Tuesday, October 24, 2006

CNN and the October Surmise

The MSM, drive-by-media traitors are at it again. CNN embeded with terrorist snipers? video-taping the assassination of US troops? Try them. Execute them. At the very least revoke their visa's and deport them. Am I alone here? A Traitor is a Traitor, no?...T

With this post about Marine 2nd Lt. Joshua Booth, a sniper victim, Gateway Pundit captures the widespread revulsion at CNN's decision to air enemy propaganda, which it admits is enemy propaganda: a terrorist sniper killing an American. Wolf Blitzer lamely attempted to explain to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter yesterday that CNN blacked out the frames where the GI gets hit and goes down. Hunter wasn't buying it, and neither are the vast majority of Americans.

CNN has thus triggered not an October surprise but an October surmise: We are in a war but elite media and much of the Democratic Party is indifferent to victory in that war, and genuinely incapable of regulating themselves and their behavior so as to maximize the chance of victory. Now a leading network is airing a snuff film from the terrorists, which follows a year in which newspapers have compromised both our electronic surveillance of terrorists communicating with their operatives in the US, and our tracing of terrorist money flows, stories which in both instances undeniably assisted terrorists in eluding capture.

The enemy is trying for a Ramadan version of the Tet offensive, and generally succeeding because even as was the case in 1968, the media and the left have no desire to understand much less report on the reality of the enemy and their tactics, but is instead in love with the idea of American defeat. Nancy Pelosi announces on 60Minutes that her goal is to make Bush and Cheney "lame ducks." There's a platform for you: The Party of Paralysis at Home and Defeat Abroad, supported by a MSM committed to showing the enemy's best side and our worst.

The Tet offensive claimed 4,324 killed, 16,063 wounded, and 598 missing among U.S., South Vietnamese and South Korean forces. Approximately 45,000 of the enemy were killed, and their offensive shattered. The communist butchery was vast, and in the city of Hue alone, 2,800 were murdered and another 2,000 went missing. The Viet Cong were in fact shattered, but that message never got home to America.

The enemy in fact won an enormous propaganda victory, including the famous photograph of General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Viet Cong prisoner in Saigon. On February 27, 1968, Walter Cronkite presumed to throw in the towel for America, and the seeds of the genocide of a few years later were sown.

Now there is a Tet sequel underway, and the same players --the elite media and the Democratic Party-- want the same ending: Another quick exit and another long bout of self-flagellation over the limits of American power.

This time, though, the enemy will not stay in the land we leave. 9/11 showed us that, and if you want the details, consult Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower.

It was possible for Democrats and the MSM to claim in the late '70s that they had no idea what we had abandoned southeast Asia to.

No such claim can be made about the aftermath of a defeat in Iraq or anywhere in the war against Islamist fascism.

Our eyes are wide open, watching terrorist snipers gunning down America's finest, and reading state secrets on the front page.
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Democrats Post Election Plans: Revealed!


Democrats post-election plans revealed...shhh!...T

'06 ELEX: BACK TO TOSS-UP, from the Worst skeptic!

More in the same vein of what I have been posting...and this from Dick Morris of all people, who had been predicting a Demo sweep for weeks, if not months, until now!...T

October 24, 2006 -- The latest polls show something very strange and quite encouraging is happening: The Republican base seems to be coming back home. This trend, only vaguely and dimly emerging from a variety of polls, suggests that a trend may be afoot that would deny the Democrats control of the House and the Senate.

With two weeks to go, anything can happen, but it is beginning to look poss- ible that the Democratic surge in the midterm elections may fall short of control in either House.
Here's the evidence:
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Friday, October 20, 2006

The undertow has arrived

Ok, enough speculation. Let's talk numbers, raw data. You still think a huge Dem sweep is coming? Read on, my friends, you won't be sorry...T

My new Townhall.com column is here, and my new World Magazine column is here.

Both relay the results of my reporting from four battleground states --Minnesota, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Ohio-- over the past five days. There isn't credible evidence of a significant depressed turnout among Republicans generally or evangelicals specifically. Lots of quotes from lots of self-annointed experts on turnout, and lots of secret sauce in the polling models, but no evidence of actual base voters deciding to stay home. Much contrary evidence in terms of metrics achieved and sampling of crowds and candidates.

Though the polls are all over the place, I note the latest on Tom Reynolds' race in New York's 26th CD. SurveyUSA now has Reynolds up three.

And Rasmussen puts Burns within 3 of Tester.

Three weekends of GOTV and 18 days of campaigning left, and the Dem surge is fading fast. Talk is cheap. GOTV is expensive. The Dems have the former, the Republicans the latter.

UPDATE: Doug Ross has the ilustrated guide to a Pelosi Speakership.

UPDATE: A Memo from Mehlman on the subject:

In recent days and weeks, the mainstream media have repeatedly claimed that the Republican base is suffering from "low voter enthusiasm." It is easy to believe a story that is repeated so frequently, but in fact there is ample evidence to the contrary. By many measures, there are strong indications of a right-of-center base that is engaged and committed.

