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The most important number in the midterms

Midterm elections -- particularly the first midterm of a president's first term in office -- tend to be nationalized, serving as an early referendum on how the chief executive is doing in the eyes of voters.

Given that, the most important number when trying to analyze how many seats Republicans will win this fall may well be President Barack Obama's job approval number. The better the president is doing in the eyes of voters, the less likely they will be to punish his party at the ballot box.

Friday Line

The most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll pegged Obama's job approval rating at 45 percent while 48 percent disapproved. It marked the first time in Obama's presidency that those disapproving of how he is handling the office outnumbered those approving of the job he is doing in the NBC/WSJ numbers.

The NBC/WSJ poll reflects a broad trend in Obama's approval numbers that has to be at least somewhat concerning for Democratic party strategists.

The history of first-term, midterm elections suggest that President Obama will almost certainly see considerable losses -- no matter where his job approval stands on November 2nd. In every election of that sort since World War II, the president's party has lost House seats with the exception of the Sept. 11-impacted 2002 election.

Where Obama's job approval rating will matter is on the margins. If he is over 50 percent on election day, it's hard to see marginal Democrats losing solely because their Republican opponent sought to tie them to the chief executive. (That is, by the way, clearly the Republican strategy heading into the fall; Democrats, meanwhile, will try to localize races.) If Obama is at 45 percent or lower, however, it's uniquely possible that GOP attacks linking Democratic candidates to him could drive up the number of seats that his party losses.

Below you'll find our ratings of the 30 races most likely to change party control in the fall. The number one race is considered the most likely to switch sides.

As always your thoughts are welcome in the comments section below.

To the Line!

30. Florida's 2nd (Democratic-controlled): Rep. Allen Boyd has a double-barreled problem: a primary challenge from his ideological left in the form of state Sen. Al Lawson and then a real general election opponent who, according to an internal GOP poll, is already beating Boyd. And, although the Democratic primary isn't until Aug. 24, it's already getting nasty. (Previous ranking: N/A)

29. New Hampshire's 2nd (D): The open seat occasioned by Rep. Paul Hodes' Senate candidacy hasn't drawn much national attention but is a concern for Democratic strategists. While the district is the more Democratic of the two Granite State seats, former Republican Rep. Charlie Bass (R) has the sort of moderate profile that could appeal to voters -- assuming he survives the Sept. 14 primary. (Previous ranking: N/A)

28. Pennsylvania's 7th (D): National GOP strategists view former U.S. Attorney -- and former gubernatorial candidate -- Pat Meehan as one of their genuine stars. State Rep. Bryan Lentz (D) should benefit from 7th district Rep. Joe Sestak as the Democratic Senate nominee. (Previous ranking: N/A)

27. Tennessee's 8th (D): State Sen. Roy Herron (D) is one of the more impressive candidates we've met this cycle: affable, reasonable and a conservative Democrat, which is the only way he could stand a chance of getting elected in this western Tennessee seat that gave Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) 56 percent in 2008. Farmer Stephen Fincher, a darling of national Republicans, now faces a real primary on Aug. 5. (Previous ranking: 22)

26. Michigan's 1st (D): By all rights, this Upper Peninsula district should be a great GOP pickup opportunity in the aftermath of Rep. Bart Stupak's (D-Mich.) surprise retirement announcement. But while state Rep. Gary McDowell has a clear path in the Democratic primary, the Republican field is muddled and could compromise things for the GOP in November. (Previous ranking: 24)

25. Florida's 24th (D): Freshman Rep. Suzanne Kosmas' (D) 16-point victory over Tom Feeney (R) in 2008 was a bit deceiving as this central Florida seat is a very competitive one. (John McCain won with by two points in 2008 even as he was losing statewide by three.) Republicans have a a crowded -- and late -- primary but former Ruth's Chris steakhouse CEO Craig Miller looks like the nominee. (Previous ranking: N/A)

24. Texas' 17th (D): Is this the cycle that Republicans finally -- really-we-mean-it-this-time -- take down Rep. Chet Edwards in his deeply conservative Waco-area district? GOP strategists are starting to think so. And they've got a poll showing GOP nominee Bill Flores leading Edwards 53 percent to 41 percent. (Previous ranking: N/A)

