Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
The political impact of the Foley Flap
Posted by: McQ on Monday, October 09, 2006

I was hoping to be able to "deFoleyate" this week, but let's face it, this story continues to have legs and it appears is going to indeed have an effect on the upcoming midterms.

As Dale mentioned on our podcast yesterday, Tradesports.com, tracking the races in the House and Senate, see the GOP House numbers in freefall.

CQPolitics.com says the following about them:
Since a special report on the midterm elections that was published in the April 24 issue of CQ Weekly, CQPolitics.com has changed its ratings on 12 Senate races, with nine clearly moving in the Democrats’ direction. The ratings have been changed during that period on 36 House races, and they have moved in the Democrats’ direction in 35 of them. (View the CQ Election Forecast from this week's CQ Weekly.)

Among the House races for which the ratings were changed last week were two that appeared “safe” for the Republican Party as recently as Sept. 29 — the day that Republican Rep. Mark Foley suddenly quit Congress following revelations that he had written salacious e-mails to former congressional pages.

Foley’s seat in Florida’s 16th District shifted almost overnight from Safe Republican to Leans Democratic, despite the district’s Republican leanings. The GOP faces a huge obstacle in contesting Democratic businessman Tim Mahoney’s claim on the seat: Foley’s name remains on the ballot, even though votes cast for him will accrue to a replacement candidate, state Rep. Joe Negron.

The other district where Republicans’ prospects have plunged is New York’s 26th, represented by Thomas M. Reynolds, who also chairs the party’s House campaign organization, the National Republican Congressional Committee. Reynolds was the first member of the Republican leadership to learn of the less-offensive e-mails sent by Foley, and he has come under intense fire from his challenger, businessman Jack Davis, and many other Democrats who allege he should have responded more aggressively to determine what Foley was up to.
Read the whole article as Bob Benenson goes into more detail concerning other races. Their projection, seen here on the right side of the web page, shows 13 seats with no clear favorite but with Dems now projected to take 207. That means, to take the majority of 215 their magic number is down to a +8 of the 13.

Obviously a number they may easily hit. The Senate, on the other hand, seems less likely at the moment to change hands, but it's still early on that count.

Considering the real possibility of a change of parties in the House (and our conversation yesterday about just such a possibility and its consequences on our podcast), Michael Barone weighs in on just that subject:
It seems unlikely that Democrats will win more seats than Republicans now have, which means that a Speaker Nancy Pelosi will face the tough challenge of holding enough of her caucus together to produce the 218 votes needed for a majority on seriously contested legislation. She and other Democrats have not had much practice at this, but neither did Republicans back in 1994.

Pelosi's task will be complicated by bad blood among the leadership (as Gingrich's was); she is on bad terms with the current minority whip, Steny Hoyer, and she seems to have encouraged her ally John Murtha to declare he'd challenge Hoyer for the majority leadership. Also, there are more moderates in the Democratic Caucus (and likely to be more if they win the 15 seats they need for control) than in Republican ranks today.
That's the reality (and political landscape) Pelosi would face. A majority which is anything but solid, bad blood among the leadership and moderates who are likely to view any portion of the radical left agenda unfavorably.

As a consequence Barone thinks this is how it will all shake out:
Consider the fact that 34 House Democrats, most from districts carried by Bush in 2004, voted for the terrorist interrogation bill supported by George W. Bush and John McCain. That means a narrowly Democratic House is unlikely to act on presumptive Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel's suggestion that it defund the military campaign in Iraq, as a 2-to-1 Democratic House voted to refuse funds for bailing out South Vietnam in 1975.

There were no U.S. troops in Vietnam then, but there are in Iraq now, and the Armed Services Committee, with moderate Democrat Ike Skelton as chairman, is not going to pull the rug out from under them. But there will be pressure to draw down troop levels, and Iraqi leaders would be well advised to heed pressure, coming already from Republican war supporters like Christopher Shays, to get their army and police force operating more effectively.

On domestic policy, a Democratic House will be able to obstruct but not to impose its own will. Rangel will surely see to it that no extensions of Bush tax cuts come out of Ways and Means, which means tax increases in outyears. Budget levels will be subject to fierce negotiations, as they were in the Clinton-Gingrich years. John Dingell as chairman of Energy and Commerce will deploy his considerable skills on regulatory issues, but these do not always split on party lines. The smart and canny Henry Waxman, as chairman of Government Reform, will undoubtedly launch a series of newsworthy investigations moments after being sworn in on Jan. 3.

