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On reading today's primaries

Ah, we political junkies love days on which many primaries are held – so many races to analyze, and overanalyze.

Here’s rule one on tonight: Way too much will be made of the significance of the results for November’s election. After all, these are primaries involving increasingly distinct electorates that happen to vote on the same day. If Rand Paul beats establishment Republican Trey Grayson in Kentucky’s Senate primary, it will be a victory for the Tea Party/Libertarian Right and a defeat for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a strong Grayson backer. That says a lot about the Republican Party. But the only thing it says about November is that Democrats might have a slightly better chance (emphasis on slightly for now) of winning a Kentucky Senate seat that seemed out of their reach.

Yes, it’s not a good year to be an incumbent, which is making life hard for Sens. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. But if Specter loses to Rep. Joe Sestak, it will have a lot more to do with the 30-year senator’s less-than-artful party switching than anything else.

The real test of how strong the anti-incumbent tide is running is a Pennsylvania race that has received scant attention. If 13-term Rep. Paul Kanjorski, 73, loses the Democratic primary to 36-year old Corey O’Brien, other incumbents should pay attention.

Only one race has entirely obvious implications for the fall, the only race that actually pits a Republican against a Democrat: The special election in Pennsylvania’s 12th District to fill the vacancy created by the death of Democrat John Murtha. It’s very tight between Democrat Mark Critz and Republican Tim Burns. Whichever party wins this one will have a right to crow.

And how should one read these races ideologically? Greg Sargent, on his blog yesterday, took mild issue with my Monday column suggesting that the ideological movement to the left in the Democratic Party has been vastly exaggerated. Let me first use this occasion to welcome Greg, a thoughtful and incisive progressive voice, to The Post, and also to thank him for the generous tone of his comments.

Greg and I agree on a lot that’s at stake here, and he read my column correctly in seeing it as aimed at “skewering the bogus notion that there's an equivalency between the ideological ‘purgings’ we're seeing on right and left.” It’s very clear that the Republicans are moving much farther and faster to the right than Democrats are moving to the left. The difference between the two parties was dramatized by an important piece of data cited by my Brookings Institution colleagues Bill Galston and Tom Mann in a Sunday Post op-ed piece: “More than 70 percent of Republicans in the electorate identify themselves as conservative or very conservative, while only 40 percent of rank-and-file Democrats call themselves liberal or very liberal.” As a result, they noted, “It is far easier for congressional Republicans to forge and maintain a united front than it is for Democrats.”

But Greg sees more ideological content than I do to the challenges to Specter and Lincoln. “Let's be clear about this,” Greg writes, “Bill Halter and Joe Sestak, in broad terms, represent challenges from the left, and their success is fueled by the energy and intensity of liberal activists.”

Of these two races, the Halter challenge to Lincoln is the more ideological, and I say explicitly in my column that if progressives knock off Lincoln, they will be able to claim a victory. My point on Halter is that he is hardly a lefty himself, and my hunch is that if he were to win the Democratic nomination, we would see his moderate side in the fall election.

But the Sestak challenge to Specter is much less ideological at its core and has far more to do with a reaction against what many see as the opportunism in Specter’s party switch. Yes, Specter has moved to the left. But that’s because he switched parties and already knew that this would require a loyalty to Democratic positions that he obviously didn’t feel when he was a Republican. Sestak’s challenge may have reinforced Specter’s newfound loyalties, but the party switch is what mattered.

Also, there is this fascinating bit of data reported by Tom Schaller at fivethirtyeight.com. He cites a blog post by Public Policy Polling's Tom Jensen reporting that in the last poll taken in PA-12, Sestak led Specter by nine points, 44-35. "Among liberal voters in the district Sestak and Specter are actually tied at 44% each," writes Jensen. "Sestak's lead comes largely thanks to a 49-21 advantage among conservatives within the party who make up 26% of the primary vote in this district, almost equal to the 25% who identify as liberals." This goes to show the kind of branding problems that can occur when one switches parties.

In other words, if Sestak pulls out a victory over Specter, he will do so with the help of a lot of moderate and conservative Democrats, particularly in western Pennsylvania.

Still, Greg and I agree on the bottom line: There is a lot of tendentiousness in the way all these contests are being read. I look forward to what he has to say tonight, and on election nights to come.

