Blog Open Thread–What you think the Midterm Elections Mean

We are especially interested in your take on the local races where you live, as you will have more knowledge of them than the rest of us.


Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, State Government

61 comments on “Blog Open Thread–What you think the Midterm Elections Mean

  1. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    Sadly, it was the moderates, ironically the moderate Democrats who weren’t all that thrilled or even voted for the President’s big agenda item, that bore the brunt of frustration and are now out of office. South Dakota’s US House representative, a pretty conservative Democrat who did not vote for the Obamacare or TARP II bill, got washed out of office by a Tea partier. I think without those more moderate voices, I think it means gridlock in Washington for the next 2 years.

  2. Kendall Harmon says:

    I felt about this election sort of the reverse of the previous one–the Democrats definitely deserve to lose and the Republicans definitely didn’t deserve to win in many ways.

    I think it may be better the Republicans didn’t win Senate in the sense that they are less likely to overreach or let it go to their heads. We’ll see.

    I am delighted that Tim Scott got elected in the House of Rep. from South Carolina, the first black Republican to be elected since Reconstruction. We need more people in both parties outside the box who will shake up the status quo.

  3. Katherine says:

    Here in North Carolina, Renee Ellmers (R) has defeated Bob Etheridge for Congress, although it’s very close and there will probably be a recount.

    The big news in NC is that Republicans will control both houses of the state legislature for the first time in 112 years. Couldn’t come at a better time, because they will now control Congressional redistricting following the census. Look for more Republicans in Congress from NC in 2012; current districts are gerrymandered to ensure Democrats win.

  4. SC blu cat lady says:

    I am not sure what to think as I did not bother to vote. That is how depressing I found the choices. Now that the republicans control the US house and the democrats control the US senate with a Democrat pres., I expect Gridlock and not much legislation of any value to come out of Washington for the next two years- not so different than before the election.

    I have voted for Jim DeMint every time he has run since I moved to SC in 1996. This time, I did not. Why? because I figured he would win and the rest of the choices especially the two for Governor of SC were not enough reason for me to get out and vote. The first time I have not voted since I cast my first ballot as a college Freshman for Ronald Reagan. There are no more Ronald Reagans. Many politicians are about themselves and not those who they are supposed to represent.

  5. Katherine says:

    Archer #1, no question that the Democratic caucus in both houses will be more liberal — and the Republicans, more conservative. Rather than bemoaning “gridlock,” though, I welcome the prospect of the nation facing and dealing with the ideological divide. The question is, what is the proper role of government?

  6. TWilson says:

    I am very wary of projecting what results “mean” given the short shelf-life of such opinions. Remember just two years ago and the discussion of the “permanent Democratic majority?” I don’t think these things are single-dimensional… example, did moderates in DE or CT say, “Yes, give me more liberalism?” or did just enough of them not like the look and feel of immoderate GOP candidates to say, “no thanks”? Same thing in Nevada – sure, not-losing is winning, but if I’m Harry Reid, I’m thanking whatever god(s) I pray to for my survival rather than patting myself on the back. I think it also shows how over-used the phrase “will of the people” is. The will of California seems to be “current course and speed” while places like Wisconsin or Kentucky said, “no thanks.” What unifies these is not some underlying “will” but the fact that elections are bounded.

    What I’m interested in is how the major players respond. Clearly Boehner is ascendant… but can he lead in the spotlight? Palin drops a few notches (good in my book), and the seeds of discord are pre-sown in the GOP. The race for 2012 is on. A major question is President Obama – can he escape the WH echo chamber and get an honest read on the situation, and can he react without more of the hurt aloofness we’ve seen of late?

    Locally, we have an exciting cliffhanger in Virginia 11, with 500 votes out of more than 200K separating the Democratic incumbent from the GOP challenger.

  7. Creedal Episcopalian says:

    The loss to the democrats of some their more moderate members will further polarize the political landscape in the US. The republicans did not win, but were simply the available vehicle for a public who were forcefully made aware by a progressive legislature and executive that creeping progressivism has a destination, and they don’t like it. Would that that will happen in TEC.
    This election was not the culmination of a battle, but rather the first skirmish in a Jeffersonian revolution. We will see no more Bush-style republican moderates nominated for the presidency.
    The important feature of this election was at the local and state level, where several states who will be gaining congressional seats moved to the right, this just before the redistricting process begins. As a result this election will have long term repercussions.
    One benefit of not gaining the Senate is, that in the continued presence of Obama, it will be much more difficult for him to blame continued executive failure on the right, but we can still stifle some of the more egregious political essays.

  8. AnglicanFirst says:

    The problems facing the nation won’t be resolved prior to the next presidential election. Even with complete and highly cooperative teamwork between the both parties in both the House and the Senate.

    If the Republicans had won majorities in both the House AND the Senate, then enough of those who would vote in the next election cycle vote would simplistically expect some sort of dramatic improvements in the country before the next presidential election. Short of a miracle, this would not have happened.

    Therefore, it is a good thing for those who support long-term improvements that the Republicans control the House and not the Senate. This will permit the Republicans to ‘lift up all of the flat rocks’ that the Democrats have been sitting on and reveal the true cause-and-effect history of our country’s current predicament and to propose reasonable solutions that will steer us toward getting out of that predicament.

