Sandy Welch’s Bizarre Campaigns Ends Bizarrely

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Today, Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction Candidate, Sandy Welch, finally admitted to what every other Montanan has known for over a month: Welch lost. She finally conceded the race after she was unable to raise the bond to pay for a manual recount of the vote.

Now I know some will say that once a candidate concedes, especially in a lower-level race like this, that candidates deserve to return to private life without too much scrutiny. However, because of the way Welch ran her campaign, it deserves a postmortem.

The first question that came to mind upon hearing Welch was giving up her recount crusade was, “How much did this recount fiasco cost Montana taxpayers?” Welch held on to the hope that somehow she’d be able to win this election- right up until it was time to put her money where her mouth was. She sought an unnecessary court ruling saying she had the right to a recount, despite the fact that state law makes it pretty clear that she has this right, provided she pays for the recount. This lawsuit cost Montana taxpayers thousands of dollars. (Cowgirl has already covered her theory on Welch’s goals with her recount crusade.)

By asserting right up to the last minute that she was going to pay for the recount, she also cost all Montana counties time and money to prepare for the recount, as well as the Secretary of State’s office.

While the most timely questions is about the cost of the recount charade, the more important questions remains, “Why was Welch running in the first place?” Throughout her campaign Welch wasn’t able to give a coherent plan to improve the education and educational opportunities for Montana children. Instead, she focused on improving a few administrative issues in the OPI office–issues that Superintendent Juneau has already been working to solve.

While Welch hadn’t told Montanans why she wanted to be the top educator in the state, the current Superintendent, Denise Juneau, was receiving national attention for her work and programs such as the Schools of Promise and Graduation Matters Montana programs, while standing up to a dysfunctional US Congress and their Bush-era “No Child Left Behind” program.

I wish I had more answers about what the purpose of Welch’s campaign and recount crusade are. Unfortunately, I don’t.

Hopefully though, this is the last we’ll hear from Welch in Montana politics.

 

Political Science Says “A Romney Presidency Would Be Doomed”

Jack Balkin, writing for The Atlantic, applies theories of political science regarding a Romney presidency. Excerpt:

U.S. Presidential flag, 1960-present (not usua...

U.S. Presidential flag, 1960-present (not usually called a “standard” in official U.S. government terminology). It is defined in Executive Order 10860. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The predicament of a Romney presidency is that he may make George W. Bush look good by comparison. During most of Bush’s eight years in office, the Republican Party was united and willing to follow his lead. Romney will not be so lucky. The party he heads has become so rigid, radical, and unrealistic that, despite his best efforts, he may end up as the last of the Reagan-era Republican leaders — a disjunctive president like John Quincy Adams, James Buchanan, Herbert Hoover, or Jimmy Carter.

Republican partisans have often compared Barack Obama to Jimmy Carter, but Obama’s situation is quite different from Carter’s. Like Bill Clinton, Barack Obama is a Democrat swimming against the current of Reagan-era Republican politics. Carter, by contrast, took office as the defender of an exhausted New Deal Democratic regime; he offered himself as a problem-solving pragmatist who would get the country moving again. He tried to fix the New Deal coalition but found it beyond repair.

The next Jimmy Carter will be a Republican president — a Republican who, due to circumstances beyond his control, unwittingly presides over the dissolution of the Reagan coalition. If Obama is reelected, we might decide in hindsight that George W. Bush best fits that description. But if Obama loses, the president who finally unravels Reaganism could turn out to be Mitt Romney.

 Very interesting. The theories of “Reconstructionist”, “Disjunctive” and “Affilliated” presidencies is a fascinating one- filled with historical precedent. And he’s planning to use the same theories to evaluate the possible Obama second term- I’m looking forward to it.

Read the article here.

Steve Bullock Has My Vote

…and so does Jon Tester, Kim Gillan, Pam Bucy, Denise Juneau and, locally, Tom Woods.

And, as I explained in a previous post, here’s why:

I’m voting for the candidate who most represents my views, just as everyone should. I’m against the death penalty, want women to make their own choices about their health, support legal recognition of same-sex relationships, and am a fan of higher education and preserving a clean planet. I want healthcare and insurance companies to be reasonable and efficient- and treat people with mental illness and substance issues with dignity and respect. I want the justice system to be fair to all citizens. I want church and state to be separate. I want the poor and disadvantaged to be given every chance to succeed.

The Democratic Candidates in this election most closely reflect these views.

And, I believe, have the most experience and qualifications under their collective belts.

None of the Republicans even come close.

Change 2.0

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I watched the President’s speech last night- and tweeted, along with thousands of others. Mostly about my philosophical agreement- and about the facts that seem so distorted by the other side.

I’m buying in to the man and his vision. Because it most agrees with my vision of social justice, economic fairness and the need to lay a firm foundation for continued growth in education, science and technology. Yeah, I’m still buying in to the hope, but I think that’s what the American Dream, the American Vision calls for. Plus, it goes along with every bit of my Christian faith perspective.

From today’s NYT:

Mr. Obama explicitly shifted from his 2008 appeal of hope and change to talk of tough choices and tough paths. “You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear,” he said. “You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.”