By E.J. Dionne  | May 18, 2010; 9:42 AM ET
Categories:  Dionne  | Tags:  E.J. Dionne  
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Comments

You mean don't overanalyze unless your guy wins.

Republican victories are flukes. Democrat victories are proof of your righteousness.

Posted by: mike27 | May 18, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

What Dionne is actually saying is that if incumbent Democrats lose, the election is not important. This trend is really not a trend. But, if incumbent Democrats win it is an entirely different story.

In other words, he is spinning the negative results of the elections before they even occurs.

Posted by: mike85 | May 18, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Dear Mr Dionne,

the "newspapers of record" are ALL trying to cast the primaries as anti-incumbent, rather than tell the TRUTH that it's an anti-DIMocRAT revolution.

in fact, what is really happening is those candidates who are seen as PRO-BHO or who (if GOP) are seen as "cooperative with BHO" are going to LOSE.

the election of this November will be a BLOODBATH for the DIMocRATS & RINOs. (should any candidate/incumbent, who happens to be reading this, be in that category, they should start NOW to "seek other employment".)

we Tea Party folk are going to ASSURE that the voters are ENERGIZED to defeat every available office-holder, who is PRO-BHO or "progressive".

furthermore, even my "yellow dog democrat" friends are ANGRY about the so-called "healthcare reform law" & will either vote for the conservatives or STAY HOME on election day.

yours, TN46

Posted by: texasnative46 | May 18, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"Don't over-analyze today's primaries.........that is, unless we win (Democrats), Dionne. Cute!
The pre-emptive analysis is that the American Slaves are still a minority and do not want to become Greece.
To understand, and to educate the American voter, please go to "Lessons from Greece: the Slave classes....." at http://www.robbingamerica.com

Posted by: JohnGalt9 | May 18, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Why anyone would vote for Sen. Spector is beyond me? He has shown no principles and seems to only value getting reelected. We need people with conviction , honestly and strong values. He is a perfect example of what we don't need in Washington.

Posted by: sarno | May 18, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Looks as if everyone has your number.

Posted by: rusty3 | May 18, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

WashPo preemptive democrat disaster spin..."this means nothing!!!"

November, 2010 is National "Dump-the-democrats" month....be there!

Posted by: georgedixon | May 18, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Todays elections no matter how they go are one of the jewels in our country. That we have free and mostly fair elections to represent the people of our country.

As far as Sen. Spector, to many have forgotten the roll he played in the Nixon impeachment process. My hat is still off to Sen Spector for being the standup guy he is.

Thank you for your service to your country Sen. Spector.

Posted by: nstein1 | May 18, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Mr Dionne – the words predictable & dogmatic don’t even begin to describe your writing. I am so disappointed. Keep waiting (reading) and hoping for some insightful left view that gives me pause and reason to question my political, social and economic views. But all I’m getting is a left-handed version of Beck.

Posted by: jke1234 | May 18, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Incumbents are dropping like flies and according to polling expert Michael Barone, the numbers for the Democrats look worse than in 1994, perhaps even in the last 80 years.

With that in mind EJ sounds a lot like Officer Barbrady on South Park after something awful happened, "Move along, nothing to see here. Move along......"

Posted by: bbface21 | May 18, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Of course Dionne don't over analyze unless you get the results you like. Then you will over analyze.

Posted by: mike83631 | May 18, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I think it is really funny that all these righties rush to their keyboards to attack EJ no matter what he writes or how far off course their comments are.

You can't be taken seriously if you just gainsay. You particularly can't be taken seriously if you make stuff up.

Although, you really can't expect much more from the GOP, can you?

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | May 18, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

You are right. The race for U.S. Senate here in Pennsylvania may not mean much nationally. Some of us don't view Spector as a real Democrat and we are still unhappy about his treatment of Anita Hill. My vote goes to Sestak.

Posted by: attagirl | May 18, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

mike27, mike85, mike83631....

What are you going to do, logon as a different mike 500 times to try to make it look like someone different is posting the exact same dribble 500 times?

Why don't you go check out the Kid's Post?

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | May 18, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Dionne once again proving that liberalism is a mental disorder.

Posted by: cschotta1 | May 18, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Although, you really can't expect much more from the GOP, can you?

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL

You can expect more than CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN.

