Friday, November 05, 2004

The Kids Are More Than Alright

I've been a little unfair since Tuesday to young people. Hell, I'm only 26, so I've been slamming my own demo. It turns out, though, that the youth wave that was supposed to vote in record numbers, but didn't, actually did -- only their increase was equal to increases among other demographics.

But if the numbers proved me wrong, these kids really proved me wrong...

At least 85 students worried about war, a return of the draft and the future of the environment staged an overnight protest in the Boulder High School library before leaving peacefully Friday morning.

The students said they wanted assurances from political leaders about the direction of the country. Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., met with some of the students for about an hour after they left the library at 7 a.m.

"We're worried that in four years we're going to be at war with five countries and we're going to have no trees," senior Cameron Ely-Murdock said.

"I know that's an extreme position, but I'm really worried about the draft," he said.
The sit-in began after school Thursday. The students, who brought sleeping bags and food, said they were not protesting Bush's re-election but were worried about the national debt, Iraq and other issues.

The students said they wanted to talk to representatives of GOP Gov. Bill Owens and U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo. Musgrave sponsored the failed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

It was not immediately known whether either received a request or responded.
Just to make sure you got that, these are high school kids, many not old enough to vote, protesting the rising national debt, environmental degradation, and the war in Iraq.

So while their parents are voting on culture war issues that enable politicians who govern against their actual interests, this group of high school students is thinking ahead, concerned about the actual issues of governance that will impact their lives and their livelihoods in the years to come. In short, the parents are reactionaries and the kids are policy wonks.

I challenge anyone who's been down in the dumps about a progressive, Democratic future since Tuesday to think about these kids and not get excited that they're our future base. God bless 'em.

posted by Scott | 11/05/2004 | |

A Glitch Gives Bush 4,000 Extra Votes In Ohio

You all know I was one of the first to admit that we'd lost and argue against my fellow Kerry supporters who were demanding recounts and claiming fraud. However, this is an interesting development...

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- An error with an electronic voting system gave President Bush 3,893 extra votes in suburban Columbus, elections officials said.

Franklin County's unofficial results had Bush receiving 4,258 votes to Democrat John Kerry's 260 votes in a precinct in Gahanna. Records show only 638 voters cast ballots in that precinct.

Bush actually received 365 votes in the precinct, Matthew Damschroder, director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, told the Columbus Dispatch.
Now, even if this "glitch" were voter fraud, which it probably isn't, it wasn't nearly enough to swing the election. Even if little "glitches" like this were found to have occurred across the country, it's unlikely Kerry would have won the popular vote. The electoral vote, maybe, but that's the last thing we wanted after our uproar over Florida in 2000.

What do we do, though, the next time we have a close election like Florida 2000? If a state is called for the Republican and then that call is proven wrong, will the GOP cry foul the way they did in 2000, demanding that everything stop dead in its tracks, effectively handcuffing the process?

My point is that e-voting isn't going anywhere, but it certainly needs to be monitored much more closely than it currently is. Specifically, the FEC really must step up to the plate to prove themselves worthy stewards of this nation's democracy. It shouldn't have been bloggers who blew the whistle on Bush's 4,000 vote surplus. Too bad the people in charge were asleep at the wheel.

posted by Scott | 11/05/2004 | |

I Can't Stop Smiling

Can someone please explain to me why I'm in such a good mood? My wife has been on the verge of breaking things and I just keep trying to explain -- both to her and myself -- why I'm not a mess. While I'm open to suggestion, I do have some ideas of my own.

Bush and the right wing GOP are totally going to blow it, overreaching more than their more intelligent supporters can even comprehend. Any and all mistakes made by the government are now the sole responsibility of the Republican Party. The Democrats will be left to pick up the pieces and remake America however we have to. For this, we will be given a mandate very shortly. A mandate for true progressive taxation, a mandate for a viable social safety net, a mandate for labor rights, a mandate for common sense checks on corporatist power, a mandate for energy independence.

In other words, the GOP trifecta on Tuesday is good news, long term, for both the Democratic Party and America.

On top of that, I've never seen progressives so united and determined and willing to listen to constructive criticism so soon after such a bad loss. We spent much of 2003 and 2004 building a new party infrastructure. While it didn't take us to where we needed to go this year, it will in the future. And the numbers support this. Yeah, Bush won more popular votes than any President in history. But second to his 59 million is not Reagan's 54.5 million, as so many Republican talking heads want us to believe. It's Kerry's 55 million! I'm guessing it will be hard for the GOP to turn out that many Republicans ever again, whereas our 55 million should only grow. Chris Bowers at MyDD has put together a really enlightening examination of something he calls the "Partisan Index", showing that our partisan base is much stronger than the GOP's.

Anyway, the message here is that you should not despair. We need to learn from our mistakes and get ready for the next round of races, whether they're local in 2005 or Congressional in 2006. Yeah, we're at the bottom right now. But that only means we have nowhere to go but up.

posted by Scott | 11/05/2004 | |

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Moderate GOP In Revolt

Aside from Arlen Specter putting the Bush administration on alert that far-right judges will not pass muster, USA Today is now reporting that Republican (in name only) Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island is considering abandoning the GOP.

PROVIDENCE (AP) — Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee said he would consider switching parties if President Bush is re-elected.

"I'm not ruling it out," Chafee told The Providence Journal.

Chafee, known for moderate views that often run counter to the Bush administration, also said he cast a write-in vote for Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, in Tuesday's election. He said it was a "symbolic protest."

The Republican senator said it would have been impossible to vote for President Bush given their opposite views on issues such as abortion, gay marriage, the deficit, tax cuts, the environment and the war in Iraq.

Chafee has opposed the administration's push to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and has criticized Bush's handling of the postwar reconstruction of Iraq. He was the only Republican senator to vote against the October 2002 resolution that gave Bush the authority to invade Iraq.

