Monday, October 16, 2006

GOP Spiraling Downward?

If you ever made paper boats and floated them down a stream when you were a kid you may recall that sometimes they'd become caught up in the swirls and eddies and begin circling and once that happened one of two things would occur they'd either build up enough speed to break free or they'd be pulled under.

It seems that the GOP's chances of maintaining a majority in the House and Senate this election year are about the same.

From the NY Times:

In Final Weeks, G.O.P. Focuses on Best Bets

Senior national Republican strategists who had been briefed on decisions made during the party’s internal deliberations discussed the overall strategic thrusts but declined to provide specific dollar figures, saying that would give too much information to the Democrats.

The decision involving Mr. DeWine offers the most compelling evidence so far that Republicans are circling their wagons around a smaller group of races, effectively conceding some Senate and House seats with the goal of retaining at least a thin margin of control when the 110th Congress is seated next January. Democrats need to win 6 seats to capture the Senate and 15 seats to win the House on Nov. 7.

Still, in interviews, Republican strategists said that the flow of bad news out of Iraq and the resignation of Representative Mark Foley after admitting he had sent sexually suggestive messages to teenage Congressional pages had soured the environment for incumbents and blunted the impact of a long-planned crush of negative advertisements Republicans had prepared to undercut Democratic challengers this month.

In one sign of the shifting political environment, as of this weekend, national Republicans were running advertisements in 29 districts; of those, 26 are held by Republicans and 3 by Democrats, though Republicans plan to begin running advertisements this week against an Illinois Democrat, Representative Melissa Bean. National Democrats are on the air in 30 districts, and defending Democrats in just 3 races.

“For a midterm election in the sixth year, based on historically the number of seats lost, you’ve got to play defense,” said Carl Forti, the communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “We have the luxury of being in the majority, so all we have to do is hold our own.”