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Biggest Winners & Losers Following The Massachusetts Vote

7:29 pm in Uncategorized by fflambeau

Biggest winners and losers following the Senate vote in Massachusetts:

LOSERS:

1. Barack Obama.

Personally campaigned for Martha Coakley and managed to not once talk about health care reform (or is it "health insurance reform"?) in the Bay State. Personally responsible for the Frankenstein monster Senate bill (Sen. Russ Feingold said it’s exactly what Obama wanted all along). Acted like an innocent bystander-observer of the train wreck that his administration has become rather than the errant engineer of it when he remarked, "I can understand and agree with the frustration of the voters."

Now 0-3 in post election 2008 campaigns (following losses in Virginia and New Jersey). Demonstrated he can’t hit a Curt Schilling fastball.

Before the votes were even counted, orchestrated Team Obama’s dissing the Democratic candidate and blaming her for being a poor, uninspired candidate (for among other things, not campaigning on the 5 days surrounding Christmas when Obama himself was golfing and sunning in Hawaii for 2 weeks during the holidays).

2. The New York Times Editorial Board which wrote:

There are many theories about the import of Scott Brown’s upset victory in the race for Edward Kennedy’s former Senate seat. To our minds, it is not remotely a verdict on Mr. Obama’s presidency, nor does it amount to a national referendum on health care reform…

Badly wrong on both counts. The NYTimes wants to charge for this kind of piffle in the future? Spare the thought and spare your bucks.

3. Team Obama.

Came out swinging hard at its own Democratic candidate and blamed in addition "communication problems". Nice way to forget Team Obama’s bending over backwards to big banks and Wall St., the highest unemployment numbers since the Great Depression, escalation and spread of wars to five countries, and a Senate health "insurance reform" bill that mandates coverage and bails out big insurers but does little or nothing for average Americans. Yup, it was all on Martha.

4. Sarah Palin.

There’s a new ultra conservative sheriff in town and Brownie’s getting the headlines that this has-been used to get. He’ll also actually hold political office rather than just comment on it as a FOX pundit.

5. Loony Davis.

Whiner Davis deserves top-billing on any losers list but since he’s pretty much a has been, I’ve put him at 5th. Wrote a horrific WSJ article blaming the loss on the Democrat’s health care reform plan. Loony claimed that it was somehow written by the progressives! Here’s Loony’s call for "reform" in the Democratic Party:

Bottom line: We liberals need to reclaim the Democratic Party with the New Democrat positions of Bill Clinton and the New Politics/bipartisan aspirations of Barack Obama—a party that is willing to meet half-way with conservatives and Republicans even if that means only step-by-step reforms on health care and other issues that do not necessarily involve big-government solutions.

That’s right: Loony wants MORE bipartisanship from Obama and seems to have forgotten how that went the past year and who actually wrote the lame "health insurance" reform bill! Loony, the Senate bill you deplore was written by your DLC pals Max Baucus, Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman, not by progressives. Cue the music from Loony tunes now!

6. Nate Silver.

Nate had the Mass. Senate race as one of the least likely in the nation to flip (13th on his list of 2010 Senate seats) and wrote just a day or so before the election a ho-hum blog entry pretty much saying the race could go either way even after two reliable polls indicated a big shift for Brown. [Psst, Nate, update your website; you've got the Mass. seat "open" yet.]

Today Nate is opining that the Senate health care bill was "the biggest Progressive achievement in years" and that "it’s easy to forget today that the White House and the Congress had successfully shepherded health care reform to the one-yard." Ouch! Nate was much better at baseball stats than as a political analyst/pollster.

7. Martha Coakley.

She’ll have time to watch the Red Sox play some games and maybe figure out who plays for them and the opposing Yankees. Martha’s better off remaining in the Mass. AG office and is not ready yet for prime time except perhaps in well-heated rooms as Mass’s top lawyer or as a jurist.

8. The Kennedy Family.

It really isn’t their seat anymore and Camelot died with Teddy. R.I.P. Teddy who had his personal faults but was a fighter for the people.

WINNERS:

1. Brownie! He’s the new face for the right wing element of the Republicans and for the tea baggers. He’s got more of a populist appeal than Barack and better buns too (question is: how long will it be before Obama does a nude center fold to get the voyeur vote?). What’s good for Brownie is bad for Sarah Palin as she gets pushed off front pages.

But Brownie’s got a problem. This gig is only for two years so he has to decide if: 1) he wants to be a long-time Senator from Mass. (which will require him to move to the left) or, 2) does he want to spring a Barack Obama and bolt the Senate after just 2 years and run for national office? My bet is on the latter. It’s easier and can pay bigger dividends. Brownie looks like a shoo-in for at least the GOP VP spot, but remember, he’s a politician and therefore crystal balling him is like getting your hands on unobtainium.

