Political Animal


July 29, 2014 12:43 PM The Coming Red State Ghetto of the Uninsured

Via Harold Pollack, the Urban Institute estimates that the percentage of Americans without health insurance living in states that have rejected the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion jumped from just under 50% to over 60% between September of 2013 and June of this year. That’s a pretty amazing shift for a period of just nine months. And it provides another way to look at the social and economic segregation that Republican governors and state legislators are imposing on their own populations.

July 29, 2014 11:54 AM Florida’s Toxic Twins

What do Rick Scott and Charlie Crist most notably have in common, other than the fact that they were the Republican gubernatorial nominees in Florida in 2006 and 2010, respectively, and are running against each other for the same gig this year? Well, they are the only set of gubernatorial nominees with underwater approval/disapproval ratios, as noted by FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten:

While the national political scene has decayed into polarized stagnation, Americans’ views of state governments have remained mostly positive. That’s probably part of the reason why governors seem to have an advantage when running for president. Yet in Florida, home to one of the nation’s marquee gubernatorial races, Democrat Charlie Crist and Republican incumbent Rick Scott are teetering on becoming the least-liked pair of candidates for any governor’s race in the past 10 years.
Scott has been unpopular for most of his term. His unfavorable rating has almost always exceeded his favorable rating in Quinnipiac University’s polls of the state. In the most recent Quinnipiac survey, for example, 45 percent of Floridans held an unfavorable view of the governor, and just 40 percent held a favorable opinion….
Crist’s image has taken a hit. The percentage of Floridians who view Crist favorably has steadily decreased, while the percentage who view Crist unfavorably has steadily risen.

These trends probably won’t change much during the three or so months just ahead when Scott and Crist are beating on each other with big sticks. But it really is unusual:

It’s rare for both gubernatorial candidates to finish the campaign season with a negative net favorable rating — in fact, it’s only happened twice [in the last ten years].
One of those elections involved the now-disgraced Rod Blagojevich. Then governor of Illinois, he won re-election in 2006, even though his average favorable rating was one point lower than his average unfavorable rating. He was able to do so because his opponent, Republican Judy Baar Topinka, had a favorable rating 20 percentage points below her unfavorable rating.
The other was the 2009 New Jersey gubernatorial election, in which the incumbent Democratic governor, Jon Corzine, and Republican Chris Christie pummeled each other with negative ads. By the end of the campaign, a large majority of voters said both had attacked the other unfairly. Christie won as the lesser of two evils.

Those were some bad acts that will be hard to beat. But Rick Scott’s best hope for re-election is to drag Crist down to the bottom of public esteem right along with him, and he’s got the money to do it.

July 29, 2014 11:03 AM Is Ernst a Potential Gaffe Machine?

National Republicans are real psyched about the possibility of picking up Tom Harkin’s Senate seat, and are generally pleased with their nominee, Joni Ernst, who managed to attract both Establishment and Tea Party support in her primary and blew away heavily self-funded early front-runner Mark Jacobs and conservative activist Sam Clovis with a majority of the vote. But while Ernst scratches a lot of itches (a woman running for Senate in a state that has never elected anything but men to Congress; an active National Guard soldier; and subject of the best right-wing political ad of the cycle so far), you get the feeling she’s a potential gaffe machine. To paraphrase George Harrison: “in her eyes there’s something lacking.”

So it wasn’t that surprising when the Daily Beast’s Ben Jacobs came up with a 2013 video of Ernst at a Christian Right event saying some odd stuff:

Joni Ernst, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Iowa, appears to believe states can nullify federal laws. In a video obtained by The Daily Beast, Ernst said on September 13, 2013 at a forum held by the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition that Congress should not pass any laws “that the states would consider nullifying.”
“You know we have talked about this at the state legislature before, nullification. But, bottom line is, as U.S. Senator why should we be passing laws that the states are considering nullifying? Bottom line: our legislators at the federal level should not be passing those laws. We’re right…we’ve gone 200-plus years of federal legislators going against the Tenth Amendment’s states’ rights. We are way overstepping bounds as federal legislators. So, bottom line, no we should not be passing laws as federal legislators—as senators or congressman—that the states would even consider nullifying. Bottom line.”

All righty, then! That clears it all up for me!

Seriously, Ernst has a knack for the occasional statement that makes you wonder if she has any idea what she’s talking about,and/or would say anything to pander to the extremists of her party. It’s the sort of quality that ought to keep Republicans a bit nervous between now and November.