Chafee told the newspaper that he didn't plan to change parties "at this minute."

"I'll have to look and see what happens tonight (Tuesday), the makeup of everything," he said.
Well, Linc, "the makeup of everything" is pretty clear. The far right made major gains on Tuesday in all branches of the federal government and their agenda is clear. They're looking to outlaw abortion, amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage, run up the deficit, replace progressive taxation with a truly regressive flat tax, wreck the environment, and continue the failed Iraq War (non-)policies.

Is that seriously the party you want to support by virtue of your membership, Senator?

The Democrats have now lost the "too close to call" Senate races in Florida and Alaska, giving them a serious majority, so a Chafee switch will not shift the balance in the Senate. However, his refusal to back Bush and his talk of switching parties is sure to make him persona non grata within the Senate GOP caucus. He no longer has any reason to stay in the GOP.

Elsewhere in moderate news, Noam Scheiber at The New Republic notes that while Bush won among conservatives (84-15) and Kerry won among liberals (86-13), Kerry won decisively among moderates, 55-45. This is great news for the Democratic Party that we are seen as more moderate than the GOP. It's also good to see that a decent handful of conservatives who know the difference between 'conservative' and 'right wing' -- 15% -- voted for Kerry. The 13% of liberals who voted for Bush probably did so on issues of terrorism and national security, as (bad)-actor-(inexplicably)-turned-activist Ron Silver has repeatedly whined explained.

posted by Scott | 11/04/2004 | |

Arlen Specter Will Save The Courts

The handwringing on the right has already begun. Writing at the National Review Online, Tim Carney is questioning the national GOP's wisdom in supporting moderate-to-liberal Republican Senator Arlen Specter over his ultra-conservative primary challenger Pat Toomey. The GOP theory was that Specter's reverse-coattails could help Bush carry otherwise blue Pennsylvania. But clearly that was nonsense. Conservatives are already furious with Santorum for his support of Specter. At this point, I wouldn't be overly surprised to see another conservative primary challenge for the Senate in 2006.

In exchange for Bush's support, Specter was promised the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee if the GOP held the Senate majority. Well, thanks in part to the Specter win, they did hold the majority. But now this morning, many Republicans are asking themselves why they made such a Faustian bargain. Specter has already taken to the media to declare that, in the event of a vacancy -- or vacancies, as is likely -- on the Supreme Court, he will not support overly conservative activist judges "who would change the right of a woman to choose, overturn Roe v. Wade." Reminding Bush about the Democratic filibusters of right wing judicial nominees over the last few years, he warned, "I would expect the president to be mindful of the considerations which I am mentioning."

Don't get me wrong. I'd like to have seen Joe Hoeffel win as much as the next guy. But Hoeffel should be in a strong position to knock Rick Santorum out of the Senate in 2006, giving Pennsylvania two strong moderate Senators. For the time being, Arlen Specter at the head of the Judiciary Committee is about as good as we're going to get. And it's no small 'get', at that.

posted by Scott | 11/04/2004 | |

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Sad But True Tales Of MoveOn GOTV

One of my readers sent me a link to this. I'm going to post it whole hog here because I think it's a good indicator of where certain things went wrong, at least in the 527 GOTV effort.

The author, Matt Fraction, is a somewhat well-known comic book writer and, I guess, some time Democratic activist. Please go visit his site and maybe buy one of his books if that's something you think you might be into.

His story is heartbreaking...

ED04 - What Kind of Day Has It Been
// 03 Nov 04 // 6:13 PM // file under: fallen world #99

So I was in Memphis, right? And had been for the previous five days. I wasn't able to commit to any of the training sessions the local chapter of the DNC would've needed me to endure before putting me into the field in any official capacity on Election Day. But, you know, I did what I could, I gave what I could, and I would be able to live with it, albeit a tad regretfully.

So when I got home Sunday night, there was a call of volunteers from I jumped on it. In 2000, I was the biggest Gore supporter in my whole apartment. I didn’t want to feel the same way twice.

I showed up after voting, which would've been, oh, between 7:30 and 8, I guess. Two folks, Emmett and Laura, staffed the MoveOn office. Maps were tacked to walls with multi-color pushpins across all the Missouri districts.

"What do the multicolor pushpins mean," I asked?

"It means we bought multi-color pushpins," I learned.

Phones were piled on phones. Cables like miles of silicon spaghetti. People were filing in fairly regularly as we sat in a small circle for an orientation brief. A vat of chili and a pot of crap coffee brewed in the back.

Long story short, Me, a lady from Kansas named Jane, and a dude called Oliver were being tasked to cover the Missouri 20-05, a precinct in the southeast part of the city. They had no ground presence, they had no volunteers, and they had no precinct leader over there.

See, the MoveOn precinct leader of the 20-05 hadn't, they were told, realized they needed her to work on Election Day. She had volunteered elsewhere.

We were crash-briefed, then, on how to be a precinct leader. We were given three lists: a NEED RIDE list of about 20 names of people whom, that’s right, NEEDED RIDES; a POLL LEADERS list of 12 pages worth of new-registers and Kerry-leaners that MoveOn had been contacting and finessing; biggest of all was a stack of every registered voter in the county. They gave us armbands, signs, brochures and buttons and sent us on our way. Once there, we were to report into what was called our Super-Precinct Leader, let ‘em know we were on the ground working

At the poll, it would be our job to ask the voters coming OUT of the polling center if they were one of the folks on our POLL LEADERS list and, if so, we'd cross them off said list and smile and shake hands and thank them for letting MoveOn into their hearts. So as Jane and Oliver started that, I concurrently decided to start calling the NEED RIDE folks (which my S-P L agreed with) and the whole of the POLL LEADERS sheet (which the S-P L didn't quite seem to think was as important as tracking exiting voters, but she was wrong and I did it anyway). So. Jane and Oliver hitting exiting voters, I’m hitting the phone.

The first call was a wrong number.

