Democrats & Liberals Archives

Woody's 2006 Senate Review

If recent reports can be believed, Jim Webb’s apparent victory in Virginia is all but a foregone conclusion.

The classy thing to do in situations like this is to wait for someone to point out what a great job you did. I don’t have any class, so I’ll just come out and say it: As long as Webb’s win holds up, my final round of predictions was perfect.

Not only was the margin correct, but I had the Democrats taking over the right seats. Not only did I pick the right seats, my feeling about how close they would be was also pretty close to the mark. This is how I listed them "in order of certainty": PA, OH, RI, MT, VA, MO.

Now look at the margins of victory, using the vote counts from CNN:

PA - 18%
OH - 12%
RI - 6%
MT - .7%
VA - .3%
MO - 2%

And now for my favorite prediction of all. On 10/1, I wrote:

I’m not predicting that Rick Santorum is going to lose. I predict that he is going to get beaten like a rented mule.

An incumbent getting beaten 59-41 definitely qualifies him for "rented mule" status. Of course these days you couldn't even get away with treating a mule like that, rented or not. Cruelty to animals and so forth.

All kidding aside, it is pretty remarkable what happened to Santorum. He didn't commit any crime that I am aware. Nor did he "get caught with a dead woman or a live boy", as they used to say. It was just Santorum being Santorum. It would be interesting to see if there are any similar examples of incumbents getting pummeled like that without engaging in some kind of misconduct. (Mike DeWine got beat pretty bad too, but not in as quite a breathtaking manner.) After all, an incumbent by definition is someone who was popular enough last time to win.

Posted by Woody Mena at November 9, 2006 8:08 AM
Comment #194231

Santorum may not have committed any particular but he did commit political suicide.

In Santorum’s brain there was, an almost Manichaean vision defined only in good versus evil. And he viewed himself the crusader of good and anyone that disagreed with him evil. In PA, there’s a lot of people that take offense that that characterization.

He called Casey, basically, an infidel and accused him of aiding the Jihads by saying he funded them.

He told the working mothers of the state that they are doing their families harm by working.

He was the only idiot from Pa to go to Schiavo’s bedside for a photo-op in an effort to prove his holiness.

He, in the eyes of the voters of Pennsylvania, is arrogant, was arrogant and will continue to be arrogant.

The voters said no.

Posted by: john trevisani at November 9, 2006 9:10 AM
Comment #194234


All good points.

The interesting thing is that this has actually been his second term. So he made it through an entire six years in the Senate (that is 94-00) without revealing how arrogant and, as you say, Manichean he is. But clearly, he did do something things in the past few years that stuck out.

Posted by: Woody Mena at November 9, 2006 9:37 AM
Comment #194239

You rock. You really rock. The left rocks.

It’s time to post this:


Posted by: Max at November 9, 2006 9:58 AM
Comment #194250



Chance plays a role, of course. VA and MT are within statisitcal variation. (I cannot just make a blanet congratulations, you know)

Posted by: Jack at November 9, 2006 10:59 AM
Comment #194254


Not true. Check your final prediction thread…I did post that your predictions were close to 100% accuracy (your rankings in terms of the closeness of the race were slightly off).

If you never read it, I’ll repeat: Nicely done!

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 9, 2006 11:20 AM
Comment #194255

Very well done, Woody! Impressively so.
john, I think you’re spot on about Santorum.

Posted by: Adrienne at November 9, 2006 11:21 AM
Comment #194256

Hey Woody,
It wasn’t lost on me. You and the McLaughlin Group had the exact same predictions for every Senate race and on election night I thought about how you all were looking so prophetic. I’m sure McLaughlin will be pointing it out as well. Personally I thought the Dems were going to come up one short, even though individually I was leaning to all the same results you came up with. It just seemed unlikely that Missouri AND Virginia would go our way.

Posted by: Walker Willingham at November 9, 2006 11:24 AM
Comment #194260


Statistical variation doesn’t apply when you’ve got deep powers of perception like I do.;)

Okay, truthfully all I really did was trust the polls. If you look at the nonpartisan polls, and look at them without prejudice, you can’t be too far off.

Posted by: Woody Mena at November 9, 2006 11:32 AM
Comment #194262

Quick, look at this picture on CNN.

Is it just me, or do Bush and Pelosi almost look like they’re flirting? George and Nancy sittin’ in a tree…

Posted by: Woody Mena at November 9, 2006 11:34 AM
Comment #194265


Not having been in Pennsylvania much for almost 8 years (4 in college in Ohio, almost 4 in the Army) I’m probably not the best authority, but I’d be willing to bet that John’s assessment is on point. I also think the Democrats successfully tied Santorum to Bush, who lost PA and has declined in popularity for the last 2 years. Most Pennsylvanians outside of Philadelphia are socially conservative but are also inclined to vote Democratic due to the still powerful union influence.

