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August 12, 2010 04:16 AM UTC

"It's Bucking Amaesing!"

  • by: ClubTwitty

The ‘bad year for incumbents’ cliché, popular with the punditry, took a bit of a beating last night, as the strong victory by Sen. Michael Bennet helped show in Colorado.  But the anti-establishment fervor appears strong, most prevalent on the Republican side.

Colorado’s record Primary turnout was marked by a surge of first-time primary voters–a fact that likely benefited Bennet on the Democratic ballot and Maes and Buck on the GOP.

The freshly minted Obama voters of 2008 apparently still stand behind their president.  At least enough not to be scared away by his endorsement in spite of the now forgotten, but once incessant, prattle of the chattering classes.  This bodes well for the Democrats this November.

A review of the Republican side shows a kind of reverse of the Democratic–where record voters (and new voters) turned out to support the incumbent. New voter energy on the GOP side was likely focused on the insurgent candidates and stopping the campaigns of Scott McInnis and Jane Norton.


If this dynamic is correct–‘new’ Obama/Dem voters and ‘new’ Tea Party/GOP voters are engaged in the mid-term–then that offers a better set up for the Democrats.  

Democratic turnout shows that voters, including the 2008 wave, are enthused enough about not returning to the bad old days that they will come out and vote.  This gives more room for the Democratic candidates to negotiate for those votes in the middle, the key to any successful statewide run.  

Republican candidates, on the other hand, must be careful not to neglect the Tea Partiers when they craft their GOTV strategies and campaigns. Democrats will be able to run on ‘finishing the job (of cleaning up the mess left by the last GOP government)’ while the GOP candidates will have to tread carefully to not upset the birthers, while stating support for the ‘eggmendment,’ an ‘Arizona-style’ law, and forcing rape victims to bear children.  

The GOP dance will be an attempt to appeal to the crazies while appealing to the moderates, no easy task.  (The Tanc complication just adds another layer of fun to the governor’s race).  

Last night’s Primary wins are, perhaps, the highwater mark of Colorado’s Tea Parties.

The ‘ameasing’ victories of two GOP contenders ‘bucking’ the establishment show that successful candidates–through skill or blind luck–can reach (slightly) beyond the confines of the Tea Party. For a lot of people, the plagiarism issue–and especially how the campaign dealt with it (or attempted to)–was the final blow to McInnis’ character, which a number already considered questionable. Maes was able to ride the Tea Party vote coupled with the Anybody-But-McInnis vote to a tight win.

Dan Maes’ victory as the unMcInnis has to leave a few wondering why they didn’t get or stay in the race. Think what Cleve could have done with  a few thousand bucks.

While Twitty’s pick had Scooter by a ‘bicycle tread’ I cannot fain disappointment that Maes is the man, as I do need material.  I also think at the end of the day more of the Republican-inclined middle could have voted McInnis.  A successful businessman and mayor is the kind of Democrat they could support if they just can’t pull the lever for the crazy.  

Also bucking the queen and kingmakers, in the other big statewide race, the Weld County DA is a different type of candidate than Dan Maes. That is to say, a real one.  No Tea Party gimmick, Buck is savvy enough to unite a broader group of Republicans than only the Tea Party inclined.  

The Republicans–and their money constituents–will quickly coalesce around Buck, while the governor’s race is widely regarded as a train-wreck. Buck will be able to mount a formidable run against Bennet, but his positioning may be a problem. Which gets back to the danger the Tea Party and its newly energized voters bring to bear on the GOP’s flagship candidates.  

That same newly energized base–with it’s new voters–needs their strokes.  Buck will have a hard time walking back his ‘no abortions for rape and incest victims’ and other statements.  As much as he might wish he could make the Tea Partiers ‘shut up’ they have yet to fully extract their pound of flesh.  

The zenith of the Colorado Tea Parties may have been last night.  A nadir may be waiting around the corner.  Whether its personality or position, the crazy doesn’t sell well in Colorado. Which is why, when you look at this election–the trends, the opportunities–and the path the GOP has laid before itself in Colorado, you have to just smile and say “it’s bucking ameasing.”


48 thoughts on ““It’s Bucking Amaesing!”

