Just to be clear, this is the Brian Walsh who is the political director of the NRCC, and not the Brian Walsh who is the communications director of the NRSC. We spoke for a bit on the recent past and the rapidly approaching future:
To expand on the third question a bit: sites like Reverse the Vote also exist to assist the eventual Republican candidates in a host of Democrat-held districts. As Brian noted, the important thing here is to flip the House.
PS: Those who are interested in helping Charles Djou over the finish line via phone banking can go here.
There’s a lot of interesting stuff in this John Dickerson article on what last night’s results really mean, but this last paragraph is probably the one that needs to be most referenced:
The night showed just how limited Obama’s political power is. He said he’d work all-out for Specter, but he didn’t campaign for the senator in the final days. That may have been a wise reservation of his political capital (he’s already been ineffective in previous races), but it also demonstrated how much has changed since 2008, when Obama was talked about as a force that could remake the political landscape. Critz won by running away from Obama’s signature achievement, and Lincoln, whom he supported, was forced into a runoff. For a president who is still far more popular than the Democratic Congress he aims to help, yet who is unable to translate much of that popularity to do so, this condition may be best described as limbo.
The one exception to this bad Democratic news is blacks. They continue to approve of the president at near-unanimous levels. But blacks midterm turnout is also traditionally low compared to white and older voters.
Blacks were 13 percent of the vote in 2008. But blacks were only about 10 percent of the vote in recent midterm election years — like 1994, 1998 and 2006. And if the races since 2008 are any indication, the black vote is unlikely to break historic-midterm trends. This is where Obama’s absence from the ballot matters most.
But what if Obama is actually able to increase black turnout this year? The Democratic majority is most-vulnerable in the House. But Obama’s base, particularly with blacks, is concentrated in secure Democratic districts. In other words, blacks are not sizable factors in the districts in which Democrats need them most.
629 out of 650, and nobody’s seeing a clear path to a majority. Also: apparently it takes the British almost a day to count election returns (maybe they have just one guy who does it, and he has to run from borough to borough). Conclusions:
This entire situation reminds me why I distrust scenarios where multiple parties have representation in a legislature.
I actually retain fond memories of British breakfasts – their bacon is unusual, but good – so watching the BBC broadcasters stumble around at 6 AM local time over this entire thing merely made me oddly hungry.
At least, that’s the only rational explanation that I can come up with for them writing this:
To turn a corner, Democrats need to start embracing an agenda that speaks to the broad concerns of the American electorate. It should be somewhat familiar: It is the agenda that is driving the Tea Party movement and one that has the capacity to motivate a broadly based segment of the electorate.
Winning over swing voters will require a bold, new focus from the president and his party. They must adopt an agenda aimed at reducing the debt, with an emphasis on tax cuts, while implementing carefully crafted initiatives to stimulate and encourage job creation.
The challenge will be to link Democrats with the administration on such issues as spending, bailouts, healthcare and cap-and-trade while not personally attacking Obama, who remains personally well-liked even as his standing erodes. So, at least in purple states or districts, don’t expect to see an ad where the faces of Democratic candidates are morphed into that of the president—a time-honored approach from past campaigns.
But Republicans are unmistakably enthusiastic – and downright giddy in some cases – about the prospect of Democrats stumping with the president in their states, a vivid reminder about how starkly different the political landscape seems now than when Obama took office.
Thus, expect a lot of the President being lumped in with such… iconic… Democrats as Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, John Murtha, and Al Franken (add your own favorite clown, crook, or creep, of course). Which suggests that there’s an interesting counter-move for this administration…
So Rep. Anthony Weiner of NY – who is understandably upset that the Democrats were not able to take advantage of Mayor Bloomberg’s revealed weakness in yesterday’s election – made a somewhat passive-aggressive suggestion that the administration spent too much time on Jon Corzine and pretty much no time at all on Bill Thompson. Such things are inevitable in the aftermath of a lost election, particularly when it’s actually the aftermath of lost elections. The double hammer-blow of losing both Virginia and New Jersey’s governors’ seats is going to make a number of Democrats say some unfortunate things for a while. A prudent or experienced administration will let those things slide.
Fortunately for the GOP, the current one is neither.
“Maybe Anthony Weiner should have manned-up and run against Michael Bloomberg,” shot back a White House official, who attributed the night’s results across the board to anti-incumbent fervor.
…which apparently was not enough to actually eliminate the incumbent in NYC*, but never mind that right now. Anyway, if one is going to trade ‘maybes,’ here’s one: maybe the White House should stop letting people willing to act and talk like a thirteen-year-old speak for it? Even if it’s off the record.
I have nothing really to add to either this or this, except to note that:
a) I’m not particularly surprised;
b) The Republican primary in PA next year just got a lot more straightforward, while the Democratic one is now going to be significantly less so;
c) The Democrats are rapidly running out of reasons why they can’t pass their hearts’ desires.
And, oh yes:
d) Elections have consequences, and we’re about to have a year and a half of some. Please keep that in mind in November 2010.
The weekend’s elections in Iraq were a huge success for the Iraqi people. The remarkably peaceful day of voting on Saturday – and the interim results – give good reason to hope Iraq really is on the way to building a decent society.
The peaceful polling was remarkable and so were the results. All the Islamic parties lost ground, especially that associated with the so-called “Shia firebrand”, Moqtada al-Sadr, whose share of the vote went down from 11% to 3%. The principal Sunni Islamic party, the Islamic Party of Iraq, was wiped out.
The only Islamic party to gain ground was the Dawa party of the Shia prime minister Nouri al-Maliki – and even that party dropped the word Islamic from its name. The power of Maliki, who has emerged a stronger leader than expected, is further enhanced by these elections. Now no Islamic parties will be able to control any provinces on their own. The election is thus a big defeat for Iran which had hoped that Shia religious parties would control the south and enable Iran to turn them into a mini Shia republic.
“Neoconservative” and “neocon” have become terms of abuse, denoting right-wing extremism. But the original neoconservatives began mostly as left-leaning intellectuals who only deserted the Democratic Party after it fell under the influence of the counterculture during the Vietnam War. With Barack Obama about to become president, is there any chance neoconservatives will finally return to the roost?
A month or two ago, the question would have seemed preposterous.