Midterm Elections

So You're Planning To Get Killed On Election Day
October 25, 2010

Benjy Sarlin has the how-to guide: Party officials love brushing off comparisons with blowouts past, telling reporters that they’ve since learned a thing or two about gritty campaigning—not like those screwups who used to run things (cough, 1994, cough). ”It’s no shock that this is going to be a hard cycle,” Jon Vogel, executive director of the DCCC, told The New York Times last spring.

Blanche Lincoln In Autumn
October 25, 2010

A last minute ad acknowledges that she's an underdog but chalks it up to principle: A couple thoughts. First of all, have you noticed that whenever a politician attributes some sentiment to "the experts" -- in this case, that Lincoln is going to lose -- that sentiment is either a straw man that experts don't believe, or is in fact utterly correct?

Why Republicans Will Shut Down The Government
October 22, 2010

I think there's a good chance that Republicans, if they take control of the House, will shut down the government. Listen to this rhetoric by Mike Pence: Republicans aren't interested in compromising with President Obama on major issues if they retake the House or Senate, a senior GOP lawmaker said. "Look, the time to go along and get along is over," said Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), the chairman of the House Republican Conference. "House Republicans know that.

Wehner Fallacy, Left and Right Versions
October 22, 2010

On the right, Charles Krauthammer says that the Republican gains in the midterm elections are a pure reflection of the fact that President Obama is more liberal than the country: No fanciful new syndromes or other elaborate fictions are required to understand that if you try to impose a liberal agenda on such a demonstrably center-right country -- a country that is 80 percent non-liberal -- you get a massive backlash. ... The story of the last two years is as simple as it is dramatic.

Tomorrow's Crazy Today
October 22, 2010

Republican House nominee Keith Rothfus seems to have plowed new terrain in crazy: Keith Rothfus, the Republican nominee in Pennsylvania’s 4th congressional district, attended a house party in Cranberry Township and discussed his political views for about an hour. At first, he echoed the views of most GOP candidates: if Republicans don’t succeed in repealing the new health care law, they would take the unprecedented step to defund the reforms.

It's The EPA and OSHA, Stupid!
October 22, 2010

This is the second in an occasional series examining how Republican control of Congress might affect policy debates in the next two years. Democrats are warning that if Republicans capture the House—and perhaps also the Senate—in this November’s election, they would abolish cabinet departments, repeal Obamacare, and privatize social security. They might want to do these things, but they won’t be able to overcome a Senate filibuster or a presidential veto.

Foreclose? For Shame.
October 21, 2010

We sometimes hear that Barack Obama and his top people read The New Republic, but they must not have been paying attention during the campaign when we ran an article titled “History Lesson: FDR Solves the Mortgage Crisis,” by Andrew Jakabovics. If they had done so, they might have proceeded a little differently in dealing with the current crisis and with the controversy over foreclosures. In 1931, the United States began to suffer from a foreclosure crisis similar to the one today—in that year, 1.4 percent of all homeowners lost their homes.

Chris Coons Is Not a “Bearded Marxist”
October 21, 2010

Since winning the Republican nomination for Joe Biden’s Senate seat in Delaware (thanks in part to $150,000 in out-of-state Tea Party money), Christine O’Donnell has provided virtually all of the race’s rhetorical oxygen.

How Money Works In Congressional Elections
October 20, 2010

You’ll want to read John Sides on the David Brooks column about money in politics. As John says, Brooks is correct to say that people overrate the importance of money in elections--but John corrects him on the current debate over spending effects: “the major debate is not over whether money matters, it’s over the relative impact of incumbent and challenger spending.” The people who study this (and I’ll repeat John’s citation of Gary Jacobson) most definitely do believe that campaign spending matters--but not as much as some think. Why does money have only limited importance?

Why Are Republican-Hating Voters Voting Republican?
October 20, 2010

Polls have shown that the public trusts President Obama and Congressional Democrats more than Congressional Republicans. Yet the public is prepared to give the Republicans a huge victory. Why? Shankar Vedantum says it's something called "action bias": When we are stuck in a bad place, whether that bad place is a marriage, a traffic jam, or a weak economy, it is very tempting to try something new.

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