I’ve been saying this for a while in a variety of ways.
Not too long ago campaign reporters were stripped of their press tags if they did not invoke Tip O’Neill’s mantra (“All politics is local”) in at least half their stories. Now the dominant orthodoxy is that all politics is national. But one of the biggest questions to be tested in November is whether candidate quality matters in individual races — or whether the adroit and clueless alike get carried off to Congress by the same national wave.
Every wave election has its Eric “Tickle Me” Massa or Helen “Black Helicopter” Chenoweth. But if the people have any agency then the quality of the candidates matters. If I live in Ohio, I can simultaneously be angry about the state of the economy and my choice for Democrat while still being cognizant that John Kasich and Rob Portman are whores for the Wall Street banksters and Republican Party that cratered the economy. I’m not voting for them. And I’m not voting for Rand Paul because I’m tired of seeing the Senate deadlocked and unable to even confirm the president’s nominees. I’m not voting for Ken Buck or Joe Miller or Sharron Angle because they want to force rape victims to bear their assailant’s child. I’m not voting for Alvin Greene because he’s totally unqualified for the job, despite the fact that his opponent is the most odious member of the Senate.
The people hate Republicans even more than they hate the Democrats, and that means that, if they are acting rationally, they aren’t going to put the Republicans back in charge. Maybe the people aren’t feeling too rational at the moment with 10% unemployment, and maybe they’ll register their displeasure by voting out a few Democrats who don’t deserve to lose. But I am still skeptical that the Republicans won’t suffer for their flawed candidates. It’s one thing to give someone new a chance. It’s another thing to hand control over to people whose views you don’t agree with at all.