In a symbol of the growing anti-Washington
sentiment across the country, last week’s Primary Elections in Pennsylvania, Kentucky
and Arkansas produced results that have the Washington establishment nervous. As each polit-
ical party attempts to analyze the results in order to prepare for the mid-term election in November,
one thing is certain: It’s an anti-Washington,
anti-establishment year, and candidates from either party with close with ties to the dramatic growth in the size of government had better be prepared for an angry electorate.
In the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary five-term senator Arlen Specter, who switched parties last year after 30 years as Pennsylvania’s Republican Senator, lost his primary election to second term congressman, Rep. Joe Sestak. Pundits are crediting his loss to the fact that the Democratic base had spent a generation voting against Arlen Specter, and old habits were hard to change. Sestak, a retired three star Admiral, also is believed to have successfully tapped into the anti-Washington fever that is even affecting Democrats.
In the race to replace the late Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa), a pro-life, pro-gun Democrat, Mark Critz who had served as an aid to the late Congressman, defeated Republican businessman Tim Burns. Critz made it clear in the campaign that he doesn’t support everything the Obama wants to do, including the President’s healthcare plan. Critz ended up winning easily in a heavily Democratic district which has been voting more and more conservatively in recent elections.
Earlier this month at their convention in Utah, Republicans dumped incumbent and TARP supporter Sen. Bob Bennett. Bennett, who would be considered at least fairly right of center, was targeted by Tea Party activists. He was also criticized for having earlier co-sponsored a health care bill that had some similarities to ObamaCare.
In a race for an open Senate seat in Kentucky, Rand Paul defeated Trey Grayson, Kentucky’s secretary of state, by a 59% to 35% margin in Tuesday’s Republican Primary. Paul was able to capitalize on Tea Party unhappiness in Kentucky over national policies coming out of Washington. In this election, Grayson was seen as the candidate of the Republican establishment and Paul, an ophthalmologist and son of maverick GOP Congressman Ron Paul, was the anti-Washington darling. However, despite his primary victory, Paul is a first time candidate and rookie candidates often make unforced errors. His recent statement regarding the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 is a case in point. Instead of building on his primary election momentum, he has spent the last few days explaining his misstatement.
Finally in Arkansas, incumbent Democratic Senator Blanch Lincoln was unable to secure a majority of the vote in a multi-candidate field and has been forced into a run-off campaign to again become the democratic Senate candidate for Arkansas. Lincoln became a target of the right for her support of the Obama healthcare program and a target of the left because she has attempted to run more to the middle in order to represent where the voters in her state are politically.
Senator Bennett was asked to explain his ouster by the 3500 delegates attending the Utah Republican Convention. A reflective Bennett stated, “I’ll tell you what is new,” and “there is this thing called the federal government. It’s big and intimidating, and it’s out of control. And whoever you are, and whatever your title, or your history, or your individual voting record, if you are part of it, you find yourself having to defend it. And sometimes, it just looks indefensible to them.”
Question for this week_________
Are the results of Tuesday’s Primary Elections, which saw some incumbents lose their seats and others seriously challenged, an indicator of real voter disenchantment for this year’s mid- term election?
By Bob Franken
So many questions: Will Arlen Specter switch back to the Republicans? Will this setback cramp his style when it comes to asking really inane questions this summer at the Judiciary Committee hearings for the season’s Supreme Court nominee? I guarantee you, we’re going to miss his loopy musing.
Moving right along: Does Super Tuesday winner Rand Paul run as an “R” for Republican or as a “T” for Tea in November’s Kentucky Derby? Does he now plan to kiss the hand of godfather Mitch McConnell or continue to tell McConnell just what it is he can kiss?
As for the Democrats, will Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama promise Democratic candidates they will not campaign for them and, in fact, deny knowing them?
This is not the year of the establishment it seems. The sad irony is that it’s the real establishment that stands to maintain its absolute power as all us dupes fight among ourselves.
It’s the bankers and investment rulers who benefit from the anti-regulation fervor, by sapping the strength out of those trying to thwart the loopholes that suck the juices out finance reform legislation.
It’s the energy behemoths who will be able to ride out the storm on the oil-fouled seas they created by their greedy carelessness, smug in the knowledge they can evade true financial accountability or delay it in the tangle of our courts.
It’s the insurance companies who will maintain their stranglehold if the political Regressives succeed with their crusade to repeal what little health care reform that was achieved.
It seems like every election in this country has the same catchword: “Change”. Same theme, different campaign. Each and every time the new Mr. Smiths (or Ms. Smiths) come to Washington, the first thing that happens is their fire breathing is quickly extinguished.
Right now, we are fixated on the Tea Partiers who laudably want to disrupt all the D.C. sweetheart deals. But these entanglements are deeply embedded and far more twisted than even those derivatives the rich are so desperately trying to preserve. The complexities always seem to make them impervious to angry sound bites and simple minded fear mongering.
So the real question is whether what we’re seeing is anything but just another political gimmick which becomes passé as we in media find some other story arc. Probably not, but it’s fun to pretend.
