Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

Keeping a close eye on developments in the 2008 U.S. Senate races

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Franken, Rounds, and Americans United for Change

  • Minnesota: Minnesota Campaign Report reports that Al Franken's Senate campaign raised $1.3 million in the first quarter of 2007. I don't know typical Minnesota numbers, but that seems like a lot. I haven't seen anything from Smilin' Norm Coleman's camp yet.

  • South Dakota: Political Insider highlights growing speculation about ultra-conservative Mike Rounds entering the race to challenge extremely popular, and still recovering, Senator Tim Johnson.

  • The Hill reports on Americans United for Change holding accountable Mitch McConnell, Susan Collins, and John Sununu for their records on Iraq.


    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    What makes Mike Rounds "ultra-conservative"? And why do you describe Tim Johnson as "extremely popular", but not Mike Rounds, who has the exact same approval rating?

    2:22 PM, April 04, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    I describe Tim Johnson as "extremely popular" because he is extremely popular. I didn't describe Mike Rounds as "extremely popular" because I used another descriptor that I thought was even more fitting.

    What makes Mike Rounds "ultra-conservative," you ask? Let's say a father in South Dakota rapes his daughter and the daughter becomes pregnant as a result of the rape-incest. Mike Rounds says it should be a crime for the daughter to terminate her pregnancy, which, again, is the result of the rape-incest. That makes Mike Rounds "ultra-conservative."

    2:56 PM, April 04, 2007  
    Blogger Blue South said...

    good numbers by Franken. What is going to be key for him, in terms of actually winning, is raising money INSIDE the state. I wonder what those numbers look like.

    3:17 PM, April 04, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    I also wonder if it makes Ciresi go back on his pledge not to self-finance.

    3:37 PM, April 04, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - I think you're misrepresenting (big shock!) Mike Ciresi's position on self-financing.

    As far as I can tell, he never "pledged" not to self-finance. He never promised he wouldn't infuse his personal wealth into the campaign.

    Ciresi has said that he doesn't plan on self-financing. And Ciresi even made it clear that he "did not rule out putting some of his money into the 2008 race."

    "Not planning" on self-financing is hardly a "pledge" not to self-finance.

    So unless you have something you can cite suggesting that Ciresi did pledge not self-finance, please don't misrepresent his position.

    4:28 PM, April 04, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Well, that was hardly worth four paragraphs. I wasn't accusing Ciresi of anything, nor was I using the word "pledge" in that sense. I was just making a general inquiry into whether Franken's money would make him change his mind. Calm down.

    4:37 PM, April 04, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Oh, you weren't using the word "pledge" in that sense, its most common use, as a synonym for promise, like Susan Collins' self-imposed two-term limit. You were using "pledge" to mean "just something casually said," like the way Susan Collins meant her self-imposed two-term limit to be.

    I see. My bad.

    5:09 PM, April 04, 2007  
    Blogger Blue South said...

    you take that pledge too seriously. you should come down to NC and ask Sue Myrick and Walter Jones how casual that pledge was

    5:18 PM, April 04, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    I was using the word to indicate something that he was setting out to do. As in, something that he would try if at all possible, and if not would revisit his options. I wasn't trying to make it out as some sort of campaign promise.

    How many more rounds do you want to go over something which is purely semantics?

    5:33 PM, April 04, 2007  
    Blogger Johnny C said...

    If Rounds gets in SD becomes a top tier race. I think Rounds is the only Rep that can beat Johnson or Herseth but I think he has a decent shot at either.

    Hey VA I know you are from the party of Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush so it might be hard to believe but the words you chose do matter. If I tell you the Kansas City Chiefs wear blue uniforms: I am wrong. It is not just semantics in that I use blue to refer to the color red. You don't get to change the meaning of words and then accuse those that disagree with you of being petty for fighting over semantics.

    5:50 PM, April 04, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Except that red and blue have two distinct, nearly opposite meanings. There's nothing wrong with me using the word "pledge" in the context that I did. The problem here is that S2G assummed what I meant, and then went on to argue that he knows what I really meant, even if I did not.

    Its really, really not that big of a deal, and I've already explained what I meant by the term, so why are we still discussing this?

    6:05 PM, April 04, 2007  
    Blogger Blue South said...

    because it allows for funny reminders of other pledges. like bush bringing "a new era of bipartisanship to washington".