    The Democrats in both Houses will of course oppose collaborative and meaningful teamwork with the Republicans over the next 18 months and if such teamwork does occur, the President will oppose any bill passed by both Houses that will reverse or stall what he sees as the ‘gains’ of the first two years of his presidency.

    This will present the voters in the next election cycle with both Democrats in the Senate and House and a Democrat president who will likely be seen as ‘blocking’ efforts to help get the country ‘back on track.’

    This could result in large Republican majorities in both Houses and a Republican president. A big part of my qualifying “could” has to do with credible, dedicated and competent Republican leadership.

    Where is it?

  9. Sarah says:

    One person had a charming turn of phrase to describe last night — it was “a restraining order.”

    And that’s how I look at it.

    The Republicans — other than the lovely gains of constitutional conservatives — probably won’t prove themselves worthy, although certainly one can hope for the best.

    And blessed gridlock is here. It looks as if it is at least *possible* now that *some* restraint on bailouts and buyouts and more regulations and higher costs of business and hiring will be somewhat restrained.

    My expectations are pretty darn low — but it was nice to see some very very good folks win and to have a faint glimmer of hope that a headlock will be placed on more spending, more regulations, higher taxes — and then “confusion” as to why unemployment is still so high.

    On the state level — the extraordinarily powerful state budget and control board is now — for the first time in decades or perhaps scores of years — in the hands of actual adult conservatives [3-2] rather than the 3-2 that was formerly held by big-spending, earmarking, incentivizing, boondoggle Republicans — and that was what the ads run by the institutional Republicans against Haley were all about in the final week of the campaign. Simply, the power that would finally be wrested away from their hands with the state budget and control board.

    Now, we need to find out who funded those ads — hopefully a lawsuit will challenge the bogus “non-political” status that that organization [with the amusing title of “Conservatives for Truth in Politics”] had, so that we can discover who the Republicans were who gave the funding. My money is on the SC State Chamber of Commerce, among others.

    We’ll see. But it’s best to know who the Republicans were who were so desperate at the thought of losing control of the budget and control board and its spending power that they would descend to such levels.

  10. Sarah says:

    RE: “Palin drops a few notches (good in my book), and the seeds of discord are pre-sown in the GOP.”

    I disagree about Palin. I’m not a fan of hers by any means, but she — and DeMint, whom I think fantastic — are now even more ascendant, if that’s possible, and have even more clout. All over the nation, conservatives are sitting in states looking at successful candidates in their own backyards and thanking their stars for Palin and DeMint’s efforts. In our own backyard, Haley would never have won without Palin’s early endorsement and help.

    Same thing for many other conservatives who won around the country — DeMint and Palin really did some amazing work, and they deserve credit for that work [at least, from conservatives — they deserve boos from libs, but that’s a different matter].

    Again — that doesn’t make me like Palin, but there are a whole lot of people now who recognize that her endorsement a majority of the time means a creditable race and possible victories.

    She’ll be more looked to, now, for help, than she was two years ago.

    As to the seeds of discord in the GOP — let’s hope so! The seeds of discord have been there, of course, since the party’s founding, and came to the fore most recently with the latter half of the Bush second term.

    It’s been a real battle between those in the party who simply want to move more slowly towards greater Federal intrusion and power than the Democrats, and those who want to return to the Constitution’s principles in regards to individual liberty, State power, subsidiarity, and private property/free markets. For right now, the latter is in the ascendancy — for the moment, again.

  11. Creedal Episcopalian says:

    Palin would be a good replacement for Steele. Immediately.
    I don’t see her as having the gravitas to be elected president.
    Now Chris Christie on the other hand….

  12. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    No. 5,

    I heartily agree that I hope this means a new era of actually working things out together. Sadly, I fear that won’t be the case, but I will thoroughly enjoy being wrong in the event it happens.

  13. TWilson says:

    Sarah #10 – I agree she played a positive role in spots, either directly or by proxy, but I think her national limitations are showing up… she’s strong in Midwest and South, but her types of candidates don’t export to the Northeast or even do well in the West. The GOP has seen this before – the fervor of 1994 never translated very well outside the House, and didn’t become a lasting national trend. I am very sympathetic with the small L libertarian thread and hope this GOP takes more of it to heart, but I don’t expect it to last, for two reasons: 1. Washington has its own logic and power-structure, and with so much money at stake, staying pure is nigh impossible, as is cutting spending in any lasting fashion; 2. there are still large swathes of the electorate for whom “charity” is pointing a gun at the productive and “justice” is someone else paying their bills.

  14. SC blu cat lady says:

    De Mint for President in 2012 ? I would vote for him!

  15. Branford says:

    #12 – Katherine in #5 mentions “I welcome the prospect of the nation facing and dealing with the ideological divide” – that in no way means, as you write, “No. 5, I heartily agree that I hope this means a new era of actually working things out together.” No – “facing and dealing with the ideological divide” means that each side realizes the fundamental differences in political philosophy they bring to the table and work accordingly. Where one side has the votes and public opinion to move forward (unlike the health care debacle), they should do so – not “work things out together.” Where compromises can be reached without reneging on principle, each side should do so. Where the sides are opposed and neither has the votes or public opinion, then they should abstain from passing that legislation until one side or the other has done their debating and convincing – and if neither side can, gridlock on that issue is the appropriate action.

