How vulnerable is Norm Coleman?

May 7th, 2007 – 12:34 AM by Eric Black

ebmug.jpgGood Monday morning Fellow Seekers,

Apologies for neglecting the blog for several days last week. I was working on a piece explaining some of the reasons that Norm Coleman is considered one of the most vulnerable of the 32 senators seeking reelection in 2008.

A shortened, toned-down version of the piece ran in the Sunday paper but rather than link to that, here is the unexpurgated version (with special features and an interview with the cast on the second DVD). Before you click the “read the rest of this entry” button, be forewarned. It’s quite a bit longer than a haiku.

coleman.jpgIt’s official. Norm Coleman is one of the most vulnerable Senate incumbents up for reelection in 2008.

The word-choice is facetious. We are coming out of a cycle when Minnesota’s U.S. Senate was universally decreed to be one of the closest in the nation and it ended up as a 20-percentage point blowout for Amy Klobuchar.

 So beware the consensus of the punditocracy (yes, including me, if you consider me a pundit, which I believe is Hindi for “a learned man”).

 But if any such designation of official vulnerability were truly possible, Coleman would qualify by the normal measures of such things. How so? A quick catalog:

 To what does Minnesota’s senior senator owe these honors? Several factors, including geography, timing, Bushiness, Coleman’s iffy approval ratings, the Iraq war and the direction of the national political winds.

1. Location, location, location

2008_Senate_election_map.pngIt starts with this map of the 33 states that have ’08 Senate races. The red and blueness indicates the party of the incumbents. The pinkness of Colorado indicates that  Republican incumbent (Allard) isn’t seeking another term.

Although the Repubs have 21 seats up in ’08, only four are in states that Kerry carried in ’04. The four are Coleman, Collins, Sununu and Smith.

 

Except for the narrow re-election of Gov. Pawlenty, the 2006 election results suggested klobuchar.jpgthat Minnesota was trending blue. Dems won the U.S. Senate race, picked up a seat in the U.S. House, gained seats in both houses of the Legislature, held the attorney generalship, and took the state auditor and secretary of state positions from GOP incumbents.

In the Election Day 2006 exit polls of actual Minnesota voters, those identifying themselves as Democrats outnumbered Republicans by not overwhelming 40-36 percent. Survey USA (which uses the robo-dialing polling method) and takes monthly samples in Minnesota) found last month that 38 percent of Minnesota adults identify with the DFL, 25 percent with the GOP and 28 percent consider themselves independents.

All of this adds up to the punditocratic view that Minnesota may be an unfriendly political environment for a Republican in ’08.

2. Coleman’s ratings

Any incumbent senator approaching reelection time whose approval ratings are below 50 percent are assumed to be wearing a scarlet letter of vulnerability.

Survey USA, whose monthly sounidng of Minnesota includes Coleman’s ratings, had Coleman’s ratings at 53 percent on April 16, after measuring him in the high 40s in five of the six previous monthly readings.

If the April reading means Coleman is starting to climb, the pundits will take notice. But the longer trendline suggests Coleman has been flitting just above and just below the dreaded 50 percent mark for many months. Vulnerable, vulnerable, vulnerable.

3. National political environment

If 2008 was shaping up as a year when the wind was at the Republicans’ backs, the pundits would be looking at the list of Democrats running in states that Bush carried in ’04 (five of the 12 Dems up in ’08 are in that category).

karl_roveBut based on the ’06 elections, and on polling trends since then, the national political wind seems to be blowing in the face of the GOP.

Potential voters are unhappy with the direction of the country and want change. That’s a problem for incumbents, and especially for GOP incumbents, because while Bush holds the White House, their party represents the status quo in voters’ minds.

Pew Research Center reports a 50-35 edge for the Democratic Party national in voter leanings.

In poll after poll, on issue after issue, more Americans say they trust the Democrats to deal with the nation’s top problems and issues than say the same about the Republicans.

In Mid-April, Gallup asked for overall favorable/unfavorable views of the parties. The Republican Party came out unfavorable by 51-42 percent; The Dems favorable by 55-38.

Coleman will, of course, ask for Minnesotans’ votes on the basis of his own attributes, records and issue positions, not as a generic Republican.

But, as University of Minnesota political scientist Larry Jacobs put it, in an era of partisan polarization in Congress, where the tendency to vote along party lines is very strong, “the party you belong to is a very powerful brand, and if the name brand is damaged, it drags down all of the product lines.”

4. Bad Timing

Coleman is completing his first term. A political rule of thumb holds that the first reelection is the diciest.

2008 is also a presidential election year. Minnesota currently has the longest streak in the nation for giving its electoral votes to the Democratic ticket (eight straight, dating from 1976).

During that span, there have been 12 U.S. Senate elections. The GOP is 7-5 in those races (tell that to your friends who think MN is a Dem. bastion.)

But if you break those Senate races down by presidential vs. midterm years, the Repubs are 5-2 in non-presidential years, but 2-3 in presidential election years, when turnout tends to be higher.

5. The Bush/Iraq taint

bush_and_laura.jpgPres. Bush’s popularity is in the toilet. His approval ratings nationally have been mired in the disastrous 30s all year. Although no recent Minnesota numbers are available, Bush’s Minnesota approval rating has generally run 2-4 percentage points lower than his national rating.

Rep. Mark Kennedy’s inability to escape the image of a “loyal Bushie” played large in his landslide loss in the 2006 Minnesota Senate race.

Coleman will present himself as an independent Republican, more likely than most of his party cohorts to break ranks with both the party line and the Bush White House line. With the exception of his first year in the Senate, the statistical measures tend to back him up (more than they did Kennedy when he tried to portray himself as independent).

But other powerful facts and images tie Coleman to Bushiness.

  • Coleman chaired Bush’s Minnesota campaign in 2000 and 2004.
  • The Bush team was strong for Coleman in 2002 (remember the famous efforts by Karl Rove and Dick Cheney to steer Pawlenty out of the Senate race and clear the field for Coleman.) Bush flew in for a dramatic last minute rally for Coleman’s ’02 Senate campaign, and may have helped push him over the top, at a time when Bush’s approval ratings were in the 60s.
  • Coleman’s opponents will also probably use several episodes from Coleman’s Senate term to portray him as a Bush lapdog. Coleman was the chief Senate floor defender of Karl Rove for Rove’s involvement in leaking to reporters the CIA affiliation of Valerie Plame. Coleman was a leading voice for the embattled and ultimately unsuccessful Bush nominee for U.N. ambassador, John Bolton.
  • frankentruth1.jpgAnd DFL Senate candidate Al Franken has already developed, in a book and elsewhere, the argument that in Coleman’s role as chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations, he ignored evidence of corruption in U.S. contracting in Iraq. (This was the context for Franken notorious reference to Coleman as “one of the [Bush] administration’s leading buttboys.”

The Iraq war continues to dominate the electorate’s list of the number one issue or problem facing the country and Coleman has been a steady supporter of the now deeply unpopular war.

As a candidate in 2002, Coleman endorsed the resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq. He remained a strong supporter Bush’s war policy until recently expressing doubts about the idea of sending additional U.S. troops to Baghdad.

Even as he created that first bit of distance from the Bush Iraq line, he repeated the main war supporter themes about the central front in the war on terror and the likely dire consequences of U.S. withdrawal. Coleman opposed the recent efforts to use the supplemental appropriations bill as a vehicle for setting a goal of removing U.S. combat troops.

In a story about Republican senators who were shifting their Iraq positions away from the White House line on the issue of benchmarks and deadlines, the L.A. Times quoted Coleman thusly: “I think we’re still in a fairly toxic political environment. And I think it will continue like this for a while. That’s the reality.”

If Coleman fundamentally revises his position, it will cause problems with his base and with his image. But stay-until-victory is, at the moment, a politically hazardous stance. Democrats planning to run against Republicans in bluish states probably wouldn’t choose the word “toxic” to describe the current political air and waters.

Dehyping Coleman’s vulnerability

But let’s not overstate anything. Vulnerable doesn’t mean political dead meat, far from it. And toss-up doesn’t mean leans Democratic.

Two other respected political rating services – Congressional Quarterly and the Cook Political Report – say that the Minnesota race “leans Republican.” This is not the category in which incumbents hope to find themselves, and it is reserved for races that the pundits expect to be close.

A “leaner” rating says about the incumbent: He’s vulnerable, but if you had to get a bet down today, bet on the incumbent.

So, given the laundry list of factors that imperil Coleman politically, what are his advantages heading into the election year?

1. Track record

Coleman is a proven winner with a lifetime 3-1 record as a candidate. He was elected mayor of St. Paul as a DFLer in 1993, reelected as a Republican in 1997, then won the Republican nomination for governor in 1998 but lost in the wacky three-way general election to Jesse Ventura (even then, he finished solidly ahead of DFL nominee Skip Humphrey.)

wellstoneColeman’s third victory, his race for the Senate in 2002, was marked by tragedy, then by surprises and a narrow win in a bizarre emotional environment that will never replicated.

Amy Walter of the Cook Report said “Coleman has had a target on his head since the day he got elected, just because of the circumstances of that race.”

That may be true for Democrats. But Republicans remember it as a case where an extremely talented candidate rose to the occasion and overcame significant odds.

2. Oppositional question marks?

Coleman’s likeliest Democratic opponents — Al Franken and Mike Ciresi – have a combined lifetime record of no wins and one loss (Ciresi’s unsuccessful 2000 Senate run) between ciresi.jpgthem.

Political insiders see electability issues with both of them. Democrats are palpably worried that they haven’t yet found a candidate who can take advantage of Coleman’s vulnerabilities.

Walter of the Cook Report said that unlike many cycles, when the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee believes it has found a viable candidate and discourages other Democrats from entering the race, the DSCC has “an open door policy” and is encouraging other Democrats to think about geting into the race.

Several lesser known Democrats are already campaigning while others, especially several legislators, have promised to make their plans known soon.

