"Republicans could face some complications as well. You know, President Obama still has the veto power and he can overrule any attempt to undo his health care bill. One big question is whether Republicans will try to hack away at the bill by gumming up the works through the appropriations process and stopping its provisions from going into effect. That could result in Washington gridlock, which is exactly what the voters don't want." - Sheryl Gay Stolberg on the November 3 edition of TimesCast, the paper's daily video news briefing.
"'Breaking New Ground: Presenting the George W. Bush Presidential Center,' an exhibit set to open this weekend on the campus of Southern Methodist University, prominently features the handgun taken from Saddam Hussein and the loudspeaker used to address rescue workers at the World Trade Center in September 2001. The choice of mementos, emphasizing some of the more controversial foreign policy aspects of the Bush presidency, has reinvigorated opposition to the center's presence at the university...The new opening exhibit, some Methodist leaders said, provides a disturbing first glimpse into the presidential center's priorities." - Reporter Michael Brick, October 22.
"That wave of anger began with the parallel 2008 cataclysms of the economy's collapse and Barack Obama's ascension. The mood has not subsided since. But in the final stretch of 2010, the radical right's anger is becoming less focused, more free-floating - more likely to be aimed at 'government' in general, whatever the location or officials in charge. The anger is also more likely to claim minorities like gays, Latinos and Muslims as collateral damage." - Columnist Frank Rich, October 17.
"In 2006, conservative activists repeatedly claimed that the problem of people casting fraudulent votes was so widespread that it was corrupting the political process and possibly costing their candidates victories. The accusations turned out to be largely false, but they led to a heated debate, with voting rights groups claiming that the accusations were crippling voter registration drives and squelching turnout." - Reporter Ian Urbina, October 27.
"John Boehner cries. He's not the only one."
"Pranksters hijack Sarah Palin's and Glenn Beck's Facebook pages. The giveaway was all the correct grammar." - Two of Henry Alford's jokes in his post-election"Crib Sheet" column, November 4. (The print edition softens the joke: "John Boehner cries. His shirt is stained orange.")
"An unprecedented vote to remove three Iowa Supreme Court justices who were part of the unanimous decision that legalized same-sex marriage in the state was celebrated by conservatives as a popular rebuke of judicial overreach, even as it alarmed proponents of an independent judiciary." - Kansas City bureau chief A.G. Sulzberger, November 4.
"Unlike the 2008 election, when liberals celebrated the politics of hope and change to address the country's problems and some conservatives began to embrace what would become the Tea Party's brand of revolution, Tuesday's contests were underscored by a deep sense of malaise on all sides....Adding to the grim feel in many polling places was the realization that the most expensive midterm election in history - a record $3.8 billion was spent - brought what appeared to be a new low in civil discourse, voters said." - Reporter Kim Severson, November 3.
"I thought what Janet [Elder] said was interesting about voters being willing to vote for untested or extreme candidates. Well they're going to have a chance in a lot of these House districts. A lot of people with no previous political experience and people who are pushing, you know, what many people would consider a very conservative if not extreme agenda." - Congressional reporter Carl Hulse on the "Political Points" podcast on nytimes.com October 28.
"Because he serves summonses for a living, owning his own business, [Efrain] Sotelo tends to be the law-and-order type. Because she has taught the children of illegal immigrants and sees how hard-edged policies affect real people, [Shayne] Sotelo tends to be more willing to give." - Reporter March Lacey, October 31 profiling a Hispanic couple divided by Arizona's new immigration law.
"A small number of Republicans, notably Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, have called for sharp reductions to Social Security and Medicare to change the nation's fiscal trajectory. But party leaders and candidates on the stump have largely shunned those proposals, which risk alienating core segments of voters. As a result, the campaign rhetoric has been largely general if not simplistic....Of course, who actually serves in the next Congress could depend on the more simplistic discussion of fiscal issues now dominating the airwaves in campaign commercials." - Reporter David Herszenhorn, October 20.
"In New York City last week to give a standing-room-only lecture about his forthcoming intellectual biography, 'Reading Obama: Dreams, Hopes, and the American Political Tradition,' [Harvard historian James] Kloppenberg explained that he sees Mr. Obama as a kind of philosopher president, a rare breed that can be found only a handful of times in American history." - Arts reporter Patricia Cohen, October 28.
Laugh of the Day: Obama-care Will Save Money
"Republicans are standing by their campaign vows to slash spending for domestic programs immediately by at least one-fifth - $100 billion in a single year - even as many mainstream economists say such deep cuts could further strain the economy and should await its full recovery. Republicans also say they will try to deny money to put Mr. Obama's new health care law into effect, though they have not made clear what they would do to make up the cost savings that would be lost if they succeeded in repealing the law." - Reporter Jackie Calmes, November 5.
"The irony was lost on no one. Senator Russ Feingold, a liberal with a fierce streak of independence who crusaded against the influence of money in politics, was toppled Tuesday in a campaign awash in the kind of unregulated cash he had struggled to keep out of the system. And in a poignant twist, the loss came, in part, because independents flocked to his opponent, despite Mr. Feingold's record of one maverick vote after another." - Reporter Katharine Seelye, November 5.
"In this year's midterm elections, there is no talk of satchels of cash from donors. Nor is there any hint of illegal actions reaching Watergate-like proportions. But the fund-raising practices that earned people convictions in Watergate - giving direct corporate money to a campaign and doing so secretly - are back in a different form in 2010." - Jill Abramson on the front of the October 17 Sunday Week in Review, in a story headlined "Return of the Secret Donors - In 2010, corporate cash, anonymous contributions and other echoes of Watergate."
"If communists have a reputation for anything, it is seriousness. (And if you have seen old photos of Karl Marx, you know that he did not smile much.) But at the Brecht Forum, a community center on West Street where revolutionaries and radicals gather daily to ponder and to pontificate, they also play. (Smiles abound.)....In a city known for cynicism, the Brecht, which survives on donations, is a surprisingly open and idealistic place." - From Channing Joseph's report in the November 7 Metropolitan section.
"There's always some young person, some inventor, and I keep meeting these people any time I travel outside of Wash-they didn't get the word that you're supposed to be depressed, you're supposed to be on your back, you're supposed to be watching Fox TV, you know, and feeling all kind of hate and venom for President Obama. You know, they just didn't get the word." - Columnist Thomas Friedman on the November 8 edition of Charlie Rose's talk show on PBS.
"If I were one of the big corporate donors who bankrolled the Republican tide that carried into office more than 50 new Republicans in the House, I would be wary of what you just bought. For no matter your view of President Obama, he effectively saved capitalism. And for that, he paid a terrible political price." - Reporter turned nytimes.com blogger Timothy Egan in a November 2 posting.