Political Animal


October 09, 2012 12:58 PM Next Up In Conservative Spin: The Romney “Wave”

By Ed Kilgore

You gotta hand it to conservative gabbers: they don’t often lose touch with their long-term objectives. Here’s Hugh Hewitt quickly pocketing the “Romney surge” as though it is an established and irreversible fact, and then moving right along to the next hill:

[Andrew] Sullivan is right to mirror the panic among the Chicago Gang. The slide will deepen, and many downticket Democrats are going to get caught in the collapse. Thank goodness.

The Washington Post reports that there is no “wave” forming. When you show me the Post story predicting a wave in 2010, and I’ll credit their assessment.

You have to unpack those spare assertions to see how much spin is going on: Andrew Sullivan isn’t “mirroring” any panic within the “Chicago Gang;” he’s perfectly capable of panicking on his own, and he’s publicly disagreeing with the Obama campaign’s assessment of the debates and their significance. You can argue about the persistence of the brief polling surge for Romney, but there is zero objective evidence it will “deepen.” Maybe Romney’s strengthened position, if it continues, will provide some help on the margins to downballot Republicans (and it definitely will if the kind of party ID numbers in the Pew poll occur on Election Day), but at the moment most honest Republicans don’t see exactly where they are going to come up with a Senate majority. And finally, anyone who really thinks 2010 is a reliable precursor of 2012 know zilch—or is pretending to know zilch—about the inherent differences between turnout patterns in midterm and presidential elections.

Kevin Drum published an exasperated post this morning arguing that there is a “hack gap” between the two parties that works to the detriment of Democratic candidates. I’ll address that later on today, but I will stipulate that Republican hacks are as a rule more impressively nimble, and less encumbered by self-doubt or objective reality. They eventually pay a price in self-delusion, but it must be convenient to open every book knowing its ending.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Ronald on October 09, 2012 1:05 PM:

    what is most frustrating is that these are the same damn people who, not more than a week or so ago, were swearing that All TeH Pollz are 'in the tank' for Obama.
    *shakes head*
    One thing the Democrats have- GOTV.
    So go vote, take somebody who doesn't usually vote with you to vote.

  • c u n d gulag on October 09, 2012 1:17 PM:

    THOSE polls were BS!!!

    THESE polls are accurate!!!


    And hysteria is Sullivan's default position.

  • Brandon Harris on October 09, 2012 1:27 PM:

    I think instead of depairing, the Democrats should take constructive steps to prepare for the next few months. While it would certainly be nice if Obama were re-elected, a pragmatic approach would be to consider the potential composition of Romney's cabinet, and Supreme Court picks. Also, as Americans, we should applaud the efforts of his transition team so that perhaps he can implement some of his bi-partisan initiatives in advance of his inauguration.

  • TCinLA on October 09, 2012 1:28 PM:

    There's no need for "hysterics" and all the Obamabots on the planet can call concern "hysteria" and it will not change a thing. All Obama had to do to solve everything was to do in front of 60 million people Wednesday night what he did in front of a couple thousand on Thurday morning.

    There are no excuses in politics.

  • Joy on October 09, 2012 1:39 PM:

    Thanks for the Kevin Drum link.

  • Josef K on October 09, 2012 2:02 PM:

    On a different note, what the hell is it with the Rightist punditry and this "Chicago Gang" business? I mean besides the blatant racism and political stereotypes, that is. Are they incapable of anything else?

    These guys are turning into a Seth McFarlane parody faster than the Road Runner sprints down the highway, I swear.

  • gregor on October 09, 2012 2:08 PM:

    If Sullivan's freakout in the aftermath of 9/11 is any guide, it would appear that the alleged hole that Mr. Obama has dug for himself is quite shallow.

    (First captcha ever in which both of the words are not meaningless: amongus settlers).

  • T2 on October 09, 2012 2:13 PM:

    there is a "hack gap" because the Sunday Talk shows have traditionally employed GOP hacks at a 4-1 ration over Dem hacks. Take James Carville out of the mix (he's always cancelled out by his wife anyway) and there are few Dem hacks and they are not, ever, going to "offend" anyone because Dems don't offend. On the other side, being offensive is a feature not a bug.

  • advocatethis on October 09, 2012 3:20 PM:

    Not to pile on, but after reading Sullivan's freakout yesterday afternoon I realized now is one of those times (like his infatuation with Paul Ryan a couple of summers ago and his occasional embraces of the cat food commission) when it's best to avoid his site for a couple of days. I wouldn't say that hysteria is his default position, but it certainly is one he is comfortable inhabiting and when he goes there you need to give him some time to catch his breath.