  16. Chris Molter says:

    I was personally thrilled to vote Alan Grayson out of office here in Orlando. His bombastic rhetoric was an embarassment to our district and his hard left stances were not representative of our area (which is one of the more liberal regions in the state, but not THAT liberal.) Hopefully the GOP winners understand the reasons why they were elected and the remaining Dems see that the people are not buying what Obama & Co have been selling for the past 2 years.

  17. Creedal Episcopalian says:

    Local consequences:
    [blockquote] Three Iowa Supreme Court justices lost their seats Tuesday in a historic upset fueled by their 2009 decision that allowed same-sex couples to marry.[/blockquote]

  18. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) says:

    I said a few days ago I’d be looking primarily at state legislature results, and they are truly remarkable. The GOP picked up [i]both[/i] houses in Wisconsin (where I used to live), North Carolina, and even Meenehsohtah. Amazing. I’m still attempting to track it all down.

    They now have gained control of both houses in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and a few other states, and as well vigorously deepened their legislative majorities in Texas and other states. This will most certainly have an effect on how Congressional seats are redistributed and re-drawn.

    More importantly, simmering quietly in the background is a potential Richter Scale 9.5 political earthquake in the form of state legislatures (governor’s signature is [i]not[/i] required), acting in accord with their powers granted in Article V of the Constitution, to [i]require[/i] a Constitutional Convention for the purpose of proposing an amendment. Congress is cut out of the loop entirely.

    The amendment of interest would allow two-thirds of state legislatures — again, governor’s signature not required — to repeal any federal law(s), regulation(s), rule(s), tax(es), duty, or excise, as long as it is identified specifically.

    Such repeal power by the states has already surfaced in several states, and arises from the current situation in which the only avenue to repeal federal over-reach is through the courts.

    Yesterday’s results at the state legislature level give Republicans greater control than they’ve had in about a century, and have clearly moved a state-repeal-power amendment into the realm of ‘possibility’ rather than mere wishful thinking.

    At a strictly local level, our House seat (KS-3), held by a Democrat since 1998, returned a Republican by over 20 points. Even better, perhaps, our county — and counties are an important level of government out here in flyover country — removed a liberal tax-and-spend County Chairman from office and replaced her with a conservative who not only promised to cut spending and taxes, but had already done so as mayor of the largest city in the county.

    At the level of governor, Kansans elected — by a 2-to-1 margin — a conservative Republican after two decades of Democrats and liberals. The man who ran for Secretary of State on a platform of ending voter fraud (prove you’re a citizen when you register, and prove who you are when you vote), and who also played a major role in crafting Arizona’s immigration enforcement legislation, won his election by nearly a 2-to-1 margin.

    As much as I celebrate victories such as that of LTC West in Florida-22 (Palm Beach area) there are also hugely significant results of this 2010 election in thousands of down-ticket races.

  19. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Kendall is rightly celebrating the election of the first black Congressman in SC since Reconstruction. There are other minority winners on the Republican side who will help diversify the party too, such as the new Hispanic governors in NM and Nev.

    FWIW, in the Richmond area, I’m delighted, though not surprised, that Eric Cantor easily won re-election in VA’s 7th District, and as the #2 Republican leader (current whip), he will presumably become the Majority Leader in Congress. But what non-Virginians may not know is that Cantor is Jewish, which again shows that the GOP isn’t as monochrome as it used to be. Nor is the African-American, Hispanic, or Jewish vote as predictable as it used to be.

    Here in VA (with 11 districts), it looks like at least three Democratic congressmen were booted out of office and replaced by Republicans. And there is a chance that it could turn to four, if the R guy wins that nail-biter of an election in VA’s 11th District (which includes some of the poshest suburbs of DC).

    David Handy+

  20. Br. Michael says:

    I view the results with mixed emotions. Regardless, we need either a Constitutional Convention or amendments to restore true federalism and to reduce the power of all branches of the federal government. I view the Republicans just as suspect as the Democrats.

    The executive needs to be paired back and the non-elected bureaucracy controlled, Congress must be prohibited from ceding legislative authority to the executive, the Federal Courts need to be restrained from amending the Constitution through “interpretation”, the President’s ability to commit this nation to war without a formal declaration of war needs to be ended. Government overreach in the name of security needs to be checked. The States need to reclaim their authority to defend their own borders, to reject Federal overreach and prevent being commandeered to perform a federal function.

  21. SC blu cat lady says:

    The big local news is that Florence County councilman, Ken Ard , is our new Lt. Governor for the state of South Carolina.

  22. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Archer (#1),

    As a native of SD, I watched that close election with interest. I also noted that Sen. John Thune breezed into his 2nd term since the Dems couldn’t even field a candidate against him. It brought back to mind pleasant memories of six years ago, when I was briefly living again in Sioux Falls and caring for my ailing mother (who passed away in 2005). It gave me a rather perverse joy and satisfaction to help vote Tom Daschle out of office and elect John Thune in his place.

    Curiously, in SD, like some other states with small populations, since there is only one person to represent the whole state in Congress, that sole congressman or congresswoman must indeed try to represent the entire state, and is accountable to the whole political spectrum, which tends to promote moderation.

