Too bad for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. His stated goal for President Obama's first term was: "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." Oops....
Thankfully, the voters didn't listen to Senator McConnell and on this beautiful, sunny day, the country is coming together to celebrate the 2nd day of the President's second term.
I'm going to be glued to the TV today instead of the computer, but do want to throw out these questions as part of today's open thread:
"What do you think President Obama's top priority should be during his second term?"
"What do you realistically expect him to accomplish?"
Photo credit above: Anthony Daniels, one of the primary organizers of the Madison County Democratic Mens Club. He's in Washington for the celebration & we hope he's having a wonderful time!
As the nation prepares for the 57th inauguration of a new President, we have a lot to celebrate! Although emotions ran high and the rhetoric was pretty hot, our citizens accepted the results without violence. In America, we're used to that, but it's certainly not the case in other parts of the world. This election showed the resilience of our political process and our commitment to our political institutions.
Madison County Democrats are planning to do more than feel proud though: they're getting ready to party and everyone is invited!
Here's the flyer with ticket information:
We'll be celebrating many things:
Our chance to move this country forward with a fairer tax code and increased opportunity for all.
The wisdom of the American voters, who saw through the smokescreen of misinformation and elected the candidate who will work for us - not just the 1% at the top & the big money donors.
All the new friends we made during the campaign.
Even though we didn't turn Alabama blue this time, there were victories had, friendships formed, and a foundation for the future was laid.
Is your county party celebrating the Inauguration? Please let us know about it in the comments - or in your own diary.
President Clinton was right: Republicans don't seem to understand even simple arithmetic - like counting votes. The House of Representatives had a meltdown last night when Republicans refused to support Speaker Boehner's "Plan B" budget proposal.
Not that any of this should bother Democrats: "Plan B" was a lousy proposal that protected the wealthy at the expense of the Middle Class. Even loading it up with bright shiny objects like
GOP intransigence has just given President Obama an even stronger negotiating hand: let's hope he plays to win.
The point of the Boehner effort was to secure passage of a Republican plan, then demand that the president and the Senate to take up that measure and pass it, putting off the major fights until early next year when Republicans would conceivably have more leverage because of the need to increase the federal debt limit. [...] That strategy lay in tatters after the Republican implosion.“Some people don’t know how to take yea for an answer,” said Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, a Republican who supported the measure and was open about his disappointment with his colleagues.
Kelly, who finally came around to supporting the plan, was incredulous, according to Republicans in the room. As others headed for the door, Kelly raced to the front of the room and grabbed the microphone.
“Really,” he screamed, according to Republicans. “We can’t support our speaker?”
Any compromise will need substantial Democratic support. Although the president needs the speaker to allow legislation to come to a vote in the GOP-controlled House, Boehner emerges in a weakened position and has little leverage to demand further concessions. His Senate counterpart, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), will need to decide whether to become a final line of defense against Obama or step aside for a Democratic-led plan. [...] The Boehner bill excluded other expiring provisions, including college and child tax credits, first approved under Obama in 2009. That meant that Plan B would have raised taxes on low- and moderate-income households that claim those credits.
It's looking more and more likely that there will be a leadership fight when the House reconvenes - assuming Boehner even wants the job of Speaker again.
If nothing else, this is going to be fun to watch.
As if we needed a poll to tell us this.... PPP has found that Republicans aren't handling the election results very well. In fact, they're so unhinged by the loss that 49% believe an out-of-business grassroots advocacy group managed to win against the combined financial might of the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson. If that's the case then a lot of Republican contributors need to be asking for their money back.
Here are the results of the PPP survey:
49% of GOP voters nationally say they think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama. We found that 52% of Republicans thought that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama, so this is a modest decline, but perhaps smaller than might have been expected given that ACORN doesn't exist anymore.
Some GOP voters are so unhappy with the outcome that they no longer care to be a part of the United States. 25% of Republicans say they would like their state to secede from the union compared to 56% who want to stay and 19% who aren't sure.
Here's the thing about ACORN... they closed all their offices in the spring of 2010. It takes a seasoned conspiracy theorist to blame a defunct group for an electoral loss of this magnitude.
