She Has Her Beans to Spill

21 03 2013

And I’ve got mine. Remember, I have not yet spilled the biggest bag.

Yeah, I heard.  Claire McCaskill is writing a tell all about 2012, blah blah blah.  I almost literally have 87 different calls, e-mails and text messages from people telling me so.  Ordinarily, I would ignore, but because of the subject matter and who you know she’ll spend most of the book talking about, and because of who I am (or was) in relation to that subject matter, I guess I’m going to be semi-obliged to read the damned thing.

If that link is any indication, she’s giving herself all the credit for our primary win.  Yes, she can take a little bit of it, but she can’t take all of it.  See?  I’ve already debunked one distortion in her book before she even started writing it.

And also…will she be nice enough to use the occasion of this book to answer these questions for me and the world — From what I hear, there was more open verbal vituperative and personal hate directed at her by the women on her own staff than there was from everyone in our camp, Steelman’s camp and Brunner’s camp combined.  One, is that true, and two, why?





You Wonder Why

21 02 2013

Suburban St. Louis

All you need is the headline from this P-D piece to know where this is headed, or rather, about whom this article is largely focused.

St. Louis a tale of extremes in U.S. House rankings

And you wonder why I set out to use this space to engage in what I term an unsolicited unofficial public relations campaign on behalf of my ex-boss after things turned out the way they did.  Really, though, once you get past the headline, the text of the article is decent.

I’m surprised Todd bothered to respond to the P-D at all.  I think this is his first quasi public appearance since election night.





Somebody Started a Rumor That Todd Akin Is Out of Money

7 09 2012

Town and Country

And by “somebody,” I mean Karl Roverrated.

Pure psyops.





The P-D Editorial Board Must Have No Institutional Memory

4 09 2012

Downtown

They endorsed Todd Akin before the primary precisely because he didn’t have much money, had the least money and support from non-Missouri concerns, and ran the most issues-based campaign.  They endorsed Akin because they wanted money out of the process as much as possible and the fall campaign between himself and Claire McCaskill to be as much about issues as possible.

Now, this very same editorial board now uses Todd Akin’s victory in the primary, which they wanted, as an example of the failure of partisan politics.  One of their recommended “fixes” is already law in Missouri, in the sense that there is no party registration and any voter can choose any party ballot on primary day.  Too, Louisiana recently changed from its French-style apartisan top two then subsequent runoff system to standard primaries and caucuses for Federal offices.

This editoral also calls for a more “non-partisan” fashion in drawing Congressional boundaries.  The problem is, if this comes to pass, the NAACP will take any such map to court because it very likely wouldn’t be drawn to guarantee black Congressmen from St. Louis and Kansas City, and the P-D editorial board would be cheering the NAACP on.





Newt and Todd

3 09 2012

Meet The Press

I’m not a Newt Gingrich fan.  But his quasi-endorsement will help.  Even people on the right who despise Newt stop and pay attention when he speaks.  Even left-wingers will stop and pay attention.  Even I pay attention.  He’s one of the rare people in public political life today who can make you stop everything you’re doing and just watch and listen.  His RNC speech was a dud, though — The zany Newt who wants human colonies on Pluto and cites the day as an anniversary of some semi-significant political or military event that nobody but Newt cares about was nowhere to be found.  Instead, he showed up with the same wife he had during his Presidential campaign, which must be a record for him in terms of marital longevity.

And, he really took it to Karl Roverrated.

Something’s wrong with this video, though:  We have four men and two women on a panel about women’s issues and women voters, and the two women hardly say anything.





Illegitimate Rape

3 09 2012

Town and Country

Todd Akin should be prepared for a line of attack from Claire McCaskill that sounds something like this, and be ready to respond to it:

