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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Republicans Will Keep Congress

I usually prefer comparing competing scenarios to making full-blown predictions about future events, especially when the factors influencing those events 1) are multiple, 2) are volatile, and 3) have several weeks to mutate via factors not yet in view — such as national security issues. Even so, I'm prepared to go out on a limb at say: the GOP maintains both houses of Congress on November 7. I base this prediction on a series of hunches related to several key issues. 1. The GOP base isn't happy but they're not going to sit out the election en masse because they've tried that before and the result was liberal-left gains that had to be undone by a future GOP majority. 2. The Democrat/left base is very motivated to punish Bush and the GOP in general. They'll turn out but not in sufficient numbers to win control of Congress. 3. Bush has national security issues on his side, and while the country is weary of Iraq and majorities say they want to set a firm withdrawal date, I don't believe the country's weariness is anywhere close to the kind of 1968 anger that turned the nation decisively against Viet Nam. When Bush talks about security, voters will think: This guy probably read national security briefings this afternoon. When Kerry talks about security (as he will), voters will think: This guy probably got a pedicure this afternoon. 4. Gas prices are going down, and the descent will continue. Big bonus for GOP. 5. The economy's in strong shape. There's a disturbing trade deficit and we're still spending too much. Does America think Reid-Pelosi will spend less? That's my Big Five, all in this context: The increasing strength of the Republican Party has been both broad and deep. Granted, the president's party loses on average 40 seats in the House of Representatives in year six of a two-term presidency. But this did not hold true with either of the two most recent sixth-year elections: Reagan in 1986 and Clinton in 1998. If I'm right I'll probably be inspired to continue making predictions, possibly including psychic readings. If I'm wrong, I'll blame unnamed, oppressive, marginalizing forces for stacking the deck against me, and I'll call for a new national dialogue — you know, the left's primary response to ... you name the issue.