Operation Old TEA Bag: President Obama’s Inevitable Reelection Strategy

Bookmark and Share As the sun came up over Brooklyn on September 13th, 2011, Lewis Fidler received a phone call reminding him to support Democrat David Weprin in the special election taking place in CD-9. 
 The recent special election in New York’s 9th Congressional District did more than just elect a Republican to a seat that hasn’t been in the hands of the G.O.P. since 1923. As evident in Bill Clinton’s get-out-the-vote phone call, it also shed some light on the desperation of Democrats and what direction they will throw the ball in when they try to salvage their 2012 election fortunes with a last minute Hail Mary pass.  It offerred us insight in to the type of campaign that President Obama will resort to once he catches on to the fact that things like his third stimulus plan and his latest spending program to create jobs aren’t working for the country and aren’t being bought by the people.

In the race that pitted liberal incumbent Democrat Assemblyman David Weprin against retired businessman, Republican Bob Turner, Democrats struggled to find the issues that their candidate could run on to win voters over. Initially they did not even do that. At first it was assumed that as always, whichever Democrat they ran, would sail to victory and succeed sex texting addict Anthony Weiner. But then in August, Democrat polling showed something strange. It showed that Democrat Weprin was not getting the amount of support that Democrats usually get. This then suggested to them that they actually had a real and competitive election on their hands.

So they got to work and started to develop the issues they would campaign on.

What they found was that Weprin and Democrats had no positions on the issues that would excite voters and convince them that Weprin was their man. Even in a relatively liberal district like the ninth, there were no issues which Democrats held a popular position on.

There was the issue of gay marriage which Weprin recently supported the passage of in the New York State Assembly. But with a heavy Hassidic Jewish population in the ninth, legalizing marriage between two people of the same sex was far from popular.

There was the issue of our national debt. On that issue, Weprin held a typical Democrat line which supported big government and big government social programs. But even in a left leaning district like the one that spans the working class neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens, voters know that our debt has become a deepening crisis for our nation and as such, they understand that more government spending is not realistic. That left Weprin with the opportunity to use the traditional liberal language of tax increases to pay for all the spending. But in the middleclass communities of NY-9, tax increases, even for those who earn $250,000 or more, doesn’t really go over well. The ninth congressional district is comprised largely of those people in the middle……the ones who get hit from both ends and are not poor enough to benefit from government social programs, but are not wealthy enough to take advantage of the tax loopholes and credits that the political establishment has arranged for. So these people did not want to hear the Obama “make the rich pay their fare share” rhetoric. Many of them are afraid that a liberal definition of “rich” would include them.

There was the issue of immigration. However on that issue, Weprin has a liberal “Dream Act” position that does not solve the illegal immigration issue that impacts on his district’s residents. They do not want their money going to fulfilling the dreams of illegal immigrants. These people, many of which remember seeing the World Trade Center from their windows and worked within its shadows, want our borders secured.

So like many other issues, that was out.

There was Israel. After all, with a population of Jewish voters that is disproportionately larger than in many other districts throughout the nation, as an Orthodox Jew himself, Weprin could certainly and convincingly argue his support for Israel and ride high on the popularity of that point. Unfortunately though, being a Democrat, most voters linked Weprin to President Obama’s unfriendly policies towards Israel. And Weprin’s argument to voters that they should trust him on israel because he would fight for Israel from within, didn’t have wings.

Short of a total condemnation of President Obama by Weprin, the Jewish vote in his district simply viewed Weprin as a congressional rubberstamp for Obama’s polcies.

The further Democrats went down the list of issues important to the middleclass voters of the ninth, the more they realized that there were no issues which allowed them to present a position that they could derrive district-wide support for.

So what is a candidate with a competitive election ahead of him to do?

Why, resort to the liberal playbook, of course!

That meant scare citizens. That meant to try and distort the Republican position to preserve Social Security and Medicare for those on it and those expecting to soon be on them. It meant denying the Republican position to preserve those programs for future generation with reforms that will strengthen Social Security and medicare. It meant do your best to make vulnerable senior citizens believe that if a Republican won, they would deny them the money that many seniors have come to rely upon.

