Saturday, November 11, 2006


A couple of Georgetown students have tried to form their own religious organization in order to get around local zoning laws (being a religious group would allow them to have more people living in their house). Feh. Carleton students created their own religion well before these Georgetown imposters. And better yet, The Reformed Druids of North America actually has outlasted its original purpose (evading religion requirements our school had in the 60s), still going strong over 40 years later.

As to the legal issues, my understanding is that the law sidesteps questions of "what is a religion" by merely querying whether or not the beliefs are "sincerely held" (United States v. Ballard, 322 U.S. 78 (1944)). This isn't a particularly satisfying answer, as it doesn't distinguish between a sincerely held religious belief and a sincerely held secular one. Presumably, the Court analyzes whether the religious belief is sincerely held to be a religious one, rather than a secular belief masquerading as a religious one to gain some benefit. In contrast to the Reformed Druids, which, as mentioned before, have outlasted the tangible benefit they were claiming by a good 40 years, the Washington Post article gives no indication that these Georgetown students have any sincere belief in their "religion" outside of the extra privileges it grants them under zoning law.

Carleton 1, Georgetown, 0!

Via VC

Friday, November 10, 2006


I'm kind of agnostic towards the issue of divided government (I can see it's advantages, but I don't it's always the best policy). However, I was struck by this statement by David Post extolling the virtues of split-party government:
It's more common than one might suppose; in 34 of the 54 years since Eisenhower was elected for his first term ('52), at least one branch of Congress was in hands different than the executive branch, and for my money the years in which that has not been the case (60-68, 76-80, 93-94, and 2001-06) have not been distinguished by great statesmanship or great policy-making.

I can't speak for the whole era, but encompassed in 1960-68 are both the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, both of which rank well towards the top of my list of "distinguished...great statsmanship [and] policy-making." Maybe those are outliers, but I suspect that neither bill would have made it through a divided government, given the depths of Southern opposition and the propensity of a divided government to favor the status quo and disapprove of bold, sweeping changes.

Just a thought.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

"City of Christ"?

Whatever sympathy I might have had for Christianist opposition to a gay pride parade in Jerusalem (and admittedly, it was pretty small to begin with), evaporated when the FRC characterized it as an "abomination in the city of Christ."

Oh, please. Israel is the Jewish state, and while completely respect the rights of the Christian minority there to worship as they please, don't pretend like Israel as an obligation to accede to Christian dogma. Ironically, virtually all the "pressure" the FRC cites against the march comes from external sources--the Vatican and foreign ministries. The local Jewish population, by and large, is okay with it--and the Israeli Attorney General ruled the parade can go through. So really, this is just Christians demanding that Jews subsume their own beliefs on what constitutes acceptable practice in our holiest city under their intolerance. Oh, and if Christians seriously do want to persuade us to act in their interests, don't refer to our holiest city as "the city of Christ."

Whither GOP?

After what can only be described as a devastating GOP loss in the 2006 midterms, the question is where the party goes from here. There's a good case to be made that the GOP needs to move to the middle, and I know that some of the main-street Republicans are thinking of that direction. On the flip side, there are those who say the GOP lost because it became "Democratic-lite". So, will the party shift to the center or tack right?

But I don't really think that's the right question. Paradoxically, I think the GOP needs to do both, and that's going to be a big problem. I've been blogging for quite some time on the schism forthcoming in the Republican Party. The problem isn't that the party is too conservative or too moderate. The problem is the coalition it built over the past few years (decades, perhaps) is falling apart at the seams. If they turn to the middle, the GOP will lose some of its base and will not meaningfully be able to distinguish themselves from Democrats. If they run hard to their base, they'll drive any remaining centrists out of their camp and become a purely regional (and, let's face it, sectarian) party. The set of ideological commitments the GOP currently holds cannot support a majority coalition anymore.

That notwithstanding, the party is going to pick the "turn right" option, for no other reason than that the number of elected GOP moderates left to present a case is virtually non-existant (the tally I've heard is that there are 8 remaining bona fide moderate Republicans in the House, out of caucus numbering close to 200). Most of the last of them were swept out in this Democratic wave, and I don't think the GOP is optimistic about regaining seats in Connecticut or suburban Pennsylvania. The biggest GOP names still in office are conservative die-hards, so of course they're going to push the party in that direction.

Over the long term, this is more dangerous for the GOP, because it again will relegate them to a predominantly regional party status. It also will prove ill-suited to stop the emerging Democratic machine in the Mountain West, which is starting to reassert its long dormant libertarian streak (beating back the abortion ban in South Dakota, gay marriage ban winning by only 4 points in the same). There is a feedback loop--it is the marginal Republicans who will get defeated, concentrating power in the conservative strongholds, who will continue to push the party to the right. This will make it very hard for the GOP to regain power, because it won't have a presence or credibility in the states it needs to get back.

Two Party Government?

Not in Maryland! Check out the lede of this Washington Post article:
Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Republican Senate candidate Michael S. Steele conceded defeat in quick succession yesterday, putting an end, at least for now, to the state's four-year experiment with two-party government.

Moreover, in the close in Washington suburbs (Montgomery and Prince George's Counties), there is not a single elected Republican at any level of government--federal, state, or local.

The dictatorship of the proletariat is back!

Committee Shift

Publius shows the shift in Committee Chairmanships:
Ag Cmte: Tom Harkin (IA). Outgoing Chair: Saxby Chambliss (GA).

Approps Cmte: Robert Byrd (WV). Outgoing Chair: Thad Cochran (MS).

Armed Services Cmte: Carl Levin (MI). Outgoing Chair: John Warner (VA).

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Cmte: Chris Dodd (CT). Outgoing Chair: Richard Shelby (AL).

Budget Cmte: Kent Conrad (D). Outgoing Chair: Judd Gregg (NH).

Commerce, Science, and Transpo Cmte: Co-Chair Daniel Inouye (HI). Outgoing Co-Chair: Ted Stevens (AK).

Energy and Natural Resources Cmte: Jeff Bingaman (NM). Outgoing Chair: Pete Domenici (NM).

Enviro and Public Works Cmte: Barbara Boxer (CA). Outgoing Chair: James Inhofe (OK).

Finance Cmte: Max Baucus. Outgoing Chair: Charles Grassley (IA).

Foreign Relations Cmte: Joe Biden (D). Outgoing Chair: Richard Lugar (IN).

Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Cmte: Ted Kennedy. Outgoing Chair: Mike Enzi (WY).

Homeland Security and Govt'l Affairs Cmte: Joe Lieberman (CT). Outgoing Chair: Susan Collins (ME).

Jud Cmte: Patrick Leahy (VT). Outgoing Chair: Arlen Specter (PA).

Rules and Admin Cmte: Chris Dodd (CT). Outgoing Chair: Trent Lott (MS).

Small Business Cmte: John Kerry (MA). Outgoing Chair: Olympia Snowe (ME).

Veterans Affairs Cmte: Daniel Akaka (D). Outgoing Chair: Larry Craig (ID).

