Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Fox News had copies of Foley emails but chose not to run it

Copies of explicit emails from Foley to the teenage page were leaked to news outlets last YEAR, but they chose to sit on them instead of reporting on them. The St. Petersburg Times and The Miami Herald were given copies of the e-mail, as were other news organizations, including Fox News.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

In Virginia, Another Poll Shows Allen's Lead Cut

The fallout from Sen. George Allen’s (R-VA) “macaca” comment continues, according to a new SurveyUSA poll. Allen’s lead over challenger Jim Webb (D) has been cut from 19 points in June to three points, 48% to 45%.

Right- Wing Congressman Rips Bush

"I think George Bush is in a league by himself. I don't think he has the intellectual depth as these other people."

-- Former Republican congressman and MSNBC pundit Joe Scarborough, quoted by the Washington Post, comparing the intelligence of President Bush and past presidents.

McCain Securing Political Talent

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) "is locking up a cast of top-shelf Republican strategists, policy experts, fund-raisers and donors, in a methodical effort to build a 2008 presidential campaign machine that is drawing supporters of President Bush despite the sometimes rocky history between the two men," reports the New York Times.As McCain attempts to "woo a diverse lineup of backers and scare off rivals," the GOP’s 2008 presidential frontrunner is sending the message to Republicans that “anyone who wants a place on his bandwagon should jump on now."

--->While every other Republican is wearing red, McCain wears light red. Some fucking maverick he is!! Only a dumbass would be conned in believing that John McCain is a moderate or a centrist or whatever the fuck he calls himself nowadays.

In Connecticut, Lieberman and Lamont Deadlocked

According to a new American Research Group poll, Sen. Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont are in a statistical tie in the race for U.S. Senate in Connecticut. Lieberman is at 44% and Lamont is at 42% among likely voters, with 3% for Alan Schlesinger and 11% undecided.Says pollster Dick Bennett: "Lieberman's slight ballot advantage is based on his more than 2-to-1 support among the 9% of likely voters saying they have favorable opinions of both Lieberman and Lamont. Lieberman and Lamont are tied at 44% each among the remaining 91% of likely voters."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

EXCLUSIVE: Clinton on Politics of Terror

The Former President Spoke to ABC News
From the International AIDS Conference in Toronto

Bush's Iraq Idiocy

Scarborough's question has reverberated in the last few days, as the news from Iraq becomes increasingly bleak. There's little question that, if not an idiot, he's dangerously disconnected from what his Iraq Debacle has wrought. Try as he might, he can't create a new reality. A few days ago, we learned that he's peeved with the Iraqis for not being more grateful to America. Yeah, hard to imagine the Iraqis aren't grateful for all this.
But reality is coming back to bite BushCo in the butt--all the purple fingers in Iraq can't actually bring about democracy. An election conducted during a foreign occupation and absent any domestic normalization or reconciliation isn't a real election, and the violence just keeps getting worse.
Along with a sharp increase in sectarian attacks, the number of daily strikes against American and Iraqi security forces has doubled since January. The deadliest means of attack, roadside bombs, made up much of that increase. In July, of 2,625 explosive devices, 1,666 exploded and 959 were discovered before they went off. In January, 1,454 bombs exploded or were found....
"The insurgency has gotten worse by almost all measures, with insurgent attacks at historically high levels," said a senior Defense Department official who agreed to discuss the issue only on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for attribution. "The insurgency has more public support and is demonstrably more capable in numbers of people active and in its ability to direct violence than at any point in time."
A separate, classified report by the Defense Intelligence Agency, dated Aug. 3, details worsening security conditions inside the country and describes how Iraq risks sliding toward civil war, according to several officials who have read the document or who have received a briefing on its contents.
The administration continues to steadfastly deny that Iraq is sliding toward civil war, much less in the throes of one right now. Despite all evidence to the contrary, they insist that everything is going according to plan. Meanwhile, commanders on the ground have to try to marshall limited resources to respond to increasing violence around the country, like some kind of gruesome game of whack-a-mole, deploying troops first here and then there, with casualty counts continuing apace and serious injuries increasing.
Some see movement in the administration on Iraq, an indication that perhaps what can only be called the real reality is sinking in.
"Senior administration officials have acknowledged to me that they are considering alternatives other than democracy," said one military affairs expert who received an Iraq briefing at the White House last month and agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity.
"Everybody in the administration is being quite circumspect," the expert said, "but you can sense their own concern that this is drifting away from democracy."
But I don't buy it. Here's Bush today:
President Bush said critics of his Iraq policies are advocating a "cut and run" strategy that would draw terrorists to American soil.
"Leaving before we complete our mission would create a terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East, a country with huge oil reserves that the terrorist network would be willing to use to extract economic pain from those of us who believe in freedom," Bush said Wednesday.
"If we leave before the mission is complete, if we withdraw, the enemy will follow us home," he said.
Is Bush an idiot? I'll leave the final word to Wolcott:
Is water wet?
Is Colin Farrell stubbly? . . .
Unlike other two-term presidents, Bush hasn't grown in office, become an old familiar whose irritating traits and lapses could be accepted almost affectionately, like Reagan's dottiness. He's demonstrably diminished, dwarfed by the reality that he continues to deny and repeating himself in press conferences like a robot whose wiring is on the fritz, for whom words and phrases are nothing more than pre-programmed units of sound. He's more irritating and dangerous than ever before, because he doesn't know anything, doesn't know or care that he doesn't know anything, and yet persists in a path of destruction as if it were the road to salvation. It's finally dawned on responsible minds that Bush could take all of us down with him before he and the neocons are through.

