Search and destroy

There’s a post on Crooked Timber that’s been making the rounds (Steve Benen; Paul Krugman):

I’ve been too absorbed by my book projects and by Australian politics (of which more soon) to pay a lot of attention to the forthcoming US elections, but it seems to be widely projected that the Republicans could regain control of the House of Representatives. What surprises me is that no-one has drawn the obvious inference as to what will follow, namely a shutdown of the US government.

It seems obvious to me that a shutdown will happen – the Republicans of today are both more extreme and more disciplined than last time they were in a position to shut down the government, and they did it then. And they hate Obama at least as much now as they hated Clinton in 1995 (maybe not quite as much as they hated him by 2000, but they are getting there faster this time).

I do not think that this analysis is correct. The government shutdown was a political failure for Republicans — it did no damage to Clinton, who sailed to victory in 1996. The trouble with a government shutdown, from the Republican perspective, is that it generates too many stories about people who couldn’t visit public parks that week and that it focuses attention on actual budgetary details; it’s a battle fought on reality-based turf, and that terrain is not favorable to Republicans.

Endless investigations are another story. While Republicans did suffer losses in 1998, the fact that they won the White House in 2000 means that impeachment must be viewed as something of a political success. Moreover, modern Republicans excel at destroying their opponents personally, and personal destruction was the end goal of the various investigations of Clinton.

There are those who say that Republicans won’t be able to do this with Obama, because there is nothing significant to investigate. I would ask them to remember that Gingrich-era Republicans took 140 hours of testimony about the Clinton’s Christmas card list.

Here’s how it plays out, I think…if Republicans take the House, they’ll launch endless, pointless investigations of Obama. At least some of these will have a nasty, racial tinge, a la the New Black Panther Party stuff. Establishment media will take all of these investigations very seriously and start hankering for a president who “can bring the country together”. This sets the stage for a Republican nominee who is a uniter, not a divider (who knows if the GOP will succeed in nominating a candidate who can dupe Villagers into buying this line — EDIT: I think Villagers will buy it from John Thune or Mitch Daniels, they won’t but it from Sarah Palin, with the other possible nominees, I’m not sure one way or the other).

Remember what Joe Klein wrote in his implicit endorsement of George W. Bush (post-election day, pre-SCOTUS decision):

Gore ran a more divisive campaign and then reinforced his partisan reputation by challenging the results in Florida; if he does win the Presidency, his ability to govern will have been severely compromised. . . Each day the struggle continues, the likelihood of a successful Presidency diminishes, but success remains a possibility, particularly for a politician who is humble and gracious, nimble and fearless—that is, a politician who understands that the public’s greatest desire is to be liberated from the witless vehemence that engulfed the Clinton years and which now threatens even more serious damage to our public life.

If the economy isn’t in terrible shape in 2012, Republicans don’t have a great chance of beating Obama. But they’d be foolish not to try the LewiskyGate, TravelGate, SocksGate gambit again. It worked last time.






124 replies
  1. 1
    beltane says:

    This is what pissed me off the most about taking impeachment off the table in 2007. Republicans never take anything off the table, and they are none the worse for it. It is pretty much a given that in the future, any Republican Congress will impeach any Democratic president.

  2. 2
    Cain says:

    I’m still trying to figure out why it is projected that the Republicans will take over the House?

    Are we really that stupid? THey will do NOTHING for the American people except try to destroy Obama. We will be again wasting money.

    cain

  3. 3
    beltane says:

    The funny part about the Clinton impeachment is that the more the Beltway bloviators were scandalized and demanded that Clinton resign, the higher his poll numbers went. Didn’t he have something close to a 70% approval rating at the time of the impeachment vote?

    There were also no progressive blogs back then. Drudge really did rule their world. If the Republicans react to economic crisis by devoting themselves to investigations of petty matters, people may start to become genuinely angry at them.

  4. 4
    Bill H says:

    The government shutdown was a political failure for Republicans

    You’re assuming that today’s Republicans are intelligent enough to recognize that, which I’m not certain is a valid assumption.

  5. 5
    Tom Levenson says:

    This is exactly right. Of course, the government will also cease to function, given the majority’s absolute control of the House agenda.

    Which is the perfect outcome for the GOP. Access to the cash that power brings, completely deranged and satisfying “investigations” that both dehumanize the opposition and give that warm fuzzy feeling of standing up for “principle” (no one is above the law — even, or especially those who have done nothing in its violation) and, best of all, they get to go on demolishing any hope of using government power to solve any actual problem out there. They can then get on with the business of transferring public assets to private interests and let the rest of us rot.

    This is a big deal election folks — and I’m becoming one of those low enthusiasm Democrats about to ramp up my cash and time commitments to this deal.

  6. 6
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Are we really that stupid?

    Yes. So long as you’re talking about American voters, yes. Exceptionally, since it will be a matter of turnout, there will be two kinds of stupid involved — the GOP voters who will climb over broken glass to restore the government into the (white) hands where it belongs, and the Democratic voters who stay home because we’re not Denmark yet.

    And the shutdown is a sure thing. The drumbeat on the deficit/debt — and the campaign to conflate them in the (spongy) public consciousness — is the key. This is why the GOP have suddenly turned into a bunch of accountants, when they were until recently remarkably like a bunch of sailors on shore leave.

    You don’t put a pistol on stage in Act I, unless it goes off in Act III.

    You don’t shut the government down. You refuse, out of prudence (insert kitchen table metaphor) to pass a debt ceiling increase (insert credit card metaphor) resolution, and let the government (insert reference to Kenyans and such here ) shut the government (did I mention Kenyans?) down.

    They can then get on with the business of transferring public assets to private interests and let the rest of us rot.

    As I have said before, Republicans are small-government libertarians insofar as they believe the role of the State should be limited to providing a police escort for their getaway car.

  7. 7
    beltane says:

    @Bill H: Today’s Republican party appears to be on some kind of murder-suicide mission. Their embrace of nihilism is stunning. The current obsession with 2012 and the end of the world indicates that many Americans have given up on caring about anything anymore, including their own future.

  8. 8
    mikey says:

    Couple things. First of all, if the Republicans do take the house, it will result in a defacto government shutdown no matter the specific intent. Any legislation passed by the House will die in conference, and any that manages to ride the blue dogs to passage will die under a veto pen. You’re right about the investigations, but you’ll see “dueling investigations” where the Senate committees seek to offset some of the more outrageous republican claims. Actually, no matter if the Democrats actually retain control of the house, this inability to pass legislation will still come to pass.

    The Republicans are already talking about blocking the Debt Ceiling bill to force a default. It does not seem unlikely to me that this MUCH more ideologically rigid crop of right wing extremists will block budgets and spending bills – as long as Obama has the presidency, that’s a hill they’ve already demonstrated they’re prepared to die on.

    And the whole “as long as Obama’s president” thing and the 2012 general election is a real interesting conversation. One of the reasons the Democrats are going to lose seats in congress this year is that they won unsustainable majorities, and many of those seat are merely returning to their historic balance. But the Republicans do not have a nationally viable figure to run in the presidency. Probably their best hope is Gingrich, and he very likely will decide not to run – if he does, the radical right will defeat him in enough primaries to stop his nomination. It’s hard to see, as you say, Obama not winning a second term. But it’s also hard to see anything but gridlock until 2016, and I am comfortable guaranteeing a number of economic, natural and foreign policy crises between now and then, at a time when the US is effectively without capable governance…

    mikey

  9. 9
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    You refuse, out of prudence (insert kitchen table metaphor) to pass a debt ceiling increase

    This.

    That will be the way the GOP blackmails the rest of Congress into getting it’s way. “If you don’t let us shut the government down, we’ll vote to default on our debt, bringing the whole fucking thing down.” The Broders, Bobos, Chunky Reese Whitherspoons and Joke Lines with soil themselves with joy over the GOPers ‘standing up for their principals’.