Do these loyalists really think the Republican Party is so inept that, in spite of the best efforts of their party's best & brightest strategists, they can't win against a small advocacy group that disbanded 2 years ago?
If that's the case, then damn... I'd be pretty mad about the election too!
And let's just toss this nugget in for fun:
25% of Republicans say they would like their state to secede from the union compared to 56% who want to stay and 19% who aren't sure.
So a quarter of Republicans want to secede and almost that number "aren't sure." Aren't sure????
Hey, nothing says "I Love America!" more convincingly than, well, not wanting to be part of it anymore.... right?
David Lightman at McClatchy newspapers has done actual journalism and added some context to the "fiscal cliff" debate. We could paraphrase, cut and paste, but the best thing to do is for y'all to read the whole thing yourselves.
Here's a taste:
Blame them or thank them, it was the Republicans who forced a series of budget moves over the last decade that now are bringing the government to a breaking point that threatens sweeping tax increases and indiscriminate spending cuts that could plunge the country back into recession.
Part of it was a political gimmick, working the rules of the Senate to push through sweeping tax cuts in a way Republicans later would lambaste when President Barack Obama’s Democrats used the same tactic to enact the new health care law. The legislative gimmick got the tax cuts through Congress, but it made them the first such tax cuts with an expiration date. Those temporary tax cuts are expiring.
Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/11/29/175922/fiscal-cliff-crisis-made-in-the.html#storylink=cpy
Surely the GOP will hate such a frank discussion of actual historical data, but it's important for the "reality based community" to have the facts.
Please read and share this whole article. Sadly, it's remarkable only because it's the context and reporting we used to expect of journalists.
The GOP propensity for denial is, well, undeniably clear and their "proposals" for avoiding the "fiscal cliff" (of their own creation) are just plain laughable. Democratic consultant Bob Shrum put it best: "You lost the election, buddy."
In this video clip, Shrum answers Senator Ron Johnson (WI-TEA Party) who had suggested the best way to save money is to "repeal Obamacare." Which mystifies those of us in the "reality based community" since the CBO concluded that repealing the law will increase the deficit:
But it did estimate that Republican legislation to repeal the overhaul — passed recently by the House — would itself boost the deficit by $109 billion from 2013 to 2022.
"Repealing the (health care law) will lead to an increase in budget deficits over the coming decade, though a smaller one than previously reported," budget office director Douglas Elmendorf said in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
Yet, Johnson and others - including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell continue to insist that Obamacare should be "on the table" during negotiations with the White House.
McCONNELL: And as Congress looks for savings, we need to look at the new health care entitlements too. While Democrats and Republicans may disagree on Obamacare, it’s ridiculous to suggest that we make changes to Medicare and Medicaid, while leaving $1.6 trillion in Obamacare spending untouched.
Is McConnell actually the Senator from Fantasyland? Could be: in 2011 his home state - Kentucky - cut spending on education, health care, and more but found an extra $37 million to fund a Biblical theme park with a 500 ft Noah's Ark replica.
Note that the Affordable Care Act isn't the only thing on the GOP chopping block. They're coming after Medicare too - just a few short months after GOP nominee Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan barnstormed the swing states continually repeating the "Pants on Fire" lie that the President "gutted Medicare to pay for Obamacare."
Republicans are proposing a “fiscal cliff” plan that revives ideas from failed budget talks with President Barack Obama last year, calling for raising the eligibility age for Medicare, lowering cost-of-living hikes for Social Security benefits and bringing in $800 billion in higher tax revenue.
That $800 billion in higher tax revenue contains "unspecified" closures to loopholes and deductions, but it at least represents a tiny, baby step toward reality. In October, the GOP was insisting that any increases in tax revenue come from "dynamic scoring:"
Boehner signaled in discussions with Obama in 2011 that he was willing to accept up to $800 billion in higher tax revenues, but his aides maintained that much of that money would have come from so-called dynamic scoring — a conservative approach in which economic growth would have accounted for much of the revenue. Now, Boehner is willing to accept the estimates of official scorekeepers like the Congressional Budget Office, whose models reject dynamic scoring.
Just so we're all clear on what's going on here....