Bush Loses Support of His Base

Polling released today by Gallup finds that President Bush's approval rating continues to be mired down, with this week's number pegged at 37 percent.
Of more importance from the data released today, however, are the demographic breakdowns of Bush's approval rating over the last three or so months, with each of the subgroups maintaining a fairly low margin of error due to the large overall number of interviews conducted this summer. Comparing the numbers published by Gallup with the exit polling from 2004, we find some very interesting things.
President Bush is down among just about every demographic, and the extent to which he has dropped is similar among most of these demographics (close to 15 percent, which mirrors his overall decline). Bush is even down significantly among the key demographics that propelled him to reelection in 2004. What this tells us is that contrary to Republican claims that the conservative base is currently holding, a sizeable chunk of the GOP base -- close to 1 in 6 -- has abandoned the President since his reelection bid. If this trend continues through November, and it seems unlikely that there will be a major turnaround before then, Republicans running for Congress this year will be in for a seriously rough ride.
(I'm going to try to put together a graph comparing Gallup's polling and the exit polling from 2004 that I'll put up either later today or early tomorrow.)
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The War on Accountability versus the War on Terror

Now that Lieberman has been defeated in the primary, it's time to go for the big question about what exactly has gone wrong over the past six years. I'm confronted in the media over and over with the London bombing plot and how that supposedly helps Lieberman and conservative candidates, and I can't help but give a nod to Bush's most brilliant lie, uttered after 9/11 that we are in a war on terror. This framework was not really challenged at the time, though the press didn't accept it readily as obvious. But it is this framework and our conception of fear and the appropriate response to it that drives America's recent and rapid decline in power and prestige.
George Soros's book The Age of Fallibility (reviewed at FDL) was really the first time a major figure took on the framework of the war on terror, and called it a false metaphor. I think he's right, because in truth, there is no more a war on terror than there is a war on purple. Stopping terrorism is not a war, just like stopping mobsters is not the same thing as declaring war. Iraq is a war, Afghanistan is war, but terrorism is more like a disease than a military opponent. Soros is a mostly lonely voice asking America to wake up and understand its mistaken framework, and correct it. At this point, our mistakes are as obvious as the reluctance of our political system to admit them. The war on terror is a psychological comfort blanket now, something we hang on to so we needn't wrestle with larger questions about our own morality.
Soros reiterated a number of his claims in an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal today.
An endless war waged against an unseen enemy is doing great damage to our power and prestige abroad and to our open society at home. It has led to a dangerous extension of executive powers; it has tarnished our adherence to universal human rights; it has inhibited the critical process that is at the heart of an open society; and it has cost a lot of money. Most importantly, it has diverted attention from other urgent tasks that require American leadership, such as finishing the job we so correctly began in Afghanistan, addressing the looming global energy crisis, and dealing with nuclear proliferation.
With American influence at low ebb, the world is in danger of sliding into a vicious circle of escalating violence. We can escape it only if we Americans repudiate the war on terror as a false metaphor. If we persevere on the wrong course, the situation will continue to deteriorate. It is not our will that is being tested, but our understanding of reality. It is painful to admit that our current predicaments are brought about by our own misconceptions. However, not admitting it is bound to prove even more painful in the long run. The strength of an open society lies in its ability to recognize and correct its mistakes. This is the test that confronts us.
The reality of America is that we cannot be destroyed by outside forces, we can only destroy ourselves. And the fear that George Bush, Joe Lieberman, Dick Cheney, and the rest of these right-wing extremist pseudo-conservatives whip up has led to a host of demeaning barriers to freedom. Rather than focusing on our moral authority, we allow torture and in parts of the talk radio dial, celebrate it. Rather than acting as free citizens, we now must show IDs in office buildings across America, strip before boarding buses and airplanes, and submit to intimidation of scientists and academics pursuing intellectual inquiry. Rather than holding our corporate, priestly, or political leaders accountable for lies, theft, and gross immorality, we must submit to endless media sheep bleating about hyperpatriotism and free markets that are nothing but con jobs.
That is not freedom, and that is not a war on terror. That is America destroying itself and gorging on debt to hide our painful hypocritical distortion of reality. It's time to understand that there is no war on terror going on here, there is only a war on accountability and a war on America perpetrated by the Republican Party, its leadership, and its enablers in the press and political world. It's time to stand up and say no more, that we will not accept this.
Now, to be clear for the idiot right-wingers reading this, terrorism is one of many problems that we must solve, and it's a serious problem, though probably a lot less serious than global warming. The reality of America though is that we are too strong as a country for any force to destroy except our own moral failings. I believe the American people know this, and are willing to begin the long multi-year conversation about how to contain the immense damage George Bush and the right-wing has caused. While the American people are ready to begin to admit our mistakes and make ourselves great again, our political, corporate, priestly, and media leaders are not. It is time to wake them up and force them to begin to acknowledge their role in the last six years. It's time.
The war on terror just doesn't exist any more than a child's imaginary friend exists. It's only there as comfort and succor for spoiled political leaders. We're stronger than that.

