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Are runoffs necessary?

Voters going to the polls in two states today -- North and South Carolina -- are casting ballots for the second time in as many months in elections where turnout is estimated to fall somewhere between a dismal 2 to 17 percent.

The dismal turnout projections coupled with the heavy costs of holding an election in a time of genuine economic difficulty in many states raise a simple question: Have runoffs outlived their usefulness?

Runoffs have long been a feature unique to the South, where nine states continue to use them: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and South Carolina. Eight of the states have automatic runoffs if a candidate does not surpass 50 percent in the primary; in North Carolina, the threshold is 40 percent. (In 2005, Florida became the first Southern state to eliminate runoffs after the state Legislature voted to make permanent a 2002 temporary ban on them.)

The argument for runoffs is relatively straightforward: they require candidates to win the support of a majority of voters, ensuring that a party's eventual nominee reflects the choice of most voters. Proponents of runoffs also argue that by setting a high threshold, runoffs also prevent extremist candidates with small but loyal voting bases from winning.

Runoff opponents note that in addition to being expensive, low-turnout affairs, they force candidates to expend time and resources on an extended intra-party fight instead of turning their attention to the general election.

At the heart of the runoff debate is the issue of race -- and whether runoffs either did (or still do) make it more difficult for black candidates to win.

During his 1984 presidential bid, for instance, Jesse Jackson made the elimination of runoffs a central theme of his campaign; even after losing his bid for the Democratic nomination, Jackson continued to pressure nominee Walter Mondale to oppose runoffs, which Jackson said effectively prevented blacks from winning in the South.

There are opposing views, however, on the relationship between race and runoffs.

While many observers believe that runoffs first came about as an effort by white Democrats to disenfranchise black voters in the South, that's not the case, according to Merle Black, an expert on Southern politics and professor at Emory University.

Black notes that most Southern states adopted runoffs during the early 20th century, at a time when black voters had already been excluded from voting. The Democratic Party had moved from using a convention system to a primary system in order to allow for more Democrats to take part in elections, Black said, but they soon found that candidates could win the nomination with a relatively low share of the vote -- leading to the institution of runoffs.

"By the time runoffs came into existence, African Americans weren't voting," Black said, adding that the Democratic Party "was a whites-only party" and that the purpose of primaries was "to allow larger numbers of whites to express their will." Now, Black noted, African Americans actually comprise a majority of the Democratic primary electorate in South Carolina.

"The runoff, by itself, doesn't discriminate by race; it favors the candidate who represents the groups who are largest in the electorate of the time," Black said.

Charles Bullock, a runoff expert and political science professor at the University of Georgia, also points out several cases in which runoffs have actually aided African-American candidates: runoffs were key to the victories of Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) in 1986 and Reps. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) and Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) in 1992, Bullock said.

That list is likely to grow today as black state Rep. Tim Scott is strongly favored over former U.S. Attorney Paul Thurmond, the son of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, who is white.

In North Carolina, where 2 percent of voters are expected to show up to the polls to choose a Democratic Senate nominee and a Republican candidate to challenge freshman Rep. Larry Kissell (D), efforts at electoral reform are being made.

Bob Hall, the executive director of the non-profit Democracy North Carolina, argues that instant runoff voting -- in which voters rank their choices for office ---may be a better alternative to runoffs. Hall's organization has been involved in encouraging the state's general assembly to pass a pilot project that would allow cities to use instant runoff voting in their local elections.

"It is more expensive for the candidates and the voters and the taxpayers to hold two elections when one could accomplish basically the same thing," Hall said, adding that "in the Southern states, coming out of a one-party history, it is something that be looked at again."

But instant runoff voting itself is controversial -- and has its own opponents.

Joyce McCloy, director of the North Carolina Coalition for Verified Voting, says that instant runoff voting would be expensive, overly complicated and would create another problem rather than present a solution to runoffs.

McCloy added that the only way that there will be any major changes in the current runoff system is if voters in the state begin to complain about it -- and that's yet to happen. "Apparently, the political parties must not object too much," McCloy said. "If there's no outcry from the participants -- which are the voters and the politicians -- then the legislature's not going to act."

-- Felicia Sonmez

By The Fix  |  June 22, 2010; 1:56 PM ET
Categories:  Governors , Senate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Primary/Runoff Day in Utah, South and North Carolina: What to Watch For
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Comments

margaretmeyers,

Those episodes with Nikki Haley were really weird and frankly uncalled for.

Why does SC need to try so hard to be noticed? Everyone can't FLA.

Mark Sanford did his very best to make SC memorable and that should have been enough sexy time for a proudly religious state.

Bob

Posted by: BobSanderson | June 23, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

12bar and bondosan, that is absolutely just my take on it. I'm not a blogger with inside information on this. Folk comes off as whipped by his Faith, by his wife (I mislead her about my unmarried life)and by his attraction to Haley (look at my phone bills!). His statement was so full of guilt.
The second guy offered up nothing but a yelping "I was there, too!" before he vanished.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 23, 2010 6:13 AM | Report abuse

@bob,

I do not know the technical answer, but common sense says that AT A MINIMUM, the industry has to warrant that the BOP is reliable. Doesn't mean that it is, or that we should agree it is acceptable, but they at least have to warrant that it is so.