The second call I left a message.

The third call was a lady and her husband who had already voted, and had no idea why their names were on our list.

Things started to go very, very wrong from there.

Talking to exiting voters did jack shit, honestly. This poor precinct had been bombarded with calls the last few months, so much so that voters were just fed up with the whole thing.

Later, I started to play that tactic-- promising that mine was the last election question they'd have to answer, that there would be no more TV ads, etc. So while the voters still looked and talked to me like I was an asshole, small glimpses of a sad sort of kindness would leak through. I dropped partisanship first thing, too-- nobody wanted to hear it anymore.

Oliver was getting more and more fed up; the fact that our polling place was a church on top of a fucking hill, and it was windy and cold was doing nothing for anyone's mood. I kept talking to both the S-P L and the MoveOn head dude, begging for some kind of coherent direction but they kept feeding me lines, like I was an undecided voter. It was from the What To Do When Your Volunteers Mutiny script. It became real obvious real quick that everyone was following a script.

A girl showed up to help. She got pissed off after about a half-hour and left. Oliver was getting more and more pissed off at how pointless talking to people coming OUT of the polls was. So out went the script.

It was pretty obvious that the former precinct leader who had flaked was, in fact, a massive flake that hadn't done jack shit. The NEED RIDE list had 3 bogus or bad numbers. No one I was talking to on the POLL LEADERS list had any recollection of hearing from ANYONE from MoveOn. In short, there had been no calls, no contact, no canvassing, no MoveOn presence period.

It was as if we'd decided to start canvassing the precinct on the day of the election. Because that's kind of what we did.

I sent Oliver back to MoveOn HQ to get re-tasked somewhere and Jane and I sat in her car, plowing through the POLL LEADERS list. I called maybe 150, Jane about the same. However many filled 6 pages.

We talked to a lot of answering machines. There were a lot of duplicated names, a lot of wrong numbers, some fax machines, some disconnects. And a handful of people. We found one, that's right, one lady looking for a ride. She was 50-some blocks and 4 precincts away from us, but still. We got her taken care of, and we called every fucking number on our list.

Calling took us until 1 in the afternoon, give or take. Our S-P L had no idea where we were and tried to find us for an hour, maybe more. I gave her directions; she left the house without them. We went back and forth until we were done with our calls and I told the S-P L to stay put at the gas station she was calling from—her cell had died, ha ha—and we’d find her. Which we did. She gave us two cold cups of gas station coffee and then went to relieve another precinct leader somewhere, laying a scoonch of a guilt trip on us the whole time, as though her not knowing where we were was our fault.

Then we headed back to MoveOn HQ, because the 20-05 was fucked long before we showed up that morning and all we could do was go back, hit the phones and keep helping, and get people out to the 20-05 after work, people that knew that impenetrable little area and could actually help if people called needing rides.

I had no car, and ended up behind my laptop, printing out driving and contact directions for volunteers heading to their respective precincts. I had an Excel sheet and MapQuest and a precinct list and leader list, and would drop bits from each together. People were coming in right up until about 6:30, a half-hour before the polls closed. At 6, MoveOn turned everyone loose from poll checking and tasked them on canvassing door to door. Shortly after 6:30, when Emmett turned a volunteer away at the door I figured it over and called Kel and she came to pick me up.

The first question, the ego question: Did we do any good? I can answer that one now.

I know for a fact that we got one little old lady a ride to and from the poll. So there was one vote. And as Missouri didn't break the way I personally wanted it to, you could theoretically argue that every vote after the 2nd vote for the GOP was useless. I would like to feel like we did good anyway, that we made the process work for one little old lady whom the system, on either side, would've otherwise ignored. A moral or karmic victory at best, perhaps, but as I type this at 2:18 AM on Nov. 3rd, I'll take what I can get.

The second question is: what happened?

That's two answers, really, on a micro- and macro-scale. The first is what went wrong, why, and how to fix these new types of organizations; the second answer is about a larger issue. O Democratic party, why hast thou forsaken us?

posted by Scott | 11/03/2004 | |

Federalism... Catch The Fever!!!

Who knew that the center-left zeitgeist would be full of talk about the promise of States' Rights in the wake of a 2004 loss? Certainly not me. But still...

Andrew Sullivan declares "Federalism Works"
(Not in the post that I link, but whatver...)

The Bull Moose Blog reminds us that the GOP, until very recently, was the party of federalism. Now they're the party of trough feeding and governmental overreach. 0-to-Pork in only 10 years!

More to come...

posted by Scott | 11/03/2004 | |

Let's Push Things Forward

Going along with the 'don't mourn, organize' theme I'm hearing from the more positive members of our party, here's what I'm seeing for the future.

First off, we can stop worrying about defending seats in southern red states. They're just about all gone. A cursory look shows that our remaining Southern seats are really in purple states now, anyway. The seats we've got in other red states are all up north and appeals to economic populism should still continue to trump social conservativism.

Pennsylvania Senate, 2006 - Rick Santorum v. Joe Hoefflel

Santorum is a right-wing ideologue in a blue state. Hoeffel is a great candidate who almost beat the extremely popular moderate, Arlen Specter. We should be able take Santorum out.

Maine Senate, 2006 - Olympia Snowe v. ?????

I don't know much about this state, but I know it's blue. By 2006, it should be clear to most, if not all progressive voters that moderate Republicans who support Congressional leadership from the likes of Bill Frist and Rick Santorum are not, in fact, supporting moderate governance. Snowe's a serious target. Unless she wants to switch parties. Not entirely impossible.

Rhode Island, 2006 - Lincoln Chafee v. ?????

Linc needs to know that he'd better switch parties, go independent, or we'll make life very difficult for him. Besides, if he doesn't go independent, he'll being targeted by conservative Republicans in a primary. Since he didn't back Bush this year, I can imagine some retribution is in the works.