23. North Dakota at-large (D): Every two years, national Republicans insist that this is the election cycle that Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D) loses. And yet, since 1992, Pomeroy had held the state's at-large district. The tough environment nationally for Democrats coupled with Gov. John Hoeven's (R) expected margin in the state's Senate race and the candidacy of former state Rep. Rick Berg (R) make a compelling case that this will be Pomeroy's toughest race to date. (Previous ranking: N/A)

22. New Hampshire's 1st (D): Rep. Carol Shea Porter (D) won election and then re-election in 2006 and 2008 -- two very good years to run as a Democrat in New Hampshire (or anywhere for that matter). This November is shaping up to be a less friendly electoral climate for Shea Porter although the Republican field is quite crowded. (Previous ranking: 26)

21. New York's 24th (D): New York's filing deadline is July 15 and there is still the occasional rumor that Rep. Mike Arcuri (D) won't seek a second term. National Democrats insist that won't happen but even if Arcuri seeks a third term, he has put himself at considerable peril with his lackluster fundraising ($493,000 in the bank as of the end of March) in a swing seat. Richard Hanna, who came within 6,500 votes of beating Arcuri in 2008, is back as the likely Republican nominee. (Previous ranking: 16)

20. Virginia's 5th (D): State Sen. Robert Hurt (R) was cast as a potential victim of the tea party movement but wound up winning easily in his primary earlier this month. He will face freshman Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.) in the fall in a conservative, Southside district. But, Perriello is running a strong campaign and Jim McKelvey, who finished second behind Hurt in the primary, has declined to endorse the GOP nominee. Worth mentioning: An independent candidate is getting some love from the tea party. (Previous ranking: 25)

19. Virginia's 2nd (D): Businessman Scott Rigell withstood some well-funded primary challengers earlier this month and entered the general election with a 41 percent to 35 percent lead on freshman Rep. Glenn Nye (D-Va.), according to Rigell's own polling. His ability to self-fund should keep him on competitive financial footing with the incumbent. (Previous ranking: 23)

18. Indiana's 8th (D): Democrats are growing increasingly optimistic about state Rep. Trent Van Haaften, Rep. Brad Ellsworth's (D) handpicked candidate to replace him in this southern Indiana seat. (Ellsworth is running for Senate.) Still, a tough district in a good year for Republicans. (Previous ranking: 11)

17. West Virginia's 1st (D): State Sen. Mike Oliverio (D) was added to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red to Blue" program after beating Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) in a primary. Oliverio may be harder to beat than Mollohan but the GOP emphasis on this district is evident by House Minority Leader John Boehner's (R-Ohio) Saturday trip to raise money for former state Del. David McKinley (R). Don't forget: this is a 57 percent McCain district. (Previous ranking: 21)

16. Ohio's 15th (D): State Sen. Steve Stivers (R), who narrowly lost to Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D) in 2008, is doing everything he can to avoid the mistakes of that campaign. To wit: he was named Ohio Right to Life's "preferred candidate", a designation that should shore up his right flank from the possibility of a third party candidate. (In 2008, anti-abortion rights candidate Don Eckhart won five percent of the vote.) (Previous ranking: 20)

15. New Mexico's 2nd (D): Former Rep. Steve Pearce (R) won the GOP nod for his old seat with 85 percent earlier this month. Meanwhile, Rep. Harry Teague (D) has had to contend with reports that his former company dropped health care coverage for its employees. Could Hispanic gubernatorial nominee Susana Martinez's (R) coattails help out Pearce in this 49 percent Hispanic district? (Previous ranking: 15)

14. Ohio's 1st (D): A recent internal poll for former Rep. Steve Chabot (R) has him up by double digits against Rep. Steve Driehaus (D). That, coupled with a national environment this year increasingly favoring Republicans and the likelihood of a decreased black turnout in this Cincinnati-area district, should help Chabot. (Previous ranking: 19)

13. Florida's 8th (D): Rep. Alan Grayson's (D-Fla.) string of controversial comments sure look like a potentially potent liability in November. But national Republicans, worried about a tough and wide-open primary here, aren't quite as bullish. Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) recently endorsed former state Sen. Dan Webster in the GOP primary, but national Republicans like businessman Bruce O'Donoghue. (Previous ranking: 9)

12. Colorado's 4th (D): State Rep. Cory Gardner (R) has taken heat from the right for his decision to cancel a fundraiser featuring Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) after King's controversial remarks about President Obama "favoring the minority." Even so, his prospects of unseating freshman Rep. Betsy Markey (D) remain bright. (Previous ranking: 12)