The GOP lost the election, garnering only Mitt Romney's famous 47% of the popular vote. The public voted NO yet again on a "protect the wealthy" budget plan. Thurston Howell Romney may be home now pumping his own gas into his new Croatian-made Audi luxury SUV, but the GOP leadership is still carrying the water for their dark money masters.
So Obama is trying out a new negotiating approach. Back during the debates on the stimulus, health care and the debt ceiling, he tried to find common ground by making concessions to the Republicans upfront.
This time, Obama is trying a new tack. He opened the fiscal cliff negotiations with a maximalist bid — and a public campaign to voters outside Washington.
Predictably, the GOP whines about that. After all, why should ordinary Americans have a say in their future?
The Party of No has shown over and over that President Obama's only reward for a good faith reach across the aisle is a slap in the face. John Edwards warned about this in 2008 during the primary when he criticized candidate Obama for his "give everyone a seat at the table" plan. "I've worked with these people," Edwards said. "And if you give them a seat at the table, the first thing they'll do is eat all the food."
Here's hoping that the Democratic leadership has finally earned this lesson. It's time to let the TEA Party tiger go hungry and get on with the business of moving this country forward.
Much post-election commentary has focused on the GOP's demographic problem - particularly with Hispanic/Latino voters. But Dave Troy pinpoints another trouble spot in a fascinating post at his blog: cities. Troy cites population density as a top indicator of voting patterns and concludes that "red states are just underdeveloped blue states."
Curious about the correlation between population density and voting behavior, I began with analyzing the election results from the least and most dense counties and county equivalents. 98% of the 50 most dense counties voted Obama. 98% of the 50 least dense counties voted for Romney.
Troy examined the data and found the "crossover point." It's at approximately 800 people per square mile:
At about 800 people per square mile, people switch from voting primarily Republican to voting primarily Democratic. Put another way, below 800 people per square mile, there is a 66% chance that you voted Republican. Above 800 people per square mile, there is a 66% chance that you voted Democrat. A 66% preference is a clear, dominant majority.
Another, more complex chart that doesn't lend itself to being downsized (so please check it out at his blog), points out the main difference between the "blue" and "red" states. The latter have very few cities, but the cities that are in those states tend to skew Democratic. Examples include:
Salt Lake City, Utah
And, closer to home.... Birmingham - where the GOP candidates were decimated last month.
The Atlantic Cities touched on Troy's article and reminded us that John Judas predicted this almost a decade ago. In his book, The Emerging Democratic Majority, Judas wrote that new Democratic strongholds would be based on what what some observers call "the creative class" and the white working class: (p143)
... it does lie in the new workforce of postindustrial America and in the fast-growing metropolitan areas where they live and work. The key for Democratis will be in synthesizing Greenberg and Penn, - in discovering a strategy that retains support among the white working class, but also builds support among college-educated professionals and others in America's burgeoning ideopolises. To do that, they don't have to choose between a populist politics and a politics that emphasizes the "quality of life." They can do both, as Clinton began to demonstrate in 1996, but as Gore failed to do in 2000, largely because of factors that had nothing to do with the appeal of his politics. The Democrats' future, and the promise of its new majority, lies in the rough synthesis represented by this progressive centrism.
In her book "Carry Me Home," a history of the Civil Rights movement in Birmingham, Diane McWhorter made much the same point the importance of educated citizens. She wrote about the decline of Bull Connor and his savage tactics, noting that the tipping point in Birmingham happened when large numbers of more educated residents were drawn to the city by UAB, hospitals, financial services, etc. Many of these people supported civil rights, but even those who weren't totally sympathetic to the the protestors were not willing to live in a city torn by strife and one with such a terrible national image.
A friend from Birmingham who's very active in the Democratic Party has insisted for years that the only way to put the ADP back in the game is to focus first on the cities: Huntsville, Birmingham, Mobile, & Montgomery. He's tired of the stranglehold that rural legislators have on the state government and wants the more urban county parties to work together to build an alternative.
So what do you think? Is Alabama just an underdeveloped blue state? The voting patterns in many of our cities mirror the national results in 2012.
Other formerly solid "red" states are slowly turning purple. Why not us? And how will we do it?
