The Dizzying Heights of Republican Optimism

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 9 2014 6:49 PM

The Dizzying Heights of Republican Optimism

Ed Gillespie needs more than optimism to beat Mark Warner.

Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images

This blog spends a little time knocking "data journalism" (when it's dry and pointless) and promising Democratic doom in 2014, but this collection of words by Jennifer Rubin gives me an opportunity to reverse myself. "I spoke this week to GOP donors and operatives on the 'establishment' side of the party," writes Rubin. I'm sure she did, so the rampaging optimism on display here is probably their fault, not hers, though so many of its points could be obliterated with links to public polls.

Ed Gillespie in Virginia is a good example of a candidate who wins over donors and state activists who then are willing to take a chance on a race in which the Republican is still the clear underdog.

Current polling shows Mark Warner up 19 points on Gillespie, in a state Democrats were barely able to win in 2012 and 2013. (Though this is better than Warner's 2008 romp against Jim Gilmore.)

Terri Lynn Land is proving to be an overachiever in Michigan. She is running a disciplined race and has effectively tied her opponent to the anti-energy agenda of big donors and liberal elites. 

Land, who was not her party's first choice, is actually receiving largely negative coverage within the state, mostly when she doesn't talk to reporters. After a strong winter, aided by $6 million of outside spending, Land eked out a small lead, but it's now gone and Democratic Rep. Gary Peters is narrowly up. And Michigan's a source of regular fool's good for Republicans—only two polls, throughout the 2012 cycle, measured the 21-point landslide that Sen. Debbie Stabenow would win.

Iowa may also be falling into the GOP’s lap. GOP insiders admit that they had largely written off the state. But Rep. Bruce Braley (D) is proving to be a problematic candidate, not only because of his gaffe insulting farmers, but also because of his unpleasant and wise-guy demeanor

One month after the gaffe, Braley leads every Republican challenger and maintains a bouyant approval rating. Fair enough, Republicans have yet to dump a few million dollars on ads reminding people that Braley insulted farmers. (The "wise guy" link is to Braley attempting to prove that a GOP witness on a health care panel did not have qualifications. Damning!)

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 6:22 PM Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.