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Tilting at Windmills

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May 14, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

REPUBLICAN LOSING STREAK CONTINUES....Mississippi's 1st congressional district may be a longtime Republican stronghold, but as usual this year, that didn't matter:

Travis Childers, a conservative Democrat who serves as Prentiss County chancery clerk, defeated Southaven Mayor Greg Davis by 54 percent to 46 percent in the race to represent Mississippi's 1st Congressional District, which both parties considered a potential bellwether for the fall elections.

....House Democrats now hold a 236 to 199 majority, up from 203 seats they controlled two years ago.

....Democrats begin the march into the fall elections with an enormous cash advantage: $44 million for the DCCC to $7 million for its GOP counterpart as of March 31. And 25 other Republican incumbents have decided against running for reelection, providing Democrats with more opportunities to make gains.

That's an 8-point victory in a solidly Republican district. The GOP even brought in Dick Cheney to campaign and tried to tar Childers as an Obama lover. But nothing worked. Even in Mississippi, they just don't want anything to do with Republicans anymore. It's going to be a ver-r-r-r-y long summer and fall for the GOP leadership.

Kevin Drum 1:12 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (63)

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Comments

Yes, but Obama will never be president because he lost the WV primary. Or something like that.

Posted by: Jeff on May 14, 2008 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

It is remarkable, though I suspect that a great deal of it is nothing more sophisticated than gas prices. If Obama can't address the ongoing energy/economic meltdown he'll be a one-termer.

OTOH he'll also have the opportunity to be another FDR if he can rise to the challenge of the times. (Hopefully he won't end up presiding over another World War.)

Posted by: jimBOB on May 14, 2008 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

They think sending Darth Cheney around is going to HELP them?! Please please pleeeeeeze let the REPs send him to all the contested districts this fall!

Who are the knuckle-headed REP campaign strategist who came up with such a great idea?

Can we say "out of touch?"

Posted by: q on May 14, 2008 at 1:43 AM | PERMALINK

Nooo, Kevin you don't understand, the Democratic party is really tearing itself apart, can't you see it?

Posted by: J Bean on May 14, 2008 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

Notable is that Childers felt he had to frantically distance himself from Obama, saying he didn't know the guy from Adam, wouldn't accept his endorsement, etc.

You Obama people need to wake up.

Posted by: gyrfalcon on May 14, 2008 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

What, didn't the Republicans try to tar Childers as a something-else lover? Wouldn't that be Cheney's usual style?

Posted by: Anon on May 14, 2008 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

gyrfalcon, the guy who needs to wake up is you. The typical right wing smear BS was tried in one of the most conservative districts in America, and IT FELL FLAT ON ITS G-D DAMNED FACE. If you're a Republican, I've got bad news for you: You guys are going to get your clock cleaned on 4 November.

Posted by: Joe on May 14, 2008 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

This is a disaster for Hillary. Obviously, she knows it's over and has been planning for retirement as Governor of the state.

Posted by: jim p on May 14, 2008 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

IMPEACHMENT hearings would sure give the Dems the upper hand this fall. Call Nan @1-202-225-0100 and DEMAND IMPEACHMENT.

Posted by: Mike Meyer on May 14, 2008 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

After shredding our economy, military, Constitution, environment and global reputation, the Republicans will give the Democrats one term to try and turn it all around (while undermining them every step of the way). Sweet.

Posted by: Everyman on May 14, 2008 at 2:26 AM | PERMALINK

Clearly Obama not only has no coattails, but is positively radioactive.

Only, not.

Yes, this is sweet.

Posted by: bad Jim on May 14, 2008 at 4:50 AM | PERMALINK

It is not possible that the Republicans have lost all the evil skills which have kept them in power and have soured the American people on democracy. They may be readjusting but please, let's not become complacent.

Posted by: gkoutnik on May 14, 2008 at 5:56 AM | PERMALINK

the Republicans will give the Democrats one term to try and turn it all around (while undermining them every step of the way).

I suspect the Republicans won't be that much of a factor, at least for the first two years of the Obama administration. They may not even keep 40 Senate seats, which would make them completely irrelevant, other than as punching bags for the various investigations that will no longer be stonewalled from the White House.

Posted by: jimBOB on May 14, 2008 at 6:18 AM | PERMALINK

The false narratives that the mainstream media continue to spin against Democrats keep getting shredded by reality. They try to say that Obama can't win with white, less educated voters, when polling shows that his support among that group is growing, not shrinking.

