The 2010 Elections in a Nutshell November 6, 2010

The 2010 Elections in a Nutshell

Somehow, during all the election craziness this week, I missed this story out of my own backyard:

Congressman-elect Randy Hultgren, 44, from west suburban Winfield, is a state senator and evangelical Christian who said he “absolutely” believes that God directed his steps through the race.

That faith would not have been shaken, even in defeat, he said Wednesday, a day after ousting Democrat Bill Foster.

“For me, it’s part of my life that every day I want to be walking in faith,” said Hultgren, who was baptized in the eighth grade and accepted Christ then as his savior.

Hultgren defeated Foster.

The evangelical Christian defeated the former Fermilab researcher.

Our country is screwed, isn’t it…?

(Thanks — I think — to Chas for the link)

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  • Alex

    Barry Lynn with Americans United gives a good summary of the 2010 elections and impacts on the separation of church and state.

  • Doc Wally

    Yes. Yes it is.

    /is a Canuck

  • Scott Turner

    Here’s how I’m hoping our country isn’t screwed: The next two years will bring the lunacy of the religious-right to the fore. Unlike now, it will be undeniable that theocracy is a core strategic aim of these conservatives, more important than ersatz talk of fiscal responsibility. This should either fatally fracture the Republican Party, or frighten enough Americans into protecting the First Amendment. Then again, we may be facing the genesis of a Christian Taliban.

  • tim

    The guy is clearly an idiot. But how is this different then any other election in our history? We’ve had worse elections results. We’ve had better election results. The march of time goes on – don’t get stuck in thinking everything is toast because of this idiot.

  • muggle

    I’m with Scott, hoping this will wake the idiots up. Some day, they’ve got to realize what theocracy would mean to them and that being Christian doesn’t necessarily make them safe inside a government of enforced Christianity.

    Right? Right?

  • All this means as that the non-theists being represented by religious zealots’ job just got difficult. We now will need to be more proactive, persistent, and less reactionary.

  • What is likely to happen is that in two years, the Republicans will not have been able to “fix the country” like they promised, and the people who expect everything to change instantly because a new Sheriff is in town will turn against them…for two years. I see a two-year back and forth cycle between the Democrats and the Republicans for at least the next decade.

    I don’t think that people voted for Hultgren because of his religious views as much as because he isn’t a Democrat. The only two words that the Republicans needed to use in 2010 were “Democrats” and “Taxes.” All of the rest was just fluff.

  • Robert W.

    It is my belief that this election was a reaction to too much too fast from the liberal democrats. Our country is much more conservative then those to the far left and generally people like things to be more towards the center.

  • Cathy Fiorello

    Robert, it was actually from too little too slowly from the liberal democrats. If the stimulus had been larger, and targeted more on job creation than on tax cuts, our unemployment rate would have been lower. It’s generally all about the economy….

  • Here is what I think. America (and all countries in general) have gone too long without a significant technological or other breakthrough resulting in a new wave of economic prosperity. The last big breakthrough was the computer and all the resulting jobs and improvements in business efficiency. But now the economy has kind-of re-normalized around having computers and the country needs a new breakthrough. The new generation is not as well off as their parent’s generation. People are working more hours (and going into more debt) to maintain a veneer of the lifestyle of yesteryear. People are getting stressed and are a bit scared. These problems of course transcend either political party. The Republicans are currently a popular choice because they were not the party in power and they are better at giving people a “warm fuzzy” that if you vote for them, they will take the country back to the more prosperous time where everybody has jobs, everybody goes to church, and the streets are safe at night. The problem with Republicans, as we recently saw, is that they are a bit too quick to go to war when they are in power and they only respect the constitution when it suits their own narrow objectives. I’m sure a lot of them want to get God back in public school (or even to do away with public schools altogether). They would be happy to have the churches run all the schools in the country.