Switching Barbara Boxer for James "Global Warming = Nazi Propoganda" Inhofe on the key environmental committee is huge. The other really important ones are Judiciary (Leahy for Specter), Armed Services (Levin for Warner), and Foreign Relations (Biden for Lugar). Putting Byrd in charge of the appropriations committee is a sick joke, and while I like Joe Lieberman on Homeland Security generally, it remains to be seen how he'll perform (he lost alot of credibility with me this cycle).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election '06 Superlatives

Now that the election is over, it's time to give some awards! Without further ado, the Decision '06 candidate superlatives.

Best campaign by a losing Republican Senate candidate: Michael Steele in Maryland. Actually, he got trounced by a surprisingly large (10 point margin). But it's hard to imagine him doing better in Maryland in this climate without actually being a Democrat (and he tried hard to call himself that too!). Certainly, his "puppies" ad was one of the most effective of the cycle.

Best campaign by a losing Democratic Senate candidate: Harold Ford, Tennessee. Let's be clear: A three point loss by a Black Democrat in a Southern red state is nothing short of amazing. That Ford was considered a threat the entire cycle is testament to his incredible political skill. He also seemed to negate the Bradley effect, as he actually out performed late polling in his race.

Best campaign by a losing Republican House candidate: Joe Negron, FL-16. Not only was Negron running for Mark Foley's seat, but to win it he had to convince voters to mark their ballot for Foley to have it counted for him. With the spectacular slogan "Punch Foley to vote Negron," the Republican came within one point of pulling it off, too.

Best campaign by a losing Democratic House candidate: Assuming that the Gary Trauner/Barbara Cubin race in the Wyoming at-large is still too close to call, the award goes to Scott Kleeb in the rural Nebraska 3rd. His ten point loss to Adrien Smith doesn't look that impressive until you realize that's a 20 point cut in the GOP candidate's support compared to 2004.

Best campaign by a losing Democratic gubernatorial candidate: Tony Knowles, Alaska. Knowles ran the best race he could, but he was doomed the moment "Murkowski" wasn't on the ballot.

Best campaign by a losing Republican gubernatorial candidate: Robert Ehrlich, Maryland. What do you do when you're an incumbent liked by a majority of voters who still can't get them to vote for you? I'm stumped too.

Best campaign by a winning Republican Senate candidate: Bob Corker, Tennessee. His campaign was flailing for awhile after the primary, and was under constant pressure from a smooth as silk Harold Ford. Corker righted his ship to move this race even below Arizona in some pundits eyes as a Democratic pickup opportunity. He also scores points for condemning the vile and racist NSCC ads that ran in his district.

Best campaign by a winning Democratic Senate candidate: James Webb's upset victory was great, but caused more by Allen's missteps than any strengths as a candidate. And Amy Klobuchar gets major points for obliterating Mark Kennedy in a race many Republicans thought (at the start of the cycle) they would win. But Jon Tester turning Montana deep blue while not shying away from his progressive background is nothing short of amazing. Democrats now have both Senate seats and the governor's mansion in Montana, and Tester is a rising Democratic star.

Best campaign by a winning Republican House candidate: Heather Wilson, NM-1. This race might still be too close to call, but it looks like Wilson will escape with another squeaker in her Democratic leaning district. Since it doesn't stop us from hearing Speaker Pelosi, I'm okay with that. Congress deserves more members with Oxford Philosophy doctorates.

Best campaign by a winning Democratic House candidate: Jim Marshall, GA-08. Republicans tried to pull a Texas on Marshall and mid-decade redistrict him to get his seat. Marshall was game and beat back a tough opponent in former Representative Mac Collins to keep his red-leaning seat.

Best campaign by a winning Republican gubernatorial candidate: Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota. Pawlenty dodges the Democratic wave and wins a tight race against Attorney General Mike Hatch, who was no cream-puff candidate.

Best campaign by a winning Democratic gubernatorial candidate: Bill Ritter, Colorado. This race was supposed to be close. Bob Beauprez was supposed to be a tough candidate. Neither turned out to be true, and that's kudos to Ritter.

Worst campaign by a losing Republican House candidate: John Hostettler, IN-08. Did he even try? The 6-term incumbent couldn't even break 40% in getting annihilated by Brad Ellsworth.

Worst campaign by a losing Democratic House candidate: Coleen Rowley, MN-02. Democrats were really excited when they recruited the 9/11 whistleblower to run against John Kline. Whoops. Rowley barely mustered 40% and underperformed compared to the 2004 candidate.

Worst campaign by a losing Republican Senate candidate: Mark Kennedy, Minnesota. Good lord, this was supposed to be a GOP rising star? He lost by 20 points Amy Klobuchar and never even made the Democrats sweat. (Katherine Harris is ineligible for this award, to make it fair for the other nominees).

Worst campaign by a losing Democratic Senate candidate: Jim Pederson, Arizona. The fact that Pederson actually finished tighter than expected only reinforces that he could have made this a race had done more than an air-wave attack prior to the last few weeks of the campaign. Moral of the story: retail politics still counts.

Worst campaign by a losing Republican gubernatorial candidate: Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas. I know that Arkansas has two Democratic senators and an 80% Democratic house delegation. But there is no way this race should have been the blow-out it is. No excuse. None.

Worst campaign by a losing Democratic gubernatorial candidate: Phil Angelides, California. The Terminator has approval ratings down in the 20s, and he still comes back to win? Had Angelides been able to focus half of the energy in the general election as he did in his uncommonly vicious primary fight, this blue state might actually have a Democratic governor again.

Worst campaign by a winning Democratic Senate candidate: Bob Menendez, New Jersey. He actually ended up winning comfortably in the end, but for giving me a slow heart attack throughout November and actually posing a credible threat to the Democrats taking back the Senate, he takes it.

Worst campaign by a winning Republican Senate candidate: Jon Kyl, Arizona. He's lucky his opponent ran such a lackluster campaign, because he wasn't much better. Incumbency carried Kyl through in a race he didn't take anywhere near as serious as he should have.

Worst campaign by a winning Republican House candidate: Bill Sali, ID-01. Your district is one of the reddest in the nation. But because you managed to piss off your entire party, you only win by 3 points over Larry Grant in Idaho. Idaho!

Worst campaign by a winning Democratic House candidate: No Democratic House member ran a particularly bad campaign in the general, so the award goes to Albert Wynn (MD-04) for nearly blowing his primary election to Donna Edwards, a total unknown who started campaigning late, in a district he is essentially a machine boss of. Personally, I hope Edwards takes him out in 2008. She'd be far more effective in Congress than a glorified local kingmaker.

Worst campaign by a winning Republican gubernatorial candidate: Jim Gibbons, Nevada. Assaulting cocktail waitresses that you were flirting with (when you're married) is not a good way to win votes, even in Las Vegas. A race he was dominating became a four-point dogfight as a result.

Worst campaign by a winning Democratic gubernatorial candidate: Elliot Spitzer can't crack 70% of the vote? What's up with that?

