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Chambliss Wins in Geogia, Holding on to Contested GOP Senate Spot:
Looks like the Democrats won't get to 60 in the Senate. Here's the news from Georgia's runoff election:
  With 96 percent of the state's precincts reporting in the runoff election, [incumbent Republican Saxby] Chambliss had 57.5 percent of the vote, and his Democratic challenger, Jim Martin, 42.5 percent. The margin was far greater than the three percentage points that separated the two men in the Nov. 4 election, when neither won the required 50 percent. Many of the Democrats who turned out last month in enthusiastic support of Barack Obama apparently did not show up at the polls on Tuesday. . . .
  A little more than two million people voted in the runoff, compared with 3.7 million on Nov. 4.
ll (mail):
Are you disappointed?
12.2.2008 11:50pm
Nick056:
Orin? Of course he is.

Orin's a total loon, an off-the-reservation mental charity case whose low IQ would allow him to murder with impunity and then avoid the death penalty -- even in Texas! Despite his assuredly balding pate, he has more hair follicles than brain cells.

Some may consider these remarks unfounded exaggerations, but, for emphasis, let me repeat these claims, however much they may depart from the topic of the thread and however much they may appear to constitute in spirit and style a substance-free bout of invective. I'll say for the record: Orin is frankly not a super-nice guy.

And I believe this so whole-heartedly that I'm willing to commit this federal crime to assert it.
12.3.2008 12:10am
AK (mail):
Oh, the Democrats already have more than 60 Senators. Snowe, McCain, Specter... all Dems.
12.3.2008 12:17am
OrinKerr:
Nick056,

Wait, are you calling me bald? Geez, not sure what I did to deserve that.
12.3.2008 12:20am
J. Aldridge:
Wonder how popular the Kenyan going to be for the 2010 elections.
12.3.2008 12:31am
Nick056:
Orin,

I've heard unfounded rumors are now a key ingredient to felony stew. May help establish a tortious act, and I felt like living dangerously from my PC tonight.

To actually try to make a topical comment, from what I could tell out-of-state, the ads in GA became unusually negative. Shame.
12.3.2008 12:33am
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
And here I thought I stepped into the Saxby Chambliss thread.
12.3.2008 12:49am
Syd Henderson (mail):
The Democrats may not pull it out in Minnesota, although that race parallels what someone said about Bush and Gore in 2000: Franken was the only candidate who couldn't beat Coleman and vice-versa.
12.3.2008 12:54am
Paul Milligan (mail):
It ain't over until the Dem's challenge it in court.

- Babe Ruth -
12.3.2008 12:57am
Kazinski:
Its not over in Minnesota, until Franken sues to overturn the recount, and if he loses there it won't be over until until Democrats decide the winner in the Senate. They may be unwilling to go to the mat though if 60 votes aren't at stake.
12.3.2008 1:09am
Mark Rockwell (mail):
... probably all for the best.
12.3.2008 1:26am
Cornellian (mail):
So they have 58 now, and 59 if Franken wins in Minnesota?

If those are the numbers, filibusters are possible in theory but very difficult to sustain in practice. All the Dems will need to do on any given issue is peel away 1 or 2 Republicans and they'll have Collins, Snowe, Specter and McCain for that, plus others depending on the issue.
12.3.2008 1:53am
Oren:
Cornellian, they will not have the blue dogs for a lot of the more socially liberal end of things. Think Nelson, Pryor, Landrieu, Tester and Webb for an idea of who you need to get on board.

Even with 59 votes, I can see Reid falling short if Obama presses him to push it too hard on some issues. For instance, I doubt we are going to see the radical gun control agenda in Congress that we hear bandied about (at most, renew the assault weapon ban and require background checks for private sales).
12.3.2008 3:05am
just me (mail):
I think there may not be too much fillibustering anyway-mostly because of the blue dogs. It is harder to maintain party discipline when in the majority, and far easier to maintain it while in the minority. I think in the end filibustering will likely not happen often, and there will probably be some swinging from both parties on some issues and some legislation just may not get introduced at all to avoid an embarassment.
12.3.2008 4:35am
Big E:
Forget Saxby, the real election was for COA.
12.3.2008 7:33am
Sarcastro (www):
The big story here is how Sarah Palin totally did this because America loves her, and that this win shows the already forming buyers remorse about Obama!
12.3.2008 8:29am
Snaphappy:
Best campaign sign (seen in the background of a Washington Post photo yesterday):

