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Obama’s GOP Ambassador to China Resigns; Will Huntsman Seek Prez Nom?

3:27 pm in 2012 Election, Elections, Government, Politics, Republican Party by Teddy Partridge

Jon Huntsman (photo: saucy_pan via Flickr)

Jon Huntsman, the Mormon former Governor of Utah chosen by Barack Obama to be his ambassador to China, has resigned, effective April 30th, CNN is reporting.

U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman submitted a hand-delivered letter of resignation to President Obama Monday, effective April 30th, according to two senior administration officials.

The news comes amid speculation that the former Utah governor will run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

From that “amid speculation” link above:

But Republican strategists backing Huntsman – a former Utah governor now serving as U.S. Ambassador to China – say there is room for a “center-right” presidential candidate as the rest of the early GOP field races to the right.

“Everybody is gaming out 2012 as if it will be 2010, and it’s not,” said one Republican laying the groundwork for a Huntsman bid, should he decide to enter the race.

The adviser stressed that Huntsman is not involved in the details of setting up a potential campaign.

Politico ran with a “White House expects Huntsman to resign early in 2011” post earlier Monday.

GOP allies of Huntsman have already begun laying plans for a quick-start campaign should the former Utah governor decide to enter the ill-defined Republican field.

While Huntsman has no direct involvement in it, a group of operatives that could eventually comprise his strategy team has set up an entity called “Horizon PAC” to serve as a placeholder for his political apparatus.

WaPo Presents Census Re-Alignment as ‘Good News for John McCain’

2:10 pm in Elections, Media, Politics, Republican Party by Teddy Partridge

Arizona's Sen. John McCain: still not the President. (graphic: danagraves via Flickr)

As if the non-presidency of John Sidney McCain III mattered any longer, especially after his unseemly gloating with GOP freshmen and wild homophobic rants on the Senate floor this past week, the Washington Post presented the winners and losers in reapportionment within the context of the long-concluded 2008 presidential election. Unsurprisingly, the Census reapportionment is good news for John McCain!

Eight states will gain congressional districts, including five that backed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for president two years ago. The big winner was Texas, a state that routinely backs Republicans for president. Its population has swelled by about 21 percent since 2000 and as a result will add four House seats.

The gains come at the expense of some states whose growth has been stunted by the decline of manufacturing. Many of them have been historically Democratic; of the 10 states losing seats, eight backed President Obama in the 2008 presidential election. New York and Ohio took the biggest hits, losing two congressional seats each.

After some discussion of the fact that the actual voters in these red states are more likely to vote Democratic (due to the immigration hatred that’s a plank in every GOP’s platform now) the Post presents (in paragraph TEN) the irrelevance of viewing this reapportionment as good news for John McCain:

The shift will change the partisan lean from blue to red of a net of six electoral college votes. Obama beat McCain by 192 electoral college votes in 2008.

So, yeah: 192 or 186. You’re still not president, Ace.

Surprised Bill O’Reilly is Surprised by Geraldo Rivera’s Calling Terror Theater™ “Bogus”

5:21 pm in Government, Politics, Terrorism by Teddy Partridge

I don’t really know what’s surprising about a right-winger being suspicious of federal agents. It seems to me the Feds are who the right-wing feared all the time Bill Clinton was mapping the flight-paths of the black helicopters and Janet Reno was plotting ATF raids on red-state day care centers.

Why would that change now that there’s another Democrat in the White House — especially since he’s a black Democrat? And with that black Democrat having appointed a black Attorney General, isn’t it time for the right-wing to re-discover its anti-authoritarian roots? Isn’t it time for the folks who fear the knock at the door in the night, the warrantless sneak-and-peak, the prying eyes of the feds-bossed-by-Democrats to re-engage in defense of the civil liberties they cherish so much when their GOP Daddies aren’t running things any longer?

Now that the White House is back in the hands of Democrats and the Justice Department is back in the hands of Democrats it’s about time Bill O’Reilly re-engaged with the right wing’s fear of authoritarian government in the hands of the Wrong People.

