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Who Should the Democrats Fire?


Who are the Democrats going to fire after that mid-term debacle? The excuses are piling up in every corner of the media. They range from the stupid, like blaming Mark Udall’s defeat on his vocal support for women’s issues, to the utterly foreseeable, like failure of millenials to turn out. Then there are happy-talkers. We have demographic truthers, who are convinced that the long-term trends favor the Democrats, as the old white people die out and the young and what we used to call minorities who supposedly vote Democratic become the majority. Some people blame gerrymandered congressional districts. Some say the 2016 map is very favorable to the Democrats, and the Presidential election will counter the turnout problems, no doubt because the Republican candidates for President are buffoons and losers. And there are the die-hard Obama supporters who blame racism for the problems. The list of excuses is nearly endless. They all agree on one thing: no need for a circular firing squad, as Joan Walsh put it on Salon.

I disagree. When you have a debacle like this, there is only one question: who is responsible. The answer tells us who to fire.

I’m going to guess every single one of those excuses (Digby has a nice list) was pushed by a Democratic politician, a senior staffer, or a Democratic political consultant. It’s obvious that they do that to protect themselves from their own failure. It wasn’t my fault they claim, the stars were aligned against me.

Well, here’s a story. On Saturday, Notre Dame, my alma mater, got clobbered by Arizona State. The quarterback, Everett Golson had a terrible day, with three ugly turnovers in the first 20 minutes that led to three easy touchdowns by the Sun Devils. The color announcer blamed the defense as much as the offense; he said they failed to answer the challenge of the turnovers. He was right. Part of their job is to clean up after the offense, and they failed.

In this mid-term, as in the last one, the political class of Democrats failed to overcome the challenges. There must be consequences for defeat. Someone needs to be fired. Sadly, it isn’t going to happen. In the immediate aftermath of the defeat, Nancy Pelosi offered the job of running the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee to the incompetent Steve Israel, whose stupid strategy has been relentlessly exposed by Howie Klein. Israel had the grace to decline, thank heaven, but I’m sure Pelosi will find another failure to run that group.

Alison Grimes, running against Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, was fairly close most of the Summer. She spent most of the election running away from Obama. In the single debate with her opponent, she refused to say she voted for Obama. She claimed she would vote to fix Obamacare. And she rooted for coal. Who were the idiot consultants who advised this candidate? Those are three of the dumbest positions you could take. Coal is a dying industry, and nothing she says can change that. The number of coal miners in Kentucky is falling, and will continue to fall, and the solution is to tell the truth about that instead of obfuscating. And why would she refuse to admit she voted for Obama if she did? Or even if she didn’t?

Worst of all, Obamacare is a raging success in Kentucky, thanks to the excellent work of its Democratic governor, Steve Beshear. Grimes should have been bragging on that success and pounding the malevolent McConnell with his utterly insane statement that he would repeal Obamacare and leave the portal, Kynect, in place. Why didn’t she? I blame the consultants. Here’s a story from the National Journal from July 2013:

Grimes has brought on veteran Democratic pollster Mark Mellman of the Mellman Group to run her polling operation, a spokesman tells the Hotline. Mark Putnam of the Putnam Group, who produced Grimes’ popular 2011 television ad featuring both of her grandmothers, will handle media. And Andrew Kennedy of Kennedy Communications will serve as a senior adviser.

Longtime Kentucky consultant Jonathan Hurst will serve as a spokesman. Hurst has a long history with Grimes, having worked on her 2011 race for Secretary of State and with her father at the state Democratic Party. He was also the state director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008. The Clintons reportedly urged Grimes to get into the Senate race and Hurst said they will “absolutely” be involved in the campaign.

And later, here’s Jason Zengerle in October 2014 in The New Republic describing what was headlined as the worst Senate campaign of the year.

A former Kentucky Democratic Party chair and longtime friend of the Clinton’s, [Grimes’ father, Jerry Lundergan] has tried to keep a low public profile during the Senate race. But it’s widely assumed that he’s calling the shots in his daughter’s campaign, which is being helmed by Kentucky political consultants long loyal to him. “There’s nobody on the campaign that can look Jerry in the eye and say, ‘No Jerry, we’re not going to do that,’” says Al Cross, the Courier-Journal’s former chief political writer. And, in the end, Lundergan’s Kentucky yes-men just don’t appear to be up to the task of unseating McConnell. “They chose not to bring in national talent,” says Cauley, “and it’s showing.”

The candidate lost badly, and she ran a terrible campaign. That’s the fault of the consultants, apparently including her father and the Clinton operation. It’s the same story all over with losers like Udall and closer than they should have been winners like Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. The consultants and other national talent all immediately ran to their sources and blamed someone or something else, and then packed their bags for the next campaign, and the next defeat.

Instead, they need to be publicly humiliated and thrown to the wolves. The Democratic Party cannot be saved with any of the people responsible for this debate. That includes senior politicians. All of them, top to bottom, should step aside: Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer for starters. They’ve been in office so long their commitments to the rich and powerful have eroded any contact they might ever have had with the people. And all the consultants who lost in this last election should be branded as losers and never work in This Town or any other ever again.

A circular firing squad is the only thing that will save this party.

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Who Should the Democrats Fire?


Who are the Democrats going to fire after that mid-term debacle? The excuses are piling up in every corner of the media. They range from the stupid, like blaming Mark Udall’s defeat on his vocal support for women’s issues, to the utterly foreseeable, like failure of millenials to turn out. Then there are happy-talkers. We have demographic truthers, who are convinced that the long-term trends favor the Democrats, as the old white people die out and the young and what we used to call minorities who supposedly vote Democratic become the majority. Some people blame gerrymandered congressional districts. Some say the 2016 map is very favorable to the Democrats, and the Presidential election will counter the turnout problems, no doubt because the Republican candidates for President are buffoons and losers. And there are the die-hard Obama supporters who blame racism for the problems. The list of excuses is nearly endless. They all agree on one thing: no need for a circular firing squad, as Joan Walsh put it on Salon.

I disagree. When you have a debacle like this, there is only one question: who is responsible. The answer tells us who to fire.

I’m going to guess every single one of those excuses (Digby has a nice list) was pushed by a Democratic politician, a senior staffer, or a Democratic political consultant. It’s obvious that they do that to protect themselves from their own failure. It wasn’t my fault they claim, the stars were aligned against me.

Well, here’s a story. On Saturday, Notre Dame, my alma mater, got clobbered by Arizona State. The quarterback, Everett Golson had a terrible day, with three ugly turnovers in the first 20 minutes that led to three easy touchdowns by the Sun Devils. The color announcer blamed the defense as much as the offense; he said they failed to answer the challenge of the turnovers. He was right. Part of their job is to clean up after the offense, and they failed.

In this mid-term, as in the last one, the political class of Democrats failed to overcome the challenges. There must be consequences for defeat. Someone needs to be fired. Sadly, it isn’t going to happen. In the immediate aftermath of the defeat, Nancy Pelosi offered the job of running the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee to the incompetent Steve Israel, whose stupid strategy has been relentlessly exposed by Howie Klein. Israel had the grace to decline, thank heaven, but I’m sure Pelosi will find another failure to run that group.

Alison Grimes, running against Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, was fairly close most of the Summer. She spent most of the election running away from Obama. In the single debate with her opponent, she refused to say she voted for Obama. She claimed she would vote to fix Obamacare. And she rooted for coal. Who were the idiot consultants who advised this candidate? Those are three of the dumbest positions you could take. Coal is a dying industry, and nothing she says can change that. The number of coal miners in Kentucky is falling, and will continue to fall, and the solution is to tell the truth about that instead of obfuscating. And why would she refuse to admit she voted for Obama if she did? Or even if she didn’t?

Worst of all, Obamacare is a raging success in Kentucky, thanks to the excellent work of its Democratic governor, Steve Beshear. Grimes should have been bragging on that success and pounding the malevolent McConnell with his utterly insane statement that he would repeal Obamacare and leave the portal, Kynect, in place. Why didn’t she? I blame the consultants. Here’s a story from the National Journal from July 2013: (more…)

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masaccio

masaccio

I read a lot of books.