Election reaction roundup, Part 1

Bear with me while we process the election from our system. This may take a while.

On the re-election of Our Favorite Congresswoman, Danielle Ryan of the Los Angeles Times writes simply: “[Jim] Graves, a self-made millionaire and Minnesota hotelier, was seen as the Democrat’s best chance yet to unseat [Michele] Bachmann — a formidable fundraiser and tea party champion. The race was Bachmann’s first test since ending her short-lived presidential campaign after a disappointing sixth place finish in the Iowa Caucus in January. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced in mid-October that they had placed Graves on their exclusive ‘Red to Blue’ program — a list of 53 GOP incumbents that the Democrats were confident they could beat on election day. … Bachmann managed to rake in nearly $4.5 million in campaign donations. FEC records showed that she had spent nearly $8 million through September, compared to the $1 million spent by the Graves campaign. Toward the end of the campaign Bachmann defended herself against the charge that she was a divisive and polarizing member of Congress, claiming that she had been an ‘independent voice’ in Washington, willing to stand up even against her own party.”

Kevin Diaz of the Strib writes: “Bachmann’s winning margin of 1.18 percentage points put the race out of the range for an automatic recount under state law. As the final precincts reported their results, Bachmann’s lead grew from just under 1,000 around midnight to the final tally of 4,207. Shortly after 5 a.m., Bachmann’s campaign declared victory in a news release. … St. Cloud State University Prof. Julie Andrzejewski and her husband attended the Graves election night party at a hotel in St. Cloud, hoping to see a Bachmann upset. They said many of their Republican friends voted for Graves this year. ‘They’re really embarrassed and tired of being represented by someone like Michele Bachmann,’ said Andrzejewski. Democrats were banking on a significant number of voters, particularly independents, who might have misgivings about Bachmann’s history of provocative and factually contested statements, a number of which got attention last year during her short-lived bid for the presidency.”

In a breezy read, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post tallies up last night’s winners and losers. Among the latter, he writes:
* Tea party champions: The tea party wing of the GOP cost Republicans near sure-thing Senate seats in Missouri and Indiana by nominating two candidates who were aligned with their views but not with the broader electorates of the states they were running to represent. Add Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin to a list that in 2010 included Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell and Ken Buck and you see five Senate seats that Republicans could easily be holding if they had nominated the more electable candidate. At the House level, tea party hero Joe Walsh (Ill.) lost badly and Rep. Allen West (Fla.) appears headed to defeat although he has yet to concede the contest. Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) eked out a win despite the Republican nature of her suburban Twin Cities seat. The message? Being a tea party hero is great if you are running for the tea party nomination. Of course, that doesn’t exist.
* Expanding the map: The final week of the presidential campaign was dominated by talk from Republicans that they had a real chance at victory in places like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota. None of them were all that close. Romney lost by 5 points in Pennsylvania, 8 points in Minnesota and 9 points in Michigan.”

The GleanOn the 8th District race, Mike O’Rourke at the Brainerd Dispatch says: “Citing the billions of dollars spent on campaigns, [winner Rick] Nolan told the crowd of supporters at the Brainerd Hotel and Conference Center early Tuesday the influence of money threatens democracy. ‘We need to change the way we do politics in this country,’ he said. He pledged the first bill he would introduce in Congress would be to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Stuart Rothenberg of the Roll Call and the Rothenberg Report wrote earlier this year that Nolan ‘spent a then-impressive $212,000 on his last re-election campaign but now agrees he’ll need to spend closer to $3 million than $2 million to win.’ Early Wednesday, Nolan said his race was one of the most expensive in the country, probably costing more than $15 million in total.” Good lord …

As for the legislature, Don Davis of the Forum papers says: “To say Tuesday was a good day for Democrats may be an understatement. Even many of the most partisan members of the party did not predict such an overwhelming showing. The biggest impact on Minnesotans may be the DFL’s take-over of the state Legislature.
Unofficial returns show Democrats will have at least 73 members in the House, which convenes at noon Jan. 8. Republicans now have 72. In the Senate, Democrats won 39 of the 67 seats. That compares with the 37 seats Republicans had this year. Before Tuesday, there had been talk about Democrats winning back the Senate, but few thought both chambers would flip. … The new Legislature means Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton will have friendlier faces in control. He wants to raise taxes on the rich to help balance the budget, one of the biggest fights he had with Republicans. One of the issues already being discussed with a new DFL Legislature is whether it will try to legalize gay marriage, one of Dayton’s wishes.”