  10. 10
    Boots says:

    I really don’t think this is true. I don’t see impeachment as a *win* of any sort for the Republicans. IMO the election of 2000 was certainly not a referendum on it-had Bill Clinton been on the ballot he would certainly have won handily, and the George W. Bush who campaigned (“uniter, not divider” and “compassionate conservative”) was far different than the George W. Bush who governed, if you can call it that. He didn’t run on a vastly different emotional appeal than did Barack Obama, an appeal for unity. This can hardly be seen as a repudiation of the Clinton presidency. This is not to say I don’t agree that there will be obstructionism of the highest order should Republicans take over the Congress, only that it has only been partially effective in the past and is likely to only be partially effective in the future. People in general may be stupid, but they definitely do not like blatant partisan fishing expeditions-Bill Clinton had some of his highest approval ratings of his presidency during his impeachment while the GOP hit a low water mark for the time.

  11. 11
    Frank says:

    The New Black Panther hysterics is not just post-election impeachment fodder. Conservatives are building this up as a tool for election day itself. If they can convince enough idiots that the evil Dems are going to steal the election with their thugs it may inspire outraged voters to get out and “make sure that doesn’t happen.”

  12. 12
    PeakVT says:

    the fact that they won the White House in 2000 means that impeachment must be viewed as something of a political success.

    This sort of displacement won’t be applicable in 2012, however. Shoeleather Joe won’t be heading the ticket.

  13. 13
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    —the GOP voters who will climb over broken glass to restore the government into the (white) hands where it belongs, and the Democratic voters who stay home because we’re not Denmark yet.

    and the “independent” voters who support Snowe and Collins because they get their phone calls returned, or Lieberman because of something about the New London submarine base, or the working poor who vote for tax breaks for rich because of the holy fetus and that flyer somebody stuck under their windshield wiper about Democrats wanting to take their guns away, and….

  14. 14
    DougJ says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    I’m not sure I agree, but this is a superb comment, right down to the Chekhov quote.

  15. 15
    wilfred says:

    The big difference between 1996 and now is that we are on a perpetual war footing which requires periodic reviews for the tons of spending consumed in the STRUGGLE TO BE FREE.

    Would the republicans dare to risk our freedom by shutting down the very apparatus that feeds the gaping maw of the very FREEDOM that keeps us free.

    I doubt it. Zillions for defense, not one cent for taxes!

  16. 16
    gnomedad says:

    On the one hand, Clinton actually did do something stupid, disgusting, and indefensible, even if it was a crock as grounds for impeachment. On the other hand, Obama is teh black.

  17. 17
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Spot on for Collins and Snowe. I have an old student working in the former’s constituent-service operation and it is formidable. Of course, one senator per 510,000 people makes it a bit easier than, say, Shumer’s and Gillibrands’ job in the same area.

    As far as CT cheerleaders for EBC/New London, the 2008 challenger to present US Rep Joe Courtney, former CO of the Naval Submarine Base New London, Sean Sullivan, lost the election by a two to one margin. Either Dems do it too, or they do it better.

  18. 18
    Alex S. says:

    The loss of Al Gore was a real tragedy. And it’s very disappointing to examine why he lost. The economy was in fine shape, the deficit went down, America was respected abroad and Gore had the reputation of a stainless technocrat. The easy way to deal with this is to say that Al Gore only lost because of the Supreme Court, but actually, he should have won easily in any case. I think he made a mistake trying to separate himself from Clinton’s legacy. He should have embraced it more. I don’t think that the investigations and all that harmed his chances – he made it clear that things would be different with him. And by the way, Clinton’s final approval ratings when he left office were the best ratings of any outgoing president (among those with measured approval ratings).
    The people wanted “emotion” which is why they chose the cowboy of compassionate conservatism while Gore stripped his campaign of any emotion. While he was not an emotional person himself, he could have displayed pride and even righteous anger. The Clintons always returned the ball while Gore (like Kerry and Obama) just sucked it up. Obama finally had the demographics on his side, but it wasn’t enough for the other two.
    That was a bit meandering, sorry.

  19. 19
    eemom says:

    But they’d be foolish not to try the LewiskyGate, TravelGate, SocksGate gambit again. It worked last time

    Somehow this strikes me as a warped perspective. I mean I know you’re not actually advocating it…..but have we gotten to the point where we just ASSUME that reprehensible political sleazebagging at the expense of taxpayer $$ is “business as usual”??

  20. 20
    cleek says:

    meh.

    if they try the endless investigation stuff, the parallels to the Clinton era will be impossible for the press to ignore. and since the public was largely on Clinton’s side in all of that…

  21. 21
    DougJ says:

    @eemom:

    have we gotten to the point where we just ASSUME that reprehensible political sleazebagging at the expense of taxpayer $$ is “business as usual”??

    Yes.

  22. 22
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    I figure this whole thing hinges on when the idea peaks, and the one about them taking over the House is peaking too soon for them. Which is what Gibbs was up to, I’d put money on it.

    It sounds crazy but those things matter, people being the infinitely influenceable creatures that they are. People will downplay the influence of “the expectations game” or treat it like voodoo while at the same time blithely discussing “voter enthusiasm” as perfectly natural and real.

    Americans in particular move in these fads and waves, and if the “Hey the Republicans are going to take the House!” meme is boring and yesterday’s news by election time, that can make a huge difference. And it probably will be by then since it’s months away.

    Enough to mean that the Democrats keep it, I don’t know.

    The thing is, it’s actually got to be somewhat organic, even if it’s also somewhat manufactured. So you can’t just manipulate literally anything, but I figure if the Democrats/White House start now nudging things toward where it almost feels like “Okay, look we let the Republicans take over again and look what happened!” even if it means just taking over in the public imagination– who knows. Stranger things have worked.

    No charge, Democrats. No really. If it works, it’s yours.

  23. 23
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    I don’t know which I think is more detestable.

    The right, ginning up the fear of terrorists, Mexicans, deficits, and a black president, or …

    The blogs, ginning up the fear of the right.

    For the umpteenth time: I am not afraid of Mexicans, deficits, black or brown presidents, or terrorists, and I sure the fuck as hell am not afraid of the American right wing.

    We outnumber them, and if we vote in good numbers, we defeat them.

    I also have no interest in analyzing 2012. Zero, none, nada.

    There’s enough going on today that is blogworthy.

  24. 24
    Corner Stone says:

    If I’m Nancy Pelosi and the R’s take the House I would find that big damn gavel and walk up to the House of Lords and start NANCY SMASH! the whole damn lot of them.
    Will anyone be more pissed if the unlikely R wave happens?

  25. 25
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @cleek: I agree. I think the idea that they’d be wasting everyone’s time with investigations and drama would stick. Instead of all the tantrum-throwing that Gingrich did, they’d continually vote to pass Arizona-style laws and tax cuts.

  26. 26
    burnspbesq says:

    @eemom:

    have we gotten to the point where we just ASSUME that reprehensible political sleazebagging at the expense of taxpayer $$ is “business as usual”??

    Is that a rhetorical question?

  27. 27
    Davis X. Machina says:

    The easy way to deal with this is to say that Al Gore only lost because of the Supreme Court, but actually, he should have won easily in any case.

    Not an open-and-shut case by any means.

    Bartels and Zaller, Presidential Vote Models: A Recount (PDF.)

    Here, we entertain the radical notion that Al Gore was a solid candidate — about as solid, at any rate, as George W. Bush — and that the 2000 election turned out (give or take a few hundred votes in Florida) almost exactly as should have been expected. Using data from the 13 previous post-war presidential elections (1948-1996), we examine a total of 48 different regression models employing a variety of economic and political variables. The balance of evidence from these analyses suggests that Gore’s advantage with respect to the “fundamentals” was modest at best – and that the election outcome was well within the range one would expect if both candidates ran more or less equally competent campaigns. As we show below, there have been some elections that make presidential vote models look bad, but 2000 is not one of them.