First, numerous polls clearly indicate near parity in intensity between Democrats and Republicans. Three recent national surveys-Gallup, Cook/RT Strategies, and our most recent RNC survey conducted by Voter/Consumer Research-all show partisan interest is approximately equal. The details of those polls are below:

Voter/Consumer Research (Oct. 8-10)

The RNC's internal research shows election interest at 7.7 on a 10-point scale among Republicans and 7.6 among Democrats, unchanged from late September and in line with this year's overall trend.

Gallup (Oct. 6-8)

To quote from Gallup's voter turnout projection, "Gallup's latest analysis suggests Republicans and Democrats are now roughly even in terms of anticipated turnout in the midterm congressional elections. The voting intentions of the large pool of registered voters is now similar to the voting intentions of the smaller pool of likely voters, showing no disproportionate impact of turnout in either direction"

Gallup asked, "How motivated do you feel to get out and vote this year -- extremely motivated, very motivated, somewhat motivated, not too motivated or not at all motivated?(% "extremely" or "very" motivated)" The following table shows that the GOP in fact now holds a slight lead, up from just a few months ago:

....................................GOP DEM NET
Sept 15-17, 2006 .......... 70% 67% +3
Jun 23-25, 2006........... 74% 77% -3
Oct 3-6, 2002............... 65% 55% +10
Oct 29-Nov 1, 1998....... 59% 57% +2
Oct 23-25, 1998............ 67% 56% +11
Oct 9-12, 1998.............. 59% 53% +6
Sep 23-24, 1998........... 73% 62% +11

Cook/RT Strategies (Oct. 5-8)

On a scale of one to 10, Republicans and Democrats have almost equally high mean election interest scores (8.2 for Republicans, 8.1 for Democrats), but Democrats hold a slight edge in the percentage of their voters who are "highly interested"-47 to 51 percent.

However, keeping in mind the local nature of midterm elections, it is more important to consider intensity by state or congressional district. RT Strategies/Constituent Dynamics (conducted Oct. 8-10) released district-by-district polling showing Republicans have a slight edge in partisan intensity. GOP "voter motivation" is higher than Democratic motivation in 19 of 32 competitive House races, in some cases by as much as a full point on a 1 to 9 scale. Democratic intensity is higher in the remaining 13, and in none of those races is the difference higher than 2/3 of a point.

Additional Data

A recent Pew study (9/21-10/4) found that while roughly similar numbers of Republicans (41%) and Democrats (39%) are "regular" voters, more Republicans (25%) than Democrats (20%) vote intermittently--meaning there are more of our voters for us to turn out in a midterm election. Furthermore, Democrats (20%) are substantially more likely than Republicans (14%) to not be registered to vote at all.

Other Measures of Intensity

There are ways besides polls to measure the intensity of the Republican base, and those also indicate that GOP voters are strongly engaged. Fundraising, for example, is often called the "first ballot" for the simple reason that supporters only donate when they are involved and enthusiastic. That is why we are excited that the RNC received support from 362,000 new donors this cycle. We've averaged 8,256 contributions for each deposit day so far this year. We just announced that September has been our best financial month of the entire cycle. Our supporters know how important this election is, and their financial support shows it.

Volunteer enthusiasm is another key measure of intensity. Again, every indication here is that our base is working hard for victory in the 2006 election. Republican volunteers have contacted more than 14 million voters this year, and more than 7 million since Labor Day alone. We have made 1 million voter contacts every week for the past five weeks, and for six weeks we have surpassed the number of contacts we made at comparable times in 2004, a presidential election year.

The Bottom Line

Despite the media hype, an examination of all the facts makes it clear: the Republican base is active and engaged. No matter how you measure it--whether by record-breaking fundraising, unprecedented volunteerism, or scientific polling--the numbers show that Republicans understand the importance of the choice we all face on November 7.
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Sunday, October 15, 2006

White House Upbeat About GOP Prospects

Now, I believe that, in every election in the past several decades, congressional races have significantly under-polled the Republicans. This happened most recently in 2000, 2002, and 2004. These facts are undeniable. Why should this year be any different? I trust the opinions of the experts I have been posting, here, much more than Gallup, or Zogby, who have been proven partisan in the last several election cycles. I trust the men quoted herein a great deal more than the blathering, simpering, rabidly drooling, Drive-By-MSM...T

Amid widespread panic in the Republican establishment about the coming midterm elections, there are two people whose confidence about GOP prospects strikes even their closest allies as almost inexplicably upbeat: President Bush and his top political adviser, Karl Rove.

Some Republicans on Capitol Hill are bracing for losses of 25 House seats or more. But party operatives say Rove is predicting that, at worst, Republicans will lose only 8 to 10 seats -- shy of the 15-seat threshold that would cede control to Democrats for the first time since the 1994 elections and probably hobble the balance of Bush's second term.

