Daily Archives: November 1, 2010
Tomorrow’s the big day. So, I thought I’d join Bruce in tossing out my final pre-election prognostications (with error bars).
House: Republicans 247, Democrats 188 (+/-3)
Senate: Democrats 50, Republicans 50 (+/-1)
The Senate is the real imponderable here. With Patty Murray leading by only 0.3% in a watershed year, I’m going to go ahead and tentatively call this one for Dino Rossi. But this one could go either way, so worst case for the Senate, I think, is a 51/50 Democrat chamber. I also think it might be days before we know that final Senate number, too.
Obama has "abolished torture" and needs to be more theatrical to appease those silly people who are voting against his party
Tina Brown says that Obama will need to amp up the theatrics after Tuesday. Yep, it’s obvious to all thinking people that since he’s done wonderful things like abolishing torture (yes, she said that), any displeasure among the voters simply must be that they’re taken in by the theatrics of the right. Therefore the obvious solution is to increase theatrics on the left!
It would be harder to find an example of the shallowness and self-absorption of today’s left than Tina Brown. It would also be harder for find an example of just how biased and off the rails the mainstream media has become that Newsweek wanted her as editor.
"Gentlemen, we have to protect our phony-baloney jobs!"
In a desperation move that I can’t recall ever being used before, Harry Reid’s campaign is using congressional aides from out-of-state (specifically from the staff of Max Baucus) to do door-to-door canvassing. Now, remember, the Tea Parties are all astroturf, but the Senate Majority Leader, one of the most powerful incumbents on the planet, can’t find enough volunteers in his own state to go door to door for him. He has to supplement with lobbyists (natch), and congressional aides.
Is that even legal? Not using the
snakes lobbyists, I’m talking about the congressional aides. Michael, what say you?
Nate Silver writes Republican election p0rn
A guy with a pretty good reputation on the election prediction front writes up what he thinks is the worst case scenario for the Democrats, with a pretend newspaper story from Wednesday morning. It’s brutal. It even includes Lieberman switching to caucus with Republicans, which if he is retiring after this term would make eminent sense.
Then Silver gives the reasons his imaginings are not so far-fetched. There’s nothing about them that looks very far out to me; in fact in a couple of areas I think he is understating likely effects. An example would be that I think the general animus against professional politician incumbents is stronger than he seems to think. I consider it stronger than it’s ever been in my lifetime.
Labor unions starting pre-election crocodile tears
This is in the NYT, and the article is a variation of the famous joke with the punchline "Women and minorities most affected". In this case, the wailing is for a different Democratic special interest group, organized labor. Here’s a sample:
“All this means that Republicans may well go on the offensive against labor, after two years in which unions have been on the offensive.”
Why that’s bad isn’t really explored in much depth. Of course they give the usual slanted "rebuttals" from Republicans, with cherry picked quotes from them about how their policies are good for businesses. This is classic NYT, nominally presenting the opposing case, but doing so in a way that will satisfy their latte-sipping Manhattanite readers that the Republicans are scum who don’t care about anything but money.
Not the best photo to highlight Obama’s Chicago trip
A black man kneeling to Obama’s limousine is the marquee shot for Obama’s pre-election visit. I notice that the guy put some paper or cardboard down on the street to use as a prayer mat.
I don’t care which side you’re on, if this picture doesn’t inspire revulsion, then you don’t understand what it means to be American.
One of the things I keep harping on is the "direction of the country" polls. Forget all this generic polling and other such nonsense for a moment. I continue to try to point out that the dissatisfaction with the federal government isn’t confined to one party as some of the establishment Republicans (and establishment Democrats) seem to think, or at least want to believe.
Scott Rasmussen makes that point today while talking about the generic ballot lead the Republicans enjoy. As he asserts, this isn’t because voters think the GOP is great and wonderful nor is it to hand them a "mandate", no matter how big their win. It is the change from awful to maybe less awful with the warning that in two years they’ll do it all over again if the pols don’t start catching on.
But none of this means that Republicans are winning. The reality is that voters in 2010 are doing the same thing they did in 2006 and 2008: They are voting against the party in power.
This is the continuation of a trend that began nearly 20 years ago. In 1992, Bill Clinton was elected president and his party had control of Congress. Before he left office, his party lost control. Then, in 2000, George W. Bush came to power, and his party controlled Congress. But like Mr. Clinton before him, Mr. Bush saw his party lose control.
That’s never happened before in back-to-back administrations. The Obama administration appears poised to make it three in a row. This reflects a fundamental rejection of both political parties.
