Monday, November 06, 2006

Teflon John

Save for maybe comptroller, make no mistake about how bad the NY state-wide races are going to be for the GOP. One obvious way to tell? Finger pointing in the New York Times about the losses even before the polls open:
"Anticipating historic political losses in New York tomorrow, state Republican leaders are lashing out at the national party in Washington, saying it has exploited New York donors and blown opportunities against a prime target, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton."
Well, isn't that helpful? There are going to be a lot of Republican operatives in this state looking for jobs pretty soon, and it seems some want to get a head start on "framing the issues." Of course, it's not the locals' fault; it's national's:
"'The national party comes into New York, does significant fund-raising here, and then there’s very little in the way of national support for statewide races,' Mr. Faso said. 'It’s disappointing, and a serious mistake in terms of party building.' . . . While New York Republicans are used to giving more to Washington than they get back, they say they are particularly aggrieved this year."
Apparently, political giving is some sort of model of federal pork barrel spending. Pay a bunch to the center, but make sure some crumbs make it back to the local hacks. As a donor, let me assure you that I want the money given to national committees, organizations, etc. to go to the places it will be most effective, not where people feel put out.

At a more basic level, realize this: New York is a very rich area for political donations to both parties. The article reports that New Yorkers have donated $152 million this cycle. If the people closest to the local races are apparently unmoved to give, why should the national groups do so in what appears to be lost races?

I reserve, though, special disdain for our Senate candidate, John Spencer, with whom you may remember I've already exhibited some displeasure:
"'They blew the Hillary race, and now Hillary has a ton of i.o.u.s from Democrats nationwide for when she runs for president,' said Mr. Spencer, who is trailing Senator Clinton by more than 30 percentage points in most public polls."
Pardon my language, but I've got to say, that takes balls. "They blew the Hillary race." They? Give me a break.

Through September 30th, John Spencer raised $4.7 million for his run. Clinton raised $37.9 million. He has never shown momentum in any of the polls. In, you know, the real world, this type of drubbing might be thought to reflect on the candidate or the race he ran. In this bizzarro world, however, it becomes the fault of others:
"Mrs. Clinton has had nary a worry this fall, thanks to a poorly financed and politically lackluster campaign by Mr. Spencer, who said he was counting on Washington support and money to keep her on the ropes. Now Mrs. Clinton is even more formidably positioned for a possible presidential run in 2008, he said.

'I think national Republicans were afraid that if John Spencer took off as a candidate, it would divert millions of dollars into New York against Senator Clinton, whereas they wanted to spend the money elsewhere,' said John McLaughlin, Mr. Spencer’s senior strategist."
Why should Spencer have been counting on national support? Are there not enough Republican donors around here? Couldn't they tell if he was an investment worth making?

Mr. McLaughlin is right about something. National Republicans did want to spend the money elsewhere, namely where they could win. It was up to Spencer and his campaign to show them that New York was one of those places. They failed quite miserably to do so.

Well done, gentlemen. Well done.

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