November 6, 2006


Senate Takeover Bid on ‘the Edge’ of Success, Says Schumer (Marie Horrigan, 11/06/06, NY Times)

[S]chumer credited the party’s success at making a serious run at a Senate takeover to its success at “nationalizing” the elections — focusing on the collapsed job approval ratings for President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress — and parrying the Republicans’ efforts to turn voters’ attention to more parochial state-level issues.

Republicans have stood by the motto that all elections are local, seeking to loosen their identification with a president whose popularity has plunged, a chaotic and ultraviolent situation in Iraq, and a spate of scandals involving Republican lawmakers.

But Schumer told reporters, “We had always hoped” the election would be a referendum on the war in Iraq, adding, “And it is.”

That, he said, was a devastating turn of events for Republicans. “When the election is a referendum on change, George Bush and his rubber-stamp Congress lose,” he said.

In fact, if the Democrats fail to take both chambers, and the House by a wide margin, it will be precisely because they managed to nationalize the election and make it about reversing a time when gas has fallen to $2, the Dow is at record levels, the Fed has stopped cutting and unemployment is at a historic low. They're just lucky that Bush/Rove still think the election is about the WoT, not people's pocketbooks, or the GOP would stand to add seats.

For Democrats, Even a Gain May Feel Like a Failure (ADAM NAGOURNEY, 11/07/06, NY Times)

For a combination of reasons — increasingly bullish prognostications by independent handicappers, galloping optimism by Democratic leaders and bloggers, and polls that promise a Democratic blowout — expectations for the party have soared into the stratosphere. Democrats are widely expected to take the House, and by a significant margin, and perhaps the Senate as well, while capturing a majority of governorships and legislatures. [...]

Some Democrats worry that those forecasts, accurate or not, may be setting the stage for a demoralizing election night, and one with lasting ramifications, sapping the party’s spirit and energy heading into the 2008 presidential election cycle.

“Two years ago, winning 14 seats in the House would have been a pipe dream,” said Matt Bennett, a founder of Third Way, a moderate Democratic organization. Now, Mr. Bennett said, failure to win the House, even by one seat, would send Democrats diving under their beds (not to mention what it might do to all the pundits).

“It would be crushing,” he said. “It would be extremely difficult.”

Mr. Cook put it more succinctly. “I think you’d see a Jim Jones situation — it would be a mass suicide,” he said.

On election eve, the rough consensus among officials in both parties was that the Democrats would win the House but come just short of capturing the six seats they needed in the Senate.

The Democrats Are Coming! (Right?) (Howard Kurtz, November 6, 2006, Washington Post)
Mark Halperin, ABC's political director, says all the data suggest a good year for Democrats. "I don't think there's anything wrong with reporting the reality of what's going on," he says. Most revealing, he says, are "Republican sources who say, 'We're going to lose a lot of seats and, if nothing changes, we will lose the House and maybe the Senate.' "

Conservative commentators and radio hosts usually provide a cheering section for Republicans, but a striking number say the GOP should be punished this year for straying from conservative principles. Some, like Christopher Buckley and Jonah Goldberg, have said the Republicans deserve to lose the House. Glenn Reynolds of says the GOP seems to have a "bizarre death wish." George Will calls it "disgusting" that the White House refuses to acknowledge the depth of the fiasco in Iraq. Andrew Sullivan says he feels "betrayed" by the administration's botching of the war and the use of torture against terror suspects. Others have complained about overspending and the mishandling of the Foley debacle.

The press has treated all this as a leading indicator that the Republican base is downcast and disillusioned.

You can't even feel sorry for the MSM if they're going to listen to a bunch of ax-grinding insiders instead of reporting on the base out there in America.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 6, 2006 11:02 PM

So is this an admission that Rove/Bush have miscalculated?

No one is ten feet tall. Once you reach 10 feet tall, you shrink rapidly.

Whoever Rove picks (or picks Rove) in 2008 loses. Let's hope its McManchurian.

Posted by: Bruno at November 6, 2006 11:16 PM

Of course, their focus on 9-11 almost cost Bush re-election. But given that they're charged with preventing the next one it's certainly understandable that they remain obsessed while the rest of the country has long since moved on.

McCain needs Jeb Bush and Karl Rove precisely to turn his attention towards finishing up the Compassionate Conservative/Neoconomic agenda rather than running on national security.

Posted by: oj at November 6, 2006 11:26 PM

No country can support war without the will to win. We still don't know how today will go. If it goes badly the blame lies with neglect of war leadership. We have attained stunning victory over Iraq, at trivial cost, yet we shrink from naming it victory.

Iraq has been destroyed, taken off the board. It is as if we had destoyed Germany by sitting back while the Bavarians, Prussians and Saxons butchered one another. Yet so dainty were we in consideration of the enemy's feelings that we cast aside those of our own people.

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 7, 2006 11:12 AM