2014 midterm

A Note About Iowa

Joni Ernst

One might wonder, given the polling out of the Hawkeye State, what the hell is wrong with Iowa. The idea that cowardice, ignorance, and tinfoil paranoia are Iowa values might strike many as strange, but that’s the thing: It is a question for Iowans.

No, really. It is perfectly within the rights of Iowa voters to send to the United States Senate a candidate who is incapable of distinguishing fact from opinion.

Ben Terris opens his glimpse into the Ernst campaign with a brief description of something rather quite expected:

Depending on the time of year, Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst (R) either thinks President Obama is an president that who refuses to lead, or is an overzealous “dictator” who is constantly “overstepping his bounds.”

We’re at the part of the Goldilocks story where the president is too small.

“We have an apathetic president,” she told a crowd in Newton, Iowa, as part of her 24-hour get out the vote tour around the country. It’s a different message from the time in January when she suggested that the president should be impeached for enacting parts of his agenda without Congress’s approval.

After the event, Ernst elaborated without elucidating exactly what she meant.

“He is just standing back and letting things happen, he is reactive rather than proactive,” she said. “With Ebola, he’s been very hands off.”

Contradiction is one of Ernst’s talents, which in turn makes her sound as if she has no clue what she is talking about. In Iowa, this sort of cluelessness is apparently a virtue.

What follows, though, might seem a bit excessive, even for Iowa: (more…)

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Another Detail

USCapReflection

A certain point works its way to the fore; but does it really matter?

The conservative narrative of a nationwide Republican wave is incubating in these states, where Democrats are underperforming Obama. It must therefore be true that allegiance to Obama is a decisive factor everywhere.

But that narrative cannot account for the GOP’s remarkable underperformance in Georgia, Kansas, and Kentucky. Mitt Romney won those states by eight points, 22 points, and 23 points respectively. Right now, also respectively, Republican David Perdue is leading Democrat Michelle Nunn by two to six points; GOP incumbent Pat Roberts is running behind Independent Greg Orman by about a point; and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is leading Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes by three to five points. Grimes is outperforming McConnell’s 2008 challenger Bruce Lunsford, who lost by six points in a Democratic wave year. Kraushaar attributes this better-than-the-fundamentals resilience to “her attempts to appease both the party base and more-conservative voters in her state,” which have been “painfully awkward.”

If I had to, I’d put money on Democrats losing all three. But you have to be really invested in a certain conception of politics to explain races that close in states that red as evidence of a national anti-Obama wave. Or to attribute their losses to insufficient Obama bashing.

(Beutler)

That is to say it would seem this should be obvious to any reasonably attentive political observer, but the preponderance of evidence suggests otherwise. It is, however, somewhat gratifying to know that we aren’t the only ones who noticed.

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Beutler, Brian. “It Won’t Be Obama’s Fault When the Democrats Lose the Senate”. The New Republic. 30 October 2014.

The Man From Massacusetts … or … New Hampshire? Maybe Narnia?

Scptt Brown can't remember what state he's in.

One might wonder if Americans prefer to live in some sort of fantasy world in which Good and Evil are constantly dueling it out to no foreseeable end. A hard-fought, close competition is what we seem to prefer, and when it’s, say, sports, that’s probably just fine.

But here’s the analogy: What if the game is only close because one team gets more points each time they score?

Welcome to New Hampshire, where Scott Brown (R) trails incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) by about one and a half points, well within the margin of error. Nobody is quite sure why.

Maybe Shaheen doesn’t shower, or has halitosis, or something. It would be one thing to wonder about the idea that Mr. Brown has no jobs agenda, but he has also boasted that he shouldn’t.

It’s also really quite easy to pick on a former U.S. Senator who complains about his opponent’s outlook on “securing” the U.S.-Mexican border but quite literally never felt like showing up to his committee meetings on the subject. As a senator from Massachusetts, Mr. Brown attended exactly zero border security hearings for the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Or maybe we might chuckle when he cannot remember legislation he sponsored.α

But let us pause for a moment to reconsider his tenure as a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. The idea of carpetbagging in the twenty-first century is hardly rare, but one would expect that Mr. Brown could at least remember what state he is in. And forgetting that he’s not in Massachusetts, anymore, Toto, wouldn’t be so big a deal, except that he keeps doing it.

Really.

James Pindell of WMUR explains the latest slip:

New Hampshire Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown tried to politically navigate how he could run for office in the Granite State thirteen weeks after officially moving here from Massachusetts.

An FEC filing by U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown of New Hampshire, once again forgetting which state he is in.For the most part Brown has not let the move dominate the campaign, which has been about other issues. But then there are moments when mistakes are made.

The report was filed with the Senate last week, as required, but the Federal Election Commission has not put it online yet.

What a show.

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α Then again, he has every reason to want to forget. It’s a bit hard to pitch to a major voting bloc like, oh, say, women, when you have a record of sponsoring legislation trying to strip their rights of self-determination.

Oakes, Bob and Shannon Dooling. “Analysts Say Scott Brown Must Galvanize GOP Base In N.H. Senate Race”. WBUR. 15 August 2014.

Pindell, James. “Analysts Say Scott Brown Must Galvanize GOP Base In N.H. Senate Race”. WMUR. 23 October 2014.