Friday, August 18, 2006

GOP meltdown: Just media spin?

Erick at Red State has caught Jim VandeHei of The Washington Post doing an al-Reuters in print: Interviewing a "security mom" who supposedly voted for Bush, but now is leaning Democrat -- except she's apparently voted in each of the past five Democratic primaries!

If you know anything about voting habits, that tells you everything you need to know about Jean Thomas of Columbus, Ohio: She's a hard-core liberal Democrat. Gets her news from NPR and Katie Couric, not Rush Limbaugh and Neil Cavuto. Pro-choice, pro-gay-marriage, pro-union, pro-tax-increase, anti-war, etc. I bet you dollars to donuts she never voted for Bush, ever.

For VandeHei to use someone like Jean Thomas as an exemplar of the "security mom" phenomenon is journalistic malpractice, plain and simple.

Erick's big score is part three of his "WaPo to GOP: You Are Doomed" series (you should also read part 1 and part 2). This is the same WaPo that made George Allen's "Macaca" incident front-page news for two consecutive days.

As pointed out yesterday, polls indicate this is going to be a real tough year for Republicans. But as also pointed out, a big part of that is the MSM's unrelenting gloom-and-doom. The economy is roaring -- but you never see that on the MSM. Despite serious problems in Iraq, the fact is that U.S. casualties are down and the fearmongering about a widespread sectarian civil war simply hasn't not been fulfilled -- but again, the MSM ignores that.

Erick also notes that "a growing number of incumbent Republicans are fearing a disaster in November," but points to an RCP analysis by Jay Cost suggesting that this disaster is not inevitable. Why? Because the polls -- which now show a 14.8% Democratic advantage -- historically overrepresent the Democrat performance. Th:
[The so-called "generic ballot" question] has sported a large, sustained Democratic skew. This makes it quite possible to find a Democratic false positive - which pundits have managed to find in, by my count, seven of the last eight House elections. ...
Historically speaking, when the Democrats have that kind of edge in June/July, by November their victory in the popular vote "shrinks" to a much more modest 51.75% to 48.25%.
In other words, today's Gallup generic ballot does not predict a Democratic blow-out. Not at all. It predicts another squeaker on the order of Bush v. Kerry. Bush's share of the two-party vote in 2004 was 51.2%. Kerry's was 48.8%. Michael Barone's "49-49 Nation," if you believe the generic ballot, has not actually gone anywhere. This year will be Round 3.

Which is to say that the millions of Americans who voted twice for Bush are not going to go out on Nov. 7 and vote to make Nancy Pelosi the next Speaker of the House. Mass defections like that are rare. The real problem Republicans face is trying to get their voters excited, given the fact that Congress keeps doing the exact opposite of what GOP voters want on such core conservative issues as immigration and spending.

If the Senate can be persuaded to pass an enforcement-only immigration bill, there may still be hope for the GOP Congress. But if they pass the godawful Pence-Hutchison "compromise" or anything else with a guest-worker amnesty, just get used to saying "Speaker Pelosi."

The House members are probably getting an earful about immigration during their August vacations. Maybe they will come back after Labor Day and convince the Senate to do the right thing. So there's still some tiny speck of hope.

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