I have no problem with you admitting your mistake.  Everybody makes mistakes.  My problem is that you even believed it at all, and believed it as a man halfway through your seventh decade of life, not some wet-behind-the-ears college freshman.  I’m a lawyer, and we’re trained to draw a conclusion then find evidence to convince people in general or a jury in particular of our conclusion.  By contrast, you’re an engineer, trained to gather all evidence first then come to a conclusion.  In thinking what you thought until August 19 of this year, you behaved far more like a lawyer and far less like an engineer.  The reason you believed what you did is because both you and a very controversial doctor started with a conclusion, that abortion in the case of rape is wrong, and then fit small out-of-context bits and pieces of medical science behind it.  By the way, doctors are another group of people who should wait to draw conclusions until they have all the facts.  We’re all entitled to our own opinions, but not our own facts.  The fact is, the fertile human female does not have the kind of effective biological mechanism like Dr. Wilkie claims, because some 32,000 times a year in the United States, the rape of a woman results in a pregnancy.  You don’t have the judgment to be in the United States Senate if you for even one moment believed such foolishness in spite of your profession and your age, and in spite of pure common sense.  It makes me and it should make the voters of this state wonder what other inane non-sensical things you believe.

Don’t accuse me of handing McCaskill a grenade to use against us.  I’m sure someone in her camp, if not McCaskill herself, has already thought of this.





Interesting

30 08 2012

Town and Country

Joseph Farah’s latest column suggest that Todd Akin essentially run a campaign of “me against the Republocratic world,” now that most of GOP Inc. have thrown down against him, and most Democrats have turned his name into a cuss word.

Depending on how it’s done, it could be a very good or a very risky thing.  If the Akin campaign does this but comes off as whiny and whoa-is-me and and petulant in the process, it will fail big time.  If they find a way to do this in the context of issues, running a solid issues-based campaign against both Democrat evil and Republican lassitude, it will pay off.





The Five

22 08 2012

Fox News Channel

I’d like to die when I see all these talking heads on TV who act like they know about the ground I walk upon than I do.  Most of these yapping heads have only ever been to Missouri from 30,000 feet above it.

If you want to know how Todd Akin won the primary, from someone who got his hands dirty directly in the affair, then read this.  Hint:  Democrat voters didn’t cross over, and the McCaskill “attack” buy wasn’t the only reason.  Otherwise, there’s nothing I can do for you but to call you out for the clueless morons that you are.

Another thing that frustrates me to no end is that 99.99% of people who have or will have ever heard of Todd will know him from this stupid rape comment.  Yes, it is stupid, because at least 32,000 pregnancies a year are a result of rapes, and probably more because a lot of the instances fly under the radar.  But he’s not that kind of person — What possessed him to say something like that to Jaco is a mystery to me, but I think I have an idea about the responsible party.

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.  So what will be incumbent on the Akin campaign now is getting the first chance to make a second, third, fourth, fifth…impression spot on.

One more thing:  This isn’t Charles Jaco’s fault.  (Jaco, formerly of CNN.)  I’m hardly the world’s biggest Charles Jaco fan, but this is an unforced error that was entirely Todd’s fault:  Jaco didn’t lead this out of him.

UPDATE

Sorry, Sarah P.  Sarah S. cannot run as an independent or write-in.  Missouri has a “sore loser” law that prevents losers of primaries from running as legally declared write-in candidates or independents who gain ballot access via petition signatures.  Besides, if she was such great shakes, why couldn’t she get more than one in six votes in the two biggest repositories of Republican votes in the state in spite of your endorsement and all the Tea Party money spent on her behalf?  Think it through, Sarah P. — There’s a reason for that.

UPDATE II

I’m hearing Rush callers claim that Akin “has been bought off,” i.e. by Democrats.  I wish people wouldn’t run their mouths about shit they know nothing about.





Stage Three

10 08 2012

Missouri

Claire’s first buy after the primary, a salvo aimed in our direction:

This is almost a positive buy for us, considering the increasing number of people suffering crippling student loan debt.





Help Maybe Not Wanted

8 08 2012

Sacramento

Tea Party Express has me on their e-mail list, even though I never asked to be on the list.

They pushed this out today:

Sarah Steelman comes up short – the future is still bright

Last night, Tea Party Express and Gov. Sarah Palin endorsed conservative candidate Sarah Steelman came up short in her effort to be the next U.S. Senator from Missouri.  While we are disappointed with the final outcome, we can all take satisfaction in knowing that we fought the good fight!

