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The Morning Plum

A much-needed win for the Dem narrative: Tea Party favorite Ken Buck's victory in last night's Colorado Senate GOP primary is the latest in a pattern: The success of right-wingers in Senate primaries means Republicans are heading into the fall armed with candidates who will be challenging to manage in general elections, thanks to their pronounced conservatism, lack of polish, and unpredictability.

Buck follows on the heels of Sharron Angle and Rand Paul, both of whom were powered to primary victories by enthusiasm on the right but are now essentially general-election mine-fields when it comes to their positions and public statements. While there's no question that Republicans could win in these three races -- and other Senate contests are also very competitive, giving the GOP a shot at big gains -- this emerging pattern gives Dems a glimmer of cautious optimism amid a very bad electoral environment.

* And: The victory of Senator Michael Bennett in last night's Colorado Dem primary gives the White House's much-maligned political operation something to crow about.

* The party of crotch-kickers? Dems are seizing on the victory of wrestling exec Linda McMahon in last night's Connecticut GOP primary to roll out a new talking point: The GOP is off the rails entirely. DNC spox Hari Sevugan emails:

"Today the party of Bob Dole, Jack Kemp and Dick Lugar nominated a candidate who kicks men in the crotch, thinks of scenes of necrophilia as 'entertainment,' and runs an operation where women are forced to bark like dogs. This is what has become of the once grand old party."

* But she's prepared to kick Dems in the croch and make them bark like dogs, too: McMahon is set to spend $28 million against Richard Blumenthal in a campaign that will make her wrestling matches look like knitting seminars, so she could pose national Dems with a serious groin-ache this fall.

* Can the GOP win back the Senate? William Galston has a useful overview of the math.

* Yes, Obama is slipping among liberals: Chris Bowers makes the case, with the caveat that his problem among them mirrors his overall approval numbers.

* Thank you, Dems: AFSCME is going up with a six figure radio buy thanking dozens of House Dems for protecting jobs by passing $26 billion in state aid. The ad suggests Dems will use GOP opposition to the measure as a major weapon this fall.

* A "bailout"...for the middle class? Has GOP opposition to state aid for teachers, firefighters and cops given Dems an opening to paint Republicans as hostile to the middle class?

* Rangel rages on: House Dems privately tried to talk him out of staging that rambling last stand on the House floor yesterday.

* Huh? Dem leaders are scratching their heads at Rangel's odd demand that they help pay his legal fees. What they're really trying to figure out is how to prevent Rangel from continuing to drag them down.

* Shocker of the day: George W. Bush won't be a liability for Republicans this fall, say former Bush aides.

* Moving the mosque is daft, part 973: Luring Cordoba House away from Ground Zero with free state land is hardly something the courts will look kindly on.

* And Michele Bachmann is a genuine national figure: HuffPo rounds up all the latest evidence and video highlights demonstrating Michele Bachmann's emergence as a national figure with her own national Tea Party power-base.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  August 11, 2010; 8:14 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , House Dems , House GOPers , Morning Plum , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , Tea Party , economy  
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Next: Approval of Congress very low -- among Democrats

Comments

"Yes, Obama is slipping among liberals: Chris Bowers makes the case, with the caveat that his problem among them mirrors his overall approval numbers."

This has been clear since Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy's senate seat. Unfortunately, the Establishment Democrats interpreted that as a call for more bi-partisanship, i.e., tilting further Right. They were wrong. Scott Brown won because Liberals AND Independents lost confidence in Obama and the Democrats' ability to govern, notwithstanding their overwhelming control, the people's receptivity to significant change, and the plain urgency of the matter. Liberals and Independents lost faith in Obama and the Democrats during the health care debate when Obama and the Dems compromised away the best features of HCR, such as the public option, and then completely lost control of the argument to the GOP and the Tea Party. Now, here we are a year later and what has the White House learned? Nothing. They still think the way forward is to move even further Right to accommodate the GOP and prove their "bi-partisanship." The fact is that, to date, the Obama White House has been a pathetic political operation that has cast serious doubt on whether Obama truly is ready for the job. But contrary to Obama's acolytes' belief, the problem isn't the Left, professional or otherwise. The problem is a sustained lack of presidential leadership from Obama. Apparently, the White House thinks it will now prove how "tough" it is by attacking Liberals. This is so stupid and counterproductive that it merely confirms the view that this White House is clueless.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 11, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

The success of right-wingers in Senate primaries means Republicans are heading into the fall armed with candidates who will be challenging to manage in general elections, thanks to their pronounced conservatism, lack of polish, and unpredictability.
====================================