July 29, 2014 9:11 AM Adding Stars to the Flag

Knowing Michael Lind, I am quite sure he was deadly serious in proposing at Salon yesterday that the larger states break themselves up into smaller pieces in order to outgun smaller states in the U.S. Senate. He’s right, of course, that it can be done because it has been done (most recently with West Virginia, to which the parent state of Virginia, then in military rebellion against the U.S., did not exactly consent). But it requires not only full authorization by the state so dismembered, but also action by Congress, which isn’t happening so long as the beneficiaries of small-state power have at least veto capability in either House or in the presidency.

But yeah, it’s fun to fantasize about it, as Lind does via his familiar allusion to the oppression of the virtuous Germans of Texas by the evil Scots-Irish:

A fifth-generation native of Central Texas who worked in the state legislature, I agree with Cactus Jack Garner that the State of Texas is too big and should be broken up. When the former republic of Texas was admitted to the Union, it should have been admitted as several states, not one. Another missed opportunity came during Reconstruction, when many of the freed slaves of East Texas, the German-Americans of Central Texas and the Mexican-Americans of South Texas lobbied Washington to divide Texas into several states to protect them from postwar repression by Anglo-Celtic Southerners. The failure to do so allowed the former Confederates of East Texas and their descendants to recapture power in Austin, the state capital, and lord it over minorities in Texas to this day.
An independent Central Texas could be a high-tech social democracy, with really good music and movies, once liberated forever from the Protestant fundamentalist Taliban of East Texas. Willie Nelson could compete with Kinky Friedman to be the first governor. To prevent rivalry between Austin and San Antonio, the new state capital of Centex should be located in a neutral place — say, Luckenbach, Texas.

It would be even more fun to inflate the U.S. Senate and cut the Dakotas and Wyoming down to size. But it ain’t happening any time soon.

July 29, 2014 8:29 AM Obama’s Immigration Options

TPM’s Erica Werner has a good overview today of the options the president is considering with respect to executive action on immigration—not the short-term problem of current and recent refugees from Central America, but the bigger problem of “the 11 million,” the undocumented people currently living in the country. Her account makes it clear the White House is actively discussing prospective actions with a wide range of likely supporters, and may well act before the November midterm elections:

Advocates and lawmakers who were in separate meetings Friday said that administration officials are weighing a range of options including reforms to the deportation system and ways to grant relief from deportation to targeted populations in the country, likely by expanding Obama’s two-year-old directive that granted work permits to certain immigrants brought here illegally as youths. That program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, has been extended to more than 500,000 immigrants so far.
Advocates would like to see deferred action made available to anyone who would have been eligible for eventual citizenship under a comprehensive immigration bill the Senate passed last year, which would be around 9 million people. But Obama told them in a meeting a month ago to “right-size” expectations, even as he pledged to be aggressive in steps he does take.
That’s led advocates to focus on other populations Obama might address, including parents or legal guardians of U.S. citizen children (around 3.8 million people as of 2009, according to an analysis by Pew Research’s Hispanic Trends Project) and parents or legal guardians of DACA recipients (perhaps 500,000 to 1 million people, according to the Fair Immigration Reform Movement)….
Another focus could be the potentially hundreds of thousands of people who might be eligible for green cards today if current law didn’t require them to leave the country for 10 years before applying for one.

Obama might as well act as broadly from the get-go as he ultimately intends, since Republicans will go completely nuts on him for any executive action on immigration, and add it to the list of tyrannical “abuses of power” that merit impeachment.

It is interesting, however, to contrast the current environment with the one that preceded DACA. The earlier action essentially preempted a Republican initiative, reportedly designed by Marco Rubio as something Mitt Romney could embrace to heal the wounds caused by his primary-season talk of encouraging “self-deportation.” No matter what Obama decides to do to expand “legalization” of the undocumented, even if it’s a very narrow initiative, will far exceed anything under serious discussion by Republicans, most of whom have been getting in touch with their inner nativists of late.

July 29, 2014 7:54 AM Daylight Video

Cream had their live debut in Manchester on this day in 1966. Here they are performing Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads” at their farewell concert in 1968.

July 28, 2014 5:25 PM Day’s End and Night Watch

Another primary-less Tuesday tomorrow, but things will heat up against next week with six contests.

Here are some remains of the day:

* Sen. John Walsh’s current line of defense on plagiarism charge is that he just did it once.

