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  • POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: SOME DARK HORSES TO WATCH.

    POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: SOME DARK HORSES TO WATCH. It's always nice to get a closer look at a few of the longer-shot but still potentially close House races, to have them in mind when the madness begins tomorrow. On Friday, Jim McNeill had an on-the-ground report from Ohio's 2nd district, where Victoria Wulsin is challengeing "Mean Jean" Schmidt for the seat Paul Hackett almost nabbed last year; and today, Suzanne Charl� reported on former Orleans soft-rocker John Hall 's challenge to Republican Sue Kelly in New York's 19th. (Her piece also includes links to some stellar Colbert material.) --Sam Rosenfeld
  • BLOOD IN THE...

    BLOOD IN THE WATER. In the course of being quizzed yesterday by Chris Wallace on the whereabouts of House Speaker Dennis Hastert , House Majority Leader John Boehner let on that he had "spoken to the Speaker" about the possibility of postponing the leadership elections for the House Republicans -- now scheduled for Nov. 15th -- in consideration of whether, in Wallace's words, members should "take a clean look at whether you should have a new team in place to lead Republicans going forward." You'll recall that Boehner, nipping at Hastert's heels, claimed to have warned the Speaker about former Rep. Mark Foley 's overly lech -- er, friendly mash notes to congressional pages, while Hastert claimed otherwise. On the subject of Denny's time out from the campaign playground, Boehner had little to say, except to counter with the discredited implication that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has also been absent from the campaign scene. Incidentally, this bogus claim has been systematically...
  • IT'S CATHOLIC V....

    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.) Last month, I reported in this post on the response to Michael J. Fox 's ad in support of Democratic senatorial candidate Claire McCaskill , which featured a cast of prominent Catholics from the entertainment and sports worlds. The latest volley on the issue features the Missouri bishops taking on a group of prominent Catholics led by former senator Thomas Eagleton , who was briefly on the Democratic presidential ticket as George...
  • NOT WORTH THE...

    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. Although Sam seems to buy the claims about Steele that are also popular at the otherwise gloomy (from their perspective) Weekly Standard , I don't see it, partly owing to my political scientist's belief that the effects of campaigning are overrated. Well, looking at the marginal seats (and I think PA and OH are certain Dem pickups, of course), I'd group them like this: Confident about Democratic chances: MD, NJ, RI Tentatively think Dems will win: MO, MT Tentatively think Dems will lose: VA Dems Deader than The Santa Clause 3 's Oscar chances: TN Hmm. well, I guess that's not fully optimistic. On the one hand, I think that +5 is the most likely scenario. On the other hand, +2 or +3 is a lot...
  • PREDICTIONS ... AND FOLK-PUNK!

    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. I�ll also go out on a limb and predict that the 2006 �Dropkick Murphys� -- Lois in PA-6 and Chris in CT-5 for sure, and Patrick as a late closer in PA-8 -- will all win. None are from South Boston and, so far as I know, none are folk-punkers. But I believe all three are at least Irish. --Tom Schaller
  • PREDICTIONS. Like...

    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. --Ezra Klein
  • MEDIA PRIORITIES. ...

    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. Then, if the recipient hangs up, they call back. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. Eight, nine times, or more than enough to infuriate the voter and turn them off of the Democrat. If the voter doesn't hang up, the call goes on to bash the Democrat and identify itself as from the RNCC. It's an ugly tactic that seeks to turn voters away from voting, it's sponsored by a primary arm of the national GOP, and it's deliberate. If the press had any honor or...
  • AGE BEFORE BEAUTY....

    AGE BEFORE BEAUTY. Note to Brother Sam : the last-minute political disappointment only gets worse as you get older. I think I actually vote for a winner about once every 10 years. Age does offer this advantage, though: experience teaches one to refrain from prognostication. I'm with Sam on his larger point, though; it ain't gonna be no cakewalk for the Dems. --Adele M. Stan
  • THE RETURN TO...

    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. And the Democratic mission is to make sure they cannot get safely back to normalcy. What do I mean by normal or equilibrium politics? I'm not using some arcane jargon of political theory, but just the mundane truisms of punditry and political science: Local...
  • GALLUP SHOWS DEMS FALLING JUST SHORT OF +6.

    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. Missouri: Claire McCaskill (D) leads Sen. Jim Talent (R), 49 percent to 45 percent Montana: Jon Tester (D) leads Sen. Conrad Burns (R), 50 percent to 41 percent. New Jersey: Sen. Bob Menendez (D) leads Tom Kean Jr. (R), 50 percent to 40 percent. Rhode Island: Sheldon Whitehouse (D) leads Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R), 48 percent to 45 percent. Tennessee: Bob Corker (R) leads Harold Ford (D), 49 percent to 46 percent. Virginia: Sen. George Allen (R) leads Jim Webb (D), 49 percent to 46 percent. In other words, a whole bunch of races that are too close to call, and which will ultimately dictate the majority party in the Senate next year. As Salon's Joan Walsh asked in a slightly different context, "You didn't want Tuesday to be a landslide, did you? I mean, how boring." -- Steve Benen

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