The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

News Flash: Politics Is About Elections

Posted on | August 18, 2010 | 22 Comments

It shouldn’t be necessary to say this in a crucial mid-term election year, but I have been troubled to find that it’s difficult to get conservatives to concentrate on supporting individual candidates in actual elections.

When I spent three weeks covering Tim Burns in the PA-12 special election, traffic to the blog actually went down. That was discouraging.

Everybody’s always saying we need more reporting by bloggers and yet, when I actually go out on the road to do reporting, it produces less traffic than when I’m just sitting here in my basement snarking about headlines.

Part of the problem, I think, is that conservatives don’t really like politics. The grubby business of electing politicians and enacting legislation strikes many conservatives as something uncouth and menial. And there is a notable tendency among conservative bloggers to limit themselves to three basic categories of topics:

  1. Liberals are evil.
  2. The media is biased.
  3. Whatever is on the Drudge Report.

Some people would rather speculate about the 2012 GOP presidential field — Sarah? Mitt? Newt? — than to expend the effort to research congressional races. Why? Because it’s much easier to do.

Everybody has an opinion about Sarah Palin. She’s a celebrity, and the latest gossip about her gets more readers than actual news about an obscure candidate that nobody’s ever heard of.

The problem, however, is that slinging snark about celebrities or media bias isn’t going to change anything in Washington. I might as well be blogging about Alyssa Milano or Justin Bieber, if all I’m going to do is pontificate about Barack Obama or Sarah Palin (who is never going to re-Tweet me, either).

Anyway, after doing plugs this morning for GOP challengers John Dennis (vs. Nancy Pelosi in CA-8) and Allen West (vs. Ron Klein in FL-22) I saw this Tweet from Amy Miller:

This aroused my curiosity: Who is Ron McNeil and what election did he lose? So I clicked the link and saw this news story:

PANAMA CITY — A Congressional candidate told local high school and middle school students Tuesday that Islam’s plan is to destroy the American way of life.
“I’m totally against it. If I had my way, it would pretty much be over my dead body,” said Ron McNeil, a candidate for the U.S. House District 2 seat, who was referring to a controversial plan to build an Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero in New York City. “That religion is against everything America stands for. If we have to let them build it, make them build it nine stories underground, so we can walk above it as citizens and Christians.”

OK, if you talk to Pamela Geller, I think she’d argue that McNeil’s statements are quite literally true: Islam is “against everything America stands for.” And for all we know, a majority of FL-2 residents share that sentiment, so that McNeil’s comments might actually win him more votes.

A bit of research, however, discloses that Ron McNeil is a marginal candidate in a crowded Republican primary, whose fundraising has been effectively zero. The Florida primary is next Tuesday, and it is extremely unlikely that McNeil will win the GOP nomination.

Frankly, I was shocked to learn that this district in the Florida panhandle has been held by Democrat Rep. Allen Boyd since 1997. FL-2 is a very winnable district for Republicans; it was carried by Bush in 2004, and John McCain got 54% of the vote there in 2008.

Based on minimal information about the GOP candidates in FL-2, I’ll say we need to get behind Steve Southerland. He has the support of Eric Cantor, as well as the House Conservatives Fund, and that’s good enough for me.

STEVE SOUTHERLAND for U.S. CONGRESS

Everybody got all excited by the news that Republicans are leading on the “generic ballot” poll, but taking back Congress means winning a majority of House elections — 218+ seats in districts all across the country, including FL-2. We’ve got to focus on these key races. Generic ballot polls don’t win elections, candidates do.

Only 76 days left until Nov. 2, people: Start paying attention!

Comments

  • TR Sterling

    RSM,
    Good post.
    There’s lots of good bloggery in the political details too. For example, although, Mike Castle’s 3.4 M turtle tunnel is rather staid, if Christine O’Donnell were to crawl in it, while Sarah P gave her an endorsement, then you’d have some nice turtle soup?!
    Must be nice though, to be a bi-coastal blogger with or without fedora (nice work from the left-coast, Stacy).

  • TR Sterling

    RSM,
    Good post.
    There’s lots of good bloggery in the political details too. For example, although, Mike Castle’s 3.4 M turtle tunnel is rather staid, if Christine O’Donnell were to crawl in it, while Sarah P gave her an endorsement, then you’d have some nice turtle soup?!
    Must be nice though, to be a bi-coastal blogger with or without fedora (nice work from the left-coast, Stacy).

  • http://moelane.com Moe Lane

    Sing it, brother. Although if you push long enough, you get movement. 🙂

  • http://moelane.com Moe Lane

    Sing it, brother. Although if you push long enough, you get movement. 🙂

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  • http://www.valley-of-the-shadow.blogspot.com JSF

    RS,

    Exactly! Winning requires a few things:

    1) Funds for candidates — like you said, we need the Monies to flow to folks running for State Assembly seats and Senators.

    2) Publicity for local canddiates and issues — Case in point: The T5raffic jam from hell (parts 1 and 2) just gained the GOP a few more votes today. It doesn’t affect Sacramento, but whoever controls LA and one other city controls the State.

    3) Holding the GOP Establishment to better standards: More on that when we speak on the phone later.

    And for those in the know, once we control the Hill, another battle awaits…..

  • http://www.valley-of-the-shadow.blogspot.com JSF

    RS,

    Exactly! Winning requires a few things:

    1) Funds for candidates — like you said, we need the Monies to flow to folks running for State Assembly seats and Senators.

    2) Publicity for local canddiates and issues — Case in point: The T5raffic jam from hell (parts 1 and 2) just gained the GOP a few more votes today. It doesn’t affect Sacramento, but whoever controls LA and one other city controls the State.

    3) Holding the GOP Establishment to better standards: More on that when we speak on the phone later.

    And for those in the know, once we control the Hill, another battle awaits…..

  • http://www.rightklik.net RightKlik

    Dude, I totally feel your pain. Over at my lowly blog, it’s ten times easier to attract traffic, links and comments with a petty fight with ThinkProgress than it is to generate interest by writing thoughtful posts about conservatives running for Congress.

  • http://www.rightklik.net RightKlik

    Dude, I totally feel your pain. Over at my lowly blog, it’s ten times easier to attract traffic, links and comments with a petty fight with ThinkProgress than it is to generate interest by writing thoughtful posts about conservatives running for Congress.

  • http://retiredpublicsafety.com/wp RPS

    Speaking of other McCains, don’t overlook Paul McKain (sounds the same, but acts entirely different than John McCain) in the FL-2 race:
    http://www.paulmckain.com

    Conservative, independent, and not beholden to any political party.

    If like many, you judge elections by campaign money, then Boyd has already been re-elected and the Republicans have wasted a lot of time and effort.

    If you research candidates, then you’ll see we’ve had a true conservative in this race since April 2009, months before any Republican signed up.

    It would also pay to look at demographics and history- the Democrats outnumber the Republicans almost 2:1 here, and the independents are gaining in numbers. The last time a Republican won in this seat was 1885. A Democrat, Bill Grant, changed parties in the 1990’s and was promptly defeated in the next election. You won’t win this election without significant Democrat voters. As evidenced by past elections, many are conservative.

    Will they cross the aisle for more of the same just with an R behind the name, or will they have the intelligence to vote for someone that will represent them and not a party (which is what has given us many of our problems from DC)?

  • http://retiredpublicsafety.com/wp RPS

    Speaking of other McCains, don’t overlook Paul McKain (sounds the same, but acts entirely different than John McCain) in the FL-2 race:
    http://www.paulmckain.com

    Conservative, independent, and not beholden to any political party.

    If like many, you judge elections by campaign money, then Boyd has already been re-elected and the Republicans have wasted a lot of time and effort.

    If you research candidates, then you’ll see we’ve had a true conservative in this race since April 2009, months before any Republican signed up.

    It would also pay to look at demographics and history- the Democrats outnumber the Republicans almost 2:1 here, and the independents are gaining in numbers. The last time a Republican won in this seat was 1885. A Democrat, Bill Grant, changed parties in the 1990’s and was promptly defeated in the next election. You won’t win this election without significant Democrat voters. As evidenced by past elections, many are conservative.

    Will they cross the aisle for more of the same just with an R behind the name, or will they have the intelligence to vote for someone that will represent them and not a party (which is what has given us many of our problems from DC)?

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  • http://www.upstatepoliticalreport.blogspot.com Sam Foster

    RSM –

    As you know it’s all about your audience.

    I blog at LCR for national news and Upstate Political Report for NYS elections. Traffic on either site isn’t terribly lopsided, but usually only people in the candidate’s district are interested in the candidate. So LCR has national readers while UPR has a local audience.

    If you want to write about FL-2, you need to draw FL-2 residents into reading. It takes a different approach to blogging.

    Nationalizing local elections? That’s near impossible, but you’ve done well so far.

  • http://www.upstatepoliticalreport.blogspot.com Sam Foster

    RSM –

    As you know it’s all about your audience.

    I blog at LCR for national news and Upstate Political Report for NYS elections. Traffic on either site isn’t terribly lopsided, but usually only people in the candidate’s district are interested in the candidate. So LCR has national readers while UPR has a local audience.

    If you want to write about FL-2, you need to draw FL-2 residents into reading. It takes a different approach to blogging.

    Nationalizing local elections? That’s near impossible, but you’ve done well so far.

  • Rob

    RSM & Sam,
    What he said, what he said. Keep up the good work, I’m just saying.

  • Rob

    RSM & Sam,
    What he said, what he said. Keep up the good work, I’m just saying.

  • http://www.rightviewfromtheleftcoast.blogspot.com Mark J. Goluskin

    EXACTLY! I spend a lot of time writing about candidates, especially in the Republican party. Especially those going up against the establishment. To implement policies, WE HAVE TO RUN AND WIN ELECTIONS!!!! I note my fav, David Frump, links this and HELLO?! His prescription is the be leftlight. And FTR, I think it is time to prod my congressional candidate in the 29th congressional district. John Colbert is up against Adam Schiff. But hey, the Mosque Wars is more fun to write about :-)!

  • http://www.rightviewfromtheleftcoast.blogspot.com Mark J. Goluskin

    EXACTLY! I spend a lot of time writing about candidates, especially in the Republican party. Especially those going up against the establishment. To implement policies, WE HAVE TO RUN AND WIN ELECTIONS!!!! I note my fav, David Frump, links this and HELLO?! His prescription is the be leftlight. And FTR, I think it is time to prod my congressional candidate in the 29th congressional district. John Colbert is up against Adam Schiff. But hey, the Mosque Wars is more fun to write about :-)!

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