In the Senate, Rove and associates believe, a Democratic victory would require the opposition to "run the table," as one official put it, to pick up the necessary six seats -- a prospect the White House seems to regard as nearly inconceivable.

The Mark Foley page scandal and its fallout have many Republicans panicked, but Rove professes to be taking it in stride. "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," he said in a brief interview Thursday.

The official White House line of supreme self-assurance comes from the top down. Bush has publicly and privately banished any talk of losing the GOP majorities, in part to squelch any loss of nerve among his legions. Come January, he said last week, "We'll have a Republican speaker and a Republican leader of the Senate."...continued
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A Voice of Sanity

Amen, and let's hope it is so....T
A Voice of Sanity, That's Donald Lambro, who surveys the electoral scene and sees the Republicans with strong issues to take to the voters:

President Bush and his party have made it clear that the final weeks of the elections will be about two issues: national security and the economic recovery.

The war in Iraq, and our efforts to help the Iraqis' fledgling democracy overcome its terrorist insurgency, is the administration's biggest political challenge right now. Still, polls show a 51 percent majority believes Iraq is a key battle in the war on terrorism, and most Americans, 50 percent to 42 percent, say the country is safer today than it was before Sept. 11.

Meanwhile, a growing economy is fast emerging as a big political plus for Bush and his party that they intend to promote for all it's worth.

In any normal election cycle, a booming economy and an edge on national security would be considered a winning hand. But this year, the hysteria that the Democrats and their allies in the news media have generated has swept away all rational consideration of the issues. If you believe the newspapers, that is, and to some degree the polls.

As I've said before, I assume the Republicans will lose seats in November, and the Democrats may well wrest away control of one or even both houses. Still, I wonder: the news media have gone stark, raving mad over Mark Foley's emails, and generic preference polls seem to indicate that the Foley "issue"--whatever it is--has helped the Democrats. But, to the extent that people are offended (as they should be) by homosexual Congressmen hitting on teenage boys, does anyone seriously believe that the solution is to elect Democrats? I doubt it. Democrats are far more associated with both homosexuality and sexual misbehavior than Republicans.

Likewise with the economy. The media have tried to minimize our current prosperity. But can they really succeed in doing that, when people see the prices at which homes in their neighborhood sell, watch prices fall at the gas pump, and enjoy both salaries and stock markets indices that are the highest on record? More and more Democrats are coming out into the open about their intention to raise taxes. How many voters believe that is the way to maintain our current prosperity? Very few, I think.

Newspapers love to headline "More Abuse Alleged at Gitmo!"--more about that later--and Democrats seem to think "detainee abuse" is a winning issue for them. Well, maybe.

But most Americans understand that when we capture a member of al Qaeda who has knowledge of that organization's plans, potentially including imminent attacks and the whereabouts of other members, it is important to question that detainee quickly and find out what he knows. There is a clear consensus that torture is not an acceptable tactic. But the Democrats and the newspapers consider pretty much everything to be "torture." Most Americans realize that we can't get information from a terrorist by saying "pretty please." What, exactly, are we supposed to do to protect American lives? The Democrats have no answer. Likewise, if we are to house detainees at a facility like Guantanamo Bay, or any other facility, the guards must have a reasonable degree of control over the prisoners. The prisoners frequently attack guards and misbehave in other ways. Once again, does anyone seriously think that all a guard has to do is ask a detainee to please get back in his cell?

This is the most topsy-turvy election season in memory, with trivia largely predominating over the very serious issues that divide the parties. The media's full-court press may well succeed in pushing the Democrats over the finish line. Still, it would be odd for voters to completely ignore the fundamentals of economics and national security that normally drive elections. Which, I think, is one of the reasons for the hysterical tone of today's news coverage.
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Friday, October 13, 2006

Are the Democrats Whigging Out?

In an very prescient article, this piece lays out what I have been predicting for some time now, namely, that the democrats have no where to go, politically and ideologically. The break up of their party, demographically, is the most likely outcome in the long term, and even possible in the near future...T

Predicting what will happen if the Democrats win control in one or both houses of Congress next month is a burgeoning cottage industry. It is, however, both more interesting and probably more useful to consider what will happen if they don’t.

If Democrats win they will crow and bray and make nuisances of themselves with frivolous, ankle-biting investigations. They may even connive with the White House and some foolish Republican legislators to enact “comprehensive immigration reform.” If they do, the principal effect will be to turn our illegal immigration problem into a crisis, creating a major political opportunity for the next generation of GOP leaders. Aside from that, very little will change.

Democrats are too conflicted and too politically timid to force any significant change in the Bush administration’s foreign and defense policies. They frittered away their dominant position in American politics by procuring the Ford administration’s surrender in Vietnam. Ever since, they have been crippled by the widespread (and entirely accurate) perception that they are not to be trusted with our national security. They may belong, body and soul, to the lunatic left, but most of them are not about to step over the same cliff twice.

