Category Archives: midterm elections

>Mad Money


Sorry for the blockquote snafu. The links were correct but part of an excerpt was not. That’s what I get for blogging in a hurry!


Who will be the winner of this electoral horse race?

All summer long we’ve been told that the Democrats are dooooomed, that we’re going to see a resurgent Republican Party in November. We’re getting fear porn about Obama impeachment hearings and House Republicans shutting down the government if they gain the majority.

But wait a minute. Now it looks like all of that Republican drape-measuring was a tad premature:

By now, Republicans had hoped to put away a first layer of Democrats and set their sights on a second tier of incumbents. But the fight for control of Congress is more fluid than it seemed at Labor Day, with Democrats mounting strong resistance in some parts of the country as they try to hold off a potential Republican wave in November.

The chances of a Republican takeover in the House remain far greater than in the Senate, according to a race-by-race analysis by The New York Times. But enough contests remain in flux that both parties head into the final four weeks of the campaign with the ability to change the dynamic before Election Day.

Over on the Senate, Republican takeover hopes look even more dim:

Senate Republicans expressed confidence they’d pick up at least six seats this fall, but were more careful in predicting results for seven other races that will determine the Senate majority.


A gain of six seats would be a nice boost for the Senate GOP, but would fall short of expectations for even greater gains. Republicans are competitive in another seven states where Senate seats are now held by Democrats, and Democrats would retain a 53-47 advantage if the GOP gains only six seats.

Wow, if you’d been listening to the corporate news media these past few months, you’d think a Republican takeover was a foregone conclusion. I wonder why that is?

Maybe it has something to do with this:

The $80 million spent so far by groups outside the Democratic and Republican parties dwarfs the $16 million spent at this point for the 2006 midterms. In that election, the vast majority of money – more than 90 percent – was disclosed along with donors’ identities. This year, that figure has fallen to less than half of the total, according to data analyzed by The Washington Post.

The trends amount to a spending frenzy conducted largely in the shadows.

The bulk of the money is being spent by conservatives, who have swamped their Democratic-aligned competition by 7 to 1 in recent weeks. The wave of spending is made possible in part by a series of Supreme Court rulings unleashing the ability of corporations and interest groups to spend money on politics. Conservative operatives also say they are riding the support of donors upset with Democratic policies they perceive as anti-business.

The 2010 midterms are on track to become the most expensive in our history, which is no big shocker. It is a feature, not a bug: the tighter the horse race, the more ads the campaigns need to buy. Tens of millions of dollars flooding into media coffers. And you wondered why we don’t have public financing of our elections! Silly, silly reader.

So who will be the winner of the 2010 midterms? Why the media, of course!


Filed under media, midterm elections

>“We Were The Messengers … We Were Your Friends … We Were Trying To Look Out For You”

>See if we do that again. Scapegoating your own base for when you lose elections is really, really uncool.

Apparently the base being pissed off has been spun into the base not voting. I’m not sure where that’s coming from, but I’d say the base is going to vote. They may hold their nose and vote Democrat, they may vote third party or write-in. But the people you need to worry about showing up to vote in November is not the base, it’s the vast number of people who usually don’t vote in midterms — the people you need the base to devote their weekends to reaching.

Hurling insults at the very people you need to knock on doors the next four weekends is not going to help your cause.


Filed under Democratic Party, midterm elections

>Why I Am Not Sufficiently Enthusiastic

>No one can rant like Athenae:

You know what else dampens the fuck out of my enthusiasm? Talking all the goddamn time about how insufficiently enthusiastic I am. I mean, quit bitching about how I’m not excited and go fucking do some stuff to get me excited. God.

Yeah, I can dig that. You know what dampens the fuck out of my enthusiasm? Shit like this:

Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, said Thursday that she would block confirmation of President Obama’s new budget director until the administration lifts the moratorium on deep-water oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Ms. Landrieu, a steadfast supporter of the oil and gas industry, said that although she believes that Jack Lew is qualified to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget, she will place a hold on the nomination as long as the drilling pause is in place. The moratorium is set to expire on Nov. 30, although Department of Interior officials have hinted that it may be lifted sooner.

Setting aside for a moment the fact that the moratorium affects just 33 rigs while thousands in the Gulf of Mexico chug merrily along, let me just say: WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING?! You’re going to hold hostage a key nomination presented by the President who is a member of your own fucking party over 33 oil rigs? After your state has just been devastated by the country’s worst oil spill? Ever?

Son. Of. A. Bitch.

Hey Democrats: This is why I’m not busting my hump hosting house parties and writing checks and making phone calls and knocking on doors for you. What kind of caucus is this? Can you not get your shit together for one goddamn month?

The buzzword of this election season is “enthusiasm gap,” and you’ve got an angry and disillusioned Democratic base, yet this is the perfect time for Mary Landrieu–who is not up for re-election–to step forward and demand obeisance? On her pet issue which the Democratic base deplores? Seriously?

