August 10, 2006

Lieberman's loss.

Congressional Democrats are backing Ned Lamont, and Republicans have a chance to say things like "It’s an unfortunate development ... from the standpoint of the Democratic Party, to see a man like Lieberman pushed aside because of his willingness to support an aggressive posture in terms of our national security strategy."

Democratic national chairman Howard Dean says Joe Lieberman ought to quit and Democrats “have an obligation” to get behind Lamont. What do you expect? The Democrats are a political party, and Lieberman lost because he didn't align sufficiently with Democratic values. He's being portrayed as pathetic. Not only did he lose the primary, he's "too angered by his loss to accept ... counseling" that he needs to give up.

How will Lieberman frame his independent campaign? Can he say sharp things about all the Democrats abandoning him? Can he fall into the embrace of the Republicans, who seems to only want to say nice things about him to make the rest of the Democrats look bad? This embracing of Joe to make the rest of the Democrats look bad is a painful reminder of that kiss, and we can only imagine how terrible Joe feels about that. (I picture Joe singing "He Kissed Me and It Felt Like a Hit.")

Meanwhile, the Republicans don't seem to care at all about their guy in Connecticut:
[Alan] Schlesinger, a lawyer who won his party’s nomination back in May, when few thought Mr. Lieberman’s bid for a fourth term was in much jeopardy, is not widely known. He has raised very little money. Not a single national Republican figure has come forward to promote his cause. And, amid some murmuring by fellow Republicans that he step aside, Mr. Schlesinger said he was in the race for good, and could not and would not be removed.

“I’m not going anywhere. The way the numbers stack up, I can win this thing,” he said cheerfully.

Mr. Schlesinger, a former mayor of the town of Derby, first burst into the headlines this summer after The Hartford Courant reported that he had gambled under a fake name and once had gambling debts (he dismissed the accounts as irrelevant).
What an awful candidate! Either Schlesinger needs to step aside or Republicans should just all get the message to vote for Lieberman, right?

UPDATE: Peggy Noonan writes:
So it's Lieberman versus Lamont unless Mr. Schlesinger drops out, in which case a Republican with his own money could conceivably come forward and shake things up. A new candidate like that would take votes from Mr. Lieberman.

I wonder how national Republicans will play this? Would the White House allow a conservative to come forward? Personal ties and gratitude aside, a newly elected Joe Lieberman, free of the constraints of the Democratic Party, might be a much more reliable supporter than an independent Republican moneybags with a lot to prove.

38 comments:

MadisonMan said...

I think Schlesinger's candidacy points out the problem with both Political parties. If the incumbent is strong (and which ones aren't?), only unelectable no-names are offered up by the opposition. Then when you have something happen like it does in Connecticut, what kind of choice does a voter really have?

The same thing happens here in WI. Name the last credible candidate to run against Herb Kohl. And what does Herb Kohl's senate office ever do for Wisconsin?

Gahrie said...

Lieberman IS aligned with Democratic values EXCEPT for the War on Terror.By ever measure possible he's in the middle of the Democratic Senators when it comes to his liberal ratings, and he votes with the Democratic leadership 90% of the time. He used to be even more to the left, but as the Democratic Party has radicalized, his ratings have moved him into the center of Democrats.

Lieberman was targeted for two reasons:

1) If the Kossacks and moonbats could dump him, it would be a great show of strength and a means to intimidate other Democrats (especially those to the right of him).

2) It was possible to recruit a rich candidate willing to spend millions of his own on the campaign. 60% of Lamont's expenditures he paid for himself.

Senate campaigns cost literally millions of dollars to run now. It is impossible to recruit top rated people to run for "safe" seats because of the expences involved. It's the same reason why Hillary shopped around for her Senate seat. If she thought it would have been easier to win, she would have run in Arkansas or Illinois where she has ties, instead of New York where she was a complete carpetbagger.

Ann Althouse said...

