Friday, November 01, 2002
Okay, I've thrown my last-minute cash into the races I think will make a difference:
* Massachusetts Governor
* Maryland Governor
* Minnesota Senate
* Missouri Senate
* New York Comptroller
* South Carolina Governor
These all look winnable for the GOP, and in no case am I backing someone I think is objectionable; in the cases of Minnesota Senate and South Carolina Governor, I really like the individuals in question.
As for the other races: I don't know anything about South Dakota, and the GOP seems to be obsessed with that Senate race anyhow, so I stayed away. New Hampshire: I'm sorry, I can't support anyone named Sununu. Try me again next time. I could care less who wins in the North Carolina Senate race. I never was that impressed with Jeb down in Florida, and anyhow he looks like he's got this thing sewn up. Lindsey Graham is a lock for the Senate from South Carolina. California is a lost cause and Simon is an idiot - and the California GOP are fools for choosing him. More's the pity; I've always liked California, and the next four years are going to be awful for the state. Well, there's always Ahhhnold in '06. Iowa Senate is lost. I'm not going to get down in the mud in Arkansas or Colorado. I'm curious to see what happens in the Oregon gubernatorial race, but I don't know enough. What else is going on? Oh, yeah, New Jersey; my sympathies to the Forrester campaign, 'cause they deserve to win, but they ain't gonna. Probably some things I missed. Oh well.
If our political system weren't balanced on a knife's edge, I don't think this would be that exciting an election. The Democrats are going to pick up a whole bunch of important Midwestern governorships. That's very good for the long-term health of the party. Some - like Granholm, in Michigan - seem to me like cyphers. Others - like Rendell, of Pennsylvania - are known quantities personality-wise, but it's not clear that he represents any kind of ideological or demographic trend within the Democratic Party. These elections really don't seem to be *about* anything; it just seems to be time to change teams, after a long time under GOP control. The House, meanwhile, is pretty sure to stay Republican, and the Senate is more likely than not to stay Democrat. If all the close races break one way, there'll be a big move; if they split about evenly, the Dems will pick up a seat. Like I said: if we weren't balanced on a knife's edge, this wouldn't be that interesting an election. The House is jerrymandered to within an inch of its life, so I guess there'd be no difference there whatever the GOP did campaign-wise, but still, it would be better to be gaining seats than losing them, and they are more likely to lose than gain in this election.
My only regret, if things break the GOP way, is that Trent Lott will get the credit, and he deserves none. He was a terrible majority leader, in my opinion, and an awful public face for the GOP. And the party as a whole should be ashamed of how they've bungled this one. They should be winning California in a walk; instead they are going to be buried. They should be running much stronger in half a dozen Senate races, and be favored to win a couple of seats; instead, they are more likely to lose a seat or two. If this election is about nothing, then the Democrats win, because they are still angry. And this election is about nothing, because the GOP is afraid to go to the polls with strong candidates and a clear message. The GOP has had some bad breaks - the corruption action of the New Jersey court, for example - but you have to make your own luck in this business, and they just haven't. They've been trying to play it safe, and as the party of change they can't afford to do that. And they've been trying to win on Iraq alone, and I agree with The New Republic on this one: it won't work. The President is in charge of foreign policy; Bush's popularity on this score is not transferrable. Talking about nothing but Iraq just convinces voters that the GOP has no platform other than Bush's popularity, and that's a pretty bad message to be delivering.