The Issue Is Choice, Not Abortion

CBS has said no way to an add featuring a couple of football fans (boy-boy, of course) making out during a game, while it has decided to show Tim Tebow and his mother discussing the story of her refusal to get an abortion in the face of medical advice to do so.

Now, we can argue whether what the Tebow’s are advocating is proper for airing during the Super Bowl.  But since CBS paid a lot of money for the rights to broadcast the event, obviously it can choose to broadcast whatever commercials it wants.  Personally, I don’t care one way or the other.  If Focus on the Family wants to finance the Tebows’ message, so be it.  If pro-choice advocates don’t like it, they can pool their resources and counter its message.

Maybe they could have a commercial featuring a mother who elected to do what Tebow’s mom did but had vastly different results.  Maybe her son is now languishing in an institution somewhere that struggles for funding because Focus on the Family advocates “smaller government.”  Or maybe her son was born, suffered tremendously, and then died.  Such a mother could lament the choice she made.

The point is that pro-choice advocates, rather than attacking CBS or the ad, should begin to conduct an offensive of their own, designed to highlight the benefits of actually having a “choice” in the matter, like the choice Pam Tebow had.  After all, frequently, “pro-choice” means having the baby, rather than electing not to have it. Otherwise, being pro-choice can plausibly be seen as just a euphemism for being pro-abortion, as the enemies of choice have claimed, effectively, for years.

In any case, since the Tebow ad is unavailable for preview, here is the rejected add, which was sponsored by ManCrunch, a gay dating site:

“An Arena For Angry Minds”

The New York Times, in its Blogginghead section, posted on Thursday a short video debate on the nature of the Tea Party movement in the context of Richard Hofstadter’s famous exploration of the historical effects of conspiratorial thinking on our national political life, which appeared in 1964 as The Paranoid Style in American Politics.

The debate, which is a mere 4½ minutes, is between Michelle Goldberg of The American Prospect and Matt Welch from Reason magazine.  Unfortunately, the Times prevents lowly bloggers from capturing its video for our own use, but anyone can go here to see it.

Anyway, the brief debate spurred me to go back and take a look at Hofstadter’s piece, which opened with this:

American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.

Hofstadter explained that he called the style “paranoid” because,

no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind.

In using the expression “paranoid style” I am not speaking in a clinical sense, but borrowing a clinical term for other purposes. I have neither the competence nor the desire to classify any figures of the past or present as certifiable lunatics. In fact, the idea of the paranoid style as a force in politics would have little contemporary relevance or historical value if it were applied only to men with profoundly disturbed minds. It is the use of paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal people that makes the phenomenon significant.

After some historical examples of this phenomenon, Hofstadter moves on to what was for him in 1964 the “contemporary right wing,” but which sounds eerily familiar today:

…the modern right wing, as Daniel Bell has put it, feels dispossessed: America has been largely taken away from them and their kind, though they are determined to try to repossess it and to prevent the final destructive act of subversion. The old American virtues have already been eaten away by cosmopolitans and intellectuals; the old competitive capitalism has been gradually undermined by socialistic and communistic schemers; the old national security and independence have been destroyed by treasonous plots, having as their most powerful agents not merely outsiders and foreigners as of old but major statesmen who are at the very centers of American power. Their predecessors had discovered conspiracies; the modern radical right finds conspiracy to be betrayal from on high.

Those words could have been written by any thoughtful observer of our political scene today and it is amazing that Hofstadter wrote them 46 years ago.

It’s also amazing that even after a couple of centuries of American civilization, the paranoid style is still an acceptable form of political expression.

Keeping Watch On The GOP

Sam Stein reminds us:

Over the past two weeks, Republicans in Congress have united in nearly unanimous opposition to a series of ideologically conservative policy suggestions, starting with a commission to reduce the deficit, a pay-go provision that would limit new expenditures, and a spending freeze on non-military programs.

He also pointed out:

In the past, Republicans have supported similar proposals. Four Republican Senators who in 2006 backed a pay-go measure that would require Congress to offset every dollar spent with other funds voted against the measure in 2010. The cap on discretionary, non-military spending that had members of Obama’s own party howling in horror was pulled from Republican John McCain’s own presidential campaign platform — and yet, the Arizona Republican said this past week that the president now wasn’t going far enough. Five GOP Senators who co-sponsored a debt commission bill that would recommend deficit-cutting measures for Congress to vote on then rejected the idea when it came up for a vote this week.

