The “Lame Duck” session of Congress is the period between November 2, 2010 and the swearing-in of the new Congress in mid-January. Usually a slow time on Capitol Hill, members, their staff, even the media, is trying to get out of town for the Holiday Season However, holiday plans may be on hold this year.
The Senate is planning to work this weekend to debate “the New START Treaty and a trillion-dollar spending bill to keep government running.” Perhaps the defeated Democratic members of the House and Senate wanted to have their final say---or maybe the Democratic leadership sees an opportunity to ram through pent-up partisan legislation before the Republicans take over the House and close the margin in the Senate.
One political pundit, Jeff Crouere, says, “The disgusting spectacle of the lame duck session of Congress is horrible to watch. Democrats have completely ignored the November election results and the message from the people of this country.”
Since President Obama took office in 2009, Congress has worked well into the Holiday Season to deliver their gift – legislation –to the American people. Last year we got Healthcare Reform on Christmas Eve. What is in the stocking this year?
With a 13% approval rating, one would think that Congress would be eager to get out of town, the Democratic majority wants one last hooray before the Republicans take over.
Despite the typical Washington bubble last minute gouging, we are encouraged with what is around the corner in 2011.
All in all, 2010 was a great year for Cornerstone Solutions and our clients. We wish everyone a happy, safe and healthy Holiday Season.
The Republicans won and the Democrats lost. History repeats itself. Preparations for 2012 are underway and it will be one nasty, mud-slinging fight. The Republicans have the opportunity to regain the trust of the public. If the GOP can deliver on their campaign promises, they can hold power for some time.
The biggest takeaway of 2010 is the influence and power of social media. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube supplemented with a good website and online ads creates involvement and mobilization. Sharron Angle became an online fundraising legend with her online presence. Republicans learned the lessons of 2008 and capitalized on the new media trends. If you have not caught on yet, every sentence is fit for a Twitter update. 140 characters!
Republicans also took a page out of the Democrats’ playbook utilizing outside groups to influence campaigns. The Democrats will likely reorganize and ramp up their outside spending as well. Truth be told, the Democrats, Labor Unions, ended up outspending the GOP groups. If voters were tired after the 2010 Midterm, then I would disconnect your TV, phone and Internet because 2012 will be worse.
We, at Cornerstone Solutions, are excited about 2012 to see if we can help our clients win as we did in 2010. Experienced. Creative. Successful. Cornerstone Solutions.
The 2010 midterm election cycle is looming and its results will have consequences. Political pundits are predicting majority shifting changes and Democrats on the national and state level are worried. Republicans must capitalize on the shift in national sentiment and execute a developed campaign strategy focusing on the issues that matter. The underlying implications of this cycle will shape federal and state congressional district due to the decadal redistricting process.
Historically, the midterm elections indicate that the party in power will suffer losses at the polls. This year is clearly mimicking this trend according to recent polls. This trend raises a strong consideration for campaigns. Should state-level campaigns focus on the same issues as national-level races? What about strategy?
Clearly, this answer depends largely on the state in question. Issues of interest to North Carolinians are different from issues in Florida. Certain issues are an automatic talking point, such as, jobs and the economy. Contrastly, illegal immigration is more of a state-by-state issue.
For Republicans, their task is to execute a grassroots organization to contact and spread their messages. Utilize advancements in new media, rely on traditional methods of phone calls, direct mail and transition the public sentiment to a grassroots campaign. The “average citizens” are paying attention; they must be reached.
For Democrats, their task is to downplay national trends and rely heavily on polling if in a swing district. I think Democrats must fundraise with greater intensity during this cycle, because they must communicate more with the voters to convey their message amid the national climate.
At the end of the day, history does repeat itself and I think 2010 will hold true. Do you think that the Republicans will make the gains needed to hold a majority in Congress? In North Carolina?
Organizing for America, the arm of the Democratic National Committee has become the full-time political and policy advocacy campaign for the Obama Administration according to a report released by TechPresident’s Ari Melber. Having taken control of the 13 million email addresses acquired through willful engagement in his president campaign, OFA has become the “behind-the-scenes” grassroots voice of the White House. This experiment in grassroots organizing by an Administration enters into a new realm of presidential politics…the jury is still out as to whether or not this is effective or even worth the effort.