MM: Yeah, I was thinking of Kohl. Does he even have an opponent? The parties always half look like they're working really hard and half like they aren't even trying.

Gahrie: Why wasn't there some rich Republican in Connecticut to mount a credible campaign?

DaveG said...

Not only did he lose the primary, he's "too angered by his loss to accept ... counseling" that he needs to give up.

How do they reconcile this with the continued "re-elect Gore" and the "Kerry gave up to easily on 2004" mantras?

MadisonMan said...

gahrie, from what I've read, Lieberman lost significant support when he started telling his constituents how to speak and when and when not to criticize the government. That's really the kiss of death to any politician. I also got the feeling from listening to him that he thought he was indispensable. Does anyone like hubris in a politician?

I'm not sure how I would have voted were I a Nutmegger. I think pulling out from Iraq would be a mistake. But I also thought going in was a mistake.

bill said...

It's not quite analogous, but CT somewhat reminds me of the 1990 Minnesota Governor's race when the eventual winner couldn't win the primary but won the general election running as an independent. More or less.

Perpich was the incumbent democrat and vulnerable to defeat due to his increasing wackiness. Grunseth and Carlson opposed each other in the Republican primary. Because the party was being run by a very conservative faction, the moderate Carlson didn't put up much of a fight and the family values Grunseth won easily. Carlson threatened to run as a write-in, but didn't actually do this until Grunseth was accused of molesting a couple of 14-year olds at a family party a few years before. He did not drop out then, but when a few weeks before the election the front page of the Sunday Star-Tribune had him admitting to a marital affair, Grunseth finally quit. Carlson was added to the ballot as the republican nominee and easily won.

1990 was a weird year in Minnesota. That was also the year Wellstone won the senate race. The final straw pushing him over the top being the Boschwitz letter accused Wellstone of a being a bad Jew for marrying a gentile.

Madison Guy said...

Lieberman, Lieberman, Lieberman -- I’d actually like to start posting about something else. Something like Holga photography. But first:

The trouble with the conventional wisdom about Joe winning a three-way race this fall is that it IS the conventional wisdom -- a nostalgic look in the rear-view mirror. Back to a time when Joe was a VP candidate, his party’s standard-bearer, not the pathetic joke and spoiler wannabe whose rapidly shrinking support is melting further day by day. And there won’t be much left after the comics get through with him. A lot of Stewart shows -- or perhaps more important, given his demographics, Leno shows -- between now and November.

After he gets over the shock of defeat, we can hope that Joe sees this is really all about generational change. Some actors are leaving the stage, while others are just starting to play their parts. Joe can accept that and walk off the stage gracefully, or he'll most likely just end up taking an even bigger tumble.

yetanotherjohn said...

Based on the polling and democratic primary vote (which presumably is a good sampling of the farthest left of CT), in a two man race Lieberman would win (caveat that there is lots of time in this race, so things could change). A impartial view of the polling also shows that Schlessinger's chance of winning is nil. In head to head match ups, he peaks at 22 percent (which is very close to the 23% republicans in CT). In a three way match up, he gets half of that (average of 11.5%).

Given the republican has ne realistic chance of winning (I suppose Lamont killing Lieberman on TV might give him an outside chance, but even then I would want odds), the republican voters have to decide to 1) stay home, 2) vote for the party candidate knowing that their vote is more likely to help Lamont win, 3) vote for a liberal on every issue except the idea that we need to win the war on terror or 4) vote for a liberal who thinks running away in Iraq is not likely to embolden terrorists.

I suspect that Schlesinger republican voters will drift towards Lieberman as a symbolic vote for their party is not seen as valuable as a vote to win the war on terror.

The big question is how the independant voters work out. If they split like the democratic primary voters, then with the democratic voters Lieberman retains (probably 75 to 80% of his primary vote) and the GOP crossing vote, Lieberman wins in a squeaker. If the independants reverse the democratic party split (52% lieberman vs 48% lamont), then Lieberman wins easily.

