Mr. Dewhurst’s vulgar and dishonest campaign of scorched-earth ad hominem against Mr. Cruz raises serious questions about his judgment and his commitment to conservative values.
He has transformed himself from second-best to flailing embarrassment. He has run campaign ads that are clearly predicated on the notion that Texas conservatives are rubes — ads that treat national conservative groups such as the Club for Growth as out-of-state interlopers, and that attack Cruz for taking on unpopular clients as an attorney.
They also pigeonhole Dewhurst’s politics with scorching accuracy:
Mr. Dewhurst is an undistinguished, go-along/get-along creature of the GOP leadership’s seniority-oriented model of politics. He is a student of the school of thought that rallied party operatives behind Indiana’s too-long-lived Richard Lugar when a credible conservative alternative was available in the person of Richard Mourdock. His views — though perhaps not his temperament — would make him an ideal candidate to represent a state such as Maine, where the only other option would be a Democrat to his left. But a strong conservative can win in Texas, and we have one in Ted Cruz.
Texas deserves something more than another time-serving Republican placeholder, and Ted Cruz is as fine a candidate as is seeking office today. Republican primary voters rarely are presented with so obvious a choice or so rich an opportunity.
Read the whole thing. And those comparisons of the Cruz-Dewhurst race to the Pat Toomey-Arlen Specter race are going to leave a scar…
More lessons from Wisconsin, including the note that liberals weren’t complaining when union money was dominating elections, or when Obama raised over $1 billion in 2008.
Despite liberal assertions to the contrary, “none of the money spent on Walker’s behalf would have been illegal before Citizens United either.”
Jim Geraghty says that Scott Walker has done the Wisconsin Democratic Party, the public sector unions, the progressives and angry leftists a favor: “He has liberated them from the soothing illusion that they are popular, and that the public agrees with them.” Sorry Jim, can’t agree with you there. Go over to Daily Kos, or Democratic Underground, or even Twitter, and you’ll find that the liberal capacity for self-delusion is essentially infinite. For example, many are crowing that they actually won the recall because they picked up the state senate seat they needed to flip that chamber to Democratic control. Oh, one problem: It’s not scheduled to meet anytime between now and November, when redistricting will probably flip it back to Republican control.
Let’s take a look at the reactions of one of the less delusional liberals. Of course, there’s the usual hard-left refusal to consider the possibility that public employee unions have become a parasitic class that is helping to drive government toward insolvency, and an insistance that if they just fought harder they could have won. But there’s also a fairly cold-eyed realization that Republicans fought better, organized better, and played to win:
The Republicans mobilized, just like we did. But they mobilized their party, they mobilized their donors, they didn’t do it in a half-assed cover your ass way where their ego wasn’t on the line. They doubled down on Scott Walker. They showed no weakness. They played to won, and, ultimately, they won.
(Some snippage, including how the DNC was willing to pour money into the losing campaigns of Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson but not Wisconsin.)
I hope we can see from this that when it comes to certain people and certain causes, the Democratic Party pulls out all the stops. They spend it in ways that are not related to any strategy of furthering progressive goals or shoring up progressive long term assets like union organization and GOTV. This isn’t about strategy to them. It’s about control.
So when you look at the Republicans gleefully celebrating, give them credit, because this is a massive victory for them. They didn’t just win handily. They saved a hero, a man who stood up to the unions and didn’t flinch, a man who, while divisive, divided things correctly as far as they were concerned. And he’s just one of many to come. Because if you can get away with this shit in Wisconsin, as mad as people were there, and if you can get away with this without the Democratic Party even really putting its ego on the line… Well, keep on going. To the sea, if necessary.
I raised the image earlier of a Confederate general on his horse on a hill watching the Sherman’s Union soldiers raze the fields. Imagine now a woman, down there in the fields, her fields, looking up, and seeing that general on his horse, shrugging, saying, “I guess shit happens. Madame, you have my sympathy.”
There was talk on CNN today with Democratic experts like Paul Begala addressing the issue of whether what happened today in Wisconsin would affect Obama in November. The somewhat strained consensus of the Democratic experts was, naw… Wisconsin ALWAYS votes Democratic in presidential elections.