That was a good start but Weprin and his Democrat strategists and Washington puppet masters needed something else to attract some voters outside of the senior citizen demographic. That’s when the orders from Washington came down. And that is when the strategy to run against the TEA Party came into play.

So in early August Operation Old TEA Bag went into effect. That is when Weprin campaign spokesperson Elizabeth Kerr first argued the following:

“Bob Turner’s doing anything he can to distract voters from his plan to end Medicare as we know it, which would cost seniors in Brooklyn and Queens an extra $6,400 every year,” .

And from there, the tactics to scare senior citizens began

Then when the news that Standard & Poor’s had downgraded the country’s credit rating because of fiscal uncertainty came out and dominated the headlines, Weprin’s campaign defined Bob Turner as a TEA Party extremist and charged that because of their “irresponsible demands”, “Republican Tea Party extremists” facilitated the downgrade and the fallout from it.

From that point on, the Democrat campaign for Congress in NY-9 began.

It was a constant barrage of trying to make the TEA Party the enemy that voters had to unite against. It was a never ending campaign to define Bob Turner as the TEA Party candidate. In Between those lines of attack was tossed in the same old scare tactics intended to frighten senior citizens that predate the Reagan Administration.

For his part Bob Turner campaigns argued;

“Career politicians like David Weprin have taxed and spent this country into a crisis. They have jeopardized the entire social safety network by irresponsibly borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend,”

And as one Turner campaign aide put it;

“Businessman Bob Turner is running to protect Social Security and Medicare for every American over 55 years old and to put those essential programs on a sustainable path for everybody younger than that.”

But Bob Turner didn’t just defend himself against Operation Old TEA Bag. He spent most of his time denouncing the Obama policies that even urban, middle-class Democrats have lost faith in. Like the days of Ronald Reagan, Bob Turner found himself addressing a new generation of Reagan Democrats. Democrats who do not appreciate the condition of our nation and do not have faith in the direction their Party is heading in under a liberal President.

Yet as the campaign continued and the polls tightened, D.C. Democrats from the DCCC, DNC, and from the state and local Party apparatus, double-downed on their last hope……Operation Old TEA Bag. Even when only days before the special election was to take and polls showed that Turner turned the tables and was now ahead of Weprin, Democrats found themselves desperately trying to make a success of their fear campaign of senior citizens and their efforts to make the TEA Party the common enemy.

The plan was perfect. It even concluded on a high note…….a recorded phone call from former President Clinton which tied the TEA Party and Medicare together as he stated “and he’ll oppose the TEA Party plan to destroy Medicare” But ultimately, what Democrats thought was the perfect strategy, proved to be as unsustainable and useless as their economic policies.

Like driving a car on empty, it was a last ditch, desperate attempt to run a camping not on any issues, just on fear. The only problem is that in the end, senior citizens were less afraid of distortions about Bob Turner than they were of the truth about the current direction our nation is headed. In the end, the voters of the ninth district decided that the TEA Party was not their problem. Democrats were.

Unless Democrats start singing a different a tune, they will still be the problem in 2012. And just as Operation Old TEA Bag did not work for them in CD-9, it will not work for them in the 2012 elections. With few accompishments of his own to point toand with most Americans wanting to repeal his signature achievement…..Obamacare, President Obama is likely to  do little else but resort to scaring senior citizens and trying to run against the TEA Party.  Operation Old TEA Bag did not end in the streets of Brookjlyn and Queens.  It is really only just starting at Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Republican Bob Turner Wins Anthony Weiner’s Congressional Seat in New York Special Election

Bookmark and Share   Although it is not officially been declared yet White House 2012 and Politics 24/7 is calling this race and and declaring that  Republicans have pulled off an astonishing election win that gives them control of New York’s 9th Congressional District for the first time since the 1923.
 
