2010 election

Tea Party 2010: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Tea Party movement was, until yesterday, a relatively unknown and elusive electoral force, having never existed for a national federal general election. Clearly, it had a great deal of influence among conservatives and Republicans during the primaries, with well-known "establishment" candidates in states such as Delaware, Alaska, and Nevada being knocked out one after another in favor of "Tea Party" candidates. In the immediate aftermath of the 2010 election (and even with a handful of races still undecided), it is hard to argue that the Tea Party wasn't a notable force in the general election as well. However, that force was not always positive, and indeed, some of the Tea Party's influences were bad, while a few instances were downright ugly. As someone who is neither a card-carrying party loyalist nor a dedicated Tea Party member, here is my take on those forces:

The Good

It is impossible to deny that the Tea Party contributed in many positive ways to the massive change of course that was the 2010 election. The Tea Party fueled much of the outrage behind the outcome, driving conservatives around the country to come out and vote in opposition to the President's extreme agenda.  Accordingly, it seems unlikely that the magnitude of Republican gains in the House would have been possible without the Tea Party.  Indeed, early exit poll data suggested that 41% of those voting in House races supported the Tea Party, while 31% opposed it – and that 87% of Tea Party supporters voted for the Republican candidate.

The Tea Party also helped elect immaculate candidates like Marco Rubio. The energy behind the Tea Party movement helped fuel Marco Rubio's lead in the Republican primary, which resulted in Charlie Crist deciding to instead run as an Independent, and ultimately produced a huge victory for Republicans nationwide. I firmly believe that Rubio, an incredibly brilliant and passionate man who will also happen to be the only Hispanic Republican in the Senate, will quickly emerge as a leader for the Republican Party. He's someone who can help attract many people from demographics key to long-term GOP sustainability – including Latinos and potentially young voters. Senator-elect Rubio's victory is certainly one of the most exciting developments of yesterday's election results.

The Bad

On the other hand, the Tea Party seems to have been fairly damaging to the prospect of a GOP takeover of the Senate. At the time of writing, Republicans had gained 6 seats in the Senate for a total of 46, which is unquestionably a respectable outcome. It looks like the votes remaining to be counted in Washington and Colorado will push the Democratic candidates over the top in both states – and Alaska is still a question mark, though it seems likely that either candidate will caucus with Republicans.

It's distinctly possible (and in at least one of the cases, fairly likely) that at least two of the Democratic Senate victories could have been Republican victories if not for relatively poor Tea Party candidates.  These candidates are, of course, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Christine O'Donnell in Delaware (I'll come back to the latter shortly).

I actually expected Angle to squeak by, albeit very tightly.  The bottom line, however, is that Angle as a candidate left a lot to be desired – just Google "sharron angle gaffe" for a plethora of examples, but this one in particular comes to mind.  Her loss against a highly unpopular and vulnerable Harry Reid is an unambiguous testament to that fact.

Obviously, different results in the two races in Delaware and Nevada – even with the victor in Alaska caucusing with Republicans – would not alone have produced a majority (Republicans would then hold 49 seats in the Senate before CO and WA).  However, it seems hard to believe there won't be a battle in the Senate sometime over the next two years in which those two additional Republican Senators would be helpful.  Not to mention the possibility that Independent Senators Lieberman and Nelson may have chosen to caucus with Republicans.

The Ugly

There's Sharron Angle, and then there's Christine O'Donnell.  I have to make it clear up front that I think Ms. O'Donnell is a wonderful woman.  I had a meeting with her and her campaign manager shortly before she exploded onto the national scene, and I found her well-spoken, intelligent, and extremely personable.  But being a great person is not nearly enough in politics, particularly at the Senatorial level, and there's no way that a reasonable person can honestly say that she was remotely close to being even an acceptable candidate.  When you need to run an ad saying that you're "not a witch," your campaign is clearly in trouble.  Let alone the countless allegations of impropriety in handling campaign funds, which regardless of whether they are true make it unmistakenly clear that the Tea Party members who backed her candidacy and helped her defeat Mike Castle in the primary blatantly failed to properly vet her.