    Bartels is about the best in the business. A paper well worth reading.

  28. 28
    debbie says:

    The reason LewinskyGate, etc. worked is because no one pushed back (except Clinton with his insincere assurances). The Democrats may not be particularly organized, but I am hearing responses this time around. I think that will make a difference.

    This time, Democrats have even developed a Republican-like talking point: All the Republicans have is “repeal, repeat.” If they follow this up with context, they can’t lose. Particularly when the Republicans keep handing out gifts like a year-long moratorium on legislation or turning rape and incest into lemonade. The only thing this stokes is anger, and anger is no substitute for ideas or policy.

  29. 29
    joe from Lowell says:

    I find it unlikely in the extreme that a minority party that is less popular than the majority party – as the Congressional Republicans are in poll after poll – is going to enjoy a big wave election.

    In 1994, the Republicans were much more popular than the Democrats. In 2006 and 2008, the Democrats were much more popular than the Republicans.

  30. 30
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    I’d have gladly traded the Republicans making gargantuan gains in the 1998 elections for Gore prevailing in 2000.

  31. 31
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    What Bill H said. Expecting rational behavior from the party of Bachmann, Boehner, Palin, Inhofe and Lieberman (sic intended) is like expecting a two year to quietly accept when you tell them there will be no more candy.

  32. 32
    robertdsc-PowerBook & 27 titles says:

    Funny, in MW2, there’s a mode called Search & Destroy. A specific challenge in this mode is to defeat 3 players on the other team while being the last member of your team still alive.

    The challenge is called Enemy Of The State. That’s what the Republicans are.

  33. 33
    joe from Lowell says:

    Meaning, even if people are looking for someone to replace the Democrats, the Republicans have to make themselves out to be a plausible governing alternative.

    Instead, we get tea parties, Joe Barton, and Repeal Health Care.

  34. 34
    shep says:

    While Republicans did suffer losses in 1998, the fact that they won the White House in 2000 means that impeachment must be viewed as something of a political success.
    .
    One small problem with that theory. As I recall, The Democrat won that one by half a million votes. Republicans took the White House, they didn’t win it.

  35. 35
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    I figure this whole thing hinges on when the idea peaks, and the one about them taking over the House is peaking too soon for them. Which is what Gibbs was up to, I’d put money on it.

    I’ve had the same thought. Losses are virtually inevitable, given the off-year voting patterns and shitty economy, so why not raise the bar to the highest level? Instead of “Speaker Pelosi faces huge losses” make the headline “Boner fails to capture gavel as predicted”. I did see an analysis last week that said the GOP has to really run the table to take the House.

  36. 36
    toujoursdan says:

    IF the economy is bad in 2012?

    It IS going to be bad. This Great Recession is creating a whole new class of unemployed industrial and office workers with no prospect of finding a similar job. Environmental problems (BP, overfishing, etc) are killing other jobs faster than we think. The retirement of the baby boomers, who have no other assets than a house they’ll want to unload, is going to cause the housing market to go into long term (20+ year) decline. The prospect of energy prices remaining low with Chindia gobbling up more of the pie is increasingly unlikely too. That will affect everything from food prices to commutes.

    The one thing the GOP is great at is scapegoating. They will blame liberals, illegals, Democrats or Kenyan born Presidents for these troubles and there is very little the Dems can do about them. They are out of anyone’s hands. When people get scared they aren’t liberal and tolerant.

  37. 37
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    I don’t think sane Republican strategists even WANT to take back the House this year. We won’t start seeing significant economic recovery until at least 2012; they’ll be hamstrung with at least a Democratic president and possibly a Democratic-controlled Senate and unable to pass anything that their base will find appealing–the upshot of which will probably be losing their majority again in 2012. Much better to make modest gains so they can go for the whole enchilada in 2012 when people stop thinking about the economy again.

  38. 38
    mikey says:

    @DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective:

    I also have no interest in analyzing 2012.

    If you’re not interested, then you’re not interested. I am only on the basis of watching the Republican party destroy it’s own viability as a national party. The small, regional constituencies and shrinking demographics or their increasingly radical ideology cannot support a national candidate, and yet there is a sufficiently vocal activist base that will not permit them to nominate a candidate that can appeal to the national electorate.

    If you’re interested in politics as a topic in and of itself, this is a fascinating dynamic to observe. Do they acknowledge it even as they shoot themselves in the foot, or do they fall under some kind of group delusion that there is, somewhere, an invisible reserve of incoherent right wing ideologues that will magically appear in November of 2021?

    On the other hand, if you just care about effective American Governance, this is not at all trivial. What happens in a rigidly enforced two-party system if one of the parties becomes a small, regional movement with no national constituency? Does it open up the system to other parties? Does it ultimately bring about a serious conversation about government reform (parliamentary democracy, anyone?) When the military/industrial/corporate complex discovers that their natural leadership party has lost the ability to dominate the discussion from the top, does that lead to a coup? You cannot have a viable one-party democracy.

    I dunno. I sure think it’s an interesting dynamic…

    mikey

  39. 39
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    God, that quote from Klein just brings all the stupid from the 2000 election rushing back: “self-made business man from outside Washington”, “have a beer with”, “at ease in his skin”. Gah. I thought the election was over the day he sneeringly attacked Gore for wanting to make Social Security “some kinda federal program”. But no, that was just adorable.

  40. 40
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Davis X. Machina: I have a friend who loved to parrot the Nader line that “Gore couldn’t even win his home state!” as proof of what a pathetic candidate he was.

    And I would respond by asking why in the world he expected a Democrat winning in Tennessee to be a given, in fact I’m amazed that Gore ever won anything there to begin with.

    My friend didn’t have much of a response because he was a fairly recent immigrant to the US and probably thought Tennessee was Democratic heartland because Gore was a senator from there. Or because he had read an old textbook from the 50s, possibly.

  41. 41
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    If you’re interested in politics

    My pretty much fanatical interest in politics has been well documented on these pages for five and half years. I became a diehard Democrat helping campaign for Adlai Stevenson.

    I have no interest in 2012 today because every single word we or anyone else says about it is pure speculation and brainfarting. Which is fine, but the real world of today is plenty interesting enough for me.

    And as an aside, yesterday’s big story, the Mark Williams Lincoln Letter and its racist stamp on the Tea Party … is over, at least for that chapter of the story. Williams and his Tea Party Express gang are expelled from the Tea Party thanks to his idiotic behavior and recent writings.

    For the first time since we heard of the Tea Party, somebody has stepped up and shown some leadership over the thing. Good for them, I hope the trend continues.

  42. 42
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @mikey:

    What happens in a rigidly enforced two-party system if one of the parties becomes a small, regional movement with no national constituency?

    For an answer, cf. UK Labour just before, and under, Thatcher. They couldn’t hold seats outside of London south of a line from the Wash to the Severn estuary, nor could the Tories really do much north of the same line. You got Tony Blair and ‘New’ ‘Labour’ as a result…for better, and for worse.

  43. 43
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    What happens in a rigidly enforced two-party system if one of the parties becomes a small, regional movement with no national constituency?

    You get the situation you have now. Nihilist, obstructionist behavior and foot stamping. As predicted two years ago, and right on schedule.

  44. 44
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: The Bartels and Zaller paper is a must-read for anyone wondering how much actual room there is, in Presidential races, for purely political means to move an electorate, given any state of the economy, a question of burning interest today to everyone — well, nearly everyone…..

  45. 45
    Mike in NC says:

    Probably their best hope is Gingrich, and he very likely will decide not to run – if he does, the radical right will defeat him in enough primaries to stop his nomination.

    Who on the right is really more radical than Newt? Has anyone seen the shit he’s been saying and writing lately? Maybe he hasn’t had a single new idea in 15 years, but he’s even more of a crazy shithouse rat than he ever was. He’d hire a puke like Mark Williams to be his press secretary.

