November 30, 2010 11:09:00 AM
The implications of the 2010 mid-term elections are still evolving. What has become clear at this juncture is that there is more at stake in the 2012 Presidential elections than we have witnessed in several generations.
For starters, the Democrats in the Senate were somewhat isolated from a disaster like the firestorm that struck in the House of Representatives because of the lack of incumbent Democratic Senators exposed in the 2010 races. Such will not be the case in 2012 as there will be 21 Democratic Senate seats up for grabs as compared to only 10 seats for the Republicans.
Thus to the Republican strategists it may appear that they are treating this as merely "halftime" in a contest where they have scored a big lead. A similar effort in the second half - the 2012 Congressional and Presidential elections - will, they feel, close the deal and set the Republicans up for a long-term reign. To understand what is at stake one need look no further than the delicate balance on the Supreme Court and the even more delicate state of Ruth Bader Ginsburg''s health to understand how a Senate majority, in its confirmation power, can impact such things as the ongoing culture wars for years to come.
What does history have to say to the Democrats? All Democrats should take the time to study the sequence of wave elections culminating in the 1946 mid-term elections and the 1948 Presidential and Congressional elections. In 1946 the nation, weary from 16 years of Democratic progressivism and the all encompassing New Deal, decided to catch its breath and give the Republicans a chance to run things.
Harry Truman, who had succeeded the late Franklin Roosevelt, clearly lacked the charisma that had kept Roosevelt in office. Democratic accomplishments notwithstanding the 1946 elections saw the Republicans take 55 seats from the Democrats in the Unites States House of Representatives and they took the Senate for good measure.
The rationale of the voters in turning to the GOP was startling similar to that afoot today. Their campaign approach was to create an overarching concern on the part of the voters for the huge expansion of government programs and the cost that they would surely incur. The Republicans pledged to resist big government liberalism (progressivism) at every turn.
By convention time in 1948 the Democratic Party was still morose and licking its wounds. A dour, but ever feisty, Harry Truman decided to "go for broke." Truman and the Democrats fired the opening series of salvos in the modern Civil Rights movement knowing full well what the reaction of the decades-old Southern Democratic base would be. The Civil Rights plank in the Democratic platform was so strong that it led to the walkout of the Southern Democrats and the formation of the short-lived Dixiecrats.
Truman underscored his strong support for the Democratic platform at every stop of a 31,000 mile "whistle stop" train tour. His renewed, no-holds-barred vigor earned him the nick name "Give ''Em Hell Harry." Truman upset Dewey, and the Democrats took back the Senate, and 75 House seats reverted to the Democrats. This election defied the conventional wisdom that the Democrats could not win without the votes of Southerners who defected in droves to the Dixiecrats.
With the 2010 election results now in the books and the 63 seat Democratic loss to the Republicans clearly in mind, are the Democrats prepared to pick themselves up and shore up the prospects of an incumbent President? A more pertinent question facing the Democratic leadership is this: Are the Democrats prepared to accept the Republican invitation to, in their minds, capitulate as a sign of willingness to cooperate, or will they follow the Truman example of the late 1940''s and "go for broke?"
Early indications are that there are those in the majority of Democrats who advocate the defiant route. No better example exists than the party''s decision to elect soon-to-be former speaker Nancy Pelosi as minority leader. In spite of the Republican glee at these prospects, the majority of House Democrats feel that Pelosi has been stunning in her accomplishments during the first two years of the Obama administration.
Furthermore, Pelosi is said to be the Democrats top fundraiser to the tune of several million dollars a month. While this approach will do a lot to satisfy the left side of the party it does so at the expense of the dwindling numbers of more conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats.
Recent opinion polls have exhibited a decided uptick in President Obama''s approval ratings. An NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll of last week showed that the President had drawn even at 47% in his approval ratings. The crucial decision to be made is whether or not Obama and the Democrats will bite the bullet and come out strongly in favor of a continued progressive agenda and defend the momentous accomplishments of his first two years. Just as in 1948 the conservative South in 2010 is gone for the time being as far as the Democrats are concerned.
