As I hope I have conveyed in most of my posts, my political leanings most closely seem to resemble the Libertarian Party. I am brutally fiscally conservative, in favor of an extremely limited federal government (only what the Constitution says you can do, ladies and gents), and reasonably liberal as to social matters. The only big thing (and granted, it’s pretty big) where I swerve from the Libertarians is on the war in Iraq. I’m quite hawkish, and really complain that were not doing MORE in Iraq (more aggressive with troop deployment, offensives to eliminate threats, etc). If you want to get the troops home, I think that’s the best way to accomplish it quickly.
My “liberalism,” with regard to social issues, such that it is, is certainly not because I think certain social behaviors are right or moral within my worldview. Personally, I’m not a fan of homosexual marriage, abortion, and other hot-button things. However, I certainly don’t think the federal government should be the ones to dictate to others who want/need to exercise those choices for their own lives.
In all honesty, I think that a large portion of the American population probably feels the same way as I do on this. Most of us would probably prefer to have the government generally stay out of the way, to let us experience the “pursuit of happiness” without external interference. Tax us only to the limited degree necessary to provide for the general welfare (through truly open markets, not by redistributing wealth) and to provide for the common defense, so that we may safely pursue these ambitions.
This election turned on a large number of the population who are simply fed up with the way things have been going in Washington recently. While the Democrats did a very nice job at persuading this mass of people that it was the Republicans who were hindering this pursuit of happiness, I’m not entirely sure that they really sold the public on the fact that the Democrats were the ones to enable the pursuit. It’s just that they didn’t have any other real choice.
The “we need a third party” mantra is recited on countless occasions after an election, yet no one ever seems to do anything with it. Past third party choices were really based on individual “cults of personality,”, i.e., Ross Perot. After that person tires of the strain of campaigning, or after America tires of that person, the third party movement they started is dead. Anyone remember a Reform Party candidate on your ballot yesterday? I don’t.
The LP has gotten some national attention from Fox News in the election aftermath, and in my opinion, must act immediately to spread the word about what they believe. The time is quite ripe for the Libertarians to move in to place to get their views heard, explain the reasons to start voting for them, and to recruit viable, serious candidates who can get elected.
Of course, this takes money, the lifeblood of politics. It takes a mass media who will give some semblance of equal time to Libertarian spokespeople to sit in the midst of the Hannity & Colmes crowd as the voice for this large group of citizens. The middle ground doesn’t have to be filled up with moderates who don’t believe in anything strongly, much as I believe it is today. In fact, there doesn’t have to be a “middle ground,” as that perpetuates the notion that there are simply two sides to every issue.
I hope it’s time for the Libertarians to speak up and make a meaningful statement in the upcoming two years. I’m going to do my part by continuing to sound off and speak my peace.
The Associated Press has called Virginia for Democrat Jim Webb:
The Associated Press contacted election officials in all 134 localities where voting occurred, obtaining updated numbers Wednesday. About half the localities said they had completed their postelection canvassing and nearly all had counted outstanding absentees. Most were expected to be finished by Friday.
The new AP count showed Webb with 1,172,538 votes and Allen with 1,165,302, a difference of 7,236. Virginia has had two statewide vote recounts in modern history, but both resulted in vote changes of no more than a few hundred votes.
Coupled with the call of Montana earlier today, this means the Dems will take over the Senate with a 51-49 majority. (Well, technically 49-49, plus the Socialist Sanders and the, uh, Liebermanite Lieberman.)
Congratulations to Webb and the Dems, of course. But also, congratulations to Patrick Cullen, Marty West, Ken Stern, David Mathues, Greg Rauen, Barry Caro, Nug, Joe Loy and Victoria Lopez, all of whom correctly predicted a Democratic net gain of 6 seats in the BrendanLoy.com Senate Contest. And congratulations especially to Cullen, Stern, Rauen and Loy, all of whom predicted all 11 individual battleground states correctly. Nice job!
