My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


They Can't BOTH Be Right

From the Saturday NYTimes:

There is something unusual bubbling in Democratic political waters these days: optimism. . .

“I’ve moved from optimistic to giddy,” said Gordon R. Fischer, a former chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party. “I really have.”

Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, who is in line to become chairman of the Financial Services Committee in a Democratic House, offered wry evidence of the changing perception of the race. His office, Mr. Frank said, has been contacted by a portrait-painting firm offering to talk about possibilities for the traditional committee chairman’s painting, one of those perks of power long absent from the lives of House Democrats.

From last Sunday's WaPo:

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

Oh, gee . . . who to believe?

It seems there are several possibilities:

:the White House is clueless
:the White House is a lot smarter than everybody else
:the Democrats are wrong
:the Democrats are engaged in a massive campaign of "Oh, Yeah? Well, we were MORE confident FIRST! So, nyah!"

Let's take a look at these.

The White House has shown the capacity of late for cluelessness. Starting with the idiocy of letting the Persident do in effect a "drive-by" of New Orleans one year ago, through the continuing difficulties in finding success in Iraq, to the folly of the far-too-late agreement with the House to build a border fence, the White House has been a bit short of its normal political adroitness for some time now.

On the other hand, Rove et al. have won three elections in a row, in conditions that would not at all suggest that they should have won three in a row. In every way and in every situation, the White House has managed to out-maneuver the Democrats and win elections. So . . .

I don't remember who it was exactly, but there is a story out there that one Democratic operative gleefully said one November day two years ago "Mr. Kerry, let me be the first to call you Mr. President"--of course, wrongly. For three straight elections the Democrats have managed to screw up what seemed to be insurmountable advantages, including being very bad at reading polls. So . . .

Doesn't it strike anybody else as weird that six days after one establishment mouthpiece says "the White House is confident" the other mouthpiece comes out with "the Dems are confident"?
I know they've been trying to kill talk about what happens when they win--because that will scare the HELL out of the country--but why let the cat out of the bag now? Is it that there's a shift that they're starting to pick up and they don't want to let the base get anxious?

I don't know the actual answer. I would say history is clearly on the side of the White House--the whole Bush/Rove mystique is built on being right about stuff like this. I don't see them coming out with such a bold statement just to shore up the base. Being wrong after a statement like this one would just be begging for mockery, and might even go farther to disillusion the people who the White House needs to work with. And, the Democrats do have a bit of a history of being wrong. Nobody thought 2002 would go the way it did, until the Dems got carried away at a funeral.

But, just looking objectively at what's going on around here--seeing how tonight I saw about a dozen ads in the Denver metro area about the 4th Congressional race (which is not in the metro area) while seeing almost NO ads for Rick O'Donnell in the 7th (which IS in the metro area)--I have a hard time thinking the White House knows that much more than anyone else.

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