"We're bringing Saxby back"
12.3.2008 8:35am
JohnCK (mail):
Short term, I don't think the Democrats are too upset about this. I don't think they wanted a fillabuster proof majority. Since the Republicans can fillabuster, the Democrats can govern from the center like adults and tell the lunatics on the Left, "we would love to have done this or that but the evil Republicans fillabustered it." The left is just dellusional enough to believe that. If the Democrats had a fillabuster proof majority, they couldn't claim that and would have to either enact all the crazy stuff or just come out and tell the truth that the left is nuts and no one is going to give them what they want. Losing in Georgia allows the Dems to avoid both those possiblities and gives them a fig leaf for explaining sane government to the left.

Long term, I think this does not bode well for them in 2010. Without Obama at the top of the ticket and millions of guilty white people wanting to vote of a black man and millions of extra black voters wanting their guy to win, many Democratic Reps and Senators from Red states and Red districts will be left alone with an angry and motivated Republican base. Further, with no Presidential race and no Republicans in power, all the focus will be on the Congress and Reid and Pelosi and its 20% approval rating. The numbers favor the Democrats holding a small majority in the Senate. In the House, I hope Pelosi enjoys her last two years as speaker.
12.3.2008 9:12am
Psalm91 (mail):
JohnCK:

This Democratic majority is terrible news for the Democrats as it means that no Democrats will win again. Makes sense, eh?
12.3.2008 10:03am
JohnCK (mail):
"JohnCK:

This Democratic majority is terrible news for the Democrats as it means that no Democrats will win again. Makes sense, eh?"

Perhaps I wrote in too long of sentences or used too many big words for you to understand. I don't really know how to explain what I wrote above in any simpler terms that it already is. What about it do you not understand? I am trying to help you here, but your comment is so nonsensical and nonresponsive that I am not sure how to go about explaining things to you. Let me try to break it down for you in smaller simpler sentences.

1. The Democrats benefited from a large pro-Obama turnout this year.

2. Obama isn't running in 2010.

3. If the Republicans can fillabuster, that means the Democrats are prevented from passing anything they want.

4. Since the Democrats can't pass anything they want, they will be able to pass more centrist things and tell the left that they would have liked to have passed a more leftists agenda, but they couldn't. This allows the Democrats to govern from the center but not have to answer to the left, which is a good thing for Democrats.

5. In 2010, there will be a lower turnout, no national top of the ticket, many Democrats running for re-election in conservative districts and states. Without the help of the large Obama turnout, those Democrats are going to have a harder time winning.

I know you are probably a liberal so I have to work with you a bit. But, that is as simple as I can make it. If you have an intelligible question or issue, please raise it.
12.3.2008 10:18am
wfjag:
Hey, it ain't over in Minnesota till the Dems are finished checking the trunks of their cars, broken voting machines and behind their sofa cushions for loose change and "newly discovered" uncounted votes. Latest example, see Senate recount: Pendulum swings to Franken
The Democrat gained from a cache of found ballots in Ramsey County, along with a decision on rejected absentee votes.
by Mike Kaszuba and Curt Brown, Minneapolis Star Tribune (Dec. 3, 2008).

It is reported that a precinct in Maplewood, MN, a St. Paul suburb (which leans Democrat), recently "discovered" 171 ballots that allegedly had not previously been counted. It is reported that on election day the precinct started using one electronic machine, which malfunctioned after 171 ballots had been cast. The precinct switched to another machine, but until now, it it reported that "no one remembered" to pull the 171 ballots out of the original machine and count them. When these votes are counted, Franken gets a net gain of 37 votes.

There is, however, one small problem with this version of the facts. By counting the 171 "new" votes, together with those already counted, that yields a total number of "votes" that exceeds the number of people who showed up and voted in the precinct by 31.
12.3.2008 10:23am
Angus:

5. In 2010, there will be a lower turnout, no national top of the ticket, many Democrats running for re-election in conservative districts and states. Without the help of the large Obama turnout, those Democrats are going to have a harder time winning.
In your initial post, you went a lot farther than that -- predicting that Republicans would pick up 43+ seats in the House and win control of it, all because Democrats control the House right now.
12.3.2008 10:43am
Ex parte McCardle:
At the risk of being simply catty or belaboring the obvious, JohnCK's references to the possibility of a "fillabuster proof majority" doesn't exactly inspire confidence in his other powers of analysis.
12.3.2008 10:48am
UnintelligibleLiberal (mail):
JohnCK:

Are you going for irony?

