February 17, 2010

Who's the Goliath?

Justin Katz

The political landscape has been changing so rapidly, of late, that it's tempting to refigure the narrative over and over again, but it seems to me that the story of the upcoming election is pretty consistent, no matter who the players are. Consider a recent Ed Fitzpatrick column on John Loughlin:

For one thing, [Cook Political Report analyst David Wasserman] said, "A lot of [Loughlin's] appeal is built on running as David to Kennedy's Goliath. Now, he can't take advantage of running against Washington."

Loughlin begs to differ. "I think it's always been David vs. Goliath, and it's still David vs. Goliath," he said. "The Goliath is the Congress of the United States and an administration that is spending our country into oblivion."

Former Brown University Prof. Darrell M. West, now at the Brookings Institution, said it is easier to run for an open seat than to take on an incumbent. But he said it will probably prove more difficult to raise out-of-state money without Kennedy as an opponent.

"Goliath is no longer going to be on the ballot," West said. "It's going to be a bunch of Davids at this point."

I'd agree that one can include the Republican Congress of the early '00s in the Goliath characterization, which is probably what restrained Loughlin from partisanship. And it's understandable that establishment, even Democrat-leaning commentators, such as Fitzpatrick and his sources, would see all non-incumbents as Davids. But I don't think it's excessively partisan, on the other side, to suspect that the Congressional Goliath at least overlaps with the Democrat Goliath, if the two are not synonymous.

In other words, the Democrat primary is mainly to choose the face that Goliath will wear locally. The dynamic has only changed to the extent that Patrick Kennedy's own foibles were a factor.

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Loughlin should be watching his back. The tea party crowd doesn't think that he is conservative (nuts) enough.

Posted by: Phil at February 18, 2010 9:35 AM

One reason I keep my distance from the RI Tea Party is the danger that they can become like the leftists groups I dislike so much-demanding ideological purity at the expense of individuality.In other words,going against the reason they started up to begin with.Not saying it's happening,but I could visualize Colleen Conley making a 180 degree turn away from Loughlin if the "great"Steve Laffey decides to run.
I support John,and I believe in keeping your word.I like Jon Brien,but would not support him against Loughlin solely for that reason.I live in District 2 anyhow.So I can vote for Mark Zaccaria.
All that said,I generally like what the Tea Party is about-telling Washington thet THEY work for US,not the other way around.

Posted by: joe bernstein at February 18, 2010 10:05 AM

Congress and the administration as Goliath - a nice verbal ju-jitsu move - and very much the truth.

Posted by: chuckR at February 18, 2010 1:53 PM
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