Missouri, 2006 - Jim Talent v. Claire McCaskill(?)

McCaskill came damn close to winning the Missouri gubernatorial race. The most vulnerable time you can get to an incumbent Senator is at their first re-election campaign -- which will be '06 for Talent. Of course, with extremely popular figures (like Chuck Schumer in New York), that's not always the case. But we could put this in play.

Alaska, 2006 - Ted Stevens v. ?????

Alaska is a tough state for Democrats, but Stevens will be weeks away from his 83rd birthday by the time his next election rolls around. He might not run if he feels his seat and control of the Senate is safe.

Tennessee, 2006 - Bill Frist v. ?????

Frist targeted Daschle for defeat. Forgetting the fact that we probably won't win, we should throw the kitchen sink at Frist. Harold Ford will probably want to hold out until 2008, but who knows...

Virginia, 2006 - George Allen v. ?????

Virginia has been showing its blue. Mark Warner, the current Governor, cannot run again in 2005, so he's able to run for the Senate if he so chooses. He's an incredibly popular New Democrat and he could probably pick this one off if he wanted to.

There are seats we need to defend. Robert Byrd in West Virginia will be 89 at the time of his next re-election. If he doesn't run again, this will be a hard race. Lieberman is up in Connecticut as well. He'll be fine unless there's a serious challenge in a primary.

But let's try to be optimistic. There should be some serious Bush/GOP fatigue by 2006. We've got a serious shot at retaking the Senate either through party changes or pick-offs. This year really seemed to be the year for retirements, so we can't rely on that in 2006. Let's stop crying in our beer and start moving forward again.

More to come. Call me out in the comments if you think I'm crazy. Let's discuss it. Unless you're a troll. Then you get banned.

posted by Scott | 11/03/2004 | |

We Lost, But...

This is actually the first national election we've lost in the popular vote since Dukakis in 1988. We beat Bush I in '92, Dole in '96, and Bush II in '00.

It's just an observation, but an important on to keep that in mind while you're imagining an iron curtain dropping around the border.

PS - I hate to say it, but let's stop running Massachusettsians. I'm not saying all Northeasterners -- just not guys from Massachusetts.

posted by Scott | 11/03/2004 | |

It's Over

Kerry's reportedly conceded to Bush. Castor's conceded to Martinez. Daschle's conceded to Thune.

Next Senate Minority Leader should not be Harry Reid of Nevada. Never again should a Democratic leader represent a red state. It's much too risky. My picks would be Dick Durbin or... John Kerry.

Kos is calling for Terry Mac's replacement with Howard Dean. I second that.

posted by Scott | 11/03/2004 | |

Count 'Em Up!

Jeez... my internet connection crashed around 1 AM, so I packed it in and went to bed. Little did I know that I'd wake up and nothing would have changed. Well, not nothing. Minnesota and Michigan lined up for Kerry, meaning that the current electoral count is 269 for Bush and 238 for Kerry.

Here's where I stand... We probably lost.

HOWEVER, Ohio is not done. Don't give me crap about being a whiner, freepers. I admit that it probably is done. But this is democracy. All the votes get counted and then we declare the results. Despite the way the media's made it seem in the landslide nights of the last few decades, most Presidential candidates have not conceded on Election Night. What Kerry is doing is nothing out of his rights.

Here's something from dKos that really illuminates matters:

Bush is currently leading in Ohio by 136,221
If there are 250,000 provisional ballots outstanding. The highest number I've seen.

And 90% of those ballots are good, as they were in 2000. That leaves 225,000 votes.

If 85% of those ballots prove to be for Kerry, about the number that Gore got in 2000. That leaves us with 191,250, giving us a lead of 55,029.

If there are only 200,000 provisionals, following the same calculation would leave us with a lead of 16,779.

If the provisional ballots are only 175,000 that leaves us with a deficit of -2,346 that will leaves us in a position to get an automatic statewide recount.

Or, to put it another way, an automatic recount is triggered by a margin of 0.25% or between 13,000 and 16,000 votes.
Let's just see how this thing shakes out. This isn't about being a sore loser or trying to win the election in the courts. This is about making sure all of the votes -- the votes from kids who stood on line for hours to vote at 2 AM in their first election in Ohio -- are counted. It's vital to our democracy, no matter what the outcome.

I'll be back later with more thoughts on what these results mean for the Democratic Party, the blue states, America, and the world.

posted by Scott | 11/03/2004 | |

MSNBC Calls Alaska, Ohio For Bush

Bush - 269
Kerry - 207


posted by Scott | 11/03/2004 | |

A Tie?

Kos is suggesting, and I'm inclined to think he's on to something, that we could wind up with a 269-269 tie if Kerry keeps all of the states Gore wins and picks up Nevada (maybe) and New Hampshire (likely). Then it goes to the House and we're screwed.

Two side notes...

1. Much is being made of the youth vote not turning out. At first, I was eager to jump on this demo, figuring that blaming young non-voters made sense. But now I'm not so sure. None of the results being reported are taking into account absentee ballots or early votes. Even though absentee voters tend to be older and more conservative, many students vote absentee as well. And the early voting supposedly went for Kerry.

I'm not sure if any of that will make a difference, but it might.

There's already talk of blaming Kerry for a loss, if we do lose. F@#% that. The blame really belongs to the media, which allowed the Bush campaign and its surrogates to hijack the headlines with bullshit about swift boats and hair cuts.

I don't blame the Bush campaign for pushing their agenda, either. They're good at it, they're organized, and they've got a boatload of money behind them. What they're doing is what we'd be doing if we could.

In the last few weeks, the media finally woke up and stopped drinking the Karl Rove Kool Aid, actually covering real issues and real stories. It was nice, but it was far too little, much too late.

posted by Scott | 11/03/2004 | |

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Oregon Makes The West Coast Solid Blue

Holy shit.