    Very Serious People think Gingrich is the frontrunner for the GOP nomination in 2012. Not really likely given his baggage, but if true it could possibly bring the Wingnut Event Horizon.

  46. 46
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective: Damn! NAACP: 1, Mark Williams – 0.

  47. 47
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Yes, but I really think it’s the idea of peaking soon rather than Gibbs just trying to lower expectations, just because that actually almost makes no sense in this case.

    Lowering expectations is all about making it seem like less of a loss, whatever it ends up being. But what does that matter if the Republicans take control of the House? As this post points out, if that happens it’s going to be more or less over, and being able to point and say “Well they didn’t take it over by much!” isn’t going to gain you a lot.

    So the more likely motive is trying to actually prevent that from happening, which you can do by injecting the idea early that they will, they are going to, and by extension, they did. Then let the public get bored with that and turn against them.

    Who knows.

  48. 48
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    @Alex S.: A big yes to this. Remember that Al picked Holy Joe as his VP to counter the Clinton Ick factor. Al’s discomfort with Clinton was written all over throughout his campaign.

  49. 49
    jwb says:

    @joe from Lowell: The public’s general distrust of the Goopers and their takeover by the teabaggers are the only things keeping the Dems in the election at this point. If the Goopers looked even remotely sane at this point, the Dems would be heading for a thorough trouncing.

  50. 50
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people):

    Yeah! In a summer (or should I say, another summer) of useless shit from the right, a glimmer of sanity …….

    If the right can fight off the lunatic racist crazies …. Okay, I know I am dreaming. But maybe the TP sends a message that racism is not acceptable in their zeal to oppose. That has to be an improvement.

  51. 51
    Scott says:

    EDIT: I think Villagers will buy it from John Thune or Mitch Daniels, they won’t but it from Sarah Palin, with the other possible nominees, I’m not sure one way or the other

    I think they’ll buy it if Palin’s the nominee. “Republican insiders say Palin is a uniter, not a divider. Sounds good enough to us, so we’re not going to ask any Democrats, who are all fifth-column traitors anyway.”

  52. 52
    kay says:

    Published: June 5, 1996
    WASHINGTON, June 4— Republicans on the special Senate Whitewater committee released a report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation today showing that the fingerprints of the First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, were found on records discovered in the White House family quarters two years after they were first sought by investigators. The F.B.I. report also found that the documents, copies of billing records from Mrs. Clinton’s work as a lawyer in Arkansas, revealed fingerprints of five others. They were Vincent W. Foster Jr., the deputy White House counsel who committed suicide in July 1993; a personal assistant to the Clintons who had also worked at Mrs. Clinton’s law firm; an aide to the Clintons’ current lawyer, and two other law firm aides. This is clearly important and relevant evidence,” said Michael Chertoff, the counsel for the committee’s Republicans. “It clearly means she touched these records at some point in time.” But Mark Fabiani, a special White House counsel, said Mrs. Clinton had acknowledged that she probably read the documents in 1992 during the election campaign when questions about Whitewater were being raised by reporters. He added that she had testified under oath that she had nothing to do with the documents during the two years they were missing and did not know how they ended up in the family quarters. The bureau report did not say how long ago the fingerprints were left on the documents or in what sequence, things beyond the scope of fingerprint technology.

    Of course they’ll do it again. Have Chertoff or Starr suffered any loss of credibility as a result of the Whitewater allegations? No. Has the NYTimes? No.

    I think they absolutely have to remove Holder, because Gonzales had to resign, so that’s probably Job One, on the ‘ol revenge list.

  53. 53
    JasonF says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: The fact that Al Gore was a Senator from Tennessee in the eighties is part and parcel with why 2010 is different from 1994. 1994 was a realigning election, marking the transition of the South from the Democrats to the Republicans. There’s no corresponding realignment to be had today, which makes the GOP’s task that much harder.

    Of course the Democrat who was elected to the Senate from Tennessee in the 1980s couldn’t get elected to the White House in 2000. Mitt Romney isn’t going to carry Massachusetts in 2012 if he’s the Republican nominee either.

    One of the guys at Nate Silver’s blog had a piece on this the other day.

  54. 54
    Brachiator says:

    If the economy isn’t in terrible shape in 2012, Republicans don’t have a great chance of beating Obama. But they’d be foolish not to try the LewiskyGate, TravelGate, SocksGate gambit again. It worked last time.

    If the Republicans try this, and the Democrats sit back and passively let it happen, then to hell with them all.

    Instead of waiting to react to whatever the GOP might do, the Dems need to be more proactive. The Republicans just love to slime Obama with the charge that he is a Chicago machine politician even as they unleash dirty tricks that would make the Devil blush.

    The Democrats don’t have to fight dirty. They just have to fight.

    If the Republicans try this, and citizens just … blog … instead of spending time and money backing sane candidates (which obviously a lot of people righteously did during the various past elections), then the American people will deserve the crap that they might end up with.

    It might even be of some small value to send a letter or email (letters are probably better, though) to the Republican Congresscritters in your state saying “the more you obstruct, the more I am going to support alternative candidates. The more dirty tricks your party pulls, the more money I will spend to bring you down.” This probalbly won’t change their behavior, but it will remind them that they don’t live in an all tea bag universe.

  55. 55
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @JasonF: That’s what I meant about the 1950s textbook. Assuming a Democrat should win then was logical, but over the years as you say that changed, and yes, even during Gore’s tenure.

    This same friend also used the “Kerry couldn’t even win Louisiana!” as an argument, which was a real head scratcher until I realized that he saw TV images of all the African Americans in New Orleans and probably assumed that Louisiana had a largely African American population.

  56. 56
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    @kay:

    And here’s why it won’t matter:

    While the right is running around like chickens clucking over how they are going to get our guy, our guy is doing exactly what he said he would. He is governing, and ignoring the polls and the pundits and the churn.

    And when 2012 gets here, he will go out and sell the first term as the basis for asking for a second term, and he’ll get it. He said he would do the right thing regardless of the politics, and he is doing that as he sees it to do.

    He’ll take the podium at the Democratic Party Convention two years from now and confidently reel off a list of accomplishments as long as your arm, while the Republicans will be sputtering about some pissant scaremongering bullshit or other like they always do, and we’ll win.

    The end.

  57. 57
    matoko_chan says:

    @Scott: lawl.
    let’s hope they run Palin.
    can you say voter enthusiasm?
    If they run her in 2012 anywhere on the ticket Obama’s base of youth and minorities will come screaming down out of the heavens like a swarm of MQ-9 Reaper drones on an afghan wedding party.

  58. 58
    Dr. Psycho says:

    @Davis X. Machina: “Republicans are small-government libertarians insofar as they believe the role of the State should be limited to providing a police escort for their getaway car.”

    Win.

  59. 59
    Corner Stone says:

    @DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective:

    I also have no interest in analyzing 2012. Zero, none, nada.
    __
    There’s enough going on today that is blogworthy.

    Great idea! Let’s not consider ideas and issues that may be important in the near future, but rather let’s focus on the next 24hr news cycle!
    Win the morning!

  60. 60
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Apropos of how far to look ahead, or worrying about the next election, I read last night in Carwardine’s Lincoln bio that Abe had his name put forward in the Illinois Republican state convention in 1860 only for nomination for President, not for vice-president.

    He didn’t necessarily think he could win the nomination in the national convention, but he didn’t want to get side-tracked in the VP slot because he considered himself a lock for nomination in 1864 for the Senate.

    Looking ahead — probably not a bad idea.

  61. 61
    sven says:

    A couple of points:

    1) During the 1995 government shutdown Republicans wanted the public to perceive them as causing the shutdown. Polling at the time suggested the status quo was very unpopular so Gingrich and company believed ‘bold’ and ‘decisive’ action would be rewarded. Instead, Republicans looked ‘reckless’ and ‘radical’ which gave Clinton the framing he needed to win the debate. If Republicans decide to shut down the government again they will engineer a situation where Democrats share the blame.