As I posted yesterday, insiders are predicting McCain may be annihilated at the polls in November, losing by as much as 10 percentage points! Particularly if McCain starts making his trademark gaffes and displays his legendary temper in public...

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on May 14, 2008 at 6:22 AM | PERMALINK

Generic Xanax Alprazolam drug without prescription is used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Alprazolam is in a class of medications called benzodiazepines. It works by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain.

Generic Valium Diazepam drug is used to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures and to control agitation caused by alcohol withdrawal.

Posted by: valium on May 14, 2008 at 6:47 AM | PERMALINK

People are not taking the trends to its natural conclusion. The Republican Party is in full collapse and will soon be irrelevant to politics. so the question is what will the U.S. be like with only one dominate political party. Will it be as if there is no political party since the Democratic Primary will be the real election? Or will there be so few competitive races that the election cycle itself is irrelevant? Also, who will be the loser ans winners in the coming era of single party politics?

Posted by: superdestroyer on May 14, 2008 at 7:27 AM | PERMALINK

Too many outsiders breaking in. Too many voters are now hip to the co-opting of the party with faux Democrats like Lieberman. The outcome in Mississippi unfortunately increases the incentive to take steps to ensure there is no election in November. Too many folks are looking at long prison sentences if the wrong people come into power. Osama to the rescue!

Posted by: JeremiadJones on May 14, 2008 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

superdestroyer: the question is what will the U.S. be like with only one dominate political party.

Our most recent experience along those lines is the collapse of the Soviet empire. If the Reps do the same, they will go through a period of self-flagellation and lose some of their constituent groups. It's hard to tell which wing will keep the brand name and which will spin off, the business wing, the taliban wing, the libertarian wing, or the blind-lust-for-power-with-no-ideology-but-what-is-expedient wing. Whichever it is, some strongman (not woman, not among republicans) will take over and pretend to rule small-D democratically but really be plotting not exactly a coup but still a grab for absolute power and try to rule the country the way it has been run under them before.

Posted by: anandine on May 14, 2008 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

I betcha this Dem victory is going to wash away Clinton's new "civil" tone & send her back into rabid-mode.

This Dem victory is a reaffirmation that whoever wins the Democratic nomination wins the White House this cycle.

Posted by: GMF on May 14, 2008 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

To all the Hillary haters and media spin meisters trying to claim Hillary is creating a rift in the Democratic Party:

Her continued presence in the race to the finish is having an incredibly positive impact on voter registration and turnout, much like a 7-game world series boosts the number of viewers. Both she and Obama realize this and if they can remain civil to one another the Democratic party will benefit greatly.

Even though turnout in Mississippi 1 was mixed you can argue this is another indication of the positive impact a close Democratic primary is having on the numbers of voters who do turn out. People want change, even in conservative districts.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on May 14, 2008 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

I work graveyard shift and watch the early network news on CBS, ABC and NBC. Not one reported on this important election. They did somehow find time to report about a robot conducting a symphony orchestra somewhere. No wonder Americans are so ill-informed.

Posted by: Pterosonus on May 14, 2008 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Too bad that "conservative Democrat" is still realpolitik-speak for right-wing stooge.

Posted by: Joshua Norton on May 14, 2008 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

I suspect it's gas prices too more than anything else. Which means the GOP is going to collapse in November at the polls, possibly approaching losses that haven't been seen since 1932. I do hope the Republicans enjoy their coming exile in the wilderness, as they richly deserve it as a party.

Posted by: David W. on May 14, 2008 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, keep bringing Cheney in to remind everyone of all that is currently wrong in and around this Country and who is responsible for it. So????? Looks like even the mouth-breathers on the right do not like being taken for granted for so long, especially as things are starting to hit them directly right in their slack jaws.

Oh, and in light of these last three special elections, please tell me why the Dems in Congress would even think about any kind of compromise on any thing withe the White House, from nominations to telecom immunity? The public is speaking loudly and in unison--they are rejecting all of these terrible GOP policies as well as those who would support them.

Posted by: bubba on May 14, 2008 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Too bad we haven't reached the day when odd contingencies of congressional Dems ('progessives'; 'blue-dog Dems') don't buck discipline to vote with the Republicans on different issues.

Until then, I'm hoping for bigger, quicker gains than just one seat in the House.

Posted by: Swan on May 14, 2008 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Too bad we haven't reached the day when odd contingencies of congressional Dems ('progessives'; 'blue-dog Dems') don't buck discipline to vote with the Republicans on different issues.