Kerry - 206
Bush - 207

This may not stay close, but it sure as hell is close now.

posted by Scott | 11/02/2004 | |

Kerry Wins Big On West Coast

Oregon and Hawaii are getting "too early to call", but California and Washington have gone to Kerry.

Idaho has gone to Bush.

Kerry - 199
Bush - 207

Whew!!! Things are looking up and I've stopped sweating.

I'm going to stop talking about the Senate, because nothing much has changed.

Texas, sadly but not surprisingly, is a massacre in the House. After a number of years of losses, the DCCC really needs to shape up.

posted by Scott | 11/02/2004 | |

Arizona To Bush, Pennsylvania To Kerry

Ummm... it's all in the headline. We're most definitely in the hunt. All of the blue states are up in the air, but certainly not decided. I'll feel better once Washington, Oregon, and California come in.

Kerry - 133
Bush - 203


The CW is that the youth vote did lean to Kerry, but that they didn't turn out much more than in 2000. Have fun in Iraq, morons. Unless of course this information turns out to be wrong. Then you're revolutionaries who deserve our thanks and praise.


I'm not hearing it discussed, but up in New Hampshire, with 56% reporting, Kerry and Bush are virtually deadlocked, with a slight edge for Kerry. Nader's pulling a few thousand. CRAP!!!

posted by Scott | 11/02/2004 | |

Results - Round Four

Some old results mixed in here, but no surprises...

Iowa and Nevada are too close to call.

Arkansas (damn, we got close), Utah, Louisiana, and Mississippi have all gone to Bush.

Everything else is either too close or too early to call.

The electoral vote is 112 for Kerry and 182 for Bush. Still, the blue states have all stayed blue and vice versa. No real surprises, but a formerly red jump to blue would be nice.

In the Senate, Daschle/Thune - SD, Mongiardo/Bunning - KY, Hoeffel/Specter - PA, Castor/Martinez - FL, and Bowles/Burr - NC are still too close to call.

Inez Tenenbaum has lost to Jim DeMint in South Carolina. Sad, but not shocking. Tenenbaum did one hell of a job. This race should not even have been close.

posted by Scott | 11/02/2004 | |

Results - Round Three

Florida, Ohio, Missouri, and Pennsylvania are still too close to call.

Colorado and New Mexico are too close to call.

Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming went hard for Bush.

New York and Rhode Island went for Kerry.

In the Senate, Russ Feingold has won in Wisconsin, despite some weird rumblings about a steal from the GOP earlier today.

The Daschle/Thune race is still too close to call, as are Mongiardo/Bunning in Kentucky, Castor/Martinez in Florida, Bowles/Burr in North Carolina, Tenenbaum/DeMint in South Carolina, and Hoeffel/Specter in Pennsylvania.

posted by Scott | 11/02/2004 | |

Results - Round Two

Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Missouri(?!?!?!) are too close to call.

Massachusetts, New Jersey (YES!!!), Illinois, Maryland, Connecticut, Maine, Delaware, and DC have gone to Kerry. 77 Electoral Votes.

Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee, and West Virginia have gone to Bush. 66 Electoral Votes.

CNN is reporting on their website that Bush is winning the popular vote and Kerry is winning the electoral vote. Just wait for California and New York to report in.

In the Senate, Mongiardo is still running very strong in Kentucky and Barack Obama is the first Democratic pickup in the Senate.

Stay tuned...

posted by Scott | 11/02/2004 | |

First Results

Georgia, Kentucky, and Indiana have gone for Bush. No surprises.

Vermont has gone for Kerry. Again, no surprise.

Virginia and South Carolina are too close to call. These should be solid Bush states, even according to recent polling. There could be some surprises here.

The Senate races in Kentucky and South Carolina are also too close to call. Daniel Mongiardo and Inez Tenenbaum are keeping the two states competitive against Jim Bunning and Jim DeMint.

Unsurprisingly, one Democratic seat has gone down in the Senate. Johnny Isakson has beaten Denise Majette in Georgia. However, this was Zell Miller's seat, so it was completely DINO (Democratic In Name Only for the newcomers) anyway. No real surprise.

posted by Scott | 11/02/2004 | |

Open Thread

I have no idea if there's a need for this, but I figured I'd open one up when I saw 100+ users on the site at once, with today's hits in the thousands rather than the hundreds. No one's commenting, though, which is sort of curious. I shelled out $12 to have my HaloScan account upgraded, so I definitely want to make it worthwhile.

So get crackin'!

...or not.

posted by Scott | 11/02/2004 | |


I know they're indicating good things for us, but I do not care. Don't let them discourage you in Bush states and don't let them lull you into a false sense of security in the Kerry states. Or hell, if you're a Republican, read the above just the opposite.

Whenever I hear people complain after the fact about not voting because of the exit poll results, it drives me nuts. If your house was on fire, would you not be throwing water on it just because you heard sirens approaching? Hell no!!! That would be extremely irresponsible.

Your vote is your vote and it's worth the same whether your state is won or lost. There is a little matter of the popular vote, remember. It would be nice this time around if the President (Kerry or Bush) actually had something resembling a mandate.

That said, Jerome at MyDD has some numbers from the former VNS, now NEP. Look at them if you can handle them. If not, then go read a book or something.

(Hint: Things are looking good...)

posted by Scott | 11/02/2004 | |

Doomsday On The Right

I'm really not sure if it means anything, but the GOP handwringing at The Corner is cracking me up this morning. What a bunch of grumps!

My favorite smear is this one:

I haven't voted yet, but will after work. (Republicans have jobs.)
Hmm... that's pretty funny. My wife has a job. She voted and got to work on time. I have a job... with a huge GOP-backing corporation, actually. I voted this morning. It's really interesting that the lazy welfare mother stereotype Republican haters apply to not just minorities and women, but all Democrats. Maybe if this corporate welfare teat sucker were man enough to get up at the crack of dawn, he'd have been able to vote in the morning. How's that for a new stereotype?

