Sunday, October 17, 2010

Election Night Wet Dream: Pelosi in Trouble?

image I was in Tuscaloosa, Alabama yesterday and last night for the Alabama Crimson Tide’s Homecoming Game.  If you’ve never been a big fan of college football, let me explain something about Homecoming: It’s the one game that all the old, powerful, busy and important Alumni will make the trip for.  If you want to rub elbows with the school’s most famous and influential Alumni, you go to Homecoming.

The game ended very late (with Alabama defeating Ole Miss 23-10), so the traditional post-game cocktail parties went into the wee hours of the morning today.

A former classmate of mine is a big shot in state, regional and national Republican politics. The drinks last night were free, but had they not been, this guy would probably have picked up the tab for the group he was partying with.  He has a very good reason for celebration, too—the Republican Party is on the verge of a large electoral victory two weeks hence, and some of that is due to his tireless work.  This guy doesn’t sleep at night.  He lays awake in bed, thinking up new, innovative and evil ways of winning elections.

Anybody can offer opinions about politics, elections, and who’s gonna win.  But some people have earned the right to be listened to, and this dude is one of those people.  When he says, “trust me,” I do.

After the usual pleasantries of how’s-the-wife, how’re-the-kids, how’s-life-treatin-ya, the conversation inevitably turned to politics and the election.

GulfCoastBamaFan: “How big do you think it’s gonna be?”

Party Big Shot: “Historic.  1994 historic.”

GCBF: “I remember staying up until Wednesday that year, and even the sitting Speaker of the House (Mark Foley) lost his job.”

PBS: [Looking me square in the eye] “There’s a much better than even chance of that happening this year.”

GCBF: “Are you serious?  You think Pelosi might lose?”

PBS: “She’s going to lose her job.  She’s having trouble raising money and her opponent is not.  You probably won’t see it printed in the Times or spoken on CNN, but if she can’t raise money, she’s dead weight for the Party.”

GCBF: “That District is more left-wing than Havana.”

PBS: “Look, she’ll win reelection.  What I’m telling you is that even if the Democrats keep their majority—and trust me, they won’t—she’s done as Speaker of the House.”

We talked about some other races, including the Alabama Governor (he thinks the race is much tighter than polls show); Republicans chances of taking the Senate (he thinks it’s a coin flip); and the Florida Senate race in particular (he thinks Rubio is a slam dunk) and talked a lot of football, too (he agrees with me that the Bama defense has a youth problem, not a talent or coaching problem).

It was a late, late night.  We didn’t get back on the road home until 11:00, and along the way I saw this Politico piece on the crackberry:

Republican long-shot outraises Nancy Pelosi


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Republican challenger raised more than $1.1 million over the past three months, more than three times as much as Pelosi did.

John Dennis, the Ron Paul-backed GOP nominee running against the Speaker in her liberal San Francisco-based district, raised roughly five times as much as he collected in the previous quarter, according to new Federal Election Commission filings.

Pelosi raised about $303,000 between the beginning of July and the end of September.

That number belies her considerable fundraising prowess: This cycle, Pelosi’s campaign committee has raised almost $2.3 million. And Pelosi doesn’t have much cause for worry in a seat where she typically wins with over 80 percent of the vote and where President Barack Obama won 85 percent in 2008.

Still, Dennis’s new numbers are notable for a race isn’t considered competitive: He’s brought in more than $1.7 million to date. That’s a far cry from the beginning of his campaign, when he loaned himself $50,000 to get started.

Pelosi’s campaign account doesn’t necessarily reflect her own prodigious fundraising ability: She’s spent much of her time on the campaign trail raising money for incumbent House Democrats.

By tapping into resentment of the leader of the House Democratic majority, Dennis—who drew national notice press for an online ad he made depicting Pelosi as the Wicked Witch of the West from the film classic “The Wizard of Oz”—will now have the resources to pay for his campaign’s next round of web ads, one of which will parody a James Bond film.


Is Nancy Pelosi in trouble of losing her seat?  Probably not.  My buddy the big shot thinks she’ll win going away, but still get unelected from her leadership position when the parties caucus prior to seating the next Congress. Democrats are whistling past the graveyard.  They don’t think 2010 will be like 1994.  Maybe not, in that Speaker Tom Foley was defeated in his bid for reelection, while Pelosi might be safe.  But Democrats have a history of eating their failed leaders. McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, Foley, Daschle nor even Al Gore were ever considered serious candidates for national or leadership positions once they were beaten.

When the new Congress is seated in January 2011, Nancy Pelosi won’t even be a bad odor anymore.  Trust me.

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