LIBERALISM.....THE GUTLESS CHOICE

Posted by: cschotta1 | May 18, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I am amazed at how many people do not know how to spell Arlen Specter's name.
One would hope for a better educated electorate. Perhaps some Tea Parties might begin with a spelling lesson . . .

Posted by: csavferg1 | May 18, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps some Tea Parties might begin with a spelling lesson . . .

Posted by: csavferg1


You should be more worried that your Messiah can't pronounce "corpsman", even after multiple tries. No wonder he won't release his grades!

Posted by: cschotta1 | May 18, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

“One would hope for a better educated electorate. Perhaps some Tea Parties might begin with a spelling lesson . . .”
Posted by: csavferg1 | May 18, 2010 11:57 AM
:::::::::::::::::::::::::
More likely a lot of lib parties will end with a trouncing in November…

Posted by: jahoby | May 18, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

cschotta1 - Wow, gee, I guess you put me in my place, huh?

I have been schooled!! I guess i now see the error of my ways and all that. Poor 'ol me... How was I ever so wrong?????

And you are so clever, too!!!!!!!!!

So cschotta1, you yell some really lame playground taunts and we are all supposed to be impressed???

You just reinforce my main point: you really can't expect much more from the GOP, can you?

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | May 18, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else find it ironic that a member of the media is asking us not to over-analyze the results of these primaries when the 24-hour media cycle of which he is a part virtually requires that in order to maintain itself? On the whole, I think Mr. Dionne is correct in his assessment. However, we can hardly expect the media frenzy to not come anyway.

This is the problem with rapid-knowledge technology; it leaves no time for sober reflection on what this information actually means...

Posted by: Robert_B1 | May 18, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

cschotta1 - Wow, gee, I guess you put me in my place, huh?

I have been schooled!! I guess i now see the error of my ways and all that. Poor 'ol me... How was I ever so wrong?????

And you are so clever, too!!!!!!!!!

So cschotta1, you yell some really lame playground taunts and we are all supposed to be impressed???

You just reinforce my main point: you really can't expect much more from the GOP, can you?

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL


Grow a pair lib!

"IMAGINE NO LIBERALS, WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD IT WOULD BE!"

Posted by: cschotta1 | May 18, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I wonder, EJ, if the problem isn't really that the GOP has been trying so hard to make "left" and "liberal" pejorative - and have had some success - that a lot of people just do not know what the words mean anymore.

When you take Obama's policies and initiatives and see socialism you are seriously confused. Even the Health Care reform, while certainly a large program, is profoundly moderate.

Given that, it should hardly be a surprise that those on the right see mainline Democrats like Sestak and Halter as leftist insurgents.

Also, it certainly fits into the GOP's dis-information campaign that the Democratic party is taking us down a road to the horrors of socialism if you can define upsets as victories by the left.

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | May 18, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Electing a community organizer as POTUS is like taking the janitor and making him CEO!


"ASK NOT WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY, ASK WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU"-DemocRAT motto. Obama's aunt couldn't agree more!!!

Posted by: cschotta1 | May 18, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Of course, just ignore getting shellacked. Don't read too much into voters being fed up with free trade, job outsourcing, the Clinton-Bush-Obama economic train wreck, with insane Bill Of Rights attacks, with healthcare "reform" that is a new fed trough for that industry, with corruption and incompetence, and a mindless leftist agenda. Oh, and with the Post and NYT and other MSM subscriber numbers falling, you can safely ignore that, too. Just keep on mindlessly cheering Obama and run right off the cliff like the lemmings you are.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | May 18, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Electing a community organizer as POTUS is like taking the janitor and making him CEO!

Posted by: cschotta1

************
Kind of like electing an Illinois lawyer who never went to college, served only one term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and never saw combat in the Black Hawk War...

Oh, wait...

Posted by: Robert_B1 | May 18, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks27 - First, ever hear of punctuation and grammar? Maybe the tea parties should all open with basic English instruction?

Meanwhile, who is getting "shellacked"?

There are no incumbent Democrats in primaries today that are in trouble over the issues you cite.

It is incumbent republicans who are in trouble over these issues.

Meanwhile, I think most - if not all - of the recent attacks on the Bill of Rights have come from the right so I have no idea what you are talking about.

I personally hope the GOP continues to move to the right. Except in a very safe district where the GOP could run a stuffed doll and still win, it is very difficult for someone to win an election running to far from the middle.