Jacobs current analysis of the race relies heavily on the identity of the DFL nominee. Democrats would like the race to be a referendum on the incumbent candidate, the incumbent president and the overall Republican Party and the status quo. Coleman’s best hope is to make the race a referendum on the challenger, Jacobs says.

If Coleman’s challenger brings some baggage into the race – the leading example Franken’s past as a comedian and author and some of the rude remarks he has made in those capacities – Coleman’s supporters may be able to frame the election around the question of whether the challenger has the temperament of a senator.

A horserace poll 21 months before election is almost laughably unreliable, but Survey USA did pose the horserace question to 632 registered votes in February. Coleman bested Franken by 57-35 and he led Ciresi by 57-34.

3. Party Unity

Coleman has no known Republican challenger for the party’s endorsement or nomination.

A clear path to renomination — without having to spend money on an intra-party battle, without having to tack to the right to reassure the base — is a big, recognized political plus.

The ultimate DFL nominee will have to survive a tough intra-party fight at least through the endorsing convention and possibly a primary.

And bear in mind, the reason that Sen. Ensign listed the four most vulnerable Republican incumbents was to organize fund-raising events for them around the country. Being on the vulnerable list means the national party will focus its resources on helping you survive.

 4. The Pawlenty scenario

mark_kennedyKlobuchar’s 20-point rout of Kennedy is among the reasons the pundits see Coleman as endangered, sort of the short-cut to the argument that Minnesota is an inhospitable environment for Republicans.

But applying the Klobuchar-Kennedy template to Coleman’s situation is problematic. The ’06 Senate race became a perfect storm for the GOP. A stronger-than-expected DFL nominee, a weaker-than-expected Republican candidate, a powerful Democratic tailwind on Iraq and the collapse of Bush’s popularity combined to create a landslide that no one had predicted a year or even a few months out.

But Coleman has the advantages of incumbency. He has more appeal to moderate swing voters than Kennedy did. His likely opponents may lack Klobuchar’s likeability, her political sure-footedness and her unexpected success at shrugging off all Republican attacks on her record.

tim_pawlenty.jpgThe brightest spot in the Minnesota GOP’s dismal 2006 was the narrow reelection of Pawlenty, a likeable incumbent with some appeal to swing voters who capitalized on questions about his opponent Mike Hatch’s temperament, and may have benefitted by the presence of Independence Party nominee Peter Hutchinson.

There has little talk about who will be the Independence candidate for Senate, but there will be one. In a close race, that could make a difference. There is a lively debate on this point, but the most common view of the post-Ventura races is that the Independence factor has benefitted Republicans.

5. Time

While it would be too much to say that time is on Coleman’s side, with Election Day 18 months ahead there certainly is a lot of time for the political environment to shift in ways that could enhance his reelection prospects.

Might the Iraq war recover of its lost public support if the level of violence declines and might that lead to an improvement of the overall political environment for Republicans?

Might Coleman find a politically advantageous middle ground between set-a-deadline-for-withdrawal and stay-until-victory?

With Bush’s term in its final weeks by November 2008, might Coleman’s Bushiness become less of a political deadweight?

Might the Republicans nominate a presidential candidate, maybe one of the relative moderates, who would do well in Minnesota?

Of course, each of those questions raises a possibility that the environment could become less favorable for Republican incumbents. If you believe the old saying that a week can be a lifetime in politics, then the span between now and Election Day 2008 would be measured in geologic time.

The Coleman spin

I called Cullen Sheehan, Coleman’s campaign manager, and read him the list of factors that put Coleman on the vulnerable list and the why-he’s-not-toast factors. He didn’t dispute any of them. His response at every turn was roughly the same and goes like this:

“Clearly Minnesota is a toss-up state in almost every election. If you’re going to run for office in Minnesota, you have to work hard and let people know what you stand for and what you want to do in office.

 “I like our shot there. [Coleman]’s a proven leader who’s proven he can work with people of all stripes to get things done and ultimately that’s what Minnesotans want.

“Ultimately this race is going to boil down to what Senator Coleman’s has done and what he wants to do and what his opponent has done and what he wants to do.”

On Iraq, Sheehan said that while it will ultimately have an impact on the election, “you can’t politicize an issue like that. It’s about doing the right thing, fighting and winning the war on terror. That’s the senator’s concern and that’s his focus.”

105 Responses to "How vulnerable is Norm Coleman?"

Royinoslo says:

May 7th, 2007 at 2:13 am

An excellent fair and balanced–if very long–analysis. I’d urge those who want to replace Norm next year to focus on the last several paragraphs, don’t get too giddy about the senator’s weaknesses.
Primary asset for Coleman is his experience at winning elections. That’s why I repeat the necessity for other candidates to find numerous ways to test themselves among ordinary Minnesotans. For Franken that means reintroducing himself as the serious author-talk show host he is, who just happens to have an earlier career as a comedy writer. For Ciresi it means to focus on the longterm societal health benefits of his courtroom successes. Connecting with voters’ lives is the best route to victory.
It’s a huge shame if the big money all three candidates can raise overwhelms a potential Wellstone in their midst.

Grace Kelly says:

May 7th, 2007 at 8:48 am

Coleman’s track record is Coleman’s vulnerability. He said one thing and voted another way, over and over again. So when one’s word is worth nothing, how can one spin, doubletalk or create a new position? Coleman can’t, we expect him to try to deceive us, he is not believable! In fact every Republican is required to vote the Republican party line on major votes, which Colemans does very loyally. So this election should be about the question, “Should I as a voter re-elect Republican Lock Step Voting Coleman in a failure Republican policy?” Think of this as Coleman getting his final report card. Perhaps others will be more generous, I am giving him an “F”.

editor25 says:

May 7th, 2007 at 8:56 am

Excellent work Eric. Really good analysis. Should be a great race to watch, especially after Tim Waltz’s win in southern Minnesota, and other DFL wins around Rochester.

The Real Me says:

May 7th, 2007 at 9:07 am

I’m really glad you made reference to eventual presence of an Independence Party candidate in the race. The Independence Party is alive and well and will be active in many races.

Interestingtly enough, a Rasmussen Poll awhile ago found that 10 percent of the electrorate would vote third party in a Coleman-Franken race. That’s a really high figure with no identified candidate in the race. With increased dissatisfaction of the entrenched major party candidates, that figure should grow.

We could really shock the world by rejecting the major parties and their blocks of special interests in this U.S. Senate race.

parthian says:

May 7th, 2007 at 9:33 am

Coleman is worthless as a public servant, he has no actual views of his own, sat on his hands chairing the Senate Committee on Investigations, happily defended Bushco creatures like Rove and Bolton, has nothing he is trying to accomplish in the senate and is certainly not viewed as some rising Repub “star” in the senate, despite his craven Bush support.

He’a a Repub placeholder, a cog in the conservative machine, though I’m sure he personally enjoys being a senator. But he’s an ineffectual backbencher who has spent his precious time in the senate taking orders from his masters in Bushco and wetting his pants at the thought of making the malevolent Cheney angry or displeasing moneyman Rove.

For the Minnesota Right, Coleman is simply the talisman or symbol of Team Conservative. They support him because he has the Repub brand stamped on his face. His victory or defeat is simply a referendum on Team Conservative and its crappy “playbook”.

Their “team” has tremendously damaged the country, probably irreversibly, but they’re still cheerin’ it on, and pray for its disastrous victory yet again. Results such as advancing the public good are simply not part of the calculation.

jakenate says:

May 7th, 2007 at 9:52 am

Is it wrong to wish for an Amy Klobuchar clone?

bsimon says:

May 7th, 2007 at 10:17 am

Eric quotes Cullen Sheehan, Coleman’s campaign manager, who says:

“If you’re going to run for office in Minnesota, you have to work hard and let people know what you stand for and what you want to do in office.”

Did he ever answer what it is that Senator Coleman stands for and what the Senator wants to accomplish in the remainder of his first term – much less the 2nd?

At this point, the strongest points Senator Coleman has going for him are Al Franken & Mike Ciresi. Neither appears to be a credible danger to a second Coleman term.

FRESCHFISCH says:

May 7th, 2007 at 11:18 am

We will witness the largest charactor assult ever put upon an incumbant Senator this state or maybe even nation has even had. Many PAC’s and 527′s with the help of the Star Tribune will engage on the biggest smear ever to be seen in Minnesota. You think you’ve seen bias at the Star Tribune in the past, just wait until this race gets in full gear.

This will be the ugliest race we have ever seen.

Justin C. Adams says:

May 7th, 2007 at 11:29 am

Coleman’s 2002 election was not a stunning win for Mr. Coleman.

He won 49.53% in a four-way race. All data from the MN SOS.

Mondale, who ran a two week campaign, took 47.34% Another 0.5% voted for Welstone, presumably by write in or by absentee ballot. The Green Party, which was a major party in 2002, took another 0.45%.

That puts the liberal vote at 48.29%, about 1.25% less than Coleman, even though the DFL’s endorsed candidate, really, their hero, was dead.

In 2002, the election was between two people who used to be DFLers. Mondale, who used to be a DFLer by virtue of his retirement and Coleman, who used to be a DFLer by virtue of his abandoning the party. There was a considerable “he’s not so bad” DFL defection to Norm given the highly unusual circumstances surrounding the 2002 general election.

Coleman will be facing someone who is running a two year, not a two week campaign. He no longer will capture DFL votes on the idea that might turn out to be a RINO. The Democrats won the last US senate election by 20 points in this state. There will be no Green candidate on the ballot unless they collect signatures equivelent to 10% of the vote in the last election in each of our US House districts.

Mondale could win this election this time if he wanted to. The GOP should nominate Arne Carlson or someone else who can cause DFL voters to defect. Failing that, this seat is going to be blue.

I’ll take bets on that… any takers?

