Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

June 19, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

WINNING THE HOUSE....Matthew Continetti sez:

Five months out, it is difficult to locate a single pundit who disagrees with the conventional wisdom that Republicans will lose control of their gerrymandered House, and possibly even the Senate, which they hold by a margin of 10 seats.

Where do people get this stuff? I'm hard pressed to think of even a single pundit who has confidently predicted that Democrats will win the House this November as opposed to merely warning that it might happen. Am I missing something?

UPDATE: Ezra Klein noticed the same thing. Basically, he thinks Continetti is just working the refs.

Kevin Drum 12:16 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Continetti is trying to manufacture reality.The media spins on behalf of the left, endlessly repeats Democrat talking points, and confidently predict a Democrat victory. Doing this slides the polls in their favor (everybody wants to be on the winning team!). Despite that, the immense unpopularity of democratic positions makes them lose at the ballot box.... whereupon the liberal media darkly hints at election fraud with no evidence whatsoever. It's a circle that's destined to repeat until the democrat party ceases to exist, which should be at about 2012.

Posted by: American Hawk on June 19, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

No doubt Matthew Continetti is just part of the liberal controlled media trying to sow dissent in the Republican ranks by spreading anti-Republican propaganda.

Posted by: Al on June 19, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

By the way I agree with American Hawk. Great minds think alike.

Posted by: Al on June 19, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

continetti is a conservative, weekly standard writer.

Posted by: Atrios on June 19, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's just a manifestation of the same symptom that afflicts economic forecasters: it's to your advantage to be outside of the pack more often than you think the facts deserve, because that way if things DO turn out unexpectedly, you're hailed as a genius and you can live off it for years.

It's a specific instance of the more general celebrity syndrome: people we look to as "pundits" actually are more interested in publicity than in having correct -- or even defensible -- points of view. Maybe we should call this "Coulter Syndrome" or something...

Posted by: bleh on June 19, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

I have to assume these are the joke versions of Al and American Hawk, as Continetti is a former Gingrich staffer and long-time republican.

Posted by: Rich C on June 19, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Rich C is apparently suggesting that some versions of American Hawk and Al are meant to be taken seriously. The mind boggles.

Posted by: Warren Terra on June 19, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

You're right. Although there are certainly a number of blithering idiots out in the wide world engaging in punditry, even the most fevered Democratic partisan ought to be sober enough to see through this.

Bush's low poll numbers and a number of ongoing Republican scandals certainly got a lot of hopes up, but the reality is that the election is still months away. A lot can and will happen between now and then, and my confident prediction is that Republican fortunes won't be as low then as they are now.

The House is out of Democratic reach no matter which way you slice it; in the Senate, Democrats will be lucky not to _lose_ seats, since once again more Democratic incumbents are up for re-election than Republicans.

Count on at least 2 more years of Republican control, unless gas somehow spikes up to $4/gallon between now and then.

Posted by: M. on June 19, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Continetti is trying to manufacture reality.The media spins on behalf of the left, endlessly repeats Democrat talking points, and confidently predict a Democrat victory. Doing this slides the polls in their favor (everybody wants to be on the winning team!). Despite that, the immense unpopularity of democratic positions makes them lose at the ballot box.... whereupon the liberal media darkly hints at election fraud with no evidence whatsoever. It's a circle that's destined to repeat until the democrat party ceases to exist, which should be at about 2012.

This is actually a brilliant post...just substitute "republican" for "democrat," "right" for "left," and "treason" for "election fraud."

Posted by: RP on June 19, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

It is pure unalderated fear mongering - with the target the weakening republican base. So what's to fear? More than terrorism, republicans fear democrats in the driver's seat.

The new republican rallying cry?

GET THOSE VOTES OUT!!!

Fear works in so many forums, don't you think?

Jake

Posted by: Jake - but not the one on June 19, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

It's obfuscation. It's going to be damn hard to get around the gerrymandering, let alone any intimations of computer chicanery.

This allows Rush Limbaugh to say, after the election, "See? Everyone thought they were going to win, and they couldn't pull it out. This proves once again that the country doesn't support their tired old lib ideas."

Every time I hear Limbaugh or Sean Hannity say the word "liberal" I mentally pencil in the word "Jewish" instead. It's not *exactly* but they mean, but it sure exposes the rhetorical devices for what they are......

Posted by: zmulls on June 19, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

It's the setup - that way, when it doesn't happen, they can say "look, more evidence of the end of the Democratic Party!"

Which, of course, becomes the new conventional wisdom.

I often wonder: when we do have the one-party rule they crave, then who will they blame their incompetence on? Or are they destined to become, as PJ O'Rourke memorably put it, "The party of me and you - and I'm not so sure about you."