In other words, they're loons. But that's no bar to becoming a GOBP congresscritter - see Michele Bachmann, Virginia Foxx, Steve King...
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | August 11, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Re: Bennett - Romanoff

http://www.openleft.com/diary/19743/what-dc-will-say-about-the-co-election-vs-what-the-co-election-will-actually-mean

=>Regardless of the election's outcome, the fact that this Democratic Senate primary is so close, then, suggests that A) a large chunk of Democratic voters implicitly understand that the Obama agenda has not fundamentally challenged power and that B) a large chunk of Democratic voters are willing to reward Democratic politicians who defy the Obama administration by pushing to fundamentally challenge the status quo.

This, of course, will most likely not be the narrative from the Washington press corps on Tuesday night.

-David Sirota<=
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | August 11, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

"thanks to their pronounced conservatism, lack of polish, and unpredictability."

I understand that liberals think conservatism, by itself, is a negative, but Ronald Reagan won a 49 state landslide, with pronounced conservatism, against pronounced liberalism. While Bush was not a pronounced conservative, her certainly came off that way, and legitimately won at least one presidential election.
The Contract with America was all about pronounced conservatism, and did all right by the Republicans in 1994--you know, back when they had an actual platform and ran on an actual agenda.

Sharron Angle's problem is not her "conservatism", so-called, but those last two, or general looniness. I don't know enough to comment on Ken Buck, but Rand Paul's problems have very, very little to do with conservatism--he's a libertarian, which is to conservatism as socialism is to liberalism. That is, on the same side of the fence but not hardly the same thing. Plus, Rand Paul seems to have zero political savvy. If a politician considers civil rights legislation unconstitutional (an odd position, given that the framework for civil rights legislation is right there in the amendments to the constitution, but whatever), if he doesn't see the political suicide of saying so before he opens his mouth . . . ugh.

Anyway, I've I don't think the Tea Parties are actually doing the Republicans any favors (and I'm all for the Tea Parties, and think they are grossly mischaracterized by some liberals). Their influence in the primaries being prime examples.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 11, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Sooo, how many died in the dem circular firing squad y'day ? I see a big toll at dkos. No wonder dems weren't in power for the most part of the last century.

Posted by: amkeew | August 11, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

"Today the party of Bob Dole, Jack Kemp and Dick Lugar nominated a candidate who kicks men in the crotch, thinks of scenes of necrophilia as 'entertainment,' and runs an operation where women are forced to bark like dogs."

You say that like it's a bad thing.

Or that person says it like it's a bad thing. That's really not a compelling objection, to me, which suggest that McMahon, unlike Sharron Angle and Rand Paul, might not be actively trying to lose the general election, much to the Dem's chagrin.

"Can the GOP win back the Senate?"

Unlikely in a single cycle, but unless Obama sprouts some long coattails, 2012 might be the year. Assuming the Republicans sport better nominees than Sharron Angle and Rand Paul in 2012.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 11, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

And it's obvious crhis bowers knows jacksquat about polls.

Posted by: amkeew | August 11, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne: "Scott Brown won because Liberals AND Independents lost confidence in Obama and the Democrats' ability to govern"

Perhaps, but I think Scott Brown lost because Martha Coakley was an atrocious candidate. Say what you will about Sharron Angle or Rand Paul, neither seems to actively hate the voters in their own party, and neither seem irritated that they are having to wait so long to be coronated. Any halfway decent Democratic candidate would have won that election; Coakley ran a terrible campaign and was (for reasons having nothing to do with politics) an almost repugnant candidate.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 11, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

The Contract with America was all about pronounced conservatism, and did all right by the Republicans in 1994--you know, back when they had an actual platform and ran on an actual agenda.
=========================

What happened when they carried out that agenda?

Furthermore, I don't recall President Carter being liberal. He moved to the left after he was president. And you're skipping the role of the Iranian hostage crisis in that election.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | August 11, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin
Your categorizations of what and who represents "true" conservativism are questionable (how would you classify Norquist? Schlafly? Eisenhower? Powell?) but more importantly, they are irrelevant to real states of affairs. The modern conservative movement has no room for moderates. As one in attendance put it during the conservative-get together-boat trip up to Alaska when Kristol met Palin, Bill Buckley represents a dinosaur version of conservatism. And Buckley as a moderate is itself an untenable categorization.