11. Illinois' 10th (R): Vice President Biden hosted a fundraiser for 2006, 2008 and 2010 Democratic nominee Dan Seals last week. Businessman Bob Dold gets solid reviews from national Republicans and should benefit from current 10th district Rep, Mark Kirk's (R) Senate candidacy this fall. But, it looks like the third time will be the charm for Seals. (Previous ranking: 14)

10. Maryland's 1st (D): Rep. Frank Kratovil released a poll this week showing him leading state Sen. Andy Harris (R) 44 percent to 39 percent in a rematch. The fact that he feels the need to demonstrate that he actually has a lead -- although well under 50 percent -- shows how tough this district is. But Harris faces a self-funding primary opponent that could force him to spend real money. (Previous ranking: 8)

9. Hawaii's 1st (R): Newly minted, special election-winning Rep. Charles Djou (R-Hawaii) won't have as easy a time in November as he did in a field where two serious Democrats split the vote last month. But even though former Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii) has now cleared the way for state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, she is the candidate national Democrats regarded as the weaker of the two in the special election. (Previous ranking: 6)

8. Mississippi's 1st (D): State Sen. Alan Nunnelee (R) won his party nomination outright earlier this month, giving national Republicans their preferred candidate to face freshman Rep. Travis Childers in this northern Mississippi district. Still, with Childers recently picking up the endorsement of the NRA, the race won't be settled without a fight. (Previous ranking: 13)

7. New York's 29th (D): Even with the special election to replace former Rep. Eric Massa (D) set for the same day as the general election this fall, this is still a tough hold for Democrats given the swing nature of this southern tier seat. Former Corning Mayor Tom Reed (R) is the near certain Republican nominee although activist Janice Volk (R) recently jumped in the race. (Previous ranking: 10)

6. Kansas' 3rd (D): National Democrats continue to be optimistic about the candidacy of Stephene Moore (D), the wife of retiring six-term Rep. Dennis Moore (D); the DCCC last month named her one of its Red-to-Blue candidates. But Moore has found herself on defense after state Rep. Kevin Yoder (R) raised questions about her bona fides as a conservative Democrat. (Previous ranking: 5)

5. Delaware at-large (R): Wealthy businesswoman Michele Rollins (R), the GOP establishment's preferred candidate, won at the May state convention but still faces a primary fight from developer Glen Urquhart among others. Meanwhile, former Lt. Gov. John Carney (D) recently got a helping hand from Vice President Biden at a May fundraiser. (Previous ranking: 4)

4. Arkansas' 2nd (D): Democrats nominated the more liberal and less well-funded of the two candidates in this month's runoff in the form of state Sen. Joyce Elliott. Republican former U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin's campaign has a poll showing him leading 50 percent to 34 percent, despite the fact that Elliott is much better known. This will be a very tough one for Democrats to hold. (Previous ranking: 7)

3. Louisiana's 2nd (R): Rep. Joseph Cao (R) has been raising his national profile with his response to the Gulf Coast oil disaster. And he may also be getting a bump thanks to the potential independent candidacies of African-American politicians who could cut into state Rep. Cedric Richmond's (D) take in this heavily black and heavily Obama district. (Previous ranking: 2)

2. Louisiana's 3rd (D): Former state House Speaker Hunt Downer's (R) entry into the race all but ensures that Republicans will pick up the seat of Rep. Charlie Melancon(D) who is leaving it to run for Senate. The bigger question: Does the district survive the 2011 redistricting process? (Previous ranking: 3)

1. Tennessee's 6th (D): The question here isn't whether a Republican will win the strongly conservative seat of former Rep. Bart Gordon (D), but which one: about a half dozen candidates will face off in the August 5 primary -- two of whom are claiming they've won the endorsement of Joe the Plumber. Not kidding. (Previous ranking: 1)

With Aaron Blake and Felicia Sonmez

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 25, 2010; 2:05 PM ET
Categories:  The Line  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Conservatives on the rise?
Next: "Worst Week in Washington" Winner: Gen. David Petraeus


"Describing voters as "angry" is both too narrow and too broad. Too narrow because there are a range of other emotions -- anxiety, frustration, doubt -- intermingling with the anger, and too broad in that the truly angry voters appear to be largely bunched on the Republican side. "

From a non-fix Cilizza column. Yes, this is exactly what I have been telling you.

