The Democrats Open the Gubernatorial Clown Car

One thing I’ve mentioned in this space before is that while I frequently despair of Republicans on the national level, there has been a surge of Republican governors who are competent, conservative and effective. This can not, however, be said of their Democratic counterparts. Last week, I countered the assertion that Jerry Brown is the Best. Governor. Ever. But two more races are drawing attention to the complete dearth of ideas that is the Democratic Party.

The first is in New Jersey, where Chris Christie looks ready to easily win a second term. Christie is winning because of his first term performance and popularity in the state. But if I were a Democrat, I would be embarrassed by the opposition. I showed last week how Buono completely muffed a softball question in the debate. Her performance has been so bad, however, that the Star-Ledger spends half of its governor endorsement slamming Christie as a fraud only to endorse him because Buono is so awful:

Begin with education. Buono’s close alliance with the teachers union is a threat to the progress Christie is making in cities such as Newark and Camden. She is hostile to charter schools, which now educate nearly 1 in 4 kids in Newark.

Buono opposes the Newark teacher contract, which freezes the pay of the worst teachers and grants bonuses to the best. She wants a traditional union deal, in which no distinction is made. She would return control of the schools to Newark, which would spell the end of Superintendent Cami Anderson’s promising stewardship.

Her critique of Christie centers on property taxes and jobs, but she lacks a convincing strategy to do any better herself. She has a long list of expensive plans, from universal preschool to more aid for public colleges. But she can’t name a single spending cut beyond the traditional promise to attack “fraud and abuse.”

(I think it’s hilarious that the Star-Ledger, in criticizing Buono, inadvertently highlights Christie’s achievements. It’s like they can’t quite bring themselves to admit he’s been pretty good.)

But it’s worse. The other race is in Virginia. This should be a gimme for the Democrats. The McDonnell Administration has been hit by scandals and the state, thanks to the exploding public sector in the DC/NoVa area, has been trending blue. The Republican nominee is Ken Cuccinelli, a deeply divisive attorney general who only won the nomination by changing the rules. So the Democrats looked around and nominated … you won’t believe this … Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe is such an awful candidate that the Richmond Times-Dispatch decided to endorse … no one:

The Democrat stumbles when he proposes major spending hikes, which he claims can be financed by the federal dollars the state would receive by expanding Medicaid. He offers an easy answer to a tough question … On energy generally, McAuliffe has spun like a top and now supports items he once opposed, such as the exploration for energy sources off Virginia’s shores … McAuliffe styles himself a businessman and entrepreneur. He inhabits the crossroads where the public and private sectors intersect and sometimes collide. His experience with GreenTech does not generate confidence. He located the plant in Mississippi, which is not known for its social enlightenment. The company has not lived up to expectations. If it eventually does, no credit will accrue to McAuliffe, for he has, he says, stepped away from it. He is not the reincarnation of Henry Ford. His ignorance of state government is laughable and makes Rick Perry, the notorious governor of Texas, look like a Founding Father.

I’ve watched this race for a while and McAuliffe crosses me as someone who thinks it is basically his turn. He’s been involved in politics for a while, dammit, and he thinks he deserves this. He doesn’t know the issues and doesn’t seem terribly interested in learning about them. He doesn’t know Virginia government and doesn’t seem terribly interested in learning about it. And he’s the best the Virginia Democrats could come up with. Seriously.

The T-D comes close to endorsing Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis but shies away because of his lack of experience. I find that spineless. I endorse Sarvis and if I still lived in Virginia, would vote for him. What he lacks in experience, he makes up for in not being a buffoon. As it is, McAuliffe is leading in the polls. Whatever failings Sarvis may have, he’s got be better than McAullife. If you think McDonnell has had scandals, just wait until that jackanapes is in the Governor’s mansion.

Next year may even more amazing. The Democrats want to run Wendy Davis for governor of Texas. You may remember her from the abortion filibuster earlier this year as well as … well, nothing. Davis’s only real claim to fame is filibustering a bill that had the support of two-thirds of Texans. Whatever you may think about abortion, this is not an issue that is going to win Democrat the Texas state house. In my own state, Tom Corbett has become deeply unpopular but it’s not clear that the Democrats will nominate anyone in 2014 who has more credibility than Shakes the Clown.

