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Thursday, November 9, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

So report WaPo: Allen to Concede Election This Afternoon

Virginia Sen. George Allen (R) will concede that he has lost the election to Democrat James Webb at a 3 p.m. news conference in Alexandria, according to a source close to the campaign with direct knowledge of the senator’s intentions.

[…]

Allen’s campaign officials had initially put into motion plans to challenge Virginia’s election after coming within three-tenths of a percent of Webb’s lead. But after local election officials spent a day-and-a-half reviewing the totals, that margin remained largely unchanged.

A senior Allen aide said he did not believe any further reexamination of the 2.3 million ballots in Virginia would change the outcome of the election.

I have been quite critical of the Allen campaign, but will note that this is the reasonable and classy thing to do. While I fully support the ability of candidates to pursue their rights under the law in close elections, I also believe that if there is no evidence of error or fraud that the best thing that a candidate can do is concede.

Unless error and/or fraud are evident, dragging the voters of a given location (let alone in this case, the country due to the relevance of the race to the Senate) unnecessarily to such a process is nothing less than denial and extreme egoism.

I have been of this opinion for some time, having made a similar argument in the Washington state brouhaha in 2004 over the governor’s race.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

In the WSJ former Majority Leader Dick Armey assess the results of this weeks election. He is basically on target, especially here:

Eventually, the policy innovators and the “Spirit of ‘94″ were largely replaced by political bureaucrats driven by a narrow vision. Their question became: How do we hold onto political power? The aberrant behavior and scandals that ended up defining the Republican majority in 2006 were a direct consequence of this shift in choice criteria from policy to political power.

Nowhere was this turn more evident than in the complete collapse of fiscal discipline in the budgeting process. For most Republican candidates, fiscal responsibility is our political bread and butter. No matter how voters view other, more divisive issues from abortion to stem-cell research, Republicans have traditionally enjoyed a clear advantage with a majority of Americans on basic pocketbook issues. “We will spend your money carefully and we will keep your taxes low.” That was our commitment. This year, no incumbent Republican (even those who fought for restraint) could credibly make that claim. The national vision–less government and lower taxes–was replaced with what Jack Abramoff infamously called his “favor factory.” One Republican leader actually defended a questionable appropriation of taxpayer dollars, saying it was a reasonable price to pay for holding a Republican seat. What was most remarkable was not even the admission itself, but that it was acknowledged so openly. Wasn’t that the attitude we were fighting against in 1994?

(Emphasis in the original).

There is little doubt that the main focus of the Republicans of late has been the retention of power. Even more significantly there is no doubt that the fiscal responsibility that was allegedly the hallmark of the party clearly went out the window.

Now, the question is, I think, whether that it is simply, as Armey suggests, the failure of Republican values, or the what happens to majorities in Congress where the pressures are high to bring home the bacon as a means of pleasing the voters back home and building power with lobbyists and colleagues.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

This ran in print on Sunday, but finally made it online yesterday.

From the Press-Register:

Blogs highlight good, bad, ugly
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
By STEVEN L. TAYLOR
Special to the Press-Register

The era of the instantaneous is upon us. News, information and opinion now travel at the speed of light and are available to us whenever we want, wherever we want.

(more…)

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

As I learn more about the Virgina recount process, I become more optimistic that a clean, clear and litigation-free conclusion to this situation may be coming. Comparing to Florida’s rules circa 2000, the Virgina process appears to be sleek, reasonable and consistent.

The first stage, as I understand it, is a canvassing process to make sure that no data entry or other errors were made. We may know the results of that process today, and it is wholly possible that if no significant discrepancies are found that Allen will then concede.

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Wednesday, November 8, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Anyone who is interested can get info on the Alabama statewide (and other) races here: al.com: Elections.

The Governor cruised to victory–what looked like a tighter than predicted race has turned into a 16 point win.

The Democrats were able to get the Lt. Gov’s office back, by bringing back Governor Folsom to run for the office. He won in a close race over political newcomer Luther Strange, who was able to oust one member of a famous Alabama political family when he beat George Wallace, Jr. in the primary, but was unable to defeat Folsom.

