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Thanksgiving Weekend Kickoff Open Thread

by: shamlet

Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 19:00:00 PM EST


Hope everyone has a safe and fun thanksgiving weekend. Some questions to start your holiday:

1. What are you thankful for, electorally or politically?

2. Let's talk transportation on this big travel weekend - what kind of message should Republicans use to counter the simple "we need to spend lots more on infrastructure" message from Democrats?

For your holiday fun, we'll have our top Turkeys of 2012 tomorrow, and then a policy thread on Friday.

shamlet :: Thanksgiving Weekend Kickoff Open Thread
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A couple things Im thankful for
Im thankful redistricting has made my district have a small Republican lean after being represented by Democrats for most of the last half century or so. My congresswoman won by the largest margin for a Republican in almost 60 years in a district that was one of the more expensive of 2010. It looks like it may have flipped from a district Obama won in 2008 to one Romney won this year kinda eyeballing the results (thanks Lewis County!).

I am also thankful for Mitt Romney and his winning the Republican nomination. I have been a huge Romney fan since his first run, and I really believe in him. While its been hard for me and my household with his loss, Im happy to have lost with someone I believe in rather than loose with someone I would vote for because he wasn't Obama like a couple folks who ran this year.

26, Republican, WA-03 (represented by wonderful Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler).


Answers
1) That we live in not only a free country, but a pretty free world as well, where Liberal Democracies are the rule rather than the exception.  Just looking back, there are so many points in world history where things could have taken such a dramatic turn for the worse and didn't that it feels amazing that we're doing so well.  Our major global problems are things like "A natural disaster hit country X" "The Euro-zone might fail" and "Oil prices are rising".

2) Counter that spending money for the sake of spending money is how we got things like the Big Dig and the Bridge to Nowhere. Our infrastructure needs should be accurately balanced against our other budgetary demands, rather than taking the Democrats mindset of "BUILD MORE ROADS EVERYWHERE".

23, Libertarian Republican CA-18

Liberals dream things that never were and ask why not.  Conservatives shout back "Because it won't work"


Thankfulness
1. I am thankful that my new employer (as an engineer) was willing to wait an extra week before I started so I could finished my political and electoral commitments.

2. I am not sure if there is a simple argument for the Republicans to counter infrastructure arguments directly. The go-to line has seemed to lump bridges and roads and railroads into big government we can't afford. So I doubt that line changes in the near future, as it does seem to be a catch-all one liner, so to speak.  

I am a Tom Rukavina Democrat.


TexasAnsweRs
1) I'm thankful that I have Republican representation at every level from County Commissioners' Court all the way up to US Senate. I'm thankful for the suburban counties in my state disproving the Trending D!11!1! meme sometimes seen around the internet, and I'm thankful for the likely death of Section 5 we will see from the Supreme Court within the next few months.

2) Living in a high growth area in a quickly growing state, I feel that we cannot get too carried away and risk being perceived as opposing infrastructure expansion. At the same time, however, what we can say is that spending to expand public transit systems is a waste of money given low utilization rates, and low RoI. We must insist that all money spent on infrastructure go toward expanding existing freeways and building new ones that are actually needed. Building freeways that are actually needed cuts down on unfunded mandates which cause states to develop a backlog of projects which must await funding. No other metro area needs to endure what Houston endured in the FORTY-TWO YEARS it took from approval to completion of Beltway 8. Finally, we must move the discussion toward reducing the amount of bureaucratic red tape one runs into when attempting to get new freeways, or freeway expansions approved.

Lifelong Republican, TX-17


Answers~
1). I'm thankful to live in a (mostly) free and democratic country, where I am not denied a ballot for my politics, gender, or sexuality.

2). If they don't need to be repaired, then it should be an easy line of attack, right? Why are Democrats wasting money on things that don't have problems? As Greyhound says, ridicule the idea of spending money on bridges to nowhere. If you're conceding the basic point that you can spend money to improve our existing bridges, or that new bridges need to be built, it's much harder. So, fight the premise that our national infrastructure isn't alright, I suppose. Either our infrastructure is fine or it isn't; infrastructure maintenance is usually viewed as a patriotic nationalist issue, so I'm not sure you can concede it's deficient, and advocate not fixing it.

(-9.38, -7.49), libertarian socialist, KY 01, "When smashing monuments, save the pedestals. They always come in handy."


-- Stanisław Lem


Democrat overtakes Republican in another California Senate district
http://blogs.sacbee.com/capito...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this would pad the 2/3 majority for Democrats, not be the seat that gets them to 2/3. Right?


29-11
Yes, it gives them one more. Gagliani was getting 51% of the ballots in San Joaquin County and 53% of post-election day. It appeared mathematically impossible that she'd get the ballots she needed. She got 65% of today's ballots. It appears she got just enough votes to be outside the recount number.

Another Democratic candidate in the assembly needs 108% of the 1,107 ballots remaining to win. I won't be surprised when he gets them.  