Right now, we have the crummy situation where we all know it isn't reliable, and there isn't another. Maybe relief wells are a mitigating factor, and Tony Hayward said that is one of the options. There might be other compensating procedures. I don't know what is enough, but I sure know what isn't enough.

There needs to be a consensus between the industry and the government (representing us) that there are adequate safety precautions, whatever they are.

Just throwing caution to the wind is just irresponsible. But we may be stuck with it, if the moratorium is overturned.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

It is primarily an engineering problem but we may need to recognize that the technology may not exist for this type of drilling. We always assume there is a solution at hand and that technology will fix anything. We could be wrong to assume that in this case.

Some catastrophes are beyond human control and management. Global warming falls squarely in this area.

Is that particular source of oil that valuable to our nation to risk the entire gulf ecosystem when we are really running a scientific experiment but calling it a viable business?

The answer to this question needs to be answered before we start new drilling in these deep waters. The situation may be different closer to land but I know very little about that.

Posted by: BobSanderson | June 22, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

@bobsanderson,

I hope this moratorium business is settled on the merits of the exploration risk, and not on other issues like the judge's stock holdings.

It all might be moot anyway. If the driller won't warrant the effectiveness of the BOP, I wonder how or why a permit would be issued.

This isn't a political issue. It's an engineering problem.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

12BarBlues,

Agreed.

If the worst environmental disaster in our nation's history can be forgotten, while it is still going on, with no lessons learned then there is no hope for our nation and its environment.

Patriotism should not be reserved only for supporting our military but should be collectively applied when strengthening the values that keep America the Beautiful worth protecting. These values are the building blocks for the society that we and the world can respect.

There are now decades of bad policy in place throughout our government that was guided blindly by deregulation. This focused and misguided effort affects all aspects of our collective lives and we are not even aware what protections have been removed or totally compromised.

What kind of patriotism got us to this point?

Posted by: BobSanderson | June 22, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

@mm,

I was wondering if you were operating on a hunch, and I see you are. You could be right.
Well, Haley just won, so we'll be hearing a lot more from and about her.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

This bears repeating. From dottydo:

Obama clearly doesn't mind a World with a few US Soldiers bodies laying around on Foreign soil, for no reason.
It does seem to bother the General a great deal when an American soldiers life is wasted by an NPD Sociopathic dual profile nit wit runbning a quagmire while letting the real defense of the USA slide.
----------------------------------------
I ask you--can anyone understand this? I mean the words are English (most of them), but there is something done with the grammar that I've never seen before.

Bwahahaha!!

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

12bar@3:55, I find most women who are married, raising children, running a household and are ambitious in their work don't have time for affairs. It took me 5 hours to respond to your post!

I know I'm generalising from the specific and maybe I'm too old to have the right perspective. I see work affairs as something a younger, childless woman can get into. Not saying it wouldn't happen, but it would be an unusually discontented woman who would carve away at time with her children to jump on a co-worker. I don't think they did the deed -- I think he became very attached to her during the campaign, they talked a lot, and he has given what happened meaning she hasn't.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 22, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Boy, that Diehl thread is active. Even dottydo is over there posting something so incomprehensible I can't even describe it. I would say 95% of the responses are "fire McChrystal" and then there's dottydo.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Stop trying to make sene of 37th, that's just foolish. You're looking for faces in clouds. The guy is severely deteriorated from all the speed he does to stay awake. He keeps completely irregular hours, he thinks there's an organized conspiracy to silence him. It's called amphetamine psychosis and it's not rational.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 22, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

@Bob,

Some people are so blinded by partisanship they truly can't connect all the dots, and figure out what a reasonable approach is. 37th is so fixated on blaming Obama and making him look bad that lifting the moratorium is just another way to make the WH look bad. As he writes: "our side won".

Whatever "our side" is. The side I would hope we are all on is the side of safety. At least enough safety that the industry buys into the concept. We don't even have that now.

When the CEO of BP says the BOP needs a redesign, we're going to just ignore him, and go ahead? Because, well, "our side won".

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

37thand0street is that the only answer you can come up with after all your constant and annoying MMS postings?

How many times did you unreasonablely insist it was MMS's sole responsibility and of course Obama (must resign!), as lead inspector, and not mainly BP's for the disaster? Even you didn't keep track how many times you spammed everyone here - substituting quantity for quality of reasoning. Why do you even wonder why there is support to ban you?


Now, as if you hadn't been a raving loon for weeks, you switch to Drill, Baby Drill and don't care if any of the past inspections were done right by the same people or whether the standards and equipment the drillers used or will use for new wells are safe.

How does make any sense? That is your form of patriotism and protecting America?

That is simply called magical thinking. It is somewhat appropriate in this instance because the Macondo well was named after a town in the book 100 Years of Solitude, perhaps the finest work in magical realism.

That was a great novel that used a writing technique but you are tool that has fooled himself using magical thinking.

Posted by: BobSanderson | June 22, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Did you people know that when the riser was cut from the BOP, that there were two drill pipes inside the riser? No one expected to see that. That's one reason why the BOP failed, and that needs to be understood.

