Questioning Political Smarty-Pants

Mel Martinez is the new head of the RNC, replacing Ken Mehlman.  Because, I suppose, of the political judgements he has shown in the past:

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2005 — Sen. Mel Martinez acknowledged today that an anonymous memo listing political talking points on the Terri Schiavo case that was passed on the Senate floor came from his office.

The memo was first reported March 18 by ABC News’ Linda Douglass on “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.” It referred to the battle over the removal of the feeding tube from Schiavo, a severely brain-damaged Florida woman, as “a great political issue.”

While I’m questioning the political judgement of professionals, I bring to your attention something from the 2000 presidential election that a blogger dredged up when James Carville called into question Howard Dean’s “50 State Strategy”, saying we won despite it and not because of it.  (As though the Democrats could have picked up 28 seats by starting off with the assumption that there could and would only be about 30 seats available to win.)

By choosing former Georgia governor Zell Miller as his running mate, Al Gore could add intellectual brainpower, rhetorical firepower, and lots of plain old populist piss-and-vinegar to this staid election.

And I thought Joseph Lieberman was bad!  Well, congratulations for bringing Bill Clinton to a presidential victory, and congratulations for being a saavier political consultant than Bob Shrum, but… James Carville does realize that George Bush spent part of the 2006 election campaign stumping for a candidate in Idaho, doesn’t he?

And I’d be remissed if I don’t mention Karl Rove:

Rove’s miscalculations began well before election night. The polls and pundits pointed to a Democratic sweep, but Rove dismissed them all. In public, he predicted outright victory, flashing the V sign to reporters flying on Air Force One. He wasn’t just trying to psych out the media and the opposition. He believed his “metrics” were far superior to plain old polls. Two weeks before the elections, Rove showed NEWSWEEK his magic numbers: a series of graphs and bar charts that tallied early voting and voter outreach. Both were running far higher than in 2004. In fact, Rove thought the polls were obsolete because they relied on home telephones in an age of do-not-call lists and cell phones. Based on his models, he forecast a loss of 12 to 14 seats in the House—enough to hang on to the majority. Rove placed so much faith in his figures that, after the elections, he planned to convene a panel of Republican political scientists—to study just how wrong the polls were.

Pride cometh before the fall, and I think I’ll spend a few more posts contemplating what a stupid thing a “Permanent Republican Majority” is.  I’ll make it the basic theme of this post – election phase pre – government convening few months.

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