Monday, September 20, 2010

How Many Democratic Candidates Will Be Saying "I Wish The Democrats Had Done A Better Job These Last 2 Years?"


Sports statistician and political pundit Nate Silver has his statistical analysis of how he sees the House election going posted on the website. At this point he's predicting a Republican sweep that will result in a 223-212 GOP majority (although today's Gallup shows a generic battle dead heat-- 46% Democrats/45% Republicans). At the top of Silver's list of likely takeovers are Democrats who managed to disappoint the base-- either through political cowardice, like #1 most likely loser Tom Perriello (VA), or through innate conservatism, as in #2 most likely loser Travis Childers (MS). The list is littered with Blue Dogs like Childers-- Earl Pomeroy (ND), Frank Kratovil (MD), Chris Carney (PA), Betsy Markey (CO), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD), Bobby Bright (AL), Baron Hill (IN), Harry Mitchell (AZ), Kathy Dahlkemper (PA), Mike Arcuri (NY), Lincoln Davis (TN), Leonard Boswell (IA), John Salazar (CO), Ben Chandler (KY) and Jim Marshall (GA). 

I would love to see most of them lose; the Democratic caucus, the House, the nation would be far better off without them. But Silver's analysis is next to useless in predicting who will actually win these races. I wish he was correct that Blue Dog chairwoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin has a 70.1% chance to lose and that Blue Dog Policy Chair Baron Hill has a 62.9% chance to lose. But each will probably win for reasons that have nothing to do with RBIs, walk-to-strikeout ratios, or on-base percentages. Politics doesn't work that way. I especially want to see Chris Carney lose-- and Silver says his GOP opponent, Tom Marino, has an 80.6% chance to beat him. Heavy odds-- and I'll add my prayers. But I wouldn't bet on it, not my cash.

Silver rates Kentucky Republican incumbent Geoff Davis' chances of reelection at 100% against Democratic challenger John Waltz. He predicts Davis will wind up with 65% of the vote, a tick up from the 63% he got in 2008, and far better than the 51% he did in 2006. (Obama did marginally better-- 38%-- than either Kerry or Gore.) So should Waltz just fold up his tent and disappear? I got an e-mail from him this morning, and that isn't what he intends to do. In fact, he said much the same thing to me that Raúl Grijalva-- who Silver gives as a 99.9% chance of being reelected, something that would be a very pleasant surprise for Raúl-- told me at a meeting put together on his behalf by Dolores Huerta, Blue America and other admirers of his dedication and commitment to ordinary working families. Waltz, like Raúl, started by saying, "I wish the Democrats had done a better job these last two years." Don't we all! 

But they didn't. Between having been dealt a bad hand and being an ideologically disparate "big tent" party, the Democrats' natural timidity to do much more than baby-step half-measures has left them looking-- at best-- not as bad as Republicans. That's not enough to do what FDR accomplished in his first midterm election (after two years of GOP obstructionism similar to what Obama just got). In those midterms, which an Obama Administration-- without conflicted weenies like Emanuel and Messina in charge of the politics-- should have been aiming to replicate, the GOP lost another 10 Senate seats (leaving them with a total of 35) and lost another 14 House seats (leaving them with 103). 

Back to John Waltz, who, just kept on sounding a lot like Raúl:

There are some things that needed to be done that weren't. But the truth is, a lot was accomplished, and we are better off for it. We can either keep making progress or we can come to a grinding halt.

In 1995, our government was forced to shut down because our Republican Congress was locked into a vicious fight with Bill Clinton. This embarrassing failure to pass a budget cost the taxpayers $800 million dollars. We looked like idiots who couldn't even run our own government.
If Republicans retake the House of Representatives, we will have to deal with more disastrous public failures for another two years. These next two years cannot be wasted. We need to continue fixing our country so she can be strong again.

... We need to stop fighting about people's personal lives and focus on the needs of our nation. We have crumbling infrastructure, an exhausted and depleted army, an economy limping along, and a government that is wandering in the dark. We need and deserve strong leadership now.

The Democratic Party of FDR and Truman led us through The Great Depression, World War II, and back into prosperity. We need more strong and hard-working Democrats again to get us out of these wars and get our economy back on track. We need to make education, innovation, our land's natural beauty, and the health of our citizens a priority once again. And we need to have spine, purpose, and focus, to get it done. I am ready to bring that to Washington and to fight for our values.

We just are beginning to repair the damage from the Bush years. Let's not give up now. Let's do an even better job of getting this country fixed up... I know fixing our problems will not be easy, but it can be done. We have been in worse troubles before. We just have to focus on our priorities and not let ourselves get distracted by side issues.

Geoff Davis is not very well liked. Even the tea party activists in the district know he's a corporate whore and a phony. Can Waltz turn that into an advantage and teach Nate Silver a little something about predicting a 33% loss? The weeks are ticking away rapidly now. There's a chill in the air almost everywhere, and soon we'll be voting. I'm guessing most DWT readers have already made up their minds, but plenty of people are just starting to focus on the elections for the first time.

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At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you and Nate are mistaken about Perriello from Virginia. This is the first instance I've ever heard of him being a blue dog.

At 5:17 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Perriello isn't a Blue Dog. The Blue Dogs are an official caucus and someone either joins, pays dues, goes to meetings, learns the secret handshake or not. Perriello often votes with the Blue Dogs but he never joined the caucus and on significant issues is way better than any of them. I don't think either Nate or I implied he's a member of the caucus.

At 6:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Democrats are going to get beaten like a rented mule in this election and it is all about: TURNOUT.

If Democrats can't even show up at the polls to cast a vote - they don't deserve to govern.

Let the Republicans have their fascist moment. It may take the Republic fifty years from it, but it may also keep them out of power after that for four decades or so - like the last time.

At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Balakirev said...

It's about governing from the David Brooks kumbaya perspective, in my opinion: governing by a tent of Don Knotts and corporate hacks. If the big tent goes down in flames, maybe the Dems can finally learn something from this--but I'm not putting money on it.

At 9:04 PM, Anonymous martin said...

Bobby Bright (SD)

That should be Bobby Bright (AL).

And he deserves to get beat real good.

I'm starting a pool. If the Repubs take the house and Bobby Bright wins, what day between the election and the first session with Bright change parties?


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