  1. I said that this morning, too.  It’s probably true for the whole country.  The big if in the equation is the economy.  If no good economic news is heard soon then I wouldn’t make any bets.  If September rolls around into October and we have some good reports on the economy and people feel even a little more positive, it’ll be a clean sweep.

    1. I think it’s likely that Buck will be able to mount a strong run.  Nationally, the economic mood will matter a lot, but locally (and in most locations) candidates will matter as much or more.  

      I am not sure how much the ‘Pelosi-Obama’ tactic works outside a rabid base.  Most people don’t feel any better (in many case worse) about the Republican leadership.  Candidates that can address those issues, locally, will do better–but I don’t think Republicans would be wise to just rely on the ‘anti-incumbent mood.’  Firstly, it remains questionable; secondly, politics are local (at least campaigns are).

      1. that things aren’t exactly as the chattering classes assume.  I believe they underestimate the degree to which local situations are…well, local and the extent to which, while trends and momentum certainly have relevance, these are still separate drops, not a monolithic wave.  

        We need to remember, when we hear them chattering away, that they don’t have any more to go on than what they hear as outsiders.  Throughout the Bennet/Romanoff race I’ve been struck by how much I’ve heard on cable about the race and the two candidates that gives a very incomplete  and different picture than how we here in Colorado have been seeing it.  

        No reason to believe the picture they paint for us of people, campaigns and situations in other states is any more accurate. They love to find something simple to lock on to but their formula can’t explain every individual race in every separate place.  It’s just much easier for them to  present generalities.

        I also don’t think they correctly present disapproval ratings that are also not monolithic but a mixture of  different kinds of disapproval.  In Obama and Dem negatives, we aren’t seeing only those who completely disapprove of Obama and Dem policies but also those who don’t think they go far enough and those who don’t think Obama and Dems have fought hard enough or messaged effectively enough. Guess we’ll soon see how it all shakes out but retention of interest and participation new Obama voters an interesting sign.

        As you say, no cakewalk and no reason to believe Dems won’t have a tough time in November compared to 2006 and 2008. But I don’t think the GOP tsunami that they have been predicting is going to materialize either.  

  2. Once Andrew has licked his wounds and grieved, he should seriously consider a federal job.  It would make a lot of sense for his future career goals of public service, would help patch things up with Pres. Obama, and Romanoff supporters would hopefully be happy he’s got a great job.  Maybe some roaving Ambassador or something?  

    1. portfolio that was dangled by White House DCOS Jim Messina.

      As for a ‘roving Ambassador’ slot, there are very few of those, maybe none at present, not sure. (I’m a diplomat.)  

        1. Your biases aside, Reuben, Andrew is too well liked in Colorado to be turned out into the cold, so to speak.

          I wouldn’t worry about Andrew. He is a big boy. He can take care of himself.

    1. Actually, the lowest age of 62 is still in effect.  It’s just that the “normal” age for “full” benefits has moved from 65 to 66 and will settle in at 67.

      It’s all on a continuum, so it’s not like one age is magic over (or under) any other.

    2. will tell you the SS retirement age needs to go up, if we intend to get the federal debt back to a low roar.

      (Along with some form of means testing for SS beneficiaries, broad-based tax increases – particularly targeting the wealthy and high income earners – and spending cuts.)  

      SS was never intended to carry people through a retirement lasting 20, 30 or more years.

      Neither party should demagogue this issue.

      1. because you cannot explain actuarial statistics in a sound bite.

        But, you can explain: “they want to steal your social security”.

        Two simple solutions that will never be implemented.

        1. Increase the full-benefit retirement age by one month per year for the next 60 years.

        2. Set the SS annual increase/decrease at 0.1% less than the previous year’s inflation. If you have deflation, then your payment goes down.

          1. Millions in benefit cuts, not a penny in tax increases! Thank goodness we have political professionals here to make Reaganite policies seem bipartisanly progressive.

          2. whn it was set at $96K(?) that was an extraordinarily high income. If it isn’t applied to every dime of earned income at least raise it to $1mil

      2. A small increase in the SS tax (gasp!) would suffice to get us over the bubble of baby boomers. Or even make it progressive and remove the taxable income ceiling. (gasp, gasp!)

        The REAL fiscal problem is still Medicare. That needs serious attention. SS is a diversion, and like spitting in the ocean against the Medicare shortfall.

