Finding Oil Everywhere

I love TIVO.  I watched Jim Webb and his debate with George Allen on Meet the Press, and it was truly a pleasure.  I really enjoyed seeing someone really smart take it to Allen, and speak in blunt and forceful language just how egregiously awful our strategic choices have been in Iraq.  If you get the chance to watch the debate, I highly highly recommend it.  Webb really destroyed Allen.

Allen's vulnerability suggests something that I think a lot of us knew.  This is going to be our year, big time.  Harold Ford is doing well in Tennessee, Jim Webb is exceeding expectations in Virginia, Mark Kennedy is getting crushed in Minnesota, Jon Tester is winning in Montana, Sherrod Brown is surprisingly trouncing Mike Dewine in Ohio, and the House side is looking pretty good as well.  Old timer forecasters are predicting seat swings of 40-50 seats; I'm not a forecaster, but that doesn't seem out of the question.  With good candidates like Charlie Brown successfully contesting weird seats, like John Doolittle's, and a demoralized right-wing base, it's looking like a Democratic takeover is almost inevitable.

The reason is pretty simple.  Bush is really bad news for the Republicans.  Iraq is really bad news for the Republicans.  I agree with Chuck Schumer about this election - while there's work we can do, 80% of this election is a referendum on Bush.  We've recommended a certain strategy for candidates to follow emphasizing accountability, but the reality is that this strategy isn't the only path to victory.  In fact, it seems like all strategies are working right now.  For Democrats, it's Texas in 1928, if you stick your finger into the ground you find oil.

In the end, though I'm spending a lot of time looking at ads, I think this race is going to come down to field.  If we get our base out, we will win this election.  That means putting money into black radio, hispanic media, and other base mobilization activities.  It means nationalizing the election around Bush so that local candidates and groups can shift resources into field and away from media.  My only worry is that our field and base mobilization strategies might be inadequate, and if it's close, they could take it away from us.

Still, a huge wave is coming.

Update (Chris): See? It was Jerome's job in 2002, my job in 2004, and now in 2006 it will be Stoller's job to get eveyrone's hopes up before the election. Let's hope that Matt doesn't end up feeling the same sting that Jerome and I felt.

Still, right on schedule for this post, after a wave of good new polls for Democrats, Rasmusen now lists the Senate as firmly in play. They currently list 49 seats as Republican or lean Republican, and 48 seats as Democratic or lean Democratic. The three toss-ups are Tennessee, Missouri and New Jersey. We would have to win all three to take the Senate, but I still have a lot of hope for Virginia (and even some for Arizona). I also like our chances in all three of the Rasumssen toss-up states lately (but those really are toss-ups).

Also, currently lists the Senate picture as 50-50. As we improve in our best pickup chances (PA, OH, MT and RI), make more races truly competitive (TN, MO and VA), and make most seats Republicans are targeting safe (MI, WA, MN and MD), the race for the Senate is really heating up.

Tags: George Allen, Jim Webb, Senate, Virginia (all tags)



Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

Well, I thought Webb handled the "women in the military" question just horribly.  Other than that, I watched a lot and he did a good job, as you mention.  But, when it came to the women in the military issue, he could have done a lot better.

by Robert P 2006-09-18 02:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

Yep, I definitely agree with you here. His is just the sort of overly nuanced position that satisfies no one.

I am going to vote for Webb 'cause I can't stand Allen, but I wish Webb would just come out and clearly say he was wrong and apologize to any women serving or veterans who were negatively impacted by his past writings.

In my view (I am a former Naval officer), the military should simply set performance standards for all occupational specialties. Women and men are equally entitled to compete for these positions. There are tons of women more physically fit, with more stamina, etc. that would kick my ass on the battlefield. Why should they be excluded?

by sramanva 2006-09-18 05:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

Yeah, that was his only weak point, though you gotta admit, he still did a better job at admitting fault and putting it in context compared to your typical establishment democrat.