In any case, having stepped over that cliff in the 70’s, the Democrats are very unlikely to win either house of Congress in 2006. The American people may loathe the Republican Party every bit as much as the Washington Post thinks they do, but nothing in our history suggests that a majority of American voters is crazy enough to trust Democrats with significant power during a war.

The headlines of the moment are orchestrated to create the appearance that a Democrat restoration is at hand. After the news industry has prepared them for victory in the run up to three consecutive electoral defeats, the Democrats should be wary. Many, probably most, of them are not. They have made the mistake of believing their own propaganda yet again.

In the likely event that Democrats wake up on the Wednesday after the first Tuesday in November and find that the federal government is firmly in Republican hands for another two years how will they react? After licking their wounds by dabbling in deranged conspiracy theories about election fraud, they will fall to fighting among themselves like starving sled dogs. There will be casualties. Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid will all have trouble keeping their jobs in the wake of yet another failure.

In the ensuing succession struggles the deep divisions in the Democrat Party will be laid bare. Some Democrats will claim that the party must take the war more seriously and appear more moderate to win. Others will argue that the party must be true to its ideological roots on the far left so that it may win a majority by the power of passion and persuasion. Neither side of this debate will grasp the true nature of the Democrat dilemma.

The would-be moderates don’t understand that Democrats can’t win without the left. The ideological purists don’t understand that Democrats can’t win with it.

If the Democrats ceased to be the leftist party they would lose their all-important propaganda apparatus in the heirloom media. They would lose all their intellectual firepower (such as it is) in the universities and all the cachet of Hollywood. Their fundraising base would disappear. They would become a me-too party relegated to winning elections in most of the country only when the Republican candidate got caught in bed with either a live boy or a dead girl.

As essential as the left is to Democrats, it can’t muster anything approaching a nationwide majority. This is hardly surprising. The left is anti-American and most Americans aren’t.

The left is defined by it’s loyalty to a trans-national ideal. Nation states in general and the United States in particular are obstacles to the realization of that ideal. Whenever the interests of the United States and the ideological purposes of the left conflict, which is often, American leftists work against their own country.

Consider, for example, the grotesque foolishness of Kyoto and the left’s determined efforts to undermine our ongoing war for national survival. Even the dimmest voter can smell the contempt leftists have for ordinary people and for everything they hold dear. The more voters understand that Democrats are the political wing of the American left, the fewer votes they will cast for Democrats.

Professional Democrats have tried for years to have their cake and eat it too. They have tried to keep the loyalty of the left without getting identified with it. That worked during the ersatz peace of the Clinton years when they were still winning, at least sometimes.

The pressure of war and defeat has made it much more difficult for Democrats to have it both ways. They have tried desperately to straddle the divide between those who want to defend America from our deadly enemies and those who don’t. John Kerry made an ass out of himself trying to bridge that gap and then discovered that Americans don’t really want an ass in the White House.

Since Kerry went down in flames, canny Democrats have tried to say very little about the war but to say it as indignantly as possible. They have been in tune with the left’s anger without overtly adopting its politically poisonous defeatism. This tightrope act isn’t likely to work for them any better than Kerry’s contortions did.

After yet another defeat even the Democrats may finally grasp that they can’t have it both ways. They can follow Joe Lieberman’s path and stand for American interests at the price of parting ways with about half their voters. They can also follow Ned Lamont and stand up for the left at the price of losing the other half. Either choice would mean that the Democrat Party could no longer seriously contend for a share of power in national elections.

This isn’t the first time a major American political party has been closely divided over a defining issue. The Democrats’ dilemma in 2006 looks a lot like the Whigs’ dilemma in 1852. The Whigs depended on support from both slave holders and abolitionists. They tried to straddle the slavery issue but they couldn’t. Their party broke apart and disappeared.

The Democrats have much deeper roots than the Whigs, who lasted only 24 years. They are likely to linger in some form for quite some time. But one more unexpected defeat just might tear them apart and prompt a dramatic political realignment.

At some level, Democrats seem aware of this danger. They are fighting the 2006 campaign like the existential struggle which, for them, it may very well be. It smacks of desperation, to choose an example at random, when the party of pederasty attacks Republicans for failing to condemn a homosexual congressman in advance of any evidence that he did anything wrong.

The political game has never been a better spectator sport and the stakes have rarely been higher.
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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The David Zucker Albright Ad

The David Zucker Albright Ad. I'd run this one all day, in a heartbeat. It's true, after all. They run adds acusing Bush of lynching black men, run stories fabricated on CBS, and spread rumors acusing Bush of fabricating the 9/11 attacks. Run the add!..T

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A Tale of Two Ads: The real choice this November

I agree with Kristol here. I think the upcoming election can be brought into a tie, if the issues are framed as the author suggests. And I strongly believe they will be...T

"It shocks the conscience. Congressional leaders have admitted covering up the predatory behavior of a congressman who used the Internet to molest children. For over a year, they knowingly ignored the welfare of children to protect their own power. For 17 years, Patty Wetterling has fought for tougher penalties against those who harm children. That's why she's demanding a criminal investigation and the immediate expulsion of any congressman involved in this crime and coverup."