So, who wins? As explained here, it all comes down to Joe Lieberman’s margin of victory, and as explained here, it’s too close to call between Rauen and Cullen — though Cullen has the edge at the moment, pending final results that won’t be known for certain until Connecticut’s official canvass is completed in late November.
Drudge just called Virginia for Webb. Dems take the Senate, 51-49!
[This post was delayed due to a Blogger glitch. Timestamp corrected from Nov. 9, 7:02 AM to Nov. 8, 7:41 PM -ed.]
Democrats win control of the Senate from Republicans with a victory in Virginia, AP and Reuters report. CNN working to confirm. Visit CNN for the latest.
[This post was delayed due to a Blogger glitch. Timestamp corrected from Nov. 10, 4:34 AM to Nov. 8, 7:13 PM -ed.]
We’ve all heard the line before about history repeating itself.
Last week Nicraguans elected Daniel Ortega as their new President. Ortega was a member and leader of the Sandinista rebel group involved in the Nicaraguan civil war of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
Today, on the heels of the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense, President Bush has nominated Robert Gates to replace him. Gates is a former Director of the CIA and as a Deputy Director was involved along with Oliver North and William Casey in the U.S. backing of the Contra’s who opposed the Sandinista’s.
Thats right, to quote Wonkette, “History doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just repeat itself; it repeats itself with the same exact people.”
Lieberman (CFL) 562,850 (49.77%)
Lamont (D) 448,077 (39.62%)
Schlesinger (R) 109,329 (9.67%)
Ferrucci (G) 5,923 (0.52%)
Knibbs (CC) 4,638 (0.41%)
Lieberman’s margin of 114,773 votes over Lamont is 10.15% of the total number cast — which, in the BrendanLoy.com Senate contest “second tiebreaker,” is closer to Patrick Cullen’s prediction of a 12% margin than to Greg Rauen’s prediction of an 8% margin. However, because 10.15% is so close to the midway point between those predictions (10%), and because the Lieberman-margin tiebreaker will be decisive if the Democrats ultimately win Virginia, it will probably be impossible to definitively declare a winner until
the official statement of vote from the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s office is released in December the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s office completes the official canvass in late November.
As an example of the potential volatility of the 10.15% margin, if a vote tabulation error in Newington is fixed before the statement of vote is released, it would increase Lieberman’s margin by 875 votes, to 10.22%. (It would also increase Lieberman’s statewide percentage total to 49.81%.) That would help Cullen, but similar small errors in the initial, unofficial tally could potentially help either candidate, making it impossible to be certain that Lieberman’s margin will remain above the 10 percent mark.
Personally, I think the CT Secretary of the State’s office should conduct a statewide recount to determine the outcome of the BrendanLoy.com Senate Contest. :) But I guess we’ll just have to rely on the first and only count, once that count becomes official and not just media-based. So in other words, stay tuned.
Incidentally, with Montana being called for the Democrat, there are only three contestants still alive to win the Senate Contest: Rauen, Cullen and me. I win the contest if George Allen (R) wins Virginia. If Jim Webb (D) wins, then the Lieberman tiebreaker decides the contest.
UPDATE: As long as we’re on the topic of Joe, the NYT Empire Zone Blog reports:
Despite the predictions of his netroots critics, Senator Joe Lieberman was not offered Donald RumsfeldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s job as defense secretary.
At his post-election victory news conference at the Goodwin Hotel in Hartford, Mr. Lieberman said he did receive a congratulatory call from the Democratic Senate leader, Harry Reid, who also assured him he would retain his seniority Ã¢â‚¬â€ which could include the Democratic chairmanship of the Homeland Security committee.
There were no calls from the White House, he said, and no offers from the G.O.P. to lure him away. And he hastened to add that he would not accept such offers anyway.
I tried to post this earlier, but it didn't go through for some reason. Anyway, the Weather Channel covered the Transit of Mercury from the Adler Planetarium. Cool!
