Hey guys and gals. You remember seeing that hysterically funny YouTube video of that clueless twit walking through the mall, texting away in such a self insulated cocoon that she never sees the low wall of the fountain until her shins hit it and she topples in? That is what the GOP is doing as they survey the carnage of PA-18.
As should be expected, the national GOP leadership is running around with its hair on fire. House Republican leaders held a closed door meeting this morning with their caucus, warning that this loss should be a true “wake up call” to a possible monster year for the Democrats. But, according to reporting on Politico, just like a parent telling their kid to go out and play, the GOP incumbents would rather stay inside and play Assassins Creed on the X-Box instead;
But most rank-and-file going in and out of the meeting downplayed the election, suggesting Republican candidate Rick Saccone was weak and Lamb was a “unicorn” who couldn’t be replicated in tight races this fall.
“We’ve won five [House special elections]; they’ve won one. I’m feeling pretty good,” said New York Rep. Chris Collins, a close ally of President Donald Trump.
Oh. My. God. Please Lord, please let these idjits stay safely tucked in the village of Brigadoon for the next 8 months. This is the political equivalent of plunking another $20 on the card table on the corner, when you’ve already lost $100 trying to pick the walnut shell with the pea in it. That 5-1 nonsense referred to above ignores two simple facts, one, that the districts were so red that you could elect a dead Labrador retriever if it had a “R” after it’s name, and two, the Democrats over performed by at least 20 points in every race. Just like Conor Lamb over performed by 20 points last night.
But by far and away my favorite was the full goblet of sour grapes poured out by Paul Ryan, “The winner of the race ran as a pro life, pro gun, anti Nancy Pelosi conservative.” Well, kinda. Sorta. Almost. While Conor Lamb stated that as a catholic he personally was anti abortion, he also said that he was pro choice. And while Lamb may be “pro gun,” that doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing as “pro NRA,” or “pro AR-15’s in schools.” And Conor Lamb is by no means the only Democrat who thinks that it’s time for Nancy Pelosi and the rest of her septuagenarian leadership team to move over and let somebody else drive for a while. What Paul Ryan really meant to say was that Conor Lamb listened to constituents, and ran on what they wanted to talk about instead of what Paul Ryan and Donald Trump wanted to talk about. Oh yeah, and they also told the GOP to shove their tax cuts up their collective ass.
Here’s the critical difference between the GOP and the Democrats going into November. Thanks to the Day Glo Orangutan, and Orangutanism, GOP candidates must pass the ideological purity test. You’re either a Trumpista, or you’re mucking out bathroom stalls at the bus terminal. The Democrats are under no such compunction. Under the Trump flag, the GOP is having trouble finding “electable” candidates to come out and run. Chris Collins thinks that the Democrats can’t duplicate” Conor Lamb in other Trump districts. I call bullshit. The Democrats have people going out on their own, getting petitions signed, turning them in, and telling the party, “Like it or not dudes, here I am.” And they are a whole cadre of Conor Lamb’s, male, female, and transgender, all driven by public service and their constituents, not pure political ideology.
To my mind, the GOP’s retention problem is going to get a helluva lot worse before it get better. I agree with Uncle Joe Biden, Lamb’s victory will likely cause another 6-12 incumbent retirements. And the GOP candidates that step forward will be even further right than the incumbents, making them even harder to elect in districts where the flood waters are already at hip level, or the incumbents wouldn’t be bailing out.
Already the talking heads and pundits are bloviating full speed ahead that Conor Lamb has “shown the Democrats how to win in Trump country.” You wanna know what he’s shown them? “Hey! Hey! Hey! Leave them kids alone!” Let the GOP be the ones telling their party that Trump kool-aid is the only drink on the menu. When running in a Trump district, the Democrats have two choices. Either a sane candidate, tuned in to the feelings and concerns of the district, who will represent the district with a “D” after his or her name, and vote with the party 80-90% of the time, or a Republican that will fuck them over on every vote. It’s that simple, you don’t bring a duck to a cock fight. Every poll shows that the country is fed up with gridlock in congress. The only solution to that is solution driven representatives willing to compromise, not ideological purists. And these Democratic candidates are fresh faces in a world tired of the same stale, old mugs. As was pointed out last night, “Just like in marriage, there are times to be right, and there are times to win.” And as Trump proves every day, in this marriage, it’s time to win.