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Ward Dragon
19-05-10, 12:24
WASHINGTON - Two anti-establishment candidates — one on the left, one on the right — scored major victories in U.S. political primaries — the latest signs of voter anger that has jolted American politics.

Sen. Arlen Specter, a five-term incumbent who switched from Republican to Democrat last year in hopes of keeping his Pennsylvania seat, lost to Congressman Joe Sestak, who defied party leaders in pursuing the nomination. The vote was a defeat for President Barack Obama, who supported Specter.

In Kentucky, Rand Paul, a political novice supported by the conservative tea party movement, won his party's nomination for the Senate, defeating Trey Grayson, a state official. Grayson had been backed by Kentucky's senior senator, Mitch McConnell, the most powerful Republican in the U.S. Senate.

The results reflect the growing polarization in American society, where politicians in both parties are being pushed away from the center. They also reflect the anti-incumbent, anti-Washington sentiment of voters who believe that entrenched politicians have lost touch with the public, bailing out wealthy bankers while middle-class Americans struggle to keep their jobs and their homes.

"I have a message, a message from the tea party, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words: We have come to take our government back," Paul said.

The results add to the uncertainty ahead of the November elections, in which Obama's Democrats are trying to defend their majorities in both chambers of Congress. With the most seats to defend, Democrats seem the most vulnerable to the anti-incumbent sentiment.

But Democrats received an important boost as they won a closely watched special congressional election in Pennsylvania to fill seat of the late Rep. John Murtha. Though the winner, Mark Critz, will serve only the final months of Murtha's term, a defeat would have been discouraging in a district held by Democrats for four decades.

In the fourth major contest on Tuesday, another test of anti-establishment sentiment, Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas was the top vote-getter in her primary, but was below the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a costly runoff against Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. She had been a target of liberals because of her positions on union rights and health care.

Specter's defeat probably will be seen as the clearest sign of America's fading political center. He quit the Republican Party after recognizing that he had little hope of fending off a primary challenge from Pat Toomey, a more conservative former congressman. Toomey won his party's nomination Tuesday.

Yet Specter also was not liberal enough to win the Democratic nomination, despite Obama's support. Sestak accused Specter of switching parties to save his job and said Specter could not be trusted to support Democratic Party values.

In Kentucky, the Paul victory was the latest sign of the political power of the tea party movement, which believes that government spending and influence should be curbed. It already has helped prevent a senator from Utah, Bob Bennett, from becoming the Republican candidate because he was seen as insufficiently conservative. It also helped propel Republican Marco Rubio to a lead in the pre-primary polls in Florida's Senate race, which prompted Gov. Charlie Crist to quit the party and run as an independent.

Paul, an eye surgeon and the son of former presidential candidate Ron Paul, had the support of leading conservatives, including former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Palin told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that Paul's victory is a "wake up call for the country."

Beyond the day's primaries, the U.S. political landscape was jarred by two other developments Tuesday.

Republican congressman Mark Souder of Indiana, who won a tough primary two weeks ago, said he will resign from Congress after admitting an extramarital affair with a staff member. Souder is an evangelical Christian who has championed family values and traditional marriage and sexual abstinence for teenagers.

Meanwhile, the favored candidate in the Connecticut Senate race, Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, admitted Tuesday that he had "misspoken" in claiming more than once that he served in U.S. military in Vietnam. Republicans hoped this would increase their chances of winning the seat. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37213050/from/ET/?gt1=43001



I think this is a strong indication that the Democrats will lose control over one or both houses of Congress when the elections are held in November. There is a lot of resentment over the government's handling of recent actions, like the bailouts, so people are fed up and want to get rid of everyone responsible for not stopping these things. Even with Democrats currently controlling both houses of Congress Obama has had a lot of trouble getting anything done. If Democrats lose control, then I think Obama will be effectively powerless for the rest of his term.

Cochrane
19-05-10, 13:34
I think it may be difficult to get an image of the overall landscape from primaries, due to their inherently separated nature. I do think that Obama will loose a lot of seats in november; bailouts, health care and the public discussion around both were not handled well by the administration.

I guess it would be correct to cite the bailout as a reason for this; as far as I can tell, it is popular on neither side of the fence. It is more interesting in terms of health care: The very liberal democrats that get pushed through the primaries now would not have voted against it, but in many cases instead have tried to expand the bill.

Would Obama be powerless with a republican majority? It seems more and more like this, because politicians willing to compromise seem to get disliked on either side. I guess we’ll know after November.

Dennis's Mom
19-05-10, 16:07
"We have come to take our government back"

From who? Duly elected public officials? It's this sort of rhetoric that drives me mad.