Posted by: drindl | June 28, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

NOW if I was editor of the Harvard Law Review- I'm not a lawyer, but in 1979 I was accepted to Harvard early action (IF you don't know what early action means don't challenge me) I would KNOW that hurricane season is upon us- SO let's get the NAVY mobilized to drop a proper cap on the riser WITHOUT cutting off the mangled pipes- since one good storm could make this the WORLD'S worst environmental hazard- and Slick Willy likes the Vineyard.

Today's NY Times-
Storm Could Disrupt Effort in Gulf-

Together with BP, the company responsible for cleaning up the oil spill, Coast Guard officials are preparing contingency plans that would suspend the oil collection operation and delay the drilling of relief wells until the storm passes, steps that would allow even more oil to gush into the gulf.

Adm. Thad W. Allen, the federal commander on the scene, said that it would take about five days to disconnect the one ship that is directly tethered, through its oil spill containment system, to the broken well. Workers would also have to be evacuated. Those steps would be called for if sustained winds of 46 miles an hour or greater were expected, he said.

“We’re watching that tropical depression very closely right now,” Admiral Allen said in a briefing on Friday.

If the area of disturbed weather — as yet still unorganized — does develop into a storm, it may happen around the time Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. makes his first visit to the region since the disaster started. Admiral Allen announced that Mr. Biden was expected on Tuesday.

Oh, Biden is sure to solve the problem- like when he voted for MNBA- his son's employer against every other Democrat in the Senate!

Posted by: thecannula | June 26, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Carol Shea-Porter is under attack by the right.. after all , she's brought millions to the Portsmouth Naval Yard,worked hard and reshaped the treatment of Iraq and Afghanistan war vets, helped military families in NH.
Everything the right hates.

Posted by: newagent99 | June 26, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

"@ceflynline re: 5:15 post .. you make the dangerous presumptions that people are (1) rational and (2) capable of recognizing their own self-interest. I would say that both presumptions were cast into doubt by the re-election of the sadistic incompetent George W. Bush. Posted by: Noacoler"

I a hardened pessimist too, but I recognize the difference between voting in ones own best interest and voting out of pure spiteful revenge. Driehaus and Kilroy have to actually campaign, of course, and they will decide what they campaign on, but neither hamilton Copunty nor Franklin county are as red as CC assumes, and the red necks that kept them red since Johnson are a rapidly dying generation. This election, like 2008, can hinge on getting the nonvoting plurality to realize that just voting against the party that took away your last hope of an income and now wants you to believe that giving the tafts and the Procters and the gambels bigger tax breaks will get you your NCR job back.

Curiously the Dispatch has front paged continuing good economic news over the last few days. When it turns oput that it is continuing good news, when jobs begin to come back, that sense of revenge will harden in the hard core unemployed. I just don't see what Chabot or Stivers actually has to sell to people who really know where they are coming from.

Driehaus' district, by the way, isn't really Cincinnati, but Western Hills to the State Line, so North Bend, Cleves, and wrapping around into the Northern suburbs. These were once affluent new towns built on high ground around the old downtown, but they are sixty years old and beggining to look it. I don't think it will be a good idea for Chabot to go there and talk about privatizing Social Security and gutting Medicare.

Posted by: ceflynline | June 25, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

@ceflynline re: 5:15 post .. you make the dangerous presumptions that people are (1) rational and (2) capable of recognizing their own self-interest. I would say that both presumptions were cast into doubt by the re-election of the sadistic incompetent George W. Bush.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 25, 2010 6:21 PM

ceflynline lacks the capacity for valid presumptions. As we get further into the Obama presidency and loons like ceflynline continue to whine about Bush, we are starting to see people like BobSanderson posting quotes that imply there's only so much a president can do about an economy; the economy sort of runs itself and when it goes in the tank, you get big deficits---loss of tax revenue and all that.

As more and more people begin to lose confidence in Obama's ability to right the ship and tire of hearing Bush blamed for the failures of the Obama administration, you can expect to hear more and more of this business about how a poor president just can't be expected to turn things around.

We're coming up on four years since Democrats took control of both houses of Congress. Blame Bush all you want, but the collapse left the gate on a Democratic Congressional watch and it's still running. This is year two of Obama's huge Democratic majority in the House and Senate, and some of us are ready to shuck the excuses and vote for "another" change.

It's not the Rasumussen poll now saying Obama is underwater with the public and that 62% of the voters think the country is on the wrong track with this hopey-changey stuff. Its NBC/Wall Street Journal. Of course Broadwayjoe thinks everyone who takes polls is a racist and hates Obama.