The cathouse family is in Huntsville tonight at "The Improv" - an awesome venue that's reminiscent of a 1930's jazz club. There's a crowd building steadily, multiple TVs showing returns, and anxious Democrats. Daddycat dropped by the party taking place at Madison County Democratic HQ and found a hopping place with media interviews, speeches, and yes.... anxious Democrats!
Where are you tonight and what's going on in your corner of the state?
Use this as an open thread to discuss returns - local, state, and national. I'll try to check in, but try to avoid the danger inherent in "BWD" or " Blogging While Drinking.... You never know what the fingers might reveal!
How much have times changed? A lot. I missed segregated Alabama schools by just a few years & thankfully was too small to see many disturbing moments of the Civil Rights Movement. So my "normal" is far different than that of those just a decade or two older.
And this divide was made incredibly clear to me in 2004. We were at Democratic HQ, desperately rushing for the finish line, and cautiously optimistic about Kerry's chances. It was so close and so important that I let myself be dragooned into making phone calls - an activity that, like Roboticcats, I generally avoid like the plague.
This one phone call made it all worthwhile.
We were working off call sheets that gave us the voter's name, age, sex, race, date they registered, and how often they'd voted during the past 2-3 cycles. I dialed a very nice, 80+ year old black lady. She answered, and I began my spiel, which went something like this:
"I'm a volunteer at Democratic headquarters and just wanted to remind you that Tuesday is election day and your vote is important! Do you have any questions or do you need a ride to the polls?"
She had no questions and her granddaughter was driving her, but she didn't want to hang up right away. I was used to this: older voters often liked to chat with a friendly voice. She asked if she could tell me a little story.... well, of course you can, ma'am!
"Now I don't know if you know it, but I'm getting on in years. (yes, I did know that, but didn't share) And when I was younger, we had some bad times in this country - really bad for the colored folks...... (her voice trailed off for a few seconds) And hon, I just want you to know that it does my old heart good to have a sweet young white girl call me up and tell my that my vote's important!"
I hooted with laughter at that and replied. "Mrs. ____, you don't know how great it is to have somebody call me young! I'm over 40 years old!"
It was her turn to laugh. "Is that all? You're just a young 'un!"
I think about this lady when I get so discouraged at the state of politics in this state and in the country. It's really easy to get cynical and just want to disengage from the whole sorry spectacle.
But the reason we've come this far is because of the efforts of the generations who came before us. They didn't give up. They fought for justice & equality and moved us forward. We owe the same commitment to our children and grandchildren.
Think your voice doesn't matter and your single vote doesn't mean much? People fought and died to ensure your right to both. Honor their memories tomorrow and show up at the polls.
And take a couple of people with you. This not-so-sweet & not-so-young white girl is reminding you that your vote's important!
Oh my... desperate to turn the conversation away from many uncomfortable topics, the GOP noise machine is frantically trying to change the subject. It's bad enuogh that they trotted out Mr. Michael "Heckuvajob Brownie" to criticize the President & FEMA. The complaint? They were "too quick to react."
Yesterday, ahead of the storm’s pummeling of the eastern seaboard, Brown gave an interview to the local alternative paper, the Denver Westword, on how he believed the Obama administration was responding to Sandy too quickly and that Obama had spoken to the press about Sandy’s potential effect too early.
Well, if anybody knows the danger of responding to a national disaster too quickly, it has to be Brownie, right? After all, this is the guy who managed the singular achievement of being fired from the GW Bush Administration for incompetence.... Remember: even Donald Rumsfeld got to resign!
Meanwhile, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee warns that if people vote for Republicans, they can expect to go to Hell:
HUCKABEE: Many issues are at stake, but some issues are not negotiable: The right to life from conception to natural death. Marriage should be reinforced, not redefined. It is an egregious violation of our cherished principle of religious liberty for the government to force the Church to buy the kind of insurance that leads to the taking of innocent human life.
Your vote will affect the future and be recorded in eternity. Will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire? This is Mike Huckabee asking you to join me November 6th and vote based on values that will stand the test of fire.
That's right, campers! Will you listen to the "horse show professional" who criticizes FEMA & the Fox News guy who'll send you to Hell? Or will you look at the issues and decide which candidate has standards, values, & who actually cares about 100% of the country?
