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Republicans Taking On Water
Sunday, October 01, 2006 - reddit
Let there be no doubt, these mid-term elections will be closer than people may have been lead to believe. The day of the Connecticut elections which decided who would be the Democratic nominee for that states open Senate seat, Ned Lamont was leading in the polls by double-digits, buoying his hopes for a landslide victory that would force Lieberman to abandon his threats to run as an independent.
Lamont won the seat by less than two points, and it could easily be closer than that for many House races. But it's also clear that the party in danger right now is the GOP. The are no Democratic seats in play this year, and it could be the first time in history that one party did not turn over a single seat.
Even in the 1994 Republican rout, Democrats still took opposing seats. This year, there are no Democratic seats in the House, Senate, or even Governorships that are considered unsafe. This fall will be a large victory for the Democrats, even if they fall short of their goals. Republicans will be the first to admit that any election where you've gained more seats than you've lost is a good one.
Just two short weeks ago, Robert Novak reported Republicans were beginning to close the gaps in the most two recent polls. Despite the leaking of a classified summary of a National Intelligence Estimate that contradicted everything the Bush administration has been saying about the situation in Iraq all year, falling gas prices coupled with a light hurricane season and a recovering economy seem to have tightened the race for control over the House.
No sane Republican that wasn't simply regurgitating talking points believed that their party wasn't going to lose seats this year -- the only question was how many. With a slight upswing and about one month to go, they desperately needed a period of quiet to stop the bleeding.
Then Foley happened.
Emails and instant messaging logs from Republican Representative Mark Foley, co-chair of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, were leaked to the press that showed Foley having sexually explicit and improper communications with underage male staffers.
This has opened up two new fronts that Republicans must now defend, with Foley's resignation quite possibly handing Democrats yet another House seat that was considered safe, and now there is a burgeoning scandal that may entangle House Speaker Dennis Hastert and other senior House members as well in an alleged cover up.
Hastert has denied previous knowledge of Foley's activity, yet according to an Associated Press piece that came out this morning, Representative Thomas Reynolds said he told Hastert about the messages months ago.
Congress has already adjourned for the mid-term elections, so there is no possible chance that any hearings may be held on the matter until next year. Should Republicans retain control of the House, those hearings may never happen at all. If Democrats take over the majority, Republicans can expect this to be the first of many hearings to come.
With 37 days to go, this may very well be the last straw for Republican voters, may of whom are as unhappy with their parties governing of the country as the other side is.
Lest Republicans forget, it could still get even worse.
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