Patterico's Pontifications


For whom the bellwether tolls

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:41 pm

[Posted by Karl]

The White House take that tomorrow’s trifecta of elections (in Virginia, New Jersey and NY-23) does not portend much for the future is spin, but it is not a complete fiction.

After all, New York and New Jersey are two of the most Obama-friendly states in the Union. Democrat wins in NY-23 and New Jersey may not say much more than that. Indeed, if Democrats win there by narrow margins, it may say that, a year after Obama won the presidency, it takes nasty three-way contests for Democrats to win in Obama-friendly territory.

The hope on the left is that NY-23 is a bellwether of intra-GOP warfare, or of the party being seized by “extremists”. However, most such fights will happen within primaries, which allows more time for unification. And few of those will feature “Republican” candidates as liberal as Dede Scozzafava.

The establishment media may try to paint Jon Corzine’s comeback as the result of “hitching himself to Obama,” but anyone who has followed the race knows that the only hitching involved was hiring Joel Benenson from Camp Obama to spend about $20 million on ads viciously and personally attacking Chris Christie.

The real bellwether election is Virginia. In 2008, Virginia was considered a bellwether — a red state that was trending blue in recent cycles, electing Gov. Tim Kaine and Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner. Barack Obama won in Virginia by 52.62% to 46.33% –about the same margin as he did nationwide. And yet, barring a massive failing by every polling outfit in the race, the GOP’s Bob McDonnell will likely defeat Creigh Deeds in the governor’s race, and the GOP will likely pick up seats in the state assembly.

The left has already started their spin that the Virginia election is not about Obama. But if Obama is not on the ballot in Virginia figuratively (as well as literally), that will be of little solace to Dems running in 2010 — when Obama will also not be on the ballot. Indeed, when you read Camp Obama’s anonymous dumping on Deeds, you find this:

A senior administration official said Deeds badly erred on several fronts, including not doing a better job of coordinating with the White House. “I understood in the beginning why there was some reluctance to run all around the state with Barack Obama,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to speak candidly about the race. “You don’t do that in Virginia. But when you consider the African American turnout that they need, and then when you consider as well they’ve got a huge problem with surge voters, younger voters, we were just a natural for them.”

In other words, the idea of Deeds hitching himself to Obama only started looking like a strategy after Deeds started looking like a disaster that could be averted only by campaigning on the notion that Deeds was Obama. That is fairly insulting to the voters of Virginia, who undoubtedly can tell the difference between the two men.

Granted, if Christie and Hoffman pull off wins, it will mean that the bell is tolling louder and carrying further than anyone would have dreamed a year ago. But Virginia is enough to confirm what Democracy Corps already discovered in their polling of swing districts — the reelect and issue numbers for Democrats are steadily eroding where it counts.


43 Responses to “For whom the bellwether tolls”

  1. Meanwhile, here in NYC, it looks like I will hold my nose today and vote for a Democrat, for what I think will be the first time in my life. Then I will go home and have a shower. The latest polls seem to show that Thompson has a chance of defeating Bloomberg, so I will add my vote to his total; if we must have a Democrat for mayor, at least let him have a D after his name.

    Bloomberg has made a mockery of the referendum process, by showing that it makes no difference what the voters have said, twice, the City Council can override it whenever they like. So what’s the point? If he wanted to overturn term limits he should have held a third referendum, at his own expense.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  2. And if the Democrat wins in NY23, what does that say about the wisdom of Hoffman’s challenge? Does that backfire on the insurgency?

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  3. Clinton was a dead duck in 1992 without Perot. BHO is done unless he can figure out how to get a “credible” third-party candidate. I think Rahm is drooling at the prospect of Palin splintering off from the GOP in 2012.

    The Dem pros all know they are gonna take it in the shorts in 2010. The minimum will be a net loss of two Senators and 20 Representatives. The question is if the GOP can manage to keep together enough to capture more. Here again, third party candidates are going to be the saving grace for the Dems, in my opinion.

    I predict a GOP sweep today. I further predict successful criminal prosecutions for vote fraud in New Jersey perpetrated today by ACORN and their ilk.

    Ed from SFV (4b493e)

  4. You conservatives in NJ, VIR and NY-23 please get out and vote. Blue Dog Dems must be intimidated before the HealthCare vote and made to “pay” for their cap and trade votes…….

    krusher (6f6e76)

  5. Kevin Murphy,

    Certainly not. Hoffman was polling in the single digits and now is, at worst, going to lose narrowly. That’s amazing and a sudden change. If he loses, Hoffman is the front runner to take the seat away in 12 months. He was a true underdog… hell, I imagine many absentees voted for ‘party unity’ and Scozza, and their voted are now truly wasted.

    The conservatives had absolutely nothing to lose. It’s better for Owens to win than Scozza, because the GOP incumbent will have an easier time holding that seat.

