Actually, we (collectively) feel fine. The reference is, of course, to the REM song: It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine." Well, Hank Paulson, the nation's chief panic-monger, told us for two weeks that if we didn't bail out Wall Street, the world as we knew it (or at least the economic world as we knew it) would come to an end. Yeah, right. As I write, the Dow industrial average today is up 350 points. Paulson can take back what John Boehner called his "cr@p sandwich" and swallow hard.
I still say no, and that they're more likely to lose seats than make gains. But this new Gallup poll shows a post convention bounce for the GOP brand itself, with the double digit lead in the generic ballot enjoyed by Democrats all year narrowing to just three points. The poll, according to the release, "casts some doubt on the previously assumed inevitability of the Democrats' maintaining control of Congress." I'd like to see more polls reinforcing this, and look at more district-by-district polling, before I take it too seriously.
One other point is that a few months ago, we hosted a breakfast with House minority leader John Boehner and he argued that the GOP leadership wasn't going to try and nationalize elections, but rather instruct their candidates to do what they needed to within their own district. I wonder whether, given the improving fortunes of Republicans, they will change course and decide to run a national campaign.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has decided to use the Republican "shadow convention" presence as a fundraising opportunity. In my inbox from Paul Begala:
You just knew it was going to happen. And in a way I can't blame them.
If I were a Republican I'd be trying to crash our party as well.
Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, John Boehner - a motley crew of Bush-Cheney Republicans who have shown up here in Denver. And I don't think they came just for the Rocky Mountain air.
Can you really blame them? While we're all here to celebrate Barack Obama's plans to write the next great chapter for America in the 21st Century, those guys will be stuck next week at their convention having to celebrate the Bush-Cheney record and John McCain's plan to continue it for another eight years. Which party would you rather be at?
They hope to raise a cool $1 million to compensate for these uninvited Republican guests.
Cantor's voting record is undeniably conservative. He's undeniably bright. I think we could do much worse. But I also think we could do much better. In 2007 at the National Review Institute conservative summit (I THINK that is where it was; if not, it was CPAC, but I think it was the former), he and John Boehner gave one of the worst presentations I have ever seen at an event like that. Utterly uninspiring. More a defense of the order than a call for reform, even at a time when the 2006 election losses were so fresh in the mind that EVERBODY with ANY sense was calling for big reforms. And everybody I spoke to, during and after that presentation, agreed with me. It was truly pitiful. I haven't seen anything so disheartening at an event like that since Mickey Edwards prattled on in 1983 at CPAC about how even though it looked like the Reagan presidency was fading out, at least Reagan had changed the terms of the debate. Edwards' tone was elegaic, as if to a lost cause -- and Cantor's tone (and Boehner's) in 2007 AND substance were in their own way equally defeatist -- except with a tone that was almost surly in its defensiveness.