Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bill Delahunt (D-MA) – Another Democrat Congressional Rep. Looking At Retirement Options

Delahunt pictured with Hugo Chavez - image from blog enemy of the left

William Delahuntthe Massachusetts 10th Congressional District Representative in the U.S. Congress, recently told the Boston Globe he is considering retirement. Delahunt has held the office in what was, until recently, “The Bluest State”, since 1996. The Globe suggests Delahunt’s ties to the CITGO, through Citizen’s Energy – a non-profit company headed by Joe Kennedy which give heating oil to those in need, is the key issue that the GOP will use in a campaign against Delahunt. The sticking point: CITGO is the nationalized oil company of Venezuela, (see: Hugo Chavez), which has partnered with the group, who has business initiatives globally. Frankly, in the global economy and most Democrat’s penchants for espousing the values of certain dictatorships, Delahunt’s ties to the organization are the least of his concerns. The fact of the matter is that the group does supply heating oil to those who need it most, and that regardless of any proverbial deals with the devil, they do good work.

The real problems that Delahunt faces are twofold: 1) he has held the seat in the 10th district since 1997. The election was extremely close, and although it appeared the Republican candidate had won, Delahunt sought legal means to ensure a recount, taking his quest for the seat, to the Massachusetts Supreme court, where he was declared the winner by a recount margin of 108 votes. Since that time his career in Congress has had a few highlights, he is part of Nancy’s Pelosi’s “30 something” working group, which attempts to engage youth in the political process.

In June of 2008, during hearings involving the use of water boarding as torture, Delahunt made a somewhat offhanded comment to Cheney Aide, David Addington, which Delahunt later backpedaled and noted he meant “no ill” towards the aide.

It is not so much his remarks or his close association with Speaker Pelosi that is at odds, it is the rejection of career politicians that pervades the nation’s independent voters (as well as voters in either political party), that is a real issue.

Therefore, for all intents and purposes Delahunt appears to be like so many other “Progressive Democrats” in Congress. Each week a Cape Code Today feature ”How Bill Delahunt Voted for Us Last Week”
An example from the February 7th edition:

House Vote 3:
BANNING EARMARKS IN CYBERSECURITY FUNDING: The House passed an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., to the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act (H.R. 4061) to prohibit earmarking cybersecurity grant funds. Proponents said: "We need to continue down the path to earmark reform" and that restoring the public trust demands more action from the government because, in the past, programs that were set up to be competitive or merit reviewed were simply earmarked later. The vote, on Feb. 3, was 396 ayes to 31 nays.
YEAS: Rep. Michael E. Capuano D-MA (8th), Rep. William D. Delahunt D-MA (10th), Rep. Barney Frank D-MA (4th), Rep. Stephen F. Lynch D-MA (9th), Rep. Edward J. Markey D-MA (7th), Rep. James P. McGovern D-MA (3rd), Rep. Richard E. Neal D-MA (2nd), Rep. John W. Olver D-MA (1st), Rep. John F. Tierney D-MA (6th), Rep. Niki Tsongas D-MA (5th)

At first glance, it appears that Delahunt and every single Massachusetts Democrat felt the same way about this particular bill: They all voted “Yea”.
When on reviews the balance of the House Votes: provided here by Cape Code Today a pattern emerges. Every single member of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation votes strictly along Party lines.

One can also visit the official site of the U.S. House of Representatives: Roll Call Votes (here) and, (this also includes archives), one can look back from this week through the decades to find the Massachusetts Delegation voting in lockstep – as if with one voice – as if for one party.

Until recently, average citizens of the commonwealth weren’t paying a lot of attention to “how they voted”, and now they are – which is why the most recent poll on Delahunt’s race, bode trouble for yet another Massachusetts career Democrat. The Poll taken February 11th by McLaughlin & Associates, showed Republican Joe Malone with a 3 point lead over the incumbent.

Although Delahunt has not made his “retirement” official, and is merely “thinking about it”, the writing in on the proverbial wall – should he run, he’ll face a battle, one which, he is not guaranteed to win, and one which, will by no means be close enough to challenge a recall. (Given very recent Massachusetts electoral history). The poll referred to above, cites one Republican seeking Delahunt’s seat, however, as in every race, in every Congressional District in the Commonwealth, several Republicans and independents are challenging Delahunt. The list includes: Sandwich Rep. Jeff Perry, Don Hussey of Hingham, Ray Kasperowicz and Joe Malone.

As the polling gets though, one might find more retirements in the various districts in the Commonwealth. Internal polls from one campaign suggest that Barney Frank may also face an uphill battle for his seat and rumors of his retirement (unconfirmed) are beginning to surface.