But other than that, it was nice to see a democrat put a republican on the defensive with some nice straight talk. George Allen was doing a lot of dancing around issues. He showed an ignorance about military matters that even a non military guy like me thought was obvious.

by Pravin 2006-09-18 07:35AM | 0 recs
I think one of the biggest factors

is that the conservative base is gonna stay home.  Rove got em all riled up over immigration and nativism and then failed to deliver.  In fact, Rove and co hasn't delivered anything major since Alito.  The Magic Terrorism Elixir isn't working anymore, wiretapping is just a little too obscure to be passionate about, Support The Troops rings hollow, and cut and run honestly doesn't sound that bad anymore.  No tax cuts lately either.  If our base comes out and theirs doesn't, it doesn't even matter how the indies vote.  There are no big demons to vote against either... no John Kerry or Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket.  It would take a beast of a turnout operation to get enough conservatives to the polls under these conditions to beat us.

by texas dem 2006-09-18 03:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

"This is going to be our year, big time."

Baseball wisdom:  When a pitcher has a perfect game going, no one talks about it until it's over.

Abraham Lincoln:  The hen is the wisest of all farm animals, because she cackles only after the egg is laid.

by drlimerick 2006-09-18 03:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

My superstition alarm was clanging like crazy when I read that.  I'm gonna have to put my socks and shoes on one foot at a time, and eat chicken dinners for 60 days just to make up for that.

by Robert P 2006-09-18 03:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

While I share your desire here, Matt, I remain unconvinced of your bold scenario. According to David Brooks and Chris Matthews on Matthews' show yesterday, GOP insiders are predicting a loss of only 8-11 seats in the House. Sure, sure, it's Brooks and Matthews and I take their comments with a colossal grain of salt -- they may have less to do with how the election currently stands and more to do with lifting the spirits of a depressed Republican electorate. But Brooks and Matthews' sources may also be closer to reality than your (overly) confident speculation. The races you cite are extremely close and could tip either way, depending on turnout. (And you don't even mention the Maryland Senatorial race, which in his column today Chris Cilizza mentions as a distant, but not impossible, pick-up opportunity for the Republicans.)

Now, in September, I'd rather see the progressive blogosphere -- myDD, foredoglake, Matt Y., the Kossacks -- spend less time with all this self-congratulatory high-fiving and more time tapping creative strategies to motivate its voters to the polls. Granted, all the fund-raising and cheerleading warms my pessimistic soul. A wonderful thing. But remember: at this time two years ago the conventional wisdom was that Kerry would defeat Bush. Let's not fall into the same complacent rut again.

Personally, I'm sick of all the endless pixels devoted to a mythical "wave," how Dan Gerstein is a moron, how Al Wynn is the Anti-Christ, how much chummy fun everyone had at Le Dejeuner Avec Big Dog. I'd prefer more tactical posts: I'd like to see the netroots map out concrete strategies to turn out voters in those key battleground races.

Just look at Connecticut. For all the vitriol aimed at Joe Lieberman (and I agree with 98% of it), he's probably going to win re-election and could even go back on his promise to caucus with the Democrats. Have you considered the fallout from a probable Lieberman win? That will be a HUGE defeat for the netroots -- all that effort expended for naught, possibly to the detriment of other races. Could you spend less time dissecting every idiotic comment from the Lieberman campaign and more time figuring out how to defeat Chris Shays and Rob Simmons and Chris Chocola?

by BrklynDad 2006-09-18 04:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

you are using some pretty odd indicators to argue your position- Matt is probably wrong, but your analysis using Brooks, Tweedy, Gergen and the CT race which is a unique situation is to say the least odd.

by bruh21 2006-09-18 05:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

These past few days I just can't believe what a pessimistic bunch of wet blankets the netroots have been.

Do you guys realize that it's mid-September and we have a 12 to 16% point lead in the polls???

Do you guys realize that in mid-September 2004, Bush had a 3% lead in the polls? Bush won by 2%. In mid-September 2000, the election was tied between Gore and Bush? The election ended up in a near tie. In mid-September 1996, Clinton had a 10% lead. He won by 8%. In mid-September 1994, the Republicans were ahead by 11%. Won by 10%. In mid-September 1992, Clinton was ahead by 6%. Won by 5%. George H. W. Bush led by 8% in mid-September of 1988. He won by 8%. Are you seeing a pattern? The numbers begin to solidify after Labor Day.