Of course, I don't have a very high opinion of any politicians. They're all about getting elected and then re-elected.

Ward Dragon
19-05-10, 19:37
"We have come to take our government back"

From who? Duly elected public officials? It's this sort of rhetoric that drives me mad.

If they think that the currently elected politicians have lost touch with what their constituents want, then why shouldn't they advocate peacefully taking the power back by electing someone else? It's what the system was built for :)

Mad Tony
19-05-10, 20:10
Can't stand Ron Paul or Rand Paul. Economically, they're stuck 100 years in the past.

Dennis's Mom
19-05-10, 20:46
If they think that the currently elected politicians have lost touch with what their constituents want, then why shouldn't they advocate peacefully taking the power back by electing someone else? It's what the system was built for :)

It's the attitude that somehow the people in Washington weren't elected by the same process that just went on, that somehow they are not legitimate representatives of the people. "Taking it back" doesn't convey "peace"; it conveys aggressive behavior with a sly insult thrown in. "You're just an interloper, an usurper. Step aside, the rightful heir is coming to the throne."

Look, I'm not saying everyone has to like everyone else or even agree, but the rhetoric has turned into sound bytes of aggression and messianic verbiage. What politics in this country needs is less posturing and more humility.:mad:

Heh, elections are great, it's politicians I can't stand.

Ward Dragon
19-05-10, 21:04
It's the attitude that somehow the people in Washington weren't elected by the same process that just went on, that somehow they are not legitimate representatives of the people. "Taking it back" doesn't convey "peace"; it conveys aggressive behavior with a sly insult thrown in. "You're just an interloper, an usurper. Step aside, the rightful heir is coming to the throne."

Look, I'm not saying everyone has to like everyone else or even agree, but the rhetoric has turned into sound bytes of aggression and messianic verbiage. What politics in this country needs is less posturing and more humility.:mad:

Heh, elections are great, it's politicians I can't stand.

People have that attitude because they feel betrayed by the politicians for passing some of this recent legislation despite that the majority of their constituents did not want it. True some of the language is aggressive, but they've never advocated violence nor attacked anyone. I don't get why there's so much scorn for people voicing their objections to the current government. At least they aren't throwing urine and rocks at people like certain protesters did at the last Republican convention XD As long as they are peaceful I've got no problem with them trying to rally people to vote.

spikejones
19-05-10, 21:13
**** partisanship. use your brain.

I quit reading about halfway through the article though because it started talking about a bunch of stuff I don't understand, nor care to understand, about left right center republican democrat mumbo jumbo.

Ward Dragon
19-05-10, 21:42
**** partisanship. use your brain.

I quit reading about halfway through the article though because it started talking about a bunch of stuff I don't understand, nor care to understand, about left right center republican democrat mumbo jumbo.

Basically if the president is from the opposite party that controls Congress, it's very difficult for him to get anything passed. The article was saying that there's a lot of people dissatisfied with the current Democratic Congress so they might elect Republicans instead, which would make it much harder for Obama to do anything. Everything else in the article was an attempt to give supporting details for that general statement.

spikejones
19-05-10, 22:25
yeah I understand what you're saying there considering that the different parties have different stances on policies whereas one may be conservative the other liberal, one right wing the other left. Or heaven forbid out of sheer party rivalry. What I'm saying **** that system.. people need to use their brains to decide whats best.

Ward Dragon
19-05-10, 22:42
yeah I understand what you're saying there considering that the different parties have different stances on policies whereas one may be conservative the other liberal, one right wing the other left. Or heaven forbid out of sheer party rivalry. What I'm saying **** that system.. people need to use their brains to decide whats best.

That's not exactly what I was saying. If someone doesn't trust the government and is suspicious of the government gaining too much power, then they would want the Congress to be the opposite party of the president. Doesn't matter which is which as long as they are opposites. That way no law would get passed unless it was supported by both parties, so theoretically the more extreme laws would not get passed.

When it comes to voting for individual candidates, of course people should consider the actual person they are voting for and should be willing to vote for a good candidate regardless of which party that candidate is from. However overall it does matter a great deal which party has more seats in each part of Congress, which is why people track these trends and try to predict which party will win more seats in the upcoming election.

patriots88888
20-05-10, 01:17
The problem is, if Obama is effectively powerless at passing any legislation, we are right back to square one again. I don't care for a lot of the BS that's going through but the voters who wanted change that are suddenly disenchanted with the current results can expect very little from a president who's hands are tied by an opposing congress. Basically it will be the same old, same old once again with nothing actually getting accomplished and our president will have the perfect excuse for it. It's the American voters who are fickle, not so much the elected officials that is the biggest problem with politics in this country.

