Josh Patashnik and Nate Silver have some thoughts on the apparent re-election of Stevens and Young here in the great state of Asshat. Silver notes that so far, it appears that turnout here was significantly lower than it was in 2004 — possibly as high as a 14 percent drop — a fact that, if true, would undermine theories about the so-called “Palin effect,” about which everyone has been jabbering for the past 24 hours. Turnout was high in the Mat-Su Valley outside Anchorage, which happens to be where Wasilla is located, but I don’t necessarily think that voter support for Palin had a huge coattail effect for Stevens and Young. Mark Begich did really well in areas of the state (like Fairbanks) where support for Stevens had always been really high as well as in a number of areas where McCain and Palin pulled in big numbers. Silver’s hypothesis about lower-than-expected Democratic turnout might be correct — and would be a huge disappointment if it turns out to have been the case. But as I’ve pointed out before, polling in Alaska has always been really weird; in every election I’ve seen, Republican candidates always do better on election day than the final polls project. This was one reason I had no hope that Silver’s projection (98% likelihood of a Begich win) would pan out.
I also think that Stevens, especially, managed to pull in a huge sympathy vote in the last few days of the campaign. The campaign clotted the airwaves with ads, and Lisa Murkowski chipped in with several TV spots claiming that Uncle Ted Wuz Robbed and essentially promising that his convictions would be overturned. It was a moronic argument, but it probably worked.
That said, I don’t give a lot of weight to Patashnik’s theory that a lot of folks voted for Stevens on the assumption that he might be a placeholder for Sarah Palin in the event he’s forced to resign. I’ve talked to a lot of Stevens supporters over the past couple of days, and none of them have framed their vote in that sort of strategic way. Support for Senator Intertubes was based on the sense that (a) he’d given 40 years (and a shitload of money from the lower 48) to Alaska, and massage chairs and home renovations aside, he deserved one more term, and/or (b) he’d been the victim of an unjust prosecution and will be exonerated in due time.
Juneau Democrats, gathering for last night’s election celebration at Centennial Hall. This shot was taken about 15 minutes before Obama’s acceptance speech:
And here — literally in the ballroom 30 feet away — are the Republicans:
It was actually a tough night for Juneau Democrats. My friend Andrea Doll lost her seat in the state legislature; what’s more, the state appears prepared to return a convicted felon to the US Senate, and it seems we’ve decided to re-elect Don Young as well. I have no other way to account for this except to assume that Alaska has grown accustomed to being a national joke, and the impending defeat of Sarah Palin’s candidacy only made us hungrier for sustained ridicule. Mission accomplished!
This I believe of Barack Obama: Not imminent physical destruction of our nation (though not completely discounted), but destruction nonetheless. Destruction of the moral light that never lets the malignant growth of evil roll across the land. No, America’s enemies will get a respite, where they can regroup and reconsider what they want from America. There will be a reckoning, at some point, of course. Because even those who have been hoodwinked by the hope-i-ness of change will not long tolerate the yoke of Third World despotism and terror over this proud nation. A despotism seeking to behead the American individual, and the culture that birth [sic] him – all of this, dearest Americans, faster than you can say Madrid 2004.
My masthead is now black in mourning for the missed opportunity of victory in John McCain’s moral right and history. This change is permament [sic], at least as far as my current state of mind dictates. The Obama Soviet “Yes, We Can” widget, above right, is temporary, and will likely come down upon the resumption of regular posts. I don’t know when that will be, however. I may take just a day off from blogging, or a month or two. But rest assured, dear readers, American Power will be back, stronger than ever, to pick up the flame of moral clarity and to enjoin the ideological battle that stands before us.
I was beginning to worry that The Donald was not going to come through for us tonight. Boy, was I wrong!
. . . Dan Nexon has a more sober reaction — literally and metaphorically — to the debasement of Donald Douglas.
Ted Stevens and Don Young are both leading in Alaska with about 40% of the votes counted. Unfortunately, there’s no precinct-by-precinct data available yet, so there’s no way to know how likely they are to win.
. . . 11:00 AST. Fuck. Stevens has a 3000-vote lead with 66% of precincts reporting. This state sucks.
…Wow, I hadn’t even read this when I made that image:
At this point I still think it is likely that Obama will pull a victory, but it is not the landslide predicted. But don’t be surprised that many in the mainstream media will try to sell that nonsense. He may reach a 300 electoral vote victory but the popular vote is likely to be much closer.
I am betting that Obama, along with Senator Majority Leader Reid and House Speaker Pelosi will buy in to the landslide nonsense and claim a mandate to pursue their agenda. But this is not 1932, and FDR has not vanquished Hoover. The Republicans have cleaned out a lot of deadwood that needed to go and are likely to start rebuilding around themes and issues that are garnering enthusiastic support for Republican Governors in Alaska, Louisiana, and Minnesota.
We are a divided nation and there is no clear consensus to lurch to the left. But I suspect that Reid and Pelosi will overplay their hand. Two years from now we will be back here wondering how the Democrats could have squandered their seemingly insurmountable hold on power.
What do you think?
I think that’s some first-rate douchebaggery. I know that Obama just asked us all to greet this moment with some maturity and humility, but jeezus pleezus…
The wife and I voted in Juneau this morning, about 15 minutes after the polls opened. We brought the kid with us; she’s only two-and-a-half, but she was pretty excited to be there. She joined both of us in our booths for a few seconds each as we filled in the ovals before the optical scanner gobbled them up and — really, I’m just guessing here — erroneously converted them into votes for McCain, Ted Stevens and Don Young. She pitched a smallish fit when she learned that we weren’t going to be able to vote again. I told her if she didn’t pipe down, I was going to have to e-mail John Fund and let him know what was going on. That seemed to do the trick.
In any case, on the drive to day care, she and I had a great chat about the election. She knows about as much about the whole event as I suspect a toddler can absorb, which is to say that she recognizes the candidates’ faces and voices, and she’s made some preliminary assessments of their general temperaments.
“Dad, did you vote?” “Yes, I voted.” “Dad, did mommy vote?” “Yes, she voted.” “Did you vote for Barack Obama?” “Yes, I voted for Barack Obama.” [Long pause] “John McCain is crabby.”
Willikers! Only a few hours left for the “Whitey Tape” to emerge, along with definitive proof of Barack Obama’s marital infidelity and evidence of Bill Ayers’ authorship of The Audacity of Hope.
I’ll admit to having become something of a follower of the API, whose regular followers are, as I write this, tearing their hair out. Behold:
You may wish to contact the Drudge Report. Matt Drudge prides himself on breaking stories; he was the one who first broke the original story that President Clinton was having an affair with Monica Lewinski.
POST THE TRANSCRIPTS NOW, TIME IS RUNNING OUT PLEASE MR.KORIR THIS IS AS MUCH FOR YOU, YOU ARE NEARLY JEOPORDIZING YOUR NAME, DRUDGE WILL FOLLOW THROUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!i fear for journalistic future if this goes bad . . .
This is getting ridiculous. Just release the audio on YouTube. Releasing the tape on 11/5 is not going to help anybody, except Obama.
I am a small business owner in the Atlanta area with clients in the media. We handle marketing concerns. I have contacts at CNN, The local Fox affiliate, Clear Channel (distributors of the Rush Limbaugh show) and a number of marketing fims w/ Political based clients. I am offering my services for free. Forward me an mp3 of the tape. if i cannot get the tape verified, noticed and aired nationally withing 5 hours of this posting (8 pm US Eastern Time), I will close my business & move to Norway & work for you without pay for 5 years.
All kinds of hell is breaking on the Obamas camp.
his grandma dies
his campaing manager in Nevada died yesterday
His speechwriter Wendy Button quites after she saw what they are doing to Hillary, Palin and Joe “the plumber” and now she endorses MacCain
He is loosing in the poles
What possible odds could I get on the likelihood that Korir will be able to keep these people in orbit for the next four years?
Given Sarah Palin’s vast familiarity with American news sources, one would assume she’d understand that data emanating from the Heritage Foundation does not count as “independent.” Nevertheless, for the past few days she and the McCain campaign have been repeating the transparently hilarious claims that “independent” analysis has concluded that Barack Obama’s economic plan would “destroy” six million jobs. As CNN’s fact checkers pointed out, however, Heritage’s Center for Data Analysis actually claimed that Obama’s economic policies would produce fewer jobs than his rival’s.
As with most crystal ball economic forecasts, the Heritage Foundation’s predictions about job growth under an Obama presidency should probably be taken as seriously as the CDA’s prediction in 2000 that job growth would expand more vigorously under George W. Bush than it would under a Gore presidency. Specifically, they expected that Bush’s proposed tax cuts would produce 1.5 million jobs above the Congressional Budget Office baseline. Instead, George W. Bush will finish two terms in office with the slowest rate of growth in non-farm employment of any president since Herbert Hoover. The Heritage Foundation also predicted in 2000 that the US national debt under George Bush would wrap up around $380 billion by 2010. It currently stands at $10.5 trillion.
Jonah Goldberg wants “non-culty Obama supporters” to admit that it’s “creepy” when a man — driven to desperation for who knows what reason — throws himself off a bridge and allegedly leaves a note behind asking Barack Obama to take care of his family.