What constitutes conservatism in America now - that is, the reality of conservatism - is the extremities of what and who we are seeing win primaries and what the idea-communicators in the movement (talk radio, FOX, Palin, etc) are forwarding. No one will nor can stand against Limbaugh in the reality of present 'conservatism'.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 11, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Coakely was a weak candidate not a terrible candidate. If Obama and the Democrats hadn't squandered all voter enthusiasm by election time she would have won in a walk (which, unfortunately is what Coakely and everyone else in the Democratic Party expected). Having misunderstood the problem at the outset, the White House has compounded it by learning exactly the wrong lesson from Coakley's defeat. What Liberals AND Independents want(ed) from Obama is real leadership. People want(ed) results. When HCR bogged down for a year and got compromised into oblivion through ugly backroom deals, the White House lost all its momentum. From then on, every step was a struggle because the GOP had won the war by framing the debate. The White House in response moved increasingly Right, thinking it would placate the GOP and impress Independents with its outreach. This WHite House simply does not understand the power of the presidency; it's as if Obama is a passenger on the ship of state instead of the captain. Americans will stand for mistakes but not impotency, especially when there was such a clamor for fundamental change. Heck, if people had wanted another triangulating Democrat they could have just voted for tHillary and got a real Clinton. No, people wanted real change and that is what we were promised. It has not been delivered and Obama voters are disappointed and demoralized. I know I am.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 11, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

@amkeew :No wonder dems weren't in power for the most part of the last century.

Really? I thought that the dems controlled congress for most of the 20th century, at least since the depression except for the last 15 years and part of that was a split legislature. How are you calculating "power"?

Posted by: srw3 | August 11, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning Kevin....OMG...a conservative who supports the Tea Party yet still hasn't lost touch with reality....

"-he's a libertarian, which is to conservatism as socialism is to liberalism. That is, on the same side of the fence but not hardly the same thing."

Yes! Yes! Yes! Could you please educate your fellow Tea Partiers who continually conflate liberalism with socialism. I understand the pandering politicians who do it for effect but IMHO the vast majority (not all) TPers are not as informed politically as you Kevin. They truly do not understand the difference. It's not simple name calling for them, they freaking believe it!

Kevin if we thought YOU were representative of the Tea Party in general we'd all breathe a bit easier. Your statement is not only technically accurate displaying that you at least understand freaking facts...and perhaps even nuance.

Yesterday Kevin you chastised me for lumping all R's under one criticism I posted and you were right...not ALL R's and not ALL Teabaggers...but on the Tea Bagger part could you grant me this Kevin?

You pick the number but I trust you'll be "honest" in your assessment as to what % of TBers are racist. Let's just take a VERY conservative (no pun intended) estimate of 10% or even 5%. If you are in ANY group that sports HATEFUL RACIST signs and then are offended when your group is called out for it, that doesn't make you a racist but it does make you complicit.

Imagine this Kevin...if people were inside of the convention center of either the R or the D conventions and even ONE OF THEM had a placard or banner with OBVIOUS and BLATANT racist themes...say like Dale Robertson's infamous "nig&%r" sign..or the watermelons on the W.H. the witch doctor crap, do you suppose the Party would be expected to deal with it. Would they simply say as the Tea Party and Fox and Limberger..that "ahhh that's all you can do is call us racist because you don't have any other positions or arguments, and you just don't like us."?

I obviously understand all TPers are not racists. Perhaps that bothers me even more than the fact of the ACTUAL RACISTS themselves. If I ever go to a rally and someone put up such a sign I'd confront them!
If I went to several rallies and it continued I'd LEAVE the group.

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 11, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

TPM on the Esquire piece on Gingrich... http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/08/gingrich_profile_featuring_ex-wife_begets_question.php?ref=fpa

I haven't read it yet but should be able to get to it today.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 11, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

My vote for quote of the day (from the Esquire piece)...

[Gingrich's] staff responded with gallows humor: "He's a sociopath, but he's our sociopath."

Posted by: bernielatham | August 11, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

@Bernie I've read some of the pre released portions of the Esquire Article. Obviously those of us who despise Gingrich find it compelling. In the interest of fairness unless I'm mistaken it is a ONE SOURCE article...perhaps I've only read the parts with Gingrich's ex and I'm mistaken...but certainly those are the revelations causing all the furor and his ex made very compelling and "believable" statements.

And so a question Bernie....

Do you think this will do any damage to Gingrich or will he simply get away with dismissing by saying..ex wife..yadda..yadda "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned".

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 11, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Scott Brown won because Marth Coakley campaigned poorly.

