Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Cool Kids Club

Paul Krugman joins Walter Shapiro in slamming Obama's supporters as "The Cool Kids Club." As Shapiro writes:
Either you are a full-fledged member (with the secret handshake and the decoder ring) or else you find yourself voting for a well-known, albeit flawed, alternative called Hillary Clinton.
Krugman then adds,
Despite this, Obama is still the clear favorite for the nomination. But if he is the nominee, and runs this way in the general election — if it’s about the candidate’s awesomeness, not about why progressive policies make peoples’ lives better — it’s a formula for defeat.
I've heard these lines of argument a lot, and I just don't get them. Shapiro seems to be criticizing Obama's supporters for liking their candidate more than Clinton's supporters like theirs. There's a certain -- dare I say it? -- elitism in this attitude, as though emotional attachment to a candidate conveys too much amateurism for modern politics, and the proper attitude is to vote for someone without caring.

And as for Krugman's point, how many elections have Democrats lost despite most voters preferring their policies to Republican ones? (Answer: a lot.) It seems to me that an effective presidential campaign would capitalize on both the candidate's positive personal traits and his popular policy stances.

I thought we were past the point of calling Obama vacuous. He's got a website full of policy proposals that he defends well under questioning. Just because he's capable of doing more than reciting policy stances on the podium doesn't mean he doesn't have any.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Clinton approach

Jon Stewart pretty much nails this one (starting around 2:00):

"Activists? Those are merely the people who care the most!"

How much are campaigns mattering?

I heard Bill Schneider on CNN on the night of the Pennsylvania primary making some argument that there was very little evidence of campaign effects. He compared the exit polls from Ohio with those from Pennsylvania and noted that Obama's and Clinton's support from key demographic groups was pretty similar between the two states. And in the end, Clinton won both states by around 10 points. All the stuff that happened in the intervening six weeks, notably including Obama's "bitter" statement, appeared to have no effect.

A quick check of the exit polls largely supports Schneider's assertion. Note what's going on in this scatterplot; each data point marks how Obama did among a demographic group in both states. The line is x=y; if a point lies along that line, Obama did the same in one state as he did in the other. For most of the groups, there's not much movement. (The two votes correlate at .85) Actually, there's a bit of improvement for Obama between Ohio and Pennsylvania. But there are a few negative outliers. Obama did notably worse among union members, frequent churchgoers, and white Catholics in Pennsylvania than he did in Ohio six weeks earlier.

This is far from an exhaustive look at the demographics, but it does tend to suggest relative stability from one state to the next. Which would mean that you could probably predict the candidates' performances in the upcoming states simply by knowing the share of the electorate that each of these demographic subgroups comprises.

This is, in one sense, evidence against campaign effects. All the day-to-day noise about Jeremiah Wright and bitter voters and guns and bowling doesn't seem to be moving the vote much. On the other hand, the extent to which each of these demographic subgroups actually turns out to vote does matter and can be influenced by campaigns.

The tentative lesson: GOTV matters more than persuasion.

Charles Murray in the classroom

I just had to explain to an undergrad why I do not wish to have a debate about the heritability of IQ in my state & local politics class.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

On becoming a delegate

I attended a Q&A session run by my county party yesterday devoted to informing candidates for national convention delegate seats about the realities of the race. I've survived the hurdles thus far. That is, on caucus night, I got elected as a delegate to the county convention, and there, I got elected as a delegate to both the state convention and the 1st congressional district convention. But the final stage looks to be the most formidable.

The state Democratic convention will be held on May 17th at the World Arena in Colorado Springs. Roughly 9,000 people (5,000 delegates + 4,000 alternates) are expected to attend. Of those, some 1,600 have filed as candidates for at-large national delegates, and only 12 will be elected. Just how does one campaign in such an environment? They're going to turn away people without credentials, so it won't do me any good to bring in volunteers. There's talk of allowing each candidate a minute to speak, but that would mean a 27-hour convention.

The environment will be slightly better at the district convention, at which about 265 people will be campaigning for 6 convention seats, only three of which can go to men. I can bring volunteers to this one. Somehow, I've got to bring enough fliers and buttons and distinguish myself in such a way that people remember my name when it comes to the vote.