We want to take this opportunity to thank all of our loyal supporters for their generous donations to our Sarah Steelman campaign.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We are proud to have campaigned for Sarah Steelman and believe that we have not heard the last from her

In the end, she was not able to overcome the $7.5 million that one of her opponents personally dropped into the race and the ads that incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill ran in favor of Steelman’s opponent (the strategy by the McCaskill campaign was to make sure that Steeelman didn’t win as they viewed her as the toughest opponent.)

We believe Sarah Steelman would have been the strongest candidates in the Fall and the most aggressive tea party Senator in Washington.  The victor in the election, Congressman Todd Akin, is also good conservative.  We had to choose between multiple strong candidates.  We look forward to campaigning for Akin to assure we are successful in our ultimate goal of defeating Claire McCaskill and taking the gavel out of the hands of liberal Senator Harry Reid, just like we did by taking the gavel away from Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2010.

Obama ally and liberal Democratic Sen. McCaskill has got to go!

One of Tea Party Express’ top priorities in 2012 is to elect a conservative majority to the U.S. Senate, and we are confident that Claire McCaskill can be beaten.

Please help us match the war-chest of McCaskill by making a donation to our campaign to take back the Senate!

Steelman couldn’t overcome Brunner’s money, but Todd Akin, working with even less money than Steelman, and also working without the endorsements of any organizations with “tea party” or people with “Palin” in their names, was able to!





Akin to Victory

8 08 2012

Missouri

At 8:55 PM CT last night, I tweeted this:  “Is anyone else on #TeamAkin starting to feel it?  #mosen #MOprimary”  That was immediately after Dave Robertson of Channel 5 tweeted that with 84% of Greene County in, Akin was still leading there.  That’s when I got the sense that we could actually win this thing.

Because there’s so much to delve into, I’m going to break down the Senate race separately and before I do my primary review by the end of the week.

Executive summary:  Missouri Republican voters choose experience, record and intelligence over empty skirted hood ornaments and daddy warbucks.

It’s like deja vu all over again.

In 2000, Jim Talent didn’t run for another term in Congress in MO-2 in order to run for Missouri Governor.  That opened up a red-gerrymandered Congressional district, and predictably, a boatload of credible candidates came out of the woodwork.  The odds on favorite was former St. Louis County Executive Gene McNary, who was County Executive from 1975 to 1989, but left to become Bush 41′s director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), as ICE was known at the time.  I told a lot of people that I had my ear to the ground and I could hear that a state Senator by the name of Todd Akin was coming out of “left field,” at least in everyone else’s terms, but not mine.  I knew that Akin had a strong base in the conservative Christian churches of the district.  When Akin beat McNary by fewer than 100 votes on primary night in August 2000, I wasn’t surprised, even though everyone else was.

That led to one which led to six terms in the House.  In that time, Akin was one of the first Congressmen to join Tom Tancredo’s immigration restriction caucus, and also one of the first to join the Tea Party Caucus in the House.

When Akin came out of nowhere to win the Senate primary yesterday, it was the same deal:  A surprise to everyone, but not to me.  Only this time, it was a much harder slog, because it was a statewide race, and some stars needed to line up in the right way.

So how did he do it?

1.  Defending home field.  He had very near a majority in the precincts that also served as his Congressional district, the 2000s configuration of MO-2.  Bank robbers rob banks because that’s where the money is, and likewise, West St. Louis County, much of South St. Louis County and St. Charles County are where the Republican voters in Missouri are.  Akin won an outright majority in Lincoln County, which happened to be part of CD-2 last decade.  He also won St. Louis City, even though their few Republicans were thought to be Brunner-wheelhouse “moderates.”

2.  While he didn’t win every or most outstate county, he won enough of them and did well enough in a lot of others to keep the outstate numbers from dragging down his St. Louis margins.  Akin got 30% in Sarah Steelman’s home base of Phelps County.  Meanwhile, Steelman only got 16% in Akin’s home base of St. Louis County.  Which would you rather have?

