Jun
24
2015
5

Kay Hagan declines to lose *another* Senate race in North Carolina.

Via Hot Air comes this refreshing bucket of icy sea water on Democratic fever dreams: “Former North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan will not be mounting a challenge to her former GOP colleague, Sen. Richard M. Burr.” Not surprising that Hagan bowed out though, really. It is not the easiest thing in the world for a former Senator who was tossed out of office to come back and win a new election, particularly when it is against an incumbent.

Alas for the Democratic party, recruiting people who have intimately known the bitter lash of electoral defeat is the lynchpin of their 2016 Senate strategy. Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania… shoot, the next Democratic nominee for FL-SEN might very well be Alan Grayson, who rather famously got smacked down in 2010, to the point where he had to go running to a safer district.  A lot of retreads, in other words. A lot of retreads.  Which is fine if you think that the electorate is regretting its previous decisions; but what if they’re not?

Moe Lane

Jun
15
2015
1

Russ Feingold used his outside candidate Super-PAC to …pay his once-and-future campaign staff?

You know, it’s sad when you see somebody whose basic motivation in life is so self-evidently Where am I gonna get my next fix from, man? Sad, and a little embarrassing. You want ’em to get help, but it’s not your place to tell ’em to shape up:

Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold — long a champion of campaign finance reform — founded a political action committee that has given a mere 5% of its income to federal candidates and political parties.

Instead, nearly half of the $7.1 million that Progressives United PAChas spent since 2011 has gone to raising more money for itself, according to data compiled by OpenSecrets.org. The data also show the group has paid another sizable chunk of money on salaries or consulting fees for Feingold, his top aide and eight former staffers.

(more…)

May
23
2015
7

The Democrats heat up some leftovers for the 2016 Senate races.

Before we get into the meat of this story from the National Journal, let me just note that this – “One of the most underappreciated stories in recent years is the deterioration of the Democratic bench under President Obama’s tenure in office” – has always been properly appreciated by me.  I noticed this issue a while back.  Sorry, but I felt the need to establish that.

Moving on…

…less attention has been paid to how the shrinking number of Democratic officeholders in the House and in statewide offices is affecting the party’s Senate races. It’s awfully unusual to see how dependent Democrats are in relying on former losing candidates as their standard-bearers in 2016. Wisconsin’s Russ Feingold, Pennsylvania’s Joe Sestak, Indiana’s Baron Hill, and Ohio’s Ted Strickland all ran underwhelming campaigns in losing office in 2010—and are looking to return to politics six years later. Party officials are courting former Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina to make a comeback bid, despite mediocre favorability ratings and the fact that she lost a race just months ago that most had expected her to win. All told, more than half of the Democrats’ Senate challengers in 2016 are comeback candidates.

(more…)

May
13
2015
5

Ah, the 2016 Senate race. I cannot wait for the Democratic DEEP HURTING*.

I haven’t decided whether this Washington Post article on Alan Grayson is an attempt to warm him up to the Beltway, or else warn the Beltway about him. Probably the latter: you don’t say things like “[h]is campaign Web [site] … liberally uses ALL CAPS, which gives you a sense of what a possible Grayson for Senate campaign would be like” in This Town when you’re trying to be nice.  On the other hand, there is one really important thing that the WaPo should have been mentioned about Alan Grayson, but neglected to.  To wit: in 2010 Alan Grayson had his head handed to him in FL-08, and that was as an incumbent.  Daniel Webster winning with 56% of the vote was enough to get Grayson scurrying for another district. (more…)

May
06
2015
1

Shutdown to be revisited in fall of 2015?

Let’s just stamp on this nonsense on stilts right now, because it is nonsense on stilts:

A shutdown fight would be risky for both sides, but would be particularly perilous for Republicans as they seek to retain control of Congress and win back the White House. The last shutdown fight sent the GOP’s poll numbers to historic lows, though the party’s brand recovered ahead of a historic midterm elections triumph.