Posted by: craigie on June 19, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Tradesports has Republican chances of retaining the house over 50% again. (It had briefly fallen below that point.) Do the pundits think the Dems will win? Yes, probably because they are hoping for a story. I think the bookie markets are a better predictor however.

Posted by: wagster on June 19, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Every time I hear Limbaugh or Sean Hannity say the word "liberal" I mentally pencil in the word "Jewish" instead. It's not *exactly* but they mean, but it sure exposes the rhetorical devices for what they are......

Of course, there's no such thing as an ethnic liberal... except for third generation welfare queens.

Posted by: American Hawk on June 19, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Craigie has it exactly right. Continetti's piece is nothing but overhyping the Dems' chances in order to laugh at their electoral incompetence should they fail to retake control of either chamber.

Posted by: Eric on June 19, 2006 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

It's about setting expectations so that when the Repubs just barely hold on to the House, this will be seen as a great victory for the Rove Administration.

Posted by: Foobar on June 19, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Foobar-- How could continuing to control the people's house NOT a victory?

Posted by: American Hawk on June 19, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Where do people get this stuff? I'm hard pressed to think of even a single pundit who has confidently predicted that Democrats will win the House this November as opposed to merely warning that it might happen. Am I missing something?
Kevin Drum

Yes, you are missing something. Most Americans are neither Republican or Democrat and swing back and forth as conditions change. This is why we sometiems have Democratic presidents and sometime we have Republican presidents. This is why we sometimes have Republican majorities in congress and sometimes we have Democratic majorities in congress. The Republicans have fucked the dog pretty badly this time, so they won't likely be in charge come next January. At the very least, they will not have unchallengable control of all three branches the government.

I'll clue you into another fallacy: most Americans aren't very religious. You don't believe that? Then you need either to talk to the folks at Neilson and see how many people seem to be tuned to sports on Sunday during typical church hours or, if you live in a big city, say like LA, check out the parking lots of ballparks on the sabbath.

Posted by: JeffII on June 19, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

This blather is all about setting expectations. Has everyone here forgotten how the Bush's brain manipulated expectations aroudn the Bush|Gore debate to come out a winner (despite getting trounced?) If this meme, that the R's are poised to lose, and then they don't, well then they WIN

Posted by: kerri miller on June 19, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK


RICH C: I have to assume these are the joke versions of Al and American Hawk

All versions of Al and AH are joke versions. Not to say they are funny, but they are jokes.


Posted by: jayarbee on June 19, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

In addition to Kerri Miller's take that it is a GOP effort to lower expectations and thereby claim victory, I think they hope it will make less involved Dems complacent. I'll bet it works too.

On the other hand, if the press wasn't so incredibly GOP biased, I think a shift of those proportions would be more than possible. But the editorial flow of my local big city newspaper and radio news seems clearly designed to put a dose of valium on the clearly rising tension in the citizenry. By presenting a world view more appropriate for a time with %60 of the people happy with their lot and prospects for the future, it encourages less involved media consumers to feel isolated in their disatisfaction and makes them less confidant that they will be joined and supported by others if they do something or dare to think rebellious thoughts.

Posted by: ChetBob on June 19, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to agree with JeffII, but I think Kerri's take is more accurate. This is about lowering expectations. If the Republicans hold on to either the Senate or the House they can call it a great win. It is also intended to lull Democrats into a false sense of complacency.

Right now Democrats have to work as hard as they can to put out their message. That message has to be focused on the Democratic base and on the independents who have "had enough." Especially they need to do everything they can to "nationalize" the election.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 19, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

tradesports.com

This isn't an ad for the website but you can get more accurate information from there than virtually anywhere else.

Basically, the house is about 50/50. The house going to the democrats has become a little more likely over the last few months.

I haven't checked in a while but I think the senate has about a 20% chance of going to the democrats.

SO, any pundit who is confident of a 50/50 bet is a worthless pundit and no one should listen to them.

Posted by: Neil Hecht on June 19, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

It would have been so easy for Continetti to say, "it's difficult to locate a single pundit who disagrees with the cw that Republicans are in danger of losing one or both houses of Congress." Nobody would of disputed it even though everyone knows he didn't bother to try to locate such a pundit. Lies served his point better.

Posted by: LowLife on June 19, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

The Rightries are cutting back om money,AL and AH are the best the right can afford to watch over blogs, years past they had some good bloggers,But man what a sick bunch they are sending out now.OT. Most wefare Queens vote Repub,who would have guessed.

Posted by: Now on June 19, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII wrote: "The Republicans have fucked the dog pretty badly this time, so they won't likely be in charge come next January."

It's not that simple. Gerrymandering has reached the point where 90% or more of the House seats are considered safe, regardless of national events. Moreover, while people really don't like Bush or the Republican Congress in the abstract, they're less critical of their own representative and Senators. I'd love to believe that we'll see another 1994 but I'm highly skeptical. The best estimate now is that the Democrats will gain seats in both the House and Senate but will not retake either one.