Oh, yeah, and when an odd Dem congresscritter every once in a while feels the need to go before the press and say something that outright embarasses us (and probably doing it just thankfully that they're not suffering the same fate as Eliot Spitzer- having some affair exposed- in my opinion).

Posted by: Swan on May 14, 2008 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

Yup, until then, I'm not going to say, "Woopie! The Republicans have Fox News, the courts, and the WHite House, but we picked up a seat!"

Posted by: Swan on May 14, 2008 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

I don't mean to be a killjoy or anything. If anything, I want us to work more hard, and be ready to do more than we've ever done before, without over-doing it and getting on people's nerves, or getting ourselves worn out.

I want us to take this period of discontent and translate it into all the gains it's worth, because remember- the media is acting as a screen filtering our message from the public. This chance of momentum may be the only chance we have in a battle where the odds are stacked against us.

I just want us to be happy about gains that mean something in the context of the scale of the problem we are facing.

Posted by: Swan on May 14, 2008 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Wahooooo! I still can't believe I saw Obama! He signed my baby!

I'm curious how many Republicans are just renaming themselves as conservative democrats. I think it's currently typical for ambitious young proto-politicians to take in the lay of the land and register accordingly. In the long run it would be nice to have a party of non-assholes.

Posted by: Oregon Dem on May 14, 2008 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

What is the difference between a conservative Democrat and a Republican?

It's about labels, not substance.

All of you who think Clinton is actually a Republican should not be celebrating this "victory". Any progressive legislation will have to clear the Republican wing of the Democratic party.

Posted by: searcy on May 14, 2008 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Remember, if all of you have noticed that the entire mainstream media is basically effectively taken over by or beholden to Republican interests, with only a shred of credibility-reinforcing material thrown up here and there in an attempt to not look like outright liars, then agencies like the CIA and the FBI have probably noticed it too.

Only they don't care. Because if they did care, they would be doing something something about it. They would have held a press conference, or issued public statements, and said to the country, "This is what's happening to you! Wake up!"

That's where impprtant parts of the federal government have gone. And that's the problem you're facing.

Posted by: Swan on May 14, 2008 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

For those who argue that a conservative Democrat is just a Republican by another name (therefore, still dangerous), which of the following would you prefer to deal with?

a)The "Republican" wing of an ascendant Democratic majority.

b)An unprincipled Republican majority who control everything and who regard the Democratic minority as a threat to the nation.

Posted by: PTate in MN on May 14, 2008 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

Clearly, the American people are crying out for Democrats to reach across the aisle to Republicans, and give them a lifeboat in the name of commity.

Posted by: David Broder on May 14, 2008 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

POPCORN!! Get your popcorn here!!!

:-)

On a more serious note, these three victories (and the many more to come in the fall) prove that the American people want something they haven't had since the '94 Congressional takeover and Bush's Supreme Court win: competent governance.

Almost every day some new story of some clueless cronie or crook comes out that proves the GOP is nothing more than a bunch of hypocritical, self-righteous, hubristic jackasses that care more about helping huge companies and rich folks than the average person.

They ignore a crashing economy, support a failed war, have no desire to help people get health care, continue to defend things like torture, act like our nation's infrastructure is just dandy, and bring the wheels of government to a halt and sneer at the will of the people just so they can placate their egos.

If the GOP wants to survive, it's simple: drop the character assassinations and idiotic fear mongering and come up with policies that actually work.

Do that, or go the way of the dinosaur. Your call.

Posted by: Mark D on May 14, 2008 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure I want all of our congressional candidates distancing themselves from our Pres nominee, even if it means winning.

ps- coattails , my ass. You people are a joke.

Posted by: david on May 14, 2008 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

What is the difference between a conservative Democrat and a Republican?

The conservative Democrat votes for Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker, that's what.

Posted by: Tyro on May 14, 2008 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Clearly Obama not only has no coattails, but is positively radioactive.

Only, not.

Yes, this is sweet.

Truly delusional.

Bumper sticker message:

Obama '08: Because Democrats Can Survive Him

Posted by: frankly0 on May 14, 2008 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

"The Republican Party is in full collapse and will soon be irrelevant to politics. so the question is what will the U.S. be like with only one dominate political party."

Oh, geez! Dream on. The GOP is going to get whipped bad this year, and deservedly so. But remember in 74 the Democrats picked up 49 seats in the House, added another in 76, then lost 15 in 78 and 35 in 1980 giving back all the gains they'd made in 74 and 76 in the wake of the Nixon resignation. Dreaming of a permanent majority is Rovesque in its delusion, particularly if the Democrats take their majority and act irresponsibly. Nothing is permanent.

