IT'S CATHOLIC V. CATHOLIC IN MISSOURI. In the final day before Missourians decide whether to enshrine in the state's constitution the right of scientists to conduct embryonic stem cell research, a battle taking place within the Catholic faith has come into full view. The church fathers object to embryonic stem cell research in a logical extrapolation of their opposition to abortion: they contend that embryos are people. (Really, the opposition to embryonic stem cell research, whether by Catholics or anyone else, is pretty much fueled by the abortion debate.)
NOT WORTH THE PAPER THEY'RE NOT PRINTED ON, BUT... While I take Addie's (and Bob Somerby's) point about predicting election outcomes, I can't resist saying something. I'm actually inclined to stick with Dems +5 for the Senate, which seemed pessimistic last week but now seems a little optimistic.
PREDICTIONS ... AND FOLK-PUNK! Ok, here are my predictions for tomorrow. For first time since 1994, Dems become majority party among governors and in the House, and come up one seat shy in the Senate. Specifics are +24 in House, +5 in Senate and +7 governors. Surprise Democratic win? Dina Titus in Nevada governor�s race. Surprise Republican win? Max Burns gets revenge on John Barrow in GA-12, providing the lone Republican pickup of a Democrat-held seat this cycle.
PREDICTIONS. Like Sam, I'm a Bush baby, and thus used to disappointments. As I've said before, looking at the polls, I can't imagine Democrats won't win, but judging from experience, I can't believe they won't lose. That said, I'm an incorrigible optimist, so I'm going with 23 seats in the House, five seats in the Senate (RI, OH, PA, MT, VA), but a four seat total gain as Democrats lose Maryland. As for governorships, I say, based on no comprehension of how many are actually up for grabs, 72.
MEDIA PRIORITIES. On the heels of the Pew polls finding that 84% of voters had heard quite a bit about John Kerry's botched joke but only 26% heard about Bush's perfectly accurate statement that he'll keep Don Rumsfeld till he leaves in 2009, let me join with Kevin in wondering whether the press is planning to report on the verified, admitted, and illegal robocalling from the National Republican Congressional Committee? These calls, you'll remember, begin by implying that they're coming from the Democratic candidate.
THE RETURN TO NORMALCY. Here's a brief attempt at a grand unified theory of Tuesday's election:
Think of the Republican Party as caught in the middle of an attempt to retreat back to a state of normal or equilibrium politics, after creating and exploiting a singularity, an unsustainable period of polarization around huge ideological questions and ultra-high-risk political tactics.
If you need a baseball metaphor, think of a baserunner who stole second, thought he could steal third, and is now scrambling to get back ahead of the throw. If you need a financial metaphor, it's a hedge fund frantically trying to unwind its positions before they become worthless -- in effect, the last days of Long-Term Capital Management in 1998.
GALLUP SHOWS DEMS FALLING JUST SHORT OF +6. A series of new polls released this morning by USA Today/Gallup show Democrats ahead in several key Senate contests, but not quite enough to give them the majority.
THE DOWNSIDE TO SURPRISES.K-Lobegs, "[e]ven if you're not a 'raging Santorum enthusiast,' [ew -- Ezra ] get him reelected for the dramatic, way interesting news story it will be. Do it to see the shocked expressions on anchors' faces." Not to pop the bubble, but if Santorum comes from a multimonth, 10%+ deficit to win the seat, I'd be much more concerned about an instant and powerful storyline suggesting widespread fraud and theft. Indeed, I worry about that even in the case of a legitimate GOP surge.
PREDICTIONS. I'll do Rob one better on the hedging front. All I know in my stolen youth is last-minute political disappointment and pain, as Ezra and the other rugrats around here will no doubt also attest. Steve and Ryan Grim's cautionary notes about the new GOP surge talk are semi-convincing, but I think some Scheiberian jitters are still warranted.