The closer the race, the more pressure on the GOP voters to abandon their party and vote for the guy who at least wants to win the war. The GOP still remembers the cost of Perot as a third party candidate siphoning off votes and then having to live with the consequences.

The Drill SGT said...

It's too early to firm up the numbers after the primary, but agreeing with yetanotherjohn, the IND vote inCT is huge. I think it breaks like:
DEM 35%
IND 40%
REP 25%



Another twist will be how the Senate DEMS respond to the Lossack requests to sack Joe from all his assignments. Effectively to make him a non-person (how Stalinist :)

If that happens, I wonder if Frist and McConnell won't go to Joe on the sly and say: If we get the REP to quit, would you consider coming in to the next Senate as an IND caucusing with the REPs? An Anti-Jeffords

Henry said...

I personally think Lieberman should drop out but there's no law against him continuing to run. I do like Shlesinger's stubborness. He volunteered to get crushed. Why should he back out now? Essentially, at this point, I don't care all that much if Lieberman goes on to win or not. Sure, I like his support for the GWOT, but his ability to influence other Democrats is nil. If Joe goes, it makes no difference now.

What does bug me are fairness issues:

First is the fact that our insane campaign finance laws are eliminating all but multi-millionaires from running for statewide offices.

Second is the denial-of-service attack on Lieberman's Web site. It's kind of small potatoes as far as dirty politics goes, but it shows how easily a single extremist (or small cabal of same) can taint a fair election. From now on, any politician running in a competitive race better have some DOS contigency plans.

Tim Sisk said...

A winning strategy for the Republicans might be to have President Bush kiss all the leading congressional Democrats. (Or have I been reading too many of Ann's Project Runway posts?)

vnjagvet said...

I agree with YAJ and the Drill Sergeant as far as the numbers are concerned.

The vocal left in the Democratic party is the voice of the young, wealthy and trendy. Lamont is a perfect spokesman for those folks because he is one of them.

Madison Guy is pitch perfect in his expression the attitude of this demographic.

In CT, the majority of this demographic are, I suspect, registered Democrats.

Older, less trendy, middle and blue collar CT voters are split between registered Republicans and Independents.

I doubt that Joe is listening to Madison Guy's Connecticut counterparts.

Ann Althouse said...

Henry: Does anyone who understands the web seriously believe Lieberman's website was attacked? He had too much traffic for the dinky website he paid for. It was his own fault. He kept complaining about being attacked when there was no ground for the accusation.

Henry said...

Ann: I think initial guesses that Lieberman's site got knocked out by legitimate traffic are still unproven. Currently Lieberman's people say they paid for enough bandwidth and are completely serious about pursuing their complaint. Maybe they're just trying to cover their own butts, but I'm leaning toward believing them.

Of course the Lieberman campaign's knee-jerk reaction to blame Lamont for the site going down was pathetic and idiotic. But what worries me is how easily a small group of hackers could set up a DOS attack on a hated opponent's Web site completely on their own initiative. If it didn't happen this time, it certainly will in the future.

Henry said...

On the other hand, Lieberman has fired his primary campaign staff, so maybe whomever needed to cover their butt can stop now. It will be interesting to see if the complaint is quietly abandoned.

Amos said...

I posted this at MoveOn today:

So, let''s see. An organization that purportedly wants to return power back to the people, in league with Daily Kos, etc., has hitched its wagon to an ulta wealthy Exeter WASP opportunist and, in the process, trod all over a decent man because it disagrees with him on one issue, albeit a very important one. Whither nuance and the once "vital center"? Now, we have the rogues on the right, who I abhor, facing down the naive but very Rove-like "We'll show you not to support the war!", beat-a-Democrat-in-the-primary-at-any-cost MoveOn folks. Wonderful. What now? Having handed all political momentum back to your opponents, while tolerating vile anti-senitic rants on your various websites, what exactly comes next. Feeling pretty muscular, I bet. Bravo!
As I said yesterday, you have driven me completely out of the party, which now seems to have room only for "disaffected" naifs with no ability to manage what they have wrought. Like it or not, and this goes for both sides, governing is about disagreeing respectfully, compromising, and groping, sometimes despairingly, for that ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY "vital center". Rushing to either extreme while ranting and insulting has been tried by the likes of Hitler and Stalin. Absurd absolutism from either extreme looks the same when all is said and done.

