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The failure of the electability argument

In the political battle of head versus heart, it's not even close this election cycle.

Candidate after candidate -- from Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson to Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter -- have watched as their appeals to electability (head) have been drubbed by their opponents' emphasis on core party principles (heart).

Two more candidates on the primary ballot tomorrow are trying to change that trend line, making the case that only by nominating them can their party hope to win in November.

Nevada businessman Danny Tarkanian sent out a series -- not kidding, a series -- of releases over the weekend touting the fact that he was leading Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) 46 percent to 39 percent in a hypothetical general election matchup.

"I'm pleased that I am finishing this race as Republicans' best hope to defeat Harry Reid," said Tarkanian.

Left unsaid? The fact that the same poll showed Tarkanian, whose father, Jerry, is the legendary coach of the UNLV basketball team, running well behind former state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle in advance of tomorrow's primary.

In California's Senate race, former Rep. Tom Campbell (R) has been making a similar electability appeal, noting that his moderate credentials and experience running statewide -- he was the losing GOP nominee for Senate in 1992 and 2000 -- make him the best choice to take on Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) this fall.

"Both of my two primary opponents lose to Senator Boxer -- one loses by six and the other by 10," Campbell said recently. "If we wish to replace Sen. Barbara Boxer -- and I surely do -- we've got to focus on this historic opportunity to do so."

Primary voters don't agree. In a Field poll released over the weekend, former Hewlett Packard executive Carly Fiorina led Campbell 37 percent to 22 percent with conservative state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore clocking in with 19 percent.

Unless something major changes in the final 24 hours of the campaigns in Nevada and California, it's a near-certainty that Tarkanian and Campbell will add their names to the list of candidates who relied on electability and lost.

The failure of the electability argument is based on two major factors: one race-specific and one national in scope.

When analyzing any of the races mentioned above, it is/was not entirely clear cut as to which candidate would give the party the best chance of winning in the fall.

In the final days of the race, Specter cherry-picked data that suggested Rep. Joe Sestak (D) would be the weaker nominee against former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) but there was plenty of evidence -- polling and anecdotal -- that Sestak's profile was more appealing to an electorate sick of politics as usual in Washington.

Ditto the Nevada and California Senate races. Tarkanian and Campbell may be running slightly stronger than their Republican primary opponents in the majority of general election polling data but the margins are far from conclusive and it's a long way between now and November.

Viewed more broadly, the "head appeal" being attempted by Tarkanian and Campbell runs directly counter to the general attitude -- read: angry -- that most voters are feeling toward government right now.

Grayson's massive defeat at the hands of ophthalmologist Rand Paul in last month's Kentucky primary was directly attributable to the fact that Paul ran as the candidate of the tea party movement while Grayson tried to run as a quasi-incumbent -- making the case subtly (and not so subtly) that nominating Paul put the seat in danger in the fall.

Voters are not in a compromising mood; they want intensity and anger from their politicians, not a strategic vote calculation about the best way to win in the fall.

While the heart versus head argument is even more lopsided in heart's favor in this deeply anti-Washington political climate, a recent history of primaries suggests the mismatch has been in place for a while.

The most notable example of that trend came in 2008 when then New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) made the case that nominating Barack Obama represented a major risk for the Democratic party. (Remember the 3 am ad?)

Democratic primary voters ultimately rejected that message, making Obama the nominee and eventually the president.

The only time in recent memory -- or at least in the Fix's memory -- where the "head" argument won out was in the 2004 Democratic presidential contest where Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry successfully argued that then Vermont Gov. Howard Dean was too much of an unknown commodity to nominate. (Dean helped make that case himself when, following his defeat in the Iowa caucuses, he let out the infamous stream of states he was planning to win followed by, yes, "the Scream".)

Primary voters are, by and large, not terribly strategic in their voting. They vote for the person they think best captures their own ideological beliefs, not the candidate they think can win. That sentiment is even more clear in an election cycle like this one where putting politics above principle is anathema.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 7, 2010; 11:50 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Tea party favorite Sharron Angle looks poised to win in Nevada
Next: Echoes of 1994 in California governor race

Comments

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is a poor example for the argument of head vs. heart. She lost because her campaign was run by idiots who alienated the Texas voters. Who can tell what would have happened if she had competant campaign managers.

