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Did Harry Reid succeed?

Jon Ralston, whose work has been indispensible for outsiders who have struggled to understand the alternate universe otherwise known as the Nevada Senate race, makes his final prediction: It feels like Harry Reid will lose, but he will in fact hang on:

Reid's handlers have run one of the most spectacular campaigns in history at all levels: The turnout machine is formidable. The TV has been pitch perfect. The strategy -- to peel moderate Republicans and independents who might not like their guy away from Angle -- has worked...

In the end, if she loses, I believe the six weeks following the GOP nominee's primary win -- she had a double-digit lead in June polls -- were pivotal. During that period, the Reid ad campaign defined her so starkly and turned enough people into Anglophobes to give him a chance.

One more thing: Republicans do not have the huge turnout advantage in early voting they should in a wave election -- under 4 points. And all the data I have seen tell me that unless Reid loses independents by 15 points or so, he will hold on.

It's possible none of this made any difference, that Reid has been dead all along and no amount of campaign brilliance or Angle exposure could resuscitate him. The hatred is palpable, the discontent bubbling over. But I think he finds a way to survive. The result: Reid, 47 percent; Angle, 45 percent; rest, 4 percent; none of the above, 4 percent.

This race is so close that national strategists on both sides are privately refusing to predict the outcome. If Reid loses by a couple points, though, it will still have been a surprisingly impressive performance by Reid's team.

It's easy to forget this now, but Reid was trailing all comers by double digits not long ago. The Reid team sprang into action early on, basically selecting their opponent by launching a sustained effort to grind up Sue "chickens for checkups" Lowden in the quest to face Sharron Angle. Once Angle took over, the Reid machine shifted the assault machine in her direction and continued to pummel the new foe with maximum efficiency and brutality. Angle has proven more resilient than expected. But this is more a testament to the stiff headwind Reid faced than to anything else.

The fundamentals were always awful for Reid. There's the profound unpopularity of Obama and his agenda in Nevada. There's Reid's role as chief enabler of those policies. There's the hatred of Reid that Ralston has documented. There's Nevada's highest-in-the-nation unemployment. Given all that, Reid's only hope was to turn his opponent not just into an unacceptable alternative, but a terrifyingly, hideously, unthinkably awful one. If the Reid camp's depiction of Angle (which was accomplished with an able assist from Angle herself) wasn't enough to render her unacceptable, then nothing was.

By Greg Sargent  | October 31, 2010; 10:32 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans  
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Next: It took all of two years for public to sour on gov't


In other words: KEEP FEAR ALIVE

I thought that being an Islamophobe, homophobe, and now Anglophobe was a "bad" thing?

Guess it's okay if you are a Democrat.

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 31, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I hope if Harry wins, he steps aside as Majority Leader. It's time.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | October 31, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

"Did Harry Reid succeed?"

Hopefully not. My favorite excuse making though:

"If Reid loses by a couple points, though, it will still have been a surprisingly impressive performance . . ."

By that measure, it seems as if John McCain actually won in 2008.

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 31, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

NBC is reporting Sharon Angle at 49 percent - that is enough to win in that multi-candidate field.

Mark Kirk is 4 points ahead and it looks like that race in being decided.

This election for the Senate comes down to West Virginia and Washington State - two States that in any other year we would not even be talking about.

The situation of the democrats this year can be attributed directly to Obama's own incompetence and arrogance.

Obama is running the democratic party the way the country is being run - wrecklessly and irresponsibly.

Posted by: SummerBreeeze | October 31, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I've complained about Reid for some time, but really hope he's re-elected. Angle is bat crap crazy.

Posted by: LilyNW | October 31, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse


"If Reid loses by a couple points, though, it will still have been a surprisingly impressive performance by Reid's team."

Wow. Imagine describing a couple point loss by the sitting Senate majority leader to a woman you think is on the verge of insanity as an "impressive performance" 2 or even 1 year ago. Isn't this simply an admission of what a truly awful candidate Reid himself is?

Posted by: ScottC3 | October 31, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

clawrence has a good set of points - KEEP FEAR ALIVE

Obama's message has come down to: "Don't be afraid of terrorists, they can be our friends - but the Tea Party is really who you should be afraid of."

The democrats have pounded the drum that your neighbors - the people down your street - are actually who you should be afraid of and who are actually so crazy they can not be trusted with the government.

But Obama has been so arrogant and irresponsible in his two years - he is the one who is too crazy to be let near the government.