Here’s why it’s nonsense on stilts:

  1. The shutdown fight in 2013 took place because the Republican-run House and the Democratic-run Senate could not agree on a budget, spending priorities, you name it. A government shutdown in 2015 would be because the President vetoed duly-passed appropriations bills.  Which is totally his privilege – but Barack Obama would then also be responsible, in a way that he’s never had to be before.
  2. Building on that… it is very possible that Barack Obama does not understand just how much he’s been able to lean for support on a complaisant, Democratic-controlled Congress. Or that ‘I’m shutting down the government because I want Republicans to spend more’ will not have the same resonance with the American people as ‘the Republicans are shutting down the government because they can’t make a deal with the Senate.’
  3. Lastly… I will concede that the timing of the 2013 shutdown was awful for Ken Cuccinelli.  Truly, truly awful.  Otherwise… oh, yes, God forbid that we should have another fight where the GOP fights out a government shutdown for about two, three weeks longer than most political observers (including myself) thought they would.  How could we ever recover from that? Why, if we had only not had that 2013 shutdown then in 2014 we might have won eighteen seats in the Senate, twenty-six seats in the House, and four net governorships! Somehow!

Bottom line is this: for the first time since 2009 we have the classic divided government that everybody says that the American people hate… and that the American people keep voting into existence anyway. Under normal circumstances we’d have an executive branch that understood that the tactics that work under a super-majority in Congress – or even a divided Congress – will not work when the opposition party can send bills to his desk. There’s a reason why the Democrats never passed a budget when they could possibly help it, after all.

But these aren’t normal circumstances. President Barack Obama probably either thinks that he can veto a budget and not have it slop over onto his party and the next candidate, or he thinks that he doesn’t have to care.  Probably the latter – and while I agree that the Republican Congressional caucuses can drive a thoughtful man mad sometimes, in this particular case the fight will be under conditions that my often-exasperating party is most comfortable with. We can do a Return To Normalcy campaign in our sleep – and, frankly? We’ll need the practice for 2016 anyway.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

Apr
22
2015
10

The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 has FINALLY passed Congress.

After three months of Democratic nonsense, Democratic hackery, Democratic filibustering, Democratic delay, Democratic posturing, and general Democratic disregard for the underlying issue of human trafficking… the Senate bill finally passes.  The final vote? As of 4:30 PM:

human-trafficking

(more…)

Apr
09
2015
5

Senate poised to reject Barack Obama’s horrible Iran treaty. Plus: wanna call it ‘treason,’ Barry?

The phrase that CNN should be looking for here is ‘stunning rebuke:’

Senate backers of a bill the White House fears could dismantle a potential nuclear deal with Iran are closing in on a veto-proof threshold of support.

[snip]

The bill already has nine Democratic co-sponsors and a handful of other Democrats have either expressed support or remain open to backing the bill. When combined with the Senate Republicans and one independent who support the legislation, that leaves backers just four shy of the 67 needed to sustain the veto that Obama has promised.

(more…)

Apr
05
2015
1

CNN: “Will Schumer bring on new Democratic era?”

I believe that the truism is If the title of your article is a question, then the answer is invariably ‘No.’ I actually resist this truism: I like to ask questions in titles, because the other use of that stylistic trick is to mildly unnerve the Other Side with a ominous question.  However, I think that the answer is in this case is still going to be ‘no:’

Sen. Harry’s Reid’s perfunctory announcement on Friday that he won’t seek re-election next year — leaving a vacancy for leadership of the Senate Democrats — was followed, hours later, by a matter-of-fact statement in an interview with The Washington Post:”I think Schumer should be able to succeed me.”

That would usher in a whirlwind of activity on Capitol Hill in the next year as New York’s senior senator prepares to seize the reins of power — and retool the party as a center-left powerhouse that can win and hold a majority in 2016 and beyond.

