Archive for the 'Talent vs. McCaskill' Category

Thank you, Jim

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

Congratulations to Claire McCaskill and her team.

And since Claire chose not to acknowledge Jim Talent and his service during her victory speech, I’ll do it for her:

Thank you, Jim, for the time you’ve given and the sacrifices you’ve made — both personally and professionally — on behalf of the people of Missouri.

Politics has people like me, then it has people like Jim Talent. People like me are campaign people; we like to argue about why “we” are right and why “they” are wrong. We often say and do things with the sole intention of making the other side so mad that they lose their focus. It’s a sport to us — and it’s a lot of fun, as long as you win (and as long as you never stop to consider how your behavior affects your opponents.)

People like Jim Talent are policy people, not campaign people. They’re more concerned with doing what’s right rather than doing what’s expedient.

These days, I think politics needs more policy people like Jim Talent and fewer campaign people like me.

And congratulations to Brenda, Michael, Kate, and Chrissy — the Senate’s loss is your gain.

(And let’s not forget the Talent staff and volunteers. From the days of Barb Cooper and Norm Baxter and Kerry DeGregorio to the days of Miriam Stonebraker and Rich Chrismer and Gregg Keller — many of the best people you’ll ever meet in politics have a little bit of Talent running through their veins.)

Comments to john {at} johncombestblog {dot} com. E-mail rules here.

Throughout the day…

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

…check out Hotline On Call for updates from around the country.

As tonight’s numbers come in, you may want to compare them to numbers from previous years to get a feel for where the results are headed.

Comments to john {at} johncombestblog {dot} com.  E-mail rules here.

Lessons from Nov. 7

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

I don’t know about you, but on the morning of Nov. 8, I’m going to put together the day’s headlines at johncombest.com, turn off my phone, and take a nap. So I put together next Wednesday’s blog post in advance. Read it now or read it later — it’s your call.

Here are five lessons we learned from Election 2006:

5.) Wherever you go, YouTube is there. Credit Jim Talent and Claire McCaskill for not making any big mistakes within sight of video cameras. Other U.S. Senate candidates — namely George Allen and Conrad Burns — were not so lucky. Thanks to YouTube, Missouri politicos saw good actors and bad actors and angry thespians re-enacting the running of the bulls (Springfield as Pamplona — who woulda thunk it?!?) Google’s purchase of YouTube means ubiquity for the video site, and an invitation for pros and amateurs to catch their least favorite candidates in the most unflattering of lights.

4.) Vote fraud isn’t dead, but it’s dying. To date, the positive contribution Gov. Matt Blunt has made to ethics in Missouri government is the appointment of real Republicans to the St. Louis City Election Board. Without them, it’s doubtful that groups like this would have been caught doing things like this. Republican legislators will still pass a photo ID bill next year, for obvious reasons. But rank-and-file Republicans should just be happy that Scott Leiendecker, and cooperative Dems at the Election Board, have made fighting fraud a top priority.

3.) Love for sale — black Dems stop giving it up for free. Longtime Alderman Freeman Bosley, Sr., gained attention in September for sending a letter to the supporters of Amendment 2, warning them that not enough black political leaders were receiving their rightful tribute. Bosley’s not-so-veiled threat was surprising not for its content, but for the fact that it was made publicly. With Jay Nixon at the top of the Democratic ticket in 2008, we can expect more black leaders to publicly assert their independence from the Democratic Party and become political free agents. The market will no doubt be flooded with some sketchy “consultants”, but with Republican leaders willing to put more money in the streets, expect the going rate for a clergy or ward endorsement to increase dramatically. Republicans still won’t crack 20% of the black vote, but Dems will find organizing black voters to be more difficult and much more expensive than in years past.

2.) Susan Montee is a problem. Forget Robin Carnahan — Susan Montee is the Dems’ new golden child. Like Carnahan, Montee has a statewide office to use to increase her name ID and resume for future campaigns. Unlike Carnahan, Montee will be able to trot out a husband and kids — the missing piece of the puzzle in Carnahan’s campaign collage. Montee is a certified varsity starter in a party full of lifelong B-teamers, and she’s one of very few Dems who can mount a legitimate challenge to Kenny Hulshof should Kit Bond’s U.S. Senate seat open up in 2010.

1.) Sorry, Michael J. — all politics is still local. A year ago, it looked like Claire McCaskill had an easy task — all she had to do was tie her opponent to an unpopular president, one whom Jim Talent voted with — say it with me — 94% of the time. Moreover, Talent opposed embryonic stem cell research, which was favored by an overwhelming majority of Missourians (remember those days?). So what happened? The short answer is that a majority of voters never bought the argument that Jim Talent was part of the problem in Washington. McCaskill hit on popular notes of national discontent — the war in Iraq, “fairness” in health care, and gas prices (back when they were astronomical). But McCaskill unwisely ignored her base — who are predisposed to buying into class-based arguments — in favor of rural voters, most of whom have been bombarded with Republican memes of “guns, God, and gays” for the last decade. McCaskill’s slogan — “It’s time for a Senator on our side” was cute, but most Missourians felt like Jim Talent never left their side in the first place. That sentiment — along with the Dems’ disorganization and the Republicans’ turnout machine — is responsible for Missourians returning Jim Talent back to the U.S. Senate.

Note to angry candidates, staff, and consultants: I care about your opinion. No really, I care a whole lot. Send your very valuable feedback to john {at} johncombestblog {dot} com. Be sure to put “Inconsequential ramblings that John will delete without reading” in the subject line so I can give your e-mail the attention it deserves.

Rich Chrismer, Sr.

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

I play the role of dunderheaded partisan whenever the mood strikes — in other words, most of my waking hours. But when I saw this story, I immediately thought about a conversation I had with someone in the public relations field a week or so ago.

The conversational thread was based upon the question: Do party spokespeople really believe the charges they levy against their opponents? Read the headlines here and here, then answer that question.

To be sure, engaging in purely partisan behavior — much like arguing with your significant other — can be a very healthy and fun activity when done on a selective basis. It’s when you do it every day that it becomes a problem.

I’m the first to admit that I’m biased in this case because my relationship with Rich Chrismer, Sr. and his son predate johncombest.com. Call me naive, but I’d like to think that the honesty and character of the Chrismers is why they are so successful, and why they’ll both continue to be as long as they choose to give their lives to public service.

Comments to john {at} johncombestblog {dot} com. E-mail rules here.