Seriously folks the message of the democrats has lost any relationship with reality. Obama has been acting as if what he said in 2008 doesn't matter.

Obama has been acting as if everyone should forget what he said in 2008.

Obama wants everyone to remember what Bush did, but not what Obama said - and the country thinks that is a pile of bull.

Posted by: SummerBreeeze | October 31, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Republics had 8 years to screw up the country. The week after Obama was in office, R's whined that he hadn't fixed everything yet. They've kept whining for 2 years, all the while blocking every vote they could.

Reid's mistake was not changing the senate rules at the start of the '08 session of congress.

Posted by: LilyNW | October 31, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Anglophobe: an irrational fear of a sweet, grandmother of six who (at worst) will be at the bottom of Senate seniority and still only one out of 100 (or 101) votes.

Seriously, I think the best hope for some of you libs today would be to finally get into a church, repent of your wicked ways, and pray.

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 31, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

If conservatives are pretending to be happy with the House majority, they are hiding their tears. You could have had the Senate and more Governorships too. You know it.

But the TP dumpster fire and the terrible candidates in AK, CA, WA, NV, CT, DE, your terrible candidate problem has kept this wave from being anything like 1994. Problem is, now you are in a Presidential cycle and you don't have a viable candidate. You don't even have any leadership. So enjoy the House majority and don't think about what could have been. DO get your act together before 2016 though, that year the White House will be up for grabs.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 31, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

The Economy

Obama has virtually no Economic Plan going forward. That is a horrible and disgraceful. Without a clear and decisive Economic Plan, Obama should get the equivalent of a No Confidence Vote and Obama should leave office.

Instead of drawing up an Economic Plan, Obama's economic advisors have been leaving his team. Sounds like Obama has not been listening to those same advisors, and they have decided that it is pointless to work in an administration that ignores basic economics -

And it is pointless to work for someone who insists on not focusing on Economic Policy during an Economic Crisis.

Then Obama wants the country to focus on "Bush's economic policies" that Obama says we should not go back to.

However, Bush didn't have much of an Economic Policy - Bush was known for his anti-terrorism actions and the two wars. Economic Policy was not on the front-burner in those years. So Obama is trying to create a foil with Bush, but Bush isn't really known for much in the Economic Sphere - except for tax cuts.

And it hurts Obama tremendously that reasonable people can directly tie the Subprime Mortgage programs and the Wall Street Deregulation to Clinton and the democrats.

Obama would have been wise to point out honestly the role of the Clinton and the democrats in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Wall Street deregulations - and that is plural. This is causing people to not take Obama very seriously.

That is another important point - if people have to sift through Obama's half-truths, Obama's real points are not going to be taken very seriously.

Obama is basically "sucking up all the oxygen" with his departure from his own campaign agenda - and the half-truths.

In short, Obama STILL doesn't have an Economic Policy. To try to talk about Bush and not mention Clinton has become an empty discussion for Obama. There really is nothing there there.

Posted by: SummerBreeeze | October 31, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

"The turnout machine, the strategy" etc. but WAPO, you forgot to mention the suspected voter fraud.

Posted by: thebink | October 31, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

"you forgot to mention the suspected voter fraud."

Yeah, the obvious tactics to suppress minorities and the poor from voting.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | October 31, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Reid's Major Mistake

Reid's major mistake was going on camera and insisting that the Iraqi War was lost.

This is after countless Americans signed up to fight - and thousands of Americans died and were injured in the effort. Reid's comments appeared to be so disrespectful of the efforts and sacrifices of Americans that Reid weakened himself to such a point that a serious challenge was possible.

Reid's lack of judgement on such liberal issues caused people around the nation to have little confidence in his ability to lead the Senate. People immediately drew the conclusion that if it was possible to get rid of Reid, it was a good idea.

Reid's performance on health care really was not that strong either.

Reid allowed health care to linger in the Senate for almost a year. What is worse, Reid was unable to moderate Obama into a more centrist set of positions. When Obama's inexperience showed, Reid should have stepped in with Obama and demanded that Obama be bipartisan.

The entire quest for 60 votes in the Senate turned out to be distracting and the poison apple for Obama and Reid.

Reid should have insisted on more influence over Obama's agenda and provided the experience when it was clear that Obama was making mistakes.

Asking the Massachusetts legislature to change the law to allow interim appointments again turned out to actually weaken Obama and Reid more than help him.

All these errors were important and together they add up to a reasonable person coming to the conclusion that the nation would be better off without Reid in office.

