For those who don't know: Charlie Cook is one of the more respected political handicappers out there, with a solid reputation for accurate forecasting. I can personally attest to that, given that in 2008 I glumly used his site to assist me in the task of watching things spiral downward for the GOP. As you can imagine, the 2010 election cycle has been a lot more enjoyable in that regard: and never so much so as recently, when Charlie Cook broke a rule.
You see, he doesn't like to rate incumbents in trouble as being more in trouble than "Toss-Up." It's a reasonable restriction, given that incumbency remains a powerful advantage for candidates, even when they're in trouble - and Charlie Cook followed that rule back in 2008; even at the end of October of 2008, the only non-open seats that made it past the cut-off line were Tim Mahoney (D), who had just been discovered (if I remember correctly) to have used campaign money to pay off a mistress; and Tom Feeney (R), who was... Tom Feeney, really. In other words: in a bad year for incumbent Republicans, Cook unbent enough to call two beforehand.
Cook is already forecasting twelve, this cycle.
There is no question that Democrats have their backs to the wall. It's unprecedented to see so many incumbents running behind their challengers.
While the Cook Political Report has a general policy of not putting unindicted incumbents in categories worse than our "Toss Up" column, which is akin to the critical ward of a hospital, we are now looking at moving a dozen or so Democratic House incumbents into the Lean Republican column..
Below is Cook's List of Dead Incumbent Democrats Walking:
|AZ-01||Ann Kirkpatrick||Paul Gosar|
|CO-04||Betsy Markey||Cory Gardner|
|FL-08||Alan Grayson||Daniel Webster|
|FL-24||Suzanne Kosmas||Sandy Adams|
|IL-11||Debbie Halvorson||Adam Kinzinger|
|OH-01||Steve Driehaus||Steve Chabot|
|OH-15||Mary Jo Kilroy||Steve Stivers|
|PA-03||Kathy Dahlkemper||Mike Kelly|
|TX-17||Chet Edwards||Bill Flores|
|VA-02||Glenn Nye||Scott Rigell|
|VA-05||Tom Perriello||Robert Hurt|
|WI-08||Steve Kagen||Reid Ribble|
And that's just the list of Democrats that Cook has pronounced dead on arrival; he at the same time declared another half-dozen as being Toss-ups, which up to now was as bad as it got in Charlie's system. Most of those names are no real surprise; there's a couple who have been pretty much targets since before they were even sworn in, and most of the rest have achieved that status months ago. What's interesting is that they're in this mess even though they knew full well that they were at risk.
Then again, knowing that a sixteen ton weight is rapidly descending towards your head is nice and all, but if you don't have any way to do anything about it, well...
Moe Lane (crosspost)