This tea party purity hoo-ha might work great in the GOP primary, but how many Dems and independents are you going to attract when you are a right wing taliban????

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | May 18, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Is this the same paper that ran columns the past few weeks on some super liberal prime minister candidate?

Posted by: ravioliman6666 | May 18, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it interesting how Dionne lowers the bar?

It is only going to get worse.

Posted by: asdf9876 | May 18, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

TOMMYBALLBALL - Gosh, I are a engineer and mathematician and ain't got the time for that stuff. I use failed English majors, and pay them minimum wage to do that for me. What a twit.My god, so, now, Obama's lemmings have become the grammar police! You understood precisely what I wrote. Stop proving to the entire civilized world that you are a mindless jerk.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | May 18, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

And November's headline will be: "Too Much Made of Results of Tuesday's Elections".

Posted by: jahoby | May 18, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Keep dreaming, Dionne! You really live in a fantasy world with your reporting!
November 2010 can't come soon enough to shove your comments where the sun doesn't shine!

Posted by: SeniorVet | May 18, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Trying to make a meaningful prediction six months out from November, based on what happens today, is like handicapping the Super Bowl based on a pre-season game.

However, I wouldn't mind a GOP-controlled House or Senate in November. Maybe if Republicans feel they have a stake in governing the country they'll stop being the party of 'no' and actually propose a few constructive ideas.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | May 18, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

The Tea Party movement is about the federal government not about parties!

The left wing media is so wrong or so naive in taking a true look at what is happening! This is sort of like Holder and Napolitano not reading the Arizona law but calling it out just the same!

E.J. there are Democrats in the Tea Party too!!!

Posted by: jcmale14 | May 18, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Wow...the Tea Baggers are in full flower here today, with their usual charming lack of manners. Mr. Dionne's point is well-taken...it is very hard to make conclusions about November trends from primaries, which are usually decided by pretty small numbers of voters and often on local or very personal issues. This would be true in GOP primaries as well. Too bad the Tea Bags and the rest of the angry right can't get off their soap boxes for even a minute to think about what Dionne is actually writing.

Posted by: taylorb1 | May 18, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Y'all are making too much of this COLUMN if you ask me.

Here's three main bullet points you might understand:

-Conventional wisdom says that Democrats will lose seats in the November election.

-If Democrats don't do well, what everyone expected to happen happens, which isn't big news.

-If Democrats come away with victories, what everyone expected to happen didn't happen, which is big news.

It's pretty simple, but the level of discourse here is pretty abysmal. If you don't understand, it's OK, but do me a favor and don't vote either.

Posted by: joshlct | May 18, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

"Only one race has entirely obvious implications for the fall, the only race that actually pits a Republican against a Democrat..."

NEWS FLASH!
The Japanese High Command announced today that it had recently lost contact with its garrison at New Georgia. A spokesman for the Tojo goverment dismissed the probable loss of the long occupied island as relatively unimportant:
"This is a small island out of many we hold and it does not detract from our ability to conduct future successful operations."
A reporter was overheard observing that similar statements had come on the heels of the news of battles at Coral Sea, Bismark Sea, Guadalcanal, and Betio.
"These are isolated incidents, far from our critical bases," the spokeman protested. "They are nothing but local set-backs to be rectified in the future." The occupation of Attu in American Alaska was used as example of recent Japanese successes.

Posted by: observer57 | May 18, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

E.J. once again chooses to distort the information. The Gallup poll in question shows Democrats have moved 9 percentage points towards liberal, the same number as Republicans who have moved to more conservative. But that isn't so much the issue anyway. Neither party has a majority of voters. Independents have half, and seem to be increasing their numbers. And Independents are moving from their Moderate stance to more conservative. That should be the statistic E.J. focuses on. For it means that the mood of the country overall is moving more to the conservative side, which is exactly how Gallup described their results. That in itself can explain all those other numbers E.J. likes, but that he chooses to misrepresent.

Here's the poll site:
http://www.gallup.com/poll/124958/conservatives-finish-2009-no-1-ideological-group.aspx

Posted by: infuse | May 18, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks27 - I don't think you understood what I wrote. But I am not surprised.

To make it clear: when you post without breaks it is difficult to read and makes you look like a pencil neck geek who lives in your mother's basement. It does not make you look smarter or more poignant, it makes you look illiterate.

I am sorry it bothered you that I cared enough to point it out.