R, CA-37; hometown: PA-2


[ Parent ]
Yes, but...
it also gets them to it quicker chronologically since Rep-Elect Vargas (D) Rep-Elect Lowenthal (D) must resign their senate seats. Thus I believe we still have to await one Special Election for Democrats to actually gain their 2/3rds. Both are likely to be held concurrently thus nothing is changed

Now with this pad, one democrat can defect for their district's interest and still get whatever the leadership wants passed.

20-Cubano, R, CA-38
City Commissioner, College Republican Club President


[ Parent ]
california gone
I honestly believe the state is gone; better split it up. Its only gonna get worse too for Republicans  

[ Parent ]
Doom...doom...doom...

(Gir from Invader Zim for all those born before 1990)

As my lampoon above indicates, these talks of doom for California are ridiculous.

http://www.flashreport.org/blo...

There were 56 Assembly Democrats in the 1974-76 Legislature, well over the two thirds necessary for a veto proof majority, however in the Senate, there were only 26 Democrats, one shy of the two thirds. So, there were more Democrats in the Legislature then than there are now, but that was because the Assembly had two more Democrats than this Legislature, even though the Senate had one less. There was one statewide Republican officeholder (the Attorney General), Evelle Younger.

They recovered, and helped elect Ronald Reagan president six years later, with the help of Proposition 13 and a tough on crime stance that then Governor Jerry Brown helped with his pro-tax, soft on crime Governorship.

We have nowhere to go but up now. It's going to take a lot of work over the next few years but it can happen. After the full results are released then we can truly start to understand where to go from here.

Now that the Republican Legislators are irrelevant, they might as well earn some credibility and actually do something by working in their areas (even outside their current districts) to showcase a clear alternative to runaway power.  

20-Cubano, R, CA-38
City Commissioner, College Republican Club President


[ Parent ]
Hmm
1) Invader Zim memes!? This is not 4chan.
2) California, as we all know, is not the same state it was thirty-five years ago. While I do believe the CA-GOP can improve, the trends you guys have going on don't give me reason for optimism.

Lifelong Republican, TX-17

[ Parent ]
Mhmm
1. Unlike 4chan I follow my memes with lucid, electorally-related thoughts.

2. Trends are supreme until they're not. They can reverse and they can be taken advantage of. It won't happen overnight, but this period of reflection will ultimately make us a better party more reflective of the will of the NewDemographic.  

20-Cubano, R, CA-38
City Commissioner, College Republican Club President


[ Parent ]
It hasn't changed
At the time Democrats held a registration edge of 57.4%-34.7%, a 22.6% difference. It's 14.3% now. Of course Republicans only had 2 statewide officeholders in 1978 and 1 in 1982 and 1986 and 2 in 1990. Besides a brief blip in 1994 I'd say we've never recovered.

I bristle at the idea that if we just changed our extreme tone we'd recover. It's not like the liberals in LA or the Bay area are ever going to vote Republican.

R, CA-37; hometown: PA-2


[ Parent ]
Sorry for the gallows humor
But the fact there are more GOP state senators in CT than CA makes me smile :)  

[ Parent ]
Sucks that Suzio lost
NT

Baker '14
R, MA-3


[ Parent ]
In a district with Meriden & Middletown in a prez year..
Now that's a tough hold. Considering the 18 % Obama lead; holding our other incumbents and electing Linares in 33rd was a decent result. Coutu losing in 19 was my  disappointment  

[ Parent ]
Yeah, but that was the 70s
When Republicans were carrying CA in every non-wave election, Democrats regularly lost the Bay area and Los Angeles County, and the state was >80% white and rapidly suburbanizing.  As it stands right now, Democrats just need to win the Bay area and Los Angeles county by more than Republicans win the rest of the state.

Still, our biggest hope is that the Democrats run the state government into the ground so hard that we can win some rebound votes.  I wouldn't count on it though.

23, Libertarian Republican CA-18

Liberals dream things that never were and ask why not.  Conservatives shout back "Because it won't work"


[ Parent ]
You don't have to hope
By most measures, the Democrats have already run California into the ground. Result? Obama ran about 9 points ahead of his national average (~59.8 compared to ~50.8), and Romney ran about 10 points behind his (~37.7 to ~47.7).

I'm not positive, but I think that marks a new low-point for the GOP in California's popular vote for president, in terms of comparison to the rest of the country. Of course, some votes are still uncounted so we'll have to wait for final, official statistics. But that seems to be the case.

Age 43. Location: GA-04 & GA-05.


[ Parent ]
CA stands out as a sterling example...
... for the failure of direct democracy, at least for fiscal matters.

That goes for both conservative measures (capping property taxes) and liberal ones (unrealistic mandatory funding requirements).  

Libertarian-R New MA-5.  


[ Parent ]
CA, direct democracy, etc.
Prop 13 was an important, necessary, and beneficial change. It enabled (for a while) middle- and lower-income property-owners in California to avoid being taxed out of their homes.

