A 'Jeff Smith guy' voting for Ed Martin
Fast forward to 2010. Missouri’s 3rd congressional district is a Democratic bastion represented by Russ Carnahan, an embarrassing scion of a Rolla-based political dynasty. He is the Democrat version of George W. Bush: impressively educated thanks to family connections, yet dumb as a box of rocks. His progressive voting record is the result of his doing what he’s told. (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls him “low maintenance.”) Democrats desperately need an articulate defender of the merits of the legislation this Congress has passed, and the 3rd District is a safely Democratic platform from which to do so, but Russ isn’t capable enough to do that. In at least two personal appearances, his gaffes have drawn spontaneous audience guffaws that were embarrassing enough to be aired nationally on Fox News. Repeatedly. One of the reasons that the U.S. Senate campaign of his sister, Robin Carnahan, is doing so poorly against a seemingly vulnerable Republican is that Russ has damaged the brand of both the Carnahan name and the Democratic Party.
It’s time to “pull a Villa.” Democrats will never unseat an incumbent Carnahan in a primary. But what if Republican Ed Martin were to ride the building Republican wave to upset Russ this year? Martin would be a one-termer, because he won’t stand a chance with the very different mix of voters that will likely reelect President Obama in 2012. The overwhelmingly Democratic complexion of the district (which Obama won by 21 points over John McCain) means that a Martin win here would not represent the magic 39th seat that Republicans need to seize control of the House. Even with progressive “help,” a Martin win would still only be possible if it were part of a Republican wave that capsizes at least 75 Democrat seats. That now seems possible.
I admit, I supported progressive firebrand Jeff Smith over Carnahan when the seat was open in 2004. Carnahan later reported Smith to the Federal Election Commission to start a series of events than regrettably led to Smith’s conviction and incarceration, but that old sore isn’t my reason for picking a Republican over him now. (Although many progressives hold “snitches” in low regard, I don’t subscribe to that tenet.) It’s just a matter of voting strategically. Carnahan is a terrible representative and getting worse, and this year is realistically our last chance to use Republicans to knock him off. Demographic changes will keep the GOP in the minority for years to come starting in 2012, so we have to clean house now.
That’s why the Oracle will cast a strategic vote for Ed Martin for Congress on November 2. In the privacy of your voting booth, please join me.