Friday, February 12, 2010

First Dodd, now Patrick Kennedy To Retire – Massachustts Finds Multiple GOP Challengers to Democrat Incumbents.

Rhode Island Congressional RepresentativePatrick Kennedy, has become the latest to take early retirement, rather than seek re-election this term. Kennedy, who, according to a recent poll, has a 35% approval rating. Kennedy cited his father’s death as well as his own issues with substance abuse, as reasons for his retirement. Kennedy had held the seat since 1995. The last New England retirement announcement came from embattled Connecticut Senator, Chris Dodd less than a month ago.

One has to wonder who’s next? Perhaps a High Profile Congressional Representative from Massachusetts will consider retirement a better option than defeat. Democrat Incumbents face multiple challengers in districts across Massachusetts. According to an article in the Worcester Telegram : Democrat James McGovern of the Mass. 3rd district who is seeking an 8th term, faces challenges from Republicans Robert Delle, Marty Lamb, Robert Chipmen, and Patrick J. Barron. In the Hampden Second, Richard Neal, who has held the seat since 1989, faces challenges from Dr. Jay Flietman of Northampton, Thomas Wesley and Thomas McCarthy. In the 1st Congressional District, held by John Olver a Congressional Representative since 1991, two Republican challengers, Jeffrey Donnelly and Timothy McLaughlin have thrown their hats into the ring.

Over in the 5th District, Nikki Tsongas faces challenges from Republicans Jon Golnick and Sam Meas as well as independent candidate Dale Brown. In the 6th, Teirney will face a challenge from Republican David Sukoff While over in the 4th District, Barney Frank is facing challengers from Republican’s, Independents and Democrats. Republican’s Earl Henry Sholley, Keith Messina and Sean Bielat have entered the race, with one more Republican currently on the fence. Susan Allen, and independent and Rachel Brown, a Democrat are also vying for the 4th Congressional District seat. Rumors of Frank’s retirement have surfaced again in recent weeks; with Dodd’s retirement, and now Kennedy’s, it is anyone’s guess at this point if Frank will stay in the race, even though he’s pulled papers. Republican’s and Democrats have until May 4th to file papers with the Secretary of State while Independents can file up to August 3rd.

In the past, the voters of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts saw few if any contested Congressional races, this year, they have multiple choices. What is of special interest in the sheer number of Republican’s who have entered races in a state where the GOP has been long considered all but extinct. Also of note, a good percentage of those running, began their campaigns prior to Scott Brown’s announcement to run for U.S. Senate. This belies the common media misconception that Brown’s win has emboldened Republican’s to run. What Brown’s success did was give them a boost and more determination. Massachusetts is normally the last state of interest in a general election nationally, but one can bet 2010 will be different.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Iran – Supreme Leader Threatens West with “Punch” on Thursday the 11th – Ahmadinejad Declares Iran to be “Nuclear State” amid Internal Protests.

Khamenie Issues Threat on West - image pb.blogspot

Earlier this week, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued the following threat:

“the Iranian nation, with its unity and God's grace, will punch the arrogance [Western powers] on the 22nd of Bahman [Feb. 11] in a way that will leave them stunned.”

This was in a statement released to Agence France-Presse on Monday.
It is now (as of this writing) 2 PM in Tehran on the 11th of February, or the 22nd Bahman according to the Iranian calendar. The date is significant in Iran, as it is a civil holiday marking the anniversary of the Khomeini’s return to Iran and the Revolution that brought the current government to power.

Barack Obama Reaches out To Iran - image ABC

What to expect from the Supreme Leader? It is difficult to say, as the threat can be open to a variety of interpretations. That said, the most likely is the announcement by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran has become a “Nuclear State” . The Iranian’s have been aggressively enriching uranium despite repeated sanctions from the United Nations. The U.S. Response has been diplomancy first, then - more sanctions.

One cannot rule out any other possible “shocks” that Iran may have planned for the balance of Tuesday, but an announcement that those that rule over 70 million people, and are prone to hiring terrorists to suppress their own people, attack U.S. forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and generally stir the pot in the East, now are a “nuclear state” – might be shocking to some “western powers”.

Against the backdrop of the “glory of the Iranian State”, reports of protests in all provinces are coming in through Twitter and other social networking sites, despite the usual disruption of internet services each time a protest is planned. According to the AFP Opposition leaders have been attacked, and crowds were dispersed with the use of tear gas. The brutality of the Iranian Regime against its own people is also “shocking” but apparently not shocking enough for so-called “word leaders” to issue anything more than “strongly worded condemnations”.

