An occasional look at what people are talking about in politics
By Chris Ingram
Republicans will be disappointed
In Massachusetts, Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 3:1. In the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama bested John McCain by 26 points. Massachusetts is home to large labor unions and one of the most liberal state legislatures in the country.
But if you believe the most recent polls, Republican State Senator Scott Brown is poised to defeat Democrat Attorney General Martha Coakley in the race to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat in the U.S. Senate.
The GOP sees this as a great opportunity to hand President Obama and the liberals in Congress a big defeat and a strong message that Obamalism (big government with no way to pay for it) has been rejected by even their most loyal supporters.
Democrats apparently don’t believe the GOP hype or think Obama is a liability yet. Obama campaigned for Coakley over the weekend.
One thing is for sure, both sides desperately want to win. For the Democrats, they see trouble if Coakley loses and have already made plans on how to steamroll Obamacare through Congress if Brown wins (a Brown victory gives the GOP the necessary 40 votes to launch a successful filibuster).
While Massachusetts occasionally goes Republican (remember William Weld and Mitt Romney), I don’t see the stars lining up for the GOP this year — at least not in Massachusetts. The polling is undercounting new voters and voters without landline telephones. Furthermore, the Democrats know how to get voters to the polls. Unfortunately for the GOP, there are no voters to get.
I’ll happily eat my words, but I think Coakley wins. No Massachusetts miracle this year…
Charlie’s latest lie
I tweeted Governor Crist the other day to tell him his liberal policies would fit well in Massachusetts and that he should have run there. He didn’t reply.
He was apparently too busy making up his latest lie (also sent via a Tweet) which read: “Very pleased that Florida’s Public Schools are now ranked 8th nationwide – Thank you to all our teachers and school leaders.” (They’re called principals Charlie).
Anyone with a kid in a Florida public school knows we aren’t 8th in anything. Charlie’s latest bogus claim comes from Education Week, which assessed all states on education standards. And yes, Florida ranked 8th. In short, that means the state of Florida does a good job setting standards on things like accountability and the FCAT — Florida’s statewide assessment test. But bragging about being 8th on education standards is like a NASCAR race team that consistently finishes last in every race bragging about having the fastest pit crew. Last is exactly where Florida remains on the outcomes that matter. We’re 49th in graduation rates and at the bottom fifth in number of students who can read at grade-level (30 percent of our students are not at grade-level). Our SAT scores aren’t much better. Flori-duh public schools rank 44th on the national standardized college entrance exam.
If being ranked 8th by Education Week means anything it means this: we need to go back to school.
So the next time you hear Governor Crist brag about how wonderful Florida schools are, ask him how many of our kids actually graduate and can read their diploma if they do.
Senator from the Tea Party?
I saw Marco Rubio in Tampa late last week. He addressed a crowd in Brandon and talked about his view of the “Tea Party” movement. A week ago the New York Times magazine called Marco the “first senator from the Tea Party.” There has been discussion in GOP circles about whether or not this badge hurts Rubio.
Rubio answered the question head-on by declaring, “Being the ‘first senator’ from the Tea Party is not a smear.” He went on to say, “Tea Party people are just everyday folks — they’re not political activists. They are believers. The media doesn’t get it. A year ago [the media] was saying the Republicans will be more successful when they act like Democrats.”
Certainly the Tea Party movement has its problems. Specifically an image problem with the few wing-nuts who show up at their events with inappropriate signs. But anyone who has ever attended a political rally from either major party knows whack-jobs exist in both of their ranks.
It was assuring to see candidate Rubio not only acknowledge, but embrace the Tea Party activists and their support of his candidacy. Of course we wouldn’t be having the discussion about Tea Parties because there wouldn’t be a Tea Party movement if the Republican Party had never started acting like Democrats under George W. Bush in the first place. We lost our way on spending, ethics, personal responsibility, and credibility. That’s why we lost. And that is why we will continue to lose elections until we steer a course that looks toward the future and not just the next election.
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of www.IrreverentView.com. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, Front Page Florida, and National Review online. E-mail him at: Chris@411Communications.com.