Indies Show Strong Anti-Incumbent, Anti-GOP Streak

Netroots pollster Joel Wright has been busy recently. Not only did he just conduct a third poll for MyDD last week (this one a second follow up on CA-50), he also developed and put into the field a survey for Mike Caudle for State Representative in Oregon district 39, the campaign I am managing this cycle. (As a side note, one of the nice things about running a non-targeted campaign is that you can hire the people you want, not just those the party recommends; as a result, I of course turned to Joel -- a.k.a. Sun Tzu on MyDD -- who is definitely one of the best in the business.)
Oregon HD 39 is a great swing district to check out for polling today. While the area has a rich Democratic Party tradition, it is nevertheless conservative; and while Republicans have a voter registration edge in the district of close to 900 voters (or about 2.5 percent), non-affiliated (independent) and minor party voters make up nearly one-quarter of the electorate. In 2004, the district split its ticket, giving George W. Bush a 54.5 percent to 45.5 percent two-party victory but Democratic U.S. Rep. Darlene Hooley and Democratic County Commission candidate Martha Schrader 51.1 percent and 53.5 percent of it's two-party vote, respectively.
So how will this district swing this fall? First, let's look how it's swinging today. According to the poll of 300 likely voters conducted by Joel Wright from August 7-10, 2006 (MoE of +/- 5.8 percent), just 31 percent of the district thinks Oregon is moving in the right direction while 46 percent believe the state is on the wrong track. These numbers are much worse among independent and minor party voters, 19 percent of whom say the state is on the right track while 57 percent say the state is moving in the wrong direction.
Looking at the current state Representative for the district, House Majority Leader Wayne Scott (R-Canby), 38 percent of likely voters approve of the job he is doing. Interestingly, the group least likely to approve of Scott are not Democrats but independents and minor party voters, just 23 percent of whom voice approval of Scott (compared to 30 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of Republicans).
In today's head-to-head matchup in the district, Scott holds a 46 percent to 25 percent lead over Caudle -- a large, though by no means insurmountable margin. Independent voters are largely undecided in the race, with a large plurality not yet able to voice support either way (46 percent are undecided, 25 percent are for Caudle, and 23 percent are for Scott). However, when positive and negative statements are read about both candidates (and I promise you, Joel was very strict about keeping two statements balanced), Scott's lead evaporates as Democrats come home and indies and minor party voters swing hard to Caudle. On the informed test question, the race is a statistical dead heat, with Scott at 41 percent and Caudle at 39 percent. Independent and minor party voters support Caudle by close to a 2 to 1 margin, 49 percent to 26 percent. The swing among undecided independent voters from pre-test to post-test is stunning, with close to 88 percent of this subset moving to Caudle while about 12 percent move to Scott.
Of course the numbers from this poll cannot and should not be taken as representative of the nation as a whole or of independent voters around the entire country. Nevertheless, the fact that these non-affiliated voters in a swing district from a swing state are so negative in their outlook towards the current political environment and so unwilling to support Republicans (and, correspondingly, open to supporting insurgent Dems) provide further anecdotal evidence that the anti-incumbent and anti-GOP mood in the country is permeating throughout the entire ballot and threatens not only Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress and in governor's mansions around the country but also Republican control of state legislatures, county commissions and city councils across the country..