    What we’ve seen is a bunch of citizens get outraged, and then a parade of political leaders, starting with Palin but including a lot of big names, lining up to support Hoffman.

    The media will spin, either way, to disfavor the right, but it won’t make any sense either way.

    Dustin (bb61e3)

  6. Dustin

    Unfortunately NY is changing even more liberal as conservative are fleeing the state in 2010 it will be redistricted and the boundaries will be problematic at best

    Saw some articles that Ny will fall to the 4th most populist state from third.

    EricPWJohnson (36ce70)

  7. I’m jaundiced on New York the way they repudiated Guiliani, who brought the city back from the brink
    and embraced Bloomberg, a rich but nonetheless
    uninspired factotum

    bishop (4e0dda)

  8. the fact is that both corzine and deeds ran as being the candidate to support if you support obama. right now they are running ads where obama says more or less, we voted hopenchange in 08, and i need you to do it again with deeds. For dems to pretend this is not at least partially a referendum on Obama is silly. if you oppose obamacare or worse yet, pelosicare, if you don’t want economic growth capped and traded to china and india, then please, everyone, get out there and vote republican (or conservative in the case of Hoffman).

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  9. A Hoffman victory is both a smash in the Mouth of Team Obama, and the Country Club RINOs who ruin the GOP.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  10. OT: Phony math in Obama’s “jobs saved or created” in Ohio exposed.

    The Obama administration announced Friday that federal stimulus money had created or saved about 7,200 education jobs in Ohio as of Sept. 30.

    Although a couple of hundred of those jobs were in Columbus City Schools, the district acknowledged yesterday that many of the “saved” jobs definitely wouldn’t have been lost in the first place, and others might not have been lost at all.

    “I know we explained to (the Ohio Department of Education) what we were doing, and they told us what categories to use,” said Jill Dannemiller, director of federal programs for the Columbus schools.

    Although other areas of the district’s budget might have suffered without the stimulus, district officials said, the jobs report nonetheless highlighted the fuzzy math involved in pinpointing a saved-jobs number. . .

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  11. “But when you consider the African American turnout that they need,…”

    Another example of post-racial politics

    MD in Philly (8b02c7)

  12. I’m interested in the elections, but I’m more interested in the make-up of the National Republican Congressional Committee. They don’t ask for whom the bell tolls, they never do.

    If the same Republicans who thought Dede Scozzafava was a satisfactory candidate are allowed to use similar calculations for 2010, then it really doesn’t matter much who wins today. The Stupid Party will continue to insult and alienate Conservatives as usual, then proudly go on to lose yet again no matter how loud the ringing in their ears.

    ropelight (d46b44)

  13. Unfortunately NY is changing even more liberal

    ^Newt Gingrich’s Beyootch

    Dmac (a964d5)

  14. If you know someone living in the 23rd District of New York, please tell them to get out and vote for Hoffman today.

    America needs the tea party crowd to purge the GOP of RINO’s.

    Also, the deductible on health insurance just doubled and the rates still went up. Could you guys have Doug Hoffman and Sean Hannity explain how health insurance which is too expensive for middle class families to afford is “freedom.” ‘Cause, I’m confused about how medical bill induced poverty equals freedom.

    I figured you guys would know how to do that tricky math, since you guys know fancy math: Karl is still proving Obama is unpopular, despite that dang 53% approval rating in a terrible recession and the rest of you seem to understand intuitively how 46% in the last national election can be turned into 50+1% by making the GOP SMALLER!

    Please let this Hoffman dude win and the internecine war can really start!

    timb (449046)

  15. 45% for Obama, 49% Against – If Election Were Held Right Now

    Doesn’t sound quite like a popular Obama, ya know?

    Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

    The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 28% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -13 (see trends).

    Again, doesn’t look like Obama’s popularity is all that strong.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  16. timb,

    You really are a hatefilled, hate crime waiting to happen.

    If you want to give away anything, dig in your own pocket for the funds to do so, otherwise, shut your pie hole and climb back under your rock.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  17. timb – Slaves receive their healthcare from their masters. Freemen do not.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  18. Tim, I’m disappointed you didn’t go over and look at the post I made just for you.

    The answer to your question is complicated but the simple version is that states keep adding mandates to health insurance. My 19 year old daughter’s insurance rates tripled this summer. One reason is that she has to have maternity benefits even though she has no intention of having a child. I changed her policy to a $2400 deductible and the rates came back to a reasonable level. The problem is that health insurance has become prepaid care, partly as a result of legislatures responding to special interests.

    For example, 30 years ago psychiatry and obstetrics were never covered. Those are both fields in which patient choice plays a huge role. The professional societies lobbied and Voila ! we have coverage and premiums doubled. I was in the medical association’s commission on legislation and watched a lot of this.

