Conner Lamb will represent PA-18

First I stress the great effort I put into avoiding all Lamb puns in the title.
Second, I think the discussion of his recent extremely narrow voctory makes the discussion of the campaign seem almost sane.

Before their humiliating loss, Republican operatives insisted that voters were coming around to support their tax cut bill. In spite of the lack of much movement in public polls, they claimed they had private polls showing increased approval. They neglected to mention the fact that they had shifted from arguing against Lamb on the (accurate) grounds that he denounced the tax cut to arguing on the grounds that the former prosecutor was allegedly soft on crkme.

Then he won. Suddenly, Republicans discover that Lamb won because he supported their tax bill, in spite of the fact that he “opposed the tax cuts as a ‘complete betrayal of the middle class.'” When faced with an inconvenient fact, they just lied claiming he campaigned supporting the tax bill.

I think this is a new form or Republican insanity. For 38 years, they have insisted that the secret to economic growth is tax cuts which will pay for themselves (give or take a trillion). This is an absolute article of faith. Even Sen Susan Collins restated the orthodox fantasy. But now they have a new insane article of faith which is that all tax cuts are popular, and their generally disliked tax bill will save them in November.

In this case too, no evidence can dent their (stated) certainty. Not even the evidence from PA-18, where there was a huge “independent expenditure” campaign telling people that a vote for Lamb was a vote against the tax bill. The total failure of this effort (demonstrated by opinion polls before election day) caused Republicans to shift to racists dog whistles. But then when the actual vote showed their effort had failed, Republicans just declared that a victorious critic of their tax bill was a supporter of their tax bill.

So after the spectacular failure of a campaign centered on the tax bill I read (quoted by Costa in the post see below)

“Everybody will … emphasize the parts of the Trump presidency that have been wins for the whole party — taxes, regulatory reform, those kind of issues …” said former Pennsylvania congressman Bob Walker (R).

This is exactly what Americans for Prosperity tried in PA-18 and it was a spectacular failure. It seems as if the GOP’s insane faith in failed policies has infected their previously healthy judgment about political strategy. I sure hope it has.

Not all reporters have covered themselves with glory either. After the jump, I get back to dumping on the MSM

I stress again that mainstream reporters, who cover the debate and don’t participate in it, quote Republican lies without noting that they are false. For example

“‘He said very nice things about me. I kept saying, is he a Republican? Sounded like a Republican to me,’ Trump said.” The linked article ‘Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt’: Republicans fret over Pennsylvania setback By Michael Scherer and Sean Sullivan is actually much less bad than the one I tried to google using lamb . I note the “Republicans” in the title. Scherer and Sullivan quote only Republicans. The idea that one should cover the partisan debate by talking to members of both parties is alien to current “Ballanced” journalism. In particular, no statements from Lamb are used in the effort to understand Lamb.

The worse article is “Pennsylvania vote shows that Trumpism has its limits — even in Trump country” by the often interesting Robert Costa. This is just one of two articles written in two days which focus on Republican explanations of a stunning Democratic victory. In his own name, Costa suggests that the extremely unpopular plutocratic tax bill could be expected to help the defeated Republican candidate “Trump’s tariff plan, his raucous rally in the district over the weekend, the Republican-authored tax law, the blizzard of television ads from conservative groups linking Lamb to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and the visit by Donald Trump Jr. to a candy-making facility on Monday — none of it was enough to secure a victory Tuesday night for Saccone …”

and again “He [Trump] had overseen the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch and signed the sweeping tax law that they had craved, which reassured them [Republicans] along the way.” Costa doesn’t mention that it is odd to be politically reassured by the most unpopular bill passed in decades.

and a third time “they no longer have confidence that the tax cut and the state of the economy alone can lift them to victory”. Here he conflates the undeniably good state of the economy and the generally considered to be bad tax cut.

Finally he has an amazing quote

“Everybody will run for their district. They won’t necessarily run away from Trump but emphasize the parts of the Trump presidency that have been wins for the whole party — taxes, regulatory reform, those kind of issues rather than defending every piece of it,” said former Pennsylvania congressman Bob Walker (R).

So boasting of a national tax bill is a way to “run for their district” and a party with whom a minority identifies will win by focusing on issues which unite “the whole party”. To win in a country were solid majorities have responded (for 26 years now) that the rich and corporations pay less than their fair share of taxes, the party should talk about how hit cut taxes for the rich and corporations. And the party which deregulated polluters and bankers should discuss “regulatory reform”. Note he doesn’t even dare say “deregulation”. The vagueness of the phrase shows how even Walker knows that it is better to avoid any specifics when discussing regulatory policy designed to serve concentrated interests who donate money, which is disliked by the majority.

Throughout the article, there is no hint that an bill which is opposed by a plurality of voters might be a problem for Republicans. No opponents of the bill are quoted.

Worst of all one Democrat is quoted — political genius Patrick Caddell who crafted Jimmy Carter’s image (and came “up with the slogan “malaise”). “‘It’s that old, western Pennsylvania conservative Democrat that Lamb was able to bring back,’ said Patrick Caddell, a longtime Democratic pollster. Caddell is the epitome of tone deafness. He is clueless. Also he claims that Lamb is a conservative (which is false) and suggests that Pennsylvania Democrats had trouble because they nominated doctrinaire leftists like “U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, the “country’s most prominent pro-life Democrat,”” , his father and Ed Rendell (who recently had to be corrected with he falsely claimed that Lamb supports tightened legal restrictions on abortion).

This is amazing nonsense. Republicans like to claim that Democrats are all hippies, including pro-life Casey, pro-life former majority leader Harry Reid and “by the book catholic” Nancy Pelosi who personally refrained from using artificial birth control never mind abortion. Then they claim that Democrats who aren’t hippies are Republicans. It would be funny, if they didn’t control the world’s most powerful armed forces.

Not all journalists made fools of themselves. Not even all Washington Post journalists. But a clear statement of the plain facts was classified as “analysis” not reporting. Amber Phillips noted the facts in “The Fix. Analysis” . The rule that reporters are not supposed to assert that Republicans are lying implies that spin is reported as news and facts are presented as opinion.