    8:38 PM, April 04, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    SSP reports Coleman's numbers at $1.5 for the first quarter.

    12:34 PM, April 05, 2007  
    Blogger bloggy mcbloggerpants said...

    Alright, va blogger, I've been lurking here for a couple of weeks now but your comments have MADE me have to post.

    Congratulations on your whining tirade about the guru's supposed misinterpretation of the word "pledge" when you did THE EXACT SAME THING a few days ago with the word "failure". He implied one thing, you inferred another, and - once again - you whined. Allow me to pick out my favorite parts.

    The problem here is that S2G assummed what I meant, and then went on to argue that he knows what I really meant, even if I did not.

    Well that was hardly worth four paragraphs.


    The first thing we do is recognize that there are races that will not be competitive, not because of the strength of either party, but because of the state that the race is in and the incumbent in question. In addition to more GOP states being up this year, there is a higher percentage of "safe" Democratic seats than Republican. So let's eliminate those safe seats first:

    AK, GA, ID, KS, KY, MS, NE, OK, SC, TN, TX, and WY.

    DE, IL, MA, MI, NJ, RI, and WV.

    That leaves 10 GOP seats and only 5 Democratic seats. Again, this has nothing to do with the strength or weakness of either party, but is the inherent nature of the map.

    We'll take a look at the NRSC recruitment first:

    AR: With Huckabee, all we have is Chuck Banks. Since we're up against a non-controversial incumbent riding his father's fame, there's not much chance here.

    IA: The entry of King, Latham, Nussle, or Branstad would make this race competitive. None of the four have said "no", so this is a race where its far, far too premature to label it a failure.

    LA: Richard Baker remains the strongest possible challenger (except for future Governor Bobby Jindal), and he's still in contention. And Jay Dardenne's deficit would be easily made up once he has a chance to introduce himself to the voters statewide. Another case of being extremely premature to label it a failure, especially since any challenge to Landrieu would be a struggle for her.

    MT: Rehberg hasn't ruled out a bid yet, and niether has former Governor Marc Racicot. Another absurudly premature label of failure.

    SD: It takes a jackass to fault the NRSC and the Republican Party for not campaigning against Johnson. It also crass for Democrats to prepare for Johnson's re-election bid while expecting Republicans to do nothing about it.

    And the open seat, Colorado. Losing Scott McInnis is tough, but there are enough Republicans in the state who would make the race competitive against the liberal Mark Udall. To assume, based on nothing, that recruitment efforts will pan out is, again, moronically premature.

    So what's the NRSC's record? 0-1, with five races yet to be determined.

    Meanwhile, what are the Democrat's top races? Easy: CO, ME, MN, NH, and OR. How did the DSCC fair here?

    Since Mark Udall announced his intentions to run for the seat in 2005, its a bit disingenuous to credit the DSCC. But since you treat national politics as a "team sport" for which you're a cheerleader, we'll give you a point there.

    In Maine, you have Tom Allen (if he decides to run). Allen still has an uphill battle against the uber-popular Susan Collins.

    In New Hampshire, you have not only one, but two recruitment failures, the only two people who would put this race away from the start: Shaheen and Lynch. Now you have a small-town mayor and a failed Congressional candidate running. They'll make the race competitive because of New Hampshire's trend, but against the most vulnerable GOP incumbent, the DSCC fell short twice.

    In Minnesota, you have an unknown attorney with deep pockets, and an unelectable Al Franken. Another very vulnerable incumbent that has a better-than-fighting chance to keep his seat due to lackluster challengers.

    And in Oregon, you can release all the polls you want showing Gordon Smith down by a mere four points, but until you have a candidate, you can't call recruitment efforts here successful.

    Isn't it amazing how somebody can take the same facts that you're using, and not make it seem as if there is no possible outcome but an overwhelming Democratic victory?

    If you were being truthful with yourself, you would put down your pom-poms and stop being a cheerleader. Unfortunately, your aim with this blog isn't to educate. Its not to "follow the races". Its to be a sold-out hack for the Democratic Party.

    I shared several facts, and I explained clearly why its mind-bogglingly stupid to call the NRSC recruitment efforts "failures", as you did in bold, when, as you pointed out, there's more than enough time to recruit strong candidates.

    Would you like to respond to any of the points I brought up? Its easy to dismiss everything I say as "whining" just because I point out your leaps of logic and inconsistency.