Karl Rove's thoughts on this are spot-on:

"It gave me no pleasure to say that she was unlikely to win," he said. "But this again provides a lesson. This is a candidate who was right on the issues, but who had mishandled a series of questions brought up by the press."

From start to finish, Christine O'Donnell's candidacy as the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Delaware was flat out ugly.

Bottom Line

Even with a handful of outcomes still up in the air, it is unmistakenly clear that the 2010 election was nothing less than a wave delivered by voters who resoundingly rejected the Democratic agenda.  A great deal of outrage came from members of the Tea Party movement, and that frustration played an important role in delivering substantial gains for Republicans – not only in the Congress, but also in governor's mansion and state legislatures around the nation.  However, with these positives came at least one significant negative – a larger than ideal Democratic margin in the Senate that resulted from a couple of poor Tea Party candidates.

RightOnline Day 1 - Building Coalitions

Las Vegas is insane.

Everything I've heard about this Disneyland-for-adults is true: neon, sparkles, bells & whistles, herds (and hordes) of people, STAR WARS slot machines (pictures later)...I will definitely have to come back here one day for purposes other than business. My friend Jon Henke (@JonHenke) and I flew from DC yesterday by way of Newark, NJ and didn't even land in Vegas until 1am PT...it was a long day, and I slept in a bit. It was easy to do in my posh suite at the Venetian, with my sunken living room and remote-controlled drapes! Life is hard.

The first panel I attended today featured Todd Thurman (@toddthurman) of the Heritage Foundation, Brian Faughnan (@brianfaughnan) of Liberty Central, and Alexa Moutevelis (@alexashrugged) of the RNC, all moderated by my Liberty Pundits co-blogger Melissa Clouthier (@melissatweets). The panel focused on connecting grassroots activists in the field to policy shops in DC - like Heritage, Cato, or other think tanks - as well as to communications resources and activism training like those offered by FreedomWorks or the Leadership Institute.

Probably one of the better bits of information passed along during the discussion was the notion that activists in the field shouldn't be shy about engaging DC-based resources. Yes, DC is busy. Yes, DC occasionally has a heightened, over-inflated sense of self. But DC is also sitting on piles of your cash, looking for a way to return value back to you. So don't be shy about sending emails or picking up the phones to ask for help.

But more than just connecting grassroots activists to DC to get talking points and policy papers to support candidates back home, the panel focused on connecting activist to activist using technology - that means Twitter, Facebook, the blogosphere, and other online resources. The RNC announced some nascent, new API and they are transitioning all of their online tools to an open-source platform...the API is apparently already available for developers...more on this later. Despite this move to make RNC resources more available to more people, there was some grumbling in the audience that the RNC fails (on occasion) to return voter vaults back to activists on the ground once they pull out of town following a race. This makes people currently involved with components of the Tea Party movement a bit reticent to cooperate with the RNC in Washington.

After a few questions, and after some dancing around the issue, I asked the panel: is there a sense, going into this November's elections (and subsequently in 2012) that the Right should be worried about the Left exploiting a growing rift between conservatives and libertarians? If so, how can we, or more appropriately, should we be doing anything differently than the suggestions you've all made here today to, strengthen the coalition between these two groups?

The consensus from the panel seemed to be that there's not really any danger this year - libertarians and conservatives agree in principle that the prevailing issue of this election is the economy, stupid. Throwing the bums out is priority #1 in 2010. But the funnel of candidates is currently full, and the new Congressional primary begins, effectively, on November 3 - it is possible that infighting on the Right might get nastier in 2011 and 2012.

Todd Thurman told me after the panel "We just need to make sure we're talking, and that we're sticking together in areas where we agree." I agree in principle with this strategy, but only inasmuch as it's a first step. Because there is potential for infighting to become nastier on the Right as we approach 2012, it's important to talk about areas where we disagree too - libertarians remain (rightly) mistrustful of the Big Government GOP - the same GOP that is trying to ride the Tea Party Tiger into new majorities this fall. Ignoring our differences now can be our foil later.

Cross-posted at Liberty Pundits and Intelligence, Please...

The Emerging House Republican Majority

In the days since I posted my case for a blowout Republican majority in this fall's elections, a number of people have helpfully sent data and other tips for constructing a comprehensive target list of Democrat-held seats we might be able to pick off without warning in a year like this one. 