Geraldo Rivera lays it out for Bill O’Reilly, calling the FBI’s recent Terror Theater™ entrapment projects “bogus” — but Bill has a hard time wrapping his head around opposition to the federal government. He needs to understand it’s being managed by the Wrong People now.

People the right-wing authoritarians don’t take orders from. Read the rest of this entry →

Bernie Sanders: “This is an absolute disaster”

4:55 pm in Economy, Executive Branch, Government, Legislature, Politics by Teddy Partridge

Speaking on MSNBC’s The Ed Show to Ed Schultz, Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent-Vermont) said that this tax cut deal is “an absolute disaster and an insult to the vast majority of the American people.”

He says he will do whatever he can to derail this disastrous deal President Obama has made with the GOP, even though they don’t hold a majority in the Senate and even though the tax-writing legislative body has passed tax cuts for everyone on income up to a quarter of a million dollars.

Senator Sanders does not rule out a filibuster on this issue. Any threat of a filibuster, of course, may destroy Majority Leader Reid’s carefully crafted schedule that includes such issues critical to the American people as a judicial impeachment and online gambling while letting such things as START and DADT repeal slide into nothingness, otherwise known as the next Congress.

Senator Sanders calls holding unemployment insurance hostage “an insult and an outrage.” He says “not only is this bad public policy… I think it is bad politics.”

“Who is going to believe this president or anyone in the future when you campaigned for years against Bush’s economic policies, and then you say, by the way I’m voting for tax breaks for the rich.”

Senator Sanders also confidently predicts that this two-year extension is only the beginning and that these tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires will be extended well beyond that. Senator Sanders seems ready to rally the American people to oppose this political and policy disaster: “They want it all for their rich friends!”

Where Will DADT Repeal Opponents Hang Their Hats Now?

1:12 pm in Executive Branch, Government, Legislature, LGBT, Politics, Republican Party by Teddy Partridge

Secretary Gates left opponents of Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell repeal hardly any pegs on which to hang their hats. He also tried to goose the Senate into action this year with the threat of ‘judicial fiat’ of sudden repeal.

If Senate GOPs were to listen to the John McCain of 2006, they’d have no other way to vote but for repeal:

And I understand the opposition to it, and I‘ve had these debates and discussions, but the day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, Senator, we ought to change the policy, then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to.

Of course, McCain today suggests “the policy is working” with no regard for the ruined lives left in its wake, and with no clear understanding of how the policy operates in the military today.

Greg Sargent details the crumbling battlements repeal opponents have to hide behind:

One of the key findings in the report is that a whopping 74 percent of spouses of military service-members say repeal of DADT would have no impact on their view of whether their husbands or wives should continue to serve. This number comes by way of a Congressional staffer who attended a private briefing that the report’s authors, Defense Department officials Jeh Johnson and Carter Ham, gave to Senate Armed Services Committee staffers this morning.

This finding is important, because it undercuts a key argument made by repeal opponents: That having service-members mingle with gay colleagues could worry their families.

Also, it seems like the Marines are actually coming around:

According to the source, while the report does find that concern runs high among Marines, it also finds that 84 percent of Marine combat corps combat arms units who said they thought they’d worked with homosexual service-members in the past found the experience either very good, good, or neutral.

Congressman Joe “You Lie!” Wilson thinks DADT repeal shouldn’t be rushed: that’s his excuse for punting it into the next (GOP-controlled) House of Representatives.

“Using the last days of a lame duck Congress to hastily repeal ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ would be highly irresponsible. Today’s Pentagon report must be thoroughly examined by the committees of jurisdiction to determine potential impacts on military recruitment, readiness, and morale. Lawmakers and military leaders need to have as much information as possible before any action is taken on such a significant military policy.”

Elaine Donnelly, in an almost comical appearance with MSNBC’s Tamron Hall this afternoon, seemed to attack the lack of definition in the Johnson-Ham report for two terms at the center of the debate for 18 years: “unit cohesion” and “readiness.”

It seems that, despite Secretary Gates description of delay as ‘irresponsible’ today in his press conference with Admiral Mullen, and despite the in-depth nature of the report and its accompanying analysis, opponents of DADT repeal have two things to hang their hat(e)s on:

1. The report is terribly flawed.

2. We need more time to study it in detail.

Does anyone else see tension between these two arguments?? I mean, if the report is flawed, why not simply vote against repeal and be done with it? Why take more time to study a flawed report?

