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Old November 10th 05, 08:10 PM
Bill McKee
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Default Good News for All Americans

"Harry Krause" wrote in message
Republican Edge on Key Issues
Is Slipping Amid Party's Setbacks
November 10, 2005; Page A1

Republicans, wincing from losses in two governors' races this week and
President Bush's current political weakness, face a broader problem as
well: Some of the party's most potent traditional advantages appear to be

Amid their failure Tuesday to take back governor's seats in either
Virginia or New Jersey, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll shows that
Republicans have lost the upper hand on a series of issues they've counted
on to preserve their congressional majorities in 2006.

Among other findings, the poll indicates that voters no longer prefer
Republicans to Democrats on handling taxes, cutting government spending,
dealing with immigration and directing foreign policy.

Meanwhile, Democrats have restored their earlier edges on subjects such as
education and Social Security, on which Mr. Bush has sought to make
inroads among targeted constituencies.

Broadly, the telephone survey of 1,003 adults, which was conducted from
Nov. 4 to Nov. 7, finds that Americans want Democrats to take control of
Congress in next year's election, by a margin of 48% to 37%. The 11-point
gap is the widest enjoyed by either party on that question since the poll
began asking it in 1994.

For the first time since the Republican congressional landslide that year,
a majority of respondents say it's time to replace their member of
Congress. The poll has a margin for error of 3.1 percentage points.

"There's a kind of pall in terms of the American mood," says Republican
pollster Bill McInturff, who conducts the Journal/NBC poll with Democratic
counterpart Peter Hart. "It's a very unhappy electorate that's going to be
very unstable....for a Republican majority."

The findings hardly guarantee that Democrats will be able to ride popular
disaffection back to power on Capitol Hill, however. While they are
benefiting from discontent against Republicans, they still lack either a
singular national voice or a clearly defined agenda for voters to seize
on. Only half of respondents credit Democrats with having a vision for the
future, while 60% say Republicans have one.

To address that problem, Democrats privately are planning an equivalent of
the Republicans' onetime "Contract With America," which in 1994 gave the
party an affirmative national agenda to complement popular discontent with
President Clinton. The Democrats plan to center their version on issues
such as education, fiscal discipline and energy independence.

Even in their improved position, Democrats will have limited numbers of
targets. Because congressional boundary lines place most lawmakers in
districts clearly favoring one party or the other, fewer than 10% of House
seats held by Republicans currently are considered at risk. Most Senate
Republican incumbents facing re-election next year remain favored to win.

Republicans currently hold a 231-203 edge over Democrats in the House,
with one seat vacant. In the Senate, their advantage is 55-45. Of 33
Senate seats up for grabs next year, 15 are held by Republicans.

Top prospects for Democratic gains in the Senate are in Pennsylvania,
where Republican incumbent Rick Santorum trails his Democratic challenger;
Tennessee, where Majority Leader Bill Frist is retiring; Ohio, where
incumbent Mike DeWine is seeking a third term; and Rhode Island, where
moderate incumbent Lincoln Chafee faces a conservative challenge in his
party's primary.

Still, the Republican slump comes a full year before midterm elections,
leaving President Bush and his party ample time to recover. The
Journal/NBC poll shows Republicans retaining some core strengths that have
buoyed Mr. Bush during his presidency. Americans favor his party by 21
percentage points on maintaining a strong defense, by 17 percentage points
on promoting strong moral values and by nine percentage points on handling
the war on terrorism.
[Mixed Opinions]

Still, the latest poll suggests that Democrats have a greater opportunity
for 2006 gains than either party imagined when Mr. Bush began his second
term in January. The party's wins in Tuesday's gubernatorial elections in
Virginia and New Jersey -- the only two governor's races this year -- have
underscored the party's growing optimism, and accelerated the
intra-Republican debate over what to do about it.

Mr. Bush's year-long struggles are a major reason for the altered
political landscape, the poll shows. His overall approval rating has
fallen to 38% -- higher than the low points of predecessors Richard Nixon,
Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, but the lowest of his five-year
presidency. Six in 10 Americans disapprove of Mr. Bush's handling of the
economy, foreign policy and Iraq.

