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I'm not sure how you get the job as electoral prophet, but I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with ever being right.  Charlie Cook is probably like Mel Kiper, a guy who built is name for predicting the NFL draft not because he had any record of ever being right on either guessing who will be good NFL players or who the teams would actually pick, but because he was the only one who first started obsessively writing about it.  Why do I bring this up?  Well because of course I made the mistake of reading Cook's latest column, where he decides more than a year in advance that the Democrats are in for a disaster.  This is of course only two weeks after he wrote essentially the identical column.

As end of his genius analysis (in which he goes on and on about the a Republican pollster finding (surprise!) good things on the horizon for the Republicans), he states

Sure, November 2010 is a long way off, and the economy may well be substantially better by then. But Democratic lawmakers, who must face the voters two years before Obama does, should remember that the public's attitudes tend to eventually harden. Think cement.

I could go on and on about how stupid and wrong this is, since most people don't even follow politics in non-election years and don't make up their mind until the last couple months, but what's the point?  He's not actually predicting.  He's just writing for people who like to read predictions.  To prove my point, I wasted some time on his previous articles:

  1. Weathering The Storm, May 24, 2005

The political environment is not good right now for Republicans. Recent polling shows low approval ratings for President Bush and Congress, as well as an increasingly pessimistic electorate.

So what might this mean for House candidates running in the 2006 midterm elections?

Probably not much.

  1. Democrats' '06 Fantasies Star Surprise Squeakers, March 12, 2005

How many times have we heard about the "perfect" challenger who can beat John Hostettler, R-Ind.; Jim Matheson, D-Utah; Dennis Moore, D-Kan., or Anne Northup, R-Ky. -- only to see these battle-tested incumbents go on to win again?
Democratic recruiters are understandably eager to expand the House's tiny playing field. But simply putting a district on a wish list doesn't automatically create a turnover -- as both parties certainly know by now.

Note:  both Northup and Hostettler lost.

  1. The GOP's Many 'Micro' Advantages, March 25, 2006 (Note: this is even post-Katrina)

Structural barriers are protecting the GOP's majorities like seawalls, and would likely withstand the surge from a Category 1, 2, or 3 storm.

Despite national political trends indicating that the GOP is in serious trouble, a race-by-race "micro" analysis suggests that Democrats cannot easily seize control of the House or the Senate this fall.

The Dems are going to lose seats in '10, but I think we can hold off the drama until we see the 3Q GDP and unemployment figures.  Oh and a freakin' health care bill to see would be helpful to.

Originally posted to Tax problems on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 03:38 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Why bother even to read Cook's tripe (5+ / 0-)

    He's a hack.

    "[W]e shall see the reign of witches pass over . . . and the people, recovering their true spirit, restore their government to its true principles." Jefferson

    by RenMin on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 03:44:05 PM PDT

  •  I never heard of this loser. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    houyhnhnm, The Raven

    Maybe because of his track record.

    Hey Republicans, what part of "Option" don't you get?

    by kitebro on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 03:50:20 PM PDT

  •  Charlie Cook = Chicken Little right now (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, cwholcomb, Troubadour, rja
    •  Maybe because we're in danger of losing seats? (7+ / 0-)

      For fuck's sake, he's just reading the situation as it is. The gooper base is way more fired up than ours, and midterm elections hinge on turnout. That's just reality.

      “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

      by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:06:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And the usual thing (7+ / 0-)

        is for the party with the White House to lose seats in the off year.

        We need to view Cook's data as a warning, not a divine prophecy. Complacency kills.

        In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference.

        by blue aardvark on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:29:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is what diarist says (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Midwest Meg

          They will lose seats clearly but Cook and others are predicting absolutely catastrophe when they were reluctant in 2005/6 to even suggest the possibility of Dems getting control. And there were many more factors then in their favor than there are today for Repubs. And they only needed 15 seats back then for the majority while Repubs need 40.

          •  A 40-seat swing is not that unusual. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Midwest Meg

            The Gingrich Revolution was a 52-seat wave.

            “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

            by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:43:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually that WAS unusual (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              askew, Midwest Meg, blue aardvark

              And the differences to 1994 have been repeated ad nauseum.