    The chiropractors got the legislature to call them physicians and they were covered. I have actually reviewed workers comp claims in which a patient got 900 chiropractic sessions in one calendar year. That’s not easy. We finally got reform about five years ago but it is still filled with fraud.

    Medicare is full of fraud in medical devices. How many scooter commercials have you seen ?

    I have a suggestion for reform on my blog and have mentioned it here before. It has nothing to do with what is being proposed which is a disaster.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  19. The answer to your question is complicated

    Which of course is why timmah can’t understand it.

    ‘Cause, I’m confused

    – timmah’s natural state of being.

    by making the GOP SMALLER!

    – timmah projects from the current occupant of his pants.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  20. EPWJ…Redistricting occurs the year (2011) following the Census (2010).
    The 2010 elections will have the same boundaries as this year;
    2012 will be the first election under the new boundaries.

    AD - RtR/OS! (e6a9d0)

  21. There is a fascinating discussion going on over at Sermo, a member only site for physicians. Sermo will soon have more members than the AMA if it doesn’t now. They are running a survey on cash only practices. The comments are fascinating.

    Here is a general surgeon:

    I have had a cash-based practice since 2005 and it was the best thing I ever did for me and my patients. I have insurance companies asking me to join their networks because we have shown we can see their patients for much less and with more convenience, better quality, and higher patient satisfaction then their own providers.

    I have also been able to show them that I don’t need them to thrive and therefore have changed my bargaining position with them from bent-over and hog-tied to a position of equal status.

    If more of us could do this, we would gain more power collectively and could change the balance of power

    I didn’t think general surgery could survive that way because so many cases are already in the hospital why you see them. Here is another comment from a physician in Massachusetts that may presage problems with Obamacare.

    In Massachusetts, health insurance is mandated for everyone. If someone does not have health insurance through an employer, that person must buy health insurance or be charged a penalty.
    Great thought. Now almost everyone is ‘covered’, right? So now they are all paying for health insurance thinking they can swipe their cards and get health care. However, there are not enough primary care docs to take care of all of these newly insured people. Not many docs are going into primary care because they can’t afford to practice primary care.

    I would love to open a cash only pediatrics practice. It would be a low overhead, high tec and ‘high touch’ practice, modeled after L. Gordon Moore’s work.
    I could charge less because I would not have to employ an army of insurance specialists, insurance coders and billers. I could donate my services without violating some contract. Think about it: Taking good care of patients, taking time to be with them and help, and reducing the cost of medical care, reducing stress. What a concept!

    The cost savings could be considerable. I understand that the average doctor spends about $65.000. a year to take care the insurance generated paperwork.

    I do have concerns that a cash only practice would not be possible in an insurance mandated environment. Patients are already paying their monthly insurance premiums, expecting to pay only their co-pays or deductibles at appointments. It’s not entirely clear if doctors will be mandated to accept the insurance ‘contracts’. Keep in mind, that the McCarran-Ferguson Act 1945 gave insurance companies certain immunity from FTC regulation. Doctors do not have that immunity. The playing field is not only not level, it is rigged. The rigging is not in the favor of doctors and patients.

    Further, Massachusetts is moving toward a ‘bundled’ payment system in which the whole team of doctors treating a patient will divide up any reimbursement. This is supposed to be implemented sometime in the next five years. Yes. Our state medical society seems to be on board with this ‘reform’. The goal is an admirable one of better coordinated care, however, I wonder what new level of bureaucratic arcana, machination and cost will be required. Sadly, I fear doctors will be pitted against doctors to get their pittance under this ‘new’ scheme. Despite good intentions by all, patients may be caught in the fray with less coordinated care and still higher costs. More doctors will leave primary care medicine. More doctors of any kind may leave.

    Some of my colleagues are currently getting ‘reimbursements’ for less than their cost to provide the service. Other colleagues are surviving in practices that are subsidized by various agencies. Other colleagues are employees of the large hospital systems. Most are on hamster wheels running as hard as they can, trying to help patients one after another or at the minimum, trying not to hurt anyone.

    Cash practices are disparagingly called, concierge practices. But cash practices may be the only salvation for healthcare, the only way to dislodge the giant insurance industry that has wedged itself between doctors and our patients.

    Sorry for the long post but the comments, now over 110, are very interesting. This is from people on the front lines. Sermo did a survey of members (now about 110,000) :

    85% of physicians surveyed on Sermo believe they could charge less for services offered if they weren’t forced to pursue reimbursement through a third party payor.

    69% of physicians surveyed stated they could spend more time with patients if they moved to a cash-only practice.

    There is an earthquake of reform coming but I don’t think it is what Obama thinks it is.

    MIke K (2cf494)

  22. Gangbangers working for Dems to “get out the vote” in NJ. Isn’t that special?

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  23. Also, the deductible on health insurance just doubled and the rates still went up.


    Gerald A (a66d02)

  24. Gangbangers working for Dems to “get out the vote” in NJ. Isn’t that special?

    Somehow Corzine will pull it out.

    OTOH I don’t have a good political prognosticating record…

    Gerald A (a66d02)

  25. I admit that this is parochial of me, but I have a hard time caring about any of these elections. I don’t think New Jersey says anything one way or the other (I voted for President Obama twice but would have a very hard time voting for Governor Corzine), a single Congressional race isn’t that interesting, and I don’t understand Virginia’s politics.

    As the results come in tonight, my eyes will be focused on Maine. And, to a lesser extent, Washington. Those are the elections that keep me up at night.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  26. #25, aphrael, you voted for President Obama twice? Either your admission is in error, you’re a member of ACORN, or you have and imaginary friend.

    ropelight (d46b44)

  27. Primary + General = twice!

    AD - RtR/OS! (e6a9d0)

  28. Aphrael could have voted multiple times for Obama if he lived in IL – first as a local state rep, then onward as he rose to the Senate.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  29. I see the Leftists are still trying to push the idiotic meme that running an actual conservative in a Republican district is a bad thing.

    JD (40d7f4)

  30. If the three races in the east all go GOP, the next one to watch is CA 10 in the east Bay Area. John Garamendi is running for what should be a safe seat for the Donkeys. Its another special election and in any other year, it would be an easy D. In fact, last spring, the Puffington Post argued Garamendi should run against Dan Lungren in a more Republican district so he could knock off one more R. I haven’t heard that lately.

    I alerted Jim Geraghty to this and he has a post on it. He says a win for Harmer would be an earthquake bigger than New Jersey.

    I also recommended watching the Tucson city council race because the Tucson Tea Party has put a lot of effort into getting some of the lefty hacks out of there. Tucson is a college town and the local politics is leftist but military retirees are getting active so there might be some interesting things going on there, too.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  31. ropelight: I had the opportunity to vote for the man in the Democratic party primary in California, and then again in the general election.

    Mike K: Lt. Gov. Garamendi will win the CA-10 election hands down, without any difficulty whatsoever. No Republican has carried more than 35% of the vote in a general election in the district since the last redistricting. Lt. Gov. Garamendi is a carpetbagger (in that he doesn’t live in the district), and significantly more liberal than Undersecretary Tauscher (the outgoing incumbent), and this is a special election so turnout will be low; even so, if the Republican candidate manages to break 40%, everyone will be shocked.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  32. aphrael – Careful. Eric might have to scream at you about how carpetbagging flies in the face of the Constitution and the entire basis of the foundation of our country.

    JD (6dce29)

  33. JD: I have a dislike for carpetbaggers. I would not have voted for Secretary Clinton the first time she ran for the Senate, for example. And even though it’s legal I take a dim view of politicians running for Congress in districts where they don’t live.

    I would not have voted for Lt. Gov. Garamendi in the primary. That said, I’m not sure how I would vote in the general election; I don’t live in that district, so I don’t have to decide.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  34. aphrael – Ditto. I share your dislike, but the election laws as written, and even more importantly as they have been interpreted, might as well be written in pencil or crayon.

    JD (6dce29)

  35. Mathews must be dizzy right about now. Virginia is no reflection on Barcky. None. It is a reflection on how much people hate Congress, especially the Republican Congress. And why did the new VA Gov ban Palin from VA? She is a crazy whack-job THEOCRAT !!!!!!!!!!! Sadly, I am only embellishing a tiny bit.

    JD (6dce29)

  36. It’s a little more rational over at Kudlow, plus you get some rational economic news too.

    AD - RtR/OS! (e6a9d0)

  37. VA Gov appears to be a huge win, 60%+ so far. But this is a local race and has no reflection on Barcky. None.

    Olbergasm is unglued.

    JD (74f504)

  38. JD: from what I can tell, the big difference in VA between this year and last year is the composition of the electorate – young people and black people stayed home.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  39. That may be the case. But had Deeds one, no doubt Teh Narrative would have been that this was an affirmation of Teh One.

    JD (6dce29)

  40. Oh, probably. But I’m good enough at reading election results to draw my own conclusions. 🙂

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  41. It has always been clear that you are exponentially more intellectually honest than any of the people in the MSM, aphrael. Granted, that is faint praise … 😉

    JD (6dce29)

  42. […] always saw the NY-23 race as a sui generis clusterfark, so Hoffman coming up short did not exactly shock me. The […]

    The Greenroom » Forum Archive » 2009 election post-mortem (e2f069)

  43. […] always saw the NY-23 race as a sui generis clusterfark, so Hoffman coming up short did not exactly shock me. The “GOP […]

    Patterico's Pontifications » 2009 election post-mortem (e4ab32)

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