Today’s Award for Irony

And the winner is…. Chris Bowers at MYDD:

In 2004, Busby lost the CA-50 by 22.0%. Today, it looks like she will lose by around 4.5%. And that was with the NRCC spending $4.5M on the race. If Republicans want to spin losing 18 points after spending $4.5M of committee money as a good thing, go for it. After all, spin is basically why they spent so much money on this race. By blowing their wad in a solidly Republican district, they wanted to change the media narrative on the election in their favor. It will probably work, given how subservient and generally inaccurate the media tends to be when it comes to Republicans and elections.

That is right- an entire post dedicated to spinning a loss at the polls as a win, all the while decrying the way the opposition is going to spin the results.

Good stuff.






50 replies
  1. 1
    KC says:

    Very unfair there John. I have friends down there. They are not Democrats. They would never vote Democratic. That this election even came this close is pretty amazing.

  2. 2
    John Cole says:

    Spin is spin. As I told Tim, if the Steelers had lost the Superbowl, and I was saying ‘Well, we were realy close, and they threw everything they had at us,’ the Seahawks would still be the Superbowl Champions.

    I am not denying that it was close, and the Democrats have a lot to be happy about. I am simply poking fun at one political operative bemoaning the fact that the other side is going to spin this one way, all in a post in which he is spinning it the other way. That is irony; that is funny.

  3. 3
    Steve says:

    The story of this election is an interesting one, although ultimately it comes down to the simple fact that the Republicans have a 15-point registration advantage in this district, and a 20-point advantage among likely voters.

    You see, once upon a time, there was this candidate named Dukakis. He was a successful governor, and he ran what has been described as a “technocratic” campaign focused on competence and how he would do a better job of running the government. This utterly failed to grab anyone’s attention, and he lost badly.

    To those who believe that things like competence, clean government, efficiency and avoidance of waste are actually important issues, it was a little discouraging to find out that such things don’t get voters to the polls.

    In the past couple years, the stunning incompetence of the Bush Administration and the evidence of a corrupt money machine throughout the Republican Party have shed new light on these issues once highlighted by Dukakis. Gosh, people mused, could these events finally wake the electorate up to the importance of basic competence? And in Duke Cunningham’s former district, there was hope that corruption would play as a major issue.

    Busby’s campaign stayed away from wedge issues and instead focused on clean government and competence. She understood the Abramoff scandal and why it matters. She explained to voters how, for example, the credit-card industry deposits X dollars into Republican coffers and in exchange gets a bankruptcy bill passed that gives the industry a huge return on its “investment.” She had a strong ethical pledge and an agenda for cleaning up government.

    This is basically the strategy preached by Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders – stay away from divisive issues like what to do about Iraq, just talk about Republican corruption and hope that the voters throw the bums out. Well, it worked to a point. Busby won something like 80% of the Independent voters. But it wasn’t enough, both because of the Republican registration advantage, and the fact that Democratic turnout was rather low as a result of a candidate who didn’t talk much about issues that excite partisan Democrats.

    There was much attention paid to a silly gaffe Busby made on the eve of the election but it’s hard for me to believe that it made a difference of thousands of votes. It was just something for the blogosphere to get worked up about, a fart in a tornado as our friend Brian likes to say.

    So the lessons are there but they’re far from definitive. You can say “Busby won the independents overwhelmingly, just repeat this strategy everywhere and we’ll win all the districts that aren’t as hugely Republican as this one.” Or you can say “the competence and clean government strategy isn’t any better at winning elections now than it was for Dukakis, you need to talk about the issues that excite your base if you want to win.” I don’t know the answer, but there’s a lot of food for thought.

  4. 4
    plukasiak says:

    The primary results confirm KC’s analysis. Bilfrey received only about 53% (IIRC) of the votes in the GOP primary, and the total number of votes cast for Bilfrey in the GOP primary is awfully close to the total cast for Bilfrey in the special election. By contrast, the total number of votes cast in the Democratic primary (which Busby won by a landslide) was thousands and thousands fewer than she received in the special election.

