Hope, change, and nutmeg – a us political timeline page 37 alternate history discussion gsa 2016 new orleans


​In Louisiana, Mary Landrieu can celebrate, as the two-term Democratic Senator has won re-election! Landrieu had became increasingly unpopular statewide thanks to what was known as the Crawfish Kickback, where she acquiesced to the inclusion of oil tax break repeal in the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, in exchange for $5 billion in green reconstruction funding for New Orleans. Still, the measure has been exceedingly popular in many areas of the ravaged city of New Orleans, where many of the old dilapidated slums have been rebuilt or renovated into modern buildings, allowing inner-city residents to save considerably on heating and electricity costs. It’s just that the residents in question were already inclined to vote for Landrieu, whereas she lost support statewide thanks to the perception of "more of our hard-working tax dollars going to support those lazy inner-city folks", as one rural Louisiana resident put it. Still, the Democratic tide was enough for her to win re-election by 6% against Jay Dardenne.

The mailers use iconic images from the cartoon strip: Charlie Brown’s yellow shirt with the black zigzag, Lucy’s psychiatric booth and the football that Charlie never manages to kick. They came from the National Republican Congressional Committee in Washington, D.C., and are directed at the Democrat who is challenging Rep. John Doolittle (R-Roseville). The real Brown is a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel who is making a run against the eight-term congressman with a strength that is surprising some political pundits. "Argh!", wails one flier, reproducing the scrawled type of Snoopy’s lament. "We just cant afford Charlie Brown’s tax increase!"

After seeing the mailers for the first time on Monday from a reporter, Monte Schulz dialed his telephone, scanned the mailers and e-mailed them to copyright companies in New York from his Victorian home in Nevada City. "Who should we talk to right now?" he asked into the phone as he bounced a crossed leg. Casual in flannel and sweats, Schulz fiddled with his glasses as he spoke. A framed black-and-white Peanuts cartoon hung above his desk. A Charlie Brown bobblehead grinned from atop an antique wooden bookcase. "They’re nitwits. Doing this shows they’re not that bright", Schulz said. "It’s clearly using Peanuts stuff. I don’t know if its arrogance or ignorance."

At least three mailers were sent out earlier this month to residents of Doolittle’s district in Northern California. "Charlie Brown’s plan is going to cost you … more than five cents", reads the reworked sign above Lucy’s psychiatric booth in one of the mailers. "Good Grief, Charlie Brown … That’s a dangerous plan for California seniors!", the mailer continued. Richard Robinson, spokesman for the Doolittle campaign, said the Congressional Committee by law does not coordinate with the Doolittle campaign. "I don’t think there is any problem whatsoever with the color scheme of the mailers", Robinson said. "I think what should be concerning voters is what the mailers say."

Still, taking a jab at an opponents name is a low blow, said Charlie Brown’s campaigners. "These pieces exemplify the pathetic desperation of our opponent", said Todd Stenhouse, spokesman for the Charlie Brown campaign. "Name assault just goes to show the sleazy characters we’re dealing with."

In 2007, Mississippi was a typical Deep South state – ancestrally Democratic and still controlled by them at the state level, but the conventional wisdom was that it was reddening fast, and the state of affairs couldn’t possibly last. Both of its Senators were Republican and of no small seniority – Trent Lott and Thad Cochran. In the House, the split was 2-2 with Bennie Thompson and Gene Taylor holding seats for the Democrats. Still, the conventional wisdom was that the balance would soon tilt towards Republicans. The 4th Congressional District represented by Taylor was after all one of the most solidly Republican seats represented by a Democrat in the nation, voting Bush 68-31 in 2004; it would only take his retirement or a Republican wave for it to go red.

But the conventional wisdom is often wrong. The next year saw Trent Lott resign and Thad Cochran retire, while sitting Republican Congressmen Chip Pickering and Roger Wicker each sought an upgrade – leaving all of the state’s Republican-held seats effectively empty. To the shock of many observers, Democrats then managed to sweep every single open seat. Come January, Mississippi will be one of the few states in the nation to have all its Congressmen and Senators from a single party (joining Hawaii, North Dakota, New Mexico, West Virginia, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts as completely Democratic states – an eclectic and unusual mix. After the massacre of 2008’s election night, Republicans no longer have any complete delegations to call their own) It’s a shocking turnaround for this Deep South state once thought to be solidly red.

The U.S. Senate race in Georgia this year is not about just another Republican Senator trying to hold on in a tough Republican year. For many people, especially Democrats, it is also about justice, after one of the nastiest campaigns ever run against a candidate for federal office.

The thing is, Mr. Cleland is a decorated Vietnam veteran, who lost an arm and two legs fighting for his country. It was dirty politics at its dirtiest. Mr. Cleland, who gets around with the help of a wheelchair, struggled mightily every day with his war wounds. When he was campaigning and making television appearances, it took him an hour and a half to get dressed. But his injures did not stop the ads — or some of Mr. Chambliss’s supporters from saying even worse.

Still, until recently, nobody thought ex-Congressman John Barrow, Senator Chambliss’s Democratic opponent, could raise much of a challenge. John Barrow is not a flashy guy. He has the demeanor of a deacon, a far cry from Georgia’s history of Talmadges and other flamboyant politicians.