It votes Democratic because of unions and grass roots GOTV organizing. The money and effort that they DID NOT put into Wisconsin today would have gone to strengthening and shoring up that organization. You can be quite certain that the Republicans, who busted their asses on this election, built up their Wisconsin organization. That’s permanent asset-building. The Democratic Party saw no value in it.
That’s why they won. That’s why we lost. Koch brothers, Citizen United: all of them are less important than you really think. You can’t win if your party doesn’t think it’s important enough to really try.
After all, it was hardly a surprise given the cover issue treatment they already gave him. But it’s good to be ahead of the curve, if only for one day. And their endorsement is well worth reading:
To borrow a phrase from baseball, Cruz is what one might call a “five-tool” candidate: He is good on the Constitution, on the economy, on social issues, and on foreign policy, and he possesses the intellect and rhetorical gifts to combine these views into a clear, cogent, and compelling conservative vision for America.
Ted Cruz will be on Sean Hannity’s show at 8:30 PM tonight, discussing Fast and Furious, Occupy Wall Street, and no doubt many other topics. Since there does not appear to be a radio station that carries Hannity in Austin, and since I will be celebrating Nigel Tufnel Day tonight anyway, I guess I’ll have to catch it in reruns.
While on the subject of Cruz, I wanted to partially take issue with some of the assertions in the Kevin Brennan National Journal piece called “Popping the Ted Cruz Bubble.” Essentially it argues that Cruz is not the frontrunner and that previously mentioned internal Dewhurst poll shows that Cruz is way behind.
These two consecutive sentences get to the heart of the problem with Brennan’s piece: “Of course, a poll conducted for one of Cruz’s rivals is by no means a definitive take on the race. But that poll mirrors results of other surveys conducted privately in the state in recent months.”
The first part of that sentence is true but incomplete, since it is missing the word “internal” before poll, and the Dewhurst campaign has not deemed to share with us any of the methodology with which it was conducted. Despite Brennan’s assertion that its finding “come from live-call surveys that follow best-practices methodology most top-quality pollsters use, ” the only thing we actually know (thanks to Brennan) is that it was conducted by Mike Baselice.
Likewise, the second sentence makes assertions which are completely unverifiable to readers, and Brennan offers no convincing argument why we should take those assertions at face value. “Lots of super-secret polls that no one else but me has seen totally agree with the point I’m making.” Which polls? Conducted by who? Surveying how many voters? Registered or likely voters? With what methodology? With what margin of error? Etc. Without that knowledge, Brennan is simply making an unfounded assertion and asking us to take it on faith. And the rest of his article depends on taking those assertion at face value.
Honestly, if Dewhurst’s internal poll was rock solid, they would have released the full poll and methodology to the public, not merely leaked tidbits to favored journalists, especially given how favorable it is to Dewhurst. The fact that they haven’t indicates there are either methodological problems that can’t stand up to real scrutiny, or that the poll show other things (low likability scores for the Lt. Governor, perhaps?) that the Dewhurst campaign doesn’t want us to see.
Ultimately, Brennan uses those unnamed, unshared polls to offer the conclusion that “Cruz is virtually unknown among Texas conservatives,” a statement that is not merely false, but actively risible. The guy who was endorsed by Jim DeMint and the Club for Growth, has raised just shy of $3 million from contributors, and who was the poster boy for a laudatory cover story in National Review is “virtually unknown among Texas conservatives”?
Ted Cruz is the subject of a very favorable Brian Bolduc cover story in the October 17 issue of National Review. (I’ll link to it when it’s actually online.) It doesn’t get much better than that for a conservative candidate.
Cruz was also endorsed by Citizens United (for whom I used to work back in the day).
Blue Dot Blues says that David Dewhurst’s claims of opposing in-state tuition breaks for illegal aliens is “a really disingenuous position for Dewhurst to take,” since he neither campaigned against the issue, nor did anything about it in all the years he’s been in a position to do so.