Folks, things aren't going to get any better in Afghanistan any time soon, if ever. And wars still cost money. The unemployment rate is holding fast around 10%, and the private sector isn't hiring.
The debt keeps piling up and Dems keep wanting to spend more without cutting anywhere else. Let the next president worry about lowering the debt and reducing the deficit. Now they want to increase the length of time for unemployment benefits to---what?---three years? But don't want to pay for it. Sheesh!

Posted by: Brigade | June 25, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

@ceflynline re: 5:15 post .. you make the dangerous presumptions that people are (1) rational and (2) capable of recognizing their own self-interest. I would say that both presumptions were cast into doubt by the re-election of the sadistic incompetent George W. Bush.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 25, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Note that that poll was an "Internal" poll for Chabot. Cincinnati is full of people who lost their jobs thanks to George Bush. Now they lose what they have left of their incomes because of the Party of No!. Many of them are black, but then many of them are Appalachian community and ALL OF THEM ARE BROKE. That being so why would blacks, and/or Appalachian Heritage voters stay home? Cincinnati is in budgetary hard times like the rest of the State, and much of it is obviously Republicans' fault.

Driehaus has a lot of Chabot's greatest hits to work with.

As for Stivers, he couldn't beat Kilroy when he was much more of a centrist. Now that he is telling the center to take a hike, he may not be able to keep them from taking that hike to Kilroy.

So both of your Ohio picks are pretty lame. Yeah, they are in formerly Republican districts, but the districts aren't moving nearly as far to the right as their candidates are. Chebot's only saving grace is that the T-People haven't put a candidate up against him, yet. Stivers has a Ron Paul Libertarian out there to siphon off the Tea, and a Constitutionalist to drain the dregs of the Tea when The Paul People don't quite get them all.

Maybe these two contests ought to be say number 29 and thirty.

When Chabot talks about jobs loss he has to admit that he was there when the economy collapsed, and voted against doing anything about it.

Posted by: ceflynline | June 25, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I see you found my facebook page, zouk.

How do you like the house? Note that it's every bity as luxurious as I've said, and unlike your house, models, fortune and career, it actually exists.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 25, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

This might be a good time for Democratic readers to log onto the DCCC's website.
Posted by: paul65
It may be a good time for D readers to turn on liberal, I mean, progressive radio. Oh wait, NO one listens to liberal talk radio.

Posted by: leapin | June 25, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

This might be a good time for Democratic readers to log onto the DCCC's website.

Posted by: paul65 | June 25, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

While history does suggest that the election after a major victory for the president does tend to rectify some of the Congressional victories that might otherwise not have happened, this will be the first time the party who lost big then went out of its way to alienate 2 million voters by telling them that their slim lifeline is going to be cut off because a billion or so dollars a year is too much for the deficit, even as they demand the extension of the tax cuts that were particularly responsible for that deficit.

When the Republicans push for the extension of the Bush tax Cuts, and they have to do it soon, they tell the working population that the unemployed who lost their jobs because Bush wrecked the economy will have to be the ones to bear the costs of balancing the deficit, (for an amount that is less than rounding error in the overall budget) but the rich who got the great Bush giveaway get to keep taking their tax cuts, to the tune of trillions of dollars added to the deficit.

So every time a republican talks about the unemployment figures, the Dems remind the unemployed that the R's cut their unemployment benefits, when the R's talk about the deficit the D's get to point out that the R's went to keep the deficit high to finance tax cuts for the rich.

Mebbee this one isn't going the way these things usually go.

Posted by: ceflynline | June 25, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Well in all fairness Leapin', there is that no man's land between Arizona and Mexico that is off limits to americans becuase it is so dangerous. It was formerly part of america but now it is more like the United Socialist States of Obamination instead.

so she may have a point.

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 25, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Liberal Geography -

Did Arizona move? Milwaukee County Supervisor Peggy West, Democrat, in a County Board meeting was explaining to board members why she did not think it was necessary for Wisconsin to boycott Arizona regarding its new immigration laws. West gave her opinion that it did not make sense for Wisconsin to boycott a state that does not even border Mexico. She understood why Texas might want to boycott Arizona’s immigration laws, but not Arizona because in her exact words (recorded on video), “but this (Arizona) is a state that is a ways removed from the border, and it just doesn’t make sense to me.”

