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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Looking back at the election

My faith in the American electoral process was largely confirmed last week, and not merely because the candidate I supported for president was the winner.

Specifically, I was heartened by:

* Message trumping money. The likes of Karl Rove and the Koch brothers spent hundreds of millions of dollars through their super PACs in trying to unseat President Obama and get Mitt Romney and other Republicans elected, but they're spending was almost entirely for naught. Voters chose to focus on the positions of candidates rather than be swayed by tear-down ads, and in the end, except for a U.S. Senate victory in Nevada, Rove and the Kochs had nothing to show for their money.
* Voters being smart enough to reject ignorant men who say such things as women rarely get pregnant from "legitimate rape" and pregnancy resulting from rape is a "gift from God."
* The utter failure of Republican efforts to suppress Democratic votes. In state after state, GOP-led governments tried to impose voter ID laws that unfairly impacted minorities and young people — groups that typically vote Democratic — and shorten "early voting" periods in heavily Democratic areas. And in state after state, the courts struck these efforts down.
* The defeat of prominent Tea Party members of the House, specifically Reps. Joe Walsh, Allen West and the Hudson Valley's Nan Hayworth. These people's complete inflexibility, refusal to compromise and "my way or the highway" attitudes have no place in government.Thankfully, these people no longer have jobs in government.
* The repudiation of right-wing positions on social issues, particularly abortion and same-sex marriage. The nation is changing, and if the Republican Party doesn't start to change with it, at least a little, it is certain to become weaker and weaker in coming elections.
* New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, acknowledging the help of Democratic President Obama in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. It was nice to see an elected official, for a change, put people ahead of party politics, regardless of the season.
* The strong turnout at the polls among immigrants. This is yet another indicator of our changing nation and one that all elected officials need to take seriously.
* Karl Rove and Dick Morris making fools of themselves on national TV. Call it schadenfreude if you like. I call it just desserts.
* Nate Silver, of The New York Times' "Five Thirty-Eight" blog, picking all 50 states in the presidential election correctly. (Hey, Nate, wanna go to Saratoga with me next summer? Maybe the Romneys will enter a horse in a race and you can predict the number of lengths by which it will lose!)


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Been there, heard that

In a previous posting here, I commented about an on-air exchange between Mitt Romney and Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer.

Romney had just told a bald-faced lie about polling data, and I was chastising Hemmer for not calling him on it.

I wrote the following:

"Hemmer – who was a good newsman at CNN before Fox lured him away and brainwashed him – knew full well that Romney was lying, yet he did nothing to set the record straight. And that makes him, and the bad joke of a network for which he works, complicit in the deception."

The date of that posting? Sept. 2, 2008.

Four years later, Romney hasn't changed. Four years later, Fox hasn't changed.

Some things NEVER change.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election 2012

A quick recap of what we learned in this year's elections:

* Swing states matter. A lot. Especially when most of them go to one candidate.
* After complaining for years that Washington is stuck in political gridlock by having a Democratic president, a Republican House and a Democratic Senate, we solve the problem by electing a Democratic president, a Republican House and a Democratic Senate. What a brilliant nation we are!
* Telling Ohio residents that Jeep is planning to move its jobs in your state to China, when nothing could be further from the truth, can cost you 18 electoral votes.
* Mitt Romney has to have been a pretty dreadful candidate to lose a presidential election in which 60 percent of exit poll respondents told CNN that the No. 1 issue on their minds as they voted was the economy.
* Saying women don't get pregnant from "legitimate rape" and that pregnancy from rape is something "God intended" doesn't win elections — and keeps the Republicans from winning control of the Senate.
* New York Times political prognosticator Nate Silver looks a genius today. (He correctly predicted the presidential result in all 49 states that have reported so far). George Will and Dick Morris? Not so much. Both predicted a landslide Electoral College win for Romney.
* Fox News commentator and ex-George W. Bush aide Karl Rove looked like an idiot by spending much of the first-half hour after President Barack Obama's re-election was deemed certain trying to convince viewers that all the networks, including Fox, jumped the gun in painting Ohio blue. Not only was he wrong, but he was too stupid to realize Ohio wouldn't matter in the end. With Obama, at that point, clearly en route to winning Colorado and Nevada, he was assured at least 285 electoral votes (15 more than needed for victory) even without Ohio. (Also: How come Rove didn't question Romney's win in North Carolina, which was narrower than Obama's in Ohio?)
* Florida still doesn't know how to finish counting votes in a timely fashion.
* Linda McMahon still doesn't get that Connecticut residents don't like her..
* In 2012, unlike 2010, identifying oneself as a member of the Tea Party does more harm than good. (Locally, just ask Nan Hayworth — far too right wing for her Lower Hudson Valley congressional district and shown the door after one term).
* We should all retire to either Colorado or the state of Washington and become pot farmers.
* Sen. Mitch McConnell is as mean (and out of touch) today as he was two years ago, evidenced by him issuing a statement critical of Obama almost immediately after the president locked up re-election.
* Julian Schreibman is a good guy but has no idea how to run a successful campaign.
* New York's judiciary lost a great man with the defeat of state Supreme Court Justice Michael Kavanagh.

OK, that's all. Time to take a break and get ready for the 2016 presidential campaign season, which I believe starts in two weeks.