Misc Commentary For August 15th, 2003

— 2004 isn’t shaping up to be a very good year for the left. If the economy rallies as expected, Bush is going to be extraordinarily difficult to unseat. Furthermore, because of redistricting, the chances of the Dems retaking the house are practically nil. Then in the Senate, again the GOP has a numbers advantage. We only have to defend 15 seats while the Dems have to guard 19. Last but not least, as Publius explains, the GOP will even have a big advantage in the governor’s races….

“Democrats have to defend more seats: Democrats are defending eight seats, while the Republicans only have to defend six.

Red state/blue state: It isn’t just that Democrats have to defend more seats than Republicans; it’s where the seats are. Eleven of the 14 seats in play are in “red states” won by PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH in 2000. Of the eight seats that Democrats will be defending, no fewer than six of them (MO, MS, IN, KY, WV, and NC) are in “red states” — while of the six seats the Republicans will be defending, only one (VT) is in a “blue state” won by former Vice President AL GORE.

Open seats: Here, too, Democrats are at a disadvantage. Of the seven open seats, Democrats will have to defend four (WA, KY, IN, and WV), while Republicans will only have to defend three (MT, UT, and LA). And Missouri’s Democrat Governor, BOB HOLDEN, isn’t a lock to run for reelection — there’s serious talk of a primary challenge — so he just might decide to follow the lead of several of his colleagues and announce that he’s stepping down at the end of the term, too.

Red state open seats: Put the above two items together, and you get the horror scenario for Democratic Governors Association Chairman GARY LOCKE (the outgoing Governor of Washington): six of the seven open seats are in “red states.” And those “red states” aren’t just “red,” they’re crimson: the Bush-Cheney ticket averaged 57 percent of the vote in those states, while the Gore-Lieberman ticket managed just 39 percent, on average. Bush can be expected to do better in each one of these states, and while ticket-splitting is a fact of modern political life, winning against those odds would require Democrat challengers to convince one out of every five Republican voters to cast a ballot for a Democrat. That’s like drawing to an inside straight.”

Those are ugly numbers indeed for Terry Mcauliffe and company to try to deal with, especially coming off of the 2002 elections which were such a debacle for the Democrats.

— Is it really necessary for the Jerusalem Post, LA Times, & Chicago Sun-Times to have such elaborate sign-ups to read their news? All of those papers do good work, but as a blogger, can you really afford to link them? I mean how many different papers can you expect your readers to sign-up for? Can I make a suggestion? If these papers want to gather demographic info about their readers without an elaborate sign-up process, the should try out the simple form the WAPO uses (seemingly at random). You simply put in your age, sex, & zip and **boom** there you go. It’s quick, easy, and it’s not enough to dissuade people from linking. Maybe these papers don’t care about that because they’re just interested in locals who’re willing to go through the registration process, but if they want to expand their audience across the world, they need to make it easier for people to get to their content.

— Back on June 13, Dick Cheney actually told people there could be a blackout…

“The report we issued last month presented more than 100 recommendations covering virtually the entire range of concerns that face the American people. One of the concerns, obviously, is the aging power grid and the growing problem that we have in getting electricity from the power plant to the light switch. It’s clear that we must upgrade and expand the power grid. If we put more connections in place, we’ll go a long way towards avoiding future blackouts. Another broad aim is to increase energy supplies from diverse sources; from oil and gas, renewables, coal, hydro and nuclear. This is the kind of balanced approach we think is essential if we’re going to meet the country’s energy needs down the road and take care of many of our other concerns, especially with respect to the environment.”

Furthermore, the Bush administration has sent an energy bill to Congress that does deal with upgrading the power grid. But of course, the Democrats in the Senate have stalled it. I believe the President’s bill may start getting a little more attention after this.

— Ironically, the ADL and the other Jewish groups complaining about Mel Gibson’s “The Passion” have probably increased the number of people who are going to see the movie by tenfold. I mean come on, just the fact that the whole movie is in Latin, Aramaic, & Hebrew would have discouraged a lot of people from seeing the movie. But now that there has been all of this controversy, people may decide to just watch the movie (here’s a trailer) and see what all the fuss is about — especially since most of the complaints about the movie have sounded really hysterical and silly. “OMG, we got an anti-semitic email, we blame Gibson’s movie” or “We haven’t seen the move yet, but we believe it’s anti-semitic”. Those sorts of ridiculous complaints actually make people pay less attention when real anti-semitism (which is common enough in these days and times) is pointed out.

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