SSP Daily Digest: 12/16

AR-Sen: State Sen. Kim Hendren got some early attention as the first entrant in the GOP field to take on Blanche Lincoln, but a few feet-in-mouth later, he doesn’t seem to be taken seriously much anymore. He seems to be trying to fix that by loaning himself $200K for his campaign.

AZ-Sen: A new poll from Republican pollster the Tarrance Group (paid for by Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America, presumably on John McCain’s behalf, as it also did anti-J.D. Hayworth message testing) shows McCain faring much better in a potential Republican primary against ex-Rep. Hayworth than a Rasmussen poll did last month; they have McCain beating Hayworth 56-36, and with a 78/20 favorable. Also, Grant Woods, a former Arizona Attorney General (and more significantly, a former McCain chief of staff) filed an FEC complaint against Hayworth, accusing him of using his talk radio bullhorn to promote his potential candidacy.

CO-Sen: Former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton is facing something of a teabagger deficit, having been ordained as the GOP establishment’s candidate. But she’s trying to make up for that with some red meat that pleasantly surprised members of the hard right she was appearing in front of: she advocated eliminating the Dept. of Education. (Actually, maybe that should be described as green meat, considering how long that moldy idea has been sitting on the shelf. Ask President Bob Dole how that one went over.)

CT-Sen: Ralph Nader reiterated his interest to the Princeton University newspaper (his alma mater) in running as a Green in the Connecticut race, saying he’s encouraged by the nation’s anti-incumbent mood. The netroots’ other least favorite person, Joe Lieberman, is heading the opposite direction: aware that any hope of winning a Democratic nomination in 2012 vaporized this week, he’s now making noises about seeking the Republican nomination instead. One other 2010 note: Barack Obama plans to appear on NBC’s “WWE Tribute to the Troops” special to deliver a tombstone piledriver to Linda McMahon. Ooops, actually, it looks like he’s just delivering a holiday message to the troops.

IL-Sen: It looks like all that pandering to the right wing is finally paying off for Rep. Mark Kirk; he got $5,000 from the Koch Industries PAC (Koch is one of the biggest funders of the right, including of operations like Freedom Works and the Cato Institute). It also got him a brief bit of praise from Sarah Palin via Twitter, after months of tugging at her sleeve for help. Erick Erickson still isn’t buying what Kirk is selling, though, saying in his usual understated manner that Kirk “will knife [conservatives] in the chest with a smile once he gets to D.C.”

NV-Sen: This ought to just further rev up right-wingers who view former state GOP chair and former Miss New Jersey Sue Lowden as a RINO in the making. Turns out she claimed to be pro-choice when representing a Dem-leaning state Senate seat in the 1990s, while today she’s claiming Roe v. Wade is a “bad decision.” One more flip-flop that’ll have to be dealt with, just like her previous support of Harry Reid.

NY-Sen-B: Suffolk County Legislator Jon Cooper had been making noises about a primary challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand for many months, but apparently a face-to-face meeting with her was more than satisfactory to him, and he came out of it with an effusive endorsement of Gillibrand instead. And while we discussed the possibility of a William Thompson primary yesterday on the front page, there were also some other numbers from yesterday’s Siena and Quinnipiac polls. Quinnipiac tested out Rudy Giuliani numbers, and found that on the off chance he runs, he’d beat both Gillibrand (50-40) and Thompson (52-36). Siena went with a whole bunch of permutations, finding Gillibrand losing to Giuliani 49-42, but beating ex-Gov. George Pataki (46-43) and Port Commissioner Bruce Blakeman (52-22). Thompson loses to both Giuliani (56-34) and Pataki (49-36) but beats Blakeman (40-23). They even tried out an improbable-looking GOP primary, finding Giuliani at 57 and Pataki at 26, followed by ex-state Sen. Michael Balboni at 7, Liz Feld at 6, and Blakeman at 4.

SD-Sen: John Thune can consider himself safe for next year. He beats a Generic Dem 56-33 (fitting, since no one is running against him yet), and has approvals of 57/35. The only cloud on his horizon is that his constituents don’t want him to run for President, by a 28/55 margin.