Biggest upset in the House: Three-way tie. Carol Shea-Porter in the NH-01 and Dave Loebsack in the IA-02 weren't on anyone's radar screen when they knocked off Republican incumbents (a 30 year veteran, in Loebsack's case). Nancy Boyda in the KS-02 did get some attention when the DNCC gave her a late ad buy, but most folks thought it was a headfake. Guess they were wrong, and now all three are going to congress.

Biggest upset in the Senate: Obviously, Jim Webb in Virginia. George Allen goes from lead '08 contender to '06 Senate pretender. Webb overcomes some of the nastiest campaigning seen this cycle to eke out a victory and avenge Chuck Robb.

What's the holdup?: Washington 8th, whose tight race between Darcy Burner (D) and Dave Reichert is still up in the air because less than half of the votes have been counted. Right now, it's 51-49 for Reichert.

Won't be missed in the Senate!: Rick "man-on-dog" Santorum, Pennsylvania. Good riddance. And take your 2008 ambitions with you.

Won't be missed in the House!: Curt Weldon, PA-07. He's got plenty of time to look for WMDs and support oppressive regimes now that he's no longer in office.

The one that got away: I really, really wanted to take out the virulently anti-gay Marilyn Musgrave in the CO-04. But she escaped with a 3 point victory (and only 46% of the vote).

Most likely to succeed: A Democratic congress in 2007, baby! Also, my Congressman, Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-08). He was in charge of House candidate recruitment this year. Talk about a spectacular job! Chris is without a doubt the front-runner for the next open Maryland Senate seat (which may be only a few years out if Barbara Mikulski retires at the end of this term).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day Liveblog

Whatever I find interesting on the election, throughout the day. I've never live-blogged before, so this should be an interesting experiment. All times Central.


4:12 AM: I am done for the night. By my rough count, I had 164 updates on this post, spread across more than 13 hours. Wowzers. Thanks to all of the folks who stopped into read. It appears we're ending on a high note--both Tester (MT-Sen) and Marshall (GA-08) are seeing their leads expand (Marshall is over 1,000 votes ahead!). That said, I'm getting some sleep.

3:55 AM: 13 hours of non-stop blogging. Wow am I good. Let the record reflect that I did not check to see if I had any homework until 2 AM. Thank the Lord I didn't. There's no real movement in any of the races I'm following. Sali's lead is up to 5 and I see no reason to think he'll lose it. Trauner will definitely be within recount land against Cubin, but he'll enter the recount behind--the remaining votes to be counted can't make up even his 800 vote gap. Reichert is holding a 4 point lead over Burner in Washington, the count is at 25% and is going maddeningly slow. Ditto with Montana Senate, which is crawling along (Tester + 5,200 with 84% counted).

3:33 AM: The Washington Post reports that Democratic winds were so strong in the Maryland suburbs that there is a chance that there will no elected Republican at any level in either Montgomery or Prince George's County. A long-serving GOP county council member was already swept out, so now it's just Del. Jean B. Cryor holding on for dear life.

3:27 AM: McInerney will take Pombo's 11th District seat. That will be the Democrat's only pick up in California and possibly on the West Coast.

3:07 AM: Sali is still maintaining his 3 point lead in the Idaho 1st. Also, it appears the GOP evaded a Pennsylvania sweep, as Jim Gerlach jumped ahead of Lois Murphy at the last moment in the 6th. Murphy was leading all day, my my recollection.

3:04 AM: Apparently, the delay is do to a recount in Yellowstone County. Tester was leading by 1,300 votes in a "must-win-for-Burns" county. For reasons that haven't been made clear to me yet, they local board there has thrown out all their results thus far and is starting over again. Maybe I'm a bit jumpy, but this seems quite suspicious to me.

2:54 AM: Tester's lead is quietly fading. He's only up 4,000 with 81% counted. A friend tells me they aren't going to hear until 4-7, Mountain Time.

2:50 AM: I'm going to wait until CNN calls for Tester, then turn in. There will be several races still in the air, but I'll know most of what I need to know. Democratic House, Democratic Senate, and, assuming Marshall pulls through, not a single Democratic incumbent in the House, Senate, or Statehouse defeated. That feels good. That feels real good.

2:02 AM: Washington Post calls it for Pawlenty. One of the only GOP bright spots. McInerney's lead is holding together with 75% counted.

1:49 AM: McInerney is up 4 on Richard Pombo in California with 71% reporting. This is one of the few remaining Democratic pickup opportunities I see developing (not counting aforementioned races still in the margin of error).

1:40 AM: There are at least three races right now where the margin is less than 1,000 votes and the vote count is higher than 95% (but not yet done). They are the CT-02, GA-08, WY-AL. In the New Mexico 1st, Heather Wilson's lead is 1,200 votes with 99% counted.

1:32 AM: The Washington Post is projecting that Sarah Palin will win the Alaska Governor's race over Tony Knowles; a crucial hold for the GOP. Tim Pawlenty's lead over Mike Hatch around 23,000 with 91% counted. Assuming Pawlenty wins, I'll have exactly predicted the Governor's races as well.

1:26 AM: Jon Tester is holding steady with a 3 point lead over Conrad Burns. 69% of the vote is in.

1:20 AM: Heather Wilson has taken a 300 vote lead in her dead-even race with Patricia Madrid (NM-1). 95% of the vote has been counted.

1:19 AM: Webb's lead is now 8,000 votes. Allen is toast, even with the recount. And Chuck Robb can rest easy.

1:16 AM Porter (R) has won in the NV-03 by one point. That was far closer than it justifiably should have been for the GOP.

1:11 AM Missouri has been called for McCaskill. There still are more than 10% of votes to be counted, but I suspect they are in her strongholds. It's good to be wrong. And this was the last major roadblock to a Democratic Senate!

1:10 AM Angie Paccione has not been able to crack Marilyn Musgrave's 3 point lead in the CO-05. With 80% counted, it looks like Musgrave will hold on.

1:06 AM: Henry Bonilla (R) in the TX-23 looks like he'll only muster 47% of the vote (83% counted). He'll face a runoff against former Democratic representative Ciro Rodriguez.

1:02 AM: I'm looking around to see what eastern races have yet to be called. There are two Ohio races where the GOP candidate is winning by a good 2-3,000 votes with 99% or more tallied. I think we can call those safely. The Michigan 7th features a 5 point GOP lead, with 87% counted. That district leans right, so I don't expect that margin to change. The rest are in races already discussed--the two GOP Georgia targets, the Connecticut 2nd, the NC-11th, and the Iowa 2nd, which I'm comfortable calling a Democratic pickup even if CNN isn't.

12:56 AM: Now that the House is assured and the Senate is looking good too, the next thing on my wish list is that Democrats not lose any national seat, anywhere. The only two things standing in my way are the Georgia 8th and 12th districts. Right now, with around 95% of the vote counted in each, the Democratic incumbents lead by 600 and 3,300, respectively.