And I agree with Spike... **** partisanship.

spikejones
20-05-10, 01:20
That's not exactly what I was saying. If someone doesn't trust the government and is suspicious of the government gaining too much power, then they would want the Congress to be the opposite party of the president. Doesn't matter which is which as long as they are opposites. That way no law would get passed unless it was supported by both parties, so theoretically the more extreme laws would not get passed.

When it comes to voting for individual candidates, of course people should consider the actual person they are voting for and should be willing to vote for a good candidate regardless of which party that candidate is from. However overall it does matter a great deal which party has more seats in each part of Congress, which is why people track these trends and try to predict which party will win more seats in the upcoming election.

I understood that, I think you misunderstood me. What I'm saying is there shouldn't be any political parties. Everyone should be independent.

Ward Dragon
20-05-10, 01:21
The problem is, if Obama is effectively powerless at passing any legislation, we are right back to square one again. I don't care for a lot of the BS that's going through but the voters who wanted change that are suddenly disenchanted with the current results can expect very little from a president who's hands are tied by an opposing congress. Basically it will be the same old, same old once again with nothing actually getting accomplished and our president will have the perfect excuse for it. It's the American voters who are fickle, not so much the elected officials that is the biggest problem with politics in this country.

And I agree with Spike... **** partisanship.

Given the bailouts and the ill-thought-out way that healthcare was handled, it seems highly unlikely that Obama will do anything good. If he can't do anything at all, then at least he can't do more damage.

I understood that, I think you misunderstood me. What I'm saying is there shouldn't be any political parties. Everyone should be independent.

How would that work? The entire system is based around the existence of parties. The majority party in each house of Congress gets control over who gets appointed where. A candidate needs the backing of a political party in order to run for office (unless they're really really rich and/or famous already). If we scrapped parties and just relied on individuals running alone then I think the whole system would break down.

Draco
20-05-10, 01:26
Can't stand Ron Paul or Rand Paul. Economically, they're stuck 100 years in the past.

Too bad we aren't really stuck there.

patriots88888
20-05-10, 01:29
@patriots: Given the bailouts and the ill-thought-out way that healthcare was handled, it seems highly unlikely that Obama will do anything good. If he can't do anything at all, then at least he can't do more damage.

We'll never know if the majority does switch over (which seems likely at this time). All I can say is this country needs a better system. If the elected can't do their job because of partisanship standing in the way, the only one's to blame are the voters themselves for allowing that to happen. As I said, fickle voters make for a stagnant system.

CiaKonwerski
20-05-10, 01:31
I pray to God that Obama will be powerless the rest of his term. He needs to go, and NOW. IMO

spikejones
20-05-10, 01:31
How would that work? The entire system is based around the existence of parties. The majority party in each house of Congress gets control over who gets appointed where. A candidate needs the backing of a political party in order to run for office (unless they're really really rich and/or famous already). If we scrapped parties and just relied on individuals running alone then I think the whole system would break down.

well to be honest with you I'm pretty much politically apathetic. But hopefully by scrapping the party system it would force people to use their heads more. Too many people vote a straight ballot without weighing the platforms. But I'm sure there's ways to gain attention without butt loads of monetary backing. Call it a grass roots movement if you will.

Ward Dragon
20-05-10, 01:36
We'll never know if the majority does switch over (which seems likely at this time). All I can say is this country needs a better system. If the elected can't do their job because of partisanship standing in the way, the only one's to blame are the voters themselves for allowing that to happen. As I said, fickle voters make for a stagnant system.

That's the way the system is supposed to work. It's supposed to be difficult to change things. It's like having a buffer to keep things stable and make sure that if a change does happen, it has been approved by a real majority of the people. When you've got characters like Pelosi and Reid ramming legislation down everybody's throat, not giving people enough time to read thousands of pages before voting on it, openly bribing Congress people to vote for it, etc. then it's an ugly mess and I don't want to give the benefit of the doubt and risk another two years of it just to see if they'd fix the damage they've already done.

well to be honest with you I'm pretty much politically apathetic. But hopefully by scrapping the party system it would force people to use their heads more. Too many people vote a straight ballot without weighing the platforms. But I'm sure there's ways to gain attention without butt loads of monetary backing. Call it a grass roots movement if you will.