The failed Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers appears to have
deepened skepticism about the quality of Mr. Bush's appointments, which
swelled in late summer after the Federal Emergency Management Agency's
much-criticized response to Hurricane Katrina. Some 45% of Americans now
rate Mr. Bush poorly for "appointing qualified people," while just 26%
give him strong marks. Those represent declines since September despite
the well-received replacement nomination of Judge Samuel Alito, whom 51%
call "qualified to be a Supreme Court justice," compared with just 6% who

The Central Intelligence Agency-leak case, in which Vice President
Cheney's former top aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is now under criminal
indictment, also appears to have taken a toll. Eight in 10 respondents
call the case "a serious matter" and say that others in the administration
aside from Mr. Libby "may have acted illegally." The public views Mr.
Cheney negatively by a 49%-to-27% margin.

Just 33% now give Mr. Bush high marks for being "honest and
straightforward," down from 50% in January. Fully 57% say he "deliberately
misled" the nation about the case for war in Iraq.

A big challenge for Mr. Bush's party may be identifying an appealing
policy agenda that can unite the Republican political base. Following the
failure of the White House push to overhaul Social Security, Americans now
prefer Democrats to Republicans on that issue by 22 percentage points -- a
greater margin than Democrats enjoyed a year ago.

Republican strategists hope to make 2006 headway by touting tax
simplification, spending discipline and an overhaul of immigration laws.
Amid fat budget deficits, however, the poll shows that Democrats have
opened up a 10 percentage point edge on handling taxes -- traditionally a
Republican strong suit. Americans also favor Mr. Bush's opposition by
double-digit margins on cutting the deficit and controlling spending.

On immigration, an internally divisive issue for both parties, the poll
found that Americans prefer Democrats by 25% to 19%. Half of respondents
gave neither party the edge.

The role the issue played in the Virginia campaign underscores the
challenge facing Republicans next year in reconciling differences between
the White House, Senate moderates and House conservatives. Republican
candidate Jerry Kilgore assailed Democratic candidate Tim Kaine for
backing public benefits for illegal immigrants and their children, to no

"Obviously it didn't hurt Kaine," noted Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee of
Arkansas, who chairs the National Governors Association and has taken a
softer line on the issue.

The poll signals the potential for further internal splits over high
energy prices. Americans prefer Democrats to Republicans by a whopping 28
percentage points on the issue, and nearly six in 10 say Congress should
enact a price cap on gasoline at the pump.

Congressional Republicans have nodded to such sentiments by jawboning oil
companies, including at a Senate hearing yesterday. But such rhetoric has
already drawn grumbling from pro-business Republicans --
which would be certain to grow louder if lawmakers take legislative steps
that interfere with market forces.

Iraq represents another source of division. While 63% of Republicans say
the U.S. should maintain current troop levels there, 30% say it's time to
reduce them, joining 63% of independents and 68% of Democrats.

Some Republicans signaled that they regarded Tuesday's election results as
a reflection of Mr. Bush's weakened standing. Conservative Arizona Rep.
J.D. Hayworth said in an MSNBC interview that he preferred Mr. Bush not
campaign for him "at this time."

"That's fine," responded Republican National Committee Chairman Ken
Mehlman. He shrugged off Tuesday's defeats as "a relatively status quo
election" that kept two governorships in Democratic hands.

In New Jersey, Gov.-elect Jon Corzine was always favored in a state that
has trended Democratic lately; in Virginia, Mr. Kaine benefited from the
popularity of outgoing Democratic incumbent Mark Warner. Democrats,
meanwhile, hailed the outcome in both states, as well as the defeats of
California ballot initiatives favored by Republican Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger, as a sign the political tide has turned their way.

Gov. Huckabee of Arkansas, a potential 2008 presidential candidate, said
party leaders have time to rally behind Mr. Bush and a common policy
agenda centered on support for empowering individual Americans to succeed.

"I'm not one that's ready to push the panic button yet," Mr. Huckabee

You have a very warped sense of good news.

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Old November 11th 05, 05:05 AM
Posts: n/a
Default OT: Good News for All Americans

meanwhile, hailed the outcome in both states, as well as the defeats of
California ballot initiatives favored by Republican Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger, as a sign the political tide has turned their way.

The Oregonian ran an op-ed under the headline: "Girly Men 4, Arnold 0"

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Old November 11th 05, 06:54 AM
Floyd Davidson
Posts: n/a
Default Good News for All Americans

"Bill McKee" wrote:
"Harry Krause" wrote in message
Republican Edge on Key Issues
Is Slipping Amid Party's Setbacks

You have a very warped sense of good news.

Yes indeed. Realizing too late that we've just elected a bunch
of total idiots is *not* good news.

Floyd L. Davidson
Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)

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