726 DAYS UNTIL ELECTION DAY
November 5, 2008
MICHIGAN REPUBLICANS made a valiant effort to fend off a national ‘anti-Republican’ tsunami. I can’t say strongly enough how proud I am of the individual efforts by so many of our Republican grass-root supporters. As I traveled the state this last week on our ‘Fight to the Finish Tour,’ there was story after story of creative door-to-door blitzes, localized calling rallies, and candidates fighting hard against long odds. Michigan Republicans rallied as a team to fight to the finish, regardless of what pundits and others said or did.
While others gave up on us, Michigan Republicans never gave up. Thousands of volunteers came out in the final weeks to fight for our values and our beliefs. It is my fervent belief that we are the right party with the right ideas. I do not believe these results indicate a repudiation of those ideas. Unfortunately, America lost faith in our ability to deliver on those ideas. In this environment, there was very little to be done on a state or local level to ride out the storm.
Our challenge going forward is to renew the faith of the American people in our party. We are the party that represents the best hopes of America. Unfortunately, some of our elected leaders broke faith with the American people, on so many of our Republican core issues, that Republicans lost the ability to appeal to middle class families. On issues of national security, spending, taxes, and values, too many Republicans have not kept their promise to America. But by returning to those fundamentals, we can once again be a majority party. It is more then just tactics and mechanics. It is about believing in and living your principles.
I believe that when our party once again adheres to our core values and beliefs, and can again demonstrate to America that we can be trusted on those issues, we will make a comeback – stronger than ever.
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KISUMU, Kenya | By Jeffrey Gettleman
Call it redemption.
This town, in the epicenter of Kenya’s Obamaland — the same area where Barack Obama’s father was from and where some of his cousins, half-brothers and a very gregarious 86-year-old step-grandmother still live — exploded into cheers when the news broke that Mr. Obama had won the presidency.
Thousands of people sang, danced, blew whistles, honked horns, hugged, kissed and thumped on drums — all down the same streets where not so long ago huge flames of protest had raged.
“Who needs a passport?” people yelled. “We’re going to America!”
It was sweetness on many levels. A black man in the White House. A half-Kenyan at the helm of the most powerful country on the planet. And a fair election, which Kenyans have learned is nothing to take for granted.
For that guy elected yesterday, a puzzle is how Detroit’s auto makers should be reshaped by the hand of government — with a taxpayer bailout or by letting bankruptcy judges take charge? Both fixes have their fans, yet neither would really solve the industry’s essential problem.
Here’s a better idea, one you haven’t heard before, involving a contemporary curse word seldom used in the debate over the auto makers: "deregulation."
No, Washington wouldn’t have to find the courage to amend the labor laws to end the Detroit Three’s captivity by the UAW. Nor would it have to repeal the CAFE rules that are now a sacred cow. It would simply have to allow auto makers to meet the fuel economy standards with any mix of autos made in domestic or overseas factories.
By KEN THOMAS
DETROIT (AP) — Republican Reps. Joe Knollenberg and Tim Walberg are the first congressional incumbents from Michigan to lose in more than a decade, swept up in Barack Obama’s Michigan rout.
Democrats Gary Peters and Mark Schauer benefited from Obama’s double-digit win against John McCain and concerns about the economy that turned voters against the two incumbents. The two wins give Democrats control of the state’s congressional delegation next year for the first time since 2002.
"I think it was a perfect storm," said Knollenberg, who had faced little opposition since his election to Congress in 1992 — until this year.
By PATRICK HEALY
Even as the Democrats won control of Congress in 2006, Karl Rove kept faith with his cause, insisting that a permanent Republican governing majority was still viable. If President-elect Barack Obama has shredded that idea, he also must grapple with whether his ambition to redraw the political map leads to a fleeting or fundamental realignment.
The last two Democratic presidents, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, claimed that they had reshaped electoral politics by recapturing battlegrounds like Georgia, Missouri and Ohio with promises of governing from the center. Both came up short rather quickly: Mr. Carter’s declaration of a post-Watergate realignment ended with one term and the loss of the Senate in 1980, while Mr. Clinton’s party lost Congress after two years and watched Republicans reclaim the White House in 2000.
Mr. Obama will soon face an American people seeking to have hopes met and change confirmed as he addresses an array of problems no incoming president has faced since Franklin D. Roosevelt. And Democrats will expect, in short order, a plan for withdrawing one to two brigades a month from Iraq, a major economic stimulus package, and a repeal of President Bush’s tax cuts.
I was never a fan of Barack Obama’s bipartisanship routine. His famous plea at the 2004 Democratic convention for an end to the red state/blue state divide, I thought, sounded noble but overlooked the obvious: that a unilateral display of brotherly love from the Democratic Party had no chance of actually ending the culture wars. The reason those wars have raged ever since 1968 was because they help Republicans win elections. For Democrats to wish that they would please stop was about as useful as asking Genghis Khan to a tea party.
