An ongoing discussion of politics, law, pop culture, and fine draperies.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Look Back at Election 2006:
Part I

Before getting to the election wrap-up, I'll open with this Boston Globe Magazine
cover piece from last week about Tom Brady, the corrosion celebrity can affect upon athletes like Brady, and how he has so effectively avoided such traps and trappings.

Will Farrell donned this week's
cover of New York Times Magazine, teasing an article subheadlined: "How does Will Farrell know what makes nice, normal suburban ex-frat boys so funny? He is one."

Maureen Dowd moonlights for Rolling Stone with
this article about the impact of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on the American body politic. Dowd notes:

A recent Indiana University study found that The Daily Show was just as substantive as network television news during the 2004 election. I'm not surprised that young people who watch it are well- informed. I read about ten newspapers a day and three newsmagazines a week, and I have my TV tuned to cable news all day, and I still find myself taking notes from The Daily Show.

Interestingly, I read this after giving serious thought to the evolution of Stephen Colbert's on-tube persona from the guy who tore George W to shreds in his White House Correspondents' Dinner address to the (faux?) to hefty tosser of conservative seeds. Dowd suggests it's merely about lampooning the moment, identifying Colbert as an improvisational comedic actor "who makes his own fake reality defending the fake reality of a real president, and has government officials on who know the joke but are still willing to be mocked by someone fake."

Of note, while you're there, check out
this recent article about Led Zeppelin and this one about this now-departing 109th Congress,
I offer both assuming that you, as I, probably missed them because you gave up reading Rolling Stone after one too many cover article about either Christina Aguilera or Boy Bands.

Right …

So, in Maine, it was
Baldacci Yes! and TABOR No! In the Statehouse it was Democrats Yes!

Confused? Me, too.

Morning Sentinel editorial pokes its index finger into the Governor's sternum and tells him to take notice of the discontent about taxes. Press Herald political reporter Paul Carrier echoes the sentiment that "TABOR defeat belies tax anger," suggesting that "margins in last Tuesday's election were close enough across the state to show that voters clearly want Gov. John Baldacci and the Legislature to rein in high taxes."

The Press Herald also offered
this analysis of the vote against TABOR being "no endorsement of the status quo."

Bangor Daily News provides
this nice list of all numbers in all the races.

Disappointed? Not me. Considering how it could have looked with a few different results, I'll register among the "Pleased, but not ecstatic" camp.

In that vein, the Press Herald
reports in "Greens see rosy future in spite of '06 losses," the party's optimism due because its "core issues – environmental protection, human rights and universal health care – have moved into the mainstream."

Colby College Professor Joseph R. Reisert
chastises the Maine GOP for squandering the chance for a takeover, noting a sentiment I believe I sounded last week:
Given these circumstances – a vulnerable incumbent and a clear, popular issue
that would attract voters from both sides of the partisan divide – the Republicans should have come together to support a socially moderate or even liberal candidate, who would have advanced their principal agenda item: reducing spending and cutting taxes.

Had Maine's Republicans shown the political maturity of the national Democratic party leadership, we might now be anticipating the inauguration of Peter Mills as the first Republican governor in more than a decade. Instead, Maine's Republicans will remain in the political wilderness, ideologically pure, but politically impotent.
Press Herald columnist Bill Nemitz apparently typed out the same message a few days before the election, as this column appeared on the morning after.

Finally, this letter to the editor of the Morning Sentinel, "Election results good news for the terrorists" offers a swell
reminder of the red state hiding in many corners around Maine, i.e. Solon.

this story forecasting a new era of judicial nominating and Senate confirmation under the newly Democratic leadership, including new Judiciary Committee chair Pat Leahy, D-VT (above on right). Press Herald DC correspondent Bart Jansen ponders the effect upon Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of losing their gavels and some clout in Washington.

The New York Times attributes the Democrats' success to
Populism and not liberal ideology. Former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Leon Panettacommands his party-kin: Govern, don't gloat.

Paul Krugman
gloats a bit, observing of the Republican Party's recent era dominated by Movement Conservatives – "the potent alliance of wealthy individuals, corporate interests and the religious right:
When movement conservatism took it over, the Republican Party ceased to be the
party of Dwight Eisenhower and became the party of Karl Rove. The good news is
that Karl Rove and the political tendency he represents may both have just

Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby shares this perspective, urging that this election shouldn't be read as a liberal shift as much as a call by principled conservatives to abandon those currently commanding the helm of their party's bobsled. His colleague Ellen Goodman identifies the cleavage point between winning and losing within the term "values."

Ironically, perhaps, recently repudiated Sen. Lincoln Chafee )left) – one of the few Eisenhower-esque Republicans still inhabiting the Senate –
hints that voters were the ones who forced this self-destruction of Movement Conservatism. Yet, they did so by replacing the moderate Republicans like himself with Democrats, but also helping the same Movement Conservatives to solidify their control of the Republican party leadership.

Boston Globe reporter Drake Bennett
describes this phenomenon as the furtherance of regional voting blocs in the USA, noting "that when the new Congress convenes in January, the regional split between the parties could be as stark as at any time since the aftermath of the Civil War."

Look back at the Local Races …. soon ….


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