Tuesday Is Fast Approaching

Annie

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I'm clueless to what is going to be the outcome, I'd still say likely we will be dealing with the MIA Nancy Pelosi as Speaker, but who knows? The conservatives may well come out and vote, thanks to Kerry? For the same reason, the undecideds may 'lean Republican', then it could be a different story for sure. Then again, there could be 'the wave' that's predicted for the Dems and they take both Houses.

I do think there is alot of truth in this op-ed, as with Kruthammer's this morning:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2006/11/depressed_voters_may_roll_dice.html

November 03, 2006
Depressed Voters May Roll Dice on Dems
By Daniel Henninger

If the polls and punditry are correct, the Democrats are about to take control of the House and maybe the Senate. If so, then the American people are about to make one of the biggest rolls of the dice in the country's history.

Congress's daily responsibilities lie largely with domestic affairs. By that measure, the Republicans hardly deserve re-election. They have been profligate, in several unattractive ways. The Democrats, alas, do not deserve the responsibility of congressional power at this moment of peril. They haven't justified it.

Iraq is far and away the most important issue on voters' minds. In this week's Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 36% said Iraq was the top voting issue followed by 22% for job creation. Sitting at 15% was something called "the war on terror." More starkly, a just-released New York Times/CBS News poll said the issue voters most want Congress to deal with is the war in Iraq at 38%; terrorism is a mere 4%.

The demotion of the war on terror is disturbing but understandable. The Iraq war, though terrible, is overweighted in the public mind. U.S. casualties are low relative to other wars. The pace of Iraq's political formation is not worse than was Russia's after the fall of the Communist Party, or China's will be. What's left is the past year's violence around Baghdad. The nature of that violence--nearly daily, incomparably awful murders of innocent civilians--brutalizes and shocks those of us who absorb it through daily media reports. It is a violence beyond the consciousness of a civilized people.

That a foreign war transmitted in the information age in this way can have such a deeply depressive effect on the American psyche is troubling for our role in the world and a fit subject for the 2008 election. But this is the reality the American public absorbs every day now, and if it votes for the other party on Tuesday I think that most of all it will be an attempt at catharsis. What people want most from Iraq is surcease.

As would any party hungry for a much-needed win, the Democrats' campaign ads have boiled down this angst to a simple storyline: "George Bush's failed war in Iraq." Across the country, it's been all-Iraq and all-Bush all the time.

Washington state's Eighth Congressional District is typical. Democratic challenger Darcy Burner, a Microsoft executive, is running in a close race against GOP incumbent Dave Reichert with this: "He supported Bush's plan to invade Iraq. Supported Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld even when they weren't telling us the truth with a failed strategy and no plan to finish the mission. . . . If we stay the course, won't we get more of the same?"

Being the off-year default option may not matter much when the subject is health care or immigration. A party's seriousness of purpose matters a lot, though, when the task is the accumulating terrorist threat described in detail in the 9/11 Commission Report, proven by the London airliner plot and made imminent by the arriving nuclear capability of two rogue states, Iran and North Korea.

What have the Democrats done to prove their seriousness or credibility in addressing such a world? One may ask whether invading Iraq made the threat of terror worse, but the programs the Bush administration put in place to fight the broader war after Sept. 11 were, on balance, good--aggressive electronic and financial surveillance, the Patriot Act, the pursuit, capture and interrogation of terrorists. Progressive Democrats and press exposés opposed all of this, and when the political going got tough for the administration, senior Democrats piled on, went silent and let the president's authority go into a free-fall merely to achieve the result hoped for this Tuesday.

Potential House committee chairmen such as Henry Waxman and John Conyers--whose tenure and political formation date to the war years of the 1970s--promise Iraq-related investigations, which likely will cause our front-line troops and agents in the war on terror to throttle back.

If the Democrats win the House by a large margin, media commentary will call it a "repudiation" of the administration's policies in Iraq. This sort of zero-sum analysis may be the norm now, but it's not at all clear this is the message voters want to send.

A closer look at the Times Oct. 27-31 poll is revealing on this count: 55% favor sending more troops to Iraq; 51% say the U.S. "will have lost" if it pulls out now; 62% think the U.S. will have to remain in Iraq beyond two years; 59% say neither side is winning; a majority, 52%, think the U.S. is likely to succeed there.

On whether the U.S. "did the right thing" with military action against Iraq, it is 44% yes to 51% no. Some 59% say congressional investigations of the administration are "not necessary." On whether invading Iraq has increased the terror threat against the U.S., 46% say it's about the same. George Bush's approval rating on Iraq is 29%, but his approval rating for the war on terror is 44% (with 48% disapproving).

There is more ambiguity--and common sense--out there than imagined. Enough ambiguity that come the moment of choosing a course Tuesday, voters may give the Democrats less than they expect.

I think the Joe Lieberman race remains a bellwether. Sen. Lieberman's politics represented a Democratic bridge to the president's war on terror. Stampeded by their party's Web-based left, the Democratic Party elders went to Connecticut and blew up the Lieberman bridge. My reading of the electorate is that it wants that bridge rebuilt and it wants both the Democrats and George Bush on it.

Most people don't vote for parties; they vote their own perceived interests. The American people know they're at risk, and they know the U.S. won't succeed in Iraq or protect them against Islamic terror if their Washington leadership is in a state of unending political war. What voters have gotten the past two years is petulance from embittered Democrats and petulance from a stubborn presidential clique. The stakes have become too high for more of the same. The American people will roll the dice Tuesday to shake up the odds in their favor. God's mercy on the gamblers.
 

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