Justin C. Adams says:

May 7th, 2007 at 11:33 am

Interesting. I also think this will be among the dirtiest races we’ve ever seen, but I wouldn’t say it’s going to be the Strib’s fault.

What else can you do besides attack ads with millions, tens of millions or hundreds of millions in 527 money?

Besides, if Franken is the candidate, he’ll hit back when the GOP labels him as a carpetbagger or as a generally offensive person.

It’s going to be awesome, if you like politics.

bsimon says:

May 7th, 2007 at 11:45 am

FreschFisch suggests
“We will witness the largest charactor assult ever put upon an incumbant Senator this state or maybe even nation has even had.”

What aspects of Senator Coleman’s character are open for assault? I expect an assault on his voting record in the Senate & his ties to the Bush administration. This may include insinuations that he’s been, for most of his term, little more than a pawn for the Bush team. While this may be definable as a character flaw, I’d hardly call it an unfair character assault. If you can’t challenge an incumbent Senator on their record, on what can you challenge them?

Grace Kelly says:

May 7th, 2007 at 11:51 am

“We will witness the largest charactor assult … Many PAC’s and 527’s with the help of the Star Tribune will engage on the biggest smear ever to be seen in Minnesota. You think you’ve seen bias at the Star Tribune in the past, just wait until this race gets in full gear.”

I agree, the Star & Tribune is owned by the company with very strong Texas oil holdings, which in the past meant putting in their owned media: Republican talking points, Republican words and phrases and only allowing stories favorable to the Republican point of view. We have learned the hard way, that whoever owns the news, controls the news. Well a company of OIL owns the Star&Tribune!

Brian G says:

May 7th, 2007 at 11:53 am

So interesting are the assurtions that Republican Congressmen who happen to vote the way the party leans are nothing but “pawns” for the Bush team.
Unlike our totally independent democrat congress!!! That party has a toe the line or you are out policy. Ask Leiberman.
Watch the media in the future. Watch how they ignore Al Franken’s history. Norm will be fine.

bsimon says:

May 7th, 2007 at 12:04 pm

Brian G writes
“Unlike our totally independent democrat congress!!! That party has a toe the line or you are out policy. Ask Leiberman.”

Well, the Dem party leaders didn’t kick Joe out. The party’s voters kicked Joe out – he lost a primary despite support from party bosses, not because of it. Compare that to Senator Coleman’s first run for the Senate, when, as noted above, it was the party bosses that picked him over Pawlenty. I don’t fully recall the history of Mark Kennedy’s attempt in 2006 – was he a pick by the national party, or did the MN Republicans have a legitimate run for the nomination?

timmer says:

May 7th, 2007 at 12:11 pm

Wow, this was really good research and analysis. Where Minnesotans and the US Senate candidates are on priorities and solutions may determine the outcome, more than party affiliation.

Coleman’s work on UN corruption was followed much more closely overseas (& in New York) than in the US. The international work and reputation places him with a few of our better Senators.

Iraq — not to mention econmomic slowdown — will be the weak spots for him. Unfortunately for the Democrats, they’ve no one to compete.

The state and nation could do much worse than Norm Coleman, even if elected by default.

mark says:

May 7th, 2007 at 12:15 pm

The critical factor in unseating an incumbent is to provide a strong challenger. The DFL does not really have anyone that fits the bill on this issue. Ciresi and Franken are not strong challengers.

Coleman should run pretty much even with Pawlenty in a 2008 three person race. One thing in Justin’s analysis above is that he does not factor in the “Reform” candidate that surely will be in the also ran mix, but carry significant single digit votes.

Norm’s margin of victory will be small, as most statewide Republican victories will be over the next couple of election cycles.

AS far as Arne Carlson, he is not involved in politics and could never receive the GOP endorsement. Further, despite the fact that Carlson could be described as my political model, time has passed Arne by. The days of a person like Carlson dealing with the Democrats have passed because of the unrealistic partisanship and lack of respect that the current DFL/Democrat politician now presents. Spurred on by their Moveon.org type backers and protected by the media, they feel free to spout outrageous lies and insults at President Bush and other Republicans.

All the same, their complete lack of responsibility and hypocrycy sre protected by the same media that spends all of its time attacking George Bush, even using forged documents to make those attacks. Like I said in a previous post, if Mark Foley would have been a Democrat it would never have been a scandal, Foley would have been reelected to his seat, and probably in line for a new committee chairmanship. THe proof is that Gerry Stubbs was never called to task for even more OVERT behaviour.

What the Republicans have learned (many times unfortunately for them) is that you cannot trust the democratic politicians, especially in matters of fiscal policy. THey will guarnatee that if a Republican raises taxes that they will in turn cut spending. The elder Bush learned the hard way that the modern day Democrats are liars that will never fulfill such deals.

Brian G says:

May 7th, 2007 at 12:25 pm

Of course the voters did. But the party abandoned him. I think the party bosses were luke warm on him when Lamont started polling better.
I don’t think Kennedy was a legitimate threat against Amy, especially after her spot about getting the insurance companies to allow new mothers to stay in the hospital and extra day

Dora says:

May 7th, 2007 at 1:02 pm

“But the party abandoned him”

Yeah, that poor endorsed Republican candidate Schlesinger sure was abandoned for Lieberman.

Dora says:

May 7th, 2007 at 1:05 pm

“THe proof is that Gerry Stubbs was never called to task ”

that lie has been debunked previously.

Paul S. says:

May 7th, 2007 at 1:05 pm

b –

“Well, the Dem party leaders didn’t kick Joe out. The party’s voters kicked Joe out…”

Yes. And the point.

Justin C. Adams says:

May 7th, 2007 at 1:25 pm

There were three things missing from my analysis.

One is the Independence party candidate. They polled 2% (even, by kind of a fluke) in 2002, and I believe they improved by about a point in the 2006 Senate election. My analysis is that the Independence party takes roughtly evenly between the two parties, but that Independence Party voters break against the incumbent slightly.

The second thing missing from my analysis is the built in advantage incumbents have.

And the third thing missing is there but not expressed. The idea is that the GOP base for the Senate election cannot be properly guaged based on the 2002 election result. The 2006 election result could stand in, except that there was no incumbent standing for election, which skews the base somewhat (though one would assume that if Klobachar were incumbent, her margin would have been even larger).

So where I’m comming from, it looks like Coleman will have a base that is at least 20 points, and probably 25 points worse than the DFL challenger, before taking into consideration the advantage that incumbents enjoy. This advantage is considerable, certainly – incumbency is just about the best predictor of election results.

But I don’t think it is 20-25 points considerable. Actually, I’m sure it isn’t that much. 10 points maybe.

The IP could make a difference, but I find it highly unlikely, based on past behavour and based on the type of Democratic candidates who won elections in ’06, that the IP would nominate someone to the Left of the DFL.

My guess about the IP candidate is that they will be anti-war, anti-immigrant and pro-fiscal conservatism. Such a candidate would he a horrific complication for Coleman, even if Coleman maintains his social conservative base, and I might be wrong, but I don’t think Coleman is a particular darling there either.

bsimon says:

May 7th, 2007 at 1:46 pm

Interesting analysis Justin. I’m trying to imagine what will inspire GOP/Coleman supporters to the polls. Right now, neither Coleman nor the GOP itself are inspiring much support. I question whether Franken or Ciresi will have high enough negatives to build support for Coleman – i.e. a ‘lesser of two evils’ race. Likewise, the GOP Presidential field, thus far, doesn’t look like its going to inspire a groundswell of support & the potential coat-tails impact. Which leaves us with the Dem candidates. I think the best thing Republican candidates can hope for in 08 is a Dem nomination of Hillary for President. I think only Hillary can drive enough GOP voters to the polls to give Republicans a fighting chance in close races next year.

Brian G says:

May 7th, 2007 at 2:01 pm

“Right now, neither Coleman nor the GOP itself are inspiring much support. I question whether Franken or Ciresi”

Hard to get excited about ’08 at this point. The dems are campaigning like they have a month or two to go. I think it will wear people out.

Bill Prendergast says:

May 7th, 2007 at 2:37 pm

Alright. It’s a long piece. But he did his homework and there’s a lot of useful information in this one. A lot of context that you can’t get from the print edition.

This is good.

Is Norm vulnerable?

Mr. Black already explained how the period between “now” and the election is a political geologic era.

All that the players can do at this point is make different “decision charts” for the different scenarios, and adopt the appropriate course as a particular scenario materializes.

But how vulnerable is Norm? Restate the obvious to answer that: this is not a “safe seat.” There’s gonna be national interest in the results of this race, next time around. So Norm is looking over his shoulder these days–and that’s all anyone can really say that’s for certain.

Paul S. says:

May 7th, 2007 at 2:46 pm

Declarations that Coleman has no political soul and no track record except for obedience miss a few things. One big one is that the Oil-for-Food scandal is centrally important for many people. Coleman’s hearings on it were big for that large group; and, they offer a wealth of marvelous political material too.

The ongoing hollowness of the UN has two facets.

First, there’s the sad reality that many nasty states out there are not interested in using it to find common ground and resolution – rather, it’s a forum to be taken advantage of. (The basic meaning of the Oil-for-Food scandal is the way Hussein had learned to use the institution supposedly watching over him; and he was steadily by 2000 working his way to ending the sanctions and inspections and being back in business, with a ready-to-go and in fact active group of illicit trading partners born of the same regime.)

That doesn’t make the forum worthless, and it’s true that all states use it that way to some extent (including of course the US, and consider that as said with a knowing cynical sneer). But it still falls far short of the ideal that would make it the obvious ultimate authority in all situations. And observing that the US is likewise not a guileless neutral peace-seeker seems to imply that interests are all equivalent; that the US is at best morally no better than Syria or North Korea or Iran and in fact probably worse. Which liberals may believe kind of; but a solid majority of the citizenry does not, and thank goodness.

