November 7, 2002
Not a single Republican governor running for reelection lost. The only incumbent Republican senator defeated was Tim Hutchinson of Arkansas, whose divorce and remarriage had severed his bonds with his religious conservative following. And in House races, only two Republican members were defeated.
That's from the David Broder piece below. It puts the Democrats successes on the gubernatorial level in some perspective. They were largely winning (and then only narrowly) seats that the GOP, for whatever reason, was vacating.
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 7, 2002 12:49 PM
Not quite as statistically lopsided as 1994, but with the Presidency in hand probably more determinative.
Someday someone ought to write a history: "Jim Wright, Tom Foley, Tom Daschle: A Study in Legislative Failures".
One minor exception-- the Wisconsin Republican governor was a sitting governor. I guess he wasn't running for "relection," though, since he was a replacement after Tommy Thompson went to the Cabinet. (Thompson's brother pulled a big 10% on the Libertarian ticket. Not sure how that affected things.)
Connie Morella, one of the two GOP house members to lose, was gerrymandered into a 68% Democratic district, and still almost pulled off the upset. The final tally was 48-52%.
Gephardt was Majority Leader in '94--he gets a whole chapter.
Connie Morella should take on Mikulski for the Senate seat in '04.
Good catch. He's at least an incumbent.
Had he not been term Limited, John Engler would have beaten Jennifer Granholm like a drum. Hell, had Lt. Gov Posthumus run a half decent campaign, he would have beat her himself.
I forgot about how Gephardt took over after Gingrich ran Wright out on a rail. Hell, stop the presses and change the title....
Mark is wrong...people were getting tired of Engler. It shows in how McCain won the Republican primary here in 2000, despite Engler's support. Granholm would've won, though it might've been more interesting. 'Course, I'm biased, having worked on the Granholm campaign.
The bad news is that even if the Dems picked up 3 governorships, governorships just aren't that important in the national scene. Michigan went Democratic 3 times despite having an extremely popular Republican governor in '92, '96, and '00. Ditto Pennsylvania and New York in '96 and '00, ditto California in '92 and '96.
The Democrats will have to start from scratch, like the Republicans in 1992.
More like the Republicans of '32
Couple of thoughts:
1. Connie Morella is over 70 years old. Too old to be starting a new career, especially from scratch. Better to have some young, new faces to take on Mikulski (who's no spring chicken herself).
2. The governorships are the main springboard for the Presidency. Which governors have become President? Reagan, Clinton, Carter, Dubya come to mind. Which Senators? JFK? Truman and LBJ (?)come to mind, but very special circumstances in both cases. So, governors are your AAA ball, just before you go for the gusto. Losing them means you've got a weak bench.
3. Governors also provide you w/ some real leadership experience. No nat'l security, of course, but executive-level leadership that no Senator can match (because they MUST compromise w/ a buncha other Senators). If the Dems really do tack Left, their Senators will be bloodied in the primaries for compromising w/ "the enemy." Their governors will have survived or failed based on performance (which would moderate any Left-ward tack). Indeed, one wonders if the GOP's success might not be due, in some tiny part, to the experience that real executive-ship requires moderating some of the message of the GOP's Right-wing?
That's conventional wisdom, but: Ike, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Bush Sr., Gore--not a governor among them. Howard Dean is the only contender for the Dems who was a governor. And what Republican governor from the "great" class of the '90s, other than W, is a realistic Presidential candidate in the future? Probably only Jeb.
Governors tend to be technocrats rather than real leaders these days. They are popular across party lines in their own states because they have no ideology.
If you were betting on the 2008 race, you'd have to favor Condi Rice for the GOP and Hillary for the Dems, right?
For 2008, I'm not sure.
Condi as Presidential candidate? Huge problems. First, she's got no family. At some gut level, that raises questions. Second, she's never run for office. Lots of GOP folks who'd raise questions about that (and would remember Powell's coyness). What are her positions on abortion, on welfare reform, on privatizing Social Security? Third, let's be blunt: she's female and she's black. Within the GOP (and, for that matter, w/in the Dem party), that's pretty tough.
Put me down as skeptical. Veep candidate? Better odds, although at least some of the above still applies.
As for the Dems, yes, I'd say that Hilary has a decent shot. Big negatives, but that's in the general election phase. For winning the primaries, she's got some good points:
1. She's a female. Identity politics is still the bailiwick of the Dems.
2. She's got good fund-raising potential. And for the '08 cycle, that will be the key, since the Dems have further front-loaded their entire primary cycle to make it a money-making operation.
3. Bill. While you (and I, honestly) don't think much of the man, many Dems do. Expect the "two-fer" commentary again. Plus, he's a fund-raiser in his own right. We'll see how much traction he retains after the disaster of this past Tuesday, in terms of his ability to raise money. If he drops in earning potential, then Hilary's in much deeper trouble.
OTOH, negatives include:
1. State party in disarray (unless they reform it w/ all Clintonistas, in which case it'll be shooing her in).
2. Huge negatives at the nat'l level. A sane Dem party wouldn't touch her, for all the GOP turnout she'd engender.
3. Especially huge negatives (I'd venture) in places like the South. Which would force her candidacy to win everywhere else---tough, very tough.
Unlike Condi, however, I don't think Hilary's negatives go away if you make her Veep candidate. So, a sane Dem party would jettison her, a more partisan one would welcome her.