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TEA Party Must Have A Say In the Redistricting Process

Bookmark and Share  After a year when millions of Americans began taking their civic responsibilities more serious than ever and joined together in the TEA Party movement in an attempt to change government for the better, it would be a shame to see that activity end after just one election cycle. It would be an even greater shame to see all that they have achieved in such a relatively small amount of time, reversed by politics as usual. Having gotten involved in the elections and having changed the results of those elections, the TEA Party has a responsibility to see their efforts through. Not only must they stay involved and keep those officials they carried to victory true to their words, they must now take the time to deepen their political involvement and effect those areas of politics which often get little attention but carry more weight than the results of just any one election cycle.

In 2011 one such area which requires their attention is the redistricting process.

This once every decade event, shapes the political landscape of every state in our nation as well as national government. It determines the districts which we elect our leaders from. Everything from City council lines to legislative districts and congressional districts are drawn. Left to their own devices, in the hands of politicians the process becomes one known as gerrymandering. It is an underhanded practice that divides communities not along geographic lines but along political lines. Left in the hands of politicians and political parties, redistricting is based on how they can draw districts that contain a majority of votes for their Party’s candidates.

This gerrymandering process undermines the electoral process. It helps determine election results before campaigns have even started by insuring that a minority of one Party and the majority of the other constitute the makeup of enough districts to elect a majority in state legislatures and the House of Representatives, thereby insuring one Party or the other, control of those legislative bodies and the legislative process.

Gerrymandering is the reason why so few seats in Congress are competitive. It is why the defeat of less than 14% of incumbent House members in 2010 was considered a political landslide. It is why out of 435 seats in the House of Representatives, only an approximate number of 100 of them were really contested. The other 335 were forgone conclusions.

This is unacceptable for those who have a vested interest in fair elections and the democratic process. This should be unacceptable to those who consider themselves a part of the TEA Party and are fed up with political games as usual and political sleights of hand. It should be intolerable to those who wish to see their elected officials elected based upon their qualifications, their beliefs and their effectiveness, not just simply their Party registration.

That is why it is important that the TEA Party not rest on their laurels for too long. They have tasted victory in 2010 but that now means that in 2011 they have a responsibility to fulfill. They can’t just effect the outcome of one election and retreat back to their less civic oriented days of casual or occasional political involvement or concern. They must continue to learn about the behind the scenes political process that cheats us all out a fair process. They must work as hard as they did to effect the elections of 2010, to now effect the process that effects those elections.

During the next few months, state legislatures across America will be begin to slice and dice the political maps. In the vast majority of states, the process is run and determined by each state’s upper and lower houses of the legislature and the Governor. For some states that means one Part is in total control of the process. In other states it means that Republicans and Democrats are both involved in hammering the new district lines together. But even in those cases, political deals are cut in order to save one legislator other.

That is why the very next mission of the TEA Party must be to interject itself in to the redistricting process. They must educate themselves about the process, establish their own suggested guidelines in drawing the new district lines and demand that those guidelines are heard and applied, fairly and properly.

In New Jersey, thanks in large part to Assemblyman Jay Webber, the Chairman of the Republican Delegation to the New Jersey redistricting Commission, at least four public hearing swill be held in order to get the publics input on the redistricting process. It is an opportunity which we she seek more of and must take advantage of.

Those hearing are currently scheduled as follows;

  • Wednesday, January 12 6 pm Rutgers Law School, Newark
  • Thursday, January 13 6 pm Hudson County Community College, Jersey City
  • Tuesday, January 18 6 pm Rowan University, Glassboro
  • Thursday, January 20 6 pm Ocean County Administration Building, Toms River
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The 2010 Midterm Elections Will Be Worse For Dems Than Expected

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G.O.P.