Dewhurst also had a fundraiser in Abilene. Hmmm: Corpus, Abilene. Dewhurst might be making early swings through the smaller cities of Texas, with an eye toward hitting the bigger ones toward the end of the campaign. That sounds like it could be a pretty sound strategy to me.
I think pretty much all the Republican candidates treated Obama’s “jobs proposal” and the pathetic joke it was, so I’m not going to link to individual instances.
This Saturday there’s going to be a Senate candidate forum in either Garland or Plano; the venue link is at odds with the description under it. I’m seeing multiple descriptions of the venue as “Collin County Community College, Spring Creek Campus Living Legends Conference Center, AA135, 2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano, TX,” so I would go with that. Update: I’ve confirmed with multiple sources that the Plano address is the correct one.
Live-blogging the election, most recent comments on top.
12:12 AM: Prediction for tomorr- er, today: Democrats complaining non-stop about how voters are still too stupid to appreciate how awesome they are.
12:07 PM: A few got away, but this was a very successful night for Republicans. If you had predicted the magnitude of Republican victory any time in 2009, pundits would have laughed at you. Remember, in October of 2008, Daily Kos said ” At this pace, we’re headed toward a 65-70-seat Democratic majority in the Senate by the end of 2010.” The magnitude of the Tea Party turnaround in Republican fortunes is one of the most astonishing political feats of our lifetimes.
12:00 AM: Some happy thoughts to leave you with:
Republican Steve Pearce beats incumbent Democrat Harry Teague in NM 2, which RCP had as a leans Dem seat.
Republican Scott Tipton beat incumbent Democrat John Salazar in CO 3
Republican Cory Gardner beat incumbent Democrat Betsy Markey in CO 4
Just about every office in Wisconsin that could reasonably have a chance to flip Republican did. How do you like your shiny new red state, WisCon?
11:57 PM: At Midnight all the agents…have to stop blogging and go to bed. I’ll have some more analysis scattered over the next few days.
10:54 PM: Fox news calls CA for Boxer. No surprise.
11:48 PM: Murray has a small lead in Washington, but there are a lot of votes still outstanding.
11:44 PM: Pennsylvania Senate race called for Toomey. Don’t let Harry Reid’s narrow escape keep you from realizing what a huge improvement Toomey is over Arlen Specter. This is a big plus for Pennsylvanians, Republicans, and Americans, and even Democrats (who won’t have Specter as their problem any more come January).
11:40 PM: Legal pot defeated in California. I would have supported this were I living in California, as I do not think that regulating it is a legitimate concern of the federal government, and the War on Drugs has been an astoundingly expensive failure. But if legal pot can’t win in California, then where can it win?
11:39 PM: NV called for Reid. Dang.
11:38 PM: IL Senate race called for Kirk.
11:37 PM: Blog went down for a while, but Blue Host brought it back up more quickly than I expected.
11:03 PM: NBC: “The Tea Party has arrived in Washington, DC. The House did everything the Obama White House asked them to, and they paid the price.”
10:59 PM: Republicans are over-performing expectations of a week ago, but under-performing those of a day or two ago (including mine). It’s shaping up to be a bit worse for Democrats than 1994, which is bad enough (for them), but short of the (deep, scary voice) DEMOGEDDDON some were predicting.
10:55 PM: Senate Race quick updates:
Kirk slightly ahead in IL. (“KHAAAANNNNN!”)
Toomey still holding the lead in PA, with not many districts outstanding
Rossi/Murray tied in WA; it’s flipped back and forth
Reid slightly ahead in NV
Boxer up slightly in CA, but voting is early
10:49 PM: Speaking of Alvin Greene, at least he got his own comic book out of the deal.
10:46 PM: I’m still amazed the Democrats couldn’t find anyone to run against John Thune in South Dakota. It makes South Carolina Democrat’s choice of Alvin Greene seem slightly less pathetic. At least he showed up.
10:40 PM: TX23 called for Doggett over Campbell, but 52% is a lot closer that most people expected.
10:35 PM: Back from walking the dog.
