Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fantasy-Based Blogging From the Left

Kenneth Quinnell is starting to write like a lefty version of Power Line's John Hinderaker. Quinnell titled a post "Bilirakis in Trouble."

A recent poll by Momentum Analysis has Gus Bilirakis in trouble in his re-election bid in FL-9. Gus only hits 45% in the poll. Newcomer Democratic challenger Bill Mitchell currently sits at 22%, but as the campaign moves forward and his name recognition increases, he’s likely to take a large chunk of the 34% undecided vote. Undecided voters tend to break for the challenger, particularly in a Democratic year such as 2008. Additionally, the undecided voters lean Democratic, 46%-37%.

Polling in the District on generic terms gives a 47%-38% Republican advantage with 15% undecided at this point, meaning Mitchell has a legitimate shot at making a move here if he has a strong campaign. Bilirakis is unpopular and polls lower than a generic Republican, meaning once people learn his name, they are less likely to vote for him. On top of that, he has little record to run on and is an inept campaigner. This race could well be in play.

Quinnell provided no link to the Momentum Analysis article. I have no idea if Quinnell was smoking crack or the data is real. Not that the data is convincing.

45 percent is actually a good number for a Congressional candidate. Another factor is this is the most red district in Florida. District 9 was created in 1982. Gus's father Michael won the seat. District 9 has never been held by a Democrat or someone that didn't have the last name Bilirakis. Phyllis Busansky had DCCC backing and name-recognition. Busansky lost over ten percent of the popular vote.

Bill Mitchell has never held public office and is an unknown. Mitchell ran in 2006 and lost in the Democratic primary. Quinnell cites the "47%-38% Republican advantage." That is a horrible disadvantage to an unknown running against an incumbant.

Bilirakis has raised $1,116,377. Mitchell raised a feeble $81,079 and spent $85,279. Michell has received no PAC money. That means the DCCC came to the conclusion the seat is not in play.

Quinnell claims Bilirakis is in trouble. Even though the Bilirakis family name has carried the district. Bilirakis has NRCC backing and is the superior fundraiser. Mitchell doesn't have the money for mailing or a campaign staff. Somehow Mitchell is going to triumph. This is bullshit and Quinnell knows it.

There is a difference between cheerleading and propaganda. I am not going to start writing delusional posts. That hurts the credibility of this blog and does nothing for the progressive movement. Writing fantasy-based posts about Bilirakis losing his seat doesn't make it so.

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At September 26, 2008 1:16 PM , Blogger Kenneth said...

Michael, you need to work on your reading skills. And your knowledge of basic political science concepts. Key errors in your response:

1. I never said Mitchell would win. I said the seat "could" be in play and he "could" make a move.

2. Any incumbent who is under 50% is in trouble. It doesn't mean they'll lose, but it is a sign that they don't have strong support in their district. This is conventional wisdom in political science and polling circles.

3. Undecideds break overwhelmingly towards challengers, particularly in "wave" elections like this one is likely to be.

4. The undecideds in this race lean Democratic, reinforcing that trend.

5. A generic poll showing Democrats trailing by 9% in "the most red district in the state" is a strong factor in favor of the Democrat. The reddest district in the state is obviously more than 47% Republican and yet, only 47% of the electorate will commit, at this point, to voting Democratic.

6. Bilirakis loses 2% when people mention his name. The name alone will not carry the district.

All of this is still not to say that Mitchell will win, but that if he does the right things, he could make this a competitive race. Money is not a direct determinant of who wins and there are numerous examples, including in Florida, where challengers beat significantly better funded incumbents. Is Mitchell the person to do that? I don't know. But it isn't fantasy to suggest that it is within the realm of possibilities. There's nothing delusional about actually analyzing a race based on actual numbers and coming to a sound conclusion based on that analysis. My analysis is valid and I stand by it. And I won't even repeatedly insult you or call you names for disagreeing with me.

At September 26, 2008 3:21 PM , Blogger Michael Hussey said...

My reading skills told me you were doing spin. Phyllis Busansky had huge DCCC support and is one of the most powerful Bay area pols. She couldn't beat Bilirakis. Voters are not likely to commit to a candidate they don't know. Your post is titled "Bilirakis In Trouble." He's not and we both know it. If that was the case then the DCCC would be giving Mitchell PAC money.

Kenneth, on FPC Radio, you defended Obama on his warrantless wiretapping vote. Which breaks down to Obama is against telecom companies civil lawsuits. Obama's position was lame beyond words. Yet, you defended Obama.

None of the trends you cited show prove that Mitchell can win. The only reason Mitchell is the Democtratic nominee is because the DCCC can't get a good candidate. The DCCC wrote this race off. You do not know more than Chris Van Hollen.

Money is not a direct determinant of who wins and there are numerous examples, including in Florida, where challengers beat significantly better funded incumbents. Is Mitchell the person to do that? I don't know.

Excuse me while I laugh. Money comes into play running against an incumbant. Ron Klein had money, netroots and DCCC backing. Mitchell has none of the above. The DCCC and netroots ignored Tim Mohaney until Mark Foley dropped out. Mitchell isn't going to ride an Obama wave. People don't know Mitchell and he hasn't given them a reason to vote for him. Being the anti-Gus isn't enough.

You contend Bilirakis is in trouble. I noted the district is red, always been held by a Bilirakis and a formable Democratic opponent lost in 2006. It is doubtful Obama will win the district. (Bush won the district by 55 percent.) District 9 is one of the safest GOP seats in the country. Yet, you maintain this fantasy that it's in play. It's insulting to people's intelligence.

I want Bilirakis to lose. Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen.

At September 27, 2008 1:59 PM , Blogger Kenneth said...

But you made numerous claims about what I wrote that clearly aren't in my post.

Bilirakis is clearly in trouble. Any incumbent under 50% is in trouble. That doesn't mean he'll lose or that if he loses it'll be in 2008. But he will lose soon, if not this year, soon after. Mitchell may not beat him -- and I never said he would -- I said if he did the right things, he COULD. That is true. Will he do those things? Probably not. Few candidates ever do the exact right things and that's what it would take. But you are arguing against things I didn't actually say.

>You do not know more than Chris Van Hollen.

Right, the DCCC has never been wrong and no candidate they've failed to support has ever won.

>Money comes into play running against an incumbant.

Of course it does and the better-funded candidate usually wins, but not always and the number of worse-funded candidates who are winning is on the rise, including all 9 of the state House races that Dems picked up the the last cycle.

>People don't know Mitchell and he hasn't given them a reason to vote for him.

Are you going to vote for him?

>It's insulting to people's intelligence.

Right, because only you know the truth and only your interpretation of things is possibly correct.

The Obama comment has nothing to do with anything, but beyond that I did not defend Obama's vote. I clearly said the vote was wrong and I clearly said I would've voted otherwise. What I said was that he didn't flip-flop on the issue. He clearly explained what he objected to in the first bill and in the second bill, those provisions were taken out and he voted for it. That's completely consistent and that's all I said. I condemned his vote then, I condemn it now, but it wasn't a flip flop.


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