Thursday, September 16, 2010

What Booman said ...

Three from Booman

A Video Election
I love Nate Silver and I think his analysis isn't just the best in the business...he's got the business to himself. But there is one problem, and that is that he's relying on polls. He'll tell you all the limitations of his analysis because he's totally honest and has complete integrity, but there are still limitations. If you have bad or meaningless input, the output won't be much better. That's why this insight from Josh Kraushaar is important:

This should be a golden age of political prognostication. Any armchair strategist with an Internet connection can get loads of insider information and blog or tweet their viewpoints. Congressional polling, once a true commodity because few media firms commissioned it regularly, has proliferated, with numerous start-up pollsters releasing data that's eaten up on a daily basis by junkies.

But amid all the information, I'm finding that we've lost a lot of old-fashioned common sense in evaluating and understanding races. We've become beholden to numbers, any numbers, at the expense of states' and districts' fundamental characteristics and candidates' and campaigns' own unique qualities.

Do you remember how one advertisement from Joe Sestak crashed Arlen Specter's poll numbers and effectively ended his career? That was somewhat predictable. Maybe we couldn't anticipate the exact ad, or that it would be so devastating, but we knew that Specter had glaring weaknesses that could and would be exploited by any halfway competent campaign. But you couldn't predict that Specter would lose based on polls that came out before the campaign was truly engaged.

We know that the recent Republican nominees have real weaknesses. They've said and done things that are embarrassing, or hard to justify, or that they will now disavow (effectively flip-flopping). Their positions are out of the mainstream, and their personal histories are often checkered. They've lied on tape and in print. They've embellished their resumes. One of them has even sent around links to images of bestiality by email. Most of the impact of these weaknesses is not being seen in current polling data because the public has not yet been exposed to media that discusses it.

I believe that this election is going to be another YouTube election. And private citizens using their creative powers to make viral videos are going to be an extremely important part of our success. George Allen called someone 'macaca.' We have dozens of macaca moments to choose from in this election cycle. We need to get to work.

Polls right now show important warning signs, but they mean little when you consider what that campaign is actually going to look like. If you are fair-minded, there aren't more than two or three Senate races that can be called even. Our candidates totally outclass their candidates. That's going to show. But we need to do our part in this. So, I hope Jed Lewison is getting ready. I hope there are dozens of unknown Jed Lewisons waiting to emerge with new creative video.

Stupid Harry Reid

Harry Reid is about as popular as an antibiotic-resistant case of chlamydia, so I fail to see why he thinks it is helpful to repeatedly refer to Delaware senate candidate Chris Coons as 'my pet.'

"I'm going to be very honest with you — Chris Coons, everybody knows him in the Democratic caucus. He's my pet. He's my favorite candidate," Reid said.

"Let me tell you about him: A graduate of Yale Divinity School. Yale Law School. A two-time national debate champion. He represents two-thirds of the state now, in an elected capacity. I don't know if you've ever seen him or heard him speak, but he is a dynamic speaker. I don't mean loud or long; he's a communicator. So that's how I feel about Delaware. I've always thought Chris Coons is going to win. I told him that and I tried to get him to run. I'm glad he's running. I just think the world of him. He's my pet."

Coons is probably going to win this race in a walk, but Reid just handed O'Donnell a giant baseball bat she'll use to make sure that Coons has his man-pants on.

Stupid Evan Bayh

I'll be glad to see Evan Bayh go because he's basically a moron. His political worldview is so lazy and conventional that he spews nonsense like this:

Q: What is the state of your political party?

A: It’s momentarily very strong. It’s not common for a party to control the White House and both Houses of Congress. But I think that the election this November is going to be a very difficult one for the Democratic Party. I think the Republicans are going to score big gains. And it’s largely because we’ve lost the independents, and that's largely over deficit and debt. And so there’s a natural tendency for any group, when they’re riding high, to overreach and I think the most progressive elements in the Democratic Party have and are about to be rebuked by the public.

And the irony of that is the cause that gets hurt the most when the liberals overreach is the liberal agenda, because they play into the hands of the conservative Republicans. And it’s an unfortunate fact, but it is a fact. The last election, the base of the Republican Party is just bigger than the base of the Democratic Party by about 10 percent.

The only way progressive Democrats have a role in governing in this country is if they make common cause [with] moderates — otherwise, numerically, it’s just not going to work out. They have not embraced that perspective.

Part of this I agree with, unfortunately. The Republican base probably is a bit larger than the Democratic base. And the public really is mad about deficits and the debt. But Bayh says the Democrats are going to be rebuked for liberal overreach and for creating new debt. That's the most simplistic nonsense. All we have to do is imagine what the economy would look like if the Democrats hadn't injected nearly a trillion dollars of stimulus into it, bailed out the auto industry, and stabilized the financial market and sector. In other words, if we hadn't increased the debt, we'd really be in a world of hurt. So, we aren't going to get punished for doing something necessary, we're going to get punished because jackasses like Evan Bayh refuse to explain how the Republicans created this mess and what we've done to clean it up. You can blame the media or the Democrats or the president or the opposition, but the problem is a failure of communication and not some kind of liberal overreach.

It's pretty obvious that liberals have not gotten what they advocated on a whole host of subjects, from the size of the stimulus, to the public option, to the shape of the Wall Street reforms, to the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and DOMA, to the closure of Guantanamo, to the policy on Afghanistan. It's hard to argue that the Democrats would be worse off with lower unemployment, a more popular health care bill, and stronger Wall Street regulation.

I can't really think of any area where the Democrats have fully embraced the liberal position, let alone pushed it at the expense of the moderate wing of the party.

Think about the next part:

Q: What is it like to be a moderate in the Senate? And what role do they play in politics?

A: The moderates are the key to getting anything done, because most of the time in the Senate you need 60 votes. We’re in a rare moment now where the Democratic Party has close to 60 votes. But usually it’s far short of that and so you have to get four or five or six members of the other party to agree to get anything done.

This is precisely right. And what does that mean? It means that everything we've done for the last year and nine months has had to pass Evan Bayh's sniff-test and (for all but three months of that time) the sniff-test of at least one Republican. And what does that mean? It means that Evan Bayh considers himself guilty of liberal overreach.

Or, it means he's a dunderhead.

No comments:

Post a Comment