Sunday, October 15, 2006

Thoughts on the upcoming election

I had never thought it was possible for the Dems to win the House much less both branches of Congress, but am cautiously hopeful. Had the common reasons for not believing it was possible - gerrymandering, GOP $$$, recent Dem defeats, lack of a compelling Democratic narrative. Even this fall I, like many others, just kept waiting & waiting for the fabled GOP October surprise which never materialized. Perhaps a serious GOP run would never have happened anyway, but what has hurt the GOP the worst from the Foley scandal is their destroyed momentum. Bush et al had ginned up the GOP noise machine and they had started to make some progress with the usual canards Dems soft on commu..., er Islamic terrorists - Be afraid. Be very afraid.

But once Foley scandal erupted, it sucked all the political oxygen from the fall campaign. Not only was the GOP in general, and Hasert and Reynolds personally, on the defensive, but most other campaign issues were reduced to background noise. Even if the Foley & enablers storyline has run its course, there are only 3½ weeks left until the election, so any chance of the GOP fear storyline gaining prominence in the national psyche now is gone.

Noticed one other GOP problem is that they've depended on their $$$ and get-out-the-vote effort so much that it's become their crutch. They've begun to believe that as long as they have more money and can get the yellow-dog GOP voters to the stall on time everything will be all-right. But even in this gerrymandered era, they did forget two things - their candidates & the voters.

Usually look at two left wing polling summary sites - electoral-vote and electionprediction - daily and a right wing site - blogging caesar - weekly, and they are all giving very similar predictions. The Dems will win 20+ seats to take the House and will win 4 Senate seats to make up for their Senate losses in the last election. Looks like my prediction was (sadly) wrong about Lieberman, so expect 2 independents who "will caucus with the Democrats" as they say.

It is a bit amazing the disaster scenarios some of the right believe, but I can remember how dispirited we on the left were after the last election. jj responded that we should chill out: abortion will not be made illegal tomorrow - the GOP moderate triumvirate (Collins, Snowe & Chafee) would help block major items of the GOP legislative agenda - a theocracy will not be imposed. Mostly true (although the GOP trio had a very minor role), so in response to the fears on the right, I'll make the following prognostications if the Dems do indeed win the House.

  1. The House will not pass articles of impeachment.
  2. Waxman will initiate investigations into Iraq & Katrina contractor corruption.
  3. Marriage penalty tax will not expire (far too popular with the middle class). Most of the rest of the Bush tax cuts will not be extended/made permanent while Bush is in office.
  4. Our troops will still be in Iraq for years to come, and serious withdrawals will not start until after the next president takes office.
  5. If another Supreme Court vacancy does arise, then anyone comparable to Roberts or Alito (in both resume and judicial temperament) would be approved.
  6. Illegal immigration will continue to be a hot button, but a 700-mile fence will not be built regardless of this election's outcome.

Think that covers the biggies.

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