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May 04, 2006


The million dollar question is can the Dems capitalize on this disapproval of Bush and his policies?

I am convinced that when the polls move from generic ballot preferences to the actual Fall match up most of the races will tighten. Incumbency is powerful and the Dems need an additional 15 wins to take the House.

How effective a campaign will the Dems run? Will they nationalize this election and paint every Repub candidate as a lackey of Bush and make the mid-terms a referendum on Bush and the "rubber stamp" Repub congress? Will the Dems energize their base or keep with their "sister souljah" past?

Clooney on Bill Maher's show said it right in my view that the Dems need to take a position based on their progressive values and voters having tried the right wing Repub deceit and corruption machine will want to try something more to the left. The polls show that the majority of the electorate want change. And as the recent polls on Santorum vs Casey show being a Repub-lite candidate is not a winning stance.

Will Rahm & Schumer get it in time to make a difference or will the DC Dem establishment repeat the mistakes of recent elections and blow the first golden opportunity in 15 years?

Which polls are that?

Casey beats Santorum 46-38 in the Morning Call/Muhlenberg College Poll, and 47-41 in the Keystone Poll, both late April and hte most recent polling I'm aware of.

BTW, I'm all for what ab initio suggests, though all politics is local.

Has the Watergate 2006 Hooker scandal gotten a mention on the nightly news?

ABC WNT was quick with the Kennedy driving thing tonight, but I don't recall them giving the same amount of attention to Sweeney's drunken good time at a frat party or Hookergate.

i think ab initio has a good point - no the least because i support that point, too.

as for demfromCT's comment on santorum v. casey,

i read today, elsewhere, that the race has tightened in favor of santorum recently.

apparently, because his moneyed supporters have been running lots of t.v. ads focusing on casey.

voters are not especially knowledgeable,

and they are strongly influenceable,

otherwise ads would not work and would not be paid for.

but santorum being a bush republican and third ranking in the senate republican leadership apparently does not mean much to some voters in pennsylvania who watch these ads.

in american politics it is a "truism' that if a president tries to meddle in a particular congressional race, he often ends up tipping support to the candidate he opposes. this effect is, apparently, sufficiently strong that presidents have generally stopped trying to influence a specific race.

might it not be the case, then,

that a negative opinion of a president would not necessarily influence a congressional race?

in any event,

it is important for democratic candidates to make an explicit connection between president bush's activities and the activities of this congress -- specifically, by noting the failure to exercise oversight, e.g., rubber stamping what bush proposes.

it is also important for democratic candidates to be very bold in attacking their republican opposition --

no guts, not glory.

this means, among other things, meticulous research into the congressional activities of the republican congressional opponent. given the breadth of the republican corruption being disclosed, it would be negligent of a democratic candidate to fail to determine whether his republican congressional opponent may have been part of that corruption.


at some point,

some democratic candidate and some democratic media consultant

have to decide to attack political ads, per se.

while there areloads of manure spreaders spinning about campaign reform,

nothing would change campaigning finances like a full-scale attack on the credibility of political ads.

this would be both easy and fun to do.

that it has not been done yet reflects the excess seriousness

and the fear of losing,

that afflicts political candidates and their advisers.

Has the Watergate 2006 Hooker scandal gotten a mention on the nightly news?

Yes, it was on NBC Nightly news tonight, along with a story about Colbert's performance being replayed on the internet.

DemFromCT, what I was alluding to wrt to Santorum vs Casey are the trend lines in the polls. Casey's lead is steadily shrinking in a situation where Santorum's approval rating is so low. This should be a race where the Dems win a seat but with the DSCC "nominating" Casey the voters don't have a real choice. If they want a pro-war, pro-Alito, anti-choice senator they already have one. Why make the change? This in my view is the problem with the DC Dem establishment leadership. The focus on "electability" never gets a winning candidate. The Dems need to stand up for their beliefs and values and not cower because they will be labeled as "liberal". I also believe that the Dems need to stand up for their "brand" and ideology and start the long road to changing the perception of liberal and progressive values from the caricature that the Repubs have implanted in voters minds.

Let's be candid, what is the perception of a Dem politician for the average American voter - a politician with no ideology, no convictions and willing to take the most expedient positions to win an election. This has to change for any long term Dem resurgence. And this mid-term is the best election to start that as the voters are the most receptive to change and disillusioned with reality vs rhetoric of the Repubs.

perceptions are 80% whether you win or lose, and 20% the rest. As noted, I'm all for straight talk but I am against trying to win 38% of the vote to make a point.

