November 6, 2006

Thanks, God – the 2006 mid-term elections are just a little more than 24 hours away, and absentee and early voting has already started all over the land. Are the pollsters and the mainstream dino-media’s conventional wisdom right – a big year for the Democrats? – or are they just screwed up, as usual? Will the Democrats wrest control of the House or Senate from the Republicans? Will the GOP’s vaunted 72-hour Get Out The Vote (GOTV) machine make a difference these final days? It won’t take long before we find out.

Six weeks ago, I listed five key issues that would go a long way to determine the answers to the above questions. Let’s take a look at where things stand regarding each one:

1. The President’s approval rating. My feeling then, as it is now, is that W. needed to be in the low-to-mid 40s to have any positive impact on the GOP’s chances – high 30s just wouldn’t cut it, and you’d know just how high they were by whether Republicans wanted to be seen and out campaigning with the Prez. Well, today’s ABC/Washington Post poll has him at 43 (as does Rasmussen), and we have seen in the last few weeks a rallying around the President as he stumps for GOP candidates across the land. This should be seen as good news for Republicans, as the President has proven time and again to be great on the stump and motivating the base to get out and vote.

This news certainly won’t hurt the President’s standing, either.

2. Keep an eye on gas prices. As it turns out, not a factor at all. While low gas prices doesn’t help the GOP to any great extent, you can be sure it took a potential pocketbook issue away from the Dems, who are always rooting for bad things to happen economically to bolster their election chances. Someday, they’ll realize that’s NOT the best election strategy…

3. The economy. No matter how the mainstream dino-media tries to spin it, the economy is going great guns. Sure, housing prices have leveled off, but this is, in fact, a good thing for everyone in the long run. Unemployment is at record lows, interest rates remain at historic lows, and anyone who wants a job can get one. The White House has done a poor job in trumpeting the success of the economy this year, and if the Dems are successful in taking one or both houses of Congress, this is one way in which the WH will have only itself to blame.

4. Iraq. No question, October was a horrendous month for casualties in Iraq – something, BTW, that was expected, as the insurgency would like nothing better than the American electorate to get weak-kneed and vote in the party that wants nothing more than to get us the hell outta there as soon as possible. Whether the Saddam verdict, or last week’s John Kerry gaffe, or that New York Times leak of a story that, among other things, revealed that Saddam may have only been a year away from an atomic bomb (Hat tip: TKS), will help the GOP remains to be seen. If the Dems do well this year, it will be primarily because they were able to make this mid-term election a referendum on Iraq.

5. Republican GOTV. I have a feeling – and it’s nothing more than a feeling – that there’s A LOT of Republicans out there (myself included) who a month ago had no intention of voting for a slate of candidates who they’d felt had turned their backs those key domestic issues Republicans hold near and dear – reduced government size and spending, increased border security, action on judicial nominations, etc., who now can’t wait to “join the wave” and vote on Tuesday. Jim Geraghty is watching the numbers closely, and all the signs appear to be trending Republican. The question is, is it too late? (BTW, Geraghty’s blog is a must read for down-to-the-wire coverage, as he has “faces in high places” with the inside word, if you know what I mean.)

One final thing I mentioned was the dreaded ‘X’ factor – you know, that unforeseen kind of thing that no one can anticipate but always happens as political campaigns go down to the wire. I never thought the Mark Foley kerfluffle was anything more than some creep using his power and position in unsavory ways.

However, I have no doubt that John Kerry’s ‘botched joke’ of last week did more than just reveal a clueless politician too arrogant to admit his mistake up front and apologize before the damage was done. In fact, I think what it did was bring the electorate back to a 2004 mindset where the choice was between someone who, whether you agreed with him or not, believes in what he says and does (i.e., the President), or someone who represents a party whose political leaders – no matter how much they try to say otherwise – are soft when it comes to the “Global War on Terror”, and finds it hard to find enthusiastic words of support for the brave men and women putting their lives on the line in Iraq and Afghanistan. For those thousands of military families and relationships out there, Kerry’s remark served as yet another reminder that there are two political parties out there with two very different stands when it comes to national security and support for our nation’s military.

My take: I’m going out on a limb here and say both the Senate and the House remains in Republican hands, albeit with a razor-thin majority in each. Will The Great White Shank be right? Hey, I was the one who predicted the Tigers in five, so don’t take my word for it. Republican or Democrat, please take the time to go out on Tuesday and exercise that most precious right we all have in a free society, and vote. Then, follow both The Corner Blog and TKS at National Review Online and get the inside dope on everything happening Tuesday night, returns-wise. It oughta be interesting…

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:21 | Comments Off on The Home Stretch
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