Et tu, Jay Carney?

It’s not that he’s saying anything that the rest of us don’t already know

“It’s not going to be a good year for Democrats by definition,” [former White House press secretary Jay] Carney said. “The sixth year is always particularly bad for a president’s party. You couple that with the fact so many seats are defended by Democrats in red states where Mitt Romney did very well against the president, double-digits in most cases, and there’s no outcome in November that anybody could say would be great for Democrats, except for barely holding onto the Senate.”

…it’s that the sight of Jay Carney saying something clearly and straightforwardly (and, frankly, accurately) is a kind of a new sensation for everybody. It’s like watching a moose tap-dance; theoretically it’s possible, but you still kind of have to stare.  I’d feel bad about being rude like that; but, hey, Jay Carney.

Moe Lane

PS: I understand that it’s currently fashionable to manage expectations about the Senate.  Oh, who am I kidding? It’s always fashionable.  Win or lose, every two years it’s like clockwork.


At-Risk Senate Seats, 08/31/2014 edition (Includes DOOM calls).

Here is my latest At-Risk races… and there are DOOM calls. Hey, it’s Labor Day Weekend. Time to start in on that.

Alaska Mark Begich High Risk
Arkansas Mark Pryor High Risk
Colorado Mark Udall Serious Risk
Iowa Retiring High Risk
Louisiana Mary Landrieu High Risk
Michigan Retiring Some Risk
Minnesota Al Franken Low Risk
Montana Retiring DOOM
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen Some Risk
New Mexico Tom Udall Off list
North Carolina Kay Hagan High Risk
Oregon Jeff Merkley Low Risk
South Dakota Retiring DOOM
Virginia Mark Warner Low Risk
West Virginia Retiring DOOM



The American Prospect: Hey, so we lose six Senate seats and control. No biggie.

Ooh, I wasn’t expecting stories like this until some time after Labor Day:


Link via RCP: the gist of it is that of course the Democrats will win back the Senate in 2016, because all of those young, hip, ethnically diverse voters will come out and vote for the Democratic candidate for Senator, right after they vote for whichever old white person the Democrats nominate for President!

…Huh. Doesn’t have the same zing, when put that way. (more…)

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So, it’s August, and it’s GOP +7 in the Senate.

Via Stephen Green: oh, how I love this RCP Senate average map.


I might not love it so much if it hasn’t changed by October 21st, but for right now that’s a great map. Seven GOP pickups that don’t have Alaska, Colorado, and even maybe Michigan? And no Democratic pickups?  Yeah, I’ll take that at this stage of the election cycle.  After all, it’s not even Labor Day. (more…)

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Obama administration quietly doing back-channel evisceration of Obamacare’s individual mandate tax.

Point (July 2013):

President Obama on Tuesday threatened to veto a pair of Republican bills in the House which would delay the employer and individual mandates for one year in the Obama health reform laws, as GOP leaders pressed Democrats to break ranks with the White House on the issue.

Another Point (March, 2014):

The White House said Tuesday that President Obama would veto a House GOP bill to delay a contentious part of Obamacare for one year.

The House is set to vote this week on the Simple Fairness Act, which let Americans go without health insurance in 2014 without facing the tax penalty prescribed by the Affordable Care Act.

Counter-point (August 2014)

Almost 90% of the nation’s 30 million uninsured won’t pay a penalty under the Affordable Care Act in 2016 because of a growing batch of exemptions to the health-coverage requirement.

The architects of the health law wanted most Americans to carry insurance or pay a penalty. But an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation said most of the uninsured will qualify for one or more exemptions.



The Democrats’ 2014 problem in one sentence.

From a Hill article, discussing the Democrats’ current kitchen sink / spaghetti against the wall / Hail Mary play / spin the chamber and hope it’s the one without the bullet strategy they’ve adopted for the midterms:

Central to the Democrats’ campaign message is their “Middle Class Jumpstart” agenda — a package, unveiled last month, that includes specific proposals to expand education opportunities, empower women in the workplace and promote domestic job creation.

