Jed Babbin is correct in his column today that the GOP should be nationalizing its races, not localizing them. Tactically and strategically, Republicans have been idiots all year long. That said, the Foley story hit early enough that it leaves time for AT LEAST one more big story to come out to change the momentum nationally in the campaigns. I actually expect one more big story that works in favor of the GOP, plus a stupid last-weekend effort by the Dems and media that may or may not work.
As down on the GOP as I have been for the past two years (actually, longer) than that, I do expect--just by virtue of the law of averages combined with a sense in my gut--that a big story or confluence of stories will occur in the next three weeks that shifts the momentum back to Republican candidates. It may be that soem Democratic congressmen were getting too friendly with pages (which actually would only have a small electoral impact, because people are already tired of the issue and the blame has already solidified against the Republicans); it may be that allied troops find a chemical weapons stash in the Iraqi desert; it may be that we kill or capture Osama bin Laden; it may be that Bush is mountain-biking in Crawford when he spies an illegal immigrant hustling across the arroyo with a bio-weapons-tipped shoulder-fired missile and Bush himself runs (or cycles) him down, wrestles him to the ground, and beats the bleep out of him, all on camera -- who knows? But something is sure to happen to favor the GOP, which would at least bring its hopes of holding Congress back up to reasonable from highly doubtful.
My sense of things is that the GOP will lose 16 House seats (and thus, barely, the majority) and a net of five Senate seats (a 50-50 tie). But this isn't an official prediction yet, just a sense. And my sense is that CONSERVATIVES (a different species from Republicans) will enjoy at least one surprise victory--Santorum, or Blackwell in Ohio, or Michael Steele, or McGavick, or maybe (on a smaller scope) anti-illegal-immigration candidate Randy Graf in Arizona. Keep watching, especially, Blackwell and Santorum for late surges that make their races into cliffhangers....
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