Posted by: akaoddjob | August 11, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

(Martha Coakley)

Posted by: akaoddjob | August 11, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

"Well you know something, CT Dems. What you gonna do when Linda McMahon and her twelvity bazillion dollars run wild on you?!?!"

If Linda McMahon is their Hulkster, that makes Glenn Beck the Ultimate Wacko... er Warrior, right?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laiZgrIpbcA

Yes, I watched wrestling as a kid.. and a lot of it.

"Bret Hart and Kurt Angle rule! Everyone else sucks!"

Posted by: michael_conrad | August 11, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Loving it. The Republican arsonists who thought that they would thrive by burning down the house are aflame everywhere. The nuts are energized, and who appeals to a nut like a nut? That we actually have enough con-victims in this country to make Michelle Bachmann relevant is sad-but at least this freak show will be entertaining.

Posted by: whereareweandwhatarewedoinginthishandbasket | August 11, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

"I understand that liberals think conservatism, by itself, is a negative, but Ronald Reagan won a 49 state landslide, with pronounced conservatism, against pronounced liberalism. While Bush was not a pronounced conservative, her certainly came off that way, and legitimately won at least one presidential election.
The Contract with America was all about pronounced conservatism, and did all right by the Republicans in 1994--you know, back when they had an actual platform and ran on an actual agenda."


All of that is 20 and more years old.

You're living in the past, just like the New Deal Democrats were doing in the 1970's and early 80's.

Posted by: akaoddjob | August 11, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Ted Kennedy dies. The Democratic candidate wins without trying in if conditions are even neutral because MA is pro-Dem and sympathy for Kennedy. But conditions were far worse than neutral because Obama voters had already been demoralized by the Administration's and the Democratic Party's ineptitude. Yup, Coakely was a lousy candidate but if Obama has given her anything to run on people would have laughed off her Curt Schilling is a Yankee gaffe. By attributing the loss to Coakely personally you, like the White House, have failed to learn the real lesson of her defeat.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 11, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

"and who appeals to a nut like a nut?"

LMAO!!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 11, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

"In the interest of fairness unless I'm mistaken it is a ONE SOURCE article...."

I believe that Gingrich himself was interviewed for the article.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | August 11, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Thanks S.C. I see in Bernie's post that staff were also interviewed.

Wonder then if there is anything else from a different source as damning as the quotes from his ex?

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 11, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

As for Conservatism, certainly it has been ascendant for 40 years in the U.S. But it peaked under Reagan, rotted under Bush I, and metasticized under Bush II. Conservatism is now a spent force bereft of vitality and ideas, cynically clinging to power by any means necessary, even at the expense of the national interest. Luckily for Conservatives, the Democrats are too dumb to realize it. There are now 3 kinds of Democrats: 1) Blue Dogs, who are really Republicans; 2) Whipped Dogs, Dems who have been beaten for so long they identify with their abusers; and 3) Liberals, or as the White House might say, F-ing Retards. And THAT right there is the current political problem: The GOP stands for a failed ideology and the Democrats stand for nothing.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 11, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

There's been a lot of talk of an "enthusiasm gap" hurting Dems. But if it's true that offyear elections are dominated by the "party faithful"--i.e., the "base," then I would predict that, notwithstanding what they're telling pollsters, the Dem base will drag themselves to the polls if for no other reason than that the Goopers now are so far off the deep end that the idea of their actually taking over either house of Congress is so truly frightening.

Posted by: joeff | August 11, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Buck was only better than the alternative, he isn't truly an 'outsider tea party/Constitutional conservative' in the same way. He's more like Rubio. There won't be anything 'interesting' out of him from your point of view, and he should win, easily.

Rand, on the other hand, is obviously a threat and is being constantly attacked in ways no incumbant has to bear. (Since when isn't a pass given for college days, as with the President? Do you really want that to become the standard of 'review'? Does Obama have anything nearly as awesome as 'Aqua Buddha' to offer? Because so far he's been seriously lacking in that regard.)

However, Rand Paul will be the next Senator from Kentucky.

Posted by: sailingaway1 | August 11, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne, I am not sure what you were expecting. Obama ran as a centrist, and governs like one. He was never the great liberal hope.

Posted by: srw3 | August 11, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

WB, Massachusetts voters were extremely upset at the state Democratic Party machine and that helped drive away the Indies too. Given that and the fact that Martha Coakley ran one of the worst campaigns in history, that kinda throws cold water on your argument that Brown won because of Obama.

