The Widdershins

Election Day!

Posted on: November 4, 2014

Good day Widdershins. It is Election Day or as it turns out, an extension of Halloween. We have the little political tricksters scaring us withElection 2014 Ebola, ISIS, non-existent voter fraud, Mexican drug cartels invading Arkansas, jogging suits doubling as prayer rugs in the Arizona desert, and weaponized polio patients bypassing universal healthcare in Canada to get into New Hampshire.

Most fearful of all, we are saddled with a lawless President delivering an economy growing at 3.5 percent (best in the industrialized world), unemployment below 6 percent, health care growth rates the lowest in two decades, and gas prices that are way, way down. How can it get much worse?

According to polling, the two issues weighing the heaviest upon the minds of voters are the economy and breaking legislative gridlock. And what have the candidates campaigned on — everything but the economy and gridlock. If anything, the most serious Republican candidates are campaigning for things to get gridlockier if that is possible.

In the second midterm election of the modern-day presidency, the historical average is a loss of six Senate seats by the party occupying the White House. In fact, the Republicans could pick up the needed six seats just in states carried by Mitt Romney by at least 14%. These electoral factoids don’t even take into consideration the midterm electorate is 2-3% more Republican in its composition. And most importantly, the demigod of political nerd-dom, Nate Silver at, has proclaimed there’s a 75% chance of a Republican takeover. ‘Nuff said.

2014 Senate Elections MapSo if the candidates aren’t campaigning on what concerns the voters, the logical question becomes what is likely to happen if there is a Republican takeover of the Senate?

Since neither John Boehner nor Mitch McConnell has laid out any specific policy goals, you know there is plenty of age-spotted hand-wringing going on in those hermetically sealed rooms where the crusty old translucent guys convene to fret about such things. Here’s some best guesses as to what worries are filling their Depends.

In a turnover of the Senate, the first two programs on the chopping block are health care and financial reform. As far as the Affordable Care Act is concerned, an outright repeal is not in the cards since even with a Republican takeover, the Senate won’t be veto-proofed. Most likely, after a large hoopla show vote for the peanut gallery, there will be targeted assaults on specific provisions of the ACA as amendments to other bills.

A sure target is the little understood, but much maligned medical device tax. During the early ACA negotiations, health care providers were asked what they would give in exchange for increases in patient volume. For example, health insurers agreed to an industry-wide fee generating $60.1 billion in revenue over ten years. Pharmaceutical companies agreed to an even higher assessment of $80 billion over the same ten-year term.

In the vernacular, this is political quid pro quo — if the government is shepherding new patients to the companies, then the companies need to contribute toward the overall cost. As for medical device makers, they ended up with a 2.3 percent tax on sales. This excise tax is scheduled to generate $29 billion over the next decade and automatically plowed back into expanding insurance coverage.

There’s the equivalent of an omerta code in politics, when you buy someone you have to make sure they stay bought. The trouble here is Your Vote is your Voicethat the medical device industry didn’t stay bought. So far they have spent over $150 million lobbying for repeal even though they are enjoying increased profits from expanded coverage. A repeal will mean an annual $3.0 billion dollar hole in the ACA budget.

Close to the unpopularity of the medical device tax are the financial reforms of Dodd-Frank. It seems the law about “too big to fail banks” is somehow too onerous for the banks that are now bigger and more profitable than they were in 2008 when Dubya bailed them out. Go figure.

You can bet the knives will be out for the EPA through funding cuts. In addition, there will be a mad-dash push to fast track the Keystone XL pipeline in order to deliver Mother Earth’s nasty undigested dinosaur excrement to the oil refineries on the Texas coast.

What Keystone proponents fail to acknowledge is this: After the pipeline is built, you can count on two hands the number of permanent jobs that will be created in the states where the shale sludge will flow. The only winners will be the most profitable companies in the history of mankind — the oil companies that will refine and off-tanker the product to China and India since the U.S. will soon be a net exporter of crude.

Judicial confirmations will continue to be as rare as hen’s teeth. There is little wonder Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is staying put. With John McCain slated to take over the Armed Services Committee, it will be the “all-Benghazi, all-ISIS, all-Syria, all-bomb, bomb, bomb Iran channel”.

Make no mistake, there will still be the social wedge issues. There will be an “ejaculation means life” legislation otherwise known as the “personhood” amendment. There will be efforts to repeal Common Core educational standards so that the Flintstones can be considered an educational documentary.

There will be calls for tax reform which means lowering the corporate taxes and increasing the tax burden on the working poor and the middle class. There will even be calls for abolishing the IRS in favor of a flat tax — aptly named since it will flatten the aforementioned working poor and the middle class. Undoubtedly, twenty thousand soldiers on the border won’t be enough and we will have to build an even higher wall to protect Mexico from the crazies on our southern border.

Joni ErnstAdd to the mix the senatorial loons drawn to the flame of notoriety for the sake of the 2016 presidential race — Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Rob Portman. If they had one more and they may have it in the Iowa hog castrator, Joni Ernst, they can enter the unicorn relay race at the annual Thorazine Festival emceed by Michele Bachmann.

Oh, one last thing, Obama will need to buy his veto pens by the gross.

This is what looms on the horizon this election day. What was supposed to be a sure-fire Republican tsunami has turned out to be a twenty-five percent chance of a non-turtle led Senate majority.

This election isn’t a done deal. We can’t solve our problems by the same type of thinking and feeble-minded platitudes that created them.

Go vote and come back and talk about anything you want especially what turnout looks like in your neck of the woods.



27 Responses to "Election Day!"

I guess I’ll kick it off — here in the land of fast horses and slow turtles (aka KY) voting is steady-to-heavy statewide with the turnout commensurate with the 2006 and 2010 elections where it was about 50%. The good news is this: Voting is heavy in Jefferson County — that’s Louisville — it is where Mitch is from and they know him pretty well so it means a heavy turnout for Alison Lundergan Grimes.

What does it look like in your state?

I haven’t read anything yet about la-la land La, but did see this: Don’t go into the voting booth or whatever with your cell phone on and powered up.

Steady rain here with a steady stream of voters throughout the day. No big races here so no big turnout.

I just heard on one tv channel they are expecting between 48-50+ % turnout for La. I would guess it’s mostly due to the Senate race.

Ugh, I’m out of state tonight. My guess is that the nutjobs will lose more ground in NY. We are done with Repubs after Bloomberg.

I just read that Jean Shaheen defeated Scott Brown, so, one bright ray.

Well, the news is mostly bad, very bad. Rick Scott, Scott Walker, Mitch McConnell all won. Looks like Landrieu lost. Hopefully, they won’t be able to accomplish any right wing goals and we’ll have a better shot in ’16. Time for a drink!

@annie: Landrieu will be in a runoff since it looks like neither one got the needed 50%

Also, I’ve got a tooth that’s bothering me so I’ve got to get to the dentist tomorrow. Bothering me bad enough I took a pain pill for it. Called and got the dentist on the phone and he said the office will call tomorrow for a time. I hate this. So, let’s leave Prolix’s post up and continue it as a post-election post.

Fredster, I was just going to ask you about the runoff. Good idea to leave the post up. I hope you get in tomorrow.

Still wondering…what’s the matter with Kansas? They reelected Pat Roberts who hasn’t lived there in decades? Really people? They couldn’t go with the independent guy, they just had to have Roberts, who is 78 years old, and has lived in Alexandria VA for decades, back for another 6 years. Mind blowing.

annie, I think the tooth thing is one I had root canal on and then had the dentist just put a filling on it instead of the crown. Well probably it’s the filling that’s breaking off or something and I’ll have to go ahead and get the crown on it. When I had the root canal I was just trying to avoid having to pay for that and the crown at the same time. The filling was cheaper, but I knew it wouldn’t last.

Poor Fredster. You have my sympathy. I hope its fast and painless!

OMG, there’s gonna be a Michele Bachmann in the Senate.

Yeah, she seems like another Michele.

She looks like a one Term Senator… It was a real bad night for the Democrats. At some point (right after they called Florida for Scott) I went to be 2016 starts now!

Hey Fuzzy! Let’s hope she’ll be a one-termer. Gawd, the Senate is going to be so FUBAR’D with the Repubs in charge. Probably all we can do is sit and watch the train wreck.

Excellent post by a guy from nola. Well worth a read.

Fredster, you have my heartfelt sympathy.
Being of Irish extraction( ha, ha), I know all about tooth problems.
Hope you get relief, fast.

So sorry to hear that, Fredster!

I wish I trusted Obama not to go along with all the ridiculous sh*t the Repubs are going to propose. I don’t. My husband pointed out we have been in Mordor since 2000. We’re looking ahead to at least two more years of it.

Hey Sue and MB. I have a tooth that had a root canal done on it and after that was done I talked the dentist into just putting a filling over it so I didn’t have to pay for the root canal and a crown at the same time. I have a temp thing in there now and the dentist put me on a course of amoxicillin. After that’s over guess we’ll start on the rest of the work. (sigh)

Also: an update on Chat:
She has her new computer but either her daughter or son-in-law were going to come over to set it up. Well, her daughter was involved in a car wreck so *that’s* not gonna happen for a few more days. Her daughter is okay…just bruised and sore so Chat said the radio silence must continue for a bit.

I’ll do something tonight to put up for Fri. and the weekend. LSU plays Bama in B.R. this weekend so I’ll either be laughing hysterically or crying in my beer depending on the outcome. 😉

Hey folks. I still don’t feel worth a darn so I won’t have anything up for Fri. but I will have something by Fri. night and ready for Sat./Sun.


Fredster, take care of yourself. I sympathize, I had five cavities drilled last Saturday and felt pretty yucky all weekend. My fault for not going to the dentist for a looooooong time.

Hubs has business in San Diego, so I went with him. Its in the 80s here and I’m spending the afternoon at the pool which is surrounded by palm trees swaying in the breeze and heavy tropical greenery and flowers. What a beautiful place. Wish you all were here!

Good point about Mordor since 2000. I wish we could go back to the 90s.

mb@24: Oh good grief, FIVE fillings! Yikes!

annie, enjoy yourself!!

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