He's facing a teabagger. I mean, honestly, is that the best the GOP can do?
I've said it before, but Dodd must be considered very likely to win another term. He's played a central role in the healthcare process, and healthcare reform is highly popular in Connecticut. He'll be able to cut an ad touting his importance in establishing universal healthcare--delivering a longtime liberal goal ought to be good in one of the most progressive states in the nation. He can cut an ad about it. Then he can cut an ad with footage of him with his dear old friend, the late Ted Kennedy, talking about how they worked together on so much, and then maybe include a clip of Dodd having a walk-and-talk with President Obama. Then they can run the ad of Rob Simmons, "who as a congressman voted with Bush 95% of the time" and chooses to associate with radical teabaggers. Cut to image of Nazi/racist signs. Done. At that point, it's Dodd by 20.
I realize that it's interesting to speculate about Arlen Specter's chances in Pennsylvania, or whether New Hampshire will remain in Republican hands, but I find it unlikely that either state will return Republicans to power. Pennsylvania has slipped a bit for Obama, the result of a GOP campaign to scare seniors about losing their Medicare, which is especially effective since PA is the second-oldest state in the country. Toomey's extreme conservatism doesn't offer much of an incentive to seniors, and the prospect that they'll eventually realize that Obamacare didn't really hurt them is a strong one. Seems to me that the dynamics favor the Democrats here--either Specter or Sestak is going to make Toomey's record an issue, and unlike Obama, Toomey really does want to raid entitlements (or at least did). Kelly Ayotte holds the most promise for the GOP, but her record is rather conservative, and while Republican women have tended to do well in recent years in New England Ayotte herself hasn't yet run for public office. I tend to think that Mike Castle and Mark Kirk are somewhat overrated in Delaware and Illinois as well.
In any event, what makes me think that the Democrats are in good position in these races is the race for the New York 23rd District seat. If you haven't followed it, basically, the local GOP nominated a moderate Republican, and Club for Growth and the teabagging types have had a lot of success in destroying her candidacy by entering a third candidate. Now, Scozzafava is broke in a three-way race. The torsional stresses being applied to Republicans these days seem to me to be unmanageable, requiring them to move far enough to the right that they please the Beckites, while becoming unelectable in the process. If Scozzafava indeed loses next month, and the Democrat, Bill Owens, wins the race, it will probably lead to more division within the party, as will substantial Republican effort on global warming (which might happen, as Lindsey Graham appears to be on board) and especially immigration reform. Right now the GOP is unified, but that picture seems destined to change soon. And if the economy finds itself in full recovery come Election Day 2010, those intramural debates will only accentuate.
The Man, The Myth, The Bio
- East Bay, California, United States
- Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.