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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Congressional races

My uncle Dan loves to send me these emails from Dick Morris, who I think is mostly full of shit (Dick Morris, not my uncle) - he pretends to be a neutral observer, but he's been carrying water for the Republicans for years.  In this email, he lists 11 NY Congressional seats (out of 29 total) that could switch parties, constituting a "virtual purge" of Democrats.  Though some of these races are genuinely considered "toss-ups," I think his list may be more wishful thinking than anything else.

In terms on upstate seats on the Morris list:

Dan Maffei is my congressman and no one I've talked to locally thinks that Buerkle is a serious threat - local polling shows him up by over 10 points.

Bill Owens (in the Watertown district) just got the endorsement of the Republican who held the seat he took over last year (Dede Scozzafava) and local polling shows him ahead in his race.

Michael Arcuri (whose district is between Syracuse and Harrisburg) is ahead in polls as well.

I think some of the editorial comments in the Morris email, like "Arcuri cooked his own goose by backing the Pelosi agenda 91 percent of the time" is an attempt to influence voters rather than just report on the state of these races.

I think polling results are getting less reliable, but when polls consistently show a double digit lead, I think you can conclude a fairly solid trend.

Overall, the picture is distressing.  Credible analysts have said 50 - 80 Congressional seats may switch from Democrat to Republican.  That's not good.

On the other hand, the latest jobs report showed positive trends, which can't hurt.

I think that having all three governing bodies (White House, Senate and House) in the hands of the Dems is problematic, because it allows the Repugs to blame everything that's wrong on them.  Having the House switch is actually a good thing, in the sense that it makes Obama's reelection more likely. 

I also think that when angry voters install new candidates and then see that they are no better at fixing every problem than the folks that got tossed, it's a good reality check.  Many of the seats that are likely to switch are held by freshmen, who were elected in the same spirit of change two years ago.  I think it's rather sad, but there's rarely any substantial political philosophy underlying these voter choices.  It's just a response to a clever negative ad, or a blind desire for change. 

Frankly, I would love to see some of these fringe Tea Party candidates get elected, so that voters can see how inept they really are, once they're faced with the difficult work of legislating.  Look at Sarah Palin - she talks a good game, but she couldn't even finish one term in actual office.  It's a lot easier to whip up a crowd with fiery rhetoric than it is to do the hard work of governing.

I'm also getting really annoyed at this argument that the government hasn't fixed the economy, but at the same time arguing that government is too big and is doing too much, especially with regards to the economy (screaming about TARP and other attempts to stabilize the economy).  You can't have it both ways!!!  I love a good political disagreement if the person I'm talking to knows something about the issues and has some sort of coherent political view.  Just parroting empty slogans and catchy sound bites bugs the crap right out of me.



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