Monday, July 24, 2006

Bring 'Em Home and the Reverse of 1994

The Washington Post has started a series entitled Eight Issues That Will Shape The 2006 Elections, which focuses on eight questions affecting select congressional races this fall, including:

(1) How big a problem is President Bush for the GOP?
(2) Will the corruption issue go national?
(3) Will pocketbook concerns move voters?
(4) Will the immigration issue save Republicans?
(5) Will the Iraq War come home in November?
(6) Can Republicans win the Northeast?
(7) Can Democrats compete in the upper South?
(8) What ballot issues will drive voters to the polls?

Only one question is applied to select congressional races, and in the case of Connecticut's delegation, two races are being closely monitored:

4th Dist. -- Rep. Christopher Shays (R) vs. Diane Farrell (D) -- Will the Iraq War come home in November?

5th Dist. -- Rep. Nancy Johnson (R) v. Chris Murphy (D) -- Can Republicans win the Northeast?

It has always amazed me how one issue can turn an election. In the case of the 4th District, Rep. Shays finds himself caught in dangerous waters as Ms. Farrell has kept continual pressure on him for his position on the Iraq War, and Ms. Farrell seems to be holding him personally accountable for the legislature's alleged oversight failure of the Bush Administrations strategy. If Rep. Shays loses this election, it is clearly (to me) the result of the 4th District's rejection of the Iraq War and the current policies/strategy (or lack thereof).

As for the 5th District, the Washington Post targets this race as a question of whether a Republican can win in the Northeast. It likens this race (and several other races) to 1994 when Republicans took the South by storm. We all know that the Northeast has been a difficult place for a (conservative) Republican to win office (FYI - I'm not referring to Rep. Johnson as a conservative), but I do not think that the climate in the Northeast has changed to the level that a (moderate) Republican can no longer win here. If it has changed, I think the question really is whether this is an indictment of the Bush Administration rather than a shift in whether a Republican can be successful in the Northeast.

Thoughts? Comments? What about the other races in Connecticut?

Source
The Washington Post, www.washingtonpost.com (date last visited, July 24, 2006)

34 comments:

marqjet said...

I think the Democrats would do better in November IF they actually had a plan to go along with their criticisms of the Republicans.

Not one Democrat I have listened to has said anything about what they would do in Iraq or the Middle East for that matter. There is absolutlely no substance behind their anti-war position. Every time I ask on this board for someone to articulate a position of a particular candidate I am told to either look at that candidate's website (that just trashes the President and their opponent) or the post is just ignored.

In 1994 Republicans had the "Contract with America" wheher you agree or not with that agenda the bottom line is that they articualted a plan and voters were receptive to it. Democrats do not have that.

All I am left with is this feeling that Democrats WANT the war to go bad so they can pick up seats. For once can someone please prove to me otherwise?

Chris MC said...

Marqjet -
That is disgusting. Prove to us where such an unpatriotic smear is in any sense justified.

The war was ill concieved. The invasion was a poorly planned, undermanned, ill-equipped spectacle that produced nothing but chaos. The occupation is a disaster, and we are hemorraging blood, money. The Iraqi government is teetering on the edge of a precipice that, if it goes over, will mean the last gasp of this neocon fantasy.

The Republicans have driven us into trillions of dollars of debt, used 9/11 for domestic political gain, and shredded our credibility in the world.

Saying that the Democrats somehow have to justify their criticisms by solving what increasingly clear is unsolvable problem - made immeasurably worse by the neocon Administration and the hear-no-evil, see-no-evil, speak-no-evil (of another Republican) Congress - is exactly the sort of garbage that justifies throwing the bums out.

Your party is quickly destroying the country and destabilizing the world. Time for a change, period.

The True Gentleman said...

Marqjet, your comment that " All I am left with is this feeling that Democrats WANT the war to go bad so they can pick up seats" is definitely in bad taste, and I really hope that you don't honestly believe what you have written.

Chris MC, I agree and disagree with you.

Disagree: " The invasion was a poorly planned, undermanned, ill-equipped spectacle that produced nothing but chaos." Actually, the invasion was very well-planned if you recall. We moved into Baghdad very quickly and seized control. It was our post-invasion strategy, however, that has been lacking.