Less than a week until the election. What are you doing to help re-elect President Obama and a Democratic Congress?
Last week, McCain was in Indiana campaigning for Mourdock, who won the Republican nomination by beating the man McCain backed, veteran Sen. Richard Lugar.
Asked if he’s still backing Mourdock following his rape comments Wednesday, McCain instead backed far away from him.
“It depends on what he does. I think it depends on what he does,” McCain said. McCain said that “if he apologizes and says he misspoke and he was wrong and he asks the people to forgive him,” the Arizona Senator would get behind him again.
McCain's statement gives us another opportunity to feel a bit nostalgic for presidential candidate McCain. The man seems to have some standards - unlike his party's nominee this year:
McCain’s response to Mourdock is markedly different from Romney’s as well as many of the other national Republicans who stood behind him as the story unfolded today. Romney, who’s starring in a statewide ad campaign on Mourdock’s behalf, repudiated Mourdock’s comments but promised to stick by him and declined to call on Mourdock to take the TV ads off the air.
“We disagree on the policy regarding exceptions for rape and incest but still support him,” a Romney spokesperson told the New York Observer.
Powell said Romney's solution to the economy is "essentially let's cut taxes and compensate for that with other things," adding that the compensation doesn't cover all the cuts.
On foreign policy, Powell called Romney a "moving target" who contradicted his previous positions in Monday night's foreign policy debate, including on when to pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Conversely, Powell said he approved of Obama's move to get us out of those countries and said his efforts to protect the United States from terrorism have been "very, very solid."
You can see why the man was a successful diplomat. Romney a "moving target?" That's a much kinder description than the more accurate one that includes the words "soulless opportunist," "serial liar," "no core values," etc. etc.
Hey, we're 12 days away from the election! What are you doing today to help elect Democrats?
Video and transcript of Colin Powell's endorsement are below the fold.
Poor Mitt Romney. First he's a pro-choice Massachusetts governor who reformed health care with an insurance mandate. Then he was a "severely conservative" wingnut desperate to appeal to the GOP base. Now, he's swinging back towards the left.
But who believes he's serious?
Not President Obama. He recognizes this behavior for what it really is: a sickness. A tragic illness that's affected the GOP presidential nominee....
The candidate who wants to "fire Big bird" is also "too busy" to participate in the Nickelodeon's quadrennial "Kids Pick the President" TV special. It's a non-partisan event where presidential candidates answer questions from children.
“Kids Pick the President: The Candidates,” with videotaped questions for the candidates from youngsters nationwide, debuts Oct. 15 on the children’s channel. Afterward, an online poll asks kids to make their pick.
Romney’s campaign said “he simply didn’t have time. He couldn’t fit it in his schedule,” Ellerbee said Monday. [...] The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to email and phone requests for comment.
After the Q&A session, kids are invited to vote online and have shown surprising accuracy. They chose the winner in 5 of the last 6 elections. It won't be long before they're voting in real elections.
How can this possibly be a good campaign strategy for Romney? First Big Bird... now Nick.
When is a poll not a poll? When "World Net Daily" conducts it and requires your personal data in order to respond and have your opinion shared with "major news networks & opinion leaders." While at a favorite national political Web site (DailyKos), I noticed a banner ad asking my my opinion on the Obama presidency & re-election effort. One click later, and I'm in wingnut la la land. Here's the intro & first question:
Now, I clicked the first radio button without a second thought, but then perused the other options. All I can say is "WOW. Thanks for this creepy glance into the extremist GOP mindset..."
I couldn't submit my opinion without sharing personal contact info. NOPE. The "major news networks" will have to do without my pearls of wisdom....
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Call it the curse of Fox News or just sheer, willful ignorance, but a recent Public Policy Poll found that 15% of Ohio Republicans surveyed said Mitt Romney deserves more credit for killing Bin Laden than does President Obama. As PPP noted on their Twitter account:
The reason for the Osama bin Laden question was to see if Republican voters would give credit to Obama for anything. Evidently answer is no.
