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November 08, 2006

Winners/Losers

ALF runs them down.

Here are some of mine:

LOSER: The polls
BIGGER LOSER: The exit polls
BIGGEST LOSER: Conservative bloggers
THE ULTIMATE LOSER: "Republican turnout"

The telephone polls were, at the end, ballpark accurate, but seem to have been wildly inaccurate previously. The exit polls were off by four, five, or six points in just about every election, always in favor of the Democrats.

Still, a persistent gap in the polls is never good. Even losing by 5% is still, you know, losing.

I'll call conservative bloggers losers on this for fighting the polls. Although I do so half-heartedly. Not to, you know, out myself as a liar, but while I thought we'd hold the Senate, I was pretty damn sure we'd lose the House. Readers like "someone" thought I shouldn't be doing that; a chat with another blogger about this convinced me it was time for "game faces, man. Game faces."

I guess I did sort of say that holding the House was a longshot, but I tried to keep hope alive. Going into a game thinking you're going to lose means you will, definitely, lose.

But I'll say that many conservative bloggers were losers on this.

I didn't really buy that Republican turnout would save us, if we were truly behind by any nontrivial amount. For one thing, anything that works will be copied; we surprised the Democrats with our turnout operation in 2004, but by now, they certainly know how we did it and certainly emulated the strategy.

LOSER: Bush
WINNER: Rahm Emmanuel
BIGGER WINNERS: John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney

I hope not all conservatives turn too nastily on Bush, which was, quite frankly, my instinct last night. Much of the reason conservatives have liked him these past two years is the same reason Democrats loved Clinton -- because he was a winner. Well, he's not a winner anymore, but that wasn't the only reason we initially supported him. He's managed a few good things along the way.

But still, the "Trust Bush, He's Got The Magic" thing is dead, isn't it?

Rahm Emmanuel was brilliant in recruiting attractive outsider candidates for the House who could pose plausibly as moderates.

We're now in the position, I think, that the left was. The left was willing to accept someone posing as a moderate as candidate for president in 1992 because they were hungry for a win. The nutroots embraced candidates who expressed (fake) support for programs they hated -- military tribunals, coerced interrogations, etc. -- because they were so hungry to win. They didn't care what the new Democratic majority might look like, they just wanted one.

At this moment I'm seriously reevaluating McCain. Look, I just don't want to lose. But overnight he's gone from someone I would only support extremely reluctantly to someone I will oppose in the primaries but support much less reluctantly should he win.

My first choices are Giuliani and Romney, of course.

McCain has played the politics of this beautifully, one has to admit. On Iraq, he's criticized Bush just enough to say he's not part of the stalemate strategy but supported the basics of it enough to credibly say he's part of the Victory Bloc. It's kind of cocksuckerish, but it's smart politics.


LOSER: Ned Lamont
WINNER: Joe Lieberman
BIGGER WINNER: Kos

Harry Reid kissed his ring last night. Everyone may know Kos is an idiot, but for now, he's an idiot that can channel insane anger into electoral triumph.

I wonder if at some point the GOP will take this blogger/interactive politics thing more seriously. I don't think Kos was really terribly critical to the Democrats' win, but surely it didn't hurt.

LOSER: The non-terrorist people of Iraq
WINNER: The terrorists
ULTIMATE WINNER: The Iranian nuclear forces

Pretty self-explanatory.

The country has voted for isolationism and retreat, as they've done before, at the precise moment they cannot afford to do so.

I hope the penalty for this mistake will not be as enormous as it was in the 1930's and then, of course, on 7 December 1941.


Another loser...

This is going to be controversial, but it's what I think. The Republican-evangelical partnership took a big hit last night. Evangelicals are much more in play than we'd thought.

It's just politics, but one doesn't take unpopular positions on behalf of a group that, in the end, choses not to support you. I'm not talking right and wrong (though of course I am a "libertarian" according to some), I'm talking simple math.

In previous cycles, the evangelicals produced enough votes to justify taking some unpopular policy stances -- like on stem cells. Those positions were net electoral winners, or, at worst, net electoral losers by just a smidgen.

But the exit polls, and raw votes from red, religious areas, indicate that a lot of evangelicals voted Democrat. That's their right, but simple political math dictates that if support from a group is half-hearted, a party is going to be much more half-hearted about pursuing their support.


If a policy alienates a certain number of social moderates who otherwise might vote GOP, and yet only attracts the smaller value Y of social conservatives who champion it, it's hard to justify such a policy in terms of pure political math.

The partnership is hardly destroyed, but I think it has been dented up pretty nicely.


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posted by Ace at 03:17 PM

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