Age 43. Location: GA-04 & GA-05.

[ Parent ]
Disagree
The bipartisan myth that everyone should own (or keep) a home is what led to the housing crisis in the first place.

The prop just raises housing costs for younger generations while benefiting those who already have wealth. More importantly, the issue doesn't do anything to actually limit taxes, but just shifts the form to income and sales tax. So instead of taxing something that produces no economic benefit (owning land in itself) we're depressing the incentive to earn more (income tax) and buy more things (sales tax). Moreover even if there is a societal benefit to having people keep their homes, there's a societal detriment to decreasing the liquidity of the housing market.

To relate this to elections? I'm not sure. Maybe touching the third rail of CA politics will create a backlash against the Dems. Although at this point it might be better off hoping for more Chuck Reeds in public service than for anything to break the Dem majority.

Libertarian-R New MA-5.  


[ Parent ]
There's a difference here
Yes, Democrats have been in the driver's seat in the state government forever, but they've always had the option to just blame "REPUBLICAN OBSTRUCTIONISM" when things go badly.  They don't have that excuse anymore, sort of like National Democrats didn't have that excuse in 2009 when they had complete control of all levers of power.  The result was that national democrats severely over-reached with their power, and had no real excuses when things turned up badly (going so far as to blame "REPUBLICAN OBSTRUCTIONISM" when the Republican party couldn't do a damn thing to actually stop them), leading to the 2010 elections where they got stomped.

Democrats in California are going to have a field day passing whatever they want to now, but eventually this will all come back to bite them as they gradually begin pissing off enough constituencies to give Republicans a path to power again.  It might wind up being one of the best ways for the Republican party to make gains with Hispanic voters.

All this is based on alot of assumptions (like the CAGOP being able to put some distance between itself and the national GOP), but its the GOP's most reasonable path back to power.

23, Libertarian Republican CA-18

Liberals dream things that never were and ask why not.  Conservatives shout back "Because it won't work"


[ Parent ]
California
Democrats have been able to pass any legislation they've wanted since the 90's. The only thing they've been prevented from doing is raising taxes at will. While many Democrats in the state blame part of California's problems on Prop. 13 and their perception of low property taxes, it's a stretch to say that now that Democrats hold 2/3 majorities things will be different.

Democratic government is never to blame because:

1. Their intentions are good. And it's intentions that matter. Democratic policies are designed to help people. If that doesn't happen, it's not the legislature's fault.

2. There's always someone to blame. Evil corporations who won't act in the public interest come to mind.

3. The Democrats are right on abortion, the environment, and everything else. Unless the Republicans changed all their positions to align with the Democratic party, they won't be an acceptable alternative.

California is a very polarized state. Many of the people on the left have never voted for a Republican and can't think of a reason they ever would. Republicans have been trying to come up with a formula to turn things around here for 40 years. While we're been doing that the defense industry and many others leave, while the tech industry booms and the minority population increases.

Republicans certainly aren't doomed to never getting above 1/3 of the legislature, but there is no formula that we'll become relevant here any time in the foreseeable future. People need to stop thinking that some magic beans are going to change that.

R, CA-37; hometown: PA-2


[ Parent ]
Good luck with that
Greyhound's "There's a difference here" comment may well be true. But even so: for the time being, California is essentially un-livable for middle-class families. With 40 million people, of course there are some pockets of resistance here and there. But overall, it is a place for the progressive rich, the welfare-poor, government employees, or childless adults who want to live in a secular-Left environment. Harsh soil for conservatism, and for any political party that is identified with conservatism.

Now that CA Dems have "absolute power", no doubt they will gradually anatagonize some members of their own coalition. But that is -- to say the least -- a very long-term project with an uncertain outcome. I can't imagine any conservative will want to experience that process first-hand if they can possibly avoid it.

Age 43. Location: GA-04 & GA-05.


[ Parent ]
SF Bay Area
When I moved here in 1964, I had a Republican Congressperson [Santa Clara County] and San Francisco had a Republican mayor.

Things have changed


[ Parent ]
and risk it having 4 D Senators instead of just the current 2?
It looks like all the split proposals create at best a new seat that is in the tossup category.
Worse yet, since the new state would likely have a better economy, it would attract Democrats from the rump state.

42 Male Republican, Maryland Heights, MO (MO-2). Previously lived in both Memphis and Nashville.

[ Parent ]
Exactly.
There are any # of reasons why California is not going to split-up into more than 1 state. But in addition to the "substantive" reasons, Republicans also have the political reason of knowing that any "new" Californias would not be pro-GOP, either (toss-up at best), unless they are very, VERY carefully gerrymandered for that purpose.