With an eye toward 2012, the question to be answered is: Can the Democrats engage in their old-style building of a coalition of minorities and labor to reclaim a sufficient number of independents to recover territory lost in 2010?
Wiseman is director of the Stennis Institute at Mississippi State University. His e-mail address is [email protected]
walter commented at 12/2/2010 12:29:00 PM:
Marty, your treatise is much, much too deep for a populace as illiterate as ours! Of course, your analysis is right on the money. However, to reach those who really need to grasp what you've shared, will require that it be broken down a bit.
For starters, suffice it to say succinctly and directly: WHAT THE REPUBLICANS, AND THE PEOPLE WHOSE INTEREST THEY BEST REPRESENT, WANT MORE THAN JUST ELECTING A WHITE MALE TO THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENT, OR EVEN A REPUBLICAN, IF IT IS NOT TO BE, IS TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT THEY (ULTRA-CONSERVATIVE JUSTICES) MAINTAIN A MAJORITY ON THE SUPREME COURT.
IF THEY CAN KEEP CONSERVATIVES IN THE MAJORITY ON THE SUPREME COURT BY HELPING TO ELECT A COLORED PERSON PRESIDENT, WHO THEY COULD THEN USE TO ENERGIZE THEIR BASE TO ELECT A MAJORITY REPUBLICAN CONGRESS, THEN SO BE IT. WHEN THEY KNEW IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO ELECT A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT SO SOON AFTER DARK VADER AND JR., THEN MAKE SURE THAT THE LEAST EFFECTIVE DEMOCRAT AND MOST VULNERBLE TO ATTACK OF THE CANDIDATE FROM THE PARTY IS CHOSEN.
PEOPLE ARE SO FOCUSED ON OBAMA AND OBAMA'S RACIAL HERITAGE, THEY'VE FORGOTTEN OR SIMPLY CHOOSE TO IGNORE, WHO AND WHAT GOT US IN OUR CURRENT PREDICATEMENT. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AWARE OF THE LIMITED ATTENTION SPAN OF SOME AMERICANS. BUT, TWO YEARS AFTER JR. AND CHENEY DEFIES COMPREHENSION!!! IF EITHER OF THE MANY OTHER DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR THE WHITE HOUSE HAD WON, BESIDES OBAMA, AND THE MEDIA REPORTING WOULD HAVE BEEN DECIDEDLY DIFFERENT:
NO TALK OF SOCIALISM; NO TALK OF MUSLIM CONNECTION; NO TALK OF PLACE OF BIRTH; NO GUNS AT TEA PARTY RALLIES; AND, NO TALK OF RE-DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH.
ALL OF THE ABOVE ILL-FOUNDED CHARGES WERE USED TO MOBILIZE AND DIRECT AN ALREADY IGNORANT AND RACIST PEOPLE, WHO, DO NOT READ FOR THEMSELVES AND WHO, DEFINITELY HAVE YET TO SEE THEIR FELLOW DRK-SKINNED AMERICANS AS BEING JUST AS HARD-WORKING AND LAW-ABIDING, AS THEMSELVES.
OBAMA IS A GOOD, DECENT MAN, WHO CARES DEEPLY FOR AMERICA. UNFORTUNATELY, HE WAS AND IS BEING USED AS A SCAPEGOAT AND LIGHTENING ROD TO ENERGIZE THE LEAST-INFORMED CITIZENS IN AMERICAN SOCIETY. LIKE THOSE WHO FOLLOWED IN LOCKSTEP HITLER, THERE ARE FAR TOO MANY AMERICANS WHO FOLLOW IN LOCKSTEP THE DIRECTION OF RUSH, SARAH AND SEAN, AND OTHERS WHO ARE FAR MORE DANGEROUS THAN THOSE THREE BUT WHO REMAIN FOREVER IN THE BACKGROUND.