At the PiPress, Bill Salisbury and Dave Orrick report: “Republicans barely won control of the Legislature two years ago. They took the House by a combined total of less than 700 voters and the Senate by about 2,000 votes.
Nearly half the GOP incumbents were first-termers, and a lawmaker’s first re-election bid is usually his or her hardest. Moreover, they were all running in new territory under a court-ordered redistricting map drawn up earlier this year. The new lines prompted 47 incumbents to retire, guaranteeing at least one-fourth of the seats would change hands, the largest turnover in a decade. While the presidential and congressional races dominated the airwaves and headlines this fall, the battle for control of the Legislature will have a big impact on Minnesotans. It will affect their taxes, the quality of their kids’ schools and their access to health insurance, among a myriad of other everyday issues.”

At MPR, Jennifer Vogel, Tim Nelson and Tom Scheck write: “Dane Smith, president of the progressive think tank, Growth & Justice, said earlier that if Democrats took control of the House, the Senate or both, Dayton would have an easier time establishing a health insurance exchange as mandated by federal law but opposed by Republican legislators. He also thinks the picture may change on taxes. ‘If one chamber or the other changes hands,’ said Smith, ‘I think the case for some sort of revenue increase is strengthened, whether it’s a partial restoration of the income tax rates before the [then-Gov. Jesse] Ventura cuts in 1999 or 2000, or an expansion of the sales tax base. One of those things will happen if control is lost of one chamber or the other.’ But now the pressure is on Dayton to accomplish something big. ‘He will have to produce something, some major achievement,’ said Smith.”

On Voter ID, another MPR team, of Jessica Mador, Tim Pugmire and Martin Moylan, says: “Voter ID supporters had argued the measure would combat voter fraud and improve the integrity of elections. Some of those supporters gathered at O’Gara’s Bar and Grill in St. Paul early in the evening, but they were gone by about midnight, as it seemed increasingly likely their side was headed for defeat. A leader of the pro-amendment forces, also named Dan McGrath, conceded that supporters did not have enough votes to pass the measure. He said the proponents of the proposed requirement would turn their attention to passing a voter ID bill in the 2013 session. ‘Now we press on and keep doing what we’ve been doing,’ he said.” … Because it has worked so well.

And who can resist checking in with John Hinderaker at Power Line after a night like that? John does not disappoint: “[T]here is a much more important proposition that, I think, was proved false last night: that America is a center-right country. This belief is one that we conservatives have cherished for a long time, but as of today, I think we have to admit that it is false. America is a deeply divided country with a center-left plurality. … with the economy the dominant issue in the campaign, why did that consensus not assure a Romney victory? Because a great many people live outside the real, competitive economy. Over 100 million receive means tested benefits from the federal government, many more from the states. And, of course, a great many more are public employees. To many millions of Americans, the economy is mostly an abstraction. … the most telling incident of the campaign season was a poll that found that among young Americans, socialism enjoys a higher favorability rating than free enterprise. How can this possibly be, given the catastrophic failure of socialism, and the corresponding success of free enterprise, throughout history? The answer is that conservatives have entirely lost control over the culture. The educational system, the entertainment industry, the news media and every cultural institution that comes to mind are all dedicated to turning out liberals.”  I hope to god John never has to experience the “catastrophe” of Sweden, Norway, Denmark and other socialist hellholes firsthand.

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/07/2012 - 02:54 pm.

    Every Cultural Institution Dedicated to Turning Out Liberals

    It all started with fluoridated water.

  2. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 11/07/2012 - 03:30 pm.

    With the economy the dominant issue….

    why did that consensus not assure a Romney victory? Because most people realized Your Guy wasn’t the answer to the problem. See Johnny, that was ssoooo much simpler than your long-winded rant.

