The Other McCain

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Crazed Ewok Endorses Hard-to-Spell GOP Candidate in Minnesota 8th District; Cravaack Considers Restraining Order

Posted on | October 4, 2010 | 5 Comments

Chip Cravaack isn’t a name that rolls easily from the tongue, but after Ed Morrissey highlighted a poll showing the Navy-pilot Republican challenger surprisingly close to Democrat Rep. Jim Oberstar, Ace of Spades jumped aboard in his inimitable way. Check this guy out:

What Ace is doing — what I’ve been doing, and what we all should be doing now — is scouting around for good Republican candidates who might have a shot at winning if (a) the Big Red Wave comes in on Nov. 2, and (b) we can get these candidates some online contributions in a hurry.

The big Senate and governor’s races soak up millions of dollars and at this point — 29 days before Election Day — your $20 contribution isn’t going to make much difference for, say, Mark Kirk in Illinois. Besides which, the National Republican Senate Committee is encouraging all its big-money donors to max-out ($2,400) to guys like that.

The situation is much different in the House. There are more than 200 Republicans challengers taking on Democrats in House districts all across the country. The National Republican Congressional Committee is only paying attention to about 70 of those candidates, and the rest of them can’t get a return phone call from NRCC headquarters.

Now, we can bitch and complain about the NRCC’s shortsighted idiocy — and trust me, if they come up short on Election Day, Nov. 3 is gonna be the Day of the Long Knives — but they’re playing safe bets. They’ve heavily targeted the 40 or 50 districts where Democrats are most obviously vulnerable, plus they’re helping in another 20 or 30 more for good measure, and they’re not going to be distracted by any longshots or dark horses.

That’s their game plan, and we are powerless to affect it. Where the blogosphere can make a huge difference is by helping to “spread the field,” calling attention to good candidates like Ray McKinney, Patrick Murray, Mattie Fein, Charles Lollar, Sean Bielat and (now) Chip Cravaack.

There is actually a strategy here and, although I hesitate to talk strategy on the Internet (because Democrats read the Internet, too), let me try to give you a few general ideas, so you don’t think we’re just blowing sunshine up your skirt.

After the Democrats lost the 2004 election, their party’s grassroots urged the leadership to abandon the “swing state” approach and instead adopt what Howard Dean called the “50 state strategy.” In other words, Dean and his allies argued, Democrats should try to compete in states that weren’t considered “in play,” because otherwise the GOP would pile up everything to win the swing states and the balance of power would never shift.

A modified version of that idea was what Rahm Emanuel adopted when Nancy Pelosi tapped him to be chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2006 mid-terms. Emanuel worked hard to recruit candidates in every district — even “safe” GOP districts — and had remarkable success. There were lots of contested Democratic primaries that year. Emanuel and the DCCC staff were everywhere, and the left-wing blogsophere joined in to help raise money and generate attention for Democrats waging against-the-odds battles against Republican incumbents.

At the time, I thought the DCCC was nuts, but guess what? The Mark Foley scandal broke, a lot of people were sick of the Iraq war, and the Democrats gained 31 seats. Then, in 2008, with Obama at the top of the ticket — winning even in long-time Republican strongholds like Indiana and North Carolina — the “50 state strategy” conclusively proved its merits. And the Democrats added another 21 House seats.

So here were are, four weeks before Election Day 2010. The Republicans need a 40-seat gain to take back the House and, I don’t care what any pollster or pundit tells you, that’s a helluva long shot — especially because the NRCC is still run by the same bunch of hopeless numbnuts who thought Dede Scozzafava was a lead-pipe cinch.

As of Oct. 4, the DCCC had nearly $40 million cash on hand, while the NRCC had about $26 million. That the Democrats have a $14 million advantage is sufficient proof that Pete Sessions and the NRCC are a bunch of hopeless numbnuts, but it is also a strong argument for “spreading the field” to support promising underdog candidates who can’t get the time of day from NRCC headquarters.

The only way Republicans can pick up 40 seats on Nov. 2 is if we get the Big Red Wave — the kind of political tsunami we had in 1994, when the GOP gained 54 seats. And if that wave hits, the Democrats are going to lose some seats that no one today expects them to lose.

Look at the Minnesota 8th District: Jim Oberstar has been re-elected there by 2-to-1 margins since anyone can remember. It’s the People’s Republic of Oberstar. And yet here is a poll showing Craavack a mere three points behind this supposedly “safe” Democrat!

If Oberstar is really in trouble, what Democrat can consider himself “safe”? What about Democrat John Barrow in Georgia’s 12th District? Republican Max Burns won there in 2002 and Barrow edged Burns 52%-48% in 2004. Hey, have I told you about my buddy Ray McKinney, who’s challenging Barrow this year? Did I mention that Ray just got endorsed by Newt Gingrich? Did I mention that Barrow won’t say whether or not he’d vote to keep Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker?

See what I’m talking about? In a lot of these districts, all the GOP challenger needs is to get some money behind them, get the voters stirred up about the Democrat incumbent’s blunder — Jane Harman’s company shipping jobs to China, or Raul Grijalva calling for a boycott of his own state — and they’ve got a shot at winning.

But to get that shot, they’ve got to have money, and they’ve got to get it soon. It’s that simple. A good candidate like Chip Cravaack has lots of Tea Party volunteers helping him out, so he can make every $20 count. And if 100 readers will give Chip Cravaack $20 today, that’s $2,000.

It’s not like the millions that the big Senate campaigns have to fling around, but trust me, it makes a huge difference for these grassroots candidates.

C’mon: $20 for Chip Cravaack.

Otherwise, that crazed ewok blogger might do something desperate. And we don’t want that. Because if the Big Red Wave doesn’t come, we’re gonna need him for the Day of the Long Knives.

A Great American Who Is Understandably
Worried About Ace of Spades


5 Responses to “Crazed Ewok Endorses Hard-to-Spell GOP Candidate in Minnesota 8th District; Cravaack Considers Restraining Order”

  1. GopMom
    October 5th, 2010 @ 8:26 am

    I say we should have “surged” this mid-term, and Cravaack is a perfect example. He is a candidate that everyone would be going ga-ga over if he were in just about any other district.