There must be a third way. The world will not survive unless common sense moves the two extremes towards one another. So, in your delirium, pause and ponder where you are headed, if you can. You strut about as though you have accomplished something, when all you have done is tear things to pieces in a directionless frenzy.

If you on the lunar left could find some way to plant your flag nearer the middle, which would give you a footing to bring your opposites also back to that same middle, then all is lost. For now, I guess I am left with Kinky Friedman and the waning hope that you will learn to lead and not lock arms in a parody of some childhood game.
- Will Hough, Educator (August 10, 2006; West Wareham, MA)

altoids1306 said...

A little OT, but for the disillusioned Lieberman Democrats who might be reading this blog:

[T]he anti-Bush Leftist mindset comprises a solid 40% of the electorate, making it the single strongest ideology in America today. Conservatives and libertarians and their various stripes run about 30%, while the rest are somewhere in between. …

[T]he Dems are not going to die out anytime soon per your fantasies. The Left will be around for a loooong time; their propaganda, ideologies, and proponents are too well-ensconced in seats of power, whether in media and bureaucracies, academia, or the cultural elite. It also doesn’t help that secular progressivism is still the driving political force in Europe. …

You’re going to hate this answer like all hell,
but the true answer is for people like you to join the Republican Party and help us weaken the Pat Robertsons, Tom DeLays, and George W. Bush’s of the party so that we can have a broad-minded coalition of people who largely agree on free-market economic principles, conservative fiscal policy, muscular, neoconservative-like foreign policy, and libertarian social policy. You’d have to sacrifice a few sacred shibboleths… but then again, so would we. For example, the Religious Right would have to decide the protection of Western culture and economy and the defense of classical liberalism is more important than minimizing the participation of homosexuals in American culture and society or achieving legislative prohibitions against abortion. In return, you’d have to abandon the precepts of Big, Helpful Government in the grand tradition of FDR and LBJ in favor of more market-oriented tax-and-spend principles. Neither sacrifice will be easy or painless, but they are both more probable, more possible, and more beneficial for America than your alternative dream of a dead Left and a “Third Way” centrist party to battle against right-leaning Republicans for control of America–a dream that is both seriously contra-ideological reality and probably less beneficial, because if moderates like yourself become the new dominant foe for the GOP, the Right will only go further to the right in contradistinction, to your chagrin.

Link

Adam S. A. said...

"If you on the lunar left could find some way to plant your flag nearer the middle, which would give you a footing to bring your opposites also back to that same middle, then all is lost."

What a complete crock this is. The Republicans have made a game of claiming to be in the middle while actually working for the 'majority of the majority' of their party.

The spineless idiots who are supposedly represent the Democratic party play right into the hands of those like Rove (now there is a man who likes to 'compromise' heh) who make them look like stooges or worse.

The only way to stop the utter insanity that has been wrought on this country politically the last 5 years is to stop being polite and start fighting back. Polite Democrats are done.

As for being 'driven' out the party..the Republicans drove me out when they started playing games with the voters by using fear to allow personal freedoms to be lost...freedoms that were paid for with blood.

Henry said...

Altoids, that's an interesting comment. Thanks for tracking that down.

Before the part you quote, the commenter mentions the death of the Whig party. One ironic thing about the death of the Whigs is that before their demise they were the last "big tent" party left. They had both a southern and northern wing. The problem was that their big tent compromises made them unpopular everywhere.

Contrast that to the undeniable regional strength of each of the current parties and the idea that either one is going to disintegrate soon does not coorelate.