I'm not opposed to it on principle, but I really don't see how it could work :o

patriots88888
20-05-10, 01:50
That's the way the system is supposed to work. It's supposed to be difficult to change things. It's like having a buffer to keep things stable and make sure that if a change does happen, it has been approved by a real majority of the people. When you've got characters like Pelosi and Reid ramming legislation down everybody's throat, not giving people enough time to read thousands of pages before voting on it, openly bribing Congress people to vote for it, etc. then it's an ugly mess and I don't want to give the benefit of the doubt and risk another two years of it just to see if they'd fix the damage they've already done.

I'm well aware of checks and balances. While I agree with that in basic principle, the problem is any good change (which is sorely needed in this country) will never come about because no matter what the proposed, it will automatically get shot down merely because of the opposing majority... ergo partisanship. And if you don't believe that, just look at the past history of politics in this country. At least he'll have his much needed excuse now.

Ward Dragon
20-05-10, 01:55
I'm well aware of checks and balances. While I agree with that in basic principle, the problem is any good change (which is sorely needed in this country) will never come about because no matter what the proposed, it will automatically get shot down merely because of the opposing majority... ergo partisanship. And if you don't believe that, just look at the past history of politics in this country. At least he'll have his much needed excuse now.

I think the vast majority of changes made have been bad, and so far every proposed "solution" is to give the government even more power and control over everything. Obama will always find an excuse for his failures. Even if Congress remains under Democrat control, he can always fall back on blaming Bush for making such a big mess that nobody could have fixed it.

patriots88888
20-05-10, 02:04
I think the vast majority of changes made have been bad, and so far every proposed "solution" is to give the government even more power and control over everything. Obama will always find an excuse for his failures. Even if Congress remains under Democrat control, he can always fall back on blaming Bush for making such a big mess that nobody could have fixed it.

Seeing how you are the political guru of this forum, what is your proposed solution?... because it is apparent that if this switch does go over, nothing will be accomplished (whether good or bad) and Obama can just ride out the remainder of his term and then ride out into the sunset once over. Don't you see the problem with politics in this sense?

Ward Dragon
20-05-10, 02:15
Seeing how you are the political guru of this forum, what is your proposed solution?... because it is apparent that if this switch does go over, nothing will be accomplished (whether good or bad) and Obama can just ride out the remainder of his term and then ride out into the sunset once over. Don't you see the problem with politics in this sense?

People are the problem. No matter what system is implemented, people will always find a way to break it. I think the current US system is relatively stable because it is relatively good at resisting change. However every now and then the system isn't able to prevent something huge from happening, like the bailouts, and then that power is lost from the people effectively forever (unless another revolution happens). Once the government gets power it never gives it up.

In any case, hypothetically I think the best solution would be for the government to back off and let the free market work with minimal restrictions. Then if someone does something really bad, forget the lawsuits or fines. Throw that person in prison. Take cigarettes for example -- I think it's absolutely ridiculous how the government makes so much money off of taxes and fines for cigarettes being so dangerous, and millions of dollars are given out in class action lawsuits and the like, but no one has been charged with any crime. Either the company is intentionally killing people for profit or it isn't. If they are killing for profit then they should be in prison. If they aren't, then the government has no business profiting by punishing them for a crime they didn't commit.

The more the government gets involved, the worse things get and then the government has an excuse to get even more involved. For example, Congress required banks to give out sub-prime mortgages in the interests of "fairness" and ensuring everyone could get a home. Then when the whole thing collapsed in on itself, the government was all too eager to buy out the banks and take even more control over their actions. It's a self-perpetuating cycle of the government gaining every scrap of power it can and then never letting go. I don't think there's a way out, but ideally the government should try to cut back and limit itself instead of trying to directly control everything.

patriots88888
20-05-10, 02:26
People are the problem. No matter what system is implemented, people will always find a way to break it. I think the current US system is relatively stable because it is relatively good at resisting change. However every now and then the system isn't able to prevent something huge from happening, like the bailouts, and then that power is lost from the people effectively forever (unless another revolution happens). Once the government gets power it never gives it up.

In any case, hypothetically I think the best solution would be for the government to back off and let the free market work with minimal restrictions. Then if someone does something really bad, forget the lawsuits or fines. Throw that person in prison. Take cigarettes for example -- I think it's absolutely ridiculous how the government makes so much money off of taxes and fines for cigarettes being so dangerous, and millions of dollars are given out in class action lawsuits and the like, but no one has been charged with any crime. Either the company is intentionally killing people for profit or it isn't. If they are killing for profit then they should be in prison. If they aren't, then the government has no business profiting by punishing them for a crime they didn't commit.

