Dear Democrats, Progressives, Liberals & assorted American lefties – settle down.

I’ve been seeing a certain amount of glee across my side of the internet lately over the fact that Willard McMittington Romney is a terrible candidate.

The Republican Party establishment doesn’t like him and never has — that’s been established time and again — and the Republican masses are avoiding him in droves. Whoot! They hate their candidate!

Here’s the deal: We knew that. We allllll knew that. The Left knew it, the Right knew it, the media knew it, the White House knew it, and I’m pretty dang sure McMittington himself knew it, and knows it still. How a man so thoroughly disliked convinces himself to continue running is beyond me, and I genuinely think it involves a certain mental dysfunction, but that’s not my point.

My point is this: The fact that that the GOP has selected a terrible Presidential candidate, who (barring disaster, and disasters do sometimes happen) will lose to the Democratic incumbent is not news. It’s not even useful information. Because the point now is Congress.

If the GOP had found someone who could genuinely threaten to unseat President Obama, that would be a very important conversation to have. But they didn’t — which means there’s a very powerful possibility that a large percentage of our folks will simply sit the election out, confident that our guy is safe.

Yet if we have learned nothing else over the past three years, surely we have learned that our guy — and more to the point, the agenda we elected him to bring to fruition — will never be safe from a group of people dedicated to his/its complete failure; plus which, there’s this little thing called “The Legislative Branch.”

The Democrats’ current slim majority in the Senate is not enough to overcome the Republicans’ favorite non-legislative tool, the filibuster, and you might recall that we lost the House in 2010. Which is to say: If we want to not only see President Obama re-elected but to actually see our own goals (writ large) achieved — we have got to do all we can to claw back some seats.

The forces arrayed against us are not insignificant: A) Romney may be weak, but the Republican Party and its moneyed backers are not. They are throwing every dirty, nasty thing they can at Democrats, politicians and rank-and-file, to scare us away from the voting booth, not to mention doing all they can to just straight-up bar the door; B) disasters (see: above) are not unheard of in history and/or politics, and when there exists even the slimmest possibility of a Romney Presidency, with the current GOP at his back, we must not take the threat lightly; C) incumbents are re-elected at a genuinely alarming rate in American politics — to the tune of 80-95% (for a truly sinus-clearing visual of what 80-95% re-elction rates look like, click here).

If we don’t gird our loins and do our damndest to get more Democrats into Congress this fall, we might as well just sit back and await more of the kind of dehumanizing, anti-economic-recovery, pro-big-business shenanigans at which the GOP has excelled since 2008. It’s really that simple.

Fine. I’m thrilled that the Republican Party, macro- and micro-, hates their candidate.

Can we get down to business now?



  1. Ash Can

     /  May 7, 2012

    Right you are. Hopefully the prez will do plenty of campaigning for legislative candidates. I’m going to an Obama campaign meeting tonight, and I’m going to ask about that.

  2. dmf

     /  May 7, 2012

    I hope so, people really need to go back and look at how many votes there were for McCain and she who should not be named, it was a close race even under those dire circumstances and this will be much harder, I for one am frightened.

    • aaron singer

       /  May 7, 2012

      Obama got 69 million votes and McCain 59 million, I don’t think it was close at all. That said, barring a third party candidacy shaking things up, I think the days of landslide elections like 1984 or 1972 are long gone.

      All signs point to a very close Presidential race in the fall. I’ve come across a bit of hubris on the left from people who for some odd reason make an assumption that the President will easily win re-election. I have no idea where that is coming in from, all the poll numbers I’ve seen show a very close race thus far. With the economy’s general lack of recovery thus far, I think Mitt will run a general campaign not unlike Clinton in 1992: It’s the economy, stupid. In the year or so leading up to that election, President Bush was looked at favorably by many people in his handling of foreign policy, stemming from fall of the Iron Curtain to the Persian Gulf War. But a recession, and a rather lackluster re-election campaign, caused him to lose what had been seen by some as an inevitable re-election. Of course, in some circles Obama is much more popular now than was Bush at the time. But the current recession is also a lot worse than the one 20 years ago, as well.

      On the Congressional side, common wisdom–and the numbers Emily linked to–suggest that incumbents have overwhelming re-election rates. Swing elections used to be rare: the Class of 1994 saw the House change hands for the first time in 42 years; they held on to that power until 2006. It only took four 4 years for that to return back to the GOP with the Tea Partiers. Why are swing elections becoming more common–is it a historical blip, an anomaly, or is there something more to it?

      National Journal has a very good series on Americans losing faith in their institutions–whether government, industry, unions, organized religion–which is a disturbing but understandable trend. And no institution is less popular than Congress. And yet still, as Emily said, re-election rates remain high, the paradox is still there–that overall Congressional approval is lower than ever, but most people like and approve of their own Representative; I am no exception to that, as I like Rep. Jan Schakowsky.