Some of the esoteric details about this blowout that I read about on techie blog: http://www.flickr.com/photos/uscgd8/4551846015/page39/

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

If the WH loses the moratorium, we'll all just have to live with the risk. Hopefully, there aren't that many BOP's already down there.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I suspect when the moratorium was enacted, they shortcutted the justification. On the appeal, there will be justification, that's for sure. For gawd's sake, the failed BOP is still 5000 feet down, hasn't even been brought to the surface yet for analysis. While the BOP isn't the cause of the blowout, it certainly should give anyone cause to rethink drilling more exploratory wells using the same BOP technology.

BTW, the news has it there will be an appeal.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Duly elected or not, McChrystal actually violated the letter of th UCMJ with his statements and can be court martialed.

BTW, I never felt I have to disagree with anyone about everything however vehementlyni disagree on somethings. That would be infantile.

Glue sniffer? I don't smoke, drink, or dope, not even pot. The only one here I'm certain is a doper is 37th.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 22, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

BobSanderson


There is no doubt you are a fool and irresponsible with your country.

The only way you could possibly improve the country is if you left.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 22, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Judge Feldman, who blocked the moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf, owns massive holdings in energy companies.

Developing .. don't count your chickens just yet, goobers.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 22, 2010 7:24 PM
-------

One time when leichtman1's expertise is needed and he's AWOL. What's the makeup of the 5th circuit court of appeals, and how likely is Obama to prevail? This judge may have just taken him off the hook if the decision stands.

Posted by: Brigade | June 22, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

The escrow fund covers loss of income, so BP is going to have to cover these people. The drilling industry needs to commit to a BOP they believe in. It's their responsibility, and they need to do it. It shouldn't be the American people who commit to the BOP. Just blasting ahead when the industry says "it's not safe" is stuuuuuuuuuuuuupid.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

McChrystal not only acted with impropriety in getting into politics while on active duty, he gave aid and comfort to the enemy by airing policy differences, and he should be relieved of command and given a desk behind a filing cabinet and next to a men's room.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 22, 2010 5:39 PM
------

I hate to agree with a glue sniffer, but Noacoler is about right. Obama was duly elected and cannot stand for this sort of insubordination. We can make fun of him, but his generals cannot.

Posted by: Brigade | June 22, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

When the moratorium was enacted, less was known about the blowout than we know now. What we've learned since does not support lifting the moratorium. Somehow we need to negotiate the balance between putting people back to work, which of course is desirable, and being responsible about exploration.

We can't just throw up our hands and say "what the hell...let's just drill and hope nothing else happens."

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Judge Feldman, who blocked the moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf, owns massive holdings in energy companies.

Developing .. don't count your chickens just yet, goobers.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 22, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

37thand0street

Yes! Magical thinking can be fun since there are only 36,000 off shore wells to inspect and make sure they are safe and up to your high standards. Of course! Let the drilling begin as if we learned nothing!

DRILL BABY DRILL

Posted by: BobSanderson | June 22, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

BobSanderson at 6:51


You post at 6:51 does not make sense

I am in favor of ending the moratorium and PUTTING EVERYONE BACK TO WORK.


Apparently Obama thinks in the middle of a crisis, the best thing he can do IS THROW MORE PEOPLE OUT OF WORK.

Obama is still responsible for the leak - and the LACK OF PROPER SAFETY INSPECTIONS.

I don't believe the Judge was ruling on that issue -

Our side won. (because you don't seem to realize that)

.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 22, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

I feel very sad for the Gulf to have to endure the oil and then the moratorium too. But, I am struck by Tony Hayward's admission that the BOP is inadequate. Marcia Blackburn pointed out in the hearings that there are several wellhead blowups each year, so this isn't the one in a million accident.

It seems to me that exploration with these BOP's may be more risk than we should be taking.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

12Bar


Norway requires all drillers to - at the same time - drill a relief well.


So that has to be done now.

There are a bunch of other SAFETY PROCEDURES which should be followed - which are already on the books. OBAMA'S APPOINTEES HAVE TO NOW MAKE SURE THE SAFETY INSPECTIONS ARE DONE CORRECTLY.

That should solve the problem

Everyone can go back to work - SO NOW THAT THE JUDGE JUST PUT 20,000 PEOPLE BACK TO WORK, OBAMA IS APPEALING TO THROW THEM OUT OF WORK AGAIN ?

Is that correct ?


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 22, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Now, Tony Hayword is now openly acknowledging, the BOP technology needs complete redesign.

correction

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Might I emphasis this sentence from Tony Hayward:

"We will participate in industry-wide efforts to improve the safety and reliability of subsea blowout preventers "

Note--all the drillers are using the same technology. All the drillers have considered the BOP to be the final failsafe. Now, Tony Hayword is not openly acknowledging, the BOP technology needs complete redesign.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

This whole thing with General McChrystal


is silly


but clearly - Obama is more upset because Obama decided to target young people for the midterm elections -


And Rolling Stone has a demographic with young people.


So for Obama it is all about the midterms - not Afghan policy.