And there's this complaint from a Republican who had to vote in a heavily Democratic district in Michigan:

This is truely solidly Kerry country, so I was depressed by the large eager turnout. The people seemed *so* self satisfied, like they were doing their part to save the world by getting up early to vote for Kerry.
First of all, we are "doing our part to save the world by getting up early to vote for Kerry." At least that's the way we see it. Isn't that the way it's supposed to be when you vote? What do Bush voters think they're doing?

And he "was depressed by the large eager turnout". Nice. That totally proves my point about too many Republicans being anti-democratic. I think about my father, who's a Republican, but has admitted to me that he's kind of excited to see a huge turnout, even if his guy loses. Never in a million years would he be "depressed by the large eager turnout" at the polls.


posted by Scott | 11/02/2004 | |

Free GOTV MP3 From Ted Leo + The Pharmacists

It's finally here. In honor of Election Day 2004, I'm making available a free, officially authorized MP3 of 'Shake The Sheets' from Ted Leo + The Pharmacists.

[To access the file, right-click and 'Save As' the headline above.]

Some of you are already likely to be familiar with Mr. Leo. For those who are not, Ted is a fellow North Jersey (ex?) punk rocker made good. Between glowing profiles/reviews in both Rolling Stone and The New Yorker, a concert DVD from from Plexifilm (who also released Wilco's "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart"), an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien last year during which he played with the words "NO WAR" duct taped onto his guitar, and a number of Concerts for Kerry, Ted Leo has been making waves. The most common comparisons are Elvis Costello, Billy Bragg, Joe Strummer, and Paul Weller. And to answer your question, yes -- the music lives up to the hype.

I just thought this would be a nice change of pace as a thank you to everyone going out to vote for John Kerry today. Apparently, Ted agreed, since he went out of his way to e-mail me from his cellphone on tour to give me permission to make this MP3 available. As a thank you to him, I strongly suggest you purchase his new album Shake The Sheets as soon as you get a chance.

In case you're wondering why I specifically requested this track, read the lyrics and tell me you don't feel more energized...


Ted Leo + The Pharmacists // "Shake the Sheets"

I said, "I wonder how it is I'm standing here, while war is raging everywhere under the sky?
I feel defeated here by everything, cheated here by everyone on every side.
I want to take you to a quiet place, and never ask the meaninglessness to reply.
When will we get an hour to celebrate, find the time to breathe a sigh?

I've been working too hard to be living, and later
Walking all night, until I'm shivering, and is it
Wasting the time that I've been given, to maybe
Wait for the day of oblivion?

I want to take it to the president, him and all the cabinet, with a broom.
I want to sweep the Halls of Arrogance, sweep the walls of the excrement of these baboons.
But I respect and prize the covenant -- I respect the process, I respect the rules.
When will we find a chord as resonant as to shake the sheets and make us move?

You've been working too hard to be living, and later
Walking all night, until you're shivering, and is it
Wasting the time that you've been given, to maybe
Wait for the day of oblivion?"

And she said, "Roll out and make your mark. Pull on your boots and march.
Then roll on and meet me where you'll find me doing my own part.
Roll out your dented car. Maybe it won't roll far.
But if you do everything you can, well babe, that's more than a start.

Roll out and make your mark. Pull on your boots and march.
Then roll on and meet me where you'll find me good and ready.
Sometimes it's gonna hurt. Sometimes you're gonna deserve it.
But if you hold on to what you've got, I know you'll keep it steady.

So there's no end to work, so there's no end to the murk.
So everything else is dirt, but I am pure and steady.
So cut out the morbid verse. I know you'll make it work.
And how're you gonna save the world, when the world ain't ready?"

posted by Scott | 11/02/2004 | |

Monday, November 01, 2004

Them And Us

I don't really like speaking the language of division. Even when I go after Bush and Cheney, I try to make it clear that I'm talking about Bush, Cheney, their administration, and the people who support them 100%. It's really not in my nature to believe that all Republicans are evil or heartless or stupid or mean. I've met far too many Republicans in my life who completely disprove that notion.

However, there is one core, fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans that has really been driven home to me this election year.

Democrats tend to be democrats.

What I mean by that is that Democrats believe in democracy -- more involvement, more participation, more freedom, and more dialogue. By nature, that makes sense. Liberals believe more than conservatives that every voice should be heard and that all sides should be examined. This is why we never defended Clinton the way the GOP has defended Bush -- holding on to power was less important than intellectual honesty. This is why liberals and progressives split between Nader and Gore in 2000 -- winning was less important than ideological purity. Lucky for the GOP, Republicans tend not to have such difficulties.

Two new pieces support this opinion more simply than I've ever seen before. The first, from ABC News and shown on this morning's Good Morning America, examined the consequences of wearing one candidate's t-shirt to the other's rally. This is something that has really gotten under my skin this year; the Bush/Cheney campaign's demand that everyone who wants to attend a Bush event must pledge their loyalty to the administration makes me want to gag. Likewise, the treatment -- violence, arrest, and harassment -- of protesters at Bush campaign stops is a frightening sight. A room full of angry activists, who have just literally pledged allegiance to a politician, screaming "four more years" is one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen in America.

On the flipside, Bush supporters at Kerry rallies are a common sight. They heckle the speakers, the speakers engage them, they keep heckling, the crowd drowns them out, and more often than not, that's that. This is pretty much what happened to the undercover ABC News producers who conducted the experiment.

First up, the Kerry event:

A Kerry staffer at an Oct. 24 Kerry rally in Boca Raton, Fla., told Bush-Cheney T-shirt wearers that the campaign held a permit to rent the site and could remove anyone who made a disturbance.

"We hold the right to remove you, but other than that, enjoy and hopefully at the end of the event you'll want to wear a Kerry T-shirt," he said.
And what about the Bush event?

