The light was yellow, sir.
Minnick and the Republican Trap
Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said Monday that Democrat R. Creigh Deeds lost his campaign for governor because he was unable to energize his base, falling into a Republican trap that led him to shrink from the president and his policies.
In a meeting with editors and reporters of The Washington Post, Kaine (D) said Deeds squandered the opportunity to sell his own appealing life story as a guy who had overcome long odds and economic disadvantage. Instead, the rural state senator took the advice of campaign consultants who wrongly assumed Deeds's Democratic support was solid and believed he should instead focus on wooing independents by attacking Republican Robert F. McDonnell.
"After the [June] primary was done, his advisers basically said, distance yourself from the president. We think we have our base locked down, we've got to win independents. And we're going to win by being negative about McDonnell," Kaine said. "That was the basic strategy they pursued, despite some significant urging to the contrary."
Minnick is getting the same bad advice on taking Democrats for granted. There are many Idaho Democrats who desperately seek our next Church or Andrus to lead the party from the wilderness to the wealth of great ideas that, not only solve problems, but are politically popular. Governor Schweitzer provided this leadership in Montana with a melding of fiscal conservatism, gun advocacy and demonstrating that green jobs and health care reform are good programs for Montanans. Now Montana is purple with a bright streak of blue.
The disappointment with Minnick is so palpable among the faithful in Idaho because the state's highest profile Democrat fails to fill the bill of what it is to be western Democrat. And it will be his undoing as I argued to Larry LaRocco over the weekend.
But as I pointed out, in an off year, the multitudes of new voters motivated to vote for Obama, as were evident in the overloaded caucus' statewide, won't likely be there voting for Walt, especially given his repeated trumpeting of his 'independent' stance, which is consistently against Obama's agenda. The teabaggers will never vote for Walt, despite his pandering, and they'll be out in force. Moderates won't have Sali to vote against. Where does Walt make up the difference if the Democratic base has no reason to advocate to their friends, neighbors, and family why Walt should remain? You of all people know this is a numbers game.
I'll vote for him. But I'm not going the extra mile for him cause he's given me little reason to do so. This is the fatal flaw in the blue dog strategy. Its highly ironic that the least secure Democrats think their salvation is voting against the agenda that helped get them there in the first place. And, as you'll no doubt recall, in 1994, when health care reform hit the skids, you, and many other Democrats, found yourselves looking for work. Walt ignores that history at his peril.
Walt just needs one populist issue to champion. HCR with a robust public option seems the one to me. Its popular everywhere its polled. If the highest profile Democrat in the state champions an essential and popular element in the Democratic agenda, he'll provide the necessary leadership in a state party starved for it. Instead, judging by his press releases, he's embarrassed by Democrats. I know it runs against his ideological grain so he can pick another issue. But he better work some pragmatic political savvy into his game plan or he will truly be endangered no matter how much money he raises.
Minnick stated he was hopeful that Montana Senator Baucus's health care reform package would be something he could get behind, even though its derided as reform-lite to appease the one Republican who voted for it. Before Minnick puts his re-election eggs in that basket he better take a look at the recent polling on Senator Baucus who received a 20 point hit in Montana for his efforts on behalf of insurance companies.