Bookmark and Share    This November is going to be quite a dramatic reversal of fortunes for Democrats and while some on the left are trying to claim that the Republican hopes for retaking the House are unwarranted and deny that we are in a wave election, there is actually no realistic basis for such claims. The surging force behind Republicans in 2010 is undeniable.   As indicated by Gallup, the Republican Party is polling incredibly well among voters on a number of factors including  party identification, voter preferences among independents, and even candidate preferences, and the G.O.P. has also retaken the lead on the generic ballot.

Furthermore; Republicans are now either comparable with, or surpassing Democrats on everything from voter enthusiasm and an increased online presence, to fundraising and a growing number of boots on the ground, grass root volunteers. For one of the first times in recent history, young Republican voters are expected to turn out in larger numbers than young Democrat voters. College Republicans have even jumped to a point in popularity and fundraising that is allowing them to go national with ads and target several key states on 2010.

When it comes to the large gap in internet presence and fundraising that existed between the left and right in 2008, in 2010 the trend has totally reversed. The first signs of this became evident 11 months ago when Scott Brown raised nearly $10 million online in all of 18 days. Now, we have seen other examples of internet success in such candidates as Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell who raised more than $1 million online in the 24 hours after their primary wins. All of this is a sign of two things. The G.O.P. has finally gained parity with the Democrats in the use of the internet and that the collective strength of the G.O.P.‘s grassroots is becoming increasingly more important than any strengths of particular candidates or their campaigns.

All of this points to a shifting of the political earththat is far greater than we saw in 1994.

Rarely has a political Party comeback as quickly as the Republican Party is poised to do this November. Normally, it takes much more than two years to bounce back from the type of  losses that they suffered first in 2006 and then again in 2008.

It is accurate to say though, that the climb back to power for the G.O.P. is based less on the voters goodwill towards Republicans and more on the ill will that they have come to feel towards Democrats. Which leads me to wonder about something.

 Between 2006 and 2010, neither Party seemed to be held in any great esteem, yet why was there not any great move to finally create that perennially promised, almighty, and perfect third Party that we always hear dissatisfied voters talk about?

Although there has so far been a strong ripple of anti-incumbent sentiment out there,  we did not see the rise of that much hoped for third Party alternative. We did however see a powerful anti-big government movement infiltrate the process and greatly influence the field of Republicans running in 2010.

I believe that this is all largely due to the efforts of the Democrat Party more than the Republican Party.

The Party in power has overreached the mandate they thought they had in 2008. They even misread their significant wins in 2008 and assumed that the nation was actually desirous of an aggressive big government agenda. But in fact, they weren’t. The reason for the 2008 victory, led by the top of Democrat ticket with Barack Obama, was a phenomenon similar to the one that is giving rise to the Republican resurgence of 2010. Voters were voting against the Party in power.

This is what happens when voters are dissatisfied. They seek change……..the very same theme that candidate Obama successfully banked on in ’08.

Another key to the Democrat victories of 2008 was the excitement over the novelty of the historic chance to elect the nation’s first partially black President.  And last but not least was the fact that the G.O.P. ran a weak nominee at the top ticket who failed to energize the base and failed to prove that republicanism under him, would be any different from the republicanism seen under G.W. Bush and the existing Republican leadership in Congress.

So change was born. But as we have come to see, the change that Democrats have run with, is not the change that Americans are satisfied with. As a result, the political pendulum is now swinging back in the opposite direction. But it is swinging with a vengeance. Between incredible Democrat overreach, and an explosion of exaggerated government growth, spending and deficit increases, Democrats have polarized the electorate far more than did the Republicans who after a few years in power, slowly but surely forgot their commitment to limited government and less spending.

But it is clear now that most Americans believe in the basic Republican ideology of less government, less taxes and less spending. That is why rather than seeing a surge for third Party candidacies, you have seen a rush towards cleaning out the Republican Party of those whom have drifted away from those principles and failed to stand up for them responsibly and consistently.

We are now seeing one of those rare occasions when a large majority of voters are actually pushing an ideology more than a candidate. That is what the TEA Party movement is all about. They are pushing a cause more than Party politics and as such they are helping to return the G.O.P. back to its true conservative roots by ridding it of so-called RINO’s.

