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Election night open thread

10:58 p.m.: Another big result: Dem Mark Critz has prevailed over GOPer Mark Burns in the special election for Pennsylvania's 12th.

This contest, the only direct matchup between a Dem and a Republican, was widely seen by commentators as the type of race the GOP must win if it is to make big gains in November -- a direct clash of arguments that we'll be seeing for months leading up to the midterms.

RNC chair Michael Steele had flatly predicted victory in the race, pronouncing it "incredibly important."

Separately: Readers, what are your thoughts on the Joe Sestak win? What are Sestak's major challenges heading into the general election? How hard will it be for him to win the conservative and rural Dems that backed Specter? Is it true, as some argued, that Specter would have had an easier time than Sestak winning Republican voters in the general election, given that they had backed him in the past? What's your read?

All in all, a big night for Dems. The Sestak victory, too, is big for them, even if some of them don't know it yet.

And: Bill Halter has forced a runoff with Blanche Lincoln. A seismic night.

10:31 p.m.: Quickest pivot in history? The Dem establishment told us for months that Specter was the candidate to win the general election, but now the DSCC is already out with a memo hailing Sestak as the candidate who can win in November.

Tellingly, the memo hails Sestak as the candidate who has "proven he takes a back seat to nobody when it comes to shaking-up Washington and taking on the establishment."

By the way, national Dems originally recruited Sestak to run against Specter when he was a Republican. Irony of ironies!

10:20 p.m.: The Post calls it for Sestak.

10:13 p.m.: With over 50 percent reporting, Dem Mark Critz leads GOPer Tim Burns 55-42 in the special election in Pennsylvania's 12th, a race that pundits are describing as a must win for Republicans.

9:44 p.m.: Sestak and Specter are now dead even at 50 percent each. While Specter has the sizeable lead he needs in Philly, Sestak is holding leads in many counties in western Pennsylvania and in the Lehigh Valley.

9:28 p.m.: The Dem message on Rand Paul's victory is that it proves that the GOP is far more divided than Dems are. From DNC spox Brad Woodhouse:

If there was any doubt after developments in Florida and Utah that the there is a corrosive and divisive fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party, those doubts were erased tonight when the tea party backed Rand Paul defeated Mitch McConnell's chosen candidate in Kentucky's GOP Senate primary...

No matter what spin the Republicans want to use about today's Democratic races, there is nothing on the Democratic side that compares to the corrosive and divisive civil war that is taking place among Republicans.

Which brings up a question: Why is it a Beltway given that division and argument are bad for parties? The Dem establishment candidates in Arkansas and Pennsylvania could soom meet the same fate that Rand Paul's victim did. So? Would that be so bad for Dems in the long run? Primaries are good. Period.

9:16 p.m.: Rand Paul says in his speech that his big victory tonight is a message from the Tea Party:

"I have a message from the tea party...this tea party movement is a message to Washington that we are unhappy and we want things done differently."

Yeah, and I want someone to do something about my toothache without my having to go to the dentist.

8:59 p.m.: Eric Kleefeld, who I know from firsthand experience at TPM is better in the electoral weeds than anyone alive, posts an explanation of where Specter and Sestak each need to win big.

Key takeway: Specter needs to win by something like 60-40 in Philly if turnout is high throughout the state; he also needs to clean up among conservative Dems in southwestern Pennsylvania. Sestak needs to do well in the Lehigh Valley in the east and south-central Pennsylvania. Key swing area: The Philly suburbs. So keep an eye on that map.

8:43 p.m.: Good evening, all. The Philadelphia Inquirer has a very useful map of Pennsylvania's election results by county. Take a look. And let me know what you're seeing out there.

By Greg Sargent  |  May 18, 2010; 8:44 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , House Dems , House GOPers , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Comments

I'll just re-post here since this is new thread...

Now it seems that the tea-party, well the original ones at least, got one of their own in the Senate.

It will be interesting how Republican Senators conduct themselves when Rand wears his Libertarian views on his sleeve on the floor and speaks of legalization or even expresses his anti-Iraq/Afghanistan positions. Things will get interesting none the less.