* In other plagiarism news, Dave Weigel has the elaborate backstory of the BuzzFeed scandal that got Benny Johnson fired.

* Nate Cohn finds no signs of a 2014 Republican “wave” in the generic congressional ballot numbers.

* At Ten Miles Square, Mark Kleiman expresses frustration at the lack of interest in the question of how rather than whether pot should be legalized.

* At College Guide, Jill Barshay argues that over-estimation of poverty among U.S. students disguises systemic educational failures.

* Fourth Circuit affirms district court ruling striking down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban.

And in non-political news:

* Red Lobster tries to go upmarket by cutting down on deals. No more Shrimp Fest?

That’s it for Monday. We’ll close with Mike Bloomfield performing “Long Distance” with Muddy Waters in 1974.


July 28, 2014 5:00 PM Republicans Looking For Plan B With Latinos

Now that it is clear the high tide of Republican interest in comprehensive immigration reform occurred early in 2013 and has receded to a point far beyond the disastrous “self-deportation” stance of Mitt Romney in 2012, GOPers are naturally casting about for a Plan B or C or D for appealing to Latino voters, while telling themselves immigration policy ain’t all that. There’s a good overview of emerging “alternative” options by Josh Kraushaar at National Journal. He personally favors Marco Rubio’s formula of “middle-class economic issues,” which is sorta what used to be called an “aspirational” agenda, or in the GOP lexicon, “compassionate conservatism.” And he mentions as less attractive approaches the efforts by Paul Ryan and Rand Paul to come up with something constructive to say to and about poor people and the vast number of non-violent offenders locked up in prisons.

Now if Republicans decide to retreat from atavistic social and economic policies because they are under the impression that it will save them from the demographic consequences of their alienation of minority voters, that’s fine with me. But Kraushaar’s protesteth-too-much claims that Latinos don’t really care that much about immigration policy is a bit laughable. Here’s a contrary argument heard not so long ago from one group of Republicans:

If Hispanic Americans perceive that [a] GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e. self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence. It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies.

Those were the words of the Republican National Committee’s Growth and Opportunity Project report, released in March of 2013.

July 28, 2014 4:22 PM The Lie That Won’t Die

I didn’t bother to read John Boehner’s USAToday op-ed on his lawsuit against the president. But Brother Benen did, and via him we learn that in the mixed salted assortment of complaints about Obama abusing his authority appears the Great Lie of the 2012 presidential campaign:

And then there’s the claim that President Obama “waived the work requirement in welfare.” This is a lie, and if Boehner doesn’t know that, the Speaker owes the public an explanation for how he can be so uninformed.
We last covered this in March, when former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) alluded to the same falsehood, but in case anyone’s forgotten, let’s quickly review reality.
In the president’s first term, a bipartisan group of governors asked the Obama administration for some flexibility on the existing welfare law, transitioning beneficiaries from welfare to work. The White House agreed to give the states some leeway - so long as the work requirement wasn’t weakened.
That’s not “waiving the work requirements in welfare”; that’s the opposite. Providing governors, including several Republicans, the flexibility they requested to help move beneficiaries back into the workforce is exactly the sort of power-to-the-states policy that Boehner and his cohorts usually like.
But in 2012, the policy inspired Mitt Romney and GOP leaders to turn this into a rather shameless lie, accusing Obama of weakening welfare work requirements. The more fact-checkers went berserk, the more aggressive Romney became in pushing the lie. One can only speculate as to the rationale behind the ugly falsehood, though the Republican presidential campaign seemed quite eager at the time to use the words “Obama” and “welfare” in the same sentence, even after the GOP candidate and his team realized they were lying.

As one of the people who went “berserk” in 2012 over this crap (which for me was especially outrageous having followed and even contributed to the 1994-1996 debate over welfare reform very closely), I’m only half-amazed that Boehner has resurrected it. On the one hand, he’s not in the middle of a tense presidential contest where fanning the flames of the old race-laden welfare debate probably seemed shrewd. But on the other hand, this is an example of how lies that aren’t completely demolished tend to become “facts” to those who repeat them often enough.

In this as in other respects, Boehner is shameless, as in the sense someone who is incapable of shame.

July 28, 2014 2:54 PM Blue Moon Over V.A.