Posted by: SummerBreeeze | October 31, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Also WAPO, you failed to mention that it's Reid's son that oversees suspect election machines, hmmmm.

Posted by: thebink | October 31, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

@ blues and numbers:

Going back to your discussion on the housing bubble, I would also recommend TheBig Short. It was almost too technical at points but overall it was very informative.

@ claw:

I'm about to head to church what do I need to repent for again? I want to make sure I get the wording right to avoid a hot eternity. Thanks for looking after my soul. If you need a recommendation I know a good ophthalmologist who can help out with that plank in your eye.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | October 31, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

shrink2, the White House is up for grabs in 2012 too.

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 31, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse


You are correct - the irrational fear of a grandmother who will be low in seniority.

Same with Christine O'Donnell - the irrational fear that she will be able to influence the Senate in some horrible way?

Together they are 2 out of 100 who have to work with everyone else in the Senate to do anything.

It is Obama who can do things administratively

That is something to really fear.

Posted by: SummerBreeeze | October 31, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

God hates flags.

In re Rand Paul, even if I had a plank in my eye, I would never go to an ophthalmologist who is too narcissistic and or lazy (I presume he his competent enough) to get certified by the actual certification entity for his specialty, so he pretends to create his own certification "board" and certifies himself. Unbelievable? True.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 31, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Harry will win and then we can send Sharron back to Asia

Posted by: sandidann | October 31, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

c12, so you'd think, the Obama administration isn't exactly inspiring the country to unite, to work together to defeat our economic malaise (sorry), but who will the Republicans run and how far right will s/he have to be to survive the super hot Tampa convention?

Posted by: shrink2 | October 31, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Overall Election Performance

The one thing that Obama and the democrats had to do was avoid nationalizing the election this year.

Chalk that one up to another complete failure on the part of Obama. The man must be completely incompetent and unable to do was has to be done to accomplish an objective.

Obama was out campaigning again this weekend - and Obama was actually lucky that Stewart was taking up media time. Otherwise, the media would have been "All Obama" this weekend, a horrible result.

Obama would have been wise to stay away from the close elections - Obama is only exciting the other side in the States that are close.

It is simply another reason to believe that Obama is incompetent - and another reason to have little confidence in Obama's abilities.

Posted by: SummerBreeeze | October 31, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

All, latest sock puppet added to the Troll Hunter:

Just FYI.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 31, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

BTW, I might be able to move the "Posted By: " to the top of each comment, if it's worth it. I know Greg is working to move to a completely different system, at which point this script will be irrelevant. I dunno. Worth it, or is adding each incremental sock puppet sufficient?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 31, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

All, stunning numbers from the new WaPo poll show that public only took two years to sour on government:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | October 31, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Send A Message

This year is about Obama's agenda - and how Obama lied to the American People in 2008.

Obama's campaign themes in 2008 were carefully drawn up to deceive centrist voters into voting for Obama - and then it was pre-planned to claim that these voters voted for a sharp turn toward far-left policies.

The country was initially angry at this mischaracterization by Obama - not a good way to start off the administration.

This central mischaracterization really hurt Obama - because it started him off with mistrust which turned out to be justified on a major scale.

Now it is your turn.

You can go Send A Message to Obama - just like in that health care summit meeting, Obama thought it was a good idea to try to do most of the talking.

On Tuesday, Obama doesn't talk - THE PEOPLE VOTE.


Posted by: SummerBreeeze | October 31, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: mikefromArlington | October 31, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Given Reid's extreme unpopularity, Angle will only have herself to blame if she lose this election.


Posted by: grosmec | October 31, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

We should have ambulances waiting at the border or airport terminals, to drive those individual who must get immediate dialysis, prescription drugs or a major surgery. With the Obama's new medical care reform most of these special issues will be recognized, as illegal aliens will have no insurance or any ability to pay for physician’s treatment.

They walk away completely free of paying and once again the taxpayer-patsy will get the bill, while citizens will be chased down by obnoxious debt collectors. Taxpayers can foot the bill as they have always done and my guess always will, unless these corrupt politicians on both sides of the aisle in Washington actually work for the American people. That’s why THE TEA PARTY has risen in a revolution, to halt the corruption and greed of both parties. GOOGLE—NumbersUSA website and Judicial Watch and learn about the deep seated corruption Google—Illegal alien costs and read highly regarded reports from unbiased sources.