FL-Gov: Rasmussen threw in a Florida gubernatorial race general election question to their Senate race sample (which leads to the question: are there going to be Meek/Crist and Meek/Rubio numbers forthcoming?). They find that Republican AG Bill McCollum has a small lead over Democratic CFO Alex Sink, 44-39, but that Sink has more room to grow (24% have no opinion of Sink vs. 16% for McCollum).

KS-Gov: That didn’t last long: the Kansas Dems thought they finally had a decent gubernatorial candidate in retired businessman Tom Wiggans, but he just ended his infant campaign. He cited trouble fundraising, although recent bad press about a settlement by his pharmaceutical company probably helped prompt his move too.

NY-Gov: That same Quinnipiac sample also took a look at the New York Governor’s race, finding a la Siena, that the resurrection of David Paterson (from DOA to slightly less DOA) continues apace. They find Paterson beating Republican ex-Rep. Rick Lazio, 41-37, and with an approval of 40/49 and favorable of 38/44. Paterson shouldn’t break out the champagne, though, as he still loses a primary to Andrew Cuomo, 60-23, and Cuomo goes on to beat Lazio 62-22.

CT-05: The former occupant of the 5th, ex-Rep. Nancy Johnson, endorsed state Sen. Sam Caligiuri to try and take the seat back for the GOP. The awkward part is, Caligiuri’s primary opponent Justin Bernier is still touting Johnson’s endorsement of him too. Johnson said that she did in fact back Bernier — up until the moment Caligiuri (her 2002 campaign co-chair) got into the race.

FL-08: I’m a little confused here, because it seemed like the GOP was desperately casting about for any sort of elected official to go up against Rep. Alan Grayson for a long time, and finally settled on businessman Bruce O’Donoghue… but now that all that sturm and drang is over, state Rep. Kurt Kelly says he’s likely to get into the race against Grayson. Kelly’s name rarely appeared on the list of potential candidates, leaving me to wonder why the NRCC didn’t express any interest in him and whether they’ll continue to back O’Donoghue here.

HI-01: Hawaii may try something new in the wake of the realization that it doesn’t have the money to hold a special election to replace resigning Rep. Neil Abercrombie. Elections officer Kevin Cronin says that he can’t fight that feeling anymore that Hawaii may have to follow the lead of the northwestern states and conduct an all mail-in ballot. Meanwhile, ex-Rep. Ed Case isn’t wasting any time; he’s already hitting the airwaves with his first TV spot.

KS-03: Despite party efforts to coalesce behind state Sen. Nick Jordan, we’ve definitely got a contested GOP primary in the open seat in the 3rd. State Rep. Kevin Yoder confirmed he’s getting into the race.

MD-01: What is this, the 80s? The NRCC is actually pulling out the “soft on crime” card as they road-test different lines of attack on freshman Rep. Frank Kratovil. Kratovil made his name as the Queen Anne’s County state’s attorney (and escaped previous “soft on crime” attacks last year in his first matchup against state Sen. Andy Harris), so they’re trying to hit him on his strengths.

NJ-07: One swing district with a freshman GOPer where the Dems have had no luck filling out their dance card is the wealthy suburban 7th. Without an elected officials interested in the race, Dems are looking at cumbersome-named Dem fundraiser Zenon Christodolou to go up against Rep. Leonard Lance.

NY-23: A month after the fact, we finally have our official count from the special election in the 23rd (hence our finally calling our predictions contest!). Bill Owens got 73,137 votes (48.3%) to 69,553 (46.0%) for Doug Hoffman and 8,582 (5.7%) for Dede Scozzafava; the final count brought Hoffman a little closer.

NC-08: With a lot of liberals feeling burned by freshman Rep. Larry Kissell’s voting record since getting into the House, there’s actually talk of a primary challenge happening. Chris Kouri, who ran for the seat in 2002 and surprised a better-known Dem in the primary before losing the general to Robin Hayes, is being courted by some in the district for another run. Kouri is the general counsel for the Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

PA-06: State Rep. Curt Schroder got an endorsement from a once-prominent conservative, ex-Rep. Bob Walker, a key Newt Gingrich henchman back in the day as well as an Elmer Fudd lookalike. Walker used to represent part of Chester County, much of which was contained in the 16th under the 1990s map. That didn’t deter one more no-name Republican from getting in the already-crammed field: geologist Walt Hufford, who sits on the board of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and plans to run as a moderate.