    Because only an idiot would say the NRSC is "0-13", just like only an idiot would see a team give up two runs in the first inning of a baseball game, and conclude that they lost.

    The fact that the NRSC hasn't locked in solid challengers in those states is not in dispute. The conclusion that this represents a failure on their part is. Your conclusion is flawed. Moreover, you know your conclusion is flawed, but you continue it anyway in order to paint a rosy picture for your "team".

    Its also incredibly galling since, besides Mark Udall, your "team" hasn't recruited any top-tier challengers either, and Udall announced his intentions well before the DSCC began recruiting for this cycle. Yet you over-play how well the DSCC is doing, and under-play the possibilities for the NRSC, in order to further "support" your incredibly flawed conclusion.

    You bolded the word "failure" 13 times in your original post. "Failure" implies an ending. You can't "fail" at something "so far". If a baseball team is down in the 1st inning, you can't say "they so far have failed to win". I'm not taking umbrage with the fact that you've pointed out the lack of recruitment successes (and ignored the potential for success in the future), I'm taking umbrage with the fact that you've reached a conclusion when hardly enough time has passed for that to happen. If you want to prove that you're not underplaying the possibility for the NRSC to recruit candidates, then you would edit your original post and take out the word "failure".

    Why do you continue to persist on labelling my disagreements with you as "whining"? You have an opinion that differs from mine, and I'm telling you why. It seems to me that you are the one who reacts to any divergence from your opinion with whining. Sort of like how you whined that the Politico poo-pooed the Democrats' chances in New Hampshire, despite them being far, far more knowledgable about politics than you. I will continue to post my opinion, whether you like it or not, regardless of how whiny you think somebody who disagrees with you is. I know you'd prefer if you and your liberal friends could just sit back and congratulate yourselves without a challenge.

    And based on the facts, I think that Marchand or (especially) Swett will have a far more difficult time in New Hampshire than you think, given that Republicans still hold an edge in party registration in New Hampshire, the state is far more moderate in Presidential years than it was in 2006, and that Senator Sununu is a much better politician than you give him credit for. As an example, in order to win in 2002, he had to defeat two statewide office-holders. Clearly, the man has some game.

    Based on the facts, I think any Democrat who challenges Gordon Smith will not be assured of victory, and therefore the Democratic congressmen would rather not risk their safe House seat on a potentially career-ending run at the Senate. That's why Wu and DeFazio have already said no, and Blumenauer has remained entirely non-committal.

    Based on the facts, Mary Landrieu will have a hard time against any credible GOP challenger, including Jay Dardenne, and especially Richard Baker. Landrieu enjoys near 100% name ID, while Dardenne is not nearly as well known, and most of the people that do know his name have not formed an opinion about him. Meanwhile, a significant portion of Landrieu's base has left the state, Louisiana always trends Republican in a Presidential year (such as in 2004, when David Vitter won outright in the open primary), and Bobby Jindal seems unstoppable in his quest for the Governor's mansion, which will provide a boost to all state Republicans.

    And its undeniable that Tom Harkin will have the advantage over any challenger (except Branstad) who gets into the race, but if that opponent is King, Latham, or Nussle, it will be competitive, and force both the DSCC and the NRSC to invest there. Harkin has never enjoyed stellar approval ratings, nor has he ever solidly won re-election.

    Now, how is that whining, and how is that any different than any one of my other posts?

    No, Johnny, all I do is raise points to counter the biased information that S2G presents. I didn't give "cryptic" information about my job. I work at a political firm. We have clients. If I maintained a blog, it could be traced back to me, and could be interpreted as a reflection upon my company. Since our clients include some politicians, it would be a conflict of interest. For those reasons, I'm also being very non-specific about where I work. I don't care if you believe me or not.

    You hear sportscasters talk about missed opportunities after those moments have passed. As S2G's original post pointed out, those moments haven't passed yet. If they have, then things aren't looking too good for the Democrats, either.

    And Johnny, a team can fail, or not succeed, in scoring up to a certain point in the game. That doesn't mean that the team is a failure. And the analogy ends there, because there are many very strong candidates in these states who have not said "yes" or "no" yet.

    Now, that's everything YOU wrote (unless I missed something) about why a word that the guru used should mean what you wanted it to mean and not what he did. And if you weren't such a condescending jackass about it, and this as well, you would look a lot less like a flaming hypocrite.

    Buuuuuut you weren't, so you do.