He might be one of the more straight up individuals on the Senate, not beholden to many. He could very well likely be a yes vote to approve of spending cuts in all departments and agencies of the U.S. Govn't from Department of Defense of which he would like to reduce spending to the Department of Educations, of which he'd like to eliminate.

I'm probably way out ahead but, I could see him continuing his ability to tap into independents and leaning libertarian Republicans and Democrats across the country and run for the White House in 2012.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 18, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Guess the question now is whether even Rand Paul is too crazy for Kentucky.

Posted by: CalD | May 18, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Guess the question now is whether even Rand Paul is too crazy for Kentucky.

Posted by: CalD | May 18, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Lol, TMP says Paul won Grayson's county.

That's really twisting the proverbial knife in the wound.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 18, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

It's early, but Specter's leading in Sestak's district (Del. County)?

What's that about?

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 18, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Ah, never mind. I didn't realize it was interactive. Now I see only 1% of the vote has been reported.

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 18, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Specter 58%, Sestak 42% with 6%.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Specter 55%, Sestak 45% with 11% reporting.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

From Josh:

"9:11 PM: Maybe Specter is still in this thing. Most of the chatter of the day has talked in terms of low turnout which most figure would be bad for Specter. But now it's seeming like those predictions of low turnout were wrong or perhaps that there was a late surge of turnout."

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Greg, bite the bullet so to speak and get to the dentist. It's never as bad as you think it's going to be.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

thanks, lmsinca, I'll think about it. :)

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 18, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Sip on some whiskey for the ache. Works like a charm. At least until you have to go to the dentist.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 18, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

BTW Greg, thanks for the map. I guess everyone else is watching the results on the teevee. My husband refuses to watch election results from other states so we're watching the Angels. And I'm sneaking away to the computer at the same time.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Greg, Josh stole your map. LOL And just think if you need a root canal or something they'll give you pain killers and you'll have an excuse to take the day off.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Should we be worrying yet about Sestak with 24% in? He owns the map as far as winning precincts but I guess the difference is population.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

zomg PA is getting close.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 18, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Less than 1000 votes now separating the two...

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 18, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

50-50 mike, nice.

And Greg, I think the Tea Party will spell the doom in at least some general election races in Nov. I'd rather see a Tea Party candidate win the primary. Sounds like Woodhouse probably agrees. Watch out John McCain.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Sestak pulls ahead! Gotta love the horse race.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 18, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Well, so far (& there are quite a few votes left since most of the Philly suburbs haven't yet reported, and Philly still has slightly less than half of its votes left to report) Specter is winning Philly 60-40, but he is losing in southwestern PA. The only place outside of Philly where Specter is doing well is Dauphin County (which is where the state capital, Harrisburg, is located). Specter's also presently leading in some the counties northeast of Allentown, but those counties have also only reported less than 10% of their precincts.

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 18, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

lmsinca, I had two root canals in one month a few years ago. you're right, even root canals aren't that bad

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 18, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Eli over at "you know where" has a great take on Specter.

"Want my inside, ground-level scoop on PA? Here it is:

1) I "clucking" hate Arlen Specter and his craven say-the-right-thing-then-vote-the-opposite schtick. He’s been decent as a Democrat since he switched, but I think that was mainly because of Sestak’s primary challenge. If Arlen gets to hit the six-year snooze bar on his re-election clock, I expect him to join the Nelson-Lieberman Caucus pretty much instantly."

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Greg, just tell them to load you up with Novocain and pain killers and you'll be fine. Besides they need the business.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Now Sestak's got a 2,300 vote lead.

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 18, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Also everyone, Critz is looking pretty good for Murtha's seat. Not too bad so far, except Lincoln is getting pretty close to 50%. She's the one I really want to see forced into a runoff.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

"If Arlen gets to hit the six-year snooze bar on his re-election clock, I expect him to join the Nelson-Lieberman Caucus pretty much instantly."

I expect the same.

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 18, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Sestak now has more than an 11,000 vote lead!

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 18, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Arkansas sure is slow getting their results in but Blanche lost a few percentage points on the last update.

Go JOE!!!!!!!