Posted by: kdjkdj | June 8, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse


Washington Post article today says that BP had a history of accidents, falsified safety reports, and run-down equipment.


So much so that the EPA was considering taking away BP's rights to federal contracts.

So if Obama did a year-long review of offshore drilling, WHY DIDN'T OBAMA ADDRESS ANY OF THESE PROBLEMS.

Obama took almost a million dollars from BP.


Expanded Offshore Drilling WAS OBAMA'S POLICY - he can't blame Bush for his own policy, right ?


I know he is trying.


BUT IT IS OBAMA'S POLICY.


period.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 7, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

It's easy to forget, given the crushing loss this past November, but I think an awful lot of Virginians just one year ago made the "head" calculation that Creigh Deeds was the best candidate to beat Bob McDonnell, given that the other choices were Brian Moran and Terry MacAuliffe. It was certainly the whole point behind the Washington Post endorsement.

Perhaps the crushing loss partly explains why the electabilility argument doesn't have much sway this year?

Posted by: gretchenlaskas | June 7, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

I like Fiorina in California

==

You've been reading James Ellroy, haven't you.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 7, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I like Fiorina in California

==

You've been reading James Ellroy, haven't you.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 7, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

12BarBlues, Hahahaha!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | June 7, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Oh wait, then the anti-Obamans would've found something else to snark about. I gar-on-tee it!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | June 7, 2010 5:17 PM
----------------------------------------
Yeah. How about taking work away from God fearing, real Americans who just toil away, paying their taxes to this godless facist nazi kenyan HI-wian. Statist too.

Sound about right?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 7, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

"It's the Democrats' fault", "its the Republicans' fault". When is the public going to realize this has nothing to do with party affiliation. Our corrupt legislators can only act to preserve there jobs and the appease the special interests that paid for their re-elections.

Like the corporations that back them, they can only think, plan and act only up to the next quarter or election. And the public listens to the patently ideological propaganda and jumps on board.

The only option (other than a constitutional amendment to ban special interest money and money from outside a candidate's district - which would never pass at present) is to vote for the candidate with the smallest reelection campaign fund.

Once enough of these legislators are elected, and the rest get the message, the amendment process could start and more likely be successful. One could argue that the least desirable candidate gets the least funds, but I suggest that the candidate with the least funds is the least beholden to special interests. It is true, that some imbeciles who have no desire to work for the best interests of the country and its citizens could be elected to office but, really, is that any different than what is going on now?

Posted by: GHW-NC | June 7, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

bumblingberry, maybe the McCartney fête should've been held along the Gulf instead of at the White House, with the guests all laying boom lines, collecting tar balls or cleaning oily birds?

Oh wait, then the anti-Obamans would've found something else to snark about. I gar-on-tee it!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | June 7, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Well, we've seen Obama frowning. Obama sticking his fingers into the sand. Obama saying he's frustrated. Obama telling us a heartwarming story about his daughter. He even, according to spokesman Robert Gibbs, said "damn" at one point. (Though this has not yet been independently verified by a third party.)

That's it. That's the sum total of accomplishment by Barack Obama, his administration, his party, and his bureaucracy, in facing his first major domestic crisis.

It's actually far worse than it seems, since Obama's failures extend to well before the blowout ever occurred. His appointee to Interior, Ken Salazar, supposedly a new order of Green crusader, failed to provide any meaningful oversight to the agencies under his control, or even give them so much as a quick examination, as far as anyone has been able to tell. But this is easily topped by the pure idiocy of announcing a new effort on offshore drilling without close consultation with industry experts, which might have revealed that at least one company was cutting corners. So the big blowout is not only a failure, but it's a multidimensional failure occurring over a lengthy duration.

