You absolutely have to adore the sheer audacity of the Democrats. Their latest electoral hijinks are precisely why, even though I agree with them on many social issues and detest Repuiblican positions, I vote for Republicans. I think Democrats as a whole, and now it seems to the individual, are corrupt, vile, and evil. I thought with the passing of Clinton, they would rehab themselves from the years of lying and deceit. I was wrong.
Today, two Dems whose blogs I read are now in full-on backpedal mode. The first is Josh Marshall, who seems to spen his entire day parsing the words of different members of the Bush administration for the slightest inconsistency so he can yell out “Gothca!” Apparently he was used to the previous administration’s highly synchronized lying.
At any rate, today, Marshall spouts out this gem:
The Forrester campaign is now headed to the United States Supreme Court, the normal recourse of Republicans who can’t win elections with majorities but aren’t inclined to see that as the end of the story.
Hunh? What? Excuse me?
Let’s see if I have this right. Torricelli is the Senator, duly elected. He lies, cheats, and accepts bribes in office. The Senate determines he is so awful that they must publicly denounce him, but that he is not awful enough to be kicked out of the Senate (which should tell you something about the Senate). He runs for re-election, brushing aside the admonishment from the Senate Ethics Committee, with the total support of the Democrat Party Leadership. As late as last week, Tom Daschle was stumping for him. And then the bomb exploded.
A poll shows that Torricelli is 13 points behind his Republican (gasp) opponent. Cue the tears, cue the politicos, cue Bill Clinton. Torricelli announces he is not going to resign, but that he is withdrawing from the race “so that he will not lose the Democrat Majority in the Senate,” in a weepy speech in which he asks why we won’t forgive him for things he claims he never did.
So, the Democrats now need an extralegal solution to their crisis. So, tell me Josh? Who headed to court because you can not win the election the legal way? Remember, they went to court not to address any wrongdoing that was hurting their candidate, but for PURELY and NAKEDLY partisan motives- they were losing, and well, that just can’t happen. The system was going to work, and a sleaze was going to be voted out of office. Of course, the right thing to do would have been for the Democrat Leadership to try and fight Toricelli in the primary, but at that time he was way ahaid of any Republican and still able to raise gobs of cash.
Remember the old phrase to be careful what you wish for- the Democrats got their way with a Supreme Court ‘stacked with Republican appointees’ as Josh noted (court makeup 4 Dems, 2 Rep, 1 Ind), who determined law is less important that making sure a major political machine gets its way. And the public is responding. It is sleazy. It was unfair. It was stacking the deck. It is switching teams in the 4th quarter of the Superbowl. They probably lost two Senate seats in Middle America for their behavior.
Now they must start spinning. Matt Yglesias, who endorsed an ends justifies the means approach to winning the NJ seat, just to kep those evil Republicans out of control, is now a reformer:
“If anyone has any good suggestions as to how to reform the primary process to make it less of a rubber-stamp for incumbents, I’m all ears (and no, public financing of campaigns wouldn’t solve the problem since you could hardly just give public funds to anyone who decided one day he’d like to run for Senate).”
No mention of the ‘rubber-stamp’ committee that went behind closed doors the other day and selected (Gov. McGreevey’s term) Frank Lautenberg to replace Torricelli. Why reform the primary process, Matt? It means nothing- you guys have demonstrated you can do whatever the hell you want, anyway. The law is for other people and for circumstances in which the Republicans are losing. Thiscall for reform reminds me of Clinton/Gore- they break all the campaign finance laws on the books, and then find some shady things to do which aren’t on the books (“No controlling legal authority blah blah blah”). When they get caught, they stump for new laws to keep themselves from being crooked again.
Now Josh is asserting that the last minute supra-legal switcheroo will not happen again- not because he has any logic behind his assertion, not because he has a crystal ball, but because he knows the public is about to give the Dems a punch right in the poll numbers for this shady behavior. Josh really isn’t asserting, as much as he is hoping:
Some readers who have written in tell me that this is a recipe for electoral chaos, that every time a candidate looks like he’s going down the tubes he can just pull out and bring in a ringer. There’s a superficial logic to the argument. But such arguments toward practical effect must withstand some measure of logical scrutiny and this one really doesn’t. When filing deadlines come down how many candidates do you usually see rushing to cash out their candidacies? Right, not many. The sort of people who run for elective office just don’t do that sort of thing. And in how many of those cases is there another credible candidate waiting in the wings? Not often. If there were, that other candidate probably would have won the primary. Say what you will about what happened here, it’s hardly likely to become a pattern.
Whatever, Josh. That is what you guys said when you were trying to re-write election codes in Florida. You boys have your Pyrrhic- I hope you can survive it. And could you find a less smug picture of yourself to put on your website?