Oh, and with the bile rising in my gullet, congrats. At least I won’t have to make cracks about Rove being a Sith Lord anymore. And that shot of Bush and Pelosi made my skin crawl, it reminded me of Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.

Posted by: 1LT B at November 9, 2006 11:58 AM
Comment #194283

I didn’t know that GW and Nancy were a large elderly black man. I guess I wasn’t quick enough.

Seriously, I’ll miss Ed Bradley.

Congrats, Woody. Spot on , Ol Chap.

Posted by: gergle at November 9, 2006 1:33 PM
Comment #194290

1LT B:
As a person of Penn, i will say this: Santorum in Pennsylvania never had support from the Democrats.

In 2006, Santorum lost the women vote. Republican and Independent women ran from Santorum faster than a page from Foley.

But Pennsylvania has changed and will continue to change. Pennsylvania can be looked at as the four distinct areas: the Philadelphia-region, the Harrisburg-region, the Pittsburgh-region and the Alabama-region. The Alabama-region is completely rural, religious and gun-toting. They’re not as conservative as you think; just don’t take away their guns.

But in the suburbs surrounding the Philadelphia, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Bucks, there has been a political transformation going on for years. In 2004, Kerry carried Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Buck even though there were more registered Republicans in each county. Chester County was the only county that didn’t carry Kerry, but lost 51-48. That’s saying a lot because the registration in Chester County is 2:1 republican over democrat.

It proves that Pennsylvania folks will break from their registered party when the candidate doesn’t match their beliefs. In Santorum’s case; he shot himself in the foot over the course of the Bush administration’s tenure. When he was narrowly elected in 2006, he had the swing voters swinging his way. I would go as far to say that if he were up for reelection in 2004, he would have lost then too. Many in the state have wanted him to tone down his rhetoric; many in his own party.

Posted by: john trevisani at November 9, 2006 3:04 PM
Comment #194388


I’d tend to agree with your assessment once again. I might call the middle of PA either the Appalachian Region or the Central Region, Alabama just sounds bad. That aside, I do think the central part of the state is more conservative than you think. What interests me is that Pittsburgh, where I’m from, is so Democratic even when it is very socially conservative. I’d suppose this is mostly the unions. Oh well, there’s always 2008.

Posted by: 1LT B at November 10, 2006 1:47 AM
Comment #194437


But clearly, he did do something things in the past few years that stuck out.

Maybe he didn’t do anything - at all. As in useless.

I enjoyed your predictions, and hoped they would come to be, as most did. Good job!!!

I’m just thankful Allen (Va.) had the sense to concede instead of dragging it out as he’d indicated he would. Now let’s see some GOOD stuff happen in Congress, and see how Bush likes it.

Bet he’ll start using his Veto power more… what do you think?

Posted by: Linda H. at November 10, 2006 11:29 AM
Comment #194444

Linda H.,

Interesting question re the veto.

People think of Bush as a my-way-or-the-highway kind of guy, but it is remarkable that he has only vetoed one bill during his entire presidency. (Although that one veto, stem-cell research, arguably cost the GOP the Senate.) Now that the Democrats control Congress, you would expect him to starting vetoing more bills. But maybe he really doesn’t like doing it for some reason…

Posted by: Woody Mena at November 10, 2006 12:01 PM
Comment #194454

Linda H, Woody,

I tend to think that the reason Bush didn’t veto was that he didn’t have to. Not many Presidents have had a Congress in which both Houses are controlled by their own party. I honestly don’t remember, but did Clinton veto anything his first two years? Not trying to insult, just curious. Anyways, things might have been different had Bush had line-item veto power. That might have saved Republicans the Congress had Bush been able to impose some fiscal discipline.

Regarding the stem cells, I don’t think Bush’s veto was that critical. It was early in his Presidency and hadn’t been brought up too much except for this year with the Missouri referendum. For my own reasons, I felt Bush’s compromise was a good one. Of course, my side lost, so I would be willing to contemplate the possibility that the majority of Americans don’t think so.

Posted by: 1LT B at November 10, 2006 12:42 PM
Comment #194466

Montana may be within the statistical variation, but they now have 2 Democratic senators. This is one of the more interesting outcomes of the race, like the 2 independants in New England. 16 states have 2 democratic senators, 17 states have 1 dem and one other, and 17 states have no democratic senators.

Posted by: ohrealy at November 10, 2006 1:27 PM
Comment #194604

No, Santorum IS a crook. He was named by the non partisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as one of the 20 most corrupt members of Congress!

Read the report (documented with acceptable sources and evidence) at

This man is a sack of manure and Pennsylvanians did themselves the biggest favor they possibly could by getting rid of him. He doesn’t even live in the state he supposedly represented!

Posted by: Jacob in SC at November 11, 2006 12:32 PM
Post a comment