--TV ad on behalf of Patty Wetterling, Democratic candidate in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District

"A call is placed from New York to a known terrorist in Pakistan. A terrorist plot may be unfolding. Should the government intercept that call or wait until the paperwork is filed? Nancy Johnson says: 'Act immediately. Lives may be at stake.' Liberal Chris Murphy says: 'No. Apply for a court warrant even if valuable time is lost.' Chris Murphy -- wrong on security, wrong for America."

--TV ad on behalf of Nancy Johnson,Republican candidate for reelection in Connecticut's 5th Congressional District

There you have it. These TV ads in two competitive House races tell the story. Repelled by former Republican congressman Mark Foley's sexual overtures to congressional pages and ex-pages, and by the House GOP leadership's alleged failure to move aggressively against him? Vote Democratic. Worried about the Demo crats' tendency to coddle jihadists? Vote Republican.

This is a choice that should work out fine for Republicans. Which is why Democrats and the media may look back on the frenzy about Foley as a tactical mistake. In a time of disturbing foreign news--apparent lack of progress in Iraq, North Korea's threat of a nuclear test, Pakistan's cutting a deal with al Qaeda, Iran's nuclear program chugging ahead--the assault on the Republicans focused on a disgraced and departed congressman and the unquestionably decent speaker of the House, Denny Hastert.

Foley is a creep. The House leadership might have stumbled in dealing with him. But even the Washington Post commented that Wetterling's ad "seriously overstates what is known about the actions of the House Republican leadership." Will voters really be convinced that Denny Hastert "knowingly ignored the welfare of children to protect [his] own power?" From what we know, Hastert didn't find out about Foley's lurid behavior until a week ago, and then Foley was quickly gone. And how exactly did ignoring Foley's behavior help protect GOP power? His district is a safe Republican seat (except now, when Republicans are stuck with Foley's name on the ballot).

The attempt to make Foley a key issue in this fall's election is flopping. It's not credible to tar a political party with the misdeeds of one person. Did Republicans, for example, even try to link Gary Condit to other Democratic candidates in 2002? Was anyone really interested in Condit's party affiliation? Of course not.

And voters aren't in Foley's. National polls taken last week were basically unchanged from pre-Foley polls--bad for the GOP, but not irredeemable. And in the two competitive House races in Florida districts near Foley's, where there was of course saturation coverage of the story, the Republican candidates happened to gain ground last week.

There's no roll call vote in which the parties split on the behavior of Mark Foley. But there have been recent votes in which the parties divided on terror interrogations and (in the House) eavesdropping. On interrogations: Virtually all Republicans voted for tough interrogations of terrorists, and more than three-quarters of Democrats voted against. On supporting the administration's program of warrantless surveillance: Republicans in the House voted 214-13 for, Democrats 177-18 against. The Nancy Johnson advertisement may oversimplify things, but it captures a basic difference between the parties. That's why it has been effective. Johnson has opened a sizable lead on her opponent since the ad started running.

Issues usually trump scandals. Americans like reading about scandals. They like watching Desperate Housewives. But voting is different from voyeurism. The Republican landslide of 1994 was helped along by earlier congressional scandals--but it was basically ideological, following a campaign focused on Clinton's health care plan, his tax hike, gays in the military, gun control, and the like.

After a few days of panic last week, House Republicans seem to have calmed down and to be dealing more effectively with the Foley aftershocks. Now they need to defend against the charge that they don't care about sexual predators, and attack the Democrats for unjustly impugning their honor. Then they can get back to the issues--terror and taxes--where the parties really are distinct.

And if the media and the Democrats want to remain sex-obsessed? It might not be amiss for Republican candidates to remind the electorate which of the two parties has, shall we say, a more "nuanced" view of sexual scandal. Which party continued to accept Rep. Gerry Studds as a member in good standing for a decade after his sexual liaison with a 17-year-old page? Which party worships at the altar of an even more famous abuser-of-his-position-of-power-for-sexual-favors--Bill Clinton? Not the Republicans.
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Friday, October 06, 2006

Never a bad time to pile on the French

Thanks to CornetJim for this one...T Posted by Picasa
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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Patterns Emerge: A Wellstone Moment?

Here's a piece that I think gets it right (from H.H.). This IM-sex think is big in the media, and has given a little boost to the generic poll #'s, but we still are only looking at a 10 seat loss, max, and it's still a month to election day (15 is the magic number). This is before the backlash begins, and it will! (read on), before the war returns to issue #1, and before the ad campaign hits the Dem's with their votes against Intelligence eavesdropping, against funding for the war, against entitlement reform, in favor of tax increases and impeachment etc....I still predict a maximum 8-10 seat loss in the house and 2-4 seats in the Senate, with the possibility of only 1-2 and 5-6 in the house...T

Reading the comment boards here, it seems some people (especially liberal people) have either short or selective memories when it comes to Paul Wellstone’s funeral. Here’s what happened: A man who was liked and respected by all, including his ideological opponents, died tragically in a plane crash. At his memorial service, Democratic partisans opted to use his metaphorical coffin as a campaign prop while trying to rally the faithful.