The point of Stein’s piece was to suggest that, “the Republican Party could hurt itself by not meeting Obama part way.”  We shall see, and as I said the other day, we shall see what the response is from deficit- and debt-sick teabaggers.

In the meantime, after Obama’s feisty display today on Republican territory, Democrats should be encouraged and keep moving on, with or without the GOP.

House Republicans No Match For Obama

President Obama, during the Q&A part of his visit today to the House Republican retreat, explained to Republicans that their use of damaging rhetoric about him in front of their constituents back home—such as claiming that his crazy policies and plans would “destroy America” or that the health care reform bill was part of some kind of “Bolshevik plot“—made it nearly impossible for them then to turn around and work with him on anything, even if they happen to agree on it.

In other words, if Republicans paint Obama as the Devil, then claim that they want to work with him, they are in effect saying they want to make a deal with the Devil.

I’m not sure, but I don’t think that would play well in the Bible Belt, which, of course, is why Republicans, especially in the House of Representatives, have no intention of “working” with the President. 

I encourage anyone who hasn’t seen the event, which ran about an hour and a half, to check it out here or here.  Or read the transcript here.  It was quite unusual, and I have never seen anything like it.

Obama, as usual, was very impressive, not just with his teleprompter-less answers and his understanding of all of the issues raised, but he also impressed with his commitment to get things done.  And surprisingly, he demonstrated a strong willingness to call out Republican questioners who asked questions that were clearly designed to fit nicely in a campaign ad against Democrats back home.

And, of course, after the event was over, Republican leaders were on the tube in full partisan mode.  I doubt if Obama had left the building before Mike Pence was waving around a copy of the Republicans’ policy book, which was featured prominently during the event.

So, here we go again.

UPDATE: Less than an hour after the event, Congressman Trent Franks* from Arizona was on television repeating the Republican line that Obama’s domestic policies will ruin the country and his national security policies are a terrorist’s dream. However, Mr. Franks did manage to say that Obama was “articulate” and that he didn’t think that in his “heart” he meant to do such things.

Well, I guess that’s an improvement.

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*Congressman Franks represents a district in Arizona that although geographically widespread, actually comprises largely conservative voters living in the western suburbs of Phoenix.  Anyone who has ever been to those suburbs can easily understand that Democrats aren’t likely to be wildly popular there. So, what motivation does Mr. Franks have to be bi-partisan, when he would be thrown out of office in 11 months, if he were to try it? 

Republicans Missing In Action On Pay-Go

We will soon find out if teabaggers are serious about two things. One is their anger about deficit spending and the other is whether that anger is really directed at both parties, as they claim.

The Senate today approved  pay as you go” legislation, which is designed to insure that new government spending is either funded by tax increases or cuts to other spending.

So, since Republicans—especially holier-than-thou Republican Senators with short memories—have been on Obama’s backside for a year now about “reckless” spending, and since they have fomented anger and fear among the public at large that the country is heading toward doom because of Democratic irresponsibility, no doubt these Republicans were unanimous in their approval of such fiscally responsible legislation, right?

Wrong.  The measure passed 60-40 with ZERO Republicans voting for it. 

Now, I am sure by the evening newscasts, there will be official rationale for this lack of seriousness by Republicans on the one issue they have managed to use to stir up faint interest in their party, but it is utter hypocrisy and irredeemable cynicism no matter what they say. 

If teabaggers buy into whatever reason even so-called “moderate” Republicans like Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins finally settle on to justify their opposition to the pay-go bill, then teabaggers are as phony as we liberals have been saying.

We’ll keep a watch on their reaction.  I’m guessing there won’t be any protests at Republican townhalls over the issue, but I’m willing to wait and see.

J. D. Salinger, R.I.P.

“I mean how do you know what you’re going to do till you do it?” says Holden Caulfield. “The answer is, you don’t. I think I am, but how do I know? I swear it’s a stupid question.”

