The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Obama & Romney Tout Good News

Rich Galen

Wednesday May 23, 2012


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  • In another sign that all is not well in Obama-land, the campaign sent its manager, Jim Messina, up to Capitol Hill to reassure Senate Democrats "who," according to "have grown increasingly nervous about the race."

  • According to the article, Messina described the "campaign's state-of-the-art ground game aimed at getting voters to the polls and targeting swing voters in battleground states."

  • There is nothing wrong with sending a high-ranking campaign staffer to smooth talk high-ranking office holders during a tight re-election campaign. But, Senate Democrats are staring down the barrel of a very, very close election result themselves and don't want to be dragged down by a fumbling, faltering Obama re-election campaign.

  • Messina's visit did its job. Senators coming out of the meeting were quoted as saying they were confident in an Obama victory.

  • Most of the political geniuses in Washington, DC believe the outcome of the 2012 Senate races will be somewhere in the vicinity of 51-49 D, 50-50, or 51-49 R when its all said and done. The current Senate makeup is which is 51-49 Democrat (including two so-called independents who caucus with the Ds).

  • After the election of 2000, the Senate was tied at 50-50. Then floor leaders, Trent Lott (R-MS) and Tom Daschle (D-ND) worked out a "power-sharing agreement" which provided for equal numbers of Senators on Committees and SubCommittees, equal recognition for the leaders in floor debates and many other issues.

  • That all changed in May, 2001, when Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont switched his affiliation from R to I, but agreed to caucus with the Democrats thus giving them control of the Chamber.

  • Jeffords got the chairmanship of the Environmental Committee for his troubles, but it did help define who was in charge of what for the rest of the Congress.

  • All that to say there is no small amount of angst among Senators who expect to be returning next year as to which party will run the show and if either Obama or Romney begin to falter as we move through the election cycle, you will see significant moves from that candidate's party to shore up U.S. Senate campaigns outside the Presidential efforts.

  • Meanwhile, across the aisle, Karl Rove was making the rounds of TV studios and the Wall Street Journal editorial pages touting what he called a "3-2-1" strategy for Gov. Mitt Romney to win in November.

  • In 2008, Sen. Obama beat Sen. John McCain by 365-to-173 votes in the Electoral College.

  • According to Rove, if Romney wins the states that McCain won, he will be 14 electoral votes closer to the necessary 270 than McCain got because of the 2010 census which moved Congressional Districts (and their Electoral College votes) from "blue states such as Massachusetts, New York and Illinois" to "red states such as South Carolina, Georgia and Texas."

  • The "3" in Rove's 3-2-1 analysis stands for "Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia, a trio of historically Republican states" that "Obama won by narrow margins" 2008. North Carolina is trending toward Romney and Indiana is probably already out of reach for Obama.

  • That leaves Virginia which
    "will likely remain a battleground through Election Day. Mr. Obama carried it by more than six points and remains ahead by a little more than three points, according to the RealClearPolitics average of state polls."

  • If Romney wins the "3" states, then that moves the Electoral College needle to 319-219.

  • The "2" stands for Ohio and Florida which Obama won in 2008 by margins of 4.6% and 2.8% respectively. Recent polling has Obama leading in Ohio but trailing in Florida. Although Rove doesn't mention this, putting Ohio Senator Rob Portman on the ticket might just be enough to nudge the Buckeye State into Romney's column.

  • However he does it, if Romney wins the "2" states that closes the Electoral College gap to "272 for Mr. Obama, 266 for Mr. Romney."

  • The "1" is "one more state - any state."

  • Rove points to New Hampshire, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin as likely candidates as the state that puts Romney over the top.

  • Polling in May for an election which will not be held until November are worthless as predictors of the outcome. But, they do tell us where the race stands today and it stands to be very, very close.

  • Messina was correct when he told the Democratic Caucus in the U.S. Senate that turnout is going to be the key to victory.

  • Both Rove and Messina are using the psychology of boosting turnout by telling their candidate's supporters that their guy has a great chance of winning.

  • One of them will be correct.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the article about Messina's trip to Capitol Hill and to the Rove essay in the Wall Street Journal. Also a Mullfoto of a new Mullfave watering hole and a Catchy Caption of the Day.

    -- END

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