If we vote back the hidden Liberals, it will be self inflicted wounds.

Posted by: infinity555 | October 31, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse


All I know about Senator Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer and generally--ALL--Liberal Democrats are that they are genuflecting to illegal aliens and an Liberal-Dem Incumbent returns means Amnesty for the 13 to 20 million living here. Reid has affirmed that in the Lame Duck session of the Senate he will pass this abhorrent Amnesty to criminals. What remains is the silence, about the cost of $2.6 Trillion dollars, to make it comfortable for illegal aliens which will come out of taxpayers’ pockets; added to the 13. 5 Trillion Federal Debt we already have accumulated. The far left progressives have already voted for the illegal invasion and to extend our Social Security to them, even the ones who never paid into the system (May 2007) GOOGLE—On The Issues website.

Under another reign of the Liberal Democrats, America might just as well open the border gates wide; demolish the half-completed fence between our Southern border and the other side. Then have Senator Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer, Russell Feingold, Jerry Brown, standing at each entrance handing out maps, welfare chits, a brand new Social security cards, a drivers’ license and about $600 dollars of taxpayer money. Hey! Reid says we can take more foreigners into our midst, as we only have 15 million citizens and legal residents, looking for a job, while 8.6 illegal nationals are gainfully employed. Have every Democrats lackey stand outside each border hospital and proffer to every pregnant woman, who reached America a brand new birth certificate, for the potential instant citizenship baby, a check for the public benefit line and a signup sheet for low income Section 8 housing—so the whole family can join them.

Additionally, for every child they now have from now on, food stamps, cash payments and a medicade card for future pregnancies. The wives can churn out more children to become immediate citizens and swell our schools to overload, where nobody is learning because the teachers have to first contend with children, where English is a second language. In California where 18.9 percent of the kids drop-out of high school, because many teachers don't comprehend English, as they have been recruited from South of the border. Democrats could lay-off the US Border patrol, the DEA, ICE and other policing authorities, so that the uneducated, those carrying contagious diseases, the destitute and other foreign peons could take the jobs of our own impoverished workforce.

Maybe the Catholic Church and other religious groups will take the illegal nationals into their homes, feed them. Perhaps we should place notices in every barrio, ghetto around the world and have these nonsensically politicians procure military aircraft, to fly in every foreign national, every criminal and terrorist into our nation. Have fleets of buses waiting to transport them, to every corner of America, with stop-offs at hospitals for the sick

Posted by: infinity555 | October 31, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

No matter how negative one gets on Reid or President Obama, after Tuesday, if Angle wins, Nevadians aren't going to be working any time soon. If they think by electing her to office things will change, the laugh is on them.

Posted by: pechampion | October 31, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Angle needs to prove her citizenship. She does not look American to me.

Posted by: pechampion | October 31, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

We have Grandma running Nevada. She looks like Bugs Bunny and acts like him to. Haaa. I feel sorry for Nevada, they're getting fooled by Grandma.

Posted by: pechampion | October 31, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Nobody can convince me Sharon Angle can put anybody to work but herself.

Posted by: pechampion | October 31, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Nobody can convince me Sharon Angle can put anybody to work but herself.

Posted by: pechampion | October 31, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

She will be great for late night comedy so she will be putting some people to work. Some humor can definitely help the people of Nevada when she takes office. They will some desperate help.

Posted by: pechampion | October 31, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

The youth's perspective on the Tea party:

Posted by: scathingres | October 31, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

What young people think of the Tea Party:

Posted by: scathingres | October 31, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

"The Reid team sprang into action early on, basically selecting their opponent by launching a sustained effort to grind up Sue "chickens for checkups" Lowden in the quest to face Sharron Angle. Once Angle took over, the Reid machine shifted the assault machine in her direction and continued to pummel the new foe with maximum efficiency and brutality. "

I remember the 1972 election, when Dems accused Nixon of "dirty tricks" to get his strongest Dem opponent, Muskie, to lose the Dem nomination so that McGovern, a weaker candidate, would get the Dem nomination.

Dems feigned horror at this "manipulation" of the primary process.

Now those same Dems are cheering Reid's manipulation of the Nevada GOP senatorial primary--destroying the stronger candidate, Lowden, and then turning the guns on the weaker candidate, Angle.

What utter hypocrites they are.

This entire "pitch perfect" campaign the Dems have run this year has been a combination of Nixonian dirty tricks and McCarthyite smears and innuendos. Only a handful of Dems (Feingold, Perriello) bother to defend the Dem track record. Most have run away from it, preferring to use whatever dirt they can dig up to destroy their Republican opponents.

