December 20, 2008

How Many Senate Seats Did The McBailout Cost the GOP?

  3:40 am

Following up on the post about the results of bailout mania, a thought occurred me. Were there any political consequences in the last election for the GOP’s support of the bailout? I did a Google search for “75-24 roll call bailout.” Here’s the top result: a list of the Senators who voted, “yea.”  The authors wrote,”1/3 of the Senate is up for relection this year, if your Senator is on this list, vote them out!”

Now I’m not claiming this site was read by a lot of people. But the sentiment was out there and not just on this one site.

Here are some of the names on the “yes” list:

Ted Stevens (Alaska)
Saxby Chambliss (Georgia)
Norm Coleman (Minnesota)
John Sununu (New Hampshire)
Gordon Smith (Oregon)

So, we have 3 Senators who were defeated, 1 who was forced into a runoff on this list, as well as 1 clinging to dear life. Did the bailout play a big role in these elections?

In Georgia, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Chambliss misses a runoff without his vote for the bailout. In the first round, he got up with 49.8% of the vote, with a libertarian taking more than 3% of the vote.

I think in New Hampshire, it can be agreed that Sununu would have lost regardless.

Where things get interesting is when you take a look at the results from Alaska, Oregon, and Minnesota:

Alaska: Begich-47.9%, Stevents, 46.7%

Minnesota: Coleman, 42%, Franken, 42%

Oregon: Merkley-48.8%, Smith 45.7%

In all of these cases (except for the still-pending Minnesota), a Democrat won a plurality, not a majority of the vote. What happened? In Alaska, the Alaska Independence Party Candidate, a Libertarian, and an Independent swallowed up 5.4% of the vote. In Oregon, the Constitution Party candidate got 5.2% and in Minnesota, the Independence, Libertarian, and Constitution Party candidates carried 16% of the vote.

Voters who were upset about the bailout had choices in all these states and it didn’t necessarily mean supporting a Democrat.

I think it’s a good bet that had Stevents not supported the bailout, he would have won. Not being a convicted felon would have helped, too. The combination was deadly. Stevens actually led among voters who went to the polls on election day after he’d been convicted, but lost among voters who’d voted early. The vote couldn’t have been all about corruption as Congressman Don Young survived. I’d suggest Young survived in part because of his opposition to the bailout. Why did he oppose it?:

Young said he voted against the package because it did not enjoy wide support among Alaskans. He said he might change his position if public opinion shifted in favor of the bailout, though he remains opposed to the idea of the federal Treasury buying troubled assets with taxpayer money.

It may not be the right reason but Young at least understood on a basic level what his job was.

I also think, we wouldn’t be trying to figure out who the “Lizard People” guy was trying to vote for if not for Coleman’s support for the bailout.

In Oregon, it’s at least worthy of consideration that Smith may have survived or been closer to Merkley. The Constitution Party got 3.5% higher percentage of the vote than it did in prior elections (this itself was more than the margin between Merkley and Smith.)  While I doubt Smith would have picked up every vote that went to the CP candidate had the CP not had a candidate, some voters agree about the bailout may have jumped ship to Merkley.

Bottom line: I think the bailout vote probably cost the GOP at least 1 and maybe as many as 3 U.S. Senate seats.


December 19, 2008

This Ballot Was Called for Franken… (CORRECTION: Lott Wrong; Ballot Called for ‘No Vote’)

  9:39 pm

** CORRECTION: I double-checked Lott; the ballot was called for no one — which is still patently absurd. He accidentally copy-pasted or something (the phrase “clearly for Franken” was used twice in a row). The piece is still worth reading, of course.

must-reading from John Lott.


It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over…

  6:05 pm

Somehow, Al Franken has pulled ahead of Sen. Norm Coleman in Minnesota.


December 5, 2008

Stage One of MN Recount is Over: Coleman Wins (So Far)

  4:51 pm

From the Minnesota Star Tribune, via Flap:

Except for 133 missing ballots from Minneapolis, the recounting of votes from the U.S. Senate race is over. According to the Star Tribune’s tabulations, Republican Sen. Norm Coleman has a 192-vote advantage over Democrat Al Franken, pending the resolution of those Minneapolis ballots and of thousands of ballot challenges.

When the recount began, Coleman held a 215-vote edge.

Now comes the hard part – the challenged ballots. The Minnesota Canvassing Boad plans to meet on December the 16th to review the recount and challenged ballots.

Coleman challenged 3,376 and Franken 3,281 ballots.


