Did Sarah Palin cost the GOP control of the Senate?

1. Nov 9, 2010

Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/09/AR2010110904915.html

Perhaps. I do know that in my eyes, Palin has discredited the GOP. Palin and the tea party are claiming credit for a sweeping victory in the House, but the economy alone was likely sufficient to account for the election results. The popularity of the tea party is I think a direct consequence of the near economic collapse we have endured, which I see as a direct result of the policies of the GOP - policies the tea party supports. But I see the election and the tea party success as mere byproducts of bad times; fortuitous for the tea partiers, but inconsequential in the long run. It seems to me that Palin and the tea party only weakened the GOP by endorsing unqualified candidates like O'Donnell, and nuts like Miller. A decent candidate in Nevada should have easily defeated Reid.

Note that Miller likely lost in Alaska to a write-in! It seems that even Palin's clout at home is waning.

Last edited: Nov 9, 2010
2. Nov 9, 2010

CAC1001

I don't think the Tea Party's popularity is a consequence of the economic collapse, I think it is more a consequence of the perception (right or wrong) among many that the government's growth and spending are out-of-control. If McCain had won, I do not think we would have seen the Tea Party's rise.

BTW Ivan, the Tea Party does not support the policies the GOP has been following over the last decade or so, one thing the Tea Party has been seeking to do is (in their view) "clean house" with the GOP, i.e. remove the big-government, big-spending GOPers and replace them with Tea Party GOPers.

I think the GOP not winning the Senate long-term may be beneficial to them, because if they had, then Obama would have a perfect scapegoat to blame for lack of progress in 2012.

3. Nov 9, 2010

Staff: Mentor

She definitely lost the race for McCain, IMO. I remember how many of the GOP big guns came out at the end and pulled their support, I really had to respect them for that.

Anyway, a stroll down memory lane.

Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
4. Nov 9, 2010

turbo

She couldn't answer questions that a high-schooler should have been able to handle. It was pathetic. I was leaning McCain early, and as soon as he picked Palin and she started opening her mouth, I flipped to Dem right away. Obama was a late call, but Clinton had so much baggage that the GOP could have gone much more negative against her than against Obama. Sometimes you have to try to minimize losses.

Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
5. Nov 9, 2010

Chi Meson

I've made it clear that I have been a supporter and admirer of the McCain of old (of "young"?). The selection of Palin was the reason I could not vote for him. I could not take the chance that McCain might not live through his term, and there was no way I was going to assist a "young earther" into the WH.

That announcement was the "South Carolina" of 2008 for McCain.

Now as a result, the moderates of BOTH Parties were the first to go.

6. Nov 9, 2010

Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
IMO, if McCain has won and enacted the exact same policies as Obama, there probably still wouldn't have been a Tea Party. After all, not only did the TP not form during Bush's extravagances, the majority of them have a favorable opinion of Bush. If anything, I think there might have been a significantly different looking TP (i.e., one without as many of the extreme social conservatives).

7. Nov 9, 2010

Proton Soup

it's a bit much to blame her on not winning control of the senate. for one, entrenched, powerful senators are the lifeblood of the states they represent. people don't just unseat senators willy-nilly, it's bad economics. second, if the candidates he'd rather have running can't beat out tea party candidates in the primaries, then maybe they're just weak candidates. certain democrats wanted to seat Caroline Kennedy once, too, but she was a weak candidate, despite having all the right connections.

8. Nov 9, 2010

CAC1001

That's why I said the perception, right or wrong, that government spending and growth are out of control.

Many conservatives were up in arms over Bush's excessive spending, the people from these conservatives and libertarians who are now Tea Party people I'd say are part of the movement because while they viewed Bush as excessive, they see Obama as dangerously excessive and going to an extreme (not saying he is, but that is how they see it), and thus are protesting his policies.

Perhaps, no way to know.

9. Nov 9, 2010

WhoWee

It's really going to make you mad in 2012 when someone other than Palin beats Obama - possibly Mitch Daniels?
http://www.in.gov/gov/2635.htm

"Governor Daniels came from a successful career in business and government, holding numerous top management positions in both the private and public sectors. His work as President and CEO of the Hudson Institute and President of Eli Lilly and Company's North American Pharmaceutical Operations taught him the business skills he brought to state government. He also has served as Chief of Staff to Senator Richard Lugar, Senior Advisor to President Ronald Reagan and Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush.

Daniels’ first legislative success created the public-private Indiana Economic Development Corporation to replace a failing state bureaucracy in the mission of attracting new jobs. In each of its first four years of existence, the agency broke all previous records for new jobs in the state, and was associated with more than $18 billion of new investment. In 2008, Site Selection magazine and CNBC both named Indiana as the Most Improved State for Business in the country, and the state is now near the top of every national ranking of business attractiveness. On his first day in office, Governor Daniels created the first Office of Management and Budget to look for efficiencies and cost savings across state government. In 2005, he led the state to its first balanced budget in eight years and, without a tax increase, transformed the$600 million deficit he inherited into an annual surplus of \$370 million within a year. The governor used the surplus to repay hundreds of millions of dollars the state had borrowed from Indiana's public schools, state universities and local units of government in previous administrations. The second biennial budget replicated this fiscal discipline and built reserves equal to 10 percent of annual spending. "

I realize that he hasn't done any community organizing, but his credentials are impressive none the less.

As for the Senate, maybe it was a secret GOP plan all along - to sweep the House and keep the Senate close-but let the Dems hanging in the wind?:rofl: Michael Steele must be a genius.

By the way, let's give credit where it's due - Obama lost the House.

10. Nov 9, 2010

CAC1001

I wonder if Obama will have Hillary on the VP ticket in 2012 to refresh his campaign and try to pull the women and Hillary voters...?

11. Nov 9, 2010

WhoWee

It would be more fun if he picked Al Franken.:uhh:

12. Nov 10, 2010

mugaliens

"Did Sarah Palin cost the GOP control of the Senate?"

U.S. Senate:
53 Democratic seats (53%, of course)
46 Republican seats

U.S. House of Representatives:
239 Repulican Seats (55.7%)
190 Democratic Seats

U.S. Governors:
23 Republican wins (6/6 incumbent seats held)
11 Democratic wins (5/7 incumbent seats held)

I feel the GOP's choice of spokespersons contributed to loss of GOP control of the Senate.

But we gained in the House, so...

The problem with extremism on either side is that it attracts a lot of participants, as well as a lot of voices, and a lot of media. That sounds like a good thing, right? But when those media-monitored voices are adhering to a few but key and largely unpopular positions on certain issues, that's what tends to loose the swing vote in the races, and it's the swing vote, not the extreme vote, which wins races.

13. Nov 10, 2010

Staff Emeritus
I hate to toss in facts here, but let's look at the outcome. The GOP picked up 6 seats. They would have needed to pick up 10 to gain control: they need 51, not 50. Maybe you can blame DE on Palin, but you need to find 3 other seats that she "lost".

Look at the states that the Democrats held:
• CO +1
• WA +4
• NV +5
• CA +9
• WV +11
• CT +12
• DE +16
• OR +17
• NY +26
• MD +26
• NY +32
• VT +33
• HI +54

Palin did not endorse Ken Buck in CO. In Washington, she did not endorse Dino Rossi (in fact, she endorsed his primary opponent). She did endorse Angle in NV - but do you really want to argue that Harry Reid should have lost? But let's give her that one too. She did endorse Fiorina in CA, who is hardly a Palinista, but give her that as well, and now we get to West Virginia, a seat that has been in Democratic hands for 51 years, and hasn't had a Republican win a general election since Calvin Coolidge was president. They went Democratic by 11 points. Can one really argue that if it weren't for Palin this would be Republican?

Sorry - the numbers just aren't there. There simply weren't 10 competitive races this term.

14. Nov 10, 2010

mugaliens

I believe it would be more accurate to say they "remained" Democratic than they "went" there.

I agree it wasn't Palin, per se', although if she'd done a better job focusing on the issues than popping off in the heat of battle over the last three years, it may have been enough to create ancilliary effects which may have swung the tide.

Extremism isn't attractive.

15. Nov 10, 2010

Staff: Mentor

On a broader note, movements like the Tea Party are a double-edged sword. They create passion and stir-up funding, but they also attract those in the extreme. So while the Tea Party almost certainly lost the GOP some seats (in the House, certainly), the GOP could not have won as many seats if the Tea Party hadn't existed.

This exact phenomena also happened 2 years ago.

16. Nov 10, 2010

Staff: Mentor

I agree that the economy was the single biggest factor (I wouldn't use the word "alone"), it usually is.

I think that Obama misinterpreted his election. He thought it was a mandate to implement a lot of liberal policies, and did not recognize it for what it was: a simple desire for economic improvement. The Democrats didn't deliver on positive economic change, and they did deliver on a lot of undesired changes. That is primarily what drove this election and will probably continue until things turn around economically.

17. Nov 10, 2010

Staff Emeritus
I think it is a mistake to think of "the Tea Party" as a single monolithic movement. It's not a model with much explanatory or predictive power. I think a better, albeit still imperfect, model is that this is a reaction to the changes of government in the last 10 years or so. (And yes, that includes changes made under the Bush-43 administration)

18. Nov 10, 2010

Staff: Mentor

I certainly agree that the Tea Party is not a single monolithic movement. I'm not even sure such a thing really exists when you start getting very large numbers of people involved. So I don't really see a difference between our points.

19. Nov 10, 2010

Proton Soup

i don't think he thought it was a mandate so much as an opportunity. he had to try to get everything now, otherwise he might never get it. and, the honeymoon is obviously over now.

20. Nov 10, 2010

Staff: Mentor

I'm not sure if he thought it was a "mandate" or not, but any smart politician would say it was even if he doesn't actually believe it. But only a serious ideologue would consider this election or the last one to be a fundamental shift in the ideology of the country.

Certainly, though, the practical reality is that Obama had (and knew he had) an opportunity with his filibuster-proof majority which is why issues such as healthcare were on the table so early in his Presidency. It's been 70 years since a President had such an opportunity and I consider us fortunate that Obama didn't make better use of that opportunity before he unexpectedly (with the death of Kennedy and his eventual replacement by a Republican) lost it.

I think that Obama's adjenda was part of the problem for Democrats. You have to sieze an opportunity when you get it, but I doubt he actually believed the country suddenly overwhealmingly favored things like cap and trade, the stimulus and universal healthcare. So when he started pushing for such things, there was a 'hey wait a minute, I wanted Bush out, but I didn't mean we should...' sort of backlash. The tea party reflected the more extreme side of that backlash.

Last edited: Nov 10, 2010