In what was an unusually hotly contested New York City special election campaign that began after Democrat Congressman Anthony Weiner resigned in disgrace, Republican businessman Bob Turner defeated liberal, Democrat, career politician, Assemblyman David Weprin.

While the heavily Democrat district is normally not contested by Republicans in any meaningful way, ever since incumbent Congressman Anthony Weiner resigned from the seat a few months ago, a confluence of events and circumstance made this a seat a perfect opportunity for a Republican pick up.  Between dissatisfaction with the economy, increasing dissatisfaction with the President and a heavily populated Jewish vote disgruntled by President Obama’s treatment of Israel, this special election became less of a referendum on either Republican Bob Turner and Democrat David Weprin and more of a protest vote designed to show the President Obama how unhappy voters are with him.

This forced the traditionally reliable voters of this Democrat district to ignore their usual ideological dislike of Republican policies, thereby eliminating their habit of voting for whoever Democrats run. But it is important to realize that this is not necessarily a referendum on President Obama regarding 2012. With over 14 months before the presidential election and without a Republican presidential nominee to contrast President Obama with, the core traditional base of the President’s Democrat vote is willing to send him a message. But once the presidential campaign heats up, the people who currently comprise CD-9 will still have strong Democrat tendencies that will force many to coalesce around the President’s reelection and the Democrat ticket.

But what this special election does show to be a very real problem for the President is the incredibly large number of Jewish voters who have real problems with the President and even such Democrat agenda items as gay marriage. In addition to being heavily democratic, CD-9 is also heavily Jewish and Democrat David Weprin is an orthodox Jew. Yet his natural constituency in the district still opposed his election as a result of President Obama. Going in to the election, polls showed that the issue of Israel was a significant one for CD-9 voters and the same polls showed that voters were quite dissatisfied with the President’s policies regarding Israel.

Another sign of just how focused the electorate was on the national atmosphere created by President Obama was demonstrated by the issues which dominated the election. Neither candidate campaigned on any of the many local issues. For instance, after Hurricane Irene passed New York, it left a great deal of damage, especially along the Atlantic Ocean beaches in the Queens area of the district. Yet despite the timeliness of the campaign and the storm, it was not once mentioned.

So the electorate was indeed focused on President Obama. Still though, this was just a snapshot of the moment.  As mentioned previously,  it still may not be a long lasting referendum on the President. However; there is no denying that the President has a great deal of work to do to ensure that the traditionally democratic Jewish vote across the nation, does not vote the same way in the presidential election that they did in New York’s special election.

Meanwhile, the addition of Bob Turner to the existing Republican majority in the House of Representatives will not make any difference in national politics in the sense of being any kind of shift in the balance of power. Furthermore,this congressional seat may not exists after 2012.  New York state’s loss of population in the most recent census means that the state legislature will have to erase two congressional districts from its ranks. Ever since Anthony Weiner resigned, CD-9 became an obvious district to eliminate and is likely to remain so when redistricting is completed.

Meanwhile, what this Republican special election victory in the unlikely Democrat stronghold of New York City does do is provide a significant psychological boost for the G.O.P. and a profound sense of dread for Democrats. This defeat will begin to put a great deal of pressure on the President by congressional Democrats who will be counting on him to have some coattails in 2012 that can help to just keep incumbents in office but to also elect enough new Democrats to take back control of the House and to maintain control of the Senate. After the drubbing Democrats because of President Obama in the 2010 midterm election, this 2011 special election serves as good reason for Democrats to be fearful of a 2012 election cycle with President Obama at the top of their ticket.

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CD-9 New York Special Election: Udpdated Results

Bookmark and ShareHere you wil find updated election results for the CD-9 special election in New York. Updates will be provided at least every 10 minutes

 Based on the districts that are reporting in and projections that indicate there is not of enough of a vote to come in from the remaining districts White House 2012 and Politics 24/7 is calling this race for Republican Bob Turner

U.S. House – District 9 – Special General

442 of 512 Precincts Reporting – 86% 

 

Bob Turner                          —   GOP                32,212  — 53%

David Weprin                     —   Dem              27,460    — 46%

Christopher Hoeppner    — SWP                     277        –  0

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New York Special Election Demonstrates Big Troubles for Democrats and President Obama

Bookmark and Share   In what is a sign of just how fond the American people are of his presidency, as the polls close in New York’s special election to replace disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, President Obama remains as far removed from it as Anthony Weiner himself.