But if the G.O.P. is to continue its rise back to power into 2012 and beyond, they will have to prove to the voters that some lessons have been learned. 

Given that President Obama will still be President on the morning after November 2, 2010, and that the Senate will likely still be in Democrat control, albeit with a new Majority Leader, the G.O.P. House will have to hold firm in rejecting any compromises that err on the side of increased spending, and increased government overreach.

This will prompt charges of being obstructionists and cries that attempt to describe Republicans as the “Party of no” by those on the left, but it is important to remember that those initiating such remarks are not likely to ever support Republicans anyway. But if the G.O.P. aggressively offers solid alternatives while rejecting the President’s, and the Senate’s big government, liberal agenda, people will maintain faith in the new face of the G.O.P. and that ‘Party of no” description will continue to fall on deaf ears.

When the G.O.P takes back the House, they will have to prove that they are actually ready to fight for the values that are providing them with the momentum that they currently have behind them. This will especially be the case in matters of spending and the budget, since the House, more so then the Senate controls the purse strings of the federal government.  If they flinch, and if they fail to keep their noses clean and deliver on their promised commitments, their will be little enthusiasm from the grassroots to maintain the level of support that they are currently placing behind the G.O.P..

Republicans will also have to remember a few things. First they must make sure that each issue is connected to government’s role in the everyday lives of Americans. They need to consistently demonstrate how big government is expanding its control over our personal lives but at the sake of properly dealing with its actual responsibilities such as providing a secure border and finally developing comprehensive immigration reform or balancing the federal  budget. And they must keep each of these messages simple. The same way Ronald Reagan did in both 1980 and 1984, as demonstrated in the following 1984 Reagan campaign campaign ad:

 

Keeping it simple brings it home and in 1984 Reagan brought it home with a sweep of 49 states to Mondale’s 1.

But before we get to presidential politics as it pertains to 2012, we have to establish the point from which the G.O.P. will start from after 2o10.  At the moment it looks like Republicans could far surpass the expectations of many in both the House and the Senate .

Based upon the circumstances that exist today and my own estimation of how things will play out in the individual landscapes of several hotly contested states, I see the senate tied at with 50 Republicans and the 48 Democrats plus the two left leaning Independents who caucus with the Democrats.  This includes Retaining seats in Alaska, Arizona, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho,Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah while picking up seats in;

  • Arkansas   (John Boozman over Blanche Lincoln)
  • Colorado    (Ken Buck over Mike Bennet)
  • Illinois       (Mark Kirk over Alexi Giannoulias)
  • Indiana      (Dan Coats over Brad Ellsworth)
  • Nevada       (Susan Angle over Harry Reid)
  • North Dakota    (John Hoeven over Tracy Potter)
  • Pennsylvania     (Pat Toomey over Joe Sestak)
  • Washington     (Dino Rossi over Patty Murray)
  • Wisconsin      (Ron Johnson over Russ Feingold)

However; there are several possibilities which increase the likelihood of a Republican takeover of the Senate.

Any one of three races could keep Joe Biden from breaking any tie vote.  Delaware, West Virginia and/or California could very easily go Republican. 

With the surprise win by a rather large margin of Christine O’Donnell over heavily favored Mike Castle, it is not of the question to believe that under the existing anti-left atmosphere and prevailing momentum,  O’Donnell could pull off another surprise and take the seat away from the media annointed frontrunner Chris Coons.  But even more possible than a Republican upset in delaware are the possible ones that are in the making inCalifornia and surprisingly, West Virginia.

