The fall guy

I just got into London moments ago, so this piece may not go through the multi-layered editorial process we normally use here….


So you’ve probably heard
that Michael Steele will get fired if Republicans don’t win the special election in NY-20. Steele’s an idiot and I wouldn’t blame them for firing him, but why is this his fault and not Eric Cantor’s?

A little background here. The race should be a gimme for Republicans: it’s a +3-4 Cook PVI for Republicans (too jet-lagged to look this up) and Republicans have a massive registration advantage, something like 18 points. The only reason Gillibrand ever won it is because she ran a perfect campaign and her opponent was caught beating his wife a few weeks before the election. In this race, Republicans have local legend Jim Tedisco (minority leader of the State Assembly) and the Democrats have someone with low name recognition, Scott Murphy (any Democrat will have low name recognition since all the local offices are held by Republicans). It should be a 10-15 point win for Republicans.

But it may not be. And the reason isn’t Michael Steele’s avant-garde theatrics, it’s Eric Cantor’s decision to make all Republicans vote against the stim bill. Tedisco won’t say he which way he would have voted on it, because voters in the district like it, but he can’t buck Cantor et al. Here’s the Times on this:

All the makings of a Republican rout.

Yet now when layoffs, foreclosures and anxiety are freezing the Catskills, Adirondacks and Hudson Valley like an economic ice storm, a single issue — the $787 billion federal stimulus package — appears to be providing the Democratic newcomer, Scott Murphy, with some traction in the campaign to succeed Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand in the House of Representatives.

His Republican opponent, James N. Tedisco, the minority leader in the State Assembly, refuses to say how he would have voted on the stimulus bill. To endorse it, Republican operatives acknowledge, would put him at odds with every House Republican and endanger his support from Washington.

There’s too many local editorials attacking Tedisco over this to count — here’s one from the main paper in the area, the Albany Times-Union. Here he is getting hammered by local tv about it. Of course, it doesn’t help that he demanded to know where Caroline Kennedy stood on the stimulus package (a perfectly reasonable demand, I might add).

If Tedisco loses, Cantor certainly won’t lose his job, but I do wonder if he’ll still feel like he’s back in the saddle again.

And wouldn’t you know it? The first black RNC Chair will take the fall for everything. I guess some things never change.






36 replies
  1. 1
    Zifnab says:

    And wouldn’t you know it? The first black RNC Chair will take the fall for everything. I guess some things never change.

    The Republicans really have been listening to too much Rush if they think they can just throw up their own "Magic Negro" to save themselves.

    Michael Steele failed to be Obama-but-better, and as the GOP had already assigned god-like status to the myth that is the man that is B-Rock the Islamic Shock, its no surprise that Steele takes the brunt of the blame when things go south.

    But what really gets me is the idea that Eric Cantor would try to scapegoat another politician for his own problems… I mean, it just seems so out of character.

  2. 2
    Punchy says:

    If you missed it yesterday, NJTNPlumber ripped Steele for his hip-hopness, ever so barely employing the dog whistle and not outright barking out "Fire this N#gger!".

    Ya gotta believe NJTNPlumber is cued to say what the mobs wanna hear, so one could reasonably surmise the base wants this colored man off their reservation.

    As Hawk would say, He Gone.

  3. 3
    Tom says:

    The only reason Gillibrand ever won it is because she ran a perfect campaign and her opponent was caught beating his wife a few weeks before the election.

    Best line of the week.

  4. 4
    Ricky Bobby says:

    For as much as I detest Steele I do feel some pity for the guy.

    That being said; WHAT THE FUCK DID HE THINK WAS GOING TO HAPPEN?

    Dude, you are a black man in the modern GOP and they elevate you to a leadership position ONLY because a black man was elected to the White House. You mean to tell me you didn’t see the long knives come out as soon as your back was turned? Your "allies" circling like sharks ready to tear you to pieces at the slightest misstep?

    Makes your knuckling under to Rush that much more pathetic. You had to know your days were limited, at least stand for what you believe along the way.

  5. 5

    If Tedisco loses he won’t be the only Republican that loses because of the lockstep stimulus vote. The Republican that won Jefferson’s seat in Louisiana is gone. I don’t know if the recall effort will work, but he is toast in 2010.(But he would be in a difficult position even if he hadn’t been coerced into voting against the stimulus. Democrats heavily outnumber Republicans in that district.) I suspect any Republican not in a seat that is at least +2 Cook PVI will be a target of DCCC ads reminding everyone of how that member voted with the Republican leadership and Rush Limbaugh.

