Obstruction 2.0

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came out yesterday, and said that his top priority, now that his party has retaken Congress, is the defeat of Barack Obama in 2012. It’s amazing to me that with unemployment over 10% and our men and women still dying in Afghanistan that the defeat of our elected President, Barack Obama, in two years could be his top priority, but nothing surprises me anymore. This is, it would seem, what the people of America want. The Republicans spent the last two years earning the title of The Party of No – voting as a unified front against every Democratic initiative, and, at the same time, not coming forward with any new ideas of their own – and it paid off big at the ballot box, with victories across the board. And, now that they’ve won, there’s no reason to believe that they’ll stop. In fact, word on the street is that they might take things a step further and bring the entire federal government to a standstill.

Tim Walberg, the winner of Michigan’s 7th Congressional District race, is making the national news today, threatening to do just that. He’s quoted as saying that if Obama doesn’t start doing what he and the Republicans want, they’ll bring everything to a screeching halt. Here’s a clip from Think Progress:

Tim Walberg (R-MI), a proud birther who has threatened to impeach President Obama, won his election over Rep. Mark Shauer (D-MI) earlier this week. Shortly after his victory speech, Walberg spoke with the Jackson Citizen Patriot to outline his agenda. “(Voters) are repudiating what is going on by politicians in general, and more specifically, this administration,” he said. If President Obama does not follow the Republican “mandate,” Walberg made clear that he will force a government shut down:

He said Republicans can work together to get things done with the Obama administration, but that will be up to the president. If Obama, like then-President Bill Clinton did after the 1994 midterms, responds to the mandate from voters and understands he can’t disregard it, then he thinks Obama will do well. “If he doesn’t, he will shut government down,” Walberg said….

And, here’s the best part – if Walberg is instrumental in making this happen, the men and women of western Washtenaw County have themselves to blame. Walberg beat his opponent, Mark Shauer, by just 10,734 votes, and Western Washtenaw is among those areas in the 7th Congressional district that Walberg, the unapologetic birther, carried. It’s an embarrassment to our region, and we shouldn’t have never let it happen. The 7th is a district that the the Republicans poured a ton of money into, and we should have done a better job of countering it. Here, on the subject of Walberg’s funding, is a clip from MLive:

…In the end, likely more than $10 million will have been spent (on the Shauer/Walberg race), including more than $1 million from the National Republican Congressional Committee, which committed more money to this race than any other district in the country…

Why is it, I wonder, that the Dems at the national level didn’t see this fight as worth the investment?

And, more importantly, how are we going to change the dynamic in Washington so that there isn’t an incentive for politicians to sit on the sidelines and not participate actively in the creation of solutions for the serious problems that face us?

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  1. Posted November 4, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Permalink


    WaPo has a good database of spending – for the MI-7th, it shows the RNC contributing almost $1.5m in pro-Walberg spending – but the DCCC spent only slightly less in support of Schauer, at $1.4m. (The Michigan Republican Party is also listed in support of Walberg, at $1.1m.)

    Honestly, I’m surprised Schauer did as well as he did – and that Gary Peters survived in the MI-9th. Both of those were seen as very weak Dem seats that I expected to go R in landslides. Schauer won in 2008 by a mere 2% (in the highest spending House race that year). If you saw that as “Obama’s coattails”, and this year as “Hell no you can’t coattails”, then there should have been a much bigger swing. With these reesults, I’d be interested in seeing Schauer come back in 2012 – he’s a great Congressman, and I know a lot of people in his district who love him, hate Walberg, or (mostly) both.

    …Especially if Walberg is seen as a ringleader of Gingrich 2.0, which it looks like he’s gearing up for.

  2. Posted November 4, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Murph. I looked for the Democratic spending in the 7th and couldn’t find it. All I could find was the Republican number, the fact that it was the most they’d spent on any Congressional race, and that the Democrats didn’t spend as much. And, as you say, Shauer wasn’t a strong candidate going into the race. Still, he just lost by 10,000 votes. Maybe we pulled out all the stops, but I can’t help but think there’s more that could have been done, especially in Washtenaw… Do you by chance know the percentage of registered voters when went to the polls in Washtenaw’s 7th? If it was in the low 40 percent rage, my guess is that we could have organized a better get-out-the-vote effort. And I’m blaming myself here too. I didn’t do a damned thing to help Shauer. I was focusing too intently on the Dingell race.

  3. Posted November 4, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Were Democrats this asinine when they won big in 2008? I’m being serious…I tend to be biased against Repubs so maybe I overlooked it when the Dems were (ostensibly) in charge back then?