Their were, to me anyway, two surprises in the returns. The first was that Sue Bell Cobb (D) was able to defeat Drayton Nabers (R) for the Chief Justice slot by 3 points.

The other surprise was that Amendment 2 passed handily.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

Here are Virginia’s election returns.

One thing that we can see from those numbers is that there were a substantial number of persons who voted for the the marriage amendment who did not vote for Allen–demonstrating that he clearly had alienated some of his natural voter base.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

There is little doubt that yesterday’s results were as much about national issues as anything else. As such, the major papers are appropriately noting that yesterday was very much about President Bush.

The NYT: A Loud Message for Bush

Everything is different now for President Bush. The era of one-party Republican rule in Washington ended with a crash in yesterday’s midterm elections, putting a proudly unyielding president on notice that the voters want change, especially on the war in Iraq.

[…]

Nearly 4 in 10 voters said they saw their ballot as a vote against Mr. Bush, about twice as many as those who said they had cast their ballots for him. It was a remarkable turnaround for a president who just two years ago emerged triumphant from his re-election campaign, declaring that he had earned political capital and intended to spend it.

Indeed–and capital he squandered, at best.

The article correctly notes that there were also issues of Republican incompetence and corruption that were of issue in yesterday’s vote as well.

WaPo has a similar story: A Voter Rebuke For Bush, the War And the Right

Overall, 59 percent of voters surveyed in a news media consortium series of exit polls yesterday expressed dissatisfaction or anger with the Bush administration; 36 percent said they cast their vote to express opposition to Bush, compared with 22 percent who were voting to support him. Fifty-six percent of voters support withdrawing some or all U.S. troops from Iraq, which will embolden Democrats pushing for a pullout.

Corruption proved to be a more potent issue than it had appeared even weeks ago. After 12 years in control, the Republicans who took power with Gingrich promising to sweep out a calcified and ethically bankrupt Democratic leadership found themselves perceived as becoming what they had tried to expunge. Exit polls found 41 percent of voters rated corruption “extremely important” to their decision.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the NYT: Democrats Seize Control of House; Senate Hangs on Virginia and Montana

the fate of the Senate remained in doubt this morning, as races for Republican-held seats in Montana and Virginia remained too close to call as Election Day turned into the day after. Democrats would need both seats to win control of the Senate as well.

In Montana, Senator Conrad Burns, a Republican, was trailing Jon Tester, a Democrat, by a narrow margin. The race in Virginia — between another Republican incumbent, Senator George Allen, and Jim Webb, his Democratic challenger — was so close that some officials said it would have to be resolved by a recount.

It is unfortunate that this is all going to come to down a handful of votes in these two states. I think a clearer victory either way would have been better for the country. The acrimony and frustration of 2000 still taints our political life, and if it comes down to another court battle deciding a key issue of power in Washington that acrimony and frustration will only deepen and cause more friction and division within partisan competition.

And if we end up going down the recount route, it will long, drawn-out and, I fear, ugly:

That prospect could mean prolonged uncertainty over control of the Senate, since a recount can be requested only after the results are officially certified on Nov. 27th, according to the state board of elections. Last year a recount in the race for Attorney General was not resolved until Dec. 21.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

WaPo notes: Webb, Allen Race Too Close to Call

Given that Burns is trailing badly as I type this and given that MO is leaning Democratic, I am getting that sinking feeling the the balance of the Senate is going to tilt on Virginia. The sinking feeling is not horror over who will control the Senate, rather it is about the fact that we are likely about to go through weeks of legal fights and procedural maneuverings over this final seat.

I don’t think that that is healthy for the republic, but we shall see.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

At this point the the night is going pretty much as expected: the Democrats will win the House, with the question being exactly how many seats they will win and the Senate appears to be headed for a narrow margin that looks still likely to go Republican.

The two stories that currently are actually dramatic are the possible recount in Virginia, if the night ends on a very narrow margin and the fact that Steele has not yet been willing to concede Maryland.

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