Are you a pencil neck geek that lives in your mother's basement???? Maybe I was wrong.

I am happy to hear, though, that you have some responsibilities. I hope your employees don't mind you have NO sense of humor and so much disrespect for them. If they are so inferior why did you hire them?

Guess what? I am a history major who employs engineers and mathematicians - seriously - along with a bunch of other people. (If you ever need a job, we'll keep in touch, OK?)

Please note, they all know how to type and think independently. If they were not able to think independently and just kept repeating someone else's talking points or stuff they heard on TV you would have to think they were mindless jerks.

Oh, I also respect them and don't talk down about them either. I guess you are as bad a boss as you are a poster...(hey, you opened the window…)

So, since we have all that straightened out, who is getting shellacked?

It looks like your side is taking out their power base to replace them with a bunch of neophyte purists. The GOP Old Guard is getting shellacked. Well see how it looks overall in November.

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | May 18, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

How can a victory by Mark Critz be considered something to crow about? The district is 2-1 Democrats to Republicans.
The real question is whether enough Democrats in Westmoreland county vote against Critz because his former boss did nothing for them while dispersing his largess everywhere else.

Posted by: westmont | May 18, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

TALK, TALK, TALK, TALK. It gets you nothing. I vote. That's how I talk. Why spend time responding to idiot Liberals. They are in the minority on every issue.

Posted by: Cobra2 | May 18, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

TOMMYBASEBALL - One off Obama's lemmings from the party of "know" - smug stupid Northeaster twits with the mindset of a hectoring old woman. How typical.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | May 18, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

You know it's bad if E.J. is apologizing before the results even come in.

Posted by: Benson | May 18, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

EJ IS A KINDA DUMB CERTAINLY BIASED NEWSPERSON.

IT'S LIKE THIS YOU DUMMY: IF MY GUY WINS , THE VOTERS ARE SMART, IF YOUR'S WINS,THEY ARE DUMB.

YOU'SE ABOUT TO LOSE EJ, SO THE LOSS MEANS NOTHING. BUT AS MILLIONS OF AMERICANS HAVE AND WILL TELL YOU. IT MEANS ON HELL OF ALOT.

YOU SHOULD READ MORE AND WRITE LESS.

Posted by: elvinjones1 | May 18, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Sticks and stones, mibrooks27, sticks and stones.

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | May 18, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

taylorb1 - "Wow...the Tea Baggers are in full flower here today, with their usual charming lack of manners."

It looks like they are the cream of the crop, too.

I do not think any of them read the articles. I think they get emailed their points and they start posting.

It appears to be similar to the screaming at the town hall meetings - take up space and keep people from discussing anything intelligently.

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | May 18, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

The Left can continue to ignore the obvious signs, since Reality never factored into their master plan, anyway.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | May 18, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Hey!!! EJ, I think I have your next column!!!!

From the Department of What Goes Around Comes Around," anyone see anything familiar in this:

The Know Nothing movement was a nativist American political movement of the 1840s and 1850s. It was empowered by popular fears that the country was being overwhelmed by German and Irish Catholic immigrants, who were often regarded as hostile to Anglo-Saxon values and controlled by the Pope in Rome. Mainly active from 1854 to 1856, it strove to curb immigration and naturalization, though its efforts met with little success. Membership was limited to Protestant males of British lineage over the age of twenty-one. There were few prominent leaders, and the largely middle-class and entirely Protestant membership fragmented over the issue of slavery. Most ended up joining the Republican Party by the time of the 1860 presidential election. (Wikipedia)

And there is so much more!!!!

Change a few words.... Know Nothing = Tea Party

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | May 18, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

wait, didnt EJ write a column just YESTERDAY about how these 3 primaries show the republicans are going right and the dems are moderating? re-read your column before you submit EJ and you wont have to write a thinly veiled retraction the very next day.

also, Obama scattershot demonizing campaign doesnt seem to be working, as 3 most recent national polls show:

Gallup 5/15 - 5/17 1547 A 46 46 Tie

Rasmussen Reports 5/15 - 5/17 1500 LV 45 53 -8

Associated Press/GfK 5/7 - 5/11 1002 A 49 50 -1


Not surprinsing, really. 'Change' is already a punch line that even Sarah Palin can use. Without 'Hope" Obama has nothing left.