Second, not unrelated, by and large the UN is useless as arbiter or intervener in any seriously militarily difficult situation: like, when one side really doesn’t want peace and could give a f-f about “peacekeeping” forces.

UN-oriented left-siders don’t like to talk about these facts, but they’re hard to deny, and they get to the emptiness of the most basic and enraged charges a guy like Coleman faces.

So, this stuff might matter and Coleman may be less vulnerable than he appears if he’s able to communicate these issues with any force or eloquence. (It’s not guaranteed.)

Paul S. says:

May 7th, 2007 at 2:49 pm

I would expect that if al Q really exists and is interested, they may try to affect the 2008 election with some major attack – to attempt to keep in place the Republicans, since al Q might perceive the Republicans as more willing to confront, which al Q wants.

bsimon says:

May 7th, 2007 at 3:01 pm

Paul S writes
“So, this stuff might matter and Coleman may be less vulnerable than he appears if he’s able to communicate these issues with any force or eloquence.”

I don’t see those issues resonating with enough Minnesotans to swing an election for or against Sen Coleman. If Sen Coleman tries to portray oil-for-food investigations as his signature issue or crowning achievement in the Senate, we can start calling him a one-term wonder now. He has to convince Minnesotans that he’s the better choice when it comes to Iraq, health care, taxes/economy, gas prices, social security and homeland security. I doubt oil-for-food is on the radar for 99% of MN voters.

Paul S. says:

May 7th, 2007 at 3:22 pm

I think that’s somewhat true, b. It is a reach. Although I’d amend your idea to say that Oil-for-Food is not on the radar screen of 99% of liberals; it is on the radar screen of Coleman’s base – the 33% or so who still don’t hate W, for instance, as the most obvious group. And for that group, Coleman’s role was almost heroic, and will still resonate

What I was trying to get at was the that Oil-for-Food is about a lot more than Oil-for-Food, and at least theoretically offers a powerful counterpunch to the accusations he’ll face. Unfortunately, as you sat, it pretty inevitably would involve rehashing the Iraq war argument, the debate about justifications, and that’s a drag.

On the other hand, Fred Thompson is already providing a pretty muscular model for the kind of thing I have in mind. This one for example at least grazes the topic of “why we did it.”

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MTM1NTg1YjFhMGE5MzZjZDUzNzNhNzdkMjE2YmEyNTY=

Dusty A says:

May 7th, 2007 at 3:27 pm

Declarations that Coleman has no political soul and no record. In fact Coleman voted his belief’s multiple times. Consider his vote against drilling in ANWAR. The party was all for drilling in ANWAR but Coleman wanted more bio-fuels and alternate sources of energy. He voted for debate on the surge. He pushed against running a Train Rail Line right past the Mayo Clinic and through residential neighborhoods in Rochester, even though supporting big Rail could have brought more money into his campaign coffers.

I see Coleman looking at the issues and deciding on them independently and his voting record supports that.

mark says:

May 7th, 2007 at 3:34 pm

“that lie has been debunked previously.

What an incredlible lie this is….Gerry Stubbs, unlike Mark Foley, actually HAD SEXUAL INTERCOURSE with his underage pages. Instead of resigning his seat in disgrace, he was applauded and reelected by his safe liberal district and then given a committee chairmanship to boot.

Gerry Stubbs, standing ovation. Mark Foley, national scandal.

There is no other way to twist and turn these facts. Mark Foley was a major issue in the 2006 campaign. If you look at the Patty Wetterling campaign that was about the ONLY issue. Yet, the Democrats have safely accepted such behaviour, and in fact rewarded it, in their own camps.

Paul S. says:

May 7th, 2007 at 3:35 pm

In fact the more I think about it, since I’m really pretty sure that Coleman does have some substance and is at least a half-serious human being and politician, all these declarations that he has no substance or political soul work to drive me to support him.

jakenate says:

May 7th, 2007 at 3:48 pm

Paul S.:

Now THAT sounds like a ringing endorsement if I’ve ever heard one.

Paul S. says:

May 7th, 2007 at 3:51 pm

They can use it in ads if they want, too.

bsimon says:

May 7th, 2007 at 3:54 pm

mark writes
“Mark Foley was a major issue in the 2006 campaign.”

He was? In the week after the election you said it was Iraq that caused the tidal sweep of GOPers out of the House and Senate. Tell me you’re not changing your story now?

Frankly, the Studds argument is a losing one. You’re ranting about an issue from what, 20 or 30 years ago? Join the 21st century my friend, the times they are a changin’.

mark says:

May 7th, 2007 at 4:00 pm

“In the week after the election you said it was Iraq that caused the tidal sweep of GOPers out of the House and Senate. Tell me you’re not changing your story now? ”

Not changing my story, because in the end I do not believe that the Foley issue really changed any races. However, the way it was presented by the media made it a major issue. For weeks it was the only subject that the popular press covered, mainly because they figured it would hurt Republicans.

bsimon says:

May 7th, 2007 at 4:01 pm

Paul S writes
“I’m really pretty sure that Coleman does have some substance and is at least a half-serious human being and politician.”

Hey, whatever floats your boat, man. I suspect that by the time the 2008 election is in full stride, we’ll have seen Sen Coleman flip-flop on Iraq, at a minimum – he’s virtually promised a change of heart in September. He started distancing himself from President Bush on the announcement of the surge; I suspect we’ll see more and stronger statements of him moving away. When he calls for the resignation of Gonzales, Wolfowitz or Bolton we’ll know the campaign for independance has begun in earnest.

parthian says:

May 7th, 2007 at 4:02 pm

“these declarations….work to drive me to support him”.

There’s the surprise of the day….were you really wavering after Norm’s “almost heroic” (chortle) hearings bravely and controversially denouncing the hated degenerate UN?

Norm is “at least a half serious human being and politician”. Fulsome praise indeed! Does it imply that the ordinary Repub is not even a half serious human being or politician? We may have more grounds of agreement than I expected!

bsimon says:

May 7th, 2007 at 4:06 pm

“For weeks it was the only subject that the popular press covered, mainly because they figured it would hurt Republicans.”

It was? I thought they were covering all sorts of scandals at the time; let me think… There was the Libby trial, the Abramoff revelations, the Cunningham resignation and, oh yeah, Mark Foley. Lets not forget Jefferson either, or the guy from Ohio who had (allegedly) assaulted his mistress. Here in MN they also found time to replay the Dutcher ethanol gaffe ad nauseum, that is, until Hatch sealed his fate with the disparaging remarks about the newsman in Duluth.

But, go ahead and ignore the evidence, I’m sure plenty of people are more than interested in your revisionist history, so spin, spin away…

mark says:

May 7th, 2007 at 4:07 pm

“Does it imply that the ordinary Repub is not even a half serious human being or politician?”

That is half a serious human being ahead of the lala land Democrats.

Paul S. says:

May 7th, 2007 at 4:16 pm

parthian, you see the hearings as playing to his ravenous base and only that. I see them as trying to dig out details that were worth digging out, in small part because of the admittedly futile hope that someone like you would notice the substance in them.

By “support him” I meant in 2008, not support him in the hearings.

parthian says:

May 7th, 2007 at 4:17 pm

Mark Foley was a major issue! It just didn’t change any races!

Yep, a “major issue” that had no effect on a single race. And you talk about lala land….

Paul S. says:

May 7th, 2007 at 4:17 pm

As for 2008, I’ll consider a vote for anyone sane and not obviously full of nonsene and almost nothing else. That’s why I still have hopes for Franken. My gut tells me he gets, it at some level.

Like I mentioned once I think, his appearance on Letterman a while back was a real eye-opener: particularly the fact that when he goes to Iraq or Afghanistan to entertain, he has a bit in which the introduces the “Taliban cheerleaders” and out come some women dressed in the famous pup tents, who proceed to gyrate and whip off the outfits and reveal themselves as the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, dressed according to that tradition.

It actually amazes me that he would do that sketch, and doubly amazes me that he’d select it to show on Letterman. Laughing at Islam – it’s one of the biggest things we have to allow ourselves to do, and never back away from, and he gets that. Wonderful.

mark says:

May 7th, 2007 at 4:25 pm

“But, go ahead and ignore the evidence, I’m sure plenty of people are more than interested in your revisionist history, so spin, spin away… ”

Again, if you actually have studied the issue you would be able to make some actial claims about “spin”. Unfortunately you have not.

To review, I claimed two things about why the Republicans lost.

1. The Republicans lost one Senate seat (Montana) and 7 House seats because of scandal. OH-18, PA-7, NY-24, NY-20, PA-10, TX-22, and FL-16 were all solid Republican seats lost because of the personal conduct of the incumbent that voters rightfully held them accountable.

2. The Iraq War issue swung several swing districts and DEmocratic leaning House seats for the Democrats. The list of seats that are part of this group includes MN-1 (Gil Guteneckt) IN-8, IA-1, NH-2, IN-2, IN-9, CT-5, KY-3, CT-2 and FL-22.

Specific examples include Nancy Johnson in CT-5 who lost her seat representing western CT after 20 years in Congress. If you believe that any of the issue you listed above impacted Johnson’s race you are plain talking nonsense. She narroly lost because she sat in a district that voted 49-49 Bush/Kerry in 2004 that swung the other way because of Iraq War weariness.

Almost every seat lost by the Republicans was held by a “moderate”. Very few, if any, idealogical Republicans lost their seat in the 2006 elections. Rick Santorum was perhaps the only obvious example.

bsimon says:

May 7th, 2007 at 4:25 pm

Paul S writes
“That’s why I still have hopes for Franken. My gut tells me he gets, it at some level.”

I agree; I think he gets it – actually I think he gets it far more than he gets credit for. But I don’t expect to vote for him.

