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Canaries, Coal Mines and House Democrats

The retirements of Reps. Dennis Moore (Kans.) and John Tanner (Tenn.) over the past few weeks has spawned a series of stories about the hand-wringing currently going on in the House Democratic Caucus.

"It's the beginning of an avalanche on our side," one Democratic strategist told Politico's Patrick O'Connor. Similar stories debating what -- if anything -- the Tanner/Moore retirements mean ran in Roll Call and the Hill.

Then this morning came an op-ed from former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Martin Frost painting Moore and Tanner as canaries in the coal mine and warning: "House Democratic leaders have best pay attention to the warning they are sounding."

So, is all the sturm und drang warranted?

No -- and yes.

On the "no" side first, there's reason to believe that the retirements of Moore and Tanner
are -- as they and Democratic strategists have argued --- due entirely to their own unique circumstances and not to the national political climate.

Both Moore (64) and Tanner (65) are of an age where retirement -- from any job -- has to always be considered. And, in Tanner's case, other extenuating circumstance -- the illness of a grandchild -- clearly played a role in his decision.

Given that, it's entirely possible that the circumstances that led Moore and Tanner to step aside are not circumstances shared by many of their colleagues, and extrapolating from their retirements to broader Democratic vacancies may be unwarranted.

And yet, there is still real reason for concern for House Democrats in the wake of these two retirements.

Why?

Members of Congress tend to be a largely reactive bunch, forever worried that a change in public opinion will take them from a safe seat to an ultra competitive race in the blink of an eye.

Anytime that one of their colleagues -- particularly one like Tanner who was extremely well known and well regarded within the moderate/conservative wing of the party -- decides to take a pass on re-election, they inevitably begin to look inward to contemplate (or re-contemplate) their own political and personal futures. Or in the words of Frost: "Retirements become contagious."

Tanner's retirement also will embolden House Republican strategists in their efforts to step up the rhetorical pressure on longtime Democratic incumbents who are not used to combative re-election contests.

While Tanner insisted that his decision had nothing to do with the fact that Republicans had a candidate who raised more than $300,000 in the last three months in the race against him, it strains credulity to think that the prospect of a real contest for the first time in, well, ever (Tanner has never won his House seat with less than 62 percent of the vote) didn't play some role -- even a small one -- in his retirement.

House Republicans -- taking a page from former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel's playbook -- are making certain that those longtime incumbents know they won't get a free pass this time around, a strategy certain to give some of them real pause as they contemplate re-election races.

One other important bit of context in this debate: not all retirements are created equal.

A member who leaves a seat that strongly favors his or her party -- Florida Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) or South Carolina Rep. Gresham Barrett (R) are good examples -- makes no blip on the national political radar. Neither party will spend a dime in keeping or trying to switch those districts.

But, when people like Moore, whose district went for President Obama narrowly in 2008, and Tanner, whose seat Obama lost by 13 points, retire, it's an entirely different story.

There are currently 49 House Democrats who represent districts that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) carried in 2008. If more Democratic retirements come out of those ranks, there is real reason for party strategists to be concerned.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 3, 2009; 10:52 AM ET
Categories:  House  
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Comments

How many Republican seats are in districts which voted for Obama?

Posted by: gradstudent2007 | December 4, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Krugman on health care costs and seniors:

"But in the closing rounds of the health care fight, the G.O.P. has focused more and more on an effort to demonize cost-control efforts. The Senate bill would impose “draconian cuts” on Medicare, says Senator John McCain, who proposed much deeper cuts just last year as part of his presidential campaign. “If you’re a senior and you’re on Medicare, you better be afraid of this bill,” says Senator Tom Coburn.

If these tactics work, and health reform fails, think of the message this would convey: It would signal that any effort to deal with the biggest budget problem we face will be successfully played by political opponents as an attack on older Americans. It would be a long time before anyone was willing to take on the challenge again; remember that after the failure of the Clinton effort, it was 16 years before the next try at health reform.

That’s why anyone who is truly concerned about fiscal policy should be anxious to see health reform succeed. If it fails, the demagogues will have won, and we probably won’t deal with our biggest fiscal problem until we’re forced into action by a nasty debt crisis.

So to the centrists still sitting on the fence over health reform: If you care about fiscal responsibility, you better be afraid of what will happen if reform fails."

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/04/opinion/04krugman.html?hp

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 4, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Yup, we all know that's what Republicans care about, saving Medicare and preventing "socialized medicine." Reagan already warned us of its evils:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHQwQA172FM

Oh wait, you mean the evil socialized medicine he was warning us against was...MEDICARE?!?!? Uh, never mind.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | December 3, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

The democrats have to worry - that is clear - but things may not be as bleak as one might believe - the seniors who refused to vote in 2008 may come back to the democratic party - so nothing is certain.


Obama is the problem obviously.

Obama is insisting on cutting $500 Billion from Medicare - do you think the seniors are going to like that ???


The democrats have seriously miscalculated - somehow they believe in some retread of 1994 has to be avoided - by passing health care.

I am not so sure that analogy makes sense - if the democrats lose the seniors, they are going to lose BECAUSE THEY PASSED HEALTH CARE.


Obama is pushing his party toward disaster.

Obama has unique challenges - one is he has to make sure people have confidence that the numbers work - the numbers do not work - and that means Obama is being irresponsible.


The seniors are not going to go for it.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 3, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

The real story here isn't in the details, it's in the big picture, a GOP that simply refuses to do electoral math. With bluster and elective self-deception they keep taking away the wrong messages, most glaringly in seeing a win in Hoffman's decisive loss.

Beck/Palin type candidates just can't win elections. But that minority wing is so loud and so nasty that the party is deathly afraid of them and capitulates every time. The hard core will keep lying to themselves just as they lie to us in this blog, keep repeating the big lie that "RINOs" can't win and that the true path to electoral victory lies in being as marginal and extreme as they can manage.

And with the chowderheads in the press entirely on board with this narrative there appears no end in sight, no day of candor or reckoning when the GOP -- sorry, the GUP, G Unelectable P -- realized that the example to follow is Christie, not Hoffman.

Palin is a real big problem that they have no interest in doing anything about.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 3, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

The 9/12 crowd might be able to point to some trends in general political opinion as evidence that they have a real shot in the next elections, but they're going to find it takes more than an annoyed public to knock off Democrats or "insufficiently conservative" Republicans. You might be able to capitalize on general political attitudes to look good in the polls, but when you run for a House or Senate seat, you're not just running against the other person's party -- you're running against the other person. A lot of voters will gladly vote for a candidate from the other party if he or she just plain seems like the better candidate. And a lot of voters are lazy, and will just vote for the name they recognize.

There might be some anti-incumbent rage festering in the voting public, but rage against all incumbents isn't nearly as effective as rage against a specific incumbent when it comes to getting rid of them. The 9/12 folks will pretty handily draw in the voters who go for the Glenn Beck style of politics, but it's easy to see them getting confused and awkward enough around other voters that they don't survive primaries they thought they'd win -- and even if we do see some of them succeed in the primaries, they're going to have an uphill battle overcoming Democratic opponents, as the Beck crowd consists almost entirely of people who were never going to vote Democratic to begin with.

I don't think a more moderate Republican who goes through a brutal primary with one of the 9/12 types will necessarily come out any worse for the wear in the general -- a nasty primary fight is by no means a guarantee of trouble in the general, as we saw with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton last year -- but 9/12ers could sink Republican candidates by running as third-party candidates in the general after losing the primary. I'd not be as confident we'll see that as some other folks are, though; if they start seeing evidence that otherwise viable Republicans could be torpedoed by third-party candidates, conservative politicians and pundits will back off on the importance of litmus tests.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | December 3, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

"Palinite Hoffmen"

LOL I love it. An army of Palinite Hoffmen, marching across the country, leaving dead Republican incumbents in their wake, and more Democrats in Congress.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | December 3, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Pawlenty puffed himself when I-35 collapsed killing 13 people.

==

No, I'm sure that Minnesotans who found themselves seven or eight dollars richer by not fixing the bridge saw it as an excellent tradeoff, even if it was one of their own kids or parents who drowned.

After all, economic freedom® is more important than reliable bridges. Free lunch! Free lunch!

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 3, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

One other point. Bush 41 looked completely unbeatable in 1990. Approval rating at 90%

==

I remember a great political cartoon a few weeks before the election he lost.

Bush I: "where's my 90% approval rating?!?"

Aide: "you're sitting on it"

He painted himself into a corner with that "read my lips" BS and stuck to his ideological guns months too long, when Keynesian stimulus was needed, not more concentration of wealth.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 3, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

"I hear you can buy Palin and Pawlenty Puffs at Starbucks in D.C."

Pawlenty puffed himself when I-35 collapsed killing 13 people.

Posted by: knjincvc | December 3, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I hear you can buy Palin and Pawlenty Puffs at Starbucks in D.C. Perfect with a Pumpkin Latte!

==

Saccharine gives me headaches

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 3, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I hear you can buy Palin and Pawlenty Puffs at Starbucks in D.C. Perfect with a Pumpkin Latte!

Posted by: drindl | December 3, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

With the appearance of the flaming third stooge, all is back to normal at the Fix.

Idiocy abounds.

Posted by: snowbama | December 3, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I heart the purity pledge. One of the Republican Party's best moves yet, it is so affirmative, drawing out the best in people.

==

My favorite part of the GUP Vaterlandsicherheit Reinheitpfand is the eight out of ten thing .. like anyone who doesn't ace it is going to get a dime from the RNC.

Oh, and I love the "market based" approach to healthcare and the "military surge" restriction on the vanity wars. Reminds me of experiments I read about where scientists removed a piece of octopus' brain that handled memory and they poor decorticated things would strike at an electrified grid over and over, incapable of learning.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 3, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

The real canary in a coal mine is Blanche Lincoln. The odds are good that she'll lose to a more progressive candidate. It's a fools errand to assume that lost Dem seats will go to Republicans, esp. with such stupidity as the "purity test". NY23, Blanche Lincoln... watch for it in 2010. Dems who vote against major initiatives of the President, or worse - obstruct or fillibuster - are kissing their seats goodbye, and not to Republicans.

Posted by: MichIndependent | December 3, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I presume ekim53 changed his sign-on to zouk.

Posted by: knjincvc | December 3, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Bob McDonnell's not having to survive a primary against the right-tilting hack Bill Bolling helped him considerably in the general. At some point we'll learn what Bolling was offered to stand down.

===

For resources, certainly. My guess is that Bolling concluded that (a) he couldn't win, (b) if he lost, he was done and (c) he'd have another shot in 4 years. One reason I think there was an anti-Dem sentiment in VA is that the two down ticket candidates were much weaker than McDonnell and still coasted home.

Incidentally, a good point about forcing Reps to tilt to the right to avoid a primary fight. I also have to admit that 9/12ers could wound a Republican. Think of what Pat Buchanan did to HW Bush.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 3, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"...the purity pledge, which is already hurting his numbers and will likely cost Republicans this seat..."

I heart the purity pledge. One of the Republican Party's best moves yet, it is so affirmative, drawing out the best in people.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 3, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: edtroyhampton | December 3, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Leave it to the GOP to miss an opportunity to gain some seats by running unelectable extremists. They'll try to run Palinite Hoffmen in purple districts and dollars to Navy beans they'll come up with some self-deceiving narrative to explain away every single lost seat.

"we weren't CONSERVATIVE enough!!"

Bush foreign policy: ready, fire, aim

GOP electoral strategy, ready, aim at own feet, fire

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 3, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"If incumbents have to run to the right just to escape the primary, the impact could be substantial in some cases, enough to tip an election to a Dem."

Though not an incumbent, Castle is already facing this problem in Delaware, running to the right to secure the nomination and RNC funding in light of the purity pledge, which is already hurting his numbers and will likely cost Republicans this seat as a pickup opportunity. The same thing will likely happen in Conn., as Dems are right now venting their frustration with Dodd but I think will in the end hold their nose for fear of empowering an increasingly conservative Republican Party, which is why I see Nevada and Arkansas as likely R pickups (unless Reid can convince Nevada next year that he steers enough funds their way, which he might, to hold his seat), with NH and Missouri as poss Dem pickups and Pennsylvania as a poss Republican pickup, unless things radically change one way or another between now and next November, which they always can.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | December 3, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Another day, another non-story about Democrats in trouble and resurgent Republicans invented out of whole cloth.

So our "gracious host" operates at the same level as zouk, column after column seeking to shape false perceptions through mind-numbing repetition.

Two guys retire because they're reached retirement age, some loser feigns to see a trend so he can get some camera time, and all of a sudden it's doom for Democrats again.

What's next? More Palin an' Pawlenty puff?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 3, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"If the 9/12 movement is important in the Republican primaries, then I think it will have a strong impact in the general election (in favor of the Democrats). I'm just not convinced that this could rise about 20-30% in most cases--particularly against incumbents.

There is nearly unanimous opposition to Obama's initiatives from the current caucus. Exactly what else would voters think they'd get? More heat, I guess.

My key test of this? AZ Senate. If McCain is dumped, then I'll take them seriously. Rubio/Crist is another interesting one, but I will have to see incumbents go down before I take it seriously."

The impact will be huge if incumbents go down.

If incumbents have to run to the right just to escape the primary, the impact could be substantial in some cases, enough to tip an election to a Dem.

Bob McDonnell's not having to survive a primary against the right-tilting hack Bill Bolling helped him considerably in the general. At some point we'll learn what Bolling was offered to stand down.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | December 3, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"why no mention of Barry's paltry 35% approval rating in your analysis? why ignore the W first midterm and subsequent dominating relection, when conservatism was on display for all."

35%? Really? Try 48%. http://www.pollster.com/polls/us/jobapproval-obama.php?xml=http://www.pollster.com/flashcharts/content/xml/Obama44JobApproval.xml&choices=Disapprove,Approve&phone=&ivr=&internet=&mail=&smoothing=&from_date=&to_date=&min_pct=&max_pct=&grid=&points=1&lines=1&colors=Disapprove-BF0014,Approve-000000,Undecided-68228B

And beyond that, I'd remove the Gallup and Ras daily trackers (use the toggle functions at the bottom) as they are oversampled (Ras especially since there are numerous questions as to his methodology - IVR phone surveys and a four part answer, but I drop both to keep it fair), and it is a 50.6% -43.8% split. Beyond that I look to the internals of the polls, something the guys watching the top line numbers for their "analysis" overlook. Obama's numbers are being dragged by a number of factors, but the biggest single factor is a -40% approval rating in the South (which may be where you're getting that 35% number from). In the NE and the West he's doing great, and in the Midwest and the Mountain West he's doing ok. He can afford to lose Indiana, Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina, and still cruise to re-election. This is why Huckabee, even before the news about his Willie Horton came out, was looking at not running in 2012- he recognizes President Obama is still in strong position for re-election.

Why keep Dubya out? Because it's a clear anomaly due to 9-11 making it irrelevant for analysis. Do you really think his 78% approval in 2001 was legitimate? Hell, even I answered a poll expressing approval at that point. Which is why I left it out. Besides, why was "conservatism on full display" in 2002 but not in 2005-7? Fear and paranoia dominated that election, not rational debate (which is why I always laugh at Beck's 9-12 project - saying that we need to get back to a 9-12 mentality is a recognition that Republicans only do well when people don't have a time to think and react from fear without the ability to analyze the big picture).

And besides that, you really consider 2004 a dominating re-election win (50.7%-48.3%, 286-251 EC)? Surely then you must concede Obama won in 2008 in a landslide (52.9%-45.7%, 365-173 EC).

Posted by: kreuz_missile | December 3, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

If the 9/12 movement is important in the Republican primaries, then I think it will have a strong impact in the general election (in favor of the Democrats). I'm just not convinced that this could rise about 20-30% in most cases--particularly against incumbents.

There is nearly unanimous opposition to Obama's initiatives from the current caucus. Exactly what else would voters think they'd get? More heat, I guess.

My key test of this? AZ Senate. If McCain is dumped, then I'll take them seriously. Rubio/Crist is another interesting one, but I will have to see incumbents go down before I take it seriously.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 3, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I'd bet real money Palin won't run (so who keeps that book?), but yeah, CC's own TPaw could benefit the most. Still I'd like to hear what the spinners have to say. Maybe it is too close to the tragedy to bury Huckabee. For the Republican Rising! column though, this is at least as big an event as any of Palin's antics. The silence is strange.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 3, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not entirely convinced that the 9/12 movement is all that meaningful."

Yes and no. It'll be enormously important in GOP primaries. It is not at all clear the impact in the general will be that significant.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 3, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

"One other point. Bush 41 looked completely unbeatable in 1990. Approval rating at 90% and CinC for the first proper war victory since Vietnam."


Its the economy, stupid.


.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 3, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"So now, as the Republicans begin to tear at each other in earnest, where will the millions of people who would have voted for him end up?"


Palin, Pawlenty, Brownback

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 3, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

With this administration so out of touch, Cap n Trade, healthcare debacle, with Reid-Pelosi at the helm all the while DNC Chair Commandant Dean yelling capitolism is dead and socialism lives.....the Dems although collectively marching in step under Reid/Pelosi....they have yet to realize heading into 2010 and 2012 they are in a funeral march....

Posted by: short1 | December 3, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Interesting points, drindl. I'm not entirely convinced that the 9/12 movement is all that meaningful. Immigration was the supposed hot button issue coming into the 2008 election and Tancredo went nowhere. McCain was forced to back away from his own bill, but that seemed to be about it. Knocking off the selected nominee in NY23 is a far cry from taking out an incumbent in the primary. If I see a serious challenge to someone like Graham, then I'll believe in this.

Good post, kreuz. One other point. Bush 41 looked completely unbeatable in 1990. Approval rating at 90% and CinC for the first proper war victory since Vietnam. [I don't include invading small islands or knocking off banana republics.]

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 3, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The fate of Mike Huckabee is a more important political matter than a couple obscure elder D resignations.

Four murdered police officers and Huck is destroyed. People debate whether or not he should be destroyed, but as a Republican politician, his career is finished.

So now, as the Republicans begin to tear at each other in earnest, where will the millions of people who would have voted for him end up?

CC, this leaves a big hole in your Republican leaders list. Can you tell us what the Republican opinion spinners are saying?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 3, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone rememeber if any one of the stooges was particularly more stupid than any of the others? I know Moe was considered the leader and the brainz but what about curly and larry and even Schimpf. I am having trouble assigning drivl, Loud and dumb, CF8/Flamer and DDAWd thier proper monikers.

clearly the stupidest stooge is Loud and Dumb. and we all know that CF8/Flamer deserves the name Moe. but where does that leave drivl and DDAWG?

Posted by: ZOUK | December 3, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Hey McNumbnuts, why don't you see if McDonnell and Christie will take the James Bopp purity test? When you get the results, please report back. Until then, you're completely out to lunch.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | December 3, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I thought McDonnel was a throwback to the regime of the Taliban, insisting that women never work and that children should be seen and not heard. At least that is what I saw in the Post day after day, week after week.

that was the notion right up until he won, then he was suddenly disguised as a moderate. Libs say whatever they need to to continue the brainwashing of the brainless. but the ranks of the brainless are now only located directly in Peloony's district and gathering on this thread.

Hence the smashing victories in VA (whcih went for Obama by a significant number) and NJ (which usually provides Repubs with cement overshoes instead).

all it took was a few months of actual Lib governance to reveal the truth.

Posted by: ZOUK | December 3, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Gingrich comes out for recycling!

Well, recycling the same old tired and failed policies, that is:

"This afternoon, the White House is hosting a jobs summit aimed at finding ways to “jumpstart the hiring that typically lags behind economic growth.” But former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is attempting to steal President Obama’s thunder, hosting what his own “real jobs summit” in Ohio and Mississippi. Gingrich’s effort has received coverage from CBS News, CNN, Fox News and the AP.

Though Gingrich is dismissing the White House summit as “political theater,” his “real solutions for job creation and economic growth” are really just another effort to repackage ideas he has already promoted. In fact, Gingrich is even recycling his old “Drill Here. Drill Now” slogan…

Where have we heard this kind of slogan before?

The main difference between the proposal Gingrich debuted yesterday and the “Jobs Here. Jobs Now. Jobs First” plan he produced in July is that he is now calling for allowing “small businesses to expense 100% of new equipment purchases each year.” In an analysis of the July plan, the Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo found that the tax changes would add trillions to the deficit over the next decade while “throwing money to mainly the well-off and hoping that it will have some positive effects.”

In his newest “Jobs First” proposal, Gingrich also recycles his long-standing calls for more drilling and cutting federal spending. Recycling ideas is nothing new for Gingrich. Though he originally proposed it in 1997, Gingrich claimed last February that eliminating the capital gains tax was “a new, bold idea.”

Posted by: drindl | December 3, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

So in Libworld, winning a large Blue state by several points against an overwhelmingly wealthy incumbent is pretty much the same as losing a small out of the way hand-picked empty bench Obama district with a guy who was in politics all of 30 days.

Yeah, I can see how those are exactly equal. How do you explain the 20 point loss in VA - a weak personality. then you should have won NY by 20 points, not 20 votes. hmmm.

Lib data always seems to originate in wonderland.

I am confident if you head over to Kos or Huff, you can find an explanation for this quandry. See if you can find the cooling is warming one while there. and I am still interested in the saving is creating invention.

Posted by: ZOUK | December 3, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Yes, that's right, Margaret. And he was the one who lost. Had the voters gotten to know him better, he would have lost by an even bigger margin.

He only got as many votes as he did, from wht I understand, out of resentment at the party leaders for choosing a candidate themselves instead of holding a primary.

Posted by: drindl | December 3, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"The Unelectables

Like the ones in VA and NJ."

Ace McNumbnuts, if you had read margaretmyers' post a little better, and if you new anything about the races in VA and NJ, you'd understand that neither candidate could represent the new right-wing teabagger splinter party we're talking about. McDonnell could have 20 years ago, but most certainly not now (as his campaign proved, since he wanted to get elected and not prove a point) and Christie never.

Try to keep up a little better, ok McNumbnuts?

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | December 3, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

McDonnell and Christie ran as moderate Republicans. I was thinking of whozy up in NY... oh, yeah Doug Hoffman, the Unelectable candidate. He ran as a Conservative.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | December 3, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Sinclair Lewis:

‘When fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.’

Posted by: drindl | December 3, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Ho, where is Mo, the third stooge? aka Flamer for obvious reasons.

Posted by: ZOUK | December 3, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

how contrary to liberal sentiment who would rather graffitti or burn the flag, (heaven forbid any false patriotism by wearing a pin) AND soaking the cross in urine to top it off.

what a clever statement for individual freedom?

Posted by: ZOUK | December 3, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

CC: New posting please. The Ace McNumbnuts flood is beginning on this board.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | December 3, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

blows my mind that people think that Lindsey Graham is too liberal.

Posted by: DDAWD

That must take an entire 3 knot gale.

Posted by: ZOUK | December 3, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

"DDawd, the GOP will rip itself in two during primary season. The list of candidates inspired by Glenn Beck that drindl posted on Morning Fix is equalled by a Club for Growth list. Combined, we can call them the List of Unelectables.

That might make a good name for the new right wing party: The Unelectables."

Yup, I think they will have a not very civil war. The R establishment is pretty nervous. But I think the new right wing party will call itself 'Freedom' or 'Constitutional' one thing or another, since those are their primary Orwellian buzzwords.

Whatever they call themselves they will be b 'wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross,’ as Sinclair Lewis so presciently put it.

And as Ron Paul said about Mike Huckabee...

Posted by: drindl | December 3, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

brainz-missing

why no mention of Barry's paltry 35% approval rating in your analysis? why ignore the W first midterm and subsequent dominating relection, when conservatism was on display for all.

simple, with liberalism on display, the halftime score is headed for another utter failure for Barry, a trend which is disturbing for all. Still HOPING for that first win, that first success, as Barry might say- the CHANGE from utter failure.

Posted by: ZOUK | December 3, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

The Unelectables

Like the ones in VA and NJ.

Fact or fiction moonbats? you had best stick with the anti-facts you need for your policies. Like global warming data, promises of 8% unemployment, consequences for Iran and Korea, raising coverage while lowering prices, simultaneously surging and retreating, parting the seas, etc.

Posted by: ZOUK | December 3, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

At this point in 1981, Reagan's approval rating hovered at 50%, before bottoming out at about 37% in early 1983. Dems gained 1 senate seat and 27 House seats in the 1982 midterms. Reagan coasted to re-election after the economy began to recover.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/116677/presidential-approval-ratings-gallup-historical-statistics-trends.aspx#2
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_House_of_Representatives_elections,_1982

In December of 1993, Clinton's numbers hovered around 48 after recovering from a crater at 37% shortly after his inauguration. Republicans picked up 54 seats in the house and 8 seats in the Senate during the midterms. Clinton eventually coasted to re-election as well.

In 1989, George H. W. Bush's approval rating hovered around 70%. Republicans lost 8 seats in the 1990 midterms and Bush was not re-elected.

In Dec 1977, Carter's approval rating hovered around 68%. Dems lost 15 seats in the 1978 midterms and Carter was not re-elected.


Big picture - Party in-power will lose seats, probably 20-25 on average in the house and 2-3 in the Senate. This is especially true for the next election given the commanding majorities that Dems have which means they both have to play more defense and they hold a lot of what would be considered natural Republican territory.

The real questions -
1. Will it truly impact the balance of power? As the most likely losers I would rate as Blanche Lincoln and Harry Reid, it's a mixed bag. Many on the left are rooting against Reid, who is no Tom Daschle to the grassroots, and If Blanche Lincoln is threatening to block the President's top priority (and the top priority of the Democratic Party Platform since 1948), is anyone going to be shedding tears? Likewise with the House, most of the endangered folks are Blue Dogs, will the loss of a few of them really harm the Democrat's control of the House? Republicans pushed through far more with far narrower majorities. Is a slimmer, but more partisan Democratic majority helpful or harmful to the Prresident's agenda as it removes from the picture more stories of "democratic defectors?"

2. Given the number above, does it really say anything right now about Obama and his policies? Has the nature of mass media changed our election process so as to make all elections solely about the President's agenda, or is it the small-"c" conservative mindset of America - liking checks and balances, at work? Especially when Republicans still aren't running for any substantive positions, only to be a check on Obama's agenda?

Posted by: kreuz_missile | December 3, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

DDawd, the GOP will rip itself in two during primary season. The list of candidates inspired by Glenn Beck that drindl posted on Morning Fix is equalled by a Club for Growth list. Combined, we can call them the List of Unelectables.

That might make a good name for the new right wing party: The Unelectables.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | December 3, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

That just blows my mind that people think that Lindsey Graham is too liberal.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 3, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I agree with your post, Steven. My point was to Chris -- and this is not a criticism, by the way, simply a question. Why are you not covering this 9/12 thing, except in passing? Is it under your radar?

One or two retirements is a non-story. But a well-funded movement with plenty of candidates, backed by industry, an entire major television station and popular AM radio network is. What it amounts to is an insurgency against incumbent Republicans--even far-right ones like Pete Sessions.

It will mean more money must be raised for previously uncontested primaries, it will mean the incumbent is already damaged well before the general -- ie, leave Rs less to spend and Ds more in the general.

And the positions held by these Glen Beck mentees are as irresponsible and deranged as he is. Nonetheless, the most motivated part of the electorate will vote for them and they may well win primaries.

However, the most motivated voters -- the R base -- are still only a small portion of the population, which means that indepedents and moderates will likely swing to Democrats.

In other words, because of this movement, incumbent Rs are more endangered at this time than incumbent Ds.

Have a private chat with someone like Lindsay Graham, for instance ...

"Lindsey Graham Booed At South Carolina GOP Convention"

"On April 29th, 2006 the South Carolina CofCC held a rally against the Senate Amnesty Bill in front of Lindsey Graham’s Greenville, SC office. Over 1,000 people attended. Now revulsion to Lindsey Graham has spread from the people to the South Carolina GOP leadership."

Posted by: drindl | December 3, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

As usual the Libs are presented with fact and reply with fiction.

It is not about me or my occupation or my screen name.

It is about the utter failure of Liberal leadership. empty promises have now been revealed for what they are - a false utopia of indecision and speechifying with no underlying premise for success. Spend and tax your way to economic prosperity is now fully discredited. It is only a short time before apology and endless diplomacy is revealed for the incompetent failure it also represents.

Posted by: ZOUK | December 3, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I guess CC seems to forget everything that
drindl mentioned. And maybe he's going on that wapo poll that didn't break down GOP identification with ethnic minorities. All these GOP shills and cheerleaders here at wapo are still caught in the conventional wisdom of the Bush years, thinking that blacks won't be interested in voting next year, and totally discounting any other minorities that are going to laugh at any outreach by the GOP to them. Tea Party's, the Birthers, the Hitler/Holocaust images, only serve to insult minorities intelligence and tries to delegitimize their votes for this duly elected president. Insults are not the way to win people over to the Big White Tent that is the GOP. Especially when the tent is ripped in half by a "civil war".
oh, and what brought you back jaked? tired of your self-imposed exile? it's been wonderful without you, any GOP commentor (exception Zouk)for the most part has been civil, and agrees to disagree without namecalling and insults. Can we possibly expect the same grown up behaviour from you?

Posted by: katem1 | December 3, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

The 2009 elections indicated that 2010 is most likely not going to be a partisan wave election, but instead will be one where many incumbents of both parties are defeated, either in primaries or general elections.

There is general dissatisfaction with Washington across the political spectrum, though the gripes from different directions are quite distinct. Progressives are unhappy with the slow pace of change and the seeming inability of a House and Senate with solid Democratic majorities to actually legislate and get things done. Right-wingers are opposed to nearly everything and are angry at being completely out of power and seeing legislation they oppose actually passed into law. Centrists complain about the continuing partisan rancor and tone in Washington and politics generally, and complain about the perceived lack of focus on the economy.

And voters across the political spectrum are annoyed with the "ways of Washington" signified by the power of Wall Street and corporate lobbyists. The K Street crowd is very unpopular across the partisan divide.

Incumbents from both parties are likely to be threatened with much closer elections than in previous years. It is traditionally assumed that incumbency is a strong advantage. 2010 may actually be a year which confounds tradition as incumbency may actually be a disadvantage.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | December 3, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see a list of retiring Congressmen from both parties, both for 2008 and 2010. That information would be a lot more useful than this wishy-washy "No -- and yes" analysis.

Posted by: Blarg | December 3, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

"the gingrich revolution will look like a ripple compared to this tsunami."

Zouky, the fact that you're posting under multiple names suggests that you're still unemployed (using your kids' computers while there at school isn't very nice, and who knows what you might find hidden away in those innocuous-sounding files?)

In any case, I'll archive that little gem of a post of yours and we'll look at it after the midterms. My prediction? The Dems lose about five House seats and gain one or two Senate seats. I'll take that trade any day of the week.

Posted by: Bondosan | December 3, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

There is always some level of concern about how retirements will effect an up-coming Congressional election. As for the 2010 elections, it seems that there is a great deal of speculation about how the assumed high degree of right wing hostility will play out.

It is often true that more people are energized by anger and fear than by any other factor. It is clear that many pundits expect that due to current conditions that the 2010 elections will be a referendum on just how weakened the Democrats and Obama are.

Given that the Democrats have a very diverse membership from far left to very conservative;and, the Republicans are by and large solidly very conservative, it is going to be interesting to see how a broad swath of independent voters will react.

It must be understood that the Republican membership is a tiny 20% of registered voters. Many of the independents are moderate Rpeblicans who fell their party is far too right wing. If the Republicans running for office base their campaigns on a big turnout from those who are angry and stoking fear as they did with great success after 9/11, it will be interesting to see if the great majority of true moderates will fall for this strategy if the Republicans offer no viable programs to turn things around. I do not hink the majority of voters are "tea bagger" sympathizers. I think they will be turned off.

I am not sure that these moderates want to trust the government to those who were totally derelict while they had all the power. Going back to their policies of cutting taxes, reducing federal regulations on businesses that have shown they must be regulated to protect the public interest, and bringing back the religous evangelicals to power is something that will sell in 2010.

This is not to say the the hard right is not energized. But, the more the public sees that their votes will elect people who offer no positive alternatives, and who are very negative and even hateful in their campaigns will turn off most moderates who are seeking solutions to the serioius problems facing our country.

Steven Richards

Posted by: scr02882 | December 3, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

bsimon is absolutely right -- one wonders why you would post a non-story like this one, Chris, when you are completely ignoring the REAL elephant in the room:

"Glenn Beck, who has waged a conspiratorial, hateful campaign against liberals and his other political enemies all year, has been galvanizing his supporters to run for office. Today, conservative activist Eric Forcade announced that he is running in the Republican primary to unseat longtime Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-FL). In explaing his reason for running, Forcade said he was inspired by the “values that have been popularized by Glenn Beck.”

Beck’s 9/12 project and its closely related “tea parties” have inspired a number of other challengers to Republican lawmakers deemed insufficiently “pure”:

– Phil Troyer, an attorney and former staffer to Republican Sens. Dan Coats (R-IN) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), is challenged incumbent Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN). An avid tea party supporter, Troyer has attacked Souder as a “big spending liberal.” Rachel Grubb, who is involved with Beck’s 9/12 project, is also challenging Souder.

– Matt Sakalosky, a businessman who is a member of Beck’s 9/12 project, is challenging Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE).

– Earlier this year, Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) had the audacity to criticize Beck. Beck has marshaled his supporters into a crowded primary to take out Inglis. One of the challengers, college professor Christina Jeffrey, directly cites Inglis’ criticism of Beck as part of the reason she is running.

– Liz Lauber, a former aide to tea party leader and corporate lobbyist Dick Armey, is challenging Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO).

– Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL) is being challenged by Jason Sager, who said he is running because of Brown-Waite’s support for moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava, the opponent of Beck mentee Doug Hoffman.

– Even NRCC Chairman Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), charged with recruiting Republicans to challenge House Democrats in 2010, is facing a contested primary. Conservative activist David Smith says he will rely on the tea party movement to bring down Sessions. '

In addition, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who Beck counts as an enemy because of his former climate change and immigration views, is potentially facing a serious challenge from current radio show host and former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ). Hayworth has found a following within the tea party movement.
Update Other Glenn Beck inspired tea party challengers:

-- Self-proclaimed "RINO Hunter" Joe Petronis is challenging Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX).

-- Real estate broker Chris Riggs, who counts Glenn Beck as his favorite TV show, is challenging Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA).

-- Conservative activist Clayton Thibodeau is challenging Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) in the GOP primary. Thibodeau's website notes he supports Glenn Beck's "9/12 Patriots" and Glenn Beck's "56 Re-Founders."

Is it just that it goes against The Narrative?

Posted by: drindl | December 3, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

If there is one thing pols are good at besides spending your money, it is predicting the political winds. It is most embarassing and legacy destroying to lose an election late in life instead of simply retiring in dignity. the swing districts in the house are pretty much all set to turn over to R's in the next cycle. all the failures of Barry are going to make great campaign fodder. all you have to do is show his face next to the incumbent Lib and it will be a cake walk to victory. the gingrich revolution will look like a ripple compared to this tsunami. all the empty promises, all the false starts, all the spending, the apologies, the long boring empty speeches, the lost jobs, these will make for a landslide election. those who knew will point to the NJ and VA indicators.

the loons on this site (the baghdad bobs of the internet) will be in full denial right up until the week before the election, when galup polls and rasmussen will show a 20% advantage (to be decried as twisted numbers, but not like the totally "accurate" global warming numbers, of course).

Posted by: ZOUK | December 3, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

That assumes that Dems are not fools.

Posted by: JakeD | December 3, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Dems would be fools to retire in the face of this imaginary GOP resurgence. For one thing, the alleged resurgence is actually a conservative populist movement, not a return of independant/swing voters to supporting the GOP. The smart Dems will wait to see how the GOP primary battles shape up.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 3, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

LOL!!!

Posted by: JakeD | December 3, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

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