2006 winners and losers

–by Jay Stevens 

Winner: Jon Tester. It wasn’t the election he was shooting for. But he ran a decent campaign largely on the strength of his character and experience, and he won just enough votes in the rural areas to allow the cities to carry him into office.

Loser: Conrad Burns. Let’s face it. Tester was a great candidate and sparked enthusiasm in places like Missoula, but it was Burns a lot of people were voting against. That’s not a bad thing; it’s good to see that voters feel they should hold their representatives accountable. The rumors are swirling about investigations into Burns’ Abramoff-dealings, and I suspect he’ll be back in the spotlight soon enough. This can’t be a good time for our former junior Senator.

Winner: Missoula. As a farmer and third-generation Montanan, Tester was supposed to have crossover appeal. But in the end, only a fraction of his vote came from those crossing over. In rural counties, he picked up maybe an extra 20% over Democratic House candidate, Monica Lindeen, and I suspect a number of those votes were cast against Burns. In the end it was turnout in the pro-Tester neighborhoods that won this election, most notably in Missoula, where voter turnout may have exceeded 70 percent, of which two-thirds pulled for Tester. Missoula now has to be considered a political block to be reckoned with in the state, not just an isolated outpost of crazed hippies.

Loser: Rural Montana. They wanted Conrad Burns. They really, really, really wanted Conrad Burns. Some rural counties pulled for our former Senator at a 70 percent clip. Tester is apparently less popular in the rural part of the state than Schweitzer was in his bid for a Senate seat. Schweitzer lost that race; Tester won his. As the western cities grow, the eastern part of the state is in danger of losing some political clout.

Winner: Howard Dean and the DNC. Thanks to Dean’s 50-state strategy, Montana Democrats had the organization foundations to mount an effective GOTV attack in the last weekend before the election. Dean had been criticized by Democratic leaders for squandering funds to bulk up state offices in the reddest of districts, but it paid off here in Montana last week.

Loser: The DLC. A “centrist” organization that has vied to be the dominant force in Democratic politics, it was a complete non-factor in this race. Can you name a single DLC candidate outside of Hilary Clinton? Bill Clinton’s recent conference, in which he explains how the 2006 election results is a clear rejection of extremist ideology is being ignored by virtually everybody. Let’s face it. The DNC organized; the netroots inspired and opened up the process; the DCCC and DSCC provided the funds.

Winner: The left blogosphere and netroots activism. One of the main criticisms of the blogs was that no blog-supported candidate had ever won a general election. Well, 2006 put this crit to rest. Two Senators — Tester and Webb – were both Net-supported. Not to mention some valuable House pickups. While Connecticut’s Ned Lamont lost his general-election bid, his anti-war campaign energized Democrats everywhere and forced the issue on the nation. Would there have been a sweep without Lamont? Not likely.

Loser: The DC punditry. Man, did these guys get everything wrong. They poo-pooed the notion that Iraq and civil liberties were winning campaign issues. All summer they denies the possibility that the Democrats would even win the House. They said the Burns was going to win back his Senate seat because of tax rhetoric. They said Idaho would never be in play. They said bloggers were extremists, the electorate conservative, Bush suffering only a temporary setback. They depicted Karl Rove as a genius. In short, keep it tuned right here, folks.

Winner: People-power. We couldn’t have done it with the thousands of small donations, Tester house parties, and the amazing amount of door-knocking, phone calling, and chatter on the streets and roads of Montana.

Loser: Money. Morrison outspent Tester – what? – three to one in the primary. Burns outspent Tester – what? – two or three to one in the general election. The GOP flew in lawyers and volunteers and had robo-calls and push-polls, and Tester had you. They lost.

So what about you? Who were your winners and losers?

  1. You forgot that the nation is a winner.
    As it is said in ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ the direction the nation took, ‘Its just a jump to the left…’
    Woo hoo!!!

  2. squid

    I guess one would have to count, on the winners side, all of the socialist and communist countries and the terrorists that are celebrating with you. That’s not me saying that, it’s them.

    Personally, I think it’s much to early for winners and losers to be announced since the ballgame doesn’t even start until January and who knows how long it will last or what the outcome will be.

    Go ahead and cheer though and don’t let your “friends”, in foreign lands, have all the “fun.”

  3. Yeah, like in Communist England, where some headlines read, “Thank You, Americans!”

    Of course our Capitalist allies in China were not so thrilled. They’re worried the U.S. will start paying attention to human rights’ and civil liberties issues again.

  4. Big Swede

    Losers-Gov Schweitzer lost control of the state house, failed in his efforts to knock off Brown, and had too much attention diverted from him to Tester.
    Winners-Conservative Dem’s, pro war Lieberman, the seven more states that passed anti gay marriage laws.

  5. Jen. That Jen.

    winner – Butte – giving 69% of our votes to Jon, in the face of whoring by the former jr. senator from missouri, this town has faced financial devastation in the past, and it was dangled and threatened against us if we went with Jon. (not that Msla would want to admit that we’re more D than they are *shudder*)

    loser – Brad Johnson – armed with nothing but time and money from the federal government he turned this voter-suppressed election into a clusterf@*!. This guy…dang. The primary for SS will certainly be full in 2008.

  6. cass

    are the legislative races over and done? Does any blog really cover the legislature?

    Maybe I should start one.

  7. Losers – the Montana Democratic Party.

    They let Lindeen get slaughtered, and lost their grip on the Montana legislature because they paid too much attention to Burns/Tester.

  8. I forgot one – Ned Lamont.

    He campaigned as being anti-war, the Democrats threw Lieberman out of the party, and Lamont still lost big.

  9. Winner: Roger Koopman
    Loser: That would be, ah, well, hey, wait a minute, I gotta go puke…

  10. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

    Winner: the pen. SCHWEITZER’S VETO PEN! Let’s see what the Rethugs think they can get past Brian! Luv it! Even when the win, THEY’RE LOSERS!

    Oh, and one more loser: now that Cornpone Burnsie is outta the loop, looks as if the justice dept. can go after him! I’d say that ol’ corny better keep just a little in reserve for his continuing lawyer bills! He can run, but he can’t hide! He’ll soon be doin’ a different kind of whoring instead of lobbyist whoring………….IN THE PEN!

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