TN-01: Get ready for Roe v. Davis, part III. Ex-Rep. David Davis, narrowly beaten by Rep. Phil Roe in a GOP primary in this dark-red district in 2008, says to Politico that he’s “strongly leaning” toward another matchup.

TN-06: State Sen. Jim Tracy has a slight problem that could hurt him in his GOP primary in the open seat race to succeed Bart Gordon: in the 1990-2002 time period, he voted in six Democratic primaries (Tennessee voters can crossover in primaries) and only two GOP primaries. Of course, Tracy offers the defense that, in that part of the state, there was nothing to vote for but Democrats back then, but that’s more grist for the teabagger mill as other candidates (like Lou Ann Zelenik) seek to woo the hard right.

Retirements: A little more followup on the retirements front, in the wake of our front-page post yesterday: Rick Boucher and Allen Boyd have now confirmed with party leaders that they, too, will be back for re-election next year. (No surprise on Boyd, as he’s already hitting the airwaves in his primary fight.) Lincoln Davis also reaffirmed his commitment, saying he’s “running come hell or high water,” and also saying he’s not worried about the specter of GOP-controlled redistricting in 2012, saying he can’t be put “in any more conservative district.” (SSP’s crack team of redistricters may disagree with him on that one!)

House: Nancy Pelosi seems to be getting fed up with the Senate in many ways, and one smart way she’s fighting back is saying that the House won’t be going first on the tough votes anymore, and that she’ll act on potentially divisive issues like EFCA and immigration reform only after the Senate has hashed it out. She has to be concerned with shielding her most vulnerable members from voting on tough votes like HCR and cap and trade only to see the legislation head into purgatory in the Senate.

87 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 12/16”

  1. the subtly-named, 17-member “Democratic Retirement Assault List” is now down to 6.

    Bart Gordon will retire.

    Ike Skelton, Rick Boucher, Allen Boyd, Earl Pomeroy, Tim Holden, Colin Peterson, and Marion Berry will stand for re-election according to recent SSP entries.

    Additionally, Mike Ross has a campaign site up for his re-election.  Vic Snyder said back in May 2009 that he will run, although that may be tenuous.  Alan Mollohan has recently said through a spokesman that he will run.

    That leaves Nick Rahall, John Spratt, Baron Hill, Sanford Bishop, Loretta Sanchez, and Leonard Boswell.

    Very worried about Spratt.  Seems like he would have announced his plans with this current wave that has been reported on SSP, unless he is really thinking about retiring.  

  2. is a good idea.

    The article said they’ve done it previously for a City Council special election, so they’ve got that experience to draw from and step up to the next level in size.

    And special elections are usually low participation & low interest for most voters anyway.

    HOWEVER, hopefully the rules they would set are that ballots must be received by election day, rather than postmarked by election day and everyone waits X number of days for mail delivery. (Plus have a few drop off points on election day for procrastinators.)

  3. What is it that Roe and Davis have against each other?  Are they just doing the whole “I’m more conservative!!” “No, I’M more conservative!!!” thing?

  4. Rasmussen

    12/14/09; 1,000 likely voters, 3% margin of error

    Mode: Automated phone

    (Rasmussen release)


    2010 Senate

    Crist 42%, Meek 36% (chart)

    Rubio 49%, Meek 35% (chart)

    I mean really…  This is so against the CW…  There’s no way that’s accurate.  We need another poll stat.

  5. Grant Woods isn’t attacking Hayworth on behalf of McCain.  The two were once close, but Woods grew to hate McCain because McCain became, he felt, too conservative.  Interestingly, Woods and McCain are both more conservative now than they were in 1999.

    There may be something more interesting afoot here.  Woods is currently serving as Jan Brewer’s campaign co-chair.  Could there be concern within the Brewer camp that Hayworth might go for Governor rather than Senator?

