Friday, September 29, 2006

GOP in Retreat! RNC pulling out of close races , abandoning hope

It looks Like the once invincible Armies of Emperor NaRoveon, just metaphorically woke up outside the Gates of Moscow, looked around and said "holy crap it's cold!"


How else to explain the GOP's recent, and apparently panicked retreat from closely contested House and Senate races nationwide?


As  Chronicled in today's Washington Post, the GOP is now abandoning races it once had high hopes for.  Take Ohio's 6th:




Republicans, who regarded this seat -- carried narrowly by President Bush in 2004 -- as their most promising chance to take a congressional seat from the Democratic column...


Four months ago, state Sen. Charlie Wilson (D) was teetering on the edge of defeat in ..Today he is strolling toward Nov. 7, ...


No television ads for Wilson or his Republican opponent, state Rep. Chuck Blasdel, are airing.., the national party organization [is}nowhere to be found.


"We don't hear anything...We are very happy they are looking [elsewhere]"


actually it appears they aren't looking anywhere but at the coverage of their own posteriors:



Like any game, politics tends to be more fun on offense than defense. Republicans are not having much fun this election season....


A combination of an adverse national environment and the need to devote their resources to defending at-risk GOP incumbents gives the national party few opportunities to invest heavily in challengers, such as Blasdel, who face an uphill fight.



In other words they are so busy trying to hold on to what they have (and not doing a particularly good job of that either as we "50-state" Kos devotees know) that they are all buy abandoning any hopes of taking seats away from the Democrats.  They are putting a brave face on it still, but privately they realize it's not a matter of if, but how many seats they lose this time:




While Democrats have targets around the country where they could gain a seat, Republicans have the barest handful.


Ask Republicans where they see takeover opportunities this fall and they will rattle off seats such as Georgia's 8th District -- held by Rep. Jim Marshall -- Iowa's 3rd or even the open at-large seat in strongly Democratic Vermont. But none of those races look particularly dire for Democrats at the moment, as many Republican strategists privately acknowledge.


And things apparently DO look dire enough for Republicans that the strain is starting to show on their formerly fierce and  seemingly infallible campaign strategists.   For example, in Oh-6, the Democratic nominee may owe his eventual victory, in a large part,  to over-reaching by panicky Republicans trying for an early knock-out:




Republicans' optimism only increased after Wilson did not collect the necessary signatures to qualify for the primary ballot, necessitating a write-in candidacy.

Sensing opportunity, the Republican Congressional Committee poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the district in hopes of killing Wilson's candidacy. Television ads accused Wilson of supporting the dumping of raw sewage in the Ohio River, among other not-so-nice allegations.


A cunning plan, to be sure with one , ensy-teensy flaw:  That it backfired spectacularly:




The strategy backfired. Wilson, who knocked on 40,000 doors and sent out 4,000 personal letters during the primary race, rolled up 66 percent of the vote, winning 4,500 votes more than the four Republican candidates combined.


"To do that is unheard of," said Noble County Democratic Party Chairman Larry Woodford. Republicans [he said]"saw the writing on the wall."


Now, I'm no highly paid political consultant or anything, but does anyone else see the thunderous stupidity in running attack ads against a write in candidate  thereby boosting his name recognition to stratospheric levels?  Maybe its just me, but that seems like what we laymen  would call "a dumb move".  It seems it also had something to do with the fact that Wilson is outpolling his opponent 49% to 25%.


And while the News everywhere may not be quite so good as Ohio-6  it's clear that the results there are part of a very encouraging nationwide trend. We have never had so many incredible candidates running all at once.  We have never had the opposition so thoroughly tied in the public mind with an incredibly unpopular president and his disastrous war.  And most importantly we have never had so many GOPer's in safe seats shoot themselves and their campaigns so devastatingly in the foot all at once. (Is the Obama Enemy's curse  rubbing off on the Party?)


However as Ohio also showed us in '04 trends, by themselves don't mean a damned thing, without voter action to back them up. If we want to be the flood tide that sweeps away the Republican stranglehold on power, all the raindrops have to show up and do their part, no matter HOW hopeless or Secure the Dem candidates look where you live.  NONE of this will do use any good unless we are all willing to Vote, contribute, and convince our friends and neighbors to do the same.


It's clear to me that we will not, in our lifetimes, have a better chance than right now to wake the country up from the nightmare we've been  living in the last six years.  The GOP  is really on the ropes right now ,  but its not time to stop and congratulate ourselves. No, NOW is when we need to land that final punch  to make sure this time we finish them once and for all.   Money, volunteerism, or even good old fashion GOTV shoe leathering, can all  help ensure that for  once this decade we all may wake up Nov 7th without a hangover, or least one of the good "too much celebrating kind".

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