Most of it was pretty worthless.An aide to former GOP Senator George Allen, criticizing the Romney campaign’s efforts in Virginia. Allen ran for his old seat this cycle; his campaign predicted that an effective VA operation by the Romney camp would put Allen over the finish line. That didn’t happen; Allen ultimately lost to former governor Tim Kaine. The aide in question also blamed outside advertising for Allen’s loss: “Well over half [the interest group ads] weren’t on our message, weren’t on our points we tried to convey and they weren’t well-done.” source
» Not much bang for the buck: Tons of money is needed to get a political campaign off the ground, but that doesn’t mean being rich out of the gate is a sure-fire win for wannabe politicians. In 2010, wrestling magnate Linda McMahon spent $50 million on her own Senate campaign only to be crushed by Richard Blumenthal, who’d raised a (relatively) modest $8.7 million. More recently, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst lost the GOP primary after giving $24 million to his own war chest—the most so far of any candidate this cycle. But this doesn’t seem to be discouraging wealthy candidates: McMahon is running for the Senate again this year, and her $8.8 million contribution constitutes 90% of what she’s raised so far.
We feel really good. We’ve had some good fortune in North Dakota, in Massachusetts, in Nevada, in Arizona. We have some good candidates all over. I feel very comfortable where we’re going to wind up in November.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid • Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday about the chances of the Senate staying in Democratic hands. He cites the decision by Olympia Snowe to step down in Maine and the decision by Bob Kerrey to run in Nebraska as other signs that the party will retain power in the Senate come November.
Snowe’s retirement will have many lamenting the endangered moderate and wondering how we can turn back the clock. But we can’t. About that, Snowe is right. Polarization is with us now and will be with us for the foreseeable future. The question is whether we will permit it to paralyze our political system and undermine our country or whether we will accept it and make the necessary accommodations.Ezra Klein • Arguing that the problem with congress isn’t partisanship, or ideological polarization, but rather that the institutions and procedures codified in our political system aren’t well-equipped to handle a polarized congress. Klein’s prime example is the filibuster, which as we’ve seen the past couple of years, is absolutely crippling when the two parties in the Senate don’t agree on anything. “Our system, as any historian will tell you, was built by men who hated parties and anticipated their absence from American politics,” Klein says. “But as the two parties have polarized, we’ve learned that a system built for consensus is not able to properly function amid constant partisan competition.” source (via • follow)
» What’s going on? Well, it’s a mix of this and that. A few of the retirees clearly weren’t going to win re-election, namely John Ensign and “Cowboy Joe” Lieberman. A few could have won but faced uphill battles (Jim Webb, Kent Conrad). Hawaii’s Daniel Akaka is just really old, and Kay Bailey Hutchison had promised that she’d retire if she lost her bid for Texas Governor (which she did). But some of the retirements — Jeff Bingaman and John Kyl in particular — seemingly came out of nowhere. We’ll just have to take ‘em at their word when they say what politicians always say when they retire: they want to spend more time with their families.