One started with a copy-paste of the Cook PVI (Partisan Voting Index) scores from Wikipedia for each district. The PVI is a crude metric -- unlike this Thursday's British elections, incumbency matters a great deal in Congress, keeping a minority party incumbent in office long after his constituents have started voting the other way at the Presidential level. Ask Gene Taylor, Chet Edwards, Joseph Cao and Scott Brown about the predictive value of the Cook PVI. 

Nonetheless, even a cursory glance at the PVI numbers exposes, at a 30,000 foot level, a massive Republican underperformance in the House that was there even when we were in the majority, and indeed, may show vestiges of our weakness from our 40 years in the wilderness. For this analysis, I'm not interested in individual districts, but macro-level trends. Suppose every incumbent resigned tomorrow and we held special elections in every district whose overall results would mirror partisan preferences in each district. In the long-term, after all, we are headed for a total cycling out of current incumbents, to be replaced by representatives more in tune with the views of their districts. What would the results be? 

PVI scores show that it would be a Republican blowout: In 234 districts, Republicans perform above average, compared to just 192 districts for Democrats, and 9 that are tied. Split these evenly, and you've got a 239-196 Republican House. This is a shade above the biggest Republican majority in their 12 years in power -- and that's when Republicans perform as expected.

We talk about the Republicans taking over vestigial Southern Democratic House seats in 1994 as though political cognitive dissonance were a thing of the past, but in reality it persists to this day, and in both chambers. Democrats have been simply better at electing Democrats in Republican-leaning districts than Republicans are at returning the favor. How else to explain that there are 30 or so Republican states -- and so, 60 Republican-leaning Senate seats -- in a tied electoral college but the Senate is 59-41 against us? 

I wondered if there were something wrong with the Cook data, whether it had come to be out of balance since 2008. But in fact, a quick tally of total PVI scores on both sides show that Democrats have more overall strength in Dem PVI seats than Republicans do in their greater number of seats, by a total of 2,744 to 2,393 PVI points. It turns out that Republicans are more evenly distributed, with the hulk of net Democratic votes crammed into a smaller number of urban seats. 

Democratic overperfomance in the House grows more striking in swing districts. Let's take a look at seats within 5 points of the national average, and which party they're represented by:

D+5 11 0
D+4 7 1
D+3 11 1
D+2 7 1
D+1 7 2
TIE 4 5
R+1 8 2
R+2 2 2
R+3 4 7
R+4 5 5
R+5 8 6

Now, let's group these together into marginally Democrat and Republican seats by PVI: 

D +1 to +5 43 5
TIE 4 5
R +1 to +5 27 22

These pretty much speak for themselves. We get crushed by a net 38 seats -- 88 to 12 percent in percentage terms -- in seats that lean Democrats. And in lean Republican seats? Democrats beat us there too, by a smaller 27-22 margin. Somehow, we manage to miraculously win the tie seats, giving hope that victories anywhere in political swing districts are attainable. Overall, Democrats hold 74 "swing" districts to Republicans 32, a net of 42 from a quarter of the whole House. 

Sure, you might say this is expected after two good Democratic election cycles. And I can buy that: these numbers show that big changes in the electorate reflect easily in the overall House tally, lending credence to the potential for a big pendulum swing in 2010. 

Yet this doesn't solve the fundamental question that during our high water marks after 1994 and to a lesser extent 2002/04, we weren't able to raid lean Democratic seats to nearly this extent. And it does raise the upside question of whether doing so might be possible in the future by boldly targeting more seats. 

Another way to visualize the upside potential is to consider the fact that while Republicans hold just eight net Dem PVI seats, Democrats hold 69 of "our" seats. (Those eight seats, in case you're wondering, are NJ-2, OH-12, PA-15, WA-8, PA-6, IL-10, DE-AL, and of course, LA-2. Democrats have a serious chance at picking off the last two, even in 2010.) 

