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Saturday, October 07, 2006
Are the Republicans Doomed?

Stuart Rothenberg says the stage could be set for a landslide against the GOP next month.

After looking at the news for the past 10 days or so, I have to wonder how Democrats can possibly fail in their efforts to take both the House and the Senate.

The national atmospherics don’t merely favor Democrats; they set the stage for a blowout of cosmic proportions next month.

No, that’s not a prediction, since Republicans still have a month to “localize” enough races to hold onto one or both chambers of Congress. But you don’t have to be Teddy White or V.O. Key to know that the GOP is now flirting with disaster.

I think that might be true if the election were today. But that's mostly Foley fallout, and for evidence we turn to a race featuring two Democrats. For months Ned Lamont has pounded Joe Lieberman for being too close to the Republicans. And Lamont is now ten points behind Lieberman in the polls.

In a record week, futures in Ned Lamont continued to plummet in the political market. Big board polls put the Connecticut Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate falling sharply behind incumbent independent Joseph Lieberman. Most legit polls that insiders and serious observers look to find Lamont stuck at no better than 10 points behind the three term incumbent.

Democrats around Connecticut and in DC are concluding that Lamont has gone in two months since his primary victory from triumphant insurgent to stymied novice. His campaign was largely somnolent for the five weeks after the August 8th primary. Lamont ignored whatever opportunities they were for a bounce after he shook Connecticut and the nation’s political class with his 4 point victory on a record turnout.

Lamont’s busiest activity since August has been writing fat checks to his campaign. He’s chugging toward $7 million. National Democrats, who were expected to close ranks around Lamont and send him some dough, have gone AWOL. Senator Chris Dodd, crucial in breathing some life into Lieberman’s campaign late in the primary battle, has not been much in evidence.

John Edwards, Ted Kennedy, and Wesley Clark are the best Lamont has mustered onto to the trail for him so far. People are wondering where the Clintons are. Their absence is a sure sign that Lamont is not seen as a winner. Hillary Clinton appeared in Fairfield County on Friday, October 6th, but there’s no word on returning for Lamont.

So there seems to be little evidence that being associated with the Republicans, or even with President Bush, is hurting Joe Lieberman in Connecticut, a very liberal state.

I do think that conservative bloggers and radio talk show hosts have to be a little careful of expressing their disgust with Republicans right now (aside, of course from Foley, who got his the old-fashioned way: he earned it). This is an important election. If you want the last two years of President Bush's term to be spent on investigations of the first six years, sit on your hands because your pet issue hasn't been addressed to your satisfaction. The time to hold Republicans accountable was in the primary, not the general election.

As my friend Mark Vance points out, the scariest words in the English language are, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi".
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