If that was all that happened that night, it would have been plenty distasteful. But what made the Wellstone Memorial noteworthy was its raw ugliness. Republican dignitaries who attended the event to show their respect for Wellstone were booed when their images were shown on the Jumbotron. Many fevered-swamp type Democrats saw nothing wrong with this. The country recoiled from the spectacle, utterly repulsed and shocked. To many Democrats, though, the unsightliness of the Wellstone funeral apparently remains an obscure mystery.

The Democratic Party seems intent on replaying this mistake with the Foley affair. Let’s temporarily put aside the timing of the release of the Instant Messages and who-knew-what-when. Let’s just say for the moment that while the media currently hounds the Republican leadership, it’s a safe bet that it wasn’t the Republican leadership that plopped Foley’s IM’s into the lap of ABC News. If whoever was the errand boy delayed delivery to best achieve maximum political benefit, then the Democrats’ newfound status as the party of conventional morality will receive a decided blow.

But the real story here is the party’s eagerness to use victimized children as a campaign prop. The Patty Wettering campaign spot that I linked to earlier today tips the Democrats’ hand. Wettering is best known as a children’s advocate. Her own 16 year old was kidnapped and never found. Thus, Wettering has the proverbial Cindy Sheehan cloak of putative “absolute moral authority” that the simple-minded so admire.

It seems a tad too convenient that Wettering’s campaign is not only serving as the tip of the spear for the Democrats’ Foley offensive, but that the campaign’s ad has grossly distorted the facts of the Foley scandal. Her ad maintains that Foley molested children. One can almost picture Wettering asserting that her absolute moral authority gives her the right to redefine molestation to include things that happen in a virtual realm, and defying anyone to fight her on that ground. And once Wettering defines what happened as “molestation,” the rest of the party will surely follow.

The Wettering campaign’s advertisement also says that congressional leaders “have admitted” to covering up Foley’s antics. There again, Wettering advances the Foley narrative into completely unsupported realms.

WHAT’S UNSEEMLY HERE harkens back to the Wellstone funeral. Although Democrats didn’t realize it at the time and most of them still don’t realize it today, their real sin that night was using a friend’s coffin as a political bludgeon. The old saying is that in America, politics ends at the water’s edge. That saying reflects the fact that most Americans strongly feel that politics belongs in a distinct realm. When a party invites politics to a funeral, it offends the sensibilities of most Americans. It also shows the party doing the inviting to be craven to its core.

The Democrats are now doing the same thing. On the one hand you’ve got Patti Wetterling suggesting that Foley’s crimes were so grave that they should be labeled molestation. On the other hand, you’ve got Wetterling trying to use the victims of those crimes for electoral advantage. As John F. Kennedy once said about Richard Nixon, “No class.”

And speaking of Kennedys, I write this piece about five miles away from Ted Kennedy’s Back Bay mansion. The Senator is probably sleeping in this morning since the Senate’s not in session and he’s running for re-election this Fall essentially unopposed.

But Ted Kennedy remains a living, breathing reminder of why the Democrats’ urgent conversion to the party of traditional values is risibly misguided. So, too, does Patty Wetterling’s latest campaign stumble.
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Who's Really in Denial?

It's not President Bush.
A brief article, but needed now, in the face of the usual pre-election-Dan-Rather-MSM-phony-cooked-up scandal to help the Dem's (Foley, NIE leak, etc)...Anyway; the real issue deciding this election will be the war (as it should be)...T

"Americans face the choice between two parties with two different attitudes on this war on terror." --George W. Bush, September 28, 2006

President Bush is right. It would be nice if he weren't. The country would be better off if there were bipartisan agreement on what is at stake in the struggle against jihadist Islam. But despite areas of consensus, there is still a fundamental difference between the parties. Bush and the Republicans know we are in a serious war. It's not the Bush administration that is in a "State of Denial" (as the new Bob Woodward book has it). It's the Democrats.

Consider developments over the last week. Democrats hyped last Sunday's news stories breathlessly reporting on one judgment from April's National Intelligence Estimate (NIE)--that the war in Iraq has created more terrorists. More than would otherwise have been created if Saddam were still in power? Who knows? The NIE seems not even to have contemplated how many terrorists might have been created by our backing down, by Saddam's remaining in power to sponsor and inspire terror, and the like. (To read the sections of the NIE subsequently released is to despair about the quality of our intelligence agencies. But that's another story.) In any case, the NIE also made the obvious points that, going forward, "perceived jihadist success [in Iraq] would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere," while jihadist failure in Iraq would inspire "fewer fighters . . . to carry on the fight."

What is the Democratic response to these latter judgments? Silence. The left wing of the party continues to insist on withdrawal now. The center of the party wants withdrawal on a vaguer timetable.