Additionally, the main target of Iranian rhetoric is normally Israel (which technically is to the “West” of Iran), however, one would expect that had something been planned against Israel (other than the usual suicide bombers, or Hamas border crossing kidnapping, or lobbing Iranian made missiles into Israeli cities) Israeli Intelligence would have picked up on it and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is headed to Moscow next week, might have already put a stop to whatever the Iranians had planned and then sit back and wait for those “World Leaders” to blast Israel in the “Court of World Opinion”. Although, one would think, reasonably, that they would be thanking him.

Again, as it is still relatively early in Tehran on the 11th of February, the Ayatollah may have something else up one of his voluminous sleeves – after all, the regime feels fairly free to do whatever it will absent any “Western Cowboys” who might actually do something other than issue routine statements. Only time will tell. Perhaps the Ayatollah is issuing bizarre threats to match those strongly worded sanctions, each carrying equal weight.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Poll: Growing Majority Believe That Majority Members in Congress Should be Sent Packing in 2010

According to a new poll out byRasmussen Reports, 63% of respondents believe the country would be in better shape if incumbents were given the boot in 2010. Additionally, those who feel that Congress should be turned over, have a decrease in confidence in their own Representatives.
Rasmussen defines two classes in the report: The Political Class, or voters that trust political leaders, and Mainstream voters (or the rest of us).

This growing discontent is, perhaps, most noticeable in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, known first as the cradle of liberty, and lately as the Bluest State in the Union. That has changed, however, over the past two years, as Conservative candidates began to emerge to challenge entrenched Democrats. Although little notice was given, this snowballed when one Scott Brown defied the alleged odds, and managed to take back the “people’s seat”.

That said, as Brown was considering his run, individuals across the Bay State were doing the same – considering a run against those entrenched politicians who have held sway over Beacon Hill and Washington for decades. For the first time in memory, politicians such as Barney Frank, Richard Neal and Nikki Tsongas (to name but a few) are facing opposition from Conservative candidates – and, in most cases, there are multiple candidates who had launched campaigns - and most importantly – prior to Brown’s Senate win. What this tell us about the change in political think of those who are dubbed “the masses” by Progressive thinkers (i.e. some, not all, Democrats who hold an office), have had enough.

Surely, if the long suffering, over taxed, and citizens of what has been fondly called “The People’s Republic of Massachusetts, are seeking alternatives to Congress with a palpable enthusiasm, then it must be happening elsewhere. One may see those Rasmussen poll numbers increase over the next few months, and going forward into 2010, the energy on the part of the “average citizen” to get involved and facilitate change will increase – be it direct involvement in a political campaign, or heading straight to the voting booth – with gusto. For all the pundits, and what it is worth, the recent wins in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and most startling perhaps, New Jersey (for those on the inside of the Commonwealth looking out), was not an anomaly of any sort – it appears to be the beginning of a new “norm”.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

George Bush – “Miss Me Yet?” Billboard – Coincides with December Poll 44% would Prefer Bush over Obama

Billboard: George W. Bush "Miss Me Yet" image: Minnesota Public Radio

Over at NPRthere appears to be a mystery afoot regarding the ownership of a billboard depicting former President Bush – with the simple phrase: “Miss me Yet?”. The board, which is located off a highway in Wyoming, has some blogs abuzz with the question of who might be responsible and alternately, if it is real or photo shopped. According to NPR, it is real, and the question as to who installed the board, is moot. Why? When one considers the fact that, although it’s only been a year since the much-maligned (in some cases fairly in most, not) George W Bush left office, a poll taken in December by Public Policy Polling and reported by Politico showed that 44% of the respondents wanted Bush back.

No kidding.

All about Civics:

When the majority wake up to the fact that the Office of the President is, indeed lofty, and the individual in the seat, is both the head of their political party, as well as either hamstrung or helped by Congress (should that congress not agree or be, for example, of a different political party). It is apparent that Bush made mistakes (human after all) and was, in essence, hamstrung, along with the rest of the Republican party, since 2006. 2006 by way of explanation, was the year the Democrats took the majority of the seats in the House and the Senate – as a reminder, the House and the Senate have control over finances, the President does not – unless of course, he (or someday she), has a congress in concert. In that case, all kinds of things can go either right or wrong, depending upon one’s political point of view.

Prior to 2006, Bush enjoyed an extremely vocal minority – one that took every opportunity to stick it to him, so to speak. Speaking of which, the Presidents “speech patterns” and colloquialism remained the butt of both mainstream media jokes (see your local paper, your evening newscast, or MSN and CNN), that said, his predecessor, even with the aid of a teleprompter has difficulties accurately pronouncing words – of course, that has not been widely publicized (YouTube video below), because it has happened, once, that we are aware of.