I’ll go with Paul Waldman’s announcement of the news we are about to see a “fix” bill for the V.A. health care system fly down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House:

House and Senate negotiators will be announcing today that they have reached a compromise bill, one that is likely to pass and President Obama will certainly sign. This is very good news, but it’s the exception that proves the rule on congressional inaction. The fact that it’s this hard to get a piece of reform legislation that should have been able to be accomplished in a couple of days shows just how impossible the GOP has made governing.
Take a look at what characterizes the VA issue. First, there was a dramatic and troubling scandal. Second, the scandal involved victims that everyone in both parties wants to be seen supporting. Third, the way to fix the problem, at least in the short term, was fairly obvious. Fourth, that solution involved at most some mild ideological discomfort for both parties, but nothing they couldn’t tolerate. Finally and most importantly, addressing the problem involved zero political cost to either party.
How often does an issue like that come around? Once or twice a decade? But that, apparently, is what’s required to actually pass meaningful legislation to get government functioning properly.

I’d add to Paul’s comments that the “fix” is spinnable by both sides in very different directions: Progressive Democrats will say the V.A. health system has been restored as a model of publicly-provided health care after a period of adjustment mostly caused by changes in eligibility, while Republicans will say the “fix” is a first step towards privatizing that same system (i.e., because veterans who cannot be served immediately or who live far from V.A. facilities will received subsidized private care).

But in any event, it’s very true this is a “blue moon” phenomenon, not some sort of bipartisan dawn breaking over the darkened Capitol.

July 28, 2014 1:57 PM Lunch Buffet

So I had a tooth extracted this morning (which accounts for the very early pre-appointment posts), and I knew I was in Georgia because the dental assistant sternly admonished me not to eat anything that might interfere with healing, “like nuts or grits.” Glad I got two servings of cheese grits in yesterday.

Here are some dentist-approved midday snacks:

* Medicare trustees now estimate Hospital Insurance Trust Fund will remain solvent until 2030—four years longer than previously estimated—thanks to effects of ACA.

* Getting out the Dick Morris playbook, NRCC chair Greg Walden predicts a Republican “wave” in November.

* Can’t really blame a number of progressive sites (though not this one!) for biting on fake story that Michele Bachmann was calling for “Americanization camps” for undocumented immigrant children.

* TNR’s Danny Vinik notices House action to eliminate “marriage penalty” for child tax credit actually amounts to a regressive tax cut.

* At the Atlantic, James Fallows looks at the much-maligned California High-Speed Rail project from the perspective of the economically distressed Central Valley.

And in non-political news:

* Colorado Rockies hand out 15,000 jerseys commemorating shortstop Troy Tulowitzki—and mispelling his name.

As we break for lunch, here’s Mike Bloomfield performing “Stop!” with Al Kooper.

July 28, 2014 1:09 PM Something About Mary

I wrote earlier today that the bad image of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce among conservative activists might have been a significant factor in the defeat of Georgia Senate candidate Jack Kingston, whom the Chamber backed heavily after earlier being at the center of the Thad Cochran Conspiracy in Mississippi. If this report via the New York Times’ Joe Nocera is accurate, wingnut hatred of the Chamber will know no bounds:

At the most recent Committee of 100 [the heads of trade associations and regional Chamber groups] meeting, Rob Engstrom, the chamber’s national political director, told the group that the chamber planned to support Mary Landrieu, the Louisiana Democrat who is running for re-election to the Senate.

TPM’s Daniel Strauss got a non-committal answer from the Chamber when he followed up on this report. If the group hasn’t actually made a commitment to Landrieu, I’m sure the sun, moon and stars will immediately fall on it from Republicans infuriated at this potential “betrayal.” Though the Chamber has long backed “pro-business” Democrats (including Landrieu), that hasn’t much happened since Tom Donahue decided to go all-in with the GOP heading into the 2010 cycle.

It would be highly ironic if the Chamber does support Landrieu and her race winds up deciding control of the Senate (either in November or in a December runoff). Either way it went, the mighty business lobby would look a mite foolish.

July 28, 2014 12:50 PM A Bead on Lamar!