    2) Republicans controlled both the House and Senate in 1995 and so the public generally saw the fight as Gingrich vs. Clinton. This year Republicans only have a real chance to take the House. Because the democrats will still have a majority in the Senate, a situation like 1995 is less likely to be Obama vs. Boehner, and more likely to be played as Democrats vs. Republicans.

    3) Fox News appeared in 1996.

    I think these three factors make it much more likely Republicans will attempt Shutdown-lite.

    Imagine this scenario:

    Boehner forces through an enormously provocative budget.
    Republicans don’t repeal Healthcare Reform, they just refuse to budget for it. Medicaide, the EPA, and Dept. of Energy are gutted to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. The Senate, now with 45 Republicans, can’t pass any budget at all. The government shuts down in slow-motion.

    How does the press cover the situation above? Do they accurately report a radical approach to complex legislation or is it personality driven squabble in Congress.

  62. 62
    NR says:

    @mikey:

    Couple things. First of all, if the Republicans do take the house, it will result in a defacto government shutdown no matter the specific intent. Any legislation passed by the House will die in conference, and any that manages to ride the blue dogs to passage will die under a veto pen.

    Don’t be so sure. From the way Obama is acting right now, it’s obvious that he believes that his political problems are a result of not moving far enough to the right after being elected. He will compound the problem and move even further to the right after the 2010 election. Bet on it.

  63. 63
    Brachiator says:

    @mikey:

    If you’re not interested, then you’re not interested. I am only on the basis of watching the Republican party destroy it’s own viability as a national party. The small, regional constituencies and shrinking demographics or their increasingly radical ideology cannot support a national candidate, and yet there is a sufficiently vocal activist base that will not permit them to nominate a candidate that can appeal to the national electorate.

    We haven’t got past the 2010 elections, let alone 2012, so it is far too early to start composing the obituary for the GOP.

    They are still able to raise money, they have loyal corporate interests, and they may even yet find a way to rein in the tea baggers and harness their malignant enthusiasm. They have found a way to use the immigration issue as a wedge.

    And demographics won’t necessarily save the Democrats, especially if voters conclude that the Democrats have failed on the most important issue, rescuing the economy and creating jobs.

    On the other hand, if you just care about effective American Governance, this is not at all trivial. What happens in a rigidly enforced two-party system if one of the parties becomes a small, regional movement with no national constituency?

    You sometimes get a new political party, as the Republican Party replaced the Whigs (with a pit stop at the Know Nothings, spiritual ancestors to the tea baggers).

    Does it ultimately bring about a serious conversation about government reform (parliamentary democracy, anyone?)

    Oh, hell no. Who wants to see something as craptastic as the Tory/Liberal Democrat coalition happen in the US. This would be like a stalemate in the 2008 elections ending up with John McCain as president and Dennis Kucinich as Vice President.

    When the military/industrial/corporate complex discovers that their natural leadership party has lost the ability to dominate the discussion from the top, does that lead to a coup? You cannot have a viable one-party democracy.

    Mexico quickly comes to mind as a country that for years had a single party dominate national, state and local elections.

  64. 64
    Davis X. Machina says:

    How does the press cover the situation above?

    Because it’s fairly complicated, I have no doubt how they would cover it: as an Obama-Boehner dick-measuring contest.

    Because you can’t put 200-plus representatives on one side of the screen, and Obama on the other, when you design your graphics for “America in Crisis”…

    Things might change — the first sign will be when WWE and RAW have a hundred-fifty, hundred-sixty guys in the ring at once.

  65. 65
    mikey says:

    @Brachiator: Are we considering Mexico under the PRI a “viable democracy”? Y’know, I don’t think that’s the way I’d describe it…

    mikey

  66. 66
    AnotherBruce says:

    @matoko_chan:

    Palin 2012 = McGovern 1972.

  67. 67
    Kirk Spencer says:

    The Republicans are unlikely to take the house.

    Use Cook’s numbers (and I’ll mention the problems with that in a moment) as they’re the most commonly referenced, and we discover that the Republicans have to win all the races that lean their way AND all the tossups AND at least six more seats currently leaning Democratic.

    Note that Cook calls such races as HI-1 a tossup. Just as a reminder, Djou won because two Democrats split the vote in a special election. Cook rates every single open or vacant seat, regardless of PVI, as somewhere between Tossup and strong Republican. Add to this the fact he’s been a bit off the past few election cycles, predicting slightly larger Republican results than actually happened. So yeah, I’ve a bit of question about his ranking.

    Even excluding the questions the Republicans need a perfect sweep plus a bit. It’s not likely.

  68. 68
    sven says:

    Most frustrating part of Republican victory in November?

    The discovery by David Brooks, Chris Mathews, and Fred Haitt that “Elections have consequences!”.

  69. 69
    Brachiator says:

    @mikey:

    Are we considering Mexico under the PRI a “viable democracy”? Y’know, I don’t think that’s the way I’d describe it…

    The government of the United States, among others, would disagree with you.

  70. 70
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Kirk Spencer: Looking at a lot of seat-by-seat stuff — Nate’s, Charlie Cook’s, the ones on DKos — my considered opinion is not only will they not win a majority, I don’t think they’ll wind up on the sunny side of 210 seats. (I’ve got some money on 213 seats, but that’s because it’s my money, and when I could buy a little cushion and still win, I took it.)

    1994 was the end of the Democratic South. Even though times are very bad, I don’t see that kind of change — cyclical change, yeah, but not secular change.

  71. 71
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @AnotherBruce:
    I’m hoping Palin ’12 = Buchanan ’92, but I think she’s got too keen a sense of keeping her bread buttered to go as far as he did.

  72. 72
    Riggsveda says:

    Pace to those who may have written this sentiment before me, but this is bullshit, the idea that Republicans won the White House in 2000 and that it proves anything. They did not win the election, it was awarded to them by a stacked Supreme Court, at least one of whose justices, Clarence Thomas, should have recused himself due to conflicts of interest. O’Connor, in a moment of candor after leaving the post, admitted she voted the way she did because she wanted a conservative in office, and regretted it ever after.

  73. 73
    Jager says:

    @Mike in NC:

    I hoping that Great American from Mississippi, Haley Barbor would be the nominee in 2012!

    Ha anyone asked brand new Catholic Newt what his position on sexual abuse by priests and the cover up by his Pope?

  74. 74
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Yeah, that’s not too far from my prediction.

    Boehner’s been making a big deal of how he doesn’t want Pelosi to be passing legislation between the elections and when he takes the gavel. I anticipate a lot of denial in November.

  75. 75
    Keith G says:

    I actually am hopeful that despite the losses, we will maintain a very slim edge in the house. I would be more hopeful if Obama had a better message machine, but we have already had that discussion.

    Yet if it all goes to hell and things get as horrifically bad as some describe, I will not mind too much as it will be the medicine that my idiotic fellow American need to experience.

    I mean, shit, how fucking dumb do you have to be to be a middle class American and agree to the dismantling of the social infrastructure that has been a foundation of that middle class existence.

  76. 76
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Kirk Spencer: Tom Schaller’s done a bit of numbers-crunching at Nate Silver’s place, and thinks the answer has to do with the increasingly regional nature of the GOP….

    ….southern and midwestern seats captured (or recaptured from 2006 or 2008) are insufficient to elevate John Boehner into the Speaker’s office, as you can see in Table 2 below.

  77. 77
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    You’re probably right. But it looks like the trend of increasing wingnuttyness in the Republican party will continue. So there is a non trivial chance that Sarah could become the nominee if she chooses to run.

    The only state she would carry would be South Carolina.

  78. 78
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    @Riggsveda:

    They did not win the election, it was awarded to them by a stacked Supreme Court, at least one of whose justices, Clarence Thomas, should have recused himself due to conflicts of interest.