    David Handy+

  23. SC blu cat lady says:

    Must admit, Tim Scott had awfully good TV ads. I agree with Kendall+ that the election of Tim Scott as the first Black Republican to represent SC since reconstruction in the US House of Representatives is definitely a good sign for this state.

  24. palagious says:

    Hopefully, some much needed gridlock until 2012

  25. Billy says:

    GA lost a good conservative Dem Congressman, Jim Marshall. He did not vote for any of the Pelosi bills. But as I explained to him some time ago, he voted for Pelosi and if he was re-elected, he would be forced to do that again. Thus, he was defeated.

    Though I saw bemoanings in the entries above about losing good “moderate” Congresspersons, who were recruited by Rahm E. to give the impression Obama and the Dems were moderate in 2008, I would point out that they were elected because they were moderates. But when push came to shove, they did not maintain their “moderate” principles and voted for the liberal agenda under intense pressure from Obama and Pelosi. That is the reason they were defeated and the Repubs had such a good night. But … and they seem to understand this … Repubs were not anointed. They were just the only other choice from the guys everyone had grown to abhor. So the same thing can happen to them in 2 years. (If one views the years of the Great Depression, in the WSJ article above this thread, it is obvious that the electorate becomes extremely volatile in times of depression. Repubs better find a way to work with BHO and get the economy moving and unemployment down or their days may be numbered as well. Tea Party is currently not very organized. If organization happens, it could be a huge force to be reckoned with in 2012, if employment doesn’t pick up.)

  26. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) says:

    Could someone, please, tell me where I might purchase the book [i]Great American Moderates[/i]?

    My favorite Donk, former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, Jim Hightower, was once asked, “Jim, why can’t you be more middle-of-the-road?” To which he replied (love it):

    [b]”The only thing in the middle of the road is yellow lines and dead armadillos.”[/b] Lotsa dead armadillos today.

  27. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    I wonder whether you have found yourself in the position we now face after the last election in the UK? No one with a sufficient majority to get their own way. Some here see it as a judgement of the electorate on all the politicians.

    So, we are having to learn to work together….
    for the good of the country….
    and I wonder if that is not a bad thing???

  28. Katherine says:

    #12 Archer, Branford at #15 has what I meant. How do we “compromise” when one side thinks government programs are the cure for all ills, and the other side thinks government programs are often worse than the diseases they purportedly mean to cure? I hope for an honest discussion on these points in the U.S. Congress, not bogus “compromise” which does no good for anyone. Compromise where principle is not violated, yes.

  29. Mike L says:

    2 years ago the Dem’s were given a sweeping mandate, and then failed to get anything right done due to poor leadership that started in the White House. The President showed his inexperience in getting gov’t to work (or was it he just wanted to be a “nice guy” which just doesn’t work in DC) and allowed gridlock to occur. So, the impatient electorate puts the same guys back in power who were in charge for 8 years when the problems we now have began and let happen. I’m hopeful the party of “NO” will come up with something good to do other than just oppose everything, but I’m not optomistic about that happening. There is nothing any of them said that leads me to believe they have some plan (other than a rehash of the “contract with America” and “we oppose Obama”). What will the people do when in another 2 years we still find ourselves treading water? (because I don’t see any great economic recovery being generated from either Party’s efforts). I hope I’m wrong.

  30. midwestnorwegian says:

    Michele Bachmann for Leadership!!!

    Archer – Yay! Kristi Noem!

  31. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) says:

    Mike L: No, they weren’t given a mandate of any sort. The Republicans were tossed out on their, er, donkey, because they had largely become a self-serving bunch of get-along-go-along Big Government elitist politicians willing to spend our money to advance their own power and prosperity.

    They were quite rightly repudiated is Spades (’06), doubled and redoubled in ’08. It is a wonderful accident of history that Democrats mistook this as a “generational shift” towards their ideas. That party, which has been hiding its agenda since the late 1970s, thought, therefore, that they had a “mandate,” and went all-out.

    For about twelve years America’s primarily suburban voters have been rejecting evangelical fundamentalism at the polls. Yesterday they also rejected socialist fundamentalism.

    It bears repeating on multiple occasions: There is only one sustainable political position in America —

    a) Strong on defence and security.
    b) Fiscally very conservative, and leaning towards small government.
    c) Socially more or less libertarian.

    If Republicans do not understand that, and do not understand what happened to them in ’06 and ’08 … well, my goodness, all bets are off. Yesterday’s election was a mandate for one, and only one, thing — smaller, less intrusive, less profligate government … from dog-catcher to President.

  32. Billy says:

    #28, compromise can come on small things agreed upon – like both Repubs and Dems agree on portability of health insurance and on coverage of pre-existing illness or injury for children. Compromise would have been for Dems to agree to pass bills on those two issues, without all the other mess that is contained in the 2000 page Obamacare bill. BHO indicated this afternoon that he would be willing to remove the requirement for a 1099 filing for every service about $500, since it has been determined to be overly burdensome (duh), even though it was included in an attempt to pay for the healthcare bill’s monitoring requirements (he said). There are all kinds of little things like this – extend the Bush tax cuts for a period of time (2 or 3 years) and see how the economy and deficit look then . If BHO won’t extend it for “the rich,” then define the rich (more that $250K in adjusted gross income) and at least be sure folks below that level get the relief. This is the sort of thing the voting public expects from both sides.

