Ding dong the witch is dead

Finally, five weeks too late, failed gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer of Minnesota faces reality and concedes to Democrat Mark Dayton.

From the Star Tribune:

Republican Tom Emmer conceded the governor’s race to DFLer Mark Dayton Wednesday, bringing an end to the disputed election and clearing the way for Dayton to take office on Jan. 3.Emmer also waived his right to a recount, and the state Canvassing Board quickly certified the original election night results and declared Dayton the winner. The board signed the election certificate shortly after noon, making Dayton the governor-elect.

Those actions mean Dayton, a former U.S. senator, will become the first Democratic governor in Minnesota in two decades.

One of Dayton’s first orders of business January 3 will be to sign an executive order opting in for federal health care money – something outgoing wingnut wannabe Tim “hard times in the land of” Pawlenty has opposed in his ongoing quest to appeal to the Republican base in 2012.

Dayton inherits a $6.2 billion deficit, deteriorating infrastructure, lagging education and social programs, and a brand new GOP controlled legislature which will make it very challenging for him to undo the damage the last eight years of malfeasance have wrought.

Challenges notwithstanding, at least Minnesotans rejected Emmer’s doubling down on the previous administration’s failures.

Kudos to Emmer for concessions to reality. Unlike the Franken/Coleman recount, there were thousands of votes separating the candidates – within the margin of a state funded mandatory recount, but at the upper end to the point that barring major failures previously undetected in the initial count, there was no way for him to win.

And Jeers to Best Buy and Target who contributed mightily to backers of Emmer’s campaign, evoking a storm of protest by people who object to business interests buying elections. Minnesota law remains stronger on disclosure requirements, in many states and nationally, monied interests practically have carte blanche. Does disclosure make a difference? Too early to tell, but I like to think so. If nothing else, you know what you’re getting.

Two anecdotes

I’ve had so many things on my mind relating to cluster known as the 2010 midterms, but today two independent things, small and insignificant, really brought home to me what happened to the Democrats this year.

First off, coming home from work I had an envelope in the mail addressed to me.  It lists “President Barack Obama” and “Democratic Headquarters” as the sender and has in big letters, “Deadline: October 29”  Note, today is November 3, the day after the election.

Naturally it’s asking me for money to help with the final days of the election.

“A day late and a dollar short” goes a long way toward how the Obama administration has governed, and particularly in how it is managing its relations with the base.

Next anecdote, I was sitting in the jacuzzi at the gym after working out this evening and there were several elderly gentlemen speaking about yesterday’s election and a couple of them were just droolingly upset about Obamacare, knowing their pensions and health care are being taken away from them, etc.  I tried to engage them for a few minutes, but it really was futile.  They have been fed a lot of nonsense by opportunists trying to scare them and sell them stuff.  It didn’t matter what the facts were, they were scared and livid and by damn, they voted.

It’s easy to talk about how the Democrats have squandered Howard Dean’s work with the Fifty State Strategy.  It’s easy to talk about how independent thinkers and donors and doers have been discouraged in an attempt to centralize and micromanage.  It’s easy to talk about how the White House strategy is too timid, too aloof, and too willing to compromise.  It’s been done before, and how it’s not speculation, we know the result.

A day late, a millions of dollars short, and the agenda up for grabs for the next two years.  Why were the Republicans allowed to control terms of debate?  A dispirited base has consequences, letting the teabaggers lie through their teeth and outright make things up without challenge has consequences.

  1. The 2008 electorate was 74% white, plus 13% black and 9% Latino. The 2010 numbers were 78, 10 and 8. So it was a considerably whiter electorate.
  2. In 2008, 18-to-29-year-olds made up 18% and those 65-plus made up 16%. Young people actually outvoted old people. This year, the young cohort was down to 11%, and the seniors were up to a whopping 23% of the electorate. That’s a 24-point flip.
  3. The liberal-moderate-conservative numbers in 2008 were 22%, 44% and 34%. Those numbers for yesterday were 20%, 39% and 41%. A big conservative jump, but in all likelihood because liberals didn’t vote in big numbers.

The fall of in young and minority voters can’t be understated.  Yes, Sharon Angle is a moron, but Harry Reid will remain a US Senator because he got 90% of the Latino vote.  Nearly comparable  numbers have been reported in California and Colorado which were also relative bright spots for Democrats.

Polls showed before and after the vote that people like Republicans less than Democrats.  They voted for them anyway.  The election was the Democrats’ to lose, and lose they did.

But there are some bright spots.  Yes we had help from the Tea Party, but the Senate held.  Many of the worst of the worst Tea Party candidates lost.  Sarah Palin’s endorsements turned out to be less than golden.

Better still, the remaining House Democrats are, in fact, better Democrats overall.  And Senate Democrats, being farther from the “magical” sixty, are less dependent on individual senators to allow things to get done, perhaps making it more difficult for individual troublemakers to hold legislation hostage.  Time will tell, but there is cause to be cautiously optimistic for the next couple years.

Of course, there’s the down side….election 2012 is now underway.

Presidential Imposter

From satirist Andy Borowitz:

Democrats to Employ Man Who Played Obama During 2008 Campaign

Would Hit Campaign Trail in Place of President

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – With just a month remaining until the crucial midterm elections, worried Democrats have decided to reach out to the man who played Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign, Democratic Party officials confirmed today.

“We were sitting around thinking of who we could put out there on the campaign trail to get people energized again,” said party chairman Tim Kaine.  “And then I was like, what about that guy who played Obama in ’08?  He was amazing!”

While Democratic incumbents have been shying away from appearing with President Obama at rallies in recent weeks, they are “totally jazzed” about making joint appearances with the man who portrayed Obama in 2008, Kaine said.

“When we put the word out that we were reaching out to the guy who used to play Obama, the reaction was phenomenal,” he said.  “People were like, I loved that guy.”

Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold echoed the sentiment of many Democratic officeholders when he heard that the man who played Obama during the 2008 race might be hitting the road again soon: “I was leery about appearing with the President onstage, but that other guy, come on, he was unbelievable.”

According to preliminary plans, the guy who played Obama in 2008 would be used to fire up huge crowds in key races, while the actual President Obama would remain behind in Washington giving boring speeches about electronic medical records.

Fox News offered scant coverage of the Democrats’ plans, other than to report that neither President Obama nor the man who played him in 2008 was born in the US.