On which U.S. map? One of her coworkers, Joseph Rice, was kind enough to speak up and correct her before she continued her nonsensical and apparently unresearched speech, even though she mentioned doing a bit of Googling on the subject. Some reports noted that on Peggy West’s Facebook page, she has one of her interests listed as the history of Mexico. Maybe she does her Mexican history research using the same Googling methods she uses to get information regarding U.S. geography.

In Rush Limbaugh’s program, he noted that John Kyl (Arizona Senator) sent Peggy West a letter, along with a map of the United States “for her convenience.” West later explained she meant to say, instead, that Texas had a longer border (huh?). Senator Kyl urged West in his letter to familiarize herself with Arizona law before adopting an opinion about it. As of this writing, Arizona is still a border country of Mexico, Ms. West.

(where do they get these free lunch party Dbagger goobers?),

Posted by: leapin | June 25, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

@noa: can you imagine going through their private emails and the Post calling them in about the content of the correspondence? Why single out Dave?

Posted by: broadwayjoe | June 25, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, BWJ, I've lost count of the former Bush speechwriters on tap here, not to mention the total hacks like Broder and Will who get regular columns.

Go read the columns over at NYT and do a comparison .. it's like going from Flintstones to Jetsons. Even the cloyingly conservative Ross Douthan is head and shoulder over his "find my own voice" counterpart here, WaPo's Cohen, unfit to hold the door for NYT's Cohen.

Gerson, Thiessen, Parker .. these guys are as interesting to read as the departures board at the airport. Only the two liberals and a few gems like Weigel are -- were -- worth the time to read.

Now go check out Brooks, Collins, Herbert, at NYT. Note I didn't say Friedman.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 25, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

@noa: I read about the conflict of interest of one unnamed Post BHO hater. According to internet information, the spouse of the individual is a major player in some extreme rightwing activities. Yet the Post writer never mentions it even though it clearly colors the person's writings and would, if known, cause readers to question the person's credibility.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | June 25, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

why don't you guys just shut it down?

Posted by: Neocoler |

Better yet. If you detest it so, leave and go back to the juice bar and complain about your bad shake in life there and by all means, spread the envy and hate.

Whatever you do, don't buy anymore birds this week. you've already overdrawn your account several times. Maybe you can sneak on the bus through the back door or scrounge some lunch out of the break room when the meetings are over.

I would suggest you cut off the AC, but, well , that is not even an option, is it?

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 25, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"...We demand this sort of rigid objectiveness from the reporters who report on things we don't like, and then we're surprised when the ones who report on things we do like lose their jobs for failings in their objectivity. Maybe we ought to think that through every once in a while."

Posted by: GJonahJameson | June 25, 2010 4:01 PM

Bogus. We don't demand any such rigid objectivity. Do you read Fix or Kathleen Parker? They're objective? And last I checked, no one is publishing their emails much less firing them for their content. Private means private. If Dave thinks the self-described "conservatives" he intreacts with are "racists" or questions the morality of Drudge's nonpublic "lifestyle," that's his prerogative, isn't it?

Posted by: broadwayjoe | June 25, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

BroadWay, you have one thing I don't here: a smidgeon of leverage. Why don't you go ahead and cancel and be sure to name the despicable slant of this blog as a leading reason, calling out the Dan Coats piece explicitly.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 25, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

@noa: I buy the print version of the Post on Saturday and Sunday. I may reconsider now.

I don't see the BHO haters at the Post getting fired/separated for their serial questionable comments and lifestyles, which of course aren't talked about. To be honest, I didn't read this guy Dave, but, if he was bounced because Drudge and crew were offended by his private emails, that's crazy.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | June 25, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

So we have the Frank-Dodd additional power grab and a congressional proposal to stifle free speech during the mid-terms. Today’s NeoCom Statist Destuctionist Party sure is busy doing what they do best, destroying the constitution, tyranny, and emulating their failed comrades.

Posted by: leapin | June 25, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I note that Weigel has closed his comment section.

That would be a good idea here. The so-called "conservatives" don't make a pretense of discussion, they just flood the place with pastes and repeated screaming junk. Since the actual intent of the comments is so easily thwarted by unemployed mentals with too much free time, why don't you guys just shut it down?

Posted by: Noacoler | June 25, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

no turtle soup recipes Ped?

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 25, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Kinda "funny" that a conservative reporter who does actual critical thinking gets the push while a stenographer like Cillizza gets a pair of munchkins to help with the cherry-picking. If I were a subscriber of the deforestation edition I would be canceling today.