  6. 6
    DougJ says:

    The Republican that won Jefferson’s seat in Louisiana is gone.

    Apparently, it’s gone regardless of what Cao does. Huge Democratic rej advantage.

    The only reason that Cao won was because Jefferson was seen (rightly) as a criminal.

  7. 7
    Zifnab says:

    @Ricky Bobby: He was running against a guy in a "White’s Only" Club. I’m sure he saw the long knives coming out a ways back. I mean, he might as well have run for governor in Alabama on the KKK ticket.

    Steele is a corporate whore first, a Regan apologist second, and a political denizen always. He’s not thinking with his skin color. He just saw the path to power and took it.

  8. 8
    MikeJ says:

    It won’t really mater that Tedisco won’t say how he would have voted on the stimulus bill. It passed with zero republican votes in the house. Does anybody believe that there exists someone who could credibly run as a republican and could still say no to party leadership on anything?

  9. 9
    MikeJ says:

    The only reason that Cao won was because Jefferson was seen (rightly) as a criminal.

    No, because Jefferson was a criminal and the Dems split the vote. LA has no primary.

  10. 10
    Violet says:

    DougJ, hope you have a great time in London!

    I’ll be sad if/when Steele goes. He’s been very entertaining so far.

  11. 11
    Tokyokie says:

    Steele is Clevon Little from Blazing Saddles only not intentionally funny.

  12. 12
    feebog says:

    Last poll I saw in this race still had Murphy down by about 10 points. But his trend was up and Tedisco’s was down. The question is whether Murphy has enough time to close the gap.

  13. 13

    To be fair, Steele is going to get canned because he’s been a truly embarrassin chairman, and because he apparently has no intention to ever staff the place up. The Congressional race would just make a nice excuse of sorts.

  14. 14
    passerby says:

    Hey Doug old chap. STOP. Step away from the keyboard. Aren’t you on vacation?

    Relax and enjoy the Brit culture because, though Michael Steele may be gone by the time you return, the rest of this crap is not going away any time soon. There’ll be plenty of American media rubbish** to report once you get back.

    Have fun. How was your flight?

    Cheerio!

    **(or perhaps your take on the British media rubbish would be interesting, just curious)

  15. 15
    OriGuy says:

    I have a hunch that Steele is such a tool that he will blame the liberal media and the Democrats when he does go. It would be nice to see him lash out at Rush and his own party, but it’s not going to happen.

  16. 16
    gex says:

    The first black RNC Chair will take the fall for everything.

    Well of course he will. The GOP has very loudly been claiming that the entire financial crisis was caused by minorities getting mortgages. There’s absolutely nothing that they won’t blame on brown people.

  17. 17

    @OriGuy:

    He doesn’t have anyone to lash out at. He’s the dumbass.

  18. 18
    jlo says:

    The first black RNC Chair will take the fall for everything.

    Yes. Because the Republican Party is a horror movie. And we have all seen what happens to the black guy in horror movies.

  19. 19
    NonyNony says:

    @DougJ:

    Apparently, it’s gone regardless of what Cao does. Huge Democratic rej advantage.

    The only reason that Cao won was because Jefferson was seen (rightly) as a criminal.

    Yeah, but if Cao had come into the House, acted like a center-right legislator, took every opportunity available to "Sistah Souljah" his own party on a regular basis, and most importantly brought the pork home for his district consistently and unapologetically, he could probably keep his seat for a while, even with the large Dem registration advantage. People actually do reward legislators for being competent and looking out for the interests of their district.

    It’s the formula that keeps sending conservative Democrats back to the House in districts that could just as easily be Republican. It’s how Ben Nelson keeps getting sent back to the Senate. It would work for Cao. But the Republicans are more concerned with ideological purity than with holding seats right now, so it probably was a non-starter of an idea to begin with.

  20. 20
    DougJ says:

    How was your flight?

    Not bad. I finally got in touch with my host (who’s at work and left a key) so now I can indeed step away from the computer!

  21. 21
    John PM says:

    @Tokyokie:

    Steele is Clevon Little from Blazing Saddles only not intentionally funny.

    Not exactly. Clevon Little’s character actually knew what he was doing and in the end won over the entire town.

  22. 22
    GSD says:

    The GOP-ers default mode is the Charles Stuart Defense.

    When in trouble, blame the black guy.

    -GSD

  23. 23
    mistermix says:

    I think Cantor and Steele are safe. The NRCC is willing to spend to elect Tedisco, and the DCCC is barely matching them. It would take a full-court advertising and GOTV press, led by the DCCC, to get Murphy elected, and there are no indications that they’re willing to take the risk of pushing hard and failing.