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

18,000 vote lead for Sestak. :)

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 18, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

The Phila. suburb counties have now all reported. All have less than 20% of their precincts reporting, but at this point all four counties are breaking for Sestak. Sestak has also most likely won Berks Co. (just to the northwest of the Philly suburbs, and the county where Reading, PA is located, one of the mid-sized PA cities). Dauphin Co. is still for Specter, but they haven't updated that vote count in a while.

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 18, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

20,000 vote lead for Sestak.

What's happening is that as the rural counties report their first totals they're all breaking for Sestak. Philadelphia hasn't updated in a while.

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 18, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

I hardly think Arlen Specter rates as a Democratic "establishment candidate." I presume that he has the public support of the party establishment as part of the deal for switching parties. They also want to keep his seat and incumbency tends to be worth about 7 points on average in general elections.

But to me, the term "establishment candidate" implies mainstream ideological alignment and I really don't think you could make the case that Arlen Specter represents the ideology of the Democratic party establishment. Not by a long shot. There are only two or three democratic senators anywhere in the same ballpark as Specter in terms of overall voting records.

Posted by: CalD | May 18, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

29,000 vote lead for Sestak.

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 18, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Wohooo!!! Sestak wins!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 18, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Anyone have a good Arkansas vote update website?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 18, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Sestak's definitely winning in the southwest. Allegheny County (where Pittsburgh's located) is just about finished reporting and while it's close Sestak's winning there. He's winning by larger margins in the other southwestern counties, but they're also further behind in their reporting than Allegheny Co. is.

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 18, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

35,000 vote lead for Sestak. I think Sestak's going to win.

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 18, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

@ lmsinca | May 18, 2010 9:49 PM:

Specter went from making a show of bucking the Republican party line before voting it, to making a show of bucking the Democratic party line before voting it long before there was a primary challenge anywhere in sight. Basically, the man is gutless. Switching parties was pretty transparently the result of a calculation that he had a better shot of surviving the primary season as a Democrat than as a Republican.

Posted by: CalD | May 18, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

AP's calling it for Sestak:

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/politics/Sestak-Beats-Specter-94217204.html

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 18, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

The Post called it for Sestak too. Just linked above.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 18, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Sestak really pulled it off. If we can force Blanche into a run off I think it shows the establishment Dems that we are still, as we have always been, a party to the left of center, especially now when the center is shifting further right. Run on your Dem creds and be proud of it. HaaaHaaa, the Tea Partiers are the radicals now.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Pulling for 3 for 3 tonight (runoff in AR).

Thrilled about Conway. He's a solid Dem -- good fit for his state -- and can beat Rand Paul.

Posted by: MichaelConrad | May 18, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Michael, and Critz is looking good so far for Murtha's seat. We're on a roll!!!!!! The Repubs really wanted that one.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

I guess Burns conceded to Critz, so all we need now is the run off in Arkansas. Good night for Dems, yeah!!!!!

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

"Quickest pivot in history?"

Yep, and long overdue IMO.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

FOX is fun tonight. All signs and portents (like the dog barking off in the distance) speak only of Obama-rejection.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 18, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

"The Dem establishment told us for months that Specter was the candidate to win the general election"


Since Obama's been in the White House, and placed his own preferred folks in the DNC, the DNC and the Dem. establishment have had a consistent string of bad calls, haven't they?

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 18, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

"Which brings up a question: Why is it a Beltway given that division and argument are bad for parties?"

Because divided you fall?

Posted by: CalD | May 18, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

I think that in November the Republicans can do OK with a certain sector of the population if each congressional and senate candidate visits a plastic surgeon this summer to get Rand Paul's face.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 18, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Signing out for the night, this was actually more fun than I expected, thanks all!!!!!! I'll catch up with Blanche later.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

You argue that division isn't bad for the Republicans, ignoring that the DNC described the fight as "CORROSIVE and divisive."

Posted by: raycrossley | May 18, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Shout out to Joe Sestak for putting Arlen Specter out of my misery.

Posted by: CalD | May 18, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Progressives are 3 for 4 so far tonight!