With all due respect, I think you are bitter and upset at the current environment and you are lashing out at President Obama unfairly. We agree on almost every substantive issue. I honestly think that if all Dems who feel the way you do were able to CHANNEL that anger into something more electorally constructive than just lashing out at Obama there would definitely be a greater chance that the Dems keep the House and Senate.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 11, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"And it's obvious chris bowers knows jacksquat about polls."

amk, is there something specific you can let us in on, or is it just that you don't like his results? He's fairly well know for interpreting polls AFAIK. Please enlighten us.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 11, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

@ru - Yes, he'll attempt that defense (and throw in as many distractions as he can). He won't attack her (personally) too severely as there is clearly more she could say but he'll have others, at a distance, do that. Single source isn't a convincing tact here as lots of other information has come from multiple sources and as the sort of intimate conversations as a wife/husband might have are commonly private.

How much will it hurt him? Much was known before but one had to be unusually conversant with political issues to know of it. The base (much of it) will likely do the cognitive step of flipping (the 'attack' in this liberal magazine is just one more bit of evidence of how they victimize good, if fallible, people).

As to how it will influence the power centers of the GOP, I think that will depend entirely on whether the consensus is as to his electoral chances. That really is ALL they care about. He has managed to draw in such incredible levels of donation to this point and that suggests his support is large and very wealthy.

So I think the effects will be determined by media coverage more than anything else. As sex is involved, that's favorable for coverage of course. I haven't seen much yet on this story so I'm not sure if or how it will build as a story.

My guess, though, is that it must hurt him significantly. If he runs and gets the nomination, the Dems will pump this one big and get it into the media. During the nomination contest, an opposing team might push it but that's less likely.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 11, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

wbg: "Yup, Coakely was a lousy candidate but if Obama has given her anything to run on people would have laughed off her Curt Schilling is a Yankee gaffe. By attributing the loss to Coakely personally you, like the White House, have failed to learn the real lesson of her defeat."

But what about the fact that Coakley really didn't run at all? She went on a freakin' two week vacation out of the country during the primary campaign. She refused to meet & greet voters. She never asked MA voters for the job, for goodness sake. She also did not have the backing of the Boston Democratic establishment. It's easy to blame it on Obama, but he's the smallest part of the problem. She could have won...it was hers to lose, and that's exactly what she did.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 11, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Part of the reason Bennet won?

Obama team + Hispanic turnout:

After taking many hits for their political operation, the White House deserves credit for helping to engineer Sen. Michael Bennet's easier-than-expected primary victory Tuesday in Colorado.

Much of what President Obama did -- fund-raising, appearing in an ad and dialing into the tele-town hall meeting -- is well known to the poltiical class.

But Obama aides went even further, deploying cabinet officials to help Bennet, helping his modeling and GOVT effort and, my favorite, even getting comedian and ally George Lopez to tape a robo-call aimed at the Hispanic community

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0810/All_out_for_Bennet.html

I assume he meant GOTV and "political class"... Sheesh "journalists"...

Anyway, point being, Obama helped, Hispanic community turnout helped. This is definitely good news for CO, FL, NV if we can keep up the pressure and get the hispanic folks to vote en masse.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 11, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

From the beginning I knew that Obama wasn't a hard left Liberal. So I didn't expect him to be doctrinaire but I did believe him when he said he would analyze problems rationally and propose solutions based on sense and evidence. That is NOT what he has done, however. Instead he has acted primarily for political expediency which has proven to be both poor policy and poor politics. Even as to HCR, I never expected Single Payer immediately, though I am convinced it is inevitable. However, capitulating on the public option signified something gravely wrong with the White House's political operation. Then there was the repeat on drug re-importation. And the general inability to control the debate notwithstanding electoral momentum and national receptivity to HCR generally and the PO and drug re-importation specifically. I considered HCR with a limited public option to be the compromise position, far down from Single Payer. Instead, Obama let the PO mark the extreme left and then Obama proved utterly unable (or unwilling) to reign in his Democratic Congresspeople. That is a failure of leadership that was repeated so many times that the Dem Caucus has no fear of and, I think, little respect for Obama.

In short, Obama has failed both on policy (even allowing for his Centrist tendencies) and in politics, by letting the GOP run away with the debate. Think of this: HCR is about as moderate as it could be yet Obama has still been successfully saddled with the Socialist label. That is political malpractice on top of weak-kneeed policy making.