    I can see that being a smart move for Hayworth.  Brewer’s numbers are underwater, but there really isn’t a super-strong candidate in the GOP primary right now to take her out.  The best candidate, State Treasurer Dean Martin, isn’t very well known and doesn’t bring a whole lot to the table.  Rich Dude John Munger has been making some gaffes.  Vernon Parker is mayor of a tiny town with a lot of rich people in it; that’s not how you get to be Governor of Arizona.  Perhaps more importantly, none of the four candidates is a teabagger, and the only potential candidate attractive to teabaggers, Joe Arpaio, is almost certainly not going to run.  So there could be a real opening there for Hayworth.

    That’s my newest theory.  But then again, I was convinced Marilyn Brown was jumping out of the OH SOS race to let Brunner jump back in back in September, and yet here we are almost three months later and Brunner’s still running for Senate.  So what do I know?

  6. Check out this factoid from the Lawrence (KS) Journal-World:

    Kansas Democratic Party staffers released a memo this week highlighting that Republican voter registration numbers in Johnson County slipped from 169,000 to 164,000 from 2006 to November 2009. During that time Democrats gained from 71,000 to 83,000 voters, and unaffiliated voters increased from 99,600 to 104,500.

    To put this in context, in KS-03 in 2006, BEFORE this massive swing, Dennis Moore crushed Chuck Ahner 64-34 as Kathleen Sebelius romped to victory as governor with 58% statewide. Attention, DCCC: This one is winnable. Also, give props to KS staffers for excellent timing on the release…as we know, hope can be a powerful incentive.

    As for the KS-Gov race, with Wiggans out, of elected officials, I think the best candidate would be State Sen. Anthony Hensley (minority leader), who would not have to give up his seat to run.  Well, the best other than current Gov. Mark Parkinson, who still refuses to run. Btw, Gov. Parkinson, now would be a good time to declare your candidacy, on the grounds that Dems now have no one else and Brownback is an evil and scary “Family” member who will run the state into the ground.

  7. I hate to nit-pick but Brewer actually wasn’t the AZ- lt gov as no such position exists.  In AZ the SoS is promoted during a vacancy.

  8. I hate to nit-pick but Brewer actually wasn’t the AZ- lt gov as no such position exists.  In AZ the SoS is promoted during a vacancy.

  9. hold our politicians to a higher standard.

    Besides, I never said that Dodd will lose. I am only concerned about the resources we need to spend and whether his candidacy will have a negative effect on the 2010 election.

  10. He probably knows he gets hosed in 2012.  Either the district becomes minority-majority or turned more republican.

  11. Why would he do the big comeback in 2006 if he just ups in retires 2 cycles later? Guy obviously wants to run statewide in 2012, I guess if there is a chance he thinks he loses in 2010 thus ruining future plans . . .

    Still, stupid.

    BTW Rahall is on the list, any word on Mollohan (or Murtha for that matter)?

  12. Loretta Sanchez has to be running. She’s not even 50 yet and the rumor is that she wants to be the first Latina Speaker of the House. And the GOP wouldn’t win her rapidly-blueing seat anyway.

    And I agree with other comments about Baron Hill…why retire after you just went through all the trouble of battling Mike Sodrel, and it wouldn’t help set you up for a statewide run anyway.

    Even if all the others retire–Rahall, Spratt, Bishop, Boswell, and let’s add Snyder & Ross–even if they all do, that’s less than a dozen retirements. Which is not bad. And we’d have a darn good shot at a lot of those districts even if they did…

  13. An excellent summary is in the wikipedia article.

    I am quoting a few lines

    Dodd is facing a competititve reelection for his Senate seat in 2010 and trails against Republican challengers Rob Simmons and Linda McMahon in aggregate polling by nine and four points respectively.

    A 2008 poll of Connecticut voters suggested Dodd would have difficulty winning re-election in 2010, with 46% viewing his job performance as fair or poor. A 2009 poll by Quinnipiac University found a majority of Connecticut voters would vote to replace Dodd in the 2010 election.

    In March 2009 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Susan Bysiewicz was quoted in the Yale Daily News suggesting Dodd’s yet unannounced re-election bid could be a drag on the fortunes of other Connecticut Democrats in the 2010 election. …. On March 15, 2009, Simmons announced he was running for the Senate. An April 2009 Quinnipiac poll had Dodd losing to Simmons by 16 points, while a May 2009 Quinnipiac poll showed Dodd losing to Simmons by six points. A November 2009 Quinnipiac poll and a December 2009 Rasmussen poll showed Dodd losing hypothetical contests by a large margin against Republicans Simmons, McMahon, and Foley.