MARTY, YOU'RE ON POINT. HOPE YOU DON'T MIND MY ELABORATION OF THE GIST OF YOUR ARTICLE.
hope commented at 12/2/2010 7:17:00 PM:
The wealthy need to destroy their opponent and the adversary is the American middle class. The wealthy must crush the standard of living in the US. Once that is complete, they can control you. They already own Congress and Congress is flooding the economy with cheap China goods. Your job is going and next your house. (Reverse Mortgages.) Then they will enslave you.
frank commented at 12/3/2010 11:21:00 AM:
Your analysis doesn't factor in the power/population shift south since the 1940s. This is a different nation with different demographics and party affiliations than it was back then. Essentially you are comparing apples to oranges and not apples to apples.
I think the race card is vastly overplayed when it comes to Obama. In reality it all boils down to liberal vs. conservative. Blaming bad performance on "racism" is just another cop-out. To paraphrase Clinton; It is the policy stupid. Today the unemployment rate worsened to 9.8% according to the Labor Department's sugar coated method. Calculated the old way it is around 20%. Jobs should be job one, but instead we are creating and expanding social programs and piling up debt. Unless that policy shifts drastically in the next two years, expect more of what you saw on 11/02/10.
hope commented at 12/4/2010 10:06:00 AM:
@frank--------Thinks the race card is overplayed with Obama.
You did not get mad when over 200,000 US citizens lost their lives because they had no health insurance. You didn't get mad when we gave people more money than they could spend, the filthy rich, over a trillion dollars in tax breaks. You didn't get mad when the lack of oversight and regulations from the Bush administration caused US citizens to lose 12 trillion dollars in investments and home values. You didn't get mad when Bush rang up 10 trillion dollars in combined budget and account deficits. You didn't get mad when the Bush administration let major US city,N.O., drown. You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President. You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed energy company officials to dictate energy policy and pushed us to invade Iraq. (Nigeria is going to have Dick Cheney arrested for bribery this coming week.)
You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got ousted. You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed. You didn't get mad when we invaded a country that posed no threat to us. You didn't get mad when we spent over a trillion dollars on this same war. You didn't get mad when Bush borrowed more money from foreign sources than the previous 42 Presidents combined. You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars in cash just disappeared in Iraq. You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people. You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed. You didn't get mad when Bush embraced trade and outsourcing policies that shipped 6 million American jobs out of the Country. You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.
YOU FINALLY GOT MAD WHEN A BLACK MAN WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT AND DECIDED THAT PEOPLE IN AMERICA DESERVED THE RIGHT TO SEE A DOCTOR IF THEY GOT SICK.
These same financial terroists said deficits don't matter.
frank commented at 12/4/2010 1:17:00 PM:
First of all that is totally plagiarized once again. Secondly, I liked Clinton better than Bush as previously stated. Thirdly, I would have gotten mad if the socialist agenda was being conducted by a lilly white male from Kansas. I am not a socialist. Period. What color Obama is has nothing to do with it. It is his policies stupid.
How about some original thought Hopeless, or at the least reference the stuff you steal? Your constant plagiarizing doesn't reflect well on your credibility.
hope commented at 12/4/2010 8:18:00 PM:
@frank---You would think that all those blunders would hurt the Republicans credibility, but they got elected. It's amazing how money can change peoples' minds.
Anti earmark Tea Party specialist HARPER(R-MS) has requested $80,402,000, what credibility does he have? The Tea Party over-all has requested over $1 billion dollars. The Republican Tea Party told the people they were going to rein in our debt. If they vote to pass the bill to extend the tax cuts for the wealthy, it will add 700 billion to our debt every year. Not only will they lose their credibility, it will make them liars.
walter commented at 12/4/2010 8:27:00 PM:
This is as spirited a discourse as I have ever had the opportunity to witness! More importantly, it is occurring among my fellow Mississippians, or individuals who care enough about my beloved state to read a very progressive and comprehensive newspaper published right there in my hometown!
We face challenges. But none that we are incapable of overcoming, if we commit to having open, honest, mature, civil dialogue, with all issues placed squarely upon the table. Our state, particularly Columbus, has been a pioneer on many fronts. I'm naive enough to believe that among all the cities in the entire world, we are the one city in which some of the most divisive and troubling issues that have challenged America for years now, can be dealt front and center right there in Possum Town, USA. First of all, whites in Columbus are not shy about expressing their true feelings; Blacks are tolerant enough to allow them to do so, without getting bent all out of shape when they hear how whites feel deep down within their guts. Clearly, the proceeding attitudes form the very basis for change, if parties entered in to discussion with open-minds and willing hearts.