OH MY - the General told the truth about Obama - TO THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF THE NATION.

SORRY OBAMA - YOUR PLAN TO CONTINUE FOOLING THE YOUNG PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY ISN'T WORKING.


EITHER.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 22, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

BP Oil Gusher:

According to the written remarks submitted in advance and his spoken testimony, Tony Hayword, CEO, said:

Second Lesson

"Based on what happened on April 20, we now know we need better safety technology. We in the industry have long relied on the blowout preventer as the principal piece of safety equipment. Yet, on this occasion it apparently failed, with disastrous consequences. We must use this incident as a case study to avoid a similar failure in the future.
Since the April 20 explosion and fire, BP has been carefully evaluating the subsea blow-out preventers used in all our drilling operations worldwide, including the testing and maintenance procedures of the drilling contractors using the devices. We will participate in industry-wide efforts to improve the safety and reliability of subsea blowout preventers and deep water drilling practices. And we will work closely with other interested parties as we do so."

In his spoken testimony, he said straight out the BOP needs a complete redesign.
--------------------------------------

When he said that, then I personally felt the moratorium was probably needed. At least for exploratory wells.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

37thand0street READ AND WEEP:


------------------------------------------
"Are all airplanes a danger because one was? All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez? All trains? All mines? That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed, and rather overbearing." Federal Judge Feldman

WHO WOULD THINK THIS WAY?

Why, The "Wimps in the White House" OF COURSE! thecannula
------------------------------------------


After all your repetition about Obama and MMS being totally responsible for the spill because they didn't properly inpect the oil rigs how can thecannula not get it?

CAN"T HE READ OVER AND OVER AGAIN?

thecannula just doesn't understand that Obama has to almost personally inspect all 36,000 off shore wells to make sure they are safe. Right? Or else it will be his fault again! Right?

Rip thecannula a new one for not understanding what you have repeated over and over on how important the regulators are and how they need to take their jobs seriously. They may not have the staffing, budget, training or be the right choices after a decades of deregulation but it is their job and Obama's. Right?

Do you think 6 months is enough for the kind of work you want done? It is really only 36,000 rigs and there is nothing going on.

thecannula is almost as dense as Obama: use plenty of caps, blank spaces and outrage.

This one was truly made for a righteous rant!!!!!!!!!!!

GO FOR IT! 37thand0street BITE and BITE HARD!

Posted by: BobSanderson | June 22, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Well lookit what fell off the turnip truck .. why, it's dottydo, one of the stupidest and most cretinous mouthbreathers to ever pollute a blog.

As if things weren't smelly enough with the junkie.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 22, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

The ironic thing here is that California just decided to turn the general election into a runoff. The primary will be to narrow down the choice to the top two vote getters with candidates from all parties on the same ballot. The general election will then be held between those top two. The idea behind this is to push candidates from the two major parties toward the center instead of the extremes which the current system of partisan primaries is doing.

Posted by: ThomasFiore | June 22, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Few agree with you either.

Posted by: dottydo | June 22, 2010 6:40 PM
---------------------------------
You better not take a poll, if you believe that.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Is there any way to block certain commenters? This 37th guy spams all the comments sections with anti-Obama crap that has nothing to do with the actual article. It really diminishes the usefulness of the comments.

Posted by: ahduth

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Maybe you should join the military and learn why free speech is so precious a gift to the people in the USA.

No matter the content, it is better than you having the power to quash the dialogue of another.

Few agree with you either.

Posted by: dottydo | June 22, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Is there any way to block certain commenters? This 37th guy spams all the comments sections with anti-Obama crap that has nothing to do with the actual article. It really diminishes the usefulness of the comments.

Posted by: ahduth

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
You might consider joining the military and watching the reality of the right to speak freely in the USA no matter the content, in spite of you.

Posted by: dottydo | June 22, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

One soldier at the outpost showed Hastings, who was traveling with the general, a written directive instructing troops to "patrol only in areas that you are reasonably certain that you will not have to defend yourself with lethal force."

Posted by: 37thand0street


hmmm hmmm hmmm I was wondering why there are no troops on the dangerous border in Arizona.

Posted by: dottydo | June 22, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

"Are all airplanes a danger because one was? All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez? All trains? All mines? That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed, and rather overbearing." Federal Judge Feldman
--------------------------------------
Well, according to Tony Hayward, all BOP's need to be redesigned. Doesn't that sound like a problem?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

tahirn- McChrystal was hired after the Obama administration pushed out the previous General because McChrystal was felt by the Obama administration to be the only man for the job-

hey HISTORY BUFF- how did the Russians do against the mud hut dwellers?

Posted by: thecannula | June 22, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

37th,

I don't have to part of any secret group. I've told you before that I don't appreciate the way you spam the blog. There's no secret to that.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

37th,

This is about the 4th time you talked about an organized cabal. What the hell are you talking about? Wait, I know what you're talking about.

What the hell does it have to do with me? I told you before I'm not part of any group to harass you.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

We are unable to win a war with the poorest nation in the world and an enemy that has no tanks, no planes, no missiles, no uniforms for its soldiers, no nothing. They have no homes, no roads, live in caves and mud huts and grow opium. However it is all McCrystals fault.