    Also, when will the Dems stand as a bloc like the Repubs did? Will their collective testes drop this time around and will they stand together to try to stop some crazy shit from going down?

  4. Posted November 4, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Patti, the ObamaClass of Democrats were nothing but humble sweetness and light after Election Day 2008. Really.

    Mark, it is the liberal punditry who said essentially that “what Mitch McConnell really meant to say was…” when what he actually said was nothing like your supposed quote up at the top. Go to the source, and not third hand rumor and demagoguery.

  5. Posted November 4, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Okay, DR, I was being serious…so I’ll presume you were too. Yay, Dems!

  6. Aardvark
    Posted November 4, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the best we can hope for is that in the next two years the tea-party Republicans screw up so bad, and become so repugnent, that the general population starts thinking progressive Democrats were not so bad after all.

  7. Posted November 4, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    DR is a lightweight. He doesn’t care who wins, just as long as they are Republican. I mean, Marquis De Sade could be eating the shit of babies and DR would vote for him, as long as he was Republican.

    I’ll admit, I vote Democrat most of the time, but it’s not because I’m attached to the Democratic party. In fact, I could care fucking less. However, blindly voting for one party is just the essence of the word “tool”. The man can’t think for himself. I don’t care about political leanings, but I do take great offense to treating politics like a fucking football game. It’s just shallow and pathetic.

    Given the lame list of choices the Republicans gave, does it really matter which party wins? I’ve met completely intelligent and thoughtful Republicans in my lifetime. People I don’t always agree with, but thoughtful nonetheless. I’d vote for a decent Republican candidate, in fact there have been Republicans that I would have voted for, had I been in that district.

    You’re boring DR. Seriously, get a life.

  8. Steph
    Posted November 4, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    DR, there are a number of mail-order bride sites on the internet. You should try one.

  9. Knox
    Posted November 5, 2010 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    From what I read, DR, that’s exactly what McConnell said.

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came under sharp attack from the White House and Democrats Tuesday for saying that his top priority in the next Congress is to ensure that President Barack Obama serves only one term.

    The Kentucky Republican made the statement during an interview with National Journal. But it’s a variation on a line he has been using as he has stumped the country on behalf of Republican candidates in advance of the Nov. 2 midterm election.

    “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” he said in the interview.


  10. John Galt
    Posted November 5, 2010 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    If the 1700’s was good enough for George Washington, it’s good enough for me, god-damn-it. Let’s roll back those calendars, Patriots!

  11. Posted November 5, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Mark – Larry Kestenbaum has all sorts of statistical goodness available on his official Washtenaw County Clerk website.

    For Washtenaw County’s portion of the 7th District race, try http://electionresults.ewashtenaw.org/nov2010/canvassreport6.html

    Bullet points:
    * 44,021 votes in Washtenaw County’s portion of the 7th
    * 66% voter turnout
    * Walberg beat Schauer by about 700 votes, or 2%.

  12. Posted November 5, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    However, blindly voting for one party is just the essence of the word “tool”.

    This is the best line I’ve seen in awhile. It is going to join “Libertarians are basically white men who didn’t accomplish much and who blame blacks, women and gays” (paraphrased).

  13. Posted November 5, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    The potential of a Walberg / Schauer re-rematch is pretty interesting to me, since it’s obviously a very marginal seat (as in, one that’s right on the tipping point between parties).

    This means it’s probably a district we can expect to change radically before they see such a rematch, though. We can expect to lose at least one and possibly two Congressional seats in 2012, based on the results of the Census (we’ll know in January), which will be followed by some pretty significant re-drawing of boundaries within each State.

    So let’s take bets: do we expect the re-districting process to try to cut away at John Dingell’s power by adding Republican areas to his district? Or do we expect the re-districting to expand Dingell’s lead…by slurping up Schauer supporters and solidifying Walberg’s position? I’m guessing they’ll prioritize protecting Walberg over taking a run at Dingell. (The other option for chipping away at Dingell would be pulling in Canton / Van Buren from the 11th – McCotter just won reelection with almost 60% of the vote, so has a little bit more buffer than Walberg.)

    At any rate, redistricting means everything in Michigan will look at least a little bit different in 2012, and we get a relatively fresh start at trying to set the stage in each race, rather than just re-fighting the same battles.

One Trackback

  1. By Snyder to redraw Michigan battle lines, but how? on November 5, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    […] to get up, off the mat… Which brings me to the following comment, left by my friend Murph, in a thread mentioning Tuesday’s close Republican win in Michigan’s 7th Congressional distr…: The potential of a Walberg / Schauer re-rematch (in 2012) is pretty interesting to me, since […]

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