"I'm sorry, but they're Kerry shirts," a female Bush volunteer said. "We were told not to let people with Kerry shirts into the rally."

And as they approached the gates of the stadium, Lance "Chip" Borman, a Bush campaign worker and attorney who worked for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, directed them toward the Brevard County sheriff's deputies waiting at the exit.

"Hey folks, it's a private event," he said. "Can you find your way to the nearest exit? Maybe some law enforcement can help?"
To be fair (again, something I feel absurdly compelled to do as a liberal), it sounds like Borman handled the situation much better than some others I've heard about. Sure, he threatens them with arrest, but at least he's nice about it and actually gives them a warning. There are too many stories out there about people being immediately taken into custody by the Secret Service at the request of the campaign before they even know what's going on.

New Republic editor Peter Beinart also has an interesting take on Democrats, Republicans, and democracy in our republic.

Behind all the Republican screaming about voter fraud and all the Democratic screaming about voter disenfranchisement is this fundamental truth: Liberals and conservatives don't see voting the same way.

Conservatives don't want to make voting easy. They don't want to make it impossible. They don't even want to make it excruciatingly difficult. They just don't want to make it easy. Their rationale is that easy voting allows voter fraud. But there's a deeper explanation. Of course, voter fraud is a bad thing, but it's also the natural, perhaps inevitable, result of higher turnout. The reason conservatives always oppose this trade-off (besides the partisan fear that higher turnout might hurt the GOP) is that, philosophically, they don't think higher turnout is necessarily a good thing. The Republican Party pays lip service to cultural populism, but, among serious conservatives, there remains an older strain of principled elitism, a fear of the uninformed masses, which are motivated by passion rather than reason. I'm not saying contemporary conservatives are anti-democratic; they just don't think greater political participation will produce better government.
I've had personal experience with this "older strain of principled elitism, a fear of the uninformed masses." Two Christmases ago, I had dinner with one of my parents' most conservative friends. I really didn't want to get into politics as he's really little more than a bloviating bully on the topic and there's just no discussion with him -- you talk, he talks, he talks some more, your try to get a word in edgewise, he declares victory. Were it a TV debate, he'd clearly be the loser, but he'd never know it.

Unsurprisingly, the topic came around to politics and I tried to keep it above the boards, at one point musing that he wouldn't like the Electoral College so much if it hadn't worked in his favor last time out. He didn't argue that point, per se, but did argue that such an outcome wouldn't be likely since the system is stacked against voters in more urban states.


One hell of an admission, you say? Well, his point was that such an imbalance was a good thing. Urban voters (let's cut the shit, he was talking about minorities) leach from non-urban voters and therefore, it's good that they get less of a say in this republic. Forget the fact that the numbers say otherwise -- I was simply stunned that his argument was that less democracy was better than more.

That is really the truism of both the Beinart and ABC pieces. Democracy isn't good for the GOP. It's also proof that the monickers 'Democrat' and 'Republican' are, in fact, pretty accurate these days.

I'm certainly glad I'm on the side of more freedom and more democracy than less.

posted by Scott | 11/01/2004 | |

Sick, Sick People

It seems that a coordinated effort has developed in the final week of the campaign to throw the kitchen sink at John Kerry. One dKos diarist, Montco PA for Kerry, pointed out that a series of incredibly over-the-top road signs have gone up in the Philadelphia area attacking Kerry with some of the most unhinged fear mongering imaginable.

I was commuting to work this morning along Rt. 422 in Montgomery County, PA. Entering the highway on a round sweeping cloverleaf, there were the usual assortment of Presidential and candidates signs that have sprung up over the past weeks.

But this morning, a new one stuck out. Homemade black and white computer-generated and taped to blue construction paper and stapled to a wooden stake, in huge block letters it read:

"Terrorists for Kerry"
Personally, I've seen the signs as well in Middlesex and Mercer counties here in New Jersey, just up the Route 1 corridor from Philadelphia's northern suburbs. The latest one reads:

"Terrorists are targeting NJ schools!
Remember Russia - Vote Bush"

At first, I thought they were the product of a lone Bush-worshipping crank, but now that I know a number of different signs have gone up all over the region, some handmade and others computer-generated, I believe this to be a coordinated effort.

After driving on and cooling off after seeing these signs, I'm always left with the impression that such in-your-face fear mongering can't really help the Bush cause. It drives home every point progressives make about Team W's scare tactics in such a personal manner. Many of the posters in this dKos thread seem to agree, as well.

Still, it's unnerving to know how far some of Bush's supporters will go rhetorically to help their candidate. And it's just as instructive to see how extreme the hero worship of Bush gets, even in a moderate area like the Philadelphia suburbs. To far too many Bush Republicans, their candidate is more than just a candidate. He's become a messiah.



Josh Marshall has more evidence of some really scary, officially sponsored GOP campaign materials from Florida. The flyer shows an imagined newspaper story from 2007 about President Kerry mandating that radiation suits be worn at schools in the "Florida Red Zone" as a result of a dirty bomb attack.

My greatest wish for tomorrow is that hope triumphs over fear. Anyone whose happiest fantasy involves politicizing the fallout of a terrorist attack on their opponent's watch is a total psychopath. These people cannot win.


The AP is on the case of fake robocalls being made to voters in Michigan, praising Kerry for his support for gay marriage. Full of GOP focus group-tested language, this is a pretty despicable example of Rovian fear mongering not on terror, but domestic issues.

For those of you who aren't sure, John Kerry does not actually support gay marriage.

In a recording of a phone call played for The Associated Press, a young woman says: "When you vote this Tuesday remember to legalize gay marriage by supporting John Kerry. We need John Kerry in order to make gay marriage legal for our city. Gay marriage is a right we all want. It's a basic Democrat principle. It's time to move forward and be progressive. Without John Kerry, George Bush will stop gay marriage. That's why we need Kerry. So Tuesday, stand up for gay marriage by supporting John Kerry."