Aspasia M. said...

The spineless idiots who are supposedly represent the Democratic party play right into the hands of those like Rove (now there is a man who likes to 'compromise' heh) who make them look like stooges or worse.

The only way to stop the utter insanity that has been wrought on this country politically the last 5 years is to stop being polite and start fighting back. Polite Democrats are done.


What Adam said.
--------------------
And will TNR ever stop talking about '68? I wasn't born in '68, yet I am doomed to watch a groundhog day rerun of people who can't get beyond that year.

Is anybody else sick of this obsession with "fear the imaginary hippies?"

AST said...

The MoveOn types haven't been able to win any against Bush, so they've turned on fellow Democrats. Now they're crowing like they've killed an elephant. This worked because CT is such a solid Dem state. If there were more Republicans, there'd be better Rep Candidates and attacking Lieberman would have cost him and Lamont and the Dem party a Senate seat. If Lieberman loses, the only thing that will change is that we'll have Dennis Kucinich in a Senate seat from CT.

AST said...

Read "The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy" by Byron York. It's the best book I've seen about what's eating the Democrats. It's 1972 all over again.

dick said...

geoduck,

When the dems quit talking about how everything is Vietnam Revisited, maybe we will get past 1968. We went through a complete campaign where the dems went back to Vietnam over and over as if that should be the sole reason to vote for their candidate for president. Now when you have 1968 revisited with Ned Lamont along with another Jon Corzine copycat trying to buy the senate seat or the governor's seat with all his money and one issue, the dems don't like it but it is far more true than the Vietnam vision ever was. And I was someone who was there at that time and living in DC. I was also stationed in the Pentagon working in Intelligence during the Cuba Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs and the Berlin Wall and the Gulf of Tonkin when Bill Moyers was at the top of his game. I will take Karl Rove over Bill Moyers any day. He is far more truthful.

jvg1249 said...

The Hartford Courant is reporting that the Secretary of State has stated that there are now 5 candidates for Senator: Lieberman, Lamont, Schlesinger, Green Party and an Independent Party candidate.

So, the question becomes how will 2 extra candidates vying for the left wing of the Democratic Party and Independent voters affect the appeal of Lamont? Too soon to tell at the moment.

But, I can't imagine it's a positive development for Lamont.

See: http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-dems0810.artaug10,0,3846041.story?coll=hc-headlines-politics-state

Gahrie said...

Gahrie: Why wasn't there some rich Republican in Connecticut to mount a credible campaign?

Because, given the electoral politics of Conn., he would be wasting his money. Instead the smart ones find a safe Republican seat to buy.

The biggest group of Conn. voters are independents, then Democrats, and Republicans a distant third. And the independents are decidedly liberal.

The last Republican Senator from Conn. was liberal enough to be a Democrat.

ChrisO said...

This is unbelievable. What an echo chamber. It's clear that most of the commenters here are drawing their information about Lamont's victory from other right wing sites. I've rarely seen so much misinformation in one place.

But first, can we take a step back and think about the delicious irony of Republicans complaining about a millionaire candidate? While I realize we were all inspired by George Bush's rise from poverty, and Bill Frist's willingness to take a break from being a country doc, settin' bones and treating the croup, to make his populist run for Senate, I still think that you can find one or two millionaires on the Republican side. Although admittedly there are some millionaires among the Democrats, You know, guys like Joe Lieberman.

And in what alternate reality does Reid give a shit what Kos says to do with committee assignments? Kos wants Reid to drop Lieberman, and you all start this "will he or won't he" watch. And I'm curious, if the lunatic fringe of the Democratic party has now taken over, why are they not pursuing the many other Democrats who share Lieberman's views on the war?

