Pamela J. Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona
I was scared and depressed yesterday by the time I left work. Too much talk radio can do that to you, and I don’t listen to the really horrible shows (ie, Jon Justice, Rush, etc.)
It started with Diane Rehm talking about the fate of education in the US if the Tea Baggers make strides in the November election. She asked the US head of the Department of Education what would happen if the Congress voted to eliminate the Department of Education, which is apparently one of their campaign rallying cries.
After she asked that question, the call was dropped. It was almost prophetic. I could hear in Diane’s voice that she felt the same way. Silence… that’s what would happen if they eliminated the Department of Education. Ideas would be lost or not shared– especially unpopular ones. Education would be left to special interest groups– religious, political, cultural– and the melting pot of public education would die, thus creating more inequity, more division, more distrust. Sigh…
Later in the day, on the John C. Scott Show, there was a mixed bag, as usual. He started out with big-wig Republican operative Bruce Ash (grrrrr) gloating about a Republican Congress– as if it were a done deal.
After that Jim Kiser (pro-Charter Change hack) quoting a Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC) poll of a whopping 600 people that concluded 2/3 of Tucsonans are not satisfied with the way the city is being run.
OK, there are some smart people among the SALC membership– including former UA president Peter Likins– so I would expect them to conduct valid surveys … but apparently not. Drawing conclusions for a city of nearly 1 million from a sample of 600 is laughable. Unfortunately, they can get away with it because reporters and talk show hosts never challenge the sampling on surveys, ask exactly what questions were asked, or ask if the findings are statistically significant.
I am particularly suspicious of the Rasmussen polls which are published widely and which regularly offer Ash a reason to gloat (grrr). Their latest poll, which also came out yesterday, reports that Governor Jan Brewer gained 2 points over her challenger Terry Goddard after her disastrous performance in the debate last week. (This seems unbelievable, really.) Again, what question was asked? Is 2 points a significant change? My guess is that 2 points is within the margin of error– so no real change– which is also surprising since she came across as a dolt.
So, after a day of depressing news and bad numbers, I decided to take action and stopped at Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ office on the way home. OK, some times she annoys me with that Blue Dog thing, but maybe she’s just acting that way to appease the Chochise County voters. Anyway, she’s sooooooooooo much more reasonable than Jesse “privatize this” Kelly. It would be a very dark day in Southern Arizona if Kelly were elected. Anyway, I signed up to volunteer for her, as I have in the past. Like Harvey Milk, I won’t give up without a fight.
A glutton for punishment, I watched Keith Olberman online later in the evening, and he actually picked up my spirits significantly.
Last night, Olberman reported Gallup data on whether people would vote for a generic Republican or Democrat for Congress. This question is asked every week. Last week the Republicans were up significantly. This week the 2 parties are in a dead heat– see the graphic above. (So, why was Bruce Ash gloating?) Anyway, Olberman further reported that the lead on that question– generic Republican vs. generic Democrat– has changed 6 times since May 2010.
Anyway, that data doesn’t sound like or look like a referendum against Democrats to me. I believe that some of this midterm election gloom and doom is being fueled by big money from corporations (thanks to the Roberts court decision), ginned up by Faux News, and then repeated by reporters and bloggers to demoralize us.
We can do this, people! Don’t listen to the pundits. Let’s make some phone calls and knock on doors.
UPDATE: In the category of great minds think alike, Blog for Arizona posted a similar article this morning (ahem… a few hours after mine, I must add). Check it out because the AZ Blue Meanie does go into more depth than I did.