It's one thing not to get too excited in April, May, June or even July, August. But this late in the game, with less than two months left and we have a GIGANTIC LEAD and you're still grim about our prospects?

If we win this election by 12 to 16 points we're not going to win 8 to 11 seats - we're going to win 40 to 50 seats AT LEAST. In 1994, the Republicans won by 10% and picked up 54 seats (after having picked up 8 seats in the election before that).

Can you imagine a political party winning the popular vote by 12% to 16% and NOT WINNING CONTROL? Essentially losing? That's mathematically IMPOSSIBLE!

We are currently AHEAD in 20+ Republican-held districts, at least of those that have been polled. I say we're probably ahead in more of them. We are tied in another 10 to 15 and trail within the margin of error in another 15 to 20. We poll EVEN nationally among ALL Republican held districts. That means, just statistically speaking, we have a shot at at least half of all those districts (and I know we won't get it).

Let the Republicans remain delusional about the hurricane that's about to sweep them out of power. That's fine. Let the media pundocracy take their lead from them. That's fine. But why are there so many Democrats willing to accept whatever a Republican says at face value?

I have heard the argument..."well, we've lead before in polls only to lose." Well guys, NEVER by this much, with us consistently polling at above 50%, this late in the election cycle. NEVER!

We're going to win this election! I agree with you about Lieberman. That can come back to bite us in the ass. But Lamont is doing better and Rassmussen's latest has Lamont behind by 2%. Hardly the time to begin writing our concession speech.

I agree the Senate is tougher to win just because of the math of those races. But i'd be shocked if we came away with less than 4 seats and wouldn't be too surprised if we won as many as 8.

Nancy Pelosi will become the next Speaker!

We are going to win BIG!!!

by JackBourassa 2006-09-18 06:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

This election has realignment written all over it.

by JackBourassa 2006-09-18 06:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

A bout two weeks ago, GOPers were predicting a loss of 26 seats in the House.  Where does the revision come from?

by David Kowalski 2006-09-18 07:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

I hope you guys are right and that my pessimism is ill-founded . . . I'd be the happiest guy in the U.S.A. if we won both chambers in November. But my gut tells me that the netroots hasn't quite figured out how to match the GOP's groundgame.

I was elated at the latest Rasmussen Senatorial polling, which show small but widening Democratic leads in Ohio, Montana, and Rhode Island. And I think both Virginia and Tennessee are winnable as well as Pennsylvania. (Missouri, not so much.) But I'm going to hold off on all the whoops and pumped fists for now, as no doubt many of these races will tighten in the next few weeks.

by BrklynDad 2006-09-18 10:10AM | 0 recs

What struck me about Allen during the debate is that he just seemed so slow on his feet, especially for someone who's been in public life this long.  He just did not seem interested in answering the questions Russert posed; he always seemed to want to use the questions as a means of raising related points, but tried to evade the questions themselves, esp. on Iraq.

by Adam B 2006-09-18 04:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

I think the mood is there, though it is early and who knows what Rove and company are planning. "terrorist" attack, Iran war.

But even without that, what do you think about the voting process itself? It seems the GOP will try to cast doubt on election results. The reason only Fox News covered the Princeton e-vote hacking story is that it's prepping its audience to believe that close votes that go dem were actually fraudulent. We're going to see Ohio 2004 and Florida 2000 in every closely contested CD, that's my hunch.

So not to be negative or anything, but I hope and would pray that the Dems are ready for any kind of October surprise (they should be innoculating the public right now against all these scenarios), as well as the election day bs that the Repubs will be doing.

by upstate guy 2006-09-18 04:42AM | 0 recs
Please do not say this

it's looking like a Democratic takeover is almost inevitable.

Please do not say this.

First, it's bad luck.  Displays of hubris just whet the Electoral Gods' perverse appetites.

Second, Democrats big and small seem to be absorbing this idea.  They are, maddeningly, reverting to their habit of playing nip-and-tuck rather than taking the fight to the Republicans.  This is a recipe for disaster.

