Why not victory?

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 


When Barry Rubin took over coaching duties for his son’s soccer team for one game, he introduced a novel idea — play to win. The team hadn’t won all season because the regular coach apparently treats all of his players as if they were equally talented for all purposes. Rubin freed his team from this fiction, and led it to victory.

Oddly, this seemed to make the team members happy. Even the boy who was criticized by his mother for being too happy with the win was still smiling after the chewing out.

Winning seems to have that effect. It should probably be outlawed. Short of that, conspiring to avoid victory and guilt-tripping the victors seem like the best options.

Stiil, I believe that Rubin lives not far from me in the Washington DC area. The adults around here seem to play to win. So why send the signal to their children that there’s something wrong with this general approach?

Power Line

Miller’s Chances Of Victory In Alaska Look Slim

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Nate Silver looks at the numbers and sees little chance that Joe Miller will be able to catch Lisa Murkowski:

However many ballots Mr. Miller elects to challenge — and he could challenge every single ballot if he wanted to — only a certain fixed number of these challenges will have any realistic chance of being upheld. The fact that, on the first day of ballot counting, Mr. Miller’s campaign was already indulging in what seems to have been quite a number of frivolous challenges, and despite this, was still not able to challenge ballots at a rate consistent with what would eventually be required to deny Ms. Murkowski re-election, speaks quite poorly to his chances.

During the next several days of ballot counting, I would expect the fraction of ballots challenged by Mr. Miller’s campaign to increase: enough to put him beyond the 11.6 percent threshold that I described earlier, so that he could make some nominal claim that the outcome of the election was disputed. As a direct corollary of this, I would expect the average quality of Mr. Miller’s chances to decrease.

And, on cue:

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s campaign on Thursday accused observers for rival Joe Miller of making petty challenges in the counting of voters’ write-in ballots in an attempt to tilt the Alaska Senate race in their favor.

Miller’s campaign disputed the charge, saying observers are simply challenging votes that don’t meet the strict letter of the law - including those with minor misspellings of Murkowski’s name or those with legibility or penmanship issues.

Shortly after the second day of write-in ballot counting began in the race, a Miller observer challenged a vote for Murkowski that appeared to have her name spelled and printed correctly, though the “L” in “Lisa” was in cursive handwriting.

“They’re just absolutely trying to boost their numbers,” Murkowski spokesman John Tracy said.


H/T: David Weigel

Outside the Beltway

IJ Scores Major Legal Victory for Free Speech

November 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Karen Sampson and her Colorado neighbors just won a serious victory for liberty.

In a unanimous decision on Tuesday, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Colorado’s disclosure laws for grassroots political groups.  This is a big deal.  As the Associated Press put it, “The issue is ripe for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

The federal appellate court held that Karen and her neighbors in the tiny subdivision of Parker North, Colo., should not have been forced to register with the government and comply with burdensome campaign finance laws simply for opposing a ballot issue involving the annexation of their neighborhood.

I wrote previously at Big Government that Karen and her neighbors opposed an effort to annex their town into a neighboring city because it would raise their taxes without providing them benefits.  So they printed up fliers and yard signs.  And then they got sued.

Under what basis?  Colorado’s campaign finance laws, which state that any group of individuals that spends over $ 200 magically becomes an “issue committee” that is forced to register with the state.  Further, they had to track and report all their “contributions” and “expenditures” and disclose the identities of anyone who gave them money.

The result?  People took down their yard signs and stopped passing out fliers.

In 2008, a federal court upheld the lawsuit against Karen and her neighbors while admitting that Colorado’s campaign finance laws “had the effect of stifling political speech in violation of the First Amendment.”  The Institute for Justice appealed and, on Tuesday, secured victory.

Federal Judge Harris L. Hartz wrote in Tuesday’s opinion:

The average citizen cannot be expected to master on his or her own the many campaign financial-disclosure requirements set forth in Colorado’s constitution, the Campaign Act, and the Secretary of State’s Rules Concerning Campaign and Political Finance.

