Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Great Victory for Free Speech, Robust Elections, and Probably Apple Pie Too

[Note: I authored the following post on Thursday right after the Citizens United decision came down. I thought I had posted the same to the blog.  But apparently, some wires in the interwebs somewhere got crossed and it didn’t happen.  Anyway, as I said below I’ll have an analysis / defense of the decision up ASAP.]

Today, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Citizens United v. FEC, striking down long-established laws restricting the political speech (via independent expenditures) of businesses and unions in support of or opposition to candidates. The decision was 5-4, with the usual split. Haven’t had time to even read the syllabus of the case yet, but this is a very good day indeed: What just might be the beginning of the end (finally, finally) of a campaign finance regulation scheme that runs contrary to the most important, most fundamental rights that free people have. 

(Am I letting my opinions on the matter show? Ah, well…)

The opinions are here. Analysis as soon as I have time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Nearly There


If you’re aware of political news at all, you already know the story. The polls have all broken for Brown.  The anecdotes suggest that Brown supporters are remarkably enthusiastic, and that Coakley supporters are remarkably unenthusiastic. The pundits (even on the left) are saying it’s likely to be Brown. The recriminations inside the Democratic Party have started today, and won’t stop for quite a while if Brown indeed wins. Only two things remain: to close the polls and actually count the votes.

As a fool, I have a habit of offering predictions in political races:

Brown, by four-and-a-half-points. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

If It Wasn’t Happening, I Wouldn’t Believe It Was Possible

Stuart Rothenberg and Charlie Cook have moved the Massachusetts Senate race into the “toss up” columns in their respective election watch reports.

It takes five factors to make a good electoral effort: The Man (okay, not politically correct or always accurate, but cut me a break: “candidate” doesn’t start with an“m”); The Message, The Money, The Machine, and The Moment.  Scott Brown is a vastly better candidate than Martha Coakley, and he’s proven adept at finding and sticking to a good “change” message.  Money was a bit of a weak spot, but all indications are that he’s now receiving all the money his campaign will be able to spend in the time left.  Organization is still a weakness compared to the opposition, of course, but there’s some hope that the Dems until-recently lackadaisical posture may have blunted their ability to fully mobilize. As for the moment, well, even in Massachusetts people are obviously pissed off at those in power in D.C.  And therein lies the real story of this race:  Everyone, except maybe some in the Brown campaign, assumed that folks in the deep blue Bay State wouldn’t be pissed off enough to make this race interesting. 

If you’d have asked me about Brown’s chances two weeks ago, I’d have told you that he just might be able to come within 15 points of Coakley. If you’d have asked me 2 days ago, I’d have told you that he might make things pretty close (say, within five points), but that he wouldn’t win. Indeed, if the election were to be held tomorrow, I’d still tell you right now that Coakley should favored by two or three points.  But now I think it’s ever so slightly more likely than not that next Wednesday morning we will learn that the senator-elect from Massachusetts is a fairly conservative Republican.

What a morning that would be.