So please, do not use the word inevitable.  Say it's possible, say we have a chance, say we have to work harder than we've ever worked before.

by James Earl 2006-09-18 04:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Please do not say this

Is it really bad luck?  Republicans in 1994 were crowing they would take the House for months (not many of the pundis believed them).  There is also something to 1)establishing the expectation of victory to make it harder for Republicans to steal this election and 2) saying makes it so/positive thinking.

Nearly all the factors that made for Republican success in 1994 (according to a University of Texas study) are in place for Democrats in 2006 except the crowing.

1) The economy, although not in a recession, has done little for working and middle class Americans (boy is that true today).

2) The President is "widely unpopular."  The UT study cited 20% of Americans "hating" Clinton in 1994 and 20% disliking him.  Bush is way more unpopular with over 40% consistently at :strong diaapprove" and another 20% in the disapprove column.  Despite the reverence shown by the networks, Bush hate is a lot stronger than Clinton hate (always a minority, potent to the pundits) opr even Nixon hate.

3) Congressional scandals hurt the party in power (the congressional post office scandal is pretty tame next to Abramoff).

4) A complicated failure, for Clinton "the 1,200 page health plan" for Bush Medicre D.  You can add in Katrina and Iraq of course.  Bush delivered actual failures; Clinton's muff was on paper.

5) Attacks from a new media on the White House and Congress:  Rush Limbaugh (1994) the blogs (2006).

6) The one factor not, in my opinion, as bad.  The number of open seats is smaller today (21 Republicans IIRC) than in 1994.

by David Kowalski 2006-09-18 07:41AM | 0 recs
Another anecdote...

Traveled from Chicago to Indiana this past weekend to visit family -- in particular, driving through the rural stretches between LaPorte and into South Bend (IN-02).

On US 20 - the main road between the 2 - I counted 9 Donnelly signs - and did not see one single Chocola sign.  In fact - the only disappointment was that I didn't see a lot in South Bend itself, which would be where Donnelly needs to run well.

This is hardly Chocola stronghold territory, but this rural swath would probably best be called moderately conservative.  These are the Reagan democrats.

Yet - if the yard signs can tell any kind of story, I'm no longer doubting the polls showing Donnelly up 10 points.

by zonk 2006-09-18 04:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

ditto on the jinxin' the team

by bruh21 2006-09-18 05:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

Remember, it is not who votes, it is who COUNTS the votes.

by Chief 2006-09-18 05:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

I disagree. I think good, quality paid media is going to win this thing for the Democrats.

In years past, Democrats across the country had, let's be honest, absolutely shitty TV ads for the most part. They were cookie cutter and boring.

This year, I sense an increase in creativity and bluntness that is refreshing, even if the ads themselves aren't perfect.

That set a tone, and carries over to other races as well.

As I pointed out elsewhere, we decrease the GOP's ground game advantage by shrinking tehir pool of potential voters to turnm out. And you do that by messaging and paid media. Good ads do several things:

A) They convince people to vote for our candidates

B) They convince people to vote against our opponents.

C) They motvate our base like a pep talk every time they see our candidates fighting hard on television and taking it to the other side.

D) They demoralize our opponents supporters, who see their candidate taking it on the chin.

I think that emphasizing the ground game over paid media, while fashionable, is missing the forrest for the trees.

The ground game is totally procedural. You are merely getting your voters to the polls. It's not substance. It's execution. It's tactics v Strategy.

I am beig cpounterintuitoive on this because I don't want people to screw up te paid media.

That's why I think MYDD's adwatch feature may be on the THE most important contributions, this year, to the Democrats chances of anything any blog has done. By exposing the flaws in all the ads across trhe country, you force their creators to get better next time, and it also halps form a national narrative rather than merely a localized election.

This autimatically benefits the Denmocrats.

So, hats off to a great idea.

by Hesiod Theogeny 2006-09-18 05:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

Not to rain on everyone's parade, but I was hardly inspired by Jim Webb.  His comments on women and affirmative action were terrible.  He was good on the Iraq war and on interrogatio, but could have made more articulate, longer criticisms of Allen's obvious racism and of Allen's connection to the Bush administration.  

by astoriaprogressive 2006-09-18 05:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Allen's Questionably Racist Past

JABBS has a breakdown of Allen's uncomfortable and illogical few minutes discussing "macaca" and his earlier questionably racist decisions.

