Massachusetts, A Blessing In Disguise, Really!

The more I hear and read about what’s going on in this country, the more I think the Democrats loss in Massachusetts will help them in the long run. One thing that occurred last night during the acceptance speech by Scott Brown was his pimping out his daughters on national television. This shows the type of deep intellectual thinker that he is and with his new found attention as the face (and body) of the right, it ought to be fun watching him speak for the party. Maybe he and Sarah Palin can team up and hit the campaign circuit for other Republicans.

The Massachusetts election also poses a problem for pundits. Because there were no exit polls and the polls leading up to the race were almost exclusively “horse race” polls, every pundit in the world is going to have free reign to spin it however they want, including me. :)  But what this does is let a narrative be written that may not be true, which could serve to make Republicans over confident or read meaning into something that doesn’t warrant it. Politicians are best served by having accurate information and the lack of good details about this race could potentially be a problem for Republicans.

Who’s the next contestant on The Blame Game? I personally don’t like playing the blame game, it’s not very fun. I will take a few stabs at the horrible media that pollutes my TV and Computer, but not to blame them, but to shed light on them. I heard a great program on Diane Rehm’s show on NPR this morning and it made me think how the media and to some extent, Democratic pundits, set up the “straw man” that it was a democratic seat. Now I can see calling a house seat either a dem or rep seat, because you have distinctly partisan areas in all states. But a statewide seat is fair game for all parties. Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, remember. So I don’t think it was ever the democrats seat to begin with. They certainly had every chance to win it, but it isn’t inherently a democratic seat.

I also question people who call it this great upset, some saying the biggest upset of the century…..I seem to recall them saying that about Obama beating Hillary too. No hyperbole there, eh? A special election that puts two candidates with no national exposure and no incumbency against each other shouldn’t, in my opinion, be anything but a minor upset. She was ahead in the polls initially, but that had a lot to do with the fact that no one knew who Brown was at first. Once he started running his populist campaign, the numbers immediately began to shoot up for him. Coakley went on vacation during the month-long election, give me a break.

The last thing I’ll say is that CANDIDATES MATTER! Just like elections have consequences, so do bad candidates. I hope my party will learn a lesson from this election and choose better candidates to run in these elections, because taking any seat for granted is pretty stupid.

Budget Reconciliation – Here We Come!

I’m not getting all exercised about the loss in Massachusetts for the Democrats. The independent and moderates in our country seem to blow in the wind from election to election. I still think that the Democratic party is in pretty good shape, in comparison to the Republicans. The Repugs have Rush, Glenn, Sarah, Michael Steele, Newt, Michelle Bachman, DeMint….a bunch of real winners on their side. So the democrats ran the wrong candidate in Mass, who picked her anyway?  We dems have to dust ourselves off, not get too excited, regroup, set some goals and pick some great candidates to challenge all those republicans leaving the House and Senate. The wind keeps blowing and the fickle middle will swing back again. But Democrats have to show a unified front.

Obama Wasn’t On The Ballet, Don’t Believe The Spin!

If Coakley wins, I’m sure the MSM is going to spin it into a loss by the president. He wasn’t on the ballot. I read that George Snuffleupagus is saying it will be the biggest upset of the century or some shit like that. That’s crazy, upset? She was appointed to fill a vacancy, she hasn’t won a national election ever, how can it be an upset. Simply because Teddy Kennedy held that seat doesn’t make it a democratic seat. Sure, the democrats will have to take a look in the mirror and learn from this election, but the big lesson from this is that if democrats want to win, they have to put up good candidates. I don’t care how long a seat has been controlled by one party or another, voters are going to pick the best candidate. It’s only the punditocracy that sees it the other way. You get what you vote for, Massachusetts, you vote for an idiot teabagger, you get an idiot teabagger. Life goes on.

Democrats Are In Great Shape!

I’m going out on a limb here, I think the democrats are in great shape going into the 2010 elections. I say it despite the various pundits and bloggers who are saying the opposite. I’ve been watching the dynamics of the health care reform battle, the tea party movement, the Sarah Palin phenomenon, Michael Steele, Newt Gingrich, the Obama haters, the polls and I’m beginning to think that when the dust settles in November of 2010, we will see a much different picture than people are painting right now.