12:54 AM: 85% of the vote counted, McCaskill's lead is 25,000 votes and opening. I'm beginning to taste a Democratic Senate.

12:52 AM: NM-01, 94% reporting, Madrid's lead is 300.

12:51 AM 98% of precincts are in, Cubin still has a 600 vote lead over Trauner in Wyoming. Kleeb has not managed to close his 10 point gap in NE-03 (80% reporting).

12:47 AM: Bill Sali (ID-1) has a 3 point lead with 45% reporting in the Idaho 1st.

12:34 AM: CT-02: Joe Courtney's (D) lead over Rob Simmons is around 200 votes with 97% counted.

12:30 AM: I should congratulate Keith Ellison, who will be the first Muslim in Congress after winning Minnesota's 5th district with 65% of the vote.

12:29 AM: Tester appears to be cruising in Montana. All eyes on Missouri.

12:23 AM: 100% of the votes are in, Murphy has a 1,500 vote lead over Fitzpatrick. Color another seat blue (until the recount).

12:17 AM: McCaskill has the lead by 1 point with 81% reporting. Don't tease me, baby...

12:10 AM: Loebsack is up 600 votes with 99% reporting in the IA-02. But the remaining 1% all come from counties he's winning. It looks like the Cornell College Professor dug it out. They're going to be partying in Mount Vernon tonight!

12:09 AM: Pawlenty has pulled ahead of Hatch. He's got a 7,000 vote lead with 75% reporting.

12:06 AM: It's going to be close, but we're still on track for that Pennsylvania sweep: Governor, Senator, and 5 House seats. The 8th District remains deadlocked--99% is in and challenger Lois Murphy is up by a scant 1,300 votes.

12:03 AM: 85% of the vote is in, Walz is up by 6. Gutknecht is gone.

12:01 AM: People laughed when I said the NC-08 was in play. Well now the votes are in, and incumbent Robin Hayes has less than 500 votes. Another recount coming up!

11:58 PM: With 69% counted in the Nebraska 3rd, Adrien Smith (R) is holding a 10 point lead over Scott Kleeb. Kleeb was a great story, but I don't think he'll pull this one out.

11:54 PM: Here in Minnesota, Hatch is still holding a narrow (9,000 vote) lead over incumbent Tim Pawlenty with 58% counted.

11:46 PM: Democrats pick up the 8th Wisconsin district formerly represented by Mark Green, who proceeded to lose the governor's race.

11:39 PM: Speaking of recounts, it appears I was a bit too quick writing off the Florida 13th. Vern Buchanan did pull it out, but with the precincts in, its a 400 vote margin. Coming up: A recount in Katherine Harris' old district!

11:37 PM: 85% of the vote in IA-02, Loebsack is up 2. The remaining counties seem to lean right though. Major upset if Loebsack takes this one.

11:35 PM: Keep an eye on the Iowa 2nd. Loebsack (D) is beating long time incumbent Jim Leach 52/48, with 59% in.

11:32 PM: Collins is now ahead of Marshall, possibly marking the only GOP pickup anywhere in the country this cycle (House, Senate, or Governorship). 94% of the vote has been counted there, the lead is 1,200. Barrow (D) still leads Burns by 900 votes, with 92% counted in the other critical Georgia race.

11:30 PM: With 94% of the vote in, Barbara Cubin (R) has taken a 400 vote lead in the Wyoming at large congressional race. This one is a nailbiter.

11:27 PM: Congratulations Jim Webb! I don't see Harold Ford coming back in Tennessee, which means that Dems need to sweep Missouri and Montana to take back the Senate. Can they do it? Tester is up early in Montana, and I still remember how he left the polling in his wake during the primary ballot. So I'm feeling good there. Missouri is the question. Again, I never feel good about Missouri. McCaskill is down 4 right now, with two thirds of the vote in. St. Louis and Kansas City got to pull through....

11:25 PM: The finals score in Virginia: D- WEBB 1,143,144 49.44%; R- ALLEN 1,140,879 49.42%. Webb goes into the recount with the lead, which is huge, especially since ballot issues tend to effect Democratic precincts worse, his lead might expand.

11:21 PM: Walz has expanded his lead to 6 with two thirds counted in the MN-1, and CNN is calling a Democratic pick up in the IA-01.

11:20 PM: Ryun goes down in the Kansas 2. A lot of people thought the DNCC was doing a head fake when it put money into this race. Guess they were wrong.

11:17 PM: Shays looks like he is going to survive his race, but Rob Simmons and Joe Courtney are locked into a dog fight--with Simmons ahead by less than 2,000 votes. Picking up 2 of 3 CT GOP seats would feel alot better than 1 of 3.

11:10 PM: Maryland is over. O'Malley is up by 3, Cardin is up by 6, and virtually all the remaining votes come from Democratic strongholds (MoCo, PG County, and the Baltimore metro area).

11:03 PM: The same-sex marriage ban is down 4 points in Arizona with 76% counted. It's up by the same margin with 55% counted in South Dakota (which appears likely to reject it's total abortion ban as well).

11:00 PM: The returns in PG County, Montgomery County, and Baltimore/Baltimore City Counties all have left me quite optimistic that Ehrlich and Steele are going down. But the National Review claims that their candidates are in fact overperforming, and also that the upcoming precincts in those jurisdictions are more GOP.

10:57 PM: Webb just took the lead over Allen! A 2,500 vote lead, to be sure, but still. And I'd eyeball that he has a narrow advantage in the remaining counties to be tabulated.

10:54 PM: Another GOP Representative whose been constantly on Democratic hit lists has gone down: Melissa Hart (PA-4) drops her seat 52/48. Of the five Pennsylvania seats in contention, this was supposed to be the toughest, although right now the Murphy/Fitzpatrick race is dead even, with Murphy holding a 2,000 vote lead over the incumbent with 87% counted.

10:49 PM: Richmond City is mostly in, and Allen's lead has shrunk to 6,000. Only 2% of the vote left to be counted, Charlottesville, Loudoun, Fairfax City are the big vote caches still left for Webb.

10:42 PM: 46% of the vote counted, Walz is up 4 over Gutknecht in the MN-01. This is a firewall district for the GOP--Walz is a great candidate, but Gutknecht was not considered vulnerable until recently.

10:38 PM: Republicans still don't have a pickup yet, and their two best shots in Georgia seem to be staying just tantalizingly out of reach. Marshall and Barrow are both holding two point leads with over 80% of the vote counted.

10:36 PM: Lampson picks up DeLay's old seat. I don't know if he'll be able to hold it, but damn it feels good.

10:29 PM: Trauner is fading in Wyoming--he's up 4 now with two thirds counted.

10:22 PM: I'm doing the math in my head, but Virginia is going to end razor thin. Richmond City still has to report a third of it's precincts, if they go in the same proportion they have been, that's 7,000 votes for Webb. There's a 1,000 more each remaining in Prince William's, Petersburg, and Newport News Counties. That's 10,000. Most of the rest of the vote has been tabulated--there a few small Allen counties that still have to count, and even fewer small Webb ones. This one will be a recount.