Absolutely and positively correct. The reason there is a shift to the GOP is they’re the only alternative. My guess is if there were a viable third party, the GOP wouldn’t be feeling quite so smug right now. And that is a critical point that the establishment party needs to understand and understand quickly. I don’t know how many ways or how many days we have to repeat this, but if the GOP thinks this is a Sally Field ("you like me, you really do") moment they are as mistaken as a party can be.
For the GOP, here’s a free clue provided by Rasmussen:
More precisely, it is a rejection of a bipartisan political elite that’s lost touch with the people they are supposed to serve. Based on our polling, 51% now see Democrats as the party of big government and nearly as many see Republicans as the party of big business. That leaves no party left to represent the American people.
Precisely and the key to the consistent frustration found in the “direction of the country” polls for years. Time to get out of the "big" business for both parties. The "American people" are the ones that vote. They should be the absolute and primary "special interest" of both parties. But they haven’t been for decades. And that’s why you see the probability that, for the first time in our history, the party in power will loose seats in back-to-back-to-back administrations.
The voters don’t like any of you in elected office and they’re not at all enamored with your parties either. Time to wake up and smell the coffee. For the GOP this is like sudden-death overtime in a football game and they get the ball first. They’d better score or the refs – that’d be the voters – will had the ball over to the other side and give them another shot. And we all know how badly that might turn out.
All the signs are there. Independents breaking hard for the GOP. Senior voters, a demographic the Democrats usually own, dissatisfied with the health care bill. And the youth vote that was so large in 2008 is unengaged in 2010.
In fact, young people are now feeling “abandoned.” And that has translated into a noticeable lack of enthusiasm on the college campus – a hotbed of Obama and thereby Democratic support:
Now, however, former Obama volunteers nationwide say that they and their former colleagues are less involved and more ambivalent. Experts say the usual midterm effect, in which young voters are especially likely to disengage, has combined with an unexpected distance that has arisen between Mr. Obama and many young constituents. While most of them still view him more favorably than their parents or grandparents do, various polls show that the youthful passion that led to action has not been sustained.
“They were emotionally invested,” said Peter Levine, director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University. “Somehow that should have been turned into, for Democrats, a revival of progressive policy, and in a neutral way, a revival of democracy starting with young people.”
“So far, it hasn’t happened,” he added.
It isn’t going to happen. It’s the result of writing checks your bank balance can’t cash. It’s the result of taking advantage of the gullibility of youth for political gain by making promises that were unrealistic when they were made. It’s Obama politics. Grand and soaring rhetoric, while pleasing to the emotions, have to be grounded in the real world. Over promising has its downside – being unable to accomplish what you’ve promised to do. Whether or not it is the fault of the politician or the “system”, the politician is the one who made the promises and he’s the one who will be held to account for his lack of accomplishment. Or that’s the way it usually works.
Obama has never had a record on which he had to run (or defend). For the first time in his life he’s compiling one. And it isn’t anything to brag about. It is that record – doing or continuing a lot of things he promised to change as well as not accomplishing things he said he would – that he’ll be forced to defend in 2012.
If the level of engagement this year (and yes, I know mid-terms see the level of engagement drop in comparison to presidential election years) presages the same sort of level in 2012, Mr. Obama may be in trouble. Obviously 2 years is a lifetime in politics. But certain little things indicate that the Obama magic of 2008 just doesn’t work like it once did. A stop in Cleveland to rally the vote attracts only 8,000 to an arena he filled with 16,000 in 2008. Democratic candidates avoiding being linked to him or having him help their campaigns.
Many like to cite Bill Clinton as an example of what Barack Obama will do to survive and thrive if the GOP wins the House. Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton. Clinton was – whether you liked him or not – the best consummate politician of our era, bar none. The “triangulation” strategy allowed him to work with a Republican Congress to get what he wanted – something he learned after being defeated once as Governor in Arkansas. Obama is much more an ideologue. And if anyone could be more self-absorbed (and impressed with himself) than Clinton, it is Obama. Obama has never suffered electoral defeat so he hasn’t learned Clinton’s lesson. That will become obvious in the next 2 years.
The question, of course, is whether he and his campaign staff will have the accomplishments necessary to reengage and reenergize key constituencies such as the youth vote in time for 2012. That depends, in large part, on how Obama retools his approach to working with the GOP. And, to be quite blunt about it, it also depends, in large part, on how the GOP conducts itself as well. My hopes are not very high in either area – which means the political season of the next 2 years ought to be very interesting indeed.