    In other words, Busby picked up the overwhelming majority of “independent” voters who showed up for this special election, and the only people who voted for Bilfrey were rock-ribbed Republicans.

    This is incredibly bad for the GOP, because they’ve “gerrymandered” the congressional districts with the assumption that candidates will pick up a reasonable number of “independent” voters. If independent voters reject the GOP at anywhere close to the rate at which Bilfrey was rejected in November, election night will be a disaster for the Republican Party!

    (here’s hoping!)

  5. 5
    ppGaz says:

    That is right- an entire post dedicated to spinning a loss

    Today, you’ve discovered politics?

    You’re in for a long summer.

    This is Inside the Blogosphere Navel Gazing stuff.

    The Dems put up a lousy candidate. Nothing wins better than a great candidate or loses worse than a lousy candidate. That’s all there is to it.

  6. 6
    McNulty says:

    Granted, $4.5 million isn’t chump change, but it’s hardly “blowing their wad”.

    The one thing i will say, though, is that based on the way this district voted in 2004, it’s kind of like USC playing Temple in football. If USC (the Republican) blows them out, it’s no big deal because they were supposed to. If they win close, it’s a moral victory for Temple (Democrats), because they hung close when they weren’t supposed to. And if they lose, it’s a disaster.

    Anyway, Chris Bowers is the same twit who wrote a long post about how Lynn Swann was overrated and doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame.

    Now, despite the fact that Swanny was MVP of a Super Bowl and scored TD’s in two others, AND played his best in big games, you could argue that his overall career regular season numbers aren’t quite HOF caliber.

    but the fact that a liberal political blogger in Philly all of a sudden cares about the stats of Steelers WR that hasn’t played in 20 years obviously has nothing to do with Swann’s career and everything to do with the fact that he’s running for Governor of PA as a Republican.

  7. 7
    RSA says:

    Good bit of irony, John. By the way, and I don’t mean this to be inflammatory, but I generally see two categories of stupidity on Balloon Juice: “Republican stupidity” and “General stupidity”. Do we Democrats have our own category?

  8. 8
    Brian says:

    Yep. “Fake, but accurate” has now become “We lost, but we really WON!”.

    The fantasy world of the Left.

  9. 9
    Brian says:

    The story of this election is an interesting one, although ultimately it comes down to the simple fact that the Republicans have a 15-point registration advantage in this district, and a 20-point advantage among likely voters.

    Selective intel gathering on your part. It does not “simply” come down to that. As I said on another thread here today, Busby had everything going her way, and she still lost. If a Republican can win the governorship in California, then a Democrat should be able to win in a GOP district, one where its previous representative is sitting in jail, and on an election day when there’s a Democratic primary gor governor, thereby sending more Dem’s to the polls (which, by the way, could very well explain the narrow win for Bilbray).

    She still LOST! Against all odds, she LOST.

  10. 10
    Tom says:

    (here’s hoping!)

    While you’re at it, please spin the rejection by CA voters of Proposition 82.

  11. 11

    Brian Says–

    Yep. “Fake, but accurate” has now become “We lost, but we really WON!”.

    The fantasy world of the Left.

    No, Brian. This is the fantasy world of the liberal blogosphere. Where EVERYTHING is “We lost, but we really won!” Just look at the Paul Hackett campaign in OH-2. He lost there too but they said that they “really won.” Basically because he really did so well. So come one KOS! Give us a win!

  12. 12
    Mike in SLO says:

    The fantasy world of the Left.

    Just the same as the fantasy world of the right. They both SPIN!! Get it?? That’s John’s point. It wasn’t a right or left issue he was pointing out, it is the incredible irony of each side spinning wildly and then being “shocked” when the other side spins.

    You, as usual, want to turn it into a right vs. left thing. I am so sick of you and PPgaz and all the other spinners on this blog, right and left, who end up monopolizing the comments conversation and arguing with each other. Once or twice a thread is fine, but you guys continually get in “gotcha” fights that end up making everyone sick of you, regardless of whether they agree with you or not. Why don’t you both just start your own blog? As much as you all post, you obviously have enought time on your hands.