10:05 PM: Stop! HAMMERTIME!
10:00 PM: Did I mention that Republican Dan Benisheck took Bart Stupak’s seat? I think I know exactly what circle Dante would place Bart Stupak in…
9:58 PM: Toomey slips into the lead over Sleestak Sestak. Setak had held the lead virtually all night. Over in the opposition camp, the Daily Kossacks are despondent, saying there are only heavily Republican counties left.
9:52 PM: “Captain’s Log…I’m tired!” I’ve been staring at glowing rectangles for too long. I’m going to take a break to walk my dog in a few minutes.
9:49 PM: ABC refusing to call Florida or Ohio Governor’s races for the leading Republicans. I think they’re whistling pass the graveyard.
9:43 PM: This was announced earlier, but Barney Frank survives, alas. I’m sure he’s already dreaming of new ways to inject taxpayer money into the housing market.
9:41 PM: Republican Nikki Haley takes South Carolina Governor’s race.
9:40 PM: Wisconsin Senate seat called for Ron Johnson over Russ Feingold. GOP pickup.
9:38 PM: Sadly, Cao is going down in LA 2. Still, it’s an overwhelmingly Democrat seat that only went Republican in 2008 due to corruption on the part of William “cold 90 grand” Jefferson.
9:36 PM: Dana Loesch is on ABC. She looks pretty hot. (Note: This was the point in the evening when my internal censor decided to pack up and go on vacation.)
9:31: Ha! Barletta over Kanjorski. Also, “Red Barchetta” over “The Camera Eye.”
9:29 PM: Hingham, Mass, suffers from excess of Kitty litter.
9:25 PM: Fox 7 interviewing Larry Gonzalez. He looks excited, articulate, and sweaty. “Oh my gosh.” :-)
9:23 PM: Man, that CBS theme music of repeating flute riffs is annoying. Like a pastiche of Philip Glass written by someone who hates Philip Glass.
9:22 PM: Katie Coric: “Some think Haley Barbour is a future GOP Presidential candidate.” Yeah, some people on a very poor grade of crack…
9:21 PM: PA Senate still too close to call. IL Senate still too close to call. WI too close to call. CO too close to call. NV too close to call. Still, I have the distinct feeling Republicans won’t take the Senate.
9:18 PM: ABC has finally decided to grace us with election news. Ed Rendell is spinning madly that Democrats aren’t losing bad as some people expected.
9:17 PM: Though CBS has a well-known liberal bias, their House race tracker is fairly well laid-out.
9:14 PM: Fox 7 has Texas congressmen Chet Edwards, Solomon Ortiz and Ciro Rodriguez all losing. As well as 20 Democrat state House incumbents going down.
9:11 PM: Hmmm. CBS has Republican Thomas Reed beating Matthew Zeller in NY29, despite Zeller’s total currently being higher than Reed.
9:07 PM: Flores winning big over Chet Edwards for TX-17.
9:02 PM: More local Texas updates from KEYE: Doggett back up over Campbell, but only by 5,000 votes. Larry Gonzalez maintaining 59-39% lead over Moldanado.
9:00: Democrat Bill White concedes in Texas.
8:55 PM: Republican Dennis Ross over Dem Lori Edwards in FL 12. (GOP hold.)
8:53 PM: Palin: “Delaware is a deep blue state. Exit polls show Castle would have lost on Delaware the same way O’Donnell did. The Tea Party didn’t cost the GOP that race.”
8:51: Fox predicts GOP picks up PA Governorship.
8:51: Palin now slamming the “lamestream” media.
8:50: Palin just admitted she might run for President.
8:49: Fox: “Is Marco Rubio a possible Vice Presidential candidate?” Palin: “He’s a possible Presidential candidate.”
8:47 PM: Palin says the Tea Party movement is libertarian in character. “They’re not going to Washington to raise taxes.”
8:45 PM: Sarah Palin being interviewed on Fox right now. Like Bush, I think it’s her accent that’s the source of the American left’s instant, irrational rage against her.
8:45 PM: Republican Rigell over Nye in VA02.