    Countrywide Financial loan controversy

    I am quting only the last line

    On August 7, 2009, a Senate ethics panel issued its decision on the controversy. The Select Committee on Ethics said it found “no credible evidence” that Senator Dodd knowingly sought out a special loan or treatment because of his position, but the panel also said in an open letter to Mr. Dodd that the lawmaker should have questioned why he was being put in the “Friends of Angelo” VIP program at Countrywide: “Once you became aware that your loans were in fact being handled through a program with the name ‘V.I.P.,’ that should have raised red flags for you.”

    He was busy running for president.

    Irish Cottage controversy

    I do not like WSJ but on this they are right

    In June 2009 Dodd provided a new statement to the Senate reporting the actual current value of his Irish property at $658,000.[55] The Wall Street Journal later compared this issue to the ethical charges which led to the political demise of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens.

    AIG federal assistance and bonuses controversy

    The described Dodd as “reeling” from the controversy and having “stepped in it” after changing his story as to the bonus amendment.

    I apologize for quoting selectively. Please read the article and follow the links and judge for yourself if Dodd is a suitable candidate in 2010.

  14. That IN-9 is going to be made much more Republican after redistricting. That’s the only thing I come up with to motivate Hill retiring, and even that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  

  15. Haven’t really heard of Murtha on the retirement radar, although maybe his recent hospital stay will change that?

  16. But that doesn’t affect him till 2012.  It makes more sense for him to run for re-election in 2010 then run statewide in 2012.

  17. Davis is “I’m more conservative!”

    Roe is “I’m as conservative as the norms of reality can allow!”

  18. If SC does not pick up a new district, he will be fine.  If it does pick up a new district, which is likely, the new district would be the new minority or GOP stronghold seat.  

    SC understands it needs someone in DC to bring home some bacon, and Clyburn can use the help on that.  

    If Spratt wins in 2010, he probably gets a lot of help redistricting-wise.  

  19. There’s no way South Carolina Republicans could draw themselves a 6-1 map without weakening their coastal reps.  If South Carolina gains a seat as expected, a 5-2 map will be what they go for.  Whether or not they pack more minority voters in Spratt’s district is irrelevant.  Spratt has cultivated a strong relationship with the Democrats of his state for decades.  He’s not going to get primaried out just because there’s suddenly more African-Americans in his district, any more than Bob Brady is in Philadelphia.

    Even if South Carolina for some reason doesn’t gain a seat, Spratt should be fine.

  20. Just was throwing it out there, even though, as I said, that alone doesn’t make sense as a reason to retire.

    I hope he doesn’t. As a constituent, I’d prefer to keep Hill around as long as possible. I think he’s the best we can get in this district.  

  21. Not that 2010 will be guarenteed for him (nothing really is in that district), but my guess is he wins by about 4-5 points or so, and then in 2012 runs for Governor (will be an open seat) or the US Senate (if Lugar retires).  The downside is that given what Indiana 09 is likely to look like starting in 2012, we won’t be able to win it in a good Democratic year.  That seat was lost to the Republicans in 2012 when we re-elected Mitch Daniels last year.

  22. The biggest difference between the two is that Davis placed being a irrational grandstanding partisan above his role as a public servant, while Roe has taken the opposite tact. One might not agree with Roe’s political views, but one can’t really argue that he is not attempting to be a good rational public servant for the 1st District and its conservative inclination.

  23. Baron Hill seems pretty safe as an incumbent after so many though races (won and lost) in the current district, and even in a re-drawn district I think he would at least have a fighting chance of getting re-elected if he chose that route. I do think the impression out there is that he would like to run for higher office in the future, and he appears well positioned to do so.  

  24. They will probably draw his district to be majority black, and Spratt has a voting record that would fit well with such a district.

    But I think it is questionable whether Spratt makes it 2011.

  25. a Southern conservative.  Same with Bob Inglis of South Carolina.  I respect Inglis a lot, quite a bit more than I do a lot of Blue Dog Dems.

