Last time, it almost worked. Almost. As we have pointed out on many occasions here, even in the most favorable anti-Republican and anti-incumbent sentiment we have seen in recent history, and with nationwide anti-war sentiment at its peak, Seals still couldn't seal the deal.
Seals seems to think that if he came this/close last time, all he has to do is repeat his same message from last election, add in some real DCCC money early enough to make a difference, and it's a guaranteed recipe for success.
The big problem, though, is that (while something could always turn south, and we all know not much has gone right with the war so far) the war is going a lot better, to the extent that it's pretty much an afterthought with the Democrats on the presidential campaign trail, and the Republicans hardly mention it at all, except for McCain.
No less a biased news source than CNN reported recently as follows:
The war is going much, much better than it was a year ago -- even a few months ago. You might even say we are winning. I fully accept that anytime our young people are dying and civilians are being killed in the midst of combat, it is difficult to even talk about winning or losing. But fatalities for troops and civilians alike are way down.
The Iraqis, no matter how much they have stumbled and failed in the political process, are finally reopening their shops, their schools, and their neighborhoods. They are taking more control of their own country, and long-awaited reconciliation between warring factions is slowly, haltingly getting under way.
Iraq is certainly not at peace, but it is undeniably much more peaceful than it was.
Read the whole article here. The ironic part is, the point of the CNN article was essentially that the candidates should all be paying more attention and discussing it more on the campaign trail. Ah, now THAT sounds a lot more like the CNN we all know. But, the grain of truth that even CNN can't ignore is that the strategy we have now may well lead to eventual victory, and that spells bad news for any Dem that has made the war his or her centerpiece of a campaign. Even the most ardent anti-war candidates are saying little more than we need to accelerate the troop withdrawal (sound familiar, 10th District debate goers?) Seals even muffs this aspect of the issue, as his main emphasis on troop withdrawal seems to be to encourge those lazy, incompetent Iraqis to fix their government. Seals apparently thinks they have no incentive to improve their country while American troops are still there.
Danno still hasn't figured out that the war is continuing to diminish in effectiveness as a political campaign strategy, and even though he is starting to try to address local issues, like transportation, his lack of knowledge and familiarity with the issues is proving to be a serious handicap. As we noted here earlier, Seals' solution to our transportation issues here in Lake County is to obtain more federal funding, not even realizing that the federal funding that DOES exist and is waiting to be used is in jeopardy due to the failure of the DEMOCRATIC-controlled state government to provide federal matching funds. Mark Kirk, as we know, is all over this.
When is Seals going to realize that the pony he rode last election is tired and ready to be put in the barn... or won't he realize this until it's too late? Ellen's team hasn't figured this out, and if anything, is trying to double down on the Iraq strategy. Take a look at her comments in introducing Dan Seals at some event this afternoon. (Note that she has now rewritten history and decreased Kirk's margin over Seals to 3 percentage points, from an actual 6%). She also labels it a "party" for Dan. Are they celebrating victory over Jay Footlik already? Maybe they ought to recall what happened to Barack in New Hampshire when he got a little too confident after Iowa.
UPDATED x1: Here's a late evening update- apparently Seals just released a new poll, showing he's still around 58% (I assume name recognition) and Footlik up only slightly from 6% to 10%. Can't find any more information other than what Archpundit has up; nothing on the Seals website. I assume we'll hear more about this soon. Wonder if Footlik has any polling information showing any different numbers, but we can probably assume not, or he would have released it by now. Can't believe that "meshugana" mailing didn't at least move the name recognition numbers a little more. I know I'll likely never forget it...
Monday Morning Update: Not much in the papers so far this morning, but I wanted to mention that it seems like almost every day for the past couple of days, my Google Alert for Jay Footlik has been lighting up like a Christmas Tree (sorry for the simile, yes, I KNOW Footlik is Jewish, already) with letters to the editor in support of Footlik. See a couple here and here.
A good "letters" campaign to show support and get people thinking that there is a groundswell of support for the candidate is essential in any grassroots campaign, and so far, Footlik appears dead-on with timing and numbers of letters. Haven't seen as much from The Pup's supporters yet, except for this ironic letter that I've already mentioned, from a typical out-of-district Seals supporter who thinks we need to know that people from Chicago all support Seals and that Seals has a nice mom.
I would probably be remiss if I didn't mention that Pioneer Press has already endorsed Seals. The endorsement was published in the Highland Park paper, but not sure where else. Figures. The interesting things to me about the endorsement was, first, that since the endorsement came our on Jan. 10th, it's clear no one from the paper bothered to keep an open mind and go to any of the three debates between Footlik and Seals last week before making a decision; second, according to the Pioneer Press, we should vote for Seals because he's the best chance to win against Kirk, not because he's the best person to represent the 10th District; and third, the Pioneer Press continues to perpetuate the alleged credential of Seals as an "adjunct professor" at Northwestern, which I think we have thoroughly discredited. It appears to TA that Seals knows he's caught, as he called himself a "LECTURER", not a "professor" at the Wednesday debate last week, and I understand he didn't mention it at all in the next two debates. I am still prodding the MSM to take a look at this issue before the rest of the newspaper endorsements come out, but we'll see what happens this week, maybe.
Finally, the latest Seals strategy appears to be to paint Footlik as a closet Kirk insider. Seals' people practically accused Footlik of being a plant right from the get-go this summer, but now they are spreading stories of Footlik practically high-fiving the Kirk supporters who went to check out the Footlik-Seals debates last week. I was at the first debate at least, and I consider myself a Kirk supporter (though not attached to the campaign) and I didn't get a high five. For added laughs at Ellen's check out failed former congressional candidate Lee Goodman (who actually got more votes than Seals did in the last election) whining about how he was not allowed to video the League of Women Voters debates.