I'm not even sure about the long-term trajectory of Orange County:

1988 Bush 68, Dukakis 31. Bush plurality 317k
2000 Bush 56, Gore 40. Bush plurality 149k
2012 Romney 52, Obama 46. Romney plurality 70k

Votes are still being counted, but statewide, it appears that Romney got a slightly lower % in California than Bob Dole (37.7 to 38.2). Conservatives should chew on that statistic for a moment as they ponder California's political fortunes for the next 20 years or so.

Age 43. Location: GA-04 & GA-05.


[ Parent ]
Lowenthal's seat was filled
As it was up this cycle, it's Negrete-McLeod's seat that will be the other that will have to be filled.

[ Parent ]
My bad
I wasn't sure which of those was filled off the top of my head.

20-Cubano, R, CA-38
City Commissioner, College Republican Club President


[ Parent ]
For #2
For the long term, I'd emphasize the success of areas where private toll roads (like Florida) are far and away better than the Interstates in the same area, and are more "fair", as the citizens that use them have to pay, and the ones that don't, don't.  In the short term, I'd go back to when Obama was campaigning next to crumbling bridges in 2008, so he gets elected, rams through billions in spending in shovel-ready jobs to fix them, and then he was campaigning next to crumbling bridges in 2012...

TX-SoS
Lost in the pre-Thanksgiving travel shuffle, Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade announced her resignation, effective Friday. Since this is not an appointed, not elected position, there's no guessing who Perry nominates.

http://trailblazersblog.dallas...

Lifelong Republican, TX-17


*an appointed


Lifelong Republican, TX-17

[ Parent ]
This is great news, isn't it?
Hopefully the new Texas Secretary of State can modernize the election reporting system.

[ Parent ]
Yes
While it probably won't happen, it would be nice if the State Senate told Perry's pick to update our awful election night returns page.

Lifelong Republican, TX-17

[ Parent ]
answers
1. Living in a conservative area, but being closr enough to nlue areas to compare and contrast.

2. Is the transportaion money going to roads? Is it going to green waste that wont be used? If going to roads, will good materials be used so we dont replace it in one year?  

MI-08 - Chairman - Livingston County Republican Party Since 2013 - Opinions are my own and not that of LCRP.  


I have a lot to be thankful for politically
in my home state. Nebraska will now have all Republican representation in Congress for the first time since 1976 and will have all Republican representation in Congress and hold all the statewide offices for the first time since 1970. And it was done by destroying the Bob Kerrey mystique once and for all.

42, R, NE-1.

Thank you, Nebraska!
nt

35, conservative R, lives in PA-14, grew up in TX

[ Parent ]
Thomas Massie (Shamlet, OGGoldy)
Knowing that both of you have some sort of engineering and/or science background, you two (and anyone else with a background in engineering and/or science) would find this science-centric Thomas Massie profile to be interesting.

http://news.sciencemag.org/sci...


Happy Turkeys
Interesting article, especially this last bit:

One idea I heard that I like is that patents should be under the science committee. I realize it's very unlikely to happen given what I know about Washington. Nobody wants to give up their jurisdiction. But, you know, patents generally involve science and technology, and there seems to be a lot of knowledge in that domain on that committee.
 

Some of my best friends call me a "Demoncrat"

[ Parent ]
Nice
So much better than Pete Stark. All we need is for John or Chris Sununu to get elected in '14 and we'll be set.

I particularly like his thoughts on 14.02 - basically sums up why I don't like Economics, as well as his beliefs on global warming, which are somewhat similar to my own.

R - MD-7


[ Parent ]
For a MUCH better map of county shifts since 2008
take a look at the Wall Street Journal. Link here:

http://online.wsj.com/article/...

Unfortunately it isn't updated (e.g. Obama did worse in L.A. County). But the general gist is there and you can actually pick out patterns.

http://mypolitikal.com/


Yeah, I'd be careful with outliers though.
Half of them are AP data entry errors. Herkimer County in Upstate NY, which supposedly trended 25% towards Romney in 2012, of course didn't actually do so.

http://herkimercounty.org/cont...


[ Parent ]
I'm so very thankful for NC.
For the first time in the history of history, we now control both the State House and Senate. The Governors office, Lt. Gov (not as big) and the St. Sup Court all at the same time.

NC sure lifted my spirits this election, and I hope this local trend continues!  

22, Conservative, NC-02 (SC-04 college) Matt 6:25-34    


Answers...
1) I am thankful our system where we can have peaceful elections.  Historically speaking a system where a change of power happens peacefully is rare and one lasting as long as ours is even rarer.

2) Transportation is a pet issue for me and I think both parties get it wrong.  Growing up in a land dominated by pork, I can say much transportation spending right now is poorly allocated.  

Funding is an issue, but the allocating of spending is a bigger issue.  If the Democrats really cared about transportation, they would support eliminating some of the most costly elements of transportation spending, Davis-Bacon and the EIS requirements.  In addition, the allocation of funds needs to be taken out of the hands of elected officials and be given to engineers and planners who can make non-electorally driven decisions.