I'm not sure what to do for a flier. I saw a flier for someone else who's running. He's an elderly pastor. The flier is filled with photos of him marching with Ralph Abernathy and Martin Luther King, Jr. I just don't have that kind of art. I have pictures of me and Bill Clinton, but I don't know if that will endear me to the Obama folks. I think my picture of me and Fabio will be the best I can do.

Also, I need to come up with a catchy slogan for myself. I think I should play up the professor angle -- there won't be too many other PhDs running. Any suggestions? I've only had a few...
  • The doctor is in!
  • I'm not gay, but I'll learn.
  • My momma likes Obama.
  • I'll eat my own puke before I vote for Hillary.
Still working on it...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Questions for lawyers

1. Can Rush Limbaugh be prosecuted for inciting a riot? Or can he at least lose his FCC license for this? I don't know how specific or imminent the threat has to be, but this one sounds pretty bad.

2. Can the Belfast ship building firm of Harland and Wolff be sued for using faulty rivets in the construction of the Titanic? Is there some sort of statute of limitations that would prevent the Astors and the Vanderbilts and Rose Dawson from suing this company out of existence? If so, why? The only reason they couldn't sue sooner is that the evidence was under two miles of water and we didn't have the technology to retrieve it until recently.

Damn, should've gone to law school.

APSA needs a humor section

If economists can be funny, why can't we?

And check this out - they're even funny in the hard sciences.

I think we should start some sort of humor group at the American Political Science Association. Maybe start it as just a casual gathering, then go for actual panel status. The funny is out there.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

This election can still get weirder

D at Laywers, Guns, and Money reminds us of the thrilling 1838 race for the presidency... of Texas:
In late June of that year, James Collinsworth -- one of the republic's founders who had served (simultaneously) as Secretary of State, as Supreme Court Justice, as Attorney General and as Senator -- ended a week-long bender by jumping into Galveston Bay. Two days earlier, his friend Peter William Grayson -- also a candidate for the republic’s highest office -- had killed himself in Tennessee after a woman humiliated him by deflecting his marriage proposal. Running a campaign that was suddenly unopposed, Mirabeau Lamar predictably coasted to victory. Though Lamar would go on to die of natural causes two decades later, his brother Lucius -- a judge in Georgia’s superior court, had killed himself on Independence Day 1834 after realizing he’d condemned an innocent man to die.
The current race still has a long way to go.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Oh Barack, say it ain't so

Obama thinks there might be a link between autism and immunizations involving thimerosal. The campaign is saying that he doesn't necessarily believe that; he was just acknowledging that others do. But he did say that the science is inconclusive on the subject, and that's bullshit.

I don't know why he feels compelled to do this. One possibility is that he believes it. Another is that he sees a political percentage in cozying up to the autism-thimerosal-link folks. I don't know how many of them there are, but they're surely more passionate than the people who are saying that there is no link, and they may even vote on the issue.

Regardless, it's totally inappropriate and irresponsible for him to be saying this stuff. He's bright and should know better. Beyond that, he's a respected figure with a large and devoted following, and parents of young kids might take him seriously. And that could lead to more of this.

I'm hoping losing Pennsylvania will be penance enough.

Malcolm X and Congressional Committees

Here's a really interesting speech by Malcolm X in which he claims that the rule of law in the U.S. has been subverted by the committee system and the seniority norm in the Congress. It's rare to see a speech that's simultaneously so passionate, sophisticated, and detailed. Also, catch his paraphrasing of Barry Goldwater towards the end.

(h/t EoTAW)

Monday, April 21, 2008

PA prediction

Okay, let's see how my prediction goes.  Back on March 13th, I predicted that Clinton would beat Obama in Pennsylvania 52-48.  This was based solely on the racial composition of the state, ignoring all polling or other aspects of the campaigns.  If I get this right tomorrow, I will have proven that campaigns are irrelevant.  If I get it wrong... hey, man, it's a stochastic world.