3.  Greene County (Springfield).  Akin winning it and Steelman not winning it was big.  Perhaps Huckabee.  (See Below)

4.  Jefferson County.  I remember thinking to myself and telling some other people, and in fact, writing it in this space, that Jefferson was an important barometer for the whole race.  I said back in early May, when the season started, while thinking of Akin, Brunner and Steelman, their strengths and weaknesses, and their various strong suits in voter constituencies, that Jefferson County had enough of a St. Louis suburban feel to play to Akin, enough of a rural/Ozarks feel to play to Steelman, and enough of a prole feel to make their voters susceptible to Daddy Warbucks’s media buys.  I said that whoever won Jefferson would win the whole shooting match, and that the margin would be similar.  In fact, that’s exactly what happened — Akin won Jefferson by 5 points and the state by 6 points.  This is why I chose a Jefferson County precinct to electioneer for Akin, in what turned out to be a 100-degree day.

5.  Akin got 28% and finished in third place in Jackson County.  Not bad for someone who supposedly had no name recognition in Kansas City.  I said KC was sort of a key, and while it wasn’t a Jefferson County style bellwether, Akin needed to do well enough there, just like he needed to do well enough in rural Missouri to keep those negative margins from eliminating his St. Louis margins.

6.  Two gifts from The Sky very late in the game — Chick-Fil-A and the semi-supportive McCaskill buy.

7.  I’m not a Mike Huckabee fan, especially since he’s amnesty and open borders all the way, and Akin is an immigration restrictionist, but I think the Huck buys made the difference in the parts of southern Missouri close to Arkansas.  I think it would have been better for the Akin campaign to run the Huck buy only in southern Missouri but not at all in St. Louis.

8.  Akin was more aggressive and articulate than I’ve ever seen him.  Combined with Steelman’s stuttering and Brunner’s constant two- or three-line refrains, Akin decided to start communicating his own worldview and applying his own experience to oratory at just the right time.

9.  Late breaks.  No polls ever showed Akin leading this race, and all but one showed us in third place.  His typical percentage in the polls was 18, yet he got 36% of the actual vote.  I think half of Akin’s voters were either late breaking undecideds or people who were initially for Brunner or Steelman, and they either made up or changed their minds, respectively, late in the game, perhaps as late as actually being in the voting booth.  Telling a pollster is one thing, but actually having the ballot in front of you is another.

10.  And with almost no money.  I think in the end that was more of a feature than a bug, especially since I think Brunner’s money became a liability.

When someone wins, it’s sometimes just as true that someone else lost.  Here are my theories on how the competition lost:

Steelman:  When the season started, Sarah Steelman was the conventional wisdom frontrunner.  She had statewide name recognition from her time as State Treasurer and her failed run for Governor in 2008.  Most Tea Party orgs endorsed her.  Then there’s gender — It was thought that people would want a woman to face Claire McCaskill.

What drug her down?  Herself.  I saw her in person twice during this season.  First, I spied on her when she was the main speaker at a Tea Party event in May in West County, and second, the debate at Lindenwood.  Of course, I listened to her a lot beyond just literally seeing her.  She was horrible in the debate, and while she was nowhere near that bad otherwise, even her good moments this season weren’t that good.  She sounded unsure of herself and everything in general.

Sarah Palin comes out of yesterday with egg on her face.  Other than the fact that Steelman didn’t win, Palin’s endorsement didn’t change anybody’s mind or sway undecided voters, as it turned out.  Alaska Sarah’s endorsement of Missouri Sarah was the political equivalent of what accountants call a sunk cost — What I mean by that is that anyone in this state who was a Palin fan was going to vote Steelman anyway, and that was set in stone early in the season, long before the formal endorsement.  I said just as much right here and to people when AK Sarah endorsed MO Sarah, and it turns out my instincts were right on the money.

Steelman got 16% in St. Louis County and 17% in St. Charles County.  You’re not winning anything in a statewide Republican contest if you get only about one in six votes from the two biggest repositories of Republican votes in the state.

What happened?  Just in the nick of time, people finally saw that Sarah Steelman was an empty skirt.

Brunner:  I didn’t take him credibly at first, but his money made him credible.  The only reason he was in this race is that he saw what Ron Johnson did in Wisconsin, (Johnson endorsed Brunner early on), and politics is a monkey see monkey do business.  Brunner thought his newness and money and private sector experience would carry the day all by itself.  The problem is, Johnson was able to articulate an agenda and a worldview, while Brunner rarely deviated from his boring pre-scripted pre-rehearsed talking points, either on the trail, in the media buys or in debates.  The only position he clearly staked out was being against ObamaCare, and that was hardly special or something that would set him apart in a Republican Primary in a light red state.