Not sure if you can see it, but there's a tiny dot on the Sun, and that's Mercury.
America, I have some good news, and some bad news.
The good news is, we took the House away from the Republicans.
The bad news is, we gave it to the Democrats.
President Bush nominates former CIA chief Robert Gates as defense secretary to replace Donald Rumsfeld. Visit CNN for the latest.
From the political to the celestial… I’m off to Chicago to see the Transit of Mercury at the Adler Planetarium. The transit starts at 2:12 PM EST (1:12 PM CST); I’ll probably get there around 2:30 PM CST, and will get to watch until sunset at 4:37 PM CST. Then I head to Midway to catch my 8:50 PM CST flight to Denver. (I have tickets to the ND-Air Force game on Saturday, and I’m heading out a few days early for interviews and such; I applied to a bunch of clerkships in Denver. Don’t ask for details about that, as they won’t be forthcoming. :) I’m scheduled to land in Denver at 10:20 PM MST. Becky will join me there tomorrow night, and of course we’ll be staying with Kristy and Vikki. Woohoo!
Anyway, the weather in Chicago is looking good for a transit viewing. Yay!
With 100% of the precincts reporting, Courtney (D) leads Simmons (R) in Connecticut’s 2nd District, 121,321 (50.035%) to 121,151 (49.965%). That’s a 170-vote margin, or 0.070% — which is 85 times bigger than the 2-vote margin Sam Gejdenson had after the initial count in the 2nd District’s 1994 race, but it’s still rather close. Obviously, there will be a recount.
East Haven and Trumbull have finally reported their results, and as expected, they were a shot in the arm for Lieberman: 59% to 31% and 58% to 31%, respectively. Waterford also went for Joe, 52% to 38%.
However, it wasn’t enough to push Lieberman’s statewide percentage over 50%. His percentage is up from 49.55% to 49.75% (49.79% if the Newington tabulation error is corrected), but it seems unlikely to increase much more, since the remaining outstanding towns (Simsbury, Wallingford and 13% of New Haven) aren’t likely to vote heavily for Lieberman like East Haven, Trumbull and Waterford did.
So it looks like Joe won’t get an absolute majority… unless the Newington tabulation error was replicated in various other towns (which seems entirely possible, given Lieberman’s unusual ballot placement; in transferring results from one record to another, officials may have simply forgotten about Lieberman) and is eventually corrected before the final, official statement of vote is released.
However, although the results from East Haven, Trumbull and Waterford weren’t enough to push Lieberman’s statewide percentage over 50%, they were enough to push his statewide margin over 10%, from 9.74% to 10.14% (or 10.21% if you correct the Newington error). That means Patrick Cullen is now in the driver’s seat in the BrendanLoy.com Senate contest. (As explained here, if the Dems win both VA and MT, Cullen wins the contest if LiebermanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s final margin is greater than 10%; Greg Rauen wins if itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s between 7.5% and 10%.)
UPDATE, 11:43 AM: Wallingford just reported. Lieberman won, 55% to 35%. His statewide margin is now 10.28% (10.35% if the Newington error is corrected). His statewide percentage is now 49.83% (49.87% if the Newington error is corrected). He’s getting close to 50%! But Simsbury is Lamont country, and it still hasn’t reported yet… nor has 13% of New Haven, where Lamont is winning 56% to 39% so far.
Both of these questions won’t be definitively decided until the official, final statement of vote from the Secretary of the State’s office — as opposed to unofficial media returns — is released.
I’ve updated the title of this post accordingly.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is stepping down, sources tell CNN. Visit CNN for the latest.
[This post was delayed due to a Blogger glitch. Timestamp corrected from Nov. 10, 4:34 AM to Nov. 8, 10:57 AM -ed.]
Damn straight I'm gloating. Fight on for Joementum! :) P.S. This is a new USC sweatshirt, by the way. Becky gave it to me for my birthday. It's awesome!