Meanwhile, nearly a third of House Democrats hail from districts that were won by Bush and/or McCain. In MS-4 and TX-17, Gene Taylor and Chet Edwards hold the 18th and 19th most demographically Republican seats in the country. The only remotely comparable example is Joseph Cao, in the 28th most Democratic seat. Taylor and Edwards getting re-elected is the direct equivalent of a Republican winning Jan Schakowsky's district on the north side of Chicago. And nor are these two outliers: Democrats routinely get elected in R+10 PVI seats or better. Democratic performance in Republican seats between a +10 and +15 PVI is better than Republican performance in seats between a +1 and +5 Democratic PVI. 

This is why winning back the House alone is not enough. We could get the needed 40 seats by beating every Democrat in an R+5 seat or better. Getting to my outlandish speculation of 70 seats would mean taking out every Democrat in a Republican-leaning seat (that's 69 seats) plus one tie district. And that's before any net takeovers of Democrat PVI seats, which we ought to be winning in spades in a year like this. 

There's a reason why American Congressional elections aren't nice and clean as this analysis would suggest. Old bulls like John Spratt in SC-5 don't go easy. And for the longest time, we didn't challenge these Democrats. For the most part, we are this year. Retirements will also be our best means of forcing change on these districts, and those can come all too slowly.

Still, a few conclusions suggest themselves: 

  • The inexorable tide, all things being equal, is for a more Republican House.
  • Democrats have been able to defy this trend by 1) having more popular Southern holdovers, 2) seeking out and destroying moderate Northeast and Midwest Republicans in a way Republicans haven't been able to do down South, and 3) under Rahm Emanuel's leadership, boldly targeting more takeovers deep in enemy territory, like ID-1 (Walt Minnick) and NC-11 (Heath Shuler). 
  • Picking off the "easy" seats should be a gimme. If we can't beat Chet Edwards this year, we're just going to have to wait till he dies or retires. Guys like him will be hardened targets. Watch those swing Democrat seats as they are the soft underbelly of the Democratic majority. There is no reason they should have a 9-to-1 edge in those seats. Getting to even in those districts would give us half the seats we need for a takeover off of just over 10% of the House.  


Where you get 47% matters

I saw this tweet fromJim Pethokoukis and thought it was relevant to campaign planners in 2010.

Gallup has Obama at 47 percent. Tough week 

Now who else do we know received 47% support?

Democrats around the country running for the US House and state legislature seats ought to think long and hard about the implications of Obama job approval settling below 50%. Because the present profile of President Obama's support is far from uniform; it is strongly centered among African Americans and urban liberals.

Let's look at how Martha Coakley's support was distributed across Massachusetts.

Her 47% statewide showing was somewhat deceptive as it was propped up by receiving 78% of the vote in just one Congressional District--the 8th District centered in downtown Boston and Cambridge.  Her next best performance was 53.76% in the 7th District, where she resides. It appears she narrowly won the 1st District in far western MA. That's it. (I think Brown scratched out a win in Barney Frank's 4th District due to his close finish in Fall River)

She lost 5 of the 10 House districts in MA by 14 points or worse.  This would clearly have been a drag on downballot candidates had it occurred in a general election. 

Applying an Obama 47% job approval the same way and one can see that nationally he's likely to be a significant drag  in a large number of downballot races around the country.

The argument that liberals and urban dwellers fail to turn out in sufficient numbers--raised by the Coakley camp--is little solace. Perhaps another 50,000 voters in the 8th District would have put Coakley within hailing distance. But the vast swatches of suburban real estate in MA would have still been dark Brown.

In a statewide race an insane plurality in one county or congressional district can be decisive. In a local election, the fact the party is crushing the opposition somewhere else does you no good.   

I don't know if causing the rubble to bounce will work for the Democrats. I am , however, pretty confident that a campaign effort focused on base mobilization means they are already writing off plenty of House seats in "red" districts.  

Onward and Upward: Building a Sustainable Majority

This week has been a great one for conservatives across the nation. Scott Brown’s victory proved that, in the words of the increasingly vulnerable Barbara Boxer, “Every state is now in play.” His victory also demonstrated that Republicans can achieve many of the successes that led to Barack Obama becoming the 44th President of the United States — dominating the Internet; raising unbelievable sums of money, especially online; building a massive base of small donors; and having a victory driven by a massive coalition of grassroots activists. With Brown’s victory came the ever-increasing likelihood that the Democrat’s health care bill would be stalled indefinitely. Then came the demise of Air America. All of these events have inspired a new-found confidence among those to the right of center, while liberals and Democrats have pushed the panic button. One of my favorite political minds, Jay Cost, asks, “What Does Obama Do Now?” For those of us on the right, I think conservatives must ask themselves an equally critical question: What do Republicans do now?

