Thursday, October 23, 2008

Donkey In Da House

So I promised to talk about the house. Now at 435, I'm not going to list every race...mainly because not only do I not have a break down, but I couldn't even BEGIN to tell you what freaking congressional district I and the Lovely and Talented Mrs. Pundit live in (ed: WI-5...the Intertubes are a wonderful thing) let alone all the rest of the 434 yahoos. So I really don't have a race by race breakdown.

However, current count is 235 D, 199 R, 1 I (Bernie Sanders, VT, caucuses with the the Dems). My guess is +10, leaving the new House at 245 D, 189 R, 1 I. Why the piddling count improvement? Gerrymandering. Both parties make safe districts for themselves, and Repubs held a crap load of statehouses shortly after 2000 (the Census year). So they packed districts. But not in a really crude, "as many Repubs as we can cram right in there," way.

Here's what you do, if you're a typical Repub state legislator. You optimize. You wall off as many Dems as geography can possibly allow while maintaining the safety of Repub seats...say 60-40 splits. Thus creating, voila, an institutional bias in favor of Repubs in the House. Which they did. It's a testament to the TOWERING incompetence of the Bush Administration and the unpopularity of the Repub brand that the count is where it is, but is also means that we're reaching the point of diminishing returns.

I just don't think that there just aren't that many districts left out there that are even marginally reachable for Democrats that they don't already have. Now this isn't based in any way on poll numbers or a district by district look. I'm sure there are people who's job it is to do that, and report up their party chains. They don't put that on the net. If they're winning they don't want to tip their hand, and if they're losing they don't want to create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

+10 is a guess, but it's a reasonably educated one. Dems picked up a crapload of seats in 2006. They ran the table that year, folks. But running the table in 2006 means there just isn't that much left to pick up.

If Dems pick up more than +15 to +20, I think that means it will be a good day indeed for Obama.

On a side note: other bellweathers to look for? Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia. Their polls close early. If Obama is ahead in all of those, or if they get called for Obama, you might as well crack the champagne early. The metro districts take longer to get counted. If Obama is ahead or if he's so far ahead that the news orgs actually call it, that means he's winning the RURAL vote. If he does that in those three states, you might as well say the fat lady is singing.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Whither Lieberman?

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Although I really, REALLY want Obama to win, I'd like to take a look down into Congress. Even if Obama loses, we're picking up major Congress coin. First up...the Senate.

Ezra Klein and Steve Benen (at the Washington Monthly) are posting about the possibility of 60 votes. Fivethirtyeight shows the chances of that occurring at roughly 25%.

I just don't see call is +7 at this point. I think Stevens in AK goes down, along with Gilmore in VA (to Warner), Pearce in NM (to Udall), Schaffer in CO (to the other Udall), Sununu in NH (to Shaheen...again!...and won't THAT piss him off), Dole in NC (to Hagan) and, the wild card is...Coleman in MN (to Franken!!) rather than Smith in OR. I think Smith stays alive to fight another day. Although it wouldn't shock me for that to break the other way

The pickups necessary to get to +9 are too outlandish. In addition to Smith, you'd need to pick off: one of Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky or Texas. Rii-iiiight.

But even if we get +9, that leaves Lieberman the filibuster killer. Now in the unlikely event that we do get to +9, I think Reid leaves Holy Joe unmolested. I think that would be a mistake. Yglesias makes what I think is a valid point: 57, 58 is as good as 60. If you can get to 58, you can pressure a couple moderate Repubs to vote for cloture. WHICH Repub depends on the issue being voted on, but on almost anything you can cherry pick a couple to carry you over.

Besides I really, really want to screw Lieberman over. But not in that crude, "get the fuck out," way you might be thinking. No. Here's what my twisted vicious brain has cooked up: regardless of how the Senate ends up, I think we pull Lieberman out of EVERY committee assignment he has. We stick him in inconsequential and entirely domestic committees and subcommittees. Agriculture. That Little Tag On New Mattresses Subcommittee. That sort of thing.

Make Holy Joe painfully aware that, as long as he's a Senator caucusing with Democrats, he will never, ever, ever have access to a committee responsible in even a tangential way for Israel. He would be told to not even slow down and listen to Foreign Affairs or Defense hearings. He would be utterly impotent to affect how the Congress funds aid to Israel. Cooperates (or not) with Israeli Intelligence. Provides military equipment and assistance to the IDF.

My retribution for Holy Joe's perfidy? Make HIM make it clear why he's now caucusing with Republicans: because Israel is 100 times more important to him than Connecticut. Whom he at least nominally is supposed to represent.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Joe Klein Goes in the Tank...On The Side Of The Angels

Coupled with Apology NOT Accepted Klein's latest piece completes a Klein rehabilitation for me. Best of all? It's in the "Dead Tree" version of Time. Non-blog trollers will see this one.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I'm going to make this an open thread (and no doubt will be mightily disappointed in reaction), but work, where we are trying DESPERATELY to save bonuses given the economic climate, my overall muted and somewhat depressed reaction to ideologues who'd rather ride the bomb down than turn the fucking plane around (a Dr. Strangelove reference):

and a general need to cater to every need and/or whim of the Wee Pedant have left me with a dearth of posting urge.