As someone who has spent an enormous amount of time analyzing what does, and what doesn’t, influence opinion polls, I have always maintained that the Obama “gaffes” — from the Pakistani nukes, to his general “lack of presidential stature” as proclaimed by overpaid Beltway bloviators, to Tony Rezko, Bill Ayers , and Jeremiah Wright today — will have zero impact upon the 2008 election. I am a big fan of empiricism, and we got a great empirical case study of the salience of Wright, Obama and Pelosi over the weekend in a Republican stronghold district.
LA-06, a Republican district formerly held by Richard Baker which went 55-43 for Bush in 2000, and 59-40 in 2004, had a special election on Saturday. On Charlie Cook’s Partisan Vote Index scale, this district has a +7R PVI. (Generally “swing districts” have PVIs between +5R and +5D.) The GOP has held this district for at least thirty years. Guess what happened?
LA-06: The Sweet Smell of Success
Sun May 04, 2008 at 03:07:49 PM PDT
Congratulations to Congressman-elect Don Cazayoux, new Representative of Louisiana’s 6th District, and to all who had a hand in his election. The Sixth District, which voted for Bush 55-43 in 2000 and 59-40 in 2004, will be represented by a Democrat for the first time since the Dixiecrat era.
This was a terrific win for the party, for a number of reasons. First, it is always exciting and inspiring to win an election in such strongly Republican territory. Only 15 Democratic Representatives out of 235 hail from more GOP-friendly districts than Louisiana’s 6th, and taking another seat on such red turf is yet another indicator that Democrats are in the catbird seat heading into November. This is the second special-election victory in a former Republican stronghold within the span of three months, and it was nearly accompanied by another victory in the crimson First District of Mississippi (and may yet be, come the May 13 runoff).
We had no real business winning this district, but we managed to do so anyway, by running a candidate who was a good fit for the district, by wisely allocating national party resources to help that candidate compete, and by simply being lucky enough to face a genuine nutcase on the Republican side.
Needless to say, this is a major feather in the cap of the DCCC, and a terrific blow to our Republican counterparts. NRCC chairman Tom Cole must be losing his breakfast, especially on the heels of the loss in IL-14, and facing another possible loss in an even redder district (MS-01). On our side, the DCCC did a fine job; they fended off the combined forces of the NRCC, Freedom’s Watch, and the Club for Growth, and came out on top.
The Club for Growth has been backing losing candidates for some time-they’re far more interested, it seems, in having doctrinaire nutters on the Republican ticket than in actually winning a majority-but this is a particularly bad black eye for Freedom’s Watch, a group which has already taken a lot of hits. Having targeted LA-06 as their first big experiment-apparently, backing Woody Jenkins was the first thing their leadership could agree on as a priority for this cycle-Freedom’s Watch looks positively impotent. They were supposed to be the scary new kid on the block, the shadowy Republican hit squad doing all the GOP’s dirty work this election cycle. But if they can’t swing a special election in an R+6.5 district, they’re going to have the devil’s own time swinging the presidential election.
As reported, the GOP’s strategy in this election was to tie Cazayoux to national Democrats like Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi. I should think that the results speak for themselves, and that they indicate that this strategy has failed. …
At the very least, their efforts to demonize Cazayoux by linking him to Obama proved a double-edged sword. Although Woody Jenkins did outperform expectations in several areas of the district, and it’s possible that that was due to the NRCC’s attempts to link Cazayoux to Obama, it was certainly negated by increased black turnout in East Baton Rouge, which appears to have ultimately provided Cazayoux with his margin of victory. In other words, the GOP lost at least as much by alienating black voters as they may or may not have gained with these attacks.
“The Audacity of Hope” would make a great title for their 2008 national campaign blueprint.
250 Democrats in the House, ~57 Democratic senators, and a confident liberal in the White House. Say hello to 25-30% capital gains, 40% top marginal income tax (45 if Obama lifts the SS cap), and a very large selloff between October 2008 and January 2009.
 Speaking of Ayers, remember the Weathermen pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001? Of course you don’t. Selective outrage is the opiate of the masses’ collective memory . . .