The Republicans at the national level have been criticized for being out of ideas. But I think that applies even doubly so to Democrats at the state level. They seem to think that because they see Republicans as evil monsters, everyone else does too and all they need to is prop someone up who can spew liberal bullshit long enough to win. They’re in for a rude shock in the next year.

I was wondering when someone would finally point this out…

And it looks like Buzzfeed has done the deed. Say what you want about Romney, but the guy was dead on. I think all the lame asses that pilloried this man and called him out of touch need to line up to kiss his ass. From the piece:

Ten months after Mitt Romney shuffled off the national stage in defeat — consigned, many predicted, to a fate of instant irrelevance and permanent obscurity — Republicans are suddenly celebrating the presidential also-ran as a political prophet.

From his widely mocked warnings about a hostile Russia to his adamant opposition to the increasingly unpopular implementation of Obamacare, the ex-candidate’s canon of campaign rhetoric now offers cause for vindication — and remorse — to Romney’s friends, supporters, and former advisers.

Yes, and he also got Detroit, the employment problems, the education bubble, immigration, the 47%, the disaster in the ME because of the Obama admin’s policy or lack there off, and much more, but especially the tyrannical Obama administration and its over reach of power, totally right. And they demonized him for every one of these things too. Shows you that the truth isn’t something the left welcomes. I wonder if the idiots in the LSM that did the dirty work for Team Black Jesus ever feel like they were had? Sycophants rarely care. As long as they get that ass to kiss, I guess

We need a Romney “Miss me yet” poster, I tell ya.

The Dubious Menace of Voter ID

Voter ID laws have been a point of heavy contention over the last few years. Republicans think that Democrats are only winning because of massive voter fraud and want strict ID laws. Democrats think ID laws are a conspiracy to disenfranchise poor people, minorities and students. It sure would be nice to have some data to constrain their imaginations.

Oh, look!

North Carolina is considering a strict new voter ID law, so North Carolina’s Secretary of State has conducted an analysis estimating how many voters have a state-issued photo ID. This isn’t necessarily new; states have done these sorts of analyses before. But North Carolina’s analysis overcomes many of the limitations that reduced the usefulness of previous assessments, like Pennsylvania’s. Other efforts required an exact match between voter registration and DMV databases; North Carolina expanded their matching criteria to allow for slight variations in names and data entry errors. North Carolina didn’t just look at how many registered voters didn’t have voter ID, they also looked at how many voters from the 2012 general election didn’t have voter ID. That’s very important, since it’s easy to imagine that voters without a car, or the elderly and the young would be especially likely to stay home on Election Day. And since North Carolina tracks voter registration by race and party, we have a pretty clear idea of how they would have voted.

The long and short is this. About 300,000 eligible voters don’t have ID. And about 138,000 people who voted in North Carolina in 2012 didn’t have ID. Of the voters without ID about half were non-white (compared to 30% generally) and 58% were Democrat (compared to 43%). So the impact was stronger on traditionally Democratic voters. However, even if all the people who didn’t have ID were denied the ability to vote — and in actual voter ID situation, that number would have been far less than 138,000 — the impact would have been minimal:

As a result, Obama’s share of the vote in North Carolina might have dropped from 48.3 to 48 percent, expanding Romney’s margin of victory from 92,000 to about 120,000 votes. 25,000 to 30,000 votes could flip a very close election, but nothing more. In 2012, no state was so close.

That’s Nate Cohn at the New Republic, by the way, who opposes voter ID laws and thinks they are a conspiracy to disenfranchise Democrats and steal elections. But even he is forced to acknowledge that impact would be minimal even in a state that has a large minority population and lots of students. Moreover, no voter ID law was being enforced. If it were, the number of ID-less voters would have been lower as the state and the parties made pushes to get IDs for eligible voters.

The wild claims of stolen elections were always a bit ridiculous. If massive vote fraud were occurring, we would expect participation rates to be much higher in inner cities instead of much lower. But so were the hysterical claims that elections were being stolen by Republicans. The simple fact is that 95% of the population has some form of acceptable identification.

Now I oppose the idea of 138,000 people being denied the right to vote if they are entitled to it. I think any voter ID laws needs to come with provisions to make it easy for legitimate voters to obtain ID and exercise their rights. But this study indicates we can back away from the abyss and move the debate and the law to more reasonable terms. In my opinion, those reasonable terms are requiring ID while making it easy for voting citizens to get them (including provisional ballots for those who forget or lose their ID). It may not swing many elections. But it will diffuse an issues that has dragged on for far too long.

