Friday, November 20, 2009

Call These Senators Now!

The Senate is set to vote on Healthcare this Saturday night--when no one is paying attention (convenient, right?). Contact these senators NOW, no matter what state you're from--their votes will impact all of us, from California to Maine, from North Dakota to Texas.

If you live in the KC area, I'd add Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) to the list, even though she is a supporter of the president's plan. It's time to lay on the pressure! Call Sen. McCaskill's offices here in KC: 816-421-1639 or in DC: (202) 224-6154.

From the RNC (

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Healthcare Protest: A Faceoff in Shawnee and Kansas Democrats organized a protest outside Shawnee City Hall this past Saturday morning to protest against the "Healthcare Freedom Amendment" proposed by state Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook (R-Shawnee), which would allow Kansas to opt out of any Federal takeover of healthcare and preserve the right of Kansans to maintain choice in healthcare. More than 18 other states have amended their constitutions to preserve their rights in this crucial debate, yet the far-left extremists who organized Saturday's rally oppose any attempt to provide real choice for Americans unless that includes a "public option" (which many of the protesters readily admitted as a trigger for an eventual single-payer system which would overtake private insurers in the long run).

Conservative groups learned of this planned protest and pounced, and within hours (via the blogosphere, emails, and Twitter), Obamacare opponents were alerted and made plans to attend.

From what I could see, there were about 50 Obamacare supporters there at maximum, and at least twice to 2 and half times that many opposing Obamacare, lining Johnson Drive, Nieman Road, and filling the parking lot of Shawnee City Hall. This was somehat ironic, considering that the KS Democrats had organized the protest and had been out-organized by the counter-protesters. I estimated overall turnout to be 150-200.

Police did not provide a buffer, so protesters from both sides confronted eachoter at times in somewhat heated debates.

The anti-Obamacare protesters included young, old, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, and many seniors. The other side was very predictable: union workers, idealistic college students from KU, Young Democrats, and local liberal activists.

I shot this video of a local union thug yelling at an anti-Obamacare Marine and spitting at him. The union guy also confronted and intimidated some other counter-protesters at the rally, attempting to prevent them from taking photos and videotaping the liberal activists.

The pro-Obamacare protestors also sarcastically mocked those on the other side, exclaiming "welcome to Kansas" and "I hope you had a great trip." I found this humorous and mildly ironic considering that their side frequently busses in protestors ala ACORN and has done so for numerous "grassroots" pro-healthcare reform protests throughout the county

Here are some more clips of the two sides attempting to drown each other out. In the first clip, the fringe left begins yelling "It's our country too!" (Who said it wasn't?). In the second clip, the protesters shout "Pass the bill!" as the counter-protestors yell "Kill the bill!" The chants later morph to "Yes We Can!" and "No You Can't!"

When confronted with claims that the bill would provide taxpayer funding for abortion and access to illegal aliens, the liberals claimed that the bill would do nothing of the sort. Yet many of the protesters were sporting professionally-printed Planned Parenthood signs and a few wore Planned Parenthood apparel.

I snapped this photo of a young boy, not more than 7 or 8 years old, holding a "Students for Planned Parenthood" sign. I always hate it when any side or cause uses children to advance their agenda and this was no exception. I'm sure this kid had no idea what Planned Parenthood is or what he was supporting with his sign, but the presence of Planned Parenthood at the rally seemed to contradict the organizers' claim that the congressional bill would not fund abortion.

Here's one of those oh-so "civil" signs used by the Kansas Democrats/ crowd, which makes use of an explicitly suggestive and derogatory term.

Some of the usual suspects were also there. Kathy Cook, Executive Director of Kansans United for Public Education (KFUPE) proudly wore a branded support with a message reading "Support Candidates Who Fund Our Public Schools" and held a sign with a message thanking Congressman Dennis Moore for his support of the healthcare bill. Cook's group regularly hounds public officials and engages in personal political attacks against candidates and elected officials who do not support their agenda.

