Monday, April 7, 2014

Screaming Baby Lineup

Charlie Madigan's Screaming Baby

Faux News Blog: Obama-Hating Fools

I simply don't understand why so many Republicans have decided their opponent in next November's midterm election is President Obama. Oh, it might just work because the man's numbers are sliding and people have always either loved or hated him. But one has to wonder what it means to present yourself as "anti-everything-Obama" when he's never running again and really isn't the issue. 

What is the issue?

Take a look at some polling results from my respected friends at, the collector of all the numbers the numbers collectors collect (simple, huh?). What you see in there when you look at Congress is that the Democrats and the Republicans are about flat even on the sample ballot question, which is one of those "If the election were held today..." things, about 45 percent in the U.S. Senate for each group in the last Quinnipiac University Poll, and a two point edge for Democrats (which doesn't mean anything at all) in the House contests.

The folks over at Gallup might have a handy explanation for why Obama hatred may be on the rise on the Republican side. That, too, is explained by some numbers. The president's approval rating sucks, at 42 percent (with disproval at 53 percent). That puts him just about where his predecessor, George Bush, not a favorite of many at the end of his two terms, was standing at just about this time.

It might just be that all two term presidents in this picky, unforgiving era trip over that polling bump in their last years in office. But I don't believe it's accurate to point to Obama's perceived failures, personality flaws, race, failure to unleash his armies against Russia over Crimea, or anything else as deciding what happens in November.

It actually could be people like this guy, Sheldon Adelson, will have more to do with it than what people think about President Obama.


Sheldon Adelson

As the Supremes said just a couple of days ago in an opinion that had many a right thinking Democrat and liberal barfing in the vitreous china, money is just like talking!

The Constitution is very picky about protecting language, and if money is just like talking, you can't put many limits at all on what people say with their dollars in the political process.

And Lordy, Sheldon Adelson knows how to spread money around. The Las Vegas mogul (I won't call him an oligarch because we don't live in an oligarchy...yet) pumped over $90 million in the process in 2012 and lost and lost and lost just like the eager fools who toss their hard earned cash at his slots in Vegas (He is a casino mogul, which somehow makes him seem seamy, a description I know is not fair, but there you are! Journalists are starting to be viewed that way, too. But they have neither the influence nor the money any more.)

But look, he is a passionate conservative and he has $40 billion in his pocket by one recent measure. That's big. Big enough to bankroll the whole Republican Party, which he may well be able to do now that the lid on what you can pile up in the pot has been removed.

You might think his influence would be minimal in a Congressional election because, well, 435 is a lot of seats to compete for (and a third of the Senate, too). But that's not what it's about.

Almost everyone who is running again, and that is almost everyone, will be handily reelected because of a strange algorithm that allows people to despise Congress as an entity (and even each party) but keep on supporting their own local character. Some of that is good, because there are some solid members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. But not all of them. Most of them are surfing on their incumbency, which is like owning a cash register that fills itself, magically, every couple of years if you beg enough.

And there's no shortage of begging. Just look at how the Republican Presidential wanna-bes flocked to the desert a couple of weeks back to solicit Adelson's support. It's like somehow, the "man of the people" ambition that used to define even staunch Republicans has been transformed into a "man of a really rich man" ambition.

There's nothing like being embraced by someone who has $40 billion. Admittedly, it makes the candidates look like street walkers, but they have shed their shyness about that already.

Do candidates seem like this to you?

What can he do with it?

I don't know because that is up to him. He can give huge wads to the Republican Party and the party can then use it in November to buy cars for everyone who can haul at least five other voters to the polls. I know that's extreme, but we are living in extreme times. He can sponsor lots of ads suggesting Democrats are Marxists in masquerade who are eager to take all the money from everyone (him, too!) and redistribute it.

He can do what he wants, in fact. It's why we have a great and awful country. Money continues to speak loudly, you know?

As with every Midterm election, this one will be all about turnout. Remember 2010? Turnout of the Obama haters gave the Republicans huge advances. Also, money translates into turnout. Very mechanical, not at all ideological and central to deciding who will win.

Don't blame it on the president. Blame it on the process.

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