Another example: Energy reform and climate change have actually regressed since the Gulf Oil Disaster. And to show just how whipped the White House is, it won't be long before before deepwater drilling resumes in the Gulf even though the same thing could happen again tomorrow. I'm sorry but I am unable to rationalize away the White House's failures. Maybe they really are DLC Blue Dogs, i.e., Republican-lite, or perhaps they honestly believe they have achieved all that is possible. Either way, the political strategy has been inept and its execution worse.

Worst of all, I see no sings that the WH gets it. In fact, this latest attack on the Left just proves again that these guys are clueless and it is they who are the F-ing retards.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 11, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Scott Brown won because he ran AGAINST HCR. When we re-elect him you'll realize that.

Posted by: obrier2 | August 11, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

@Bernie

Agree with everything you say except perhaps about the Dems' savaging him over this if he get's the nomination in 2012. I think his biggest hurdle here will be in HIS party where the social conservatives will savage him long before he gets to any general election. I think that is Gingrich's "Waterloo". If he can survive a scathing Rep Primary with all those judgmental arseholes on the right I think he will have already executed an amazing "damage control" and the D's would be left pounding on a thoroughly vetted issue.

I read that ole Newt has raised more $ than the rest of the contenders combined.
Your post points our why Bernie..or at least WHERE the money must be coming from.

I think there are a significant number of rational R's left (Kevin Willis for example) who are just looking for a way out of this mess. They are as frightened as we are of the crackpots..Palin..Bachmann..Angle..Tancredoetc...and others like Rand Paul were never really part of the good ole boy club to begin with. They see Newt as an educated man who might speak outrageously for political purpose, but who will let his intellect rule if he ever gains the W.H.
Not that I agree with their assessment but really Bernie if you were a fat cat Wall Street dude or any other Corporatists who needs the R party to remain complicit as they redistribute our treasure to the wealthy where do you turn. I would have thought the Mittmeister but Romney has the Mormon (sadly in IMHO) hanging around his neck in the party of Christianists. Whose left...Pawlenty? Tim has all the charisma of a warm bucket of spit. Huckabee?
Barbour...LMAO unless you believe the country is ready to elect Foghorn Leghorn.

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 11, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

"Massachusetts voters were extremely upset at the state Democratic Party machine and that helped drive away the Indies too."

I see no evidence of that. Nobody cares about that Insdie-baseball stuff anyway. By the time of the election Liberals and Independents were already disgusted with the WH and the Dems' ineptitude. That gave the Tea Party an opening and, since it was able to focus its resources and get talk radio on board, that was enough to win. But ONLY because the pro-Obama vote was already demoralized and suppressed.

"Given that and the fact that Martha Coakley ran one of the worst campaigns in history"

It was far from the worst campaign is history; it was lackluster. But lackluster would have been plenty to hold Kennedy's seat if the national Dems hadn't already butchered their support from both Liberals and Independents.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 11, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

@ifthethunderdontgetya: "Furthermore, I don't recall President Carter being liberal. He moved to the left after he was president. And you're skipping the role of the Iranian hostage crisis in that election."

The 49 state landslide was against Walter Mondale, who ran as a liberal, not Jimmy Carter. And the main point is that Reagan demonstrated pronounced conservatism, and it didn't hurt.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 11, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

O&O.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 11, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

WB, here's a sample of what I remember reading at the time:

"""As the Brown team sees it, the political situation in Massachusetts, dominated by the Democratic party and increasingly marked by corruption (three consecutive state Speakers of the House have been indicted and forced to resign in disgrace) is making state voters wary about the one-party domination of Washington, where Democratic leaders are rushing toward new extremes of federal spending and government intrusion. "I think I represent a breath of fresh air, where people know that I'm going to go down to Washington to be a check and balance," Brown says.

When Brown talks about what he's up against, he says it very simply: "It's me against the machine." By that, he means the Massachusetts machine -- the Democratic party, the patronage, the entrenched network -- as well as the national machine that has targeted him since word got out that he might win."""

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Scott-Brown-Its-me-against-the-machine--81464847.html

Corruption at the state house, one-party control, MA Democratic Machine...

I'm not saying the national dems and Obama were not repudiated, I'm just saying that there is a LOT more nuance to what happened than the posts you are making lead us to believe.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 11, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

@bernielatham: "Your categorizations of what and who represents "true" conservativism are questionable"

Please note, I never used the modifier "true". But there tend to be people who are operating from ideological conservatism, generally, in a reasonable range, then people who are operating from a pragmatic libertarianism to folks who are operating with an ideologically pure libertarianism in mind, etc. Then folks who are narcissists or pure politicians, and wear ideological labels as a matter of convenience.

"The modern conservative movement has no room for moderates."