Agreed: "The Republicans have driven us into trillions of dollars of debt..." The Republican-led Congress has been out of control with its spending!! I am all for Keynsian theory, but this is ridiculous (of course, the same can be said about our state legislature which is Democrat-controlled).

Disagree: "Saying that the Democrats somehow have to justify their criticisms by solving what increasingly clear is unsolvable problem - made immeasurably worse by the neocon Administration and the hear-no-evil, see-no-evil, speak-no-evil (of another Republican) Congress - is exactly the sort of garbage that justifies throwing the bums out." If you are going to campaign that someone (individually or as a group) is doing a bad job, you should definitely say what it is that you will do that is better. It's easy to lay blame, but if you can point out why your PLAN is better than people will listen.

disgruntled_republican said...

Chris Mc -

I am so glad to hear a Democrat say they don;t need to show their position and have a plan for change...makes me confident your party will remain irrelevant.

Mr. Reality said...

So Chris, what is the plan for the Democrats? Basically what you are saying is that they don't need one. I understand that there are a lot of people who hate the President here. I don't have a problem with people crticizing the administration, but to not offer some kind of idea to go along with that criticizm I believe is unhealthy and lacks credibility. I'm not going to go down that silly road of patriotic vs. unpatriotic. Instead of trying to come up with a solution for this mess people have resorted to name calling and that is childish.

Anonymous said...

Of course the Dems want the war to go bad, just as they want the economy to tank and continually harp on smidgens of bad news to justify their criticism. Unemployment is below 5%. Ct will be putting 1,000,000,000 in the rainy day fund. tax receipts are up across the country. Debt is being reduced ahead of schedule. And I bet the evil neo-con cabal will annouce troop reductions prior to November...Iraq ain't good, but it's not nearly as bad as the anti-war zealots would lead you to believe.

bluecoat said...

TG: I have never agreed with your analysis of Iraq or even with the analysis/rhetoric from most who post here from the far left and the far right but we've had that debate. On your post about Shays political future, however, my problem with Farrell has always been that she tries to paint Shays with the same brush that can legitimately be used to paint Hastert and Boehner but should not be used to paint Shays. More and more she is using the national model from the Democratic machine and I am not al that sure how it resonates. Plus she backs Joe who has been laissez-faire on Iraq compared to Shays. Shays has, in fact, done significant oversight of Iraq through his visits and his Chairmanship of a House Subcommittee - the Bush administration considers him to be a pain in the ass but because he is too often right they have had to listen to him. Unfortunately his subCommittees on Reform and Emerging threats have limited reach but he does still have the respect for his work from the likes of Henry Waxman and others as I have pointed out in the past. And to put this commentary in perspective, I skipped the line for the 4th last time around and will probably do so again.

BRubenstein said...

Disgruntled...usually you are a brilliant poster so i guess Chris Mc has gotten to you...

The Dem Party for a generation has been on the defensive nationally....except for the Clinton years...but hardly " irrelevant"...the 2000 and 2004 presidential races were among the closest in history.

And in our own state the Dems have controlled the house and senate for years...

WHat would be accurate is...nationally for a generation the Rep's have had the presidency mostly and in our state there has been a split since 19990..with both parties sharing power..

Chris MC said...

TG -
Actually, the invasion was very well-planned if you recall. We moved into Baghdad very quickly and seized control. It was our post-invasion strategy, however, that has been lacking.
Two problems with this belief:
First, General Shinseki (sp?) testafied before the Congress what would really be needed for an invasion. He was forced out and Rumsfeld's pet project was implemented with all the domestic propaganda that Karl Rove and his minions could muster. Shinseki's position has been completely validated by subsequent events.
Second, the intelligence was manicured to support a false premise, "we will be greeted as liberators", in support of the domestic propaganda campaign. The invasion was a failure.

I am all for Keynsian theory, but this is ridiculous
Huh? So, you opposed Ronald Reagan's "Revolution" and Gingrich's "Contract with America"?

The President has signed off on all of that spending. His first veto? Stem cell research! But that's another thread (in a manner of speaking). He gets no pass on fiscal irresponsibility.