Bob Franken is a columnist for North Star National. Reprinted with permission from North Star National.
obama agenda rejected in early polls
By Mark Luedtke
Starting in earnest last summer, when Democrats first tried to force Obamacare down our throats, the American people overwhelmingly rejected the President’s agenda, making it clear at rallies and townhalls and through letters to Congress and to editors that they didn’t want any more bailouts. They used every opportunity to communicate they didn’t want government to seize more control over their health care, they didn’t want new, oppressive taxes in any form
including cap and trade, and that they wanted fiscal sanity from our government. But Obama poked a stick in the people’s eye, dramatically increasing spending and doubling the national debt in just one year. Democrats passed cap and trade in the House, introduced it in the Senate, and forced Obamacare on us using parliamentary tricks. Obama empaneled a bipartisan debt commission that’s a stalking horse for a European-style value-added tax that, if passed, will put the final nail in America’s coffin.
Better late than never, Americans are livid and are taking their revenge at the polls. First, they elected Republican Chris Christie as governor to make dramatic spending cuts in Democrat-dominated New Jersey, and Republican Bob McDonnell easily won the governor’s office in Virginia. Next, the people of ultra-liberal Massachusetts elected Republican Scott Brown to replace Sen-ator Edward Kennedy. Obama campaigned for the Democrat in all these races and lost.
This anger isn’t limited to conservatives. Fourteen-term Democrat Congressman Alan Mollohan was defeated in his West Virginia primary. The Obama agenda is so despised that liberals are firing incumbent Democrats in primaries.;
A prominent scientist and global warming skeptic won the Republican primary in liberal Oregon. Small-government conservative Rand Paul, son of libertarian champion Ron Paul, won a landslide victory against the Republicans’ establishment candidate for senator in Kentucky despite the endorsements of Senate Minority Leader and fellow Kentuckian Mitch McConnell, and Dick Cheney, Rudy Giuliani and Rick Santorum. Pennsylvania Democrats had tried to defeat Arlen Specter for 30 years. Showing how out of touch he was with the people after 30 years partying in Rome, Specter gave them their opportunity on a silver platter by switching parties, and he seemed surprised when they fired him. Having campaigned for Specter, Obama is now 0 for 4. He’s the kiss of death. In the race Democrats point to as a success, a Democrat barely won in a western Pennsylvania congressional special election in a district with twice as many Democrats as Republicans by running against Obamacare and cap and trade while supporting gun rights and lower taxes.
Voters in Utah sent the most encouraging signal in decades when they ousted Republican incumbent, Senator Robert Bennett. Jonah Goldberg calls Bennett “reliably conservative” which means he reliably votes for bigger budgets, more welfare, more warfare and more debt every year. With supposed friends like this, who needs enemies? He voted for TARP and supported a Republican version of Obamacare. This earned him the respect of his fellow Washington aristocrats of both parties and liberals in general. The people of Utah saw it differently, but only after 18 years of damage. They finally realized that like nearly all Republicans, Bennett was a just a Democrat-lite.
Democrats stand for something -ever-increasing government power. To them, every problem’s solution requires government to seize more power. The inevitable result is more and bigger problems and a steady march toward communism and collapse. Republicans don’t stand for anything -they position themselves to be slightly less bad than Democrats. If Democrats propose a $3 trillion budget, Republicans will propose $2.9 trillion. If Democrats propose a 40 percent income tax rate, Republicans will propose 37 percent. When Democrats proposed Obamacare, Republicans countered with Obamacare-lite. The differences between the two parties are only a small matter of degree. Republicans only pretend to support smaller government when they’re in the minority and it’s politically convenient. In power, they too expand the size and scope of government. As Democrats drag America towards communism, Republicans push with them. We’re on the cusp of suffering that endgame. The firing of Bennett shows that the conservatives of Utah demand we change direction toward freedom.
Democrats and the leftists dominating the media and academia understand this; that’s why they’re terrified of the tea parties. The tea parties are ousting their big-government Republican partners and replacing them with small government candidates, threatening to reverse America’s century-long march towards communism right when they are so close to realizing their dream. Because Rand Paul is the tea party favorite and he’s running for senator, Democrats attacked him after his victory. Trying to paint him and the tea party as racist, Rachel Maddow pressed Paul on whether or not he supported the Civil Rights Act. Instead of answering with principle that since portions of the Civil Rights Act unconstitutionally institutionalized bigotry, interfered with private property rights, and dictated to the states, he would not have supported it, he stumbled, looked embarrassed and eventually said he would have supported it. The system is corrupting him because he’s not principled like his father, and he’s not even in office yet.
Thus this small government push is too little, too late. No matter how badly Obama’s policies drag down our economy, voters will reelect well over 400 incumbents. The same Republican and Democrat power brokers will be in charge. Small-government freshmen will be corrupted or washed out of the system. At best we’ll see a temporary slowdown in the growth of government, but that won’t save us. We have to dramatically reduce the size and scope of government if America as we know it is to survive.
Mark Luedtke is an electrical engineer with a degree from the University of Cincinnati and currently works for a Dayton attorney.