In West Virginia, popular Democrat incumbent Governor Joe Mancin was originally seen as a shoo-in. He is one of those truly rare relative moderate Democrats and as a long serving Governor of the state he has done well by its voters and bonded with them extensively. Especially after a string of mining disasters that hit this coal mining state pretty hard and very personally. But it would seem that winds of disenchantment with anything relating to Democrats are blowing so strongly against them that even Mancin’s personal relationship with voters is being severely curtailed when it comes to sending him to Washington, D.C.. For that reason, his Republican opponent John Raese went from nearly 33% at the end of July to 48% at the end of September while during that same time period, the popular Mancin went from 54% to 46% where he currently stands 2% behind underdog Raese.

The race is sure to be close and right now it can easily go either way but I believe the Republicans can pull this one off and at the moment I believe they will squeak it out.

In California, I can’t underestimate Barbara Boxer.

In her last race for the Senate, back in 2004, she beat her Republican opponent by 20% and became the holder of the record for the most popular votes in a statewide contested election in California. But this time around, things are not so easy and she wont be breaking any records with her popular vote this time around.

She currently has a disapproval rating higher than her approval rating, one of the largest newspapers in the state has refused to endorse because they believe that after 18 years in the Senate she has failed to distinguish herself in any meaningful way and that they see no reason to believe that she will do with another 6 years in office.

But this is California, a state that President Obama won by 24% or more than 3.2 million votes. But in addition to that, something else that could work in Boxer’s favor this time around is a statewide proposition to legalize marijuana. That ballot question could draw many Democrats who otherwise were not interested in voting this time around, to the polls and while there, they just might push the button for Boxer.

For her part though. Republican Carly Fiorina is holding her own, has all the money she needs to keep pushing her message and pulling out her vote and at the moment, while she is behind Boxer, by less than 6 percent, Boxer is still under the 50% mark, a place that no incumbent should be in this close to the election.

Anyone of these three seats could easily break for the Republican and give control of the Senate back to the G.O.P. and the possibility of this happening increases each day that we get closer to Election Day. But even if neither Delaware, California or West Virginia fail to Republicans, with a 50/50 split it is quite conceivable that any one of handful of Democrats could switch Parties or in the case of Independent Joe Lieberman, decide to causcus with the Republicans instead of the Democrats.

On the House side, Republican victories are even more lopsided than they are in the Senate.

In the House of Representatives Republicans could possibly end up with the largest number of seats they have held since 1946 when the GOP won 246 seats. Currently it looks like the G.O.P. can actually win at least 62 seats, thereby breaking the House down to 241 Republicans and 194 Democrats. This projection is much higher than most estimates being publicly announced which, for the most part range in the 40’s. But my projection still falls below that of Patrick Ruffini a reputable and leading G.O.P. strategist who has been in the trenches for quite some time now. Ruffiini believes that the figure will certainly be somewhere over 50 seats but believes a 70 seat gain is not out of the question.

No matter what, the results of the midterm elections will produce profound changes in the direction of policy and at the very least change the pace of the Obama agenda .

But there remains an aspect of the 2010 midterm elections which is being overshadowed by the anticipated turnover in Congress and it could have an more even more important long term effect on politics.

That is the 37 gubernatorial elections being held throughout the nation. Of them Republicans are expected to pick up at least 8 new statehouses bringing them from 23 where they are currently at, to 31, leaving Democrats with Governors in only 19 states.

That number is profoundly important because in 2011 the once every decade census data is poured over by the states and with they draw the new the state legislative a congressional districts lines from which Americans will elect their representatives for the decade to come. Having Governors in 31 states, will give the G.O.P. an advantage in drawing districts that it will be easier to elect Republicans in.

But in addition to that, Governors can play a crucial role in presidential elections.

There ability to coordinate their states for national candidates is invaluable and having that advantage over Democrats in almost a dozen states, will give whomever the Republican presidential nominee is a leg up over President Obama in 2012. Of course if 2010 proves to be as devastating for Democrats as it is looking, President Obama may not be the Democrat nominee. I feel that if Democrat losses are as profound as they are shaping up to be, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will resign her post and in time declare that she will offer a primary challenge to President Obama in order to save the Democratic Party and the nation from him.