How many times do we have to repeat that Lieberman's problem was that he undermined the Democrats on key issues, and took his constituents for granted? So much is made of Lieberman being the VP candidate, as if he was every Democrat's second choice for President. He was placed on the ticket because Gore (unwisely, I think) wanted to distance himself from Clinton, so he turned to a moralizing scold who had very little loyalty to the party. The sense that all of you commenters are just a little bit smarter than the voters in Connecticut comes through loud and clear. When Lieberman chose to run for Senate in 2000, he created the very real possibility that his seat could have gone over to the Republicans. Just because none of you were paying attention, do you rhink the Democratic voters in Connecticut were too stupid to understand the implications?

It's interesting how the common theme was that Kos only backs losers, and how his ineffectiveness was reinforced with every election. Now that candidate he supported has won, he's suddenly the Svengali hypnotizing the voters of Connecticut, none of whom are capable of making up their own minds, but all of whom spend countless hours on political blogs. Get it throught your heads. Blogs can help with some fundraising and a sense of momentum in the press, but none of us, bloggers or commenters, are power brokers. What a load of self-aggrandizement.

Can we please stop pretending that any of you give a shit about the state of the Democratic party? Especially the people whio are so concerned because now the Republicans will win too easily in November, thus being in danger of becoming complacent. Boy, talk about generals fighting the last war.

Has it occured to any of you that opposition to the war is now the dominant mood in America? It's funny to see the illogical hoops you jump throught to try and portray someone who represents the majority opinion in this country as being "out of the mainstream." Face it, you guys shit the bed, and nobody cares what you think anymore.

And a special nod to Will Hough, who amusingly labels himself "educator" while posting a comment that is almost totally uneducated.

Simon said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Does anyone who understands the web seriously believe Lieberman's website was attacked? He had too much traffic for the dinky website he paid for. It was his own fault. He kept complaining about being attacked when there was no ground for the accusation."

I read a denial that this was the case from the hosting company, which would suffice unto itself.But even were that not the case, it bears noting two other points: first,that a site which runs out of bandwidth or that does not pay its bills does not go "up and down", as Lieberman's site did, it goes down and stays down. Second, a denial of service attack is defined by the intent,not the mechanism: it doesn't matter whether they hacked the site, or soaked up its available bandwidth, or flooded the web server until it crashed, or even if they physically burned down the building it's housed in. What makes it a DOS attack is the intent to take down the service.

So at very least, their claims are non-ridiculous, even if they are yet to be proven.

Gahrie said...

Chris O.:

1) There are more Democratic millionaires in Congress than Republican ones, and the four richest Congressmen are Democrats.

2) In the next week or so, I believe you will see all the serious contenders for the Democratic nomination in 2008 pay homage to Markos. (those they haven't already that is, like Gore and Kerry) Those that don't will be the next victims of the nutsroots.

3) Kos is now 1-17. However his "1" is an incumbent Senator. And perception is much stronger politically than reality, especuially among liberals.

4) Remember you bragging this November and in 2008 when the Democrats get there ass handed to them. (Including Lamont) There are far more moderates in this country than moonbats, and you guys have been pretty effective at alienating the moderates.

Aspasia M. said...

This whole "we're in 1968" thing is just odd.

There was a counter-cultural revolution that included riots at Universities and in Chicago.

I have apparently missed the bra and draft card burning rallies.

In CT a lot of mild mannered, clean shaven, well dressed people calmly went to the polls and voted out an incumbent.

This is a counter-cultural revolution like 1968? Are you kidding me?

Hey - use it as a talking point for a campaign if you want to - but don't seriously try to sell it to me in a debate.

Aspasia M. said...

Remember you bragging this November and in 2008 when the Democrats get there ass handed to them. (Including Lamont) There are far more moderates in this country than moonbats, and you guys have been pretty effective at alienating the moderates.

You may want to read Charlie Cook's political report if you don't want to be very surprised in Novemeber.

Gahrie said...

You may want to read Charlie Cook's political report if you don't want to be very surprised in Novemeber.

Isn't he one of the ones predicting doom and gloom for the Republicans in 2000, 2002, and 2004? The pollsters were down on the Republicans in all three of those elections.