10:18 PM: The rest of Arlington County has reported, and, as I predicted (I so rock), Allen's lead has been slashed in half. It's currently at 11,000 votes.

10:16 PM: WY-AL, Trauner is still holding a 6 point lead over Cubin with 61% counted.

10:12 PM: Apparently, Mark Foley's seat is ours.

10:10 PM: Mitchell is up 7 over "bully" J.D. Hayworth in the Arizona 5th with over 2/3 counted (we've already won the 8th). Another race I'd love to win.

10:07 PM: Former Redskins QB Heath Shuler is coming to Congress as he knocks of Charles Taylor in the NC-11. Also, Democrat Zack Space will succeed Bob Ney, giving the big D machine it's first House pick-up in Ohio. Deborah Pryce looks like she'll stave off a spirited challenge and survive, but the 1st and 2nd districts are still in play.

10:05 PM: In the NY-20 and 24th, Democrats are up by 6 and 9 points, respectively, with 72% counted.

10:02 PM: Foley/Negron are down 2,000 votes with 92% counted. Democrats need to pull this one out--it is way too close for comfort.

10:00 PM: Cardin is obliterating Steele in PG County. He's up 75/25 in a place Steele had to make inroads to win.

9:56 PM: It is only because of the KS-02 that the NH-01 wouldn't be called the biggest upset. Democrat Shea-Porter is up 2 points with 90% of the vote counted.

9:54 PM: 59% of the vote is in, and the Kansas 2nd is still leaning our way. This might be the biggest upset of the cycle.

9:51 PM: Allen's margin is 28,000 with 95% of the vote counted. I don't want to keep hanging on false hope. But nearly all the jurisdictions of any size with any substantive amount of votes still to be counted are in Webb locales. At the very least, we're looking at a recount.

9:42 PM: The emerging wisdom is that this race is regional--blue areas are going to go blue, while red areas present tougher turf for Dems. What that means is that there will be a counter-alignment comparable to what the GOP did in the south in '94. All those hold out Republicans in the Northeast (and many in the midwest) will lose, but the GOP won't be swept out in its stronger regions (Virginia, Tennessee, Florida). The interesting thing to note here, then, will be the Mountain West, which has been trending Democratic lately. Trauner is up over Cubin in the WY-AL by 12 points, with 31% in what would be a stunning Democratic upset.

9:29 PM: Some of these races are earlier than others, but there are 5 competitive Pennsylvania House races, and in all five the Democrat is leading. In the PA-10 (Sherwood) and PA-07 (Weldon), the lead is in double-digits with over two-thirds of the vote counted. Those two are in the bag--the question is, can we sweep?

9:26 PM: With 49% counted, Democrat Boydon is up 10 points on Ryun in the KS-02. Guess that DNC hail mary paid off.

9:19 PM: Sestak is still up 12 with 72% counted, and Weldon's base is already in. Score another Democratic pick-up.

9:16 PM: "Mark Foley" (aka, Joe Negron) has pulled back into the lead in his race, which makes Clay Shaw the only Florida Republican still down. He's trailing by 4 to Joe Klein with 57% counted. Oddly enough, Shaw was considered the safest of the three districts for the GOP.

9:12 PM: Allen's lead is 25,000 votes. Around half of that should be erased by when the rest of Arlington county comes in. The other half though, does not seem to be forthcoming. Loudoun and Prince Williams counties are going for Webb, but not by enough.

9:08 PM: MyDD reports that Nancy Johnson has conceded. One of the Connecticut three has gone down (and many thought she'd be the toughest)!

9:06 PM: 77% of the vote in and Geoff Davis has surged in the KY-04. He's up 7, and looks to hold his seat for the GOP.

9:04 PM: Bad news for the GOP: Marshall and Darrow, the endangered Georgia duo for the Dems, are both ahead with around 2/3 counted (albeit by very narrow margins).

9:03 PM: Correction--Hamilton County is not in Pryce's district. Which is tied 50-50 right now with 82% reporting, by the way.

8:57 PM: Bradley and Shea-Porter are still tied in New Hampshire. Democrats weren't even supposed to be close in this race.

8:54 PM, with 44% in, Joe Sestak is up 12 points on absolute nut Curt Weldon. That one will feel really, really good to win.

8:52 PM: Possibly the GOP's only two legit pickup opportunities in the House--the GA-08 and GA-12, are neck and neck, with around half the vote counted.

8:47 PM: Hodes is 7 points up on Bass in New Hampshire's first district. I'm guessing this will be another Democratic pickup. Heath Shuler is holding a 6 point lead over Charles Taylor in North Carolina, but only a third of the votes are in.

8:46 PM: I was right about Pryce's district. It's 51-49 Pryce with 55% counted. All the votes are from Hamilton county, which, if memory serves, is a GOP stronghold.

8:41 PM: With 96% of the vote in, Vern Buchanan looks likely to hold Katherine Harris' seat for the GOP. He's up 51-49. That's a blow. Thelma Drake is also up 52-48 in the VA-02 with 84% counted, though that hold was more expected. On the other hand, Ken Lucas has closed to a 1 point gap behind Geoff Davis in the KY-04 (54% counted).

8:34 PM: I'm starting to feel less optimistic about Virginia. It's still 50-49, but with 79% of the vote in, that's a 22,000 vote lead. There are still votes to be had in NoVA, but I'm not sure it will be enough.

8:32 PM: Another D pickup: with 83% in, it's Donnelly over Chocola, 53-47.

8:29 PM: Something's not right. CNN has Deborah Pryce (R-OH-15) up 90% to 10% over her Democratic challenger with 55% of the vote counted. Democrat Kilroy has less than 5,000 votes tallied. This was supposed to be a close race, and Kilroy was polling ahead. I'm willing to admit that perhaps we miscalculated, but not by this margin. What gives?

8:26 PM: KY-03 is over--with 100% of the vote in, Yarmuth tops Northrup 51-48.

8:24 PM: CNN calls Maryland for Cardin, but with only 1% reported (and Steele leading that 1%), I don't know why.

8:20 PM: Allen continues to hold the narrowest of leads, 50-48 with 74% reporting. Several major Webb counties still have yet to report, and the one's that have reported are so large there are plenty of votes left to give (Fairfax County, for example). This race will come down to Loudon and Prince Williams' counties, which as K-Lo notes, are traditional GOP turf that went to Kaine last year.

8:14 PM: As I say it, Foley's district flips--now the Democratic challenger Mahoney is up by 1 point with 49% counted. VA-02 continues to stay at 51-49 for Republican Drake with 67% counted--this is GOP turf, I don't think the Democrat is going to make it up.

8:12 PM: Also, a word of caution to Florida Republicans elated that Foley/Negron is still holding his lead. Palm Beach county, a vote rich Democratic stronghold, has yet to report.

8:10 PM: More nervousness reported from Ehrlich HQ. Meanwhile, Ehrlich and Steele have admitted to handing out those misleading flyers mentioned below (the one's that said they were Democrats).