TG, Mr. R, et al:
you should definitely say what it is that you will do that is better.
Let's say this was private industry. You've helped your friends at the company's expense; you've pissed off the rest of the industry, including almost every friend we've had over the last fifty years; you've strategically weakened our competitive position; you've neglected your basic duties; you've strengthened our competition; you've seriously weakened our long-term financial position; you've debilitated our productive assets; you've reduced the competitive advantage we had in human resources.

I think that's enough. You're fired.

bluecoat said...

TG: ChrisMC's latest post is an example of a far left position on Iraq that I find uniformed and supported only by cherry picked information. Of course, MC supports Farrell who has made Iraq her central issue while supporting not Ned but Joe who says we shouldn't criticize Bush's performance on Iraq.

cgg said...

For me the race in the 4th comes down to a nubmers game. Democrats need a majority in congress to stop the current path of destruction. Because of the R after his name, and his position on the war Shays is vulnerable.

The True Gentleman said...

Bluecoat, good post. Yes, we disagree on Iraq but I think you make very good points in your last two posts. Maybe the Washington Post should have also included this race in the "Can Republicans win in the Northeast?" group - what do you think?

Chris MC, you mixing both of our words. I did not take into consideration what led us to invade Iraq in stating that "the invasion was very well-planned." I was discussing the actual military invasion (perhaps I misunderstood the depth of your original comment). As for your "You're fired" theory, that is interesting because you are clearly making the point that we as the people our the boss (which we are). But the difference is that when you get fired from a job under your scenario (I assume) it's not b/c someone else is campaigning for that job. I personally think that the message would be better if there were details as to how our porblems would be solved, not just that we have them and that the person in charge is doing a bad job (that is not to mean that someone doing a bad job shouldn't be fired, but that if you are going to campaign for that job tell me why to HIRE YOU!).

Anonymous said...

How does all this impact state legislative races? Does it at all? Or are those races so local that none of these national trends impact them?

My gut is that most people don't even think about who they are voting for State Senate/Rep, so they just stay on the same line they voted for Gov/Senate/Congress. So in that way it could have an impact if Shays and Johnson are weak.

Chris MC said...

bluecoat's latest post is uninformed (by actually reading what I've posted on the subject), and is supported only by cherry picked information.

Specifically, I support Farrell, Courtney, and Murphy categorically for all the reasons in this thread, and more.

Also, I have never agreed with Senator Lieberman's suggestion that we shouldn't criticize the President.

Finally, contrary to the unsupported statements of bluecoat and others, I have never taken a position on the Senate primary, in fact I have explicitly said I am staying out of it, and I have stayed out of it.

Chris MC said...

TG -
I was discussing the actual military invasion (perhaps I misunderstood the depth of your original comment).
I understand, and you're right, I am not accepting the premise of the statement. The decision making, the actual action of invading and running to Baghdad, and the post-campaign occupation are inextricably connected.

But the difference is that when you get fired from a job under your scenario (I assume) it's not b/c someone else is campaigning for that job.
Job performance that is bad enough demands removal from the position. Nobody asked what the next Mayor of Waterbury had in mind when Giordano was removed. Allowing for the fact that that situation was criminal, the difference ends with that. Although an impeachment or two might be in order here as well...

CC said...

The problem the Democrats have is that they are perceived as weak on national defense because the far left segment of the party is seen as staunchly anti-military. The Republican problems on this issue are obvious and are listed in the many posts above.

The question, as far as the midterms go, is whether the Democrats can capitalize on Republican problems and demonstrate that Democrats can be trusted with this country's national defense. By a narrow majority the country was unwilling to trust John Kerry with that task. 2008 will be a referendum on that issue and will definitely play a defining role in the upcoming Presidential primaries.

Chris MC said...

How does all this impact state legislative races? Does it at all? Or are those races so local that none of these national trends impact them?
The latter, in my experience. State Rep races are local. State Senater races are like mini-Congressional races, but not connected on issues. In a number of cases (although I haven't looked district by district), a single community will be extraordinarily influential. Case in point would be John McKinney's District. Fairfield dominates, with Newtown a distant second, and Weston and Easton a small part of the electoral calculation.