    Which reminds me: is anyone else profoundly bothered that the Court has now created this extra-constitutional role for itself that de facto usurps the role of the House et al. in tiebreaking close presidential elections? I don’t care what they said in the ruling, the next time it happens, there will be an expectation in the media and elite circles that the Supreme Court will jump in.

    I think all of this stresses inherent flaws in the balance of powers concept where each branch is supposed to be able to check the other, but the Supreme Court effectively has final say. Presumably impeachment of justices was supposed to be more common than it is?

  79. 79
    Elizabelle says:

    @AnotherBruce:

    Except McGovern was a war veteran and smart guy who actually writes his books. History is going to be far kinder to Senator McGovern than Governor Palin.

    I hope that Palin would lose in a landslide, but think of the ugliness that her nomination and campaign would unleash.

    I am hoping that some scandal or gaffe takes her out of contention as soon as possible.

    And it will have to be huge.

    Because the bar is set so low for her.

    Your average midsized city mayor is likely far more competent and intellectually curious.

  80. 80
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Believe me, I’m not comparing McGovern in any way, either as a candidate, office holder or a person to Sarah Palin. McGovern has more integrity in his fingernail clippings than Sarah does in her whole being. I’m only commenting on the kind of electoral defeat she would suffer if she were to be nominated.

  81. 81
    Cliff says:

    Letting unemployment benefits lapse, privatizing Social Security and Medicare, and sucking BP’s money coated dick are all political losers as well, but you don’t see that stopping the Republicans.

    At this point I’d lay money on an attempted government shut down if they get control in the fall.

  82. 82
    jwb says:

    @NR: “From the way Obama is acting right now, it’s obvious that he believes that his political problems are a result of not moving far enough to the right after being elected.” And what is your evidence for this claim? I think Obama knows perfectly well that his problems are almost exclusively the product of an extremely shitty economy.

  83. 83
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective:

    He’ll take the podium at the Democratic Party Convention two years from now and confidently reel off a list of accomplishments as long as your arm, while the Republicans will be sputtering about some pissant scaremongering bullshit or other like they always do, and we’ll win.

    This is a pretty salient point right here. For all the deserved bemoaning of the Obama Administration’s subpar messaging machine, they at least are saddled with the odious burden of a litany of accomplishments and successes the country hasn’t seen in decades. I would much rather have the problem of failing to memorably and succinctly convey my triumphs than having no triumphs at all to sell. One is a problem that can eventually be resolved; the other is the modern Republican Party.

    There’s a lot of focus on the House, but I’m more curious to see how some of the big gubernatorial races shake out. Primarily, the focus is on Texas and California. But man oh man, can you imagine a blue Texas heading into 2012? That completely changes the entire calculus. Bill White is slowly and steadily killing it down in the Lone Star State:

    Democrat Bill White beat 10-year incumbent Rick Perry in the latest round of fundraising and goes into the fall campaign with a $3 million advantage.
    __
    In his bid to unseat Perry, White raised $7.4 million since the March primary. The Republican governor collected $7.1 million.
    __
    But spending demands on Perry in the fractious GOP primary against Kay Bailey Hutchison have left him trailing in cash on hand as the nominees look to the November general election.
    __
    The former Houston mayor has $9 million in his campaign treasury while Perry has $5.9 million in the bank.
    __[…]
    To make up lost ground since March, Perry tapped some of his most reliable campaign donors, among them Houston homebuilder Bob Perry (no relation), who gave $10,000. He also got money from some top Hutchison supporters, including $50,000 each from Dallas oilman Trevor Rees-Jones, Houston liquor distributor John Nau and Dallas investor Gerald Ford.
    __
    Perry also collected $250,000 from Bass family interests in Fort Worth. Sid Bass gave $100,000, Lee Bass gave $50,000 and the family’s political committees contributed $100,000.
    __
    About 20 percent of Perry’s money came from 25 wealthy donors who gave at least $50,000 each.
    __[…]
    White has raised more than $16.6 million from more than 16,000 supporters since Dec. 4, when he launched his campaign for governor. Perry has raised more than $20 million from nearly 15,000 supporters this election cycle, according to his campaign.

    You give Obama a Democratic governor in Texas to campaign with and it almost doesn’t even matter who the Republicans put up against him in 2012. They will be crushed.

  84. 84
    jwb says:

    @Keith G: I think you have to conclude that Obama has made the calculation that having a better message machine is not worth the cost, because from his campaign we know that he knows perfectly well how to run one.

  85. 85
    jwb says:

    @Midnight Marauder: I still don’t see White as having a chance in the Texas governor’s race without a major unforced error by Perry.

  86. 86
    Jeer9 says:

    I’ve always preferred to blame the Clenis for the 2000 election debacle. If he’d had an ounce of shame, he’d have resigned at the time but he still had an enormous amount of moderate Republican policy to accomplish in his last two years (the Glass-Steagall repeal is a highlight) and of course his sterling historical legacy to preserve (DADT, NAFTA, welfare reform, dithering over Bosnia). So instead of Gore running as the VP- stepping-forward-in-a-crisis incumbent during a period of prosperity (and perhaps avoiding the regrettable nomination of Holy Joe), we get Gore the careerist feeling obligated to defend the Clenis in the Rose Garden, and in the same campaign forced to run away from the Ick Factor while also assuring the public that policy would remain centrist and sensible. The Clenis’ quite public middle finger to the legal system set the stage for SCOTUS’ response two years later.
    It simplifies things for me. Then I don’t have to ponder the media’s atrocious coverage of Gore and Bush, Nader’s involvement, or the butterfly ballots. The Clenis remains an all-purpose valuable scapegoat. If congressional control switches this fall, BHO will have his hands full with the very people whom he’s wasted his time courting. Pass the popcorn. There is no limit to crazies’ extremism.

  87. 87
    Jeff Spender says:

    I was always skeptical of any kind of real GOP resurgence because the only thing they have going for them is being an opposition party.

    None of their leaders want to talk about policy because they think it’s a losing area for them. Rep. King even said he won’t talk about it because he thinks a lot of people won’t like their ideas.

    So their entire platform has nothing to do with ideas and policies, and it is almost exclusively a campaign built on opposition.

    Opposition to what? I don’t know, because everything they’ve said is either untrue or completely daffy.

  88. 88
    Martin says:

    You can’t use 2000 as evidence that anything the GOP did was a winner. Gore won the popular vote in 2000 by half a million votes. I don’t see how the various gates led to a clear electoral vote strategy, nor do I see how another set of faux scandals would either unless they are strictly down racial lines (which is clearly what the GOP is angling for now). Even then, the risk is that it will backfire spectacularly among moderate voters. The GOP cannot win by just taking everything from Virginia-Ohio-Texas south.

    There’s going to have to be *some* substance to the 2012 platform. They won’t even start to show their hand until after November, but I’m doubtful they’ll be able to find a net-winning strategy here, even with a bunch of bullshit scandals. There’s just too much for Democrats to keep fixing, which gives them a natural platform. The GOP is largely stuck trying to sell Bush policies 3.0 – and ignoring the good ones that Bush tried to advance like immigration reform.

  89. 89
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @jwb:

    I still don’t see White as having a chance in the Texas governor’s race without a major unforced error by Perry.

    That’s because you aren’t paying attention:

    One of the biggest questions about the 2010 election cycle, which we still don’t really know the answer to, is whether it will be solely an anti-Democratic year or more broadly an anti-incumbent year. Our newest Texas poll would seem to suggest voter fatigue toward long serving politicians in both parties- Republican Governor Rick Perry is now tied at 43 with Democratic challenger Bill White.
    __
    Texas would seem an unlikely candidate to provide Democrats their biggest win of the election cycle but the Governor’s race there is a reminder that candidates matter. Perry is an unusually weak incumbent, while White is an unusually strong challenger. Only 36% of voters in the state like the job Perry is doing while 49% disapprove. Among independents the numbers are particularly bad- just 27% give Perry good marks to 55% who think he’s doing a poor job. White meanwhile is better known and better liked than most challengers running across the country this year. 37% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 25% with an unfavorable one and he posts positive numbers with independents at a 35/24 spread.