Posted by: dummypants | May 18, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Tommybaseball:

"Membership was limited to Protestant males of British lineage over the age of twenty-one."

There's you difference. You just proved the tea party IS different because they accept women, blacks, i bet they even accept gays! Otherwise you came very close to making a good argument.

Posted by: dummypants | May 18, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

preemptive spin, totally unrelated to reality. nice try EJ.

Posted by: delusional1 | May 18, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

We all know that EJ Dionne is not a Krauthammer, or a George Will. The WaPo can't exclusively print right-wing opinions. But reading these posts tells you everything you need to know about the right-wing Tea Bag mentality. The Democratic posters, and some Republicans, are thoughtful, courteous, and to the point. The Baggers are ignorant, unable to spell, crude and offensive. How could these people ever hope to gain political power?

Posted by: gposner | May 18, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like EJ has visions of a tail-spin - and is trying to soften the crash!! :-)

Posted by: thornegp2626 | May 18, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like EJ has visions of a tail-spin - and is trying to soften the crash!! :-)

Posted by: thornegp2626

***************
Sounds like conservatives here are declaring victory six months before it happens.

I'm just saying, if you want to win, don't get complacent...

Posted by: Robert_B1 | May 18, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Dionne's point is well-taken...it is very hard to make conclusions about November trends from primaries, which are usually decided by pretty small numbers of voters and often on local or very personal issues. This would be true in GOP primaries as well. Too bad the Tea Bags and the rest of the angry right can't get off their soap boxes for even a minute to think about what Dionne is actually writing.

Posted by: taylorb1 | May 18, 2010 1:26 PM

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

I might agree that the speculation is too early and many races are based on local issues. Now if only liberals (and EJ) would think the same thing about recent Republican primaries in Utah and Florida.

Posted by: bbface21 | May 18, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Demo damage control in full swing already.

Downplay the coming downfall . . .

America is p.o.ed . . . period.

Posted by: reddog62 | May 18, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

America is p.o.ed . . . period.

Posted by: reddog62

**********
Yes, and we should always make important decisions when we're p.o.ed, right?

Posted by: Robert_B1 | May 18, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

dummypants, of course I meant this in a hyper-literal way so that every letter of every word is exact.

I swear, do you have top fail a reading comprehension test to be a tea bagger? Or is it just the inarticulate who are attracted to this elitist movement?

No,dummy, the possibility that you allow people who are not Protestant males of British lineage to attend your meetings means nothing as far as the comparison goes.

Actually, since polling has already shown that the average tea bagger is white, well off and republican this may apply in after all.

That they have sucked along a few true believers to do their shouting is irrelevant. The Know Nothings did that, too.

And if you really think that an openly gay person would be allowed within a mile of a tea bag party you are truly clueless.

Did you know that Know Nothings tended to go to their opponents rallies and yell or otherwise use intimidation to silence them?????

Too perfect.

2010 Tea Party = 1850 Know Nothing

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | May 18, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I'm done with both parties.

Done with the Republicans, because they jack up the penalties for all our laws beyond reason. Also, their holier-than-thou boyscout B.S. is a turnoff. This is reality, not 1950's black and white family television.

Done with the Democrats, because they see the Bill of Rights as not applying to individuals. Their holier-than-thou B.S. is a bit much, too.

I will ONLY vote Libertarian from here on. I don't care who wins, but I will make a statement, nonetheless. No more Democrats, no more Republicans.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | May 18, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I remember in the 2002-2006 runup to the Republicans becoming the minority party they deserve to be that they were becoming more and more truculent, arrogant and abusive, absolutely certain in their view that liberals were going to be beaten and really didn't deserve to have a voice at all. People with the most snapped-shut minds always want to close off debate. Today, I still don't hear any ideas on how to fix anything, just "less government", which is working great in the gulf right now. And just because you heard it on Fox News, that doesn't mean it is actually true.

Posted by: tedross1 | May 18, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Your analysis of "further left" and "further right" is way too simplistic.

What is meant by further right?

Do you mean increasing social conservatism, pushing a back to bible basics and family values?

Do you mean increasing fiscal conservatism, going for smaller government, balanced budgets, less spending, less taxation?

Traditionally

Democrat = social liberal, fiscal liberal
Republican = social conservatism, fiscal conservatism

Libertarian = social liberal, fiscal conservative

The Tea Party = fiscal conservative, (conservative or liberal) on social issues.

The Nanny State = fiscal liberal, suppress individual liberty

When you say further right, you imply both (social + fiscal) conservatism is on the rise. This is not true. The push is fiscal only. There is no bible thumping and focus on the family. The message is get this fiscal house in order.

Obama has been lurching further and further along fiscal liberal lines. One may also argue that he is restricting individual liberty, namely-

1. New pushes on food restrictions (diet soda taxes etc) amount to less choice
2. New pushes on energy restrictions (cap and trade) amount to less consumer choice on energy
3. Denial of Miranda rights to those suspected of terrorism

Clearly Obama is a departure from the usual Democrat, in that he firmly believes in denying individual liberties in the name of protecting you from yourself. He is more of a proponent of the Nanny state.

Posted by: Wiggan | May 18, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Looks like everyone here is calling you out for this heads we win/tails they lose pre-election spin. Maybe it's time you started blogging for the HuffPo.

Posted by: TomGough2 | May 18, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

This Just In.

Obama and Biden have thrown Democrat Arlen Specter under the bus.

Posted by: geo82170 | May 18, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Dionne's commentary reads almost word for word like today's action memo from the DNC's Central Committee on Correct Language and Message Presentation to loyal party block captains.

Posted by: JAH3 | May 18, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

@TOMMYBASEBALL

You are not that bright. Mike is a very common name. Thus, you have to add numbers after your name to get an account. Go back the DU, or HP. That is more along the lines of your intellect.

Posted by: mike83631 | May 18, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

gposner - all the thoughtful, courteous, and to the point republicans were forced out of the party or voluntarily became Democrats

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | May 18, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Ah! Poor, misguided Mr. Dionne. Still stuck in Fantasy Land I see.

Your wake-up call will arrive in November too I can tell. In the meantime, sleep tight, just as I always do after reading your tripe.

Warmest Regards,
Tony

Posted by: any1 | May 18, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

@TOMMYBASEBALL. I've noticed one thing about the left these days. They can't ever really engage in debate. Tourette's syndrome. All they do is blurt out "tea-something" thinking they are ever so cleaver.

Posted by: mike83631 | May 18, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

"Way too much will be made of the significance of the results for November’s election."

Who knew that Baghdad Bob was now employed at the WaPo.

Posted by: mdsinc | May 18, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Wiggan, as usual you still are not grasping what liberal is.

Just so you know, all 3 of the points you chose to cite were also favored by the Bush administration:
(1. New pushes on food restrictions (diet soda taxes etc) amount to less choice
2. New pushes on energy restrictions (cap and trade) amount to less consumer choice on energy
3. Denial of Miranda rights to those suspected of terrorism)

Your #3 has been demanded by ALL of the GOP including your tea bag pin-up girl Sarah "I quit" Palin.

Was Bush a liberal? Is Palin?

No matter what you guys throw at the wall, Obama is a moderate.

When you say the push to the right is fiscal only how do you explain the tea baggers obsession with homosexuality, particularly gay marriage? How about the obsession with immigration?

Your groups attack on Health Care is not fiscal, unless you think "what's mine is mine" is a fiscal policy.

If you listen to Palin's speeches, most have only a couple throw away lines about fiscal issues and the rest is either personal assaults on the President or on Democrats primarily revolving around social issues.

If this is a move towards "fiscal conservatism" why is the GOP continuing to crave ear-marks?

Keep trying, though. With all that wild swinging you are bound to hit something

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | May 18, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

mike83631, funny how you were all posting the same thing, huh?

I guess I was confused by the glaring lack of originality and the bland sameness of your several posts. Sort of like you are just parroting someone else's ideas. You know, like the average tea bagger.

Meanwhile, your brilliance has cut me to the quick. You are oh so clever and erudite. I am overwhelmed by your wit.

Mike, it is hard to debate with a school yard bully. Look over the posts. I, along with a number of other people have made several that advanced thoughts and ideas.

Then you and your ilk come along and give us "You are not that bright", "Tourette's syndrome." Other friends of yours are hurling insults at the President at EJ and at anyone here who has tried to post something worthwhile.

And, typical of the tea bagger mentality, you are trying to say people on the left are afraid of a debate???????

Say something intelligent and see what happens. Or maybe you just weren't faxed any "something intelligent" talking points today????

Debate this:
2010 Tea Party = 1850's Know Nothings.

