I’ve been struck down by that nasty cold that’s going around, and so last night the dog and I crawled into bed early and flipped on the TV, just in time to catch images of the White House being torn apart by a massive tornado.
There wasn’t much useful to learn from “Category 7: the End of the World”, other than the obvious fact that it was a really crappy movie. But since Hollywood is in the business of wish fulfillment, I did find two of the screenwriter’s plot devices rather interesting: a) in the event of a major catastrophe, what we need is not only a woman FEMA director, but a really hot one… and b) it was a happy ending, because although the White House was totally destroyed, sucking evil staffers high into the funnel cloud, the Capitol Building was left totally unscathed.
I appreciate the anti-Bush sentiment, but I’m guessing that Congress won’t fare so well during the political storm that strikes next November.
Of course, “2006 is a long way off” and “a lot can happen in a year” and “off year elections are not reliable harbingers of the future” and all those other precious pearls of political wisdom… but if things don’t get much better for the Bush administration between now and then, they can’t help but get a helluva lot worse.
Here in Washington state, the anti-Bush backlash already played a role in the 2005 election, with one of the most effective direct mail pieces in the high-profile King County executive race featuring the relatively undefined Republican challenger, David Irons, standing on a street corner sporting a crooked smile and a Bush-Cheney placard. Expect to see similar images in races around the nation next year.
No question, this was a terrible election for WA Republicans, up and down the ballot, losing not only the coveted KC executive race, but also crucial seats on several county councils. And of course, the biggest issue in the 2005 election was the GOP-endorsed Initiative 912, which failed by over seven points… an astonishing margin for an anti-tax initiative. Even the GOP cheerleaders on the right wing blogs were reduced to feebly touting Republican victories in non-partisan races.
A reliable harbinger for 2006? Maybe not. But the Democrats’ newfound confidence certainly bodes well.
Out East in the 5th Congressional District, Republican first-termer Rep. Cathy McMorris could face a tough challenge from Okanogan County rancher and former state agriculture director Peter Goldmark. Pundits have this labeled a safe Republican seat, but this is the district former Speaker Tom Foley held for many years, and Spokane, its population center, is only slightly tinged red. According to Progressive Punch, McMorris ranks as one of the most conservative members of the House… having voted with the discredited leadership nearly 97.5 percent of the time. McMorris isn’t just out of step with the nation, she’s out of step with her own constituency.
Under the right circumstances, with the right candidate, this is a winnable seat for Democrats… but even just making it competitive would be a huge strategic victory. If Republicans are forced to spend resources defending “safe” seats like McMorris’s WA-5, imagine the problems they’ll face in WA-8, where fellow first-termer Dave Reichert is already struggling to keep his grasp on a largely suburban district that has been steadily trending blue for years.
Yeah, I know, I know… the GOP holds a huge numerical advantage in the Senate, and Congressional redistricting has made it nearly impossible for huge swings in the House. Thus it will take a nearly perfect political storm for Democrats to seize control.
But Republicans are blind if they don’t see the storm clouds on the horizon.
[Cross-posted at Daily Kos]