At that time I linked to a lot of things…including the intention to cut the number of precincts to 150 from 236.
Last year’s precinct consolidation meant many voters didn’t get cards with their new location until the day of the election. It can’t have helped that the decision was made just a month before early voting was to begin…or that the body was so far behind on their redistricting procedure they fouled up the August state primary…leading to threats from the State Election Commission, a rebuke from the state Comptroller for shoddy management, two overturned elections, a further fouled up November election, and yet another rebuke…this time from the County.
Quite a resume, no?
So its probably easy to understand why someone might look at the current move with a skeptical eye.
The Election Commission is reportedly meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, October 15th at the Election Operations Center at 980 Nixon. I have no idea what’s on the agenda because it doesn’t appear on the website, nor does a meeting notice. Normal time for meetings is 4:30, but I recommend you call ahead…just to be sure. The number is 222-1200.
As you can see, transparency is highly valued at the Election Commission…even the minutes are months behind.
But according to sources this list of precinct consolidations will be up for discussion.
The 58,000 voters in the precincts that would be shut down, are 74% Democratic voters. That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering the partisan breakdown of the Election Commission, and the general partisan leanings of the county (which is at least 70% Democratic in November elections).
But the partisan leanings of the precincts, isn’t really the issue…its the disclosure to the voters.
There hasn’t been any…again.
If you’re concerned about these, or any other actions of the Election Commission, I recommend you go to one of their meetings. Maybe even ask a question or two. Public meetings aren’t sexy, but they are where things get done. If you don’t like what’s happened and what’s happening, you owe it to yourself to go. Nothing happens for people who don’t show up.
Here’s the information again.
Election Operations Center
Wednesday, October 14th, 4:30PM.
The meeting is open to the public.
The Senate was back in session to address the bill passed by the House over the weekend. The House bill delays, rather than defunds the Affordable Care Act for a year.
The Senate tabled the motion, meaning that their last offer to the House…a clean spending bill with no exceptions…is their final offer.
So the questions you’ll hear from the punditocracy is what will the House GOP do? Because seriously, they’re between a rock and a hard place.
Shutting down the government is really unpopular. I mean, I pay taxes all year round for the government to be funded all year round. If the people holding the purse strings (Congress) can’t get that done, then what the hell good are they?
And that, basically sums up the response to the 1995/96 shutdowns, and will most likely be the same response now.
But for the House GOP, it’s a little more dire. From a CNN poll released today:
• 46% of people polled would blame the House GOP, as opposed to 36% for President Obama
• 69% of respondents said the House GOP was behaving like a “spoiled child”.
• 60% of poll participants reject the GOP’s approach and think it is more important to avoid a shutdown than to make major changes to the Affordable Care Act.
Whether you believe in polling or not, those last two numbers are pretty compelling.
So the question becomes: will the House GOP go for broke or will they bend a little and save themselves the ire of the public.
Right now it seems like they will go for broke…literally.
While common sense Americans think this whole thing is ridiculous (it is), House Speaker Boehner is between a rock and a hard place politically.
The House GOP caucus stands at 230 members, about half of which are hardliners. They will not bend. So the larger political issue (the shutdown) gets lost in smaller political the issues of the caucus (unity and retaining leadership), consequences be damned.
The House GOP has, for the majority of the past two decades, held to a standard called the “Hastert Rule”. This unwritten rule says that any measure that cannot pass without the majority of the majority should not be considered. The rationale behind this is that former Speaker Hastert believed the House Majority should not abdicate political victories, even if it was for the good of the country.
But to pass the Senate’s clean funding bill, all the Speaker would need to do is:
1. Bring the measure to the floor.
2. Get 30-40 Republicans to vote for it (several were already cracking Saturday).
Boehner fears the fallout of those two actions might be losing his speakership…something that would be bad for Democrats…which is not to say his leadership has necessarily been good for our causes…but that the result would be worse, if that’s imaginable.
There’s also the chance that the measure might fail (though unlikely), which would mean the Speaker had spent political capital for no good reason. No one in leadership of any organization wants that to happen.
So Speaker Boehner would need assurances from Democrats that the spending measure, that includes spending cuts Democrats abhor, would have their support, and then he’d still need to find a gaggle (30-40 or more to be safe) Republicans that would support the clean bill.
Boehner already has OPP (other political problems) in the form of a primary challenge at home, though its unlikely that his opponent will succeed. But this too, might be giving the speaker pause. It wasn’t that long ago that Speaker Foley was put out of office. Boehner was a wee pup in Congress when that happened. I have no doubt he remembers that…and worries…a lot about it.