As of this writing, the House of Representatives passed the healthcare bill by the slimmest of margins, 5 votes with an uncertain fate in the U.S. Senate. Despite that, and KS Democrats' attempts to declare widespread support for the bill (at the protest, they ridiculously claimed that 82 percent of Americans support a public option) the real polling shows otherwise. The latest Ipsos/McClatchy poll from late October shows 49 percent opposed to Obama's healthcare plan and 39 percent supporting it.

Friday, November 06, 2009

A Republican Resurgence in Suburban America; Dems lose newfound hold on nation's suburbs

Tuesday's elections proved that the GOP is on a major comeback and the party is vibrant and alive. The results of the NY-23 congressional race notwithstanding (the drama that occurred with the nomination of a liberal Republican, the entry of a Conservative Party challenger, and the Republican suspending her campaign and endorsing the Democrat led to a narrow Democratic win a district that should revert back to the GOP in 2010), Republicans made incredible gains in Virginia and New Jersey.

To repeat The Washington Post headline, the GOP reclaimed Virginia: Bob McDonnell was elected Governor in a landslide with 59 percent of the vote--much higher than Democrat Tim Kaine's 52 percentage win in 2005 and Democrat Mark Warner's gubernatorial win in 2001 with 53 percent of the vote. The Republicans swept all three major statewide offices--Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General--only the 2nd time in the last 40 years one political party has swept all three offices in one election.

McDonnell won 90 percent of Virginia's counties (Deeds only won 10 counties), a major gain over former Governor Tim Kaine's (D) 2005 victory and completely flipped the counties of Northern Virginia to the Republicans after Obama solidly won them last November 2008 (the transformation of Northern Virginia in Tuesday's elections--both in the statewide races and the House of Delegate races--will be profiled in an upcoming blog posting).

Additionally, the GOP posted a net gain of at least 6 seats in the state's House of Delegates (with one race still pending due to a possible recount), increasing their 53-45 majority (8 seats) in the state legislature to a 59-39 majority (20 seats). Bob McDonnell, a native of northern Virginia's Fairfax County, also recaptured that critical Democratic-leaning stronghold and won big in Northern Virginia, the state's population base, which also threw out several incumbent Democratic state representatives.

In New Jersey, Independent Chris Daggett's double-digit support in pre-election polls failed to materialize and even though both sides expected a close margin with the possibility of recounts and court battles, Christie won by over 100,000 votes (4 percentage points) in a race that was not as close as predicted (Corzine supporters were stunned and questioning the numbers all night long). Christie's win over Corzine is all the more remarkable when you consider that the last Republican to win NJ's governorship, Christine Todd Whitman, won in 1993 by only 1 percent, so Christie's 49-45 percent win is extremely significant--Republicans don't win in NJ period, and when they do, it's extremely close. While Obama campaigned with Deeds in Virginia, the president capitalized on his image to a much greater degree in the NJ election, appearing with Corzine five times before the election and lending his top pollster to the campaign. The message to Democrats in 2010: Obama's support is not necessarily an asset and may be a net negative if his approval ratings continue to fall and the economy is still faltering.

The county-by-county comparisons in NJ in 2005 (when Corzine was first elected over Doug Forrester) and this year is striking. In 2005, Republican Doug Forrester only carried 8 out of New Jersey's 21 counties. In 2009, Republican Chris Christie carried a majority of Jersey counties--13 out of 21, posting a net gain of 5 "blue" counties previously won by Corzine, including the highly-populated, Democratic-leaning suburban county of Middlesex while increasing Republican margins in right-leaning Republican suburban counties of Monmouth and Ocean.

The critical story of the night was the Republican recapturing of the suburbs in races across the country. In Northern Virginia and New Jersey, Democratic-leaning suburbs turned red, but a Republican resurgence in the suburbs extended to GOP victories in other states.

