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Normally Liberal Friendly Northeast Is Not Looking So Friendly To Democrats in 2010

Bookmark and Share    Throughout its recent history, the Northeast has not generally been friendly to Republicans but in recent years it has been downright unfriendly to them, and in Congress, Northeastern Republicans are now almost extinct.

Comprised of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the six New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont, the Northeast sends a combined total of 83 representatives to Congress, or about 20% of the total representation that the country has in the House of Representatives. Of those 83, only 13 are Republican. States like Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have not even a single Republican representing them in the House.

It was not always that way.

Much more political parody did once exist, but over the course of the last two decades, all parody was lost. Coincidentally, this decrease in Republican representation correlated with a decreasing growth of population in the Northeast. The region has been losing many residents to the South and to the West and as a result, not only are their fewer Republican representatives in that corner of the country, with less population, there are fewer congressional districts as well.

Between the 1980, 1990 and 2000 censuses, states like New York lost 10 congressional districts. In 1980 they lost five seats, in 1990 they lost three more and in 2000 they lost another two. The declining growth of population took the Empire State from 39 seats in 1980 to 29 seats in 2010.

New York was the hardest hit but most all the of the Northeast lost seats. New Jersey has lost 2 seats and Pennsylvania saw a decline of 6 seats.

Now with the region already having one of its lowest ever percentages of representation in the Capitol, after the 2010 census figures come out, they are expected to lose even more representation.

But another change may also be sweeping the region.

As resentment towards the Democrat controlled government increases, the anger is even seeping into the normally liberal friendly Northeast.

In states like Pennsylvania, not only are Republicans likely to maintain their hold on the six seats they currently occupy, but they are on the verge of picking as many as six new Republican seats. While in New York, in addition to the paltry two Republican seats that are in their column now, they are looking at picking up as many as 8 new Republican seats.

But the gains are not limited to the states with the largest delegations.

Rhode Island which has two seats could see a seat change in the district currently held by Senator Ted Kennedy’s son, Patrick.

After representing his Rhode Island district, now for eight terms, Patrick Kennedy woke up one morning to a WPRI-News 12 poll that stated the results showed him to be in for the race of his life with only 35% of the voters saying that they would vote for Patrick Kennedy again.

Since then, Patrick Kennedy has announced that he is retiring and not running for a ninth term in Congress.

South of the Ocean State, Connecticut is spicing things up with more than just nutmeg as they find two seats heavily in play and likely to swing in favor of Republicans. And North of the Ocean State, the Bay State of Massachusetts which sent a wave change sweeping through the nation after Republican Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat, they may elect two new Republicans to Congress.

Of the two congressional seats occupied by Democrats in the Granite State, New Hampshire voters are looking to likely replace incumbent Democratic Carol Shea-Porter and pick up the Democrat seat that is being vacated by Congressman Paul Hodes, who is seeking the US Senate seat that is held by retiring Republican Senator Judd Gregg.

In New Jersey, one seat looks likely to change hands and go to the G.O.P. but as many as two more could follow.

The changing face of the congressional makeup of the Northeast is a powerful sign of things to come nationally. It is the strongest region for Democrats in the country but in the 2010 midterm elections it will produce some of the weakest results possible for Democrats. They are results that put the fear of God into them when they look at Republican strongholds such as the South and the West.

Add to that bad numbers and lagging prospects in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states and what you have is a Democrat Party that is running for cover. Unfortunately for them, it looks like the leader of their Party, President Barack Obama, won’t be able to provide that cover. In fact, it would seem that he is why they need it in the first place. Just ask Creigh Deeds of Virginia, Jon Corzine of New Jersey and Martha Coakley of Massachusetts. All of them used Barry in their campaigns but now after sound defeats at the hands of the voters, they will all probably be among the first to tell you that if you want any chance of winning, keep the President as far away as possible.

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Connecticut and Dodd the Dud Is Yet Another Faultline For Democrats In 2010

Bookmark and Share   In 2008 Connecticut Democrat Senator Chris Dodd was running for the Democrat’s presidential nomination. Now as 2010 approaches he is running for his political life and more and more it is looking like that race will be as successful as his run for President. As a major player in the regulatory schemes that helped bring the DoddDudU4Prezhousing and finance markets to their knees and ushered in the economic crisis that confronts us today, the doldrums that Dodd wades into among Connecticut voters is well deserved.

As Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee Chris Dodd, along with his counterpart, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Banking, Barney “Elmer Fudd” Frank of Massachusetts, led the way for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to enter into an unprecedented level of issuing trillions of dollars in low-risk investments that were only sustainable if real estate prices continued rising.

The problem is that real estate prices ceased to rise and started to fall. By the time this reversal took place, it was too late. The lack of liquidity that stemmed from the defaulting of the excessive overextended volume of sub-prime loans began to tighten up the lending of money throughout the entire banking and finance markets and the worldwide credit crunch and economic crisis that we face was born.

It did not have to happen.

In 2005 Alan Greenspan warned Congress of the urgent need to tighten regulations on the systemic abuse that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were partaking in. Before Congress he testified that “if Fannie and Freddie continue to grow, continue to have the low capital that they have, continue to engage in the dynamic hedging of their portfolios, which they need to do for interest rate risk aversion, they potentially create ever-growing potential systemic risk down the road,” he said. “We are placing the total financial system of the future at a substantial risk.”

The advice and circumstances prompted Republicans in 2006 to sponsor new regulations that would have placed the two housing lenders under strict requirements that would have severely limited their ability to take excessive risks and would have corrected illegitimate recording practices that they were participating in. They would have also averted financial ruin.

Chris Dodd rejected these corrective measures. And while refusing to adopt these regulatory measures, he was simultaneously collecting oodles of dollars from Fannie and Freddie and became the largest recipient of campaign contributions from the very entities that he refused to correct.

Another words, Dodd dodged efforts that would have helped to stem the troubling tide of the economic red ink and financial calamity that we found ourselves awash in during 2008.

You can try to put the blame on someone else. You can try to blame it on Bush and you can accuse me of falsifying the factual record on this issue but you would lying. The truth is that President G.W. Bush and his administration called for tighter regulation of government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for a total of seventeen times.

On top of that, Republicans sponsored legislation aimed specifically at the tighter regulations and more accurate recording practices that the President and Alan Greenspan asked for. The measure, S.190, was sponsored By Republican Chuck Hagle and co-sponsored by Republican Senators Elizabeth Dole, John Sununu and Senator and former Republican nominee for President John McCain. But with Dodd at the helm of the banking committee, Republicans couldn’t even get the Senate to vote on the matter.

In the meantime while Dodd stalled efforts to avert financial ruin and campaigned for President in Iowa, Fannie and Freddie spat out a trillion dollars worth of sub-prime mortgages between 2005 and 2007 and by 2008, money stopped flowing throughout our nation.

The facts have forced some like Democrat Congressman Artur Davis of Alabama to state, “like a lot of my Democratic colleagues I was too slow to appreciate the recklessness of Fannie and Freddie. I defended their efforts to encourage affordable homeownership when in retrospect I should have heeded the concerns raised by their regulator in 2004. Frankly, I wish my Democratic colleagues would admit when it comes to Fannie and Freddie, we were wrong.”

But the reality of the circumstances which force Dodd to shoulder the largest share of blame for the financial catastrophe that we must endure is not the only burden he must bear as he runs for a fifth term in the United States Senate.

After refusing to stem the economic crisis that Dodd and Democrats could have averted, the Connecticut Senator found himself in the key position of shaping the legislative bailout of Countrywide Financial Corp., a company that found itself needing bailout bucks after operating under the regulatory practices that Dodd refused to reform.

But this brought rise to an ugly conflict of interest. It was discovered that in two separate sweetheart deals, Dodd was the recipient of two cut-rate mortgages of nearly $800,000 from Countrywide Financial. The political favoritism that Countrywide afforded to the Chairman of the senate committee that oversees their business practices is seen as, to say the least, shady and Senator Dodd has not been forthcoming with the details of the arrangements. Instead, without remorse he has promised to refinance the Countrywide deals, which would save him at least $70,000 over the life of the mortgages.