We came at last to the Jindal plan, the sole attempt on record by any government official to do anything at all to halt the encroaching oil slicks. Bobby Jindal wanted to build a series of berms along the Louisiana coast. He needed federal backing for this, since the plan was a big-ticket item, with some estimates reaching $360 million. So how did the administration of President Trillion-Dollar Deficit respond? Not at all, you'll be shocked to hear. The governor heard nothing from the feds for weeks as oil began to saturate the coastal wetlands. Then, far to the north, Sarah the Huntress raised her fearsome fingers to tweet a message south: Gov.Jindal: to avoid ravished coast, build the berms. Ask forgiveness later;Feds are slow to act, local leadership&action can do more for coast.

Only then did the administration at last break its silence to order British Petroleum to pay for five berms. Why this could not have happened a month ago is anybody's guess, as is the question as to why they did not agree to the sixteen berms that Jindal says are necessary.

The Deepwater Horizon disaster is a twofer: the worst environmental disaster on record matched with most incompetent response. And all on the watch of America's greenest president. Who'd have ever guessed?

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 7, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I like Fiorina in California, as it looks like the momentum candidate right now is her. Campbell didn't have the money to compete and has dropped back to a close 2nd place finish with DeVore. In Nevada, this race is still very close and up in the air. I do think Angle is the front runner, but I think it's going to be close. Either Tankarian or Lowden will give Angle a close one come Tuesday, but will it be enough? Doubtful.

Posted by: reason5 | June 7, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

she has shown herself to be an excellent SOS.

Posted by: AndyR3 |


how do you figure? the world is falling apart on her watch. Korea attacks, Iran builds bombs, Euro goes in toilet, Iran builds bomb, Hamas has a navy, our allies hate us, our enemies no longer fear us, china and russia expanding influence, muslims killing everywhere, no idea if afghan and Iraq are going well, the press has abandoned that story for some reason.

It's possible she's not to blame. In which case it must be Bush, right? After all, he broke up the Gores.

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 7, 2010 2:30 P
-------

An excellent SOS. LOL. You just can't make it up, bumblingberry. No matter how high the level of incompetence, it's always, "heckuvajob _____" (fill in the blank). I wonder why Israel didn't come right on board when uncle Joe Biden GUARANTEED them that Iran would not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

Posted by: Brigade | June 7, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse


There's no way California is going to vote for a Tea Bag, Sarah "The Bimbo" Palin endorsed candidate who started as some kind of window washer or maintenance lady and somehow reached the CIA (Fiorina).

Actually, I wouldn't mind a full and complete explanation of exactly how she went from being a door stop, to getting into the CIA -- vocational classes perhaps?

Barbara Boxer all the way !

Posted by: lindalovejones | June 7, 2010 12:20 PM
-------

See now, if you could just figure out someway to move yourself from the welfare roles to a job as maintenance worker or window washer----well, the sky's the limit!

Posted by: Brigade | June 7, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

What Obama wanted to do - is close Gitmo - and SPEND MILLIONS MORE ON A PRISON IN ILLINOIS -


And move the terrorists to Illinois.

Obama's plan wasn't to reduce spending - it was to SPEND ALL OVER AGAIN ON A TOTALLY DIFFERENT FACILITY.


Just to prove some stupid political point about the terrorists being enemy combatents - or whatever the silly point was.


Obama wants to SPEND MILLIONS AND MILLIONS ON ANOTHER FACILITY - JUST TO TRY TO PROVE THAT BUSH WAS WRONG ABOUT SOME CLASSIFICATION OF THE TERRORISTS UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW.

Stupid Stupid and more Stupid,


And a complete WASTE OF MONEY.


SO DRINL, YOUR POINT IS COMPLETELY WRONG, AGAIN.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 7, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

NYClefty


yea, but "gaming the system" says little about idealogical strength.


The truth is that the Michigan and Florida situation worked in Obama's favor - and magnified the minority strength which Obama had.

Obama basically won the nomination with only 48 states counting - Michigan and Florida were added in later.

All that happened - OK - Obama CLAIMED AT THE TIME that he and Hillary were the same on the issues.


But in fact Obama was from the far left wing - lying to everyone along the way.

However, how is that left wing working now ? Obama seems like the MOST OUT-OF-TOUCH PRESIDENT IN HISTORY.