If I hadn't already when Froomkin was fired,

Posted by: Noacoler | June 25, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

The quote zouk is mangling:

"The difference between ignorant and educated people is that the latter know more facts. But that has nothing to do with whether they are stupid or intelligent. The difference between stupid and intelligent people--and this is true whether or not they are educated -- is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. They are not baffled by ambiguous or even contradictory situations--in fact, they expect them and are apt to be suspicious when things seem overly straightforward."

-- Neal Stephenson

Posted by: Noacoler | June 25, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Dave Weigel was, if I'm not mistaken, hired by the Washington Post to cover the conservative movement from the inside. And for a while, he was successful at getting insight into the movement -- often playing devil's advocate and taking occasional potshots, but never jeopardizing his credibility. Then some comments in e-mails he thought were private were made public, and all of a sudden those conservatives he'd been covering saw another side to him. A few of them throughout the ranks came to his defense, but I think it would be safe to say that a lot of them probably weren't going to trust him anymore, and a lot of his readers likely turned on him as well.

I'm not sure how he could keep his employment at the Post after things come to light that basically make it impossible for him to continue doing the job he had been hired to do.

Look, I liked "Right Now." I didn't read it regularly, but when I did, it was always a good read. And I agree with mariewilson11's sentiment that it's silly for the forces on the right that were calling for Weigel's head to demand that only a card-carrying conservative be allowed to cover their end of the political spectrum. For that matter, it's silly that anytime anyone learns about a journalist's political leanings, they assume they can't trust that journalist anymore -- as though they were previously under the impression that he or she had no beliefs to speak of. Of course journalists have beliefs. It's their responsibility to keep those beliefs from slanting their writing, and despite a lot of kvetching and moaning from both the left and the right, most of them are good at it.

But that's the way our minds work when it comes to journalists, and right or wrong, Weigel wouldn't be able to do his job nearly as effectively now that his private comments have been made public. And for that matter, as an employee at the Washington Post -- which is constantly seeing stories about politicians hoist on their own petards for dumb comments they made in e-mails -- he really should have known better than to think what he wrote in private could never see the light of day.

We demand this sort of rigid objectiveness from the reporters who report on things we don't like, and then we're surprised when the ones who report on things we do like lose their jobs for failings in their objectivity. Maybe we ought to think that through every once in a while.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | June 25, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

This falls campaign ads are writing themselves:

"Will the Republcan Party of Joe Barton vote with BP against America's clean energy future?"

"Will Republicans keep on apologizing to Big Oil for burdensome regulations, or will they stand up for the American people?"

"Democrats want polluters to pay, Republicans want to give them a license to pollute free."

Posted by: DrainYou | June 25, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Moment of silence for Dave Weigel.

His reward for telling the truth about the so-called "conservative" movement -- the one talked up today by Fix -- was ... oblivion.

The Post has yet to explain this guy's personal emails, regardless of what they said, could be the basis for his separation/resignation/whatever. When someone like Dave, who is privy to the off the record comments of "conservatives," tells you they are racist nuts, you need to take heed. Seriously.

Arianna, can Dave have the cubie next to Froomkin on the Third Floor of HuffPo? Thanks.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | June 25, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

The difference between ignorant and educated people is that the latter know more facts. But that has nothing to do with whether they are stupid or intelligent. The difference between stupid and intelligent people--and this is true whether or not they are educated -- is that intelligent people never vote for liberal frauds, resulting in ruination of our nation.

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 25, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

BREAKING: Scrupulous honesty too much for Right and Washington Post!

I watched over the last few days as the right forced out libertarian Dave Weigel for not being a true believer in their cause. Being an honest and promising professional with great sources that was producing an engaging blog was JUST NOT GOOD enough. If fact it was an insult to the "movement" if all sides could learn about the goings on of the right without propaganda or slanting the facts.

Apparently the right was under the impression that for a reporter at the Washington Post to be allowed to cover their movement, such as it is, that he/she had to be a full member. "NOT FAIR IF HE IS NOT ONE OF US" in other words.

Odd thinking if we are talking about profession reporting not sycophantic note taking. Ah yes THAT is what they had in mind and had become accustomed to from this paper.

David Weigel didn't do steno.

His troubles started when the word hug met drudge and ended when private communications revealed he was angry about Drudge's attack dogs hunting him. Other peccadilloes of similar non-import communicated privately and leaked let to the blood lust seeking First Amendment loving Right followed. They feigned an insult of the highest order!

