It’s the Playbook, Stupid

Daniel Larison is the only person I can find who is suitably acerbic about last night’s Republican fuckup in PA-12. As they did in the other recent special elections, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) ran against “Pelosi-Reid” and Obama, while the Democrats backed a Blue Dog. In this case, the Democrat, Critz, beat the Republican by 8 points.

I’ve seen the NRCC playbook firsthand for the last few years as a resident of NY-29, and it’s a useless waste of money. The underlying assumption of the strategy is that voters hate Nancy Pelosi with such conviction that merely linking her to the Democrat du jour is a sure winner. The NRCC makes sure that every ad includes an unflattering picture of Pelosi splashed across a shot of the Democratic candidate.

In addition to being borderline misogynist, those ads are almost wholly negative. They seek to prevent the election of a Democrat, not to promote the election of a Republican.

Here’s the question no Republicans seem to ask about the Pelosi-Reid strategy: If the country is in an anti-incumbent mood, why does the NRCC keep running a campaign that focuses almost entirely on the petty squabbles between incumbents in their party and the leadership of the Democrats in Congress?

Family Values!


Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), a champion of abstinence education and family values, will resign today after an affair with a female staffer in his district office, Fox News is reporting.

He is, of course, another big family values proponent. In fairness, I don’t think he is on record stating which family he values.

Watching the Bishop Squirm

Orrin Hatch has always been good for a few lines of tendentious bullshit, but the Bennett teabagging has inspired him to new heights:

HATCH: […] I listen to these folks, I don’t disagree with them. They’re angry for good reasons. I mean, my gosh, these people in Washington are running this country right into the ground. […]

INGRAHAM: But aren’t you part of Washington?

HATCH: Hell no. I’ve never been. I’ve never considered this a job. I’ve had, people have asked me, they said, “say Senator Hatch, don’t you just love being a U.S. senator?” My constant answer is this. No, I don’t love it at all, but I’m good at it.

I’ll give Orrin this: having been in the Senate for 33 years, it’s not a job — it’s a life-long career.

You Stay Classy, Ed Whelan!

With a Supreme Court seat available, Ed comes out of his cave and disgraces himself for a few months, and then basically goes away for a year or two until another seat becomes available. We all remember how well he behaved himself during the Sotomayor nomination.

Monster Raving Loony

In his latest in a long string of classy moves, Tom Coburn has placed a hold on Dana Perino’s nomination to the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which runs the Voice of America. That’s the same Dana Perino who was GWB’s last press secretary. If she’s qualified to do anything, she’s certainly qualified to supervise America’s propaganda operation.

Every political system has its strange rituals. Unfortunately, one of ours is Senatorial privilege, and it’s gone from a minor eccentricity to a major obstacle to getting anything done.

If you watched the BBC election coverage last night, you probably saw David Cameron’s appearance at one of the UK’s little rituals — the local election board proceedings. Cameron had to share the stage with a half-dozen nutcases, including one dressed like Jesus, who were running in minor parties. The first hand he shook belonged to some strange ranger from the Monster Raving Loony party.

Cameron was gracious and humble through the whole thing. It was clearly an act, but he pulled it off well. I wonder about the last time Tom Coburn had to be that gracious and humble. Judging from his recent behavior, it was a hell of a long time ago. I suggest we trade our little ritual of letting Senators indulge their every whim with the UK’s ritual of having every candidate stand around and exude humility and good grace in front of their opponents on election day. I doubt it would make a real difference in someone like Tom Coburn, but it would be a hell of a lot more fun to watch than endless discussions of the goddam filibuster.

(via MattY)