Roy Blunt + Jack Abramoff = 17,900

Roy Blunt was given around 618 words today in the Joplin Globe to criticize Democratic efforts to “ram through their government takeover of health care.” Blunt is concerned that, “Washington Democrats are bent on fulfilling their New Year’s resolution behind closed doors and with no accountability.”

Okay. I’ll concede that Roy Blunt knows a little about making deals behind closed doors without accountability.  After all, as the Republican whip he made deals and twisted the arms of plenty of Republicans in the shadows of the Capitol during the push to get Bush’s unfunded prescription drug program through the House in 2003.  So, I’ll give him his props for knowing how such things are done.

But the rest of his “column” was just a rehash of the usual Republican lies, half-truths, quarter-truths and even smaller fractions of the truth that I have written so much about.  So, I won’t bother to refute them yet again.  Someone else can write into the Globe and do that. 

I will, however, comment on one thing that Blunt—skillfully, in my opinion—did in his, again, “column.”

Out of the 618 words, he managed to use the names Reid and Pelosi a total of 7 times.  That’s more than 1% of the words! 

Now, he could have substituted the words, “House bill” for Pelosi and “Senate bill” for Reid, but that just wouldn’t have had the punch that using the names of the two Democrats conservatives hate the most has.  It’s the equivalent of parading around in front of Dick Morris in open-toed shoes.  You know you’re going to get the response you’re looking for from those who have a fetish for either toesucking or liberal-hating.

In any case, I have to admire the neat use of the word-association trick, and I intend on using it from now on.  Every time I write a piece about Blunt, I will try to drop the name of Jack Abramoff here and there.  I can’t guarantee that it will amount to 1% of my words, but I will try.

Here’s my first attempt:

For those who may have forgotten, Abramoff is the former big-shot conservative Republican lobbyist-bully who is currently cooling his jets in a prison camp associated with the Federal Correctional Institution (a fancy name that liberals give to prisons) in Cumberland, Maryland.  He pled guilty to a series of felonies involving defrauding American Indian tribes and some elected officials. And during the first 10 months of the Bush administration, Abramofflogged nearly 200 contacts,” according to USA Today.  Now, that’s a nice display of the Republican principle of working hard for the money.

Anyway, while I have never read that Roy Blunt has called Abramoffone of his closest and dearest friends” (as the not-so-Tiny Dancer, Tom Delay has),  Blunt and Abramoff were quite chummy.  

I don’t know what this means, but if you Google Roy Blunt and Jack Abramoff you get 17,900 results.  Here are three paragraphs from one such result, courtesy of USA Today in 2005:

Rep. Roy Blunt and the man he wants to succeed as House majority leader, Tom DeLay, shared similar connections to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and to corporate lobbyists.

Blunt, R-Mo., wrote at least three letters helpful to Abramoff clients while collecting money from them. He swapped donations between his and DeLay’s political groups, ultimately enriching the Missouri political campaign of his son Matt.

And Blunt’s wife and another son, Andrew, lobby for many of the same companies that donate to the lawmaker’s political efforts.

The same story continues:

Blunt and DeLay and their aides frequently met with Abramoffs lobbying team and even jointly signed a letter supportive of an Indian tribe client at the heart of the Abramoff criminal investigation, according to records published by The Associated Press over the past year.

More:

DeLay raised more money than he needed to throw parties at the 2000 Republican National Convention and sent some of the excess to Blunt through a series of donations that benefited the causes of both men.

After transfers between political organizations, some of the money went to the campaign of Blunt’s son, Matt, in his successful 2000 campaign for secretary of state. Now the Republican governor of Missouri, Matt Blunt eventually received more than $160,000 in 2000.

Not finished yet:

In his ties to Abramoff, Blunt was among nearly three dozen members of Congress, including leaders from both parties, who pressed the government to block a Louisiana Indian tribe from opening a casino. The lawmakers received donations from rival tribes and their lobbyist, Abramoff, around the same time.

So, there is some material from only one of the 17,900 results you get when you associate Roy Blunt with Jack Abramoff on Google. 

More to come, but as of now, I have used 800 words about Roy Blunt and have managed to slip in “Abramoff” 13 times. 

This is easier than I thought.

With Enemies Like That, Who Needs Friends?