Of course, it goes without saying that things can change depending, in particular, on the economy, gas prices, and the state of the war in Iraq.

Posted by: PaulB on June 19, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Continetti lied outright a couple of months ago on NPR as well. He was bemoaning the drifting Republican majority in Washington, which has supposedly betrayed conservative principles (a paradox, obviously) by signing government over to campaign contributors and friendly corporations. He said that while lobbying money used to go overwhelming to Democrats, now it's evenly split.

In reality, though, lobbying cash used to favor Republicans slightly; now it favors them overwhelmingly. Talk about moving the goalposts, spinning the evidence, or what have you.

Posted by: Marshall on June 19, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

He may be trying to drum up the hopes of the liberal faithful so they crash after the election. It's a bizarre effort. Nancy and her housemates hardly need any help in getting hopes built up.

It will be very difficult to get the House back and near impossible for the Senate. The GOP will keep the Cunningham and Delay seats and pick up two in Georgia. The GOP will probably lose the Santorum seat but pick up Kean.

Posted by: rdw on June 19, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

It's the setup - that way, when it doesn't happen, they can say "look, more evidence of the end of the Democratic Party!"
The current term is the "Democrat" Party. Even Bush has been regularly using that label. The Dems should either invent a new label for the Republicat party, or at least quit letting the other side define them.

Posted by: Qwerty on June 19, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats have a chance to take the House, in my opinion, but taking the Senate seems to be a stretch at the moment.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on June 19, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems should either invent a new label for the Republicat party,

over at The Carpetbagger Report, we use the following label (we're still working on wider adoption):

The Republican't party

Posted by: Edo on June 19, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats have a chance to take the House, in my opinion, but taking the Senate seems to be a stretch at the moment.

I think the above outcome for either house of Congress falls under the "possible but not probable" rubric. Sadly. Only if we see a lot of GOP members retire this summer will Dems really have a credible shot of taking the House.

Posted by: Edo on June 19, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

In 2004, the last-minute (before the false exit-poll rumors began) odds in Las Vegas tilted in favor of the electoral-college winner in every single state. Today they tilt in favor of the Republicans retaining control of both Houses. So if Continetti is sure of himself, he can mortgage the house and make a mint.

But it is true that lots of brainless reporters making TV appearances talk as if the Democrats were virtually a shoo-in. In fact, the odds are against them, and Continetti either does or should know that they are.

Posted by: Bemused on June 19, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

So you're saying the Dems are gonna lose in November?

Weird.

Posted by: Birkel on June 19, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Warren Terra >"...suggesting that some versions of American Hawk and Al are meant to be taken seriously..."

I was thinking along the same lines. Obviously Rich has deluded himself.

And as someone mentioned above, this is the best that the ReThuglicans can afford these days with their gravy train being derailed by investigations

Republican`ts - headed downhill & picking up speed

"Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day," - Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: daCascadian on June 19, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Birkel,

So you're saying the Dems are gonna lose in November?

Welcome to the reality-based community. we are not saying they *will* lose, we are saying that it is *probable* that although they will make net gains in both houses of Congress, they will not win *enough* seats to retake either or both houses.

Posted by: Edo on June 19, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Continetti is just poking a stick at the snake of his own party, to get them mad.

A call to rally the troops to take the Hill again?


Posted by: Skinny Ole Bag on June 19, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Expectations game huh...it is really silly when you think about it...

Posted by: justmy2 on June 19, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

continetti is a conservative, weekly standard writer.

There you go again atrios with those silly facts...bah humbug...

And it is the Democratic Party...unless of course there is a new party called the Republic party... based on some new rule to drop the last 2 letters of the party names in the US.

dolts...

Posted by: justmy2 on June 19, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

And it is the Democratic Party...unless of course there is a new party called the Republic party... based on some new rule to drop the last 2 letters of the party names in the US.

The Decider in Chief, in his June 14 press conference:

There's an interesting debate in the Democrat Party about how quick to pull out of Iraq.
And so I look forward to taking the debate -- that's not quite right -- kind of getting warmed up as a result of your question -- the timing is not right for me to get out there yet. But I think the Democrat economic policy of raising people's taxes isn't going to work either. I know they'll couch it in all kinds of language, but really what they're saying is we're going to raise your taxes.
Posted by: GWB on June 19, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

GWB,

He does have a way with words doesn't he? One wonders if he does it on purpose knowing it's worse than fingernails on a blackboard for liberals and it makes their world just a little bit more like hell. You can't say the man lacks a sense of humor.

Posted by: rdw on June 20, 2006 at 7:29 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly