That prospect is a window onto a remarkable political trend that has been eclipsed by the fireworks surrounding the 2008 presidential contest: Democrats are running strong Senate campaigns in states such as Mississippi, Alaska and North Carolina that Republicans have long taken for granted.The outlook for the GOP is so grim that party leaders have readily conceded there is no chance they can regain control of the Senate in 2008, even though Democrats’ current majority is slim, 51-49.
“If you have an R in front of your name, you better run scared,” said Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, who says the party will do well if it holds its losses to three or four seats.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I can’t fathom why any Republican, lobbyist, or other political campaign contributor would bother dropping any money on the sinking ship that is the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Another terrific omen for Democrats is Party ID trends. According to Rasmussen Reports, June 2006 saw 37% identify as Democrats and 33.5% identify as Republicans; June 2008 saw Democrats climb four points to 41% and Republicans drop two points to 31.5%, a massive six-point swing for an already-leading Democratic Party. And, according to Gallup, between 3Q of 2007 and 2Q of 2008, Republicans have stood at 27% while Democrats have jumped from 31% to 36%. While numbers differ, the trend is clear: the Democratic Party is expanding its growingly robust lead over the Republican Party.
Oregon charter schools activist Rob Kremer has impeccable conservative bona fides.He is the founder of the Conservative Majority Action Project, a group that backs bedrock Republicans running for the state Legislature. He provides the right-wing perspective on a local talk show, chimes in frequently to agitate for the GOP on local blogs, and writes a column for a right-leaning magazine.
And yet, this November, Kremer won’t be voting for Oregon’s only statewide elected Republican, U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith.
“There are a lot more votes to be gained than lost by doing what he is doing, but I am one he has lost,” Kremer said. “I can’t vote for someone who has taken some of the positions he has taken, and if no one speaks out a little bit, it is only going to get worse.”
Republican Gordon Smith’s reaction in the article:
In an interview this past week with The Associated Press, Smith said he’s not concerned that fed-up conservative voters – many of whom are not especially fired up about presidential candidate John McCain either – will simply sit out the 2008 election.
Republican Gordon Smith might not have reason to worry, as some Oregon conservatives don’t care about Smith’s lack of conviction or integrity (emphasis added by me):
Gail Atteberry, who heads Oregon Right to Life, the state’s most influential anti-abortion group, has also seen the numbers. And while she said she was extremely disappointed by Smith’s admiring reference to Obama in his ad – Obama, she said, is the most “pro-abortion radical in the Senate” – she said she’s sticking with Smith.”We know it is posturing,” she said. “But I know his heart, where he stands on our issue, and I am confident that he will always remain true to that cause. For that reason, in spite of some of these other things, I am going to keep on keeping on with him.”
Nevertheless, some conservatives are ready to hold Smith accountable in the voting booth:
Others are simply keeping mum on Smith’s campaign-year decisions. June Hartley, a Republican National Committeewoman from Ontario who was a fervent supporter of Mitt Romney during his failed presidential bid, called the Smith-Obama ad “unusual” with a hint of disapproval in her voice before declining further comment.And some are just fed up, said Ted Piccolo, who runs nwrepublican.com, a widely read GOP blog.
“People understand it is a campaign year, there might be some positions or votes that will frustrate you, but man, he has gone way, way out of his way to cozy up to the Democrats,” Piccolo said. “I think the Smith people are going to take all Republicans for granted and just assume they will show up, and you can’t assume that. Politics isn’t a spreadsheet.”
As for Kremer, he says Smith lost him when he sided with Democrats last month in support of a cap-and-trade system, which would cap greenhouse gas emissions. The bill ultimately failed, but Smith said at the time that the climate change legislation would have helped reduce reliance on oil from overseas, while stimulating renewable energy industry.
Fortunately for Oregon Republicans and other Beaver State conservatives looking to vote for a conservative with convictions, there is the Constitution Party’s Dave Brownlow. I hope that Oregon conservatives send a message to Gordon Smith that convictions matter by voting for Brownlow over Smith.
North Carolina: Can you spot the difference between the two versions of Bush-rubber-stamp Elizabeth Dole’s recent TV ad?
In case you missed it, check the 23-second mark of both versions of the 30-second spot. The stock video footage of a military airplane at the 23-second mark is different in the two versions. With the rest of the ad identical between the two versions, why would Dole change this one second of stock video footage? Someone who saw the footage suggested that the military aircraft in the first version of the ad is actually a French Naval aircraft! Imagine that, Liddy Dole taking credit for work with the military by using footage of a French military aircraft. If true, this would be quite a bit of egg on Dole’s face. Can anyone more knowledgeable on the topic confirm?Update from the comments, courtesy of soko:
the aircraft in the first version of the ad…is a French naval aircraft called a Super Etendard (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Etendard). Super Etendards became famous for their role in the 1982 Falklands war between Britian and Argentina, where Super Etendards of the Argentine Navy sank several large British warships using Exocet anti-ship cruise missiles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exocet), a weapon similar to the US Navy’s Harpoon missile.
Ironically enough, Super Etendards were also used in Battle by the Iraqi Air Force during the Iran-Iraq war during the 80s. It’s doubtful that any aircraft of this type have ever landed in North Carolina, much less been based there.
The aircraft pictured in the second ad appears to be a USAF F-15.
Illinois: The media continues to speculate on who might succeed Barack Obama in the Senate should Obama win the Presidency in 2008. The article is all over the place in terms of names, but does note that both Congressman Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said that they weren’t interested and that Governor Rod Blagojevich “refused to say if he’d consider appointing himself.”