    That was from the end of June, which serves as a nice precursor to the fundraising numbers I posted above. But if you really want to know how things are moving in White’s direction, check out how Rasmussen continues to fluff for Perry. This is what they were saying in mid-June, just before the PPP poll came out showing White and Perry as tied:

    The Texas gubernatorial race is a little tighter this month, with Republican Governor Rick Perry’s support dropping just below 50%.
    __
    The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Texas now finds Perry with 48% of the vote, while Democratic challenger Bill White picks up 40% support. Five percent (5%) prefer some other candidate, and eight percent (8%) are undecided.

    Now flash-forward to this past Thursday and the recently released fund raising numbers showing a badly lagging Perry and a surging White. Let’s see what Rasmussen has to say this time:

    Republican incumbent Rick Perry holds a modest lead over Democratic challenger Bill White again this month in his bid for an unprecedented third term as governor of Texas.
    __
    The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the Lone Star State shows Perry with 50% support. White, a former mayor of Houston, picks up 41% of the vote. Two percent (2%) like another candidate in the race, and seven percent (7%) are undecided.

    Keep fucking that chicken, Rasmussen.

  90. 90
    efgoldman says:

    The GOBP wants to nationalize the election, but they should be careful what they wish for.

    All politics (including House elections) is mostly local (pace, Tip O’Neill, who was my congressman). But all kinds of Dem candidates are slavering at the chance to run against Palin, Bachman, Boehner, Barton, or Williams and the ‘baggers.

    I mean, it looks as if the crazies have managed to save Reid, thought to be a sure loser, by nominating Sharron the wacko. A safe GOBP senate seat (KY) is now in play for the same reason. I haven’t seen polling for Bachman’s district, but her Dem opponent is already attacking just the right way, going after the crazy.

    Yes (economy+mid-term pattern)=some Dem losses. As odious as they are, Vitter and Boehner and Barton are going to be re-elected. But it isn’t ’94 again, no way.

  91. 91
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @efgoldman: NY 23 is probably going to stay Democratic, thanks to a fight over the Conservative and Republican party lines.

  92. 92
    leo says:

    This one’s easy.

    If the GOPers ever get subpoena power, they’ll spend months and months investigating the (imaginary) relations between the Obama Administration and disgraced former governor Blagojevich over who would secede Obama as Senator. It’ll go on and on and never come to anything but they’ll be able to pull in everyone from Valerie Jarret to Rahm Emanuel.

    And that’s just for starters.

  93. 93
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    If I didn’t know you, I’d think that was tongue in cheek, but I do, and sadly, I know it isn’t.

    You are one fucking reliable whooshmaster, dude. No point too big or small for you to miss it completely.

    But hey, today is so devoid of anything to talk about that another day of worthless speculation about what the GOP will do in 2012 and pictures of arugula in a garden are probably right up your dumbass alley.

  94. 94
    phoebes in santa fe says:

    @mikey:

    “One of the reasons the Democrats are going to lose seats in congress this year is that they won unsustainable majorities, and many of those seat are merely returning to their historic balance.”

    Thanks, mikey, for making that point. It’s one I’ve been saying over and over again. Out here in NM, we may well lose at least one, if not both, of the seats Dems gained in 2008. The third, mine in Santa Fe and northern NM is safely Dem, but the other two were strongly Republican til the last election.

    And IF those seats go back to the Republicans, the non-nuanced news media and Beltway-punditry will simply say the Republicans have “taken two from the Democrats”, without regard to history or context of those seats.

    What also irritates the hell out of me about the media is the Illinois Senate race. (I used to live in IL). The big ta-do over Mark Kirk winning the seat – “Obama’s seat!” – if he does win it. Well, it was only “Obama’s seat” for four years, and it was actually held by a Republican before that!

    No nuance in our media at all.

  95. 95
    Corner Stone says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: You’ve turned into a joke TZ. Nothing but a bunch of curmudgeonly wagging of your finger at posters here.
    You used to bring it once in a while but you don’t seem to have much of anything left.

  96. 96
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Meh, fuck you. Every once in a while I call you on the stupid shit you post, and then you come back with something like this.

    You’re a fucking idiot. Talking about what is going on today is caving in to a 24 hour news cycle? WTF, man? Did you seriously write that?

    You don’t think that a blog can operate on the events and issues of the day? Check with Steve Benen, he does it every fucking day seven days a week and never has to talk about his lumbago, his cat’s abcess, or his broccoli pictures, or hire some guy to write endless columns about what David Broder said all the fucking time. It CAN be done, Corner, hell even you could do it. Yes, even you. The articles would be dumb but at least they would be topical.

    Don’t start with me you little twerp, I am about a hundred times better at this than you are when I am asleep.

  97. 97
    eemom says:

    @Corner Stone:

    why are you calling him TZ?

  98. 98
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @eemom:

    Because I am Thymezone, nee ppgaz, a poster who has used about 10% as many handles here over the years as DougJ has probably used, and for some reason, people like CornerStonehead keeps track of them. Yes, keeps track of them. Figure that out.

  99. 99

    well, maybe if the president hadn’t signaled to the GOP that’ he’s a wuss who will cave at the slightest glance, and will always extend the hand of friendship no matter how many times they bite it off, he’d be in a better position.

    I find it hard to leap to the defense of a president who’s pursuing so many of Bush’s policies in war, education, and civil lberties, someone who threw abortion rights under the bus (including for sick women in the high risk pools) and whose health insurance reform, SURPRISE, actually may NOT give you the choice of your own doctor.

    Just not all that excited, ya know? And yeah, I know. the republicans are worse. the democrats only take my lunch money, the GOP punches me in the face too.
    Tell me all about it.

  100. 100
    eemom says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    oh.

    May I ask, if it’s not too presumptious, why you change your screen name?

  101. 101
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @brendancalling:

    I find it hard to leap to the defense of a president who’s pursuing so many of Bush’s policies in war, education, and civil lberties, someone who threw abortion rights under the bus (including for sick women in the high risk pools) and whose health insurance reform, SURPRISE, actually may NOT give you the choice of your own doctor.

    I assume that you are spoofing here. Finding a careful way out of someone else’s failed war is the same as following that predecessor’s policies?

    Taking abortion payments out of a particular and narrowly targeted risk pool is “throwing abortion rights under a bus?”

    Letting private insurance companies set limits on low cost coverage plans so that the low cost coverage can be provided by private firms is the same as taking away choice?

    That’s right, the lowest cost plans should include the right to see the highest priced doctors. That’s sensible, sort of like lowering taxes to increase tax revenues. You must be a Republican. Or a moron.

  102. 102
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @eemom:

    Sure, it’s a question I have answered, even when not asked, many times.

    For fun. I like the funky handles and I make no secret of my identity. Most people who care who I am (all three and a half of them) know it most of the time anyway. I actually got the idea from DougJ, who pioneered aggressive spoofing on these pages. He’d bamboozle me so many times with new handles and spoof voices that I finally decided, hey, I am no good at spoof, but the names look like fun. So I started inventing odd names. So did some other people. It’s kind of a sport.

    Anytime you want to know if a handle is me, just ask, I don’t hide it.

    Is handle farming fun? Hey, is taking pictures of your cat’s infected ass fun? Call me crazy, I think I am having more fun. YMMV.

  103. 103
    Corner Stone says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    Did you seriously write that?

    You are hilarious oldtimer. This is the same weak trash you say to that punk bitch Brachiator whenever you tiff with him and he pwns you.
    You’ve been calling nobody out about anything lately, not after Stuck played internet toughguy on you and threatened to beat your ass if you would meet him halfway.
    Just a bunch of McCainesque grousing.

