Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Wednesday | September 24, 2003

GOoPers finally getting worried

Damn! I was hoping the GOP would continue with its "popular wartime president" pretentions, even as all evidence pointed to the contrary. But reality is finally intruding.

Given the party breakdown in the states, Bush's strategists say he must sweep the South to collect the 270 Electoral College votes he needs for a second term.

Bush is likely to be the first president since Herbert Hoover to preside over a net loss of jobs. Economists say it's unlikely that even a boom in the economy would create enough jobs before Election Day 2004 to replace the nearly 3 million that have been lost since Bush's inauguration.

Democratic voters' anger over the economy and Iraq and still-simmering dismay about the election recount in 2000 could fuel voter turnout next fall. At the same time, conservatives in Bush's party who are dismayed with some of his policies, particularly the growing federal budget deficit, could lose enthusiasm and not vote. Those conservatives are usually the most reliable Republican voters.

Bush doesn't need to sweep the South. He could lose, theoretically, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, and still win by taking the Gore states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnessota, and Iowa.

However, if Bush is threatened in the South, that would point to far greater vulnerabilities in his armor, and seriously, if he's in trouble in Tennessee and Kentucky, then he has no chance in Wisconsin, Iowa or Pennsylvania.

The upcoming governor races in Louisiana, Mississippi and Kentucky will be hugely important for the Democrats. Not only are they test cases for the DNC's Demzilla database (designed to turn out those supporters most likely to vote Dem), but they will be early indicators of Bush's strength.

Remember that it's all about playing the media expectation game. Bush and his Republican Party is expected to perform well in southern states. If he loses two out of three, or all three governorships, the media will continue the "Bush is embattled" meme. If the GOP takes two out of three, then the storyline will be "Republicans flex muscles in South."

I'm all for continuing the "embattled" storyline.

Many of you may have forgotten, but the press began its slow trend away from Bush adoration immediately following Sen. Landrieu's victory in the LA 2002 runoff election. GOP operatives were gleeful about their chances of unseating Landrieu, dubbing the race "Operation Icing on the Cake".

However, Landrieu imported Daschle's political team, and turned her guns on Bush. Bush lost. A week later, the Trent Lott controversy erupted.

And Bush lost all momentum gained from the GOP's strong congressional gains in November, momentum he only regained after invading Iraq.

One race. Landrieu versus Bush.

Now Bush is in trouble. His allies are starting to sweat. And we have three elections upon which to flex our muscles. We need to win them.

(If you haven't noticed because of the clutter, I have a cool electoral calculator linked on the site's left-hand column, right under the "PayPal" link.)

Posted September 24, 2003 10:14 AM | Comments (174)


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