Monday, October 16, 2006


A news report over the weekend says that President Bush and his political adviser Karl Rove are upbeat over the GOP's prospect at the polls in three weeks. In fact, it is reported, they don't even have a contingency plan for a Republican defeat. Confidence or Bravado?

Rove only thinks the Democrats will gain 8 to 10 seats...short of the 15 they need to take over. As for the Mark Foley scandal, Rove said late last week: "The data we are seeing from individual races and the national polls would tend to indicate that people can divorce Foley's personal action from the party." So have the president and Rove lost their minds? Is their confidence warranted?

Maybe. The one thing the media focuses on is the so-called "generic ballot." This is the polling question where people are asked whether they intend to vote for the Republican or the Democrat. But this is a somewhat useless measurement...because that's not how people vote anymore. They vote for the individual. Take Connecticut for example. Many Republicans will be voting for Joe Liebermann, a liberal Democrat running as an independent. Unless you ask people whether they intend to vote for Joe Blow or Mary Smith, you're never going to get accurate polling data. Just asking "Democrat or Republican?" has been shown not to get an accurate pool of polling data.

In the end, it's all going to come down to whether or not people think that Congressman or woman is doing a good job and warrants re-election. Will they take their frustration against the administration and its Iraq policy out on their member of congress? Maybe...but only if they go vote. There's 3 weeks and 1 day to eternity in American politics. Stay tuned.

Now ... having said all of this, I'm still bothered by this show of confidence in the White House. It's as if they've done nothing wrong, and they don't really believe that the voters have a legitimate beef.

No .. I'm not talking about the war on Islamic fascism here. It's ugly. Mistakes have been made. Opportunities wasted. But it's a war we fight now or later ... and the cost later would surely be much higher.

I'm talking here at home. If Republicans maintain control of the House it will just be seen as a signal to them that the American voters aren't upset with they way they've handled their stewardship of the House. Just consider this short list:

Earmark (pork) spending truly out of control

Government growing bigger by the day

The hideously expensive prescription drug program for wizened citizens who spend an average of $1.70 a day for their prescription drugs.

No real move against eminent domain abuses

The McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform monstrosity.

Sarbanes-Oxley. (If you're not a part of the corporate world you don't realize how hideous this anti-competitive, anti-free enterprise bill is).

The truth is the Republicans have not come close to earning the control they seek. The only thing they have going for them is the fact that the alternative is even more hideous. Isn't that a pathetic choice to have on election day?

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