WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at http://www.DemocraticConventionWatch.com
I had planned on framing out the Senate, 2010, once the Senate, 2009, was set. I wanted to start with Pennsylvania, not just because I live here, but because the potential cast of characters is just so rich. Arlen Spector, once a Democrat, now a Republican, cancer survivor, and he'll be fun to watch during the first Supreme confirmation hearing. Maybe Pat Toomey will take him on again in the primary.
Fast Eddie Rendell, ALWAYS fun to watch. (And when I get around to the race, I'm going to tell the story of the first time I met Ed: trust me, things like that don't happen every day.) Chris Matthews, the wild card.
But that's waiting because, as Matt reported, John has already announced that he's running in 2010 to keep his Arizona seat.
My first question is: which John is going to run?
The John that ran in 2004 was still the 2000 McCain. Actual McCain, not McShame. Now, a lot of his record is an open book: his temper, his pandering to the evangelical base, his flip-flopping on issues (drill, baby dril) that ran counter to his long-held record, and an outing of his uber-conservative record on things like being anti-choice, and anti-birth control. Fresh in the minds of his constituency will be how he votes in 2009 on economic packages. Arizona is one of the states hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis: will he vote to bail them out, or a the no-oversight/no-intervention Republican he was this year?
The field he'll run against will be rich. Most likely, popular Governor Janet Napolitano (term limited) will be on the primary ballot.
Professionals wait for polls, and wait until things are closer to increase their odds of being right. Me, I'm a blogger, so I feel no such compunction.
I'm not convinced John runs. And if he does, I'm positive he loses. There are a lot of reasons: changing demographics, his age and medical history, his changing position on immigration which is an important issue in Arizona. But mostly, it's his position on earmarks that will bring him down.
In 2009, Senators and Congressmen/women will be fighting for dollars to bring home. As will mayors, industries, and everybody else. There is going to be a huge stimulus package, and the ability to shore up local economies is going to be critical.
Earmarks may or may not be a good way to do business: when it's seed money, as it has been for decades in West Virginia and Alaska, it works very well. In other cases, it's just pure pork which benefits very few actual citizens. But in the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression, come out against helping your constituency?
Stick a fork in 'em, turn 'em over, he's done.