Increasing numbers of people are coming to realize that the burdens of campaign finance laws are enough to  silence speakers.  Consider a recent study by campaign finance expert Dr. Jeffrey Milyo, Campaign Finance Red Tape.  He asked 255 people to comply with Colorado’s registration and disclosure laws.  Guess how many managed to figure it out?

Not one.

The average score was just 41 percent.  In real life, each person could have been subject to fines and penalties.  After sifting through the mounds of confusing red tape, the participants felt that the campaign finance laws were “Worse than the IRS!” and had the effect of discouraging involvement in politics.

The bottom line is that the only thing Americans should need in order to speak out about politics is an opinion.   The right to talk and participate in local politics is at the core of what the First Amendment was designed to protect.  Campaign finance laws don’t just affect politicians—they restrict everybody’s speech, silencing the grassroots through red tape, regulations and punishment for speaking.

Thankfully, the judges in Karen’s lawsuit were engaged and took their job of protecting rights seriously.  As IJ President Chip Mellor said:

This is yet another example of an important judicial trend the Institute for Justice has advocated since our founding—that of judicial engagement.  Judges are becoming rightfully more engaged in defending vital rights and striking down laws that exceed constitutionally enshrined limits on legislative powers.

Bookmark IJ’s free speech blog, and join our conversation at facebook, twitter and You Tube.

Big Government

Senator-Elect Marco Rubio’s Victory Speech

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

by Javier Manjarres

With last night’s convincing 19 point margin of victory, Marco Rubio is now Senator-Elect Rubio. Last year at this time, the political pundits were still pretty much in agreement that Charlie Crist would be the Republican nominee- an amazing turn of political fortunes.

Having been a supporter of Marco’s before anyone knew just which race he was going declare himself a candidate for, Marco’s subsequent explosion onto the national political scene and his victory yesterday are both very gratifying for myself as well as for Marco’s growing legion of fans.   Early on, there were very formidable challenges that Rubio and his small band of supporters faced.  These challenges came from within the state Republican party (RPOF), from people masked as friends in certain Republican Executive Committees, to the usual opportunists that always gravitate towards the “stronger horse”.   Marco’s campaign team was small, but trustworthy-  Hat tip : Anthony ‘Buste” Bustamante.

According to the so-called “establishment”, Marco was not supposed to be the Republican nominee, and there was concerted pressure from different directions to try and get Marco to quit the race early on. As Marco’s campaign started to get a foothold and he gained in the polls, new challenges arose. From the oppositions’ backroom deal proposals and posturing to the blatant media trashing of Marco’s campaign, Marco stayed principled and on message. These detractors and non-believers now scurry to open the very doors that were shut in Marco’s face mere months ago.

Congratulations Marco, you have made us proud in the Senate race you have run and won.  Now, the real work begins stopping the Obama agenda and providing a clear alternative to this abject failure of an experiment, which has been the primary rationale for Rubio’s candidacy since Day One.

The Shark Tank

Ecomoonbat Claims It Will Take Global Warming Hoax 100,000 Years to Recover From GOP Victory

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

According to a moonbat at Grist, it will take the world 100,000 years to recover from Republicans routing the Dems in the 2010 elections:

Because nothing closes the window of opportunity on peaking greenhouse gas emissions by 2015 quite like a new of speaker of the House who once expressed outright disbelief about the veracity of scientists’ claims regarding the threat of climate change, geologists published a paper this week suggesting the Earth will take 100,000 years to recover from the effects of the global warming resulting from our current emissions trajectory.

Here’s hoping that the impact of the Democrat drubbing scheduled for 2012 lasts even longer.

Predicted to have a lasting impact.

On a tip from Steve T.


