Back to the Future

November 9, 2014

dianne-feinstein-gunOvercast and chilly this early Sunday on California’s north coast — weather here all depends on the wind.

Apparently, the weather of politics, too.
In the tsunami off the Tuesday quake, I spied this poll survey in the LA Times yesterday, which revealed in the current wind direction/velocity, our two US senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, shouldn’t seek re-election.

People like them, but still…

(Illustration: Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, circa 14 years ago, found here).

According to the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll:

As analysts speculate about whether the Democratic stalwarts will seek additional six-year terms in coming years, 59 percent of registered voters said the state would be better off with new candidates for the two seats.
That sentiment was expressed by 79 percent of Republicans.
But even many Democrats said it was time for new representation.
Forty-four percent of Democratic respondents preferred new candidates, compared with 43 percent who said Boxer and Feinstein should run again.

Pollsters cautioned that the findings were not a reflection of any vulnerability for either official, but rather a manifestation of voters’ frustration over gridlock in the nation’s capital.
“Both Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer can get reelected senator in California for as long as they want,” said poll director Dan Schnur, head of USC’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics.
“No Republican is going to beat them, and no plausible Democrat is going to be foolish enough to run against them.
“What these numbers reflect,” he said, “is general restlessness in an electorate and dissatisfaction with the way politics is practiced in Washington, D.C.”

They want everybody out, if they could, but really don’t know with who, but on the Left Coast, and with Boxer and Feinstein, it’s still all the color blue:

“I think they’re old,” said Rich Mettling, a 67-year-old retired regulatory analyst with Southern California Edison and a registered Democrat.
“I’d like to see some fresh senatorial blood.”
“They don’t even sound like they’re engaged sometimes,” he said.
But Mettling, who lives in Burbank, added that he would never vote for a Republican to replace either Feinstein, 81, or Boxer, 73.

Now the people really want change, but hope eludes.

Indeed they’re old, but not just in age. Boxer has been in DC since 1983, first in the House, then the Senate a decade later, and Feinstein’s been a senator for 22 years, and before that, 10 years as mayor of San Francisco — both long in political tooth for an environment of ‘throw the bums out.’
I’ve sort of always liked both, though, Feinstein has taken on a way-negative light in the Eddie Snowden/NSA adventure, and she acts like a bumpkin. Career politicians, both. End of summation.
Boxer goes to the polls in 2016, Feinstein, two years later — what kind of weird, freaked-out place will we be by then?

In one scenario, the GOP goes internally nuts. On Friday, political historians/commentators Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein at the Washington Post looked at the self-centered, bat-shit innards of a fractured institution:

Welcome to the 114th Congress, in which the warfare within the GOP will only be amplified by the party’s new power.
The pragmatic desire of mainstream Republicans to transcend their “party of no” label and show that they can actually govern will clash with the forces that continue to pull the GOP to the right and oppose anything the president does.
This fight within the party will define the new Congress nearly as much as the battles with a Democratic president.
During the 2014 cycle, Republicans ran disciplined campaigns for the Senate — there were no candidates along the lines of Todd Akin or Sharron Angle to sabotage the party’s larger ambitions — but a disciplined anti-Obama message hardly means that the GOP establishment has beaten back the insurgency.
McConnell and his fellow candidates talked after their victory about coming together to govern, but they’re also on record pushing to repeal Obamacare and roll back other core Obama policies.
If anything, the breadth and depth of the Republican victory will convince the party base — and the conservative activists, talk-radio hosts and bloggers animating it — that the obstruction of the past several years worked beautifully, that they have the power and the mandate to push radical anti-government policies, and that any compromise would be abandonment and betrayal.

There are things the new Republican Congress will be able to do: block most of Obama’s judicial nominations and many key executive ones, hold countless hearings to investigate scandals real and imagined, harass Obama officials by demanding that they testify repeatedly, and issuing subpoenas for documents and records that will tie up the White House counsel’s office.

Of course, the conservative base wants more than that.
Activists want to reverse or eviscerate Obama’s accomplishments, from health-care reform to financial regulation — in other words, not just flesh wounds but fatal blows to the president’s legacy.
The only real way to do that is through the power of the purse.

A description for disaster — hard-case, hard-core and bat-shit crazy.

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