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April 12, 2006


I should have mentioned that GOP top vote getter Bilbray got only 15.15% of the total vote, putting him a lot farther from 50% than Francine Busby. Will all the GOP voters in the special election vote for Bilbray in the runoff? Will some not vote? Who knows. Disillusionment cuts both ways.

from the Fix (Cillizza):

If the results hold, Busby and Bilbray, along with independent William Griffith and Libertarian Paul King, advance to a June 6 runoff, which will take place on the same day as the primary for the November general election. (One potential benefit for Busby in the runoff will be the hotly contested Democratic gubernatorial primary between state Treasurer Phil Angelides and state Controller Steve Westly, which should help to drive Democratic turnout statewide.)

Interpreting Busby's showing is difficult. On one hand, she did not get to the 50 percent mark that would have delivered her the seat outright; on the other, she overperformed both her 2004 results against ex-Republican Rep. Duke Cunningham (36 percent) and internal Democratic polling that showed her topping out in the mid to upper 30s.

The conventional wisdom, with which we happen to agree, is that Busby will be hard-pressed to defeat Bilbray, a moderate Republican during his time in Congress, in a one-on-one contest. But some Democrats argue that Bilbray is the Republican that offers the best contrast with Busby and her image as a political outsider.

Bilbray is a lobbyist who refuses to admit he is a lobbyist

such repuglican doublespeak should make this an easy race

just keep spouting that repuglican line there Bilbray

it's really popular right now

Kaloogian, who is a bit of a nutcase, would probably be easier. He is the darling of the religious right. Bilbray is a more conventional worshipper of Mammon. He sued to get his occupation listed as "immigration consultant" instead of "lobbyist", which is what he is. That makes him a better target for a campaign highlighting corruption. And who knows where the tentacles from Mitchell Wade and Brent Wilkes go.

And who knows where we will be on June 6 vis a vis Iran.

Francine Busby is to be applauded, but before anyone thinks that there's much more chance for her on June 6, let me point out that she did in fact score more votes than there are Democrats in CA-50, which means she got a lot of "coastie Republican" votes. These folks are mostly Republican because they're rich. Many are libertarian, etc. However, the "inland Republicans" - who are the 54% who didn't vote for a Democrat, are either active-duty Marines and their spouses, or retired Marines and their spouses, or Mormons (there are a *lot* of Mormons in N. SD County) In other words, the "true believer/values voters." Unless there is a lot more bad shit comes out about Bush, enough to peel off the Marines who still have a sense of honor and decency, the rest of the morons will vote for "I'm not a lobbyist" Bilbray.

How such a nice place as San Diego County got filled with so many morons....

TCinLA asks an interesting rhetorical question about how settlers developed San Diego. One supposes their children became marines once the military established the marine corps. The mayor race in San Diego was farcical when the Democrat challenger, a write-in, won against two Republicans in a nonpartisan race; the registrar tossed ballots if written by illiterates who wrote in the name but failed to fill in the x-box alongside on the ballot card; the registrar tossed only enough ballots to assure the Republican won; next the Republican quit office; the Democrat write-in person was on the city council, and still is, now evidently opting to remain at the city council, having learned a difficult lession at the mercy of the registrar of voters; southern CA courts were very unsympathetic to voter initiated challenges, even though San Diego judges recused because the purported winner the Republican was, well, a former judge. The candidate for CA Secretary of State depicted that sham way of ballot disqualification as similar to but less forthright than the events surrounding the Ukraine reversal of election which ousted the CCCP favorite son replacing him with Yushchenko. I read last nite Busby is a former Republican. But CA has had some respectable Republicans; one of the authors of the Endangered Species Act many years ago was and still is a Republican, coincidentally running a difficult race emerging from retirement to attempt to defeat the chair of the US House of Representatives environment committee a Republican who has spent the past decade attempting to weaken environmental protections. I do not know that it is reasonable to characterize the Democratic Party primary for governor as hotly contested, given the principal candidates; but one of the Democrats actively accompanied Republican interim governor then-candidate Schwarzenegger during the recall election during the Enron scandal three years ago, throwing his support to the Republican. The other Democrat is a former developer, but has a lot of aesthetic qualities, and I would vote for him above the other candidates. Who knows if the save our levees coalitions will place a boondoggle on the ballot in the name of neighborhood flood protection meanwhile infusing financing into a statewide water system which installed plumbing in the CA mountains to export fresh water to, well, southern CA; water is the quintessential heated topic in CA, historically. Meanwhile the Bay foodchains are under great pressure and numerous species disappearing based on water extractions for export to agricultural lands in the central valleys of CA and, well, exports to LA and other southern CA realms. I think Democrats are going to make progress this year in the state of CA, and nationally; history is ripe. In another interesting campaign warming in southern CA, a great Democrat progressive is challenging Democrat centrist turned conservative Jane Harman of House Intelligence Committee fame.
CA politics. I guess Cunningham's pecadilloes were only slightly more disgraceful than what the average voter expects from politicians; serious enough to oust, but not sufficiently outrageous to get even in a primary with too many candidates; though, looking at the coat-tails issue in the national and global perspective, Republicans are blundering with illegal immigration; and we have the whole instantaneous declassification-reclassification scandal surfacing on a timeline now which appears primed to peak around the time of the trial of Libby; just Libby. Somehow I think Rove is not going to have the flaccid liberal straw person to stereotype when he begins writing pamphlets in earnest over the next two years.