8:40 PM: RCP has Republicans picking up North Dakota Senate seat (as expected).
8:37: PA, NV senate races still too close to call.
8:33 PM: CBS: Republican Steve Southerland over incumbent Dem Allen Boyd in FL 02.
8:30 PM: Houston Chronicle calls Governor’s race for Perry. No surprise.
8:27 PM: Fox: Vitter holds on in LA.
8:23 PM: KVUE: Larry Gonzales over Moldanado in early voting for the Texas House District 52 race!
8:23PM: KVUE: Texas news starts coming in: Perry kicking White 59% to 39%. Whoa! Campbell up over Doggett??? (only 5% in, though)
8:16 PM: NBC saying Ohio’s Governor’s race is closer than [insert cornpone Dan Rather saying here]
8:13 PM: Fox predicting: 239 Republicans in the House, 196 Democrats.
8:12 PM: Fox News predicts Republican takeover of the House. Booyah! Take that Nancy Pelosi! But pretty much everyone to the right of Daily Kos predicted that.
8:09 PM: Republican Charles Fleischmann holds on to Zach Wamp’s seat. I just like typing “Zach Wamp.” ZACH WAMP!
8:08 PM: Tom Brokaw just called the American electorate a “wild bull.”
8:05: Foxnews.com has Republican jeff Duncan picking up Gresham Barrett’s SC 03 seat.
8:01 PM: Nice of you to join us, Fox News.
8:00 PM: Republican Lou Barletta edging Democrat Paul Kanjorski in PA-11, but the lead is small and only a small number of districts have reported.
7:55 PM: Republican Young over Democrat Hill in IN9, according to RCP Donnelly/Walorski still too close to call.
7:50 PM: Sadly, they’re calling it for Democrat Manchin in the West Virginia Senate race. There’s one prediction I missed.
7:47 PM: Arkansas Woman Forges Judge’s Signature to Buy Mustang. Not election-related, but man, that’s some turbo-charged stupid…
7:41 PM: As a reporter, getting caught conspiring against a Republican candidate gets you: A.) A Pulitzer, B.) A job with MSNBC, or C.) A pink slip. (Of course, they might still get the MSNBC jobs…)
7:39 PM: “Election Alert: Fox News Projects Republican John Boozman Defeats Sen. Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas.” Almost as shocking as a Mike Tyson victory over Woody Allen.
7:36 PM: Republican Griffith over Dem Boucher in VA 09.
7:31 PM: As part of their non-election, ever-so-important “Trapped in an Elevator” coverage, PBS is showing footage of the World Trade Center collapse. I’m sure Democrats are calling up PBS execs. “You’re not helping!”
7:27 PM: They’re also calling IN 08 for Republican Buschon.
7:25: CBS has Sandra Adams beating Suzanne Kosmas 60% to 40% in FL 24. Kosmas was an ObamaCare flipper, though not one of the Stupak group.
7:15 PM: Pause for pizza.
7:13: Drudge: REPUBLICANS WIN SENATE SEATS: AL, FL, GA, IN, OH, KY, MO, NH, SC…
DEMS WIN: CT, DE, MD…
TOO CLOSE TO CALL: PA, IL…
No real surprises there…
7:09: ABC: Bucshon over Van Haaften 55% to 39% for IN 06, but Donnelly up over Walorski 49% to 46% with 56% reporting.
7:06 PM: “Fox News Projects GOP Marco Rubio Wins Fla.”
Hey, Charlie Crist:
7:02 PM: Well, thank God for PBS and their focus on public-minded–CLICK. “Trapped in an Elevator.” Your tax dollars at work.
7:00 PM: Glee, Fox? Dancing with the Stars, ABC? On election night? Thanks for NOTHING!
6:58 PM: Jackie Walorski up over Stupak-bloc flipper Joe Donnelly 53% to 42% with 19% of the vote in.
6:51 PM: Foxnew.com has Frank Guinta up over incumbent Democrat Carol Shea-Porter in NH1 by 12,585 to 10,348. If anyone had Shea-Porter on their endangered list, I must have missed it.