  26. If Lugar does retire I can see Hill runnign for Governor and Ellsworth for Senate or vice versa.  Both would make very good statewide candidates.  

    That’s the real risk republicans have if they go too far with gerrymandering.  It will push our moderate IN congressmen to run statewide where they have a great shot of winning.

  27. … this is only a little outside of what I would have expected.  

    CW a few months ago was that Crist was a lock for the primary and the general (I NEVER bought that personally).  That seems like a ancient memory now, but it wasn’t that long ago.

    Meek is getting beat by both GOPers.  He is getting the base and not much more. No surprise there, given he is little know outside SF.

    Rubio is stronger than Crist according to this poll.  Not THAT hard to believe, given the freefall Crist has been in, and the anti-incumbent mood prevelant everywhere.

    Rubio is probably picking up some voters that simply haven’t heard of him, but don’t like Crist.


  28. Even with all the negative press Crist is getting he can’t be in worse shape against Meek than Rubio.  Sounds like Rasmussen giving their usual handjob to conservatives.

    Though I don’t think their poll on the primary is too far off.  My gut tells me Rubio is trailing Crist by 5-10 points tops and closing fast.

  29. There are two reasons she could theoretically be on the retirement watch.

    1. She wants DiFi’s seat in 2012. Winning that primary would  be a monstrous task, especially if she has to go up against, say SOS Debra Bowen, or at least set herself apart from, say, Susan Davis or Jackie Speier. That would certainly take up the bulk of her time from the beginning of 2011 onward, and she might figure that not having to go back and forth between Cali and Washington might help her get the edge.

    2. She had a minor scandal earlier this year involving an alleged relationship with a defense lobbyist. It seems to have died out, but if there’s more to it, I’d rather she get out of the way before it blows up and causes us another headache. Whether the GOP is potentially smells smoke here or is just blowing it is open to interpretation.

    For what it’s worth, I think that Xavier Becerra is a more likely candidate for the first Hispanic speaker. He might even succeed Pelosi depending on the timing of when she steps down (and, of course, how long we hold the House).  

  30. The GOP’s concerted efforts to win that seat are part of some fantasy they have that it’s still the same kind of district it was when Bob Dornan held it.  

  31. Oooh, was just reading about the scandal–it’s kinda sexy, why didn’t the media pick up on it?

    Is DiFi for sure not running in 2012? I figured she’d be in politics until she keeled over. But it would make sense, she’d be running for re-election at age 79. That would be awesome, though, if she didn’t. We’d almost certainly get someone more progressive (and have a crazy primary).

    And I’d agree that Becerra seems more likely to be Speaker first (there’s no reason both of them couldn’t be Speaker at some point), but I’d always thought that was her goal.  

  32. In 2012 with Obama on the ballot we can easily elect whomever we want.  I really hope Di-Fi retires, but like you say she could well run again.

  33. but she hasn’t made any indications either way.  As much as the netroots dislikes her, she won’t get primaried if she chooses to run again – that seat is hers as long as she wants it.  If she does retire though, you could probably list about a dozen Democrats who’d be willing to jump in.  Unlike the Governor’s race, the victor won’t have to manage the toughest state to govern in the nation.  Not to mention, campaigns wouldn’t have to deal with California’s torturous campaign finance laws when running for Senate, making it much easier for lower-tier candidates to jump in (individual contribution limits are higher here than for federal, but the level of documentation and other restrictions makes it hell to raise lots of money).  Another point to consider is that since CA statewide elections are off-year, every statewide officeholder could run for the seat without the risk of losing their current job, something the sitting House members would have to deal with (which was another reason why the gubernatorial field shrank so much).

  34. If they redraw Indiana 9 to be more Republican, they probably will have to throw Bloomington into Ellsworth’s district, which would make it lean Democratic.

  35. Not what I’d do, personally. As much as I like Hill, I think Ellsworth is the superior statewide candidate. They should be trying to make it more difficult for him to get reelected, not easier.

  36. I would be so happy if primarying Feinstein was a realistic scenario but progressives can’t even knock out Jane Harman.

