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Hubris and Stampede

Making this short because I’m going to archery practice.  

So, there is a great gnashing of teeth beginning over The Upshot post this morning on Why Democrats Can’t Win the House, blah, blah, blah, woe is us, how dare they point this out for the world to see.  

Yes, the Republicans did blithely gerrymander through the gently (steeply) rolling hills of Pennsylvania, fa-la-la! And they didst separate the wheat from the chaff and packed the Democrats into vanishingly small districts (I’m District 14! Go, Doyle!

BUT, and this is a big but that the progressivey types ignore because, frankly, it’s embarrassing, the Republicans didn’t do that until they had won back the House in 2010.  That was a full two years after Obama and the Democrats had a clear, unobstructed path to do whatever their hearts desired.  And what they desired the most, apparently, was fluffing up the guy who campaigned in Pennsylvania and Appalachia as if the voters there didn’t matter a whit!  Nay, he even called them gun toting, churchie types who knit bitterly, or something to that effect.  That’s probably why Pennsylvania and Appalachia did not vote for him during the primaries.  

Yes, I was there.  I was at the Hillary campaign office in Harrisburg on three occasions during primary season and did much phone banking.  Most of the Democrats I spoke to had nothing against Obama.  They just didn’t think he was ready to be president.  Which just goes to show you how intelligent the commonwealth of Pennsylvania is.  But that didn’t stop Obama from treating this section of the country as if it was his enemy.  So, now, they hate his guts with a white hot passion.  And they’re none too trusting of the morons who forced him upon them.  If I were a Democrat in Pennsylvania, I wouldn’t be calling Obama my best buddy and pal and talking up all of his “accomplishments”.  

It was the hubris of the Netroots Nation type activists, skillfully played by the Wall Street backers of Obama that got us all into this mess.  I can remember the first YearlyKos where some nerdy Nate Cohn type stood up and declared writing off the south and the Clinton coalition as a pretty snazzy idea.  Who needs the south? It’s full of idiots and knuckle draggers and they all have déclassé gun racks on the back of their trucks.  {{sniff}}  No, they did not see that population as one that was the most likely to fall into a black pit of poverty once the Great Recession hit.  

Who were the stupid ones?  

So the country put its trust in Obama in 2008, hoping desperately for a true Democrat to set things right and arrest the bankers and save their jobs and houses and children’s future, all the while not knowing that he was the bankers’ secret weapon.  When he failed to make any progress and the economy fell into an abyss, the Democrats stayed home in 2010 and the Republicans were motivated to go to the polls, taking with them the population that Democrats had abandoned in 2008.  If Democrats had been smart and were really concerned about gerrymandering after the 2010 census, you’d think they would have been more careful about guarding their legacy.  

But not to fear.  There is a lot of pent up frustration about the state of the country.  I predict that there will be a stampede for Hillary Clinton in 2016, whether the progressive male contingent likes it or not and whether or not Hillary has been forced to sell her soul to the guys in the smoke filled rooms.  

If I were the progressive male contingent (and you know who you are, screaming “neoliberal”, whatever that actually means to you, at everything you don’t like), I would stand back.  Because the less resistance you offer, the less money she will have to get from the people you SHOULD have been watching out for back in 2008 when you got us into this mess.  

Your turn has come and gone.  You had your chance.  You blew it.  Shut up and sit down and, for god’s sakes, quit whining.  

 

Domum Habemus

IMG_1822We have a house!  I closed on it yesterday. I am now technically a resident of Pennsylvania.  Still gotta move there but we’re getting closer.  The house needs some TLC before we can move in so I have a list of contractors and bids to go through today.  Lots of scheduling to do and I have yet to find a roofer.  If anyone in the Pittsburgh area has a recommendation, list it in the comments.

Anyway, it’s nice to have a house that I own free and clear without a mortgage.  Whew!  And according to the deed, I own quite a sizeable chunk of mowable yard.  It looks like I own a lot and a half, which is still a modest size but there’s a large sunny patch of ground with plenty of space for several raised beds.

cool

Result: Americans like Gridlock!

Have you seen that electoral map?  That is one scary sea of red.  In actuality, not many House seats changed hands and the ones that are still in dispute this morning are mostly leaning D.  This is what unlimited money will buy you – a lot of red.

And yet, this is a promising sign.  Demographically, the Republicans have seen their high water mark and are now looking at an ebb tide.  With all the money they threw at this election, this is the best they could do.  Even the most carefully crafted legislative districts and poorly educated electorate probably won’t help them next time.

The bright spots last night happened in the Senate with the election of Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin.  It looks like North Dakota will send Heidi Heitkamp to the Senate, bring the total number of women in the senate to 19%.  It’s a shame we couldn’t hit 20% but I’ll take what I can get.  Massachusetts has never had a female senator so this is a step in the right direction.  I wonder if the Democrats couldn’t have won other races if they had run more female candidates.

As for the top spot, well, we were going to get Pete or RePete.  It’s hard to tell which is which.  I didn’t have a dog in that fight.  But it looks like Obama lost a lot of popular support this year, about 10 million people’s worth of popular vote.

The Democrats will incorrectly assume that Americans want more Republican policies. I don’t think that’s what they want. I think they want more forceful Democrats who can cut through all the messaging money can buy. That’s going to be important going forward because the Republican base is going to start to die off in increasing numbers. Democrats and new parties must be ready to go on the attack.  Why not start now?  There is absolutely no reason for Democrats in the House or Senate to yield a nanometer on any kind of “reform” of the social safety net.  The Republicans are stuck.  This House can ram through any stupid thing it wants.  It doesn’t have to go anywhere.

Now would be a good time for the left to get the band back together for 2014.

Friends, has this ever happened to you?

I started hearing a thumping noise last night. Didn’t think much of it. Probably just a piece of loose soffit. It’s come undone before about 10 years ago and if I recall correctly, took about 10 minutes for the handyman who had a long ladder to pin back up. Except for the nasty, anonymous note one of my neighbors put up, demanding that I “fix it immediately, some of us like to sleep!”, it was no biggy. The damage to the house was minor. The damage to my relationship to this neighbor was irreparable. I know who left the note and did not offer to help me fix it. But I digress.

The sound got more insistent this morning when I woke up. “Oooo, that sounds expensive”, thought I. But my imagination is always much worse than I think. So, I fired up the coffee pot, jumped into my clogs and checked it out.

This is what I found:
20120114-140544.jpg

Needless to say, my imagination completely did not keep up this time around. Not only is the siding gone, so is the vapor barrier. I can almost hear the heat escaping from the house singing, “I’m free! I’m, free!”. If only that we’re true. Sadly, PSEG does not discount the natural gas for “The wind ate my siding” excuses.

In the annals of unemployment during the worst recession/depression since the 1930’s, this is one of those unexpected expenses that people like me dread. Insurance will probably cover this, but I have a hefty deductible and the bit of padding I built into the reserve fund has just taken a big hit.

It goes without saying that politicians are out of touch.