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I don’t pretend to be familiar with Connecticut newspapers, but judging from this article the J-I must be a Democratic-leaning one: there’s a palpable sense of angry disbelief that… that… that Linda McMahon could possibly be wrecking Dick Blumenthal’s smooth ascension to Countrywide Dodd’s Senate seat. I mean, the author’s saying stuff about Blumenthal that I might hesitate to write, given that he’s – for now – still leading outside the margin of error:
Blumenthal is an even weaker candidate… gives an impression of total obsequiousness as a candidate… A politician who has no respect for himself… A politician who runs away from his party, his president, and his own record… caught in an embarrassing fairy tale about his combat service in Vietnam… this performance was an award winner for political malpractice and tone-deafness…some sort of independent… The man is so afraid of losing that he is headed for a self-fulfilling prophecy par excellence… Democrats in Washington and Chicago, calculating ways to hold the Senate should send their money to Delaware or Pennsylvania or Colorado… Unless Blumenthal gets a guts transplant, this race is gone; this candidate is hopeless, doomed, toast.
Bolding mine. I never thought that I would see a Democrat in Connecticut say that about a Democratic candidate for Senate in 2010 not named Dodd. At least, not before Labor Day.
Blumenthal’s problem here is that he… well, he’s got two problems, which are sort of related. The first is that he’s created a bad campaign environment for himself, no doubt because he looked at the twenty point lead of a few months ago and assumed that this would be enough to coast on for a while. Which is why Dick’s in a position where he has to explain his flip-flopping on the value of the stimulus*, or the more recent revelation that Blumenthal’s pious January claim that he didn’t take PAC money apparently didn’t apply to either his days as a state legislator, or else his activities after January. Those things don’t matter much when you’re supposed to win anyway; but if you suddenly can’t count on it, they end up mattering more.
And that ties into the second problem Blumenthal has: his campaign clearly underestimated Linda McMahon. Come, I will conceal nothing from you. While I was largely staying out of the primary I thought that Rob Simmons was going to have the best shot at the general election, and that it was not going to be all that good a shot. But the McMahon campaign is very good. It’s not just the money, although the money is going to give Democrats screaming fits. McMahon’s team has been on-message, engaged, and energetic.
So, is it too late for Blumenthal? Apparently, the closer you get to Connecticut the more likely it is that you find people ready to say “Yes.” I can’t imagine that this is good news for Democrats, particularly ones who keep watching the number of Democratic in-play Senate seats rise and the number of Republican in-play ones shrink…
*You have to wonder why Blumenthal hates the stimulus now, but apparently not back in 2009. Although I suppose that he might have – but just didn’t feel comfortable speaking truth to power to the Vice President just then? Wait: is that better, or worse?
Crossposted to Moe Lane.