The calls began Sunday afternoon, according to Rodell Mollineau, spokesman for Kerry's Michigan campaign. The campaign said voters in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint and Pontiac received calls.
The AP report also highlights a GOP claim -- made in response to the tape of the fake Kerry call -- that similar calls are being made by Kerry supporters to smear Bush. There's no evidence though, and I won't believe it until a tape is furnished. Seeing as how I have tapes of robocalls from Bill Clinton, Jon Corzine, and Caroline Kennedy on my answering machine, such evidence should be pretty easy to furnish if it exists.

No matter where it's coming from, this type of crap is lower than low.

posted by Scott | 11/01/2004 | |

Sunday, October 31, 2004


Yeah, right... There are far too many factors that could push this election either towards or away from Kerry. I mean, jeez, there's still like 24 hours left for a November surprise! We saw what happened last week.

So no. I will not be making any predictions on the outcome of Tuesday's voting. That said, there are a few things that I'm feeling. We're liberals, so you can't criticize my feelings, right?

1. I'm feeling cautiously confident.
2. I'm feeling like the new registrants are large in number, more likely to vote than not, and do not like George W. Bush.
3. I'm feeling like I'd rather be hanging out with staffers from the DSCC this Tuesday night than folks from the DCCC.
4. I'm feeling pretty good about the fact that most Americans don't seem to give a rat's ass about Osama bin Laden's opinion.
5. I'm feeling that voter intimidation scares me as a betrayal of American democracy even more than it does as something that could impact the results on Tuesday.
6. I'm feeling that I wouldn't be surprised if one (or more) of the networks accidentally screw something up Tuesday night.
7. I'm feeling pretty confident that Fox News will screw something up Tuesday night, but that it won't be an accident.

There are two things I'm willing to make hard predictions on for Tuesday, however.

One is that it's going to be a very late night.

The other is that DemWatch will play host to an officially sanctioned free MP3 from indie rock activist and fellow North Jersey boy Ted Leo. Just a little thank you to all of you for your hard work, attention, and patience throughout this whole process.

posted by Scott | 10/31/2004 | |

"Who Do You Trust?"

Bush poses a good question...

ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - President Bush, following new threats by Osama bin Laden, accused Democratic rival John Kerry on Saturday of weakness and inaction and said the election boils down to a matter of "Who do you trust?"
Hmmm. Who do I trust? Let me think for a second...

Date: 10/9/2003

"Your lives can be changed in a moment with the sudden call to duty. I want to thank you for your willingness to heed that important call, and I want to thank your families. I want to thank your sons, daughters, husbands and wives who share in your sacrifice, who are willing to sacrifice for our country and who stand behind you."
[Source: White House Web site]

Less than 2 weeks after the President made these comments, "the Bush administration announced its formal opposition to a proposal to give National Guard and Reserve members access to the Pentagon's health-insurance system, jeopardizing the plan's future and angering supporters. A recent General Accounting Office report estimated that one of every five Guard members has no health insurance."
- Gannett News Service, 10/23/03


Date: 10/9/2003

"Any time we put our troops into harm's way, you must have the best training, the best equipment, the best possible pay."
[Source: White House Web site]

"The administration announced that on Oct. 1 it wants to roll back recent modest increases in monthly imminent-danger pay (from $225 to $150) and family-separation allowance (from $250 to $100) for troops getting shot at in combat zones.
- Army Times, 6/30/03


Date: 1/17/2003

"Having been here and seeing the care that these troops get is comforting for me and Laura. We are, should and must provide the best care for anybody who is willing to put their life in harm's way."
[Source: White House Web site]

On the same day President Bush made this comment, "The Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it is immediately cutting off access to its health care system" to 164,000 veterans.
- Washington Post, 1/17/03


Date: 1/3/2003

"I want to make sure the housing is the best possible for our military families."
[Source: White House Web site]

The President's 2004 budget proposes a $1.5 billion reduction in funds to military family housing/medical facilities – a 14% cut.
- Bush FY 2004 Budget


Date: 9/29/2000

"[If elected], Governor Bush will work to…establish mandatory reduction targets for emissions of four main pollutants: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury and carbon dioxide."
[Source: Bush Environmental Plan]

"I do not believe that the government should impose on power plants mandatory emissions reductions for carbon dioxide."
- President Bush, 3/13/03


Date: 4/24/2003

"I appreciate the Timken family for their leadership, their concern about their fellow associates. They're working hard to make sure the future of this company is bright, and therefore, the future of employment is bright for the families that work here, that work to put food on the table for their children."
[Source: White House Web site]

"The Timken Co. announced Friday that it will close its Canton bearing manufacturing operations, affecting 1,300 jobs."
- Newschannnel 5, Cleveland, OH
Thanks to the Center for American Progress's Claim vs. Fact database, I could quite easily go on, but you get the picture.

So who do I trust? Thanks for asking, Mr. President.

I trust John Kerry.

posted by Scott | 10/31/2004 | |

GOP On Bin Laden Tape: "A Little Gift" To Bush

Newsday on the behind-the-scenes reaction to the new bin Laden tape at the GOP:

"We want people to think 'terrorism' for the last four days," said a Bush-Cheney campaign official. "And anything that raises the issue in people's minds is good for us."

A senior GOP strategist added, "anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush."

He called it "a little gift," saying it helps the President but doesn't guarantee his reelection.
Well, I'm nauseous. How 'bout you?

So to recap, to the Bush/Cheney folks, the bin Laden tape is "a little gift" and "good for us," because "anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush."

How can anyone not be alarmed by this? The President of the United States wants the American people to be scared because it helps him politically. I'm sure this is not the first time that fear has benefited a politician, but that doesn't make it any more acceptable.

The latest polling I've seen, however, says that the American people aren't running into Bush's arms as his campaign is expecting. Score one for hope over fear.

posted by Scott | 10/31/2004 | |
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