With the Iranians planning to ”Stun the West” on February 11th, one has to sit back and ask three questions: 1) Would the Iranians have dared to make such a comment if that madman, cowboy from Texas was in the driver’s seat? 2: How long will it take the Obama administration to issue a statement of condemnation following whatever “shock” the “west” is about to receive? Finally 3: Do you feel particularly safe lately?

George Bush: Miss me Yet? - Billboard from off the Wyoming Highway - image Minnesota Public Radio

Perhaps the best letter published is from the blog: The Letter, published immediately following Obama’s inauguration is a reflection from a group of Chicago Democrats who wrote the most heartfelt of all the letters and essays regarding President George W. Bush one can find. It is entitled: “Goodbye and thank you, George W. Bush. You did the very best that you could, and we are grateful for your service.” And can be read in its entirety here It is a strongly recommended read as it speaks volumes as to why, a year later, the former President is tracking strongly in polls, and someone in Wyoming feels t worth the time and money to put up that billboard. One wonders how long it will take before others pop up, here and there, along the highways and byways of the nation.

Video of President Obama, mispronouncing, not once, but three times, the simple word “corpsman”:

Monday, February 08, 2010

The MA 4th District – Scott Brown’s win in the District - Brings Candidates Out of the Woodwork in the Race against Barney Frank.

Barney Frank, with hands on the nations finances since 2006, faces multiple challegers in 2010

Barney Frank (D-MA) is facing competition for the U.S. Congressional Seat he has held for decades – from both the left and the right. Earl Henry Sholley was the first to announce his candidacy against Frank – Sholley is a long-time fiscally conservative Republican with a populist message. Sholley, who entered the 2008 race against Frank late, (in August of 2008), ended up pulling 30 plus percent of the vote with little or no name recognition – Sholley began his 2010 campaign early in 2009 – he hired Lisa Camp, from the Huckabee 2008 Presidential campaign as his Campaign Manager, and is now considered the front-runner on the Republican Side. Sholley believes that the Congress should be represented by “citizen legislators” – he also supports term limits.

Keith Messina, 28, of Medford, MA, a political newcomer, first entered the race as an independent, and recently designated himself as a Republican. His political philosophy is based on the Constitution. Messina, a mechanical engineer, entered the race because of the financial crisis facing the country. Messina will face Sholley in the Republican Primary.

The newest Republican to enter the race is 34 year old Sean Bielat, recently of Brookline, MA. Also a political newcomer, Bielat recognized that the 4th was winnable when Scott Brown won the district and he sees himself as a “conservative centrist”. The 4th District will enjoy a 3 way Republican contest, perhaps for the first time in history.l

On the left, Rachael Brown, Democrat is running on a stop-Wall Street, Mars Colonization program and CCC Youth training program. She has the support of Lyndon Larouche who has called for Obama’s Impeachment.

It is apparent that the once uncontested seat held by Barney Frank will be challenged left and right, in 2010. It is not so much Scott Brown’s campaign that has set the tone for the challenge, rather Frank’s long history with Freddie Mac and Fannie May, and finances of our nation, and the tax and spend philosophy that, in conjunction with a Democrat controlled house and Senate since 2006, helped shape the financial disaster we are face with today. It is also apparent that the voters are ready and willing to listen to a variety of candidates in the 4th district (which incidentally is not the only district in Massachusetts that has long-term Democrat incumbents facing challengers) and to place their trust in another candidate. The fact that there are three (and possibly more on the horizon) candidates on the Republican side alone, shows a shift of political think in the 4th district (and Massachusetts as a whole). Although the pundits that are insist that the seat is “Safe Democrat” (Coakley was given that designation as well), Frank first must face a primary from Brown, and then square off against the winner of the Republican primary. Sholley, who has been actively courting both independents and conservatives, is most likely the (at this point) candidate who will face Frank in that contest. Frank’s seat, from this perspective and regardless of the outcome vis a vis Scott Brown, is “not safe”.
References of interest
Sholley for Congress
Keith Messina for Congress
Bielat for Congress
Rachael Brown for Congress
The LaRouche PAC
Follow the Money: Open

Note of interest
Unenrolleds are able to vote in the primaries in Massachusetts, as long as they choose a party designation. From Massachusetts Primary Guide:

Can the Unenrolled vote in the Massachusetts Primary?
Yes. Unenrolled is the official term for what we used to refer to as Independent. If you are unenrolled, which means you belong to no party whatsoever, you may show up at your polling place and choose a Democratic or Republican ballot.)

Why can Independents/Unenrolled vote in the Massachusetts Primary?
We have what is called a modified closed primary in Massachusetts. This is worth explaining. In an open primary, any registered voter can vote in any party’s primary it doesn’t matter if you are a registered Democrat and want to vote in the Republican primary some states allow this to happen.

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