Monday, August 28, 2006

Weyrich : Dems Should Be Optimistic About November

Conservative icon Paul Weyrich, founder of the right-wing think tank the Heritage Foundation, co-founder, with Jerry Falwell, of the Moral Majority, says that he believes the Democrats will "win control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate this November."

Writing a guest column on Accuracy in Media's website, Weyrich spins the turnaround in public opinion:
The polls show voters angry and wanting to punish the Republicans. The Republicans have an exceptionally large number of open seats. Republican Members, even Committee chairmen, sensed that this was the year to get out. The GOP has had a run of a dozen years of controlling the House of Representatives. Another election and the Member could go out a loser whereas if the Member quits now he can go out the winner. While defense of open seats is easier than is defeat of incumbents, the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee has a lot on its plate.
I'll say. The latest poll (Newsweek's, published August 26) shows Democrats with a 12 point lead over Republicans, 58%-38%. Fewer than one-third of Americans (31%) support George W. Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, with 63% disapproving, Bush's job approval rating hovers at slightly over one-third of Americans (36%), and 65% of Americans dissatisfied with the direction in which the country is moving. Even the terror bump Bush got recently seems to be fading rapidly. Why?
Nearly every day Americans see images of their fellow citizens killed in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere. In addition, whereas a new government was supposed to bring stability to Iraq, the level of violence is three times what it was when the government was formed. We hear experts say that Iraq is in the middle of a civil war. President Bush rejects that, but with troops who were scheduled to come home extended another four months and with 2500 reservists called up, Americans do not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am sure there must be one -- or is that a speeding locomotive headed in my direction?
My money is on the locomotive. Meanwhile, I've already posted today on our nation's rather crummy economic performance -- unless you're wealthy.
But all consumers hear is that the economy is slowing down, could be on the verge of a recession and so on. They also hear about massive layoffs from the automakers and from industry as a whole. Even the numbers are reflecting an economy growing at a much more modest rate of 2.5% as opposed to 4% growth earlier this year. Even so, voters do not make up their minds on the macro figures the Administration provides. Rather they listen to what they hear at the factory, in the neighborhood or at the lodge. In those places, the economic miracle does not seem to have penetrated their psyche.
Yeah, because -- as I've said -- most Americans are not wealthy. If you're poor or merely middle class, this economy is sucking wind. Growing unemployment, growing poverty, falling income -- a veritable economic Poseidon.

Weyrich's conclusion is non-ideological and quite practical, makes a lot of sense to me, while at the same time echoes something Howie always tells me:
Usually when pollsters ask about Congress, voters say nasty things about that institution. But when asked about their own Congressman, the voter says, oh, no, he is a good guy; we need to keep him in. This year, as in 1994 when Republicans won every seat possible, voters are saying bad things about Congress and then when asked about their own Congressman, only 57% said we ought to keep him. 43% said elect a new person. That number is bound to come down closer to the elections but even if as few as 10% of voters insisted upon electing a new Member it would be a revolution. Stay tuned.
Stay tuned indeed.

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