Friday, April 27, 2007

Coasting

Washington, D.C. – I’d just left a political event featuring members of the Evil Party at the National Press Club, for once not part of the service staff or carrying a clipboard and a box of thank-you trinkets. It being a mellow October evening, I took a circuitous walk around the downtown and the Mall in the evening breeze, ruminating on what had come to pass in the last couple weeks; events so wacky and tortured that my feeble mind could scarcely comprehend them.

The Washington Post and New York Times had all but announced Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, this after the degenerate Mark Foley had exploded the GOP’s fall momentum with his sicko notes to young House pages. And speaking of explosions, Kim Donkey Kong Jong Il, the puffy-hair nutbag, blew up part of a mountain in his country, even as 2 million people died from starvation (I thought that only happened to people who couldn’t reach the breakfast buffet at the Pyongyang Ponderosa). Sunni and Shiites are busy beheading each other in the name of Allah. And don’t look now, but that leisure-suit garbed Muslin preacher, Ahamianabad is also closing on nuclear capabilities, while saying Israel should be wiped off the face of the And oh, in my ramblings, I look down and suddenly see several stains on my shirtfront are from dinner. Yikes, the world is going to you-know-where in a hand basket and the Coastmaster looks like a hobo. Stop the globe, baby, its time for me to get off.

There’s an old saying (and no, it’s not I’m from Missouri on that, har har), that a week in politics can be a lifetime. Make that two weeks and you’re talking about eternity. It’s a tired cliché to point to the rapidity of the news cycle and the electronic revolution. Thus, creepy Foley was caught sending email, the messages were stolen off a site on the Internet, the 24-hour news cycle spins like a dryer in heat, and now the House ethics committee is plodding through hearings, all in 18 days while the guys in the stodgy old big media are still blow drying their hair for tonight’s telecast.

To reiterate, I think psycho Foley utterly blunted the momentum the GOP had surging in September. Instead of talking about why the 13 terror “suspects” (jeez, who doesn’t think all 13 are guilty of something awful and should be sent to meet their 82 virgins), it’s Foley. Instead of the steep gas price decreases, the strong economy, unemployment at 4.5 percent, the stock market setting records, its Foley. Indeed, even Kim Wrong Il’s big blast was not quite big enough – here we go to the United Nations again – that paragon of vice and glacial movement. (The one good thing there is the departure of Kofi Anana, the first sub-Saharan African to lead the body, and who did so much good in places like Rwanda -- where he was the senior official for peacekeeping-- and Darfur. Whew, Kofi, take a break from the thievery and those free suits and shirts you’ve been getting. And trim that silly beard.)

Nor is there any peace is the stream of books that have been taking some heavy shots at the Iraq war. The titles alone say it: “Fiasco,” “State of Denial,” “Imperial Lives in the Emerald City, “or “Big Bad Mistakes in Baghdad.” Woodward’s “Denial” is especially neat and ABC’s Jonathan Karl recently wrote an outstanding piece in the Wall Street Journal on Woodward’s special style of reporting – you know, remembering six-year old conversations verbatim – that is conversations he wasn’t even a part of. Climbing inside people’s heads and knowing what they are thinking, even when their asleep. Using dozens of unidentified sources so you don’t know who the heck is saying what about whom (i.e. is that Andy Card or Captain Kangaroo on Slam Dunk George Tenant?). But you do know why they refuse to be identified. Because in Washington, how you rewrite history is anonymously, while stabbing everyone you know in the back. On a personal note, one of the things I’ve always despise in town is the unidentified source. This plagued me on the Hill, particularly when it was some junior knucklehead staffer whom a sympathetic reporter gave the standing of a Chairman.

Taken all together, right now, the GOP is one frightened bunch. And having been through more a several of these elections – in which my job and livelihood were at stake -- I kind of pay attention to these things.

So, being the heretic – and myopic man -- I am, I am here to declare that the GOP hangs on to the House and Senate. Wiser minds than the Coastmaster can frame it empirically. The GOP has loads of cash to pour into those seven critical days before an election. The GOP has a masterful get-out-the-vote effort, which is old shoe leather in the day and age of the computer chip. Its mechanics, yes, to be one of those poor unfortunates to walk precincts, motivating people to motivate even more people to get to the polling place. But it is magnified in an age of e-mail and computer lists and micro polling.

The Democrats smell blood, as they should. I sure know the smell – from 1994. But there’s something intangible out there. And so with 2 ½ weeks out to the election, I’m crazy enough to venture a guess. [Warning: I guessed a 14-seat GOP House pickup in 1998 and they lost five]. Here goes: 220-215 in the House, 51-47 and 2 (independents Bernie Sanders and Joe Liebermann) in the Senate.

That’s my guess two weeks out and I’m sticking to it. Just as, musing in the fall breeze near the Capitol Building, I note my dinner is doing same to my shirt and tie.


Carteret County News-Times Online EditionCopyright 2007 Carteret Publishing Co., Inc., Morehead City , North Carolina
All rights reserved.

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