Yesterday’s Globe carried a column by George Will, the country’s preeminent philosopher of “Fred Astaire” conservatism (you just have to read the piece). In the column, Will said,

…disapproval of Obama flows directly from traditional conservative anxieties about government spending, taxing and meddling.

Let’s forget for a moment (but only for a moment) that conservatives spent us and un-taxed us into bankruptcy. Let’s just look at government “meddling.”

We don’t have to look any farther than the front page of the same edition of the Globe. In a story,”Falling fatalities,” Wally Kennedy reported that the number of people killed on Missouri’s highways has fallen:

The death toll for 2009 was 871, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. That’s almost 100 fewer than the number killed in 2008.

Not since 1950 has Missouri seen so few people killed in highway crashes. In that year, when far fewer people and vehicles were on the road than today, the death toll was 889.

Not since 1950! How do you suppose that happened? Considering there are now four times more cars on the road and “Missourians are driving five times more miles than they did in 1950,” it all seems like, well, like a MIRACLE! Read on:

Safer vehicles, improved emergency medical services, safer highways, increased law enforce­ment and educational efforts promoting the use of seat belts are combining to lower the loss of life on Missouri highways, officials say.

Hmmm. Every one of those reasons—every single one—is attributable to government “meddling,” the kind that George Will clams is driving down Obama’s poll numbers. But such overblown claims are part of the propaganda necessary for conservatism to continue to thrive, despite its obvious flop as a governing philosophy.

Conservatives have been getting away with demonizing liberalism for years. The worst among them have attempted to make the term “liberal” akin to “socialist,” Communist,” and “fascist.” They have connected liberalism to big government and convinced many Americans that the government is the enemy.

And many—thousands upon thousands upon thousands—of those Americans are alive today because their enemy forced auto makers to make safer cars, because their enemy provided emergency services and constructed safer highways, and because their enemy educated its citizens about the wisdom of wearing seat belts.

That’s some enemy.

Corporations Are People, Too

Warning: The following is a relatively lengthy entry on the recent and controversial Supreme Court decision overturning limitations on corporate and union political advocacy immediately preceding elections. I assume that most faithful readers of this blog are at least as interested in politics as I am, thus I wrote this piece for hard-core junkies.  For those not interested in such things, feel free to bypass.

The Supreme Court, these days binging on conservatism, sobered up long enough last week to engage in an awesome display of “liberal” jurisprudence.

Avoiding a narrow judgment in favor of a broad one, in a fit of hypocritical judicial activism, the court essentially declared in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporations—despite the fact that they are “creatures of the state“—are people, too, and that they have free-speech rights every bit as inviolable.   There are now no limitations on how corporations can attempt to influence the outcome of elections.

Inventing “rights” used to be the responsibility of liberals on the court, at least according to Constitutional purists on the right, who hate the fact that liberals have managed to find, among other ungodly things, a “right to privacy” lurking in the shadow of the Bill of Rights. 

God forbid such legal reasoning, except when it comes to creating—against a century of precedent—a free-speech right for corporations that is now superior to the rights of individuals.  While conservatism’s inner consistency may be challenged on many fronts, one thing is agonizingly consistent about it: protecting business interests above all other interests.  Thomas Frank calls this sort of thing, “industry conservatism.

Jamin Raskin, Professor of Constitutional Law at American University, said that by overturning McCain-Feingold the Court has declared

that a corporation is essentially a citizen, armed with all the political rights that we have, at the same time that the corporation has all kinds of economic perks and privileges like limited liability and perpetual life and bankruptcy protection and so on that mean that we’re basically subsidizing these entities, and sometimes directly, as we saw with the Wall Street bailout, but then they’re allowed to turn around and spend money to determine our political future, our political destiny.  So it’s a very dangerous moment for American political democracy.

Justice Stevens, in his dissent, wrote:

The conceit that corporations must be treated identically to natural persons in the political sphere is not only inaccurate but also inadequate to justify the Court’s disposition of this case.

In the context of election to public office, the distinction between corporate and human speakers is significant.  Although they make enormous contributions to our society, corporations are not actually members of it. They cannot vote or run for office. Because they may be managed and controlled by nonresidents, their interests may conflict in fundamental respects with the interests of eligible voters. The financial resources, legal structure, and instrumental orientation of corporations raise legitimate concerns about their role in the electoral process.

