And You, Sir, Are No Carol Shea-Porter

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 16 2010 5:47 PM

And You, Sir, Are No Carol Shea-Porter

Tim Fernholz takes up my argument that "crazy" Republicans can win in 2010, and finds it wanting. Specifically, he says it's unfair to compare Rand Paul or anyone else to Carol Shea-Porter, the Democratic victor in a 2006 upset and the focus of my argument last week.

Was she an outspoken Democrat? Sure, she was -- but her positions opposing the Iraq War and the Bush administration were part and parcel with the national Democrats'message. Perhaps her biggest unorthodoxy was supporting universalhealth care through Medicare, but that's not why Bradley wascomplacent. He was complacent because he outspent Shea-Porter three to one. Compare that to the crazy Republicans of today. No one doubts theirability to raise money, run television ads, or surround themselves withpolitical consultants. What people doubt are whether voters willstomach McMahon's passel of WWE faux pas, or Paul's opposition to minesafety regulations and defense of BP; it's certainly clear thatnational Republicans aren't dying to associate with these views. Essentially, Shea-Porter's critics focused on hercampaign tactics; critics of far-right Republican nominees wonder iftheir ideas can attract mainstream support.

Advertisement

True enough, and I hope very few people thought I was making a one-to-one comparison between Shea-Porter and, say, Paul. What I wanted to demonstrate was that the success record of D.C. party committees didn't have a lot to do with the success rate of candidates who won without the big D.C. endorsement. There's not enough appreciation for how these base-powered grass-roots candidates can perform in the general. Now, I would recommend checking out Steve Kornacki's take on this, which points out that Senate candidates get more scrutiny than House candidates.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.