…this is the first I’ve heard of it.  Me, the political junkie.  And if I haven’t heard of it, even to mock it – and, believe me, I would have mocked it if I had heard of it – then it didn’t succeed as an unveiling. (more…)


Why it doesn’t matter, electorally speaking, that the public hates Congress more than Barack Obama.

Writing stuff like this actually does no favors for Democrats

President Obama has hit another low in another poll, but so have many of his critics in Congress.

The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll gives the president an approval rating of 40%, a record low; Congress has a rating of only 14%, also a low.

…and this is why: it produces a false equivalence.  Democratic incumbents in trouble aren’t going to be happy to see Barack Obama showing up… but Republican incumbents in trouble – yes, there are some – weren’t going to get ‘Congress’ to come out to campaign for them.  They’d get specific (and popular) Republican politicians to do that.  I understand that you can’t really compare Barack Obama’s popularity against every member of Congress and not have the result be utterly cumbersome, but I think framing the discussion this way doesn’t really lead to correct conclusions.



Democrats stuck trying to duck Barack Obama without looking like they’re doing that.

Drink the pain. Drink:

The 2014 election is likely to give us many more moments of gut-wrenching agony and Democrats going all Apostle Peter on the president they universally supported when elected in 2008. Members of the White House political team will grit their teeth and ask low-level campaign staffers if, you know, it would be OK for the commander-in-chief to show up. They will be told to call back in a few days. Often, they will be told, “No thanks, but send money.”

This won’t console the candidates, but they are not the first to find themselves trapped between their voters and an unpopular president. In 1998 and in 2006, both the second midterm years of struggling presidents, lots of candidates agonized over whether to let the most powerful man in the world land his plane near them.



The Inevitable* “Wow, That Politico Poll Is Awful For the Left, Huh?” post.

Not good news for the Democrats, five and a half months out:

President Barack Obama’s job approval slump and voters’ entrenched wariness of his health care law are dogging Democrats ahead of the 2014 midterm elections, and Republicans have captured a lead in the areas home to the year’s most competitive races, according to a new POLITICO poll.

In the congressional districts and states where the 2014 elections will actually be decided, likely voters said they would prefer to vote for a Republican over a Democrat by 7 points, 41 percent to 34 percent. A quarter of voters said they were unsure of their preference.

39/30 for House districts; 43/36 for Senate.  But this is the fun finding: “Nearly two-thirds of voters said they prefer a government in which different parties control the White House and Congress, rather than one party controlling all the levers of power.” Translation: the public may (and does) hate both parties, but they’re quite keen on this entire ‘gridlock’ thing.  Which should surprise nobody, but will surprise a bunch of people anyway. (more…)

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Democrats’ youth vote for 2014 looks like… 2010′s.

Yes, that would make Democrats frantic.  Why do you ask?

Just the one poll, of course – and note that it was done by a Democratic pollster, so don’t assume that ‘scaring the heebie-jeebies out of the Left’ isn’t part of the business model – but it does seem to fit.  It does not really surprise me that the Democrats can only count on 37% of its 2012 youth vote in 2014; as Aaron Blake noted, the youth vote dropped precipitously in 2010, too.  Midterm elections are dominated by voting blocs that make the effort to vote; the young are typically not one of those voting blocs. (more…)


Nate Silver (translated): Yeah, the GOP is going to take the Senate back.

When a partisan writes something like this: “The past 14 years have featured a number of exceptionally exciting elections with control of the federal government at stake. This year, it probably isn’t” …then you know that things look grim for the party that the partisan is a partisan for.  If you can’t spin for the win, spin away the loss: it’s a trick as old as Aesop.  In this case, Nate Silver’s argument is that since the GOP already has veto power over everything (except for non-Supreme Court nominations, now that Harry Reid killed the filibuster for them*), then what difference does it make if the GOP does well this year? And sure, it makes no difference…

  • Except for judicial nominations, of course.  Which Nate Silver mentions.
  • And treaties. Silver mentions that, too.
  • Not to mention that of course the better we do this year, the more margin we have in 2016.  Silver’s aware of that, as well.
  • And then there’s the prospect of another hammer-blow to state Democrats, which will keep them in useful disarray for the rest of the decade, probably.  Still something that Silver notes; why does he think that this election isn’t a big deal, again?


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