              •  The differences are smaller than you think (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Jyrinx, Zagzula

                Republicans have a fired up base with independents leaning Republican, while Democrats are complacent and think everything is fine.  This was exactly how things looked in 1994.  Throw in a failure on healthcare reform and you have 1994 redux.  

                •  I have not seen a single poll (0+ / 0-)

                  where R polled better with Independents than D. Do you have a linky?

                  Also, D registration outnumbers R by about 35%-25%. Finally, the generic Congressional ballot numbers still show a D advantage. In 94 the Republicans had a sizable lead in the generic ballot.

                  It is too soon to panic, but not too soon to start working.

                  In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference.

                  by blue aardvark on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:56:13 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Rubbish (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  askew, metal prophet, Theston

                  There is no major scandal involving several members of the majority party (Post Office/Banking).

                  There are currently four open Dem seats compared to a couple dozen in 1994.

                  The president was elected with a majority rather than a plurality.

                  Southern realignment is already complete.

                  Repubs hadn't been in control since the 50s so people had no fresh memories of what it meant to put the GOP in charge.

                  The Repubs back then were in reasonable shape as a party, even in 1992 they picked up seats and had decent approval ratings but today they are in the toilet.

                  There are others.

                •  Demo base is demoralized over health care (0+ / 0-)

                  Even the best case scenario will produce a stink bomb as far as health care "reform", no one will be enthusiastic over it.

                  Democrats and independents will likely be no shows while the racist GOP core is in a fever and will show up.

                  •  A year from now I predict (0+ / 0-)

                    It won't be the major issue in polls for reason to base votes.

                    •  Health care is ALWAYS an issue. Always. n/t (0+ / 0-)

                      “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

                      by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 05:09:48 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Not the MAJOR issue (0+ / 0-)

                        Jeez are you actually reading what I'm typing? Seems to me we actually agree mostly if you didn't have so much attitude.

                        •  But if we fuck up reform (0+ / 0-)

                          and the GOP thinks it's a weakness for us, they'll MAKE it a major issue.

                          “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

                          by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 05:13:49 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

                            Like Social Security was THE issue in 2006 and Iraq was last year.

                          •  The GOP is very, *very* good (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            at controlling the conversation. The big issues are what they say they are. That's why SS wasn't big in 2006 — because the GOP fucked that one up.

                            “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

                            by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 05:24:15 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  We shall see (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            I just think more likely what happens is they pass a better than average bill which doesn't even kick in and affect people until well after the midterms and by this time next year the economy is creating jobs and Obama and Dems get the credit since Repubs voted en masse against. I think my scenario is actually more likely than the GOP taking the House.

                          •  The jobs wont be coming fast enough (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            The unemployment rate will probably still be around 10% and even though jobs are being created it will still feel like a recession.  

                          •  If I recall... (0+ / 0-)

                            ....we still didn't have much of a recovery by 2004, but Bush still won and the Republicans picked up a bunch of Senate seats.

                          •  Jobs started coming back in mid 2003 (0+ / 0-)

                            and by November 2004, the unemployment rate was down to 5.5%.  If jobs had started coming back in the summer, I would have agreed with your comparison.  

                          •  Yes, I think you're right. (0+ / 0-)

                            The GOP taking the House, as I said, is not likely. But it is plausible as an outer bound on the outcomes worth contemplating.

                            I think people here are making one central error: When people like Charlie Cook and Nate Silver make predictions, they're not just saying that there's this one thing that's going to happen, or even that there's one thing that has such a chance of happening. They're laying out a probability distribution — various possibilities, all with a nonzero chance to occur. So when Nate says something like the over/under on Dem House losses in 2010 is 20 seats, he means that the most likely outcome, from what we know now, is a 20-seat loss. But he might still give the GOP a 10% chance of taking the House outright. 10% is small enough to consider unlikely but too big to ignore.

                            “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

                            by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 05:37:54 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  It wont be an issue anymore after 2010 if we lose (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        I am certain that Democrats will be scared to ever bring the issue up again if they lose big in 2010.  

                    •  It was in '94 in very similar circumstance. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      Articulate, well liked Democratic President loses his Congressional majority when Democrats fail to deliver health care reform.

                      Despite improving economy from GOP recession.

                      Democrats in deep hubris thinking they cannot lose majorities to nuts like Newt and Armey.