Fresh off Victory, Senator-Elect Rubio Dives Into Foreign Policy

November 8, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

by Javier Manjarres

Fresh off his historic victory over Governor Charlie Crist and Congressman Kendrick Meek, Senator-elect Marco Rubio is ‘wheels up’ and on his way to Israel. Quite a few of the so-called ‘wizards of smart’ politicos seem to think that this is a calculated move by Rubio to position himself for a Presidential bid in 2012.  This may very well be the case, since Rubio has long been a supporter of Israel and has expressed his opposition to President Obama’s  foreign policy towards Israel. The world community acknowledges that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel, and not Jerusalem. Rubio has openly defied the so-called conventional wisdom, and he went on the record in this video interview that was conducted several months ago indicating that he believes that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.   

Senator-elect Rubio is also considered to be on the very short list of potential Vice-Presidential picks for several of the Republican hopefuls that have express interest in taking on President Obama in 2012. Picking Rubio for VP would be a smart move by anyone of the soon-to-be crowded field of future Presidential candidates because the thought of a young, articulate, Conservative Hispanic who can Florida’s 27 electoral votes has the Democrat party bosses scrambling since he took a commanding lead in the polls to try to counter such an obstacle to their plans.

But I say “not so fast” in anointing him a future Presidential candidate or Vice President. Rubio has made numerous campaign promises and has boldly express his intent to fix many of the problems, both foreign and domestic, that ails the country-one of these foreign policy problems being the illegal immigration issue- a controversial issue that has proven to be a bit problematic to Rubio this past year.  Rubio supports the Arizona immigration law, but stuck his foot in his mouth by using controversial language, like the term ‘police state’ to describe the initial immigration bill that he did not support- Rubio supported the amended version of the bill that later became law.

Rubio has stood steadfast in his belief that the illegal immigration issue is a federal one. Now that he has won his race, and has become a Federal elected official, Rubio will now have to face this issue head on-perhaps having to vote on a immigration bill or two while sitting in the Senate. Question is, will Rubio back up his strong language to fix the immigration problem by perhaps proposing tougher legislation that will address the illegal immigration problem, or will his detractor’s biggest fears come to pass by taking the position that Senator Mel Martinez took and embrace amnesty for illegal immigrants?

The Shark Tank

Reid’s Preparation Was Key to Victory

November 8, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Jon Ralston: “From the evening Sharron Angle won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, when the Reid campaign had two lacerating websites ready to go, to the ensuing few weeks, when ad after ad pummeled the Tea Party darling with her own words, the Senate majority leader’s political team exemplified the Boy Scout motto. They were prepared — for anything.”

“That assiduous preparation and exemplary execution paid off: Two days after the primary, a Rasmussen Reports poll, flawed though it may have been, showed Angle ahead, 50-39. A month later, Rasmussen had it 46-43, a dead heat.”

“Looking back on the most intense and in so many ways, most incredible, U.S. Senate race in Nevada history, I believe Reid won the race in those four weeks after the primary — or, perhaps, even before that.”
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Noonan Celebrates GOP Victory by Calling Sarah Palin an Ignorant Nincompoop

November 6, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

It’s a shame
American Thinker Blog

Victory — ABC News drops Andrew Breitbart

November 6, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

ABC News just announced that they’ve rescinded their invitation for Andrew Breitbart to be any part of their election night coverage. This comes directly after ColorOfChange.org and CREDO Action members signed more than 125,000 petitions and made more than 2000 calls to leadership ABC and their parent company Disney (in just over 2 days).

ABC had already said Breitbart won’t be appearing on the air — now they’ve told him he’s not welcome to appear online either.

This is a huge victory against Breitbart’s brand of race-baiting propaganda and lies, and it couldn’t have happened without the quick and powerful outcry from thousands of us all across the country.

Here’s the press release that ColorOfChange.org and CREDO Action just sent out:

ColorOfChange.org and CREDO Action Declare Victory — Applaud ABC News’ Decision to Drop Andrew Breitbart from Election Night Coverage

SAN FRANCISCO - The following is a statement from James Rucker, executive director of ColorOfChange.org, regarding ABC News’ decision to drop Andrew Breitbart from his role in tonight’s Election Night coverage.