“Governing with public approval requires a continuing political campaign.” – Patrick Caddell, pollster for President Jimmy Carter and Democratic strategist.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt employed breaking technology, the radio, to convey his message to Americans. By the mid 1950s, half of American households featured a television enabling politics in to the home. In the 1990s, the internet started growing, thanks to Al Gore, and Americans engaged themselves in the digital medium. Now days, we have internet + cell phones + social networks + real-time lifestyles = ALWAYS CONNECTED.
A common theme was the attempt to engage the electorate. It was commonplace for individuals to campaign and lobby their elected officials, but the effort most commonly happened on the local level. As technology progressed, the form of engagement progressed, but now days; this effort is in real time. The Obama White House is utilizing “its technology” like never before to “organize the citizenry With staffed offices established in every state and a talented crew assembled in its headquarters in Washington D.C., the comparisons to other grassroots experiments shows that OFA the most expansive and well-connected form of organizing we have ever seen.
With such an expansive effort of coordination between the White House and the DNC, one must inquire as to whether or not this merely a façade for executing a 4-year reelection campaign. Again, Caddell clearly states that governing with public approval, what is needed to win reelection, requires a continual political campaign.
Is OFA merely the reelection campaign of Barack Obama? I say yes…look at the other side of the coin.
The Tea Party, I contend a grassroots voice for the right, yet its actions, mainly protests, have been decried by Congress and the Democrats and President Obama has even labeled them “Tea Baggers.” Actually, the Tea Party is more grassroots oriented considering its funding is not attached to one of the major parties. Why the blatant double standard in characterization from the majority in Congress? I have my suspicions, but I willfully digress in order to let you devise your own analysis.
In conclusion, I deem the efforts of OFA as noble in its attempt to engage the general electorate in the policy debate, but I think the Administration is playing the most dangerous of political games in striking a divisive tone against the Tea Party, a grassroots organization as well. If the White House and the DNC continue to fund their national effort under the guise of OFA, then they must accept and positively engage the Tea Party followers to a fact-based policy discussion instead of merely discrediting their efforts. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if the Obama Administration is able to maintain this support in order to re-activate the base in its most vulnerable time – the 2012 President Election.
Do you think the castigation of the Tea Party by the White House and Congressional Democrats is hypocritical considering the immense resources and coordination with OFA?
The Nancy Pelosi Fire Bomb
Within hours of Nancy Pelosi proclaiming, “After a year of debate and hearing the calls of millions of Americans we have come to this historic moment. Today we have the opportunity to complete the great unfinished business of our society and pass health insurance reform for all Americans that is a right and not a privilege.”
The Republican National Committee launched a web site called “FirePelosi.com” aimed at raising money to campaign against 40 House Democrats. The 40-hour fundraising campaign (recently extended for 24 hours due to the initial success) has raised $1,297,597. This fundraising effort underscores the Speaker‘s faltering approval ratings.
What is truly remarkable about this effort is that the Republicans are showing their new media expertise. If we reflect on the last year and half, the campaigns of Virginia’s Governor Bob McDonnell, New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie and Massachusetts’ Senator Scott Brown utilized the new media tools and fundraising efforts revolutionized by the campaign of President Barack Obama. The leveling of this new technological playing field means that 2010 will be very interesting.
"Chalk Board" Humor
Perhaps we are about a week late touching on this topic, but in case, you have not seen this clever idea from MoveOn.org. Glenn Beck has become somewhat of a polarizing figure in the political debate in America, especially on the left side of the aisle. Therefore, the MoveOn.org crowd in cahoots with Brave New Films and SEIUhas created a personalized web video that puts your name on the infamous Beck “Chalk Board.” (Click the previous link for the application) The site also posts automatically to your Facebook account if you choose. Regardless of you political leaning, it is a humorous application.
By now, we have all heard of the Tea Party movement. I like to believe the Tea Party movement is an assortment of Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and Independents with one binding mentality– the government no longer represents them or their interest.
President Abraham Lincoln once proclaimed, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”
The peaceful gatherings and raising of voices this summer helped slow down the health care reform process. This collection of in-tune political participants became a force to be reckon with, but the question is – how much of a force?
Politico ran an article this weekend titled, “Tea party candidates falling short.” The underlying question posed in the article was “can an organic and fledgling movement that lacks the institutional grounding and top down organizational strength of either major political party transfer protest-oriented grass-roots energy into tangible success at the polls.”