The more the government gets involved, the worse things get and then the government has an excuse to get even more involved. For example, Congress required banks to give out sub-prime mortgages in the interests of "fairness" and ensuring everyone could get a home. Then when the whole thing collapsed in on itself, the government was all too eager to buy out the banks and take even more control over their actions. It's a self-perpetuating cycle of the government gaining every scrap of power it can and then never letting go. I don't think there's a way out, but ideally the government should try to cut back and limit itself instead of trying to directly control everything.

Interesting that you said that because that's exactly what will happen once this expected change of congressional power takes place. Big government doesn't only take place at the executive level. The problem as I see it, is any effectively good change will be thwarted only because 'we are Republican' or 'we are Democrat so we are opposed'. That is what I'm talking about as the biggest problem with this country's political system. Nothing gets accomplished because the system won't allow it to happen... even when there are positives to be had. Partisanship isn't exclusive to only the voters.

Ward Dragon
20-05-10, 02:35
Interesting that you said that because that's exactly what will happen once this expected change of congressional power takes place. Big government doesn't only take place at the executive level.

I'm not quite sure what you mean. If Congress tries to pass something Obama can veto it and I doubt the Republicans would make enough gains in Congress to overcome a veto. I've mostly been talking about the legislative branch in my posts anyway, or at least legislative and executive together and how they interact. I didn't mean to give the impression that I was only complaining about the executive branch :)

The problem as I see it, is any effectively good change will be thwarted only because 'we are Republican' or 'we are Democrat so we are opposed'. That is what I'm talking about as the biggest problem with this country's political system. Nothing gets accomplished because the system won't allow it to happen... even when there are positives to be had. Partisanship isn't exclusive to only the voters.

This is true, but I don't see any way around it without making it significantly easier for a lot more bad changes to happen. I think instead of getting rid of parties, we should get rid of seniority in Congress. Not necessarily term limits, but why should someone who has been in Congress for decades get more power than someone who is relatively new? That makes it very detrimental for people to vote for a new person to represent them because then they would lose whatever kickbacks and benefits the current the represent is able to get. If we got rid of seniority then maybe people would be more encouraged to vote for whoever they thought was best instead of simply sticking with the incumbent.

patriots88888
20-05-10, 02:54
I'm not quite sure what you mean. If Congress tries to pass something Obama can veto it and I doubt the Republicans would make enough gains in Congress to overcome a veto. I've mostly been talking about the legislative branch in my posts anyway, or at least legislative and executive together and how they interact. I didn't mean to give the impression that I was only complaining about the executive branch :)

What I mean is nothing will ever change and it will be the same as it always has been. We'll hear how Obama couldn't reach his goals because his hands were tied and then the next candidates will say how they will be more effective at bringing about positive change and blah, blah, blah... it's a reciprocating cycle (between Dems and Repubs) which never ends. Checks and balances are good only when they work without blind partisanship getting involved.

This is true, but I don't see any way around it without making it significantly easier for a lot more bad changes to happen. I think instead of getting rid of parties, we should get rid of seniority in Congress. Not necessarily term limits, but why should someone who has been in Congress for decades get more power than someone who is relatively new? That makes it very detrimental for people to vote for a new person to represent them because then they would lose whatever kickbacks and benefits the current the represent is able to get. If we got rid of seniority then maybe people would be more encouraged to vote for whoever they thought was best instead of simply sticking with the incumbent.

I agree with you in total on that... and to expand on that even further, what this country needs more than anything else (in the political sense) are congressional representatives who vote on proposals with their conscience (and brains) and not with their wallets because they don't have enough backbone to stand up and go against the grain and make these decisions for themselves.

Ward Dragon
20-05-10, 03:16
What I mean is nothing will ever change and it will be the same as it always has been. We'll hear how Obama couldn't reach his goals because his hands were tied and then the next candidates will say how they will be more effective at bringing about positive change and blah, blah, blah... it's a reciprocating cycle (between Dems and Repubs) which never ends. Checks and balances are good only when they work without blind partisanship getting involved.

Ah, this is true. Unfortunately most of the time "bipartisanship" just means that both parties loaded the bill up with pork-barrel spending and chances are it doesn't do any good overall anyway.

I agree with you in total on that... and to expand on that even further, what this country needs more than anything else (in the political sense) are congressional representatives who vote on proposals with their conscience (and brains) and not with their wallets because they don't have enough backbone to stand up and go against the grain and make these decisions for themselves.

Yes, definitely. There's something else to consider, though. Representatives are supposed to do what's best for their constituency that they represent, not the country overall, so they usually figure that as long as they are doing right by their county or state then it doesn't matter what the cost will be to the rest of the country. So, in many cases, these representatives are actually voting their consciences when they go along with outlandish proposals because they are getting something out of it for their constituents.