For those of you haven’t heard State Rep. Jake Zimmerman (D-Creve Coeur) speak, let me see if I can recreate the experience. He begins discussing a topic by sounding like an Ivy League math professor. Then gradually, almost without you noticing it, he morphs into … a NASCAR announcer. Yes, definitely. But with wit. And a grin.
At the West County Dems meeting on Monday, he started his analysis of the race for Bond’s U.S. Senate seat in the measured tone of a Harvard professor–with only the name he gave an imaginary Republican candidate belying his seriousness:
This is likely to be, as we discussed before, a not so hot Democratic year, right? Let us engage in a thought experiment. Let us say that the Republicans had found some random fill-in-the-blank Republican to run against Robin Carnahan. They went to Missouri’s heartland, okay? They went to one of those places named after an exotic foreign land, which is where you find all the good Republicans. They went to Warsaw, MO or Versailles, MO, maybe even to California, MO, Cuba, MO. Possibly they went to Houston, MO, which is by the way in Texas County. And once there, they found Eldridge McGrinchypants. And Eldridge McGrinchypants sits on the back of his tractor and dispenses homespun wisdom with just a hint of Paul Bunyan style tall tales. And old Eldrige doesn’t have much money in the bank, but by God, Eldridge McGrinchypants knows a thing or two about common sense. Let’s suppose that they had found Mr. McGrinchypants and they had invested a couple million dollars in him, which they found from their big donors. They’re Republicans. They’re good at finding a couple million dollars when they need to.
Here’s the gradual transformation to NASCAR announcer:
And you know what, they would have had the McGrinchypants versus the incumbent Democrat campaign in a 50/50 kind of state in a year when incumbents aren’t popular and Democrats aren’t popular. I’d have given them a 65 percent chance at winning on the back of the feared McGrinchypants express. But they didn’t do that.
And the complete metamorphosis:
They found a guy who’s been in Washington for decades! They found a guy who left his wife to marry a lobbyist! They found a guy whose last name is Blunt, the least. popular. political name in Missouri right now! They are doing everything humanly possible to give this election to Robin Carnahan! That’s pretty good in an election year like this. In spite of that, we could lose. We could lose because it’s gonna be a bad year. But we ought to win! We have every structural advantage favoring us. We have a spectacular candidate. People still like Carnahans in rural Missouri, but they don’t like Blunts. They’re suspicious of Democrats right now. (And some of our Democrats aren’t gonna show up.)
You want something to do? You want something to make sure we’re cheered up? Go do a little extra for Robin. Right? We can win! We have what is possibly the number one and, at a minimum, one of the top three senate races in the country. Millions of dollars of national money will be spent here so that a progressive woman, who is young, will have a good shot at winning a statewide election. Think about that. In this year, in this very likely Republican election year, we could wind up in a world with Claire McCaskill and Robin Carnahan as our two U.S. senators, and Jay Nixon as our governor, and controlling every statewide office except for the fearsome … Peter Kinder? That’s not so bad! Especially when you consider what everybody says about Missouri: “Oh god, it’s becoming a red state oh it’s as red as the day is long we couldn’t even vote for Obama we’re DOOOOOOMED!’
All they got is Peter Kinder and Roy Blunt! They can’t even figure out who’s running against Susan Montee. It’s their second most important race in the state and they are squabbling with each other. They’ve got Allen Icet running against Tom Schweich-ch-ch. Tom Schweich-ch-ch has a Harvard degree. You wanna know how good that is? You wanna know why you shouldn’t be too impressed by those credentials? Tom Schweich-ch-ch can’t even figure out who’s endorsing him. He publicly announced a bunch of Republican endorsements the other day. Some of those Republicans had endorsed the other guy. Welcome to the Republican primary for State Auditor. It’s awesome. Sit back and buy some popcorn. That one’s gonna be fun to watch. All this for the pleasure of running against an incumbent who is popular, hasn’t done anything wrong, and is quite likely to win.
And then Jake Zimmerman paused for breath. And having cheered us up with prospects of the statewide races, he offered to bring us back down to earth with tales of what the upcoming legislative session will be like. About that in my next posting.