Outside of the snarky tone of the post by Alex Isenstadt, I think Alex misses the accomplishments of the Tea Party thus far. They are simply raising the bar of discourse in this country. They are challenging Republicans to re-discover their conservative roots or face a tough primary. They are forcing transparency and openness in a federal government controlled by one party. They are making politicians answer their questions; otherwise face a potential public relations snafu.
Although, the Tea Party might not have electoral success this year – given the two-party system, they are steps ahead any other recent third party movement in this country. Just think about how many times Ralph Nader has been on the ballot.
As this contentious 2010 election cycle moves forward, it will be very interesting to see the impact made by the Tea Party.
What sort of impact do you see the Tea Party having in 2010?
Today marks a turning point for either the Republican Party or the Obama Administration and the Democrats. Both sides of the aisle will participate in a “bipartisan” health care summit. President Obama was billed the summit as an opportunity to “seek common ground” on legislation that will reign in health care’s soaring costs.
President Obama and his Administration released a framework proposal on which today’s summit will focus. Nevertheless, the controversy has mounted around the rumors that the Democrats might resort to a parliamentary tactic called “reconciliation.”
These rumors have spurred critics, for example, Georgia Rep. Tom Price says, “I’m not certain what the White House is up to, but it appears they are trying to meld a bill together without, again, any input from Republicans. It doesn’t sound like bipartisanship…I’m afraid it’s just another photo op.”
This summit will be pivotal as both parties seek to gain an advantage heading into the 2010-midterm elections. Centrist Democrats, especially ones in the House, will face a tough decision at the end of the day. Public sentiment is not in favor of health care reform and you can guarantee that the Republicans will cite votes on the health care legislation in their ads and mail pieces against Democrats in “toss-up” districts.
For Democrats, this legislative victory is imperative to stop the bleeding of losses in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Democrats recognize that many of the proposals that President Obama campaigned on in 2008 are uncertain if the midterms do not shape up in their favor.
I, for one, will be watching the summit and following the conversation on Twitter to see how it shapes up. The real question is whether this summit is truly an attempt at bipartisanship by either party or just a photo op with a sound bite of “gotcha” at the end of the day.
Let us know what you think after the summit concludes. In your opinion, is the summit just political show or a chance for real reform?
As Matt alluded to in yesterday’s post, Sen. Evan Bayh’s retirement may be emblematic of a greater “bi-partisan” disgust towards our politicians in Washington DC.
There is a pandemic going around Washington – it is called “IAMRETIRING.” House and Senate members on both sides of the aisle are catching it, announcing they will not be running for re-election this fall.
The reasons, both public and speculative, are varied. Some know, with voter’s general disillusionment towards Congress, they have a tough re-election ahead. Others are tired of the fight. Perhaps it is not just the voters who are tired of Congress’ partisan bickering and inability to get things done, but members themselves are worn out and throwing in the towel.
No one can be certain whether these retirements will result in a political shift to the right or left. Both Democrats and Republicans share responsibility for the recession, astronomical deficit, job loss and simple inability to make progress on any issue. An effort to deny such responsibility only fuels the fire of voter anger and turns them away. What is certain is all these retirements present an opportunity for both voters and candidates alike.
This fall voters have an opportunity to send new blood and energy to Washington. They are tired of the usual messages of hope and change and will be looking for candidates who can deliver results. Voters across this country are hurting and will take a closer look at their choices than ever before. Tragically, if unmotivated by those choices, they may choose to stay home.
Candidates should take note as well. Do not count on party line votes. This election will be less about rigid ideology and more about candidates who can speak plainly to the voters about issues that are relevant. They must show a record of leadership in business or elected office and demonstrate the ability to work in a bi-partisan way. Candidates must get rid of the rhetoric and talk about practical solutions.
As demonstrated in the Massachusetts US Senate race, conventional wisdom should be thrown out the window in 2010. Historical analysis and the media told us all that was Kennedy’s seat, the Democrats seat. Voters there took control and made it clear it was their seat, the People’s seat.
In this day of healthcare reform, education reform, economic reform and so on – perhaps Congress needs some reform of its own. It may come in the 2011 class of new independent minded Representatives and Senators. It is the People’s Congress and they are taking back control.