I admit that I believe that the GOP is on the verge of a 2010 blowout. As for the magnitude of said blowout, I think it’s too early to say, but in my mind there’s a real chance that Republicans could retake one of the chambers of Congress. However, as I’ve previously cautioned, I don’t believe that a blowout this year will mean things are better for the Republican Party. Winning back seats is great, but as Mindy Finn writes, those on the right must “stop gloating” — and start thinking about building a sustainable majority. A major victory this year will not be the product of a new-found love for the Republican Party; instead, it will be the product of voter disgust and discontent with the status quo, namely with President Obama and Democrats in Congress. The Republican Party is still enormously unpopular itself, and a midterm election blowout due to the aforementioned reasons is not exactly how a sustainable majority is built.

On the other hand, converting what are traditionally considered to be safe blue seats in places like Massachusetts and California (I’m looking at you, Barbara Boxer) to red ones — and finding ways to hold onto those seats — is certainly a step toward a sustainable majority. The same is true of fielding candidates in all 435 Congressional districts every cycle. Embracing transparency and continuing to authentically fight to limit government is another building block in a sustainable majority. Effectively using technology while embracing today’s Age of Participation through peer production is another step. Offering substantial and real policy options that differ from those of the White House and the Democrats is similarly critical.

To the contrary, getting sucked back into the ways of Washington by growing government and increasing spending is a sure way to cede momentum right back to the Democrats. Failing to broaden the base with different demographics, like young voters, Hispanics, or African Americans is another way to likely guarantee that 2010 will be a one-and-done year for Republicans. And of course, growing content with success at any point will inevitably lead right back to defeat.

Like your favorite sports game, momentum is critical in politics. Republicans clearly have the momentum, and barring a dramatic change in the political wind, this momentum will significantly change the composition of the Congress this November. When that happens, the ball will be in the GOP’s court. The crucial question will then be: What will they do with it?