The Venn diagram of Larry Bartels and Thomas Franks has a very slim intersection, but it does exist.  I believe these two agree about "Bittergate."  Bartels is convinced that Obama's understanding of the electorate is flat out wrong, and that this culture stuff is a bunch of crap.  Frank, for his part, has a nice piece in the WSJ saying not so much that the culture war idea is wrong, but that it's an attempt by conservatives -- er, Clinton supporters -- to recast the class divisions in terms favorable to them:
"Elitism" is thus a crime not of society's actual elite, but of its intellectuals. Mr. Obama has "a dash of Harvard disease," proclaims the Weekly Standard. Mr. Obama reminds columnist George Will of Adlai Stevenson, rolled together with the sinister historian Richard Hofstadter and the diabolical economist J.K. Galbraith, contemptuous eggheads all. Mr. Obama strikes Bill Kristol as some kind of "supercilious" Marxist. Mr. Obama reminds Maureen Dowd of an . . . anthropologist.

Ah, but Hillary Clinton: Here's a woman who drinks shots of Crown Royal, a luxury brand that at least one confused pundit believes to be another name for Old Prole Rotgut Rye. And when the former first lady talks about her marksmanship as a youth, who cares about the cool hundred million she and her husband have mysteriously piled up since he left office? Or her years of loyal service to Sam Walton, that crusher of small towns and enemy of workers' organizations? And who really cares about Sam Walton's own sins, when these are our standards? Didn't he have a funky Southern accent of some kind? Surely such a mellifluous drawl cancels any possibility of elitism.
Actually, it's hard to say who is responsible for perpetrating this canard.  In What's the Matter with Kansas?, Frank suggested that it was the conservative media -- Bill O'Reilly, Anne Coulter, et al.  Here, it seems to be a combination of Clinton supporters and a wide swath of columnists from George Will to Maureen Dowd.  Maybe it's just a convenient media framework that anyone can plug into.  Self-righteous faux populism is pretty easy to use.

The question, I suppose, is whether this recasting of the class war is working on voters.  Frank says yes.  Bartels says no.  Brewer and Stonecash have some evidence of both divides splitting the electorate from time to time.

Me?  I lean toward Bartels in this argument.  But Frank has a really nice ending paragraph that should unite all strains:
If Barack Obama or anyone else really cares to know what I think, I will simplify it all down to this. The landmark political fact of our time is the replacement of our middle-class republic by a plutocracy. If some candidate has a scheme to reverse this trend, they've got my vote, whether they prefer Courvoisier or beer bongs spiked with cough syrup. I don't care whether they enjoy my books, or would rather have every scrap of paper bearing my writing loaded into a C-47 and dumped into Lake Michigan. If it will help restore the land of relative equality I was born in, I'll fly the plane myself.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Another milestone

First, my son wanted to learn the ways of the Force, and now he's biking on two wheels. In just a few years he'll be calling me a fascist while I pay his college tuition. It all goes so fast...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Worst series ever?

I'm rather amazed that Amazon is charging money for the DVD of "Galactica 1980," or even that Universal bothered to burn this onto discs for public distribution. It really was pretty crappy (although I still think "V: The Series" was worse). I'm rather enjoying reading the user reviews.

My main memory from "Galactica 1980" was the episode in which the pilots traveled back in time to 1944, went to Europe, destroyed a V-2 rocket during its test flight, and then liberated Auschwitz. I swear I am not making this up. Oh, and the actors playing the liberated Jews were overweight. I think I need to buy this DVD just to be sure that really happened.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Obama takes lead among elected superdelegates

I thought this was vaguely interesting. Among elected superdelegates (U.S. senators, governors, and House members), Obama now leads Clinton 96-94, having just picked up three of them yesterday.

Bartels on Obama

It's nice that, every once in a while, a political scientist gets to weigh in on politics. In today's NYT, Larry Bartels demonstrates that Obama's "bitter" comments aren't so much offensive as they are inaccurate.

Last week in Terre Haute, Ind., Mr. Obama explained that the people he had in mind “don’t vote on economic issues, because they don’t expect anybody’s going to help them.” He added: “So people end up, you know, voting on issues like guns, and are they going to have the right to bear arms. They vote on issues like gay marriage. And they take refuge in their faith and their community and their families and things they can count on. But they don’t believe they can count on Washington.”

