Wednesday, June 9, 2010

They're Angry Now?

So, what is this I'm hearing about how angry the American voting public is lately? For the past two or three weeks, I've been hearing that the American people are angry and that they are in a mood to "throw the rascals out." Oh, really? I'm sure that news like this makes the tea party people extremely optimistic. Well, tea baggers, tea partiers, and whatever... before you start popping the champagne, you better stop, look, and listen to the public. While people arguably may be angry and upset about the way things are or have been going, that anger may not be completely aimed at who you think it is aimed at. We won't really know until election day in November, but here are some things that are already known...

With polls showing a sullen electorate, there was no shortage of sub-plots as voters in nearly a dozen states chose candidates for Congress and governors' offices. Californians decided whether to lead the fall GOP ticket with a pair of wealthy businesswomen campaigning on a promise to cut spending and tea party activists tested their muscle in Nevada, backing Sharron Angle in a multi-candidate race to select a Republican opponent against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in a state where unemployment was 13.7% in April.

I get emails from a progressive group that is trying to unseat Democratic Senator, Blanche Lincoln. The thing is, the people trying to unseat her are Democrats... younger, liberal, and a little more left to the center. Democrat Blanche Lincoln battled to survive union opposition and an anti-establishment tide that's already drowned two fellow senators, and political outsiders from coast-to-coast tested their strength Tuesday on the busiest day of an unpredictable primary season. The folks opposing her are definitely not the tea party types. They are the exact opposite... young, informed, and radicalized leftists.

Nevada's Republican governor, Jim Gibbons, faces strong opposition for re-nomination after a term marked by a particularly nasty and public divorce. Why people care about private stuff like this is just beyond me. At the same time, a pair of former governors, Republican Terry Branstad in Iowa and Democrat Edmund G. Brown Jr. in California, hoped to take the first steps toward reclaiming the power they once held. In the House, one Republican incumbent and one Democrat faced what amounted to ideological purity challenges. Republican Rep. Bob Inglis in South Carolina sought re-nomination in his solidly conservative district in a race in which his vote for the 2008 financial bailout was an issue.

And, California Democratic Rep. Jane Harman, a member of the Blue Dog moderates' coalition in Congress, faced a liberal challenger for her safely Democratic seat. The races took place in the shadow of the worst recession in decades, stubbornly high unemployment, dispiriting day-by-day images of the damage caused by an offshore oil rig disaster, and poll after poll that reported the voters are angry and eager for a change.

While I understand all of this, part of me screams... "NOW, they want a change? Now, the public is angry? Where have they been for the past ten years? Why are they suddenly so angry now? The public slept during the booming late 80's and the go-go 90's, when all we seemingly were concerned with was Bill Clinton's bedroom partners. The country was in a prolonged state of shock back then that lasted throughout George Bush's presidency. Outrage after outrage, lie after lie, and misstep after misstep, the sleeping public said and did nothing! NOW... now, the public is angry?

Republicans hope to challenge Democrats for control of Congress and the two parties vie for three dozen statehouses midway through President Barack Obama's term. So far, Sens. Bob Bennett (R-UT) and Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Reps. Alan Mollohan (D-WV), and Parker Griffith (R-AL) have been defeated, a balanced set of one incumbent from each party in each house of Congress.

Blanche Lincoln, a two-term moderate Democrat, narrowly led in balloting in a primary on May 18th, but was thrown into a runoff with Lt. Gov. Bill Halter three weeks ago when she fell short of a majority. She had this to say... "There are very few who come out on the battleground and dare to say, 'Where is the common ground? Where do we solve these problems?' One of the reasons I've been beat up is I've gotten out of that foxhole. I'm out here in the middle."

Yup, and being in the middle is not where I'd want to be right now in this current political climate. Organized labor, angered over Lincoln's positions on health care, union organizing proposals, and trade poured more than $5 million into an effort to lift Halter to the nomination. Union leaders said they were intent on demanding accountability from lawmakers who make promises and then fail to follow through. Still, Halter declined consistently to state a public position on one of labor's big priorities, the proposal to make it easier for unions to organize workers. The winner will face Republican Rep. John Boozman in the fall in a race that the GOP has made one of its top targets.

There were gubernatorial primaries in California, Iowa, Maine, Nevada, South Carolina, and South Dakota. South Carolina State Rep. Nikki Haley, running to become the first female governor in her state's history, battled several rivals as well as claims that she has had trysts with two men. She vociferously denied the allegations of infidelity and relied on support from tea party activists and an endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to aid her in the race with Rep. Gresham Barrett, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, and State Attorney General Henry McMaster. A runoff will be held on June 22nd if no candidate gains a majority. Is Sarah Palin running for anything? She sure seems to be doing a lot of campaigning for a private citizen? I'm just saying.

All of this will be very interesting to see when the dust settles. I'm just afraid that Americans have been mostly sold a bill of goods by Palin, Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, and the tea party folks. These folks are nothing more than carnival barkers and snake oil salesmen. If they are the reason the American public is now "angry", then that is just a plain ol' crying shame. If the American public is righteously angry because we are now paying the price for close to ten years of mismanagement and lies, then that's a positive. But again, I'm wondering what took everybody so long?


Rich Fitzgerald said...

People are just mad that the party is over and that they have to live like the rest of us.

When times get back to no-bid contracts, high paying union jobs for those who do nothing all day, and easy credit for John and Susie Homemaker, then all the anger will dissipate.

Arlene said...

We in Philly are a sullen electorate. In our last election for mayor we tried to "throw the bum out" and got a "wolf in sheep's clothing" in his place. We are faced with property tax increases, further reductions in city services, truncated social services (like open pools and libraries,) overcrowded jails, and a school system that fails to graduate more than 50% of its students. Who could be mad at that??
One solution is exercizing the vote, come rain or shine. This lesson I hope we learn, and soon.
PA race for senate is going to be interesting too!!

P.S. Please tell Rich that not every person working for a union does nothing all day for a huge salary. From my perspective, I don't work for a union, I work hard for union members. And the pay supports one person decently, me. Unions have their place. Would we have a 40 hour work week, minimum wage, paid vacation or sick leave without union members forcing business???


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