    And POTUS needs to stop lambasting American citizens for everything he disagrees with them on – they are not enemies; people in AZ are not bigots because they passed the immigration law; Repubs are not the party of “no;” they have submitted ideas that have been ignored. But both sides now have become more extreme, having lost the moderates in each party, and they are just going to have to get over themselves and get something accomplished, or I fear the next step will be civil disobedience from the voters.

  33. Br. Michael says:

    “civil disobedience from the voters.”, might not be a bad idea since the government is the biggest violator of its own laws, (ie failure to enforce its own immigration laws and then suing the state which does.)

  34. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Bart Hall (#26),

    Thanks for sharing that delightful quip from Texas politician Jim Hightower. He sounds like my kind of guy.

    Alas, we Anglicans seem to have a special propensity to overvalue moderation. As I like to say, we tend (like the English) toward an “immoderate love of moderation.

    But since this is a political thread, the Hightower quote reminds me of the more elegant aphorism for which Barry Goldwater is either famous or infamous:
    Let me remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

    David Handy+

  35. Katherine says:

    Mike L, I don’t see the “gridlock” you refer to. The major item of the left-wing agenda which Obama, Pelosi, and Reid failed to ram through Congress was cap and trade, which had bipartisan opposition. Otherwise, they were very successful (by their definition): stimulus, TARP II, health insurance, financial controls. While Republicans should be careful not to over-estimate their “mandate,” it’s clear that Democrats did just that. Voters nationwide have voted against them in reaction to bills they passed.

  36. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) says:

    NRA: as a young man I worked quite actively for Goldwater back in ’64. His positions have largely stood the test of time.

    Back to my point about sustainable political positions … later in life Goldwater was asked about the role of homosexuals in the military. To which he replied, “It’s the Army, dammit! They only have to shoot straight — they don’t have to [i]BE[/i] straight.”

    America at that time quite simply could not handle the idea of three presidents in little more than a year.

  37. Septuagenarian says:

    Those who want a constitutional convention to amend the Constitution should be carefully about what they want. The results might not be what they expect.

    In 1787 the congress called for a convention to propose amendments to the Articles of Confederation under which the congress was operating. The result was not “proposed amendments” but an entirely new document–the Constitution of the United States–which replaced the Articles and the congress and greatly concentrated political power in a national government with a Congress, President and Supreme Court.

    The issues still being debated today were debated at the Philadelphia Convention in 1787. To a large extent the relationships between the individual states and the national government involved a shifting of power from state legislatures and governors to the national government. Some disagreements were compromised; thus, for example, we have a House of Representatives which is proportional to the population and a Senate in which each state has two senators–originally elected by state legislatures, but subsequently by the people. (What happened yesterday is precisely what the majority of members of the convention intended–a more conservative Senate to serve as a check on popular whims of the masses and an independent President to serve as a check on Congress.) But they also left many things to the Congress, including powers to provide for the general welfare and to regulate commerce, with power to pass all necessary and proper laws to that end. Yes, we can argue about that language in the Constitution; but if there was any majority intent it was that we the people would decide what the words meant through our Congress.

    The Constitution, as written and interpreted through our history, has served us well for over two centuries. It is surprising that “conservatives” want to change it, particularly in the direction of disunion and emasculation of the American government. Sometimes the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 is called a “miracle.” It is unlikely that it is a “miracle” to be repeated; subsequent constitution writing by the 50 states (and elsewhere as with the European Union) has not been as successful.

  38. Capt. Father Warren says:

    Someone posted of Palin: ” I agree she played a positive role in spots, either directly or by proxy, but I think her national limitations are showing up… she’s strong in Midwest and South, but her types of candidates don’t export to the Northeast or even do well in the West.”

    I would say that is what strategic Veep picks are for.

  39. Br. Michael says:

    37, I am willing to abide the consequences. Better the Republic collapse than live a lie.

  40. Br. Michael says:

    And the Federalists sold the Constitution on the grounds that most of what the Federal Government is doing today simply could not be done because the Federal Government was a government of limited powers.

    I say to you 37, let’s have it out in the public square. And if the idea of limited government fails then so be it.

  41. Br. Michael says:

    I would say the the Federal Constitution is already emasculated in the direction to tyranny.

  42. Septuagenarian says:

    I would suggest that Br. Michael read [i]Madison’s Notes on the Federal Convention of 1787[/i]. As for what grounds on which the Federalists sold the Constitution, that is a very mixed bag. It was to some extent “propaganda” but it was also quite clear that the new government was to be a strong, effective, active national government.

    The “limited powers” they wrote into the Constitution included such things as the power to promote commerce and the general welfare and to enact such laws as necessary and proper to do so.

    And the Constitution, treaties and laws of the national government are constitutionally the supreme law of the land.

    I am not particularly interested in undoing the work of the founding fathers or of the nation as some radicals on the right apparently are. And part of the public forum is to point out the dangers of the revolutionary course being proposed by the political right wing.