Critz over Burns.
Sestak over Specter.
Conway over Mongiardo.

Now all that's left is for Halter to hold Lincoln under 50% and force her run off. If she water's down Wall Street Reform, she's toast. If she doesn't...then we get better WSR!

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | May 18, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

The Tea Party may affect outcomes in very conservative states like UT and KY but go to mixed and see Dems win in places like PA 12. The GOP has taken up with the Tea Party having them decide without regard to the overall population, nor the future. AZ may back the new law but looking at more than 50% of under 18 being hispanic/black, how long before the GOP base is the minority?

Posted by: jameschirico | May 18, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone else think that Specter's speech was just painful to watch. The man is flat out broken, at this point. He saw his support in his own party disappear around him, then he switched and watched his new party give him the boot.

I don't feel too sorry for him, considering how utterly cynical it was. But still, that speech was really tough to watch.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | May 18, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Anyone following Palin's twitter?

Posted by: bernielatham | May 18, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

@BBQ - Yeah, I know what you mean. It's kind of like watching Tonya Harding fall on a double axel. There's a mixed response.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 18, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

BBQ, I didn't watch it, but I do feel bad for the old man. Not too bad, I mean, that's the uncertain nature of politics.

But he was a reasonable republican, and even though he may have switched for selfish reasons, he still did switch, and was helpful to the democrats. It's hard to imagine he would've been the lone republican to vote with democrats on HCR, so you could argue that his switch had a huge effect on the eventual passing of HCR.

Still, I'm glad Sestak won. And it was an overall bad day for the GOP!

Posted by: SDJeff | May 18, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Just saw a short clip of Specter's speech and yeah it was painful.

I am already tired of the Obama didn't do enough for Specter mantra coming from the TV pundits. Specter has only himself to blame. The Sestak campaign AD's using Specter's own words did the job.

Posted by: Andy94 | May 18, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

@Greg

A note about PA-12. I have to point out that this race wasn't even that close. Right now it's something like 8 points. The running theory was that this race was a toss-up, and would be an indicator of what the fall would look like. If it was CLOSE either way, it would be a wash...but this was a solid, strong win by Democrats. The GOP, as you note, made a huge deal about this race.

Sestak's biggest push on the GE will be getting his name out there and co-opting the populist/outsider message. It's a MUCH easier message for him to grab hold of than Specter, and his primary win will do wonders to build his name ID.

He should keep doing what he's been doing. He's run a tight campaign with a focused message, selling himself and his story, as well as creating effective and well-timed attacks at his opponent. If he stays true...he should do very well against Toomey.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | May 18, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Doh! Halter is ahead atm.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 18, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

lol. RNC is spinning the PA-12 loss as a result of the Dem primary, etc on the same day just now on Rachel Maddow.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 18, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

yup -- thanks, BBQ. And agreed, all, huge night all around.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 18, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

I love MikeofArlington's comments at the top of this thread. He is so right! The Tea Baggers and the GOP have no idea what Rand Paul or Ron Paul stand for.

Just heard spokesperson from RNC on TRMS, he did a great job of slamming the President. I guess they'll never learn. Tonight the GOP lost their 7th straight special house election since '08 and their mouthpiece slams the President.

Posted by: Andy94 | May 18, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

The stunningly fast pivot by the DSCC from Specter to Sestak should give Richard Blementhal pause. If there is enough outrage expressed by Dems, especially by veterans, Blumenthal may not be as safe as he imagines. One of his GOP rivals is a decorated Vietnam vet who actually did see combat. If that is who Blumenthal faces this fall, the Dems may have just guaranteed the GOP another Senate seat.

How much do you want to bet that a GOP Vietnam vet would unleash a devastating series of ads focusing on Blumenthal's "misstatements?" If the DSCC and the Dems were smart, they would get ahead of this and pressure Blumenthal to resign.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 19, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

imsinca, Yeah... four for four. Pretty good. Ditto your point above RE: the Dem establishment.

