Already making excuses


Democrat partisans are coming down from the summer—long sugar high they enjoyed with polling data supposedly revealing an excellent chance to take control of the House and maybe the Senate, too. Such hopes are falling faster than gasoline prices.

The more polling is targeted at likely voters, the better the GOP does. And historically, the GOP does better as voters pay more attention to politics, so that the media default mode of GOP—bashing fades in significance.

There are signs of panic in the media. The latest such indication is this story  from the Los Angeles Times, already beginning to explain away the possible GOP success as due to almost magical technological sophistication at the behest of none other than Karl Rove. In Michigan, writers Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten discover a

stealth campaign to woo the thousands of working—class, historically Democratic Michiganders whose cold—weather passion is snowmobiles is just one small example of a technique known as "micro—targeting" that GOP strategists are using across the country as they try to pull off another election day victory against the odds.

The GOP's rising appeal must be explained away because, by definition, Democrats are the natural governing party, reflecting the true interests of Americans.

Going back at least to the 2002 elections, the Republicans' use of technology, coupled with elaborate computer profiles that make educated guesses about individuals' political inclinations, has demonstrated its power in close races.

Such manifest evil must be the work of only one man.

The GOP system was developed by the Republican National Committee with the encouragement of White House political strategist Karl Rove.

Those lovable, under—funded Democrats are prey to their own good—hearted reliance on old fashioned technology.

So serious do some Democratic leaders consider the technology gap that they have begun devising their own separate systems, especially for House and Senate races.

"It's every man for himself," said Donna Brazile, a longtime party strategist who managed Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign and is now working to unite party leaders behind a strategy for translating favorable opinion polls into victories.

Brazile, like Hesla, says she sees positive developments for Democrats, but she also worries that the party is behind.

So there you have it. The nation is poised to once again be misled by a Republican juggernaut, using technological tricks to fool vulnerable natural Democrats into voting against their real interests.

Much like Los Angeles Times executives making excuses for their rapidly—falling circulation in the face of internet competitors, Democrats admit they are simply outclassed when it comes to nastiness.

... veteran strategist Brazile insists her party is making gains. "Unfortunately," she said, "it's late and last—minute. We're still perfecting drive—by campaigning."

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson   9 25 06


Richard Baehr writes:

If you look at individual races, there is no question GOP will lose seats. I don't see how anybody can call it a GOP victory this Fall if they manage to hang on to Senate and House with very small majorities, and lose a few Senate seats and "only" 10 House seats.

Today it is just a question of how many seats GOP loses in each chamber. At the moment, all 3 House races Democrats have targeted in Indiana, a state that went 60% for Bush, are leaning towards Democrats. Not a good sign. The GOP is in trouble over immigration, Iraq, spending, souring housing market (meaning an end to refinancing with home equity which has been boon to consumer spending).

Lower gas prices help, and terror concerns help GOP. There is often a 6 year itch in second terms of presidencies in the congressional elections. This year it will be bigger I think than in the last few cycles (e.g. 98— when Democrats actually picked up House seats despite the Lewinsky scandal.

The reality is country is very closely divided politically, and the share of electorate that does not closely identify with either party is growing. Those who stay with each party through thick and thin are more committed to it, but on neither side can you create a majority with just that loyal group.

And each party has a problem since their most hard core adherents are not well thought of by independents. Both the religious right, and the hard left are the "targeted bad guys" for the other party trying to pick off the independents. So Democrats run against theocracy and Terry Schiavo, and GOP runs against Pelosi, Howard Dean, and Daily Kos.