We have reached the great divide in our state and nation as a result of some horrendous lies! Any lawyer or judge (and we have some outstanding men and women in each in Columbus and Mississippi, despites some who are rotten to the core) can tell you, a lie, if submitted to cross-examination by a skillful practioner will be easily shown to be just that, beyond a shadow of doubt.
I propse that we make Columbus the sight of the trial of the vicious lies that have been spread for years that have caused such deadly and destructive racial (and class) strife. I have a theory: the racial division we see was created and perpetuated by men who wanted to control both blacks and whites of lower economic status. If you have prima facie evidence to help me prove (or disprove) that hunch, please join me in the endeavor. Perhaps The Dispatch will accommodate us.
As soon as President Obama issue his full compliment of pardons, I will join you in person and on stage to take-on all comers on a host of topics related to race, class, crime and education. The only restriction is that no juveniles or individuals with limited mental capacity be allowed to enter.
frank commented at 12/4/2010 10:54:00 PM:
Hopeless if the tea party candidates do more of the same things the Dems and Republicans have been doing, they will be booted out too. This partisan view you have of "us vs them" is a big part of the problem in this country. This is why I choose to remain independent.
Like I said before, if policy doesn't change expect to see more of what you saw in November. Performance is the measure, not race, gender, or party. The raw numbers show no favor.
frank commented at 12/4/2010 11:01:00 PM:
No need to salt old wounds. This is 2010, go forward and stop looking back. It serves no good purpose. Vote for the candidate and judge him/her on performance. It is the policies stupid, not the race, gender, etc.
walter commented at 12/5/2010 3:31:00 PM:
Frank, if only you knew just how much we pray for a day when it is simply a matter of policy! But, stupid, the evidence speaks for itself: Mississippi has an African American population close to 50%. The state has two senatorial seat in D.C. Not since the era of Reconstruction more than a century ago has either of those two seats been filled by an African American! Has there been an African American governor during your lifetime? How about during the lifetime of your mama?
Anyone who would deny the overwhelming influence of race in politics and economic has to be stupid! The proof is all around us. Are we, African American, such as myself, to pretend or deny that it exists or that it is of minimum import? I think not! More over, if we faoil to speak out or to teach our offsprings of the insidious nature of racism, we do them a grave disservice and they will be crippled for life. As long as racism exists, it must be challenged and discussed, period, regatrdless of the cadre of folks insisting that we stop. That includes you, Frank.
frank commented at 12/5/2010 11:10:00 PM:
We have a black President elected in a 75% white nation Walter. Racism is no longer the factor it once was. Let it go the way of the dodo bird. Too often racism is still used as a crutch. It isn't needed and generally reflects poorly on those who try to play that card.
It is time to move into the 21st century Walter. I have voted for politicians of both parties, genders, and races. You should too.
walter commented at 12/6/2010 12:30:00 AM:
Frank, racism isn't an issue for various sundry individuals, personally, I'll admit and I sincerely believe you are among the few who no longer consider race or gender as the primary factor in decing who to vote for or against. That, however, isn't the issue. The progressive attitudes of yourself and I'm sure thousands, if not millions of others, despite a commitment to color-blindness, it simply has not, as of this date, been weighty enough to influence the vast majority to follow suits. Obviously, any comment I make, relative to racism, does not apply to you or the many, many others who recognize that our color, race and/or gender is the least reliable characteristic to observe in assessing the value, worthiness, trust-worthiness, intelligence, honesty, etc. of one another.
I disgaree with your premise about Obama's election. Race, as a tool, can be and has been used quite effectively to divide and control both whites and blacks throughout the history of this nation. The election of a single black to the highest office gives the most vehemently racist among us ammunition to oppress the rest of the entire black race. "Look," they say< "Obama is black. That proves we're no longer racsit and that affirmative action is no longer needed." Or, they contend that Obama's election demonstrate that "anybody in America can be anything they want, if the put their mind to it."
