Bloggers log on with bad news for Case
IF blogs and the Internet are leading the way in American politics, U.S. Rep. Ed Case should not log on, because the national political gossip rates Case's challenge to U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka a "fool's journey."
First up in the cautionary words is an exquisitely complex and nearly indecipherable 2005 study of why incumbent senators win. Three political scientists, Gautam Gowrisankaran, Matthew Mitchell and Andrea Moro, reduced the whole thing to more equations than I could understand, but they also tallied the wins and losses for incumbent senators.
Since 1914, when the U.S. Senate was first elected by direct vote, there have been 914 direct elections, excluding special elections. Of the 204 incumbent losses, just 43 happened in a primary.
That's right, just 43 incumbent senators since 1914 have lost in a primary fight.
The "Daily Kos," one of the most popular political blog sites, immediately registered the shock waves of Case's decision to go up against the 30-year congressional veteran.
At last check nearly 80 commentaries were filed. Some were remarkably unfriendly.
"Both my husband & I burst out laughing when it came on the news at dinner time. He's toast," wrote one observer.
Another countered, saying: "Akaka has a fine voting record but, I'm sorry, I expect more from a senator."
"A few more Danny Akakas in the Senate would make it a more humane and decent place than it currently is," another blogger fired back.
On the Politics1.com Web site, another of the big blogs, the Akaka-Case match-up drew more than 250 comments.
Many were along the lines of "There's no need for a bitter primary that could potentially kill Case's career. This is among the dumbest moves a candidate can make, challenging an incumbent in a primary. It only rarely succeeds in anything."
But the discussion wandered off, as it usually does on the Web, this time into a discussion of whether Duane "Dog" Chapman should give up his bounty hunter-television life and run for office in Hawaii.
Case, the cousin of Steve Case, the former chief executive and chairman of America Online, is no novice to Internet campaigning. His Web page during the campaign for governor four years ago was first-rate. Observers noted that he also turned on a "Case for Senate" Web page moments after he finished making his campaign announcement.
But as far as the national press goes, Case is probably happier with this weekend report from one of Capitol Hill's political gurus, Charlie Cook, who wrote in his politics column:
"Akaka is nearly invisible in the Senate. His extremely low profile bolsters ... Case's argument that ... the state would be wise to have a younger senator building seniority."
Case and Akaka won't be relying on voters from the mainland to win, but now both men are comfortable in getting encouraging words from afar.
writes on politics every Sunday in the Star-Bulletin. He can be reached at 525-8630 or by e-mail at email@example.com