The Tea Party movement will split the republicans. In many areas they are threatening to challenge republican candidates in the primary if you don’t agree with them on nearly everything. They are infiltrating the party at ground level. If they succeed in getting their kind nominated, a whole lot of republicans and independents will vote for the democrat in the general election. If they form a third party, which may happen, it will split what’s left of the conservative vote and democratic candidates will fair better. The “Tea Partiers” could have a significant effect in the primaries by selecting more extreme candidates which will turn off many moderate republicans in the general election. Both parties rely on the middle to get elected, except in districts that are solid one way or the other.

I’ve been studying election polls for years both in college courses and independently and they are used and abused by the media in many ways. My theory on polls is that they are not reliable at predicting voter behavior on election day except within a month of the election. The main reason for this is the vast majority of voters don’t really pay attention to candidates or issues until the election gets near. There are us political junkies who follow way too closely, but I keep telling myself that polls fluctuate wildly and the methodologies of many of them are questionable. For a great example of this, go read Nate Silver’s analysis of a poll commissioned by the off the rail blog Firedoglake. It’s revealing of how a poll can get you the results you want, if you write the questions and order the questions in the “right” way.

Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight is the absolute best at interpreting and analyzing polls and whenever a new poll comes, I rush over to Nate’s blog and see what he has to say about it. He’s honest and tells it like it is, whether it’s what you want to hear or not.

I’m not feeling doom and gloom for the democrats in the next election. If you look at the non “horserace” questions, you get a much more accurate picture of what might happen in the future. Drawing any conclusions about what might happen 10 months from now is a fools game. My optimism for the democratic party isn’t based on polls, whether they are good ones or not. It’s based on the dynamics of many variables including the “Tea Party Movement”, health care reform and all the rest.

So having said all that, here are some numbers from polls that are revealing. The generic democratic versus republican question in regards to congress has dems at 38, reps at 37 according to PollingReport.com. My theory, which isn’t original, is that in our two party system, both parties have about 35% solid support. There is another 10% or so that are pretty reliable for each party. The last 10% can go either way. Now depending on what part of the country you live in, these can vary quite a bit, but when you average it all out, the numbers above are pretty close. This poll shows republican support at the lowest in a decade. So the battle is generally in the middle with independent and moderates from both parties. The Democratic party has been swinging towards the middle when it comes to candidates whereas the republicans are clearly swinging to the right with the Tea Party crowd, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and all the rest of the loudest, most conservative wing of the party. The independents and moderates will go towards the candidate that shows that moderation.

Now some on the left have had some success at getting the base riled up, especially about health care and Afghanistan. If we look at the health care debate in particular, the people who don’t want any reform and the ones who want the most drastic reform, have teamed up to make the president look unpopular in the current moment. That’s what happens when you compromise, you get it from both sides. But that won’t translate into a massive change in votes in the next election, I am sure of that. People will return to their base principals and vote the way they always do, except for that moderate middle, they will swing whichever way depending on lots of things. The Jane Hamshers of the world who like to threaten candidates, hold guns to their heads, smear their wives, a petition every other week demanding something or another…they have their loyal little following who may not vote or may cast a “protest” vote for a Republican. But for the most part, this effort won’t have an effect on any elections. They may try to claim they do, but they are just trying to get clicks and then more clicks on their “donate” tabs which litter all the “non profits” they seem to run. Public Policy Polling has a great post with poll results that show the democratic faithful are just that, faithful. So when these Obama haters like Hamsher, Uygur, Marsh and the few others start over-inflating their impact, throw this poll in their face and tell them to read it and weep, real democrats support their party.

Morning Joke Gives Helicopter Harold Free Air Time!

Helicopter Harold Ford Jr., the darling of the Morning Starbucks with Joe show, was just given a nice hunk of time to give his campaign pitch. He went unchallenged, defended the banks and apparently is going on Joe’s radio show later. Isn’t that sweet?

Earlier on the show, Scarborough somehow managed to segue from the Haiti disaster to one of his cherry picked polls showing Obama down, which I’ve been trying to find, but I noticed the fine print at the bottom that had a +/- of 4.8%, which is an awfully high margin of error and points to a sample of probably 400 people or so. I’m working on a post about polls and I’m going to go out on a limb and say things are looking good for democrats next year and in 2012, contrary to the spin the conservative media is trying desperately to sell.