Poll is a 'Refreshing Corrective' to Media Narrative of Tea Party Domination

Bumped from the diaries. - Jason

Project Vote’s new poll, which reveals the “rising electorate” from 2008 has starkly different views about the role of government than Tea Partiers, has inspired some discussion on the mood of voters before the election in November. “What Happened to Hope and Change,” we ask, and several bloggers, columnists, and reporters (sometimes with a combination of relief and frustration) attempt to answer.

“Lorraine C. Minnite, the author of the study, argues that the poll shows that the media is paying too much attention to the concerns of the mostly white and better-off Tea Party,” reported Linda Scott at PBS News Hour.

The poll’s finding that Tea Partiers only make up 29 percent of 2008 voters, compared to the 32 percent of black, young, and low-income voters, who turned out in droves in 2008 was a “refreshing corrective,” wrote The Nation’s Christopher Hayes.

“We've all spent so much time dwelling on the slights and accusations of the Fox News crowd, there's been shockingly little attention paid to the views, frustrations and convictions of what we might call the forgotten electorate, otherwise known as Obama's base," he wrote.

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Poll is a 'Refreshing Corrective' to Media Narrative of Tea Party Domination

Bumped from the diaries. - Jason

Project Vote’s new poll, which reveals the “rising electorate” from 2008 has starkly different views about the role of government than Tea Partiers, has inspired some discussion on the mood of voters before the election in November. “What Happened to Hope and Change,” we ask, and several bloggers, columnists, and reporters (sometimes with a combination of relief and frustration) attempt to answer.

“Lorraine C. Minnite, the author of the study, argues that the poll shows that the media is paying too much attention to the concerns of the mostly white and better-off Tea Party,” reported Linda Scott at PBS News Hour.

The poll’s finding that Tea Partiers only make up 29 percent of 2008 voters, compared to the 32 percent of black, young, and low-income voters, who turned out in droves in 2008 was a “refreshing corrective,” wrote The Nation’s Christopher Hayes.

“We've all spent so much time dwelling on the slights and accusations of the Fox News crowd, there's been shockingly little attention paid to the views, frustrations and convictions of what we might call the forgotten electorate, otherwise known as Obama's base," he wrote.

There's more...

The Human Factor Behind Republican Opposition

By: Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

As has been fairly widely noted, House Republicans have stubbornly resisted every aspect of the Democratic program. The stimulus package and financial reform failed to gain a single House Republican vote, while a grand total of one Republican voted for health care – Congressman Joseph Cao.

Many commentators have cited naked political calculus as behind House Republican noncooperation. The explanation goes that House Whip Eric Cantor saw that opposing President Barack Obama’s agenda would best revive their party’s strength. The best option would be to stand against the president, hope/encourage his failure, and then ride public dicontent onto renewed congressional majorities.

This explanation is true as far as such things go; it fits Republican incentives well. Yet contrary to what some may believe, congressman are not unthinking automons who calculate their every action for political gain. They are human beings with very human emotions: pride, anger, humiliation, frustration. Just as you and me do many things based upon feelings rather than logic, so do politicians. One needs look no farther than Senator Joe Lieberman to find a politician driven entirely upon emotion.

When analyzing House Republican actions, therefore, viewing them through the lens of an emotional, human framework puts an entirely novel spin to their opposition. House Republican votes against Democratic legislation function just as much as an expression of frustration and anger as they do as an attempt to advance a political agenda.

Being a House minority member is often called a demoralizing experience, but these words merely scratch the reality. The minority never, ever wins; it is defeated day after day after day. Members of the minority are shut off from decision-making or bill-writing; their ideas are not even considered, let alone put into law. Every day constitutes a journey through frustration, doubly so for a congressman who probably considers him or herself a person of importance who ought be listened to.

So the minority strikes back in the only way it can – by voting against majority legislation. It’s frustrated; it’s angry; if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not going to listen to it, it’s not going to vote for her legislation.

Perhaps the most revealing instance of this human factor came on September 2009 2008, when House Republican opposition infamously defeated the bail-out bill. For a very brief moment, House Republicans publicly talked about this human factor, addressing an action of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi which caused their resentments to explode. Minority Leader John Boehner:

I do believe that we could have gotten there today, had it not been for the partisan speech that the Speaker gave on the floor of the House. I mean, we were — we put everything we had into getting the votes to get there today, but the speaker had to give a partisan voice that poisoned our conference, caused a number of members that we thought we could get to go south.