Mr. Obama went into this convention with an actual record at governing — not just the Republican posture of saying “No” to everything. He has far better ideas about how to create jobs, make Americans’ tax burdens more equitable and improve ordinary Americans’ economic prospects than the tired, failed trickle-down fantasies served up by Mitt Romney and the Republican Party.

He ended the war in Iraq, tried to rescue the Afghan war that Mr. Bush bungled, stepped up the offensive on terrorists far beyond Mr. Bush’s vision and rallied the world to ratchet up pressure on Iran.

He blunted the extreme message of the Tea Party by offering an alternative vision of government’s obligation to help the neediest, provide everyone with the basic structures of society and the economy and end unconscionable discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans. He has protected women’s constitutional rights and liberties, despite his own misgivings about abortion. He ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden — an act that was mentioned repeatedly on the last night of the convention.

Not that the killing of bin Laden would have been sanctioned by Jesus, but the protection of the people by the elected government is nothing to pooh-pooh.

Reverse.

So, what is my response to Mitt Romney picking a man who conveniently disregards his church’s teaching on universal healthcare and caring for the poor, doesn’t think women need protecting, doesn’t believe in hate crimes, supports banning of same-sex adoptions, wants to gut medicare and keep allowing corporations to buy elected offices in this country?

Surging US Catholic Support For Marriage Equality

By Terence Weldon, Queering The Church

Marriage Equality USA logo

Marriage Equality USA logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New research by the Pew Forum on religion and public life has confirmed once again that the tide of opinion is moving inexorably in favour of gay marriage. In 2oo4, supporters were outnumbered by opponents, by almost two to one (30% to 61%), but supporters now outnumber opponents, by 48% to 44%.  The age split confirms that support will continue to grow: the only groups still opposed are those over 50, and the youngest is in favour by 63% to 32%.  All this is familiar.

What is new in this poll, is its focus on the impact of President Obama’s declared support last May for the principle of marriage equality. Overall, Pew reports that there has been very little change in support since before the announcement – but that it has strengthened support in his Democratic base, and hardened opposition among his Republican opponents. This shift among Democratic voters (especially liberal Democrats) could have a beneficial impact on the gay marriage ballots this November in the Democratic and Democratic leaning states of Maine, Maryland, Washington and Minnesota, and has been widely reported on in the major news media (see for instance,Huffington PostSF Gate at the San Francisco Chronicle, or Seattle Post PI).

The strength of the Pew Forum research organization, as its name implies, is in its focus on religion and religious attitudes, and the extensive historical database of strictly comparable results, which is what I want to focus on here.

Catholics strongly support gay marriage.

First, note that Catholic overwhelmingly support gay marriage, by 58% to 33% – a margin of 25%, and identical for both White and Hispanic Catholic groups. This degree of support is greater than that shown by any other Christian grouping (Jews and other faiths are not identified), it is substantially higher than that for the population as a whole).

This degree of support by Catholics, exceeding that for other groups, has now been well – established in numerous polls. It has also been previously noted that the growth in Catholic support has exceeded that in other groups. Just how dramatic that growth has been, can be seen by comparing the latest results with those from August / September 2010.  Then, Catholic support for gay marriage was at 46% –  a plurality over opposition of just 4%. That plurality has now grown from 4% to 25%, in less than two years.

 Read the rest here.

Why Romney Won’t Repeal Obamacare

Mitt Romney Steve Pearce event 056

Mitt Romney Steve Pearce event 056 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just as I suspected. If Mitt Romney wants to (as he claims) overturn Obamacare, it’s going to cost the taxpayers billions of dollars to rollback the healthcare changes already underway. Not to mention the debt cliff that he will need the cooperation of Democrats to negotiate.

Ryan Lizza from the New Yorker:

Mitt Romney, speaking just before noon today, declared that on his first day in office, “I will act to repeal Obamacare.” I think he chose his words carefully. As President, he may indeed “act” to repeal it on Day One, but I don’t believe he will actually be able to overturn the law.

If Romney were to win in November, the first matter he’d have to deal with would be the fallout from the so-called fiscal cliff of December 31st, the day when some five hundred billion dollars worth of tax increases and spending reductions take effect, which could put the economy into another recession (if it’s not already in recession by then). This moment would perhaps be Romney’s greatest chance at repeal. Because the fiscal-cliff negotiations will be an enormous fight over the size and scope of the federal government, every government policy will theoretically be open to debate—including, Romney might insist, repeal of the A.C.A.

But it’s a fantasy. The negotiations would be dead before they started if Republicans demanded repeal as a price for a Grand Bargain on taxes, spending, and entitlements. The fiscal-cliff negotiations will undoubtedly include a great deal of horse-trading that will infuriate and cheer partisans on both sides. But there is literally nothing Republicans could offer Democrats in return for repealing the Party’s greatest achievement since the Johnson Administration.

The reality of the huge (enormous) cost of repeal will pull the bloom off the rose PDQ. It’s insanity.

Read the rest: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/06/why-romney-wont-repeal-obamacare.html#ixzz1zr4S7Yoi