I need to spend time learning more about southern CA, again. There are large numbers of very good Democrat people living there.

"this election did not produce evidence of a coming tsunami for Democrats" - Mimikatz

My opinion is that the generic ballot advantage in the polls for the Dems will not withstand a real election with an actual Dem candidate. The question is can the Dems squeak sufficient wins to gain a majority in the House. I believe that is completely dependent on Dems turning out pro-Dem voters. It should not be expected that the Repub base will stay at home in Nov. They are a disciplined party organization with a well honed political machinery and their base will be concerned that a Dem majority means opening a pandora's box. So it is very likely that the Repub base will turnout in Nov. Will the Dems base be more fired up along with Independents wanting change? This is where I have my doubts. The Dems DC leadership does not embrace their base and don't exhibit the fighting spirit and the cojones to stand up to the Repubs that the base wants to see in its DC leadership. That is not a recipe for tsunami proportion turnout of Dems. So in handicapping this coming Nov, I believe the probability of the Dems winning a majority in the House is less than 30%. A rather unfortunate situation as this Nov would provide the best opportunity for such a landslide for the Dems in over a decade.

i am extremely skeptical of the possibilities of a democratic take over of the house and/or senate in jan, 2007.

m'katz's felicitously phrase "democratic tsunami" would be a blessing for this nation,

but i am skeptical it will happen because

there is so much lethargy in the american political system now.


ther is so much indirection, like amoeba swimming back and forth, round and round for tiny distances, but no strong tidal flow.

for there to be a democratic sweep of consequence,

given the conservative tradition associated with all elections at all times for house or senate seats,


the incumbent mostly wins,

there would have to be a strong national flow of sentiment and ideas away from the right-wing.

that has not happened yet.

if it does not happen,

the elections will be the usual fractionated district-by-district fight.

that's not likely to win the democrats control of either sector of congress.

There is a lot of angst in the Republican electorate. Among Independents, I notice great unease with Bush and his minions. Among the Democratic faithful, there is anger and a hungry desire for immediate change. The trick will be to direct all the angst, the unease, the anger and the hunger to a clear need for change come election day in November. This is no small task. Is the national Democratic leadership up to the job? At this point, I have my doubts.

The National Democratic strategy for the November elections appears to be to let the people turn out in droves to vote the corrupt and mendacious Republicans out of office. I hope I'm wrong, but this seems to be a wishful strategy. If Dems want a tsunami in November they will have to drive the political debate to light a torch "under the voters" and then herd them to the polls come November. And you can't do this if you wait until after Labor Day. Time's awastin'. When will the National Dems start their motors?

It's tough to beat an incumbent in any election year. Tip O'Neill was right to a large extent .... all politics is local. People may dislike the Republicans in general but they tend to like their Congressman unless he's done something bad enough that a well-funded and aggressive challenger can take the race to him. Running on corruption or incompetence in general, I suspect, won't be enough to toss the Republicans out of the House or Senate without a strong message of change on the national level coupled with a political assault on the local incumbent.

My big picture take is that we shouldn't despair if the Democrats don't get it all together to run the perfect race this year.

That would be nice, of course, because the external events are so favorable, but you don't put a rennaissance together in a few months.

A real discovery process of the best way to communicate the party's core values and a strengthening of political, policy, and communications institutions needs to happen over a period of years.

Besides, I think I'd rather go into '08 as the out party. None of the externals is going to improve from '06 to '08. We might even be in a true definitional recession.

A real discovery process of the best way to communicate the party's core values and a strengthening of political, policy, and communications institutions needs to happen over a period of years. I think the Dems need to start by convincing a larger segment of the country that they have any "core values." Except they ought to be the governing party....

janisinsan fran, Depends on what your definition of core values are.

The values are there, they need to be used effectively in candidate communications. I'm talking about messaging. The old definition of liberalism that called it (paraphrasing) a belief in using the power of government to create a level playing field, a fair chance, for all Americans to achieve a good standard of living and some semblance of freedom and happiness, etc,....that's a core value. Making sure those who are disadvantaged through no action of their own have a shot, that's a core value. Or a philosophy. Find me a Democrat who doesn't believe in this. But how many can talk about it? How many can build a campaign around it? Maybe a couple of talented '08 contenders.

When Democrats all across the country are talking about it in their own ways, the way R's talk about "limited government", then we have it. This takes time. It has to be sold, it has to be taught. We need to get more talent in the system. Recruitment for '06 is promising. We need 3,4,5 more cycles like this. Build the farm team.

Things are off to a good start. But expecting a grandslam this year is too much, really.

I've been meaning to respond to this post for several days now.