    Okay, my rant is done. Loved your post, John and I promise I won’t reply if someone comments on this.

  13. 13
    Steve says:

    If a Republican can win the governorship in California, then a Democrat should be able to win in a GOP district, one where its previous representative is sitting in jail, and on an election day when there’s a Democratic primary gor governor, thereby sending more Dem’s to the polls (which, by the way, could very well explain the narrow win for Bilbray).

    Uh, this wasn’t a statewide race. Democrats have a whopping 6-point partisan advantage in California as a whole. You’d do better to point out that Wyoming has a Democratic governor, or that Massachusetts has a Republican one, but realistically you’re just comparing apples and oranges.

    There is a good reason why every single political analyst in this country says that the vast majority of Congressional seats are noncompetitive these days. It’s because they are. Yes, an amazing confluence of events can make a safe seat competitive for one election, but that doesn’t change the basic facts.

    I realize you’re just here to troll a little and gloat about a win for your “team” but don’t fool yourself into thinking that your spin has any validity. “Against all odds,” a Republican won in a district with a 15-point registration advantage for Republicans. Ha ha.

  14. 14
    Brian says:

    I am so sick of you

    Feel better about yourself? If this is what you take from my posts, then you haven’t read many of them. Go insert your buttplug and settle down.

  15. 15

    I just looked at the results.

    That’s amazing that Bilbray didn’t even get 50%, and Busby came within 4% points of winning.

    There’s no spin here. That’s a pyhhric victory for the Republicans. They had to sink a lot of money into a safe seat, and even then they didn’t even get 50% of the votes.

    Looks like the Libertarian got 1.5%. And it seems the other guy who got 3.5% is kind of a whacko. Usually the whackos vote Republican, but I guess not this time.

    Interesting…

    No way you can spin this… even though the GOP eeked out a win, it’s not good news for them.

  16. 16

    I guess the point i’m making… The long term trends for Republicans don’t look good. Going back to the 2004 race, where Bush won, but by a terribly small marging for an incumbent. Then the Ohio race with Hackett, and now this.

    The results arne’t as important as the trend lines.

  17. 17
    Brian says:

    That’s amazing that Bilbray didn’t even get 50%, and Busby came within 4% points of winning.

    Neither did Clinton in ’92. Point is, HE WON THE ELECTION. What part of WIN don’t you understand? I know it’s not what Dem’s are familiar with, but don’t you at least grasp the concept?

  18. 18
    erg says:


    What part of WIN don’t you understand? I know it’s not what Dem’s are familiar with, but don’t you at least grasp the concept?

    Not a Dem, but at least the Dems know not to declare Mission Accomplished prematurely.

  19. 19

    Neither did Clinton in ‘92. Point is, HE WON THE ELECTION. What part of WIN don’t you understand? I know it’s not what Dem’s are familiar with, but don’t you at least grasp the concept?

    Is this going to make you feel better about your pryhhic victory?

  20. 20
    Zifnab says:

    Brian, in his blissful naivete while running the numbers, has a point. Democrats have come within a hairs breath of beating out Republicans, spending less and winning more of the Independent vote, repeatedly in the off-year elections. They lose by the tiniest of margins.

    If we repeat this strategy in every district, and it proves just as successful, we’ll come within inches of winning every district we lost back in ’94 and that will almost barely just be shy of what we need to retake the House and the Senate.

    And we’ll be right back where we were in ’00. With a majority of America behind a candidate who isn’t assuming office. And another 2 years of Republican rule by “mandate from heaven”.

  21. 21
    Vladi G says:

    Busby had everything going her way, and she still lost

    What a fucking moron Brian is. Yeah, she had EVERYTHING going her way, oh, except that about 15-20% more people in the district are in the other party. But other than that, other than the fact that the district is gerrymandered to be heavily republican, and that under normal electoral conditions no Democrat would have a chance in hell of ever winning the district, she had EVERYTHING going for her.

  22. 22
    John S. says:

    If this is what you take from my posts, then you haven’t read many of them.

