Mississippi Win

Democrat Travis Childers won last night's special election in Mississippi by a comfortable margin in a redder district than the 29th. Both the DCCC and the NRCC spent heavily in the race, with the NRCC spending $1.3 million, 20% of their cash on hand.

This is the third special Congressional election lost by Republicans this year. All of the losses have been in traditionally Republican districts, and each of the elections have seen healthy spending by both parties. This Fall, it's likely that Massa will see some of the same heavy spending from the DCCC. Unless the NRCC does a dramatically better job, Kuhl probably won't get the same level of support from the national party. Tom Cole, head of the NRCC, hinted that Republican members are on their own in his statement on last night's loss:

I encourage all Republican candidates, whether incumbents or challengers, to take stock of their campaigns and position themselves for challenging campaigns this fall by building the financial resources and grassroots networks that offer them the opportunity and ability to communicate, energize and turn out voters this election.


Republicans dropped from approximately 93,000 votes in 2006 to 49,000 votes this time around. Democrats went from 48,000 votes in 2006 to 57,000 this time, a gain of 9,000 votes

So the big story to me is not how many votes the Democrat gained from Republicans and Independents (9,000) but how many Republicans stayed home (39,000).

The Republican Party is not dead, just seriously damaged by George W Bush's economic policies. Kuhl had better get busy, because I don't think that McCain is the type of candidate that will turn out the republican base.

Once Obama becomes President with his leftist leanings, he will energize the Republican base for 2010.

I'm getting a feeling from some Republicans that they're ready for their party to take a good spanking this cycle so they can get start the rebuilding process. Hence the lower turnout.

Like any opportunity, Obama winning the presidency would also entail risk, because there's a huge mess to clean up and voters will forget Bush's role in creating that mess in 4 years. But if you're focusing just on the economy, remember that Clinton did a pretty good job managing it, even though he was a "liberal".

McCain seems to have gotten the message a few days early. He's been distancing himself from the Bush administration this week and working to pacify centrists voters.

It will be interesting to see how far Randy goes, given his loyalty not only to the administration but to the house leadership over the past three and a half years. The best thing that the Democrats can do if they gain significantly in congress, is to continue the investigations, keeping the spotlight on the Bush administrations' corruption and misguided policies and also the Republicans in congress who were its enablers.

If they fall for the Republican pleas for bi-partisanship and "just getting over it," they could be vulnerable in '10 and '12.

Whoever becomes President will have some tough nuts to crack.

It really all wraps around the mid-east. High oil prices along with low production at home as well as Iraq and terrorists will dominate any president's agenda.

Will Obama resist environmentalists and allow more off shore drilling and drilling in the ANWR? Will he encourage more nuclear development and the building of new oil refineries? If gas prices continue to rise with no end in sight, the public will shift the blame to Obama.

Will he pull the troops out of Iraq? If he doesn't, will his base turn on him? If he does, he will take the blame for anything bad that is produced by the troop withdrawal.

All things considered, it is not a great time to be President.

vdomeras: I think Obama's key contribution to the nation will be to get the Justice Department back in order, and hopefully he'll be able to root out the corruption without having a witch hunt atmosphere. I don't think he's inclined to "just get over it", but I hope he can avoid it becoming a circus.

Elmer: 2008 is not a great time, but neither were 1932 or 1860. This almost certainly isn't 1860, but maybe 1932 isn't such a crazy comparison. Perhaps Obama will be up to the challenge. I hope someone is.

No, we don't need a witch hunt, but a slow steady stream of indictments, studies by non-partisan groups, fact-finding by congressional committees, best-selling books by former neo-cons and frustrated federal professionals -- that sort of thing for eight years. The key in my mind is to inoculate the voters with a memory of how onerous the past eight years have been and why. Then, given a relatively successful Obama presidency in which Republican moderates are welcomed and rewarded, we could hope for a reasonable administration to follow, whether it be Republican or Democratic.

I agree with that. We need to turn the excesses of the Bush admin into a learning opportunity for the whole country. Plus, any sane Republican should realize that a Democrat using the Bush model of executive power would be nothing but bad news for Republicans.

The biggest constitutional crisis in our history resulted in Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974. The Democrats took the presidency over in 1976 and dumped it right back to the Republicans when the incumbent president was defeated in 1980.

History has a way of repeating itself.

The appointment of GW Bush by the Supreme Court in '00 and the actions of his administration would be my high water mark for constitutional crises. The Supreme Courts disregarding a state's rights and the Unitary Executive theory have threatened the constitution more than anything in the last century and a half.

It seems to me that the Nixon impeachment followed the letter and spirit of the Constitution. I agree though that Carter was greeted with a real perfect storm (OPEC, Iran, stagflation, the rise of the movement conservatives, ...) and he wasn't able to weather it.

Let's hope that cooler heads prevail this time around.

I believe the Gore campaign initially got the courts involved. Plus it wouldn't have mattered anyway according to the New York Times:

"In a finding rich with irony, the results show that even if Mr. Gore had succeeded in his effort to force recounts of undervotes in the four Democratic counties, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Volusia, he still would have lost, although by 225 votes rather than 537."


so it was hardly a constitutional crisis, just an urban myth kept alive by certain groups.

Too bad Nixon didn't ask for a recount in the Chicago area after the 1960 election.

One can still complain about the precedent the Supreme Court set and say that in the end Gore would probably have lost Florida.

I do think the more serious constitutional issue is Bush's executive overreach, and all the Nixon-like things the Bush admin did with the Justice Department, such as politically motivated prosecutions.

It is one thing to complain, another thing to say it was a constitutional crisis

The Times has reported on lots of studies of the Florida debacle, and the findings are often contradictory. The editorial board was complicit in that they didn't make a fuss at the time about the decision (perhaps because we were in the midst of a constitutional crisis or maybe because we had an election under the constitution but no president-elect -- no one wanted to be responsible for prolonging such an ambiguous situation in this nation of laws).

BTW HBO will be covering those events again in a dramatization this coming week.

What I'm saying is that when the Supreme Court interferes with a state's selection of electors for president of the US, it has overreached, ignoring the authority of the Constitution.

The Florida Supreme Court interfered with the peoples' elected representatives who had passed a law specifying which date the vote had to be certified by. This was done at Al Gore's request.

Yup. That's what the 5-4 Supreme Court decision said. The same five judges had stopped the recount that Gore had requested of the Florida Supreme Court six days before the deadline. They made their decision in Bush v Gore eight hours before the certification deadline. In other words, they made sure that the recount couldn't take place before the deadline.

The weird statement that the case was not to be considered a precedent, O'Connor's remark on hearing early reports that Gore had won Florida that she wouldn't be able to retire under a Democratic administration, the fact that Scalia's two kids were associated with the Bush legal team and Thomas's wife being on the Bush transition team all support the view that it was a purely political decision.