Under normal circumstances Democrats would be running congressional campaigns that at least try to create the impression that a sitting Democrat President is heavily involved in and supporting their candidates. This is especially the case for a congressional district that was carved out in the heart of heavily Democratic New York City and gerrymandered in a way that makes it meander through two boroughs in order to maximize election results for Democrats. Yet today, as the sun sets on the NY-9 special election, President Obama remains nowhere to be found. In fact he remains to pariah to the election.

The President’s voice has not even injected in to the special election through simple robocalls. Instead, today voters received such communication from former president Clinton and newly elected Governor Andrew Cuomo. In two separate calls made on Monday and Tuesday, both calls highlighted the New York Times’ endorsement of Democrat David Weprin over Republican Bob Turner, and focus on jobs and Social Security and try to make the TEA Party the enemy that motivates voters to come to polls and oppose by supporting David Weprin.

Cuomo’s call states:

“I’ve known David for many years, and I’ve known him to be a leader who stands up for what’s right. In Congress he’ll stand up for middle class families and he’ll fight to preserve Social Security and Medicare. David will bring jobs to New York and get our economy moving. That’s why he’s also been endorsed by the New York Times,”

Today Former President Clinton’s call states:

“The New York Times endorsed David. They support him for the same reasons I do: because he’ll stand up for the middle class, he’ll support a good program to put Americans back to work, and he’ll oppose the Tea Party plan to destroy Medicare”

But New York is not the only place with a special election to fill a vacant House seat. In many ways, today’ special elections are the last waves of the 2010 midterm election and they are about to sweep ashore the American political landscape. And much like the original tidal wave of victory that the G.O.P. rode to some of the largest gains of congressional seats in history, this last wave is expected to bring surprises and Republican gains.

In Nevada voters in the second district will be filling the vacancy created by Joe Heller’s appointment to the U.S. Senate following Senator John Ensign’s May resignation. In that special election Republican Mark Amodei looks to be a slam dunk in what was once considered a tight race but is now considered an impossibility for Democrats to pick up.

But the real story of the day is shaping up to be the special election in New York’s 9th congressional district. There, a district that as been held by Democrats since the 1920’s is about to fall into Republican hands.  And while Republicans have not recently had great success in special elections to fill vacant congressional seats in New York state, NY-9 seems ready to make up for that.

While Turner’s victory is not a sure thing, polls and the prevailing winds indicate that he is a likely winner. According to the most recent Public Policy Polling survey the race stands as follows:

  • Bob Turner (R) 47%
  • David Weprin (D) 41%
  • Christopher Hoeppner (S) 4%
  • Undecided 7%

But the story here is not merely that a Republican is about to take a seat away from Democrats that they have held for nearly a century, but rather that traditional Democrat constituencies are showing their dissatisfaction with President Obama and are sending a protest vote. Hence the reason for keeping President Obama as far away from this race as humanly possible. That story is explained by a deeper look at the most recent PPP poll of the 9th district. Republican Bob Turner has the support of as many as 29% of the Democrat vote, while Democrat David Weprin has a 58% share. Right there you can see that things are out of whack. Democrats in New York City typically back their Party nominee in numbers approaching 80% or more.

When it comes to Turner, he is receiving 83% of the Republican vote while a mere 10% support Weprin.

But some of the most startling and important stats come from the districts heavy Jewish population and those voters who consider themselves to be independent. In the case of Jewish voters, their dislike for President Obama’s policies regarding Israel seem to be so strong, that Weprin, an incumbent Democrat Assembly and orthodox Jew is hemorrhaging support from his own religious community.