And liberals, of course, are cheering it.

Posted by: sinz52 | October 31, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"This entire "pitch perfect" campaign the Dems have run this year has been a combination of Nixonian dirty tricks and McCarthyite smears and innuendos. Only a handful of Dems (Feingold, Perriello) bother to defend the Dem track record. Most have run away from it, preferring to use whatever dirt they can dig up to destroy their Republican opponents. And liberals, of course, are cheering it. Posted by: sinz52 "

I only have 2500 charaqcters to refute asbout a zillion fallacies, so we'll go at McCarthyism. McCarthy was good at waving paper and declaring it proof positive of some Democratic Plot to sell the Country to Communism. He was always waving something else entirely, and when asked to produce one of his lists changed the subject.

Reid simply replayed Angle in toto, and let both her content and her context speak against her. Were Reid's campaign McCarthyite, you would be able to show that his ads weren't in accord with reality. The content of the ads weren't in accord with reality, of course, which showed Angle quite in accord with reality: Hopelessly unaware of it.

If to rerun your opponents ads and say this is what she represents is dirty tricks, then the term is as meaningless as Republican Plans to balance the budget.

And complaining because Harry Reid attacked the OTHER space case candidate and thereby insured himself of Angle is a sour bleat, since the Republicans in theory could have nominated a centrist and cruised to a victory in Nevada. Instead they ran two space cases, picked the weirder one, and sat around smugly for a couple months, talking to no one and waiting for the vote to be awarded them based on Eastern news Media rumors.

Rumors of Reid's death are just a bit exaggerated.

Rumors of Angle moving to Washington D.C. to take a job depend on how badly Fox needs another Sarah Palin Barbie Doll to keep their collection growing.

Posted by: ceflynline | October 31, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Angle is bat crap crazy.

In what sense? Be specific.

This is all Democrats have to offer in the way of argument, because position by position, Democrats lose.

Posted by: cyclo7 | October 31, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

republicans keep complaining about the President as if their complaints are true. Their lies, propaganda, rhetoric and distortions do not signify the truth. They do not speak for the people, but corporations and the wealthy. When will you ordinary shills wake up and realize you are being duped. President Obama has performed an impossible job in a spectacular fashion. Keep up the good work and he may save our great country from the republican incompetence, greed, and hate.

Posted by: drrgwilson | October 31, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Interest rates are simply incredible on mortgages right now. It's not uncommon to see 30 year rates down in low fours and 15 year rates in the threes. Week after week, the rates keep dropping If you are looking for rates in three then search online for "123 Mortgage Refinance"

Posted by: javonzion | November 1, 2010 2:52 AM | Report abuse

Thinking out of box :
1. Americans exporting renewable energy resources to Saudi Arabia?
A Mountainview, Calif. company, SolFocus, announced a deal with a major construction company in Saudi Arabia.
Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia believes renewable sources could account for up to 10 percent of its power output by 2020 with prices coming down and a regulatory framework in place
According to a Saudi official, "We believe large scale power generation from solar can be achieved near the end of this decade, near 2020. Beyond 2020, the economics will be clearly in the favor of deployment of solar power,"
Still viewed as an obstructionist by global sustainability advocates, Saudi Arabia began investing in renewable energy recently. Why would the OPEC leader warm up to solar? : The region gets a lot of sun.
2. If renewable energy works against job growth, EU should be the poorest region by now.
I feel a nation with a modern infrastructure is not always successful, without which base any country is unable to make it.
3. While some critics are counting cents on the utility bill, it is claimed that : " the U.S. uses about 24 percent of the world's oil, this equates to 20.9 million barrels a day. If the U.S chooses to embrace renewable energy, the U.S could save $750 billion per year and create about 6 million jobs".
4. As we are all aware, Senator Harry Reid is in charge of RES legislation, accordingly, the future and fate of renewable energy might be up to Nevadans.

Posted by: hsr06011 | November 1, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Sen. Reid still doesn't get it, what Americans are thinking. I'm amazed he was ever allowed back into Washington, D.C. What are the people of Nevada thinking? He back doored, closed doored Americans and has the gall to say he knows best!!!! What a jerk!! I would like to ask him how many words or sentances he personally wrote in the health bill. How many minutes he actually spent writting anything that was included? No political hogwash just a straight truthful answer.

Posted by: smithken57 | November 3, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

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