Of course, these aren’t reasonable objections and, as such, shouldn’t be held up for examination for logical consistency. I just think repeal opponents have reached funny-papers status. They remind me of the kid who says, “This ice cream really sucks, can I have more please?”

Mom in Tennis Shoes Given Worst Senate Dem Job

12:12 pm in Democratic Party, Politics, Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Sen. Patty Murray

Senator Patty Murray (WA) who first ran for the United States Senate as a ‘mom in tennis shoes‘ and beat back a very tough 2010 challenge from perennial GOP loser Dino Rossi, was drafted by her fellow Senate Democrats to undertake the group’s most thankless job: getting Senate Democrats re-elected (and possibly helping a small cadre of Democratic challengers as well) in 2012. After several others turned down the job.

Washington State Sen. Patty Murray is expected to accept the chairmanship of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee today, ending a long search for the next head of the party’s campaign arm.

Murray plans to inform Senate leadership of her intention to take the job at today’s caucus lunch that convenes at 12:30 p.m., according to sources briefed on her thinking.

Murray had emerged as a favorite for the job over the last week — chatting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and deputy White House chief of staff Jim Messina about the possibility.

Chris Cillizza points out that this is no easy assignment:

The job is something short of a plum given the raw numbers facing Democrats in 2012. Twenty-one Democratic incumbents are up for reelection in 2012 as are two independents — Sens. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) and Bernie Sanders (Vt.) — who caucus with Democrats. Just nine Republicans are up for reelection.

Murray ran the DSCC during the 2002 cycle when the party lost two seats. She is less than a month removed from a narrow in in a heavily targeted race against former state Sen. Dino Rossi (R).

Why Did LGBT Voters Move to GOP in 2010?

11:08 pm in 2010 election, Elections, Government, Legislature, LGBT, Politics, Republican Party, Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Initial figures of LGBT voters showed they shunned Democrats in this medterm election:

The number seemed startling: 31 percent of voters who identified as “gay, lesbian, bisexual” in a national exit poll on November 2 said they voted Republican. Just two years ago, only 19 percent voted for Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

When precinct-level data was analyzed and then weighted, these exit polls seemed to be close to the money:

Keen News Service looked at the vote November 2 in precincts in heavily gay neighborhoods in six cities around the country. That data suggests the gay vote for Republicans was 26 percent. But that 26 percent represents a seven percent increase over how those same precincts voted in the 2006 midterm elections.

And when you consider that the national exit poll data was re-weighted a few days after the election so it would correspond with actual election results – meaning the estimate of the gay vote for Republicans is now calculated at 29 percent – then the two data sets are not that far off.

Furthermore, notes Patrick Egan, a public opinion specialist and professor at New York University, both sets of data show a relatively similar shift. Between 2006 and 2010, the exit poll data showed a shift of about five points toward voting Republican. The gay precinct data showed a shift of about seven points.

The two very different polling methods produced very similar results about gay voters moving to the GOP:

The national exit poll data was collected by an independent firm, Edison Research, for a coalition of national news organizations called the National Election Pool. This year’s data was based on information collected from 17,504 voters as they left 268 polling places around the country on November 2. To collect data from the many voters who vote absentee, by mail, or early, the researchers also interviewed another 1,601 voters by phone. How the gay or lesbian voter cast his or her ballot in the House race determined how they were scored in the exit poll. The re-weighted exit polling data can be viewed at CNN’s website.

The gay precinct data was collected from election officials and/or their websites for Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Provincetown, San Francisco, and South Beach. Precincts were chosen in neighborhoods which local gay activists or newspaper editors had identified as heavily gay populated. The data covered a total of 20,882 voters in 34 precincts.

With the gay precinct data, one city, Boston, posed a problem because its House race involved an unopposed Democratic incumbent. However, a look at how gay precincts voted in the governor’s race indicated a similar increase (6.7 percent) – from 13.9 percent Republican in 2006 to 20.6 percent in 2010.

