Thursday, October 18, 2007

A “near upset” & “Nancy’s plane.”

At his blog, Michael Barone, arguably America’s best analyst of election results, takes a look at the “near upset” and ol JinC asks about “Nancy’s plane.” Barone first:

Here are the election returns for Tuesday’s special election in the Fifth District of Massachusetts. Democrat Niki Tsongas beat Republican Jim Ogonowski 51 to 45 percent in a district in which John Kerry beat George W. Bush 57 to 41 percent. This probably counts as the “near upset” I suggested as a possibility in my U.S. News column for the week.

As I noted in an October 3 blog posting, a SurveyUSA poll taken in September showed Tsongas up 51 to 41 percent, and Democrats poured in celebrities—Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry—to help Tsongas essentially maintain that level of support.

Ogonowski evidently increased his support in the face of this onslaught. This is not the victory Republicans wistfully hoped for. But it was something like Democrat Paul Hackett’s near upset in the special election in August 2005 in Ohio’s heavily Republican Second District.

This is not necessarily a harbinger for the 2008 House elections. […]

Still, there may be some lessons here—as there were in the Ohio Second District result in 2005.

One: Ogonowski campaigned against Congress. This is the first time since 1994 that Republicans have been able to campaign against a Democratic Congress, and Congress’s job ratings are dismally low. […]

Two: Ogonowski campaigned on holding down taxes. This is an issue that has not worked for Republicans in a long time. I speculated in my column that it could change the votes of high earners who have been favoring Democrats on cultural issues.

This does not seem to have happened. Ogonowski actually ran even with or 1 to 3 percentage points behind Bush’s 2004 numbers in high-income, culturally liberal Boston suburbs in the southern part of the district: Wayland, Sudbury, Concord, Acton, and Harvard (an actual town, not near Cambridge).

Where he ran ahead of Bush was in the suburbs around Lowell and Lawrence, places with income levels somewhat lower (or at least that is my impression) but mostly above the national average. […].

This suggests to me that Ogonowski’s two leading substantive issues, taxes and immigration, cut significantly into the Democratic vote in middle-income areas while failing utterly to do so in the high-income suburbs. [...]

I was up in the district in late September and interviewed Tsongas and Ogonowski’s campaign manager. My impression was that Tsongas was running a 2006 campaign—vote against Bush, stop the war—that is in the process of being overtaken by events: Bush is leaving, and the surge is actually working.

Ogonowski, meanwhile, was running a 2007 campaign, raising issues like taxes and immigration that were not much emphasized in 2006.

The 2008 campaign, I think, will probably resemble 2007 more than 2006 and will be shaped as well by the two presidential nominees.

Since the 2006 election I have written that we are in a period of open-field politics. The Massachusetts Fifth’s special election seems to confirm that—and to indicate that past voting patterns may no longer be relevant and that there may be some unpleasant surprises—for Democrats but also quite possibly for Republicans, too
Barone’s entire post is here.

Now a few questions about “Nancy’s plane:”

Did Nancy Pelosi ever get the government to give her that plane she wanted when she became House Speaker?

It was a 737, right? Or was it a 777? Or was it another kind of jetliner?

But for sure it was a type in which she could “get some work done with staff” and make herself available to journalists “seeking background on legislation” as they flew with her from Washington to San Francisco for the weekend.

Were you surprised Madam Speaker demanded the citizens pay for the plane after she’d promised to eliminate “fat-cat” congressional perks?

Did you find yourself wondering why she didn't just asked George Soros, Bill Gates, Jay Rockerfeller and Duke’s BOT Chair Bob Steel to chip in for it? They could’ve paid for Nancy's plane without touching their next month's lunch money.

When Nancy began her reign as Speaker by demanding the taxpayers foot the bill for a jetliner, that was a tip-off the Dems’ congressional leadership might not earn much approval from the American people, wasn't it?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Quite the little hypocrite isn't she ---- and a dangerous one!

DukeEgr93 said...

John - I believe you are mischaracterizing the "plane truth." I know this is NPR but still - there's more and less to the story...

JWM said...

To Anon @ 5:21,

I believe Speaker Pelosi was hypocritical to campaign as wanting to significantly cut back on "fat-cat" congressional perks and then asking for the kind of plane she did.

I believe a number of her actions have added to the dangers our country faces.

To Dukeegr93,

I stand by what I posted.

I plan to post on the main page tomorrow using your comment as a starting place.

In the meantime, you and others who think I mischaracterized might want to take a look this ABC News report that was available to you along with the less "fact-filled" NPR report you used:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Story?id=2858225&page=1

Be sure to read the description of the C-32.

Speaker Pelosi knew exactly the kind of plane she was asking for.

John

Anonymous said...

Sadly, the GOP is in no position to criticize Pelosi or any of her Democrat tax'n'spenders. They've had their snouts in the trough, too.

Anonymous said...

At some point, I remember seeing a report that a security agency suggested that a Speaker of the House should have use of a government aircraft and that Pelosi had not requested this service. Does anyone know if that is correct?

Either way, I would hope that all government officials use the most economical travel arrangements that are deemed to have proper security.

Ralph Phelan said...

"This suggests to me that Ogonowski’s two leading substantive issues, taxes and immigration, cut significantly into the Democratic vote in middle-income areas while failing utterly to do so in the high-income suburbs. "

If you're rich enough you can hold left-wing ideologies without intrusion by reality (much like if you're tenured faculty).

But those who are not rich enough to be totally insulated from all insecurities don;t have the lusury of ignoring the practical effects of tax and immigration policy.

DukeEgr93 said...

John - I'll await your post, then. I wonder how the quote "Did you find yourself wondering why she didn't just asked George Soros, Bill Gates, Jay Rockerfeller and Duke’s BOT Chair Bob Steel to chip in for it? They could’ve paid for Nancy's plane without touching their next month's lunch money." can be made relevant, for example, to a government official asking for the same rights given her predecessor from another party.

I feel like your statement "When Nancy began her reign as Speaker by demanding the taxpayers foot the bill for a jetliner, that was a tip-off the Dems’ congressional leadership might not earn much approval from the American people, wasn't it?" misses the points that her Republican predecessor also had a plane, and that the logistics of the situation and the security concerns - then and now - merited a different aircraft that was requested, NOT BY THE SPEAKER, but by the sergeant at arms of the house (CNN, 2/9/2007)

Also note in the CNN article above, the White House comes out in *support* of Speaker Pelosi's request, stating, "It is important for the speaker to have this kind of protection and travel." Your ABC story did not have all the information that was presented by NPR the day after and by CNN two days later. Some of the "facts" were akin to the ones that we've heard "kept changing" in other cases of media misinformation.

I look at the line, "Were you surprised Madam Speaker demanded the citizens pay for the plane after she’d promised to eliminate “fat-cat” congressional perks?" and what *I* see is the woman who's second-in-line to the presidency getting secure transport paid for by the government, just as had been provided to her predecessor, with the modification that she lives further away and thus needs a different plane. She did not *specifically* request a particular aircraft; the request was made for her and reiterated by her to have an aircraft wit appropriate range.

Anonymous said...

dukeegr93,

You're not telling the whole story.

DukeEgr93 said...

Anonymous: Does anyone ever? The "whole story" would be a post millions of lines long!

One of the nice parts about "John's Place" here is if you'd like to contribute to the tapestry of The Whole Story - even in a disagreement - in a civil way, you can. I will promise not to say that you haven't said everything should you post something :)