Thursday, August 5, 2010

Grading My Kagan Prediction

Sure, why not.  It's worth a quick post, no?

Here's what I said:
I see that Orrin Hatch has declared himself a "no."  I think I'll go out on a limb and make a prediction: 36 "no" votes, or five more than against Sonya Sotomayor.  Republicans supporting Sotomayor were Alexander, Bond, Collins, Graham, Gregg, Lugar, Mel Martinez, Snowe, and Voinovich.  Martinez is gone, with LeMieux and Brown added to the conference, so I'm saying that all 31 will stick, plus five of the group of ten will flip.  And I'll say that the most likely flipper in the other direction, no on Sotomayor but yes on Kagan, is Bob Bennett.  
Nailed it!  On the Republicans: Alexander, Bond, and Voinovich flipped, and LeMieux and Brown both voted no, so that makes 5 of 10, or exactly 36 "no" votes.

Well, I nailed it on the GOP.  I totally didn't see the Benator coming.  It's a logical vote.  The Democrats didn't need him on this one, and they very well might next time around, so in his quest to be as centrist as possible it made sense to toss this vote the other way, making it easier for him to stick with the Dems if he's really needed on a future nomination.  I'm not predicting how he'll vote if there's a next time, just saying that it's a rational act on his part -- or, to put it another way, I should have at least mentioned the possibility, and so that's a clear miss on my part.

I should also mention that (as usual) my speculation about LeMieux hasn't turned out to be worth anything.  Also, the Scott Brown vote is interesting.  He's mostly voted as a moderate, as if he was interested in re-election, but this vote doesn't fit that pattern at all.  Is he concerned about renomination?  I don't know.

Anyway, I'm now going to act insufferably pleased with myself for calling this one.  To the extent I did.  Thanks, Ben Nelson, for keeping my humble.


  1. Ben Nelson might have been concerned with appeasing the Right to Life lobby, which is powerful in Nebraska, and was enraged with him over health care. (Nelson has a pretty consistent record as anti-abortion). The national folks won't be fooled, but maybe the activists at home might be a little less angry at Nelson.

  2. "Thanks, Ben Nelson, for keeping my humble."

    And now, Ben, if you don't mind, he could really use it back.

  3. Any credible GOP candidate in Massachusetts would have to hew to the Collins/Snowe model, and surely any decent political prognosticator could have reassured the junior Senator that a nomination fight from the Right would be doomed to fail. Brown won because of a combination of factors mainly external to himself (a lousy economy, voter anger, and a lackluster Democratic candidate) and not because there's any real desire on the part of the Massachusetts electorate for a socially conservative voice in the Senate. I doubt Brown voter no because he feared renomination.

    On the other hand, Brown's vote could well have been the converse of Nelson's. In the end, it didn't really matter for Kagan's confirmation, and it allowed Brown to burnish his conservative bona fides after several votes with the Democrats.

  4. I suspect that a Republican in MA would have an easier time being conservative on economics than on social issues. If that's the case, Brown may be taking a very wrong path.

    But I have to imagine he understands how long his odds for reelection are anyway, and might be setting himself up for some appointed position when Republicans take back the White House.


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