House Republicans Give Up Hopes of Picking Up Seats

House Republicans have received fairly positive press coverage over the past 24 hours following their announcement of $40 million worth of television ad buys for their candidates around the country. Of course the GOP figure is somewhat modest when compared to the more than $50 million reserved by House Democrats this year (the first time in recent memory that the National Republican Congressional Committee will be outspent by its Democratic counterpart), but nevertheless it represents a significant investment in maintaining the GOP majority in the House.
Taking a look at the specifics of the ad buy, though, it becomes clear that the Republican action is almost wholly defensive and reactive. Whereas the Dems' ad buy targets 27 seats (and perhaps eventually more) while defending just five, the vast bulk of the GOP ad buy is dedicated to protecting vulnerable incumbents.
The AP's Liz Sidoti runs with the Republican claim that the NRCC is setting its sites on "several Democrats." However, just three Democratic incumbents (Chet Edwards of Texas, John Spratt of South Carolina and Leonard Boswell of Iowa) and three Democratic open seats (Vermont At-Large and, presumably, Ohio districts 6 and 13) are specifically listed as targets, a surprisingly unambitious set of seats given GOP claims of being on the offensive against supposedly weak Democratic incumbents like Melissa Bean of Illinois, Jim Marshall and John Barrow of Georgia, Charlie Melancon of Louisiana and Alan Mollohan of West Virginia.
Also conspisiously absent from the Republican list are perennial targets like Dennis Moore in Kansas and Jim Matheson in Utah. Apparently, the NRCC isn't the only big gun to have given up on these races. As Thomas Burr reports for The Salt Lake Tribune, George W. Bush, who is making the third stop in Utah of his presidency, will hold a fundraiser for Sen. Orrin Hatch (who, despite the best efforts of Democrat Pete Ashdown, is not in serious jeopardy this fall) yet will not help bring in money for Matheson's Republican challenger.
The fact Hatch snagged Bush for the fundraiser caused some other Republicans in the state to grumble behind the scenes that other GOP candidates in the state could use the money more, especially 2nd Congressional District candidate LaVar Christensen, who is looking to topple three-term Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson.
One top state Republican described fellow party members as being "jealous" of Hatch.
That the NRCC is so bearish on its chances this fall that it won't invest money in the state with the highest approval rating in the nation and that the President will raise money for Orrin Hatch but not a House candidate in a district in which he received close to two-thirds of the vote against John Kerry in 2004 are yet further indications that House Democrats have the Republicans on their heels today. And if this momentum continues through election day, regardless of what generic congressional ballot polling shows, this November is going to yield big results for the Democrats.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Playing politics with terror

Par for the course.
"Weeks before September 11th, this is going to play big," said another White House official, who also spoke on condition of not being named, adding that some Democratic candidates won't "look as appealing" under the circumstances.

These guys high-five each other when terrorism rears its ugly head.
They should really temper their glee.
But really, this is the reason they've shown no interest in truly fighting terrorists. They need Osama Bin Laden as much as OBL needs the Republicans. It's all they've got.