This is a remarkably detailed and vivid account of the political sociology of the American electorate. What is even more remarkable is that it is wrong on virtually every count.

Small-town people of modest means and limited education are not fixated on cultural issues. Rather, it is affluent, college-educated people living in cities and suburbs who are most exercised by guns and religion. In contemporary American politics, social issues are the opiate of the elites.

Bartels reminds us that rural, working-class voters actually preferred Kerry to Bush in 2004, media stereotypes to the contrary. It's a nice piece of political science compressed into standard op/ed length. Worth the read.

The only endorsement that matters

It looks like Hillary just walked into a 10th Avenue freeze-out. I guess she's not the one. Obama was born to run.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Health alert

My school keeps sending out health alerts, notifying us that 47 students have become ill with symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, dizziness and dehydration. Great! I'm not really sure what to do about this, but fortunately my employer is:
In an effort to contain the spread of the illness, we are asking all faculty, staff and students to wash their hands regularly, do not clean up after a student who has been ill and use sanitary wipes to clean their immediate areas. The University is providing sanitary wipes at all residence halls and custodians have been instructed to deep clean common areas. Students should contact a building supervisor to clean areas where students have become ill. (Emphasis mine.)
Well, I'm glad I got this notice, because normally I just rush to clean up my students' vomit. But apparently the correct procedure is to call a custodian and just go on with my lecture as though there were no pile of vomit sitting there on a desk.

Dissertation of the year award

This has to go to Jennifer Hooper McCarty, whose dissertation work on rivets demonstrates that the company that built the RMS Titanic was using substandard material. The cheap rivets likely caused the ship to sink much faster than it otherwise would have, dropping 1,500 people into the North Atlantic before a rescue ship could arrive.

I can only imagine what she was like during grad school. Every party she went to, she was probably talking about rivets. And her friends would probably say, "What, again with the rivets?"

Hard work pays off.

Monday, April 14, 2008

High School Reunion

Against my better instincts, I watched the six-part series "High School Reunion" on TVLand recently. I have to admit it was fairly entertaining, but not for the reasons I expected.

Basically, it's your garden variety reality show, only the cast is my age. These folks were celebrating their 20th high school reunion, and got to do so in Hawaii, even though their high school was in Dallas. Everyone is identified by their high school stereotype (the jock, the rebel, the lesbian, etc.), and they get hall passes to exotic locales if they're good and detentions if they're bad.

What I particularly loved about the show is that it tried to follow the usual reality show formula by introducing conflict whenever possible. The problem is that these people aren't asshole teens anymore. They're in their late 30s and have largely mellowed out. It seemed like every time the cast was getting along too well, they introduced another character to make things tense, but it usually worked out okay. For example, one of the original cast members was known as "the bully" in high school, although he seems pretty decent today. So they brought in one of the nerds he used to beat up in high school. They had a briefly tense conversation. Then the bully said he didn't remember the incident, but he was sorry about it. Then they started hanging out and became best buddies.

There was some tension when they introduced "the backstabber," the former best friend of "the rebel" who had slept with "the rebel"'s ex-wife. "The backstabber" almost got his ass kicked a few times, not so much because of what he'd done (breaking the guy code) but because of his patent inability to be contrite. ("You slept with your best friend's ex-wife, dude," said one cast member. "Yeah," he replied, "But I'm man enough to admit it.") Nonetheless, by the last episode, the two former best friends were, if not buddies, at least on speaking terms again.

The only real surprise for me was that "the pipsqueak," a sweet but geeky kid in high school who bloomed later and became pretty good looking, ended up hooking up with "the popular girl," and then totally dumped her ass during the reunion prom. Oh, and the Motels played at prom, doing pretty good renditions of "Only the Lonely" and "Suddenly Last Summer." (I was waiting for "So L.A.," but no luck.)

Anyway, all episodes are free online, so if you want a few hours of mindless fun and a healthy reminder of why people pushing forty aren't often cast in reality shows, check it out.

Woo hoo! Screw the Prohibitionists!

Sunday liquor sales are finally legal in Colorado.