Posted by: tahirn | June 22, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

"Are all airplanes a danger because one was? All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez? All trains? All mines? That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed, and rather overbearing." Federal Judge Feldman

WHO WOULD THINK THIS WAY?

Why, The "Wimps in the White House" OF COURSE!

Right General McChrystal?

Barack Obama- the W.I.C.-

How's Medicare Reimbursement going for you Obama?- 21% cut yesterday and until Congress gets its act together- pretty soon our parents won't be able to find a doctor!

But at least your securing the borders, No?

Is it November YET?

Posted by: thecannula | June 22, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

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See Facebook -- Vic Livingston, "Notes" section -- and read these exclusive articles by a veteran journalist:

http://nowpublic.com/world/u-s-silently-tortures-americans-cell-tower-microwaves
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NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | June 22, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

12bar


This isn't an "organized cabal"

either that - or someone is going cube to cube to try to harass certain posters.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 22, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

@noa,

Once again, you can slice and dice McCrystal, but, that issue will pass in a few days. I hear that McCrystal has submitted his resignation. With that on the table, what else is there to say?

The real news is about the moratorium on exploration in the Gulf. That story really has legs.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Is there any way to block certain commenters? This 37th guy spams all the comments sections with anti-Obama crap that has nothing to do with the actual article. It really diminishes the usefulness of the comments.

Posted by: ahduth | June 22, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Today, a federal judge overturned the moratorium on exploratory deep sea drilling. Tony Hayword said that that the Blow Off Preventer needs to be completely redesigned. He said that last week in his testimony, during the second hour, if I recall correctly.

Until he said that, I wasn't too sure whether the moratorium was really needed. But when Mr. "I don't recall" knows enough to say the BOP needs redesign, maybe we shouldn't be drilling new wells and putting the current BOP on top of the wellhead.

Marcia Blackburn, Republican, noted that there are several wellhead blowoffs per year. Sounds serious to me.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

McChrystal not only acted with impropriety in getting into politics while on active duty, he gave aid and comfort to the enemy by airing policy differences, and he should be relieved of command and given a desk behind a filing cabinet and next to a men's room.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 22, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

This whole thing with General McChrystal


is silly

but clearly - Obama is more upset because Obama decided to target young people for the midterm elections -

And Rolling Stone has a demographic with young people.


So for Obama it is all about the midterms - not Afghan policy.


OH MY - the General told the truth about Obama - TO THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF THE NATION.


SORRY OBAMA - YOUR PLAN TO CONTINUE FOOLING THE YOUNG PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY ISN'T WORKING.

EITHER.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 22, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Obama's Afghan policy is in complete disarray

Obama looks weak messing around with the General at this level.

Obama's war policy is the problem.

If Obama wants to create a "war" policy that does not AIM TO WIN - instead creates a Catch-22 quagmire - then the troops are not going to be happy.

Time for Obama to realize that he is the root of the problem.


___________________________________

McChrystal situation:


This is the Obama-Biden Doctrine:


One soldier at the outpost showed Hastings, who was traveling with the general, a written directive instructing troops to "patrol only in areas that you are reasonably certain that you will not have to defend yourself with lethal force."


.


.


Posted by: 37thand0street | June 22, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Obama "Recovery" Update

So, how is that awesome Obama Recovery going? Let's check in:

2010 just notched up its 83rd bank failure. This compares with 40 failures by this time in 2009.

And Fannie and Freddie are taking over foreclosed homes at the rate of one every 90 seconds. So far, taxpayers are on the hook for $150 Billion in bailouts to Fannie and Freddie, but the ultimate number is likely to be $400 Billion or more.

And Bammy's big mortgage bailout program? Unsurprisingly, another colossal FAIL. $75 Billion down the crapper just so those people who bought more house than they could afford could delay the inevitable a few months.

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 22, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"General McChrystal Speaks Truth to Power"

That's what the headline would read if McChrystal had been the Commander in Charge of Afghanistan operations under George W. Bush, and was on the record saying things like this:


McChrystal, the article reports, took control of the war, the article states, "by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House."

McChrystal also said the former community organizer was "unprepared" to be commander-in-chief of the military. Now, if he had served under Bush and echoed left-wing criticisms, he'd be a hero. But since McChrystal is instead serving under The Great Messiah of Hope and Change, the MFM are treating his complaints that the president is feckless and incompetent a little differently.

Remember, this is the guy Obama refused to meet with for over six months. But Bammy cleared his schedule to meet with a self-centered teenaged lesbian who became a progressive hero after getting her high school prom canceled.

Demonstrates this regime's priorities pretty clearly.

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 22, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

It's nice to see that the Judiciary (at least this one member of the Judiciary) is not completely beholden to The One and his progressive schemes, and actually understands the rule of law over thuggery.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal judge in New Orleans has blocked a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling projects that was imposed in response to the massive Gulf oil spill.
Several companies that ferry people and supplies and provide other services to offshore drilling rigs had asked U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans to overturn the moratorium.
President Barack Obama's administration has halted the approval of any new permits for deepwater drilling and suspended drilling at 33 exploratory wells in the Gulf.