So if you believe gabbers like Laura Ingraham were significantly responsible for the shocking defeat of Eric Cantor, it’s worth noting she’s drawn a bead on Sen. Lamar Alexander, generally thought to be drifting towards an easy August 7 primary win over state representative Joe Carr, a Tea Party favorite. Here’s a report from RealClearPolitics’ Toby Harndon on Ingraham’s activities in Tennessee:

At a raucous campaign event in Nashville last week, Ingraham accused President Barack Obama of “fomenting a crisis at our border that seeks to undermine the very fabric of American rule of law, our sovereignty, our national identity”.
Her most withering contempt was aimed at her own party’s estab­lish­ment — the “good old boys” and “go along to get along Republican politicians doing backroom backslapping” with Democrats, being as eff­ective as “beige wallpaper”.
Ingraham has already claimed the scalp of Representative Eric Cantor, the third most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives, by headlining a massive rally that helped to propel his obscure opponent to a shock victory in a party primary last month.
Her appearance in Nashville was on behalf of Joe Carr, a rough-edged candidate from Tennessee who has support from the grassroots Tea Party movement. He is standing on a “no amnesty” platform to oust Senator Lamar Alexander, a genteel deal-maker on Capitol Hill, in an August 7th primary.

Alexander was one of the fourteen Senate Republicans who voted for the Gang of Eight comprehensive immigration reform bill last year. But he’s outspent Carr six-to-one, and the more credible polls haven’t shown Carr getting any traction (yes, Tea Party Nation has commissioned two polls showing Carr closing in, but I wouldn’t trust much of anything coming from that particular group).

Given the latest upsurge of hostility to “amnesty” among rank-and-file Republicans, and its apparent impact in the Georgia GOP SEN runoff just last week, it makes sense that Carr and his backers would make this the centerpiece of his campaign. While earlier in the cycle Alexander looked like another Lindsey Graham, impervious to (or at least capable of managing) the right-wing winds in the GOP, now you do have to wonder if he’s a bit more like Thad Cochran or even Cantor. Aside from Ingraham, Sarah Palin has also endorsed Carr. Whatever you think of her generally, she doesn’t usually endorse stone losers.

Ol’ Lamar! (the self-appellation he used in his 1996 presidential campaign) has had quite a career. Originally a staffer for Howard Baker (and briefly, Richard Nixon), he fit neatly into the ancient East Tennessee/Appalachian tradition of moderate Republicanism exemplified by Baker. He won his party’s gubernatorial nomination in the unlucky Watergate year of 1974, and lost to the infamous (Pardon Me) Ray Blanton, and then won in 1978 and 1982. He was a prominent national figure, often working across party lines (especially with Bill Clinton) to promote good-government initiatives like education reform. He served as Education Secretary under Poppy Bush, and launched a momentarily strong “outsider” presidential campaign in 1996 (which he reprised briefly in 2000) under the somewhat anachronistic (since Republicans had taken over Congress in 1994) anti-Washington slogan of “cut their pay and send them home.” He succeeded Fred Thompson in the Senate in 2002, and is running for a third term at the vulnerable age of 74.

With only ten days until the primary (yes, Tennessee is holding its primary on a Thursday, a practice it began in 2012), there’s not much time for Carr to catch up with Alexander. So an upset remains very unlikely. But Ingraham would become even more unsufferably arrogant if she could claim a second RINO purge in Tennessee.

July 28, 2014 10:44 AM Five Examples of Bad GOP Strategery

At the Prospect today, Paul Waldman argues that the Republican Party has been locked in the grip of political incompetence since the 2004 elections. I tend to agree, but while Paul attributes the problem to self-delusion via the closed feedback loop of conservative media, I’d suggest there’s been a tendency to elevate short-term over long-term strategic considerations. Here are five recent examples:

The first example involves the many, many lies told by GOP pols and affiliated gabbers about the alleged horrific impact of the Affordable Care Act on old folks. These ranged from deliberate mischaracterization of the Medicare “cuts” in the ACA (raised to an infamous art form by Paul Ryan in 2012), and ranged on up to the amazingly effective if completely fabricated “death panel” meme. As a short-term strategy, this made sense, and certainly helped solidify the GOP’s sudden new dominance among older white voters, a key factor in 2010. In the long term, though, aside from the risk of hellfire, the tactic undermined the GOP’s simultaneous commitment to “entitlement reform,” the linchpin of its fiscal strategy.

A second choice of short-term versus long-term strategies has been the War on Voting, which has risked generational alienation of affected young and minority voters in exchange for dubiously effective electoral advantages. This is an ongoing choice, which only Rand Paul has (temporarily) seriously questioned.