    Everything the Republicans do for the next two years will be for the express purpose of winning full control of the government in 2012. We will see lots of right-wing bills purposefully crafted to pass the house but get stalled in the senate (or if passed, vetoed by Obama). This will be by design to foster further frustration within the American public about the Democratic party. The objective will be to get both the senate and the executive branch under Republican control. If they win in 2012, there will probably be a honeymoon period (like Obama had) but then reality will set in. Unless there happens to be some job-creating technological breakthrough, people will get frustrated with the Republicans as well and the cycle will continue. Hopefully, the Republicans won’t do too much damage to the constitution and will leave our educational system somewhat intact.

  • J. J. Ramsey

    Here’s my nutshell version of the 2010 elections: To punish the Democrats for their failure to clean up the mess the Republicans made, the country rewarded the party that helped make the mess. 🙁

  • captsam

    @Scott Turner “Then again, we may be facing the genesis of a Christian Taliban.” I hope not but it maybe.

  • Vanessa

    Let’s just take it as a victory that Christine O’Donnell didn’t win. XP

  • Occasionally I agree with J.J. Ramsey and this is one of those times. The Reubplicans were out of power just long enough to say “Look, look what extreme liberalism has done to the country! Vote for us and we will get your country back for you.”

    Rachel Maddow did a good job on MSNBC on Friday’s show demonstrating how the “new Republican Party” is still the old Republican party. How the Tea Party were used by corporate masters to wrest back control from a moderate Democratic party.

    Robert, there is no “center,” there is no “mainstream” America. That is an illusion created by conservative politics. We have more than 300 million people here of a multitude of colors and cultural backgrounds. Mainstream America is a picture painted with nostalgic colours, when a family was 4 white peopple: Mom, Dad, Johnny and Susie who read the Burma Shave road signs while driving their DeSoto to a protestant church. Mainstream America is the America of “Happy Days,” when Ike was leading us through prosperous years of baby booming; when the sock hop was the most exciting thing to do on the weekend. Mainstream American doesn’t have non-marital sex. There is no real center.

    The “center” for an American is what that American believes, and the positions that he or she holds. Very few people see themselves as outside of the center, because people think of themselves as reasonable and people who hold different positions as being either right or left of them. And any amount of right or left is “too far” and “out of touch” and “extreme.”

    From my purely rational perspective, these last two years that the democrats were in power were spent trying to appease the conservatives and they didn’t do what really needed to be done.

    Instead of standing up to the “party of No,” the Democrats followed the example of the accommodationist atheists in hopes of achieving modest gains. The Tea Party didn’t care, and Blue Dog Democrats like Blanche Lincoln were tossed out for being “too extreme for mainstream America.”

    When the Democrats realize that just being non-Republicans is in the eyes of Republicans enough to brand them as extremists, perhaps they will stop trying to appease the Republicans, stop trying to “move to the center” and when the voters realize that they have some backbone they will start winning elections again.

  • Miko

    Robert W:

    It is my belief that this election was a reaction to too much too fast from the liberal democrats. Our country is much more conservative then those to the far left and generally people like things to be more towards the center.

    You’re wrong about the the “too much” part (after all, the Democrats did nothing), but right about the “more towards the center part” (because the Democrats are currently governing far to the right of center).

    People voted out the Democrats because they were doing the same awful things that the Republicans were doing and trying to pretend that they were liberal ideas. Individual mandate in health care? Originally proposed by the Republicans as an alternative to Hillarycare. Huge bailouts to large corporations? First “stimulus” package was signed by Bush.

    Cathy Fiorello:

    Robert, it was actually from too little too slowly from the liberal democrats. If the stimulus had been larger, and targeted more on job creation than on tax cuts, our unemployment rate would have been lower. It’s generally all about the economy….