  37. Brown – 52%

    Whitman – 42%

    Brown – 53%

    Campbell – 41%

    Brown – 59%

    Poizner – 35%

    6% sounds about right for the third-party lefties and right-wingers, methinks.

  38. And given that Jerry Brown has a well-oiled machine and is an extremely seasoned politician, putting a political neophyte up against him is about the dumbest thing the California GOP can do.  Mark my words, she have at least a couple more really embarassing campaign gaffes before this is over.

  39. Methodology like that masks the importance of the votes in which members of the Blue Dogs defected, whether that importance is political/symbolical or in terms of policy.  It’s kinda like the joke “But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”  Healthcare reform, cap and trade, Lilly Ledbetter, S-CHIP, Iraq, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the stimulus, Cash for Clunkers, etc  

    I fail to see the logic in voting against all of those things.  Even if you pare that list down, take out the gay rights issues and the environmental issues, for example, you’re still left with a lot of “What the fuck?”  What electoral purpose does voting against S-CHIP, Lilly Ledbetter, or Cash for Clunkers serve?  Or against the stimulus, especially from members that voted for TARP (e.g. Jim Marshall, who said something along the lines of “I’m going to vote for it [TARP] even if it costs me my career”).  Isn’t populism the key for these people to hold their seats?  Where’s the populism in all of that?

  40. Some are worse than others. And in general most are reliable votes. Even when they aren’t they vote for some of the stuff you mentioned and not others. And never in unison. The problem I have is tarring them all with the same brush just for being a member of the group. Much better to focus on individuals when criticism is due.

  41. The better of the Blue Dogs (like Sanchez, for example) deserve criticism for giving the worse of the Blue Dogs strength in numbers and allowing those numbers to be lorded over us.  It’s like saying Connie Morella may have been very good for a Republican, but she still deserves blame for enabling far worse Republicans.

  42. The numbers don’t mean much. They all have one vote each and as the article shows they don’t have much sway with each other.  

  43. Based on what I remember, she was a genuine liberal and a great Congresswoman. She didn’t enable anything but was simply way to the left of her party’s mainstream.

  44. My point is Sanchez or Scott or Bishop, while being far, far, far better than Bright, Griffith, or Marshall do give the other Blue Dogs power when they join with them.  Fifty-three votes is more powerful than 49, 30, etc and gives them more sway.  

  45. How many times have they or their defenders said “We have 53 votes!  Give us what we want!”  They did that with the healthcare debate, even as the more liberal Blue Dogs were saying they wanted a public option (e.g. Scott, Harman).  

  46. All republicans in congress do in enable conservatives, regardless of how liberal they may be.  If Morella were still in the House she’d have voted for Boehner as republican majority leader if republicans were in position to control the house.

    This is exactly why I don’t have a real problem with Blue Dogs.  Some may have repulsive voting records but they enable Pelosi to be majority leader and enable house dems to hold a majority.  The only ones I have a problem with are those who refuse to vote for the majority leader.

  47. If her one vote ever made the difference on who was Speaker, that counted. Otherwise, she was a liberal Congresswoman, period.

  48. …. that Hill would be much easier for the GOP to get rid of with no other potentially negative consequences for them.  All you have to do is move Bloomington back to IN-08 (where it was forever and ever before our side moved it in 2000), add a few really Republican areas to make up for the 75K or so B’ton represented, and Hill’s in a world of trouble.

    I don’t know how they would oust Ellsworth.  Evansville is always going to be the population center of any SW IN district, and that’s his home and political base.  Unless he does something monumentally stupid (and he seems like a very careful politician), he’s got that locked up.  If the Republicans came up with some outrageously gerrymandered map to give Ellsworth Evansville and a bunch of hard, hard right areas, he: 1) Still would have a great shot at winning, and 2) Other Republican districts become endangered.

    I agree with you that even though I kind-of like Baron Hill better, Ellsworth is probably the superior candidate to run statewide.  The two big questions that determine who will run for what are: 1) What will the redrawn districts look like, and 2) Will Senator Lugar run for a seventh (that’s right 7th) term?

  49. I happen to know for a fact the Parkinson will not run no matter what.  Also, when he was the GOP chair, he fought very hard to get Brownback elected.

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