Of course it only takes one world event to turn things around and in politics 5 weeks is an eternity. But if things continue going as they are right now, Democrats are going to descend into the political wilderness for years to come and President Obama is going to be a one term President who Republican can thank for bringing them back to power and whom Democrats will blame for squandering their opportunity to maintain control of Washington for years to come. 

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Dismissing the Tea Party & Mischaracterizing the Revolution

Bookmark and Share    There is nothing new about people’s dissatisfaction with government. It is almost as old as civilization itself. Throughout the world’s history, a form of the term ‘revolution’ has seeped into almost all societies of most every nation. Revolution is a natural result of the people’s dissatisfaction with their living conditions and the prospects of their future. Even if the angst that produces a society’s revolt does not quite reach the level of revolution, the words uprising, riot, or strike, often come in to play.

To one degree of severity or another, these are all simply the governed demonstrating their dissatisfaction with the ruling class. It is natural. But today in America, the word “revolution” has seen a revival of sorts. For the political right the word is one with positive connotations that represents the desire to bring about a shift in the current policy direction that the government taking us in. For those on the political left, the word revolution has negative connotations. It means a retreat from the policies that they prefer. But political savvy has the left taking things a step further.

Liberals are trying to do all they can to take the right’s use of the word “revolution” out of context and portray conservative’s desire for political revolution as one of physically violent change. Any honest observer and sincere activist understands, and deep down, knows, that such an interpretation is at the very least disingenuous and ultimately a blatant lie.

This is coming from someone who is a Republican dissatisfied with the leadership of his own Party and who joined in protest with those who call themselves part of the Tea Party movement. Having on several occasions, joined with crowds of Tea Party patriots in Washington ranging from as many as nearly a million to as few as 10,000, I can honestly tell you that participants in these events were among the most civil, thoughtful and nonviolent citizens our nation has to offer. I have never before been in the midst of hundreds of thousands of strangers who could allow a woman to leave her purse lying on a lawn, unmolested by the endless array of perfect strangers who gathered together in one place from all corners of the nation. These are people who understand and value honesty and civility. Integrity means something to them and they respect the rights of others as well as be among the first to lend a helping hand to those in need.

Recent reports studying the makeup of those who are part of the Tea Party movement, indicate that, contrary to liberal descriptions, they are better educated and have median to above average incomes. This is a stark contrast from the poor, uneducated, redneck, hicks that liberals and their media outlets make tea partiers out to be.

But the liberal mischaracterizations go well beyond that. They have joined together in an attempt to dismiss these people as irrational right wingers, hell bent on toppling government by any means possible. Democrats have taken it upon themselves to incorporate any violence against government into the roots of Tea Party or conservative activity. Nothing can be further from the truth but this does not stop the liberal propaganda mill from rolling out its attempt to discount the undeniable dissatisfaction that a large portion of our society has with the liberal led government of Democrats Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and President Obama.

Ironically, this politically motivated liberal description of the current right of center movement taking root in our nation is one that the left itself needs to answer to far more than the conservative entities that they accuse of violence.

A look at recent American history from the sixties to the eighties and even the current decade, is strewn with predominantly liberal based acts of political violence. From university riots and campus sit-ins to violence coordinated and sponsored by groups like the Black Panthers to the FALN, the Weather Underground, along with the antics of liberal affiliates like Code Pink, PETA, the Animal Liberation Front, and the hippy fests of liberals and anarchists who riot in any and every city where a G-8 summit is held, radical liberal elements have been the preeminent purveyors of widespread acts of violence in the name of political activity that our nation has known over the last 50 years.

More recently, there have been well documented cases of liberal leaning union thugs who have staged and even started violence at Tea Party events. In one case a teacher was found using Board of Education computers to send out messages urging fellow liberals to infiltrate Tea Party gatherings and produce inflammatory sights and sounds. And just a few days ago, in Louisiana, Allee Bautsch, chief campaign fundraiser for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and her boyfriend Joe Brown were brutally beaten after leaving a fundraising event for the Governor in New Orleans French Quarter. Police confirm nothing as of yet, but while Alle lies in the hospital with a leg that has been broken in 5 places, there are reports that the couple were targeted because of their conservative political affiliation. One report even claims that the couple was attacked after the youths involved yelled “Let’s get them, they have Palin pins on”.