It is UNPRECEDENTED how far from the American People Obama is.


This administration is a complete disaster.

However, it is fitting that OBAMA'S INCOMPETENCE IN HIS OFFSHORE OIL REVIEW PROVED TO COME BACK TO HAUNT OBAMA.

It proves that EXPERIENCE MATTERS.

Now all the democrats in the country are PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR PUTTING AN INCOMPETENT, UNQUALIFIED PERSON IN THERE - WITH NO EXPERIENCE.

NOW HUNDREDS OF BIRDS ARE DEAD. - AND IT IS THE FAULT OF THE DEMOCRATS -

PERSONALLY - EVERYONE WHO DISREGARDED THE LACK OF EXPERIENCE OF OBAMA - IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE OIL SPILL - and all the other disasters of Obama.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 7, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

"At least $500 million has been spent since 9/11 on renovating Guantanamo Bay"

Yes -- by the Bush administration and the Defense Dept. So, obviously the Defense Dept. deserves big cuts, they have WAY too much money to spend.

Posted by: drindl | June 7, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Chris-
you are great but don't rewrite history...

Democratic primary voters ultimately rejected that message, making Obama the nominee and eventually the president.

No, actulally, the primary voters came out evenly for the two of them. Barack won with a combination of delegates from large caucus state wins- where turning out students and leisure class was important and super delegates and discounting voters in Florida, the 4th biggest state and Michigan, the 9th.

Voters did not reject her message or her- she did not game the system as well as he did

Posted by: NYClefty | June 7, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

At least $500 million has been spent since 9/11 on renovating Guantanamo Bay

I thought that place was closed over a year ago. Oh wait, that was Obungler that promised that. Never mind.

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 7, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

ddawd wrote: Republicans often make the argument that more conservative=more electable.
-----------------------------------
538 ran an piece on this very thing, on 5/25/10. The upshot is that this is a myth. Not true. In fact there is a negative correlation.

A relevant snippet: "You can read Abramowitz' write-up yourself, but when he charted every Senate race since 2000, there was a clear negative correlation between conservative ideology as measured on the DW-NOMINATE scale and general election vote percentage."

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/search?updated-max=2010-05-31T15%3A22%3A00-04%3A00&max-results=10

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 7, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

a portrait of Obunglers jobs from May:

James O'Keefe isn't just resting on his ACORN laurels. He went and uncovered what we already expected was going on at the United States Census: fraud.

On April 27, 2010, I got a job with the United States Census Bureau in New Jersey. With a hidden camera, I caught four Census supervisors encouraging enumerators to falsify information on their time sheets. Over the course of two days of training, I was paid for four hours of work I never did. I was told to take a 70 minute lunch break, was given an hour of travel time to drive 10 minutes, and was told to leave work at 3:30pm. I resigned prior to doing any data collection but confronted Census supervisors who assured me, "no one is going to be auditing that that level," and "nobody is going to be questioning it except for you."

Given that over 90% of the jobs gained in May were public sector jobs, and 95% those were temporary census workers, AND given that we already knew that there was fudging done by the U.S. Census to pump up those employment rolls (work one hour a month to qualify as a job, quit, get rehired, repeat), this new flavor of corruption comes as no surprise. O'Keefe closes his BigGovernment post thus:

Exposing corruption requires standing up to power, because power hates sunlight. We should have known they would try and ruin the reputations of those who try and expose them. But in response, we are going to build an army of citizen investigators. There's hundreds more where I came from. You have awakened a sleeping giant. And you can't ruin us all. In fact, in the coming months you will see this army expanding into every state, every statehouse, every city council, every school board, and everywhere people are conspiring to keep themselves in power, practice favoritism, or line their pockets with tax dollars. ( but especially the big house, I mean White house)

Let's hope that O'Keefe becomes an inspiration for a new generation aspiring journalists everywhere who are actually interested in the truth and willing to take considerable risks in order to fight the corrupt progressive government under which America is now being oppressed.