Those results are as follows:

Among Jewish Voters

  • Bob Turner (R) 56%
  • David Weprin (D) 39%
  • Christopher Hoeppner (S) 2%
  • Undecided 4%

While all elections are mere snapshots of the moment, those type of numbers are the one thing that offer a sure sign of trouble for President Obama in 2012. His handling of Israel is dividing the support the Jewish support that Democrats traditionally receive a large portion of their support from.

As for the all independent vote that is breaking 58% for Repubican bob Turner to Weprin’s 26%.

All of these numbers come down to one thing. This election is really not between Turner and Weprin at all. As it turns out the vote is between two sentiments…………..are you happy with the way things are going or are you dissatisfied by President Obama and his liberal policies?

The answer to that question is that voters are pissed. And Democrats know it. As evident in the following numbers from the same PPP poll that has Turner ahead of Weprin, unfortunately for Weprin, it’s the President’s numbers that are driving this race

Do you approve or disapprove of President Barack Obama’s job performance?

  • Approve 31%
  • Disapprove 56%

Among Men

  • Approve 27%
  • Disapprove 63%

Among Women

  • Approve 35%
  • Disapprove 49%

Among Jewish Voters

  • Approve 26%
  • Disapprove 62%

Do you approve or disapprove of Barack Obama’s leadership on Israel?

  • Approve 30%
  • Disapprove 54%

Among Democrats

  • Approve 42%
  • Disapprove 40%

Among Republicans

  • Approve 13%
  • Disapprove 78%

Among Independents

  • Approve 13%
  • Disapprove 66%

Among Jewish Voters

  • Approve 22%
  • Disapprove 68%

How important was the issue of Israel in deciding who to vote for Congress: very important, somewhat important, or not all that important?

  • Very important 37%
  • Somewhat important 32%
  • Not all that important 29%
  • Among Jewish Voters
  • Very important 58%
  • Somewhat important 30%
  • Not all that important 11%

Insofar as the outlook for President Obama in 2012, in 2008 he won the 9th C.D. with 55% of the vote to John McCain’s 44% but when asked about the 2012 presidential election, President Obama is not yet anywhere near as strong now.

2012 Presidential Election

  • Mitt Romney 46%
  • Barack Obama 42%
  • Barack Obama 44%
  • Rick Perry 43%

Among Jewish Voters

  • Mitt Romney 52%
  • Barack Obama 38%
  • Rick Perry 47%
  • Barack Obama 43%

The voters of New York’s 9th Congressional District have not suddenly changed ideologies and gone from believing that government doesn’t do enough to believing that it does too much. They remain largely supportive of Democrat policies but in the eyes of NY Democrats, there is a disconnect between the President and liberal policies. Right now they are not blaming his ideology for failing them, they are blaming him for failing to do a good job. As such, they are taking their frustrations out on David Weprin.  Such sentiments are so much as directly stated in the following video of voters who who turned out for today’s election.

That is just one of the reasons why Democrats have not brought President Obama into this district. Apparently, they have learned from the 2010 special election to replace Ted Kennedy in the U.S. Senate. In that race President Obama was brought in to energize the base and motivate independent Massachusetts voters to turn out and vote for liberal Martha Coakley. As it turned out, they instead stayed home while the rest of angry electorate came out to support Republican Scott Brown and reject Barack Obama.

Now as we head into the 2012 election, NY-9 is showing us that if anything, that sentiment which swept Scott Brown into office has not changed and may have in fact built even more momentum.

Turnout is Critical

Republican Bob Turner can still lose this race. In fact the chances are very good that he will lose. Special elections usually come down to the Get Out the Vote operation and in that area, Weprin and Democrats have that aspect of the election wrapped up. With quite robust Democrat organizations in New York City as compared to the meager Republican organization in New York City, combined with the assistance of concentrated, organized efforts by unions, the Weprin campaign can out organize the Turner campaign. But at the same time anger is a strong motivational tool and the voters of the 9thare angry at President Obama. That could make it so that there are very few voters for Democrat GOTV efforts to drive to the polls.

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