David Brooks is wrong: Campaign donors expect a return

So it turns out that money doesn’t really matter in politics.

That’s what New York Times columnist David Brooks, generally a sensible fellow, argued on Tuesday.

Recalling big spending losers from days past like Phil Gramm and John Connolly, and more recently defeated but lavishly-funded candidates like Mike Castle and Lisa Murkowski, Brooks argued that the current media interest in campaign spending, particularly secret gifts made through groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is unimportant.


Living and dying through party politics

There are more than a few lessons to be drawn from the 2010 midterm elections, even before the results come in.  First, for all those who have been decrying the rise of partisan politics in Congress this election shows that you can succeed in passing legislation by standing on firm party ground, but at a steep electoral cost.  And Republicans clearly reread their 1990’s political history by copying Gingrich’s oppose everything strategy (except NAFTA) in the 103rd Congress and it looks very likely they will benefit electorally to the same extent or even more.  To a student of democratic government, this election is exactly what you want in a two party system:  one party is held accountable for the policies it passed, and the other party has offered consistent opposition to those policies. There has been little compromise, and no blurring of philosophies to confuse the voter.   An additional bonus is the clear evidence that the incumbency advantage is not nearly as entrenched a component of congressional elections as people think: given the right combination of money, appealing candidates, and bad external conditions, voters have already demonstrated in this primary season that they will show anyone and everyone the door.


Republicans looking for key wins in Arkansas

Republicans are looking to make some key Congressional pick-ups in the state of Arkansas this November. At the top of their list: the 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts and Blanche Lincoln’s Senate seat. They feel good about their chances – nearly every county in the state split more heavily for McCain over Obama than it did for Bush over Kerry and in Pulaski County, home to the capital of Little Rock and the electoral fortress of the Arkansas Democratic Party, support for the top of the Democratic ticket in 2008 barely exceeded 2004 numbers.


Pay attention to New Hampshire

In the 2000 Presidential election, George W. Bush defeated Al Gore in New Hampshire by a fraction of the Nader vote. New Hampshire's four electoral votes would have put Gore over the top. In just 15 months, N.H. the only swing state left in the northeast -- will hold its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. While the Senate and Congressional races here lack the fire of other states (none of the candidates here has run ads to deny being a witch, nor has anyone suggested that supporters might take up arms should they lose the election), what happens here matters.


Wyoming will remain steadfastly Republican

Wyoming has few peers as a “red” state.  Republicans have carried the state in eleven consecutive presidential elections.  Wyoming’s two U.S. Senators and lone U.S. Representative have been Republicans since the 1978 election.  A September Rasmussen Reports poll showed Republicans holding roughly a two-to-one advantage over Democrats in party identification, two-thirds of the populace disapproving of Barack Obama’s performance as president, and a quarter of the electorate identifying with the Tea Party movement—all numbers above national figures. Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that Republicans are favored in this year’s elections.


For Latino and immigrant voters, it's not too late (Rep. Luis Gutierrez)

Last Wednesday, the front-page of the New York Times (and news reports all over the country) blared that there is a mass of Latino registered voters who are not particularly motivated to vote this year. The story was based on a Pew Hispanic Center poll and I have spent a good part of the last few days debating with fellow Democrats (who, like me, want to see our Party win this November) the meaning of the poll's findings.


The Big Question: Can Dems win by running away from Obama?

Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer their insight into the biggest questions burning up the blogosphere today.

Today's question:

Can Democrats like West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin survive by distancing themselves from Obama?


My vote is not for sale (Rep. Alan Grayson)

(A) "Conservative outside groups" have now spent more than $9 million "slamming vulnerable House Democrats," and (B) the total against me will reach "at least $1.7 million by the end of next week."

Think about that. I am only one member of the U.S. House of Representatives, out of 435. I represent one-quarter of one percent of America. And yet roughly TWENTY PERCENT of spending in the entire country by these shadowy right-wing groups has been spent to


Is Jim DeMint’s hate speech about teachers a teachable moment?

There’s a daily ritual in George Orwell’s book 1984 called the “Two Minutes' Hate,” in which citizens are whipped into a violent frenzy against those who are too different, or too democratic. I was reminded of this scene when I heard what Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) told a church rally recently about who should be barred from teaching in public schools.


Vetting of the president: What political buzzwords tell us about the vote

Recently, the Global Language Monitor (GLM) announced the “Top Buzzwords of the Midterm Election”. GLM found that the buzzwords portrayed a strongly negative narrative that has increasingly entangled the president and his party.

The top ten buzzwords included “narrative”, “lower taxes”, “Obama as a Muslim”, “conservative”, “climate change”, “liberal”, “recession (linked to Obama)”, “Hillary Clinton (related to Obama)”, “Tea Partiers”, and “Obama as aloof, detached, or professorial”. In the interim, GLM has found that “Obama as a smoker” will break into the top ten when the list is updated two weeks hence.