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 7, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

(Dean helped make that case himself when, following his defeat in the Iowa caucuses, he let out the infamous stream of states he was planning to win followed by, yes, "the Scream".)

This was not an electability argument and it's disingenuous of you to claim that it is.

"Dean, who had been suffering with a severe bout of the flu for several days, attended a post-caucus rally for his volunteers at the Val-Air Ballroom in West Des Moines, Iowa and delivered his concession speech, aimed at cheering up those in attendance. Dean was shouting over the cheers of his enthusiastic audience, but the crowd noise was being filtered out by his unidirectional microphone, leaving only his full-throated exhortations audible to the television viewers." (Wikipedia)

That the clip was replayed over 600 times by cable and broadcast news networks in just four days following the speech didn't help matters.

Posted by: cab91 | June 7, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

she has shown herself to be an excellent SOS.

Posted by: AndyR3 |


how do you figure? the world is falling apart on her watch. Korea attacks, Iran builds bombs, Euro goes in toilet, Iran builds bomb, Hamas has a navy, our allies hate us, our enemies no longer fear us, china and russia expanding influence, muslims killing everywhere, no idea if afghan and Iraq are going well, the press has abandoned that story for some reason.

It's possible she's not to blame. In which case it must be Bush, right? After all, he broke up the Gores.

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 7, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 7, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

The electability argument is like buying a Ferrari, if you have to ask you can't afford it. If you have to convince voters to nominate you by saying I can win, you have already lost.

Also Clinton made the electability argument, but I felt (like a lot of others) that she actually gave the democrats the worst chances between her and Obame. Now that is not the case anymore since she has shown herself to be an excellent SOS.

Posted by: AndyR3 | June 7, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Poor lonely Ped.

doesn't belong anywhere.

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 7, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Smart take Chris, lib media keeps warning GOP not to nominate right wingers. We're not interested in MSM advice on who to nominate on our side.

==

The "we" is just ... *precious*.

Do you feel like you're part of a movement? Like you "belong?"

Like an eighth grade girl who finally found her clique?

Posted by: Noacoler | June 7, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

It is now cool to bash Obama


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/barackobama/7805775/Obama-loses-the-Left-suddenly-its-cool-to-bash-Barack.html


The POINT IS: ANY PERSON WHO PUT ASIDE EXPERIENCE AND CRISIS MANAGEMENT ABILITY WHEN VOTING FOR PRESIDENT - they were EXTREMELY IRRESPONSIBLE WHEN THEY VOTED FOR OBAMA.


AND NOW THE REALITY IS SETTING IN.


Obama was supposed to clean up Minerals Management Service - which was responsible for the safety standards on oil rigs. Obama did a long review of offshore drilling and said it was safe when he came out in favor of expanding offshore drilling.


Incompetence at its worst.


We have a third rate government in a CRISIS - FILLED WITH AFFIRMATIVE ACTION APPOINTEES.


If you voted for Obama, You are PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS SITUATION.


IT IS YOUR FAULT THAT BIRDS ARE DYING -


HUNDREDS OF BIRDS.


Don't cry to me - if you said to yourself that you didn't care about EXPERIENCE - you didn't care about crisis management ability - when you voted for President.


Everyone told you that Experience was IMPORTANT - AND YOU SAID YOU DIDN'T CARE AND VOTED FOR OBAMA ANYWAY.


THAT WAS IRRESPONSIBLE WITH THIS COUNTRY.


IT IS YOUR FAULT.


.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 7, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, the democrats have DONE NOTHING ABOUT CHARLIE RANGEL.

OBAMA DID NOTHING ABOUT MMS - AND OIL RIG SAFETY WAS NOT ADDRESSED.

and now the democrats are doing nothing about Charlie Rangel.

The hypocrisy is so thick - there are film clips with all the promises of Pelosi to clean up Congress.


The democrats are rotten and no good.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 7, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Normally it's the Democrats who snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by either nominating an inept candidate or running an inept campaign. Republicans, whatever else you may think of them, acquired and held their majority in Congress for most of 12 years through disciplined party and candidate organization (and some helpful tactical redistricting in a few places after the 2000 Census).

Now Republicans (the rank and file, not the leadership), in an environment highly favorable to Republicans, want to replicate the NY-23 special Congressional election across the country by throwing reputable (but allegedly too liberal) establishment candidates under the bus in just enough key races to help Democrats defend seats. For some reason they seem to think everyone is as angry at Democrats as they are and will vote for people farther to the Right than they usually nominate.

This will be an interesting election cycle.

Posted by: Gallenod | June 7, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't see this argument being made much on the Dem side, but Republicans often make the argument that more conservative=more electable. That the base won't turn out for a RINO. That school of thought probably got supercharged with McCain's loss.

Interesting thing about this cycle is that when compared to the establishment candidates, the liberal challengers to the establishment on the Dem side are actually doing much better in general election polls than the establishment candidate. On the Republican side, however, the establishment guys are polling better than their teaparty challengers.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 7, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

37th&O's 12:46 comment is pretty accurate.

The 'electability' argument usually boils down to "I'm a moderate & will win over the swing voters." While that may be true, its not typically a compelling argument that rouses the enthusiasm of the base.

Here in MN, we're seeing the 'more electable' candidates losing or dropping out - Maureen Reed dropped out of the MN-6 race, leaving a favorite of the base, who will probably lose. The Repub Gov candidate, Tom Emmer, is a no-compromise, no-apologies conservative. Seifert was only slightly more willing to concede to the occasional need to compromise, and quickly lost the endorsement race that many expected him to win. Electability never entered the equation.

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 7, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama: Let Them Eat Tar Balls
By Stuart Schwartz

So many parties, so little time.


You are Barack Obama, and you know how to party. And now, as oil hits the Florida beaches and dying wildlife and desperate Louisiana fishermen fill the cable news in searing testimony to what Reuters is calling our "worst environmental disaster," you are doing what you do best...party.


Your bureaucrats have been saying "No we can't" to request after request for assistance along the Gulf Coast, but for you it has been "Yes we can" as you spend taxpayer dollars on entertainment at a greater rate than any U.S. president. Your parties have averaged one every three days and your vacations seem endless as you've satisfied the vow of your former social secretary to bring "the same kind of [party] environment" you had in Chicago to the White House.


You weren't known for your attention to business in the Illinois state senate, but, as one friend said about you and Michelle, "if there was a party or an event, they were there." And as little as you did in the Illinois and the U.S. senates, you've been doing even less in the Gulf, notes radio host Hugh Hewitt.


Even Politico, a part of the Washington Post all-Barack-all-the-time media empire, says you are "failing the test of leadership" with your obvious distaste for getting your hands dirty. And the ubiquitous Dick Morris flatly states the emerging consensus: Our "president doesn't have a clue" when he steps off the dance floor.


You're Barack Obama, and you're not the first black president (Bill Clinton beat you to it), the first incompetent president (Jimmy Carter was there for us in the modern era), or the first professor president (Woodrow Wilson brought his Princeton University-blessed master race theories to the White House). But you are the first party president, with more social affairs than any White House in the nation's history. "Party on" was the way WorldNet Daily described it; another summed it up in a headline, "Obama During Oil Spill -- Golf, Parties, Photo-Ops...and More Golf!"

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 7, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Classic socialism at work:

The Commission to Study Deficits is Broke
Randall Hoven

As reported by The Fiscal Times, President Obama's commission to study the problem of what to do about the government running short of money is running short of money.


"President Obama's bipartisan fiscal commission is operating on a shoestring budget and some panel members and lawmakers worry that it may run short of money.

"The 18-member commission faces the daunting challenge of coming up with proposals by Dec. 1 to tame the federal government's trillion-dollar budget deficit. But the panel's own budget is only $500,000, barely enough to cover office rent and the salaries of four staff members.


"...Despite the seeming enormity of the commission's task, budget analysts say the panel doesn't need a huge staff because both the basic problems and the mix of possible solutions has been known for years...the Simpson-Bowles commission will eventually need to assess the impact of any potential proposals by running them through the complex budget modeling systems used in Congress and the executive branch."


