Almost a week since the primary. Things seem to be shaking out as follows:
1. The Republican machine is pushing the meme that "Pombo won decisive victory, no point in McNerney even bothering to campaign, except to waste Dem money." They seem to be quite anxious to push this, in order to frame the contest and perhaps scare off the national Dem party and others from supporting McNerney. The national parties only have so many millions to toss around and they will want to focus on "winnable" races. So the R's are trying to portray this one as unwinnable. If the Dems don't spend money on it, the R's won't have to either. Pombo can then pay Annette and his brother more of the campaign cash, as well as send money to other reactionary candidates to buy their allegiance, rather than waste it on those slick commercials and flyers he puts out.
2. However, most more neutral pundits put the race as favoring Pombo, but with the real possibility that McNerney could ultimately triumph, if he does a lot of right things, and Pombo does a lot of wrong things, such as get indicted. Also, there is the overall "mood" of the country to consider, they say, where anyone with a brain can see the current government is highly dysfunctional. Voters could conclude that it is time to throw the bums out and give the new guy a chance. In case anyone has not picked up on it yet, Pombo is one of those "bums".
So now we will see where this goes. Very interesting. Does the DCCC takes its bat and ball on go home? Do they say "Filson was the electable one" and leave McNerney alone to fight it out, as they did in 2004? Well, maybe that is not such a bad thing. With the DCCC's win/loss record, I am not sure I would want their backing, if I was running, though their money would be welcome.
That would put McNerney more as a non-partisan, "populist" candidate. He would in name be a "Democrat", but essentially running a populist's campaign. Many of us are disgusted by Pombo -- his corruption, his far right stances, his push to overturn environmental laws, his closeness to Bush and DeLay crowd, his sellout to corporate interests. And many of us are also disgusted by the Dem Party that has basically acquiesced to the Bush power grab and who are as beholden to corporate interests as the R's.
Maybe McNerney should run as an outsider looking to bring "New Energy and Ideas" to Congress. That would give voters who are disgusted not only with Pombo, but with the way things are going in general in Washington, a candidate to support. For example, McNerney has a energy plan that is much more positive and visionary than anything Pombo ever put out. Maybe that will inspire people.
The problem with being outside the party structure is raising money. McNerney said he needs $2.5 million. That's a lot of moola. I am not sure how and if McNerney can raise that kind of money. And there's the rub. It may be noble to run a populist campaign on a shoestring budget, but people need to hear the message. TV, radio, and mailings cost money, something Pombo has boatloads of from all his corporate "friends". These corporate supporters and their lobbyists are running the agenda in Congress, and support Pombo in the hopes of getting favorable legislation passed (and with Pombo, they are often amply rewarded).
In the primary, it was "grassroots" vs the "influence of the Washington, DC-based DCCC". If McNerney runs a populist campaign, perhaps the November election will be "grassroots" vs the "pernicious influence of corporations and their Washington, DC-based lobbyists".