December 3, 2008

All Palin, All the Time…

  12:59 pm

Palin credited for landslide win in Georgia

Chambliss: ‘Dynamite’ Palin turned out vote

Newly reelected Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) credited Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with firing up his base and allowing him to cruise to a victory over Democrat Jim Martin.

Chambliss heaped praise on Palin, saying she has a “great future” in the GOP.

“I can’t overstate the impact she had down here. All these folks did a great job coming in,” he said, referring to former presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani. “They all allow you [to] add momentum to where we were in the campaign. But when she walks in a room, folks just explode.”

Party leader credits Palin, majority for GOP victory in Georgia

“The margin you see in this race, I think you can attribute to her involvement in the end,” McKoon said.

Biden to Palin: With the race over, ‘no one pays attention to me’

“I might point out, as I told you when we walked in, since the race is over, no one pays attention to me at all … Maybe you will walk outside with me or something later and say hello to me,” Biden said,

Perry, Sanford and Palin fight for Taxpayers at Philly Conference

Republican Govs. Rick Perry of Texas, Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Sarah Palin of Alaska, led a spirited debate about the pitfalls of adding to the $10.7-trillion federal debt. “They warned that the U.S. economy could collapse”, said Governor Paterson

Palin Power: Former Vice Presidential Candidate Attracts Most Attention At The Governors’ Meeting

The most exciting politician at the National Governors Association (NGA) conference was not President-elect Barack Obama, D, nor was it the former movie action star, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif. The politician everyone wanted was Alaska’s Gov. Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate.

“I still have great concerns, when much of the economic problem that we are facing today perhaps was caused by too much debt that solving those problems will not come from incurring more debt”, said Palin.

Finally, watch this…

Did Chambliss endorse Palin for 2012?   


Palin Power: Denying It

  11:57 am

Donald Rumsfeld’s much-maligned but actually rather insightful quote about known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns should be considered a great deal more often than it is. And when shilling for a candidate that you like, taking advantage of people’s ignorance (assuming that you aren’t the ignorant one yourself, of course) can be a mighty fine tool in boosting said candidate. Kristofer should probably consider a job in spin tactics for the Palin 2012 campaign, if he’s not already angling for it, because a whole load of fallacious nonsense is coming from him, in addition to Adam Graham and Matthew E. Miller in the thread to Adam Graham’s post asserting that there is “no denying” Palin Power.

Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: I do believe that Sarah Palin helped Saxby Chambliss. Got that? Let me repeat it: I do believe that Sarah Palin helped Saxby Chambliss. So, since I do believe that Sarah Palin did help Saxby Chambliss, I do not want the peanut gallery to start asserting that I don’t believe that Sarah Palin helped Saxby Chambliss, because I do believe that Sarah Palin helped Saxby Chambliss. But although I do believe that Sarah Palin helped Saxby Chambliss, common sense and fairly standard reasoning tells us that her assistance accounted for a small fraction of the difference between the November election and the runoff results.

But the beauty of unfalsifiable is that it’s just that. No matter how much crap you throw against the wall, nothing sticks when a person really, really wants to believe something. As Simon and Garfunkel sang: a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest. (Some, of course, fall prey to that more than others.)

So…here’s what RCP has to say about this:

Chambliss received 650,000 less votes yesterday than he did on Nov. 4, while Martin received 850,000 less votes. In DeKalb County, a heavily-Democratic county, Martin received some 95,000 less votes than he did Nov. 4, while Chambliss lost only 18,000 votes. Martin won the county by 6 points less than he did on Nov. 4.

In Gwinnett, another large Atlanta-area county, Chambliss won 64%-36% yesterday, after carrying the county by just 10 points (53%-43%) on Nov. 4.

These are indeed counties that Sarah Palin visited. Romney also visited the Atlanta area. Huckabee campaigned where Sarah did, too. Why aren’t we thanking Romney for the huge win? What about Huckabee? What about Rudy? What about the multitude of other surrogates that Chambliss had out there? What possible evidence is there that Sarah Palin was the one providing for the gap? And what of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Max Cleland, and other high-profile Democratic figures (including the illustrious Ludacris, Young Jeezy, and TI) showing up in Georgia? Why did they not have any sort of similar effect? What about the phone calls from PACs, including HUCKPAC? What about the ground game? Who was more motivated? Known unknowns. (And who knows what the unknown unknowns are.) It is utter nonsense to proclaim, as a few of you have, that Sarah Palin’s presence in Georgia accounted for a 10-point difference from the polling (Chambliss’ margin of victory by 4.8% [52.4-47.6], using last night’s total tally: 102,072; Chambliss’ real margin of victory by 14.8%: 315,219). That would mean that over 213,000 votes were brought out by Palin’s presence. Oh. Please.