What would beat the culture wars was always clear from the pseudo-populist language in which they were framed. In place of a showdown between a folksy "middle America" and a snobbish "liberal elite," Democrats needed to offer the real deal — the conflict between a public that craves fairness and an economic system that enables the predatory.
Acknowledging class was always difficult for "New Democrats" — it was second-wave, it was divisive — but 2008 made retro politics cool again. Watching the Dow get hacked down, seeing the investment banking industry collapse, hearing about the lavish rewards won by the corporate officers who brought this ruin down on us — all these things combined to make a certain Depressionesque fury the unavoidable flavor of the year. When your mortgage is under water and your neighbors are being laid off, the need to take up the sword against arrogant stem-cell scientists becomes considerably less urgent.
By EAMON JAVERS
As U.S. television networks called the presidential election for Barack Obama at 11 p.m. on the East Coast and cued up celebrations in Chicago’s Grant Park and across the country, Japanese stock traders in the middle of their Wednesday afternoon workday had a very different reaction.
In trading in the half hour after the victory announcement, the Japanese Nikkei stock market declined steeply, falling from nearly 9,450 to below 9,250. Still, the index was up nearly 2 percent for the day on the strength of a rally earlier in the trading day.
Reuters quoted Tomomi Yamashita, a fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management, who noted that Obama’s tax proposals might have been behind the initial Japanese market reaction.
By RONALD BLUM
DANA POINT, Calif. (AP) – Looking ahead to the possibility of an Obama administration, some baseball agents already are thinking about trying to beat a possible tax increase for their well-paid clients.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has proposed increasing the top federal income tax rate from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, where it was under the Clinton administration. If signing bonuses are paid before Jan. 1, they likely would be taxed at the current rate and would not be subject to any tax increase.
"It’s something we’ll consider," agent Craig Landis said Tuesday at the general managers’ meetings. "Besides the federal issue, we have a state issue in some cases, anyway, where it’s advantageous to take signing bonuses because of the state income tax. A Florida resident can take the signing bonus and not have to pay his team’s state tax."
By JEFFREY SCOTT SHAPIRO
Earlier this year, 12,000 people in San Francisco signed a petition in support of a proposition on a local ballot to rename an Oceanside sewage plant after George W. Bush. The proposition is only one example of the classless disrespect many Americans have shown the president.
According to recent Gallup polls, the president’s average approval rating is below 30% — down from his 90% approval in the wake of 9/11. Mr. Bush has endured relentless attacks from the left while facing abandonment from the right.
This is the price Mr. Bush is paying for trying to work with both Democrats and Republicans. During his 2004 victory speech, the president reached out to voters who supported his opponent, John Kerry, and said, "Today, I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust."
When it comes to fundraising, organization and ground game, we Republicans got whipped.
Now, Republicans may criticize Sen. Barack Obama for breaking his promise to accept public funding and play by the established rules, but that doesn’t take us too far. We shouldn’t kid ourselves: Democrats breaking this precedent had nothing to do with their campaign-finance principles, and everything to do with the fact they could afford to. Mr. McCain could never have competed this fall without the federal funds and, in the end, Mr. Obama simply smothered McCain, outspending him in battleground states by three-to-one, with plenty left over to compete in even Republican-leaning areas.
For years, Republicans outworked Democrats at the polls. Democrats would have opulent fund-raisers with celebrities and would bask in the glow of a lapdog media. Republicans would go out on Election Day and beat them on the ground game. Their guys wrote checks; our guys wrote letters to the editor. They knocked our values; we knocked on doors. They spoke for the people; we actually got out and spoke with the people. Conservative organizations outside the official party apparatus understood their role in a large coalition: organize, energize, and mobilize. And then we won.
Which section of the U.S. Constitution gives the federal government the power to bail out banks? If you don’t know, it could be because no constitutional authority exists for such an action. It is all too common for both Congress and the executive branch to ignore that the Constitution limits what they can and cannot do.
The United States is not a parliamentary democracy; it is a constitutional federal republic, giving basic rights to the people and limiting the powers of government. America’s Founding Fathers understood that simple majoritarian democracy could trample the rights of minorities and could lead to tyranny. One of the major reasons for the relative success of the American republic is the difficulty of making significant changes in the government structure and policies. Many find this frustrating, but it allows momentary passions to cool and a more deliberative process to take place. As a result, fewer mistakes are made, in contrast to many parliamentary democracies. Because it was more difficult to put socialist schemes in place in the U.S., such as the nationalization of major industries, the people observed the failure of such programs in parliamentary countries, which diminished the enthusiasm for doing it in America.