Some other victories last night that may have been missed:
1. A special state senate election in Michigan resulting in a GOP pickup
2. Republicans won almost all seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (justices are elected there) and the suburban counties near Philly (Bucks, Montgomery, etc.) voted for the Republican candidates for the state supreme court, signalling a troubling trend for Arlen Specter in 2010--if Republican Pat Toomey improves Republican margins in the critical Philly suburbs, Arlen Specter has no hope of retaining his Senate seat.
3. GOP won back majority control of the Nassau County/Long Island NY county government after 10 years in the wilderness
4. Westchester County, an inner New York city suburb, elected a Republican to the county government over a longtime Democratic incumbent.

Overall, a great night for Republicans and proof that that despite the warnings of naysayers and pundits, the party is not dead or confined to the south. We can win the highly-educated, populated suburbs of the country (Northern Virginia), and we can win in the northeast and New England, in places like New Jersey and Long Island NY with the right candidates, a focus on local issues that matter to voters, and applying specific conservative policy solutions to voter concerns.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Election Day 2009: An Obama Referendum and Republican Resurgence?

In three states tomorrow, voters will head to the polls to and vote in off-year elections viewed to be a referendum on Obama's policies in the first 10 months of his presidency. The elections in Virginia and New Jersey, where voters will elect new legislators to their statehouses and choose new governors in seats currently held by Democrats, could provide insight into a possible Republican resurgence in 2010. In 1993, Republicans re-captured the governorships of Virginia and New Jersey before going on to gain control of congress in the 1994 Republican revolution.

Attorney General Bob McDonnell is expected to handily win the governor's race in Virginia after 11 years of Republican control. Additionally, Republicans are expected to win the lieutenant governor's seat and attorney general's seat (based on recent polling) as well as increase their margins in the House of Delegates and State Senate. McDonnell, a native of northern Virginia, is expected to even perform well there--in the state's most urban and populated suburbs of Washington, D.C., which had been trending strongly Democratic until recently: just this year, Fairfax County elected a Republican to a formerly Democratic-held county commissioner's seat, a Republican came within half a percentage point of winning a county commission chair election, a Republican came within 16 votes of winning an Alexandria-based state house seat, and two Republicans actually won positions on the Alexandria city council.

New Jersey, one of the most Democratic states in the nation, is on the verge of throwing out incumbent governor and Goldman Sach's millionaire Jon Corzine in favor of U.S. Attorney Chris Christie. This race will be a bitter fight to the end, but despite recent appearances by Obama, campaign momentum had remained with Christie in recent days.

Voters in New York's 23rd congressional district are going to the polls in a special election to fill John McHugh's seat after his appointment by Obama to be Secretary of the Navy. Republican leaders chose liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava as their nominee but faced a revolt from conservative activists when Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman entered the race. Scozzafava saw her support plummet in the polls in this very rural and strongly Republican upstate New York district as Republican heavyweights from Sarah Palin to Fred Thompson to George Pataki endorsed her Conservative Party opponent, so she suspended her campaign this past weekend and true to form, endorsed the Democrat in the race. Polls show this to be a tight race, but conservative Hoffman has the edge in most polls and now has the backing of the Republican Party establishment.

Lastly, although not as high profile as the other 3 races, voters in California's 50th district in the ultra-liberal San Fransisco bay area will choose between Democrat John Garamendi and Republican David Harmer after Democrat Rep. Ellen Tauscher was appointed to a federal position by Obama. Tauscher won this district with 65 percent of the vote in 2008 and Obama won the district 65-33 percent, but recent polls give Garamendi a lead of only 7-10 points. If the Republican comes within single digits in a liberal district just outside San Fransisco, this will be yet another sign of public unease with Obama and Pelosi's Washington.

As far as New Jersey, Virginia, and NY-23 are concerned, if Republicans win 2 of these 3, a major case can be made for the impending Republican gains and possible takeover of congres in 2009.

Here are my predictions:

McDonnell (R) – 58%
Deeds (D) – 41%

Christie (R) – 47%
Corzine (D) – 44%
Daggett (I) – 9%

Hoffman (C)– 47%
Owens (D) – 40%
Scozzafava (liberal R) – 13%