- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 2, 2014

Analysis/Opinion

Murmurs that the Republicans Party will take over the U.S. Senate have multiplied across the media landscape, though they are accompanied with warnings to the Grand Old Party not to get too grand. Among the many observers that acknowledge in muted terms that the GOP will emerge victorious: The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Huffington Post.

Of course there are holdouts, like Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, but then again, that’s her job.

“I think we’re going to hold control of the Senate,” she told ABC News, citing the wave of early voting among Democrats in competitive districts.

“Their message isn’t working, and our ground game is whipping their ground game,” countered Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on the same network in repartee that suggests the pair should become co-hosts of their own political program when done at their current posts.

All that aside, mournful analysts and anchors appear resigned to the idea that the GOP could win the Senate, capping off weeks of coverage that essentially glossed over the impending possibility of Republican victory. A Media Research Center analysis recently revealed that ABC, NBC and CBS aired 159 campaign stories leading up to the midterms in 2006, when the Democrats were sitting rather pretty with their election prospects. This time around, those same networks aired 25 stories, a 6-1 disparity.

“Looking back at 2006, the media weren’t wagging their fingers at Democrats warning that, if they won Congress, it was their job to become responsible partners for then-President George W. Bush. Instead, the media were rejoicing at the idea that an all-Democratic Congress could tie up the Bush administration with subpoenas and even impeachment,” recalls Rich Noyes, research director for the aforementioned center.

“If Republicans win big on Tuesday, a consistent news media would portray it as a rejection of a Democratic Party that’s moved too far to the left. They would argue that, by handing control of the Senate to Republicans, voters were empowering them to investigate the excesses of the Obama administration, and journalists would put the onus on the defeated President Obama to curtail his agenda in favor of cooperation,” Mr. Noyes predicts.

AN ELECTION NIGHT MOTTO

“7 p.m. until VICTORY”

— From the Republican Governors Association’s midterm election night party invitation.

DAYS OF YORE

“Since you have chosen to elect a man with a timber toe to succeed me, you may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas.”

Davy Crockett, upon losing his re-election to Congress by 252 votes, to constituents and companions at the Union Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, on Nov. 1, 1835. He eventually settled in San Antonio and was killed during the Battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836 (from Texas State Historical Society records).

THE PLATINUM-PLATED ELECTION

Yes, the cost of the midterm elections are in the record-breaking, billion-dollar realm. Tallying the total is a very tricky business, however. The Center for Responsive Politics previously estimated the 2014 election cycle would weigh in as a $4 billion event but have since tweaked the figure. The watchdog group considered some recently revealed disclosures and adjusted their projection models, now predicting the cost to run to about $3.67 billion — just inching by the cost of the 2010 midterm elections, which cost $3.63 billion.

“That figure takes into account only spending disclosed to the Federal Election Commission and does not include funds spent early in the cycle — more than 30 days before a primary or 60 days before Nov. 4 — by outside groups on so-called issue ads that don’t ask the public to vote one way or another, or on certain other activities,” reports analysts Viveca Novak and Russ Choma. “There is no reliable accounting of such unreported spending, but we estimate it is likely well over $100 million.”

Runoffs that could drag into January could also increase the price tag, they say. And the party breakdown?

“Team Red (all Republican candidates, parties, committees and conservative outside groups) will spend $1.75 billion on this election. Team Blue (all Democratic candidates, parties, committees and liberal outside groups) will spend a total of $1.64 billion — still a significant amount, but definitively less than the conservative side,” the analysts report.

PROTECTING THE VOTER SELFIE

Is it better to wear the cute little “I voted” tag or take a snappy selfie in the poll booth with a completed ballot and post it somewhere? That’s a quandary in New Hampshire, where a 40-year-old election law has been updated to prohibit voters from taking a photo of themselves holding a marked ballot and then sharing it via social media. Violators can receive a $1,000 fine.

The American Civil Liberties Union, however, will have none of it, and has filed a First Amendment lawsuit challenging the Granite State ban.

“There is no more potent way to communicate one’s support for a candidate than to voluntarily display a photograph of one’s marked ballot depicting one’s vote for that candidate,” the group states in their document. “What this law ignores is that displaying a photograph of a marked ballot on the Internet is a powerful form of political speech that conveys various constitutionally protected messages that have no relationship to vote buying or voter coercion.”

And one person who’s already shared his ballot: State Rep. Leon H. Rideout, a conservative Republican from the 7th District, who tweeted out the local primary ballot in early September, telling his followers “vote in 2014.”

A TALE OF TWO CLIMATES

“Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems,” warns the 40-page Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “synthesis report” released Sunday by the United Nations.

“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen.”

“Leaders must act. Time is not on our side,” warned U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon upon the release of the report.

“Science is not up for a vote. Science is about facts. And when you get down to the hard, cold facts, there’s no climate change happening,” John Coleman, founder of The Weather Channel and a former meteorologist, told CNN on Sunday. “There is no significant man-made global warming now, there hasn’t been any in the past, and there’s no reason to expect it in the future. There is a whole lot of baloney. And yes, it has become a big political point for the Democratic Party and its platform. And I regret that it’s become political rather than scientific. The science, however, is on my side.”

POLL DU JOUR

61 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the U.S.

34 percent are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S.

41 percent say the problems facing the nation are challenging but not the worst they’ve ever seen.

26 percent say the nation faces the worst problems they’ve seen “in their lifetime.”

24 percent say the problems are about “the same as usual.”

6 percent say the problems are “less challenging” than usual.

Source: A USA Today poll of 1,210 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 23-26.

Stern warnings, gleeful observations to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide