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Eight Big Issues That Will Decide the Election

With one month to go before the midterm elections, we've made some changes to the Post's Bellwether Project -- our attempt to define the issues and factors that will decide the election.

We've added a few late movers, dropping some non starters and even swapping come contests that seem to better fit a category other than the one in which they were originally placed.

The category that underwent the largest overhaul was "The Abramoff Effect", which we've now changed to the broader "Scandal Alert." Ties to Abramoff led -- directly or indirectly -- to the resignations of former Reps. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and Bob Ney (R-Ohio) and the grave electoral danger inn which Montana Sen. Conrad Burns (R) currently finds himself. But, the ongoing scandal surrounding former Florida Rep. Mark Foley (R) is also having a major impact in certain races where members have some kind of tie to Foley -- or have an unseemly scandal of their own. These include Rep. Don Sherwood (R) in Pennsylvania's 10th district, Rep. Tom Reynolds (R) in New York's 26th district and Rep. Clay Shaw in Florida's 22nd district, which abuts Foley's 16th district.

In other categories less drastic changes were made. For example, in "Elephant in the Room", which details races likely to be heavily affected by President Bush's lack of popularity, we've added the New Jersey Senate race where Sen. Bob Menendez (D) is doing his damndest to link state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. to Bush. Kean has made some headway in the race by calling into question Menendez's ethics but it remains unclear whether he can slip the Bush yoke -- a new poll from Quinnipiac shows Menendez ahead 49 percent to 45 percent.

In the "Border Patrol" section -- which examines the role immigrations will play in the election -- we kept two of our original races (Arizona's Senate race and the House race in Colorado's 7th district) while dropping one race (Arizona's 8th) and adding two (Arizona's 5th and Ohio's 1st). The open seat race in Arizona's 8th has become something less than competitive as both national parties have pulled their advertising. The Ariz. 5th district race between Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R) and former Tempe Mayor Harry Mitchell is beginning to look more competitive while in Ohio's 1st District Rep. Steve Chabot (R) has staked his race against Cincinatti City Councilman John Cranley (D) on his strong opposition to illegal immigration -- an unlikely issue in southern Ohio.

As we said at the start, the Bellwether Project is an attempt to provide an organic list of races that illustrate the eight big questions at work in this election. We will continue to hone this list up until election day to ensure we are giving Washington Post and washingtonpost.com the information they need to know when it comes to the 2006 midterms.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 12, 2006; 9:35 AM ET
Categories:  House , Odds and Ends , Senate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Clash of the Titans: McCain vs. Clinton
Next: Warner's Out: Winners and a Loser

Comments

Imagine J.D.'s World

Imagine the U.S. pulling out of the United Nations and ceasing financial support for the international body. Imagine a high, barbed wire fence between the U.S. and Mexico. Imagine all undocumented workers forcibly detained and deported. Imagine English as the official language in Arizona. Imagine the immediate removal of all bilingual ballots, traffic signs, and drivers license manuals. Imagine the continuation of bloody wars on other nations' soil without a clear mandate or plan for military success. That reflexively aggressive, autocratic, xenophobic stance is the one that J.D. Hayworth proposes for our nation at the beginning of the 21st century.

Make no mistake. Hayworth's suggestions are attractive to those who have tired of the hard work of living in a culturally and ethnically diverse nation in an increasingly complicated and threatening world. Simple, dichotmous solutions to multifaceted issues can seem like a breath of fresh air. Indeed, in a world bathed in the flickering light of a brutal 24 hour news cycle and 15 second "sound bites", simple solutions are dangerously attractive. However, history tells us that such solutions are the refuge of either the intellectually exhausted or the cynically ambitious. One can only hope and pray that the good people of Arizona's Fifth Congressional District are not fooled yet again by Hayworth's blunt and dangerous appeals.

Gerald S. Mayer
Phoenix, Arizona
602-861-8007
shrinkingarizona@aol.com

Posted by: Gerald Mayer | October 14, 2006 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I see two threads developing right now. Who will be the next Speaker AND Warner says no to presidential run. Soooo...

How about Warner as the next Speaker?

Seriously, given the vitriol that Republicans are spewing about Pelosi becoming Speaker, if Dems survive it then that should prove in, and of, itself that the public would accept Pelosi as Speaker. The Republicans would have warned of it and the people would have said "So what?"

As for Warner pulling up stakes in the presidential sweepstakes, I think it sets him up nicely for the VP spot. Much better to carry the region that Edwards, as we know, didn't exactly pull last time.

If you look at Warner as a possible VP, that is bad news for Edwards since you probably would not want two southerners on the ticket. Regional diversity is better. I still say it's better to have a western governor (i.e.Richardson) and have Warner as his VP. It's a combination that would pull western, southern, hispanic,moderate and the youth vote(doesn't Warner seem really youthful but savvy?). While we should never take any group for granted, my suspicion is that liberals would vote for this ticket in the general over whatever the Republicans put up.

Now before I hear the ineviable "Richardson's got a closet with secrets" talk, let me just say...DON'T make the claim unless you're willing to at least back it up with what the secret supposedly IS. I've seen this claim several times here but nobody can substantiate that there is any THERE there.

Posted by: DKinUT | October 13, 2006 7:02 AM | Report abuse

RMill: good post, but you left off moderate minority whip Steny Hoyer as a prime candidate for the Speakership should the Dems retake the house.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | October 12, 2006 5:15 PM | Report abuse

THE issue concerns Illegal Aliens. Those that WILL deport them will win.

Posted by: JH Hilliard | October 12, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

THE issue concerns the Illegal Aliens. Those that will deport them will win. The amnesty crowd will lose.

Posted by: JH Hilliard | October 12, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

THE issue concerns the Illegal Aliens. Those that will deport them will win. The amnesty crowd will lose.

Posted by: JH Hilliard | October 12, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

THE issue concerns the Illegal Aliens. Those that will deport them will win. The amnesty crowd will lose.

Posted by: JH Hilliard | October 12, 2006 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Unfit to Lead-
On the verge of retaking Congressional control, Democrats next big challenge is deciding who will lead the new majority.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has done her job well, feeding the Democratic faithful with partisan red meat. Her Senate counterpart, Harry Reid has done much the same. Now, in the final weeks before the mid-term elections, Democrats are poised to retake the US House of Representatives and possibly the US Senate. The question turns to not who can lead the opposition but who can govern most effectively.

Pelosi has been in Congress since 1987, winning a special election upon the death of her predecessor Sala Burton. She served quietly and without great distinction, Pelosi was finally rewarded for her loyal service with her election as Minority Whip in 2001. Upon the retirement of Dick Gephardt in 2004, Pelosi was elevated to Minority Leader.

National Republicans castigate Pelosi every chance they get, warning voters of a "Speaker Pelosi" agenda and labeling her as the San Francisco liberal that she usually is (although she voted for the original Patriot Act).

Reids' Senate tenure has mirrored Pelosi's, serving a bit longer in the US Senate, when he was first elected in 1986 after serving two terms in the House. He was elected Minority Whip in 1999 and became Minority Leader after the defeat of Tom Daschele in 2004.

Reid has distinguished himself moreso than Pelosi and not in a good way. Reports of gifts from various Las Vegas interests (casino's, boxing promoters) have dogged him. Stories are now circulating about an unreported land deal which garnered Reid $1.1 M. Reid asked the Ethics Committee for a ruling if he took proper steps to disclose these activities and denies any wrong doing. Reid has been a target by the GOP and has continued to feed them the ammo.

Reid and Pelosi, having been raised by their Democrat peers to the same positions at the same time, have had developed their political leadership tactics in the same political times. In the minority, excluded from all deliberations of the majority in most cases, the isolated Congressional Democrats embraced the duo's attack first, last and always approach. Now seemingly, they will be rewarded in November with at least a likely majority in the House and a possible Senate overthrow if the political tides of Democrats continue to rise.

The question then becomes, are Reid and Pelosi ready to govern?

It is difficult to gauge in the heat of battle of the mid-terms, but their collective behavior to date does not suggest they are.

The basic political instinct of Democrats will be to continue the march to 2008 and the White House by scuttling every measure backed by Bush and remaining Congressional Republicans. This will be more the case should the Congress be split between Democratic control in the House and Republican control of the Senate.

Nonetheless, there is critical work to be done in the next two years and obstructionist tactics will not be rewarded in 2008 by an already disgruntled electorate. Should these voters choose to vote for change, they will expect to see results, not a Democratic version of Republican domination.


What are the alternatives for Democratic Leadership?

A number of names come to mind, which have a better temperament to lead and govern. On the Senate side, many of them, for good or bad, have announced, or are anticipated to do so, run for President in 2008. It is unlikely that they would take on such a post knowing full well they would instantly become a national target in a difficult legislative environment. It was not by mistake that Bob Dole relinquished his leadership post while running for President in 1996.

They include:
Chris Dodd (CT), Joe Biden (DE), Evan Bayh (IN), Barack Obama (IL), Carl Levin (MI), Byron Dorgan (ND), Pat Leahy (VT), and Jay Rockfeller (WV).

On the House side, several members have the make-up needed to take leadership posts such as
Henry Waxman (CA), John Lewis (GA), Bill Clay (MO), Marcy Kaptur (OH), Ron Kind (OR), John Murtha (PA), James Clyburn (SC), Jim McDermott (WA), David Obey (WI).

Some are at the edges of the current leadership teams such as Kind and Clyburn and some have been elevated by media publicity like Obama and Murtha. They have not, however and for the most part, been vitriolic and are generally respected by their peers on both sides of the aisle for fairness and thoughtfulness.

None of this is to suggest a retreat from pressing issues against those policies of the current runaway administration that has generally enjoyed a rubber stamp seal of approval in Congress for the last six years.

It is more in providing a change in governance in Congress and the delivery of a clear and coherent agenda, free from distractions of rabid partisanship or worse, Democratic scandals to rival those of the current Republican tenure.

This is what I believe the American electorate (or at least a majority of them), will be voting for in less than four weeks. Democrats are bound to deliver results or they will face an equally discontent populace come January 2008.

Posted by: RMill | October 12, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

About the only dem that was on my watch list, for possibly losing was in NJ., and that atill looks as if it will not happen. The repubs seem to be continuing their downward slide, if we are to believe the polls, from everything being reported on a daily basis, I see no way they can hold the House and feel better as time passes for the Senate to go dem as well. I've give the dems more than 50/50 now, but just a tad better than a couple days ago. I'll probley go to 60/40 in the next day or so if trends continue, and I think they will.

Posted by: lylepink | October 12, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

"I do not think I was over the top when I said (that) graft and connections to organizeD crime ARE a lot more seRious than tawdry emails."

- not when the tawdry emails in question involve child sexual abuse. Moreover, the emails have been proven. The thing with Reid is too partisan to prove, especially coming from the Bhoomer.

"If you think emails are more important then it is you that is over the top."

- see above.

"I admit I was tugging at you a little with the Ann Coulter remarks."

- not tugging. Tripping. It will be a cold day in hell when that evil siren is taken seriously by anyone with a functioning brain and even a vestigial sense of fair play.

Posted by: the editor | October 12, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

I love that you're covering the OH-01 race between Chabot and Cranley, but you gotta use the spell check on Cincinnati. That's twice in a row. :-)

www.takebackcincinnati.com

Posted by: Ross | October 12, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Pocketbook Voters?

How do people think the Federal Government will help their financial outlook under either Reps or Dems???

The article on this section seems to focus on High mortgages and Federal Minimum wage.

Mortgage rates are based on the prime interest rate which is largely separated from the political system. Seems these people are complaining that they bought houses that are too expensive for them to afford. What do they expect the government to do???

I know many of you are going to come at me with jobs going overseas - When you do, please include specifics on how your Representative/candidate intends to deal with the problem. OK. Unfair. Include specifics that you have heard members of your party put forward to deal with the problem.

Same with Minimum wage. The federal Min wage is a bad thing. The people in W.VA need a different min wage than the people in CA or MA. Let the states set their own min wages and be done with it. Why is this a national issue?

I think its time we re-evaluated what we expect the Fed, state and local governments are responsible for. Let each take responsibility for those areas they are best able to handle.

Posted by: Dan W | October 12, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I notice one issue conspicuous by its absence both from the Bellwether Project and this discussion. It's not an issue that directly affects everyone, and it's old now by politically standards, but if ever an event was a bellwether of political trends, I believe this one was and remains so: Hurricane Katrina.

I don't believe I'm alone in having experienced prolonged, cold fury over that storm and its aftermath, despite the fact I was not personally affected by it. Yes, it was regional in its effects and the regional governments effed up, along with Bush. I kinda expected that from Louisiana, whether Democratic or Republican.

What I cannot tolerate is the wasting of all the resources available to the Presidency and the federal government by this administration that might have saved lives and prevented or eased the visible, manifold agony. The blood on Bush's hands is testimony to the hellish quality brought to government by Bush and his cronies, certainly the worst governance since Harding or even Grant. And the remarks by his mother remind us of what Republicans have far too often been about at their philosophical core: dried-up hypocrites concerned only with preserving the value of their investments, and let the devil take the rest.

Posted by: D. | October 12, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I notice one issue conspicuous by its absence both from the Bellwether Project and this discussion. It's not an issue that directly affects everyone, and it's old now by politically standards, but if ever an event was a bellwether of political trends, I believe this one was and remains so: Hurricane Katrina.

I don't believe I'm alone in having experienced prolonged, cold fury over that storm and its aftermath, despite the fact I was not personally affected by it. Yes, it was regional in its effects and the regional governments effed up, along with Bush. I kinda expected that from Louisiana, whether Democratic or Republican.

What I cannot tolerate is the wasting of all the resources available to the Presidency and the federal government by this administration that might have saved lives and prevented or eased the visible, manifold agony. The blood on Bush's hands is testimony to the hellish quality brought to government by Bush and his cronies, certainly the worst governance since Harding or even Grant. And the remarks by his mother remind us of what Republicans have far too often been about at their philosophical core: dried-up hypocrites concerned only with preserving the value of their investments, and let the devil take the rest.

Posted by: D. | October 12, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I notice one issue conspicuous by its absence both from the Bellwether Project and this discussion. It's not an issue that directly affects everyone, and it's old now by politically standards, but if ever an event was a bellwether of political trends, I believe this one was and remains so: Hurricane Katrina.

I don't believe I'm alone in having experienced prolonged, cold fury over that storm and its aftermath, despite the fact I was not personally affected by it. Yes, it was regional in its effects and the regional governments effed up, along with Bush. I kinda expected that from Louisiana, whether Democratic or Republican.

What I cannot tolerate is the wasting of all the resources available to the Presidency and the federal government by this administration that might have saved lives and prevented or eased the visible, manifold agony. The blood on Bush's hands is testimony to the hellish quality brought to government by Bush and his cronies, certainly the worst governance since Harding or even Grant. And the remarks by his mother remind us of what Republicans have far too often been about at their philosophical core: dried-up hypocrites concerned only with preserving the value of their investments, and let the devil take the rest.

Posted by: D. | October 12, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

bhoomes - "I do not think I was over the top when I said graft and connections to organize crime is a lot more seious than tawdry emails."

Would you say the same thing if it was phrased: "I do not think I was over the top when I said graft and connections to organize crime is a lot more seious than an adult sexually preying on minors." ?

Posted by: Nor'Easter | October 12, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

bhoomes - "I do not think I was over the top when I said graft and connections to organize crime is a lot more seious than tawdry emails."

Would you say the same thing if it was phrased: "I do not think I was over the top when I said graft and connections to organize crime is a lot more seious than an adult sexually preying on minors." ?

Posted by: Nor'Easter | October 12, 2006 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Good concise writing by Michael Shear in the Post story on the Warner withdawal.

Actually this may be beneficial to the Democrats. If it was the Clinton money and organization that caused this, then each potential challenger who drops out makes it easier for the others to compete with her. Hillary's dream would be seven opponents vying with her for the nomination. If it gets whittled down to one or two, she's going to have to actually compete.

Who's next?

Reference the "Scandal Alert" factor - George Allen's failure to report stock options may be brushed off and never get traction; but, his improper contact with the The Army could fit into a "scandal" scenario, because he stood to gain from it. Will Webb's campaign go there? I don't know, Webb himself seems to choose not to make issues of certain things, that all other campaigns revel in.

Drindl - Thanks for the 11:41 post about the New Republic information on Rove and Foley.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | October 12, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

TheIrishCurse says "Scandals not withstanding the key is going to be who actually goes out and votes..my personal, and i hope i'm wrong, belief is the gop will bring it while the dems will sit at home and complain about everything that's wrong with the world.."

Yes, voter turnout will be key, as usual. Though I have a hard time seeing what will keep Dems at home? All signs point to a GOP base that is down on their party, while the Dems are more motivated than ever. Can the GOP GOTV efforts convince them to hold their noses one more time? I don't think so.

Posted by: bsimon | October 12, 2006 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I do not think I was over the top when I said graft and connections to organize crime is a lot more seious than tawdry emails. If you think emails are more important then it is you that is over the top. I admit I was tugging at you a little with the Ann Coulter remarks,

Posted by: bhoomes | October 12, 2006 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Scandals not withstanding the key is going to be who actually goes out and votes..my personal, and i hope i'm wrong, belief is the gop will bring it while the dems will sit at home and complain about everything that's wrong with the world..

Posted by: TheIrishCurse | October 12, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"I do wonder though, if the Foley scandal, which may become more prominent as the details of the coverup emerge, will do long-term damage to the relationship between R elites and the christian right."

I don't think that it will break the way you're arguing (but I may not understand your point). Fundamentalists will support candidates who are against abortion, gay marriage, and all the other culture war topics. But, there's been an increasing number of ministers who are arguing for a stronger separation of the church from direct political action. The Foley scandal may be one small push along this general (welcome) direction.

Posted by: Keith | October 12, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

drindl,

I come from an Irish Catholic background and there is a lot of similarity with the sex obsession.

I have always thought that there were some inherent contradictions in the Republican coalition. The religious conservatives are wavering over Iraq, the lack of real accomplishments towards achieving their agenda and the Foley scandal. The Foley scandal really pushes a hot button with them. Some of the religious right leaders (especially Tony Perkins) are really off the GOP reservation on this one. bhoomes and I were arguing about this the other day and he maintains that social conservatives are too commited to the Republicans on a range of issues to sit back and let the Democrats take the House and/or Senate. I draw a real distinction between social conservatives and religious conservatives. The social conservatives are motivated by a wide range of cultural issues - the religious conservatives are more motivated by the sex issues (abortion and gay marriage), evolution and prayer in the schools. The libertarian and pro-business segments and even the social conservatives are certainly not keen on banning Harry Potter from libraries or teaching "alternatives" to evolution. Furthermore, the evangelical turnout over the last few elections has been steadily increasing. I think (and polls and other studies bear this out) that these are people who are not heavily invested in the political process and could easily be turned off by the Foley scandal and other things. I think a lot of them will simply stay home on November 7. As you said, a lot of them get their news from church channels and if enough religious right leaders react as Tony Perkins is, that could really spell trouble for the GOP.

Posted by: JimD in FL | October 12, 2006 11:47 AM | Report abuse

'But remaining in Baghdad requires a new sense of reality. "Stay the course" is meaningless when you don't have a course - and the truth is that the administration still doesn't have a strategy, just a jumble of programs, slogans and jittery improvisations.

Our Army and Marine Corps urgently need increases in personnel strength. They've been stripped to the strategic and tactical bone. We need more boots. But not on the ground in Iraq.

Sending more troops wouldn't help and can't be done. It's too late. We've reached the point where Iraqis must fight for their own future. If they won't, nothing we can do will bring success.'

winger ralph peters in the NY post--okay? I'll bet you money, day after the election, we start pulling out. Even bush is starting to talk about 'flexibility' --lol

Posted by: drindl | October 12, 2006 11:47 AM | Report abuse

'It seems increasingly clear that the GOP congressional leadership, eager for every safe incumbent in the House to run for re-election, looked the other way as evidence accumulated that Mark Foley had a thing for pages. Holding onto his seat became more important than confronting him over his extracurricular activities.

But there's more to the story of why Foley stood for re-election this year. Yesterday, a source close to Foley explained to THE NEW REPUBLIC that in early 2006 the congressman had all but decided to retire from the House and set up shop on K Street. "Mark's a friend of mine," says this source. "He told me, 'I'm thinking about getting out of it and becoming a lobbyist.'"

But when Foley's friend saw the Congressman again this spring, something had changed. To the source's surprise, Foley told him he would indeed be standing for re-election. What happened? Karl Rove intervened.

According to the source, Foley said he was being pressured by "the White House and Rove gang," who insisted that Foley run. If he didn't, Foley was told, it might impact his lobbying career.

"He said, 'The White House made it very clear I have to run,'" explains Foley's friend, adding that Foley told him that the White House promised that if Foley served for two more years it would "enhance his success" as a lobbyist. "I said, 'I thought you wanted out of this?' And he said, 'I do, but they're scared of losing the House and the thought of two years of Congressional hearings, so I have two more years of duty.'"

Posted by: drindl | October 12, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm sad to hear that Warner won't be running in '08, as he's a very talented and decent man. On the plus side, I think that this clearly sets up John Edwards (or Gore, if he runs)as the prohibitive anti-Hillary, while making it possible for Warner to run for the OTHER Va. Warner's Senate seat, which should be open in 2008.

Who ever would have thought that by 2008 there might be two Democratic Senators from Virginia. Not saying it WILL happen, but the mere possiblity is pretty wild...

Posted by: Colin | October 12, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I tend to agree with you, JimD, as I often do. I campaigned for Hill for Senate, and she is surprisingly warm. I say 'surprisngly' because the massive propaganda campaign against her has been very effective. But not suprising considering that the right controls the media.

I do wonder though, if the Foley scandal, which may become more prominent as the details of the coverup emerge, will do long-term damage to the relationship between R elites and the christian right. Having been raised as one, I can tell you they are obssessed with sex -- other people's, that is. Or the flesh, as they would say it. Think of their main issues -gay marriage and abortion, and for many, birth control.

They think about it constantly. Look at Rick Santorum and his man on dog weirdness. Sex is the whole deal -- and now it looks like the base was being played. I guess it all depends on how much they hear-- they get their news mostly from Fox and church channels, so who knows? But it's a finger-in-the-wind phenomenon to watch..

Posted by: drindl | October 12, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I actually have to agree with bhoomes to a certain extent:

Warner's decision not to run is a major blow to Democrats. If he managed to survive the Democratic primary and win our nomination - never a certain thing - then he would have absolutely cruised against any candidate the Republican party put forth.

A lot of what bhoomes says is over the top and, I think occassionally, deliberately provocative and trollish attempts to get reactions from the (mostly) liberal participants on this board, but he's right on the money about Warner. A popular southern governer who doesn't have a voting record to misconstrue and pick apart, with a proven ability to talk to red state voters.

Sounds a lot like Bill Clinton without the women problem.

Posted by: J. Crozier | October 12, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

from the WP article about Warner getting cold feet:

But the biggest challenge, his advisers
have said, would be selling his moderate,
bipartisan message to a Democratic primary
audience, especially at a time when the party
is hungry for partisan success.

The Democrats so need a national leader with a moderate, bipartisan message.

Posted by: Keith | October 12, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Let me add something to my last post, I am talking about the perceptions of Senator Clinton. I do not believe that she is the extreme liberal harpie the right-wing noise machine portrays. I do think that she will not be able to undo years of propaganda. Even many Republican Senators have expressed their amazement, after coming to know the real Hillary Clinton, that she is nothing like her image.

Posted by: JimD in FL | October 12, 2006 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Zach,

There are a lot of Dems who either 1. do not like Sen Clinton or 2. do not believe she could win. As a moderate independent disgusted with Bush and the GOP, I tend towards the latter position. Also, the public perception of her as an extreme liberal and the intense antipathy she inspires among the Republican base would guarantee a very shrill, divisive campaign. Living in a very red section of a battleground state, I may be wrong, but I think she is even more divisive than Bush. I believe that a successful general election candidate will be one who can reach beyond the intense partisanship and attract unaffiliated voters. I do not believe Senator Clinton would be able to do that. Now, whether someone can win the Democratic nomination without indulging in some intense partisanship is questionable. I expect the nomination battle to come down to Senator Clinton and the anti-Hillary. I think Bayh fits that profile well and would be a much more attractive a general election candidate in the red states. He would need to raise massive amounts of cash and learn to be a little more inspiring on the stump. I think he is in a good position to attract a lot of the people who were leaning towards Warner.

Posted by: JimD in FL | October 12, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Depends on what you mean by 'sober'...

Posted by: drindl | October 12, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

but, Dana, Bush has been sober for many years.

Posted by: guevara | October 12, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

N.J.'s 7th District, which has pro-war, pro-Bush Mike Ferguson, is up for victory for Linda Stender, who is closing in on the polls in this red-to-blue district. It would be nice of the DCC helped out more candidates in NJ, as their races agaisnt Republican incumbents could become more competitive.

Posted by: Michael M. | October 12, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

'MEL Gibson has described his anti-Semitic outburst at a sheriff's deputy who arrested him for drink-driving in Malibu as the "stupid ramblings of a drunkard", in a mea culpa interview to be aired on US television.'

republicans could learn something from Mel -- now there's a guy who knows how to apologize...

Posted by: dana | October 12, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Bhoom bhoom:

upon final review, i see that you spelled "organize" with an extra "z" - "organzize." No credit for that one, sorry. I'll give you an easier one: how do you spell "nuclear"? and how is it usually pronounced in intelligent circles?

Posted by: the editor | October 12, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I agree that Warner could have taken the fight to the GOP. My prediction at this point is Edwards/Richardson. Edwards benifits mightily from the primary schedule, and from the fact that he won't have to compete with a fantastic retail campaigner in Iowa, NH or NV (where Warner really plays well). If McCain wins, Edwards will need Richardson to one-up the Republicans in the Southwest and among Hispanics. For the GOP, McCain/Graham (Lindsay of SC).

Posted by: JD | October 12, 2006 10:54 AM | Report abuse

dirty Harry - heal thyself

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 12, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

bhoomie - the adjectival form of the verb "organize" ends with a "d." "organizeD." as in "organized crime," as in "Halliburton," as in...

Posted by: the editor | October 12, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

'The Army is gearing up to keep current troop levels in Iraq for another four years, a new indication that conditions there are too unstable to foresee an end to the war'

Yeah, and where are they going to get the bodies for current troop levels? They've already dropped the bar so low for enlistment that they've started taking people who are considered legally retarded or mentally disturbed. Can you imagine serving along someone who forget to take their anti-psychotics meds that morning? Recruitment, for obvious reasons, is way down.

Current troops are on their 3rd or 4th rotation, equipment is old, broken, unusable or just plain nonexistent. Many, many have been stop-lossed far beyond their term of service, and many retired military have been forcibly re-upped.

So I ask again -- where are all these non-existent troops to come from? Was the republicans' plan all along to force their Democratic successors to enact a draft, therby destroying the Democrat party for a generation?

Posted by: drindl | October 12, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Big winner from Warner dropping out is Evan Bayh. I still doubt he can go head-to-head with Hillary, but he's the only candidate left to her right. He doggedly campaigning in Iowa. Most of his 'Camp Bayh' staffers are working in Iowa insted of Indiana (where there are three competitive House races.)

Posted by: Zach | October 12, 2006 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Oh, bhoomes, bhoomes, you poor delusional fool. Do you really think 2 more years of Bushdom will result in a GOPher president in 2008? Haven't you learned anything from history? It almost doesn't matter who the Dem's nominate in 2008. The disgust the public will have in 2008 is likely to match that of 1974/76 elections. At least one chamber in the Capitol building will fall to the Dem's who will use the opportunity to further embarrass the GOP. 2 years of investigations of all the past 6 years of sins? You don't think that will have some impact?

As for Ann, hmm, the NeoCoNazi's finest example of intolerance, extremism, and irrational behavior as the GOP's nominee for Speaker? Please push this more, it would be such a pleasure watching the majority of GOPher Member's vote against their own candidate for Speaker, a historical first.

Your obvious attempts to inflame and distract the participants from Chris' columns are a little too pathetic, you sad, sad person. That dog won't hunt, as the saying goes. Chris is obviously telling you and your fellow NeoCoNazi GOPhers that you should just roll over and die now, for the good of the country since there are too many issues to defend effectively. PageGate was the last straw, as it finally drew the public in to the fray, paying closer attention to the details. And the details tell a tawdry tale of corruption, incompetence, ineptness, perversion, greed, and a thorough lack of respect for the American people. Wish I could stick around today and talk more, but unlike you I actually work for a living, have fun living in Denialville, where the sky is sunny all day, it never rains, WASP's heterosexual males control everything.

Posted by: BlueDog | October 12, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Everything he says is a joke -- or a crock. But that's what wingnuts are reduced to now -- jokers and clowns.

Posted by: drindl | October 12, 2006 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"he was the one candidate that could have cleaned our clocks"

Says who, you? The guy who predicted a triumphant victory for Blackwell? Forgive me for not putting too much faith in your powers of prognostication.

"I was right Reid is connected to organzize crime"

I don't even think this is a joke. Do you realize how absurd these over-the-top political charges are, how useless they are, how destructive they are? I'm not saying Dems don't do it too, I'm just saying it's idiotic.

"I recommend Ann Coulter as our next Speaker"

I think this is a joke, but honestly your entire post is a joke. This is just less funny than the other parts.

Posted by: Venicemenace | October 12, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

The Elephant in the Room
Scandal Alert
Money Matters
Border Patrol
Anxious Suburbs
Tough Terrain
Red State revival
Tune In, Turn Out

Did someone call this list organic?

While it is comprehensive, it leaves out some big issues that, while they are peripherally addressed here, should be stand-alone factors.

I refer specifically particularly the rural reaction to lost subsidues, and the evangelical fallout from Foley and from "Tempting Fate."

The American farmers, big and small, have been victimized by a lot of Republican promises with no real results, much like the evangelicals.

Remember "Promisekeepers?"

I don't think the conservative public, in general, thinks that label applies to the Republican Party any more.

And no one knows that better than the Evangelicals and the farmers.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 12, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

"some silly emails"

Wow.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | October 12, 2006 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Well now, good news is breaking out for us in the GOP, 1st, Warner not running, he was the one candidate that could have cleaned our clocks, now you are left with also rans/losers;Kerry,Edwards,Clinton and Gore. All sure losers. 2nd; I was right Reid is connected to organzize crime. This is a heck of lot more serious than some silly emails, this guy is an organized crime figure who happens to be the leader of the dems in the Senate. Lastly if Denny Hastert is through I recommend Ann Coulter as our next Speaker. Remember the Speaker does not have to be a Congressman, it can be whoever the majority party wants. Ann would keep you guys straight and so upset you will forget what your gameface is.

Posted by: bhoomes | October 12, 2006 10:09 AM | Report abuse

These natl. party organizations getting into and out of local races with money and effort is beginning to look like a very bad game of chess.

It is pretty easy these days to discern when a candidate has been abandoned by their own party, this game of monetary "musical chairs" just makes the public think the top end party managers, Democrat and Republican, are fickle, calloused, and disingenuous opportunists.

And the public would be absolutely correct.

But hey, isn't that what politics is all about?

Posted by: JEP | October 12, 2006 10:08 AM | Report abuse

David Broder sums it up very well in today's Post. Certain issues resonate here and there to varying degrees, but most Americans have long since concluded that the Republican-controlled government in Washington is a failure:

"What all this suggests is a settled judgment on the part of the majority of Americans that the current leadership of the nation is not doing the job that people expect. This is the government the people chose in 2004, but now they are showing clear signs of buyer's remorse.

"The disillusionment is not the product of the Foley scandal, which is shifting few votes, as far as I can judge. And it also reflects more than the continuing bad news from Iraq, though that has had a large effect on public opinion.

"What is driving public opinion is an overall impression that those in office -- meaning mainly Republicans -- have let things slide out of control and need to be relieved.

"What voters may not know is that the same judgment has been reached by a significant number of people who are part of -- or close to -- the Republican majority. If I have heard it once, I have heard it a dozen times: Major Republican figures, including top officials of several past GOP administrations and Congresses, say, 'We deserve to lose this election.'"

Posted by: Partisan Democrat | October 12, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | October 12, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Abd this...
'House Republicans are scaling back television advertising reserved for four Democratic-held seats in Ohio, South Carolina and West Virginia, officials said Wednesday, fresh evidence of the party's struggles as it tries to retain its majority.

At the same time, GOP strategists signaled they intend to spend nearly $1 million in an attempt to hold the seat recently vacated by Rep. Mark Foley. The Florida Republican quit Congress last month after being confronted with sexually explicit computer messages he sent to teenage male pages.

Democrats, who must gain 15 seats to win House control, said the moves were evidence that time was running out on the GOP majority. "The fact is, defending a failed economy for the middle class and the disaster in Iraq was always going to be too expensive a proposition for Republicans," said Bill Burton, a Democratic spokesman.

Compounding the sense of confusion, a prominent conservative activist said Hastert's tenure as speaker would likely soon be over - one way or another.

"In all probability Speaker Hastert will be replaced next year, whether it's because the Democrats take over or it's because Republicans retain control and they decide he's been Speaker long enough," said Paul Weyrich.

In an interview, Weyrich said he was basing his prediction on recent conversations with GOP lawmakers, from "so many Republicans who are now defending the Speaker who are saying if some miracle we should hold onto the majority, 'I think we need another Speaker.'"

--For the Wingnuts Among Us, no less than Paul Weyrich, one of your heros, says it will be a miracle if you hold the majority. And you can butter Denny now, he's toast.

>>I just saw -- Warner's not running?

Posted by: drindl | October 12, 2006 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Unrelated buuuuuuuuut--- I wanted to voice my deep disappointment that Mark Warner will not seek the presidency. He was a welcome candidate and my top choice, and would have been a fantastic president.

Posted by: JD | October 12, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

You forgot Deborah Pryce in Ohio:

'Representative Deborah Pryce is a former municipal court judge, a Republican and a member of the House leadership who has represented her central Ohio district for 14 years. She is also friends with Mark Foley, the congressman who resigned in the page scandal, as she told Columbus Monthly for a feature it published just last month.

Ms. Pryce always thought she would have a difficult re-election campaign this year in a state raked by Republican scandals. But since Mr. Foley quit, she said in an interview on a tense day of campaigning here, her own internal polls have measured a steady drop in support under the weight of attacks by Mary Jo Kilroy, her Democratic opponent.'

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/12/us/politics/12cong.html?ref=todayspaper

Posted by: drindl | October 12, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

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