Sure it does. It's full of them. They may not be doing well in Republican primaries right now, but the GOP is not modern conservatism.

"No one will nor can stand against Limbaugh in the reality of present 'conservatism'."

Perhaps not, but then it should go down in flames come November, no?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 11, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Check out this graph, wow.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/08/the_difference_between_being_a.html

16 out of 23 Republican Governors asked Congress to provide this funding for their states. Only TWO Republicans out of 178 in Congress voted for it.

Why do Republicans in Congress hate governing?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 11, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

@rukidding: "Yes! Yes! Yes! Could you please educate your fellow Tea Partiers who continually conflate liberalism with socialism."

Well, I'm not a Tea Partier, per se, but yes I'd like it if my side (especially the pundits who should and, I sometimes suspect, do know better) would stop conflating liberalism with socialism, and European-style quasi-socialism with communism.

"If you are in ANY group that sports HATEFUL RACIST signs and then are offended when your group is called out for it, that doesn't make you a racist but it does make you complicit."

Let me correct that for you. If you are in ANY group where someone who is not really part of that group either because he misunderstands, or is actively seeking to make mischief, wanders in with a HATEFUL RACIST sign and then you are offended when that group is called out for what some wandering mischief maker was up to, then your exhibiting a strong ability to make rational distinctions. :)

"do you suppose the Party would be expected to deal with it."

Obviously. I could get more specific, but the fact is I think the Tea Party movement is grossly mischaracterized. That having been said, there are lots of problems with the Tea Party movement, not the least of which is that it is a Big Tent, and is essentially at least quasi-open to anyone who has a grievance about almost anything, especially if they can somehow blame the government for it.

"If I ever go to a rally and someone put up such a sign I'd confront them! If I went to several rallies and it continued I'd LEAVE the group."

I am a little skeptical that that is, in actuality, happening (and not plants, mischief makers, completely fictional, etc), but it may be. In any case, I am looking at a distance. I haven't attended a Tea Party and I'm not going to, although they sound like a reasonably wholesome, flag-waving good time. I went to a Justin Beiber concert a few weeks ago. That's enough excitement for me for the year.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 11, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

"wbgonne, I am not sure what you were expecting. Obama ran as a centrist, and governs like one. He was never the great liberal hope."

srw3, I don't entirely agree with your statement. I think he's shown his more centrist tendencies since he's taken office but he ran on at least a few things that attracted the more progressive constituents like me, issues that never saw the light of day or were traded away.

1. end income tax for seniors earning less than $50,000

2. ending no bid contracts

3. allow importation of prescription drugs

4. five days of public comment before bill signing

5. tougher rules against revolving door policy regarding lobbists

6. allow bankruptcy courts to modify terms of home mortgages

7. allow penalty free hardship withdrawal of retirement accounts

8. debate HCR in public forum (he apologized for that one)

9. public option as part of HC exchange

10. close gitmo

11. repeal DADT

These are all issues that progressives hoped for that have clearly been traded away. I'm not saying he hasn't accomplished a lot in 18 months but to pretend he ran as a centrist is a little revisionist IMO. I also think they are working hard at marginalizing the progressives which is a really dumb idea considering the GOTV power inherent in that constituency.

They had two really bad days of messaging. First Geithner gives his rosy scenario of "welcome to recovery" while the middle class suffering in this country has not abated and second, Gibbs "apparent" melt down reported on a day when they're actually working to save jobs in at least a few middle class professions. Dumb and dumber.

Thankfully, Republicans have literally gone crazy, so there's still hope.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 11, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

@akaoddjob: "All of that is 20 and more years old.
You're living in the past, just like the New Deal Democrats were doing in the 1970's and early 80's."

Actually, 1994 was 16 years ago. 2004 was just 6 years ago. But the proof will be in the pudding.

If pronounced conservatism, in and of itself, is now a bad thing, then the Republicans should go down in flames this November. Add that to whackadoodles like Ayn Rand Paul, they should lose seats, not gain. If pronounced conservatism is now an unambiguous, nigh-universal negative.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 11, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

All, look at how low approval of Congress is among Dems:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/08/approval_of_congress_very_low.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 11, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

So much of Obama and the Dems "approval" has to do with the economy/jobs. Had there been a more robust recovery by this point, the numbers would be higher.

By the same token, and for the umpteenth time, the Democrats *inherited* this mess and the GOP has been. no. help. in cleaning it up.

Why on earth would anyone vote for more of them?