  104. 104
    Corner Stone says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    Yes, keeps track of them. Figure that out.

    They’re all screamingly obvious. You’re the only one who consistently runs 6 words together as a handle.
    Plus your old man ranting is tiredly predictable it’s not hard to spot.

  105. 105
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Im sorry, did you think you pwned somebody?

    Whatever, man. I’ll stand on what I said. Anyone who wants to read Steve Benen for one week will see that I’m right, they don’t have to take my word or your word for anything.

  106. 106
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Translation, once again I embarrassed you after one of your dumbass remarks, and here you go again.

    Like I said, I’ll stand on my assertion. It’s correct, and I’m happy with that.

    They’re all screamingly obvious.

    Gee, you don’t think that’s because I make no effort to conceal my identity and generally answer to the same two-letter moniker (the one you used) any time it’s proferred?

    Huh? Whaddya think, jackass?

    I mean, do you think there is a crowd of 60+ year old hardass Dems from Arizona in here and that I am hiding among them just to fool you?

    Yeah, you probably do.

  107. 107
    eemom says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    I agree with you about Steve Benen — he’s one of the finest common sense, reality based bloggers we got. However, his comment section is kinda snoozy.

    IMO, the comment section here totally rawks ass. Hell, even the petty bickering and flame wars have their charm.

  108. 108
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @eemom:

    Yes, WaMo has a comment section that is great for inducing sleepiness late at night. But Benen nails the day’s topics, for my money, just about every day. Cuts through the sludge of the daily cable tv/blog noise and gets to the heart of the matter.

    IMO, the comment section here totally rawks ass. Hell, even the petty bickering and flame wars have their charm.

    Heh, you got it. I love the back and forth like this current one with Stonehead. I can laugh all day after a post like my #106. Maybe he thinks there is an annoying group of grumpy minstrel travellers out there and I am trying to run from the law while hiding among them. I don’t know. But he’s a great straight man, that’s for sure.

    Me, I am just likeable, you know, in my own awful way.

    Meanwhile, gotta go, I have a boil to lance on my dog’s butt.

  109. 109
    Corner Stone says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: You made the remark that I was tracking them, and I countered to say it’s obvious.
    Now you say “of course it’s obvious!”.
    So which is it, I’m stalking you and your many handles or they just are obvious to anyone reading the blog?

    The only person you are embarrassing is yourself.

    But, you’ve given me something to think about. I think I’m going to watch Buffy re-runs on NF and try to re-center myself.

  110. 110
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    So which is it

    It’s obvious, like I said. But it seems to bother you, which, if true, pleases me greatly.

    I have never been embarrassed here. Well, except for being embarrassed for you. You say the dumbest goddam things, man. Really. I mean this in the most nurturing way possible.

    The wit and wisdom of Corner Stone: Talking about what is going on today is just a boring rehash of the 24 hour news cycle.

    Okay, potato, potahto. I think what actually just happened is pretty relevant compared to somebody’s imagined idea of what might happen two years from now. But that’s just me. I live in the now. Unless David Broder is involved, and then I live in the never.

    Hey, who do you think will win the World Series in 2012? Will that affect the election?

  111. 111
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    But, you’ve given me something to think about.

    For that, I am genuinely sorry.

  112. 112
    Corner Stone says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    The wit and wisdom of Corner Stone: Talking about what is going on today is just a boring rehash of the 24 hour news cycle.

    Listen closely because I know this is hard. The post by an FP’er was about a certain topic. You came by, wagged your finger and said you had no interest in it because because because.
    I poked a little fun at you because it doesn’t seem to make much sense to say that the thread you are commenting on should be about something it is not about.

    Usually when DougJ throws up a troll post on the FP I call it out and have fun with it. It’s not my blog and when we see a mountain of pet posts I generally do other things.
    I don’t sternly chastise the FP’er for not writing about what I think they should write about. And since this post has 100+ responses, most of which aren’t me and you, I’m guessing others want to post about it too.

    ISTM that Benen does what you like, and you enjoy that. Good for you! But you seem pretty damn silly telling the kids here at BJ that they are talking about the wrong things and you just by God don’t god damned like it.

    And don’t be embarrassed for me. If I can read through a thread where you and Little Dreamer talk about hitting the sheets I think I can survive anything I post on this blog.

  113. 113
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    I poked a little fun at you

    I poked back. Ain’t the internet great? Who invented this thing, it’s fun!

    I’m guessing others want to post about it too.

    Sure. You can get people here to post all day about the plaque on a dog’s teeth. It’s pretty much anything goes.

    If I can read through a thread where you and Little Dreamer talk about hitting the sheets I think I can survive anything I post on this blog.

    Okay, but we still haven’t made you look at a picture of our pet’s ass boil. Come on, where is the love?

  114. 114
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Usually when DougJ throws up a troll post on the FP I call it out

    Yeeeaaahhh, but I’m talking about the three zillion spoof — not troll, not the same thing — posts he made under false handles long before he ever became a front pager. And still does, I imagine, out there on the tubes somewhere. He’s the king of spoofers.

    Anyway, you were here five years ago, weren’t you? You don’t remember those times?

  115. 115
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    But you seem pretty damn silly telling the kids here at BJ that they are talking

    I express my opinion. If you don’t like me doing that, you can kiss my entire ass. You express yours, same deal. Yeah?

    Hey, at least there is no boil on it.

  116. 116
    Mark S. says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    Hey, who do you think will win the World Series in 2012?

    The Chicago Islamofascists.

  117. 117
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Mark S.:

    Maybe, if they can get some relief pitching.

  118. 118
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    If I can read through a thread where you and Little Dreamer talk about hitting the sheets

    Was it good for you?

  119. 119
    Brachiator says:

    @Corner Stone:

    You are hilarious oldtimer. This is the same weak trash you say to that punk bitch Brachiator whenever you tiff with him and he pwns you.

    What in the world are you getting on about? You know it’s a sin to take the Lord’s name in vain.

    Or mine.

  120. 120
    That's Master of Accountancy to You, Pal (JMN) says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: Look, getting Corner Stone to post about pie so often is making me hungry.

  121. 121
    The Fool says:

    I almost forgot Klein said that. God, do I ever hate that sack of shit, Joe Klein.

  122. 122
    Nick says:

    @jwb:

    I think you have to conclude that Obama has made the calculation that having a better message machine is not worth the cost, because from his campaign we know that he knows perfectly well how to run one.

    Campaigning and Governing require two completely messaging strategies, which is why ones who are good at one aren’t usually good at the other.

    It’s easy to have a good message in a campaign where no one actually expects you to deliver, but once governing, you have to actually, you know, do stuff, not talk about it.

    “change” and “hope” are a lot easier to sell than a 3,000 page piece of legislation remaking an entire sector of the economy.

  123. 123
    Splitting Image says:

    @jwb:

    The public’s general distrust of the Goopers and their takeover by the teabaggers are the only things keeping the Dems in the election at this point. If the Goopers looked even remotely sane at this point, the Dems would be heading for a thorough trouncing.

    This is probably true, but keep in mind that the only real way for the Goopers to look saner would have been to negotiate in better faith on health care, financial regulation, and a bunch of other issues.

    If they had done that, The Democrats would have had a much stronger record to point to, such as cap and trade passed and a public option in the health care bill. Lucy pulling away the football over and over is a large part of the reason for the public’s general distrust of the G.O.P.

    A better bipartisan record would have been a win for both parties, but the G.O.P. have basically decided that they’re 1 or 2 points ahead of the game doing it this way, even if they are worse off in the long run.

  124. 124
    NobodySpecial says:

    I’m surprised there’s only been one person on here preemptively blaming the liberal bloggers for losing Alvin Greene’s election and tipping the balance of power to the Republicans prior to Obama being jailed for Presidenting While Black.

    People are getting slow around here.

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