Not so, Frank. Racism is so entrenched, so institutionalized, it cannot be countered, except by a sustained, conscious, and unrelenting resistance to it by all people of all races of goodwill.
Slavery was possible, only because of racism. Segregation was possible and lasted for as long as it did, because of racism. Racism itself was preached in the church and taught in the schools. It was enforced by the courts and enshrined by the legislatures of most, if not all states. To think that it will simply disappear as a result of Roots, Raisin In The Sun, or any of the other feel good movies, plays or dramas is pure folly. It will diappear when we, as a nation come out of denial and have something similar to what they had in South Africa, a Truth and Reconciliation Council. Clinto was right in calling for a dialogue on race. Obama is wrong for suggesting that a post-racial era is already upon us. Frank, despite your progressive attitude toward race, for the vast majority, it is still very much a divisive matter that they refuse to acknowledge or to admit.
Until we admit that, to an extent, we are all afflicted in variant degrees by it, it will continue fester, like a raisin or tomato, in the sun. If it goes untreated, the stench and infections will destroy us because it keep us divided based upon superficial differences, which in turn, makes us weak as we compete against China, India and Europe as the leader on the world stage tomorrow and beyond.
Things I cited above (% of blacks vs the number of blacks elected to state-wide or national offices)do not necessarily provide sufficent direct evidence of racism. It is, on the other hand, more than enough circumstantial evidence to deemed a fact: racism is alive and well throughout the nation, especially in Mississippi and the deep south. Obama carried, if I'm not mistaken, only one southern state, South Carolina. Ironically, South Carolina is the home of Susan Smith, the young white woman who murdered her own two, innocent and very, handsome little boys by drowning them in her car. She knew and believed that we're still racist. She immediately blamed black men for her dastardly deed! And, while I do not know it, I suspect that until her lies were revealed, more than a few young and old African Americans were probably tortured, either physically or mentally. I remember when Emmit Till was killed! As a little boy, I couldn't go outside to play for weeks!
Frank, I could share more. It would be better if you could find and honest and courgae enough African American near you and engage him or her in conversation. They could share enough with you about things they regarding hiring, promotions and terminations of Blacks that they know, for a fact, was based upon nothing else but their race! I know for a fact that Black, generally speaking, have received disparate treatment by the courts in Mississippi. I say generally only because I'm honest and must admit that the courts were very mercyful toward me, on occasion, and I'm black. The latter admission only helps to show that racism is a strange and difficult thing to fathom! White like some blacks, as individuals. But, for same reason, they distrust and mistreat blacks, as a people.
I agree with you about one statement you made: "It is time to move into the 21st Century." I simply argue that we must deal with the racism of the20th century and earlier, openly and squarely, lest it continue to fester, only to bust again in the midst of the 21st century and have resident and citizens confused as to what caused it. Stated differently, racism is like a sore that never healed within. It looks healed on the outside but is filled with infections within. To heal, it must do say inside out and not outside in. Your propose that we simply stop discussing racial conflict seems to suggest that we just ignore it or pretend that it doesn't exist. That by doing so and remaining silent, it will heal itself. Perhaps, you're right. I disagree and will raise concerns whenever it seems appropriate and right! And, to those who say that I'm spreading racism or creating racial tension by raising concerns about it, I say you're wrong. By merely saying that lava flowing from a volcanoe is super hot, doesn't just by saying it make the lava any hotter than it already is!
Continue to vote for both blacks and white politicians. You won't believe how long I've done just that. For a greater portion of my life as a voter, I couldn't vote for anything else but a white. That is especially case when I have had to cast a vote for governor of the fine state of Mississippi!
frank commented at 12/6/2010 9:09:00 AM:
Slavery? Segregation? You are living in the past Walter and swatting at shadows. The sooner people like you, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton, quit screaming racism at every turn and let the blacks in society succeed or fail based on their merits, the sooner we can achieve the color blindness you claim to seek. As long as the embers are stirred, the fire will smolder. Quit stirring the embers Walter and move on.