I have an idea. The commission should write the following report.


Dear President Obama,


Our recommendation for dealing with the government's deficit and debt problems can be found at the website indicated below: http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/


Sincerely,


Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson


Whatever is left of that $500,000 can be used to pay Rep. Paul Ryan's speaking fees for explaining his CBO-scored Roadmap to President Obama.

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 7, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

It is now cool to bash Obama


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/barackobama/7805775/Obama-loses-the-Left-suddenly-its-cool-to-bash-Barack.html


The POINT IS: ANY PERSON WHO PUT ASIDE EXPERIENCE AND CRISIS MANAGEMENT ABILITY WHEN VOTING FOR PRESIDENT - they were EXTREMELY IRRESPONSIBLE WHEN THEY VOTED FOR OBAMA.


AND NOW THE REALITY IS SETTING IN.


Obama was supposed to clean up Minerals Management Service - which was responsible for the safety standards on oil rigs. Obama did a long review of offshore drilling and said it was safe when he came out in favor of expanding offshore drilling.


Incompetence at its worst.


We have a third rate government in a CRISIS - FILLED WITH AFFIRMATIVE ACTION APPOINTEES.


If you voted for Obama, You are PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS SITUATION.


IT IS YOUR FAULT THAT BIRDS ARE DYING -


HUNDREDS OF BIRDS.


Don't cry to me - if you said to yourself that you didn't care about EXPERIENCE - you didn't care about crisis management ability - when you voted for President.


Everyone told you that Experience was IMPORTANT - AND YOU SAID YOU DIDN'T CARE AND VOTED FOR OBAMA ANYWAY.


THAT WAS IRRESPONSIBLE WITH THIS COUNTRY.


IT IS YOUR FAULT.


.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 7, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

The "failure" of the electability argument

This is the thinking of the far right:


The far right has been through many election cycles in which they have nominated moderate Republicans - worked to get them elected - and then those people spend money like water, and don't care about fiscal restraint.

The far right then started to wonder: what is the point - electing these people but they do not do what conservatives believe is right.

I'm just explaining what they are thinking.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 7, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

I think your post, excellent as it is, is slightly 'one-layered'. The electability argument gets very convoluted, depending on the candidate's background, the (hate to go all Tip O'Neill on you) local idiosyncrasies of the race, the other candidates strengths and weaknesses, etc.

The 3 a.m. ad touched on electability, but was also about competence. In the NV race, Tarkanian doesn't carry the electability argument b/c he's one of the 'Three Stooges'. Sue Lowden did herself in with the chicken-nonsense (competence), Angle has a number of past statements, very ill-timed, which will come back to haunt her, and Tarkanian has a famous sport coach for a father and a background as a college basketball star (shades of Geo. 'Macaca' Allen!), none of which inspire (electoral) confidence.

What is missing is the threads that connect the electability argument to things like competence, likeability (although W. pretty-well put paid to the likability argument in itself), etc.

Electability is a far broader issue than in the narrowest political sense that Tarkanian has used it.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | June 7, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

But let's cut O a little slack. After all, as his supporters say, it's not as if nothing else was happening. There's no end of urgent matters to occupy the presidential time. What about Korea?


Okay, what about it? North Korea, the most rogue of rogue regimes, torpedoes a warship, the corvette Cheonan, at the cost of 46 lives, in the most blatant act of aggression since the armistice was signed in July 1953. And Obama's response was...


Nothing. It's as if nobody was sitting in the Oval Office. As far as anyone has been able to discern, there has been no consultation with Japan; no attempt to nudge China, the sole ally North Korea has; no gesture toward U.N. involvement, for what that would be worth; no realignment or reinforcement of military forces to pressure the North. The entire administration response is encompassed in a single remark from Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs: "We certainly don't want a conflict."


That's it. The most fraught encounter of the Cold War, a three-year clash costing 60,000 American lives, 650,000+ Chinese, and well over a million Koreans, looks as if it's about to explode once again, and what do we get from the U.S. government? "We don't want no trouble, Mr. Kim. I mean that. Just tell us what you want us to do." (The Pacific president then underlined his negligence by canceling a trip to the region for the second time.)