Democrat Success Story

by Lance Thompson

 Even though “Democrat Achievements of 2009” would fall into the category of titles of the world’s shortest books, such a book would not be entirely empty.  In fact, Democrats can legitimately claim that in the last year, they have accomplished something that the GOP has repeatedly failed to do for at least two decades.  The Democrats have managed thoroughly to discredit liberal political philosophy and governance.  This is no small achievement. In the years after Reagan, Republican politicians warned against liberals; run against liberals; chastised, ridiculed and accused liberals in order to gain political advantage.  Liberals even changed their name–to “progressives”–to avoid the feared liberal label.  But the charges began to ring hollow as big-government Republicans raised taxes, increased spending, expanded entitlements, and argued for lenient immigration policies.  Were liberal politics only bad when practiced by Democrats, and tolerable when enacted by Republicans?  Evidently not, because the GOP lost control of Congress in the past decade when they offered no clear alternative to liberal Democrats.  In 2008, they lost the White House, too. Suddenly, the Democrats had a commanding majority in the House, a supermajority in the Senate, and one of their own in the White House.  They enjoyed an adoringly uncritical media and a wave of electoral bliss seldom equaled.  In effect, they had a brand new credit card with almost unlimited political capital.  How did they spend it? President Obama began by assembling a cabinet and administration full of tax cheats, liars, strong-arm political operatives and communists–many of whom were amateurs at national politics, but almost all of whom had more experience than their boss.  Democrats funded bail-outs and stimulus bills that were full of earmarks, political pay-backs and liberal pet projects that doubled the already swelling debt.  As terrorists attacks again struck American soil–in Little Rock, Fort Hood, and on a Detroit-bound plane--Obama fought to empty Guantanamo and give terrorists the Constitutional rights of American citizens.  Obama’s team nationalized private industry, abandoned long-time allies, bowed in supplication before our enemies, and embarked on passing massively expensive and unintelligible health care reform that would multiply our debt yet again. As details and cost analysis of all these plans filtered down to the American people, the Democrat agenda became less and less popular.  So, as it happens, did Democrats.  The approval ratings of Congress continued to slide downward from even the low marks legislators earned during the Bush administration.  But even more surprising, the historic, unprecedented, hope-and-changeling in the White House also saw his numbers fall.  And the more he tried to sell the liberal package of multi-trillion dollar big government programs, the further he dropped.  None of this could have happened if the Democrats did not have the power to enact their agenda over the protests of conservatives and common sense.  Democrats believe that the answer to bloated government is more government.  The answer to ballooning debt is more spending.  The answer to high taxes is even higher taxes.  The answer to international threats is to apologize for our past, betray our allies, and promise to look the other way when rogue nations go on the warpath. Any conservative who tried to warn us that this would be the result of Democrat control of two branches of government would have been dismissed as an extremist.  Eighteen months ago, the idea of the United States in economic, diplomatic, and moral decline would have been unthinkable.  Today, it’s an undeniable trend.   The Democrats have proved that, given no checks and balances, they are determined to bring this nation to its knees and saddle us with enough debt to keep us there.  They have given the American people a year’s preview of a future under Democratic governance, and a majority of us want no part of it.  Suddenly, the iron grip Democrats had on Congress is slipping away, with each new announcement of retiring legislators or party-switching representatives.  Barack Obama is no longer a messenger of hope and change, but a huckster peddling an increasingly unpopular line of hokum.  Conservative principles are defining the debate, only a year after so many pundits pronounced conservatism dead. Moreover, the media that waved its pom-poms for Barack Obama is no longer cheering from the press box.  It began with a few respectful questions that were ignored, avoided, or ridiculed by the party in power.  But now, as the media senses weakness, they will become more aggressive, more insistent, more adversarial.  Reporters read the polls, too, and no news outlet wants to be behind the trend.  As they see Obama, Reid and Pelosi faltering, the press will turn on them, hound them, savage them, and participate in their downfall.  Because if an outcome seems inevitable, the media likes us to believe that we heard it from them first.  So let us give thanks to the Democrats who governed in 2009.  These true believers have done to the liberal religion what no heretic could manage.  They have exposed their impotent idols and false gods for all the world to see, and have quickened their own demise.


The "Blue Moon" candidates

 Blue Moon Beer.svg

There's little doubt that there's been a groundswell against the traditional leadership of the Republican party. Efforts by party insiders to anoint one of the "usual suspects" have fallen incredibly flat.

And there's plenty of reason to believe that the types of people motivated by the "tea party" movement against the Obama Administration are not going to be automatically enamored of the "Certified Pre-Owned candidates" the Beltway brain trust are eager to promote this cycle.

I note that James Carville, who may be as partisan as they come but surely not dumb, noticed how little respect the Republican voter base has for its elected leadership.  

DC Tea Party protest

So what are the political insiders to do with a bunch of voters looking for something completely different? Well, it's simple. They have stolen a page from the world of product marketing.

Make something sold by Corporate America look like it's from some new fresh upstart business by putting a new, different label on the product.

I predict 2010 will be the year of the "Blue Moon" candidates.  We will see many candidates who are products of the world of political insiders, but relabelled and rebranded as anti-establishment candidates expressing populist resentment.

Why "Blue Moon"?. Because that's exactly what we are dealing with

Seems one of the good ole macrobrews, Coors, wanted to start selling some different flavors of beer. But if they put the Coors label on it, people would think it wasn;t like those nice quaint microbrews and imports; it was just a spinoff from the billion or so cans of Silver Bullet quaffed every year by the masses.  So guess what.: Coors decided to sell a beer that pretended to be new, quaint and from an independent brewery.

Coors does not actively advertise the fact that the brew is owned by Coors on the belief that being associated with a major national brewery would diminish its credibility among aficionados. Blue Moon is instead branded as being brewed by the "Blue Moon Brewing Company." [5]

My local example of a "Blue Moon" candidate is liberal wrestling tycoon Linda McMahon, who will probably do something useful for real conservatives a lot less often "than once in a blue moon"  

Linda McMahon For Senate ...

