Westboro Baptist Church Could Learn A Thing or Two from Ted Cruz

You know, because FUNERALS are the most tactful venues to stage a protest.

Take a lesson Westboro Baptist Church. You’ve got nothing on Ted Cruz.

The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements should merge

I told some friends last week that the first person to see through the ideological panoply present in both the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movements, and grab hold of their essentially identical core issues – that of government corruption in the form of taxpayer money being diverted to both government and corporate special interests (which are increasingly becoming one and the same), that person wins. And by “win,” I mean that “collaborative seeker of common ground” can lead a real movement against the establishment powers that are diverting monies to corporations that should have gone under in a truly capitalist system, and to government programs that need to be revamped or eliminated, but are not reformed out of fear of losing the support of a particular block of voters.

The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements should merge. Could you imagine the change that could bring?

Whoever can say to the Tea Party and the Occupy crowds, “Look, we know you have many complaints and diverse ideological interests from opposite ends of the spectrum, but your core concerns are the same. Let’s unite together on this one issue – government corruption – and make a real change.” – that person will lead the revolution.

Perhaps Lawrence Lessig is that person. Because if the people of these two parties can see past their vast differences and come together to address the central issue of corruption, then there’s no reason why the representatives they elected can’t do the same.

For more, read the open culture blog. (Joseph Stiglitz teaches at the Columbia Business School and Columbia’s Department of Economics and, of course, won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001. Lawrence Lessig founded Creative Commons and recently moved from Stanford (where he worked in digital copyright law) to Harvard, where he now focuses on government corruption.)

a message for tea party folks

for all you tea party folks out there, i thought this was funny:

get the lawyers ready in alaska

Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski

Joe Miller (left) and Lisa Murkowski

From his most recent statement on his campaign website, Alaska senate hopeful and Tea Party favorite, Joe Miller (campaign website), is circling the wagons full of lawyers in preparation for the counting of the write-in ballots cast in Alaska’s recent 2010 senate contest.

Miller states in his statement:

Previous write-in campaigns in Alaska have demonstrated that as much as 5 to 6% of returned ballots have not met the standard to be counted as a valid vote.

As with any write-in campaign, the burden of execution rests with the candidate whose name is not on the ballot.  Candidates who mount a write-in campaign opt for an uphill battle. At this point, without a single write-in ballot counted, Lisa Murkowski has no claim on a victory.

To complicate the matter, the Division of Elections has yet to adequately explain how a ballot will be marked in favor of a candidate. The current standards are extraordinarily ambiguous.

It appears as if Miller, who received 34.3% of the vote and trails significantly the 41.0% of write-in ballots cast (the vast majority of which are presumably for Murkowski), is already signaling his intent to challenge the election results in the courts.

For her part, Alaska’s sitting senior senator, Lisa Murkowski (campaign website), has pulled off perhaps the most impressive feat of the 2010 election season. While Harry Reid’s unexpected win in Nevada over Sharron Angle, another Tea Party candidate strongly endorsed by Sarah Palin, was impressive, Murkowski’s apparent victory is all the more impressive because while other third-party, end-around candidacies failed, like those of Tom Tancredo for governor in Colorado and Charlie Crist for senate in Florida, Lisa Murkowski’s campaign in Alaska came as the result of a write-in candidacy, not a third-party candidacy with an established infrastructure and network of volunteers.

Murkowski’s apparent victory in Alaska is perhaps the greatest slap in the face to Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin. Not only did Palin’s hand-picked Tea Party candidate, Miller, lose the Alaska race for senate to Murkowski (even after defeating her in the Republican primary), but Lisa Murkowski has arguably avenged her father’s defeat from four years ago at the hands of Sarah Palin.

In the end, this election was about the Murkowskis reclaiming Alaska from the Palins, and Alaska is all the better for it.

how the tea party cost the republicans the senate

Here’s how the Tea Party hurt the Republican party in the US Senate. The Tea Party candidates won in both Florida and Alaska, but they unseated moderate Republicans (Crist in Florida and Murkowski in Alaska), who would have won anyway.

However, the Tea Party cost the Republicans in Delaware (O’Donnell) and in Nevada (Angle), where any other moderate Republicans, caucusing with the Republicans, would have easily won. Two seats in a 49-51 Senate is control of the Senate.

The Tea Party helped the Republicans win local, district elections and take the House, but cost the Republicans in some larger, statewide races in the Senate, including two key victories in Delaware and Nevada, and perhaps ultimately control of the Senate.

(I write this with Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, and Colorado still undecided.)

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