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 7, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Obama Wastes Millions of Taxpayer Dollars on Personal Entertainment
By Fred Dardick

The same hypocrite who says our energy costs must “necessarily skyrocket” to fund his political ambition, is giving Marie Antoinette a run for her money when it comes to spending national treasure on personal luxuries.


While much of the country is struggling to pay their bills, the President and First Lady are partying like rock royalty. The collection of talent that has made the pilgrimage to the White House to entertain Obama and friends is nothing less than amazing: Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennet, Paul Simon, Marc Anthony, Herbie Hancock, Martina McBride, Queen Latifah, The Foo Fighters, Faith Hill, and recently foot-in-mouth Paul McCartney to name a few.

This has the makings to be the greatest ongoing concert series ever to be seen on this Earth just to entertain one man … all paid for by the American taxpayer.

Let Them Eat Cake
How much does this world-class entertainment cost? Assuming the artists themselves forgo appearance fees, I highly doubt Paul Simon would perform with just a karaoke machine as backup.
Professional equipment needs to be brought in - sound engineers, stages, lights, etc… Even small scale performances by these artists can be very expensive.

Add booze, food, security, invitations, social secretaries, wait staff, and hangers on to the tab and the price for one of these events could easily top $75K. With over 27 concerts hosted thus far, the total cost to taxpayers is in the millions of dollars.

The executive branch does not provide detailed information regarding entertainment expenses, however it has been estimated the Obamas spent at least $10 million on “drunken White House parties” in 2009 alone.

The Audacity of Food Stamps
Considering the country is at war and a record 40 million Americans rely on food stamps to eat, Obama should show some class and skip the expensive partying.

Whether it’s the world’s greatest concert series, multi-million dollar date night in New York or taxpayer funded shopping in Europe for the First Lady, the Obamas are exposing themselves as nothing more than greedy, self-serving politicians.

While the President and First Lady insist the rest of us endure economic hardship for the greater good, they are living like a king and queen on our dime

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 7, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm with DDAWD on this one. The electability argument hasn't been a winner by itself for a while now. The candidate most seen as electable does win the primary sometimes -- more often than not, prior to this year -- but I don't think electability is what puts him or her over the top. Why anyone would try to posit that argument this year, when voters seem even more determined than usual to not use their brains when they head to the ballot box, mystifies me. Though DDAWD's suggestion that it is a desperate move from candidates with nothing to lose is probably a good guess.

Incidentally, although Hillary Clinton repeatedly tried to make the argument that she was the most electable candidate in the 2008 Democratic primary, I would endeavor to say that the reason that argument wasn't a winner for her was because it was completely contradictory to the prevailing wisdom at the time. A lot of Democrats, sensing that the political winds were blowing in their favor thanks to the unpopularity of President Bush, were nonetheless fearful that they could still lose in November if Clinton got the nomination. And indeed, wasn't that the whole point of Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" -- to send a bunch of Republicans into the voting booths disguised as Democrats to vote for Clinton under the theory that she would be easier to beat in the general than would Barack Obama? The Danny Tarkanians and Tom Campbells have polling to which they can refer when making their arguments; in 2008, a lot of people thought Clinton was just making it up.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | June 7, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Smart take Chris, lib media keeps warning GOP not to nominate right wingers. We're not interested in MSM advice on who to nominate on our side.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | June 7, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

And I think politicians know the electability argument isn't a winner. When have you ever seen a leading candidate make that case? I think it's just one of those cases where nothing else has worked, so may as well give it a shot.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 7, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

There's no way California is going to vote for a Tea Bag, Sarah "The Bimbo" Palin endorsed candidate who started as some kind of window washer or maintenance lady and somehow reached the CIA (Fiorina).

Actually, I wouldn't mind a full and complete explanation of exactly how she went from being a door stop, to getting into the CIA -- vocational classes perhaps?

Barbara Boxer all the way !


Posted by: lindalovejones | June 7, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Um, the 3 AM ad wasn't an electability argument...

Posted by: DDAWD | June 7, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

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