Feldman says in his ruling that the Interior Department failed to provide adequate reasoning for the moratorium. He says it seems to assume that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger.

The domino effect of job losses from the misguided moratorium now at least has a fignting chance of being stopped. Due to this decision, it also seems a bit less likely that the McChrystal/Rolling Stone interview will sufficiently displace the Gulf story from the headlines. Judge Feldman has shone another light onto the incompetence and utter failure of this Man-child President who is incapable of understanding the first thing about managing a disaster, let alone understanding the subtleties of a massive segment of the American economy

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 22, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I bet there's a "smoking gun" on Nikki Haley that will be pulled out of its holster when the Republicans can no longer nominate somwone else.

Posted by: janswan | June 22, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

another day of utter failure from the Obungler admin.

1. judge says oil moratorium is stupid and overrules.

2. General says cowards are stupid and tells someone.

All points to incompetent and over his head berry floundering more, day by day.

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 22, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

llrllr, yours is possibly the most ignorant comment I have ever read anywhere. I'm surprised no one beat me to saying it. Get a dictionary and read the story.

Posted by: janswan | June 22, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I vote to eliminate runoffs, so I will never again hear a TV reporter say (as I did last week), referring to some 2 person runoff somewhere, that in order to advance to the general election from the runoff, one of the candidates had to get more than 50% of the vote.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | June 22, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

12BarBlues

So not only do you know there is an "organized cabal" - you have now joined it.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 22, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

yankeefan1925 at 4:22


We don't rule ourselves


You are right on that account.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 22, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Obama going off to smack down a General isn't going to change the fact that Obama's policies are leading to a horrible military situation in Afghanistan.


Obama's review of Afghan policy last year was a joke - and the resulting contradicting policy (Surge and pull-out) is the major problem.


Clearly Obama is incompetent and doesn't know what he is doing -


_______________________


McChrystal situation:


This is the Obama-Biden Doctrine:


One soldier at the outpost showed Hastings, who was traveling with the general, a written directive instructing troops to "patrol only in areas that you are reasonably certain that you will not have to defend yourself with lethal force."


.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 22, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Dear Sirs,
Remember the banner headline of DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN?
Doubtless, those special interests can hold "elections" at a fraction of the cost.
The first rule of business is to cut out the middleman.
We, the people, are the middlemen.
Do we rule ourselves or not?
Clifford Spencer

Posted by: yankeefan1925 | June 22, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Another good idea, also used in the Libertarian Party: Allow one more choice in every election: "None of the Above".

Posted by: RoyScherer | June 22, 2010 4:14 PM
--------------------------------------
What is the electoral purpose of this?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Noa

You have been banned 3 times

Why do you still pretend that your opinion counts for anything ????

It doesn't.

You are worthless.

Please move to a pinko country - where you will be branded a spy - and you will meet what you deserve: hanging upside down in a pit talking to another pinko who thought it was a good idea to go to Vietnam.

If we are all lucky here, broadwayjoe, leichtman and ddawd will all be with you -

and all of you far from a computer keyboard.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 22, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

What would replace run-offs? More court battles like Al Franken used to steal the election from the people? With the lack of trust that is growing between the people and the politicians and even the courts, I don't think eliminating run offs is in the best interest of the people.

Run offs in primaries serve a purpose - where the vote is too close to eliminate error, the election is held again. Those voters who care enough about the actual process and the result will get to those polls again - in other words, the informed voters will make the time to vote.

Personally, I think run offs should be held in ALL elections to eliminate the court battles in which the judge (or judges) decide for the people who the people voted for based upon which attorney fights the best legal fight and not the will of the people who voted and whose lives will be affected by that vote. Take Florida and the 2000 election - Gore did not want a state wide recount, he wanted only those democratic counties in which voter ignorance and ballot confusion caused a very close vote to be contested...add to that the fact that one news station called the race for Gore prematurely before the polls had closed in the panhandle causing voters to stay home. A new election - or a run off would have allowed the people to vote again - and it bears repeating, those folks who actually learn about the candidates before casting their vote would be the ones to turn out for that election....

Need another example...the Greene Guy in South Carolina.......where voters ignorance allowed a man who never campaigned to be elected simply based upon his name. That serves the people how?

Eliminating run offs only serves the politicians, it does not serve the people.

Posted by: LMW6 | June 22, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Instant Runoff Voting! An excellent idea, which would not only save huge amounts of money, but would allow people to express their ideals at the ballot box more honestly.

Another good idea, also used in the Libertarian Party: Allow one more choice in every election: "None of the Above".

Posted by: RoyScherer | June 22, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

mm wrote: I'm saying Folks feels very guilty about something that the rest of us might say BFD to.
-----------------------------------------
Something is definitely strange with Folks. People will deny affairs even if they are on video, and even if you are watching the video! You know "who're you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?".

Your theory is as good as any: Folks has an overdeveloped sense of conscience. Why are you leaning toward Haley being innocent?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Other systems such as alternate vote or single transferable vote both eliminate the need for a run-off and insure that the winning candidate has majority support. It makes too much sense to ever happen here.