John Conyers, slated to be chairman of Judiciary, has been muting his earlier calls for the impeachment of Bush, but he can be expected to move in that direction when he takes the gavel. There are few moderate Democrats on Judiciary, and Conyers could conceivably mobilize a majority to bring an impeachment resolution to the floor. Yet a Democratic Judiciary Committee is likely to be on Bush's side on immigration, and could produce a guestworker and legalization bill.
Most likely the support to defund Iraq won't be there and Rangel would fail in any effort to do so. But any such effort will damage Democrats on the "national security" issue and provide Republicans with almost unlimited fodder on that issue during the '08 election (and as Barone points out, Skelton isn't likely to back such a proposal anyway but that won't matter politically).

So can a split leadership convince Mr. Rangel that such a symbolic effort would do more harm than good? Look for the Netroots crowd to pressure Rangel and Pelosi to do it should they take the House.

OTOH, pressure to speed up the process in Iraq could end up being a good thing. The time is approaching when we, as one of our commenters described it, have to push the fledgling out of the nest (and hope the cat isn't hidden at the bottom of the tree).

Domestically and economically, "fierce debate" on budget levels would be a welcome change. Additionally, and as I've said any number of times, Republicans never act more like Republicans (ideologically) than when they're sharing power or out of power. Hopefully they will demonstrate that in the budget process. However on the other side of that, a Democratic House is more likely to favor the Bush approach on immigration and that would make passage of that sort of "immigration reform" much more likely given the Senate version already in existence.

As Barone mentions, look for a plethora of new regulations to be proposed if Democrats get the House. If you read Moultasis' "Libertarian Democrat" piece, you know that the only good corporation is a dead corporation, and true to form Democrats will attempt to enable that through regulation (Wal-Mart beware).

Additionally, and just as importantly, look for a flock of investigations. As we've mentioned here any number of times, that are certain things which I believe should be investigated. I suspect the American people would also be amenable to a certain number of investigations. However, "investigations gone wild" most likely will work against Democrats instead of for them. Will they have the foresight and discipline to limit investigations to those which are relevant and necessary to clarify pressing concerns about policy? Or are we going to see an unending series of investigations which will exhaust the patience of the American public and turn it against the Democrats in '08?

My gut says the latter. That is especially true if the "I" word gets any play. Again, if the Senate remains in Republican hands, even if a impeachment resolution passed the House it would most likely go nowhere. And, of course, given the slim margin most believe any Dem House would have, it is probable a resolution for impeachment would never pass there in the first place. But it will be something the Netroots crowd will insist upon (given they will also insist their support was the margin of difference) and it is certainly something John Conyers has expressed interest in pursuing. My guess is if he decides to do so, Democratic leadership will be unable to stop him. I'd further guess that should he do so, no matter the outcome, he'll put another torpedo into the Democrat chances in '08 to consolidate and expand their power electorally.

UPDATE: Sean from myelectionanalysis.com disagrees and gives his reasoning:
In other words, while there has been movement toward Democrats in the last 3 months or so, the link between Foleygate and the movement is tenuous. Indeed, most of the polling since the scandal broke shows little movement away from the GOP, except in the FL-16 and NY-26 races. If everything was happening as the pundits are predicting, we would be seeing GOP voters dropping out via the likely voter screens and a general movement toward the Democrats. We just aren’t seeing that.

I still think the Dems have a good shot at getting the 218 votes they needed for control. But it is by no means a done deal, and the talk of a substantial Dem majority looks like a pipe dream right now. As Barone notes, this is a nightmare for Democrats — indeed it is unclear whether 218 will be enough to make Pelosi speaker; Gene Taylor has refused to vote for Democratic speakers before (voting "present" instead), and hails from a district that went 68% for Bush, and he has a 68 lifetime ACU rating. And many of the Democrats who would come into office are just as conservative (See Ken Lucas in KY-04, whose take on the Foley scandal is that House GOP leaders should have been wary of ex-Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) because "it was common knowledge that Foley was a gay man."). We may be heading toward a scenario like ’81, where Democrats had a majority, but Republicans had de facto control with regard to many issues.