Paul S. says:

May 7th, 2007 at 4:28 pm

Really? Why? Too unserious or something? You mean you’ll support another Democrat?

mark says:

May 7th, 2007 at 4:28 pm

“Yep, a “major issue” that had no effect on a single race”

You seem to miss the language I attached to the subject, with the Patty Wetterling reference included. I thought the claim was the liberals are so “nuanced”.

bsimon says:

May 7th, 2007 at 4:33 pm

mark, you keep changing your story. In this very thread, you first said “Mark Foley was a major issue in the 2006 campaign.” Then you said “For weeks it was the only subject that the popular press covered.” Then you claim, in your 4:25 post that a bunch of races were “lost because of the personal conduct of the incumbent.”

Which is it? Was Mark Foley a major issue? The only race you mention is Wetterling-Bachmann – in which case Foley clearly did not help a Dem defeat a Republican.

bsimon says:

May 7th, 2007 at 4:35 pm

“Why? Too unserious or something? You mean you’ll support another Democrat?”

No, I haven’t voted for a DFL candidate for statewide office since 1996 or so. I’ll likely vote IP again.

Dora says:

May 7th, 2007 at 4:38 pm

bsimon said: “You’re ranting about an issue from what, 20 or 30 years ago?”

Not only that but a simple google will demonstrate that the rantings are false.

Paul S. says:

May 7th, 2007 at 4:46 pm

Oh, right. Or left or center. What’s so unpalatable about DFL statewide candidates?

mark says:

May 7th, 2007 at 5:01 pm

“Not only that but a simple google will demonstrate that the rantings are false”

And, please, demonstrate which factual claim I made is false? That he received a standing ovation, that he we overwhelmingly reelected? That, despite a meaningless censure, he never resigned his seat? That he received a committee chairmanship after the incident? That he had sexual relations with a 17 year old page?

I am not sure what you claim is “false” from the above, but clearly it is all true.

Bill Prendergast says:

May 7th, 2007 at 5:03 pm

Mark wrote:
“Almost every seat lost by the Republicans was held by a “moderate”. Very few, if any, idealogical Republicans lost their seat in the 2006 elections.”

Well, that is the prevailing political wisdom–but it begs the question: if the election results show that conservatism is the real strength of the GOP, why isn’t the GOP running more conservatives now?

Look at all the GOP frontrunners for the presidency now. Liberal Republicans, trying to convince the rank-and-file that they’re far more conservative than their records and rhetoric indicate. And the conservative rank-and-file rejecting that pose, driving around “No Rudy McRomney” bumper stickers.

If it’s true that the last elections showed conservatism is still the winning ticket for the party, shouldn’t we see a Gingrich type running out front now?

One possible explanation: the GOP’s conservative powerbrokers have *already* written off the possibility of taking the White House next time. They think that “Rudy McRomney” will be beaten, and they think that any “true GOP conservative” is unelectable against any liberal Dem nominee. So–they pump up the liberal Republicans for a dead-end run–those guys lose–and then say “I told you so, the loss of a lib Republican validates the conservative strategy,” and bingo! the conservatives are firmly back in the driver’s seat again, disastrous war legacy or no.

Not a bad little plan, if that’s what’s going on. Why back a “real” conservative, if they believe that a real conservative can’t win next time around? It would look awful for them, if a “real conservative” candidate lost–and the last thing they need is the odor of failure to get even stinkier.

Back to Norm–he’s paddling to the middle; he doesn’t think the way to win is to sound more “Bush-like.” The MN conservatives will vote for him regardless; they’re in the bag. All he has to do to keep them there is make a few personal appearances at GOP events to reassure them, like he did with Bachmann recently. (No tape recorders or video cameras of that speech allowed, though. We tried.) What he says to the press and swing voters and what he actually does with his powers of office is a very different story from conservativism–a very middle of the road, non-committal story.

bsimon says:

May 7th, 2007 at 5:08 pm

“What’s so unpalatable about DFL statewide candidates?”

Most spew the same tired talking ‘us vs. them’ talking points that the Repubs spew the opposite of. I don’t think Hatch, for example, had any really interesting, visionary proposals for MN. Sen Klobuchar toes the ‘out of Iraq now’ line – I disagree. In those cases my politics are much closer to those of Hutchinson & Fitzgerald.

I suspect that Franken will stick to the meat ‘n potatoes issues as well; I expect whoever runs for the IP will be more rational than either of the DFLers running now or Coleman.

bsimon says:

May 7th, 2007 at 5:20 pm

Bill P writes
“Well, that is the prevailing political wisdom–but it begs the question: if the election results show that conservatism is the real strength of the GOP, why isn’t the GOP running more conservatives now?”

Well, much like the most liberal of Democrats run in the ‘safe’ seats, likewise for the most conservative of Republicans. With a little creative gerrymandering, we can have the extremes of Bachmann and Ellison safely going to Congress representing adjacent seats. Sadly, the moderates only end up being viable candidates in swing districts, which has the bizarre effect of putting one extreme or other into power. A couple moderate Republicans lose a handful of swing districts and the extremely conservative congressional leadership is tossed in favor of new liberals. Try as they might, moderates will never run the show – they’ll only tip the balance to one extreme or the other.

Dora says:

May 7th, 2007 at 5:29 pm

Revising yet another post, eh mark? Two in one thread. And just to clarify, he never received a standing ovation from Congress and when he was censured he was stripped of his chairmanship.

Dora says:

May 7th, 2007 at 5:32 pm

BTW mark, that committee chairmanship “after the incident” was 10 years later.

Cash N. Carey says:

May 7th, 2007 at 5:52 pm

And who will beat Coleman? Any serious democrat contenders out there? Anyone? Bueller?

And the libs can always dream about winning the white house, Hillary has negatives going to Bush levels already!

RLW says:

May 7th, 2007 at 5:59 pm

From an article by Scott Ritter, about the oil for food program–in case you’re wondering why Norm and just about everyone else dropped the subject:

The oil-for-food programme was derived from the US-sponsored Security Council resolution, passed in April 1995 but not implemented until December 1996. During this time, the CIA sponsored two coup attempts against Saddam, the second, most famously, a joint effort with the British that imploded in June 1996, at the height of the “oil for food” implementation negotiations. The oil-for-food programme was never a sincere humanitarian relief effort, but rather a politically motivated device designed to implement the true policy of the United States – regime change.

Through various control mechanisms, the United States and Great Britain were able to turn on and off the flow of oil as they saw best. In this way, the Americans were able to authorise a $1bn exemption concerning the export of Iraqi oil for Jordan, as well as legitimise the billion-dollar illegal oil smuggling trade over the Turkish border, which benefited NATO ally Turkey as well as fellow regime-change plotters in Kurdistan. At the same time as US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was negotiating with Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov concerning a Russian-brokered deal to end a stand-off between Iraq and the UN weapons inspectors in October-November 1997, the United States turned a blind eye to the establishment of a Russian oil company set up on Cyprus.

This oil company, run by Primakov’s sister, bought oil from Iraq under “oil for food” at a heavy discount, and then sold it at full market value to primarily US companies, splitting the difference evenly with Primakov and the Iraqis. This US-sponsored deal resulted in profits of hundreds of million of dollars for both the Russians and Iraqis, outside the control of “oil for food”. It has been estimated that 80 per cent of the oil illegally smuggled out of Iraq under “oil for food” ended up in the United States.

Likewise, using its veto-wielding powers on the 661 Committee, set up in 1990 to oversee economic sanctions against Iraq, the United States was able to block billions of dollars of humanitarian goods legitimately bought by Iraq under the provisions of the oil-for-food agreement. And when Saddam proved too adept at making money from kickbacks, the US and Britain devised a new scheme of oil sales which forced potential buyers to commit to oil contracts where the price would be set after the oil was sold, an insane process which quickly brought oil sales to a halt, starving the oil-for-food programme of money to the point that billions of dollars of humanitarian contracts could not be paid for by the United Nations.

The corruption evident in the oil-for-food programme was real, but did not originate from within the United Nations, as Norm Coleman and others are charging. Its origins are in a morally corrupt policy of economic strangulation of Iraq implemented by the United States as part of an overall strategy of regime change. Since 1991, the United States had made it clear – through successive statements by James Baker, George W Bush and Madeleine Albright – that economic sanctions, linked to Iraq’s disarmament obligation, would never be lifted even if Iraq fully complied and disarmed, until Saddam Hussein was removed from power. This policy remained unchanged for over a decade, during which time hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died as a result of these sanctions.

mark says:

May 7th, 2007 at 6:04 pm

“if the election results show that conservatism is the real strength of the GOP, why isn’t the GOP running more conservatives now?”

I never claimed this point and do not see how you could conclude that from my statements. What I did say was that the in the 2006 elections the Republican incumbents who lost their seats came primarily from districts that actually lean Democrat or were swing districts.

Most of the ideaological conservatives retained their seats because they come from very safe, conservative districts.

“Liberal Republicans, trying to convince the rank-and-file that they’re far more conservative than their records and rhetoric indicate.”

Well, frankly, it has never been my position that the Republicans have ever been “taken over” or are in threat of being taken over by the evangelicals. That is your position.

That these guys are the current front runners now is not surprising because Guiliani and McCain have the most name recognition. One aspect of the Republican nomination process that is interesting is that the geographical distribution of the early primaries may keep the race open for a longer period of time than in previous election cycles, more similar to teh Democratic process in 1992.

Your little conspiracy theory is just that, I suggest you pass it on to Rosie O’Donnell before she leaves The View.

“Revising yet another post, eh mark?”

I fail to see were I revised? For example, you claim that I “lied” in stating that he received a standing ovation from Congtess, but I never stated that. You completely added that in your own little mind. The fact is that after he was censured he received a standing ovation from his liberal supporters back in his district.

“BTW mark, that committee chairmanship “after the incident” was 10 years later. ”

I guess that is a long enough waiting period for such activities! Glad he was not a Republican and forced to resign!

