It's gonna be really, really hard to top yesterday's Blagojevich arrest news, so let's start with that:
Family story: My maternal grandmother's family roots were in rural northern Missouri (so are my wife's), an area so Republican that the town they came from is called Unionville as in Civil War Union. Mom tells stories from when FDR died. She was a small child and at first thought it meant Dewey would be president. Then the family began hearing from Missouri kinfolk who they hadn't heard from in years: "Oh no! That Pendergast crook Truman is president! The country's going straight to hell!"
As for me, I think the feller did pretty darn good, and I keep a framed Dewey Defeats Truman pic on my desk.
According to several experts in conspiracy theories, and in the psychology of people who believe in conspiracy theories, there's little chance those people who think Obama is barred from the presidency will ever be convinced otherwise.
People who believe in a conspiracy theory "develop a selective perception, their mind refuses to accept contrary evidence," Chip Berlet, a senior analyst with Political Research Associates who studies such theories, says. "As soon as you criticize a conspiracy theory, you become part of the conspiracy."
See the collected works of Lyndon LaRouche for more details.
Victory one: A Republican incumbent Senator in Georgia defeated a Democratic challenger.
Victory two: An unknown, new GOPer with a great story and a platform of integrity defeated a convicted felon whose district demography has changed significantly from when he was first elected.
Victory three: a Republican narrowly defeated a Democrat to replace a retiring incumbent Republican in the House.
All three races took place in states won easily by Sen. John McCain.
I'd add: As late as October 10, the ratings had the Georgia Senate race as "Safe Republican," yet Jim Martin forced Chambliss into a runoff. And there's just no way to extrapolate the Cao win into anything more than a vote against William Jefferson. As for the third race, if it had been on Nov. 4 it would have been just one more Democratic near-miss in a deep red district, buried in the larger picture of a big Democratic year.
Matt Stoller: "This has more of a rural farmer and union feel than the progressive caucus, with its heavily New Left and multi-ethnic approach, but policy-wise it is substantially different than the Blue Dogs."
To me, this is more about Braley positioning himself within the House than within Iowa. But it also shows that he's thinking long-term, and toward a long career in the House and perhaps a climb up the leadership ladder. And that has electoral implications in a state that's certain to lose a House seat in 2012.