8:09 PM: I'm ready to call the KY-03. Yarmuth's lead just expanded to 51-48 with 96% counted. That's a massive Democratic pickup--Northrup's been confounding us for years.

8:06 PM: There are three Democratic targets in Kentucky: Districts 2, 3, and 4. The 3rd district is Northrup's--there has been no movement changing Yarmuth's 50-49 lead there (88% counted). In the 2nd district, Democrat Mike Weaver is down just 48-52 behind Ron Lewis (29% counted), and in the 4th District, Ken Lucas continues to trail 49-46 to Geoff Davis (35% reported).

8:03 PM: "Mark Foley" is clinging to a 49-48 lead with 40% counted. I guess voters did decide to "punch Foley" and vote for Negron.

8:00 PM: Allen is still up by that same 50-49 margin. NoVA continues to lag. About half the NoVA vote is win, and Webb is cleaning up there. Anyone know when I'll see some MD results?

7:50 PM: With about 50% counted in each district, Donnelly is +6 on Chocola in the IN-02, and Hill is +2 over Sodrel in the IN-09.

7:44 PM: Paul Hodes beating Charles Bass would not be a surprise (he's well ahead, but only 9% of the vote has been counted). However, if the other New Hampshire House seat flipped, that would be stunning. Right now, Democrat Carol Shea-Porter is holding a narrow 51-49 lead over incumbent Jed Bradley with 33% counted.

7:38 PM: 36% counted in the VA-02, and Kellam is up over Drake by literally one vote.

7:36 PM: Two great K-Lo moments. #1: "I'm hearing a lot of — and am prone to myself — anger toward voters for what may be seeing tonight." Welcome to my world, circa 2002-04. #2: Rush Limbaugh is "one of the clearest thinkers I've heard lately."

7:33 PM: Buchanan continues to hold a surprisingly strong 53-47 lead with 41% counted to retain Katherine Harris' seat for the GOP. Yarmuth is still barely ahead of Northrup with 88% counted, but Northrup has not seemed able to get over the hump.

7:30 PM: Washington Monthly gives an update on the climate in Minnesota. My adopted state is one of the few places I'm pessimistic about--I predict Klobuchar to be our next Senator, but Pawlenty to hold the Governor's mansion and Tim Walz to fall just short in the MN-01.

7:27 PM: Allen is up 50-49 with 40% reporting in the tight Virginia Senate race. Again, with the exception of Fairfax (which is now about 75% in), most of NoVA has not reported. Webb is winning Fairfax 59-40.

7:24 PM: In the VA-02, an outside Democratic pickup chance, incumbent Thelma Drake is up by less than 200 votes (a 50-50 tie, statistically) with 24% of precincts reporting.

7:23 PM: A bunch of precincts just reported in the IN-09--with 42% of the vote in, Hill has expanded his lead over Sodrel to 50-46.

7:19 PM: Aside from the Hostettler race, two other Indiana districts are in dogfights. Democratic challenger Donnelly leads Chris "The Count" Chocola 59-41 with 26% reporting. While I expect that to close, Hotline tells me that Chocola is running behind his 2004 numbers. Same deal in the Indiana 9th, where Baron Hill is up 49-47 over Republican Mike Sodrel with 28% reporting. Sodrel is also underperforming compared to last cycle (which he won by the slimmest of margins).

7:17 PM: CNN projects Ellsworth over Hostettler--giving the Democrats a pick-up in IN-8. Yarmuth continues to cling to his 50-49 lead over incumbent Northrup in the KY-03 with 83% counted.

7:14 PM: Kos calls pick ups in Ohio (Senate and Governor), as well as Massachusetts (Governor). Also, he calls a hold for the Democratic governor in Illinois (which looked like a close contest for awhile).

7:09 PM: 23% counted, Webb is leading Allen by 50-49 margin. About half the votes have been counted in Fairfax, aside from that, Northern Virginia still is not in.

7:05 PM: 38% counted, Republican Vern Buchanan is up 54-46 in the race for Katherine Harris' old seat. This was supposed to be a key Democratic pickup.

7:00 PM: Rightwing pundit Bill Kristol: "Do you want perverts and child molestors to be let out of prison?" Personally, I'll settle for letting them out of Congress.

6:57 PM: 81% counted in KY-03, Yarmuth is still up 50-49. This one is going to the wire.

6:55 PM: Hotline claims that Alexandria City (N. VA) is voting the same split as it did in the '05 Governor's race, with higher turnout. That's great news for Webb, since he needs a big NoVA turnout and Democrats won the governor's mansion in 2005.

6:49 PM: Allen is up 55-44 in Virginia with 10% counted. Northern Virginia has not started reporting however.

6:45 PM: Dogfight in the Indiana 9th where Democrat Baron Hill is trying to recapture his seat from Mike Sodrel, who beat him last year. Sodrel is up 150 votes with 19% counted. Meanwhile, Yarmuth is closing strong, up 51-48 with 74% counted in the KY-03.

6:41 PM: Only 18% of the vote has been tabulated in John Hostettler's 8th Indiana district, but his Democratic challenger is up 70/30. Worse news for Hostettler--most of that 18% is from his district's 2nd largest county, where Democrat Brad Ellsworth is running 17 points ahead of his 2004 peer. Worse yet: Ellsworth's home county has yet to report.

Republican's will be pleased to note that Hostettler was long since abandoned for dead by his party, so this really isn't a surprise.

6:36 PM: K-Lo at the National Review reports the exact opposite situation in Maryland compared to Hotline--Steele worried about low turnout in heavily Black PG county.

6:35 PM: No vote has been counted, but pundits are already calling Ohio's governor race for Democrat Ted Strickland. That makes for the first seat pickup by either party tonight.

6:31 PM: I keep hearing conflicting things from Maryland. Now Hotline is reporting skyhigh Black turnout in MD, with many of those voters going for Steele out of frustration that the Dems didn't nominate a Black candidate.

6:21 PM: KY-03 continues to be the only competitive race with a significant amount of votes counted. With 64% of the vote counted, Yarmuth has moved back in front with a 2,600 vote (50-49) lead.

6:18 PM: 55% of the vote counted, Northrup has taken a narrow lead (50-49) in the KY-03.

6:16 PM: Hotline is posting live from here on out, so I can't give you permalinks, but they're reporting Virginia's same-sex marriage ban will pass (tragically).

6:08 PM: Kos calls Vermont for Sanders. Never really in doubt, but it's still interesting to have a socialist Senator. Also, he calls Lugar winning re-election as Indiana's Senator.

6:06 PM: Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich is still worried about turnout--apparetnly, he still isn't seeing the numbers he wants.

6:03 PM: Democrats got one third of the evangelical vote, according to exit polls. Is that good?

5:57 PM: 37% of precincts reporting, Yarmuth's lead is holding steady.

5:53 PM: High turnout in Wyoming, probably for the at-large congressional district held by Barbara Cubin. Again, opinion is split as to who this benefits, but my money is on Democratic challenger Trauner.