I can now see why he was just not a fit with the Post.

Posted by: mariewilson11 | June 25, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I see you fixed the mistakes dealing with Lentz and Stivers. Thanks for looking and reacting to reader comments.

Posted by: madoug | June 25, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Don't drink Fix's anti-BHO Kool-Aid.

From Atlantic Magazine:

"Why Has Obama's Approval Held Steady Despite the Oil Spill?
Jun 20 2010, 2:03 PM ET

A recent batch of polls reveal that President Obama's job approval has remained steady over the last two months despite his presiding over the biggest environmental catastrophe in our nation's history. Why might that be?

First, consider the evidence. Checking's presidential job approval index of major polls, Obama's job approval on June 18 stood at 48.1 percent, virtually equal to his 47.9 percent rating on April 23, the day of the spill. His disapproval rating has also changed very little on average, moving to 47.4 on June 18 from 46.9 on April 23.

Tom Bevan at notes that on specific questions regarding the oil spill, Obama's rating has shifted recently in a decidedly negative direction. So why isn't that reflected in his overall job approval ratings?"

The operative words beieng "held steady."

Stop the cherry picked anti-BHO polls.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | June 25, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

One important thing missing from much of this analysis is the notion that the Obama tide has receeded. anyone, like Stivers, who barely lost last time around, looks to be in much better shape now. any repub who barely won (Bachmann) now is sitting in a very safe place.

If there is indeed a 5 percent swing in the electorate this Nov, perhaps more, the liberals will be banished to the rubber room where they belong.

think of all the crooked congressmen that we can finally catch without Nasty Pelousy heading off any investigation of her vaunted "most ethical congress in history"

What a laugh that was.

It would be interesting to examine the marginal swing in all borderline districts to see the tipping point - 3%, 5%, more?

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 25, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I believe Chris meant to write that Steve Stivers is trying *not* to repeat the mistakes of his 2008 campaign. Although I'm not sure I'd put too much stock into the Ohio Right to Life designation as a lifesaver -- Don Eckhart pulled some votes away from Stivers by proclaiming himself the "true anti-abortion candidate" in 2008, but Libertarian candidate Mark Noble took more votes than Eckhart did.

Stivers' marked shift way to the right on everything is probably a better thing to point to as an effort on his part to avoid vote siphoning to third-party candidates. He's got at least two other challenges from the right this election -- Libertarian candidate William Kammerer and Constitution Party candidate David Ryon -- and the Tea Party was raising a big stink in the primary over his Photoshopping a big pro-Stivers sign into a picture of a Tea Party rally, so he's working double-time to shore up that right flank.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | June 25, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

16. Ohio's 15th (D): State Sen. Steve Stivers (R), who narrowly lost to Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D) in 2008, is doing everything he can to repeat the mistakes of that campaign. To wit: he was named Ohio Right to Life's "preferred candidate", a designation that should shore up his right flank from the possibility of a third party candidate. (In 2008, anti-abortion rights candidate Don Eckhart won five percent of the vote.) (Previous ranking: 20

this doesn't make any sense. Is he repeating his mistakes or correcting them?

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 25, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

The Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania's Seventh Congressional district which you have rated number 28 on The Line is State Representative Bryan Lentz, not Manan Trivedi as the blog post claims. (Trivedi is running in Pennsylvania's Sixth Congressional district against Republican Congressman Jim Gerlach.)

16. Ohio's 15th (D): State Sen. Steve Stivers (R), who narrowly lost to Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D) in 2008, is doing everything he can to repeat the mistakes of that campaign. To wit: he was named Ohio Right to Life's "preferred candidate", a designation that should shore up his right flank from the possibility of a third party candidate. (In 2008, anti-abortion rights candidate Don Eckhart won five percent of the vote.) (Previous ranking: 20)

In the above post, I think you should have said Stivers "is doing everything he can to avoid repeating the mistakes of that campaign." Going to the right to avoid siphoning off votes to an Independent candidate will help Stivers, not hurt him as your wording suggests.

Posted by: madoug | June 25, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Chris, MAJOR ERROR in your no. 28, PA-07: the Democratic nominee is Iraq War veteran and state legislator Bryan Lentz, NOT Manan Trivedi. Trivedi, a physician and also an Iraq War veteran, was the upset winner in the primary in PA-06 and is challenging Jim Gerlach.

Posted by: jayreddy99 | June 25, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

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