    Charles Pinckney of South Carolina thought that conventions to consider amendments to the constitution “nothing but confusion and contrariety.” Benjamin Franklin said, “I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain may be able to make a better Constitution.” Both men participated in the writing of the Constitution. I agree with them.

    It was a significant achievement that the authors of our Constitution, living in 1787 when the nation was so vastly different from the nation today, were able to write a Constitution that could be successfully “accommodated to times and events.” (Edmund Randolph of Virginia)

  43. Capt. Father Warren says:

    Hamilton, among others, wanted a big muscular national government. The Founders who wrote the Constitution struggled mightily to find the proper checks and balances between a three-part government (executive, legislative, judicial) and placed specific language in the Constitution about the limited powers of the Central Government. They then showed where they believed the power should really be by saying that “what we haven’t just listed for the Central Government is reserved to the states”, whatever all that other stuff might be.

    If they really wanted the strong central Government they would have flipped that around. The Founders took natural law seriously and studied all the forms of governence as they pieced together the Constitution.

    The people who favor big central government are the ones who like to spin the history that way. Why not?

  44. Ross says:

    Here in Washington State, the Senate race is too close to call yet, and may not be called for several days… but given the trends in the votes already counted, traditional voting patterns, and where the remaining uncounted ballots are, the consensus is that the odds favor incumbent Democrat Patty Murray.

    In the House, if I’m reading the results right, out of nine Representatives (six Democrats, three Republicans) we have so far returned seven incumbents (four Democrats, three Republicans.) One incumbent Democrat did not run for re-election, and his seat was won by the Republican candidate; so that’s one flip in our delegation. The remaining race is still too close to call.

    If both Murray and the incumbent Democrat in the still-contested House race win, then we will have returned nine out of ten incumbents to Congress… and the only seat that will have changed will be the one where the incumbent didn’t run.

    This state seems to be voting for the status quo.

  45. Septuagenarian says:

    Hamilton was undoubtedly the most extreme and probably would have been happy with Washington as king and a House of Lords instead of a Senate. But certainly Madison (and probably Washington) and many others at the convention were working for a strong national government, not a confederation of states. The Senate, with its equal state representation elected by legislatures, was a compromise, like several other odd things in the Constitution, to get a majority of the convention to approve the Constitution and to make it somewhat easier to get ratification in some states.

    The Philadelphia convention did not include anything like “what we haven’t just listed for the Central Government is reserved to the states.” What came out of the convention was the sweeping grant of power to Congress in the first and last paragraphs of Article I, Section 8, and the last two paragraphs of Article VI (Supremacy and Oaths). My reading of the actual proceedings in Philadelphia is that the consensus there was that Congress, as the voice of “we the people,” had very broad powers, subject to the checks and balances of its bicameral nature, the veto of the executive as the representative of all the people and, possibly, of the Supreme Court, although the court’s “veto” was rather muddled in the debates.

    The language which you seem to paraphrase to your purpose, is the 10th [b]amendment[/b], proposed by the Congress after the Constitution was already ratified and in effect in response to the request of a few of the conventions that ratified the Constitution in 1787-8. Interestingly, it refers to those “unenumerated” rights being reserved “reserved to the States respectively, or to the people,” which suggests that “we the people” can, thorough our representatives extend the powers of Congress. And, of course, we have through amendments both extended the powers of Congress and restricted the powers of the states. Perhaps it is even more pointed in the 9th Amendment which bypasses the states. And, to the alarm of the right these days, the Supreme Court has found that among those rights “retained by the people” is the “right to privacy”–that governments ought not be checking out what goes on in bed rooms or a woman seeking an abortion.

    It is rather clear that the right, while perhaps wanting to decentralize some aspects of modern government in the U.S. would also greatly interfere in other aspects of our lives including religion, speech, press, the franchise, equal protection and the definition of citizenship.

  46. Bill Matz says:

    Well, Ross, that means Rossi might be the first (?) to have two elections stolen by voter fraud. Have seen the reports on 2010, but when they stole the election in ’04 by @ 200 votes on the 2d recount (after he won election and fist recount), despite Kings County (heavily D) having more votes than registered voters. Apparently, WA law does not allow overvotes to be resolved by blindly pulling out the excess number of ballots and then counting, as is done in some other states.

    Down south here in California, the most significant vote may have been to pass Prop 20 and defeat 27. That will leave redistricting (now including Cong districts) in the hands of a panel; the pols brazenly tried to pass 27 to put all back in their hands. With the prohibition on gerrymandering, thoughts are that a lot of safe districts wn’t be in 2012. Let’s hope.

  47. Bill Matz says:

    Have NOT seen…2010…

  48. Fr. Dale says:

    Sarah Palin was great on Fox News Sunday before the elections. She is completely natural. Her comment about the Alaska press as “corrupt bastards” made me laugh. she’s the kind of like a female Harry Truman. Sorry folks but if she runs in two years, I’m voting for her. Would I drink a beer with her? I’d drink a diet cola with her.

