May 19, 2010

Tim Burns Victory in PA-12

Of the many stories arising from yesterday's primaries and special elections, is the relative elation (or at least labored sighs of relief) that the Left is feeling over Crist retaining his master's seat in PA-12. A long-time Murtha staff member, Crist opted to run as a very conservative Democrat (would not have voted for health care nor c[r]ap and trade) against a long-time resident of the PA-12 district, Tim Burns. He also beat Burns handily -- but 8 points -- in what has proved to be "The GOP's special failure" for Republicans according to Politico's Jonathan Martin and Charles Mahtesian:

All the evidence pointing to monster Republican House gains this fall--the Scott Brown upset win in Massachusetts, the scary polling numbers in once-safely Democratic districts, the ever-rising number of Democratic seats thought to be in jeopardy--was contradicted Tuesday.

One senses the same giddiness that the Nazi high command felt in Europe during the first flushes of success from the Battle of the Bulge came rolling in. They seem to have reversed the inexorable Allied advances and were well on their way to surrounding Bastogne.

But one of Sun Tzu's maxims from his Art of War seems to cover this situation:

Pretend to be weak, that [your enemy] may grow arrogant.

This sort of thing has become one of my favorite mantras; it alludes to the echo chamber and the somnolent demeanor that the Left is assuming. But if you re-examine the contest from a different point of view, it may well be that the victory of Crist in PA-12 is, at best, Pyrrhic. Consider:

  • It is a heavily Gerrymandered district constructed in favor of the Democrats. 

  • Some quick calculations by Jay Cost over at Real Clear Politics points to Burns pulling in 90% of the Republican vote, 60% of the Independent vote, and 20% of the Democrat vote. 

  • The above numbers were derived in an election in which almost twice as many Democrats turned out than did Republicans, making the results above even more shocking.

  • Oh yes, and in previous elections in that district, Murtha -- slug that he was -- only broke a sweat once in the previous 36 years when he outpaced a challenger 58% to 42% -- which is pretty astounding.

So, Burns came within 8% of defeating a Democrat who did everything humanly (and inhumanly) possible to distance himself from the left-wing, socialist, big government leanings of the Pantload in D.C. and the other Dem insiders. But those in the G.O.P. and on the right side of the aisle who try to spin this election as a moral victory also miss the point.

For you see, Burns did win.

He won the Republican primary at the same time he lost to Crist. And, guess what? these two will be doing this all over again come November 2nd. That's right, boys and girls, Crist won his seat by making all of these conservative pledges to voters in his district for a grand total of less than half a year. And he'll have to begin campaigning against Burns come this September after spending the Summer in Washington working with a crippled and desperate Nancy Pelosi.

So, I'm wondering just how responsive he will be when that old crone sashays herself into his office and plunks her bony ass into a chair and starts making demands of Crist.

If I am Burns, I'm on this guy like white on rice, hoovering up every misstatement and broken promise Crist makes -- 24/7/365. Well, for the next 166 days at least. And all the while, the DCCC has gotta spend the dough to protect what was formerly a reasonably safe "gimme" Congressional seat.

Even more important, it allows the faithful left cozy up in their liberal echo chambers and surf the internet for all of those "it's going to be all right" MSM blog posts like the one I cited above.

But, for those of out here in the bush eating our rat meat and rice, it just redoubles our resolve by saying to us, "Nothing is guaranteed; you're going to have to work all that much harder."

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