                      The political environment is very similar.

                      •  Only everything finally crashed and burned (0+ / 0-)

                        Just weeks before election day with regard to health care. This time we are more than a year out. It was the coup de grace to everything else that had happened, the scandals the tough votes of the budget and assault weapons ban etc. And there is nobody on the other side who looks like being able to cobble together anything like a coherent message like Newt. There is no "deep hubris". The fact 1994 happened is fresh on all minds and that complacency won't happen again.

                        •  Crashed and burned in 92' also (0+ / 0-)

                          S&L debacle, always crashes and burns with the "Southern Strategy" GOP and it's racist political base and "greed is good" economic dogma.

                          Public still votes them in.

                •  There are huge structural differences (0+ / 0-)

                  In 1994, you had a lot of districts that are now solidly Republican that were Democratic-held. Republicans were doing better and better in these districts and knocked off Democratic incumbents there. There were also a lot of Democrats who retired in conservative districts and Republicans took over. This isn't the case in 2010, since the South is now mostly Republican and Democrats don't have to rely on those conservative districts for their majority. Meanwhile, since there, the Republicans have mostly lost seats in the upper midwest and the northeast, seats that were once held by moderate Republicans. Since the Republicans aren't likely to run many moderates, they're also not likely to take these seats back. Republicans can win seats at the margins, but I don't see them making huge gains, unless things get way worse.

              •  No, it really wasn't. (0+ / 0-)

                See here. It doesn't happen as often these days, but it's definitely happened. In 1922, we gained 76 seats. In 1938, they gained 81 seats. In 1974, we gained 49 seats.

                It doesn't happen as often as it used to (thanks to gerrymandering), but it's not outlandish. It's not likely we'll lose the House in 2010, but it's well within the realm of possibility.

                “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

                by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 05:09:06 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Also, I don't see Cook predicting catastrophe. (0+ / 0-)

            He's using much milder words than that. He's warning them not to get complacent because of the possibility of a recovering economy and such. You just don't see Cook making big, bold predictions without a good deal of hedging.

            “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

            by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:46:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You might want to check your facts (0+ / 0-)

            We began predicting in the first week of August of 2006, basically the first and certainly before the Kosites were predicting, that Dems would take the House.

      •  And Cook's apparent prescription... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        for Dems is to cater to the Republican base or these odd undefined "purple" voters instead of firing up their own base or presenting a true alternative to the corporate R whores.  

        In Cook's world, at least based on this column, the analytical baseline is supposedly immutable and unchangeable voters in districts carried by Bush or McCain at anytime from 2000 to 2008.

        That America is very different from the Democratic base in blue America, and it sees many major issues very differently.

        This is pure unbridled conventional wisdom, i.e., BS.  Arkansas, e.g., supports the PO by almost 20 percentage points.  Cook's analysis presumes that Democrats have to act and sound like Repubs to win these districts -- a shaky assumption at best.

        y el canto de todos que es mi propio canto

        by gatorbot on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 05:41:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  More like = Canary in coal mine. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MikePhoenix, Jyrinx, TedNewman

      Cook's record (a good one) is safe. Democratic seats are in trouble because they are failing to do what they were elected to do, what their Congressional majority and occuption of the White House enables them to do, what 70% of Americans want them to do...Medicare for All.

      If you hire someone to fix health care and give them every tool they need, majority, presidency, public support and they fail to do the job.  You have to get someone else.

      •  Democrats can never get anything done (0+ / 0-)

        When was the last time Democrats passed a significant piece of reform legislation?  Answer:  Medicare in 1965.  The Democrats' job is to stop Republican advances as they have been doing for the last 40 years.  

  •  Charlie Cook did not think Obama was (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sherri in TX, Fury

    capable of winning the Democratic Primary in 2003.  He thought the machine candidate would win. So what does he know?

    •  Oh, for fuck's sake. (0+ / 0-)

      Seriously? You think he's an idiot because he thought the machine candidate was a better bet than the young upstart?

      “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

      by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:02:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Seriously? Do you start every comment with (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kitebro, Fury, Theston

        "For fuck's sake"?

        •  In a thread like this, (0+ / 0-)

          apparently yes.

