Too much post-election analysis has focused on voter demographics and campaign mechanics, leaving Democrats in danger of drawing the wrong lessons from our electoral success.
Demographics alone are not destiny. There is nothing in this year's election returns that guarantees Democrats a permanent majority in the years to come. President Obama and the Democratic Party earned the support of key groups -- young people, single women, Latinos, African Americans, auto workers in the Rust Belt and millions of other middle-class Americans -- because of our ideas.
But we cannot expect Republicans to cede the economic argument so readily, or to fall so far short on campaign mechanics, the next time around.
So, instead of resting on false assurances of underlying demographic advantages, the Democratic Party must follow through on our No. 1 priority, which the president set when he took office and reemphasized throughout this campaign: It is time to come home and rebuild America.
In Chicago, our initiative of "Building a New Chicago" adopts a similar view, with improvements to areas as varied as education and physical infrastructure.
While infrastructure improvements have been neglected on a federal level for decades, Chicago is making one of the nation's largest coordinated investments, putting 30,000 residents to work over the next three years improving our roads, rails and runways; repairing our aged water system; and increasing access to gigabit-speed broadband. We are paying for these critical improvements through a combination of reforms, efficiencies and direct user fees, as well as creating the nation's first city-level public-private infrastructure bank. Democrats should champion these kinds of innovative financing tools at a national level.
If we want to build a future in which the middle class can succeed, we must continue the push for reform that the president began with Race to the Top, bringing responsibility and accountability to our teachers and principals.
Chicago has adopted its own Race to the Top for early childhood education, allowing public schools, Head Start, charters and parochial schools to compete for dollars by improving the quality of their pre-kindergarten programs. In addition, this year Chicago Public Schools put into effect a 30 percent increase in class time, which means that when today's kindergartners graduate high school, they will have benefited from 2˝ more years' worth of education.
In partnership with leading private-sector companies, we reengineered our six community colleges to focus each on skills training for jobs in one of Chicago's six key growth fields. Democrats can be the party that closes the nation's skills gap by making our community colleges a vital link between people looking for jobs and companies looking for skilled workers.
The strength of these investments is proven in the number of people we're putting back to work: Chicago is first in the nation in terms of increase in employed residents, and for several months we have led the nation in year-over-year employment increases. We added 42,500 residents to the workforce in the past year alone -- 8,000 more than the next highest U.S. city.
While Republicans are likely to become less intransigent on immigration, Democrats need to push for comprehensive immigration reform to ensure that, true to our history, we continue to be the party of opportunity and inclusion. Democrats in Congress should follow Chicago's lead and develop a national "Citizenship Initiative" to provide the 8.5 million people eligible to become citizens with the information and resources they need to achieve the American dream.
Chicago's initiatives come straight out of the playbook Barack Obama put forward in his campaign four years ago and has advocated since Day One of his presidency. But there are some issues that only Washington can tackle. Democrats at the national level must execute on the president's agenda on energy and tax reform to ensure the future of not only our party but also the middle class.
By embracing the president's "all of the above" strategy, Democrats can own the policies that will begin to make the United States energy-independent in the next four years, a goal that has eluded the past eight presidents.
While reforming tax policy is not the panacea that some believe, the experience of our party shows that pro-growth, pro-middle-class reforms can jump-start economic prosperity. When Democrats led on these policies during President Bill Clinton's first term, we strengthened the earned-income tax credit. We balanced the budget in the second term, cutting spending while lowering taxes for working families, to lay the groundwork for a decade of prosperity. In President Obama's second term, we have an opportunity to do the same and narrow the nation's income gap.
If Democrats develop innovative policies that help Americans compete in a global economy, we will outperform Republicans on Election Day. It's that simple.
We cannot allow Beltway chatter to hijack what the president accomplished in this election or to demean its value. We must never lose sight of the fact that while our victory in 2012 was aided by demographic advantages and sophisticated campaigning, our party's ideas are what sealed the deal with middle-class voters.
"It is time to come home and rebuild America.
Translation - it is time to loot the military to pay for do-nothing public sector jobs to bribe more people to vote Dem.
Posted by: no mo uro ||
Chicago is where the current administration learned economics.
Rahm can't fill potholes, Chicago is the murder capitol of the nation, Chicago is at least 2000 police officers understrength, Chicago has a majority 'dependant' population which devastates any budget planning, and is so corrupt it makes Monrovia look like good government.
Yet the media lap dogs just hoover this stuff up...
Mark my words, every job he envisions is union, every act that the second term takes domestically will involve unions in some fashion, and everything, everything, is about building a permanent, one party rule through minority wealth transfers and crony capitalism and massive massive illegal immigration amnesty efforts. The tipping point has arrived and perhaps passed my friends. Look for card check legislation this spring, making unionization and permanent dues collection for the Democrat Party a certainty. Where were the 7 million who didn't show up?