5:51 PM: Yarmuth (D) takes an early lead over Northrup (R) with 15% reporting.

5:50 PM: Conrad Burns: "I'm not in prison." Not yet, anyway.

5:23 PM: I'm grabbing a quick dinner so I can back for the first returns at 6.

5:19 PM: Heavy turnout in Tom Reynolds' New York district. Normally, I'd say this is good for the Democratic challenger, but he's kept a low profile all race and Reynolds claims he's been going all out on GOTV.

5:16 PM: Fox has exit polls on 11 key House races, with Dems up in 6, GOP up in 3, and 2 tied. No word, unfortunately, on which 11 those races are.

5:08 PM: Something is up with the exit polling. Ryan Lizza claims to have seen 5 different results. However, he says that while the margins differ, across every poll Democrats are up in every race but Tennessee, where they are down or tied.

5:06 PM: Ehrlich and Steele are complaining that uniformed men are confiscating their campaign literature. I wonder if it is the same campaign literature that calls them Democrats?

5:04 PM: MoveOn is offering a $250,000 reward to evidence leading to a felony conviction for voter suppression.

5:03 PM: These numbers look a bit more realistic. Still good news for the big D.
Dem Leads:
VA: 52-47
RI: 53-46
PA: 57-42
OH: 57-43
NJ: 52-45
MT: 53-46
MO: 50-48
MD: 53-46

GOPer leads:
TN: 51-48
AZ: 50-46

4:59 PM: The Plank is reporting first wave exits. So far, good news for the Donkey. Numbers are D/R:

OH: 63.7/36.3

CT: 47.6/44.5 (Lieberman/Lamont)

NJ: 59.7/42.1

TN: 50/50

RI: 55.4/44.6

VA: 55.8/44.2

MO: 53.3/46.7

4:57 PM: 70% turnout in Connecticut? I don't think the Senate race is competitive anymore, but that could swamp the three endangered House Republicans trying to hang on there.

4:55 PM: Turnout appears to be high in several crucial races: Virginia, Montana, Missouri, and Tennessee.

4:52 PM: A conflicting report says Dems are happy with what they're seeing in Tennessee. From the same source: Maryland Democratic turnout not what they'd like in Baltimore, but counterbalanced by overperformance in heavily Democratic Montgomery and Prince George's County.

4:50 PM: Took a break to play Halo. No new exit polling data I've seen, but there is some Webb excitement even outside his Northern base.

4:31 PM: Outside of Tennessee, a Dem operative says the exit polls are looking great for Democratic Senate seats. Here's hoping the exits don't break my heart again like they did last time....

4:26 PM: Some early exit poll data. Most important issue: 42%(!) corruption, 40% terrorism, 39% economy, 37% Iraq. Both parties get equal trust on terrorism, so that's a wash. 56% of voters want to leave Iraq, and National Issues are more important than local ones by a 2:1 margin.

4:16 PM: Not that I'm impatient, but it's 5:16 eastern time, and I still don't see any exit polls. I thought they were supposed to be out by 5?

4:12 PM: Apparently, O'Malley is also nervous about sub-par voter turnout.

4:09 PM: Two bits of news from Nevada: Some anecdotal signs that Democrats are running even in rural regions (which woud be huge). On the other hand, equal anecdotal signs that the scandal around Republican Jim Gibbons is not sticking.

4:03 PM: Maryland is apparently ground-zero for sleazy GOP campaign tactics. We better grind these people into dust.

3:58 PM: Kentucky turnout is also high, again, it's unclear who this benefits (Republican GOTV or Democrats getting out their softer supporters?). Another data point indicating that Virginia voters are pouring in.

3:56 PM: Black voters do not appear warm to Michael Steele. Good news to those not looking forward to my prospective suicide.

3:52 PM: Harold Ford is going to have enough trouble without worrying about if his base will turnout.

3:45 PM: Virginia turnout is apparently sky-high. Apparently this is true across the board (blue Northern Virginia as well as red Southeast), so the question is, who does it help? Although Virginia's red tilt makes me nervous, I think Webb benefits for three reasons: 1) High turnout classically helps Dems, 2) Allen's GOTV operation is not supposed to be all that great, suggesting that it isn't his voters coming out, and 3) Who the hell is energized by Allen at this point?

3:43 PM: Took a nice shower (I played tennis earlier today). Also, I have a message for my fellow Marylanders: If you re-elect Ehrlich, I'll be displeased. If you elect Steele, I'll hang myself.

3:27 PM: "Punch Foley to Vote Negron". It's a good campaign slogan for the GOP's uphill race to keep Mark Foley's seat (Foley's name is still on the ballot, so voters who actually want to vote for Negron will have to mark Foley's name).

3:22 PM: Southern Appeal's Feddie and I probably don't agree on much regarding this election, but we do agree on this.

3:17 PM: I'd vote for this guy over maybe half the candidates in the field today.

3:10 PM: Republicans are claiming intimidation from "teachers' union thugs" in the OH-15 (Deborah Pryce's district). Meanwhile, there are reports of a shortage of provisional ballots in GOP precincts in Heather Wilson's NM-1. Both districts are key Democratic pickup targets.

3:02 PM: GOP flyers in Maryland show Republicans Ehrlich and Steele running as Democrats. I suppose its fitting, since they've been running their whole campaign pretending to be Dems anyway. Also, early reports have Ehrlich worried about turnout in key areas for him. Chafee, on the other hand, continues to rise.

2:58 PM: Voting Democratic will get you raped by a scary Black man.

2:57 PM: Indiana may be the House bellweather. 3 hours until the polls close there, with 3 legitimate Democratic pickup opportunities.

2:55 PM: Steve Benen has a list of a few of the assorted nasty things happening around the country as people decide to vote.

Racism and Disloyalty

Following up on my post about the weird "random" comparison warning that a Deval Patrick administration in Massachusetts would show what a Barack Obama presidency would look like, the author of the article (Jules Crittenden) doubled-down in my comments and claimed my post was itself foreshadowing Obama's White House reign. Specifically, he claimed that it indicates that any criticism of Obama would immediately be met with cries of racism. I want to interrogate that claim for a little bit, because I find it interesting.

Let's start with what should be an uncontroversial assumption: In an Obama administration, there will be some criticisms that will be legitimate and others that will be racist (regardless of what we think the actual proportion of each will be). Furthermore, we can be assured that there will be some errors of misidentification--legitimate criticisms tagged as racist and vice versa. Operating from the null hypothesis that "X criticism of Obama is not racist", there are two types of errors we can commit. A "Type I error" would be rejecting that hypothesis when it is, in fact, true--e.g., falsely claiming racism when there is no racist element. This is the type of mistake Mr. Crittenden is worried about. A "Type II error" is the reverse: accepting the null hypothesis when it is really false--e.g., deciding that a criticism is not racist or motivated by racism when it was.

