Wednesday, January 20, 2010

So What Really Happened Yesterday? And What Does This Mean for Nevada?

Let the "crystal ball visions" roll! Of course, Jon Ralston has to chime in:

So the president’s [approval] numbers here, by some measures, are significantly weaker than they are in Massachusetts, which means even bigger trouble for the Democrats. Add in what I have called the reverse symbiosis of the two Reids on the ticket and the potential vortex that creates for the entire Democratic slate, and it’s no wonder they feel like they are looking into a wave building as if they were on the deck of the Poseidon.

Yikes. So we're doomed. 2010 will make 1994 look like a gentle nudge? Not so fast, says this Daily Kos blogger who slipped a little "inside information" (his mom is a Boston "machine" operative) last night that puts Ralston's theory of "Obama = Political Poison" into doubt.

As the race went on, she (mom) asked around as to why she hadn't been called out to phone bank, check lists of registered voters, etc, for the campaign as usual. She was told "we're not backing anyone" by "someone on the committee" (she is not telling me what committee because this blogging thing is making her uneasy).

[Boston Mayor Tom] Menino never backed her publicly ("Don't name names!" says mom. "Everyone knows he's the mayor!" I say). He never backed her secretly either, the machine was not turned out for Coakley.

"Nobody likes her" says mom. What she means is, Coakley had no friends in politics. The Democrats in Massachusetts let this happen because - "I don't know" says mom.

Maybe they weren't about to let Western Mass manipulate them. Maybe it all comes down to nothing more than who is friends with whom.

All Scott Brown did was see an opportunity and turn it to his advantage.

There is no deeper national implication. This is not a death knell for the Democratic party or Obama. This is a story of a domestic spat between "parochial divisions" in Massachsetts.

The proverbial house divided among itself, fell.

Now this would be like... Like... Oh jeez, I guess this means I have to mention Titus v. Gibson 2006. No really, I can't think of a better comparison here.

So is it this simple? Was Massachusetts just plagued with a divided party? BTD at Talk Left says "not so fast", Obama can't be let off the hook.

I've said this forever - election[s] are first and foremost, a referendum on the governing party. A lot of people have spent they year whistling past the graveyard of poor polling by Dems, because the GOP polled even worse. I hope that form of denial is now dead and buried for good.

This referendum manifests itself in 3 ways - the motivation of Republican voters, the motivation of Democratic voters and the motivation of casual voters. In Presidential election years, the casual voters play a very important role in the referendum. In off year elections, much less so. the enthusiasm levels of Republican and Democratic voters is paramount.

Republican voters are extremely motivated. There is little Dems can do to stop this. That is why moving right for 2010 is a fool's errand. But Dems can motivate Dem voters - by fighting for Dem values. Will that be enough to stave off defeat in 2010? I do not know, but I know it is the only viable option that Dems have now.

So I guess BTD is concurring with what I said last night. While it may be true that "machine politicking" doomed Martha Coakley from the day she won the primary, there's no way we can just look at the MA-Sen race in a vacuum and avoid mentioning President Obama and national Democrats giving the base little reason to feel enthusiastic. But as I also said last night, there's still time to change course and give Democrats good reason to get out and vote.

Oh yes, and did I mention the Republicans aren't exactly looking perfect either?

Despite pledging to run positive campaigns, the two leading Republicans fighting for the chance to take on Sen. Harry Reid in November have turned their guns on each other, taking shots in a back-and-forth that portends an ugly primary season.

Danny Tarkanian, a lawyer and former UNLV basketball star, has launched a series of attacks on Sue Lowden, a former state senator and one-time chairwoman of the Nevada Republican Party, in what’s shaping up as a fight for the title of true conservative.

She has responded in kind.

Political observers say the sniping could hurt the eventual Republican nominee because it represents the type of deep partisanship and political maneuvering that turns off independents, a critical bloc of voters that could determine the outcome of the general election.

Moreover, the fighting has a clear political beneficiary: Reid. While the Senate majority leader faces low approval ratings and trails in public opinion polls, a damaged and vulnerable Republican nominee could temper the political atmosphere.

As David Damore, a UNLV political scientist, put it: “This has to be sweet music to Harry Reid’s ears.”

Indeed, it is. And so is Ralston's final word.

I can think of no atmospherics here that help the Democrats — except one. The best thing the Democrats have going here is the Republican Party.

The GOP has no money, quirky (charitable description alert) leadership and internecine warfare. To wit:

The state Democratic Party raised $1.1 million last year — 10 times what the state GOP amassed. While Reid the Elder has a tight grip on the Democratic Party, GOP boss Chris Comfort appears as much enamored with his reflection in the mirror as with the prospect of victories in November. And the purity tests being imposed in many GOP primaries, including the one against Reid, also may have the Republicans sipping weak tea by November.

Some of this can be ameliorated by outside assistance — money, sane people. But if the Democrats hang on here in November, it may have less to do with what they were able to accomplish than what the Republicans here botched.

Mostly agreed... Except for that last part on lack of accomplishments. Again, there's still time for Democrats to fire up the base before it's too late. That was the mistake made in Massachusetts, and this is the mistake that we can avoid in Nevada.

So what happened? It was a combination of things. Massachusetts Democrats spent too much time infighting and not enough time organizing. Martha Coakley ran a lousy campaign. President Obama's "triangulating" and capitulating to the corporate right have demoralized the base. And if Nevada Democrats can learn these lessons, organize early & well, and work in Washington & Carson City to give us good reasons to get out and vote, we won't have to be afraid of November.

1 comment:

  1. Brown ran a very good campaign, though a bit of a cheap one (comparing himself to JFK, actually making that stupid BoSox thing into an attack ad.)

    Coakley, on the other hand, had an absence of a platform. Her campaign seemed be "Kennedy Legacy 2010" but she wasn't a Kennedy, and unlike Ted Kennedy as a junior Senator she would wield almost no power (like Harry Reid, Teddy K was one of those things that was viewed as power for MA even among people who didn't like him.)

    The media is reading a lot into this, though I think Coakley defeated herself. Still a good chance of the Senate swapping hands in November, but Clinton was able to make things happen (both good and bad) with an entire Congress stacked against him, so we'll see.

    The GOP is going to have to find a message deeper than "Nobama" first, though. Just brainlessly obstructing the other guys' agendas doesn't really get you seats nationwide.