Bush, on other hand, understands that the only acceptable exit strategy is victory. (If, as Woodward reports, he's been bolstered in that view by Henry Kissinger, then good for Henry. Invite him to the Oval Office more often!) To that end, Bush should do more. He should send substantially more troops and insist on a change of strategy to allow a real counterinsurgency and prevent civil war. But at least he's staying and fighting. And the great majority of Republicans are standing with him. The Democrats, as Bush has put it, "offer nothing but criticism and obstruction, and endless second-guessing. The party of FDR and the party of Harry Truman has become the party of cut-and-run."

So there really is a profound difference between the parties, as Democrats are happy to acknowledge, since they think Iraq is a winning issue for them. The Democratic talking point is this: We're against Bush on Iraq, but we are as resolute as Bush in the real war on terror (understood by them to exclude Iraq). Except that they're not.

That's why last week's votes in Congress on the detainees legislation were so significant. The legislation had nothing to do with Iraq. It was a "pure" war-on-terror vote. And the parties split. Three-quarters of the Democrats in the House and Senate stood with the New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union for more rights for al Qaeda detainees, and against legislation supported by the Bush administration (as well as by John McCain and Joe Lieberman). Some Democrats in competitive races--such as Rep. Harold Ford, running for the Senate in Tennessee--supported the legislation. But it remains the case that a vote for Democrats is a vote for congressional leaders committed to kinder and gentler treatment of terrorists.

No wonder voters think the country will be safer from terrorism if the GOP retains control of Congress. And no wonder that focus groups--according to the Democratic polling firm of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner--show that "attacks on Democrats for opposing any effort to stop terrorists . . . were highly effective." The Democratic pollsters recommended countering the attacks forcefully. But how? There are votes, in black and white in the Congressional Record, ready to be used in campaign ads.

The most important front in the confrontation with terror-sponsoring, WMD-seeking Islamic jihadism in the next two years may well be Iran. Republicans are viewed by a 12-point margin as the party that would be more likely to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. We have been critical of the Bush administration's lassitude in attending to this task. But with sand in the diplomatic hourglass running out, voters can fairly be asked: Would Bush have more help in denying Ahmadinejad nuclear weapons from a Congress controlled by Republicans or by Democrats (whose main suggestion has been to cozy up to Iran without insisting that it verifiably suspend its nuclear program)?

Off-year elections--especially when one party controls the presidency and Congress--are almost always dominated by the expression of grievances with that party's performance. The Bush administration and the congressional leadership have given cause for grievance. But the choice is so stark this November that grievances should be put aside--if Republicans have the nerve to continue to clarify the choice over the next month. Last week was a good start.
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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Campaign 2006: The Republicans' Secret Weapon

You think the GOP is sure to lose big in November? They aren't. Here's why things don't look so bad to them
Even Time magazine (super dribbling liberal) is waking up and smelling the coffee...T

The polls keep suggesting that Republicans could be in for a historic drubbing. And their usual advantage—competence on national security—is constantly being challenged by new revelations about bungling in Iraq. But top Republican officials maintain an eerie, Zen-like calm. They insist that the prospects for their congressional candidates in November's midterms have never been as bad as advertised and are getting better by the day. Those are party operatives and political savants whose job it is to anticipate trouble. But much of the time they seem so placid, you wonder whether they know something.

They do. What they know is that just six days after George W. Bush won re-election in 2004, his political machine launched a sophisticated, expensive and largely unnoticed campaign aimed at maintaining G.O.P. majorities in the House and Senate. If that campaign succeeds, it would defy history and political gravity, both of which ordain that midterm elections are bad news for a lame-duck President's party, especially when the lame duck has low approval ratings. As always, a key part of the campaign involves money—the national Republican Party is dumping at least three times as much into key states as its Democratic counterpart is—but money is only the start. "Panic results when you're surprised," says Republican National Committee (r.n.c.) chairman Ken Mehlman. "We've been preparing for the toughest election in at least a decade."

Thanks to aggressive redistricting in the 1990s and early 2000s, fewer than three dozen House seats are seriously in contention this election cycle, compared with more than 100 in 1994, the year Republicans swept to power with a 54-seat pickup in the House. Then there's what political pros call the ground game. For most of the 20th century, turning out voters on Election Day was the Democrats' strength. They had labor unions to supply workers for campaigns, make sure their voters had time off from their jobs to go to the polls and provide rides to get them there.

Now, though, Democrats are the ones playing catch-up when it comes to the mechanics of Election Day. Every Monday, uberstrategist Karl Rove and Republican Party officials on Capitol Hill get spreadsheets tallying the numbers of voters registered, volunteers recruited, doors knocked on and phone numbers dialed for 40 House campaigns and a dozen Senate races. Over the next few weeks, the party will begin flying experienced paid and volunteer workers into states for the final push. The Senate Republicans' campaign committee calls its agents special teams, led by marshals, all in the service of the partywide effort known as the 72-Hour Task Force because its working philosophy initially focused on the final three days before an election.