A third, emphasized just today by Ross Douthat (though the critique has always been a staple of so-called Sam’s Club Republicanism), was the decision to make the 2012 economic message of the GOP revolve around the needs and perspectives of business owners, presumably to reverse the advantage Democrats had slowly gained since the Clinton years among several categories of upscale voters. This approach played right into Democrats’ new openness to populist messages, and while conservatives like Douthat are arguing for policies that appeal to the economic interests of middle-class voters, the shadow of Mitt Romney still looms large.

A fourth, which is also ongoing, was the sudden and almost universal embrace by the GOP of a “religious liberty” argument that identified the party with very extreme positions on birth control and same-sex marriages, undermining years of careful antichoicer focus on late-term abortion and reversing an implicit party decision to soft-pedal homophobia. Those who led this campaign in 2012 probably had visions of it serving as a wedge into the Catholic vote (which even some Democrats feared), which just didn’t happen.

And fifth and most definitely ongoing example is the decision to follow an immediate shift to the right in Republican and to some extent independent attitudes towards immigration reform in the wake of the refugee crisis on the border, even though Republicans know they’ll pay a long-term price in credibility with Latino voters.

In all these cases, Republicans haven’t being stupid so much as short-sighted. As yes, the elevation of short-term over long-term strategies was reinforced by all the factors Waldman cites. It’s really hard to eat that broccoli for your health when there’s so much ice cream in the freezer.

July 28, 2014 9:56 AM Pinstriped Traitors to the Cause

Now that nearly a week’s gone by since Georgia’s Senate Republican runoff, the belief is beginning to set in that the crucial factor leading to David Perdue’s upset win over Jack Kingston was right-wing anger at the Chamber of Commerce. It was most notably fed by Perdue’s last-minute ad draping the Chamber’s past support for “amnesty” around Kingston’s neck. But word among the cognoscenti is that a not-insignificant factor was conservative activist fury at the Chamber’s role in the Great Mississippi Scandal of 2014, wherein the righteous were thwarted by a Corrupt Bargain between Thad Cochran and those people. Here’s Jim Galloway’s take for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Last month’s U.S. Senate race in Mississippi saw GOP incumbent Thad Cochran survive a tea-party assault, aided by the U.S. Chamber - plus thousands of black Democrats lured into the Republican runoff.
In the weeks that followed, political observers wondered if Cochran’s success would have implications here.
Last Tuesday brought the answer. Mississippi indeed sparked ideas in Georgia’s Republican runoff for Senate — just not the ones you might think.
Snubbed by the powerful business group, former Dollar General CEO David Perdue used antipathy toward the U.S. Chamber and its Mississippi adventure to pry apart an alliance of Republican stalwarts and tea partyers that Jack Kingston, the Savannah congressman, was about to ride to victory….
Julianne Thompson of Atlanta Tea Party Patriots, a former [Karen] Handel supporter, was the first tea party activist to publicly sign up with Kingston after the primary.
The Chamber’s activity on Cochran’s behalf didn’t shake her own commitment to Kingston, but Thompson knows it angered others in her movement.
“As far as grassroots conservative activists are concerned, there is a distrust for the Chamber of Commerce,” Thompson said. “They seem to have become less about being pro-business and more about being in the middle of political races.
“I think it was a wise move on the Perdue campaign’s part to distance itself from the Chamber. I don’t disagree with them on that,” she said. “I think that David ran more of a tea party-type campaign, and that resonated with the voters at large.”
Bottom line: Four weeks later, when the Georgia GOP runoff for Senate came down to the wire, and Kingston went on TV with accusations that his rival was soft on illegal immigration, the Perdue campaign knew how to respond - and when.
Across Georgia, TV stations have a Friday noon deadline for purchasing weekend air time. Perdue operatives snuck in just under that deadline and plastered three days of television programming favored by the 55-and-older crowd with an unanswered 30-second spot that underlined the U.S. Chamber’s support for immigration reform. The ad declared Kingston “bought and paid for.”

Conservatives who saw the Chamber as a prime villain in the Mississippi race were predisposed to Perdue’s message, or so goes this theory. I personally think that career appropriator Kingston’s credibility as a savage anti-Washington warrior was a little thin to begin with, too; it’s significant Perdue’s last-minute ad focused on his tenure in the House.

In any event, I hope no one is under the impression that Perdue’s win was some sort of victory for “moderation.” He systematically took just about every right-wing position available during the campaign (his alleged openness to a tax increase was really just an invention of his opponents, albeit one fed by a clumsy newspaper interview). And that anti-Chamber ad could have been scripted by Chris McDaniel.

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