RLW says:

May 7th, 2007 at 6:06 pm

Scott Ritter was a Marine Corps intelligence officer from 1984-1991, and a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991-1998, so perhaps it would be wise to carefully consider what he has to say on the subject.

parthian says:

May 7th, 2007 at 6:07 pm

Mark, is it true that Studds was stripped of a chairmanship by the Dems as part of his censure and you decided to omit that bit of information in your rant? And that the chairmanship you refer to “after the incident” actually occurred 10 years later, as Dora says?

Did you know these facts when you wrote your comment? If so, your post at 5:01 is intentionally misleading and more evidence of your extraordinary intellectual dishonesty.

John E Iacono says:

May 7th, 2007 at 6:13 pm

TO EB:

Another excellent piece of research and reporting. As usual.

My reaction:

If EB had not written it, I would not have bothered to read it: Fun for the pols and pundits, but it’s MUCH too early for any real prognostications, as he more than once mentions.

Bill Prendergast says:

May 7th, 2007 at 6:45 pm

Bill:
“Liberal Republicans, trying to convince the rank-and-file that they’re far more conservative than their records and rhetoric indicate.”

Mark:
Well, frankly, it has never been my position that the Republicans have ever been “taken over” or are in threat of being taken over by the evangelicals. That is your position.

Your reply is a non sequitur, Mark, and it also oversimplifies my view–but you never let that slow you down before.

As for my “conspiracy theory” about conservative strategists writing off the White House and allowing liberal Republicans to run because they believe any GOP candidate is certain to fail–well, we shall see. There is a very fine, presidential looking portrait of “liberal Republican til about twenty minutes ago” Mitt Romney on the cover of this month’s National Review.

Dora says:

May 7th, 2007 at 6:58 pm

Mark misrepresents: “For example, you claim that I “lied” in stating that he received a standing ovation from Congtess,”

Nope, didn’t say that. I said I was clarifying it, not that you said it.

This is what I said you lied about.

Dora says:

May 7th, 2007 at 1:05 pm

“THe proof is that Gerry Stubbs was never called to task ”

that lie has been debunked previously.

He was censured and stripped of his chairmanship and didn’t get another for 10 years. Whether you think that’s long enough is immaterial. He was “called to task”. No way you can spin your way out of that misrepresentation.

parthian, he knew those facts because I had posted the information before with a link that verifies it. The only new information I added was how long before he was a committee chair.

O.T. says:

May 7th, 2007 at 9:56 pm

For some reason, I don’t think O’Brien will run this Nihilist blog post this Saturday- what do you think?

Top 11 Plans to Cut Costs at the Star Tribune
11) Fire reporters, publish DFL press releases verbatim

10) Fire editorial board, start plagiarizing Henrik Hertzberg again

9) Fire columnists, hire $50 hobby columnists

8) Start delivering Star Tribune to pubic restrooms as toilet paper, include them in subscription numbers

7) To save newsprint costs, enforce strict one syllable limit on all words

6) Lobby legislature to make it a felony to take more than one paper from boxes without paying

5) Use Par Ridder’s password to hack into Pioneer Press computers and just run their stories

4) Have Lileks drive delivery truck after he’s done reporting for the day

3) Double efforts in ignoring investigation into radical Muslims in the Twin Cities

2) Replace Paul Douglas with a monkey who throws darts to predict the weather

1) Make the writer of the Blog House column also start writing an Out House column about interesting political commentary written on public bathroom stalls

Bill Prendergast says:

May 7th, 2007 at 10:17 pm

Fifty dollars to be a hobby columnist? That’s all the Beefaroni I can eat! Sign me up!

mark says:

May 8th, 2007 at 1:39 pm

“He was censured and stripped of his chairmanship and didn’t get another for 10 years”

Oh, poor Gerry. A censure is almost a meaningless gesture, especially for someone from a safe liberal district were having sexual relations with your minor page is not thought to be a bad thing.

Again, the claim still stands. If Mark Foley would have been a Democrat he would still be in Congress.

Dora says:

May 8th, 2007 at 2:25 pm

Nobody said it wasn’t a bad thing mark. And what is also a bad thing is your misrepresentation of it as well as your bizarre, not to mention baseless, claim that if Mark Foley were a Democrat he would still be in Congress. Especially since the GOP didn’t make him resign and they covered up for him for years instead of disciplining him in any way. Gerry was censured and never engaged in any questionable behavior with pages again. Foley was a problem that the GOP leadership knew about for years and hushed up and they gave him the chairmanship of a committee having to do with child exploitation.

I see you blew by parthian’s question. Of course you did because to answer would only underscore your extraordinary intellectual dishonesty as he pointed out.

O.T. says:

May 8th, 2007 at 3:46 pm

Has Foley been charged yet with anything? Just wondering- I haven’t been following it.

mark says:

May 8th, 2007 at 3:56 pm

“Did you know these facts when you wrote your comment? If so, your post at 5:01 is intentionally misleading and more evidence of your extraordinary intellectual dishonesty.”

Your claims are what is intellectually dishonest. The claim that it is intentionally misleading is false.

Here is the “5:01″ post:

And, please, demonstrate which factual claim I made is false? That he received a standing ovation, that he we overwhelmingly reelected? That, despite a meaningless censure, he never resigned his seat? That he received a committee chairmanship after the incident? That he had sexual relations with a 17 year old page?

Notice that I stated, explicitly, that he received a committee charmanship AFTER the incident. That you continue to try to make points about this is incredible. NOTHING I stated was false or misleading. YOu are just truing to ofuscate the facts of the matter.

There is absolutely no evidence that the GOP “covered up” Mark Foley. In fact, the evidence all indicates that the entire Foley incident was handled appropriately by GOP leadership.

Again, if Mark Foley is a Democrat he skates by. The press makes absolutely no issue about it. And he never resigns and maintains his seat. That is the precedent that the Democrats have set.

parthian says:

May 8th, 2007 at 3:57 pm

“The claim still stands.”

Delusional people who willfully ignore and omit relevant facts and set up false, baseless equivalencies make all sorts of “claims”.

They just have no credibility.

mark says:

May 8th, 2007 at 4:20 pm

“Your reply is a non sequitur, Mark, and it also oversimplifies my view”

That is a joke. You have posted over and over again about how the Republican Party is being taken over by Dobson and his minions. That they are secretly infiltrating the entire party so that they can espouse their evangelical philosophy.

Then you further reveal your thoughts on this matter with your little conspiracy theory about how the “evil” conservatives who control the Republican party are going to let a “liberal” Republican win this time because they are bound to lose.

Now you claim that to take you at your word is an oversimplification. Wonderful. I invite the other posters on this board to review the prodigious amount of posting Bill P. has done and verify this conclusion.

“There is a very fine, presidential looking portrait of “liberal Republican til about twenty minutes ago” Mitt Romney on the cover of this month’s National Review. ”

That you make a big issue of these trends seriously reveals your ignorance about politics. Everyone, well it is obvious that not everyone because Bill P. (and most likely his fellow travelers here) does not, understands that the nomination process is a PARTY event and that because it is dominated by party insiders that it is necessary for a candidate to move in the general party direction.

For Democrats, they will campaign for the nomination of a much more liberal “platform” of issues than they will in the general election. Likewise, the Republicans will campaign for the nomination on a more conservative platform.

In each nomination cycle there will be a few candidates that stake out counterprevailing position, but these types of candidates will never win the nomination.

“Delusional people who willfully ignore and omit relevant facts and set up false, baseless equivalencies make all sorts of “claims”.”

Whatever, the fact is that it is you that is delusional. The facts were not WILLFULLY ignored or otherwise. For example, on the BIG issue that you make about committee chairmanship I EXPLICITLY stated he was granted this AFTER he was censured. This is more than SUFFICIENT information.

All of your little rebuttals are specious. They do not discuss facts, policy, or anything substantial. The only point you can make is your own subjective view of whether I “willfully ignored” or omitted relevant information.

These types of approaches are tantamount to correcting spellign and grammar, and is the approach total losers with nothing to add to the discussion take.

Bill Prendergast says:

May 8th, 2007 at 4:32 pm

Mark–

You sound angry.

bsimon says:

May 9th, 2007 at 9:38 am

Bill, a lot of conservatives are getting angry as they watch the slow-motion implosion of the Bush Administration destroying decades of effort. They’re trying to pretend that the Bush Administration is still an effective, competent group that’s promoting good conservative ideals when, in reality it is none of those things. The dreams of a new, permanent Republican majority in Congress are long gone, as are the goals of dismantling the social programs introduced in the New Deal. The most frustrating part is that they were sooo close. Failure is so much more bitter when you first have a small taste of sweet victory.

mark says:

May 9th, 2007 at 10:29 am

“as are the goals of dismantling the social programs introduced in the New Deal”

THese types of statements reveal that you really do not know what you are talking about. OTher than a reform of Social Security, which was also a goal of Bill Clinton (even though he did nothing about it either), there has been no “dismantling” planned.

How anyone with a straightface can make these types of comments about a President who expanded government spending beyond what Bill Clinton did is remarkable.

Further, how the fiction that Bush came into office with a conservative agenday to dismantle the Bill of Rights and the New Deal can be treated as a mainstream fact just shows how far the country has sunk into partisan politics.

What has happened is that Bush refused to worry about public opinion and has done what he believes is right for the nation. That is called leadership. Unfortunately the American electorate does not have patience to win a war anymore, so the Democrats have come to the “rescue” to try and secure our second national defeat without ever losing a battle.

And, as far as being angry, nah. I am pointing out the mental defects of these people and that is actually very enjoyable for me.

Dora says:

May 9th, 2007 at 10:40 am

mark, Alice has saved you a place at her tea party and has a very nice hat for you to wear.

mark says:

May 9th, 2007 at 10:52 am

“mark, Alice has saved you a place at her tea party and has a very nice hat for you to wear.”

As usual, that is a real substantive comment. You cannot argue the facts at all so you throw such intelligent commetns as that out there.

