Election Ink Blots

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

Tuesday’s election results in Indiana, North Carolina, and West Virginia are the latest Rorschach test for pundits to impose their political views upon facts as they are revealed.  The states are all somewhat conservative, though Indiana and North Carolina gave their 2008 electoral votes to Barack Obama.

Indiana contained the least surprise of the night.  As polls had suggested, 6 term Senator Richard Lugar was recalled by voters, opting for State Treasurer Richard Mourdock as the Republican nominee.  Left leaning pundits are wasting no time decrying Indiana Republicans for not returning a man who hasn’t lived in Indiana for over three decades to represent them in Congress.  Lost in the argument is that after 36 years in the Senate whether Dick Lugar still connected with the needs and desires of individual Indiana voters.

In North Carolina, voters easily approved a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.  The measure also nullified many aspects of civil unions, making it strikingly punitive at the arrangement many have used to support civil unions without breaching the concept of marriage.

Many responses to the overwhelming vote have been to label North Carolina “bigoted”, but then there’s this fact.  African American voters overwhelmingly supported the ban as tweeted by former AJC editorial board member and now UGA professor Cynthia Tucker, citing NBC News.  It’s going to be interesting to see the reaction of many African American North Carolinians to learn that they are bigots. 

Perhaps cheap disparaging labels aren’t what’s needed to analyze cultural changes going on, as well as the backlash to them.  But for instant analysis at the superficial level, it apparently serves opponents of the bill to name call and move on.

The most interesting story of the night comes from West Virginia, where federal prison inmate Keith Judd took 40% of the vote in the Democratic Presidential Primary against President Barack Obama.  Judd is technically qualified to receive at least one delegate to the Democratic National Convention, though it appears he will be tied up and he did not file a list of potential delegates to attend on his behalf.

With those results in, there are a few observations about the big picture.

Most clearly, voters are angry and they are angry at incumbents.  When 40% of those voting in a Democratic primary reject the incumbent of their own party for President, it’s hard to point at Republicans rejecting a 6 term Senator who only comes to their state to visit on occasion as being reactionary hyper-partisans.

When the Democratic Governor of West Virginia Earl Ray Tomblin and Democratic Senator Roy Manchin refuse to say whether they voted for the President or a convicted felon in their state’s primary, then it’s hard to blame the Dick Lugar defeat on a narrow band of ideologues.

The voters are angry, and with good reason.  Democrats have spent the past few years telling them everything will be OK if only someone else other than them would pay higher taxes.  Republicans have spent the past few years telling them that everything would be OK if only all taxes were cut and we balanced the budget through spending cuts – all the while voting for very few actual spending cuts.

Voters and politicians learned that for a while, we can have it all.  We could spend freely at the federal level and cut taxes and the world bond market would support the deficits.  Because other world markets are in worse shape than ours the party has continued, but it is clear that it will be winding down.

We as voters are now taking it out on politicians of our own parties because they can’t deliver the utopias that they promised us.

And at the end of the day, voters who are paying attention are also angry at ourselves, because we know, deep down, that neither party can deliver on the promises that we demand from them.


  1. Chance says:

    I was wholly unaware that minorities were incapable of being bigots. Silly me, thinking that small-minded fear of that which is different is somehow a human quality that transcends race.

  2. Three Jack says:

    One other interesting tally from NC dem presidential primary: Obama 79.2% /// Other 20.8%. If only ‘Other’ had been a convicted felon, it’s tally might have doubled. But it is one more sign that voters are pissed.

    Regarding the last paragraph in your column Charlie, I don’t think it is ‘anger at ourselves’ as much as it is disappointment and a feeling of helplessness because we only have 2 parties offering candidates. There is hope though as we see the Tea Party’s influence on GOP primaries making an impact on the federal level. Let’s hope they have just as much success here in GA taking on Balfour and the rest.

    • sunkawakan says:

      If the Tea Party had stuck with the hard economic issues, they might be more successful. However, all I see are speakers decrying the danger of Sharia Law and Agenda 21, various birther arguments and other fantastic claims at the local level.

      • Three Jack says:

        sunkawakan, agreed. I had that discussion w/Debbie on here a few weeks ago. But you cannot discount the coordianted efforts of national groups like Tea Party Patriots when we see guys like Bennett in Utah and Lugar in Indy being booted out of office. Knocking off a lifelong politician ain’t easy, TPP deserves credit for taking on the challenge and succeeding.

        Unfortunately there are local chapters abusing the Tea Party name in order to gather members…Beckerhead and his group come to mind here in GA. That is the downside of running an organization with thousands of indedpendent local chapters. But TPP as a whole still does a pretty good job all things considered.

    • I believe the 21% is uncommitted. I personally know a lot of people who just won’t vote for someone in an uncontested race.

      You want to take a microscope out on that 21% though, PLEASE BE MY GUEST. I invite you to examine Mitt Romney’s % in NC and see if it was higher than Barack Obama’s. It was not.

      • Three Jack says:

        Of course Mitt’s % was lower, there were 3 other candidates plus the No Preference choice (5%). You can call it uncommitted if you like, but most folks see that as yet another referendum on this failed presidency.

        BTW, since you’re wordsmithing, what do you want to call the felon’s 40% in WV?

        • I will call it that WV is not a good place. Besides the Ron Paul crazies, what is the functional difference at this point in voting for uncommitted and voting for Newt/Santorum/etc?

          I am predicting that you will will have many more years to ponder what exactly a failed presidency is.

          • Three Jack says:

            “I am predicting that you will will have many more years to ponder what exactly a failed presidency is.”

            No doubt, the Obama legacy shall haunt us for many years, especially if he gets 4 more years due to the GOP putting forth a like minded candidate pretending to be conservative.