    Nobody ‘reads’ your posts, Brian. We just skim them, hoping to avoid your usual gibberish, like:

    Go insert your buttplug and settle down.

    Quite the contribution to the discourse, there.

  23. 23
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Neither did Clinton in ‘92. Point is, HE WON THE ELECTION

    I’ll remember this the next time a Republican gloats that Clinton never won a majority. Brian says “HE WON THE ELECTION” (paraphrase: “GET OVER IT!”).

    That said, I’m far more distressed that Democratic turnout was low. As others much more intelligent than I have analyzed, Democrats had better stop with the DLC-endorsed “we’re not Republicans” strategy and come with a “here’s what we are” that will energize their base, or we’re going to see one of the lowest midterm election turnouts in history, what with Republicans fleeing their party, and Democrats demoralized by their spineless leadership.

    This election should be a cakewalk for Democrats, but it seems that they’d rather not offend the Republicans with an aggressive campaign.

    And on another note, Kos can now point to Jon Tester as an example of someone he endorsed who won (in addition to Steph Herseth).

  24. 24
    Cyrus says:

    Brian Says:
    If a Republican can win the governorship in California, then a Democrat should be able to win in a GOP district, one where its previous representative is sitting in jail, and on an election day when there’s a Democratic primary gor governor, thereby sending more Dem’s to the polls (which, by the way, could very well explain the narrow win for Bilbray).

    Brian’s right, you know. If a moderate Republican world-famous movie star can get elected governor of a state where Democrats generally enjoy a whopping six-point lead whose Democratic governor was just kicked out of office for incompetence, then anything is possible. ANYTHING. It makes so much sense, you’d have to be a lying Communist not to see it! WELL? ARE YOU A COMMUNIST, YOU LIAR?

  25. 25
    Steve says:

    And on another note, Kos can now point to Jon Tester as an example of someone he endorsed who won (in addition to Steph Herseth).

    The rightie blogs had better start sending dough to Conrad Burns ASAP lest they lose their ability to crack jokes about Kos’s supposed 0-fer.

  26. 26
    ppGaz says:

    The Brian character is being written by more than one person.

  27. 27
    ppGaz says:

    What a fucking moron Brian is

    At least two spoofers are writing the Brian character, as near as I can tell.

    Considering the logistics, it’s quite a feat, actually.

  28. 28
    Mac Buckets says:

    At least two spoofers are writing the Brian character, as near as I can tell.

    I see Ppgaz’s “he a spoof”-bot is back in working order, which means another few days of boring “he’s a spoof” posts for everyone to skip over.

  29. 29
    ppGaz says:

    which means another few days of boring “he’s a spoof” posts for everyone to skip over.

    Well, sure, if you don’t care who the spoofs are. You wouldn’t, since who gives a shit what you say, anyway, right?

    But there are about 6-10 spoofs posting here on a regular basis. Some are obvious, and some are not. I can guarantee you that you have had a conversation with a spoof here and probably didn’t know it at the time.

    And in case you were wondering, the spoofs are here for a reason, and you of all people should know what that is, and what it means to you.

    If you doubt that Brian is a spoof, ask him to send you an email and convince you, and see what happens. Ask John who he is. Ask John if Brian ever makes contributions of money to the blog. As him if he can send email to Brian’s putative address and get back a real name.

    My email address is in the open, I have the receipts for contributions to this blog, and John knows my real name. There are people here who have my phone number and have spoken to me on the phone.

    How about you? How about Brian? Par?

    This ain’t rocket science, Mac. It’s quite simple. If you think I’m wrong, it’s easy to find out.

  30. 30
    Mac Buckets says:

    And in case you were wondering, the spoofs are here for a reason, and you of all people should know what that is, and what it means to you.

    OK, Mulder. So you really don’t think you’re just boring everyone to tears with your constant “he’s a spoof,” “he’s a spoof,” “he’s a spoof” posts? You think that’s interesting reading? I hate to break bad news, but…

    Just tell me flatly why I should care, because I don’t get it. Either it’s a good post or a bad post, right? Who cares who wrote it?

