Thursday, November 8, 2012

Post-election day panel

Moderated by Jim Braude; panelists are Michael Jonas of CommonWealth magazine, Jennifer Braceras a  (conservative) commentator and political columnist, and Robert Haynes, president emeritus MA AFL-CIO
Notes going up at the end...everyone's talking too fast to post as we go! Sorry for any typos; I'll clean it up later.

Braude: (quoting, I think, Lily Tomlin?) "no matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up..."
Koocher (MASC Executive Director) asked him for his "political expertise" and Braude reviews all the places he's been wrong over the past several months
predicted that the second that the results were certified and Obama was re-elected, that Chris Christie would go in the witness protection program
"If the GOP doesn't change, it's going to be RIP..."
"Ads were exercises in dishonesty"
Debates similar...his co-host suggested wiring candidates up with lie detectors that shock them when they lie
"the only reason we have elections is to see if the polls are right"
49 out of 49 states correctly called by realclearpolitics
ban all polling 60 days previous to elections so commentators will talk about something else
"if you're undecided with a week to go, you should not be allowed to vote...(on these TV programs) if you say you're decided, you're voted off the island"
"A Mad Men party in a Modern Family America" GOP
Citzens United: disaster or not?
The president talks to only his wife and Valerie Jarrett; "that ain't workin'" Learn from Christie and his boldness in changing
Supreme Court appointees are really important
Clarence Thomas can serve through ten presidents ('without speaking, which is a whole other issue'); people have to take that seriously
CommonWealth magazine: "doomed to fail, as it has this crazy idea that the facts matter in politics"

