Archive for ‘election’

June 16, 2009

Corzine’s Last Chance Power Drive

Bloggregating the N.J. election at Jersey’s about to pass a $1 billion tax increase — nice round number, one billion — Republicans are hopeful and the White House is worried.

“It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap . . .”

June 10, 2009

Why Terry McAuliffe lost

Look, I can’t claim all the credit but . . .

Who needs opposition research? Just send me to hang out at your opponent’s fund-raiser with a pink camera. I’m a one-man guilt-by-association smear. And then you can blame it all on the Brian Moran campaign. “No fingerprints,” as they say, and I neither confirm nor deny . . .

Fisherville Mike did his part, too. A nod is as good as a wink to blind horse, eh? Nudge, nudge.

February 16, 2009

Pelosi Presents: Republicans Are EVIL!

Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of the Speaker of the House, has an HBO film deal — I mean, wow, what a coicidence, huh? Time/Warner has only given $7.1 million to Democrats since 2000, making 82% of their donations to Democrats in the 2008 election cycle.

So HBO pays Alexandra to make a documentary about the election called Right America: Feeling Wronged: Some Voices from the Campaign Trail and guess what?

What kind of documentary would you expect given the subject matter and the filmmaker? . . .
If you said the film would show conservatives as ignorant, racist, hateful folk who genuinely cling to God and guns, give yourself a prize. Bonus points go for those who predicted the film would characterize McCain/Palin rallies as hate events.

Just amazing how these coincidences happen.

UPDATE: Smitty tips me to a story at Newsbusters, where Washington Post TV critic Michael Leahy pans the Pelosi documentary.

January 29, 2009

Immigration and the GOP future

(BUMPED; UPDATES BELOW) Today I went to the National Press Club for the release of a new American Cause report, “Immigration and the 2008 Republican Defeat”: which was the subject of a press conference and panel discussion:

The study is a detailed analysis of every single Republican seat lost in the 2008 House Race, and shows in virtually every race the Republican supported amnesty or the Democrat supported tough border security.

What’s interesting — and Bay Buchanan touched on this — is how effectively open-borders politicians in both parties are able to hide their positions when challenged in elections. Candidates with miserably pro-amnesty records suddenly learn to talk tough about border security the minute an opponent raises the issue. The media willingly cooperate in this blurring of the issue, so that voters are seldom presented a clear choice.

Jim Pinkerton said that working-class “Reagan Democrats” still constitute the vital swing constituency, but observed these voters tend to “win the politics, but lose the policy” — that is to say, these voters (whom I’ve called “Ordinary Americans”) are the decisive factor in elections, yet their interests are routinely ignored by the policy-making elite, who naturally favor policies that advance elite interests.
I’ll try to update later this evening.
UPDATE: Oddly enough, while I’m unable to find any conservative coverage of the National Press Club event, liberals seem to be all over it, including “America’s Voice,” a group whose Web site proclaims their mission as “MOBILIZING IMMIGRANT VOTERS.” Gee, ya think?
UPDATE II: And why would they want to “mobilize”? To get a piece of that “stimulus” pie, perhaps?

The $800 billion-plus economic stimulus measure making its way through Congress could steer government checks to illegal immigrants, a top Republican congressional official asserted Thursday.
The legislation, which would send tax credits of $500 per worker and $1,000 per couple, expressly disqualifies nonresident aliens, but it would allow people who don’t have Social Security numbers to be eligible for the checks.
Undocumented immigrants who are not eligible for a Social Security number can file tax returns with an alternative number. A House-passed version of the economic recovery bill and one making its way through the Senate would allow anyone with such a number, called an individual taxpayer identification number, to qualify for the tax credits.

Carol Platt Liebau at

This has nothing to do with stimulating the economy, and everything to do with paying off Democrat constituencies.

Gee, ya think?

January 27, 2009

‘When a presidential campaign calls up and offers you a job you take it’

So says the Weekly Standard‘s Michael Goldfarb, talking about his six months on the John McCain campaign. I profoundly disagree — I don’t like the Beltway revolving door between politics and media, even ideological media — but I don’t want to argue about that. Some highlights from Goldfarb’s interview with Columbia Journalism Review:

I thought from the beginning that we would lose.

Well, duh. I said so after Super Tuesday: “McCain is not a conservative, he will lose in November . . .”

I am not convinced that Sarah Palin hurt the campaign. People think that this decision was made in some kind of vacuum. I’m not convinced that a McCain/Romney ticket would have outperformed a McCain/Palin. Well, maybe if we’d done Lieberman we would have been down fifteen points after the convention instead of up four. I’m not convinced that Palin, even with all her weaknesses, wasn’t the most plausible ticket you could have put forward this year.

Well, any ticket headed by John McCain was in deep trouble, no matter who the running mate was. And McCain cut his own throat with his bailout stunt, so any attempt to shift blame to Palin is scapegoating, period. The fact that McCain even considered putting Lieberman on the ticket illustrates how this year’s defeat is 100% McCain’s fault.

Lots more good stuff in the interview, including Goldfarb’s denunciation of the anti-Palin leakers inside the campaign. He ought to denounce them by name, because they deserve to be persona non grata henceforth.

January 26, 2009

Immigration and the GOP

A panel discussion is planned Thursday in D.C.:

Bay Buchanan, Jim Pinkerton, Peter Brimelow, and Marcus Epstein discuss how immigration control is vital to future Republican Success. . . .
“Immigration and the 2008 Republican Defeat,” will be released by The American Cause on January 29 at 12:30 p.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The study is a detailed analysis of every single Republican seat lost in the 2008 House Race, that shows in virtually every race the Republican supported amnesty or the Democrat supported tough border security.

I plan to go check it out.

December 5, 2008

Blame Al Gore . . .

. . . for the “new American political tradition: the quadrennial early-winter attempt to overturn presidential results by any means necessary,” says Dave Weigel.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

December 3, 2008

Chambliss and the growth factor

In analyzing Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ impressive victory in Georgia — he defeated Democrat Jim Martin by more than 300,000 votes in Tuesday’s runoff — it is important to understand where that Republican margin comes from. While liberals will try to explain Martin’s defeat as a product of retrograde rural backlash, the decisive factor for Chambliss was his large margins in the prosperous, fast-growing suburban and exurban counties around Atlanta.

As usual for Republicans in Georgia, Chambliss piled up huge margins in the mega-suburban counties of Cobb and Gwinnett, beating Martin by nearly 50,000 votes in each. But Chambliss also piled up a combined margin of nearly 150,000 votes in nine “outer ring” exurban counties. Here are those counties, showing Chambliss’ margin and each county’s population growth rate (April 2000-July 2006) according to the Census Bureau:

County… Margin…Growth
Paulding ….12,795…..48.9%

Please note that the margins are based on results available at 8 a.m., when 97% of precincts statewide were reporting, and the vote is not complete in all counties.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

November 9, 2008

Losing Althouse

Ann Althouse offers a very interesting confirmation of my assertion — the subject of a much-criticized American Spectator column Oct. 7 — that it was his Sept. 24 bailout stunt that cost McCain the election:

September24: . . . After hearing from Obama, I view McCain as having pulled a stunt, a stunt that he should have seen would be ineffective.
September 25: I find Palin’s interview with Katie Couric “Painful. Terrible.” Yet McCain wants the VP debate to go first. She’s not ready, and he’s throwing out impulsive, erratic ideas.
September 25, a little later: I’m impressed by Mickey Kaus’s mockery of McCain’s stunt. . . .

Now, Althouse is a law professor who can hardly be taken as representative of “swing” voters in general, but there is something important going on here. While she originally thought McCain’s stunt was clever, she changed her mind once she saw Obama’s reaction. Which is to say that it was the contrast between the two men that was decisive.

Notice also how the disastrous Couric interview with Palin (arranged by the worse-than-useless Nicolle Devenish Wallace) aired almost contemporaneously with the bailout stunt, so that the effect of the two events cannot be disentangled in the ultimate chain of causation. (This disaster is “over-determined” to borrow social-science jargon from Rich Lowry.)

The Blame Sarah First crowd would have you believe that Palin exercised a negative effect independent of Maverick’s own shaky performance, a negative effect that had more to do with her objective qualifications (or lack thereof) than with Team Maverick’s thorough botch of her press relations.

Althouse, who was sympathetic to Obama from the start, was pushed toward the GOP ticket by Palin’s nomination, even though she remained steadily turned-off by McCain’s incoherence. (See her entry for Sept. 7.) As much as she disliked the Couric-Palin interview (thanks again, Nicolle!), it was really McCain’s bailout stunt, symptomatic of his general incoherence, that provided the decisive shift. Her reaction to McCain’s debate performance is entirely negative.

Non-partisan likeability
This all goes back to what I’ve been saying for weeks. If you are a genuinely independent voter — an “Ordinary American,” someone who in all honesty might vote for a candidate of either party — then ultimately you are going to vote on your general impression of the candidates. Before the 2004 election, I wrote an article (available only in PDF) for the moderate Republican journal Ripon Forum, in which I pointed out the “likeability” factor as trumping the sort of demographic microanalysis favored by pundits:

The big picture is left out of this microscopic calculus: Head to head, side by side, which one of these men does the electorate actually like?
Whatever his failings, Mr. Bush is basically likeable. This was a key factor in 2000, and is prominent again in 2004. His basic likeability is now giving Democrats nightmares. When the infamous Iowa “scream” derailed the energetic Howard Dean’s Democratic primary campaign, esablishment Democrats quickly jumped aboard the John Kerry bandwagon. But once Mr. Kerry secured his party’s nomination, Democrats were dismayed to note that they faced a repeat of the 2000 election: A stiff, pompous, boring Democrat competing with the aw-shucks charm of a smiling Texan.

That “aw-shucks charm” seems to have passed its sell-by date shortly after Bush’s re-election, but the basic point remains sound: Independent voters, who ultimately decide presidential elections and “swing” the swing states, really do act on the entirely irrational belief that by watching a man talk on TV, they can judge his fitness for the presidency. To the eternal consternation of pundits and policy wonks, the fine details of policy that motivate intellectuals and ideologues have little to do with persuading undecided, independent “swing” voters.

This is what has frustrated me about the McCain candidacy since the primaries. (Some) Republicans and (some) ideologues viewed his candidacy through rose-colored glasses: McCain was a heroic patriot whose POW biography would rally conservatives, while his “Maverick” image would sufficiently distance him from the Bush-damaged Republican brand. In hindsight, everybody seems to realize that this view was mistaken, without realizing why it was mistaken.

John McCain is not likeable, not by the standards of telegenic likeability that have prevailed since the 1960 Nixon-Kennedy debate. I have friends who’ve met the senator (a distant relative I call “Crazy Cousin John”) and genuinely like the man. But he is old and bald and comes across on TV as grumpy. This is why, much to horror of my True Believer conservative friends, I ultimately favored Mitt Romney in the GOP primaries. In politics, ceteris parabus, tall, rich and handsome beats old, bald and grumpy any day of the week.

This is not to say that policy and ideology are irrelevant, but the party and the movement whose icon is the amiable erstwhile movie cowboy Ronald Reagan ought never to discount the importance of having persuasive, likeable spokesmen — and spokeswomen, too, which is why I’m so big on Sarah Palin.

Our Sarah didn’t fare too well with independent voters in 2008 (if you believe the polls, which no True Believer ever does), but then again, Reagan wasn’t exactly a darling of the “swing” voters in 1976. And, yes, the True Believers are shuddering in rage at the audacity of comparing Palin to Reagan, but they should reserve their rage for those who compare Obama to Reagan. Don’t pretend we don’t know which comparison Reagan would find more insulting.

If Palin lacks (or seems to lack) the kind of sturdy intellectual commitments that Reagan possessed — another hindsight judgment that few would have granted the Gipper in ’76 — it cannot be denied that she possesses in great measure his down-to-earth likeability. Having excoriated McCain and Schmidt and the rest of Team Maverick for their boneheaded blunders, I yet give them full credit for seeing Palin’s natural political talent.

God-given talent
When I was a sportswriter in North Georgia in the late ’80s, Calhoun High School football coach Johnny Gulledge remarked that “you can’t coach a 4.4 forty.” That is to say, the kind of speed that can run 40 yards in 4.4 seconds is a God-given talent for which a winning coach gets credit when the speedster is his starting running back, but for which he gets blamed when that speed is on the other team. (Gulledge’s teams were plagued by a shortage of speed in those years.)

My American Spectator colleague Quin Hillyer has joined others in asserting that Palin’s electric effect on the Republican base was essentially a fluke, that any good running-mate pick would have excited the conservative grassroots in this otherwise bleak season for the GOP. With all due respect, I disagree. What some call a fluke, I see as . . . well, something else. (Perhaps you’re familiar with the Veggie Tales episode where Pa Grape’s niece saves them from the Island of Perpetual Tickling. Perhaps not.) Sneer at “populism” all you want, but I know what I believe.

For such a time as this, you might say, Palin’s choice was hardly a fluke. She was the Miracle Worker, the Sweetheart of the Heartland, and if you were not there in Shippensburg to see those people standing in that cold wind, you can be forgiven if you don’t get it. But let them that have eyes see:

November 5, 2008

‘What do we do now?’

Michelle Malkin:

“I’m getting a lot of moan-y, sad-face “What do we do now, Michelle?” e-mails.

The first thing to do is to recognize what went wrong, as I explain in my American Spectator column:

Try not to take it personally. You did not lose this election.
Perhaps the most important statistic for conservatives to keep in mind today — as pundits pore over and pour out exit-poll data to tell us What It Means — is this: 53 percent of Republican primary voters did not vote for John McCain. . . .
Conservatives who sought to prevent McCain’s nomination cannot be blamed for his defeat. And it is his defeat, not yours.

Please read the whole thing. This morning I watched Mort Kondracke and Fred Barnes on “Fox & Friends” trying to explain the result. Allow me to suggest that the Kondrackes and Barneses of the world, who have done so much to help drive the Republican Party into the ditch, are probably not the guys who’ll figure out how to get out of the ditch. They won’t even admit they’re part of the problem, so why look to them for solutions?

(Cross-posted at Right Wing News.)

UPDATE: Greg Ransom:

John McCain did a selfish disservice to America and to the principles we hold by putting his ambition to “be somebody” ahead of the leadership requirements of the Presidency. I know that’s harsh, but it’s what I believe.

Harsh, indeed. With politicians, it’s hard to differentiate between an admirable commitment to public service and an vainglorious exaltation of the self. (Also basically true of journalist, LOL.)