  49. Todd Granger says:

    [blockquote]And, to the alarm of the right these days, the Supreme Court has found that among those rights “retained by the people” is the “right to privacy”—that governments ought not be checking out what goes on in bed rooms or a woman seeking an abortion.[/blockquote]

    Oh, please, Septuagenarian, this is nothing more than sloganeering and cant. Of course governments ought to be checking what goes on in bedrooms. Are you suggesting that domestic abuse and child molestation are not liable to the investigation and legal punishments of the state? As to a woman seeking an abortion, every state that has laws restricting the period of time during which a woman may have an abortion is doing just that. The argument between the political right and left (and middle) is to what extent the government may justly do these things.

    [blockquote]It is rather clear that the right, while perhaps wanting to decentralize some aspects of modern government in the U.S. would also greatly interfere in other aspects of our lives including religion, speech, press, the franchise, equal protection and the definition of citizenship.[/blockquote]

    From where I stand (which is neither right nor left in any thoroughgoing way), it is not at all clear that “the right” will do any such thing in a systematic way. And I have to add that, looking leftward, I see some of the same tendencies that you ascribe to the right alone.

    My apologies to the board at large for perpetuating Septuagenarian’s departure from strict discussion of the topic at hand.

  50. Todd Granger says:

    I neglected to point out the inconsistency of your argument regarding the tenth amendment, Septuagenarian. You move from the idea of “the people” as a corporate entity – a fascinating and intriguing concept that I hadn’t thought much about before, though I’m not sure that it fits with the essentially Lockean view of rights held by most of the Founders – able to vest their unenumerated powers in Congress to the idea that the unenumerated powers of the people adumbrate a right to individual privacy. I freely admit to not being a lawyer or a constitutional scholar, but it seems that so protean a principle is in the end rather a pernicious, not to say a dangerous one.

  51. Capt. Father Warren says:

    Well let’s see what has happened to our Federal Government in these 200+ years. Oh yes, it started up and started out as very limited. And except for it’s efforts to promote manifest destiny in building the west and except for having to fight a civil war over the slavery issue immorally promoted by my southern homeland, the Federal Government stayed pretty limited until the 1870’s when small farmers, growing unions, and northeast intellectuals conspired together to hatch the Progressive Movement. From there, they begain to use the powers of Congress to pass laws to hinder industrial growth, they helped elect Presidents who further fostered their goals, and finally they began to pack the courts (Supreme and Federal) to bless their efforts in the other two branches. And none of that was written into the Constitution.

    So the “Plan” was not the huge, bloated, interventionist nanny state we have. What have is a deviation from the original plan.

  52. Br. Michael says:

    Well Hamilton lost at the convention. And the Federalists promised a Bill of Rights to reinforce the concept of limited government and to get the States to ratify the Constitution.

    Out current form of government is no more sacred that was the Confederation it replaced and the Constitution provides for its own amendment in Article 5 which authorizes the States to call for a convention to propose amendments which if ratified by the states become part of the Constitution. I do not fear a convention because we have nothing to loose. The Federal Government is powerful beyond what the Founders intended. The commerce clause has been turned into a grant of plenary power. And the Federal Courts act as sitting constitutional conventions amending the Constitution at their whim, only they call it “interpretation”.

    No, it is time for the States to recover their authority and call a convention to amend the constitution re-limiting all branches of the Federal government.

  53. Septuagenarian says:

    One of things that is important to understand about the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 is what the United States was actually like in 1787. It also helps to understand the specific issues that led to that convention.

    If one bothers to read Madison’s [i]Notes[/i], it is apparent that “limited government” had three contributing causes: (1) the geographic nature of America resulting in difficulty in transportation and communications, (2) the need to get 9 sovereign states to ratify and (3) the notion that political power should be vested in the people rather than in “abstractions” such as the states. The limiting factors internal to the Constitution are the checks and balances and separation of powers between the House and Senate, President, and Supreme Court.

    Thus the notion of a Constitution created by the states was specifically rejected in the preamble and the state legislatures were explicitly bypassed in the ratification procedure adopted.

    As I have pointed out the first and last part of Article I, Section 8, granted sweeping powers to Congress–a fact that the Antifederalists harped on at the ratifying conventions. Furthermore, Article VI makes it absolutely clear that the national government was to be supreme. And, yes, the first Congress proposed the 9th and 10th Amendments which do speak of rights retained by the people.

    The specific powers granted to the Congress in the parts between the the opening and closing parts are interesting in that they deal with specific failures of the Confederation and state governments actually experienced between 1775 and 1787 and with specific compromises made at the Philadelphia Convention. The limits imposed on Congress by the convention frequently deal with specific compromises made at the convention to obtain majorities there.

    Under Washington, the Executive undertook actions and policies which are nowhere specified for either the President or Congress, the most notable being the first Bank of the United States. That action was criticized at the time by the “strict constructionists” of the 17th century (such as Jefferson). But it did much to create the faith and credit of the U.S., pay down the national debt and facilitate commerce. It also led to one of the nastiest Presidential campaigns in American history between Federalist Adams and Democratic-Republican Jefferson. When Jefferson was elected he terminated the Bank of the United States. The result was economic chaos. The Madison administration created a second Bank of the United States which restored order to the monetary system of the U.S. Jackson allowed its charter to expire which once again created monetary chaos. A centralized banking system was created by the Republicans at the time of Lincoln which is the precursor of the Federal Reserve.