"Fillabuster"
12.3.2008 10:49am
JohnCK (mail):

In your initial post, you went a lot farther than that -- predicting that Republicans would pick up 43+ seats in the House and win control of it, all because Democrats control the House right now.


I think they will. There are a lot of Democrats from rural and Southern Districts that are going to face the music in 2010. There will be a few Dem Senators who will as well, like Reid in Nevada that are going to have a tough time to, but the numbers favor the Dems in the Senate so it would take a tidle wave for them to lose it. Congress has a lower approval rating than Bush. There is no reason to believe that it will go up over the next two years. Predicting that an organization with a 24% approval rating facing an election where it will be the only issue will change parties, is not exactly going out on a limb.
12.3.2008 10:49am
Oren:
John -- there is also a very strong pro-incumbent bias that works in the dems favor in '10. I don't want to get into the details but there would have to be serious displeasure with the administration to see a backlash comparable to '94.

Also, there are plenty of reasons to vote for Obama other than guilt. If you can't even conceive of why someone would make that choice perhaps you need to think a bit harder.
12.3.2008 10:50am
JohnCK (mail):
Those who can't think or argue and have nothing else to say, always spell. It is the iron rule of all internet comentary.
12.3.2008 10:50am
Angus:
There is, however, one small problem with this version of the facts. By counting the 171 "new" votes, together with those already counted, that yields a total number of "votes" that exceeds the number of people who showed up and voted in the precinct by 31.
What the Powerline guys (which is where this was uncritically cut and pasted from) never bothered to check is that new voters in Minnesota can include a voter registration form in the envelope along with their absentee ballot. Meaning that the voter registration numbers can actually go up in a precinct after election day as they process the voter registrations that arrived with absentee ballots.
12.3.2008 10:52am
JohnCK (mail):
"Also, there are plenty of reasons to vote for Obama other than guilt. If you can't even conceive of why someone would make that choice perhaps you need to think a bit harder."

Being a factor or even an important factor doesn't make it the only factor. White guilt certainly drove a lot of voting for Obama both directly and indirectly through people being more willing to ignore his opaque or often contradictory positions. I have met any number of people who honestly seem to believe that Obama will end warrantless wiretapping (whatever that is since most of them have no idea how "wiretapping" and data mining actually work) yet don't know or care that Obama voted for the FISA re-authorization. They don't know because they don't want to know. The pleasure of voting for the first black man for President is too great to be bothered with the details.

Yes there are some coherent Obama supporters but even most of them seem to support him on the hope that he is lying about something or other in order to get elected. I have never seen a politician held to such a low standard before or had so many hopes and fears projected on him. That I think is nothing more than the result of white guilt and white America's on going obsession with race.
12.3.2008 10:56am
Ex parte McCardle:
Wow, JohnCK, that's a "tidle" wave of a response. None but a genious could have produced it.

"Fillabuster" was not a simple spelling/typing error, as I assume "comentary" was. It bespeaks a basic unfamiliarity with the term.
12.3.2008 10:58am
Oren:

White guilt certainly drove a lot of voting for Obama both directly and indirectly through people being more willing to ignore his opaque or often contradictory positions.

That is the most egregiously silly statement I've seen on this blog for a long time. I'm going to go ahead and say that racism drove a lot of voting for McCain based on same nonsensical logic that presupposes a magical ability to determine mental causation.
12.3.2008 10:59am
frankcross (mail):
JohnCK, you should realize you are just speaking out of your own bias. There are plenty of reasons to vote for or against Obama. Many Americans are uninformed, including both those who voted for or against him. Your bias may be wrong, and the good reasons were greater. Your bias may be right, and he was unwisely elected.

But injecting race into the discussion, when the results are easily explained without the "white guilt" phenomenon, makes me wonder about you. The results are easily explained by either (a) Obama was a better candidate or (b) he was not but people were uninformed, without you needing to play the race card.
12.3.2008 11:04am
JohnCK (mail):
"That is the most egregiously silly statement I've seen on this blog for a long time. I'm going to go ahead and say that racism drove a lot of voting for McCain based on same nonsensical logic that presupposes a magical ability to determine mental causation."