Braude asks Braceras: what was Obama's mandate?
questions the hypothetical: doesn't believe in mandates unless the challenger is beating an incumbent
in most cases it comes down to personality
"a lot of people vote for the person not the party...people like Barack Obama, they like his family...didn't connect with Mitt Romney"
Haynes:" if you know Mitt Romney, you don't like Mitt Romney"
Braude "He lost, you know, Bob"
Haynes: cooperation, collaboration, compromise...act like government officials and govern
Braude: agree that people are fed up with gridlock..."as a result they sent back the same people to Washington"
Do we think they'll operate differently?
Jonas notes that McConnell's playbook has failed...we'll see if that lasts
"a vote for...reason or's not just the 21st felt at point as if they (GOP) had slept through the Enlightenment"
not an embrace of big government liberalism
Braude: is there a feeling that people want outcomes?
Braceras: depending on the issue. Want the economy to grow. Government less involved.
Braude: $10 in service cuts for $1 increase in taxes on the wealthy; would they take that deal?
Braceras: depends on who's wealthy...thinks over a million dollars in income
says that $250,000 can include teachers and police officers in a two income family (to disbelief from the crowd...this is the group that approves teachers contracts, remember. They are well aware of how much teachers do--and don't--make.)
GOP: party of fiscal responsibility...Dems in Alice in Wonderland
Braude: how about on the social side? Need to change
Braceras: No, 50% of women are pro-life...outliers saying unreasonable things...but concern about violations of religious conscience
Abortion: not banned, but not on demand...Dems..far to the left of that (much disbelief again from the crowd here)
Braude: "This is the longest period of time that Bob has ever controlled himmself..."
Haynes: "polarization is incredible"
Obama won because of how brave he was in dealing with issues
cites stats on the dropping numbers of white voters in each presidential election
Braceras: Dems "have one thing right...immigration issue"
thinks Romney running to right of Perry on immigration may have lost him the general
Braude asks Haynes if AFL-CIO endorsed a Republican: he says yes, Scott Brown was endorsed once as a state senator
Braude: extending tax cuts for the wealthy; Obama has done it twice, why will he not do it this time?
Haynes: not confident, HOPEFUL
message from public "is we expect them to govern"
Jonas is asked if that was message? In large part. Electorate wants to see something happen
Obama has a lot more leverage this time; question is if he'll use it
Patrick kept saying "grow a spine"
Braude: polls don't require any work...beyond that, how do we do?
Jonas; feels mindspan of 30 seconds...very little on issues
Braude asks Braceras about bias in upfront about bias, everyone has one...don't think conservatives have to worry so much anymore about being heard
Jonas: mainstream media has no idea how to keep people honest
There are times when the evidence tells you that one side is better on the facts
"isn't the Boston Globe a fact-checking organization?"
Braude: problem with media isn't bias so much as pack-mentality
"it was like Abraham Lincoln had debated a four year old..." in next day's coverage of the first debate; in the final one, Romney was being prudent in not going on the attack
"they're waiting for one person to opine on something and then we're all going to say the same thing"
Jonas: "all turns on the theater of it"
Braude: how did the media handle the campaign (to Haynes)?
Haynes: debate format is awful. "Spend time not answering the question asked"
"doesn't serve the public's purpose"
"moderator as asleep as the president was" in the first debate
Braceras: Warren/Brown debates were better than presidential debates
Braude: miminal amount on education
only Nixon could go to there an argument there?
(he cites here charter schools, taking on unions, and a bunch of things that I think he's wrong on, taking on more traditionally GOP positions...)
Braceras "that's what I'm hoping"
thinks Obama is "quite a committed leftist"
but that Hillary Clinton could it (to applause)
Braude comments that Clinton is ahead in a poll that came out today on 2016
Haynes cites MTA President Paul Toner as "knowing it's all about kids"
much praise here for Toner as progressive, bright, doing a great job...not sure his own union thinks this, BTW
Braude asks for a show of hands on if we think teachers unions want to be part of collaboration: more than half go up
How does media ensure that they bring things up that need to be brought up?
Jonas says "read CommonWealth magazine"
need for change in direction, not changing that quickly
Duncan had said he was willing to sign up for second term: unions pushed more into corner or pulled along
call for change equally going out to school administration and school committees
particularly in urban here of the Lawrence takeover by the state
"more legislation to increase charters...and more sweeping powers to outside authority"
oh super
Holyoke, Springfield, "marginally doing better" than Lawrence
Braude: citing Brown and Tisei as GOP models: if they can't win, why should anyone think that Republicans can win?
Braceras says people should register as conservative Democrats
one party rule not a good thing
Haynes says that Massachusetts is more enlightened than other states
Brown ran as moderate, runs through numbers on working families legislation which he's not (17%)...but no one said that
Braceras: "Scott Brown couldn't be more of feminist if he tried"
(to disbelief)
Braude: trust in government...if people don't worry about their jobs on Beacon Hill, don't you think they just wait for a call from the Speaker?
Haynes: legislators just follow them like lemmings over the cliff
Braude: if there were more GOP, wouldn't that be different? Haynes agrees
"no competition to me is the seed of ..."
Braceras: "it's bad in Texas for there to be only Republicans"
Jonas: "more hope in Legislature" than nationwide...but some Tea Party hard-right knocked out this week
Braude cites the 101 GOP candidates recruited by Romney to run across the state when he was Governor, all of whom lost
Haynes: "Best term limit that there is is to vote the person out of office"
Braude: talking personality..."I want your complete irresponsible speculation" on two years out
Braceras thinks Patrick is on the Supreme Court...Haynes thinks he's in DC
Kerry: Secretary of State?: yes (both Braceras and Haynes, Jonas not sure)
Brown: Haynes thinks he runs for Kerry's seat, wouldn't count out governor
Braceras: NECN...could be governor
Jonas: governor is better bet..."not dragged down by Todd Akin and other lunatics"
also comments that governor's office is weak in Massachusetts
Braude thinks that the next governor is Charlie Baker
Questions from the audience
what about California primary open to all vote getters? Non-parisan
Braceras would support it
Jonas: the right medicine for the state...Louisiana may have a hybrid
Haynes: "I think the party a good label...good to get that side by side comparison"
Braceras: "I don't think in this state party affiliations means that much...we have that many independents"
Haynes: lots of union members are independent...a little bit more Democratic than the state...membership of AFL-CIO and MTA close to reflection of state
"we have a lot of white guys.."
Question about disrespect for presidency: thoughts?
Braceras: the party that feels voiceless can get ugly
comments that it was no worse than under Bush (again, to disbelief of crowd, some comments that this was racism)
wrote an article to her children about respecting the office and respecting his family
Braude comments that he wishes she were Donald Trump's mother
Haynes: speech on race question and religion question in 2008
"got about a half a dozen standing ovations by confronting the race question directly"
race thing "doesn't work in this country"
Braceras: children not taught about democracy and the civic process
"we can't talk about that; it's too political" when she asked what her kids' schools were doing about the election
Jonas: "hope springs eternal...but it's hard to know"
"you'd like to hope that some of the edge goes that way on the race thing"
one white Democratic member of the House in the deep South
8-9% of white voters in Mississippi voting for Obama
"a lot of it will depend on if the Republican party is able to branch out"
partisan divide has a racial component
Braude: best way for people to affect the press, public policy, Beacon Hill?
Jonas: people are under the illusion that these people are unreachable...we love to get calls from people, and you'd be shocked at how seldom we hear from people
"Single best way to get attention to write a physical letter...they get no mail up there"
Braude: "if you get a call from someone who has crafted a story that has an angle"
Haynes: failure of Romney, didn't collaborate
advises Obama to have the GOP leadership to the White House for dinner

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