28, Republican, PA-6


Answers
1. Thankful for my President who I supported from the first day he entered the primary in 2007.  Also thankful for my Representative Tim Bishop being reelected.  The biggest thing I am probably thankful politically is the OFA organization from Plouffe to Messina to people like 270.  I loved reading stories about the Bush turnout machine in 04 even though its what beat my side, so to be able to see those stories on an even high level about my side really made me happy.

2. I know a lot of Conservatives that love the idea of more privatized roads, so maybe thats one way to oppose the Democratic message?

33/M/D/NY-01 DKE:Socks The Cat


GA-Sen; Looks like Chambliss is going the Lugar route of deliberately irritating conservatives
http://blogs.ajc.com/political...

I just hope he flat out retires to avoid another blunder.

29/Male/Married/Father of One/Republican/CA-3


Norquist != conservatives

I don't care about Norquist and the absolutist position he takes with regards to his pledge.  

That said, Chambliss is mediocre for many other reasons.  


[ Parent ]
Yeah, I just don't get the fascination with Norquist's pledge
More than anything else, I find Chambliss completely unremarkable.  

24, MA-07, Rockefeller Republican. Visit me at http://twitter.com/polibeast

[ Parent ]
Chambliss
He has really gone out of his way the past few weeks to appear moderate, I wonder if he is retiring?

33/M/D/NY-01 DKE:Socks The Cat

[ Parent ]
That would make sense
And with Karen Handel rumored to having interest, he might sense that his time is up.

29/Male/Married/Father of One/Republican/CA-3

[ Parent ]
Yep
He's up to #4 on my retirement watch list, right behind Johnson, Rockefeller, and Durbin. I think he wants to broker some kind of big deal in the next two years as a legacy and then retire.

R - MD-7

[ Parent ]
I cannot imagine Durbin retiring
Although I would love for that to happen.

29/Male/Married/Father of One/Republican/CA-3

[ Parent ]
I can
He's been openly shopping for a cabinet job, and has a ready-made successor in Duckworth.

R - MD-7

[ Parent ]
Durbin as far as I know is lobbying for Interior Secretary...
We'll see if he or fmr. Senator Byron Dorgan.

[ Parent ]
He's also been speculated
for Transportation or Labor. That's a sign of somebody that's more concerned with having a career-capper than anything else IMO.

R - MD-7

[ Parent ]
As far as I know the following Cabinet Position will be open
or soon be open...

Secretary of State
Attorney General (Holden will stay only for a Year)
Transportation
Interior
Treasury


[ Parent ]
If LaHood goes...
I have to imagine there'll be a push to get another Republican in one of those five. Maybe Hagel will snag State, saving Obama from Rice's woes and the prospect of a Scott Brown comeback.

24, MA-07, Rockefeller Republican. Visit me at http://twitter.com/polibeast

[ Parent ]
Plus Defense, Commerce, and Energy.
Commerce is already vacant and Panetta wants to leave. Plus Obama doesn't particularly like Chu.

R - MD-7

[ Parent ]
A cabinet position
People like Durbin and Kerry have been a senator for years and I'm sure they've enjoyed their job. They're around 70 though and may want a different challenge in life. They're too old to run for President but might want a new challenge. Cabinet secretary seems like a great way to cap off a career.

Durbin and Kerry will probably be too old to serve for whoever is President in 2020, so it's either now or the 2016 President. If it's a Republican, forget it. Now is the time to do it.

R, CA-37; hometown: PA-2


[ Parent ]
I agree...
Durbin & Kerry worked their but off to get a Cabinet Position.

[ Parent ]
Duckworth had some trouble with Walsh
How confident can they be with her statewide against a far more formidable candidate? Especially, with a contested gubernatorial election, which means there will be no coattails.

I would feel pretty good about a Dold vs Duckworth contest. And more so if Rutherford is up against Quinn.

29/Male/Married/Father of One/Republican/CA-3


[ Parent ]
Duckworth
In what way did she have problems against Walsh?

[ Parent ]
She beat an incumbent by 10 points
That's pretty good.  

R, CA-37; hometown: PA-2

[ Parent ]
So we are putting Joe Walsh in the typical "incumbent" category?
He was given an unwinnable district and became a walking, talking joke for the media.

If her 10 point win was impressive than what was Bill Foster's? Or Bustos after being down in her own polling for most of the cycle.

29/Male/Married/Father of One/Republican/CA-3


[ Parent ]
"Unwinnable district"
A number of incumbents were given tough districts. Some survived. Some did not. Incumbency is powerful and certainly garners votes. I didn't say her 10 point win was impressive, only that it was pretty good. Foster ran in a district that Obama won by the same margin in 2008 and managed to beat Judy Biggert by 16 points. That was truly impressive.

Duckworth's win may or may not have been impressive, but there was nothing disappointing about it. She is charismatic, relatively young, and has a great story. The Democrats nominated Pat Quinn and Alexi Giannoulias as heir gubernatorial and senate nominees in 2010. JJJ just went through a scandal. Someone with character like Duckworth would be refreshing.  

R, CA-37; hometown: PA-2


[ Parent ]
That was my point
That she isn't that impressive of a candidate. And that I would feel pretty good about a Dold vs Duckworth matchup statewide this cycle.

29/Male/Married/Father of One/Republican/CA-3

[ Parent ]
If Durbin retires you can expect IL AG Lisa Madigan to run
for his Seat and Duckworth staying in the House.

[ Parent ]
No
Lisa wants to be Governor but can't until her dad dies or is indicted. She's just waiting out him.

R - MD-7

[ Parent ]
This is Illinois
You usually don't have to wait long for someone to get indicted.

R, CA-37; hometown: PA-2

[ Parent ]
That I can believe
And would worry me more.

29/Male/Married/Father of One/Republican/CA-3

[ Parent ]
The real problem is we dont build infrastructure properly in this country
The taxpayers are basically gouged on any big infrastructure project in this country. American taxpayers pay many times what our counterparts in developed cities in Europe and Asia would pay for similar projects. That's why the US can send 3/4 of a trillion dollars on stimulus and have nothing to show for it. This article from Bloomberg News is a MUST read when talking about infrastructure spending:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/...

It explains how basically everything about the process our government uses to build infrastructure is wrong and leads to wasteful spending. For example Amtrak's $151 billion master plan for basic high-speed rail service in the Northeast corridor is more expensive than Japan's planned magnetic levitating train line between Tokyo and Osaka, most of which is to be buried deep underground, with tunnels through the Japan Alps and beneath its densest cities. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is spending $3.8 billion on a single subway station at the World Trade Center. If New York could build subways at the same price that Paris and Tokyo can, $3.8 billion would be enough to build the entire Second Avenue subway, from Harlem to the Financial District! Instead NY will spend $5 billion to build a 1.5 mile stretch from 96th street to 63rd and it will take them over 10 years to do it!

The bottom line is the GOP message should be that before we spend more money on infrastructure the US needs a radical overhaul of its process of building things in order to bring our practices and cost in line with the rest of the developed world. Until we fix our process of building infrastructure we are just flushing money down the drain and getting nothing for our "investments".


+Infinity
I was in London during the Olympics. Rolling blackouts, crowded trains, non-functioning bus service, widespread delays? God no. Everything pretty much ran smoothly. Say what you want about the games themselves, but that many people would have shut down almost any American city. Instead most local barely noticed.

A lot of this is a consequence of the people involved. In Europe the best and brightest often go into the civil service. Here, much weaker candidates do, and they are overseen by failed politicians with substance abuse issues, at least in Massachusetts. Then people are surprised when these projects run behind time and overbudget.

27 NH-01/London/MA-07

Centrist Foreign Policy Realist - Tory in the UK, RINO locally


[ Parent ]
Pay in the civil service
I have been offered civil service positions several times before and after law school.  I rejected them because the pay and they are rarely merit based today.  They are too seniority driven and the benefits they offer are only marginally better than the private sector.  The two positions I was offered before taking my current private sector position offered less pay and similar benefits.  Why would I choose the public sector when the private sector offers better benefits?

28, Republican, PA-6

[ Parent ]
The civil service is only an issue
to the extent that the work rules that exist does not give the govt flexiblily to innovate and control cost. This is why suburban commuter rail in the US still have obsolete ticket punching conductors and cannot be converted into a more high-frequency, low-cost rapid transit service. As a result on the inability to use techonolgy to upgrade service and do away with unnessary personal commuter rails get less frequent service at a higher cost and that decreases rail use creating a vicious circle of decline.

As for construction in the US if you want to know what the problem is look at the High Speed rail being built in CA. Parsons Brinckerhoff is both the lead-design contractor and project manager and the company stands a good chance of winning construction contracts for its own designs! This is a recipe for disaster and obvious cost over runs. The people designing the rail line and the ones who will get paid to build it! So they have every incentive to make the project as expensive as possible.

In New York government agencies are saddled by procurement rules dating back generations and generally revolve around lowest-price bidding rules. Bidders compete mostly on price, not quality and speed of project completetion ususally plays little role in choosing designers and builders.

The whole system is a mess and is the reason why  infrastructure project are not being built in America.


[ Parent ]
Public Sector
While that may be the case for lawyers, other positions pay similar to the private sector and provide better health and pension, job security, and annual built in raises.  

R, CA-37; hometown: PA-2

[ Parent ]
Professionals in the civil service
The same applies for most professionals including accountants, engineers, doctors, and many administrators.

28, Republican, PA-6

[ Parent ]
AnsweRRRs before heading to IN-01
1) I'm thankful for voters sending Thomas Massie, Tom Cotton, Keith Rothfus, Jim Bridenstine, Brad Wenstrup, Andy Barr, Markwayne Mullin, Tom Rice, and David Valadao to the US House of Representatives. I'm also thankful for the election of Jeff Flake and Ted Cruz to the US Senate.

