Wednesday, November 08, 2006

So, Why Did David McSweeney Lose?

Those who have been reading McHenry County Blog may be able to guess the reasons I think that Republican challenger David McSweeney lost to Congresswoman Melissa Bean.

There are two main reasons:

1. McSweeney’s gender. After watching how women run against men in this part of Illinois since I ran for McHenry County Treasurer in 1966, I have concluded that when a woman runs against a man that the woman gets about a 5-percentage point lead just for being a woman.


Maybe because most of the politicians convicted in Illinois since the 1960’s have been men, not women. Maybe you have a better explanation.

Republicans could not afford to concede those 5-percentage points.

2. The second reason is that McSweeney refused to go on the attack on the abortion issue. A candidate can’t sit still while his opponent relentlessly beats him up.

Yet that’s what McSweeney did as Bean ran week after week after week of ads putting a negative spin on his position on abortion.

Now, how could McSweeney have gone on the offensive?


Get permission to run the ultra sound footage that was on the air in the abortion referendum in South Dakota. (You can find the ad here.) Have a woman outlining Melissa Bean’s position on abortion. Define her with a living, moving baby in a mommy’s tummy.

Here’s something that could be said (which I am sure can be improved upon):
Melissa Bean is so radical that she thinks this little girl’s mother should be able to abort her…even now.

If you think this baby should fear death, vote for Melissa Bean. That’s the choice Bean stands for.
There is a third element that I think, but do not know, did not happen. I don’t believe that McSweeney put together a volunteer corps that equaled Bean’s. It’s so much easier to let the postman be one’s precinct volunteer than it is to recruit volunteers.

What do you think of this analysis?

= = = = =
You can read about the first Democrat (calling himself a Democrat) being elected to the McHenry County Board, see the NRA McSweeney Sun-Times bag and other stories McHenry County at McHenry County Blog.


Lovie's Leather 11:28 AM  

Meh... never liked McSweeney. He is gone now. I don't care about the analysis. Bean is good enough for a 2 year trial in a Dem House.

Rob 11:42 AM  

I think there's a big risk to going "on the attack" on abortion in a suburban district like the 8th. That might play in South Dakota, but I would think McSweeney would have stood to lose more voters than he gained with that line of campaigning.

Bill Baar 11:49 AM  

It didn't play in South Dakota either.

I wonder if Scheuer didn't help her by letting her write off the handful of Ned Lamont voters out there and move to the right.

She wasn't going to get them so why bother. A luxury Duckworth didn't have.

Skeeter,  12:49 PM  

Your post was typical of the current state of the ILGOP.

Gender had nothing to do with it.

Abortion would have hurt McS.

The real problem is that when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

The GOP did nothing here but brand Cong. Bean a liberal. That is completely ridiculous. She's not and everyone in the district knew it.

The GOP has to return to its small government roots. They have to stop wasting our money on new welfare programs. They have to start paying for what they buy. They need to show some old fiscal conservativism, and at the same time, work for a government that will get off our backs and out of our bedrooms.

The ILGOP has failed at that. They are now the big spenders who want government dictating every detail of everyone's life.

When the ILGOP wakes up to that, then we will have two functioning parties in Illinois again. As long as they blame gender and go far right on abortion, the Dems are going to wipe the slate clean.

Note that I posted earlier that her stand on free trade wouldn't hurt her.

Remember when the GOP was the free trade party? It seems like so long ago.

Cal Skinner 1:18 PM  

Of course, one of my points is that abortion did hurt McSweeney. He got beat up night after night and refused to tell where Bean stood on abortion.

If you don't like my suggested text, come up with another one.

My observations about women running well against men in the Northwest suburbs, that is, having a gender advantage, does have something to do with it.

You can disagree, but you can't change past election returns, which amply demonstrate my observation.

Skeeter,  1:26 PM  


Maybe the women were better candidates.

In all seriousness, even assuming that the district would align with McS better than Bean on abortion (and I don't believe that), I still don't think it would have made any difference.

The real problem with that race was that McS didn't do anything other than to call Bean a liberal. If you hear something over and over, you stop listening.

I would like to see a strong and functioning ILGOP in part to prevent the kind of Stroger BS that we saw this year, and partly because I like to see fiscal conservatives win.

But it looks to me like the ILGOP has abandoned fiscal conservatism as an issue.

Cal Skinner 1:39 PM  

You won't get an argument me on that observation.

Skeeter,  1:44 PM  

Thanks, Cal.

A final note from me on the issue:

The other problem dates back to Ryan. Not the corruption. The problem was "Build Illinois." Between that and the federal budget, the GOP has lost all credibility on the budget issue.

Cal Skinner 9:02 PM  

Can't pin that one on me. I voted and argued against it.

Anonymous,  10:57 PM  

And maybe a third reason:

3. He was a Republican.

the Other Anonymous,  7:46 AM  

Skeeter's observation that McSweeney's messge is "Bean is a liberal" is spot on.

This message doesn't work for either side when running against a moderate. The best example is Mark Kirk. Gash's only message against Kirk in 2000 was "he's an extreme conservative." Well, he isn't -- and that's why the message failed.

Another, and more curious example, is Peter Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald was, in fact, very conservative and open to the attack that he's "too conservative for Illinois." The deal with Fitzgerald, though, was that on virtually every litmus test issue of liberal vs. conservative, he could point to one vote or one position that could be characterized as centrist.

The only way a candidate wins with a "too liberal" or "too conservative" message is if the opponent is, in fact, an ideologue of the right or the left. Bean may have her faults, but being an ideologue isn't one of them.

Anonymous,  11:22 AM  

Someone beat me to it, but it should be pointed out that the ultrasound crap didn't work in South Dakota, where the first abortion ban put to voters was defeated.

Cal Skinner 6:47 PM  

It was not a candidate race, of course.

Jerry 10:52 PM  

So, how come Duckworth didn't win? That 5% of yours didn't help her. And considering that Scheurer won more than 5%, I believe, that more than offsets your 5%. In fact, it drew away traditional Democratic votes from Bean.

McSweeney lost because he wasn't a very good candidate.

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