      The right may not love their candidate. But they’ll get behind him and vote and raise money for him despite that. I don’t assume the President will be re-elected; I can only hope it to happen.

      • aaron singer

         /  May 7, 2012

        Just realized how poorly written and error-filled that was, my apologies.

        • I found one error! What are you talking about? (I’ll fix them – let me flex my one set of internet muscles!)

          • aaron singer

             /  May 7, 2012

            Just lots of incomplete sentences and grammatical erorrs. When I write things on the internet, I don’t often proofread, which I should.

      • dmf

         /  May 7, 2012

        really? that was with the economy on the brink of disaster, mushrooming debt, two disastrous wars, an unpopular lead candidate and the wicked witch of the north in tow, the margin isn’t very encouraging as we gear up again.

        • There’s something to this, by which I mean: It chills my marrow to think that that many people could vote they way they did in 2008, under the circumstances.

          It wasn’t “close,” per se, but it was way too close to make any kind of sense.

        • aaron singer

           /  May 7, 2012

          I think that’s just the political world we live in now. There aren’t as many people crossing over the aisle to vote. 2000 and 2004 were as close as elections can be, but the total margin in 2008 was greater than even 1996.

      • efgoldman

         /  May 8, 2012

        …all the poll numbers I’ve seen show a very close race thus far.
        National polls mean very little in the presidential race, which is actually 50 state elections, and is exactly how the Obama campaign handled 2008 and are doing in 2012.
        It doesn’t make any difference at all whether the GOBP candidate wins the deep red states by 5% or 25% – he gets the same number of EVs. Obama is already even or ahead in the most of the twelve or so battleground states. The campaign is devoting hundreds of millions of dollars to state-level GOTV and registration. It worked pretty well last time.
        And GOTV is critically important to getting the House back and keeping the Senate.

  3. efgoldman

     /  May 8, 2012

    I am so freaking stealing that!!
    I’ve been using “Mittster”, but its kind of worn out.
    There’s also Charlie Pierce’s “Romneybot 2.0”, although now that we’re in the general, he should properly update to 3.0.

  4. Absotively. Even those of us who live in a big sea of red need to get out the vote. As a prime example, my home state of Texas used to be a big blue state. Sam Rayborn, Lyndon Johnson, and all of the progressive liberals pushed through policies, good and bad, by throwing around Texas weight. Where did we go wrong? We went wrong by sitting back on our laurels and blindly believing that the state would always stay blue. The turnaround was/is dizzying and the party has not figured out how to make a recovery here.

    I’m seeing this all over the country. I sit in awe at the ability of the other side to make something like “reduced price school lunches” sound like treason. The problem is they are the only ones talking. They spew venom and nobody responds. We cannot sit back and assume everyone sees the lies for the lies they are. I am angry that the national party writes off Texas and the other red states. Again, the GOP are the only ones talking, nay yelling at the top of their lungs and there is nobody here to respond.

    • Our refusal to use the word “lies” just kills me.

    • Want2No

       /  May 11, 2012

      “Where did we go wrong? We went wrong by sitting back on our laurels and blindly believing that the state would always stay blue.”

      It is not so much that anyone “went wrong” or faild to do something as it is that the majority of Texas voters, like votes in most places in the South and Southwest, stopped voting for Democrats. It was a long-term process that started on the Presidential level. John Kennedy could not have carried Texas in 1960 without LBJ on the ticket. Even with LBJ as his running mate, Kennedy only barely carried the state and, in 1961 Texas voters elected Republican John Tower to take LBJ’s vacated senate seat. By the 1990’s the majority of Texas voters had migrated to the GOP, finding little left to hold them to the Democratic party which they felt no longer represented their values.

      The fact is, that the largest block of US voters consistently label themselves conservatives. That is especially true in the South. Southern white men form the the single most solid base of support for the GOP. There is little today’s Democrats or liberals can do about it, just as there is little the GOP can do about returning Massachusetts to the GOP column. Perhaps long-term demographic changes will one-day return Texas to either a blue or purple state, but not in the near future.

  5. Want2No

     /  May 11, 2012

    I think today’s ABC News/Washington Post poll ought to cure any overconfidence Democrats might feel. The money quotes:

    “…Americans divide almost exactly evenly on the administration’s economic stimulus program, with 47 percent seeing it favorably overall, 48 percent unfavorably. It’s a bit better for Obama on the auto industry loans, 50-43 percent, and financial industry regulation, 49-44 percent. But none of these reaches majority favorability, and the intensity of sentiment on the stimulus is much more strongly negative than positive.”

    It will come down to the economy and whether voters think things are at least moving the in the right direction. Yup. Obama is more likeable than Romney. But American voters been known to overlook personality and likeability when they feel the situation demands other attributes. Obama’s success will directly depend on whether he can prevent Romney from casting himself as the hard-nosed guy with business experience who can “fix” the problem.