Additionally, I'm thankful for my college being in a Republican Congressional district because, as I'm now a registered voter in Pennsylvania, I'll continue having been represented by a Republican in the US House of Representatives over the course of my whole life, even as my parents' house was moved into ultra bold progressive (and card carrier) Jan Schakowsky's seat thanks to Mike Madigan's redistricting plan. Oh how thankful I'd be for him to be dragged to jail, but so long as little Lisa's in the AG office, that won't happen.

Finally, I'm very thankful for Pennsylvania having a 13-5 R-D Congressional Delegation, even though we've lost the state for so many consecutive Presidential election cycles. Take that, Mike Doyle!

2) Point out examples of how more funding≠better infrastructure. We have to be wiser about how we spend. More funding=Big Dig.


Somehow
I have been represented by a House Republican for my whole life too.  It was Ben Gilman until I moved to NJ in 2001 (just before he got the shaft and Nita Lowey took over our sliver of Rockland).  At that point Scott Garrett was running but I voted for Gerry Cardinale in the primary....a vote I sort of regret.

36, Republican, NJ-11  

[ Parent ]
I'm thankful for my Congressman Charlie Rangel
who graciously wished a happy Thanksgiving to everyone who was caught in "Operation Sandy":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?f...
oy, vey!

Miami-Dade County has become so much Democratic
From D+4 in 2008, it's now D+10. What happened? If it continues to become more Democratic in 2014, the GOP candidate for governor will surely lose, unless Mario Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, or Marco Rubio run.  

Obama won the Cuban vote
He lost the Cuban vote by a decent margin in 08. Even narrowly, if the Democrats win the Cuban vote, Miami-Dade County will be widely Democratic. The question is if that was a 1-off election were Cubans despised Romney for some reason, or if the group is becoming less Republican in general. One congressional seat and 1 presidential election is not really enough data to declare anything, but it is a valid data point that should be analyzed.

I am a Tom Rukavina Democrat.

[ Parent ]
On the other hand,
Marco Rubio actually won the county in 2010 IIRC.

http://mypolitikal.com/

[ Parent ]
Because he's Cuban
That's why we should run a Cuban to challenge Scott in the primary in 2014, like Diaz-Balart or Ros-Lehtinen. I really wish Scott won't run for re-election. He's one of the most unpopular governor in the US.  

[ Parent ]
I'm not so sure
He's not exactly popular, but he's doing way better than he was a year ago.  He might not survive if he runs for the general in 2014, but he's not destined for defeat.

Still, it'd be better for the party's chances if he stepped aside and let someone else run.

23, Libertarian Republican CA-18

Liberals dream things that never were and ask why not.  Conservatives shout back "Because it won't work"


[ Parent ]
FL-26: State Rep. Erik Fresen should not run...
He just won his state House district with just 51% of the votes. That's not a good sign for an incumbent.  

What makes you think he's interested?
I've seen a long list of names and I've never seen his. Our most talented candidate here is Anitere Flores.

29/Male/Married/Father of One/Republican/CA-3

[ Parent ]
Fresen
I don't think he'd be one of the most sought after candidates and that's not only because of his slight margin of victory in a state house race (although, that might be concerning because he was the incumbent). He's probably not Cuban-American or even Hispanic (his last name is decidedly not Hispanic and he has blue eyes) and being the right ethnicity seems to be a prerequisite to representing FL-26 in Congress. Would his ethnicity be a hindrance to him winning the congressional seat?

[ Parent ]
Fresen's mother's from Cuba (nt)


[ Parent ]
Oh
Upon looking at some more pictures of him, I can see that he's of Cuban descent. With his uninspiring reelection margin and some ethics issues in his past, there probably would be several better candidates for the congressional district seat.

[ Parent ]
Update on NY-SD-46
Looking pretty good for Rs.
http://www.dailygazette.com/we...

We might not need the IDCers.

25, Male, R, NY-10


Jeb Bush considering a run in 2016
at least that's what the sources in this article claim: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11...

I have to admit that I'll have to give his record a more serious look (other than knowing he was a well lied FL Governor, was heavily involved in education reform and seems to have "a touch" with Hispanics, I know frightingly little about him), but my first and initial reaction would be: Beware the "Blame Bush" assault that the Dems would run against him ... would it succeed after eight years of Obama? I have a feeling so ...  

German citizen - Conservative by heart, non native english speaker


Probably.
After all, Democrat's tried to brush every non-Eisenhower Republican as Herbert Hoover until Nixon and Republicans have tried to brush every Democratic candidate as Jimmy Carter, so yeah, I think a blame Bush campaign will be tried. After all, if his name was Jeb Ellis, he would've been the nominee in 2012 (ignoring that w/out the name Bush, he probably never would've been in position to be Governor in the first place.)