          “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

          by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:13:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well, ignoring the profanity (0+ / 0-)

          Jyrinx is right.

          It is always a better bet to expect the machine to win -- except in the off election of a first-term president.  I would have to go back, but I think that Cook expected the Dems to take the 2002 election by storm; indeed, if it had not been for 9/11, I think we would have.

          •  Cook believed Dems would have a good 2002 (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Before 9/11 happened.  By September of 2002, he recognized that Democrats were in huge trouble and would have trouble simply holding onto their Senate majority let alone taking the House.  

            •  Sorry, that's what I meant (0+ / 0-)
              IIRC, Cook expected a significant Dem pickup in August of 2001, and thereafter realized what was going to happen.

              Bottom line, though, is that it's always best to bet on the normal political process.  That would suggest a Republican pickup in the House, and possibly a significant one, as well as in the Senate.  I don't see any way that the R's can pick up enough seats to take a senate majority.

          •  Not to quibble or anything (0+ / 0-)

            But I'm going to do it anyway. Fuck would only be a profanity if you said "Fuck God" or something like that. Normally, fuck is an obscenity. Particularly if you're talking about sex. Though, it might simply be a vulgarity, as used here.

  •  Um … (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sherri in TX, randomfacts

    Things weren't looking so good for Dems back then. WTF?

    Dude, what Charlie Cook does isn't gaze into his crystal ball and predict exactly what's going to happen. He handicaps the races — says which ones are tossups, and which lean one way or are near-certainties.

    For instance: Before Wilson's outburst, his seat was rated a Strong R. Now it's Likely R. Does that mean Cook was wrong before? No. It means something happened that changed the probabilities.

    At any rate. There's all kinds of reason to believe that a 20-seat House loss for the Dems is the expectation, and as of NN, anyway, that was his position. If we break even, was he wrong? Well, that all depends. If we break even because the usual second-year slump is offset by an enthusiastic base because we did health care reform right, then no, he wasn't wrong.

    Once we're, say, a week out from an election, then they start making hard predictions.

    “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

    by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:00:51 PM PDT

    •  Well, I'm saying that the margin of error is huge (0+ / 0-)

      And nobody should be making crazy statements that imply that the margin of error is shrinking (i.e., the hardening comment).

      We have no idea what is happening in 2010 for the reason that the likely determinants of what will happen in 2010 (i.e., the economy) are completely unknown.

      •  The hardening doesn't refer to MoE. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        randomfacts, jobobo

        A “hardening” of public opinion generally refers to a decrease in undecideds, and also an increase in people who say they definitely won't change their mind (in surveys that include questions like that).

        And yeah, of course we have no idea what's happening in 2010. Cook knows that perfectly damn well. That's why he doesn't just publish a chart handicapping races and take the year off; he updates the chart every week.

        “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

        by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:16:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm saying updating it every week is pointless (0+ / 0-)

          I could make a guess what the temperature will be on Nov. 2nd next year (and update that every week) and it would be more useful (and equally stupid).

          •  Maybe. But that's what he does, (0+ / 0-)

            he covers the horse race in as quantitative a manner as possible. Now, the extent to which the horse race is relevant this far out is a completely fair question. But the horse race is Cook's specialty, and it's not his fault if it gets overplayed by everyone else.

            “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

            by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:23:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't let him off the hook that easy (0+ / 0-)

              If he was doing it in a real quantitative way, he would not be so alarmist.  He's writing to get noticed.

              •  Um, that's pretty dry writing. (0+ / 0-)

                Besides, who wasn't surprised that we got both the House and the Senate in 2006? The House was a lock only very late in the game, and we got the Senate by the skin of our teeth.

                (Note he says the GOP could stand a Category 1, 2, or 3 storm. He deliberately left the possibility open of a Category 5.)

                “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

                by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:32:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Exactly, we were all surprised in 2006 (0+ / 0-)

                  And that is why predicting so early is stupid.

                  - one year ago, the Republicans were a dead party that would never recover and would remain in the wilderness forever.

                  - today, they are resurgent riding the wave of anti-healthcare protests.

                  - one year from now, ???

                  •  Well then, don't read Cook. (0+ / 0-)

                    The point isn't to etch prophesies into stone, it's to game out the way the contests are likely to go, where people are weak, where they're strong, etc.

