Monday, April 30, 2012

The end of Dick Lugar's career in sight...

Richard Lugar has served Indiana in the United States Senate since 1977 and since then has really never had a close election. This year, however, State Treasurer Richard Mourdock has challenged him in the Republican primary and may knock him off in the May 8 contest. Mourdock has attacked Lugar from the right and has painted the 80 year old senior statesman as out of touch with Indiana. If Mourdock does win next Tuesday it will be yet another win for the Tea Party caucus against the establishment of the Republican Party. Most GOP members on Capitol Hill as well as popular governor Mitch Daniels support Lugar and he's able to draw on a large war chest to fight against an aggressive and fearless opponent. Lugar simply seems surprised that anyone would seriously challenge him and his feeling is certainly understandable. He's served in the Senate for 36 years and has coasted to reelection every time. Now, however, we've experienced three wave elections in a row (2006, 1008, 2010) and several GOP members are being judged on their conservative orthodoxy; especially in terms of their cooperation with President Obama. Lugar is a solid conservative but he has voted for the President's two Supreme Court nominees as well as the bank bailouts and a variety of smaller laws that drive Republicans up the wall. When you serve six terms in the Senate you're going to have a lot to pick on and Mourdock seizes every opportunity to show rank and file GOP voters what Lugar has been up to. Democrats have had success in the Hoosier State but Indiana is really at heart a conservative state; especially in a primary like this. Mourdock won reelection as Treasurer by 25 points in 2010 and is well known throughout Indiana and I believe he'll end up winning the May 8 contest. If he does lose Dick Lugar will be the latest in huge string of strong Democrats and Republicans that have lost in the last four contests. Respectfully, The Snitch

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The "Pair of Sixes" Election

In 2004 two deeply flawed candidates, Republican George Bush and Democrat John Kerry fought a difficult and dirty campaign for the very few independent voters who hadn't already decided for whom to vote. Bush, hobbled by the Iraq War and unable to defend himself faced John Kerry, a rich, vain liberal who tried to portray himself as a Catholic Vietnam veteran who was a solid alternative to the bumbling Bush. In the end, Kerry's disconnected demeanor and his questionable record in Vietnam helped to sink him in a very close election that came down to 118,000 votes in Ohio. Bush's highly organized campaign was able to eke out a victory in which only three states switched from one party to another from 2000 to 2004. It was as if two men playing poker had a pair of sixes and the only reason Bush happened to win was that he had an Ace when Kerry had a Jack.

Had Bush not been tripped up in Iraq he probably would have won going away but he was lucky to draw such a weak challenger in Kerry-a lazy, disinterested Senator who in twenty years in the Senate never authored a major bill or had a leadership position in the Upper Chamber. The Democratic party's hatred of Bush over the outcome of the 2000 election combined with the decision to intervene in Iraq dominated their primary season and they could not wait to face a President they considered stupid and politically weak. Losing in November 2004 came as a real shock to many liberals who simply assumed that a majority of voters believed as they did. Bush's approval rating hovered right around 50% on Election Day 2004 and it translated to 51% of the vote-just enough to win.

In 2012 I believe a similar narrative is taking place but in the opposite direction. President Obama, a classic liberal is abhorred by the rank-and-file GOP who can't wait to throw him out in November and they can't understand why most people wouldn't agree with them. If the GOP could nominate a strong, energetic conservative the party's base could gather around the nominee and prepare for battle in the fall election. The problem for Republicans is that the probable GOP nominee will be Mitt Romney, a rich, disconnected politician from Massachusetts that 2/3 of conservatives have not supported to this point in the primary season. He's got the worst favorability rating of any major candidate in a national election of modern times. In short, he looks like the guy who sold you that lemon of a car that even now sits in your parking lot. He's basically tied with the President in national polls of likely voters and could win. I'll be curious to see if he picks a solid VP that would help him not only secure his base but make him more attractive national candidate. He may win, he may lose, but he's tragically flawed. I'll get into this more in the near future but we'll get to sit back and watch a President who can't run on his record drag the former Massachusetts governor through the mud in what will probably be one of the ugliest campaigns in American electoral history.


The Snitch

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Senate Scorecard in April

If the election were today the GOP will pick up at least 5 seats, making the split 52-47 for the next Congress. Here's a breakdown:

GOP Takeovers
-Wisconsin (If Tommy Thompson is nominated)

Probable GOP Holds

Probable GOP Loss

Possible GOP takeovers:
-Ohio (Josh Mandel should, in the end, beat the Democratic incumbent)
-Virginia (This is a death match between two former governors-who wins at the top of the ticket will probably help his party's Senate nominee)
-Florida (Connie Mack Jr. should beat Bill Nelson but the incumbent still has fight in him.
-North Dakota (An open seat with a popular former Democratic Attorney General running against a first-term GOP House member)
-New Mexico (Leaning Democratic but Republican Heather Wilson is now within the margin of error)

Probable Democratic Holds
-Michigan (Stabenow will probably keep the seat but this one could flip if the electorate moved strongly against the President)
-Pennsylvania (A weak Democratic incumbent is probably going to get a pass on this as no strong GOP alternative has emerged)
-West Virginia
-Connecticut (If the GOP electorate insists on nominated Linda McMahon again instead of Chris Shays they'll have no shot at this seat)
-New Jersey

No Shot for the GOP
-Rhode Island
-New York

Again the movement of 3-8 seats is probable for the GOP but I predict 5 will fall.


The Snitch