6:49 PM: Alan Grayson (FL-08) is down 63 percent to 29. Can you hear my crazy now?
6:47 PM: Drudge predicting a 50 seat GOP pickup in the House.
6:44: PBS has Robert Hurt up over Dem Golden Boy Tom Perriello by 55%, in Virginia, despite national Dems pouring millions into the race. But the returns may not be representative of the district as a whole.
6:42 PM: Nancy Pelosi is still saying the Democrats will keep the House. Also thinks Dallas Cowboys will win the Superbowl.
6:39 PM: Coats beat Stupak-bloc flipper Brad Ellsworth, who left his seat to run for the Senate. How’s that ObamaCare working out for you?
6:35: DeMint called in SC, but he’s only at 55% right now, which has to be a disappointment considering the quality of his opponent.
6:30 PM: PBS calls race for Republican Portman in Ohio. KLRU is the only broadcast station in Austin showing news right now.
6:29 PM: Minnesota Democrats using the mentally handicapped to commit vote fraud. Must not make joke. Must not make joke. Must not make joke…
6:23 PM: Moving the TV into the office. Old 36″ tube. Weighs approx. 3 metric tons.
6:13 PM: Drudge exit polls via Instapundit:
Tea for Three: Coates, Paul, DeMint Win Senate Seats…
IL 49-43 Kirk [R]… NV TIED…
Arkansas: Boozman (R) over Lincoln (D)
California: Boxer [D] over Fiorina [R]
Florida: Rubio [R] over Crist [I], Meek [D]
Ohio: Portman (R) over Fisher (D)
North Dakota: Hoeven (R) over Potter (D)
Wisconsin: Johnson (R) over Feingold (D)
Joseph Donnelly vs. Jackie Walorski for Indiana’s second congressional district.
Barney Frank vs. ex-Marine Sean Bielat for Massachusetts’ Fourth Congressional District.
Republicans aren’t leading all those races, and there’s no guarantee they’ll actually win the ones they are leading, and even beyond that there’s no guarantee that if they do win, it will be outside the margin of the usual Democratic fraud.
My current assessment is in line with the conventional wisdom: Roughly 100 seats are in play under the broader definition, and it’s hard to see Republicans winning fewer than 40 of them. The ceiling depends on how angry the country is on November 2, but it is pretty darn high . . . 60? 70? 80?
The possible peak of the wave keeps getting larger…
Daniel Gross on Slate and Mickey Kaus on his campaign website (he’s running against incumbent Barbara Boxer for the California Democratic Senate nomination) ruminate on why the Texas economy is so much more resilient than that of most states. Gross points out that Texas has successfully globalized our economy, that energy is more resistant to recessions than most industries, that high tech plays a bigger role than crude oil, and that the independent nature of the Texas Interconnect Grid meant Texas was able to deregulate its energy sector without having to play “mother may I” with the feds. Kaus argues that since Texas is a Right-to-Work state, we don’t have unreasonably powerful public sector unions to drive up budgets, and the lack of rigid work rules results in a more dynamic economy. All of which is true. However, being from the left, Gross and Kaus both miss one of the biggest reasons for Texas’ economic success:
Texas has no state income tax.
People want to move to Texas (and people already here want to stay) because we get to keep more of our own money. Not only does this make our economy more resilient during downturns, but it limits the size and scope of state government. Numerous studies have shown that high earners flee high-tax states for low-tax states. California and New Jersey’s loss is Texas’ gain. There’s a reason blue states are the ones hit hardest by the recession.
Liberals never bring this up because, well, big government and high taxes go hand in hand, and love of big government and its redistributionist policies are all the left have left these days. Even relatively sane anti-New Left liberals like Kaus want to believe that bigger government can improve people’s lives with the right reforms/cost controls/etc., which is why he favored the abomination that is ObamaCare.
Despite liberal contention to the contrary, it is low tax states that have low budget deficits, and high tax states that have the largest problems, and the lack of a state income tax is a big contributing factor to state budget discipline. That’s unlikely to change, even when the current recession ends.