                    “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

                    by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:41:27 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I don't need some to tell me the poll #'s now (0+ / 0-)

                  I need some to tell me the poll #'s next Nov.

                  And no one (even Nate Silver) can do that.  Look at how much volatility existed in Nate's predictions last year.

                  •  Right. Which means you're reading Cook wrong. n/t (0+ / 0-)

                    “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

                    by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:39:43 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  So you're saying that Cook is telling me what (0+ / 0-)

                      would happen if nothing else happened.

                      How is that at all informative?

                      •  Because if we're going to lose if nothing happens (0+ / 0-)

                        we need to make something happen.

                        “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

                        by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:42:10 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Or maybe something happens... (0+ / 0-)

                          Like the inevitable recovery of the economy?

                          I'm not saying they should stop trying to make good things happen.

                          But a static analysis is a rapidly dynamic world is inherently stupid.  Cook performs no analysis on

                          1. what happens to the economy?  What type of recovery will it be?  How will unemployment respond?
                          1. how will the legislative achievements over the next year affect the outlook?  With healthcare at a 65% probability of passing, how does that affect the likelihood of the Republicans passing?
                          1. How will foreign affairs affect?  Will Afghanistan get worse or better?  Will anyone care if it gets worse or better?  Will Israel and Palestine start talking?


                          •  Those aren't his areas. (0+ / 0-)

                            Cook is all about the horse race, period. It's what he does. He knows what the unemployment rate does to incumbents' electoral strength, but he can't tell you how much fiscal stimulus is necessary to keep the rate below 10%.

                            Besides, if you think predicting the future assuming nothing happens is meaningless, how is it better to start assuming things about hypothetical bills on issues notoriously hard to poll? He's only going to be able to get even more vague.

                            (As for your third point, the only thing in his domain is “will anyone care.” And actually I'm sure he will do a piece on that if he hasn't already, by which I mean an article on people's attitudes about the war and how the outcome might affect electoral prospects.)

                            “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

                            by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:51:39 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  Right now we have a Cat. 3 coming at us (0+ / 0-)

                  I think a Category 3 will cost us the House.  A category 5 will cost us the Senate.  

                  •  You think they can win 40 seats? (0+ / 0-)

                    Name them.

                    •  Oh, I dont know (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      We have 49 seats that McCain carried and a whole bunch more that Obama barely carried.  

                      •  As I said above (0+ / 0-)

                        You think people like Gene Taylor are gonna lose? The Arkansas delegation? Come on!

                        •  I think people like Bart Gordon sure could (0+ / 0-)

                          Charlie Melancon's old seat will definately be lost.  Travis Childers, Alan Greyson, Vic Snyder, Bobby Bright, Parker Griffith, Ike Skelton and Tom Periello could all easily go down.  And that is just the South and not counting the likely open seats that Cook has been hinting that we could have.  

                          •  Snyder and Skelton no way (0+ / 0-)

                            Gordon very doubtful. The others sure but that doesn't add up to very many. Certainly nowhere near forty.

                          •  Skelton has a state Senator running against him (0+ / 0-)

                            He could very easily lose.  Dont just look at the South.  We have two seats in New Hampshire that we are in grave danger of losing, a few in New York, an open seat in PA, one in Maryland.  And thats just the Northeast.  In the mountain states, we have  seats in New Mexico, Colorado, and Idaho that we are likely to lose.  In the midwest, we have two in Ohio, one in Wisconsin, and one in Michigan that we could very easily lose.  

                            That is 24 right there that we are probably going to lose.  After that we can lose only 15 more seats, well within the range of possibility if we get this mass exodus of veteran Democratic incumbents that Charlie Cook thinks is possible.  

                          •  Might lose (0+ / 0-)

                            Those you listed are vulnerable. But to say "24 right there that we are probably going to lose" is ridiculous pessimism. Repubs didn't lose ALL there most vulnerable seats in 2006 and 2008. Gerlach, Kirk, Reichert etc. And I know a state Senator is running against Skelton and will push him a bit but he is a multi-term incumbent who wins by huge margins every time. To say he could very easily lose is just not accurate. Not impossible gramted but likely he'll lose no way.