Hit a nerve did I? The truth usually does that. As far as McCain voting, no doubt more than a few people voted for McCain because they don't like black people. Maybe the country has turned into a racial utopia and I just missed it, but I doubt it. But the racial issue goes both ways. Black people certainly turned out in huge numbers to vote for a black candidate and by necessity against a white candidate. White people certainly voted against Obama because he was black and for Obama because they loved the idea of a black man finally being President. Isn't that why he was billed as a "transformational candidate"? If white people were not voting for a black man to exercise their racial demons and were instead just voting for a conventional liberal, just what is so transformational about him?
John C. Kluge
12.3.2008 11:06am
Crust (mail):
Mr. Kluge:
If white people were not voting for a black man to exercise their racial demons...
I suppose exercising one's racial demons is pretty much the opposite of exorcising them.
12.3.2008 11:34am
Norman Bates (mail):

Hit a nerve did I?

I certainly think you did. In Massachusetts the wiggling puppy excitement of most of the liberals I knew at being able to vote for the first time in their lives for a "black person" was overt to the point of being embarrassing. Their annoyance when I pointed this out was revelatory in a Freudian way.
12.3.2008 11:37am
JosephSlater (mail):
Who knew being black was such a huge advantage to being elected president? Clever of the Dems and Obama to be the first to figure that out, ever.

Also, overall approval ratings of "Congress" are meaningless in predicting elections. First, Dems in Congress have a higher overall approval rating than Repubs in Congress. Second, and more importantly, these elections are done one rep at a time, not nationally.

Note that if "Disapproval of Congress = voting out the bastards in charge," the Dems wouldn't have picked up a bunch of seats in this election.
12.3.2008 11:47am
Sarcastro (www):
The more you say I'm wrong, the more I "hit a nerve" and am clearly right.

The less you say I'm wrong, the more no one has refuted me because I'm right.

Silly liberals, I know you and your racism better than you know yourselves.
12.3.2008 12:01pm
JohnCK (mail):
"Note that if "Disapproval of Congress = voting out the bastards in charge," the Dems wouldn't have picked up a bunch of seats in this election."

They had a popular top of the ticket and a very motivated base and a very unmotivated Republican base. None of that will be true in 2010.
12.3.2008 12:17pm
Sarcastro (www):
JohnCK is right to make prediction about the next election so soon after this one. It is rare for the political landscape to change at all in two years.

Indeed, on the strength of his convictions, I think we should save some money and just swear in whatever Republicans he thinks will win in 2010.
12.3.2008 12:22pm
A Law Dawg:
They had a popular top of the ticket and a very motivated base and a very unmotivated Republican base. None of that will be true in 2010.


Unless, God forbid, they do a good job.
12.3.2008 1:03pm
JohnCK (mail):
"Unless, God forbid, they do a good job."


That is always possible if highly unlikely. No Congress, sans maybe the 1994-1996 Congress has done a good job in the last 150 years. I wouldn't bet on this one beating the trend.
12.3.2008 1:10pm
JosephSlater (mail):
No Congress, sans maybe the 1994-1996 Congress has done a good job in the last 150 years. I wouldn't bet on this one beating the trend.

And yet, as was pointed out above, there is traditionally a pretty strong pro-incumbent bias in Congressional elections. So much so that the Republicans used to favor term limits -- that is, until they recaptured the majority for a while.
12.3.2008 1:39pm
Sarcastro (www):
[I wanted to say that the American people disagree with JohnCKs analysis, but it looks like America agrees with him.

Though the analyst linked to above also agrees with JosephSlater et al. that disapproval does not equal electoral failure by any means.]
12.3.2008 1:46pm
Oren:



That is always possible if highly unlikely. No Congress, sans maybe the 1994-1996 Congress has done a good job in the last 150 years. I wouldn't bet on this one beating the trend.

You have to look at relative performance.
12.3.2008 1:55pm
JohnCK (mail):

And yet, as was pointed out above, there is traditionally a pretty strong pro-incumbent bias in Congressional elections. So much so that the Republicans used to favor term limits -- that is, until they recaptured the majority for a while.