Give the Republican National Committee $500 or Terrorists Will Attack You

Within hours of the announcement of the anti-terrorism arrests in the U.K., Rudy Giuliani sent out a fundraising email from the Republican National Committee that read, in part:

Today, President Bush faces a similar challenge. In the middle of a war on terror, we need to remain focused on furthering Republican ideas more than ever before. We can't turn back now. [...]
That's why I am emailing to ask you for a favor: will you click here to make a contribution of $500, $250, $100, $50, $35 or $25 to show your strong commitment to our Party and our principles?
The terrorism arrests were announced in the morning. By early afternoon, this email was out. Even if we make the extraordinarily generous presumption that it was already planned before the arrests were announced, ya think maybe the Republicans might have cancelled the message and waited, oh, at least a day or two or so before using the terrorism plot as a damn fundraising tool?
There are so many other things wrong with this that I'm not sure I can count them all, but for starters, why exactly is it that "in the middle of a war on terror", we need to further "Republican ideas?" I'd say in the middle of a war on terror, we might want to, oh, fight a war on terror, or start competently funding homeland security efforts, or follow some of the recommendations of the sidelined 9/11 commission -- but I'm pretty sure the terrorists don't hate us because of the estate tax, unless Paris Hilton is now an islamomarxomooreohitlercrackerjackofascist, or whatever we're calling them these days.
So in the immediate coverage of an apparently foiled terrorist plot and a resulting "Red" alert on the fear-o-meter, Giuliani and the RNC are now reduced to sending chain letters to people that obliquely threaten them with terrorist attacks if they don't donate to the Republican Party. Any reporter out there want to give Giuliani a ring and ask him what the hell he was thinking?
These people have no shame. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
Full text of the letter below the fold.
As the Mayor of New York City, I saw that putting Republican ideas into action can improve peoples' lives. We cracked down on crime, cleaned up the streets, cut taxes, and reformed welfare - all while turning a $2 billion deficit into a $3 billion surplus. The result was a city transformed into a place of greater civility and economic activity - a more vibrant and safe environment in which to raise children.
I learned the virtue of strong Republican leadership when I had the honor of serving President Ronald Reagan in his Justice Department. His optimism helped inspire our nation as he led us to victory over communism.
Today, President Bush faces a similar challenge. In the middle of a war on terror, we need to remain focused on furthering Republican ideas more than ever before. We can't turn back now.
This coming election could mark a crucial turning point in American history.
Only with the financial commitment of patriotic Americans like you can the RNC provide the candidate assistance, campaign programs, registration drives and voter outreach that are absolutely essential for electing Republicans across the nation.
That's why I am emailing to ask you for a favor: will you click here to make a contribution of $500, $250, $100, $50, $35 or $25 to show your strong commitment to our Party and our principles?
Recent history has proven that the GOP is the Party of solutions. The Republican Party has taken on terrorism, cut taxes, and grown the economy.
We Republicans have a lot to be proud of. We also have much more to do.
Now is not the time to turn our backs on the War on Terror, to soften our stand on security, or to cripple the economy with ill-advised tax hikes. We need Republican leadership setting the agenda in Congress and working with President Bush to keep America strong and moving forward.
Your personal pledge to the RNC is the single best way for you to show your commitment to moving America forward with a Republican agenda of lower taxes, continued economic growth, more jobs, better education, less government bureaucracy and greater homeland security.
If that's the kind of America you want, I urge you to follow this link to join with me and the RNC right now.
Please make your commitment felt with a financial contribution for $500, $250, $100, $50, $35 or $25 to the Republican National Committee today.
This is your chance to take a stand for your Party and your principles. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for the Republican Party!
Rudy Giuliani
To Forward This Email To Your Friends And Family, Please Click Here
Republican National Committee 310 First Street, SE Washington, D.C. 20003p: 202.863.8500 f: 202.863.8820 e: info@gop.com
Contributions or gifts to the Republican National Committee are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.
Paid for by the Republican National Committee Not Authorized by Any Candidate or Candidate's Committee www.gop.com

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Rural Vote Up for Grabs

The latest Carville-Greenberg strategy memo argues that "white rural America -- one of the cornerstones of the Republican base -- is up for grabs. Disenchanted with Bush, squeezed by rising costs and stagnant incomes, and embittered by the on-going conflict in Iraq, white rural voters are ready to vote for change."Key takeaway: "White rural Americans are evenly divided on whether they approve or disapprove of the job Bush is doing as president. Sixty percent think the country is moving in the wrong direction. In the Congressional vote, the Republicans now hold a mere 9-point lead, down from 17 points in 2004. The parallel for Democrats would be Democrats having only a 9-point lead among union households. The quintessential cornerstone of the Republican base is showing signs of crumbling."

