Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

What Craig's resignation means for the GOP

Well, the GOP has already said they are going to be losing 4 seats, and with Senator Warner (R-VA)'s announcement that he won't be seeking re-election, it looks like former Gov Mark Warner (D-VA) will be filling that seat, unless he gets tapped to be the veep nominee (he brings the ability to win in a purple state and that vaunted Southern charm to the ticket.)

The five states that Republicans could lose senatorial seats in are (in order of likelihood):

1) Virginia. VA is a once-red state that turns more and more purple by the week. Former Gov. Mark Warner is a tremendous candidate and has already demonstrated the ability to win statewide. The elections of Democrats Gov. Tim Kaine and Senator Jim Webb show that Virginia is no longer the firewall that the GOP expected it to be - in other words, the electoral Mason-Dixon divide is inching further and further South. A population influx in the more liberal Northern Virginia is shoring up Democratic votes. Esp if there is a divisive GOP primary between a true conservative and Rep. Tom Davis, a so-called moderate, we win.

2) Colorado. Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) is retiring and the last time a Republican Senator from Colorado stepped down, Ken Salazar stepped in, and began to roll out the Salazar machine. (Brother John is in the House.) The purple state still went red in 2004, but by a smaller margin than in 2000.

3) Nebraska. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel is one of the last true Republican moderates out there. He is decent on immigration, and is generally well-respected as a lawmaker. He might step down, and Bob Kerrey (former Dem Senator) who currently heads the New School in NYC, might run. Nebraska is still a red state, but Kerrey is well-liked by his constituents. (On another note, notice how the numbers of GOP moderates are shrinking? First Chafee, now Hagel?)

4) Minnesota. Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) is as scummy as you can get. For being someone who was an avowed hippie potsmoking antiwar activist in his youth, he sure does clean up nicely, including some money dental work. Now Norm shills for whomever pays his bills, including Big Pharma, and pretends to be a moderate in this purple state which is turning decidedly blue. Plus the guy is reportedly a tool, and his staff actively edits his wikipedia entries to make him look better. Memo to the senator: cosmetic surgery, online or off, leaves scars.

But what else would you expect from a party traitor? Coleman originally ran and won a local seat as a Democrat. He even chaired Paul Wellstone's first campaign, and then he turned around and ran against Wellstone in 2002 as a Republican. When Wellstone died in a plane crash, it was Coleman's campaign that took advantage of the tragedy to start slinging mud. So I have a burning desire to see Coleman shamed at the polls, also because he actively support's Bush's failed war.

Democratic opponents include Al Franken, comedian and radio show host, as well as attorney Mike Ciresi, who represented the workers at Union Carbide. So these are two good old school lefties, and we can't go wrong here, as long as we push out the sell out.

5) Maine. Susan Collins, a popular long termer, is getting massive flack in this independent state for her support of Bush's war.

6) Wyoming. Mike Barrasso was a no name state senator who got elevated to US Senator when Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY) died unexpectedly and the Democratic Governor had to pick 1 of 3 Republican names that were suggested by the state legislature.

7) Idaho. Larry Craig and his weird fetishes aside, Idaho is a red state. As solidly red as you can get, and since he is resigning effective Sept 30, whomever replaces him (per the Repub Governor's pick) will be the front runner. Only if we get a super-bruising GOP primary will we see Idaho become a contested state. And if we do, we'll know exactly how weak the Repubs are.

*8) Arizona. My choice for a curveball takeover: John McCain is not only sinking in the national polls, but he's not doing so hot locally either. Approval ratings at home have sunk with his leaden straight talk express part deux, and Club for Growth kids are doing as much as possible to sink his battleship. It's kinda like John kerry's leaden numbers when he was doing poorly on the campaign trail and when he announced he might go back on the presidential trail. When you're unpopular, it spreads like a virus.

Dems are only defending 2 seats: Sen. Landrieu (Louisiana) and Sen. Tim Johnson (South Dakota.) Landrieu faces an uphill battle since many voters last cycle, esp. the African American base, have left New Orleans, and the depopulation of the urban area means that there are fewer Dems in the state. Johnson had a bad aneurysm, and is slowly recovering.

Things working in our favor:

1) DSCC under Schumer (fundraiser extraordinaire) has 4 times as much moola as NRSC.
2) GOP base is discontent, wary, and weary of so-called "values politicians" who turn out to be sleazeballs. (Jeez, who woulda thunk it?)
3) General distrust of GOP by public on economy, war, health care, etc
4) Upticket (presidential races) Democrats are far more exciting than GOP candidates. Coattails, baby, coattails.
5) Dems are defending 12 seats and Republicans are defending 22.

Plus here's the money quote in WashPost:

Republican campaign operatives are privately fretting about a political environment that could remain deadly for their party.

"About the only safe Republican Senate seats in '08 are the ones that aren't on the ballot," a GOP operative with extensive experience in Senate races said. "I don't see even the rosiest scenario where we don't end up losing more seats."

I wish to God that this is true, but we actually have to work our asses off to make this come true - don't forget that the GOP looks weak, and has looked weak before, only to come out from behind (amazing what a rent-a-Rove and some "voter fraud" can get ya at the polls.)

My prediction as of today: Dems win two seats overall for a 53-47 lead in the Senate. (Yeah, I'm counting Lieberman in there with us...)

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