From the governor's office:
Gov. Bill Ritter today signed Senate Bill 82 into law, repealing a 75-year-old prohibition against Sunday alcohol sales at liquor stores. Colorado now becomes the 35th state to permit Sunday retail sales of beer, wine and spirits.

The new law, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Veiga and Rep. Cheri Jahn, takes effect July 1.

"This is a law whose time has finally come." Gov. Ritter said. "The ban on Sunday sales was an antiquated law that long ago outlived its usefulness or relevance. Everything we know about modern consumer demand says the people of Colorado want the conveniences, options and choices this law will bring. This is about stepping into the 21st Century."

Practical effects on me:
  • I no longer have to plan ahead when invited to a Sunday BBQ or dinner party.
  • More of my students will be hung over on Mondays.
Also, it means double-fisted Hillary can campaign here on Sundays.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hillary Get Your Gun

Wow, she went there.

VALPARAISO, Indiana (CNN) — Hillary Clinton appealed to Second Amendment supporters on Saturday by hinting that she has some experience of her own pulling triggers.

“I disagree with Sen. Obama’s assertion that people in our country cling to guns and have certain attitudes about trade and immigration simply out of frustration,” she began, referring to the Obama comments on small-town Americans that set off a political tumult on Friday.

She then introduced a fond memory from her youth.

“You know, my dad took me out behind the cottage that my grandfather built on a little lake called Lake Winola outside of Scranton and taught me how to shoot when I was a little girl,” she said.

Anyone care to guess the number of people who are motivated to vote because of the gun issue and are now persuaded to vote for Hillary Clinton?

Meanwhile, Theda Skocpol calls bullshit:
This has to be one of the few times in U.S. political history when a multi-millionaire has accused a much less wealthy fellow public servant, a person of the same party and views who made much less lucrative career choices, of "elitism"!
Worth the read.

Oh, give it a rest

I know Hillary Clinton has to cling to every potential weakness in Obama's candidacy to boost her own, but this whole "bitter" thing strikes me as pretty weak tea. His recent comments, of course, were as follows:
You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or antitrade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
My main problem with this statement is that it seems to buy into the "What's the Matter with Kansas?" rationale that working class whites are leaving the Democratic Party due to cultural appeals. As we know, that isn't true. That aside, while Obama is right to talk about declining Rust Belt prosperity and voter anger, it's unwise to suggest that people cling to guns or religious because they have nothing else to live for. People are rightly offended by that. But Hillary is seizing this crumb and trying to make a ten-course meal out of it:
The people of faith I know don’t "cling to" religion because they’re bitter. People embrace faith not because they are materially poor, but because they are spiritually rich.
Right, Hillary. Barack Obama, a church community organizer, doesn't understand why people embrace religion. Weren't we just attacking him as a religious zealot? Or a crypto-Muslim? But this is my favorite part of the NY Times' coverage:

David Saunders, a Democratic strategist and rural advocate, advised John Edwards’s presidential campaign but is now neutral. He said he believed that Mr. Obama’s comments would offend rural voters.

“It could mean he’s rendered himself unelectable,” Mr. Saunders said. “This is a perfect example of why Democrats lose elections.”

That's why Democrats lose elections? Could it have something to do with Democratic strategists who like to criticize Democratic candidates in the newspapers?

Again, the game here is basically for the superdelegates, and the candidates are pretty close in terms of policy stances, so it makes sense for Hillary to be bringing up questions of electability. But she expects us to believe that this comment has made Obama unelectable? Whereas there's nothing that makes her unelectable? Like, I dunno, the fact that she's Hillary Freakin' Clinton?

Better gaffes, please.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Whither the egghead?

I was somewhat surprised to see this report in today's Rocky Mountain News. There's a nice graph in there (see below) that breaks down donations to Obama and Clinton by profession. (I can't seem to get this info out of the FEC or Open Secrets, so kudos to the Rocky for figuring that out.) Within Colorado, professors have given $19,000 to Clinton and $23,000 to Obama. First point: these numbers are absurdly low. I know there aren't a ton of professors in the state, and none of us make a ton of money, but come on, people. Second point: I expected academics to lean Obama, but I'm surprised how close that is. In fact, most of the other professions listed lean Obama by a much larger margin.