Are you fucking serious?

I’m so over this shit I could spit. Instead of calling me “fucking retarded” or bemoaning the fact that I’m not sufficiently enthusiastic to volunteer for your GOTV campaign and spend my weekends knocking on doors, maybe you should go fucking do some stuff to get me excited. Like, for starters, telling Mary Landrieu to save her pity party over 33 deepwater oil rigs for after the election.



Filed under Democratic Party, midterm elections, rants

>Midterm Messaging

>It’s been interesting to watch the narrative take shape regarding the midterms. For the past few months the pundits and media types seem to be in agreement that a Republican sweep of Congress is a foregone conclusion. I’m not so sure, and I’m glad to see Nate Silver debunk some of the conventional wisdom, as well.

One oft-repeated line we hear is that there is an “enthusiasm gap” because the Democratic base is not “fired up.” Writes Silver:

Late in a political cycle, it tends to be easier to motivate a voter than to persuade him, and the Democrats do have some rallying points with their base like the health care bill (even if they are hush-hush about some of the same points when independents are in the room). They also have, as a consequence of the huge reach of President Obama’s campaign in 2008, very good voter lists and databases. There is actually some evidence that Democrats closed their enthusiasm gap late in elections like Massachusetts and the New Jersey governor’s race of 2009, even if they ultimately lost them. And the Democrats have won a couple of elections with strong base support, like the special election in May in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District. Still, the pluralistic nature of the Democratic base tends to make it harder to rally, and much of the party’s work work — even if it were eventually to succeed – remains to be done.

I know the Democratic Party is worried about this supposed “enthusiasm gap” because I keep getting e-mails trying to scare me into voting this year. They point out how scary and fringey the Tea Party candidates are, what wackadoodles Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are, blah blah.

I happen to think this is a horrible message. For one thing, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck aren’t on the ballot. Instead of trying to motivate the base out of fear of right wing crazies, maybe the Dems should try motivating people based on what they see as their accomplishments. Isn’t it better to get people to vote for something, not against something? By not doing so they seem to be conceding the progressive’s point, which is, “We gave you guys the White House and huge majorities in the House and Senate and instead of the promised change we got some left-leaning tweaks.”

You know, maybe it’s me but I don’t happen to think the liberal base is as stupid and uninformed and clueless as, say, the right-wing base is. We can smell the bullshit and as I’ve said in the past, using Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck to scare us into the voting booth makes some of us think that maybe you helped create the Teanut Brigade just so you could exploit them later.

So no, I don’t need any more e-mails from James Carville trying to psyche me up by pointing out how crazy the Tea Party is. I’m well aware of that. If you want to motivate me, tell me what great things you did and what great things you’re going to do. Because what the party strategists aren’t getting is that the base is pissed off and there’s a sense of “you deserve to lose to a bunch of crazies.” That is what you guys are dealing with. So show us why we’re wrong to be pissed off.

And here’s another thing. I’m not any great political strategist or message manipulator, but I do believe that Tip O’Neill was right when he said all politics is local. So I care less about Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin and more about what is going on in my neighborhood, my city, and my state. So again: if you want to motivate Democrats to the polls, show us what you’ve done, what your plan is, and why your candidates deserve to go to Washington. Simply saying, “because the other side is batshit insane!” isn’t enough.

As for the Republicans, Silver says folks may be overestimating the right’s enthusiasm:

What conservative voters seem to be most engaged by is their distaste for the establishment. But they seem to be somewhat equal-opportunity in this respect, disliking the Republican establishment nearly as much as the Democratic one. So what happens not in a case like Florida where they have nominated a fresh and compelling face in Marco Rubio, but instead in Ohio where they have nominated a familiar and establishment one like Rob Portman? Or in Illinois, where they have nominated a candidate in Mark Kirk who is both establishment and quite moderate?  Will Republican voters have the same gusto — and turn out in the same numbers — for these candidates? In Mr. Portman’s case in Ohio, it might not matter — he is doing well enough with independents that he’s liable to win, even with mediocre base participation. But for someone like a Mr. Kirk, or a Dino Rossi in Washington State, Republicans could find their “enthusiasm gap” isn’t as large as they were expecting.

Indeed, when looking at individual races — say the Delaware Senate race — as E.J. Dionne notes, the “enthusiasm gap” may just be on the Republican side:

Ross notes that the state Republican convention endorsed Castle. These are not some shadowy party bosses, but, as he put it, “the grass-roots delegates who knock on the doors and pass out the literature and pound the pavements.”

Wonder how many of those folks will go to bat for Christine O’Donnell? I’m guessing very few. That, and the fact that O’Donnell’s extreme views will turn off independents makes me think the Republican tidal wave is a lot of wishful thinking.

Of course, the economy still sucks and the Democrats are really bad at messaging and the media is not liberal etc. etc. So, as the saying goes: stay tune, more shall be revealed ….


Filed under midterm elections