I had been wondering whether any New England state might take the prize for highest-in-the-nation percentage vote for Obama (not including DC). In 2004, we swept the medals; Massachusetts had the highest percentage for John Kerry, followed by Rhode Island and Vermont -- but that was with home-field advantage. I thought maybe Rhode Island might take the prize this time, although I suspected heavy competition from Illinois, Hawaii, and Delaware -- 2004's #6 and #9 for Kerry respectively, but now with major Obama/Biden ties.
Yeah, this doesn't look so good for Speaker Sal. As with the stuff that's come before, it's not DiMasi actually pushing Cognos in his own words, but shows that others along the line certainly had the impression that Sal wanted the contract to go to Cognos, and was using pressure and promises -- real or implied -- to make it happen.
In case you missed it, the Baby Boomers have been busy solidifying their hold on the US House and Senate.
Of the 21 new Senators elected since 2006 (16 Dems, 5 Republicans), 15 were born between 1950 and 1960; the other six were born in the '40s: three post-war boomers, and three war-time children. The three other potential new Senators, in races not yet determined, are all Boomerish: Mark Begich of Alaska, born 1962; Al Franken of Minnesota, born 1951; and Jim Martin of Georgia, born 1945.
You know of rumors that Sen. John Kerry could be Secretary of State; you know that former Harvard President Larry Summers might be Treasury Secretary. There are lots and lots of other Bay Staters supposedly in the mix for Cabinet posts. Most will turn out to be totally bogus (more interesting will be the mid-level appointments, and the regional offices for HUD, HHS, and Labor), but we should revel in the rumors while we can.
In today's Globe there's a must-read piece of political humor -- unintentionally so -- penned by long-time Romney spokesperson Eric Fehrnstom. In this op-ed, Fehrns the philosoph muses on the difficulties of running a national campaign in the new digital age.
His main lament is that, unlike the more responsible traditional media, these Internets make people believe untrue things.
Today Robert Byrd announced that he will indeed resign as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, as I suggested yesterday; he will be succeeded by the relatively youthful Daniel Inouye, a mere 84 years old.
That takes Inouye off the chair of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Next in line for that is Byrd's fellow West Virginian John Rockefeller -- a pup at age 71 -- who won't be able to treat Mountaineers quite as lavishly as Byrd has done at Appropriations, but Commerce Chair is still a pretty good gig for someone who wants to use it.
Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd has decided to keep his chairmanship of the Banking Committee, rather than take the helm of the prestigious Foreign Relations Committee, where he is next in the seniority line behind Joe Biden. Dodd announced his decision today at a press conference today, where he also outlined his plans for the Banking Committee in the coming session.
In my recent article about the future of the Republican Party, I suggested that, rather than moving toward moderation, the GOP is likely to push harder toward hard-line conservative ideological rigor. Certainly that has been the overwhelming advice coming from conservative talk radio and blog sites -- but, as I suspected, it is also coming from the party's leaders.
A few years ago,the GOP had 228 representatives in the US House. This coming January, if current projections hold up, the party will have 178, including 155 returning and 23 freshmen (mostly replacing retiring Republicans). That's a huge drop.
The losses have not been taken evenly across the party. I've broken down the country into six zones -- you can argue and tinker with my geographical distinctions, but I think the broad ideas show through pretty powerfully.
We confirmed that the state Republican Party should not be taken seriously as a major political party. Earlier this year, when people like me mocked their anemic candidate recruitment -- they couldn't even make a serious play for open seats in winnable districts -- they assured us that they had "quality over quantity."
I thought John McCain's speech was exceptionally gracious. I thought Barack Obama's speech was very good. I thought the moment was phenomenal. I'm not sure what happens when the actual governing starts, but for a moment -- notably, in the midst of a multi-year ebb in the national self-esteem -- it was nice to feel good about ourselves.
Since we learned the nominees, I have said that Obama would win "comfortably" over McCain. But two months ago -- on the heels of the Palin pick -- I upped my prediction to a blowout in which Obama would win 35 states. I have repeated that prediction steadfastly.
It is not to be -- just the "comfortable" win.
Obama has, at this hour, won all 20 states that John Kerry won (including DC), plus seven: Ohio, Iowa, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico.
After the remarkable 2006 elections, the only Republican US Representative left in New England was Christopher Shays, all the way down in the southwest corner of Connecticut. Well, he's gone now, too. The Hartford Courant reports that Shays has conceded defeat. Meanwhile, both New Hampshire freshmen appear to have kept their seats, and the Democrats held onto Tom Allen's seat in Maine.
All 11 Massachusetts District Attorneys, and Attorney General Martha Coakley, came out against the ballot initiative to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. They ranted and raved about the evil it would do.
So it's a pretty major embarrassment for them that the citizens of the commonwealth passed the measure today, apparently by a very wide margin.
It can now be said that Sara Orozco is no Angus McQuilken. Gamely though she tried, Orozco seems to have come up short in her bid to unseat state senator Scott Brown. I knew it looked bad when I saw that they split Wellesley almost 50-50; that's one of the towns where Orozco needed to pile up votes to offset Brown's numbers in the southern part of the district.