  31. 31
    Mac Buckets says:

    Just tell me flatly why I should care, because I don’t get it. Either it’s a good post or a bad post, right? Who cares who wrote it?

    And just to beat you to it, yes, I know: That’s just what a spoof would post! (cue sinister theremin music)

  32. 32
    ppGaz says:

    So you really don’t think you’re just boring everyone to tears with your constant “he’s a spoof

    I’m not here to entertain you, Mac. If you’re bored, get a hamster.

    There are several spoofs here. I know who some of them are, but not all, with certainty.

    As for you caring …. let me put it this way: Every spoof I’ve seen, which about 4 dozen so far, has one thing in common with every other spoof. Namely, pretending to be a righty, the aim being to discredit righties. In other words, they are spoofing you, dude. Get a clue, man, there are no spoofed lefties out there so far as I know. Never seen one.

    But anyway, I don’t care if you care or not. I do. And I can assure you that a rather large percentage of BJ traffic is either to, from, or about spoofed material. Has been for a long time. The amount of spoof traffic increases every month. More and more blog traffic is just troll traffic. And a huge amount of that is the spoofed righty. We have some very sophisticated spoofers here.

    You (apparently) have no idea.

  33. 33
    Perry Como says:

    If you’re bored, get a hamster.

    And a cardboard tube.

  34. 34
    tBone says:

    There are several spoofs here. I know who some of them are, but not all, with certainty.

    The Spoofs were created by Man.
    They Rebelled.
    They Evolved.
    They Look and Feel Human.
    Some are programmed to think they are Human.
    There are many copies.
    And they have a Plan.

  35. 35
    terry chay says:

    Sorry to interrupt this “he’s a spoof” sidebar going on, but I thought I‘d expand on some minor points here.

    CA-50 wasn’t gerrymandered to be a safe republican district until after the 2000 census. Before this, (as CA-44), it was the most Democratic district of San Diego. (I think there was scandal that brought down the Democratic incumbent and brought in the Dukester—a tad prescient.)

    Back more to the topic, I also found the Chris Bowers spin just as ironic as John did. Coincidentally, I mentioned this.

    It is hard to read very much into CA-50, but I feel that git was extremely well-played by the Republicans. I guess you have to have lived in CA-50 like I did to understand. (Note: I am not registered to vote there because I work and live elsewhere and only own a residence in CA-50.)

    As for John’s Steelers comment. We have only look to all those years the Steelers got their asses handed to them by the Patriots in the playoffs (as a Pittsburgher, those hurt as much as the old Pirates/Braves ass-kicking). I wonder if John spun that as, “Well, Bill Bellichick has their number, but the Steelers are the better team and deserve to go.” Even if he did, so what? It’s sports: that‘s the definition of being a “fan.”

    it is a sad day when American politics has been reduced to the mindless cheerleading for one’s “team.” It seems that a lot of what is going on among many: (Yes, Chris at MyDD is one, but also so are some of the spoofs here). The founding fathers tried to protect against this, but we have grown too comfortable and complacent.

  36. 36
    ppGaz says:

    The Democrats have No Plan to End Spoofing.

  37. 37

    Great, here comes ppGaz leading the Moonbat Patrol with his silly nonsense about spoofs. What is it with you lefties? If someone disagrees with your hippy-dippy granola-crunching ideas, they automatically must be a spoof? I suppose you’re going to accuse me of being a spoof now, right, kook? You can’t help yourself, it’s just who you are.

  38. 38
    ppGaz says:

    TEB …. Of all the, uh, animals here, you are one I am certain is NOT a spoof.

    You actually are a dumb furry animal who shits all over the living room.

  39. 39
    DougJ says:

    You’re in good form today, John.

  40. 40
    Kimmitt says:

    Chris’s complaint isn’t that the other side is going to spin this, it’s that the other side’s spin will likely be printed as the conventional wisdom surrounding the race, while our side’s spin will be completely ignored. That is, we won’t get a chance to present our perspective, because the Republican perspective is now the default perspective.