  3. Submitted by James Hamilton on 11/07/2012 - 04:14 pm.

    It’s easy to mistake the center

    when you’re standing so far from it, Mr. Hinderaker. Like it or not, we all live in the real, competitive economy. It’s an economy that requires a certain level of unemployment to function properly. It’s also an economy that is and has always been subject to boom and bust cycles, cycles which are sometimes exacerbated by the occasional excessses of unrestrained capitalism. Government has a place in providing a buffer against the adverse impacts of a capitalist economy, whether it be in the form of unemployment insurance, nutrition assistance, payment of utility bills, or any of the dozens of other benefits which keep citizens fed, sheltered and alive.

    Those means tested benefits of which your are so fond of complaining were put in place, maintained and expanded over time by members of both parties, over decades. They now reach from the farmhouse to 1040s of America’s poorest and its richest members in one form or another. Are we to assume that you are not one of the beneficiaries, a man who has never taken a home mortgage deduction (on a first or even second home, which might include a land or water craft)? Can you tell us that you have never once accepted any means tested benefit from either the state or federal government?

  4. Submitted by James Hamilton on 11/07/2012 - 04:22 pm.

    One has to wonder

    what Rep. Bachmann has to say about the defeat of her offspring, the marriage amendment. If I recall correctly, she was more than happy to take credit for its presence on the ballot, despite the years that have passed since she first championed it. Or was her claimed creation of the marriage amendment just another example of political speech in which she does not engage?

  5. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/07/2012 - 04:30 pm.

    …..why did that consensus not assure a Romney victory?…

    It’s a puzzle why a craven, pandering flip-flopper that kited blatant lies ’til the end days of the campaign wasn’t selected as President.

    I’ll have to put on my thinkin’ cap.

  6. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 11/07/2012 - 08:22 pm.

    “Free Market Capitalism?”

    The issue with Mr. Romney for anyone who’s been paying attention to ways he extracted his wealth from those he victimized is this simple truth:

    Mitt Romney, (and most of the current investment banking system) is to “free market capitalism”

    as “The Vampire Lestat” was to the health and long life of the populations of the locales he inhabited.

    Until our wealthy “conservative” friends gain the ability to tell the difference between those who have gained their wealth through actual, somewhat risky job-creating, productive economic activity,…

    and those who gain their wealth by extracting the life out of the enterprises and retirement savings that others have built and, thereby, destroying the lives of those who have depended on those enterprises for their livelihood and those who would have depended on those retirement savings for their future livelihood,…

    ‘free market capitalism” will continue to be a force for the impoverishment and destruction of the middle class.

    Only if the capitalist theorists (and we can leave out the Chicago school completely since they have been chief designers of the methods and methodologies of the most destructive forms of vampire capitalism),…

    only if the ACTUAL job creators begin to cry “foul” regarding the destructive, selfish, self-serving economic vampires who keep stealing their companies out from under them and sucking the lifeblood out of them and their employees,…

    will “free market capitalism,” as it’s currently practiced, stop pushing folks in this country deeper and deeper toward socialism.

    It’s long past time that we begin to identify and cure ourselves of the 0.1% of the wealthiest of our fellow citizens, those who, like Mr. Romney, have gained their wealth by sucking the economic lifeblood out of us or acting as parasitic tape worms or hook worms buried in the very guts of our economy, weakening us to the point of exhaustion, perhaps even death.

    After all, wealth is not evil in and of itself. Many have gained their wealth by providing great benefit to society in general and thus deserve the wealth they’ve earned.

    But the methods so many of our current wealthy class have used and continue to use to gain their wealth are so damaging to the rest of us and to the “free market capitalist” system as to be nothing short of the deadliest form of evil:…

    that which kills and maims us as individuals and tears at the fabric of our society and our economy for no good purpose but only to serve the dysfunctional, selfish and self-serving needs of those who lack the psychological health necessary to feel as if they have enough,…

    while providing no benefit whatsoever to the society from which they are stealing their wealth.

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