At any rate, it is premature to say that Foleygate is going to hurt the GOP, and the polls so far aren’t picking up any such movement. Now, there is the ceteris paribus problem, eg Foleygate may be upsetting an equilibrium where good economic news and a focus on international affairs would be lifting the Republicans’ standing, but that is impossible to do more than hypothesize about.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
I think CQ is off here. Most of the movements they made were waaaaay overdue. DeWine in OH hasn’t led in a poll since June, yet they had it Leans Rep. until recently. Similarly, TN should have been a tossup since the pair of polls in early September showing dueling leads between Corker and Ford. MN hasn’t been a tossup since August. A number of House races moved well before Foleygate broke (AZ-08, CO-07, PA-10, etc).

In other words, while there has been movement toward Democrats in the last 3 months or so, the link between Foleygate and the movement is tenuous. Indeed, most of the polling since the scandal broke shows little movement away from the GOP, except in the FL-16 and NY-26 races. If everything was happening as the pundits are predicting, we would be seeing GOP voters dropping out via the likely voter screens and a general movement toward the Democrats. We just aren’t seeing that.

I still think the Dems have a good shot at getting the 218 votes they needed for control. But it is by no means a done deal, and the talk of a substantial Dem majority looks like a pipe dream right now. As Barone notes, this is a nightmare for Democrats — indeed it is unclear whether 218 will be enough to make Pelosi speaker; Gene Taylor has refused to vote for Democratic speakers before (voting "present" instead), and hails from a district that went 68% for Bush, and he has a 68 lifetime ACU rating. And many of the Democrats who would come into office are just as conservative (See Ken Lucas in KY-04, whose take on the Foley scandal is that House GOP leaders should have been wary of ex-Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) because “it was common knowledge that Foley was a gay man.”). We may be heading toward a scenario like ’81, where Democrats had a majority, but Republicans had de facto control with regard to many issues.

At any rate, it is premature to say that Foleygate is going to hurt the GOP, and the polls so far aren’t picking up any such movement. Now, there is the ceteris paribus problem, eg Foleygate may be upsetting an equilibrium where good economic news and a focus on international affairs would be lifting the Republicans’ standing, but that is impossible to do more than hypothesize about.

One final note: a word of caution about TS. In the long-term, it tends to be accurate, however, in the short term, it tends to overreact to news. I would expect the TS numbers to settle in to a 45-48% change of a Dem Takeover of the House in the next couple of weeks, which is probably right (and probably where they should have been before the Foley mess broke).
 
Written By: Sean
URL: http://www.myelectionanalysis.com
Given the nuke test in NoKo this monring, and NoKo’s ability to get their weapons as far west as SanFran, this is rather a moot point. Foley will have little or no impact. It WOULD have, but new relaities now shape choices, and their consequences.

Granted, some will disagree with me, here. I suppose that depends on whether or not they believe the spectre of the little gargoyle nuking American cities, or those of our allies, is more important than some questionable instant messages and emails sent between two adult homosexuals, one eighteen and one in his 50’s.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
and the talk of a substantial Dem majority looks like a pipe dream right now.

Moving the goalposts, Shawn? What talk of a substantial majority is this? CW as of June, nobody was predicting any form of majority.

Foleygate and the movement is tenuous. Indeed, most of the polling since the scandal broke shows little movement away from the GOP, except in the FL-16 and NY-26 races.

I’m probably outclassed on data knowledge here, but the recent Bush, Congress and national-level polls since Foleygate see serious drops for Republicans. Bush - just for example - is back down in the mid or high 30’s among Gallup, CNN, and I believe a few more.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
As a Republican, I’m predicting that the Libertarian Party will have its best year in a decade, maybe ever.

Polls, even Zogby/WSJ are showing LP candidates in the 6 to 7% range in some races. Bob Smither, Libertarian for TX CD-22 is polling 25% to the Republican write-ins 11%.

This is a double-edged sword. On one hand it teaches the GOP a bit of a lesson; ignore your libertarian voters and you will suffer at the polls.

One the other hand there’s a couple good GOPers out there who could lose as a result of the LPer in the race. I’d really hate to see Saxton lost that Oregon Governor’s race for instance. And he’s only 3% ahead, with an LPer polling about 3%.


 
Written By: Eric Dondero
URL: http://www.mainstreamlibertarian.com

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider