Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dividist "10" - Senate Update
Angus King Edition

The Dividist "10" - Starring Angus King
With apologies to "10" and Angus King.  
Maine Independent Senator Angus King opened the door to potentially switching teams after the midterm results are in (H/T Doug Mataconis):
By Alexander Bolton 

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who caucuses with the Democrats, will decide after the midterm elections whether to switch sides and join the Republicans. He is leaving open the possibility of aligning himself with the GOP if control of the upper chamber changes hands.  “I’ll make my decision at the time based on what I think is best for Maine,” King told The Hill Wednesday after voting with Republicans to block the Paycheck Fairness Act, a measure at the center for the 2014 Democratic campaign agenda. King’s remarks are a clear indication that congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle will have to woo the 70-year-old senator in order to recruit him to their side.

That lobbying battle could be especially intense if King’s decision determines which party will control the chamber in the next Congress  If Republicans pick up six seats this fall, they will be running the Senate in 2015. But a pickup of five would produce a 50-50 split and Democratic control, with Vice President Biden breaking the tie. King could tip the balance..."
Where have I read this before? Oh yeah. It was me:

Friday, April 04, 2014

Friday Flotsam - Divide (the government) And Conquer (the deficit) Edition

Time once again for the Dividist to stroll down our metaphorical beach and take note of the detritus that has washed ashore and cluttered this little island of rationality in the great big blogospheric ocean.

With the midterm election on the horizon, the looming reality of divided government continuing indefinitely into the future is beginning to sink in for partisans and independents alike.  While beachcombing, we stumbled across a few shiny bits of divided government flotsam we previously overlooked. Submitted for your reading enjoyment...

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

On the inevitability of divided government and the emergence of parliament envy.

The dawn of divided government.

Political pundits, columnists, bloggers and others of that ilk are coming to terms with the realization we will have divided federal government for the foreseeable future.

The Dividist is, of course, delighted by this prospect. We find divided government to be the last best hope for limiting bad legislation, containing explosive growth in federal government spending, protecting civil liberties, and moving incrementally toward other preferred policy objectives. Or, at least, moving away from them at a slower pace than under unified one party rule. But not everyone is so sanguine about this state of affairs.

Many Republicans have yet to work through the stages of grief over the 2012 election outcome. They are still in denial and angry over failing to take the White House and Senate and restoring the glory days of One Party Republican Rule from '03 - '06.

During the government shutdown last fall, Democrats bought into the delusion that they could sweep the discredited Republicans from the House in the 2014 midterms and restore the era of One Party Democratic Rule, much as they enjoyed during the first two years of President Obama's administration. They are only now coming to terms with the realization that, not only is the House majority a virtual lock for Republicans, but there is a very real probability that Democrats will also lose majority control of the Senate.

The range of reactions to the inevitability of continuing divided government are instructive and, dare I say - offers a teachable moment.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Return of The Dividist "10"
Wherein we disagree with Nate Silver.
Sort of.

With apologies to "10" 

Note to Pundits: It's Still 2014
With all the speculation about the 2016 presidential election prospects of Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Elizabeth WarrenChris Christie, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, et. al. ad infinitum, something important has been overlooked. We have a very important election in 2014.  Nate Silver informs us that majority control of the Senate hangs in the balance:
FiveThirtyEight Senate Forecast: GOP Is Slight Favorite in Race for Senate Control 
"When FiveThirtyEight last issued a U.S. Senate forecast — way back in July — we concluded the race for Senate control was a toss-up. That was a little ahead of the conventional wisdom at the time, which characterized the Democrats as vulnerable but more likely than not to retain the chamber.  Our new forecast goes a half-step further: We think the Republicans are now slight favorites to win at least six seats and capture the chamber. The Democrats’ position has deteriorated somewhat since last summer, with President Obama’s approval ratings down to 42 or 43 percent from an average of about 45 percent before. Furthermore, as compared with 2010 or 2012, the GOP has done a better job of recruiting credible candidates, with some exceptions."
Given we are still early in the primary season... Given the Republican penchant for nominating clown candidates in winnable Senate races...  Given the hole the Republicans dug for themselves in the Senate in 2012... the Dividist is a bit dubious of Nate Silver's prediction.  We'll come back to that. But first, let's consider one 2014 outcome that is not at risk in any meaningful way - the continuing status quo of our happily divided government.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

That wasn't Vladimir Putin's first tweet. This is Vladimir Putin's first tweet: "...good intentions cannot justify the violation of international law and state sovereignty."

Putin Russian Twitter Account Profile
This week twitter released a new service to view anyone's first tweet. Vladimir Putin's first tweet garnered a lot of attention. Sent in November 2012 it commemorated the occasion of President Obama's reelection:
Vladimir Putin's first English tweet

The tweet was characterized in MSM and blogs as ironic and an indication of how badly relations have degraded in subsequent years. Examples include WaPo, NBC, CBS, The Independent, TPMHuffington Post, etc, etc, etc. I'm not sure how truly "ironic" that tweet is. Certainly banal. Probably perfunctory. Maybe sarcastic. But not ironic.

Regardless, there is a bigger problem with the the reporting on that tweet. Despite the media assertions, that was not Vladimir Putin's first tweet.  Not even close. That was Vladimir Putin's first tweet from his English language twitter account.  Vladimir Putin's actual first tweet was sent from his Russian language twitter account over 10 months earlier in January 2012. Vladimir Putin is, after all, a Russian.

This was Vladimir Putin's actual first tweet, and it is one hell of a lot more interesting than the pablum with which he inaugurated his English language twitter account:
Putins 1st Russian tweet

Friday, March 21, 2014

Crimea is like Texas. Or something.

 Russian Crimea like Mexican Texas? 

She takes the long way around with a comparison to Texas, but a smart take from Rachel Maddow making a very good point about the repercussions of Putin's annexation of Crimea on Ukraine, Russia and the West. We recognize her very good point as insightful,  since it is the exact same point we made three weeks ago.

Maddow 3/19:

Monday, March 03, 2014

Three Soviet stooges and why Ukraine may be better off without Crimea.

The Soviet Stooges  - Joseph, Nikita and Vladimir
Anyone with a passing interest in the "the most seismic geopolitical event since 9/11", learned quite a bit about Ukraine, Crimea, and Russia over the weekend.  In particular we learned how three Soviet stooges have done enormous damage to the small semi-autonomous region of Crimea over the last 75 years. The most recent destabilizing damage was just inflicted on the region by Vladimir Putin (stooge "Larry"). Yeah, I know - The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is long gone so, strictly speaking, Putin is not a "Soviet" stooge. He just plays one on the world stage.  Here is the stage where we find him performing his schtick today:


The important part of this map is that brown bit hanging out the back end of Ukraine. That is Crimea, the region of Ukraine recently annexed by Russia. You'll note it is the only part of Ukraine shaded brown - i.e. Crimea is the only region of Ukraine with a majority ethnic Russian population.  Among the Crimean population not ethnic Russian, are the original inhabitants of the region - the Crimean Tatars. The history of why this region has a majority ethnic Russian population and why it is (was?) part of Ukraine is an important story. To understand that story, we need to go back to our Soviet stooges.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Choosing Sides in the Immigration "GOP Civil War" (Spoiler Alert - I'm with Will)

Grandma and Grandpa Dividist
Apparently there is a "civil war" in the GOP over the issue of immigration reform. George Will has chosen sides. In a recent WaPo column, he carefully, deliberately, logically, demolishes GOP arguments against doing comprehensive immigration reform now:

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Dialogues on Divided Government -
Gerrymandering & The Liberal Lament

Illinois Congressional District 4
Illinois Congressional District 4 - Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D)
Since the Dividist abandoned the periodic "carnival" compilation of divided government punditry,  we'll instead highlight any individual posts and articles we find that offers an interesting take on divided government. This may (or may not) become a regular feature. First up -  Larry Franz blogging at Wherof One Can Speak and his lament "We Should Expect Divided Government For a Long Time"

Among the annoyances confronting those subscribing to a left-of-center worldview is the fact that the American electorate inconveniently continues to elect republicans to majority control in the House of Representatives.  Liberals are fond of lecturing anyone who will listen that America is a center left country, that enlightened liberal democratic policies are better for all Americans, that republicans are on the wrong side of history, that shifting demographic favor a permanent democratic party majority, that republicans hate women, blacks, hispanics, gays, etc. etc. ad nauseum. And yet, despite the imparted wisdom, Americans continue to elect republicans into majority control of the House of Representative.

If you are true believer in progressive dogma you must come up with a reason why, in the face of the obviously superior liberal democratic policies, Americans continue to vote republicans into majorities in Congress. Many progressives resolve this conundrum by subscribing to one or more of these theories: