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The Best House Campaigns of 2008

In the third installment of our "Best Campaigns" series, we tackle the gargantuan task of picking the elite House races from a field that by the end of the 2008 election spanned more than 100 contests.

Because there were so many interesting -- and competitive -- House races, we are breaking our practice of choosing just one best campaign as we did earlier this week for the Senate and governors.

Instead, we have chosen a few of the very best and singled them out for special recognition. Our only criteria for consideration in our best of the best House races was that it had to be a winning campaign; so, as good as state Sen. Steve Stivers (R) was in Ohio, he -- and his ilk -- weren't considered.

Without further ado, here are our selections for the best House campaign of 2008 (listed in alphabetical order by district):

Alabama's 2nd district (D) -- Bobby Bright: When Bright, the mayor of Montgomery, decided to run for this open seat as a Democrat, we were on board about his chances of upset despite the dramatic GOP lean of the seat. When Bright failed to raise the kind of money that even a second or third tier open seat candidate usually can collect, we quickly jumped off the bandwagon. Bright's team -- led by campaign manager David Mowery -- insisted that his universal name recognition in the district meant that he didn't need as much money as other lesser-known candidates. They were right. Bright's victory ensures him a spot atop the Republican target list for 2010 but he deserves credit for making it to Congress in the first place.

Kansas' 2nd district -- Lynn Jenkins (R): Rep. Nancy Boyda's (D) victory over Rep. Jim Ryun (R) was one of the biggest upsets of the 2006 cycle. And, even though Republicans pledged to take back the seat in 2008, they seemed headed for a repeat of the recipe that had cost them the governors mansion and a variety of other offices in the state -- a divisive primary between a moderate (state Treasurer Lynn Jenkins) and a conservative (Ryun). Jenkins was the surprise primary winner and, to her credit, quickly and effectively pivoted to the general election. Jenkins focused on her record as a common sense conservative while Boyda refused the help of national Democrats to her detriment.

Minnesota's 3rd district -- Erik Paulsen (R): At first glance, the retirement of Rep. Jim Ramstad (R) presented an ideal pickup opportunity for national Democrats. The suburban Twin Cities seat gave President George W. Bush a narrow 51 percent victory in 2004 and looked to be the epicenter of anti-war movement in the state. And, when Democrats nominated Iraq war veteran Ashwin Madia, it looked like a tailor-made pickup. Enter state Sen. Rep. Erik Paulsen, one of the best (and only) recruits for House Republicans in 2008. Paulsen was able to beat back the anti-Republican trend in the state (Obama won the state by 10 points and it appears as though Al Franken is going to win the Senate seat) by focusing on his own accomplishments in the state legislature. A rare bit of good news for Republicans nationally.

Ohio's 1st district -- Steve Driehaus (D): Many Democrats -- Roxanne Qualls, John Cranley, and even Driehaus himself -- had tried and failed to beat Steve Chabot (R) in this Cincinnati-area district. With Obama leading the ticket in a district with a large black population, the conditions were right for Democrats to (finally) get over the top. While many people credit Driehaus's win simply to the "Obama wave," that is too facile an analysis. Driehaus was able to eat into Chabot's base in the western suburban portion of the district and -- with Obama's help -- run up the score in the city of Cincinnati.

Virginia's 5th district -- Tom Perriello (D): Until the last few weeks of election 2008, we never even thought of looking at Rep. Virgil Goode (R) as a potential pick-off opportunity for Democrats. But, in spite of receiving almost zero national attention, Democrat Tom Perriello did two things extremely well: organized the black community district-wide, and painted Goode early and often as part of the problem in Washington. By the time Goode started paying attention, Perriello was already well-positioned to win. Would he have been able to pull the narrow -- 745 votes -- upset without Obama leading the ticket? Probably not. But, in politics, timing is everything.

Washington's 8th district -- Dave Reichert (R): This King County-area district is moving away from Republicans rapidly but Reichert, the former sheriff in the area, once again demonstrated amazing staying power. After narrowly defeating Democrat Darcy Burner in 2006, Reichert was a major target coming into 2008. And, the political climate in the state could have hardly been worse for Republicans with President-elect Barack Obama sweeping Washington by 17 points. Reichert, however, improved on his margin over Burner -- winning 52 percent to 48 percent. Given the difficulty of holding his seat and his demonstrated electoral successes, Reichert would be an ideal challenger to Sen. Patty Murray (D) in 2010 but GOP insiders say he is not particularly interested.

Honorable Mention

Maryland's 1st district -- Frank Kratovil (D)
Michigan's 9th district -- Gary Peters (D)
New Jersey's 3rd district -- John Adler (D)
New Jersey's 7th district -- Leonard Lance (R)
New York's 26th district -- Chris Lee (R)
Pennsylvania's 3rd district -- Kathy Dahlkemper (D)

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 31, 2008; 6:16 AM ET
Categories:  House  
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Next: Happy 2009!


Since this thread is about to disappear, here’s a final update to A Study on Motivation and Societal Impact of the Extremist-Obsessive Blog Poster, for the thread: “Best House Campaigns of 2008”

Through subject’s final posting of Jan 4 3:26aET, 37th owned 16 of 70 total entries. Subject’s entries comprise 23% of the total postings to this thread.

Number and percentage of on-topic postings: 0 and 0%

The 16 postings contained the following specific statements (broken out by our four previously defined categories):

1) Simplistic insult of individuals and groups: 23
2) Paranoiac accusations: 7
3) Rote repetition of fantasy scenarios: 19
4) Projection (accusing others of behavior exhibited by the subject): 11

Subject has initiated posting to additional threads. Data currently being collected and analyzed. When sufficient data has been collected results will be posted to those threads.

Posted by: malis | January 4, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"I suppose wall-to-wall commercials on tv -the same ones over and over againg - isn't that the same thing?"

Uh, no, it's not. This is a linear discussion thread. You only need to say things one.

Posted by: SeanC1 | January 4, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse





What is wrong with both Sean and Malis? Attacking other posters constantly.

I suppose wall-to-wall commercials on tv -the same ones over and over againg - isn't that the same thing?





Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | January 4, 2009 3:26 AM | Report abuse

Seems valid.

I'm not sure whether "rote repetition of fantasy scenarios" includes posting the same message over and over again in multiple threads, though it seems like it should; if not, that should definitely be a category.

Posted by: SeanC1 | January 3, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Perceptive, SeanC1. Per taxonomy established during initial study development, it is, as you observed, both a 2 and a 4. Final accounting will be updated accordingly.

Your interest in academic sociology is appreciated...any suggestions on additional categories? (I'm considering "Manufactured Hyperbole"—does that seem of value?)

Posted by: malis | January 3, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

So is that another Classification 2 or a Classification 4? Or both?

Posted by: SeanC1 | January 3, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse


What part of "Stop Harassing Other Posters" do you not understand ???


Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | January 3, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Update: A Study on Motivation and Societal Impact of the Extremist-Obsessive Blog Poster
Subject: “37th” (shortname for subject using approximately 20 different variations of a userID containing the root phrase “37thandO”)

Subject’s postings (through Jan 2, 4:56pET) to the string “Best House Campaigns of 2008” were previously collected and classified in four defined categories. This entry appends subject’s additional posting.

As of Jan 3 10:17aET, 37th owned 14 (+3) of 64 (+6) total entries, raising the subject’s percentage of total postings to this string from 19% to 22%.

Number and percentage of on-topic postings: 0 and 0%

1) Simplistic insult of individuals and groups: 22 (+2)
2) Paranoiac accusations: 6 (+1)
3) Rote repetition of fantasy scenarios 19 (+4)
4) Projection (accusing others of behavior exhibited by the subject) 9 (+2)

Subject has initiated posting to two additional strings. Data currently being collected and analyzed. When sufficient data has been collected results will be posted to those strings.

Posted by: malis | January 3, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse


Your disorder is OBSESSION.

How many convictions do you have for Stalking your x-girlfriends???




Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | January 3, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse





17 Days until the start of the Third Clinton Administration

We have been through this before -

A Campaign promising 'CHANGE' How in the the world was Obama not called for Plagarism against Bill Clinton??

A Campaign promising a Middle Class Tax Cut - Let's see it.

The last time we had a Clinton Administration - Wall Street was deregulated with the Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and that set the stage for today's economic disaster.

The last time we had a Clinton Administration they cut the intelligence budget and NEGLECTED FOREIGN POLICY unti we were blind in the Middle East and the Terrorists were running wild.


Let's see it.

First, he has to hire more Republicans, not just a few token Republicans (especially if he is claiming he wants experience)






Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | January 3, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse


If I didn't know better you had all of this on a blackboard and you were attempting to figure out a good response.


How about you come up with the Birth Certificate - because that document is the same one issued to babies born outside the country.

Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | January 3, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I live in NY 26 and can't believe Chris Lee received an honorable mention. It was a nasty, stupid campaign filled with ridiculous charges and counter charges. To be fair, most of these were from the respective congressional campaign committees and not the candidates themselves, but what a waste of snail mail and air time! Furthermore, Mr. Lee did nothing to distinguish himself in his debate w/ his opponent on the local public TV stations. In this solidly Republican district, his victory should not have been a surprise - especially since the democrats wasted valuable time and energy in a three-way primary - time that could have been spent mounting an effective campaign against such a weak candidate as Mr. Lee. Oh well, maybe after the redistricting that will come with the 2010 census, I'll finally get a representative I can respect. I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: -pamela | January 2, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Great list as usual, Mr. Fix, but how in the world could Kratovil not make the first cut. With the defeated Republican incumbent barnstorming for him up and down Maryland's beautiful Eastern Shore, Kratovil was able to take areas that haven't voted for a Democrat on that level in many, many years. Just a sensational race

Posted by: kdemko | January 2, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

The Four* Classifications of 37th. (“Off-Topic” would be a fifth classification but in this string, no On-Topic comments were observed.)

As of Jan 2, 4:56pET, 37th owned 11 of 58 total entries (19%), comprising:

1) Simplistic insult of individuals and groups (20)
… “how morally bankrupt the democrats”
… “Clinton sold out”
… “Democrats are responsible for this”
… “you liberals did it…you are full of yourselves”
… “you have made an absolute joke of yourselves”
… “MOST IRRESPONSIBLE VOTE in the history of this nation” (reference unclear)
… “You must be some sick person”
… “The democrats are one sick bunch of people”
… “[Democrats behavior] IS SICK, IT IS JUST MENTALLY SICK”
… “your pretension that you are morally superior”
… “you support a bunch of corrupt scumbags in office!”
… “Grow Up”
… “I find that attitude unAmerican.”
… “It is a flaw in your character”
… “you are irresponsible with this country and its democratic principles”
… “Clinton sold out this country at every turn”
… “You…continue to be irresponsible.”

2) Paranoiac accusations (5)
… “Stop attacking other posters” (2)
… “You are…just personally attacking other posters.”
… “You just want to chase people out”
… “if you are working for anyone, identify yourself”

3) Rote repetition of fantasy scenarios (15)
… “there is an anger [with Obama] out there, perhaps among pols”
… “OBAMA PLAYED THE RACE CARD” (“race card” 7 entries)
… “Obama playing the racial baiting game”
… “The Rev. Wright thing”
… “ask to see a birth certificate”
… “The Certificate offered by Obama is the same one given by Hawaii to babies born overseas”
… “We need to see the Birth Certificate”
… “prove US Citizenship - Obama HAS TO DO THAT.”

4) Projection (accusing others of behavior exhibited by the subject) (7)
… “Stop attacking other posters” (2)
… “You are not talking any issues”
… “It appears you are not happy unless you are bickering”
… “You just want to chase people out”
… “Can anyone have a break here?”
… “you seem obsessed with simply opposing every view of everyone else”

* ‘Cognitive Dissonance’ was deleted as a stand-alone category, as each instance typically is revealed through multiple subject statements. Track by checkmark of other applicable statements.

Posted by: malis | January 2, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

OK, the study is on! I’ve started summarizing 37th’s, ummmm, contributions? (including from some of the other current strings) and he’s so fascinating a lead subject I can’t let this opportunity go by. Add Kouk, plus a few more obsessives from other blogs and I think we’re getting a meaningful dataset. I’m already thinking of a few good candidates from the ‘On Faith’ blog, the wacky liberal regulars from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and LA Times, and of course the odd Libertarians who frequent my home town Gazette (plus the local Focus on the Family crowd).

Still, think I want only the obsessives. Can probably identify by adding the total number of comments from each potential subject, calculating what the subject’s postings are as a percentage of total postings to each string, and separate out the top standard deviation for consideration (notice how the obsessives distinguish themselves not just by outlandish content, but by total number of postings?). Of course, will have to do this across multiple strings but I have no doubt 37th will lead (because how often over the last few months all those blank lines automatically cued a spin of my scroll wheel).

Think I might even be able to juggle enough spare post-graduate credits to get close to a 2nd Masters in Sociology. As I start preparing for retirement (at least 10 years away but never too soon to start planning), that radically different knowledge area couldn’t hurt…would widen potential audience beyond the narrow group of specialist trade publications I’ve been limited to so far, and I’m expecting writing to supplement the retirement income.

Hang on; I’ll post the first comments summary in a few minutes…fascinating.

Posted by: malis | January 2, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse


You call that a response??? first of all, if you are working for anyone, identify yourself.

Thank you.

Next you are making no sense - you seem obsessed with simply opposing every view of everyone else on this blog.




Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | January 2, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Wow, 37th is providing so much rich material I’m tempted to write that study on the pathology of the obsessive extremist blogger myself He’s introduced a new classification of postings (our 5th, right?)—statements displaying ‘cognitive dissonance,’ or the ability to hold two contradictory ideas or positions at the same time.

In his particular worldview, all problems are caused directly by Democrats and liberals. Given the overwhelming domination of the political system by conservatives, neo-conservatives, and ultra-conservatives for the last eight years (and of Congress for six years before that), he has to go back to the 90’s for his examples (apparently there’s a hole in history from 2000-2008—nothing from that period had any impact on any of our current problems).

The cognitive dissonance comes in here:

1) 37th seems to believe that the actions of the excessively liberal Clinton Administration are entirely to blame for all of our current problems
2) From the examples cited, 37th thinks the main problem was that the Clintons weren’t nearly liberal enough!

The economy-relevant cites he provides are of deregulation (the repeal of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, which, among other things, lowered banks’ capital reserve requirements, allowing them to assume much higher leverage and thus, greater risk), and ‘trade deals’ (by which I assume 37th meant free trade agreements).

These concerns were, of course, those of conservative Republicans, not liberal Democrats. They were addressed mostly in Republican bills, pushed by Republican leadership, passed by Republican House and Senate majorities, and signed by President Clinton very much against the wishes of the Democrat’s liberal wing.

37th’s other complaints are in the area of national security, and his primary complaint is of Obama’s “HORRIBLE JUDGEMENT - placing the Clinton people back in power.” Hmmmm…the most conservative of Obama’s appointments (of what has been lauded by most conservatives as a markedly moderate and centrist Cabinet) seem to be his national security team: National Security Advisor, Marine 4-Star General James Jones; and Secretary of Defense, Bush appointee Robert Gates.

So, 37th says the root of all the nation’s ills lies in the extreme illogical liberalism of the Democrats, while the examples he provides are of Democrats being way too…conservative? I just hope the Cognitive Dissonance doesn’t make his head hurt too bad.

By the way, as a determinedly centrist Independent I very much approved of Bill Clinton’s ‘moderate-DLC-triangulation’ approach, as I also approve of Obama’s pragmatic realism as indicated by his Cabinet appointments. There’s a danger, however, in mistaking compromise with your opponent, with compromising your principles. That was the biggest weakness of Clinton as President and I hope President Obama will take that lesson to heart.

Posted by: malis | January 2, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse


You just keep on going, don't you? It appears you are not happy unless you are bickering with other posters.

Can anyone have a break here?

This is not the Daily Kos where the Obama people just got meaner and meaner with the Hillary people until they chased the Hillary people away.

That is what YOU Obama people are all about.

You seek to shout everyone down and chase out opposing opinions. I find that attitude unAmerican. It is a flaw in your character as well as your logic.

It proves that you are irresponsible with this country and its democratic principles.

It proves that you and your people will probably be extremely irresponsible in governing.

YOU refuse to acknowledge how bad the Clinton administration was for this country - how the internet bubble was the beginning of this economic crisis -

How Clinton sold out this country at every turn, with the trade deals, and with the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act.

I know all you want to do is blame Bush, however you have to be honest here - Bush was fighting two wars to keep you safe.

Which you do not care about actually.

The democratis gutted the intelligence budget of this country in the 1990s - leaving us basically blind in the Middle East -

One has to recognize that the failed foreign policy of Bill Clinton lead to 9/11

Bush really want not in office long enough.

The complete lack of evaluation on the part of the democrats - the complete lack of taking responsibility - leads me to believe that these people are completely unqualified to hold office - and they will be irresponsible with our nation... again.

Obama has shown HORRIBLE JUDGEMENT - placing the Clinton people back in power is a complete joke.

Everything thought this issue was settled last spring.

You just want to chase people out - and continue to be irresponsible.





Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | January 2, 2009 6:18 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I’m surprised no one’s mentioned Walt Minnick (D) in the Idaho 1st. How many Democratic challengers beat Republican incumbents (Bill Sali) in districts so deeply conservative they went for McCain by 67%? It helped that Minnick could put $700k of his own money into it, but it probably helped more that he projected such a calm, sensible, grandfatherly demeanor against Sali—the single weirdest, most erratic ultra-right-winger of last session’s freshman class.

The ID-1st has a long history of electing right-wing crazies, but Sali was even crazier than the unforgettable Helen “Black Helicopters” Chenoweth—and she at least managed three terms.

It was almost like 37th actually being elected to something.

I also agree with a couple others that Betsy Markey (D) deserves at least an honorable mention for defeating Marilyn Musgrave in CO-4. She was helped by Musgrave’s cumulative history (as the years rolled on, she became really wearing), but Markey had a good plan in a conservative district and ended up winning easily.


Speaking of 37th: “We have made clear that this behavior is not acceptable here.” I assume the “We” is referring to 37th and voices in his head. Also: “You are not talking any issues here - just personally attacking other posters.” I just went back to look and confirmed he hasn’t made a single on-topic post yet.

I had to confirm that because I typically read none of his postings. Only happened onto this one because I read mark_in_austin’s gentle advice to ‘Streetcorner’ and that, in turn, led to 37th’s personal attack on Mark (“You must be some sick person”).

Perhaps that sociology student can add another cross-referenced classification to 37th utterances—statements accusing others of behavior just exhibited in the subject’s previous posting.

Posted by: malis | January 1, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

36.999 - you and who has made that clear. I thought the rest of us made it clear that filling up space with





is unacceptable, but you just can't stop doing it. Head back to Georgetown, bubby.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 1, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse






You are not talking any issues here - just personally attacking other posters.

We have made clear that this behavior is not acceptable here.

Go take it somewhere else.





Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | January 1, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Sociology majors, a fascinating thesis topic awaits—a sociological study of the role and impact of obsessive blog posters on society. We’d certainly want to start with 37th and Kouk (too bad Rufus is no longer around—perhaps Scrievner could take his place?). As a field experiment, one might start by creating a taxonomy of their various utterances. The classifications noted so far are:

1) Simplistic insult of individuals and groups
2) Paranoiac accusations—imagined attacks (sometimes conspiracy-rooted) on the study subject
3) Rote repetition of fantasy scenarios parroted from fringe websites (for our study subjects, scenarios include the imagined misbehavior of individuals and groups including Democrats, Liberals (the Rational?), etc. Again, too bad Rufus is no longer among us—such a study really needs representation from both liberal and conservative crazies.

That’s a start but I’m sure you can come up with other categories. When you have an acceptable sample, group each posting in the above and additional classifications, analyze for themes and trends, and develop and test hypotheses on motivation of the subject and impact on society. Perhaps it would even be possible to implement covert surveillance of the topics, allowing cross-referencing of individual posts with visual cues of red-faced apoplexy and spittle-spewing rage?

No, no, you’re too kind—perhaps a simple acknowledgment might be nice but of course you should take full credit for the work. Best regards and good luck.

Posted by: malis | January 1, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Malis and MarkinAustin


The Certificate offered by Obama is the same one given by Hawaii to babies born overseas - it proves nothing.

Grow Up.

We need to see the Birth Certificate. Plus there is a law that when one takes a job, one has to prove US Citizenship - Obama HAS TO DO THAT.





Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | January 1, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse


Stop attacking other posters.

Keep to the issue at hand.

No one is fooled by your pretension that you are morally superior - you support a bunch of corrupt scumbags in office !




Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | January 1, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Mark, and a very Happy New Year to you too!

Sunny, should make it to mid-50's here in Colo Springs today. Waiting for the wind to die down a little, then will take the traditional New Years Day run...not often managed in short sleeves.

You're a kinder man than I. While I agree there's no real value in engaging such as 37th, it’s both entertaining and a guilty pleasure to observe and comment. Interesting, perhaps, as a study on pathological behavior of obsessive political bloggers. Psychology or Sociology students, a potential topic for your thesis awaits!

Posted by: malis | January 1, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Happy New Year, Malis.

This is a poor forum for advice, even in well intended New Year greetings, because any
advice implies a criticism, played to a cast of hundreds. So my expectations were low.

It is 65F and sunny in Austin. So far, so good.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 1, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"Ummm...last time I looked, the administration that signed into law the regulations exempting the various derivatives and who pushed Fannie and Freddie to loan money to otherwise ineligible people"

The real culprit was deregulation, and yes clinton was too much into it/caved too much to the so called conservatives to whom deregulation was Biblical writ. Probably the guiltiest parties of all were Phill Gramm and Greenspan, who beleived in the infallibility of 'free markets' as some beleive in the infallibility of the Pope -- as an answer to all questions.

Sorry, but the 'free markets' are guided by nothing but greed, and deregulated, they killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. 'Conservatism' was proven to be a fraud and a con job which garnered billions for the well-connected, but looted the Treasury and bankrupted many americans.

But, of course, as PT Barnum noted, this is a country filled with willing suckers who still listen to Limbaugh and Hannity and still cling to discredited lies.

Posted by: drindl | January 1, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

As mentioned earlier, 37th’s three categories:

1) Simplistic insult: “ALL YOU LIBERAL NUTS”
2) Paranoiac accusation: “Stop attacking other posters”
3) Rote repetition of anti-Obama fantasies parroted from fringe websites:
…… “see a birth certificate”

Posted by: malis | January 1, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

And from 37th, the second nomination of 2009 for best example of unintentional irony!

“Stop attacking other posters and address the issues at hand…Your tactics are silly.”

Posted by: malis | January 1, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse


It is not too much to ask to see a birth certificate -

Instead of doing that Obama just lawyered up - just like Hillary always did.




Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | January 1, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse


Stop attacking other posters and address the issues at hand.

Your tactics are silly.




Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | January 1, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Mark (CHUKLE), I see you couldn’t resist posting, against your own best judgment, a rational observation about 37th (plus giving a little gentle, sincere advice). And 37th responds with our first nomination of 2009 for “best example of unintentional irony” by accusing mark_in_austin, of all people, “You must be some sick person.”

General question...has anyone ever seen any actual substantive comment from 37th? I'm curious...I've never seen anything beyond simplistic insult, paranoiac accusations, and rote repetition of anti-Obama fantasies parroted from fringe websites, anonymous emails, and AM talk radio. Surely he must have said something worthwhile, sometime—otherwise, why bother to spend time here?

I do have a hypotheses. Some folks must try to confirm their own importance—maybe even justify their existence—by leaving some sort of mark on their environment. The graffiti of 37th’s postings is the equivalent of bullet holes in road signs or spray-painted obscenities on a freeway overpass—simple vandalism in rage at what he perceives as his own meaninglessness.

I've observed this behavior on a number of blogs (usually in the context of either religion or politics)…it seems to cluster in the obsessive extremes of fundamentalism, and of the far left and far right. I’ve never understood it…don’t see the purpose. Oh well, I suppose we should feel lucky it’s exhibited by so few.

Posted by: malis | January 1, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse


What is wrong with you? You must be some sick person -

the democrats having been wishing ill will to the Bush Administration for years.

The democrats have been wishing that the Iraqi war goes badly -





Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | January 1, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Chris the comment "Would he have been able to pull the narrow -- 745 votes -- upset without Obama leading the ticket? Probably not"; in 5th District of VA maybe you should go back and check the percentages.
Tom Perriello won the 5th District with a 50.08% vs Virgil Goode's 49.85%.
John McCain won the 5th District 50.59% vs Barack Obama 48.29%. Giving Obama all the other candidate votes he still lost the 5th District. Even Appomattax County, which has been a Virgil strong hold Tom received more votes then Barack.
The percentage of turn out for a Presidential election is just about the same as any other presidential election year.
Your statement does not hold water. Tom won because 50 percent of the northern part of the 5th voted more for Tom then Barack, which over rode the heavy southern part of the district which went mostly for McCain and Virgil.

Posted by: Gordie2 | January 1, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Barack Obama probably ran the best campaign in 2008. But then again when you have the entire Democratic Party--controlled Main Stream Media in the tank for you, and against your opponent, and is giving you a billion dollars worth of free publicity, Obama's election success should be taken with a grain of salt. It will be interesting to see if they'll still support him after his Socialist and Marxist ideas and initiatives put our countries economy into the tank in a few years, as it surely will, or if they'll just blame President G.W. Bush for everything.

Posted by: armpeg | January 1, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

StreetCorner writes:

"I have seen a great deal of unnecessary pain in my lifetime..." and

"This is the most idiotic course of events I have ever seen in my life."

In between, he berates Ds for the recession and for corruption [of course, Ds deserve their share of criticism] and belittles BHO [who deserves better, if for no other reason than that the people we elect need our constructive input on policy, not personal insults].

All of it is off-topic, of course. Of more consequence, all of it is likely to isolate StreetCorner in - a corner - from where he will have no choice but to continue to hope for a failed administration, or to perceive one even if it is not there, merely in order to continually justify derisive lashing out.

And in the end, that is a terrible place for a 31 year old to be. StreetCorner, may you find an eye for the relevant and a sense of proportion for the New Year.
In these recent posts, you have presented one kernel of irony - Blago's appointment of a respected old Black leader - and buried it in the irrelevant, the insubstantial, and the immaterial, on an off-topic thread.

You can do better. Please try.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 1, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse





I have seen a great deal of unnecessary pain in my lifetime - I just do not see at all how electing a person with no economic experience, no business experience, no foreign policy experience and no defense experience CAN BE ANY GOOD FOR ANYONE IN THIS COUNTRY. This is a RISK that this nation should never have considered and it serves no purpose.

OK you liberals did it - and you are full of yourselves because of it.

But you have made an absolute joke of yourselves at the same time. Obama has now brought back the Clinton people who are the same people that your party rejectsd and said they did not want.

Explain that.

Now Blagojevich is lashing out and mocking how the race card was played this year in a disgusting manner.

This is how the democratic party does things.

This was the MOST IRRESPONSIBLE VOTE in the history of this nation. Who knows what will happen next.

Clinton sold out this country - when they wanted Hillary to raise cash in New York the Glass-Steagall Act when out the window - the regulations in place since the 1930s were tossed.

The Democrats are responsible for this - the money the lobbyists gave the DNC and what the Clintons did FIRST WIPED OUT MAIN STREET WITH THE TRADE DEALS AND NOW CLINTON HAS MANAGED TO WIPE OUT WALL STREET EIGHT YEARS OUT.

Yea yea yea all you liberals want to blame Bush for that too, however the facts do not support that idea - the "on your watch idea" Give us a break.

Take some responsibllity -

There was never a proper evaluation of just what a disaster Clinton was for this country and NOW OBAMA WHO IS SUPPOSED TO BE SO SMART JUST PUTS THE CLINTON PEOPLE BACK IN CHARGE.

This is the most idiotic course of events I have ever seen in my life.





Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | January 1, 2009 6:05 AM | Report abuse

drindl wrote:

"conservatism is dead and has murdered the economy and the middle class is the process."

Ummm...last time I looked, the administration that signed into law the regulations exempting the various derivatives and who pushed Fannie and Freddie to loan money to otherwise ineligible people was the Clinton crowd. Bush certainly didn't do anything to correct the problem, but then Bush isn't actually a conservative either.

You might be right that conservatism is dead--there are no leading voices for it in government at the top level currently--but it isn't dead as a meaningful ideology so much as dead because there is no one with spine enough to implement it's approaches.

Conservatism didn't give us this current economic crisis. The Clinton and Bush administrations did.

Posted by: blert | December 31, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Hi Chris,

You really neglected one of the most outstanding wins for the Democrats - the 4th District of Colorado, where Betsy Markey beat encumbant Marilyn Musgrave. What makes this so unique - is it was - until November 4th - a very "red" (Republican) district!

Markey ran a door to door, town meeting to town meeting campaign - from the west side of the interstate, which is "progressive, to conservative Weld County and every more so the remainder of the district. Virtually every pundit had Musgrave winning.

Watch Markey - she will make her mark on the House this term and return two years ago for her second term.

What also stands out is Musgrave has yet to congratulation her opponent! She seems to be in denial.

Posted by: amolison | December 31, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse





Blogojevich is basically mocking Obama by playing the RACE CARD -

Blogojevich is mocking the democratic party for putting up with Obama playing the racial baiting game all year.

YOU get what you deserve, and OH boy do the democrats deserve this one. I wonder what else Blagojevich has in his bag of tricks.

This move by Blagojevich is basically a parody of Obama.

Blagojevich is laying bare how morally bankrupt the playing of the RACE CARD is and how morally bankrupt the democrats have been all year by tolerating Obama and these RACIAL ANTICS ALL YEAR LONG.





Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | December 31, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Please don't feed the trolls. It only encourages them. They're attention-junkies. Starve their addictions!

As far as the actual topic is concerned, I definitely think Cao deserves some sort of mention. Fluke or not, he won in an overwhelmingly Democratic district, with support from both sides of the aisle.

Can he keep it in '10? I won't bet against him.

Posted by: WaitingForGodot | December 31, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Re: Paulsen.

I supported Madia and I thought Paulsen was doing a pretty mediocre campaign until a sudden, extremely late infusion of cash and effective (though negative and arguably unfair) ads from the DCCC. Paulsen's own campaign was nothing special.

Posted by: billmcg1 | December 31, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

How can you leave out Rep Don Young (R-AK). He is under a huge cloud of potential prosecution. He beats back a primary challenge by the sitting Lt. Governor of Alaska (Sean Parnell - Republican) who was well funded by the Club for Growth crowd, then beat back 2006 Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor, Ethan Berkowitz in the general. He was 10 points down in the polls. Explain how you overlook his win!

Posted by: 907guy | December 31, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

And the winner for most off-topic posts of the day is... (drum roll please)

The King of Zouk!

Accepting for Zouk will be Dianne72.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 31, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse




dot dot dot

racist racist racist

dot dot dot




Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 31, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

'Despite keeping Defense Secretary Robert Gates in the Pentagon, President-elect Obama’s transition team informed 90 Bush appointees their services will not be needed after Inauguration Day.

Scott Gration, a senior official on Obama’s transition team, called and emailed several of President Bush’s Pentagon appointees about 10 days ago to inform them they were being dismissed.'

and good riddance it is. now maybe we can get jsome competence in there for a change.

Posted by: drindl | December 31, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

look at you zouk. another year wasted. another year with no job, no family, no friends. all you've got is your basement and your keyboard and this anonymous blog. what a sad life. will you be posting her all evening while the rest of us who have lives are enjoying ourselves with friends?

how said to be a 'conservative' when movement conservatism is dead and has murdered the economy and the middle class is the process. you must feel like such a loser... and you are.

Posted by: drindl | December 31, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

drindl is the love child of Dirty Harry and Pinko Pelosi.

Posted by: leapin | December 31, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

and another failure Lib gets promoted for doing nothing. hope, hope, hope, change, change.

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano has done little to protect the state from illegal immigration, and under her leadership Arizona is now tied for last place in the nation for emergency disaster preparedness. So why has incoming president Barack Obama picked Napolitano for secretary of homeland security? It clearly has nothing to do with her record.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 31, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

The Chicago Public Schools, whose superintendent, Arne Duncan, has been tapped by President-elect Barack Obama to be the next education secretary, failed to meet the Illinois state standards set under the No Child Left Behind Act for the last five years. From 2004 to 2008, the Chicago district (District 299) failed to make ''Adequate Yearly Progress'' (AYP) in key areas,

so much for change. the only change is that Obama's kids will be off to Sidwell Friends starting Monday. the rest of you will have to survive on a diet of Hope.

Is there a more gullible creature on the planet than a Lib with a potential election win in sight?

Most amusing is the signature issue of the primary, how the messiah was going to end the war and correct Bush's and Hillary's errors. I must guess that this correction is no longer necessary since we have actually won the war and are keeping Bush's people and assigning Hillary to head up State. this proves that Moveon, huff and Kos are the most mindless idiots in america.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 31, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

How can you leave of Mark Kirk - 10th District in IL. In 2006 he beat Dan Seals, who did not have any national support 52-48. This year Dan Seals ran again, with national support and with Obama as the presidential nominee in his home state of IL. Plus Dick Durbin was running against pathetic competion for reelection.

Yet, despite all of this, Kirk won easily against Seals this time. He deserves at least an honorable mention.

Posted by: JasonT910 | December 31, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Adler in NJ-3 tops this list:

Posted by: jrlassiter | December 31, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I nominate 37th for best use of . . . wait for it . . . white space.

Posted by: mattintx | December 31, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

dribbl, they let you out of group therapy early today.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 31, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"Is there a bigger ninkompoop in the Senate than dirty Harry spineless Reid? "

poor old zouk. the loser still lives on this blog. how truly pathetic. and still has this crush and obssession with harry reid and nancy pelosi. if only they knew how much he thought of them, longed for them!

what a loser, what a wasted life.

Posted by: drindl | December 31, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Surprised Congressman-elect Jim Himes didn't receive any recognition after defeating longtime incumbent Chris Shays. He was a beneficiary of Obama coattails in the district. But so was Driehaus. Himes possessed the type of profile you hope all recruits have. He was essentially the perfect candidate who ran the perfect campaign. Now he has the distinction of knocking off the last republican representative in New England.

Posted by: jdunph1 | December 31, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Chris, Paulsen in MN 3? You're kidding.

Paulsen ran a lackluster campaign, at best. Its only merit was to let MN Dems screw up a 50 year opportunity by choosing Madia, an inexperienced and unelectable candidate. MN 3CD, a wealthy, financially sophisticated district, wasn't going to elect a 30 year old whose résumé consisted entirely of 6 months as a military attorney in Iraq.

This election was over the day after the Dems' endorsing convention in April.

Posted by: mn3dem | December 31, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Oops -- error -- REPUBLICANS represented the 1st and 2nd New Mexico districts for years. Sorry.

Jon in Cleveland

Posted by: jothomp | December 31, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I have to wonder why New Mexico's election this year doesn't merit a mention. The 1st (Albuquerque) and 2nd (southern NM) districts have been respresented by Democrats for 20+ years. There was no good reason to think either would go Democratic this year, but both did. The southern race is the one that astounded me. As a native of that area, I thought the Republicans had that one nailed down for all time to come. Guess I was wrong.

By the way, what does Harry Reid have to do with the subject of this article? Nothing at all. Please stay on topic.

Jon in Cleveland

Posted by: jothomp | December 31, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse





I sense there is an anger out there, perhaps among pols, about how OBAMA PLAYED THE RACE CARD FOR HIS ADVANTAGE THIS YEAR. Blogojevich is out there exploiting this anger, but also Blago is poking his finger in the eyes of those in the Democratic Party who refused to call Obama out on his playing of the race card.

Blago is right on this one.

There is a notion that Obama was way out of bounds when he played the race card all year -

1) how Obama sought to evade scrutiny

2) how Obama's lack of experience was not called out,

3) How Obama treated Bill Clinton and Gerry Ferraro and got away with it.

The Rev. Wright thing was a legitimate issue against Obama - and he was able to evade that by calling the race card.

Tim Russert made clear to Obama in the debates that Obama used the race card in South Carolina.

The whole thing is a joke - Obama should be penalized for this kind of politics instead of gaining advantage.

I believe the nomination of Roland Burris is Blagojevich's way of poking at Obama on this issue.





Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | December 31, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Is there a bigger ninkompoop in the Senate than dirty Harry spineless Reid? with a near fillibuster proof Senate majority, no thanks to him and his 9% approval rating, he picks a fight with his own party about seating a Dem Senator. Just to avoid the taint of corruption. It seems this didn't occur to him in his visits to the local zoning board to get his sons some property right exceptions.

there is no way to wash the stink off the Libs this cycle. they are running the culture of corruption with heretofore unaccounted efficiency. dirty Harry has ended the Obama honeymoon before it started with his ineptitude.

you should have known better when he announced that the war is already lost, just a few months before we won.

I predict he will fold, as usual, and demonstrate his utter lack of any values or integrity.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 31, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

And I have to toss into the ring for best House campaigns of 2008 newly elected Walt Minnick (D) in Idaho's 1st District. He narrowly defeated Bill Sali in one of the most conservative districts in one of the most conservative states in the US.

Posted by: big_sun63 | December 31, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

The VA-05 was by far the greatest victory of 2008. We in the district knew we had a great candidate and we worked our feet off for him.

Posted by: abiodunaodeleye | December 31, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

VA-05 by far the best race of the 2008. We worked our tails off in the district because we knew we had a great candidate even though the beltway bubble prevented you from seeing it!

Posted by: abiodunaodeleye | December 31, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Someone mentioned Anh Cao--he probably deserves an honorable mention, but his win was basically a fluke; it almost certainly wouldn't have happened if incumbent Bill Jefferson hadn't been under a longstanding ethical cloud that culminated in indictment.

If Cao can hold on in 2010 in his very heavily Democratic district, then he probably will be notable for running of that year's best campaigns as well as for excellent use of incumbency.

Posted by: mkarns | December 31, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Even though I'm a Dem, I have to laugh everytime I think of the idiotic Nancy Boyda camapign. She was an arrogant, idiotic Congressperson.

Posted by: soonerthought | December 31, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

While Paulsen did beat Madia in a Dem year, his campaign was hardly noteworthy as one to emulate in the future. The DFL, as has been their habit, nominated a weak candidate (Madia, like Franken, has zero electoral experience; unlike Franken, nobody knows who he is). Paulsen didn't offer anything particularly inspiring, just that he'd lived in the district longer & had served in the state lege. If this is enough to make the 'best of' list for 2008, you may as well add Bachmann, who's survival rested on a 3rd party candidate named Anderson who, with almost zero campaigning or effort, managed 10% of the vote.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 31, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

John Adler's, in my humble opinion, deserved far more than just an honorable mention. The third congressional district (formerly known as the 13th) is a very diverse geographic territory in Southern New Jersey. Some critics, such as yours truly, claim it is artificially gerrymandered to insure that it remains in the GOP column. It includes the large portions of Democratic Camden County (Including Cherry Hill, a large suburban township near Philadelphia), Burlington County and Ocean County (a traditional Republican Stronghold). End to end, it is over 90 miles. Therefore,it should be duly noted that for the past 122 consecutive years, every single occupant of this congressional seat has been a Republican. That's right folks. The last Democrat to represent this district, until now, was elected back in 1884.

For the past 22 years, James Saxton has represented this district. He won by special election, following the death of his predecessor, Edwin Forsythe. Virtually, every single one of Saxton's races were won by landslides, including his 1990 race against John Adler which he won by 60% and 2006,in which he swept past a Democratic opponent named Jim Sexton. However, this year Representative Saxton decided not to seek another term due to health reasons as he is currently suffering from prostate cancer.

State Senator Adler had already announced his candidacy for the 2008 race and suddenly, he found himself catapulted to the top of Rhan Emanuel's list of potential Democratic pick ups. The Republicans had a bruising 3 way race, during the primary election, which was narrowly won by Medford Mayor Chris Meyers. Money poured into the Adler campaign and he easily outspent his opponent to the tune of $2.7 million. Senator Adler relied on his reputation for scrupulous ethics, tireless consituent service and his advertisements tying Mayor Meyers to President Bush. On the eve of the election, the polls showed him within 2 points of Meyers. Ocean County went for Meyers,but was offset by Camden and Burlington Counties, the latter unexpectedly going strongly Democratic apparently on Barack Obama's coatails. The end result netted Congressman-elect John Adler a 52%-48% victory and a challenge to see if he can maintain this seat in the years to come.

Posted by: NJBlueDog24 | December 31, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

gee, i feel so left out.
Nothing exciting happened in Arizona at all, eh?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | December 31, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

How about Betsy Markey defeating Marilyn "Cultural Warrior Xena" Musgrave in CO? She was finally able to defeat Musgrave when the Dems had been targeting Musgrave for years.
Also, Richeirt is popular in WA as a no-nonsense, straight-arrow, pragmatic kind of guy who would present a strong challenge to Murray. My guess is that Murray's popularity will be tied to how well the Dems are doing in 2010 and if the GOP can find a strong candidate, to date they have a pretty weak bench.

Posted by: JacksonEuler | December 31, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I had the same reaction as tomtildrum at 8:21A.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 31, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Where's Anh Cao?

Posted by: tomtildrum | December 31, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

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