Posted by: SteveH on May 14, 2008 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

The Republican Congress has spent the last ten years acting like Democrats and is surprised when people vote for the real thing. Lord Acton had it right. Apparently, Bush's failure to veto a lot of those spending bills that had conservatives so upset with him (Half of the people who say Bush is doing a poor job are Republicans) was the advice of Hastert whose House seat was lost to the Democrats a couple of months ago. Fortunately, power also corrupts Democrats so things will return to even keel once the voters get a chance to see them in action.

The danger to the republic of an Obama presidency is another matter altogether so lots of Republicans will swallow their problems with McCain and do the right thing this fall.

Posted by: Mike K on May 14, 2008 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Regardless of the circumstances, this is a very good victory for the Democrats and a very bad omen for the Republicans. An eight-point victory is nothing to sneeze at, particularly in a solidly Republican district. Even if we don't pick up a few random districts that are completely red, and even if politics is local, the generally piss poor atmosphere for Republicans means that the districts we won in 2006 are probably a lot more safe than some think.

One question, however: did Childers really deny knowing Barack Obama, or was he referencing someone else?

Posted by: Brian on May 14, 2008 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

lots of Republicans will swallow their problems with McCain

Too bad getting the votes of Republicans isn't enough to win the presidency.

These gains for the Democrats aren't a realignment, they're an opportunity. The question is whether the Democrats will take advantage of these opportunities while they have them. As SteveH points out, the Dems failed to capitalize on the gains they made in 74 and 76, and we'll see if they avoid the same mistake in '08. One thing's for sure, though: the Republicans are going to have to go through a thorough rebranding.

Also, Mike K: no one votes over pork spending they dislike. Seriously. No one cares, and no one changes their votes based on it. If anything, Republican voters in Mississippi are the beneficiaries of out-of-control pork. Elections have been, and always will, be about the economy and the war. Occasionally it will be about a nebulous desire for "change" to muddy the issue. Republicans simply deluded themselves into believing that the '06 elections were about spending bills because they didn't have the personal and spiritual bravery to own up to the fact that americans hate the iraq war.

Posted by: Tyro on May 14, 2008 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

lots of Republicans will swallow their problems with McCain

Too bad getting the votes of Republicans isn't enough to win the presidency.

These gains for the Democrats aren't a realignment, they're an opportunity. The question is whether the Democrats will take advantage of these opportunities while they have them. As SteveH points out, the Dems failed to capitalize on the gains they made in 74 and 76, and we'll see if they avoid the same mistake in '08. One thing's for sure, though: the Republicans are going to have to go through a thorough rebranding.

Also, Mike K: no one votes over pork spending they dislike. Seriously. No one cares, and no one changes their votes based on it. If anything, Republican voters in Mississippi are the beneficiaries of out-of-control pork. Elections have been, and always will, be about the economy and the war. Occasionally it will be about a nebulous desire for "change" to muddy the issue. Republicans simply deluded themselves into believing that the '06 elections were about spending bills because they didn't have the personal and spiritual bravery to own up to the fact that americans hate the iraq war.

Posted by: Tyro on May 14, 2008 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

"...tried to tar Childers as an Obama lover"

Is that supposed to be a play on a racist slur?

Posted by: david on May 14, 2008 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

This must be part of the Republicans' "permanent majority" strategy. I have to admit, I didn't see this one coming.

Man, those guys are sneaky.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on May 14, 2008 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

I think it is about time for the Republicans to be sent into the wilderness, but don't get too cocky my fellow Democrats. If we don't deliver for the American people we will be shown our walking papers.

As always the danger is conflating a few special interests and their lobbyists with the American people.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 14, 2008 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

"Generic Xanax Alprazolam drug without prescription is used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Alprazolam is in a class of medications called benzodiazepines. It works by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain.

Generic Valium Diazepam drug is used to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures and to control agitation caused by alcohol withdrawal."

Try RNC.org. You'll make more sales there.

Posted by: Sock Puppet of the Great Satan on May 14, 2008 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Childers didn't just have to distance himself from Obama, he had to distance himself from Rev Wright.
http://cottonmouthblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/nrcc-ad-childers-obama-and-rev-wright.html
The racist goons running the GOP gave it their best shot, and they failed. See you in November.