                          •  In 2006, Republicans lost some real shockers (0+ / 0-)

                            Like losing Jim Leach, Melissa Hart and Jeb Bradley.  Nobody expected those people to go down, but they did.  Same with Thelma Drake and Virgil Goode in 2008.  In a bad political environment, parties can often lose people that nobody ever thought could lose.  

                          •  Look up the margins those people won by (0+ / 0-)

                            In their previous elections and come back to me.

                          •  Jeb Bradley won in 2004 by 26 points (0+ / 0-)

                            And Jim Leach won by 23 points.  Virgil Goode also won by 20 points.  

                          •  Leach won by 20 in 2004 (0+ / 0-)

                            He was under 60 which is the cutoff I use. Goode was also under 60. Bradley I'll give you but even that is still well below the 32 point win Ike Skelton had in 2008. Sure there are odd exceptions but not enough to make a difference to control.

  •  nate silver has concerns (5+ / 0-)

    his numbers skills are unsurpassed.

    George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:02:52 PM PDT

  •  What the media is doing is reverse engineering (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fizziks, MikePhoenix, Jyrinx, sturunner

    a Dem loss by saying it'll happen often enough in the hopes of being right, and ten justifying it.

    I say that Blue Dogs are gonna take a beating, but wingnuts will lose to. My prediction, Dems lose 7 House Seats, pick up 2/3 Senators

    The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?' - 1984

    by MinistryOfTruth on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:08:29 PM PDT

    •  The media broadly, probably. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But Cook isn't the one leading the charge. (And hell, if the media is doing that and it's likely to work, Cook would be wrong not to predict it'll work.)

      At any rate. I think you're a bit optimistic; I like 20 House seats as the current over/under. Remember, turnout is key in the midterms, and their base is crazy-fired-up.

      “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

      by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:13:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Crazy fired up? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        With Fox News promoting the shit out of a march that was supposed to be one to two million, they got about as many people as the number that showed up for several Obama speeches last year. But if that sounds fired up to you, have at it.

        Hey Republicans, what part of "Option" don't you get?

        by kitebro on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 05:17:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  What, specifically, should Dems do? (0+ / 0-)

    Cook offers no specific suggestions at all.

    •  That's not his job. (0+ / 0-)

      He doesn't do policy, and he doesn't really do strategy either. He keeps score.

      The media certainly does focus too much on the horse race. But Cook's work is all about the horse race.

      “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

      by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:18:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love the way... (0+ / 0-)

    ...Cook & his fellow predictors act like absolutely nothing new is going to happen between now & the 2010 elections, thereby the electoral reality of the current will be the electoral reality of November 2010.

    Having said that, as batshit insane as the Republican party is these days, it is not viable to think Republicans can gain ground in 2010 (unless it's in the reddest of the red states).

    The vast majority of Americans are repulsed by the current version of the Republican party.

    Come 2010, I just can't  see the typical apolitical American voting for deathers, birthers, 10th Amendment nuts, Joe Wilson fan club members & Czarers.

    Karl Rove was a Czar.

    by wyvern on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:21:15 PM PDT

    •  The typical apolitical American won't *be* voting (0+ / 0-)

      It's a midterm. Turnout will be low. That's how it works, every time.

      And Cook is under no such illusion. But what do you want him to do? His job is to handicap elections. If he can't assume ceteris paribus, he'll never get anywhere. If you don't think it's relevant (and you'd have a point), well, don't read his stuff this far out.

      “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

      by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:26:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The message I take from this (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MikePhoenix, Jyrinx, NMDad, randomfacts, jobobo
    1. Get HC passed
    1. Work hard for good Democrats
    1. Let less good Democrats fend for themselves - a majority is a majority, and we see what 60 seats has bought us in the Senate.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference.

    by blue aardvark on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:28:07 PM PDT

  •  At this point during the last four midterms (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tax problems

    The "expert" prognosticators were all wrong. In 1993 there was no way Repubs could get control of congress. In 1997 Lewinsky was meant to doom the Dems. In 2001 the Dems were sure to pick up seats because of the 2000 fiasco. In 2005 there was almost no chance of Dems gaining control. They are stuck in the moment. Ask me again in late spring/early summer.

    •  You say that as if nothing happened (0+ / 0-)

      in 1994, 1998, 2002, or 2006.