I think there are other factors besides how liberal/progressive/not a candidate is, as far as the voters go. "Republican lite" is a remarkably un-nuanced simplistic description that, at times, is true and, at times, is not.

The candidate who wins may be described quite differently than the same candidate who loses, at least after the election.

In any case, it'll be interesting to see if santorum can escape his ceiling, which is below casey's floor IMO.

The Democrats had a Progressive Senator in PA -- Harris Wofford, but they could not re-elect him. Wofford was a Notre Dame Law Professor who worked on Kennedy's campaign in 1960, then joined the White House as Kennedy's special assistant on Civil Rights. (Twas Wofford who thought up and organized the JFK call to Coretta King just before the 1960 election.) Wofford eventually moved over to Peace Corps and eventually headed the African division. He did considerable work for the Nuclear Freeze in the 1980's. He then won the special election for Senator in PA in 1991 and finished out John Heintz's term. After he lost, Clinton had him head AmericaCorps. For PA -- that was just too progressive. PA is a swing state, and much of the swing vote is Ethnic, Catholic and working class. You just can't apply taste in candidates nationally, and Our party would be much better off if we understood precisely what this means. We may have some national themes -- but we have to appeal to voters and motivate them in terms of their particular political culture.

One of the big rules in politics is "Don't peak too soon." -- Always remember Mike Dukakis in 1988 -- 17 points ahead after his convention, and he lost. I would hope, for instance, that Casey will not show his major themes or issues against Santorium till late summer. In the meantime, it should be Retail politics -- attend every picnic and county fair in PA.

I'm wondering in terms of nationalizing elections, if we shouldn't capitalize on the GOP's focus on protecting Bush. To do so, they place a higher value on protecting Bush, than they do about loosing the War on Terror.

I've been following a story on Talking Points Memo that Joshua wrote about Elizabeth Dole's fundraising plea to raise GOP Money:


"If Democrats take control of the Senate in '06, they will cancel the Bush tax cuts, allow liberal activist judges to run our courts and undermine all Republican efforts to win the War on Terror."

THE KEY TO HOW Dole is willing to sell out the couuntry is the phrase that immediately follows her words: "the War on Terror."

"Even worse, they will call for endless congressional investigations and possibly call for the impeachment of President Bush!"

What they are saying is it's worse for Bush to be investigated, than it is for us to loose the War On Terra.

We must nail them to the barn door for so openly placing party above country.

They wouldn't hesitate to capitalize on something like that, we shouldn't either!

Ron Russell, that's an excellent point. But so is Sara's retail election strategery. There's room for both.

sara'a point about not showing your cards until later in the race seems to me very sound politics.

virtually any point of attack or defense today can be neutralized or defeated with advertising in a relatively short amount of time.

only the most unusual ads are difficult to counter -- those that leave a profound emotional impression on a voter.

in part that is because the point the candidate makes is not sufficiently strong and central to voter's beliefs and

in part because the ads often use a peculiar stilted political rhetoric and

in part because advertising now is so "analytical" with regard to audiences and messages.

i would love to see some political ads that not only attack the listening to and believing political ads

but also

use history to show parallels with present problems and present leaders.

Perhaps my history is faulty, but didn't Newt and his Republicans only roll out the Contract for American in September of 94? I think that may be relevant to the point that orionATL is makes.

Democrats can still focus on the "Culture of Corruption" and "the incompentence that couldn't organize a 2 car parade" and "incapable of being honest", but I'm wondering about the wisdom of rolling out the Democrats campaign and giving Republicans a longer lead time for counter attacks.

Over at Raw Story, Nancy Pelosi was reported as stating the democratic strategy:


and I immediately thought about the comment from orionATL (above).

Do we benefit more by pounding home the message from now till election day or would we be better off keeping our powder dry until too late in the game for the Repub's to roll out counter-attack ads?

Back in 94, the Republicans could wait because Democrats were self-destructing. Now, those tables have turned. I like an overall message that says things are bad now, but will be better once the Republicans are out of power. Keep it simple, like: "Rescue America".

Good site! I'll stay reading! Keep improving!

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