Then in February of this year, after bailing out AIG, Dodd slipped an amendment into the stimulus bill that ensured that executives of firms bailed out by the government could still collect already contracted bonuses. When this slight of hand came to light, Dodd denied doing it. An intense barrage of outright public indignation forced a glaring spotlight on Dodd until he finally admitted to being responsible for the amendment but ultimately he claimed that President Obama made him do it.

Now after being the first Democrat to throw his Democrat President under the bus, a slew of recent improprieties and slights of hand and a prior history of questionable real estate and financing schemes extending from as far back as 1986, Dodd must confront a very leery and disgruntled Connecticut electorate.

With a negative rating for him of anywhere from 38% to 42%, voters in the Nutmeg State have Chris Dodd trailing his likely Republican opponent Rob Simmons by 9%.

A closer look at the most recent Quinnipiac poll that reveals this troubling news for Dodd shows that while the incumbent Senator has somewhat solidified his base Democrat vote with 74% of them willing to again vote for him, his support among the state’s Independent voters continues to slide and Simmons has leaped out to a 29% lead over Dodd among them. With 87% of all Connecticut Republicans declaring confidence in their likely nominee and an overwhelming preponderance of Independent voters also inclined to support him, the numbers seem to add up to an end to Dodd’s almost three decades in the Senate and his lifetime of financial scheming.

As a former Congressman Rob Simmons has a record that could, at best, be considered moderate. It certainly isn’t one that could be construed as that of a cutting edge conservative.

For those of my school of thought, that would not exactly make Rob Simmons my first choice for a senate seat but we are talking about Connecticut. This is a state that, on occassion, considers Joe Lieberman too conservative for their liking so perhaps Simmons is the closest to being a voice of sanity that we can expect out if this region of New England.

But the story here is less the fact that Simmons seems to be in a position to give Dodd a run for his money than it is the fact that Dodd has become a total dud.

In a previous post I pointed out the many instances where conservatives are mounting challenges to the Republican establishment and to the wing of moderates who have compromised away too many of the principles that make us Republicans. I also pointed out that in addition to this emergence of more traditional Republicans some successes of the G.O.P. in 2010 will be brought about by the mere ineptness of many of the Democrats that they will be challenging. The Simmons-Dodd race is just another such example of the latter as Chris Dodd proves himself to be one of the most inept Democrats of all.

So as 2010 approaches, look for Connecticut to provide one of the tremors that will lead to a political earthquake that shifts the tectonic plates of ideological influence and shapes a new landscape on Capitol Hill in the not too distant future.

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WILL ELECTION RESULTS MAKE DEMOCRATS TURN ON ONE OF THEIR OWN?

Independent Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman

Independent Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut

Two years ago, despite having been their  Vice Presidential nominee,  Democrat, Connecticut, Senator Joe Lieberman was defeated in his attempt to win the democrat party’s nomination for re-election. A very far left candidate won the nomination instead of him. But Senator Lieberman stayed in the race. He ran as an Independent and ultimately defeated the Republican and Democrat nominees in the general election and held on to his senate seat.

Since then, Senator Lieberman has considered himself an Independent Democrat and aligned himself with Democrats by joining their conference. Because of his caucusing with them, he was given the chairmanship of the senate’s all important homeland security committee.

Over the course of the two past years, Senator Lieberman has voted in line with democrats on most all policy issues. The only exceptions were rooted in our involvement in Iraq and the war on terror.

Beyond policy, Senator Lieberman broke with Democrats and endorsed Senator John McCain for President.  He sees very deep differences with the defense policies of Democrats.  He also sees those differences to be so important and significant, that for the sake of national security, above political loyalty, he endorsed John McCain.  It was a courageous act.  Especially when you consider that electing Republicans to federal office from Liebermans’s home state of Connecticut is a very rare event and not looked upon positively by the elctorate that Lieberman represents.  However, Joe Lieberman put country first and his own politcal fortunes at home, on the line.

Now that the election is over Joe Lieberman, who was not running for anything this time around, might be one of the first victims in the aftermath of Obama’s victory.  As President-Elect, Obama is going to the White House.  His rival, John McCain, is off the hook.  But for supporting John McCain over Barack Obama,  Joe Lieberman finds himself to be a target.

