Tuesday, December 10, 2013


It's nice that Harry Reid is having fun:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) communications director tried to give Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) a small kiss of death on Tuesday.

The tweet by Reid communications director Adam Jentleson came a day after Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) jumped into the Republican primary against Cornyn....
Obviously, Reid is trying to help the more extreme Republican to win, on the assumption that a primary winner who's extreme will be a weaker general election candidate. But is there any reason to believe that that's true in Texas? Texas isn't a purplish state like Missouri (where Claire McCaskill's primary-season advertising helped get her the extremist opponent she wanted, Todd Akin, in 2012), nor is it bluish-purple Nevada, where Reid himself attacked electable GOP favorite Sue Lowden in the 2010 primary season and got the extremist opponent he wanted, Sharron Angle.

In Texas, if Stockman wins the primary, he'll win the general election -- it's that simple. I don't care how crazy he seems. I don't care how many infantile, trollish tweets he sends. I don't care how many ridiculous things he says about UN gun-grabbers or giving firearms to fetuses. I don't care if he makes regular appearances with Ted Nugent. All that will probably help him. He'll still win the general election in Texas if he wins the primary. He'll be like Rand Paul in Kentucky or Mike Lee in Utah (or, well, like Ted Cruz in Texas) -- a sure winner just because he's a Republican.

I'm not even sure whether there'll be much of a ripple effect in the rest of the country if Stockman says outrageous things during the campaign. Nothing he says will come off as outrageous enough to hurt him with white Texas voters, so I don't think there'll be a Todd Akin/Richard Mourdock effect -- the remarks made by those candidates made news nationwide because they alienated voters in their states.

Harry, if you hurt Cornyn, we're just likely to get is a worse Texas senator than either Cornyn or Cornyn's junior partner. So really, Harry -- don't encourage Stockman.


brother yam said...

It won't help to praise Cornyn either. Seems he's just playing the odds that, perhaps, Texans aren't as crazy as them seem.

Long odds, but still...

Warren Terra said...

He may be playing the long game. Cornyn was outspokenly nutty when first elected, but seems to be settling in, enjoying his tenure and largely avoiding controversy. He could safely and boringly hold that seat for decades on the basis of longtime incumbency and not being a loudmouthed twit, even if all the Democrats' hopes for a demographic shift in Texas become electoral reality. Steve Stockman, not so much.

Erik C. said...

Fuck it. As it is, we're getting a Senator Cotton next year anyway.

What's one more wingnut at this point?

Unknown said...


If I had to guess, I'd say that Reid's calculation is that for all the bluster, Stockman and Cornyn would have similar voting records in the Senate. Stockman might be a little crazier, but it's a game of inches. What is Stockman going to do? Filibuster judges? Obstruct Obama's agenda at every possible opportunity? Say crazy things? Cornyn does that already. So, Reid can have someone who does all that and keeps his mouth shut, or someone who's loud and proud crazy and embarrasses his party.

Victor said...

If Stockman can't lose if he wins the primary, then why is there any hope that Wendy Davis can win the Governor's race?

If that's true about Stockman, then Davis has no shot.

Steve M. said...

Frankly, I don't think she has a shot. I'd love to see her in office, but I think the liberal cult of Wendy is based on beliefs that are wildly unrealistic.

Joe said...

Coryn losing takes his seniority too. which can/will be a PITA for the GOP.

That's a win!

aimai said...

I think this is wrong. Like the others I think that I'm indifferent to how bad a Texas Senator is--he can't advance any worse policies than Cornyn does if the Senate is still in Reid's hands. But what he can do is make the primary an enormous social and political disaster for both men and for Texas. If you compare Texas to a drunk on a multi year bender and you want to get the drunk on the path to sobriety you've got to root for him to hit rock bottom. There are still people in texas who don't pay enough attention to politics. There are people who always vote for the incumbent, and people who always vote for the insurgent. People who vote for the incumbent are probably pretty complaisant about what their Senator actually does and stands for on the world stage.

I don't think Reid cares which asshole takes the Senate seat--but watching the foaming at the mouth of the Senatorial fight is going to bring a lot of attention to the State and the Gubernatorial race which may bring some people off the sidelines to vote for Wendy. Just like all the attention to the flaws of the website and the medicaid roll out brought people to sign up for medicaid who had previously not been aware of the possibility.

Wendy may or may not win. If she doesn't win she joins the ranks of lots of people--half of the people who run for office don't win, or lose the first time 'round. I'm not engaging in any Wendy worship at all to say that Texas (and Texas's women and immigrant population) need to see the Democrats out there punching again. They need to have someone in mind when they register to vote. They need to see something they can identify with both Texas and Democrats to form brand loyalty and to do the hard work of registering people to vote and getting out to vote against high odds.

