Talk Radio Liberal Watch

Chris Bowers again:

Democrats have lost the three federal elections since November 4th: Georgia Senate, and the run-offs in Louisiana 2nd and 4th congressional districts. It is pretty easy to explain all of these losses in local ways:

  • Jim Martin trailed Saxby Chambliss on Election Day, despite a huge voter turnout effort from the Obama campaign. Lacking the same energy, the state reverted to its red-state form.
  • LA-02: William Jefferson is a famously corrupt member of Congress. Despite the D +28 partisan voting index, what happened in this district is similar to what happened in Tom Delay’s old seat, TX-22, in 2006. It is possible for Republicans to win deep blue seats or Democrats to win deep red seats when the favored party is under a cloud of extreme corruption.
  • LA-04 was a narrow loss, as predicted by non-partisan polls, in a fairly red district. No big deal, really, even if disappointing.

These localized explanations are satisfactory. However, it is also safe to say that the constant talk about the need for bi-partisanship and a “team of rivals” coming from Democrats isn’t exactly encouraging Democratic turnout these days.

All three of these elections, especially GA-Sen and LA-02, featured very low Democratic turnout. It probably didn’t help that national Democratic leaders, including Barack Obama, are telling everyone, Democrats included, how great it is for Republicans to be included in the federal government. When one of the major parties is telling everyone that it is great when the opposing party wins, then the opposing party is probably going to win.

This is just silly, and what makes it really silly is that Bowers actually seems to understand what really happened in all of these races. LA-04 is a very Republican district, as is the state of Georgia, and in LA-02 the Republican was running as a moderate against an incumbent who was not only under indictment, but on video accepting a bribe. Republicans should have won all of these races, and they did. Not exactly headline news. But Bowers’s attempt to turn this into some sort of indictment of the squishy national Democrats is akin to right wingers who are perpetually trying to explain away obvious reasons why Republicans lose in favor of “they weren’t conservative enough.” I mean, would you take someone seriously if they tried to tell you that Ted Stevens lost because the people of Alaska decided to revolt against pork barrel spending?

And as far as turnout goes, there’s pretty easy explanations for that too that have nothing to do with “bi-partisan talk.” In LA-02, Democrats didn’t turn out because the Democrat on the ballot was under indictment and on videotape accepting a bribe. Not exactly rocket science. And in Georgia, I’m hazarding a guess that people might have stayed home because it was well outside the realm of plausibility that Martin could win. Chambliss barely missed a majority on November 4th, when the Libertarian candidate carried 3% of the state. What that means is that Martin would have had to, effectively, win every vote that didn’t go to Chambliss the first time, or hope for a massive drop-off in Republican turnout, which would have been highly unlikely given that Republicans adopted a bunker mentality, and that the state is very, very, red.

In short, the “local explanations” are obviously the best explanations, and Bowers seems to know that. His attempt to turn Democratic losses in red areas (and with a soon-to-be-convicted felon on the ballot) is the sort of ideological hackery that would make any right-wing radio host proud.