Hard News by Russell Brown


And meanwhile ...

Local lefties who want some schadenfreude to pass the time while they wait for a pony need go no further than the case of US Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado, who was thrashed by her Democratic opponent last week -- but has yet to congratulate her opponent or even concede the race.

Clearly, she's taking it hard. And it couldn't have happened to a nastier theocrat. Musgrave was named one of the 10 worst Congressmen by Rolling Stone, which noted that she went from blanking out passages in health textbooks as a school board member, to leading the charge for a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage (which she described as "the most important issue that we face today").

She unsuccessfully pushed a legislative amendment that would have denied runaway teens access to contraception, but drafted a successful amendment blocking a requirement for trigger locks on handguns.

She was later named "Gun Rights Legislator of the Year" by Gun Owners of America, a group that regards the NRA as too soft), and whose leader (a Musgrave donor) was so tied up in white-power and militia groups that he was dropped from the campaign of Pat Buchanan in 1996.

The National Education Association, gave her an 'F' on public education issues, a leading environmental group gave her a 0% rating on conservation issues, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington listed her as one of the "20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress". She refused to return or donate money she received from a PAC run by Tom DeLay after he was indicted on charges related to another PAC. She was an enthusiastic participant in the porkfest that was the House Committee on Agriculture.

Last year, she joined the Congressional Prayer Caucus, whose purpose is to "build a spiritual wall around America" and has declared that the First Amendment does not confer "freedom from religion". She worships at Sarah Palin's old church, the Assemblies of God.

Her margin of defeat was the second-largest of any Republican in 2008.

(Although, it must be said, that is still rather better than our own smacking parties did on Saturday …)

And just to round things out, George W. Bush is set to leave office as the most unpopular US president in the six decades that approval ratings have been recorded.

Pew has some fascinating exit poll numbers on Obama's victory, showing he made gains in virtually every voter group (the exception: over-65s). He also made gains over 04 in nearly every religious sub-group, mostly notably the religious but "unaffiliated" voters.

Perhaps most notably, Obama led the Democrats to a seven-point advantage over Republicans in declared party ID on polling day. Four years ago, they were dead even. The surge in Democratic affiliation has been widely tracked and predicted, but it's interesting to see it show up in an election.


Independent observers' reports, newly revealed by the New York Times, back up the early (and swiftly forgotten) news stories indicating that Georgia's confrontation with Russia this year was provoked by heavy and indiscriminate shelling of the separatist South Ossetian capital by Georgian forces. People are looking again at the role of ace neocon Randy Schneumann, who was for a time this year in the pay of both the Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili and the McCain campaign, where he was a senior foreign policy adviser.


I see some spoilsport has removed the dry little joke on the Labour08 campaign website. Here's the screenshot.


And finally, we're back on deck at Media7, with an election post-mortem featuring Brian Edwards, David Slack and Barry Soper. If you'd like to join us early this evening at The Classic in Queen Street, hit reply and let me know asap.

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