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Contentions

Neither One of Them Seems Senatorial

I share Pete’s dismay at Christine O’Donnell’s not being familiar with the First Amendment. It is a reminder that some candidates, even in a wave election, don’t meet the bar of acceptability with voters.

Speaking of which, Harry Reid is demonstrating that for a Senate majority leader, he’s an awful candidate. He quite possibly turned in the worst debate performance of the general election. I’m torn between his discourse on colonoscopies and his paper shuffling at the end — not sure which of them was my favorite part. Certainly the most appalling was his false assertion that he backed the surge in Iraq.

That’s not all that is bedeviling Reid this week. Joshua Green notes that among Reid’s “unforced errors” is “his decision to take up residence in the Ritz-Carlton.” Of course, the GOP has pounced with a new ad contrasting “the image of stupendous wealth while other Nevadans suffer record unemployment and a nasty foreclosure crisis.”

As Nicholas Lemann points out:

Although he first ran for office at the age of twenty-eight and he is now seventy, he is still strikingly bad at the public part of his job. His voice is soft, with little resonance. When he’s talking to someone, he has a habit of looking down instead of into the person’s eyes. His gestures on a podium are awkward hand chops.

Ironically, the most experienced pol in the Senate and the least-tested newcomer increasingly seem less and less plausible as officeholders. For the GOP, it is a lesson in candidate selection. For the Democrats, it is a warning that it takes exceptionally skilled incumbents to survive the anti-Obama wave. Incumbents a heck of a lot better than Harry Reid.


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