Aren't Obama supporters supposed to be the modern incarnation of the "Adlai, I love you madly" crowd? Shouldn't that include the pointy-headed liberal academics?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fantastic time killer

IFC has posted the 50 greatest comedy sketches of all time (h/t EoTAW). Celebrity Jeopardy, 240 lbs. of pudding, the dead parrot... they're all there. They also included this pre-Monty Python classic:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Geography and Party Factions

I've been thinking for a while that geographic information software holds a ton of potential for use in political science research. So much of what we examine in elections or representation or redistricting or almost anything else has a lot to do with geography, but we don't often study things in those terms.

So I was pleased to see that two grad students at the University of Maryland have started using GIS to study party factionalism. Shanna Pearson-Merkowitz and John McTague have a piece in the new SPPQ (subscription req'd) that finds that states with more disperse populations tend to experience more factionalized parties. The argument is that in areas with a centralized population, a party can recruit candidates from just one "farm team" and avoid divisive primaries. However, if a party's voters are scattered over several disparate geographic areas, they'll have multiple farm teams that often do battle in primaries.

The article includes these nice pictures of the counties that are the sources of electoral strength in each of Florida's parties. Democrats can reach a supermajority by just drawing on eastern counties, but Republicans have to draw from the panhandle, as well, which tends to factionalize the GOP there.

Hillary can't run from Elton's message of hate

Now that Hillary Clinton has appeared side-by-side with Elton John, who is raising money for her, will she be forced to distance herself from his violent, hate-filled, redistributionist lyrics? Remember "Burn Down the Mission"?
Bring your family down to the riverside
Look to the east to see where the fat stock hide
Behind four walls of stone the rich man sleeps
Its time we put the flame torch to their keep

Burn down the mission
If were gonna stay alive
Watch the black smoke fly to heaven
See the red flame light the sky

Burn down the mission
Burn it down to stay alive
Its our only chance of living
Take all you need to live inside

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Going pro

After a few days of reflection, this year's MPSA conference in Chicago struck me as a transformative moment. The conference is dominated by graduate students and junior faculty. I'm starting to move into middle age, by MPSA standards. And I can see changes occurring in the way I and others in my cohort deal with the conference.

For one thing, it's pretty rare that we attend panels in which we are not participants. That's not to say that panels aren't useful -- they certainly can be. But it's rare to find a panel with more than one or two interesting, high-quality papers on it, and then you're stuck listening to the other papers and the discussant's comments on them, and that's time you could be doing other things.

What other things? Meetings. It used to be that I'd attend a few meetings and then later get together with friends for drinks or meals. Now, all these things are blending together. Small gatherings are a great chance to catch up with people, but you also talk about professional development: projects you're working on, opportunities for collaboration, new datasets becoming available, jobs coming open, etc. And while there used to be an enthusiastic but unfocused celebration of discovery, today it seems more like a business. That is, you talk with people about research projects and try to suss out whether it will lead to robust findings and a publication. If so, you pursue it; if not, you ditch it. That's not a bad thing, but you can see the tenure incentive structure going to work on us.

So, anyway, I caught myself in the act of professionalizing. Interesting moment.

Monday, April 7, 2008

PA's tightening up

Of the four most recent polls, Clinton was ahead in only two of them.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Off to Chicago...

Hope to post from MPSA, but the Internet is quirky at the Palmer House. We'll see...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Not exactly polarization

Democrat Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey's 200-year old senior senator, may be challenged by Rep. Rob Andrews (D-Haddon Heights) in this year's senate primary. The weird thing is, according to Poole and Rosenthal's calculations, Andrews is actually more moderate than Lautenberg, which makes one wonder what the basis for this challenge would be. Andrews' most recent DW-NOMINATE score is -.438; Lautenberg's is -.573. (Yes, different chambers, I know, but still...)

According to Andrews' people:
Over the last few days, Congressman Andrews has been approached by many leaders of the Democratic Party who have urged him to step forward and run for the Senate because they think that 2008 is a year where voters are seeking a change in government.
Pretty vague. I wonder who these "leaders of the Democratic Party" are, considering that Gov. Corzine, Sen. Menendez, and the rest of the House Dems from NJ are already backing Lautenberg.