The ball is, and has been in the House GOP’s court. They have made this a drama. They have exposed themselves to ire and scrutiny of the public by overreaching. They have held long and hard even in the face of advice from GOP math messiah Karl Rove.
Its their shutdown…we’re just going to have to deal with it. And the most effective time to deal with it, will be in November ’14.
Until then, stock up on canned foods, freeze some meats, and schedule some extra volunteer work. People in real need are going to need help when the House GOP leadership lets internal politics trump the good of the nation.
The current ploy is to defund or delay the implementation of the Affordable Care act in exchange for avoiding a government shutdown.
This, of course, is a non-starter with the President and the US Senate…which means that if no bill is passed through the House without a defunding or delay of the landmark healthcare law, non-essential portions of the government will shutdown until one is passed.
How long that would take is anyone’s guess.
Apparently, Republicans are more interested in playing politics than governing…a fact that should have been obvious in the 40 odd previous votes to repeal the law and the statement by House Speaker John Boehner that “Congress ought to be judged by how many laws they repeal”, which, by the way is zero. You can decide whether that is a good or bad thing.
In the wake of the 1995 and ’96 government shutdowns, the political cost for the majority party at the time was the loss of seats, though not their majority. But economic conditions were very different. Unemployment was lower, and growth was higher.
This time, we’re not in as strong a position, and the economic impact will hurt more if the government does shutdown.
The reality of a shutdown, even a short one, is the loss of a lot of growth, and tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people losing income. These are mostly regular people, doing regular jobs, that just happen to work for the Federal Government. They are, in effect, being punished for serving their country…a reality completely lost on the GOP majority. A reality they don’t seem to care about at all.
Current GOP orthodoxy holds that all workers should be thankful that the ownership class has allowed them to make any kind of income, whether in the private or public sectors. This is where that whole “makers and takers” rhetoric from the last Presidential election cycle naturally leads.
Understanding this, makes it easy to see why both damaging the economy at large, and potentially causing financial ruin for people who made the mistake of wanting to serve their country are no big deal to GOP v.2013.
The long-term impact of both this ideological position and policy decision to artificially constrain economic growth through inaction is founded in the politics of damaging a President more than representation of constituents…or anything else.
History has not been kind to people who put political self-interest over the needs of a nation.
So it seems that we’re in for at least two big fights (budget and debt ceiling) that don’t need to be fights except for the purposes of political expedience. These fights will include things that don’t need to be included (primarily the Affordable Care Act) and will be framed as a means to curb deficit spending, which is down at its lowest level since the previous administration.
A prolonged shutdown, due to both issues will cause a lot of harm to both the economy by creating unnecessary uncertainty. The uncertainty thus far has hurt markets…which are more a measure of sentiment than the overall economy, by taking some 200 points from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, in the past 5 days alone (a loss of 1.2%).
It would seem even GOP paymasters understand that a shutdown isn’t good for them in the real world.
But according to the current GOP, all that matters is an ever increasing list of pie in the sky conditions that help the mighty few and hurt the many, to make a President look like he’s not doing anything…which is actually what the House leadership is doing.
It is the definition of madness.
With few exceptions, most folks don’t care that much outside of Nashville, and quite frankly, the party hasn’t done much to give them a reason to.
It’s been just a few weeks since Jackson Day, which I attended. It seemed like a successful, albeit smaller affair than past Jackson Days. But I didn’t leave feeling that lift I’ve felt in the past. Maybe I’ve just become jaded, or maybe it was something else.
But this isn’t about Jackson Day. We’ll know in due time just how successful it was (Oct. 20th). This is about boring stuff…or at least, stuff that should be boring. Things that really only matter to a scant few people…so if you’re not one of those people, take this time to educate yourself about the awkward turtle.
In the first article, we find out that a panel has been convened to explore why so many people are quitting their job with the party.
I commented on the departures briefly in a post last week, regarding Chairman Herron’s response to an unambiguously offensive tweet by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey on the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
I know enough Executive Committee members that I was aware of some of the departures…though not all of them (Mary Patterson and Jerry Maynard, for instance, who, according to the article above, resigned from the Finance Committee…and who I don’t know).
But people come and go, and the reasons, we may or may not ever know. That a member thought it might be a good idea to do this is interesting…especially since there hasn’t been much turnover in recent years.