Posted by: MichaelConrad | May 19, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

this is great news for john mcstain

Posted by: nada85484 | May 19, 2010 1:29 AM | Report abuse

John McCain easily beat Obama in the PA-12 district. I'd like to see how the GOP tries to spin this defeat now. LOL

Posted by: sgtpepper23 | May 19, 2010 2:04 AM | Report abuse

The Paul win is interesting. On his side were Palin, Bunning and Dobson. Backing Grayson were Dick Cheney, Rudy Giuliani, Mitch McConnell, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. We'll note that Cheney's endorsements haven't been working out so well.

Given Paul's theories on the proper shape of government, plus monetary and foreign affairs matters, there's simply no way the Republican/Chamber of Commerce crowd (corporate power, Pentagon, etc) are going to want this fellow to be influential past however he might be used to get Republicans elected.

They are going to cut his legs off while celebrating him as first cousin. I suspect he and his old man understand this quite well but I doubt that will help them much, the differences in finance and institutional power being far too great.

So it does set up a pretty serious conflict within the conservative camp which I doubt has a resolution.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Distinct absence of cute hats and party horns over at the neocon press.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Though Oregon has sort of dropped out of the picture, incumbents here did very well.

Not particularly related, but was just thinking about what Limbaugh is going to say today. "This, my friends, was a referendum on Obama, The One, the socialist. And in no uncertain terms, freedom-loving Americans said 'We are sick and tired of you elites trying to take over our country and in November, you're out of here'. That's what last night was all about, my friends."

Bets?

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 7:41 AM | Report abuse

@MikeFromArlington:

"RNC is spinning the PA-12 loss as a result of the Dem primary..."

Yeah, I caught that. You know, if the Democrat had won by 1-3 points, I'd actually buy that argument. It is likely that the contested Dem primary for Senate brought out some extra voters...but it wasn't 9 percentage points worth of voters.

One can only hope they will continue to grasp at straws, and not change their actual strategies.

If the economy continues to rebound as it is (big "if" though), then by the time we get to the fall...I think the CW could be blown totally out of the water.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | May 19, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Josh at TPM had a viewing experience just about identical to my own...

" I don't think I'd ever seen Paul speak at any length. Or if I did I don't have a clear recollection of it. And he came off to me as arrogant, bellicose and even a little messianic in his demeanor. To put it baldly, he sounded like a jerk.

When I watched it on replay later it didn't sound quite as jarring to me. But maybe that's because my impression from the first viewing was so negative that a second look couldn't live up to my first impression. (see some video highlights here.)

In any case, that's actually quite different from his father..."
http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/05/rand_paul.php?ref=fpblg

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Bernie
You're spot on with your Limbaugh take.

Dana Milbank on CNBC right now predicts GOP takes back the house this fall and in his words that's good news for Obama.

Milbank was on with Politico's Mike Allen who said if Rand Paul wins this fall he has no incentive to work with the GOP and may make the environment more divisive in the Senate.

Posted by: Andy94 | May 19, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Yglesias points to a wonderful "crotchety progressive rant" from Bowers...
http://www.openleft.com/diary/18759/crotchety-progressive-rant

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Andy - Paul's incentive (and ideology and ego, I think) will have a tendency to push him away from Republicans. That's his whole bag, really - I'm not 'them'! If he wishes to see more like-minded candidates running and elected then they will offer up the same "we hate washington and establishment parties" theme believing that 1) governance is as simple and easy as they idiotically imagine and 2) that's the way to get the Paulites and other tea party types out to vote for them.

I don't know how this can't end up in rightwing conflagration.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Cute piece from Tomasky... there's zero evidence that Susan B Anthony was actually opposed to abortion...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/michaeltomasky

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Bernie
Now that Rand Paul has won, maybe the media or national dems will force Paul to spell out his political platform.

Would he pullout ALL our military forces from around the globe and shrink the size of our armed forces? Would he change the value of our currency back to the gold standard? Do tea baggers know what that means? Would he eliminate social security, medicare and medicaid? What government agencies would he eliminate?

Posted by: Andy94 | May 19, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Andy - Right on the money. And the media might even be up to this task, as evident and necessary as it is because 1) it's so weird and they love weird and 2) because they aren't going to have the same (now institutionalized) fear of critical comment of Republicans/social conservatives.