So Republicans hope to close the deal in tight races with a get-out-the-vote strategy that was developed in the wreckage of the 2000 presidential campaign. Bush's team was led then, as it is now, by Rove, Bush's political architect and now White House deputy chief of staff, and Mehlman, then White House political-affairs director. Their theory was that Bush lost 3% or 4% of his expected vote in 2000 because those people just stayed home.

What Rove and Mehlman wanted to figure out was the code for increasing the number of Republican voters who could be reliably summoned to the polls—a code that, once cracked, could be used to win election after election. "We want to turn 75%-Republican areas into 78%- or 79%-Republican areas while at the same time turning 15% areas into 18% or 19% areas," says Mike DuHaime, political director of the R.N.C. In the off year of 2001, the creators of the 72-Hour program tested it in odd, lower-profile contests, including court races in Pennsylvania. The Bushies picked clusters of precincts where they quietly tried their new methods, then compared those with similar precincts where the campaigns did things the more traditional way. Those experiments helped Republicans develop a handful of precepts that constitute the party's playbook for this fall:

1. Learn from the past Fifteen G.O.P. data experts spent months after the '04 election comparing turnout records from the swing states with the Bush-Cheney campaign's databases to figure out the optimal amount of mail, phone calls and door knocks that would persuade a probable G.O.P. voter to go to the polls.

2. Draw in new voters The Bush-Cheney campaign used state records to locate potential Republicans with Florida State University license plates, then had fellow Seminoles call them to sound out their views. Whereas parties used to go after certain precincts or zip codes, Republicans now know even which individual households they want through microtargeting—the use of computerized consumer data, from magazine subscriptions to charitable contributions, to help locate voters who are likely to vote Republican if they turn out. Other telltale signs of potential latent Republicanism are snowmobile ownership and enrollment in private schools.

3. Low tech can be better Caller ID, TiVo, cable channels and satellite radio all make it harder to reach voters than it was just a few years ago, increasing the importance of person-to-person appeals, the hallmark of old-fashioned, grassroots campaigns that used to connote an amateur or a low budget. "You clearly have to have TV ads," says White House political-affairs director Sara Taylor, "but for a little less TV, you can buy a whole lot of pizzas and phone lines and salaries for young men and women right out of college" to make phone calls, knock on doors and recruit and manage volunteers.

4. Details, details The shopping list includes everything from chairs to cell phones for hundreds of workers for Republican Party victory committees, whose staffs are charged with creating state turnout machines. TheG.O.P. says their volunteer forces in '04 proved to be more effective than the paid workers contracted by Democrats, unions and Democrat- oriented fund-raising groups. Even Election Day comes sooner for Republicans, who have begun putting a huge effort into locking down absentee voters and vote-by-mail ballots in states that use them.

5. Spend more Republican officials estimate that at the end of August, their committees and campaigns had $235 million to spend in the two-month home stretch, a $58 million advantage over Democrats. The R.N.C. plans to lay out more than $60 million on turnout efforts and advertising vs. the more than $14 million set aside by Democratic National Committee (D.N.C.) chairman Howard Dean. Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, who has been critical of Dean's approach, complained at a D.N.C. fund-raising luncheon in Washington last week that theG.O.P. "is pouring tens of millions of dollars into races, and we're not matching that." House Republican officials contend that many of their Democratic challengers are so little known that they could be buried in an ad blitz. "You hit them, and they fold like a house of cards," a strategist said.

Republicans had begun to feel better about the election recently after Bush got a bump in the polls, reflecting a steady decline in gas prices and a successful effort by the White House to push national-security issues to the top of the news. But by last week G.O.P. operatives were less elated. Newscasts were trumpeting the tales of infighting in Bush's war cabinet told in Bob Woodward's State of Denial, a book full of stories about an Administration pursuing a war with no clue how to go about it. And Representative Mark Foley, a Republican from Florida, resigned after his X-rated Internet chats with teenage boys from the House page program were made public. A safe seat for Republicans was suddenly in jeopardy.

Republicans acknowledge one ominous vulnerability: for more than a decade, the party has benefited from an intensity gap. Stoked by hatred of Bill Clinton or love for George W. Bush, G.O.P. voters have been more certain to vote than Democrats—meaning that the party tends to perform better than the final opinion polls suggest. Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, head of the House Democrats' campaign committee, recently told Time that gap had counted for as much as 5 to 7 points for the Republicans. But he thinks this election year might be different. "Their voters are unhappy," he says. "They're despondent about a failed President."

White House officials also concede they aren't so sure that Republicans will be motivated to go to the polls this year. Of course, expressions of doubt on the part of senior Republicans could be part of another game the G.O.P. plays better than the Democrats do these days: the expectations game. The Republicans are, after all, in the enviable position of being able to lose a lot. As long as they end up keeping control of both houses, they still come out the winner on Election Day.
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