The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

If You Invite Me to Speak, I May Never Stop


From the Jolt . . . where if you subscribed, I wouldn’t have to tease you with an excerpt each morning:

Jim’s Rant at AU

The following is more or less the chat I gave at American University last night, with our old friend Byron York and a name you’ve seen in these parts regularly, Patrick Ruffini.


So what’s going to happen on Election Day?

Usually when you’re talking about wave elections, you compare it to some massive natural disaster. It’s a landslide. It’s a tsunami. It’s a political earthquake.

We’re now in the territory where we need some new terms. Perhaps we can call it ‘Political Climate Change.’ “Mass Extinction Event” seems to cover it. For a lot of Democrats opening the ballot box is going to feel like opening the Ark of the Covenant, complete with heads exploding and faces melting. Instead of provoking the Wrath of God, they’ve provoked the Wrath of the Electorate.

Start with the Gallup generic ballot numbers. As Republicans, we’re used to rooting for a tie. Usually, if Republicans are down by 3 or less, they feel pretty good. If it’s a tie, Republicans feel like they’re set to have a really good year. “Ahead by 17” isn’t really on the usual scale. You’re left tapping the screen and asking if it could possibly be right.

Keep in mind, in the good scenario for Democrats, with higher turnout, Republicans are still ahead by 12.

Everything has shifted over one step. You will probably will be able to count the number of defeated incumbent Republicans on one hand. Joseph Cao in Louisiana. Maybe Charles Djou in Hawaii, even though a poll shows him ahead. By the time you’re hitting three or four, you’re already reaching.

No David Vitter in Louisiana, no Richard Burr in North Carolina.

Then you’ve got your traditional swing states that look pretty much over: Roy Blunt in Missouri, Pat Toomey and Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania, Rob Portman and John Kasich in Ohio, Rick Snyder in the governor’s race in Michigan — a lot of these states have been rough sledding for Republicans in the past couple cycles. All of the candidates I mentioned should not just win, but win pretty easily.

Then you’ve got your deep blue states that look competitive. Russ Feingold looks like toast in Wisconsin. In California, Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina have good shots. Dino Rossi has had a narrow lead in Washington lately.  Richard Blumenthal was supposed to lock up Connecticut; hasn’t happened.

Then you’ve got your what the heck-is-going-on indicators. John Dingell has represented Michigan in Congress since the Big Bang and he’s running attack ads. Same with Dale Kildee in that state. My congressman in Virginia, Jim Moran, usually wins 2-to-1. You know him, he sounds like Mayor Quimby. He’s below 50 percent. David Price in North Carolina. All of these guys are acting not necessarily like they’re afraid they’re going to lose, but like they have to work for it this year.

My discovery today: in the last three weeks, 39 GOP House challengers have outpolled their Democratic rivals.

Now, we’re Republicans. We know things can go wrong. In some places, they have. In Colorado, Republicans effectively gave away the governor’s race. Scott McInnis committed plagiarism, and Dan Maes is amazing us with his inability to campaign. At this point, no Republican is going to be competitive statewide in New York, and that’s going to hurt the House candidates there. In Delaware . . . need I say more?

But the Democrats really brought this on themselves, for five big reasons.

No jobs, and they promised the stimulus would create jobs.

Health care. Never polled well. Americans never liked it. The vast majority of House Democrats are now either running from it or trying to pretend it didn’t exist.

Border security, DOJ suing Arizona. I’m still waiting for the ad showcasing Democrats standing in the House of Representatives applauding the Mexican president as he denounces the duly-elected lawmakers of the state of Arizona. You can hear the voice over now: ‘They stand with him, and they don’t stand with you.’

Runaway spending. The deficit is no longer a numbers issue; it is a moral issue. Go to a Tea Party and you’ll hear people talk about what we’re doing to our children and grandchildren and what kind of a country we are to do this sort of thing.

Ground Zero Mosque — not so much support of the  mosque but how quick the Democrats and their media allies were to demonize those who thought it was a bad idea and insensitive. Democrats have forgotten how to make an argument to persuade someone who doesn’t already agree with them. They’ve gotten lazy and are used to being able to denounce the opposition as xenophobic, racist, hateful, and out of the realm of respectable society.

We had a million indicators this was coming throughout the past two years, or at least five big ones.

Christie & McDonnell winning in 2009.

The rise of the Tea Parties.

The town hall meetings during the summer of 2009. “Congressman, they’re burning you in effigy. Perhaps you had better open up with a joke.”

Perhaps the biggest warning you could imagine, Scott Brown’s win. And they pressed on anyway.

Higher turnout in GOP primaries throughout the year.

Keep in mind the subtext to this is that we were told, repeatedly, that President Obama was the smartest, most savvy, most prepared man to step into the Oval Office. We were told, by liberals and the MSM and by almost every Democrat except Hillary Clinton, that Barack Obama was just about the most ideal candidate the party could imagine in 2008. And look at where we are as a country.

So that’s the outlook for Republicans: The floor is a pretty darn good Election Day; the ceiling is if not the Extinction of the Modern Democratic Party, then the end of Keynesianism, the end of the notion that entitlements are untouchable, the end of the public trusting the mainstream media, the end of the notion of public option and nationalized health care, the end of amnesty, the end of Card Check and the end of the demonize-first-and-ask-questions later mentality of today’s Democrats.

If that doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what does.

Tags: 2010 , Barack Obama


Subscribe to National Review