But in the long run the odds are against old, white, republican Texas--and they know it. I haven't seen the numbers but I wouldn't be surprised if the numbers are there right now to turn texas blue if enough people who are eligible to vote but never vote were to register to vote.

The voting for Governor, of course, is different from the voting for lower offices which can be (and are) gerrymandered to a fare thee well. Seizing the governor's office, even though Texas has a weak govenorship, is important. Even if she doesn't make it the people they register to vote and the anger that her loss will inspire (or that Stockman's win will inspire) is actually extremely politically useful.

Steve M. said...

Texas (and Texas's women and immigrant population) need to see the Democrats out there punching again. They need to have someone in mind when they register to vote. They need to see something they can identify with both Texas and Democrats to form brand loyalty and to do the hard work of registering people to vote and getting out to vote against high odds.

Yes, but this is a variant on the Nader problem: Why try to upend the system by aiming at the top office, and only at the top office? If you lose -- the most likely outcome -- you actually reinforce the skepticism voters had about bothering to register and vote. Better to try to elect some people to lower-level offices, especially those held by complacent incumbents. Then you actually might win a few, and encourage people to keep voting.

Ten Bears said...

I don't know, aimai, I think the "left" has a bad case of puppy love with Ms Davis right now not unlike with Ms Warren. The difference being we know a great deal about Ms Warren, all we know about Davis is her standup several months ago. Grant that we Old Oregon Buckaroos have a bit of an attitude about Texas "cowboys" coming up here and bragging about how their ranch is so big they can drive their pickup all day and still be on their ranch (I once had a pickup like that) but the reality is in Texas even the "liberals" are Retards. They are not an accurate reflection of Democrats nation-wide.

I do like your analogies, though, especially "the drunk" though I have long argued (here) that the white-dogs, the "conservatives", the Retard party is dying and knows it, and like the trapped rat it is is in its death-throes lashing, slashing and destroying everything around it on its way down. There is no getting sober. It and adherants need to die the ignoble death they know is coming

aimai said...

But its not the "Nader problem" at the state level--Wendy Davis isn't splitting the Democratic vote at all, she's building it. Wendy Davis isn't doing anything other than building the party at the local level, exactly what you are advocating for, aren't you? Texas Dems are energized and will run candidates whereever they can--sometimes you need a push/pull charismatic candidate. To me arguing that Wendy Davis's run is quixotic or like a spoiler is to argue that if Obama had run for President the first time and lost that the fervor surrounding his run would doom the democratic party rather than bring a lot of new or fragile voters into the party.

I just don't think that's a useful way of looking at Davis. I don't think anyone is holding her up as a savior--as they are with Warren--but they have correctly identified her as having charisma, name recognition, and some stamina in a very locally appealing way. If you read Texas blogs that's what they like about her. These are three things that you need if you are going to make a run for the governorship. Are you suggesting that any run for governor should be dropped because a democrat is unlikely to win? I can tell you that not running a candidate is a sure fire loser.

Meanwhile, you can't seriously argue that running someone for the top slot detracts from the ability of the local dems to recruit and run people for lower offices, can you? Because it doesn't work that way. General excitement for the party, led by charistmatic figures, generally turns people out who can then vote for down ballot people such as sherriffs and judges. In other words Davis's run serves the same function as a Presidential run in stirring up interest in the General election every four years. Not running a Davis is like cedeing the electoral cycle and dooming your other candidates to irrelevance.

Geese Howard said...

Wendy Davis doesn't have a shot at being the governor. Really, Davis is nothing more than an emotional cult of personality with no real chance of winning. Anyone pinning any sort of hopes on her is a fucking moron who deserves to have their dreams shattered and be held out as an example of supreme idiocy. The idea of her being elected is an amazing example of starry eyed liberal idiocy.

However she should RUN office knowing she will lose. Simply by running for office she can nudge the conversation to the left, build support, and make the party more viable. Perhaps most importantly even while she gets clobbered at the state level some of her support can help win smaller and more local elections. That's important to building the party over the long haul. The GOP gets this, which is why they win so much.

There are reasons to run and things you can accomplish that have nothing to do with winning. If people support Davis for those reasons than her running is a great thing. On the other hand if this is people falling in love with another flashy candidate and expecting them to win and usher in massive change... those people are morons and should be laughed out of the room.

BH said...

"... the reality is in Texas even the 'liberals' are Retards."

As one of those Texas liberals, Mr. Bears, and one who has never owned a ranch or polluted your remote Arcadian paradise with my presence, I suggest to you that you've displayed an unfortunate tendency to stereotype. We have a tough row to hoe here, but in time, hoe it we will - with or without encouragement from you. sir.