Sometimes I wonder if Jesse and Al are worried about job security. They act like cops in a town with no crime so they blow everything out of proportion to make themselves still appear relevant.
frank commented at 12/6/2010 10:41:00 AM:
And for what it's worth:
Obama did poorly in the south because he is a LIBERAL, not because he is black. If you would objectively look at the election breakdown you will find that he did just as well if not better in liberal strongholds as any white liberal candidate did in the past. Once again, this is a policy issue, not a race issue. White liberals voted for him everywhere in the nation including the south.
Want a black southern senator? Run a black CONSERVATIVE against a white or black LIBERAL and you will get one.
To paraphrase Clinton who said; "it is the economy stupid". It is the POLICY stupid.
hope commented at 12/6/2010 4:54:00 PM:
As far back as I can remember, the Republican party has always been the party of white and the Democrats the party of the black or minority. McGlowan, who ran on the Republican ticket, only got 15% of the votes.
frank commented at 12/6/2010 5:28:00 PM:
Quick, somebody send a memo to Michael Steele and tell him he is white. Hopeless said so.
hope commented at 12/6/2010 6:57:00 PM:
@frank---Not so fast. Steele is on the way out, according to Barbour.
hope commented at 12/6/2010 6:59:00 PM:
@frank---Not so fast. Steele is on the way out, according to Barbour.
melody commented at 12/10/2010 9:21:00 AM:
For hope and walter: You need a little review. The first repub prez freed the blacks and gave them equal rights. There were more black repubs in office after the war than white. What changed ? The dems came up with a scheme known as the KKK to gain back power by wacking repubs, black and white. Now, Why are blacks and some whites like hope so in lock step today with liberal dems, black or white, when it comes to our elections?!!!! What's your educated answer? Don't even think it's the repubs fault!!
One more thing, Obama is 100% liberal but not 100% black so stop it already with all this racism manure. Many people believe, including the 100% black presidential candidate Allen Keyes, that he's not even a natural born citizen and it's true he will not show the real birth certificate. The U.S. will never have a black President because approx 99% of black voter's are permantely programed to support the liberal dems, sorry but that's a fact.
hope commented at 12/10/2010 9:48:00 AM:
@melody----The first pub gave them equal rights. And what did LBJ do?
walter commented at 12/10/2010 2:48:00 PM:
If I'm not mistaken, a Conservative Black did run for state-wide office in Mississippi no so long ago, he couldn't even get his party, The Repubs to nominate him. Believe you me, he was a true conservative, in every sense of the word. If not, he did an incredible job pretending! It is difficult to say because he's a switch-hitter. He backs both Repubs, Dems, liberals and conservatives, which, naturally is his right, as an American citizen.
Frank, if it was simply an issue of conservatism vs. liberalism, there would be many more persons of color in Washington. If you looked closely at African Americans, you would discover that there is not a group within the country that even comes close to being as conservative. In other words, stupid, it isn't policy or the economy that account for the absence of blacks in office. Not a single black in the Senate! It is race and no matter how you or anyone else want to try to convince me or other like-minded people that it is behind us, we will not ignore what we know to be real!!!
We will not allow the fact that we know it exists to stifle us, but, by the same token, under no circumstance will be buy into your notion that it is passe and that we some how or the other are paranoid for seeing it, recognizing it and calling it waht it is...If you persuade the mases of Blacks that racism is dead, they will become vulnerable to the subtle acts that will destroy them. We're not going to allow it to happen, as long as we're able to counter it and stay engaged in the conversation/dialogue dealing with just that isse, Frank!
walter commented at 12/10/2010 2:50:00 PM:
Merry Christmas, if you're a believer; best of the Holiday season, if you're not.
frank commented at 12/11/2010 11:09:00 AM:
Darn, we had a black senator but we made him President. That racism really worked against him didn't it?!
Walter if you choose to enslave yourself to the notion that your race is holding you back and continue to do that well into this century then there isn't much more I can say that will change your mind.
Have a Merry Christmas.
2. Possumhaw: Here today, gone tomorrow LOCAL COLUMNS