Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Sometime after Tuesday we’ll be reevaluating our Government…

I am curious as to what the results of the Election 2010 will leave us with. It seems likely now that the Republicans will take control of the House, likely putting John Boehner (R-OH) into the Speaker’s chair. As to the Senate, the majority of pollsters have the Democrats keeping control by at least 1 seat… but there are odds that Harry Reid (D – NV) won’t be in one of them. This makes the Majority Leader position a “what if” situation… and it looks like Charles Schumer (D- NY) might get it.

As to Boehner, it is interesting that he is pushing candidates all over the place… the other day he supported Rich Iott, the Nazi Reenactor, in Ohio’s 9th District. TPM points out:

House Minority Leader John Boehner took on the conventional wisdom  that it’s bad politics to associate with Nazi reenactors by campaigning  recently with Ohio congressional candidate Rich Iott. That’s about the  only public support Iott’s received from the GOP since his SS scandal broke.

Returning the favor, Iott, who’s running in Ohio’s 9th congressional  district, now won’t say whether he’d support Boehner for Speaker.

Interesting. Does Iott know something we don’t? Roll Call, which first published Iott’s “iffy” stand on Boehner’s Speakership, doesn’t think it matters:

Boehner isn’t likely to have Iott’s vote either way, since Kaptur (Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur) appears to be safe on Tuesday. CQ Politics rates this 9th district race Safe Democratic.

In the now close Senate race in Nevada, the Baltimore Sun doesn’t think it will be over on Tuesday:

In Nevada, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was battling “tea party” insurgent Sharron Angle,  each side was bracing for a close finish that could extend the campaign  – through lawsuits, a recount or both – well beyond Tuesday.

Looking at the Nevada Senate campaign, we’re seeing some really dirty playing on both sides. Perhaps you didn’t see this piece by Michael Kinsley in Politico a couple of days ago:

The  Republicans have chosen to make a major issue out of the fact that  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lives in an apartment in the  Ritz-Carlton condominiums in Washington DC. It is a one-bedroom  apartment on the second floor. Reid also owns two properties in Nevada,  his home state. But presumably his apartment in Washington is where he  stays when he’s here. Reid’s opponent, Sharron Angle, and the National  Republican Senatorial Committee have built a huge imaginary narrative on  this fragile base in which Reid “lives large” in DC, partying with  supermodels, while his constituents suffer.

In my Politico column on Tuesday, I raised the question of where Senate Minority leader Mitch  McConnell, who will become Majority Leader if the Republicans carry the  day on November 2, lives when he’s in Washington. It turns out that he  owns a three-bedroom house with a carriage house on Capitol Hill. Harry  Reid’s apartment is worth $1,066,000 according to the real estate  website Mitch McConnell‘s house is worth $1,142,000. If  Harry Reid is living large, Mitch McConnell is living larger. And the  fact that Republicans apparently didn’t’ think about or didn’t bother to  check out McConnell’s situation before piling on Reid shows how phony  the whole “Harry Reid Lives at the Ritz” business really is.

The poll numbers go back and forth in Nevada each day (Angle has a 4 point lead this morning, but this will probably switch again this afternoon and go back the other way tomorrow. Adam Nagourney in the NY Times said this about Angle:

She has struggled to explain a number of past positions, including  calling for the phasing out of Social Security, discussion of “second  amendment remedies” to deal with an out of control Congress, and coming  out against extension of unemployment benefits. Mr. Reid is highly  unpopular in his home state and his strategy has been clear from the  start: To present Ms. Angle as an unacceptable alternative even to  someone that many voters don’t like. (Keep in mind: Nevada voters have  the option of voting for “none of the above,” which can only help Mr.  Reid.)

Hmmm. It doesn’t look good for Reid. Then I read Jon Ralston’s piece this morning in the Las Vegas Sun:

Atmospherics are terrible for Reid, but he will hold on

Harry Reid or Sharron Angle is dead, last in an occasional series:

It just feels as if Reid is going to lose.

Forget the enthusiasm gap – that word is too mild. There is a passion  gap in this race that is palpable. You don’t find many people shivering  with excitement to vote for Reid. But the feverish animation of voters  hot to oust Reid is unlike anything I have experienced in nearly 25  years of covering politics. And it seems to have been building since  January, evidenced by Reid’s inability to move his highly elevated  disapproval rating.

It just feels as if he is going to lose.

But I don’t think he will. Why?

First, let me be clear on this tradition of predictions. It is not a  wish list but a walking out on a limb, so I can either crow afterward or  eat same. I base them on data I am privy to and my gut. I have had much  success in the past – look it up. But if ever there were a year for my  lifetime batting average to take a hit, this is the one.

So take this for what it’s worth:

Harry Reid is the most resilient figure in Nevada political history.  He should not even be here. He lost a U.S. Senate race in 1974,  embarrassed himself in a mayoral race in 1975 and should have lost his  re-election bid in 1998. But he found a way to win 12 years ago, and he  will again Tuesday.

How? Let me count the ways:

Considering they were dealing with a moribund politician, and one who  was sure to make their job more difficult during the year with his  spontaneous effusions, Reid’s handlers have run one of the most  spectacular campaigns in history at all levels: The turnout machine is  formidable. The TV has been pitch perfect. The strategy – to peel  moderate Republicans and independents who might not like their guy away  from Angle – has worked.

And, perhaps equally important, Republicans managed to nominate the one person this year who could lose to Reid.

Angle is a natural retail campaigner in small political subdivisions.  But that’s not what a Senate race is about. And her campaign never  could find a comfortable way to reconcile her past, controversial  statements – they tried massage, change and deny – and she made plenty  more during the campaign (Sharia law here, Canada’s terrorist conduit,  Latinos-in-ads amnesia).

In the end, if she loses, I believe the six weeks following the GOP  nominee’s primary win – she had a double-digit lead in June polls – were  pivotal. During that period, the Reid ad campaign defined her so  starkly and turned enough people into Anglophobes to give him a chance.

One more thing: Republicans do not have the huge turnout advantage in  early voting they should in a wave election – under 4 points. And all  the data I have seen tell me that unless Reid loses independents by 15  points or so, he will hold on.

It’s possible none of this made any difference, that Reid has been  dead all along and no amount of campaign brilliance or Angle exposure  could resuscitate him. The hatred is palpable, the discontent bubbling  over. But I think he finds a way to survive.

The result: Reid, 47 percent; Angle, 45 percent; rest, 4 percent; none of the above, 4 percent.

So we have two days to watch these and other campaigns… I’m keeping a close eye on Manchin (D) vs. Raese (R) here in West Virginia, and that looks like a close one, too. We’ll see.