Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tea leaf reading and other dark arts

George W. Bush can generally be counted on to maintain a sunny optimism that is wholly unsupported by facts on the ground. We're winning the war in Iraq dontcha know!

This afternoon I heard him on the radio discussing the upcoming elections. Well, I guess 'discussing' would be overstating the conversation. ‘Boldly predicting’ was more like it. In this case he was predicting that the GOP would maintain majorities in both houses of congress. The President’s Press Secretary, Tony Snow, announced that the White House is not even preparing a contingency plan for the possibility that the Democrats might take one or – dare I say it – both houses of Congress. I guess that kind of thinking would be consistent with not making a contingency plan for what to do with Iraq once we had invaded it.

Now, I know that I’ve said a Democratic victory in November would be premature and to an extent I do still believe that. This theory was, of course, based on the assumption that if the Democrats were going to win they would only take the House and only by a narrow margin. I had not considered the possibility that the Democrats might actually take both the House and Senate, but I guess that would be ok.

It also doesn’t seem like a pipe dream anymore. The Senate will be tough. Absolutely everything has to go right for the Democrats, but somehow it is starting to seem at least possible. The Times/CBS poll is showing 48 Senate seats to each party with four toss-ups. Taking three of those four is a tough nut to crack, especially given that three of those races are in southern states that seemed like safe GOP territory even a few months ago(VA,TN & MO with the fourth being NJ). The House is just as close. This will be a nail-biter to the finish. That is for sure.

I just feel it breaking hard in the Democrat’s favor. I think we may witness a perfect storm of disaffection for the GOP. Races that were not supposed to be competitive have become heated. Long held GOP seats like Santorum’s in Pennsylvania and (this is my favorite) Tom Delay’s Texas seat actually look like they are going to move to the Democratic column. Scandals are taking their toll and the cannibalism of the blame game has begun to set in. Dick Armey, the former Republican House Majority Leader called the leaders of the Christian-right a “gang of thugs” (‘cause that’s always a good get-out-the-vote tactic). The President is trying to win support by calling the Democrats a bunch of tax raising terrorist appeasers. Fortunately, unlike 2004, when recent memories of 9/11 seemed more important to the electorate, this time those arguments seem just as hollow and ineffectual as they really are.

I am actually starting to believe it might happen.

A cautionary note though: Taking both Houses is good. Taking only one is bad. With a narrow majority in only the House, the Democrats will be unable to get anything done and in 2008 the GOP will be able to point out their control of the chamber and their ineffectualness – not to mention that Republican candidates will play up every cockamamie lefty proposal put forth in the next two years to try to paint the Democrats as radicals (something the Democrats never use to full advantage against the Republicans). Getting none and being able to claim that it wasn’t their fault is better for the Democrats than taking a little and not being able to do anything with it.

In the meantime, Democrats are almost giddy with anticipation, and this time their optimism does seem to be increasingly well founded.

Jeez I hope so!


Post a Comment

<< Home