      In 1994, Clinton's health care efforts crashed and burned. In 1998, the GOP massively overplayed the Lewinsky scandal until people got sick of it and blamed them as much as Clinton. In 2002, Bush was leveraging 9/11 for all it was worth. And no-one thought we were going to do as well in 2006 as we wound up doing.

      So yeah, people have a bad track record of predicting the future a year in advance. Maybe that's the nature of predicting things a year in advance?!

      “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

      by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:39:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  None of this shit matters (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bush Bites, Tax problems

    Until September. Just earlier this year we were going to GAIN some seats. I wil wait and see.

    "I don't want a line in the Sand lines can be moved. They can be blown away. I want a six foot trench carved into granite."

    by theone718 on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:40:02 PM PDT

  •  Dems may looseseats but not upto 30 seats (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bush Bites

    If the gop get 10 they will be lucky and also we still have the health care bill to go this will be a shot in the arm of dems if the P/O is incorporated.

  •  Almost all midterm elections swing the other way (0+ / 0-)

    There have been a few anomalies such as 1934, 1998, and 2002. I think it is funny how these people are trying to make predictions use what can be considered the conventional wisdom that percentages say the party in power will lose some seats and act like they are basing it on their keen intellect or some insight they have. They should talk about how 2 of the three anomalies have occurred withing the last 3 elections and might be due to the increased partisanship and the Republicans might actually lose more seats because they are continuing to move to the far right.

  •  We will lose the House if healthcare isnt passed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I can say that without hesitation.  

  •  Ignore the conventional wisdom. Listen to BBB: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, metal prophet, joemcginnissjr

    The Democrats will net lose 5-10 seats in the house at the most and GAIN 3 Senate seats.

    Next year the economy will be in full growth mode, unemployment will be on the down trend and Obama is going to get all of the credit.

    Remember you heard it from me.

    "If you come to a fork in the road, take it." - Yogi Berra

    by brooklynbadboy on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 04:59:27 PM PDT

  •  As Long As the Economy Is Bad... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jyrinx, TedNewman

    ...people are going to be very pissed off at the party in power. Our work is not over! Giving back to the grassroots.

    by howardpark on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 05:34:28 PM PDT

    •  But that only points to their ignorance if what (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you are saying is that they cannot follow chronological events.  The economy is bad because of the bad policies put into effect by the rightwingers the people elected into office these past 30 years.

      The bad policies that the people tolerated all these years while they went about their business not paying attention.  Now would be the time to pay attention and make good decisions and good policy to put things to right.  Going back to the philosophy that brought you to this point in time would be the ultimate wrong thing to do.

      So what you are saying is that the people act reflexively and without thought?  

      To whom much is given, much is expected.

      by tellmenolies on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 06:59:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lag Time for Blame (0+ / 0-)

        I think the lag time for blame about the economy is about a year.  By January 2010 it will be, very clearly, Obama's fault if it gets worse but to his credit if it starts to get better for real people in places like Ohio, Florida and Nevada -- not Wall Street or Northwest DC.   Our work is not over! Giving back to the grassroots.

        by howardpark on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 07:23:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How do you reverse decades of bad decisions in (0+ / 0-)

          one year?  How many times have the people of Ohio, Florida and Nevada voted for republican presidents in the last 30 years?  What forces did they think they were putting in place?  The force for good?

          And blame?  How about they look in the mirror?

          How is it that we accept that the American people are not capable of critical thinking as normal?

          The same way we accept that high schoolers can't name the first president?

          The right wingers are so quick to pull out their pocket constitutions and talk about what the founding fathers wanted but they are too slow to make sure their children are learning anything about how their country came to be?

          If this all sounds like I am ticked.  I am!

          I'm tired of the ignorance.  The willfull ignorance.
          And the ready excuses.

          One man cannot right what millions have upturned.
          At least not in one year.

          To whom much is given, much is expected.

          by tellmenolies on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 09:43:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  It's babbling .. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the conventional wisdom that the party which wins the WH will lose House and Senate seats in the first midterm is a broken paradigm.

    The metrics and demographics of the nature of the electorate have changed. Short of a huge disaster, I see Democrats holding on to almost all of their House seats, if not winning a few, and getting any where from 3 to 5 Senate seats.