I think that trend is going to start to come to an end in some ways. We have seen the control of Congress swing from Dem to Republican back to Dem in just 12 years. This after decades of Republican and then Democratic dominance during the 20th Century. People are not as strongly affiliated with the parties as they once were. As a result the parties depend more and more on a motivated base to win. The base isn't always motivated. I think you will see Congress swing from party to party more frequently in the future. I also think you will see more divided government. I really think the House will swing back Republican in 2010.
12.3.2008 2:00pm
Thales (mail) (www):
"Oh, the Democrats already have more than 60 Senators. Snowe, McCain, Specter... all Dems."

Since two can play this game, you're not counting the Republicans Lieberman, Landrieu and Rockefeller.
12.3.2008 2:44pm
Snaphappy:
Sometimes Sarcastro is exactly what's needed.
12.3.2008 4:29pm
JohnCK (mail):
"Sometimes Sarcastro is exactly what's needed."

Don't feed the trolls.
12.3.2008 4:45pm
Morat20 (mail):
JohnCK:

Regarding the 2010 Senate picture -- those Senators up in 2010 are those who survived 2004, a Presidential election year in which ALL toss-ups went to the GOP. In short, there are more Republicans who won with small margins in 2004 than Democrats, making it unlikely that more than a seat or two will swing, no matter the prevailing political winds.

As for the House, the entire House is up as usual but I'd be shocked if the Republicans managed an even dozen pickups -- nowhere close to enough to regain the majority, and all from deep red districts that should never have been Republican.

If the economic winds are pointing towards "getting better", I'd not be surprised by Democratic pickups in the Senate, and a break-even in the House.
12.3.2008 4:54pm
JohnCK (mail):
Morat,

I agree with you about the Senate. The House I think is different. Pelosi is one of the most unpopular politicians in the country. No one has any use for the Congress right now and that will be the case in 2010. There just won't be a reason for Dems to show up at the ballot box and there will be lots of reason, revenge mostly, for Republicans to show up. Also cultural issues like guns and abortion were completely off the table this election. It is probable that a Democratic Congress won't do things the assault weapons ban or try to force Catholic Hospitals to give abortions in order to be eligible for medicare patients. If they do any of those things the backlash is going to be enormous. Also, the bailout are extremly unpopular. The Big three bailout is opposed by 61% of the country. But, if the Congress can't deliver on gun control, card check, abortion, and bailouts for the UAW, its base will revolt and stay home. Further, this recession is going to be horrible and probably won't be over in 2010. They are going to have a difficult time blaming it on the Republicans after two years of power. Then throw in a nuclear Iran and the danger of a big terrorist attack. There is no way the Democrats can govern sanely and remain popular without completely disapointing their base. They have a tough row to hoe.
12.3.2008 5:23pm
JRL:
Sarcastro, a troll? I have been reading his comments here for a while...
12.3.2008 5:33pm
Sarcastro (www):
[From wikipedia:

An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the intention of provoking other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.


My method of communication may be different, but I do add substance to the argument, and my intent is not to incite an emotional response in any but myself.

Indeed in this very thread I noted you were right, JohnCK and provided a cite.

Hardly trolling *sniff*]
12.3.2008 6:57pm
Psalm91 (mail):
"No Congress, sans maybe the 1994-1996 Congress has done a good job in the last 150 years."

And a wonderful legacy they left for us.

JCK, there is not much left for me to say, except that Ms. Pelosi is not running in a national election. If you think that the non-R base is going to turn R, you need to provide some actual evidence. After all, Chambliss won the runoff by moving to the center.
12.3.2008 8:20pm
KeithK (mail):
History would suggest that the 2010 midterm elections should result in pickups for Republicans. The pattern has been gains for the party out of the White House. Except that that didn't happen in 2002. So historical patterns are just patterns, thay are not predictive.

At this point it's way to early to say anything really definitive about how the 2010 congressional elections. There's too much time in between for important things to happen that will change the election landscape. Not to mention that we don't know who will be running against any incumbents or who might retire. About the only comment here that makes sense is to look at which Senate seats are up for election in '10. Republicans defend 19 and Democrats defend 15.

As a Republican I certainly hope that JohnOK is right about the House in 2010 and I hope that lots of conservatives are thinking that way. Right now such a belief is little more than something taken on faith. But folks on the ground who have faith in their side winning are likely to be more motivated.
12.4.2008 7:18pm

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