The Dizzying Heights of Republican Optimism

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

The Dizzying Heights of Republican Optimism

155684641-ed-gillespie-senior-adviser-for-the-romney-campaign
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. 
Advertisement

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 reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM Going Private To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 8:46 AM The Vintage eBay Find I Wore to My Sentencing
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 1 2014 7:30 AM Say Hello to Our Quasi-Moon, 2014 OL339
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.