The Change Election

Chuck Todd: "Hotline researchers are already on the case, but we can't find evidence of any primary night (in a non-redistricting year) producing three incumbent losses. And these losses were across the ideological and geographic spectrum. Each one individually can be explained away (moderate Joe Schwarz only won his first race because the conservative vote was split, not so this year; Cynthia McKinney is, well, Cynthia McKinney; and Joe Lieberman found himself on the wrong end of a divisive issue in the wrong year)."And yet, they all lost to candidates promising to do the same thing: change Washington. Change the spending habits, or change the foreign policy, or simply change personal behavior."

Poll Shows Democrats Blowing Out Republicans

In the generic congressional race, a new Fox News poll shows Democrats leading Republicans by a stunning 48% to 30% margin.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Turning Tides in Iraq?

From Daily Kos

Whether it's the surge of Ned Lamont's candidacy, or the latest Gallup polling showing majority support from Americans for withdrawal sooner rather than later, or the unrelenting horror that every day in Iraq brings, the reality and magnitude of the Iraq Debacle finally seems to be setting in with the nation's traditional media opinion shapers.
Today brings the remarkable departure of one of the administration's most valued war backers, Tom Friedman. Think Progress has these excerpts:
[T]hree years of efforts to democratize Iraq are not working. That means "staying the course" is pointless, and it's time to start thinking about Plan B -- how we might disengage with the least damage possible.
...But the administration now has to admit what anyone -- including myself -- who believed in the importance of getting Iraq right has to admit: Whether for Bush reasons or Arab reasons, it is not happening, and we can't throw more good lives after good lives.
Finally, the war in Iraq has so divided us at home and abroad that leaving, while bringing other problems, might also make it easier to build coalitions to deal with post-U.S. Iraq, Iran, Hezbollah and Syria. All these problems are connected. We need to deal with Iran and Syria, but from a position of strength -- and that requires a broad coalition.
The longer we maintain a unilateral failing strategy in Iraq, the harder it will be to build such a coalition, and the stronger the enemies of freedom will become.
I've never understood Friedman's unrelenting conviction over the past three years that we needed just six more months to achieve a stabilized Iraq, or indeed his support of the invasion in the first place. But there can be no question of the impact his support had for propping up the administration's policy. His vaunted expertise and position as the leading voice of foreign policy analysis at the nation's newspaper of record made his support for this ridiculous venture critical, providing validation for the war from the egg-headed so-called left that the Bushies hate, but need for cover.
So his abandonment of the administration policy in the Mid East is significant, and worthy of note. While we have to lament the loss of one of Atrios's most brilliant snarks, it's good to be able to welcome Friedman to the reality-based world. Expect to see many more in the punditocracy follow in his wake.

Millionaire Senators hate the working poor

Despite the fact that the minimum wage bill that didn't pass the cloture vote was due to the fact that it was tied directly to a massive rollback of the estate tax and $38 billion in other tax breaks, we are going to get a barrage of the "democrats are filibustering the minimum wage hike" nonsense.
With all of that, it is painfully obvious that any increase in the minimum wage should be a stand alone bill as opposed to part of something that would be as Senator Durbin said "the worst special-interest bill I have seen in my time in Congress." Which also gives the opportunity to make the Republican Senators eat their words and look the damn fools that they are.

Read More Here

Friday, August 04, 2006

The 2006 Midterms: Guilt by Association?

Just over one month ago, the Crystal Ball argued that a larger wave than currently existed at the time would have to build in order for Republicans to lose their congressional majorities. At the time, the race-by-race rather than national dynamic of competitive races pointed more towards a "micro-wave" than a "macro-wave" for out-of-power Democrats.
But now, with a quarter of time elapsed between that pulse-reading and the election, surer signs are emerging that something more substantial than a "micro-wave" is heating up this summer. Historical trends and big picture indicators--generic congressional ballot tests and approval ratings of President Bush's job performance in particular - have always been heavily stacked against the GOP in this "sixth year itch" cycle, but aggregations of more race-specific indicators are now suggesting that Republicans are headed for their most serious midterm losses in decades.
As national discontent over gas prices, Iraq, and general instability in the Middle East percolate, approval ratings of Congress, the president, and the national direction continue to languish at torrid depths. But as the Crystal Ball has cautioned again and again, Democrats cannot truly capitalize on the withering political climate faced by the GOP unless they succeed in convincing large numbers of voters to evaluate their home-state Republican candidates through the powerful lens of national displeasure. In other words, the size of Democrats' gains will be contingent upon how well they play the game of guilt by (Bush) association as Republicans seek to escape the shadow of their unpopular chief executive.