I think enough people grew to be resentful of all the money he was spending on his own campaign.  Just as Akin’s lack of money turned out to be more of a feature than a bug, Brunner’s plentiful supply turned out to be a liability rather than an asset.

Expect this post to be amended and edited many times.

UPDATE

Total number of votes for either Akin, Steelman or Brunner:

St. Louis County:  79,789
St. Charles County:  39,617
Jefferson County:  17,741
Jackson County:  27,511
Greene County:  31,108

Now you know why there were very few media buys in Kansas City.  When a hilly working class white county south of St. Louis that was historically Democrat gets 17k votes compared to only 27k votes in the main county of the Kansas City metro area, that should tell you something.  Springfield is more important than Kansas City in statewide Republican politics!

UPDATE II

Turnout was 21% in Jefferson County, 25% in St. Louis County, 27% in St. Louis City, 22% in St. Charles County.  City turnout was higher probably because of CD-1-D.  The precinct in JeffCo where I perched myself had a very light turnout, even the busy hours weren’t that busy.  Locals told me that that precinct probably had an under 20% turnout.  The statewide turnout was 23%.

By comparison, the August 2010 primary turnout was 21% in Jefferson County, 21% in St. Louis County, 14% in St. Louis City, 22% in St. Charles County.  That turnout was higher this year in St. Louis County and much higher in St. Louis City compared to the same point two years ago was indicative of Carnahan-Clay.  Still, even with more Democrats from St. Louis turning out for a competitive Democrat affair, A+S+B was 574k, McCaskill only had 289k, statewide.  And you wonder why I think she’s toast.

UPDATE III

This primary was the first contentious outcome-not-a-foregone-conclusion Senate partisan primary since the 1994 Democrat Primary between Alan “BBQ in the Bathtub” Wheat, Congressman from CD-5, and Marsha Murphy, the Jackson County Executive.  Wheat beat Murphy in August then lost to John Ashcroft that November.  I don’t remember a contentious Republican Senate Primary in Missouri before now in my conscious lifetime.

This was also the last time any Missouri statewide race was Kansas Citian vs Kansas Citian.  Like I said earlier, St. Louisan vs St. Louisan happens often, St. Louis Countian vs St. Louis Countian not too infrequently, but KC vs KC is rare.

UPDATE IV

I’m adding this section in the height of the controversy.  Rush Limbaugh et al. are wrong when they claim that Democrat crossovers drove Akin to victory in the primary.  First off, the two big repositories of Democrat votes for Democrat primaries are St. Louis and Kansas City.  The Democrats in CD-1 took a Democrat ballot for the Clay-Carnahan race, and there were very few Democrat and not very many Republican votes out of Kansas City and Jackson County.





Ak-In?

17 03 2011

Might throw his hat into SEN.

If he does, he’s my preferred candidate for SEN-R in August 2012.  Sorry, Ann.  Sorry, Sarah.

I always figured that he had ambitions for some sort of statewide office, and was waiting for the right time to strike, as he would have to give up his House seat to run for whatever.  Then again, with redistricting coming, we don’t know exactly what his own district will look like in 2012 — Maybe he thinks that if the map is accidentally drawn the wrong way, he could be a bit vulnerable either in the primaries or in the general.

In 2000, when Jim Talent abandoned MO-2 to run for Governor, the frontrunner in the Republican primary to replace him was former St. Louis County Executive and former Bush 41 Administration INS Chief Gene McNary.  Todd Akin was in the race, but not much talked about.  In my preview of that primary season, on another medium, I predicted an Akin win, because I had my ear to the ground and heard all the support Akin (then a State Representative) had among the conservative Christian churches in West County and St. Charles County.  Part of the reason I could predict an Akin win was because McNary, even black in 2000, was just plain old news.  Even with a strong Akin, McNary would have won that primary easily if he were still at the peak of his power and his news-worthiness.  However, a well-supported Akin at the grass routes combined with McNary being old news is why Akin won that primary, and is now on his sixth term in Congress.








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