Minority Whip Eric Cantor:

Right here is the reason, I believe, why this vote failed, and this is Speaker Pelosi’s speech that, frankly, struck the tone of partisanship that, frankly, was inappropriate in this discussion.

Think for a moment about how the average House Republican felt at that moment. He or she probably personally disliked the bill and knew that voting for it will seriously hurt his chances for re-election. Chances are, he didn’t even understand what the bill was supposed to do, except somehow save the economy (to be fair, it did save the economy). And to top things off, the moment before the vote began, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this:

Madam Speaker, when was the last time someone asked you for $700 billion?

It is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush Administration’s failed economic policies—policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system.

She insults everything he stands for and then expects him to vote for the bail-out she’s pushing? It’s no wonder so many Republicans voted against it.

Now of course this explanation was universally condemned: the fate of the nation was literally at stake, and House Republicans were voting against a bill because their feelings were hurt. For this reason, the human factor is rarely brought up in House Republican explanations of their opposition votes. It is bad politics to say that one voted against the Democratic agenda because one’s feelings were hurt.

Yet the next time House Republican unanimously oppose a Democratic bill, try understanding the human factor’s role in all this. It is there, and it affects politics much more than one might first guess.

 

 

All Cost, No Benefit: States Aim to Raise Voting Barriers to Prevent Rare Crime

Cross-Posted at Project Vote's Voting Matter's Blog

Weekly Voting Rights News Update

by Erin Ferns

As we predicted last December, legislation designed to prevent so-called voter fraud has dominated election law debates in several states this year. Last week alone, Georgia's controversial voter ID law was upheld by a federal appeals panel, the Texas Senate "sparked deep partisan tensions" by eliminating the majority rule in order to aid the passage of a voter ID law, and nine more states introduced numerous voter ID bills.

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Canada is Burning.

(cross posted at kickin it with cg and motley moose)

Well at least until Jan. 26 that is.

For those of you not in the loop, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper suspended the country's legislature for more than 7 weeks in a bid to stave off a challenge from opposition parties seeking to bring down his government.

Harper, re-elected in October to a minority government, said Governor General Michaelle Jean, who acts as the country's head of state, agreed to his request to close Parliament until Jan. 26. The government's first order of business will be a budget scheduled for Jan. 27, Harper said, calling on the opposition to work with his administration on a "stimulus" package for the ailing economy.  

The political crisis was sparked Nov. 27 when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty presented a fiscal update that included cuts to funding for political parties, limited civil servants' right to strike and failed to offer a stimulus package to spur economic growth. The three opposition parties said they would oppose the plan and banded together.

The main opposition Liberals agreed to Dec. 1 was to form a coalition with the New Democratic Party and the Parti Quebecois in a bid to accelerate a stimulus package for the economy and oust the Harper government. The turmoil centers on how to manage Canada's response to the global economic crisis.

So in a bid to buy time, Harper refused to grant the opposition a vote in Parliament that would have brought down his government, instead asking Jean to let him suspend the legislature. The three opposition blocs combined hold a majority of seats in the House of Commons, Parliament's lower house.

Harper admitted no errors in judgment today. Nor did he seek absolution during a nationally televised address on Wednesday.

The procedural move is unprecedented, marking the first time a prime minister has requested the suspension of the legislature to avoid a so-called confidence vote. Parliament's suspension comes less than three weeks after the session began.

"For the first time in the history of Canada, the prime minister of Canada is running away from the Parliament of Canada," Stephane Dion, the Liberal leader who would head the coalition government, adding he will "respect" the governor general's decision.

Harper's Conservatives went into the Oct. 14 election with 127 seats in Parliament and increased their total to 143, still short of the 155 needed to control the legislative agenda. The government needs support of at least one other party to pass legislation.

Harper, prime minister for almost three years, has since backtracked on the political funding and labor rights. He and Jean met for about two hours this morning. Jean didn't speak to reporters after the meeting.  The role of Jean, Queen Elizabeth II's representative in Canada, is mostly ceremonial.

In the Commons yesterday, Liberal MP Ken Dryden (my MP!) said the Prime Minister broke faith with Parliament in the economic update. "How do we repair the irreparable?" Mr. Dryden asked. "To the Prime Minister to help him with his answer: Sorry, it is over; we cannot trust him any more. We need a new prime minister."

Liberal MP Derrick Lee, meanwhile, compared Harper's move to suspend Parliament to the burning of the Reichstag in Germany by the Nazis.  Hyperbole much?  But kinda true too.

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