  41. 41
    demimondian says:

    Great, here comes ppGaz leading the Moonbat Patrol with his silly nonsense about spoofs. What is it with you lefties? If someone disagrees with your hippy-dippy granola-crunching ideas, they automatically must be a spoof? I suppose you’re going to accuse me of being a spoof now, right, kook? You can’t help yourself, it’s just who you are.

    Once again, we see the intellectual bankruptcy of the Easter Bunny. The great imaginary characters of history would be rolling in their graves to see their legacy cheapened by this “compassionate icon”.

    He’s no icon, and he’s more frat prat than compassionate.

  42. 42

    You actually are a dumb furry animal who shits all over the living room.

    Not my fault you’re too fucking cheap to install a cat door, pal. I noticed you didn’t seem to mind when you were busy stuffing your piehole with the delicious Easter treats I provided. Typical Leftist hypocrisy.

    Once again, we see the intellectual bankruptcy of the Easter Bunny.

    Listen, kook, my intellect is perfectly solvent, aside from a few unavoidable overdrafts from time to time. You ought to worry more about your own financial situation; if I were you, I wouldn’t let my fingers type posts that my ass can’t cash.

  43. 43
    ppGaz says:

    I noticed you didn’t seem to mind when you were busy stuffing your piehole with the delicious Easter treats I provided

    Wait … that was your linguini with clams?

    Wow. Great recipe. And those clams …. fresh and sweet as little candies.

  44. 44
    demimondian says:

    my intellect is perfectly solvent

    Whatever you say, Mr. Skilling. By the way, sir, those are nice SOX you have on.

  45. 45
    ppGaz says:

    my intellect is perfectly a dangerous solvent

  46. 46
    demimondian says:

    It’s tragic, isn’t it, that TEB has become the emblem of modern Imaginary Characterhood. When I was growing up, IC’s were heroes and heroines like Superman or Batgirl — upright, seeking to make the world a better place. Today, IC’s are represented by debased roués like TEB, or the late Santa. Elrond’s so “brave” that when Santa got splattered, he responds by sending Legolas off to someplace safe and secret.

    What? Wittle Wegowas might ought to stand up to protect his elven brothers? No dice, suxx0r!

    Ladies and gentlement, let us have a moment of silence for those lost great days, when IC’s truly fought for Truth, Justice, and the American Way, the Mounties always got their man, and Bullwinkle Moose was funny.

  47. 47
    Mac Buckets says:

    Every spoof I’ve seen, which about 4 dozen so far, has one thing in common with every other spoof. Namely, pretending to be a righty, the aim being to discredit righties. In other words, they are spoofing you, dude. Get a clue, man, there are no spoofed lefties out there so far as I know. Never seen one.

    This might be the funniest (for so, so many reasons) graph ever posted by a commenter on this site. Definitely a saver. Thanks for the info on all the human-alien hybrid spoofs, Mulder. The truth is out there.

  48. 48

    When I was growing up, IC’s were heroes and heroines like Superman or Batgirl—upright, seeking to make the world a better place.

    Whatever you say, kook. I wouldn’t go on any overnight camping trips with the Big S, though, if you get my drift. I mean, c’mon – the guy wears underwear on the OUTSIDE of his skintight spandex pants. Do I have to draw you a picture here?

    And Batgirl? Upright? There’s a lot of mattresses in the Justice League squad bay that would tell a different story, dude. Even Aquaman hit that.

  49. 49
    ppGaz says:

    This might be the funniest

    Really? What is factually incorrect about it?

  50. 50
    demimondian says:

    Once again, TEB, tragically, engages in the politics of personal destruction. Yes, Big S had some odd paraphilias, and, yes, the reason BG wore those funny shoes was to show off her round heels. What does that have to do with their moral and ethical standing as imaginary characters?

    Once again, we see TEB try to change the subject to something that the BTM will drool over, in order to avoid the facts: that he has wasted the stature of his role as an IC, just to enrich his friends and allies. That’s the real issue we face today, and it’s the one which is not being discussed.

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