There are some in the media who are going to be honest enough to see through the charade that people like the "Wild RINO" are trying to pull off. But in this economy, plenty more in the media will simply go along with the carnival as long as the well funded candidate buys print ads and air time from their employers. Take this example of circular reasoning.

Some Republicans wonder if McMahon’s message of an outsider is a mere contrivance. After all, she criticizes business as usual, but is often seen with veteran lobbyist Patrick Sullivan.

Nevertheless, McMahon showed she may indeed be something different when explaining at an event in Windsor that her generous campaign contributions to Democrats were “the cost of doing business.” It’s not a truth we like to hear, but it rings with authenticity.

Perhaps there's some form of "truth in advertising" herein. But I would submit that this makes Ms. McMahon's political compass much more closely aligned with that of Heidi Fleiss than that of Barry Goldwater.

Heidi Fleiss To Open 'Stud ...

Yep, we will see tycoons accustomed to buying favors from career politicians go and buy the allegiance of other career politicians.  But they will try and insist with a straight face that they will be "A different kind of Senator" when all objective indicia suggests they will be a carbon copy of the Capitol Hill lifers they seek to replace.  They'll just take their calls from Rahm Emanuel in the Republican cloakroon instead of the Democratic cloakroom.  

Much as Blue Moon beer is really dressed-up Coors, all these various rebranded political insiders are ever going to be are the campaign version of trick-or-treaters, dressed up to play the role of angry commoners. 

 ... for the Trick-or-Treater

The worst aspect of all this is that we have a real opportunity to build a new Republican party that Middle America can once again have faith in. But that will require hard work finding and promoting new candidates for statewide office and congressional races.

Request a Lawn Sign for my ...

 What it appears much of the political establishment thinks it can do is simply play make-believe; instead of doing the work to win a worthwhile victory.  This will fail for two reasons. First, the voters are probably going to figure this out long before the election. The resulting loss of volunteer energy and voter turnout is going to doom us.  In a low turnout election, a true-believer lefty is likely to outpoll someone who appears only to give lip service to what he claims to be running on.

One thing the various poseurs also may underestimate that even if the media lets the party roll on, the Democrats will have a full dossier of every insider deal and favor these folks got before they put on populist airs, and will simply wait to drop the hammer after they get nominated. Oops!

And if the "Blue Moon" candidates do skate through to election then what are we left with? A bunch of personality cult officeholders with a cadre of paid retainers, committed to no political agenda more important that gaining re-election. Hmmm; isn't that why we got shown the door in 2006

Douglas MacArthur said that in war, there is no substitute for victory. I believe in the election environment of 2010 there is no subsitute for authenticity. Either you have it- or you don't.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur

Republican candidates in 2010 who think they can excuse away their phoniness by massive media blitzes or slick PR tactics will find out that there is a subsitute for victory: defeat.  

So I received a letter from Newt Gingrich...

I'm sure many people here did too.  It was a fundraising letter on behalf of the NRCC.  I"m sure you also realize that there is a lot of buzz on our side of the aisle when it comes to the 2010 elections.  In short, people are pumped up and excited about voting the Dems (and RINOs) out of office.  Republicans have a real shot at capturing back the House.

Now I know that many people here disagree with the current direction of the Republican Party generally.  But, as a practical matter, 2010 is an opportunity to take Congress in a rightward direction, and we shouldn't squander it.  This doesn't mean that we should necessarily line up and march lockstep, but we should appreciate the opportunity that arises.

So even if you think the Republican Party is too socially conservative, too beholden to business interests, too inept in its leadership - criticisms I share, BTW - I still think we owe it to our principles overall to seize upon this opportunity.  I think it would be a mistake to pout and sit out one more election.  In 2006 - yeah, the Republican Congress had lost its way.  In 2008 - yeah, McCain was a terrible candidate.  But now?  So even if we don't agree with the Republican Party in every detail, this is a big opportunity to put the brakes on our current socialist joyride.

Chris Dodd's Traumatic Thursday

I'm sure think this is a day Chris Dodd looks forward to ending

Right around sunrise, Quinnipiac released their latest poll results. In recent weeks, Dodd and his special interest allies have spent probably over $1 million on a TV blitz promoting Dodd's credit card and health care bills. So I expected Dodd to be temporarily given some political health.