My first observation is that Mr. Crittenden seems utterly unconcerned with the potential for Type II error. That is, he seems quite confident that all or most accusations of racism are false positives, and that it is highly unlikely that they have any grounding in reality. Yet, this seems to be somewhat of a leap--surely, America's history with racism is not so far removed that we can so sure that racism actually is not playing a role in these critiques? That's wildly optimistic in my view, and not born out by the relevant data on how race and racism continues to play a role in modern society. Second, it mistakes how these accusations tend to play out in the media. With rare exceptions, the original claim of racism does not "stick". What does stick is the claim that a Black politician is "playing the race card." In other words, the general public is overwhelmingly likely to accept the null hypothesis (even when it is explicitly challenged), making it more likely that Type II errors are occurring relative to Type I errors. Obama is particularly vulnerable to this, as his status as a Black politician with "cross-over appeal" to Whites makes any accusation that he's lapsing into old "race-card" politics particularly damaging.

Also, I'd like to make a comparative point with how race is being used here. The comparison I'm going to make is to accusations of disloyalty. That is, the claim that X criticism of a Repubican Presidency is a disloyal act. Certainly, it happens (see, e.g., here for Richard Nixon; here, here and here for Bush). And like with race, when the accusation is leveled without cause, it should give us pause--false claims of disloyalty are serious offenses that undermine the political process and pervert democratic legitimacy. So if we are more likely to make false IDs of "disloyal" criticisms compared to false IDs of "race" criticisms, then we should be more concerned with candidacies that seem likely to exacerbate this pre-existing bias.

Again, of all the criticisms, there is some proportion that are in fact "disloyal" and some proportion that aren't. Of course, an actual case where a disloyal or treasonous criticism is made is quite serious (just like actual racism is quite serious). And likewise, there are undoubtedly cases of false positives where a critique is tagged as "disloyal" but really isn't. With a null hypothesis of "X critique is not disloyal", we can apply the same Type I/Type II error question and see how it stacks up with race.

A quick look at history shows that accusations of disloyalty rarely actually pan out. Across the Red Scare, Japanese Internment and McCarthyism (to name a few), the trend has generally been that we've accused people of being disloyal when there was no grounds for it (Type I errors). There's no reason to think differently of the modern day--for all the talk about Democratic disloyalty, Nancy Pelosi has not been caught spying for al-Qaeda and Baghdad Bob was not Harry Reid in disguise. With race, by contrast, we historically make Type II errors--that is, the historical trend is for America to claim it isn't acting racist when it in fact is. Even in the depths of Jim Crow, you'd be surprise how often die-hard southerners would claim that, no, their laws weren't racist, they were perfectly neutral, constitutional statutes and any disenfranchisement of Black voters is pure coincidence.

Basically, historically we've been more likely to "miss" real acts of racism and less likely to falsely identify legitimate acts as racism. Conversely, we've also historically been more likely to falsely identify "traitors" than we have been to miss real Benedict Arnolds. But despite being more rational, this fear that electing GOP officers raises the likelihood of criticisms being silenced under the guise of "disloyalty" is rarely brought up vis-a-vis the constant fretting over the race card. I'd assert that this, in of itself, is indicative of racial bias--we over-estimate the "threat" of a Black president ("We couldn't challenge him--everything would be called racism!") compared to threats associated with other more mainstream actors.

Special shout-out to my Statistics 115 class for giving me the tools to write this post!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Last Call

Alright, here are my final predictions:

Senate: Democrat net gain of 5. Democratic pick-ups in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island, Montana, and Virginia. Democrats hold Maryland and New Jersey, Republicans hold Arizona, Tennessee, and Missouri in a squeaker.

Governor: Democrat net gain of 6. Democratic pick-ups in Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, Arkansas, Colorado, and Ohio. Pawlenty pulls it out in Minnesota, Knowles surge comes too late in Alaska.

House: Democratic net gain of 27.

Now, we wait.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Crescat's Moved

Crescat Sententia, home of Will Baude and his army of minions, has moved. The new URL is Because of the technicalities behind the move (his old domain was bought by another company), he can't post a notification at his old site, and needs to rely on word of mouth. Which I'm providing.

Crescat is a spectacular blog, and deserves your patronage. It's a bit spartan right now as Will and company try and build it back up, but I assure you that it will be worth your time in the coming weeks and months. So update your blogrolls, and check it out.

Warning: Black Leaders Ahead!

The Boston Herald has a rather pecuilar column on how Massachusetts impacts national politics. The thesis is that Massachusetts' true blue voting habits "show America what could be and America generally sees it and acts accordingly: runs in the other direction." Okay, sure, I guess--although I'm not sure the reverse dynamic doesn't occur with Mississippi, South Dakota, or even Texas. But what really struck me was this line--almost a throw-away:
With the likely election of Deval Patrick as governor, we'll give America a brave new Dukakis, not to mention an advance glance at an Obama administration. Watch and learn. It is perhaps the best 2008 gift we, Massachusetts, could give the GOP.

How does Patrick link to Obama? Well, they're both Democrats. But there are lots of Democrats out there--surely Patrick isn't the first one that will make voters realize that Democrats do run some major states (Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan...). It's highly unlikely that the author is trying to connect Patrick to Obama's demonstrated policy brilliance, since the point of the piece is to warn us of the prospective threat of Obama on the horizon. They're both rather progressive, but again, that hardly is a unique bond they share, and since this sort of writer is the type to merge every Democrat to the left of Zell Miller into one indistinguishable blob of scary liberalism, that's hardly persuasive. To these authors, Patrick will be as indicative of "liberal" Obama as "liberal" Hillary Clinton as "liberal" Evan Bayh as "liberal" Kent Conrad. Moreover, a Patrick administration (a progressive Democrat presiding over the most liberal state in America) would likely be very different from an Obama presidency (a progressive Democrat presiding over a still divided and rather moderate country). So what could it be, what could it be?

Could it be that Patrick and Obama are both Black?

Am I reaching? The standard I use on these things is "unexplainable but by race." In other words, we assume that race is operating on at least some level (even if subconscious) if there is no other persuasive reason why the racial parallel is drawn. There really is little that uniquely distinguishes Obama and Patrick particularly from other progressive Democrats (that a conservative would be willing to admit) aside from the fact that they are rising Black politicians who have demonstrated cross-over appeal to Whites. Black politicians = scary. Don't be fooled by their sterling pedigrees and soothing speeches. They're still Black (and they don't publicly kowtow to far-right conservative orthodoxy ala Blackwell or Steele). And thus, to the right, they can't be trusted--even more than comparable White liberals.

Via Powerline.

Put Out

Best response yet to the Ted Haggard scandal: He went gay because his wife didn't put out enough.
Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors' wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband's sin, but she may not be helping him either.

I'm reminded of the classic Simpsons exchange:
Bart: Why can't we wear sandals to church? Jesus wore sandals!

Homer: Well, maybe if he had proper arch support, they wouldn't have caught him!

In any event, clearly the solution to the homosexual agenda is for women to become more "sexually available." I'm glad the Christian right is on board.

Via Andrew Sullivan