Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday's musings

Joe Biden's son won't seek the senate seat once held by his father:
"Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden said Monday he will not seek the U.S. Senate seat once held by his father, Vice President Joe Biden. "I cannot and will not run for the United States Senate in 2010," Biden said in an e-mail to supporters Monday. "I will run for re-election as Attorney General." Biden's decision ends months of speculation that he would make a bid for the seat held by 36 years by his father and gives Republicans a strong chance to pick up a seat long held by the Democrats. Their likely nominee, Mike Castle, is Delaware's at-large congressman and a former two-term governor of the state."

Hint: Biden, and many Democrats, fear they'll lose.

On another front, some Democratic strategists are finally beginning to see reality:
"After three consecutive losses in statewide races, some top Democrats are questioning a tactic aimed at boosting the party’s candidates in each of those contests: Bush-bashing. Running as much against the Bush White House as he was running against Sen. John McCain, Barack Obama easily carried Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts in 2008. Yet when Democratic nominees for governor in Virginia and New Jersey and for Senate in Massachusetts sought to tie their GOP opponents to the still-unpopular former president, the strategy didn’t resonate. Voters were more focused on the current administration or local political issues — and the onetime Democratic magic formula seemed yesterday’s news. “Voters are pretty tired of the blame game,” said longtime Democratic strategist Steve Hildebrand, a top aide on Obama’s presidential campaign. “What a stupid strategy that was.”

The American people turn the page fairly quickly these days. Yes, years ago Democrats could run against Herbert Hoover for 3 decades. But those days are gone. Peoples' attention spans are shorter, and people move on from and forget about things (and yes, sometimes they shouldn't) faster than they used to. Complaining about what George Bush supposedly left them sounds whiny and complain-y. Duh. But Democrats took a while to get the memo.

By the way, how bad is it right now for Democrats? Try this: in Indiana, Democrat U.S. Senator Evan Bayh has literally been untouchable. He's won statewide races for the secretary of state's office, for governor, and for the Senate. The last time he ran, in 2004, when President Bush won re-election and carried Indiana handily, Bayh still won election again overwhelmingly. He won so convincingly and so often that he was mentioned many times as a possible candidate for vice-president on a Dem ticket. As a conservative Democrat, he's been a steamroller in the Hoosier state.
But now? Now, in a hypothetical matchup with (for example) Indiana GOP Congressman Mike Pence, Bayh actually TRAILS--by 3 points. That should literally shock everyone in the American political universe. Hell is freezing over. Pigs are flying. Wow.

And the funniest thing is that all we hear from Democrats and progressives is that Obama has problems because, well, he and his administration isn't communicating enough or articulating his points effecrively enough...which Jonah Goldberg today finds, rightly, bizarre:
"What is with all of these people? Forget that Obama already rolled out his own slogan, "Yes We Can!" The idea that Obama's problems all stem from poor communication skills or practices is absolutely bizarre. The same people who think Obama is the most eloquent speaker since MLK or Cicero or Reagan also think his only problem is that he hasn't effectively explained himself."

Bingo. The President has given speech after speech--shucks, TELEVISED speech after televised speech--and these guys think the American people haven't heard his message? news flash: they've heard it. But they're not buying it.

Women's basketball--Notre Dame beats # 11 West Virginia, 74-66. Big win for the Irish--West Virginia only had one loss on the season, too. Key stats: ND once trailed, early in the second half, by 13. But they: 1] outscored West Virginia 43-24 in the 2nd half; 2] had 14 turnovers in the first half, but only 3 in the second; and 3] outscored WVU in second-chance points, 20 to 8.

Hooray! Colts 30, Jets 17. As Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz put it today, it was over once Peyton Manning and the Colts, who've been working hard all season, staying below the radar, grinding out win after win--figured out what the Jets were doing:
"This is the reason why the Colts are now heading back to the Super Bowl for the second time in four years, the reason why they remain an enduring beacon of excellence in a league where parity is supposed to rule the day. Even after all those ugly playoff losses early in the Peyton Manning era, even after the two losses to San Diego after the Super Bowl victory over the Bears, the Colts keep coming back to work, keep grinding, keep excelling when conventional wisdom suggests it's time for a step backward....Even by Manning's lofty standards, that was a true masterpiece. Even as his team struggled early with the Jets' blitzing, Manning appeared completely in charge, calmly processing the data in front of him, working through the answers. By the time he went under center for that monstrous touchdown drive before the half -- "it reminded me of the (New England AFC title) game," Manning said -- it was obvious the quarterback with the beautiful mind had solved the Rubik's Cube. Now it was just a matter of finishing the job, throwing the ball to Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon, or handing off to Joseph Addai, who ran like a rookie again. "You could almost tell in the huddle," said offensive tackle Charlie Johnson. "And then, at the line, you just knew every check he was making was exactly the right one. It's like, 'OK, he's figured it out. We're going to be fine now.' "