    "mind-bogglingly stupid" indeed

    1:26 PM, April 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    The difference is that his post (and word usage) was partisanly charged. My post (and word usage) was not.

    I do enjoy a good pile-on, though.

    1:36 PM, April 05, 2007  
    Blogger bloggy mcbloggerpants said...

    Hahaha you still don't get it.

    It doesn't matter if what either of you said was partisan. You're both partisan and you're both going to read something into the other's words. Everything either of you has posted has been partisan.

    The point I'm trying to make is that you've got a stick up your ass about him doing the exact same thing as you. You are a hypocrite. The fact that you are a partisan hypocrite is immaterial. Shall we move on?

    1:57 PM, April 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    I think we should have moved on ages ago. The fact is the post in question--what Mike Ciresi's response would be to Franken's fundraising totals--was absolutely not partisan.

    I have "a stick up my ass", because people are trying to tell me what I meant to say. Its different than what I riled him about. Yes, they're both lengthy discussions based off the use of one word. But its two vastly different situations.

    But yes, we should move on. My (apparent) misuse of the word pledge wasn't even the point of my post (as opposed to his use of the word "failure", obviously an attempt to smear the NRSC, which was his point).

    2:17 PM, April 05, 2007  
    Blogger bloggy mcbloggerpants said...

    You've both done the same thing. The guru used "failure" to mean that the RNSC has failed as of yet to recruit any challengers, giving all the necessary caveats about how early it was. You saw this as a disparaging partisan attack and an accusation that the RNSC was a failure as a whole. Were either of you right? Is having no real challengers a big deal almost two years out, can the situation be fairly compared to the last election cycle? Or the one before that? It doesn't matter because that's not where your conversation led. You held that your interpretation of the word was the only acceptable one, and therefore the guru was unequivocably wrong, despite his many attempts to explain exactly what he meant by using the word.

    In this situation you used a word which stated that a Democratic Senatorial Candidate had comitted to not using his own funds. The guru evidently feels that you used too strong a word that does not accurately state his convictions, which would make a decision to infuse his own funds seem like a broken promise rather than a change of strategy. Despite your explanations, he refuses to interpret the word in any other way, and chooses to see your statement as a partisan attack.

    You've both done the same thing. You've both put meanings that aren't there behind the words that are. So why is it a bigger deal for you?

    Because you are a huge dick.

    That's why I'm writing this. You insult and condescend, and when you did it to someone for doing the same thing that you have done it pissed me off enough to write all this. That's what makes you worse.

    The fact that you can still see yourself as entirely right and him as entirely wrong is just astounding. You're both wrong. But while he's just wrong, you're asshole-wrong.

    I'll take wrong over asshole-wrong any day.

    2:26 PM, April 05, 2007  
    Blogger bloggy mcbloggerpants said...

    Sorry, NRSC.


    2:27 PM, April 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    You must be forgetting the rather large part, that you yourself even quoted in the course of this thread, where I challenge his analysis on its merits and points, and go through and offer insight into the races that he brought up. You can go back through and read it yourself. And the same thing happened in that thread that happened in this one: he ignored my valid points in favor of striking up a debate about semantics.

    And to further clarify, there is no possible way to interpret his characterization of the NRSC as anything other than a political attack. Whereas in my case, one has to make a specific effort to read it as a political attack. And I disagree that its a bigger deal for me; obviously, its as big a deal to him as well, or he would not have ignored the points I made only to further the semantic debate.

    Moreover, nowhere in this entire conversation have I been either insulting or condescending, and that's far more than I can say about either one of you.

    Its easy for you to call me an asshole. After all, I'm the common enemy around here; its not like anybody is going to rise to my defense. But there's no reason to call anybody names over this. My words were misinterpreted, and I tried to clarify and not turn it into a big deal. And every attempt of mine was met with ever-increasing hostility, first from S2G and then from you. Why that makes me the asshole, I don't know.

    4:22 PM, April 05, 2007  
    Blogger bloggy mcbloggerpants said...

    Yes, we get it. We're vicious awful people, you are a gentlemen and a scholar. He argues semantics, you make valid points. You strive to correct baseless left-wing partisan attacks, he puts words in your mouth. This is how you see the world.

    It is not, however, how everyone else sees it. Keep that in mind, Sparky.


    5:14 PM, April 05, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    That's not what I said at all.

    5:42 PM, April 05, 2007  

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