Nope. Since the last poll Rob Simmons actually increased his lead over Dodd.  

Simmons now leads by 9 points

And each of the other Republicans is in a dead heat with Dodd.

True , Dodd's job approval improved from an utterly disgusting level to a merely dismal 40%; but it seems the only people swayed were partisan Democrats; he's now crushing the unknown Merrick Alpert in a putative primary. But by a 2/1 margin, CT voters simply don't find Dodd trustworthy. And that's hard to spin your way out of.

I have to think that this reverberated on the Hill. Dodd had assumed the mantle of trying to write the public option health care bill when his BFF Ted Kennedy fell ill, and actually got a bill out of his committee on a party line vote. And then his home state---dark blue as they come---gives him a raspberry for all his efforts (playing attention, Orrin, you dummy!)  

 So, by day's end, the Democratic leadership on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue was in disarray; shelving the health care issue until the fall. As Michael Barone points out. "Thursday have been bad days for the Democrats’ health care efforts this month....It looks like July 23 is another bad Thursday for the Dems".

You know, it's just a bit after 8pm. There's still time for something else bad to happen to Chris Dodd before he deals with Frriday.


What to do about the "Cap & Tr8-ors"?

Yesterday was a slow day at the office, so I spent a lot of time on the I-phone seeing if we could actually give the lefties a shiner by defeating their "cap and trade" fiasco.

Then I got home, saw the result, and traded e-mails with various people in the "movement" The kindest response to the eight turncoats that enabled Waxman-Markey to pass was roughly along these lines


I don't think one can minimize why this was a truly hideous vote for those eight folks. Here we had a chance to derail the Obama socialism train and restore the Republican party to policy relevance, and these guys bailed out so they could get a nice mention in the NY Times tomorrow. Swell.  Even the White House is giving up on the "global warming" issue and you guys sign up for the mission.  Putzes,

The immediate response that I had was that the kindest thing to do to these "fredos" was to throw them out on an ice floe with the polar bears. And others were along those lines. Or at least, shut off their campaign money, demand retirements, or find primary challengers  But that's my spleen talking. Today my brain took over.

No. it's time for a more "reasonable" approach.

See we now have an even more serious threat to the future of the Republic, and that would be a socialized health care system. I'll let John Hinderaker explain.

One of my law partners asked me yesterday which of the Democrats' current initiatives is worse, the tax on carbon or the health care "public option," otherwise known as socialized medicine. I replied unhesitatingly that socialized medicine is much worse. Carbon tax-and-trade can rather easily be repealed once people realize what a dumb idea it is. However, once our health care system has been destroyed and replaced with "single payer" socialized medicine, there is no going back

We need to explain to the Octofail Republicans that there is only one way out of the flaming pit they have dug for themselves. They need to become hard line zealots against the "public option" health care "reform".

And not milquetoast statements and a quiet vote "nay" on final passage. I mean going medieval on the whole concept 24/7/365. I mean like righteous 100 decible opposition. I mean like Rudy Giuliani vs. squeegee men or Michael Moore v. the Hometown Buffett bad.

Anything less, and we re-send the pink slips with no remorse and no reconsideration.

Now for our political geniuses.  First off, let's dispense with the "socially liberal, fiscally conservative" canard here. This was a statist bill from the word go and there wasn't a libertarian idea within the same zip code. It was simply an energy tax.  Ok if you want to keep the government out of my bedroom. How about letting people afford to heat their bedrooms? 

Second, this bill is going to appeal to the vocal but few Saab Socialists who put the environment ahead of the economy. It is going to be painfully unpopular with blue collar America. Maybe Dave Reichert's uber green district will like it; but if Mark Kirk or Mike Castle think this isn't going to backfire on them big time in Rockford and New Castle they are going to find the Democrats whacking them with their own bill next November.

And please explain Mary Bono Mack.  Both her and the lame hubby from SW FL are painful underachievers, proving surnames don't equal leadership. (Something we know well in CT!)

So that's the offer.  Back before he went girlie man in Sacramento Arnold Scharzenegger told John Connor this

Come with me if you want to live

Well, "Cap and Tr8-ors".....either make sure Obama's health care reform fails...or

Hasta la vista, baby!

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