Thursday, May 11, 2006


Place Your Bets...

There has been an interesting discourse lately within the Tennessee aspects of the Blogosphere regarding Harold Ford, Jr.'s chances of winning the U.S. Senate race come November. First, the professional blogger, Kleinheider, wrote at Volunteer Voters that he estimated Ford's chances of taking the seat at 50/50, apparently due to what he perceives as difficulties that Ed Bryant would have in the primary that the former congressman would not have in the general election.

Nathan Moore, a Nashville conservative who I count as a friend but for some reason supports Bob Corker, took umbrage with Kleinheider's handicapping of the race. Moore even cited prospective margins of victory for the Republican candidates, although he didn't really match names to numbers.

Kleinheider came back to accept Moore's challenge, spelling out why he thought we could just as easily be looking at Senator Harold Ford, Jr., as compared to unemployed, never-worked-another-job-in-his-life-besides-Congress Harold Ford, Jr., come next January. The nuts and bolts of the argument relate to Ford being a more polished candidate than the aloof Bob Clement, and Lamar Alexander only beat Clement by ten points in 2002. The pro then put forth that a little wager might be appropriate. (Of course, given Van Hilleary's anti-gambling speeches and contrarian acceptance of pro-gambling money, I find it ironic that no one from Hilleary's camp has accepted some of A.C.'s action.)

Moore, like Charlie Daniels before him, decided to take that bet. He cites President Bush's high poll numbers amongst Tennessee Republicans as proof, under the auspices that Ford would need to skim some Republican votes to take the seat.

So, where do I come down on this? Well, I think it greatly depends on the nominee, and, thus, I have to agree with Kleinheider. Like A.C., I also consider Ford to be much more dangerous than Bob Clement, who I thought to be quite unelectable. I remember listening to Ford for the first time (WAY back) and thinking that he would be a force that would one day need to be reckoned with. That day of reckoning is quickly approaching, but he has more than helped out the Republicans by providing tons of personal ammunition and an inconsistent (and that might not be harsh enough) voting record.

I also question whether Ford needs any Republican votes. I tend to side with Senator Alexander on this one, who made it a part of his stump speech through the various Lincoln Day Dinners in 2005 to remind Tennessee Republicans that they are still not the majority party in this state. It's a year later, but I don't think that much has changed.

Back to the candidates - I think that one candidate (Bryant) has the demeanor and differentiated voting record from Ford to win by the numbers Moore suggests. I think one candidate (Corker) would allow for Ford to run to the right of the Republican nominee, possibly deenergizing the base and allowing for Ford to win by 3-4 points. The final candidate (Hilleary) is a toss-up. His voting record is conservative, but he has a habit of being abrasive to voters and party operatives. Even more worrisome is that his campaign staff and supporters are even more abrasive. I could easily envision a scenario where a Hilleary win would spark a wave of pompous, rude, and unprofessional celebration - both from the campaign and certain egotistical websites - that would erode the conservative base for Hilleary, ala 2002. Since I would put such sophomoric acts as a 50% probability in the occurrence of a Hilleary win, I have to agree with A.C.'s 50/50 shot of Ford winning.

Unlike Nathan and A.C., I won't put forth any wagers. I figure having the future of the Great State of Tennessee on the line is rich enough for my blood.

I don't think Ford's chances are that good, but we'll see.

I hate to bring this up, but although Ford does not have a good voting record on immigration control, his record is better than Frist's in some immigration-control categories.
But nowhere near as good as Ed Bryant's. Ed Bryant has the best record on immigration control of anyone running for Senate in Tennessee.
Donna -

I agree 100% - on both Bryant's stellar record and Frist's poor performance.


Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?