The saddest part about the negative turn Billy Long and his handlers took at the end of the Seventh Distriict Congressional campaign is that it wasn't necessary
Billy Long had the election won the minute he first uttered those three magical words- "I'm fed up."
The phrase was ridiculed in many of the comments on this blog and elsewhere, but like any catchy slogan, it grows on you, and in this case, it resonated with people who are fed up with the status quo in government. It was an agreeable set of circumstances that brought BIlly Long to the winner's circle tonight.
First was Kit Bond's decision to retire and not seek the Seventh District nomination.
Second, no big name candidate (early rumors had placed Matt Blunt and Sarah Steelman in the race) surfaced. While Jack Goodman and Gary Nodler are known, they were by no means household names when this campaign started.
Third- How can anyone explain the distant, removed campaign Greene County Prosecutor Darrell Moore ran? Moore was the only candidate who could have damaged Long in his home area, but he never sought funding. He made the circuit of all of the forums and that was about it. An early poll showed that Moore had the best name recognition among the Seventh District candidates. I questioned that poll, but it does show what an advnntage Moore squandered.
Fourth- Can anyone doubt that what is happening in Washington, D. C. and across this country played a big role in Billy Long's victory? The ongoing battle over health care and the emergence of the tea party movement showed a strong resentment toward politics as usual. When Billy Long said he was fed up, everyone knew what he was talking about. And when his strongest opponents were both men who were currently serving in office (and Goodman, who has two more years to go in his Senate term will continue to do so), Long was able to hit hard on career politicians and the resentment resonated with the voters.
I have already heard some say that things would have been different had it been a two-man battle between Long and Goodman or Long and Nodler.
Sorry to disillusion those who want to imagine a world of what ifs but in this year of the tea parties, the year of so-called Obamacare, rising deficits, war in Afghanistan, and a gulf filled with oil, it was the perfect time for someone who did not look or sound like a regular candidate to rise to the top.
Whether Billy Long can ride the Fed Up Express all the way to Washington is less certain, but give credit where credit was due. He took the best Jack Goodman and Gary Nodler could throw at him and it is those two who will be on the sidelines while Billy Long represents the Republican Party in the general election.