Whether there is any fire with the smoke the departures seems to have stirred, and if there is, what comes of these exit interviews is up to the EC…which means it will most likely disappear before the Nov. 2 meeting.
Since the 2009 election of Chip Forrester as chair, the party has been embroiled in more intrigue than is healthy for any organization.
Part of this is due to various and sundry factions within the party that didn’t see the slow losses that started in the early 2000′s snowballing (I call it willful blindness), part of it is ideological, and part of it is just good ole personal squabbling.
I admit falling into the trap of some of this good ole personal squabbling back in the days before the state’s lefty blogosphere scattered to the winds. But I didn’t know the players at the time (personally) and my interest is, and always has been building something with some semblance of permanence.
I am an ideologue. I see the difference between the positions of Republicans and Democrats as clearly defined on most issues. Many people do not. For that matter, many Democrats do not.
The losses Democrats in the state have suffered are frustrating to me, but I’ve resolved that the only way to change it is through a long and difficult process that, as of yet, has not begun in earnest outside of a few small pockets of the state.
This building process is hampered by the intrigue. It divides us…making allies enemies for reasons that don’t make a whole lot of sense when looked at rationally.
It also calls into question the motivations of those who stirred the pot, seeking to add through subtraction. I’ve resolved that I’ll never understand the worldview held by those who believe in a zero sum game. So I just don’t engage them anymore.
Now, over four years since the intrigue began, it continues, like a habit that is hard to break.
Do I have questions and concerns about what’s happening with the party? Absolutely. But because I am not a member of the EC, and because the EC doesn’t seem to realize that they elect the chair and because of that, the chair is accountable to them…the duly elected members of the party, I don’t see much chance of anything other than what has been happening…happening.
At this point, it would seem appropriate to make a call to arms…to ask those in a position to do something…to do something.
That’s never worked in the past, and I have no reason to believe it will work now.
It takes 37 votes to get something done on the executive committee. I’d be surprised if there were 37 people on this executive committee that can agree on anything. Like Roy or not, he’s who you elected. If you don’t like what he’s doing, its your job to redirect him.
We’re just over a year from the election. Fundraising is low, and messaging is disjointed. Organization, in the wake of the departures seems non-existent. Through these challenges, we’re paying our chair nearly $30,000 more a year than his Republican counterpart according to FEC filings.
That’s pretty dumb, regardless of whom the Chair is.
Maybe the EC can find some consensus there. Until that consensus emerges, you can expect more intrigue, and more time left wandering in the forrest of Tennessee’s political landscape.
On a day reserved for the remembrance of first responders and victims of the 9/11 attacks, many of whom also lost their life…
A day where American servicemen and women are thanked for their service in two wars that followed those attacks…
The man who is one heartbeat away from the helm of state government here in Tennessee had this to say.
Its unfortunate that a political leader would use such a solemn occasion to launch a petty and misguided political attack.
In response, Tennessee House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh issued the following:
“September 11th is a day when all Americans come together to remember a solemn occasion in our history. Instead of honoring those who gave their lives 12 years ago, Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey decided to take the low-road and accuse our Commander-in-Chief of allying with the very terrorist who attacked our country.
“This divisive rhetoric dishonors the memory of those who died on this day. It is insulting to our President, to Senator Corker who shares the President’s position, to all Americans no matter their position on Syria and to the memory of those we’ve lost. Lt. Governor Ramsey is either grossly misinformed or he has decided to be a partisan, instead of a patriot. He should apologize immediately.”
Not to be outdone, the Chair of the TNDP also made a statement, as reported by Michael Cass of the Tennessean:
“”Speaker Ramsey should fire whoever wrote such an outrageous, dishonest, misleading, incendiary, unpatriotic and dangerous attack on our nation’s president and on Republican leaders like Senators Corker and McCain and House Speaker Boehner and even the military leaders working with them,” Herron said in a statement. “Many of us are unsure about how to proceed in Syria, but whoever wrote that tweet dishonors the victims of 9/11 and our military men and women who are doing all they can to stop more children and parents from being gassed and killed.”
He should fire someone? That’s where that tweet leads you? Holy Mackerel!
Kind of a weird thing to say in the same week three staffers announced their exit from the party offices.
In any case, Lt. Gov. Ramsey’s statement is shameful. It touches on all the things that make people’s ears bleed when they think too much about politics, and go down a road that is unnecessarily divisive on such a day as today.
Kudos to House Minority Leader Fitzhugh for calling Speaker Ramsey out.
As for the TNDP statement…