    Prior to 1870, the United States government invested in canals and railroads, greatly expanded the territory of the nation, created land grant schools, suppressed a civil war, ended slavery and many other things which are not “enumerated” in the Constitution. Ironically, the Confederacy of the 1860s was even more centralized, even more activist and even more socialist than the Constitutional government of Lincoln.

    Yes, the historic trend of the Republican Party was continued by the Progressive Movement often with the connivance of business interests. The opposition came largely from southern Democrats. The rather obvious modern development in my lifetime is that the southern Democrats left the Democratic Party for the Republican Party in the 1960s and 1970s largely because of civil rights and subsequently drove traditional Republicans out.

    The debate between nationalists and state rights has been going on since 1786 and obviously continues this day because of the way the Constitution of the United States was written. But the historic trend from 1787 to the present has been with the nationalists. What the Founders had learned in the decade leading to 1787 was that a confederation of sovereign states was simply not viable.

    One of the interesting observations of a history of the Philadelphia Convention and the ratification of the Constitution is that when one speaks of federalist George Washington as the Father of our Country, the United States is meant–not Virginia. And for antifederalist Patrick Henry, his “country” was Virginia. Therein lies the difference. A history of the Civil War points out that Lincoln at Gettysburg does not mention the union, but repeatedly refers to the nation. I think for most of us we are Americans first and only incidentally tied to a particular state. We freely move from one state to another for any number of reasons, but rarely for political reasons; it has always been so. People in the 17th century moved for similar reasons. Several of the members of the Philadelphia Convention had moved from their native state to another to take advantage of opportunities offered in the adopted state. And while a few of the members of the convention were immigrants, their primary loyalties were to the whole rather than to a part.

  54. Septuagenarian says:

    Yes, Hamilton lost at the convention. So did Luther Martin and Elbridge Gerry.

    The language of Article V is quite complex. But let’s look at what it says. If 34 state legislatures apply to Congress for a convention, what happens. The Constitution says “The Congress … shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments.” It will then be up to Congress to decide how that convention will be formed. The most likely outcome is that the Congress will convene itself as a Constitutional Convention. (I’ve seen that happen here in Texas when there was an attempt to rewrite the Texas Constitution–the Legislature simply convened as the convention.)

    With Congress meeting to propose amendments, do you think they will limit the powers of Congress? It simply doesn’t work that way. So the most likely result will be no amendments actually proposed or even amendments which would increase congressional power.

    Note also, that according to Article V, it will be the Congress–not the states–that decides whether it will be state legislatures or state conventions that must ratify.

    Furthermore, there is no certainty that a Constitutional Convention once called (be it simply Senators and Congressmen meeting as a Constitutional Convention or some other makeup) would propose amendments rather than junking the entire Constitution and starting over with an entirely new Constitution. That is what happened in 1787. Or, for that matter, it could be that such a convention, comprised of uncompromising members, would simply fail to do anything. That almost happened in 1787.

  55. Br. Michael says:

    54, If the states called for a convention and the Congress short circuited it as you suggest I think you would see a second civil war. The States should call for a Constitutional convention as soon as possible. You do prove the point that it is the federal government that is the enemy.

  56. Septuagenarian says:

    And we all know what happened in the first Civil War.

    It seems to me that we elected the federal government. So by your reckoning, as Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

    It is, of course, quite possible that if your convention actually did screw around with the Constitution in such a way as to continue the acceleration of the redistribution of wealth to the super rich and an ever widening gap between them and the middle class and poor, that there would be another sort of revolution in the streets of America. We saw a bit of what can happen in the 1960s. It was also something on the minds of the Founders when they wrote the Constitution in Philadelphia and in the ratifying conventions. There had been a violent rebellion in Massachusetts in 1786-7; there were fears of more along with the fear in the slave states of a slave rebellion.

  57. Br. Michael says:

    The States should call for a Constitutional Convention. And I don’t give a flip about the “super rich”. I do care about liberty.

  58. Capt. Father Warren says:

    Now we are into moral equivalence. The rich, working to get super rich (whatever that means, by what standard), are really achieving this by redistribution of wealth. Not to be confused with socialist redistribution of wealth?

    What government confiscated people’s money and sent it to Bill Gates or Warren Buffet?

  59. Kendall Harmon says:

    If we could get back to the current midterm election results….

  60. Br. Michael says:

    Sorry boss. My fault. I think I started it.

  61. Creedal Episcopalian says:

    Just for Perspective:
    [blockquote] With six gains against 37 open seats, the Senate elections were more successful than the House’s gains of 63 seats against 435… [/blockquote]

    Also , a pickup of 650(!!) state legislative seats. You can’t win the series without a farm team.

    The left has been successful in the past by isolating and demonizing or ridiculing a figure on the right ( G. W. Bush, Carl Rove, read-my-lips Bush senior ). It’s a classic Alynski tactic. Sarah Palin is their current target, and will be as long as they think she’s running for office. I think she’s on to them.

    In the meantime, the people seem to have awakened and are systematically disassembling the left’s power structure. Except in California.

    Obama and Reid are still the majority. Bernanke mortgaged the farm to double down on a sucker bet that will cause Carteresque stagflation. Their media propaganda arm has Chronic Pedal Firearms Injury Syndrome. In two more years people will be REALLY angry.

    This is just the beginning. I think we are in for some major shifts over the next decade.