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November 02, 2006

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I have to love the comment about the bible and not understanding what it means. I totally agree, but I keep waiting for a religous leader to come forward and call it blasphemy. Bush has commit this sin without doubt. I do not believe that he "doesn't know." I believe he has chosen to exploit evangelicals and this is blashemy. Where are you religious zealots, can you not recognize this crime against humanity using God as the weapon. There is no behavior more despicable or evil than that. (if we are going to use the language of evangelicals.)

What would be nice, DemfromCT, would be to see many of these Republicans doing slash-and-burn/utterly specious ads go down to defeat, and then have the press conclude, Hmm...maybe negative campaigning DOESN'T always work. (I know: a fantasy. If even one of these candidates survives, all the success will be credited to the sleazy ads he/she ran)

My parents live in New Milford, and get both NY and CT major networks. My father decided back in '96 he'd stick to CT stations during election season -- at the time, to avoid the ugly Torricelli/Zimmer ads -- and he's kept to that strategy every year since. It's always paid off, till this year: my mother said last night the CT House ads are driving them bonkers.

One intreresting aspect of the Webb-Allen race is that Allen's campaign, now being described as a "circus campaign", is managed by Dick Wadhams, who was supposed to be the successor genius to Karl Rove. If Allen does go down, Wadhams will of course blame it on the candidate, but it should tarnish not only his reputation but the reputation of the whole Rovian style.

Ruy Teixeira has a piece on the limits of Rove's style when the middle leaves you. With polls showing the Dems as much as 22% ahead among independents, firing up the base just won't cut it. When your voters are 45% of the electorate, boosting turnout by 10% among the most faithful of them, even were that possible, would boost the final total by only 2.25%, not nearly enough to overcome the Dems' advantage.

Moreover, as you point out, the "disaffected middle" is much less persuadable by negative advertising, since (1)it has taken much effort for them to change their minds about Bush and the GOP, and they aren't going to go through that a second time, and (2) they already have a negative view of the GOP and, in any event, are the most likey to believe they all do it anyway, and so to discount the negative comments about the Dems.

It is interesting how many citizens and newspaper editorial pages have finally thrown in the towel on Bush, while the Bushbots in the puntdit corpse and the other GOP true believers go on repeating the talking points while the public has stopped listening. That goes for much of the press as well, who do not seem to understand how deeply the public has changed its allegiances.

The Arizona Republic endorsed Harry Mitchell in AZ-05, calling Hayworth a bully. Hayworth fires back today with "I am not a thug." I think we can say goodbye to him next week, along with Heather "nipple" Wilson and hopefully Marilyn Musgrave and Mean Jean Schmidt as well as several others among the bully boys. The beginning of the cleansing of the Shire that we so need.

lest we forget what that means:

as NBC’s Mike Viqueira reminds us, when you’re talking about holding the majority in US House, you're talking about being in control of everything from how, when, and what is actually debated on the floor of the chamber, to what is served for lunch in the cafeteria.

"The job of the minority is to make a quorum and to draw its pay," said Speaker Thomas Reed in 1890, words that perfectly describe the sweeping hegemony of the majority party -- and emasculation of the minority -- that is as evident today as it was 116 years ago. The majority here controls every step of the process, and when you control the process, you control the substance.

Viq adds that it's not too much of an overstatement to say that the most oppressed minority in America is the minority in the "lower body." If you're a member of the party out of power -- like Democrats have been for the past 12 years -- you typically are not permitted to have your bills considered in committee or on the floor; you can't get your amendments debated and voted on (especially the ones that have a chance of passing); and you even have to go hat in hand to the majority staff in order to get a room to meet in. In short, this isn’t "Schoolhouse Rock" and it never has been.

demtom, I'm within shopping distance of New Milford and my wife feels the same.

Dem: Not control of everything outside the House. The contest between Bush and the House will be epic. The budget (incuding tax policy) will be ground zero, because it touches everything. Iraq hearings, yes, but watch the budget. The Dems will completely rewrite Bush's budget. Bush will resist subpoenas and do recess appointments (if the Dems ever recess Congress) but the power of the purse is the ultimate weapon.

I think we need to hold two thoughts simultaneously: controlling the House by even one vote is a huge step up -- but getting a significant margin is way better, with each additional seat strengthening the Dem argument for the battle ahead Mimkatz describes.

Think about this: suppose Dems achieve a gain at the upper end of what Cook and Rothenberg are forecasting...something like 35 seats. That would give Dems a stronger majority than Pubs have had over this entire 12 years (a time during which they've been treated as divinely entitled rulers by the press). Sure, you'll hear that Dems still have a shaky majority, because so many "centrists" have helped make the margin. But, good god, that pales next to the deference previous Dem majorities had to pay to the old Southern bulls from 1938 on. A Democratic majority of, say, 30 votes, would, I'll argue, put the party in a stronger position than it ever had throughout the 80s, despite the far larger numbers recorded then.

What's really remarkable is how, despite the vast redistricting trickery of DeLay & Co., the GOP has been unable to expand much beyond bare majority in the chamber (and still people have taken Rove's "permanent majority" claims as gospel). Democrats, appealing to a far wider public, have a much better chance of building on whatever majority they gain this year.

Oh, and, sort of off-topic, but basically a preview of the next election campaign: two headlines from today --

US factory orders rise less than expected
U.S. Manufacturing Growth Slows in Oct.

If we (increasingly likely) have a recession next year, Bush will truly go down as the least successful president in memory.

You touch on it briefly, but I think one of the effects of the scandals, as with Katrina, is to let people give themselves "permission" to leave the tribe. It's a really hard thing to admit to yourself that you were wrong about these people, and is usually much easier to either say "my guy is okay" or "my guy was a bad apple, but I'll vote for the rest of the ticket." The massive number of serious scandals, and indictments and convictions of high-level Republicans may not show up as top polling issues, but they have shifted the landscape. Now when you hear a corruption accusation against a Democrat, unless you're a pretty partisan Republican, you probably think "well, maybe." But if you hear one about a Republican, you have to be pretty hardcore not to think "it's probably true."

In Virginia, by virtue of having off-year gubernatorial elections, I think we've got a chance of stomping down over-the-top negative campaigning for a while. It's generally perceived that one of the reasons Kilgore lost to Kaine last year is that he hired a famously dirty ad man who made ads claiming that Kaine would have opposed the death penalty even for Hitler. If Allen goes down just one year later after hiring more famously dirty campaigners and running a relentlessly negative campaign, then future Virginia Republicans will think twice.

(Incidentally, I heard way back in September from an insider that part of the reason to have a tracker follow Allen around with a video camera is that everyone knew Allen was a jerk and likely to act like one at some point. By defining him that way early on, they helped to ensure that the expected negative campaign would be seen as bullying rather than tough and effective. If true, it worked really well, and provides a model for fighting a gutter campaign without getting into the gutter yourself.)

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