Unfortunately for Democratic candidates and officeholders who blow smoke on gay rights at election time, it looks like gay voters pay attention, and have paid attention in the past. Performance matters to this voting bloc, and we punish non-performers:

Perhaps the biggest surprise of all in gay voting data, however, comes from looking at a chart published by the New York Times of all the national exit polling data collected which included “gay, lesbian, and bisexual” voter identification. It shows that the largest gay vote for Republicans was not in 2010, but in 1998. That’s the year voters shifted away from Republicans, many believe because of the unpopularity of the Republican-led impeachment proceedings against Democratic President Bill Clinton. But that was also just two years after Congress passed – and Clinton signed – the Defense of Marriage Act, and the exit poll data showed that 33 percent of the gay vote went to Republicans.

Lisa Keen wisely wonders what lies ahead for a Democratic party that fails to deliver for a core voting bloc they may have taken for granted one too many times:

But there are questions that loom inside the data. Will the swing of gay voters toward Republicans again last for two election cycles – 2010 and 2012 – as it did in 1998 and 2000? Will the potential failure to pass repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” act like a catalyst for gay Republican voting as DOMA did in 1998? The numbers don’t say.

Happy Thankstaking Day!

10:36 pm in Culture, Politics by Teddy Partridge

Take the clueless banksters, thanks. (photo: Urban Combing via Flickr)

So. Not to get all contrarian or anything, but just offhand: in case you get bored with all the giving thanks for “our home and our family” or the thankfulness for “the support you all give me while I’m still job-seeking” or simple thanks around the table “that almost all of us could agree how to cook the yams this year” — all the damn giving of thanks everyone forgets all the rest of the year and wants us to emote about today — here’s your chance.

Happy Thankstaking Day!

Frankly, all of us could do WITHOUT something. Something we’d be very happy to have TAKEN away. Please add yours in comments.

Okay, I’ll start: take Richard B Cheney, his family, heirs and descendants. Please.

Your turn.


3:11 pm in Republican Party, Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

DeLay couldn't dance his way around a money-laundering conviction. (from YouTube)

Well, that didn’t take long [snark].

AUSTIN – A Travis County jury today found former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay guilty of political money laundering charges relating to a corporate money swap in the 2002 elections.

The verdict came down five years after DeLay was forced to step down as the second most powerful Republican in the U.S. House. The charges also led DeLay to resign from his Sugar Land congressional seat in 2006.

DeLay was accused of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. On the conspiracy charge, DeLay faces a sentence of two to 20 years in prison and five to 99 years or life in prison on the money laundering count.

CA Results: Kamala Harris is next AG; McNerney Re-Elected

2:54 pm in 2010 election, Elections, Legislature, LGBT, Politics, State Government by Teddy Partridge

Two more things to give thanks for, if you’re a Prop 8 opponent in the first case and a loyal Democratic team member in the second.

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris will be California’s next attorney general, after her Republican opponent conceded today – a full three weeks after the Nov. 2 election.

Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley had declared victory on election night, only to see the race flip-flop between the two candidates in the coming days as counties around the state continued to tally mail-in and provisional ballots. This morning, Cooley called Harris – who is now leading by 50,000 votes – to concede and congratulate her.

She will become the state’s first female attorney general.

She is also the state’s first non-white attorney general.

And the jockeying — after you, Alphonse! — begins at San Francisco City Hall:

Harris will now join San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom – the state’s lieutenant governor-elect – in Sacramento next year, leaving the City by the Bay without a top prosecutor and mayor. Newsom has expressed interest in having Harris resign before he does, so that he can appoint the next district attorney. The Board of Supervisors will choose Newsom’s replacement.

In the second case, Congressman Jerry McNerney has barely survived a challenge for a third term, in his suburban Bay Area district.

Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney has been re-elected to a third term in a Northern California congressional district, fending off a challenge from Republican David Harmer.

McNerney held a lead of nearly 2,500 votes on Wednesday with less than 1,900 ballots left to be counted. His re-election means no California congressional seat changed party hands, even as Republicans took back the U.S. House of Representatives with a national GOP landslide on Nov. 2.

This bears repeating, I think, as redistricting begins across America based on the 2010 census:

no California congressional seat changed party hands