What’s really at work, here? The real problem with all of this is probably simply that the polls were off. It’s difficult to determine the makeup of the electorate in a runoff election, especially in a Southern state that just had an altered turnout in November due to the first black presidential candidate being in the race, and even more so since in the runoff, a filibuster-proof Democratic majority hung in the balance. So the dynamics shifted, but the question was: in what way? Well, given the results, we can discern a few things: Republicans obviously were more motivated last night, some moderate Independents and Democrats likely prefer divided government, to whatever extent that they can get it, and blacks and young voters showed up in smaller numbers than in November. The exit polls will probably show that.

But this entire episode over the past few hours shows more than just that some people are trying to project their own desires onto what happened. Instead of stepping back and asking what really happened, the Palin boosters automatically assumed that it must have been thanks to her. Don’t believe them? Well, gosh, just ask the person that brought her out to campaign for him about her dynamic energy! (If that sort of reliable, objective, detached analysis doesn’t sway you, then what will?) Don’t you see the crowd sizes?! But anecdotal evidence is no substitute for hard data and reliable facts. Using anecdotes and crowd sizes is the same sort of faulty faux-omniscience that leads people to fall for pseudoscience, bad economic reasoning, and statistical junk. It isolates one piece of information when there are myriad pieces of data out there to work with that need to be analyzed critically. If finding out what can account for the landslide win is your goal — which, to cheerleaders, rather than analysts, it probably isn’t — then this is a fatal flaw in reasoning.

And what of the Palin 2012 boosters? Palin (and Romney, and Huckabee, and Rudy) absolutely helped to motivate the base in an unusual election where turnout was key. But she persuaded no one (good grief, she couldn’t even persuade anyone to vote for her preferred ticket when she was the one on it), and trying to use this as an example demonstrating her strength in 2012 is just utter bollocks.

OK, I’m done.


December 2, 2008

Georgia Senate Runoff Results

  8:15 pm

Somebody hijacked a thread to ask about the Georgia Senate run-off. Instead of that, how about we make this an official results thread. Here’s the latest from the Georgia Secretary of State:


Saxby Chambliss(R)–1,100,212-58.9%

Jim Martin (D)——768,199-41.1%

Color me surprised that Chambliss lead is holding up this well with 90% of precincts reporting.  I’ll refrain from analysis until we see what the final margin is.


Okay, I know what I said, but the AP has called for it Chambliss with 72% reporting.

Saxby Chambliss(R)–1,100,212-58.9%

Jim Martin (D)——768,199-41.1%


Alright, this will be my last update until after my BlogTalkRadio show ends.

Saxby Chambliss(R)–778,004-60.6%

Jim Martin (D)——505,484-39.4%

63% of Precincts Reporting


Saxby Chambliss(R)–669,755-61.8%

Jim Martin (D)——414,532-38.2%

55% Reporting


Votes are starting to trickle in from Atlanta now:

Saxby Chambliss(R)–577,385-62.3%

Jim Martin (D)——349,081-37.7%

47% Reporting


Saxby Chambliss(R)–518,610-62.6%

Jim Martin (D)——309,842-37.4%

40% Reporting


Saxby Chambliss(R)–408,949-62.8%

Jim Martin (D)——248,262-37.2%

30% Reporting


Fairly significant tightening on this one, but I didn’t think anyone expected a 30 point win for Chambliss:

Saxby Chambliss(R)–354,459-61.9%

Jim Martin (D)——218,498-38.1%

30% reporting


Saxby Chambliss(R)–303,222-65.4%

Jim Martin (D)——160,673-34.6%

25% reporting

Saxby Chambliss(R)–263,295-66.2%

Jim Martin (D)——134,415-33.8%

20%  of Precincts Reporting

Will update as I can.



The Gambler’s and Pollster’s Bet: Saxby Wins

  8:48 am

Signs are pointing towards a Saxby Chambliss victory in the runoff. He has what the President-Elect might call “a righteous wind” at his back. Every poll shows Chambliss up, including the latest Democratic Public Policy Polling survey which has a 53-46% Chambliss lead:

Chambliss is up 71-28 on Jim Martin with whites. For Martin to win the runoff with that performance, the electorate would have to be 34% African American. Given that it was only 30% for the general election with Barack Obama at the top of the ballot and that early voting was less than 23% black, that does not seem particularly likely.

Chambliss is up 58-41 among those poll respondents who reported having participated in early voting, not surprising given the overwhelmingly white nature of those who have already cast their ballots. Martin will need an incredible Democratic turnout at the polls tomorrow to make up for the deficit he goes into election day with based on early voters.

Martin leads with voters under 45, but trails 68-31 with voters over 65. Senior citizens are the most reliable group of voters and likely to make up a larger portion of the electorate than they did on November 4th for this comparatively low interest election. That’s just one more hurdle to climb for the Democratic challenger.

Overall, the RCP Average has Chambliss up by a solid 5.3%. 

At the same time, Intrade is almost amazingly confident of Chambliss prevailing. Yesterday, the contract on Republican Victory in the runoff closed at 93.7, as of my writing right now, it’s at 97.0. For those curious, on the Minnesota race, Norm Coleman’s contract is 79.8.


December 1, 2008

Will Georgia Remain as Red as the Clay for Chambliss?

  12:37 pm

The red clay of Georgia (pictured):

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketFifty-eight and counting for the Democratic Party in the United States Senate, and should incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss lose to Jim Martin on this Tuesday’s run-off election, only one Republican vote would be required to invoke cloture to end filibusters.

A President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress would have a blank check to enact most all of their legislative dreams of the past forty years, and, given the economic crisis, pass it all off as “stimulus” no matter how fundamental the changes the new laws may effect.

This column is an update to our front pager last week which suggested that Jim Martin was on his own, as far as getting any personal help on the ground from the President-Elect.

It remains the case that Obama will not take the “Coverdell” challenge and repeat the mistake made by then President-Elect Bill Clinton in his 1992 appearances in a previous Peach State run-off when Republican Paul Coverdell defeated then incumbent Democrat Wyche Fowler.

The Voice

However, Obama did make a radio ad touting Martin as favoring his legislative agenda; Donna Brazile reported on ABC’s This Week Sunday show that all 20+ Obama campaign offices remain open; and that Obama supporters in adjoining states have been encouraged by text message to come help turn out the vote.

So, turnout matters in run-offs, too?

Yes, we finally heard, forty-eight hours before the vote, that yes, turnout matters. DeVine Law has yet to hear an explanation from an “expert” as to how turnout would ever not matter (unless an election is fixed).

Turnout means votes. We decide elections on actual votes, hence, every winner of every election is the one who had more voters turn out for them.

As if.

Gamecock also learned since our last report that Martin has raised and spent more money Chambliss. The Drive-by dead-tree media article tries to hide this fact by headlining the supposed ominous news that the Republican raised more money from large donors, but for those Americans that can still do math, the facts are discernible.

Finally, more information from our Astute Political Observer (APO) on the ground somewhere between Douglas and Decatur:

Many Georgia Democrats remain animated to vote against Saxby based on his TV ads (that included an image of Osama bin Laden) six years ago against then incumbent Democrat Max Cleland, especially given Chambliss’ reported student and medical deferments during the Vietnam War. Cleland is a triple amputee due to injuries suffered while serving in that war.

We are also advised that deaths of children abused while under the supervision of the Department of Human Resources (DFCS pronounced dee-fax) while Martin was commissioner have been used by some of his political opponents. Ads have also reported a Martin vote for a “whopping” 30+% tax increase amendment that never became law.

As an attorney that has defended parents as their lawyer children as Guardian ad Litem and before the DFCS equivalent in South Carolina, I never could point to a case where the commissioner was in any way at fault for the errors of case workers.

The tax increase Martin voted for was one cent on the sales tax.

There are many reasons to vote against Martin, but those two are not among them.

Given new data, especially including the news from our APO near the City too Busy to Hate, we have to temper, but not withdraw, our view that Chambliss should pull this election out and keep the state as red as the clay.

Polls show that black turnout (which went 95+% for Martin) will be up to 30% lower than their percentage on Election Day.

The best reasons for voting against Martin were mentioned above: He will be a rubber stamp for the Obama agenda. That will drive GOP turnout and the argument for divided government may persuade some Democrats to pause.


Mike DeVine’s Charlotte Observer, and Minority Report columns

One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson


November 29, 2008

Trashing Palin is Damaging the GOP

  3:03 pm

Last evening, I read one of the most sensible posts in the last two months on R42012.  The 80+ comments that followed have left me depressed.  Not because of the subtle sexism and anti-Palin rhetoric, but because of the oblivious attitude many on this site have towards the current functional state of the GOP.   

I am going to take Adam’s post one step further and accuse some (the minority) elite/east-coast Republicans of unknowingly sabotaging the party and any near-future hopes of regaining control of congress or the White house.