In fact the moonbats used the polls as part of their evidence that 2000 and 2004 were stolen elections.

ChrisO said...

Gahrie

I'll take your word for it as far as the richest congressmen, bacause it really doesn't matter.My point wasn't that Repubnlican senators are rich and Democrats aren't. My point was that it's a little ironic to emphasize Lamont's wealth, when so many in both parties are wealthy. And Republicans who condemn Lamont for being wealthy when so many in their party are equally wealthy are just being hypocritical.

I'm sure many Democrats are going to be paying homage to Kos and others. It makes sense to build bridges to anyone who can deliver money and exposure. But it's a far cry to say that Harry Reid will give a minute's thought to who Kos wants on committees.

"Perception is reality, especially among liberals." WTF/ On what is that statement based?

"you guys have been pretty effective at alienating the moderates." Such as?

Aspasia M. said...

Gahrie,

I'm no seer - but I'll bet you two bits that the Dems gain seats in both the House and the Senate in Novemember.

The poll numbers are bad for Rs - although they are not quite as bad as they were for the Ds in 1994.

My two bits says that unless something changes, this Nov. will be a anti-incumbent "throw the bums out" election.

Aspasia M. said...

Here's a link to Larry Sabato of UVA for anybody interested in polls and political predictions:

http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/article.php?id=DNW2006081001

Adam S. A. said...

"We went through a complete campaign where the dems went back to Vietnam over and over as if that should be the sole reason to vote for their candidate for president."

Just because you hear about Vietnam and 'anti-war' on Fox News all the time doesn't mean that Democrats are talking about it. As far as I can tell the only mentions of those things this week come from the Republican side. It's called a 'tactic' and 'talking points'.

Simon said...

geoduck2 said...
"I'm no seer - but I'll bet [] two bits that the Dems gain seats in both the House and the Senate in Novemember."

I'll bet you're right (in the House, at least - I don't agree they're going to make a net gain in the Senate, not least because by alienating Lieberman, he will be less well-disposed towards them in his next term), but simply gaining seats is not the object of the game. Gaining seats is the LEAST one might expect. One might ask, if Democrats can't pick up seats in this election, when on earth could they? I continue to agree with David Brooks' observation: if the Democrats can't win back the House in this climate, what is it going to take for them to do so? In so many ways, it's theirs for the asking; they have an open goal, all they have to do is control the ball and tap it in. If they still can't accomplish that this fall, doesn't that reflect pretty dismally on their credibility among the public?

Moreover, consider the historical precedent, the sixth-year midterm of the nearest comparable Presidents: in '86, Democrats gained five House seats in Reagan's sixth-year midterm, while in '58 Democrats gained a net of forty-nine House seats in Eisenhower's. It would be unusual if - absent extenuating circumstances - the opposition party did not gain seats in Congress at some point during a President's term, particularly at this point during it.

The default supposition, I would think, would be that the Dems can, should and probably will win the House this fall. It should be considered abject failure if they do not do so, not a spectacular triumph if they do.

Aspasia M. said...

The default supposition, I would think, would be that the Dems can, should and probably will win the House this fall. It should be considered abject failure if they do not do so, not a spectacular triumph if they do.

Simon,

Well, I'm quite cautious by nature and I hate to gamble.

If I don't have a specific race in front of me I hate to generalize from national poll numbers. (For example - I think Cantwell in WA has a good chance of winning. I was quite worried about her 3 months ago.)

I do know this:
The open seats and demographic situation for the Ds are not as favorable for them as for the Rs in 1994. But I also think that the anti-incumbent "feeling" and general discontent of the electorate is bad for incumbants in general and republicans in particular.

Beyond those statements - I do not like to guess unless I'm looking at a particular race.

(If I had to guess right now what's going to happen in the Senate - I'd say pick up for Ds in Penn, MT, Ohio, and maybe Webb in VA & Ford in TN. Of course, all this could change before Nov.)

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