  24. 24

    […] the Republicans lose the special election to fill Kristen Gillibrand’s House seat in NY-20. DougJ responds: A little background here. The race should be a gimme for Republicans: it’s a +3-4 Cook PVI for […]

  25. 25
    Comrade Darkness says:

    Relax and enjoy the Brit culture

    ?

    I have to say, I think that’s a first. "Look askance at with bemused amusement" perhaps, or "gaze upon with wonder that empire building was ever possible with this lot".

  26. 26
    les says:

    Who could have guessed that "principled opposition" to things the majority of voters want would fail as a political maneuver? Cantor will be shocked, no doubt.

  27. 27
    Alexandra says:

    Doug, welcome to London. :)

    I’ve been a longtime lurker here but have never posted. Even though it’s a bit murky today, it’s supposed to get a bit milder over the coming couple of days.

    A couple of days back, a few people mentioned getting curry on Brick Lane. I can heartily recommend my favourite place:

    Reema, 48 Hanbury Street (off Brick Lane), London

    http://www.currymarks.com/details_reema.html
    Google Map

    Hope you enjoy your stay!

    Cheers. :)

    p.s. Michael Steele deserves what is coming to him imo.

  28. 28

    DougJ

    Your boy Scherer is at it again.

    http://swampland.blogs.time.co.....riorities/

    Hidden deep within the stimulus bill was a big pot of money for the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, to change education in America: $4.3 billion for "incentive grants" which will be awarded to states on a competitive basis based on the state’s ability to do things Duncan and Obama want; and $650 million, which Duncan can award directly to school districts, non-profits or public/private partnerships, for stuff that pleases Obama and Duncan.

  29. 29
    Chasm says:

    Dude, gotta tell ya, if you think getting off the plane tired is ‘jet lagged,’ then you ain’t never been jet lagged. Jet lag is when, in about 2 weeks, your eyes pop open at 3am and there is no way to get back to sleep. If you’re only going to be there for a week or so, you won’t feel actual jet lag.

    Have fun in merry ol’ London!

  30. 30
    Tokyokie says:

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/?.....nt-1173486
    John PM

    Steele is Clevon Little from Blazing Saddles only not intentionally funny.

    Not exactly. Clevon Little’s character actually knew what he was doing and in the end won over the entire town.

    I thought his knowing what he was doing and winning over the entire town was the intentionally funny part. But both characters were selected for the same reason.

  31. 31

    […] 10, 2009 · No Comments There’s a great post over at Balloon Juice discussing what it will mean to Republicans if they lose a race they should win handily in New […]

  32. 32
    Brian J says:

    Isn’t it simply possible that the powers that be on the right are looking for a reason to get rid of Steele and that this would provide them with a pretty good out? It doesn’t have to matter that it could very well be beyond his control. It simply has to have the appearance of being a reasonable response. If Steele was fired because they were tired of him making ludicrous statements and sounding like a hipster doofus on television, people would start asking why the chump was ever elected party chair in the first place.

  33. 33
    DougJ says:

    @Alexandra

    Thanks!

    Didn’t do anything too fun today — just napped for a bit, then went to the Selfridge Food Hall and then came back and drank a couple bottles of wine with my host.

  34. 34

    When a typical human paints himself or herself into a corner, they try to figure out a way to get out without screwing up the paint job.

    When a Republican paints himself or herself into a corner, instead of trying to get out they set themselves on fire.

  35. 35
    burnspbesq says:

    As a proud Union alum, I just have to say that Tedisco is an embarrassment to our alma mater, and has been ever since he graduated and decided against earning an honest living.

    But I am having a great deal of difficulty getting my head around the idea of a venture capitalist from Glens Falls.

  36. 36

    […] campaign in NY-20 (Kirsten Gillibrand’s old seat) has turned into an amazing shitstorm. When last we left it, the race—which should be a gimme for Republicans for a variety of reasons (big rej […]

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] campaign in NY-20 (Kirsten Gillibrand’s old seat) has turned into an amazing shitstorm. When last we left it, the race—which should be a gimme for Republicans for a variety of reasons (big rej […]

  2. […] 10, 2009 · No Comments There’s a great post over at Balloon Juice discussing what it will mean to Republicans if they lose a race they should win handily in New […]

  3. […] the Republicans lose the special election to fill Kristen Gillibrand’s House seat in NY-20. DougJ responds: A little background here. The race should be a gimme for Republicans: it’s a +3-4 Cook PVI for […]

Comments are closed.