Jesse Jackson Jr.'s resignation from the House could cost Illinois taxpayers more than $5.1 million, according to the state elections board.
Jackson, Jr. offered his resignation today to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Jackson has been absent from the Capitol for months while undergoing treatment for bipolar disorder at the Mayo Clinic. In addition, his use of campaign funds is being investigated by federal authorities.
Looking at two special House elections held in Illinois in recent years - those to replace GOP House speaker Denny Hastert and Democratic congressman Rahm Emanuel - the Illinois State Board of Elections calculated those elections cost $2,700 to $4,000 per precinct. With 590 precincts in Jackson's 2nd Congressional District, an election would probably cost around $2,575,000, the state board told ABC News.
Illinois will hold two special elections to replace Jackson, a primary and a general, and the state board projects that replacing Jackson could cost $5.15 million total.
That's just a projection, and it assumes that the 2nd Congressional District will hold the special elections on their own days. State law will likely allow for the primary, but not the general, to be held alongside already-scheduled votes for state and local offices.
Jackson hasn't officially won re-election yet, as the state won't certify election results until Dec. 2. Officials are unsure of whether that will affect how Gov. Pat Quinn handles Jackson's resignation, an official with the state elections board said. Jackson handily defeated Republican lawyer Brian Woodworth with 63 percent of the vote, according to the still-unofficial results.
Quinn, a Democrat, must set a special-election date within five days, under Illinois law. The election must be held in the 115 days after that.
Jackson may have cost taxpayers extra by resigning so suddenly.
To save money, the 2nd District could hold its special election on Illinois' consolidated election schedule at the same time as lesser races throughout the state.
But that doesn't seem possible under Illinois's statutory special-election timeline. Illinois primaries will happen Feb. 26, but the April 9 general-election date falls outside the 115-day special-election range. Counting Thursday as day 1, March 21 is the earliest the 2nd District special election could be held.
Had Jackson waited until Dec. 15 to resign, Quinn could have scheduled the general special election for April 9, along with Illinois' other general elections.
The cost of the special elections will be borne by the counties in Jackson's district, as well as by the state.
Holding a statewide special election to replace governor Rod Blagojevich cost the state between $90 million and $100 million, according to estimates, the state elections board said.
Actually, maybe they should have Jesse Jackson, Sr. appoint his son's heir in the seat. That would save the trouble and confusion of an election. Then the state and county could send a "contribution" of a (large) portion of the saved money to Rev Jackson in gratitude.
Posted by: Rambler in Virginia ||
I'd say it'd be worth it to get rid of him except that if the voters in that district were stupid enough to reelect him after all that was already known about him there isn't much hope that whoever replaces him will be any better.
Posted by: Abu Uluque ||
tribal politics writ on someone else's checks
Posted by: Frank G ||
[Reason] 1. It's unnecessary. In the months immediately following September 11 attacks in 2001, President George W. Bush initially resisted calls to create a new high-level bureaucracy that would be laid on top of current activities. He was right to recognize that coordinating existing agencies would have been smarter and better. Unfortunately, he caved in to pressure to create a massive new department. To quote Heinlein: "There's nothing more permanent than a temporary emergency." Parkinson: "Bureaucracies grow, they don't shrink."
2. It's ineffective. To read the titles of Government Accountability Office (GAO) analyses of Homeland Security is to be reminded constantly that DHS is never quite on top of its game. Recent reports include "DHS Requires More Disciplined Investment Management to Help Meet Mission Needs," "DHS Needs Better Project Information and Coordination Among Four Overlapping Grant Programs," and "Agriculture Inspection Program Has Made Some Improvements, But Management Challenges Persist." I can remember the days when flying was an enjoyable experience. You showed up, checked your bags, got on board, and took off. Once aloft you could smoke and the stewardesses would give you dinner and sell you beer. There were no cattle pens involved in the boarding process, and honest citizens weren't frisked like criminals.
3. It's expensive. Last year, Homeland Security spent a whopping $60 billion, a figure that will doubtlessly increase in coming years. The construction of its new headquarters -- the single-largest project ever undertaken by The General Services Administration -- will cost at least $4 billion and is already years behind schedule since breaking ground in 2009. Bureaucracies, by their nature, consume resources. They go beyond Potemkin's dictum ("That which ceases to grow begins to rot") and manage to continue growing while rotting -- becoming less efficient (if possible) and more corrupt -- almost from day one. The very first TSA arguments were over whether to use government employees (unionized, naturally) or existing civilian security screeners. Naturally they went with the less efficient of the two options. Big Sis has become a national joke at the same time her screeners are universally hated.