Much later in his opinion he wrote:

It might also be added that corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their “personhood” often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.

Never mind the argument from conservatives that unions are now considered people-citizens, too, supposedly providing some kind of symmetry amid the mess.  As Ted Olson, the attorney for the aggrieved Citizens United, admitted during oral argument, there were 6 million corporations (although many of them are very small) that filed tax returns in 2006. There weren’t 6 million unions the last time I checked.  And certainly no one will pretend that if there were 6 million unions (no matter how small) in this country and only a handful of corporations, that conservatives would gleefully find that unions enjoyed people-like rights.   

And George Will attempted to argue on This Week on Sunday that the real effect of the decision will be to “emancipate our non-profit advocacy corporations“—he conveniently used the Sierra Club as an example—because businesses—he conveniently used Microsoft as an example—”are not interested in getting into political fights.”  Huh? Has he been out of the country the past year while insurance companies and Wall Street bankers were making it rain cash on the Capitol?

This isn’t the first time that “principled” conservatives on the Supreme Court—some, like Scalia*, who long-windedly lecture liberals about the folly of a “living” Constitution—have sacrificed their principles to protect Republican interests.  Bush v. Gore was decided less than 10 years ago, and the country is still paying the price for that episode of conservative judicial activism.

But this decision may do more long-term damage to our democracy than even assuring the election of George W. Bush did, as hard as that is to imagine.  Nothing in recent memory has the potential to truly make our country a “fascist” state than the unrestrained corporate political advocacy now permissable.

I say, “potential,” because unlike many critics of the Court’s majority decision, I don’t have the ability to calculate all of the variables that are in play, including whether foreigners—through global corporate entities—will now be able to influence American elections.  (Could Osama bin Laden form a multinational corporation and run ads in the United States designed to influence elections? There doesn’t appear to be anything in the majority’s opinion to prohibit such a thing.)

And although I have much sympathy for the position of  free-speech advocates like Jonathan Turley, who have genuine fears that campaign finance limitations may have a “chilling effect” on our First Amendment rights (Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, made this point), there isn’t much evidence that such an effect has resulted from McCain-Feingold—a point Justice Stevens made in his dissent.

Additionally, it is possible that Congress will tinker with laws governing the nature of corporations—after all, Congress created them and enable them to exist—to counter the ill effects of the decision.  There may be enough sympathetic Republicans to overcome yet another likely filibuster by conservatives in the Senate against such tinkering.

So, after having listened to the oral arguments from last fall, after having muddled through the opinions of the various justices, and after considering a sampling of opinion from polarized legal analysts, I found very little ground left untilled that a lowly blogger could fruitfully work.

Thus, I’ll content myself with pointing out the fact that yet another example has been offered to the public—to the extent that it is paying attention—of conservatism’s flawed, sometimes ad hoc legal theories and its phony populism.  And although they are not, teapartiers should be screaming epithets night and day about this decision because of its potential to completely drown out the voice of “the people.” 

But so clever are corporate and business interests, that they have managed to purchase the newest incarnation of populism, angry teabaggers who have bought into the laissez-faire mythology broadcast by conservative shamans. Oddly, Citizens United, which appealed the case to the Supreme Court, claims on its website that it is, “Dedicated to restoring our government to citizen control.”  

Only in the world of delusional conservatism, does the recent decision do that.

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*Reading Scalia’s concurring opinion in the case is, as usual, quite entertaining.  But he strains to explain why his default position on the First Amendment is to include non-persons (corporations) within its purview.  He also makes an awkward (and untenable) argument that the right of individuals to freely associate with other persons under the umbrella of political parties is equivalent to the association of individuals in a corporation.  There is a presumption that when one contributes money to a political party, it is authorizing the party to speak on one’s behalf. There is no such presumption inherent in an individual’s association with a corporation. 

How To Think About The Massachusetts Election

After listening all week to pundits on television push the meme that voters in Massachusetts overwhelmingly rejected the policies of Obama and the Democrats by electing a Republican, I decided to investigate this idea.

Admittedly, some Congressional Democrats are buying into the meme and are marching, wobbly-kneed, away from their agenda—an agenda that voters endorsed in 2008. There is a word for such Democrats, but this is a “family” blog.

