Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Potted Plant Wins in Kentucky

With 97% of the vote in, Steve Beshear was ahead 58.9% to 41.1% for incumbent Republican Ernie Fletcher. That 17% margin had been pretty steady since the first weeks after the gubernatorial primaries in the spring.

It's worth mentioning that Beshear has a lot of faults in common with the national democratic leadership. He's about as colorless as a politician can get (I met him this spring), relatively conservative, and basically risk averse. The same could be said about Pelosi and Reid after they caved into Bush over Iraq war funding. In many ways, the Democratic congressional leadership has been potted plants ever since. That's the case with Beshear as well. He was there during the campaign, he was working hard, he didn't look particularly good or bad, and he didn't do much on his own. Actually, that sounds like a lot of Democrats

Yet Beshear still won handily. I believe two things kept Beshear 17% ahead throughout the election campaign. There was the fact that the Republicans were somewhat divided as a result of Ann Northup's primary challenge to Fletcher. More important, opinion hardened against Fletcher early as evidenced by Fletcher's Bush-like approval ratings. Partisan Democrats grew more committed to replacing Fletcher, weak Democrats decided to vote their party, and swing voters swung to Beshear without thinking too much about Beshear himself. It was an election that a potted Democrat could win and Beshear was the right plant at the right time.

The question for the 2008 presidential election is whether a potted Democrat like Steve Beshear will be able to win the presidency. The lesson of Kentucky is that there is going to be a hard core anti-Republican vote among weak Democrats and Independents. A potted plant Democrat might not be able to win against somebody as tough and smart as Giuliani, but it might not take much more than a potted plant either.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

So even though you were wrong, you're still right?

Ric Caric said...

I don't see the problem here. You were right and I was wrong and I changed my mind. If you see my posts on Harry Potter, there were plenty of things I still got wrong. But I viewed all the speculation on Harry Potter to be primarily a fun family activity. Sure I have opinions and I express them strongly. So what? Isn't that blogging is all about?

DM said...

So, let me ask sir, are you ever happy with election outcomes or is whining simply the only means of communication with which you are familiar?

Ric Caric said...

Whose whining? I was happy with the outcome of the Kentucky gubernatorial election. But there's a conundrum in Beshear's victory. Beshear won a landslide victory even though he's a colorless candidate and his campaign didn't exactly put up a sterling effort. If the situation in Kentucky means anything for the country as a whole (and it might), there's a possibility that the Dems will win handily no matter what they do. I thought it was a possibility worth raising. People seem to dislike Beshear being called a "potted plant," but what would you call him--"a dynamic leader?"

Anonymous said...

That's "Who is whining?" Not "Whose whining?" I hope you don't grade your students on grammar.

Ric Caric said...

I Blame it on my editor.