(more…)

Mar
27
2015
5

Sen. Harry Reid (D, Nevada) cuts and runs.

But… my birthday is tomorrow.

Mr. Reid, 75, who suffered serious eye and facial injuries in a Jan. 1 exercise accident at his Las Vegas home, said he had been contemplating retiring from the Senate for months. He said his decision was not attributable either to the accident or to his demotion to minority leader after Democrats lost the majority in November’s midterm elections.

See also the Weekly Standard, which has Harry Reid’s remarkably tin-eared attempt to spin his retirement into something that would be helpful for Democrats retaking the Senate. Only in the sense that Harry Reid will no longer be around to blight the long-term careers of red-state Democratic politicians: his tenure has had a remarkable amount of churn in that regard.  Also, Nevada just shot up the rankings on the Big Board: and if Governor Brian Sandoval decides to run for Senate, it pretty much goes off of the Big Board completely. (more…)

Mar
09
2015
3

The Last Temptation of Russ Feingold.

Oh, poor Russ Feingold.  He must be so sorely, sorely tempted to run: “Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold’s departure from the State Department has political experts predicting a highly contested rematch of the 2010 race in which the Madison-area senator was defeated.” Russ Feingold, of course, lost to Ron Johnson in that race; and as Senator Johnson is at the top of most people’s Senators Most At-Risk lists it makes a good deal of sense that Feingold might want a rematch. I can’t imagine that losing in 2010 made Feingold feel good about himself, after all.  The man had (still has, I suppose) a carefully-constructed mental vision of himself as being a Servant of the People: that the People took the opportunity to remove him from service very probably eats at Mr. Feingold.  At least a little.

But there’s a solution, right? Russ Feingold runs for office again, beats Ron Johnson, and goes back to his old life.  And then everything will be good again and there will be pie.  No problems there, no problems at all… well. There’s a small problem. (more…)

Mar
03
2015
3

Martin O’Malley not running for MD-SEN seat, surprisingly.

You’d think that he’d be all over this, but no: “Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said Tuesday he will not run for Senate in 2016, taking himself out of what could be a messy Democratic primary race to replace retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski.” That is… very interesting. Maybe there really is an internal Democratic movement afoot to give Hillary the old heave-ho convince the Distinguished former Secretary of State that she should relax a little, and enjoy her twilight years.  Certainly O’Malley would have much more of a shot in a completely open Presidential field…

Or maybe O’Malley just wants to spend the rest of his life cashing fat lobbying checks. I could see that, too.

Feb
25
2015
3

Ted Strickland (D) launches his futile bid for Ohio-SEN today.

Such a pity… well, no.  It’s not.  But the proprieties must be observed: “Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland will seek to challenge Republican Sen. Rob Portman next year, launching what could become one of the top-tier Senate races of 2016… Strickland, who has been talking to donors and supporters in recent weeks, announced his decision to run in an email to supporters this morning.”  Strickland has three major problems, here:

  1. He’s 75 years old [sorry: 75 in 2016 – ML]. That’s a bit old for a freshman Senator; and, yes, that’s a legitimate concern. The Democrats would get a max of two terms out of him, tops, and I’m being kind in pretending that they’d even have the chance.
  2. His past record. This article here mentions Strickland’s habit of spending the last fewe years working for people and groups who more or less hate everything that gives Ted Strickland his crossover appeal; to that I’ll add a little matter of some local corruption from 2010 (the fallout from that is still merrily bubbling along). There’s an existing file on this guy, in other words. One that the Portman campaign is already perusing, assuming that they didn’t just memorize it.
  3. And then, of course, there’s the minor matter of the 2014 governor’s election. No, not the 49/46 squeaker from 2010; the 64/33 blowout from 2014 that Ted Strickland didn’t have the nerve to even show up for. And he should have shown up for it; the fact that he didn’t pretty much confirms the conventional wisdom that Ohio is better off under John Kasich’s leadership than it was under Strickland’s.

(more…)

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