism.”
“That’s the way I describe it because it’s true. People see you in one channel or another and nothing in between,” she said.
“We are probably the only ones who watch both Fox and MSNBC. The public watches either one or the other, and they watch one or the other hoping that the guys on my side will kill the guys on the other side,” Ackerman said. “The Congress, both houses, both parties have to act like grown-ups and say that this is about policy. If it is about the presidency or if it’s about the majority in my House or your House, then it is never going to be about policy. Somebody is going to have to — not the four of us, but somebody is going to have to walk that back a few steps.”
Snowe left that job up to the public.
“The American people have to really weigh in and demonstrate that there is a political reward and incentive for working across party lines,” she said.
The average job-approval rating for Congress in recent polls is 17 percent.
- Retiring Rep. blames ‘dumber’ public for atmosphere in Congress (thehill.com)
- A Congressional Exit Interview (businessweek.com)
- Retiring Dem: ‘The People Have Gotten Dumber’ (investmentwatchblog.com)
- Lawmaker Says People are Dumber (politicalwire.com)
- Cutting To The Core Of What Is Wrong With Politics Today (dekerivers.wordpress.com)
- Retiring Democratic Congressman: ‘The People Have Gotten Dumber’ (mediaite.com)
- Congressman Ackerman: ‘The People Have Gotten Dumber’ (gestetnerupdates.com)
- Forging the Middle Path while taking Friendly Fire (skydancingblog.com)
- “The Poeple Have Gotten Dumber” (ireport.cnn.com)
- Congress officially declared ‘dumber’ than years prior because politicians are speaking down to constituents (investmentwatchblog.com)
Senate rejects rival bills extending low-interest federal student loans
By Daniel Strauss - 05/24/12 04:26 PM ET
The Senate on Thursday rejected two competing bills that would prevent interest rates on federal student loans from doubling starting in July.
The failure of the two measures — one backed by Democrats and one backed by Republicans — guarantees both parties will continue to battle over how to keep the loan rate low over the coming weeks, right through spring graduations that have helped call attention to the issue.
The Democratic bill failed in a 51-43 vote — attaining a majority, but short of the 60 required for passage. Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) was the only Democrat to vote against the bill. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) voted present.
Just before that vote, the GOP bill, which was offered as a substitute amendment and also needed 60 votes, failed 34-62. Snowe voted present again, and nine Republicans voted against the amendment.
Both sides agree the low interest rates should be extended, but the two parties disagree over how to cover the nearly $6 billion cost.
Democrats would pay for it by closing a business tax break, while Republicans would close a fund in the healthcare law.
The result was expected, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) predicted before the votes that both bills would fail.
“I’m certainly aware of how things work around here. Neither one of these things are going to pass, sorry to say,” Reid said. “These two proposals were not created equal, but I hope a few reasonable Republicans will join with us to not put Americans’ health at risk.”
Republicans said Reid set up the vote to fail to help give Democrats a political talking point over the next few weeks.
Shortly after Reid spoke, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that Democrats were pushing legislation that was “designed to fail,” in particular because the Senate had already rejected the Democratic proposal earlier this year.
“So why are Democrats forcing us to vote on their failed proposal yet again? Because, as I’ve said, they’re more interested in drawing our opposition — of creating a bad guy — than in actually solving the problem,” McConnell said.
The student loan issue became a political hot potato last month after President Obama ripped into Republicans during a tour of college campuses for holding back on extending the low interest rates.
Young voters were a key demographic in the president’s 2008 election and he is making a concerted effort to keep them on his side.
Obama’s efforts prompted House Republicans to approve an extension, which was coupled with language shutting down a fund designed to pay for preventive healthcare, which was created by the 2010 healthcare law. The White House has threatened to veto the GOP bill over this language.
- Democrats’ Student Loan Bill Defeated in Senate (foxnewsinsider.com)
- Senate Republicans filibuster student loan bill (dailykos.com)
- Filibuster Defeats Student Loan Bill (myfoxphilly.com)
- US Reid:GOP Should ‘Come To Their Senses’ On Student Loan Bill (forexlive.com)
- Senate balks at taking up student loan bill (fox13now.com)
- Senate GOP blocks Obama’s student loan proposal to avoid raising taxes on the wealthy (bangordailynews.com)
- Senate showdown over student loan rates looms (cnn.com)
- GOP blocks Senate debate on Democrat-backed student loan bill (tbo.com)
- GOP blocks Senate debate on Democratic student loan bill (mercurynews.com)
- GOP blocks Senate debate on Dem student loan bill (news.yahoo.com)