Hard to believe in these polarized times, with an agressive conservative push both with SCOTUS and with iraq, but one get the feeling there's a glimmer of "enough' going on out there in that part of the country not covered by the Washington pundits. One sees it in the way the late night comedians handle Bush. One sees it in the polls when Independents are included. One sees it in Frist's declaration that he doesn't want to be President. And now, just maybe, one sees it in the OH-2 special election narrowly lost by Paul Hackett, an Iraq War vet that speaks his mind about chickenhawks.
As has been catalogued in detail elsewhere, OH-2 is a conservative Repub district that went R by 44 points in 2004. It includes the suburbs of Cincinnati and for political purposes, resembles Kentucky more than it does Cleveland. my fellow posters are far more capable than I of analyzing the situation, but as the Times puts it
Democrats had hoped that a victory by Mr. Hackett would not only be a sharp blow to Mr. Bush's national standing but also set a template for future campaigns by Democratic war veterans.
They had also hoped that the race would show the weakness of the Ohio Republican Party, which dominates state government but has been shaken in recent months by a widening scandal involving Gov. Bob Taft's administration and the state's workers compensation fund.
But Republicans viewed Mr. Hackett's attacks as a call to arms, and they poured money and resources into the district to ensure his defeat. Mr. Bush taped a telephone message to voters, and the National Republican Congressional Committee bought $325,000 in air time for a television spot this past weekend.
That's about right. A victory would have been a monumental steal, an a close defeat is a major upset in and of itself. Bush is a chickenhawk, Hackett called him one in public, and instead of being 'buried' as his opponents threatened, a GOP hack barely made it to the finish line despite national support and a last-minute direct appeal from Bush.
Iraq remains a mess, and it's not getting better any time soon. All those citizens who held their nose and voted R are going to have plenty to think about between now and 2006 when we get to do it all over again. If Cincinnati has its doubts, the Republicans are going to be in trouble all over Ohio. All politics may be local (the Noe scandal isn't going away any time soon), but Ohio has national implications. And the winds are not blowing the GOP's way.