          1. that’s the way the current system works… prolong life at all costs (literally!) and increase end of life pain and suffering for what? We’re all going to die anyway.

              1. I don’t fear my end. I know fully well it is coming, even if I don’t know how or when. I think it is foolish to pretend otherwise frankly. And indeed, a great deal of our medical costs are spent in trying ot pretend just that- that we can prolong life indefinitely, or at least pretend so.

                I think I read a study once where 20% or more of our annual medical expenses are spent on end-of-life care? And there is no significant benefit to be found by spending this money in actual prolonging of life by any reasonable measure. Other societies are not as foolish in this regard as we are.

                  1. and Lamm supports the regressive taxation of the SS system as it is. He thinks the cap is too high last time we spoke (albeit that was quite a few years ago. His position may have changed.)

                    And I am not a euthenist at all. I just think it is foolish to spend billions upon billions of dollars to prolong life at most a few short months when we in fact all will die eventually anyway. it is time we had a frank discussion of this.

              2. do not wish to leave generational debt for their family to have to pay.

                it is a decision all of us will have to make.

                it goes to how selfish one is.  

          2. in fact if a patient wanted to end their lives without the terminal malady running its course. that person will be deemed suicidal. then locked up in a hospice and forced to endure. so the county hospice will collect all that medicare.  Once that plays out… then the county goes after any and all of the personal wealth acquired by that terminal patient.

            Nice Death racket our system has.

            Yeah I really hate Weld county/Ken Buck.

        1. “Fixing” Social Security isn’t complex, nor need it affect retirement age or benefits.  Remove the ceiling and the problem goes away.

          Can’t get the really rich to buy in to that?  Adjust the tax a bit and use means-based benefits payouts.

          These aren’t difficult (or pressing – Social Security as-is will be fully funded through approx. 2042, and 70% funded after that, according to worst-case estimates) choices.

          We need to fix Medicare, as you say.  It’s seriously underfunded and is creating an additional strain on our tough budget problems.  The solution studies have said will work best – single payer health care – is a non-starter in today’s hyper-partisan political climate, so we’ll have to struggle through with a less optimal solution.

          1. and it is a shame single payer is off the table and a non-starter. Although there are groups doing good work to move the ball there too. PSR and HC4AC come to mind.

          2. also increases the amount that businesses have to match. While I agree making that change would definitely help, I think it would be hard to get businesses and individuals to go for it.

            As an aside, the 2010 the FICA cap is $106,800.

            1. How many professionals make >$106.8k per year?  And how much more tax would it cost businesses to pay these highly compensated employees?

              Not much, and not much.

              Of course, it’s not an immediate problem, either.  Now might not be the time to raise the ceiling – wait until we actually have a recovery going strong – it’s not like Social Security taxes would help the general fund anyway.

  3. Or could anyhow, to support this point

    The ‘ameasing’ victories of two GOP contenders ‘bucking’ the establishment show that successful candidates–through skill or blind luck–can reach (slightly) beyond the confines of the Tea Party.

    that the McConnell/Tipton race (spanking, really) shows the draw a Tea Party only candidate takes–at least in the 3rd CD.  (Another pick I badly botched and Ralphie nailed).

    Maes–primarily through luck, the bad kind striking his opponent (although some might think ‘karma’ a better word in this case)–picked up Tea Partiers + the McNevers and Buck picked them up, plus a chuck of other (perhaps sympathetic, but not crazy) GOP.  If its where their bases’ energy is at, however, they have to go there. Especially with a surge of unpredictable (new) voters…  

  4. Conflating somewhat reasonable Ken Buck with CrazyDanВ®.

    Do it often enough and soon the voters will think that the UN is coming to force all the white women in Colorado to have abortions.

    Or something like that.

  5. …simply wasn’t present among Dems that voted in a primary election, and it was present enough to give Bennet a pretty good run for his money.

    Bennet’s win in a Dem primary doesn’t give you any kind of feel for what a general is going to be like.  Look at virtually any poll of independent voters, and I don’t think all this ‘zenith’ talk is as accurate as you guys are praying it is.

    We’ll see in November, but I’d urge all Dems to continue thinking that the American public (aside from an activist Democratic strata) thinks things are going swimmingly under Dem control of Congress and the White House.

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