07 November, 2012


I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Richard Mourdock (R-IN) was a bad candidate. But Senator-elect Joe Donnelly (D-IN) was also a bad candidate. He was picked by the IN Democrats to be the sacrificial lamb to Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN), because he wasn't going to hold his congressional seat (congrats to Congresswoman-elect Jackie Walorski (R-IN02)), and because they couldn't find anyone else to run.

That’s the God’s honest truth.

We are conservative in IN, with down home family values. But because of that, we like to think that we're above the partisan fray in Washington. We like to think that we can elect common sense folk who can work to get things done, regardless of party. That’s why our state house changes from red to blue so often and so does our governor’s mansion. It’s why we elect people like former Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN), and former Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN).

The difference between Donnelly and Mourdock was that Donnelly ran a terrific campaign right from the start and Mourdock ran an awful one right from the start. A lot of people will point to Mourdock’s comments about rape in the debate as the reason he lost. But he was in trouble long before then. Donnelly painted Mourdock as an extremist, before a lot of people in IN even knew who Mourdock was. And he continued to hammer that theme home right up until election day. It was a great strategy. It defined Mourdock as the opposite of a common sense person who would just work to get things done. Mourdock was never able to overcome that, and he was never able to turn it around on Donnelly either, who is just as much of an extremist as Mourdock (more so in my mind, but that’s just my opinion). Mourdock instead decided to attach Donnelly to President Obama (D-USA) and ObamaCare. The problem is that there are a lot of people in IN that still like Obama. And even more that still like ObamaCare. By sticking with that attack, Mourdock put a ceiling on his numbers, and never had a chance to break through it.

It’s easy for me to Wednesday morning quarterback, but Mourdock should have spent more time telling us a) what he would do for IN, b) what Donnelly would do for IN, c) that Donnelly was the extremist in the race, and d) that he wasn’t the extremist Donnelly claimed he was. I’m not sure he spent any significant time on ANY of those items. Certainly nothing he said or did to those ends sticks out in my mind. Instead it was just “Donnelly will vote in lockstep with Obama” over and over.

I know this blog has been quiet for a while. It will likely continue to remain so. What motivates me to blog is most anger and frustration, although sometimes it’s happiness. I’ve seen the writing on the wall here for months, and I’ve been resigned to the outcome. That emotion doesn’t inspire me to blog, but instead inspires me to work harder at my job and spend more time with my family. Take care of you and yours and peek in here from time to time. I’m sure I’ll continue to have things to say, just on an infrequent basis.

The Painful Truth

I could’ve written this post a week ago. I waited. But the writing was on the wall, even then.


Believe the polls. It’s fine to analyze the internals of the polls and point out when they don’t make sense. It’s particularly reasonable to do this when it’s six months out from the election, and no one knows what the electorate is going to look like. But when it gets down to three, two, and one week before the election, and you’re still not believing the polls, the problem is likely your premise, not theirs. Just the other day, I saw a rather famous person in the conservative Twittersphere picking apart a Rasmussen poll. Now, Rasmussen is consistently one of the friendliest polls to the GOP, and yet this person was still saying that if X on the poll was wrong and Y was wrong, that it was good for Romney. Sorry, but if you’re doing that a few days out from the election, and with the best poll you’ve got, it smacks of desperation. RCP poll averages are generally just about right. Remember that.


Nate Silver was right. If he got Virginia right, then he may have gone 50 for 50. I don’t know. I haven’t checked. Silver’s method is basically sound. I think there are things that could be done to improve it. But it’s basically ok. You can duplicate a significant part of his work in less than an hour in Excel. Just use the RCP poll numbers, and the Monte Carlo function in Excel. If you’d done that, you would’ve gotten results very similar to Silver’s. A lot of people on the right owe Silver an engraved apology today.


It’s fine to want party purity, but you also have to nominate good candidates. Richard Mourdock (R-IN) was a bad candidate (more on this race in another post). So were others. And if you didn’t know that 6 months ago, then you weren’t paying attention. This blog told you that Mourdock was a bad candidate at least 8 months ago. More than once. Now, yes, I am just as much to blame as others here. I voted for Mourdock in the primary, knowing he was a bad candidate. I thought that former Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) would come around, and in the 2012 environment, in a red state, that even a bad candidate would win. I was wrong.


NRSC, you have some serious egg on your face this morning. Yes, you can only work with the candidates you have. And you’re powerless when they say something stupid. And you can’t force them to run a good campaign. But you can help out with direction, and with education on how not to say something stupid in front of the camera. You didn’t. You failed. A lot of last night’s Senate debacle falls on you. Yes, a lot falls on organizations like Freedomworks who were more interested in party purity than in winning, but you need to take your share of the blame as well.


If there’s a group with more egg on their faces than the NRSC, it’s the conservative punditocracy. I expect partisan spin from you. I expect optimism. But you went far past that into partisan cheerleading. You weren’t just optimistic, you were confident. Excessively so. Some of you were ebullient. With no logical reason to be so. You need to take a long hard look in the mirror and figure out why that was and why you let us down, so that it won’t happen again. Spin is ok, but if I can’t get the truth from you, even when it’s bad, then you’re no better to me than MSNBC. The conservative blogosphere seems more isolated in an echo chamber than the “inside the beltway” crowd, if that’s possible. And that’s unacceptable.