2. Pickup truck manufacturers. These will now become de rigueur especially for fake populist politicians. Word is, Obama has a big order in for a fleet of pickup trucks and will soon appoint a pickup truck czar.

3. Mitt Romney.

Mitt is back big time since he enthusiastically supported Brownie. A Romney-Brown ticket might be coming to political rallies near to you soon.

4. Curt Schilling.

A great pitcher for the New York…, oops, the Boston Red Sox and the Phillies and will be a shoo-in for the Baseball Hall of Fame. He’s also interested in politics and since he’s originally from Alaska maybe there’s an opening there as Moose Hunter in Chief? Or how about Governor of Mass. so he could work with his friend Brownie? Jim Bunning got hit hard as a starting politician but maybe Schilling’s got better stuff?

5. Stand up Comedians.

This whole episode is a gold mine for these guys and gals. Good until November of this year for plenty of yucks.

6. Martha Coakley.

She gets to run again for AG from Mass. and doesn’t have to enter the corrupt institution that the U.S. Senate has become. Might be a good federal judge down the road too but for that same reason, don’t expect Barack (the guy who doesn’t need to wear a cup when facing Curt Schilling because there’s nothing there to damage) to pick her.

7. Pollster.com

If you’re a political junkie into polls and numbers, this is the website for you. Had a nifty graph showing Brown overtaking Coakley before the election. Data for just about every race and state imaginable. Great article today by Margie Omero called "Massachusetts Not Ready for a Woman?":

These figures suggest that Massachusetts sexism did not hold Coakley back, unless that sexism is as prevalent in liberal women as it is with other groups. That seems unlikely. Coakley underperformed consistently, throughout the state, and across the demographic spectrum. Campaign tactics, the mercurial nature of a special election, a volatile national climate, and the mobilization of the Republican base were sufficient to yield a Republican upset.

8. Teddy.

You will not be forgotten. Teddy knew how to give great, uplifting speeches AND how to fight for his aspirations too!

Have Ford Will Travel: Harold Ford to Challenge K. Gullibrand?

7:53 pm in Uncategorized by fflambeau

The darling of the DLCers might be on the road back. The model Harold Ford jalopy, which performed like an Edsel in the Tennessee Senate race in 2006, could see fresh life as a New Yorker.

According to The New York Times:

Encouraged by a group of influential New York Democrats, Harold Ford Jr., the former congressman from Tennessee, is weighing a bid to unseat Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand in this fall’s Democratic primary, according to three people who have spoken with him.

Mr. Ford, 39, who moved to New York three years ago, has told friends that he will decide whether to run in the next 45 days. The discussions between Mr. Ford and top Democratic donors reflect the dissatisfaction of some prominent party members with Ms. Gillibrand, who has yet to win over key constituencies, especially in New York City.

The same article cites about a dozen prominent (read people with boatloads of bucks) people who are supporting Ford. They include Steven Rattner, who with his wife, Maureen White, is a prominent fund raiser for the Democratic party. Others include the head of HBO, Richard Plepler; James Tisch, CEO of Loews Corp.; and perhaps even Michael Blomberg who the article notes "has tangled with Gillibrand."

Interesting to see how easily Ford, Chairman of the Centrist-Corporate Democratic Leadership Council, who lost an election in Tennessee, could become a Vice President of Merrill Lynch. The Times article notes Ford’s ties to Wall St.:

In New York, Mr. Ford took a job as vice chairman of Merrill Lynch, where he cultivated close ties to many of the Wall Street executives who are now encouraging him to run. A telegenic politician, he has also maintained a high profile through NBC and MSNBC, which feature him as a regular political commentator.

And why not? Merrill Lynch and NBC know how Harold Ford will vote on interests affecting them: he’ll always take the side of big corporations just like Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama, two other DLCers. The Times notes that Ford might have to retool himself on some issues like his opposition to gay marriage, but isn’t that essentially what Obama did too, the guy who sold himself as a "fierce defender" of the gay community only to turn into a toothless terrier? If Ford decides to challenge Gillibrand, and if he were to prevail (not really a sure thing given his poor showing in Tennessee in a Democratic year like 2006) one can only wonder what position Harold Ford would eventually take on DADT, DOMA and other such issues. Ford is another one of those Blue Dog types that Rahm and Obama are so fond of.