    •  ?? (0+ / 0-)

      It's not just conventional wisdom, it's a pretty strong historical trend. No, it's not 100%. But it's worth remembering that it's the norm and calibrating our expectations and goals accordingly. (In other words, win or lose, we're on defense in 2010.)

      “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

      by Jyrinx on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 05:48:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It wasn't the case in '98, when pundits were talking about big Republican gains (and Gingrich predicted Republican gains in the neighborhood of 30 seats) and the Democrats actually gained five seats. And 2002, when they were predicting Democratic gains, and instead, the Republicans picked up a handful of seats. So, I'd say the paradigm is certainly uncertain, to say the least.

  •  It is WAY TOO EARLY (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, shpilk

    to make any predictions for 2010.

    Who would have thought that Obama would have won the presidency in 2008 looking at the landscape in 2007 a year earlier?

    With that said the Dems better pass a good health care bill because that is what America is expecting of them.

    Obama 7/09: "Don't bet against us" (unless the Dems screw it up).

    by Drdemocrat on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 06:51:15 PM PDT

  •  Charlie Cook (0+ / 0-)

    understands Republican voters and leaners a lot better than he does current Democratic ones.  That's consistently the basis of pretty much all the misjudgments he makes.

    The atmosphere might be favorable to Republicans.  The map says, however, that there aren't enough Republicans and Republican leaners in Blue states/districts to prevent a bunch of Blue State Republicans from getting replaced by Democrats.  And the baseline in the national electorate is still shifting liberal: old conservatives are dying and new voters are registering/voting liberal for a net shift.  With insufficient middle aged liberal-to-conservative shifting going on to compensate.

    The Democrats that will likely be defeated or replaced by Republicans are largely Blue Doggish sorts in Red states/districts.

    The question is the relative proportions of the two.  When I do the close tally-up I come up a Democratic gain of 2-3 in Senate seats, loss of 5-10 in House seats, and pretty much a wash downticket.  IOW, a stalemate in numbers but repolarization nationally and partisan near-monopolization by region.

  •  Response from Charlie Cook (0+ / 0-)

    Everyone has now witnessed a great example of web cherry picking, carefully selecting items to make someone look bad without looking at the totality of the archive which might lead someone to a very different conclusion.

    Is it true that through March 2006 we were not talking up the idea of Republicans taking control of Congress.  No one else was either, it wasn't until further scandals and worsening public sentiments about the situation in Iraq created conditions so bad for the GOP that it jeopardized the their control of the House.  But had the person looked a little farther ahead in the cycle, say to the first week of August 2006, we began writing that it was more likely than not that the GOP would lose the House, the question was the Senate.  As best I can tell, we were basically the first independent analysts or journalists to say this, and as I recall from some exchanges on Daily kos, it was greeted with a certain degree of skepticism on this site.  

    Back in 1994, while we didn't "call" that election in the sense of saying that Republicans would take control of the House (we did on the Senate), we did begin reporting on unusual conditionis developing over the summer and began talking about a rising Republican tidal wave (I believe we coined the term 'tsunami' in the political context) and did predict substantial GOP gains in the House, and "as high as a one in three chance" that they would take the House, but that was as far as we could go.

    Had this person looked at our final 2008 predictions, he or she might have noted that we were dead on.

    I have published the Cook Political Report since 1984, that's 25 years of me and my staff (four) meeting with literally thousands candidates from both parties, meeting with pollsters and media consultants from both sides, talking with sources and analyzing polling data and election results (we invented the PVI, the Partisan Voting Index that some of you may be familiar with).  My hunch is that we were analyzing races since before some of these commenters were born.

    One of the advantages to having done this (or maybe most other things) is that you see patterns, you see events more or replicating themselves, you see conditions develop that may be similar to conditions that led to wave elections.

    We say repeatedly that there is plenty of time before the next elections but that the conditions we see are very similar to those that led to previous wave midterm election.

    There is a reason why The Cook Political Report, and I will add the The Rothenberg Political Report, are widely seen as the most most highly respected reports and sources on Congressional elections.  Both Stu and I have done this for over a quarter century each and have gotten pretty good at it, notwithstanding the comments of anoynomous people cherrypicking quotes and ignoring our many successes.

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