The United States Elections/Political Party Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by liberalmaverick, Mar 6, 2006.

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  1. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Strom Thurmond was more or less a "Weekend at Bernie's" scenario in the latter part of his last term in office. You would be surprised in any case the extent to which some Senators are operated by their staff, the guys behind the captain's chair operating the ropes and pullies, making the arm wave.

    Sorry to make light of the situation. I wish the Senator and his family well and would not want him to serve without the mental capacity to be effective, regardless of what happened to control of the Senate.
  2. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Actually, to make the run for President in 2008 easier, Republicans actually might want to keep things the way they are in the Senate. The Republicans are NOT popular at the moment, and basically taking over a seat before the Congress is just about to sit might not reflect too well.

    It's better to keep it in a very tight minority and wait for the next election year to roll around. If it turns out the Republicans take that seat to control the Senate, the only real winner is Bush for the last two years he remains in office. It'll be the rest of the party that continues to suffer for his unpopularity.
  3. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    I stand corrected, Kimball.

    I made that statement after having read something on CNN.com to the effect that he would have to die or resign to lose the seat.

    However, although his recovery may be long, I do not think that he will be permanently incapacitated. If his breathing tube is removed by the end of the weekend and he is conscious and aware, his chances of greater than 75% recovery are excellent.

    This is barring any unforseen complications, of course, but I it sounds like they caught it in time. The fact that he sought immediate medical treatment probably weighs heavily in favor of recovery vs incapacitation.


    Let me ask you this Kimball, since you know more about it than I do:

    Is he considered functionally incapacitated if he cannot be recovered in time for the new Congress to convene? He is unlikely to be ready at that time, more likely (if he is going to recover fully or close-to-fully) in the spring.

    Also, if he can vote from a remote location while his staff runs things, does that count towards functionality?

    My comments on this situation are better suited towards the medical aspect and political opinion than anything else.

    Peace,

    V-03
  4. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Actually, I just know how to search through the US Code (very useful at times). What I posted is everything there is in law on the subject. As I said before, it would probably require a vote of the Senate to rule him incapacitated, and that is one thing that the Democrats will fight tooth and nail.

    Last I checked, Senate rules required that you be physically present to vote. As I recall, Strom Thurmond had to be carried into the chamber in a hospital bed/gurney in order to maintain his record for votes.

    My guess is that if Johnson is unable to serve after a few months, there will be considerable pressure to have him replaced.

    Kimball Kinnison
  5. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    I was watching quite a bit of legal commentary today on TV and the consensus seems to be that he cannot be replaced unless he resigns or dies.

    They gave several examples of this, including:

    a) Another South Dakota senator who had a stroke back in 1969 and didn't resign for 4 years.

    b) Joe Biden had aneurysm surgery back in 1988 for a surprisingly similar situation and was off the job for seven months.

    It sounds from what I am hearing that he will have to demonstrate no hope of a meaningful recovery to make pressure to have him removed legitimate. One GOP spokesperson was quoted today saying such talk was "ghoulish" and "irresponsible", and noted that a push to have him removed would most likely backfire on the party come 2008 unless it was very clear that he was a vegetable.

    One thing that was discussed is that the senate may pass a resolution on a compromise to make such a decision, should it become necessary. Another comment was the Burns would also be under potential pressure to appoint a democrat as the "honorable thing to do". While that may make one laugh in real life, it was pointed out that his own political future may be at stake if he does not given that the abortion ban he fought tooth-and-nail for was soundingly repudiated at the polls.

    There was also talk of getting Joe Lieberman to switch parties. Certainly, he wasn't treated any worse by the democrats than Jim Jeffords was a few years back.

    My personal take on this is that Senator Thompson will recover. I also believe that the recovery period will stretch into the spring, and that he will eventually be able to return to his duties. As such, I see the seat only opening up if he either chooses to resign it or the republicans force the issue in an attempt to gain control of the Senate. I think that such a move will harm them in 2008, especially if Iraq does not improve.

    It would actually position the republicans better in the long run for both houses to remain in democratic hands. It provides quite a bit of fodder for them come 2008. If I were a GOP strategist, I would be praying for a Thompson return.