Again, the unemployment rate in the United States is 4.5%. This is a remarkable achievement and something that should be praised, as it was during the Clinton Administration. But, it is just ignored.

bsimon says:

May 9th, 2007 at 11:01 am

mark writes
“THese types of statements reveal that you really do not know what you are talking about. OTher than a reform of Social Security… there has been no “dismantling” planned.”

Ok, so other than dismantling the major social program of the new deal, I am totally wrong about Bush’s agenda to dismantle social programs from the new deal? You are like a dog chasing his tail, who suprises himself how much it hurts when he catches it.

mark says:

May 9th, 2007 at 11:25 am

“Ok, so other than dismantling the major social program of the new deal, I am totally wrong about Bush’s agenda to dismantle social programs from the new deal?”

Whatever, reviewing Social Security has been an issue for a long time prior to George Bush taking office. Everyone has been in basic agreement that the current system is not well suited for the modern age and that certain changes would be required to make it functional.

What is distressing is that these logical and necessary proposals, are treated in such a partisan manner. Instead on analyzing the changes the opponents use the word “dismantle” and other similar words (which is ridiculous because nothing of the sort has ever been proposed, at least NOT by the Bush Administration).

All of your comments on this issue, bSimon, are just the same old scare people rhetoric that has minimal intellectual content.

I am sure that your counter, joined by Dora, will be that somewhere in the post I misspelled a word or used incorrect grammar, or that maybe I said “after” instead of using an explicit statement on the amount of time after.

YOu used to make substantive comments but now you are more or less just spouting rhetoric that has no basis in reality.

mark says:

May 9th, 2007 at 11:29 am

If you want to really read about the proposed changes check out the website for teh commission on Social Security, chaired by that evil New Deal dismantler Daniel Patrick Monyihan. Because you seem to be so undeducted about this issue, I will even give you the link as a public service:

http://www.csss.gov/index.html

Dora says:

May 9th, 2007 at 12:21 pm

“instead of using an explicit statement on the amount of time after.”

After all, you wouldn’t want to be too explicit. That’s not the “loyal Bushie” way after all. Must leave some weasle room in your statements.

My statement about joining Alice’s tea party is a substantive comment about the wonderland quality of your posts which are actually fact-less.

Dora says:

May 9th, 2007 at 12:25 pm

And Bush followed those recommendations of that bipartisan commission just like he followed the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.

bsimon says:

May 9th, 2007 at 12:35 pm

Mark writes
“YOu used to make substantive comments but now you are more or less just spouting rhetoric that has no basis in reality.”

If you will review my 9:38 post, you will see that I was merely observing that conservatives are in denial about how much of a self-inflicted wound the Bush Administration has been to Conservatism. Thank you for proving the point.

Regarding other details, perhaps you find my use of the word ‘dismantling’ inappropriate to describe long-held conservative goals if drastically reducing or eliminating entitlement programs; given the proposal to replace the social security safety net with a privatized retirement savings program, the term is quite accurate.

mark says:

May 9th, 2007 at 4:29 pm

“you will see that I was merely observing that conservatives are in denial about how much of a self-inflicted wound the Bush Administration has been to Conservatism.”

And that would be? If you are going to make the claim, make a claim. Just making a statement is meaningless. I will help you in the Socratic method.

Lets start from the beginning.

1. Is the Bush Administration “conservative”?

2. How has the Bush Administration been a “self inflicted” wound?

Now some specifics.

3. What programs has the Bush Adminstration favored “drastic” reduction?

4. What entitlements has the Bush Administration proposed eliminating?

5. What is Bush’s proposal with respect to Social Security?

I will be curious to see what your factual answers are to these questions, even though the answers will make your propositions seem silly, since there really is no evidence about “dismantling”, drastically reducing, or eliminating anything. In fact, it has been your contention that the Bush Administration’s policy on spending has been reckless. Now they are “slashers and burners”? Lets be consistent in our statements, please.

bsimon says:

May 9th, 2007 at 5:23 pm

The only relevant question to my original post is #2. In that regard, conservatives pushed the Bush admin over better candidates. The party’s leaders thought the Bush years would lead to a permanent republican majority in Congress. 6 months ago we saw an end to that dream. In 18 months we’ll likely see an end to the GOP in the White House for a while. What I suspect will happen is the Republican party will start breaking into factions based on social conservatism vs. fiscal conservatism. Personally I hope the fiscal conservatives win, as they serve a valid function in keeping the Dems from going hog-wild with social programs. But, the point is, with the President at Carter-level approval ratings and essentially nobody in the party offering alternative leadership, I don’t see the GOP recovering in time to win substantial victories in 2008.

bsimon says:

May 10th, 2007 at 12:08 pm

In other news, House GOP moderates (including Rep Jim Ramstad (MN))agree with bsimon…

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/09/AR2007050902461.html?nav=hcmodule

House Republican moderates… warned President Bush this week that his pursuit of the war in Iraq is risking the future of the Republican Party and that he cannot count on GOP support for many more months.

mark says:

May 10th, 2007 at 3:17 pm

“The party’s leaders thought the Bush years would lead to a permanent republican majority in Congress”

Some party leaders talked about this but there is no such thing as a “permament majority”. Political winds blow and there are cyclical processes in the electorate that make this a virtual impossiblity.

“In that regard, conservatives pushed the Bush admin over better candidates”

Like? If you are going to make this claim then you should cite an example of one conservative candidate that the Bush Administratin pushed over a better candidate. In fact, it is almost the opposite, and the Bush Administation has pushed more moderate and electable candidates over more conservative candidates in several contests; the most famous one locally is the Administration pushing Coleman over Pawlenty for the 2002 Senate race.
(If I am misundertanding by what you mean by this, let me know because your comment is somewhat ambiguous).

“18 months we’ll likely see an end to the GOP in the White House for a while”

Aain, this is highly speculative at this point. However, there is a great deal of subjectivity to your claim.

For one thing, it is incredibly difficult to make this claim given the information known right now. For example, looking at statewide polling reveals the opposite. In the most recent Quinnipiac Pollin (4/19) Rudy Guiliani has a 9 point lead over Hillary Clinton in a head to head race. This is a state that Kerry beat Bush 53-46 in 2004.

Guiliani leads Clinton/Obabma/Edwards by similar margins in the most recent Q Polls in Conneticut (Kerry 54-44) and Pennsylvania (Kerry 51-49).

” I don’t see the GOP recovering in time to win substantial victories in 2008. ”

The facts posted above shows the reason why YOU don’t see this; your vision is clouded.

mark says:

May 10th, 2007 at 3:22 pm

To add another point, I do agree that hte Iraq War has damaged the Republican Party. As I have demonstrated, the GOP has lost many seats that they will never be able to recover.

The example I have cited several times (demonstrating the ridiculous notion that Republicans LOST for being too conservative (bSimon’s view) or NOT CONSERVATIVE enough (the right wing media’s view)) is CT-5. Nancy Johnson had been the Congresswoman from this district since the 1980′s and usually won with comfortable margins. She is a Republican in the mold of Chris Shay (who barely retained his seat) and represented more of a Democratic distict than it was Republican.

This seat was not a Republican seat, it was Nancy Johnson’s. Without her on the ticket the Republicans have little chance of ever getting the right combination of circumstances to ever win this seat again.

bsimon says:

May 10th, 2007 at 3:49 pm

Mark writes (starting by quoting me)
““In that regard, conservatives pushed the Bush admin over better candidates”

Like? If you are going to make this claim then you should cite an example of one conservative candidate that the Bush Administratin pushed over a better candidate. In fact, it is almost the opposite, and the Bush Administation has pushed more moderate and electable candidates over more conservative candidates in several contests; the most famous one locally is the Administration pushing Coleman over Pawlenty for the 2002 Senate race.
(If I am misundertanding by what you mean by this, let me know because your comment is somewhat ambiguous).”

You misread. I said conservative selected Bush Admin over better candidates, which is a subjective observation, that doesn’t say anything about candidates the Bush admin pushes. In other words, I think the fools (another subjective assessment) who picked Bush in the 2000 GOP Pres Primary are to blame for the colossal failures of the Bush admin, though the voters in the general elections of 2000 & 2004 share the blame. The Bush admin hand picking candidates like Coleman, Bachmann & M.Kennedy in MN races is unrelated to my original comment.

“The facts posted above shows the reason why YOU don’t see this; your vision is clouded.”

So says the guy who predicted the 2006 election results poorly & thinks Michele Bachmann will beat Klobuchar for her seat in 2012.

bsimon says:

May 10th, 2007 at 3:54 pm

“(demonstrating the ridiculous notion that Republicans LOST for being too conservative (bSimon’s view)”

I don’t think I said that. Though without defining ‘conservative’ its hard to say. Perhaps my writing is too nuanced for you. I think the Republican party’s failings are primarily of failure to deliver on their fiscal promises; secondly to pander too much to the social conservatives. In other words, they talk loud & long about cutting spending & running government responsibly, but when they’re in power, can’t help but fill appropriations bills with record-setting amounts of pork. The moderate swing voters who they convinced with their ‘tax and spend liberals’ rhetoric have seen they were duped & swung back to the other party. As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, the swingers will continue their pendulum actions as each party oversteps.

mark says:

May 10th, 2007 at 4:02 pm

” I said conservative selected Bush Admin over better candidates”

LOL….like? George Bush is a two term President. That is a very succesful selection. Anyone in the GOP that blames him for the 2006 results have very short memories because he was a major political force in the 2000, 2002, and 2004 elections. As a political leader in this case (looking at elections beyond his own) he was much more succesful than Bill Clinton, who lost the Congress in 1994.

“So says the guy who predicted the 2006 election results poorly”

And the basis of this claim is? What evidence do you have that I predicted the 2006 elections poorly?

If memory serves me correctly I nailed the Pawlenty-Hatch matchup exactly (in contrast with the Minnesota Poll results which showed an easy Hatch victory, or do you not recall those extensive results).

Again, contrary to the Minnesota Poll which showed Wetterling ahead I also predicted correctly that Bachmann would win.

