All politics aren't local
Andrew Gelman has no patience for Tip O'Neill's old dictum:
Sure, all politics are local -- if you're Tip O'Neill and represent a ironclad Democratic seat in Congress. It's easy to be smug about your political skills if you're in a safe seat and have enough pull in state politics to avoid your district getting gerrymandered. Then you can sit there and sagely attribute your success to your continuing mastery of local politics rather than to whatever it took to get the seat in the first place.
It seems unlikely that the 2010 election was driven by a sudden collapse in the Democrats' constituent-service operations. And Republicans get that: Virtually the first thing they did after winning the election was renounce earmarks, which meant they considered their party's national reputation to be worth more than bringing money home to their districts.
Update: Jonathan Bernstein disagrees.
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