Thanks for the article, CC.

Jake in 3D out

Posted by: JakeD3 | June 22, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Is Cillizza right, elections have outlived their usefullness? Certainly this can't be the voice of the Washington Post, or is this the way to keep Obama in office for another term, or two or three?

Posted by: llrllr | June 22, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

From the Diehl comments:

"your an idiot!

You take an oath to preserve, protect, defend and obey. There is no mock or discredit clause in that simple statement. You can disagree silently however you cross the line when you verbalize your disagreement or contempt, essentially you have violated the trust your superiors have given you. It's as simple as that. Although the Armed Forces of the United States defends liberty and democracy, the institution is NOT a democracy, its what separates us from the rest of you!"

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm saying Folks feels very guilty about something that the rest of us might say BFD to. And I think he felt it was his duty to warn us that she isn't the nice lady she seems to be. I think she probably is the nice lady she seems to be and was perhaps a little too close to an immature campaign worker.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 22, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

12Bar


I have tried to give you evidence on the other thread of the "organized cabal"

How do you like that evidence ?

.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 22, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

You might want to watch our mayor's race here in Oakland this year. We have always required a run-off unless a candidate got >50% (as in the last three elections), but this year we have instant run-off through ranked voting. One election in November only, but >50% is needed to win. Voters simply pick their 2nd and 3rd picks when they vote. It saves money and should force the candidates to avoid angering the supporters of weaker candidates and try to build broad support. Time will tell.

Posted by: hilltopper1 | June 22, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Chris and minions, would you guys please ban 37thandZero? He's trying to jam this place with triple-spaced unintelligible nonsense and there is not one poster here, not one, who values what he says. He takes up half the column in each thread with his formatting gimmicks and it's just the same posts over and over. Half the good contributors have given up in disgust. Get rid of this amphetamine junkey.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 22, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

McChrystal situation:


This is the Obama-Biden Doctrine:


One soldier at the outpost showed Hastings, who was traveling with the general, a written directive instructing troops to "patrol only in areas that you are reasonably certain that you will not have to defend yourself with lethal force."
________________________
you don't think for one minute that Obama dictated that, do you? McChrystal is getting touchy because HIS plan, executed by HIM, with all the men HE requested, ain't going so well.

Obama didn't tell McChrystal to make sure his men only patrolled where there was no reason to patrol, or we would have heard McChrystal leak that to Rolling Stone a long time ago. McChrystal owns that, just like he owns the rest of it. Not defending those who are carping at him, but they are just politicians outside the chain of command. McC reports to Obama, and McC got the keys from his boss and is now trying to blame dad because he drove the car in to a ditch.

Posted by: JoeT1 | June 22, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Obama going off to smack down a General isn't going to change the fact that Obama's policies are leading to a horrible military situation in Afghanistan.


Obama's review of Afghan policy last year was a joke - and the resulting contradicting policy (Surge and pull-out) is the major problem.


Clearly Obama is incompetent and doesn't know what he is doing -


_______________________


McChrystal situation:


This is the Obama-Biden Doctrine:


One soldier at the outpost showed Hastings, who was traveling with the general, a written directive instructing troops to "patrol only in areas that you are reasonably certain that you will not have to defend yourself with lethal force."


.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 22, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

12Bar, i think it was the second guy who convinced everyone that this was another SC political hatchet job -- not the other kind of h job.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 22, 2010 3:22 PM
--------------------------------
I think you are right. This is what I miss by not watching TV.

Are you saying, though, that the first guy's accusations might be sincere? Your opinion, not public opinion.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

12Bar, i think it was the second guy who convinced everyone that this was another SC political hatchet job -- not the other kind of h job.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 22, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Bondo -- to a Christian "the important stuff" is their spiritual honesty and well-being. He has wrecked his career.

Folks seemed to be experiencing a lot of difficulty at home (read his announcement) because of this and I think he thinks something happened and Haley does not. I'm thinking emotional infidelity with the physical part being nominal/equivical
enough that Haley can comfortably deny it.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 22, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

bondosan wrote: Check out Jon Stewart
----------------------------------
When I am reincarnated, please bring me back as Jon Stewart. He is seriously funny...

I don't know that Stewart debunked it, but he certainly makes you feel like a fool to believe it. Bwahahahaha!!!!!!!!!

Stewart may have never spent a night at the Ramada in SLC. I have. If it would happen anywhere, that's the place. Especially some winter night. Get it?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

bondosan wrote: Check out Jon Stewart
----------------------------------
When I am reincarnated, please bring me back as Jon Stewart. He is seriously funny...

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

If the concern is the cost of elections when the economy is struggling, there is an obvious answer: reinstitute the poll tax.

Posted by: herbshealdave | June 22, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse


Primary runoffs are completely unnecessary, as are any taxpayer-funded contests that are only open to members of private parties.

The new California model (which Louisiana has used for years) is the way to go. Ballot access is open to all based on petitions, not party membership, and the top two go to a run-off if no one gets 50%. If the parties want to make sure they only have one candidate on the ballot, they can fund their own selection process to decide who that candidate is.

Posted by: pparrydc | June 22, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

If the concern is the cost of elections while the economy is struggling, then there is a very simple answer: reinstitute the poll tax.

