Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Bill Maher on Obama, the Parties, and Independent Voters

INDEPENDENT VOTERS
OPEN PRIMARIES
  • Crossover ban would limit voters' choices (Star-Tribune Editorial, Wyoming Trib.com) Wyoming voters have historically voted for individuals based upon their character and personal qualities, not because of partisan affiliation. Voters should continue to have the ability to support any candidate they believe represents their political views. Unlike states with open primaries, Wyoming already forces citizens who consider themselves independent to choose one of the two major political parties in order to participate in the primary election process. Requiring voters to choose a party 90 days before the primary further limits public participation in our democracy.
  • Letters: Forcing political oath is scary (LETTER Knoxville News) The idea of forcing people to sign an oath to either party before voting is un-democratic.

OBAMA
  • Analysis: Obama Compromise A Bid For Independents (by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, NPR) "To my Democratic friends, what I'd suggest is let's make sure that we understand this is a long game. This is not a short game. And to my Republican friends, I would suggest, I think this is a good agreement. Because I know that they're swallowing some things that they don't like as well." He offered no words to independents. Instead, he let his compromise do the talking.
  • Obama Lashes Out at Critics in His Base - He Aims to Soothe Left, Lure Independents With Blend of Compromises and Fights; Tax-Deal Foes Are 'Sanctimonious' (By LAURA MECKLER And JONATHAN WEISMAN, Wall Street Journal)
  • With tax deal, Obama launches bipartisan strategy - By reaching across party lines, the president is reaching out to the independent voters who turned against him in November's election, with an eye to winning them back in 2012. (By Paul West, Tribune Washington Bureau, LA Times)
  • The president extends an olive branch to GOP (By Scott Wilson, Washington Post) The move is based on a political calculation, drawn from his party's midterm defeat, that places a premium on winning back independent voters.
  • President Obama May Be Starting to Get The Message (David Brody, Christian Broadcasting Network)

CALIFORNIA
  • Time for rethinking, not rebranding (By James Lacy, Fox & Hounds Daily) Especially if Proposition 14 is upheld in the courts, and an open primary is instituted, the time might be ripe for moderates and conservatives in California state politics to just start over with something intelligent, new and attractive to a majority of voters.
  • Editorial: Top law officer's duty is to uphold constitution (Sac Bee) Regardless of the outcome in the courts, state Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, who was a 2010 primary candidate for attorney general, has a legislative agenda. Asserting that "direct democracy" through the initiative process is "under siege," he plans to introduce what he's calling the "Ballot Box Defense Act." It would require California's attorney general to defend any voter-approved initiative or constitutional amendment.

MAINE
  • Forecaster Forum: Maine Democrats, Republicans face defining moments (By Alan Caron, The Forcaster) The public’s affection for Republicans ideas is no deeper than for Democrats, which is why 62 percent of voters voted for someone other than the Republican nominee for governor. People want action on a leaner government and a bigger economy and they don’t much care who delivers it.
  • Cutler: Absentee process flawed (By Michael Shepherd, The Maine Campus -- University of Maine student newspaper since 1875) Independent candidate Eliot Cutler, who lost on Nov. 2 by slightly more than 9,400 votes — less than 2 percent of the total vote — wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Nov. 17 titled “Who Stole Election Day?”

NORTH CAROLINA
  • Rucho to lead N.C. Senate's redistricting committee (By Jim Morrill, Charlotte Observer) Rucho said he doubts an independent redistricting commission, favored by some, could be truly independent. "There's always politics involved, one way or another," he said.
UTAH
  • One 2010 election debrief (mine) (by Randy Miller, The Hankster) I now have a life experience that I share with a very small group of people; I ran for public office as a non-partisan candidate in a partisan race. (and I polled over 20% in doing so, even 39% and 42% in the 2 highest precincts)
 NEW YORK
  • Michael Bloomberg pitches new voting reforms (By JENNIFER EPSTEIN, Politico) In 2008, Bloomberg — sometimes bandied about as a potential independent candidate for president in 2012 — successfully campaigned for a change in the city’s term-limit law to allow him to run for a third term as mayor.
  • Today in conservative "post-partisanship" (BY ALEX PAREENE, Salon)
  • Bloomberg Seeking Election Law Changes to Increase Voter Turnout (By ELIZABETH A. HARRIS, NY Times) The mayor proposed allowing for early voting, moving the deadline for registering to vote closer to Election Day, making the ballot easier to read and making absentee voting easier.

    • New Yorkers Rally at City Hall to Protest Bloomberg’s Trip to Israel (By Zahra Hankir,The Indypendent - the newspaper of the nyc independent media center - a free paper for free people) “Mayor Bloomberg, where’s your heart? At least express concern for the destruction of human beings who may not be of Jewish descent but who are Palestinian and who have the right to live as well,” said Councilperson Charles Barron of the Mayor’s visit. Speaking to The Indypendent, Barron explained that local politicians fear expressing criticism because of the strong pro-Israel Jewish lobby. “The City Council is pro-Israel, and they know that if they speak out that they can get punished politically,” he said.
    • Will Six Latinos Be Amigos or a Minority Pain for NY Senate Dems? (By Gerson Borrero, WNYC) if these six Democrats – four Puerto Ricans and two Dominicans – unite on any one issue, they could collectively become a royal pain for the embarrassed and scrambling Democrats. Just imagine a Pedro Espada, Jr. and Hiram Monserrate-type of strategy amongst Senators Rubén Díaz, Martin Malavé Dilan, José Marco Serrano, José Peralta, Gustavo Rivera and Adriano Espaillat.
    • Dean Skelos & Republican Senate need to change their ways to save New York state (BILL HAMMOND, NY Daily News)
    • Another chance for the Senate GOP (by Jay Jochnowitz, Albany Times Union/The Observation Deck) The Republicans didn’t have to walk far in the Democrats’ shoes to realize just how raw a deal that was. Almost immediately, they cried foul and demanded the Democrats live up to their promises to reform the Senate’s ways. With the help of two opportunistic Democrats — Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate — they launched a government-stopping coup last year. So much for the peaceful transfer of power.
    • The 10 Biggest Political Stories of 2010 (NY Observer/Politicker) #10. No More Amigos

EDUCATION REFORM
  • House Members Get Ready for 'Waiting for Superman' (Sunshine State News/Kevin Derby's Blog) With members of the Legislature watching “Waiting for Superman” on Tuesday and holding a panel discussion afterward, two members of the House who will be on the panel offered their initial thoughts -- and the need for educational reform.
  • MBAs Putting Their Education To Work...Literally (Anne Arlinghaus,THE HARBUS - The independent weekly for the Harvard Business School since 1937) Benson, a Program Officer at the Gates Foundation, noted that states, districts, and philanthropists have started to "allocate capital in more thoughtful ways than previously." 

LAST WORD
Third Parties and Tequila Shots (by Kai Wright, ColorLines blog) But it also seems like we need to think beyond political parties themselves...

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