It’s mid-August, which means the now competing annual political blogging conventions of “Netroots Nation” (formerly YearlyKos) and “RightOnline.” This year, the two conventions are in Pittsburgh, and the Post-Gazette has a long article on last night’s opening of “Netroots Nation.”
There, former President Bill Clinton opened the conference with the keynote, but the real news coming out of Pittsburgh appears to be a panel on polling by Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report and Nate Silver of 538.com.
Despite the generally upbeat, celebratory mood of yesterday’s conference — the first in Netroots Nation history with a Democrat in the White House — many speakers were already warning of a tough mid-term election year in 2010.
At one panel on polling data, experts noted that political anger and intensity has shifted to the Republican side, with Democrats facing considerable erosion of their 54-seat advantage in the House next year.
“There’s offense and there’s defense. Right now, you’re going to be spending time on defense,” said Charlie Cook of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. “Intensity matters a lot. Last time you [Democrats] had it, this time they [Republicans] have it,” Mr. Cook said, adding that he expects about a 20-seat loss in the 2010 mid-term elections.
Poll analyst Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com did not agree with Mr. Cook. He expects Democrats to do even worse.
Mr. Silver said Democrats often told him his Obama-friendly polls comforted them last fall. “I don’t think you should feel at all comforted about 2010,” he said to a standing-room-only crowd. He said he expects Democrats will lose from 20 to 50 House seats and up to six Senate seats next year.
“The enthusiasm gap is working the other way. I don’t know what the sales pitch is right now for Democrats.”
Also, the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund quotes the Washington Independent’s Davide Weigel — a libertarian web reporter — on what he’s seeing in Pittsburgh.
“All in all, this is a more sober crowd than at last year’s Netroots convention,” David Wiegel of the Washington Independent told me. “I think they are a little taken aback by the public reaction against the health care bill and trying to sort out what it means for the left’s future.”
I’ve known Dave for the better part of the last six months since he share many mutual friends, he usually doesn’t miss much when it comes to the motions of either side’s political ebbs and flows; or the weirdos who come along with them.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s favorite misogynist, liberal blogger who addresses himself in the 3rd Person like Dwayne Johnson used to before he made movies — “The Brew City Brawler” — seems to be in some form of early denial for 2010. He’s spent, not one, but two nights analyzing polling data in ways no one in America not named Paul Krugman could come up with.
Brawler, do yourself the favor I never did in 2006, when you see the signs of a political tidal wave, admit them on your blog. Yeah, you might say them to a bunch of insiders and friends in high places, but if you never say them in a blog post you’re only lying to yourself and making yourself look more and more like a raving lunatic.
You know, like you say Sykes, Belling and others are. I’m sure “The Brawler” would understand…someday.
Now, the Republican brand has a long way to go before it’s even remotely trusted by the general public, but the Right does have one thing to their advantage: Americans are more ideologically-aligned with them. In short, no one wants to call themselves a “Republican” thanks to the Bush years, but they sure are willing to call themselves a conservative or a libertarian.
While liberals, Democrats, and the media talk about 2010 being another 1994 for the GOP, I tend to think it will be a reverse of 2006. Already 2009 is shaping very much like 2005 did. Just like then, you had a President not handling the one issue most Americans wanted address (Iraq then, the Economy now), and instead going on a cross-country series of town halls pushing a major reform of American policy (Social Security then, Health Care now). In all likelihood, you’re going to see people voting to throw the bums out — no matter what party they’re a member of.