While the GOP candidate himself has made no such claim - perhaps because he scornfully noted in 2007: "...it’s not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person" - he does have a history of taking credit for other successful things that he wasn't part of - like the auto bailout.
Many thanks to the Alabama GOP for proving yet again that it provides a warm welcome to current & former Dixiecrats. Speaker Mike Hubbard has convened a "Speaker’s Commission on the Protection of Alabama Values and States Rights" to discuss next year's legislative agenda. Hmmm.... where else have I heard that phrase? It sounds so familiar, like a common phrase from my childhood in Alabama....
During the heyday of the African-American civil rights movement, the term "states' rights" was used as a code word by defenders of segregation. In 1948 it was the official name of the "Dixiecrat" party led by white supremacist presidential candidate Strom Thurmond. Democratic governor George Wallace, of Alabama, who famously declared in his inaugural address in 1962, "Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!"—later remarked that he should have said, "States' rights now! States' rights tomorrow! States' rights forever!"
Wallace, however, claimed that segregation was but one issue symbolic of a larger struggle for states' rights; in that view, which some historians dispute, his replacement of segregation with states' rights would be more of a clarification than a euphemism
Now, Speaker Hubbard will no doubt deny any ulterior motive here.
Hubbard said he chose to include the term “states rights” because he says conservative states are battling Washington. “We are the last line of defense against the federal government,” he said.
How is he planning to "defend" us?
Those issues include illegal immigration, the Affordable Care Act, religious liberties, anti-abortion initiatives, taxpayer rights and Second Amendment protections. “These are issues that will be presented to our (GOP) caucus for consideration,” Hubbard said.
Move along... nothing new here. Just the same old crap that the AL GOP has been pushing for years. The most interesting thing is that Hubbard's language is starting to mirror that of the presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt Romney.
So now the money you paid for your guaranteed health care is going to a massive new government program that’s not for you.
Then, the fact-challenged Romneybot continued with a claim that earned a Politifact "pants on fire" rating. The intent is clear: stoke class resentment.
“Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work,” the ad says. “They just send you your welfare check.”
There's no secret what's happening. Unable to win on the issues, both the national and state GOP are returning to the politics of resentment:
For an election that’s supposed to be all about the economy, the Romney campaign is suddenly leaning very hard on a more traditional politics of resentment right out of an older GOP playbook.
Hey, as long at Hubbard, Romney, & the GOP can blame the poor for the problems of middle & working class voters, they can hope that those same voters won't notice that every single GOP economic policy benefits the 1% at the expense of the rest of us.
Bucking conventional wisdom & the narrative presented by the DC chattering class, recent polls are giving the Democrats a real shot at taking back the House in November. However, the current lead may not hold once Karl Rove & the Koch Brothers start paying attention: a huge dump of dark money could tilt close races. That's why we need the Democrats in safe districts to help their fellow Democrats win.
Incumbent Democrats in safe districts are sitting on more than $63 million in cash. They should be helping their counterparts in swing districts win elections. Because our goal is to win elections & put more (and better) Democrats in office, right?
There's no prize for having the biggest war chest of member of the minority party.
Democracy For America needs you so sign a petition urging these candidates to help their fellow Democrats win.
After his "European Vacation" debacle, the "Romneybot" is so in need of a new operating system that the campaign doesn't even bother to deny it. In fact, they're making this promise to voters: on 11/6/2012 - Romney will get an "upgrade."
Don't believe me? It's on his campaign home page:
Let's not kid ourselves that the "upgrade" will actually be a return to a previous incarnation of the Romneybot. Don't expect the pro-choice, pro-marriage equality, "health care for all" guy who ran against Ted Kennedy & later became governor of Massachusetts.
Because South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint told the National Review that the TEA Party fix is in:
“If we get the [Senate] majority and the White House, we have got to pass a budget that sets up the structure, through reconciliation, to repeal Obamacare by killing the mandate,” he says. He also wants to “totally redo our tax code,” put “Medicare on a sustainable course,” and “deal with Social Security.” But should Republicans win then stumble, “it’d be betrayal to our country.”
“We need to do it in the first 100 days,” DeMint says. “[Mitt] Romney has told me, face to face, that he knows that he needs to get these things done right away. He is looking at this as a one-term proposition.”