From bombings and riots to kidnappings and assassination plots, liberal radicals have written the book on political violence.

Of course, a fair observation would be that none of these ad hoc entities are representative of the Democrat Party or the liberal political ideology. They are just the acts of violent fiends with no decency, respect or understanding of how civil discourse need not involve hate and violence. It could just possibly be that the reprehensible responsibility for violence in the name of politics is seen as actually being carried out by radical elements that may align themselves to an ideology but that no ideology legitimately aligns itself with. That logic would eliminate the ludicrous attempts at discounting the validity of either sides beliefs because of the out of bounds behgavior of a few.

Which brings us back to the propaganda of today.

Democrats from Nancy Pelosi, Bawney Fwanks, Harry Reid, Charlie Rangle and the countless others who are playing this blame game and trying to write off a movement that is so angry that they are striving for peaceful revolution, would be wise to not be so quick to dismiss and belittle the Tea Party movement.

The mere fact that enough angry voters have brought the thought of political revolution in America to the forefront is a cause for serious consideration.

For as much as the left despised all eight years of George Bush’s presidency, the concept of revolution was never part of the national debate. Change, yes, buy revolution no. Why is that?

First of all, despite all the noise from riotous anti-Bush protestors who largely demonstrated against the issues of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, their numbers were not as great as those dissatisfied by the intended permanent transformation of American domestic policy that the electorate is presented with by the Obama Administration.

The domestic policy direction of President Obama is such a drastic departure from previously held interpretations of the American Constitution that tens of millions of Americans have begun to feel that the constitutional foundation of government is being undermined. Nothing makes people strive to keep something more than when they are confronted with losing it and such is the case with the Constitution of these United States under the current Administration.

From the sleights of hand in the legislative process and the countless appointments of unelected and unaccountable czars and the federal governments control and ownership of General Motors, takeover of healthcare and socialist designs on control of vast aspects of the American economy, to a White House that once asked citizens to report opinions that opposed President Obama to fishy@whitehouse.gov, Americans have seen shades of freedoms lost.

The changes and proposed changes of President Obama and his liberal-Democrat Party are so extreme that millions of once inattentive Americans have been shaken to the point of seeing an America that is quite different from the one that the U.S. Constitution intended and are accustomed to. It has forced many to stop taking things for granted. Even the U.S. Constitution.

Part of the existing problem is not change itself but rather the type, number and extent of change that this Administration is attempting to deliver. Many have come to believe that Democrats are doing exactly what White House chief of staff Rham Emanuel once described as the Democrat’s desire to never miss an opportunity to take advantage of a crisis. They view such things as the passage of “urgent” legislation that have not been read as examples of that philosophy and they do not trust these actions.

Combine that and the continued lack of employment and economic growth, with a perceived arrogance of what is often described as the liberal elite who feel they know what is best for the people, despite what the people want, and you have a lack of faith in our leaders and a lack of trust in the direction they are taking us in.

Such a lack of confidence is not new but the seemingly endless amount of drastic reforms to every aspect of traditional life in America has created such a profoundly dramatic lack of faith and confidence that now, more than ever, the word “revolution” is becoming increasingly popular in the lexicon of contemporary American politics. And the popularity of the word’s use can not be credited to Republicans. The G.O.P. has lost too much trust to be the inspiration behind the average citizens to desire for political revolution.

The credit, or blame for all the talk of revolution falls solely upon the liberals in control and President Obama.

And they would be wise to not dismiss those who they inspired to peacefully revolt, as violent and dangerous radicals without merit. That type of disrespect and insincerity will only strengthen the opposition to the change President Obama seeks to institute.

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