Friday, August 18, 2006

Senate scorecard

At The Fix, the WaPo's Chris Cillizza runs down the week's news about Senate races around the country. Informative, news-wise, although I disagree with some of his rankings.

For instance, the economic disaster in Michigan alone would be enough to put Debbie Stabenow at risk, but Cillizza says her contest with GOP Sheriff Mike Bouchard "still hasn't gelled enough to crack the top 10" of Senate seats most likely to change hands. Heck, Chris, I'd rate Stabenow for the Top 5.

Not only has Michigan's auto industry tanked, but recent news about terrorist threats keeps calling attention to the large Arab population in Metro Detroit, which plays as both an immigration and a national-security issue. Of course, Bouchard won't demagogue this situation (he'd be crazy to touch it directly), but he doesn't have to. It will generate lots of talk-radio heat and just plain old word-of-mouth on its own. All Bouchard has to do is take a bland "we need to protect our border and enforce our laws" line about immigration, and call attention to Stabenow's national-security voting record, and Michigan voters will fill in the blanks for themselves.

(Suggestion to Bouchard: Make sure you get Ted Nugent for as many rallies as possible. The Nuge is very popular with Boomers and gun-rights types, and his support helps undercut the "uptight Republican" image problem that hurts the GOP with blue-collar voters.)

Certainly, it's more likely Stabenow will lose in Michigan than that the GOP will lose Frist's open seat to Harold Ford. Excuse me for pointing this out, but the Democrats picked the wrong state to try for a repeat of the Barak Obama experience in Illinois. Sure, Harold Ford is handsome, articulate and moderate, but he's also black and this is Tennessee.

I know Tennessee. I have friends in Tennessee. Tennessee might some day elect a black Republican to statewide office, but ... a black Democrat? No way. Period.

Assuming that the Republican candidate Bob Corker runs anything like a competent campaign, he'll win by double digits in November -- 55% of the vote, easy.

I don't care what the polls say. The Democrats who have spent the past year hyping Harold Ford are just naive. I sincerely doubt Ford will carry a single county in East Tennnesse, and the Republicans will rack up huge margins in the suburbs of Nashville and Memphis.

Because it's an open seat, Corker can run as an outsider, and doesn't have to defend a congressional voting record. They can't hang George Bush around Corker's neck. He wins in a walk.

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