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February 04, 2010

The Table

Which needs to be run.

Mallamutt puts me some information:

Here are the races Republicans can win and have to win. The order is from the surest (90% chance Republican can win) to the least likely (60-40 in favor of the Democrat). Please note, I am not going to list the long shots (Schummer, Leahy).

1. North Dakota

2. Arkansas

3. Deleware

4. Neveda

5. Illinois

6. Pennsylvania

7. Colorado

8. Indianna

9. New York (Gillibrand)

10. California

If Tommy Thompson gets in the race, you can put Wisconsin on the list. Gillibrand is there only if Pataki gets in the race. And, Ace is right, you still have to hold on to the 5 open Republican seats (NH, Missouri, Ohio, Florida and Kentucky) and the 1 incumbent Republican viewed as having problems (North Carolina).

We would need all ten and not lose a single seat of our own to win.

We simply cannot afford to sit here weighing the merits of Kirk vs. some theoretical super-conservative candidate who could, in some alternative dimension, win Illinois.

Unless you just want to do the thing where we pretend we actually want to govern but actually want to fall short of a majority so we can just snipe at the Democrats.

Which is an admittedly viable if cynical strategy.

But even if your hopes of really taking power are fixed on 2012 and not 2010 -- I just don't see how the hell you give up one of the few gettable Senate seats and tell yourself "Ah, we'll make up for that one later, when God Himself tosses another Golden Opportunity for a Unexpected Victory in our laps."

Sorry to invoke God. Impious, I know.

But, you know: When you're given a mitzvah of some kind, I don't think you can really turn your nose up at it and scorn it and then expect another one to be given to you later.

I mean, were I personally the one doling out the Golden Opportunities, and I saw the people I gave it to turning their noses up at as if it were dogshit, I don't think I'd be eager to drop another one in their laps.

And, by the way, via Hot Air, here were the results in the primary:

US Senate, GOP Primary:

Mark Kirk: 65%
Patrick Hughes: 18%
Don Lowery: 5%
Kathleen Thomas: 5%
Andy Martin: 4%
John Arrington: 3%

So spare me the assertions that a true-blue conservative could win it all if he just articulated conservative principles.

No. We have evidence that that is simply wrong.

Badly wrong.

Kirk didn't merely win. He walloped. He is by far the strongest candidate. A conservative couldn't even come close to him in the conservative-leaning primary.

Confession: Two weeks ago, or something, I asked "Sell me on Mark Kirk." Or Hughes. I wanted to know who to back.

Well, the thing is: People made strong cases for Kirk. Including in emails, where the case was particularly strong.

I didn't mention that, because I knew the rightroots (internet right) was on the side of Hughes and I didn't want to be seen as thwarting the Tea Party Movement and supporting a dreaded RINO.

I just shut up, so as not to hurt Hughes' chances. But I kinda knew, based on reader input, that not only would Kirk win, he should win, because even if a miracle happened and Hughes won the primary, he wasn't a strong enough candidate to even come close in the general.

Again: I shut up. I kept my opinion, which I knew would be scorned as "RINO-loving," to myself, and kept out of it, and let the inevitable happen without my pushing for it.

Well, the primary's over now. As many readers told me, Kirk is not a bad guy, and in fact has recanted his (cynical, cowardly, political-positioning) vote for cap and trade, has a good biography (National Guardsman serving in Afghanistan), is squeaky-clean when corruption is on the ballot, is a good, likable campaigner with a tendency to win in a a blue district, etc.

You may not like it, but he was the best candidate. Ideology is not the only thing on the ballot for most voters. Personal qualities, charisma, biography, and connections (to donors and supporters) are actually more important, like it or not.

So it's done. The guy who may be shaky on ideology but blew away his opponents on the more important (for elections) qualities won.

That's the position you, me, all of us are in.

It helps us not here to play a Wishing Game where we're free to imagine a candidate who had Hughes' strengths (ideological fidelity) and all of Kirk's strengths (everything else).

That candidate didn't exist. The perfect theoretical candidate, a marriage of pure ideology and great political skills, wasn't on the ballot.

The guy who was better at ideology faced the guy who was much, much better at actual politics and to no one's surprise (well, not mine at least) the guy with the political skills won.

That's where we are. There are no time machines or wishing wells here.

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posted by Ace at 02:32 PM

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