The Reluctant Candidate


Over the Christmas break of 2010, Mitt Romney and his family took an internal poll on whether he should run for president once more. Twelve family members cast ballots. Ten said no. One of the 10 was Mitt Romney himself.

The doubts that the former Massachusetts governor harbored before ultimately launching his second unsuccessful bid for the presidency are one of several attention-grabbing details in “Collision 2012,” the newest book on the 2012 campaign.

Mitt Romney had other reasons to think that not running might be the wiser choice. Winning as a moderate from Massachusetts who happened to be Mormon was always going to be difficult. “A lot of the thinking on the part of my brothers and dad was, ‘I’m not sure I can win a primary given those dynamics.’” Tagg Romney said. The prospective candidate also knew the sheer physical and family toll another campaign would take. “He’s a private person and, push comes to shove, he wants to spend time with his family and enjoy his time with them,” his son said. “Even up until the day before he made the announcement, he was looking for excuses to get out of it. If there had been someone who he thought would have made a better president than he, he would gladly have stepped aside.”

In an interview with Balz that’s placed at the very end of “Collision 2012,” Romney explained that he ultimately decided to run when he saw the other (leaving-something-to-be-desired) candidates in the GOP field.

“I didn’t think that any one of them had a good chance of defeating the president,” he told Balz, “and in some cases I thought that they lacked the experience and perspective necessary to do what was essential to get the country on track.”

As you can imagine, gloating liberals are piling all over Romney with such clever lines as “he lost an election in his own family.” But this actually makes me much more sympathetic to Romney. It shows a good political awareness. It confirms what I long suspected — that he didn’t like the limelight and was much more comfortable with family, friends and the numerous good causes he’s involved it.

But more importantly, it shows that he was motivated by something other than his own ego. Romney didn’t want to run. But when he looked at the GOP field, he realized what a catastrophe loomed for the GOP (if we were lucky) and potentially the country (if we weren’t). The GOP field was so lackluster in 2012 that Rick Santorum looked like the sane one. It included Herman Cain, who had zero political experience and mistook a campaign slogan for a platform. It included Newt Gingrich, whose best skills were debating himself and abandoning wives. It included Ron Paul who, as much as I like him, is totally unsuited to be President. It included Michele Bachmann, who was just fucking nuts.

A handful of decent candidates eventually emerged but Rick Perry quickly swallowed his own foot up the waist and, in my opinion, was running more because people wanted him to than any genuine interest. Jon Huntsman was my favorite, but never went anywhere.

As bad as election 2012 was for the GOP, I still think that Romney was the best of the nominees. Maybe someone who really wanted it would have done better. But I think that had the GOP really nominated someone like Gingrich or Bachmann, it would have been one of the most epic political defeats of all time, with the GOP likely losing the House. In the end, Obama’s narrative — “it was on fire when I got here” — won the day. But I still think Romney would not have been a bad President — certainly not as awful as the liberals like to pretend he would have been. And the fact that he ran reluctantly and only because he felt the country needed him makes me a little sadder than he didn’t win. Not for him: I have difficulty drumming up much sympathy for multi-millionaires with wonderful families and great lives. I feel sad because we could have used a little less narcissism in Washington.

I bet you they all voted too!

And you know who these people voted for.

Red-faced state officials admitted last night they are trying to find as many as 19,000 missing welfare recipients — after the controversial taxpayer-funded voter registration pitches the state mailed to their addresses last summer were sent back marked “Return to sender, address unknown.”

The Department of Transitional Assistance contacted 477,000 welfare recipients who were on their books from June 1, 2011, to May 31, 2012, after settling a voter-rights lawsuit brought by Democratic-leaning activist groups that demanded an aggressive voter information effort by the state. That $274,000 push by DTA resulted in 31,000 new voter registrations — but revealed an alarming number of welfare recipients whose residency in Massachusetts can’t be confirmed.

“DTA is in the process of contacting those clients for which a forwarding address was prov­ided to verify their addresses, as a change of address might impact their eligibility,” a statement from the agency said. DTA critics expressed astonishment at the agency’s faulty address records — which were only uncovered by accident — saying it’s further evidence that the electronic benefits system sorely needs reform.

Yah, sure the problem is their addresses. Heh. I wonder how good their healthcare records are. Masshole tax payers must be loving this stuff.