Call me a liberal fascist, but I find the details of an anonymous man’s suicide substantially less creepy than someone who uses it as an opportunity to remind everyone that some dirty fucking hippie once called Obama a “lightworker.”
That said, I suppose it’s hardly worth mentioning Pantload is ill-suited to measure the depths of “creepy,” since as far as I’m able to gather, he’s failed to distance himself from Rich Lowry for sprouting a chubby during the vice presidential debate.
“I’ve not been convicted yet,” Stevens said Thursday in a meeting with the editorial board of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. “There’s not a black mark by my name yet, until the appeal is over and I am finally convicted, if that happens. If that happens, of course I’ll do what’s right for Alaska and for the Senate. … I don’t anticipate it happening, and until it happens I do not have a black mark.”
Stevens reiterated that position during a televised debate late Thursday night, declaring early in the give-and-take with Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, “I have not been convicted of anything.”
Please allow me to translate this into Alaskan for you: So far as Stevens and his supporters are concerned, Alaska has always been regarded as the only legitimate venue for the senator’s trial. Other courts, by contrast, carry a degree of legitimacy that’s roughly equivalent to the International Criminal Court, or perhaps to the Zinoviev trial. So the fact that Stevens has in fact been convicted of seven felonies is, to a significant percentage of the public completely irrelevant.
I should add that a lot of folks around here are seriously talking about the possibility that Stevens might win re-election and resign at some point in 2009, regardless of the status or outcome of his appeal. In that event, a special election would be scheduled, with Sarah Palin being a likely contender for the seat. I haven’t decided yet whether I think this is a likely scenario. Whether or not this actually transpires, though, I suspect a lot of Alaskans are going to vote for Stevens on the assumption that reducing the power of Democrats in the Senate is more important than sparing the state further national embarrassment by electing someone who isn’t a crook. And I’d imagine more than a few people will cast votes for Stevens and comfort themselves with the thought that either (a) his conviction will be overturned on appeal, or (b) he’ll hold the seat long enough for a stronger Republican to emerge and deny Mark Begich the seat. If a special election were held sometime in 2009, it would be framed as much by anti-Obama/Reid/Pelosi narratives as anything else. And if Senate Democrats have 59-60 seats after Tuesday, such an election would present an opportunity for the RNC to test-market all the insane shit they’ll be developing for the mid-term elections in ’10.
There was undisguised hostility toward the federal government and the FBI at the Stevens event, with people wearing T-shirts that said “F*#@ the feds, vote for Ted.”
“Anyone who thinks you can get a fair trial in the heart of liberalism, Washington, D.C., is smoking dope. He was railroaded,” said Mark Kelliher, a retired engineer.
Talk radio host Rick Rydell told the crowd he knows Stevens, a D.C. jury doesn’t.
“I don’t particularly like it when outsiders tell me what to do,” Rydell said, before Stevens took the stage. “You can kiss my Alaska moose-hunting behind.”
Stevens reiterated his innocence, assured his supporters that he would be vindicated on appeal, and said he’s still the best choice for Alaska. Stevens said that when he filed his financial disclosure forms, he believed they were accurate and complete.
“The verdict was driven by prosecutors who were willing to do anything to win. If I had a fair trial in Alaska, I would have been acquitted,” he said.
I’ve had a difficult time explaining to non-Alaskans lately why it is that Ted Stevens stands a decent chance at being elected as a recently-convicted felon. The polls are still tilting ever so slightly in Mark Begich’s favor, but the last three close elections in Alaska — Frank Murkowski’s win in 2002, Lisa Murkowski’s victory in 2004 and Palin’s win in 2006 — have shown a tendency for Republican candidates to outperform the polls. In those cases, of course, the Republicans were leading heading into election day and emerged with wider margins of victory than expected. I’m not sure how well that trend (such as it is) applies to this race; a lot of Alaskans are embarrassed by Stevens, and his opponent is really competent and popular, so that might be enough. But there’s no way to overstate how solid Ted Stevens’ support is among a vast portion of the state’s population who are quite comfortable with Stevens’ efforts to “spread the wealth” northward from the Lower 48. It’s not difficult to run into people — intelligent, otherwise sensible people — who argue with a straight face and a pure heart that Ted Stevens somehow deserved $250,000 worth of free stuff as a reward for his four decades of service to the state. This is someone who has a international fucking airport named after him.
But sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If Ted Stevens deserves a quarter of a million dollars worth of stuff as a reward for his years of public service, I figure that after six years of hard, underpaid labor on behalf of Alaska’s youth, I at least deserve one of the laser printers that I’m currently sharing with a few dozen of my colleagues.