  3. debbie0040 says:

    Those of you interested in contributing financially to a strong opponent to run against Sen. Balfour, please email me at [email protected] and put Balfour in the subject line..

    • sunkawakan says:

      Does that mean that the Tea Party is accepting donations on behalf of an unnamed challenger to Balfour?

      • debbie0040 says:

        Not yet, but we want to have names to give to the candidate if she/he does decide to run. Atlanta Tea Party has a PAC and we are starting the process for a 501c4 on the state level. I will let those that emailed me know who the candidate is once she/he formally decides and then forward your information to the candidate..

        Atlanta Tea Party will also be raising money to be active in the election cycle and use it for GOTV work. Who knows, we may decide to run ads like 527 groups do…

        • sunkawakan says:

          Hmmm. Careful with the laws surrounding those types of orgs, and things you say and do.

          • debbie0040 says:

            Atlanta Tea Party PAC cannot coordinate with a candidate but Atlanta Tea Party L.LC. does not have as tight restrictions. And of course, Debbie Dooley speaking personally and not on behalf of an organization has no restrictions.

            • sunkawakan says:

              Debbie, unless you were using the “royal we,” I think the following statement could demonstrate coordination with a candidate:

              “…we want to have names to give to the candidate if she/he does decide to run.”

  4. Saw an interesting graphic on Facebook and did a minute or so of research. So in North Carolina it is now legal to marry your first cousin… so long as they’re not of the same sex as you are. North Carolinians can marry their cousin, but they can’t marry a non-related person of the same sex. I believe that is the same case for Georgia if I’m not mistaken. Whew! Glad we’re protecting the sanctity of marriage here! 😉

      • Napoleon says:

        The following allow first cousins to marry: AK, AL, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, HI, MD, MA, NJ, NM, NY, NC, RI, SC, TN, VT, VA and Washington DC.

        • Napoleon says:

          Actually, this bring up a funny point, CA allows first cousins to marry and voted to ban gay marriage.

  5. Three Jack says:

    This pretty much sums up why Lugar will have the opportunity to buy a house in the state where he had no residence while supposedly representing them for 36 years, Lugar wrote, “His embrace of an unrelenting partisan mindset is irreconcilable with my philosophy of governance and my experience of what brings results for Hoosiers in the Senate. In effect, what he has promised in this campaign is reflexive votes for a rejectionist orthodoxy and rigid opposition to the actions and proposals of the other party.”

    The old go along to get along mentality is dying thanks in large part to groups like TPP. Hopefully many more like Lugar will soon find out the party is over, reform is upon us.

  6. What what says:

    Thirty six years is a really long time to hold the same office. I’m all for people with experience but at some point it’s time for fresh blood and representatives who have the pulse of the people of their state. Just how in touch could Lugar be? Given that most members of Congress are required to be in DC far more of the year than they could be in their home state, just how long can anyone, not just Lugar, hold office before losing touch?

    • sunkawakan says:

      Then there’s this recent statement (with which I agree), from former Senator John Danforth (R-MO):

      “What they will be left with, if indeed they want to purge the party of all but people who have a particular ideological slant… it’s not a way to win elections, it’s not politically sustainable. It might make them feel good for a time but doesn’t work, it hasn’t worked.”

      You’re going to end up with the “Know Nothing” party. My only question, who will stand in the role of “Bill the Butcher” in this iteration of the Know Nothings?

  7. I have two problems with the WV analysis: 1 are we sure people know that Keith Judd is a federal inmate? Most primary voters know shockingly little about the candidates they are voting for. 2. WV is perhaps the last place left (a little in Kentucky and Oklahoma as well) where they still vote in the Democratic primary like they used to in Georgia, but I wouldn’t call most of them Democrats.

    • Charlie says:

      What’s missing is that Candidate Obama promised to bankrupt the coal industry, and President Obama is well on his way. Given that’s their #1 industry, I’d say it probably didn’t matter if they knew he was a felon or not.

      • Calypso says:

        “…I’d say it probably didn’t matter if they knew he was a felon or not.”

        Point of clarification please, to which candidate are you refering?

        Yeah, I’m a smart-ass, but Charlie gave me a good set-up.

      • sunkawakan says:

        Charlie, I missed that promise from Obama to “bankrupt the coal industry…” He’s spoken several times about support for clean coal technology, is that what you’re referring to?

        • Charlie says:

          He also spoke elequently in 2008 about how his religion kept him from supporting same-sex marriage. He does seem to say a lot of things to a lot of different people depending on whom he is trying to impress during that 5 minutes. Most of it “just words”.

          • sunkawakan says:

            So, you changed the subject.

            As to the same-sex marriage question, polls show that the American people have also had an evolution in their beliefs over time, with more showing support over the past couple of decades. Are you suggesting that President Obama is not afforded the same rights to change his beliefs as the rest of us?

            • Charlie says:

              No, I’m pointing out that on many issues, Obama supports like to point to something he said as if it’s gospel, and ignore things he’s said exactly counter to that as if we’re only supposed to hear what we want to.

              His regs against coal powered plants that have already put 3 in Georgia on a close list with even newer regs threatening more demonstrate his actions.

              Here’s what he said about coal:

              • sunkawakan says:

                I thought that the McDonough plant was converting to natural gas. I know that GP has stated the regs closed the two Harllee plants, but given they were originally commissioned in the early 1960’s, it’s past time.

    • drjay says:

      yeah, obama only got 57% in okla primary also–the freakshow that is randall terry got a delegate there–pockets of “conservative dems” that are going to either vote romney or stay home in november–just giving obama the business…not sure there is much to see there…

      • Calypso says:

        god, randall terry is still wasting oxygen? Somebody needs to stop pouring water on that slime so he can dry up and blow away.

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