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | May 18, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Here is to a big conservative win in al elevtions today.. May the most conservative win

Posted by: markandbeth92 | May 18, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Mike85 at the top has it right. Dionne sounds just like the dishonest hypocrites in the White House.
I hope the voters shovel all the democrat manure out.

Posted by: LarryG62 | May 18, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Your columns are so predictable Mr. Dionne. If the Democrats were thought to be big winners it would be a "public denunciation of the right" or something like that. President Obama has showed us the path that the liberal Democrats want to go, the Nanny State. I believe the people see that and are not happy. But please don't knock the people when they don't vote in your direction. Or call the election irrelevant because the Democrats will probably get pasted. The path the Democrats have chosed is wrong.

Posted by: bobbo2 | May 18, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

From the article above:
"It’s very clear that the Republicans are moving much farther and faster to the right than Democrats are moving to the left. "

Dear EJ --the democrat party can't move any further to the left than the present administration has already moved them.

This accounts for the TeaParty, democrat states that have already fallen to republicans despite personal appearances from BO and others who will fall today and again in November.

Everyone knows you are a dem cheerleader, but good golly miss molly, can't you EVER see things as they really are?

You can say that dems will lose because all incumbents are in trouble after a recession. The incumbents WERE in trouble when the republicans lost control of congress and the White House. NOW incumbents are going to lose because they are incompetent spenders and growers of government bureacracy.

Enough said -- I'm going to jump over to George Will's last column for some insight that makes sense.
Good luck with the pom-poms.

Posted by: jimbob3 | May 18, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Keep whistleing Dionne... There is nothing wrong . Right?

Posted by: Imarkex | May 18, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

The end is near for the moonbats. I can see 2012 from my desktop.

Posted by: mpg515 | May 18, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

barack hussein obama! mmmmm....mmmm...mmmmm...barack is gonna do it...barack is gonna do it....barack is gonna change the world....barack hussein obama...mmmm...mmmm...mmmmm....hes gonna change it.....gonna re-arrange it....hes gonna change the world.....

Posted by: TerpfanMA | May 18, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Amazing the lengths which the leftist water carrying, state run, obama media will go to cover for their affirmative action president..

Posted by: wewintheylose | May 18, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

It's still just a bit early for the spin, Mr Dionne... At least have the decency to wait for the results before you begin your damage control.

Posted by: Apostrophe | May 18, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

More whistling past the graveyard in Liberal La-La-Land.

Posted by: fgoepfert1 | May 18, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Dream, Dionne. You guys are toast in November. Best news yet? Arlen Sphincter is finished.

On to 2012! You Smelly Left-Maggotori's are Finnished! Like the Lefties in Finland, you're alllll done!

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

I'm all for shaking up things in Washington, but I'm not going to vote for someone who's nutty nor for someone who has no solutions to our 21st century problems. I especially won't vote for someone who blames government for everything as they're fighting to become part of that very government.

Posted by: MNUSA | May 18, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Well well well!

I seem to remember a whole lot of you ahem, progressives, gloating and drooling all over themselves when the Obamacare ripoff was jammed down our throats. "Get over it you lost" they blabbered and "we're going to Jam lots more progressive agenda stuff down your conservative, Tea Bagger throats before it's over and Obama is reelected for a send term."

Is that right? Well you arrogant, "we are going to reeducate mankind" progressive morons had better figure out how you are even going to keep any of your Obama loving, progressives in the Congress this fall, let alone inflicting more of your Marxist, Globalist agenda on America.

November is going to bring great and well
deserved sadness to the ranks of the true believer Obamaniacs this fall.
Better get over it!

Posted by: jsbar | May 18, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, EJ. I have enjoyed listening to you on NPR and MSNBC, and this is the first time I have ever commented on a column. Aren't all off-year primaries anti-incumbent? Aren't all off-year generals rebellions against the party in power? Isn't all off-year activitism defined by the hatred of "washington?" I hate how the MSM is playing along with Fox News in exaggerating the influence of the Tea Party.

Posted by: jeffwingchun2939 | May 18, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

I agree that over-analysis of the election results may be an over-reach. I voted for Sestak for two reasons: 1. Specter's age and health. 2. Specter's preemptive use of negative ads. It had nothing to do with left, right, Tea Party, incumbency, Obama.

Posted by: paulirion | May 19, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

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