My gut is that most people don't even think about who they are voting for State Senate/Rep, so they just stay on the same line they voted for Gov/Senate/Congress. So in that way it could have an impact if Shays and Johnson are weak.
That's probably a good guess, but nobody I can think of is in a State Rep race with that calculation in mind. Also, State Senate districts don't always conform with Congressional Districts...

bluecoat said...

I didn't say Chris MC supported Joe, I said he supported Farrell who is anti-war and endorses JOE - and now I know MC is sitting on the fence because he supports no one on the Senate race but as far as I can tell he is still aagianst the war!!!!!

TG: there is no clear answer to your question except that I think the washington post is trying to sell newspapers. There are loyalists like Chris MC and cg who will find a way to vote Democrat/ ditto ont he right too, but people in the middle will try to make an informed decision if they can get the information.

bluecoat said...

ChrisMC says:In a number of cases (although I haven't looked district by district), a single community will be extraordinarily influential. Case in point would be John McKinney's District. Fairfield dominates and what also will be influential is the fact that McKinney has no opponent. He needs one vote to keep his job.

bluecoat said...

this is some stuff on one of the iraq veterans running for office as Democrats: Tammy Duckworth's camapign site who is running in the district where Henry Hyde is retiring from and the first article that Googled up from Time She has a much different story to tell than Diane Farrell

Anonymous said...

An Open Letter to Alan Schlesinger:

Alan, please bow out of the U.S. Senate race. My worry is that you have more at stake here than simply your pride. What happens when the Courant really starts to find the dirt? How will you keep your livelihood? Who wants a lawyer with gambling debts and a "checkered" social resume? Please stop listening to your staff, who see you as nothing more than a meal ticket, and do the right thing for yourself and those who depend on you.

BRubenstein said...

ATG...

From 1940 to 1980 The Dems were in power nationally, under the " social welfare state concept" and from 1980 to now your Republicans have been in power under " rugged individualism" or " american exceptualiam" concepts"

The 2000 and 2004 presidential races were among the closest in history, with no decisive winner.

I believe that we still are " on the cusp" of a generational change..though im not sure to where yet.This much i do know...Dems probably wouldnt agree among themselves for a particular national program to run upon...instead they would tend to localize their races except for a few issues like the Iraq War..I also think most of them would generally agree to the Democratic Platform agreed to at the last national convention.

disgruntled_republican said...

First off, let me apologize for my comments earlier. I was having a rough morning here at work and Chris Mc's comments put me over the edge.

Additionally,

Chris Mc, you said:
Let's say this was private industry. You've helped your friends at the company's expense; you've pissed off the rest of the industry, including almost every friend we've had over the last fifty years; you've strategically weakened our competitive position; you've neglected your basic duties; you've strengthened our competition; you've seriously weakened our long-term financial position; you've debilitated our productive assets; you've reduced the competitive advantage we had in human resources.

I think that's enough. You're fired."

Very true, however, it isn't a realistic comparison. If you compared it to the Charmain of the Board and Board of Directors it would be more accurate. In that instance not all voters or shareholders would necessarily agree with your view, me being one, and wouldn't vote as you would, simply to change leadership. Some of us would like to know why we should vote for that person and what plans that person has to stear the company and this should be the case.

I do feel that the Republican party is much better organized and if the Democrats do not have a message, they will not prevail. "I'm not him" and "He is too close to the President" may constitute a message in your book but not in mine.

GMR said...

My gut is that most people don't even think about who they are voting for State Senate/Rep, so they just stay on the same line they voted for Gov/Senate/Congress. So in that way it could have an impact if Shays and Johnson are weak.

Well, you have to figure that more than a few Democrats are going to vote for Lieberman and Rell. So they'll vote line #1 for Rell, Line #4 or Line #5 for Joementum, and then there'll be no one else on that line, so they'll have to jump back to line #2 for the Democrats. But they may look at the candidate for State Senate instead of blindly voting for the Democrat.

Even in the worst case scenario, I still see Lieberman getting 20% of the solid core Democrat vote. Rell will likely pick up some Democrats as well. So don't count on straight ticket voters as much as in the past.

The True Gentleman said...

"I do feel that the Republican party is much better organized..." -- Disgruntled Republican

Agreed, but I am concerned about our party's vetting process...

disgruntled_republican said...