    Peace,

    V-03
  6. lowbacca1977 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 7, 2001
    The worst comment thus far I'd heard on this was that an NBC correspondant said that Republicans were hoping that if he's not ok its a "clean break". Or in other words, that he dies quickly and easily. Which is so very messed up.
  7. dizfactor Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 5
    I'm not usually in the habit of defending Republicans, but I don't see what's so messed up about it. Having been through the long, slow degeneration of a close relative with a brain tumor, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. It sucks for the patient, it sucks for the family, it just sucks, and the best thing that could have happened for everyone involved would have been a quick death, rather than the years of gradual decline.

    That's the personal level. On the political level, I think the whole thing could get very ghoulish and very ugly if it drags on for too long, and I don't think it would be a good way to start the new term.
  8. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    There's actually one problem with claiming it as "the honorable thing to do".

    In 2002, Johnson won reelection by a paper-thin margin, only 524 votes, and South Dakota still leans pretty heavily Republican. The Republicans control both houses of the legislature (51-19 in the House and 25-10 in the Senate) and the governorship. In the past two presidential elections, South Dakota has gone to the Republicans by a significant margin (60% for the GOP), and their other Senator is a Republican. While their Representative is a Democrat, she's one of the "Blue Dog" Democrats who are fairly conservative.

    It wouldn't necessarily be "honorable" to appoint a Democrat, because the Senator is supposed to represent the state, not provide "balance" between the parties in Washington. If Johnson had been up for reelection this year, I could understand the argument that a Democrat was elected, but that's about it.

    Any attempt to insist on appointing a Democrat is really going to be nothing more than blatant partisan politics.

    Kimball Kinnison
  9. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Did the people of the state for for the man or the Party, Kimball?

    This whole thing is going to be a partisan ****-fight - the GOP have as much a vested interest in the matter as the Democrats - and unless you can prove it was him and not the Democrats, even by 524 votes, that won (which you can never do), then it's unfair to suggest only the Democrats are being partisan opportunists.

    E_S
  10. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Insisting that a Democrat be appointed because it's "the honorable thing to do" is blatant partisanship. It implies that appointing a Republican would be dishonorable, and considering the demographics of the state, that would simply not be true.

    Think of it this way, even if they voted for the party for the Senate, they also voted for a Republican for governor, knowing (or at least, they should have known) that he would have the authority to appoint a new Senator if one of them were incapacitated, killed, or resigned. Even if it required legislature approval, they voted for clear majorities in both houses of the legislature.

    It's fine for the Democrats to argue for him to appoint another Democrat, but calling it "the honorable thing" is pure partisanship. It would be perfectly honorable for him to appoint either a Democrat or a Republican to the position.

    Kimball Kinnison
  11. KissMeImARebel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 25, 2003
    star 4
    It sounds like the Senate CAN remove someone for incapacity, but they never do it. At least according to this LA Times article...
  12. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    It's no more nor less dishonourable than Republicans pretending their concern is about due process and fairness when the Senator could be the guy who takes the Democratic majority away.

    Everyone has an agenda, Kimball. Except me.

    E_S
  13. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Diz, I might've been too vague in what my issue was. Its that it was presented as Republicans are basically hoping he dies, when at that point, the correspondant was also saying that he'd be getting better. My issue was with the correspondant, because he was basically saying that while it was looking like the Senator would be alright (which he had said) he went on to say that the Republicans would be hoping that he'd die quick to avoid the mess of a fight in court. I'll have to dig up the exact quote.
    Wishing someone didn't go through long suffering is a big difference to wishing someone that at that point seems like they're going to recover dies so that its politically convienient is a whole different level.
  14. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    I still say that, given the political climate, the best thing for the Republicans to do if the Senator buys it is to sacrifice the next two years and have the South Dakotan governor nominate a Democrat anyway.

    They'd come off looking magnamanious in giving the Democrats undisputed majority for two very short years where it doesn't look as if anything's going to get solved. Bush looses out perhaps, but they're better off letting the next two years be about him becoming the sacrificial lamb for everything that's gone on, and getting that over with than trying to barely retain control of congress over two years that will probably not be very consequential concerning thier agenda. Retaining control of the Senate in this fashion could complicate elections in 2008: whereas moving in the other direction lets them come into that election season a lot stronger as a party (again, it doesn't do the President any good, but most smart republicans are abandoning that sinking ship anyway).
  15. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    It wouldn't necessarily be "honorable" to appoint a Democrat, because the Senator is supposed to represent the state, not provide "balance" between the parties in Washington. If Johnson had been up for reelection this year, I could understand the argument that a Democrat was elected, but that's about it.

    But he does the represent the state, and he did win as a democrat. Not being up for re-election is irrelevant. The GOP got swept in PA this year, yet Arlen Specter was not up for re-election. Does that mean he no longer represents those who sent him to Washington?

    The point is that the people sent a democrat to represent them, and sending a republican in his place may or may not be what the public would want. Short of a referendum, there's no way to know.

    Any attempt to insist on appointing a Democrat is really going to be nothing more than blatant partisan politics.

    No-one's going to insist on it, but it certainly "looks" a lot better if he does. If he doesn't, should it become necessarily, he has handed the democrats a huge political football.

    You're probably going to disagree with me on this, but as long as a single american soldier remains in Iraq, as long as they continue to die there, the public is going to vent on the GOP. Bush's success in transplanting his personality over the party back when he was popular several years ago is now an albatross around the neck of the GOP. I lay the blame for this partly with Karl Rove, who tried to insist that the elections would be local when anybody with half a brain could see that they were going to be national.

    Even with the dems in control, I think that the public will continue to punish republicans as long as we are in Iraq with things going poorly. Even if things improve, unless troops are coming home with a date for a complete withdrawal, this issue will hurt the GOP. If the senate goes back over a death, this will only re-energize angry democrats, independents and disillusioned americans in '08 and may lead to a much stronger senate majority or the White House for the dems-something at least that isn't as tenuous as one person's seat.


    Anyway, I'm getting off-topic here. I don't think this is going to be an issue, because based on what I'm hearing, Thomson's chances of recovery are good. It is more likely to be a matter if "how long" and not "if". This then begs the larger question of how long can he be out of office and still be holding the seat.

    From what I've read on the matter, it can be quite a long time, years even, should he choose not to resign. I think anything short of a such a choice (or death) is going to backfire, ie an attempt at removal (unless he is so clearly incapacitated that he cannot function at all). I can't predict his course, but it sounds as if there is reason to be optimistic.

    It's going to take some time before he can get back to work, though.

    Peace,

    V-03
  16. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Not as huge as you might think.

    A little while ago, Lowbacca posted a list of all of the replacement Senators since 1980. Here's that list:
    Note two things about that list.

    1) Since 1980, every single governor who appointed a replacement Senator did so from his own party.
    2) Both parties have used it as an opportunity to flip a seat.

    If you are going to argue that because South Dakota elected a Democrat, another Democrat should be appointed to that seat, then why didn't you criticize Jeffords (who was elected as a Republican) for essentially switching sides in 2001, shifting the balance of power*? If they elected a Republican, shouldn't they have gotten a Republican for the full term?

    I don't recall the Democrats handing the Republicans a "huge political football" when that happened.

    Quite simply, the governor should look for the person that he feels is best for the job, and appoint that person. He would be a fool to not consider both Democrats and Republicans. There is no requirement relating to political parties in either the Constitution nor US Code. The governor can appoint anyone who meets the Constitution's requirements.

    Of course, you are forgetting one thing that several governors have done in the past. Some have resigned (allowing their Lieutenant Governor to take over) and then been appointed to the Senate by the new Governor. That is especially common for governors who were already planning to run for Senate and who are nearing term limits.

    Kimball Kinnison

    * Keep in mind that Jeffords switched sides in May 2001, only 6 months after being elected as a Republican, and in switching sides shifted control of the Senate. From a Constitutional standpoint, it is the person elected, not the party, and there is absolutely no requirement that party be in any way considered in choosing a replacement.
  17. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    I don't recall the Democrats handing the Republicans a "huge political football" when that happened.

    Kimball, I'm not disagreeing with you on substance, as your facts are very solid, I'm disagreeing on style.

    You're right, nothing happened with Jeffords, because the dems were disorganized, down and out for a long time after 9/11-which cancelled out his defection. If 9/11 hadn't happened, it would probably have hurt the dems, although they still got hurt in the post-9/11 midterm election year panic of '02.

    The climate is different now. Nationally, people are angry with Bush and solid, one-party control, which means that the GOP gets vented on. I think it would be better for republicans not to be in control going into '08-especially not this way.

