The Self Made Pundit

I'm just the guy that can't stand cant. ___________

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Monday, October 21, 2002
HUBRIS ALERT: Republicans apparently have begun to believe their own propaganda and are rubbing their hands at the prospect of winning both houses of Congress in the midterm elections in 15 days.

It appears that Republicans are overjoyed at the prospect that they can stop pretending (at least until the next election) that they care about corporate responsibility and go back to doing their jobs of serving the interests of the forgotten American (corporation):

WITH POLLS SHOWING many crucial races are too close to call, Republicans are drawing up plans that would aid a broad range of industries, after hammering business during the corporate responsibility debate touched off by this year’s accounting scandals.

Business lobbyists said their wish lists include substantial nationwide limits on the amount of damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice cases, plus a major overhaul of the tax code to reduce the burden on corporations. Both measures have been part of President Bush’’s agenda and would have a better chance of becoming law if the GOP retook control of the Senate and kept a House majority in the Nov. 5 elections.

With the elections 16 days away, Michael G. Franc, the Heritage Foundation’s vice president of government relations, said the mood among business lobbyists and economic conservatives is “guarded optimism, bordering on giddiness.” He said they are laying plans to take swift advantage if Republicans complete the triple crown of the White House, the House and the Senate. “It’’s the domestic equivalent of planning for postwar Iraq,” Franc said.

This phenomenon of the Republicans being gullible enough to believe themselves also occurred in 2000, when Bush fell for his own campaign spin in the waning days of the presidential campaign. Back then, Bush believed Karl Rove’s boasts that Bush was doing so well that he had a chance of carrying California and New Jersey and wasted precious time in the final days of the campaign visiting both states, which went for Gore by landslide margins. The theory behind the spin is that if victory is seen as inevitable, press coverage will be more positive and undecided voters may vote Republican just to go with the winner.

Just as Bush believed Rove’s spin two years ago, the more naive Republicans are falling for the line that Republicans will carry both houses of Congress. However, the chances of Republicans carrying both houses of Congress are certainly too slim for the Republicans to be chortling to the press about what they really plan to do if the win.

Despite the Republican propaganda, the Democrats are likely to recapture the House of Representatives and sightly expand their margin of control in the Senate. While the midterm elections currently look close, the Democrats are likely to gain in the next two weeks.

The Republicans are not likely to get much more political mileage out of Iraq in the next 15 days. Regardless of it ultimate plans, it is clear the Bush administration is committed to playing its next moves in the U.N., which forecloses the possibility of any military action before election day. With Iraq becoming the subject of diplomatic maneuvers for the rest of the campaign, voters are more likely to turn their attention to the economy and other issues that favor the Democrats.

Another ominous sign for the Republicans is that the latest Gallup poll has Bush’s job approval dropping five points to 62 percent. Other recent polls have Bush’s job approval at between 55 and 62 percent.

With Bush’s popularity waning and voters focusing more on the economy, Democrats are more likely to have the stronger finish. Given the number of close races, a last-minute swing to the Democrats – even of modest proportions – would ensure Democratic control of both houses of Congress.

Those giddy Republicans have forgotten the old adage not to count your right-wing judges before the Senate Judiciary Committee has been Hatched.