Anybody talking about a permanent majority, however, is foolish. The Republicans were talking about a permanent majority a few years ago, since our population was trending older and more focused on national security issues. Then, Bush spent the first day of the Katrina disaster celebrating McCain's birthday, and things changed.

Posted by: reino on May 14, 2008 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Karl.

Posted by: Jet on May 14, 2008 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

REPUBLICAN LOSING STREAK CONTINUES

but, but the only votes that really count are Bush's and Cheneys.

With Broder's dream-team ticket nearing fruition, with McCain picking Huckabee as his VP - somehow I can see the Repugs getting desperate enough to push the consensus that McCain REALLY is so old, and that actually Huckabee will be the Preznut.

If only that darn Hillary doesn't take up the all the airwaves too much longer. He, he, he.

Posted by: on May 14, 2008 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

It is an amazing result and bodes ill for Republicans. However, the democrat was pro-gun, pro-life and otherwise socially conservative. Does that not make any difference to you guys, that the democrat who won probably disagrees with you on most issues? Is it a less extreme return of the old days when the democrats accepted racist politicians as a means to try to secure and maintain power? Why is a fellow like him a democrat, other than as an avenue to possible election?

Posted by: on May 14, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican Congress has spent the last ten years acting like children

Fixed it for you.

The danger to the republic of an Obama presidency is another matter altogether

Mike K., I wish you'd be more specific - it's always amusing.

Posted by: ckelly on May 14, 2008 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

They think sending Darth Cheney around is going to HELP them?!

I'm actually considering relocating to the Memphis area and happened to be looking in De Soto County a week or so ago. Seeing the headline about Cheney's visit was quite a shock! Even though I live in a pretty conservative part of the South right now, I hadn't imagined that there would be places where a man with 14% approval or whatever it is now would be considered a campaign asset. TBH, it made me question whether De Soto's really for me.

De Soto still voted strongly for Davis, incidentally, but it doesn't matter. Their Congressman for at least the next several months will be a Democrat.

Posted by: Philip the Equal Opportunity Cynic on May 14, 2008 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

It's going to be a long summer and fall for the GOP, but not long enough for them to spend all the money they took from the Treasury.

Posted by: reino on May 14, 2008 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

It's going to be a ver-r-r-r-y long summer and fall for the GOP leadership.

I think they'll start screaming about taxes and abortions and gay marriage and such and swipe the darn election like they've done the last two times.

Posted by: e. nonee moose on May 14, 2008 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

"The danger to the republic of an Obama presidency is another matter altogether"

As delusional as ever, I see. You really should join us out here in the real world someday.

Posted by: PaulB on May 14, 2008 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

"The Republican Congress has spent the last ten years acting like children

Fixed it for you.

The danger to the republic of an Obama presidency is another matter altogether

Mike K., I wish you'd be more specific - it's always amusing.

Posted by: ckelly"

OK. Obama is a naif and would quickly either backpedal like he has on Hamas or get us into a Middle east war between Israel and Iran. Read Tony Cordesman's estimate of the consequences.

He is a radical combination of Ayres/Dohrn and Wright personally but even Democrats have enough sense of self preservation to ditch most of his ideas on domestic issues. It's foreign policy where he could get a lot of us killed.

Posted by: Mike K on May 14, 2008 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

"The danger to the republic of an Obama presidency is another matter altogether."

Yes, Mike K., please do tell us how you think an Obama presidency is a danger to the republic. Be specific, please.

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on May 14, 2008 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Is Mike K some kind of auto-rightwinger, a sort of spambot that spouts absurd right-wing trash and pretends it makes sense?

"Radical combination of Ayers/Dohrn and Wright personally?"

My God, is this idiocy the best the Republicans can do this year? Go ahead, Mike, you guys campaign on this bullshit--we'll campaign on the economy, Iraq, and health care, and we'll beat your brains out worse than 1964 or 1932.

Posted by: Joe on May 14, 2008 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

Joe, how about a small wager ? You guys are all talk. I will concede Congress since the Republicans have trashed the brand the past ten years and will have to grow a new generation of people like Bobby Jindal. I just don't think the country will close the deal with Obama. He's just not going to do it and it has nothing to do with race. I know you will spout nasty ad hominem crap now but deep down those with common sense realize this and some are super delegates.

Posted by: Mike K on May 14, 2008 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Sheesh, Mike, you didn't respond to Joe's post in a coherent way, and you still haven't answered why you think Obama would "a danger to the Republic". Could it be that you have nothing to say except fear-mongering and indirection?

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