The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Cook on reaction to Miers and '06 Senate races

The enigmatic Shallow Larynx keeps me on top of Charlie Cook's column-- very thoughtful since I can't seem to get on their listserve for some strange reason. Cook's a master of hedging his bets, but always interesting to read.

(Also note that Daily Kos has an interesting roundup of '06 senate races today.)

Though I clearly fall on the cobwebbed side of the technological andInternet divide, it's become clear to me that the Internet is a very fast and efficient way of ascertaining grass-roots opinion on the political and ideological vineyards of the right and left. Even a cursory look at the conservative blogosphere Monday revealed three themes. First, the pick looked to be cronyism, with the president selecting a buddy and a loyalist, rather than picking someone purely on merit. Second, put next to Roberts, Miers' qualifications look exceedingly thin. And, finally, because she is such an unknown quantity to everyone outside the Bush White House family, the nomination does not seem sure to move the Supreme Court to the right in the way that conservatives have longed for and have believed is long overdue. Many conservatives, among others, seem pretty underwhelmed by the nomination. (. . .)

If all of this wasn't bad enough for the GOP, North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven announced last week that he would not challenge Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad. Hoeven is widely viewed as the only Republican who could have defeated Conrad.

The news didn't get much better on Monday when Rep. Shelley Moore Capito announced that she would not challenge Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd in West Virginia. Capito is also regarded as the strongest possible GOP candidate against Byrd.

These decisions conclude what has to be a pretty disappointing recruiting season for Senate Republicans, who have been turned down more this year than all but the most snake-bit, pimply-faced teenage boy. While they did get Rep. Mark Kennedy, their first choice, to run for the open Senate seat in Minnesota, and Lt. Gov. Michael Steele to run for the open seat in overwhelmingly Democratic Maryland, the rest of their recruiting efforts can best be described as somewhere between crushing to just OK.

Besides being shutdown in North Dakota and West Virginia, they couldn't get any of the preferred candidates in Florida to take on Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson. At this point, the only GOP candidate is Rep. Katherine Harris, who is widely seen in both parties as being almost unbeatable in a Republican primary but also highly unlikely to win a general election. In Michigan, Republicans had hoped to get Rep. Candice Miller or someone else out of the delegation to take on Sen. Debbie Stabenow. They do have an
interesting candidate in the Rev. Keith Butler, who might be able to make it into a race. In Nebraska and Vermont, Republicans have some interesting, but hardly their first, choices running.