The Steven Rattner-Harold Ford-Obama-Rahm-Tim Geithner-Larry Summers connection is an especially interesting one (and one that might find itself the subject of a corruption investigation should the Republicans take over the House). Rattner comes from Wall St. and he’s the same guy Obama appointed in February as 2009 as lead adviser to the Treasury Department on the auto industry bailout although he had no expertise in car manufacturing. Then, a major scandal intervened, as reported in a separate New York Times article:

Named a lead adviser to the Treasury Department on the auto industry bailout… Mr. Rattner is leaving the post at a time when an investigation into his former Wall Street firm’s role in a scandal involving public pension funds has intensified. …

Mr. Rattner counseled Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and Lawrence H. Summers, the director of the National Economic Council, on reorganization efforts by General Motors and Chrysler, two carmakers receiving federal bailout money.


In April, Mr. Rattner, although unnamed, was described in Securities and Exchange Commission documents as having arranged for his investment firm, the Quadrangle Group, to pay more than $1 million to obtain New York State pension business. The S.E.C. complaint, filed as part of an expansive state and federal investigation into corruption at the state pension fund, details the efforts of Quadrangle to gain business from the pension fund beginning in 2004.

Edward Jay Epstein over at the Daily Beast provides more information how this scamming of retirement funds benefited certain people and groups:

New York state investigators may yet unravel one of the more intriguing mysteries of new financial order: why officials in charge of pension funds and endowment funds outsourced more than $100 billion of other people’s money to buyout partnerships. These institutions, in fact, provided about three-quarters of all the investment equity used by the top 100 private-equity firms to fuel the leveraged buyout craze of 2004-2008. In 2006 alone, the 10 largest, led by Calpers, the New York State Common Retirement Fund, and the Washington State Investment Board, sunk over $101 billion into private-equity partnerships. These groups, after borrowing another 60 to 70 percent for leverage, would then buy entire businesses with the aim of re-organizing and re-selling them.

He goes on to describe how New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is investigating the matter and Rattner’s involvement in it:

One part of this investigation involves the activities of the Quadrangle Group, a private-equity firm co-founded by Steven Rattner, the veteran dealmaker and Democratic Party fundraiser, who is now serving at the Treasury Department as President Obama’s auto-industry czar. What has brought it into focus is a Securities and Exchange Commission report describing how in late 2004, just prior to getting $100 million from New York’s pension fund, a “senior executive” at Quadrangle made an arrangement with a politically connected “consultant” acting as a placement agent. The executive was then identified as Rattner and the consultant as Henry “Hank” Morris, a top adviser to then-New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi. Afterward, Quadrangle paid a $1.1 million placement fee to a small firm, Searle & Co., with which Morris was affiliated. In addition, Quadrangle had one of its subsidiaries pay $88,841 for the DVD rights to Chooch, a low-budget movie that had been co-produced in 2004 by David Loglisci, New York’s deputy comptroller, who was the top investment officer of its pension fund. (In March 2009, both Morris and Loglisci were charged in a 123-count criminal indictment with “enterprise corruption” in regard to selling access to New York’s pension fund. Both men, through their lawyers, deny the charge.)

So Rattner essentially is close to hoods duded up in Wall St. clothes, who appear to have been attempting to suck the life blood out of New York pensions. Quadrangle faced potential civil charges and was "eager to settle" according to the Times. I wonder why?

He and his wife, Ms. White, says the Times:

together have been referred to by New York magazine as the "D.N.C.’s A.T.M.," have been the hosts of many Democratic fund-raisers at their lavish apartment on Fifth Avenue.

Doesn’t this all give you confidence in Harold Ford Jr. and his ability and willingness to fight for average Americans? It would be almost worth the price of admission to see what Obama’s skillful and manipulative public relations team could re-make Harold Ford Jr. into. Maybe: "Put a Ford to Work for You". Or, "Step up for Change to a Ford"! Or even, "Harold=Hope"? Any team that could gussy up the pig of a bill that is being sold as "insurance reform" should have no trouble with the good looking Ford, even as it had no trouble passing off the inexperienced junior senator from Illinois as an agent of change and reform.

Another article, in NYMag, calls Rattner "the saddest little billionaire on fifth avenue." Why? Because this ambitious man, who once worked for Morgan Stanley, only achieved number two status at investment bank, Lazard Freres, and he didn’t get the Treasury Secretaryship he wanted. But I guess owning and manipulating Harold Ford as a Senator would be a trophy for this slime ball. As shown in the Godfather, having a top politician like a Senator on the payroll also tends to discourage investigations. Note too that Rattner has a connection to Mayor Bloomberg because Rattner manages Bloomberg’s vast fortune.

So what would be good for Bloomberg would be good for Rattner would be good for Harold Ford. Too bad that what is good for Harold Ford and company would not be good for average New Yorkers or the American population at large.

It’s the Obama-Rahm-Tim Geithner story written all over again: billions for Wall St. and especially banks, billions for bailouts, billions for wars and expansion of American Empire and bread and circuses for the masses.

New York state doesn’t need another Edsel Ford, especially one with a carpet bagger interior.