    But back to my main two points:

    1) I don't think that he is going to resign, either by need or by choice, albeit he will have a slow recovery

    and

    2) There really is no precedent to remove him short of death. Everything I've read on the subject, which has numerous examples, seems to support this.

    Like I said, the question will be "how long" in terms of recovery, before pressure begins to mount. If he makes progress, albeit slow, I don't think a removal push is going to go anywhere, and it's going to look awful mean-spirited.

    I personally think he will recover; slowly, but he will recover.

    Peace,

    V-03
  18. DARTH_CONFEDERATE Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 14, 2003
    star 5
    I laughed at my first post on the first page here. I voted for Kinky haha!
  19. dizfactor Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 5
    V03, sorry, but I think you're off base on this. Senate vacancies are filled by the governor of the state in question, and pretty much everybody accepts the reality of that when the governor's party doesn't match the party of the Senator in question. It's an accepted part of the rules, and there will be approximately zero fuss if something like that were to happen, inside or outside the Beltway.
  20. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Oh, I agree with you, it would definitely be accepted with minimal fuss (outside of the sunday-morning talk-shows), but I just don't see it happening.

    I believe the man will fully recovery.

    Have you noticed how this story has suddenly fallen off the face of the Earth?

    Peace,

    V-03
  21. Obi-Wan McCartney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    I agree with Kimball. It's the governor's pick, Democrats should mount whatever political power they have to get another Democratic or perhaps independant Senator, but claiming it to be the 'honorable' thing to do is a political ploy. Nothing wrong with political ploys though.
  22. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Mods! Come quick! We have an obviously hacked account here!

    MS policy would require it to be banned until the user can be verified and login credentials changed.

    :p

    Kimball Kinnison
  23. J-Rod Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2004
    star 5
    Hi everyone! I'm baaaAAAAAaaaack! Sorry I haven't been posting but after the long and unfortunately unsuccessful campaign I had to catch up on my business and personal affairs.

    On to the topic: Anyone remember this mean spirited post from a Mod, E-S, to myself...

    J-Rod you know those innumerable times that you're wrong and refuse to admit it even with seventeen thousand metric tonnes of evidence amassed against you, as some bizzare ritual of pride?

    This is one of those instances. There is nothing at all you can say that makes you right. This is an objective fact, in the same sense that the earth revolves around the sun and that human beings need oxygen to survive.

    Negative growth occurs when the rate of growth in one quarter is less than the rate of growth in the previous quarter.

    "See the plus signs"... how superficial, I mean really!

    Honestly J-Rod, a seminar at the Airport Hilton on how to make money does not an economist make so stop acting like you rub shoulders witht he movers and shakers in the equities and futures scenes.

    See here: "(equivalently, two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth)."

    Now, using the J-Rod School of Superifical Economics, the terms "negative" and "growth" would be mutally exclusive and thus th plus sign would negate the notion of "negative growth". But, in the real world in which your economics is not an inhabitant, this is not the case.

    It is when growth is at a negative rate on the previous quarter. Example; 1QXX, Growth is at 4.4%, 2QXX is at 4.3%, 3QXX is at 4.2% and 4QXX is at 4.6%.

    Because the growth rate QoQ goes down for 2 quaters, you have negative growth. THat is, the economy grows but at lower rates than the previous quarter. + and - mean absolutely nothing, nothing at all.

    As was shown above, already, and you glossed it over because you don't know better but by god you're even less familiar with humility than you are economics.

    Let's try again:

    2nd quarter 2006: +2.6
    3rd quarter 2006: +1.6

    Now, J-Rod, the US economy in 3Q06 grew:

    a) More than
    b) Less than

    the US economy in 2Q06?

    (answer: b)

    Since 1.6 < 2.6, the growth rater was lower than the previous quarter.

    This is called negative economic growth.


    Not very nice. Not at all. I have been unsuccessful at finding a definition of "negative economic growth". And that sucks. I'm not the best googler in the world.

    However, anytime that I can find the term used it reads much like this article. Whether it refers to computers, population or economics the consistent vernacular of the phrase "negative growth" means what it says: "the opposite of growth."

    This means one of two things:

    1) E-S is wrong. (That's where my money is)

    2) Many experts who get paid to study growth share a common misconception of the term "negative growth".
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