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | August 11, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

@lmsinca: As one of the aforementioned literally crazy Republicans, I thought I might comment on your list, and where I (as, again, a Palin-loving rock-ribbed conservative) fall:

"1. end income tax for seniors earning less than $50,000"

Support that, 100%.

"2. ending no bid contracts"

Support that, 100%.

"3. allow importation of prescription drugs"

Support that, after a 5 year R&D recoup /Viox-recall period.

"4. five days of public comment before bill signing"

How about a month?

"5. tougher rules against revolving door policy regarding lobbists"

How about former politicians are arrested on site, if seen on K street?

"6. allow bankruptcy courts to modify terms of home mortgages"

Agnostic. Sounds reasonable, though I worry about secondary consequences.

"7. allow penalty free hardship withdrawal of retirement accounts"

Not unreasonable, but may offer perverse incentives. Perhaps the penalties could be deducted and put into an untouchable private account (like the Bush Social Security reform plan), like a lockbox, for retirement, instead of just going into the general fund.

"8. debate HCR in public forum (he apologized for that one)"

Meh, I think full disclosure of the final product, with a reasonable period before signing, accomplishes the necessary transparency. OTOH, I don't think he should ever have promised that HCR would be a full and open public debate.

"9. public option as part of HC exchange"

Opposed.

"10. close gitmo"

Opposed. As, apparently, is Obama, as it turns out.

"11. repeal DADT"

Don't care. I think the Pentagon should decide. Whatever they decide, then I'm good.

A lot of those aren't particularly liberal commitments, just good ideas he didn't exactly follow through on.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 11, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

@lmsinca: Of the things you list, which are not basically centrist positions?

-allow penalty free hardship withdrawal of retirement accounts--didn't this happen? my financial planner said I could withdraw my roth ira without penalty if I got laid off. Not exactly a hard left position in any case...
- tougher rules against revolving door policy regarding lobbists--he did implement this one, at least in his administration, yes? What political party doesn't run on "cleaning up Washington."
-repeal DADT--this requires congressional action. Short of using an executive order, that could be overturned by the next pres, he is going the congressional route while expanding rights for gay couples short of marriage. Arguably this is the most "liberal" issue in your list.
-close gitmo--not sure he can do much more than he is doing now...

Still, this is not anything close to the WPA, strong support for labor (EFCA debated and passed), actual wall st reform as opposed to regulatory reform, progressivizing the tax structure, dismantling the Bush hyper security surveillance state, etc. real liberal agenda goals.

Really which items were not really centrist goals (centrist meaning what was considered mainstream center positions say 10 years ago)?

Posted by: srw3 | August 11, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

@Ethan: "16 out of 23 Republican Governors asked Congress to provide this funding for their states. Only TWO Republicans out of 178 in Congress voted for it. Why do Republicans in Congress hate governing?"

They may not conflate sending money to every state with its hand out with "governing", rightly or wrongly.

That being said, assuming we do define governing with sending states federal money, obviously Republicans in Congress are the only ones against governing, so defined, while Republican state governors love governing. However, both groups have different incentives. Republican governors benefit politically when they get money for their states, while Republican congresspeople benefit when they keep Democrats from accomplishing anything and disenchanted Democratic voters don't show up for the midterms. If this were a Republican majority house and senate, or a Republican president, those Republican governors would have their money.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 11, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

@srw3: In regards to Obama's lack of hard-leftism, how about those drone strikes? I'm a 100% in favor of the Obama administration's killing-terrorists-remotely-via-drone take on the War on Terror. I think this is the way to do it; far superior to pre-emptive war. If you buy into the most rational, non-conspiracy theory of why we might have gone to war in Iraq, it often boils down to preventing Uday and Qusay Hussein from one day controlling Iraq's many (ahem) WMDs. One would think drones could have accomplished the same thing, and much less expensively. Or preventing Iraq's nuclear ambitions. Again, armies and invasions vs. remote air strikes?

The Obama admin is waging the War on Terror like a real technocrat. I like.

BTW, in case you didn't see my answer to your previous question on polling the popularity of slavery . . . no, I'm sure slavery was very popular with southern white people (the south went to war over slavery, after all), I just wanted to know if there was some actual antebellum polling data out there.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 11, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

srw and kevin, I agree they're not exactly radical progressive ideas which simply illustrates the lengths progressives are and were willing to move to the center. Unfortunately, the goalposts have been moved right over the last decade. Progressives will accept even small inroads, a lot of which were not met but promised nonetheless.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 11, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Bachmann

)+
> O
).

Posted by: hoser3 | August 11, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

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