Republicans, in need of any extra warm bodies that they can find on their side, are targeting Joe Lieberman so that they can get what they were denied in the election …a win.

Democrats are targeting Joe Lieberman so that they can achieve something too. Retribution. Retribution for one of their own supporting the opposition.

If Democrats were smart, they would not target Lieberman for retribution. Instead of threatening to strip his committee chairmanship away they should be embracing him. Liberal senate majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada would actually be better off for doing so.

By keeping Lieberman on, Democrats can send a message which states that their leadership does not put petty, partisan politics above service and the national interests. Democrats claim that they are the big tent and if that is the case, how big is that tent if it actually doesn’t have room for someone who agrees with them on everything except for the extent to which we must be on the offense in the war on terror? Are liberals that fearful of one of their own raising questions about their liberal defense policies?

Ronald Reagan once stated that “my 80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy” and he was right. For Joe Lieberman to be penalized, for supporting John McCain, would be an act that reveals some fatal flaws in their thinking.

One would be that they are more concerned with the 20 percent of difference that they have with Lieberman than they are with the 80 percent of agreement that they share. Such a view does not help reach compromise nor does it unite people.

The other flaw that would be demonstrated by stripping Lieberman of his post, would be Democrats misguided priorities. It would indicate that they are less concerned with an honest assessment of the issues that allows for all opinions to be properly aired and debated. Essentially they would be showing that, to them, party comes before country. Denying Joe Lieberman his chairmanship would help prove that Democrats are playing games with our security and the war on terror.

On the other hand, if Harry Reid was smart, he would understand that the homeland security committee is quite important and as such it would behoove him to instill some faith in the decisions that come out of that committee by having an independent face leading it.

Reid needs to keep someone like Lieberman on as it’s chairman. The issue of homeland security needs to be tackled by sincere efforts and devoid of partisan politics. As an Independent, Senator Lieberman is just right for that job. On top of that, he is still a member of the Democrat caucus. As such, Harry Reid’s best interests are being served by  having a friendly Joe Lieberman that is as cooperative as possible rather than a disgruntled Joe Lieberman who has an ax to grind.

So if Reid was at all smart, he would sit down with Lieberman and say “you’re gonna keep your committee chairmanship on homeland security, but you owe us”.

On the other side of the coin, leaders of the senate minority, in the Republican senate chambers, have also met with Lieberman and targeted him to make up for some of the multiple losses that they suffered at the ballot box.

That is a smart move on their part.

While being threatened by Democrats and in jeopardy of losing his power, Lieberman could easily become a Republican if they offered him the right incentives.

Democrat Senate majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada

Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada

If they made Lieberman the ranking Republican on the homeland security committee, he would become the leading oppositions to Democrats on the committee. That would make any opposition that Joe Lieberman has to Democrat initiatives regarding homeland security even stronger. Each time a report came out on any disagreements, it will begin with “former Democrat Joe Lieberman challenged Democrat’s proposals to…..”.

Having one of their own ,opposing Democrats, will not help to gain support for Democrat positions .

On top of adding more persuasiveness to Republican arguments regarding homeland security, Lieberman’s presence in the senate as a Republican, would help to demonstrate the fact that Republicans are actually the party with the big tent that respects different opinions.

As for Joe Lieberman personally, he is actually in a good position. If Democrats do the right thing, they will allow him to keep his chairmanship. If they do, Lieberman will not experience any less power or influence than he has now.

If liberals show their spitefulness and dump Lieberman, than he will be one of two independents and the only one not caucusing with either of the two parties. That would significantly reduce his staff budget and legislative influence. If that were to happen,   by caucusing with Republicans, Lieberman could make his voice the loudest one in the room on some key issues and maintain a budget provide by the the GOp and all that comes with being it’s ranking member on the homeland security committee.

Such a move would also embarrass Harry Reid and his fellow democrat senators. At a time when democrats have taken total control of Washington, DC, losing one of their own to the other side, at the onset of the party’s rise to power, will not bode well when it comes to the longevity of their majority status

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