[ Parent ]
At the very least
I trust the Bush network to run a competent campaign. Which would be a step above what just happened.

But he, along with Rubio, are by far my least preferred choices for 2012.  

Saint Paul (MN-4)  


[ Parent ]
Why anti-Bush/Rubio?


I am a Tom Rukavina Democrat.

[ Parent ]
Foreign policy
They're both outspokenly internationalist in their foreign policy views which is exactly opposite of mine.

I personally would prefer someone more protectionist (Rand Paul) or a Governor that is primarily focused on domestic reform (Walker, Kasich, Christie).

Saint Paul (MN-4)  


[ Parent ]
New Arkansas Republican gubernatorial candidates
Potential candidates include Former Congressman Asa Hutchinson, whose decision will come in January, State Senator Johnny Key, Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr, and businessman Curtis Coleman.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel maybe challenged by Bill Halter or John Burkhalter.

The Republicans probably have a leg up on this race if they are running against Halter or Burkhalter. With McDaniel, the race probably begins as a Tossup. If Curtis Coleman is the Republican nominee, the race probably begins at Likely D.

http://www.sfgate.com/news/art...


Also Land Commissioner John Thurston and Secretary of State
Mark Martin are running for reelection. Those are 2 of the 3 Republicans in statewide office. Thurston has been relatively low profile. Martin was controversial for his first year in office but seems to have settled down a lot.  

[ Parent ]
Is LG Mark Darr considered popular in the state?
I don't think that he's a good choice for governor. Maybe he should just run for re-election.  

[ Parent ]
He's not considered much of anything
He probably has like 30% name recognition. At this point, if he ran a strong campaign, he could probably go the suburbs strategy and beat McDaniel, but it would be a tough(er) campaign.

There's a chance that Democrats nominate Mark Malone for Lieutenant Governor. He's actually really prominent in Northwest Arkansas, and Democrats need to start running candidates there to stop the Republican margins that are swamping out any rural Delta areas + Little Rock. It's probably safer for Darr to run for reelection as Lieutenant Governor and for Womack to run for governor. (Darr would likely beat Malone).  


[ Parent ]
Repubs thankful that Amedore now has 920 vote lead
Republicans can be thankful that Amedore now has a 920 vote lead over Democrat Tkacyzk in the key NY SD46 race (key to control of the NY State Senate). However, all returns are not in as Ulster County got an extension from the judge to count the affidavit/absentee ballots there on Monday and Tuesday. Ulster is Tkacyzk's stronghold (she got 61% of the vote there) and it is quite possible that she may come close enough to Amedore when Ulster is counted to make the race outcome depend on contested ballots (of which there are hundreds).  So I suspect it will be weeks of legal maneuvering before we know for sure who won and who controls the NY State Senate.  

Do you know
how many are outstanding in Ulster?  Is New Paltz in the district?  I wonder if a significant share of the outstanding votes are from students (and that is definitely not a conservative campus).

36, Republican, NJ-11  

[ Parent ]
Keep in mind with New Paltz...
Many of the students and residents vote Green Party, especially on the local level.

24, MA-07, Rockefeller Republican. Visit me at http://twitter.com/polibeast

[ Parent ]
Ulster Co -3561 absentees and 1099 affidavit ballots
In answer to your question there are 3561 absentee ballots and 1099 affidavit ballots cast in Ulster County that pertain to NY State Senate District 46 (these numbers continually seem to change). However, not all these ballots will be counted.  In 2 other counties in the district, Montgomery and Albany, about 40% of the affidavits were tossed by the County BOEs.  In another county in the district, Schenectady, about 3% of absentee ballots were tossed by the County BOE.  Of course more ballots will be challenged during the count in Ulster on Monday and Tuesday.  According to a writer for the Schenectady Daily Gazette, in the other counties in the district about 20% of absentees were contested, mainly during the vote count I assume. So although I think it is likely Republican Amedore will still have a (reduced)lead after Ulster is counted, the extent to which absentee/affidavit ballots are tossed or challenged in the County makes the situation murky.  That's why I think this race will go into "extra innings" because of all the challenged ballots, regardless of who comes out on top when Ulster completes its count.

Also, someone brought up Green Party support in the District but only 14 absentee ballots were Green Party ballots.  In fact, if you add up Ulster absentee ballots for parties supporting Amedore (Rep,Conser,Independ) compared to parties supporting Tkaczyk (Dem,Green, Working Fam),there is only a difference of 339 in Tkacyzk's favor.  There are also 916 absentee ballots with no party affiliation and 8 "other" (of which 2 are Libertarian although there is no Libertarian candidate).  So considering Amedore's 920 vote lead, the absentee party affiliation numbers aren't so bad for him (assuming people vote for the candidate their party endorsed).  I have no party breakdown on affidavit ballots, although I would suspect it would be more favorable to Tkaczyk than the absentees (affidavit ballots tend to be bad news for Republicans).


[ Parent ]
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