In the state of Minnesota the only conrgressional race that I did not correctly call was Gil Gutenecht (even though I am pretty certain I never published anything on this race) and I realized that Gil was in big trouble late in the race.

On a national front, about the only race I did not predict correctly was George Allen in Virginia and my estimate of the number of seats the GOP would lose was reasonably correct.

Unlike you, when I do analysis I do not let my subjective opinions color the predictiveness of my estimates. Therefore, if the data shows that the opposition is going to win, that is what I state.

bsimon says:

May 10th, 2007 at 4:15 pm

“And the basis of this claim is? What evidence do you have that I predicted the 2006 elections poorly?”

My memory is that you predicted a smaller Dem takeover of the house & the Repubs holding the Senate.

“LOL….like? George Bush is a two term President.”

Is that how you measure who is the best person for the job? My contention is that George Bush was a short-sighted selection. Further, I contend that he has done more harm than good to the causes held near and dear to conservatives’ hearts, generally, and to the Republican party in particular.

mark says:

May 10th, 2007 at 4:36 pm

“the Repubs holding the Senate. ”

Of course, because I predicted that George Allen would win.

“My memory is that you predicted a smaller Dem takeover of the house ”

And, my memory is that I never explicitly stated a number but I thought it would be slightly lower than what the actual results were.

Like the above, I was more interested in actual congressional matchups rather than overall counts. I missed five congressional races from those that were considered “tight”:

MN-1, NH-2, FL-22 and KY-3 and I predicted that the Republicans would win GA-12.

There maybe a couple of others, but those I did indeed miss.

mark says:

May 10th, 2007 at 4:52 pm

“My contention is that George Bush was a short-sighted selection.”

ok…that is your “contention”. Since you do not elaborate on this I basically can only state this is a weak contention.

Again, it is difficult to claim that George Bush is a “failed” presidency without resorting to the false media claims that you continue to parrot.

Overall, the economic performance during the periods of this administration have been very good. The foreign policy performance has been very radical, successful in some areas like Afghanastan and incomplete in Iraq.

The kindergarten level flailings against Bush really do not hold water. Examples of these:

Bush has wrecked our standing amongst the world can easily be countered by the fact that two of those supposed countries have elected leaders that ran on closer ties to the US (France and Germany).

Bush did not have a “plan” for the occupation of Iraq. There was a plan, but like most war planning the plans really were obsolete once the actual operation took place.

With Iraq, there have been mistakes made, although what the people who admonish these mistakes fail to realize is that most of the mistakes have very valid reasoning, and the underlying basis of most of these mistaken decisions was to minimize US and Iraqi casaulties.

For example, the most commonly cited mistake waw the “de-Baathification” of the Iraq Army, security forces, and political administration. What the pundits fail to recognize is that this was done for very valid reasons and with the understanding that this would extend the timeframe for completeing the mission.

The reasons for de-Baathification are simple. If the US left the Sunnis, many of them with blood on their hands, in control there would be a perception that nothing had changed, and in the event of some sort of incident involving these forces the public relations fallout would be immense. To get a taste of this, consider how the left-wing press/academics hiss about how the US employed ex-Nazis (many with blood on their hands) after WWII.

AS far as the timeline assumptions, this is obvious. Instead of taking the short cut and utilizing the existing cadre of army officers, trained soldiers, trained police, and trained administrators these would have to be developed from scratch from a population that had went three decades without major participation in these activities.

What is really happening here is that the political opposition of George Bush has lost its ability to reason and to accept the valid positions and views of those who do not hold the same as they do. If you decision turns out to be a bad one the Democrats and their fellow travelers are going to criticize you, call you incompetent, etc. The problem with their views is that it is total hindsight.

The problem with this persepective is that bad outcomes do not mean that the correct decision was not made. The best analogy of this is a baseball manager selecting a pinch hitter. If the pinch hitter strikes out that does not mean that the manager did not make the correct decision, as many times in decisions made with uncertain outcomes the best decion will lead to the worst outcome.

Dora says:

May 10th, 2007 at 5:24 pm

“The problem with their views is that it is total hindsight”

No, actually it was foresight. There were many people warning before the war that what has happened would happen.

bsimon says:

May 11th, 2007 at 9:06 am

Mark, I have neither the time nor inclination to continue to debunk your mistaken assertions, beyond pointing out that you attribute others’ statements to me.

Dora says:

May 11th, 2007 at 9:34 am

Is it just “pundits” saying de-baathification was a mistake, mark?

Why, no it isn’t! Back on Capitol Hill, Bremer Is Facing a Cooler Reception

“When Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, now the top military commander in Iraq, testified before the Senate last month, he called the occupation authority’s “de-Baathification” and dissolution of Iraq’s army two of the most “significant mistakes the U.S. has made to date in Iraq.”

Perhaps you should share your baseball analogy with Petraeus.

bsimon says:

May 11th, 2007 at 12:24 pm

Uh oh, it looks like Dora pulled out an ACTUAL fact. I suspect it will not generate a response.

mark says:

May 11th, 2007 at 12:28 pm

“Perhaps you should share your baseball analogy with Petraeus. ”

No, I believe they were mistakes also. The fundamental basis of my belief in that this decision was a mistake is that there were elements that could be used at least in parts of Iraq and that any potential PR problems balanced the advantage of having a ready made security force.

However, what I reject from people like you is the claim that such a decision was “incompetent”. It was done for very valid reasons.

“There were many people warning ”

Again, this is complete hindsight. There are people warning us right now about thousands of events that will never come true. In every organization, magnified by a beuracracy like the federal government, there are those that advocate the opposite viewpoint.

Making these statements is equvialent to the pinch hitter striking out and Ted Kennedy making the claim “See, he should have pinch hit Kubel there”.

After a year of reading your posts I can tell that you have done very little reading on any topic, that you really have a limited understanding of most topics, and that you have very little analytical capabilities. But, you do entertain me because you are so representative of the Democrats and their fellow travelers.

mark says:

May 11th, 2007 at 12:30 pm

And, that goes for most of your fellow travelers with the exception of Justin Adams. Justin is well read so he can make more than a surface argument. His arguments are outstanding because he understands the viewpoints of his opponents, and gives them legitimacy.

counter-coulter says:

May 11th, 2007 at 2:00 pm

mark says:
“There were many people warning ”
Again, this is complete hindsight.

Hindsight you say:

AMERICA’S National Security Adviser during the Gulf War [Brent Scowcroft] warned President Bush yesterday [August 5, 2002] that invading Iraq would cause an “explosion” in the Middle East and consign the United States to defeat in its War on Terror.

An Army War College report to the Army’s No. 2 general a month before the invasion and since made public predicted, “The longer U.S. presence is maintained, the more likely violent resistance will develop.” Conrad Crane and W. Andrew Terrill, the War College analysts, warned, “A force initially viewed as liberators can rapidly be relegated to the status of invaders.”

On August 1, 2003, Donald Rumsfeld replaced General Shinseki as Army Chief of Staff with General Peter J. Schoomaker after Shineski “questioned the cakewalk scenario, and told Congress (that February) that we would need several hundred thousand soldiers in Iraq to put an end to the violence against our troops and against each other.”

—————

Bush did not have a “plan” for the occupation of Iraq. There was a plan, but like most war planning the plans really were obsolete once the actual operation took place.

Sorry but Bush didn’t have a plan for the occupation:

WASHINGTON – In March 2003, days before the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, American war planners and intelligence officials met at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina to review the Bush administration’s plans to oust Saddam Hussein and implant democracy in Iraq.

Near the end of his presentation, an Army lieutenant colonel who was giving a briefing showed a slide describing the Pentagon’s plans for rebuilding Iraq after the war, known in the planners’ parlance as Phase 4-C. He was uncomfortable with his material – and for good reason.

The slide said: “To Be Provided.”

A Knight Ridder review of the administration’s Iraq policy and decisions has found that it invaded Iraq without a comprehensive plan in place to secure and rebuild the country. The administration also failed to provide some 100,000 additional U.S. troops that American military commanders originally wanted to help restore order and reconstruct a country shattered by war, a brutal dictatorship and economic sanctions.

In fact, some senior Pentagon officials had thought they could bring most American soldiers home from Iraq by September 2003. Instead, more than a year later, 138,000 U.S. troops are still fighting terrorists who slip easily across Iraq’s long borders, diehards from the old regime and Iraqis angered by their country’s widespread crime and unemployment and America’s sometimes heavy boots.

“We didn’t go in with a plan. We went in with a theory,” said a veteran State Department officer who was directly involved in Iraq policy.

From here:
http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/9927782.htm

bsimon says:

May 11th, 2007 at 2:24 pm

Dang those PESKY facts!

mark says:

May 11th, 2007 at 4:14 pm

Your argument is that there was differing views? Like I said, for every decision (chose A or chose B) there are those that prefer A and those that prefer B.

That is a fact.

counter-coulter says:

May 11th, 2007 at 4:30 pm

mark attempts some revisionism:
Your argument is that there was differing views?

Not putting forth an argument mark. You attempted to dismiss Dora’s statement that “[t]here were many people warning” by stating “this is complete hindsight” (one of your hallmark declarative statements). I quite easily demonstrated that there were indeed many people who attempted to warn the administration of the impending disaster of invasion before we went in to Iraq. So now when confronted with these facts, you try to revise the initial point of contention.

Note too that your very next statement of “[t]here was a plan,…” was also quite easily debunked with the cite that I posted. I realize that these facts may be hard for you to accept, but a certain amount of grace and decorum might suit you better.

Dora says:

May 11th, 2007 at 5:05 pm

bsimon said: “I suspect it will not generate a response.”

The response it typically generates is the one you saw. Belittle the poster and revise the initial point. It’s totally predictable. You can tell how effective you’ve been by the vehemence of his attack. I’ve been very effective lately.

(wait for it…..)

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