TG -

Aggreed.

BRubenstein said...

DG and ATG...Both Parties are organized exactly the same and DG's comment that his party is better organized is in error...Both are national parties .with a consitution and charter( by laws) and a party in every state...state party representation is the same..broken down by senate districts.

The difference i believe isnt in the structure so much as it is in the relative interest groups that each party relies on.

Your party in the main,generally attracts richer and more educated folks who tend to vote in higher %'s then mine..and can contribute more money as well.Also your party is more homogenous and that makes for a better and cleaner organizing possibility.Because your party can attract more money they have an edge in using that money to organize themselves more effectively.

What my party has going for it is this...the fastest growing popualtion growth are from the minorities of color...we got 90% of the afro-american national vote and alittle over 60% of the latino vote and 70% of the asian vote...so if that "trend" continues...we will dominate in the future regardless of the advantages your party has in money, etc.

disgruntled_republican said...

Bruce-

I couldn't disagree more. Our parties are organized the same in terms of by-laws, structure, etc in a similar mold but that's where it stops.

When I talk about organized, I am not referring to the "organization" I am referring to the act of being organized. To me that includes, message, delivery, goal setting, etc, etc, etc. This year the Democrats as a whole are better organized than in previous elections but they still don't have a message. Without a message, I'm sorry but a candidate has no meaning. If they can't answer this simply question from an average American voter, "What are you going to do for me and how are you going to do it.", then they are toast.

For those who argue that some candidates have a message; pipe dreams are not a message. A proposal has to have meaning and be logical.

As for who each party attracts. I would argue that Democrats attract as many "wealthy" donors as Republicans. I think recent CFR's show that as well. And when you add labor money into the equation, well, you get my point. As for demographic breakdown...I agree with your analysis and I do think that eventually your party will reap the "benefit" of that but I also predict that "benefit" will eventually lead to your party's downfall once again.

Time will tell.

BRubenstein said...

Disgruntled...Perhaps the "message" non-comformaty can be found in the interest groups that my party attracts...We tend to have more groups then your party who will not subsume their main interests to the good of the whole.For instance, an asian candidate running in an congressional district with an asian majority would tend to advance asian issues over and above other issues pertinent to the Democratic Party platform.Regular party issues would be relagated to the back burner.

I would submit to you that you arent "better organzed" as to mesage...you just "message" differently" then us...We Democrats use a different message then you do and because of your partiular bent you dont understand or value it...much the same as a virilent Dem wouldnt understand or value your message.Remember this, the 2000 and 2004 presiential campaigns where won by an eyelash..we wouldnt have done so well without a "message"

We are more like a marble cake and you are more like a sponge cake..both are great for desert...seem similiar..can do the job..yet taste differently.

The True Gentleman said...

I like marble cake, so that can't be right...

bluecoat said...

What kind of icing, and do you serve vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce on the side?

Gabe said...

TG - You like marble cake? I knew you were un-American!

The True Gentleman said...

Gabe, did you just call me un-American? I don't take kindly to that even in sarcasm.

Chris MC said...

How about in facetiouness, irony, TG? But Gabe speaks well for himself of course.

I don't disagree that the national GOP is better organized, more disciplined, and more focused than the Democratic Party. But arguing that this is some kind of malady that Democrats need to cure is like saying we all need to be more Republican. Or to paraphrase Will Rogers, who said it about fifty years ago I think, we aren't members of any organized politcal party. We're Democrats.

That said, you'll have to forgive me if I take advice from Republicans about what we should say and do in the public forum and in terms of elections rather lightly, and focus instead on the disasterous consequences of the Republican modus operandi on our domestic and international standing.

And, by the way, "He is too close to the President" may constitute a message in your book but not in mine.? You must be confusing me with another blogger someplace.

and now I know MC is sitting on the fence? There is a difference betwee sitting on the fence and staying out of the fight.

I've certainly never been shy about articulating my vehement disapproval of this Administration, my contempt for the way this President has conducted himself in office, and my suspicion that the Vice President should be impeached - and the need for a Democratic Congress that will provide the kind of oversight that the Executive branch so desperately needs and the Constitution requires.