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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

GOP comeback in Congress?

It may be too early to make any predictions about the 2008 elections, but it's likely Republicans will win back some House seats they lost last year.

Indeed, as I noted in an earlier column, at least eight of the nine "most vulnerable" House seats are held by Democrats, according to veteran congressional elections analyst Stuart Rothenberg.

In Florida's 16th District, for example, Republicans are heavily favored to recapture the seat that Democrat Tim Mahoney narrowly won after Mark Foley resigned in disgrace in the House page scandal.

In Georgia's heavily Republican 8th District, Democrat Jim Marshall squeaked through with less than 1,800 votes. But the betting in political circles is that his seat, too, will end up in the GOP's column next year. The Republican Party is rallying behind Rick Goddard, the former commanding general at the Warner Robins Air Logistics base, who would give Mr. Marshall a very tough race.

In Texas' Republican-drawn 22nd District (formerly held by Tom DeLay), which gave President Bush 64 percent of its vote in 2004, Democrat Nick Lampson won by a thin margin, though his opponent was not on the ballot and had to run a write-in campaign. "This is probably the GOP's best opportunity to take back a district they lost last year," Mr. Rothenberg said in his latest analysis of the 2008 congressional elections.

Donald Lambro

My response to the title is, "Dream on." The situations he describes are part of the normal back-and-forth of every election cycle. I imagine there are some GOP-held seats that are in the same situation. It's amazing how often pundits attempt to make anecdote into a trend.

He did, however, recognize a trend in the article, though he failed to analyze it correctly:

The Democrats are in charge now and, apparently, the voters do not like the job they've been doing. The Democratic Congress's job approval score has sunk to 23 percent, down 8 points since April. Other polls give them even lower marks. A Rasumussen survey found "just 19 percent of American voters believe that Congress is doing a good or excellent job."

Notably, among Democratic voters, only 24 percent say Congress is doing a good job — down from 35 percent who said that a month ago.

Lambro attempts to spin this into some sort of momentum for the GOP. There is no evidence to suggest this is the case and plenty to suggest otherwise.

What I believe this indicates is that Joe Average is beginning to realize that we really do have a one party system in this country. Whether there is an impending meltdown of the two factions of that single party is another story. The time has never been better for the rise of an alternative to the elephant and the ass.


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