I -- like, I assume, many -- vacillate significantly in my expectation for this Fall's elections. Bush's continuing poll miasma, the generic Congressional matchups, the surreal accretion of bad news on the GOP side (something new almost every day)...all these things make me think something truly dramatic could happen in November. And there have been other, smaller off-election results that have conformed to that expectation. But, no question, this showing in CA is a letdown, and -- coupled with reading things like Schumer's "everything for the marginal seats" strategy -- it makes me fearful we're set up for another year where the Dems fumble a great set of circumstances and achieve a "respectable but not quite" outcome.

I think Crab Nebula is correct in one sense: we could fall short of our goal this year (as Dems more or less did in 1930, missing the Senate by 1 seat) and not count it a disaster, because, if anything, circumstances for Pubs are likely to get worse before '08 (unless laws of economic gravity have been repealed). But I worry about a Bush who feels he's dodged a bullet. This is a guy who viewed his 2000 loss as clear-cut victory, and the smallest re-election margin in history as a mandate. With the urging of FoxNews et al., he could claim anything short of Dem takeover as a triumph, and make this country an even uglier place than it is today.

John Lopresti said:

"I need to spend time learning more about southern CA, again. There are large numbers of very good Democrat people living there."

Well, at risk of raising a mob of pitchfork-wielding, torch-bearing Bay Area Democrats to come marching down I-5, allow me to say that I've been a Democrat in Northern California (San Francisco to be specific, and was involved in professional politics there and in Sacramento), and I've been a Democrat in Southern California, and to tell the truth I prefer the Southern California version just on the lack of self-righteousness that comes from living in the political hothouse of the northern Bay Area. Down here we seem a bit less likely to gather the usual circular firing squads you find practically on every street corner in SF.

And there are so many "good Democrat people" living down here that if we weren't here, California would not be the nice blue state it is.

Now if we could just send the Central Valley back to Oklahoma and Texas...

Oh, one other thing, San Diego isn't military because the military was there and the kids grew up to join - in fact, damn few San Diegans overall join the Marines or Navy (who wants to "join the Navy and see the world," two blocks from where you grew up? You join the service to "get the hell outta Dodge" baby!).

Nope, San Diego is the way it is because a lot of people from 4-Season America joined up to get the hell outta Dodge and got sent there, where they discovered a place that really does have the best "Mediterranean climate" you could ask for outside the Mediterranean, and they stayed. Who wants to move back to midwestern winters??? That's how Southern California was originally populated - all the refugees from winter. (Said as a boy who got the hell outta Colorado and never went back for that very reason)

I have a few links if there is time later this week to re-post. Meanwhile, appreciation for a complicated topic's interesting discussion, even with some humorous images of what our demographic in CA is.
Gotta like those white sands in San Diego. Though I wonder how toward the border the state of CA ever permitted construction of a tollroad, more like PA or NJ.
On the so-called central valley, there are interesting environmental issues; though, count me among those who appreciate a suitable field for ag and healthy range for livestock.
Besides giving CA Pete Wilson of San Diego, the southland has supplied a few other governors recently.
If you want to look at an interesting CO website of political legal theme check Jeralyn Merritt's; though there is a visitor overload there, it is amazingly dynamic.
Meanwhile the Democrats seem to be finding more of a voice recently. I like Speaker Pelosi's low key approach. And while many on the strident side critiqued Feinstein in the hearings, a re-read of the questions she asked AG Gonzales shows her thought development and precision stand the test of time, revealing the senator's firmness and coordinated research. Even our local rep Thompson has returned to some of the rhetoric which launched his election to congress a while ago.

Briefly, CORRECTION: Pelosi not yet speaker, though check back in November 2006; minority leader is one post below speaker.
Feinstein ADDENDUM: the questioning of Gonzales referenced is the February 2006 wiretap imbroglio hearing; look about five screenfuls down in WaPo
Central valley: Bakersfield antienvironmentalists try to use ethnic tensions to disqualify ballot measure, but withdraw their own court action.
Bakersfield-Loma Linda developers attempt to subvert referendum ballot measure by using ethnic tensions, ostensibly figleafed by the Help America Vote Act.
San Juan Capistrano developers try to suppress initiative to ban development, hiding ploy in terms of HAVA.
Santa Barbara neighborhood organizations avoid developer inroads as vintage homes prices escalate; outlying rural hamlets burgeon; commute can take two hours for seventy miles travel; Santa Barbara preserves its character but middle class income is insufficient to buy home unless several working adults, or more; good old Santa Barbara; a beautiful place and wonderful warm people.
San Onofre in San Diego, and a string of 21 nuke plants on CA coast filter and destroy marine neonates, warming coastal waters, alter ecosystems. Fortunately, CA ceased building nuke plants, but when the administration's oilers retire, they are going to try to tell people to go nuke power generation route; nuke=clean, they will say; many other hidden costs.
Most of this has little to do with Democrats as our representatives, except these are issues which have avenues for discussion. Let's see which leaders have interest in examining matters such as these with longterm impact on the contexts and quality of CA living.

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