ColorOfChange.org, together with CREDO Action, led the charge to pressure ABC News to rescind their offer to Breitbart, circulating a petition letter that secured more than 125,000
signatures and resulted in over 2,000 phone calls to The Walt Disney Company and the Disney-ABC Television Group, which owns ABC News, over the last two days. ColorOfChange.org presented the signatures and thousands of member comments yesterday, as it began facilitating phone calls to key executives at ABC and Disney.

“We applaud ABC News’ decision to rescind their offer to have Andrew Breitbart take part in tonight’s Election Night programming. Breitbart, whose entire career is built upon ‘reporting’ lies and falsehoods disguised as news, should never be given such a prestigious public platform that presents him as a legitimate journalist. By rescinding their offer to Breitbart, ABC News has taken a giant step in helping to wash our collective hands of the fear mongering and race-baiting that have no place in our political discourse.”

ColorOfChange.org noted the support on the part several other organizations, and specifically the invaluable assistance provided by the NAACP.

# # #

Here’s ABC’s letter to Andrew Breitbart:

Dear Mr. Breitbart,

We have spent the past several days trying to make clear to you your limited role as a participant in our digital town hall to be streamed on ABCNews.com and Facebook. The post on your blog last Friday created a widespread impression that you would be analyzing the election on ABC News. We made it as clear as possible as quickly as possible that you had been invited along with numerous others to participate in our digital town hall. Instead of clarifying your role, you posted a blog on Sunday evening in which you continued to claim a bigger role in our coverage. As we are still unable to agree on your role, we feel it best for you not to participate.


Andrew Morse

Jack & Jill Politics

The Path To Victory For Joe Miller In Alaska

November 4, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Based upon current laws and regulations, there is a reasonable path to victory for Republican Joe Miller in the contentious U.S. Senate race in Alaska; however, with a very pro-Murkowski Lt. Governor, Craig Campbell, operating much like a state Secretary of State, a liberal court system and Murkowski tapping members of Bush’s Florida 2000 legal team, it’s unlikely to be as straightforward as it should be.


According to recent numbers via the Washington Post, there are 83,201 write-in votes which, if all were legitimately cast for Murkowski, she would lead Miller, who stands at 69,762, by 13439 votes. Citing a late nineties race for Governor in which the Republican backed nominee ran as a write-in candidate, as much as 5% of all write-in ballots could be invalid. Were that percentage to apply here, as many as 4,000 potential Murkowski votes could be invalidated, bringing Murkowski’s presumed advantage down to under 10,000 votes.

Additionally, the Division of Elections has received 26,306 absentee ballots still needing to be counted and 10,645 questioned ballots. It’s also possible that some double voting occurred given that some votes believe to favor Murkowski may have been sent into the wrong precinct, while some number of those voters may have also had their votes counted in their home district. A careful final counting should address any issues there.

It is quite possible that a combination of the above factors could close the gap, providing Miller with a slight edge. And then there is the issue of voter intent. Alaska does have a clear standard in that regard, one it is not believed the department of elections will adhere to, just as they have opted to change other voting regulations on the fly in a manner that favors Murkowski.

The Division of Elections has already said they would not count write-in votes cast for Joe Miller, a decision contrary to existing regulations. Regulations also state that, along with writing in Murkowski’s name correctly, individuals casting a write-in ballot must have also filled in the circle for write-in vote for the ballot to be legitimate.

If all existing guidelines for voting in Alaska were followed, already not the case, unfortunately, the Miller campaign feels confident that they would come out on top at the end of the day. But, as with other elections, this one may yet be decided by capricious decisions made by the powers that be, as opposed to the rule of existing law and regulations.

What the Alaska Senate race clearly is not, is over. Stay tuned for more reports as warranted going forward.

Big Government

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