The headline says it all: Allen: Questionably Racist Decisions Came As a "Kid" ... Aged 25, 32 And 41

by JABBS 2006-09-18 06:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere
I agree with what you said about Webb. His answers about Iraq should become the Democrats playbook. It was the most impressive debate I have seen in years. I hope he gets enough financial support to win. Allen seems to have a similar IQ to that of the current Presidents, which is why the Republicans love him.
The strength of the Republicans are that they can be easily manipulated by big business and the industrial war complex. The Republicans just care about number one and they are bought off very easily. You won't find many intelligent Republicans politicians because they are dangerous to the status quo. The intelligent puppet masters love to have candidates they can manipulate and it is much easier to manipulate someone less intelligent. ( see Bush)
Mr. Webb will get a lot of opposition from those in power because he is very dangerous to them. Let's help Webb out!
by fat karl 2006-09-18 06:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

by fat karl 2006-09-18 06:58AM | 0 recs
Next Webb-Allen Debate 1PM today

C-SPAN 2 has announced that they will be showing the next Webb-Allen debate live on C-SPAN 2 at 1PM.  It will be taking place before the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce.

by Ian in DC 2006-09-18 07:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

Speaking of Harold Ford: The NRA-backed Corker doesn't even have a valid hunting license.

Corker has the whiff of a loser.

by Hesiod Theogeny 2006-09-18 07:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil In Our Dreams

Bush's confidence on November worries me. On one hand, he is cocky about everything. But then again, he had the same strange types of "i know more than you do" statements before 2004, when the exit polls ended up shockingly wrong. I think he's trying to put a fix in, and I hope honest debates and good numbers of hands on levers can actually overwhelm his plans to escape what he sees as looming impeachment. I don't doubt that if the people have their way, we will see the majority swing. But I don't know how much that once-a-given aspect of The Vote is, today, just pollyanna thinking....

Surety in the system has been replaced with extremely healthy skepticism based on real world evidence of widespread corruption in the process.

by Nezua Limon Xoloquinta Jonez 2006-09-18 08:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

"really smart"???!!!!

Gee Matt, are you feeling OK?  Because that wasn't what I saw when I watched MTP.  I saw too old white men comparing slight differences in opinion.

by goplies 2006-09-18 09:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Finding Oil Everywhere

If you get the chance to watch the debate, I highly highly recommend it.  Webb really destroyed Allen.

I only saw the part where Russert confronted Webb with his sexist past and Allen with his racist past and present. They both stumbled around themselves like they were punch drunk.

by Sitkah 2006-09-18 09:10AM | 0 recs
Money Money Money!

Well, it was said a week ago here - a quote from a Repub strategist, something like "we have spent only 10% of what we will spend" for disputed seats."

That's a lot of cash.

I would love to know what the "formula" is, for what percentage of votes shift, based on overwhelming financial advantage - and then work from there.

Let's say, for starters, that for every 50% more money a candidate has, this shifts the vote by 1%.  

So if a Repub candidate has 3 times the money as a Dem candidate - let's assume that shifts the "natural" vote by 6%.

What do people think here, about that rule of thumb, to apply to the various races?

(This of course isn't even taking into account Republican effectiveness in GOTV, and in smearing.  I would say that the effectiveness in GOTV is worth another 2%, and the effective smearing is worth 1%.  So a GOP candidate that has 3 times the money is already working with a 9% spread, before issues, and the nature of the seat, and the nature of the candidate is taken into account.)

by jc 2006-09-18 11:03AM | 0 recs
New Web Video Commercial About John Doolittle

Aloha everyone...

I have made a new web video campaign commercial about the corruption of John Doolittle and his support for sweatshops, forced abortions and sex slavery in the Marianas Islands.  I would love some input from the fine progressives here at MyDD.

John Doolittle Facts - YouTube video embedded 09/john-doolittle-facts-supporting-force d.html

Please have a look and let me know what you think.  This is my first ever campaign commercial of what I hope to be many more.  If you like it, help me spread it around the blogosphere because this is the type of message that really hits home with conservatives on the fence.

by GetInTheirFace 2006-09-18 11:45AM | 0 recs


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