Anyway, I decided to look for myself and found the Washington Post-Kaiser-Harvard Massachusetts special election poll, which surveyed voters and non-voters in the Coakley-Brown senate election.

I discovered something interesting in the numbers.  In fact, it is so interesting, that people who get paid to analyze politics ought to look at the poll before reflexively spouting the conventional wisdom, that Republicans are making a comeback by riding a wave of “voter anger” over what Democrats are doing.

The poll asked voters three questions pertinent to the analysis advanced by journalists and pundits on all of the legitimate news outlets (Fox “News,” the GOP’s public relations firm, doesn’t count, of course).

The first was, “How do you personally feel about the Obama administration’s policies?” The responders were given the following choices:

Enthusiastic

Satisfied but not enthusiastic

Dissatisfied but not angry

Angry

Don’t know

Now, when I read this question, I expected to find, based on what I had been hearing, that, “Dissatisfied/ angry” would receive nearly 100%. 

Nope.

Only 47% of voters in the special election told pollsters they were dissatisfied, angry or not.

47%? Huh? Is that a number that should make Democrats crawl back in their foxholes and stop fighting, even if these are Massachusetts voters?

In fact, 52% of the voters said they were satisfied with Obama’s policies, enthusiastic or not.

So, given the fact that the economy is still struggling, that folks don’t have jobs or full employment, you would think that Democrats could find in that 52% something to build on instead of punting on second down and ten.

Okay.  What about Republican policies?  The poll asked, “How do you personally feel about the policies offered by the Republicans in Congress?

The choices were the same:

Enthusiastic

Satisfied but not enthusiastic

Dissatisfied but not angry

Angry

Don’t know

Again, after listening to Republican politicians on television and others who see a Republican resurgence, I would have expected that voters overwhelmingly approved of what Republicans have been doing the past year—which is to say, nothing.  (Unless you consider obfuscation, confusion, and constipation, “policies.”)

Nope.

58% of voters, including an inexplicable 37% of the Republican Brown’s voters, said they were “dissatisfied,” angry or not, with Republican policies in Congress.

Huh? How can that be? And how could almost 2 of every 5 Brown voters say they were dissatisfied with what Republicans are doing and then send another Republican to Washington? Especially a guy who pledged to continue those policies?

Is this what is making some Democrats retreat in fear?

Finally, the poll asked respondents this question:

When senator-elect Brown goes to Washington, do you think he should mainly work (with the Democrats to try to get some Republican ideas into legislation) or should mainly work (to stop the Democratic agenda)? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

Again, there is no doubt that any consumer of political television would expect that voters in Massachusetts were sending Brown to Washington to “stop the Democratic agenda.”

Nope.

A meager 11% of voters—yes, only 11%—said they wanted Brown to “work to stop the Democratic agenda.”  Additionally and specifically, only 28% of voters said Brown should “try to stop” the proposed changes “to the country’s health care system.”

Wow.  Now, I see why some Democrats are so fearful. I’d run, too, if 11% of the voters were pissed at me. 

Seriously, while it appears that Obama is going to stay and fight*, the point of all this is to say that the Democrats in Congress simply cannot back away like cowards from what they pledged to voters in 2008 they would do. 

In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected to rectify massive problems with the economy, which was in a tailspin.  He implemented his agenda and waited for the results.  Guess what?  They didn’t come immediately. 

By 1982, Republicans lost many seats in the mid-term elections.  Reagan was pummeled by pundits who said he had to change course. But Reagan, to his political credit, didn’t look for the exits.  He held on.  And by 1984, the economy had begun to turn around, and the rest is history.  (The long-term effects of Reagan-conservative policies wouldn’t hit home until many years later, but that is another matter.)

If Congressional Democrats do give up on their agenda, if they fail to at least fight—and make Republicans stand up in the Senate and actually conduct their promised filibusters—then they deserve any condemnation they get from pissed-off voters.

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 *The poll found that Obama’s approval rating was 61%, and among Brown voters, it was a staggering 33%. Another interesting fact is that among non-voters, Obama’s approval rating was 69%, which probably explains more about Coakley’s loss than anything else. She just didn’t excite enough potentially sympathetic voters.
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