Are you offended?  Then let me explain the reality of the situation to you.

Expect President Obama and the DNC to raise $2 billion dollars over the next four years.  Expect the Obama/DNC email distribution list to reach 20 million (from the current 13 million) and their online donors list to grow from the 3 million current supporters. 

Today, the Republican party is in much poorer shape than it was post-Watergate and we are on the verge of handing the Democrats a filibuster-proof Senate majority.  It may take our party 8 years to match the Democrats in terms of fundraising and volunteer lists.  IMO, 2006-2008 may not have been rock-bottom for Republicans and we may experience further defeat.

Many conservatives believe that the 2010 mid-term elections will be a repeat of 1994, but do not hold your breath.  In the eyes of the voting public, the words, ‘Republican’, ‘corruption’ and ‘DC’ are virtually indistinguishable.  We are just as ill thought of as we were in 2006 and might still be just as negatively perceived in 2010, when there are even more vulnerable Republican seats up for re-election then there were in 2008.     

Is there any hope for the GOP?  What do we have in our arsenal to compete with this Obama/DNC machine and halt the slide in our shrinking memberships lists and volunteer organizations? 

Answer: Sarah Palin.   

Let us put aside the 2012 campaign for a moment and review why Sarah Palin is critical to saving the Republican party from further electoral losses. 

Currently, Governor Sarah Palin is the only Republican politician who is in high demand on the talk show circuit, has galliardising support, is directly or indirectly responsible for developing massive email distribution lists, growing the online presence of conservative chat rooms, networking site and blogs and has the ability to fund-raise at the level of President Bush.  Since the Nov. 4th election, most of the new conservative blogs and sites have been created on behalf of Sarah Palin or created by administrators supportive of Palin and/or her conservative positions.  The online growth (blogs, youtube, conservative social networking) is Palin motivated and Palin targeted.     

The three largest national pro-Palin organizations,, and the have nearly 300,000 members.  All three groups have a national organization, a fundraising apparatus and have utilized their membership lists, technology and networking capabilities to work on behalf of Senator Chambliss.  DraftPalin and teamsarah only developed their networks in the last 45 days.  These three sites, in combination with the other pro-Palin sites/blogs and networks will easily exceed the 1 million membership mark before the end of next year.  

The online Palin movement is the only conservative network to adopt identical technology and networking platforms as the successful Obama Presidential campaign.  The Palin movement will be the critical factor in saving many Senators and House members in 2010, which is why liberals want Palin to become insignificant and shun from the national stage.  See a transcript from a recent Limbaugh show for further explanation

Still do not believe me about Palin, then read this from Politico.

Three weeks after the Republican ticket suffered a sweeping defeat at the polls, Sarah Palin continues to dominate search engine queries, cable news and online video sites.

The only American politician who generates comparable interest is President-elect Barack Obama. No one else is close.

  • Palin was the most popular Lycos search from the week she joined the ticket continuously through last Sunday,
  • The Alaska governor now ranks fourth, just one spot below Obama, on the weekly Lycos 50 list.
  • In September, the Anchorage Daily News reported a 928 percent spike in traffic, according to Nielsen Online.
  • Her mid-October “Saturday Night Live” appearance drove the show’s highest rating in 14 years, and her Oct. 2 debate with Joe Biden was the most watched vice presidential debate ever — drawing more viewers than any of the three presidential debates between McCain and Obama.
  • She ranked as the No. 2 top news search at this week and No. 2 (after Obama) among newsmakers on the AOL 2008 year-end hottest searches list, and she occupied two slots on Politico’s list of the site’s 10 most searched terms.
  • Palin also ranked fourth among Yahoo searches
  • she sat for an interview with Greta Van Susteren of Fox News and delivered the show’s largest audience of the year. 
  • According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, Palin was the second-leading newsmaker for the week of Nov. 10-16, trailing only Obama and ranking ahead of President Bush, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and McCain in the number of stories about her.

Some web sites and GOP activists/politicians have provided some excellent suggestions to improve the Republican party, election strategy and online and grassroots conservative activism, but without growing membership lists, fundraising dollars and motivated activists, the ideas will not materialize into success.  Like her or not, Sarah Palin is the only net-positive national representative we have at the moment.   

Next time you decide to repeat your Keith Olbermann talking points on Sarah Palin, remember which national GOP candidate is stumping across Georgia for Senator Chambliss, on the eve of the election.  It is not President Bush, former President Bush or Senator John McCain, it is Governor Sarah Palin.

A wise choice, Senator Chambliss.  


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