Posted by: herbshealdave | June 22, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Margaret:

I hear what your saying...but Folks had worked for Sanford and possibly had a future beyond blogging. Weird stuff.

12Bar: I think the second allegation can be completely dismissed. Check out Jon Stewart on this (it comes after the Helen Thomas smackdown, which is worth watching in and of itself...but if you don't want to watch it all, the Nikki Haley stuff starts at about the 5 minute mark):

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/08/jon-stewart-takes-on-hele_n_604086.html

Posted by: Bondosan | June 22, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

On another subject, Tony Hayward did make one definite statement during his pathetic testimony last week. Since everything else he said was conditional, I paid a lot of attention.

He said the BOP technology needs to be rethought and redesigned. I think that means that no more exploratory wells should be done until that is done. That sounds like a years long process to me.

That caught my attention.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Well, this is retarded. No point in trying to contribute when 37th is going to flood the place.

Chris and 37th can enjoy each others' company.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 22, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

margaret,

Apparently there are 2 guys making the same allegation.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

37thand0street

Shut the &*!@ up!


Thanks in advance.

Posted by: yahoo999 | June 22, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

@bondosan,

I too am curious about both the GOP operatives making the same allegation against Haley. There's definitely an interesting backstory to this: like why would both these guys come out with the story, even if true? Usually people avoid confessing to affairs, not rush to the confessional.

In California, before Arnold was elected, there were allegations of his indiscriminate groping. Obviously didn't affect the election. I have heard, from excellent original sources, that the allegations were true. Privately, Arnold is well known as the octopus.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Bondosan, Folks could also be very immature and fixated on Haley, misinterpreting her attentions the way some co-workers do. He also is a Christian blogger, and may have been using words one way and we may have understood them in another way. He may have been "confessing" to expiate some guilt he feels about being attracted in that way to a woman he isn't married to, or he may have been trying to exorcise a lingering attraction that torments him. I was struck by the way he stressed that he was not yet married when what happened happened. That seemed like such a childish distinction to make, as if he were saying it wasn’t my sin, it was her sin and I must warn you all about her.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 22, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

The Rolling Stone article was just not that bad


If Obama is reacting this way to that article - instead of just handling it on the phone - it CLEARLY SHOWS OBAMA HAS LOST COMPLETE CONTROL OVER THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN.


----------------------------


Obama CAN'T EXPECT EVERYONE TO BE HAPPY WITH IS POLICY DECISIONS - WHEN HIS POLICY DECISIONS ARE SO BAD.


REMEMBER it was Obama who decided to run for President with such LITTLE EXPERIENCE AND LACK OF QUALIFICATIONS

That is the root of this whole problem - not the expressions of complete frustration on the part of the military about Obama's HORRIBLE MILITARY SURGE-PULL OUT STRATEGY (if that is a strategy)

________


The quotes in the Rolling Stone article are really not that bad


Obama HAS NO IDEA WHAT HE IS DOING.


If Obama is going to have a war policy FILLED WITH CONTRADICTIONS LIKE CATCH 22, Obama has to EXPECT these kinds of things.

_______________________


McChrystal situation:


This is the Obama-Biden Doctrine:


One soldier at the outpost showed Hastings, who was traveling with the general, a written directive instructing troops to "patrol only in areas that you are reasonably certain that you will not have to defend yourself with lethal force."


.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 22, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Here's the thing about Nikki Haley: She's heads and shoulders above Sarah Palin (which I realize is damning by faint praise).
-------------------------------
I watched Haley debate what's-his-name. That should tell you something, I can't even remember his name. Anyway, she's no Palin and Palin is no Haley. Haley is a Rhodes scholar next to Palin.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 22, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

The key to understanding the run-off is that it avoids the situation in which people purposely divide the vote.


And it avoids one voting block from dominating every election - because if the vote was always divided among many candidates, it favors the largest voting block.

It forces coalitions - and somehow it helps the big-money people.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 22, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

If there were run-offs in Illinois, there would be no Obama.

Obama had the STATED STRATEGY PRIOR TO 2004 that he would ONLY RUN for Senator if there were two whites running against one black - him.


Clearly, RACE has been on Obama's mind for a long time.

Obama would NEVER have even run one-on-one against a white.


Maybe McCain was the first white that Obama has EVER run against - one on one.

Seriously folks - it is something to think about.


Run-offs are there to PREVENT a purposeful spliting of the vote by candidates working together.

.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 22, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Here's the thing about Nikki Haley: She's heads and shoulders above Sarah Palin (which I realize is damning by faint praise).

The thing that I absolutely can't quite get my head around is the whole Will Folks thing.

There are only two possibilities that make any sense to me:

1. He was telling the truth (which the phone records would seem to support). Otherwise, why throw his career in the toilet? If he was being paid off, it would have had to have been in an amount worth blowing your career for, and I just don't see that has having happened.

2. He was actually working for Haley (which doesn't negate possibility #1, either). By making the allegation, and then not really backing it up, he made her a sympathetic character.

It's all rather bizarre.

Posted by: Bondosan | June 22, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

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