Sunday, Oct. 1, 2006There's more. Worth reading.
Campaign 2006: The Republicans' Secret Weapon
You think the GOP is sure to lose big in November? They aren't. Here's why things don't look so bad to them
The polls keep suggesting that Republicans could be in for a historic drubbing. And their usual advantage—competence on national security—is constantly being challenged by new revelations about bungling in Iraq. But top Republican officials maintain an eerie, Zen-like calm. They insist that the prospects for their congressional candidates in November's midterms have never been as bad as advertised and are getting better by the day. Those are party operatives and political savants whose job it is to anticipate trouble. But much of the time they seem so placid, you wonder whether they know something.
They do. What they know is that just six days after George W. Bush won re-election in 2004, his political machine launched a sophisticated, expensive and largely unnoticed campaign aimed at maintaining G.O.P. majorities in the House and Senate. If that campaign succeeds, it would defy history and political gravity, both of which ordain that midterm elections are bad news for a lame-duck President's party, especially when the lame duck has low approval ratings. As always, a key part of the campaign involves money—the national Republican Party is dumping at least three times as much into key states as its Democratic counterpart is—but money is only the start. "Panic results when you're surprised," says Republican National Committee (r.n.c.) chairman Ken Mehlman. "We've been preparing for the toughest election in at least a decade."
Thanks to aggressive redistricting in the 1990s and early 2000s, fewer than three dozen House seats are seriously in contention this election cycle, compared with more than 100 in 1994, the year Republicans swept to power with a 54-seat pickup in the House. Then there's what political pros call the ground game. For most of the 20th century, turning out voters on Election Day was the Democrats' strength. They had labor unions to supply workers for campaigns, make sure their voters had time off from their jobs to go to the polls and provide rides to get them there.
Now, though, Democrats are the ones playing catch-up when it comes to the mechanics of Election Day. Every Monday, uberstrategist Karl Rove and Republican Party officials on Capitol Hill get spreadsheets tallying the numbers of voters registered, volunteers recruited, doors knocked on and phone numbers dialed for 40 House campaigns and a dozen Senate races. Over the next few weeks, the party will begin flying experienced paid and volunteer workers into states for the final push. The Senate Republicans' campaign committee calls its agents special teams, led by marshals, all in the service of the partywide effort known as the 72-Hour Task Force because its working philosophy initially focused on the final three days before an election. . . .
Sunday, October 01, 2006
This sounds about right