Republicans really didn't get what they wanted last night. They didn't get Greyson, they didn't get Specter (easier to beat in November, surely) and they didn't get traction in the other Penn vote. No surprise they aren't chipper this AM.

A curiosity to me is what precisely is going on in Dick Armey's head right now (other than how is investment portfolio is looking and other than how women are inferior, I mean). Armey's real clientele is the corporate world and maintaining a manipulatable Republican power structure is key to the goals of that sector. As this appears to be in danger from not only Obama but from the Tea Party monster Armey has worked to create, he's got a real problem.

Likewise, what is going on in Rove's noggin this morning? His clientele is the same crowd. Surely what he'll be working on is some strategy to micro-target everything up for grabs in November and pushing money and organizational structures into those targeted campaigns. At the same time, he's got to take into account this real threat from of insurgency and potential chaos from the Paulite movement. Big problems for him, too.

And then there's Norquist. I'll have to think about him a bit more and see what comes up from him today (one indication already that last night disappointed him).

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

And here's another conundrum. What's going on in Roger Aile's head? Again, at least as I see things, Aile's really has the same clientele as the others, that is, corporate America. To the degree that Beck and Hannity and Palin are forces working towards strengthening the Paulite dynamic, to that degree they present a danger to establishment Republican power structures.

If I'm correct in my thesis that the fundamental motivation for promotion of Tea Partyism from Armey and FOX was to rebrand Republicans/conservatives (after the last eight years) and do something like a reprise of '94, then they are somehow going to have to do a pivot and a dance to portray a divergence between Paulism and bona fide conservativism, while alienating as few potential Republican voters as possible.

As always, the fellow to watch here is probably Limbaugh. But Beck is going to have to be choreographed or he could become even more of a self-destructive element for them.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Bernie
Funny you mention investment portfolios and corporate clients. We're in the midst of the 1st quarter earning reports from most companies and so far the majority have been very positive. Plus the consumer price index numbers released this morning were the lowest in 40-years. Bottom line, if the GOP is hoping to get any kind of assist in November from a sluggish economy, it's not likely.

Posted by: Andy94 | May 19, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

OK, off for a nap. Really must change this ridiculous schedule of waking at 2 AM or so to begin reading. Unfortunately, I'm kind of addicted to the quietness of the early hours and my two Persians are addicted to being fed at that time, thus leap on my head to encourage continuance of the behavior.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

All, morning roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/05/the_morning_plum_11.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 19, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Bernie, don't forget Palin. She had to put up a pretty fine spin job for endorsing both McCain and Fiorina. I've been going to her facebook and reading the comments every few days, interesting. She took a huge hit for Fiorina, her fans could forgive McCain because of the loyalty angle, but Fiorina took them by surprise and they were not happy. She had to come back on stage and 'splain herself.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 19, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Andy - I'd be very happy if your prognosis proves accurate for reasons political and personal. Great talking with you. Have a fine day.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Ims - Yes, indeed. I see her as an agent of establishment interests too. But because (like Beck) she's a doofus empty vessel wearing a day-glo "Anti-Washington!!!" sign that her followers actually believe, her road ahead has land-mines all over the place.

And just a quick last note, I think I ought to point out that all of these dynamics (Republican/conservative self-immolation) are being pushed forward in great part because of the person who arrived on the scene for Dems. This guy's specialness is absolutely key.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Now it seems that the tea-party, well the original ones at least, got one of their own in the Senate.

Posted by: mikefromArlington

=============================

the teabagger terrorists have elected a US Senator ???

from where ???

I don't think you teabagger terrorists understand this whole Democracy thingy

rand paul DID NOT win a seat in the US Senate

Me thinks that you teabagger terrorists like to count your chickens before they hatch

and speaking of chickens, have you heard that sue "chicken lady" lowden now claims she never said the stupid things she said

way to go, chidken lady

you teabagger terrorists need to review your chicken lessons

don't count your chickens before they hatch, and don't tell people that bartering chickens is a reasonable way to pay for health care

see you teabagger terrorists in November

Posted by: nada85484 | May 19, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

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