    No. Sorry, but that’s faith-based economics. When Obama came in, he gave us two projections: one on what would happen if he did nothing (and based on hundreds of years worth of empirical data) and one based on what would happen if he did the huge stimulus plan (based on no empirical data, since it had never been tried before). As it turned out, his guess about the effects of the stimulus plan were completely wrong. For some reason, Democratic cheerleaders have assumed that this means that the other model (the one that was reality-based rather than fantasy-based) was wrong too, but there is no reason to think this. All available data suggests that the economy in general (and the unemployment rate in particular) would be far better off if the Democrats had done absolutely nothing.

    If the Democrats had focused on gay rights (instead of going to court to uphold both DADT and DOMA), government transparency (instead of denying FOIA requests at a rate exceeding Bush and using the State Secrets argument at every turn), reproductive rights (instead of passing a health insurance bill that restricted abortion access), ending the wars (as opposed to lying about ending the war in Iraq while in reality doing nothing), making health care affordable (instead of explicitly taking drug re-importation, patent law reform, medical licensing reform, medical practice standards reform, bulk purchasing of drugs, and community-based cooperative efforts off of the table and instead letting the VP of WellPoint write a bill that serves no one except the insurance companies), etc., then they probably would have done better in the polls. The Democrats need to decide if they’re going to be the party that stands up for civil liberties, that opposes cartelization, that fights for people, or the party that uses discredited faith-based economics in order to push for economic authoritarianism.

    At its root, the problem of the Democrats is this: The Republicans say “We only care about the interests of huge corporations and plutocrats.” The Democrats say “We care a little bit about other things, in addition to primarily caring about the interests of huge corporations and plutocrats.” And then the Democrats lose, because people figure that if they’re forced to choose between two scumbags, they may as well at least vote for the scumbag that didn’t just lie to them.

  • ckitching

    people figure that if they’re forced to choose between two scumbags, they may as well at least vote for the scumbag that didn’t just lie to them.

    I guess I’m missing the part where the Republicans haven’t lied to the people. Or are people’s memories that really short?

  • Chas, PE SE


    You’re welcome, I guess.

    The commentators have all been analysizing the results, and that’s fine, I’ve been doing it myself.

    The point I’d like to make is that given the choice betweren a rational man and a superstitious man, superstitious nincompoopery won. Raising the possibility that civilization is sliding backwards. Bah.

    PS: Happy Car Sagan’s Birthday

    “(Kepler) preferred the hard truth to his own cherished illusions — and THAT is the essence of Science”

  • Alex

    A few more bombings or other real or imaginary threats, may make this quote from the Wizard of Oz more relative.

    Cowardly Lion: I *do* believe in spooks, I *do* believe in spooks. I do, I do, I do, I *do* believe in spooks, I *do* believe in spooks, I do, I do, I do, I *do*!

    Wicked Witch of the West: Ah! You’ll believe in more than that before I’m finished with you.

  • The Geek

    Thus election has genuinely got me worried. If the trend continues we will be living in gun happy country run by sanctimonious bible thumbers who would be happy to see the apocalypse happen. At least as long as they make it, which they believe they will.
    If it gets to that point, I think I’m moving to Canada.

  • Foster is probably a brilliant guy and obviously smarter this his opponent. But intelligence shouldn’t the primary trait for public office – politics should be (I imagine you also disagree there, but that wasn’t the point of your quip).

    For example, Jimmy Carter was a nuclear engineer and basically everyone agrees he was the worst president of the 20th century.

  • Ben

    The people who went out and voted just don’t like the President. They see him as weak, like Jimmy Carter. And you can see that by where the most seats were lost: the Midwest, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania. Those places voted for Hillary Clinton. She seemed stronger to them than Obama. These people would rather vote against their own self-interests than vote for a weak leader.

  • Sinfanti

    Look on the bright side, Hemant. At least Quinn beat Brady for Illinois governor.

    You win some, you lose some.

  • stogoe

    Texas is set to completely dismantle Medicaid for its poor and elderly. The Republican health care plan really is “If you get sick, die quickly”. I miss Alan Grayson.

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