The Republicans have accepted that Obama will be the Democratic nominee for President, even if the Clintonistas have not. They've used the last two special elections for House seats to test aggressive ad campaigns attacking the presumptive Democratic nominee. The approach has primarily been guilt by association. Including linking the local candidate to Rev. Jeremiah Wright via Obama.
The voters in these two hard-core Republican House seats have rejected that entire approach. It could be that the association with Obama might even have helped the Democrats Don Cazayoux (LA-06) and Travis Childers (MS-01). There's been a lot of fearmongering from the Clinton camp that Obama won't hold up in a general election where everyone is voting, and the Republican attack machine is up an running. That Obama will not be an asset for down-ticket races.
These results (plus in IL-14, where Obama deployed volunteers to help Bill Foster's win) show that there is zero merit to that argument. Check out some of the failed advertising below the fold.
Washington Post 5/3/08:
Yet in the run-up to Saturday's special election, the state representative's image popped up time and again in local television ads, paired with that of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). One spot had side-by-side photos of Cazayoux and Obama with the words "big government scheme" describing the local candidate's stance on health care. Another showed Cazayoux with Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and charged that Cazayoux supports a "radical liberal agenda." Another spot mocked him as "Don Tax You."
Here's an NRCC scare piece on Cazayoux and taxes:
It didn't work!
The NRCC blew over a million bucks on this race, trying to convince the people around Baton Rouge in LA-06 that a vote for Cazayoux was a vote for Obama. It is tantalizing to think that there was a backlash against the vilification that has been thrown at Obama from all sides. The junior senator from Illinois's dignity and focus throughout his political "40 days in the desert" might have made more of an impression on the electorate than on the impressionable chatterers.
But WaPo tells us:
And this Baton Rouge-based district's ad war, which is being fought largely on policy positions, is softball compared with the high and tight pitches Republicans are throwing in northern Mississippi. With a surprisingly competitive House special election there set for May 13, Republicans are running ads showing the Democratic candidate with Obama; his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.; and outtakes from Wright's controversial sermons.
That's the one we just won. I'm gonna go look for something on those MS-01 ads:
It's interesting that the Republican attack ads are mirroring the anti-Obama thread of the public narrative in the presidential primaries during April and May. It gave me a great sense of relief to realize how that narrative doesn't seem to be doing so well. Not if voters in two very Republican districts in the south have responded to it by electing Democrats in districts held by the Republican party since Nixon's "Southern Strategy". This is big. MS-01 is very good news.
This is very good news, and totally demolishes Clintonista arguments about how this Reverend Wright stuff will affect electability, and so down ticket races. Meanwhile, there is no joy in the NRCC mud-slinging-ville tonight. They've got three strikes against them now: Bill Foster in IL-14; Don Cazayoux in LA-06, and now Travis Childers in MS-01.
And it sure looks to me like having Obama at the top of the ticket will not - to say the very least - be a problem.
Bonus: Scott Kleeb
Plus Scott Kleeb's primary victory today, that's good, too. Obama's gonna help him in a tough battle for the Senate, too. The TV is going on and on trying to generate drama in the primary. It's time to move on to the general, and start actively speculating about the seismic changes we're likely to see in the House and Senate this fall. That filibuster-proof (so-called) majority may not be out of reach.
I think today's news is good. I'm excited about what I see shaping up for the fall. This West Virginia stuff is nothing more than a transitory distraction in the big picture.